What we know currently is that Ifrit is the superior single target DPS while Garuda is the AoE friendly DPS. On paper, this is generally true for all encounters.
FFXIV - the optimal time to use a particular pet
So let’s talk the optimal time to use the current pets.
*Pre - Level 58*
What we know currently is that Ifrit is the superior single target DPS while Garuda is the AoE friendly DPS. On paper, this is generally true for all encounters. However, there exist cases when optimally sticking to this bread and butter statement is costing you DPS. Pet swaps should occur if you choose to do so, on a phase by phase basis. You also want to minimize this to two swaps in a fight otherwise you are overusing MP. Largely the go to Pet is based off a Bio duration unless other outside factors like requirements.
Example 1: T13
Phase 1: Ifrit > Garuda : Purely single target environment
Phase 2: Ifrit > Garuda: Still single target environment, add will die faster than 18 seconds.
Phase 3: Both: Ifrit will do better on the first half of this phase, because most of these mobs will die in 18 seconds (1 Bane). However you must switch to Garuda before the Storm descends into the arena. Garuda’s Contagion and Enkindle will both add a lot of DPS due to multiple targets being stacked up and surviving for a long time (1 Bane).
Phase 4: Ifrit > Garuda: Purely single target enviorment.
Example 2: T11
We then have cases like in T11, where certain damage types are limited on a particular target. Should you require assistance, use Garuda.
Another case is based off of my last example.
In your party composition, if you have other magical DPS in your party who would DPS as well (SCH or BLM or SMN) and will beat the DPS of Garuda, still use Ifrit.
*Super special case.
Now let’s talk about T10, but this will be true for all instances. As I stated before, generally your Pet swapping should occur on a phase by phase basis however this needs to be limited to two swaps over the course of the encounter.
Using Garuda over Ifrit always needs to be WORTH it. There are cases like T10 where in theory it should be worth it, but in execution it isn't.
Ifrit > Garuda over this entire fight due to a few reasons.
1) Adds will not survive very long, despite Contagion potentially getting a full duration.
2) No breaks, non-stop fight. This means MP is far more valuable.
3) Use of 1768 MP to make a switch, that is better used to keep you afloat towards the end.
4) Raging Strikes / Int Pot do not line up with the beginning of these phases usually.
All of these things together in one particular moment, is why Ifrit > Garuda.
So while in theory Garuda > Ifrit in add phases, especially one like this, due to the nature of the fight and party strategy, Ifrit > Garuda. During Progression in this enviorment, Garuda was likely better. With improved comfort of the fight and better gear however to push out of these phases quickly, it will change to Ifrit > Garuda.
So basically you can surmise some general rules of what Pet to use and when in relation to bane-ing over a full set of DoTs with regards to 18 seconds.
1) If single target = Ifrit
2) If multi-target and adds will survive for less than 18 seconds: Ifrit
3) If multi-target and adds will survive for roughly 33 seconds: Garuda for Contagion + Bane.
4) If only Boss and one other add will survive for a very long time, Ifrit > Garuda, just manual DoT for upkeep.
*Exception to this will be if a Raging Strikes / INT Pot line up with when this add is spawned. In which case Garuda >>> Ifrit simply to apply Contagion (+ Bane opportunity preferably) but needs to be switched out asap using Swiftcast.
5) If only Boss and one other add will survive for shorter than 18 seconds still, Ifrit > Garuda.
6) If you have multi-target AND Raging Strikes / Int Pot AND will survive roughly 33 seconds: Garuda >>>> Ifrit, otherwise if 18ish seconds: Ifrit > Garuda
In Dungeons: Garuda is better in general mob pulls, while Ifrit should be used for the Bosses.
** Because of Enkindles long cooldown, the use of a particular Pet for a given phase should also be based off the optimal Enkindle to use at that moment.
*Post - Level 58* - Once you acquire the ability Dreadwyrm Trance, Garuda with her Contagion ability gains a decisive lead over Ifrit in practically every environment. The level 60 meta definitely favors Garuda more. Garuda is very powerful in the Alexander Raid (A1-A4). (Normal / Savage).
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