So Astrologian dropped with Heavensward and everyone was like “whaaaaaaaat it’s so pretty!” But by the time Gordias became a thing, Astro basically became a meme job – and rightfully so, as the first incarnations of the job rendered it pretty difficult to play in more intense content. Well, unless you’re this person. But most of us weren’t.
MOST of us loved the class, but were so utterly confused and frustrated by the fact that it was just point blank weaker than White Mage and Scholar, with it’s only really redeeming quality being the cards, which at the time were pretty darn neat, but felt so clunky and more of a chore than anything.
Cut to today, and those of us like myself who stuck it out with Astro are having the last laugh – the class is insanely OP in both PvE and PvP, and not only viable in Savage and EX Primals, but ofter PREFERRED over White Mage, even during progression (Scholar ain’t going nowhere).
So maybe you’re just getting familiar with the class, and that’s okay! It’s gotten a lot better, but unlike the other two healers, it does still have an interesting learning curve that is more about the actual meta game than it is about the cards themselves.
There’s a couple of fundamental “rules” before I go into the individual cards I’d like to mention, but before I do that, a quick disclaimer: while there are certainly more optimal ways to use certain cards, ANY card can be viable if you can justify it’s use. Don’t let people tell you not to put the Balance on yourself when you’re the one in the party doing the highest damage because no one else is AoE’ing 5+ mobs. Trust your instincts, but use these as guidelines. Anywho, onto the fundamentals:
- Balance is king. Arrow is second. Everything else can go suck a lemon.
- You will primarily be using Spire and Ewer as “set-up” cards, as Expanding your card is usually the most optimal way to use it, specifically for 8-man content.
- Pay attention to WHEN you need to be using cards. You’re gonna make everyone super sad face if you throw an AoE Balance during Sephirot EX’s transition. Once you know the individual fights, you’ll get better with this.
- You ARE able to click off your cards – so if you keep getting garbage ones, clicking on it will reset the cooldown.
- Quick Royal Road guide: If you RR Balance or Bole, the next card receives an Enhanced state. If you RR Spire or Ewer, the next card receives an Expanded state. If you RR Spear or Arrow, the next card receives an Extended state. They all pretty much mean exactly how they sound.
- Redraw (which used to be Shuffle, AKA WHY DO I ONLY GET SPIRES FML) is great. Use it before throwing away an unwanted card.
- Spread juicy cards that you know you’ll want to keep for certain mechanics later. Most of the time, this will be you fishing for Balance/Arrow to Spread, and then a Spire/Ewer to Royal Road.
Alright, now onto the meat and potatoes: the cards themselves!
Increases target’s damage dealt to single targets by 20% and group targets by 10%. Duration: 30s
Prioritize: Whoever is doing the most damage, buffed players/players who are doing their openers, USUALLY DPS, specifically classes with high burst.
My notes: Balance. Is. King. Literally, your goal for starting a fight should be getting an Expanded Balance, Time Dilating your strongest DPS, and sealing in the juices with a Celestial Opposition. If you aren’t parsing or just unable to because of PS4, you should prioritize Dragoons, Machinists, and Black Mages for this card – but it isn’t an exact science and it’s really best to just know who your heavy hitters are, because any DPS class could easily be worthy of a good Balance card.
Reduces target’s damage taken on single targets by 20% and group targets by 10%. Duration: 30s
Prioritize: Tanks, anyone who has accidental aggro that they can’t seem to shake, an expanded for the party for heavy AoE damage, players with Weakness/Brink of Death who have to deal with incoming mechanics
My notes: Bole can actually be really useful for whoopsie daisies or your own personal DPS, but it isn’t necessarily a card I really fish for. Using it in 4 man content for boss fights or large trash pulls gives both you and the tank a little breathing room to push out some extra numbers, but it’s much more circumstantial in things like Savage or EX primals, because it’s simply not something the tanks or healers can ever rely on having. Still, if things are getting iffy real quick, it can definitely be useful.
Increases target’s attack speed (skill, spell, auto-attack) by 10%.
Prioritize: BLACK MAGE, Machinist, Bard, Summoner, DPSing healers.
My notes: The Arrow is fantastic for mages of all types, but should REALLY be avoided specifically being put on pretty much anyone else. Giving a Ninja, for example, an Extended Arrow is going to just destroy their TP, rendering them pretty darn useless for a while. There’d be no real reason that I can think of to give this to a tank either, unless you have a tank in 4 man doing the most damage. In most cases, this is a caster-exclusive card, but if you don’t have a caster and you’re doing 4 man, you could probably get away with giving a normal one to a Monk, provided they aren’t doing heavy AoE rotations.
Reduces target’s action recast time (non-GCD) by 20%.
Prioritize: Machinists, Dragoons, DPS who have just popped heavy CDs/in the midst of their opener, tanks who are low on CDs that need them for upcoming mechanics, healers who are having the same problem.
My notes: The Spear is…well, it’s good when it’s good, but it’s not all that good. It fits well with Machinists for the sheer amount of OGCDs they use, and I usually prioritize Dragoons after that because Battle Litany is such a fantastic support skill. You can certainly find uses for it for other DPS, and even tanks and healers, but in almost all cases you’re better off finding a different card.
Refreshes target’s MP. Potency: 50
Prioritize: Freshly-raised healers, healers struggling with MP, DPSing healers, Summoners who are raising, Summoners who are spamming Ruin III, Bards singing Foe’s Requiem
So the Ewer can obviously be an amazing card if you really need it, especially since you’re a healer yourself. It will legitimately save your ass at points in progression if you don’t have Luminiferous Aether ready. But it’s really circumstantial, and hopefully things are actually going okay for you and your healing buddy. It can actually be pretty useful on Bard if you have some heavy hitting magic casters while the bard is playing Foe’s, especially if the Bard has it Battle Voice’d. Also not necessarily optimal, but definitely a creative and viable use for it.
I should also mention this: do NOT use this card as Expanded if you have a Black Mage in your party. It will royally mess with their rotation and will make them very grumpy. You should never need to do this anyway, as even if both you and your co-healer are running dry on mana, an Ewer on just one of you should be enough to recover.
Refreshes target’s TP.
Prioritize: Melee/ranged Physical DPS/Warriors who are going ham with AoE, any melee you accidentally gave an Arrow to prior
Notes: THIS will likely be the one card that you will use to Expand. It’s usefulness is severely limited, although a Bard/Machinist will certainly thank you for throwing it on them if they’re doing a lot of AoE. If it pops up and you notice someone running severly dry on TP, throw it up, but this likely won’t happen in 8-man content very often. This card is easily my most Royal Road-ed/Redraw-n. I wish it was better, but it just isn’t.
So while I’m definitely a well-seasoned Astrologian, I’d love to hear some community thoughts on this: do you agree with me? Disagree? Do you have any fun and creative ways you like to use your cards? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you!
In conclusion, a succinct TL;DR:
BALANCE BALANCE BALANCE BALANCE OMG BALANCE
*shrugs* Sorry ’bout it.