There are many potential reasons for anyone to take interest in Arknights at first glance. Following a little immersion into its world, there are numerous aspects of the game that can influence players into getting hooked on it as well. Perhaps it relates to the unique mix of tower defense and strategy RPG elements that blend very well into what Arknights has to offer. Maybe to some, the anime-inspired artworks and character designs play a vital role in making things continuously interesting.
Likewise the given limitations of deployable units in conventional tower defense games give fans of the genre a solid reason to be excited about the strategic possibilities that squad-building in Arknights offers. In any case, there is a lot more to units or operators in Arknights and what sets each one apart from the rest can be enough to elicit pleasure in crafting strategies for each challenge that the game offers.
Despite Arknights’ employment of the gacha method in obtaining operators that serve as your troops in defending, as well as the existence of rarity grades that more often impact each one’s capabilities and potential, Arknights rely more on team composition, timing, and placement strategies more than raw unit strength to succeed through the game’s content.
In contrast with the specific role that defense towers play in most tower defense games, Arknights provides varied roles for each of the 8 classes available in the game. Beyond that, squad rosters have more flexible efficiency levels based on prioritization when it comes to enhancements and for the most part also promotes synergistic team-building with various combination options for squad creation.
If you have just downloaded Arknights and have yet to secure a firm grasp of its basic game mechanics and features, we encourage you to read our Arknights beginner’s guide. On top of brief discussions relative to the core concepts and features you will unlock early in the game, the guide holds numerous helpful tips and strategies for you to be able to jumpstart your adventure more efficiently. If you have yet to start playing or still at a point where restarting your progress altogether is still viable, then be sure to check out our Arknights reroll guide as it contains everything you need to know about rerolling in the game.
Although we have already briefly touched on the available classes in our beginner’s guide, our discussion for now centers on each class, variations within each of these classes, as well as the general strengths and limitations of each one. Do note, however, that classes or roles are just a means of classifying operators based on their primary function and there will always be differences between each operator within the same class.
Operators in Arknights can also be classified into two groups based on where they can be deployed. The melee ones are on the ground to block and defend against marching enemies while ranged operators typically deploy on platforms to deal with flying enemies, provide healing and support skills, and various other roles that open up numerous other possibilities as far as strategies are concerned.
Guards are the melee units more bent towards offensive strength. With typically a balanced offensive and defensive strength, guards can take in more damage than any unit deployed on platforms and come as second to defenders when it comes to holding back enemies. Guards are often able to attack enemies within minimal range but as classes are diversified in Arknights, some guards stray from the conventional stereotype.
The most basic type of guards are those that deal melee damage to single targets. Oftentimes, these guards can deal massive damage but beyond doing so are devoid of any other innate traits. Likewise, melee combatants can only deal decent damage on enemies that are not heavily armored. Indra and Franka are guard operators that belong to this subcategory.
While AoE damage may be more commonly seen on ranged combat operators, there are also guards that can deal damage to multiple enemies. Naturally, though, range is still at a bare minimum and damage is expectedly not as high as single target guards. Specter and Savage are examples of Aoe guards.
There are also guards that perform roles to that of a defender class and as such, are able to block more than one enemy unit. These guard units are typically better at defense than their fellow guards and also sport less offensive prowess. Fan-favorite SilverAsh is a 6-star guard who belongs to this subclass.
Although casters are primarily needed for deployment as a counter unit against heavily armored enemy units, there are rare guards that can deal magic damage instead of the conventional melee type. These types of guards do not necessarily have advantageous stats over all other guards and will only do higher damage against enemies with heavy armor. For now, Mousse is the only guard we know that can inflict magic damage on enemies.
As the polar opposite of guards (although the class names may seem confusing at first), defenders boast the highest defensive strength among classes. These born and bred tanks take to the frontlines and stand as the first line of defense against enemy mobs. All defenders can block 3 enemies and although they do attack, they hardly deal any damage to enemies. Likewise, as melee types, defenders can only reach enemies within the immediate panel.
There are 2 varieties of defenders and the first one is a lot more common. These normal types have skills that further bolster their defensive strength. In essence, these defenders are capable of taking in more damage especially since damage they receive from any source is essentially mitigated by their buffs. Hoshiguma is a 6-star defender that exhibits top-notch defense.
There are also defenders packed with self-healing abilities and while these defenders lag behind their normal counterparts in terms of damage absorption, being able to regenerate health over a period of time can make them survive longer even when no medics are around to heal them. Saria stands as the most self-sustaining defender and is the best example of this type.
The bane of every ground unit are enemies that take to the air and avoid blocking. These predicaments lead to the necessity of deploying anti-air operators and snipers are primarily needed for this purpose. Snipers generally have greater range than other classes and are expected to take on flying enemies over everything else. However, snipers come in variants as well and each one has specific advantages and limitations. Most snipers come with decent damage and fair costs although in Arknights, units that are capable of using AoE damage typically cost a lot more. Anipers are ranged melee units as well, which means that their attacks do diddly against armored enemies as much as ground units do.
As the stereotypical TD ranged unit, the anti-air sniper simply prioritizes flying units over grounded ones regardless of range. With decent damage, though, anti-air snipers are commonly used early on especially on levels where there are numerous drone waves. The highly-coveted, Newbie Banner 6-star marvel, Exusiai hails from this subclass.
There is such a thing as an AoE sniper in Arknights and while these snipers cost a lot more, they also exhibit excellent damage against mobs of enemies unless they are armored. These snipers do not prioritize flying units over grounded ones and will simply attack enemies as they come into range. Meteorite serves as the best example of an AoE sniper.
AoE snipers will not seem unusual at all especially compared with snipers that specialize in close-ranged combat. Although these types of snipers exhibit attack range much like all other snipers, close range snipers are usually packed with traits or potential that boosts damage against enemies in close range. Provence is the only sniper we discovered so far that categorically falls within this sniper specialization.
Last, but not the least, there are also snipers that have unique specializations. These specializations typically center around having a different prioritization as far as targeting is concerned but otherwise shares the same traits as all other snipers. Firewatch, for one, is a unique sniper that prioritizes ranged enemies over others. She may have limited use in some levels but there will certainly be challenges that will make great use of her traits.
With heavily armored enemy units plaguing the defensive stature of all classes we discussed so far (except magic damage-dealing guards), casters are an essential staple unit of any squad especially since more and more heavily armored units appear on latter levels. While built for dealing heavy damage and unable to withstand much damage like snipers, casters also employ a dichotomy of specializations for specific scenarios.
The more common caster does pretty decent damage to all kinds of enemies although they usually take a lot longer pausing between attacks. These single target specialists will attack a single target and may not necessarily prioritize heavily armored ones over regular enemies. One of our favorite 6-star operators outside of the Newbie Banner, Eyjafjalla is a great example of a single target caster.
Potentially the costliest class and type of operator and will more likely be last on the deployment list, is the AoE caster. These casters specialize in dealing high damage to mobs of enemies and may also employ debuffs following some enhancements. Like single target casters, AoE types are also relatively slow as far as attack speed is concerned and often does a little less damage output than the former. Ifrit currently sits as the best AoE caster in Arknights.
No roster of classes is complete without healers whose sole purpose is to keep every other unit alive. In Arknights, there will be no other function for medics except to heal allies that receive damage from engaging enemies. Although these units do not contribute in any way to dealing damage to mobs of enemies, they are also a staple member of squads across all levels and game modes.
Medics that pack a strong HP regeneration ability are likely single target medics. They tend to heal the most damaged allies and will likewise take a while before performing another heal. Shining is actually a shining example of this type of medics.
Naturally, if there are single target medics, there’s bound to be an AoE type. As the specialization implies, AoE medics can heal multiple allies with a whiff of their HP regeneration ability. With mass healing comes an acceptable drawback, though, as an AoE medics healing capabilities are not as potent as their counterparts and will restore less HP amounts. Nightingale is a 6-star operator that specializes in AoE healing.
Beginners in Arknights will typically go for the super strong types regardless of cost as the blinding raw power of some units can be very attractive indeed. That is, until after a level starts off with fast-striding mobs that reach the no-no point before an operator becomes available for deployment. This is where vanguards become an integral member of your squad. For the most part, a lot of the other ground units cost more and will take some time until they become available for deployment. Vanguards naturally come with the cheapest deployment costs, naturally deploy ahead of everyone else, and even specialize in earning or recovering deployment costs to boost the summoning speed of their teammates.
The first type of vanguards have skills that earn deployment points from time to time. Keeping them longer in play makes it easier to deploy other operatives and deploying them first theoretically earns you back the cost of deploying them over time. Siege is an example of this type of vanguard.
In contrast with vanguards that earn deployment points over time, the other type of vanguard does nothing fancy while deployed but instead returns the cost of their deployment to you once they retreat from combat. Holding the fort long enough with deployment refund vanguards and them retreating them before they perish can earn you a lump sum amount that can summon more powerful squad members. One of the free operators, Plume, is a good example of this type of vanguard.
Although some RPGs tend to classify healers, buffers, and debuffers under the same support class; buffers, debuffers, and summoners form part of the support class in Arknights. This class may not look like an essential component of beginner squads but depending on the scenario, each type can provide a tremendous impact in battle and can even turn tides. Some support type units employ various assistive skills and may have both types of support.
Although a support type by class, Sora can also heal allies. She does have a debuff skill as well but her greatest strength come from the attack boost she can provide to her allies. Like several operators, Sora is among those that may take a while to unleash their full potential and for support class operators, unlocking skills is an integral part of discovering their type.
As support class operators may not necessarily exhibit skills that bolster the capacity of their allies, debuffers, in contrast, debilitate enemies or make them weaker effectively giving field advantage to the whole squad. Among our favorites, Angelina is a support class that inherently slows down enemies she hits with her arts attack.
As a unique type of support class not common in most tower defense games or RPGs, summoners in Arknights employ their own set of mobs to cluster the battlefield with more friendly units. Though not as powerful as deployed operators, summoned mobs can stall oncoming hordes and even come packed with detrimental effects such as slowing the enemies’ pace when they make contact. Mayer is a great example of a summoner who is fun to play with and takes a unique strategy to fully utilize in the field.
As vague as the class name implies, specialists in Arknights possess highly specialized skills and talents that cannot be suitably categorized along with the other classes. These skills may range from exhibiting uniqueness in dealing with enemies, as well as having more flexibility in terms of deployment location. Given that units belonging to this class each come with their own unique trait and skills, it becomes necessary to read through what a specialist class operator can do and grow to learn as soon as you see that they are specialists.
There are specialist units that can be redeployed fast and having the innate ability to do so gives you advantageous flexibility as you can deploy them, destroy a target, retreat and redeploy again later on. Fast redeployment, in essence, works more like the conventional assassin class in other games as you can appear and disappear with relative ease just to take care of some special target enemy. While the potential strategies that revolve around this class may be a little more complex for total beginners, this special role can definitely be a useful member of your squad. Projekt Red is a good example of a special unit with this ability.
Shift type specialist class operators have various abilities revolving around relocating enemies on the field either towards the operator or away from her. Again, these types of specialists may not particularly excel in any stat in terms of offensive strength and defensive capabilities. As far as strategic team-building goes, these types maybe harder to work around with than all other classes, especially for beginners. Cliffheart is a specialist class that can pull enemies close to her and as much as that would be exciting to consider having on your squad, there will always be instances where a more basic class will potentially be considered over her and other specialist types.
Manticore stands as the only control type of specialist in Arknights for now. Though her abilities involve slowing down enemies and even stunning them, much like support class types, she is, by default, invisible and cannot be targeted by attacks. She will only appear and be susceptible to attack damage whenever she is ready to attack. Once she stops attacking, she will revert back to her original status.
That sums up all the character classes and their respective subtypes in Arknights. With various challenges in the game and given the limitations as to how many operators can be included in a squad, the next thing to be concerned about after understanding each class’ strengths and limitations involve which ones to use in a particular scenario as well as which operators to invest on following how often or rarely you will rely on them in the course of your adventure.
Keep in mind that there is no such thing as an ultimate squad, in the sense that staying with a constant set of operators may get the job done, but some changes in roster may be more efficient for some levels. Remember as well that in Arknights, there will always be more than one approach to completing a challenge. With a good idea about what each of the operators you have can do comes a strategic opportunity on how you can utilize them in the field. Without advise as to how a level will go, as well as which enemies will be present, practice runs will be key to better preparation.
There are still a lot to know about Arknights to raise, if not ensure, victory over each and every challenge. Given that no length and number of guides will fully cover every nitty-gritty bit of information, spending time reading through each operator’s profile as well as taking them for a field trip every once in a while, will be the best means of acquiring knowledge in the game as well as experience to perform better and better.
For now, this is where we end our Arknights class guide and given the enormity of topics to dive deeper into in the game, we may revisit it again for another guide. We hope that we were able to enlighten you with what we shared and likewise hope that you enjoyed reading through all of it. If you have discovered something relative to the topic at hand and have some additional tips or strategies in addition to what we have shared, feel free drop us a line!