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Arknights: Analysis - Nine-Colored Deer's Base Skills

Introduction

Nine-Colored Deer

Nine-Colored Deer is a new Collab unit given for free to players in the Chinese server as part of a login reward event. Much like her co-archetypal unit, Tsukinogi, her combat skills are questionable at best, but her unique base skill has sparked a lot of discussion.

So what’s so great about Nine-Colored Deer?

Karmic Recycling

Nine-Colored Deer's base skills are pretty nuanced and slightly hard to grasp at first chance, but here's the gist of her Workshop-based ability.

Causality Lvl: 1
(因果)
Room Type:
Workshop
When assigned to the Workshop, a by-product is guaranteed when 40 points of Causality is accumulated. [Obtain 1 Causality per Morale consumed when crafting a material with a Morale cost of 4 or lower and not creating any byproducts].
Karma Lvl: 1
(业报)
Room Type:
Workshop
When assigned to a Workshop, a by-product is guaranteed when 80 points of Karma is accumulated. [Obtain 1 Karma per Morale consumed when crafting a material with a Morale cost of 8 and not creating any byproducts].

These skills do not replace each other, so an Elite 2 Nine-Colored Deer will have both skills at once.

These are the first skills in the game that can guarantee success in byproduct creation, so players have been really excited as it opened up the possibility of getting free Tier 4 materials from crafting Tier 5 ones, but we have to explore how this works a little bit better.

Nine-Colored Deer in the Workshop

Note that Nine-Colored Deer's skills activate IMMEDIATELY upon obtaining the necessary points. For example, if she has 36 Causality, crafting a Tier 4 Material (which costs 4 Morale) will put her at the 40 Causality threshold for her first skill, immediately causing her to successfully craft a byproduct. She will then reset to 0 Causality.

Also note that Nine-Colored Deer has a 10% chance to generate byproducts. If she successfully generates a byproduct, she won’t gain any Causality. Generating a byproduct from this 10% chance also doesn’t consume Causality stacks. If she has 36 Causality, crafts a Tier 4 material, and generates a byproduct from this 10% chance, she will still have 36 Causality.

Using Her Base Skills

Causality - Carbon Upcycling

So, how have players been theorycrafting about how to make the best use out of Nine-Colored Deer's unique Workshop pity system? Think about it for yourself. What is a material you have a lot of, that's inexpensive in terms of LMD to craft and that you won't ever miss if you get rid of it? That's right, it's Carbon!

Carbon materials become useless as soon as players finish building their 252 Bases, but it still piles up passively from daily missions and login rewards. This makes many players end up with a massive surplus of Carbon materials, and the only option to get rid of them is to craft them into Furniture Pieces, which is another very useless material.

However, you can use the morale costs of crafting to give Nine-Colored Deer points of Causality.

  • 3 Carbon Sticks can be crafted into 1 Carbon Brick for 2 morale.
  • 3 Carbon Bricks can be crafted into 1 Carbon Pack for 4 morale.
  • 1 Carbon Pack can be crafted into 12 Furniture Parts for 4 morale and 200 LMD.
    • Despite the LMD cost, this recipe is a net positive. (See Appendix 2.)

To get the most out of Nine-Colored Deer, use these 3 recipes to stack up 36 Causality. Then, craft a Tier 4 material to consume the Causality stacks and guarantee a byproduct.

Acquire Causality by crafting base materials.
Causality - Elite materials

Byproducts of higher tiers are worth disproportionately more sanity compared to their recipes’ morale costs. For example, Tier 3 byproducts are worth around 4.5 times as much as Tier 2 byproducts, but only cost twice as much sanity to craft. Turns out, crafting low-tier materials to build up Causality is a very effective strategy.

Craft from tier 1 to tier 2, and/or from tier 2 to tier 3, until Nine-Colored Deer has 36 Causality. Then, craft from tier 3 to tier 4 to consume the Causality stacks for a guaranteed byproduct. DO NOT acquire Causality stacks by crafting from tier 3 to tier 4.

With this strategy, Nine-Colored Deer outperforms all other Workshop base skills in the game. She is 7-13% better than the previously optimal strategy of using Blemishine for low-tier crafting and Arene for higher tiers (see Appendix 1). Since your stockpile of base materials likely won’t last forever, I suggest prioritizing crafting elite materials to acquire Causality stacks over base materials.

Karma

When promoted to Elite 2, Nine-Colored Deer gains Karma, which works similarly to Causality, but only for recipes that cost 8 morale. It only takes effect when crafting Tier 5 elite materials.

After Nine-Colored Deer builds up 72 Karma (9 crafts without byproducts), her next craft will guarantee a byproduct. With a 10% chance to generate byproducts, this will take 10 crafts on average. Since Karma is not consumed if Nine-Colored Deer generates a byproduct from the 10% base chance, it will take 1.11 crafts on average to consume all Karma stacks.

In total, it will take 11.11 crafts on average to build up and consume Karma for a guaranteed byproduct. With a 10% base byproduct chance, this will yield 2.11 byproducts on average, for an overall 19% byproduct rate. This corresponds to a +90% boost to the base byproduct rate.

This has been verified through a simulation by Jiramide#7358.

This means, for crafting Tier 5 materials, Nine-Colored Deer at Elite 2 is better than 80% workshop skills like Blue Poison and Ceylon, but worse than 100% skills like Arene and Nian.

Dormitory Collapse

Nine-Colored Deer needs to be the one failing these byproduct crafts in order to get any Causality or Karma points, which results in her crafting an insane amount of items at a time in order to trigger her talents. Without any "successful" byproduct crafts, this means she'll be taking a 40 Morale hit to create a single byproduct from a Tier 4 craft, which is already enough to send her to the Dormitory and back.

Worse still is her Karma threshold, which, again without any "successes", forces her to consume 80 Morale, which is enough for three whole trips to bed. Long story short, if you plan on taking advantage of Nine-Colored Deer's incredible Workshop effect, be prepared to have her be a permanent resident of your Dormitories.

Conclusion

If you can take advantage of it, Nine-Colored Deer's base skill is simply fantastic, but it is also incredibly time-consuming and will force you to prepare crafts in advance in order to cope with her morale consumption. In addition, while she will eventually pay off her Elite 2 costs by virtue of constantly generating Tier 4 materials out of nowhere, raising an Operator with frankly low combat usability is questionable even for Doctors in the late endgame with fully developed rosters.

Oh, and she's also a Collaboration unit based on an old Chinese movie, so chances are we won't even get her anyways, which is a massive shame.

Nine-Colored Deer Elite 2 art

Appendix 2 - Full calculations

I (PeterYR) created a spreadsheet to calculate the effectiveness of Nine-Colored Deer’s Elite 0 base skill. Click here to view.

In addition to what has already been mentioned, these calculations also show that:

  • Carbon sticks are worth 0.9054 sanity each.
  • Carbon bricks are worth 1.4128 sanity each.
  • Carbon packs are worth 1.7403 sanity each.
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Addicted to spreadsheets

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