Hey there, it’s kukkikaze here, bringing to you my first ever publicly written article! I’m an Arknights YouTuber (https://www.youtube.com/c/kukkikaze) and Twitch live streamer (https://www.twitch.tv/kukkikaze).
Do hop by if you’re interested in knowing all the exciting things of Arknights and want to be part of an amazing community! In this article, I’ll be talking about which operators are best to start with when you’re first playing Arknights!
Arknights is a real-time, tower defense, strategy game. It is a golden standard, exceptional choice of a starting gacha game you should be playing! People often shun gacha games, believing them to be inherently predatory by nature. Predatory refers to how the game is thought to instill a great sense of need in players to pay (a lot), either to attain the best experience of the game or to become one of the best players in the community.
Arknights however, is a pristine hidden gem, very different from other gacha game titles you would have known of. There are no PVP elements to the game (at least at the time of this written article and not in the near foreseeable future). This game is your own personal adventure that you create, which by no means needs to be compared with others.
Even after two years of runtime, it still offers countless of exciting, original updates, adding new game modes, game technicians that redefined the genre of tower defense, never running low on new characters, constantly reshaping the way we play. If you’re looking for great gameplay, high replayability, a game that offers refreshing content, there’s no better time to start Arknights than today!
There is absolutely no trouble at all even if you play the game right now. Surely, your progress may seem further behind those who played the game seem launched, but this will not make your experience less worthwhile than the veteran players. Arknights is a very carefully crafted game that ensures that a new player entering at any point in time can still gain a great load of enjoyment.
They take extreme care towards all types of players, the casuals, the dolphins and the whales, new and old players alike. They are keen on growing their player base as large as can be, and therefore, if you are still in consideration to join the game, I can assure you that you are well taken care of in starting your new journey.
It is usual for people to mention how they feel certain gacha games require the SSR’s or the five stars, six stars to properly let you play the games. That is NOT the case for Arknights at all. When the main producer of Arknights, Hai Mao was interviewed, he was asked “How to adjust the balance while you design stages?” He answered that their game designers and stages designers will “use low-star or free to obtain operators to test the stages”.
This still holds true till today as every content in the game could be beaten without even using any of the operators you would pull via the gacha system. The characters you obtain from gacha simply add to the quality of life of the game, raising your own satisfaction and happiness through the playtime. Without them, the game remains to be fully playable. All it takes is a good strategy whenever you try to complete every level of the game!
Hence, you do not have to fear the need to obtain the highest rarities to play Arknights. They can make the game easier, lower the amount of thinking, but if you’re up to the challenge, you would not be needing them. Even if you’re going to come in starting off as a free-to-play, the money shall not lock you behind the wonders you can discover in here!
Whenever you’re ready, jump straight into the game and play through their tutorials to start your learning journey. The game’s tutorials are clear and in-depth for you to understand the basics. When you’ve completed them, go ahead and fiddle with the user interface.
Play through some of the stages, do a few pulls, set up your base. It won’t be long before you’d eventually want some tips and guidance as to how to move on through the game. Hence, I would recommend you to watch some of the guides that I’ve created to help you through the game!
kukkikaze’s Arknights Beginner’s Guide:
Great! As the title of this article states, this is about fantastic, recommended operators that you can build when you first start the game. Before I do so, please note this very important general advice!
1.Before you promote an operator to Elite 1, ensure that they are Skill Rank 4 first.
2.If you wish to promote an operator to Elite 2, they must be Skill Rank 7 first!
This is because skills are more important than levels in this game. An operator that is maxed out on their levels and promotions in this game is far weaker than a low-levelled operator with very high skill ranks! Skill Rank 4, Skill Rank 7 are ‘breakthrough’ points where the jump in an operator’s abilities is significant, making them especially important, else you would be putting their promotion to waste.
Alright, let’s run through who are great operators to start building with!
Kroos (3* Sniper)
A trusty sniper to own, you can never go wrong building up a Kroos
Kroos is an exceptional sniper throughout the entirety of the game. Kokodayo~ as she always exclaims, but if you put that aside, her abilities are fantastic. She is the iconic operator that tells us to never underestimate the 3 stars. With low deployment cost, fast attack speed, and decent attack amount, she helps to take care of the small low defense fries that you’ll always be encountering in the game.
Her talent grants a 20% chance of her attack to be raised up to 160%, making her even deadlier, and her skill at Skill Rank 7, lets her shoot 2 arrows in a row with additional damage on each of those powered shots as well. Snipers also have a much larger range than guards, so you can be using Kroos to take out enemies from far before they reach your base that you must protect.
Also, Kroos is considered an anti-air sniper, meaning she will prioritize the aerial enemies before the ground ones, great when you need to take out pesky drones. There is simply no loss, but instead so much gain in building her up fast and early in your account.
You can obtain her either from headhunting, recruitment, or easily by clearing training stage TR-8 in Chapter 1.
Cardigan (3* Defender)
Look at her! She wants to give you a hug, why aren’t you returning it to her (´;︵;`)?
Cardigan is an operator that doesn’t get enough attention. She is an exceptional defender due to her very high health (commendable for a low rarity unit) and good defense paired with it. Her health gets even greater because of the talent that she has, giving her 12% more HP. When you have defenders at Elite 1, they can then have a block count of three, instead of 2 at Elite 0. Blocking more enemies allows for your other damage-dealing allies to take them out.
Her skill is also another great one where it restores her HP according to her max HP. At Skill Rank 7, she heals herself for 40% of her max HP, which amounts to about 1200HP (for a max level Cardigan)! She may not even need healers then and can simply handle her health on her own. Higher rarity defenders can be a lot more expensive, but with a Cardigan, just at an easily reachable deployment cost of 16DP, she is an awesome defender you should build right from the start of your playtime.
You would easily obtain her within the first few headhunting pulls that you will do in the game.
Steward (3* Caster)
Never underestimate the power of your lower-rarity units, Steward would tell you just that
Steward is a 3* caster that is very good to start the game with. There are two types of attack in the game, physical and arts damage. Enemies with low defense should be dealt with via physical damage and enemies with low resistance should be handled via arts damage. Hence, that’s where casters play an important role.
At Elite 1, he is granted a talent that lets him attack enemies with the highest DEF first. This is very good as enemies with high defense, usually mean they have lower arts resistance, allowing him to use his arts damage against the enemies’ weakness.
His skill is an offensive recovery one like Kroos, meaning he needs to deal a certain number of hits (4 at Skill Rank 7) to let his next attack have much higher damage. For an early start to the game and even later, Steward can be a very helpful operator to hold around.
Amiya (5* Caster)
The main character (daughter) of the game, and of course the main character will have to be as strong as can be
Amiya is considered the main protagonist of the game and is also a decently strong operator of the game. Even if you don’t want to build her, eventually, a few months or a year into your playtime you would have to be building her, as it is a requirement to reach some of the final story chapters of the game. Nonetheless, she is worth the resources to be building, which I will explain why.
As an early beginning caster, from Elite 0 to Elite 1, her regular attacks are acceptable. She has a Skill 1 that increases her attack speed, which can come in handy. Her second skill is not very easy to control, but when activated, she would shoot 7 times (at Skill Rank 7) at random targets with reduced attack but hitting 7 times is quite a lot of damage. After her Skill 2 is used, she would be stunned for ten seconds.
Her skills are not exactly commendable when you only have her at E0 or E1, but once you promote her to Elite 2 (which you’ll need to do so at some point in your game), she becomes a really powerful weapon. She gains a talent that gives her 2 skill points each time she hits an enemy, and 8 skill points if she kills them.
If you have her at full potential, you’d be restoring 3 skill points for every hit and 10 skill points for every kill, making her skills supercharge each time. Her third skill is unlocked at Elite 2. This skill raises up her attack by a large amount, increases her max HP, expands her attacking range, and most important of all, changes her attack type to True. True damage would be a new term here. It means that no matter the defense or resistance of the enemy, they will receive the full amount of damage.
With a huge increase across her stats, Amiya becomes quite a powerful choice to tear down the most difficult enemies of the game, which is why building her all the way up till Elite 2 is a no-brainer move to go for. All three skills are useful, and the power spike she gets at Elite 2 is tremendous. There would be no rush to build her, take your time to feed her the needed LMD and EXP as you play through the game.
Amiya also has an alternate version of hers you shall encounter as you get into the later chapters of the story mode. But for the purpose of this article, I shall leave you with no spoilers, for you to discover the other stronger side of Amiya you shall encounter in the game!
Cliffheart (5* Specialist)
She’s a great-looking character herself, careful not to get whipped by her anchors…
Cliffheart is a 5* specialist that you will get for free after playing the game for a week. As a 5* operator, like 4* and 6*, you can promote her all the way to Elite 2. However, this article isn’t asking you to have her at Elite 2, rather Cliffheart is very operational just at Elite 1! It is recommended that you build her up just up to Elite 1, and you can leave at whatever level you’d like, even Level 1 is okay.
What makes her a specialist is her role as a puller. Puller and pushers can move enemies towards them or away from them. If used in suitable situations, you can have them push the enemies out of the map or into holes of the map. That way, you don’t even need to deal any damage, just let the holes solve your problems!
Her first skill lets her pull one enemy towards her every 5 seconds (she requires 5 skill points in Skill 1 which skill points recover at 1SP per second) at Skill Rank 7. Her second skill has a large net-like range in front of her and lets her pull two enemies instead, dealing 170% true damage (Skill Rank 7) and stunning the enemies for 1.5 seconds, which like Amiya, true damage can be very helpful.
Also, stunning means that an enemy will be held in place and is unable to attack while stunned. This could be very useful when you need to prevent the enemy from performing an attack, or just need to buy more time for your other operators to kill the enemy. Cliffheart is a very good 5* for you to build right at the start of the game!
Great skins of the snow leopard await you as you enter the game
Myrtle (4* Vanguard)
Even a tablecloth made into a flag can be a deadly weapon on the battlefield
Myrtle is always the talk of the town when you play Arknights, she is one of the best 4* that is often joked to be a 6* in disguise because of how impactful she is to the game. Myrtle is considered a Flagbearer Vanguard, where she can generate a big amount of deployment points with each use of her skill.
Her first skill is the main bread and butter where you can generate 14 deployment points very quickly, with the amount of time to charge her skill lowered with each skill rank and mastery you give to her. Her second skill is less used but has times where it’s better, taking a longer time than Skill 1, but generating 16 deployment points with each skill used while also healing a nearby ally. Both skills will cause her to stop attacking and flagbearer vanguards have a unique trait to also not block anyone when they use their skills.
Myrtle is strongly encouraged to be the first Elite 2 for most players because of how widely used she is early, mid and late games. At Elite 2, you are granted the ability to let your vanguards heal by a small amount every second, and this is helpful in ensuring Myrtle and her vanguard friends survive longer in the early part of every stage you play. Hence, she is a huge recommendation for you to build as soon as you see her dropping into your account.
All cheers for the golden apple marching band!
Mousse (4* Guard)
A nekomata, Japanese term for two-tailed cat, and that spells danger all over
Mousse is the first arts guard that I would name here. Arts guards are unique due to how they do not deal physical damage with every of their attacks but arts damage instead. This can be helpful in situations where you don’t want to use one caster and one defender to hold an enemy weak to arts damage in place, but rather just reduce it to one singular arts guard to do the trick. Mousse can seem like an innocent cat at first glance but she’s one that can surely bite. Her talent gives her a percentage chance to hit twice in a row when attacking.
Her first skill is the usual one that people would pride her for where it’s an offensive recovery skill, it raises the attack value of her next hit once the skill is charged and the enemy that she hit will have a decreased attack for 5 seconds. There will be critical junctures in your playtime where you would very much appreciate having a certain enemy having reduced attack while you attempt to defeat a level. Even the worst bosses would fear the claws of Mousse coming against them.
Her second skill allows her to have increased ATK and DEF for a long duration of time of 40 seconds, but it takes a whopping 80 seconds to charge her skill, making it not a frequent recommendation of a skill to use or build. You would be better off using the 5* variant (Astesia, Surtr) if you wish to use something of the same or even greater caliber to Mousse’s Skill 2. For a starting taste of arts guard that is of worthy build, Mousse will be a great beginning base to work with.
Arene (4* Guard)
A staff that holds shoots deadly bullets on both its ends
Arene is the first ranged guard I’m recommending for early beginners to build. There is a 3* variant of Arene that is Midnight, but I have greater recommendations for Arene to be built instead of Midnight due to how much more Arene can do. Ranged guards can deal physical damage much further from where they are, kind of like a sniper themselves, only enemies they do not block receive 80% of their attack instead. Arene has a priority to attack drones when he’s not blocking any enemies, which can come in handy on the maps with drones, especially with how he increases his attack against drones.
His first skill, drops his block count to 0, letting enemies phase through him if they do get into his tile, but at the same time, he increases his attack and attacks twice. His second skill expands his range to be like a sniper, and no longer holds an attack reduction for further enemies. His attacks become arts damage instead and let him attack two enemies instead of one. Both skills have their situations of being used and hence, this versatility makes him a great guard to start off the game.
Always make sure you’re in style
Cutter (4* Guard)
Cutter who wields dual blades, double the damage, double the trouble
Cutter is a dual-strike guard meaning to say that each time her physical regular attacks will be done twice instead of once. Doubling the damage helps to take out the smaller mobs much more easily and quickly. Her talent grants her a percentage chance to restore a skill point for every time she does her double hit.
Her first skill is an offensive recovery skill which shoots out for four knives to hit random enemies within her range. Each knife has a huge jump in ATK value, making skill 1 a pretty good bursting skill to take out the desired enemy. Her second skill is also a tremendous one, also offensive recovery, which singly deals a physical attack at a wide area for up to 6 enemies at Skill Rank 7.
This damage is also doubled for aerial enemies, making it such that she may be able to single-handly destroy drones on her own. No need for snipers to take them out! With both skills 1 and 2 being very capable, it makes Cutter a very strong recommendation for anyone just joining the game.
Sussurro (4* Medic)
Sus! I’m kidding Sussurro is a medic that is highly recommended for building once you managed to get her via headhunting or recruitment. Medics are important as you play through the game as your operators will not last forever in battle. They are going to need someone to heal their health, and that’s where Sussurro comes into play. Sussurro is one of the best medics in the game because of her second skill.
Her first skill is only a generic healing increase, while her second is a bigger healing increase while also raising her healing speed. At Rank 7, with fast healing power and speed, it helps to even better ensure the survivability of your operators. There aren’t many other medics who can compare to Sussurro’s healing speed, making her a strong recommendation to all new players.
I got a police car stationed beside your house just as you are at this point of the article
Perfumer (4* Medic)
Why heal one at a time, when you can just heal three, if not every one of our allies?
Perfumer is a multi-target medic. What this means is that she can heal multiple allies at once, specifically three people in one go. The healing power is lower than a single-target healer, but there will be times where you’d want a medic that can go about healing more people all together.
Her first skill is a generic healing power increase which is not all too bad as there are times Skill 1 plays out better than Skill 2. This is due to Skill 2 decreasing her healing speed. Even so, you get a return of a huge increase in her healing power. Half the healing speed, but more than three times the healing power at Skill Rank 7, providing the needed big boost in healing multiple people at once.
Her talent is special as well, providing every ally on the map small regenerative healing that can be handy to help some of the strong operators on the battlefield who need healing, but not exactly a lot of healing. Having at least one multi-target medic in the game helps very much, and Perfumer would be a great operator to begin with.
Maybe someday, she’ll let you visit her garden
Gravel (4* Specialist)
She loves you, just as much as you are going to love her
Gravel is extremely staple to Arknights, she is a very important operator for many players in the game and would be destined to be years down the line. She is a fast-redeploy operator, meaning to say that when you retreat her or that she gets killed by an enemy, it takes a much shorter amount of time to place her back on the battlefield again. This is coupled with the brilliantly low deployment cost that she has.
Skill 1 isn’t all too much of a praised skill, but Skill 2 is definitely the powerhouse where she can increase her HP by a massive amount for a short duration of time. This allows her to tank some of the most painful hits that difficult enemies or bosses could deal with, whether is it to eat a para dropped bomb, a huge hammer strike, or an extremely painful purple arrow that could kill almost all operators in the game in one hit. Build her up to Elite 1, and you’ll be very grateful to have owned her!
Cuora (4* Defender)
A baseball bat to the head would be enough to send you into a concussion
Cuora sets a high record in the game for how she has one of the highest defenses out of all the defenders when her skill is turned on. Her own base defense value is already high, paired with a good amount of health. Her talent helps her even more as it feeds her a bigger increase in her defense.
You would almost never be using Cuora on her Skill 1, but instead going for her Skill 2, which beefs up her defense but a huge lot, almost two times of her base defense at Skill Rank 7, and the skill also allows her to block 4 enemies instead of 3, while also letting her restore her max HP by 2% per second. The entire skill of hers is just top tier on its own, making her a highly recommended operator to start building early on.
She just wants you to play with her, when will you find time to do so?
Gummy (4* Defender)
Who in the right mind would fight an enemy with a frying pan?
Gummy is the first healing defender that heals other allies apart from herself. She has a 3* variant that is Spot that I could have recommended. However, as Spot requires some learning in skill timing, I would better recommend Gummy for an entirely new beginning player instead. For her talent, when Gummy attacks, she has a percentage chance to deal greater damage to an enemy and to stun them for a short amount of time, which is a very good talent to compliment her.
Her first skill is the one you will grow familiar with where it restores the HP of either herself or an ally for a certain amount. This is a great ability to have as you are now having a medic’s and a defender’s role infused into just one operator alone, which can assist you very much in battle. At Skill Rank 7, her skill can hold two charges. She’s the first operator in this article that I’ll introduce about charges.
Charges would mean that even when an operator’s skill is charged, he or she can still charge her skill a second time, or even a third time, which means you can use the skills a few times in one go. In the case of Gummy, her maximum storage of two charges could allow her to heal an ally twice in a row.
Her second skill will not be used as often, although the healing capabilities of her Skill 2 are stronger than her Skill 1. This skill requires a longer charge time due to higher SP cost, and when used, she would stop attacking just to cook her food for 10 seconds. During that point in time, her defense is increased. Once done, she goes back to attacking the enemies and healing herself or her allies with the food that she cooked.
It’s a very funny skill to witness and is also better in specific times of your playthrough. But if you are someone who has just gotten in the game, you would just fall back on her Skill 1 for easier understanding first. Gummy is a great healing defender to introduce you to the realm of healing defenders you are going to find as you play through Arknights.
If she opens her own street food stall, I will be sure to be her number 1 customer every day.
Podenco (4* Supporter)
May the soothing scent of flowers be the last thing your enemies savor before their death
Podenco is the first supporter that I’m recommending within this article, and it is definitely thanks to her brilliant slowing capabilities. Slower-supporters do not have that much health or attack damage, but they are able to slow an enemy down with every attack done. Additionally, it is usually when their skills are active that they become beasts of the battlefield.
Her first skill causes her to stop attacking, and instead heal her allies. This won’t be a skill that you necessarily use a lot but could come in handy when needed. The second skill is where the fun is at for Podenco where she throws out a ‘poison mist’. When her vial is thrown onto an enemy, a cloud of spores is released that slows down enemies within it for five whole seconds (Skill Rank 7).
Enemies will also receive arts damage in the meantime. This is a very good ability that can help you out in critical moments of playing the stages. It is also a very fun one to look at, seeing how multiple enemies are snared in her little concoction! Hence, if you’re looking to build a slower, you can get started with a Podenco!
Let her have her peaceful sleep she deserves
May (4* Sniper)
That’s not a toy gun that you’re holding right…
Speaking of slow, I must then bring you to another slower of the game that is May! May is a sniper embedded with a slowing ability. She has a decent attack, a slightly faster attack speed than other snipers, and two skills that allow her to slow her enemies.
Her first skill is an offensive recovery one, which increases the attack of one of her hits while causing the enemy to be slowed. Her second lets every of her shots slow an enemy, with a percentage chance of stunning the enemies instead, while also raising up her attack power significantly. These little abilities of slow and stun can really save you during your runs when you least expect it, making May a very viable choice of an early starting operator to build. Freeeeze nanoda!
Shirayuki (4* Sniper)
A girl who holds a shuriken blade almost the size of herself, something tells me you wouldn’t want to mess with her at all…
Shirayuki is the first AOE operator I am recommending within this article. AOE refers to the ability to damage multiple enemies in a single attack, with no limit to number of enemies being hurt as long as they are all within the range of the attack.
Extremely seldom will you be using her Skill 1 that increases her skill range by two rows forward, but for her Skill 2 however, that will be the bread and butter you will always be going to. She throws out a giant shuriken which slows down the enemies within it, and for every second the shuriken remains active, enemies will receive an amount of arts damage per second, which is especially killer for how everyone within the shuriken takes in the jacked amount of damage.
Slowing, dealing arts damage, and having AOE all in one in a skill that has a short enough cooldown is all the more reason that Shirayuki is an operator you should try out early in the adventure of your game.
Our very own Snow White of Arknights
Click (4* Caster)
Have you watched Click’s channel on YouTube yet? What do you mean you haven’t?
Click falls in the same category of Steward being a single-target caster. However, she takes it up a notch by being more than an ordinary single-target caster. In fact, she is considered to be a mechanic-caster where she has a friendly personal drone to assist her in battle. Click controls a drone as you see from her graphics, which also attacks together with her.
Despite her having very low attack stats, it’s because of her and her drone attacking at the same time, which essentially means she’s doing double the damage, making her more powerful than several other single-target casters. Also, when the drone is attacking the same target, its attack value will ramp up with each hit, up to 110% of its base attack. Her talent grants her and her drone increased attack speed, which is a sweet talent to own.
Her skill 1 is a generic ATK increase skill that will not often be used. Her skill 2 is a fantastic skill you must try out as it increases her attack range, increases the ATK of her and her drone, and allows her drone to no longer be restricted by her range, so that it can lock on to an enemy until the enemy is killed.
Additionally, both she and her drone has a percentage chance to stun an enemy, making her skill just all too wonderful to be using. She is just a huge recommendation for new and even long-time players to be built just for the utility she brings to the table. Give her a try as soon as you have her!
A candylicious Halloween
Pinecone (4* Sniper)
Hurting people one by one is boring, why not just kill everyone at once!
Pinecone is what we call a boomstick sniper, or a shotgun sniper, or a spreadshooter a step-up from a regular AOE sniper. Compared to her 5* counterparts, she’s often praised to be better than them. Her talent is already very unique which improves her SP recovery after leaving her deployed on the battlefield for 60 seconds, letting her use her skills much faster and more often in each stage. Spreadshooters can hit all enemies in their range, and the enemies in the row directly in front of them also take 50% more damage.
Her first skill has low SP cost and can hold charges. She can charge her skill 1 up to three times, with each use dealing much higher damage and also being able to ignore a certain amount of DEF from the enemies (ignoring DEF means that only for herself, she would cut the enemies’ defense but the specified amount). You would be using her Skill 1 more often Skill 2, but her skill 2 is also very powerful.
Her skill 2 is unique where her attack range is reduced to only the row in front of her, her attack is increased and with each use of her skill, she gets additional ATK as well, up till a certain amount. This tallies with the name of her Skill 2 that is Electrical Overcharge, as if we are overcharging her skill every time we use it. All in all, if you’d want to get a taste of a boomstick sniper, Pinecone is going to be a fantastic choice to own within your playthrough.
And we shall sing a great song to our audience
There are a lot of operators in the game, especially the highest two rarities of 5 stars and 6 stars. However, because it will all depend on your luck to obtain these specific 5 stars and 6 stars, I made this guide such that I will only mention the very accessible operators you can get in the game. These will be the ones who can help you to go far whether it’s in the first month of your game or years down the road. My goal is to help you get a great head start in your playthrough, and I hope this article serves just that.
There are a lot of other easy-to-obtain characters I could have also mentioned, but I deliberately chose not to talk about them. They can be very powerful, but in consideration of how very new players may be reading this article, I made sure to choose the ones that are easy and fast to learn. Once you have grown into the game, then you’re ready to learn so much more through this!
I have a Discord server for you to join so that you can get in touch with your first Arknights community! I heavily prioritize maintaining a warm, welcoming culture in this server, and even have greater accommodation for newer places, so do pay this cozy place I created a visit! Leave me a message as to how you feel about the article when you’re here!
Join kukkikaze’s Discord here: https://discord.com/invite/RwB3q6HXMU
Also, I will be making an expanded Beginner’s Guide series over on my YouTube channel where I go extremely in-depth to everything a new player will want to know, so if you don’t want to miss it, subscribe to it now!
kukkikaze’s YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/kukkikaze
That’s all from me, I hope to see you soon!