Standard Banner: Thorns & Siege
The new Standard Banner features the following Operators:
|6★|| Thorns - Ranged Guard
Siege - Skill-DP-Recovery Vanguard
|5★|| Tsukinogi - Buffer Supporter
Executor - Boomstick Sniper
Texas - Skill-DP-Recovery Vanguard
- Based on previous patterns, it is likely but not 100% certain that the Operators for purchase in the Distinction store will be Siege and Executor.
- 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?
If you missed Thorns the first time and/or don’t have Bagpipe, then maybe. Otherwise, probably not.
This banner is a hard sell. Siege and Texas are good Vanguards, but they have largely been left behind by the “Bagpipe + flagbearer” meta. Executor is decent but very map-dependent, and Tsukinogi is woefully undertuned. Thorns is enormously powerful, but if you already have other gamebreaking 6-stars, you may not need him. But most importantly, the Forget Me Not banner is likely much more interesting to most Doctors.
If you’re blowing all your resources on Forget Me Not, then at most you may want to do Headhunt x1 on this banner until you pull a 5★ or higher Operator, since one is guaranteed in the first 10 rolls.
+ E1 Talent does Arts damage over time (double the amount to ranged enemies)
+ E2 Talent regenerates Thorns’ HP when he has not attacked for 2 seconds
+ S2 has terrific uptime and great stat boosts
+ S3 increases attack range and greatly increases Thorns’ DPS, leading to very high consistent damage output
+ After using S3 twice, the effects become permanent for the rest of the fight!
= Can’t attack while S2 is active, but counterattacks with multi-target damage instead
- S3 has the [Attacking Enemy] SP charge type, which means it can take a long time to charge if he doesn’t have enemies to attack
+ Great stats all around and has Block-2; she puts the “Guard” in “Vanguard”
+ E1 Talent buffs ATK and DEF of allied Vanguards while deployed
+ Has strong, consistent AoE physical damage from her S2
+ E2 Talent recovers SP when an enemy dies adjacent to her
= S3 inflicts very high single target damage and Stun, but does NOT generate DP
- She’s not Bagpipe, who is the current queen of the DP generation meta
- Her DP cost may not seem high, but it is for a Vanguard; sometimes she can’t be deployed first on maps because of her DP cost
- S2 can hamper her DP generation if there are no enemies to attack; however, if using S1, her DPS and uniqueness suffer dramatically, and with S3, she doesn’t create DP at all!
+ Respectable damage output
+ The bonus initial DP from her E2 Talent is a big help on maps with fast start requirements
= Her S2 can force tough choices when you need DP but there aren’t many enemies around; do you use it anyway and risk not having it later, or hold onto it and hope you can manage without the DP?
- Lower HP and DEF means she dies fairly easily vs stronger enemies
+ Usual archetype strengths: Cheap DP cost, high base RES, Arts-based attacks, and a wide attack range
+ Buffs allies in her attack range with Shelter (take reduced damage) when they are low on HP
+ S2 greatly increases the effects of her Talent and grants HP regeneration to allies within her attack range (helpful for healing Enmity Operators, Summoner minions, etc.)
- Usual archetype weaknesses: Terrible base HP, ATK, and DEF
- Her defensive role doesn’t suit the current, DPS-focused meta, and even if it did, there are other Operators with stronger defensive utility
- The HP requirement on her Talent means that it isn’t very helpful if A) your units are usually at high health or B) enemy DPS is so high that the buff activates too late to help
- Skills have poor uptime
Thorns is one of the strongest sources of consistent Physical damage currently available in Arknights. He hits hard and at range, and his Talent deals extra Arts damage over time. Activate his S3 for the first time in a battle and his ATK, ASPD, and attack range all increase. Activate his S3 a second time, however, and Thorns goes Super Saiyan, doubling the numerical buffs from the first activation… and keeping them permanently for the rest of the fight!
The full power of an unleashed Thorns is mighty to behold, but it’s important to understand that it doesn’t automatically solve all of your problems in Arknights. Consistent DPS is amazing for cutting through 99% of enemies, but the biggest, toughest opponents generally require burst damage to reasonably defeat, and burst damage is not Thorns’ specialty. He’s not a substitute for fellow Ranged Guard SilverAsh—he has his own unique niche in the Arknights meta, and the power of that niche should NOT be underestimated.
I recommend pulling for Thorns.
Siege is an interesting unit who stands on a sliding scale between “Vanguard” and “Guard.” Her S1 is pure Skill-DP-Recovery Vanguard, generating a large batch of DP at a time. Switch to her S2 and she becomes more offense-oriented—each S2 charge triggers an AoE physical attack that also generates DP, but only when enemies come into her range, limiting her DP generation when she’s not in combat. Switch to her S3 and Siege goes pure Guard. She stops generating DP at all, but she can activate her S3 to increase her damage and add a Stun effect to her attacks, turning her into a vicious duelist.
In a vacuum, Siege is a very potent unit. Having a sturdy fighter with AoE physical damage that you can deploy early in a fight can be a great asset. However, Siege’s big problem is the stiff competition she faces from fellow Vanguard Bagpipe. Bagpipe is also a very strong unit to drop in early, and her crazy synergy with the flagbearer Vanguards (Myrtle and Elysium) creates a ridiculous source of fast DP. It’s hard for Siege to compete with this kind of combo.
I don’t recommend pulling for or buying Siege unless you don’t have Bagpipe. However, she can be worth investing in if you need another Vanguard for your team.
Texas is a famously popular Operator, and it’s not hard to see why. Not only does she have a great design, but she has an outstanding S2 that deals Arts damage in an AoE, Stuns all enemies hit, and generates a bunch of DP in the bargain. What more could you ask for?
Texas is an appealing Operator for many, but it’s debatable how necessary she is, especially on a banner where Siege can be bought in the Certificate Store. Texas’ S2 is great, but you often have to choose between spamming it for DP (potentially forgoing its combat benefits) or saving it until an important enemy is actually in its range. Her low HP and DEF are also a liability. Sometimes Texas can’t hold the frontline long enough for other Operators to be deployed, even with the Stun to help her buy time.
I don’t recommend pulling for Texas, but she may be worth investing in if you need a second Vanguard for your team.
Executor dual-wields shotguns to turn his enemies into abstract paintings on the nearest surface. He does AoE damage to all enemies in a small area in front of him and ignores a flat amount of his targets’ DEF with each shot, making him one of the better Snipers for countering high-DEF opponents.
The main issue with Executor is keeping enemies in his small attack range long enough for him to kill them. His ASPD is fairly slow, and his Trait only works on part of his attack range. Positioning is part of the trick, but it’s also important to have Operators that can enable him. A lot of high-DEF enemies also hit very hard, which can make blocking them within Executor’s range more difficult than you might think. Consider using Controller Specialists, Slower Supporters, or similar CC-heavy Operators to help Executor unload a full clip into the appropriate skulls.
I don’t recommend pulling for or buying Executor, but he can be worth raising if you pull him. You won’t need him 95% of the time, but the other 5% he can turn a brutal flood of tough opponents into cannon fodder.
Tsukinogi sounds pretty good on paper. She’s a cheap source of Arts damage, she increases the survivability of her allies, and she’s a wellspring of uncommon utility. She can reveal Stealthed enemies, she has a Physical/ Arts Dodge buff, and she grants HP regeneration rather than direct healing. This distinction allows her to heal Enmity Operators and other allies with the “Cannot be directly healed by allies” Trait, which can be convenient.
Tsukinogi’s various buffs have a small effect individually, so you’d expect them to add up over time. Unfortunately, there’s one big problem with that: Tsukinogi’s buffs have terrible uptime. Her Talent is hard to trigger safely, and her Skills have high SP costs and short durations. Since her buffs have generally weak effects even while active, Tsukinogi is rarely able to save her allies from dying. A purely defensive unit like Tsukinogi has a hard time fitting into the current Arknights meta anyway—the fact that she has so much trouble making an impact even in the best-case scenario makes it even harder.
I don’t recommend pulling for Tsukinogi.