Arknights Tier List Guide – Best Characters and Operators

Arknights sure has a lot of units for players to pick and choose from! There are eight classes, with each having anywhere from ten to fifteen units, ranging from one to six-stars. This means that there are around 100 units for you to form your squad with! Naturally, there are some units that are better than others, but with so many units to sift through, you might be wondering which units are the best. Wonder no longer, Doctors, we’ve got the answer in our Arknights Tier List which rates each of the units currently obtainable.

A few disclaimers. First: you do not need six-star units to complete any part of Arknights. This may change in the future, but with the level of enemies currently available, all stages (minus some Chapter 4 Challenge Mode stages) are able to be completed with the free-to-play three, four, and five-star units!

This tier-list is subjective to my own personal biases and opinions, and the opinions of various communities where I researched for more information. While I believe this list to be true, it’s entirely possible that a unit isn’t as good as it’s displayed, or a unit could be way better than given credit for. Make sure you’re looking at your own units and formulating a strategy based on the needs of the stage!

This tier list was compiled with the Skadi and Grani patch (Grani and the Knights Treasure, ver. 0.8.13) in mind. Future updates will likely change the order of the tier list: power creep is a real thing in gacha games, and this is no different.

Finally, the tier list is split by class and ranked from top to bottom, top being the best. Some units within the class perform slightly different roles, and are ranked according to how well they perform compared to other units of their rarity level. One and two-star units are omitted automatically.

Alright, let’s take a look at the tier lists for Arknights!

Arknights Guards

Arknights Guards Tier List – Best Guard Characters

Guards are described as the main melee DPS units. They typically come with high damage, or multi-hitting techniques designed to pump as much damage onto the field as possible.

The S-Ranks need little explanation. Skadi and SilverAsh are incredibly potent six-star units. Spectre is an S-Rank despite being a five-star unit due to her ability to dole out AoE damage while blocking as many as three units, all with an ability that grants her temporary immortality!

Melantha is probably the first Guard unit you will receive. Despite being only a three-star unit, she performs well above her weight class! Her stat pool at max-level is quite high, coupled with a low deployment cost and a moderate re-deployment timer. Until you obtain any of the A or S-Rank units, Melantha will likely be your bread-and-butter B-Rank Guard.

Units like Dobermann and Frostleaf are listed as C-Rank due to their middling stat pools and situational usefulness. Frostleaf, however, can be thought of as a temporary B-Ranker when there are maps that don’t have a lot of ranged tiles available due to her ranged attacks.

Savage, a five-star, is marked with a “do not use” symbol, as she cannot be upgraded with duplicates or tokens, and her stat pool and abilities are legitimately worse than the C-Tiers.

Arknights Vanguards

Arknights Vanguards Tier List – Best Vanguard Characters

Vanguards are low-cost entry units during a battle. They usually, but not always, come coupled with an ability to generate additional Deployment Points, allowing you to put more units on the field faster.

This list needs even less explanation than the Guards. Siege, being the only six-star Vanguard available, not only generates tons of Deployment Points, but also has an area-of-effect (AOE) nuke as well.

Grani, Zima, and Texas are all fine choices for your A-Rank Vanguards. Vigna is probably the strongest four-star Vanguard, with Courier being a close second. Plume is a four-star masquerading as a three-star.

Arknights Casters

Arknights Casters Tier List – Best Caster Characters

Casters come in a few flavors: Single-Target, AOE, and Debuff. Some Casters can do multiple roles, but the one unifying trait is that they deal Arts Damage which ignores Defense. Instead, Arts Damage is mitigated by Resistance. These units have moderate to high Deployment costs, so plan accordingly!

Ifrit and Eyjafjalla are both some of the strongest S-Rank units in the game, let alone in their respective class. Ifrit not only deals massive AOE damage innately, but also reduces Defense with her second skill. Eyjafjalla, meanwhile, requires her second or third skill to be able to do AOE damage.

A-Rankers Skyfire, Amiya, and Gitano simply put out large amounts of Arts damage. Skyfire in particular can crash meteors down on foes, causing massive AOE damage.

For the B-Rankers, Nightmare is sadly a disappointment, becoming a pseudo-support with a both a healing option and a slowing option. Lava is your go-to entry-level AOE nuker as she excels at that. Haze is a good choice if you need Resistance piercing and she comes with a damage steroid as well!

Arknights Supporters

Arknights Supporters Tier List – Best Supporter Characters

Much like Casters, Supporters come in a few flavors: Slow, Summon, and Buff/Debuff. Supporters tend to avoid attacking directly, and if they do, they do negligible damage. Instead, their value comes from their utility on the battlefield, be it from slowing enemies, buffing allies, or summoning bonus units to block enemies!

S-Rankers Angelina and Pramanix are stellar additions to any squad, with Angelina’s mass slow and Pramanix’s mass debuff providing top notch support for your damage dealers.

In the A-Ranks, Sora is a unique unit that doesn’t attack, but instead sings to bolster allies and debuff enemies in a set radius. Mayer can summon robot dogs to block units and deal damage, while Istina is a weaker version of Angelina.

B-Rankers Earthspirit and Deepcolor are weaker versions of Istina and Mayer, respectively. Finally, C-Ranker Orchid is your entry-level slowing unit, functioning as a weaker Earthspirit.

Arknights Defenders

Arknights Defenders Tier List – Best Defender Characters

Defenders come in two types: Healing and Normal. These are your tanks; they can generally block three units innately and come packed with high Health, Defense, and Resistance. This comes at a cost though — their damage output is very low, and so they rely on other units to finish enemies off.

S-Rankers Hoshiguma and Saria are your standard six-star powerhouses. Hoshiguma can reflect damage back to the attacker, and Saria provides passive AOE healing to allies around her. Cuora is a four-star unit packing six-star potential. She is the only unit so far in the entire game that can block four enemies at once (requires Elite 1)! This allows multiple strategies that make harder content easier and so earns her a spot as an S-Rank. She can be purchased from the store for in-game currency.

A-Rankers Nearl, Vulcan, Liskarn, and Croissant are all varying flavors of tanky support. Nearl operates as a weaker Saria, Vulcan is a self-sustaining tank, Liskarn is a damage-dealing tank, and Croissant can shove and stun units.

B-Rankers Beagle, Matterhorn and Gummy are your entry-level Defenders. Beagle in particular is a unit you will utilize a lot, being the tankiest of the free-to-play units. Gummy can heal units in addition to tanking, but her heal isn’t that potent, and Matterhorn is simply a bulky wall.

Finally, C-Ranker Cardigan is a three-star tank of moderate usefulness until you obtain pretty much any other Defender.

Arknights Medics

Arknights Medics Tier List – Best Medic Characters

Ah, Medics. The staple of support, these units keep your other units alive. Some Medics excel at single-target healing, while others are fantastic AOE healers. Depending on what units you are packing in your squad, and what the map looks like, determines what healers you need!

S-Rank has the two six-star units, Shining and Nightingale, with Shining being the best single-target healer and Nightingale taking the AOE healing crown. Silence, the only five-star unit in the tier is a wonderful Medic that can fulfill both roles! Her second skill generates a medical drone that pulses passive healing for ten seconds in an AOE around it.

A-Rank contains Perfumer, a four-star unit that has map-wide AOE passive healing. This adds up quickly over time and she can be stuck in a corner on the map to avoid incoming damage! Ptilopsis is another AOE healer, but also functions as a map-wide skill point battery. Warfarin is an interesting unit in that she can buff and heal at the same time, but she doesn’t provide the mass healing or mass buffs that the other units can.

B-Rankers Myrrh and Gavial are more or less weaker versions of Ptilopsis and Warfarin, while C-Rank contains your free-to-play healer units, Ansel and Hibiscus.

Arknights Snipers

Arknights Snipers Tier List – Best Sniper Characters

Snipers are your core ranged damage dealing units. They primarily deal physical damage and can either be single-target or AOE damage dealers. Snipers are normally placed on ranged tiles, letting them avoid enemy melee units entirely.

S-Rankers Firewatch and Exusiai are very deadly units to place in your squad. Exusiai in particular is a murder machine, able to dole out damage rapidly. Firewatch, however, is more utility-based, having a larger range and the ability to drop bombs on enemy pathing.

In the A-Rank, Blue Poison is your AOE damage-over-time dealer, while Meteorite is an AOE grenade-launching death dealer. Both are excellent additions to generally any squad, but Blue Poison can deal Arts damage and should be considered for high defense enemies. Jessica and Kroos are placed here because both of them make excellent attackers, performing way above their weight class and allowing newer players to tackle harder content at Elite 1. They are both free units, as well! They are replaced by anyone else in the A or S-Ranks.

B-Rank holds Shirayuki, a ranged AOE attacker, and Meteor, a ranged debuffer, shredding through defenses easily. Platinum, the five-star in this tier, has good range and great damage, but low attack speed which hurts her on swarm maps.

C-Rank holds Catapult, a weaker Shirayuki; Adnachiel, a weaker Kroos; and Provence, a five-star Sniper that attacks in melee range. She puts out good damage, but her range issues make her nonviable on most maps.

Arknights Specialists

Arknights Specialists Tier List – Best Specialist Characters

Specialists are hard to rank, because they are not confined into a specific role other than “enemy disruption.” They do one job, and one job well: either moving units around, slowing or stunning them, or being extremely mobile.

S-Rankers Cliffheart and FEater (IronEater) are excellent fighters. FEater in particular is able to shove enemies around very quickly and can duel with most heavy hitters as long as she has a healer to back her up. Cliffheart can snag multiple opponents and drag them, which is helpful if you’re trying to pull units into pits!

Manticore and Projekt Red in the A-Rank are situationally useful. Manticore can hit all enemies in her attack range and either slow or stun them, making her very useful for swarm maps, however, she is very fragile and can’t survive direct hits. Projekt Red’s gimmick is that she is cheap to deploy and can redeploy within 20 seconds. Every time she is deployed, she stuns units adjacent to her, making her a very mobile crowd control unit!

B-Rankers Rope, Shaw, and Gravel are weaker versions of Cliffheart, FEater, and Projekt Red, respectively.

Whew! Well, that’s every single three-star and up unit, ranked, in Arknights! Which unit do you utilize the most? For me, FEater is in every single one of my squads, because she is always useful, but I’m curious to hear what strategies you all have. Post your teams down below!

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James Upton

James is an avid fan of dead series. Ask him how many hours he spent in Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine, or how many times he's platinumed the .hack// HD remake (two). You can make fun of him over at @surtrz on twitter.

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3 Comments

  1. I am offended seeing Shining over Ptilopsis in S rank lol, also Shirayuki doin half of her dmg as arts on S2; Mousse is great (and basically Melantha #2) when you need to deal with armor heavy bosses. Tier list is qutie accurate in some roles but complete mess in others.

  2. I just ranked up Shaw to elite1 level 60 because I love her, then started grinding for FEater and now find that she’s just better shaw. Good bye resources ;~;

    1. It happens! I put a bunch of resources into Rope and then immediately pulled a Cliffheart. The good news is there are a handful of maps where Shaw and FEater both are super useful!

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