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In Ufotable's adaptation of Unlimited Blade Works, when Lancer fights Archer for the first time (episode 0), near the end of the battle Lancer begins charging his Gae Bolg, but is later distracted by Shirou.

Later, on episode 5 of the second season, when Lancer fights Archer again, Lancer mentions that he wasn't fighting with his full potential back then because he was under a Command Spell telling him to not kill.

If that is true, then why did Lancer even bother charge his Gae Bolg back then? I imagine that the point of his Noble Phantasm is to finish off his target.

  • I believe it was more because Lancer was agitated at Archer, who was fighting with 2 sword rather than a bow and arrow (as expected of an Archer). as for the Command Spell i am unsure, i wasn't aware that he had been ordered not to kill given he killed Shirou once, tried again and even used Gae Bolg of Saber, i believed what was portrayed in Fate/Unlimited Codes and that the first Command Spell Kirei used on him was similar to Rin's and that Lancer suggested to use one to make him obey Kirei (though Kirei probably would've done this anyway to avoid Lancer rebelling to avenge Bazett) – Memor-X May 13 '15 at 22:33
  • @Memor-X well, more specifically the quote is "Sorry I had to go easy on you last time. My stupid master ordered me to return without killing you.", so I guess he was referring to not killing other servants / masters. – Omega May 14 '15 at 5:41
  • i don't think that implies the use of a Command Spell for "do not kill Servants/Masters". if Fate/Unlimited Codes is correct and Kirei's order was like Rin's to Archer, Lancer would be weakened if he disobeys so a command spell of "Obey all my orders" but to then going against it, as Archer put it to Rin, puts an invisible weight on him, and it gets more taxing the longer he disobeys. remember that Masters can have telepathic links with their Servants as what Tokimi had with Gilgemesh and Kirei was his apprentice so it wouldn't be a strech for Kirei to command from the temple – Memor-X May 14 '15 at 5:51
  • that all said i haven't seen the Ufotable anime and am still replaying the Fate Route in the game so i can't verify Lancer's fight with Archer in Unlimited Blade Works just yet (i might convert these to an answer when i do) – Memor-X May 14 '15 at 5:51
  • Maybe,It's just a tactic like just making archer nervous and maybe if shirou wasn't there (of course the course of the story changes) before that maybe Rin will order archer to Run or use his Reality marble or something – Hachiman Hikigaya Jun 19 '15 at 13:28
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Lancer was specifically ordered to scout out the other masters and determine their Servants' strengths by fighting them to a draw. He couldn't expect to get a proper measure of Saber or Archer's strength, who were going to some lengths to hide their abilities—indeed, both Saber and Archer were going on about how their "true" weapon could be anything, but they weren't going to bother revealing it—, unless he tried to force their hands. In a battle between Servants, this pretty much always requires the use of their most powerful Noble Phantasms. While use of his Noble Phantasm could result in the deaths of either Saber or Archer, it seems likely that either the Command limited the potency of the attack, or that the vagueness of "find out their strengths" allowed him a bit of a loophole against such secretive opponents. A Command not to kill them would seem likely to interfere with a Noble Phantasm to some extent, perhaps giving the opponent just enough wiggle room to avoid death (but not necessarily a severe injury, such as with Saber).

According to the TypeMoon wikia:

Contrary to his legendary battle prowess, his fighting in the Fifth Holy Grail War is extremely limited. Fighting several Servants to a draw, he will never start a fight on his own. Even if he gains a full chance to kill an opponent, he is to merely observe and is given no authority to attack. He can only go all out against an opponent during their second encounter due to the Command Spell, so his first true "battle without any binds" is against Archer. Without anything binding him, his strikes are much faster and harder to see than in the previous battle. The only way Archer is able to keep up with him in direct combat compared to the previous fight is due to the experience of previously fighting him.

Recall that Lancer was initially attacking Shirou before Saber had been summoned. Shirou was simply an outside witness, and by Rin's commentary this was strictly disallowed, and so it was completely natural that Servants would disengage from their own fights to eliminate the witness. Once Saber is summoned, Lancer backs off and waits for Saber to come to him and force the combat (thought he doesn't seem to have problems with trying to provoke his opponents). For the preceding fight with Archer, we do not know exactly how it was initiated. We are introduced to the fight already in progress from Shirou's perspective.

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