There can be only one IV: Waver vs Merlin

merlin
zhuge-liang-el-melloi-ii

#1

Archive: Part I: Okita vs Musashi
Archive: Part II: Ibaraki vs Heracles
Archive: Part III: Medusa vs Alexander

In a clash of support vs farming, Medusa rode ahead and beat her opposition with a vote of 58% in favour of her over Alexander. The clash in preference was incredibly lopsided however, with Medusa taking 83% of the vote (what a surprise!).

It seems farming and looks are quite important after all. Medusa is of course, a great investment in reducing the time spent on those pesky QP dailies. One can never have enough QP.

Anyway, It’s time for round four!

This time, the battle is between between the giants of supports, the golliaths, the behemoths, the very drivers of the meta: Waver and Merlin. A duel to the death…in preference! If forced at gunpoint, which of the two amazing support units would you prefer? Which one do you like better, a chain smoker or a smug, fluffy Wizard?

  • Waver is an Arts-based Servant with a potent AoE draining/debuffing NP, with excellent coverage for all sorts of teams. He excels particularly during farming with his immense NP charging potent. Here is a link to his Analysis and profile, but let’s be honest - you probably can dream his effects.

  • Merlin is Arts-based with amazing Buster support potential and an overloaded kit with some preposterous values. A teamwide Invincibility on a 7 turn cooldown? Broken you say? But Merlin is less of a staple during all-important farming (but very potent for damage benchmarks!). You can find his writeup and profile here, but I assume you can dream(hah!) his kit as well.

The rules are simple:

  • You can only pick one Servant to insert in your roster
  • Choose your pick based on gameplay, so focus on skills, typing, role, synergy, and so forth.
  • For those of you who also want to share your preferences on taste/waifu/husbando, please use the second poll!
  • Lastly, everyone knows the adult Waver and hooded Merlin are the best!..Right?!

For gameplay value, which of the two would you prefer?

  • Waver
  • Merlin

0 voters

And, which one do you prefer based on your tastes

  • Waver
  • Merlin

0 voters

Please share your thoughts regarding these Servants and the reasoning behind your choice! This poll will close after 48 hours from posting!


There can be only one V: Tristan vs EMIYA (Alter)
There can be only one VI: Hijikata Toshizo vs Sakata Kintoki
There can be only one VII: Euryale vs Orion
There can be only one VIII: Georgios vs. Chevalier d'Eon
There can be only two: Special Mystic Code Edition
There can be only one Part IX: Cu Chulainn vs Cu chulainn (Prototype)
There can be only one Part X: Sasaki Kojirou vs Hassan of the Cursed Arm
#2

Merlin’s kit is of course the stuff of legends, a meme on its own and there’s all that talk about how he broke the game, and yeah, that’s fair. But for gameplay only I’m going to have to go for Waver just for being more versatile and how there’s essentially nothing that he’s bad in, not even all-Rider nodes. Merlin is hardly unusable outside of Buster memes but he’s a lot more specialized. Waver can be put pretty much in any situation and team and he’ll nearly always perform equally well.

For personal preference and tastes, though, it’s Merlin. Absolutely no contest. Excellent, beautiful design, the smooth voice of Sakurai Takahiro, and while the memes about certain aspects of the backstory that we best know him for can be pretty funny, beyond that he’s actually really interesting and compelling as a character in his own right.


#3

Well, in term of story in the game right now, Merlin win easly since he has way more development than Zhuge. In term of power, will go with Merlin too. Not original, I know but I can’t deny the truth which is : Everytime I’m in a dire situaton here comme the Merlin.

Other than that, if we were talking about other media, in term of story, I will easly go with Waver thanx to Fate/Zero, and Lord El Melloi Case File .


#4

Gameplay-wise, I’d choose Waver because he’s a lot more flexible than Merlin. You can literally never go wrong with him on the team. Not that Merlin’s specialization with buster/buster-crit teams is a bad thing, but being unable to get the full mileage on other teams can be a (minor) frustration. It’s a very close thing, though, I think. I feel Waver’s more of a kill-them-before-they-kill-you support while Merlin’s support leans more towards stall-til-they-die support.

Preference-wise, I’d choose Merlin because he’s got such a nice pastel design. I never get tired of looking at him. His personality’s a bit… hmm, but at least it’s understandable story-wise and I find him quite quirky otherwise.


#5

Gameplay wise, I find merlin superior, even ignoring the buster meme he’s still amazing in arts teams enabling spamming and survival. With enough kscope and self charging servants Waver’s batteries are less required.

Looks though, i can’t stand the stuck up bastard. Waver in the iskandar cape wins hands down, because fate zero.


#6

I went with Merlin for a number of reasons:

  1. Healing. You can never go wrong with a good healer on a team. Hans carried me through all the way though Camelot and Babylon, and that was on the strength of essentially his ability to keep my team alive. While DEF is good to, it’s hard to keep that up and unless you have some other source of healing, it’s a game of pure attrition. The added bonus of NP charge over time is great as well. I recall a challenge quest where I essentially had about 3 or 4 GoAs stacked for the whole battle.

  2. Team-wide invincibility is the second reason–great for handling those NPs. Plus all the other crit-based benefints that gives.

  3. Good NP charging–maybe not as bursty as Waver, but with the charge-over-time of GoA, particularly since it is team-wide, will exceed the NP charging Waver can bring to the whole team.

  4. The buster-up is also great atm, but to me is secondary to the rest. In challenge fights, it can also act as an emergency burst heal, and since the buff lasts 3 turns (and has a CD of 6 at L10), might not even be wasted. (Though, the crit buff only lasts 1 turn.)

These days, I generally run with Waver in the backline (with the combat suit so he’s on-call at all times) unless I particularly need a strong opening punch, in which case I have him in the frontline to buff, then swap him with Merlin for eventual heals/invincibility (Or maybe even with both in the front, and swap him with Mash or a 2nd DPS).


#7

i prefere waver. farm is important.
But i vote for Merlin.
I dont like him at all as a person, but he is good.
the thing thet gived to him the edge in this decision is not merlin per se, but double merlin.
thets a thing.


#9

Waver wins for me. His kit is awesome and doesn’t really have anything you wouldn’t want. He works in stalls, offensives, one-shot set-ups, farming, spamming. And he’s strong at everything. Maybe you could think “Jack of all trades, master of none” but he actually feels like master of a few there. Of course he’s not the best because he’s such a generalist, and any specialist is always better when you build it around… well, their speciality, but he remains a safe pick, a strong servant all-around and despite not having offensive potential for himself, being SSR and his team-wide buffs (Except for Discerning Eye) actually helps him if you need just a few hits to finish off some mob that refused to die of the NPs (In my experience, I’m extremely satisfied by his Busters hitting for 13k against Assasins/Berserker, and his lucky crits with barely some stars feels really, really nice).

Maybe it has to do with the fact that I don’t really like playing around a single DPS so I always favor those who can do stuff for everyone and waver does it good, unlike Merlin who, while giving a good survival tool and some utility with his Dreamlike Charisma, he’s mainly focused to buster-critical teams. While everyone can make use of him though (it’s not like you don’t have a buster card) you usually want to build a team in a way everyone synergizes with everyone and to exploit a certain strength, and Waver can make any strength better (Defense, stalling, a few NPs back-to-back, damage).

As for design, I really like Wavers’. He’s cool in every ascension, he’s serious, smart, reliable, mature (Until 3rd Ascension), handsome, cute. Still, his in-game animations (Except the NP), feel very outdated and basic by now, and seeing where we’re heading. This is where the scumbag Merlin, being a living meme and all, wins completely. He’s pretty much a novelty in the game as far as design goes with the particles and animations (For what we currently have), his voice is very nice and his NP is pretty nice too. It’s rather fun and amusing to see. Also Excalibur.


#10

I like both of them but generally I turn to Waver for most content. He is my default support for farming, challenge quests or even if I want to hurry through story quests.

I believe the deciding point is that I’m feeling far more comfortable using Waver due to my familiarity. His np battery skills makes shorter battles a breeze and in my experience is safer to use in challenge quests.
I also usually use arts teams and Merlin feels less suitable due to his buster crit inclinations.

In all honesty I could most likely use Merlin to the same extent but I feel that his flaw is that until his NP encore starts he is slower that Waver.
Perhaps the better way is to say that Waver offers stability while Merlin’s support value depends on his past actions. There is no doubt that a Merlin that has hit his stride offers far greater utility than Waver but before he gets to that point it is possible that the stage is already cleared (unless it is a challenge or such).

I liked Merlin when he appeared in the singularities and I feel that his design is great. There is also something satisfying in watching him demolish his enemies in a manner that is not suitable for Casters.
His voice is also comforting and the words he uses is far from the stereotypical image of Merlin I have.
The hood should also be in upright position.


#11

Not that this is worth much in discussion but: I like the El-Melloi version of Waver/Zhuge the most and am looking forward to that anime adaptation in the summer.

This. Hood Merlin is Best Merlin.


#12

Both casters provide so much team utility that it’s worthwhile to break them down, one effect at a time:

=== NP Gain ===
A bit of a wash, slightly more frontloaded for Waver. Perhaps slight advantage for Merlin when considering Merlin’s innate +5%/turn.

Merlin:
+20% team-wide (skill 1, 7~5 turns)
+5% for 5 turns team-wide (NP)
(+5% per turn passive for Merlin)
Waver:
+30% single-target (skill 1, 7~5 turns)
+10% team-wide (skill 2, 8~6 turns)
+10% team-wide (skill 3, 8~6 turns)

=== Sustain ===
Seems to favor Waver, but Merlin wins out in longer fights.

Merlin:
+2~3k HP Max, single-target (skill 3, 8~6 turns)
+1~2k HP x5, team-wide turns (NP)
Waver:
+20~30% defense, team-wide (skill 2, 8~6 turns)
200~500 damage mitigation, team-wide (skill 2, 8~6 turns)

=== Control ===
This might be the area that made Merlin so broken, allowing Team Merlin to skip an entire NP wave rather than simply delaying by a single turn.

Merlin:
Team Invulnerability (skill 2, 9~7 turn)
Waver:
NP Drain (NP)
50~80% Stun (NP)

=== Offense ===
Waver has an advantage as a pure offensive support, especially in double dps lineups.

Merlin:
10~20% Attack Up, team-wide (7~5 turns)
30~50% Buster Up, single-target (8~6 turns)
Waver:
20~30% Attack Up, team-wide (8~6 turns)
+200~500 Damage Up, team-wide (8~6 turns)
30~50% Enemy Defense Down (NP)

=== Critical Support ===
Merlin wins out by a long shot.

Merlin:
30~50% Star Gen, team-wide (9~7 turns)
50~100% Critical Up, single-target for 1 turn (8~6 turns)
+5~25 Stars, 5 turns (NP)
Waver:
20~50% Crit Up, single-target for 3 turns (7~5 turns)


The scale really tipping towards Merlin in longer Challenge Battles, or Crit Support lineups. While Waver has some areas over Merlin, in general, Merlin seems to be the more powerful support.


#13

I have both servants and am eternally grateful for that, but I do have to mention that Merlin really broke my game experience once I got him. Merlin’s kit alone cements just how valuable of a support unit he is, and Buster-Crit buffs are a huge deal. Team invincibility and health+NP regen is also valuable and there should be little to no reason to leave him in the dust.

But in terms of my favorite character, Waver surpasses the Grand Caster by far in my book. Fate/Zero’s depiction of Waver really cemented my love for him and how far he’d come as a character by the end of it, and I can’t wait until he gets the chance to shine again in the Case Files anime. Besides, he’s almost, if not just as valuable as Merlin as a Servant. Besides, he was my first SSR way back in Orleans and he’s carried my games ever since.


#14

I only have Merlin, but like most other people, I have borrowed a friend’s Waver numerous time. If we purely refer to farming alone, Waver does much much better, especially that 50% NP battery alone wins everything.
Since I would refer to overall performance, I think I’ll be in favour of Merlin. If I exaggerate it a little bit, he is a no brainer servant with the kit he have. team att buff, full team invincible, and buster up/crit up/HP up and a stackable NP with HP regen and NP regen. If we start talking about double Merlin, your team are pretty much invincible and it would be so difficult to get your HP below 50%.
Waver is still really good, but I think Merlin is just game breaking
Character’s personality wise, I prefer Merlin also lol

Edit:


Besides, he said it himself, he know he is game breaking


#15

I feel like a goddamn traitor. I own waver but i voted merlin. :fgo_seiba:

Lets be honest here, people usually want what they dont have, human nature i guess. I know i should be grateful for having waver and i am. Hes the reason i can 3 turn farm most of the dailies.

But merlin though :fgo_buster:.

Each time i barely scrape by a challenge quest i just think to myself “i could’ve double merlined this and it wouldve gone a lot smoother”. Although someone with merlin would complain he ruins the game, i dont know that feeling, like i said we want what we dont have.

Taste wise i still want merlin. Mostly due to the fact he played a major role in Babylonia. Although it’s possible for my taste to change as waver will soon get an anime with him as the star.

Lastly fuck you merlin for not answering my summons. Fou was right you’re an asshole


#16

Woah, we split pretty well here…

I love both…and I recently acquired a Waver. (Because Fate/Zero feels and farming is like 99% of this game.)

That said, Merlin’s kit is just better…I resort to Waver for farming because I don’t have a kscope and I don’t have enough AoE servants with batteries to use Merlin, Helena, or even Ozy.

And Waver is good, but Merlin is broken. Merlin is like Waver but with sustain and invul when it counts instead of a def boost.

I like both of their personalities, but Waver in F/Zero was SUCH A GOOD CHARACTER. I had to vote for him.

Gonna be rolling hard for Merlin on his return banner. Then the support Caster trio will be complete.


#17

Part of my thoughts here are that of course, situationally each has their place. And without a doubt, for simple quests, farming, etc., Waver enables a lot of 3 turn or so wins.

But if you can only have one, the choice of Waver or Merlin to me is not one of farming convenience. That’s a luxury for choosing between the two. When you have a challenging quest to complete, for now one of these two is probably going to need to be your go-to support servant. And for me, for the reasons I stated earlier, I think that’s Merlin with my current team compositions. Maybe it’s because I relied on Hans for so long, but I can’t envision doing tough quests without strong healing, as I’ve never been able to stomp those with my own DPS and a borrowed Waver back in the day. And the rest of Merlin’s kit just adds on to the healing aspect.

With challenging quests probably including more break bars in the future and thus longer fights, my guess is that Merlin + Mash brings more sustain than Waver + Mash as well. Unless you can 3 turn clear each bar, of course.

However, without a doubt, in an arts team, Waver is probably better even for a challenging quest. But without Tamamo myself, and my only big hitters arts-wise are Robin (and maybe Emiya from a deck composition rather than NP PoV), I can’t really do one justice.


#18

Gameplay, waver as he is much more versatile. He helps farming so much more. Preference, merlin as he is prominently featured in the story while waver isn’t.


#19

Here’s my 2 cents.

Waver for farming, Merlin for everything else (also farming).

Running double Waver with an AoE servant makes farming incredibly easy and lets you use two NPs back-to-back if your damage-dealing servant is at 100% NP charge without using Waver’s skills, and the second NP is even more powerful. The Atlas Mystic code helps here too with the two-turn cooldown reduction (and debuff cleanse for servants like Fran). Otherwise Merlin can pick up the slack in place of a second Waver.

Merlin’s party invincibility is godlike against bosses and has saved me a bunch of times. Both Waver and Merlin are good against bosses, but I feel that Merlin is the safer option as his NP regenerates health and drops crit stars. Having Waver and Hans has a similar effect, but you won’t get that party-wide invincibility. But if I’m running with only Waver against bosses, I’d probably use Mash for extra tanking support while Waver charges my main damage-dealer.

In short, I think both are good for farming and bosses, but Waver might need some extra support for harder fights while Merlin can usually stand on his own. Also, double Hero Creation EX (great for Berserkers, even Fran since it increases max health for three turns).


#20

Great analysis! No need to say anything else here…
I think the discussion boils down to how much you value a targetable 50% NP charge over a sustained support from Merlin. Although both are godly, I think Merlin should be the clear choice.