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MMM - Blooming Bladeswomen Brandish Bastardous Blades Beligerently, Bitter Deadbeat Braces Bullpup... (Summer 2019 Part 1 Gacha)

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The Modern Magus Magazine

Hello, one and all, and welcome to the Modern Magus Magazine - where the Seals of Approval are made up and the Recommendations don’t matter. This will be the first issue of my humble critically opinionistic analysis of new servants added to the JP server of Fate/Grand Order to be published on Gamepress’s site, so hopefully I will be greeting both my regular readers and some newcomers. 

The format is very simple - I look at the new servants, talk about them, tell you what I think is good or bad (and it’s usually right, wouldn’t be a worthwhile thing to read if not), then put fake awards on them to tell lazy skim-readers if they’re worth rolling for. Don’t worry about doing that last part. I do it with most content in the world, so I won’t blame you for doing the same.

With no further ado, we have a handful of girls from the first gacha and our event Welfare to discuss, so I’ll get right into the…’titular’ brass tacks.

NA Release Date: 8/2021

Miyamoto Musashi (Berserker)

A very popular guess for the many pundits of this year’s swimsuit options, Musashi is popular, a Saber, and an important story servant, so after almost all the possible Saberface options got exhausted over the past three summers, her inclusion is almost a given. Boy, she has a lot of unique outfits, though. Yankee stereotype western swimsuit is naturally the best, however. Got to pull one over my cousins across the pond somehow, haven’t I?

Berserker
Max HP 12,150
HP Rank
Max ATK 12,712
ATK Rank
Base Atk1,964Base HP1,782
Max Atk 12,712 Max HP 12,150
Grail Atk 13,915 Grail HP 13,311
Madness Enhancement EX

Increase your Buster Card effectiveness by 12%.

Magic Resistance C

Increase your Debuff Resist by 15%.

Riding D

Increase your Quick Card effectiveness by 4%.

Divinity D

Apply Damage Plus for yourself (Total Card Damage +125).

As an SSR Berserker, Summer Musashi has a lot to meet in terms of the offensive department, but thankfully she has no issues in that regard. With an identical base statline to Kintoki Berserker, she has an obscenely high attack stat (almost reaching 14,000 atk after the Berserker 1.1x class attack modifier), and pretty awful HP in exchange.

For Berserkers, while having low HP is still an issue, it’s something of an efficient exchange - more HP will make them live longer, sure, but at the same time it’s half as efficient for a stat which is already considered generally worse to have high than Atk, especially for an offensive servant; Musashi Summer is most assuredly one of said offensive servants.

Moving on to Musashi’s passives, we have a delightful array of useful quirks. Madness Enhancement EX provides a huge boost to her Buster cards, making them some of the most powerful in the game, as the 12% boost she gets is far superior to Kintoki’s 2% and Cu Alter’s 6% respectively. With D-rank Riding and Divinity on top of that, the majority of her cards are getting a moderate boost to damage, pushing her offensive power even higher than it first appears. Lastly, C-rank Magic Resistance’s Debuff Resistance boost will give her a moderate chance to shrug off debuffs, especially debilitating ones with low proc rates such as Charms or Stuns, a useful trait in a class which usually lacks passive Debuff Resistance.

Musashi’s got a lot of style with her second sword draw, and in some senses she’s a grandmaster:

Fairly self-sufficient in all aspects. Musashi Berserker’s NP gain, hard defensive options, and offensive damage output are all good enough to function without the addition of a support servant to bolster them. That isn’t to say she doesn’t appreciate a Hans or Tamamo popping in to buff her up, but she doesn’t have any fatal weaknesses that will get her killed on turn 1, at least.

High basic card damage. Musashi Berserker has an immense attack stat, good passives, an independent 30% damage boost to her Arts cards, a 1-turn 50% crit damage buff, and a huge 3-turn damage buff to further add to all that. Musashi’s Buster crits are some of the nastiest in the game as a result, which is contextualised by her class letting her tackle most quests in the game competently.

Amazing NP refund and 3-turn looping potential. I’ve already gone into the exact details, but Musashi is a staple for 3-turn loops now, and a rare non-Quick-focused option that can work on a relatively budget setup of Paracelsus, Ascelpius, and Tamamo Support.

Moderate Utility. While certainly not edging toward being a support, Musashi Berserker has a 3-turn Invincibility Pierce for herself, a def down on the enemy, her NP’s crit rate down and very consistent NP seal, if only for Saber-class foes. In combination with some stall-oriented supports, she makes an effective damage dealer for such teams, both accelerating the clearing of the quest while keeping the enemy locked down from pulling out sudden crits or NP’ing sooner than necessary (if at all).

However, she’s also more like the black swordsman (and not the one with an artificial arm):

While she has a pair of pinch hard defensive options in her evasion and guts, her long-term durability is severely hampered by her class and Demonic Thundering Eye’s 5k HP demerit. It can be patched up by healing and defensive buffs, but it’s definitely something to be compensated for unless you like stacking up evasion and invincibility up on her at 1hp.

Musashi Berserker has a number of good reasons to get critical stars - her high damage output, Accel Turn’s crit damage buff, and her demand for more NP gauge to keep looping her NP. However, she has no means of producing or gathering a vast sum of stars, meaning she can’t capitalize on that speciality without team support.

Verdict:

On the whole, Musashi Berserker is obscenely good. Her universal Arts AOE farming niche is something we haven’t yet gotten, and she also does it with very little effort. On top of that, she just has a very effective toolkit for more difficult quests - high damage output on her card chains, a number of useful tools, good defensive options for NPs, and some stall support to synergize with her Arts focus. She may not boast the greatest defenses or offense of any Berserker for any given goal, but she has a powerful niche she excels at, and she is competent as tackling difficult content, as well. Rath™ Seal of Approval, with a recommendation.

Osakabehime (Archer)

Don’t worry, the guns are just papercraft. But uh, with Osakabeihime’s ability to make papercraft into deadly weapons that may not be such a reassurance. And with her character as a NEET, I’ll try my best not to touch the low-hanging fruit that always shows up when you give a social reject a couple of automatic rifles.

Archer
Max HP 12,476
HP Rank
Max ATK 8,895
ATK Rank
Base Atk1,482Base HP1,996
Max Atk 8,895 Max HP 12,476
Grail Atk 10,770 Grail HP 15,127
Magic Resistance B

Increase your Debuff Resist by 17.5%.

Independent Action A

Increase your Critical Strength by 10%.

Divinity C-

Apply Damage Plus for yourself (Total Card Damage +145).

Castle Creation B

Increase your Arts Card effectiveness by 8%.
Apply Damage Cut by 200 for yourself.

Osahime Archer’s base stats definitely lean on the defensive side, with the tied-highest HP stat of any 4* Archer alongside Atalanta, albeit with slightly higher attack. Justice for my catgirl, I say. With the Archer class’s 0.95x attack modifier, that doesn’t result in the most overwhelming offenses possible, but at the very least she has some bulk to go with.

Osahime Archer initially has some typical passives for an Archer, if high-ranked ones. Independent Action A gives a notable boost to her crit damage, while B-rank Magic Resistance is a worthy piece of protection from debuffs. The real point of interest is her reasonable C- rank Divinity and unique Castle Creation passive, resulting in a 145 damage boost to all her cards, 200 damage cut, and 8% Arts booster. The damage cut and Arts boost are especially noticeable, giving her something like a half-Waver damage cut permanently, as well as making her already-good Arts cards even better.

So how is Osahime Archer? On one hand she has a lot of perks to her, so much so she can be seen fit to lead an Echelon:

With her passives, the crit damage boost from Shooting (FPS) and her NP, she makes for one of the more fearsome crit damage Archers around. Her card set may hamper how much she can put out compared to most, but she also gains plenty of benefits from said card set that don’t involve damage. And hell, her Arts cards pack a punch, too.

Possessing a BAAAQ card set, good NP gain, and a multitude of Arts boosts, Osahime Archer has really good NP gain, more than enough to be considered self-sufficient when you factor in her decent stargen and Archer star weight. She gets nearing 50% gauge refund from a NPAA crit chain, and even then putting her Arts cards in as an Arts chain starter is great for team support and herself alike.

She possesses good supportive ability from the combination of her team attack up and sure hit, as well as the buffs from her NP. Being one of the few means of letting an ally hit through evasion is also a big help, and can make her a situational sub-in for fights where you need to beat evasion on turn 1.

However, her flaws leaving you feeling like you want to have her de-commissioned for cores:

Her NP damage just isn’t good. Even with a NP power up CE she barely reaches passable AOE damage for her NP in a class filled with plenty of great AOE NP’s in both her own rarity and outside it. Osahime Archer just can’t compete.

While she does have a defensive skill in Shooting (FPS), it really isn’t enough to function as both a crit damage skill and a defensive clutch. You will probably have to choose between popping it for the damage boost or saving it to survive a NP, and either option wastes its full potential. And outside of that evasion, she isn’t particularly durable - 200 damage cut helps, but it certainly isn’t going to save her from big crits or just sheer power from a challenging boss servant.

Verdict

While Osahime Archer is certainly a unique servant, she is filled with as many flaws as she does have neat abilities. For the purpose of a dedicated crit damage Archer with added team support she’s a powerful and welcome addition, but she aims for many roles and only excels at a few - mainly her team support and crit damage output. If you aim for a Buster crit monster or powerful AOE Archer, I’d recommend searching elsewhere. But hey, a girl’s gotta fund her hobbies, and she puts those skills to good use on the battlefield. Rath™ Seal of Approval.

Carmilla (Rider)

Looking cool, Carmilla! In a range of outfits from completely shameless Persona reference to the doujin swimsuit look, no matter what I say in this article I’ll admit Carmilla is good lookin’. And she has a swankin’ car - what’s not to like?

Going by base stats, Carmilla has a mediocre total but manages to put it where it counts - having the 2nd best attack stat of any 4* Rider in exchange for the worst HP. But honestly that highlights how absurd Kintoki Rider’s stat total is more than anything else. She hits hard, and that’s always a good baseline for a class with middling base stats in the first place.

Carmilla Rider’s Passive lineup is unique and mostly-confusing. Lacking the Magic Resistance and Riding which naturally comes to her class, she instead is pulling a Shiki and has a pseudo-Assassin class skill set of Independent Action and Presence Concealment. Independent Action with Rider star weight is a very effective combo to work with, and the passive star generation increase from Presence Concealment greatly helps her star generation all round. But I’d prefer Riding, in all honesty.

So how is Carmilla Rider? On one side of things, she’s a true Phantom Thief:

Good star generation, an essentially-team critical damage buff and a star bomb on top of her AOE def down makes her an effective critical damage support for both herself and potential allies. Her Rider star weight does make playing a backseat role more difficult, but with the right Quick teams you can be so soaked in stars it doesn’t matter.

With a targeted skill seal, crit rate down, NP drain, and AOE buff block, she has a wide range of utility tools at her disposal, many of which synergize effectively with stall teams. While Quick cards and stall doesn’t work too well as a combo, she won’t be a complete deadweight in a more Arts-focused team if one so desires.

Weaknesses intro here.

Her damage output short of crits is pretty terrible, lacking the NP spam power to take advantage of her Quick focus, and generally just having weak offensive buffs, making any kind of farming short of QP dailies pretty difficult.

While Mistress C is a neat heal skill, Carmilla is sorely lacking in defensive options otherwise, which isn’t a great position to be in with her low max HP. While stray crits may be off the menu due to her Calling Card, Noble Phantasms or just unlucky attack focus will still body her pretty quickly.

Verdict

Carmilla Rider, to put it in the most expressive way I can think of, amounts to nothing. She has a handful of neat tools, but her kit doesn’t express itself into an end goal. She isn’t an exceptionally good crit damage dealer, or support, or AOE waveclear, or NP damage dealer. She may do some of those things to a degree, but none of said niches are strong enough for her to be justifiably be taken over other options. Her sketchy and imbalanced NP gain doesn’t help much either, making getting her NP itself something of a question more than an assurance, even if she has a starting NP gauge CE assisting her.

She might have all the style and a pretty face, but her actual performance is something of a disgrace.

Katsushika Hokusai (Saber)

There is such a thing as too many swords to a Saber, just as one bow is far too many for an Archer. I think Hokusai Saber might barely go over that limit. But the Van Gogh on her outfit manages to reign it in, I think. Looking co-, oh, already said that one. Uh. Let’s just do the review.

I’ll be frank with this one, Hokusai has pretty terrible BST for her class, it just doesn’t look like it because the Saber class has a lot of poor-BST units, which are then carried by the fact Sabers have great BST as a baseline. With the 7th-worst Atk and 7th-best HP on a very long list of Sabers, Hokusai Saber leans more defensively with her statline, but isn’t exactly golden in either aspect. Just pretty average.

For the first time, we have a set of passives that is completely uninteresting. C-rank Magic Resistance is some handy passive resistance to debuffs, but pretty weak for most Sabers. Hell, even Nero says it in Extra. I guess it’s natural for a heroic spirit that barely qualified at being one in the first place to have poor MR when becoming a ‘real’ class.

Also she has E-rank Divinity. Get a neat 100 extra damage slapped onto all her cards, isn’t it cool?

Does Hokusai have the mettle to match all her masterpieces? On one hand, she’s a stroke of genius:

Her NP is simply great. Not in terms of complex overcharge effects or anything so detailed, but merely in damage output and refund. This NP hits like a truck, has its steroids last 3 turns, is easily spammable and facilitates even more gauge generation for Hokusai in brave chains. Simplicity is sometimes best.

She has strong potential as a crit damage dealer, possessing both a powerful 3-turn star focus and a unique, if inconsistent, critical damage steroid with extremely high damage peaks if used correctly. Her star bomb from her gauge charger is also a handy supplement to this, as is her fairly good star generation.

However, she doesn’t paint a good picture in one aspect:

While she technically has a defensive option in the Guts from Father-Daughter bond, the likelihood of actually being able to use it to survive a fatal blow is low, with it being tied to Hokusai’s star focus. As a result, her general durability is poor, with Guts in itself still being a poor option to survive NP’s or just to stay healthy in a team scenario.

Verdict

As stated earlier, Hokusai is really simple. Her strengths and faults can literally be summed down to three points, but she’s very strong where her strengths are, and equally her main fault is one that is easily compensated for. As an Arts Saber she may fall short in some aspects compared to powerful options like Lancelot or Munenori Yagyu, but for a free unit Hokusai delivers with a punch - she hits hard, hits often, then crits and hits even harder and harder. What’s not to like? Rath™ Seal of Approval.

Closing Words

With that, the first half of the Summer 2019 event servants in JP are assessed and come to a close. As always, a massive dose of tea tends to keep me writing, as well as enthusiasm for the newly-added servants which is completely unrelated to their exposed bodies and suggestive My Room lines. Well, except for Musashi. I’m not a shota, so I feel pretty safe.

Until next time, where hopefully I will be able to bear with penguin mating rituals and screeches of OKITA-SAN DAI SHORIIII!