Gunbreaker Openers and Rotations
Openers are designed to do a few very important things:
- Get abilities on cooldown as soon as possible. This keeps us from sitting on skills that are ready which could potentially cause lost usages.
- Get strong abilities under raid buffs. This helps to maximize damage done. More damage is always better, especially when it’s free!
- Set up our rotation for the rest of the fight (or until a transition/extended period of downtime). This is especially important for fight specific optimizations and using the right opener may gain a use of important abilities like the Gnashing Fang combo.
The theoretical standard opener for a full-uptime encounter is the 4th GCD No Mercy opener (below). At higher levels of gameplay, you can and should adjust your opener based on your group composition and the specifics of the fight.
4th GCD No Mercy
Standard Raid Buff Opener Keen Edge > Brutal Shell > Tincture > Solid Barrel Keen Edge > No Mercy > Gnashing Fang > Jugular Rip > Sonic Break > Blasting Zone + Bow Shock > Savage Claw > Abdomen Tear + Bloodfest > Wicked Talon > Rough Divide + Eye Gouge > Burst Strike > Rough Divide > Brutal Shell > Burst Strike > Solid Barrel > Burst Strike > Keen Edge > Brutal Shell > …
(E11S) Fatebreaker Opener
Prepull No Mercy > Sonic Break into Raidbuffs Tincture -3.5s to Pull > No Mercy -1s to Pull > Sonic Break > Bloodfest > Keen Edge > Brutal Shell > Burst Strike > Rough Divide > Gnashing Fang > Bow Shock + Jugular Rip > Savage Claw > Blasting Zone + Abdomen Tear > Wicked Talon > Eye Gouge > Solid Barrel > Rough Divide > Burst Strike > Keen Edge > Brutal Shell > Solid Barrel > …
(E12S) - Oracle of Darkness Savage Opener:
Prepull No Mercy Instant Burst -3s Potion > -1s No Mercy > Keen Edge > Blasting Zone + Bloodfest > Gnashing Fang > Rough Divide + Jugular Rip > Burst Strike > 2nd oGCD Slot Heart of Light > Sonic Break > Bow Shock + Rough Divide + Savage Claw > Abdomen Tear > Wicked Talon > Eye Gouge > Brutal Shell > Solid Barrel > Keen Edge > Gnashing Fang > Jugular Rip > Savage Claw > Abdomen Tear > Wicked Talon > Eye Gouge…
Single-Weave Only Opener:
Lightning Shot > Bloodfest > Keen Edge > No Mercy > Brutal Shell > Potion > Gnashing Fang > Jugular Rip > Burst Strike > Blasting Zone > Sonic Break > Bow Shock > Savage Claw > Abdomen Tear > Wicked Talon > Eye Gouge > Solid Barrel > Rough Divide > Burst Strike > Rough Divide > Keen Edge > Brutal Shell > Solid Barrel > …
Rotations and Priorities
Previous GNB guides have thought of the rotation in terms of a 60s/three minute loop. In practice, the GNB rotation is much less a loop and more of a priority system. GNB is more accurately an “if X is ready, do X, else do Y” class. Therefore, after the opener the rotation priority is as follows (with one caveat, mentioned following the priority list):
- Use No Mercy on cooldown.
- Use Gnashing Fang, Sonic Break, Blasting Zone, Bow Shock, Bloodfest on cooldown.
- Spend all Cartridges inside No Mercy where possible.
- Use Rough Divide twice inside No Mercy (unless a use is needed for uptime)
- Outside of No Mercy, only spend Cartridges on Gnashing Fang or if you would otherwise overcap on Cartridges.
- Use Solid Barrel combo on 1 target, Demon Slaughter combo on 2+ targets if nothing higher on the priority is available.
- Since Gnashing Fang and Sonic Break have their cooldown reduced by skill speed, we need to delay them by one GCD every minute by adding a filler GCD. Otherwise they will end up being before No Mercy which is a significant loss.
Because GNB is more of a priority system than a strict rotation, the rotation is very flexible and can be adjusted to the needs of the encounter and group composition.
GCD uptime refers to pressing your weapon skills (GCDs) as soon as they are available. If there are spaces between when your GCD is ready and when you press the next one, you will lose a significant amount of damage. As such, we aim to keep our GCDs rolling as much as possible. Please note, this only refers to when an enemy is present. It is possible to achieve a minimum of 96% uptime in every fight. Anything lower than that is almost guaranteed to be caused by not playing correctly. How to increase this number around mechanics that normally seem like they should cause downtime is a fight specific optimization and will vary fight to fight. Even if you are making mistakes, it is almost always better to keep your GCD rolling than to just not do anything.
A big part of GCD uptime for GNB comes from being able to move bosses during heavy burst windows. Since the Gnashing Fang combo must be followed by Continuation, which is a melee range skill, it can make moving the boss during this window frustrating. Some common ways to alleviate this frustration are:
- Sprint! The faster you move, the faster the boss moves to you. Just be careful not to go too fast so you don’t rip the boss out of the range of melee dps.
- Take advantage of the ability to use Burst Strike between Gnashing combo GCDs. This will give you an extra GCD with no required weaves to move faster.
- Press the GCD, move out, then move back in before the next GCD is ready so you have enough time to use Continuation without delaying the next GCD. There are two ways to do this. For example, you could:
Gnashing Fang, run out, run back in, Jugular Rip, Savage Claw, run out, run back in, Abdomen Tear, Wicked Talon, run out, run back in, Eye Gouge, etc. Or Gnashing Fang, Jugular Rip, run out, run back in, Savage Claw, Abdomen Tear, run out, run back in, Wicked Talon, Eye Gouge, run out, run back in, etc.
How you approach this will largely be personal preference as well as fight specific optimization. Do what gets the best results for you. You should also ask your co-tank if they can handle moving the boss if it makes it easier on you, and doesn’t make it harder on everyone else!
GNB has three combos. The Solid Barrel combo, Demon Slaughter combo, and Gnashing Fang combo.
If you are unfamiliar with combo based classes in FFXIV, the game has a handy system to show you what combo skill to hit next. A dotted yellow outline will appear around the next skill in the combo. You have 15 seconds (or about 5 GCDs) to hit the next combo action before the combo deactivates (breaks). Using any other GCD ability will break combos as well, with some exceptions.
|Keen Edge->||Brutal Shell->||Solid Barrel|
Solid Barrel combo is our single target combo. Builds one Cartridge.
|Demon Slice->||Demon Slaughter|
Demon Slaughter combo is our 2+ target AoE combo. Builds one Cartridge. We will talk about when to use Solid Barrel combo vs Demon Slaughter combo in the next section.
Gnashing Fang -> Jugular Rip -> Savage Claw -> Abdomen Tear -> Wicked Talon -> Eye Gouge
Gnashing Fang combo is our Cartridge spender combo. It does high damage and is a very important part of our burst. Note: Jugular Rip, Abdomen Tear, and Eye Gouge must be used after Gnashing Fang, Savage Claw, and Wicked Talon respectively or the buff that lets them be used will be lost.
What Does/Doesn’t Break Combos
Combos are broken when using non-combo GCDs before the combo is finished. However, there are several skills on GNB that do not interrupt combos.
The Gnashing Fang combo does not interrupt any other combos. However, using any Solid Barrel or Demon Slaughter combo GCDs will interrupt the Gnashing Fang combo.
Burst Strike, Fated Circle, and Sonic Break do not interrupt any combos. Lightning Shot interrupts all three of our combos.
The following images are a visual representation of the previous paragraph, made by Rin Karigani. Please note Keen Edge combo and Solid Barrel combo are two names for the same thing.
AoE or Single Target
This section will only talk about AoE vs Single Target at level 80. If you are not yet level 80, use the faq command “!faq gnblvl” in #bot_spam for a breakdown of what you should do at each level bracket.
For one target present, we use Solid Barrel combo and Burst Strike. For 2+ targets: Demon Slaughter combo and Fated Circle.
Continue to use the Gnashing Fang combo on cooldown until there are 4+ targets. At 4+ you should ignore the Gnashing Fang combo and only use the Demon Slaughter combo and Fated Circle.
Use No Mercy on cooldown regardless of how many targets you have. Whether or not Sonic Break is useful in multi-target fights will depend on how long it will be on the target as well as the number of targets. Whether or not to use it will be a case-by-case basis. At somewhere around 5+ targets, it likely will be a loss to use regardless.
No Mercy Windows
Always try to enter No Mercy with two Cartridges ready when possible. At any normal skill speed, there should always be nine GCDs within the No Mercy buff. These buff windows should look similar to the opener and should always contain the following skills:
- Sonic Break
- Gnashing Fang, Savage Claw, Wicked Talon
- 2 Burst Strikes
- Keen Edge, Brutal Shell, and Solid Barrel
- Blasting Zone
- Bow Shock
- 2 Rough Divides
- Jugular Rip, Abdomen Tear, Eye Gouge
When Bloodfest is ready inside No Mercy, it creates an opportunity for a stronger burst window that will occur every three minutes, allowing for three or four Burst Strikes instead of only two. Since we get more Burst Strikes, but we can only fit nine GCDs under the buff still, we have one or two fewer Solid Barrel combo GCDs compared to a regular No Mercy window. This means the following skills are in No Mercy when Bloodfest is ready:
GCDs: Sonic Break
- Gnashing Fang, Savage Claw, Wicked Talon
- Two Solid Barrel combo GCDs and three Burst Strikes OR
- One Solid Barrel combo GCDs and four Burst Strikes
- Blasting Zone
- Bow Shock
- Two Rough Divides
- Jugular Rip, Abdomen Tear, Eye Gouge
Getting four Burst Strikes in No Mercy is only possible if No Mercy is ready after Brutal Shell, and you already have two Cartridges ready to go. Do not hold No Mercy until after Brutal Shell to force a four Burst Strike No Mercy window! Doing so will cause you to misalign from raid buffs, which over time will be a much bigger loss than the gain of getting four Burst Strikes instead of three.
If you are unable to fit nine GCDs in No Mercy, make sure that you are pressing No Mercy at approximately ⅔’s of the way into the GCD clock as shown here:
Bloodfest should not be held for the next No Mercy window. Because it has a cooldown of 90s and No Mercy has a cooldown of 60s, Bloodfest will naturally be inside No Mercy every three minutes. As Bloodfest’s cooldown is getting close to finishing, spend Cartridges to avoid delaying Bloodfest or overcapping on Cartridges.
Cartridges should generally not be used outside of No Mercy unless they are being used for Gnashing Fang, if you would otherwise overcap on Cartridges, or fight specific optimizations such as hitting multiple targets with Fated Circle. Doing this helps to ensure that No Mercy is entered with two Cartridges ready.
Do I save Bloodfest for No Mercy?
Use Bloodfest on cooldown. It should naturally align with No Mercy every 3 minutes for a 4x Burst Strike in No Mercy opportunity
Do I hold No Mercy/Gnashing Fang combo for one another?
Generally speaking if you mess up, using them on cooldown is more damage. However when you have strong raid cooldowns such as Trick attack, then you want to keep yourself aligned with them. This is especially true if you messed up early in the fight. You also want to hit buttons where you were supposed to rather than adjust on the fly for practice purposes. Basically there’s no correct answer to this and you should look for ways to avoid messing up in the first place instead
When do I AoE?
2+ targets for general AoE. At 3 targets and under you still want to use Gnashing Fang combo and Sonic Break on cooldown.
About SSS or La-
SSS or Lawns are in no way any indication of your ability to succeed or your actual DPS output.
What if I misaligned my Gnashing Fang from No Mercy because of downtime/user error?
Don’t worry! This happens. It’s going to happen to all of us. Follow this flow:
- Less than 17s on No Mercy? Hold Gnashing Fang or it will be pushed out of No Mercy.
- More than 17s on No Mercy? Don’t hold Gnashing Fang because it will come up during the latter half of No Mercy.
Am I using No Mercy too early?
Weave it like so: