There are those to stand on the front lines in Final Fantasy XIV. Those who lead the way in dungeons and raids, even if they may not know what they’re doing. If you want to protect the healers and damage dealers who stand behind you, you need to be a tank. FFXIV has four different jobs in the tank role: Paladin, Warrior, Dark Knight, and Gunbreaker.
The Paladin is the holy knight, protecting the rest of the party. If you want to get in on the ground floor in terms of tanking, Paladin is one of the best entry points: it’s amazingly straightforward in terms of rotation and resource management. There’s space to be a master, but the job won’t turn away new players.
Paladins are melee-range tanks. Many of your attacks will have you in the face of bosses and mobs, while one of your buffs gives you the leeway to move around the battlefield a bit more.
How to unlock the Paladin job in Final Fantasy XIV
In order to unlock the Paladin job, you don’t have to worry about owning any of the FFXIV expansions. Work your Gladiator to level 30 and complete the Class Quest “The Rematch” from Mylla in Ul’dah – Steps of Thal (X: 9.3, Y: 12.0). At level 30, you can pick up the Job Quest “Paladin’s Pledge” from Lulutsu in Ul’dah – Steps of Thal (X: 9.2, Y: 11.7). Completing the quest will give you the Soul of the Paladin.
An introduction to Paladin in Final Fantasy XIV
To truly protect others as a Paladin, you’ll need to become familiar with a few skills. Below you’ll find the basic abilities you need to know:
Iron Will: This is your tank stance. You’ll get this at level 10 and while you’re tanking, you’ll generally want to have this on. It increases enmity generation, which keeps the enemies attacking you, not the rest of the party.
Sheltron: This is the Paladin’s standard damage mitigation tool. It reduces damage taken by 15 percent for six seconds. All it requires is 50 Oath Gauge, which is half the gauge. At level 82, this becomes the stronger Holy Sheltron, which also reduces further damage and gradually restores your HP.
Fight or Flight: This skill buffs your damage dealt by 25 percent. You’ll use this for your standard rotation.
Requiescat: This skill deals unaspected damage at 300 potency, but it also gives you four stacks of the Requiescat buff. These stacks are the real point. Each stack increases the potency of Holy Spirit, Holy Circle, and the Confiteor combo, and makes these skills instant cast. This allows the Paladin to attack with a bit more mobility.
Confiteor: This level 80 skill is the hammer blow in the Paladin’s arsenal, dealding 900 potency when buffed by Requiescat to one enemy and 50% less to all other nearby enemies. You’ll want to use your last stack of Requiescat on this ability. Once it’s cast, you’ll follow it up with the Blade skills: Blade of Faith, Blade of Truth, and Blade of Valor. All of these skills you’ll get at level 90.
All other skills are going to be used on a case-by-case basis. To see what all of the skills do, head to the job guide.
Level 90 Paladin skill rotation and opener
The level 90 Paladin opener requires a 15 to 16 second countdown in order to be effective.
- Holy Spirit
- Fast Blade
- Riot Blade
- Royal Authority
- Fight or Flight
- Goring Blade
- Circle of Scorn
- Blade of Faith
- Blade of Truth
- Blade of Valor
- Holy Spirit
- Atonement x3
Once your opener is complete, your focus is primarily on keeping your damage buffs up for pure damage burst. Your rotation will start with the combination of Fight or Flight and Requiescat, moving through number eight through 14 in the image above. You’ll have three filler global cooldown spots after this rotation is done. Here is the priority of skills to fill the space:
- Holy Spirit, if you have the Divine Might buff from Royal Authority
- Atonement, to spend Sword Oath charges from Royal Authority
- Fast Blade, Riot Blade, and Royal Authority combo (for Divine Might and Sword Oath)
- Circle of Scorn or Expiacion if they’re on cooldown
What to do with the Oath Gauge and MP
Unlike some jobs, your resources are fairly straightforward. The Paladin’s Job Gauge is the Oath Gauge, which has a maximum of 100. You gain five Oath automatically every time you hit with an auto-attack, meaning you’ll have 50 Oath every 23 seconds.
At 50 Oath you can use one of three defensive cooldowns: Sheltron/Holy Sheltron, Intervention, and Cover. Most of your Oath Gauge should be used on Sheltron/Holy Sheltron, as this is your consistent primary damage mitigation. In fact, if your Oath Gauge is about to hit full, use Sheltron.
Paladin utility skills and when to use them
Unlike most of the other tanks, Paladin have a number of abilities to help out the party, in addition to a suite of strong defensive cooldowns.
You have a few standard damage mitigation buffs that you can rotate between during dungeons and raids: Rampart, Sentinel, Bulwark. Technically, Arm’s Length and Reprisal count as well. All five should be used on trash pulls in a dungeon or raid, and with the first four being used in rotation without overlapping. Reprisal you should use like Sheltron, whenever it’s available.
While tanking a boss, any time a tank buster attack is telegraphed — the red and black circle around yourself — you should use one of the first three defensive buffs in tandem with Sheltron/Holy Sheltron. Bosses will generally resist the Slow on Arm’s Length, which is why it’s only for standard pulls.
A Paladin’s super mitigation buff is Hallowed Ground. This skill makes you impervious to almost all attacks for 10 seconds, making it a great “oh shit” button. The drawback is a lengthy 420 second cooldown, meaning it’s best to save this and you’ll usually get a maximum of two uses per dungeon.
For raid-wide damage, you have Reprisal, Divine Veil, and Passage of Arms. Reprisal and Divine Veil are great to protect the raid or party from damage. Passage of Arms is a channeled ability, so it’s best to save it for big telegraphed hits, where the party is standing in one place. Note, the buff lasts on party members for five seconds, so you can stop channeling unless you’re getting hit multiple times. Using these abilities can ease the job for healers.
If you happen to lose enmity on a target, check to make sure Iron Will is on. After that, use Provoke, which puts you at the top of the target’s enmity list.
Do not use Clemency. It is a trick most of the time. Trust in your healer. If you’re the last one standing, you can use it to keep yourself upright.
Paladin food, pots, and gear – current for Patch 6.5
If you’re tackling the end game of Final Fantasy XIV, it’s good to be properly geared up. Currently in Patch 6.4 the best food is high quality Baked Eggplant. For potions, Grade 8 Tinctures of Strength is going to be your consumable of choice.
For gear, players will want to look at what their Best in Slot (BiS) gear will be. For Paladins just starting out, crafted gear is going to be BiS. High quality Diadochos Fending gear will give you a head start on the process and you can pick this up from the Market Board.
For the Savage gearset, check out Etro for the recommended gear and melds.
In terms of materia, you’ll want to use a combination of Direct Hit, Critical Hit, and the occasional Determination materia, pentamelding where possible. Unless you’re tackling Savage content though, non-pentamelded gear will do you just fine.