Fate/Samurai Remnant Beginner Guide: Tips to survive the Waxing Moon ritual

Action RPG Fate/Samurai Remnant is out, and draws players to Edo to participate in a titanic struggle for unlimited magical power: The Waxing Moon ritual. While it's one of the most interesting Fate franchise entries in a long while, it's also quite a bit deeper than its initial impressions, and Miyamoto Iori will have a lot to come to grips with in order to find victory in the ritual. To that end, we've come up with a quick Fate/Samurai Remnant beginner guide, with a handful spoiler-free tips and tricks to help you make the most of your time in 17th-century Japan.

Servant Up A Beatdown

As the last disciple of Miyamoto Musashi, Miyamoto Iori is a phenomenally skilled swordsman. But he's still only human, and the Waxing Moon ritual is a contest of Masters and Servants. That means you, as Iori, should be ready and willing to make use of your partnership with Saber as and when needed. Don't be shy about calling on Saber's power using the game's Affinity system. Even one of Saber's low-end abilities can immediately clear the field of annoying crowds, letting you focus on more dangerous foes.

More importantly, most Affinity Techniques will interrupt a powerful enemy's heavy attack, briefly stunning them and allowing you room to whittle away their health or Shell Gauge. While you should use Servant techniques readily, try to avoid wasting them. The quick deployment of an Affinity Technique can mean the difference between opening up an enemy for punishment and taking a ton of damage, so you should try to keep at least one charge in the tank, ready to whip out when a foe tries to unleash a damaging move.

Assume Direct Control

In the same way that Affinity Techniques can serve as powerful interrupts for enemy attacks, taking direct control of Saber or another allied Servant is the key to victory in battles against a boss-level enemy. This is because most of the toughest enemies have a shield of magical energy preventing Iori from doing much damage with his sword alone. Iori's attacks will drain this "Shell Gauge" slightly, but a Servant's attacks are by far the most effective.

Thus, the general strategy in combat against a boss-level foe is to swap to your Servant, deplete the enemy's shell gauge as much as possible, and then whale away with Iori to finish the job.

Make the Magic Happen

Iori may be a swordsman by trade, but he's learned a few magecraft tricks in his time.

Though Affinity Techniques are more convenient to use most times, don't ignore the game's magic system. Iori can learn spells by unlocking them in the skill trees, and can use them at the cost of gems, which refill as you defeat enemies or craft them in your workshop. Most spell effects are fairly minor, but do provide noticeable utility. Spells like Amber Glow can heal Iori, while spells like Discernment, Accord, and Rock Skin can raise Iori's critical hit chance, affinity gauge refill rate, and defense.

At the very top tiers of Iori's magic, and after deep interactions with the Servants you meet, you'll also unlock special Servant-inspired spells which can interrupt a foe's heavy attack, adding another tool to your boss-fighting arsenal.

My Workshop, My Fortress

Your home base throughout the game will be Iori's house in the Asakusa neighborhood of Edo. It's a small place, but a useful magical workshop, and it's here that you'll be able to unlock a host of benefits that can improve Iori and Saber's effectiveness. These take the form of "Workshop Renovations" that take in money and materials in exchange for game-wide perks. Some benefits directly improve your combat performance, such as increasing Affinity and Valor fill rate. Others are more indirect forms of support, like increasing the amount of money you get from selling trade goods or the health restored by food items.

Of the upgrades available, here are a handful we recommend pursuing when you can:

  • At Your Beck and Call - You can change your allied Servant anytime outside combat, without having to return home.
  • Silver Tongue - Increases the amount of money you get for selling trade goods.
  • On the Wind - Unlocks a new sword stance for Iori.
  • Master of Arms - Unlocks mount upgrading.
  • Eagle Eyes - Makes mounts with powerful perks more likely to drop.
  • Gems in the Rough - Unlocks the ability to craft gems at the workshop.

Keep these ones in mind as you gather up materials that can be used for Workshop Renovations, as the materials are often shared between upgrades, so purchasing one may deprive another unless you've got a large surplus of items.

If You Have A Hammer...Upgrade Your Gear in the Morning

Iori can improve his damage output and stats by customizing his swords with various "mounts". Iori can change the sheathes, guards, handle wrappings, and ornaments on his blades. Each category of mount improves a specific attribute (ATK for sheathes, DEF for guards, TEC for handle wraps, and MAT for ornaments), and every mount you pick up includes a randomized perk, like a bonus to certain types of attack or a health-steal effect.

You can use your workshop to Empower Mounts, upgrading their stats. Every mount can be updated a total of nine times, using Steel Mallets and Mahitotsu Mallets, items that can be earned and purchased from shops. Mahitotsu Mallets are rarer and more expensive, but provide a larger benefit. When empowering a mount you can choose whether to upgrade a core stat or one of the perks.

You'll get a fair supply of mallets throughout your journey, but in general you'll want to use mallets judiciously, only updating mount pieces that have perks you really like. For my part, I preferred updating core stats, with ATK and DEF being the main priorities. For perks, I liked general-use perks, like ones that improved Affinity or Valor gauge fill rates or loot drops from enemies.

It's also worth noting that certain skills are unlocked by hitting specific stat thresholds, so you can also upgrade your gear with an eye to boosting a specific stat.

Eat, Pray, and Live in Edo

Eat food at stalls, get into fights, go shopping, polish your sword, carve a statue, and get into all sorts of nooks and crannies. Fate/Samurai Remnant likes to hide little items and collectibles all over the place. Make a point of exploring as much of each map as you can to pick all that stuff up. You'll get a surplus of useful items, as well as trade goods that can be sold to vendors for money.

In addition, the game will reward you for your time, thanks to the multitude of small mini-objectives that you can complete passively as you play and turn in at a bulletin board or certain NPCs. Don't worry about time: The game will wait for you, and the narrative will otherwise signal where you are and aren't allowed to go.

Fate/Samurai Remnant is available for the PS4, PS5, PC, and Nintendo Switch. Check out the rest of our Fate/Samurai Remnant guides.