Paladin is the least flashy of the Tank jobs in FFXIV PvP. It doesn’t have the unforgiving abilities of Warrior or the menacing DPS capabilities of Gunbreaker or Dark Knight. But being the simple and down-to-earth option doesn’t make the classic archetypal holy guardian devoid of its own quite valuable niche in Crystalline Conflict. Paladin is unique in both its simplicity and abilities that no other Tank can pull off. If you want to protect your allies from the other team and become the biggest wall in all of Crystalline Conflict, pick up your sword and shield, and let’s get started. Here’s how to play Paladin in Crystalline Conflict.
FFXIV Paladin Crystalline Conflict Guide: PvP’s most valiant protector
Despite being the Warrior of Light’s job in this expansion, you are not the main character in Crystalline Conflict. You are one of the most Support jobs out there. Like in regular content, Paladin is less about pure DPS and more about supporting the party better than the other Tanks. You are here to prevent the squishy DPS and Healers from dying by absorbing damage and being an unkillable nuisance. Paladin’s defenses can be so ridiculous that sometimes it takes multiple players focused on them to take them down as they simply hold their own and refuse to die. Use this to prevent your teammates from dying and make the other team think twice about trying to kill you.
While Paladin’s DPS often struggles to kill by itself, the combination of stun and a gap closer can still make them into nuisances able to catch weakened enemies off guard, or simply outlast other enemies. Don’t play this job if you’re hoping to get high kill counts, because this comes second to helping your teammates. Paladin is also nearly identical in its moves to regular content, making it easy to pick up and play.
- Fast Blade: Deals a 3,000 potency attack. Turns into Riot Blade for 4,000 potency, and finally Royal Authority, dealing 5,000 potency. Royal Authority grants three stacks of the Sword Oath buff, changing the action to Atonement. Atonement deals 8,000 potency and also heals you for 4,000. This string of actions is practically identical to regular content. Nothing new, just your usual melee combo.
- Confiteor: Deals 8000 potency to enemy and all nearby. The target is also afflicted with Sacred Claim. For the next 10 seconds, attacking them restores your HP for 2,000 potency.
- Shield Bash: Returning from our regular tank rotation, dealing 4,000 potency with 3 seconds of stun. Also grants Sword Oath for an instant Atonement.
- Intervene: We waited until level 74 for our gap closer and we’re not leaving it behind in PvP. Rushes target and deals 2,000 potency. Has two charges like normal and also grants Sword Oath.
- Guardian: Rush to the side of an ally within 10 yards, forming a 10-second Cover chain. If you stay near them for the duration of this effect, you absorb all damage they take.
- Holy Sheltron: Creates a barrier around you to absorb 12,000 potency worth of damage for five seconds. At the same time, reduces damage taken by 15% for 10 seconds, but also afflicts you with Heavy for five seconds.
However, when the barrier’s timer is up, all unabsorbed potency is dealt to nearby enemies in an AoE attack.
Limit Break: Phalanx. Activates Hallowed Ground, which identical to normal content, grants you 10 seconds of invincibility. Also grants the Phalanx buff to nearby party members, reducing their damage taken by 33% for 10 seconds.
Phalanx’s icon changes to Blade of Faith, which deals 6,000 potency to an enemy and all nearby, then Blade of Truth for 7000, and finally Blade of Valor for 8000. Each of these also doubles in potency if the target is under the effect of Sacred Claim, and heals you for 2,000 potency.
Charges every 120 seconds.
Paladin Crystalline Conflict Playstyle Breakdown
In general, you want to be on the frontlines of the battle. You are one of the most ideal jobs to push and hold the crystal and rush into battle first. A lot of your non-melee teammates are better keeping a distance from the battle and can’t stay on the crystal as well as you. Ideally, as you put up Holy Sheltron and attack for continuous healing, the other team will blow their openers on you and you’ll still be standing, allowing your team to close in easier.
Many of your attacks also heal you, meaning you survive best by being a persistent attacker. This is no problem if you’re in the middle of a fight for the crystal, but more of a problem if you’re being targeted by a ranged enemy and are out of Intervenes. You can’t quite survive the entire opposing team attacking you at once, which will happen a lot, but it does make for a good time to prolong your survival with Guard.
If you like sacrificing yourself valiantly, Paladin is the best job for that. You should make great use of Guardian to reach your full support potential. Ideal targets include Casters (especially a Limit Breaking Black Mage), Dragoon, and Healers, but if you see any ally’s health dropping quickly, you might just save their life by using Guardian followed by Holy Sheltron.
Despite PvP splitting up Paladin’s spell combo, you get the most out of it if you pretend they’re still fused together in a chain. Confiteor inflicts Sacred Claim, which doubles the potency of your Limit Break chain. This means that an enemy who endures the entire Limit Break DPS at maximum potency takes a 42,000 potency Limit Break. That’s a little less than four consecutive Black Mage Flares for less time. If you can time it right and stack the two, the enemy team is in for some hurt.
Your Limit Break is best used to push the crystal when all or most of your team is nearby. Using it when alone robs it of its full potential to support the party. Your spell combo expires 10 seconds after you use it, so be ready to go on the offensive right as you push the button. Your Limit Break goes really well with Sage or Astrologian, in particular, to make the party near invincible, but this also goes for all AoE buff Limit Breaks in general.
Playstyle Tips and Tricks
Paladin might be support, but it has some wiggle room to choose between offensive or defensive approaches. Holy Sheltron is an interesting ability in particular that is both offense and defense in theory. If no one attacks you, you effectively turn yourself into a living bomb. If they do, you survive better. You could theoretically use this ability offensively, but Heavy makes it a challenge of positioning and hoping to escape notice.
Intervene, Shield Bash, and Confiteor are a great trio of actions to use on a fleeing enemy to stop them from getting away. Those three seconds of stun can make the difference, especially if you immediately hit them with Atonement. They also aid in making it harder for an enemy to kill you, as Shield Bash’s stun can really interrupt the flow of the enemy’s DPS combos. This is especially valuable against Summoner and Black Mage’s Limit Breaks.
Intervene is an ability you should pay a lot of attention to. When there are no enemies running away, it’s free DPS to add into your existing rotation. However, you might need it to gap close if someone runs away and that can change at a moment’s notice. Use it wisely.
Focus target is very useful with Paladin. Focus target a party member you expect will get attacked the most so you can quickly react with Guardian. Try not to forget about Guardian- a Paladin who doesn’t use it isn’t the best Paladin they can be.
Unless the rest of the team has it covered, generally sticking near the crystal and your teammates is more important than chasing an enemy down. When a teammate is being chased, sprint to their aid until you’re in Guardian range, or Intervene the enemy followed by Shield Bash. You can really save them a KO.
Paladin requires paying attention to the battlefield and your allies. Try not to focus too deep on an attack pattern. You need to be able to adapt and react at a moment’s notice to the peril of your teammates.
Really, Paladin in Crystalline Conflict is very simple and straightforward, and this is both to its charm and detriment. If you don’t want the pressure of doing the DPS legwork, try something different and become the shield to protect your teammates. Perhaps they’ll remember your service enough to commend you.