Read at your own risk. Much of this information is now out of date and I do not plan on keeping it updated any longer.
Updated for Patch 2.3!
1. Added one new macro – Mount Macro!
2. Edited/removed outdated information.
3. Expanded information on controlling your pets.
4. Added section on SMN specific changes by patch.
This guide is intended mostly to provide advice on how to play your SMN more efficiently, through use of macros, and effectively, through discussion on how to control our pets and review our DPS hierarchy of abilities. I will update this thread as well if anyone responds with their own useful practices and try to keep it relevant for future patches and class adjustments.
I am by no means a SMN guru. This is mostly just my experience talking. SMN is the only job (along with SCH) that I have at level 50 and is the one that I have dedicated pretty much all of my time since I began playing at the early access of ARR. I have cleared the first binding coil T1-5, EX Primals and the various other endgame dungeons.
Anyways, I will start the discussion off with a few of my most commonly used macros and explain in detail how each one works and when I tend to use it. After all the macros have been compiled, we will go into some general play tips on how to maximize your DPS and manage your pets effectively.
1. Commonly used macros
2. How to control your pets
3. General play tips
4. SMN specific changes by patch
Let’s get started!
1. Commonly used macros
Macro 1: Quelling Strikes/Raging Strikes/Bio II
/macroicon “Bio II”
/recast “Raging Strikes”
/ac “Quelling Strikes” <me>
/ac “Raging Strikes” <me>
/ac “Bio II” <t>
This macro is used in place of manually activating Quelling Strikes (QS) Raging Strikes (RS). This ensures a few things:
1. You will have QS up just about every time the cooldown (CD) is up.
2. You will have RS active pretty much every time the CD is up.
3. You do not need to keep a separate hotbar slot tied up with QS or RS (especially for us PS3 users, hotbar space is at a premium).
4. You will still be able to easily keep track of the CD for RS via the /recast command (an old habit that apparently dies hard from FFXI). I do not keep RS set to a hotbar anywhere, so I like to be able to see the CD somehow.
The main thing to remember when you begin using macros like this, is when QS and RS are both available, it will trigger the first ability (QS) and do nothing else. You will need to press the macro again to use RS then once again to begin casting Bio II. If QS is waiting on CD then RS will trigger, if RS is also waiting on CD, then it will just go ahead and cast Bio II on the first press.
I have seen some guides and talked with some SMNs who will recommend using this macro for each of our main DoTs (Bio II, Miasma, Bio). The reason that I do not recommend this is simple. Let’s say you are on the last set of trash mobs before the next boss in a dungeon. You are going to want to save RS for that boss coming up. If you macro RS into every DoT you will end up triggering RS on the trash mobs and it will end up on CD for most of the next boss fight.
Rather than have this happen, I only use this macro for Bio II. That way, if I know that the CD is almost up (thanks to the /recast command), I can avoid using Bio II to finish off that last pack of trash mobs, and can still use Shadow Flare/Miasma/Bio/Miasma II/Blizzard II without fear of triggering RS prematurely.
Macro 2: Spur/Rouse/Enkindle
/ac “Spur” <me>
/ac “Rouse” <me>
/ac “Enkindle” <t>
What this macro does is show the recast times for all three abilities and then it will use Spur first if it is available. If Spur is still on CD, then it will use Rouse. After one or the other has been applied, the pet will automatically use their Enkindle ability.
This macro also saves space on your hotbar, effectively combining three slots into one. The reason I like to use Rouse as the icon is because it has a shorter CD. It is mostly another way for me to see visually that Rouse (or both) is available for use. If you were to use Spur as the icon, its CD is much longer, and you may not be aware when Rouse is available again.
I like this macro because it is always best to use Enkindle when your pet has at least one increased dmg buff up. If Enkindle is still on CD, no problem, you can still use this to apply one or the other buffs for straight DPS purposes.
*Note: Any time you need to use a /wait line in a macro be sure not to use any other macros until the final ability fires off. If you are too macro happy, you will interrupt the macro before the /wait period is over. It’s only a second or so delay, but it does happen from time to time.
Macro 3: Swiftcast Raise
/ac “Swiftcast” <me>
/ac “Resurrection” <t>
This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you’re going to cast raise, may as well Swiftcast it. Drastically cuts down on casting time and gets the party back up on its feet much faster. Also allows you to get out of the way of nasty AoEs much more quickly.
Macro 4: Swiftcast Summon
/ac “Swiftcast” <me>
/ac “Surecast” <me>
/ac “Summon” <me>
New to this macro: I have updated this macro slightly to include the Surecast line. Basically what I have been finding is that if I need to re-summon in a pinch (normally to pull out Titan if a tank goes down) and Swiftcast is on CD I end up getting smacked by mobs and interrupted. I included the Surecast line so that regardless of which ability is ready, that summon is definitely going to be called.
It takes a long time to cast Summon, may as well cut that down. This is especially handy if you need to re-summon mid-fight. This can be used with “Summon”, “Summon II” and “Summon III”.
Macro 5: Swiftcast Shadow Flare
/macroicon “Shadow Flare”
/ac “Swiftcast” <me>
/ac “Shadow Flare” <me>
This macro is one that I recently adopted thanks to a suggestion from SmooSmoo and it has actually influenced the DPS rotation that I use also. This macro will help to cut down on casting time for Shadow Flare. Shadow Flare is a spell that is cast via the targeting reticule. For this spell I like to use <me> basically because I am not always targeting a mob when I want to cast it. You can get away with using <t> if you prefer for the spell, but then you will only get the reticule if you are targeting something.
I used to use Shadow Flare last in my rotation since the overall DPS was not as high as some of the other abilities we have. Since combining this with Swiftcast I have moved it to the front of my rotation since it is so quick and easy to get out, and also it gives the mobs a 5% sustained slow which helps Tanks/healers with incoming damage.
One thing to keep in mind however, is you may not want to use this macro during boss fights. Swiftcast can be a lifesaver in terms of getting of a quick resurrection or re-summoning a pet. You may regret this macro if your healer goes down and Swiftcast is on CD because you used it on Shadow Flare.
Macro 6: Swiftcast Tri-disaster
/ac “Swiftcast” <me>
/ac “Tri-disaster” <t>
Bind is a good tool to have, and when you need to bind some mobs, you need it done fast – Swiftcast to the rescue again!
Tri-disaster is definitely one of SMNs most under-utilized abilities. So far the only real use I have had for this is to Bind the plumes the Garuda HM spawns giving the party some free time to AoE them before they begin running for the rock spires. Other places I have used this ability are in the Copperbell Mines HM dungeon where adds spawn from behind the party, and the new Tam-Tara HM dungeon to stop the movement of some of the zombies for the final boss battle.
Macro 7: Virus/Eye for an Eye
/recast "Eye for an Eye"
/ac “Virus” <t>
/ac “Eye for an Eye” <t>
This macro works on a slightly different principle. Virus and Eye for an Eye (EFE) are both single target abilities, but their targets will never be the same. Virus can only be used on enemies, while EFE can only be used on friendlies. Basically, this just saves another slot on your hotbar and allows you quick access to both abilities. Which ability actually fires off depends on what type of target you have: friend or foe. Both abilites are generally under-utilized by SMNs but are really quite powerful in the right situations. These abilities can greatly increase your party's overall survivability.
Macro 8: Bane/Aerial Slash
*Full credit to DarkswordDX of these forums - he pointed this out to me and as soon as I saw it, adopted it right away. This is a great way to make use of Aerial Slash. If you have Garuda set to Obey she will never use it unless instructed to. Also, thanks to erasure for pointing out the proper order or the abilities so that a wait line is not required.
/pac "Aerial Slash" <t>
/ac "Bane" <t>
This macro will have Garuda use Aerial Slash just about any time you use Bane, if the CD is ready. It is genius. You use Bane when there are a group of mobs to spread Bio and Miasma around the group. Garuda will follow up with Aerial Slash which adds to the overall AoE damage being dealt. Love it. Thanks for sharing this DarkswordDX!
New for 2.3!
Macro 9a: Steady/Mount
/mount “Insertmount Namehere”
As of patch 2.3 you are now able to include a line to call your favourite mount in a macro. This is awesome for SMNs as we can now automatically set our pets to Steady before we summon the mount. If you forgot to use Steady before mounting up and the pet was in Sic stance then it would begin attacking any mob that aggro’d and as you get too far out of range would be dismissed.
*Tip – check the new “Mount Guide” menu option to obtain the correct spelling of the mount name you wish to macro
This macro will work regardless of which pet you have summoned. Also, when you press this macro a 2nd time you will dismount, but be careful as the pet will still be in the “Steady” stance. I personally don’t mind this as I generally apply Obey/Sic manually, but if you prefer you could also create a dismount macro as follows:
Macro 9b: Obey/Dismount
/mount “Insertmount Namehere”
2. How to control your pets
This is your pet’s default mode right after summoning. It is a sort of combination of Sic and Guard. The pet will not be able to be issued commands manually (e.g. Contagion) in this stance. Furthermore, if you get aggro the pet will automatically begin defending you with all of its abilities.
As of patch 2.16 you can trigger the Obey stance without the need for a hostile target. Furthermore your pet will stay in Obey even when resummoned. The only time you will need to reapply the Obey stance is if you log out and log back in, or if you manually change to another stance. This stance gives the SMN the most control over the pet’s actions.
This stance will put your pet into a full aggressive mode. Manual commands cannot be issued in this stance. If you aggro a mob the pet will engage with all of its available abilities. Used mostly with Titan.
This stance will ensure the pet does not take any action whatsoever. They will follow the SMN around but will not defend you from any aggro. Commands can still be issued manually (i.e. Contagion) in this stance. This is most commonly used while travelling on a mount to avoid your pet attacking aggressive mobs.
This action will have the pet move to your position. Useful reposition your pet if is standing in damaging AoE. This can also be used to move a pet out of aggro range from a patrolling enemy.
This action will have your pet move to a set location (assigned using the ground reticule) and stay. If your pet is knocked back it will not return to its set position, but rather stay where it was knocked back to. This is a very useful command. For example, I commonly use it in the Titan series of battles – place Garuda on the outer most edge before the first jump and she will stay there out of harms way for the rest of the battle. Also good in Brayflox HM to keep Garuda in the middle of the area for the last boss fight out of the damaging bomb AoE.
I tend to use this command less frequently than any of the others. May be useful if your pet is about to pick up aggro (alternatively use Heel). Also worth noting, you can just resummon the pet as opposed to using Away.
Pet specific advice: Garuda!
At this time, at lvl 50, Garuda is the only pet really worth using in most party settings where the goal is DPS. There may be the odd occasion where you might get better use out of Titan as an off-tank for adds, but for the majority of your time spent in parties Garuda is the best choice.
New for 2.3!
Aerial Slash is now insta-cast!
Garuda should always be in the Obey stance unless the situation calls for Steady. While under Obey Garuda will only use Wind Blade – her standard ranged attack. This gives the SMN the chance to properly time when to use Contagion which is arguably Garuda’s best ability.
If Garuda were used in Sic stance she will almost always cast Contagion before it is optimal to apply it, leaving you with a few DoTs at a lower overall duration thus decreasing your overall DPS.
Reasons that Garuda is currently the best DPS pet (over Ifrit):
The bread and butter of Garuda. The basic idea here is to use RS and load up all of your DoTs on your target. Once you have all your DoTs applied, trigger Garuda to use Contagion to increase the duration of each effect by 15s. It is best to use this when you have all 4 DoTs applied (Bio II/Miasma/Bio/Miasma II) to maximize damage. After Contagion is applied, use Bane to spread the longer lasting effects to nearby enemies (except Miasma II, which is not spread with Bane).
Ifrit simply does not have any DPS abilities that could compare to Contagion.
2. Ranged DPS
Garuda is a caster DPS. She will stay at casting range unless told otherwise (through Heel or Place). This keeps her out of the way of some damaging AoE abilities (self-centred AoEs, front or rear cone AoEs etc.)
Ifrit is a melee pet and will often get hit by powerful AoEs and therefore frequently needs to be resummoned.
3. Spell Speed
Garuda has the unique ability among pets to initiate an attack every 3s.
Both Ifrit and Titan work on 4s timers. This will decrease their potential DPS.
4. In conclusion Garuda >>>>> Ifrit
Simply do not use Ifrit until there are more patches/fixes to make him worthwhile. Ifrit updates in 2.3 (adjusting the power of two of his abilities up from 105 to 110 potency) are not enough to outweigh Garuda’s DPS benefits.
3. General play tips
This general play tips area will explain at a high level how best to use your Aetherflow Stacks in different situations. The two main scenarios are in a pack of mobs and fighting a single target.
Groups of Mobs
When fighting packs of mobs, it should be common sense to try and have as many DoTs on as many different targets all at once. Your Aetherflow Stacks should mostly be used on Bane.
AoE DPS Hierarchy:
(Swifcast) Shadow Flare -> (RS) Bio II -> Miasma -> Bio -> Miasma II - > (Contagion + Bane) -> Spam Blizzard II
My general strategy is to use Swiftcast Shadow Flare first (for reasons listed above under the description of the macro). Then trigger QS/RS if available and load up on DoTs. Order of priority should be Bio II -> Miasma -> Bio -> Miasma II. SMNs have less of a DPS “rotation” and more of a “hierarchy”. DoTs should be reapplied in the priority listed above in order to ensure maximum DPS. You should aim to begin recasting your DoTs when the current timer as at 3s remaining. This means that the last few “tics” or the DoT will damage the enemy and your new DoT will be applied as soon as it ends.
Once all of these abilities are applied, use Contagion if it is available. After the duration of your DoTs have been extended, use Bane to spread it to all the enemies in the group (note: Bane only spreads the effect to three other targets aside from your main target, but you can use Bane a few times centred on different enemies to spread the effects further if there are more than four mobs in the grouping). Using this tactic you can have 5 DoTs on all of the targets quite easily.
*Note: If your group is trying to CC by sleeping most of the mobs, you can still use Bio II, Miasma and Bio, then use Bane. You can damage the sleeping targets this way without waking them. If you use Miasma II or Shadow Flare you will wake the targets.
Once all DoTs are up, durations extended, and Bane has been used to spread the effects it is time to start spamming Blizzard II. It is important to note that priority should be maintaining your DoTs instead of casting Blizzard II. When the enemies are getting very low on health Blizzard II may begin to take priority as the enemy might not live long enough to take the full effects of an 18s DoT. Blizzard II has a potency of 50. Due to the relatively low potency I would only recommend using this ability when it will hit 2 or more mobs and it is safe to move in close range. Otherwise, if you are only fighting a single target or the enemy AoE is too dangerous to get in close then Ruin II would be the better option.
Single Target (Boss)
Single Target DPS Hierarchy:
(Swifcast) Shadow Flare (optional) -> (RS) Bio II -> Miasma -> Bio -> Miasma II - > Spam Ruin II (insert Fester where applicable)
The strategy to maximizing damage here is not all that different from groups of mobs, except instead of using Aetherflow stacks on Bane, you should use them on Fester. Shadow Flare is optional in this rotation – if you are not afraid to burn the Swiftcast CD then go ahead and use it. Otherwise, it does not do a whole lot of damage on just one target and could be skipped if need be.
Fester is a powerful ability that deals 100 potency for every Bio, Bio II and Miasma effect on the target for a potential of 300 potency with all three. Due to the nature of the ability, Fester should only really be used when all three DoTs are still active on your target or you greatly diminish the damage per Aetherflow stack ratio.
Once all the DoTs are up, if there is nothing better to do then fall to the last resort: Ruin II spam.
*Note: see post below (#11) for my feelings on the Ruin/Ruin II debate.
SMN Updates by Patch
ACN: Bio II MP cost reduced
SMN: Garuda’s Aerial Slash casting time has been reduced from 3 to 0 seconds, making the cast instant.
Ifrit’s Flaming Crush potency has been increased from 105 to 110.
Ifrit’s Crimson Cyclone potency has been increased from 105 to 110.
Misc: Mount macros available.
Misc: The Sic and Obey pet commands can now be activated without a target present. Furthermore, pets will remain set to either command even when re-summoned.
BLM: Thunder is no longer a cross-class ability.
Blizzard II is now a cross-class ability but only THM/BLM gain Umbral Ice effects.
SMN: When the effect of Virus expires, enemies will now be granted the effect Antibody, making them immune to the effects of Virus for 60 seconds.
The range of Bane has been increased from 5y to 8y. Also, when a target's Bio, Bio II, and Miasma are spread to nearby enemies, their durations will not be reset if longer than the original effect duration.
Sustain will now consume MP instead of HP.
Pet macros available.
Well, that’s all I have for now. Leave comments below. If you have any questions, ask away! I’m happy to provide advice where I can.
Edited, Nov 11th 2013 12:36am by Canadensis
Edited, Dec 20th 2013 1:05pm by Canadensis
Edited, Jan 10th 2014 7:55am by Canadensis
Edited, Jan 25th 2014 3:18pm by Canadensis
Edited, Feb 1st 2014 6:53pm by Canadensis
Edited, Feb 21st 2014 9:45am by Canadensis
Edited, Jul 9th 2014 8:03pm by Canadensis
Edited, Jul 9th 2014 8:04pm by Canadensis
Edited, Aug 13th 2014 7:42am by Canadensis
Edited, Jan 15th 2015 4:34pm by Canadensis
Edited, Aug 27th 2017 2:15pm by Gidono