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This article is only a guide. Information expressed in a guide is usually more opinion than fact and should be taken as such. Guides are written by players, based upon their experiences, successes and mistakes, and are meant to aid other players. However, there may be differing opinions than those expressed in a guide.
Strategies and information in guides may not work for everyone.

Job Overview

Red Mages are called the Jack of All Trades by many, and this is an accurate description. Red Mages have the ability to cast white magic, black magic, and fight with swords and daggers. Though their healing, nuking, and fighting skills aren't as good as those of the specialists, White Mages, Black Mages, Paladins, and Thieves, they are still competent. Their real strength relies in their enhancing and enfeebling skills.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths

  • Highest Enfeebling Magic skill and Enhancing Magic skills of all jobs in the game.
  • One of five jobs (RDM, BRD, BLU, SMN, COR) with the ability to remove enemy buffs.
  • Possess the spell Refresh to replenish MP of the Red Mage itself or other magic users in party.
  • Unique job ability, Convert, which gives a Red Mage up to as much MP as it has HP (and vice versa) every 10 minutes.
  • A powerful and flexible two-hour ability, Chainspell, which, depending on subjob, can guarantee a successful Escape (BLM sub) or teleport from dangerous situations (WHM sub), or provide one minute of continuous Stun casting (DRK sub) to neutralize a very dangerous foe, among other uses.
  • Together with Convert and Refresh, an impressive array of different Enhancing and Enfeebling magic spells, including the signature spells Gravity and Phalanx, giving Red Mage many tools to outlast difficult enemies while soloing.
  • Flexible and adaptive with many native combat skills and magic skills, and a large selection of equipment and useful support jobs.

Weaknesses

  • Attack magic and melee abilities fall short of more specialized jobs.
  • Generally limited to a support/healer role in higher level exp parties.
  • Competes somewhat with the more popular Bard for support job role in exp parties.
  • High workload in exp parties; at a minimum, responsible for keeping up with a Refresh cycle and enfeebs; handle crowd control; and, help out with Haste cycle and backup healing (if not the main healer).
  • Although able to sustain higher rate of MP usage over time than other mage jobs, has a smaller MP pool to work with.

Race Selection

Template:Racechoice

Hume
Humes want to be Red Mages because they can excel at all aspects of the job. Average stats means their Enfeebling, Enhancing, Curing, and Nuking will do well with proper equipment. Good HP means they can survive a few hits if they pull hate, and good MP means they can last longer without having to rest or use Convert.
Elvaan
Elvaan want to be Red Mages because they excel at melee. High strength means they hit harder, and high mind helps their cures hit for more, and white magic enfeebles hit harder. Lower intelligence can be remedied with gear, as can their lower MP pool.
Tarutaru
Tarutaru want to be Red Mages because they excel at anything magical. High intelligence means their nukes and black magic enfeebles hit harder. Tarutaru have the highest MP pool, making their use of Convert the most efficient when at full HP. If wanted, any physical weakness can be remedied with vitality and strength boosting gear.
Galka
Galka want to be Red Mages so they can dabble in magic, while still smashing monsters in the fray. High strength and vitality make their soloing ability impressive. Comparable mind to a Hume makes their cures just as good, as well as their white magic enfeebles. Lower intelligence can be remedied with gear, and their low mp pool will require them to rest more often without +MP gear.
Mithra
Mithra want to be Red Mages for the same reason as Humes. Their high dexterity and agility means they are more accurate in combat, and will evade more hits than a Hume. Like for any Red Mage, additional boosts in MP make their Converts better, and additional mind and intelligence will help with their spellcasting.
Starting Stats
Race HP MP STR DEX VIT AGI INT MND CHR
Hume 28 20 6 6 6 6 7 7 6
Elvaan 30 18 7 6 7 5 6 8 6
Tarutaru 24 26 5 6 6 7 9 7 6
Galka 33 14 7 6 8 6 7 7 5
Mithra 28 20 6 8 6 7 7 7 5


Support Job Options

The choices listed here are by no means the only ones available. Feel free to try out whatever combination suits your fancy.

Black Mage
Red Mages choose Black Mage as their support job for MP and Intelligence. The most popular sub by far, it also offers Elemental Seal, Conserve MP, and many useful Black Mage-only spells. Warp allows RDMs to save money on Warp Cudgels, Escape allows dungeon-hopping RDMs to save their party in emergencies, and Sleepga provides a reliable AoE crowd-control spell. After level 50, when Aspir becomes available, BLM becomes one of the most commonly subbed jobs for most RDMs, barring circumstances where -na spells and Divine Seal from WHM carry more utility. The elemental debuff line of spells such as Shock and Burn give the RDM/BLM another line of magic to weaken monsters and increase the potency of other spells and attacks.
White Mage
Red Mages choose White Mage as their support job for Mind and Healing spells. White Mage offers the -na spell line (Poisona, Silena, etc.) and Curaga/Curaga II. /WHM also gives Red Mages the ability to utilize their Divine Magic skill with the Banish line of spells, though such usage is typically relegated to undead-camping or skill-up parties. Like Convert, Divine Seal is on a ten-minute timer. RDMs who save DS for after Convert can maximize the efficiency of their post-Convert curing by using a double-strength Cure III/IV. After Erase becomes usable post-RDM64, RDMs may be called on to sub WHM to help mitigate the healing load when fighting stat/ability/defense/attack-debuffing mobs. By providing much-needed support abilities to main-healing RDMs, /WHM can be used to great utility at any level.
Dark Knight
Red Mages choose Dark Knight as their support job for both niche uses in parties and alliances (Chainspell-Stun) and for efficient farming. The sub provides added Attack Bonus, Strength, Souleater, Last Resort, and access to EX sword weapon skills (Red Lotus Blade, Seraph Blade, and Vorpal Blade), all of which can improve kill speed during farming. In addition, the sub also provides Drain, Aspir, the Absorb-line, and Stun, which can also assist in speeding kills. Dark Knight is typically not subbed for experience parties, although situtations may exist where the combination might be useful (e.g. possibly with mobs that spam stunnable AoE, although White Mage arguably provides more value in such situations).
Bard
Red Mages choose Bard as their support job for Mage's Ballad (BRD25) and other buffs like Sword Madrigal (BRD11). Players subbing Bard will only get to use one song per person at a time because of the inability to use instruments, and the low Singing skills means debuffs usually will be resisted by monsters targeted by exp parties. Subbing Bard gives a Red Mage, who is an enfeebling and support master, an extra collection of buffing abilities to draw upon while increasing the MP recharge rate. The most direct comparision would be with using Summoner as support job; the advange of the Bard support job is the ability to bring 4MP/tick to everyone instead of just himself, unless there's another person in the party aleady casting Mage's Ballad I, and arguably the more useful buffs such as Madrigal and Minuet. The disadvantage would be the lower INT and MND stats, and the much lower max MP.


Ninja
Red Mages choose Ninja as their support job for Dual Wield and Utsusemi. Dual Wield allows them to make better use of their en- spells (e.g. Enfire, Enthunder, etc.) and to use stat boosting wands (or for that matter, any weapon that gives bonuses), which may be an advantage in some situation/levels. Elemental Ninjutsu (e.g. Hyoton, Raiton, etc.) can also be used to lower elemental resistance to help land enfeebs like Gravity and Slow. Also, access to Utsusemi: Ni after level 74 boosts a Red Mage's survivability significantly. A ninja subjob is generally considered a solo subjob and is usually discouraged in parties.
Warrior
Warrior provides Red Mages with a set of advantages geared more toward fighting against non-aspirable mobs. A warrior subjob trades additional MP and spells for access to EX sword weaponskills, a significant boost to STR and VIT, and a set of important melee-oriented job abilities. Berserk is the best attack-boosting job ability in the game, Defender allows Stoneskin to last longer, Double Attack provides a somewhat reliable boost to melee damage, and Provoke/Warcry provide hate-holding tools in situations where a RDM needs to (or chooses to) actually tank. Though some have reported being able to tank with /WAR when given another RDM in the party, a RDM generally saves the WAR sub for soloing and niche situations, such as soloing certain NM's.
Ranger
Red Mages choose Ranger as their support job for Wide Scan and Accuracy Bonus. Used primarily for Notorious Monster hunting, or hunting anything that spawns over a wide area, Ranger also offers Red Mage Sharpshot and access to bow weapon skills. In a party, subbing Ranger can make a Red Mage an excellent puller, although many parties will prefer a full Ranger or Thief to fill this role.
Thief
Red Mages choose Thief as their support job primarily for farming. Treasure Hunter and Evasion Boost allow a Red Mage to make quick work of worthless prey with little harm to himself, while reaping the rewards of improved drops. At level 50, Flee allows him to do this even faster. In a party, Thief lets a Red Mage use Sneak Attack to add a little extra damage, but many parties will overlook the Red Mage/Thief.
Paladin
Although not used much in the past, the April 18th, 2006 update added to Paladin the Shield Mastery (PLD25) and the Auto Refresh (PLD35), thus made this a potent combination for soloing and some party situations. Like Warrior and Dark Knight for support job, /PLD grants access to EX Sword skills. In addition, RDM/PLD gains the job abilities Shield Bash (PLD15), Sentinel (PLD30), job trait Defense Bonus (PLD15, PLD30), and spell Flash (PLD37).
Summoner
Usually overshadowed by White Mage and Black Mage, Summoner is a viable support job for many party situations. Summoner sub grants access to Auto Refresh at level RDM50/SMN25, which will stack with Refresh, thus giving the Red Mage 4 mp every 3 seconds. Summoner support job also provides the largest MP pool possible for a Red Mage while boosting both Mind and Intelligence stats. RDM/SMN can also bring additional party buffs such as Garuda's Aerial Armor, as well as perform safe pulling using avatar when linkable monsters are in close quarters. The main trade-off of using /SMN instead of /WHM is the loss of access to status ailment removal spells and the MP efficient Curaga, Protectra, Shellra, and Divine Seal. Compared to /BLM, the trade-off is the lack of Warp, Aspir, Escape, Sleepga, elemental debuffs (e.g. Shock, etc.), and Elemental Seal.

Partying As Red Mage

General
  • Regardless of level, Red Mage is primarily a support role, and will rarely melee in an EXP party. Meleeing should typically only be done when there is prior agreement among the other party members. Meleeing in non-EXP parties, such as quests and missions, is generally more acceptable, but it depends on the situation.
  • Red Mage must learn to manage MP. Come to the party prepared with necessary foods (ex. Ginger Cookies) and/or gear that provides +hMP, in order to minimize party downtime while healing. Convert is also an important tool in managing MP (Level 40+).
  • All Mages should carry a supply of Echo Drops when potentially fighting mobs with silence ability.
  • Red Mage should always be prepared to sleep any undesirable links. Macros should be readily available for Sleep, Sleep II, and Sleepga as these spells become available (be ready to cast Sleep if Sleep II fails to stick). Elemental Seal, when subjob is BLM, is very useful minimizing resistance.
Note: Be careful not to use a damage-over-time (DOT) spell on an enemy that potentially might need to be slept.
  • Red Mage should always try to cure the Main Healer if he/she gets hate from the mob. If the main healer has to cure himself/herself, it will only increase hate and make the situation worse.
  • Keep your spells current and your subjob level capped. Parties are not pleased when they find out a mage doesn't have a spell he/she is expected to have at that level.


Levels 10-40
  • Prior to getting Refresh at level 41, the Red Mage's role in a party is typically either enfeebler or main healer.
  • As enfeebler:
  • Subjobs of black mage or white mage are acceptable.
  • Your primary role is to cast the applicable enfeebles necessary to protect the party and speed up the kill. Typical combination of enfeebles is Dia (lowers mob defenses) -> Paralyze (reduces the number of attacks the mob makes) -> Slow (increases the amount of time between mob attacks). In some cases, it might be preferable to use Bio instead of Dia, to reduce the potency of the mobs attacks. Gravity may be useful when fighting mobs with high evasion.
  • Some enfeebles should be top priority, such as Silence and Dispel, depending on the situation.
  • Do your research to know what spells are appropriate for the enemies being fought. You should know which mobs should be silenced and what should be dispelled.
  • You will need to watch for resistance to enfeebles. There will be times when multiple casts are required to get the spell to stick.
  • You will usually also be a back-up healer.
  • You will occasionally nuke (especially if there is not a Black Mage in the party).
  • As main healer:
  • It is typically best to sub white mage when main healer, since you will be required to buff the entire party (ie. Protectra, Shellra and applicable Bar-spells). However, at lower levels, BLM subjob is generally accepted.
  • Unless there is another RDM, you will still need to cast the basic enfeebles applicable to the enemy (such as Silence on a mage enemy).
  • You will rarely nuke.


Levels 41+
  • After level 41, the Red Mage's role changes significantly, with the Refresh spell. You will still be invited to parties either as an enfeebler or main healer, but especially for your ability to keep all mages in the party refreshed.
  • The "enfeebler" and "main healer" comments shown for levels 10-40 continue to apply after level 41.
  • It is imperative, that you learn to manage MP and master the refresh cycle technique.
  • Typically, the Red Mage refreshes himself/herself first, followed by Paladin, Main Healer, other Mages (BLU, SMN), and then Dark Knights and/or party members with a mage subjob (such as BRD/WHM).
Note: Dark Knights and party members with mage subjob typically do not need to be included in every refresh cycle, since they may not use a lot of MP. You can use discretion when refreshing them, depending on how much MP they have. They may only need an occasional refresh. Some DRKs may use the Parade Gorget for auto refresh.
  • The cycle should start when (or slightly before) your own refresh wears off, with successive casts at 18-20 seconds intervals.
  • Refresh always lasts 1 Vana'diel hour (2min 24sec), and recast time is 18 seconds.
  • After level 48, you may need to include Haste in this cycle as well. One effective way of doing this is casting Haste between two of the Refresh casts. Haste lasts 2min 58sec, so it will still be up when it is recast. As a minimum, Ninja tanks must be hasted at all times to minimize the recast time for Utsusemi. White Mage may also assume the role of casting Haste.
  • While maintaining the Refresh cycle, you will need to cast the basic enfeebles applicable to the mob being fought. Some enfeebles should be top priority, such as Silence and Dispel, depending on the situation. Likewise, sleeping unwanted links should be a top priority.
  • Nuking at higher levels is generally acceptable when 1) you are not main healer, 2) there is no BLM in the party, and 3) provided it does not deplete your MP pool and cause party downtime. For maximum effectiveness, equip +INT and +MAB gear and use the staff associated witht he spell
  • Effective enfeebling requires high intelligence, mind and enfeebling skill. Keep skills capped (casting in beseiged is an excellent way), and equip +INT and +MND gear in your macros.
  • Other gear that maximizes your effectiveness should also be equipped in your macros. For example:
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