Following the opener comes the most important concept to understand for 5.20 Red Mage:
Balancing Your Mana
Gauge images taken from https://na.finalfantasyxiv.com/jobguide/redmage/.
The Balance Gauge displays the current amount of Black Mana and White Mana a Red Mage has accumulated. The goal is to have >= 80 of both Black and White mana to be able to execute a full melee combo.
Black Mana is accumulated by casting:
- Verfire - 9 Black Mana
- Verthunder - 11 Black Mana
- Verthunder II - 7 Black Mana
- Verflare - 21 Black Mana
White Mana is accumulated by casting:
- Verstone - 9 White Mana
- Veraero - 11 White Mana
- Veraero II - 7 White Mana
- Verholy - 21 White Mana
The following spells accumulate both Black & White Mana:
- Jolt - 3 Black | 3 White Mana
- Jolt II- 3 Black | 3 White Mana
- Scatter - 3 Black | 3 White Mana
- Impact - 3 Black | 3 White Mana
- Scorch - 7 Black | 7 White Mana
If the gap between Black and White Mana accumulation grows too large, the crystal at the top of the gauge will change color, and it will become more difficult to accumulate the lesser of the two. This happens when the gap is at 31 Mana and more:
With that in mind, you’re going to want to try and keep your Mana as close to each other as possible.
Your general rotation is very simple. If you have any procs (Verstone, or Verfire), hardcast them and then Dualcast the Mana you have lower of (Veraero for White Mana and Verthunder for Black Mana).
Do NOT Dualcast a Mana if you already have a proc for that Mana (don’t use Verstone -> Verthunder if you already have Verfire, don’t use Verfire -> Veraero if you already have Verstone).
It is okay to Dualcast a higher Mana in this way so long as the distance between the two Manas does not exceed 30 and cause you go to unbalanced. When you run out of procs, use Jolt II. Once you have 80 | 80 Mana (80 White Mana and 80 Black Mana) you can then perform your melee combo. Finish your melee combo with a finisher that correlates with the Mana you have lower of (Verholy when White Mana is lower and Verflare when Black Mana is lower), then use Scorch right after.
Red Mage Damage Types
Red Mage has an interesting mixture of magical and physical damage in its kit. Of note, all spells, as well as enchanted versions of our GCD weaponskills (melee combo, reprise, moulinet) deal magical damage and are thus affected by our own Embolden and Manafication.
All of our damaging oGCDs (Fleche, Contre Sixte, Corps-a-Corps, Displacement, Engagement) as well as unenchanted GCD weaponskills deal physical piercing damage and are buffed by another Red Mage’s Embolden, or a Monk’s Brotherhood. The damage still scales off of INT, so they will still be buffed by Tinctures of Intelligence.
Managing Your Procs
The core of Red Mage optimisation revolves around hardcasting Jolt II as little as possible.
You have 2 spells that replace Jolt II but can only be used when under the effect of procs:
Using Verholy/flare at the end of your melee combo and Dualcasting Veraero/thunder are your primary ways to fish for Verstone/fire procs, but there are a few more ways to fish for these procs.
Use Swiftcast to instantly cast Veraero/thunder.
Red Mage is fairly limited in instants, so your primary use of Swiftcast will be holding it for when you have to move for mechanics that don’t line up well with your Dualcast in order to maintain uptime.
Otherwise, Swiftcast will always be a net DPS gain no matter how you use it due to how much stronger Veraero/thunder is, but you’re mostly going to want to use Swiftcast to fish for another proc or extend movement windows, meaning you likely won’t be using it exactly on cooldown.
However, do not hold it for so long as to lose a use over the fight.
Remember that Swiftcast is a DPS gain even when used to overwrite a proc.
Efficiently Proc Fishing When < 80 | 80
- Whenever there is downtime cast Vercure so that you may start with a Dualcasted spell as soon as the boss is targetable.
- Don’t imbalance your Mana when fishing for procs.
- Don’t Dualcast Veraero if you have Verstone (except to fix procs before going into melee)
- Don’t Dualcast Verthunder if you have Verfire (except to fix procs before going into melee)
- If both Verstone/fire procs are up, alternate between Verstone -> Veraero & Verfire -> Verthunder until one of the procs falls off.
- If you are below 80 | 80 Mana & ran out of both Verstone and Verfire procs, fish for a proc.
- If you are below 60 | 60 Mana & only have a single Verstone proc OR a Verfire proc, fish for the other proc.
- If you are between 60 | 60 & 80 | 80 Mana & only have a Verstone proc OR a Verfire proc, do NOT fish for the other proc.
- If you are between 60 | 60 & 80 | 80 Mana & have both a Verstone proc AND a Verfire proc, do NOT use Acceleration.
The reason why we do not want to fish for procs if we already have one or don’t use Acceleration if we already have both when between 60 | 60 and 80 | 80 Mana is because we do not want to go over 80 | 80 Mana with both Verstone and Verfire procs.
Going into the melee combo with 2 procs will cause one of our procs to be overwritten by the 100% proc chance from Verholy or Verflare, thus negating the proc we just gained.
Of course, if we get really lucky with proc RNG this can happen regardless, but we should make a conscious effort to avoid this situation as much as we can.
Handling Procs When > 80 | 80
Having Either Verstone OR Verfire
If you have a Verstone proc while White Mana is higher, or a Verfire proc while Black Mana is higher, go ahead and dive right into the melee combo and get your second proc from Verholy/flare.
However, if you have a Verstone proc while White Mana is lower, a Verfire proc while Black Mana is lower, or either proc while White and Black Mana are equal, then use the proc and Dualcast the opposite Mana before going into the melee combo.
By freeing up the proc space of the lower Mana you are ensuring a proc gain from the 100% proc chance from Verholy/flare. This can be referred to as “fixing” your Mana before going into the melee combo.
Having Both Verstone AND Verfire
If you have both Verstone and Verfire procs while above 80 | 80 Mana, you will want to “dump” one of your procs.
To dump a proc, use the proc for which you have lower Mana of then Dualcast the Mana you have higher of.
The proc chance from your Dualcasted spell will be wasted (dumped), but you can now pick up another proc from your Verholy/flare after the melee combo.
Having Neither Verstone NOR Verfire
Most of the time if you have neither Verstone nor Verfire procs and are above 80 | 80 Mana you can go right into your melee combo and gain a proc from your finisher.
However, if your White and Black Mana values are equal, you are NOT guaranteed a proc from Verholy/flare.
If you have Acceleration, you can go into melee right away and use Acceleration to guarantee a proc from your finisher.
If you don’t, you will want to uneven your Mana before going into the melee combo, either by swiftcasting Verthunder/aero, or doing a Jolt II -> Verthunder/aero pair.
However, if you cannot afford to delay your melee combo by a GCD without the boss dying, or due to mechanics, go into melee right away and forfeit the guaranteed proc.
Acceleration Usage on Finishers
Sometimes your Mana is too high and you are unable to fix it without wasting some Mana.
For example, you have 98 White Mana and 90 Black Mana and have a Verfire proc. You can avoid having to waste anything if you have Acceleration up. Use Acceleration and guarantee a finisher proc from the higher mana.
There are some rules with how Verholy/flare interact with Acceleration:
- If you have equal White and Black Mana and use either finisher, Acceleration will be consumed and guarantee a proc from whichever finisher you use.
- If you have more White Mana than Black Mana and use Verholy, Acceleration will be consumed and guarantee a proc from Verholy, and vice versa with higher Black Mana and using Verflare.
- If you have less White Mana than Black Mana and use Verholy, Acceleration is NOT consumed. You can then use Verstone -> Verthunder and get a Verfire proc from your Acceleration.
This is a pretty nifty trick that every Red Mage should utilise. Just make sure that your White and Black Mana are no more than 9 Mana apart if you’re going to force a proc of the higher Mana with Acceleration, otherwise you will go Unbalanced. You go Unbalanced once your White and Black Mana are MORE than 30 apart. Exactly 30 apart is still okay.
This means that even if your two Mana are equal when forcing a proc from Verholy/flare with Acceleration, you can still comfortably use that proc without going Unbalanced, since 21 from the finisher and then 9 from the proc will leave you at exactly 30.
Damage oGCD Usage
Your priority for oGCDs will be as follows:
Fleche > Contre Sixte > Corps-a-corps > Engagement/Displacement
The first and most important thing you need to know about using oGCDs is to NEVER use them between your hardcast and your Dualcast.
Hardcasted spells (Jolt II, Verstone, and Verfire) have a 2s cast while the GCD is 2.5s (assuming no spell speed). This 0.5s gap between your hardcast and your Dualcast is NOT ENOUGH to use an oGCD without clipping your GCD.
Standard oGCDs tend to have an approximately ~0.7s animation lock. Using an oGCD after a hardcast 2s spell would lock you out of your GCD for a minimum of 0.2s which will result in a DPS loss. Realistically, it will always be more than a 0.2s lockout as there are rarely any 0 Spell Speed builds, as well as the time lost from taking your ping and latency into account.
You CAN single weave any oGCD other than Displacement in your melee combo. The recast is 1.5s for Enchanted Riposte and Enchanted Zwerchhau.
All instant GCDs also have an animation lock of ~0.7s. So using an oGCD ~0.7s after an Enchanted Riposte and then being animation locked for another ~0.7s will still free you up in time to use Enchanted Zwerchhau on the GCD (~0.7s + ~0.7s: ~1.4s, less than 1.5s). It’s a very tight window and you are likely to very slightly clip without perfect ping, but it is still a gain to do so.
Enchanted Redoublement has a 2.2s recast, meaning you can still double weave any oGCD other than Displacement (~0.7s + ~0.7s + ~0.7s: ~2.1s, less than 2.2s) where you may experience clipping at higher ping. Double weaving after Enchanted Redoublement is just as tight a window as single weaving after Enchanted Riposte and Enchanted Zwerchhau.
Displacement has a significantly longer animation lock than any other oGCD (~1.1s) and CANNOT be double weaved with any other oGCD without clipping your GCD. It also CANNOT be single weaved after Enchanted Riposte and Enchanted Zwerchhau (even if your back is against a wall and you stay in melee range, you will still clip) but it CAN be single weaved after Enchanted Redoublement.
Engagement shares a recast timer with Displacement. What this means is that using either Engagement or Displacement will put both skills on cooldown, so you will have to choose to use only one of them every 35s. Manafication will reset both of their cooldown timers.
Here are the main differences between them that will factor into whether you’ll choose one over the other:
- 150 potency
- CAN be double weaved without clipping
- Keeps your character in place
- 200 potency
- CANNOT be double weaved without clipping
- Flings your character back 15 yalms from where you were facing
Essentially, Engagement is an alternative to Displacement that trades potency for safety. You will generally be leaning heavily on Engagement during prog when heal timings and mechanics are unfamiliar, as Displacement runs the real risk of missing critical healing, mispositioning for the next mechanic or simply stylish death via falling.
Note: Displacement’s backflip direction is based on your character’s facing towards the center of your target’s hitbox. This can result in some surprising backflips on targets with gigantic hitboxes.
Even after prog, you may opt for 100% Engagement usage as 4 Engagements between Manafication cycles are equal to 3 Displacements in terms of potency, which is generally how many Displacements we expect to get between Manafication cycles.
4 Displacements may be possible with delayed Manafication cycles, but is generally considered an overly ambitious choice due to there being fewer windows to use Displacement vs Engagement.
Enchanted Reprise is a ranged magic weaponskill that deals 300 potency at the cost of 5 | 5 mana. It is not part of our enchanted melee combo.
Its major purpose in our rotation is to serve as a GCD uptime maintenance tool. Enchanted Reprise potency per second is comparable to regular casting when disregarding mana generation, and thus can be an overall DPS gain when used for GCD uptime purposes provided that we do not lose a melee combo due to the mana used.
In full uptime situations we generate enough excess mana in between Manafication usages that we can afford to use two Enchanted Reprises per cycle without delaying our Manafication timings.
Enchanted Reprise should be primarily used as a way of keeping the GCD rolling when casting is impractical. It can be used during continuous movement heavy sections that Dualcast windows (and Swiftcast) may not be enough to cover, or to replace an otherwise cancelled cast right before a boss becomes untargetable.
Enchanted Reprise can also be used as a way of mitigating oGCD drift by forcing a weave window in your next GCD instead of waiting an extra hardcast -> dualcast pair.
In cases where neither scenario applies, do not feel pressured to force Enchanted Reprise usages.
If the boss is about to die and you cannot get another melee combo off with your current mana levels, use Enchanted Reprise to dump your mana.
Unenchanted Reprise is a melee range weaponskill that does physical damage, and should never be used.
Manafication’s function in Red Mage’s rotation is twofold: a mana generation tool and a magical damage buff. As Manafication applies a 5% magical damage buff for the next 10s, it is imperative that you go into melee combo right away so the buff covers the entirety of your combo, including Scorch. If you’re having trouble landing Scorch under Manafication’s buff, whether due to ping or other issues, you can try to mitigate the issue by weaving Manafication in the second oGCD slot to give yourself a little bit of leeway.
Do not use Manafication under 40 | 40 mana. In a full uptime situation that should generally not happen without deaths or multiple Verraises, but in the event that Manafication comes up while below 40 | 40 mana, hold onto it until you have enough mana to go into melee immediately after Manafication.
You can use Manafication above 50 | 50 mana, even if it means losing a guaranteed proc and overcapping a small amount of mana. Note that you gain the same amount of mana whether you use Manafication at 40 | 40 or 60 | 60, so you should prioritize keeping Manafication on cooldown instead of fixating too much on the small amount of mana overcap. The correct solution becomes more nuanced when Manafication comes off cooldown at higher mana levels like 70 | 70, and requires a case-by-case inspection on whether that scenario can be avoided with better rotational uptime, or something that can be utilized to build towards a double melee pot window.
Generally, after following the opener, you should keep Manafication on cooldown as strictly as possible, ignoring that you may overcap mana when you hit it. Corps-a-corps can be used 3 times between casts, and held for a cumulative 30 seconds. Displacement/Engagement can be used 4 times between casts if you can avoid holding it for a cumulative 5 seconds, but failing this, do not stress, and instead welcome the extra 35 seconds that you can hold the casts without losing a use. 4 Engagements = 3 Displacements in terms of potency, so consider what is more likely for you to execute, and where you can get an extra Displacement if you try for 4. Due to the way it aligns with your melee combos, you are unlikely to get more than one additional Displacement by this method.
You may opt to intentionally delay Manafication for specific cycles in your rotation if it does not cause you to lose an entire melee combo. Usually this is done to create a double melee window under potions and buffs. As Manafication doesn’t line up naturally with major buff windows when used on cooldown, setting up a double melee window can involve delaying Manafication by 20s or more for a given cycle.
A large part of higher level Red Mage play revolves around aligning burst phases with party buffs due to how it can condense a high amount of potency into a small window with the full melee combo & damage oGCDs.
Red Mage’s melee combo timings are approximately every 40s where it cycles as follows:
- Manafication Combo from doubling >= 40 | 40 Mana
- Normal Combo
- Normal Combo
With the 40s burst windows, optimal raid buff windows will typically align every 120s. Only align Manafication when you are certain of your kill time and it won’t lose you a use.
Below is the Raid Utility sheet from Jahaudant showing the various buffs & burst window timings for each job.
Your own melee combo will not align particularly well with Embolden unless you are intentionally delaying Manafication for a given cycle, but you will want to use Embolden on cooldown to line up with raid buffs such as Trick Attack, Technical Finish, Divination, etc for maximum value to your raid.
In order to ensure everything lines up well, coordinate with your raid members on what point of the fight you want to all simultaneously use your buffs.
In the opener, certain jobs prefer 3rd GCD Embolden, while others might prefer 5th GCD. We offer both options in the opener section.
Fleche has a 25s cooldown, meaning you can fit it twice inside a 30 second potion. We do this in the opener, but it is also a good idea to try and do this with potions mid fight so long as you are not holding on to Fleche for more than 10 seconds.
The best use of a pot window is getting 2 Fleches and 2 melee combos + finishers inside it, however, the feasibility of doing so for maximum gains will be fight dependent.
In order to get 2 melee combos inside your pot window, you’re going to need Manafication up and build up to 95 | 95+ Mana before using your pot. This will allow you to get to the 40 | 40+ range and use Manafication to get another melee combo off before your pot falls off.
Ideally, the first Melee combo will also be aligned with raid buff windows (which includes your own Embolden) to maximize potency gain from your pot.