In FFXIV, the best DPS class is tough to choose — especially with the somewhat esoteric magic DPS category. The differences in effectiveness are pretty slim even on paper. As ever, then, play style and preferences make a huge difference. Would you rather literally tame Bahamut as the Summoner, drop some of the biggest numbers in the game with Black Mage, or have the utility afforded to Red Mage? Let’s take a look and help decide the best magic DPS job for your with our latest FFXIV DPS class rankings!
No matter which class you pick, though, it’s worth noting that casters are different from ranged and melee DPS folks. Each of them needs time to sit still and charge their abilities before firing. As such, you should get familiar with the concept of “slidecasting.” That’s when you start moving your character split seconds before the spell you’re channeling actually completes. It’s basically a trick of in-game latency that lets you dodge incoming attacks without canceling your own offense. Though it’s not for everyone. You can still do well without utilizing this concept, but it’s great to have in your arsenal.
If that doesn’t sound like what you want, here are your alternatives:
Prospective tank players can also check out our rankings here:
And finally, our thoughts on FFXIV healers can be found here:
Note: While we do have details on Job actions going into Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker, those skills and especially their potencies are currently subject to change. As such these rankings will likely change when the new, reworked FFXIV DPS classes are in the wild.
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A Tier: Summoner – FFXIV Magic DPS Rankings
Summoner once had a reputation for being more than a little complex. Now it’s… still pretty complicated, actually, but things have gotten better. The appropriately named caster can create multiple magical allies. All of which function pretty similarly, but have their own particular uses. While you ready yourself to summon Demi-Bahamut there’s also damage over time to deal with poisonous spells.
This means Summoners have a lot to juggle: keeping their toxins in place, switching between creatures, casting their normal spells, and charging up ultra-powerful combos at the end. At the same time, any Summoner benefits from “passive” damage applied by their minions and the poisonous spells. That means you’re nearly always contributing in some way — even if you mess up a spell rotation or need to run for your life.
Summoners are also one of just two non-healer classes with the innate ability to resurrect allies. Alongside the Red Mage, this means you can save your party’s bacon if you suddenly lose your healer(s). You can reverse a full party wipe in dungeons; you can save another party in an Alliance Raid; you can resurrect fallen strangers in Eureka and Save the Queen zones. It’s altogether nice to have. Assuming all goes well you also do very high damage to boot.
It’s worth noting, however, that nearly all of this is going away or at least changing dramatically. Soon. Endwalker gives the Summoner an all-over reboot — akin to an entirely new job, the developers say. You keep the resurrection and of course the minions. However, damage over time (DoT) spells will be removed entirely. No more Bio or Miasma…
In exchange, you’ll receive some really flashy new summons: Garuda, Titan, and Ifrit. It’s even proper versions of each this time. No more Egi copycats. Also no more Titan-Egi, which plenty of Summoner players agree really didn’t do much throughout Shadowbringers.
The rub here is we don’t know exactly how well this will hold up in practice. Our preview time with the game made it feel good, but specifics like spell potencies are still subject to change. Keep that in mind going into Endwalker; the Summoner you know and love now might not stack up later. Or it might be even better! Either way, you also gain access to the Scholar Job by leveling up your Summoner, as the Arcanist is the only “hybrid” class in FFXIV. That’s an extra argument to level it up if you don’t already have a healer already.
A- Tier: Black Mage – FFXIV Magic DPS Rankings
Black Mage is as Black Mage does, and what it does is big numbers. This is arguably the “signature” magical DPS class with most of the spells you might recognize from classic Final Fantasy games. You then cast said spells a bunch and hot spot between icy and fiery moves to keep up your damage and manage mana.
There’s, uh, not much more to it than that. There never has been with Black Mage. Some buffs and big spells on long cooldowns round out your ability to deal damage quickly without running out of juice. Most of the time, though, you stand still and shoot fireballs and/or ice crystals.
What you get in exchange for simplicity is lots of DPS. Black Mage has nearly always topped the damage charts on paper — even if other DPS classes like Ninja provide more party-wide benefits. You just need to be good at spellcasting, which is itself an art in FFXIV that requires some practice. The reason being that spells take time to fire (i.e. channel). If you move during that time, any channeled spell will cancel out, meaning you not only miss out on damage but waste even more time just standing around. Or you stand in the AoE and probably die. Lots of Black Mage players wind up doing that, too.
That means Black Mage players ought to know encounters about as well as a tank. If they want to be 100 percent effective, that is. Area of effect (AoE) patterns, boss attack timing, etc. Learning it well will let you squeeze the absolute most out of your abilities where other classes can provide buffs and the like instead. That’s not going to feel “right” for every DPS player, but if it does for you, this one’s a real powerhouse.
B+ Tier: Red Mage – FFXIV Magic DPS Rankings
Here we have a simpler, more mobile magic class. Red Mage unlocks at Level 50 — just like the Samurai — and mostly focuses on dealing damage like a Black Mage or Summoner. However, you also get a semi-solid heal in the form of Vercure, which is mostly good for solo content. You also get Verraise which, like Resurrection on Summoner, is even better for emergencies.
Otherwise you mostly spend your time building up Black Mana and White Mana: two Job resources that let you execute powerful melee attacks. Then you leap back out of battle and repeat. It’s a class that looks and sounds daunting in theory, but is probably the simplest caster to play overall. That’s because you mostly sling the same couple of spells over and over again. Unless of course one of your super-spells triggers (each of which has a 50 percent chance of priming). Basically, if you ever can use a spell or melee combo, you always know you should, which removes most of the guesswork from other Jobs.
Add to this a party-wide damage buff — albeit one that only increases physical damage for allies. It also starts as a 10 percent buff, but slowly weakens over the course of its duration. That doesn’t make it the most effective utility skill among DPS classes. It is, however, better than nothing.
You can probably guess where this is going. Red Mage is the very definition of a jack of all trades, master of none. You can heal, resurrect, fire at range, get in close, get back out again, and add damage for your allies (sometimes). None of which leads to the biggest impact in the game. On the flip side, Red Mage is fun to play and easy to pick up for newcomers. If you started as a tank or healer and want to level up your first magical DPS, this one even gets that Level 50 leg up.