FFXIV has come a long way since its disastrous launch back in 2010. With the release of Endwalker, the game has seen immense success – some of which served as a double-edged sword. With the game being on such a vast scale, there is an intense variety of jobs to play as in each of its three prominent roles: Tank, Healer, and DPS. This is our take on the four available Tank jobs in FFXIV as of patch 6.05 – our FFXIV Best Tank tier list.
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FFXIV Best Tank
A job is designed with its role and responsibilities. Several factors add up to an overall ranking for any job in any game. While such tier lists and rankings are often subjective, there is a level of factual ground somewhere in between. Our tier list focuses on how the job functions in raids and its overall design. Nevertheless, each and every job in this game is viable for content, so do keep that in mind.
S Tier: Warrior
Introduced in 2.0 A Realm Reborn, Warrior is one of the two initial Tank jobs of FFXIV. The job has seen its fair share of downs ever since 2013, but as of Endwalker, it’s arguably in the best shape it’s ever been.
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As a Tank, Warrior has solid defensive cooldowns, excellent self-healing capabilities, and great damage output, although some would argue that it needs a few buffs in that department. While that is a sound argument, Warrior still puts up an excellent performance if the player is willing to add the effort.
Warrior’s design is such that it focuses heavily on self-healing and mitigation. That’s not to say it doesn’t involve dealing tons of damage. In the past, Warrior only had healing options in the form of Equilibrium and the combo bonus from Storm’s Path. There was a time when it had Bloodbath, too, but that time is no more. In Shadowbringers, the job received Nascent Flash, which was a pretty solid boost to its self-healing capabilities.
This capacity was further bolstered in Endwalker when Warrior received a rework to Raw Intuition, followed by its upgrade into Bloodwhetting. Not only does it provide 20% mitigation and a barrier, but it also allows you to restore HP with every weapon skill within the buff’s duration. With the offensive skills available to Warrior and its ability to “force-crit” attacks, the job can basically go from 1 to 100 within 8 seconds if you account for a 3-GCD time window.
This is something not all tanks can boast about. While Paladin can heal itself with Clemency, it’s at the cost of offensive GCDs, which reduces the damage dealt. The skill itself is excellent but what makes Warrior special is the life-steal element.
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The Thrill of Battle further improves the capacity for healing. It increases your maximum HP for a set duration and buffs the health recovery via healing actions on yourself by 20%. It plays into buffing Equilibrium’s effectiveness while also being one of the three skills that improve the effectiveness of a Warrior’s party-wide defensive action – Shake It Off. Plus, Equilibrium having a 1200 potency heal followed by a regen buff just makes the job unkillable in the hands of a good player.
Mitigation And DPS
When it comes to mitigating incoming damage and outputting damage, Warrior does it exceptionally well, and that is why we think it is one of FFXIV’s best Tanks. While it doesn’t have any actions that deal increased damage against two targets like Gunbreaker’s Fated Circle, it still holds up pretty well in an encounter overall. The job could use some positive adjustments to DPS in the grand scheme of things, but it’s not in a bad place at all.
Warrior’s offensive kit revolves around the management of your Beast Gauge by using Fell Cleave and Decimate (should the situation call for it). Both of these skills change into Inner Chaos and Chaotic Cyclone, respectively, should you use a charge of Infuriate along with increasing your gauge by 50. There’s always a debate around having Inner Chaos and Chaotic Cyclone bound to separate keys instead of overlapping with their regular counterparts.
In our opinion, it would be a good quality of life change considering how your Inner Release window works, and mistakes can happen from time to time.
The issue with Warrior at the moment is the fact that your Inner Release stacks are consumed if you use a weapon skill. It may not sound like much, but unlike Dark Knight’s Delirium charges which are tied to its burst-specific moves, Warrior loses its charges if they use Tomahawk or other skills. In some scenarios, this can cause issues, and this design is questionable.
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Warrior’s mitigative capacity revolves around its cooldowns such as Bloodwhetting, Vengeance, Shake It Off, and the Tank-specific action called Rampart. With Bloodwhetting’s benefits available on a 25-second cooldown and Shake It Off being improved by its other defensive actions, the job’s ability to mitigate damage is definitely among the best, if not the best. Objectively speaking, though, it may very well be the best at the moment.
Added in the previous expansion – Shadowbringers, Gunbreaker has received a lot of new additions as of Endwalker’s release. The most impressive change is the upgrade to its Heart of Stone skill, which puts it up there with Warrior. Gunbreaker is a Tank job, but it focuses on two elements- Tanking and DPS. It would work exceptionally well were its rotation not so heavily focused on the damage that it made the tanking aspect feel horribly janky.
You may wonder why it’s got the spot of A Tier if that’s the case, and to put it simply – Gunbreaker is great. What’s not great is when you put both of those outstanding elements together because they don’t mix well for several reasons.
Once you get Heart of Corundum, Gunbreaker changes. Every 25 seconds, you get 30% damage mitigation and a self-heal with a potency of 900. That’s relatively high, and combining that with Aurora and your party’s healer, that’s a lot of healing. Add to this the effort of popping cooldowns, and you should be able to see why Gunbreaker is up there in the rankings.
Another thing to note about Gunbreaker’s self-healing is the Brutal Shell action. Not only does it have an HP restoration effect, but it also gives you a barrier proportionate to the HP restored. This effect can then be passed to a party member if you use Heart of Corundum on them. It’s much like Warrior’s Nascent Flash (same as Bloodwhetting in terms of skill effect), with the only difference being that Nascent Flash’s usage is restricted to a party member.
Mitigation And DPS
Gunbreaker’s damage output is pretty high, with just a minimal difference compared to Dark Knight. The overall rotation is really satisfying to pull off, but there is one thing with this job that really makes tanking a clunky mess. If you’ve tried doing your burst while moving the boss and using mitigation, you would know what the problem is. Not only that, but your burst window duration isn’t even appropriate anymore, and that is actually a pretty tricky thing to digest.
On the off chance that you are incapacitated in a fight when you had three bullets, and No Mercy was about to be off cooldown, you will be revived with a debuff and zero bullets while your burst window is up. To put it simply, that is devastating.
With Dark Knight, you can use one Edge of Shadow to get your 10% buff, while Blood Weapon helps with Black Blood generation. As a Warrior, you can simply use a charge of Infuriate and do a GCD combo to restore your gauge and gain Surging Tempest. In Paladin’s case, you don’t have a personal DPS buff, but your gauge increases by 5 with every action you use. Recovery in Gunbreaker’s case is abysmal. In its defense, Bloodfest can be used if it’s up. However, that doesn’t excuse the overall mismatch of the job’s responsibilities with its DPS-centric rotation.
Nevertheless, Gunbreaker is great when it’s tanking, and the same can be said when you’re dealing damage. It’s only when you have to do both that it becomes painful. While it’s doable, it’s not the best-case scenario for the job, and that gives it the A tier spot in our FFXIV Best Tank tier list.
B-Plus Tier: Paladin
In terms of damage, the buffs Paladin has received in 6.08 appear to be decent. While these buffs may alleviate the DPS issues it’s had since Endwalker’s launch, the job itself is still well-designed and has a lot of utility. With 6.08 released, we’re hopeful that Paladin’s buffs will finally make its damage match its tanking capabilities.
After considering its design as a tank and what it brings to the table, along with the recent buffs, we placed it on the B+ tier in our list.
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Spelling it out, Paladin has an action called Clemency. At a very neutral level, we would say that Clemency is solid self-heal action, and combined with the job’s ability to restore HP with Holy Spirit and Holy Circle, Paladin has a lot going for it. We’d say its self-sustainability might be situationally better than Gunbreaker’s, but then again, that is situational.
Forward comparison with Warrior’s Equilibrium is more of a stalemate. While using Clemency sacrifices your DPS as a Paladin, Equilibrium has a 60-second recast. That recast is kind of circumvented with Bloodwhetting, but we digress.
Holy Sheltron is a significant upgrade. From blocking incoming attacks to providing a 15% mitigation along with an HP regen. Compared to what we had before in the form of Sheltron, this upgrade is a step in the right direction. As we mentioned earlier, Paladin also restores HP with Holy Spirit and Holy Circle. All this combined gives it a solid self-sustaining kit.
Mitigation And DPS
In terms of mitigation, Paladin is one of the best in our FFXIV best Tank tier list and he has a lot in his arsenal. Paladin has a well-designed kit to mitigate incoming damage with multiple personal cooldowns such as Sentinel, Divine Veil, Hallowed Ground, and Holy Sheltron. One drawback here is the insanely large cooldown on Hallowed Ground. While it literally makes you invulnerable to incoming attacks, Gunbreaker’s Superbolide does the same. The difference is that Superbolide reduces your HP to zero.
You can say that’s a downside, but if you’re invulnerable for 10 seconds and have Heart of Corundum, zero HP is not really an issue. All this considered, Superbolide still has a recast of 360 seconds. We believe Hallowed Ground deserves the same treatment, more or less. Regardless of the long recast, Hallowed Ground still does its job and is a powerful skill.
Like the other tanks, Paladin can shield a party member with Intervention. Similar to Heart of Corundum, Intervention not only reduces the damage taken by a party member but also grants them the bonus effects of Holy Sheltron. Moreover, the damage reduction is increased if you have Rampart or Sentinel active while using Intervention.
Overall, Paladin has the foundation of a solid tank job. It’s held back in terms of DPS, but this can be fixed with potency and skill adjustments. With patch 6.08, Paladin has received some of the adjustments it needed in terms of DPS. We’ve yet to see how it plays out in Savage raids and other content, but things are looking bright.
B-Tier: Dark Knight
Dark Knight is currently at the top among the four Tank jobs in terms of DPS. That’s pretty good, but when you think about it in terms of job design and overall defensive capabilities in comparison to other jobs, it’s quite underwhelming.
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The job has a GCD combo ending with Souleater. Using a Souleater combo gives you an HP restoration effect, not unlike Brutal Shell and Storm’s Path. Along with that, you have Abyssal Drain that is literally useless if you don’t have four or more targets to go up against. In terms of self-sustainability, that is all Dark Knight has. If you play all four tanks, you don’t have any incentive to play Dark Knight if you can play Warrior or Gunbreaker.
This is not to say the job is useless or can’t function. It performs well enough to be viable for the endgame and deals high damage. Overall though, it lacks well-rounded defense and self-healing. Back in Stormblood, Dark Knight had Sole Survivor, which restored HP and MP by a certain percentage based on whether the targeted enemy died while the debuff was active.
That was accompanied by Abyssal Drain actually being worth something. You could spam it on trash mobs with Dark Arts augmentation, and it would make you practically unkillable. However, not only is it useless now, it shares a recast timer with Carve and Spit while being a loss in DPS and self-healing overall.
In terms of defensive options, Dark Knight isn’t as big of a mess in our FFXIV Best Tank tier list. However, you get a Shadow Wall that reduces incoming damage by 30% with a 120-second recast. You also have the Tank-role cooldown – Rampart and The Blackest Knight. The Blackest Knight has had its praises sung for a very long time, but in reality, it’s not as good as Bloodwhetting, of course.
Does it have to be? No, but Dark Knight could undoubtedly use something similar to improve its defensive and self-healing options. Using TBN requires you to be skilled in the encounter and know when it’ll break. The reasoning behind this is DPS. If the shield doesn’t break, you’re sacrificing a quarter of your MP for what could have been additional damage.
It works well when you use it right, but if you don’t, then it’s just another sad day in the life of a Dark Knight. The best part is that it’s not the biggest problem of this job. In our opinion, Dark Knight is the only job without a Tank Invulnerability skill. We say this because, unlike the other three tanks, Living Dead does not make you invulnerable. It delays the inevitable. Now you can say that it’s correct to the lore of the job, but there is always more than one way to be accurate to the lore.
Dark Mind is another defensive cooldown the job has. This ability only works against incoming magic damage, thus making it useful in specific encounters. It works when it’s put in a favorable situation, but when it’s not, it’s useless. You could argue that in a situation where Dark Mind can’t work, you could just use a TBN. That’s a good argument, but what if the shield doesn’t break even after that incoming damage combined with auto attacks?
As stated earlier, Dark Knight is doing well in the damage department. With two charges of Shadowbringer along with the simulacrum Living Shadow being able to use it – albeit, with lower potency, it’s all free damage. That’s not to say that everything is perfectly designed.
One problem with Dark Knight is how the Blood Weapon skill is designed. Yes, the skill works even though arguably it’s broken. However, it can be better. Currently, it’s intended to be a timer-based oGCD with 10 seconds in which you have to fit 5 GCD actions. Perfectly doable, but you’re bound to miss one every now and then for a multitude of reasons. It’s unreliable, and you have to meld skill speed in relation to your ping to be able to execute 5 GCDs within that duration easily.
In comparison to Paladin’s Requiescat, which has a Charge system now, Bloodweapon is a bit underwhelming. We hope to see it get the same treatment which would alleviate some of the issues with Dark Knight. Regardless of these shortcomings, Dark Knight still performs well in the content.
A job’s effectiveness will always vary based on player skill if you consider all the above information. Keeping that in mind, we must always try to improve our gameplay so that we can play the job in the best way possible.
This brings us to the end of our FFXIV Best Tank tier list. Patch 6.08 has brought a lot of balance changes but the tank standings are mostly the same. Do you agree with the points discussed in our tier list? Let us know in the comments below.
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