FFXIV Arcanist | Summoner: Basics Guide for Dummies

This guide’s goal is to educate you with the basics that will allow you to understand the core of Summoner / Arcanist gameplay, level safely through open world and dungeons, and provide a foundation that you can feel confident with and enhance as you please.

How Summoner Works in FFXIV?

Summoner is not an easy job to learn on your own, for sure. I was quite desperate myself upon rolling Arcanist, and on the verge of quitting because I did not undestand shit about how this job even operates. Guides, as always, were the least helpful: either they roll out a level 90 rotation with zero explanation and spells you don’t even have and won’t have until midgame, or simply list the whole range of spells – which you can read in the game itself, thank you very much.

It appeared that Arcanist / Summoner is one of the most straightforward jobs in the game – and for sure, the simplest among casters once you learn your combos and spell synergy. Moreover, it’s very mobile and fast, so it has high chances to make it to your favorite job. But enough chit chat, let’s explain the basics.

Is Arcanist / Summoner a Pet Class?

Well – yes and no. When you fight, you need to have your carbuncle squirrel summoned at all times, for sure. But it’s not a pet in a common MMO sense. Your pet hotbar allows you to boss it around – for roleplay sakes, it seems. But your pet does NOT fight on its own, it will not tank, bite an enemy or rip aggro, and all your “pet” spells are basically your own rotation spells with a pet animation. So, if you’re wondering if your pet should also engage the enemy once you start a fight – no, it does not. It just sits there, waiting for your pet spells.

Basically, the best you can do with a pet hotbar is to switch it off completely – it does not do anything important for combat.

In the end of all – less bother, right? You don’t have to care where your carbuncle goes, how much extra enemies it would pull, or will it die – no, it’s here just to animate your casting spells, is all.

The Basics of Arcanist / Summoner Rotation

I’ll be explaining this all at the example of my own hotbars, you’re free to assign them how you like of course.


Ruin is your very first spell, and it’s your filler. Basically you cast it when you have nothing else available at the moment.

For AoE situations, you’ll get Outburst spell which acts exactly the same.

Energy Drain / Fester / Painflare

The simplest and the most straitforward thing ever: Energy Drain.

Energy Drain (4) is a spell that does damage and lights up those yellow gems on your gauge. Then you get two charges of very powerful, instant Fester or Painflare nukes. Cast them the moment they’re available, cause they don’t need any preparation, are all instant and do insane damage. Basically this:

  • Solo Target: Energy Drain > Fester, Fester
  • AoE: Energy Drain > Painflare, Painflare

Pretty simple, right?

Summoning / Carbuncle Gameplay

The core of your damage rotation is handling the carbuncle spells, and it’s very straightforward when you get enough understanding.

First and foremost, you need to hit Aethercharge spell (2). This launches a 15-second countdown, displayed at your gauge in a carbuncle tail. When the countdown ends, the gauge gems are all charged and you get access to all E-R-Q spells which are empowerements for Gemshine (3).

Note that Aethercharge (2) is only available when you’re engaged in combat, so you gotta hit an enemy first with Ruin or other spell to make it available.

So, the carbuncle casting combo is this:

  1. Engage the enemy
  2. Cast Aethercharge (2) to launch countdown
  3. Wait 15 seconds and meanwhile cast anything else (Ruin/Outburst as fillers or Energy Drain combo if available)
  4. Cast Ruby, Emerald or Topaz (E, R or Q) to empower Gemshine
  5. Spam Gemshine (3) until out of stacks
  6. Repeat steps 4-5 until out of active carbuncles – so that you use them all, red, yellow and green stacks.

What’s the difference between Ruby, Topaz and Emerald (later Ifrit, Titan and Garuda)? Well, Ruby/Ifrit is a long cast and powerful nuke, Topaz/Titan and Emerald/Garuda are instant but weaker nukes. During a single Aethercharge you need to use all of them – apply the order according to combat situation. For example, if you have to move, you better not use Ruby. You get 2 stacks of Ruby Gemshine, 4 stacks for Emerald and 4 stacks of Topaz.

Summoner AoE Rotation

Like with many jobs, AoE rotation is pretty much the same, and you replace only 3 solo spells with their AoE versions: Ruin > Outburst, Gemshine > Precious Brilliance and Fester > Painflare:

Arcanist / Summoner Rotation Summary

Single target:

  • Ruin as a filler
  • Energy Drain > Fester, Fester as an oGCD nuke
  • Aethercharge > [Ruby/Topaz/Emerald > spam Gemshine]x3 until out of carbuncles


  • Outburst as a filler
  • Energy Drain > Painflare, Painflare as an oGCD nuke
  • Aethercharge > [Ruby/Topaz/Emerald > spam Precious Brilliance]x3 until out of carbuncles

And we’re done!

What’s Next?

There are a lot of extra spells and buffs to explore which will make your damage even more terrifying, but now you have a foundation to build upon!

Have fun with your primal demons!


3 thoughts on “FFXIV Arcanist | Summoner: Basics Guide for Dummies

  1. Thank you for this. It’s amazing how those “tutorial” pop-ups always come in the middle of a bossfight, and there’s no way to get them back…

    This simply explains the basics of the rotation. Now I can go out and confidently get my ass stomped… :P

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I want to thank you as well. They made major changes to archanist and didn’t explain how to play the class at all. I summoned carbunkle and he just sat there doing nothing and i was laughing at how lame it was. I think it’s a little ridiculous that we need to wait 15 seconds just to use a powerful move only a couple of times, but i guess it gets better as you play. I appreciate that you took the time to explain this all very clearly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, on later levels Summoner gets spell upgrades, and it’s a swap between two burst phases, most powerful dps in the game by my experience. The guide’s about how to get started :)


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