Arknights: In-depth Review - Carnelian

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Carnelian is the future 6Phalanx/Modal Caster featured in the Revolution Symphony banner, which will run alongside the Preluding Lights event. She’s the third Operator of her archetype after welfare Mint and her little sister Beeswax, and introduces the Overcharge system. Is this enough to cement her archetype as a meta staple, or does her more offensively-oriented kit work against her? Let’s find out!


Carnelian is unique in that she’s the first Operator able to Overcharge her skills. By delaying her skill activations until she has double the required amount of SP, Carnelian’s skills will have additional effects which may prove to be quite useful. One of her talents, as we will discuss later, hints that this is the way she was intended to be used. 

As with all Operators of this archetype, Carnelian does not attack until her skills are manually activated, but gains a massive increase in Defense and Resistance while they aren’t. 

In general, Carnelian has a much bigger offensive presence than Beeswax and Mint, though she also has interesting support applications that might be worth looking into. For now, let’s just take a look at how her stats reflect this different niche she has amongst her archetype.

Carnelian's Chibi

Beeswax's big sister is finally here!


General Stats

Most of Carnelian’s stats are equal to or better than others in her archetype. Aside from a major +100 Attack compared to Beeswax, however, she only has smaller increases to her Defense, HP and DP cost.

Compared to Core/ST Casters, as is typical of her archetype, she has noticeably higher HP, Attack and base Defense (her Defense often doubling that of the Core/ST Casters). However, she also has worse Resistance while her skills are active, Attack Interval and DP Cost.


Meal of Life

At Elite 2, this talent massively recovers Carnelian’s HP when her skills are activated, starting from 40%(+5%) of her max HP and going all the way up to 80%(+10%) if the skill is Overcharged.

This talent is a pretty welcome addition to a Phalanx/Modal Caster, as Carnelian will have to put herself in danger by tossing away the buffs provided by her archetypal trait in order to attack. Correctly used, it lets her act as both bait for ranged enemies while her shield is active and still deal good damage or support her teammates when need be. It also meshes pretty well with her first skill, as the Overcharged effect allows her to keep the buffs from her trait while still attacking. This effectively means Carnelian can nearly full-heal every 30 seconds, which is pretty good if you want to use her as bait.  

As the boosts provided by her trait are really significant, however, it’s unlikely that she’ll need such a heal the first time she triggers her skill, as Carnelian will barely take any damage during her downtime and any source of global regen like Angelina or Perfumer is probably enough to keep her topped up. If anything, this recovery is better taken advantage of on subsequent skill triggers, allowing Carnelian to top up after sustaining some damage from her shields being down. This lets Carnelian be very self-sufficient, not requiring the help of any healer as long as she can survive her own skill triggers.

Poised for Action

Starting from Elite 2, Carnelian’s skills recharge 60% faster after reaching the first SP Cost, allowing them to Overcharge much faster than they usually would. Since her  strongest effects are without any doubt locked behind this mechanic, having a talent directly aid in this regard is very welcome. It even stacks with other SP boosters like Ptilopsis or Mostima.


Skill 1: Sandstorm Guardian

Skill 1 Icon

At M3, this skill increases Attack to 160% and Defense to 200% for a total of 20 seconds. This skill acts as a sort of step-up from the other two Phalanx/Modal Caster, foregoing the range expansion of Beeswax and Mint’s first skills for a much higher DPS (both average and burst) and the option to Overcharge it, heavily reducing the average DPS (which is still slightly higher than the other two Casters) while retaining the defensive increases provided by her trait. In regards to the charging time, she takes the same time as Beeswax to charge this skill, 18 seconds, and almost 30 in order to achieve the Overcharge effect.

As for actual usage, however, this skill is probably Carnelian’s worst. The damage is decent, the Defense increase is quite good and the Overcharged effect pairs very well with both this Defense boost of the skill and her first talent, but the ability to have an on-demand full heal as a ranged tank pales in comparison to the support or damage she can bring to the team with her other skills.

Still, that’s not to say she doesn’t have any use. At M3, activating this skill while Overcharged gives Carnelian over 900 Defense, allowing her to easily tank even the most annoying ranged enemies, such as the Imperial Targeteer drones, and retaliate with decent damage while still keeping herself healthy thanks to her first talent. She could even tank Patriot’s spears!

Skill 2: Sand Fetters

Skill 2 Icon

At M3, this skill takes 25 seconds to charge naturally and 40 to Overcharge. When activated, Carnelian’s Attack interval is reduced to 0.9 seconds, allowing her to attack incredibly quickly, and applying a 0.3 second long 80% Movement Speed reduction to all enemies hit by her attacks. The duration of this slow leaves quite a lot to be desired, lasting even less than Chain Casters, but the quick re-application makes it stick on the enemies for a decent overall uptime. The DPS is not amazing due to the lack of any Attack modifiers, but it still manages to be pretty decent for what this skill costs to charge up.

Far more interesting, however, is the Overcharged effect of this skill, which not only grants her a small but noticeable Attack increase of 20%, but also changes the status effect applied by her attacks to a 0.6 second long Bind. Taking into account her massive Attack Interval reduction, this means that enemies in range will only be allowed to move for 0.3 seconds until the Bind is applied once again. This skill gives Carnelian a very interesting support role in any squad that benefits from keeping enemies in place for very long and opens up the possibilities of 25-seconds-long Binds if Carnelian receives a sufficiently strong Attack Speed buff, such as Aak’s third skill

Overall, while probably not her most flashy skill, it’s definitely worth considering, especially if you already have someone else to take care of the Arts necessities of your team.

Skill 3: Mark of Gluttony

Skill 3 Icon

At M3, Carnelian’s third skill takes 28 seconds to charge normally. During the 21 seconds the skill lasts, her Range increases to that of Beeswax or Mint’s S1, and her Attack slowly increases up to 280%. This is a big issue, as it means that for a good part of the duration of this skill she’s underperforming, and only starts dealing decent damage once its windup is done.

Equally concerning is perhaps its Overcharged effect, which places stackable Marks upon enemies on hit that increase the damage they take from Carnelian by 20% for every Mark, up to 5 Marks, doubling the damage. On paper these numbers look incredible: A fully stacked Carnelian S3 with the windup finished and 5 Marks on the enemy has better average DPS than Eyjafjalla herself, but she takes an abysmally long time to get going. Due to her attack speed, it takes Carnelian 10 seconds to put all Marks on her targets, which would already be pretty bad if these marks were not applied individually per enemy hit, meaning that new enemies that enter her range will not have any Overcharge Marks applied on them, and the enemies that do will have to endure the first 5 attacks in order to take Carnelian’s full damage.

In practice, the potential damage of Carnelian’s third skill is very unlikely to reach its peak, resulting in a skill that, while still usable and very decent, cannot compete with traditional Arts powerhouses such as Eyjafjalla.

Carnelian vs. Patriot

Conclusion (tl;dr)

So, should I pull for Carnelian? Is she the one to finally dethrone Eyjafjalla as the Queen of Arts? Are those Binds of hers good enough to warrant dropping your hard-earned Orundums on her banner? Are Phalanx/Modal Casters the new paradigm in Arts damage? The answer is PROBABLY NOT. Her third skill is not good enough at its job for players that already have a well-developed roster, and even her second skill struggles to find its place as the tech option it could be. However, if you are a newer player in dire need of Arts, pulling for her might be a good choice. Otherwise you’re better off saving your Orundums.

Carnelian E2 Art

Best of luck when pulling, Doctor!

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