Building Your First Team
So now you’ve started the game and you have a ragtag Echelon of T-Dolls. Obviously, a question comes to mind -- what now?
Echelon composition is one of the main features of Girls’ Frontline, and will be particularly important for you to pay attention to going forward. Although you can try to rely on Support Echelons to complete the story missions, you’ll likely want to focus on building one solid Echelon to carry you through the game’s content.
Before you begin, it’s important to note that very few T-Dolls -- if any -- are unbalanced to the point of being completely unusable or unviable. If you possess a T-Doll you particularly like, you shouldn’t hesitate to use her; worst case scenario, you can always replace her with a more effective T-Doll later.
Once you’re ready to start building your Echelon, you’ll need to choose which general composition you will be using. The only Echelons that are generally user-friendly for beginners are AR/SMG Echelons, but if you’d rather use a different squad composition, you can find more information on different types of formations and team compositions here.
A typical AR/SMG Echelon consists of three ARs in the back column and two SMGs in the middle column, creating an “F” shape. This is commonly called an F formation, and it allows for an even distribution between the tanking and offensive capabilities of the Echelon.
An AR/SMG Echelon composition along with the F formation allows for maximum distribution of buffs (represented by the little square icons with percentages).
So, why not another composition? To many new players -- especially those who have obtained a plethora of shiny new T-Dolls! -- it may seem boring to use a plain AR/SMG Echelon. They might try to fit in an RF, an HG, or even make their own team composition. The reason this is not highly recommended, however, is because although the buffs HGs give grow stronger with each Dummy Link, they aren’t effective enough to replace the function of a tank or a DPS unit in early game. Using a hybrid AR/RF/SMG squad isn’t highly recommended either, as RFs do not receive buffs from SMGs, so they need to be able to function effectively without team support -- and not many RFs are capable of doing so.
For the above reasons, now you’ve likely chosen to build an AR/SMG Echelon. Looking at your units in the formation menu, now another question is raised: who should you choose and why?
Most new players tend to use the highest rarity units they possess based on their previous knowledge from other games that more stars means superiority. In Girls’ Frontline, this is not the case at all in early game, at least. In order to Dummy Link T-Dolls and significantly raise their Combat Effectiveness, you will need either duplicates of them or Cores -- high rarity units are (obviously) rarer and harder to get duplicates of, and require more Cores in the absence of those duplicates. Therefore, it’s generally inadvisable to use many 4 and 5 star T-Dolls in your first squad.
Here are some 2 and 3 star ARs you may want to use:
Here are some 2 and 3 star SMGs you may want to use:
Do note that a majority of 2 stars of all classes scale horribly compared to their higher rarity variants. As soon as you can afford the core costs, you should attempt to replace your 2 stars with 3, 4, or even 5 star equivalents.
One more aspect to consider when building your first Echelon is formation buff synergy. In most cases, you will be able to create an optimal buff distribution with no wastage when using an AR/SMG team composition -- but the actual concern here is the type of buff your T-Dolls are providing. As a general -- but not entirely inclusive -- rule:
Usually, buffing SMGs isn’t nearly as of much importance as buffing ARs.
Another matter of concern is buff synergy with an AR’s skill. While most ARs appreciate Rate of Fire buffs, T-Dolls that buff their own Rate of Fire -- such as ST AR-15 -- can cap this stat with relative ease and therefore need very little help to achieve the frame-bound RoF cap of 116 once they are maxed out.
Now that you’ve progressed through a good amount of the story, you might be interested in attempting something more difficult, or perhaps you want some equipment fodder. If that’s the case, you’ll likely want to build yourself an Echelon that’s tailored towards clearing Night Battles.
Night Battles are different compared to Day Battles in that you field of vision will be limited -- the contents of Nodes are hidden from you, outside the Nodes you have Echelons stationed on. Currently there are two ways to partially subvert this limitation. The first and easier one is to add an HG to your echelon, which extends your vision to Nodes adjacent to the Node the Echelon containing an HG is stationed on, and the second one is to make use of Illumine Fairy’s Skill, which grants vision for up to 2 nodes around the Echelon when her Skill is level 10.
Equipment Calibration is unlocked when you beat chapter 2 stage 4’s Night Battle (2-4N). While you can reach this point using your regular Echelon, it’s best to at least insert an HG into your team to grant you additional visibility.
Another way Night Battles differ is that they reduce the Accuracy of all your units by 90%. To avert this, Equipment called PEQ Sights must be used. This piece of Equipment offset the 90% reduction of Accuracy in Night Battles by the modifier given in the description of the said equipment. Unfortunately, not all units can equip PEQ sights -- while SMGs, ARs, SGs, and HGs can equip them, MGs and RFs cannot.
You may notice that some HGs have the Flare ability, which appears to do the same job as a PEQ. Be aware, though, that it does not at all do the same job. Where maxed PEQ will give an AR their full Accuracy, a Flare will only return a tenth of their Accuracy, and that’s only for a limited period of time.
If you already possess a strong Echelon that’s been working well for you, building an entirely new Echelon for night battles will likely be unnecessary. Usually, just replacing an AR or SMG with a HG will serve you just as well, but beware -- as HGs unlock their Exoskeleton Equipment slot at level 80, it is recommended that HGs aren’t used to replace SMGs until they reach at least level 80. A 2AR/1HG/2SMG Echelon might get you through most of Chapter 1-N, but as you progress you will have to attempt to craft better equipment to proceed further.
Replacing one of your main squad ARs with an HG and equipping PEQ Sights Equipment should allow you to get through some early Night Battles.
Here are some HGs that you can use to replace ARs in Night Battles:
Here are some HGs that you can use to replace SMGs in Night Battles:
There are a few exceptions to these rules. 9A-91 and T91 are damage dealers that specialize in Night Battles -- While their skills are much less effective during the daytime, they buff their Damage much more than any other ARs during the night. This makes them easy and obvious choices for being the best ARs to use at night. These qualities also make them able to fight against some of the Armored enemies that appear in Night Missions.
Even after following the instructions above, you might still be having trouble against armored enemies, which first appear at night. Armored enemies take reduced damage from all units without an Equipment called Armor Piercing ammo equipped -- and this means that usually, almost all ARs, SMG, and HGs deal reduced damage against armored enemies. If armored enemies are a problem, HG/RF Echelons can provide a convenient solution as RFs can equip AP shells.
Note: Armor is a flat damage reduction stat, and likewise, Armor Penetration is a flat Armor break stat.
This HG/RF Echelon should perform reasonably well in Night Battles once it is trained up.
As HGs provide wide-scale and incredibly potent buffs to RFs, who have inherently high Damage and skills that highly boost their already high stats, HG/RF Echelons require a more discerning eye in regards to which HGs you will be using. Almost all of the time, HGs that provide RoF buffs are preferred, and for Night Battles, an Accuracy boost is also appreciated. A difference between AR/SMG echelons and HG/RF Echelons is that while AR/SMG echelons use three DPS units (three ARs), HG+RF Echelons (usually) only use two. This is because RFs fire less frequent but more powerful shots, and therefore each shot wasted at targeting the the wrong foe has a significant impact on an HG/RF Echelon’s damage output. Here are some HGs that can be used alongside RFs in the Echelon’s backlines:
Here are some HGs that can be used instead of SMGs in the Echelon’s frontlines:
Another important component to HG/RF squads are the RFs, the damage dealers. While there are many unique types of RFs, for the purposes of simply countering (the more common at night) armored enemies, RFs that buff their own Damage or Rate of Fire are the most effective. Some recommended RFs that fall under this category are:
Another problem with using HG/RF Echelons in early-to-mid game is the inability of low leveled HGs to tank. To offset this problem, an SMG can replace a frontline HG to tank while you’re first beating Night Battles. This solution is only a temporary stop-gap, however, and once your Echelon is decently leveled, the SMG should be replaced with an HG.
So you’ve built your Echelon and you’ve progressed through the story -- but now you’ve hit a wall and can’t proceed any further. If you’re asking yourself what you should do now, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Our Leveling Guide will walk you through how to get your Echelon to become stronger.
Congratulations, you’ve made it all the way to the end! We hope you found this guide to be informative, and if you have any potential additions that you think may be useful, feel free to contact us or join us in the Girls’ Frontline channel of the Gamepress Discord server.
Before you go, here’s one last piece of advice: there’s no right or wrong way to play Girls’ Frontline, and as long as you’re having fun, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t use T-Dolls that you like and enjoy. Remember, there’s no race to the end of the story, nor is there a prize for beating it in record time. If you just take your time and go at your own pace, you’ll no doubt eventually experience everything the game has to offer.