Standard Banner: Saga & Skadi
The new Standard Banner features the following Operators:
|6★|| Saga - Pioneer Vanguard
Skadi - Dreadnought Guard
|5★|| Manticore - Stalker Specialist
Firewatch - Deadeye Sniper
Whisperain - Wide-Range Medic
- Based on previous patterns, it is likely but not 100% certain that the Operators for purchase in the Distinction store will be Skadi and Firewatch
- 6★ Rate-Ups have a 50% chance of appearing when pulling a 6★
- 5★ Rate-Ups have a 50% chance of appearing when pulling a 5★
Should You Pull?
Saga is an excellent Pioneer Vanguard, but the other Operators on this banner are niche at best. Skadi is blown out of the water (pun intended) by better alternatives, and she can’t be used in the same squad as her Inspiring alternate version (pun also intended), Skadi the Corrupting Heart, which limits her even further. Meanwhile, none of the 5★s are particularly impressive. Unless you are absolutely determined to get Saga (who is very good, but not worth spending resources on an otherwise-unimpressive banner), this is one to skip.
As with all banners, a 5★ or higher Operator is guaranteed in the first 10 rolls. Should you pull for that? Again, no. Manticore, Firewatch, and Whisperain can all be fun to use, but their actual contributions to your army are unlikely to repay the investment.
+ Talent 1 puts the "Critically Wounded" status on enemies that Saga would have killed, reducing them to 1 HP and making them impossible to block; the Wounded enemy will move through Saga and can be killed by a nearby ally; when a Wounded enemy is killed, the Operator who dealt the final blow gains SP
+ Talent 2 gives Saga some healing and Physical Dodge the first time she drops below 40% HP
+ S1 is the usual DP generation Skill of all 5★ and above Pioneer Vanguards
+ S2 deals damage to enemies in a cross pattern from Saga’s position and executes Wounded enemies (this is the only way Saga can kill Wounded enemies by herself); the Skill immediately generates DP and can hold multiple charges
+ S3 massively increases Saga’s damage, allows her to perform bonus attacks on low-health targets (making it easy for her to Wound them), and generates DP over the duration
- If Saga is placed too close to an exit, a fast-moving enemy (i.e., Wolves) might be able to get past her and enter your base, even while Critically Wounded
- S3 has low uptime
+ S2 provides a massive ATK buff on deployment, ideal for assassinating nasty enemies
+ S3 gives Skadi massive buffs to HP, ATK, and DEF, making her a god for its duration
+ E2 Talent reduces her redeployment time, helping her helidrop her S2 more frequently
= As a Duelist Guard, she has Block-1 (good for assassinating, bad for swarms)
- Using her means you cannot field Skadi the Corrupting Heart, who is a stronger unit in most circumstances
- She has to be retreated and redeployed to use S2 multiple times, but her DP cost is high and her redeploy time (even with her E2 Talent) is pretty long
- S3 has high Initial SP and a long duration, but also a very long cooldown
+ Very slippery and hard to damage; has Invisibility, lower aggro, and 50% Physical/ Arts Dodge
+ Regular attacks are ground-based AoE, hitting all targets within her attack range
+ Talent gives her a large ATK buff for her first attack when leaving Invisibility, resulting in powerful AoE strikes
+ S2 adds a Stun effect to her attacks and also reduces her ASPD, causing her Talent’s ATK bonus to trigger on every attack
= Block-0 means she cannot take melee damage, but also means she can’t Block enemies
= Generally more effective at the crowd-control role than the DPS role.
- Usual archetype weaknesses: Very slow ASPD, reducing DPS and effectiveness of S2 crowd-control.
+ Usual archetype strengths: Wider attack range than most Sniper archetypes, high base ATK, prioritizes low-DEF enemies
+ Her Talent deals bonus damage to ranged enemies
+ S1: Rare Sniper defensive Skill: Invisible = not targetable and doesn't take damage, perfect for vulnerable deployment to take out ranged threats while protecting her from them. Has great up-time.
+ Massive AoE and ST burst damage potential with her S2
- Usual archetype weaknesses: Slow attack speed hampers her DPS despite her high ATK
- S2 is slow to charge, and getting maximum damage out of it takes skill, luck, planning, and Mastery
- strong for specific uses, but they are not common, and she's not as great for general use
+ Archetype strengths: Larger healing range than other Medic archetypes
+ S1 is an automatic Skill that grants a stronger heal and the Status Resistance buff to an extra target within range (triggering her Talent for extra regeneration)
+ S2 is a permanent buff that increases Whisperain’s healing speed, increases the regeneration from her Talent, and causes every heal she dispenses to grant Status Resistance (so every time she heals, she’ll trigger her Talent)
= Very useful on stages where enemies are causing Cold, Freeze, or Stun because of her Status Resistance buff, but less appealing outside of this niche
= A lot of her healing potential is tied into the “healing over time” from her Talent; without it, her direct healing is not very strong
- Usual archetype weaknesses: Lower base ATK than ST Medics, healing is reduced on far-away targets
- S2 takes a long time to charge
Saga’s weapons are relentless cheerfulness, a huge naginata, and the “Critically Wounded” status ailment, which turns enemies into SP batteries for Saga’s allies. Any enemy that Saga brings to 0 HP staggers on slowly for a few more seconds, their final act giving SP to the Operator who puts them out of their misery. With her S2, Saga can execute her SP batteries—sorry, I mean “her enemies”— by herself; with her S3, Saga amplifies her offensive prowess so she can Wound incoming targets even more effectively.
Vanguards are essential for just about any strategy on just about any map, but sometimes they can feel like deadweight once you’ve gotten all the DP you need to deploy your Operators. This is never a problem for Saga. Not only does she Block-2 and hit hard, but she brings one of the most valuable utility functions to the field: bonus SP for her allies. As long as there’s something for Saga to kill, she’s an outstanding utility character, even once your DP needs have been filled for the map.
I recommend pulling for Saga, but not on this particular banner (unless she is your waifu and you simply must have her right now, come hell or high water).
Skadi was the first 6* Operator released after launch, and the powercreep is catching up to her. Don’t think this makes her useless, however. This fishy assassin has always been good at dueling single targets, and that hasn’t changed. Her S2 combined with her E2 Talent gives her almost a “Fast-Redeploy Specialist” assassin feel, while her S3 increases her HP, ATK, and DEF to godlike levels for a long duration.
The problem is that several Operators who have been released since Skadi can do what she does but better, or with more utility thrown in on the side. In particular, Skadi’s own alternate version—Skadi the Corrupting Heart—limits Skadi as a unit (since you can only field one of the two versions). “Skalter” has phenomenal team buffs, access to True damage, and an S3 that turns everyone around her into a boss-killer. In contrast, vanilla Skadi is good at killing single targets—which is valuable—but doesn’t have much to offer beyond that.
I don’t recommend pulling for Skadi or buying her in the Shop, especially if you have Skalter.
Manticore is a Stalker Specialist, which means she attacks over a wide area, hits everything within her range, and is almost impossible for enemies to attack (only ranged enemies are able to target her at all, and then she has 50% Physical and Arts Dodge). Her Skills allow her to add a Slow or Stun effect to her AoE attacks, and her high base ATK combined with her Talent give her the potential for some surprising burst damage despite her atrociously low ASPD. Stalker Specialists are very strange units, but they can be enormously rewarding for the creative player, and Manticore is a perfect example of the archetype.
I don’t recommend pulling for Manticore, but she can be worth raising if you pull her.
Firewatch is great fun to use because of her S2, which drops multiple warheads onto the field for big explosions and even bigger damage. If luck drops the bombs close enough to each other, the multiple blasts can rack up mindboggling damage on their targets! Even though S2 is her flashiest skill, it isn't necessarily her best. Her S1 is often overshadowed by her tactical air strikes, but it is a rare defensive-oriented Sniper skill that makes her one of the few Operators in the game to be able to become invisible (meaning she can't be targeted by enemies nor take damage from them, even splash damage). This allows her to be deployed in vulnerable places to take down high-threat ranged enemies while protecting her from them.
In specific situations, Firewatch can be a great Operator. For more general use, however, Firewatch isn’t as effective. Her regular attack hits hard, especially on ranged enemies (her Talent increases her damage against ranged enemies), but her ASPD is so slow that it neuters her DPS into the ground.
I don’t recommend pulling for or buying Firewatch.
You know how a tiny stream of water can slowly erode away a boulder? Whisperain’s healing is like that. On its own, it doesn’t look like much: Whisperain has low ATK and her healing is less effective on faraway targets. The magic comes from pairing her Talent with her S2. With both active, Whisperain heals an ally, places the Status Resistance buff on them (so annoyances like Freeze and Stun wear off more quickly), and then passively heals them over time as long as the buff lasts. The combination of wide healing range, increased ASPD, and potent regeneration turns Whisperain into a cascade of constant healing, keeping multiple allies alive and healthy more easily than her stats would suggest.
This may sound like a dream combination for a Medic, but despite her strengths, Whisperain isn’t perfect. She lacks burst healing for dangerous situations and her only team utility is the Status Resistance buff, which is not useful when enemies aren’t inflicting status ailments on your Operators. Whisperain is certainly not well suited to keeping a Defender alive through boss-level DPS. However, she is good for providing solid healing across a wide area, and Status Resistance can be a godsend when you need it (we’ve all faced Infused Glacial Originium Slugs, haven’t we?)
I don’t recommend pulling for Whisperain, but she can be worth raising if you pull her.