Counter Side Beginner Guide

In this guide you will find all the information you will need as a new player.

Foreword

This guide is an updated version of a great guide that was created for SEA region release. It's available here. Sadly, the game had changed quite a lot in the six months since the SEA release and that's why I wanted to update it with all the new info we have.

About Counter Side

Counter side is a side-scroller tower defense hero collector. What a mouthful. The purpose of the game is to deploy your heroes and destroy the enemy base, whilst avoiding the destruction of yours. I will not be explaining basic game play mechanics as you'll very quickly pick them up when you're playing the game. However keep in mind the combat diagram advantages for easier stage clears if you're ever struggling.

Role Diagram
Frequently Asked Questions

Is this game Free to Play friendly?

Yes, but only as long as you don't want to compete in the Ranked Arena. Thankfully, the rewards difference between the bottom and top ranks is really small and Ranked PVP in this game is all about bragging rights. Furthermore, the game also has a Strategy PVP mode where you just pick one of three opponents and the game plays on auto - you get the same currency to use in the shop from both modes.

Basically at any given moment there's an event or a calendar running that gives tons of free stuff and the developers are quite generous.

Can I use emulator to play the game?

Yes, but the game has a PC client (in SEA - Global won't have it on release and there the game will be released on Steam shortly after launch) and it works so much better, so if you like playing on PC, just use the official client.

For SEA you can download it from the official site.

How do the rates look like?

On a normal banner it's 3.5% to pull the highest rarity in the game - SSR. 1% is for the featured employee and 2.5% to get an SSR employee from the general pool.

Also, reaching pity is quite easy and you only need 150 pulls to get the featured unit - there's only one featured SRR per banner, so there's no horrors here with pitying someone you don't want.

On a awakened banner, where you can get Awakened Employees (basically UR rarity from other games) the chance is the same as for normal banner - 3.5% overall and 1% to get the awakened employee. But compared to normal banners, the pity is saved and isn't lost when the current awakened banner ends. This means that if you're unlucky and have to pity every time, you can get an awakened employee roughly every 2-3 months. Currently there's 14 awakened employees in the game.

Check our Awakened Employee guide if you want to know more about them.

Does the game have auto-battle or skip tickets?

Both, but compared to other gacha games, auto-battle here is quite smart and if you setup your team correctly, you can clear majority of the game's content just on auto battle.

After you clear a stage on 3 stars, you will unlock Skip option that will allow you to instantly clear a stage, giving you max rewards. Still, there are some modes that can't be skipped, but they're in minority - you can do all dailies / farming stages with skip.

Is this a main or a side game?

The game is going to be a main game until you unlock and catch up with all your characters and resources, and then it becomes a solid side game with plenty of events and added content over time. The main focus would also be the fun live PVP that the game has, if you enjoy something more competitive.

How long does it take to do all the dailies?

Around 15 minutes after the skip option was added.

Managing stamina

Eternium is what stamina is called in this game. When you start playing, you will level up like crazy and every time you do, you will receive a couple thousands of Eternium. That's why after you settle on an account you should never use the Get All button in Mail. Never. Whenever you run low on Eternium, just open a single mail and keep playing.

During events, you should prioritise farming event stages instead, because not only they give more exp/gold per Eternium spend, but also the event shop is full of goodies!

Managing Quartz

Quartz is the premium currency in the game and even if the game showers you with it, you should never pull on normal banners using Quartz (costs 1.5k to do a 10-pull). Why? Because the game gives you enough Blue Contracts (basically summon tickets) and you should summon using them instead. Also because Quartz are better exchanged for Black Tickets. You can buy 220 Black Tickets every week for 2.7k Quartz which equals to 11 pulls on an awakened banner.

However you should also be refreshing the daily shop 5 times a day - each refresh costing 15 quartz for 75 total quartz, to try to get blue summoning tickets (which you can use to summon characters with), as well as other materials that you'll need like limit breaking cubes, skill books and ship upgrade materials. Be aware that the items in the shop cost quite a lot of credits, so you might want to wait a week or so before you start refreshing it daily.

You will also need Quartz to expand your employee and gear inventories, but only do that when you really need it.

Rerolling

Check my other guide to get all the information you will need to reroll a great starter account.

Early game tips

First thing you should do is go to your inventory and activate the 20% EXP/Gold buff ticket that lasts for a week after activation. That way you'll start earning more gold and exp for all your units.

Your main focus should be progressing in PVE, always aiming towards higher EXP/GOLD output stages, start by clearing Episodes till you finish EP5 and unlock Enterprise ship recipe. Pour all your resources into it, because that's the best PVE ship in the game that will last you forever. Once easy is done, start progressing into harder stages for even more gold output, however your main goal should be clearing the last stage in Military Supply Acquisition. Gutter Rat stage 4 will be your best early game source of T4 gear, mats to craft T5 gear and gold. In SEA we farmed Free Contract instead, but after sweep was introduced, you no longer can auto-farm that stage.

Follow and complete the Company missions (Small Firm is the first one) - you will get a lot of materials and resources by completing them.

How many characters will I need to level and how should I spread my resources leveling them early on?

At first I would recommend you start by prioritising and leveling among 8 characters, 2 of them could be defenders and the rest of them attackers. Those 8 will later be split into 2 teams of 4 characters each+fillers and then you can slowly start leveling other characters as you see fit based on what you get from gacha.

If you followed the Reroll Guide, Gaeun + Nanahara Chifuyu + Evelyn will carry you through the whole campaign.

Ultimately you're going to need to have enough characters to make 5 full teams, each team consisting of 8 characters.

Please fill out the rest of your slots with potential characters you plan to use for the future. I see people making the mistake of leaving the spaces blank. The exp gained for your fodders/low level units saves you a lot of exp tickets as well as gold.

Also don't ignore lower rarity employees. I know everyone wants to use and show off their shiny SSRs, but in Counter Side there's a lot of hidden gems with SR, R and even N rarity. Here are some great lower rarity employees:

Check the Tier List to find other great low-rarity employees.

My inventory is full of low tier units, what do I do?

Keep the dupes of heroes you plan to use for Limit Breaking. You should sell the lower rarity N and R heroes that you got from gacha pulls and don't plan to use, for extra shop currency and gold, which you can trade in for other resources in the shop or to pull on Mecha/Soldier banner.

Be aware that some lower rarity employees (and lower rated in the tier list) can be Rearmed - this makes them way stronger than the base version. Still, this feature won't be available on Global at the start, but it's worth knowing whose copies you should save. Check our Rearm guide to learn more.

Gear
Gear

Early on go to character stats and see how well their skills scale, and equip them with the desired 2 piece bonus. The stats and tier don't matter early on as much as the 2/4 piece bonus. There are 4 pieces of gear you can equip and each unit style (Mech/Soldier/Counter) uses their own gear. 4th accessory slot unlocks after you get the character to 6 star awakening.

What gear parts should I craft early on?

Since the game provides you with resources to craft some low tier pieces, I noticed the accessory pieces were harder to obtain from missions than the weapons/armor. So craft those, or whichever pieces you feel you're lacking.

Also only start crafting when you unlock T5 tier and have Gutter Rat on farm - because that's where the materials needed to craft the T5 gear will come from.

Keep all Cooldown and Attack Speed set pieces (especially Counter gear), because those two sets are most commonly used and the Cooldown one is simply overpowered - it gives Skill Haste which basically means your employees will use their skills faster and more often.

What to do with crappy gear?

You should feed it into your good gear and level it up to level 5. After that it gets too expensive.

Gear

What about tuning the gear?

You should save both your Tuning and Golden Tuning Binaries for T6 Unique Gear that will become available some time after launch - or it can already be in your PVP shop. The best T6 Unique sets are called: Maze, Gordias and Hummingbird.

Trust me, you don't want to waste it on the crappy gear you will get when you start playing the game.

Gear
How to build a good team?

Overall for early game progression, you should use a balanced team that has every role in it. This way you won't be stuck on stages where for example Ranger employees have issues beating enemies due to Role disadvantage. Here's a sample early game team that you should be able to use after rerolling:

Sample team

Always deploy a Defender + Striker duo first, together they will hold the frontline and start killing enemies at the same time. Next drop a Ranger and Supporter (but watch out, not all supporters are healers - Evelyn, Claudia, Chinatsu, Arius and Yang Harim are the units you want to use in that spot).

After the initial four, you can fill the rest of the spots with a variety of damage dealers - more Rangers, Striker or Snipers.

Why exactly this order? Because when you let auto-battle handle the stuff, it will deploy the employee in top-left corner first, and the one in bottom-right corner last.

Try to keep the average cost below 3.5, because while the more expensive employees are usually stronger, it will hard to deploy them all due to the limited Resource Deployment you get - the recharge is pretty slow.

Also the employee you will set as a Leader will get his deployment cost lowered by 1. Use this to your advantage.

What about ships?

Check my other guide to get all the information you will need about early game ships.

Leveling up employees
Leveling

You will always be running low on gold until you get to the higher chapters and start doing auto battles at chapter 3 or 4. At around account level 30, which is possible to achieve within a day or two of gameplay, then you will finally be ahead of the gold curve and won't have to worry about it. However at the same time you'll also find that you're finally out of EXP tickets to level your characters, use them wisely early on.

When it comes to leveling your heroes, I would recommend using the normal leveling option if you're a casual player. If you're active, you should be able to level your heroes fairly consistently regardless.

However if you're planning on going to go pretty hardcore, and try to get to the 3rd or 4th chapter on the first day. I would highly suggest using the more expensive 30% level up option instead to level up your units higher, since you will run out of exp tickets at around account level30. You'll be getting slightly more EXP/Levels to give you an advantage in harder story chapters as well as Live PVP.

Limit Breaking employees
Limit Breaking

Core cubes are used to Limit break your character, which can also be substituted by using dupes. But you should never use SSR employees dupes to limit breaking before level 100 (and SR in some cases). Why? Because you will need the dupes to Limit Break employees past level 100 (that's the initial cap on a fresh server) and before that you should only use the Cubes.

Red cubes are used to Limit Break Counters, Green cubes for Mechs, and Blue cubes for Soldier. The red cubes are most valuable, and should be picked as reward from selection boxes given out as rewards.

Limit Breaking

Limit break characters in moderation, don't invest everything into 1 character only. It is recommended to limit break all your highly used characters evenly.

You get the Cubes from the daily dungeon (Simulation) - but more about it later.

Skill Training
Skill Training

Leveling your employees Skills is very important, because a lot of them reach their full potential only when their skills are maxed. For example Kyle Wong gains a second wall on his special skill, massively increasing the range of the skill and its CC.

Leveling the skills from level 1 to 3 requires normal Skill Books and Info, and for the last 2 levels, you will need Special Skill Books instead. You can get both from Simulations.

For most employees, you should level their Passive skill first, then Special, then Ultimate and leave the basic for the end.

Simulation
Simulation

Simulation is the place where you will get all the things you need to Level up, Limit Break and Skill Train your employees. You have 2 daily attempts at each Simulation and you can buy more daily if you wish to do so. I personally suggest not doing so since quartz are limited and should be used for buying Awakened character summoning tickets in the future, resources on the other hand are infinite.

You should try to clear the highest level of the simulations as soon as you can, because the amount of stuff you get (Cores, Skill Books and Exp Books) varies between them.

Farmable characters

There are two ways you can farm shards to unlock some SR and SSR characters in the game:

  • Side Stories
  • Supply Operations > Talent Recruitment

In Side Stories, the farm is limited, because you can only do it 3 times a day per character. But there's a small chance (around 1%) to get a full character drop. Here's a list of employees available in Side Stories:

If you plan to PVP, you should focus on Kang Soyoung for sure, as she's the best Sniper Counter in the game.

As for Talent Recruitment - there's no daily limit of entries and you're only limited by Eternium (stamina). Still, there are better ways to spend it in the early game, but if you really want someone here, getting one copy isn't that bad. Here's the list of farmable characters there:

The characters available to farm here are super easy to max limit break and Evelyn, Kim Sobin, Sylvia, and Lin Xien should be high on your priority list to do that.

World Map

Soon after beating tutorial you will unlock the World Map, where you will be able to send your teams on missions that in return give you various resources.

World Map

If you're constantly playing the game or have it running on your second monitor, you should fish for Blue Tickets. How to do it? Simply send out your minions on the shortest missions (1h, but it's ~40 minutes once you upgrade the base a bit) till you receive a 4/8h missions that rewards you with Summoning Tickets.

Abusing the 'fishing method' you can easily earn around 100-200 additional Blue Summoning Tickets a month, but it requires checking the game every 40 minutes or so.

At the start of the game, you will only have one branch and you will open further ones by increasing your account level.

  • 1 Branch - unlocked via tutorial
  • 2 Branch - account level 15
  • 3 Branch - account level 30
  • 4 Branch - account level 45
  • 5 Branch - account level 60
  • 6 Branch - account level 75

But you can skip the account level requirement by using Quartz - still, it's not really advised to do so unless you're a whale. While you can easily reach account level 30 in your first day, the leveling process slows down after that. Here are the Quartz unlock prices for the two most expensive branches:

  • 5 Branch - 8k Quartz
  • 6 Branch - 12.5k Quartz

Casual F2P players should wait to level 60 to unlock 5th branch for gold and then the 6th for Quartz . The reason is that it takes around 3 months to level to 60, but around a year/year and a half to get to 75. If you're a hardcode player that does the fishing method, you should unlock 5th and 6th branch with Quartz at level 45.

If you want to learn more about Branches, check this great guide by Nira: Branch Management Guide.

Intel

You will notice early on that you're going to be running out of blue Info and skill books, you can get them from doing dispatch missions and challenges. They should be your main priority early on from dispatch missions, especially the higher tier yellow and red ones as they're harder to come by.

Lower tier blue info books are also used to activate character special reward missions along with Raids and Dives, which is equivalent to tower climb in most other games that resets every 2 months.

Check our Dive guide here:

PVP

Counter Side has three types of PVP modes:

  • Strategy PVP - where you chose one of three random opponents and attack him. Since this is auto-battle PVP, all you can do is observe how well your team performs.
  • Ranked PVP - where you fight in real time against a opponent with similar rank. Here both your skill and gear matters a lot.
  • Draft PVP - currently only in Beta in KR region. It's similar to Ranked PVP, but both you and your opponent are drafting the teams in real time, and if he picks for example Hilde, you can't pick her yourself.

Ranked PVP also has bans and boosts towards certain units, depending on their use. That keeps the real time arena fresh and interesting (bans apply to Silver+ ranked players).

After a recent rework to the Gauntlet, you no longer are forced to play Ranked Battles each day to finish dailies and you only need to do a few Strategy Battles. What's also important is that both modes reward you with the same currency, so you're not losing anything if you have real-time battles.

If you're interested in trying Ranked PVP, check our PVP guide for beginners.

Mentor system
Mentors

Find a mentor before you hit account level 25. You will receive a set of missions that will reward you with tons of resources and even with an SSR Ticket; go to Partners screen and then Mentor tab to do that.

Once you hit account level 25, you can invite others to become your Mentees and gain additional rewards (up to 10 Mentees per two months)

Spending tips
Packs

You should never buy Admin Coins (the premium currency) directly. Instead if you decide to spend, buy the 30 days AC pack (you get 1100 AC instantly and then 70 AC per day over 30 days = 3200 AC in total) for 13$. This drastically lowers the prices of Battle Pass (2100 AC so around 8$) and skins.

There's also a lot of packs that have similar AC/$ ratio to the 30 days pack and here's a sheet that reviews most of the offers. It was created for SEA and while it wasn't updated in some time, the early game offers were the same in other regions, so you can still use it safely.

Here's another guide dedicated to spenders:

Resources
Resources

Here's a great sheet created by Ark that shows how much Resources you can earn per month as a F2P/spender player: monthly income guide. It was created for SEA, but Global should be the same resource gain wise, so you can still use it safely.

The information is in the sheet, but here's how much resources you can earn each month:

  • 8.5-16.5k Quartz
  • 90-150 Blue Tickets (used to pull on normal banners)
  • 1200-1400 Black Tickets (used to pull on awakened banners; each pull is 20 tickets)
  • 340-460 Tuning Binaries
  • 110-150 Set Bins
  • 90-100 Special Schematics
  • 35-40 Fusion Cores
List of dailies to do
  1. Send out your teams on Dispatch missions for resources,
  2. Do daily free Simulations,
  3. 5x shop refresh for quartz for a chance to buy blue character summoning tickets with credits,
  4. Use Eternium to clear special character story stages for special character shards 3/3 until you get the full character drop (limited daily),
  5. Use your Strategy Battles Tickets to gain PVP currency,
  6. Use up your leftover Eternium for resource grinding.
Tips in video format

Check Jenazad's video for more tips in video format.