Welcome to another update. This schedule sure is something, ain't it? It's weird, but this event is a good one and we do finally have IS#3 so let's at least try to enjoy it.
I'd like to take this space to say that I've finally pushed out my first Arknights fanfiction! I love writing so I've wanted to dip my toes into some fiction for a while now. I've actually written quite a bit, but not much I felt was worth sharing, so this is a big step for me. This particular piece is a fast-paced escape featuring two of my favorites, April and Kazemaru.
If you'd like to read my first public fiction, you can find it over here on AO3. Be warned, that although the version linked here is not explicit, it does deal with mature subject matter, and there is an explicit version in my profile.
Thanks Alyeska for letting me shill myself here. Now, onto your regularly scheduled Mastery update.
This article specifically covers the new units from the Il Siracusano event, You can find the full version of the guide here, or on the banner below which covers all of the other noteworthy Masteries in the game
FAQ and Banner Discussion
Q: Should I pull?
A: In terms of meta, absolutely. Texas the Omertosa is one of the best units in the game, period. She is second only to Mlynar, in my opinion. She is the complete package: crazy DPS, access to RES shred, stall utility / survivability, and all of the flexibility that FRDs bring. She's the kind of unit that's so good she can rot your brain if you use her too much.
The only reason not to pull here is if meta doesn't interest you. I hesitate to write anything negative here about the rest of the banner for fear of giving the wrong impression. Even if the other two units were the worst in the game (and they aren't), Texas alone would still make this a must roll banner.
Q: Is Penance good? Does she powercreep Mudrock?
A: It’s easy to view everything through the lens of powercreep these days. After all, in the last few months alone we've gotten better Schwarz, better SilverAsh, and now better (by a lot) Phantom. However, Penance is much more of a sidegrade to the existing Juggernaut, Mudrock.
While Penance is good, Mudrock tends to be the better "general purpose" unit. The thing with Penance is that she is reliant on her Barrier for sustain, and the only way she can gain that is by killing enemies herself (that SHE has to kill, not just help kill) or S3 activations. When placed with the rest of the team, she pretty quickly loses the war of attrition as other DPS units steal her kills or don't allow her to fully charge S3. Mudrock, meanwhile, is much more consistent. She can sustain herself regardless of the surrounding killing power.
To be very clear, Penance's kit is extremely good; however, the fact that she works best alone means that she's more situational than Mudrock is. This is why Penance can do extreme things like solo Patriot or hold the middle lane in max risk CC#12, but won't appear in general teams as often.
Q: Is Vigil really that bad?
A: Yes, he is. He is easily the worst 6★ in the game. There are a lot of reasons why. I could probably write a whole article on the topic. I might even do that, which is why I won't address them point by point here. It would take too long and that isn't the goal of this particular article. The TL;DR of it though is that his wolves suck, his damage is dependent on the wolves (who suck), his skill cycles are awful, and he has no utility to make up for it all.
In the current state of the game, most other "bad" 6★s have at least found a niche that they excel in. Mostima has an excellent Module for stalling. Pallas is a good IS#2 pick. Carnelian still has solid true AoE DPS. And so on. Vigil though... doesn't really do anything well. He has poor DP gen, no utility, and his damage is only "good" in a very narrow band of situations. All that is before getting into things like the Flagpipe-meta or how Vanguards are often unnecessary in the first place.
Of course, he isn't technically "unusable". Almost no unit in the game is truly unusable. If you think he is an appealing character, then by all means. However, he is so far behind every other 6★, most 5★s, and even some 4★s that there just isn't any gameplay reason to spend the resources on his very expensive upgrades.
Q: Should I pull for Texas pots?
A: If you have to ask, no. I noted a similar question in the discussion of Mlynar's banner. Texas' pots are actually more valuable than Mlynar's, by the numbers. I said not to roll for pots there either, but noted he was a good option if you wanted to spend a little bit. However in this scenario, it's just so expensive to pull for Limited potentials. The lower rate-up means the variance in average pulls is quite extreme. Unless you're prepared to open your wallet in a big way, you probably shouldn't pull to excess here. You should also be aware that a bulk of the difference comes at the Redeploy at pot 4 and Talent improvement at pot 5 (i.e. extremely expensive) which is just enough to let her squeeze in an extra attack on both S2 and S3. If you only pull her to pot 3, you won't notice much of a difference.
Texas is so strong that you will be fine with her at pot1. Trust me, she's that good. But I mean... Well, it's cheaper to just make a whale friend and let them pull for the pots.
Q: Does the change to alters have any effect on the Mastery guide?
A: No. It's a very nice change, but the guide typically considers most grades in a vacuum. Guard Ch'en may become more viable with the change, but the grades certainly shouldn't assume everyone has Sniper Ch'en, for example.
The only change is that a few write-ups have been touched up. While there wasn't much influence on the grades, it was mentioned on occasion, and those are no longer necessary.
Q: If I pull enough to spark, who should I take?
A: Texas2 > Skadi2 > Nearl2 >> W >> Rosmontis. I probably wouldn’t take Penance with the spark unless there were no other options since she isn’t limited, but meta-wise she would fall between Nearl and W. Also note that Specter2 is not on the banner or available to spark.
Also, while this is out of scope of the guide, if you don’t have enough to reach 300 or have everyone already, it is better to take Lunacub dupes for gold certs than it is to let them roll over to materials.
Q: Why is IS#3 coming out now?
A: I have no clue. While Yostar constantly makes schedule decisions that seem perplexing, there is usually some logic there (not always good logic, but at least something). With this though, I literally have no idea what they’re thinking. IS#3 could have been run almost any time in the last two months without issue, yet Yostar decided to launch it simultaneously with the most major event in the timeframe. How is this OK, but overlapping CC isn’t?
I’ll stop there. I don’t want to go on a huge rant about it in an unrelated article, but I had to get it out somewhere…
Anyway, for something related to the guide, I’ve included Highmore here in this update. I actually put her update out a month and a half ago, but I’ve included it here again for those that missed it.
Q: Any Module thoughts this patch?
A: Global - Il Siracusano - There's nothing that affects grades here.
- The Pioneer modules that reduce initial DP costs are quite good (Texas1 especially), but that’s only the mod1 effect. The mod2/mod3 upgrades are nothing special, although Flametail's are alright if you regularly use her.
- Schwarz’ second Module is a good DPS boost that raises the ceiling on high DEF she can tackle — her main advantage over Pozy. Both of her Modules are good so which to pursue is mostly a matter of preference, but I personally like her FRD Module more.
- Texas2's Module is really good, but since she's so meta already that doesn't mean anything as far as the Mastery guide goes.
Global - IS#3 - There is a small adjustment for Dusk here.
- Dusk’s second Module is a pretty nice boost if you’re using her. It can really kickstart subsequent cycles of her unique S3, which is traditionally one of her biggest drawbacks. While it doesn’t make her a must promote, her new Module does make her quite a bit easier to use.
- Although not a matter of Masteries, pass on Kal’tsist’s Module. It’s not bad by any means and you may have been planning to get it already, but she just got a second Module with Lone Trail on CN that is much better, if you can stand the wait.
CN - Lone Trail - The Modules here are really good.
- Gnosis' and Kal'tsit's are especially good though they won’t affect their grades. If you have not gotten Kal’s first Module yet, I would suggest waiting for the second instead, if you can wait the six months.
- Pramanix actually got one of the better 5★ Modules. It won’t change her place in the meta but should be very nice in various niche teams or if you like her.
- While mostly derided, I actually kinda like Rosmontis' Module since it's a decent DPS boost, but it wasn't what she needed either so it will only really benefit people already using her. She will continue to languish at the bottom of the guide grade-wise.
Il Siracusano - Through a Path of Briars
Texas the Omertosa
Texas the Omertosa is the highest graded M6 in this guide. That can be a scary thing for many players due to the extremely high cost of 6★ Masteries. After all, most similarly meta units only have one skill that stands out. However, Texas is one of the top units in the game, and she owes part of that to just how flexible she is between her two best skills. She is absolutely worth the M6 investment for everyone who is using her.
S3 is the higher graded skill here and should be your starting point. While it technically does less single-target damage than S2, it’s still an absurd total, and the utility more than makes up the difference. The sword rains hit multiple targets in a relatively wide area and can even hit aerial enemies. Even better, the microstuns provide tremendous control and can often keep her alive long enough to actually reach her damage potential in dangerous situations, something FRDs typically struggle with. Note also that S3 has particularly important Mastery gains due to the extra target at M3.
On the other hand, S2 does an absurd amount of damage along with a ludicrous amount of RES shred. On paper it can seem like the easier skill to use since it’s more straightforward, but the lack of any stun makes her much more vulnerable when compared to S3. Note that the Mastery gains here are primarily centered on the RES shred. That is important, but it can make the gains “seem” poor. Mastery on S2 is less essential than it is on S3, but it should still be a high priority. That’s just how absurd Texas is.
There isn't much need to invest into S1. While certainly not a terrible skill, it just doesn't compare to her other skills. Why would you need Silence when you can just kill pretty much everything flat out?
Penance is a little tricky to evaluate. She is extremely strong and is one of the best solo lane-holders available. However, there's an emphasis there on "solo" which makes her somewhat more situational compared to other lane-holders. Since she has no form of self or external sustain, she needs a fairly steady stream of enemies that she can kill or tank to maintain her barrier. This puts her in that somewhat awkward tier where her potential strength may not completely align with her priority.
Her S3 is by far the standout skill and the only one to strongly consider. It does so much and is really the "glue" that brings everything great about her kit together. It adds a massive chunk of barrier, gives her a massive amount of attack that lets her take on extremely hard targets, and super-charges her reflect thanks to said attack boost and increased Taunt. Mastery makes a big difference here too, improving all aspects of the skill, and reducing her SP cost to a very reasonable 20 SP. Defensive Recovery is no problem here either since she *wants* to be taking hits.
Her other skills aren't bad if you were interested in extra investment into Penance. However, you give up a lot by not using her S3, so most people won't find it worthwhile to pursue their Masteries. If you did, you could go with either skill. Most people favor S1, but be aware that a not insignificant portion of that is because of the attack animation rather than the merits of the skill itself.
Lunacub’s permanent Camouflage can be a decent tool to have access to, but the lack of a damage multiplier on her primary skill is a huge drawback that makes her largely inferior to the other 4 and 5★ Deadeyes. For example, she will only out DPS Firewatch against sub-200 DEF, and only out DPS the much cheaper Ambriel at sub-450 DEF. Considering how both are highly available, and have much more forgiving cycle times, it becomes difficult to recommend any of Lunacub’s Masteries. Still, she is not awful, so if you did want to invest in her, S2 is the clear choice. The Mastery gains on it are sizable and S1 doesn’t work with her Camouflage.
Vigil has the extremely dubious honor of being the only completely ungraded 6★ in this Mastery guide. His summon is weak, his already mediocre DPS is reliant on that weak summon, his DP generation is low, and his main skill has a horrific initial ramp-up. There is no meta justification for spending your resources on Vigil.
Should you opt to pursue him anyway, you could go with either S1 or S3. His S3, is his better DPS skill and will probably be more generally useful. If you only do one (or rather, insist on doing at least one), S3 is the one to go with. In good conditions it can even reach some respectable DPS. However a bad cycle time, low DP generation, a reliance on his weak wolves blocking, and an absolutely horrific initial activation time seriously hinder what would already be a fairly niche skill.
His S1, meanwhile, is better for DP generation owing to a relatively forgiving cycle, and renewing a wolf does work around one of his kits' major flaws. However, his DP generation is still pitiful compared to other commonly available Vanguards, and it’s his lowest DPS skill. It's something you should only pursue if you're insistent on using Vigil over better options.
Pass on his S2. While you might initially think that it would be a nice, consistent AFK DP generation skill, it doesn't actually trigger if the wolves haven't spent the previous activation. This makes its effective DP generation extremely unreliable.
Qanipalaat is a nice little 5★ Caster with an interesting kit that has a good mix of control and damage. Levitate is a strong control status effect, and seven seconds on a 30 SP cost mixed with good damage can be pretty appealing. However, Levitate does have shortcomings, and the duration loss for heavier enemies is significant since his base duration is so long. In addition, 5★ Casters will forever be in an awkward spot thanks to Amiya and solid 4★ options, and Qanipalaat has an expensive 600 red certificate cost on top of the already expensive 5★ promotion costs. While he is decently usable, few will find him worth the price of admission.
Pass on his S1 unless you're a heavy Casterknights player. It has the exact same damage and cycle as Amiya's S1, with only the targeting priority setting it apart. The fact that his S1 has no way to inflict the Levitate means that it has no value that a good Marksman Sniper couldn’t cover better.
The first Crusher (and the second) miss the mark on design pretty hard. While Quartz may appear to be an HP tank, a complete lack of DEF or RES eliminates most scenarios that would actually be useful. She is, instead, incredibly fragile, and doesn’t even have the DPS to make up for it. Even fully maximized, her DPS is very low, although the stun on her S2 at least provides some decent control. Pass on her S1, which has worse DPS and will only outperform S2 against high DEF enemies that Quartz is unlikely to survive against anyway.
The correct priority decision with Crushers is to promote a Centurion instead. You will get much more value out of Estelle than you will out of Quartz.
Outside of IS#3, Highmore is fairly inferior to La Pluma. La Pluma's Talent is just far better in the general game. However, Highmore is still an excellent unit due to a strong archetype, and her IS#3 mode specific Talent elevates her above her competitor there. While mode specific effects are rarely worth pursuing, Highmore is an exception, due not only the scale of IS#3 but also her decent value outside of it.
While La Pluma is a strong M6 candidate, Highmore is not. The debate of burst versus consistency isn’t here, and the defensive nature of her S2 is too situational. There will be rare places it excels in, but in a vast majority of cases you should stick with the consistency that her S1 brings. With S1 and her mode specific buff, she is one of the stronger starter picks due to her good damage, strong self-sustain, and functionality at E1. However, the reduced SP at S1M3 is big, so even if she works well at E1, she is well worth the extra Mastery investment.
The Grading System
Story vs Advanced vs Roguelike
There are very few absolute answers when it comes to prioritizing upgrades. A major determining factor is what exactly your goals are. Now, there are actually many more types of players than these three, but the most obvious delineation as far as which Masteries to think about comes down to the type of content you're most interested in clearing. If you only find value in first time story clears and risk 18 CC, then your goals will be different for someone looking to reach high-risk (25+) in CC.
Story - A story player is a player who is only interest in rewarded content. This means all normal stages and challenge modes (without added personal challenges), risk 8 on CC daily stages, risk 18 on CC permanent stages, and the SSS game mode.
Advanced - An advanced player here is any player interested in non-reward topics such as higher risk CC and more min-maxed gameplay or specialty clears.
A note on the topic of the Advanced grades is that these grades should not be taken as specific advice for a specific CC. There may be an occasional specific note to provide some context or example, but the intention here is to be more general than a particular event and prioritize skills that will be broadly useful in multiple scenarios. A skill appearing once in a high-risk CC is not enough for inclusion here as CCs tend to lend themselves to niche scenarios that can't really be planned for. Further still, Advanced grades encompass all min/maxed gameplay and do not, strictly speaking, have to be about CCs.
Roguelike - These grades are specific to the Integrated Strategies game mode (aka, the Roguelike mode or IS#2 or IS#3). These grades are slightly different compared to the Story vs Advanced delineation since the same sort of pressures apply in the mode regardless of the type of player you are. These grades tend to be more "meta" focused than the others. For IS#3, only up to Ascension 7 (trimmed medal) is considered for grades, however write-ups may include suggestions for higher Ascensions.
S - These Masteries are the cream of the crop. They are Masteries that everyone with the unit should do and give a high priority to. Units with S tier Masteries get an outsized value from them, either because the skill is incredibly powerful or because it changes how the unit is used. For the Roguelike mode, S-tier grades are reserved for the best skills on the most meta of units (whereas meta value is not necessarily a requirement in other mode grades).
A - These Masteries are powerful Skills that most players who have the unit should do. These are among the most powerful Masteries in the game, but less overtly overpowered than the S-tier Masteries.
B - These Masteries are reasonably powerful and worthy of consideration, but have a factor which hold them back. The impact may be relatively small for the cost, the unit may not be especially powerful already, the unit may not fit well into the meta, or there may be a better version available, among other examples.
C - These Masteries are strong enough to be noted, but should only be done by the most end game of players with nothing else to do. There's value in them, but most players will have something better to be doing.
Breakpoint - Not a true grade, but a designator given to an M1 that gives an unusually large benefit. In most cases, these should be prioritized immediately after the E2, thanks to their low cost and high value. Note that there are many M2 and M3 breakpoints but they are not considered breakpoints for this purpose as the cost is much more expensive. Also note that some breakpoints on valueless skills are excluded as well.
NG or None - Not a true grade, but these are sometimes used for Skills which are noteworthy but not worth Mastery. Either the skill or unit is not worth using, or the Mastery has very poor Mastery gains. NG stands for "No Grade".
Please remember all rankings here are considered independent of E2 priority, but do consider overall unit strength. And most importantly, these grades should be treated as guidelines rather than absolute requirements.
Mastery Look Ahead
The Lone Trail units are included below, although hesitantly. I prefer to wait on units for a patch or too before reacting. However, because of how the schedules are offset, it may be a while until the next update and I know many people are interested in the units. Instead, I’ll leave the caveat that the assessments below of the Lone Trail units may change in the future and the likelihood I’m “wrong” here is slightly higher than normal.
|What the Firelight Casts|
|Puzzle||Welfare||A lot of people, myself included, initially scoffed at Puzzle. He clearly isn't as good as Cantabile (who almost everyone has) and has fairly high SP costs for a Vanguard. However, he's proven himself to be a solid option, especially for a Welfare. To be clear, he is nowhere near as valuable as Cantabile. He is more DPS oriented, which is nice, but not really the purpose of the role. However, his DPS and utility are good enough that his S2 warrants moderate consideration. It charges surprisingly quickly and outputs a ton of damage on top of his flexible archetype. His S1 may be worth considering as well, but it only gains damage at M2 and M3 so odds are it will be ungraded aside from the M1 breakpoint.|
|Harmonie||Gacha||Within the realm of 5★ Casters, Harmonie is pretty decent. How many times have I said that before? It's a crowded group. Harmonie is still far from a must-raise, but she stands out as having a well designed kit. It has decent damage, good utility, and it all works well together. Niche players especially will find her quite nice. S2 will be the obvious choice for Masteries and will likely end up with a modest grade. Although she exists in a crowded space, her utility along with solid gains will make it something to consider on the lower end of priority.|
|Reed the Flame Shadow||Gacha||How do you improve the often subpar Caster class? By making them a Medic, of course. Makes total sense. Duh. Reed's alter form is just the most recent big meta unit. There's a lot of those lately and I only have so many adjectives to describe how busted these units tend to be. Reed is a tremendous unit. She features the highest Arts ST DPS in the game, alongside some of the highest HPS and extremely flashy mass crowd-clearing to boot. However there is some reason for caution. Certainly she will be an upper crust unit, but a few small usability quirks may keep her off the very top. Unlike units like Surtr or Ch’alter she has to choose between ST or AoE damage, she needs other units to deal full ST damage, and Arts Weakening isn’t as good as RES shred. She is extremely strong but we’ll need some time to judge just exactly *how* strong. Regardless, Reed will be a top graded M6. Plan for both S2 and S3.|
|Where Vernal Winds Will Never Blow|
|Jie Yun||Welfare||Jie Yun is one of those units that's quite good... for her rarity. While she lacks the utility that elevates the more meta 5★ options, she has solid damage and a surprisingly good cycle time. Beyond that, there isn't much else to say since her kit is pretty straightforward. Most players tight on resources won't want to invest, but she is good enough and has enough appeal outside of the meta that she'll garner a modest grade. Stick with S2 for Mastery. It is the better skill and has *extremely* strong gains. S1 has significantly worse DPS and its only real benefit is being auto recovery.|
|Firewhistle||Gacha||Fire Whistle is a good unit because her archetype is inherently strong. However, she has a slightly different niche than Ashlock. While Ashlock is useless if forced to block, Fire Whistle’s skills work mostly as normal (like Horn’s S2), making her an effective blocker as well as a long range nuker. In my opinion, this isn’t as valuable since effective blocking isn’t why you bring the archetype to begin with and Ashlock does the nuking part better. Still, Fire Whistle is quite good and much more forgiving. Both of her skills are usable and likely to be graded. While S2 has the greater total damage and is better for blocking, it has a notable lack of burst and a high SP cost. S1 meanwhile will be more consistent, reliable, and better against armor.|
|Lin||Gacha||Lin gets a unique achievement in this guide by getting a full overhaul in the look-ahead because of her Module. Previously she was a disappointing side grade to the already mediocre Carnelian, but her Module goes a long way to improving Lin and now she is a pretty good mid-tier consideration. With her Module she can tank most ranged attacks in the game even with skill up, but it also improves her previously bad cycle time. She can now be placed very aggressively while doing good total damage, making her (finally) a good evolution of the Phalanx archetype.|
|Chong Yue||Gacha Limited||Yet another hilariously busted unit. Chong Yue hits hard and fast over a long range. He also gets a lot out of buffs, meaning that he should scale nicely into difficult content. His kit can be deceptive since unlike other dual strike units, his hits count independently. This means he gains SP twice as fast and can even trigger his S3 off of the second attack.
|A Death in Chunfen|
|Wind Chimes||Gacha||When Quartz was released, many were curious as to what the higher rarities of the Crusher archetype would bring. Turns out the first 5★ attempt is... really bad. Her primary gimmick is just too weak and her cycle time is just too long. Even if her S2’s SP cost was halved, she wouldn’t be good – but it isn’t, and she has a perplexing 30 second cycle for a paltry amount of damage. Wind Chimes is a unit to avoid, but if you were intent on raising her anyway I'd actually consider S1 instead despite the fact that it’s a generic Attack Up skill. The power on S2 is just so anemic that only two hits from S1 will out damage it (in less time than the 5 second wind-up), but even then she's quite a bit worse than the commonly available Centurions.|
|Qiu Bai||Gacha||Qiu Bai is a difficult unit to rank, and she has caused quite a bit of discussion. I suppose that means she's actually well balanced compared to the hyper-meta state of many recent units. Qiu Bai has some significant drawbacks such as an RNG factor, a lack of RES shred, and an unusually long downtime. However, her range, control, and strong multi-target DPS still give her a ton of potential. S3 is likely to be her "meta" skill when she appears in high end gameplay due to its extremely high DPS, but S2 will often be the better "every-day" skill due to its much shorter cycle. S1 may be appealing, too, since it is her most consistent control skill, though I am unsure if it will garner a grade. Regardless of how you intend to use her, S3 should be your highest priority target. It has some of the most extreme gains over Mastery of any skill in the game; Mastery will be essential to using it at all.|
|Leaves Chasing Fire|
|Rathalos S Noir Corne||Collab Gacha||Noir Corne is an interesting iteration on the Musha archetype. While the shortcomings are still there, his kit comes together better in total, and he brings enough burst and utility to make him something to consider, though far from mandatory or meta. His Mastery selection will be similar to his counterpart, Akafuyu, but will be graded higher. Both skills are strong, but have differing uses, so you will likely want to pursue both. If you only did one it's really a matter of preference, but I would start with S1. It handles both trash due to its reset and elites thanks to its block, plus the Offensive Recovery plays better to the archetype.|
|Kirin X Yato||Collab Gacha||Yet another super strong Limited Fast-Redeploy. Thanks HG, very cool. Yato isn’t quite as busted as Texas the Omertosa, but that’s hardly an insult. There is certainly room for both. For Masteries, Yato will range anywhere from a simple M3 all the way to M9 depending on your preferences. For many players, just Mastering S2 will suffice. It is the easiest skill to use and does so much damage that it covers the majority of use cases. S3 is also quite powerful, but it requires more planning and map knowledge to effectively use. While a strong skill and Mastery, not everyone will get as much use out of it. Finally, her S1 is a fringe consideration. It has extremely long uptime for an FRD and is buff receptive (think of Exusiai’s S3); however, it is much harder to use effectively and her other skills will be more than enough most of the time.|
|Episode 12 - All Quiet Under the Thunder|
|Morgan||Welfare||Morgan is the best non-Siege member of the Siege gang (maybe better than Siege too, depending who you ask), but that wasn't a terribly high bar. Dreadnoughts without the raw power of the 6★ options have pretty limited value, but Morgan does make fairly good use of the archetype thanks to a very strong attack scale that works well with her large HP pool. While she will need healer support, Morgan’s S1 can pack a big punch on a good cycle which should let her pick up a grade (albeit a low one). Unfortunately, her S2 isn't worth much. The Barrier decays too fast to be useful, especially for how short of wind-up S1 has. S2 ultimately makes her much more fragile on a much longer effective cycle time for similar damage.|
|Humus||Gacha||The bones of the Reaper archetype are good, which natively makes Humus decent. However, since Highmore is freely available to everyone and so valuable in IS#3, it puts Humus in a bad spot regardless of how good he is. His kit does come together pretty nicely, however he has no niche above Highmore or La Pluma, and he will potentially be ungraded due to poor Mastery gains. Both skills will be usable, but S1 does not get the SP reduction that the 5*s do. Start with S2 instead, but even then the gains are well below average in even ideal circumstances.|
|Cement||Gacha||Cement was memed to death even before we knew her kit (and to be fair they are good memes, CONK CREET BAY BEE). Unfortunately though, her kit is pretty poor and she will be ungraded. She can have an insane amount of bulk with S2, but it's very specific to one-target, slow-attacking, and Physical enemies. Since most mechanics don't favor blocking in the first place and she has the Duelist's restrictive one-block, that just isn't valuable, and the bulk rapidly decays with a tough cycle time. If you were to promote her anyway, I would go with S1 for Masteries which at least has some decent damage output in a true AoE. However, the archetype's Trait restriction will make the relatively high SP cost (compared to similar skills) very limiting.|
|Ines||Gacha||Ines is a curious unit to discuss. She is a good unit, but not one that has lived up to impossible expectations which has muddied the discussion around her. Her damage is lower than people were expecting (given that Yato2 and Texas2 both came out recently and do more damage on faster redeploys). The situation is reminiscent of Saileach on her release; a powerful unit but an open question on if she is worth the cost compared to the more common and lower rarity options. Given that she is sandwiched between a collab and the anniversary limited, it should make the pull discussions when she comes to global very… spirited, let’s say. For the record, I am a big fan of her kit, but we’ll need some time to see how her kit fits into whatever new meta arises from the revamped CC and IS#4. Both S2 and S3 will have good grades, but right now I lean towards S2 first. Don’t bother with S1. It should be a nice AFK option, but the gains aren’t worth the investment.|
|Silence the Paradigmatic||Welfare||Silence's alter form may be about as good as Abjurer's can get while still staying true to the archetype. While damage buffers like Gnosis and Suzuran will remain the best support options, Silence should be a reasonable alternative. It can be easy to read over her kit and come away unimpressed, but the total bulk she adds can end up being pretty extreme. Her S3 will be the highest-graded skill and should have one of the more decent support grades in the guide. Being able to turn any DPS unit into Surtr — better, even, since there is no forced retreat — is an incredibly powerful tool. Her S2 will be worth considering as well, though will mainly be for those who want more regular use out of her. It gives good bulk on a flexible range and an easier cycle, but since it lacks anything beyond damage mitigation, it will more likely end up in the pool of other typical healing and healing-adjacent skills.|
|Melanite||Gacha||Melanite is a pretty typical “modern” 5★. That is, decent enough to be usable with some niche value, but also nothing special meta-wise. She is the only non-6★, and only AoE, with dodge ignore (via her Module) which will make her appealing to many niche players. S2 will be her main skill with the high damage multiplier and piercing range both being very appealing for her rarity. However, true to her archetype, that S2 damage falls off quickly with range so she isn't the easiest unit to use. Her S2 will probably edge out a low grade due to that niche value and some very nice gains. Pass on her S1, which is just a poor skill all around.|
|Ho'olheyak||Gacha||While the big tiddy snek mommy has proven to be very popular among the hornier members of the community, she is a pretty poor unit in terms of meta. She is a higher rarity version of Qanipalaat, but while Qani gets some benefit of the doubt by only being a 5★, more is expected of the 6★, and the numbers are just not there with Ho'olheyak. Her control features are really nice, and she combos well with Dorothy, but ultimately her DPS is low and her cycle time is atrocious. S3 will be her main skill and the one to go for Mastery if you only do one since it mixes good control and range. However, the 60 SP cost is killer, so her other skills may be worth a look if you plan to make regular use out of her. S2 is likely the one you should go for as it has much better total DPS, though the double layer of RNG may be unpalatable depending on your tastes. Unfortunately for S1, its SP cost is higher than it should be so it ends up significantly inferior to comparable skills.|
|Muelsyse||Gacha Limited||I love and hate Muelsyse. She's one of the most interesting designed units we've ever had, but in the same vein she is very hard to write about! There's just so much going on in her kit; far more than I can cover in a one paragraph write-up, but I will try. It's easy to forget Muelsyse is a Vanguard since she doesn't seem like one, nor does her kit play like one. This is a good thing, given just how tight the “Vanguard meta” is, and how that affects units like Ines. Instead, Muelsyse is an extremely flexible unit that can cover a lot of ground in terms of damage, bait, and control... all while incidentally producing DP. While Muelsyse is powerful, it's a good question as to what exactly her meta value will be since "indirect" solutions don't tend to fare well; however, it’s likely that she will have high tier grades for Mastery. She will be a well graded M6 with both S2 and S3 worth pursuing. The DP, ATK buff, and cycle are all identical between them, but the clone effects differ and will be useful in different places, and flexibility is her strength. S1 may be worth considering at the very low end for melee clones, but for range clones it is inferior to the other skills.|