Holminster Switch is the very first dungeon in Final Fantasy 14: Shadowbringers — and it can be a doozy. Tricky bosses, massive area of effect attacks, and overall high damage make this one rude introduction to the new expansion. But don’t worry! It’s completely doable if you know all the right tricks. That’s why we’ve put together this dungeon guide to Holminster Switch in FF14. Let’s take a look-see!
The first thing to know about Holminster Switch is actually more about Shadowbringers itself. The new expansion introduced myriad changes to Jobs, quests, and more. One of the biggest such changes was an overall increase in damage from group content. Basically, dungeon and raid enemies do comparatively more damage than they did before Shadowbringers. The idea is to make tanks and healers more active than ever — focusing on the signature aspects of their given roles. DPS players, meanwhile, need to work quickly to reduce incoming damage from trash mobs.
You’ll notice this immediately. Holminster Switch has an extremely straightforward layout, and the normal enemies (particularly those in groups of three or greater) hit hard. Be ready with those cooldown abilities. Once you trudge through the first few groups, you will reach the first boss of Holminster Switch: Forgiven Dissonance.
Forgiven Dissonance – Holminster Switch Dungeon Guide
You might recognize this boss as a sin eater you encountered earlier in the Shadowbringers story. Well, they’re back, and they’re ready for some vengeance. Forgiven Dissonance hits hard with difficult-to-dodge AoE blasts. If that weren’t enough, its mechanics begin to overlap at the end of the fight. You need to be ready to move and know where to stand throughout this battle.
Path of Light is your typical, party-wide damage dealer. Use AoE heals and maybe the occasional defensive cooldown to mitigate it!
Pillory is a single-target “tankbuster.” It will blast the tank — and only the tank — for something like 50 percent of their HP. Tanks should use defensive cooldowns against this whenever possible to take pressure off the healer. The Blackest Night, for example, is a perfect Dark Knight ability to absorb the brunt of this blast.
Now comes the fun part. Forgiven Dissonance will eventually unleash a combo of overlapping AoE attacks in a specific sequence, starting with Brazen Bull. These attacks always occur in sequence on normal difficulty. Although the combo eventually lasts even longer towards the end of the boss fight.
After Brazen Bull summons a line of four orbs, Forgiven Dissonance will encourage you to move away with Gibbet Cage. This is a close-range AoE that is easily avoided, but forces you to get clear of the boss. Once it finishes, the Brazen Bull orbs will trigger overlapping line AoE attacks.
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These are hard to avoid if you’re standing in the wrong place, but easy to predict. Just look at the orbs. The orbs will always face in a single file line, near one side of the arena. A single “safe” wedge will appear at the opposite end, roughly parallel to the center of the line. That’s if the orbs are packed closely together. If the orbs are arranged in two groups of two, there will actually be two safe spaces: one on either side of the orb line.
Either way, Forgiven Dissonance will soon charge into the safe zone with Thumbscrew. Players need to stand at the edges of the safe space, or be prepared to move immediately after the orbs fire, to avoid the charging attack.
After the charge, the boss will often follow up by turning around and using Wooden Horse. This is a large AoE cone attack. You can avoid it by moving to the outer edges of the arena. Just be wary of the Brazen Bull orbs! They will end this awful combo by firing a final wave of fast, but easy-to-dodge line AoE attacks.
These attacks will continue — eventually overlapping in a “double combo” — until you finish off Forgiven Dissonance. After that, it’s more trash pulls and another straight shot to the next boss of Holminster Switch: Tesleen, The Forgiven.
Tesleen, The Forgiven – Holminster Switch Dungeon Guide
Tesleen is a comparatively simple boss in Holminster Switch. But she will help prepare you for an important mechanic later in the dungeon.
The Tickler is another tankbuster. Tanks, you should know what to do, but if you don’t… Use those cooldowns to help out your healer!
Scold’s Bridle is another party-wide AoE attack. Healers should combat it with their own AoE spells. You should do so quickly, too, because Tesleen has a lot of unavoidable party-wide attacks that we’ll get to next.
Fevered Flagellation is a unique attack that hits every member of the party in a specified order. You can tell the incoming order by the floating orbs that appear over your allies’ heads. One orb means you will be hit first, two orbs mean you will be hit second, and so on. Spread out to avoid stacking this damage.
Just be ready to move back together. Exorcise will soon force players to stand together and split damage between them. Just look for the big, glowing marker! If you get marked, however, try not to move around too much. It makes it harder for other players to stack up on you. If you must move, head as close to the center of the arena as possible — reducing the distance allies have to travel to reach you. But be ready to spread apart this time. Exorcise will spawn poison pools that quickly appear beneath and around the stack.
This is more-or-less the entire boss fight. Avoid the AoE attacks and puddles as best you can, and you can move on to the final boss of Holminster Switch: Lightwarden Philia.
Lightwarden Philia – Holminster Switch Dungeon Guide
Philia is a hard-hitting boss — even compared to its kin in the rest of Holminster Switch. Head Crusher is yet another tankbuster that you should defend against with cooldowns and healing. Whereas Scavenger’s Daughter is, you guessed it, another group-wide AoE attack. Mitigate and heal the damage.
The first “real” attack of this fight is Pendulum. It works a bit like Fevered Flagellation, in that it targets multiple points in the arena. Except this time it always targets the tank first, before switching to the center. You take more damage the closer you are to either impact point. So tanks should move as far away from the group as possible (and mitigate with cooldowns when they can). Everyone else just needs to get as far away from both the tank and the center as possible.
Iron Chain will hold a random ally in place until you destroy their surrounding bonds. This isn’t a huge problem by itself, but Philia always follows up with a one-hit-kill cone attack called Aethersup on the chained target. You have plenty of time to destroy the chains before Aethersup charges, however, so don’t be afraid to strike the bonds at melee range. Just get out of the way when you’re done.
Next, Right Knout and Left Knout are two AoE cone attacks that always follow one after another. They do not place AoE damage markers until the very end. By that point, you likely won’t be able to avoid the attacks if you’re standing in their way. Don’t worry, though! The attack names are very literal. Right Knout always strikes to the right-hand side of Philia (telegraphed by the boss raising its right limbs). The same goes for Left Knout, but obviously on the other side. Once Philia uses either attack, just move to its opposite flank to avoid the follow-up.
Once that’s done, Taphephobia summons purple AoE markers on all players. Spread out from each other so as not to stack the damage. Then heal through it!
Into the Light will frequently follow. This is another ability that forces players to stack up together, similar to Exorcise. But this time you need to stand in a somewhat single file line to effectively mitigate the hit. If you do this correctly, it’s not very damaging. Although it’s more important than ever for the targeted player to stay relatively still. It’s hard for allies to align themselves if you’re moving.
Fierce Beating is the final tool in Philia’s arsenal. It’s a tricky, rotating AoE attack that forces players to match the boss’s movements — always sticking to its flanks as it pivots in a circle near the center of the arena. You can tell which direction Philia will spin by looking at the yellow, rotating arrows that appear around it when it casts Fierce Beating.
You must stay to the side of Philia at all times. While the boss only telegraphs an AoE attack from its rear, the sin eater will also rip up the ground in front of it for massive damage. This is a lengthy attack that will keep you on your toes for a while. Luckily, melee and ranged DPS players can continue attacking Philia as they rotate. Spellcasters may have a tougher time…
And that’s it! That’s our dungeon guide to Holmister Switch in Shadowbringers. Thanks for taking the time to read it. Here’s hoping it will help you blow through this some what grueling dungeon. On the bright side, Holminster Switch is chock full of loot to help FF14 players advance through the early bits of Shadowbringers. So it’s well worth dodging all those bosses.