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Arknights Operator Tier List

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  • Many low rarity Operators are worth investing in to fill roles until players can find higher rarity replacements or on maps with tight Deployment Point constraints. See a guide on them below.

Introduction

  • Tier lists for Arknights are often considered to be difficult to create, as many Operators have very specific situations in which they excel to such a degree that they would be a top pick for a certain map but not for others. Tier Lists are not a substitute for game knowledge!
  • It is commonly agreed that having a balanced roster that covers multiple niches is the best way for players to build their team. However, there are some standout Operators that appear within each Archetype. As a result, the tier list prioritizes comparing Operators within their Archetypes over across Classes and Roles.  Filters are provided to allow easy selection of desired Classes and Archetypes.  For more detailed information about Classes and Archetypes, refer to the guide here:
  • Lower rarity Operators are still useful in certain situations, generally due to their lower deployment costs. They are also much cheaper to develop, making them good choices to develop early to progress through the game faster.  Low rarity Operators that are good choices to develop early are indicated by a red border.  The Operators marked are typically easy to acquire, being 3 Star or available for purchase in shops.
  • Since every tier list needs a baseline with which to compare, this tier list compares units at their full development (their highest promotion stage and maximum Operator and Skill level)

Legend

These Operators can be easily recruited or obtained for free (without having to rely on the gacha) and are good early investments. Remember that low rarity Operators are sometimes stronger than higher rarity Operators when they are both at equal, lower Promotion levels.
Blue Borders represent Operators especially worth considering for Promotion to Elite 2 (E2). For more details on why, and which to promote first, check out the Elite 2 Priorities Guide!

YES!: I need you NOW - With these Operators, you will feel the difference of their E2 gains immediately. New doors of power will open, the sun will rise in radiance, and you will fall deeper in love. These Operators tend to be the best immediate “Return on Investment” of the Promotion materials.
Mastery: Masters of Specialization - These are Operators that see their most noticeable gains from increasing the Mastery (Specialization) of their Skills. Since this process is quite expensive in itself, further investment is required to bring out the best in these Operators. For a discussion on which Skill Specializations/Masteries to focus on, check out the Elite 2 Priorities Guide.
STATS: Beat them with the Stat Stick - These are the Operators you promote primarily for the stats they can gain at the higher levels enabled by E2. These Operators typically do their job fine at E1. Promotion makes them better, of course, but is not critical for their performance.
Specialty: Because Niche is Nice - These are Operators that provide niche utility, have unique roles, or are commonly used in some specific end-game strategies or situations.
Click on the blue "?" box in the lower right-hand corner to see an Evaluation Summary and Overview/Analysis of the Operator.
Tier Meaning
S A highly effective Operator in their role, one of the best available.
A Extremely proficient Operator in their role.
B The Operator is very good at their role, and can complete the duties of their role competently.
C A sufficient Operator for performing their role, even if not always the best option.
D If other options are unavailable, they will generally satisfy the need for a niche.
X Highly situational but excels when their abilities are a good fit for a stage. X means a tier could not be assigned due to their unique abilities, and does not mean bottom tier.

Latest Additions/Changes

First a note of repetition for clarification, since there seems to be a lot confusion and disagreement about this:

  • This Tier List prioritizes comparisons of Operators within the same Archetypes.  It does not attempt to compare every single operator with every other single operator, even if they share similar uses or roles.
  • Why? 
    • For most operators, comparing them makes no sense.  what is the point of comparing a Medic Operator vs a Guard Operator?  If you need help with team building and deciding which archetypes/roles will be most useful to you, then it is better to use a teambuilding guide or reading up on Operator details.  If you are deciding whether to build a specific operator or not, then you are better served reading their eval summaries or overviews.
    • Besides being not useful, trying to compare every single operator with every other single operator would required more letters and +/-'s than exist, would be convoluted to the point of uselessness, and be impossible to maintain with reasonable time/effort.
  • But then how do you rank Operators that only have 1 or a few in their Archetype?  Why is Leizi not an S+ Chain Caster since she is the only one?!?
    • Especially for Archetypes that don't have many Operators, we try to consider the potential of those Operators within that Archetype to impact the game.  Specific letter rankings alone do not represent only "strength of operator within the archetype", but "strength/potential of the Operator to have a meaningful impact on the game".  So just because an operator is alone in their archetype and doesn't have S+ does not mean it is being compared directly to other Archetypes, nor is it impossible to give a ranking based on overall game potential without multiple Operators existing in an archetype.
  • But that is so subjective!
    • Tier Lists are based on data, empirical evidence, and opinions.  Opinions are subjective.  Feel free to share yours in the comments.
  • This is a summary of tier placements for most recently added or changed Operators.

S Tier

Dusk: The best representative of this Archetype so far.
Saga: SP battery function and decent DPS for a Vanguard gives her an edge over Siege.

S- Tier

Siege: Down from S The entry of Saga bumps Siege down a bit, as her S2's needing enemies to generate DP can be limiting in some cases, and her S3 doesn't generate DP.

A- Tier

Lava The Purgatory: A functional AoE Caster with the usual Archetypal drawbacks.
Mr.Nothing can provide damage and niche buffs but overall not as good as Jaye.

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 by Class or Archetype

Arts Guard
Ranged Guard
AoE Guard
Enmity Guard
Brawler
Duelist Guard
Dualstrike Guard
Support Guard
Robot Guard
Healing Defender
Enmity Defender
Normal Defender
Duelist Defender
Arts DPS Defender
DP-On-Kill
Utility Vanguard
Skill-DP-Recovery
Summoner Vanguard
Anti-Air Sniper
AoE Sniper
Close Range Sniper
Heavyweight Sniper
Aftershock Sniper
Long-range Sniper
Spreadshooter
ST Caster
AoE Caster
Ifrit, The Burninator
Modal Caster
Charge Caster
Chain Caster
Pusher
Fast-Redeploy
Sacrificial Specialist
Stalker
Puller
DP-Drain
Trapper Specialist
Robot Specialist
Summoner
Slower
Buffer / Debuffer
Aura Supporter
AoE Medic
ST Medic
Wide-Range Medic
Robot Medic

Caster - AoE Caster

S
?
S-
?
A-
?
?
B+
?
?
B
?
C
?
D
?

Caster - Chain Caster

B+
?

Caster - Charge Caster

A
?

Caster - Ifrit, The Burninator

S
?

Caster - Modal Caster

A+
?
A
?

Caster - ST Caster

S+
?
S
?
A
?
?
A-
?
B+
?
?
B
?
C
?
D
?

Defender - Arts DPS Defender

A
?
B-
?

Defender - Duelist Defender

S
?

Defender - Enmity Defender

S+
?
A
?

Defender - Healing Defender

S+
?
S-
?
A
?
B+
?
B
?
C
?

Defender - Normal Defender

S
?
?
A+
?
A
?
?
?
B+
?
B
?
C
?
?
D
?

Guard - AoE Guard

S+
?
A+
?
A
?
A-
?
B
?
C
?

Guard - Arts Guard

S+
?
A+
?
A
?
A-
?
?

Guard - Brawler

S
?
A+
?
A
?
B
?
?

Guard - Dualstrike Guard

S-
?
A+
?
A
?

Guard - Duelist Guard

S
?
A
?
A-
?
B
?
?
B-
?

Guard - Enmity Guard

S
?
A-
?

Guard - Ranged Guard

S+
?
?
S-
?
A-
?
B+
?
C+
?
C
?

Guard - Robot Guard

C
?

Guard - Support Guard

A
?
C
?
C-
?

Medic - AoE Medic

S
?
?
A
?
A-
?

Medic - Robot Medic

C
?

Medic - ST Medic

S
?
?
A
?
A-
?
?
B+
?
B
?
B-
?
C+
?
C
?

Medic - Wide-Range Medic

A
?
B+
?
B
?

Sniper - Aftershock Sniper

S
?

Sniper - Anti-Air Sniper

S+
?
S
?
A
?
?
A-
?
?
B
?
?
B-
?
?
C+
?
C-
?
D
?

Sniper - AoE Sniper

S
?
A
?
A-
?
B+
?
C
?

Sniper - Close Range Sniper

S
?
A
?
B
?

Sniper - Heavyweight Sniper

S
?

Sniper - Long-range Sniper

A
?
?
B-
?

Sniper - Spreadshooter

A
?
A-
?
B
?

Specialist - DP-Drain

A
?
A-
?

Specialist - Fast-Redeploy

S
?
A+
?
?
A
?
A-
?

Specialist - Puller

A
?
A-
?
B