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Characters in both Fate/Zero and Fate/Stay Night refer to the Saber class as "superior" or the "strongest" of all Servants but don't seem to explain why.

Is there something about how the summoning works that makes Sabers stronger or is it just that heroic spirits that qualify as Sabers tend to be more powerful ones?

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The Saber class has the highest overall base parameters of any other servant class. It is part of the original three Knight classes. The other two being Archer and Lancer. The three Knight classes were intended to be used by the Three Families, Tohsaka, Einzbern, and Makiri. The four Calvary classes came later as they needed seven Servants. Basic parameter-wise, the three Knight classes are stronger.

Of course the strength varies depending on the individual Servant.

According to Rin in the UBW route - Day 4 Contract Established:

"There is a change in one or two of the classes every Holy Grail War, but we have a basic lineup this time. The standard opinion is that Saber is the best Servant.

Each class has their own special characteristics, but the abilities of the Servants differ according to the rank of the heroic spirit summoned."

The prologue of Fate/Zero mentions that the Saber class made it to the final battle in the first three Fuyuki Grail Wars (and also the Fourth).

The Saber class skill Magic Resistance gives it an advantage against the other classes, especially against Caster, for obvious reasons. The weakness of the class is probably it's straight forwardness in attacking things head on, compared to other classes that can resort to other tactics with their skills. Like Assassin with it's Presence Consealment.

  • Fights in the Nasuverse are primarily dominated by compatibilities; a sort of rock-paper-scissors scenario, where "ass-kicking" is non-transitive. It's why Rin's Archer is so well-suited to defeating Gilgamesh: Gilgamesh can defeat virtually every servant, including those who have defeated Rin's Archer (possibly in other routes), but his ability is perfectly suited to counter Gilgamesh's and so gives him the advantage. And it can get really meta: Lancer's unstoppable spear throw versus Rho Aias's unbreakable barrier gets decided by the rank of the noble phantasms. ... – zibadawa timmy yesterday
  • Point of which is to say that Saber's stat block is such that really the only way to beat them is with that sort of compatibility consideration going against them. In a straight fight they're too solid. While Assassin and Caster, in particular, are almost strictly reliant upon it. – zibadawa timmy yesterday
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This is my speculation, but I would argue that all other heroic spirits, while strong in one area, have weaknesses that are easy to exploit. And mostly, their specialities are situational and often difficult to use effectively. Saber on the other hand is generalist, while it doesn't have any special attributes, it also doesn't have any glaring weakness.

Also, it seems in majority of cases, the confrontations devolve into melee combat. Area where Saber is one of the strongest.

I also remember somewhere mentioned, that Sabers were often top contenders for Grail. So it can come from experience, that Sabers, either by luck or by design, are stronger on average than other spirits.

  • > Saber on the other hand is generalist, while it doesn't have any special attributes, it also doesn't have any glaring weakness. That is just wrong. Special attributes: High stats(Everything but magic), high magic resistance, strong burst attacks a.k.a face to face combat. Weakness: Well they just attack with a sword that's all. Not versatile. For example Caster, Archer and Assassins are very versatile classes. – JustPlain Jul 30 '18 at 7:03
  • > Also, it seems in majority of cases, the confrontations devolve into melee combat. Area where Saber is one of the strongest. Again wrong. You might think like it because in both Zero and SN our main class is Saber so we tend to see that kind of combot. However from Zero for example Rider vs Archer or Berserker vs Archer is a good example for different kind of combat. – JustPlain Jul 30 '18 at 7:05
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Ah, Nasuverse. Let's see:

  • First of all they are often heroes from Age of Gods. It's the age where magic was common among people.

  • Sabers all stats but magic are the highest level. That makes them perfect fighters.

  • They also have really high magic resistance.

So overall very good class for face to face combat and nighmare for casters and mages.

  • So it's more my latter theory than the former then? – IG_42 Jul 28 '18 at 20:29
  • Yes latter is a really good definition. For example, spirits with high stats can be qualified as Saber even though there are some exceptions. – JustPlain Jul 28 '18 at 21:21
  • @JustPlain could you source that last claim?? I don't remember high stats alone to be enough to qualify for the Saber class. Also, I'd say it's more of a mix between the summoning and the stats of the servant itself, as the summoning itself grants Class Skills and can modify the stats depending on the Class Container used for a given Heroic Spirit, heck, even the summoner affects the stats of a Servant – paulnamida Jul 29 '18 at 6:51
  • I never said just high stats are enough to be a saber but it's a prerequisite to being a Saber. So I can't put a source about that. However, if you just want me to put a source about high stats: Fate/complete Volume III - World material : Saber Knight of the Sword. The compatible Heroic Spirit naturally needs to possess legends as a knight of sword, as well as the highest levels of attributes in all but MGI. Class Abilities include Magic Resistance and Riding. Also, compatible Heroic Spirits usually excel in delivering powerful burst attacks. – JustPlain Jul 29 '18 at 7:49
  • I see, I guess I misunderstood. It makes you wonder about Okita and her shitty stats, but I guess Nasu and consistency don't mix well ^^U – paulnamida Jul 30 '18 at 3:06

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