MMM - Studious Somatophylakes-turned-Satrap Synthesizes Strategies of Sol and Selene, Situating Sengoku Sniper for Sneaky Satsujin (Grail Front White / Black Castle Gacha)

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The Modern Magus Magazine

This is certainly a change of pace. With Halloween events more or less having run their course (or Nasu ran out of outfit ideas to throw Liz in, more likely), we’re getting a different kind of event this year. And boy am I happy for it.

While Grail Fronts aren’t exactly the pinnacle of engaging and complex strategy gameplay, they at least add an additional axis of gameplay that FGO is otherwise lacking, and the battle format allows for Servants who might not shine in regular gameplay to become kind of busted. In other words, I’m saying it flips the game on its head and the ST solo god Servants are the kings while the NP spammer AOE farmers are niche. And boy, is that weird.

But all new events with story in tow usually come with new Servants, and this one’s no different.

Ptolemy Banner
NA Release Date: 10/2025



Let me tell you, Ptolemy is absolutely the John Smith of the Greco-Roman historical world. There are like 20 different people of note called this name, many of whom were alive in the same time period, and when you name a Servant Ptolemy there’s at least like 5 of them that would be an interesting Servant.

Then again, the fact FGO is calling him Ptolemaeus, which doesn’t help narrow it down at all. So we’ll just call him “Ptolemy, who was one of Iskandar’s generals”. Surely that distinguishes him enough, no?

…What do you mean, there are three Ptolemy’s in Iskandar’s army? At least give me nicknames to distinguish them, sheesh.

It helps that he’s the most famous of Iskandar’s Ptolemys, the one who went on to found the Ptolemaic Dynasty of Egypt, and was instrumental of the foundation of the Library of Alexandria, which in Nasuverse lore is very closely tied to the Atlas Institute’s history. Which is fundamentally pretty cool.

Servant Data
Magic Resistance B

Increase your Debuff Resist by 17.5%.

Independent Action A

Increase your Critical Strength by 10%.

Territory Creation A+

Increase your Arts Card effectiveness by 11%.

Spirit Origin Data Preservation A

Increase own Buff Removal Resist by 20%.


As I examined when assessing Durga a short while back, the SSR Archer pool is filled with some pretty highly-statted behemoths to compete with, and the situation has hardly changed for Ptolemy’s introduction. With the 6th worst Attack stat in his class and rarity bracket, he compensates with the 5th highest HP stat. With the Archer class’s 0.95 attack multiplier factored in, this plants his attack stat in the very average 11500 region, but he has a well-above average HP stat to compensate.

Not really the worst place to be for your baseline, but as always offenses tend to rule over durability, and Ptolemy’s small advantage in bulk is unlikely to matter in most places you deploy him.

Ptolemy does have a sizable lineup of passives to compensate, though. His threefold combo of Independent Action, Magic Resistance, and Territory Creation mean he’s durable against debuffs, and packs a pretty nasty sting on his crits, especially for his Arts cards, which get a very respectable boost to their damage and NP gauge generation passively.

His 4th passive, Spirit Origin Data Preservation, is a unique one based around his dual nature of a Servant, and how he uses Memory Partition (a staple magecraft of Atlas Institute, long-term Nasuverse fans may know it’s one of the Magecraft schools Sion is an expert in) to divide his Spirit Origin. In gameplay terms, this gives him a respectable passive Buff Removal Resistance. This won’t really come up often, but the few times difficult content tosses gauge break buff removals at you, Ptolemy’s small chance to just say “no” to it will certainly make you pop off.

NP Generation
Servant Skills
Noble Phantasm

So how is Ptolemy on the whole? Well, on the one hand, he’s spry and wise, brave and experienced, and a peerless soldier and king both:

Ptolemy is a pretty phenomenal farmer. The number of farmers who can do Black Grail setups without using battlesuit swap is relatively low, and Ptolemy does it with enough excess NP gauge to have little issue dealing with the low NP gain modifiers of Berserker or Assassin-class enemies, too. His damage output is also sufficient to farm pretty much any class, though not exactly overwhelming, so he makes for a welcome, newly-accessible and consistent addition to the Archer farming roster.

With his split nature as a Servant, you would think Ptolemy spreads himself thin trying to do multiple things, but thankfully he was designed cleverly, wherein he only ever gets specialized buffs when he’s switching to the form that needs them. As such, he’s also a solid ST damage dealer when needed. His critical damage output is fairly strong in his younger form, and with his capability to generate and soak up stars, he’ll be able to NP fairly often even with his poor NP gain overall. The defense pierce on his younger form’s NP is also quite handy in the right circumstance, as irremovable defense buffs aren’t too rare on bosses nowadays.

However, he’s also brash and cranky, foolish and close-minded, general to a fallen king and dynasty both:

If there’s any specific area I’d say Ptolemy is lacking, then it’s his defensive capabilities. While his decent bulk and unique ability to shrug off buff removal is cool, he’s lacking any actual defensive buffs worth removing, meaning his survival is entirely in the hands of his supportive ensemble. That’s not exactly anything unusual, but the difference between a damage dealer who can cover their own hide in a pinch, and those who’ll get tanned can matter a fair bit, limiting Ptolemy’s long term endurance in difficult content.

Boy, in retrospect I feel like I was perhaps a little bit too kind to Durga, now that there’s another Archer occupying her space with a far better refund profile and better damage output versus the majority of enemies. It’s not like I could predict there’d be another, stronger Arts farming Archer right around the corner, though. Atlas probably could, the damn “all according to my calculations” bastards.

So case in point, for his older, farming form alone Ptolemy is a superb Servant, but the fact he runs double duty and can also function as a ST Damage dealer, even in the very same quest, is kind of absurd. Especially since he can go from AOE to ST, which typically tends to be more useful than the one-way transition Melusine has, and I considered that some pretty handy utility. Sure, it doesn’t come with an absurd +100% gauge charger and some of the craziest damage output in the game, but most of the time Melusine levels of damage is excessive.

In terms of bang-for-your-buck, Ptolemy is probably the best Archer in the game, but even with access to a Servant who outperforms him as a ST Archer, his farming capability is certainly the best in his class, and some of the best in the game. Rath™ Seal of Approval, with a recommendation.

Sugitani Zenjubou


While Fate does tend to give their love to failed assassins from time to time, Sugitani has to be one of them with both the funniest failing and most gruesome end.

I can get wanting to assassinate Oda Nobunaga, but doing so because apparently you want to demonstrate your gunsmithing skill is certainly a motivation, doubly so because killing Nobu with a gun would be supreme irony. So Sugitani supposedly took 2 shots at Nobunaga and only managed to graze them, then went on the run.

As someone with a casual interest in firearms, let me tell you two facts. Matchlock rifles, Sugitani’s weapon of choice, are effective to ranges of up to 100m, and are near-100% accurate from around 30m or closer. Sugitani reportedly fired at Nobu from 20m away. Twice.

So either Sugitani’s gunsmithing skills were actually shoddy, or her marksmanship was awful, or possibly both. What a way to go down in history. That’s our heroic spirit!

Servant Data

As an addition to the pretty large pool of R Archers in the game, Sugitani has a good amount of competition. Thankfully, many of the silver Archers in the game are poorly statted, so Sugitani rolls up with the 4th best Attack of the bunch, paired with the 3rd best HP. It says a lot when you’re somehow considered to have “strong” parameters for your class/rarity bracket when your statline is a bunch of C’s and D’s, with an EX in Endurance.

…I imagine that has to do with the whole “buried in the ground having your neck slowly sawn off by a bamboo saw” deal. I don’t think even Cu would be able to take that.

Well in any case, she has a decent attack stat paired with above-average durability, so she’s well off on that front. For passives, she has nothing out of the ordinary for an Archer, with mediocre Magic Resistance and EX-ranked Independent Action, providing some defense versus debuffs and a very good passive boost to crit damage.

NP Generation
Servant Skills
Noble Phantasm

So how does Sugitani shape up? On the one hand, she has all her preparations made, and she’s in position, ready to fire:

For a lower-rarity Servant, Sugitani packs a lot of firepower in her. Through her consistent ability to generate stars and offload with critical damage, she punches well above her weight class, and her NP’s damage output is similarly very high when all of its buffs come into play.

Sugitani packs a number of defensive and utility tools which make her more than just a damage-dealing boomstick. Her in-kit debuff removal and powerful Evasion skill come in handy for keeping herself healthy in more difficult content, and Sure Hit NP’s will occasionally prove their use, with a number of boss encounters in recent history having irremovable Evasion buffs to contend with.

However, she did ultimately miss her damn shot. Twice. How the heck do you do that?

Despite the focus on her NP’s buildup and damage output, Sugitani fails to actually provide a convenient means of well, charging her NP gauge. It isn’t really a herculean task given her solid NP gain and capability for crits, but regardless it does place a burden on her supports. It’s not the end of the world given she’s meant to wait at least 3 turns before firing anyway, but gauge chargers would be handy regardless.

While her damage output once prepared is certainly impressive, fundamentally FGO isn’t a game that has to be played that slow. A NP which does a lot of damage on a 3 turn delay is worse than a NP which does a decent amount twice as much in the same time span, or worse, one that can be spammed in a 3-turn loop. While most competitors capable of such feats aren’t also a compact, low-cost 3* Servant, it still stands that Sugitani’s idea of a game plan isn’t exactly the meta.

It’s been a fair while since we last had a 3* Servant inclusion, and honestly despite her flaws Sugitani isn’t half bad. She boasts better critical damage output than many higher-rarity Servants (the Critical Damage buffs she gets from her kit have more value than Sigurd’s, which is just very sad), and also packs a good chunk of utility that helps keep her alive for her high-power NP to strike home.

Sure, someone like Bedivere could hit harder and better use the tools Buster supports have available in a very brief time-frame, but it doesn’t mean Sugitani isn’t significantly better than many of the stinkers lurking about the lower-rarity Servant pools. She actually has skills which apply more than 1 buff each, for one thing. And her NP actually has useful effects.

So while she’s not a must-have damage-spewing machine, or a soloing god, or a new cost-effective farmer, she’s a strong Buster crit-focused damage dealer that can carry many a Master down on their luck should they have need of her specialty. Rath™ Seal of Approval.



You know, wouldn’t it be crazy if your event featured a new 3* Servant ON TOP OF the other one in it, but you don’t put it in the initial gacha, and in the other one with the less-desirable SSR instead, but actually don’t insert him into the game until the end of the story, just to solely torment the writer of this article? That would be crazy, right? It’d make him rewrite the entire outro anticipating a second gacha with a Pretender SSR in it.

Surely Lasengle wouldn’t do that, right?

Servant Data

As an addition to one of the few number of 3* Sabers in the game, Theseus doesn’t have a large amount of competition, but what is there does set fairly high expectations for him, with Caesar and Bedevire being some of the better 3*’s in the game.

With the second-lowest Attack stat in the tier, Theseus isn’t exactly on a great start, but he compensates with a superb HP stat, tied with Mashu for the 4th highest of any 3*, but with an attack stat that’s still relatively high in spite of it. So while the lack of offensive might does hurt, he doesn’t walk away without a decent tradeoff for it.

As for passives, Theseus doesn’t have anything too abnormal for a Saber - Magic Resistance provides a consistent defense against debuffs, while his Riding rank provides a moderate boost to his singular Quick card.

NP Generation
Servant Skills
Noble Phantasm

So how is Theseus overall? Well on the upside, he’s a great hero on the mend, and a walking legend who technically saved Athens from a monster:

Theseus is an absurd critical machine, and that cannot be understated. Even if he doesn’t touch a Quick card in his life, he’d still get more than enough critical stars to consistently land crits on his important cards, and even more so as an Arts-focused Servant, his capability for crits means he’s getting more NP gauge to spam his NP. It’s a potent self-perpetuating cycle that results in some absurd damage output for his cost.

While he’s not the greatest at it, Theseus is something of a budget ST farming option. With a 50% gauge CE and double Castoria he can manage 2 NP’s in a row fairly consistently, even if he doesn’t get a chance to supplement himself with regular cards. He’s admittedly not better than a welfare option like Summer Hokusai, but his lower party cost and general better accessibility can lend him the edge.

However, no matter how much he aims to make amends, he can’t change the sin of killing the bull boi and leaving Ariadne out high and dry:

As I noted in his evaluation, Theseus does suffer a little from focusing too much on boosting his Arts cards. If he had a BAAAQ card deck it’d make more sense, but the fact the majority of his damage boosts apply to landing crits on 2 cards out of the 15 you get in a 3-turn cycle means he could easily have to wait until turn 3 before his buffs actually get to apply to his attacks. This is somewhat mitigated by his NP’s critical damage boost applying to all his cards, but it is a drawback that can leave him susceptible to card luck, nonetheless.

As bad as it did feel at a time for many great Greek heroes like Jason and Heracles to have their power in FGO limited by external factors, whether it be their rarity in the game or simply the time of their original implementation, Theseus manages to have one of the strongest kits of any R Servant in this game, with a focused game plan, strong skill lineup, high damage output, and compatibility with the best strategy in this game across most content - Arts NP spam.

While he does face a lot of competition even among his own class from higher-rarity Servants like Yagyu, Hajime, and Dioscuri, Theseus’s accessibility, low deployment cost, and high NP damage output are all very strong benefits that often make him a more desirable choice. And of course, if you ever need to close the stat gap, using Grails on non-SSR Servants is pretty resource-efficient…

In any case, Theseus is a very strong offensive Servant that can fill in the position of a ST damage dealer, even when not tackling his class advantage, so I’d wholeheartedly suggest getting him at NP5 if you’re lacking in an Arts damage dealer. Rath™ Seal of Approval, with a recommendation.


I would like to take a small moment to make this place the grave-marker for the paragraphs of outro I wrote that sadly had to be deleted because Theseus dropped the day after I finished writing the MMM. I salute you.

At least I’m staying fairly on schedule for once. Doing my job properly, unlike a certain wannabe John Wilkes Booth. If we’re going to keep including failed assassins in FGO, I’m hoping for Gavrilo Princip next. He’ll have an EX Luck stat that somehow blunders himself into successfully killing his target even when he’s the most incompetent human on this planet.

But I’ll leave the fan-theorizing for my internal monologue, for now. Until the next issue!

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