Arknights: In-depth Review - Stainless

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Stainless is the future 6Artificer Supporter featured in the Bearing and Sparks banner, which will run around the release of Episode 11. Stainless is the first 6★ of his archetype, which people tend to consider rather mediocre due to the sometimes not very useful implementations on its gimmicks from the lower rarity counterparts. Can Stainless escape this mediocrity with his support abilities? Let’s find out!


Where Roberta was a unique source of defensive shields and Windflit a strange mix of mediocre offensive and SP support, Stainless seeks to provide his teammates with powerful buffs to Attack or SP generation (separately) or even provide some decent damage with very gimmicky abilities to support Operators that benefit from constantly hitting enemies.

As a reminder of what Artificer Supporters do, they are ground-based melee Operators with the ability to summon special Support Devices to the battlefield. These do not consume Deployment Slots, cannot block, attack or be attacked, or generally be interacted with (though Stainless does break many of these rules). These Devices, instead, provide diverse support which can be strengthened even further when the Artificer activates their Skill. Support Devices generally break when these enhanced effects are activated or after a set amount of time has passed, but again, Stainless breaks the mold in this aspect.

In order to better understand how Stainless works, read this article as if his Support Devices worked as Ling’s summons: completely separate entities with Skills and stats that vary depending on which one the “main Operator” has equipped.


General Stats

This section will be kept brief as Stainless’ own stats are pretty insignificant for his overall kit, and the relevant differences of his Support Devices will be explained in their behavior from each Skill.

Stainless has the expected stats differences when compared to the previous two Operators of his archetype, boasting both better HP and Attack than both with an ever so slightly lower Defense than Windflit at equal levels


Battlefield Engineer

Stainless can carry up to three Support Devices at once, and deploy up to two at a time to support his allies. The behavior of the Support Devices varies depending on the Skill equipped.

This is the basic should-have-been-a-trait Talent all Artificer Supporters carry, except for a couple of very important differences. First of all, this Talent does not directly dictate the behavior of the Support Devices, allowing Stainless to provide much more versatile support from one stage to another depending on what the player needs at the moment.

Second but perhaps most importantly, unlike Roberta’s and Windflit’s Support Devices, Stainless’ do not decay after a set amount of time, allowing them to stay for much longer on the battlefield - at least until he starts activating his Skills, which can indeed force the Devices to retreat.

Cost-saving Measures

When a Support Device deployed in the 8 tiles surrounding Stainless is destroyed, there’s a 70% (+10% at P5) chance Stainless will obtain one additional Support Device.

This is a decent enough Talent as a safety net for Stainless’ entire kit, but it does have some quirks that make it not as useful as it would seem. Stainless is neither a good support target for the Support Devices nor too good at helping them do their job when they inversely need another Operator to support them instead. As a result, Stainless needs to be placed in very weird positions where he’s close enough to have his Devices in range of this Talent, but also isn’t the one getting buffed by the Devices, and all while taking away ground tiles.

This is a decent Talent on paper so Stainless never finds himself lacking devices, but quite weird to utilize in practice.


Skill 1: Extreme Firepower

Skill 1 Icon

When this Skill is equipped, Support Devices grant a 12% Attack buff to one Operator. When this Skill is activated, Stainless immediately obtains 1 Device, his Attacks deal 200% physical damage and the buff effect of all Devices is increased by 4 times, to 48%. After this Skill ends, all Support Devices are destroyed. This Skill lasts for 20 seconds and has an SP cost of 45, for an uptime of 30%.

This Skill acts as Stainless’ most direct source of Attack buffs, and it’s regrettably not a very strong one. While they have the ability to double dip and a great deal of in-map versatility, a 96% Attack boost with tile requirements and a mediocre uptime is no match when compared to other similar boosts, such as Warfarin’s Unstable Plasma, which boasts almost the exact same buff with better uptime while still providing good off-skill support.

While this Skill is not bad by any means, there are certainly many better options to boost an Operator’s DPS that don’t require the planning that Stainless does.

Skill 2: Efficient Resupply

Skill 2 Icon

When this Skill is equipped, Support Devices grant 1 SP every 3.5 seconds and lose 0.4% of their max HP per second. When this Skill is activated, Stainless’ Attack and Defense are increased by 60% and can attack a number of enemies equal to his block count, and his Devices grant 1 SP every 2 seconds but lose twice as much HP. When this Skill finishes, Stainless obtains 1 Device. This Skill lasts 30 seconds and has an SP cost of 50.

This Skill provides some rather strong and constant SP Support, improving overall SP generation if double-dipped by 100% on-skill, and about 36% overall. The main issue this Skill has is the decay of the Support Devices, which cannot be healed by any means, not even regen. A single full cycle of this Skill is enough to take away 44% of the Device’s HP, necessitating it be helpedwith replacements of newer Devices obtained on Skill end to keep both of the deployed ones staggered and constantly active on the field.

This buff can be very impactful, but also very hands-on, requiring constant Skill activations and replacement of the older Devices, or they will eventually decay fully. The mastery gains are also very poor, so watch out for that.

Skill 3: Iron Crab - Prototype

Skill 3 Icon

When this Skill is equipped, Support Devices can be attacked by allied Operators, but take 100% less damage, and have their own, inherent and separate Skill. When the Support Devices take 5 hits from allies (they cannot be hurt by enemies), they take damage equal to 2.5% of their max HP and deal 300% of Stainless’ Attack as Physical damage to an enemy within their range, plus 150% as Splash damage to all enemies in a 1.1 tile radius around the main target, including aerial enemies. Additionally, Operators deployed behind these Support Devices receive 20% less Physical damage, and Artificer Supporters attacking these Devices will recover their HP by 1% of their Max HP.

Skill 3 Turret's Range

When this Skill is activated, Stainless immediately recovers 1 Support Device and receives a 55% Attack boost and his Attack Speed is increased by 55, to 0.64 seconds per Attack. This Skill has a duration of 30, and an SP cost of 35.

This Skill is entirely geared towards providing Stainless with a reliable and quick-cycling source of AoE physical burst, but his DPS is extremely variable depending on how he’s used. 

Your first instinct may be to have Stainless fuel the Devices’ Skill with his own attacks, providing a quick-ish activation of 3.22 seconds on-skill, but this leaves a lot to be desired as it only provides quick explosions on-skill, and Stainless himself can only hit one Device at a time. A much better idea is to either utilize an Operator with consistent, quick hits to constantly fuel the Devices, with the prime example being La Pluma, who also benefits massively from having enemies to recover HP off of and fueling both Devices to fire once every 5.2 seconds, before she gets any Attack Speed boosts.

Another idea is to use these devices with extremely fast hitting Operators such as Exusiai, who can cycle her Overloading Mode with activations of this Skill for extremely fast explosions. Both of these usages, of course, drain the Devices’ HP rather fast.

Finally, another usage that pays little mind to the Devices’ own damage is utilizing their unique properties as punching bags to benefit Operators who need to attack to trigger effects. Much like for La Pluma, it also works for Musha Guards, and can even help Agent Vanguards generate DP.

Generally, though, this Skill is going to need support from other specific Operators to truly shine, and when it does it might not even be as incredible as one would’ve hoped, as even on-skill Stainless already struggles to reach the Attack stats of Artilleryman Snipers, and the Devices’ bursts scale off this stat.

Conclusion (tl;dr)

So, should I pull for Stainless? Is his gimmicky kit enough to devote a deployment slot for him? Are the Support Devices he provides powerful enough support tools for other Operators? The answer is PROBABLY NOT. Even leaving aside the overall weakness of his banner, Stainless is held back by a fear of overcompensating his gimmicky kit with actually good stats and multipliers, and ends up being rather mediocre on most occasions. He’s a good Attack buffer, but he’s not great, he’s a good SP supporter, but he’s not great, and he’s a good AoE Operator, but he’s not great, at least not by himself.

Stainless' E2 Art

Best of luck when pulling, Doctor!

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