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Rabbit’s Reviews #336: Ibuki-Douji (5* Berserker)

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Rabbit's Reviews Summer Ibuki
NA Release Date: 08/2024
Introduction

Only once in the history of FGO have I looked at a new Servant at launch and gone, “Wow, this is a brokenly powerful Servant, to an extent that is probably unhealthy for the balance of the game as a whole.” That one Servant was Castoria, who remains the best Servant in the game, and while her addition was probably for the best in the long-run, it is undeniable that she completely changed FGO’s standards of power and reshaped future difficulty and balance around her.

Ibuki is now the second to spark that response from me.

What makes Ibuki so ridiculous? Well… she’s now the best Arts farmer in the game, cruising past existing top-tier options. The previous top-of-the-line Servants now look like mere reasonable alternatives, and previous reasonable alternatives look kinda sad. With good steroids, the highest attack of all Berserkers, Berserker class advantage, and top-of-the-line loopage, there’s really no way for another Arts unit to top Ibuki without basically just being Ibuki 2.0—the same basic kit, but with much higher steroids or extra batteries. Ibuki does basically everything outside of, like, some niche utility things a tech support can easily cover, and the only real way to outdo her is to just Do Everything Better.

Incidentally, Ibuki is also a genuinely strong semi-support, and she brings particular value to Arc in particular, making her an integral part of what is probably the strongest Buster farming team in the game. Ibuki has a lot of utility built into her kit, and she does pretty much everything you’d want a DPS or a powerful semi-support to do. She’s really absurdly strong—I can’t emphasize that enough.

Personally, I don’t think this is healthy for the game as a whole. If this kind of scaling power becomes the norm moving forward, and if content difficulty also scales to match it, many old Servants who were perfectly fine—or even outright strong—will be left behind to the point of being impossible to justify pulling for outside of pure character loyalty. In a game as grounded in its characters and its collection mechanics as FGO, this feels like the wrong direction for the game to be moving.

That said, there are a lot of complexities and nuances to Ibuki’s kit. Nothing for it but to break them all down, as usual. Here we go!

Servant Data
Berserker
Madness Enhancement E

Increase your Buster Card effectiveness by 2%.

Dragon Kin EX

Increase own Buster Card effectiveness by 12%.
Apply Damage Cut by 200 to self.

Serpent Goddess Core A

Apply Damage Plus 250 to self.
Increase own Buff Removal Resist by 20%.

Card Hits 3 3 4 5 5
Per Hit 0.38% 0.38% 0.38% 0.38% 0.38%
NP per Hit (%) 0.38%
NP when Attacked (%) 5%
Star Absorption 9
Star Generation per Hit 4.9%
Overview
Material Requirements
Servant Skills
Noble Phantasm
Usage Tips
Grail Potential
Conclusion

Ibuki is miles above the competition. She’s by far the best Arts unit in the game. She’s also part of the best Buster farming team in the game and is an optimal support for a handful of other Buster Servants. She’s a workable support for Arts and Buster in general and enables some unique and situationally important things. She’s a ridiculously good farmer. She has nice CQ utility. Her refund is silly and she makes the whole team better in the process.

There’s really nothing we care about that Ibuki doesn’t do. Sure, she can’t keep herself alive long-term, and sure she can’t handle, like, unremovable invulns… but we have supports for that, and Ibuki’s damage is so high she can afford to slot in a tech support to cover those situations without issue. She wants Castoria and appreciates Oberon, but her baseline is so high she can work well even with other supports and teams. There are no drawbacks to this Servant, genuinely.

If the level of difficulty of farming, CQs, and story content remains roughly where it is now, this might be fine. Ibuki is a major outlier, and I think she’s unhealthy for overall game balance, but as long as she’s ignorable, it’s not the end of the world. If content scales up to match Ibuki, though, most old Servants will be left in the dust.

There is an argument to be made that this doesn’t matter. New strong Servants theoretically make powerful teams more accessible. This was arguably the net result of Castoria, after all—farming became easier for almost everyone, and everyone around Castoria got stronger. Arts was completely dominant for a year, but Buster eventually carved out a healthy place for itself, and Quick is… usable for most things, at least. What makes Ibuki any different?

The key distinction here, I think, is that Ibuki doesn’t actually bring anyone else up with her, except for Arc, who was very clearly designed with Ibuki in-mind. Ibuki doesn’t let you use your old favorites to clear content, or reframe existing Servants through new use conditions, or anything of that nature. She just clears things herself and makes a lot of old units look bad. This isn’t particularly fun from a player standpoint, even if it has no further knock-on effects—and Castoria’s release led to much more difficult content after a while, so I have no confidence Ibuki won’t do the same. Furthermore, unlike in Castoria’s case, content designed around Ibuki would necessarily exclude the vast majority of existing Servants, likely homogenizing practical strategies.

This may or may not happen. Ibuki could just remain an outlier—a cheat code of sorts, who operates on a level above anyone else, while the rest of the game continues to operate at its existing power level. Only time will tell, but personally, I’m a little worried.

We’ll see, I guess.

Rabbit's Arbitrary Ratings

Overall: 11/10
Single-Target DPS: 9/10
AoE DPS: 10/10
Survivability: 4/10
Offensive Utility: 8/10
Defensive Utility: 5/10
Farming Usefulness: 10/10
Cheering For Arc: 10/10

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