Standard Banner: Pallas & Shining
The new Standard Banner features the following Operators:
Should You Pull?
The Operators on this banner are all niche choices at best. They can be useful in some rare off-the-wall situations, but none of them are going to pull enough weight to be worth diverting resources away from the Never Vowed banner.
As with all banners, a 5★ or higher Operator is guaranteed in the first 10 rolls. Should you pull for that? Absolutely not. The 5★s are, if possible, even more niche than the 6★s.
+ Usual archetype strengths: Longer attack range than most Guards (1x3), has Block-2, and attacks quickly
+ Does bonus damage to enemies she isn’t personally blocking
+ E1 Talent gives Vigor buff (ATK up when HP is high) to all Minos Operators
+ E2 Talent heals Pallas and the ally in front of her every time Pallas attacks, providing decent sustain
+ S1 scales multiplicatively with her other buffs, and the double hit triggers her healing talent twice, resulting in a competitive DPS + sustain combo
+ S2 has good uptime, extended range, and the potential to “Stun-lock” enemies who have slow ASPD by canceling their attack animations
+ S3 buffs Pallas (ATK up, attacks hit multiple targets) and the ally in front of her (enhanced Vigor buff, DEF up, Block count +1); if there is no ally in front of her, Pallas gains all of the buffs herself
= Compared to previous members of this Archetype, her kit emphasizes her own damage potential over her support capability. This increases her usefulness for players with smaller rosters but limits her appeal at higher levels (“jack of all trades, master of none” syndrome).
- Usual archetype weaknesses: Can’t hit aerial enemies; as a hybrid DPS/ support unit, she is usually less effective than fielding either a dedicated DPS or a dedicated buffer
- Needs a lot of investment to reach her full performance; she can’t heal allies or buff non-Minos Operators until E2
- The 80% Max HP threshold for her Vigor buffs (E1 Talent, S3) can be hard to maintain
- Application of her E1 Talent is limited because there aren’t many Minos Operators in the game yet (and most of them are not very strong at present, either)
- There are issues with each of her Skills:
- S1: Has very consistent damage against low-/ mid- DEF enemies, but “facing low-/ mid-DEF enemies” is not a very threatening combat situation and can be easily handled by many other Operators
- S2: Between the low damage modifier, brief Stun duration, and high-but-not-100% Stun activation chance, S2 is a purely tech-based Skill that is surpassed by existing alternatives (i.e., Mountain, Weedy, Phantom, Eunectes)
- S3 only works on melee allies deployed directly in front of Pallas, and the Vigor buff does not stack with her E1 Talent, yet the damage increase and flexibility is less impressive than other strong buffing options (i.e., Skalter, Aak, Warfarin)
+ Strong healer who mitigates incoming physical damage for her allies
+ Talent 1 increases the DEF of all allies within her range
+ Talent 2 increases her ASPD, allowing her to heal more quickly
+ S2 holds multiple charges; each charge automatically generates a shield on an ally that increases DEF and absorbs a certain amount of damage (physical, Arts, or True damage are all absorbed)
+ S3 increases Shining’s healing power and massively increases the DEF of all allies in her range, making allies almost invincible to all but the hardest-hitting physical enemies
= S3 has a very high SP cost, but also very high Initial SP and a long duration
- Her utility is purely defensive; if you don’t need her protection to survive or can’t survive incoming damage even with her, then Shining may not be as useful as Medics with offensive utility, i.e., Warfarin or Ptilopsis
- The charges of S2 are used automatically, so they can be used up against small fry before the big bosses start swinging
+ Usual archetype strengths: Extremely high HP and ATK, recovers HP when attacking an enemy, ASPD increases as HP falls
+ S1 gives her Block-0, an ATK buff, and the ability to hit twice per attack for the duration
+ Giving herself Block-0 can allow her to avoid tough melee enemies that she doesn’t want to duel
+ At low HP (activating her Trait’s increased ASPD), S1’s double hits can output a lot of damage
+ S2 reduces her current HP (triggering her Talent), buffs her ATK/ DEF, and gives her one Shield charge to negate the next incoming attack
= Has Block-1 (typical of Enmity Guards)
= Generally has more survivability but less DPS than other Enmity Guards
= Skills are quick to charge, but also do not have very long durations
- Usual archetype weaknesses: Can't be healed directly (although regen does work) and has a high DP cost
- Defensive units have a harder time finding a niche in the current Arknights meta
- S1 can do a lot of damage, but because the damage is split over two hits, it’s not very good for killing high-DEF enemies
- Needs help from allies to keep enemies in her attack range during S1’s Block-0
Fast-Redeploy/ Executor Specialist
+ Usual archetype strengths: Good for stalling or assassinating key enemy targets (although she satisfies both roles in unconventional ways)
+ The first Fast-Redeploy Specialist to deal Arts damage with her Skills
= Her Talent makes her very safe from damage when she is first deployed, but also makes it harder to use her as an emergency blocker or bait
= Sleep can be a double-edged sword
= The strange range on S2 can be either very useful or extremely annoying
- Usual archetype weaknesses: Low base stats compared to many other Operators
+ Usual archetype strengths: Deals Arts damage when Skills are active
+ The ultimate anti-Arts Defender (Talent gives RES, Talent generates SP when hit by Arts attacks, and S1 grants a lot of survivability)
+ Good Skill uptime that becomes noticeably better if regularly activating her Talent at E2 (+3 SP for each Arts attack that hits her)
+ S2 turns her attacks into long-distance, splash-damage, Arts-attacking cannon fire, while also providing an ATK and DEF boost
- Not nearly as resistant to Physical damage as she is to Arts damage (S1, in particular, offers no physical damage mitigation whatsoever) although S2’s DEF buff does help with this
- Loses out on her bonus SP gain if she isn’t getting hit with Arts damage
Pallas cultivates an aura of mystery, grace, and dignity, as befits a priestess from the land of Minos. It’s all an act. Pallas is drunk on the heroism of combat (and also on alcohol) and determined to burn the deeds of Rhodes Island into the records of history. Whether she gains personal glory from flagellating enemies with her chain-on-a-stick or grants the glory to others through her HP-dependent Vigor buffs doesn’t matter to her. The only important thing is glorious, glorious battle! And getting drunk afterwards!
While Pallas is probably a fun drinking buddy, she’s less fun to work with on the battlefield. As an Instructor Guard, her forte is buffing her allies, but she’s picky about who she’ll buff and when. Her Vigor Talent only works on Minos Operators, and her HP regen Talent only works on the Operator directly in front of her. Her S3 only works on melee allies, and its Vigor effect doesn’t stack with her Vigor Talent. Plus, Vigor stops working if the affected ally falls below a certain percentage of HP!
Even outside of her buffing abilities, Pallas is a finicky unit. Being an Instructor Guard also means she has increased attack range but can’t attack flying units. She does bonus damage to enemies, but only if she isn’t Blocking them herself. Her S2 gives her a chance to Stun enemies, but even at M3 the chance is not 100%, making it unreliable.
Taking full advantage of Pallas’s strengths requires satisfying a checklist of conditions a mile long, and even when the stars align for all of Pallas’s needs, she is unlikely to perform noticeably better than other units. Her DPS is surpassed by juggernauts like Mlynar and Eyjafjalla, and her buffing potency is surpassed by stronger (and more reliable) options like Aak and Skadi the Corrupted Heart.
I don’t recommend pulling for Pallas.
Shining is the premier defensive Medic, combining her healing powers with an aura of bonus DEF and Skills that dramatically increase the lifespan of your Operators. Her S2 generates barriers that can absorb any kind of damage that comes your way, and her S3 grants a huge DEF buff to all allies in her range. She’s an interesting counterpoint to Nightingale, the RES-focused AoE Medic, and her presence on the field can help your Operators survive opponents that would otherwise spell their doom.
Shining isn’t the most popular of Medics because her utility is purely defensive. Some of the most powerful enemies in Arknights can’t be tanked even with Shining’s help, and if Shining’s defensive powers aren’t being utilized, she’s not much better than other, lower-rarity Medics. Many Doctors prefer the offensive buffs of Warfarin or the added range of Silence and her Medical Drone for this reason. Don’t misunderstand, however: Shining’s damage mitigation can help your Operators punch above their weight class, and she’s an extremely powerful Medic with terrific healing potential.
I don’t recommend pulling for or buying Shining.
Akafuyu is blind as a bat and probably drunk to boot… so clearly she’s perfectly suited for the battlefield, right?! How she even figures out where the enemy is, we’re not too sure, but little things like “logic” and “physics” won’t stop her from slicing and dicing all comers with her defensive Shinkage-ryu fighting style.
The key word there, unfortunately, is “defensive.” Akafuyu’s archetype isn’t really meant to be on the defensive, and it shows. Even with her focus on defense—namely her S2—she isn’t durable enough to stand toe-to-toe with tough targets, especially since her Trait prevents her from being directly healed by allies.
Even worse, her focus on defense means that she doesn’t do enough damage to shine as a DPS unit, either. S1 looks strong on paper, but the damage is split across two hits, so it’s not very good against high-DEF opponents. Furthermore, because she acquires Block-0 while using S1, she needs other Operators to keep targets in her range so she can keep attacking. In the end, Akafuyu is a defensive, team-reliant member of an archetype that is supposed to be offensive and self-sufficient, and it doesn’t work out very well for her.
I don’t recommend pulling for Akafuyu.
Kafka is probably the most unusual Fast-Redeploy Specialist currently in Arknights. Like other Fast-Redeploys, her Skills activate automatically on deployment, and while they’re active she has Block-0 and the Camouflage buff. So unlike most Fast-Redeploys, she can’t be dropped down to do emergency blocking or to intercept a purple Faust shot.
So what does she do? Her S1 puts nearby enemies to Sleep and deals damage to them when they wake up. Meanwhile, her S2 inflicts multiple hits of Arts damage to enemies on the tile two spaces away from her over several seconds.
These Skills allow Kafka to do some bizarre tricks that other Fast-Redeploys usually can’t. She can’t Block, but she can stall multiple enemies at a time by putting them to Sleep. She can’t duel, but she can snipe down a stationary enemy at a distance—and since she can do it from a ground tile, she can get at targets that are sitting well out of the reach of ranged units.
Yet in the end, Kafka’s real charm point is how low maintenance she is. Between Block-0 and Camouflage, she’s usually very safe during her Skills, and she doesn’t need any investment to pull her weight—her Sleep is equally effective whether she’s E0 level 1 or E2 level 80. (Levels just increase the damage dealt when the targets wake up.) Yes, Sleep can be a double-edged sword and there are other units that can deal ranged Arts damage from a ground tile, but few units come out of the gacha as ready to go as Kafka does. It’s a weird niche, but hey—Kafka’s a weird girl.
I don’t recommend pulling for or buying Kafka, but she can be fun to use and occasionally pretty helpful in her own right.
Asbestos is designed to make Arts damage enemies wish they had never been born. Her Talent increases her base RES and grants her SP when she gets hit by Arts damage, and her S1 is an effective Arts damage soak. Her S2 doesn’t have anything to do with resisting Arts, though. It just boils her enemies alive en masse.
When you’re up against a lot of Arts DPS enemies, Asbestos is an absolute ace in the hole. She’s one of the best Defenders to soak Arts damage, and her S2 gives her some noticeable offensive presence as well. However, there are a lot more Physical enemies than Arts ones, and Asbestos loses a lot of her luster when she isn’t benefiting from her RES or getting bonus SP from her Talent.
I don’t recommend pulling for Asbestos, but she may be worth raising if you get her. She’s very situational, but every Doctor should have some kind of answer to Arts enemies.