What is a Tank Buster in Final Fantasy XIV?

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In Final Fantasy XIV, a tank buster is an attack many boss enemies have in their arsenal, usually aimed at the party’s tank to deal a ton of damage. These attacks can disrupt even the smoothest encounters if you’re unprepared.

Tanks are supposed to hold the enemy’s “threat”, also referred to as enmity, hate, or aggro. These are all different words that mean the same thing: tanks have tools in their skillsets that allow them to draw away the most threat, theoretically keeping the rest of the party safe.

If a tank is drawing threat correctly, all of the enemies in the room will be focused on them.

Monsters will follow the tank if he moves, and prioritize killing him over squishier members of the team.

Final Fantasy XIV practically has an army of different boss encounters at this point. And although many of these fights can be won by sticking to a few common sense rules, understanding tankbusting and damage mitigation will go a very long way.

Tank busters are designed to disrupt the flow of combat.

Typically, the tank pulls the boss and turns them away from the party. This keeps a lot of directional attacks pointed solely at the player that’s best equipped to soak them all up.

If the tank isn’t doing their job properly, the boss will lay into characters with less generous health pools, which can result in the healer wasting mana, and long cooldowns to prevent a wipe.

Tankbuster attacks deal huge amounts of damage. And if they’re not handled effectively, they could lead to failure.

If the tank goes down, the boss is no longer focused reliably on one member of the group, and healers have to divide their attention.


How Do I Handle It As A Tank?

Ideally, your process should go in two stages.

The first is preparation.

This can be reading up on encounter mechanics, watching guide videos, and talking to fellow tanks. This way you’ll know what move to look out for in each fight – they’re usually signposted clearly in the boss’ casting bar.

Once you know what to look out for, your next step is mitigation.

Every tank has a handful of skills they can use to reduce incoming damage by varying degrees.

Paladins have Intervention, reducing incoming damage by 30%.

Gunbreakers have Nebula and the risky Superbolide, which makes them invulnerable for a brief period while reducing them to 1HP.

FFXIV Preparing for battle screenshot
Image source by u/lasagnajunkie / © SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved.

These abilities all have cooldowns after use, so for maximum efficiency you really want to resist using them until the situation demands it.

Mitigating the damage makes it easier for the healer to get you back to full strength, and lowers the chances of them having to use their big cooldown skills to save the day. Unless, of course, you’re a Gunbreaker who keeps accidentally hitting Superbolide instead of Nebula (I owe multiple healers a lot of apologies).

The good news is that tank busters outside of Extreme-level content are unlikely to one-shot you.

You’ll only really be in trouble if you’re already heavily damaged, or if the healer is out of action.

But effectively mitigating tank busters makes the party’s life much easier.

Healers don’t have to hit their panic buttons, and they’ll have more resources to keep the party going through the fight. A happy healer is a happy group!


How Do I Handle Tank Busters As A Healer?

Your process will be very much the same – healers just have more options if it all goes horribly wrong.

Read up on the fight beforehand, keep an eye on what the boss is casting, and have your big heals at hand if the tank misses the mark.

It’s safe to assume that many inexperienced tanks will be unfamiliar with damage mitigation, so you may have to step in to recover from a tank buster more often.

And as mentioned above, these moves are unlikely to one-shot tanks in normal encounters, unless they’re already significantly damaged.

Two warrior characters talking in FFXIV
Image source by @BoogieAnimal / © SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved.

An experienced tank will mitigate these attacks. And you should be able to see the relevant buffs on their status bar. This is actually a good way of knowing when these attacks are incoming, and you’ll know ahead of time so you don’t need to panic.

Just keep the tank’s health topped off and you should make it through regardless.

If the tank goes down, revive them as soon as possible. They’ll be able to regain enmity in no time, making your life easier than healing multiple DPS players.


How Do I Handle Tank Busters As A DPS?

Just stay out of the way.

In all seriousness though, it doesn’t hurt to be aware of tank busters, even if they’re not usually coming your way.

They’ll probably squash you if they do. But at that point everything’s already gone wrong.

In the event the tank goes down, stay focused.

The boss will target the player with the highest enmity, which is generated by dealing damage and restoring HP.

Keep dodging AOE attacks and do your best to keep the boss away from the healer until they can get the tank back up.

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