In the beginning of the game, despite nonexistent pre-NP steroids, NP1 with Waver support (and scope, I lucked out then), was enough to clear a wave and subsequently crit down 1-2 enemies for daily farming, before I got XP/QP comps established. I created stars, and then I deleted the next Wave’s boss or mid-boss or such. Once Merlin came into the picture, this got taken up to 11. The meat of his kit isn’t in his NP specifically, so much as it is his ability to machine gun out stars, then deal disgusting crits with them on the following turn as long as you pull any of his cards.
During last year’s Nero Fest, scope + Merlin + Waver - either of whom I will note were already in use for 5-6 slot comps due to their charge/crit (+stargen in edge cases), and charging value respectively, so I’m already talking about variously optimal strategies on their own terms - with just NP1 was enough for a highly consistent 3~4T and sometimes 5T for Rotation 1. MA gave him the 20 charge, and you could often card down the Naga. MLBscope and/or NP levels and/or grails erased the RNG. Merlin charge and NP +10 ATK brought him to 23,978-31,748, enough to card the 30K Naga on its own. You can see from this analysis here, that while his gen is otherwise atrocious his 1T NP Gen Up is often “good enough” whether you were NP1 non-MLBscope like me or better. Once Waver’s factored into the equation it’s 32,470-39,575, and combined with how he pours out stars on NP critting is a foregone conclusion. On W3, with all of the crit buffs combined he’s doing well enough to Zerkerlot-other-Zerkerlot facecard the both of them. (You’ll also find he was in applicable optimized comps for R2 as well.)
For another (and one that I used as well), Zerkerlot was part of an optimal if RNG-dependent comp last Christmas too - including Salter (although I vastly preferred the 6 slot Gil/Chloe/Mozart/Merlin comp). Medusa, Tomoe, Salter links; I used him for Tomoe. I was able to deal NP-tier crits with him, pre-Skadi, with just NP2 by then.
What you’re underestimating is his crit potential, and the ability for his refund to be just good enough, and exactly how much he melts stuff post-Skadi specifically on their own terms. He’s not just B10 because I adore him, but because “pew pew” into “kaboom” is deceptively both easy to pull off for standard shenanigans, and with Waver or Merlin expands that into high-intensity farming periods as well. In no uncertain terms, he can pull off NP-tier damage with his facecards, which is unbelievably valuable.
And come Skadi…
NP1 neutral attribute, 2K HNS, Waver and 2x Skadi, is belting out 66,563-81,244 W1, with +10% ATK and then another for succeeding Waves.
30 DEF Down and 10 ATK: 86,890-106,088.
60 DEF Down and 20 ATK (W3): 107,218-130,933. (I’m pretty sure I could farm dust in Charlotte with exactly this.)
NP2: 88,584-108,159. (With 10 more ATK before a DEF Down if needed for a chunky mid-boss wherein Skadi’s 30 DEF Down might be used to ensure you get more OK hits to ensure a stabler loop, 95,360-116,440 which is actually really great for exactly that.)
30 DEF/10 ATK: 115,687-141,284.
60 DEF/20 ATK: 142,790-174,410.
NP1 superscope (so just 2x Skadi), neutral attribute: 44,189-54,009.
30 DEF+10 ATK: 61,865-75,613.
60 DEF+20 ATK: 79,541-97,217.
30 DEF+10 ATK: 82,487-100,817.
60 DEF+20 ATK: 106,055-129,622.
But these are just numbers set against the outright stability of farming with Zerkerlot alongside 2x Skadi or 2x Skadi + Waver/Para, which for all the fuss about other stuff I think Meliran did an at least acceptable job here for Skadi farming on its own terms.
Basically, if you have all of these tools? You have an omnifarmer. Someone who can, unless the HP values are really just too chunky, farm for you with little fuss, a ton of convenience, and broad guarantee of it being something you can just rinse and repeat. And if you go high enough, you can even use him for CQ shenanigans.
As someone who actually doesn’t and categorically cannot whale either, I don’t consider any of this to be whale-y either. At the highest end, yes - although a lot of the most optimized setups whether we’re talking refund-based Arts farming (which is actually stricter), various 5/6 slot setups for lotteries in the past (for which simply having supports is already dramatically broadening the scope), or so on are by their very nature. I don’t consider it hard to pull off either, even assuming 0 cash put into the game:
- We have had three full GSRs so far, during any of which you could pick him at (I only picked him at 1, because like a jerk, I’ve had to chase him, for NP2). If you know enough to plan, and subsequently to know what is a good idea. He’s high on my list for this year’s. This is something open to literally everyone, “E luck F2Pers” or not.
- Waver for his part, has had multiple rate-ups and will have several more: Every past and future CBC for a split rate-up, he was on the 1M/4M banner, the DV Selection, past and future Fate/Accel Zero Order runs, Sanzang’s rerun, and for the earliest people was a ‘reroll’ option (not that I rerolled for anyone at all, I just wanted to play). (And to boot, he’s going to be a freebie in 2 years.)
- Zerkerlot has had 4 and will have a 5th banner in the future (split sadly), on top of being someone that can appear at any time, which while unreliable is by my standards still not inaccessible.
- Unless you don’t look ahead or similar (in which case more power to you, but any gaps in knowledge fall on you), NA has had 2 years to plan around getting Skadi, assuming they have Waver or not. Which, certainly isn’t a guarantee, but from the number of successes I’ve seen (self included), I don’t think is unreasonable; the power of saving - let alone if you actually can put money in - and Clairvoyance is truly that powerful, if you’re focused on getting what you want. Whether it’s utility, cute png’s, or whatever. It’s no panacea, but the strength of that in tandem with others can’t be understated.
Fran is categorically weaker than him within Skadi farm (which if you are interested in slot maximization and/or ease of use, is what you will do alongside various similar ones like Surfdred looping), which I am only mentioning specifically because you mentioned “can Skadi loop.” Yes, she can. No, despite her obscene damage, she is not comparable due to being hamstrung by the self-Stun which requires you to give up damage or methods of charge/gen - can very likely worsen the stability of clearing W2 or W3 - in favor of BB/Florence (another SSR just like Waver is, time-limited welfare). Or both.
Inkaflare has spoken on her inferiority within that strict measurement here, so go read his words there. She is not realistically comparable when she necessitates superscope and is if anything more “high-budget” than he is. She is a remarkable W3 nuke which I do think is worth considering even if you don’t use her for DSS, but I digress.
I’ve not talked about the Tier List in this post for a reason… I kind of don’t care about that. It’s no matter to me personally if they have inconsistencies or such. I’m really responding to
Which I can respond to despite not being a staff member, as someone that’s sincerely gotten extensive usage out of him at every ‘level’ of play (except CQ because haha soloing goes brrrr). Whether it’s as a wave-clearer, double wave-clearer, someone used as the lynchpin of deleting a disgustingly healthy Archer and her pesky Hydra mid-boss in an infamously irritatingly designed lottery, or whatever. Specifically, due to him being that easy to enable (having my own Waver/Merlin in some situations has just been a matter of QoL, you know, with him), and him being that good at “haha Berserker crits go boom,” which go far. And really that’s what this post is about: Explaining why I love him and think he’s worth consideration for you, despite your experience with him being that “he sucks.”
Do you not have access to, say, stuff like Holy Night Supper, Aerial Drive, or Golden Sumo, in lieu of a single scope? If you have Helena and scope but no Merlin/Waver, I suggest playing with Helena/Zerkerlot and borrowing a Merlin or Skadi and seeing just how efficiently he can melt enemies with just his facecards. Even just with HNS + Waver, before subsequently imagining the destruction wrecked were a certain Ice Queen thrown in too.
One final tangent in an already overlong post (which I had trouble making more focused, apologies): In the very end you might, agree or disagree, say “Well that’s not very new player-friendly however,” to which… honestly yeah, I’d agree if we’re talking those with <6 mo. or less under their belt. If I luck into Skadi on my alt it will take several months at minimum to get her alone up to snuff. That’s pretty fair.