Each of Final Fantasy XIV's 20 different combat jobs has its own unique style and aesthetic, though one of the flashiest and most stylish lies in an unexpected role – a tank. The Gunbreaker job, introduced with the Shadowbringers expansion, acts as a hybrid of tank and DPS, bringing the sturdiness and perseverance one would expect from your traditional tank with the style and abilities found from a melee DPS.
The gunblade-wielding Gunbreaker focuses on incorporating many actions into its burst phase, giving it a high damage output that would give a less-experienced DPS party member a run for their money. While its fellow tank job, Warrior, may be more straightforward in terms of rotation, Gunbreaker is a fantastic middle-ground for players looking to tank after familiarizing themselves with a melee DPS job, looking for a more involved job in the tank role, or simply want a job that oozes style.
How to unlock the Gunbreaker job in FFXIV
If you want to do your best impression of Squall Leonheart from Final Fantasy VIII by picking up Gunbreaker, you'll first need to own the Shadowbringers expansion on your FFXIV account. With a level 60 or higher Disciple of War or Magic, the quest "The Makings of a Gunbreaker" can be taken from Gods' Quiver Bow in New Gridania (X: 11.5, Y: 11.9) to unlock the job.
An introduction to Gunbreaker in FFXIV
With 60 levels worth of skills given to you right when the job is unlocked, you may be overwhelmed when looking at the ability list if you’re unfamiliar with tanking or a DPS job with a similar playstyle. Here is a breakdown of the abilities specific to Gunbreaker that you'll need to know to improve your gameplay.
At the base level, Gunbreaker utilizes a standard 1-2-3 GCD combo consisting of Keen Edge, Brutal Shell, and Solid Barrel.
- Keen Edge: The first attack in the standard GCD combo has no special effects, but the following attacks won't provide their full benefits if it doesn't begin the chain.
- Brutal Shell: The second attack in the combo restores health and creates a barrier nullifying damage if chained correctly after Keen Edge.
- Solid Barrel: Finishing the combo with Solid Barrel provides a Powder Cartridge, a resource used on Gunbreaker's job gauge, the Powder Gauge.
Outside of its combo, Gunbreaker has many other skills to use off cooldown and weave when necessary.
- No Mercy: This oGCD buff increases damage dealt for 20 seconds and should be used off of cooldown. Use it before bursts to maximize damage.
- Danger Zone/Blasting Zone: Danger Zone is an oGCD attack best used when weaved off cooldown. At level 80, the skill becomes Blasting Zone, increasing the attack potency by nearly 300 percent.
- Lightning Shot: Gunbreaker's one real ranged attack, Lightning Shot deals minor damage but increases enmity, meaning it's best for opening combat to grab enmity quickly or pick up wandering trash mobs during dungeons.
- Sonic Break: This GCD attack deals damage outright and applies a 30-second damage over time (DoT) effect to the target. With a 60-second recast, you can upkeep its effect once every minute.
- Rough Divide: Rough Divide is Gunbreaker's version of the gap closer present in all tank jobs. You can weave this into your rotation to dish out even more damage in the middle of a fight.
- Bow Shock: At a glance, this attack seems to be better suited for situations with multiple enemies. However, it applies a DoT effect with the same potency as Sonic Break to all enemies in range for 15 seconds, making Bow Shock effective in single-target encounters.
Gunbreaker’s Powder Gauge and related skills
A Gunbreaker's burst is where they deal the most of their damage, and their burst relies on the Powder Gauge. When a Powder Cartridge is gained through abilities like the single-target attack Solid Barrel or its AOE-equivalent Demon Slaughter, new skills become available for you to utilize.
Starting out, you can hold up to two Powder Cartridges for attacks. At level 88, that amount increases to three.
- Burst Strike: A GCD attack that deals nearly three times as much damage as any attack in the standard combo, costing one Powder Cartridge.
- Gnashing Fang: This is where the Gunbreaker's similarities to a DPS begin to show. At the cost of one Powder Cartridge, Gnashing Fang begins a chain of attacks all through one ability on your hotbar. Gnashing Fang becomes Savage Claw, which then changes to Wicked Talon, which means three attacks of increasing damage on one button. It has a recast timer of 30 seconds and should be prioritized over Burst Strike when available.
- Continuation: Like Gnashing Fang, four separate abilities are tied to Continuation. While it does nothing independently, each step of the Gnashing Fang chain procs an oGCD attack to weave into Gnashing Fang's GCD combo that uses Continuation's placement on your hotbar. Gnashing Fang, Savage Claw, and Wicked Talon activate Jugular Rip, Abdomen Tear, and Eye Gouge, creating a chain of six attacks that use only two hotbar slots.
- At level 86, Continuation also creates a follow-up oGCD for Burst Strike with the skill Hypervelocity, meaning you have access to a quick double-tap when there are cartridges to spend and Gnashing Fang is on cooldown. While weaving abilities can generally be complex, having six skills intended to weave only occupying one slot of the hotbar makes the task a bit simpler.
- Fated Circle: A solution to encounters with multiple enemies, Fated Circle uses one Powder Cartridge to deliver an AOE attack.
- Double Down: Double Down is an incredibly powerful ability that costs two Powder Cartridges and unleashes a 1,200 potency attack to one enemy and only 15 percent less for any surrounding it.
- Bloodfest: This OGCD ability will immediately add two Powder Cartridges without performing a combo. At level 88, Bloodfest increases the amount of Cartridges added to three.
Gunbreaker’s defensive abilities
There are several options for dealing damage as a Gunbreaker, but you must remember what role it fulfills in the party. You can mitigate damage and recover as the party's tank in various ways. Here are the actions specific to Gunbreaker to include in the mitigation rotation.
- Camouflage: Camouflage reduces the damage taken by 10 percent over 20 seconds. It also has the unique effect of increasing the Gunbreaker's parry rate by 50 percent.
- Nebula: Gunbreaker's "heavy" mitigation, Nebula, reduces all damage taken by 30 percent, making it the most effective defense ability in their arsenal. There is a 120-second cooldown, so don't waste it early in an encounter.
- Aurora: An ability that grants Regen for 18 seconds to any party member, including the Gunbreaker themself. At level 84, the Enhanced Aurora trait allows you to hold two charges of Aurora.
- Superbolide: Superbolide is famous for being the Gunbreaker's panic button that makes their healer's heart sink if used unannounced. This ability drops the user's health to 1 HP while making them invulnerable for 10 seconds. Be mindful of what tools your healer still has left to use, as a Superbolide used in a panic directly after a White Mage's Benediction is sure to frustrate the person responsible for keeping you alive.
- Heart of Stone/Heart of Corundum: Heart of Stone reduces damage taken by 15 percent and can be placed on yourself or another party member. If you have a shield given by Brutal Shell, the shield is also copied to the receiving party member. At level 82, Heart of Stone becomes Heart of Corundum, with more damage mitigation and HP restoration effects when the target falls below 50 percent health or the effect expires.
- Heart of Light: This reduces magic damage taken by 10 percent for yourself and any nearby party members.
Level 90 Gunbreaker rotation and opener
This opener assumes you have a GCD speed of 2.50 but is usable at faster speeds.
- Lightning Shot (-1s)
- Keen Edge
- Brutal Shell
- No Mercy
- Gnashing Fang
- Jugular Rip
- Sonic Break
- Blasting Zone
- Bow Shock
- Double Down
- Rough Divide
- Savage Claw
- Abdomen Tear
- Rough Divide
- Wicked Talon
- Eye Gouge
- Solid Barrel
- Burst Strike
- Keen Edge
Once the opener is complete, continue doing your standard Solid Barrel combo to build cartridges until No Mercy is off cooldown for your burst. Before No Mercy is ready, you can use Burst Strike if you will overcap on cartridges. You can use Blasting Zone and Gnashing Fang once if you can time them to be available again by the time No Mercy becomes available – otherwise, hold them until the burst.
Gunbreaker food, pots, and gear - current for Patch 6.5
Preparing for endgame content requires knowing the best in slot (BiS) gear and which food and tinctures you will need for a temporary boost in stats. Gunbreakers require a mixed set of Augmented Credendum and Ascension gear obtainable from 6.4's Savage Raids.
You can see the details of the recommended items and melds on Etro. High-quality Baked Eggplant is the recommended choice of food for most jobs currently, and Gunbreaker has the best results when combining it with a Grade 8 Tincture of Strength. When to use a tincture depends on the duty itself, so consult a guide specific to the content to learn proper usage.