MM’s Guide to Puppetmaster~

Few times now, I’ve been asked “How do I PUP”, so going to write a quick guide to my favourite job~

  1. Maneuvers
  2. Automaton Head + Frames
  3. Attachments
  4. Playing the Master ~ TP Gear Basics
  5. Playing the Master ~ Stringing Pummel Gear Basics
  6. Merits
  7. Subjobs

1. Maneuvers

  • Influences

Maneuvers are the tool in which Puppetmasters control their automatons. They don’t give a direct “Use this maneuver, automaton does X” control, but they influence how the automaton will behave while that maneuver is up. This comes in to play mostly on the Mage Frames, but it also influences weapon skill selection.

Quick list of influences maneuvers can have

  • On the ranger frame, if you have more Fire or Thunder Manuevers then Dark up, and the Automaton uses a WS, it will use Arcuballista or Daze (Will default to Armour Piercer w/ no Fire Thunder or Dark Maneuvers up, or if the number of Dark Maneuvers are higher then Fire and Thunder)
  • On the Melee Frame, String Clipper WS is based on the Thunder Maneuver, Chimera Ripper is based on the fire Maneuver, Cannibal Blade is based upon Dark maneuver, and Bone rusher is based upon Light. Again, which ever maneuver has the highest number up, it will use. If it’s equal, the order of WS Priority goes Bone Crusher > Cannibal Blade, > String Clipper > Chimera Ripper
  • On the mage frames (harlequin included), the WSs are Slapstick – which is related to the Thunder Maneuver, Knockout – which is related to the Wind Maneuver, and Magic Mortar, which is related to the Light Maneuver
  • Stat Gain

A secondary effect to maneuvers, is that they raise the stats of your automaton, depending on the maneuver selected.

I.e., PUP uses Fire Maneuver, Automaton now has +1~7 STR (+1~8 if you use that AF  hands).

So if a PUP uses Fire Maneuver twice, followed by an Ice Maneuver, they would gain up to +16 STR and +8 INT.

List of stats and related maneuvers:

Fire – STR

Thunder – Dex

Earth – VIT

Wind – Agi

Ice – INT

Water – MND

Light – CHR

Dark – None

  • Spell Influencing

As with WSs, on mage frames, your use of Maneuvers influence which spells your automaton will cast. This really comes into play on the Soulsoother head, and the Stormwaker Frame, and a little bit with the Spiritreaver Head.

As a general rule for Magic Frame/Head combos

  1. Light Maneuvers give a higher priority for Cures
  2. Dark maneuvers give a higher priority to Bio, Drain/Aspir and Absorb INT (SpiritReaver only)
  3. Water maneuver gives a priority to Poison, as well as using -Na line of spells on party members (Soulsoother only)
  4. Wind Maneuvers gives a priority to use Silence
  5. Earth maneuvers gives a priority to use Slow
  6. Ice Maneuvers gives a priority to paralyse and nuke spells

See this web page for a list of automaton spells

2. Automaton Head + Frames

What I shall discuss in this part, as I have already covered Weapon skills and spell priorites in the previous part of my guide, is a number of Frame/Head Combos I find myself using in various situations

Sharpshooter Head + Frame

No suprises here, this is a pure damage setup – It uses ranged attacks and melee attacks, and has a number of ranged WSs – at high level it’s main WS is Armour Piercer, which is it’s highest priority without maneuvers, and is thankfully it’s most powerful. This is a great head/frame combo to use if your also punching things along side your automaton, as the Sharpshooter head doesn’t make the Automaton run into melee attack range – which is where most of it’s TP is built, so get it in melee range!

Valoredge Head +  Sharpshooter Frame

Again, a powerful DD combo thanks to the Sharpshooter frame – it’s very rare I use this combo, as the main differences are different attachment allowance, and that the AI of the Valoredge head makes the automaton close into attack range. I’ve mostly used this in Salvage, where I want the automaton to close in with opponents that I might not be attacking.

Valoredge Head + Frame

A useful combo, it’s got high HP, and after a recent update it can take damage far better then other frame combos. This was a popular favourite of mine during the time where fights against mobs like Kirin were kited – it’s Cannibal Blade WS is a WS that cannot miss, cannot be resisted, and heals the automaton. It’s damage is directly converted to the automatons HP, and it’s damage is based almost solely off it’s Melee combat skill.

Various mage heads + Stormwaker Frame

Pretty obvious – Attach the Stormwaker head for Cures and Nukes, Attach the Spiritreaver Head for BLM style nukes, and attach the Soulsoother for WHM style automaton.

All 3 of the above combos have their uses, Stormwaker/Stormwaker for when you really dont want the automaton to ever cast a status removal spell, or where you don’t need the cure power of the Soulsoother but would like a nuke or two. Spiritreaver/Stormwaker for a powerful nuke bot which can rival the best of BLMs, and Soulsoother/Stormwaker for curing yourself and others.

3. Automaton Attachments

Attachments, they are half of  what defines the difference between a good puppetmaster, and a terrible one. To not get the correct attachments for your automaton, is exactly the same as forgetting your TP gear. Some attachments boost the automaton to broken levels – get them, or be gimp. I’m going to go down the list in alphabetical order, explaining what they do, and where to use them.

  • The Attachments – What they do

The Accelerator attachments (Tier 1 and 2)

These boost evasion, best used on the Valoredge head and frame combo for tanking, but can make a great “filler” attachment if you have space left over and you want to put something mildly useful in.


Increased chance to dodge TP moves if the enemy has already used the TP move – fairly weak, don’t lose any sleep over not having this.

Armour Plate attachments (Tier 1 and 2)

These are great on the tanking setup (Valor/Valor) automatons, and a nice filler for other automatons – easy to get, so get them


Boosts automaton’s attack against stronger enemys – This is a good DD attachment against stronger enemies (in level).

AutoRepair Kit I and II

These are brokenly powerful regen attachments, combined they have a total of 26 HP/Tic regen on the Valoredge frame. The regen values vary frame to frame.


It’s double attack – this is a fantastic TP attachment, get it or be gimp.


Used to be one of the top attachments for me – Having a water maneuver up when you overload means the water maneuver is used instead of you overloading, fantastic for putting up 3 ice maneuvers back in the day, but with 3 Reduce elemental burden items (Af3+1/2 body, Buffoon’s collar, AF1 Hands), it’s not as valueable – still worth getting though

Damage Guage

The best healing attachment, it raises the priority of cure spells (But never above the priority of a status heal). Great for Soulsoother head with the Stormwaker frame.

Drum Magazine

Increases ranged attack speed but you lose ranged accuracy – this used to be a very bad tradeoff, so I’ve never personally used it.


Ah, the one attachment I never had, it boosts critical hit rate – worthless outside of abyssea, much more powerful inside these days with atmas


Consumes Dark Maneuver(s) to give automaton MP – it’s like popping a hi-ether, it’s powerful but a luxary item.


Reduces damaged recieved based upon how much damage you would have taken – the formula for damage reduction is based upon the automatons max HP, and how many earth attachments you have up – could be great for your tanking setup. See the below chart for how it works.


This is removes debuff effects and all your current maneuvers – could be highly useful situationally

Flame Holder

Converts fire maneuvers up into extra damage on WSs – This is a powerful attachment. Usually you wont have more then 1 fire maneuver up for WS, but it enhances the damage by a lot. (+0.25 to the fTP modifier with 1 fire maneuver)


Does what it says on the tin, it’s the spell Flash, but without any hate. Can be used every 30 seconds, triggered by having a light maneuver up. It’s nice to have – infact I have it on 90% of the time.


Possibly adds a slow effect to Valoredge frame’s shieldbash, and increases damage of Shieldbash. Not particularly great

Heat Seeker

Gradually increases accuracy over time – it’s a nice attachment


Reduces the rate of fire maneuver overload – pretty useless, don’t think I’ve ever equipped it

Ice Maker

Similar to Flame Holder – but boosts Nukes with Ice Manuevers instead of Fire for WSs. Adds 20% damage for 1 ice maneuver, 40% for 2, and 60% for 3 – since most folks nuke with 3 ice manuevers up, it’s God-Like powerful. Get it or be gimp.


In laymans terms – this stops the automaton from WSing while your TP is above 80~90%, and it will only WS to Skillchain with the next person it can, or until your TP is back at 0% from WSing. Very limited in it’s usability.

Loudspeaker I and II

Powerful Magic Attack Bonus attachments, great for nuking. Get it or be gimp!


Makes automatons cast spells more often – Fantastic for WHM combo on the frame, pretty good for BLM combo.

Mana Channeler

Increases magic recast for increased magic attack – It’s either going to be good, or not so good in a nuking situation depending on if you want power, or your high tier nukes to be cast more often. I’ve used it a number of times for larger numbers

Mana Conserver

It’s simply Conserve MP. Having no dark maneuver gives the automaton Conserve MP +20. So it’s nice to have!

Mana Converter

It’s Convert on your automaton – Cuts it’s HP in half, and it gains MP back over time for the HP lost (Not instantly like RDM’s convert).

Mana Jammer I and II

It’s Magic Defence Bonus, situationally really good! Easy to get, so get them.

Mana Tank I and II

It’s a very powerful refresh attachment(s). Up to 16 MP/Tic refresh with 3 dark maneuvers up on the Stormwaker frame.

Optic Fiber

Increases the performance of other attachments – It’s without a doubt one of the most powerful attachments, and one you’ll very very very rarely unequip. Only attachments it doens’t boost (apparently) is Analyzer and Ice Maker. It’s a 10% boost without a light maneuver up, so it’s fantastic 100% of the time.

Pattern Reader

Over time increases evasion – not so great

Reactive Shield

Gives blaze spikes – not fantastic, but could be used on the tanking frame I suppose, but you’ll have better DD attachments to equip 😛


When HP is low, convert wind maneuvers into Blink shadows (NOT UTSUSEMI), good survival tool


Occasionally scans target’s magical resistances – it’s terrible. Don’t use it, especially on a nuking frame


Can remove an earth maneuver to reduce severe physical damage (Damage that would oneshot an automaton). Potentially useful.


Increases ranged accuracy – Use it on the sharpshooter frame at all times for WS accuaracy

Shock Absorber

Gives a 100 Damage Stoneskin effect, broken at low level, weak at high level.

Smoke Screen

Decreases accuracy, increases evasion. Relatively weak

Stabilizer I and II

Increases accuracy, a top DD attachment.

Stealth Screen

Reduces enmity

Steam Jacket

Reduces damage taken from attacks that are the same type in a row – if your automaton is getting bomb by AoE nukes all the time, this can be useful.


Provoke attachment, increases enmity. Nice for a tanking automaton, I’ve rarely used it outside of Salvage

Tactical Processor

No one knows what it does, except for the fact it increases the chance to overload. Don’t use it ever.

Target Marker

Increases accuracy if fighting a higher level enemy – it’s pretty good

Tension Spring I and II

A straight increase to attack and ranged attack – use it, love it for DD


Increases magic accuracy – Fantastic nuking attachment if your getting resisted. Same for Enfeebles

Turbo Charger

GET THIS. It’s haste on your automaton. 5% with 0 wind maneuvers up, 15% with 1, 20% with 2, and 25% with 3 up. It’s fucking fantastic!

Volt Gun

Adds lightning damage to attacks – pretty weak, nice if you have sod all else to put on I guess?

  • Attachment Setup ideas

I’m just going to post the setups I use for various frame combos. Feel free to use these setups, or change them as you see fit!

Valoredge Head+Frame

Used this for minor damage and some tanking on Carabosse.

Optic Fibre             | Flashbulb     | Mana Jammer II | Tension Spring

Tension Spring II | Attuner         |  Accelerator II     | Turbo Charger

Armour Plate II   | Hammermill | Coiler                      | Stabilizer II

Looking back on this setup – I could have swapped the Hammermill for Armour Plate I, or the Equalizer for better tanking. I swapped to this setup “on the fly” mid battle, so it’s not a great setup.Very much built for tanking and not dealing damage.

Sharpshooter Head + Frame

Tension Spring | Tension Spring II | Flame Holder    | Scope

Turbo Charger | Coiler                         | Stabilizer II        | Stealth Screen

Flashbulb          | Optic Fiber               | Armour Plate II | Accelerator II

Max damage frame, with 2 spare slots so I threw on Armour Plate II and Accelerator II for defence and evasion.

Soulsoother Head and Stormwaker Frame

Economizer    | Mana Tank II   | Optic Fiber       | Damage Guage

Flashbulb        | AutoRepair kit | Stealth Screen | Turbo Charger

Mana Booster | Tranquilizer     | Stabilizer II      | Condenser

Setup to manage MP, prioritse cures, keep hate low on the automaton, and it can land a few enfeebles if needed. Can replace autorepair kit for a damage increasing or defensive attachment as required, same as Stabilizer II’s acc boost, can replace it for other attachments.

Spiritreaver Head + Stormwaker Frame

Ice Maker         | Loudspeaker II   | Loud Speaker    | Turbo Charger

Stealth Screen | Mana Channeler | Condenser           | Optic Fiber

Mana Tank II  | Mana Tank            | Mana Conserver | Economizer

Setup for Maximum nuke damage, high MP to try to prevent it from casting Aspir, Stealth screen to (hopefully) help hate, and MP recovery. Could probably swap out Mana Conserver and Economizer for defensive attachments if needed. If you want spells more often and with less resists, replace Loud Speaker II with Mana Booster and Tranqulizer.

4. Playing the Master ~ TP Gear Basics

So your automaton is sorted, next up is making sure YOU are geared up and ready to go. The 2 main sets you require is a TP set, and a WS set – The WS of choice is Stringing Pummel, get it or be gimped!

So a TP set to start with. This set is designed for you to firstly, get 100% TP as quickly as possible. For PUP that will use as much haste as you can get. You can find Martial Arts gear, but while you swing faster, you gain less TP per swing. So it’s a double edged sword.

Haste from gear caps at 25%. Due to the fact haste is calculated on a n/1024 scale, you actually require OVER 25% of haste in game to reach the actual cap (You need 25.4% haste listed in game to reach the actual cap, so you should attempt to get 26% haste listed on your TP gear).

After you have as much haste on your setup, you can add items to increase number of swings in your attack round (Double attack + items), or damage increasing items (Attack+, STR+ etc).

I’m going to list my current TP gear below, and offer alternatives and upgrades from what I have. Hopefully this will allow you to make a decent setup of your own based upon what I have.

  • Weapon – Buattinaios  – Can be replaced with decent Trial of the Magians H2H (STR path, or Empyrean/WoE), a decently augmented Savate Fists (DMG+4/5 and Crit Hit Rate+).
  • Ranged – Animator of various types – Animator +1 is the best. Settle for Turbo if you dont have that.
  • Head – Cirque Capello +1 – Upgrade to +2, or use Walhara Turban as a minimum.
  • Neck – Faith Torque – This can raise base damage, but if this piece doesn’t do that, go for a Tiercel Necklace or an Acc+ neck piece
  • Earrings – Brutal Earring and Kemas Earring – Pretty much the best earrings, get brutal, and can replace Kemas with a high attack+ or STR+ earring
  • Body – Goliard Saio – Best haste body we have, potentially replaced with AF3+1/2.
  • Hands – Pantin Dastanas +1 – Can use the NQ, or any other Haste hands for TP (Ocelot Gloves, Aurore)
  • Rings – Keen Ring and Rajas Ring – Any Acc/Atk+ ring can work, use your own discretion. Rajas is the best. Get it.
  • Back – Pantin Cape – Can also use Karagoz Mantle, Aesir Mantle if you have no other options.
  • Waist – Twlight Belt – Cirque Sash is the next downgrade, or Swift Belt. Shaolin Belt is a pretty poor choice for Master TP
  • Legs – Cirque Pantaloni +2 – AF3+1 version also works, or Aurore/Usukane/Ocelot
  • Feet – Aurore Gaiters – Upgrade to usukane, or the Dominion Trophy Feet augmented with Haste+3

5. Playing the Master ~ Stringing Pummel Gear Basics

Gearing up for Stringing Pummel!

Things to know about SPummel – It’s a critical hit weaponskill with 6 hits. It needs accuracy, and Dex boosts accuracy and critical hit rate. It’s Damage Multipliers don’t change from 100~300%, so don’t hold TP. It’s modifiers are STR and VIT. With these in mind, to boost damage you should raise Hand-to-Hand skill, Attack, Strength, Critical Hit Damage traits, Accuracy and Dex. Make sure all 6 hits land as many times as possible, and then increase damage.

Make your own decisions on this set, if you cant get what I’ve suggested, use your common sense!

  • Weapon – Buattinaios  – Can be replaced with decent Trial of the Magians H2H (STR path, or Empyrean/WoE), a decently augmented Savate Fists (DMG+4/5 and Crit Hit Rate+).
  • Ranged – Animator of various types – Animator +1 is the best. Settle for Turbo if you dont have that.
  • Head – Anwig Salade (Augments: STR+4 WS:acc+15) – Can replace with a number of items, Tokon Hachimaki works
  • Neck – Faith Torque – Dont use this if it doesn’t raise your base damage, use either an accuracy piece, or damage raising stats/traits as I mentioned above
  • Earrings – Brutal Earring + Kemas Earring – Brutal is still the best, use it 100%. Kemas has STR and VIT, both modifiers of SPummel, and Accuracy, it’s almost perfect!
  • Body – Ginhaku Togi (Augmented with VsBirds: Atk+7) – A Personal Favourite, it has STR, attack, accuracy and boosts critical hit damage! It’s a good investment, and can add evoliths for extra power. Use Af3+1/2 or usukane otherwise
  • Hands – Enkidu Mittens – Good stats for Pummel, STR DEX and Acc. Can be replaced with the hands from the Ginhaku set, or  AF3+1/2
  • Rings – Rajas Ring and Flame Ring – Just stack STR here, unless you need accuracy
  • Back – Same as your TP set.
  • Waist – Sentry Belt works great, otherwise camp a Virtuoso belt for a downgrade, or a Shaolin Belt
  • Legs – Usukane Hizayoroi – AF3+1 or 2 also make a good choice here
  • Feet – Rager Ledelsens – Otherwise AF1+1 works great here too!

6. Merits

Merits for PUP are very straight forward, below is what I merited

  • Non PUP Specific Merits

HP 8/8 – More HP can’t go amiss

STR 5/5 – Best choice, don’t pick anything else

Hand-To-Hand 8/8 – No Excuses, H2H is the best category to merit for Combat.

Critical Hit Rate 4/4 – Extra chance to crit on SPummel!!

  • PUP Specific Merits

Group 1

Your choices for Group 1 are

  • Automaton Melee Skill – This effects all your automatons, it’s a fantastic choice
  • Automaton Ranged Skill – It’ll boost Sharpshooter only… and not by much
  • Automaton Magic Skill – It’ll help your automaton get magic spells sooner, with more accuracy
  • Activate Recast – Worthless before DeusEx Automata, SuperWorthless after it
  • Repair Recast – It’s a low enough recast as it is, especially with Auto-Repair Kits and Role Reversal merit

So the best choice here without a doubt, is put 5 merits into Melee and Magic skill, and you’re done for Group 1!

On to group 2, your choices are

  • Role Reversal (JobAbility that swaps your Hp and your automaton’s) – This is a good little cure cheat to top yourself or your automatons HP off
  • Ventriloquy (JobAbility that swaps your enmity and your automaton’s) – Great for tanking/making your pet tank, or just getting a mob off your mage frame automaton
  • Fine-Tuning (JobTrait that gives +5 to accuary, ranged accuracy, evasion and magic defence for each merit) – This is a nice upgrade, but not as good as Optimization
  • Optimization (JobTrait that gives +5% attack,  Defence, and Magic Attack (Just +5, not a % on Magic Attack).

So the choices get harder here, the two job abilities are powerful, so I put 1 merit into each. The 25 magic attack on Optimization, is far too powerful to go without, that went 5/5. This leaves me with 3 points to place! So Fine-Tuning for the various boosts made me 10/10 on group 2.

Of course, it’s my own opinion that I’ve merited PUP in the best possible way, you may disagree, but I think your wrong!

7. Subjob

Ah subjobs… this used to be a hard pick for PUPs.

Ninja gave us shadows, Warrior gave us double attack and berserk for damage, Dragoon gave us jumps and a haste earring choice, and Dancer gave us cures from TP and now gives Haste Samba

These days, the choice is much easier to make – Dragoon’s earring is fairly useless these days, as we can get haste elsewhere.

So between WAR NIN and DNC, the choice is surviveability and damage.

So use /Warrior if you want more damage, /NIN for more survivability, and /DNC is somewhere between, giving self cures, and self haste, but not as powerful as /WAR and not as great defensively as /NIN

Playing the Master ~ TP Gear Basics
2 Responses to “MM’s Guide to Puppetmaster~”
  1. Mike B. says:

    Thank you so much for this guide! I’m still learning to play Pup (loving it!), but there’s a real dearth of info out there about the job. While this doesn’t seem to cover all the way to 99, it’s still been far more valuable than the millions of outdated guides I’ve found everywhere else. Awesome job!

    • MM says:

      Cheers Mike, I think I was writing this when the level cap was only 80-90, I stopped playing FFXI around about 6 months to a year ago now. I can happily find my final gear sets as what I’ve posted here is certainly not what I was wearing at level 99! Or if you have any questions feel free to ask and ill try to see what I can do

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