This article will give an insight about building a good team in Arknights.
The following are the basic terms the player has to remember:
- Deployment Point (DP): A "resource" used to deploy Operators. Each Operator have varying DP costs based on their class, archetype, and rarity. Players start with 10 DP in most operations and 1 DP is automatically generated every second (this rate can be modified by Challenge Mode conditions and Contingency Contract contracts). DP generation can be sped up by using Vanguards. The maximum DP count is 99, or 999 in Annihilation.
- Block: In Arknights, almost all Operators are capable of blocking enemies, such that those who try to move past the Operator will be forced to stop and attack them. Note that an Operator has a limited block count; if the Operator has a block count of zero or the Operator is blocking as many enemies as their block count, enemies will simply move past the Operator. Some enemies, notably Wraiths and aerial enemies (e.g. Monsters), cannot be blocked; they will always move past melee Operators in their way, while few others, notably Bullies, are counted as more than one unit when blocked and cannot be blocked by Operators with an insufficient block count.
- Ranged Operators can also block enemies with a block count of one, although this is only possible in operations which allows melee and ranged Operators to be deployed in any tiles, like Cargo Escort.
- Promotion: Operators in Arknights can be promoted to higher ranks, with some exceptions, which allows them to be leveled more than before and grants them new abilities. Refer to the Promotion article for details.
Each Operator in Arknights belong to one of eight classes which determines their functionality that can be summarized in the table below. It is worth mentioning that the game features a lot of subclasses, and learning these as well can be instrumental in formulating strategies: two Guard subclasses tend to be used in dramatically different ways.
|Caster||Ranged Operators whose attacks deal Arts damage that bypasses DEF but is reduced by the RES, thus allowing them to counter enemies with high DEF.|
|Defender||Melee Operators with high HP and DEF, and can block up to three enemies, allowing them to hold off enemies to be dispatched by other Operators.|
|Guard||Melee Operators with relatively high HP and high ATK, acting as one of the physical DPS dealers with better survivability. The most common type of Operators.|
|Medic||Ranged Operators who heals friendlies, keeping them alive and making their use virtually indispensable in every operation.|
|Sniper||Ranged Operators who can attack enemies from a long range, acting as one of the physical DPS dealers with a manageable DP cost.|
|Specialist||Operators with specialized abilities more useful in certain situations and less so in general situations.|
|Supporter||Ranged Operators capable of providing a wide variety of supportive roles for the team, ranging from slowing enemies, augmenting friendlies, and summoning additional units.|
|Vanguard||Melee Operators with low DP costs that allows them to be deployed early in an operation and generate additional DP to facilitate later deployments.|
- Variety is encouraged. Relying on a single Operator class and/or archetype are not enough to clear most operations, especially Contingency Contract due to the restriction or even prohibition of the usage of certain Operators, which can result in various complications. Make a diverse team to handle any and every possibility instead.
- Don't focus primarily on the core Operator(s) when building the Operators. Promoting them to Elite 2 is typically not required (with a major exception to 6★ Operators), but building most Operators to at least Elite 1 Level 30 with the skill level of 4 and at most Elite 1 maximum level with the skill level of 7 is enough and can be helpful in case an operation requires a more specialized team.
- Rarity does not always make the difference. While it is true that higher-rarity Operators tend to be superior than lower-rarity ones, the latter can still be viable in general situations and useful as reserves in certain situations due to their low DP cost and the fact that they are cheaper to build. In fact, Hypergryph themselves have even confirmed that low-rarity and free Operators are used to test the operations during development. This means that theoretically, every operation can be cleared with nothing but low-rarity Operators!
- All operators are valuable. All Arknights operators can perform at a perfectly serviceable level, even those you've heard called "bad" ones, even if some perform better than others. There generally are no bad operators, simply better ones, and even then, there rarely exists operators that are plainly linear upgrades of other operators. It is possible to clear all general content and even Contingency Contract at middling risk levels with all operators, provided they are used intelligently and you learn their skill set. All operators have a learning curve, some more straightforward than others, and it is only by understanding the traits and characteristics of these operators that you will truly be able to form efficient strategies. You should familiarize yourself with your operators' every mechanic: their survivability, general damage output, traits, talents, skills. There is no better way than to actually use them, as second-hand experience rarely proves as useful. This process of learning can greatly reduce the amount of attempts it will take you to clear a stage. Of course, the teams for maximum risk clears of Contingency Contract tend to be less flexible, but these only concern a fraction of a fraction of the playerbase.
- DP cost efficiency matters. Utilizing powerful Operators, usually those of higher rarity, may be tempting, but note that most of them have high DP costs. Since players generally start most operations with no more than 10 DP and 6★ Operators can cost up to 30+ DP to deploy, this can be detrimental. To avoid this, add several 3★ and/or 4★ to the mix. Some stages have DP economy as a challenge of its own, which is why you must adapt. Make sure operators are worth what they cost you, and consider that you sometimes simply could solve the situation with someone much cheaper.
- Unit economy matters. Some later stages and Annihilation operations also have unit economy (you will find that every one of your twelve/thirteen operators is in need, and you would wish you could bring one more) as a challenge, which is why you will want some of you operators to be able to work multiple jobs at once. Experiment for yourself what is needed to figure out who can fulfil several of these roles.
- Don't be afraid to fail, and use your drill plans. Theorizing is all well and good, but practice makes perfect. It is difficult, or even sometimes impossible to know what to expect out of a stage. Arknights has a tendency to throw curveballs, and is predicated upon iterating on strategies to see where your attempts fail. Failure is not truly failure, but a learning experience allowing you to remediate the flaws of your strategy. Different players learn at different speeds, and it is truly possible to improve as a player by simply trying. If you don't want to lose too much sanity, especially on Challenge Modes, use your drill plans and try your best to learn as much as you can from maps in order to craft the best team for your minute strategy.
- Use the map previews! Looking at a map's layout is a great, if not necessary step to see which team you can attempt to bring, how many choke points you will have to hold, and what might be in store for you. Pay attention, for example, to the presence of Aerial Incursion Points that signify you will need an operator that can hit drones.
- Remember to have fun. If you find yourself bored by succeeding at stages using cookie-cutter strategies, try to make your own fun and spice up the game by challenging yourself to certain self-imposed rules, or by trying out your more underappreciated operators. Remember, variety is encouraged, and what low-rarity operators lack in firepower they tend to make up for in specialization. Arknights is a game, it should not be a chore.
Every operation is at least slightly different, and some even shake up the game by quite a bit, so don't be afraid to change up the team compositions to fit the situation at hand. This is no more apparent than in Contingency Contract, where the various contracts taken can vastly change the dynamics of a single stage. Each Arknights stage is its own self-contained combat puzzle, and operators are your tools to solve it.
In most general early stages, the team should comprise of the following:
- 2 Vanguards
- 2 Defenders
- 2 Guards
- 2 Snipers
- 2 Casters
- 2 Medics
This guideline can still be used to articulate later compositions, however it can only take you so far: the team must not always be comprised of these classes, and you will soon find the need to build a specific team for each and every stage. For example, on operations featuring holes, it is recommended to bring a shift Specialist. On operations with enemies having high RES, the two casters could be swapped out for guards and snipers. On operations with lots of enemies pouring in early-game, it is recommended to bring more vanguards. For these reasons, it is highly advised to look at the Enemy Database of each operation to get a general idea of what you'll be facing and who you should bring to counter them. Understanding the dynamics between what enemies do and what operators do is key.
When comes a point where the generic team composition can no longer help you, you should start looking into Advanced strategies.
The difficulty of the game ramps up quickly and it soon becomes impossible to perform operations with only level 1 units. As LMD and Tactical Battle Record obtained from the base are limited, the player should level their units wisely. It is recommended to raise the aforementioned general team to Elite 1 Level 1 and then to Elite 1 level 55 all at once. It is not advised to focus on getting one or two operators straight to Elite 1 Level 55 while having everyone else at level 1. Instead, focus on building the entire team. Also, to level operators faster, it is heavily recommended to finish upgrading your base by using Carbon acquired from Resource Search operations. While you should not ignore leveling your operators to prepare for these tough missions, the base provides an extremely steady supply of the above currencies.