First of all, I want to apologize for my poor writing as english is not my native language (I am French for those who wonder). Moreover I remark that this is just a long analysis I’ve done to justify myself xD, so maybe it is not as general as you could think. Feel free to not read the details of my analysis (the arrows), you don’t need them to respond I think.
I post this topic in order to have some feedback on the question I asked in the title, namely is NP5 Van Gogh worth summoning gameplay-wise. Before you comment on how obvious the answer is, let me explain my thought process.
Who am i and why I want VG
I started playing fairly recently, during summer this year, so my roster is quite underdevelopped. I had no servant that appealed to me enough to compel me to roll for them, as I was happy with the f2p ones (the Sakura fan in me is satisfied with the Parvati I got from my first summoning), so to enhance my gaming experience I planned to roll just for the meta casters.
But then I saw some Gogh gameplay on YT, and she seemed to be so fun to use! I really liked her design
and the way she talks, and she felt really strong as a support as well as a DPS. I could say it was a coup de foudre (love at first sight) and I really wanted to summon for her.
I then tried to evaluate Van Gogh on a gameplay perspective, and I found out that she is the best crit support for foreigners (thus becoming my sole reason to roll for summer BB on new years), a good crit DPS herself, a good soloer, and a good general support albeit without battery.
She is good on many areas but nether the best choice, unless in very specific teams. But then I compared her to Ashiya Douman, and I remarked that a NP5 Van Gogh would be better than Douman as a support, as she will give the DPS 100% crit damge, 30 + 30 + 20 = 80% attack up/defense down on ennemy and 20 % quick resistance down.
And this is what this topic is all about: NP5 Van Gogh is really strong, and maybe even stronger than other servants at NP1. I want to see if having an NP5 Van Gogh, which could potentially grailed 120, and have 2 append skills, is better than having QSH, Chad Orion, Douman, Himiko and Merlin!
I will now proceed to briefly compare lvl120 2 append skills NP5 Van Gogh to each of these servants to see if I should just roll for Van Gogh. But as you may guess, I think it is better to have just NP1 Van Gogh and 4 of these servants. Let this fact not deter us from analyzing! Note that I will not compare them on how strong they are, but on how useful they are to have in my Chaldea.
Are 5 servants always better than 1?
First and foremost, one advantage having 1 servant instead of 5 is the materials required to max them out, more importantely lores, PawPrints (quite a non factor but they exist), Golden Fous and CC. But having a lvl 120 servant does actually take 5 times more xp than maxing 5 servants xD. I think considering how recent my account is the lores are more important than the xp, which can be farmed anyway, but it is a factor nonetheless. One drawback is effectively the MASSIVE amount of grails used to level up to 120, and for me it isn’t really a problem but the general concensus is that we should use them on our favorites.
Now to the comparitions!
NP5 120 Van Gogh vs NP1 90 Qin Shi Huang
QSH is most commonly used as a soloer or as a last man, making him not that high priority target, because we can just borrow him.
VG and QSH have surprisingly the same stat spread at the same level (~16,000 HP, 12,000 ATK with class modifier), but at 120, Van Gogh gets 20,000 HP and 15,500 ATK.
This is clearly not a fair comparition, because QSH is a ruler, practically making him 2 times more durable most of the time. To add on that, his invicibility is tied to his NP, which is better than having a 1 time evade tied to a 6 turn CD skill such as VG’s. He also has an NP drain over VG. But VG has the upper hand on the stun: a 3 turn terror with 60% chance to proc is better than a 70% chance stun.
In term of offenses, VG has him beaten with her great star gen and absurd crit damages, even if the 2 have the same attack buff (80% attack up/def down).
As a whole, I’d say QSH better in his niche (thankfully!) because he is more durable, even if VG will probably finish the quest quicker. The problem is that there is no real incentive to have QSH, because we can just borrow a friend’s QSH and be done with it.
NP5 120 Van Gogh vs NP1 90 Super Orion
Super Orion is easy to analyze: he either do big crit damages in a team, or do big crit damages alone. He does not really need supports, which play against having him because we could just borrow him and support him while we can.
Let’s talk about damages, for that is the only important thing here. With a good setup (2 NP during the last 2 turns, 2 merlin support, BBB chain, but no CE nor CC), Super Orion deals ~1,000,000 during his turn (I used gamepress command card calculator), whereas at her best (2 VG → 4 NP during the last 2 turns, Skadi support, BQQ chain), VG will deal ~500,000 dmgs. She clearly deals less (curse you quick cards!). This would put Super Orion as a better but as many have discussed, she will deal these damages sustainably contrary to Super Orion, so she is not that bad!
There is also a mean of cheating: BB summer. With VG support, she deals Super-Orion level damges, much more reliability thanks to her card lock skill, but I don’t think it’s relevant, because we need another SSR to make it work.
In solo situations, I’d think Van Gogh is a bit better because of her survivability (terror, evade and guts and more HP vs only guts), but it is not very clear because of the sheer damage Orion unleash.
To summarize, they are quite similar, Super Orion having the upper hand on damages because of his card type, and VG being more durable. They are clearly difficult to compare, but I think having a VG is enough, no need for Super Orion.
NP5 120 Van Gogh vs Douman
This is quite straitforward. As I have discussed above, there is not really a reason to have Douman as a support when we have NP5 Van Gogh. The only way a support Douman is useful would be if we already have VG and we run double Douman - VG or double Van Gogh - douman teams, or using him as a plug-in support. These uses are too niche to matter, as he can be remplaced by other supports (Hans, Osakabehime, Lakshmi Bay, Lan Ling, even Mata Hari post rank up for some AOE Charm and Terror memes) without losing too much.
The other use od Douman is as a wave clear or looping servant, and curse stacking memes. For looping capabilities, there are other better quick options.
I don’t think that not having Douman would hurt an account, thus NP5 Van Gogh would be always better.
Van Gogh vs Merlin
This one will be difficult and maybe controversial, so feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.
Merlin is a support, who provide great offensive and defensive support. Let’s compare him to VG in these fields.
As of the offensive capabilities, VG offers more attatck, more stars and the same critical strengh at NP5, but less buster card effectiveness, no stars drop rate, no np gauge and np gauge/turn. She is better to upgrade the offense of a DPS (if they are not buster-oriented), but her lack of a battery is really hindering her capabilities.
On the defensive side, Merlin has the 1 turn party-wide invicibility whereas she has just a 1 time party-wide evade; and he has some hp regen/turn and crit rate down on ennemies, but she has the terror. I would say that he is better defensively speaking, but not as much as I would have guessed.
Overall, Merlin is the better support here, unless the extra damage she gives is essential for a quest. She could potentially remplace him, but it would be less safe.
NP5 120 Van Gogh vs NP1 90 Himiko
Here we have many things to compare, as Himiko fulfills many roles at once.
First, let’s compare their offensive supporting abilities. Himiko gives much more stars, and a buster card effectiveness, whereas VG will give better atk and crit damage up. The great thing Himiko gives is the overcharge level increase, which power will vary depending on the DPS. On Super Orion, it nearly doubles his crit damage up; on AA it is just disgusting (40 or 50% buster resistance down on ennemies for 3 turns), on an anti-trait servant (Gilgamesh, Karna, Tamamo Lancer…), it will deal much more damages… Overall, I’d say Himiko gives much more bonuses than she lets out, but even with that in mind, if we just consider the offenses, I think VG is better.
Now, let’s compare their defensive utility. It is clearly obvious that Himiko is much better just via the existance of Castoria which allows some very fun no hit strategies. Even without her, Himiko can be paired with Tamamo, Hans or even Mash to greatly enhance the survivability of the team.
Himiko can also be used as a crit DPS. I don’t really know if it’s a thing when we can just borrow a Super Orion and support him with Himiko. I don’t really know how she is used, but I think she is a bit worse than Super Orion, and we have already compared VG to Super Orion: VG would deal more sustained damage, but less burst damage.
As a whole, it’s really difficult to compare VG and Himiko. The two seem to be very fun to play with and even if their role can be the same, they are used differently. Even if I have a NP5 Van Gogh, I think Himiko would be good for my Chaldea, for her defensive utility. Nonetheless, not having her would not hurt my account that much.( +I could also borrow her)
As a conclusion, I think that summoning just for NP5 Van Gogh and nothing else is not really that bad of an idea, as she is versatile enough to remplace a bunch other servants, much more so if she is grailed 120, has her append skills up and running, and is GFoued. What do you guys think? Is this way of thinking and comparing servants rational or am I just dumb xD? Do you think that this extreme min-maxing of an account is future proof, as many powerful servant will come out but many game features will permit us to favorise only one servant?