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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.
  • Unlike our other Tier List, we try to set the rankings so that 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 ? block on each Operator to see "New Player Notes" and "Eval summaries" for each Operator.
  • 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

10/21/21

For this update we looked at the following Archetypes: ST Medic, Aura Supporter, Enmity Guard, Puller Specialist

S

Kal'tsit: Kal'tsit is a DPS unit disguised as a Medic, so don't let her classification fool you. Her healing output is quite bad, and she prioritizes herself and Mon3tr no matter what, even if another unit is a hair away from death. As a DPS unit, though, she is... well... a mon3tr, as her summon has extremely high stats and high damage potential, especially with S2 or S3.

New players will have to learn how to use, position, and summon correctly, and plan for the 30 DP it takes to summon both her and Mon3tr. In return, they get quite a bit: Two Operators (a medic and an AoE Guard) for the development costs of 1, a fast-redeploy operator, and an operator that will be able to mow down most early-mid game content with ease.

Gladiia: Every player should have a Puller, and Gladiia is undoubtably the best overall Opartor in the Archetype. Even though lower rarity Pullers can satisfy the early/mid game pulling job just as well, Gladiia, with her decent DPS and self sustain, has the extra benefit of being able to double as a good Guard for players with limited rosters. Thus, new players will get much more out of the investment than "just a Puller".

S-

Skadi the Corrupting Heart: An amazing buffer and a late-game meta unit. For early game, her impact will depend a bit on the players roster and ability to use her properly. At E0 she cannot buff or summon, and at E1 her support buffs are dependent on her stats, which are obviously lower pre-E2, limiting her support ability.

Some things that make her less new player friendly: Her range requires her to be closer to the front lines, she does not attack or heal directly, and her healing may not be enough to replace the use of a medic in some situations. Thus, players may still have to deploy a full blocker + healer + DPS team anyway, which will be enough to clear early stages without the use of a buffer. Also, for teams with limited rosters, buffers are most effective when they have other good Operators to buff.

On the other hand, in cases where she CAN fully replace a medic, she will make things much simpler, and her buffing will allow players to clear content much easier with worse or less developed Operators than they otherwise could, thus potentially allowing players to progress faster with less development resources needed.

Thus, her rank could go up for savy new players that can use her well, or down for those that cannot.

B-

Akafuyu: As a defensive oriented enmity guard, she'll be able to take some hits while 1v1ing, but no inherent regen will limit her soloing staying power. There are just too many good or better 1v1 options, especially early/mid game, and at lower rarity/cheaper development cost, to warrant investment.

C+

Mousse: up to C+ from C: 1 block archteypes tend not to be high priority developments, so neither Mousse nor Astesia are recommended for new players, but Mousse's lower development cost and better niche use means she should be higher than Astesia.

C

Astesia: down to C from C+: 1 block archteypes tend not to be high priority developments, so neither Mousse nor Astesia are recommended for new players, but Mousse's lower development cost and better niche use means she should be higher than Astesia.

Tier List

Filter Tier

S+
S
S-
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
E+
E
E-
X

Filter Rarity

Filter Archetype Priority Category

Core
Optional
Situational

Filter by Class or Archetype

Marksman Sniper
AoE Sniper
Aftershock Sniper
Heavyweight Sniper
Close Range Sniper
Spreadshooter
Deadeye Sniper
Brawler
AoE Guard
Ranged Guard
Arts Guard
Enmity Guard
Dualstrike Guard
Duelist Guard
Support Guard
ST Caster
Ifrit, The Burninator
Drone Caster
AoE Caster
Modal Caster
Charge Caster
Chain Caster
ST Medic
AoE Medic
Wide-Range Medic
Puller
Fast-Redeploy
Pusher
DP-Drain
Stalker
Trapper Specialist
Sacrificial Specialist
Enmity Defender
Healing Defender
Normal Defender
Arts DPS Defender
Duelist Defender
Standard Bearer Vanguard
Skill-DP-Recovery Vanguard
Charger Vanguard
Summoner Vanguard
Aura Supporter
Slower
Summoner Supporter
Debuffer
Buffer Supporter

Caster AoE 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+
Explanation
B
Explanation
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B-
Explanation
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C+
Explanation
C
Explanation
D
Explanation

Caster Chain Caster

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

Caster Charge Caster

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

Caster Drone Caster

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
A+
Explanation

Caster Ifrit, The Burninator

Team Category: Optional
Straight line Arts destruction.
S
Explanation

Caster Modal 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.
B-
Explanation
C
Explanation

Caster ST 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+
Explanation
A+
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A
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B+
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B
Explanation
B-
Explanation
C
Explanation
D
Explanation
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Defender Arts DPS Defender

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.
B
Explanation
B-
Explanation

Defender Duelist Defender

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-
Explanation

Defender Enmity Defender

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

Defender Healing Defender

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
Explanation
A+
Explanation
A
Explanation
A-
Explanation
B+
Explanation
D
Explanation

Defender Normal Defender

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

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+
Explanation
S
Explanation
B+
Explanation
B
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Explanation
C
Explanation

Guard Arts Guard

Team Category: Optional
S-
Explanation
B
Explanation
C+
Explanation
C
Explanation
C-
Explanation

Guard Brawler

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+
Explanation
C
Explanation
C-
Explanation
D
Explanation
Explanation

Guard Dualstrike Guard

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+
Explanation
B+
Explanation
B
Explanation
C
Explanation

Guard Duelist Guard

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
B+
Explanation
Explanation
B
Explanation
C-
Explanation
Explanation
Explanation
Explanation

Guard Enmity Guard

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

Guard Ranged Guard

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-
Explanation
Explanation
A+
Explanation
A
Explanation
B
Explanation
C
Explanation

Guard Support Guard

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.
D+
Explanation
D
Explanation
D-
Explanation

Medic AoE 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
Explanation
Explanation
A-
Explanation
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
Explanation
A
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B
Explanation
Explanation
C+
Explanation
C
Explanation
Explanation
C-
Explanation
Explanation
Explanation
D
Explanation

Medic Wide-Range Medic

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
Explanation
B-
Explanation
D
Explanation

Sniper Aftershock Sniper

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 AoE Sniper

Team Category: Situational
Ranged Physical splash damage with a large attack range
S
Explanation
A+
Explanation
A-
Explanation
B
Explanation
D
Explanation

Sniper Close Range Sniper

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

Sniper Deadeye Sniper

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

Sniper Heavyweight Sniper

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 Marksman Sniper

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+
Explanation
Explanation
S
Explanation
A+
Explanation
Explanation
A
Explanation
Explanation
Explanation
A-
Explanation
C+
Explanation
Explanation
C
Explanation
Explanation
D
Explanation

Sniper 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
B
Explanation
C-
Explanation
D
Explanation

Specialist DP-Drain

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
D
Explanation

Specialist Fast-Redeploy

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

Specialist Puller

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
Explanation
C
Explanation

Specialist Pusher

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-
Explanation

Specialist Sacrificial Specialist

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

Specialist Stalker

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
B
Explanation

Specialist Trapper Specialist

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

Supporter Aura Supporter

Team Category: Optional
S-
Explanation
C-
Explanation

Supporter Buffer Supporter

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

Supporter Debuffer

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.
C
Explanation
C-
Explanation

Supporter Slower

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
Explanation
Explanation
B+
Explanation
B
Explanation
C+
Explanation
D
Explanation

Supporter Summoner Supporter

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.
C+
Explanation
C
Explanation
C-
Explanation
D+
Explanation

Vanguard Charger Vanguard

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
D
Explanation

Vanguard Skill-DP-Recovery Vanguard

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+
Explanation
Explanation
A
Explanation
A-
Explanation
Explanation
B+
Explanation
B
Explanation
Explanation
C
Explanation
Explanation

Vanguard Standard Bearer Vanguard

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

Vanguard Summoner Vanguard

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

Arknights: Alyeska#2654

Discord: Alyeska#7717

Wanderer, Gamer, Eternal Student, and Weeb.

Lover of Language, Learning, Unique Humans, and Community.

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