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MMM - Merlin-Mentored Magus Musters Mindbreaking Meta, Mofu-Mofu Mikooon in Misery (5th Anniversary Gacha)

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The Modern Magus Magazine

Transcript of Interview with Tamamo no Mae, self-proclaimed Foxy Caster, 18:29 JST, 10/8/2020

“...So yes, as I was saying, that’s why daikon is best used in dishes to bring out the salty flavour of the broth.”

“Thank you very much for your cooking tips, Miss Tamamo, though they were hardly the reason for this interview. Getting to the point - a new Caster will be hitting the gacha very soon, and the FGO playerbase’s eyes are lingering on the banner, wondering if they’ll meet a new “broken ass, stupid ass, loopin’ ass, 50% gauge chargin’ support”, much like the Skadi incident a few years back. Your thoughts?”

“Well, my perspective may be slightly different due to being the sole dedicated Arts support in the SSR pool, but I consider any new comrades to run alongside in farming (if that damn Empress in her SSR form didn’t outclass me there…) or challenge quest (maybe I’ll be able to provide consistent clears that don’t take 3-digit turn counts?) a welcome change! While I sincerely doubt my position as the go-to Arts support Caster will change, I welcome all rivals, whether in Love or the Meta!”

“Bold words, Miss Tamamo. Bold words indeed. We’ll be taking a quick commercial break, so stay tuned as we come back to hear the reactions from our pundits regarding this new Saberface, the so-called Ace to complete the class hand of an overmilked sameface.”

5 minutes later…

The interviewer merely looks on, nonplussed, at the form of the once-prideful foxy Caster clutching the edges of her seat in a panic attack, sobbing and whining in a manner that leaves you unsure if it’s a heartbroken lover or lost kitten.

“Truly tragic, dear viewers, but I can’t say I didn’t see it coming. With the recent scaling up of Reines Archisorte to match the present meta of 50% gauge charging, this sort of development was sadly inevitable. I’m afraid the state of our interviewee means we must cut things off there, but I can leave you with one message before the end of our broadcast:

All Hail The Arts Meta.”

NA Release Date: 08/2022
Introduction

Artoria Caster

Kawasumi finally finished her royal flush, I see, and with a bigger bang than any Saberface prior, if I’m being honest. Leaving aside the fact that her 3rd ascension pulls out Marmyadose and casually confirms that Nasuverse Arturia had Herc’s sword lying around, I don’t think I need to explain to readers that this lady will be important in story and gameplay both. I’ll just get down to the brass tacks, since there’ll be a lot of it this edition.

Servant Data
Caster
Max HP 14,406
HP Rank
Max ATK 10,546
ATK Rank
Base Atk1,629Base HP2,112
Max Atk 10,546 Max HP 14,406
Grail Atk 11,544 Grail HP 15,782
Magic Resistance A

Increase your Debuff Resist by 20%.

Territory Creation EX

Increase your Arts Card effectiveness by 12%.

Independent Magic B

Increase own Arts Card Critical Strength by 10%.

Overview

Part of me would like to say that a Caster’s base stats aren’t that important, but I may as well talk about what they lend to Casturia anyway.

Casturia is on the more defensive side of the spectrum, like Waver, Merlin, and Skadi, possessing the tied 2nd highest HP of an SSR Caster, and an attack stat slightly higher than what you would expect in exchange. Either way, she’s fairly bulky, and doesn’t lose out too much offensively in exchange. By Caster standards, at least. Compared to most servants her attack is ass.

On the Passives side of things, she has some pretty strong points in her favour. Nothing as busted as Merlin’s free 5% gauge per turn (something tells me DW is never doing that again for a support, lol), but her Magic Resistance is superb at letting her shrug off debuffs that can frequently cripple Casters in dire situations. I need both hands to count the number of times my Merlin has been stunned/charmed/skill sealed in a CQ scenario, so it can be pretty vital. Casturia’s also packing a chunky EX rank Territory Creation, giving her Arts cards a vital bite and boost to NP gain, which can often be important.

Lastly, and least enticing of her passive lineup, is Independent Magic, giving her a modest boost to her Arts crits. Might be useful if you intend to use her in solo setups, or for when you have more stars than you know what to do with, but won’t impact her value that much.

NP Generation
Servant Skills
Noble Phantasm
Conclusion

So how goo- Okay, for once I won’t do this spiel. You know Casturia is good if you aren’t buried under a rock, so I’ll just provide you with the convenient bullet points:

Not just possessing 50% gauge charge to prop up NP’s for farming, Casturia presently is the only servant to provide 30% team gauge charge on a skill (since if we’re being technical, Tamamo could with NP overcharge and Voyager can with the right teammates on his NP), which allows her to open up composition properties no other top tier support can. Not to mention it floods over to her own NP gauge, making it easier to put her own NP to use.

Offensive Arts support is good. I may have glossed over it since generally speaking providing boosts to NP gain is more powerful than offensive boosts, but Casturia gives +20% attack and +50% Arts boost over 3 turns, or +50-70% attack if you’re dropping a NP before the damage dealing. That’s basically Arts Merlin, if Merlin’s NP also gave an offensive boost. And that’s discounting the possibility your opponent has the Threat to Humanity trait. Let’s just say Casturia-supported MHXX will obliterate some targets with not a scrap to spare.

Arts NP looping. Casturia is basically what you get if Paracelsus got a 50% gauge charger, then was EVEN BETTER. No other servant provides the level of support she provides for Arts looping. While previously Paracelsus and Nero Bride kind of sat at the top tier of desirability for such comps, Casturia basically jumped atop the pyramid and made a new tier towering over them. So many Servants can Arts loop now when it wasn’t possible before, and also while dealing immensely more damage than previously possible. Servants like Summer Musashi are now all-class farming monsters on par with Zerkerlot or Dantes, simply because Casturia entirely covers for her weaknesses when applied to farming.

All the Challenge Quest applications. Arts servants have always had some of the most devastating and powerful ST servants at their disposal - whether Yagyu’s harsh attack-down plastering, Orion (Stacy, not Chad) denying the target any hope of NP’ing, or Euryale ending all males’ hopes of having a turn. Often the issue for Arts ST servants, outside of outliers like Vlad III, has been keeping their NP looping. Casturia largely fixes these problems, and opens up the way for Arts ST Welfares like Saber Hokusai or Kagetora to crush challenge quests much like Kintoki Rider does under Skadi.

As good as Casturia is, she does have one region she can’t really cover for:

Long term sustain. Casturia lacks any healing effects, or even simply defensive boosts. Skadi has the same problem, but even she has her critical rate down debuff and damage cut on her NP to provide some level of long term sustain. Casturia really wants to finish fights hard and fast, or limit the enemy’s offensive might through her choice of damage dealer (which is where pseudo-defensive damage dealers like Yagyu or Casgil come in handy). But let’s be real, you don’t have to run double Casturia. Most people won’t even have the option - and that’s where Merlin or, that’s right, Tamamo can shine. Both Casters meld excellently with Casturia, covering her weakness in sustain, while also handing their own supportive niches for consistency. But in farming situations, Casturia still wants a clone of herself in most cases, sadly.

So with this in mind, I can confidently say the ‘era’ of the Big Three is pretty dead. Waver was always great, Merlin kind of blew the expectations for a support wide open, Skadi followed in his wake, and the new meta kind of left Tamamo wanting. Then Reines is kind of latching on with her own niches and 50% gauge charger. Casturia is the true successor to form the triad of 50% card buffer Casters, but it’s not like she makes the other top tier supports irrelevant.

...okay, Tamamo and Reines took a hit for sure, but it doesn’t mean they’re no longer good. Their applications have just been filled by a new, stronger option. Regardless, we have 4 “top” supports then 2 “kind of top” supports now. Guess we need to come up with a new parallel to apply. Era of the Five Gods, maybe? I can at least attribute Mew2King to Waver and Mang0 to Merlin.

I’m getting off track here. The way you dress the new meta doesn’t really matter, just the fact it exists. Casturia is a superb servant, and you could argue she’s more impactful than Skadi to the game, since she’s more applicable than her outside of her chosen card type. If you’re willing to take the gacha dive, she’s worth the effort. Rath™ Seal of Approval, with a recommendation.

Outro

And here I was, thinking this Anniversary would bring an inconsequential niche servant like Nemo and I could mentally sit aside, preparing myself for Summer. Hah.

One thing I did want to cover in this issue of the MMM was generally how farming and tackling CQ’s will shift with Casturia’s presence, but a fellow Gamepress writer has kindly already leapt aboard that ship, with their writeup being here:

As for me, I have the horizon of Summer to look forward to. Ignoring my uncontrollable lust for Lanling’s new costume, I figure the servant lineup is gonna be interesting, to say the least.

...I’m just glad Summer Musashi is going to be free easy farming for it, hah.

See you all next time.

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