Look to the stars and believe in the heart of the cards because Astrologian (AST) in Final Fantasy XIV keeps the party alive and strong with its healing and buffs. Admittedly, it’s the most complex Healer in the game, so those who want a more gentle learning curve may want to lean towards White Mage (or Scholar or Sage). But if you love juggling different mechanics with some dazzling animations to accompany them, pick up your tarot deck and star charts because we’re going healing!
Astrologian starts off at level 30 and can be unlocked once you make it to Heavensward. Its starting quest “What’s Your Sign” can be found at the Athenaeum Astrologicum at The Pillars in Ishgard. This means you start with a decent skillset that gives you a taste of what makes Astrologian unique.
Before we get into the details of the Job, some key points to keep in mind as you play:
- Remember your ABC’s — “Always Be Casting.” If no one needs healing, throw out some damage spells! Healer damage is not insignificant and can speed up boss fights and dungeons considerably. It may seem counter-intuitive, but you want to get away with healing as little as possible while doing as much damage as possible!
- A huge part of being a good healer is battle and dungeon knowledge. Significant portions of fights are fairly scripted out, so you can almost always anticipate when you’re going to need to heal based on the timeline of the fight. This can also help you make the most of Astrologian’s heals, buffs, and other damage mitigation tools.
- We’re going to boil down Astrologian into three core principles in the order of their priority: healing → playing cards → dealing damage. There is some overlap between these three areas, but it can only come together for you as a player if you analyze each discipline separately before bringing it all together.
Editor’s note (12/3/2021): Astrologian has gone through some major changes with the launch of Endwalker and Patch 6.0. Content in this guide reflects those changes, but is subject to change as we get more time and experience with the Job.
Editor’s note (1/28/2022): This guide has been amended with some corrections regarding how certain mechanics work and tips on how to use them.
Nature is Healing
As a Healer, your priority is, well, healing. Thankfully, Astrologian’s core healing spells are fairly straightforward, even as you approach higher levels. Let’s start by outlining the spells you’ll be working with and how to use them. Please note you will gain the trait Enhanced Healing Magic at level 85, which boosts the potency of several spells; the following numbers reflect this.
Benefic (Lv. 2): Your basic GCD cure. Restores a single target’s health for 500 potency, and creates a 15% chance for a follow-up Benefic II (Lv. 26) to crit. Cast time is 1.5 seconds, consumes 400 MP.
Helios (Lv. 10): Your basic AoE cure. Restores all party members within 15 yalms with a 400 cure potency. Cast time is 2.0 seconds, consumes 700 MP. When paired with Horoscope (Lv. 76), you can get a significant amount of additional healing potency.
Essential Dignity (Lv. 15): One of your most important tools. An instant-cast, MP-free, oGCD single-target healing spell. It has a base cure potency of 400 that increases up to 1,100 potency based on how low your target’s health is. This is an easy and effective way to bring a party member from the brink of death. However you configure your hotbars, make sure Essential Dignity is easily reachable at a moment’s notice. Be mindful of its 40-second cooldown, though.
Benefic II (Lv. 26): A stronger version of Benefic that’s a handy GCD healing spell. Restores a single target’s health for 800 potency (note the crit potential mentioned in Benefic above, too). Cast time is 1.5 seconds, consumes 700 MP. You won’t solely rely on Benefic II because of more efficient abilities you gain in later levels. But if other means aren’t readily available, this will help bring someone from the brink of death.
Aspected Benefic (Lv. 34): Your preferred single-target GCD heal. It has a base cure potency of 250 and applies a Regen effect for another 250 potency every 3 seconds for 15 seconds total. With five (5) total ticks and the initial heal, it effectively cures for 1,500 potency. Costs 400 MP. A major perk is that this is an instant-cast spell. It also gets a barrier effect when paired with Neutral Sect (Lv. 80).
Aspected Helios (Lv. 42): Your preferred AoE GCD heal. Restores health of party members in a 15 yalm radius for 250 base potency and applies a Regen of 150 potency every 3 seconds for 15 seconds total. With five (5) total ticks and the initial heal, it effectively cures for 1,000 potency. Costs 700 MP. This spell gets a major boost in utility when combined with Horoscope (Lv. 76) and/or Neutral Sect (Lv. 80), granting additional healing potency and barrier effects, respectively.
Celestial Opposition (Lv. 60): Another important tool in your kit. An instant-cast, MP-free, oGCD AoE healing spell for all party members in a 15 yalm radius. It has a base cure potency of 200 and also applies a Regen effect of 100 potency every 3 seconds for 15 seconds total. With five (5) total ticks and the initial heal, it effectively cures for 700 potency. Has a 60-second cooldown.
Another Layer of Heals
The aforementioned healing spells and abilities make for a good starting point to understand the basic ethos of what it means to be a Healer. Getting comfortable with how and when to cast them is important. The next step is to layer on the less-traditional style of heals so you can be as effective as possible. One layer at a time, though.
Synastry (Lv. 50): Mark a player who will then receive 40% of the HP you heal for yourself or another player (from spells only). The effect lasts for 20 seconds and the ability runs on a 120-second cooldown. I’d think of Synastry as a more advanced technique that’s better suited for higher-level play or raids. For example, if you’re in an eight-player Trial, you can mark the off-Tank with Synastry, then cast Benefic II on the main Tank if they’re both in need of health. This may not be as critical in most normal level content, but it can still come in clutch and help you get more out of your basic heals when two party members are down bad.
Collective Unconscious (Lv. 58): Cast a shield bubble around yourself in an 8-yalm radius to reduce damage taken by 10% for up to 18 seconds. Applies a 15-second Regen of 100 potency to all players inside. The catch is you need to stand still after casting for the effects to last, otherwise it’ll dispel. This comes in handy when you know party-wide damage is incoming. It’s a good preventative measure to help take the edge off the bulk healing you’ll have to do afterward.
Celestial Intersection (Lv. 74): An instant-cast single-target heal on a 30-second cooldown that does 200 healing potency. Also applies a barrier that nullifies damage equal to 200% of the HP healed by this spell. This can be effective if you know a Tank or targeted party member is about to take a sizable hit or to buy time if you need to use another healing spell. It being an MP-free instant-cast oGCD spell also means you can use it fairly liberally.
Horoscope (Lv. 76): As mentioned above with Helios and Aspected Helios, Horoscope applies additional healing potency when either of those spells are cast while Horoscope is active. But it can be tricky to use. Think of Horoscope as a trigger or detonation-style of heal: apply it, cast a Helios, then activate it to give the party a burst of 400 healing potency. If and when the party is down bad, make sure to pop Horoscope before casting your Helios then trigger it to get everyone back in fighting shape.
Exaltation (Lv. 86): This one is new to Endwalker, and works as a straightforward damage mitigation and healing combo. Exaltation is an instant-cast MP-free oGCD spell that soaks 10% of damage taken for 8 seconds then triggers a 500 potency heal for the target it’s applied to. Another important tool in Astrologian’s ever-growing kit of oGCD healing abilities.
No Sects in the Planetarium (The New Neutral Sect)
With Endwalker and Patch 6.0, long-time Astrologian players need to be aware that they can’t have Sects anymore (kinda). The choice between Diurnal Sect and Nocturnal Sect has been removed, and the affected spells (Aspected Benefic and Aspected Helios) simply carry the Regen effects that were previously granted by Diurnal Sect.
However, you can have one Sect, as a treat. At level 80, you’ll learn Neutral Sect, which functions as a 20-second buff that adds a barrier effect to both Aspected Benefic and Aspected Helios. If Aspected Benefic is cast while Neutral Sect is active, the player receiving the spell gets a barrier that nullifies damage equal to 250% of the HP healed. If Aspected Helios is cast while Neutral Sect is active, all players receiving the spell get a barrier that nullifies damage equal to 125% of the HP healed. These barriers last for 20 seconds or until their protection is broken, whichever comes first. The memories of the Sects you once had still live on, and in practice, you can now have both in some form.
Playing Your Cards Right
As stated earlier, healing is just one aspect of Astrologian. Its other core function is drawing and playing cards to apply crucial buffs to the party. You have this ability right from the start. Execute Draw to pull a card and use Play to activate the card (shown on your Job gauge) on a selected party member. If no one, or an enemy, is targeted when playing the card, the effect will be applied to you. Note: Draw is a two-charge action that runs on a 30-second cooldown.
When you draw a card, pay close attention to two things: the color of the card’s outline (blue or purple), and the astrosign shown at the top of the card. These are the shorthand visual cues that will tell you what you should do with the card you draw.
The Card Game Made Simple
First off, the blue or purple outline signifies which role-type gets the maximum benefit when you play the card on them. The actual names of the cards don’t really matter, so just remember this: Blue outline is for Melee DPS and Tanks, purple outline is for Ranged/Magic DPS and Healers (see below).
Blue-outlined cards: The Arrow, The Balance, The Spear — Grants 6% damage buff to Melee DPS and Tanks (and 3% for other roles) for 15 seconds.
Purple-outlined cards: The Bole, The Spire, The Ewer — Grants 6% damage buff to Ranged/Magic DPS and Healers (and 3% for other roles) for 15 seconds.
You’ll mostly be applying these to DPS players, so get familiar with the various DPS Job icons to help you quickly distinguish who is Melee or Magic/Ranged and who should get the buff. Note that card buffs cannot be stacked on a single player.
Astrosigns, Astrodyne, and Divination
With regards to astrosigns (which become available at level 50), there are three signs you’ll need to track: Lunar, Solar, and Celestial. These signs are at the top of each card’s outline. Playing the card will add that specific sign to one of the three slots (you must be in combat, however). Once the three slots are filled with whatever combination of astrosigns, you’ll then have access to Astrodyne (Lv. 50).
Astrologians of the past should be familiar with how Astrodyne works; it takes the place of the old version of Divination, but it’s not a long cooldown and the effects have been altered. Astrodyne becomes available once you’ve filled the three astrosign slots, regardless of which signs you accumulate. However, it’s imperative that you try to get one of each sign-type, because the resulting effect of Astrodyne is as follows:
- Three of one sign-type: Grants Harmony of Spirit, which gradually restores your MP. (Yay?)
- Two different sign-types: Grants Harmony of Spirit (as previously mentioned) and Harmony of Body, which reduces spell cast time and auto-attack delay by 10% for 15 seconds.
- One of each sign-type: Grants the aforementioned Harmony of Spirit and Harmony of Body in addition to Harmony of Mind, which applies a 5% damage and healing potency buff for 15 seconds.
Properly wielding Astrodyne can be a challenge since Harmony of Mind is the effect you’ll want to work towards. It’ll take a sharp eye, some button juggling, and lots of practice to nail the flow. To help with this, get familiar with Redraw (Lv. 40). You can use one Redraw for every Draw, which immediately gives you a different card (as of now, we’re not sure if it guarantees a different sign-type). Undraw returns the drawn card back to your deck so you’re not forced to play it in case it causes a duplicate sign-type, but that’s also wasteful.
Lastly, let’s talk about the new Divination (Lv. 50). Now, it’s an oGCD support ability on a 120-second cooldown that applies a 6% damage buff to yourself and party members in a 15-yalm radius for 15 seconds. It’s as simple as that, yet extremely effective. For boss fights, consider waiting a few seconds before executing your first Divination to let others build towards the higher-damage actions in their opener — this will help make sure your party gets the most out of Divination’s duration.
Revamped Minor Arcana
And now for the last major change to Astrologian. Minor Arcana (Lv. 70) received a complete overhaul with Endwalker and Patch 6.0, which now works as a separate deck of cards to draw from. Thankfully, it’s fairly straightforward.
At level 70, you get the ability Minor Arcana, which will draw either Lady of Crowns or Lord of Crowns. You then put the card into effect using Crown Play. Lady of Crowns is an AoE heal of 400 potency for all party members in a 20-yalm radius, and Lord of Crowns is an AoE attack of 250 potency to your target and any enemies in a 20-yalm radius. There is no redraw mechanic, so you’ll have to deal with what you’re given. Also note that Minor Arcana is on a 60-second cooldown and can only be used while in combat. Make sure you’re always pulling from Minor Arcana when available.
Damage Dealing is Healing
Every Healer’s roster of direct damage-dealing spells isn’t very complex, which is great considering how many other things require your attention. You mostly rely on firing off a single spell and keeping a DoT applied, but Astrologian has a few actions that benefit the party while also doing some decent damage.
Malefic I – IV / Fall Malefic: Your basic single-target attack spell. Starts as Malefic I and evolves as you level up all the way to level 82 when you learn Fall Malefic. Its function never changes; it just gets potency boosts.
Combust I – III: A damage-over-time (DoT) spell that increases in potency and duration as it evolves. Make sure Combust is always applied to enemies on the field.
Gravity I – II: Your basic AoE attack spell that hits its target and any enemy within a 5-yalm radius of that target. Use this when cutting down mobs of three or more.
These are the three main GCD damage spells of Astrologian, all of which cost 400 MP and run on a 1.5-second cast timer (except Combust, which is an instant-cast). Also, don’t forget that aforementioned Minor Arcana card Lord of Crowns is a damage-dealing ability. For your more complex damage spells, you have the following.
Earthly Star (Lv. 62): When you first execute Earthly Star, you will have to mark a spot on the ground for its area of effect. Once you do that, it’s then up to you to trigger the ability (which will be called Stellar Detonation on the same button). If it’s triggered in the first 10 seconds of it being active, it’ll set off the attack Stellar Burst, which simultaneously does 240 damage potency to enemies in the AoE and heals party members in range with 540 potency. If you wait 10 seconds before triggering Stellar Detonation, the attack will then become Stellar Explosion, which does 320 damage potency to enemies in the AoE and heals party members in range with 720 potency.
Overall, it’s best to wait the 10 seconds to get Stellar Explosion. If you wait out the entire duration of Earthly Star’s effect, Stellar Explosion will trigger on its own. The ability’s 60-second cooldown timer starts ticking as soon as you mark ground for the ability, so you don’t necessarily miss out on anything if you forget to set it off manually. You can keep track of what phase Earthly Star is in by looking at your status effects on your UI — Earthly Dominance means it’s still in the first 10-second phase, and Giant Dominance means it’s ready for the stronger version.
Macrocosmos (Lv 90): This is Astrologian’s final ability in Endwalker. It deals damage to a targeted enemy for 250 potency and 50% less for other enemies in a 20-yalm radius. After that, you and all party members in range will gain the effect of Macrocosmos, which lasts up to 15 seconds. During that time, 50% of the damage each member takes is compiled and then expelled to heal the amount of HP compiled. You can either wait the 15 seconds for it to execute on its own or trigger it yourself if you see that enough damage has been taken.
General Best Practices
Personally, the biggest meta challenge to playing Healer (and especially Astrologian) is getting the hang of targeting. Whether it be enemies or the right party members, targeting can be tricky since you have to manage card-based buffs, single-target heals, and your own damage spells. I’d recommend configuring your UI so the Party List is in easy view. This will allow you to easily track the party’s status and select a name to target. (We have some tips on how to handle that in our general Healer guide.)
You need to get comfortable with swiftly switching targets as an Astrologian. Between the new Minor Arcana, applying the right card to the right player, healing those in need, and dealing damage when you can, targeting the right individual can get tricky. As far as physical positioning, try staying somewhere between Magic and Ranged DPS and the Tank(s) to help ensure that your AoE healing spells hits all party members. This gets complicated in more complex fights, but it’s a good habit to develop.
Astrologian has a bunch of MP-free oGCD instant-cast healing options, and you should prioritize using those first. Also, remember that your Regen-based spells like Aspected Benefic (instant-cast) and Aspected Helios have much higher effective cure potency, and should be your go-to GCD heals.
In regards to MP preservation, you have a few useful tools at your disposal. Use Lucid Dreaming once you’ve expended about 30% of your MP — and you will want to do this since the Astrologian’s skillset can eat up MP quickly. Also, don’t be afraid to use Swiftcast for emergencies to negate cast timers, especially when you need to resurrect a party member. It’s recommended you use a macro to pair this with Ascension, the Astrologian’s revive ability.
Another key to success as Astrologian is using Lightspeed (Lv. 6) often. Do not underestimate the importance of Lightspeed! When activated, all your spells will have their cast timers reduced by 2.5 seconds for a 15 second duration — this effectively makes most of your spells instant-cast. Use cases for Lightspeed include (but are not limited to) busting out multiple GCD heals immediately if you need to, being able to spam Malefic while moving, or speeding up your raise spell Ascension in case Swiftcast is not available.
While your first priority is to keep everyone alive, don’t underestimate the utility of your buffs. Always stay on top of drawing and playing cards as they become available, and do your best to gather the proper combination of Arcana signs in order to apply the greatest effects. Being able to constantly dole them out is what makes Astrologian a special and viable Job in FFXIV.
Our last tip isn’t unique to the Astrologian, for it’s important for any Healer to keep in mind: Be sure to communicate with your Tank in dungeons about what you can handle. If you can handle healing through multiple mobs or wall-to-wall pulls, be ready. If not, let them know what you’re capable of. Being honest about your limits will benefit everyone in your party!
Tips on Opener
Of course, Healers aren’t like DPS since they don’t have combos to optimize damage output, but they can benefit from starting off a big fight right. So, we have a few tips on some good practices during pre-pull and in the early phase of a battle:
- Draw a card well before the fight starts, but hold onto it. Play it right after engaging in combat so you obtain the card’s astrosign.
- Considering using Neutral Sect + Aspected Benefic to apply barriers on the Tank right before the fight starts to mitigate early damage.
- Have your Minor Arcana ready early, whether it be Lady (heal) or Lord (damage) and play them when its best to do so.
- Try casting Malefic just before the Tank pulls a boss and follow up by casting Combust to apply DoT.
- Wait a few seconds after the fight starts before popping your first Divination so it’s more likely to apply when party members are deeper in their opener.
- Get Earthly Star going early and often and pay close attention for when it can turn into Stellar Explosion since it can heal party member in critical moments.
- Rely on oGCD healing spells first, then rely on abilities with Regen effects, and be sure to sue Horoscope with Aspected Helios for heavier party-wide healing.
- Keep drawing and playing cards to the right party members. Please don’t forget!
There are sure to be more advanced techniques and more unique situations to account for, but for now, these are good things to get in the habit of doing.
In group play with eight-player parties, you will often be faced with a choice of needing to Raise your teammates. The general order is:
Tanks → fellow Healers → Red Mages or Summoners (who also have resurrection skills) → everyone else.
Tank’s primary job is to take hits from enemies so the rest of the group doesn’t, making them the priority to resurrect. Bosses that may take 30 seconds to kill a tank might one-hit-kill a DPS player, for example. You need the breathing room more than a second healer in the heat of the moment. But also remember that Tanks often have solo-healing and mitigation abilities they can use to buy time if you need to get your fellow healer up. Red Mages and Summoners should then be Raised before other DPS classes since they also have the ability to Raise in a pinch.
Before reading on, keep in mind that stat priorities are something you’ll only really have to worry about once you make it max level and play through endgame content. You’ll still be cycling through new gear as you continue leveling up towards the cap, so it’s generally more work than it’s worth to constantly be melding materia to gear at early levels. The main thing you’ll always want to stay on top of regardless is equipping the best gear to boost your average item level.
Astrologian stats require a little more testing when compared to damage dealers or tanks. Generally, Healers require Piety — the healer-only stat that boosts mana regeneration — to maintain good MP levels during lengthier fights. However, this need may diminish as you improve and unlock more skills. As you optimize your spell usage, you’ll find yourself not needing as much Piety because you’re not spending as much MP. If you notice yourself sitting at near full MP throughout a fight, odds are you can safely remove some Piety Materia in exchange for something else.
And what should that “something else” be? Well, after you figure out your Piety sweet spot, your sub-stats should be: Critical Hit > Determination > Direct Hit Rate > Spell Speed. You want your heals and damage spells to Crit as much as possible, making Critical Hit a priority on pretty much every class in the game. Determination provides a small boost to everything you do (i.e. damage and healing). Direct Hit Rate only affects damage, which isn’t your strong suit. Spell Speed is useful, but only up to a point. You never want to add so much that you can no longer comfortably squeeze two oGCDs in-between a GCD (aka. double-weaving), so it’s less useful than the other sub-stats. Simply add enough to make you comfortable.
The best food and potions to use change with the tides (i.e. new recipes with each patch and what you can afford from the market board or make yourself). But, generally, Mind, Vitality, and that all-important Critical Hit tend to top the charts for Healers, so you should have either Thavnairian Chai or Pumpkin Potage on hand. By the end of Shadowbringers, the most potent potion for this was a Grade 6 Tincture of Mind.
Getting the Stars to Align
So, what do you do with all this information? Since we’ve covered the core principles of playing Astrologian, the end goal is to work on bringing it all together. It sure is a lot to take in, especially if you’re coming to this fresh off learning to play a Healer. However, like all Jobs in FFXIV, the ramp-up is paced in a way to give you room to learn each new ability as you level and not overwhelm.
Don’t fret if you have a hard time juggling all these things — it is a lot to process, and it’s going to take time and practice. Be easy on yourself if you mess up, take it one step at a time, and chances are your party will understand. You’ll do just fine — it’s in the cards!