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FFXIV Samurai Job Guide (Patch 6.5)

While you were busy tanking the floor, I studied the blade.

On the surface, the idea of a simple Samurai roaming a majestically magical setting alongside leaping Dragoons and fire-conjuring Black Mages may seem out of place. However, the Samurai job in Final Fantasy XIV is an absolute powerhouse and is usually the source of most of a party's damage if played correctly.

Samurai, alongside Red Mage, is one of the two jobs introduced in Stormblood and is a fantastic way to help the Warrior of Light feel connected to the expansion's far eastern setting of Othard. While perhaps not as fantastical in its aesthetic as some of its melee DPS counterparts, the Samurai doesn't need magic or the help of a voidsent to make its point – the damage dealt does all of the talking.

Samurai is easy to learn, allowing players to pick up the job and dish out pain early. However, there is a high ceiling of mastery for learning to balance job gauges and resources during high-level content.

How to unlock the Samurai job in Final Fantasy XIV

Those looking to learn the ways of the Samurai must first have access to the Stormblood expansion on their account. With a Disciple of War or Magic job at level 50, you can find the Ul'dahn Citizen in Ul'dah - Steps of Nald (X: 9.2, Y: 9.1) to grab the quest "The Way of the Samurai."

There is no base class for Samurai, as is the case with the jobs added in expansions. Completing the initial quest rewards the job stone needed to get started.

An introduction to Samurai in Final Fantasy XIV

Every melee DPS job utilizes positional attacks that deliver a higher potency when used at the enemy's rear or flank, and Samurai is no different. Samurai players regularly use most of its toolset during any given situation, which revolves around building resources through its standard combo.

Samurai's main GCD combo follows three different paths, each only consisting of two or three abilities. Correctly performing these combos gives buffs and earns Sen, Samurai's resource used in an ability detailed later in the guide. 

The actions involved in the core rotation are:

  • Hakaze: This attack is the first step of each path. It doesn't provide any special effects but is a critical requirement in getting the full impact of other abilities.
  • Jinpu: When following Hakaze, Jinpu deals more damage than it would on its own and grants the Fugetsu buff, increasing damage dealt for 40 seconds. 
  • Shifu: This ability grants the Fuka buff if used as a combo action after Hakaze, reducing weaponskill cast and recast time, spell cast time and recast time, and auto-attack delay.
  • Gekko: Gekko deals the most damage from the target's rear. It is also the third and final step to earning Getsu, one of the three Sen mentioned earlier if chained correctly from Hakaze, then Jinpu.
  • Kasha: Part three of another one of the possible paths, Kasha has a higher potency if used from the target's flank and grants Ka, another Sen.
  • Yukikaze: This attack earns the third Sen, Setsu. Unlike the other final steps, Gekko and Kasha, this attack is chained directly after Hakaze.

While these abilities are available at any time, there is an obvious benefit to using them in combos to gather Sen rather than a random order. Keeping track of where you are in one of the combos is made easy by the border that appears around the ability on your hotbar, similar to if were proc'd.

There are AOE variations that provide the same benefits as their single-target counterparts.

  • Fuga/Fuko: This can is equivalent to the single-target Hakaze, used as the starting ability to chain into others.
  • Mangetsu: Used after Fuga, this AOE ability acts as both Jinpu and Gekko in one, granting the Fugetsu buff and the Getsu Sen.
  • Oka: Similarly, this AOE ability is the equivalent of both Shifu and Kasha, granting the Ka Sen and the Fuka buff when used after Fuga.

Samurai Kenki Gauge and how to use Sen

Chaining properly into Gekko, Kasha, and Yukikaze grants the three different Sen, each indicated on the Samurai's Sen Gauge. Sen are used by the skill Iaijutsu, which changes into different abilities depending on the amount of Sen acquired. Which Sen you gather does not affect Iajutsu, so which combo you follow depends on which buffs you need to upkeep. You cannot have more than one type of Sen at a time, so rotate through the combos as required.

Image via Square Enix

Iaijutsu changes into the following skills when the Samurai has Sen available:

  • Higanbana (One Sen): This deals a small amount of damage outright, but its main effect is applying a damage-over-time (DoT) debuff to the target.
  • Tenka Goken (Two Sen): Tenka Goken is an AOE attack that deals over three times as much damage as the standard AOE abilities. Coincidentally, the standard multi-target combos only provide two Sen.
  • Midare Setsugekka (Three Sen): This massive attack lands a critical hit every time with a potency of 640. While the DoT of Higanbana is active on the enemy, this should be your primary use for Iaijutsu.

At level 76, Samurai unlock the Kaeshi versions of each of these abilities, Kaeshi: Hinganbana, Kaeshi: Goken, and Kaeshi: Setsugekka. These skills proc after the use of their respective named Iaijutsu and allow you to repeat its effect. The Kaeshi attacks replace the Tsubame-gaeshi ability on your hotbar, much like how Iaijutsu is replaced after a successful combo.

  • Meikyo Shisui: This ability allows you to use any skill with its full effect while ignoring any combo requirements, meaning using Gekko, Kasha, and Yukikaze will grant Sen without building them up over time with a GCD rotation. Meikyo Shisui also applies to Mangetsu and Oka for multi-target situations.

At level 52, each of the abilities in the main GCD rotation adds Kenki to the Kenki Gauge, Samurai's secondary job gauge. With enough Kenki built, you can access a range of OGCD abilities to weave between attacks.

Image via Square Enix
  • Hissatu: Shinten: This ability costs 25 Kenki and delivers an attack with 250 potency.
  • Hissatu: Senei: A powerful attack with a two-minute recast timer and costs 25 Kenki.
  • Hissatsu: Kyuten: An AOE attack that deals 120 potency to all nearby enemies.
  • Hissatsu: Guren: This delivers an attack to all targets in a straight line and shares a recast timer with Hissatsu: Senei.
  • Hissatsu: Gyoten/Hissatsu: Yaten: Both of these abilities deliver a small attack at a cost of 10 Kenki, with Gyoten acting as a gap-closer and Yaten a 10-yalm backstep.

Samurai unlock another resource at level 80, tracked via the Kenki Gauge, Meditation. Samurai earn up to three Meditation each time they execute an Iaijutsu, Meditate, or the level 90 ability Ogi Namikiri.

Image via Square Enix
  • Meditate: Over 15 seconds, you will charge up to three stacks of Meditation. It is best used during sections where you cannot target the boss.
  • Ikishoten: This instantly adds 50 Kenki to your gauge and grants Ogi Namikiri Ready.
  • Ogi Namikiri: A potent attack that deals a critical hit to all enemies in a cone, with full damage to the first enemy and 75 percent less to the remainder. Ogi Namikiri changes to Kaeshi: Namikiri after execution.
  • Kaeshi: Namikiri: The follow-up to Ogi Namikiri has the same effect as its counterpart. However, using another weaponskill before this will lose the effect.
  • Shoha/Shoha II: After gaining three stacks of Meditation, you can spend all three to attack with Shoha, an attack with 560 potency. The same applies to Shoha II, which shares a recast timer with Shoha but is an AOE rather than single-target.

To see the specific details on every ability and trait that Samurai offers, check out the official Square Enix job guide.

Level 90 Samurai rotation and opener

  1. Meikyo Shisui (-9 seconds)
  2. True North (-5 seconds)
  3. Gekko
  4. Pot
  5. Kasha
  6. Ikishoten
  7. Yukikaze
  8. Midare Setsugekka
  9. Hissatsu: Senei
  10. Kaeshi: Setsugekka
  11. Meikyo Shisui
  12. Gekko
  13. Hissatsu: Shinten
  14. Higanbana
  15. Hissatsu: Shinten
  16. Ogi Namikiri
  17. Shoha
  18. Kaeshi: Namakiri
  19. Kasha
  20. Hissatsu: Shinten
  21. Gekko
  22. Hissatsu: Gyoten
  23. Hakaze
  24. Yukikaze
  25. Hissatsu: Shinten
  26. Midare Setsugekka
  27. Kaeshi: Setsugekka
Image via Fanbyte

After the opener, most of your abilities will be on cooldown, so the priority becomes maintaining your buffs while managing the upkeep of Higanbana on the enemy. After building up Sen for Midare Setsugekka through the traditional GCDs, you can use Meikyo Shisui to gather one Sen quickly, apply Higanbana, and then use the remaining two charges of the buff towards the next Midare Setsugekka while adding in Ikishoten/Ogi Namikiri and Hissatsu: Shinten if available.

Samurai food, pots, and gear - current for Patch 6.4

To be the best of the best Samurai, you'll need the best in slot (BiS) gear and some high-quality food and tinctures. As is the case for most of the jobs in Patch 6.4, Baked Eggplant is currently the best food item for Samurai at the time of writing. For instances where you'll need the extra boost, such as when nearing a clear of one of the current Savage raids, a Grade 8 Tincture of Strength is recommended, as described in the job's opener.

Currently, the BiS gear for Samurai is a mixture of the Augmented Credendum and Ascension sets, which can only be obtained by completing the current tier of Savage raids. You can check out Etro for a full summary of melds and specific gear pieces. Those who have yet to progress on these raids and wish to start can also find the recommended crafted set and melds on Etro.

About the Author

Mills Webster

Mills is a freelance writer and lifelong fan of the Final Fantasy franchise. After playing Final Fantasy VIII for the first time in the distant year of 1999, he's enjoyed every game in the series since. He's played Final Fantasy XIV since 2016, clocking over 6,000 hours and earning his in-game mentor crown.