Is W Good? Is W Worth It?
W is a new Sniper in Arknights Global and the first 6★ AoE Sniper Operator to be released. As a prominent antagonist in the first chapter of Arknights and a character with a complex antihero’s backstory, W might be the most anticipated Operator to date. However, more cautious Doctors are probably wondering, “Does she live up to the hype? Is W worth it?” There’s only one way to find out. Let’s take a look at this unpredictable arsonist together.
What Makes W Limited? How Does Her Banner Work?
W’s limited banner, “Cremation Last Wish,” works a little differently from Nian’s limited banner before her. Like Nian, there are two 6★ Operators on the banner: W, and Specialist Operator Weedy. (Weedy is not a limited Operator; she will be added to the regular Headhunting pool after the “Cremation Last Wish” banner ends.)
When pulling a 6★ from this banner, there is a 70% chance it will be one of the rate-up Operators. Furthermore, this banner had its own pity system, not shared with the last limited banner nor other non-limited banners.
However, unlike Nian, this banner has a unique Spark system to help players pull its limited Operator. In a nutshell, players will earn a special currency every time they pull on this banner, and that currency can be exchanged for any of the Operators on the banner. It takes 300 pulls to buy W with this currency. That’s a lot, but at least there’s a point where your pulls are guaranteed to pay off!
What is W’s Role? What Makes W Special?
W is noteworthy among AoE Snipers for the high damage multipliers on her Skills and the fact that all three of her Skills also cause Stun, giving her some heavy crowd control. Her Talent increases the Physical damage dealt to Stunned enemies within her attack range, and since AoE Snipers have such a long attack range, this is usually easy to trigger.
One of the primary weaknesses of AoE Snipers is their slow attack speed, which reduces their overall DPS. W can work around this weakness to some degree with her S2, which plants landmines that explode when enemies walk over them, functionally giving her extra attacks throughout a battle.
When Should I Use W?
- There are multiple situations where AoE Snipers are useful, and W is a perfect choice in any of them:
- The most obvious is when there are hordes of weak enemies approaching that would otherwise overwhelm your blockers. W’s splash attacks cut through such waves like a hot knife through a pancreas.
- Situations where a wave of enemies deploys early and stands still for a while before advancing. With her high damage multipliers and AoE attacks, W can take a huge chunk out of such waves before they start moving (i.e., AnniH3).
- When ranged grids are arranged far away from the action, you may need an AoE Sniper’s range to make use of the farther grids.
- All three of W’s Skills are powerful and useful, and they all do roughly the same thing: they cause damage and Stun. However, they have slightly different use cases.
- Her S1 (grenade) is the simplest Skill to use. It has the highest damage multiplier, and it can also be used to reset W’s attack interval and get a “free” attack.
- Her S2 (landmines) is “set it and forget it” and can stack up several landmines in preparation for an incoming wave. However, you can’t control the placement of the landmines, which can be annoying, and it has the shortest Stun of W’s Skills.
- Her S3 (timebombs) can be tricky to time, but has a huge payoff when it works. It has the longest Stun of W’s Skills, and the timebombs each deal AoE damage when they explode. If you can keep the afflicted enemies close together, they’ll all take damage from each bomb as it explodes, multiplying the damage inflicted exponentially!
- W has great synergy with other Operators that cause Stun. Due to her slow ASPD, W's auto attacks can’t benefit as much from her Talent’s bonus damage off her own Stuns (for her skills, the the Stun is applied before damage) . However, if somebody else is helping her Stun enemies, and allies are pumping out that dps while the stun is active, then W’s damage contribution becomes even more impressive.
- W is a particularly good (if expensive) upgrade to the 4-star AoE Sniper ShiraYuki. ShiraYuki is often used as a crowd-control unit in Challenges and CC events due to her Slow, but W one-ups her by causing Stun.
How Does W Compare to Other Snipers?
There are multiple AoE Snipers in Arknights, but W is the first one at 6-star rarity. How does she compare to her 5-star competitors, Meteorite and Sesa? Let’s find out together!
W vs Meteorite
- W and Meteorite are on more even footing than you might expect. W has higher Skill multipliers and can Stun, but Meteorite gets a lot of mileage out of her crit chance Talent and can deal damage in a wider splash area than W with her S1. Meteorite can also reduce enemy DEF with her S2, which is rarely used but can be surprisingly potent. Overall, W is more reliable (since Meteorite depends on RNG for her crits) and Stuns are just too good to ignore, so she’s still better than Meteorite. However, if you’re not a W fan, Meteorite is probably a solid substitute in most situations.
W vs Sesa
- W pretty much blows Sesa completely out of the water. She has notably higher ATK, higher damage multipliers, and can Stun rather than just reducing enemy ASPD. Their Talents are roughly equal (W’s has a higher multiplier, Sesa’s is easier to trigger, and both are often useless on bosses, who do too much damage to be blocked and are often immune to Stun). Sesa is not a bad unit, but he really doesn’t have anything to recommend him over his female counterpart.
The Problem with AoE Snipers
Hanging over all of these comparisons is the fact that AoE Snipers as an archetype are not very popular in Arknights. Their high DP cost and slow ASPD make them hard to justify using over other archetypes (particularly Anti-Air Snipers, who have low DP costs and very quick ASPD).
W deals a lot of damage when used correctly, despite her low ASPD. Her S2 lets her “stock up” attacks by planting landmines in advance of her enemies, and her S3 can deal tremendous burst damage when timed well (hint: Slow Supporters help a lot). However, the random nature of her S2 can reduce its efficiency, and her S3 has a pretty long cooldown. W is coming out at a time where consistent DPS is slowly starting to become more important than burst, and consistent DPS isn’t really her strong suit.
There are still some situations where AoE Snipers in general and W in particular can really put in some amazing work. However, these situations are still fairly uncommon at this point in time, especially in high-end Contingency Contract content we’ve had to date. This might change in the future, especially for W, considering her burst potential and Stunning capabilities, but for now she’s more a luxury than a necessity.
In Conclusion (TL;DR)
W is good and worth pulling, but she’s not gamebreaking by any stretch of the imagination. 5-star AoE Sniper Meteorite can usually fill her shoes, and other archetypes are still more generally useful and powerful than AoE Snipers as a whole.
If W is your waifu (that’s what W stands for, right?) there’s nothing wrong with going hog-wild pulling for her. However, if you’re not that invested in her, it’s totally fine to hold onto your resources for an Operator that you need or want more.
If you’re one of the legions of fans planning to pull for W, we at GamePress hope she comes home quickly enough that you don’t have to pity-pull her. Good luck!