Sure, all Final Fantasy stories are independent. But there is always something that unites them. No, it’s not the chocobos. I’m talking about your dark-blue hooded, staff-carrying Black Mage.
Black Mages are a class whose main characteristic is the ability to cast black magic. Despite being one of the most straightforward classes in the saga, they usually also have tremendous power and can cast powerful attack spells.
Leaving all that technical mumbo-jumbo aside, the Black Mage is the undisputed harbinger of destruction in Final Fantasy XIV’s raiding. This class is the champion of beating raid enemies down to a pulp.
Needless to say, Final Fantasy designers really have nailed the aesthetic for Black Mage in this game. You are harnessing fire, ice, lightning, and other black magic to kick enemies to the dust, all while looking fabulous.
The sound design is incredible, the animations are gorgeous, and the numbers you see spread out during battle keep you pumped. You simply feel like an unparalleled master of magic.
In this Black Mage Final Fantasy guide, we’ll walk you through the basics of how to master the Black Mage.
My TL; DR
Though you’ll find exhaustive information on handling each Black Mage’s mechanics in this guide, you may not be a fan of long reads. Here’s a TL; DR version of this guide.
- Job: Black Mage
- Playstyle: Balance your Umbral Ice and Astral Fire gauges and deal unparalleled damage to your foes.
- Essential skills: Fire 4, Xenoglossy and Ley Lines
Black Mage Final Fantasy Guide
Black Mage vs. Other Casters
Final Fantasy XIV puts four casters at the player’s disposal: Black Mage, Summoner, Red Mage, and Blue Mage.
Summoner is for pokémon fans, Red Mage is for those who aren’t quite sure whether they want to heal or deal damage and Blue Mage is for those into side content.
Black Mage is exclusively a damage-dealing caster for those with a death wish.
From both statistics and experience, we can conclude that one of the most straightforward casters in the game is Summoner. At the other end of the spectrum, we can spot Black Mage as the most challenging job – let alone caster – in the entire game.
If experience and statistics aren’t enough, take Naoki Yoshida’s word. It is the director’s main class.
Unlike other caster jobs, Black Mage has no party utility at all. It’s just explosions and destruction throughout.
The flip side? It has some of the greatest personal damage potentials in the game.
What Makes Black Mage Hard?
Here’s what your playthrough as a Black Mage will look like.
While in raids, you’ll have to cycle through two gauges: Astral and Umbral Ice. You’ll fill them up with Fire and Ice abilities, respectively.
On the other hand, Black Mage can regenerate MP like no other caster: instantly. So long as you switch from one gauge to another.
As such, you’ll jump from Astral Fire to Umbral Fire quite often. Casting requires time while sitting still.
Sitting still in a raid with multiple telegraphed and untelegraphed mechanics on the arena’s floor is quite challenging. You want to avoid incoming damage, but you want to finish your cast. The healer’s busy buffing the tank, and you have little to no life regeneration abilities. What can you do?
The immobility dilemma is aggravated by an ability called Ley Lines. With his ability, your casting time is reduced to almost zero.
Wait, how is this an issue?
Ley Lines generates a circle on the arena’s floor. Your casting time will be reduced if you stand in that circle. The circle, unfortunately, does not follow you as you move around the arena.
It’s not that the Black Mage is immobile. You can move around. You are just conditioned to strategic planning and positioning in every battle.
When playing Black Mage, you have to be patient with yourself. The better you understand a fight, the better Black Mage you’ll be.
As you understand the boss’ mechanics, that is, what is going to happen and when it’s going to happen, positioning yourself and timing your casts will get much easier.
The earlier levels can be a bit of a slow burn. Cast times are way too long and tend to get interrupted.
However, when you make it to the higher levels, you’ll see Black Mage for the damage-dealing powerhouse it is. Stick it out!
Black Mage’s Abilities
Fire and Ice Phases
Let’s start with your Fire and Ice phases. You’ll learn Blizzard and Fire very early on.
You’ll notice a red or blue symbol on your gauge anytime you use either of them. This symbolizes which phase you are currently in Astral or Umbra.
As you level up, you’ll gain more stacks of your gauge. When you’re in your Astral Fire phase, you’ll primarily spend your MP’s on Fire for single targets and Fire 2 for AoE.
At level 50, you’ll unlock Flare, which will use up all of your MP to do an AoE attack.
When in your Umbra Ice phase, you’ll regain MP as you stay in your Umbra Phase. You should be using Blizzard for single targets and Blizzard 2 for AoE.
You’ll learn Freeze at level 40, an AOE attack that you can use during your Blizzard phase, but it’ll be more useful later.
You can swap between your Fire and Ice phases using Transpose. Still, later on, you’ll have other abilities that will also swap your phases.
You also have Thunder 1, which is your damage over time, and Thunder 2, which is an AoE damage over time that applies to nearby enemies.
At level 35, you’ll unlock Fire and Blizzard 3. These can swap between Astral Fire and your Umbral Ice phase while maintaining your gauge stacks.
At level 40, anytime you cast Fire, you’ll have a 40% chance of getting a Firestarter to proc. In addition, Firestarter will allow you to use Fire 3 without any cast time or MP cost.
Whenever you cast Thunder at level 28, you’ll have a 10% chance on each tick of the DoT to proc Thundercloud. Thundercloud will allow you to use Thunder or Thunder 2 without any MP cost and no cast time.
You can guarantee your proc on Firestarter and Thundercloud by using Sharpcast before casting Fire or Thunder. You’ll also get a second charger, Sharpcast, at level 88.
Enochian and Fire/Blizzard
At level 56, you’ll get Enochian. This ability will increase the damage dealt during your Fire and Ice phases by 5%.
It also allows Fire 2 to give a buff called Enhanced Flare. Enhanced Flare will make Flare do more damage.
When you use it at level 58, you’ll get Blizzard 4, giving you 3 Umbral hearts. Freeze will also give you 3 hearts.
These Umbral hearts will reduce the M’P costs of your following three Fire spells. These should be primarily used on Fire 4, which you get at level 60.
Fire 4 will be the spell you use almost always during your Astral Fire phase. You’ll have to use Fire to reset the timer of your phase, so make sure to refresh the timer.
At level 72, you’ll get Despair. This ability will use up your MP to make a solid single-target attack.
This should be the last move you cast during your Astral Fire phase before you run out of MP. Then you can use Blizzard 3 to swap back to your Umbra Ice phase since it costs no MP.
Umbral Soul will allow you to refresh your Umbra Ice phase and give you an Umbral heart on each use.
This move is primarily used during phase transitions or in dungeons. The goal is to ensure you don’t drop your Umbral Ice phase. It’s also just a fun move to press.
Ley Lines and Triple Cast
At level 52, you’ll get Ley Lines, which will create a circle around you that will reduce the cast time of your spells.
Ley Lines is your best friend. This circle will basically allow you to pump out more spells at a much faster rate. The downside is that you have to stay
inside the circle to get its effect. If for some reason, you need to get out of your Ley Lines, you can teleport back to them instantly using Between the Lines, which you’ll learn at level 62.
At level 66, you’ll unlock Triple Cast. This ability will make your following three spells have no cast time.
Triple cast allows you to still do DPS even while moving.
Foul, Xenoglossy, and Polyglot
At level 70, you’ll get Foul, which can only be used when you have one Polyglot. After that, you’ll get a stack of Polyglot every 30 seconds, which can be used on Foul for AoE and Xenoglossy for single targets at level 80.
You will also be able to hold 2 Polyglot, and Foul will become an instant cast at level 80.
At level 86, you’ll unlock Amplifier, which will give you a stack of Polyglot.
Instantly at level 90, you’ll unlock Paradox, a strong single-target attack that triggers when you swap to the Umbral Ice phase from Astral Fire.
And when you swap to the Astral Fire phase from having three Umbral hearts in your Umbral Ice phase, Paradox will replace Fire and Blizzard with Paradox.
You no longer need to use Fire one to refresh your Astral Fire phase. However, when you swap from Astral Fire to umbrella Ice, Paradox will be an instant cast, so make sure you use it before swapping back to Astral.
Manaward is a personal shield that lasts for 20 seconds.
Manafont will regenerate 3000 MP. You can use this during your Astral Fire phase to squeeze in more Fire 4 and even another Despair.
Aethereal Manipulation will allow you to teleport to another party member. This is useful for letting someone else move to a safe spot while you sit there casting, and then you teleport to them for safety.
Scathe is a single-target attack that has no cast time.
Question: Is Black Mage a Hard Job?
Answer: While being considered one of the most demanding jobs you can play, the Black Mage is praised and loved by many players. Not only for delivering raw, unshared damage but also for how it serves the song of Fire and Ice.
Question: Why Should I Pick Black Mage?
Answer: If you are a fan of the old main series Final Fantasy series, The Black Mage might become one of the top choices for you. However, it doesn’t follow combo systems or significant cooldown phases nor use any gauge systems.
No. The Black Mage focuses on raw magic power and explosions that burn your MP with Fire magic or recover it with your Umbral Ice stance.
As you’re rotating between these stances, much planning needs to be done because you have to stand still to accomplish a solid performance. So the strategic aspect comes through intensively and better. Awareness and planning are mandatory to avoid falling out of irritation.
Question: Do People Still Play Black Mage?
Answer: Black Mage is the top choice for the highest possible damage. Unfortunately, it might not be the case in the recent patch. But as this is considered an intrinsical design of the Black Mage, Square will get the job back to the crown of DPS at some point.
In 90% of patches, the top Black Mage player was unbeatable. At least when it comes to its individual raw damage output.
Black Mage is an excellent caster DPS that uses a lot of spells. It’s one of the most challenging jobs to get into since the mechanics differ from your typical ranged or melee DPS. But it is precisely what sets Black Mage apart from the rest and makes it fun to play.
You don’t have to tirelessly grind your way into a giant window burst of damage. Instead, you just use your spells to explode everything in your way.
The robes and a very fantastic–looking staff will be waiting for you to embark on your Black Mage journey.