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Salem - Tier List Change Log

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Introduction

Light your torches and grab your pitchforks, for we are off to Salem the Tier List Change Log!

With Salem however, comes a very...dubious initial banner. Nezha and Caster of Okeanos duplicate Shinjuku's 2nd banner and share a banner with not a single 5* Servant on rate up. Lovely, isn't it? Masters will have to wait for the time-gated story to unfold before the 2nd banner becomes available. 

In addition, we never did a full breakdown of the Halloween 3 Servants, so naturally, we've added them here and updated their descriptions on the Tier list. Plus, an observant reader made us aware of an unupdated Illya explanation, so that has been included here as well. 

But that's not all, there's a second change log on its way, this time, detailing all the changes we're going to make over time (via the arrows) that we already know are going to happen based on future upgrades and notably Skadi's support. That will be a seperate log unto itself though.

If you have thoughts, feedback or ideas you would like to share on any of the Servant placements, feel free to drop a comment in the Change Log discussion thread. 

4 Star Tier List Changes

Placed into Tier 2:

Destruction, thy name is Mecha Eli-chan. With Halloween quite a ways behind us, everyone should be familiar by now with what Mecha Eli-chan can do. That is, blow stuff up with her NP5 with extreme prejudice. There is no large amount of depth (although her Defense-stripping post-NP actually was useful for the last Challenge Quest, thanks anonymous feedback), with a standard small NP Charge and some critical capability, but sometimes, all you really need is a big hammer.

Fact is, if you need to kill something in the Assassin or Rider class, Mecha Eli-chan is one of the best Servants for that role. Due to her Merlin synergy, she will even compete with the likes of Meltryllis until Skadi is finally released. Even considering later Servant releases and upgrades, such as Shuten’s Caster form and Shiki’s NP Upgrade, Mecha Eli-chan remains a great Servant and fits comfortably in Tier 2.

Plus, we can all soon use a healthy dose of MECHA DESTRUCTION.

Placed into Tier 4:

Nezha proved perhaps one of the least divisive Servants to place, with consensus across the board among the writing team. Much like the previous Tier 4 placements during Shimosa release, Nezha has neither the modifiers nor the niche to make a name for herself. While useful during the early game to have an all-purpose Lancer, in the end her main use is a farming Servant through her NP Charge. Her low NP Damage is not ideal for that purpose, and she has some extreme competition in this role to boot with an incredible amount of Lancer NP Charging Servants as well as both Arts and Quick NP looping (eventually). 

As such, we decided Nezha fit best in Tier 4.

Placed into Tier 3:

Embracing our inner piglet has never been so difficult. In fact, Caster of Okeanos proved rather divisive, shooting from Tier 5 to Tier 3 over the course of the discussion. Yes, she is tricky to place, not in the least because non-welfare Servants are all evaluated at NP1, which is a huge demerit for Caster of Okeanos. After all, her base NP damage is very low. Problem is at NP1, she not only has heavy competition from Medea’s instant NP5, but also from the likes of NP5 neutral-hitting welfares such as Chloe. In addition, there is always Lu Bu’s terrifying NP Damage if one has a Kaleidoscope. 

But, such options are not always available, for many a Kaleidoscope is but a distant gacha-fevered dream. Masters can salvage her NP Damage a lot easier, whether through the Black Grail (gacha-fever, oh yeah), but also through more readily accessible CEs like Hero Elly’s Adventure. Her low NP Damage is much less of an issue if you slap their crazy powerful modifiers on her 100% NP Charge, especially at NP2+ (and with Merlin). Thus, she gains some good value for farming against stronger single mobs, especially during Events where Masters are less likely to field Starting NP Gauge CEs.

But, wait there is more. Caster of Okeanos also has a reverse Charisma (-20% Defense Down), which is ever useful while farming especially compared to Medea. Even her Challenge Quest utility is not half bad either, with a teamwide (!) debuff cleanse and very capable, albeit not always affected, piglet-stunning (on-demand!). It makes her a rather decent swap-in as unlike Saint Martha (our other teamwide skill cleanser) her Defense Down is teamwide and she has a bonus teamwide stargen buff to boot. 

Basically, unlike so many Servants, Caster of Okeanos's base performance can be incredibly weak, but scales far harder with a proper set up. She is best used with surgical precision, unlike our next Caster, and is a better fit for Tier 3 overall.

Placed into Tier 2:

Caster of Midrash is basically what happens if Delightworks makes an offensive ST Caster that actually sticks to the class typing. With her Arts NP in an Arts-focused class, Caster of Midrash is a natural fit into any and all Arts teams. In addition, her Arts cards have terrific NP Gain, are further boosted by her class passive and Arts steroid, and her Arts NP naturally refunds a small portion. 

Add in that she has a good heaping of teamwide support with Card Performance, Charisma, and a Def Down on NP (which might well be stacked), and you have a phenomenal offensive Caster for more difficult content in steady Arts-based setups. 

She is still a Caster with 0.9x Caster modifiers though, with her burst damage output being rather weak, and she is made of paper with only a minor Attack Down on NP. However, her largest drawback is that the situations in which one actually needs a steady Caster-based approach are rather limited. She has, unlike Caster of Okeanos on the other end of the spectrum, little on-demand value, having no NP Charge and only her team buffs to aid a farming team. In addition, her higher rarity competition (even some AoE ones like Nero Claudius (Caster)) are still quite capable out outperforming her on single target fights, which is problematic as Masters only tend to need one strong Caster DPS to clear most difficult encounters. 

Nonetheless, her kit is very impressive and well worth a placement in Tier 2.

The Foreigner Class

The Salem Singularity presents us with a new class to explore: the Foreigner class. Boasting full class advantage against Berserkers, dealing 2.0x damage and receiving 0.5x damage (down from 1.5x compared to other classes!), the Foreigner is an ideal addition to the roster for Masters who fear enemy Berserkers. In addition, they deal and receive 2.0x damage from other Foreigners, while suffering full class disadvantage against Alter Ego Servants dealing 0.5x damage to them, and receiving 2.0x. 

TL;DR

  1. 2.0x damage done to Berserkers, 0.5x damage received
  2. 2.0x damage done and received to and from other Foreigners
  3. 0.5x damage done to Alter Egos, 2.0x damage received
  4. 1.0x damage done and received otherwise 

In addition, they boast a normal 1.0x class modifier and have Archer class Star Weight with a passive that grants critical stars per turn and debuff resistance.

No need to worry though, as they are not required whatsoever to clear any of the upcoming content. Normal Berserker counters still function perfectly well, we just have a few more strategies now.

5 Star Tier List Changes

Placed into Tier 4↑:

Osakabehime’s initial release state is rather dire. Fortunately, she has two significant upgrades to look forward to, although they don’t -quite- add enough power to call her supremely powerful even then. Thing is, Osakabehime is compared to the likes of Merlin, Waver, and eventually, Skadi. To choose her, often means foregoing them, and outside of a few Rider-based fights where fielding Casters is a bit too extreme (and that hardly ever happens), that opportunity cost is massive.

But, Osakabehime still has good value. She can charge for 20%, is a portable (Swap-in) Defense Down/Buff Clear, and refuses to die (opening up her solo potential). Furthermore, she gains Buster support in addition to her Quick support, and even later gains a hefty Critical Damage team buff. 

The key in her placement is one that echoes Helena (Archer). If Masters lack a powerful support of their own, Osakabehime is extremely helpful during raids and any of those Rider fights. I speak from experience that she is a suitable replacement for small time NP charging, although the upcoming Santa Altera can perform a similar support role provided there is no Event Damage Bonus (which kills the value of any NP Damage Up buff). 

Naturally, we have given her one arrow for her future upgrades, although we will need to consider whether we move her on the first upgrade, or second upgrade (or both!). For now, she sits in Tier 4↑.

Placed into Tier 3:

Surprisingly, well to me anyway, there was immediate consensus as to where Abigail should be placed: Tier 3.5.

Oh.

The main thing we needed to focus on was narrowing down on which side of the fence she fit best. Essentially, her performance is rather hamstrung by that atrocious NP Gain, even if her NP Charge helps a lot. The long cooldown on that skill (and her other ones for that matter) makes her best suited for stalling teams and difficult content, which she will perform fairly well for. Besides, her Foreigner class is rare, and she will have that uniqueness to draw on for a long time as the JP server still has only 3 of them. Plus, her teamwide NP Damage buff is quite unique, giving her some niche team support options in situations where her NP Damage buff multiplies best with the other available buffs. 

The introduction of more powerful Foreigner Servants does present an issue for her, as we do rate Hokusai quite a bit stronger, but also MHXX puts up a very strong fight (and is more accessible). For now, she fits in Tier 3, but it is a tenuous position. In time, we may well move her lower, perhaps when MHXX is introduced. 

Tier Explanations

The explanation button on the Tier List brings up a personalized explanation on why we placed a Servant in the Tier that they are in. For the Salem release we added the following Tier List Explantions:

Mecha Eli-Chan combines a Buster-heavy kit with one extremely damaging Buster NP. As very burst heavy Single Target anti-Rider and anti-Assassin Servants are often difficult to acquire, especially Buster-based ones, Mecha Eli-Chan easily carves out a niche for herself as an easily accessible option for cavalry or Foreigner destruction. Charging her NP may prove more challenging, as is keeping her alive, but Mecha Eli-Chan’s damage potential remains strong enough even as a Master’s roster expands.

Despite packing a valuable NP Charge with which to help any Master farm, Nezha’s main problem is a numbers one. With relatively low NP Damage, only medium-strength steroids, as well as a lack of a niche of her own, Nezha is outperformed by both AoE Critical specialists such as Altria Pendragon (Lancer Alter) as well as high damage AoE Lancers such as Jeanne d’Arc (Santa Alter Lily). Still, her flexibility makes her a great first Lancer while Masters start out on their journey.

Caster of Okeanos builds upon the foundation of Medea’s playstyle, bringing an Instant NP Charge for her single target NP. Her resulting freedom in CE and support choices affords her a tremendous damage improvement for on-demand farming, even if her base NP Damage is very low. Her ability to cleanse debuffs for the entire team, turn enemies into piglets, and apply a small Defense Down also grant her a small niche for certain difficult encounters.

Still, her sustained damage output and dependency on expensive CEs (and NP Upgrades) make it more difficult to release her full potential.

Caster of Midrash’s Arts NP is a rarity for offensive single target Casters, and Caster of Midrash makes a good case for why that is so. With excellent NP Gain, back to back NP potential, good teamwide offensive buffs, and supreme Arts team synergy, Caster of Midrash is a natural fit for any Arts-heavy Master. Her sustained performance is impressive, yet that is also her main weakness.

Outside of more difficult content, Caster of Midrash lacks the on-demand or burst damage necessary to help clear content quickly especially as she is still dragged down by her Caster class damage modifiers. With strong competition from higher rarity Casters as well, Masters may not find as many opportunities to field her as they would like.

Illya possesses the highest NP damage value of all Casters currently in the game, and by some margin. Her burst damage is impressive, and she is remarkably durable given her access to both a guts and an Invincibility. Her NP Gain is problematic, although fortunately a double dose of NP Gain buffs help to combat the worst of it. Sadly, her Caster class does reduce her overall damage performance by quite a bit, especially if she gets debuffed by her own NP. Nonetheless, if something needs a large beam to the face, Illya is one of the best for the job.

Despite being overshadowed by stronger supports, Masters who lack any of those (NP Charging) supports will find Osakabehime rather useful during Raid Event or combating Rider bosses. With an NP Charge, hefty Defense Down, and Buff Removal, Osakabehime also thrives with the Chaldea Combat Uniform’s Order Change. Furthermore, her own damage and survival potential is not to be underestimated as she is quite capable of soloing her fair share of difficult Rider bosses.

Naturally, her double dose of upgrades will noticeably improve her performance, expanding her support to Buster Servants in addition to her Quick support, as well as grant her a large teamwide Critical Damage buff on a short cooldown.

As one of the few Servants with the Foreigner class, Abigail is a welcome Berserker counter for any Master who dreads their otherwise universal class advantage. Packing a strong Single Target Buster NP, NP Charging over time, heavy team support and stalling utility, as well as Amakusa’s buff removal before her NP activates, Abigail should have all the essential ingredients for a remarkable performance. 

Yet, Abigail suffers from an utterly incomprehensible low base NP Gain, practically destroying how quickly she can charge her NP. As such, she is dependent on Arts chains and team support to (re-)charge her NP, as her own skills also carry a significant cooldown. Nonetheless, her performance is still rather strong especially against any unfortunate Berserkers who see their 1.5x class advantage fall to a 0.5x class disadvantage against Abigail.