As far as I can tell, Karna makes much more sense as an Archer than a Lancer. He only seems to be the latter for the sake of being the most suffering Lancer ever.
Many heroes can be summoned as multiple classes. Hercules from Fate/stay night could have been summoned as any class other than Caster, for instance. Karna's description indicates he can be summoned as Lancer, Rider or Archer, and it's possible whoever summoned him wanted him to be able to use his God-slaying lance, which he may not be able to use in other classes or it's possible that the Archer class was already filled up at the time of his summoning.
Much like Hercules it's pretty much a plot device, not a lot of people know this but Karna's bow granted him victory every time he fired it, that coupled with his armor, meant that he would be invincible, with no way for the other Servants to beat him, him being summoned as Lancer is the only way to "make things fair", otherwise he might have been even more broken than Gilgamesh
That's not it. In the Nasuverse, it's just an established fact that Karna's main Class is Lancer because of Vasavi Shakti, that's basically just what the writers decided to go with so they could include other characters as Archers. The Visaya bow granting guaranteed victory wouldn't necessarily happen if he were summoned as an Archer either. Most likely, the effect would just be different in the Nasuverse. Take Excalibur: that's also supposed to make you invincible, and yet do you see how rarely Saber doesn't get destroyed in her fights?
For the record Karna's best is archer as confirmed in grand order but Atlanta was probably summoned before he was.
A couple things could have influenced the in universe decision to summon Karna as Lancer. One possibility being precisely because he's not well known with a spear, combined with that skill that hides his stats would make it a bit harder to guess who he is. Failing that, using a lesser known skill set theoretically makes him harder to counter in a regular grail war. In addition, him not ever apparently using Vasavi Shakti in Nasuverse would hide its precise capabilities from opponents; even Gilgamesh hadn't a clue if there was a counterpart to it in Gate if Babylon in CCC, it was just that big an unknown. What I believe however is that it was done to deliberately weaken him, for the sake of his own master. Karna holding back is enough to paralyze a first rate magus. He can't even maintain Prana Burst for more than a few seconds at a time for fear of killing his master. Could you imagine then what flinging around projectiles as his main form of attack would cost? Not a small amount, that's for sure, especially if you go by the alleged characteristics of Karna's bow. And I'm pretty sure that every arrow fired by an archer, save Gilgamesh spamming NP all day, is created directly out of prana. Having to manage that kind of upkeep in addition to all the other costs associated with Karna would be too risky. Karna with a lance would be weaker, but also a safer bet. And being summoned as a lancer still lets him use tremendously powerful ranged attacks, so he can multitask for special circumstances, which would be important if he then went on to fight a proper grail war afterwards.
You make a few valid points but I should point out that the archer class has the independent action skill which allows the servant to (as its name suggests) act independently of their master (though the ability to do so varies depending on rank) meaning that would Karna would require a lot less magical energy then his lancer self (depending of course on ranking as at the lowest possible ranking (E-) it would only allow manifestation for upto 30 turns or at the highest normal rank (A) the servant could act with little to no need for master support (though noble phantasms would still require support.) In short Karna due to having Vasvati Shakti in the lancer is more dangerous in that class due to having a god killing spear but Archer would be better overall as he wouldn't have to worry about draining his master to death as much, plus there wouldn't be any risk of him losing his armour and earrings to Vasvati Shakti.
About the armour - this is probably speculation on my part but is there also a chance that, Karna might in fact be summoned without it as an archer? Correct me if I'm wrong but Karna fighting the absolute hardest in his life as an archer was the same battle/war that he didn't have his armor in, in a sense making his "peak condition" in that class the same as "the most vulnerable moment in his life". The argument for the summoning as lancer then would be, as gaining Vasavi Shakti is tied directly to the act of giving it up, he naturally would be summoned with his armor until he unleashed the lance. And before you say "just summon a younger Karna with a bow", F/GO seems to have clarified that such a feat is not possible - in Mozart's interlude, it's stated that summoning a servant to a particular class will summon them in their "prime", in respects to the part in their life that related best to the skills of their class. So I'm running with the assumption that the Servant system might consider that "Karna is his prime as an archer" also translates to "Karna without his armor". I'm probably grasping for straws with this one though, but for argument's sake I'm throwing it in there anyway in the interest of discussion.
Hmm, there may be some logic in that, but I would argue that Rider Karna would be the one summoned without his armor. The final chariot duel with Arjuna was pretty much where Karna’s crazy feats as a Rider would come from. He was going 3 vs 1 (Arjuna had Krishna as a charioteer, and was given the flag/blessing of Hanuman; Karna’s charioteer had betrayed him), Karna was able to move Arjuna’s chariot with his physical might (that one actually unnerves Krishna a little; it’s normally impossible to forcefully move an Avatar against their will. It would be the same as forcing back Vishnu. Karna did that), and there’s other stuff. His prime as an Archer would probably be shortly after Bhishma dies and Karna uses the Vijaya bow to decimate his foes. He still had his armor at that point. I digress though. Clearly, there’s still a degree of flexibility. It was mentioned in Extra that Lancer Li Shuwen would be much older than his Assassin counterpart, but come America, Lancer Li is still young. My personal theory is that Karna’s Master was scared of Karna’s full power under Archer class (Independent Action means a Servant can betray their Master much more easily...), and summoned Karna as a Lancer to avoid that situation (makes me wonder if the ‘mini Grail War that Waver joined had an ancient, almighty, demigod king Archer betray his Master...)
There's a much simpler answer. All of the catalysts for the Red faction were prepared by the Mage's Association. They had a catalyst for Atalanta, who probably could only be summoned in the Archer class. If they summoned Karna as an Archer they couldn't use Atalanta and wouldn't have a Lancer so they used him for that Class in order to have a full set of seven Servants.
Does Joan of Arc's noble phantasm really kill her, or does it just weaken her considerably if she uses it right ? Cause it seems a bit silly that she can use it only once.
Yes, it kills her. It's the embodiment of her execution. She uses it, she dies.
Atalanta is described as Neutral Evil, yet her motives in the war seems to be Good, trying to create a world where children will be loved. So... which part makes her Evil here? This is getting complicated like how a sociopathic dick like Gilgamesh is referred as Chaotic Good.
Atalanta is most famous for challenging her suitors to a race and then killing them if they lost (which is kind of a dick move, considering she is the fastest human in Greek Myth and knows it). While not actively being "evil" she is ultimately a selfish person as being raised by bears doesn't necessarily make you a good person. Whereas Gil is famous for justly ruling the greatest empire on Earth for 125 years by generally being more awesome than anyone else, and while he might seem murderous by today's standards, he was saving his kingdom (which was the entirety of humanity back then) from a pissed-off goddess and a Divine Bull, which caused famines and droughts for seven years.
Objectively speaking that feels like True Neutral at worst. Atalanta applied that challenge not because she was being actively malicious, but to scare off prospect suitors because she was uninterested in marriage. Yet some people challenged her anyway. It feels like 'just leave me alone minding my own non-malicious business, or else.' The alignment page actually shows a good explanation for this: Even if it may be objectively neutral, Atalanta personally saw her actions to be a dick move so she views herself as villainous (since it was going against her father's command and ended up all for nothing since Hippomenes cheated out with the Golden Apple, and they ended up having sex in Zeus/Aphrodite's temple, which led to them getting turned into lions, meaning that all those people she killed died in vain, no matter how much they were Too Dumb to Live). On the other hand, thanks to his achievement and self-aggrandization, Gilgamesh views himself as Chaotic Good, rebelling against the law and heavens to save mankind even if he's a dick.
I think Atlanta's alignment comes more from the fact that she has an animal's mindset than anything else.
It's a moot point since David is no longer a servant, but since his sling allows him ownership over the target's weapons, what does that mean if he hits Gilgamesh? Does he gain ownership over every weapon in the Gate of Babylon? Does that mean that just Gilgamesh loses ownership of them, or does it also make their original wielders lose ownership of them as well? Or how about Fate/Stay Night Archer? Does it work against Lancelot's improvised weapons? It's clear that the writers didn't think his powers through. This is supposed to be his weakest Noble Phantasm.
Sounds like it. Unfortunately we can't see it in execution (I would guess that he can only steal items that are physically present—he could grab a spear that got thrown at him, but not open the Gate), but based on the Type-Moon wiki's translation, you're right.
The way it's worded on the Type-MOON wiki implies it only works on opponents with weapons at the moment of the sling's use. Arturia with Excalibur? Yoink. Gilgamesh with Gate of Babylon? No. The gate itself isn't the Noble Phantasm, the key used to open it is. As soon as he uses the key to open the gate, it disappears. Lancelot with Knight of Honor weapons? Sure, why not? Doesn't mean he can't make more though.
Achilles' invulnerability. What does being divine have anything to do with bypassing it? Shouldn't it be just his heel?
It is explained that in the Fate universe, Achilles' invulnerability was granted to him by the gods, therefore only gods or those similarly empowered by them could actually harm him.
This is kind of a moot point due to it already being done, but wouldn't it make more sense for Fiore to summon Heracles? Granted the arrow killed Chiron but it was shot by Heracles, strategically that would have made much more sense, and wouldn't that have been awesome? The two greatest Heroes of Greek Mythology in their respective best classes in a fight to the death to prove which one is the better hero?
Maybe, but, it´s as you said, it killed Chiron and was shot by Heracles. That connects the arrow to both heroes and either could be summoned, but Chiron must have been more of Fiore's speed, kinda like what happened with Kairi, who used a fragment of the Round Table and summoned Mordred.
Using catalysts that are related to multiple heroes is basically a roll of the dice. However, it also appears to be that if there are multiple choices, the Grail will simply choose the hero that is personally best suited to the summoner. Chiron and Fiore ended up being a good match for each other, and it would be very hard to argue that Kairi would have gotten along with any Knight of the Round Table other than Mordred.
While more of a meta reason, there's also the fact that Hercules as Archer is far too powerful for even the Great Holy Grail War. His weakened Avenger hybrid was able to fight a serious Gilgamesh, meaning no one but Karna at suicidal overdrive could compete.
While it’s not necessarily relevant to the original question, I believe you are seriously overestimating Archer Heracles. His Archer/Avenger hybrid from Fate/Strange Fake is not weaker than a pure Archer form, it merely exchanges certain abilities, giving him both unique advantages and disadvantages. The most notable thing is that you are technically incorrect about him being able to evenly fight Gilgamesh. The only reason True Archer could survive Gilgamesh’s assault was because of the Pelt of the Divine Beast, which could No-Sell anything made by human civilization, making him immune to Gate of Babylon’s weapons. Gilgamesh himself says that True Archer being able to stand against him is more akin to cheating as opposed to being a testament to his own skill. Of course it’s debatable whether gaining this and Reincarnation Pandora make up for the loss of God Hand but it’s not as simple as “weaker version = serious Gilgamesh therefore he’s too strong for the Great Holy Grail War.” If you ask me there are two real meta reasons. One, Fate/Apocrypha wanted to expand the Fate universe by introducing brand new Servants as opposed to reusing old ones. This is long before every other new Servant being “previously revealed Servant except as Class X” became commonplace with Fate/Grand Order so that mindset likely wasn’t even there. Two, I have a feeling that a true Archer Heracles is something that Type Moon will forever tease us with but never actually intends to follow through on. They pretty much intentionally trolled us in Fate/Strange Fake by turning him into Alkeides and that’s probably as close as we’ll ever get.
Can anyone who's managed to read the LN clarify Karna's goals after Shirou becomes the master of most of the Red Faction? Specifically what he said he'd do after he got a proper fight with Sieg? In the anime at least, according to certain subs he declared he'd curb stomp anyone seeking the grail. While this can be interpreted a couple of ways, the meaning I took away from the conversation, combined with the wording of some of his earlier words, was that he'd immediately become Shirou's enemy once his dream battle was done with, as technically, once Sieg is beaten, not only do his interests no longer align with Shirou's, but Shirou is also using the grail, making him an enemy by his exact words. Is this adaptation only, or is he really even more super punch-clock than originally stated?
I thought Karna was quite clear but yes if he survived Karna fully intends(intended) to deal with Shirou immediately afterward. Furthermore Karna isn't on Shirou side, he's still loyal to his original master first and foremost. The only reason he decided not to kill Amakusa there and then was due to their interests aligning as he wanted to settle his duel first. Afterwards Shirou would become his enemy, it's as simple as that.
In the last episode El-Molloi II reminisces about heroes and is clearly referencing Rider in Fate/Zero (even having a piece of his cape in the box on his desk). However, Fate/Apocrypha takes place in an alternate timeline that differentiated from the main Fate/Stay Night history during the Third Holy Grail War, with the Einzbern's summoning Amakusa Shirou as Ruler instead of summoning Angra Mainyu as Avenger. During the third war the Greater Grail was stolen from Japan by Darnic. Therefore, it is impossible for the Fourth Holy Grail War of Fate/Zero to have happened in the same timeline as the Great Holy Grail War of Fate/Apocrypha. So how exactly does El-Molloi II have a history with Iskandar?
Isn't it possible for him to have summoned Iskandar in one of the mini Grail Wars?
Why didn't Jeanne know Astolfo was male until she saw him walk out a shower? Being summoned into the Ruler-class, Jeanne is granted the "True Name Discernment" skill, which gives her knowledge of a Servant's true name and status when she encounters them. So when she meets Rider of Black, she automatically knows he's Astolfo, and all the relevant information about his legend that's recorded in the Throne of Heroes. So with all that knowledge....how did she not realize he was male? Sure, it made for a funny scene, but it really didn't make any sense.
Have you seen the number of genderbent servants in the Nasuverse? Their backgrounds paints them as male, yet are female when met in person. Just to reference Apocrypha, Frankenstein's Monster is believed to be a male in accordance to the legends, but here, a petite woman in a wedding dress. Jeanne got the background info, but assumed a genderbending was in effect upon seeing Astolfo in person. The fact that it actually was a guy caught her completely off guard when actual proof was presented to her.