Noble Phantasms are “crystallized mysteries”, armaments made using the imagination of humans as their core, and weapons or abilities owned by Heroic Spirits. They are the embodiment of the ultimate mysteries of a hero that symbolizes his existence through historical facts and anecdotes. They can be general weapons, such as swords, lances, and bows, or support items, such as rings and crowns. They can also be abstract concepts, like abilities, curses, and changes to the environment and its physical properties. Noble Phantasms are considered to be a Servant’s trump card and are activated by channeling prana into them and releasing their true names. This can only be done by their true owners.
Noble Phantasms far outrank other non-legendary items, meaning that a C ranked Noble Phantasm is the equivalent to an A or A+ ranked normal attack. There are cases where the nature of the Noble Phantasm is not actually a true crystallized mystery, such as magecraft that symbolizes an individual, or a technique which is the quintessence of a skill or field of study.
Noble Phantasms are generally based off of previous incarnations of weapons, and with each cycle of transmigration a weapon undergoes, it becomes weaker. If faced with their predecessors, newer incarnations will generally lose during a confrontation. The current number of existing Noble Phantasms is very small, but they still exist in the material world.
It is possible to sacrifice a Noble Phantasm for an attack that is one rank higher, which is called a Broken Phantasm. If a Noble Phantasm is packed with prana, it can be made to explode after striking its target. It is nearly impossible to repair a destroyed Noble Phantasm, and as they are the trump cards of Heroic Spirits, they are unlikely to take such measures. If a Servant wishes to destroy their own weapon in another fashion, it is much easier than destroying one in normal combat.
Noble Phantasms are classified by their effectiveness against enemies.
– Anti-Unit Noble Phantasms are those specialized against defeating other people in single combat. Compared to stronger weapons, they will not go beyond defeating other beings, no matter how strong the magical energy or curse they wield. The advantage over stronger weapons is that they can be compared to guns with unlimited ammo while Anti-Army Noble Phantasms are one-time missiles. Missiles are more powerful, but an Anti-Unit can be continuous. There are also those that are very cost effective, to the extent that they can be called a sure-hit arrow that is better at killing single people than a cannonball.
– Anti-Army Noble Phantasms are those with a wide enough range to be specialized against armies. They are more powerful weapons than Anti-Unit Noble Phantasms, capable of easily blowing them away, but they must be used more wisely because of their larger cost. Using an A rank Noble Phantasm takes a great deal of mana, so they must wait before they can use it again.
– This rank has powerful Noble Phantasms that can even blow away solid fortified structures. While the difference between Anti-Unit and Anti-Army is the variation in area of effect, Anti-Fortress Noble Phantasms are distinguished from other categories by the great difference in power.
– Anti-Magic Noble Phantasms belong to this rank.
– Noble Phantasms used to create barriers belong to this rank, but it does not include those that are also used to attack. Noble Phantasms which are purely defensive belong to this category. Others, such as Noble Phantasms that may create barriers but also function as attacks, will instead be classified by their ability to attack.