The Weapon’s Refrain (Ultimate)
With additional information, checking and theorycrafting from Argen Yin, Hinoka Shirasagi and Mazz Maryoku. Thanks to Verdandi Schwartz and Meru Lucis for contributions and editing.
Before You Begin
Due to damage scaling in Shadowbringers, push timings in The Weapon’s Refrain can vary greatly, between groups and even between pulls in the same group. Therefore, you should use this guide for a general idea of how to manage each phase, but keep in mind this may not always work for you, and you should aim to find a timeline that works for you during progression.
Your goal going into the each phase of the fight should always be to end close to 100 | 100 black and white mana so that you can open each phase with a double melee combo under raid buffs.
However, due to push timings, you can be left in awkward situations with mana balancing. There may be times where you will not be able to go into the next phase with enough mana for a double melee combo due to push timings. This will usually be okay and can be worked around. The one exception to this, however, is going into Ultima phase, as you want to be capped on mana for this.
Relic Stat Allocation
If you’re bringing a Shadowbringers relic into the fight, assign 318 stat points to Critical Hit, Direct Hit and Determination, then put the remainder into Spell Speed. This will allow you to hit the synced substat caps for Crit, DH, and Det.
Manafication is changed in Shadowbringers by a trait at level 74, which means that in level 70 content, it functions the same way it did in Stormblood – with no damage buff and a 120s cooldown. As a result of there being no damage buff, it should be used slightly differently than at level 80.
While you should still aim to finish phases with as much black and white mana as possible, in the scenario that your mana is at 60 | 60 or below, you can use Manafication during downtime during or in between phases to get it on cooldown faster. This should be done whenever possible to avoid the possibility of losing a use of Manafication throughout the fight.
Potions in this fight will normally be used at the start of Garuda and during Ultima. Some groups may also opt to potion during Ifrit to skip dashes, although this should not be done unless the entire group agrees to this.
During Garuda, depending on your group’s DPS, using a potion may cause you to push faster depending on the opener you do, although if you do an AOE opener, this will likely not be a major issue.
During Ultima, you should use your first pot during your reopener. Following this, coordinate with the party for when the final pot and buff window will be. The most common time for this is following Primal Roulette, although it may be earlier depending on killtime.
Although Manafication does not grant a damage buff, just as with level 80 content you should still aim to get 2 melee combos under a potion buff whenever you can.
Embolden should be aligned to where the rest of your group is using their raid buffs. Review your group’s composition and buffs available and decide with your group what GCD you’ll be using these buffs in your opener and align your Embolden with the rest of them.
If your group is pushing odd phase transition timings, which is entirely possible at the time of writing, you may want to discuss holding these buffs for the start of a next phase, or using them at the end of another to avoid a potential use of a buff later on.
As with other fights in the game, Vercure can be used during downtime in-between phases in order to prepare a Dualcast for when the boss becomes targetable again. In addition to this, in phases where the boss isn’t targetable and heavy raid damage is going out, Vercure can be used to assist your healers with healing wherever it may be needed.
Phase 1: Garuda
Phase 1: Opener And Feathers
Your opener in Garuda will ideally have you spending your mana on Moulinet to AOE the plumes that spawn. However, in some groups with multiple people AoEing, this may cause issues where the Spiny Plume is killed too early. In this scenario, you may want to use a single target opener. You should also choose to hold your Contre Sixte to have it available to use here on feathers.
An example of the two openers you can use for this phase is as follows:
Phase 1: Swiftcast Usage
When Garuda becomes targetable after the Feather Rain following Friction and cleanses, holding your Swiftcast here until Mistral Song and tornadoes will allow you to keep full uptime for the movement required there without having to drift your GCD.
Phase 1: Addle Mitigation
Addle in this phase will be used on either Friction or Aerial Blast. With only one caster, Addle is higher value on Friction as it will cover the cleanses being done as well, but it is up to your healers to decide where it is wanted most.
Phase 2: Ifrit
Phase 2: Potion Usage
As mentioned earlier in the guide, some groups may choose to potion during Ifrit to skip dashes. If your group opts to do this, you should use your potion during your reopener and try to achieve a double melee combo. Keep in mind, however, how this will affect your melee combo timing during Eruptions if you are chosen to bait them.
Phase 2: Eruption Baiting
Ideally, your physical ranged and healer without Searing Wind will bait the Eruptions during Nails, as Red Mage GCDs are much higher potency than healer GCDs. Some groups, however, may still make the Red Mage bait. In those situations, it’s advisable to hold your Swiftcast and use your melee combo during the baits to keep as much uptime as possible. Using Manafication during the Ifrit transition allows you to use your melee combo on nails to achieve full uptime.
In the scenario that you are baiting and your melee combo does not align with Eruptions, it is possible to keep full uptime in between baits while hardcasting. This requires Sprint and is a very tight window, but it is still possible.
For the Eruption baits following Nails, it is strongly advisable to have the healer without Searing Wind bait in place of the Red Mage. There is minimal damage occurring during these baits, meaning it is far more important for the Red Mage to keep full uptime on the boss than the healer.
Phase 2: Addle Mitigation
The main use for Addle in this phase will be for Hellfire. If you have a second caster, their Addle can be used on the Flaming Crush stack, although this will usually not be necessary.
Phase 3: Titan
Phase 3: Weight Of The Lands
Due to how Weight of the Land is targeted, you are able to stand away from the group to avoid having to dodge an AoE if it is not targeted on you. If you are targeted doing this, make sure you do not bait where the party will be dodging.
For the final Weight of the Land during boulders, it is common for ranged to bait opposite of the melees. This allows a chance for both casters to keep full uptime during this, or for melees to not have to move as much depending on how the baits are split.
Phase 3: Landslides
Many Landslides occur during this phase, some of which may not always align with your GCD. To mitigate this, you should consider holding your Swiftcast for when a Landslide occurs that does not align with your GCD to avoid drifting.
Additionally, if a Landslide occurs when you are above 80 | 80 mana, it is possible to keep full uptime on the boss using your melee combo while dodging landslides. If dodging in melee range, you should be sure to dodge Landslides behind the boss, as dodging in front of the boss will kill you.
Phase 3: Displacement Usage
The arena during Titan becomes smaller as the phase progresses, making it more dangerous to Displacement each time the arena gets smaller. It is possible to use Displacement even in the smallest arena when Titan is at the edge, but caution should always be exercised when using Displacement during this phase.
Phase 3: Addle Mitigation
Addle in this phase should mainly be used on Tumults. The most common one to Addle is the first Tumult, as a healer being Gaoled can make this harder to heal, but all three Tumults are very high value to Addle, and should be discussed with healers. It is also possible to Addle Earthen Fury, although this is usually not as high priority as Tumults.
Phase 4: Intermission
Your goal is to be at 100 | 100 going into Ultima to perform a double melee combo, and this phase may be vital in achieving that depending on when Titan died.
Take advantage of the intermission to build as much gauge as you can.
If you are the only caster you will also have to Limit Break the Magitek Bits. If there is a second caster, however, they should Limit Break in your place so you can continue to build gauge when the bits spawn.
For consistency’s sake, a macro can be used to LB the Magitek Bits more easily while standing in the center of the arena:
/ac “Limit Break” <me>
/micon “Limit Break”
Phase 5: Ultima Weapon
Phase 5: Reopener
You should use your potion before Ultima becomes targetable. You only have a few seconds of a window in order to potion and not lose the buff on the final Fleche. You can use your potion about a second after the white light disappears. Additionally, using Swiftcast early in your opener ensures it is available when it is needed later in the fight.
Phase 5: Ultimate Annihilation Uptime
Ultimate Annihilation is one of the only trios in the game in which the boss stays targetable, meaning keeping uptime can be challenging. You will likely have to use Swiftcast during the Active phase before Annihilation, resulting in it likely not being available for this mechanic.
To handle uptime during this, use Vercure in the short time he becomes untargetable to prepare a Dualcast. During Weight of the Land Baits, use your Dualcast when avoiding the first bait. For the second bait, you will not attempt a hard cast, but instead clip your GCD here when moving out of the second bait. Doing this allows you to get a full hardcast before you need to dodge the third Weight of the Land bait.
It is also advisable to save Sprint for later in Annihilation to avoid clipping when dodging into the Landslide.
Phase 5: Displacement Usage
As this phase often has mechanics happening, you should be very cautious when using Displacement. After the opener, there are a few chances to use Displacement. Some examples of safe Displacement uses are during the Ultimate Annihilation castbar, during the Ultimate Suppression castbar, after Aetheric Boom and after Primal Roulette.
Phase 5: Addle Mitigation
Addles in this phase will be used for Homing Lasers, Tank Purge, or Ultima’s magical auto attacks. Much of the damage in this phase comes from the Primals that are untargetable, meaning their damage can not be mitigated with Addle. A good option is to Addle the Tank Purge during Annihilation, as there is a lot happening at once. If you choose to Addle a tankbuster, be sure to discuss with tanks and healers which buster to Addle so you do not overlap with a tank invulnerability.
As a disclaimer, it is possible for your group to use too much mitigation during this phase, causing them to not have LB for the Ultima cast. Many groups will choose to use strategies that avoid this, but keep in mind you may need to discuss dropping Addle with your healers if this becomes an issue.