Sometimes I get myself thinking about the etymology of a word. Before researching its meaning and prematurely butchering my digression, I try to brainstorm, with all my limited sapience, the origin of it. The word of the day is Warring.
Have you ever heard of the Warring Triad? In Final Fantasy XIV, it’s an organization of three – hence the triad – primals summoned by the Meracydians to fight the Allagan Empire. However, due to the conflicted nature of their invokers, they had some issues against themselves, so the primals raged war forever.
That’s when it hit me! Warring, by my internal rationalizing and no Google asked, means War + Ing. You and I know that gerund is something that is happening. As in, constantly happening right now, lasting for ages, correct? Don’t take my explanation as a fact because I’m no English teacher. However, it’s amazing how language can just mix something here and there to create a whole another word that simplifies a meaning.
And what does this grammatical reverie have to do with today’s article? This piece’s celebrity is Zurvan, one of the three primals that make up the Warring Triad with all its majestic and godlike pomp. My purpose with this zurvan ffxiv guide is to show you a little more about this centaur creature, his association in the narrative of Final Fantasy XIV, and some strategies for you to gallop him and bring the victory home.
Inspired by Final Fantasy VI Warring Triad
Like most elements in Final Fantasy XIV, Zurvan was also inspired by another flagship title in the crystal franchise. In the past, however, he was simply named by his moniker, The Demon, and did not have a given name of his own.
In Final Fantasy VI, the Warring Triad are gods who have descended into the world. They are the source of magic and creators of espers. Each of the three feared the power of the other, so the best solution was to beat the crap out of the unknown. This divine clash caused the humans caught in the crossfire to become espers but slaves to the will of their respective god.
Eventually, the Warring Triad identified that their conflicts were causing more harm to the world than fear and decided to seal themselves off, becoming statues that were never supposed to be awakened. Obviously, they were awakened by the main villain, who used their powers for his own benefit, subduing anyone who faced him. Until the heroes of Final Fantasy VI cross paths with each of the Warring Triad and seal their power permanently with the gift of death.
Zurvan kept the same design made by Tetsuya Nomura in Final Fantasy VI, a sort of amalgam between a winged spear-wielding humanoid in his upper half with a creature I couldn’t decipher in the lower half. He is clad in blood-red armor covering the entire body length, except his tail.
The boss was introduced in patch 3.5 of Final Fantasy XIV, entitled The Far Edge of Fate, and was the last – albeit optional – trial of the Heavensward expansion. Along with its normal version, it also had the Extreme version, a fight for hardcore gamers who wanted to arm themselves to the teeth back in the day or grab some exclusive-to-the-fight mounts.
The Warring Triad questline discloses a little bit about his story. However, there isn’t much broken down about Zurvan. He was summoned by a centaur-like race from Meracydia, a race that only appeared as followers trying to release their master from imprisonment and as trash mobs in his fight. I still believe these centaurs have the potential to become a beast tribe when we visit the mysterious but notorious Meracydia continent.
Unlocking Zurvan is optional, and anyone could miss him, considering the plethora of side quests nowadays available in the MMORPG. His Extreme version is also optional.
Finding a synched battle to legitimately take on Zurvan on the difficulty he was in his early days is a bit difficult. Many can solo him by entering the fight unsynched – I did for the sake of some screenshots. However, I still bet that eventually, Zurvan will arrive as an Unreal trial, and everyone will be able to take on the sinister version of the Demon at full power.
Zurvan, The Demon of The Triad
The story of the Warring Triad in Final Fantasy XIV begins after Archbishop Thordan attempts to become god-king by drawing the power of the sealed primals. Although he fails because we interrupt his actions, his involvement weakened the seal of the Warring Triad, which began to progressively shed its binds.
To prevent all the primals from breaking free at once and blasting their power simultaneously into Eorzea, the Scions began to attack the creatures preemptively (or rather, only our Warrior of Light who faced them). The first to be defeated was Sephirot, the Fiend. Next was Goddess Sophia, unleashed by an unaware and noisy Imperial Garlean. The collateral effect of Sophia’s defeat begins to free Zurvan from his imprisonment.
In a temporary and unexpected alliance, Scions and the VIth Legion of Regula Van Hydrus team up to defeat Zurvan’s followers and prevent the Demon from being fully awake. Near Zurvan’s prison, we find imperial soldiers fighting against each other, already succumbing to the primal’s enthrallment and mind-control.
Bravely, Scions and Regula manage to prevent Zurvan’s awakening and defeat his worshippers. The Demon, however, briefly uses his power to attack Regula, who succumbs to the attack and dies.
It’s an exciting take on the plot and brief development of the legatus. Although Regula’s sacrifice saved the Scion Unukalhai, he did it for the sake of the empire, cherishing the boy’s Echo and his potential servitude to Emperor Varis in the future. (Spoiler alert: this never happens, so we can say that his death was practically in vain).
While Zurvan is weakened, Unukalhai and Krile will try to restore his shackles while Urianger and Y’shtola protect him against his crazed centaur followers. Meanwhile, our Warrior of Light enters a direct confrontation with Zurvan to prevent him from regaining his strength if the Scions’ attempts go wrong.
At this point, the outcome of the Warring Triad’s events somewhat divides my opinion. Although it is repeatedly said that the VIth Legion’s efforts prevented Zurvan from being awakened to his full power and supremacy, ultimately, the sheer brute force of our Warrior of Light solved the problem – as it has most of the time during our journey.
This makes the side characters’ participation almost expendable. However, this is vastly improved in future expansions, where the Scions have more screentime and relevance with the Trust system.
Zurvan Primal Fight – Normal
Zurvan is a level 60 trial fight. You unlock the Containment Bay Z1T9 duty by progressing through Heavensward’s Warring Triad questline. You can start the questline by accepting the sidequest “Gods of Eld” by talking to Torsefers in The Pillars (X:11.7, Y:11.5). You need to have finished the MSQ “Heavensward” to unlock it.
I suggest starting after finishing every Heavensward post-main scenario quest because you will have opened every quest in the chain. The last sidequest is “The Last Pillar to Fall,” where you will have to face Zurvan with your full blessed by light might.
If you’ve reached this boss, you know the drill. The trials demand a party of 2 tanks, 2 healers, and 4 DPS. Enter the Duty Finder and search for some random Warriors of Light or ask your Free Company high-level member to join the battle unsynched with you and trounce the eikon.
It’s up to you, but in my humble opinion, I suggest you try the genuine experience of facing him synched with a party organized by the system.
First Phase – The Bound Demon
Zurvan has two phases. In the first one, he’s a stationary sucker that uses cheap skills to destroy the arena around him. However, the first phase is a breeze to pass through. Remember to dodge any weird markers on the ground, and you’ll be fine.
The tank should drive Zurvan’s attention from the party, leaving his behind open for some stabbing and slashing. It also helps prevent the party from getting hit by the large cleave attack called Metal Cutter. When Zurvan marks one side of the arena with growing orange arcs, run like hell because he will slice that part of the arena off and anyone standing on it.
You can jump from the edge if you’re feeling a tad adventurous – but you will die. At the same time, he will cast Flare Star, AoEs underneath players that should be dextrously avoided while not being sliced from the arena. That’s pretty much it. After 1 minute or so, you will automatically transition to the next phase after Zurvan casts The Purge.
Second Phase – The Demon Unleashed
In the second phase, Zurvan will free himself from his shackles and float around. The tank should still move him away from the party, preferably north, to avoid Metal Cutter cleaving everyone else. You should stay away from Zurvan’s nasty face if you’re not the tank. Also, pay heed to the ring of fire circling the arena. You don’t want to step on it because flames can burn and charcoal a person to death.
Zurvan will turn to a random player and start to cast Wave Cannon. Move away from his line of sight because a Kamehameha will burst forth, hitting anyone in its wake. The Demon will start to release Soar, and two lines will appear at his side; dodge as necessary. He will send copies of himself to the edge of the arena, casting a cross-shaped AOE to hit any unaware player.
At the same time, two random players will be awarded a circle marker above their heads and a large AoE called Flaming Halberd. Try to not overlap these AoEs, but don’t get too desperate if you get hit by them. The damage isn’t enough to kill a healthy, HP-filled Warrior of Light. The AoEs will explode as soon as the copies cross the arena.
Soon after, one of the healers will be branded with Demonic Dive, a stack marker, so forget social distancing and mingle together to soak the damage. After this, Zurvan will move to the center of the arena and put a frost AoE underneath him that causes heavy damage to anyone who steps on the ice.
Then, he will target a random player with Biting Halberd, a gigantic 270 degrees AoE in front of him. The only safe spot is on his massive tail. I know melees are dying to cross to his behind underneath him but remember the ice zone.
Zurvan will cast Southern Cross on several players that are easily avoided. Following, the Demon will prepare Ciclicle, a donut AoE. Players should get close to him to avoid heavy damage. Remember, he will constantly use Metal Cutter, so if you’re not tanking, stay away from the Demon’s face.
The next attack will be Tail End, an opposite-donut AOE where the safe spots are at the edge of the arena. Dodge and prepare for the add phase.
Add Phase – Kill The Worshippers
The boss will fly away, and three Execrated Thews will appear. These are just washed-out mobs easily disposed of. The next ones are way more provocative and dangerous if left alone. One Execrated Will and one Execrated Wit will spawn.
The Execrated Will progressively increases their damage output. The Execrated Wit is an annoying fella because they will repeatedly cast Meracydian Meteor, small AoEs that will constantly hit the arena and anyone beneath them.
After destroying these two, three more adds will spawn. Two Execrated Wills and one Execrated Wit. A tank should grab the two Wills while the party and the other tank focus on the Wit to end the meteor shower.
Ultimately, you need to kill all adds. I suggest you do it fast and don’t save cooldowns because after they die, Zurvan will cast his Ultimate, Ahura Mazda, whose damage scales according to how long the party took to defeat his minions.
Final Phase – More Damning Meteors
Zurvan will use all his demonic pomp to make a very cool cinematic attack. He will start this final phase by marking half the party with Infinity Ice and the other half with Infinite Fire. Remember which debuff you got for the following skill, Broken Seal. Zurvan will spawn four meteor markers around him.
At least one player should soak the damage according to the matching element, or raid-wide damage will blast off. Piece of cake, right? However, any player that dies in this phase will lose the Infinity Ice or Fire, which can complicate the battle down the road.
Tanks, behold, because Zurvan will begin casting Tyrfing, a tankbuster followed by a Fire III. Pop up those damage reduction cooldowns and endure it. The Demon will start to repeat his mechanics but will enhance Soar.
Instead of marking two players with Demonic Dive, four will be branded. So stay away from any marked player, avoid the AoEs, and you will eventually exorcise the Demon.
Zurvan Primal Fight – Extreme
Extreme is the highest difficulty of trial fights, demanding high item level pieces of equipment relative to the expansion, party coordination, and millennial focus. With that said, however, you can steamroll Zurvan Extreme fight by joining it with an unsynched party. That’s usually what extreme mount farmers do.
But, if you want a taste of the real deal or are preparing for an eventual Zurvan Unreal fight, you can wait for three hours on the duty finder or create a minimum item level and no echo group in the party finder. If you opt for the latter, pay attention to the strategies ahead.
Extreme Zurvan First Phase
Same mechanics as the normal phase, except they hit harder. So it’s advised for the party to stack to bait Flare Stars in the same spot and then move to avoid the AoE. Just unleash all your might on the Demon until he moves on to the next phase.
Extreme Zurvan Second Phase
The most significant difference between Normal and Extreme modes is the lack of visual aid for the boss’ attacks. By the time you see it, you’ll probably get hit. So it’s good to know Zurvan’s patterns before the fight, so you don’t get caught unnoticed.
Zurvan’s Soar will have two different patterns. The first attack will have a tell and is easily avoided. However, the marker only appears to illustrate what Zurvan’s next phase of Soar will be once his clones are at the edge of the arena. If the first Soar is in a uniform pattern, three directions evenly spaced, the second dive will also be like this. Zurvan will rush through the arena from south to north, northeast to southwest, and northwest to southeast. Basically, don’t stand in front of his massive figure when he appears in the outer arena.
Consider the pattern of the first Soar as two overlapping lines. In that case, the second dive will focus entirely on the center, so distribute the party evenly between north and south to avoid the attack. Sounds simple enough, right? However, at the same time, six players, except the healers, will be marked with Flaming Halberd, that giant AoE.
Avoid overlapping these AoEs as much as possible because you will certainly die if you do. The idea is to initially mark a spot for each party member depending on Soar’s pattern and keep the healers together with a tank. Since they don’t have the Flaming Halberd marker, they can soak the damage together and survive.
Next, one player will be marked with Demonic Dive, a stack-up marker, and another with a single target marker. Everyone except the single target player must gather in the center and soak the damage as a family. Zurvan will then create the pool of ice in his hitbox and begin casting Biting Halberd. The attack is the same as in Normal, but without a visual guide to the area of effect. Players should quickly get behind the Demon to avoid damage.
The next skill is Southern Cross, which will place a puddle of ice beneath every player. The best way to tackle this is to hug each other until the snowstorm animation ends and move, leaving the puddles of ice all in one place. Next, Zurvan will use one of three possible attacks: Biting Halberd, Ciclicle, or Tail End.
Again, same attacks as the normal version, but the only guide is his cast bar. So pay attention to the boss’ cast bar! If it’s Biting Halberd, all to Zurvan’s rear. If it’s Ciclicle, mingle together close to him and avoid the donut-shaped AoE. If it’s Tail End, the party should run to the far edge of the platform to dodge it.
Extreme Zurvan Add Phase
Eventually, the Demon will disappear and start the add phase. This time, the adds come in droves and invite all their friends and family to join the fight. The first batch delivers four Execrated Thew and one Execrated Will. A tank must gather all five adds together while the party uses area attacks to defeat them. The damage is considerably high on the tank, so healers should be on their guard.
The second wave gives us two Execrated Will, one Execrated Wit, and a new variation, an Execrated Wile. As usual, players should focus on the Wit to shut down the annoying flurry of Meracydian Meteors while the tank pulls the two Wills for him. At the same time, everyone should keep an eye out for the Wile, which will cast Fear on anyone looking directly at it. Defeat Wit first, then Wile, and finally the two Wills.
In the third wave, the whole group is reunited. A Will, Wile, and Wite and three Thews. Same strategy as before. Focus on Wit, avoid Wite’s Fear, and then gather everyone else for a thrashing. The tank will probably have to burn their cooldown to survive the constant pounding from the several adds.
Extreme Zurvan Final Phase
After his outstanding ultimate attack, the final phase will start. When players are marked with Infinity Ice and Infinity Fire, they will be tethered to another player. Moving too far away from your pair will cause heavy damage, so stick together. Zurvan will cast Wave Cannon on a player with a blue marker. This player must move away from the party but keep the tethered partner close. Then, Zurvan will employ the tankbuster Tyrfing on a tank. Prepare to reinforce those defenses and initiate some fast heals.
Zurvan will cast Southern Cross, which you know is easy to avoid if everyone is stacked behind the boss and moves as soon as the cast is finished. However, since you’ll be tethered with someone, it’s ideal to decide which side each pair will go to to prepare for the following and possibly more complicated fight mechanic.
Broken Seal, which conjures meteors to be soaked by the respective debuff on each player, has received a nasty upgrade. Now, all players must soak the damage alongside their partners or expect raid-wide damage towards death. To complicate things, there are 3 possible patterns for the Broken Seal.
One is the simplest, four seals on each side of Zurvan evenly distributed between elements, meaning you need a pair of each element on each side. The second pattern is a circle around Zurvan alternating between elements, and the third pattern is the elements in the cardinals at the outer edge of the arena. You probably won’t get this right the first time, and even if you do, chances are someone in your party won’t, but learning from your mistakes is essential.
As soon as the meteors explode, the tether breaks. Important to note that the Broken Seal patterns will also warn you what Zurvan’s next attack is since it will be unleashed without a cast bar. If it was the first pattern, Zurvan will attack with Biting Halberd, so get behind him. If it was the second pattern, he will use Tail End, so run to the far edge of the arena.
The third pattern is the opposite. After defending against the meteors outside the arena, you must go close to Zurvan and dodge Ciclicle. It’s pretty intuitive to know the attack according to the meteors. Think that Zurvan will try to destroy you regardless, so go to the opposite side where the meteors crashed, and you will be safe.
The Demon will do another batch of the same mechanics as at the beginning of the Final Phase, and once it’s over, it will cast Soar like in the second phase. It will work the same way, so trust your instinct and your party. Then, near the end, Zurvan will innovate and design a new technique called The Demon’s Claw on the main tank.
This attack does high damage, stuns, and knockbacks the tank, so be on alert to not be knocked back in the arena’s fiery rim. Next, Zurvan will cast Wave Cannon on the same tank. The party can either stack on the line to soak damage, or if able, the tank can use immunity to take the beating alone. At this point, the mechanics will repeat until you kill the Demon or he enrages and wipes your party.
Question: How To Unlock Zurvan?
Answer: Zurvan and the Warring Triad is a side content from Heavensward, so it’s optional. You unlock the Containment Bay Z1T9 duty by progressing through Heavensward’s Warring Triad questline. You can start the questline by accepting the sidequest “Gods of Eld” by talking to Torsefers in The Pillars (X:11.7, Y:11.5). Zurvan appears in patch 3.5 in the sidequest “The Far Edge of Fate.”
Question: How do you get the Containment Bay Z1T9 Extreme?
Answer: This mouthful is the name of the duty involving Zurvan extreme fight. To unlock it, you must first defeat normal Zurvan and talk to Unukalhai in the Rising Stones. The boy will give you the quest A Demonic Duplicate, which rewards you with the Zurvan Extreme trial fight after completion.
Question: What Loots can I Get from Zurvan?
Answer: The only loot you can get from the normal fight is the Zurvan Triple Triad card. In the Extreme version, each player earns a Demon Totem. 10 of these can be exchanged for a weapon while 99 for a mount.
He also drops the Demonic Lanner Whistle, a bird mount referring to the extreme trials in Heavensward. But besides the drop being of low probability, you will still have to be lucky to roll the dice against 7 other players and get the highest number.
Zurvan seems to shine more like a historical figure explaining the world’s past rather than a pivotal point in the present timeline. He’s portrayed in side events of Heavensward, meaning you can miss him entirely. Even if you do Zurvan’s content, he’s still quite forgettable. However, being one of the first primals summoned – that is known – and hailing from the mysterious continent of Meracydia, I believe that eventually, future expansions and updates of Final Fantasy XIV will introduce us to more about the race responsible for his summoning as well as what the Warring Triad’s fight against the Allagan Empire was like.