So with the 5th anniversary of Fate/Grand Order right around the corner Story Arc streamer BurnerShard and fellow Story Arc writer Skeith have decided to look back at the massive cast and list our top five favorite Fate servants. Why is this two Top 5 lists and not a Top 10 list like the title suggests? Because Top 10 sounds cooler than “Two Top 5s” and we wanted to do Two Top 5s. However, to make this list more interesting we have some ground rules that must be set
- it will only include servants who are NOT present in Fate/Stay Night and Fate/Zero. So that means no Saber, Gilgamesh, etc. etc. Why? Because literally every list out there on the web has EMIYA, Artoria, and Iskandar. We want to be at least a little original. However if a servant from those series has an alt that is different enough to distinguish themselves from their original counterpart then they are 100% allowed to be on the list.
- That above point does not include Fionn Mac Cumhail. He won’t make the list anyway, but we just wanted to let you know that he isn’t making it not because of his Zero cameo, but because he is lame.
- Only characters who were servants in their original Fate work will be allowed in the list. FGO includes several servants who in their original works were just ordinary people and not servants, so the likes of Shiki, Miyu, and Erice will not be in the list.
With that said let’s get started:
Skeith’s No. 5: Hijikata Toshizo
I have been a huge fan of the Shinsengumi as historical figures since I watched the franchise musicals in High School. So Fate/Grand Order having not one, but two members of the Shinsengumi as Servants is very welcome. However between Okita and Hijikata, Hijikata easily wins when ranking my favorite characters.
Unlike a majority of Fate Servants, Hijikata did not manifest in what could be considered his prime, no, this Hijikata is from the period of time where he led the Pacification Corps in a battle against the new government, abandoning the blue garb the Shinsengumi once wore. However, although his position and uniform may change he kept the Shinsengumi close to heart until the day he died.
A true Berserker, albeit one with a larger vocabulary than most. Even in life he would lead his men into impossible odds and scrape out of it alive, and this goes for Fate’s version as well. The man will charge onto the battlefield even as enemies are firing at him, screaming about his beliefs until the end.
His Noble Phantasm Shinsengumi: Undying Sincerity is a reproduction of his lifetime of fighting, when activated his surroundings change to a battlefield where bullets fly and signal guns roar. As the chaos of war erupts around him he charges towards his foe, screaming the Shinsengumi’s name as he ends their life. The Shinsengumi may be long gone, but this Berserker’s madness will keep them living on in the battlefield until he falls
Hijikata is a great character and I hope the leak about him getting a summer costume in the upcoming summer event is real.
Burner’s No. 5: Billy The Kid
When it comes to FGO weirdly enough a lot of the characters who I would put in a top ten list happen to be archers and even more strange than that is how of those archers a majority tend to be single target (meaning their Noble Phantasm Targets only one opponent). So it’s no surprise that of the single target archers arguably one of the coolest would end up on this top 5.
Billy The Kid was one of the most infamous outlaws of the wild west and FGO takes his historical basis and has some major fun with him. For one thing his Noble Phantasm is not the gun he possesses but that gun being fired by him. It’s hard to conceptualize how it functions in terms of it being a Noble Phantasm but what it results in is one hell of a counter skill in which Billy fires 3 successive shots so fast that it registers as a single trigger pull. This Noble Phantasm is purely based around Billy’s marksmanship which is so good that he can actually be summoned as a special class referred to as Gunner.
As for the character, Billy is a cheerful carefree outlaw through and through, he’s confident, cautious, and when the time calls for it, absolutely ruthless. At least that’s what Billy wants you to think, behind his cheery cowboy demeanor is a soft spoken somber individual. Despite his cowboy act Billy prefers somber nights and even says that one of his dislikes are big disturbances which is quite odd for an outlaw. This to me makes for an interesting character but the reason he isn’t any higher is because FGO Story never really explores that part of him all that much, even so Billy gets some amazing moments of his own such as his interlude and near the end of Lostbelt 1.
Gameplay wise Billy is a crit beast who sports the highest self crit buff in the game (150%) and his kit includes a 50% Self NP charge and a 1 turn evade. To compensate his non critical hit damage is very weak and his NP charge rate is also pretty gimped, but when he’s put on a team built around just blasting out crits left and right Billy becomes a monster of a servant and even if you don’t do that Billy still remains one hell of a fun servant to use when you just want to mess around and live out your wild west dream.
All these factors and my personal love of cowboys and outlaws lock Billy firmly in my number 5 spot.
Skeith’s No. 4: Yagyū Munenori
Anyone who knows me knows I’m a huge Dynasty Warriors fan, and by extension a Samurai Warriors fan. I didn’t like Fate’s version of Yagyū at first, he was too different from the one I had grown used to. Obviously that’s changed now since he’s number 4 on this list.
I first pulled Yagyū around the time of the Saber Wars Rerun and didn’t think much of him, I only put him in my party and lvled him just because I was in dire need of a single target Saber. Then later I got to the final battle of Camelot and Yagyu’s great NP looping saved me from Artoria. Then in Babylonia he saved me from several bosses, then so on in the following story chapters and basically he’s become a mainstay in my party.
His Noble Phantasm “Peerless in Swordsmanship – Zen and the Sword As One” is very different from every other Noble Phantasm on this list. There’s no great power tapped into, no universal laws of causality that take effect. He just clears his mind like a Buddhist monk and swings his sword with precision, a lifetime of training put into practice.
Probably the only person who would have made my list solely for gameplay purposes, if not for me clearing Shimosa two months ago and seeing his character beyond being a stoic swordsman.
A chance encounter with Miyamoto Musashi awakened Yagyū to his desire for bloodshed. The loyal servant of the Tokugawa had taken on the name Saber of Empireo. More comparable to a demon than a man he joined the other Heroic Spirit Swordmasters to reign havoc on Shimosa. Finally being stopped in another duel with Musashi
Shimosa was one of my favorite story chapters in FGO so far and I’m very glad I grew to like Yagyū despite my initial distaste for him not being the Yagyū I’m used to.
Burner’s No. 4: Robin Hood
Soooooooooo remember what I said about single target archers??? Yeah here’s the second one in the top 5.
Robin Hood Is a character I personally haven’t spent too much time with but in the time I have spent with him I really enjoyed all of it. Robin for me makes it to number four on virtue of just being a good character. He’s not particularly flashy, is rather humble, and is one of the most carefree servants I’ve seen. Those aspects of him are the reason I enjoy him so much since he makes for the perfect straight man. Robin being the rock that keeps you grounded in Halloween 2 and Summer 3 makes him super endearing since he knows that you just as much as him absolutely did not want to be in that situation.
It’s weird but Robin Hood feels like one of the most normal characters in FGO, even more so than Billy despite Billy being one of the most plain servants. How do I put it, where as Billy acts as the outlaw he was said to be, Robin Hood instead acts less like the Robin Hood of legend and more like a regular hunter who does good. I know that’s probably not the best or accurate description of him but as I said my time with Robin Hood has been limited so I apologize, but I think this sort of normality present in Robin Hood is what makes him stick out so much amongst the crowd of oddballs.
Gameplay wise I wont say hes my favorite servant to use even in terms of single target archers, but he’s definitely worth bringing into your party since his Noble Phantasm absolutely destroys Sabers and Berserkers and even without advantage can do a good chunk of damage. His skills aren’t really much to write home about but they’re far from useless and quite practical which really fits Robin Hood’s mentality when it comes to combat.
I’m hoping to get to spend more time with this carefree archer in the future and maybe he’ll climb higher in the ranks but for now he sits at number 4.
Skeith’s No. 3: Paul Bunyan
Paul Bunyan is a little girl in Fate. No one knows why and she debuted long after we stopped questioning why. Bunyan finds her origin in Fate/Grand Order, sort of. She actually originates from Fate/Grand Order Learning With Manga, an official FGO webcomic drawn by Riyo.
The legendary Paul Bunyan, tall tales about his tremendous size and the amount of trees he would log have spread around America for several generations. Most American or Canadian readers have at least heard the name Paul Bunyan in their childhoods.
Despite being a little girl in Fate, Paul Bunyan’s tremendous size is kept, she can change sizes and grow up to 3 Meters tall to crush her enemies or chop down forests faster. The famous Blue Ox of myth is also present in the FGO version of Paul Bunyan….sort of. It’s more like a blue orb creature that kind of resembles an ox.
Her Noble Phantasm Marvelous Exploits: Exploits to be Astonished By is the concept of the United States of America itself turned into a conceptual attack. The history of the nation’s founding itself converted into energy to smash her enemies. Which is a super fancy way of saying she grows big and stomps on them. Said Noble Phantasm is the fastest in the entire game, lasting only 1 second. Making for fast grind sessions if you have the right methods
She’s the only one star servant to make this list, and she’s a one star for good reason. She’s an exceptionally weak servant. Her weakness originates from the story of Paul Bunyan itself. A story that didn’t actually exist in the American Pioneering age, only invented within the past 100 years, the story of Paul Bunyan can hardly be considered a legend or fable.
I am really fond of Bunyan in Fate/Grand Order and while I haven’t gotten around to grailing her yet like my top two slots, I fully plan on doing it one day. Wait, 1 Stars need ten grails to reach lvl 100?! Okay, that’s going to be a long time
Burner’s No. 3: Saint Martha (Ruler)
Ok now we’re getting to the real cream of the crop
Summer Martha was my first real 4 star unit in FGO and has been with me through thick and thin through the entirety of the FGO Part 1 Story and several events. She was my heavy hitter and at times my problem solver when it came to particularly difficult battles. In fact Summer Martha was actually my first bond 10 servant ever. Needless to say I’ve spent a lot of time with Summer Martha and in that time she’s become one of my favorite servants.
Summer Martha is one hell of a fun character since she’s just the rider version of herself but without holding back her violent tendencies and pretty much almost dropping the act of being a pure saint. This means she’s more than ready to bring a no holds barred beatdown on any one who dares cause trouble and she reigns down justice using, and I cannot stress how incredibly awesome this is, the fighting style Jacob used when he wrestled an angel for 24 hours. Oh and her Noble Phantasm? Yeah she takes inspiration from Dio Brando and uses her dragon familiar Tarasque to flatten her opponent as she continually beats on the poor dragon to make sure whoever she’s up against is thoroughly crushed.
Befitting her more aggressive approach to combat Martha has three buster cards and dear lord she can do a boatload of damage with a triple buster chain. Unfortunately she is held back by her class and buffs since she pretty much only deals effective damage against Berserkers and Moon Cancers and her buffs are mostly situational with her attack buff only triggering when she’s in a stage that is considered a sea and her third skill being a damage buff against 3 types of enemies which while not rare still limits the skills overall usability. Despite these setbacks Martha still remains a powerhouse who will carve her way through her opponents using nothing but her fists.
Honestly placing Martha in 3rd was a tough decision for me as she was really close to making 2nd but she only barely got edged out.
Skeith’s No. 2: Medusa (Lancer)
So in the introduction paragraph you probably noticed the rule exception stating that if a Stay Night character had an alt that was a different enough character they could be put on the list. Medusa Lily is the entire reason that rule exists, being one of my favorite characters in the Fate Franchise. Miyu from Prisma Illya was the reason I started playing FGO, but Medusa (Lancer) and the character in the number 1 slot are the reason I stuck with the game.
Medusa (Lancer), or Ana as I shall refer to her from now on, is the true, ideal form the anti-hero Medusa wishes she could remain: when she resembled her sisters Stheno and Euryale. With the full knowledge that she will one day grow to become the Medusa we all know and the monstrous Gorgon.
When we first get introduced to her in the story she is with Merlin and going under the fake name Ana (Which is why I shall be referring to her as such). Because she is a monster she does not trust humans at all at first, including you. However over time in the Babylonia Singularity she grows fond of you and the citizens of Uruk, enough to make the ultimate sacrifice for them.
Her Noble Phantasm is Caress of the Medusa: Embrace of the Goddess. The skills Medusa would obtain in the future manifesting as a Noble Phantasm in her current form. You all know what this would mean, even those of you with zero Fate knowledge but know the name Medusa know what her Noble Phantasm would be under these conditions. Cybele class mystic eyes that turn the enemies in her sight to stone.
Ana was the first FGO character I grew truly fond of and I will continue using her until the game dies. She is the first (and currently only) servant I have gotten to bond 10 and I am working on maxing out her Gold Fou stats and at the time of writing this have gotten one of her skills to lvl 10.
Burner’s No. 2: Okita Souji
Okita Souji is another servant I have a history with as she was my first 5 star Servant in the game and true to her character she didn’t get the respect she deserved, at least initially. I didn’t flat out ignore her throughout my beginning time in the game but she definitely wasn’t given the same amount of attention I give her now. No clue why, perhaps it was the fact I thought she was a 4 star and I was disappointed I didn’t get a 5 star, maybe it was something else but what I can say is past me was an absolute idiot. After finally not being an absolute 0 braincell moron I came to appreciate having her not only from a gameplay perspective but also from a character one.
Okita is interesting as a character because she originates from Fate/ Koha-Ace which is primarily a gag 4 koma so she had to be balanced out with a level of seriousness that wasn’t really present in her character beforehand. With this new aspect of her introduced she can go from dead serious cold blooded killer to adorable and hilarious comic relief at the drop of a hat. That’s actually part of why I really like Okita, her being a mainly goofy character makes those moments where she goes serious even more glorious to see because it’s easy to forget that she is still a master swordsman whose Noble Phantasm is in the same vein as Sasaki Kojiro, that is to say purely based on skill alone and reaches the realms of second magic. The event that I would say I enjoy her the most in is Guda Guda 3 because that’s where we see Okita at her best. She isn’t affected by her tuberculosis and is pretty much in serious mode the whole time. Unfortunately she mainly serves as a stepping stone for Okita Alters character development and doesn’t get all that much screen time in that state, which while disappointing didn’t leave me feeling dissatisfied with what I got.
Okita is also no slouch combat wise, while her kit is definitely old school by modern FGO standards her buffs are still really damn strong. Unfortunately they pretty much all last one turn which makes her a one turn wonder, but don’t get the wrong Idea though In that one turn whatever Lancer you put in front of Okita WILL die making her a great unit to take to a boss. Plus what she lacks in buff longevity she makes up in critical star generation. With her two quick cards Okita can produce critical stars almost on par with Jack The Ripper plus paired with her single arts cards and her two quick cards in one chain she can generate a lot of noble phantasm charge even without landing critical hits. Just like Martha, Okita too doesn’t let her kit hold her back from being great but unlike Martha, Okita hasn’t gotten a buff In 5 years. Don’t worry Okita, maybe this year is finally the one.
While Okita could never reach the heights of my number one spot she will forever remain one of my favorite servants in Fate and is a really solid 2nd spot character. Now before I move on to number 1 I just want to say thank you Okita Souji and i’m sorry I didn’t give you the proper amount of attention back when I first got you 3 years ago.
Now then, onto number 1
Skeith’s No. 1: Jack the Ripper
I’m going to be getting a lot of either hate for this one or a lot of you immediately exited out of the article since the above image of Jack looks like that. From my other entries one thing has probably been on your mind, they’re all child characters. Indeed, they are, however it’s not out of some sick attraction or desire for them, but rather a feeling I hope you find more acceptable, motherly love. I get the urge to look after and care for fictional children very often, which brings me to my number 1 slot: Jack the Ripper, a servant you literally become the mother of.
Jack origin’s lie in the Fate spinoff Fate/Apocrypha where she was the Assassin class servant of the Black Faction. However to be honest when I first watched Fate Apocrypha I thought nothing of Jack. One of Apocrypha’s biggest flaws was just how little focus each character got and by the time they were starting to be interesting they would often die. No, my love for Jack didn’t happen until one day I happened to summon her in Fate/Grand Order.
As soon as Jack is summoned she refers to you as “Mommy”, stealing your heart away almost immediately. Well, okay, maybe just my heart, however this is a good introduction to her character. Jack is the embodiment of all children who have died in the womb, desiring a mother. As soon as you summon her she imprints you as her mother, like a baby bird hatching from an egg.
Now obviously we need to address the elephant in the room, her name. Jack the Ripper, the legendary serial killer. At a glance, this seems to be one of Fate’s biggest jumping the shark moments with its interpretation of a historical figure, making Jack the Ripper a little girl. Well, it’s more complicated than that. As I mentioned above Jack is the amalgamation of children who died in the womb, as prostitutes in London would abort children frequently, the ghosts of these children soon took the form of a ghostly little girl, our Jack.
Jack would go about killing prostitutes in an attempt to return to the womb and be with mother again, eventually earning the name Jack the Ripper before she was killed by a magus who learned the magical nature of these killings. So, she’s the legendary serial killer, correct? Well, not exactly. The case of Jack the Ripper’s identity was never solved. Jack may remember killing prostitutes in London, but whether or not they were the victims of Jack the Ripper is unclear. She herself doesn’t know if she was the legendary serial killer. The Fate franchise has even introduced a second Jack the Ripper character in Strange Fake, however like my Jack he doesn’t know the actual identity of the killer either.
Jack possesses two Noble Phantasms. The first is The Mist: Darkened Misty Metropolis, a bounded field that surrounds all nearby except for her and her master. The smog of the city of London weaponized, heavily mixed with sulfuric acid any normal person will quickly pass out as the mist envelopes the area, allowing Jack to either go in for the kill or wait until the mist eventually suffocates them.
Her second Noble Phantasm: Maria the Ripper: The Holy Mother of Dismemberment is more complicated. The sublimation of the murders of Jack the Ripper as a concept, taking the form of four D rank knives. Under normal circumstances they cannot do much damage, however they receive a massive rank up as three conditions are cleared. 1. It is night time 2. The target is a woman 3. It is misty. If these three conditions are met the attack is communicated as a curse rather than physical strikes, making defense impossible.
Gameplay wise in Fate/Grand Order Jack is one of the best assassin class servants in the entire game. With 3 quick cards that all have several hits she can generate more quick stars than you can imagine. Her NP rate is also pretty damn high, those quick cards can easily fill it from 0 to 60% in a single turn if they’re critting. Pair her up with double Skadi for support and she becomes more like a chainsaw than an assassin
Long story short Jack is the most adorable serial killer ever and I love her very much. I own a Jack Nesoberi and I sleep hugging it every night, now go read Burner’s number 1 pick who is probably someone more respectable to put at number 1.
Burner’s No.1.Tomoe Gozen
SO AFTER ALL THIS WHO COULD POSSIBLY BE MY NUMBER 1!???
ANYONE WHO HAS SPOKEN TO ME OR VIEWED THE TWITCH STREAMS (returning soon hopefully) WILL KNOW!
NOW ENOUGH OF THE SUSPENSE!
MY NUMBER ONE IS TOMOE GOZEN, NOW LET’S DO THIS THING!
Tomoe Gozen is absolutely my favorite servant in all of Fate and as stated above that’s no real surprise to anyone who’s spoken to me, but the biggest question everyone asks is why. Well I’ll be honest initially I liked Tomoe from a purely aesthetic standpoint. Putting aside the whole cute anime girl aspect Tomoes design is one of my favorites in all of FGO. The heavy emphasis on white with red, blue, and gold accents just works perfectly and I love how each ascension makes those colors turn brighter and more vibrant every time. That change in color and how each ascension brings out more of her oni nature result in Tomoes third ascension which is by far my favorite with its vibrant gradients on her hair, armor, and horns. The addition of the orange from her flames further adds to the color present in her ascension and combines with the aspects I mentioned before to create probably one of the most beautiful ascension arts I’ve seen in the game. That was what Initially caught my eye with Tomoe and sure enough when I saw her banner in FGO JP I pulled like a mad lad to secure a copy of her and thankfully I did.
From then Tomoe never left my party in FGO JP and pretty much became Martha 2.0, acting as my problem solver for many fights in the game. It would be about a year since I got her in JP that Tomoe would make her FGO NA Debut and of course I aimed to acquire a copy of her for my NA account and once again I thankfully did. From there she pretty much took on the same role that she had in JP, never leaving my party and being my problem solver, but this time I could actually understand her voice lines thanks to the English translation. That and Tomoes section in Shimosa skyrocketed my adoration for the character to new heights. As time went one however I slowly began to wonder why I enjoyed Tomoe as a character and at the time I didn’t have an answer. Sure her tragic love story between her and Kiso Yoshinaka was explored in Shimosa and gave her character some depth but aside from that there wasn’t much else to her which made me question whether I even enjoyed Tomoe as a character. Then Setsubun Happened.
Setsubun single handedly reignited my love for Tomoe as a character as we got to see her struggle with her Oni lineage, with her having to choose between being an Oni and being a human and ultimately choosing to not choose and instead just live as herself. The moment that solidified Tomoe as my favorite servant was the ending of Shimosa where she destroys the 100 story pagoda as she reminisces on her journey through the tower, on her oni lineage, and her love for Kiso Yoshinaka and how he accepted Tomoe for who she was regardless of her bloodline. As her passion for the one she loved dearly manifests into the flame of her Noble Phantasms arrow she takes aim towards the sun letting the arrow soar as close as it can before dropping down and destroying the tower beneath it all the while comparing the journey of her arrow to her current relationship with yoshinaka. Tomoe being the arrow desperately trying to reach and meet with Yoshinaka the sun only to never reach him and return to the earth.
That moment made me deeply respect Tomoe because I was able to read more about their relationship and just how much Tomoe loved Yoshinaka and just how much she puts aside her own desire and accepts that she and Yoshinka won’t be together again, which is an incredible amount of restraint for a character in a world where there is a device that can grant any wish one desires. From that point on I made it my mission to power up Tomoe as much as possible with her becoming my first servant that was both bond ten, max grailed and max skilled and i’m very close to getting her to NP5 and 2000/2000 max Foud and for all the effort i’ve put in she has not once let me down.
With a kit that has a 3 turn attack buff, crit star gain and party crit star generation buff, and a 1 time 5 turn guts that comes with an HP buff. Unfortunately she suffers from low hit counts and only one arts card but she makes up for that in raw damage that only gets further enhanced when one of her crits lands. Her Noble Phantasm Oṃ Arolik Svāhā: Mantra of the Aryāvalokiteśvara also makes short work of sabers but should they survive Tomoes Noble Phantasm leaves them with a 5 turn burn status. While not very flashy her kit and Noble Phantasm are very reliable and It is very VERY fun to see Tomoe land big critical hits.
So there you have it, that is why I love Tomoe as a character and why I won’t stop talking about her on stream and why she has heavily cemented herself into the number 1 slot on my top 5. Cheers to you Tomoe Gozen may you get a summer version and a summonable version of Yoshinaka (both of which I will roll for without question) and May I raise you to Bond 15 when that system gets introduced.
Thank you for reading our article, if you’re interested in something else FGO related Skeith has a journal about her experience playing FGO just to get Miyu
If you want to read another article about Japanese games with weird lore, check out Victiny’s analysis on Tetsuya Nomura’s writing
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