Due to exceptional Mica pepeganess, neither RPK-203 nor MCX are in the 4th Anniversary TCM shop. We advise Commanders that wish to TCM either of these to wait for a probably fix that will arrive while the shop is up.
With the numerous meta changes since the creation of the original guide, we restructured it to reflect the current, and to some extent, future meta changes, as well as consolidating the information so Commanders can be informed in a quicker way
Unlike the original article, we'll provide information on only the most crucial units, while finer details can be found in their analyses on their respective pages.
Some recommendations still stay true (yes, we know most will TCM your waifu), while some has been updated (Sorry not sorry Soul, KSG is no longer worth mentioning).
cries in Soulmuse
I see Soul is not very Soulamused. Don't worry, though, Saiga is also not worth it anymore. Sorry, hon
Cries in Redespairrix
What is a True Core Mask?
A True Core Mask is an item available in limited events (majorly in Major Story Events such as Isomer, Shattered Connexion, among others, and Anniversary Event).
It's an item that allow Commanders to trade it for any 5 star T-Dolls available in the Production pool. That means that, no, you can't use it acquire a Kord, but you can use it to acquire a Carcano M91/38 "Grape".
Once Commanders acquire this item, they can trade it for one 5 star T-Doll in the Event Shop
This wonderful item allows for the selection of a single production 5★ T-Doll to add to your armory, including Heavy Production-exclusive SGs. This is exactly as amazing as it sounds, as it allows any commander who simply logs in during this event to bypass all the production RNG and get the T-Doll they want guaranteed, which is something that you’d have to pay money for in many other gacha games.
With well over two dozen 5★ Dolls currently in the pool and the meta shift of Isomer coming up, the question of what to spend this amazing item on is not as easy as it was last year. This guide is intended to help make that choice easier for players.
Ceia's comment on TCM, while old, is a short, accurate take on how to handle using a TCM (the SG was redacted to avoid confusion, as she is no longer top of her class).
DON'T USE YOUR TRUE CORE MASK BEFORE ANNIVERSARY'S GENERAL RATE-UP IS OVER
In more details: it's not rare that Commanders TCM the T-Doll they want/need, only to acquire her on the Rate Up a few days later, thus wasting a precious opportunity that is TCMing a T-Doll to bypass the mockery of RNGesus. Because of that, only when Normal T-Doll Production, and Heavy T-Doll Production rate ups are over that Commanders should spend their TCM.
Frankly, nobody cares about your "flex" icon.
In more details: the icon's only purpose is that, "flexing". It's also available in the Friend's Shop when the next Anniversary rolls around, or technically it should be, as that's the case in foreign servers but for some reason it's not in EN. Maybe Mica's EN staff really cares about the TCM Icon flex status.
With so many T-Dolls, and their skins, available as icons, there are a thousand better ways to "flex" over other Commanders (Starry Coccoon or Saiga Racing maybe?) than an icon that's barely indistinguishable between its variants (Story Events and past Anniversaries).
Moreover, who knows, there might be a day where Mica finally release those in the Friend's shop, just like it was supposed to happen. Would you use a rare consumable in such a gamble?
Also, you can acquire another Grape dupe, because there are never enough Grape dupes.
Only use a True Core Mask to dupe a T-Doll if a) you already have all other 5 star T-Dolls or b) you only care about Meta and doesn't have enough Carcano M91/38 Grape dupes.
But Adam, how many Grape dupes are enough?
Who to Acquire?
First and foremost, let's break down which classes are worth looking at:
- SGs: The real creme de la creme for TCM, this is the best class to use the TCM on, due to the heavy resource consumption it has. Also has several Meta units in it
- RFs: Only Carcano M91/38 "Grape" matters. Imagine having a balanced class. She's the second-best pick, has been for a while, and likely will be in the foreseeable future
- MGs: Not quite as expensive as SGs, but still an expensive class due to its high Parts consumption it's also an option for TCMs. Has a few meta T-Dolls, though the most notable one (Kord) isn't on the Production pool
- ARs: Currently not quite Meta, save for a few specific T-Dolls
- SMGs: Much like ARs, they're not quite meta, and in fact, some meta SMGs aren't even TCM-able
Below we'll have a look into each class, as well as the top recommendations in it
The attentive ones will have notice one class wasn't mentioned above.
"But Zessy, why were HGs not mentioned? Does GP hate them?"
HGs are the cheapest class to produce per resource consumption, so even if some HGs evade you like the plague (like Calico evaded Adam to the point that he had to rank Isomer with Astra :pepega40:, only for him to acquire her one week after the event ended), you'll still acquire all of them one day, and without sacrificing your resources like you'd with RFs/ARs/SMGs/MGs and especially SGs.
For the completionists, it makes even less sense using the TCM there, as SGs are notoriously hard to acquire. Anchored Production has helped in this aspect, but we still have yet to see the day Mica will fix the SG production and make producing them a guaranteed thing (so MP5 dupe #1245 doesn't have to be scrapped).
Yes, we know, a fair majority play this came casually, and so their units are also casually picked.
For True Core Mask, there's no big issue in using it to TCM your one true waifu, as long as you're aware of the consequences of picking her over a more optimal T-Doll. As Soul perfectly said:
"Don't repeat the tragedy of players who crafted for IWS2000 or Negev for months to no avail."
The SG that dethroned S.A.T. 8 when she was released, LTLX is epitome of all SGs. Sporting a massive base armor, a 5s ICD Skill with guaranteed knockback, and buff removal, including shields, on top of a passive damage reduction buff, makes her the top pic for any Commander even remotely interested in Meta, or in having an easier time dealing with annoying enemies like Striders and KCCO Dogs
A SG that can ignore any incoming attack that deals up to 5 Damage, which can be bumped up to 8 Damage, thanks to Flash Ammo, is a SG worth noting.
While she, and every other SG that will be mentioned henceforth, should not be picked over Carcano M91/38 Grape, she is the immediate next best choice after LTLX and Grape
The "SG Grape", FO-12 is a SG that bears some resemblance to the grape-coloured RF, thanks to her one-time use "Fatal attack" (insert chuunibyou joke here). With enemy formations featuring a dangerous Support unit in Mirror Stage (MS) and later events, she becomes an essential piece in deleting these enemies, thanks to their ridiculously high FP statuses that makes them the target for FO-12 where even Grape would struggle.
In other words, Mica created a problem to create a solution. Or in this case, created a niche for FO-12 and similar T-Dolls.
2SG teams also become a thing after MS, which also makes her passive Skill convenient to use, greatly extending the survivability of the maintank SG
On par with FO-12 relevancy-wise, thanks to another niche, DP-12 is unique in that she reduces the Damage taken by T-Dolls behind her. While it may initially seem counter-productive to reduce the damage in the T-Dolls behind her, rather than her own or for T-Dolls beside her, this has an actual use against piercing units, which also start being more common Mirror Stage onwards. And, as you probably know, MGs are quite slow moving.
Our favourite pizza lover, S.A.T. 8 is still worth mentioning simply because her kit is simple, yet effective: 2 ICD frontrow-wide shield, which means she gets shielded almost as soon as the battle starts.
With newer SGs being released, and new niches emerging, she is no longer king among the SGs as she once were. However, she is the standard for which all SGs should aim to surpass if they want to be even worth being considered over S.A.T. 8 for the TCM.
With Mica not knowing how to balance the RF class since bamboo RFs exist (which is, well, since Girls' Frontline exists), the TCM choice for has never really changed:
Carcano M91/38 nicknamed "Grape" has become the pinnacle of bamboo RFs ever since she was released, and is unlikely to be dethroned anytime soon, unless Mica decides to rework the bamboo skills again (as likely as them reworking the Flare Skill).
"But she is an RF! She is relatively cheap to produce, so why should I spend a TCM on her?"
The answer is surprisingly simple:
She is just that overpowered and convenient to use
With enemy HPs continuously ballooning since Singularity, there are many non-elite enemies that are annoying to defeat with a standard RFHG, but that Grape makes short work of them: Gundams, Minotaurs, Gladiators, and the list goes on. She's just a huge clutch that makes many difficult fights a walk in the park, and can be a huge help even for casual Commanders who just want to reach the end of the event, or for the Commanders allergic to crafting fairies (just don't expect her to clutch your way into the EX chapters without good fairies)
The MG class is an odd one, in that that they're fit and not fit for TCMs at the same time.
Fit because they're finally back at the Meta in Mirror Stage onwards and are quite expensive to produce, as Parts are the resources with the worst Logistics available, but also not fit because the best MGs are often not produceable (like Kord, Kord, and Kord).
Armor stacking is a thing in the future, so meta Commanders who already Grapes and the aforementioned MGs can look at some armor-tile MGs (like RPK-16 and Negev). However, the number one MG in this class is the only MG that can effectively bypass reloading entirely: RPK-203.
Not to be confused with RPK-16 (the smug onee-san, the alpaca, the sussy rpk, DYJ's RPK, among many other nicknames), RPK-203 can switch between two modes: Continuous Mode and Burst Mode.
Her shining moment is her Continuous Mode, where she just never stops shooting. On top of that, she also spawns a Taunt fairy-esque teddybear, where it soaks up some damage that would be otherwise directed at MGs.
With Kord being unable to be acquired through a TCM, she's the best pick in the MG class. If only Pandora was like her...
RF/SMG/AR crafting all have roughly equal resource investment, so, if you have made it to this point without finding a Doll you want or need, the question of what to pick will focus on what holes you have in your armory, so you can patch up your Roster.
SMGs have fallen out of the Meta since Shattered Connexion somewhat, with only a few exceptions (like MP5 Mod, and, when she arrives, G36C Mod) being worth mentioning. That said, there's no real reason to spend a TCM in a SMG, unless you're missing one of them, and have acquired all SGs and MGs.
(we're looking at you P90)
AR’s have the largest pool of 5★ units, as the nominal generalists of GFL. However, as mentioned several times above, AR/SMG compositions are not spammed en massee as they were in the past meaning that you should focus upon having a selection of targeted ARs, tailored for their roles, and less generalist ARs. We can divide ARs into two broad categories. Self Buffing ARs and Grenadiers. By and large, even every AR listed here is unlikely to be an efficient use of your True Core Mask. Should you have made it to this point, either possessing every Doll, or otherwise not wanting to choose from them, you may consider the following information to inform your choices. However, do not, for any reason, pick a dupe AR from this list.
Much like SMGs, only use a TCM once you have acquired all TCM-able SGs and MGs, and P90 from the SMG class. Ak-15 has a mod that essentially turns her into AR Grape, and so Commanders should keep one copy of her to prepare for this future mod, and also quite rare to acquire, so, in the unlikely event that you have every SG, MG and P90 and doesn't have her, go for her.
"What about 416? Her mod is meta right?"
416 is just too easy to acquire, as she is part of an "over 800 total resources spent" pool that every recipe sans HG has, to justify spending a TCM on her. Even if it takes longer to acquire her, it is as the saying goes: "patience is a virtue".
If you reached this point of this article, you either just want to read all of it so the writers appreciate someone taking their time to actually read all of it, or actually have acquired all acquirable 5 star from the other classes, but mysteriously is missing more than one 5 star HG, then don't worry, we got you covered.
Contender. She's a royal pain to acquire. Go for her only if you have the good 5 star HGs, like Calico, Grizzly and Welrod (for her mod).