Sword Mage

Contents

[edit] Sword Mage

Anyone who decides to use the short sword class in order to deal Magic AND Melee damage is classed as a Sword Mage (sometimes referred to as Red Mage from the Final Fantasy Series). Arguably one of the most complex classes to play, this is a guide to the types of tactics and gear you should use when playing as a Sword Mage.

Either way, most of the tips in the Short Sword section should still be followed.

[edit] General info and playstyle

Pre-Requisites

  • A Sword mage MUST be able to deal high MAG AND Melee damage. This class is not for you if you only intend on wearing INT gear to deal only magic damage as you will be dismissing the strengths of this class.
  • Also, if you haven't played as a pure mage yet you should do so first as the learning curve for Sword Mages is steep.
  • At least 3 Rebirths will be needed to learn enough abilities from Short Sword, Divine Magic & Elememntal Magic to make this class a success. Ideally you'll need all 4 Rebirths and should learn almost all of the "Passive Abilities" from other skill trees.
  • Whilst it is possible to be a sword mage player as a more supportive/tank role, you shouldn't play as a sword mage for this primary reason as the spear class is better suited to this.

[edit] Sword Mage Set-Up

You will need two command sets. One for melee attacks and one for Elemental Magic. You can choose either a supportive/offensive or hybrid batch of commands sets as detailed below:

Option 1 - Offensive Set

This option focuses on having the weakest and strongest Slash, Thrust & Strike moves as well as the arial stagger moves. You will have a varied command set to deal the most damage to the most amount of enemies. Unfortunately you will lose many command slots and have little room for supportive abilities and combos.

  • Melee Command Set - I recommend you have Holy Light, Daredevil Stance, Mantra, Sonic Storm & Sonic Flame. Add Sky Smasher and Raid to stagger enemies fast or to hit out of reach enemies like Madoras and Wyverns. Twin Blades is a must and while its secondary abilities like +Twin Aura are useful, you may want to save your SP unlocking other skills. Note +Twin Storm/Flame will do more AoE over time than your AoE spells and are especially useful when fighting Spiders.
  • Magic Command Set - You should have all single target Tier III & Tier IV spells like Conflagration & Eclipse Gate. Learning anything else is a waste of SP as casting time will be horrendously slow on an AoE Tier IV spell and will waste MP. Also, Tier II single target spells are needed to assault small enemies quickly and save MP. More powerful spells can be interrupted by your team mates who will Kill Steal.Warlock Stance is essential and since you won't need ATK power when casting magic Guardian Stance can further increase your DEF but is less important to use.

Option 2 - Supportive

This option focuses on having a greater variety of debuffs and AoE Party heals and mid-battle buffs but sacrifices versatile melee attacks and tends to deal less DPS than the offensive roll.

  • Melee Command Set - I recommend you have Daredevil Stance, Mantra and at least up to +Heal III for supportive heals. Since you need slots for supprtive abilities only have the most powerful melee attacks like Furious Blade. Debuffs like Silence & Slow are recommended with Shield/Arm Breaker as a must. Healing Breeze II is also one of the most underestimated, yet useful moves. It regens 10HP every few seconds and negates the effects of HP Down casted by Dragons, Skeletons and Gigas'. If you have the optional Haste ability use it on yourself often. Save the MP from +Haste for a bow users +Hurricane Song.
  • Magic Command Set - You should have all single target Tier III & Tier IV spells like Conflagration & Eclipse Gate. Sleep is a very useful move when fighting enemies like Giants or greavers when the party lacks an archer with Stun Tip. The elemental shields (+Fire/Earth/Wind/Water Shield) are one of the most useful yet underused abilities. They will significantly boost your party's elemental RES and last twice as long as Mana Barrier. Warlock Stance is essential and since you won't need ATK power when casting magic Guardian Stance can further increase your DEF but is less important to use. Tier II spells are not needed by supportive Sword Mages.
  • Once both sets are complete, save one as a sub-command set so that you can seemlessly shift abilities mid-battle by selecting "Command Set".

Notes

  • As a Sword Mage combos aren't too important so unless you have high DEX save your command slots for something else.
  • Although it is useful to have the Tier III AoE spells if you have SP remaining, it won't be a problem if you choose not to use them.
  • It is relatively simple to have a mix of supportive & offensive abilities in your command sets but note that some of those abilities will be repeated in the Melee & Magic command sets (like Heals and Debuffs) which is essentially an opportunity cost.

[edit] Strengths & Weaknesses

The following strengths/weaknesses are in comparison to ALL classes and playstyles not just compared to staff users or magic. Also these strengths/weaknesses can be negated or boosted dependant on the players stats, more so as a Sword Mage than any other class due to varied playstyles.

[edit] Strengths

  • A Sword mage can obtain a higher DEF than a normal mage and with a shield, with a good chance to block many enemy attacks, especially when shield prowess is active.
  • Dependant on your SP distribution, can play a Melee/Magic Offensive or Supportive rolls seemlessly and adjust your gameplay at any point.
  • Your Furious Blade attacks, especially when elemental swords are equipped, can deal more Damage Per Second than a pure mage can with their spells when the enemy is weak to slash attacks in long boss battles.
  • Easy access to and short animations on debuffs like STR Down & DEF down.
  • You won't lose AC when switching to tank/magic/melee ability sets as they can all be used with Sword type weapons (as opposed to needing to use a save crystal or town to change roles/class)
  • Can replenish your MP easily with Mana Leech be it for melee or magic damage.

[edit] Weaknesses

  • Can be fiddly when you need to switch commands and weapons mid-game.
  • A Sword Mage's magic is not as proficient or powerful as a pure elemental mage unless you sacrifice your other stats.
  • You will use up most of you item inventory with the 6 weapons needed to make this class work best, with little space for much else.
  • Even with high AGI a Sword mage can't access moves like Nature's Meld, Conceal or Stealth Magic so like for like, a pure mage or an archer will have better evasiveness.

[edit] Gear & Stats

Since you should be familiar with the properties of each STAT you should focus on those that suit your playstyle as a Sword Mage. At GR26+ "high" stats are anything above 150. If you decide to boost DEX, anything above 140DEX will be better invested in STR as that has more of an effect on your ATK power. INT is a very valuable stat for spell damage and SPR is needed if you intend on playing a supportive sword mage with strong party heals.

  • Generally speaking an offensive Sword Mage would focus on STR>AGI>INT
  • Generally speaking a supportive Sword Mage would focus on INT>AGI>SPR
  • Generally speaking a hybrid Sword Mage would focus on STR>INT>DEX

Note that a mage with 500MAG and 200INT will always have higher spell damage than a mage with 500MAG but less INT so that is more important than a weapon with a high MAG stat.

[edit] Armour

Unfortunately there is currently no gear that boosts STR, AGI & INT unless you get it in an UNID but there are some armour sets (like Robin Mail II & Bold Vambraces) that boosts STR & AGI so you should aim to get a good mix of armour that boosts those 3 stats.

Your overall burden should be moderate so Medium armours are best suited with the occasional Light armour. DO NOT WEAR ALL LIGHT ARMOUR WITH JUST INT. At GR26 your DEF should be around 750 with a shield and at least 250 RES.

At other GR's your DEF should always be higher than a pure elemental mage, slightly higher than an archer but not as high as a spear user's. If you have very high DEF it will be even harder for you to get knocked down but that doesn't mean you won't. Since your casting time will also be even more sluggish with a heavy burden the extra DEF isn't that useful to a Sword mage.

If you want to have heavy armour and or high DEF the spear class may suit you better as it is easier to tank and play supportively.

[edit] Weapons

A Sword Mage Absolutely Must Have at least 2 Weapons:

  • Non-Elemental Cleaver (for high critical rate and damage)
  • ShortSword Dagger with high MAG stat

It is highly recommended you also have 4 Elemental weapons - Wind, Fire, Water & Earth Melee Weapons (Swords or Cleavers Only).

When using them your DAM will rival an AXE user's especially when that enemy is weak to slash because your moves will be faster and more accurate (generally speaking) than an axe user and they tend to only ever use 1 non-elemental weapon.

[edit] Useful Links

Related Threads

Red Mage - Sword Mage Guide - last post by @ Nov 23, 2012
How much INT does a mage need? - last post by @ Jan 10, 2012
Sword (not LS) Discussion - who's using it and good experience? - last post by Kaya @ Dec 24, 2011
Mage/sword? - last post by Kaya @ Jan 2, 2012
Sword players? - last post by @ Nov 23, 2012
Last edited by Kaya on 21 March 2012 at 05:13
This page has been accessed 5,666 times.