FFXIV: Monk and Pugilist – Fists of Fury

Please note – this guide is extremely outdated.

Preface by Accomp: Hi everyone. This guide comes from you compliments of a valued FFXIV community member, Lynx Laroux. You may recognize the name from his work on the FFXIV Starting Guide. I was very excited when I reached out to him to see if he was interested in writing for Accomp.me and he gladly offered. This is a great guide that very thoroughly covers how to play the Pugilist class and Monk job. So please take the time to give it a read and show your appreciation for the quality work Lynx Laroux has put in and continues to provide for the FFXIV community. Enjoy your read!

So you want to be a Pugilist/[Monk]?

I decided to take some time and break down the Pugilist and Monk abilities and do some theory crafting on how the skills interact, what situations they are best utilized in and how they are used together to increase the overall damage output. I say ‘Rotation’ but this guide is not a simple Rotation A, Rotation B, Rotation C. I started breaking down the charts like that to start and it just doesn’t work. I realized instead, there is a structure that allows players to adapt to situations on the fly, but also giving bonuses to players for doing this while cycling through 3 Forms and adding in positioning for bonus damage. The result is an excellent damage class that will challenge players on many levels. I hope you enjoy the guide, any feedback is more than welcome and I’ll be sure to adjust things as they change in game or new strategies are developed! Please let me know if you have any suggestions or find any mistakes I may have missed: LynxLaroux@yahoo.com

The Basics

Your Pugilist, and later your Monk, have 3 forms that you will be constantly cycling through to chain together combos. Each form has 3 distinct skills, one being [Monk] exclusive, the other 2 are available on both [Monk] and Pugilist. These attacks can be strung together in many different combinations to adapt to different situations you may encounter. Simply using an attack in your current form will change your form so Forms passively change. In addition to keeping your buffs on and integrating extra damage through Non-Form abilities I call Add-on’s and keeping your two DoT’s active, Mastering these combinations is what will set you apart from other players on this class/job. The most important thing for any starting fist fighter is to memorize the positional bonuses for the 5 of 9 weapon skills that have them.

Opening form: Opo-Opo Form

Middle form: Raptor Form

Closing form: Coerul Form

  • Snap Punch – Weaponskill + Greased Lightning Effect (Positional)
  • Demolish – Damage over time + Greased Lightning Effect
  • [Rockbreaker] – AoE Weaponskill (Positional : Cone attack)

Positional Bonus

Flank Bonus : [Dragon Kick], Twin Snakes, Snap Punch Behind Bonus: Bootshine, True Strike.


Pugilist-Monk Rotation Chart

Pugilist-Monk Rotation Chart

Fists of Fury

Maximizing your damage output will mean chaining together as many of these combos as quickly as you can while ensuring proper positioning to attain each form’s bonus. For Levels 1-30, your main combo will be: Bootshine > Any Raptor Form attack > Snap Punch. Get used to starting rotations from behind the enemy to always get that bonus damage! At Level 15, be sure to use Touch of Death (DoT damage) every 30 seconds (approximately every 4th rotation) for even more damage output, when you get Demolish (Level 30) I would suggest using Touch of Death after closing a combo with Demolish to keep the DoTs on approximately the same timer as they both last 30 seconds. Starting at Level 30 your choices start to branch out, you should be getting a feel for your own personal play-style so look at your new abilities and find the best way to integrate them into your rotation. Also, knowing which abilities will require Monk and which don’t also play a role. I’ll be integrating more information on Cross-Class skills for the Monk and Pugilist and how you can work them into your fights in the next update!

Go Greased Lightning!

This buff is the secret to the awesome damaging power of the Pugilist and Monk, but also what makes it one of the more difficult classes to play. Greased Lightning is a buff that gives you a 7% Bonus to Attack Damage and a 5% bonus to Skill Speed for 12 seconds for azartnye-igry. At level 20, you gain a trait allowing you to stack a second Greased Lightning buff and at 40 you can stack a third!

Greased Lightning Bonus

  • 1x stack:   +7% Attack Damage, +5% Skill Speed
  • 2x stacks:   +14% Attack Damage, +10% Skill Speed
  • 3x stacks:   +21% Attack Damage, +15% Skill Speed

Seeing as how the buff only lasts 12 seconds and it would take you 7.5 seconds with perfect execution to attain a 2nd Greased Lightning, you can see how important it is to stack anything that may increase your skill speed to decrease your overall Global cooldown reducing the time it would take you to stack 3 for maximum damage output. For a Level 50 Monk, the quickest combo to get Greased Lightning that requires no re-positioning at all is: [Dragon Kick] > Twin Snakes > Snap Punch* (All get a bonus from Flank positioning) *If there is a large group of enemies, don’t hesitate to close with [Rockbreaker] (Level 30) for even better overall damage. For a Pugilist starting at level 6 you can use: Bootshine (Behind) > True Strike (Behind) > Snap Punch (Flank) or Demolish (Level 30) (DoT).

Float Like a Butterfly

Monk has some of the most powerful Damage Up buffs in the game so far. In addition to Greased Lightning from all of your Coerul Form attacks, Internal Release (Level 12) will net you an additional 20% critical hit rate for 15 seconds (30% at Level  36 with Enhanced Internal Release Trait) with a cooldown of 60 seconds.. This is a huge damage increase especially when stacked with all the other bonuses. Pop this a few rotations in along with your other damage abilities once your tank has built up some hate. At later levels, you can stack this with  Fists of Fire (Level 40) to add an additional 5% to your Greased Lightning bonus and your Twin Snakes damage bonus!

Silence is Golden

While Bootshine is your go-to opener, if you need to stop a nasty spell or you are in a group of nasty casting type mobs, you should change your Opening Opo-Opo Form’s Bootshine to Arm of the Destroyer (Level 26), which can be used to immediately silence all enemies within a 5 yalm radius for 1 second. Save this for boss fights or large groups of spellcasting enemies as the TP is over twice the cost at 130 compared to Bootshine’s 60 TP.

Give an Inch and They Take a Mile

[One Ilm Punch] (Level 45) is a unique move for Monk usable from Raptor Form. This will eliminate one buff from an enemy. Use this dispel move as a substitute for either of your other two standard Raptor Form attacks when facing an enemy with strong Buffs!

Add-on Attacks

At level 10, you get your first Add-on attack. I call them this because they can be added between Forms in a combo without interrupting the cycle for extra damage output.

  • Haymaker (Level 10) – This move can only be used after evading an attack and not only does it only cost 40 TP making it a very low cost attack, it also packs a punch with 170 potency and adds a 20% Slow buff for 12 seconds on the target. Whoa! Obviously you want to use anytime it becomes available! This move will be especially useful for solo play or in groups when the DPS are expected to take on the adds and you will have Aggro on you.
  • Touch of Death (Level 15) –  which I mentioned above, will give you 270 potency of damage over 30 seconds, using this approximately every 4 rotations will keep the DoT up.
  • Howling Fist (Level 46) – which will do 170 damage to all enemies in a line in front of you for 10 yalms. This move is situational and is on its own cooldown. It can only be used every 60 seconds so use it wisely to maximize damage output by hitting as many targets as possible, especially if you have a lot of Damage Up buffs stacked.


Steel Peak (Level 38) and the Monk only [Shoulder Tackle] (Level 35) will stun an enemy. Steel Peak is used up close while [Shoulder Tackle] must be used at least 10 yalms away from your target and cannot be used while bound. You can and should use these stuns to stop high risk/high damage attacks, especially during boss fights.

Endgame Monk Play

At Monk Level 50 you can start working in [Dragon Kick] as your Opo-Opo Form attack. Opening your first rotation with [Dragon Kick] gives you your highest damage attack in your opening form since you don’t have the Opo-Opo Form bonus from a previous rotation to use Bootshine.
An ideal opening sequence would be:
[Perfect Balance] > Twin Snakes-> Any Coeurl Form x3 (For Greased Lightning stack) > [Dragon Kick] then into a normal style of rotation set.

In addition at Level 50 you will have traits that boost your abilities to even greater heights!

With all 9 options available to you I suggest a few general rules as you figure out how to react and adjust your rotations as enemies throw new surprises your way:

  • Stack Greased Lightning as much as possible as soon as possible
    • This is what will shoot your DPS through the roof!
  • Perfect your positioning
    • The bonuses don’t mean anything if you aren’t lined up correctly! Think of a monster like a clock. If 12 is the front of a monster, Flanks are 3 and 9 with 6 being behind the monster.
  • Use the Add-ons
    • Finding a rhythm in your rotation and remembering to use these abilities is going to be very important for Monk damage output.
  • Prioritize Twin Snakes over True Strike
    • Not only does Twin Snakes keep the same positioning as [Dragon Kick] for easy combos, it keeps a 5% damage increase for all your moves, which IMO outweighs having to change positions for a 5% chance of scoring a critical hit. However you can always alternate them as you like, leaning more towards True Strike as you stack your attack up buffs.
  • Close with [Rockbreaker] for groups of enemies
    • Laying down the AoE damage on your closing hit will surely leave your enemies bruised and battered across Eorzea, make sure however you aren’t waking up slept enemies with your AoE attacks!
  • Avoid breaking Combos
    • The form status lasts for 12 seconds, so you can throw in buffs or other skills in between your combos, but make sure you finish your cycles as often as possible for Greased Lightning to maximize damage output. Having to start over again will eat up your DPS.
  • Help your Tank out!
    • While you are a fighting machine, don’t forget to help protect your squishies from adds or aggro. In addition, if you pull hate unintentionally make sure your tank has control again before you start laying down the massive damage combos. If you need the tank to remove a monster from you, try to position the monster in their range for whichever hate tools they are using be it a combo, Flash or Steel Cyclone.
  • Help your Healer, too!
    • Don’t forget, while attacking is important, you have defensive moves like Featherfoot (Level 4) for evasion up,  Fists of Earth (Level 22) to reduce damage by 10% and Second Wind (Level 8) to help heal yourself  and turn the tide of battle.

Utilizing these tips when you get caught in an AoE, pull aggro or when you are soloing will make all the difference in beating that tough enemy!

Perfect Balance

This will require some actual testing and more theory crafting, but the main uses I see are:

Closing Thoughts

The Pugilist and Monk are looking to be one of the more challenging Damage types in the game, but only when played efficiently. While the kit may not be as strong as other Damage Dealers overall, the speed and versatility of this class will make it one of the best in skilled hands. I hope this guide was helpful to all of you, feel free to share this with your friends and post it as you wish, please just give me credit and link back to the original work!

Lynx Laroux – The Syndicate – Leviathan Server

19 Responses

  1. Appreciate the guide very much. Even though I was in 1.0 with some of the changes that have come in 2.0, new battle system, etc it’s nice to have these as a invaluable learning tool or a refresher. I missed guides like we had in FFXI and 1.0 was so lacking and to a point didn’t need at all. Job Well Done!

    Maybe something on mnk vs pug. Beyond the theory crafting I’m sure we’ll start to see guides for food, gear/weapons, cross class abilities, AF quests, class quests.

  2. Aku says:

    I personally have taken True Strike off my bar and no longer use it unless I am forced to attack from a position that isnt on the flank. Not only does Twin strike line up great with snap punch and dragon kick, the 10% increases to all moves is a bigger dps increases then a 5% chance to crit on True Strike even with the 10 less potency on Twin Strikes. Unless they change True Strike, it is pretty much fair inferior than Twin Strikes.

    • Andrew Seich says:

      The catch to that though is a fairly big gap in potency, 40 as I recall, if you aren’t in position. In a group that’s not an issue, but solo you can’t rely on those bonuses, and I’m not certain that the percentage bonus merits removing True Strike entirely from the bar. By keeping both on the bar, you are getting that percent bonus to a more powerful move, and just have to keep the buff rotated in every so often to keep the damage boost active.

      Even with position, you are leaving 10 potency on the table by not using True Strike in rotation with Twin Snakes.

    • Mean Jeans says:

      Are you at max level? Or at least at the level where you get 3 stacks of Greased Lightning? I ask because at the lower levels it’s nigh impossible to work both True Strike and Twin Snakes into a rotation due to the high cooldown timer. Once you’re max level, even with rudimentary skill speed gear, it’s easy to alternate between the Twin Snakes / True Strike abilities because the timer on Twin Snakes lasts JUST long enough to cover 1 basic rotation without it (unless you’re applying Touch of Death at the end which will take too long and you’ll see your Twin Snakes buff fall right off.)

      • Alanna Blaydes says:

        It is possible to weave both in. In my testing, however, I have found True Strike to be a minimal DPS increase over Twin Snakes. I have changed my rotation to just use Twin Snakes for 100% uptime on the buff personally. With movement sometimes it’s hard to keep the buff up, and you are losing 10% damage on a snap punch potentially-which is a much larger loss in DPS vs the damage difference between Twin Snakes and True Strike.

  3. Sean says:

    This is an awesome guide I have a lvl 21 pugilist and 19 lancer and was torn between the two but your guide help me seal the deal. I tested out my pugilist on a boss and with the flank bonus, greased lighting 2, criticals (which came a lot) and TOD I was dishing out huge damage after setup. My days as a lancer are gone great guide keep up the good work!

  4. Alanna Blaydes says:

    Great guide overall. I want to mention that you basically need to use all 6 primary damage abilities for maximum DPS. I’ve found an easy way to do this-macros.

    You can break up MNK rotations into 2 main rotations:

    Combo Rotation 1 (Behind Target Positioning): Bootshine -> True Strike -> Demolish
    Combo Rotation 2 (Flank Target Positioning): Dragon Kick -> Twin Snakes -> Snap Punch

    The first combo rotation requires Behind The Mob positioning except for Demolish which can be used from anywhere. This gets your DoT up quickly, and 1 stack of greased. As soon as you’re finished with combo rotation 1, you move into combo rotation 2, which has flank positioning requirements. So early in combo 2, you get your blunt/int debuff, and 10% damage increase, and finish with a hard hitting snap punch for another stack of greased. At this point, I’d recommend doing combo 1 again to get 3 stacks of greased lightning. After this third rotation I’d start working in Touch of Death for DoT action, and reapplying as needed between combos directly after reapplying the greased lightning buff. Greased lightning is too big a deal to let drop at any time.

    Here’s my quick little macro setup for 50 MNK rotations to simplify these rotations:

    Combo Rotation 1: Behind Target

    /ac "Demolish" <t>
    /ac "True Strike" <t>
    /ac "Bootshine" <t>

    Combo Rotation 2: Flank Target

    /ac "Snap Punch" <t>
    /ac "Twin Snakes" <t>
    /ac "Dragon Kick" <t>

    Each macro you hit 3x and it’ll execute what is lit up at the time.

    Start behind mob, move into combo rotation 1 by hitting your macro 3x based on the GCD. Move to flank position and hit your combo rotation 2 3x based on the GCD. Move back to behind the mob and lead into combo rotation 1 again. Rinse and repeat while throwing in Touch of Death as needed. You’ll end up with all of the buffs and debuffs, and be in the most optimal positions for maximum damage.

    • LynxLaroux LynxLaroux says:

      Great Info, I”ll put it at the bottom of the guide with your permission! 😀 – Lynx

      • Alanna Blaydes says:

        Absolutely, go right ahead. Using True Strike is debatable. I’ve parsed it many times, and the difference between Twin Snakes and True Strike is so little that MNK are probably better off using Twin Snakes to maintain the 10% damage buff at all times.

        Additionally, the macro seems to recast dragon kick or bootshine from time to time if you press the key too quickly. Even if the other abilities are flashing. I’m not sure why it does this from time to time. Possibly the GCD of dragon kick and bootshine refresh faster?

        With practice you can get pretty consistent using the macro. If you don’t like that little hitch, another thing you can do is take dragon kick and bootshine out of the 2 macros and use them separately. I use 4 key binds for this personally:

        1) Dragon Kick
        2) Bootshine
        3) Macro with Snap punch and twin snakes
        4) Macro with Demolish and twin snakes

        For every rotation I use the Demolish macro once, and the snap punch macro twice, and rotate dragon kicks and bootshines.

  5. Shayne says:

    Alanna Blaydes Thank you so much for this information you put up in supplement to the article. I was debating letting Pug/Mnk go because my damage was alot lower than a lancer in our FC during dungeon runs but thats because I have trouble linking everything together. I think now it will be a bit easier knowing I can doing strictly back 3 moves then strictly flank 3 moves without being a mad man running around.

  6. Monks can also benefit from lancers 34 skill blood for blood 20% more damg but we can 25% more damg. Its great when you combine it with internal release

  7. kagemitsu says:

    Great guide! Which food would you recommend when DPSing in dungeons?

  8. leveling PUG says:

    As a leveling PUG in his 30’s, usually fate grinding and questing, what rotation would you guys suggest?

  9. dannielle sommers says:

    Is there a strat for the 50 lvl class quest. All the guides that say it helps with it all use dragon kick but you dont get it till after you kill the guy

  10. Nol says:

    you’ll need to update the greased lightning stack buffs but good none the less

  11. Nacho says:

    Indeed, this is a great guide for pre lvl 50 pugs/monks (including myself, at 45). I have much more experience as DRG, but I’d still give a few situational tips in addition.

    First of all, when facing multi-adds, choose wisely between your two AoEs.
    In general terms, Rockbreaker when dealing with 2 or 3 mobs. With Perfect Balance you can perform around 3 or 4 Rockbreakers in a row for massive AoE damage, plus boosting your ATT power after this with the 3 Greased Lightning buffs gained with this process. However this technique will consume your TPs signficantly. That said, consider using Invigorate (from LNC) to replenish from this TP loss. If there is a NIN in your party, it would be helpful if he/she casts Goad on you (unless there is a WAR in the party who’s struggling with TP due to use of Overpower).
    Arm of the Destroyer, on the other hand, has limited use because of its low potency, even with its Silence bonus. Most of the time, it is better used when there you have 4 or more mobs around you.

    I’d also add that Shoulder Tackle is one of the best utility techniques available for Monks, even when its potency is rather low compared to other attacks. Nonetheless, it is important to be aware when to take advantage of it (and also, when not to use it):
    -When soloing, ST is a nice starter to reach your target quickly. Since it’s a stunner, it helps you position better for a Dragon Kick from the flank.
    -While in dungeons, put ST in between your rotations. Of course, stun mobs if you know there are dangerous AoE attacks coming against your whole party.
    -Against bosses, it is recommended to know if it holds Stun resistance permanently or if it builds that resistance after 2 or 3 stuns. If it always has resistance, use ST to move fast towards the boss, specially if you away from him after evading a AoE. If the boss tends to build Stun resistance (e.g. Ifrit in Hard or Extreme modes), DO NOT use Shoulder Tackle… In those cases, let the tank(s) manage the stuns (unless he/she asks you to do it).

    And just for the record, Demolish do also have a positional bonus if dealt from rear (70 potency from rear; otherwise it just has 30 potency). Maybe it’s not a big deal, but personally I still take it into account, because you may remain from rear to follow Demolish with Bootshine (for its Crit bonus, of course).

  12. Xarlan says:

    Very useful, thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *