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.

The first hard mode battle is against Ifrit. Luckily, as the first battle, this is also the easiest of the three hard mode Primal fights. The key to Ifrit is knowing his attack pattern and moving accordingly. While movement is important in all of the hard mode Primal battles, you can be lackluster in almost every other aspect of the fight and still be Ifrit if you're dodging properly. The other important factor is defeating the nails as quickly as possible, but we'll get to that in a moment.

Your party make-up for fighting Ifrit should be two tanks, two healers, and the rest damage dealing (DPS) jobs. Technically, you can run this fight with only one tank and possibly even one healer (if you have a Bard for Mage's Ballad), but to be on the safe side, two tanks and healers is the ideal structure. It's also very helpful to have a Summoner or Black Mage for their level 3 Limit Break.

The purpose of having two tanks is so that one tanks Ifrit like normal, and the other focuses on stunning Eruption. Again, you can run this with only one tank, but they need to be on top of stunning Eruption. That said, if the party is moving properly to avoid Eruption, even if a tank misses one, it's not a big concern. In addition, Ifrit builds up a resistance to stun, which means that after three stuns, you will not be able to stun Ifrit again for a short time (about one minute).

Phase One

Ifrit has four phases during this battle. The first phase consists of Crimson Cyclone, Eruption, Incinerate, and Vulcan Burst. The main tank should fight Ifrit at the edge of the arena, with the boss facing the edge (not the center). This is because of Incinerate and Vulcan Burst. Incinerate is a frontal attack that should only hit the tank if Ifrit is positioned properly. Vulcan Burst is an area of effect (AoE) attack with moderate range that damages any party member within range, and knocks them back. Everyone but the two tanks and any melee DPS jobs should stay roughly halfway across the platform to avoid Vulcan Burst.

Eruption should be stunned as often as possible, but if it's not stunned or Ifrit builds a resistance to the stun, it creates red cracks on the ground that explode after a short time. The cracks target one party member at random, so it's helpful to spread out to make it easier to avoid. As soon as the cracks appear, run outside of the cracks to avoid the eruption that follows. Throughout the fight you may see multiple Eruption attacks in rapid succession, so do not stop moving until you're completely clear of all Eruptions. If you find that you cannot evade them all, pay close attention to ensure you're not standing inside two cracks. If you are, you will take double the damage, being engulfed by two Eruptions.

When Ifrit jumps into the air, he is preparing to use Crimson Cyclone. During this attack he positions himself at the edge of the arena and then quickly dashes across in a straight line. As soon as you see him jump into the air to prepare for the attack, start moving toward the edge. When he reappears, examine his position and move accordingly so you're not in-line with him. It's not difficult to avoid this attack as long as you move quickly once Ifrit jumps. The safest place to be during Crimson Cyclone is standing next to (but not right on top of) Ifrit before he dashes across.

Phase Two

When you reach phase two (indicated by Ifrit talking), he retains all of the attacks from phase one, and adds Radiant Plume and Sear. Sear inflicts damage to any party member in close proximity to Ifrit. This is unavoidable damage for tanks and melee DPS, but the damage is not significant. Radiant Plume is similar to Eruption, except that it creates four large flaming circles on the ground. The four circles appear in the center of the arena, then after a short delay, appear again along the outer edge. Once the circles appear, move out of them as soon as possible to avoid the explosion that follows. These are easily avoided if you stay around the outer edge of the arena until after the inner Plumes explode, then move toward the center to avoid the outer Plumes.

The pattern during phase two is as follows: Outer Radiant Plume > Inner Radiant Plume > Eruption > Crimson Cyclone. During phase two, Crimson Cyclone spawns two Ifrits that you must dodge instead of one. However, the same strategy applies in that you should start moving toward the outer edge as soon as Ifrit jumps. When the two Ifrits appear, pay attention to their positions, and move accordingly to stay out of their attack line.

Phase Three

When Ifrit's health reaches 50 percent, four large nails appear around the center of the arena. At this point, one party member (generally the tank) should mark all four nails with numbers (1 through 4). All DPS jobs should ignore Ifrit and focus on the nails in the appropriate order. As soon as you have a level 3 Limit Break, the Black Mage or Summoner should use it to destroy all of the nails. If for some reason you do not have a level 3 Limit by this point, you should gain it as soon as the first nail is destroyed. Time is of the essence while the nails are up. If all four nails are not defeated before Ifrit disappears, the Hellfire attack that follows will finish off the party.

If you do not have a Summoner or Black Mage to use a level 3 Limit on the nails, all DPS jobs should focus on the first nail. As soon as it's down, one DPS should move to the second nail and use a limit break to take it down. The rest of the DPS jobs should move to the third nail and finish it off as quickly as possible. Once the third nail is down you should have a level 1 Limit Break to help clear the last nail quickly.

Ifrit uses Hellfire no matter what, but as long as all four nails are down, Hellfire will not kill any party member at full health. The healers should quickly cure the party as the battle is not yet over.

Phase Four

Immediately following Hellfire, Ifrit enters the fourth and final phase. During this phase he uses all of the attacks from phases one and two in the following order: Outer Radiant Plume > Inner Radiant Plume > Eruption > Full Radiant Plume > Crimson Cyclone. Eruptions will almost always include multiple cracked areas, and the full version of Radiant Plume covers the entire arena except for a small section directly behind Ifrit. The strategy here is similar to phase two except that after the Eruptions all party members need to immediately run to Ifrit and stand directly behind him. The best way to do this is by running toward Ifrit to avoid the Eruptions, instead of running toward the outer edge of the arena. In addition, Crimson Cyclone in phase four consists of three Ifrits instead of two.

The keys to completing phase four are to ensure that all party members are close to Ifrit when Eruption comes to an end, stun Eruption when possible (do not waste stuns on Radiant Plume or anything else), and stack behind Ifrit as quickly as possible following the Eruptions in order to avoid the full Radiant Plume. If you can do this, you should defeat Ifrit fairly easily.