Final Fantasy XIV's tanks are all tasked with the same job: keep the rest of the party from getting beaten up. There are four tank jobs to choose from, and each one approaches its task differently.
Keeping aggro may sound like a simple task, but in practice, there are two main ways of going about it. A tank player can either maximize their damage output to take out threats faster, or they can focus on keeping their HP up so that they can keep taking hits for their team without going down.
It's important to consider that there's a lot of content for players to go through in FFXIV. Some tanks shine more than others in specific types of content. All types of game modes will be taken into consideration for this tier list—main scenario quests, regular duties, trials, raids of every difficulty, and more.
Here is how we rank the current tank jobs as of Final Fantasy XIV Patch 6.45:
S Tier tank jobs
A Tier tank jobs
B Tier tank jobs
S Tier: Warrior
As one of the two tank jobs players can pick up at level one, the Warrior job is as accessible as it gets. Players start out as Marauders in Limsa Lominsa, and gain their Warrior job stone at level 30. It's a simple job, from its general function to its skills and rotations. As a Warrior, players can expect to do decent damage, with skills that deliver self-healing for every successful attack. The Warrior is excellent at handling dungeon runs even if their party members end up dropping the ball, thanks to their ability to mow down enemies while topping off their own HP.
Because of how simple it is, it's a hard job to mess up playing. And because of its healing abilities, it comes with a level of independence that other tanks don't quite match. Even without those healing skills, its raw DPS is nothing to sneeze at. Looking at FFLogs, the most recent savage raid tier has seen the Warrior taking second place in terms of DPS at the time of writing.
A Tier: Gunbreaker
The Gunbreaker job is something of a double-edged sword—or, rather, a double-edged gunblade. It's got a cool aesthetic, especially considering that its main weapon is a sword that's also a gun. Its potential for damage output is hard to match, regularly putting it at the top of the rankings for high-end content. It's got decent self-heals to keep them sustained. It's fast-paced, exciting, and satisfying to play once you've got the hang of it. But some players: it's a tough job to master.
Most who have tried out all four of the tank jobs will agree that Gunbreaker is the most difficult to play. Not only is its rotation one of the most complicated in the game, but it's quick. You have to be on your toes and thinking ahead. For this reason, Gunbreaker is not the optimal job for players with slow internet speeds, as just a bit of lag can ruin your flow.
At the time of writing, Gunbreakers are at the top of the tank rankings on FFLogs for the current savage raid tier. Played optimally, their DPS is impressive. It's the playing optimally that's the hard part.
A Tier: Dark Knight
Known by many players for having one of the best job questlines in the game, the Dark Knight has been a classic since its release with Heavensward. It's a job with a dark, broody aesthetic that attracts many players for good reason. For those doing current high-end raid content, Dark Knight may not be the ideal job. For everyone else, it remains a highly useful and fun job all around.
When it comes to negatives, the main complaints from fans are about some of its controversial skills. Living Dead, Dark Knight's invulnerability skill, is one that many find strange and annoying to deal with. It'll keep you from going down for 10 seconds, but only on the condition that your HP is fully restored within those 10 seconds. Otherwise, you get knocked out regardless. When the healers are prepared for this, it's not a big problem, but otherwise… yeah, kind of annoying.
The Blackest Night is a skill that puts up a barrier around you or a target of your choice, and it costs MP to cast. If you take enough damage to break the barrier, you get a free use of another skill that grants you a damage buff, and would ordinarily also cost MP. Used correctly, you get to use two skills for the price of one, and used incorrectly, you may find yourself lower on MP than you'd planned… which is not a position you'll want to be in with this job.
B Tier: Paladin
As the other tank job available to players from level one, the Paladin is very easily accessible, just like Warrior. Players picking up this class will start out as Gladiators in Ul'dah, and earn their Paladin job stone at level 30. In terms of looks and vibes, Paladins are the closest thing FFXIV has to a quintessential tank. That means bulky armor, big swords, and even bigger shields.
It's got impressive defensive abilities that benefit the entire party, from damage mitigation and healing to the best invulnerability skill in the game. Unlike those of other tanks, Hallowed Ground renders the Paladin impervious to attacks for ten seconds… and with no ill effects at all, as long as you don't count the longer cooldown.
The Paladin shines brightest in a supportive role to the party. When it comes to dealing damage, it's really nothing special. This makes it an unpopular pick for high-end content where every point of damage counts. However, folks who suffer from tankxiety may find security in the Paladin's arsenal of self-heals and damage reduction skills.