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Arknights: Cutter Gameplay Analysis

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Introduction

Hello again, as we wait for the 1.5 anni limited banner, I’ll talk about someone else instead, but not one from the current Maria Nearl event (since I didn't get any of them feelsbadman). And this operator, she is a very very strong 4* unit. As the third Dualstrike guard in the game, Cutter bring some amazing value, for both low-end and high-end accounts. As long as she can charge her skill and stay alive, she can deal with nearly everything.

Overview

As a Dualstrike Guard, Cutter relies on attacking enemies to charge her skills. The usefulness of this archetype also depends on the usefulness of their skills, and their talent is mainly used to help them charge their skill faster, directly or indirectly. What Cutter brings are 2 amazingly strong nuke at a low cooldown, capable of dealing with swarms, decently high armored enemies, drones, and even Titan (she’s missing the 3D maneuver gear though).

Stats

Offensive stats

Dualstrike Guard has rather interesting offensive stats, because it is more than just the number shown. You should know they attack twice per interval, so their base ATK is reduced. It’s lower than any other Guard except for the one known to be lower (Brawler and Support Guard). Their ATK interval is also the second longest at 1.3s per attack, tying with Ranged Guard. But again, the nature of them attacking twice each time means that their “true” attack rate is once per half of that, 0.65 second.

Because of that, they actually have the highest non-skill DPS of any class (technically Click can hit up to 210% of her attack every 1.1s ish, but her base ATK is meh), except that their lower base ATK means that their high DPS is dropping real fast against higher DEF, which is basically why they have that lower ATK to begin with.

Defensive stats

For that offensive-oriented stats, their defensive stats are usually going to be lowered as a result, and Cutter’s HP and DEF is on the lower end of the Guards, especially since she’s only a 4*. At least her DEF is higher than Duelist Guard oh wait that’s not a big achievement. Only Ranged and Arts Guard has RES, so she loses out in that department as well.

Overall not a great surviving stat, but dead enemies can’t deal damage, so let’s hope she kills them fast enough, maybe her skills can help!

Cost

Dualstrike Guard has quite the cost to deploy, and it’s roughly the third highest cost of all Guard archetypes. Mainly for 2 reasons, their base cost is high, and, like the other high cost Guard archetypes, they gain 2 more DP with EACH promotion. Thankfully, she’s a 4* unit so it’s lowered by a bit, but it’s still 17, 19, 21 at E0, E1, and E2 respectively. That is without potential though, so there’s a chance for those numbers to be lowered by another 2.

Range, Trait, Talent

Range

Dualstrike Guard has a pretty typical range, just 1 tile ahead of them. Though, their skill range also matters quite a lot, since they also rely on using their skills.

range
Basic range and also unchangeable with any promotion
Trait

Normal attacks deal damage twice.

Each time Cutter and her archetype perform an attack, they attack twice. It doesn’t mean 50% of the damage each strike, it is 100% of the damage, meaning they’re dealing twice of their ATK value per interval, which was why they have the lower ATK stat to other guards. Furthermore, because it is actually two separated attack, it means enemies’ DEF stat is applied per attack, i.e. DEF value is also “double”. As mentioned before, all of this archetype’s skill is charged by attacking (Offensive Recovery), but it doesn’t mean they can charge 2 SP per attack. They still only gain 1SP per attack interval, and, strictly, only the first attack count to gain this SP. As soon as the first attack of the two lands, they gain 1 SP.

Because of this trait, this archetype was duped “Dualstrike Guard”, because of this dual attack. The fun part is, each of the members of this archetype perform their attack differently. Ch’en, the first one, took quite a bit of time as she swings the first one downward, and then stab a moment later. Bibeak stabs twice consecutively and near immediately. Cutter just swing both sword at once, but of course it still counts as a double attack. You can notice the time delay between hit the most with Ch’en’s attack, but in the overall scheme of things, it won’t matter too much.

trait
Talent

First talent: Photoetched Marks

Normal attack has a 12% chance to restore 1 additional SP.

Upgrade at E2 and the chance increases to 20%.

Potential 5 add another 3% chance to the talent.

I said before in my Bibeak’s guide and it appears that my conjecture is still correct, all Dualstrike Guard has a talent that helps them charges their skill faster: Ch’en with an “Auto Recovery” talent, Bibeak with faster ATK SPD, Cutter with more SP per attack, and Tachanka with a much longer range, allowing him to attack long before the other Dualstrike.

First thing you need to know is that, both hit of her attack has this chance to restore an additional SP, even when only the first hit will restore 1 SP for Offensive Recovery skill. This means that, if you’re really lucky, Cutter can gain 3 SP from 1 attack, 1 SP from just attacking, and 2 SP from her talent proccing on both hits.

talent
both hit can proc the talent

Because it counts both of her attack to trigger her talent, you will always be able to use her skill in less than the SP shown from her Offensive Recovery skill. Okay “always” is a big statement maybe I shouldn’t have said that.

Actually, screw it, if you can show me a clip where she never procs this talent (not E0 of course) after starting from 0 SP and no other SP giver, you’ll win a prize, no, two prizes: my congratulation, and also my pity for having that bad of a luck.

Skills

RIIC Skills

Always available – Training Record: When this operator is assigned to the Workshop to produc Chips, by-product rate is increased by 70%.

Available at E1 – Asceticism: When this operator is assigned to the Workshop to produc Chips, recipe that cost 2 Morales is reduced by 1.

The combination of the 2 skills make it so that when she combines a T2 chip to another, she can do it for half the morale cost and a typical 17% by-product rate that most skill of this type would give. The problem is, how often do you convert chip in the workshop? And when you do, how many do you craft in 1 go? What I’m implying is that, the 2 base skills doesn’t help that much.

First skill: Redshift

Descriptions

Attacks random enemies in range 4 times by throwing knives, each dealing a % of ATK as physical damage.

Stats at level 7

Attack 4 times in range with knives, each dealing 280% Physical damage, 14 SP cost, 5 Initial SP, Offensive Recovery, manual activation.

Masteries

M3 gives each knife dealing 320% Physical damage, 11 SP cost, everything else the same.

Advanced Details

When this skill is cast, the game will perform 4 consecutive and independent checks to see if there are enemies in range. If there are no enemies in range, the skill can still be cast, but will be cancelled and all SP are refunded. Unless the enemies are far enough, the knives usually won’t have enough time to target a dead enemy.

Each knife chooses a target randomly, so there’s a chance that Cutter will attack 4 different enemies in range, performing as a pseudo-AoE skill. Flip the other way around, all 4 knives can attack the same target, making a huge burst of damage. This duality is mainly the reason I prefer this skill over the other one, but I’m not here to show my bias, kinda.

When they say “attack random enemies in range” they meant it. What that means is the knives actually count for her talent earlier! Normally skill when cast has a lingering orange bar that prevent the operator from gaining SP, this goes for both duration skill and instant skill. The same thing goes for this skill as well, when cast, there is a short duration orange bar like any other skills. However, the last knife always hit after that bar is over, and thus is fair game for Cutter to gain SP from her own skill. In fact, if the enemies are far enough, the last two knives can hit after that bar is over, and thus has a chance for gain 2 SP back from 1 cast of the knives.

rng
guess the amount of attempts I did to get the 2nd part of this clip

You may have noticed the same similar thing back in Ceobe’s Fungimist with Bend Spears – Bloodbath, where Cutter will always gain 2 SP back after using this skill.

This may sound like useless trivia, but given that Cutter (and the rest of the Dualstrike Guards) relies on their skill, which are ALL Offensive Recovery, any SP matter in their potential performance. And since the last knife will always hit after the bar regardless of distance, a 20% chance to reduce SP cost by 1 is pretty good in itself.

This skill has the same range as an E1 Ranged Guard. What is up with Dualstrike Guards and their skill having range that is similar to Ranged Guard? Ch’en S2, Bibeak’s both skills, this skill, and even Tachanka S2 (I think?) have this range. Come on Dualstrike Guards, you don’t have to do this, just be yourself!!!

s1 range
The skill will find 4 targets randomly in this range

If an enemy approached her from behind, this skill won’t target them at all, though, if you want something to deal with enemies both in front of her and behind her, you should, spoiler alert, wait for her S2.

s1behind
not a continuation from the clip in Trait section I swear

The knives can target drone as well, so it’s also a small way to deal with drone, but if you want that, you should, again, wait for her S2.

Possible usages

All of Cutter skills are basically just for killing. But the nature of Offensive Recovery means the true test of using the skill is base on timing, position, and map flow. As said earlier, you can use this skill for nuking down 1 really strong guy, or to damage up to 4 enemies with some luck, all depends on the situations. You may kill this enemy now, but then she’ll have to charge from 0 for a new enemy, which thankfully, she has her talent and the low SP cost to offset that, especially after M3.

This is her best skill to deal with armored enemy, since she can deal up to 340% 4 times, and with an ATK of around 600 at E2 40, she can still hurt enemies up to 1500 DEF or around that (300 dmg for 4 hits are decent enough to me). That’s not to say she should be used against them, but if you have her out and they show up, she should work fine. And given the damage potential this skill can deal, she will just murder low DEF target.

The long reach of this skill also has some nice merits. She can preemptively kill or weaken an enemy as they are approaching, though her basic attack range is still unchanged, so she still needs enemies to stay close to charge her skill again.

I said that I prefer this skill over the second one, but her second skill is no slouch either, and is quite a swiss army knife for Cutter.

Second skill: Crimson Crescent

Descriptions

Deals % Physical damage up to a number of surrounding enemies. Double damage against aerial enemies.

Stats at level 7

380% physical damage to 6 nearby enemies and double damage to aerial, 15 SP cost, 2 initial SP, Offensive Recovery, manual activation.

Masteries

M3 gives 450% physical damage, 12 SP cost, 5 initial SP

Advanced Details

Since this skill only deal like 1 hit and done, it doesn’t get the benefit of refund SP like her first skill could, but that won’t change the usefulness of this skill.

That double damage against drones is probably the thing people noticed the most from this skill. Cutter is probably one of the best non-Ranged Guard that can deal with drones. However, her skill charge SP by attacking enemies, so she still needs ground enemies to be able to deal with these drones, which still make it unreliable.

The range is a notable one too.

s2range
The skill will hit up to 6 targets in this range, prioritize the normal way.

The fact that she hits enemies around her is also a bit more important than you’d think. It makes her positioning a little more flexible, or at least, more flexible than her S1 range, because this skill’s range covers all of the other’s range except the further 1 tile. She can cover things behind her, above her, below her, and in front of her all at once. And this skill deal damage up to 6 enemies at once, more ensured that she can deal with those multiple enemies.

This skill has a higher % multiplier than the first one, so given 1 hit to a very high DEF enemies, her 600 base ATK (example in S1) can hurt up to 2000 DEF enemy (700 dmg for 1 hit is decent enough to me in this case). Given that it’s only 1 hit, I do consider it weaker than the first skill which deal 4 hits in this role. But that’s mainly because not that many enemies have that high of a DEF amount, and, I wouldn’t originally want Cutter to deal with high DEF enemies anyway so her S1 is better apt to deal with them while still being able to nuke down 1 lower DEF guy much faster.

Possible usages

Use to delete a swarm of enemy, or if a map has (a decent number of) drones but you’re somehow not deploying AA sniper or Arene.

Also when you want Cutter to hold 2 or more lanes at once, assuming of course you have other people to block those lanes since you only have 1 Cutter, and also assuming of course the lane you’re putting Cutter on is also a lane with high traffic, so that she can charge her skills to do so.

Even without the multi lanes and Cutter is facing literally 1 lane, the lack of the 3rd tile of her S1 isn’t even that bad, and so the real comparison between the 2 skills is basically what do you want Cutter to do.

Skills comparison

I can’t invite Dr. Silvergun for an interview so here goes nothing…

S2 is better at handling a (large) swarm of enemies, even from multiple sides, or to assist in dealing with drone that her S1 can’t reach without being awkward, or just for consistently hitting them since her S1 is random. Generally for when you need multiple roles from 1 operator, but this skill isn’t that reliable at handling drones since as said, it needs ground enemies to charge. It does have a high multiplier to deal with high DEF enemies, but still a lower potential than S1. But it has an easy time finding position since you won’t care about her direction.

S1 is better when you just want Cutter to deal large damage, especially against a single target. Its ability to handle swarm isn’t bad, but it’s a far lower cap than her S2, but at the same time, when one of those beefy bois show up, she still has this skill to handle them. This skill can handle up to 4 enemies randomly, can handle higher DEF enemies, can quickly delete 1 threat, may hit a drone if lucky (but even I wouldn’t rely on that), but requires a more careful positioning since the range is only forward. 

S2 might be better for the all purposes utilities it brought, but in the end, it is case by case, and as long as you use her frequent enough, invest in both is never a bad choice.

Actually, screw it, the best guide is practice, and so as an exercise, you can go to Dr. Silvergun channel, find his videos that have Cutter in it, see what skill he chose and how did he use it. Think for yourself on why and what circumstance that lead to that decision, and theorize for yourself if choosing the other skill would have work, and if not, why didn’t it work. Even if you’re not literally using Cutter yourself when doing that, I reckon it’s better than reading some texts on the difference between the 2 skills. Wait but this is a written texts post...

Closing Thoughts

Truthfully, I only upgraded Cutter during Fungimist. The swiss army kit she has was quite useful there (even if it’s not on Thorns, or even just Bibeak, level), and that was of course without Bend Spears – Bloodbath (with that, her S1 is a spamming machine). Okay let’s get back on track. My prefer skill of the two is S1, but S2 has its own merits as I have explained. Cutter is a 4* so she has an easier time getting upgrade and even masteries too, so that gives her a definite advantage over the other two current Dualstrike. What do you think about Cutter as a whole?

Anyway, thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next time.

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Random pleb Arknights guide writer on reddit

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