In Final Fantasy FXIV: Endwalker, Dancer still deals damage quickly and in a variety of ways. And while many of those ways are randomized, you get the beefy benefit of dances to compensate. Not much about that — or the character class itself — has changed since it launched last expansion, but there are still some nuances worth addressing as we go over the ranged physical damage-dealer. So let’s take a look in our Endwalker Dancer guide for FFXIV!
Note: Our FFXIV Job guides for Endwalker are based on our preview time with the new expansion. As such, we might make minor changes after the full release, based on new information or changes to the live game with Patch 6.0. Meanwhile, if you’re purely interested in Endwalker Job changes, we have a feature detailing all new DPS abilities and reworks here!
Dancer Basics (Just Click the Shiny Buttons)
Among all the FFXIV damage-dealers, Dancer might just be the simplest. They must obey the rhythm and you, in turn, must obey the random “procs” that appear on your hotbar as you play. Whenever Dancer uses a basic attack skill, they have a 50 percent chance of triggering what is essentially a stronger version of the same skill. This type of random opportunity or buff is called a proc, and proccing forms the backbone of any Dancer’s direct attacks.
Take Cascade (Lvl. 1), for example. This is the most basic Dancer ability. It deals a small amount of damage to a single target at range. It combos into the skill Fountain (Lvl. 2) just like so many melee and ranged attacks in FFXIV — meaning Fountain will deal greater damage if you use it shortly after Cascade, as indicated by the glowing, dotted line around the skill. Simple stuff!
However, Cascade also has a 50 percent chance to proc Flourishing Cascade. This is a 20-second buff that allows you to use the skill Reverse Cascade (Lvl. 20) as if it were a normal combo attack, like Fountain, as indicated by the same dotted line on the skill on your hotbar. Reverse Cascade does the same damage as Fountain, but also has a 50 percent chance of generating a Fourfold Feather. This is the basic resource for Dancers to cast even more powerful attacks — only it’s stuck behind not one, but two separate 50 percent chances.
Fountain also has a follow-up attack that you can use at random: Fountainfall (Lvl. 40). This does the most damage out of the four basic attack skills and also has a chance to generate one Fourfold Feather.
This is a somewhat complicated way of saying something that appears dead simple in-game. Use Cascade → Fountain to deal damage. Sometimes, Reverse Cascade and/or Fountainfall will glow on your hotbar, indicating you can use them. Put even more simply: always press the glowy buttons. Glowy buttons do more damage and create feathers that you can spend on even more damage.
Your glowy button priority should be: Fountainfall (most damage, plus a 50 percent chance of a Fourfold Feather) > Reverse Cascade (tied for second-most damage, with a 50 percent chance of generating a Fourfold Feather) > Fountain (tied for second-most damage, with a 50 percent chance of proccing Fountainfall). Then, fall back on Cascade when there are no more shiny squares to press!
When fighting groups, you can instead use Windmill (Lvl. 15) and Bladeshower (Lvl. 25). These are area-of-effect (AoE) versions of your main attacks, but the principle is exactly the same. Windmill combos into Bladeshower and can proc Rising Windmill (Lvl. 35). Whereas Bladeshower can proc Bloodshower (Lvl. 45). With the release of Endwalker, single-target attacks (e.g. Cascade) can proc the AoE equivalents (e.g. Rising Windmill) and vice versa. There’s no real gameplay benefit to this beyond quality-of-life, but it’s a nice change!
Let the Feathers Fly (Off the Global Cooldown)
While you’re using these Global Cooldown (GCD) skills, you can “weave” off-Global Cooldown (oGDCD) abilities into the mix. These are skills that have their own recast timers, so they can be used whenever they’re available — even and especially when your normal attacks are still cooling down. This technique is called weaving among the FFXIV community (or double-weaving, as it’s called when you use two oGCD skills in short succession).
You can find a glossary of terms like weaving and oGCD in our FFXIV glossary, by the way.
Weaving is critical to dealing the most damage-per-second possible. And since Dancer is a DPS class, you ought to get good at it. Luckily, the Job continues its simple streak with equally simple oGCD attacks: Fan Dance (Lvl. 30) and Fan Dance II (Lvl. 50). These consume one Fourfold Feather each to deal damage. They can be recast almost instantly, too — allowing you to weave them pretty much seamlessly, so long as you have Fourfold Feathers.
Fan Dance is a single target attack, while Fan Dance II hits enemies in a circle around you. Appropriately, the latter skill is mathematically better when attacking two or more foes. If you’re fighting just one enemy (such as a boss), always use a normal Fan Dance.
You can hold a maximum of four Fourfold Feathers to use on Fan Dances at one time, though you can generally spend them as soon as you get them. You can also theoretically hold onto them all until Dancer has one or more damage buffs active. However, try to keep no more than three Fourfold Feathers in reserve at one time. When carrying the maximum of four, any Fourfold Feathers you would generate from an attack is instead lost, since there’s no room to hold more. This is called “overcapping” and is generally frowned upon by… well, everyone. Any Fourfold Feather you lose is a Fan Dance you don’t cast!
Fan Dance and Fan Dance II have their own 50 percent proc, as well. Either skill can trigger Flourishing Fan Dance, which lets you cast Fan Dance III (Lvl. 66). This is just a more powerful hybrid of both skills, dealing heavy damage to a single target and reduced hurt to any other enemies nearby.
Endwalker added an almost identical skill called Fan Dance IV (Lvl. 86). It does more damage than any other Fan Dance, but it only procs after using the skill Flourish (Lvl. 72), which is on its own 60-second cooldown. Flourish actually procs every random skill at once, too, so you can use it to deal a bunch of damage at once. This feels especially great after getting screwed out of nine straight Reverse Cascade procs.
Devilment (Lvl. 62) functions similarly to Flourish. It’s an oGCD buff with double the cooldown (two minutes), but grants 20 percent bonus Critical Hit and Direct Hit Rate to the Dancer and whichever ally they designate as their “dance partner” with the skill Closed Position (Lvl. 60). Even the Dancer’s damage buff is based on random chance! What’s not random is the Endwalker skill Starfall Dance (Lvl. 90), which is yet another damage skill that hits one target hard and all other nearby enemies in a straight line for 50 percent of that effect.
Note that Closed Position is permanent until you deactivate the skill. Most of the time, you’ll designate a dance partner at the start of a fight and not think about this skill again.
DDR (Dance, Damage, Repeat!)
Speaking of dance partners, let’s talk about where this Job gets its name. Dancing is another simple, random ability type unique to the class. It mostly boils down to just two skills: Standard Step (Lvl. 30) and Technical Step (Lvl. 70).
The first skill is available every 30 seconds and should be used pretty much every 30 seconds. Standard Step makes nearly every other Dancer action unavailable for a short time while tasking the player with pressing a sequence of (you guessed it) random attack buttons on their hotbar. The correct sequence is indicated by more glowing proc outlines. You just need to press what you’re told twice — like an extremely simple rhythm game — before activating Standard Step again.
Every button in the sequence will have a glowing proc outline, including the second press of Standard Step (which is technically called “Standard Finish” at the end). This makes it extremely difficult to mess up a dance. So long as you don’t panic or have accessibility needs FFXIV may not provide for this class.
Finishing the dance will deal huge damage to one nearby foe and 75 percent less to nearby enemies. It also provides a 5 percent damage buff to all attacks performed by you and your dance partner (less if you mess up the Standard Step sequence).
Technical Step is nearly identical to Standard Step. It simply does more damage, has a longer cooldown of two minutes, and requires you to press four semi-random buttons instead of two. It also provides up to 5 percent extra damage to your entire party when they’re standing close enough. Once you, uh, finish with Technical Finish, you can also execute yet another powerful AoE attack called Tilana (Lvl. 82). This refreshes the buff from Standard Step just for good measure.
You want to use both dances as frequently as possible — even if you don’t need to refresh the long-lasting buff from Standard Step. The damage that both skills deal when they “finish” is always greater than anything else you can be doing. Dancers gotta dance, after all!
One extra bonus from Standard Step and Technical Step is that it activates your “Esprit Gauge.” This is a yellow Job gauge that gradually fills up whenever you or your dance partner use a skill. It’s basically just a resource you can burn to cast the simple AoE attack Saber Dance (Lvl. 76) any time you have 50 Esprit or more. For all its many moving parts, Dancer remains kind of a one-trick pony.
Feel the Healing Beat (and the Shielding Beat)
Endwalker does let the Dancer lean a bit more into a hybrid identity. Whereas the Bard has increased damage-boosting skills, Dancer has a couple more options for healing and defense.
Curing Waltz (Lvl. 52) is a simple AoE heal with a 60-second cooldown. One unique trick to it, however, is that the restoration radiates out of both the Dancer and their dance partner. It’s an oldie but a goodie!
Shield Samba (Lvl. 56) is also an AoE, but it just reduces damage taken by yourself and nearby party members by 10 percent. The effect is totally unchanged in Endwalker — and it still lasts 15 seconds — but now at Level 88, the cooldown is reduced from two minutes to 90 seconds.
Then, there’s the odd duck known as Improvisation (Lvl. 80). This skill was largely reworked for Endwalker. It still asks the Dancer to stand in place for up to 15 seconds (moving or using another action will cancel the spell), but now you gain one stack of an effect called Rising Rhythm every three seconds. The buff can increase up to four times until you finally cancel the move with Improvised Step (which functions just like the Standard and Technical versions). The Dancer and nearby party members will gain up to a 10 percent HP barrier if the skill finishes with all four stacks.
Even before that crescendo, the Dancer and nearby allies will regenerate health for as long as you channel Improvisation. This seems great for downtime and for those long animations where a boss hits the party with a big AoE attack.
Lastly, while not a traditional healing skill, Dancer gets En Avante (Lvl. 50). This just causes you to dash forward in whichever direction your Dancer is facing. At Level 78, you get up to three charges of this skill to use however you like (be it dodging attacks or getting back into range of the fight).
Prioritize Your Procs (but First Your Damage Buffs)
Because the Dancer is so completely reliant on random chance, there’s not much you can do but follow the beat. That means prioritizing certain skills more than finding a useful script to follow in some kind of rotation.
You typically want to start with Standard Step for the big damage and the 5 percent buff on further hits. Once that’s in place, you’ll boost Technical Step for an even bigger burst and another layer of damage buffs before Flourish gives you guaranteed uses of your more basic skills. For this reason, it’s probably better to use Standard Step first. Devilment can also make those blows rain harder if you get any crits or direct hits.
As mentioned above, however, you can’t use other skills while dancing Standard Step and Technical Step into existence, so you may wish to avoid using Devilment right before either dance — instead giving yourself more chances to land more randomly boosted hits. Though if you do get a Critical Hit on either of the finishing moves, it’s pretty juicy.
Speaking of which: Starfall Dance is always a guaranteed critical direct hit (which makes sense given that it basically combos out of Devilment). Since you can only use Starfall Dance during this window, make certain that you do so, but consider holding off a bit. The Critical Hit and Direct Hit Rate stat buff from Devilment only lasts 20 seconds, while Starfall Dance can be used up to 30 seconds after the ability is cast. Since the skill is a critical direct hit even without Devilment, fire off other skills in the 20-second window instead. Part of the initial buff is wasted on Starfall Dance. Though it’ll still deal a little extra damage from the 20 percent bonus to the Critical Hit stat.
Once you have both dances and start building Esprit, Saber Dance becomes your most powerful GCD. You might as well use it instead of fishing for procs, especially as you get closer to overcapping on Esprit.
Last but not least, Improvisation is most naturally used during downtime, or if your healers are in a real pickle. You might be able to support a tank with it while someone is busy resurrecting dead party members, for instance. Shield Samba never hurt anyone playing main tank, either.
On that note: melee DPS Jobs like Monk, Dragoon, and Reaper are prime priorities for Closed Position. All of your defensive utility abilities (i.e. Shield Samba, Curing Waltz, Improvisation) are AoE. On the other hand, the damage buffs from Standard Step and Devilment only affect your partner. As such, tanks can still catch your heals and shields regardless provided you and/or your partner are standing close enough to them. Damage classes get the most oomph out of your damage buffs. Damage for damage!
Dancer Stat Priorities
Dancer follows the same, basic stat rankings as most classes — particularly straightforward DPS Jobs like this one.
Your general order of priority should be:
Critical Hit > Direct Hit Rate > Determination.
Critical Hit and Determination do largely the same thing; they increase your damage and healing. Critical Hit is more effective than Determination, so it gets top billing— particularly since Dancer already boosts the stat by 20 percent with Devilment. That increases not only the crit rate but also the damage, making it still useful for Starfall Dance. Direct Hit Rate, meanwhile, is like a slightly weaker Critical Hit that only affects damage. It’s typically still more valuable than Determination, so it gets the second spot.
Skill Speed doesn’t get “prioritized” equally among different players, hence its absence from this layout. You basically add as much to any build as you feel is necessary (i.e. how much you can add while still comfortably weave oGCD skills). But so, so much Dancer damage comes from Standard Finish and Technical Finish, so Skill Speed is even less useful on this class than others.
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, focus on Strength, Vitality, and that all-important Critical Hit. This made Smoked Chicken the go-to meal by the end of Shadowbringers.
Dancer brings undeniable benefits to any team it joins. At the same time, it can feel a little… paint-by-numbers when you play it long enough. How much fun you have with the Job might depend on how bored you get just following the same, random procs every few seconds. If you can get into a rhythm, however, pretty much any group in the game will be happy to include you among its DPS stalwarts! And you get the satisfaction of those explosive dances to boot.
Just remember your priorities and use up those Fourfold Feathers. You’ll chew through your foes with a devastating flourish. Best of luck! No, seriously, it’s all about luck sometimes…