Ok so i've actually been wondering since abyssea whats the best bloodpact? I don't mean situationally I mean overall. Is predator claws still champ or has the amount of TP bonus gear for avatars allowed merit bloodpacts to outstrip it?
Well, the great thing about Summoner is that it can change the damage type as the situation requires. The best BP to use will always be situational. I use different Avatars all the time depending on what I am fighting (weak to blunt? Ramuh/Titan, Physical resistant? Shiva for Heavenly Strike).
Basically, if your enemy is weak to a certain element it may be in your best interest to use that merit BP, otherwise Pred Claws is still one of the best Phys BPs. I also make a lot of use out of Ramuh these days as his Chaotic Strike can be very accurate and with the right atmas can push out some decent damage and on top of all that has a great stun effect!
Also I admittedly don't know a lot about this job, is bloodpact timer gear still useful? Seems like none of the AF3 gear has anything that helps with the cast. Or can it still be used and the af3 set macroed in right before the bloodpact goes off?
-BP timer gear is definitely still very useful. The AF3 gear does not have it, but with all the other options available (Relic gear from Dynamis, YY Robe, the new Accord Hat)you can easily max out your -BP timer as it caps at -15 seconds. So basically, switch to -BP gear as you activate the BP then immediately switch to your SMN skill gear and Avatar attack/MATK depending on the BP.
Also when I see summoners use merit bloodpacts I always see them use shiva over other avatars even tho there's supposed to be more magic atk atmas geared towards elements other than ice. Any reason for that?
The main reason for the use of Shiva is three atmas: Minikin Monstrosity, Atma of the Ultimate, and Atma of the Beyond. Ice is a great element as a large portion of enemies are weak to it. Pairing up these three atma and with full 5/5 merits into Heavenly Strike, Shiva can tear through mobs. I often hit over 4k HS on dolls in Altepa. Basically for any element that you want to nuke with pair up MM, Ultimate and then add in the atma with your element. Ice is great because Beyond also includes a nice chunk of MAtk.