FFXIV Dark Knight Skill Guide (or “How I learned to love my great sword”)
This is not a tanking guide or a guide on the best rotation, or anything like that. I just wanted to give a nice breakdown of each skill and what they do and how they interact. It might be helpful to some people.
Shadowskin: Pretty comparable to rampart, this is a nice 20% defense taken reduction on all incoming damage. Capable on it’s own, and even better when paired with Dark Mind or Dark Dance. For magical busters, Dark Mind with this will allow you to mitigate very well, especially if you use Dark Arts on Dark Mind. For doing large trash pulls, Shadowskin + Dark Dance is also incredibly useful, as long as you remember to keep the targets in front of you. Dark Arts can make this even better.
Shadowall: 30% damage reduction, usually enough on it’s own (save for a1s buster, perhaps), though the cooldown is pretty short so make sure you time it properly. I tend to use this only when shadowskin is on cooldown, unless I know I need to really mitigate something hard. When paired with shadowskin it can save you in a pinch, but you’ll be unable to mitigate anything for a while, so it’s not recommended.
Dark Dance: Increases parry rate by 30%, and with dark arts, also adds an evasion bonus. Personally I don’t think that evasion bonus is really worthwhile, but it might be good for some stuff (trash pulls, I guess?). It’s main use is making it more likely you can keep Reprise up, and resetting low blows more often. 20% mitigation on physical attacks whenever parry triggers is very nice as well, considering the fact that DRK is a bit limited on physical mitigations.
Dark Mind: Magic vulnerability reduction by 15%, 30% with dark arts. Now, it’s interesting to note it says vulnerability reduction, and not damage reduction. Not sure exactly how that differs, but needless to say it’s a very potent mitigation tool, particularly against the Alexander Magic tank busters. If you like to bring foresight with you, you can pop this and foresight together to make a sorta third ‘proper’ mitigation tool. Not really the same but it should get the job done.
I’ll go over this in terms of their combos, and not the skills on their own.
Scourge: Pretty potent dot, actually. Keep this up as much as you can.
Power slash combo: This is basically just for establishing hate, and getting more hate or doing snap aggro. It’s actually the second weakest combo in terms of DPS, so once you have a decent hate lead you should stop doing this combo in favor of delirium or DA soul eater combo. If you REALLY need hate fast, you can use dark arts on power slash to get some extra enmity out of it. Not the best use of mp, generally, but it can be useful sometimes.
Delirium combo: Outside of a dark arts soul eater combo, this is your strongest dps combo, and it also generates some decent MP. If you’re low on MP and don’t need hate, use this. Also applies a 10% int down debuff on the target, which is overwritten by monk’s dragon kick. If you don’t have a mnk, make sure you keep this up.
Soul eater combo: Generally speaking, you never wanna use this without dark arts. Without dark arts the damage is subpar and the heal isn’t very good. With dark arts, it’s about as strong as Inner beast, which isn’t too bad, both in terms of dps and heals. If you’re hurting for hp this can do you in a pinch, but it’s no Equilibrium or Clemency.
If you need some tips on what to do for a good DRK rotation, there’s quite a few guides for that out there. I won’t list any here.
Unleash: 100 potency attack to all enemies with increased enmity. Your basic flash skill. Not very strong, but it deals damage, however small. I generally use this after I use Unmend > plunge on a trash pull, to secure some decent hate on all targets while I position. If you have the MP, you should use abyssal drain after to generate more hate.
Unmend: Long range poke, decent enmity, virtually identical to tomahawk/shield lob. Not much else to say. General opener would be something like unmend > plunge > unleash > rotation.
Abyssal drain: Great for big trash pulls, basically worthless for single target. Damage is pretty decent, though it has a big MP cost, especially with dark arts to heal off it and increase the damage. If you’re gonna use this, pop blood price first.
Dark Passenger: 150 potency to all targets in front of you, buffed to 250 + blind effect if you use dark arts. Only good for trash pulls, and even then, the dark arts doesn’t seem especially worth it. Perhaps with DA’d dark dance as well, but I’ve never needed anything like that before. It’s an okay poke for off GCD, but because it costs a decent amount of MP, it’s not really worth it in the long run.
Reprisal: Every time you parry, you can activate this skill to place a debuff on the enemy that lowers all outgoing damage by 10%. Stacks with storm’s path. It’s very nice, although due to the randomness of parrying, it’s not reliable. Use it every chance you get just to soften the damage you take in general.
Low Blow: Stun, low damage. Because it has a chance to reset every time you parry, and because a lot of bosses aren’t stunnable anyways, I tend to just spam it like crazy. No other use, really.
Salted Earth: Decent damage, relatively short duration AOE. It’s not too amazing on it’s own, even with a ton of mobs, but it costs nothing to put down, not even a GCD, so it should be up as often as you can put it down. It’s also a good way to tell your allies where you’re going to be tanking the adds, so they can place their own aoes.
Carve and spit: MP generation equal to syphon strike, or with DA, your highest damaging single attack. If you’re OT, you probably won’t really need the MP due to blood weapon, so you could pop DA for this if you wanted. Personally, I do MT as DRK more often, and that MP regen allows me to do extra DA souleaters every time it’s up, so I always save it for the mp regen, especially in case I end up running out of mp for some reason.
Blood price: Generates MP each time you’re hit. Great skill, especially with trash pulls. Abyssal Drain becomes almost free to cast with this, and you can pop DA a lot more often with it as well. Even vs slow single target enemies this is great.
Sole Survivor: Marks an enemy, if the target dies while marked, it gives back 20% mp and hp. Great whenever you’re in a fight with adds around, though sometimes this isn’t always possible to use, especially when you could really use a big self heal. Good in some situations, unusable in others.
Living Dead: Emergency mode! After using it, for 20 seconds you are incapable of dying; if your hp would fall below 1, you instead enter “Zombie” state, and for ten seconds are unkillable. If you are not healed 100% before this ends, you die. IMPORTANT! You don’t actually have to have full hp, you just need to heal 100% worth of your hp. This means if for whatever reason you don’t take damage after entering the state and your white mage casts benediction, you will still be in zombie mode because you only healed 1 hp less than your max hp. Normally this wouldn’t ever show up in any time you’d use it though. But it can run out early if you take a ton of sustained damage while being healed.
Alrighty, that’s about it. Lemme know if there’s any questions. I know it might seem pretty basic to most of you but I figure some people might not realize some of this.