Hello, my name is King Stefan, and this is my guide to succeeding in The Feast 4v4 (Light Party). This game mode is, in my opinion, and the opinion of the more hardcore FFXIV PVP scene, the platform to best display player vs player skill. It does not have the random factor of Solo Queue, nor the mob-tactics of Frontlines. It’s just you vs them...vs boxes. You get it. I have had the honor of being part of the Aether Rank 1 team in The Feast for both Season 1 and Season 2, and also healed for the crown champion team of the Final Fantasy XIV Fan Fest 2016 PvP Exhibition, Team Hello First Time. This guide is a collection of tips, tricks and opinions based off of thousands of games of Light Party Fold and Feast played (with overwhelming success) at the highest level.
This guide will cover some of the more basic and intermediate topics of the mode, while leaving out more advanced tactics (for another time.) The topics covered in this guide will be:
- Composition Strategy and Viability
- Meta Strategy
- Crowd Control Counters/Coordination
- Offense Coordination
- Defense Coordination
This guide will NOT cover:
- Advanced tactics and strategies
- Tips for specific jobs
- Extreme basics (Like PVP abilities and their functions)
There is a reason that “Communication” is the first item on the list. Communication is key, it is the single most important thing for you and your team. This is a game played with a team of 4 players, and being able to communicate effectively can cause you to win even against more skilled, but unorganized groups.
- VOIP and Mics work wonders. Macro communication is great and all, but nothing really beats being able to speak.
- Be on the same page. If your team is indecisive and trying to listen to many conflicting callouts all at once, it will create fatal openings in your play that the enemy team can take advantage of.
- Be concise, be simple. Over complication in your communication can also cause confusion. Try to keep your callouts simple, yet complete. Something like “I’m going to burst the healer now!” or, “Paladin, cover me please!” is much better than: “Ok, I am going to have all of my CDs up and then I am going to stun the healer and use Between the Eyes, make sure to use your full thrust combo at the same time!” Keep the detailed chatter for post-match.
- Post/Pre Match discussions. Just got rekt? Talk about it. Assess what just happened to you, and analyze what you could do differently. If things are not working out, talk it out and try to figure out a strategy that works better.
- Be critical, yet respectful. It should go without saying, do not berate those on your team, or put them down. At the same time, do not simply brush off their mistakes and say nothing, since you all will need to learn and grow as a team, and weak links are no fun.
Composition Viability and Meta
While this guide will not get into all of the different compositions, this section will go over some basic ideas and tips on how to choose a viable composition based on meta strengths and job synergies.
- Synergy. Pick jobs that pair well together. Got a (god forbid) NIN? You probably want a WAR to apply slashing to primary targets to better assure maximum damage. Utilizing a WHM? You probably want PLD to supplement their defensive arsenal. Is your melee a DRG? You definitely want BRD or MCH to benefit from their disembowel. You get the idea. There are several possible compositions, but some synergize more than others.
- Viability. Unfortunately as the game is right now, there are very few viable compositions for success. There are a handful of OP jobs (MNK, MCH) and even more OP compositions (PLD, WHM, MNK, MCH). Make sure that your composition is made up of strong jobs, as something like...DRK/SCH/BLM/NIN is bound to fail.
- Meta. Tying together the two points above, the meta is something you will always need to adjust to. As job buffs/nerfs are delivered in patch updates, make sure that you change your composition around as applicable. Always be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of your comp vs. others, especially as changes are being made on a patch to patch basis.
There are endless strategies and tactics used in The Feast in order to secure wins. However, this portion of the guide will only cover vague meta strategies for both getting kills and staying alive. As they are vague, there are several different ways you can attempt to pull off these strategies, so please keep that in mind.
- Single Target Burst: An offensive strategy in which your damage dealers will focus down a single target. (Ex: WAR/DRG/BRD all burst one target at the same time to create unhealable damage)
- Split Target Burst: An offensive strategy in which your damage dealers will focus down multiple enemies at once. (Ex: SMN spreads AOE damage while WAR bursts healer and MNK bursts enemy dps to apply pressure not healable by strong single target heals or the moderately effective AOE heals.)
- Control: An offensive strategy focused around locking down primary defensive targets to open up kill opportunities. (Ex: WHM/BLM sleeps chains into PLD stun locks to take a healer/tank out of commision while DPS focus down a target receiving no heals or defensive support.)
- Control: A defensive control strategy revolves around “peeling” for your healer or endangered party members by locking down dangerous targets with CC. This provides time for the healer to catch up and establish the health of the party, in addition to delaying or stopping burst damage. (Ex: Blizzard 2 on enemies chasing you, Sleep targets that are causing a lot of damage to spread burst out over several seconds instead of all at once.)
- Anti-Burst: A strategy that revolves around skills that reduce incoming damage without utilizing control. The theory behind this strategy is that control only delays burst in most situations, while Anti-Burst will not stop burst from happening, but rather greatly reduce it’s effectiveness. (Ex: Bole, Carnal Chill, Virus, Disable, etc.)
- Offense: As cliche as it may seem, a great offense in The Feast doubles as a great defense, as your enemy will have to transition some of their power off of offense and onto defense to survive, essentially balancing out the damage and mitigation of both teams.
CC chains and CC countering
In just about every game, CC chaining has been one of the most effective ways to secure wins. It creates windows of opportunity for both offensive and defensive plays, and is often the highest contributing factor to scoring a kill at high levels of play. On the opposite side of the spectrum, there is a dire need to counter these CC chains so that they do not devastate you and your team.
- CC Chains: As stated above, utilizing team-coordinated chains of CC can absolutely win you games. This ties in heavily with necessary communication and awareness, as your team will have to be able to work with each other to pull it off. (Ex: WHM sleep x3 > PLD stun x3 > PLD Silence > WHM Fluid Aura.)
- CC Countering: Counters to CC are few in number than CC itself, but it is absolutely necessary to establish a strategy to counter CC if you want your team to succeed. Your team should develop a rotation for Purify on your healer so that they are never locked down for too long. There are also several other abilities that need to be considered and used wisely when countering CC: (Ex: Tempered Will, Pushback, Warden’s Paen, etc.)
These last two sections will tie in with my very first point: Communication. Coordination does not come without some form of communication and awareness. It is vital that your offensive strategy is executed with crisp precision, or else you risk being countered. I will provide a few examples below. Please keep in mind that these are overgeneralized situations. Yes, I understand that these situations may be unrealistic due to the several other factors that must be accounted for, but these are examples provided to prove a point:
- Example 1: WAR/DRG/BRD all communicate when they are going to damage a single target. The communication is effective and their burst is coordinated in such a manner so that all of their damage hits the target at the same exact moment. Fell Cleave + Full Thrust/Jump + Barrage/Emp Arrow = ...Absolute death.
- Example 2: WAR/DRG/BRD do not communicate well enough and are unable to coordinate their damage properly. The WAR does not have 5 stacks yet and the BRD is in the middle of popping all his buffs. So: DRG bursts > target gets healed > BRD bursts > Target gets healed > WAR bursts > Target gets healed. Their coordination was not precise and so what should have been a kill ends in the target surviving.
Arguably even more difficult to pull off due to the nature of FFXIV’s netcode and damage snap shotting, defensive coordination is equally as important as its offensive counterpart. In the current state of the game, the defensive ability of healers is eclipsed by the offensive ability of the other 3 roles (melee/ranged/tank) combined. Therefore, it is important to develop a strategy and also be able to plan on the go in order to ensure your survival. While I will not site specific examples for this section, it essentially boils down to two categories:
- Communicating CC DR timers so that defensive CC can be utilized.
- Communicating available defensive CDs so that there is no unnecessary overlap and therefore wasted CDs.
In closing, thank you for taking the time to read this guide. My hope is that one day the Light Party PvP scene will grow to be even more competitive and populated, and hopefully some of these tips and tricks will help you and your team succeed. I will be looking to add more information, tips, and strategies to this guide (or a new, revised version) in the future, so please provide feedback on what you would like to know.