Fate/Grand order is a pretty straightforward mobile RPG; you buy cards, you kill enemies, and then you use dropped quest rewards to level up your cards. The game more or less revolves around the Servants that make up your party and their equipped CE (Craft Essences). For the battle component of the game, you can choose up to 5 Servants to fill your party, each with up to one CE. When it comes to choosing which cards, you generally end up with two kinds of players: 1) those who build their party for best battle potential, and 2) those who pick their favourite waifus/husbandos. If you’re more interested in the former, this guide is for you.
The following is a general overview of common but effective party compositions in the current state of Fate/Grand Order gameplay, along with general descriptions of how/why they works. Future updates may change these of course. Newly added Servants/CEs or updated battle mechanics may make some parties significantly better than others or even render some party compositions useless. It is up to you, the reader, to research into the individual capabilities of each Servant/CE and decide which strategy fits best with the cards you have. In the meanwhile, here’s your starting point.
Note: These pictures are NOT reference party builds! They are visual aids only.
Update: The original title used the misleading word “Beginner”. It has since been changed to “Introductory” as this guide is not intended for those who are just starting the game with only a few cards, but rather for those who have already have gathered a sizable pool of cards to choose from and are just starting to plan out their current/future party. Sorry for the confusion.
* Servant 1: QABBB Berserker
* Servant 2: QABBB Berserker
* Servant 3: Waver/Ruler/Shielder
* Servant 4: QABBB Berserker
Destroy your enemies fast, or die trying.
How/why it works:
For those who want fast battles, the Buster Smash party is the solution. The Berserker class is a double-edged sword; they deal 1.5x damage to all classes (except Shielder) but receive 2.0x damage. They kill fast, but also die fast. There’s two main factors that strongly favour your Berserker team, however: 1) enemy AI currently doesn’t focus-fire but instead random-targets, and 2) the player ALWAYS gets battle initiative. This means that you can easily focus-fire and destroy the enemy team before your Berserkers get touched. If your team is strong enough, you may find yourself winning each battle without taking a single hit; if it’s not, at least you will likely have the numbers advantage due to focus fire. To do this effectively, you want Berserkers with a QABBB pattern (higher chance of getting Buster cards and pulling off Buster chains), damage-increasing skills, and +Buster damage CEs (Limited/Over Zero or Verdant Sound of Destruction). But sometimes you don’t have enough firepower to pull that off; that’s where the third Servant comes it. Both Jeanne D’Arc (Ruler) and Mashu (Shielder) have defensive/immunity skills that will help keep your Berserkers alive. Waver (Caster) also grants defensive buffs as well as offensive ones ad NP gain. In addition to each Servant’s own avoid skills, your Master Emergency Evasion skill will also help, as well as the Nightless Rose CE (when you take so much damage as a Berserker class, evasion becomes far more important than damage reduction).
* Berserker Servants: Heracles, Lancelot, Tamamo CAT, Lu Bu, Kiyohime
* Support Servants: Waver, Mashu, Jeanne
* Craft Essences: Limited/Over Zero, Verdant Sound of Destruction, Nightless Rose, Kaleidoscope
* Honorable mention: Spartacus
* Servant 1: QAAAB Servant (support)
* Servant 2: QAAAB Servant (support)
* Servant 3: QAAAB Servant (offensive)
Art Chains and NP spams, all day, every day.
How/why it works:
For those who prefer to take it slow and steady, the NP-Spam party is the go-to setup (and in my prediction, the future most popular setup if DelightWorks balances things properly). Every time you pull off an Arts Chain (3 Art cards in a row), each of the Servants whose Art card was used gains +20% NP gauge, plus the amount of gain from the Art card attack itself. If these Servants equip NP-gaining CEs such as Divine Banquet, this can amount to something around +30% NP each turn. This means that you will be able to consistently fire off an NP every few turns (as opposed to one NP at the end in a K-Scope party). Since Arts cards don’t do as much damage as Buster cards, these battles will take longer and so you will want a mix of Servants that both have a lot of Art cards (anyone with a QAAAB pattern) and either an offensive NP (such as EMIYA, the magical Archer) or a defensive NP (such as Jeanne, who also takes half damage herself as a Ruler class). One notable exception is the Vlad; although he is of the Berserker class, he has a QAABB pattern, Bloodsucker skill, and an Art NP, so he fits well in NP-Spam parties as the main damage dealer.
* Servant 1: QQQAB Servant
* Servant 2: QQQAB Servant
* Servant 3: QQQAB Servant
Poop stars with multi-hit attacks, stack em on someone, crit hit hard.
How/why it works:
In theory, Crit Star teams work by generating a lot of crit stars each turn, then consuming them the following turn to deal massive crit damage. A Quick chain will give an automatic bonus of 10 crit stars, with each crit star giving a random Servant card in the next round a +11% chance to crit, stackable up to 100%. Each attack also has a chance of generating a crit star, with the chance much higher if it is a Quick card. The crit star system is a bit complicated, see Kyte’s blog posts on crit star generation and crit star distribution. Either way, once you’ve gotten the crit stars, you can use a Servant’s crit star absorption skill (or the Bazette CE) to have most of the crit stars distribute to that Servant and Attack the Enemy’s Weak Point for Massive Damage. While this sounds good on paper, in practice, I have a hard time convincing myself of it’s effectiveness; the RNG factor of crit star distribution combined with the inability to activate skills after entering card selection mode makes it an unreliable tactic, and the low base damage of Quick attacks means your overall damage output ends up still being less than a Buster-based team. In my tests, I also found myself having a hard time consistently generating crit stars except with Gilgamesh (due to his 5-hits per attack), but Gilgamesh is a QAABB card and better fits with other teams. The Riders Ushiwakamaru and Medusa also have strong crit-star generating NPs, but they are QQAAB. It might just be me though, but I feel crit star teams to be the weakest of the current types of party setups.
Update: Currently in JP, there are two cards (Merlin servant and 2030 CE) which eliminate the need for Quick-card-based crit star generation. The fundamentals of how teams including them are built though are drastically different (far more like Buster teams) and so they should be put into their own separate category, aka The “Merlin Meme” Party. I do not include this here as it won’t be applicable to North America for a long time and it is still an evolving meta.
* Servants: Gilgamesh, Atalanta, Lancelot, Carmilla, Kojirou, Hassan
* Craft Essences: Moonlight Festival, Imaginary Around, Gandr, Be Elegant, Gem Magecraft, Sealing Designation/Enforcer
* Honorable mention: Ushiwakamaru, Medusa
* Servant 1: AoE NP + Kaleidoscope
* Servant 2: AoE NP + Kaleidoscope
* Servant 3: Single-target NP + Kaleidoscope
* Servant 1: AoE NP + Kaleidoscope
* Servant 2: Single-target NP + Kaleidoscope
* Servant 3: Waver
Top off your NP gauges, then let em rip!
How/why it works:
This is currently the strongest PvE party setup, but also the most expensive and really only something you can put together end-game after lots of quartz rolling (or EX luck). The general strategy revolves around maxing out your party’s NP (Noble Phantasm) gauge early on in the easy first battle so that they can be used to quickly clear the later rounds. For this to be effective, you will need one Kaleidoscope (+80% NP gauge) or Imaginary Number Magecraft (+60% NP gauge) CE for each of your starting 3 Servants (or for your first two and find Supports with them equipped). Your Servants should be one that have a strong AoE NP but also Art cards to help build the NP gauge. This party setup works because of a two main reasons: 1) the first fight usually contains very weak enemies, so you can take your time to build up your NP without losing too much HP (by using only Quick and Arts cards, or even doing Brave chains to avoid killing multiple enemies), and 2) most AoE NPs hit the same as or harder than individual single-target attacks, but hit all targets while only consuming one battle card slot. If you have a particularly strong NP that can be backed with self-buffs (such as Arturia Alter’s case), you can potentially clear out an entire round of enemies in one go. Note that most battle quests take the format of 3 mobs/3 mobs/1 boss, so your third party slot should have someone who has a hard-hitting single-target NP (Berserkers like Heracles and Lu Bu work best). For EXP card and QP farming, however, choose a third AoE NP Servant. If you are lucky enough to get a Waver (Caster), you can use his skills to give NP to your Kscope/Imageinary Number servants and instantly full charge their NP gauges.
* Offensive servants: Arturia, Attila, Gilgamesh, Arturia Alter, Lancelot, Tamamo CAT, Kiyohime
* Support servants: Waver
* Craft Essences: Kaleidoscope, Imaginary Number Magecraft, Ley Line
* Honorable mention: Arash
And that’s it for this guide. The current Fate/Grand Order state of gameplay may change in the future as new content gets released, but I hope you found this to be useful in starting your party-building. Don’t forget that these are just cookie-cutter baseline builds – its always good to spend some time experimenting and fine-tuning your perfect party!
Reddit JP post: https://www.reddit.com/r/grandorder/comments/3mt7nj/beginners_guide_to_fgo_party_setups/
Reddit NA repost: https://www.reddit.com/r/grandorder/comments/6p6sne/introductory_guide_to_fgo_party_setups_reposting/
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