CAUTION!
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

Through devastating magic spells, Black Mages bring tremendous firepower to the battlefield. In battle, Black Mages are often called upon to participate in skillchains by finishing each chain off with a magic burst, adding deadly accuracy and even more destructive power to their already impressive elemental magic spells.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths

  • Black Mage has access to many powerful offensive spells and many support job possibilities, making one useful in almost any situation.
  • Offensive spells are not hindered by enemies' physical defense and evasion, making it impossible for a Black Mage's damage to miss, although they can be resisted especially at higher levels when monsters gain the ability to cast Shell on themselves.
  • Warp spells make returning to one's Home Point painless and easy.
  • Has an edge against enemies that are highly resistant to physical attacks.
  • At higher levels (60+) Black Mages can take on at least Tough-Incredibly Tough monsters, with a combination of Sleep, enfeebling spells, and then nukes.
  • Escape is a dungeon crawler's Godsend and can prevent party wipeouts due to links, pops, or aggro from wandering mobs.

Weaknesses

  • Damage is limited by MP, so resting is a very common activity in a Black Mage's daily routine.
  • Physical defenses and HP are extremely low, making Black Mages very easy to kill in battle.
  • High damage spells equals high enmity.

Race Selection

Final Fantasy XI allows players to choose between five different races, each with its own strengths and weaknesses in terms of stats. While certain races' stats are better matched to some jobs more than others, the differences are never so profound as to prevent any race from playing any particular job (except for Elvaans and Black Mage). All players can excel at any job they so choose, provided they have the skill and the equipment; the race selection is mostly an aesthetic decision.


Tarutaru
Pros - Highest MP pool allows for more spell casting without healing and highest INT leads to a nice boost in damage and fewer black and elemental magic resists.
Cons - Lowest HP leads to survivability problems. This should be noted that this is only really a problem during the lower levels, before your Subjob gives you acess to Blink and Stoneskin.
Elvaan
Pros - Good survability matching that of Hume and Galka and the highest STR allows for minimally extra melee power.
Cons - Lowest INT and 2nd lowest MP pool means spells will deal the least amount of damage, be resisted much more often, and care must be taken when casting in large amounts.
Hume
Pros - Tied for both 2nd Highest MP pool and 2nd highest INT. Balance of survivability and nuking power being strong enough to take some hits with moderate spell damage modifiers.
Cons - Middle of the road stats.
Mithra
Pros - Tied 2nd highest MP pool and INT allows for decent spell casting and a moderate boost in damage. Also the high AGI can help in evading attacks.
Cons - As with Hume, middle of the road character, though due to slightly worse Race Specific Gear when compared to Hume, is slightly worse in terms of INT and MP gear.
Galka
Pros - Highest HP and VIT leads to best survability of any race.
Cons - Lowest MP pool and 2nd lowest INT means often needing MP equipment and spell damage will be less than those races with higher INT, as well as resists being much more frequent.
Stats at Level 1
Race HP MP STR DEX VIT AGI INT MND CHR
Hume 25 24 5 7 5 7 8 6 6
Elvaan 27 22 6 7 6 6 7 7 6
Tarutaru 21 30 4 7 5 8 10 6 6
Galka 30 18 6 7 7 7 8 6 5
Mithra 25 24 5 9 5 8 8 6 5
Stats at Level 75
Race HP MP STR DEX VIT AGI INT MND CHR
Hume 840 616 50 59 50 59 63 53 56
Elvaan 931 540 55 56 53 53 57 58 56
Tarutaru 644 799 44 59 47 62 70 50 56
Galka 1052 417 53 59 57 56 60 53 50
Mithra 840 616 47 66 47 64 63 50 50

Information obtained from [JesterX's Guide to Vana'Diel]

Support Job Options

While not the only choices for Support Jobs, the following are the most commonly chosen for Black Mage.

White Mage
Black Mages choose White Mage as their support job because it gives the second highest amount of MP. It also gives them access to healing spells, allowing them to play backup healer when the main healer is hard pressed. The spells Stoneskin and Blink are additional perks.
Red Mage
Black Mages choose Red Mage as their support job because it gives some extra MP, as well as an additional boost in INT. It also grants access to superb spells like Gravity, Blink, Stoneskin, and Phalanx. Healing spells are also a part of the package, allowing the BLM/RDM's to backup heal, although without the -na status removal spells they would have from White Mage as support job. Fast Cast decreases the amount of time it takes to cast and recast a spell, which can make a life and death difference.
Summoner
Black Mages chose Summoner as their support job because it gives the biggest boost to their MP pool. The boost in INT it gives also helps give their spells that extra push, and the ability to summon spirits and avatars helps a Black Mage more extensively deal with links as well as provide some support to the party(eg.Aerial Armor) and use the Carbuncle pull trick for linking situations. The Auto Refresh Job Trait at level 50 is also attractive to many.
Note: Although Carbuncle can provide limited healing abilites, the lack of other healing options may harm invite rates.
Ninja
Black Mages chose Ninja as their support job because of Utsusemi. These extra shadows protect the mage from enemy blows, and the Dual Wield ability allows them to equip two one-handed weapons at a time, and gain any stat bonuses such equipping options allow them. Although Dual Wield will allow the Black Mage the opportunity to equip two wands, this option is severely limited and past 51, once the elemental staves like the Ice Staff become available, you will find that /Ninja will be outdated as the + INT is not as useful as the extra damage from the staves. In situations like manaburns and Dynamis though, where hate bounces around alot, having shadows for damage mitigation can come in handy.
Note: Lack of healing abilities might hurt invite rates.
Thief
Treasure Hunter and Sneak Attack for farming and Flee for Movement Speed. Sneak Attack also stacks with Spirit Taker for more MP gain which can be useful. Thief also give you an INT boost equal to that of RDM.
Beastmaster
Charm and Leave are a nice way to deal with annoying aggro if your CHR is high enough and Pets are great for melee DD while farming mildly difficult monsters. Pets can also tank while you skill up which can be useful.

Elemental Debuffs

When to use

Elemental debuffs are a way for Black Mages to throw in their very own brand of debuffs. Though they are debuffs, they fall under Elemental Magic skill just like most nukes. Another important thing to remember is that they are also subject to mob weaknesses and strengths.

Practically applying these debuffs requires knowledge of the mobs physical or magical strengths and elemental weaknesses. Casting Shock will lower a mobs Mind allowing white magic enfeebles to be more effective. However, if that particular mob is strong to lightning, Shock will most likely wear off soon. Even if you have to cast an elemental debuff that lowers a stat that is slightly less than optimal, you've still gotten more damage per MP from the DoT alone. The goal of elemental debuffs is to lower a given stat and cause damage over time. However, in some situations, a mobs elemental strength or weakness may need to take priority.


Overwrites

Elemental debuffs will cancel each other out in concordance with the elemental wheel. If Rasp (which is associated with earth) is currently cast on the mob, casting Choke (which is associated with wind) will make Rasp wear off. Alternatively, if Rasp is on the mob and Shock (which is associated with lightning) is cast, Shock will not take effect. However, if an element is not adjacent to one already cast on the mob, it will take effect. If Rasp is on the mob, Frost, Burn or Drown could be added.


The most debuffs one mob can have at any one time is three. The two possible combinations of three are Shock + Choke + Burn or Rasp + Frost + Drown. Although the odds of fighting a mob that is weak to those specific combinations is unlikely, it would be possible to have all three debuffs on a mob at once.

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