In both Stay/Night and UBW, Illya is a Grail vessel.

... and she's also a master.

Why did the Einzbern make her a master? If she wins the war, she will become the Lesser Grail because she is the vessel itself, won't she? And if she becomes the Lesser Grail, then there will be literally nobody present to take possession of the Holy Grail (since all other competitors would be dead / defeated).

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    An important thing to keep in mind in the FSN stories is that the 3 main families of the grail war--the Tohsakas, the Einzberns, and the Makiri--have all kind of gone insane and lost focus over the hundreds of years since the first war. The Tohsakas are really the only ones who still remember the goal of getting to the root. Zouken doesn't even remember why he started doing it, except for faint glimmers in one or two routes. The Einzberns are mostly just in it to win it out of pride and see it finished. Note that Zouken (head of Makiri) and Ahb (head of Einzbern) are both unnaturally old. Commented Apr 13, 2015 at 23:43

1 Answer 1


I believe the plan of the Einzbern's for the 5th Holy Grail War was to obtain the Third Magic on the spot, and not try and relay on a third party to secure it or the Greater Grail (as they did last time, which failed).

My evidence for this is shown in the Heaven's Feel Route, at the very end of the True Ending, Ilya is shown wearing the Dress of Heaven:

The Mystic Code of the Einzbern family, the Dress of Heaven, is the heart that controls the Great Grail that is capable of materializing the soul for several seconds. This allows for the transferal of a soul into another container, such as when Illya places Shirou's soul into a doll in a bad ending.

This is what Ilya uses to materialize Shirou's soul at the end of the Heaven's Feel Route using an incomplete form of the Third Magic, which is later found by Rider and placed in a puppet made by Touko Aozaki. It stems to reason that since the Dress of Heaven is transmuted from the ether that forms Leysritt, Ilya had the Dress of Heaven since the beginning of the war (thus having it in all 3 routes).

Also, Ilya is the strongest Master the Einzbern's could send out. The number of Magic Circuits she has overwhelms that of a typical magus. She has an unlimited supply of mana to supply to Beserker and she also possesses the Mystic Eyes of Binding. After she starts to break down from absorbing Servants, Kinoko Nasu has said in an FAQ that Leysritt and Sella would then aid her:

Q: What is Illya’s capacity as a Grail? Hypothetically, if the Einzbern won the War, Illya absorbed the other 6 Servants besides Berserker, and had some shred of human will left, could she still don the Dress of Heaven and initiate the Grail ritual?

A: That’s what Liz and Sella are for. Ilya can only take up to 4 - I would think that absorbing a fifth Servant wouldn’t allow her to function as a human any longer.

Source: Illyasviel von Einzbern - Citation 6

Now I don't know in what context they mean by "obtained" when referring to Magic in the Nasuverse so I can't think as to what would happen after, but I would assume Sella would play some role in it given that she was to help Ilya wear the Dress of Heaven after Leysritt is sacrificed.

The only other plan the Einzbern's may have had was to either materialize the soul of or extract the current modern time user of the Third Magic, Justeaze Lizrich von Einzbern from the Greater Grail.

There is no information on the original practitioners of the Third Magic. If it can be considered to have any user in modern times, it would be Justeaze Lizrich von Einzbern, who is the core of the Great Grail. Illyasviel von Einzbern also makes use of it in one of the routes of Fate/stay night, although it is an incomplete usage.

Source: Third Magic - History

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