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Arknights Operator Tier List

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Introduction

  • Tier lists for Arknights are difficult to create, as many Operators have very specific situations in which they excel to such a degree that they would be an amazing pick for a certain map but worthless in another. No Tier List can perfectly compare all Operators in all situations: Tier Lists are not a substitute for game knowledge! That being said, there are bad Operators and exceptional Operators, and some Operators are better than others and will make it easier for players to succeed. 
  • This tier list compares units at their full possible development with end-game content in mind.  Evaluation and ranking is based on the strength/potential of the Operator to have an overall meaningful impact on the game, across all the different modes and content, and is based on data, empirical evidence, and opinions.  
  • New Players should NOT use this list for operator development priority for early-mid gameplay. Instead, new Players looking for early game development priority help should use the [New Player Tier List] instead. Some higher rarity operators (especially 5 stars) are not worth their E2 or mastery development costs for most players because they become obsolete when better 6 Stars are obtained.  Lower rarity Operators have cheaper development costs and so can be more efficient to develop for early game even though the higher rarity operators have higher full development potential.
  • For ease of use and understandability, Operators are grouped by their Class Archetypes.  Filters are provided to allow easy selection of desired Classes and Archetypes.  Advanced Filters are provided to more easily compare Operators by the utility they provide. For more detailed information about Classes and Archetypes, refer to the guide here:
  • With enough skill, any Operator can contribute to a squad for clearing "normal" reward-giving content. so players need not be afraid to develop Operators they want to use even if they aren't highly ranked for the meta.
  • This Tier List is not written by a single person. Instead, it is a combined effort by multiple GP collaborators, most of which are endgame players with extensively developed rosters that write guides for the website, such as operator reviews or Contingency Contract homework documents.   There is a channel in the GamePress Discord where players can share their voice. Tier Lists are based on data, empirical evidence, and opinions.  Opinions are subjective.  Feel free to share yours.
  • Updates to the tier list are done slowly and gradually, and only when new Operators are added to global.  We typically only review/evaluate a few Archetypes/Operators at a time.  We do this because gathering/discussing opinions from multiple contributors can take a lot of time, and discussions are often not as clear-cut as “just move X up/down a tier”.  Trying to re-evaluate everything in the Tier List every update is just not feasible nor productive.  There will always be updates and changes moving forward as we get to them, and as the game evolves.

Legend

These Operators can be good early-game investments for players that lack their top end-game replacements. Remember that low rarity Operators are sometimes stronger than higher rarity Operators when they are both at equal development 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.
Operators with a Red star on the lower right corner are LIMITED Operators (only available during certain banners / campaigns).
Tier Meaning
EX The truly elite. The best of the best.
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.

Latest Additions/Changes

01/13/2023: EX Tier Added. We felt like we needed an additional Tier to differentiate power level, especially among 6 Stars.  It feels like there are a small group of Operators that are clearly a step above all the others, and represent a best-of-the-best level that our current scale wasn't able to represent.  And there are more coming on the horizon.  This also gives us  more room to differentiate Operators within the A+ through S+ range. We have never been fans of adding higher Tiers, and have resisted temptation to do it for a long time.  We think adding too many S++...+++... type rankings tends to be a lazy way to avoid tough ranking questions, and can quickly become meaningless.  However, although the game has done a good job of avoiding it up to now, the powercreep IS real, and CN has seen an influx of units that truly do push the power ceiling, so we felt like the time was right to bite the bullet and implement a necessary evil.

12/28/2021: Advanced filters added!

12/20/21: Introduction And Archetype Philosophy Update

When this Tier List was first created in 2019, it prioritized comparisons within Archetypes.  This made more sense at the time, since there were less Operators in the game that tended to have abilities/roles consistent within the Archetype, and the only content that existed was normal story and event stages (for example, Contingency Contract didn't exist).  With the addition of more and more operators with abilities and roles that overalapped with Operators of other Archetypes, and with more types of content that demanded more out of the Operators, the comparing of Operators only within Archetype had less and less value.

In June of 2021 we started to update rankings to transition away from comparing Operators only within Archetype, and to attempt to create rankings that applied over the breadth of all Operators.  We believe we have progressed to the point now that we can eliminate the caveats of Archetype prioritization.  Keep in mind that maintaining the Tier List is a constantly ongoing activity that will continue to be done over time.

Summary of the updated philosophy:

  • This Tier List organizes Operators by Class Archetypes in order to make the list easier to search, filter, understand, and compare.  This does not mean that comparisons are only being done within Archetypes.  Evaluation and ranking is based on the strength/potential of the Operator to have an overall meaningful impact on the game.  Thus, we consider and compare operators that provide similar roles/functions even if they don't share the same Archetype, and attempt to assign rankings suitable to comparison over Operators of ALL Archetypes.
  • Advanced Filters are provided to more easily compare Operators that provide similar specific utility or function.

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The Introduction section has ben updated.

Rank Movements

Latest Update: 05/04/2024: Zwillingstürme im Herbst

S+ Tier

  • Virtuosa - Virtuosa is relatively unique among the top meta units. Friendly Elemental Damage is a new mechanic, and Virtuosa is extremely effective at it. Much of her power comes from the fact that both her application and her damage bypass enemy RES, which makes it effectively True Damage in most situations. She is extremely effective against both waves and lone elites/bosses. However, her total DPS is limited by the Necrosis effect itself, which puts a ceiling on her power when compared to other meta DPS units.

S- Tier

  • Viviana - Viviana isn't a bad unit. She has some solid DPS on a reasonably bulky body. However, a lack of RES shred, a wind-up time, and an incongruous kit all hold her back. With the growing power of the top of the game, what Viviana brings just isn't special and she is relegated to the middle of the roster options with extremely few special or unique roles to fill.

A+ Tier

  • Bassline - Bassline, like Nearl before him, fits somewhat awkwardly in the meta thanks to an unusual progression over the rarities. He's better than Gummy, but only nominally, so has a difficult time justifying the promotion costs in the shadow of very meta 6★s. Most players probably won't find value in promoting him, however he's still a solid unit and should be especially valuable in a variety of niche teams.

A Tier

  • Lessing  - Lessing is another big miss out of the welfare 6★s. What's even the point of making them 6★s if they're going to be this bad? Lessing has poor damage, a bad team role, and a niche that just doesn't matter. However, at least he does have a niche with his control break, which is more than Vigil can say.

B+ Tier

  • Caper - If you favor off-meta approaches, then Caper is an appealing unit. Of course, as a 4★ DPS, Caper has no place in the true meta discussion. However, looking outside of that she is pretty unique for her rarity with good DPS and DPH, a flexible range, an oddly high HP pool, and a gimmick that can mitigate ASPD debuffs. For most players, Caper isn't enough to justify the Red Certifications. As said, she is not an end-game unit. But if you like looking beyond the meta, then Caper can be a good and inexpensive addition to your roster.

B Tier

  • Diamante - Diamante suffers from the same "replacement value" problem that most buffers do. He is reliant on a Ritualist to allow his extra damage, so why bring him in the first place over someone who just does better DPS in the first place? Diamante is an experimental unit, and a reasonably interesting one. However, he ultimately isn't a very good one outside of a few niche clears, and is extra expensive on top.

E- Tier

  • U-Official - U-Official is a joke unit and not one you should ever consider for serious use. Her stun is mostly a self-sabotage on an extremely long cycle. On very rare occasions she might see some use as a no-deploy slot "flash bang" or as a low cost cycle in SSS, but in 99.9% of the game she has negative value and should not be seriously considered.

Tier List

Filter Tier

EX
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

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

Caster AoE / Splash Caster

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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D
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Caster Burninator / Blast Caster

S
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C+
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Caster Chain Caster

S
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A
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B
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Caster Charge / Mystic Caster

S-
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B+
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B
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Caster Drone / Mech-Accord

S+
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A+
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A
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A-
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Caster Modal / Phalanx Caster

S
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A+
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A
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Caster Primal

B
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Caster ST / Core Caster

S+
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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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D
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Defender Arts Protector

A-
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B+
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B
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Defender Duelist

A+
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B+
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B-
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Defender Enmity / Juggernaut

S+
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B
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Defender Fortress

S+
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A
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Defender Healing / Guardian

S+
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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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Defender Normal / Protector

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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D+
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Defender Sentinel Protector

S
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A
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A-
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Guard AoE / Centurion

S+
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S
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A
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B
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C
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Guard Arts Fighter

EX
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S-
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A+
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B+
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B
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Guard Brawler / Fighter

S+
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S
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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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Guard Crusher

S-
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C
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C-
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Guard Dualstrike / Swordmaster

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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Guard Duelist / Dreadnought

S+
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S-
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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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Guard Enmity / Musha

A+
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A-
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Guard Liberator Guard

EX
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A+
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Guard Ranged / Lord

S+
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S
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A+
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