Arknights Beginner Guide - Incomplete WIP


I’m writing this guide primarily because of 2 reasons:

  1. While there are many guides out there, including on GP, I find that the guides are too scattered, or are split into multiple different guides. I aim to compile the necessary information into a singular guide and add in some of my personal opinions/experiences.

  2. I want to practice writing.

This guide aims to be a complete handbook for beginners, going through the basics and fundamentals of Arknights. The content of this guide is solely my opinion, so take it as you will.

The guide assumes that players have already completed the in game tutorial, and have some feel of the game play. If there are any terms you’re unfamiliar with, you might find an entry of it in the “Common Terminologies” tab.

Below are the contents of the guide, feel free to skip to the section you require:

Basics of Arknights

Here, I’ll cover the broad basics of Arknights, as well as general concepts.

General Rule of Thumb
  1. Ak is a Tower Defence game. At its core, the point is to eliminate all enemies while preventing any from touching your blue box. While the game generally allows you several ‘lives’, you’d want to clear stages without leaking any to get the full rewards.
  2. Keeping the above in mind, the general importance of Ops planning in a squad are as such:
    DPS > Block/Tank > Healing > Utility/Support
    That isn’t to say healing isn’t important, but you’d be much better off having 4 DPS and 1 healer, than 4 healer and 1 DPS. The faster you kill enemies, the less healing you’ll have to do.
  3. Almost all operators have their uses. Don’t ignore 2-4 star units. They are key to your early AK career. Raising two 3 star units at the start pays itself back with missions, so they’re technically free to upgrade to max level.
  4. Having a wide variety of Ops at the start of your game is very important. They open up more strategies for you to complete maps. Strategy > Stats (more details in Team Building tab below)
Arknights Grind

The game is fairly grindy, and you have to constantly grind for materials and resources. Luckily, there’s an auto deploy function for you to let your game run while you do other stuff.
Now, because Sanity is a limited resource, we all want to make efficient use of it to extract as much materials/resources as we can from it.
Here are two (one & two) resources to help you figure out which map is most sanity efficient for grinding. Have fun figuring out how to make sense of it :catdance: Both uses slightly different calculations, but some maps in general are quite evidently the best to farm for a certain material.

Arknights Missions

AK has Daily, Weekly, and Campaign missions. (The maps you grind are also called “Missions” too, don’t get em confused)
Daily missions refreshes Daily at reset timing (Duh)
Weekly Missions refreshes every Monday at reset timing.
Campaign missions do not reset, and are permanent.

It is highly recommended to complete the daily and weekly missions as they give good rewards that accumulates over time. You can take your time with Campaign missions.

Arknights Events

Occasionally, Arknights run events. These events may feature a variety of log in bonuses, mission bonuses, additional map rewards, or time limited event maps.
In general, these Events reward players with a significant amount of resources, and materials. Try your best to complete the event to maximise the reward you get from it, but don’t worry if you can’t 100% it. Rewards are usually bottom heavy, meaning the majority of rewards are gotten by doing the simplest tasks, while the hardest tasks gives a tiny bit more.

Contingency Contract

You may hear/read the term “Contingency Contract” (CC) coming up while browsing through the forums, reddit, or watching AK videos. CC (there are many CC in AK) is widely called the “End Game” of AK, and is by far the hardest game event for AK if you want it to be. You may choose different “risks” to add to the difficulty, thus, the difficulty level is entirely up to you.
Higher “risks” = higher reward/bragging rights.

However, don’t worry, even as the “Hardest mode”, it is still fairly easy, and most people can get 75-90% of the rewards by clearing the easy - medium risks. Remember, rewards in AK are bottom heavy.

Starting Priorities

Detailed here are the starting priorities for new Doctors. It is purely my opinion.

  1. Identify a core of Operators (Ops) that you want to use, and build them up first. (more details in Team Building tab below)

  2. Get your base up to speed. Your base provides a significant chunk of LMD and XP card daily. The sooner you get it up and running, the better off you’ll be. (More details in Base building tab below)

  3. Once you have your core built, try to clear Episode 4 main missions ASAP. EP 4 is where most of the Sanity efficient grinding maps are. Links here and here for you to take a look. If unsure, generally higher “Sanity Ratio” = better map.

  4. Once you’ve gotten access to decent farming maps, it is time to plan out your first E2 operators.

After you’ve gotten your first E2 Ops, it’s just a matter of grinding and getting stronger Ops for future content

Team Building
Operator Class

In Ak, there are 8 classes of operators.

(Melee) Vanguards, Guards, Defenders,
(Ranged) Snipers, Casters, Medic, Supporter
(Unique) Specialist. This class offers a wide variety of special units meant to do a specific job.

Within each class of Ops, there are sub classes. Each subclasses offers a unique twist to the Class, such as Healing Defenders, AoE Snipers, Ranged Guards etc.

Operator Class Explanation

Detailed here is a brief explanation on the various Ops classes and sub classes.

Vanguards (Vg)

Vanguards are usually your first deployed units. Their Talents, and Abilities center around generating more DP for you to deploy other units.

There are 3 Vg archetype so far:
DP on Kill: These Vg generate 1 DP for every enemy they kill. They must land the last hit to gain DP. Refunds full DP cost when retreated. Refund does not apply when unit is killed instead.

Ability DP Generating: These Vg have abilities that generates medium DP when activated. Offers more damage/tank than Utility DP generating Vg.

Utility DP Generating: These Vg have abilities that generates high DP when activated. Offers less Damage/Tankiness in exchange for Utility and sheer DP generating prowess.


Guards are the Melee DPS class of AK.

There are a LOT of Subclasses for Guards. I’ll simplify them down to 4 broad categories.
Ranged Guards: These guards can deal ranged damage for 80% of their Atk stat. Deals full damage when enemy is in melee range.

AoE Guards: These Guards hits multiple enemies = to their block count. Has 3 block count if E2 status.

Arts Guards: These Guards deal arts damage instead of physical damage

Rest of the Guards: The rest of the sub class goes here. Simply put, their main job is to dish out damage in melee range.













Choosing Operators to Invest In

As in every game, people generally do not want to invest in ‘sub optimal’ units and tend to pursue Tier Lists (Examples: 1 & 2) to find out which units are worth using or ‘Meta’.

However in Ak, this is not strictly necessary. Units at every Tier have their uses, and various abilities that set them apart from their contemporaries.
Disclaimer: Obviously in the majority of cases, a 6 star unit will outperform a 2 star unit of the same archetype.

Here’s a general guideline on identifying what Operators to invest in for new accounts:

  1. Identify all of your highest rarity units. Know what classes they are and what they do by searching
  2. Identify 2 of each of the following:

Vanguards, Defenders, Snipers, Healers.
The above 4 will form a solid core for your team. There is no need to worry about sub classes as of now.

Building a Squad

Building a Squad.

Expanding your Squad

Expanding your Squad

Base Building

TBC - Unsure

Core Game Play

TBC - Unsure

Advanced Tips

TBC - Unsure

Common Terminologies

Here are a list of common terms used in Arknights:
This guide assume the reader already know common gaming terms like AoE and DPS etc.


Included are some common gaming terms with explanation on how they differ in Arknights.
Some Resources are linked in the Game, Mission and Operator Related Terminology tab.
Some commentary and advice are added into the Shop Related Terminology tab.

Game, Mission and Operator Related Terminology

AK: Arknights
Doctor: The player is referred to as Doctor
Ops: Operators, the units you deploy.
Farm: Grinding missions to gain materials.
Sanity: Resource you spend to start a mission and farm for material. Commonly called “energy” or whatnot in other gacha games. You need Sanity to actually play the game. Replenishes by 1 every 6 mins (10 per hour). Try to always be below full sanity as it’ll be a waste for it not to replenish.
Leaking: letting an enemy through your defences and losing a life.

LMD: Lungmen dollar, currency used in game. Most frequent bottleneck of resources as it is the most widely used.
XP: Experience Points. Leveling your operators in this game uses a “XP Card” system. Instead of gaining xp as they battle, you have to acquire XP card and give it to operators you want to level up.
Mats: Materials. They are used to upgrade your operators.
Orundum: The Gacha currency of the game, used to headhunt for new operators. (600 per roll)
Originium prime: Sometimes called OP, its the premium currency in game. Used for buying cosmetic, refilling sanity, or converting into Orundum.

HH: Headhunting permits, used to headhunt (gacha) for operators instead of Orundum
10x HH: Headhunting permits but can headhunt for 10 operators at once. Sometimes called 10x.
RC: Recruitment permit, used to recruit operators. It’s a different form of obtaining operators.
Recruitment guide here
Recruitment Resource here
Expedite Plan: Used to finish a recruitment instantly. Use whenever, no need to save.
Tokens: Any duplicates of an operator you receive is converted into a token. Tokens can be used to upgrade Potential of an operator, or exchanged for certificates. (covered below)

Operator Class/Type: There are 8 types of Operators in AK

Operator types

Vanguards, Guards, Defenders, Snipers, Casters, Medic, Supporter, Specialist.

Operator Archetype: Within each operator class, there are sub classes which differentiates them.

DP: Deployment Point - A resource you spend to deploy operators during missions.
DC: Deployment Cost - The resource cost of each individual operators
SP: Skill points - A resource an operator gains during missions in order to activate their abilities.

Split boxing: A technique to position the enemy where their hit box is in range of two separate tiles.
CC: Crowd Control - the operators ability to handle and manage multiple enemies at once. Usually by disables (Stun, bind, slow) or displacement(Push, Pull).
Aggro: The target priority of enemies. Last placed unit will draw the attack of enemies in range towards it. Very important concept to master early in game.
Push/Pull: Some operators have the ability to push or pull enemies, displacing them.
Weight: A stat used by enemy units. Different units have different ‘weights’ which determine how far they can be displaced and the strength of the displacement needed. Higher weight requires stronger displacement.
Pit/hole: A hole in the ground (literally) in which you can push or pull enemies into, killing them regardless of HP.

Stun: Enemies or operators stunned cannot move, activate abilities or attack. Operators stunned will NOT block enemies. Some bosses cannot be stunned.
Slow: Slowed enemies move slower. They still attack at the same rate.
Bind: Enemies bounded will not be able to move. They can still attack Operators within range.
Silence: Enemies silenced will not be able to use their special abilities, and their passive abilities will also not trigger under silence (e.g. exploding slugs will not explode under silence). Some bosses cannot be silenced.
Cold: Operators affected by cold attacks 50% slower. Getting hit by cold effect again whilst under cold results in a Freeze.
Freeze: Operators under Freeze will not be able to attack or activate abilities, but they can still block enemies.

Status Resist: Operators with status resist will shorten the duration of Stun, Cold, and Freeze by the % stated. (usually 50%)
Attack: Attack stat of the unit, is mitigated by Def/Resistance, depending on type. Physical = Def, Arts = Resistance
Defence: How much attack the unit blocks. Defence directly reduces attack (e.g. 1000 Atk vs 500 Def = 500 dmg dealt)
Resistance: Not to be confused with Status Resist, Resistance is how much arts damage the unit blocks. Works via percentage. (10 resistance = 10% lesser Arts damage received)
For a detailed breakdown of damage calculation.
Block: Block prevents that number of enemies from moving past the operator, any more than the number specified and enemies walk pass the operator.
Trust: Builds over time as you deploy the operator, up to 200% trust… Gains additional stat as trust increases. Max stats are gained at 100% trust.

Lvl: Operator levels. Stat increases as you increase their level.

Elite-ing. This resets their levels (e.g. from lvl 80 back to lvl 1) while keeping their current stats, also increases level cap, may also unlock new talents or skills depending on the operator.
They do NOT get stat increases when upgrading Elites, only when upgrading levels. Currently there are two Elite status:
E1: Elite 1, E2: Elite 2 (maxed Elite as of now)

Pot: Potential, duplicates of the same operator can be used to up the potential of said unit for additional buffs. Buffs are different between individual units. Each line indicates 1 additional Potential.
Pot 0
Max Pot, all lines light up.

Operators may have more than One skill. Each skill can go up to 7 normal levels.
S1: Skill 1, S2: Skill 2 , S3: Skill 3

Skill mastery means upping your operator skill level beyond the normal 7 levels. Only 4-6 star Ops can have Mastery.
M1: Mastery 1, M2: Mastery 2, M3: Mastery 3 (maxed mastery as of now)

The left most is referred to as skill 1, and the count goes right.
The blue tick at the top right of skill 3 (Pictured above) denotes that it is the default skill. When you choose this operator in a squad, this skill will automatically be selected. (you can change it whenever you wish to)
The 3 white dots at the top left of skill 3 denotes the mastery level. (Pictured above) Each dot equates to 1 mastery level. No dot means that the skill has yet to achieved any mastery.

E.g: My Silverash Is E2L40, S3M3.

Shop Related Terminology & Commentary

Commendation Certs: Also called green certs, this certificate is a “common” cert used to purchase various items in the shop. Use freely, as it is easily gained. You must purchase all of the items in one tier before the next tier unlocks.
I personally recommend saving up at least 2.4k green certs at the start of the month to purchase 2 HH in Tier 1, and 2 HH in Tier 2 of the shop.

Distinction Certs: Shortened to DC sometimes, or called gold certs, this certificate is a “rare” cert used to purchase higher quality items in the shop. Can also purchase 5 to 6 Stars operators with it. Use very cautiously and only when planned, it is a valuable resource for you to obtain a 6 star unit, or a large number of HH/10x HH. There are no ‘Tiers’ of shop for DC.

Shop Vouchers: Resource used to purchase Operator tokens, Chip catalyst and 4 to 5 Star Operators. Use cautiously, mostly used to purchase Chip catalyst to upgrade your 5 and 6 star Ops. There are no ‘Tiers’ for Shop vouchers.

Furniture Parts: Resource used to purchase furniture for your Base dormitory. Use freely, or save up for a set if you want.

Friend Credit: Gained every day from 4 sources. Visit your friends base, visit your own base’s reception(and send/receive clues), claim from the top of credit store (the amount claimed from credit store varies), and finally, using a support unit. You can buy operators from credit store too.
For more info on all things store related, click here.
Credit shop refreshes every day.

Friend Base visit

Useful Resources

To be added


Looks good so far,

As a tip, I’d suggest you try to simplify as much as you can, and try to avoid walls of text wherever possible.
That’s one thing I’ve noticed when new users ask questions here. They end up being met with a lot of reading, differing opinions and potential confusion.
This paragraph for example I’d hide under an ‘explanation’ tag:

I’d also move the ‘common terminologies tab’ down, certainly below ‘basics’ and ‘starting priorities’ tabs if not further down towards the end, more like a glossary. It’s nice to have, don’t get wrong, but most people start to pick up the language as they go and the basics and starting priorities are a much better starting point for the guide.


I agree, I’ll try to trim down as much as I can tomorrow. I don’t want it to be a massive wall of text, that’s not gonna be of any use to any one.

I’ll shift around some sections too. Thanks!


This was interesting to read through. So far it’s looking good with points short but understandable. I’m glad you actually pulled through with it!


Very nicely written imo, very concise all in all. In the starting priorities, you could probably link the data that shows the farming efficiency of each stage in case they need that further reading. Keep up the good work!

Sorry it’s gonna take awhile to complete it. Been real busy lately.