Table of Contents
- Tier 0
- Tier 0.5
- Tier 1
- Tier 2
- Tier 3
- Glossary of Terms
Welcome to our Snowbreak: Containment Zone Global Tier List! Find out the best characters in the game, ranked and reviewed by expert vicyush for the latest meta.
- Ratings and reviews reflect my personal opinion on the state of the game - you may disagree!
- Units are assessed at maximum possible strength; any practical reduction in power and corresponding rating decrease at lower character development levels will be noted.
- No ratings are defined within a certain tier, and the relative placement of an operative within a certain tier does not imply anything about this.
- A character being rated low does not mean they are (completely) useless! The main story and many other game modes are easy enough that they can be completed with any appropriately-levelled operative in the game.
- Despite this, using higher ranked units will make your life much easier even when playing said content, obviously.
- A glossary of terms used is below the tier list; use it as needed.
Extremely strong units with limited or no equal alternatives
Yao - Winter Solstice
Roles: DPS, bossing
One of the best bossing DPSs in the game. Has insane synergy with Space Cowboy, which allows her to consistently pump out high damage shot after high damage shot by using her active skill, Scorching Sun Awakening. Her ultimate skill, Searing Resurrection, then proceeds to temporarily give her a gun that does even more damage while also passively reducing all damage she takes by 20% while not in her ultimate skill form.
Yao’s spotlight has faded a little bit as other powerhouse DPS operatives have emerged, but she can still hold her own while bringing uniquely unrivalled initial burst damage.
While insanely good even without manifests, manifest 1 sees a massive power spike from being able to reload her special weapon from Searing Resurrection. However, she is however highly dependent on Space Cowboy to reach her full potential and drops to Tier 1 without either that or manifest 1.
Both neuronics for her active skill and ultimate are very strong investments. Her support ability neuronics are less important (but still really good!), as scenarios where you wouldn’t want her as your active operative are far and few between, anyways.
Acacia - Kaguya
Roles: support, mobbing
The simplest way to describe Kaguya's kit is that she throws a lot of things, and (most of) the things she throws are good.
Her normal ability throws projectiles (“darts”) that orbit around her, doing damage and reducing enemy move speed. With neuronics, she can have more of these, and they can also freeze enemies and make them take enhanced damage on Kaguya’s next attack. In practice, the wide radius at which the darts orbit makes them awkward to use, and while the freeze is nice (and a decent chunk of damage when you proc the damage amp that comes with it), it’s a lot more trouble than it’s worth.
Her support skill throws another dart that this time orbits a targeted area, dealing damage and more importantly reducing enemy resistances; a very potent debuffing tool. This is where Kaguya earns her keep nowadays, as a universal resist shredder that shows no sign of losing value anytime soon.
The grand finale is her ultimate, which again throws a projectile that lingers at the target area, dealing decent damage to enemies caught in it. When upgraded, it will also suck in enemies, making it very easy to use.
While slightly awkward to use and with some enemies being immune to her crowd control effects, her usefulness as a debuffer makes Kaguya more of a supportive operative, if not a very strong one.
Kaguya’s manifests are best described as “nice-to-haves,” and none of them significantly make or break her. Pine Aurora is the ideal option for getting the most value out of her support skill and is absolutely worth its price tag, especially after its buffs. Prismatic Igniter and Aye Aye Captain are strong alternative weapon picks for getting the most out of her use as a support operative (which you probably will be using her as most of the time). Rotten Orange and Muddy Snow are both strong options for enhancing her active operative power, while there is no downside to using Star Ocean unless your Kaguya is manifest 2 or higher.
Shockingly, the vast majority of her power is not locked behind manifests, but instead neuronics. All of them are good. Get all of them. That being said, prioritise her support skill neuronics and the ultimate neuronic that sucks in enemies. You can probably skip her standard skill if you only use her as a support.
Chenxing - Ethereal Cloud
Roles: DPS, mobbing
While the authenticity of how “ceremonial” her outfit is remains to be seen, there’s no doubt about her ability to pump out damage.
Her basic ability is the bread and butter of her kit, giving her amazing mobbing ability. The chain damage to marked targets is very notably based on the actual damage of the shot that triggers it, allowing Chenxing to still meaningfully benefit from gun damage buffs (to the point where Amano-Iwato is as good or better than Mingyi, the set seemingly designed for her, in this regard).
Chenxing’s support skill is more of the same, though with less power and more restrictions in its usage. However, it can still be used to give operatives with less mobbing power some waveclear potential.
Dominance, her ultimate ability, is… alright, I guess. It’s not a bad ability by any means, but it’s more AoE mobbing on an operative who already has a lot of it. At least it can refresh her mark duration and provide a ballistic damage amp.
Overall, this creates an operative who can shred through hordes of enemies, while also being able to put down strong sustained DPS even against beefier solo targets. Of note is the fact that her marks can be applied to breakable parts, making her ridiculous against multi-part bosses like Hela or either Ni-Mech. What’s really interesting is her synergy with Mauxir, as when the appropriate neuronic is applied, Chenxing can apply Mauxir’s ultimate Aptitude when attacking marked targets, doubling down on her mobbing potential.
As far as manifests go, stage 2 is likely the sweet spot as this is when the duration of your marks increase. She’s perfectly playable without, though. Having an electric assault rifle is vital to being able to use her Deiwos ability, but your options are… not great. Your only real offensive options are her signature weapon, Anti-Evil Ward and the 3* electric AR, as all the other electric ARs in the game are support-oriented. If you picked up Wild Leer during the Mingdeng Ritual event, you’ll be well-served by it, as it’s a decent enough stand-in for Ward. For those that didn’t, it’ll supposedly be available through other means soon, so keep your eyes open for that.
Considering that the main gimmick of Chenxing are her marks and chain damage, maxing both neuronics for it are your top priority. After that, her ultimate neuronics are worth looking into, if not just to help maintain her mark uptime and also increase their effectiveness.
Haru - Absconditus
Haru trades her ponytail for a sword and dons the Absconditus tactical suit. She gains strong mobbing power, but loses some of her DPS uptime against enemies tough enough to survive her initial attacks.
Haru's standard skill is the most important part of her kit, as you'll be spamming it a lot. Working on a charge-based system, each cast does three hits of damage to up to five enemies each, doing pretty decent damage overall. While the ability passively reduces its cooldown when shooting enemies, you'll definitely want to be getting kills to make the most of its neuronic that refunds a skill charge and negates the ability's S-Energy cost for three seconds after a kill. In all, it's enough to make Haru a strong mobbing tool for most applications, but beefier enemies and bosses can definitely lead to a less pleasant experience.
Her support skill is more of the same, actually doing quite a lot more damage than her standard skill, but on a much longer cooldown. With neuronics, it can also stun enemies hit, which is also nice.
Should you want more power, you still have Haru's ultimate. On cast, it does a large area-of-effect slash on enemies, then transforms into the Body as Blade (BaB) state and gains 50 Victory Points (VP), which are what you use to maintain BaB, costing one VP per second. While in BaB, Haru's standard skill doesn’t cost S-Energy, has its cooldown greatly reduced, and does an additional hit of damage (bringing the total to four per cast). However, each cast costs two VP, limiting how many uses you can get out of it. Additionally, you can recast Haru's ultimate while in BaB to perform an attack similar to the initial ultimate cast, but dealing way more damage. This costs 15 VP, but can also be recast without meeting the VP cost, after which you get kicked out of the Body as Blade state. Neuronics greatly improve the power of the recast, allowing for standard skill casts to potentially grant a free ult recast, and each ult recast refunding VP based on the number of enemies hit.
Of particular note is her Deiwos passive, which executes shieldless enemies below a certain HP threshold scaling with Haru's attack stat. This greatly helps with finishing off enemies and maintaining standard skill charges.
It's clear to see that Haru is heavily biased towards clearing crowds, and she'll happily mob up trash mobs all day. However, when enemy HP values get higher or the target becomes beefy bosses instead, Haru can find it harder to find resets and end up waiting on cooldowns for her skill charges, in which time her gun DPS isn't particularly impressive. However, with Manifest 1 and a solid choice of pistol, she ekes out just enough skill uptime to let her hang with the other top DPS units in Tier 0. Without these two key components however, her performance falls just short and ends up in Tier 0.5 instead.
Haru's first two manifests offer the most bang for your buck, with the first allowing you to start missions with a free ultimate and the second providing an easily-stackable attack boost. The value proposition becomes much harder beyond that, so stopping at one or two is more than fine. Haru obviously wants her intended best-in-slot, Psyche-16, but does well enough with the free Wild Wasp Stinger from the Fogbound Dream event shop. In particular, the faster-firing semi-automatic pistols are preferred as they'll allow you generate more cooldown reduction faster for better skill uptime. It’s for this reason that Star Ocean ends up being a less preferred option, as despite its synergy with Haru’s abilities, ends up being too clunky to effectively use to maintain skill uptime like a semi-auto pistol can.
All of Haru's neuronics are actually pretty useful in their intended roles, so invest in them based on what you expect to use. For almost all of you, this means prioritising her standard skill, then ultimate skill, then finally her support skill if you find yourself using that often.
Fenny - Coronet
Roles: DPS, support
Coronet is an operative who wants to get in enemies’ faces and plug them with lead, and has the abilities to do it.
Her active skill, Optimal Condition, raises her attack speed by a massive amount, and also boosts her electrical damage with neuronics. Being based on a stack system, Manifest 1 additionally removes the time restriction, giving this ability potentially unlimited uptime. This does come at the cost of reduced ability to break parts, a traditional strength of shotgun units. Furthermore, her ultimate skill, Center Stage, brings AoE crowd control and interrupts enemy skills to buy you breathing room to work with.
Even in scenarios where the shotgun playstyle doesn’t work, Coronet’s support skill grants the active operative a potent boost to their rate of fire, further enhancing her value.
On the whole, Coronet has a very cohesive kit that synergizes well and allows for extremely strong damage potential against enemies while properly supported.
While technically usable even without manifests, Manifest 1 is a major power spike and what really brings her to T0 performance. Manifests 2 and 3 are highly recommended though, as they make Mercy stack upkeep both more forgiving and rewarding. Similarly, Coronet is also not technically dependent on a weapon, but Sunny Payback is a huge quality of life improvement, as it will provide extra pellets for more damage and better stack generation while her active skill is up.
All six neuronics are useful and worth investing in; which and how many you level is dependent on what you want out of Coronet and how much you’re willing to invest.
Mauxir - Shadow Ka
Shadow Ka brings unique support abilities that challenge Kaguya as one of the top supportive operatives in the game, but also finds herself equally lacking in on-field performance. Not that it matters.
Mauxir’s first skill involves her throwing a clone of herself at an enemy, at which point it will blow up and do damage. It’s definitely a skill. The cooldown is long and the damage is just okay. You can hold it down to spin around, but it’s mostly a gimmick. Similarly, her ultimate is also just kinda there. A slow can situationally be useful, but for the most part you won’t really bother.
The real reason why most of you will actually care about Mauxir is her support skill, which is great. Casting her skill summons a dummy that attaches itself to the cast target, and also attaches to several other targets. All targets take damage over time, but you can attack the dummy to transfer 110% of damage that it takes to the main target. Aside from being a damage boost, providing a stationary target for you to hit is especially useful against mobile enemies.
It does come with some drawbacks, though. The dummy does not have weak spots, so you’re at the mercy of your operative’s innate crit rate to get critical hits. You can supplement this with the boost from Manifest 1 however, which provides bonus crit rate when attacking the dummy based on what gun class is attacking. It’s an okay boost for pistols, SMGs, and ARs, but with shotguns and snipers, you get a 100% boost which basically means every shot is guaranteed to crit. Shooting the dummy also bypasses any special damage reductions that an enemy might have (like on Ni-Mech), and will also transfer over debuffs that it receives. It’s also an extra part for Ethereal Cloud to attach to. All in all, a very good skill and the star of Mauxir’s kit.
Mauxir’s Deiwos passive allows for operatives to occasionally get a guaranteed crit that will do bonus damage based on her alignment index. It’s a nice bit of extra damage for most gun classes, but not very useful on shotgun operatives, as the bonus damage only applies to one pellet of a shot. It’s as silly on sniper operatives as you might think.
While her active operative performance is nothing to write home about, her ability to make DPS units hurt propels Mauxir to the top of the rankings. She’s not quite as universally useful as Kaguya, but instead trades off versatility for specialisation, leaning more into boosting gun damage ops and providing more value in that regard.
As far as manifests go, all of them are pretty useful aside from manifest 2, which is just an attack decrease on enemies affected by her support skill. However, the higher cost of later manifests means that most players will opt to sit at manifest 1, which is a massive power spike and a must-have in its own right. Mauxir obviously wants her signature weapon Alloy Truth, which is just a really good weapon in its own right. Lacking that, Wave from the Verdurous Holiday event shop is… fine. It’s definitely a downgrade, but it’ll do. Frigatebird is also a good option, and can potentially be better than Wave. If you want to use Mauxir as an active operative… give her 100 Battle Veteran and play her as a gun DPS, I guess.
As most of her usage will be in the support role, both of her support neuronics are an obvious choice for unlocking. Your mileage may vary for the rest, but it might be worth getting them anyway to level up her Deiwos passive.
Very strong units lacking one or more specific strengths to make them T0 viable
Fritia - Hush
Roles: DPS, laser beam death ray
Hush’s character bio notes that her exoskeleton more or less only got approved because of the heat ray that it comes with, and this translates over to her gameplay disappointingly well.
Her normal ability, Strongest Chain, is an AoE crowd control tool with okay enough damage. However, the cooldown is painfully long and the ability only pulls in four other targets, which is a strange caveat to include.
Her support skill takes a similar support approach like her 4* variant, this time providing a defensive buff that comes with CC immunity when upgraded with neuronics. Unfortunately, it has a drawback of being limited to five hits (though it can linger with halved effectiveness once you unlock the corresponding neuronic), and also only lasting ten seconds. Being restricted in lifespan by both hits and time (neither of which are particularly impressive in duration) limits its overall usefulness, especially in stages with turrets and other rapid-firing enemies.
Perhaps the reason that these two abilities are so strangely limited in effectiveness is to allow for more power budget to be distributed to her ultimate ability, the heat ray. Damage-wise, it is good. Very good. In fact, it’s the main reason for Hush’s high tier placement. However, using said heat ray roots you in place, which is less than desirable. Being CC’d while using your ultimate also cuts it off early, which is a mild inconvenience. The solution to this problem turns out to be through manifests. Lots and lots of manifests. To gain maximum effectiveness out of her ultimate, Fritia needs to be manifest 4, which is not exactly cheap. Manifest 2 is the most sane stopping point as far as cost-to-benefit goes, as this is where using her ultimate applies her support skill buffs to Fritia herself. This significantly reduces the drawback of being rooted during her ultimate, and if her support skill has the appropriate neuronic, also gives Fritia CC immunity to prevent undesired interruptions. Manifest 1 also removes the limit on her ult duration, extending it to “as long as you have the energy to use it.”
As stated before, Hush is heavily manifest-dependent, and sees reductions in her placement depending on manifest count. Manifest 4 is required to maintain Tier 0.5, while Tier 1 requires at least manifest 2. Otherwise, has Tier 2 performance. Lava Bones is the no-brainer best-in-slot, but at best pushes her to Tier 1 when combined with just manifest 1. You do want to give her a fire AR though, as this unlocks one the free methods of increasing her ult damage via neuronics.
Given that the main gimmick of Hush is her heat ray, you will obviously want to prioritise both of her ult neuronics, with the CC immunity (“Iron Body”) on her support ability being the next most important. The other three neuronics are of less importance.
Lyfe - Wild Hunt
Roles: DPS, support
A good operative held back by a
bad mediocre gun class.
Her standard skill, Frost Wolves, is the star of Wild Hunt’s kit. It continuously dispenses ice missiles to mow down enemies and freeze the ones it can’t instantly take down. Running on its own ammo system, it can be refilled when shooting targets with a Frost weapon after manifest 1, enabling amazing uptime and surprisingly usable bossing potential.
While still not quite a universal trash cleaner on par with Chenxing - Ethereal Cloud, Wild Hunt brings useful CC to the table with her support and ultimate abilities, which both freeze enemies in a large area of effect.
Of particular note is the DoT that her support ability applies (even if you don’t freeze your target!), which ticks often enough to make Wild Hunt a surprisingly strong support with Amarna. The fact that she can use Alloy Truth, one of if not the strongest support weapon in the game, doesn’t hurt either.
While useful even without manifests, manifest 1 is a major breakpoint in maintaining her skill uptime. Manifest 3 is a luxury, but another very potent upgrade, almost doubling the ammo capacity of her standard skill. Tier 2 without manifest 1. Stardust Memory is preferred, as other SMG options are… lacking. If using her as a support, any of the support SMGs are viable options from top-shelf selections like Alloy Truth to more easily-obtained options like Frigatebird. Use your brain.
Both active skill neuronics are a high priority. Her support neuronics are worth snagging due to reasons listed above, though your mileage may vary for her ultimate.
Mauxir - Meow
Roles: support, DPS
Mauxir is an oddball of an operative who subverts traditional gameplay patterns and offers unique tools not found elsewhere.
Maurxir’s quirks start off with her standard skill, a unique soul grab mechanic that allows for Mauxir to bypass traditional SMG weaknesses and effectively deal damage to enemies that SMG operators typically struggle with. It comes with some drawbacks, but can also be kitted out with some fun party tricks like low-health executes and AoE damage given enough manifests.
Her support skill is also quite similar, but can only be hit by skills, which somewhat limits its practical usage. Despite this, its ability to generate extra targets allows skill-based operatives like Absconditus and Kaguya to hit and double dip on damage, making her very useful as a support in the right conditions. The orbs generated by her support skill can also passively spawn without a cooldown when an enemy is affected by a control ability, allowing for very high uptime on support orbs. It’s not unlikely for this skill to only get better over time, as more operatives release with new potential synergies.
Finally, Mauxir’s ultimate ability can do one of two things. On cast, it immediately executes enemies below a certain health threshold based on Mauxir’s current health, though this effect can be difficult to use effectively. If the execute fails, Mauxir instead gains a self-buff that grants bonus damage on shots scaling with her maximum health. This bonus damage can also be granted by skill hits from other operatives in your squad, providing an additional source of damage to operatives who don’t typically find a lot of value in their own ultimates. In particular, it has strong synergy with Chenxing - Ethereal Cloud due to the bonus Aptitude only having a cooldown per target hit which allows for even stronger damage with Chenxing’s marks (which count as skill damage).
With unique abilities and gameplay interactions with other operatives that will only increase as time goes on, Mauxir remains as a valuable asset for those who know how to use her to her full potential.
Mauxir is useful even without manifests, but they mostly provide compelling benefits. Of particular note is Manifest 3, which reduces the defence of orbs based on their missing health. As well, Manifest 5 is NOT recommended and something to be avoided, as its effect causing orbs to detonate can actually cause you to lose DPS. Not reliant on a specific weapon, but Hypchlorous Acid is preferred in more supportive roles to provide a larger boost to her ultimate ability’s bonus damage. It works well for active operative use too, but 100 Battle Veteran can be quite spicy in how it interacts with her orbs.
As a support, you will want the two neuronics in her support and ultimate skills that allow other party members to have access to her party tricks. The rest are all notable quality of life boosts and can be invested in based on your own discretion.
Marian - Swift
Roles: sub DPS, DPS
An exception among the current sniper roster, Swift is a sniper who does not have to aim.
Her active skill, Cloud Shot, fires a homing shot at an enemy as well as making the next normal shot lock on as well, allowing for constant mobility while maintaining DPS. The lock-on also is very useful when facing more mobile enemies that may be more difficult to otherwise land effective fire on. Aiming at targets marked by Cloud Shot is still desirable when opening your combos, as it will lock your next Cloud Shot cast in turn, creating a self-sustaining series of lock-on attacks.
Swift’s support skill is nothing to write home about, but it’s a crowd control cleanse that also provides some extra mobility.
Similarly not a core component of her kit is Wounded Bird, her ultimate. However, it does enough damage to be worth its energy cost, and also provides ten seconds of extra defense penetration to contribute to DPS after the fact. This adds onto her Deiwos passive, which allows her to ignore a certain amount of enemy defense when attacking weak points. It also increases her gun’s magazine size by one, which is always nice.
Ultimately, Marian finds herself with a very strong burst rotation while she has Cloud Shot charges, albeit one that can end quickly and leave her with not a lot to do. But with the right setup and logistics rolls (attack and skill haste), she can be a potent duelist able to hang with the best.
Hitting Manifest 2 is the best cost-to-benefit ratio, though later manifests can help extend her burst window or increase its availability. Swift is surprisingly flexible with her weapon selection, but Horn of the Orca is amazing quality of life as its bullet refunds allows her to extend her damage rotations.
Both neuronics for her active skill and ultimate are useful investments, while her support skills are more niche and situational in value.
Viable, but more niche or outclassed by better options
Marian - Queen of Pain
Roles: DPS, burst
Marian is the quintessential “sniper sniper,” with simple gameplay and competent damage. However, she also rewards good positioning through her passive buff to ADS ballistic damage while not moving.
Smokescreen is a simple get-out-of-jail-free card, but its passive skill component is your primary DPS boost. Scope in, hit harder; it’s as simple as that. The clone left behind by the active component can also be used as a follow-up shot when her ultimate ability is activated once the corresponding neuronic is unlocked.
Her support and ultimate abilities are both quite similar, as single-target nukes. Her ultimate in particular is excellent for mini-bossing due to its low cooldown and energy cost, allowing you to use it on tougher enemies for quick takedowns while also not feeling pressured to save it for an eventual boss fight like you might with Winter Solstice.
Useful even without manifests. Not reliant on a specific weapon, but prefers Mark of Mesmer to further enhance her ADS playstyle.
Prioritise her ult neuronics. After this, the other four are of lesser importance, though upgrading her Smokescreen neuronics will increase the passive bonus from ADSing that's attached to it.
Acacia - Redacted
Roles: support, mobbing
Acacia is the first operative you roll from the gacha, and useful at all stages of the game. Being able to spam bouncing daggers will trivialise early-game content, though this damage does fall off quite quickly.
Her ultimate can be upgraded to provide a damage boost, while also slowing enemies to allow for other DPS units to more easily aim for weak points and face lower pressure from attacks while doing so.
Surprisingly, the best part of her kit is her support ability’s slow effect. As all enemies are vulnerable to slows (this includes Neural Sim bosses), Acacia’s support skill can always be of use, and is by far the best user of the Navigator Squad logistics set, which adds in an additional damage amp. Bringing Acacia also gives a decent amount of starting U-Energy from her Deiwos ability, allowing for earlier ultimates.
Useful even without manifests. Not reliant on a specific weapon, but prefers Nexus to enhance her skill damage.
Her active skill cooldown reduction neuronic is of high value, as lower cooldown allows you to recharge an extra dagger in the time it takes you to throw the ones already stocked up. Her ultimate ability neuronic that increases operative attack while in her ultimate zone is also recommended.
Yao - Quiet Quitter
Roles: healer, DPS
Sniper and healer are two conflicting identities for a character, but Yao makes it work just well enough to go home on time.
As an active operative, Yao relies heavily on her standard skill, Five Minute Break, to enhance her DPS. With it active, she becomes a fast-firing DPS with a bottomless magazine that can deal with farther-away enemies in a pinch. Since you get her for free as well, she can do fine enough as your main sniper until you get better options.
Her support skill and ultimate really both do the same thing, and makes Yao the strongest healing operative pound-for-pound. Her support skill thoroughly beats any competition for total healing done, and her ultimate further doubles down on this. Do note that making the most of her healing can restrict your movement a bit, as her support skill’s healing drone isn’t the fastest and her ultimate does leave her napping in a chair.
In Quiet Quitter form, Yao isn’t the most impressive DPS, but she doesn’t have to be, as her healing power is more than enough to make her a valuable pick in squad lineups.
Yao works right out of the box, but her first two manifests massively boost her healing power, and are quite easy to obtain thanks to the new player login campaign. While initially weapon-agnostic, will want a Frost sniper once her neuronics are unlocked to get the most value out of her abilities. Olympus is ideal for raw healing, but Deep Sea’s Call can trade some of it off for an attack boost instead.
As most players will end up using Yao exclusively as a healer, unlocking both support neuronics is a pretty obvious decision. After that, both active skill neuronics are decent DPS increases, while her ultimate neuronics also help with its uptime and add extra utility through CC resistance.
Lyfe - Wednesday
Roles: DPS, support
Wednesday is most simply described as a budget version of her SSR variant, Wild Hunt. Persistent attack drones sound interesting on paper, but ultimately do not do enough meaningful damage, nor do they provide CC like Wild Hunt’s Frost Wolves. While her support and ultimate abilities have strong CC, they are again outshined by her rarer variant, who provides a larger area of effect and deals more damage.
Fundamentally still a decently designed kit with undertuned numbers, in her current state she’s simply stuck always being one tier behind her 5* variant.
Not meaningfully dependent on manifests, but you will get at least manifest 1 on her no matter what, as the game provides many free Wednesday shards through career missions. Not reliant on a specific weapon, but Work-in-Progress is free and really your only good on-element option, so you might as well stick to that. Atrium Frontline and Homecoming both work before Manifest 3, though note that the former is only available through the premium battlepass.
All of Wednesday’s neuronics are meaningful upgrades, though neuronics that refresh drone duration can be hard to effectively use given the lack of a clear indicator on their remaining duration.
Fritia - Little Sunshine
Roles: support, mobbing
Fritia comes with a fiery set of skills, but her active operative performance keeps her on the bench, where she’s much more useful.
Neither of Fritia’s active operative skills are particularly noteworthy. Her standard skill is a decent enough crowd knockup, but doesn’t do a lot of damage and comes on a long cooldown compared to its effect. Meanwhile, Her ultimate’s effects activate too slowly to majorly contribute to DPS.
Fortunately, her support ability is great. It gives the active operative bonus Thermal damage on each shot, helping faster-firing operatives get the most out of their bullets. However, her support neuronic that claims to increase final damage to burning targets only affects the bonus damage granted by her support ability, which noticeably makes her much less useful with slower-firing operatives, like Yao. The bonus damage does apply to every pellet fired from shotguns though, which is a large DPS boost to shotgun operatives.
Fritia winds up as an operative that’s decently useful overall, but not enough to make her stand out from the crowd.
Useful even without manifests. Prefers Strawberry Shortcake to gain maximum value out of her support skill.
Both support skill neuronics are very good. If you insist on using her as an active operative, prioritise her active skill neuronic that increases its range, as this will allow you to deal with large groups better.
Fenny - Lionheart
Roles: DPS, mobility support
Lionheart is a bit of a one-trick pony, but by god if it isn’t a really good trick. Queen Bee is a deceptively amazing ability that grants mobility and CC while also seeing eventual upgrades that grant her a shield and the ability to reset its cooldown. Quite ironically a great partner to her other variant, Coronet, as a way to deliver her into a crowd of enemies so Coronet can open fire. Queen Bee can very usefully also be cast without a target, providing free mobility to reposition away from a dangerous area. Her support skill is useful CC; though her ultimate is quite disappointing in damage output and too energy-intensive as a CC tool.
Also, as it turns out, Fenny has quite a high raw attack stat for a four star operative. This makes her surprisingly good for simply shooting enemies in the face. Who would have thought?
Useful even without manifests, though manifest 1 makes her quite a lot more fun. Not reliant on a particular weapon, but Tiny Grains has good synergy with her role as an initiator.
Both active skill neuronics are very strong and worth investing in. The rest are less so.
Chenxing - The Observer
Roles: healer, mobbing
Chengxing has an interesting zone control playstyle that unfortunately falls a bit flat, but remains relevant as one of only two proper healers in the game.
Her normal ability, Heavenly Law, drops a turret that attacks enemies and draws aggro. When upgraded through neuronics, these turrets also have a very large range of effect due to their chain lightning. In practice, the turret damage output isn’t all too amazing and the main use you get out of this is from the crowd control from tower zaps and by using them as aggro dummies.
Psychic, her support skill, drops a tower like her standard skill, this time spawning healing pickups. Compared to Yao’s healing, Chengxing’s heals are chunkier in size, but fewer in amount. This leads to lower absolute healing, but allows for more freedom in positioning due to the heal dispenser (which also can attract enemy aggro) yeeting the heal over to your active operative (the range is quite generous and much less restrictive than Yao’s band-aid circle). Unlike Yao’s heal, Chengxing’s support ability also increases the active operative’s skill damage, essentially trading off some healing for potentially a lot more damage. This is where most of Chenxing’s usage comes into play, as her own personal damage isn’t quite up to snuff.
The kit is tied together with Chengxing’s ult, Divine Purification. This drops a larger turret which again repels enemies, and buffs up your existing attack turrets. When upgraded, it does damage on entry but more importantly gives Chengxing chain lightning of her own that ricochets up to five times for quite a bit of damage. Though with her turrets feeling mostly lacklustre, how much value you’ll get out of this may vary.
Neuronics allow for her standard and support abilities to further buff up the active operative’s skill damage by a significant amount, which means her support skill provides an even larger buff, and when used as an active operative means that Chengxing’s turrets output even more damage.
Can use any AR, but Trial’s Eve
is an incredibly potent signature weapon that nearly rivals Winter Solstice and Space Cowboy got reworked after CBT and is now much less good as an offensive weapon, though still fine in a support role I guess. All five manifests are meaningful, but she works perfectly fine without.
Prioritise her support ability neuronics, as you’ll probably be using her for her support heals most of the time. Her ultimate neuronic can bring some useful DPS boosts when using her as an active operative, but not by a huge amount. As for her standard skill, the Ultimate Thunder neuronic is good quality of life, but your mileage may vary for the turret healing mechanic on the other neuronic.
Siris - The Goldfish
Roles: support, sub DPS
The forgetful goldfish packs a punch while also providing strong utility. However, she does come with caveats in either role, limiting her ultimate usefulness.
Her normal ability, Initial Coffin, grants Siris 25% damage reduction, but also allows her to get bonus Kinetic Aptitude on her next attack after dodging. While the numbers on said echos may not seem very high, they apply to every pellet fired by her shotgun, which adds up to a meaningful amount. However, this ability starts its cooldown when the buff expires and not on cast, leaving you with 10 seconds of uptime every 25, which isn’t amazing.
Most good operatives have a “killer feature” that makes them valuable in a team composition. Siris’ is the ability to build a wall, and make the enemies pay for it. Her support skill deploys a barrier that blocks enemy fire while still allowing friendly operatives to shoot back. When upgraded, the wall will additionally provide the 25% damage reduction from Siris’ normal skill to the active operative after the wall expires, though you can’t get the bonus Kinetic Aptitude. While shooting through the barrier will provide said bonus damage, your mileage may vary at a 30% activation rate. Keep in mind though, that the wall is fixed in place which can reduce its usefulness if you’re forced to bail out while dodging area-targeted attacks. In practice, this skill is of dubious usefulness, as enemies threatening enough for this skill to be useful tend to instantly break it, while enemies that can’t are weak enough that the wall isn’t needed at all.
Finally, Siris’ ultimate is another potent self-buff, granting her a massive shield while also granting defence reduction, movement speed, and crowd control resistance. Should you end up not needing all that shielding, 20% of any left over gets converted into a heal for her. Yet, this buff only lasts for ten seconds, which really isn’t enough time to really get value out of the shield and other buffs.
Overall, Siris is a dual-role brawler that tries to do two things and ultimately isn’t amazing at either. All of her skills come with awkward drawbacks and most players may find her “killer feature” to be little more than a gimmick.
Manifest 1 is amazing value, extending the usefulness of her support skill, but whether you want to push past her inconsistently useful manifest 2 is up to you. Any Kinetic shotgun will work on Siris, with luxury options including Tiny Grains for a more offensive role, and Precious Baby for more defensive prowess. For support applications, Lapis Lazuli allows her to also provide an attack boost.
All of her neuronics are quite useful, and Siris can be flexibly specced to reflect what a specific player would want to use her for.
Enya - Big Sis
Roles: support, DPS, mobbing
Enya is an operative that attempts to be a versatile multitool, but ultimately spreads herself too thin in the process.
Her active skill throws a cluster of bombs that bounce outward until they hit an enemy, at which point they explode. However, they don’t have enough range to effectively deal with groups of enemies not in close range, yet also spreads out too much to be useful against all but the largest hordes. Tight corridors make the spread much more manageable, but it’s more often than not frustrating to use.
Feathered Serpent, her ultimate ability, provides Enya with an extra boost to her DPS by passively storing charges of bonus damage that get applied on hits, but they don’t recharge fast enough to make a large impact in many scenarios. The ultimate also has an active ability that deals damage to an area while also releasing a large stack of said bonus damage charges, but I’ve found it to be awkward to aim, as it will often aim too close or too far from the enemy you want to hit.
The real star of Enya’s kit is her support ability, which once was enough to make her Winter Solstice’s best friend. Said support skill applies a bomb to an enemy that amps the next shot on that enemy’s damage by up to 30%, which can be a lot when you consider how much damage operatives like Winter Solstice output per shot. Unfortunately, the 15 second cooldown leaves her with limited uptime on this ability, and stronger supports like either Acacia make her value proposition harder to justify.
In the end, Enya works, but it’s hard to give stronger praise than that. All of her abilities come with significant drawbacks that limit her full potential. She really just needs better numbers on her abilities, but until that happens, Enya finds herself being a jack of all trades, master of none.
While all of her manifests provide some benefit or another, none of them meaningfully make a difference to her power. Prismatic Igniter is the obvious choice for support applications, while Lucky Times helps to supplement her DPS should you choose to use her in that role.
All of her neuronics are pretty decent upgrades to her abilities. Choose based on what you want out of her, but you probably want to upgrade her support neuronics first.
Not amazingly strong, but still viable or niche
Cherno - Those Two
Roles: off-field auxiliary, DPS
Cherno is weird. Her active skill is a reasonably useful area interrupt, though its range is too small to be effective without her neuronic upgrade (and still a bit lacking afterward). Her support skill disappointingly is only a slow effect and does not deal damage, but has surprisingly good utility as a repositioning tool. Clear Empty Skies, her ultimate ability, attempts to get around the inherent weaknesses of the SMG class… by outsourcing the work to someone else. I wouldn’t blame her. Beloberg actually can output some very strong damage numbers, but the inability to directly control its behaviour and its constant HP drain on Cherno makes it a tricky and sometimes frustrating tool to use, even with the ability to switch out to another operative after summoning Beloberg.
A minimum of manifest 1 is recommended to reach a baseline level of effectiveness and is Tier 3 otherwise. Not specifically reliant on a weapon, but Arctic Fox is recommended for offensive purposes, with Hypochlorous Acid as a more defensive, off-tank playstyle.
All of Cherno’s neuronics provide meaningful upgrades to her abilities; while her ultimate ability neuronics are recommended as a first priority, it is ultimately up to your own playstyle and what you want.
Nita - Hands
Roles: support, CC
While initially unimpressive, Nita turns out to bring just enough utility and damage to find herself an occasional spot on team lineups.
Her active ability is a strong close-range CC tool that also allows her to generate a large amount of personal shielding, while her ultimate and support abilities are useful CC tools. Combined with all her manifest and neuronic upgrades, Nita becomes a potent shield tank with high durability. However, such a role is simply not needed in the game’s current state, as enemies simply do not deal enough damage for a main tank to be necessary.
Despite this, her support ability turns out to be quite a useful mobility tool, with the range on the dash matching or exceeding even that of Lionheart, and the followup movement speed buff and shield that can be applied with it are always nice to have.
Does not see any major gameplay strategy changes as she gains manifests, though her first manifest does provide a way to convert her shielding into more damage, as well as knock back enemies which can be useful in cheesing some stages. Not reliant on a specific weapon, but Precious Baby can further increase her survivability, while Tiny Grains can provide some offensive utility and Lapis Lazuli will maximise her value as a support.
All of Nita’s neuronics do provide some use, and you can invest in them as you wish, depending on what you want.
Haru - “The Ace”
Roles: DPS, Bossing?
A clunky mix of abilities leaves Haru with a confusing playstyle that reaps questionable rewards. Her active skill, Triple Tap, wants to be charged up to have maximal effectiveness, but its long charge time means you’re giving up non-insignificant gun DPS in exchange for it unless you can’t hit weak points. Vanishing Phantom, her support ability, can be used as an execute ability against low-health targets, and actually is a relative strong point of her kit.
The other relative bright spot in Haru’s kit is her ultimate ability, which applies a knock-up and provides decently strong followup damage via her Sword of Oaths on shots hit. However, the split power budget that adding both a knock-up and a damage buff creates makes this ability one that tries to do two things and is resultantly not great at either; the knock-up does not do damage and the zone is not particularly large, and the Sword of Oaths has too long of a cooldown to majorly contribute to DPS, even with her neuronic upgrade.
Does not see any major gameplay strategy changes as she gains manifests. Prefers Star Ocean, though whether you want to spend resources pulling this may be questionable at best.
If you are dead-set on using Haru, you’ll find that all of her neuronics have some use, and you can invest in them to suit whatever playstyle you manage to come up with for her.
Glossary of Terms
Short for Area of Effect. Denotes abilities that can also affect nearby enemies that are not the primary target.
The act of fighting strong boss-type enemies, or the corresponding role that an operative might have.
See also: mini-bossing, the same concept but applied to less powerful enemies that are still significantly stronger than average mooks.
Short for Crowd Control. Denotes the ability to temporarily disable an enemy’s ability to act, or the corresponding role an operative might have.
Short for Damage Per Second. Denotes the ability to output consistent damage, or the corresponding role that an operative might have.
Different types of DPS exist:
- Break DPS: Specialised in doing large amounts of burst damage during boss fights where the boss is temporarily downed and vulnerable
- General DPS: all-purpose, good at everything but may not be the best at anything.
- Single Target DPS: large amounts of damage, but in a way that may limit the number of targets that can be quickly and effectively engaged.
An operative with the role of taking damage for other operatives.
May have sub-specialized roles:
- Off-Tank: Short for Offensive Tank. An operative that is intended to take hits while also dealing back non-insignificant damage as well.
- Main Tank: An operative intended to be heavily focused on taking damage, often at the cost of personal damage output.
- Shield Tank: An operative specialised in mitigating damage taken through the use of shields.
The act of effectively fighting large clusters of enemies, or the corresponding role that an operative might have.