If you are new to Summoner, welcome, or if you are returning back to playing the game & the Summoner job, welcome back!
Below will be information about Summoner to help you get started on getting up to speed with the current iteration of the job.
Summoner Actions Summary
Summoner is a unique job with its emphasis on pet & DoT gameplay. Like the other casters Summoner uses MP to cast its spells. Most will be hardcast Ruin GCDs. However, unlike the other casters it does not have random proc based gameplay but instead revolves around the cooldown management of numerous abilities.
Ruin spells are your main single-target filler on the Global Cooldown (GCD). Ruin & its upgrade replacement at Lv. 54 Ruin III are your hardcast Ruin GCDs that must be channelled from start to finish for damage to happen. The majority of your GCD casts should be your hardcast Ruin GCDs.
Once Dreadwyrm Trance (DWT) is unlocked at Lv. 58 after completing the I Could Have Tranced All Night Summoner job quest, using Dreadwyrm Trance results in Ruin III becoming instant cast.
Ruin II & its upgrade replacement at Lv. 62 when under the Further Ruin buff Ruin IV are your general instant GCDs to use for heavier movement & generally weaving 1-2 OGCDs to keep your GCD rolling. However, relying on Ruin II too much over Ruin III adds up to a considerable DPS loss over time.
Starting at Lv. 2 you will have the first Summoner DoT Bio lasting 30s & being instant cast which later upgrades in damage into Bio II at Lv. 26 & Bio III at Lv. 66. The Bio DoT line stacks with the hardcast Miasma DoT line starting with Miasma at Lv. 6 & its damage upgrade Miasma III at Lv. 66.
What happened to Miasma II? Summoner & Scholar once had this Arcanist spell back from A Realm Reborn all the way through Heavensward. It was removed from the Arcanist class & both jobs in Stormblood but was later reinstated for Scholar as an AoE damage tool. With the advent of Shadowbringers, Miasma II has been removed entirely.
At Lv. 40 you will unlock Summoner’s only hardcast AoE GCD Outburst. Outburst is a 5y AoE around your target. It should never be used single target & is only a DPS gain at 3+ targets over Ruin GCDs.
Egi Assault & Egi Assault II are obtained at Lv. 10 & Lv. 40 respectively. They are instant cast GCDs with a 30s base cooldown that command your Carbuncle or Egi to perform a specific pet action depending on which Summon is used.
Cannot be used with Demi-Summons out.
Once you hit Lv. 72 you will unlock Firebird Trance which replaces the Ruin III GCD with Fountain of Fire & the Outburst GCD with Brand of Purgatory while the Trance is active.
When in Firebird Trance, Fountain of Fire is a single target instant GCD which grants the Hellish Conduit buff, allowing for the much stronger instant target AoE GCD Brand of Purgatory to be used, consuming Hellish Conduit in the process. As a result, Firebird Trance wants you to Fountain of Fire into Brand of Purgatory four times before the Trance ends.
Physick is gained at Lv. 4 where very earlier on in the game its healing is more appreciable when soloing, due to poor Mind scaling of Arcanist & Summoner with further levels, it is not a heal you are ever expected to cast with how weak it is. In Shadowbringers this version of Physick is not the same action as the one Scholar uses, so keep that in mind with hotbars.
Finally the important Resurrection spell is gained at Lv. 12. For 24% of your max mp you can hardcast for a lengthy 8 seconds, use Swiftcast to make it instant, or reduce its base cast time by 2.5s while in a Trance to revive fallen party members. This spell alone makes Summoner very valuable as a progression job in harder content.
Off Global Cooldown actions, or OGCDs are separate to the GCD. They are typically used after an instant cast GCD with what’s known as weaving. If weaving is an unfamiliar concept, please check out the GCD Uptime & Weaving section further down.
A fundamental mechanic of Summoner is harnessing Aether to gain stacks of Aetherflow.
In Shadowbringers your method of obtaining this has changed & now relies on using Energy Drain (from Lv. 18) for 1-2 targets or Energy Siphon (from Lv. 35 after completing the Austerities of Earth quest) for 3+ targets on a 30s cooldown. Doing so puts you at 2 Aetherflow stacks, a resource allowing you to use one of your primary sources of burst damage.
At Lv. 18 you obtain Fester as one of your primary single target burst OGCD actions. Starting from 100 potency, on use it checks your target for how many of your DoTs are present dealing an additional 100 potency per DoT present up to a maximum of 300 potency. You always want to use Fester on your target with Bio & Miasma DoTs active. Consumes 1 Aetherflow stack on use.
Painflare is gained at Lv. 52 after completing the A Matter of Fact quest. It is your burst AoE damage OGCD for 130 potency per target within a 5y radius around your primary target. At 2 targets it is at parity with Fester unless debuffs on one target would mean Fester is better. It is a gain at 3+ targets. Consumes 1 Aetherflow stack on use.
Bane is learned at Lv. 30 after completing the Sinking Doesmaga quest. It used to be the third Aetherflow action that consumed a stack, however, in Shadowbringers it has been decoupled from Aetherflow altogether. It spreads your DoTs to all enemies around the source target. The Lv. 78 Bane trait makes it so that DoTs spread to targets around the source will always apply at for maximum duration instead of the current remaining duration.
At Lv. 56 you obtain Tri-disaster after completing the Mad, Bad, and Ebon-clad quest. Tri-disaster is an OGCD that instantly applies your highest available strength Bio & Miasma DoTs with initial potency damage. Until Lv. 58 Tri-disaster means you will only have to hardcast DoTs once every minute instead of twice every minute gaining 2 Ruin GCD casts per minute.
Dreadwyrm Trance follows at Lv. 58 & is a game changer with the Tri-disaster cooldown reset on use, defining the 3 Tri-disaster 1 hardcast set 2 minute DoT cycle that is present today. For the 15s duration it also reduces the base cast time of any GCD spells by 2.5s making your regular hardcasts instant which is advantageous for movement & providing valuable weaving slots for other OGCDs.
Heavensward culimates with the Lv. 60 capstone ability Deathflare obtained after completing the job quest A Flare for the Dramatic. It is a target AoE with a 5y radius for 400 potency on the primary target & 200 potency for all other targets.
Only available during Dreadwyrm Trance & using it ends the Trance timer.
Trivia: Deathflare is the translation of Akh Morn in Dragonspeak!
Firebird Trance is learned at Lv. 72 & will only be available to use after Dreadwyrm Trance & Summon Bahamut have been completed. Like Dreadwyrm Trance, Firebird Trance also reduces the base cast time of spells by 2.5s, however, this Trance lasts 20s instead of 15s. While the Trance is active, Fountain of Fire replaces Ruin III & Brand of Purgatory replaces Outburst.
Pets & Pet Command Actions
Summoner is the only DPS role job to utilise pets as part of their core toolkit each with their own dedicated purpose. There are three core Summons:
Summon grants a ranged caster pet that deals AoE damage. It is obtained once you hit Lv. on 4 Arcanist. The summon manifests Emerald Carbuncle & upgrades into Garuda-Egi once you complete the Lv. 45 Austerities of Wind quest.
Your go-to pet for multi-target scenarios.
Summon II grants a melee support pet that deals damage & provides you with a self-only shield to absorb damage up to 20% of your maximum HP. It is obtained once you hit Lv. 15 on Arcanist. The summon manifests Topaz Carbuncle & upgrades into Titan-Egi once you complete the Lv. 35 Austerities of Earth quest.
Your go-to pet for mitigation & survival in solo or party content. Not for general DPS use.
Summon III grants a melee DPS pet that deals damage. It is obtained once you hit Lv. 30 Summoner & complete the Lv. 30 Austerities of Flame quest. The summon manifests Ifrit-Egi.
Your go-to pet for single target scenarios.
After completing the Primal Burdens quest you obtain the Lv. 50 capstone ability Enkindle. It is an OGCD command that tells your Egi to perform their signature move out of Inferno, Aerial Blast & Earthen Fury.
Cannot be used by Demi-Summons.
Aetherpact is an OGCD command learned at Lv. 64 that tells your Egi to perform Devotion, your one & only AoE party 5% damage buff for 15s. It is on a 3 minute cooldown & centered around your Egi, so be mindful of where your Egi is in relation to the rest of your party or else you will miss people with the buff.
Cannot be used by Demi-Summons.
During Stormblood at Lv. 70 your capstone ability will let you Summon Bahamut manifesting a simulacrum of the Dreadwyrm himself as Demi-Bahamut for 20s. During this time he will react in tandem to your GCDs by casting Wyrmwave against your target.
As of the current max Lv. 80 in Shadowbringers, Firebird Trance upgrades further by manifesting a simulacrum of Phoenix as Demi-Phoenix for 20s. In addition to the GCD replacements while Firebird Trance is active, Demi-Phoenix will cast Everlasting Flight on the party for a group Heal over Time lasting 21s & will also react in tandem to your GCDs by casting Scarlet Flame against your target.
Enkindle Bahamut & Enkindle Phoenix are the last of your OGCD pet actions that command Demi-Bahamut & Demi-Phoenix to perform their signature 5y radius target AoE moves Akh Morn & Revelation.
Only available during Summon Bahamut & Firebird Trance.
GCD Uptime & Weaving
One of the most important lessons for all jobs that is unfortunately not taught in game is the idea of good uptime & to Always Be Casting. Keeping your GCD rolling & efficiently using your time is critical to performing good damage so with that in mind there are several rules to be aware of:
- Keep your GCD rolling.
- If you have to move, try to slidecast. (Moving at the end of a spell with it still resolving)
- If the movement required is too much to slidecast, use an instant cast GCD.
- With weaving typically stick to at most 2 OGCDs after an instant cast GCD. (Double weave)
- Do not use more OGCDs after an instant GCD unless there is a very good reason to do so.
- Do not macro action sequences. It will result in a delay as macros cannot queue normally.
Please click & zoom in to make use of the Summoner Weaving chart Nethar & I worked on:
Clipping, High Ping & VPNs
Summoner is currently a job with one of the highest number of required double weaves in order to be efficient with our instant cast spells & to keep our GCD rolling. As a result it is susceptible to the perils of higher latency, or “ping”. This is due to the fact that instant casts & OGCD animation lock (the time the server has you wait before granting you permission to perform another action) ends up taking much more time.
Having high ping means the server takes longer to get back to your client which means sometimes statuses applied to yourself can be delayed. This is important in the cases of Swiftcast & Trances making your next GCD instant, where a delay can mean your next GCD is not instant. To combat the problem, having the OGCD that applies the buff be used in your first OGCD slot in a double weave will give enough time for the buff to resolve. This is outlined in the above infographic with the Mind Your Latency 2 case.
It should be emphasised that it is very important to keep to outlined opener structures even if you clip on double weaves, as single weaving openers will push your burst far too late missing valuable raid buffs. More on this will be covered in the openers section. Outside of the opener there’s more leniency, however, single weaving too much means more Ruin II casts resulting in a DPS loss from fewer Ruin III casts.
For encounter mechanics high latency also manifests as having tighter margins of error for the snapshots of said mechanics between the game client & server which can result in thinking you were safely avoiding death but the server thinking your character was still in the mechanic.
There are other factors such as routing, packet loss, net traffic, node quality & jitter which affect & vary the impacts of latency with regarsd to clipping, as well as the game’s instance server quality for a given encounter pull attempt.
High ping play can be frustrating for Summoners, especially with regards to being delayed in timings & having tighter Demi-Summon windows due to the OGCD animation locks eating more time. With that in mind, one suggestion players advise is the use of a “VPN”, or tunneling service to help reduce the overall ping to the game servers & result in better routing for less packet loss.
Here is a list of several VPNs used by players:
Your mileage on using VPNs may vary, however, for higher ping players especially those playing on other regions it can make the difference between an incredibly frustrating play experience & one much more enjoyable. Most offer a free trial to experiment to see your results before having to commit.
Returning To The Game
Whether you have started Summoner fresh in Shadowbringers or have come back to FFXIV from A Realm Reborn, Heavensward or even having taken a break mid Stormblood, Summoner has changed considerably from how it used to be.
Here is a list of current changes since Stormblood:
- The Aetherflow action has been removed from SMN.
- Aetherflow stacks are generated by using Energy Drain/Siphon against a target every 30s.
- Aetherflow caps at 2 stacks down from 3.
- Fester has a base potency of 100 when used with 0 DoTs instead of doing 0 damage.
- Painflare’s potency has been reduced to 120.
- Bane no longer consumes an Aetherflow stack when used.
- Aethertrail no longer exists with Trance being on a rigid 55s cooldown.
- Trances reduce the base cast time of spells by 2.5s. This includes Resurrection.
- Firebird Trance (FBT) shares a cooldown with DWT.
- Tri-Disaster has a 50s cooldown down from 60s.
- DoTs all last 30s instead of later level upgrades increasing the duration to 30s.
- Shadowflare has been removed.
- Pets have been tweaked to have dedicated roles with aoe, single target & support options.
- Pets can no longer take damage & die.
- Pets can be placed directly under enemies without aggroing them.
- Egis redirect all of their enmity to us just like Demi-Summons.
- Titan-Egi can no longer tank for us.
- Pet actions have been replaced with Egi Assault command GCDs.
- Demi-Summons only react to GCDs instead of GCDs + OGCDs.
- This makes the goal 8 Wyrmwaves/Scarlet Flames.
- Devotion is a 5% damage 3 minute cooldown party buff only.
- Rouse has been removed.
- Ruin GCDs have had their potencies increased.
- RNG Ruin IV procs have been removed. Using Egi Assaults at Lv. 72+ generates 4/minute.
- Tri-bind has been replaced with Outburst.
You can read more about the historical Summoner changes here.