Updated for Patch 2.1!
1. New information under Commonly Used Macros to include pet commands and tweaks to some of my older macros!
2. Revamped information on play tips for max DPS (introducing Blizzard II to your rotation)!
3. Updated pet control information for the changes introduced to Steady, Obey and “Free Stance”
I decided it was time to get us SMNs together and compile the macros we use, describe briefly how to control Garuda and some general play tips. 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. I have begun to delve into BC runs but most of my experience stems from endgame dungeons and Primal fights.
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, I will go into some general play tips on how to maximize your DPS and manage your pet (Garuda) effectively.
1. Commonly Used Macros
2. Your Pet (Garuda)
3. General Play Tips (single mob vs. groups)
Lets 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 you use RS
2) You will have RS active pretty much every time the cooldown (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 spoken with some Summoners 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”.
Alternative Summon Macro (for automatic Obey stance):
/ac "Swiftcast" <me>
/ac "Summon" <me>
/pac "Obey" <t>
/pac "Obey" <t>
This macro was created through a bit of back and forth with another forum member, Gnu, in a discussion about SCH and changes to the “Free Stance” default mode of pets.
This macro will first check to see if Swiftcast is available. If it is, the pet will be summoned in instantly and set to Obey (as long as you are targeting an enemy – more on this below in controlling your pet). If Swiftcast was not ready, the pet summon casting time is long (approx. 7 seconds), this is the reason for the double-up on the obey command. If Swiftcast is down, you will take the full casting animation, but Obey will still be triggered once the pet is ready.
Personally, I do not use this alternative summon macro, and I had designed it more with SCH in mind. I like to manually control Garuda as I keep her in either Obey or Steady 90% of the time. This macro would ensure that the pet is always on Obey after summoning, but if you trigger Steady then want to go back to Obey, you will need to set it again manually anyways.
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. The only other place I have used this ability is in the new Copperbell Mines HM dungeon where adds spawn from behind the party.
Macro 7: Bane/Eye for an Eye
/ac “Bane” <t>
/ac “Eye for an eye” <t>
This macro works on a slightly different principle. Bane and Eye for an eye (EFE) are both single target abilities, but their targets will never be the same. Bane 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.
2. How to control your pet (Garuda)
First, this discussion will start off with a bit of an overview on the pet “stances” – Sic, Obey and what has been come to be known as “Free Stance”.
New for 2.1! You can only issue manual commands in Obey. If your pet is in Sic or Steady all of the pet abilities will be greyed out and you will get an error message trying to issue pet commands.
Free Stance 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.
Because of this change to Free Stance and manual commands, I normally find it best to go into Steady right away after summoning and then as the group nears the first set of mobs trigger Obey. Your pet will stay in Obey until one of the following happens:
1. The pet is resummoned (because it died, or otherwise)
2. You cross a zone line (any time there is a loading screen, including within dungeons – e.g. teleporters in CM)
3. You manually trigger Steady or Sic
*Note about Obey – it can only be used on hostile targets. As counter-intuitive as it may sound the macro line /pac “Obey” <me> will NOT work.
At this time, at lvl 50, Garuda is the only pet really worth using in most party settings. There may be the odd occasion where you might get better use out of Titan as an off-tank for adds or something along those lines, but for the majority of your time spent in parties will be with Garuda.
The two main pet abilities a SMN would need to use are Obey and Steady. Other pet commands that I commonly use are Heel and Away.
Garuda is a caster DPS. She will stay at casting range unless told otherwise (through Heel or Place). The basic strategy is to have Garuda Obey your main target. It is important to use Obey and not Sic because it gives the SMN control over her actions.
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 – arguably Garuda’s best ability. 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. If you use this when you have 4 DoTs applied (Bio II/Miasma/Bio/Miasma II) you are effectively adding 60s (15s x 4) worth of damage. After Contagion is applied, then use Bane to spread the longer lasting effects to nearby enemies (except Miasma II, which is not spread with Bane).
If you were to use Sic instead, Garuda’s AI 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.
Steady – This is used most when running from one pack of trash mobs to another. It commands Garuda to do nothing but stay by your side, until instructed otherwise. Even if you get aggro, Garuda will not help you until instructed to. I also use this ability when I do not want Garuda to accidentally engage enemies when sneaking around.
Heel and Away are two other abilities I use, though much less often. I usually only use Heel when I need to reposition Garuda (could also use Place, but most times I find Heel works just as well). The only time I really use Away is if Garuda is about to aggro something (e.g. the wanderer in WP).
3. General Play Tips
This general play tips area will focus mostly on 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
AoE DPS Rotation (as of 2.1):
(Swifcast) Shadow Flare -> (RS) Bio II -> Miasma -> Bio -> Miasma II - > (Contagion + Bane) -> Spam Blizzard II
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. This can sometimes get hairy for tanks that are not used to playing with SMNs as they will have to be on their toes and use Flash/other AoE hate generating tools generously to keep hate on the secondary and tertiary targets.
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. This is due to the ranking of damage potencies for each ability. Once all 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.
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.
New for 2.1!
We now have Blizzard II!
This is of course best to be used once all DoTs are up, durations extended, and Bane has been used to spread the effects. Once all the DoTs are applied you should have enough time to spam Blizzard II a few times before needing to reapply DoTs.
Blizzard II has had a potency nerf as of 2.1 and now only has 50 potency. Due to the potency nerf 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.
Blizzard II has also been given an increased Bind duration. The potency nerf hurts SMN for obvious reasons, and the Bind buff does nothing for us since we already have Tri-disaster (see above).
Single Target (Boss)
Single Target DPS rotation:
(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.
It is important to note that Fester has a much faster CD than Aetherflow. You can easily use 3x Fester and use up all your stacks before the CD for Aetherflow is up. This means you could be without stacks for a while. In order to avoid this, space out the use of Fester a bit, usually by re-applying DoTs in between. Just be sure to watch your MP usage as well, and use Energy Drain as needed.
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.
Edit1: to fix up some misinformation about Fester, thanks to DarkswordDX.
Edit2: to fix the swiftcast summon macro to show <me> instead of <t> which was improper notation.
Edited, Nov 6th 2013 2:07pm by Canadensis
Edited, Nov 9th 2013 11:26am by Canadensis
Edited, Dec 20th 2013 1:26pm by Canadensis