Machinist is a fast-paced physical ranged job that excels at quick burst damage and has the added benefit of free movement. While the base rotation for this job is somewhat strict, Machinist excels in dumping burst into raid buffs with flexible use of its gauge system. This guide’s aim is to break down the job’s rotation into something easy to digest while providing good practices to follow for overall gameplay.
If you’re new to the job and would just like a basic overview of Machinist during the leveling process, click here.
Machinist comes with two gauges. The Heat Gauge (top) is used to Hypercharge which costs 50 Heat. The Battery Gauge (bottom) is used to summon your Automaton Queen to fight alongside you for a specified amount of time based on the amount of Battery you had at the time of summoning. You must accrue at least 50 Heat or Battery to use their respective abilities, and neither should be allowed to overcap if possible.
Single Target Rotation
Heated Split Shot
The first skill in your main combo. 220 Potency GCD +5 Heat
Heated Slug Shot
The second skill in your main combo. 330 Combo Potency GCD +5 Heat
Heated Clean Shot
The final skill in your main combo. 440 Combo Potency GCD +5 Heat +10 Battery
Shares recast timer with Bioblaster. 700 Potency GCD
Ensures next weapon skill is a critical direct hit. oGCD 55s cooldown
Enables the usage of Heat Blast. Buffs weapon skills used for the next 8s. oGCD 20 Potency added to all non-pet weapon skills. -50 Heat
Only usable during Hypercharge. GCD timer set to 1.5s when using this skill. Each use reduces the recast timer of Gauss Round and Ricochet. 220 Potency GCD 15s reduction on both Gauss Round and Ricochet per use.
40s GCD. 700 Potency GCD +20 Battery
Flexible AoE oGCD. Can hold a max of three charges. 150 Potency oGCD with fall off damage after the first enemy
Flexible single target oGCD. Can hold a max of three charges. 150 Potency oGCD
Places a debuff on a single enemy that deals 200 potency per weapon skill. Detonates after 10s. Two minute cooldown. oGCD When paired with a Hypercharge window, it allows for six weapon skills inside the 10s buff timer. 1200 Potency
Generates 50 heat. Two minute cooldown. oGCD +50 Heat
Conal AoE that applies a DoT to enemies. Shares recast with Drill. 360 Potency GCD (60p upfront + 60p DoT/15s)
Standard conal AoE. 180 Potency GCD +5 Heat
Conal AoE. Can only be used while in Hypercharge. GCD recast set to 1.5s. 180 Potency GCD
A channeled ability. Deals 100 potency once per second for ten seconds. Moving while channeling the skill will end its duration. Even though it’s an ability, it still resets the GCD timer. GCD 100p/10s + initial tick. Max 1100 potency on all enemies in a cone.
Summons your robot. While active, Queen will deal damage in the form of Arm Punch, Roller Dash and Pilebunker. Timer is based on Battery gauge. oGCD Minimum 1150 Potency. Maximum 2300 Potency.
Commands Automaton Queen to perform Pile Bunker before Battery timer reaches zero. oGCD Variable damage based on Battery Gauge.
Melee distance GCD used by Queen Automaton. 1.5s recast. Pet GCD 150 Potency
Gap closer used by Queen Automaton. 3s recast. Pet GCD 300 Potency
Queen Automaton’s finisher. Pet GCD Variable damage based on Battery Gauge.
Reduces damage taken by you and all party members. Two minute recast. 10% damage reduction for 15s. Cannot be stacked with Troubadour or Shield Samba.
Can be resisted by enemies. 30s recast. 40% Heavy for 10s.
Can be resisted by enemies. 30s recast. Bind for 10s.
Only interrupts cast bars that are “blinking”. 30s recast. Cast Interruption.
Restores own HP. Two minute recast. 500 Potency
Nullifies most knockback or draw-in effects. Two minute recast. 20% slow if attacked by physical damage.
Can not be used in combat. Increases movement speed for self and all party members. Ends if you enter combat.
Listed below are all current openers and the reasoning as to why each one should be selected. It is very important that you attempt to put as much damage into the raid buffs of your party as possible. Wildfire is not flexible at all, as it is on a strict two minute timer, and because of this, it should be placed properly in the opener based on your party composition. Wildfire snapshots raid buffs upon use of the ability – not on detonation. Wildfire cannot critical hit or direct hit, thus gaining no benefit from crit or direct hit boosting raid buffs. If you’re only here for openers, click this. Images with text in case you prefer that.
3rd GCD WF (Fast Opener)
Only used for groups where the only raid buffs are from Scholar and Dragoon. Has potential for downtime or kill time optimization, but overall is very niche.
4th GCD WF
Lenient for moderate ping players and catches most raid buffs except for Divination and Brotherhood. Catches five stacks of Embolden.
5th GCD WF
Very tight, as it ends Wildfire on a Drill. Should only be used for optimization purposes with low ping. Catches all raid buffs with a very low chance of missing a late Divination from Astrologian and a late use of Brotherhood by Monk. Catches five stacks of Embolden.
6th GCD WF (General Purpose Opener)
Best option for general play. Slightly stricter (~0.25s) than the Wildfire/Hypercharge double weave alignment. Takes advantage of all buffs with the caveat it will land in a 4 stack Embolden.
High Ping Opener
Should only be used as a last resort if you cannot reliably do any of the other openers listed. Desyncs Drill from the buff window to ensure Wildfire doesn’t end on Drill. The forced delay of Drill at 20 seconds fixes the alignment between Drill and Air Anchor.
The Two-Minute Loop and Rotational Theory
The most basic description of the level 80 rotation can be broken down by following these rules:
- Not drifting Drill, Air Anchor, or Wildfire
- Not overcapping resources. This includes Heat, Battery, and Gauss Round/Ricochet charges
- Using your flexible burst inside of raid buffs as much as possible
At a base GCD of 2.5s, the rotation for Machinist does a clean loop every two minutes. Each two-minute segment can be broken up into multiple eight GCD strings where the first GCD of the string is Drill and the seven GCDs following are made up of Heated Shots, Air Anchor, or Hypercharge windows. The rotation starts over again from the start of every Wildfire window. Wildfire sets the baseline for the rotation,- as it doesn’t scale with skill speed like the rest of our rotation. Everything we do is centered around preparation for the next Wildfire window and ensuring there’s no gauge loss or drift from any of our actions.
The rotation can be pieced together by using the following image. Note: Hypercharge placement can and will be moved around depending on what part of the rotation you’re at, the amount of heat you have, downtime, and your party composition. If the image is too small you can open it in your browser using this link.
Piecing Together Drill, Air Anchor and Hypercharge
As of 5.0, the timer before combo actions break has been increased to 15 seconds. The only impact this has on Machinist is the Heated Shot combo. Any combination of Drill, Air Anchor and Hypercharge back to back while having a Heated Shot combo active will break your combo and force you to restart on a Split Shot.
A full segment of Hypercharge is exactly three GCDs worth of time, or 7.5s. Because of this, you should never enter Hypercharge if Drill or Air Anchor has less than eight seconds on their cooldown timers. Doing so will cause Drill or Air Anchor cooldowns to drift, which leads to a loss of DPS and will more than likely cause issues down the line in your rotation when you reach your rotational reset at Wildfire.
You may have noticed the spacing between Drill and Air Anchor in the openers. Spacing these two skills apart by a GCD or two is perfectly fine. You’ll run into issues when the spacing is three GCDs due to how inflexible the Drill > Hypercharge > Air Anchor alignment is. A three GCD spacing forces you to hold Hypercharge in an eight GCD segment involving Air Anchor and can very easily lead to heat overcap. In a proper eight GCD segment, based off the General Purpose opener, your rotation should look something like this:
Drill > Heated Shot > Heated Shot > Air Anchor > Heated Shot > Hypercharge Segment (3 GCDs)
Reassemble should almost always be used on Drill. It may look like it’s use can be interchanged between Drill or Air Anchor but the alignment for using it on Air Anchor just doesn’t line up very well. Reassemble should be used on every third Drill.
Some encounters may have you reopen in the middle of the fight without time to prepull Reassemble. To avoid clipping on your initial GCD, Reassemble may be used on a third GCD Air Anchor and still line up for the Drill at the one minute mark. Reassemble’s 55s cooldown allows for minor flexibility in situations like these.
Barrel Stabilizer Usage and Heat Gain Over Time
Though Machinist uses Barrel Stabilizer in the opener before Wildfire, every sequential Barrel Stabilizer should be held until you’ve spent the heat required for the Hypercharge in your Wildfire window. By using Barrel Stabilizer before Wildfire, you end up overcapping on heat multiple times over an entire encounter. The overcap eventually leads to entire Hypercharge windows lost simply due to poor Barrel Stabilizer usage. Barrel Stabilizer should be used somewhere between your Hypercharge use, with Wildfire, or immediately following the end of your Hypercharge window after Wildfire ends to ensure the minimum amount of drift on the ability.
Throughout the course of the rotation, Machinist naturally generates 50 Heat over a period of ~32.5s. Heat gain mapping can be found here (credit to Lynn Nuvestrahl). Using a post-Wildfire Barrel Stabilizer as a baseline, there will be certain parts of the rotation where you would purposely hold heat in preparation for the next Wildfire window. The six-minute buff window is a very good example of this. In a vacuum, Machinist will enter this specific Wildfire with exactly 100 heat when using the General Purpose opener. If the Machinist uses Hypercharge prior to this, they will force a delay on Wildfire due to a 15 heat shortage, a delay of roughly 7.5s. This will potentially drift Machinist’s burst out of raid buffs. Even though Hypercharge costs 50 Heat, you’ll need to consider that the Hypercharge window is also taking the place of 3 extra Heated combos, thus subtracting another 15 Heat from the current two-minute loop.
Automaton Queen and Flexible Burst Usage
The three things that make up Machinist’s flexible burst are the Heat gauge, the Battery gauge, and the charges of Gauss Round and Ricochet. The first rule for these resources is to never allow them to overcap if possible. The second rule is to use as many of them as you can before an encounter ends, preferring to end a fight with these gauges as close to zero as possible.
Automaton Queen is Machinist’s most flexible burst and is also the most powerful of the three. Automaton Queen’s damage scaling is linear to the amount of battery she was summoned at. For every 10 Battery, the summon is worth 230 potency, with Pilebunker being 80 potency per 10 gauge. At maximum battery, Automaton Queen will last 21s and is worth 2300 potency, with 800 of that coming from Pilebunker. Timing Automaton Queen’s summoning can be a bit of an issue due to her wind-up animation, which lasts 5 seconds at the start of the timer regardless of battery at summoning time. Because of this, “reactionary summoning” can be quite bad, and will almost always result in Pilebunker landing outside of raid buffs. To remedy this, it is suggested that Automaton Queen is summoned prior to raid buffs being used. Luckily, the vast majority of raid buffs come out at one-minute intervals. The two-minute loop cycle generates about 160 Battery, which lets you summon an 80 Battery Automaton Queen every minute, using Reassemble as a way to track the timer. In an optimized setting, you may be targeting buff windows with a 90 or 100 battery Queen. In that case, you would want to summon Automaton Queen a GCD before Reassemble to ensure Pilebunker lands towards the end of your party’s raid buffs. Queen’s summon should be delayed if scripted downtime is about to happen. Using Overdrive is always a loss and should be avoided unless a fight is ending and you have no other option to get the Pilebunker off. Ultimately, you should be planning your Battery usage in such a way Pilebunkers go off naturally, and so that you end a fight with as little excess Battery as possible.
Queen mirrors our buffs in real time and is affected by all buffs except Dragon Sight from Dragoon. Pets are not affected by resurrection sickness, but they are affected by damage down and stuns. Automaton Queen does not receive any racial stat bonus. She uses a 100 DEX modifier instead of a 115 DEX modifier. She does receive the damage bonus from the Action Damage trait. She uses no special f(ATK). Queen also does not benefit from the 5% party buff bonus. What does all of this mean? Her potency is closer to 90% of our own. Any other modifiers should be checked using ACT on a per fight basis if there are any questions.
While the heat gauge may not be as flexible as the battery gauge, there is still some finesse that can be had around its timings to make sure that you get the most out of your Hypercharge windows. Outside of holding for specific fight phasing, heat can be held momentarily for hitting buffs outside of the normal two minute burst windows, such as the three minute Devotion or odd-minute Trick Attack that Wildfire is not available during. Hypercharge windows can also be chained together with a single GCD in between each window. Not only is this a good way to avoid overcapping heat during certain parts of the rotation, but it is also an excellent way of making the most out of raid buffs that may be lingering longer than a full Hypercharge window.
Unlike many of the other jobs, Machinists can pool their resources for later phases of an encounter. Entering a later phase with 100 Heat (effectively 150 due to Barrel Stabilizer) and 100 Battery is extremely strong, and can give Machinists an edge over the other Physical Ranged jobs in some fights. For example, in an encounter with multiple bosses, you can pool your resources at the end of the first boss, allowing you to reopen in the second boss with a 100 battery Automaton Queen and multiple Hypercharge uses under potions and raid buffs. This makes the final DPS check of the fight easier than it would be if you entered the second boss with no resources saved.
Skill Speed and Encounter Phasing Optimization
Unlike past iterations of Machinist, Shadowbringers Machinist handles skill speed relatively well. While it’s still the lowest scaling stat, the rotation stays intact at breakpoints every 0.06s. The two-minute loop will line up perfectly at GCD speeds of 2.5s, 2.44s, and 2.38s. For every 0.06s subtracted from the GCD, a single Heated Shot filler must be added every two minutes. Unfortunately, going faster will not gain you extra Drills or Air Anchors.
To keep the rotation intact, every 0.06s we lose means we must drift Drill and Air Anchor by one GCD each. At higher GCD speeds, Drill ends up coming up during Wildfire, naturally drifting it back into place. Air Anchor won’t have the same luxury, so if it’s not manually drifted you will eventually have Drill and Air Anchor coming off cooldown at the same time. You’ll have to manually correct the spacing desired between these two GCDs if this happens.
There will be times where skill speed on gear is a positive thing. It’s generally only for fight-specific downtime, but occasionally the additional skill speed will net us an extra Drill, Air Anchor, or Clean Shot in content, which can be a DPS gain. Outside of downtime phasing and unavoidable skill speed gear, the goal should be to maintain a GCD speed of 2.5 in most cases.
It’s a bit niche, but either due to downtime or a known kill time, sometimes a back-to-back alignment of Drill and Air Anchor will be beneficial and net an extra use of Air Anchor. Second GCD Air Anchor misses all buffs, but the extra potency and 20 Battery would be worth it in this scenario.
AoE Rotation and Optimization
The basic AoE priority is as follows:
- Bioblaster 2+ targets
- Auto Crossbow 3+ targets
- Flamethrower 3+ targets
- Spread Shot 3+ targets
Bioblaster ends up being a 20 potency gain at two targets, so while it’s a slight gain, Reassembled Drill takes priority with an expected potency of ~1100. In an encounter with two targets with Chain Stratagem and Trick Attack, Drill will end up being a bigger gain than Bioblaster when both are applied to the same target. No other combination of buffs changes the priority of Drill and Bioblaster at two targets. Reassembled Drill takes priority until 4 targets when a full duration Bioblaster does more damage and you instead should either be Reassembling Air Anchor, Auto Crossbow or Spread Shot, with Auto Crossbow and Spread Shot winning by 20 potency.
Auto Crossbow should only be used on three or more enemies since, unlike Heat Blast, Auto Crossbow does not generate Gauss Round or Ricochet charges.
As far as Flamethrower is concerned, it’s equal in potency to a rotation using Auto Crossbow. The graph below shows a side by side comparison of Flamethrower and Auto Crossbow, courtesy of Lynn Nuvestrahl.
There are some niche cases where Flamethrower is a small gain on two targets but it’s heavily reliant upon phasing and current Heat and Battery gauge levels. Two target Flamethrower is something that needs to be mapped out on a per-fight-basis and should not be the standard.
Gearing and Stat Allocation
As far as stats are concerned, the priority is as follows:
Weapon Damage > Dexterity > Critical Hit > Determination/Direct Hit > Skill speed
The reasoning for determination and direct hit being equal is Reassemble and Wildfire. Since Reassemble guarantees a critical/direct hit, it loses any gain from the direct hit stat due to the damage boost of direct hit damage always being 25%. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Wildfire cannot be a critical or direct hit. Both abilities still scale off determination, which is why they’re more closely weighted.
Potions: Highest Grade of Dexterity available
Food: Listed inside the BiS links
Eden’s Promise BiS
- 2.50 GCD (With 535 Relic)
The Epic of Alexander (TEA) BiS
- 2.50 GCD (With 535 Relic)
- 2.44 set was removed. With the addition of the 535 relic, the 2.44 set is no longer a gain for certain kill times.
- 2.50 GCD (Without Relic)
Ultima Weapon: The Weapon’s Refrain (UWU) BiS
- Synced gear above i470 and an i515 Relic weapon with 318 Crit/318 Det/318 Direct Hit/228 Sksp
The Unending Coil of Bahamut (UCoB) BiS
- Synced gear above i418 and an i515 Relic weapon with equally distributed stats in all 4 categories
High Ping and What You Can Do About It
You may have noticed parts of the Machinist rotation feeling somewhat unresponsive to your button pushing. This is a common occurrence that can happen for a multitude of reasons, almost always related to poor connection to the server. What you’re experiencing is referred to as “clipping”, due to prolonged animation lock that happens when your ping exceeds the allotted time the game gives you between GCDs to use your oGCDs. Machinist suffers more than most other jobs simply because of the Hypercharge window forcing a 1.5 second GCD and also requiring you to weave between Heat Blasts. There are a few ways to handle this:
- If possible, ensure you are using a wired connection. WiFi can be spotty and result in packet loss.
- If playing on an older computer, lower graphics settings and turn off particle effects to increase your framerate. This only matters when your frame rate is so low that it is visibly affecting your gameplay.
- Utilize a gaming VPN. Occasionally, ISPs will route your connection inefficiently, and a VPN can correct the issue by lowering packet loss and ping, creating a more stable connection to the server. Listed below are VPN options.
Mudfish can be configured for FFXIV using this guide. The best VPN for you will differ based on location and ISP. It’s suggested that you try all possible options before deciding on one since they do cost money to use on top of your sub. Most, if not all of these should come with free trials so you can see if they help your connection.
After attempting to fix these issues with the above suggestions, the only thing you can really do is use the High Ping Opener listed here. As long as you’re capable of getting all 6 GCDs in Wildfire while also not overcapping on Gauss Round and Ricochet, you should have no issues playing the job.
Level 70 Rotation Differences
If you’re doing 4.x Ultimate fights, or just syncing down to min-ilvl for fun on old Savage fights, you will notice slight differences in Machinist’s job kit. The overall feel of the job remains the same, so if you’re familiar with level 80 Machinist, the changes will make little to no difference for you. Listed below are the changes, in order of importance:
- Gauss Round and Ricochet only hold two charges
- Air Anchor doesn’t exist; you’re left with Hot Shot
- Queen Automaton doesn’t exist; you’re left with Rook Auto-Turret
- Wildfire is dropped down to 900 potency due to missing traits
- Multi-target priority is different; you don’t have access to Bioblaster. Spread Shot is used at two+ targets.
Gauss Round and Ricochet only having two charges can feel very clunky. It is highly recommended using third or fourth GCD openers when doing synced content. The setup for the General Purpose opener removes a crucial weave slot and will result in overcapping charges.
Hot Shot should still be used on cooldown, even with its lowered potency, but it becomes less flexible with reopeners. At 80, in niche situations, you can re-open after downtime with Reassembled Air Anchor -> Drill and due to the 55s cooldown timer, Reassemble would be back up for the 60s Drill. At level 70, Reassemble must be used on Drill or it will result in a massive loss in damage. Hot Shot still generates 20 Battery though, and should be used on cooldown.
For the most part, Rook and Queen Automaton both function the same as they do at level 80. Each ability requires a minimum of 50 Battery to use, and should be summoned inside raid buff windows to achieve maximum potential. The biggest differences here are the amount of potency gained per ten Battery and the lack of wind-up animation on Rook. Rook has a maximum potency of 800 potency over a course of 15 seconds. Each Volley Fire accounts for 80 potency, while Overdrive (Rook’s version of Pilebunker) accounts for anywhere from 200 - 400 potency, based on the amount of Battery when summoned. Since Rook has no wind-up animation, you’ll need to summon it a few seconds later than normal to get most of the potency inside buff windows.
The Wildfire change is straightforward. The ability functions identical to how it does at 80 where you want 6 GCDs inside of the damage window. The only difference is each GCD only counts for 150 potency. Lower scaling, but the same priority in the rotation.
The absence of Bioblaster does not change much. With the only option being Drill, it just means there’s no thought process on two-target and three-target encounters. At four targets, Spread Shot becomes a gain over Drill, but this isn’t something you need to worry about in high-end content. Outside of Drill and Hot Shot, Spread Shot now becomes the go-to for the basic 2+ target rotation. Battery is less valued due to Rook doing less damage overall compared to Queen, which directly correlates to the expected damage of Clean Shot and the combo system as a whole.
Simple Pointers for New Machinists
Unlocking new jobs can be daunting, so to alleviate some of the stress of all of the new actions, here’s some tips to help out the new Machinists understand their rotation while leveling and gain some insight into how everything comes together! Reference the weaponskills and abilities at the beginning of the guide if you forget exactly what things do.
For clarity purposes:
- GCDs are your weaponskills. They are tied to a timer related to your skill speed. Without skill speed, your GCD recast timer is 2.5 seconds.
- oGCDs are either tied to a longer cooldown specified in the tooltip or limited by something called animation lock, which is about 0.6s. At most, you can use two oGCDs between GCDs. Sometimes you are limited to only using one oGCD because of faster recast times. For Machinist specifically, this will be during Hypercharge, between your Heat Blasts. This is referred to as weaving.
- Level 30
- Your highest potency skill is Clean Shot until level 58. Reassemble should always be paired with this in a single target situation.
- Hypercharge is a flat 20 potency boost to every weapon skill (GCD) used in the next 7.5s. This translates to your next three GCDs if you are actively fighting something.
- You only have heat right now, but Hot Shot is still 300 potency and a gain over both Split Shot and Slug Shot and should still be used in single target situations.
- Spread Shot should be used for any encounter where you have two or more mobs. It’s also the priority for using Reassemble if you’re fighting multiple enemies.
- Gauss Round is an expendable oGCD that should be used as much as possible for extra damage.
- Level 35
- You will gain access to Heat Blast. This weaponskill is super important. The only time you can use it is during your Hypercharge windows, but the recast time on it is exceptionally low, at only 1.5 seconds. You should never be double weaving between Heat Blast; there’s not enough time to do so. Each Heat Blast reduces the cooldown on Gauss Round, so you should be single weaving a Gauss Round in between your Heat Blast’s when you’re able to. This skill changes what you have been doing for the past five levels; from here on out, you’ll never use other GCDs inside of Hypercharge. Every Hypercharge window you should be getting 5 Heat Blasts.
- Level 40
- You will gain access to Rook Auto-Turret. This unlocks a new gauge, Battery. Every time you use Hot Shot or finish a full combo segment with Clean Shot, you will gain Battery which can then be used to summon Rook. If you are preventing the Battery gauge from overcapping, you’re using it correctly. Rook Overdrive does not need to be pressed; it will happen at the end of the summons timer.
- Level 45
- Unlocking Wildfire is effectively just a DPS gain on what you already have in your kit. Wildfire should always be paired with Hypercharge, similar to the pictures located in Openers, but you will need to manually build your heat up to use it rather than being able to open properly. Wildfire can be used on trash packs, but you are better off holding it slightly for boss encounters.
- Level 50
- Nothing crazy. You will learn Ricochet which should be treated nearly the same as Gauss Round. Use as much as you can, and use it inside of Hypercharge windows, alternating use with Gauss Round.
- Levels 52 - 60
- The Heated Split Shot and Heated Slug Shot upgrades are a potency upgrade with new animations when used, but otherwise they’re the same as their unheated counterparts.
- Auto-Crossbow is the AoE equivalent of Heat Blast and should be used as long as there are 3 or more enemies.
- Tactician is a mitigative tool that can either be used to reduce damage when the party is about to take damage, or on mob pulls to help the tank in your dungeon take less damage. Use generously and your parties will love you for it.
- Drill is the big game changer here. From level 58 and onwards, Drill and Reassemble should always be paired together.
- Level 66
- Barrel Stabilizer is huge. You can start encounters with 50 heat and get Wildfire on cooldown very early in a fight. It can be used for on demand burst during mob pulls as well for instant burst.
- For anything else going forward you can reference the rest of this guide.
I hope this helps! If you have any questions, please stop by #mch_questions and ask away!