In a separate post, I'll write about how I would have rewritten the entirety of this arc.
Here, I've focused on just the match-ups:
In order for a lot of these to happen, I've put in notes that quite a few of these Spriggan would need major buffs.
Which shouldn't be so unreasonable to ask. After all, they were all hyped to be at least God Serena's level.
Zeref vs. (Natsu, Crime Sorceire's Cobra, Racer, and Midnight - cond. Jellal approach)
Crime Sorciere has always made Zeref's defeat their goal, would be fitting and much less damaging to Zeref's stature in the story to have them team up with Natsu against Zeref instead of having Natsu and Zeref go at it at base form.
I can see Cobra, Racer, and Natsu pull off interesting combinations to try and stave off Zeref, while Midnight focuses on being Midnight. I'm largely unsure of how I want Jellal to approach this battle, but I would rather the much of the battle start off with out him.
Irene vs. (Erza, Kagura, Mira, and Minerva)
Was honestly hoping for this match-up. Would fit so well thematically, Erza taking on her monster of a mother with the help of comrades whose hearts she's managed to sway over to friendship.
Plus the glorious amount of panty shots.
August vs. (Makarov and Laxus, R2 Jellal)
This also fits thematically. August is the son of Zeref and a Fairy Tail founder, while Makarov is the son of another Fairy Tail founder.
I can picture Makarov and Laxus taking on the King of Magic as a grandfather/grandson team and being overpowered, with Makarov managing to use a spell that sacrifices himself but causes a particular damage to August that nerfs him in some way. Not too different to how Igneel went down to Acnologia but managed to rip off his arm.
When that happens, Jellal arrives and together, Laxus and Jellal manage to pull through a R2 with a weakened but still insanely powerful August.
God Serena vs. (Gods of Ishgar)
Make this an actual decent fight. Don't have God Serena stomping the four and breaking the scales, just to hype Acno by having the latter ripping out his liver.
Together, Jura, Warrod, Hyberion, and Wolfheim should be capable of giving God Serena the fight of his goddamn life.
Bloodman vs. (Gildarts)
Yes, I know what you're thinking. Think what you will about him vs. Gajeel, Bloodman was still an incredibly menacing villain with frightening powers. Being able to deform and reshape his body as he desires would make for a tough but interesting match-up against Gildarts' Crash Magic.
If I had a shot at a rewrite, I would buff him up to being the strongest after Irene and August, and have Gildarts solo fight this one.
Larcade vs. (Sting, Rogue, Yukino)
The original fight in the manga was well-written, with Sting receiving the help of Rogue and Kagura to take down Larcade. I would rather have seen Yukino written into this fight somehow.
Invel vs. (Gray, Lyon, Rufus)
This would require some massive, massive Invel buffs, something that makes Invel seem respectable as Zeref's right-hand man. I can see the three Molding Mages being able to hamper Invel's abilities in a pretty creative way.
Ajeel vs. (Lucy, Juvia, and Lisanna)
Ajeel was on the lower end of the Spriggans, which is why I would put him against the lower tiered mages. Lucy and Lisanna can showcase their CQC skills, with Lucy throwing in Loke into the mix, while Juvia could use her Water Magic to try and contain Ajeel's sand.
Throwaway fights that I honestly don't care for, but could be executed well:
Jacob vs. (Thunder Legion and Elfman)
DiMaria vs. (Wendy, Chelia) - Unchanged
Wahl vs. (Gajeel, Lily)
Heine and Juliet vs. (Meredy, Sorano)
- Brandish's magic renders her pretty difficult to deal with in an actual battle scenario. I'd rather she maintains the role that she fulfilled this arc.
- Couldn't think of any particular way to inject Orga's Lightning God Slayer powers in an actual match-up here.
- As many changes I've made, I've actually enjoyed a few of the Spriggan fights. I liked Natsu/Lucy vs. Jacob, Larcade vs. Sting/Rogue/Kagura, Ajeel vs. Erza/Bisca.