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MMM - Sinister Sorcerer Schemes Salacious Setups, Swordsman of Sealing Sears Satanic Savages (Mandala Story Gacha)

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Article by GamepressRath
MMM Lostbelt 5-5
Table of Contents

The Modern Magus Magazine

Greetings, one and all. Tell me, have you ever had a jester-like onmyouji to invade your gacha game filled with waifus and make you question your sexuality by posing naked in a room with a bunch of corpses?

No?

...would you like to?

NA Release Date: 12/2022

Ashiya Douman

Introduction

When this dude has been clowning on Part 2’s story for an eternity, on top of having a significant role in Shimousa, it’s natural he’d show up to invade our Chaldea eventually. And...just glancing at his abilities, he’s really relishing being a villain. Now listen closely…

Servant Data
Alter Ego

5

5
Territory Creation B

Increase your Arts Card effectiveness by 8%.

Item Construction A

Increase your Debuff Chance Rate by 10%.

Magic Resistance A

Increase your Debuff Resist by 20%.

Dark Divine Core B

Apply Damage Plus for yourself (Total Card Damage +225).
Increase own Instant Death Success Rate by 20%.

High Servant A

No effect.

Hedonism EX

Increase amount of NP Gained when attacked by 20%.

Overview

In terms of base stats, Ashiya is pretty typical for an Alter Ego. Not possessing the oddly-gimped stat totals of Meltryllis or Okita Alter (presumably, because his stats don’t suck as much as their where it matters), he sits at a very reasonable balance of both HP and Attack, being 3rd best for Attack in the class and 2nd worst for HP. Bear in mind that statistic is distorted by Kingprotea just generally being absurd. He would be in a much better position ranking-wise if that anomaly wasn’t factored in.

In the passive department, Ashiya has a lot more going on. Being very much a pseudo-Caster Alter Ego, he has both good Territory Creation and Item Creation, boosting his Arts performance and his consistency in applying debuffs (which he does a lot). Then, more specific to the man himself, Ashiya has A-rank Magic Resistance and his unique Divinity-based skill, Dark Divine Core. The two of these together provide him with strong passive debuff resistance, a small boost to regular care damage, and a small bump to the success rate of Instant Death effects, something which (spoiler) he has on his NP.

Lastly, Hedonism gives him a 20% boost to his defensive NP gain, meaning he gets roughly 5% gauge per hit he eats instead of the regular 4%. Small, but it can add up over longer fights with high hitcounts.

NP Generation
Servant Skills
Noble Phantasm
Conclusion

So how fantastic is Ashiya’s villainy in reality? On one hand, he truly is Number One:

My boy is durable, and is it handy. With the debuff benefits of Ridicule Cat helping him stay alive, on top of his excellent 2-time Guts ensuring he’s going to deny death often, you don’t have to worry about babysitting him if the going gets tough. This is especially handy when his support of choice, Skadi, lacks an incredibly accessible Invulnerability or Evasion buff to hand him if her NP doesn’t happen to be ready.

Ashiya is offensively pretty monstrous, at least as far as crit goes. With good star generation in his kit, and a hefty double-whammy of +100% critical damage and +40% atk up to himself for 3 turns, he can really bring to pain with his cards, even just by his own merit. Throw in Skadi’s absurd boost to Quick crits in the mix, and just yikes. And that’s not even assuming his targets are hit by Ridicule Cat, which I would treat more selectively as a defensive option.

Almost everything I said above about Ashiya’s offense can be said for a Chaotic Evil ally he supports, because team buff, baby! While Ashiya will never necessarily be an on-meta support due to his lack of more important options, he can give pretty big boosts to another ally who may be running with him on a quest. Nodes with a focus on both single target and AOE NP’s for farming are becoming more common, and Ashiya’s ability to give Moriarty or Jack a significant offensive boost can be handy. Unfortunately, only Tamamo possesses either of the traits out of the big name supports, but anyone can still benefit from Ridicule Cat’s debuffs.

Ashiya can farm, and can do it very consistently due to his huge gauge charger. Add in the freedom of team composition, solid damage provided you throw at least one Skadi at him, and the option to tackle Rider, Caster, Assassin, Berserker, and (the extremely common) Foreigner nodes, he makes a versatile farmer.

On the other hand, he’s not being careful to not make a sound:

I’m gonna be real with you all, Ashiya is probably the best an AOE Alter Ego is gonna get. I could talk about his damage never matching the regular-class equivalent for class advantage, or kind of being a poor option against half of the common class types instead of just one of them, but the way Ashiya is built as a universal farmer hardly makes that a point - most of the Servants in the game are only good against one or two classes, not the four (or technically five, if you’re really putting faith in there being Foreigner farming nodes soon) Ashiya can handle. He’s going to have a good performance in farming, he’s going to have a solid performance in challenge quests. If you’re a deep-set cynic who hates the Big Four support meta and wants to run wacky team combos, he’s great for that. If I listed something negative here, I’d probably be nitpicking.

So overall, our prancy clown man is kind of silly good? Not in the game breaking, new meta, throw your Arts farmers out the window sense, but still very strong. He lacks any meaningful drawbacks outside of forcing you to fish for Skadi supports out of a sea of Casturia, and in exchange has very easy farming setups, solid damage output for Challenge Quests on both the AOE and single target fronts, and plenty of cheese and fun team compositions to play about with. I already considered vanilla Kiara with her strengthenings and Casturia around to be the perfect AOE Alter Ego, but Ashiya kind of goes beyond her by also being a crit machine when you need him to burst down a singular boss.

Being an amazing Alter Ego is still kind of being a big fish in a small pond, but on the whole that’s a pretty sizable fish. Rath™ Seal of Approval, and if you’re still lacking a universal farmer like Dantes, Summer Kiara, or Space Ishtar, I’d recommend trying for him. He’s certainly one of the better farmers around.

Watanabe no Tsuna

Introduction

Be careful who you call ugly in high school.

I love how Tsuna goes from the geeky bowl cut kid with a katana in his basement to red Byleth in just a few ascensions. And boy, is he hot. The sword, I mean. I’m still not letting him near my grailed oni duo.

Servant Data
Saber

4

4
Magic Resistance A

Increase your Debuff Resist by 20%.

Riding B

Increase your Quick Card effectiveness by 8%.

Overview

Even now aware that Japanese Servants aren’t intentionally gimped by DW’s system for determining base stats, it still feels weird to be that Tsuna, by all means the Japanese equivalent to a Knight of the Round table, almost being the Lancelot of Japan, doesn’t have an overwhelmingly good BST as a Saber.

But that in mind, he still has good bases - rolling up with the 3rd highest attack stat of any 4* Saber after two of the aforementioned Knights of the Round, he pays for it with the tied 3rd worst HP stat of any 4* Saber. But as it usually goes, being highly offensively specced as an offensive Servant is far from a bad thing.
Tsuna is pretty tame in the passives front. With A-rank Magic Resistance he has great passive defenses versus debuffs, and his B-rank Riding will aid his Quick card in all aspects when he uses it. Very standard for a Saber.

NP Generation
Servant Skills
Noble Phantasm
Conclusion

So how is Tsuna on the whole? On one hand, he’s got his strengths lined up in a box:

Dude’s critical damage offense is fairly good. While he can only really constantly get star focus on his Buster and Arts cards, that’s the two which really matter, and both the damage boosts from Eternal Arms Mastery and Slash of Ichijoumodoribashi together make his Busters really shred when the stars are coming through. Tied in with his Sure Hit buff, Tsuna can really consistently put the pain in when the cards come up right.

Tsuna has some defensive tools. While the typical 1-turn evasion / invincible buff is on the table, his critical rate down debuff can also be useful to pull out of the bag, just allowing you to ignore unfortunate crit accidents when your party isn’t soaked in hard defensive options. Some bosses just hurt all the time, man.

When his NP trait bonuses are up, he really does hit hard. If he’s getting the 4* NP2 freebie for comparison to SSR’s, he does very close damage to Scathach versus Divine targets when Tsuna’s hitting Oni (at least, non-Suzuka/Benienma Oni). Of course, the Oni trait is much more limited than Divinity, but for this story half-chapter, those kinds of enemies are pretty common, so we know it’s always going to be useful at some point. It helps that he’s a permanent gacha summon, so anyone can get him anytime.

However, he’s also lacking the arms to make it work:

I’ll get this out the way here. Buster sucks. There, I said it. Past Rath is writhing in his proverbial grave, but it’s the truth. Buster as an archetype is more held up by the fact it’s most efficient to run Buster offense if you’re running Merlin for his abilities, rather than the inverse. If there were a Merlin clone with Arts or Quick up, even if they replaced Casturia/Skadi, Buster teams would be dead in the water. He doesn’t really do as much damage as Arts or Quick options on a NP-by-NP basis, and he can’t NP as often. This isn’t an issue exclusive to Tsuna, of course, but it does really affect him - why use Tsuna when you can use Dioscuri, Diarmuid Saber, Hajime, or whoever else?

Even putting aside card-related issues, Tsuna’s NP damage is pretty poor when he’s not hitting his trait bonuses, which will be most of the time. Putting him side-by-side with similar anti-Demonic Buster Saber Rama, he is probably better. But you start quantifying how much better? And you have to say, being a little bit better than Rama still isn’t particularly great. You can usually pick a Buster Saber like Musashi and just perform with their raw power instead. That’s the issue when you have a niche, but you’re not overwhelmingly good at it or it’s not overwhelmingly common, either.

Never did I imagine a time where I’d review a stylistic, crit-focused Saber and just feel kind of eh about the whole thing. Tsuna is far from unusable. I mean, if you just so happen to not have any devoted ST Saber in your lineup and the tools for Buster support, he’s great. But the dude as a whole is very much a drop in the ocean for the Saber class, then again the entirety of the Servant roster. It feels like when I reviewed Europa. Nothing here is necessarily bad or underwhelming, but it doesn’t strike out at all, especially when in the card type which isn’t present meta.

But he’s still SSS tier for style points. Let me skin him over Dioscuri and I’d do it any day.

Outro

That’s all of the Servants to review for Mandala...for now.

I don’t claim to be prophetic or know all of DW’s plans, but there are a lot of assets and presently enemy-only Servants in Mandala which I doubt won’t be used for a second wave of Servant releases...somewhere down the line. I’m not sure if it’ll even be this year though, with how tight it’d be for an Xmas event and New Years.

But hey, I’m having a blast running a Shuten-Ibaraki team to clear the new story chapter, close shaves with Oni-killing specialists notwithstanding. I’ll catch you all in the next gacha.

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