FFXIV: What Does Transpose Do & Is It Useful?

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Transpose is a skill that unlocks at level 4, for Final Fantasy XIV’s Thaumaturge/Black Mage magical DPS class. It allows you to trade your Umbral Ice buff for Astral Fire, and vice versa.

It’s been an important part of the class’ rotation for quite some time, basically allowing you to keep your buffs up at all times when used appropriately.

Before we get into any more details about Transpose and its uses, I’d just like to say that if your Black Mage is currently level 80, this is going to be a pretty niche use action.

I’ll cover that niche further down, but Transpose will basically be replaced in your rotation by Umbral Soul, which unlocks at level 76.

Umbral Soul is used during casting downtime to keep your stacks of Umbral Ice up when they might otherwise be lost.


Why Is Transpose An Important Part Of The Rotation?

As a Black Mage, your rotation usually involves balancing two buffs.

These buffs can stack up to three times each, and getting the rhythm down for them is really important.

Astral Fire increases both the damage and MP cost of your fire spells, and lowers the damage/MP cost of ice spells.

At three stacks of Astral Fire, it also halves the casting time of ice spells.

Ramping up to three stacks of Astral Fire accounts for a huge portion of the Black Mage’s damage.

There’s a catch, though:

Natural MP regeneration will be halted while Astral Fire is active. You can put out a ton of damage, but you’ll burn through that mana bar in no time.

So what’s a BLM to do?

Umbral Ice is the other side of the coin.

It boosts your natural MP regeneration while lowering the cost and damage of your fire spells. It cuts the cast time of your fire spells in half.

If it wasn’t clear already, this is the core concept: deal huge swathes of damage in Astral Fire, before casting an ice spell to shift into Umbral Ice to regenerate your MP and stay in the fight.

So how does Transpose come into it?


When Should I Cast Transpose?

Transpose’s effect reads like this:

“Swaps Astral Fire with a single Umbral Ice, or Umbral Ice with a single Astral Fire.”

That’s what the tooltip says, anyway.

But how does that relate to your rotation?

Well, it gives you the freedom to swap in and out of your buffs, shifting into your high damage or recovery phases as required.

Following your level 56 job quest, you’ll gain the ability “Enochian.”

Enochian buffs your magic damage by 15%, and grants access to bigger, badder spells while it’s active – like Fire and Blizzard IV.

If either of your Umbral Ice or Astral Fire buffs fall off, Enochian’s effect is cancelled.

Obviously for maximum DPS output you’ll want to keep Enochian up as much as possible.

Maintaining Enochian for 30 seconds grants you a Polyglot charge, which you can use to cast Foul – an unaspected damage spell unaffected by the phase you’re in.

If you’re at risk of losing Enochian – and by extension, the hardest-hitting parts of your rotation – you can use Transpose to keep casting and maximize your uptime.

It’s only on a thirty second cooldown these days, so keeping it up is easy.

But casting Transpose is an easy way to keep the ball rolling.


What Happens When Umbral Soul Unlocks?

You’ll get Umbral Soul at level 76.

It can only be cast while Enochian is active, and grants a stack of Umbral Ice. This gets you back into your MP regen phase faster.

Casting Umbral Soul also grants you one Umbral Heart. This nullifies Astral Fire’s MP cost increase, while reducing Flare’s cost by one third.

But Transpose will still have a useful spot on your toolbar.

If you’re fighting a group of mobs and the battle ends with you in Astral Fire, you’ll want to hit it to swap back to Umbral Ice so you can recover mana for the next group.

If you’re fighting a boss and it’s going into an invulnerable phase (as they so often do) it’s an easy way to get out of mana-burn mode and into recovery.

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