Monk Basic Guide
Guide Info
Last Updated: 18 Sep, 2022
Patch Applicable: 6.21

Basic Monk Guide

Welcome to the basic guide for Monk, which will cover all of the information necessary to get you off your feet and onto your hands while you kick some voidsent in the face. Included is a look into the various systems that come together to define the Monk playstyle, suggested openers, and explanations on how to correctly form burst windows. If your thirst for knowledge remains unsated once you reach the conclusion of this guide, head on over to the Advanced guide where we will dive further into the depths of forbidden Monk information.

Throughout this guide I will be referring to all skills as if you were level 90. This is significant if you’re still leveling, as some skills start out with a different name and upgrade upon reaching a certain level. The skills affected by this are as follows:

Initial Name Upgraded Name
Arm of the Destroyer Shadow of the Destroyer
Steel Peak The Forbidden Chakra
Howling Fist Enlightenment
Flint Strike Rising Phoenix
Tornado Kick Phantom Rush

Monk Basics

Uptime

As a Monk, uptime should be your top priority. Uptime itself is a multifaceted word; firstly, it refers to how physically close you are to an enemy. You can’t punch that which you are far away from, and as such always keep in mind that you want to be as close as possible for as long as possible. Of course, if you have to step away to do a mechanic or dodge an aoe do so, but the mind of a Monk should always be looking to minimize the amount of time we spend not-hitting something; whether that’s not running so far away to do aforementioned mechanics, or running back to the boss sooner after aoe damage snapshots, it is something to always be working on.

Secondly, uptime refers to the amount of time you spend hitting the boss. It’s great if you can stay within striking distance of your foe permanently, but if you aren’t pressing buttons, you’re not doing any damage. Don’t fret too much about only wanting to press the “correct” buttons for your rotation; pressing something is better than pressing nothing. You have plenty of time to review mistakes and correct yourself on what you should’ve done after the fact, the key is to make sure you’re always doing something.

Of course uptime isn’t exclusively important to Monk, but it is a key aspect to being a good Monk, and so it’s important to keep these principles in mind as you’re learning; after all, as the job with the fastest GCD in the game, each second wasted not casting is comparably more valuable to a Monk than to another job.

Positionals

It’s unlikely that you’ve made the decision to play Monk while remaining unaware of the P-word, but in case you’ve not come across it before, a “positional” is a skill that only gains maximum effect when used at a specific part of an enemy’s hitbox: in Monk’s case, either flank or rear. Alas, where we once had six positionals, in Endwalker we’ve been reduced to having simply two:

  • Demolish deals maximum damage when executed from behind an enemy.
  • Snap Punch, on the other hand, is best used from an enemy’s flank (side).

Missing either positional is a 60 potency loss, which will add up over a fight. Try to ensure you’re never missing any positionals.

The arrow on the top indicates the target’s front. The the two arrows either side are another indication of where a target is facing, as well as defining the left and right of a boss. The entire section at the back where the double line ends counts as the “rear”, whereas the double lines either side count as the “flank”. As such, you are able to stand at the intercardinal of a hitbox and take just a step to the left/right to adjust for your positionals, as opposed to having to run all the way from directly rear to directly left, for example.

In some instances you will encounter a hitbox that is a completely closed circle. These enemies are omnipositional, meaning you will always get the positional bonus regardless of where you are.

The Form System

Forms are a concept unique to Monk, and are what separates it from standard combo-based melee jobs. Unlike other jobs that simply have combos that trigger each other in a static manner, you can combo any GCD into any other GCD - providing that you’re progressing your form forward. Each GCD also gains a bonus effect when used in the correct form, meaning you want to keep your forms advancing forward and not break your combo, else you’ll drop your form and your damage will suffer.

You have three forms: Opo-Opo, Raptor, and Coeurl:

  • In Opo-Opo form, Bootshine, Dragon Kick, and Shadow of the Destroyer gain additional effects. Using an Opo-opo GCD grants you Raptor form.
  • In Raptor form, True Strike, Twin Snakes, and Four-point Fury gain additional effects. Using a Raptor GCD grants you Coeurl form.
  • In Coeurl form, Demolish, Snap Punch, and Rockbreaker gain additional effects. Using a Coeurl GCD grants you Opo-opo form.

Core GCDs

As previously mentioned, Monk has six core single-target GCDs.

Bootshine
Bootshine has a potency of 210, or 310 when you have Leaden Fist. When in Opo-Opo form, Bootshine will always crit.
Dragon Kick
Dragon Kick has a potency of 320. When in Opo-Opo form, it will grant the Leaden Fist buff.
True Strike
True Strike has a potency of 300. It can only be executed from Raptor form.
Twin Snakes
Twin Snakes has a potency of 280. It also grants a 15% damage increase buff, Disciplined Fist, that lasts for 15 seconds. Twin Snakes can only be executed from Raptor form.
Demolish
Demolish has a potency of 70, or 130 when executed from the rear. It also applies an 18-second duration dot with 70 potency, for a combined total of 130 + 420 potency. It can only be executed from Coeurl form.
Snap Punch
Snap Punch has a potency of 250, or 310 when executed from the flank. It can only be executed from Coeurl form.
Form Shift
Form Shift is a unique GCD, as it’s not directly a part of our rotation, but it does enable our rotation. Form Shift grants the Formless Fist buff, which allows you to use any GCD and gain its additional form effects. Since this GCD does no damage, we only ever use it before pulling an enemy or during downtime.

 

Basic Rotation in a Vacuum

With the knowledge of these GCDs, we can actually already begin to build what will be the foundation of our rotation. Now, we know that we’re going to be doing a three-step combo, but that we have two options for GCDs at each step; how do we decide which one to press?

Effectively, each step of our rotation has a pure potency choice and a utility choice. Pure potency GCDs being Bootshine, True Strike, Snap Punch, utility being Dragon Kick, Twin Snakes, and Demolish. The utility choices are things you want to upkeep, but not overcap. Hence you’ll apply each of them, and then use the pure potency option until they need reapplying.

You can think of it as a flowchart:

  • When in Opo-Opo form, you check if you have Leaden Fist active. If you do, use Bootshine, if you don’t, use Dragon Kick.
  • When in Raptor form you check the duration of your Disciplined Fist. If it’s at roughly seven seconds remaining or more, press True Strike. If less, reapply Disciplined Fist.
  • When in Coeurl form, check the duration of your Demolish. If it’s at roughly four seconds remaining or less, reapply Demolish, else press Snap Punch.

At first glance this might seem confusing, and you may feel like you’re constantly having to check timers and buffs. In reality however, it’s actually very simple. You’ll notice that when following this flowchart, the rotation actually falls into a very repetitive pattern. Your Opo-Opo GCDs will always alternate between Bootshine and Dragon Kick. Your Raptor GCDs will always alternate between True Strike and Twin Snakes. Your Coeurl GCDs will always have two Snap Punches between every Demolish.

After doing this enough times, it will become pure muscle memory.

AoE Rotation

Our AoE rotation is quite simple. As opposed to other jobs that will have an entirely different combo for AoE, we simply have an AoE option for each of our forms.

Shadow of the Destroyer
Opo-Opo form has Shadow of the Destroyer, a circle AoE around you with 110 potency which becomes a guaranteed critical hit when executed with its form bonus.
Four-Point Fury
Raptor form has Four-Point Fury, another circle AoE around you with 120 potency. It also grants a 15% damage increase buff, Discipled Fist, which lasts for 15 seconds.
Rockbreaker
Coeurl form has Rockbreaker, another circle AoE around you with 130 potency.

 

Icon:
GCD Potency Bootshine Dragon Kick Shadow of the Destroyer True Strike Twin Snakes Four-Point Fury Snap Punch Demolish* Rockbreaker
One target 310 320 110 300 280 120 300 550 130
Two targets 310 320 220 300 280 240 300 550 260
Three targets 310 320 330 300 280 360 300 550 390

*Assuming each Demolish is able to fully tick.

Endwalker has greatly simplified our AoE options. As you can see, all of our AoE GCDs only become worthwhile on 3+ targets. The only thing that remains to think about when using AOEs is Demolish.

Demolish is our strongest Coeurl form GCD, and given that it’s a DoT, we’re able to simply rotate it between targets for maximum DPS in multi-target scenarios. However, because it’s a DoT, it relies on ticking fully for max value, and so you should estimate whether or not the DoT will tick for long enough to be worthwhile before applying it.


Chakra

Chakra is the simpler of our two job gauges. Chakra can be stacked up to five times, and once five stacks have been built, we can spend them on either a single target oGCD or an AoE oGCD, depending on the scenario.

“How do we build Chakra, PB?” I hear you ask. We have a number of different ways:

First is Meditation, a GCD with a one second cooldown that opens a single Chakra upon being pressed. When outside of combat it generates five stacks of Chakra instantly.
We then have two traits: Deep Meditation I & II. Deep Meditation I grants an 80% chance of generating a Chakra upon landing a critical weaponskill. Deep Meditation II turns that 80% chance into a 100% chance.
Finally, we have Brotherhood. Brotherhood has multiple effects, but in this section we’ll just talk about the effect pertaining to Chakra generation. Upon execution, party members within 15 yalms will gain the effect of Meditative Brotherhood for 15 seconds. While this buff is active on an ally, every time they execute a weaponskill or a spell, there is a 20% chance that you will gain a stack of Chakra. While the buff is active on yourself, you have a 100% chance to gain a Chakra each time you execute a weaponskill.

 

Brotherhood Chakra gain is based on damage application. This means that following the use of a GCD with a slower damage application such as Demolish, your Chakra gain will occur much later in the GCD roll than it would after a Snap Punch, for example.

We can spend our Chakra on either of the following two oGCDs:

The Forbidden Chakra is a single target attack with a potency of 340.
Enlightenment is a line AoE with a potency of 170.

 

Beast Chakra - How They Work

Beast Chakra is new in Endwalker, and hinges around the changes to Perfect Balance (the skill, not me).

Perfect Balance has a similar effect as it did previously – nullifying form requirements – however now it has two charges and a 40s cooldown. Upon executing a weaponskill, it grants a Chakra of the corresponding Form. We can then spend these Beast Chakra on one of four new Blitz weaponskills depending on the Chakra we had accumulated. Upon using any of these Blitzes, we’re granted Formless Fist, allowing us to proceed with our rotation without having to do any GCDs without their form bonus.

If we have three of the same type of Beast Chakra, our Masterful Blitz will become Elixir Field, an AoE with a potency of 600 that deals 70% less damage to all subsequent targets hit. Using Elixir Field will grant us a Lunar Nadi.
If we have three different Beast Chakra, our Masterful Blitz becomes Rising Phoenix, an AoE with a potency of 700 that deals 70% less damage to all subsequent targets hit. Using Rising Phoenix will grant us a Solar Nadi.
If we have two different Beast Chakra, Masterful Blitz becomes Celestial Revolution, a single-target attack with a potency of 450. Using Celestial Revolution will grant us a Lunar Nadi by default, but if we already possess the Lunar Nadi it will instead give us a Solar Nadi.
If we have both the Solar and Lunar Nadi active, any combination of three Beast Chakra will turn Masterful Blitz into Phantom Rush, an AoE with a potency of 1150 potency that deals 50% less damage to all subsequent targets hit. It consumes both Nadi upon use.

 

Now as for specifically which GCDs you want to press to activate each Blitz and when, we can intuit:

If we take Elixir Field, it requires three of the same Beast Chakra. This means we could technically do three Snap Punches, or a Twin Snakes and two True Strikes, but the highest DPS option are our Opo-Opo GCDs. Hence, whenever you need to use Elixir Field, your PB window will either be DK > Boot > DK, or Boot > DK > Boot, depending on if you had Leaden Fist active or not.

Rising Phoenix on the other hand requires even less comparative thought. It requires three different Beast Chakra, so you essentially continue through your rotation normally, following the flowchart of “If X, then Y” to attain three unique Beast Chakra. Sometimes you may wish to do Rising Phoenix PB windows slightly out of order, i.e., Twin > Opo > Coeurl, in order to ensure Disciplined Fist doesn’t fall off.

Celestial Revolution is just bad; we never want to use this skill. This is essentially the Mudra Bunny for the Beast Chakra system. It’s much weaker than our other two options, and for some reason is a single target skill. However, just because we never use Celestial Revolution doesn’t mean we’ll never do two Beast Chakra PB windows. This is due to…

Phantom Rush. Phantom Rush is our strongest Masterful Blitz, and as such is the skill we’re always building toward. As mentioned, Phantom Rush will be executed regardless of your Beast Chakra combination provided you have both Nadi available. In theory then, you’d want to use the 3x Opo-Opo PB window to execute Phantom Rush every time, as that’s the highest raw potency.


Riddle of Fire + Brotherhood

Icon Name Effect Duration Cooldown
Riddle of Fire Increases damage dealt by 15%. 20s 60s
Brotherhood Grants Brotherhood and Meditative Brotherhood to all party members within 15y. Brotherhood increases damage dealt by 5%. 15s 120s

 

On the face of it, Riddle of Fire and Brotherhood are pretty simple skills. We press Riddle of Fire and do more damage for the next 20 seconds. We press Brotherhood and both we and our party do more damage for the next 15 seconds. Now while the burst windows that we build around these skills using the rest of our kit can be complex, the actual usage of these skills themselves are very simple. In a full uptime vacuum we simply press them on cooldown every single time they come back up. Make sure you’re always weaving RoF in the latter half of your GCD roll to ensure you get a full 11 GCDs under the buff.

Some terminology I would like to introduce before we get deeper into the guide is the idea of odd and even Riddle of Fire windows. The “odd” window occurs on odd minutes (one, three, five, etc.), and consists solely of Riddle of Fire. The “even” window occurs on even minutes (two, four, six, etc), and contains both Riddle of Fire and Brotherhood.

Riddle of Wind

Functionally, you can think of Riddle of Wind as a DoT, or as a damaging oGCD. Given that it has a 90s CD, it’s sometimes going to fall out of buffs; this is okay. In a vacuum, you just press Riddle of Wind on CD forever, getting the maximum amount of uses while every other usage misaligns itself from your buffs. In a real scenario, such as an encounter where you have a specific killtime/phase time in mind, you can afford to hold it into buffs when you know you aren’t going to lose a usage by doing so.

I’ll give an example of a six minute encounter. Over the course of six minutes, you’d get four uses of RoW: 0:00, 1:30, 3:00, and 4:30. You’ll notice that if you were to use RoW at these times, you’ll get one usage at 3:00 under an odd RoF, but every other use will be misaligned from buffs.

What you could instead do is pop it at 0:00, 2:00, 3:30, 5:00. Here you get one use in your even RoF, as well as another usage at 5:00 in an odd RoF.

Utility and Misc. Skills

This is the part where I cover everything that’s been missed until now. We’ve covered everything you’d need to know in a dummy scenario, so now let’s take a quick tour of the toolkit that we find ourselves using as soon as we leave the dummy and get into a real encounter.

Six-Sided Star is a GCD with a potency of 550, but double the recast of every other GCD. While doing two GCDs is always more potency than doing one SSS, this is useful in scenarios where you don’t have the time to do two GCDs, or before you disengage from a target. A situational skill, you’ll either use it before running out of a big aoe, before a boss dies, or before a boss goes untargetable for whatever reason. It also applies a small movement speed buff for five seconds. Overall a very useful utility GCD.
Riddle of Earth is an oGCD with three stacks and a 30s CD. Upon use you’re granted three stacks of RoE, which decrease by one each time you use a weaponskill. It has a 10s duration if you don’t consume all three stacks. Each stack provides you 20% mitigation (non-stacking).
Thunderclap is our new mobility tool, an oGCD with a 30s CD and three charges. It can target both your enemy or a party member, and so provides us a decent amount of flexibility, being able to zip around up to three times in a row. Whether or not we’ll ever need that kind of mobility, we’ll have to wait and see, but it’s nice to know that it’s there if we need it.
Mantra is an oGCD with a 15s duration and a 90s CD. It increases healing received by you and all party members within 15y by 10%, which is quite a strong mitigation tool. Given that a lot of the shields in this game (Succor, Aspected Helios, etc.) are based on the amount of healing done, it means that Mantra can be used to provide both increased healing and greater shielding. You should discuss with your healers when to use it for maximum benefit.
Anatman is completely worthless in 99% of situations. It’s a channeled GCD with a 60s CD that can be held for up to 30s. It extends your Disciplined Fist and present form timer to their maximum while preventing their expiration. As far as the current form goes, in the time you use Anatman you could’ve just used Form Shift instead. As for Disciplined Fist extension, it’s incredibly hard to actually get value out of this, and when you do get value, all it does is save you from doing maybe one auto-attack and a Twin Snakes without the buff active. Maximum effort, minimum reward.
Feint is an oGCD with a 10s duration and a 90s CD, which lowers the target’s physical damage dealt by 10% and magic damage dealt by 5%. This is a very nice tool now, as we’re finally able to use it in fights that have no physical damage sources. As a tool for both progression and optimization it’s invaluable, and you should discuss with your healers and tanks where it’s best used for maximum effect.
Arm’s Length is an oGCD with a 6s duration and a 120s CD. It nullifies almost every knockback/draw-in effect in the game, which is useful for keeping uptime when a boss tries to push you away. It can also be used to allow new solutions for mechanics.
True North is an oGCD with two charges and a 45s CD. For its 10-second duration, it nullifies all positional requirements of your weaponskills. Even though we only have two positionals left, this is still useful for situations where for whatever reason you literally cannot get into the right position.
Bloodbath is an oGCD with a 20s duration and a 90s CD. It converts a portion of physical damage dealt into healing; very useful for keeping yourself alive in a pinch. Sync it up with a buff window for even bigger heals.
Second Wind is an oGCD with a 120s CD. It instantly heals you with a cure potency of 500. Similar to Bloodbath, it’s good to keep yourself alive in emergencies.
Leg Sweep is an oGCD stun on a 40s CD. It’s generally not ever used, as the few stuns that do pop up across the various encounters in this game are typically covered by a tank. Still, not entirely worthless if no one else in your group knows/is able to correctly time their stun.

Rotational Choices

Openers

There are two primary openers available to us, though additional options and variations can be found in the advanced guide. The Lunar Solar opener can be treated as a default opener, as it ensures maximum Phantom Rush usages over an unknown killtime. This opener also affords us the opportunity to be flexible with where we place Rising Phoenix in our two minute burst window. This is beneficial, as it allows for greater flexibility of our burst window to account for our current Disciplined Fist/Demolish state.

The Double Solar opener is something that only becomes worthwhile to switch to when you have a greater understanding of an encounter and its nuances – primarily, having an estimated killtime that you are reasonably confident you’ll achieve, and the knowledge that that killtime will not lose you a usage of Phantom Rush if you follow a Double Solar opener.

Chakra usage in the opener depends on if you are able to double weave without clipping. If you can do so, simply use TFC as soon as it becomes available every time following the first usage. If you cannot do so, then there will be times when you are forced to sit on Chakra stacks for a GCD or two, as although you still want to use it as soon as possible, your priority is using your buffs in the correct places.

Lunar Solar

Lunar Solar Opener

This opener is effectively the “Guaranteed Max Phantom Rush uses” opener; it starts out by generating both a Lunar and a Solar Nadi and banishing our PR to the land of the one-minute buffs. The opener requires a double weave if you wish to preserve the same Brotherhood timing as the double Solar opener. If you and your group are fine to delay BH by one GCD, simply move it + Riddle of Wind one oGCD slot down.

Double Solar

Double Solar Opener

Doing two Rising Phoenix overcaps us on Solar Nadi; that is intentional. This is done for Phantom Rush alignment, as pushing PR into the two minute window can be beneficial provided we have an ideal killtime and a party composition with a lot of two minute buffs.

Brotherhood’s placement is flexible should it ever need to be moved to account for your party composition.

Picking Your Path

Monk now has three different primary choices as to how you’d like to play. Available to us are the braindead looping rotation, the optimal drift rotation, and the double solar rotation:

  • The looping rotation forces a couple of minor “misplays” in order to form a rotation that naturally loops itself every two minutes, providing an easier gameplay experience for first timers.
  • The optimal drift rotation consists of more nuanced burst windows, with multiple potential even windows depending on which Coeurl GCD happens around a Riddle of Fire.
  • The double solar rotation follows a set of rules based on Perfect Balance entries around Riddle of Fire windows for potentially higher DPS that relies on stricter conditions to excel.

Opener Analysis

The image above demonstrates the DPS difference between each of the three rotations given an uninterrupted 8:30 sim. As you can see it’s incredibly tight between all three options. I would recommend starting out with the loop to get a feel for the job, progressing on to Optimal Drift if you decide you enjoy it and wish to push the job further. Double Solar is relegated to specific scenarios; it must be a kill time that will not lose you a use of Phantom Rush (6:30, 8:30, etc) and your party composition should contain a reasonable amount of two minute raid buffs to really leverage the enhanced two minute burst. In 99% of situations you are better using Optimal Drift, however when the stars align Double Solar does get to have its’ time in the sun (all puns intended). Double Solar becomes comparatively stronger than the other options the longer a fight goes (assuming you do not lose a Phantom Rush), and can sometimes gain an edge by allowing you to better use either the targeted AoE or the AoE centered around yourself in order to cleave more targets.

Braindead Looping Rotation

This rotation is recommended mostly for either casual play or for getting your first taste of Monk before advancing to Optimal Drift. The reasoning for this is that while Optimal Drift contains various different ways of entering and forming your burst windows, the Loop essentially takes one of those possibilities and freezes it, making it loop forever. As such, once you become comfortable with the Loop progressing on to Optimal Drift should come quite naturally.

This rotation always begins with the Lunar Solar opener. As mentioned previously, we make certain concessions in order to facilitate the loop, with the first of these being immediately following the opener. While best practice is typically using an Opo GCD as our free post-Blitz Formless GCD, in order to loop we will instead press Twin Snakes after the Rising Phoenix in our opener. This sets the rotation back two GCDs, allowing for the loop to exist.

Following this you simply press buttons according to the Monk Flowchart until the first odd Riddle of Fire window. At this point, you will do the following:

Braindead Looping Rotation - Odd Minutes

Every single odd window following this will be exactly the same, the only difference being that your Opo GCDs will flip each two minutes (Bootshines become Dragon Kick and vice-versa). The only time you might have to slightly adjust anything in your rotation is if for whatever reason your Twin Snakes has not naturally aligned before the Demolish seen at 1:13. If this happens and the flowchart would have you place a True Strike here, simply ignore that and force a Twin Snakes refresh.

From the odd window we again go back to following the flowchart until the even window occurs. Again, the even window will now always look exactly like this, with the one change being that Opo GCDs will switch every two minutes.

Braindead Looping Rotation - Even Minutes

Very important here is the Twin Snakes following the Elixir Field, which serves the exact same purpose as the post-Blitz Twin Snakes in our opener – facilitating the loop. You might notice that sometimes the Demolish from your RP PB sequence clips, but this doesn’t matter.

If you want to practice this and cross-reference with a log, here is a raw action sequence list you can compare against to make sure you’re doing it right.

Fixing the Loop

As this is a looping rotation, in a dummy scenario, this will repeat ad infinitum. However, not every encounter is a dummy, and so sometimes through no fault of your own the loop will be broken. There are three ways in which this can happen:

Twin timer

This is irrelevant. You simply remember to always use Twin Snakes before the odd window Demolish and this will fix itself.

Demolish timer

This is primarily of concern to us in our odd windows, as the even window is effectively a 100% copy-paste of itself every time and simply eats any Demolish clip the game pushes you into in order to stay in the loop. In practice this almost means that the Demolish timer offset is inconsequential given that by looping you fix it yourself every two minutes.

Odd windows, however, could become slightly problematic if you end up playing an odd window expecting the 6th RoF GCD to be a natural Demolish only to find out too late that it isn’t. The solution to this is to learn all the potential Demolish placements and understand how to play around them. If you consider the fact that Demolish is naturally refreshed every nine GCDs, this means that you can take any nine sequential GCDs and one of them is going to be a Demolish.

But how do we know which nine GCDs to look at? Well, if we work backwards, we know that from pressing PB, we’ll need four GCDs to get to our Blitz, meaning that the nine GCDs we’re looking at are the three prior to and six following the usage of Riddle of Fire. We’re going to look at this nine GCD window, and fix our alignment by building around the Demolish we find. We force the Raptor GCD before the Demolish to be a Twin Snakes, even if it “should” be a True Strike, and place our PB after the Opo GCD that follows this Demolish.

Form-to-RoF CD Alignment

This is when we simply end up in the wrong form as Riddle of Fire comes off of CD. Thankfully, learning how to fix Demolish timers helps to resolve this issue. Odd window alignment can be solved by learning the rules mentioned in the Demolish timer section. If you were, for example, to enter the RoF window from a Raptor GCD, the usual Demolish you’d be waiting for is now the 7th GCD in RoF, meaning that your Blitz will fall out of your RoF window. However, if you were going into this situation aware of the nine GCD Demolish rule you’d be able to identify that you should be building your PB based on the Demolish that is three GCDs before the RoF in order to avoid the Blitz falling out. If there’s no further downtime, this sequence is now what will loop on every subsequent odd window. Again even windows effectively fix themselves by merit of being attached to a PB use.

While you can put the effort into learning these various tricks to realigning the loop, I would instead advise you to use the same amount of brainpower to instead look at learning Optimal Drift, as the rules used to fix the loop are a part of the rules that build the optimal drift rotation.

Optimal Drift Rotation

Like the basic loop, this always begins with the Lunar Solar opener in order to take advantage of the greater amount of options afforded in the two-minute windows. This rotation splits more dramatically between the odd and even Riddle of Fire windows.

Odd Windows

Our odd RoF windows are all built around a natural Demolish. This is because we want to have just refreshed Demolish prior to beginning our PB window so that it won’t fall off during our burst. Similarly, we want the GCD before that Demolish to have been a Twin Snakes for the same reason.

How do we know where to start looking for this Demolish, though? Well, it’s the same logic that we use to fix our Demo timer in the basic looping rotation. We work backwards and realise that we need four GCDs from PB to get our Blitz out, meaning the Demolish we need can be no later than six GCDs into our RoF window. This means that we’re once again looking at the string of nine GCDs on either side of Riddle of Fire, up to three prior to or six following. Once we locate that Demolish, we put a Twin Snakes before it, and PB after the Opo GCD that follows this Demolish.

Even Windows

Similarly to how we build our odd windows from a Demolish, we also build our even windows from a Coeurl GCD. As opposed to looking across nine GCDs for a Demolish to build from, here we are simply looking across three GCDs for a Coeurl GCD. There is slightly more distinction here than simply Demolish/Snap Punch however. Over nine GCDs, our Coeurl sequence has two Snap Punches between each Demolish, with each Snap Punch being unique and providing a different even window depending on which one we hit. To distinguish between Coeurl GCDs, we’re going to break them down into Demo, Snap 1, and Snap 2.

Similarly again to how you’d build odd windows, working backwards from the end of the RoF window we can see that we are looking at the two GCDs prior to, and one GCD following RoF in order to be able to fit our entire burst into RoF. Now depending on which of your three potential Coeurl GCDs falls into this window, you have three distinct potential burst windows. This is effectively due to needing to find a natural Demolish refresh mid-Riddle of Fire that doesn’t waste any of our free Formless GCDs on anything other than an Opo GCD.

Optimal Drift Rotation - Even Windows Explained

The most confusing of these is arguably RoF+BH 2, as Snap 1 would fall into that window, but in order to play it correctly you need to have already used PB.

The most practical way to actually learn how to do this is check what Coeurl GCD you’re hitting between when Riddle of Fire is on cooldown between 21.34 - 15.52, as in nine GCDs you’ll be pressing the same Coeurl GCD in the -2/+1 GCD window around RoF that we’re looking for. If the Coeurl GCD in this window is Demolish, you’ll be doing ROF+BH 3. If it’s Snap 1, you’re doing ROF+BH2, if it’s Snap 2 then you’re doing ROF+BH 1.

To ensure that you’re practicing effectively and not just muscle memory-ing the same patterns over and over, randomly insert SSS casts into your dummy rotation to ensure you know the rules well enough to pick the correct windows.

If you want to practice this and cross-reference with a log, here is a raw action sequence list you can compare against to make sure you’re doing it right.

Double Solar Rotation

Again, the Double Solar rotation splits itself by odd and even RoF windows. The odd windows follow the exact same rules as the Optimal Drift odd windows, and so I will not rewrite them here. The even windows are slightly different however.

Even windows

Similar to the odd windows of other rotations, we build our even window around a Demolish. However, due to the way this rotation works we don’t always have the luxury of waiting for a natural Demolish, and may sometimes need to force clip one. So how do we do this?

If we keep doing what we’ve been doing so far and work backwards, we see that we have a very long sequence to account for seeing as though we’re unloading two PB windows here. Specifically, what we want to be doing looks like this:

Twin > Demo > Opo + PB > Opo > Opo > Opo > PR > Opo + PB > Twin > Opo > Demo > RP

This may seem long and intimidating, but keep in mind that it’s basically just Twin > Demo > Opo > Unleash both PBs + their respective Blitzes.

Much as before, we now have to consider that eight of our GCDs will be used up by PB/Blitzes – nine, if we consider the free Opo we get after using our first Blitz. This means that to ensure our 2nd Blitz still fits into RoF, the first PB can start no later than after the second RoF GCD.

As was previously mentioned, we don’t have the luxury of waiting for a natural Demolish refresh to come about. That’s okay though, since we can force a Demolish in a convenient location. Either the first GCD in Riddle of Fire or one of the two GCDs before Riddle of Fire will be a Coeurl GCD. Regardless of your Demolish timer, always refresh Demolish here. At full uptime, this leads to only 6s of clipping every six minutes, so don’t feel too bad about it if you do clip. Also, always press Twin Snakes before this Demolish.

Once you’ve succeeded in doing this, the rest of the even window basically plays itself. Because of where you use the Demolish, the proceeding Opo GCD is always placed such that the first PB will always be early enough to fit your entire burst within the RoF window.

Again, in simple terms what this means is: Always press RoF on cooldown, whether we’re at 2:03, 4:03, etc. What we’re looking out for here is our Coeurl GCD that is either two GCDs before, or one GCD after RoF. Once we’ve identified this, we make sure to use a Demolish as that Coeurl GCD, and we always precede it with a Twin Snakes. As I mentioned before, the burst window effectively plays itself from this point as we do our natural Opo GCD before jumping into our back to back PBs.


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    Authors
    Perfect Balance
    wulf#8419
  • 28 Oct, 2021
    Created page
    15 Feb, 2022
    Updated for Endwalker
    22 Apr, 2022
    Updated Cursed Knowledge section to bring the guide up to date; added Triple Blitz, Brotherhood Damage vs Chakra, and Dragon Kick Spam.