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Theater System Full Guide (2021)

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Introduction

Theater 3 is now available and will run from Jan. 12 to Feb. 1! The system was only changed a little bit from Theater 1 and 2. While much of the same strategies apply, it is highly recommended for players to familiarize themselves with the new enemies in Season 3.

The new HOC, QLZ-04, isn't as game-changing as AT4, but there's no reason to not grab her while the event's running. 

Daily TL;DR (updated every day)

Day 15 onwards: Core 8 twice for max points. Run Core 3 if you can't beat Core 6, and Core 6 if you can't beat Core 8. 

Check the Teambuilding Guide if unsure of required Team Compositions! Advanced 3 has pretty tough enemies that you shouldn't underestimate. 

Remember to field bonus units, to get up to 24% increased scoreSee bonus units here

Scouting Recommendation: Roll a die, or check out the Theater Betting panel!

Today's Max Possible Score: up to 35k * 2

Day 15+ Theater III max possible score

Today's Max Drone Count: 93

Theater Day 15 Max Drone Count

Good luck scouting! If you want, you can check out the daily panel post and vote based on what you see there. 

Today's Boss: Gebbennu

  • RF/HG is optimal
    • MGSG stack may exceed this CE but RFHG is ideal
    • You need strong RFHG to kill the waves anyway
  • Make sure you have enough real combat echelons to beat the waves! Only CE stack with spare teams. 

Remember to only CE Stack if you can beat the normal enemies easily without losing much HP! It barely makes a difference in the end anyway.

CE stacking tips (updated for EN, Jan. 17): 

  1. Do not CE stack the teams you are using to clear the content unless you know what you are doing and are confident you can still kill every node with the suboptimal formation/equipment that results from trying to max CE. 
  2. On stages that recommend Slug and PEQ, they give a flat bonus per equipment of the type (usually ~100 CE). Rarity doesn't matter much, a white slug/PEQ will give much more CE than a maxed out 5* Buckshot/VFL. 
    • Put PEQs on everybody that can equip one (SMGs, HGs, SGs). Run some 8-1N for equipment if you don't have enough. Yes, even Jill. 
  3. While MG/SG teams should have as much armor as possible to reach the point of no more CE return, but you should also harmonize other nice formation buffs.
  4. HGs with strong formation buffs (crit/accuracy alongside other combat stats) may give a surprising amount of CE. 
    • Jill can give more CE with Exoskeleton instead of her speq. 
  5. Combat Fairies (not strategic) give extra CE proportional to their Fairy Command Cost, which makes even fairies with weak auras like Twin Fairy surprisingly good for CE stack. 
    • Change around your teams to see which gives the best combination. Shield, Armor, Artillery, Airstrike, Taunt, Twin, Fireworks, and Zodiac tend to give higher score due to their high fairy command cost.
  6. If your fairy has a lot of +EVA aura, ARs can pump out more CE with T type exoskeletons than X type exos.
  7. Against certain bosses (like Judge) you get very slightly more CE by using green armor instead of gold, since the evasion penalty is lower. 
  8. "Strong Doll" favors MOD and high rarity. Oathing can give much more CE too thanks to the stat boost. 
  9. Doll HP has a higher score ratio than any other stats like FP and ACC.
  10. With exceptions like construction and search, skill level will contribute to CE. This does NOT include HOCs, at least on EN. 

Based on DMesse's post taken as an excerpt from: https://gall.dcinside.com/mgallery/board/view/?id=micateam&no=875688 

Clear Video Examples

Theater 3 videos are available in the Teambuilding Guide

A playlist of daily clears is also supplied by kfourit from GFC below. 

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDmihCuP4mqhyBT96faq9iCWtHZpHY8WY

On Theater days with a boss fight, don't CE stack unless you're 100% sure you won't fail the run! It's much better to get very slightly less score (the difference between low CE and optimal is literally less than 1% of final score) than risk failing a run and losing all points!

Don't make the same mistake as people who tried to ram Core 8 with CE stack team and had to retreat, dropping out of top ranks. 

Watch out for MAX shield Enemies!

While there aren't any max shield enemies on day 1, eventually you'll run into MAX-shielded foes that are impossible to damage without HOC!

Pay attention to upcoming enemies and scroll down to check whether you need to use BGM-71 or AT4 on the wave or not. 

Max shield doppels/gundams preview

If you have both BGM and AT4, you should be able to have a shield-breaking HOC for every heavily shielded enemy you encounter barring extremely bad RNG. 

General Pointers

The enemies ramp up over time and become fairly difficult as you may have noticed in Advanced 6! Check out possible enemy formations in the Teambuilding Guide and plan accordingly, because you'll likely have a hard time if you don't! 

Changelog

1/26 update: Added EN Core 8 clear video.

1/17 update: Updated the CE stacking tips to better reflect EN's score calculation. 

1/12 update: Updated guide for Theater III Day 1. 

12/29 update: Updated guide partially for Theater Season 3. 

8/4 update: Updated guide for Theater Season 2. 

3/31 update: Updated the FAQ and advantaged T-Doll list. (Thanks Arcus!) Added TL;DR section above. 

3/30 update: Updated the FAQ to help clarify some common questions about scoring.

3/28 update: Updated the FAQ to answer the CE stacking question.

3/21 update: Added the Theater Teambuilding Guide. Updated the FAQ.

3/20 update: Added the FAQ.

It's time for Theater Season 3 commander! I heard you enjoyed the last season a lot and can't wait to do it again, so I've set everything up once more!

Eh? You didn't? You'd rather die than have to scout again?
W-Well, I'm sure you'll do just fine with scouting this time around, now that you're more experienced. Remember the letter I wrote to help you out last time? Click on it for a refresher on how to do this whole thing!
Note from Kalina, made by Ysas of GFLCorner. Theater System Introduction by GFC

Is there going to be a third season of the panel? Who knows? Check back later and there might be something!

There could also not be since my schedule is hectic this month. Let's see what happens!

Remember, Vote for C and pad the leaderboards for the rest of us!

Thanks to Ysas for this cute AT4 animation!

How can I prepare for Theater?

As mentioned in the guide linked above, there will be bonus dolls you can field for additional stats.

Bonus T-Dolls grant a minimum of 5% bonus each, scaling up to 8% at level 100. The total bonus cannot exceed 24% (so 3x Lv. 100 bonus T-Dolls caps it out).

The EN Theater 3 bonus list has been datamined, and it is largely identical to the CN Theater 3 bonus list, which is an almost complete repeat of what we had in the first two Theater seasons - so if you had enough units maxed out before, you likely won't need to level anyone new. 

Changes from EN's first two seasons are the replacement of SPR A3G with KSVK, T91 with ADS, and JS05 with NTW-20

Theater 3 Bonus Dolls
Basic 1-4 Springfield Thompson P7 Skorpion Tokarev
Basic 5-8 Type 97 Shotgun Type 95 Type 97 NZ75 9A-91
Intermediate 1-4 M99 Thunder 100 Shiki Ameli GSh-18
Intermediate 5-8 HMG21 USAS-12 DSR-50 Ribeyrolles KSVK
Advanced 1-4 Type 79 Carcano M1891 SPAS-12 ADS Super Shorty
Advanced 5-8 K2 Suomi Kar98k NTW-20 QBU-88
Core 1-3 Type 97 Shotgun Type 95 Type 97 NZ75 9A-91
Core 4-6 HMG21 USAS-12 DSR-50 Ribeyrolles KSVK
Core 7-8 K2 Suomi Kar98k NTW-20 QBU-88

Players are recommended to level any non-duplicate dolls they have in their armory that they may find useful in the future.

I have the dolls, what kind of teams do I need?

The teams you need are pretty straightforward for everything except Core 8; for more information, check out the Theater Team Building Guide by Yuko which is updated for Theater Season 3 in 2021!

FAQ

Which stages should I clear daily?

Do one clear on the area with support bonus, then do one run on the hardest difficulty you can handle. For more information on optimizing this, you can see the advice from DMesse in Episode 1.

How often can I miss Theater?

You should not miss even a single day if you care about % placement rewards. Missing even one day of Theater can drop you 5% or more in rankings (not an exaggeration)!

Since it doesn't take long to do Theater (maybe 15-30 mins), it is highly recommended for all players to do it every day. 

Where can I find the bonus doll list?

You can view it in-game, or scroll up. 

I don't have most of the bonus units, am I boned?

Bonus units are a significant portion of your score, but being able to clear all of the content will put you way ahead of most players. (Most players won't have the bonus units either - it's a common problem! So relative to the average player, you're probably fine.)

Do I need to fight with my bonus units?

No, you can simply put your bonus units in one of the echelons you build.

As a reminder, the 24% cap can be reached with either 5x Lv. 1 bonus units or 3x Lv. 100 bonus units.

When should I start building facilities?

Players should save their materials for Phase 2 (Core Zone). You can spend some on Hard Zone Fairy/HOC buildings when they unlock if desired, but it's highly likely that players who do not read guides will invest an adequate amount in them. 

Should I recover an advantaged doll if I scrapped her?

You only get one recovery per week, so it is recommended to only recover Hard 8/Core 8 bonus units if you need to. 

I'm bad at scouting, does that mean I can't get a high %?

You can easily place in the top 5% (if not top 1%) even if you scout randomly, because most of your points come from being able to clear Core 8 consistently with as much bonus as possible. Scouting luck mostly evens out in the long run and won't matter nearly as much as the combat portion of Theater. 

Can I get QLZ-04 to ★★★★★ if I place high enough?

You will only receive enough Central Data to get her to ★★★★ at most. 

There's not much need to actually deploy her if you have the other 5 HOCs already trained, however. 

So Theater isn't a one-time thing? How often does it happen?

Theater is a relatively new feature even in CN. It's expected to happen ~3 times per year, though EN's schedule may change. 

When does Core unlock?

Core only unlocks when the server has fully cleared the three other stages

Do I need 5-star Fairies and HOCs to do Core 8?

Not at all! You can clear Core 8 even with 2★ HOCs and low-rarity fairies if you bring the right team

Do I need to CE stack to do well? 

You don't! The point difference from CE stacking is negligible compared to factors outside of your control like Scouting multipliers. (Make sure you bring as many bonus units as you can though!)

Top 100 is at the mercy of guessing correctly and percentile cutoffs depend more on your ability to do the daily checklist (seen in Kalina's letter above) than anything else. If you can clear Core 8 consistently then top 15% is pretty much guaranteed, if not top 5%.

What are some essential fairies for Theater?

  • Taunt Fairy is extremely good, perhaps even mandatory (at relatively high Skill Level, 8-10; SL10 highly recommended). 
  • Because you cannot use duplicates, Twin Fairy can be a good fallback if you need to give an HP sponge to multiple teams. 
  • Combat Fairies with meaningful skills (Airstrike, Warrior, Anna, etc.) will usually be more useful than strategy fairies, with the exception of strong stat sticks. 
  • Beach Fairy is another excellent pick for anyone who earned her from Shattered Connexion ranking. 
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About the Author(s)

(AKA Nonotan, Discord Cleista#7481)

Guide writer and editor for Girls' Frontline, and one of the few people who like its gameplay more than the gacha. Got MICA to pay me 8000 gems once. 

Send guide suggestions and ideas via DM on Discord, or drop some in the #gf_site_suggestions channel on the Community Discord

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