Origin: Alexander the Great (History)
Title: King of Conquerors
Illustrator: Takeuchi Takashi
Featured In: Fate/Zero
Voiced By: Ohtsuka Akio (Japanese) & Jamieson Price (English)
Riders are distinct among most Servants as virtually any Heroic Spirit can become one with many other classes, notably the Knight Classes of Saber, Lancer, and Archer, possessing the riding skill regardless of their atypical mount’s absence amidst their Noble Phantasms. That in itself is what differentiates Riders as it is oftentimes their “ride” that serves as their Noble Phantasm and can, at times, take a variety of forms and usages. Riders whom were once pirates for example can summon either portions or the entirety of their ship(s) as their Noble Phantasms whilst others, like Saint Martha or Medusa, can summon a specific steed tied to their legend regardless of them actually having “ridden” it.
My own personal choice of Alexander, or Iskandar as he’s often referred to in most of the Fate series, as Rider comes not from his noble steeds but rather on his overall personality. He is a man whom had managed to conquer most of the known world and would likely do so again if given the chance thanks in no small part to a degree of charisma that borderlines on the divine.
In point of fact, Iskandar’s degree of Charisma is among the top of most Servants with few reaching the same level as he in inspiring his forces to greater degrees of attack power. His degree of Military Tactics, which again I must remind allowed him to conquer most of the then known world within his lifetime of thirty years, enhances the power of other Servants’ Noble Phantasms, including those whom dwell within his own but more on that later. Last, but not least, are his skills of Divinity and Lightning Conqueror.
In life, Iskandar was thought to be a descendant, if not a direct son, of Zeus himself and the power of that belief grants him a low ranking in Divinity but blesses him with the power of the Greek Lord of the Sky by way of his first, and definitely weakest, Noble Phantasm.
The Gordius Wheel: Wheel of Heaven’s Authority is an antique war chariot lead by a pair of Divine Bulls whom, in legend, were meant to be offerings to Zeus from King Gordius but Iskandar sought to claim the bulls for himself and did so by cutting the Gordian Knot with his sword. To summon them, Iskandar must swipe the air with his Sword of Cypriots, which in itself is not a true Noble Phantasm merely the key of summoning the Gordius Wheel.
The bulls and the chariot tread atop lightning strikes, with each strike generating the same degree of magical energy Artoria Pendragon would with Excalibur without invoking its full might. It can also travel on any terrain, with the chariot itself changing to be more suitable to the actual ground being traversed, and can also fly through the air at pretty decent speeds.
However, the true power of the Gordius Wheel isn’t unlocked until Iskandar calls out its signature move, Via Expugnatio: Distant Trampling Domination. By uttering this name, the bulls pulling the Gordius Wheel can travel a distance of a hundred meters within less than a second. The amount of damage it deals out is decided on two key factors, first being whether or not the opponent is hit by “eight strikes” from the hooves of the bulls and the wheels of the chariot itself. The second is if those unfortunate enough to be run over by the thing have the fortitude to withstand not only getting run over but also being simultaneously struck by lightning with each and every blow.
Yet, as I had said earlier, this is the weakest of Iskandar’s Noble Phantasms. His most powerful one, which puts him in the pinnacle of most Servants, comes in the form of a Reality Marble known as Ionioi Hetairoi: Army of the King. Despite not having been a magus in life nor possessing true divinity in his blood, Iskandar is able to utilize a Reality Marble thanks to the combined efforts of his personal guard whom all shared his dream and whose pledged allegiances to him even after death stay strong.
When activated, Iskandar summons forth a desert battlefield from which appears the entirety of his army, which consists almost entirely of Heroic Spirits whom are of varying degrees of prowess and strength but are each and every capable of being called a Servant.
It is here within the depths of his Reality Marble that Iskandar’s favorite mount, Bucephalus, will appear though he can still summon and even utilize the charger as a Noble Phantasm. The horse earned its legend for being not only an extremely violent member of its species that no one could handle but Iskandar himself, but was said to also be one of the rare carnivorous ones of Greek legend, having a particularly taste for the flesh of men. On its own, Bucephalus can take down an army of fifty men with ease and can even call forth the lightning of its father Zeus if it so desired.
Overall, Iskandar is not one of the most powerful of Riders nor is he one whom rides atop beasts of great renown, but the fact remains that he has been, and forever shall be, the most famous of his Class. He is a man dubbed by the Throne of Heroes as King of Conquerors and it is a title well deserved. He is also one of the few Servants out there capable of meeting Gilgamesh, the so-called King of Heroes, on even ground both on and off the battlefield, which believe me, is no easy feat.