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A Theater 7 Overhaul Guide: New Mechanics, New Enemies, Same Pain

What? Theater 7 so soon? Can’t be helped, I guess.

I’ve heard there were a lot of changes made to Theater this time around, what actually happened?

Well let’s see here, combat is different, we have less waves to go through, there’s these weird objectives we have to do to score more points, and the team setup process is completely different too.

Sounds like a lot…

Sure is.

You think the rest of EN will make it through with all of these changes?

It’s kind of our job to make sure this happens, right?

Right.

Well, let’s do our best, then.

Daily TL;DR

Which stage to run?

Day 11: We've arrived, Core 8 forever!

SF HOCS get triple CE, GnK gets double! Use G11 or AS VAL mod to murder the Patrollers at the end!

Scouting

Day 11: A won on Day 10! Is anyone else sensing a pattern?

Roll a dice, or apply your chosen randomizer method to choose your vote! 

Introduction

Welcome to Theater! A co-op-etitive mode where you and several other (unfortunately) like-minded commanders compete and work together to defeat progressively strengthening enemies, build facilities, and scout areas using drones to mercilessly backstab the competition and use them as stepping stones to gain higher ranks!

wait what was that last bit--

Here, you’ll receive a generalized overview of what to do each day, and the basics of how to play through this event.

Material Investment

As you clear stages, you will receive materials equal to 1/10 of your points obtained from that stage, rounded down. Use these materials to build up facilities to increase the amount of T-Dolls you can keep in your reserve, how many fairy commands you start with in each stage, and how many times you can use your HOCs per stage. Materials also give points at a rate of 10 materials -> 30 points, so make sure to spend them before the end, as even maxed facilities can still be invested into.

It is recommended to save your materials until the Core phase is reached, as any gains from spent materials will be kept until the end of the event.

T-Doll Facility (Available in all stages)

The T-Doll facility increases how many T-Dolls can be brought in reserve. For players using SF units, this facility increases the amount of reserve cost.

Fairy Facility (Available in all stages except for Elementary difficulty stages)

The Fairy Facility increases how many fairy commands you are allowed to bring for each attempt. These FCs are separate to the ones used during regular gameplay. Without any levels, you can only bring 5 FCs for each stage. Each level on the fairy facility increases this by 5 FCs, up to a maximum of 20. Note that because the wave count is dependent on the number of unique enemy compositions, the maximum amount of waves on any stage is 6. This means that a maxed out fairy facility lets players spam 3 FC cost combat fairies without fear.

HOC Facility (Only available in Advanced and Core stages)

The HOC facility determines how many times you are allowed to use a certain HOC per attempt. In theater, your HOC usage is limited by a number of “charges”. Without any levels, you only have three charges for each HOC you field. Each level on the HOC facility increases the number of charges per HOC by 1, up to a maximum of 6. Note that because the wave count is dependent on the number of unique enemy compositions, the maximum amount of waves on any stage is 6. This means that a maxed out HOC facility lets players spam HOCs as much as needed in Advanced and Core stages.

Scouting

With those same materials obtained from stage clears, you can send out drones to investigate areas. The amount of drones you can send out is equal to the amount of cleared stages x 3 except for the first day, which only allows one drone to be sent. This means that after clearing the final stage, Core 8, a maximum of 96 drones can be sent per day. There are three different areas that can be investigated, but only one area can be chosen per day.

Area A (Mount of Ashes): 30 points per drone

Area B (Plain of Thunder): 40 points per drone

Area C (Gates of Hell): 50 points per drone

The catch of scouting is that scouting results have a multiplier applied to them based on the percentage of players that pick a certain area within that day.

The area with the LOWEST percentage of investigations will have the points per drone doubled (example: Area A wins, points per drone increases to 60)

The area with the HIGHEST percentage of investigations will have the points per drone halved (example: Area C loses, points per drone decreases to 25)

Nothing happens to the area in the middle of the lowest and highest.

If done correctly, scouting can be an EXTREMELY effective way to rack up a good number of bonus points, and is the deciding factor in determining who claims the highest scores in Theater. The exact science and strategies behind scouting could be its own guide (nudge nudge wink wink), but if you don’t care much for diving deep into this hidden crash course statistics and data analysis class of a mechanic, feel free to vote randomly, as the vast majority of your points will come from clearing the correct stage each day anyway, but don’t expect a truly top-tier score.

Stages and Combat (A General Overview)

Where most of the points come from. Stages in theater will have a theme (determines certain mechanics and general play style of that stage theme), objectives (meet these objectives on EACH wave to get more points), added effects (can be helpful or harmful effects that persist in each wave of a particular stage), and sometimes a boss (stages marked as strongholds will have a boss at the end, which is fought as a cutscene). Two stage completions are allowed per day, with points from each clear being added to that difficulty’s respective progress bar which is shared among everyone playing theater (can be seen in the bottom of the screen, updates after ceasefire each day). If for whatever reason a stage is unable to be completed, or the score obtained is unsatisfactory, there is the option to retreat from that stage and attempt it later. Retreating from a stage can be done five times for free per day, any extra retreats will eat into the amount of attempts for that day.

Waves can be previewed by selecting a stage and viewing the enemy compositions. Stages can be between 3-6 waves long, and each enemy group will only appear once.

During the first phase of the event, stages are divided into three difficulties (Elementary, Intermediate, and Advanced, often shortened to Easy, Int, and Adv). While higher difficulty stages and those unlocked later on in the event have a higher base yield on points, phase 1 also has a unique mechanic where the stage with the lowest progression percentage will receive a multiplier on its awarded points known as a support request.

If Elementary is under a support request, all Elementary difficulty stages will give 5x as many points as usual.

If Intermediate is under a support request, all Intermediate difficulty stages will give 3x as many points as usual.

If Advanced is under a support request, all Advanced difficulty stages will give 2x as many points as usual.

When all of the stages in phase 1 have been cleared, the Core phase will unlock and stages in phase 1 can no longer be played. As Core phase only has one set of stages, the support request mechanic will not be active. Core stages start out easy, but will quickly become extremely difficult.

Depending on the difficulty of the stage, there will be a different number of objectives and added effects. Elementary stages only have one objective and one added effect, Intermediate will have two objectives and two added effects, and Advanced and Core stages will have three objectives and three added effects. Objectives are checked at the end of each wave, so every objective should be achieved on each fight of a given stage.

Example: Intermediate 8 has the following objectives: Win the fight (this will always be one of the objectives) and use at least three HGs in the combat team. The added effects are: create a force shield for the highest HP ally for 8 seconds and using an active skill decreases its cooldown by 20%

Before the stage begins, players can check the advantaged dolls, build their team and reserves, and choose which HOC(s) to bring, if the selected difficulty allows them. Units in reserves can be switched into the combat team between waves. Dolls in logistics can be brought into the team/reserves, however their equipment can not be changed. No duplicate dolls are allowed. SF units obtained from Protocol Assimilation can be used, however the team/reserves can only be pure G&K dolls or pure SF units.

Stages marked as Strongholds on the stage select screen will have a boss appear at the end. This boss is fought as a cutscene, with all T-Dolls (or SF units) appearing in the fight. In these stages, all T-Dolls/SF units and HOCs will have a special “boss CE” stat. Certain classes of T-Dolls will be worth more CE than others for different bosses, which can be determined by looking at the class icons below the boss CE indicator. The classes listed on the boss’s profile are not reflective of the actual dolls which get the highest CE from the boss fight. As each point of boss CE equals 1 point obtained during the boss fight, before any support request multipliers, it is recommended to stack up as much CE as possible without preventing oneself from clearing the stage. Note that SF units have weaker boss CE, and should only be looked at as options for easier stage clearing if one’s G&K dolls and fairy are too weak.

Each stage within a certain group will also have a set of six advantaged dolls. These dolls will receive bonus stats when used in their respective stages and will be worth 20% more CE when used in a stronghold stage (explained further in theater combat guide). Unlike past theater seasons, using advantaged dolls no longer provides a flat bonus to points obtained from stage clears. The advantaged dolls for Theater 7 are as follows:

Note: EM-2 is a placeholder as she was hinted at replacing Fedorov during Q&A, we will confirm this when the Dolls are datamined. 

As for the specific stage themes, objectives, added effects, and enemy compositions, all of that will be found in the new

FAQ

Which stages should I clear each day?

Usually the stage with the support request bonus, then the hardest stage you can beat. Check the TL;DR section for updates from @GreezMardox for what stages you should attempt. During core phase, the highest difficulty core stage available. If the Core stage is completed and you can not beat Core 8, then drop down to Core 6.

Assuming Greez updates at about the same time as Theater 6, I will update the TL:DR with his tweets at roughly noon Eastern time (5PM UTC). 

How often can I miss theater?

You should not miss a single day of theater at all, as even one missed day can cause your ranking to drop by several %s.

Where is the advantaged doll list?

Check it in game or scroll up.

If I don’t have many of the advantaged dolls, am I boned?

From reaching the absolute top ranks sure, but it’s a common problem to not have the advantaged dolls available given how they are always a collection of literal who dolls, so don’t worry about it too much.

Do I need to use my advantaged dolls in combat?

Not at all. They can just sit it out in your reserve while you play through the stage (or not even be there at all as they only have to be around for strongholds)

Should I recover an advantaged doll if I scrapped her?

You only get one recovery per week, so only recover dolls for stages you believe EN will be stuck in for a long time (usually Advanced 8 and Core 8).

Can I get PP-93 to 5* if I place high enough?

At maximum, you will only receive up to 60 central data for PP-93 (20 from point rewards and 40 from getting first place in the overall ranking), while any HOC needs 80 central data to reach 5 stars. While this is enough to bring PP-93 to 5* from only point rewards during Theater 8, you will not be able to get them to 5* out of one theater.

Do I need 5* fairies and maxed HOCs to clear Core 8?

Not at all! You can use weaker teams and still clear Core 8 if you know what you’re doing (or just switch to using SF echelons as they are easier to raise with a way higher power floor).

Do I need to CE stack to do well?

Depends on how well you consider “doing well”, but try to balance out maximizing CE while still clearing objectives for each wave and just beating the stage.

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