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MMM - Must Make-Believe Maidens March Across The Moon Making Merry Madness? Mend Me, My Medic!

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Article by Rathilal
Rath MMM Banner Christmas 2021

The Modern Magus Magazine

Pray tell, to this one careless muse of mere graphs and gachas, what makes a single human upon our lonely Earth meet the mettle to become what one, nay, all mankind would call, “A cute girl”? Is it the fairness of the form? The succinctness of their style? The shapeliness of their silhouette? Or is it, in fact, whether they are voiced by the Diva of the Japanese Animation industry, Sawashiro?

I, my friends, will say as much now - all are wrong. What makes a character cute is determined by a single factor, and that single factor only - whether or not they can say “Boku wa kimi no Ken”, and have the aforementioned ‘sword’ hidden underneath the attire of a weird sailor outfit bunnygirl stripper attire. Also, make that ‘sword’ prehensile. Because why the hell not. I’m thirsty for it, boiz.

So uh, Christmas. Sorry Jesus, I think I spoiled your holiday’s sanctity in two paragraphs.

NA Release Date: 11/2021

Astolfo (Saber)

Astolfo joins our party once more, and this time he’s not doing the riding, unless you’re into it. While the moon aesthetic and bunny-ear headband may seem weird for what is essentially a 100% serious servant form (well, as serious as Astolfo can be), he is one of the few heroes in all legend who canonically went to the Moon. So unless you really want Kaguya-hime or Chang’e or something to be a bunnygirl (I wouldn’t complain), Astolfo does fit the role.

Shame he isn’t flying nude atop a sword though, I had faith in Riyo’s character design skills.

Saber Astolfo’s base statline is, shockingly enough, not as awful as his Rider form. While his attack stat is more-or-less middle of the pack for 5* Sabers, he has a reasonably high HP stat to compensate, and he could certainly do worse, considering he straight outclasses both Nero Bride and Benienma in terms of base stats (though the latter has a boatload of passives to compensate-dechi). In turn, Astolfo gets dwarfed by the huge list of Sabers with just...abnormally high base stat total. Mordred’s bases just crush him in both fields, and the bishounen combo of Sigurd and Arthur are only a few hundred points of HP behind him in bulk despite possessing massively higher attack stats.

But hey, that’s “most famous European heroes” privilege, it’s natural Astolfo would get dwarfed by them.

For Passives, Astolfo has it clean and simple - A-rank Magic Resistance as is standard for any Saber that isn’t half-baked, and a very respectable A-rank Riding, giving him a 10% all-purpose boost to damage, stargen, and NP gain for his main card type, Quicks. Can’t go wrong with that, can you?

Astolfo may bear his sword for all to see, but does what lies below the surface match? Well, on one hand, he’s got an Excalibur:

Saber Astolfo is durable, there’s no doubt. He packs a sizeable HP pool, one of the best evasion skills in the game, an AOE stun to protect both himself and his team, and can even debuff cleanse himself if he needs to with his gauge charger.

While not spectacular, he has a decent critical damage game - with his high Riding rank, Quick boost from NP, and his 3rd skill’s offensive buffs, he can bring the pain provided he’s soaked in enough stars to keep the ball rolling. With his own stargen being pretty good, this hopefully won’t be a problem, allowing himself to fund his own crit game.

This might sound like grasping, but he’s a pretty important component to a subset of support that Quick teams are sorely lacking in - stall. With Skadi, Quick teams have sheer offense and pinch durability for challenge quests, but often they lack the NP gain on Skadi to get her evasion back in time for a 2nd or 3rd enemy NP. Astolfo is one of the few Quick servants with NP seal or NP drain, and even his Stun can delay a NP for a turn if you’re lucky, allowing you to keep the whole team alive.

On the other hand, his ‘sword’ may actually be a Chunchunmaru:

Astolfo’s NP gain is hard to work around, plain and simple. While his gauge charger skill really helps with propping up loops, it’s unfortunately still not enough, being unable to get the gauge refund necessary for looping even with hypothetical maximum overkill and the best support composition possible. The less said about his NP gain with regular card chains, the better.

Offensively, Astolfo’s NP damage isn’t very desirable. Versus class-neutral enemies, Kama matches his damage output with much better refund and similarly-high stall synergy, while Melt blows his damage out the water while similarly simply having better refund. That’s not even mentioning his 4* competitor, Saber Diarmuid, who out-damages him at NP2 (fair, considering he’s non-limited), and...again, has better refund.

While his critical damage niche is nice, it isn’t great enough to really justify using him over competing options, especially when people like Suzuka for Buster and Saberlot for Arts are hanging around with their neater critical damage synergy. While on the subject of being negative. What is up with that Buster card focus on his skill and Bond CE? I know I said it already, but really?

On the whole, Astolfo is a marked improvement from his Rider self. Instead of being woefully bad, he’s just boringly mediocre. He has some useful tools and interesting synergy to his kit, but the numbers he pulls to the table just aren’t good enough to really distinguish him from his competitors. While he can certainly perform sufficiently when given his double Skadi support, he doesn’t take it anywhere near the performance of other Quick Sabers, or Quick servants in general. Take him if you want him, but if you’re seeking a bearable ST damage dealer to compliment a Skadi team, you’re better leaving him on the moon.

Nightingale (Santa)

I will let you know this - there are two types of men in the world - those who appreciate stockings wrapped around a fine pair of legs (and I don’t mean the Christmas kind of stocking), and savages with no sense of culture.

By natural deduction, this makes Nightingale Santa the best servant to date. That final art had best be giving you goosebumps, too. Maybe getting ill during the Xmas season won’t be so bad…

Archer
Max HP 11,080
HP Rank
Max ATK 9,858
ATK Rank
Base Atk1,643Base HP1,772
Max Atk 9,858 Max HP 11,080
Grail Atk 11,936 Grail HP 13,434
Magic Resistance C

Increase your Debuff Resist by 15%.

Independent Action A+

Increase your Critical Strength by 11%.

Madness Enhancement EX

Increase your Buster Card effectiveness by 12%.

I may sound like a broken record stating as such, but Nightingale Santa has a good base statline within a sea of servants with silly base stat totals compared to the norm. She has a high attack stat without gimping her HP too much compared to most 4*’s, but when you get compared to the likes of Ashwatthama or Tristan, your stats look fairly pathetic regardless of how they are in the grand scheme of things.

In terms of Passives, Nightingale does get dealt a neat hand, though. A+ Independant Action gives her a higher-end version of the typical Archer crit buff, but she also comes packing with the EX Madness Enhancement from her Berserker form, giving a hefty 12% boost to that...singular Buster card. I’m convinced now, one of the devs loves buffing a singular Buster card to hell and back.

She also comes along with C-rank Magic Resistance, just for that touch of usually-unnoticeable passive debuff resistance. But it’s pretty run-of-the-mill for Archers.

So how good, in fact, is Nightingale Santa? On one hand, she’s hot like the Christmas fireplace:

Generally a bit of a rarity for Quick-focused Archers, Nightingale’s crit offense is fairly good, packing a high attack stat, a solid offensive Charisma skill to bolster her own crits, and good stargen to keep herself fed with stars. As minor as it may seem, the boost to her Buster card from her passives also bumps up her damage output, giving her a consistent and reliable damage output.

Girl’s got some good utility. Team debuff and buff removal, offensive buff removal on NP, the Holy Unremovable Guts buff, and a dabble of healing for the team is a neat package, even if they’re all minor enough to be considered extras to her kit instead of part of a full-blown support role.

Her NP damage is good. Better than Nobu’s, that’s for sure, and her synergy for Skadi teams, even if looping is practically impossible for her, means she can keep the offense up for far longer than competing AOE Archer options.

On the other hand, she’s gone cold turkey:

Practically speaking, Nightingale lacks a defined role to fill - Her critical damage dealing is worse than Nobu’s, her supportive tools aren’t good enough alone to be worth deploying her for, and her farming ability is limited. For lack of better words, she has a number of decent parts which don’t add up to something neatly defined.

Even if you want to give Nightingale points for accessible AOE farming, there is very little she can offer in that niche that Atalanta or Lancelot don’t do already - with the backing of two Skadis, Nightingale’s damage output is often unnecessary, or not enough to counteract her near-unworkable refund in comparison to the much easier-to-use loopers.

In conclusion, Nightingale is something like a series of threads which, while quality on their own, knit a bit of a monstrosity of a stocking with no semblance of purpose. Her utility and supportive benefits might be useful to someone, but the other functions of her kit don’t meld well enough for me to really say I can see her contributing in farming or challenge quests. Best way of putting it is that she’s not bad, but pulls herself in so many direction she doesn’t end up doing anything with enough competence to be considered more than a niche supportive option. But hey, she still has welfare AOE offence and good crit damage, so she’s getting the Rath™ Seal of Approval.

Final Conclusion

Fine Ladies and Gentlemen, thusly concludes my humble edition of the Modern Magus Magazine, or MMM for short. Whether you find yourself bearing through harsh winds, the conclusion of the MMM’s slightly perverted cousin, NNN, shoddy Christmas seasons or 29-hour Maintenance, I would ask you to remember two things:

The Spirit of Christmas, and lostbelt5iscomingnextmonthohlordthestory’sgonnagodown.

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