Tales from the Grail I: A First Meeting (Saber vs Berserker)

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Naronu

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A First Meeting: Saber (SY8000) vs Berserker (Just_Banter)

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Stipulations:

  • Both servants are fully healthy
  • Both servants have full mana
  • No Knowledge on either side
  • Unsealed NPs are restricted due to the nature of the fight (Introductory)

Location:

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Naronu

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Sy8000

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#3  Edited By Sy8000

@just_banter@naronu

Knight of Two Swords

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"Big, strong looking, and I didn't even have to try hard to find you. Clearly, today is my day."

Despite his eagerness to fight, Saber is not going to throw the first punch. Or perhaps he is, but he isn't going to aim to at first. He's going to observe Berserker for a bit, gathering as much data as he can. He can do this before Berserker even attacks, by simply observing how he walks, breaths and blinks. From this, he will be able to anticipate and predict Berserker's attacks.

That said, despite having his skill, Saber is significantly less patient than Sasaki and isn't going to sit down and wait. If Berserker shows no signs of making the first move after a minute or two he's going to rush him with and engage up close, opening with a quick slash with an impossibly fast return swing. If Berserker rushes Saber at the start, he's going to do this anyway, Saber will have already started analyzing Berserker and will continue to do so as he runs forward.

In addition to his predictive skill, Saber is quite difficult to handle in melee due to his always active Noble Phantasm. Saber's fighting style cannot be understood, remembered, recognized, or replicated. That means it will be impossible to observe patterns in his movement, develop countermeasures, or copy his techniques.

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Saber's approach is quintessential for his class, using physicality and skill to engage in close quarters.

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Just_Banter

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@naronu: @sy8000:

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To Challenge:

Berserker slowly turned in the direction of the servant who addressed him and opened his mouth. A sound came out. One of the first acts his master had done was to use two command seals on him to ensure that he was unable to challenge either themselves or a civilian to a match. The fact that sound could leave his mouth meant...

Berserker grinned from ear to ear at the unexpected present and bellowed out towards them, not so much as registering what his to-be opponent had said or was doing.

"You... I challenge!!! WRESTLE!!!!!"

Saber could feel... something within him stir, a slight unsettling in the stomach as if he had just signed on to a bad deal despite him having made no motion to reply to Berserker. That, however, was not important now, as Berserker bounded towards him like a puppy.

"hahaha... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!"

A giant, menacing, near three-metre-tall puppy... and what was with that look in his eye? If nothing else could be gathered, it was clear enough that Berserker was, undeniably, a Berserker.

Berserker's approach will hold back no momentum and showcase no hesitation. In fact, he will not even physically move to defend against Saber's blade. He will aim to use his body to catch Saber off guard, and quite literally take hold of his blade after contact has been made. That is, at the point of time where Saber's prediction shatters. You see, by all rights, based on Berserker's physical characteristics, breathing, and movement, Saber's blade should be able to at least injure Berserker; however, it won't, and not for reasons relating to Berserker's skill or physical attributes. The only tell Saber could have about this inevitability is in the complete lack of respect Berserker will be paying to Saber's sword as he bounds towards him. Whether Saber can figure out that means there's something different happening, or if that's just a consequence of Berserker being a Berserker is up to him.

If Berserker catches the blade, his grip should be strong enough on its own to ensure that Saber cannot simply wrench it free (base A vs A). Immediately after this, Berserker will activate a single strength + to both cement his grip on the blade and smack Saber in the face with full force, as seen in the above scan. After that, he'll, I don't know, treat him like a bath towel for 52 pages straight.

The key element of the opening attack comes from the predictions that Saber makes. He, to my knowledge, shouldn't be able to determine Berserker's abilities from initial glances beyond his physical might and skill. Neither of these aspects is what is the most dangerous thing about Berserker's initial move, and even if Saber can see through the imminent danger based purely on trusting that Berserker acting like an insane person is cause for more alarm than usual, the hasty backstepping he'll have to make will instantly put him on the back foot, regardless.

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#5  Edited By Sy8000

@just_banter:@naronu

First Strike

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"Oh, you're one of the dumb ones? Perfect - " he draws his sword overhead in a striking stance - "a big, meaty practice target will make a good warm-up."

Berserker's approach will hold back no momentum and showcase no hesitation. In fact, he will not even physically move todefend against Saber's blade. He will aim to use his body to catch Saber off guard, and quite literallytake hold of his blade after contact has been made. That is, at the point of time where Saber's prediction shatters. You see, by all rights, based on Berserker's physical characteristics, breathing, and movement, Saber's bladeshouldbe able to at least injure Berserker; however, it won't, and not for reasons relating to Berserker's skill or physical attributes.

Are you sure about that? Saber's sword is hardly an ordinary armament, being capable of deflecting a weapon which ignores physics, inertia and friction to pierce everything, as well as slicing through a defense made from natural force manipulation. Without a true name release the sword doesn't have its full potency, but its an excellent melee weapon that won't lose its edge easily.

If it does come to pass that Saber cannot cut Berserker for some reason, it still will not result in his sword getting caught. As I've shown, his signature attack is a strike where he slashes at full speed but pulls his sword back up before it reaches for the ground for a quick return. In other words, he's exceedingly good at pulling his sword back. Though his vision will not tell him if he can or cannot cut Berserker, he will certainly be able to predict a simple grab for his sword.

After pulling back, Saber would quickly realize there is something unusual to Berserker's hardiness. Based on other invulnerable servants such as Siegfried, Heracles, Achilles, and Samson, Noble Phantasms granting invincibility always have some weakness - either a condition or a minimum amount of force needed to break them. Saber is not exactly smart enough to think it out that clearly, but he is at least smart enough to determine that he won't know for sure if he can cut Berserker without amping up his attempts.

So after pulling back, Saber will activate two strength +s to quintuple his striking strength and follow with a full force slash. If this again fails and Berserker tries to grab him it will be even less likely to work, someone with Saber's pattern recognition is not falling for a basic counter he's seen before, while on the other hand his Noble Phantasm ensures that even using the same tactic he will not become predictable.

If the second strike fails and Saber pulls back, he's of course going to back out of melee range, but that's for another phase.

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Just_Banter

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@naronu: @sy8000:

All of Power

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Berserker's approach is marked by a primal, guttural roar.

▂▂▃▃▅▅ーーー!!

The sound carries, as though an invitation to all the city to spectate the occasion. Not great for the ears of those close by, though.

Are you sure about that?

Yes.

In other words, he's exceedingly good at pulling his sword back.

He is, for sure. The issue here is that pulling his sword back up after it falls comes after his first strike. In the fight we can see that Poseidon dodges Sasaki's first strike, which allows the blade to fall and reach the position for his surprising second strike. We also know that part of the point of the technique is that you can't guard against the first attack, which forces the opponent into a dodge and allows for a second attack from their blind spot to come up. Every indication Saber should have is that Berserker will have to somehow guard against the strike, or that he'll have to avoid it. Berserker is doing neither. He's reaching out to yoink the blade as it comes down and connects with his body. As he's moving in accordance with an ability that Saber does not know about, there should be no accurate prediction of Berserker moving like this. Immediately after he does this and Saber can see that his attack didn't work? Yeah, absolutely, Berserker's dumbass fighting style will start to be predicted. Before that? No chance.

As Saber's initial strike is one that tries to slice through Berserker, he should be momentarily surprised by the blade being halted and not making progress against Berserker's flesh, which should create the gap for Berserker to grab the blade (or accentuate the gap, at least, I don't see why Berserker can't grab the blade even without surprise on Saber's side coming into the equation). The pulling back of the blade would be an act that occurs if Saber's predictions work (which they won't) and should only occur after the culmination of the first swing, when Saber's blade is near the floor, which is somewhere the blade won't reach as Berserker will have grabbed it by then. Berserker's grip strength is quite impressive, and I've already shown his ability to keep hold of a sword pretty well in my first post. Saber I don't think has real feats in this kinda way because Berserker's fighting style is, uhh, unique and specific, so I don't believe the premature halting of a technique would allow Saber the leverage he needs to pull his blade away from Berserker before his follow-up attack comes in.

I've said that Berserker is only using a single + for strength, and you've said that Saber is using two +'s for his, so Saber can theoretically be stronger for this second struggle, but I don't think it'll shake out that way. Saber's use comes after theoretically being able to pull his blade away, get some distance, have the "huh, he must have some kind of invincibility Noble Phantasm" thought, and then decide to see if it's breakable via sufficient force. None of that should happen, as Berserker should be able to grip the blade and stop him from getting that distance in the first place. Berserker and Saber are of equal speed, after all, and Berserker's opening move should destroy Saber's prediction, while Berserker's move should go off as planned, giving him the advantage in that initial clash for his result to win out.

For Saber to avoid the follow-up attack/free his blade, he'd need to react to the unforeseen situation and activate his two strength +'s to counter it. It's highly possible, for sure, but it's only something that's happening reactively to Berserker's attack, not proactively like Berserker's is. With that, and the bad position Saber is in (two hands on his blade while Berserker has one free for the punch, and as we can see in your scan, Tsubame Gaeshi is a technique that needs the whole body to work in unison, which Berserker's grip stopping the falling blade should stifle massively), Berserker's attack, I feel, takes priority over Saber's improvised defence. Even if Saber is able to avoid the attack while simultaneously using his boosted strength to wrench himself free from Berserker's grasp and take the distance he wants to take, he'll have taken mana circuit damage from the act and still be on the backfoot, so Berserker should be in an advantageous position regardless of the result.

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Naronu

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#7  Edited By Naronu

A Rough Introduction:

The two servants stand across from each other on opposite sides of the deserted intersection, neither moving, although the reasons could not be more different. Saber carefully observes his opponent's form, the massive man trembling with excitement, but unmoving.

"Big, strong looking, and I didn't even have to try hard to find you. Clearly, today is my day."

He breaks the silence and the living mountain's face breaks into a wide grin as he lets a bellow out into the air.

"You... I challenge!!! WRESTLE!!!!!"

He begins to charge forwards, laughing maniacally as he does, appearing less like a real human being and more like a fast moving zombie out of a film.

"Oh, you're one of the dumb ones? Perfect -

The knight readies himself as he draws one sword and swings down cleanly, as he has hundreds of times before. Berserker makes no attempt to dodge or defend himself and Saber softly smiles to himself. The brute reaches out with his massive arm in a last ditch effort to reduce the damage to himself, but it is pointless, the battle has been won.

- a big, meaty practice target will make a good warm-up."

"Thud."

Saber's sword impacts with Berserker's outstretched hand with the sound of metal striking dirt. His expression changes and he whips his sword backward, or tries to, because the Berserker's hand has already closed tightly around it.

"▂▂▃▃▅▅ーーー!!"

Berserker's guttural roar echoes out over the city as he holds tightly to Saber's sword, the sharp blade seeming to cause him no damage. Holding on tight, Berserker swings the sword himself, sending Saber flying into a nearby building. With a groan he frees himself from the wreckage and draws his second sword. The veins of his form glow as he forces himself past his physical limits and charges forward once again. He smoothly ducks under the outstretched arm of Berserker, who has attempted the exact same tactic, and slices upwards with all his strength.

"Thud."

It's like striking a mound of compact dirt, the sword cannot pierce through Berserker's skin. Saber deftly slides out of the Monster's reach and the two servants are left facing each other once again, one breathing heavily from exertion, and the other panting from excitement.