TL;DR: Should You Pull?
Cleopatra: If you don’t have an AoE Assassin, YES; if you do, NO NEED
Nitocris: YES, one of the best farming Servants in the game. You should pull unless you have multiple Kaleidoscopes, maybe even multiple MLB ones!
Vlad Extra: If you don’t have a strong ST Lancer, or want a versatile, high utility lancer, YES; if you do, NO NEED
Ibaraki: If you like tanky Berserkers, or want buff removal on a universally class effective Servant, YES; otherwise, NO NEED
Remember: Roll for love first and foremost! Almost all Servants will have their time to shine in one place or another if you invest in them enough - treasure your faves.
Cleopatra is a self-sufficient and unusual Assassin. As one of the few AoE Assassins available on NA so far, her eclectic combination of incredible NP generation, strong (if unreliable) offense and defense steroids, and personal utility (Invincibility, self debuff clear, healing) sets her apart from most of her competition. Compared to fellow SSR AoE Assassin Shuten-Douji, Cleopatra is much more selfish. Being Buster focused also allows her to synergize well with Merlin, a plus in the current meta.
As far as farming waves of Rider enemies, Cleopatra is one of the standout options. However, she pays for her variety of features in sheer power; even without considering the Assassin class’ lower damage modifier, her own attack is somewhat low. Down the line (ETA 10/2020) she will receive an NP Interlude that adds a 1-time buff block effect to her NP, on top of the usual increased damage modifier, which helps her damage woes somewhat. If you can get past her slightly low damage, Cleopatra packs many strengths into a very pretty package.
Cleopatra is a collection of powerful components put together. Her overall NP generation is among the highest in the game, between her great base NP gain and Golden Rule (Wealth & Body), and that almost always makes for fun gameplay. She has multiple offensive buffs for her NP. She’s also way more durable than one might expect, if she doesn’t get blown up in one shot, thanks to not one but two powerful self-heals. And even then she has Invincibility to prevent the one shots.
However, a note for farming purposes: once mobs start getting higher HP totals in some nodes, it’s not at all uncommon that she fails to kill them even if Imperial Privilege’s attack buff procs. At that point, someone like Shuten-Douji pulls ahead with higher personal damage and offensive team support to allow your other Servants to hit higher damage benchmarks. Still, Cleopatra has so many tools that it’s hard not to recommend her if a Master lacks an AoE Assassin. And spamming NPs and crits for days is just too dang entertaining.
Once again, if the role of AoE Assassin is one you don’t have filled yet, or you want an upgrade from the free Event Servant Assassin Scathach, Cleopatra is very much a worthwhile pull. Her offense might not win out in sheer power, but in almost every other field she stands out as a strong and self-sufficient Assassin. If you already have an AoE Assassin like Shuten-Douji, or plan on pulling for future releases like Semiramis, Ushiwakamaru (Assassin), or Okita J Souji, Cleopatra isn’t an earthshaking Servant and can safely be passed up on.
Once in a while Servants come along that aren’t particularly impressive or are even downright poor in most situations, but have an overwhelming advantage in one particular area. Depending on what that area is, a Servant can solidify their place as a joke or a legend. Nitocris is one of the few Servants who makes that jump to greatness, solely due to her status as the absolute queen of fast farming.
Sporting an AoE NP with a high chance to proc Instant Death, she is one of the few Servants to actually take advantage of that niche mechanic. With her Egyptian Magecraft skill, Nitocris can actually boost the rate of Instant Death to acceptable levels, potentially wiping out an entire wave of (preferably low-rarity but high-HP) enemies at once. And the real fun starts after that, when she shows off the only zero-to-full NP battery on an AoE Servant in the entire game. Even if the Instant Death doesn’t proc, her ability to NP twice in a row (with outside support or certain CEs, of course) is incredibly handy. She even has a self-heal and a (weak) Guts skill! Of course, as mentioned, her downside is that outside of NP shenanigans, her damage is laughable, and she has absolutely no team support, so you better hope that instant kill lands or else.
Nitocris is frankly more of a quality of life buff than a Servant. For those Masters who aren’t mega whales with multiple MLB Kaleidoscopes, the difference between having Nitocris and not is immense. Farming makes up such a vast majority of FGO gameplay that her utility is applicable to most of what you’ll do on a daily basis. As you farm nodes with higher and higher HP totals, even running budget farmers like Spartacus begins to be unrealistic when you simply can’t kill the enemies off. Nitocris bypasses the HP total entirely and can reliably wipe bronze-rarity mobs out no matter how beefy they are.
As a side note, multiple GamePress team members used their free 4* tickets on Nitocris. Let that serve as a testimonial on its own merits. However, she isn’t limited or story-locked and she does have other banners coming up, so Masters looking to save for specific upcoming (holiday) Servants in the next couple months wouldn’t lock themselves out of getting her if they were to pass on this banner.
It’s hard not to recommend pulling for Nitocris purely on the basis of her farming expertise. No other Servant brings the combination of instant NP recharge and AoE wave clear that she does, so there isn’t really a suitable single replacement. However, if Masters either possess multiple Kaleidoscopes (preferably MLB) or are simply fine with farming more slowly, they could pass. Be really sure before deciding on the latter, as farming time does increase steadily as you progress in-game. For everyone else, though, Nitocris is definitely worth your time and your Quartz.
Vlad III (EXTRA)
Lancer Vlad is the quintessential jack of all trades when it comes to the Lancer class. His expansive skill set includes personal attack and defense buffs, self-healing, a taunt, passive star generation, debuff resistance, and a teamwide NP steroid. That’s without factoring in his Anti-Evil bonus damage NP, which packs in-built Pierce Invincibility. Just looking at that list of effects should emphasize Vlad’s versatility. Of course, flexibility like that comes at the price of specialization.
Vlad can do everything (aside from AoE damage) but is rarely if ever the best pick for any one thing. He can’t take a beating and heal it off as easily as Enkidu can; he can’t nuke as hard as Scathach can; he can’t farm like Karna or crit like Li Shuwen or buff allies like Lancer Raikou. But if you need someone who can do all those things at once (except farm) to a respectable degree, the Lord Impaler is your guy. His fairly low Attack stat for a Lancer is outweighed by his self-buffs, good NP generation, and tankiness, and Evil foes on the receiving end of his unwavering spear will still be put in the grave easily enough.
Lancer Vlad really is unique compared to most members of the Lancer class. I’ve got no idea what the thought process was behind his design, but he’s inexplicable in a good way. He’s a weird Frankenstein of useful effects and buffs, and considering how wide his skillset ranges, he doesn’t lose nearly as much effectiveness in each of those fields as you’d expect. While he really only shines against Evil enemies (of whom there are quite a few Archers and Berserkers) damage-wise, his NP damage is quite good even otherwise, despite somewhat weaker face cards. Regardless, Vlad isn’t the flashiest Servant and won’t bring anything really new to the table besides utili-tanking, but he’s consistent and reliable.
Again, Lancer Vlad doesn’t break much new ground for the class besides being a damage dealer with a taunt (rare). But if you don’t already have a strong ST Lancer, he’s a very good pick to fill that slot, and if you like your damage dealers with a side of utility or flexibility, he’s nearly unmatched in that regard as far as Lancers go. Masters who have any gold ST Lancers can safely pass on pulling for him and not have to worry about missing out, though.
For a supposed glass cannon class, there are more than a few Berserker Servants whose claim to fame is being tough and hard to take down. Cu Alter tanks with Evasion. Heracles tanks with Guts stacks. And Ibaraki-Douji… she tanks with her face.
Ibaraki is an unusually defensive Berserker, and unlike her aforementioned compatriots, her method of ‘defense’ is just ‘facetank everything that gets thrown at me.’ Using the powerful defense buffs on Morph and the small heal and debuff clear on Disengage, Ibaraki does a pretty good job of staying alive to leverage her Berserker offenses, especially with defensive support from allies. She’s no slouch on offense either, with one of the best dual steroids in the game in Demonic Nature of Oni, which even buffs allies! To top it all off, she even has the ever-handy effect of buff removal on her NP. Ibaraki-Douji might be a bit of a joke character, but in battle she’s deadly serious.
Ibaraki is probably the most straightforward of any Berserker not named Kintoki (amusing, given their shared lore) but is definitely no weaker for it. She has a ‘hit things’ button, a ‘don’t get hit hard by things’ button, and an ‘oh dang I got hit by something’ button. All of these things do exactly what they say, and do it well. Perhaps the most interesting draw to using her is the buff removal on Great Grudge of Rashomon. Most other sources of buff removal are on non-Berserker Servants (understandable, the class is usually not known for its utility), so having it on a Servant who can be brought to any fight and not be an offensive liability is a rare perk.
It is worth noting that even as tough as Ibaraki can be, in harder fights enemies tend to crit for absurd amounts of damage, so she might not be able to just endure her way through all content. Even so, that minor weakness can be patched up with the appropriate allies and buffs.
If you like running Berserkers, but want a slightly less glassy cannon, Ibaraki might very well fit your needs. Or, if you need to fill the buff removal niche in preparation for the many Challenge Quests where it comes in handy, and you want an option that can be brought regardless of enemy class, that’s another good reason to roll for her. If you already have an ST Berserker, Ibaraki won’t blow them out of the water offensively. Buff removal is also available from a few other Servants you might already be using. In these cases, you can save your Quartz and not miss out on anything gamechanging.
It's pretty rare for a banner to feature four gold Servants who are all at least above-average at their jobs and in comparison to others of their class and rarity. In that sense, this rerun of last year's Halloween banner is quite a standout. Every Servant featured has a role or niche and fulfills it nicely. If you were to roll any of them for the first time, I wouldn't consider it a waste even if you have someone else fulfilling a similar role. So with that said, may the gacha bless your pulls, and good luck getting your faves if you do choose to roll. If not, we'll see you in our next Should You Pull!