Arknights Provence Guide

by Windgesang

The fluffiest of them all! Provence shows up on the shop with her massive and fluffy tail and a counter-intuitive kit with her crossbow. She boasts one of the highest of damage per shot potential assuming no DEF, even if her DPS isn’t the highest. Welcome to this week’s “operator highlight”, Provence is my final operator needed to complete my full sniper collection, so here I am talking about her already after bought her from the shop for like 5 days. Don’t worry I used her a lot in my clue slave account

Strangely enough, her tail goes from lavender/purple to having a bit more white shade in the summer skin. Also come soon pls (and Platinum’s too)

Overview

Provence is a Catastrophic Messenger who main job is to deliver messages about catastrophic event, such as an enemy’s death. Strangely enough, she does the old message delivery with arrow, but I don’t see any paper notes attach on it. As mentioned above, she has the capability to deal extremely high damage per shot, but only if the enemies are below a certain HP threshold. However, damage is about all she has going for her, so you better be sure that she does it really well, because then if not she’ll have not much else to offer. Also, she’s a close-range sniper, the only one until Schwarz show up, and later on Aciddrop.

Stats:

– Offensive stats:

When it comes to a sniper’s base ATK, the hierarchy goes (from highest) Wide-range sniper, Rosa, AoE snipers, Close-range snipers, and then AA snipers (Catapult and Executor are exceptions). It may sound like she’s on the bottom tier of base ATK, but it’s actually really high, considering the categories above her isn’t that crowdy, while the category below her is.

Her attack speed is also not that slow, at least when compare to the categories above her, and the category below… wait, I can just say, their attack rate is inversely proportional to their base ATK stats. Anyway, Close-range snipers attack once every 1.6s, which is about halfway between AA snipers (1s), and Wide-range sniper (2.8s).

– Defensive stats:

Being Close-range snipers, or being short range units in general, Provence get compensated in the form of survivability, having the 5th highest HP and the 2nd highest DEF of all snipers. That does not mean that she is tanky, she is just more tanky than the other snipers, especially her DEF, which is the 4th highest of all ranged unit in general (3rd until BeeSwag show up). She has no RES however, so she’s still more vulnerable against magic damage.

– Cost:

Her cost is actually quite high, not AoE level of high but still can be obstructive at time: 15 at E0, 17 at E1, 19 at E2. In fact, this archetype is one of the few to gain additional DP costs at E2, like Defenders and some few others, whereas others only gain extra DP cost at E1 and then stop. I can’t find any justification for this nor for Defenders, but it is what it is.

Range:

As the archetype suggests, she has quite a short range. In fact, it’s similar to an AoE caster.

Close-range Snipers has the same range as AoE casters, which means we can also call AoE casters Close-range Casters

Trait:

High accuracy point-blank shot.

There’s absolutely nothing attached to this, it’s literally just a description, mainly to describe that she is a Close-range sniper.

To know how much of a dumbass I was, I used to call her archetype crit snipers, because both her and Schwarz has a talent to increase their damage by a huge amount with a chance. Guess what the third Close-range sniper has? Not a crit chance, well done my dumbass.

Talent:

Available at E1 – Hunter’s Arrow: Each shot has a 20% chance to deal 140% of current ATK to enemies, chance increase to 50% when the enemy is in the tile directly in front of her. The damage increases to 180% at E2, which is double (until the potential come in that is).

The tile mentioned in her talent is simply just 1 tile right in front of her and no other tile. The increase in chance is really appealing, but I think people overvalue it too much that they think she needs heavy attention to position to make it works. It doesn’t have to be, if it’s easily achieved, do it, but if not just place her normally. Or I guess you can also take this opportunity and start learning how to place Ifrit/Schwarz through Provence.

This critical shot also calculates any ATK boost she has, including ally buffers like Sora Warfarin, and her own ability. This is the second of her kit that allows her to deal extremely high damage per shot, the first being ofc her relatively high base ATK stat. The third one obviously lies on her skill.

Skills:

RIIC skills:

Catastrophe Messenger α: When in the Office, recruit tags refresh attempt recovery rate increases by 30%. At E2, it becomes Catastrophe Messenger β, and the recovery rate increases to 45%.

The E2 version is the highest rate for the HR office in the game. The only other managed to rival it is Eyjaf, who is also a Catastrophic researcher. What’s the relation between HR and these Catastrophes anyway? Even Earthspirit, who is another Catastrophic-related character, has this type of skill. Do Provence and the gang just contact people faster since they are first and foremost messengers? Seems legit to me.

Anyway, it’s the best base skill of its type. However, it’s not extremely potent because the HR itself isn’t too too important. It’s great to get more tag refresh, but what’s a refresh going to do but causing disappointments, since it just gives terrible tags twice? Okay just kidding, more refreshes means more chance to get stonk tags, so it’s not entirely useless. However, Orchid has 40% available immediately already and is fucking free so you don’t even have to E2 Provence for this, Ethan is also cheaply available in the shop for another 40% to rotate shift too.

Also, last post I made, which is about Cliffheart, I didn’t list her base skills at all, and no one pointed it out, so I guess nobody really care about base skill :( (her base skill kinda suck though)

Now onto her actual skill

First skill: Lupus’ Eyes

try to guess from memory which one is Provence’s S1, and which one is Platinum’s S2

This is the first passive I ever cover in my series. Oh and this skill is a passive, which means it always active, is activated as soon as Provence’s deployed, and last forever until she’s retreated. What it does is simple, and simply weird too. At level 7, it states “ATK +16% everytime the HP of the target falls by 20%”. It’s actually a linear scale and not staggered boost, i.e. it will always give you something as long as the target’s HP is not 100%. The reason they use “every 20%HP” is probably to make the number whole and not something like 0.8% every 1% HP, idk though. (https://gamepress.gg/arknights/operator/provence and scroll down to Skill Discussion below the Overview).

It is another Attack Multiplier, which calculates after all ATK boosts AND all other Multipliers as well. Didn’t Provence already have an attack multiplier? That’s right, she will now have 2. If she attacks someone at 80% HP and if her E1 talent crit, that’s an easy 162.4% multiplier. And if she attacks someone at 20% HP with the E1 talent, that jumps up to 224% multiplier of whatever her ATK at that time is (which includes buffs, and if Gamepress is correct, which I’m sure they are, more often than not). At M3, it goes up to 25% per 20% HP, or 1.25% every 1% missing HP. If the enemy is at 20% HP, and the talent proc, it goes up to 360% of her attack. If the enemy hasn’t died yet from that shot, you have a different issue.

Have you noticed something though? I called it out back in the intro, that Provence has a counter-intuitive kit. This passive deals the most damage when an enemy is down really low %HP, which lead to easy overkill and waste damage, especially if her talent procs, though it probably won’t most of the time. Why would you need that much damage to an already dying unit right? But it’s not like it only works to low health enemies, it is already put to work as soon as someone’s HP is “not 100% HP”. So while it sounds bad that the skill’s “full potential” is unachievable wasted most of the time, that’s not where the end goal of this skill is. In fact, it introduces situations where she would kill an enemy 1-2 hits sooner, because in every single shot aside from the first shot (assuming no one else is in the equation), it gains a little bonus from the skill, then all of those small bonuses accumulated overtime that make it actually better than the very last shot at a really low % HP. That’s why I called it counter-intuitive, because the “best” part of this skill isn’t as good as the process to get there.

However, it stills hold true that, she deals a lot of damage the lower the target’s HP is. She kills low HP enemies really fast, and I have made a point about how that leads to overkill and waste damage and unnecessary boosts. The problem is, there absolutely exists enemies where the one thing you need is for them to disappear ASAP. What enemies are more dangerous the lower their HP are, and ending them faster means their threats ends faster? That isn’t a rhetorical question, it’s for your own thought exercises. Some hints: not only bosses can enrage at low HP.

The skill wouldn’t also allow Provence to get the very maximum bonus of the skill too. The maximum bonus (at skill level 7) is 180% of her attack, but guess at what %HP threshold? 0%. What enemy would still receive damage at 0% HP lol, so the closest she can get is about 179.99% or something, but at that point it’s 100% going to be a waste.

The skill is actually pretty good, mainly because it’s always active and lasts forever, combines with the benefits I explained earlier. The problem is, her second skill exists.

Second skill: Prey Seeker

This skill is the one that gives her the identity of having the highest damage per shot potential (in combination with her talent). It gives her massive ATK boost for a fairly long duration, but she can now only target enemies under 80% HP (or is it?). At level 7, the skill gives Provence +160% ATK, last for 30s, for a 30s cooldown (23.07s with E2 Ptilopsis). That is to say, every of her attack deal 260% of her normal one. Sadly, this doesn’t stack multiplicatively with other ATK boosts anymore, but goddamm that amount of damage boost. And furthermore, the talent multiplies all of that ATK boost as well, so it’s even sicker.

The first problem is the requirement of the skill. Provence can only attack enemies that is under 80% HP (and possibly at exactly 80% HP as well). She won’t be the only operator on your field, but sometimes it does take a while to get an enemy down to that threshold. It is essentially a loss, even if it only lasts like a few seconds, while waiting for other operators to whittle them down to 80%. The benefits are huge though, because it is one of the highest ATK boost in this game, which, in combination with her somewhat high ATK stats, results in a pretty sick damage per shot, not even counting her crit talent yet. And when it does, it goes as high as (100% + 160%) * 180% = 468%, which is higher than her first skill even at the maximum value.

Her first skill is a multiplier though, so maybe it works better with ATK buffs, because it will be multiplied twice? Assume Warfarin buffing 90% to Provence, and she is hitting someone at 10% HP, and both skills are at lv7. Her S1 will hit for (100% + 90%) * 172% * 180% = 588.24% damage per shot. Her S2 will hit for (100% + 160% + 90%) * 180% = 630% damage per shot. So you can see, there’s no way her S1 can even reach the damage potential that her S2 could, and it’s even worse the higher the enemy’ HP is, but fortunately only until 80% HP, because anything higher than that won’t be seen by Provence’s S2, but that is also the area where her S1 is at its weakest -ish.

The only other problem is that it has a duration and a cooldown, so unlike her S1, there will be a time where she has nothing, and that’s without including any lull time in her skill where there are no <80% HP enemies. So for the consistency’s sake her S1 win out, and this is the classic “constant vs burst” that nearly all operators have for their skill set.

From what we have seen so far, you can clearly see the intended gameplay design for Provence is to be the hunter that bully prey on the weak. Everything she has is designed to be killing the one with low HP, whether it’s more damage the lower they go or just a shitton of damage but only to someone low enough HP. This is clearly reflected again in practical gameplay as well. Enemies who are weak tends to be easier to get reduced to 80% HP, right? Especially if AoE attacks is involved, then you can be sure that the weaklings will get below the limit first, and then Provence will start shooting according to the typical target priority. [the rest of this paragraph is theory talks, it’s something I thought up but never truly see in practice because it’s not like I have to use this skill constantly, tread carefully and please no flaming uwu] If you have no AoE though, Provence would copy the target priority of your strongest operator for a short time, because they are strong enough to reduce their target down the fastest out of the rest, thus that enemy will also be target first by Provence if no one else is below 80% yet. Like for example Ceobe attacking highest DEF enemy in range only, then only that guy would be below the threshold, of which Provence would start attacking him as well, and so on for any other priority. When there’s multiple enemies that is below the limit, then everything goes back in order.

There’s a trick so you can take initiative with her S2 though. I brushed on this only lightly on Firewatch and Ambriel’s post, but all attacks made are calculated when the shot hit, not when it was made. Are you seeing where I’m going with this? Good, because this trick is how you can use her S2 to “attack” enemies above 80% HP. With how much damage she can deal when the skill is up, there is a high chance that that shot would have reduced their HP to below the threshold, and allow Provence to continue the shooting. It will only work for the one hit, so if you misjudged the damage, you’re going to have the moment where she’s just glowing her eyes, standing there, menacingly.

It was slightly touched on earlier, but this skill does a lot of damage when her talent steps in. Her talent also gains an increase in proc chance to a reliable 50% at the 1 tile that is right in front of her, but if you really want that, then her range and deploy location is going to be really limiting, which is what people already deemed her to be. But I have already implied this in her talent and S1 section, you don’t have to use the “best” version of her in order for her to be “good”, she’s already good at her one role, dealing single target damage to a “weak” enemy, even when her 6* counterpart outpace her. I think this is why people tends to think some operators aren’t as good because their best version is hard to achieve, like Flamebringer and his talent (his HP is already massive btw), Ifrit and her range (burn 1 tile…), Firewatch and the multiple unstackable bombs (usually just 1 is enough, 2 is easily achievable, and 3 is unnecessary at times), Ceylon and her talent (though tbh it’s pretty weak), Broca and the contradictory S2 with his talent, and so on.

Provence has nothing but damage to offer, so outside from some small tricks and usage, I don’t think I can find much more interesting stuff about her. Not to mention I was planning for no post this week, but then Provence shows up on the shop, and with that I completed my sniper collection, so I wanted to celebrated it somehow. Plus, CC is coming soon so I may be busy doing other things, so I apologize now since there’s a bit of rush for this post, which lead to a bit less detailed compared to other posts I did. Regardless, hope you enjoyed this post, and maybe you can see why she isn’t more used or why she should be used more, and comment on what I missed, since I’m pretty sure I might have missed some. Thanks for reading guys and hope to see you next time.

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