The journey to obtain a relic weapon is one of the first quests you should start when you reach level 50 in Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn. That quest ends with a battle against the hard mode versions of Ifrit, Garuda, and Titan. There are a few key tips that will help you run through these battles, even with an inexperienced party to aide you.

Once you have downed Ifrit, the next great challenge is the hard mode version of Garuda. Unlike the battle against Ifrit, which was movement-heavy, fighting Garuda is more about strategy and knowing when and what to attack. Positioning is still important, but it's not as imperative as it is when fighting Ifrit (and Titan for that matter).

This battle requires two tanks and two healers. It's beneficial to have one White Mage and one Scholar, but two of either can do the job. A Summoner or Black Mage is good to have for their level 3 Limit Break, and a Bard is helpful, but not necessary and ranged damage dealing (DPS) jobs are generally easier to work with during this battle, but melee DPS are fine as well.

Phase One

There are two distinct phases during the Garuda battle. During the first phase, the main tank should pull Garuda to the far north edge of the arena. The rest of the party should spread out and stay away from the pillars near the middle of the arena. When Garuda disappears, hide behind the pillars so that there's a pillar between you and Garuda. Once Garuda reappears and attacks, move back to your original position and continue the battle.

At this point, Garuda summons a group of Plumes to destroy the pillars. Stop attacking Garuda and focus on the Plumes. You need to take them down as quickly as possible to avoid losing the pillars. Shortly after the Plumes go down, Garuda disappears again. This time she reappears in the center. Once again, make sure there's a pillar between you and Garuda to avoid the attack that follows.

If you have a solid DPS group, you can ignore the second group of Plumes that spawn. However, if the average item level of the DPS jobs in your party is below roughly 65, you should focus on killing the Plumes again. When Garuda disappears again, she is about to her Aerial Blast. This attack inflicts huge damage that is determined by the number of pillars left standing just before the attack. Don't worry about hiding behind pillars at this point. However, if you have a Scholar in the party, he should use Sacred Soil to nullify 10 percent of the damage. It's also good to have a White Mage ready with Medica II as soon s Aerial Blast hits.

Phase Two

Immediately following Aerial Blast, Garuda enters phase two of the battle. Phase two begins with Garuda summoning several whirlwinds that engulf most of the arena. The main tank should move Garuda to the northwest edge, while the ranged DPS jobs and healers more to the west edge. With this positioning, you will avoid the whirlwinds as they spawn, while still be able to attack Garuda.

Shortly after the whirlwinds appear, Garuda disappears and two adds (Suparna and Chirada) spawn when she reappears. One of the adds will have a green line running from her to Garuda, while the other will hve a redline. At this point, the off tank should grab the add with the red line and move it so that it's facing away from the rest of the party. Meanwhile, the DPS jobs need to kill the green line add as quickly as possible. This add heals Garuda, so the longer it's left alive, the more health Garuda regains.

The healers will have to work overtime during this portion of the battle. Both adds inflict significant damage on the party, in addition to Garuda's normal attacks. It's very helpful to keep Medica II up if you have a White Mage, along with Succor if you have a Scholar. Another Sacred Soil is also helpful in this situation.

Once the green line add is down, take out the red line add as quickly as possible. If the red line add disappears before she dies, it will soon reappear for a short time before unleashing a very damaging attack. Take it down as soon as she reappears to avoid this attack.

Take out both adds and the whirlwinds will slowly dissipate. The tank should start moving Garuda east, along the edge of the arena. This is to avoid the new whirlwinds that spawn. At this point, more Plume adds will spawn. One of them will be a Satin Plume. One party member (typically the off tank) should mark the Satin Plume and all DPS jobs should take it down as quickly as possible, ignoring the other Plumes completely. If the Satin Plume is left alive it casts Sleep on the party.

When the whirlwinds dissipate again, the entire party should move to the center of the area. Garuda uses Eye of the Storm, which is an attack that engulfs the outer edge of the area. During this attack Garuda disappears again and Suparna and Chirada will appear. Repeat the strategy to fight them one more time, but pay attention to which one has a green line and which one has a red line. It is not always the same as the first time they spawned.

Once the adds are down, Eye of the storm dissipates and the tank should move Garuda to the southwest edge, with the ranged DPS jobs and healers to the south. Once again, more whirlwinds appear, along with a group of Plumes. Just like before, focus on the Satin Plume and ignore the others.

It won't be long before Suparna and Chirada spawn again. This time, if you have a Summoner or Black Mage keep the adds close to Garuda and use a level 3 Limit Break to take out the adds quickly, while simultaneously damaging Garuda. Otherwise, use a Limit on the green line add, then take down the red line add as quickly as possible. At this point, the fight is basically over. If Garuda is still alive, she should have very low health.