- The Birth Of The Black Swordsman
- Off-GCD Actions
- Equipment And Materia Management
The Beserk-esque Dark Knight job in Final Fantasy 14 is one of the more versatile Tanks in the game due to their ability to imbue their towering greatswords with dark magicks, making them a formidable force on both offense and defense. If they aren't protecting their teammates from potentially fatal attacks, they are usually draining the blood out of their foes with unique skills and actions.
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In addition to being incredibly stylistic and foreboding in its appearance, the Dark Knight's armor also provides the highest defensive stats across the board, making them an absolute unit on the battlefield. While they won't blow anyone away with over-the-top flashiness, they will stand their ground and look cool doing so.
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Updated January 16, 2023, by Seth Parmer: With Patch 6.3 out and the Dark Knight receiving its fair of changes, we decided to update this guide to include those changes and bring the guide up to snuff with the others. With this update, we included a Best in Slot build for the Job and fleshed out the Off-GCD section to give you a better understanding of what the Job is capable of!
The Birth Of The Black Swordsman
The vast majority of Jobs in Final Fantasy 14 typically require you to master a Class before obtaining the Soul Crystal needed to access them and level them up. However, in the case of the Dark Knight, you will only need to reach Level 50 with any other Disciples of War or Magic and must have the city of Ishgard unlocked. Due to Dark Knight getting introduced with the Heavensward expansion, you can access it as part of the critically acclaimed free trial of Final Fantasy 14.
- Reach Level 50 (Disciples of War or Magic)
- Unlock the city of Ishgard
- Ishgard becomes available upon completing every Seventh Astral Era MSQ through Patch 2.55, ending with "Before the Dawn."
With Level 50 obtained and the city of Ishgard unlocked, you are ready to become a Dark Knight! To do so, speak with the Ishgardian Citizen found in The Pillars, Coerthas (X:13.2, Y:8.8), and accept the quest "Our End." Completing the quest will reward you with the Soul of the Dark Knight and a few gear pieces for the Job, allowing you to start your journey as a Dark Knight!
While we won't cover how to jump from Level 50 to Level 90 with the Dark Knight in this guide, we have that already covered in a separate one found here! Additionally, if you would like a more in-depth walkthrough on how to unlock Dark Knight and all the other Jobs, please check out our guide for that here!
Due to the Dark Knight being a Tank Job, you will not have to worry about positional attacks as you will be placed directly in front of the enemy 90 percent of the time. However, even as the impenetrable wall of the group, you still have access to basic attack rotations and can deal quite a bit of damage from them and your other abilities.
Below covers your basic rotations without any of the Off-GCDs thrown into to mix to avoid overwhelming you with all of the systems, mechanics, and responsibilities that come with a class such as the Dark Knight. If you're looking for a more complex look at Dark Knight's actions, please head down to the "Off-GCD Actions" and "Openers" segments of the guide!
Basic Single-Target Rotation
- Hard Slash > Syphon Strike > Souleater
Basic AoE Rotation
- Unleash > Stalwart Soul
While we laid out the basic rotations above, we purposely left out the Off-GCD Actions to prevent any confusion about what they do, when to use them, and how to properly weave them into your rotation to get the most out of the Dark Knight. You can find the complete list of Off-GCD Actions for the Dark Knight in the table below!
Gain substantially more Enmity.
Ends the effect of Grit.
Gain five stacks of Blood Weapon, increasing Blood Gauge by ten per stack, restoring MP with every landed Weaponskill or Spell for 15s.
Flood of Darkness
Attack with a potency of 300.
Receive Darkside, which increases your damage output by ten percent for 30s. Effects of Darkside can be extended by another 30s by casting Flood of Shadow, Edge of Darkness, or Edge of Shadow.
Flood of Shadow
Attack with a potency of 160 to all enemies in a straight line.
Receive Darkside, which increases your damage output by ten percent for 30s. Effects of Darkside can be extended by another 30s by casting Flood of Darkness, Edge of Darkness, or Edge of Shadow.
Edge of Darkness
Attack with a potency of 300 to all enemies in a straight line.
Receive Darkside, which increases your damage output by ten percent for 30s. Effects of Darkside can be extended by another 30s by casting Flood of Darkness, Flood of Shadow, or Edge of Shadow.
Edge of Shadow
Attack with a potency of 460 to all enemies in a straight line.
Receive Darkside, which increases your damage output by ten percent for 30s. Effects of Darkside can be extended by another 30s by casting Flood of Darkness, Flood of Shadow, or Edge of Darkness.
The Blackest Night
Create a Barrier around yourself or a target, absorbing 25 percent of incoming damage equal to your or your target's max HP for 7s.
If the Barrier is completely absorbed, Dark Arts will be granted to you or your target. Dark Arts allow you to consume it rather than MP, allowing you to cast Edge of Shadow or Flood of Shadow with no cost.
Incoming damage is reduced by 30 percent for 15s.
Makes you 20 percent more resilient to Magic for 10s.
Incoming Magic damage is reduced by 10 percent for yourself and all nearby party members for 15s.
Casts Living Dead on self for 10s. If you get KOd with Living Dead active, your status will be switched to Walking Dead.
During your Walking Dead state, you will receive HP for landing Weaponskills and Spells, healing with a Cure Potency of 1,500. If you recover a certain percentage of your max HP, you will be brought back to life via Undead Rebirth. Failing to meet the HP requirements will KO you. The Walking Dead effect lasts for 10s.
Summon a simulacrum of your Darkside to battle beside you for 20s, attacking with a potency of 350 at the cost of 50 Blood Gauge.
Your simulacrum can cast Shadowbringer, attacking in a straight line with an attack potency of 500 to the first target and 25 percent less to all remaining.
Attack with the potency of 240 to all targets in the area, restoring your HP with the Cure Potency of 200.
Restore some MP in addition to your HP.
Receive three stacks of Delirium, allowing you to perform Bloodspiller or Quietus without consuming Black Blood, restoring MP when successfully landing one of those Weaponskills. Each Weaponskill consumes one stack, and they only last for 15s.
Incoming damage from yourself or a party member is reduced by ten percent for 10s. Can store up to two charges of Oblation.
Create an AoE of Salted Earth underneath yourself, attacking with the potency of 50 to enemies who enter the area and lasting for 15s.
Salted Earth changes to Salt and Darkness upon use.
Salt and Darkness
Enemies standing within the Salted Earth AoE will receive substantially more damage, with the first target getting attacked with a potency of 500 and the rest receiving 50 percent less.
Attack in a straight line with a potency of 600 on the first target and the rest receiving 50 percent less. Can store two charges of Shadowbringer and can only be executed when under the effects of Darkside.
Carve and Spit
Restore MP by performing a threefold attack that has a potency of 510.
Perform a jumping attack that has a potency of 150. Can store two charges of Plunge.
As you can see, there are tons of Off-GCD actions for the Dark Knight job, so let's quickly expand on the more crucial ones you will constantly use when performing your Openers.
- Always use Blood Weapon during the Pre-Pull phase to guarantee Living Shadow gets used early in the encounter.
- Using The Blackest Night during the Pre-Pull phase allows you to stop your MP from overcapping whenever you perform Hard Slash under the effects of Blood Weapon. If The Blackest Night breaks, your MP will be returned to you, allowing you to execute Edge of Shadow at no additional cost.
- Always follow Shadowbringer up with Edge of Shadow to deal enormous damage and extend the duration of Darkside.
If you're curious about what a complete Opener looks like for a Level 90 Dark Knight that highlights the examples mentioned above, then please head to the next section to see two of them! Additionally, you will see other Off-GCD actions thrown into the mix, hopefully showing you their true potential when combined with other actions.
As touched on briefly in the "Rotations" section, Openers are a much more complex string of actions that blend Off-GCD abilities seamlessly in with your standard GCD ones used in your rotation. Openers are a critical part of Final Fantasy 14 and will help you get the most out of your Job, and having a well-optimized one will help you and your teammates out in the long run, especially if you're a Tank role, such as the Dark Knight.
The Opener found below is based on a Level 90 Dark Knight. This is your go-to string and the one you will likely use most of the time. Every Off-GCD Action is bolded and in parenthesis, making it easier to comprehend and separate them from your main actions.
- Pre-Pull: (Blood Weapon) > (The Blackest Night) > (Grade 7 Tincture of Strength)
- Hard Slash (Edge of Shadow + Delerium) > Syphon Strike > Souleater (Living Shadow + Salted Earth) > Hard Slash (Shadowbringer + Edge of Shadow) > Bloodspiller (Carve and Spit + Plunge) > Bloodspiller (Shadowbringer + Edge of Shadow) > Bloodspiller (Salt and Darkness + Edge of Shadow) > Syphon Strike (Plunge + Edge of Shadow) > Souleater
Equipment And Materia Management
Managing your equipment and Materia is a surprisingly overlooked and misunderstood feature of Final Fantasy 14. Specific roles and Jobs will naturally have strong preferences on which stats you need to focus on when slotting in materia, obtaining armor and weapons, etc. Below is an example of a Best in Slot build for a Level 90 Dark Knight!
Augmented Lunar Envoy's Face Guard of Fending
Abyssos Cuirass of Fending
Augmented Lunar Envoy's Gloves of Fending
Augmented Lunar Envoy's Trousers of Fending
Abyssos Sollerets of Fending
Abyssos Earrings of Fending
Augmented Lunar Envoy's Necklace of Fending
Abyssos Amulet of Fending
Abyssos Ring of Fending
Augmented Lunar Envoy's Ring of Fending
For more specific details on Materia, please check out our complete guide on it here! Additionally, as highlighted above, using a Grade 7 Tincture of Strength is another excellent way to extract a bit more juice out of your Dark Knight. For a food buff, Carrot Pudding will give your Dark Knight a significant boost before jumping into the fray.
NEXT: Final Fantasy 14: Complete Guide To Playing Paladin