The 6th anniversary in JP FGO brought a number of changes. Servant Coins, Append Skills, level 120, and a new yet familiar SSR. For the purposes of this article, let us focus on farming, which makes up a large proportion of the game.
Appends and Servant Coins
With the 6th anniversary, all Servants can now obtain 3 new passives, known as Append Skills. All servants have the same first and second Append Skill, which is great as the most useful Append Skill when it comes to farming usage is the second, the starting charge 10% – 20%. With 120 servant coins of the respective servant, one can unlock this skill which provides a one-time starting charge of 20% at max level. For an SSR, 120 servant coins can be gained by rolling a single copy and raising them to Bond 6.
- Apart from the obvious use with non-MLB scope and 30% self-chargers, it can also be used with 50% charge CEs such as Tenkihime or Aerial Drive together with another 30% charge, such as from Caster Artoria’s first skill.
- A 30% self-charge DPS with the second Append Skill at max level can instantly NP with Reines/Zhuge Liang (or any other 30+20 charge support) in a CE-agnostic fashion.
However, please remember that this is not always a replacement for a Superscope, as a Superscope will also provide a 2000 ATK at level 100. Furthermore, going from level 1 to level 10 costs a significant amount of materials, with a lore to max it completely at the end, and thus it is not viable to append everyone.
Tamamo Vitch, or if we are going off her official Saint Graph name Koyanskaya of Light, is the new 6th Anniversary servant.
- Her appeal is clearly not because of her 50% Buster buff steroid she provides, since the previous Buster support, Merlin, already provides the same amount with an additional 20% attack up on his first skill. For the purpose of comparison, let us ignore the special attack against Man attribute, since it is a situational buff that does not apply to all nodes (similar to Caster Artoria’s Anti-Threat to Humanity, though of course, an Anti-Man attribute damage is much more practical).
- The most important thing we must note is the amount of charge she brings - a single target 50%. While it seems to lose out when compared to Caster Artoria or Zhuge Liang’s teamwide charge, this is somewhat of a step up from Merlin’s party-wide 20% charge. Buster used to be the only card type that did not possess their own 50% charger that also grants a 50% card performance up, with other card types having Skadi for Quick, and Caster Artoria for Arts. Compared to the 20% charge, it certainly seems lacking. With this 50% for Buster, they can finally compete with other card types when it comes to farming.
There are several compositions that Vitch allows. The most prominent would be the possibility of “Buster Loops”, once dismissed as a joke, is now no longer just a pipe dream. Using an AoE servant with 50% self-charge (or pseudo-50, such as Saber Artoria and Mordred), 2 Tamamo Vitch, and starting with a MLB Kaleidoscope, the DPS can NP 3 times in a row without the use of the Chaldea Combat Uniform Mystic Code. At this point, one might question — How can the DPS charge their NP to 100% with only 150%?
This is where Vitch’s Cooldown Reduction, which might seem useless at first glance, comes into play. Most 50% charge skills possess a 6 turns cooldown, if not 5 turns. Since 2 Vitches contribute a total of -4CD, one can bring the Atlas Mystic Code and reduce that by another 2, thus effectively allowing the DPS to use their charge skill twice in a single battle. Thus, 100% from a MLB Kaleidoscope, 2×50% from 2 Vitches, and 2×50% from the DPS using their charge twice, which in total allows the DPS to NP 3 times. Below is an example of Mordred, a pseudo 50% Servant with 2 Vitches. Mordred has a 6T cooldown on her 30% charge, and a flat 20% after NP, which works nicely enough. Artoria works better as her charge is 5CD, which allows you to use another MC instead of Atlas.
Here’s a more conventional example of a DPS with a 50% charge, who also happens to be related to the previous Servant.
Here’s another example, though this does have some RNG in wave 2. Here we see the potential of Vitch’s S2 being used for pesky 1 enemy waves. S2 can of course be used to simply guarantee crits for wave 1, thus allowing the DPS to hold an event CE instead of a charge CE.
Now here’s where things get a little trippy. What if we use someone like Emiya instead? With S3, he can change to an Arts NP, which potentially allows him to loop too, either by using Atlas or Plugsuit. Or what about Fae Knight Lancelot?
Okay, that’s still fine and understandable. But what about Oberon? Released with Avalon Le Fae’s conclusion Campaign, it seems like he overpowers Vitch significantly with an additional party-wide 20% charge and 30% NP Damage Up, a skill that doubles the target’s NP Damage Up (which also applies to CEs like Black Grail),and not to mention a targetable 50% charge and 50% Buster Up, which are both integral parts of Vitch’s kit.
So here’s how it measures up. Looping with double Oberon on an AoE servant with 50% self-charge and MLB Kaleidoscope is viable if you can provide an extra 10% charge such as through a Mystic Code. However, for the first wave the DPS would be stuck without any buffs from Oberon and on the second wave they would only receive a 60% NP Damage Up buff from the 2 Oberons. Because the buffs provided by his third skill only lasts for 1 turn and puts the affected servant into Eternal Sleep the turn after, Oberon's third skill is only usable on the third wave.
This means that while it is very viable and does bigger damage on wave 3, you would do lower damage compared to double Vitch on the first 2 waves, so it's not outright better. However, what about using both Oberon and Vitch? or perhaps even using him as a replacement for a second support of the other two card types?
Here’s an example of Caster Cu, who received a very strong buff from LB6. He actually has the potential to do 5s, if his damage is not lacking. However, since he is a story-locked 3 star, I’d find it hard to have NP5 CasCu.
Vitch + Oberon setups also allow you to borrow a friend’s DPS servant, which makes it slightly easier for F2P players with low NP levels on their DPS servants. It might be better to compare Oberon to Zhuge Liang, as both of their major damage buffs are not strictly limited to any card type. Below, Caster Artoria is used with Oberon to help Lancelot deal with W1 and W2 while Oberon helps to boost Fae Knight Lancelot’s NP damage to acceptable values in W3 as well as providing his 70% charge. Even when considering his third skill, the doubling up of NP Damage Up buffs are still applicable on non-Buster NPs. In fact, it can be said that Oberon is better when compared to Zhuge Liang as pointed out on the comparison before.
Furthermore, if one does not mind the use of plugsuit, it is possible to use 2 Vitch with Oberon for 30% charge servants, such as Arjuna Alter.
It is however important to note that compared to Vitch, Oberon’s role is admittedly more universal if one considers the first 2 skills. Even with S3, the real unique part is actually the doubling up of NP Damage Up buffs, not the 50% Buster buff. In fact, it can be said that Oberon is better when compared to Zhuge Liang, as both have a party-wide 20% charge and 30% NP Strength Up and Attack Up buffs respectively. It is also very important not to underestimate Oberon’s potential damage support, as the damage support he provides is very, very high.
At the same time, at some point the amount of damage just becomes excessive, and can be inefficient in terms of plug, CEs or just bond for Oberon. To put it more bluntly, if double Vitch does the job, why bother plugging Oberon to satisfy yourself?
The answer to this is that there is indeed still one area in which high damage is needed regularly. Raids, such as those from the Case Files or Apocrypha events. These raid quests often provide efficient rates for multiple materials all at once, allowing one to quickly gather multiple of them at the same time. These raids are also only 1 wave, which means that using Oberon's 3rd skill does not have any adverse side effects if done properly.
Is there any place for Merlin?
Unfortunately, in farming, there is little to no place for Merlin. Even if one were to argue for his 20% attack buff and charge, Oberon gives more buffs for NPs along with an extra 50% charge which can be used for a better CE. If one were to argue for his 50% Buster buff and crits, Vitch has them for 3 turns, although her crit buff is 50% instead of 100% and only for Buster cards. However she has 20 crit stars which can substitute for Ox King or another CE.
If we compare the NP damage potential that Merlin provides with Oberon when it comes to raids, we can see that Merlin does not even come close to matching Oberon.
|1 Oberon, 1 Merlin||514,767|
|1 Oberon, 1 Vitch||454,221|
|1 Vitch, 1 Merlin||321,776|
Above, Kintoki is used as an example as he is very widely used for raids due to his 50% charge and high universal damage, not to mention his short NP animation. The above calculations are made at NP5 and without CE. Most raids also have event bonus damage CEs, which usually start at 100% bonus damage at non-MLB and 200% at MLB. If using Black Grail and Oberon, the 60% NP Damage Up from a non-MLB Black Grail is doubled to 120%, which is already higher than the non-MLB event bonus damage CEs. If MLB, then it's not quite comparable, as an MLB Black Grail’s damage increases exponentially to 160% NP Damage Up, combined with its 2400 ATK stat increase at max level, it also invalidates most event bonus damage CEs unless the bonus damage they provide is super high like ONILAND. Furthermore, with Oberon and his 70% charge, one only needs to find a 30% charge DPS, or bring along someone like Vitch to charge to full for a DPS with no charge.
Of course, if you’re just doing Story or Challenge Quests, Merlin can still be used for the other utilities that he provides. Garden of Avalon and Illusion are still fine for the aforementioned scenarios.
So. Why Buster then? It seems like a lot of work, especially since most of the Buster comps are 5 slots, whereas Castoria’s Arts comps can be 6 slots. The answer to this is the presence of Lv90+ nodes, where the node’s enemies may not be strictly 3 enemies per wave, which in turn affects refund. Buster has the advantage of not caring for enemy count unlike the other two card types, as it purely relies on charge, hence a wave that consists of 1, 2, or 3 enemies are pretty much the same.
Here’s a nice sheet with possible XVV combinations, credits to cordial#5530
Thanks to Hoshi#0001 for designing the banner. Thanks to CrabNGarlicButter#0287, VladTheImpala#4313, Ratentaisou#6437 and 007starz#7667 for proofreading.