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This article will give an insight about advanced strategies in Arknights, which are generally applicable to more late game content, assuming Elite 2 Operators, when operations are harder and stricter.

Aggression

Understanding the way your own Operators, as well as enemies choose targets is crucial to the good execution of any strategy. A good aggro management will help significantly reduce the amount of mitigations needed, and ensure your plans go smoothly.

Pathing

Observing and understanding the path that individual enemies take towards the Protection Objective is crucial to any operation, as they tend to be very surprising. Observing a map and quickly determining chokes that enemies can be funnelled into is a critical skill in utilizing the available tile layout to make the most of your Operators' range and squad size. It's also great for learning to turn every lane into an Ifrit lane. A good understanding of enemy pathing is pretty much a requirement of operations that feature Roadblocks.

Opener

The opener is the first moments of any stage, and it is crucial, as it is the time when you still don't have your defenses set up. During the opener, Vanguards are typically the star of the show, working to generate DP to allow more costly Operators to be deployed for later parts of the stage. Naturally, as Vanguards usually fail in areas of either damage or survivability, you will likely have to assist them with other Operators in dealing with the immediate threats at the start of the stage. The difficulty of an opener heavily depends on the stage: some stages will put on a lot of heavy pressure right away, while some will leave you ample room to generate deployment points relatively unopposed. A well-thought out opener is crucial to ensuring the aggro system works in your favor. A good understanding of the Vanguard subclasses and their various talents is key to a good opener.

Roles

While classes and subclasses strictly define the mechanics of an Operator, roles define what situation an Operator will be best to deal with. These roles, unlike classes, tend to be flexible for Operators, and can even change within a single run of same stage. However, some Operators and some specific skills are notorious for being hyperspecialized in these roles and being extremely capable at fulfilling them.

Lane holders

Lane holders will deal with the rank-and-file enemies. Whether they are Casters or Snipers dealing damage from above or Guards and Defenders physically blocking the lane, these will be tasked with dispatching the relatively non-threatening targets, the "trash" to prevent them from leaking. Lane holders typically do not need heavy damage output, but consistent and quick damage output. For example, Blaze's Skill-Blaze1.png Chainsaw Extension Module, Mudrock's Skill-Mudrock2.png Crag Splitter and Thorns' Skill-Thorns2.png Destreza are very specialized in holding lanes, and W can clear out lanes very quickly. A lot, but not all of the lane holders will typically not be as efficient in dealing with tougher enemies. Of course, in many operations, there is nothing but "trash," making them practically overpowered.

Boss killers/wave cleaners

At the opposite end, boss killers and wave clearers will be expert at dealing with bosses and other high value targets – enemies that aren't strictly bosses but are either harder to kill than most average enemies, or present an extremely dangerous ability that must be dealt with quickly, such as Imperial Artillery Targeteers; as well as regular enemies used in large waves that may overwhelm lane holders. Boss killers don't necessarily have damage output as consistent as lane holders, but make up for it with a short burst of damage significantly higher than lane holders can ever dream of. The quintessential boss killers are perhaps Surtr and Amiya using Skill-Surtr3.png Twilight and Skill-Amiya2.png Chimera, respectively: they more than likely have enough damage burst to dispatch a boss efficiently, but both are doomed to be retreated after this. Similarly, Schwarz's Skill-Schwarz3.png Final Tactics and SilverAsh's Skill-SilverAsh2.png Truesilver Slash will be competent to kill general targets, but the former's range largely limits her wave clearing potential during skill uptime, specializing her towards dealing extremely high burst damage to armored enemies, while the latter can be used to clear tougher waves than usual, and has some boss killing potential, but it tends to fall off compared to the burst damage of the other three. He effectively is a wave clearer that can sometimes be a boss killer. It is worth noting that this exemplifies another lesson: certain bosses will be more easily dealt with by certain Operators within the role, rather than others, and there are many flavors of boss killers.

Stallers

Stallers are different from lane holders in that their role is rarely to stop and kill the weakest targets, but to buy time (and potentially chip away at the health of) against bosses and high value targets. The obvious reasoning when it comes to stallers is that anyone that provides slow or shift is a staller, but they also include blockers. A blocker whose role is not strictly to block for a lane holder will typically be a staller. For example, stopping the advance of a nigh-unblockable war machine using Specter's Skill-Specter1.png Bone Fracture to tank the un-tankable is stalling. Mudrock tends to fall within the same category provided the right conditions. In effect, Arknights, by virtue of its tower defense gameplay, is a DPS check: the player must output a certain amount of damage to certain targets within a certain timeframe, typically before they leak. This timeframe can be expanded, and therefore the amount of damage spread out. Alternatively, they may hold certain targets that get proportionally more threatening as they are damaged, and should thus be killed last, such as the Pursuer or Imperial Strikers.

Tank/bait

Not necessarily used for stall, but with strong enough overlap, tanks and bait Operators will ease pressure off typically weaker target: they may be an Executioner Specialist like Gravel taking instant death damage in place of another Operator, such as critical shots in Abandoned Factory, or blocking a boss that would severely damage a nearby melee Operator, just as they may be a self-healing Operator like Saria or Mountain baiting out enemy ranged damage that would kill another Operator.

Damage mitigation

Damage mitigation also includes the above tank and bait Operators, as damage baited away is damage not taken, but also Operators with healing capabilities. However, the need for healing allied Operators can easily be negated by properly understanding the aggro system and having damage baited out by Operators that can take it and can recover from it with some manner of self-healing, making Saria and Mudrock extremely strong Operators. If that fails, as maps will often not allow things to go this smoothly, Medics and Guardian Defenders are effectively the best, if not only ways to do so. It is worth mentioning that one does not need to heal if surviving the entire map without doing so is possible.

Utility

Utility providers is effectively a rather catch-all term, but typically includes Operators that are capable of buffing allies or debuffing enemies, as well as other useful abilities such as SP batteries. As content becomes more difficult, it becomes extremely hard to defeat certain bosses in a timely manner without them. Naturally, most of them are Supporters, but the role can also be fulfilled by a certain Defender, some of the Standard Bearer Vanguards, a certain Specialist, and a certain Medic.

Strategic redeployment

Strategic redeployment is a mechanic tutorialized by the game early on: it is understanding that sometimes, the player has to undeploy an Operator to free up space in the deployment limit, or to redeploy them somewhere else after their cooldown, or to end a skill early. A lot of late game content effectively requires strategic redeployment. The logical extreme of this mechanic is the reactive, or helidrop — deploying Operators as they become needed and often, undeploying them immediately afterwards — and 1P relay — self-imposed challenge wherein only a single Operator may be deployed at a time, with the exception of robots, as they do not count towards deployment limit — playstyles.

For example, in some cases, it is beneficial to undeploy SilverAsh before his skill completes should it no longer be necessary, as waiting out his skill's completion, then a complete cold SP charge would effectively take longer than waiting out his shortened redeployment timer (by virtue of his talent) and redeploying him in the same position with the initial deployment SP charge.

Splitbox

Splitboxing is a semi-advanced mechanic wherein an Operator is deployed as a enemy is between two tiles in order to keep it blocked there, effectively "splitting" its hitbox between two tiles instead of one. It is possible as all Operators have some amount of shifting regardless of enemy weight upon their deployment that pushes enemies closer to the outer edge of their hitbox, and sometimes, overlapping two tiles.

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