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A FFXIV Summoner Guide part1:The most difficult class?



Seeing as how we haven’t had a current full SMN guide in quite some time on the site, I believe it is the appropriate time to make a everything to know thread for information regarding the 2.55 SMN playstyle. I will continue to update this thread as new information comes to light and into the 3.0 era as well. There are places in this guide where I will insert my own opinion in some things and I will make sure to note that as such. There are also several different users on the site who have suggested various tips and tricks that I will also continue to document, so feel free to contribute to this thread and I will update the OP when I can. My goal is to ultimately make this the go to thread for everything SMN.


Final Fantasy XIV Summoner: The most difficult class?


For most, Final Fantasy XIV Summoner(SMN) is arguably the most difficult class to be good at. Every single decision will impact your Final Fantasy XIV DPS. Some may say all classes suffer from this and that is true to a degree however, from the beginning of the fight, a SMN’s Final Fantasy XIV DPS is in constant decline. Every mistake hits you harder than any other class. The only way to increase your numbers, outside of Foe Requiem currently, is maximizing on Add phases of fights. Your entire mindset for this class should be bursting as high as possible in your opener and then doing everything in your power to keep it from falling. 


What do you know?

Most people consider SMN to simply be a class that focuses around DoTs and as long as you have them up, you are doing your best DPS. This is in-fact not very true at all. Yes while application of DoTs is the core of our damage, it is not the entire picture. Maximizing your opener, expanded usage of Auto- Attacks, advanced Aetherflow stack management and stat build, all make up what is needed for a SMN to reach its full potential.



Accuracy: You must first and foremost gear for Accuracy. You as a SMN simply require a BLM’s accuracy but the Pet requires Melee flank Accuracy. Thus gear with the pet in mind. Food as of 2.55 does NOT factor into Pet Accuracy requirement, so you must meet pet Accuracy before food is applied.


Intelligence: Affects all skills in a SMNs arsenal as well as pet damage.


Determination: Affects all skills in a SMNs arsenal as well as pet damage.

***Final Fantasy XIV Opinion: Stronger modifier then INT in regards to DoT damage. Elaborating on this in a bit.


Critical Hit Rate: All Final Fantasy XIV skills including DoTs and Pets are affected by your Critical Hit Rate.


Spellspeed: ??? (This is inherently changing for the SMN class come 3.0) As of current it is not the greatest modifier of damage when compared to Crit and Det. 

**Opinion: There is however, an absolute minimum for patch 2.55 that I will make sure to hit and that’s 370-371. Any lower than this, I’ve discovered has resulted in noticeable cast time increases especially when handling ShadowFlare. There are also certain applications of DoTs that will benefit from 371 SS which I will elaborate on later in regards to the 2.55 SMN.


The BiS: Final Fantasy XIV Summoner has imo, one of the most ambiguous BiS then any other class. Several different people have various opinions on what brings out the best. Some vouch for INT above all while others myself included, feel if you can stack enough of it, DET can beat INT. My current recommendations for people exploring SMN in 2.55 are getting Crit Rate to at least 520 and SS to 370 at bare minimums while trying to stack INT and DET as high as possible.


CRIT vs DET: The current conundrum

Often times you will see builds that have very high Crit but pittance in DET and vice versa. Through testing, I’ve found the answer is the best of both worlds. You want to balance these two out and not forgo one for the other.


INT vs DET: The global argument. (Spellspeed can’t wait to get in this action)

Widely contested as to which is better, these are both the main modifiers of your damage as of 2.55. From testing, INT will modify the damage more of Ruin I/II and Fester then DET will. However, DET is a bigger modifier on DoT damage then INT. This was previously tested in-game by using a Book of Spades (ilvl110) vs the High Allagan Book of Casting (ilvl115). The difference between these books was documented by many users as a very slim margin of 3-5 DPS in favor of the High Allagan Book of Casting.


Now the actual difference, not counting Spellspeed or Critical, but direct damage modifiers between these books, is 3 INT + 2 Magic Damage (HABoC) vs 31 DET from Book of Spades. While everyone saw higher numbers on the skills of Ruin / Fester using the High Allagan, the DoT ticks between the two books were far closer with BoS either ticking for the same or a few points higher or lower than the High Allagan Book.

Several SMNs have felt, myself included, DET has yielded higher numbers on average if it meant sacrificing some INT for it in a 1:3 ratio. Others have documented that they can do the same numbers with various other builds focusing on INT over DET.




This thread documented some DPS comparisons where users showcased different builds, while able to yield similar results. Ultimately I say this topic, will lie down with what you feel you are able to yield better numbers on average per instance with. The INT vs DET argument and soon to be Spellspeed in 3.0, is largely the reason we don’t really have a BiS. Unlike other classes that focus on Weapon Damage and the Main Stat more for gains, SMN benefits more from micromanaging its secondary stats with relation to Intelligence / MD.


*** This is subject to change with heavensward implementation as current stat tables may be changed.


Damage Modifiers:

MNK: Dragon Kick; Ifrit does blunt damage.


NIN: Slashing Debuff, Trick Attack; Ifrit does slashing damage as well. Trick attack overall a DPS increase for both Pet and SMN for ten seconds every minute.


WAR: Slashing debuff


BRD: Foe Requiem; All damage from the SMN is affected by Foe Requiem.


Garuda benefits the most from Foe as she does magic damage universally. Ifrit’s Enkindle is the only magical based attack in his arsenal.


Mage’s Ballad: When you are not coughing blood for MP, this is in fact a DPS increase to a SMN although on a less sense then a Foe Requiem. Whenever a healer is in dire need of MP and Ballad is needed, you can maximize your own DPS by a combination of Ruin II and Auto-attacks when this song is playing, granted you have the MP to spare. Never sit at near Full MP during a fight.


Note: To truly optimize SMN DPS as well as raid DPS, speak to your Bard about optimal time setups for song usage but do not expect to be catered to. While it is welcomed, due to the way DoT application works, simply having a Foe Requiem when you have to refresh your DoTs, when Raging Strikes is about to come up, or a new phase is about to begin is enough to increase your DPS by a lot with or without Bane opportunities.


From this we can devise the best party composition as of patch 2.55 for a SMN’s DPS is a MNK, NIN, BRD, WAR.


DPS strategy: This is probably imo, one of the biggest damage modifiers for a SMN’s DPS. Many party setups’ adapt one particular mainstream strategy and expect everyone to maximize with that strategy. That is the wrong way to handle DPS when you have a SMN in the party. If you have a SMN in the party, build your DPS strategy around them, to increase everyone’s individual Final Fantasy XIV DPS, thus raid DPS, as well as your SMNs

Ex: T10 add phase: Most raiding groups use the mainstream strategy of burning one particular side of adds to free up one tank then focus down the other. During the first add phase this is a big nono. This will hurt a SMN as one particular side, being focused down by everyone will die much faster but this also hurts everyone as well, mainly your melee, due to travel time.


The proper way to handle DPS on the first add phase so everyone benefits, is to split up your Final Fantasy XIV DPS. Dividing your DPS going into the phase will ensure your SMN is getting maximum uptime on all the mobs present. This will also benefit classes like MNK or NIN that climb in DPS the more they are allowed to sit and focus on a mob like a striking dummy without adding in travel time.


The second add phase, you can do as normal to ensure a tank is freed up in a timely fashion. There are other unorthodox strategy’s that involve killing one sides daughter and another sides son but I find this is more often a Raid DPS loss while a benefit to a SMNs numbers which is what you shouldn’t care for.


DoTs, the Snap Shot, and when to replenish:

You main DoT skills will be Bio II, Miasma, and Bio I. Each of these DoTs should in theory be refreshed in the 1-4 second range. DoTs also snapshot all DPS debuffs currently present on a mob when first applied and run their full duration at the higher number. Should there be a time where a mechanic forces you to move while DoTs also need to be refreshed, consider refreshing slightly earlier if it means that DoT will fall off for more then 3 seconds before reapplied otherwise. IE: Earthshakers in T13.



So now you hit 50 on Final Fantasy XIV Summoner, not many things have changed since your leveling days. You have 2 new abilities, ShadowFlare and Enkindle.


These two skills now get added to the opener as well.

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