The highly anticipated Shimousa chapter will soon be available, and as with any Singularity, it introduces another batch of new Servants to dig into. However, since the main character of the Singularity was released at the start of the year, there is actually no new 5* Servant to assess. Instead, we've gained a new addition to our 1-3* roster (and not Story Locked at that)!
As Parvati's placement already showed last week, we're introducing new Green Upwards and Red Downwards Arrows to help indicate where we believe we will move a certain Servant up or down the Tier List. The basic rule of thumb is as follows:
- A Green Arrow Pointing Upwards indicates a guaranteed movement up the Tier List by at least (but can be more!) 1 Tier in the future.
- A Red Arrow Pointing Downwards indicates a guaranteed movement down the Tier List by at least 1 Tier in the future.
- Some Servants will receive multiple arrows, indicating a larger movement.
- Lastly, we will still alter placements even if Servants do not have an arrow beforehand. A Green/Red Arrow is simpy a guarantee/consensus that we have decided to do so in advance.
The main idea is to help the non-JP Masters get a better idea about how the Tier List will evolve as Servants are upgraded, new Servants becomes available, and key new Supports are released. It also allows us to be a little more flexible with placement such as with Katou Danzou, where she is kinda useful now, but less so in the future.
Note: We have a list of planned Arrow introductions to the entire roster, but we'll add those after Shimousa's content is completed.
Without any further ado, let's get started on the placements. If you have thoughts, feedback or ideas you would like to share on any Servant placement, feel free to drop a comment on the Change Log discussion thread.
3 Star Tier List Changes
Placed into Tier 3:
Houzouin Inshun is an example of a great Servant, but one who is impractical to actually use during regular play. Due to his extreme reliance on not only keeping his NP's buffs active, but also drawing the Command Cards to deal damage/refresh his NP, his sheer potential mainly comes out in solo or last man standing situations (or extremely specific support comps) where he can select his Command Cards at will.
However, in such a capacity he competes with the power of Cu Chulainn's solo potential, which is much more durable, and he lacks the on-demand damage of any of his normal damaging NP peers as he needs a bit of time to get going.
Regardless, he's very fun to play, very powerful when the card draws are just right, and he can be freely rolled from the Friend gacha (although only after the banner ends I believe). As such, we believe a placement in Tier 3 reflects his use best in practice as opposed to a higher Tier.
Moved to Tier 4
Jekyll is truly worthy of the Assassin-class, considering he eluded our attention for so long. Once we realized that we were going to place Houzouin Inshun in the same Tier as Henry Jekyll & Hyde, we collectively went "That's not right".
Setting Hyde up properly isn't easy, and the pay-off these days is much smaller than it used to be (given we have a much stronger set of Servants overall than last year).
As such, they are now in Tier 4.
4 Star Tier List Changes
Placed into Tier 3:
The Archer class is truly loaded with good Servants, as in most other classes, Archer of Inferno would find herself placed into Tier 2 much more easily. Considering her strong base performance and downright excellent compatibility with Merlin, Archer of Inferno will not disappoint.
Yet, her Burn niche, which is her only unique gimmick, is utterly underwhelming. Given the vast power of her competition and the availability of welfares Chloe and the upcoming Altera the San(ta), both of which are capable of charging their NP, in practice Archer of Inferno often takes a backseat.
While it is a shame Archer of Inferno's capability is limited by a lack of a niche, her Buster compatibility gives her plenty of power regardless, especially in the short term. As such, she places among the upper reach of Tier 3.
Placed into Tier 4:
With excellent compatibility with most common Arts teams, NP Spam potential, and a good fit in most stalling compositions by virtue of her 5-turn cooldown NP Seal, Assassin of Paraiso would be fine competition to EMIYA (Assassin) and Ryougi Shiki if her damage numbers were any good. But they are not.
The true killer of her potential though, is our Clairvoyance EX. With Ryougi Shiki back on the menu in February, Emiya (Assassin) getting an NP Upgrade within a few weeks, and Hassan of the Hundred Faces just receiving an excellent NP Upgrade, Assassin of Paraiso finds herself utterly outmatched.
Her main virtue is that her bases are all solid, and she is not story-locked. As such, were her NP to be buffed, she would already be much more viable. For now, Tier 4 fits her best.
Placed into Tier 1:
To say Saber of Empireo is the winner of Shimousa would not be wrong to say at all. With plenty of discussion on which Arts flavor Masters prefer (Lancelot (Saber) or Saber of Empireo?), Saber of Empireo really does put out a performance which competes heavily with Lancelot (Saber)'s on-demand damage.
Unlike Lancelot (Saber)'s fragility, Saber of Empireo focuses on a measured sustain-heavy performance with 1-turn skills that are tricky to time just right. He can imitate Nightingale in just how heavily he can reduce the enemy's Attack, but he can also unleash an utterly terrifying amount of NP Damage even at NP1 (essentially hitting as hard as Rama with his anti-Demonic trait active!).
His usage is less appealing for farming given his ST nature, story-locked status, and inability to unleash damage as quickly as his competition, and Masters may often have to delay skills to time them just right. There was some discussion among the writing team about placing him in Tier 2 given his performance in practice is not always as smooth as his kit suggests.
Regardless, for his prime compatibility with Arts composition, he earns a well-earned placement into Tier 1 in the end.
Placed into Tier 4↓ :
Katou Danzou proved not to be as clear cut to place as we initially suspected, and after a fair amount of discussion, we compromised and put her into Tier 4 with a clear marking that, either upon Scathach=Skadi's release or Gray's release, we will move her down to Tier 5.
The issue is mainly one of damage. With utterly pitiful damage, especially at NP1, Katou Danzou is rather difficult to make use of during farming. Furthermore, most Masters have access to Scathach (Assassin) NP5 farming potential. Her one virtue in the damage department is her Merlin compatibility, but one wonders if fielding a Berserker at that point isn't better.
Her potential to shield her allies remains viable and while gimmicky, is quite useful. As such, her hard survival potential and her Buster compatibility barely afford her a place in Tier 4↓ for now.
5 Star Tier List Changes
Moved to Tier 1↓:
In the lead up to Shimousa's release, we put a lot of discussion into how well Musashi ages and whether she falls off at all, or if she does, when exactly that is. The main idea of the discussion was to demote her already for Shimousa, but there was no consensus for this, although there was consensus in that she will be less effective in the future.
There are multiple reasons for this, and this applies to most Challenge Quest ST Buster Specialists (Musashi is not alone in her downwards arrow soon), but the main two reasons are:
- Most upcoming Challenge Quests feature multiple enemies favoring AoE Servants, especially as AoE Servants often perform nearly as strongly for single bosses.
- The rise of Quick with the release of Scathach=Skadi does not weaken Musashi, but it does make her competition that much stronger (Okita most notably).
Apart from that, bosses will often have unremovable (de)buffs, and Musashi's sheer damage is often overkill in the face of enemies that prefer a higher frequency in NPs/damage instead.
As Musashi's farming potential is limited, and that she lacks some of versatility other Tier 1 Servants have, we intend to downgrade her to Tier 2 in the 2020. For now, she has another half year of Buster-bliss to enjoy, and is placed Tier 1↓.
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 Shimousa's release we added the following Tier List Explantions:
Houzouin Inshun has damage capability and crazy numbers other 1-3* Servants can only dream of. With strong NP Gain and a stacked NP, when the right card draws match up, Houzouin Inshun's performance is downright terrifying.
Yet, that potential requires a playstyle that in practice, either requires a solo or last man standing performance, or a heavily dedicated support composition. His reliance on a good card draw to make full use of his self-buffing non-damaging NP means accessing his potential in a team situation is impractical, and with the accompanying ramp up time that his NP needs to get going, he is not well suited for farming either.
Thus, what remains is a very fun, very capable Servant, yet one that doesn't see much outside of fun challenges and highlight videos showcasing his immense power.
With excellent Buster Critical compatibility and an overall powerful skill set that only has minor drawbacks, Archer of Inferno’s largest problem is that she is a Single Target boss specialist with a Burn amplification niche that hardly ever sees any use. As the most challenging encounters often highly reward Servants that can counter the enemy’s various gimmicks, Archer of Inferno is always a solid option, but never an optimal choice.
With little farming capability to draw back on, and with some extremely steep competition including that of both powerful Archer welfares Chloe and Altera the san(ta), Archer of Inferno thus places herself firmly in the middle of the pack.
Despite a strong set of skills, and fairly impressive NP Spamming capabilities, Assassin of Paraiso is let down by the combination most Single Target Assassins suffer from: a low damage output and having to compete with Ryougi Shiki. In fact, due Assassin of Paraiso having only a single steroid to draw on, Hassan of the Hundred Personas provides a very potent freely accessible alternative for Masters who wish to experiment with an Arts NP spamming Assassins.
Yet, unlike her competition, Assassin of Paraiso provides both stronger stalling compatibility through her NP Seal and comes with relatively short cooldowns. Her problem is mainly one of numbers, and Assassin of Paraiso is desperately in need of an NP Upgrade to shore up her performance.
Saber of Empireo's synergy with Arts compositions, good NP Gain, powerful defensive effects and very strong burst damage potential make him a prime Arts Servant for difficult content. His ability to help the entire team survive enemy NPs via his Attack Down debuffs is a unique commodity that few Servants possess, let alone such a high damage Servant.
His drawbacks are still there though, as extracting Saber of Empireo's full capability is difficult. With many competing effects on his skills, Masters often need to sacrifice offense for defense or vice versa. In addition, many bosses resist, cleanse or otherwise circumvent his Attack Down efforts. With his buffs lasting for a single turn and often delayed to hit the right timing, Saber of Empireo typically lacks the on-demand damage potential of competing Sabers such as Lancelot (Saber).
Nonetheless, this Master of the blade has one terrifying sitting posture.
Despite access to a skill set that is pretty decent, Katou Danzou's Noble Phantasm damage is incredibly underwhelming, only holding up against her primary Demonic targets. With heavy competition from both Scathach (Assassin), Gray(in the future) and Scathach=Skadi's Quick support buffing her Quick peers, there is little offensive performance to be gained from Katou Danzou in the long run. Her Story-locked status doesn't help in acquiring additional copies either.
Until then, her Buster compatibility grants her some additional power, while her targetable mix of both Evasion and Invincibility can help with creating some interesting Order Change strategies.