FFXIV Tank Tier List – Best Tank Classes for Patch 6.3 (February 2023)

Charge into battle with our Final Fantasy XIV tank tier list for Patch 6.3!

If you’re new to tanking or rotating between all four available tanks, our Final Fantasy XIV tank tier list is here to help you decide which Job is right for you! Tanking is one of the most challenging roles in FFXIV, and sets the pace for the encounter. To some, this makes tanking seem like more responsibility than they’re willing to take on.

That said, tanking can be very rewarding and our guide on how to play tank in FFXIV can help you get started. While all four Jobs — Paladin, Warrior, Dark Knight, and Gunbreaker — can tank all low-level and standard content equally, there are benefits to choosing one. And on higher-end Savage or Ultimate content, the small gaps between each Job can make all the difference. Hence the need for a tank tier list.

This list is updated for Patch 6.3, including the extensive rework to the Paladin’s rotation and skills.

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FFXIV Manderville Relic Dark Knight

S Tier: Dark Knight – A High-End Champion

Right now, if you look at which Tanks are getting brought to high-end Savage and Ultimate raids, the Dark Knight is leading the pack. Why? Well, if you look at the stats over at FFLogs, you’ll see that the Dark Knight just edges out the rest in terms of DPS. This is especially true in raiding, where a Dark Knight can save their personal buffs and off-global cooldown skills for raid buff windows, landing their burst damage in the range of some traditional DPS.

At the same time, the Dark Knight has the Dark Mind and Dark Missionary defensive cooldowns that help against magic damage. In addition to those tools, it has a number of worthwhile defensives, like The Blackest Night, which placed a barrier on the Dark Knight or a chosen target that increases your Darkside damage buff duration and makes your key attacks no longer cost MP. Dark Knight is missing a full-party defensive cooldown for physical damage, however; you have to make a choice between yourself or a party member for a number of cooldowns.

Keep in mind that one big problem is your major defensive cooldown, Living Dead. Most healers are prepared for the ability, which requires you to be healed to full or you die at the end of the duration. Some aren’t though, which may require some explanation in raids or dungeons. Luckily, the current version of this skill restores HP for each successful attack.

The best defense is sometimes a great offense and that’s where the Dark Knight excels.

FFXIV Gunbreaker Combo
A great offense is the best defense.

S Tier: Gunbreaker – A Flexible Partner For Dark Knight

Right behind the Dark Knight in terms of pure damage is the Gunbreaker. This Job, introduced in Shadowbringers, has its signature Continuation combos which offers meaty burst damage every minute thanks to the No Mercy buff. It backs up this DPS with a number of off-global skills to fill in that overall damage, like Blasting Zone or Burst Strike. What the Gunbreaker has over the Dark Knight is flexibility as its rotation is very malleable, similar to DPS.

A Gunbreaker can also mitigate magic damage for the whole party thanks to Heart of Light. At higher levels, Heart of Corundum is a fantastic defensive cooldown that can be used on yourself or a party member, granting damage reduction and HP restoration. (Even more for a party member if you have your Brutal Shell buff up when you use it!) Like Dark Knight however, Gunbreaker does not have a full-party defensive cooldown for physical damage.

Likewise, Superbolide might need a little explanation. This attack makes the Gunbreaker impervious to all damage for 10 seconds, but reduces their HP to 1. It’s easier for healers to deal with compared to Dark Knight’s Living Dead, but it still requires a little heads up.

A Tier: Warrior – The King of Dungeons

While the Warrior lags slightly behind the Dark Knight and Gunbreaker in top-tier content, it still pulls in great damage in dungeons and some harder content like Abyssos (Savage). Clears of the current hardest raid, The Omega Protocol (Ultimate), are still down with Dark Knight and Gunbreaker for the reasons listed above. Despite that, Warrior is a fantastic tank in most situations and even edges out Gunbreaker at times.

The Warrior lives and dies on its Inner Release buff window, which vastly increases its burst damage. You’re mostly building up your Beast Gauge and keeping your Surging Tempest damage buff up, and then spending everything on Fell Cleaves during Inner Release. Of course, the issue here is timing: if you’re not planning ahead, you can lose Inner Release timing to boss phase transitions, which is a waste of DPS.

The Warrior has a host of great defensive cooldowns, mostly focused on self-healing. Bloodwhetting not only reduces damage, but gives you a barrier and heals you for each weaponskill that hits a target. (Great for wall-to-wall pulls!) Nascent Flash gives almost the same effects to another party member and yourself, while Shake It Off gives a barrier to all nearby party members while also restoring HP. All these are before Warrior’s pure defensive cooldowns like Holmgang. All the healing is why it’s the dungeon king! Also, if you’re looking for the most fun tank for casual play, the Warrior is the best place to start.

FFXIV Paladin Best in Slot Savage

B+ Tier: Paladin – The Holy Diver And Support Tank

Poor Paladin. Despite a recent rework to increase its overall damage and minimize a focus of damage-over-time, the Paladin still lags behind. The Job isn’t brought to Ultimates or Savages by static groups anywhere near as much as the other three Tanks. It simply lags behind in overall DPS, even if its Requiescat-Confiteor combo gives it ranged damage the rest can really match.

Where Paladin wins over its counterparts is offering a host of defensive cooldowns that benefit the entire party, rather than just the Paladin or a single other target. Divine Veil has been simplified, offering a simple barrier around all nearby party members for 10& of the Paladin’s maximum health. Passage of Arms requires the Paladin to stand still, but protect party members behind you from 15% of damage inflicted. Intervention and Cover can be used to protect individual party members in a pinch, and Hallowed Ground is one of the best defensive cooldowns despite its lengthy recast timer.

A Paladin can cover for holes in lower-performing parties and low-end content. It’s just that in the high-end content where veteran, precise players live, those tools aren’t as necessary and the lack of overall damage makes the Paladin a weaker choice to bring along. (That said, some of the best performing tanks in recent Extreme Trials happen to be Paladins.)