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Arknights New Player Tier List

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Introduction

TL/DR How To Use

  • Go to each Archetype labeled as "Core" and develop the highest rank that you have.
  • If you can be bothered to read, read the Archetype notes and the "New Player Notes" in the ? pop-up on each Operator.

How to Use

  • This is a tier list for new players of Arknights, to help you decide who to develop (to E1) first and recommendations for your first few E2s.
  • The focus is on helping new players to complete Episode 4 (where the first set of efficient farming stages are) as quickly and resource-efficiently as possible.
  • Here are things we take into consideration:
    • Usefulness or sufficiency in early/ mid game stages (through Ep 4)
    • Development cost efficiency
    • Good RIIC base skills earned at E1 promotion
    • Ease of use/ understanding
    • Late game potential
  • This is NOT an end game, nor max power/potential, nor overall usefulness Tier List.  If you want that, you can find it here:
  • A lower ranking does not necessarily mean an Operator is bad, or worse than another Operator.  It simply means we believe the higher-ranked Operator to be a more useful or efficient Operator to develop early to clear through Ep 4.
  • Archetypes are a way of grouping together/ categorizing Operators with similar attributes.  For more details see:
  • In this list, Archetypes are categorized by the importance of their inclusion in a roster balanced to successfully complete content through Episode 4 (and beyond)
    • Core: Necessary to have in the roster or very highly recommended for almost every map.
    • Situational: Not needed for every (or most) maps, but important to have when needed.
    • Optional: Not necessary to complete early content, but can be a useful option.
  • Each Archetype has notes important for new players to know.
  • Any 2 Operators can be compared. (Comparisons are NOT limited to within-Archetype only).
  • Blue borders indicate Operators that would be strong choices for a player's first few E2s.
  • Click on the "Explanation" on each Operator to see "New Player Notes" and "Eval summaries" for each Operator.
  • Red Stars indicate the Operator is Limited
  • Operators that are given free by the story can be found here or here:

Other Resources Useful To New Players

  • A list of gameplay guides can be found here:
  • A guide explaining Operator Recruitment and a Filter showing recruitment tag results can be found here:

An Operator List that can be filtered and sorted can be found here:

Latest Additions/Changes

11/04/22

Updated for Stultifera Navis

A+

Irene: At E1 she offers a decent mix of consistent damage and crowd-control on demand that could be useful for players with limited rosters, but isn't likely to make a huge impact. She'll make a much larger impact with S3 after E2 promotion, so she can be considered more highly for early promotion.

B+

Specter the Unchained: Her "Undying" S2 can provide some utility for new players, but her 5* version can provide it at a cheaper development cost. better than the other members of her Archetype, and can provide some interesting options at E1 for a limited roster, but overall likely won't make a huge impact nor be a good E2 option until well into the game (since she requires heavy module investment to shine). At a 6 Star development cost, most new players will be better off spending those resources elsewhere.

Lumen: New players might benefit from the placement flexibilty of his large range, and he can function reasonably well as a pure healer. The on-demand status removal could be a useful tool, but most of the time new players are unlikely to find his unique utility particularly impactful. Medics that provide other types of utility or burst are likely to make a larger impact on an early roster (and new players should be prioritizing DPS over healing anyway). Add to this his high 6 star dev costs and he becomes an Operator most players should wait to develop until later in the game or when they are absolutely needed.

D

Windflit: Doesn't dps very well, doesn't support very well, and is a pain-in-the-ass to use even for experienced players. All at an expensive 5 Star development cost. New players should avoid wasting limited rescources here.

Tier List

Filter Tier

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S
S-
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A
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B
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D-
E+
E
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Filter Rarity

Filter Archetype Priority Category

Core
Optional
Situational

Filter by Class or Archetype

ST / Medic
AoE / Multi-target Medic
Wandering Medic
Wide-Range / Therapist
Fortress
Enmity / Juggernaut
Healing / Guardian
Normal / Protector
Arts Protector
Duelist
Anti-Air / Marksman
Boomstick / Spreadshooter
AoE / Artilleryman
Aftershock / Flinger
Heavyweight / Besieger
Close Range / Heavyshooter
Long-Range / Deadeye
Brawler / Fighter
AoE / Centurion
Ranged / Lord
Reaper Guard
Liberator Guard
Arts Fighter
Duelist / Dreadnought
Dualstrike / Swordmaster
Enmity / Musha
Support / Instructor
ST / Core Caster
Burninator / Blast Caster
Drone / Mech-Accord
Chain Caster
Modal / Phalanx Caster
AoE / Splash Caster
Charge / Mystic Caster
Flagbearer / Standard Bearer
Skill-DP / Pioneer
DP-On-Kill / Charger
Summoner / Tactician
Summoner
Aura / Bard
Debuffer / Hexer
Slower / Decel Binder
Buffer / Abjurer
Artificer
Puller / Hookmaster
Fast-Redeploy / Executor
Pusher / Push Stroker
Substitute / Dollkeeper
DP-Drain / Merchant
Ambusher
Trapmaster
Sacrificial Specialist
Advanced Filters

Caster AoE / Splash Caster

Team Category: Situational
Splash Arts damage for high DP costs and short range. They are useful early on, but fall off greatly later in the game.
B+
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B
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B-
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C+
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C
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D
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Caster Burninator / Blast Caster

Team Category: Optional
Straight line Arts destruction.
S
Explanation
C
Explanation

Caster Chain Caster

Team Category: Optional
Casters whose attacks jump between close enemies and slow them.
A-
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B
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D
Explanation

Caster Charge / Mystic Caster

Team Category: Optional
Casters that store up normal attacks when they aren't attacking.
C-
Explanation
D+
Explanation

Caster Drone / Mech-Accord

Team Category: Optional
Casters that have Drones whose damage increases when continuously attacking the same target. From a team building perspective, can be viewed as the same role as an ST Caster
S
Explanation
A+
Explanation
A
Explanation
B+
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Caster Modal / Phalanx Caster

Team Category: Optional
Ranged units that do true AoE Arts damage when a Skill is active. When a skill is not active, they do not attack, but have increased DEF and RES, making them very survivaable for ranged units.Their range and functioning create a higher learning curve for new players than other casters.
A-
Explanation
B-
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C
Explanation

Caster ST / Core Caster

Team Category: Core
You bring these when the game throws heavy defenders at you that laugh at your snipers' attacks. You can get by with just one. Note that for units without high DEF, you'd rather bring a sniper for more damage, so casters that prioritize high DEF enemies (Ceobe when using s2, Steward's talent) are very valuable (as those are the enemies you want to use casters against anyway).
S+
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A+
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A
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B+
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B
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B-
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C
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D
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Defender Arts Protector

Team Category: Optional
High block count Operators that deal Arts damage. They tend to have higher DPS and Arts mitigation than normal defenders at the cost of worse physical/general survivability. New players might find them more useful when they have less melee Arts damage or mitigation options.
A-
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B
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B-
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Defender Duelist

Team Category: Optional
Is it a Guard disguised as a Defender? Or a Defender disguised as a Guard? New players may have a tough time figuring out exactly how to use this Archetype to its fullest. The low block count makes it hard for them to fully block lanes, and their SP regen means they can't charge their skills when not blocking. But their stats are high and skills are strong.
B-
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C
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Defender Enmity / Juggernaut

Team Category: Optional
High stats and block counts, but also have high DP costs and cannot be healed directly.
S
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D
Explanation

Defender Fortress

Team Category: Optional
S+
Explanation
B
Explanation

Defender Healing / Guardian

Team Category: Core
Defenders and medics are often ranked by their relative utility, so a class that brings both block 3 (at E1) and healing in addition to further utility is a strong combination.
S-
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A+
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A
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B+
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D
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Defender Normal / Protector

Team Category: Core
The bread and butter blocking class. These units stop the flow and can take a punch.
A+
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A
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C+
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C
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Guard AoE / Centurion

Team Category: Core
One of the most used guard types as they often double or replace defenders. Strongly recommended to develop 1 or 2. They gain a large power spike at Elite 2 promotion as it increases their block count and thus damage potential.
S+
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A+
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B+
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B
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C
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Guard Arts Fighter

Team Category: Optional
S-
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B
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C+
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C
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C-
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Guard Brawler / Fighter

Team Category: Optional
Low DP costs allow for early deployment, but low ATK and fast ASPD can give some of them problems agains high DEF enemies.
S+
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C
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D
Explanation
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Guard Dualstrike / Swordmaster

Team Category: Optional
An archetype that hits twice per animation but has a lower ATK stat because of it. Their normal attack DPS falls off against higher DEF values. Their skills being able to hit drones can be helpful for new players with limited rosters
A+
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B+
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B
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C
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Guard Duelist / Dreadnought

Team Category: Optional
  • Typically used as heli-drop assassinations or placed in front of a blocker for DPS
  • Their low Block Count (and to a lesser extent their low survivabililty) makes them easy to replace and overall less useful than other Archetypes
A+
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B+
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B
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C-
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Guard Enmity / Musha

Team Category: Optional
Can't be healed directly, so must be deployed wisely, but have built-in self sustain
A
Explanation
A-
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B-
Explanation

Guard Liberator Guard

Team Category: Optional
S-
Explanation

Guard Ranged / Lord

Team Category: Core
  • A very strong archetype because of its abilities to block-2, extended range, and can hit aerials, which gives new players more flexiblity in placements and covering mistakes.
  • Recommended to have at least 1 (and more is ok)
S
Explanation
S-
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A+
Explanation
A
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B
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C
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Guard Reaper Guard

Team Category: Optional
S
Explanation

Guard Support / Instructor

Team Category: Optional
  • Generally weak on their own, their strength is in buffing other Operators, and so they typically require strong teams and large rosters to be used effectively.
  • Unfortunately, current members of this archetype do not have buffs strong enough to warrant their general use. New players should avoid this archetype.
A-
Explanation
D+
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D
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D-
Explanation

Medic AoE / Multi-target Medic

Team Category: Core
Heals 3 targets every normal attack, but typically at lower amounts than single target healers. Very useful early on when you're learning the game. It is more optimal to run without them when possible, especially since there are Operators who can heal the team or themselves and still cover other roles/utility. For this reason, the best Medics are those that can provide more than just healing.
A
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A-
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C+
Explanation

Medic ST / Medic

Team Category: Core
Single target healers. Very useful early on when you're learning the game. It is more optimal to run without them when possible, especially since there are Operators who can heal the team or themselves and still cover other roles/utility. For this reason, the best Medics are those that can provide more than just healing.
S+
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A
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A-
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B+
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B
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C+
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C
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C-
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D
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Medic Wandering Medic

Team Category: Optional
A-
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B+
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B
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Medic Wide-Range / Therapist

Team Category: Optional
Very large healing range, but at the cost of lower healing output, especially the outer fringe tiles that incur the penalty.
B+
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B
Explanation
B-
Explanation
D
Explanation

Sniper Aftershock / Flinger

Team Category: Optional
Can't attack air enemies, but has a wide attack range and splash damage. Good for countering ground clusters.
A+
Explanation

Sniper Anti-Air / Marksman

Team Category: Core
  • Gets extended range at e1, prioritizes aerial enemies. Generally excellent at dealing damage against low DEF, with pretty hard falloffs as DEF rises (except Platinum).
  • Recommend 1 in early stages, and 2 are recommended moving into mid game.
S+
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S
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A+
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A
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A-
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B+
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C+
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C
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D
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E
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Sniper AoE / Artilleryman

Team Category: Situational
Ranged Physical splash damage with a large attack range
S-
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A+
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A-
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B
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D
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Sniper Boomstick / Spreadshooter

Team Category: Optional
Small attack range makes them rely heavily on map design, enemy aggro managment, and potentially healer support to actually be worth using over other Archetypes
S
Explanation
S-
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C-
Explanation
D
Explanation

Sniper Close Range / Heavyshooter

Team Category: Optional
High damage potential at the cost of limited range and higher DP cost
A+
Explanation
C
Explanation
D
Explanation

Sniper Heavyweight / Besieger

Team Category: Optional
They prioritize heavy enemies first and have a long but funky attack range that doesn't allow them to attack enemies close to them
A+
Explanation
B-
Explanation

Sniper Long-Range / Deadeye

Team Category: Optional
Long range, but low DPS despite their high ATK stats because of their slow attack speeds
A
Explanation
B-
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C+
Explanation

Specialist Ambusher

Team Category: Optional
They don't block and have lower targeting priority from enemies, which allows them to be safely deployed in grids that blocking Operators would not survive. Unique range and True AoE attacks offset their very slow attack speed. Can be very useful in some cases, but require some knowledge and planning to use effectively
B
Explanation
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Explanation
D
Explanation

Specialist DP-Drain / Merchant

Team Category: Optional
Very cheap deploy cost for the stats make them strong early map play options, but their continuous DP drain needs to be played around.
B+
Explanation
C-
Explanation
D
Explanation

Specialist Fast-Redeploy / Executor

Team Category: Situational
Typically used to soak big hits, stall, or for their on-deploy abilities
A+
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A
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A-
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B+
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B
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C-
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Specialist Puller / Hookmaster

Team Category: Situational
Not used nearly as often as Pushers, but every player will want to have one with developed Skills.
S
Explanation
B+
Explanation
B
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C
Explanation

Specialist Pusher / Push Stroker

Team Category: Situational
Their main job is to push things into holes when the map allows for it. Every player will need one with developed Skills.
A
Explanation
Explanation
B-
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Specialist Sacrificial Specialist

Team Category: Optional
Self damage can make them awkward to deploy and use easily.
D
Explanation

Specialist Substitute / Dollkeeper

Team Category: Optional
The substitue mechanic may be a bit tricky for new players to get the most out of. Can be fairly permissive for new players, since even if they die, they stay present and will likely substitute back. However, they also lose their blocking when this happens. New players probably won't be utilizing the substitute strengths directly (and it could cause problems until learned), as it is a bit more of an advanced tactic.
B+
Explanation
B
Explanation
Explanation

Specialist Trapmaster

Team Category: Optional
Fun but unnecessary. Requires micromanagement and a lot of DP to use well.
C
Explanation
Explanation

Supporter Artificer

Team Category: Optional
C-
Explanation
D
Explanation

Supporter Aura / Bard

Team Category: Optional
S-
Explanation
C-
Explanation
Explanation

Supporter Buffer / Abjurer

Team Category: Optional
Ranged Arts damage dealers that specialize in buffing their allies.
C
Explanation
D
Explanation
Explanation

Supporter Debuffer / Hexer

Team Category: Optional
Typically unnecessary in the early game, where your Operators and the enemies are weak. Grows in value for lategame as their relative effects increase. Even then, though, adding another DPS unit is often more effective.
A+
Explanation
C
Explanation
C-
Explanation

Supporter Slower / Decel Binder

Team Category: Situational
  • Slower supporters help to give you more time to deal with enemies. They are particularly useful against enemies that cannot or should not be blocked.
  • It is recommended to raise one, but getting a better option doesnt necessarily mean you will gain much by replacing what you have. (until is time to E2 a worthy one)
A+
Explanation
A
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Explanation
B+
Explanation
B
Explanation
C+
Explanation
D
Explanation

Supporter Summoner

Team Category: Optional
An archetype that takes a lot of game knowledge and good timing/ positioning to use well. Not recommended for beginners overall due to their complexity.
S
Explanation
C+
Explanation
C
Explanation
C-
Explanation
D+
Explanation

Vanguard DP-On-Kill / Charger

Team Category: Optional
  • Often used with other Vanguards to provide exta killing power early and adding to the DP generation.
  • Having pretty high damage, they can be used to duel at no cost since thier DP is refunded when they are retreated
  • You shouldnt be relying on the DP from this archetype to deploy your team.
A+
Explanation
A
Explanation
A-
Explanation
C
Explanation
C-
Explanation
D
Explanation

Vanguard Flagbearer / Standard Bearer

Team Category: Core
The best sources of DP. They can't always hold lanes because they stop attacking and blocking when they use their Skills. They are the DP generating meta, so develop and learn one early.
S
Explanation
S-
Explanation
A-
Explanation

Vanguard Skill-DP / Pioneer

Team Category: Core
  • Your bread and butter for dealing with rush-heavy maps. Produces DP so you can put down other Operators faster.
  • It is recommended to have 2 in a squad, as you often need to hold more than one lane.
  • Mostly drops out of the meta at end game where Standard Bearer Vanguards + Bagpipe rule
A+
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A
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A-
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B+
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B
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C
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Vanguard Summoner / Tactician

Team Category: Optional
The deploy on ranged grids and can summon Reinforcements.
A
Explanation
B+
Explanation
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About the Author(s)

Arknights: Alyeska#2654

Discord: Alyeska#7717

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