Good people, help me decide. Throw to me your opinions, as I’ve spent months going over this in my head and can’t come to a decision for myself.
Initially, Merlin sounds like such a slam-dunk. One of the three best supporters in the game currently and often touted as the best among them (until the release of Castoria anyway). But current circumstances make it so that skipping him actually becomes an option.
One thing to consider is how degraded the Buster meta has become. While buster can reach the highest numbers, it’s often highly unnecessary and inefficient due to the existence of break bars. It’s also not very conducive to farming either. It seems like DW themselves realized this and is the reason why they’re pushing Buster-crit as the new meta w/ servants like Godjuna and Orion. But I’ve often found going for buster-crit to be far too unreliable. For one, the buster servant themselves usually have no way of generating stars themselves, and even if they do it’s a 1-turn setup and so does not fix the issue of farming. Of course you can bring support for star generation, but that leads to the other issue of card RNG. The reason why NP-looping is usually the focus of both quick and arts metas is due to the sheer consistency. If your bar is full, you have an NP card readily available regardless of RNG, and I haven’t seen any evidence to suggest consistency on the same level is possible w/ buster. The best buster-crit setups I’ve seen either trade consistency for damage, or trade damage for consistency and even then isn’t as consistent as arts/quick setups. I know some players don’t care about 90% consistency vs. 99% consistency, but for players like me who rely on near 100% consistency for farming it matters a lot (obvious implication is obvious).
But on the other hand, Merlin isn’t just a one-trick pony. In particular, his ability to help the entire front-line NP-loop cannot be overlooked. Add to that his on-demand 20 party charge w/ atk up, party invincibility, and heal/crit assistance, he brings a lot to the table for regular questing and stalling tactics even without any busters on the field. And it isn’t like buster is unviable either, and I have certainly have some buster servants that can use some support (Vanilla Artoria, Ozy, Semiramis, Amakusa, SummerAlter, etc.) So Merlin can easily be used with or without buster servants, but is it worth it?
Normally the answer would be a resounding: “DUH”, but in this case just before the release of the AOE goddess herself I can’t seem to come to a decision. 700 SQ + 30 tics are not nearly enough for me to feel safe rolling for both (500 SQ LOST ON KAMA BANNER, I’M NEVER FORGETTING DW ), but should I chance it regardless? Should I skip and go for NP2 Spishtar? Should I assign myself a firm limit, but if I do what should that limit be? I want Spishtar more than Mer-boy, but I also want Mer-boy quite a lot too.
TL;DR: So I ask of you, a̵r̵e̵ ̵y̵o̵u̵ ̵m̵y̵ ̵m̵a̵s̵t̵e̵r̵ are you rolling for Merlin or saving for Spishtar? How is everyone else coping with this? Am I the only one struggling here? Sunday is rapidly approaching and I can’t make my mind up… This is truly gacha hell… Save me Oni Cure!
Update: Thanks everyone for your opinions. It really helped me make my mind up. Unfortunately, my OCD got the better of me.