Getting Started Notes
Additional Notes for the Getting Started guide
This section is for people who like more explanations on the things above. If you are just starting and trying this game out, blindly following the guide above is fine, you do not need to know the things in this link.
But if you prefer explanations to why we ask you to do things as above, this is the section that will address that. If you think the getting started guide is insufficient/needs more explanation, contact me.
Starter Echelon rarity and cores
Cores are required to dummy link a unit at lvl10, 30, 70 and 90. Every time you do it, you increase your HP and damage output by 100% (up to 500%). This is a very important part of your early progression, and a 3* x5 unit is significantly stronger than a 5* x3 unit.
The important part is that you need either 7 duplicate units, which can be replaced by a number of cores depending on rarity, to dummy link a unit.
|Rarity||Cores Per Dummy||Total Cores required without dupes|
You only start with a limited number of cores for free, and the amount of cores you can get from early quests is limited (you can get some from gold/silver ranking maps, so make sure to do that whenever you can). As such, for your 1st echelon, the faster you get your echelon to lvl90, the less 4* units you can afford to train. If
you play daily, you can get a lot of cores just from daily quests and daily crafts. A player taking 2 weeks to train their 1st echelon to lvl90 could usually afford 4 4* units, whereas someone who gets to lvl90 at day 2 will struggle at 3.
Luck is also a factor, as you can get cores from dismantling 3* or higher units (obtainable at relatively low amounts in the beginner grind maps like 4-3E), and they appear in random rates. A luckier player may be fine training one or two 5* units, but an unluckier one may not.
As there is a limited number of cores for your 1st echelon, the number of high rarity units you can train is limited. As such, you need to choose your 1st echelon carefully. Training a 5* unit early may provide you with a better mid-game lineup, but may also take you into a state where you are stuck without cores to dummy link your units, forcing you to grind for cores before they can reach their full potential, and most likely wasting exp and time. (A unit with a higher dummy link gains more exp in battle, although their exp threshold also increases at any dummy link level as well).
Honestly, it is not something you cannot recover from. Most players start in core hell from playing blindly and they'll climb out of it over time, and the EXP wasted isn't something that time cannot fix. But you're reading a guide, so you might as well avoid it if you can.
First Echelon lineup#
Most people suggest a relatively conservative 1st echelon is that it will save you cores until you are slightly more experienced in the game. Additionally, during the time when you are training your units, you will have had the time to do some crafts, and possibly get some good units.
For example, a slow and lucky player may have enough cores to train and fully dummy link an echelon of FAL, M4A1, AR-15, MP5 and Skorpion (three 4*s and one 5*) at lvl90 in 2 weeks. But at the end of that, they will have little or no cores left for their next echelon, and will be forced to train a very weak RFHG or ARSMG echelon.
On the other hand, if you had trained an echelon of M4A1, AR-15, FNC, Skorpion and Ingram (two 4*s), you will have enough leftover cores for three 4* units or one 5* and one 4* unit for your next echelon. Additionally, during the 2 weeks, you would be crafting daily, and you now have more options, and likely better options, to choose from. You are also at a spot where you have a powerful enough echelon to do more mid-game things and understand the game better to make better decisions.
This idea makes a lot of sense and was my initial suggestion, but also makes you train a lot of stopgap units. FNC and Ingram are units you will ditch at the first opportunity, and Skorpion is end of the list of molotovs if you need a limited amount (you'll always use Vector/KLIN instead). It's not that stopgap units are bad, but that we have better choices than that.
The formation is a standard ARSMG F-formation. There really isn't any reason to deviate from it during the early game, so don't do it unless if you can get a very good justification for whatever weird formation (probably the holy cross) you thought of against all the experienced players at Reddit/Discord. Or you can just stay silent about it and nobody except the game will judge you in this single player game.
UMP45 is usually the best option, as she is a 4* unit that has tiles that are as strong as the best 5* unit tiles. For early game, you really just want your SMGs to have bulk (HP), as you do not have skill levels and you do not have good equipment. Most SMGs can provide that, so how good an SMG is usually depends on their tiles for the super early game. At this time, the best way to increase the durability of your tank is to kill all enemies faster, and UMP45 is the best at that.
However, not every player will get UMP45. You need to get her via production and the SMG pool is really large now. You still want her in the end-game, but if you couldn't get her early, just use Ingram, who has less bulk and provides significantly worse tiles, but you can get her for free. While you will ditch her when you get enough of the other, better SMGs, she's among the better 3*s with her relatively good tiles and decent skill.
The final option here is Sten MKII, who has bulk, and you can get for free, but is even worse stopgap than Ingram, as her tiles are pretty much useless and her skill is bad (the skill is relatively replacement in general and even if you choose to use that skill Sten is among the weakest unit with her skill. Just use PPS-43).
MT Alternatives: You can also slot in anyone else (very likely other 4* or 5* SMGs, I assume) you have gotten that you think will fill the same role, and you may be rewarded for that choice if that unit was actually good for this role (make sure to check our unit list to get an idea, or ask someone), but if you don't wish to risk your cores and time, it's better to stick with the listed units.
Dummy Link and Cores: The best way to tank is to kill enemies faster. This is not always possible late-game, but is definitely the best way to tank early game. If you, for whatever reason, think you will run out of cores (make sure you are counting when preparing to dummy link), prioritize dummy linking your DPS over your main tank. Dummy linking your tank only means you can take one or two more battles before repairs, but dummy linking your DPS may remove the need for repairs entirely, or allow you to grind a higher level map. Also make sure you keep Ingram/Sten dupes if you are using them to save cores.
The off-tank usually stands beside your main tank, and is usually not the main target of enemies. As such, SMGs with less tankiness and more damage is usually places there. There isn't many options here, though. Skorpion is the standard if you don't have any quick goals after training your 1st echelon, as she is a pretty good 3* Molotov. There are no 4* Molotovs that you can get early (KLIN is not craftable and isn't even worth it) and Vector costs too much. There is also the option to use an HG here, but there is not much advantages (you can always use lvl1 HGs for extra tactical map vision at night) and you weaken your main echelon's emergency bulk too much.
Despite being a stopgap unit, there really isn't any alternatives you can get her. Additionally, we are suggesting you to use four 4* units. This is the least impactful role, so we're asking you to save your cores while still training a decent unit.
OT Alternatives: If you want to invest cores into optional units, avoid using them for units in this role. Good units for this role like Vector/SR-3MP usually don't get their worth (over a unit like Skorpion) until a lot of investment, and you need to spend the extra cores just to get those levels.
Dummy Link and Cores: Same with the MT, you can save on your OT if you lack cores. If you are using Skorpion, make sure you keep her dupes if you get them so that you can save cores.
M4A1 and AR-15
M4A1: Protaganist of the game. Aside from that reason, she is one of the best ARs throughout the game. She is one of the few ARs that have the ability to buff other ARs, and such a capability does not cut down on her own output, unlike Ribeyrolles. Additionally, it is possible to MOD her, making her extremely good at endgame too. Point is, she is a very good unit and everyone will have her, so just use her.
ST AR-15: At the super early game, she is better than any lower or equal rarity unit you can get, and she has the extra capability that allows her to equip 2 Accessories instead of 1, which allows her to compete with most 5*s then. Down the road, she will also get a MOD, making her extremely good at end game as well.
You can choose to not use these two for whatever reason, but these are two of the strongest units everyone will get early game and never falls off, even through the mid-game before their MODs.
M4 SOPMOD II or FNC or M14
After M4A1 and AR-15, there are many other choices for the last slot. Most people will suggest FNC and M14, both which are relatively good units. Let me list out the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Like M4A1 and AR-15, FNC is an AR that will synergize with the rest of the lineup. She is also a relatively good unit as the strongest of the 3* ARs. Training her allows you to save cores for later, while still giving you a strong 1st echelon for most early-mid game content.
However, FNC is the first unit most players will drop the moment they get enough better unit, and this comes relatively quick for most players. If you ever need more ARs than you have, FNC is first in the list to go. As training units cost time and resources, it is important to consider that when choosing to train a unit.
If you choose to train her, she's a fine unit, but she's just a stopgap, and in the long run (unless if she gets a MOD) she is going to be a waste of time.
And even if she gets a MOD, you can just train her then with all the resources you have at your disposal. "Maybe she will be useful" is not a good argument agaisnt "She will definitely be useful", which are the other two units.
Unlike the other two options, M14 is an RF instead of an AR. This means that by using her, you will lose out on synergy, and you will likely underperform when using your first echelon agaisnt mid-game enemies (you may do better against specific enemies, which I will address, but in general you will do slightly worse).
However, as an RF, M14 has the capability to equip AP ammo. This helps specifically against enemies in Chapter 1 and 2 Night, where enemies have some armor. She also helps to deal with enemy Shield + Sniper lineups by ignoring the guards completely (which is one of the lineups that newbies have problem with), and she also helps in event maps where there are some armored enemies which is hard for ARs to clear.
The reason why we do not suggest M14 is for a few reasons. Enemies in Chapter 1 and 2 Night has 61 and 72 armor. This is not an extremely high amount, as each point of armor only reduces your damage by 1, and you have a base of 15 AP, meaning that they reduce damage by 46 and 57.
Even with blue gears at lvl90, with Ingram and M4A1, M4A1 has 62 FP, AR-15 has 72 M4 SOPMOD has 80 FP and FNC (if you choose her) has 81 and this is not counting M4A1's (and FNC's) skill that can increase her own FP, as well as the possiblity that you have better gears and the command fairy that you might have unlocked prior (from 60 mission clears, just abuse friend units).
And technically you only need to clear Chapter 1 Night to unlock enhancement, which makes Chapter 2 easier as well, especially if you have good gears.
As for events, often times a single RF does not really bring you far, and most maps will want you to have 2 or more echelons to clear. In some cases specific cases/events, she can be good. In others, not so much. It is mostly a case by case basis thing, but most of the times, you will get nothing significant from training M14 over FNC or SOPMOD. Sometimes, with specific advice and guidance from a veteran, training M14 will be ideal. Otherwise it's better to spend your time training 2 full and good echelons.
M4 SOPMOD is an AR like FNC, but she also provides a grenade option. AR grenades are rarely good, as most of the times you should kill the enemy before any point which grenades are useful. However, when you are underpowered, cases where grenades will do well will appear more often (and sometimes some enemies are just best dealt with using grenades).
Additionally, unlike FNC, M4 SOPMOD is not a unit that falls off. She is one of the strongest HE grenadier now, and she does get a MOD down that makes her top tier at end-game.
Training SOP2 also allows you to set up corpse dragging earlier, which will save you resources and give you more cores than 4-3E drag.
Of course, SOP2 is a 4* unit, and she will consume more cores. Additionally, being a grenadier, she may not be able to activate her skill most of the times. This means that she will have an disadvantage in the short term agaisnt units like FNC. This is somewhat compensated by her ability to equip 2 accessories, which gives her additional FP and ACC from using an EOT.
That being said, most players that are not super unlucky should be able to fund three 4* units relatively easily, and you can leave your MT at lower dummy links if needed. In the short term, you don't gain much from training SOP2 over FNC, but you will eventually want to train SOP2 regardless and you will eventually want to bench FNC regardless.
In the end, it's your choice. There are definitely arguments for each, and we will suggest SOP2, but you can really just train any of the three and train whatever you need to complement your lineup at your 2nd echelon.
DPS Alternatives: If you somehow get some of the high-end ARs here, you can also train them instead, if you are willing to accept the core cost. Of course, if you can invest in a good SMG instead, prioritize that first. Spending cores for G41 over FNC when you have UMP45 is sub-optimal, as UMP45's tiles can cover the difference between G41 and FNC with her tiles alone (if you are using Ingram), and improve the effectiveness lf AR-15 and M4A1 along with it. And this is regardless of skill level and fairies.
UMP45 is just that good.
Focus on one echelon
A lvl90 x5 echelon is multiple times stronger than 2 lvl70 x4 echelons in many mid-late game fights. There isn't much of a fixed measure of how good a unit is because CE is useless, but in mid-game fights, a lvl90 echelon will likely kill an enemy faster and take significantly less damage than a lvl70 echelon. In situations where a lvl90 echelon can kill an enemy without losing any HP, a lvl70 echelon will likely lose some, or most of their HP doing the same fight. Additionally, bosses which a lvl90 echelon can defeat in one fight might need multiple with a lvl70 echelon, and bosses which you need to send your relatively weak lvl90 echelon in multiple times (due to lack of gear, skill levels and player knowledge) may be impossible to beat with a lvl70 echelon.
Point is, you are MUCH more powerful with 1 lvl90 echelon in any case where you don't NEED multiple echelons that can fend for themselves in different parts of a map (these situations do not appear much outside of events). This allows you to clear more content that gives you more rewards that can help you snowball. This includes training data that can be used to improve that echelon for harder content, exp sim to help train other echelons, and defense drill for more calibration tickets for your equipment. Furthermore, it helps you clear harder stages to unlock logistics for more resources, as you can repair your own echelons, but not support echelons (and you can keep throwing your echelon at bosses to chip down their HP).
It also allows you to corpse drag, allowing you to use minimal resources to train your other echelons. This gives you more resources to use for other stuff, like production. (Note that corpse dragging is optional to progress in the game unless if you are that guy that will train every single unit regardless of whether they will use that unit or not)
Tags: First Steps