FFXIV Pugilist (PGL) Leveling Guide & Rotation (Shb Updated)

How to level up your Pugilist (PGL) fast! Rotation, useful reminders, and the best places to be in any level – HERE!

Looking for a fistful of EXP? If you’re leveling a Pugilist, you’ve found the right place – avoid all the hooks go for the straights! Hopefully, our Pugilist Leveling Guide helps you out!

While this page focuses on Pugilist info like skills, traits, rotation, and playstyle notes. The GENERAL PROCESS that you follow is outlined in our FFXIV General Leveling Guide use it alongside this guide. Looking at that, we’re in the “A Realm Reborn Tier” as we’re only looking to level our Rogue up to 30.

Pugilist Unlocking? Other basics?

How to unlock the PGL Class? Taken from Rogue General Guide & FAQ – which you should read if you need more basic info about PGL.

Location: Ul’dah – Stept of Nald, Pugilist’s Guild (9, 10)
Related Quests: (all in the same place)
> So you want to be an Pugilist
> Way of the Pugilist
> My First Hora
Others: You may also begin the game as Pugilist

Pugilist is a melee dps class, falling under the Disciple of War category. Also, if you’re curious about the job you turn into, Pugilist is the prerequisite class for unlocking Monk.

This guide has three major segments:

  • Pugilist Leveling Rotation & Skill Changes – How new skills affect your play.
  • Pugilist L1 to L16 – General reminders and notes.
  • Pugilist L15 to 30 – General reminders and notes.
  • I’ll mention it again, knowledge from General Leveling Guide is REQUIRED.

I put rotation changes up top as you might reference it often. Without further ado, let’s get to it.

Pugilist Rotation for Leveling, Skills, Traits, Etc.

In this segment we run down how each skill and trait affects your Pugilist’s rotation during the leveling process.

L1 Skill Unlocked Bootshine – An attack that always crits from BEHIND. Your combo starter – but don’t bother with the positional bonus if soloing…

That being said, for 99% of situations you’ll be ignoring positional bonuses for solo content. Barring niche scenarios like Stun / True North etc.

L4 Skill Unlocked True Strike – Your first combo attack. Combo actions should be pressed within a certain timeframe or else they fall off. As an aspiring Pugilist and Monk, you’ll be learning A LOT about combo’s lemme tell ya. 

L6 Skill Unlocked Snap Punch – Weirdly, Pugilists gain a combo finisher at such an early level. Bootshine > True Strike > Snap Punch (Back Back Flank) is your basic rotation.

What is GREASED LIGHTNING
Is a buff you get typically from your combo finishers.
It DECREASES your GCD (Increases skillspeed), and increases your damage.
It’s the PGL/MNK cornerstone buff. Keep it up as often as you can!

L8 Role Action Unlocked Second Wind – A personal, instant self-heal. Useful both in soloing and leveling, dungeons, raids, ANYTHING! For the purpose of this guide, Second Wind will definitely help you in the leveling process. One habit to get into is, USE IT EARLY so you can use it again soon  (for example, when soloing a FATE boss). 

L10 Role Action Unlocked Leg Sweep – An instant OGCD stun. Interrupting enemy spells is the most basic use case here, but honestly keep in mind that in dungeons stunning an enemy will greatly reduce the damage your tank receives, and helps your healer out. 

L12 Role Action Unlocked Bloodbath – Your third “self-heal”, this one essentially gives you a “lifesteal” effect that scales on your own DPS. This is actually great. Again, it’s better to use these kinds of skills early if you know you’re soloing a long fight, or just to help your healer out.

L15 Skill Unlocked Fists of Earth – A toggleable stance skill. No reason to ever off this for now, as it’s a “free and passive” damage reduction. We take those.

L18 Skill Unlocked Twin Snakes –  “second attack” flank combo that gives you an increased damage buff. Keep this buff up at all times!

Instead of using the “animal stances”  I’ll be calling them
“first, second, and third” attack, or something a little more “intuitive”.

L20 Trait Unlocked Enhanced Greased Lightning – allows you to stack a second pip or Greased Lightning! Zoom zoom! Doesn’t really affect your active gameplay, except for your GCD that will get increasingly faster as you unlock more and more “GL” stacks.

L22 Role Action Unlocked Feint – Reduces an enemy’s physical damage dealt. Almost useless in soloing (reduces mostly auto attacks and the rare physical boss skill). Of course, very good in terms of group mitigation options in a group scenario. In the leveling process, however, this wil almost never be used.

L26 Skill Unlocked Arm of the Destroyer – An AoE “first skill”. You DO NOT have to continue the combo, you can simply spam it if you choose (wise at 4+ enemies). Typically this is safe to use at 2 enemies, but continue your normal combo after.

L30 Skill Unlocked Demolish – A rear attack DoT (Damage over time) combo finisher, which should only be used on enemies that have a longer life expectancy. As a quick rule, you don’t wanna use this on enemies with less than 15 or so seconds of life remaining. Of course, against bosses just keep this DoT up!

Completing this quest and unlocking Demolish marks your final class quest as Pugilist. You now have the right to become a Monk!


Pugilist Rotation – L1 to 30 SUMMARY

Here’s an overarching shot of what your PGL rotation is in the early leveling process. Adjust to your currently learned skills.

PGL 30 Single Target RotationPGL AoE Rotation

PGL L30 Single Target Rotation

    • Demolish (DoT) if enemy will live for more than 15s~ ish.
    • Keep Twin Snakes buff up. (Bootshine > Twin Snakes > Either finisher)
    • Otherwise, Bootshine > True Strike > Snap Punch

PGL L30 AoE Rotation

    • 4+ Enemies, straight up spam Arm of the Destroyer.
    • 3 or 2 Enemies, Use single target rotation but Arm of the Destroyer replaces Bootshine.

At 3 enemies or less, Demolish on every target is good. Basically it’s your single target rotation but you swap Bootshine for Arm of the Destroyer.

Keeping up Greased Lightning is your highest priority
in essentially almost all cases.

Pugilist Leveling: L1 to 30

As per the general leveling guide, this tier is divided into two sub-chunks. So I’ll be sub-chunking the following segments into two “tabs” as well. These two tabs represent A) L1 to 16, and B) L16 to 30.


Pugilist Leveling L1 to 30 Activity Flowchart

A rundown of things you can do to gain EXP – again split “to 16”, and “to 30”.

PGL 1 to 16PGL 16 to 30

PGL Leveling Activities to L16

Remember the universal truths: Main Scenario Quest is king, and always have your passive EXP buffs (FC, Food, Chocobo, etc)

Renewable EXP sources

    • FATES (Great when you're in queue)
    • Levequests (Actually good EXP but better saved for DoH or DoL)
    • Deep Dungeon -Palace of the Dead (Repetitive, terrible for LOW levels)

Burst EXP sources

    • Challenge Log* (Complete passively until nearing reset, then force it)
    • Guildhests (First completions per class is mega bonus EXP)
    • Hunting Log (Great source of EXP this early on)
    • Sidequests (Personal preference. Better if in tandem with MSQ!)
    • Duty Roulette: Guildhest (Pretty irrelevant...)

*Challenge Log won't be unlocked in this tier if it's your first time around. While you need to be L16 to initially unlock it, it can be used by any level character thereafter. 

Well, there’s not much to point your bow at this early on, but here’s where the arrow falls nonetheless. It’s slim, but you gotta start somewhere.

Of course, adjust this to your own personal preference.

PGL Leveling Activities to L30

Remember the universal truths: Main Scenario Quest is king, and always have your passive EXP buffs (FC, Food, Chocobo, etc)

Renewable EXP sources

    • Dungeons (Stable, "fun", massive EXP easpecially with rested bonus)
    • FATES (Great when you're in queue)
    • Deep Dungeon -Palace of the Dead (Repetitive, but fast)
    • Levequests (Actually good EXP but better saved for DoH or DoL)
    • Beast Tribe (EXP is meh, but great for getting cosmetic items)

Burst EXP sources

    • Duty Roulette: Leveling (The ultimate EXP source until L50)
    • Challenge Log (Complete passively until nearing reset, then force it)
    • Guildhests (First completions per class is mega bonus EXP)
    • Hunting Log (More for completionism or first timers, it's "alright")
    • Sidequests (Personal preference. Better if in tandem with MSQ!)
    • Duty Roulette: Guildhest (Pretty irrelevant...)

A few adjustments to your leveling mentality here, mainly the addition of  Duty Roulette: Leveling, as a daily burst, and straight queuing Dungeons as an option as well.

Of course, adjust this to your own personal preference.

Important Notes (PGL L1 to 30)

Here’s the one-two about the leveling process. Make sure to hit the unlocks so you won’t miss out on unique EXP sources.

PGL L1 to 30 Gear Updates:  Needed?

TLDR: Not really significant. This applies to both sub-tiers. Just make sure to pick up whatever along the way, or find dirt cheap upgrades in the MB or wherever (quests etc).

More detailed answer?

In all honesty you DO NOT NEED to put much thought into your gear from Level 1 to Level 30. Simply “get what you can”, with Weapons being the highest priority. You can get gear from Quests, buy from NPCs, Marketboard, Crafting, GC – it’s purely up to you and your budget as to what you wanna get.

Of course getting gear will increase your efficiency (being a little stronger helps kill speed), but this tier is pretty “newb friendly”, and designed as such – PLUS you “outgrow” gear by gaining levels so rapidly that tryharding on gear up to Level 30 is pretty irrelevant.

Just try not to run around naked, and get “what you can” without being outright negligent.


Important notes to keep in mind

PGL 1 to 16PGL 16 to 30

As always, Main Scenario Quest takes the highest priority.

There are too many skills that get unlocked here for me to talk about individually, which is why the skill unlock / rotation segment above should be your guiding light in that regard.

Limited Burst EXP sources take priority: Newly unlocked Guildhests, Challenge Log entries, Hunting Log.

Renewable EXP sources if you need to grind: FATE’s are great, followed by Levequests and if so you choose, Sidequests. (Deep Dungeon: POTD – can you zone it from Level 1? Even if you could, I don’t think I would…)

At level 15 you get access to your first Dungeon, Sastasha, but I don’t see much reason to grind there, unless you wanna burn rested EXP and want to hit 16 ASAP.

At 15 you should catch up and do your class quests, as you do get a skill form it – Fists of Earth. Meh, it makes you tougher – which is only relevant when soloing. Even if this skill ain’t so hot, it’s best to keep up with class quests.

A note on Levequests: Can be an attractive source of EXP. Every tier has “good and bad” levequests so it’s up to you if you wanna go try them out. Main downside is using them up in place of DoH / DoL. Consider using them if you’re at or near the Levequest allowance cap!

As always, Main Scenario Quest takes the highest priority.

Starting L16, you open up Duty Roulette: Leveling, which is you should be doing everyday! This is an important source of EXP – it’s a huge daily burst! Also at L16 you can unlock Challenge Log if you haven’t already.

Overall, the same concept applies. Daily and Weekly bursts of EXP > Basic Renewable EXP sources of your choice > Other side activities to alleviate boredom or monotony.

 Renewable EXP sources? At this point it’s Dungeons, FATES and Deep Dungeons, and maybe some Levequests. Burst EXP sources? Roulettes, new Guildhests, Hunting and Challenge Logs.

As a DPS class, you’ll likely queue up for dungeons or POTD then do FATES and “other activities” while you’re in queue.

at L20 If you haven’t unlocked your Companion (combat Chocobo), do so now. You can begin the process now – it entails getting your first mount as well (at least for most new players).

At level 30 get your class quests done, as it’s one of the prerequisites to transform into Monk!

Levequests notes, same as usual. Sad to take ’em away from crafters and gatherers, but it’s viable EXP. Definitely use them up if you’re overcapped on allowances.

Stop at Level 30! Unlock your advanced job as soon as you can!
(PGL turns into Monk at Level 30)

Pugilist L30 Onward: Unlocking Monk

STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING ONCE YOU HIT Pugilist LEVEL 30.
Unlock Monk ASAP!

How to become a Monk? Unlocking Monk requires a Level 30 Pugilist, and completion of the L30 PGL Class Quest. From there, return to your guild and it should point you to the quest! See: Unlocking all jobs.

The reason we unlock ASAP is, not only to get a new skill at L30 (In your case Rockbreaker, another AoE), but most if not all new skills and traits going forward are for MONK and not PUGILIST, so you have no reason to stay as an PGL any longer.

Pugilist Leveling – Related Reads

Some good reads and related links here:

Summary and Closing

And with that YOU’RE DONE WITH LEVELING Pugilist! Congrats! Hopefully our Pugilist Leveling Guide helped you out. In no time you’ll be striking fear, among other things, into your enemies.


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4 thoughts on “FFXIV Pugilist (PGL) Leveling Guide & Rotation (Shb Updated)”

  1. “In your case (Pugilist), you’ll be wandering around Central and North shroud often.” Might wanna change that to Central and Western Thanalan.

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