Gáe Bolg (ゲイ・ボルク, Gáe Bulg in Fate/unlimited codes?) is a cursed spear with an ominous design that was obtained from Scathach in the Country of Shadows by Cú Chulainn. Its name is derived from the term for "serrated throwing weapon", ga bool’ga, evoking an image of lightning. Scathach had wished for him to slay her with the spear, but she had already ceased being mortal by the time he received it from her. It is a glory given to only the most gifted of warriors, and it was not utilized once after he left the Land of Shadows until his fight with his close friend, Ferdiad. He later used it again on his son, Connla, when he was backed into a corner during their fight. The spear leaves behind but one regret: that it has only taken away the lives of his loved ones. It killed his one and only close friend and his son that grew up in a distant land, even though it was meant to have killed one woman before them.
It is unique in that it functions in two different ways, each different enough to have them be treated as separate Noble Phantasms. The Anti-Unit thrusting technique of the spear is the main offensive ability he utilizes, but the Anti-Army throwing ability is the spear's true function as a throwing weapon. It is descended from Gungnir: The Declaration of the Elder God (大神宣言, Ookami Sengen?), which belongs to Odin in Norse mythology, and Brionac: The Five Roaring Stars (轟く五星, Todoroku Go Sei?), the lance of the Celt god of light and Cú Chulainn's father, Lugh. Due to its large size, it was said that no one but Cú Chulainn was powerful enough to wield it as a throwing weapon, and some stories say that he threw it from the fork of his toes to increase its power.
Barbed Spear that Pierces with DeathEdit
|Noble Phantasm | Activation|
|Title:|| Barbed Spear that Pierces with Death|
Spear of Barbaric Impalement (English version of Extra)
|Transliteration:||Sashi Ugatsu Shitoge no Yari|
|Maximum number of targets:||1 person|
Gáe Bolg: Barbed Spear that Pierces with Death (刺し穿つ死棘の槍, also translated as Spear of Impaling Barbed Death?) is an attack focused on a single target, created by Lancer to suit his own style, that strikes a fatal blow that always pierces the opponent's heart and ruins their body from within with its thousand iron thorns. It literally freezes the mana in the air, and it can easily be perceived as a sure-kill technique by all those around simply from being charged with prana. Once Gáe Bolg's name has been called, the cursed spear reverses the nature of causality, the meaning of "cause and effect" in the order of things, to make it so the cause of the "lance being thrust" comes from the effect of the "opponent's heart being pierced" by it. It determines the opponent's fate simply through its use, an always fatal move that pierces the heart with one thrust. It is also possible for him to activate it without actively striking the heart. It is an attack on destiny itself, and while not a surprising fact due its wielder's demi-god heritage, it is a top-notch power even with its seeming limitations in power due to being a step away from the Authority of the gods.
The actual action of the thrust is merely a formality, as the lance has already pierced the opponent's heart before the attack has even started. The "result" of "the heart of the opponent has been pierced" is created earlier than it is thrust, while the "cause" that "the lance has pierced through the heart" is generated later. Aside from great luck, it is a technique that determines "if it is released, the opponent is dead." Its range of effectiveness and power are weak compared to its other ability, but it has a low energy cost. Even with its nature of interfering with destiny and effect of "almost certainly will destroy the enemy's heart", the attack only utilizes prana in the double digits compared to a single spell from Caster costing hundreds of units of prana, and each activation is a sure kill, making it one of the most efficient Noble Phantasms with extraordinary usability that can be used up to seven times before Lancer must obtain more prana from his Master.
The lance can move at impossible angles, signified by turning into a red beam of light, that always manages to reach its target. Even if he thrusts directly at the feet of the opponent, such as in the battle with Saber, it will immediately point upwards towards the heart without growing, bending, and or any movement from Lancer, and if it is thrown from a distance of ten meters, or rather than truly being a throw, "Lancer's own body is fused with his soaring spear", it will manage to reach the target without fail. This action looks completely normal to onlookers, as if it it were already piercing the heart, because rather than truly changing its course, it changes the means to match the result, simply as an action meant to prove the fact that the heart was pierced. It can only be used against living beings, so it would have no particular effect against inanimate objects like rocks or houses.
The lance curses the target upon striking them, delivering wounds that cannot be healed while Gae Bolg still exists in the world. While Lancer mentions that even a regular thrust through his heart would be hard to heal, being struck by the Noble Phantasm gives the greatest effect. As the "lance of cause and effect", it curses them, leaving them unable to change their fate without great luck. Those who are cursed will bear the wound until they die unless Lancer is killed or the spear is destroyed. Saber is only able to heal her wound on the outside, while she is able to fully heal a much greater wound from Berserker in a matter of hours, and she is plagued by it for weeks afterward. Shirou is able to recover slightly with Avalon, but the wound still persists until Lancer's death. Its curse is no longer effective against him with the scabbard's protection, but it takes over half a day to heal even with its potent regenerative abilities.
The attack delivers damage equal to the opponent's own health limit plus the damage from the spear itself, so the wound will be fatal no matter the opponent once they are struck. If the target has "100HP", the attack will deliver "the damage caused by the spear + 100." This makes it especially effective against those with high durability, even those who can survive being hit by Excalibur. Even someone like Arcueid Brunestud, who is very much superior in numbers compared to Lancer would be killed as long as she wasn't saved by her luck. There is a small disadvantage against Servants who can move around even without their hearts like Heracles. The wounds from its attacks are rather clean, spilling only a small amount of blood compared to a regular wound of comparable size, and while a heart would normally explode from such a strike, it instead stops working with the single strike.
It is like Tsubame Gaeshi in that the best measure against it is to not allow it to begin. Unlike Tsubame Gaeshi, which there is no way to stop once it has been used, it is possible to find a countermeasure for Gae Bolg once it is found out that it will go for the heart. It is impossible to dodge the thrust of the lance, no matter how agile, well guarded, or far away from the lance the opponent is standing. Even having EX rank agility would be useless, so the only benefit would be allow the opponent to back out of the attack's range before it is initiated. While it would normally be ineffective against Berserker's God Hand, Lancer could take at least one of his lives by using his runes to power up the rank of the lance to A to bypass God Hand's nullification ability.
The only way to effectively defend against the attack is to have a high enough degree of luck or divine protection as to be able to alter fate, which would be heightened by also having good reflexive instincts, an auto-resurrection ability, a shield that overwhelms the magical energy of the lance, or, as a countermeasure of knowing it will strike the heart, by following Archer's strategy of quickly backing out of the attack's range before it is initialized. Even if the opponent manages to avoid it with luck, as with Saber, it still leaves a heavy wound on her that takes a long time to fully heal.
The conceptual strength behind it is strong, so it will clash with something like Fragarach. Even if Lancer is killed and the attack is nullified by returning it to before it was activated, such as when going against Fragarach's unavoidable counterattack, the lance's curse will wind back to the moment "Gáe Bolg" was chanted in order to carry out its purpose of striking the heart. Fragarach alters the order of events, but Gae Bolg reverses cause and effect. It has already pierced the heart as the result, so even its master's death will not impede it from fulfilling its duty. The two opposing laws clashing against each other leaves both Lancer and Bazett dead afterward.
Soaring Spear that Strikes with DeathEdit
|Title:||Soaring Spear that Strikes with Death|
|Transliteration:||Tsuki Ugatsu Shishou no Yari|
|Maximum number of targets:||50 people|
Gáe Bolg: Soaring Spear that Strikes with Death (突き穿つ死翔の槍, also translated as The Spear of Striking Death Flight?), which is the true use of Gáe Bolg, is the largest and most powerful attack delivered using the spear. It is the “attack that unleashes countless darts at the enemy” that is spoken of in the legends. It is the attack that made him a hero which utilizes the full potential of the lance's curse, converting all of Lancer's prana into energy and releasing the accumulated power after the spear is hurled, detonating on impact with enough power to blow away a multitude of enemies.
Lancer prepares to use this ability by backing one hundred meters away from his opponent, taking a crouching position on all fours, and accelerating through an approach run by dashing fifty meters before taking to the skies. He arches his back as if drawing a bow and hurls it towards the ground with all his might. It distorts space to create a "tapestry of action" that splits into numerous spearheads that pour down over the enemy. It is said that it split into thirty in his legend, but it seems that the number has increased after Cú Chulainn became a Heroic Spirit. Compared to the very little usage of prana with the anti-unit technique, this ability has an intense consumption of energy.
It does not carry the property or concept of “always pierces the opponent’s heart”, but both the power and the area of effect are increased. Rather than dispatching a single foe with absolute accuracy, its focus as a technique is to attack the enemies together with the surrounding area in a carpet bombing fashion to cause massive destruction. Due to being hurled with all of his energy, it cannot be dodged or blocked under normal circumstances. Even resilient bulwark or agile body are not immune to its power, so Gáe Bolg will send the enemy horde flying. If it were to also have the ability to directly strike the heart, it would be closer to the level of Lugh's power as a higher level version of Fragarach. The idea that Archer is capable of blocking it with Rho Aias after the spear pierces through the first six layers seems impossible to him.
The form and damage caused come close to Lugh's Brionac, but having the ability "No matter how many times it is dodged, it will strike the enemy" makes it a Noble Phantasm closer in nature to Odin's Gungnir. Archer comments that it surpasses the original Gungnir in power, and that out of all the spears he knows, it is the only one able to pierce more than one layer of Rho Aias. The spear travels at mach two, and the farthest he has thrown it is forty kilometers. Shirou believes that his actual range could extend to the other side of the Earth. Lancer thinks only two other people, three conditionally, in the world could beat that record.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2
Fate/complete material II: Character Material - Weapons - Gáe Bolg, p.132 English | Japanese
The demonic spear used by Lancer. It is a cursed spear with an ominous design. It will unerringly pierce an opponent’s heart, and can annihilate dozens of people with a single throw.
In Celtic mythology, it is the legendary demonic spear possessed by the demigod Cú Chulainn. Because of its huge size for a throwing weapon, nobody except Cú Chulainn was powerful enough to wield it. In some stories, the spear is thrown from the fork of the toes in order to increase its power. The name of this throwing technique is also “Gáe Bolg”.
It is said that it would scatter into countless arrowheads when thrown, wiping out multiple opponents in a single throw. The name Gáe Bolg derives from “ga bool’ga” (serrated throwing weapon), which evokes images of lightning.
Brionac explanation Lugh's spear is normally either Areadbhar, Gae Assail, or the spear Lúin, but according to the corresponding Japanese Wikipedia page for the latter, Brionac was the name of Lugh's spear ; that spear is described in the Japanese Dictionary of Magic Tools (魔導具事典, Madougu Jiten?) as having its tip split in five, and the light shot from each spear point could kill five enemies at once. It also says this is the spear that was used with a sling to pierce Balor's mystic eye (though other versions say this was done with a tathlum, a large forged rock projectile thrown with a sling). The spear Lúin was found in that same battle, leading to the association of Brionac to the spear Lúin. It appears "Brionac" is the name in Japanese only of the spear from the city of Gorias, one of the Four Jewels of the Tuatha Dé Danann (that spear is usually unnamed in known surviving Celtic literature). Other Japanese literary sources for the name can be found listed in here.
Fate/stay night - Fate route - Day 15: Saber, to the Church
"He stayed alive the last time I did for some reason, so I 'pierced' him for sure this time. Don't worry. I didn't hit his heart. But the curse is still there."
Fate/EXTRA material - Encyclopedia: Barbed Spear that Pierces with Death [Noble Phantasm], p.178 English | Japanese
Barbed Spear that Pierces with Death [Noble Phantasm]
Lancer’s anti-personnel noble phantasm.
A cursed crimson spear with the infamous reputation of always going through the heart when thrust.
What it actually does is reversing causality, the spear being thrust after the outcome of striking the heart is established.
When its true power is invoked with its true name, Lancer’s crimson spear gains the outcome of already striking the heart before being thrust.
It didn’t hit because it was thrust, it hit so it was thrust, an attack on destiny itself.
What is needed to dodge Gae Bolg isn’t high agility but the power to reverse fate before the activation of Gae Bolg: high luck.
While it’s strictly anti-personnel and specifically targeting the heart, it’s a top-notch power that decides fate. It’s a noble phantasm a step away from being an authority, but it's no surprise that it is for its welder Cu Chulainn is the child of a god.
You shouldn’t take him lightly just because he's a jobber.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1
 Fate/side material - Encyclopedia: Barbed Spear that Pierces with Death [Noble Phantasm], p.061-062 English | Japanese
Barbed Spear that Pierces with Death [Noble Phantasm]
The cursed spear that always pierced the opponent's heart after being thrust.
Reverse causality --- a technique which broke the rules by launching the spear after it was already established that the heart was pierced.
Since the target was already hit by the spear, the opponent would always be hit regardless what kind of evasive maneuvers he took.
In order to evade Gae Bolg, one would require Noble Phantasms that automatically resurrected the target after death like that of Berserker's, or a high degree of Luck sufficient to negate the curse of the spear.
To put it into game terms, it would be an insane Noble Phantasm with a base damage plus an additional component that scaled with the target's HP.
For example, if Saber's HP was 100, then Gae Bolg's damage would be (Spear Damage + 100). She would absolutely be dead if it hit.
It was also an efficient Noble Phantasm with mana consumption only in the double digits.
Anti-Unit Noble Phantasms probably did not get anymore economical than this.
By the way, Piercing Death Thorn was a technique Lancer developed himself.
Originally Gae Bolg was a thrown Noble Phantasm. It was an Anti-Army Noble Phantasm rather than Anti-Unit.
Fate/stay night - Fate route - Day 10: Strategy meeting
"Lancer's Gae Bolg is the same. Even with a cursed lance that will strike the heart, if the opponent is a rock or a house, it is no more than a strong lance."
Comptiq 2006-11 issue - Fate Dojo Q & A
Q: Who'd win if the Servants and the 27 Ancestors fought each other?
English | Japanese
Q: Who'd win if the Servants and the 27 Ancestors fought each other? Also, who'd win in a fight between Bazett, a renowned powerhouse of the Association, and Ciel, top class in even the Association?
A: Depends on compatibility, but basically Servants will have the slightly higher advantage. With Saber, Lancer, and Archer classes, we ought to be able to relax and see decent fights. In particular, Saber has THAT sort of Noble Phantasms so against guys like the 27 Ancestors that overwhelm by material quantity and alienness, she'd be REALLY tough.
....Well, there are also some of those tough Ancestors that can withstand a direct hit from Excalibur-class attacks, but against those guys that just (emphasis on just; other stats don't match up) have wickedly high HP, Lancer-aniki'd be pretty tough.
Comptiq 2005-10 issue - Fate Dojo Q & A:
Q: I have a question about the Servants vs. other character answer in the 9th issue of Comptiq. About a Servant with an average Noble Phantasm, who would have one and what rank would that have been?
English | Japanese
Q. I have a question about the Servants vs. other character answer in the 9th issue of Comptiq. About a Servant with an average Noble Phantasm, who would have one and what rank would that have been?
A: That's a serious question. The level of the Noble Phantasm would be B, and ability being represented by numbers would be called an average Noble Phantasm. Broken Phantasm, Barrier of the Wind King (C), Gae Bolg (thrown) (B), that sort.
On the other hand, those with conceptual effects, destiny interference types fall into a special category. With Gae Bolg (regular), no matter how much Arcueid might be superior to Lancer in numbers, she will be killed depending on her luck, you see.
Fate/stay night - Unlimited Blade Works route - Day 6: Absence of Saber
"Like Lancer's Gae Bolg, Assassin's Tsubame Gaeshi is something that can not be allowed to begin. No, unlike Gae Bolg, that allows you to find a countermeasure once you find out it will go for the heart, there are no possible counters for Assassin's secret technique even when you know about it."
- ↑ 10.0 10.1
Fate/complete material II: Character Material - Characters - Lancer Cu Chulainn entry, p.070-073 English | Japanese
Nasu Kinoko & Takeuchi Takashi Discussion
Takeuchi: So, would Archer get hit?
Nasu: For sure. But since he knows about it, he wouldn’t approach Lancer in the first place. If it looked like Lancer was seriously getting ready to use Gae Bolg, Archer would already be frantically getting as far away as possible.
Takeuchi: Ah, I see. That sort of tactic is always an option, huh? So what about the thrown version?
Nasu: The “Spear of Striking Death Flight”. That one’s just pure, simple destructive power.
Takeuchi: As expected. If you added on the concept of heart-piercing at long range too, then…
Nasu: …it would end up being the ability of Lancer’s father. The ultimate version of Fragarach.
Takeuchi: Eternal Force Blizzard! And the target dies. Around that level.
Nasu: Naturally. Because the battles in mythology are freaking hax, right
Comptiq 2006-03 issue - Fate Dojo Q & A:
Q: Lancer, Caster, Assassin, and True Assassins; all with normal attack and Noble Phantasms of B or lower. If they fought against Berserker, wouldn't it be a one-sided fight? Or are there any of them that can match up against him?
English | JapaneseQ. Lancer, Caster, Assassin, and True Assassins; all with normal attack and Noble Phantasms of B or lower. If they fought against Berserker, wouldn't it be a one-sided fight? Or are there any of them that can match up against him?
A: Assassin and True Assassin by themselves wouldn't even be a fight. Lancer can use his runes and Noble Phantasm together to temporarily raise the rank to A, but it'd still be a very disadvantageous fight but "one with some chances". Caster has two front-line Saber-class defenders, so if she uses her high sorcery then she'd be able to deal damage, but that would be limited to 2 to 3 times. Also, in the game, Assassin was able to push Berserker back because of the terrain advantage and support from Caster (weighing down Berserker's body). ...Well, since the compatibility of Assassin and Berserker is horrible, the fact that Berserker was even pushed back is enough to say "whoah, Kojirou's amazing".
- ↑ Fate/hollow ataraxia - 10/11 - Streets - Blue Panther vs Black Panther