FFXIV Tanking stats: Parry or DPS!?

Should you consider Parry on your gear? Should all tanks go DPS 100% of the time? Are Parry tanks baddies? COME IN AND LEARN.

Hey guys! If you’re here, then you’re probably wondering what’s all the fuss about tanking and parry. Here, I’ll let you guys know MY stance on tanking, parry and all things in between. (I also wanted to write a resource I could link to, instead of repeating myself ad infinitum, haha). Hopefully, this guide will help you decide what’s best for YOU in this regard. Here goes: FFXIV Tanking & Parry guide!

(Disclaimer: Even a post this long doesn’t encompass the entire argument. I will be adding to this in the near future)

The Problem: War of the Parry camps

Two main camps exist. “Parry sucks nuts” and “Parry is needed“. This mini-conflict has affected even me, when writing the PLD, WAR and soon to be DRK BiS lists. Now that I’m going to write this easy to go-to resource, that will change. I’ll list down the main points of each side.

Parry sucks nuts

Parry scales poorly, therefore don’t use it.
Parry is random, so how can we rely on it?
Parry sucks because all attacks are scripted
Parry should be replaced with DPS stats (DET > CRIT > SS)
(MAIN CON): Higher risk of death

One (human factor) thing I dislike about this camp is that SOME tanks on this camp call tanks with parry “bad”. While this is not true for most of them, it does exist. I definitely see why tanks would want DPS gear. Two main reason being: fighting DPS races. However, not all tanks/ scenarios/ statics are equal, so you cannot just blindly put DPS stats on your gear – and blame your healer when you die.


Parry is needed

Parry helps mitigate damage, every little bit counts
Parry is still a lot better than some DPS stats (CRIT & SS)
(MAIN CON): Garbage DPS

These guys are a little more old school, and I see why their logic is sound. The more damage you mitigate, the less risk for your raid. But I also concede that you cannot just blindly put parry on your gear. There is such thing as sacrifcing too many stat points into something you might not maximize.

So how do we make sense of all this? Both sides make valid points, both sides have ups and downs. We should ask ourselves a more constructive question. Instead of “Does parry suck or not suck?” we should ask ourselves a better question, “When should we focus on DPS, or Parry and why?

Analyzing Gains: What does each stat DO FOR US

DPS Stats for tanking: Why? Let’s ask ourselves, realistically, what gain can be had when itemizing for DPS?

  • Pushing phases.
  • Beating enrage timers.
  • E-peen

Parry for tanking: Why? Again, what gains can be had when itemizing Parry?

  • Less risk of death
  • More free mana and time for healers (subsequently increasing healer DPS)
    • This point is moot if your healers arent DPSing or conserving mana when needed.

These are all valid points. Let’s discuss each one, and let’s try to gain some insight on what exactly is going on here.

(DPS)Pushing Phases: First we must Identify when specifically pushing a phase matters. And I mean MATTERS, not just for some BS reason for the sake of pushing a phase.

Pre 2.4, upon entering T6 Savage, it soon became painfully obvious that having any more than 1 honey spells out a very, very difficult P2. So we squeezed out as much DPS as possible, this included having our Off-tank (Warrior) Mitlet Gyles wear more and more DPS gear until we were sure we could Phase with 1 honey even given sub-standard RNG. We weren’t just pushing phases for funsies – having 2 honey was FATAL. We can consider the above use of DPS stats, viable.

Example of not viable? “Wear DPS gear all the time just to push phases, because, you know… pushing phases is good”. Aye, I get it. Pushing phases is never truly a bad thing. But not all phase-pushing is equal! Sometimes you NEED it, and other times it’s just a luxury.

(DPS)Beating enrage timers: Very similar to the above. If you guys have a good run, but still lose to enrage – you have to squeeze extra DPS somewhere. Our first enrage wipe in T13 was at 3%, but had a death in final phase. It was too close to call – so our OT at the time Claes Henrietta (Warrior) wore another 2 DPS accessories to cover any possible randomness.

Example of not viable? Wearing full DPS gear in an encounter you just got into fearing enrage timer. You’re giving undue stress to your healers and not gaining as much experience as you can. So in essence, we should try for a more defensive setup when learning, and as you gain more experienced when to use cooldowns / knowledge of mechanics – we can push for more DPS.

(Mythbusting) DPS is king, Parry sucks ’cause everything’s scripted: BS. Pure BS. Yes, heavy attacks are scripted in (IE Death Sentence, Ravensbeak/claw, Flatten/Akh Morn). Basic attacks? no. If you’re gonna tell me to my face boss basic attacks don’t matter – you crazy. Having less damage from basics gives your healers a huge windfall in mana. Or in another perspective: opens up more healer DPS.

(PARRY) Less risk of death: The uncool counterpart to DPS’s points. I think because it’s a boring, linear point is why it gets so much hate. But is it true, no matter how you spin it. But this also has a small caveat: This only works when you’re actively taking damage. That’s one point we will discuss later.

(PARRY) More free mana and time for healers: Again, another upside. Less stress on healing. but to truly capitalize on this point – you need decent healers! If they’re wasting mana anyway, or never DPS… what’s the point!? I guess the only way around this is to monitor/advise/communicate as a TEAM. So this can be considered a con… “more parry doesn’t apply to all groups”, but also “more parry assists in the success chance of PUGs” (in terms of safety).

(SUMMARY) Both DPS and Parry are good: WHEN THEY ARE IN EFFECTThis is an interesting conclusion, while quite obvious, there are a lot of complex ideas behind that simple sentence. DPS stats are great, but are severely dulled while MTing. Parry is great too, but SUCKS when OTing! What a conundrum… But I think you see where I’m going with this.

The Solution: Maximizing your stats to your role

This is my stance. For a long time I haven’t been writing the most flexible of tank BiS’s because a page like this didn’t exist for further explanation. Now that I’ve gotten around to writing this – things will change. Now that we see how, when and why both DPS and Parry are good – how do we maximize this? If we cannot come to one solid scenario for a case to state “All tanks must parry”, or “All tanks must DPS” then we do what logically comes next:

As tanks, you should CREATE the ideal scenario to maximize your stats.

Okay let’s take a scenario, and try to maximize our gains for each type of tank.

Encounter example: T12 Phoenix
Main Tank: PLD
Off-tank: WAR

Phoenix has a forced tank-swap: Revelation. No tank can survive 2 Revelations, and we ASSUME that it comes every minute. With the exception of Hallowed Ground / Holmgang – a second Revelation will definitely show you the truth (AKA Respawn prompt). So if we go by every minute the tanking sequence end up like this


  • let’s say, 10 minute fight. We will see 10 Revs, and Phoenix dies before the 11th minute
  • First rev happens after 1m, then every minute after that.
  • for simplicities sake let’s ignore Brand
  • Also, swap 10s before next rev

So if they did things “normally” they MT 5 minutes each, split evenly.

If both tanks itemize DPS: for 50% of the fight, your DPS stats are reduced by 25% efficiency (from stance)
If both tanks itemize Parry: for 50% of the fight, your parry is useless. (not ideal)

That’s a big case for DPS right here. So in the most brainless of scenarios, DPS is the clear winner – at the sad expense of us healers (hehe). But is this the best we can do?

Now lets say we utilize our skillset to the fullest. The PLD will use HG to survive 2 “Second Revelations” and laugh death in the face… the tanking order looks like this.

  • PLD (01:00) Revelation
  • PLD (02:00) Revelation: Hallowed Ground
  • PLD (02:50) Revelation soon (Tank swap) (PLD 2:50)
  • WAR (03:50) Revelation soon (Tank Swap) (WAR 1:00)
  • PLD (04:50) Revelation soon (Tank swap) (PLD 3:50)
  • WAR (05:50) Revelation soon (Tank Swap) (WAR 2:00)
  • PLD (06:50) Revelation soon (Tank Swap) (PLD 4:50)
  • WAR (07:50) Revelation Soon (Tank Swap) (WAR 3:00)
  • PLD (08:00) Revelation eaten (PLD 5:00)
  • PLD (09:00) Revelation: Hallowed Ground (PLD 6:00)
  • PLD (09:50) Revelation soon (Tank Swap) (PLD 7:00)
  • WAR (10:50) Phoenix dies around this time or much sooner (WAR 3:xx)

So in this example, let’s use a a 65-35% uptime between PLD and WAR respectively.

If PLD itemizes Parry: for 65% of the fight Parry is working for you (an improvement to 50% in previous scenario)
If Warrior itemizes DPS: for 65% of the fight, DPS stats are at max (an improvement from 50% in previous scenario)

But wait… Warrior can and SHOULD use Unchained only when he’s tanking.. further increasing uptime!

If Warrior itemizes DPS: for 75% of the fight, DPS stats are at max (further improvement > 65 > 50)

The answer is dead simple, yet most people don’t see it. Parry is better the more you MT, DPS is better the more you OT… that’s quite an unexciting answer after all this discussion!

Clarifications, Summary and Recommendations

1) The more you MT, the better parry is (and the WORSE dps stats are due to stance) – So why spec DPS if this is the case? The more you OT, the better DPS stats are – SIMPLE! So instead of stubbornly picking and sticking to one camp – the first step of evolution is to keep the above statement in mind.

2) Warrior Unchained makes DPS stats more weighty. Ignoring the Defiance reduction is HUGE. This makes more sense for warriors to OT. Paladins make a more stable MT anyway, given they can also block! So why force the issue of “equality” – Maximize the strengths of both classes!

3) Adjust your strategy to accomodate these itemization choices: The most important thing we’ve learned here today is that all this theorycrafting is absolute garbage if you don’t find ways and means to push this strategic advantage to its absolute max. Some encounters already do this for you. In T13, you have a 14 minute encounter wherein the MT stands in front of Bahamut for 10 MINUTES. Not counting the Zoo phase, this gives warrior almost 100% uptime without Defiance! The only exception is the P2 adds (what… 1 minute total?)

Now I wont stop you if you still insist on stacking DPS stats if you MT most of the fight. But keep in mind, doing this is gimping your team. The solution? Owning a great mix of gear should cover all your needs. Being stubborn and inflexible isn’t pro – that’s being BAD.

“Im on 100% DPS gear and healers cant keep me up – damn pugs!” You can try wearing parry and see how it goes. Cleared the fight and didn’t hit enrage? Good. You hit enrage? Switch up some gear. Can’t clear with either sets? You or your group are fundamentally flawed – and itemization doesn’t matter.

“I cleared this/that boss with DPS/Parry and I don’t agree with you” If you’re overgeared, none of this matters. I can clear T13 with both tanks rocking 0 secondary stats if you’re in full 130. But if you REFUSE to see when a situation or strategy needs either Parry or DPS, that’s just limiting yourself. Having one statement be the clear RULE applying to all tanks/ composition / scenarios / encounters is downright FOOLISH.

But I’m sure as many tanks read this, we will still have diehard DPS campers, and diehard Parry campers – and that’s fine. I just wished to throw my stance out there.  Hopefully this helps out anybody whose considering being a tank – and those current tanks who might want to learn a thing or two. Again, these are my own thoughts and I’m not forcing anyone to side with me.

Anyways – GOODLUCK parrying and DPSing where necessary, haha! Hopefully our Parry vs DPS stat guide for tanking helped you out somehow. If you have anything to contribute, please comment.

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13 thoughts on “FFXIV Tanking stats: Parry or DPS!?”

  1. Glanced over most of this article. All your claims are pulled out of your ass about how useful parry is. The fact that you have no .% of actual increase of parry stats. (Do you even know the % increase from putting on 100 extra parry?)

    1. Haha… of course this comment would pop up! If you don’t understand the important of parry depending on your situation, that’s okay. I prefer to know when to itemize for it when the time comes.

      1. The thing is, the amount of Parry and the effective HP and mitigation it adds is single digit percentages (~2% eHP for 2.X, maybe slightly higher for Heavensward). Still, this minor amount of mitigation isn’t going to make your healers change how they heal, or DPS more.

        This has been beaten to death by the meta, yet you’re writing this article, putting “opinions” on equal footing with “mathematics”, and that’s intellectually dishonest. And you know it, based on your fallacious defense of “I knew you’d post this, blah blah”.

        Surely, situations arise and the human element exists. But let’s look at the bottom line. How much is ~2% eHP worth? In the case of WAR, your losing a GCD attack every berserk, which if done right is a Fell Cleave. In the case of PLD, block is checked before Parry, making it even worse. DRK can benefit from it procing Reprisal, but at the cost of DPS, which is enmity in the way DRK’s rotation works.

        There is an objective “better” when dealing with mathematics. Opinion doesn’t matter. It’s either better, or it isn’t. You sound like a Creationist arguing that their beliefs deserve equal class time as the sciences, as far as how you’re using apologetics to tentpole your already debunked ideas.

        Parry as it stands today, doesn’t offer enough eHP to outweigh the benefits of other stats. To say otherwise is to pander to those who don’t understand the way this game’s mechanics work, who don’t understand math, and who will not be swayed, even by evidence.

        I myself swapped from Parry during the hunt craze in 2.3. It didn’t change a thing in regards to how my healers healed me. It did increase my enmity, and it helped fights move along more quickly. Even if by more than ~2%, well there goes your eHP benefit, converted into faster clear time. Using the excuse with having to hold DPS in a fight is a poor excuse to hold onto an idea you just refuse to let go of. This is exception, not the norm.

        The only real itemization a tank should really need to do is accessories. A bit more VIT when on the bleeding edge of content. Crafted for general use. STR when greatly overgearing content. And perhaps a mix and match depending on skill and comfort. There’s a reason why this is the meta. Most people understand math, variables in the game, situational factors and how the game actually works. Most people value this evidence, while you’re still trying to get your Cowboy riding a Stegosaurus picture hung in the classroom.

        1. Ahhh.. this was made during a time wherein PARRY vs DPS was still a discussion. I personally prefer DPS stats left and crafted right. This guide really is quite antiquated and it’s worth the read for those who have absolutely no idea – and is a place to start gathering info.

          As I see it, you’re not in need of this info. However, this is a great place to start for newbie tanks learning how to itemize versus just plain saying “GO DPS, MAN!”. As you can see in all the BiS for tanking i’ve placed, it’s DPS left and predominantly crafted right, with no fending 210’s.

          Is the meta confusing for newer tanks? yes. Is the meta for everyone? no. Blindly advising all newbie tanks to “DPS all the way baby” with no clue how or why or when to adjust is folly.

          While this guide does beat on an old horse, its ideals are still relevant now. Thanks for your feedback.

          tl:dr – this discussion has a million angles and this guide doesnt even cover a fraction of it. I would just like newer raids to have tanks care about their EHP and give less strain to heals, and as they gain experience as raiders – reduce EHP for DPS, while still allowing healers to deeps. Again, too much discussion for a single guide. I never meant this guide to be the penultimate resource for it.

          If you yourself know when to itemize DPS and stance dance – this isn’t likely aimed for you.

  2. You forgot a couple of benefits for dps tanking And 1 negative for parry.

    1. Increased aggro generation. For a warrior that could mean skipping more butchers block combo to put up path to reduce enemy damage by 10%. Or it could mean easier time picking up an add from a crit happy dps.
    2. Warriors hp recovery from damage. Even as Mt warriors get hp back from inner beast, and bloodbath (storms eye too but not as much). Used effectively warriors are capable of some serious self regeneration
    3. Paladin blocking. Block takes priority over parry. If a paladin was lucky enough to block every attack (out of pure rng) then parry would be useless. Both are already useless on magic attacks.

    I dont feel that parry is bad. Dps should dps and meet checks. My problem with parry vs dps is that for every benefit for parry their is a benefit for dps until your at the point where your counting up the negatives of parry.

    Also I was once told that healers (mainly those good at precasting) over heal more on parry tanks because it was mitigation they didnt expect. I think that’s a healer issue though

    1. 1) Aggro generation is pretty much moot if your tank knows what he or she is doing. Yes STR and Weapon damage are definitely needed to keep Aggro, but even a full vit full parry PLD should have no problem.

      2) HP rec from SP, IB and Blood are negligible bonuses much smaller than regen. It’s an up worth mentioning, but not worth taking into consideration in terms of raid survivability. (I personally use Blood as aggro generation)

      3) Block overrides parry – but that’s a good thing. It makes PLD more “constant” in terms of the feel for mitigation – giving maximum experience gains in fights.

      4) Overhealing: It’s all about the auto attacks. Parrying and blocking most autos mean your SCH can DPS more, and using up mana better overall.

      5) Parry negatives: Here’s my ultimate gripe: THERE IS NO OTHER STAT IN THE GAME THAT DOES WHAT PARRY DOES. It scales bad they say? Compared to what? I understand the point, but as it is right now, parry does ENOUGH to warrant thought especially if an encounter calls for a tank MTing a majority of the time.

      Thanks for the input! Again, there are too many little details to fit into one guide. I can expand this over time, and all input from anyone is appreciated.

      1. Lol. I wish number 1 was always true but yeah your right. I’ve seen tanks a full 20 or so weapon item levels lower than myself and still maintain aggro. I can only dream of what other tanks could possibly be doing when they’re above my ilvl and cant maintain aggro

        Also I didnt feel my satement on #3 was fair to parry(im somewhat biased against parry, but I try to make a fair Judgement) Yes block overrides parry but at the same time a paladin has essentially doubled their chance to mitigate, without a cooldown.

        As for warrior healing, once again your are right and I technically was discussing a different topic. Det crit and sksp will not give a larger bonus to self heals over parry. The reason it’s a different topic is because saying dps stats made me think of strength. If a warrior can afford it, penta melding 110 accessories with strength is definitely a better choice than using parry. That’s when the self heals do make a difference (at the cost of some vit, so like I said a different debate. Even im not sure but if I was in the debate my first question I’d ask is if there really a thing as too much hp)

        Goodluck with your bis list. I know you have a chore ahead

        Also something else that’s off topic
        I heard a rumor than maximum dps from tanks would be with a warrior Mt and paladin ot. The reason was that in tanking stance a warrior could do more damage than a paladin (I believe is true) and out of tanking stance a paladin could do more than a warrior (im not so sure). If the holds up I guess it makes sense since it’s a riskier setup.
        You have any thoughts on this?

        1. Albert, personally I feel the WAR MT PLD OT setup will be a miniscule difference at most. You are right on this being a riskier setup on most fights. But here’s an example why even we go out of the norm too, sometimes…

          T7 Savage, we chose WAR MT so that we could put storms path up NO MATTER WHEN. if it falls of and you have to pick up an add, the risk of dying from fireball becomes too massive.

  3. I ever use different accessories on fights.

    When I pull a lot of mobs I use my TANK accessories, when we fight with a Boss (I’m talking about the DG) I put on my Strength Accessories and works for me.

    But If we speak about the raids things (Coils) I think the better thing its a Tank with parry, on both tanks, Why ? Because in times the MT dies and the OT have to take the Boss, and if that tank Maximize his dps stats, the healer in times doesn’t have the time to res the MT, because we have to focus on OT heals.

    The other things, ever the healer can put the DoT on boss or do a short of dps, more dps on healer if we speak about a SCH class, because EOS can do the works of healer for a short time. And for this we need more def-parry on a tank, more dps with healer and the tanks ever do it constant dps, I think doesn’t matter the tank needs to be a DPS, we have 4 dps with his job.

    But its my interpretation xD .
    The only thing that i Hate a lot in a Tank (My main its healer) is a tank that defends nothing and not let me do dps :c .

    1. Parry on both tanks is a popular choice for utmost SAFETY. This is okay for less refined raidgroups, but admittedly – it loses alot of value from maximizing DPS on OT’s.

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