FFXI: The Best Subjobs For BardsThis post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
Bards are invaluable assets on the battlefield due to the range of support their songs can bestow.
From attack and accuracy to haste and elemental resistances, bards are considered the essential foundation for any party.
When the need arises, they can also take to using their weapons to defend themselves.
So a bard’s subjob usually dictates what their purpose for a fight will be, and there’s a lot of good options out there. So here are my top picks for support jobs that can help any bard adapt to roles that they’d assume efficiently.
Although somewhat rare, bards can be called to battle to stand on the front lines and deal some damage.
Warrior is the most reliable support job for this, should a bard want to do so.
With the introduction of ambuscade weaponry in addition to their ultimate weapons, bards can actually deal very high amounts of damage. And they have the Marches, Madrigals, and Minuets to back it up!
With that being said, warrior offers incredible attack bonuses that players just simply won’t find on any other job:
Attack Bonus and Double Attack go a long way in making sure that your bard stings. But Berserk and Warcry grant the most dramatic boost to their damage.
If you’re using a Kaja Sword, plus the right gear and songs, Savage Blade from a bard can rival a DD’s!
Additionally, the Damage Limit trait increases their maximum pDIF value – or in layman’s terms, it increases the maximum damage they can do by a considerable amount.
Your bard would also gain the Defense Bonus trait here too, which gives your build a little thicker skin.
So this is predominantly a job used when solo or in low man content, but it also doubles as a situationally useful support job when melee utility or damage becomes a bard’s main focus.
With access to Curing Waltz, your bard gains some useful healing potential with a dancer subjob – and it doesn’t require MP.
Plus the added ability to wake up a sleeping party with Divine Waltz, or heal status ailments with Healing Waltz.
You can readily apply a 5% party-wide job Haste effect thanks to Haste Samba, or continually debuff enemies with all the various steps at your disposal. In addition to this, you also get access to Flourishes, where you can use Violent Flourish to quickly stun, or Reverse Flourish for a steady burst of TP.
Dancer even offers Dual Wield II, which bards can utilize for damage, or as a way to equip weapons that enhance their other roles in battle.
Ninja is the primary defensive option for a bard looking to survive physical damage or dangerous AoE.
It’s an unfortunate fact that a bard’s songs usually have them standing relatively close to danger, solely for their buffs to reach their allies who might be standing at varying distances.
While bards have traits and merits that help them reduce damage taken while singing songs, sometimes it’s not enough, due to a bard’s naturally low HP and miniscule defensive tools.
That’s where ninja comes in!
With the use of Utsusemi, lethal attacks may simply be absorbed. And this greatly improves how much confidence your bard will have as they run into enemy range and sing songs.
Though this job is best used when a party knows a fight will feature lots of physical damage, it’s still considered pretty essential in situations where unavoidable damage (or standing in dangerous range) can wipe players out.
Ninja also provides the Dual Wield III trait, which is better than a dancer’s, but can be taken advantage of all the same.
2. Red Mage
Subbing RDM is a popular choice for bards in FFXI, as the nature of a red mage is just flexible utility.
While bards themselves provide many buffs and debuffs via songs, red mages provide many similar effects in the form of spells.
More specifically, the red mage subjob features Fast Cast II in addition to Tranquil Heart and Magic Defense Bonus II. So this offers a wide range of traits that benefit a bard greatly, and that’s not even mentioning all the spells they’ll get!
Bards will gain access to self-targeting Bar-spells, in addition to other invaluable buffs like Phalanx, Stoneskin, and Blink.
If the need arises, you can also cast Raise on fallen party members. Plus subbing red mage also grants you access to Haste, Flurry, and Refresh – all valuable buffs to cast as necessary.
In all of this also lies a bevy of debuffing spells like Dia II, Paralyze, Silence, Distract, and Frazzle. These can simply further aid with the massive debuffing potential you’d get with this job combo.
Or you can also make use of Convert to quickly restore large amounts of MP, which your bard will surely be spending lots of!
1. White Mage
A majority of the time, white mage is the best subjob for bards to run with.
Due to the supportive nature that bards naturally provide, white mage synergizes perfectly to help them do even more on the battlefield, significantly increasing their value.
White mage grants Magic Defense Bonus II in addition to Tranquil Mind, providing bards with some defensive traits that help them withstand any damage they’d sustain when in dangerous AoE range.
And it goes without saying that white mage will have your bard considerably more active on the battlefield than any other subjob in this list.
You’d get access to Erase, -Na and AoE Bar-spells, in addition to Cure IV.
While you lose access to a large range of debuffs compared to picking a red mage sub, you still keep Dia II, Paralyze, Silence, and Slow.
And by picking a WHM sub you’d still retain many buffing spells like Stoneskin, Blink, Haste, and Aquaveil, plus also get access to Reraise in addition to Raise, so you can efficiently recuperate should a fight go south.
In emergency situations, Divine Seal can be used to turn any –Na spell into an AoE version as well. So that’s a useful ace in hole if you’d ever need it.