Some smite their enemies up close with blades and axes. Others fight from a distance, using magic to call fire down upon their opponents. But at the end of the day, what is more powerful than a gun? And a chainsaw, a drill, and a robot?
The Machinist (MCH) is one of the most nimble damage dealers in Final Fantasy XIV. With all the tools at your disposal, you’ll be lighting up foes with excellent burst damage from your Heat actions while staying out of the line of fire with great mobility.
So, let’s talk about the ins and outs of the Machinist.
The Gun is Good – Basic Attack Rotations
Let’s begin with your first rotation. We’re starting simple here — but to be honest, it’s one of the few standard rotations you have.
Base Combo: Split Shot (Lvl. 1) → Slug Shot (Lvl. 2) → Clean Shot (Lvl. 26).
Unlike some other base weaponskill combos, there are no buffs gained from this combo. It still does more damage if you use all three skills in a row, but there are no added benefits here. Split Shot and Slug Shot are single-target actions with a 25-yalm range. Both also add 5 points to your Heat Gauge (more on that later). Then, there’s Clean Shot, which also increases your other Job Gauge, the Battery Gauge, by 10 points.
Above a certain level, these actions evolve into more powerful “Heated” versions.
Heated Base Combo: Heated Split Shot (Lvl. 54) → Heated Slug Shot (Lvl. 60) → Heated Clean Shot (Lvl. 64).
It still remains the same combo, however, with no additional benefits outside of dealing more damage. Unlike some of your fellow DPS counterparts, your standard combo isn’t the bedrock foundation of your rotation. More about that under the full rotation section below.
If you’re looking for an AoE combo…well, you don’t have one, but you do have a few actions that hit multiple targets. Many hit enemies in a cone in front of you, like Spread Shot (Lvl. 18) on the GCD, Flamethrower (Lvl. 70) and Bioblaster (Lvl. 72) as GCDs on longer cooldowns, and Auto Crossbow (Lvl. 52), which requires your Heat gauge to be active. Then, there’s Ricochet (Lvl. 50), an oGCD attack that hits one target for full potency and the rest in a radius of 5 yalms for 50 percent less.
These AoE-based actions should be used instead of the single-target actions in your rotation (see below) when you’re up against three or more targets.
Dual Wielding – Your Full Rotation
While we tackle your Job Gauges more below, let’s first dive into how the Machinist rotation ideally works. As a Machinist, you’re not going to rely heavily on boilerplate combos. Instead, you’re going to mainly survive on a bunch of individual actions. You’re pretty much using the following abilities whenever they’re off cooldown:
- Drill (Lvl. 58) – Delivers an attack with a potency of 700. 20-second cooldown.
- Air Anchor (Lvl. 76) – Delivers an attack with a potency of 700, increases Battery Gauge by 20. 40-second cooldown.
- Reassemble (Lvl. 10) – Guarantees next weaponskill is a critical direct hit for 5 seconds. On a 55-second cooldown.
- Hypercharge (Lvl. 30) – Overheats your weapon for 8 seconds, increasing the potency of single-target weaponskills. Costs 50 Heat Gauge.
- Wildfire (Lvl. 45) – Covers target in burning pitch. Does 200 potency for every weaponskill landed prior to the debuff ending. 10-second duration. On a 120-second cooldown.
- Barrel Stabilizer (Lvl. 66) – Increases Heat Gauge by 50. On a 120-second cooldown.
- Gauss Round (Lvl. 15) – Delivers an attack with a potency of 150. Upgrades to three charges at level 74.
- Ricochet (Lvl. 50) – Deals damage to all nearby enemies with a potency of 150 for the first enemy, and 50 percent less for all remaining enemies. Upgrades to three charges at level 74.
- Heat Blast (Lvl. 35) – Delivers an attack with a 220-potency that also lowers the recast time of Gauss Round and Ricochet by 15 seconds. Only usable when Overheated.
That’s a lot. I know it’s probably confusing. So, let’s start at the bottom and build our way up. Drill is the key pillar, and your rotation revolves around its cooldown timer. You use this first to start your full rotation, and you need to use Drill every time it’s off cooldown. But prior to using Drill, you’ll want to execute Reassemble whenever it’s available, which should be once every three uses.
Now, after that first Drill, you want to use your basic three-shot combo (Split → Slug → Clean). At the same time, you’ll want to weave Air Anchor around one or two GCDs before using Drill again. That means using it between Split Shot and Slug Shot, or between Slug Shot and Clean Shot. (The latter is recommended.) You should be executing one Air Anchor for every other Drill.
The next key is Hypercharge, which you can use when you have 50 Heat Gauge or more. This is your primary burst damage window. Once you activate Hypercharge, your weapon becomes Overheated and you can use Heat Blast. This is a quick 220-potency action with a 1.5-second cooldown that also reduces the recast time of Gauss Round and Ricochet. Hypercharge lasts 8 seconds, meaning you can fit in five Heat Blasts. And after every Heat Blast, you’ll cast either Gauss Round or Ricochet, alternating between the two.
The final major key is Wildfire. Wildfire debuffs the target and does a certain amount of damage depending on how many GCD weaponskills you fit within its 10-second duration. (You can dispel it early by hitting the Wildfire button again, but… don’t do that.) Note that the damage accumulated only takes into account actions categorized as weaponskills (which are on the GCD), so your Gauss Round and Ricochet abilities won’t contribute.
To make the most of Wildfire’s damage potential, you’ll want to align it with Heat Blast, so be sure to activate Hypercharge prior to Wildfire. Your Wildfire/Hypercharge window will look like:
Hypercharge → Heat Blast → Wildfire → Heat Blast → Ricochet → Heat Blast → Gauss Round → Heat Blast → Ricochet → Heat Blast → Gauss Round → Drill → Ricochet → Gauss Round → Heated Split Shot.
The final Drill and Heated Split Shot are the last two GCD skills you can fit within the Wildfire window for maximum damage.
The last thing you need to utilize is Barrel Stabilizer, which gives you 50 points on the Heat Gauge. This action gives you the Heat needed to activate Hypercharge within your opening rotation. Following the opening rotation, Wildfire has a lengthy cooldown of 120 seconds — meaning you’ll get through six uses of Drill before you can bring it up again. Gauss Round and Ricochet are there to fill in your rotation with a little more damage.
Ideally, this is what your attack rotation should look like:
Reassemble → Drill (Rotation 1 Begins) → Gauss Round → Ricochet → Heated Split Shot → Barrel Stabilizer → Heated Slug Shot → Air Anchor → Gauss Round → Ricochet → Heated Clean Shot → Gauss Round → Hypercharge → Heat Blast → Wildfire → Heat Blast → Ricochet → Heat Blast → Gauss Round → Heat Blast → Ricochet → Heat Blast → Gauss Round → Drill (Rotation 2 Begins) → Ricochet → Gauss Round → Heated Split Shot.
It feels like a lot, but it mostly boils down to using Drill, Air Anchor, Hypercharge, and Wildfire whenever they’re off cooldown. The rotation above is just an efficient way to put that into practice. You’ll also want to use Rook Autoturret / Automaton Queen once you hit max battery gauge, roughly aligned with your use of Reassemble. More on that later.
For AoE situations, Bioblaster will replace Drill, Spread Shot replaces your Base Combo shots, and Auto Crossbow replaces Heat Blast.
Gauge the Situation – The Heat and Battery Gauges
The Machinist’s Job Gauge actually has two components: the Heat and Battery Gauges. The Heat Gauge is the first gauge you gain when you learn Hypercharge at level 30. This is your primary Job gauge and the one you’ll be managing the most.
Many of your main weaponskills also add 5 to 15 points to the Heat Gauge. The gauge fills up to 100 points, and the only skill that uses Heat is Hypercharge. Activating Hypercharge increases the potency of single-target weaponskills by 20 and causes your weapon to be Overheated for 8 seconds, giving you access to two new abilities.
Heat Blast (Lvl. 35) – Delivers an attack with a potency of 220 and reduces the recast timer of Gauss Round and Ricochet.
Auto Crossbow (Lvl. 52) – Delivers an attack with potency of 180 to enemies in a cone in front of you.
Keep in mind that you’ll be relying on Heat Blast most of the time.
Your second gauge is the Battery Gauge. This will appear once you learn Rook Autoturret (Lvl. 40), which allows you to summon a battle turret that attacks your target. Much like your Heat Gauge, specific actions fill your Battery Gauge. These actions are Hot Shot, Clean Shot / Heated Clean Shot, and Air Anchor.
For 50 points of your Battery Gauge, you can summon the Rook Autoturret. The turret attacks on its own for a duration dependent on how much Battery Gauge you have when you activate it. For example, at just 50 Battery Gauge, it lasts around 7.5 seconds; at a full Battery Gauge, it lasts 15 seconds. You can also cast Rook Overdrive / Rook Overload, which dispels the turret to deal damage upfront — its potency increases according to how much Battery Gauge you have left when executed. This is a solid move if you’re trying to finish off a boss or in another situation where you need to deal a chunk of damage ASAP. Otherwise, the turret will automatically execute Rook Overload before shutting down.
At level 80, you’ll learn Automaton Queen, which replaces Rook Autoturret and further improves your burst damage output. Like the turret, the Queen’s duration is determined based on the amount of the Battery Gauge you have upon activation. Its duration scales from 12 to 20 seconds. The equivalent of Rook Overdrive / Rook Overload is Queen Overdrive / Pile Bunker, a massive attack that consumes the Queen. It can be executed manually with potency increasing based on remaining Battery Gauge, or automatically when the Queen shuts down.
You should summon Rook Autoturret / Automaton Queen on a regular basis — generally at full gauge — to prevent overcapping your Battery Gauge. If your Battery is full, then any points gained at that point are lost, which means you’ll throw away free DPS. A good spot for activation is right before executing Reassemble. Why? Because the Queen gains any buffs you are affected by when it enters the field. The trick is that — unlike the turret — the Queen takes a few seconds to be active in the field, so you want to summon it slightly ahead of Reassemble or any incoming raid buffs.
Other Actions in Your Arsenal
Given most of the Machinist’s actions and abilities are the focus of various combos and burst damage windows, there’s actually not a ton left to cover here. There’s Tactician (Lvl. 56), which reduces the damage taken by yourself and party members within 20 yalms for 15 seconds. That’s a solid party or raid buff you should use when you know big damage is incoming. Second Wind (Lvl. 8) is your personal 500-potency heal. It does what it says on the tin, and the 120-second cooldown means you can’t really use it as a crutch.
The rest of your actions are DPS role actions. The full set of “Graze” actions are meant to control enemies in various ways. Leg Graze (Lvl. 6) afflicts your target with Heavy for 10 seconds. Foot Graze (Lvl. 10) binds a target for 10 seconds, preventing them from moving as long as they don’t take any more damage. Head Graze (Lvl. 24) is your interrupt. Your tank is busy tanking and your healer is trying to keep the party up, so if you see an interruptible enemy attack, you should try to take care of it.
Peloton (Lvl. 20) is one of the best dungeon buffs. It increases the movement speed of yourself and all party members within 20 yalms for 30 seconds. Pop this in-between trash pulls to get those dungeon or raid clears in record time.
Once Endwalker launches, Reassemble gets two charges, allowing you to use the buff again before the third use of Drill in your rotation. There’s a new action called Chain Saw (Lvl. 90), which is essentially a version of Air Anchor that hits all enemies in a straight line. It does maximum damage for the first target and 65 percent less for all remaining enemies.
Scattergun (Lvl. 82) is an upgraded version of Spread Shot (Lvl. 82), dealing slightly more damage with an increased addition of points to the Heat Gauge.
Automaton Queen gets a new action at level 86. The new heavy damage-dealing action, called Crowned Collider, is a follow-up to Pile Bunker.
Machinist Stat Priorities
Unless you’re clearing the highest level content (including Extreme or Ultimate trials or progressing through Savage raids), the stat performances aren’t really that important.
Your general order of priority should be:
Critical Hit > Direct Hit > Determination > Skill Speed.
The item level of your gear is the most important thing you need to worry about! You always want the strongest gear for your level. Not only will this give you the general stats you need to succeed, but it will also let you access certain content that is locked to ilvl.
You should cap out Critical Hit. This increases the damage done when you land a critical hit; it also increases the chance of that happening. You’ll want to follow that up with Direct Hit. This increases the chance of your attacks being direct hits, which do slightly more damage than a standard hit.
Determination is another offensive stat, but it’s not as important as the other two. It changes the amount of damage dealt by physical and magic attacks, but it’s sort of the odd man out in terms of overall usefulness. Skill Speed comes at the end here because two of your key actions — Heat Blast and Auto Crossbow — cannot have their recast timers affected by stats. The burst in your rotation is built around them, so… it’s not as useful.
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 Smoked Chicken is the go-to meal by the end of Shadowbringers.
Before the Sage and the Gunbreaker, there was only one gun-wielding Job that used the awe-inspiring power of bullets to kill: the Machinist. With bombs, robots, and chainsaws, those sad little magic users have nothing on you. The Job pulls heavily from the tools of Final Fantasy VI’s Edgar Figaro, so long-time lore nerds get a little spice, as well. If you fancy yourself a gunslinger who has a dark, unknown past and is a flighty, gadget-using tinkerer, then Machinist is the Job for you.