Shasta's Ninja Guide
By Shasta Kota of Death and Taxes <DnT> on Gilgamesh


Hello! This section is mostly BS, so if you just want to start learning NIN stuff, click on another tab.

I'd like to thank you for your interest in my guide. It's been a very long, ongoing pet project of mine. I have to also thank the many individuals out there who have contacted me both in-game and on forums such as Reddit; it is thanks to them that I was able to be so thorough with the information I provide.

I would also like to post a little warning here too. If you have high ping (like 200+), your talent would probably shine through better if you play a different class other than NIN, mainly because of the way Mudras/Ninjutsu work and due to the higher skill speed than some other jobs. In my opinion, DRG is a good DPS for people with high ping. Also, playing with a controller instead of mouse/keyboard will make certain abilities more difficult to execute also (mainly Shukuchi and Shadewalker). However, if you aren't one of those people who absolutely must be one of the best players ever, or if you simply LOOOOVE ninja and want to play it regardless, please don't let this discourage you. Ninja is still a viable class even if you have high ping or prefer to play with a controller, it will just be a little inconvenient sometimes.

I hope you learn something from reading this novel. Check out this YouTube link for some complementary culture for you, in true ninja spirit! Enjoy!

GCD Offensive oGCD Defensive oGCD Ninjutsu Traits / Persistent
Spinning Edge (1) Assassinate (12) Shade Shift (2) Rabbit Medium Kiss of the Wasp (6)
Gust Slash (4) Mug (15) Goad (18) Fuma Shuriken (30) Hide (10)
Mutilate (8) Sneak Attack (22) Shukuchi (40) Raiton (35) All Fours (14)
Throwing Dagger (15) Jugulate (34) Smoke Screen (52) Katon (35) Fleet of Foot (20)
Aeolian Edge (26) Trick Attack (50) Shadewalker (56) Huton (45) Enhanced DEX III (24)
Dancing Edge (38) Kassatsu (50) ----- Doton (45) Kiss of the Viper (30)
Death Blossom (42) Duality (58) ----- Suiton (45) -----
Shadow Fang (46) Dream within a Dream (60) ----- Hyoton (45) -----
Armor Crush (54) ----- ----- ----- -----

Recommended Cross-Class Skills

Keen Flurry (lvl 6 DRG) - optional
Invigorate (lvl 22 DRG) - NECESSARY
Blood for Blood (lvl 34 DRG) - NECESSARY
Second Wind (lvl 8 MNK) - optional
Internal Release (lvl 12 MNK) - NECESSARY
Mantra (lv 42 MNK) - optional

Misc Info about NIN Abilities

  • Kiss of the Wasp/Viper only affects physical damage. This means it does not affect Raiton, Doton, Katon, Suiton, or Hyoton. This is the reason for the argument between using Fuma Shuriken (which is affected by Kiss buffs) or Raiton when it comes to fighting a single target. This is discussed below (math provided).
  • Dancing Edge's slashing debuff does not apply to the DoT effect of Mutilate or Shadow Fang, nor does it apply to Raiton, Doton, Katon, Suiton, or Hyoton.
  • The ability you use with Duality CANNOT crit, so if possible, don't use it when Internal Release is up or you are wasting a GCD of IR.
  • Individual ticks of Doton will all be guaranteed crits if you use it with Kassatsu, making it one of the most potent AoE abilities in the game.
  • You can use Hide on trash in dungeons/raids to start a fight with Trick Attack without wasting Ninjutsu cooldown. This means you can Hide > TA > Shuriken > Kassatsu > Katon/Doton/Raiton for lots of damage.

All credit to Dervy for these. See more details on stat weights from his website at https://dervyxiv.wordpress.com/stat-weights/.

Patch 3.4 Info
Weapon Damage: 15.195
Dexterity: 1.000
Determination: 0.210
Critical Hit Rate: 0.282
Skill Speed: 0.141

Recommend using ffxiv.ariyala.com, plug in these stat weights, and find your own BiS sets with whatever gear you have available to you.

Patch 3.4, A12S BiS: http://ffxiv.ariyala.com/W40W

OLD Patch 3.2 Info
Weapon Damage: 12.799
Dexterity: 1.000
Determination: 0.168
Critical Hit Rate: 0.215
Skill Speed: 0.106 (maybe a bit higher up to 0.116 if you use Shuriken instead of Raiton)

For those with expensive tastes http://ffxiv.ariyala.com/TSU2
For the commoners (that's me!) http://ffxiv.ariyala.com/TSU0
If you can beat A8S and get Midan chest http://ffxiv.ariyala.com/U1CV (Swap the food to Baked Pipira Pira to meet A8S frontal acc cap)
^ For the last one, credit to /u/ESCUDO https://www.reddit.com/r/ffxiv/comments/4hppuw/heavensward_ninja_guide_by_rize_shina_angered_fc/d2rhm9r.

OLD Pre-3.2 Info
THESE ARE OUT OF DATE AS OF PATCH 3.2.
Weapon Damage: 10.775
Dexterity: 1.000
Determination: 0.141
Critical Hit Rate: 0.166
Skill Speed: 0.074

Priority Queue

Like any DPS class, maximizing the damage in your rotation is really more about following a priority queue rather than a "rotation" in the sense of the definition.

Just follow these rules in the following order to max your DPS:
  1. Keep up Huton. Use Armor crush if duration is 40s or less. Exception: if you have buffs on, use Aeolian Edge instead. You can make up for this by using 2 Armor Crush in a row to max your Huton duration again.
  2. Keep up slashing debuff (Dancing Edge). Ignore this if you have a WAR keeping it up with Storm's Eye.
  3. Use Ninjutsu (e.g. Suiton > Trick Attack, Raiton, Fuma Shuriken)
  4. Keep up DoTs. If Shadow Fang and Mutilate are wearing off at the same time, reapply Shadow Fang first (higher potency). The only exception to this is if you have a buff that is going to wear off after 1 GCD, then obviously use that buff on a Mutilate instead of Spinning Edge. If your Shadow fang has 3s left, and Mutilate has 0s left, refresh Mutilate first. It's better to lose 1 tick of Shadow Fang DoT rather than 2 ticks of Mutilate DoT.
  5. Aeolian Edge combo (if you can hit positional).
  6. Armor crush combo (if you have to hit from the flank, due to AoE or whatever).
  7. Dancing Edge combo (if your positionals are not guaranteed, DE does more damage from the front than AE or AC).

AoE Rotation

This is mainly for trash pulls in dungeons where you can just waste all your TP:
Precast Huton > open with Katon > Death Blossom > (Kassatsu) + (B4B) > Death Blossom > Doton > Death Blossom > (IR) > spam Death Blossom
See the advanced tips section titled "AoE Spam Worth vs. Trash Pulls?" for more in-depth analysis of AoE rotations.

Select a category below to view details.

Without Potion of Dexterity
huton.png
(w20)
suiton.png
spinningedge.png
kassatsu.png
internalrelease.png
gustslash.png
bloodforblood.png
dancingedge.png
jugulate.png
spinningedge.png
trickattack.png
shadowfang.png
raiton.png
*
mutilate.png
dreamwithinadream.png
spinningedge.png
mug.png
gustslash.png
duality.png
aeolianedge.png

Longform: Huton > (wait 20s) > Suiton > Spinning Edge > Kassatsu & Internal Release > Gust Slash > Blood for Blood > Dancing Edge > Jugulate > Spinning Edge > Trick Attack > Shadow Fang > Raiton* > Mutilate > Dream within a Dream > Spinning Edge > Mug > Gust Slash > Duality > Aeolian Edge

Shorthand: Huton precast > (wait 20s) > open with Suiton > SE > (Kassatsu) & (IR) > GS > (B4B) > DE > (Jugulate) > SE > (TA) > SF > (Raiton*) > Mutilate > (Dream) > SE > (Mug) > GS > (Duality) > AE

*If you have a MCH putting up Hypercharge, use Fuma Shuriken instead of Raiton.

After the opener: If you have a BRD, you will want to keep using Raiton until they take off Foe Requiem. You will also want to use another AE combo after your opener since your B4B should still be up for it (especially true if you have a SCH/AST using speed buff). You then need to use two Armor Crush rotations to refresh your Huton (make sure to keep up your DoTs of course).

With Potion of Dexterity
huton.png
(w20)
suiton.png
spinningedge.png
kassatsu.png
internalrelease.png
gustslash.png
potionofdex.png
dancingedge.png
bloodforblood.png
spinningedge.png
trickattack.png
shadowfang.png
raiton.png
*
mutilate.png
dreamwithinadream.png
spinningedge.png
mug.png
gustslash.png
duality.png
aeolianedge.png
jugulate.png

Longform: Huton > (wait 20s) > Suiton > Spinning Edge > Kassatsu & Internal Release > Gust Slash > Potion > Dancing Edge > Blood for Blood > Spinning Edge > Trick Attack > Shadow Fang > Raiton* > Mutilate > Dream within a Dream > Spinning Edge > Mug > Gust Slash > Duality > Aeolian Edge > Jugulate

Shorthand: Huton precast > (wait 20s) > open with Suiton > SE > (Kassatsu) & (IR) > GS > (Potion) > DE > (B4B) > SE > (TA) > SF > (Raiton*) > Mutilate > (Dream) > SE > (Mug) > GS > (Duality) > AE > (Jugulate)

*If you have a MCH putting up Hypercharge, use Fuma Shuriken instead of Raiton.

After the opener: If you have a BRD, you will want to keep using Raiton until they take off Foe Requiem. You will also want to use another AE combo after your opener since your B4B will still be up for it. You then need to use two Armor Crush rotations to refresh your Huton (make sure to keep up your DoTs of course).

Opener Video & Misc. Info
Video guide for opener
External Link

Logic behind the design of this opener
  • The goal of this opener is to maximize overall DPS. There are other openers which will result in higher burst DPS, but that is ultimately not as beneficial.
  • Precasting Huton and Suiton means that these 3-step mudra combos will not cut into your GCD.
  • Double weaving oGCD abilities is mostly avoided so there is no GCD clipping. The only double weaving is with Kassatsu + IR. This does clip the GCD a little bit, but it's not too bad. You MUST use Kassatsu -> IR (not IR -> Kassatsu) so that IR interrupts Kassatsu's long animation; this makes double weaving these two buffs a little less problematic.
  • TA is used after all other buffs so that its damage is maxed out.
  • Normally, B4B is used before IR because its duration is longer and there should be as many buffs active simultaneously as IR because of the multiplicative effect of crits and buffs. However, NIN is a special case with its opener because using Duality means that ability cannot crit. To avoid wasting a GCD of the IR buff on your Duality + AE, we use the IR very early in the rotation so it will benefit from your first GS and DE.
  • All buffs (including TA) are used before DoT application (SF & Mutilate).
  • All buffs remain active for AE combo and all oGCD abilities (except Jugulate, TA does not apply to it).
  • Jugulate is used outside of the TA because it is the lowest potency offensive oGCD ability, and with this setup there is one oGCD that will not benefit from TA unless you double weave them. Overall, 10% buff on Jugulate is a minimal loss.
  • If you have a SCH/AST with speed buff, B4B still lasts long enough for a second AE combo.
  • In the opener with a potion, the B4B is pushed back instead of simply using potion afterward. The reason for this is that potion is a higher damage buff than B4B, so having it apply on your Dancing Edge is more beneficial than the B4B on DE.

It's important to know that if you apply a debuff to a mob, it takes a fraction of a second for the server to register that the mob has a debuff on it. So you will need to wait slightly before attacking or you won't get the effect of it on your next ability. This is relevant here because if you do Spinning Edge -> Trick Attack -> Shadow Fang, you might not get the TA buff applied to your SF damage. The way to avoid this without changing your rotation would be to use SE, then spam TA so that it goes off as soon as possible. Then do NOT queue up your SF, but use it immediately once the GCD timer is up. This small delay of about 1 second should be enough for your SF to benefit from the TA debuff. Note: if you play SMN, it's the same time required to apply a DoT to an enemy and then get its effect to work with Bane or Fester, for the same reasons. An alternative to this, if you don't think you can pull it off (maybe due to latency) is to couple your TA with Jugulate, so you can do SE -> TA & Jug -> SF.

If you need to use Shadewalker on pull, I would just do it before Suiton and deal with the reduced duration. You still do a lot of damage in the first 15s, which should be enough extra aggro for your tank. If you're not using a potion, you can fit it in after DE instead of Jugulate and just move Jugulate to the end of the rotation for a slight DPS loss (if IR doesn't actually make Jugulate crit then it's no DPS loss at all). For more info on Shadewalker, see the section below titled "Using Aggro Control Abilities."

If you have a WAR in your party who will be putting up slashing debuff on his first rotation, it is technically a dps gain if you change your first DE to an AE instead. However, the overall dps difference is small and you are putting a lot of faith in another person. It is good to just use DE in the rotation I stated just because it's a good habit to always engage on a new enemy with DE. If you can, just tell your WAR he can change his opener to apply his slashing debuff a few seconds later since you're going to start with your DE. This is not a potency increase for the WAR, but he can put up Storm's Path debuff sooner...which is only marginally better for the healers but that's min-maxing for ya.

Firana's Opener

This is a video guide by a player named Firana Windsong (/u/beepyboopsy on Reddit) that shows how to do his opener. In terms of DPS and effectiveness, they are both roughly equivalent. Feel free to use whichever one you are more comfortable with.

External Link

Select a category below to view details.

Fuma Shuriken vs. Raiton

TL;DR: Situational, depends on your buffs, skill speed, and lag.

First, a little background info for the newer players. The reason this is even a debated topic is because slashing debuff and Kiss of the Viper/Wasp buffs will increase the damage of Fuma Shuriken since it is a physical attack, but will not affect Raiton since it is a magical attack. This still puts Shuriken at a lower potency than Raiton, but performing a 2-step mudra combo to cast Raiton results in clipping into your GCD (it delays your GCD by a fraction of a second), and this clipping might slightly lower your overall DPS.

With the new 3.1 changes to mudra delay, this Shuriken vs. Raiton question is once again a point of contention. I've done some analysis and came to some conclusions. Things have changed!

If you want to see all the math I did, check out this spreadsheet (the 2nd tab was just my way of figuring out my real GCD based on FFLogs reports): Google Drive Link

If you want to use the spreadsheet to calculate the numbers based on your own GCD, go ahead and copy it and then you can just change cells B1, E1, H1, J1, and L1. The formulas in the rest of the sheet should autocalculate based on those values you put in.

I'll explain my methodology here first before I summarize my conclusions. First, I now some people argue that buffs are calculated additively and other people say they're calculated multiplicatively so I did these calculations using both methods, so choose your poison. However, I personally believe buffs are calculated additively with critical hit damage calculated afterward (making crits calculated multiplicatively).

I took the total potencies of the Aeolian Edge, Dancing Edge, and Armor Crush combos, buffed up by slashing debuff and Kiss of the Wasp/Viper, and averaged them together. Then, based on my GCD delay, calculated how much potency/time you get based on the average potency of these combos. I set up these values in intervals of 0.1 seconds, so I will know how much potency I could get from 0.1s from my GCD combo, or how much 0.2s is worth, or 0.3s, etc.

I used FFLogs to determine my average GCD delay which averaged out to 2.09s. My in-game text says that I'm at 2.09s with Huton, so that's perfect. If you want to find out your own clipping, I recommend looking at FFLogs because that will tell you if you have any delay due to latency. I then also used FFLogs to determine the time between GCDs where I used Raiton, to see how much clipping it causes; I did the same for Fuma Shuriken too.

Not surprisingly, Shuriken caused no clipping; this was made even more obvious in the case where I had Arrow speed buff on and it still didn't clip my GCD.

On the other hand, my fastest Raiton still clipped my GCD.

Now that I know for sure that Shuriken does not cause clipping, and I know Raiton does, I can continue with my analysis. There are two goals in this: 1) Determine if the higher potency of Raiton is worth the amount of GCD clipping, and 2) determine if any combination of buffs will change the answer to #1.

The potency of Raiton is 360, the potency of Shuriken with slashing and Kiss buffs is 312. With my GCD (according to FFLogs), Raiton is not worth using based on my GCD clipping, but the answer might be different for other people based on their skill speed and latency. This wasn't as definitive of an answer as I was hoping for, but let's move on to answering the second question of how much buffs will affect this decision.

Certain combinations of buffs make Raiton more appealing than Shuriken. Unfortunately, not all cases will justify using Raiton so I had to memorize a certain set of conditions to know when to use Shuriken and when to use Raiton.


Keep in mind that if you have Fey Wind, Arrow, or Enhanced Arrow (single target) active then the situations may change.

Use the spreadsheet I linked to test out various skill speed builds and see for yourself what is better to use in your situation.


My rules (based on GCD of 2.09 & negligible latency) is always Shuriken, except to use Raiton in these cases:

  • No SS buff:
    • If Kassatsu is up, but not Hypercharge (always Shuriken with Hypercharge).
    • If Foe Requiem is up.
  • With Fey Wind:
    • If Kassatsu is up, but not Hypercharge (always Shuriken with Hypercharge).
    • If Foe Requiem is up.
  • With regular Arrow:
    • If Kassatsu is up, but not Hypercharge (always Shuriken with Hypercharge).
    • If Foe Requiem is up.
    • If B4B, TA, and Kassatsu are up, Raiton is technically better but the difference is extremely small.
  • With Enhanced Arrow:
    • If Foe Requiem is up.

Another way of looking at my rules is to remember them as a priority system (#1 is highest priority):
  1. If Hypercharge is up, use Shuriken.
  2. If Foe Requiem is up, use Raiton.
  3. If Enhanced Arrow is up, use Shuriken.
  4. If Kassatsu is up, use Raiton. (Note that #1 & #3 override this rule)
  5. Default: Use Shuriken.
Again, this only applies in the case of a 2.09 GCD with negligible latency.

(OUTDATED) Data taken before patch 3.1 for comparison:

By looking at the skill usage timeline on my FFLogs (http://www.fflogs.com/reports/Nqn4t9Kh7WGY6JQ8#fight=7&type=damage-done&source=44&by=source&view=timeline), it shows two of my abilities used at 28.233s and 30.265s with no oGCDs in between. This puts my GCD at 2.032s.

Using the same FFLogs record, in my opener I use a GCD ability at 11.258s then Raiton is cast at 13.373s, and my next GCD ability is at 14.192s. So using this example, the time between my two GCD abilities is 2.934s. Compare this to a GCD with no oGCD in between (2.934s - 2.032s) and it shows that Raiton clipped into my GCD rotation by 0.902s.

For all you Chinese players stuck on older patches, the rule of thumb is to use Fuma Shuriken all the time unless you have Kassatsu or Foe Requiem up, then use Raiton instead. THIS IS ONLY TRUE BEFORE PATCH 3.1

Clipping Shadow Fang

TL;DR: SF needs 4 ticks (9-12s) to be better than AE spam

When considering whether or not to put up SF when you know it won't tick the full duration, consider the following:

Maybe a phase change is coming up. You know the total base potency of your SF is
SF application potency = 260 with persistent buffs (slashing debuff & Kiss)
SF DoT damage = 48 potency per second over 18s = 288 potency total (with Kiss buff). Note: DoT effect not affected by slashing debuff.
Must take into account the Spinning Edge combo requirement.
SF combo avg potency: 150 * 1.3 + 260 + 288 = 743 potency
SF combo avg potency/GCD = 743 / 2 = 371.5

Let's see analysis of your other combo potencies.

Average potency of AE combo: 150 (Spinning Edge) + 200 (Gust Slash) + 320 (Aeolian Edge) = 670
Adding persistent buffs (slashing debuff + Kiss) = 670 * 1.3 = 871
AE combo avg potency per GCD = 871 / 3 = 290
I will only use potencies for AE because that's likely what you're be doing just before a phase change. Kinda pointless to spam DE, but I guess you might throw in an AC if it's a short transition (more often you'll just refresh it with Huton so you can do extra AEs).

Obviously, SF has the highest potency per GCD, but only if the full DoT can tick out. Let's make a chart to see damage breakpoints between these combos:
Google Drive Link

As you can see, you will need SF to tick at least 4 times to make it worth using over pure AE spam. This means it'll need between 9 - 12 seconds to tick 4 times.

Clipping Mutilate

TL;DR: Mutilate needs 5 ticks (12-15s) to be better than AE spam

When considering whether or not to put up Mutilate when you know it won't tick the full duration, consider the following:

Maybe a phase change is coming up. You know the total base potency of your SF is
Mutilate application potency = 78 with persistent buffs (slashing debuff & Kiss)
Mutilate DoT damage = 36 potency per second over 30s = 360 potency total (with Kiss buff). Note: DoT effect not affected by slashing debuff.
Mutilate combo avg potency: 78 + 360 = 438 potency
Mutilate combo avg potency/GCD = 438 / 1 = 438

Let's see analysis of your other combo potencies.

Average potency of AE combo: 150 (Spinning Edge) + 200 (Gust Slash) + 320 (Aeolian Edge) = 670
Adding persistent buffs (slashing debuff + Kiss) = 670 * 1.3 = 871
AE combo avg potency per GCD = 871 / 3 = 290
I will only use potencies for AE because that's likely what you're be doing just before a phase change. Kinda pointless to spam DE, but I guess you might throw in an AC if it's a short transition (more often you'll just refresh it with Huton so you can do extra AEs).

Obviously, Mutilate has the highest potency per GCD, but only if the full DoT can tick out. Let's make a chart to see damage breakpoints between these combos:
Google Drive Link

As you can see, you will need Mutilate to tick at least 5 times to make it worth using over pure AE spam. This means it'll need between 12 - 15 seconds to tick 5 times.

BRD Support vs. MCH Support

TL;DR: MCH increases NIN DPS more than BRD does.

MCH's Hypercharge has a 30 second 10% vulnerability on a 120s cooldown. That averages to 25% uptime.

The average damage increase would be: 0.25 * 0.1 = 2.5%
So MCH would increase NIN damage by 2.5% over the course of a fight (spiking higher if the fight ends right after this ability has worn off).

As for BRD...Foe Requiem can stay up for about 68s from full MP and it would take 145s to fully regen the BRD's MP in combat afterwards. This is an average uptime of 46.9% (if no other songs are played). Since Foe Requiem boosts magic damage by 10%, this is an average of 4.69% magic damage bonus over the course of the fight. However, NIN's only magic damage would be in the form of Raiton, Katon, Doton, and Suiton.

The average potency per second of just 2 Raiton & 1 Suiton used in a 1 minute interval is 900 potency / 60s = 15 potency/s. By boosting 15 potency/s by 10% for an average of 46.9% of the fight, we get an average potency increase of 0.704 potency per second. For reference, Raiton is 360 potency and with all 240 gear & 245 Midan weapon (http://ffxiv.ariyala.com/U1CV) my Raiton averages around 2300 damage. That's about 6.4 damage per potency (2300/360). So to convert that 0.704 potency/sec increase from Foe Requiem to damage/sec, we do 0.704 * 6.4 which comes out to around 4.51 DPS increase.

One advantage of BRD is that they can turn the song back on whenever they want (given MP), so their contribution to NIN dps is not dependent on fights ending in a discrete interval of time.


So we have MCH's damage buff in % but we have BRD's buff in DPS. To compare these, let's just use an assumption. Using a realistic (and conservative) number for a BiS ilvl240 NIN such as 1600 DPS, MCH's boost gives you 40 DPS (1600 * 2.5%).

Comparing MCH's 40 DPS boost to BRD's 4.51 DPS boost, it's pretty clear that MCH is the winner here. I want to point out that this analysis is just focusing on what helps a NIN more, and not whether you should take a BRD or MCH in your group. There are many other factors that go into a decision for what is best for your party composition.

Wait to Use Duality vs. Using Duality ASAP

TL;DR: Depends on how quickly you normally clear the fight.

Duality doubles the damage of your next weaponskill, but can't crit, and doesn't apply the additional effects. As such, it is most potent when used with Aeolian Edge. It's very clear, and not in debate that using it with AE is optimal. However, you have to hit that positional skill from the rear or you may as well have just used it with DE.

If you are having difficulty hitting the rear positional requirement for AE, you might think to yourself, "should I just use it with my next combo? It's going to be AC / DE, which will be lower potency. Is it worth just waiting to use with my next AE?" Good questions, let's take a look at some logic for the answer.

The reason we normally try to use our oGCD skills as quickly as possible is because this starts its timer again so that we can use it again sooner. But ultimately, using the skills again sooner is not the reason we do this; we do this because it allows us to use it MORE times in the fight. Getting an extra 1 or 2 Duality in the fight is the reason you would want to use it ASAP. However, Duality's cooldown is 90 seconds. This means we have a little bit of leeway with when we need to use it.

For example, if you use the opener I described above, you'll use your first Duality about 17s into the fight. This means the next time you can use it would be at 107s. Going on this logic, the fastest you can use Duality throughout the fight (if you just use it on whatever your next skill is when it becomes available) would be: 17s, 107s, 197s, 287s, 377s, 467s, 557s, 647s, 737s, and by now the fight should be over. Now we have to look at these timings and compare them to the specific fight you're about to go into.

If you are doing A1S and your static normally clears it in 6 minutes exactly, then no matter how fast you try to use Duality, you will never get more than 4 during the fight. Knowing that you can only use it 4 times, this gives you 73s of breathing room between using your Dualities.
You know you'll always hit the first one on time, so that leaves you with 73s to hit 3 Dualities.
Obviously, phase changes will reduce this free time by a significant amount too. Let's say you only get 1 Quick Landing, that'll cut your time by about 30s. This leaves you with 43s remaining.
Now let's say that in bad scenario, Duality comes back up right when you need to reapply both dots. This uses up 9s of your free time. Let's say this is the case for your 2nd and 3rd Dualities, so you're down to 25s free time remaining.
So now you're down to your last Duality. You can wait the whooooole 25s before you need to use it. If you do, it'll be one of the last things you do before the fight is over.

As you can see, the answer to WHEN you have to use Duality varies based on how quickly you clear the fight. It's difficult to tell the future though. However, odds are good that you can wait at least 1 rotation to use your Duality with AE each time. And as you near the end of the fight, you can tell by the boss's HP% on how much time you have before you need to Duality. For the last one, you can almost always wait a little bit in order to line it up with an AE.

Wait to Use Kassatsu vs. Using Kassatsu ASAP

TL;DR: Depends on how quickly you normally clear the fight.

This explanation for when to use Kassatsu is pretty much exactly the same as the one above, regarding Duality. The only difference is that Kassatsu has a 2 minute cooldown, so it is statistically more probable that you will have more free time to use it, and you will use it less times during the fight. So you are probably safe to wait on using it unless you happen to clear the fight very close to a time divisible by 2 minutes.

In the case of Kassatsu, it is usually safe to just wait until you can use a Suiton > Trick Attack and then follow up with Kassatsu > Raiton. Of course, it depends on how quickly you are going to clear the fight, so you'll have to use your own discretion.

TP Management: Using Invigorate Effectively

TL;DR: Time your TP regen ticks to use Invigorate ASAP without wasting anything

If your skill speed is high, you will need to be able to use this technique to have enough TP to make it to your 2nd Invigorate without running dry. You'll need to keep an eye on your TP bar when you get to about 650 TP. This should be around the 1m mark. Your TP will passively regen 60 per tick, which is about every 3 seconds. If you use Invigorate at 600 TP, and then you get a regen tick before you use your next ability, you just lost 60 TP because you can't go over 1000TP. To use Invigorate at the proper time, you'll have to pay attention to the regen tick as well as your GCD.

You will get a feel for how to do this intuitively after a lot of practice, but if you need a place to start, these resources might help.

Use this chart for reference on when to use Invigorate:

Case # TP after Last GCD Time Until Next TP Tick Will Next GCD Put You <= 540TP? Action
1 TP <= 540 N/A N/A Use Invigorate
2 550 <= TP <= 600 0-2s N/A WAIT
3 550 <= TP <= 600 2-3s N/A Use Invigorate
4 610 <= TP <= 620 0-2s N/A WAIT
5 610 <= TP <= 620 2-3s Yes Use Invigorate
6 610 <= TP <= 620 2-3s No WAIT
7 TP >= 630 N/A N/A WAIT

If you prefer to visualize it in a flow chart (I find tables easier to memorize):
Google Drive Link

Example at 2.01s GCD:

Time TP Regen GCD Ability TP After Notes
44s 630 Start at 630TP
Case 7, WAIT
45s Tick 690 Case 7, WAIT
45.50s SE 640 Case 7, WAIT
47.51s GS 590 Case 2, WAIT
48s Tick 650 Case 7, WAIT
49.52s AE 590 Case 2, WAIT
51s Tick 650 Case 7, WAIT
51.53s SE 600 Now Case 3, use Invigorate
AoE Spam Worth vs. Trash Pulls?

TL;DR: Depends on how many mobs AND how fast you clear it.

Starting here by saying AoE rotation is basically Death Blossom spam. For the sake of discussion, I will use Aeolian Edge combo spam for the single target rotation here for comparison. I will also use a GCD of 2.0s.
Also, this analysis is for dungeon-type trash pulls, not long boss battles.

We have to break this problem into two parts: before running out of TP, and after running out of TP.

Before running out of TP, clearly AoE is better vs 3 or more mobs. Math for this:
Death Blossom is 110 potency, or 55 potency per second per enemy.
Average potency of AE combo: 150 (Spinning Edge) + 200 (Gust Slash) + 320 (Aeolian Edge) = 670 potency, or 111.66 potency per second.

After running out of TP, we have to wait until we get TP back before doing more damage. AoE rotation runs out of TP first (obviously) so I'm gonna analyze that.

We'll need to normalize the TP usage for Death Blossom and AE spam in order to compare them.

If you are strictly using a single target rotation, you should not be running out of TP on a trash pack.

Death Blossom is 100 TP cost. TP regen rate is 60 TP / 3 seconds.
In order to use only DB without running out of TP, you can only use it once every 5 seconds. This means 110 potency per mob every 5 seconds, or 22 potency/sec with Death Blossom.

Now we can compare DB vs AE for the case of not running out of TP. Assuming GCD of 2s, the average Aeolian Edge combo is 111.66 potency/sec.
111.66 / 22 = 5.08. So the AE combo spam is about 5 times better against a single target.

You're probably thinking, "I would never wait 5s between Death Blossoms so why is this info useful to me?" While that is one way of doing it, this also means that if you run out of TP from AoE spam, you'll need to have at least 5 mobs remaining to make AoE spam continue to be more efficient.

One thing to note is that rotating Mutilate would result in more DPS (360 potency/GCD) if you are a facing a pack of 1-2 mobs. At 3 mobs, rotating Mutilate and spamming Death Blossom do the same average DPS (assuming all ticks of Mutilate finish, which is unlikely). Anything over 4 mobs would result in DB being higher DPS (480 potency/GCD).

Conclusion: Death Blossom spam is better on 3+ mobs if TP is not an issue. Once you hit 0 TP from AoE spam, if there are still 5+ mobs, continue to AoE. If there are less than 5 mobs, it's better to rotate Mutilate on targets and use your single target rotation.

At this point, you might be thinking, "If you're switching back to single target anyway, was it even worth wasting all the TP on AoE to begin with?" That depends on how many mobs you were AoEing at the start, and how long after running dry that it takes to finish the fight.
As determined earlier, Death Blossom spam = 55 potency per second per enemy, and AE combo is 111.66 potency per second.

# Enemies DB potency/sec AE potency/sec
3 165 111.66
4 220 111.66
5 275 111.66
6 330 111.66

From here we can see that if there are 6 targets, Death Blossom spam will do 3 times more damage than Aeolian Edge combo. So if you AoE until you are out of TP and take note of that time (about 30s without invigorate, 42s with invig), you can tell if the AoE spam was worth it by determining if it will take more than 3 times longer to finish the rest of the fight after running dry (so another 1m30s or 2m6s, respectively). I'd say that no trash pack should ever take longer than that so in the case of 6 targets, the answer is almost definitely "yes, it was worth it".

Of course the effectiveness is affected by how many mobs you were attacking before you ran out of TP. If you were attacking more mobs, great! If you were attacking less mobs, then the fight will need to finish much faster to make running out of TP a better decision. To see the worst case, against only 3 targets:
Against 3 targets, Death Blossom is only 1.48 (165/111.66) times more damage. You'll still run out of TP in 30s without invigorate, 42s with it.
For AoE spam to be worth it in this case, then after you run out of TP, the fight will have to end in the next 44s (without invigorate), or 62s (with invigorate) to justify running dry.


After running out of TP, you are now being bottlenecked by your TP consumption. Now instead of focusing on damage per time, now we need to prioritize damage per TP. See the table for rotation comparisons (credit to /u/Himekaidou for this idea):

Combo Total Potency Total TP Cost # GCDs # Targets Potency / GCD Potency / TP
SE+GS+AE 737 160 3 1 245.67 4.61
SE+GS+AC 693 160 3 1 231.00 4.33
SE+GS+DE 671 150 3 1 223.67 4.47
SE+SF 590 120 2 1 295.00 4.92
Mutilate 360 80 1 1 360.00 4.50
Death Blossom 110 100 1 3 330.00 3.3
Death Blossom 110 100 1 4 440.00 4.4
Death Blossom 110 100 1 5 550.00 5.5
Death Blossom 110 100 1 6 660.00 6.6

Note: for this table it assumes slashing debuff is up for single target combos.
If you're starved for TP, you'll want to focus on the combo with the highest Potency/TP. Keep in mind that in order for these values to be accurate for the SF and Mutilate combos, the entire duration of the DoTs have to be able to run their course.
Focusing on potency/TP when starved does not counteract or mitigate the rule described above. The fight will still need to finish quickly after running out of TP in order to justify your AoE spam.

Using Aggro Control Abilities

TL;DR: Shadewalker at start before Suiton or on adds, Smoke Screen WHM/Off Tanks

In my opinion, Shadewalker and Smoke Screen almost worthless, but sometimes you'll need them if some individuals in your group are more undergeared/overgeared than others or if your strategy requires healing spam (like maybe A4S).

Using Shadewalker with my opener, pop it on your tank before your Suiton. If you are using my "without potion" opener, you can pop it after Dancing Edge.
I put Shadewalker on a custom macro so I can be lazier about it. You might find my macro useful:

/micon Shadewalker /ac Shadewalker /ac Shadewalker <2>

Doing it this way, you can just press the macro and it will Shadewalker the #2 person on your party list which will always be a tank if you have your party list on autosort. If you have two tanks in the party and need it to be on the other tank, you can go to your party list menu (a tab where your friends list menu is) and manually switch the tanks on your party list.
Since it's also listed as a mouseover macro first, if you ever need to use it on only besides the #2 party list player, you can just mouseover someone else on the party list and use it on them. Alternatively you can change <mo> for <t> if you prefer to target the player rather than mouseover them. You could change it from <2> to <3> instead, but in instances where you only have one tank (like in dungeons/expert roulette) you might end up accidentally using Shadewalker on your healer, which could be very bad. As far as I can tell, you can't manually turn off Shadewalker.
Alternatively, you can add in a <t> or <tt> line too.

You'll almost never need Smoke Screen because you have Shadewalker. The only practical time I can think of to use it is if your WHM is about to do some major healing spam (like Medica and Medica II spam). Because of this, you can make a macro similar to the Shadewalker one, but target the healer with it. See an example below.

/micon "Smoke Screen" /ac "Smoke Screen" <mo> /ac "Smoke Screen" <4>

As mentioned before about Shadewalker, you can also change it from <mo> to <t> if you prefer manual targeting. If you keep it on <3> then you can use it in dungeons where you have Light Party (4 people) and it will put it on the other DPS in your group which is usually higher on enmity than your healer in dungeons.
You can also add in a <t> or <tt> line for more control.

Note: The position of your healers or tanks in the party list will change if they change their job.

Efficient Usage of 3-Step Ninjutsu

TL;DR: Huton & Suiton can be executed two different ways each. Learn how to recover failed combos.

Every 3-step Ninjutsu (Huton & Suiton) has at least two different ways to execute the Mudras in order to activate it. If you memorize how to do the combo in a specific order, it can help you recover if you mess up.

For example, you can execute Suiton with Ten > Chi > Jin or with Chi > Ten > Jin. So if you always try to execute it as Ten > Chi > Jin, and then you realize that due to latency you skipped your first Mudra by accident and executed the second mudra (Chi) instead, you can still recover by reversing the order and go with Chi > Ten > Jin. This technique is possible for both 3-step Ninjutsu.

Pull Macro

TL;DR: Just my personal pull macro for raids

You don't have to use this. I'm also not claiming it's the best. Just putting it here upon request.

I use this by starting with a manual casting of Ten > Chi > Jin and then hit the macro which will cast Ninjutsu (Huton) and start the countdown. It will then use Shadewalker at 4 seconds left on whoever is 2nd position in your party list. I also have another macro that does the exact same thing, but for player #3 on the party list. You may have to reorder your party list or modify the macro to suit your needs. Note: The squares you see here will render in the game as the little clock symbol, just copy and paste it into game.

For Shadewalker on Tank 1:
/countdown 22 /ac "Ninjutsu" <me> <wait.2> /p Pulling for <2> /p  Pulling in 20 <se.8> <wait.10> /p  Pulling in 10 <se.8> <wait.3> /p  Pulling in 7 <se.8> <wait.3> /ac "Shadewalker" <2>

For Shadewalker on Tank 2:
/countdown 22 /ac "Ninjutsu" <me> <wait.2> /p Pulling for <3> /p  Pulling in 20 <se.8> <wait.10> /p  Pulling in 10 <se.8> <wait.3> /p  Pulling in 7 <se.8> <wait.3> /ac "Shadewalker" <3>

If you want to make another macro to cancel your pull macro, recommend something like:
/macrocancel /p Some text to notify party of pull being cancelled... <se.11> /countdown
12/30/2016
  • Completely reworked guide formatting. Now utilizes Bootstrap to provide a more user-friendly and mobile-friendly experience.
  • Updated BiS. Apparently I forgot to do so for patch 3.4, sorry.
  • Updated stat weights for patch 3.4.
  • Added an Intro section.
  • Changed color scheme for menus and font.
9/30/2016
  • New pull macro to implement the new countdown feature.
  • Autoattacks no longer require facing the target, just have the enemy targeted and be kinda close to it.
7/6/2016
  • Lots of formatting changes for better viewing on mobile platforms.
  • Changed display format of opening rotation.
  • Made corrections to BRD vs MCH section.
  • Updated "AoE Spam Worth vs. Trash Pulls?" section based on Death Blossom TP & potency changes in patch 3.3.
5/21/2016
  • Added Firana's opener guide video to show different options for the opening rotation.
  • Added new BiS set.
5/4/2016
  • Changed description/explanation of the Shuriken vs. Raiton section to use less specific numbers. The answer to the question is really based on the individual and I didn't want to mislead anyone.
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