Originally published on The Fandom Post.
It’s fair to say that 2017 has been an eventful year. From politics to entertainment to technology, a lot has happened in these 365 days. However, I think we can all agree on the biggest event of the year: the US release of the hit mobile game Fate/Grand Order. That’s right, Grand Order officially came out back in July, and has already attracted quite a following here. As fun as it is, Grand Order can be a bit overwhelming with how many Servants there are. Counting limited Servants and event Servants, there are 73 Servants in the game, which gives you a lot to choose from. To make that easier, I’ll be listing the best Servants currently available in each class (excluding Shielder and Ruler since there’s only one of each right now). Part one will cover the best four and five stars for those of you who don’t mind spending money for Saint Quartz or get especially lucky, and part two will cover the best one, two, and three stars in case you don’t get lucky. I’ll be including the best one from each class, as well as a few honorable mentions, since most of them are pretty rare and some are event exclusive. For reference, I’ll be basing most of my numbers on the wiki, since that lists a lot of stats and information that isn’t otherwise available in-game. Now that that’s out of the way, here are my picks for the best Servants in Fate/Grand Order.
Winner: Okita Souji
NP: Quick, single target
Being a fan favorite class, there are plenty of five star Sabers to choose from, more than any other class. However, the best one by far is Okita Souji. She may have a quick focused deck, as opposed to the usual buster deck most Sabers have, but her damage output is deceptively high. The secret there is a cross between her skills and the hit count on her quick cards. Her three skills buff her quick cards, increase her star absorption, and increase her critical damage while also providing evade, respectively. Combine this with five hits on her quick cards, and Okita generates and absorbs more crit stars than even some Assassins, all the while having a far higher damage output than most Assassins. Even if her skills are on cooldown and she doesn’t get many stars, her max attack of 12068 puts her third among all Sabers and second among Sabers that are currently available in the US, meaning her damage is high even when she doesn’t crit. She also has a much higher Noble Phantasm gain than most servants, clocking in at 1.09% (the average is below 1%). Combine that with her high hit counts, and she has no problem charging her NP, even with only one arts card. Because of that, she actually gets more NP charge from her quick cards than her arts card in the first place. Her NP is a single-target quick that does huge damage and lowers the target’s defense. It’s also somewhat spammable thanks to her giant NP gain. Overall, Okita is not only the best Saber in the game, she’s one of the best Servants period. Her limited status makes her somewhat rare, but she’s definitely worth using if you have her.
If you didn’t get Okita during the event, you can also use Altera or Saber Alter. Altera currently has the highest attack in the game and a good attack buff, even if her NP is AOE. Alter is basically a slightly weaker Altera, but she has incredible attack for a four star, and a powerful AOE NP. Both are solid alternatives if you don’t have Okita.
NP: Buster, AOE
It’s no surprise that the best Archer in the game is the King of Heroes himself, Gilgamesh. Though he’s not as overpowered in game as he is in universe, he’s still a top tier Archer. His use is pretty straightforward: hit hard and crit all the time. With a max attack of 12280, Gilgamesh is one of the highest damaging servants in the game, which is helped even more by his high crit star absorption. Archers are second only to Riders in how many crit stars they attract, and Gilgamesh’s third skill allows him to further increase his star absorption for three turns, all but guaranteeing he’ll get all the crit stars for those turns. His lack of quick cards means he’s not as self-sufficient as Okita, but his high hit counts (5 hits on every card and 8 on his extra) mean he still generates more crit stars than most Servants with only one quick card. Stack his crit buff with his A+ Charisma, which gives the entire team +10.5%-21% damage depending on level, and Gil will destroy pretty much anything in front of him. His one real downside is that his NP is and AOE and does laughably little damage. The damage bonus against Servants is helpful, but it still hits for less than even Saber Alter’s. Until his interlude comes out, which probably won’t be for a while, his NP is largely worthless unless you’re chaining it with others. In spite of that, Gil is an excellent Servant who’s great on both buster teams and quick teams. His damage is reliable with or without crit stars, and he’s great as a primary damage dealer.
If you didn’t get Gilgamesh from any of the events, Orion and Oda Nobunaga are both viable alternatives. Neither has the raw damage output of Gil, but Orion can still do respectable damage to males, and Nobu’s skills give her a lot of versatility. I’d mention the other four star Archers, but Atalante is middling, and EMIYA is mediocre until his strengthening quest, which won’t come for quite some time
NP: Quick, single target
Scáthach is not only one of F/GO’s most popular Servants, she’s also one of the best. Scáthach’s role is very similar to Okita’s: she’s a cross between straightforward offence and a star generator. Her attack may be average for a five star, but that’s deceptive; her first skill, which has an 80% chance to increase star absorption and crit damage, combined with the huge quick buff on her second skill, means she’s going to crit a lot and crit hard. The damage buff to divine and undead enemies on her third skill is more situational, but divine enemies are common enough that it’s still useful, especially because the buff gives +50% damage without even upgrading it. The low hit counts on her quick and arts cards mean she’s not as self-sufficient for generating stars or charging her NP, but that can be offset by getting good brave chains. Her buster and extra cards have huge hit counts, so a QBB or ABB brave chain can be surprisingly effective. This weakness can also be offset by pairing her with a good Caster or Assassin, or using a craft essence like Little Halloween Devil. All this makes her one of the best Lancers in the game, but her best attribute is by far her NP. It’s single target, meaning it hits for a ton of damage, and it also has a decent chance to inflict death and a huge chance to stun. The death chance isn’t too useful since most bosses have such a low death chance that it never happens, but the stun is amazing. Some of the harder bosses can wipe your entire team in a single turn with their NP, so being able to buy an extra turn could mean the difference between victory and defeat. Most bosses have pretty high debuff resistance, but Scáthach’s stun has a high enough chance that it almost always hits, and she gets an interlude later on that makes it guaranteed. Overall, Scáthach is by far the best Lancer in the game, even if she is a limited Servant. If you didn’t get her during the previous rate-up, there’ll be plenty of chances since she’s one of the most common limited Servants in the game.
Normally mention good alternatives here, but the only other gold lancer available in NA is Elizabeth Bathory, who’s the epitome of average. She’s not bad, but nothing special either.
Winner: Francis Drake
NP: Buster, AOE
Choosing the best Rider is somewhat difficult, not because there aren’t that many of them, but because none of them really shine the way the other Servants here do. That said, Francis Drake is still the clear winner and a solid pick if you need a Rider. As a Rider, Drake’s biggest advantage is her high star absorption. The Rider class has the highest star weight in the game, so Drake will almost always get more stars than the rest of her team, and the frequent crits are enough to make up for her somewhat average stats. She’s best paired with a good Assassin or other star generator since her single quick card isn’t enough to get a lot of stars on her own. It can generate a lot when it comes up due to its high hit count, but only having one quick card makes Drake pretty unreliable as a star generator on her own. The best way to use her is to pair her with a star generator and have her crit constantly. She can also spam her NP and do quite a bit of damage with it compared to most AOE Servants. This is mostly due to her skill set, which prioritizes damage and NP use. Her first skill gives the entire team a damage and NP damage buff; her second buffs her NP gain; and her third applies pierce invincibility for three turns, charges her NP, and generates some crit stars. If used properly, these skills allow her to spam her NP and do a fair amount of damage with it. Her NP isn’t too special on its own, but its overcharge effect gives a minimum of 20 crit stars. This isn’t enough to make her viable as a solo star generator, but it can be a huge bonus if she has a dedicated star generator supporting her. Drake may not live up to the other Servants on this list due to her reliance on a good star generator for support, but she’s still extremely useful in the right team, and is a great choice if you need a good Rider.
If you don’t have Drake, you can also use Anne Bonny and Mary Read (they’re one Servant). Anne and Mary are far more self-sufficient than Drake due to their crit-focused skills and quick deck. They can generate plenty of stars on their own, even if they don’t put out quite as much damage as Drake.
Winner: Zhuge Liang (Lord El-Melloi II)
NP: Arts, AOE debuff
Zhuge Liang AKA Lord El-Melloi II AKA Waver is far and away the best Servant currently available. His stats aren’t anything too special, and his attack is actually lower than some four stars, but that has no impact on his utility. Waver’s primary role is as a support Caster, a role that he excels in. His first skill is a targetable crit buff that gives a huge amount of damage and 30% NP charge, his second skill give 10% NP charge and a large defense buff to the entire team for three turns, and his third skill gives a large attack buff for three turns and 10% NP charge to the entire team. Combine his three skills and you can buff your entire team to an incredible degree while also charging their NPs by 20% and charging one by 50%. That’s already an incredible advantage, but it gets even better when you look at the numbers behind them. His attack buff gives 20-30% attack depending on level, while also giving a flat damage bonus of 200-500. For comparisons sake, the highest charisma buff in the game (Gilgamesh’s) gives 10.5-21% attack boost. That’s right: Waver’s buff is nearly twice as effective as Gil’s without even considering the other effects. His defense buff gives similar numbers, making it great for protecting more fragile Servants like Berserkers. Waver’s NP is a debuff to all enemies that curses them, reduces their NP charge by one, lowers their defense, and has a decent chance to stun. While not as game-changing as his skills, Waver’s NP is great for both adding some extra damage and buying time before enemies get their NP. Aside from his low attack (which is pretty irrelevant given his role) Waver has virtually no drawbacks. His skills boost damage, crit, defense, and NP charge, which lets him fit in with any possible team. He can buff a quick team’s damage, help keep a stall or buster team alive, and allow an arts team to spam NPs. Waver is without question the best Servant currently in the game, and is only outclassed by one Caster who won’t be coming out for a long time.
If you don’t have Waver, both Tamamo no Mae and Medea Lily fill a similar role. Tamamo’s main buff is arts focused, so she’s more useful on arts team, but is on par with Waver if you use her in the right team. Medea Lily is a pure healer, something that’s both rare and useful in F/GO. She lacks Waver’s overall utility, but is great for keeping a team alive.
Winner: Jack the Ripper
NP: Quick, single target
Assassins in F/GO are almost never primary attackers. With one or two exceptions, an Assassin’s primary role is to generate an absurd amount of crit stars for other Servants (mostly Riders and Archers) to use. In this regard, Jack is the best option by far. Her max attack of 11557 and max HP of 12696 are both middle for a five star, but neither of those have any bearing on her usefulness as a star generator. Jack has three quick cards with five hits each which, when combined with her passive skill that boosts her star generation by 10.5%, allows her to generate more crit stars than you’ll ever need and even charges her NP pretty quickly thanks to her high NP gain. Her quick NP and quick buff/evade on her first skill are only icing on the cake. With a quick brave chain and a bit of luck, Jack can generate 50 stars for your team, which means every card in the next turn will be guaranteed to crit. That’s huge for a crit team that struggles to deal consistent damage, and makes Jack pair great with the likes of Gilgamesh, Okita, and Scáthach. Her second skill lowers the target’s crit chance for three turns, which is meh, but also removes all of the target’s buffs. This is huge in boss battles where the boss stacks buffs that let them destroy your team with a single NP. Nullifying that is by far one of the most useful abilities in the game. The healing from her third skill is an okay boost to her survivability, although it doesn’t heal for enough to make a huge difference. Her NP’s overcharge effect boosts the damage she does to female enemies, which is far more useful than it sounds thanks to Fate’s fondness for gender-bending male historical figures. A lot of the game’s harder bosses are female, and the damage boost there gives Jack a huge advantage. If you need a good star generator, Jack is the absolute best pick. Even counting Servants that are only available in Japan, Jack is still the best star generator in the game and a great addition to any quick team.
Like Lancers, there aren’t any really good alternatives among the four and five star Servants currently available. Carmilla and Stheno are your only alternatives right now, and both are piles of mediocrity. The first good four star Assassin won’t be out for a few months, so your best bet is either Jack or a good one, two, or three star Assassin.
NP: Buster, single target
It may seem odd to choose the four star Heracles over either of the five star Berserkers, but Heracles is undoubtedly the best Berserker in the game. The general role for Berserkers is to do as much damage as possible before they die, which happens pretty quickly since they take extra damage from every class. They’re almost universally glass cannons that need some kind of support to stay alive for long. Heracles is the exception to this. His skill set, which features a one turn evade and five turns of guts (which revives him once after he dies), gives him a ton of survivability. That would be great in and of itself, since these skills will buy him at least two extra turns before he dies, but his real strength is in his bond craft essence. I haven’t been discussing bond CEs before since they take a long time to get and most aren’t anything special, but Heracles has by far the best bond CE in the game. It grants him guts three times with no limit on how long it lasts. In other words, he can revive himself three times without even needing his skills. Once that runs out, he still has his skills to keep him alive. It’s rare to see any Servants with this much survivability, let alone Berserkers. Heracles also doesn’t suffer in the damage department. His max attack of 10655 is one of the highest among all four stars, and is actually higher than some of the weaker five stars. His first skill, which buffs his attack by 10.5-31%, is enough of a boost to put his attack on par with a lot of five stars and the attack bonus that all Berserkers get means he’ll hit harder than a lot of five stars. His NP is also a single target buster, which makes him a perfect boss killer. All in all, Heracles is one of the best Servants in the game. He’s essentially a Berserker without the usual fragility of his class and a ton of damage output. He’s great for the harder bosses you’ll face later on, and trivializes most of the early game content. His status as a four star is yet another perk, since it means he’s far more common than any of the five star Berserkers.
If you’re looking for a decent alternative, Vlad, Lancelot, and Sakata Kintoki are all perfectly usable, even if they don’t have Heracles’ overall utility. Vlad has decent survivability, but his arts deck limits his damage compared to most Berserkers. Lancelot and Kintoki both have good damage output, but extremely bad survivability if you don’t pair them with a good support like Waver or Medea Lily.
And that’s it! These are all the best Servants you can currently get in Grand Order. With the gacha rate for five stars being only 1% and four stars being only 3%, it’s understandably difficult to get the best Servant for every class, especially if you’re free to play. You don’t need to spend money to win, though. There are plenty of good Servants you can get from the Friend Point gacha, some of which are nearly as good as their four and five star equivalents. For next time, I’ll be going over the best picks from the friend point gacha.