Scholar Leveling Guide
Guide Info
Last Updated: 26 Oct, 2021
Patch Applicable: 5.58

As SCH itself is unlocked at level 30, this guide will start at level 18 (the level Sastasha syncs you to). This guide will assume that you know more or less what each action already does; I’ll briefly describe them when they come up, but won’t go into detail on them.

I recommend the Basic guide if you want a more detailed description, and Skills Overview to get to know your tool-tips. This guide will be broken up by major actions during the base game, and then by expansion. A focus will be put on the healing actions and how best to utilize them while leveling, with an emphasis on their dungeon applications, since the majority of leveling content is dungeons. Damaging actions will be discussed briefly in each section.

Fairy Note: When you use a fairy ability, you order her to use the ability, so the actual ability will come out slightly later. If you give her multiple orders quickly, the orders will be queued up, which can cause a significant delay between the order and the actual ability being cast. Fairy abilities originate from the fairy, not yourself. Fairy potencies are also only worth about 2/3 of your potency (e.g. a 300 potency fairy heal is worth about the same as a 200 potency SCH heal). This exact potency ratio will vary with level, at endgame it’s about 64%. 

Quick Glossary

CD: Cooldown: the time it takes before you’re able to cast an action again

GCD: Global Cooldown. Spells that share the same 2.5s base recast time (Note: this isn’t strictly true for some other jobs which have actions with longer CDs that trigger the GCD, but SCH doesn’t have any non-standard GCDs).

oGCD: Off Global Cooldown. Abilities that don’t share the 2.5s base recast time.

Regen: Actions that ticks every 3s to heal the target for their listed potency.

AoE: Area of Effect. Actions that affect every target* in their area (*enemies if it’s a damaging action, party members if it’s a healing action).

DoT: Damage over Time. Actions that tick every three seconds to deal damage to the target for their listed potency.

AF Heals: Aetherflow Heals. Healing abilities that consume the stacks granted by the Aetherflow action.

Levels 18-29

Healing

For some of these dungeons, the only thing you need to do is Summon Eos or Summon Selene and then follow the tank around. If the tank doesn’t do large pulls, Embrace will often be enough on its own. Your only GCD heal at these levels is Physick, so in this small subset of levels, Physick will be a core part of your kit. Use it when Embrace can’t keep up incoming damage and the tank gets low. 

At level 20, you get Whispering Dawn, an AoE regen fairy ability. Just because it’s AoE doesn’t mean it’s not good in single target, use it at the start of pulls when it’s up. 

Damage

All you have for damage is your DoT (Bio at first, Bio II at 25) and Ruin. Bio beats Ruin if it’s up for 27s+, so it’ll be of little value on pulls where enemies die quickly. Bio II, however, only needs 15s to beat Ruin, so it’ll be worth putting up at the start of most pulls. Your DoTs are your only instant casts at these levels though, so if you’re chasing the tank or need to weave Whispering Dawn at the start of a pull, throw up a DoT instead of losing uptime.

Levels 30-44

Healing

At level 30, you get your real single target GCD, Adloquium or Adlo. It both heals and applies a shield to the target. Note that you cannot stack the shield multiple times, as the larger shield will simply overwrite the smaller one. When forced to single target GCD heal, you’ll prefer to use this instead of Physick. Only use Physick when you’re running low on mana, or when you’re forced to spam GCD heals, in which case you can alternate Adlo and Physick to avoid overwriting shields. (Physick does have some very niche applications in raiding due to its shorter cast time, which both means it heals the target faster than Adlo and you can weave a single oGCD after it, but these aren’t generally applicable when leveling). Make sure to try to put an Adlo shield on the tank before the start of each pull. 

At level 35, you get Succor, which is your AoE GCD, use it when Whispering Dawn can’t cover the incoming AoE damage. Note that Adlo and Succor both grant the same shield, Galvanize. Thus their shields don’t stack with each other. They also don’t stack with Nocturnal AST’s GCD shields.

At 40, you get Fey Illumination, a fairy ability that reduces magic damage taken and increases the healing of GCD heals only. This is an AoE buff, so everyone in the party gets both effects as long as they’re in range (i.e. the healing buff applies to your co-healer too). The only SCH heals this buff affects are Physick, Adlo, Succor, Eos/Selene’s Embrace, and Seraph’s Seraphic Veil, so keep that in mind.

Damage

At level 38, you get Ruin II. This is intended to be the instant cast you use for movement and weaving when you can’t use a natural DoT refresh, but due to ACN’s high base strength, at these levels it’s actually higher DPS to spam Ruin II and get your auto-attacks than to use Ruin. Make sure you actually start auto-attacks if you do this, every time you change targets you’ll have to reinitiate them unfortunately.

Levels 45-50

Healing

At level 45, you get Aetherflow, the ability that fuels the main SCH job gauge. Every 60s you get three Aetherflow (AF) stacks to spend on AF heals or Energy Drain. You also get Lustrate, your basic AF heal, and the aforementioned Energy Drain, which will be discussed more in the Damage section.

Lustrate is a respectable single target heal; prioritize using your AF stacks on it over GCD healing. The basic SCH heal priority becomes relevant at this level is as follows: Fairy heals > AF heals > GCD heals, or at this level specifically: Whispering Dawn > Lustrate > Adlo. As you acquire more fairy and AF heals, this priority will remain more or less constant and it’s important to keep in mind in all content. Remember, though, that it’s a flexible priority. Sometimes an AF heal will do a better job than a fairy heal in a certain situation and you’ll need to adjust. Also remember that GCD heals are free during downtime and prepull, so continue putting up prepull shields.

At 50, you get Sacred Soil (or Soil), which at this level is just an AoE mitigation that requires you to stand in the bubble. It’s more or less useless until level 78 in single target healing situations, as the healing you’d get from Lustrate is almost always going to be worth more. In AoE healing situations it’s better, but incoming damage before level 78 is very low outside of the 70 Ultimates and min iLvl content, so it’s still niche at best. We’ll revisit this ability at 78 though, because it gets a very powerful trait then.

Damage

Let’s talk about Energy Drain. This is both your best friend and your worst enemy. When used properly, it allows you to deal extra damage and provides you with extra MP. When used improperly, it will leave you unable to provide your fair share of healing and make your co-healer very cross. If you don’t know a fight well, it’s best to save your stacks for AF heals and then dump them on Energy Drain if you still have them when Aetherflow is about to come off of cooldown. As you get more comfortable with fights, it’ll be possible to plan out your Energy Drains in advance so that you can maximize your movement and weaving from a DPS standpoint. Don’t feel forced to do that until you’re comfortable with the fight and your kit, however. A dead player does zero DPS.

At 46, you finally get your AoE damage spell: Art of War. It’s an instant cast spell, so you can weave with it, and it’ll always be a gain over your single target damage spells at 2+ targets, however, it does cost 50% more MP so be careful in extended AoE situations. Swap to single target if you’re running out of MP. It’s a gain over a full duration Bio II at three targets, but it’s still worth putting your DoT up while chasing the tank between pulls since it’s usually hard to hit all the enemies with Art of War at such times.

Levels 51-60

Healing

At 52, you get Indomitability (or Indom), your basic AoE AF heal. Prioritize it as normal for an AF heal in AoE healing situations. At 56, you get Deployment Tactics (or Deploy), which is mostly an ability for eight player content, but does have an excellent dungeon usage as well. In dungeons, you can put an Adlo shield on both the tank and yourself prepull and then Deploy your shield when the tank’s shield is broken, to reshield the tank. In eight player content, Deploy is used when a large shield on the party is preferred to the heal + shield from Succor. Note that Succor is more potency overall on the party and doesn’t require a weave slot, so Deploy will most often be used prepull or in downtime when it’s more or less free to do.

At 58, you get Emergency Tactics, which you use before Adlo or Succor to convert them into a pure heal instead of heal + shield. Note that this doesn’t increase your healing output, it’s only for use when a mechanic such as DRK’s Living Dead requires actual HP to be restored, or if shields are already up and you’d be overwriting them.

At 60, you get Dissipation, a powerful but somewhat restrictive ability. While Dissipation is active, your fairy will be completely unavailable, which means you cannot use any fairy abilities (including Summon Seraph) and she will not cast Embrace. In addition, any fairy abilities that have been ordered but not yet executed when you use Dissipation will be lost, and their CDs will not be reset, so be cautious of your timing. The fairy will also need to be placed again after Dissipation if she was before. In return, you get a powerful GCD healing buff, and three AF stacks. In dungeons, it can be used mid-pull for an infusion of AF stacks and the GCD heal buff, or at the end of pulls, which refreshes your AF for the next pull and buffs your Adlo shields in between pulls. Either way, be sure to use your fairy abilities before using Dissipation. In eight player content, use Dissipation at times when you feel like you won’t need the fairy’s abilities or if you’re starved for resources like AF or MP. 

Damage

At level 54, you get Broil, a much stronger version of Ruin. Ruin II and Art of War also have their potency upgraded slightly. At this point, it’s no longer worth spamming Ruin II in single target for auto-attacks; you’ll want to use Broil in single target instead. Bio II needs to tick for 21s to beat Broil. Use Ruin II for movement and weaving that can’t wait for a Bio II refresh.

Levels 61-70

Healing

At level 62, you get your strong single target AF heal: Excogitation (or Excog). This is a more powerful heal than Lustrate, and triggers either when the target’s HP goes below 50% or the duration expires. This means it can be put up in advance, like at the start of the pull, which means its CD starts ticking down sooner while the heal itself doesn’t happen until it’s needed. However, be aware that Excog will not save your target from a one hit kill. If the tank is at 51% and takes a hit for 51% of their HP, they will die. Regardless, this is a very strong ability for both dungeon and raid single target healing.

At level 70, you get your second gauge: the Faerie Gauge. You gain 10 Faerie Gauge every time you use an AF ability, and can store up to 100. Note that you need the fairy summoned to gain gauge. If you haven’t summoned her or you’re under the effect of Dissipation, you will gain no gauge. 

At this level, its only usage is Aetherpact, which orders the fairy to execute Fey Union: a single target regen that costs 10 gauge per tick. This can be very useful in both dungeons and raids as a cheap single target heal. However, it has some caveats. Firstly, using any other fairy ability will end Fey Union. This can actually be useful at times when you don’t really want to use a weave for Dissolve Union, but don’t want to spend all your gauge either. Secondly, your fairy will not use Embrace while tethered to the target, and in fact, she won’t move at all while tethered. If the tether target moves out of range and breaks the tether, your fairy will sit there useless until the target comes back in range or you either cancel Fey Union or get so far away from her that she despawns. Be cognizant of this in dungeons in case the tank gets too far away from her.

Damage

At level 64, you get Broil II. It’s Broil but more Broily. Ruin II also increases in potency. Absolutely nothing changes rotationally or priority wise, but you do more damage, so yay. 

At level 66, you get Chain Stratagem (or just Chain). This is your raid buff, unlike some other raid buffs, it’s of minimal use in large multi-target pulls, because it only affects a single enemy. However, if you think there’s still two minutes before the next boss, there’s no reason not to use it in a pull. In single target situations, you’ll generally use it in the opener and then on CD after that. Check the level 80 SCH opener if you want to start practicing it, because you have all the tools at this point. Just be careful overusing AF stacks on Energy Drain as usual. 

Levels 71-80

Healing

At level 74, you get Recitation. This ability can be used on Adlo, Succor, Indom, or Excog and does two things. Firstly, it removes the cost of the abilities, meaning the GCD heals cost no MP and the AF heals don’t cost an AF stack (the AF heals still go on CD as normal). Secondly, it guarantees the heal crits, and yes, this includes Excog (due to the way Excog is coded, it won’t show an ! next to the heal number, but the number itself will still be significantly higher). In dungeons, this will almost always be used on Excog, making it an even more potent single target heal, and letting you put it up prepull even if you don’t have any AF stacks. In raids, you’ll generally want to use Recitation on one of the AF abilities, since that’s more efficient DPS wise, but it can be used on Succor if you’re in a fight that requires you to be using both your AF heals and GCD heals and don’t mind the damage loss, since this is more efficient MP wise. Recitation Adlo is very niche, and thus won’t be discussed in this guide. 

At level 76, you get Fey Blessing, your AoE Faerie Gauge heal. This isn’t worth using in single target at all (one tick of Fey Union is better), and isn’t a significant heal in AoE, but it is a nice additional heal to throw out if you have space. The gauge cost is rarely going to be an issue.

At level 78, you get the trait Enhanced Sacred Soil. This turns Soil into an incredibly strong healing/mitigation ability in both single target and AoE. It heals for the same amount as Lustrate, while also providing 10% mitigation, so it will be very useful in the Shadowbringers leveling dungeons where it’s available. In many of the 80 dungeons, you can get away with not using any AF stacks or GCD heals during pulls, but if you need to use an AF heal, this is the one you should do. In raids, it’s just amazing; it heals for about as much as a Recitation Indom while also providing mitigation on the party. Again, you’ll still prioritize Fairy and Recitation AF heals over it, but it’s still an incredibly powerful tool in your arsenal.

At level 80, you finally get Summon Seraph. Seraph’s Embrace is replaced by Seraphic Veil, which is both a more powerful heal and provides a shield on the target equal to the heal. She also has access to two charges of Consolation per summon, which is effectively an oGCD Succor. She also has her own versions of Whispering Dawn and Fey Illumination, but these do exactly the same thing as their base versions, so they won’t be discussed in particular.

The Seraphic Veil and Consolation shields do not stack with each other, but they do stack with Galvanize and any shield from other jobs. Seraph does have some drawbacks. Like with Dissipation, any fairy abilities that have been ordered, but not yet executed when both using Summon Seraph and when Seraph reverts to the standard fairy will be lost. You also will not be able to execute either of the Faerie Gauge abilities or use Dissipation while Seraph is out, though you will still gain Faerie Gauge. Nevertheless, Summon Seraph is a very powerful dungeon and raid CD. In dungeons, you can use Summon Seraph on the first pull, then Fey Union on the second pull, and continue to alternate them each pull. Remember that Consolation is worth using in single target. In raids, Summon Seraph is best used when the party will be taking multiple raidwides, so you can maximize Consolation value. However, be sure not to leave Summon Seraph on CD too long, as you want to maximize the number of good usages you get from her.

Damage

At 72, Broil II is upgraded to Broil III, Bio II is upgraded to Biolysis, and Ruin II increases in potency yet again. Biolysis only needs to tick for 15 seconds to beat Broil III. Otherwise, the DPS rotation and priority remains exactly the same yet again.