Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Definitive Guide for PVP: SCH (FFXIV)

Revolving mainly around PVE, getting a start in PVP can be a bit unnerving when it comes to FFXIV. With plenty of experience under my belt I have decided to compile some of my hard earned wisdom into a guide specifically tailored to players that have developed an interest in excelling in this department. The guide below has been constructed explicitly for my all time favorite class, the Scholar. With this guide I have also taken it upon myself to include a video recorded with a couple of friends of mine, putting the points made in this guide to good use.

Why Scholar?
Some might notice that SCH doesn't receive a whole lot of attention compared to its counterpart, WHM. SCH is a class that is severely underestimated due to the sheer potency that WHM actions possess, but the SCH has numerous advantages that tend to be overlooked. With a reasonable amount of practice these advantages can make SCH an equally (if not superiorly) appealing choice in most situations. 

What really makes the Scholar shine?
No doubt there are numerous things that make the SCH stand out, but there are a few capabilities that without question take the spotlight.

Sure, Selene has her merits. But when it comes to PVP, Eos reigns supreme. Your pet is very much the lifeblood of the SCH and without it a players healing capabilities would be severely gimped. In PVP Eos will provide additional healing throughout battles as well as ensure stable footing while in Cleric Stance.

Getting the best results out of your pet is obtained through controlling Eos yourself. This ensures Eos is always healing the individual that needs it most and allows you to use skills that come with longer cooldowns as they are needed. Traditionally speaking I prefer Eos to be in "Guard" stance. Placing Eos on Guard gives her the freedom to use Embrace as she see's fit but saves her most circumstantial skills for the player to use when most needed. One might think, You said, controlling Eos ensures Eos is always healing the individual that needs it most!
But wait! There's more...

On her own Eos is certainly impressive, but with the use of a few macro's the Scholar can go from a good healer, to an amazing healer. For the most part this can be achieved by simply replacing all of your basic heals with a macro which commands Eos to cast embrace in conjunction with the action in question.

In example: 
By using Physick in unison with Embrace, a SCH can essentially turn it's most basic heal spell into the equivalent of Cure II all while burning significantly less MP. This allows the SCH to further excel at one of its most endearing qualities, exceptional MP management. 

For those of you that are a bit lost in the world of Macro's, below I have taken the liberty of doing the work for you.


But what about Medica II? True, Medica II is a fantastic way to provide AOE heals with the added bonus of regen, but with the help of a Macro, SCH can achieve similarly appealing results in this department. Simply make a seperate macro that commands Eos to cast Whispering Dawn while you cast Succor. Whereas Medica II can be used more frequently This macro can be used in conjunction with Rouse and Fey Illumination to provide superior HP regeneration. Though Succor heals for significantly less than Medica II, it also casts Galvanize on all who are in range, providing damage mitigation in addition to healing. So long as your party is hanging close by you can offer additional damage mitigation with the use of Sacred Soil. Whispering Dawn is an extremely valuable pet action and should be used often. 

Lustrate is arguably one of the best actions in all of FFXIV. Yes Benediction provides a WHM with the ability to offer an instant full heal to any party member on its last leg, but you are greatly mistaken if you believe this gives WHM an advantage over SCH. With the use of an Aetherflow stack a SCH can provide an instant 25% heal to any chosen target. Unlike Benediction, Lustrate allows a SCH to split up massive heals as it see's fit amongst numerous targets in need. Since the amount of times a SCH can cast lustrate is dependent on the amount of Aetherflow stacks a SCH has at its disposal, a SCH with three Aetherflow stacks ready and Aetherflow off cooldown can rapid fire six instant cast 25% heals in a row. Not only can this result in a massive amount of healing in a short period of time, but Lustrate is unaffected by Cleric Stance since it is a percentile heal. Meaning, SCH can be dishing out commendable amounts of damage all while having its most powerful heal at it's disposal. Being able to use Lustrate in Cleric Stance means while Eos is providing steady, mediocre heals, you can still counteract substantial amounts of damage throughout your party with the use of Aetherflow stacks all while keeping your dots in check. For this reason I highly encourage saving your Aetherflow stacks for Lustrate unless a situation arises where a Sacred Soil or Bane would be considered extremely useful.

Sprint! (And why it's your best friend)
When it comes to clearing out a tight knit group, killing the healer is of utmost importance. For this reason a SCH must always be alert and ready to take a defensive stance. When it comes to survivability one of your best friends is an action that is easily overlooked, and that action is Sprint! A SCH has little use for TP and therefore has the ability to use Sprint far more frequently than a lot of classes with little to no consequence. When finding yourself under fire, Sprint is an amazing way to put ground between you and your pursuer, not only does this allow you to avoid damage more easily but while sprinting a SCH still has means of replenishing health with Lustrate and Embrace. Embrace will be particularly tricky to use in this fashion but situationally speaking you will be able to get some extra heals in with the assistance of Eos.

When it comes to a one on one encounter it is extremely difficult to best a skilled SCH. In all my time with Frontlines, I have only been defeated once in such an encounter (by an especially skilled Monk. Hats off to you, good sir). SCH is a class that can dish out considerable damage for a healer, and with the added benefit of Lustrate and Eos, SCH makes an especially dangerous foe when no backup is to be found. In one on one combat there are a few things that a SCH should keep in mind to ensure an easy win. 

Though the SCH can do an adequate amount of damage, it goes without saying that is doesn't take a whole lot of damage to kill one. And since dots can do their thing while a SCH tends to other matters, survivability will be your main focus when it comes to 1v1. Fortunately the scholar is quite effective in the means of escapism.

The best start to a 1v1 encounter is knowing that your enemy is approaching before your are in immediate danger. In a situation where you have a moment to breathe before taking off, take a moment to throw up Bio II on your enemy. This way you already have some damage in place while you are getting your bearings straight. Your next step is to kite the enemy the best you can. Since Miasma does not "slow" in PVP  your best bet here is Sprint. If you notice your enemy has used Sprint already, try to hold off on blowing Sprint straight away, otherwise your opponent will have a means of staying on your heel.

Cleric Stance is highly recommended in a 1v1 situation as it will increase the damage a SCH is dishing out and you will have little chance to get off a heal that requires a cast time. Leave the healing to Lustrate and Eos.

While you have the advantage of distance, use terrain if possible to acquire a little extra breathing room here and there. This extra distance will you give you time to get what damage you can in while not having to worry about sacrificing heals in place of damage. Immediately start working your dots in. Because they are instant, Bio, the cross-class action Aero (from WHM) and Miasma II (when an enemy is close enough) are going to be your dots of choice here. Avoid using Instant Cast for damage at his time as its going to be needed in case the enemy closes in.

From here on out Ruin II becomes especially useful because it is your wimpy nuke that can be cast while on the move. Purify will likely be needed to get out of binds.

As your enemy starts to close in, your priority will quickly shift to buffs and debuffs. This is an essential time frame because it will provide the chance to mitigate extra damage before they lunge in for the kill. You will be focusing on popping Rouse, Whispering Dawn and Fey Illumination on yourself and Virus on your opponent. Save Instant Cast for an extra quick heal or to resummon Eos if your enemy is smart and manages to take her out.

At this point you may have to let your dots do the work while you focus on survival until Sprint is once again an option. Once Sprint cools down the SCH will rinse and repeat.

Most enemies will regret the move of attacking you at some point in the fight and will decide to make a run for it. If this happens let your opponent go and regroup with your party. Chasing a stray takes time away from doing your job and a healer will benefit very little from the pursuit.

Arranging your HUD
For those who are like me and use a combination of buttons and clicks to use your skills, your HUD layout will be especially important. Making sure that your Party List as well as your Alliance List are as close as possible to your action bar can make a significant difference. Make sure you play around with your HUD until you find something that works well for you.

Keep in mind
For a better end of match report, it is essential that you stay with your party to the best of your ability. The more you stay with your party, the more healing you will be able to dish out. Knowing your class is important, but teamwork is a must. Properly using the strategies I have presented you with will provide a considerable boost to your performance in battle. For a better idea of how to implement these tactics, watch the video I have provided below.