Even though the Samurai (or SAM) class is hardly new to FFXIV veterans, with the influx of new players I thought it might help to give a little perspective on the class from a (relative) newbie’s point of view. Though I’ve lost my sprout, there’s still plenty of game left for me to poke around with, and dabbling with other classes is a good place to start before plowing into the heaps of side content.
The crux of Samurai is the Sen gauge, consisting of three components: setsu, getsu, and ka. Setsu is the top, getsu is the left, and ka is the right. When you unlock the class and first poke around with the attacks, you’ll notice that it looks like everything seems to combo into something that eventually fills the Sen gauge. It can be a bit disorienting if you’re coming from a less combo-oriented class or a different role altogether, but here’s the breakdown from my experience:
- Hakaze is the beginning, always.
- Hakaze to Yukikaze is the basic way to fill Setsu.
- Hakaze to Jinpu to Gekko will get you Getsu.
- Hakaze to Shifu to Kasha gets you Ka.
What does all of this accomplish for you? Each gauge bit you fill turns the Iaijutsu action into a different attack. One icon is Higanbana, which deals damage over time after the initial burst; two icons give you Tenka Goken, which is a cone AoE, and all three icons give you Midare Setsugekka, the 800-potency big boom attack of the three.
Each attack has different situational uses, which is another thing to think about when getting used to the class at first. I prefer to start with Higanbana on tough enemies and then prep for Midare Setsugekka, but Tenka Goken certainly has its uses.
As I say no less than 3 times in my video, the tricky part of Samurai is remembering which combos fill what gauge part, and which ones you’ve already filled, and trying to avoid redundancy in gauge filling. I tried to position my hotbar shortcuts to remind me of what fills what, which may help you in turn. Look out for the dotted lines of light, always. (Note that I didn’t do this for the ABYX side of my R-trigger shortcuts; those get arranged according to what needs to be accessed the most and quickly.)
Enpi is Samurai’s ranged attack, and it’s reminiscent of how most (if not all) tank classes have their one ranged attack to pull far-away enemies in. Of course, as a DPS you really shouldn’t be pulling, but it’s good for plinking at distant targets during solo play or grabbing an enemy you can’t quite get to otherwise. (Don’t do what I did and use Enpi on an enemy that already fights at range, though. That was silly.)
Fuga and Mangetsu are your AoE options when starting out. Do note that Fuga has a cone range while Mangetsu has a circular one, which can be difficult to get used to as the former leads into the latter. Mangetsu, incidentally, can fill Getsu, while Oka, which also combos from Fuga, can fill Ka.
Don’t forget that while the cast time for Iaijutsu actions is quick, it still takes a second or two. Mind your timing and keep your usual mobility so you don’t end up with the cast time finishing right as an enemy slaps you with an AoE and hits you first.
SAM is supposedly one of the highest raw damage output classes, which makes sense in light of its focus on combos. You hit hard and fast, cycle into an Iaijutsu that hits even harder, and repeat. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you do figure it all out, the flow is much smoother.
Keep in mind that this is early SAM talk, so we haven’t even so much as touched things like the Kenki Gauge yet. I plan to write a follow-up article when I’ve unlocked more mechanics and have a stronger understanding of the class.
If you have questions about this early stage of Samurai, or would like to point out something I missed, do feel free to comment. Bonus points if you can provide suggestions of things to keep an eye on as you progress in the class. Thank you for reading!