Gunbreaker Basic Guide
Guide Info
Last Updated: 30 Apr, 2022
Patch Applicable: 6.11

Introduction to Gunbreaker

Gunbreaker is one of the four tanks available to the player; unlocked at Lvl. 60, it provides its own unique playstyle of rewarding damage through maintaining fast-paced burst windows. In this guide we’ll cover as much as possible from the basics to the advanced stuff while answering all the FAQs, so make sure to read everything!

Author

Azazel Raine | Balmung (NA) | Azazel#1000

Skills and Abilities

Offensive On Global Cool Down Abilities

KeenEdge
Keen Edge

The first skill of our basic combo. 170 potency.

BrutalShell
Brutal Shell

The second skill of our basic combo. 260 potency when used after Keen Edge. Heals for 200 potency and gives a shield equal to the amount healed.

SolidBarrel
Solid Barrel

The final skill of our basic combo. 340 potency when used after Brutal Shell. Generates one Cartridge in the Powder Gauge.

BurstStrike
Burst Strike

380 potency attack that consumes one Cartridge.
Grants Ready To Blast

GnashingFang
Gnashing Fang

360 potency attack that consumes one Cartridge. 30 second base cooldown that is reduced by skill speed (discussed later). Grants Ready To Rip.

SavageClaw
Savage Claw

440 potency attack that can only be used following Gnashing Fang. Grants Ready To Tear.

WickedTalon
Wicked Talon

520 potency attack that can only be used following Savage Claw. Grants Ready To Gouge.

Double Down

Delivers an attack to all within 5y of you with a potency of 1,200 for the first enemy, and 20% less for all remaining enemies. Cartridge Cost: 2

SonicBreak
Sonic Break

300 potency attack that applies a 60 potency Damage over Time (DoT) for 30 seconds (600 potency total from the DoT). 60 second base cooldown that is reduced by skill speed (discussed later).

LightingShot
Lightning Shot

Ranged attack skill with a potency of 150 and a range of 20y.
Additional Effect: Increased Emnity

DemonSlice
Demon Slice

First skill of our Area of Effect (AoE) combo. 100 potency to all targets in a 5y circle centered around you.

DemonSlaughter
Demon Slaughter

Second skill of our AoE combo. 150 potency to all targets in a 5y circle around you when used after Demon Slice. Generates one Cartridge in the Powder Gauge.

FatedCircle
Fated Circle

Consumes one Cartridge. 290 potency to all targets in a 5y circle around you.

Offensive Off Global Cooldown Abilities

NoMercy
No Mercy

20% damage increase for 20 seconds.
Cooldown (CD): 60s

Bloodfest
Bloodfest

Immediately gives three Cartridges in the Powder Gauge.
*Only grants two Cartridges below Lvl. 88
CD: 90s

Continuation
Continuation

Turns into Jugular Rip, Abdomen Tear, Eye Gouge, or Hypervelocity when under the effect of Ready To Rip, Ready To Tear, Ready To Gouge, or Ready to Blast respectively.

JugularRip
Jugular Rip

180 potency attack. Can only be used under Ready To Rip triggered by Gnashing Fang.

AbdomenTear
Abdomen Tear

220 potency attack. Can only be used under Ready To Tear triggered by Savage Claw.

EyeGouge
Eye Gouge

260 potency attack. Can only be used under Ready To Gouge triggered by Wicked Talon.

Hypervelocity

180 potency attack. Can only be used under Ready to Blast triggered by Burst Strike.

DangerZone
Danger Zone

Delivers an attack with a potency of 250
Becomes Blasting Zone at level 80.
CD: 30s

BlastingZone
Blasting Zone

Delivers an attack with a potency of 700.
CD: 30s

BowShock
Bow Shock

150 potency attack to all targets in a 5y circle around you. Also applies a 60 potency DoT for 15s to all targets hit by the initial attack (for a total of 300 potency per target from the DoT).
CD: 60s

RoughDivide
Rough Divide

150 potency attack that dashes you to the target with a 25y range.
Has two charges.
CD: 30s per charge

Rotation

The Gunbreaker rotation is a builder-spender rotation built around attempting to maximize damage inside our personal buff, No Mercy, every 60 seconds.

  • This requires us to build Cartridges and spend them every minute with the objective of arriving at every No Mercy window with 3/3 cartridges.
  • We must have used all of our damage cooldowns on cooldown effectively without overcapping cartridges or drifting usages.

The rotation revolves around the same one minute process of:

  • Building maximum Cartridges using our cart combos.
  • Using Gnashing Fang.
  • Using Burst Strike/Fated Circle to prevent overcapping cartridges when at 3/3 to ensure proper resource pooling.
  • Using all of the highest potency damage cooldowns under No Mercy.
  • Using Bloodfest on cooldown at zero Cartridges to maximize Cartridge gain.

Gunbreaker starts with two Cartridge slots from level 30 to level 87. 

  • Upon reaching level 88, you will gain “Cartridge Charge II”, granting a third Cartridge.


All of a Gunbreaker’s offensive ability and weaponskill cooldowns are divisible by 30 seconds, meaning they will always fit into a one minute window at certain time intervals, or can simply be used every 30 seconds.

CartGen

 

As detailed in the introduction to Gunbreaker’s rotation, we want to ensure we are building cartridges without overcapping for the purpose of spending as many as possible under No Mercy, and keeping Gnashing Fang on cooldown both in and outside No Mercy.

To do this, we have two options available to build Cartridges:
Solid Barrel Combo (Single Target): Builds one Cartridge Combo Actions: Keen Edge ➞ Brutal Shell ➞ Solid Barrel

Demon Combo (Area of Effect): Builds one Cartridge Combo Actions: Demon Slice ➞ Demon Slaughter

This combo is utilized in 2+ Target scenarios to build one Cartridge.

Use it to build your gauge when fighting multiple enemies. 

  • It is weaker in single target scenarios than the Solid Barrel Combo, however can be used in niche circumstances such as fight specific phasings to generate more cartridges that otherwise would have been lost. Do not use this combo in single target situations outside of these special cases.

Keep in mind that in a single target environment such as raids, it takes three GCDs to build a cart (two in specific cases by using Demon Slaughter), but only takes one to spend. As such, over spending is very destructive so you must be careful when dumping carts between Gnashing Fang and No Mercy windows.

There are four Weaponskills that require carts to use:

  • Gnashing Fang (1)
  • Double Down (2)
  • Burst strike (1)
  • Fated Circle (1)

Gnashing Fang Combo (30s CD) (GCD Dependent)

  • This is a three-weaponskill combo that includes some of your heaviest hitting weaponskills. The initial weaponskill Gnashing Fang requires one Cartridge to activate but the subsequent combo weaponskills Savage Claw and Wicked Talon are free. We will touch on the Gnashing combo below.

Double Down (60s CD) (GCD Dependent)

  • Unique in that it requires two cartridges to use and is actually one of the biggest reasons that getting as many Cartridges as possible in your No Mercy Window is optimal, requiring all three Cartridges ready to hit both Gnashing Fang and Double Down in quick succession.

Burst Strike

  • Used both as a tool to prevent overcapping and to do damage inside No Mercy.

Fated Circle

  • Has the same purpose as Burst Strike but in a 2+ Target situation.

Gnashing Fang Combo & Continuation

Here we will discuss two things: The Gnashing Fang Combo and Continuation.

Your Gnashing Fang combo is a combo containing three high potency weaponskills that can only be used every 30s and require one Cartridge to start the combo. This is pretty much your burst window’s core and is further complemented by No Mercy every 60s. Upon using your Gnashing Fang attack you’ll begin your combo while activating Continuation:

Continuation

 

Continuation is a follow up off-GCD hit for each of the above abilities that you use directly after each GCD. This is where Gunbreaker’s fast pace comes in, as you have these quick succession hits following your big hitters - think of every activation as a one-two punch. You will be required to get Gunbreaker to level 70 to gain these abilities.

Gnashing Fang will turn into Savage Claw and then into Wicked Talon, while your Continuation button will change from Jugular Rip to Abdomen Tear to Eye Gouge.

Upon reaching level 86 you will get Enhanced Continuation, which grants Continuation to Burst Strike, giving you access to Hypervelocity.

What does a Gnashing Fang Combo look like? Since Gnashing Fang is 30s and No Mercy is 60s. Every second Gnashing Fang Combo will be without No Mercy. As a result it’s not as strong but not as busy. However it still requires one Cartridge to use. Blasting Zone is also 30s so we want to keep Gnashing Fang and Blasting Zone together since they’ll both line up with No Mercy at 60s. This is a standard Gnashing Fang outside of No Mercy. We’ll take a look at the full No Mercy window further on in the guide.

 

The order of a possible Gnashing Fang Combo is as follows: Gnashing Fang ➞ Jugular Rip Savage Claw ➞ Blasting Zone + Abdomen Tear Wicked Talon ➞ Eye Gouge

The placement of Blasting Zone can shift as it is not affected by SkS but GF combo is, as such it won’t line up in the same spot.

One thing to keep in mind is that your Gnashing Fang is a combo, but it has flexibility. 

  • Certain actions can be used inside this combo (and are done so for optimal damage in buffs) without breaking it. 
  • The combo can still be broken by using any of your basic combo actions (Solid Barrel or Demon Slaughter combos). 
  • Breaking your Gnashing Fang is never worth it and to do so is one of the most destructive things to your DPS.

Below is an infographic on what combo flexibility looks like when using Gnashing Fang.

ComboFlex

 

Using any weaponskill before you use your Continuation ability gained from using Gnashing Fang Combo will cause you to lose the Continuation buff. For example:

ContBreak

 

Since Sonic Break was used before Jugular Rip was activated, the Continuation buff that allows you to execute Jugular Rip is lost, thus you lose a usage/damage.

It is important to land your Continuation hits before moving onto the next GCD to avoid losing usages.

See below for a quick reference of each weaponskill and their corresponding Continuation:

  • Gnashing Fang procs Jugular Rip
  • Savage Claw procs Abdomen Tear
  • Wicked Talon procs Eye Gouge
  • Burst Strike procs Hypervelocity

No Mercy & Bloodfest

No Mercy

No Mercy is the backbone of our burst. It provides a 20% damage increase for 20s.

  • This duration allows us to fit nine GCDs into the buff, ensuring the damage of those nine weaponskills is amplified. 

No Mercy will always contain the following:


GCD:

  • Gnashing Fang*
  • Double Down
  • Sonic Break
  • Savage Claw
  • Wicked Talon
  • Burst Strike(s)
  • Remainder of your Solid Barrel combo

oGCD:

  • Jugular Rip*
  • Abdomen Tear
  • Eye Gouge
  • Blasting Zone
  • Bow Shock
  • Rough Divide

As you can see, this is where GNB gets its busy reputation because of all the above abilities, in one form or another, having to be used inside a 20s window every minute. 

  • As a result, you need to ensure you’re always ready for a full No Mercy Window. 
  • This requires you to have three Cartridges in your Powder Gauge as Gnashing Fang requires one Cartridge and Double Down requires two Cartridges. 
  • This is a fundamental rule of No Mercy and should never change. You should never be in a situation where you enter No Mercy without three Cartridges loaded.
  • You ideally want two Rough Divides in every No Mercy; however you can use Rough Divide to gap close if you would otherwise lose several GCD’s due to running across the arena chasing the boss. 

*At level 90, the Gnashing Fang + Jugular Rip part of your GF combo is sometimes omitted in some No Mercy windows (see Gnashing Fang ➞ No Mercy below), but before level 90, you aim to keep all of GF in every NM Window.

So what changes between each No Mercy Window?
One of the main changes is where in your Solid Barrel combo you’ll be when you enter No Mercy. As a result of this the placement of Burst Strike(s) and your combo changes but the core usage of abilities is the same.

Once you finish your Gnashing Fang Combo (Which will contain Double Down and Sonic Break), your next goal is to empty remaining carts (granted by Bloodfest), when your Power Gauge is empty, you revert back to your Solid Barrel combo. If the No Mercy buff is still present and you have generated a cart from Solid Barrel, you immediately dump the cart into Burst Strike to get it under the 20% damage up. You can see the variations below.

The father of Gunbreaker, Rin Karigani, made a chart showing an opener and the subsequent No Mercy Windows in a full uptime scenario.

You can see an example of this rotation here in Rin’s 12 minute rotation showcase: Endwalker Gunbreaker Opener & 12 minute Rotation | No Commentary

NM Windows

 

The Pull is the opening of the fight which is why it will contain a Tincture of Strength. If you are the Main Tank ensure you have Royal Guard on to ensure enmity. Each subsequent window is their number after the Opener. For example, One Minute Window is one minute after the opener, Two Minute Window is two minute later and so on. Please note, these windows change if you adjust your opener to something else such as Keen Mercy opener.

As you can see, each window contains the above abilities. The remainder of the Solid Barrel combo is determined by what part of the combo was rolling when entering No Mercy. For example, in the two minute window, you would have already used Keen Edge and Brutal Shell before using No Mercy, allowing you to end on a Solid Barrel after concluding the Gnashing Fang combo.

The reason we begin Gnashing Fang and use Double Down followed by Sonic Break before finishing our Gnashing Fang combo is to maximize usages.

  • The cooldown of an ability begins from the moment it is pressed. 
  • If we wait until after Gnashing Fang even though it doesn’t interrupt it, then we’re just holding it for two GCDs for no reason which can lose a usage over the course of a fight.

Fitting Nine GCDs:
A number of factors play into allowing for nine GCDs inside No Mercy: 

  • Skill Speed: The time at which the No Mercy buff applies allows us just under 20 seconds to fit nine GCDs. This requires us to have a GCD recast speed that fits the ninth GCD usage while No Mercy is still active. To do this reliably and consistently, you should try to be at 2.46 or faster.
  • Latency: high ping can cause a delay in your ability to immediately recast the GCD, causing “clipping” that make it difficult or impossible to get 9/9 GCDs.
  • Most importantly, the time at which you hit No Mercy. The later in the GCD clock you hit No Mercy, the more you shift the buff and as such gives you more time to land the ninth GCD. This is an important piece of optimization. You ideally want to hit No Mercy roughly when a weaponskill icon looks like this:

NoMercyClock

 

I also have a video where I touch on this. Although it is from Shadowbringers, it is still applicable to Endwalker. It can be seen here:** How to Fit nine GCDs in No Mercy on GNB**

Reverse Drift

Something to know about before we go any further is how Skill Speed affects your weaponskills. The more Skill Speed you have, the faster your GCD is but also the shorter the cooldown of your weaponskills. Failure to use Reverse Drift properly can result in messy No Mercy windows and ability placements so it’s worth looking into.


For example: at 2.41GCD (Approx 883 SKS stat) Gnashing has a CD of 29.01s, Double Down has a CD of 58.02s. However SkS does not affect abilities such as No Mercy, Blasting Zone, Rough Divide and Bloodfest. Regardless of your Skill Speed, they will retain their 30s, 60s and 90s cooldowns respectively. 

What does this mean?

If weaponskills like Gnashing Fang are used on cooldown they will eventually misalign as they are not perfect 30s or 60s and as such will come up sooner and sooner, relative to something like No Mercy. As a result we need to apply one filler GCD every 60s to keep everything lined up or else No Mercy windows will be messy and can lose optimal weaponskills inside of them.

  • A filler can count as anything that is a combo action, Lightning Shot (if you are out of range), or pure downtime. (Try to avoid downtime).

Gnashing Fang ➞ No Mercy 

Due to the nature of how Gunbreaker is in Endwalker, if you follow the rotation as intended you will eventually come to a situation at certain intervals where you will have:

  • Three Cartridges prepped.
  • Solid Barrel is ready to cast at the next GCD.
  • No Mercy is still on cooldown until after the next GCD. 

This isn’t an error or a mistake, it’s guaranteed in the rotation and will happen. The most optimal choice for this is to use Gnashing Fang ➞ Jugular Rip ➞ No Mercy. (See three minute window above). 

Although we are leaving Gnashing Fang and Jugular Rip out of No Mercy, it secures an extra Burst Strike in No Mercy while ensuring that No Mercy does not drift out of raid buffs. It has been discussed and assessed and, as odd as it is, No Mercy after Gnashing is the optimal play and is something you will need to get used to.

As of update 6.11, the buff to the Gnashing Fang combo means that Gnashing+Jugular Rip are now stronger than Burst Strike + Hypervelocity. This means GF->NM is now a loss, however it still ensures no delay on No Mercy. It is difficult to give a baseline and state which is optimal (GF->NM or delaying NM to place GF inside the window) and will become a case by case basis both for kill times and openers. This is still being theorycrafted but for now you can continue with either option so long as all other rules of the class are upheld.

Bloodfest

Bloodfest is our second indirect/buffing offensive ability. Granting us a full Powder Gauge, it simply enables more gauge expenditure and therefore more damage. Using Bloodfest effectively is a way we can enter an optimal No Mercy without worrying about carts or can provide three Burst Strikes within No Mercy. The two biggest mistakes I see new Gunbreakers do is hold Bloodfest for No Mercy or to use it as reset for downtime; although the latter is not a bad option, it should not be used exclusively for that purpose.

Bloodfest should be used on cooldown and, if done so, will line up for big burst windows with No Mercy naturally every three minutes. Delaying Bloodfest is extremely situational and should not be done excessively as it will result in lost usages. Lost usages means lost ammo, lost ammo means lost damage.

Bloodfest is up but No Mercy is on cooldown:
Burst Strike or Fated Circle until your gauge is empty, then use Bloodfest to refill. 

  • If Gnashing Fang is coming up, you can use Gnashing Fang to dump 1 cartridge unless waiting for Gnashing will cause you to hold Bloodfest for several GCDs, in that case, Burst Strike to zero Cartridges ➞ Bloodfest ➞ Gnashing Fang.

Bloodfest is up and No Mercy is ready:
No Mercy is to be entered the same as any other window, being already at 3/3 Cartridges. 

  • Utilize Gnashing Fang and Double Down to get to 0/3 Cartridges, then use Bloodfest to gain 3/3 Cartridges again. 

This allows you to refill your Cartridge gauge to place three Burst Strikes into No Mercy.

Bloodfest will always grant three Cartridges. So using it with any carts loaded is a loss.
1 cart loaded + 3 carts from Bloodfest = four Cartridges, one lost due to overcap!

AOE Priority

AOE Prio

Final Notes

Gunbreaker doesn’t have a simple “loop”. It’s simply a shifting priority system bending around 30s and 60s burst windows. There is some static nature to the class while others are a bit fluid. Below is a flow chart that you can use to get yourself accustomed to what you should be doing when and where in the rotation. GNB has a large amount of rigidity to its rotation so bending it or trying to set up for very specific things is not something we encourage as it can have knock-on effects in your rotation.

Defensive Off Global Cool Down Abilities

Aurora
Aurora

200 potency Heal over Time (HoT) for 18 seconds. 1200 potency heal total. 60 second cooldown. Can be used on self or a target party member in a 30y range.
Two charges at level 84
CD: 60s per charge

Camouflage
Camouflage

Reduces damage taken by 10% for 20 seconds. Gives +50% parry rate (for a total of 60% parry rate) for 20 seconds. Parry only works on physical damage and reduces damage by 15% when it applies. [The 10% damage reduction applies regardless of if the attack is physical or magical.]
CD: 90s

Rampart
Rampart

Reduces damage taken by 20% for 20 seconds.
CD: 90s

Nebula
Nebula

Reduces damage taken by 30% for 15 seconds.
CD: 120s

Heart of Corundum

Heart of Corundum
Reduces damage taken by a party member or self by 15%.
Duration: 8s
Additional Effect: When targeting a party member while under the effect of Brutal Shell, that effect is also granted to the target
Duration: 30s
Additional Effect: Grants Clarity of Corundum to target 
Clarity of Corundum Effect: Reduces damage taken by 15%
Duration: 4s
Additional Effect: Grants Catharsis of Corundum to target
Catharsis of Corundum Effect: Restores HP when HP falls below 50% or upon effect duration expiration
Cure Potency: 900
Duration: 20s
CD: 25s
We will go in depth about Heart of Corundum below.

Superbolide
Superbolide

Reduces HP to 1 and renders you impervious to most attacks.
Duration: 10s**
CD: 360s / Six Minutes**

HeartOfStone
Heart of Stone

Reduces damage taken by 15% for seven seconds. Can be used on self or a target party member in a 30y range. If used on a party member, any existing Brutal Shell shield will be copied onto them.
CD: 25s
*Upgraded to Heart of Corundum upon reaching level 82

ArmsLength
Arm’s Length

Role action. Makes you immune to most knockback or draw-in effects for six seconds. Applies a 20% slow to enemies that attack you while Arm’s Length is active (This means enemies will attack you 20% slower, very useful for dungeons!).
CD: 120s

Utility Off Global Cool Down Abilities

HeartOfLight
Heart of Light

Reduces magic damage taken by 10% for self and party members in a 15y radius around you for 15 seconds. 90 second cooldown.

Reprisal
Reprisal

Role action. Reduces damage dealt by all enemies in a 5y circle around you by 10% for 10 seconds. 60 second cooldown.

LowBlow
Low Blow

Role action. Stuns a target for five seconds. Enemies that get stunned repeatedly will develop stun immunity. 25s cooldown.

Interject
Interject

Role action. Cancels a target’s cast (if it is an interruptible cast). 30 second cooldown.

RoyalGuard
Royal Guard

Tank stance. While toggled on, applies a 10x enmity modifier to all abilities.

Provoke
Provoke

Role action. Puts you at the top of the enmity list and gives 2000 potency worth of additional enmity (20,000 if Royal Guard is active).

Shirk
Shirk

Role action. Transfers 25% of your enmity to a target party member. This effect applies to all enemies on your aggro table.

Defensive Breakdown

Using your defensive cooldowns properly is an important part of maximizing your effectiveness as a tank, and timing your abilities correctly will ensure you’re getting the most out of your kit while reducing your total incoming damage for the encounter. Stacking mitigation is also optimal to do, especially in high end content where the damage received is likely going to KO you without stacking your mitigation together. However, you can also stack too much which will leave you without options later, so make sure you’re pacing yourself appropriately for the encounter. 

Weaving mitigation is a topic a lot of people bring up. Using Mitigations such as Rampart and Camouflage can be done before your No Mercy as they have a substantial duration, and abilities such as Heart of Corundum can be weaved around a GCD such as Double Down and Sonic Break, as neither have forced oGCDs due to lacking Continuation. If you need to weave during the later part of No Mercy you can float Rough Divide, as it is the lowest-potency attack inside a No Mercy Window.

We have three self-mits that last a decent duration but have a lengthy cooldown.

  • Rampart: Is an all around solid defensive CD due to its duration. 20% and 20s uptime, meaning it can take a tank buster and persist long enough to cover following autos if needed. Ideally you want to alternate between Rampart and Nebula when dealing with tank busters, and you rarely want to stack them as it’ll leave you with fewer options later. A more appropriate option is to stack Camouflage with Rampart, as they share the same duration and same cooldown.
  • Nebula: One of your best cooldowns as it provides a better percentage reduction than Rampart, but it has a shorter duration and longer cooldown. As such, it requires some planning - you need to be aware that it will be up less, which means that using it pre-emptively will require stricter planning, and planning ahead is also going to be stricter due to the longer cooldown. While a great tool, you need to ensure you have it up when needed and to make sure you have options available when it isn’t.
  • Camouflage: Very ideal for auto management due to the increased parry rate and baseline 10% damage reduction (DR). While not the best cooldown by itself for a tank buster, as the 10% is your only guaranteed mitigation and the parry may either not activate or not be even possible due to a magic tank buster, it’ll help alleviate damage intake while autos are coinciding with mechanics that your healers may be dealing with. As mentioned above, it can be stacked with Rampart to give yourself a strong combo of parry and decent DR, but keep in mind this will leave you a bit scarce after the fact if you’re tanking and taking autos.

Heart of Corundum: Our new tool and a great support and self management ability. Heart of Corundum is part of SE’s new sort of “Reward” system for tanks where they provide a short timed buff on top of the base buff, which if timed correctly will let you mitigate more. How Heart of Corundum works is you gain three buffs:

  • Heart of Corundum: 15% DR to self or party member for 8s
  • Clarity of Corundum: 15% DR to self or party member for 4s.
  • Catharsis of Corundum: 900 potency heal when effect expires or when health is reduced below 50% on self or target. Buff duration 25s. *The effect of your Brutal Shell shield is also granted to another target, but use on yourself will not affect your own Brutal Shell shield. This is also present for Heart of Stone.

Heart of Corundum provides a 27.75%~ damage reduction for the first four seconds of its duration as the two damage reductions from Heart of Corundum and Clarity of Corundum stack together to provide a very strong opening effect which decays to 15% after four seconds. While this persists, you have Catharsis of Corundum which provides a great 900 pot heal (which can crit!). Corundum has no cost, no drawback, and a short cooldown, and is therefore an extremely powerful and versatile tool to use for support and self-sustain. However, utilizing it to its maximum potential requires you to make use of Clarity of Corundum. Personally, when double weaving any mitigation, I tend to weave Corundum second to ensure Clarity is present for the tank buster. That being said, keep in mind that any late mitigation will miss the damage snapshot and instead of a nice 27.75% you’ll get 0%. You ideally always want your main mitigations with Heart of Corundum for heavy hitting tank busters.

Aurora: A simple HoT that provides some support. Aurora is not strong enough to help heal you up from tank busters if you’re pushed into a corner nor can it alone realistically help heal you up from using Superbolide as it only ticks once every 3s, while Heart of Corundum excels at both those points. However, Aurora is a good tool to help counteract autos, DoTs and also save your healers some resources during downtime if you place it on yourself or another member. Using Aurora twice on a target does not extend the buff by 16s, it merely refreshes it to a max duration of 16s. As such, you can refresh early and waste HoT ticks.

Superbolide: While a bit infamous, Superbolide is actually a very very good CD when used properly. Reality is people tend to find dropping to 1HP insane, but that’s ultimately how three out of four invulns work if the damage was going to KO you. If it wasn’t? Then practically all those invulns were wasted. Superbolide can be destructive if used improperly, but when used properly and when it’s coordinated with your healers, it is very very strong. Corundum and Aurora together can help heal you back up during the 10s duration with some support from healers, and unlike Living Dead you do not require your entire pool of health to be restored, just enough to survive the oncoming damage when the buff expires. I recommend telling your healers either in party chat or in voice ahead of time when you’re going to use it so they can prepare.

Heart of Light: One of our two defensive raid mitigations. Heart of Light is an AOE effect that radiates from yourself and applies a buff reducing all magic damage taken by 10% for 15s. Heart of Light should be used on heavy hitting raid wides that hit the majority, if not all, of the raid. Due to the fact that it, like your personal cooldowns, is a buff with no diminishing value over the course of its duration, it excels at multiple hits over the duration and as such if used on said abilities will reduce every hit placed under the buff by 10% (Example: Stack markers in the Endwalker MSQ Extremes, J Waves, Tumults)

Reprisal: Similar to Heart of Light, Reprisal is an AOE centered on yourself, however it affects enemies instead of party members. As a result of this, any damage that occurs when an enemy is untargetable (for example: phase transition AOEs where you can’t attack the boss) are unable to be affected by Reprisal. Reprisal is used for assisting with similar situations to HoL due to it being a debuff over a duration, but due to the short CD, it is an option for Tank Busters as well. Make sure to coordinate Reprisal with your cotank as it is a role based ability, meaning all tanks have access to it and it does not stack so it can be overwritten.

Dungeon Tips/Info

When running dungeons, it’s important to go at your own pace. Some tanks will want to dictate the pull speed as fast as possible by pulling wall to wall, but the reality is that you shouldn’t feel obligated to pull big if you’re not confident. If you get KO’d and wipe and reset, you’ve lost the time you would have gained by doing a big pull. Getting to the point where you can feel confident pulling big is something that you have to decide for yourself, and is simply a potential goal to keep in mind

When doing dungeons, it’s important to space your cooldowns out. You have three cooldowns that have lengthy enough durations and can be used on separate add packs. Realistically, you should only need to burn one large cooldown per pack while using your smaller cooldowns to help your sustain. Some dungeons hit harder than others, and some dungeons have larger packs to deal with, so it’s important that you are prepared to change things or use things in emergencies.

Main Cooldown ➞ Try spread these out over as many pulls as you can.

  • Rampart
  • Nebula
  • Camouflage

Small Cooldown ➞ Use as they become available.

  • Heart of Corundum 
  • Aurora

Support Cooldown ➞ Use one per big pull to debuff all targets

  • Reprisal
  • Arm’s Length

Other:

  • Superbolide can be used to let your healer take a break from doing healing to do some damage or if you’re low can buy you time for a healer to get you to 100% while you wait on other CDs to come up. However it’s very bad to use without notification. If you plan to use Bolide as a tool to gain a few seconds of immunity then let your healer know. Do not open a pull with Bolide since going from 100% to 1% defeats the purpose of the ability. Use bolide when your HP becomes low. 20% to 1% is far better than 100% to 1% because you’ve at least made some use of the 80% health that was chipped away.

The above “plan” is of course not set in stone. In an ideal world, your dungeon DPS are fast enough to kill a pack of monsters before your main cooldown wears off. However, this may not happen and you may in turn have to cycle through cooldowns or change things. There’s nothing wrong with using more than expected and taking the next few pulls slow. The reason why we use these cooldowns and do big pulls is that besides them making runs faster, you rarely need Rampart or Nebula for dungeon bosses, as their tank busters don’t hit very hard and can be taken with a well timed Heart of Corundum.

Due to Clarity of Corundum’s duration being so short, I recommend waiting a GCD or two once you have all the enemies rounded up before using Heart of Corundum. If you prepull Heart of Corundum and run in, chances are Clarity of Corundum will fall off.

Gearing & Skill Speeds:

Gearing GNB, like any tank, is rather simple. Our goal when we gear up is to prioritize increasing our damage stats, as the damage reduction in our armor scales with our iLvl and as such means we don’t actually have to pick between defensive options and offensive options (which is awesome!). This means you can focus on making your gear help to make you hit as hard as you can

When melding new gear either while leveling or while grabbing new pieces while working your way towards BiS, you want to focus on the following order:

Skill Speed to your personal comfort > Critical Hit > Direct Hit > Determination > Tenacity

Skill Speed reduces the cooldown of weaponskills like Gnashing Fang and Double Down while also speeding up your Global Cooldown, which will make the job faster the more you stack. Everyone has their preferences on speeds and right now (as of Patch 6.05) there is nothing showing one speed is superior to the others. Speeds impact various things from getting nine GCDs in No Mercy to GCD clipping (abilities being used in conjunction so fast that they fail to immediately go off, causing a delay). 

There are positives and negatives to all builds and we absolutely recommend testing various speeds. 

  • You can do so by equipping or unequipping various random pieces of gear you have lying around with Skill Speed to up/lower your SKS value and practicing on a dummy. 
  • You can check your GCD by hovering over any standard weaponskill like Keen Edge.

No one can tell you what the best speed is, this is down to your preference!

Additional Items:

Materia: If you are new to endgame content then please ensure you are melding your gear with Materia. Materia is a huge contributing factor to your DPS, as it is a hefty gain in your substats. Empty Materia slots are never acceptable when doing anything higher than Extreme Primals. 

Food: Food provides a temporary (and practically mandatory) stat boost, contributing to both your total HP and your damage stats. Some builds even require food to hit your intended GCD.
As of Patch 6.1 we use Pumpkin Potage or Pumpkin Ratatouille, both High Quality.

Pots: When doing Savage and Ultimates you’ll also want to use Pots (short for potions). These provide a limited window of a large boost in your main stat (strength for tanks) that makes your damage spike. These, when used optimally, can contribute a huge amount of DPS in a raid. Using them is something you may have to get used to and you will notice their timings marked in our openers above.
You should always use the highest grade of Strength pot.

Best-In-Slot

Pandaemonium Savage

Below is your best-in-slot. Before you ask, there is no best of the best. If one was universally better we would only list that one set. There are trade offs and benefits for each set and it comes down to what you want to run. Keep in mind not only do gear pieces change from set to set but melds and food as well.

GCD:

2.40 

2.41 

2.42 

2.43 

2.44

2.45

2.46 

2.47

Ultimates

Ultimates are timeless content due to their difficulty and rewards but are forced sync and cannot be done above their release level. This affects the gear you enter the encounter with, but is more lenient as all three past Ultimates' entry IL are far below our current standard. Food and Pots do not sync, but still have a soft cap so you don’t need the absolute top current food and pots for something like UCoB as its sync is relatively low. The relic from Shadowbringers is the best choice of weapon for previous Ultimates, But will require you to get it to at least the Augmented Law’s Order stage to assign substats. Blade’s Resolve gives you more substat to work with but this realistically is of only benefit in TEA, as you’ll reach cap for the substats with Law’s Order in the other two Ultimates, as such unless you want to really optimize and push as much damage as you want for TEA, you can settle for Augmented Law’s Order. If you don’t want to grind the Blade’s Resistance Relic, you can use any weapon with optimal substats that exceed the encounter’s max IL. 

The Unending Coil of Bahamut (UCoB):
IL Cap: 470
BIS: UCoB/UWU Combination BIS
Relic Stat cap: 127

The Weapon’s Refrain (UWU):
IL Cap: 500
BIS: UCoB/UWU Combination BIS
Relic Stat cap: 136

The Epic of Alexander (TEA):
IL Cap: 595 
BIS: 2.40 GCD
Relic Stat cap: 184

Dragonsong’s Reprise (DSW/DSR):
IL Cap: N/A
BIS: Pandaemonium Savage (P1S-P4S) BIS

Special Thanks

This guide was only possible with the help and support of the key members of the GNB Community. Special thanks to Rin Karigani, Bec, Krom and especially Torael Valdis who taught me to be the GNB I am today and all my victories are owed to him.

  • Have any questions?
    Authors
    Azazael
    Azazel#1000
    Balance GNB Staff
    ‎‎‎‎‏‏‎ ‎
  • 25 Oct, 2021
    Created article
    5 Apr, 2022
    Updated for Endwalker
    30 Apr, 2022
    Updated for 6.11 adjustments