Arknights: May: Better than you think!

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A long, long time ago...

In the beginning there was darkness. A dark cloud loomed over the low-rarity Rapid-Fire/Marksman Sniper landscape, then composed only by Jessica and Meteor. New players were told to raise Kroos instead, and wait until they found a higher rarity one.

And then, two months after the game first came out, Vermeil emerged from the dark mist, a much better low-rarity sniper comparatively, but it wasn’t enough. New players were still told to raise two snipers of this archetype, and with no other option many had to resort to pairing Vermeil with Kroos.

Then finally, after two more months of waiting, a righteous gust of wind swept over the landscape, blowing away the dark fog that had rested over it for so long. And from it came a loud voice, sending shivers down the spines of villains far and wide with its powerful shouts…

Freeze… nanoda!

Stop right there, penguin scum!

Unlike all other operators in her archetype (with the exception of Ash, if you want to be petty) May’s specialty is providing support via continuous Slows and Stuns. Her skills have some pretty incredible uptime, and this allows her to decelerate the enemies’ advance, keeping them in her range where she’s free to pummel them.

In particular, her second skill has a notably high uptime of 60%, better than any other Snipers’ non-instant skills of her archetype, including those of higher rarities. With such a high uptime, May can constantly use this skill without the fear of not being able to charge it in time for the next dangerous enemy, turning her into a very decent support that keeps up all through the stage by taking down easy prey from a distance or slowing down dangerous threats to a crawl.

Regardless of this incredible uptime, however, May’s skill comes packed with some impressive abilities for such a low rarity unit. While she does get a noticeable Attack Interval increase of 50% (to 1.39 seconds per attack), her Attack is multiplied by 2.2 and every single one of her attacks starts inflicting a status effect on hit. With every hit May will apply an 80% Movement Speed debuff on the enemy for 1 second, giving her a better Slow uptime than even dedicated Slower Supporters such as Podenco or Suzuran (72% versus 42%, to be exact). In fact, even factoring her skill downtime, she still has a higher average Slow uptime than them, even if just by a little!

This is not all, however. Lucky hits will instead apply a 1.2 second long Stun to the enemy, which paired with May’s still very low Attack Interval lets her control dangerous threats like it’s no one’s business. While this effect only occurs 30% of the time, it gives her skill a very welcome extra bit of goodness that just makes her that much more amazing, and over time the difference is really noticeable.

Movement Slowed projection

How May S2 would affect an enemy with 500 Units of movement per second.

You’ve committed crimes against Terra and her people!

If all this talk about May’s controlling abilities had you worried that she might have had to pay the price in actual damage, you might be in for a surprise! 

While (usually) not as powerful as her more damage-oriented higher rarity counterparts, May still easily beats all the other Snipers of her same rarity with ease, and scaling much better against Defense.

Low Rarity Sniper DPS Comparison

For comparison, against groups of enemies with ~500 Defense Vermeil, the other great low rarity Sniper would need to hit two enemies constantly whenever her skill is up in order to go toe to toe with May in regards to average DPS. This also happens to be close to the Defense boundary where the former can never out-DPS the latter again, though it must be mentioned that under these ideal hitting circumstances Vermeil has an edge at lower defense levels. This is, in part, what makes them work so well as the go-to low rarity Rapid-Fire/Marksman Sniper duo.

May S2 in action

In Conclusion

The aim of this article was to bring forwards the massive usefulness of developing May as your main Rapid-Fire/Marksman Sniper before you get the classic high rarity game changers everyone already knows, but also to propose raising May as a competitor to Platinum, Blue Poison and Greythroat as your go-to sub-sniper for when you eventually grow out of the need of low-rarity operators.

Thanks to her varied kit, May can provide extensive, constant and consistent support to a team even as the Defense values start to increase past her Attack values, which makes her a reliable unit players can bring almost everywhere in spite of her lower damage compared to her higher rarity fellows. She is also a really good option to have in Integrated Strategies, which will be covered more indepth in a future article.

Whether or not this is enough to make her the preferred choice (factoring in her lower raising cost) is, in the end, up to the player, but I hope this has shed some light on an option you wouldn’t have considered otherwise.

May E1 Art

Freeze... nanoda!

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