(This is companion piece to the Break Bar Guide - and the information in this guide is mainly relevant for the EoR period)
While Break Bars do not affect any of the Servants’ kits directly, the change in approach to Challenge Quests does leave a sizable impact on the usage of certain Servants. To illustrate some of the points we made in the main piece, we picked out some noteworthy Servants who are affected by the introduction of Break Bars, whether for better or worse. This is not an exhaustive list of every servant highly affected, but simply a selection that highlights what we ideally look for in Servant in regards to Break Bars.
Note that Break Bars still only comprise a (relatively small) part of the game. These aren’t Tier changes - but in time, they may affect the Tier List as a Servant’s overall performance is at least somewhat impacted. Many Servants were already judged with Break Bars in mind, except for a select few.
Servants with kits focused around sustained damage and utility become a lot more viable in Challenge Quests. Many AoE Servants also benefit tremendously from the switch to more sustained damage output compared to single bursts of damage. After all, Break Bars divide the bosses’ giant HP pools into several smaller pools, placing a limit on the maximum damage that can be dealt. Arts Servants with their constant output are excellent at dealing with Break Bars as well (as some of you undoubtedly noticed against Saber Alter in her Memorial Quest). Some notable examples include:
As the prime offensive Arts supports, naturally these Servants shine more with their constant and enduring performance. The nature of Arts cards themselves allow for frequent, but relatively low/medium damage output- perfect for steadily taking down powerful enemies.
The common Arts DPS staples (of which the listed are but a few), will profit just the same.
Invulnerability for the entire team is a very powerful tool to survive potentially game-ending buffs/attacks/NPs after triggering Break, and Jeanne is the only pure support aside from Merlin who can offer that on a regular basis. While her demerit from her Noble Phantasm currently can be quite frustrating to play around, her innate tankiness allows her to stay on the battlefield for a long time. Furthermore, the Maid of Orleans will receive her very influential buff, removing the stun to her Noble Phantasm, quite soon - making her a lot easier to use.
Amakusa’s AoE buff wipe niche has always been particularly useful for many tougher challenges. His problem has always been his somewhat mediocre damage output due to his general lack of class advantage against most enemies. However, Baptism Rite granting passive NP generation, the Ruler class’ innate tankiness, and his potential to remove dispellable Break Bar buffs make him extremely reliable for many Challenge Quests and their usual special effects.
We could list more and more strong AoE Servants here. The key component to what makes these Servants a more enticing pick against Break Bars, is their combination of powerful skills and NP generation. The lower damage multiplier on the AoE NP can be compensated for via their own critical/attack buffs over the course of multiple turns (3 turn buffs are a big premium). In addition, for quests with multiple enemies, an AoE NP is more versatile when it comes to Breaking Bars as Servants will not switch targets upon breaking an HP bar - which hinders ST NP users the most.
Both versions of MHX have decent sustained damage output as a result of their great NP and Star Generation. While they still need upgrades, their consistent high NP damage, frequent NPs, and stars generated, allow them to catch up somewhat in performance over multiple Break Bars.
We picked Enkidu here as a counterpart towards Scathach. Unlike Scathach who suffers from the introduction of Break Bars, Enkidu's sustained utility and tankiness, as well as their good generation stats, allow them to be a highly stable pick especially against Divine enemies.The longer the battle is, the more valuable Enkidu becomes - especially after their Skill Upgrade.
Most of the Servants who see less usage are high damage Servants with relatively low sustained damage or survivability, or "burst" supports whose support and utilities have poor uptime.
Kintoki is a powerful damage dealer with immense burst damage, who prior to this change was an excellent boss slayer in many teams. His main and biggest flaw is his lack of survival and short lived steroid. As Break Bars essentially prolong each fight, Kintoki naturally becomes less effective. Still, the Golden Man himself remains highly effective at quickly taking out 1 or 2 Break Bars via his NP charge and NP damage, even if he is not as almighty as before. Besides, Kintoki is a king of farming regardless.
While she is a lot more equipped for survival than Kintoki with an on-demand evasion and a highly reliable stun, she is hampered by her inconsistent NP generation rate, RNG-reliant first skill, and her other two steroids being single turn affairs. Her obscene single turn damage remains useful, but she is noticeably weaker against Break Bars
Li offers decent survivability and burst, but similar to Scathach has poor sustained damage over the course of a long battle as all effects on his skills last for only one turn. While Single Target Arts Lancers are rare, and Arts as a whole are very viable for Break Bars, his kit does not have the short cooldowns or duration an Arts team would typically prefer.
Powerful Single Target Burst Servants remain useful for farming, but for Break Bars, they are rather unsuited. Especially for Berserkers like Beowulf or Lu Bu, they will typically not survive long enough to slowly charge their next NP. Still, Lu Bu at least has the option to use his crit potential - but it shares its effect with his NP Damage buff.
AoE Servants that lack high NP generation or powerful 3-turn damage boosts do suffer under Break Bars, much like their ST counterparts. Often these high damage AoE Servants also come with a lack of survival skills, further making them more difficult to use in a prolonged battle.
Considering their entire kit revolves around one super powerful NP at low HP, it should come as no surprise that these pirates prefer a world without Break Bars. Luckily, their Archer counterpart is much more robust and has many more avenues for damage.
Very similar to most of the cases here in that Illya’s sustained damage is quite poor, especially after firing off her Noble Phantasm due to the demerit that it causes. Illya is still quite viable, but Sanzang’s NP spamming is often better suited for dealing with the rigors of Challenge Quests.
Mozart is often a nice budget pick to round off an Arts team, or to supply Critical Stars. However, the single turn nature of his skills will only benefit a single Break Bar - unless they are staggered. Ideally, a different Servant with longer lasting buffs would be used.
Some Servants excelled without Break Bars, and will continue to excel even with Break Bars. Plenty of Servants could fit here, but we picked a few Servants that we’d like to discuss.
Have no fear, everyone’s favorite dog will continue to perform amazingly well, and his survival and sustained damage will continue to be his greatest boon.
While Jeanne d’Arc (Alter) will eventually fall off in performance, the cause behind it will not be the Break Bar mechanic. Jeanne d’Arc (Alter)’s greatest strength is her many different sources of damage and ways to break HP bars. She can NP one Break Bar, then critical hit the other the next turn, for example. She has some added survival, and her all-important critical skill lasts for 3 turns to boot.
With their high damage, these excellent budget Servants are a staple for many new Masters. They will continue to perform well, but neither of them charge their NP very well, even in dedicated teams for their niche. Robin’s bursty nature is not ideal, but his compatibility with Arts teams makes up for it.
Lancer Alter is a perfect example of a bursty Servant, but one who has access to 2 potential ways to break a bar: her NP or her critical potential. As a result, she can perform very well regardless of having to deal with Break Bars. Masters will have to strategize more, but she remains an excellent pick for most Challenge Quests - unlike her Saber counterpart.