First appeared in the Darknights Memoir story, Ines was a mercenary who worked alongside the original W and Hoederer during the Kazdel civil war. Ines possesses an obscure yet captivating Originium Arts of reading one’s “shadow”, though she claims that she is unable to read thoughts.
Class & Archetype
Ines belonged to the Agent archetype, a branch of the Vanguard class known for their notably reduced redeployment time of 35 seconds.
This rather new archetype came out strong with the introduction of Cantabile. Despite possessing lower HP and DEF than other Vanguard types, they make up for better ATK, as well as the ability to fight in both melee and ranged, with the latter enabling them to hit aerial enemies.
As part of the Vanguard branch, the Agent archetype can also generate DP to allow the rest of the squad to be deployed. In general, Agents do so by tapping into their Skills, enhancing their attacks, and causing each hit to generate some DP.
As a 6★ Agent Vanguard, Ines boasts the usual qualities of the archetype, while having her own unique mechanics that set her apart from others in the same family.
Elite 1 Talent – Shadow Weaver
This unique aspect came in the form of a new mechanic known as “Steal”, which tied to her E1 Talent, Shadow Weaver.
Once promoted to Elite 1, Ines will be able to take advantage of Shadow Weaver, causing the first time she attacks any given enemy to inflict a Bind effect for several seconds and trigger a Steal on the target. As the name implies, this reduces a specific attribute from an enemy while increasing the corresponding stat for Ines, up to cap. In her E1 Talent case, Ines will Steal ATK from enemies.
Note that the Steal effect persists as long as the enemies are alive and dissipates immediately when they are defeated or Ines retreats.
Elite 2 Talent – Shadow Sentry
Another large part of her kit interacts with a totem-like structure that Ines can summon through the use of her E2 Talent, Shadow Sentry.
This particular passive ability immediately reveals any Invisible enemies within a 3-tile range in front of Ines and slows them down. What’s more, is that Ines will leave behind the namesake totem-like structure whenever she retreats, causing the revealing effect to be maintained.
Onto her Skills, which all generally bolster her offensive capabilities while allowing her to generate additional DP through combat.
Skill 1 – Shadow Raid
Her first Skill is “Shadow Raid“, an ability that auto triggers whenever charged and causes Ines’ next attack to generate 2 DP and unleash a potent Arts damage over time (DoT) to an enemy for 3 seconds. While the DoT cannot be stacked, the duration, however, will be refreshed upon Ines hitting the same enemy again.
Basically, after every few auto attacks, Ines will inflict an Arts DoT onto an enemy. This can be very useful in certain scenarios, or if you prefer to AFK farm certain stages without the care of manual skill activations. Even so, her other Skills would be much preferable over Shadow Raid in most stages.
Skill 2 – Murky Night
As previously noted, one thing that makes Ines special is the Steal mechanic, and such an effect returns in her Skill 2, Murky Night. This is one loaded ability that has to be manually triggered when fully charged and causes Ines to enter an install state, bolstering many aspects of her kit greatly.
Upon activation, Ines’ attack range will be extended to 2×3 tiles ahead of her with a 1-tile extension up her front. Her ATK will also be greatly enhanced and each hit she unleashes will generate 1 DP.
Additionally, her Steal effect is also boosted, allowing her to siphon ASPD from enemies on top of robbing their ATK, up to cap. Then, on top of all that, Ines will also gain Invisibility, rendering her unattackable by enemies unless she blocks a target.
Full to the brim with benefits, Murky Night is arguably one of the most recommended Skills to invest in. Not only did the range boost allow her to hit enemies she otherwise can’t normally reach, but she could also inflict devastating damage to particularly bulky foes thanks to the attack enhancement.
It is also worth mentioning that enemies will also be considerably weakened because of the Steal effect, while Ines’ ASPD drastically improves as she swings her blade. Such ASPD increase does make her DP generation mighty good, almost comparable to Flagbearer Vanguards.
Skill 3 – Solitary Return
Last but not least, her Skill 3, Solitary Return, greatly changes how you could play Ines entirely and interacts with the Shadow Sentry Talent significantly.
Firstly, Solitary Return modifies Ines’ deployment altogether as whenever you enter a Stage for the first time, she consumes 0 DP and can immediately be deployed. However, upon deployment, Ines will retreat and leave behind a Shadow Sentry.
This is when the interesting aspects of the ability come into play as later when you deploy Ines for real, she will recall back the Shadow Sentry to her position and cause it to fly across the map.
The crimson glow Shadow Sentry then damages any enemies it passes through and generates DP in accordance with the number of individuals hit, up to a maximum of 6. Note that the Shadow Sentry is able to apply Ines’ Talent effects, allowing for interesting crowd control potential.
Once recalled, Ines will then gain an extreme amount of ATK buff for several seconds. Given the way the ability is designed, this essentially turns Ines into an Executor Specialist, hopping in and out of battle to eliminate enemies.
Since the release of Cantabile, the Agent Vanguard archetype has opened up more tactical strategies and Ines is no exception. It says something when after a long time since Flagbearer Vanguards dominated the meta in Arknights, Ines came in suddenly and cemented herself as one of the best while being a different archetype.
She is indeed a great all-rounder, possessing a great deal of utilities and a pretty hefty damage output. At first, her base stats can easily be underestimated but as all her abilities add up and synergize with one another, it is no wonder she somehow escaped death.
Part of the reason why Ines is such a great Operator is that no other Vanguards can match up to some of the value she brings, in particular the ability to Bind enemies and Steal their stats, as well as reveal pesky Invisible enemies while entering Invisibility herself.
A major highlight of her kit is undoubtedly her Skill 2, which grants her a great load of benefits with no drawbacks. In such a state, Ines also essentially becomes a DP printer with the amount of ASPD she gains from the Steal effect. A perfect ability for both positioning her on-field as a stationary unit as well as a fast-redeployment playstyle.
Since Skill 2 also has a relatively generous Initial SP, it does enable a “heli-drop” playstyle, retreat, and redeploy her repeatedly to bombard the marching enemies. The Initial SP can also be further improved by Bagpipe‘s Talent, making Ines a re-deployable nuke.
Speaking of redeployment, her Skill 3 leans towards a more gimmicky playstyle and completely transforms her to be like an Executor Specialist. The ability is a lot of fun as Ines can recall her Shadow Sentry from across any point of the map, opening up unique interactions.
That said, as cool as seeing a red glow fly across the screen, the downside of the ability is undeniable as its gimmick demands Ines to not be stationary, losing much of her versatilities.
All in all, Ines is worth bringing home thanks to her impressive resume. However, do consider careful placement and taking advantage of map knowledge to get the most out of her.