Jeremy enjoys gaming when not helping manage the college he graduated from.
Fate Zero and Heroic Spirits
Spoilers for Fate/Zero ahead.
Today, we'll be ranking the seven warriors from Fate/Zero, the anime prequel to the Fate/Stay Night series. In this universe, people called mages compete in a Holy Grail War with the objective of obtaining the legendary Grail, said to grant any wish.
To battle, mages summon Heroic Spirits; legendary heroes from the past who are given new life and great powers. Heroic Spirits serve their mage and include figures such as King Arthur, Bluebeard, Gilgamesh, and Alexander the Great. Spirits come with their own abilities and ultimate skills called Noble Phantasms to set them apart from the crowd.
Which reigns supreme? Find out by counting down the top seven servants of Fate/Zero!
Master: Kirei Kotomine
- Has multiple bodies with individual personalities; all must be killed for Hassan to truly die.
The Assassin class has the ability to avoid being detected by magic. However, Assassins possess far inferior fighting capabilities. To make matters worse for Hassan, his already-low power is divided amongst multiple bodies.
The numerous bodies are a manifestation of his real life trait of split personalities. Hassan's many forms and stealth capabilities make him great at reconnaissance, but terrible in combat.
Keep in mind that Heroic Spirits have attributes (strength, endurance, luck, etc.) that are partially affected by the strength of the mage who summoned them. Hassan's master, Kirei, is a decent mage, but a stronger master could help compensate for Hassan's low stats.
6. Gilles de Rais (Bluebeard)
Master: Ryuunosuke Uryuu
- Wields a book filled with infinite mana, allowing Gilles to summon numerous demonic creatures.
In real life, Gilles was a French serial killer. When called upon as a Heroic Spirit, he proves to be weak physically, but his Noble Phantasm contains unlimited mana, making him a large threat.
Still, Gilles needs time to use the book's powers, making him vulnerable to quick assaults. Additionally, Caster lacks other skills and must rely upon his book. Finally, Caster's master isn't an exceptional mage, and neither master nor servant excels at making allies.
Master: Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald
- Golden spear Gae Buidhe creates wounds that cannot be healed.
- Crimson spear Gae Dearg pierces through mana.
In legends, Diarmuid was a powerful warrior said to have defeated 3400 opponents in one battle. In Fate Zero, Diarmuid is an agile combatant skilled with spears. His two weapons possess useful abilities, but Diarmuid lacks a powerful finishing move.
He's certainly good, but noticeably lacks ranged options or ultimate attacks. Diarmuid receives a boost in combat through having a very accomplished mage as a master, but is outclassed by more versatile characters.
4. Iskander (Alexander the Great)
Master: Waver Velvet
- Possesses a powerful chariot capable of flight.
- Ionioi Hetairoi summons his past armies to attack enemies.
You've likely heard of Alexander the Great, famed for seeking to find the end of the world. His incarnation in Fate shares this dream, and is a charismatic warrior. Rider is decent with a sword, and his powerful chariot helps with mobility and offers another form of attack. Still, Rider's real trump card is Ionioi Hetairoi, the summoning of thouands of soldiers to fight for him. Few servants have effective ways to combat this awesome attack.
Rider suffers from a low agility, the fact that his chariot can be permanently destroyed, and Ionioi's vulnerability to anti-army attacks. Still, he's undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with.
3. Artoria Pendragon (King Arthur)
Master: Kiritsugu Emiya
- Invisible Air renders her sword invisible, concealing its length.
- Excalibur, a powerful attack where a massive beam of light erupts from her sword.
- Avalon, a sword sheath that grants rapid regeneration.
In the Fate-verse, it turns out King Arthur was actually a woman who disguised her gender to allow herself to rule as "king". Arthur, or Artoria, proves to be a powerful warrior with numerous abilities. She's hampered somewhat by having a mediocre (yet clever) mage as a master, notably decreasing her luck attribute.
Still, Saber wields great sword skills, an impressive ultimate attack, and the potential to rapidly heal with Avalon. Additionally, she has high magic resistance and her knightly demeanor earns her several allies, making her difficult to for Heroic Spirits to gang up on.
Master: Tokiomi Tohsaka
- Gate of Babylon, a portal that fires several weapons as projectiles.
- Enkidu, an unbreakable chain that binds opponents.
- Ea, a sword that emits an amazingly destructive attack with a huge radius.
Gilgamesh's Gate of Babylon allows him to "spam" numerous projectiles as he watches safely from a distance. Enkidu can bind opponents and render them helpless, and Ea's attack is almost unblockable.
Nevertheless, he has two vulnerabilities. Firstly, he's not as accomplished in close quarters as other Servants. More than that, Gilgamesh is incredibly arrogant, often underestimating his opponents and landing himself into trouble. In raw power, he's the strongest hero not just in Zero, but perhaps the entire franchise, but his arrogance restricts his actual effectiveness.
Master: Kariya Matou
- Knight of Honor makes anything Lancelot touches become a powerful weapon that he knows how to perfectly wield.
- For Someone's Glory hides his identity and allows Lancelot to disguise himself as others Servants.
- Arondight, a durable sword that boosts the battle attributes of Lancelot by one rank each.
The intimidating Berserker, eventually revealed to be Lancelot, a former Knight of the Round Table, seizes our top ranking. Despite being summoned as a berserk warrior, Lancelot possesses an ability that allows himself to fight unhindered by berserk status in combat (he won't just rush blindly into attacks). His ability to disguise himself grants many out-of-combat uses that few Heroic Spirits, let alone Berserkers, can match.
Despite being summoned by a weaker mage, Lancelot duels Gilgamesh to a draw, and later gains the upper hand against him in a dogfight. All accomplished while Gilgamesh has a vastly superior master.
Lancelot's ability to possess the weapons of others makes him versatile, and his battle statistics are impressive. Plus, these attributes all increase even further when Beserker fights with his sword, Arondight.
It's a shame we didn't get to see the havoc Lancelot could wreak in the hands of a competent summoner. As is, Lancelot still may be the strongest warrior of the series, and certainly lives up to his reputation as the strongest Knight of the Round.
Fate Zero Review
If you're looking for a show with complex characters, awesome fights, heart-wrenching moments, and a dash of actual history, I highly recommend Fate/Zero; it's easily one of the best anime I've ever seen, and unlike many anime, it concludes in less than 30 episodes. Plus, if you like what you see, you can explore the vast Fate universe with more anime, visual novels, video games, and more.
But for now, vote for your favorite warrior, and I'll see you at our next anime countdown!
Questions & Answers
Question: Is Karna stronger than Achilles in Fate Zero?
Answer: I actually did a recent countdown of the strongest Fate spirits; check it out to see how I rank these two compared to one another.
For those who haven't already, I definitely recommend reading "Fate/Apocrypha", where you can encounter these two heroes (and many more).
Question: Is Fate Zero better than Fate/stay night?
Answer: Well, remember that Fate/stay night originally began as a visual novel, making it hard to compare the two. But in terms of the anime portrayals, I definitely prefer Zero over both of Fate/stay night's anime depictions.
© 2015 Jeremy Gill
Varies on July 22, 2020:
I mean while Gilgamesh was stated to be the strongest and Artoria is the strongest class, it’s debatable of course but Artoria beat Lancelot in their final dual and obviously King Arthur vs Lancelot is poetic but I feel more times out of 10, archer and saber best berserker.
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on April 04, 2016:
I'm familiar with that quote. Gilgamesh, if he went all out, probably could have ended the war in a single night. But that's his problem - his pride constantly gets in his way, causes him to underestimate his foes, and he's lost more than one battle because of it. Thus, the number one spot here can be fiercely debated either way.
A on March 28, 2016:
Unfortunately there's a critical flaw in this ranking... and that is Gilgamesh not being number 1. I shall use this famous quote to justify it. "Words of (God) have stated Gilgamesh is the strongest servant. If the king wanted to, he could ended the ended the war in a night time."
God being the author :p