Pictomancer Feature Image

FINAL FANTASY XIV’s newest expansion, Dawntrail, is available for preorder NOW on PC/Steam, PlayStation 4/5, and on Xbox Series X/S.

This article is based on play of an in-development build of FINAL FANTASY XIV: Dawntrail, and content in the final version is subject to change.

Introduction to Pictomancer

Out of the two new jobs, I would definitely say that Pictomancer is the easier of the two to quickly grasp and use. As I experimented more and more with this job, I found myself assigning the various actions/role categories across two cross-bars in order to utilize the Pictomancer toolkit to its fullest. This job is debuting as part of the upcoming Dawntrail expansion and draws upon the Pictomancer class first brought to life by Relm Arrowny in FINAL FANTASY VI (that’s FINAL FANTASY III for those of you who are playing on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, or SNES).

Rainbow Drip in battle.
Here, a female Hrothgar Pictomancer uses Rainbow Drip, a powerful ability that will be discussed further below in detail. © SQUARE ENIX

Playing as Pictomancer

Billed as a magical ranged DPS job, there are two major aspects to Pictomancer, Aetherhue Actions and Motif/Muse Magicks, with a smattering of other abilities thrown in. Each of the two main categories are assigned a different player HUD display: Paint/Palette Gauge and Canvases, respectively. I will first be diving into both of these, and then addressing the miscellaneous other abilities below. Please note there are Role Abilities for this job too, but none of those are unique to Pictomancer.

Please note that I was able to demo Pictomancer at the 100-level cap.

Aetherhue Actions

First up are Aetherhue Actions. Despite what you may think or anticipate, Aetherhue Actions are intended to be the bread-and-butter 1-2-3 combo actions for Pictomancer. Your regular cycle starts off with Fire in Red (single target) or Fire II in Red (AoE). Once that is activated, you next use Aero (I/II) in Green and then finally Water (I/II) in Blue to complete the combo. At this point, you accumulate a White Paint and you get 25 aether on the Palette Gauge HUD. White Paint can be consumed to use the spell Holy in White, which is an AoE attack. If you use Subtractive Palette when the Palette Gauge has 50 points in it, then you gain the effect of Monochrome Tones, which converts a single White Paint into a single Black Paint, and you get three stacks of Subtractive Palette to utilize.

Comet in Black
A female Hrothgar Pictomancer uses Comet in Black during battle. © SQUARE ENIX

Only once Subtractive Palette is active can you use the other 1-2-3 spell combo: Blizzard (I/II) in Cyan to Stone (I/II) in Yellow to Thunder (I/II) in Magenta. These are MUCH more damaging combo attacks than the Fire/Aero/Water combo, but they also grant you a White Paint and Aetherhues. With the converted Black Paint, you can cast Comet in Black, which is a more potent AoE attack than Holy in White. It is important to note that you can only use Comet in Black while under Monochrome Tones, and you can only cast the Blizzard/Stone/Thunder combo while Subtractive Palette is in effect. You can also still fire off Holy in White back to back with Comet in Black or with other Holy in White spells, even under the effect of Subtractive Palette.

This all sounds complicated, but it definitely is not. The majority of your damage is going to come through your Aetherhue Actions, and by doing the Fire/Aero/Water combo until you can swap over into the Blizzard/Stone/Thunder combo while firing off Holy and Comet AoE spells for as many times as you can. It was quite fun to do, and I was surprised at how little that I had to pay attention to the Palette Gauge in order to track my Aetherhues.

Your Aetherhue Actions are directly influenced by your Landscape Motif/Muse Magics, as I will detail below, and are the major reason why you’ll want to be firing off Starry Muse every chance (okay, every 120 seconds) that you get.

Motif/Muse Magicks

The second major half of this job is the Motif/Muse Magicks, and they are what you are thinking about the most when you see this job: A Pictomancer will paint Creature Motifs, Weapon Motifs, and Landscape Motifs on each of three canvases, and then bring them to life with magic.

First up, the Creature Motif. This spell has a 2.92 second cast time, with a 3.90 second recast timer. It also is a constantly changing action that will go from Pom Motif, Wing Motif, Claw Motif, and finally Maw Motif (in that order) when used. Once you use the Pom/Winged/Clawed/Fanged Muse ability (Living Muse Action turns into whatever painting is on the Canvas), it will then add that particular Depiction to the slot above the canvas as well as damage the enemy. Each Muse has a 40 second cooldown as well. When you have both Depiction of Pom and Depiction of Wings active, you create a Moogle Portrait that hangs out at the top of the Creature Canvas and will signal that you can use the Mog of the Ages ability that does significant AoE damage. Additionally, Retribution of the Madeen becomes available at level 100 when you have all four Motifs painted. These two Moogle and Madeen actions honestly really cool, and you will want to fire it off every 40 seconds or so in order to add another Depiction to the Creature canvas so you can build up to bringing out either the Moogle or Madeen to obliterate your foes.

Pom Muse Attack.
Above, a female Hrothgar Pictomancer uses the Pom Muse, and below she uses the Striking Muse. The Creature Canvas is the left-most canvas, and the Weapon Canvas is the middle canvas. © SQUARE ENIX

Striking Muse Attack.

The Weapon Motif is absolutely the most personally useful out of the three. First, you use the Hammer Motif ability, which appears when Weapon Motif is placed on the hotbar, and it paints a hammer on the Weapon Canvas (yes, that is the only weapon available so far). When you have a hammer on the canvas, you can use Striking Muse. This uses up the hammer painting and grants three stacks of Hammer Time. When you have Hammer Time active, you can then use Hammer Stamp to deal critical AoE damage at a large range. Hammer Stamp turns into Hammer Brush, and then into Polishing Hammer to complete the combo. Most crucially, you can still use the Hammer combo even while running away from enemies and it won’t be interrupted…which I found out firsthand during a FATE gone bad.

Finally, there is the Landscape Motif, which paints a starry sky over on the Landscape Canvas through the Starry Sky Motif when that particular action is placed on the hotbar. Every 120 seconds, you can then use the Starry Muse ability. This ability throws down a party AoE buff around the Pictomancer that increases the affected party members’ damage by 5%. It also gives the effect of Inspiration, which reduces the cast/recast timer for Star Prism and Aetherhue spells by 25%, lets you cast back-to-back Rainbow Drip spells, and lets you cast Star Prism. Star Prism restores the health of nearby party members and does AoE damage to enemies. Finally, there is the Hyperphantasia effect. If you perform five Aetherhue Actions or Star Prism spells, you are then granted the Rainbow Bright Enhancement. While that is in effect, Rainbow Drip (discussed in the next subsection) becomes an instant cast spell and has a reduced recast timer. If you can’t tell, Landscape Motif is more of a buff Motif than anything else, but it has a lot of really cool effects to help the party with. The AoE for party members was surprisingly large too, and I kept being surprised at how much I didn’t have to be in the deepest thick of battle to activate it.

Landscape Canvas and Starry Muse.
When you use Starry Muse, it creates a fairly large party-friendly AoE that bumps up attacks by 5% and gives a whole host of other benefits. © SQUARE ENIX

If the Aetherhue Actions are the heart of the job’s mechanics, then the Motif/Muse Magicks are the extra necessary bits you will have to master the timing of in order to really execute Pictomancer successfully, since they simply add so much more damage with each Creature or Weapon cycles you do in combat. Also, because each motif can be recast immediately after battle, any Pictomancer worth their Archon Loaf will be reupping the motif paintings after battle and will be casting them whenever they can between Aetherhue Actions.

Miscellaneous Actions

Besides the Aetherhue Actions and Motif/Muse Magicks, there are a handful other Pictomancer actions. For example, there is the Tempera Coat, which acts like the Stoneskin of yester-era by absorbing damage up to 20% of your maximum HP and Tempera Grassa that absorbs 10% damage for yourself and other nearby party members. There is also Smudge, which lets you dash 15 yalms forward and gives you a very brief movement speed increase. Finally, there is Rainbow Drip. That spell does significant straight-line damage to enemies and also grants a White Paint. If you have Rainbow Bright Enhancement active, that means that you can rapidly stack up White Paints to then cast back-to-back Holy in White spells for even more damage.

Pictomancer uses Tempera Coat.
Above, a female Hrothgar Pictomancer uses Tempera Coat, and below she uses Tempera Grassa. © SQUARE ENIX

Pictomancer uses Tempera Grassa in this photograph.

Tempera Coat and Tempera Grassa are incredibly useful, if you can’t tell, and you will be using Rainbow Drip whenever you can to add that extra bit of damage to the battle — especially if you can cast a Holy in White Spell immediately afterwards with that new White Paint. Smudge is okay, but I found myself wishing that the movement speed boost lasted longer for out of battle purposes.

Pictomancer Actions/Unassignable Actions Charts

Below, I’ve attached collage photos of all of the different Pictomancer actions, roles, and traits that were available during the Dawntrail media tour so you can see it all for yourself.

Pictomancer Actions
Above are the assignable Pictomaner Actions, and below are the Unassignable Pictomancer Actions. © SQUARE ENIX

Pictomancer Unassignable Actions

Pictomancer Role/Traits

Additionally, here are the Pictomancer Role and Traits that were available during the Dawntrail Media Tour for me to try out.

Pictomancer Role
Above are the Picromancer Role Abilities, and below are the Pictomancer Traits that were available during the Dawntrain Media Tour. © SQUARE ENIX

Pictomancer Traits

Final Thoughts on Pictomancer

Female Hrothgar being a Gentlewoman of Light in Tuliyollal.
A Warrior of Light? More like a GENTLEMAN OF LIGHT inside of Tuliyollal. © SQUARE ENIX

If you’ve made it this far, then you’re probably wondering how Pictomancer fits in with all the other jobs available to play. Pictomancer is primarily a magical ranged DPS job that offers limited party support through the Landscape Canvas and through the Tempera Coat and Tempera Grassa abilities. Pictomancer does not approach the support versatility of Dancer or Bard, but the 5% damage increase through the Landscape Canvas and Starry Muse is quite noticeable if it isn’t kept up whenever possible. Instead, Pictomancer utilizes all eight elements of the wheel (before Red Mage got to, surprisingly) to rotate two different color-themed combos with White/Black AoE attacks while simultaneously painting on the Weapon Canvas and Creature Canvas whenever those times are up. Additionally, there are few things more fun that activating Starry Muse, getting that Rainbow Bright Enhancement, and just spamming as many Rainbow Drip and Holy in White spells as possible during that timer window.

Pictomancer is a lot of fun to play, and it was not as difficult as it made it out to be when it was first demoed. The biggest challenge for this job is going to be remembering to use the appropriate Muse whenever the timer is up, so you can keep building those Creature and Weapon combos every chance you get. Finally, while I do not want to tout my own skills too much…I was able to pull enmity off the tank during the player dungeon we did during the Media Tour. It is an absolute BEAST of a job when it comes to doing damage if you can keep up on everything.

Please check out my thoughts on the new Viper job, see what Naoki Yoshida said during the Day 1 Media Tour Q&A, and what my overall thoughts are for the Dawntrail demo.

If you want more FINAL FANTASY XIV Online-themed content, then be sure to check out my ongoing cooking series, Cooking Eorzea!

Also, check out what eleven FINAL FANTASY XI Online enemies that I think need to be part of the upcoming Echoes of Vana’diel raid series in Dawntrail.

What do you think about Pictomancer? Are you excited to try it when Dawntrail is released for pre-order early access on June 28, 2024, and worldwide on July 2, 2024?

Let us know in the comments below!

Quentin H.
I have been a journalist for oprainfall since 2015, and I have loved every moment of it.