JP Release Date: 07/31/2022
NA Release Date: 07/2024
Well, they finally did it.
|Base Atk||1,792||Base HP||2,079|
|Max Atk||11,601||Max HP||14,175|
|Grail Atk||12,699||Grail HP||15,529|
Increase own Quick Card effectiveness by 30% when field is [1000-Year Castle].
Increase own Arts Card effectiveness by 30% when field is [1000-Year Castle].
Increase own Buster Card effectiveness by 30% when field is [1000-Year Castle].
|NP per Hit (%)||0.45%|
|NP when Attacked (%)||3%|
|Star Generation per Hit||15.0%|
Archetype Earth—also known as Arcueid Brunestud, or just Arc—is our first Moon Cancer in nearly two years. She’s a pretty unique Servant, with an incredibly high power ceiling befitting the character. That said, she’s heavily dependent on investment to get there. Moon Cancers have low-ish attack by default, and despite having essentially the highest attack stat a Moon Cancer can have without breaking FGO’s usual stat calculation rules, Arc’s attack stat is still only middling relative to SSRs as a whole. She has decent health to compensate, but she would really like more attack… something we’ll circle back to later.
The rest of Arc’s internals are also pretty middling. She has bog-standard Arts card NP gain for her deck, and her Quick is sadly pretty bad. She has high-ish hit-counts, meaning she can generate stars decently when given star gen buffs, but the actual value in that is questionable. As is typical of Extra classes, though, she has a lot of nice passives: Magic Resistance for staving off debuffs, Territory Creation for better Arts damage and NP gain, Item Construction for more reliable debuff application, and Independent Action for stronger crits. Most important, though, is her unique passive: Ultimate One. Ultimate One gives Arc a whopping 30% to each card type while her field is active—and she sets her field every time she NPs, so this is, for all intents and purposes, a permanent buff. This is an excellent passive and Arc benefits substantially from it.
For appends… well, Arc is a weird case. Y’know how I said Arc can use all the extra attack she can get? Arc actually benefits a lot more from grails past 100 than she does from any of her appends, including Mana Loading. If you’re investing in Arc, and have her at at least NP2, it’s worth strongly considering the super grails instead of the appends. That said, if you’re absolutely sure you don’t want to take her past 100, Mana Loading is still the best append, as it enables a specific alternative farming setup that might sometimes be better than Arc’s typical ideal teams. The other two appends don’t do much. Arc’s damage is concentrated on her NP, so an Extra Attack buff doesn’t provide much benefit, and anti-Foreigner attack up is much too narrow of a niche to be meaningfully useful (which is something of a shame as bonus damage against any one standard class would actually be valuable here).
Skill Enhancement Materials
|1 → 2||200,000|
|2 → 3||400,000||
|3 → 4||1,200,000|
|4 → 5||1,600,000|
|5 → 6||4,000,000|
|6 → 7||5,000,000|
|7 → 8||10,000,000|
|8 → 9||12,000,000|
|9 → 10||20,000,000|
Append Skill Materials
|1 → 2||200000|
|2 → 3||400000||
|3 → 4||1200000|
|4 → 5||1600000|
|5 → 6||4000000|
|6 → 7||5000000|
|7 → 8||10000000||
|8 → 9||12000000||
|9 → 10||20000000|
Arc’s skillset is pretty straightforwardly powerful—this is not a Servant whose kit is loaded with complicated effects. Instead, each skill is mostly self-explanatory, and quite strong. Recommended skill order is 2>1>3.
Rainbow Mystic Eyes is Arc’s standard damage steroid. The damage is split, somewhat strangely, between a buff and a debuff, giving 20% defense down and 30% attack up for 3 turns. In a CQ context, Arc benefits fully from both of these effects, while in farming contexts Arc gets to stack the attack up normally and benefits from the defense down on turns 1 and 3 (usually). 50% damage up for three turns is above the normal power curve for a single skill, and while the stacking isn’t perfect for farming, it’s not that far off from being ideal. The skill also inflicts skill seal, which is sometimes a positive and sometimes a negative. It can prevent annoying buffs or debuffs on occasion, and it can make it easier for a sacrificial support (like Chen) to die off, so that’s something at least. Preventing skill-based dodges and invulns is particularly important in CQs given that Arc has no in-kit way of getting around defensive buffs, so in a lot of cases that will be worth having to deal with some extra incidental card damage.
Breath of the Planet is the skill that ties Arc’s kit together. It’s a 100% battery on a 7-turn cooldown, and it also provides a small 3-turn NP damage buff. You might look at this and think the huge battery doesn’t actually make a difference in practice—the cooldown is long enough that it won’t be available again on turn 3 with double Koyanskaya, and even with Oberon and Mana Loading, Arc is 10% charge shy of being able to loop CE-less. Furthermore, at the point you’re including an NP charge CE to compensate, you’re competing with the likes of Arjuna Alter and Nobu, who have much higher damage and are also neutral attackers. The catch here is that all you need is one more turn of CDR and suddenly Arc can loop anything. This can be achieved with Atlas (for plugless looping) or with a plug Edison (for more damage). With that, Arc can use her own battery on turns 1 and 3, and Koyan’s on turn 2, in order to loop any enemy composition, guaranteed. This puts her in rare company: the only other Buster Servants who can do this are Oberon, Melusine, and CasCu, and of those, CasCu is the only one who can also do it plugless. Other strengths and weaknesses aside, being one of two plugless, CE-less Buster loopers, and the only CE-less Buster looper who is neutral against all main classes, is an extremely strong niche. Arc’s only challenge is dealing enough damage… but we’ll get to that later.
Apply Invincible to all allies (1 time, 3 turns).
Increase Buff Removal Resist for all [Good] alignment allies (1 turn).
Increase NP Gauge for all allies except self while field is [1000-Year Castle].
|Buff Removal Res +||50%||55%||60%||65%||70%||75%||80%||85%||90%||100%|
Funny Vamp is mostly a CQ tool, albeit quite a powerful one. The skill gives a single hit of Invuln to the party, and it lasts three turns, meaning it’s unlikely to be wasted. It also stacks with Castoria’s Solemn Defense stacks if you’re running, say, a Reines/Arc/Castoria team. Arc pairs this with buff removal resistance for Good allies (including herself), solidifying her as a strong situational point Servant for Buster Stall contexts. Castoria is Good, fortunately, so she benefits from this, but Reines is not, meaning in situations where you’re dealing with buff removal, you might want to go with Merlin or Himiko instead, even though Reines is usually the best option for those kinds of teams. The final effect on this skill is a 30% battery to Arc’s allies while Arc’s field is up, which mostly means “anytime after turn 1.” This has some value for 90+ farming, as having access to more battery can enable some nice things, and in CQs it’s great for helping allies have consistent access to their NPs—which, again, is particularly helpful for Buster stall. This is a very good skill overall. It would be a great skill if the battery applied to Arc herself, but even with that not being the case, it has a wide range of use cases.
Change field to [1000-Year Castle] (3 turns).
Deal damage to all enemies.
Deal supereffective damage against [Chaotic] alignment enemies.
Increase NP Gauge for all [Living Human] trait allies except self.
Change field to [1000-Year Castle] (3 turns).
Increase NP Gauge for all [Living Human] trait allies except self.
Marble Phantasm is a visually very cool NP—not only does it look great, but it also changes the background of the battlefield when it’s used. This background change is meant to correspond to Arc’s 1000-year castle buff, which facilitates her passive and her third skill. It’s important to note, though, that the background change is purely symbolic, not mechanical. Even if the background change goes away (such as when transitioning through farming waves), Arc’s field buff remains in effect. The field buff applies before damage, meaning Arc gets the benefit of Ultimate One any time she NPs, and it persists for three turns, increasing her performance for the duration. It also stacks properly with itself, so the duration is properly refreshed each time Arc NPs. It’s also unremovable! Bonus points for that.
The other effects on this NP are also on the unusual side. In addition to standard AoE Buster damage, Arc deals supereffective damage to Chaotic enemies. Unlike normal SE bonuses, though, this scales with NP level rather than with overcharge. This is a good trade on balance due to how NP level scaling works versus Overcharge scaling. At NP2, Arc effectively gets OC3 levels of bonus damage. NP3 matches OC4, and NP5 matches OC5. Realistically, unless Arc is NP1, you aren’t going to be pushing Arc’s overcharge levels high enough that she would be dealing more damage with a hypothetical overcharge scaling than with NP level scaling… and an NP1 Arc doesn’t really have the damage to be an omnifarmer anyway.
To cap off this NP, Arc gives NP charge to Living Human allies, starting at 20% and increasing by 5% with each overcharge level. This makes Arc a de facto 50%+ charger for a select group of Servants. Fortunately, that pool of Servants includes some useful 90+ units, like Assassin Shiki, as well as a trio of good-to-great supports in Jinako, Waver, and Reines. In many setups, this overcharge effect will do nothing, but you can definitely get use out of it in the right team.
Arc has the distinction of being an AoE Buster Servant whose loop setups are not exactly like everyone else’s. Let’s jump into it, shall we?
Let’s start with Arc’s truly unique setup: with Koyan/Arc/Koyan and the Atlas mystic code, Arc can tri-loop CEless. On turn 1, Arc uses her first two skills. On turn 2, you use the Koyan batteries. On turn 3, you use Atlas’s cooldown reduction skill and use Arc’s skills again. If you need more damage on turn 2 and can afford less damage on turn 1, you can save Arc’s first skill for turn 2 and still have it up again on turn 3. In fact, you can actually just use skill 1 twice on turn 2, should you really need it, though odds are good you’ll be more in need of the attack on turn 3. That said, that’s not necessarily always true. If the wave 3 enemies are Chaotic or Man and the wave 2 enemies are not, or if you’re looking at, say, an x/x/1 node where Arc can crit down the last enemy with a card or two, dealing substantially increased damage to everything on the second wave may be worthwhile. Furthermore, it can be smart sometimes to offload low-damage-roll risk from turn 2 to turn 3, as failing to kill on turn 3 usually only costs you a turn or two of cards, where failing to kill on turn 2 has you rolling into wave 3 without all of your buffs active, which can easily drag the fight out to a second buff cycle in high-HP nodes. All this is to say, sometimes you may want to double-stack Arc’s defense down on turn 2, so don’t forget that’s an option.
If you happen to have an Edison, you can squeeze out a bit of extra damage with him and plug. For this setup, you want to run Koyan/Arc/Edison/Koyan, or Koyan/Arc/Koyan/Edison, depending on when you want to use Arc’s skill 1. You can actually use it on any two turns (though you can’t double-stack it on turn 2 this time), but it changes the skill order slightly. With frontline Edison, you use Arc’s skill 1 on turn 1, and then you have it up again by turn 2 to use either there or the turn after. If you start with frontline Koyan, you have much lower turn 1 damage, but then you can use Arc’s skill 1 on both turns 2 and 3, since you’re plugging Edison in on turn 2 and getting his cooldown reduction there. The Edison setup also gives you an extra damage buff from whichever plugsuit you’re running, giving you another option for pushing Arc’s damage on a wave where she doesn’t have niche or otherwise isn’t hitting hard enough.
Arc actually does have one other CE-less loop setup, though it’s generally less effective, for a few reasons I’ll address in a moment. Regardless, here’s the setup: you run Koyan(or any 50% charger)/Arc/Oberon/Oberon, and you have Mana Loading unlocked on Arc. On turn 1, you use Koyan’s battery and buffs, then plug her for the other Oberon and have both Oberons use their 20% batteries. Ideally you save Arc’s skill 1 for turn 2. On turn 2, Arc uses her battery. On turn 3, you use both Oberons’ 50% batteries, as well as both End of the Dream skills, giving Arc a huge burst of wave 3 damage. The reason this is not recommended is that unlocking Mana Loading costs coins that would be better spent giving Arc more attack. While Arc’s wave 3 damage in this setup will be amazing, wave 2 damage is likely to be an issue. The Edison setup will probably be more reliable overall, especially if it involves an Arc with eight extra levels’ worth of attack.
It’s worth noting that Arc can also loop with a 50% starting NP CE and plug. She can do this with any three 50% chargers—she needs 50% charge on turn 1, uses her own battery on turn 2, and uses the other two chargers’ batteries on turn 3. Obviously you still want two Koyans for this—not only do they bring Buster buffs, but they also let Arc stack her first skill—but for the third charger, Reines, Waver, and Oberon all make good cases. Oberon has the obvious advantages of amping Arc’s wave 3 damage and being able to work with a 30% charge CE (that is to say, a non-MLB event CE). Reines and Waver, though, are Living Humans, which means they can actually get their NPs off with Arc’s help. Assuming Reines or Waver is on the field the entire time Arc is looping, they get 70% charge from Arc alone by turn 3: 20% from each of the first two NPs, and 30% from Arc’s skill 3. This is enough for both to NP without any starting charge with the help of Mana Loading and their own skills. Furthermore, since we’re assuming starting charge for Arc anyway, there’s a good chance we have an event CE with starting charge that our supports can also benefit from, which means Reines and Waver will likely have NP access by turn 2, giving you the flexibility to use their NPs earlier if you need more damage on turn 2 instead of turn 3. Things to consider.
Note that the only real reason to run a 50% charge CE on Arc is if it’s an event CE—if you’re using a CE solely to help Arc farm more effectively, you’re better off bringing the Black Grail for additional damage, or bringing a more conventional Buster Servant who has higher damage, if you have one.
Also note that, since damage output is Arc’s biggest limiting factor, you may benefit from working Crane into any of these setups. Crane gets free access to her own NP and provides extra damage buffs that can help Arc hit thresholds she wouldn’t otherwise be able to. Unfortunately, this runs into cost issues, and none of the plug setups will be able to run Crane while also putting a 5* CE on everyone as long as the cost cap remains where it is. If you’re farming with 3* or 4* CEs, though (for event currency, for example), it’s an option. It’s also an option for the Atlas setup, though adding Crane in sorta defeats the purpose of not using plug, and an NP1 Crane is pretty much the same damage output as Edison with the plug buff, with higher team cost and lower flexibility. If we ever get a bronze Servant with CDR who we can use in place of Edison, it would be worth adding Crane into that setup, but as-is, her value is somewhat restricted.
I would also be remiss to not acknowledge Summer Proto Merlin, who will be releasing soon. If her Arcade version is any indication, she may bring cooldown reduction in her kit, in which case she might be a better farming option than Edison depending on how accessible that CDR effect is. If it’s tied to her NP and she doesn’t have enough batteries to use the NP in Arc teams, she’d be out of luck, but if it’s on a skill or she has a Crane-style self battery, she’d very likely bring more damage than Edison does.
For CQs, all of the above strategies are workable burst options, though when you’re allowed cards, Arc’s unique advantages stop mattering as much, and it becomes harder to justify bringing her over someone with more damage. Arc’s CQ strengths lie mostly in stall contexts. Arc is one of the best Buster Servants to run in a Reines/Castoria shell, as Arc provides a ton of charge to her allies, helping to keep the team’s defenses up consistently. In a Reines->Arc->Castoria NP chain, Reines’s overcharge buff brings Arc up to OC3, funneling 30% charge right back to Reines to get her moving towards the next set of NPs. Arc’s third skill is also a great emergency tool here, providing an extra defensive stack on top of Castoria’s defenses and also helping to charge Reines’s and Castoria’s NPs. Very nice.
As I mentioned earlier, Reines is not Good-aligned, so in fights where buff removal is a danger, consider swapping her for Merlin or Himiko. Merlin provides a little less defense but will help the team move faster and has healing to help keep them alive, and Himiko maximizes Castoria’s defenses while also bringing some nice crit damage buffs the whole team likes.
Something to keep in mind when running Castoria stall with Arc is that if Arc has her battery available and gets her NP a turn early—that is to say, a turn before Castoria’s Solemn Defense has worn off, when you’re not ready for the next full NP chain—Arc can sneak in some extra damage by using her NP and then letting her battery charge her back to full on the next turn. It’s a nice extra luxury, so don’t forget to take advantage of it when you can.
Arc is a highly self-sufficient unit, so if you don’t have the tools for optimal Arc play, you can also run her with whichever budget supports you do have. Even something very oldschool like Mash/Arc/Merlin will work pretty well. Mash is even considered a Living Human, so Arc will substantially speed up Mash’s NP cycling. Waver is also a good option in place of Merlin, if you don’t have Merlin and don’t want to rely on finding one off your friend list, in part because Arc gives her Living Human charges to him as well. Jinako is another great partner for Arc in lower-end play, providing lots of protection while, again, benefiting from Arc’s charges. And then there are the old standby budget Servants like Hans, Barti, Chen, and Shakespeare, who are as good as ever.
Assuming you’re not running an event CE, the Black Grail is Arc’s best farming CE, as it mostly solves her damage issues. If you don’t have the Black Grail, Heaven’s Feel is nearly as good, with CEs like Limited/Zero Over a bit further behind. For CQs, the Black Grail is a bit dangerous—Arc stall teams that don’t involve Merlin likely have no healing, in which case the demerit can add up over time. Arc’s damage is still concentrated on her NP, though, so Heaven’s Feel is a good choice. Depending on the team, you might want a starting charge CE like Golden Sumo or Aerial Drive instead, so Arc doesn’t have to use her battery on the first turn and can save it for a free NP later.
For CCs, Arc has a lot of options. Without any in-kit star weight tools and with only Independent Action for a crit buff, crit damage up CCs and star weight up CCs will both go a long way. Unfortunately, you’re stuck with one or the other on any given card, which mostly just means Arc isn’t much of a crit unit. If anything, I’d put crit damage CCs on Arc’s Busters to pair with Koyan’s Buster crit buffs. Aside from that, healing CCs are an option for a bit more stability when stalling, and NP damage up CCs can provide a way to push damage a little in a pinch.
Oh boy, here we go.
So, usually the Grail Potential section is a short blurb that’s mostly formulaic. Such-and-such class and Servant type does so-and-so with extra stats, this Servant is strong or weak and thus is a good or bad pick, here’s a unique consideration for this particular character, grail your favorites.
For Arc, it’s… more complicated.
See, Arc’s whole thing is that she has, in a sense, the best loop specs in the entire game, tied with CasCu. No one other than those two can loop any node plugless and CEless, and no amount of investment in anyone else will get them there. Your loop specs are your loop specs, and barring a strengthening, they don’t change.
Damage, on the other hand, is fixable. Arc’s damage is, at base, not high enough to clear 90+ nodes without help. That “help” can come in a few forms. The Black Grail goes a long way towards covering Arc’s damage weaknesses, but at that point you’re 5-dropping, and Arc’s unique strengths matter less. Alternatively, a Koyan-backed Arc deals a lot of extra damage against Man or Chaotic enemies. There are 153 Man Servants and 134 Chaotic Servants currently, and while there’s a lot of overlap between the groups, it still comes out to somewhere around two-thirds of the Servant cast. Especially at NP2, Arc’s damage is likely to be sufficient in those cases. That said, non-Servant enemies are much less likely to fall into those groups, which limits the reliability of counting on niche.
This brings us to the simplest method of fixing damage: NP levels and stats. A level 90 NP1 Arc is unlikely to be anything game-changing. Same for a level 90 NP2 Arc. As you get beyond that, though, you start to cover more and more nodes where Arc deals enough damage to kill things. An NP5, level 120, max-Fou’d Arc is probably the best farmer in the entire game, because she does things no one else can. With max investment, Arc’s damage issues stop being, well, issues.
This means Arc basically has two modes: fun character pull you use in flavorful Buster teams, and mega omnifarmer who solves all of your farming needs for the rest of forever. Unlike Melusine and Oberon, a sufficiently-invested Arc doesn’t have to deal with a common class-disadvantage context and doesn’t need plug. Unlike CasCu, Arc isn’t dealing with 3* Caster stats. Arc is truly in her own league… if she hits hard enough.
The point, ultimately, is that whether Arc is a good grail target depends, somewhat cyclically, on how much you’re willing to invest in her. If you are going to grail her at all, I would plan to take her to 120, which means having her at at least NP2, and ideally at NP3+. I wouldn’t advise grailing an NP1 Arc, and I would only grail NP2 if you know you’ll use her enough to raise her bond level for the remaining coins and you plan to try for additional NP levels on her next banner. Arc is really an all-or-nothing Servant, and she’ll mostly be “nothing” until she is “all,” at least as omnifarming goes. That’s not entirely fair, as Arc can do plenty of neat things even with less investment under the right circumstances, but she only really comes into her own with full commitment. If you do commit, though, nothing compares.
That said, grail for love, as always. If you’ve been waiting years for Arc, and you’re thrilled to have your one copy, and you know you’ll bring her any time you can? Go for it. She’s a good one.
Arc is a genuinely great unit. Even if you aren’t going all-in, she does highly unique things and will feel very strong in whatever capacity you want to use her. That said, Arc’s true potential comes with heavy investment. A baseline Arc doesn’t stand out much relative to the likes of Melusine and Oberon on the 6CE farming side, or Arjuna Alter and Nobu on the high-damage farming side, but a maxed-out Arc is truly ridiculous. Arc will be fun to use regardless, but if you want her to truly earn her potential title of Type-Earth, you’re going to need to be willing to go all the way. Up to you whether that’s worth it.
Single-Target DPS: 6/10
AoE DPS: 8/10
Offensive Utility: 4/10
Defensive Utility: 8/10
Farming Usefulness: 10/10
Earth’s Aristoteles: 10/10