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Arknights: Guide To High Impact Elite 2 Promotions

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Ah, Doctor, you think I'm a great Operator?

[LAST UPDATE] 09/11/2020 - Added Bagpipe

TL;DR Note: This guide is NOT A TIER LIST, nor a ranking from top to bottom of order to E2.  It is a categorization and discussion of what Operators gain at E2 that, when considered along with a player's specific roster of Operators and team composition, can be used to help determine a good promotion priority.

A full Tier List based on maximum Operator performance can be found here:

Elite 2 - The Last Beginning

The decision of which Operators to promote to Elite 2 is not one to be made lightly. The final promotion step can be quite expensive, both in materials and LMD. Thus “Who should I E2 first?” and “Who gains the most out of E2 Promotion?” are common questions among players, and ones we hope this guide can help answer.

Before diving into the E2 details, we want to stress again the importance of team-wide balance in strength and covering important roles. A mistake many players make is focusing too much on 1 or 2 Operators for development. A well developed roster of E1 Operators that cover many roles will allow players to be more successful overall than a small roster with few options and 1 or 2 Operators at E2.

Operators also see far more improvement per resource spent at lower levels, so you will see more overall return on investment if you spread them out between your strong Operators.

Enough with the boring lectures we don’t want to hear!  Let’s move on to the shiny E2 information!  Operators of rarity 4★ and above can be promoted to E2 (so ko-ko-da-"NO E2" for those lovable 3 stars).  All Operators that reach Elite 2 gain access to the final 3 Skill Levels through the process of Specialization (Mastery).  Each will also gain extra abilities or improvements to existing ones, depending on their rarity.  Here is what each rarity level gains upon promotion:

  • 6★ Operators gain a 3rd Skill, a 2nd Talent, and an upgrade to their first Talent.  All are useful and worthy of being Promoted to E2.

  • 5★ Operators typically gain a boost to their Talent upon promotion to E2, and as such, the best candidates for E2 are those with the strongest Talents to begin with.

  • 4★ Operators typically gain a boost to their Talent upon promotion to E2, much like 5★s, only the effect is usually less pronounced.  Typically only very stand-out 4★ Operators should be considered for Promotion to Elite 2.

So Who Do I E2 First?

Due to the high costs of E2 promotion, players must choose carefully which Operators to promote, and the order in which to promote them.

The first consideration to be made is one of team balance and composition.  Which Operators you have and which ones you already have developed/promoted will play a role in which order is best to E2 your Operators.  In general, DPS units are good choices for early development, followed closely by tanks and Vanguards.  The upgrades of these types of units will make direct and immediate impact on the board.  After that, healers and then other types of support or niche units can be developed, as their strength relies primarily on the units they are healing or supporting, and niche units have less broad an impact.

The second consideration is what your Operator stands to gain from the Promotion.  Higher rarity Operators get more new toys upon Promotion than lower rarity Operators, but they pay for it with significantly higher development costs.  Also, sometimes quality is more important than quantity when choosing the toys you want to play with.

A third consideration is how quickly the player needs/wants a return on the investment spent.  For some Operators their new toys make an immediate and noticeable difference, while for others it is the further investment in Skill Mastery that makes them shine.  For still other Operators, the E2 benefit is more about the raw stat gain with higher levels rather than their new toys.

With these considerations in mind, we will discuss Operators that are good candidates for E2 Promotion and group them by the following categories:

  • Immediate Impact - With these Operators, you will feel the difference of their E2 gains immediately.  New doors of power will open, the sun will rise in radiance, and you will fall deeper in love.  In seriousness, though, these Operators tend to be the best immediate “Return on Investment” of the Promotion materials.  They are not necessarily always the best ones to promote first, but when you do promote them, it will improve their performance immediately in noticeable ways.

  • Masters of Specialization - These are Operators that see their most noticeable gains from increasing the Mastery (Specialization) of their Skills.  Since this process is quite expensive in itself, further investment is required to bring out the best in these Operators.

  • Beat them with the Stat Stick - These are the Operators you promote primarily for the stats they can gain at the higher levels enabled by E2.  These Operators typically do their job fine at E1.  Promotion makes them better, of course, but is not critical for their performance.

  • Because Niche is Nice - These are Operators whose E2 upgrades are useful in niche situations, provide niche utility, have unique roles, or are commonly used in some specific end-game strategies or situations.  This does NOT mean the Operator themselves is only useful in niche situations.

Immediate Impact

Angelina
  • 3rd Skill - Arcane Staff - Anti-Gravity Mode - The only thing better than a Slow Supporter is a Slow Supporter DPS Caster that wrecks! With her Skill 3 Angelina can slow multiple enemies at once within a large unique range on top of a decent ATK buff that makes her deal amazing DPS despite her Supporter class.  It has a strange side-effect of her not being able to attack when the skill isn’t active, but its decent duration and very low cooldown mean this usually isn’t a problem. She can also enable some Shift Operator shenanigans with the rare weight reduction effect, though its use is more niche.

  • Talent 2 - Part Time Job - Restores HP/s while not using a Skill. The amount of healing this talent provides is a lot better than the HP/s number might indicate - and on maps that forbid deployment of Medics, pairing Angelina with healing tanks like Saria/Nearl is a common solution. Also, since this is a global heal, it is one of the few sources of external healing for Operators that cannot be healed directly (e.g. Vulcan and Hellagur).

  • Talent 1 Upgrade - Accelerator Field - Doubles the effect of a decent ASPD buff to the entire team.

  • Side Notes: Angelina with SK3 is a god-send on Challenge Operations that prohibit Casters.  “I Support, I don’t Cast,” she says to the referee.  Then she opens the can of whup-ass….
SilverAsh
  • 3rd Skill - Truesilver Slash - Erases everything evil, brings you breakfast in bed, cures cancer, does everything but continue the bloodline.  This Skill gets a lot of hype, and for good reason. It’s a melee attack with a large range, a hefty ATK steroid, hits multiple targets, can hit aerial enemies, and has a decent duration.  It has a long cooldown, but can trivialize some difficult content, and is widely usable to improve his role on the team.

  • Talent 2 - Eagle Eyes - Reveals invisible enemies in his range.  A rare niche ability that isn’t often needed, but when it is can make a big impact.

  • Talent 1 Upgrade - Leader - A moderate boost to his ATK buff and redeployment cooldown reduction for all allies.
Arknights SilverAsh Skill 3 GIF
SilverAsh curing cancer with Truesilver Slash
Eyjafjalla
  • 3rd Skill - Volcano - Literally erupts and melts everything close to her.  It has a huge range, hits multiple enemies, boosts her Attack, drastically increases her attack speed, and doubles her adorableness.  It makes her even better at performing the Caster role of melting high Defense units, is a great Boss and Elite Killer, and can sometimes satisfy AoE needs.  The relatively short duration and long cooldown means it has to be managed properly, but it is widely considered to be a very powerful and widely applicable E2 Skill.

  • 2nd Skill - Ignition - For times when her Skill 2 is still preferred, M1 allows her to gain an additional charge, M3 further reduces enemy resistance, and all levels add decent sized gains to the multiplicative attack buff.

  • Talent 2 - Wild Fire - She immediately gains a random number of Skill Points on deployment. More ways to collect salt!  Useful in situations where having her first Skill use faster is nice, but not particularly game-breaking.

  • Talent 1 Upgrade - Pyrobreath - A good increase to an ATK buff for all Casters on the field.
Blaze
  • Stats - Block goes from 2 to 3.  This is by far the biggest single boost Blaze gains from E2, as it is for all AoE Guards.  Because of her trait, what this really means is: enemies sawed goes from 2 to 3 at a time for all normal attacks, effectively increasing her damage by 50%.
  • 3rd Skill - Boiling Burst - Blaze is known for her enormous damage potential, and Skill 3 is what provides the BURST.  She gains ATK and DEF over 10 seconds while doing true AoE attacks, damaging ALL enemies in front of her.  At the end of her chainsaw massacre she explodes, trading 25% of her HP for a huge burst of physical damage to enemies in the surrounding grids (including aerial enemies!).  Although this can be nice for burst damage, her S2 typically allows for better sustained damage, and the extensions of her Range gives her more options for placement.
  • Talent 2 - Harsh Training - A permanent reduction to the duration of certain status effects makes Blaze nigh unstoppable.  Although it is not always going to play a role, do not forget about it nor underestimate the power it can have in the right circumstances.
  • Talent 1 Upgrade - Emergency Defibrillation - Doubles the immunity time triggered by this death-defying Talent.  In the best case it gives your team just enough time to get her out of danger.  In the worst case, at least she gets 2 or 3 more good hits in before she goes down….
Hellagur
  • 3rd Skill - Full Moon - The perfect tool for full-on laying waste to hordes of small-frys.  The Skill strikes a nice balance with a big attack buff, extended frontal range, and 3 target multi-attack capabilities, all with a pretty high up-time considering it’s strength.  It isn’t going to clear the map, but it will lay waste to a horde of foes within his reach, and be ready to use again fairly soon. Since each hit restores his HP, Hellagur can quickly restore his health if multiple enemies are present.  Although this Skill can be quite strong in maps with several multi-target waves, his S2 is still the go-to option when trying to maximize his staying-power.
  • Talent 2 -  Ingenious Strategist - Allows him to regenerate HP when he isn’t blocking, never wasting a moment on the battlefield.  For an Operator that cannot be directly healed, this is a key component of his kit.
  • Talent 1 Upgrade - Waxing Moon - The moon finally reaches full ass-kick, giving him 25 more ASPD when below 30% HP for a total of +100 ASPD.  Healing isn’t necessary when you kill them before they kill you, but don’t forget that the increased ASPD also increases his self-healing speed, since he gains HP on each hit.
Bagpipe
  • Talent 2 - Martial Tradition - When you need to start at Ludicrous Speed, this is the Talent that makes it happen.  It causes all Vanguards to start with extra SP on deployment when she is in the team (deployment not required), which allows them to more quickly achieve first Skill use.  It may not seem like much on paper, but in practice: buckle up.
  • Talent 1 Upgrade - Precise Reloading -  More than doubles the multiplicative ATK modifier she has a chance to gain each attack, bumping it to a 30% increase.
  • 3rd Skill - Locked Breech Burst - This Skill has “Burst” in the name for good reason.  It amps up her ATK and DEF, causes each attack to hit 3 times, and gives her an extra +1 to Block (the better to erase an extra enemy with her Talent).  It does have the drawback of slowing her attack speed, but you’ll hardly care as enemies start disappearing 1 and 2 at a time.  Although this is a powerful Skill, it has a decently long cooldown, so Doctors that prefer to leave her on the field as a frontline Guard will usually be better off using her S2 for more consistent damage.
  • 2nd Skill - High-Impact Assault - Her consistent-damage-machine Skill gains an extra charge at M2 and costs 1 less SP at M3--well worth the upgrade costs if you like to leave Bags on the field to wreak havoc.
Schwarz
  • 3rd Skill - Final Tactics - Scwharz is well known for her boss killing ability, and S3 is her ultimate execution mode. She gains an ATK buff and the activation chance of her crit Talent shoots up to 100%, guaranteeing high burst damage to anything that strays into her narrowed-but-elongated frontal range.   Her Attack Interval slows a bit, and her tunnel-vision range requires proper planning and placement, but these limitations barely slow down her slaughter potential in the hands of a wise doctor.  With good up-time, and relatively low SP Cost, this skill can be used repeatedly to eliminate tough targets.
  • S3M1 - Extends her frontal range by 1 grid, extending her reach of Death.
  • Talent 2 - Crossfire - increases the ATK of all Snipers when at least 1 other Sniper is deployed along with Schwarz.  A great buff for an Anti-Air Sniper when paired with Schwarz (because of her already high Base Attack buffs from Skills, this buff has less impact on Schwarz herself). 
  • Talent 1 Upgrade - Armor Penetration Arrow - Doubles the crit damage and DEF down debuff.  This is a huge and important buff for our ferocious feline, as her crit is the core of her power.  The ATK buff is multiplicative with her Skill ATK buffs, all of her Skills increase the crit chance, and the high ATK this provides, along with the DEF down, is what makes her able to take out high DEF threats.
Nian
  • 3rd Skill - Iron Defense - Release the Nian!  With the activation of her S3, Nian unleashes her monstrous… protecc mode!  All allies in a large area around her gain DEF, the Status Resistance buff, and Block +1.  Nian is the only Operator currently in the game that can increase the Block of other Operators.  This can not only help your blockers stop large enemy rushes in their tracks, but also increase the offense output of abilities that are based on block count (like AoE Guard Trait).  She also gets a decent ATK buff herself, so make sure she gets to unleash some of her beastly aggression on some enemies while it lasts.  
  • Talent 2 - Clairvoyance - Part beastly Tank, part deploy Specialist, Nian’s second Talent allows her to negate the first 3 damage sources after she is deployed.  This can be an incredibly useful tool to mitigate big damage sources, but unfortunately it may often be wasted if you need to deploy Nian in a timely fashion as one of your core blockers.
  • Talent 1 Upgrade - Tectonic Armor - What’s better than a lot of HP?  Even more HP.  Her HP buff for Defenders is increased at E2, making your tanks that much harder to bring down.
Mostima
  • 3rd Skill - Key of Chronology - Do you need all those enemies to just chill out?  To take a breath, tone down the anger and violence, and just be eliminated in a calm, peaceful, and orderly manner?  Mostima makes it happen with her laid back attitude and amazing wide Area of Effect crowd-control.  Her S3 Slows all enemies by at least 45% in an increased Range, while also making them step-off with a light pushback.  To top it off, it hits all enemies in range and buffs an already good ATK stat.  The duration is decent, but the cooldown is quite long, so judicious use will be required, but this is one of the best tools out there to make those enemies chillax and feel the buena onda.

  • S2M2 - Increases the Stun by an extra second, so it’s worth a look if you use this Skill.

  • Talent 2 - Subjective Time Dilation - A passive movement speed Slow of enemies within her attack range by 15%, which is a huge boost to her utility and functioning as a crowd control Operator.  As is obvious, it combines with her S3 to provide a powerful wide range Area of Effect Slow.

  • Talent 1 Upgrade - Skill Aura - Caster - Doubles the SP Recovery rate that she provides to all Caster Operators.  Another great boost to her overall utility, and an important buff for Caster teams and herself as well because of the large SP Costs of her Skills.

Aak
  • 3rd Skill - Durian-Flavored Stimpack - Possibly the only thing that smells worse than having Pot 4 Aak and no Nian is the fruit used to power Aak’s DPS-monster-creating S3.  Any Operator that can survive Aak blasting them in the face 15 times with 500 ATK will gain a powerful surge in ATK and ASPD (The damage is reduced by DEF, making Shining and Nian amazing Durian Resistors).  Aak gains this buff himself as well with no damage necessary (simply the excitement of tormenting others), turning him into a very respectable dps unit along with his passive crowd control chance.
  • Talent 2 - Pharmaceutical Diffusion - Aaks Trait causes him to constantly lose HP while deployed (probably from being bored to death), so the increase in healing received provided by this Talent can help to keep him on his feet.
  • Talent 1 Upgrade - Drug Cocktail Administration - An exceptional Talent that is often underrated by players that haven’t had a chance to use Aak in practice, at E1 and E2 the effects of each possible outcome are increased.
Magallan
  • 3rd Skill - Armed Combat Module - Do you ever fantasize about having 5 mini-Meteorite’s to do your bidding??  For Magallan, her S3 makes your fantasy her reality. Her S3 drones can be set up on Ranged tiles and do AoE Physical damage to enemies that enter their kill-zone (which is a bit shorter than a typical AoE Sniper). To see some impressive death-fireworks, Magallan can activate the Skill to pump up the damage and splash range.  After the carnage, she can re-deploy her Drones on top of the enemy chunks and repeat the show.
  • Talent 2 - Optical Refraction Accessories - Unlike most Talent 2s, this is gained at E1, and improves at E2. It gives her Drones a brief period of “un-targetabliity” after deployment that can give a player the time needed to protect them with a subsequent deployment, or allow enough time to eliminate the threat before they become vulnerable.
  • Talent 1 Upgrade - Support Drone - Soaring Dragon- at E2, the number of Drones Magallan can use increases by 25%, from 4 to 5.  She can still only deploy a maximum of 3, but since Drones cannot be re-deployed if they are a destroyed, this upgrade gives her some wiggle-room, and is a must-have improvement for the big-brain players that want to use Mags to her fullest potential. 
Nightingale
  • 3rd Skill - Sanctuary - Provides a ton of healing output to a very large range and pretty much negates Arts damage by providing a huge boost to Arts Resistance and a sizable Arts Evade.  The bane of enemy Casters, this Skill alone can trivialize difficult Arts Damage based content. It also has a very long 60 second duration and first use is available rather quickly after deployment, making it a great “extended burst healing” Skill.   The downsides are pretty obvious, though: an incredibly long cooldown and no physical damage mitigation. If you want to get physical with your Operators, best to look elsewhere.

  • Talent 2 - Fleeting Phantom - A really interesting strategic option is added to her kit: the ability to place “Phantoms” to aggro enemy damage.  The Phantoms have high resistance, decent physical evade, and are super scary, making them great for use to redirect annoying enemy Caster or Sniper fire and give your healers some breathing room.

  • Talent 1 upgrade - White Fiend’s Protection - A decent boost to her Resistance buff, useful when she is being used for her niche strength.
Shining
  • 3rd Skill - Creed Field - A huge Defense buff to all Allies within her range and an ok output buff.  On top of an impressive 60 second duration (almost as impressive as her summer skin),  this is a really amazing Skill for supporting your blocking Operators against hard- hitting physical attackers.  A crazy-long cooldown, being limited to allies within her range, and not doing anything to mitigate Arts damage limit its overall usefulness to more niche situations.  Also, her buff is additive to the +DEF provided by Defender Skills and Talents and not multiplicative (for those of us allergic to Math: that is a bad thing).  That being said, the majority of enemies deal physical damage, so this is not a Skill that should be ignored.

  • Skill 2 - Auto Protect (M3) - Auto Protect gains a third charge when fully specialized, and the HP Shield % and DEF % modifiers increase to 50% from 35%. It is not as game-changing as specializing DPS units since most maps don’t need so much healing, but it can be a decent endgame min/max for whales.

  • Talent 2 - Code of Law - An ok attack speed buff that improves her throughput and is welcome since Medics have long Attack Intervals.

  • Talent 1 upgrade - Black Fiend’s Protection - An improvement to the flat Defense increase.
Lappland

The Special-Ability-Seal effect of her Talent, Spiritual Destruction, is very useful for shutting down dangerous enemies in difficult content (and preventing Texas from stunning her and running away).  Promotion to E2 increases the silence duration from 1 to 5 Seconds.  Since her Attack Interval is 1.3 seconds, E2 promotion changes her Talent from periodic silence to permanent silence...    I know, right!?!  If you don’t know, just do it, and thank us later.

Ptilopsis

Her Talent, Skill Point Halo, makes Ptilopsis one of the most widely applicable Skill Point Batteries, as it increases the SP regen speed of everyone on the team that has a per-second charge Skill. Her E2 doubles the bonus, doubles the flavor, and doubles the fun.

Specter, Broca, any AoE Guard
  • AoE Guards are the exception to the “What they gain at E2” rules. Upon promotion to E2, on top of their other improvements, they gain the ability to Block an extra enemy (from 2 to 3). Since their trait allows them to hit the number of enemies equal to their Block amount, this represents a potential butt-kicking increase of 50%.  That is a significant increase, and is why AoE Guards (like poor “Tier-Lists-Don’t-Exist-In-AK” Savage) often get overlooked and discarded at lower promotion levels.  

  • Note: Specter in particular sees some niche use in some notable map-clear strategies, for example in the Contingency Contract event.

Masters of Specialization

Exusiai
  • 3rd Skill - Overloading Mode - Say hello to her little friend!  Straight up burst damage with good uptime that gains a multiplicative ATK buff with Mastery.  Eviscerates squishies.  Doesn’t help much against high-DEF enemies, though, which are the ones that can give her trouble.

  • Talent 2 - Angel’s Blessing - Decent ATK and HP buff for her and a random ally on deployment, synergizing well with early deployment after a Vanguard.

  • Talent 1 upgrade - Fast Cartridge - A nice boost to the welcome attack speed buff.

Ch’en
  • Skill 2: Chi Xiao - Unsheath (M3) - At Mastery 3, this skill starts with 20/20 SP, letting Ch’en instantly use it on deployment.  This allows players to use her as a pseudo-Specialist to deploy and burst down enemies with large AoE Physical and Arts damage.  She can then be retreated for additional uses.  Since this hits aerial units as well, it can even catch any leaked drones heading for home!
Arknights Chen Skill 2 GIF
Ch'en the magician: Now you see them... Now you don't!
  • 3rd Skill - Chi Xiao - Shadowless - Ch’en goes into Ninja-Teleport-Slaughter mode and instantly delivers 10 hits to a large range with a huge multiplicative ATK bonus.  If anything survives this onslaught, it gets rewarded for its toughness with a decent length stun. The only real trouble is that she needs to be attacking something to charge her SP, which can be frustrating during lulls in fighting or if you would prefer to have her away from the frontline assault point.  Her other skills offer different utility that will be preferable depending on the situation.
  • Talent 2 - Blade Art - An ok self-stat increase. Nothing game-changing.

  • Talent 1 upgrade - Scolding - A boost to her very useful first Talent.  It doesn’t seem like much at first glance, but it is a 20% increase in effectiveness.
Arknights Chen Skill 3 GIF
Ninja-teleport-slaughter mode
Ifrit
  • Skill 2: Pyroclasm (M3) - When fully specialized, the DEF shred of Pyroclasm increases from -200 to -300. This can be a huge boost to team dps that equates to 100 more damage per hit dealt by every physical damage Operator - Exusiai would deal 500 more damage per attack against debuffed enemies in Overloading Mode, for instance. Pyroclasm’s SP cost also decreases (more fire!) and the damage multiplier increases from 190% to 250%, a welcome boost. 

  • 3rd Skill - Scorched Earth - That’s Hell you’re walking into… Ifrit’s Skill 3 turns the tiles in her range into burning zones of death-over-time, dealing heavy Arts damage per second and applying a flat Resistance debuff (one of the few sources in the game).  The cost is a bit of hellish backlash, as she loses 40% of her health over the 20 second duration.  Also, aerial enemies just laugh at her, as they are not damaged. In many situations these trade-offs will not be worth it, and players will be better served by Skill 2.

  • Talent 2 - Rhine Loop - Faster SP regen is always welcome.

  • Talent 1 Upgrade - Spiritual Dissolution - A nice improvement to a strong Resistance Debuff Talent.  Really great for her own DPS and that of other Arts damage dealers.
Saria
  • 3rd Skill - Calcification - This is a Skill that does a LOT of good things very well.  So many things, in fact, that we need to use more bullets to address them all:

    • It has a huge range. 

    • It does a lot of healing, up to 35% of Saria’s ATK per second.  This is not mentioned in the in-game description, which is a crime against Saria, decency, and all things cute, since many players think the amount of healing listed is what is done over the entire duration.  Medics typically have an attack Interval around 3 seconds. This means Saria can heal almost 3 times for every 1 heal by a typical Medic.

    • Along with her Talent 2 (mentioned below), it can potentially generate a considerable amount of SP charge for your Operators(See Talent 2 discussion below for the “however”).

    • It increases Arts Damage Taken, one of the few sources in the game, which is a multiplicative damage increase.

    • It reduces enemy movement speed significantly.

    • It has a decent duration.

    • It does your laundry and makes you a sandwich.

  • Talent 2 - Refreshment - As mentioned above, it gives an extra Skill Point to any ally she heals.  Paired up with her Skill 2 and 3 healing effects, this can make a huge difference and should not be underestimated.  However, what that tricky Saria fails to tell you in the in-game description is that Operators only gain SP if HP is actually restored (healing an ally at full health gives them nothing).  Thus, this Talent is not quite able to reach the potential that it seems to have at first glance.

  • Skill 2 - Medicine Dispensing - Because of full-HP-Refreshement problem and the relatively long cooldown, players will usually be using Skill 2 instead of Skill 3.  Skill 2 provides regular AoE healing covering a large range. Mastery of this skill reduces its cooldown and increases the multiplicative ATK buff, making her significantly better at handling healing duties.

  • Talent 1 upgrade - Rhine Charged Suit - A boost to a decent self buff.
Ceobe
  • Skill 2: Really Hot Knives (M3) - Almost everything about this Skill improves at M3.  The SP cost goes down, the initial SP goes up, the duration increases, and Ceobe's attack speed becomes even more blazing-fast.  Really Hot Knives is Ceobe's defining Skill, so being able to use it faster, more often, and to greater effect just makes Ceobe even better than she already was.

  • 3rd Skill: Really Heavy Spear - When facing enemies with high RES that can laugh off Really Hot Knives, an E2 Ceobe can turn to Really Heavy Spear, which turns her attacks into physical damage, gives her an Anti-Air Sniper's attack range, and massively buffs her ATK.  Anything that actually survives being impaled by Ceobe's spears will then have its special abilities sealed, giving Ceobe extra utility in the bargain.  It's a nifty Skill with some niche uses, but in most situations Really Hot Knives is a better Skill to use.

  • Talent 2 - Lone Journey - Buffs Ceobe's ATK and ASPD if there are no allies deployed next to her.  Especially on maps with limited ranged grids, the buff can be more trouble to get than it's worth, but it's a nice bonus when you can swing it.

  • Talent 1 Upgrade - Thresher - Thresher is Ceobe's defining Talent in the same way Really Hot Knives is her defining Skill (especially because of how well the two work together!)  At E2, Thresher upgrades to do 15% more of an enemy's DEF stat as damage, which is a massive increase in performance (especially when using the aforementioned Really Hot Knives).

Blue Poison
  • A Sniper that can do Arts Damage is a rare treat!  Promotion to E2 more than doubles the Arts-Damage-Over-Time applied by her Talent, Neurotoxin.

  • Skill 2: Venom Spray (M1) - At Mastery 1, Venom Spray gains an additional hit against Blue Poison’s main target, effectively doubling her single-target DPS. Since Mastery 1 is quite cheap, this can be an attractive option for players who want to use Blue Poison as a bursty Sniper. 

  • Skill 1: Twinshot - Auto (M3) - When fully specialized, Twinshot - Auto’s SP cost decreases to 2, making it proc significantly more often.
Meteorite

Meteorite is a very useful Operator for Annihilation 2 and 3, especially when upgraded to E2 for her increased attack range.

Arknights Meteorite Range E2
  • Furthermore, at promotion to E2, her Talent, Blast Attachment Refit, doubles the chance-on-hit for increased damage.  

  • Skill 1: Buckshot, which is a multiplicative ATK buff, benefits significantly from Mastery levels, as the SP Cost decreases to 3 at full specialization.
Arknights Meteorite S1 GIF
Meteorite's S1-plosion Skill.
Myrtle
  • Skill 1 -  Support β - This is the best DP generation Skill in the game, and is the primary reason Myrtle is so valuable in tough content.  Mastery levels improve its already great efficiency, and enable a faster first-use, which is often the most important.
  • Talent 1 - Glistening - Poor Myrtle has no Talents at E0 or E1, but at E2 this little butterfly comes out of her cocoon.  The Glistening Talent passively heals all deployed Vanguards, offering a valuable source of healing at the start of a map before you have sufficient DP to deploy a dedicated healer.

Beat them with the Stat Stick

Hoshiguma
  • 3rd Skill - Saw of Strength - Along with having a terrifying name, looking like a meat-grinder of death, and inspiring some hilarious Dorito spinning memes, Hoshi’s SK 3 gives her a decent ATK and DEF boost and allows her to hit all enemies within her range with each attack.  Despite how it may look, the skill does not create a constant “grinding” damage effect, but is still based on a single attack per her Attack Interval (only that it hits all enemies in her range). The Skill can provide some nice increased damage in multiple-low-defense-enemies situations, but it doesn’t provide a significant survivability increase over her Skill 1 and doesn’t do much in high enemy-Defense or single target situations. 

  • Talent 2 - Special Operation Strategy - An ok percentage Defense buff to all Defenders. Welcome but not game changing.

  • Talent 1 upgrade - Tactical Armor - A fairly significant increase to her ability to avoid both Physical and Arts damage.  You can’t kill her if you can’t hit her!

Arknights Hoshiguma Skill 3 GIF
The Dorito Meat-Grinder in action!
Siege
  • 3rd Skill - Skull Breaker - Did you ever wish that Siege had skipped the VAN and was just a Guard?  Well, this Skill makes it happen. She gains a large multiplicative Attack boost and a decent duration Stun (useful defensively against hard hitting enemies) in exchange for almost doubling her Attack Interval.   It has good duration and cooldown and can be used quickly after deployment at high levels.  The drawback here is that it has no DP recovery, which is one of the main reasons to use a Vanguard.  You don’t like that Siege wants to switch jobs? Complain to the lion.

  • Talent 2 - Crushing - This is one of the reason to E2 Siege from a Vanguard performance perspective.  It gives her an extra Skill Point when an enemy is killed in an adjacent tile. When combined with Skill 2, it can enable some crazy Skill spam and DP gain shenanigans.

  • Talent 1 upgrade - King of Beasts - Useful for supporting Vanguard Team memes, but outside of that it’s a fine boost for Vanguards but a low overall impact.
Arknights Siege and Zima GIF
Crushing + Zima Buff = DP Explosion memes
Skadi
  • 3rd Skill - Tidal Elegy - Large increase to her stats across the board (ATK, DEF, and HP) and a very long duration make this skill amazing for going toe-to-toe with tough Elite and Boss enemies and coming out the Heavyweight Champion.  However, a very long cooldown, the fact she can only take on one enemy at a time, and the magnitude of the buffs being a bit lower because it increases all stats instead of a single one, makes the Skill a little more niche to maximize its full benefit.

  • Talent 2 - Swift Action - The reduced re-deployment time synergizes well with her Skill 2 for use as a drop-in assassin.  When using Skill 3, it makes retreating and re-deploying a quicker way to get a second Skill use than waiting for the full cooldown.

  • Talent 1 upgrade - Abyssal Predator - Not a buff that will affect many (hardly any) Operators, but when it does it is a decent buff for a Talent.
Warfarin

The other 5★ Medic SP Battery.  Her Talent, Blood Sample Recycle, other than sounding like a great way to get an incurable disease, doubles its SP gain effect upon promotion to E2.

Platinum

A strong Annihilation 2 and 3 choice because of the map requirements and her Skill 2.  All-Out Attack doubles its 40% multiplicative Attack buff upon promotion to E2.  The high multiplier on her Skill 2 and Talent increase the benefit of the extra ATK.

Liskarm

A 5★ Operator that gains an additional Talent at E2, Thunder Resistance makes her one of the few non-Healing Defenders to have innate Arts Resistance, though the main reason to E2 her is the benefit she receives from the higher stats.

Executor

His mission is to destroy everything that dares enter his range, and promotion to E2 significantly helps him with that.  His Talent increases its Defense Penetration, and his already high ATK stat can be raised even higher.  If this cool customer is part of your strategic lineup, he will see excellent benefits from promotion.

Cuora

“The Turtle” Cuora is a 4★ that even whales continue to use at endgame because of how insanely good her Skill 2’s block 4 and Defense potential is.  After promotion to E2, the Defense boost from her Talent, Defense Specialist, increases from 6% to 12%.  Investment in Cuora will be paid back multiple times over.

Perfumer

On top of having a calming, cleansing scent, Perfumer’s Lavender Talent heals all allies on the field every second based on a percentage of her ATK.  This can be extremely useful on maps that apply a Damage-Over-Time effect to all Operators, for giving support to Operators outside of Medic range, or healing Operators that cannot be healed directly(e.g. Vulcan or Hellagur).  With her Skill 2 active, or other ATK boosts, the amount of healing can be quite impressive. Reaching E2 improves the ATK% from 3 to 5%, a nice increase.

Because Niche is Nice

Manticore
  • Her Talent, Hidden Killer, is Manti-core to her mechanics and usability.  Her Skill 2, Toxic Overload, increases her Attack Interval to 5.2 seconds.  At E2, the time it takes for her to return to stealth mode lowers from 6 to 5 seconds.  This means that every attack during Skill 2 gets the damage bonus from her Talent, which is also doubled at E2!  Thus, the improvements at E2 (in attack bonus and reduced re-stealth time) can make a big difference if she is part of your squad.
Pramanix

This fluffster is one of the only 5★ Operators that gains an additional Talent upon reaching E2.  The Bell Tolls Twice allows her hit 2 enemies with each attack, effectively doubling her normal damage when multiple enemies are present.  Her first Talent, Weakening, also has the power of its [Fragile] debuff (a rare Damage Taken Increased multiplier) doubled.

Zima

After promotion to E2, her Talent Spearheader reduces DP cost of all Vanguard Operators by 1.  This can be a difference-maker on maps with difficult start rushes, tight DP constraints, or limited DP-gain.

Texas

In a similar vein to her Vanguard counterpart Zima above, Texas’ E2 promotion enhances her ability to handle fast starting Operations.  Her Talent, Tactical Delivery, starts the team with 2 DP at E2 (up from 1 at E1).  Although this doesn’t seem like much, it can make all the difference when it is needed.  Players will likely be using Zima, Texas, or both, regardless of who else you have, so improving their starting conditions and stats is a solid investment.

Nearl

At E2, her Pegasus’ Halo Talent increases the healing of all allies on the battlefield, which is a great team-wide buff for maps with high team-wide healing requirements.  It is a particularly welcome addition for Challenge Operations that prohibit Medics, as it lends a lot of extra healing power to units like Saria or Sora.

Mayer

Another Operator whose Talent is core to their mechanics. The number of Meebos that her talent Robotter allows to be deployed increases from 4 to 5, a significant increase if you want to use this one-woman-army to her fullest potential.

Firewatch
  • Skill 2: Tactical Transceiver (M1) - At Mastery 1, Tactical Transceiver is upgraded from 2 to 3 bombs, massively improving the potential nuke AoE as well as single-target damage if they all happen to bunch up together. This upgrade is a must for players that enjoy using Firewatch and watching things go boom.

  • The Assassin Talent also gets upgraded, giving Firewatch a further 20% increase in damage against ranged enemies.

Sora

When promoted, the idol dancing machine doubles the amount of SP her Talent, Encore, can potentially restore.  Mastery allows her Skills to Support harder and last longer.

Silence
A popular Medic Operator because of her cute glasses AoE Healing drones that allow her to reach any corner of the map, E2 not only grants her the ability to enhance her stats, but also doubles the ASPD buff she gives to all Medics with her talent, Booster Injection.
Provence

The fluffy-tailed Sniper who preys on damaged enemies, Provence doubles the multiplicative attack buff gained by her Talent Hunter’s Arrow when she reaches E2.

Glaucus

The only Operator outside of the Sniper Class that will prioritize targeting Drones and aerial enemies, Glaucus can be useful in situations that forbid Snipers, or against Drones with high DEF.  Her Talent, Countermeasure Device, increases her damage to Drones, and this effect doubles upon Promotion to E2.  Her S2 can also be a very powerful crowd-control tool, and developing it to M3 increases its duration by 1.5 seconds.

Credits

Special Consult Thanks To: Cleista, Peacecow, Jetroyz, and Botzu.

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About the Author(s)

Arknights: Alyeska#2654

Discord: Alyeska#7717

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