Actually Good Mindustry Tier List
Alright so there are a lot of dubious tier lists going around at the moment, so I want to make one to fix a lot of misconceptions about a fair few units. I will be going through them by tree, and talking about their uses and downsides, so people get an idea about why each unit gets its rating.
How my ratings work:
Top rank is Essential, for units that are frequently used to beat maps and for good reason. Below that is Viable, for slightly different unit picks that still work well, or are not required but useful. Below that, is Solid, for units that have a place in the game, but require a buff to make them actually worth it (Don't hate on what I choose for this category, it is the truth, read it and understand). Right at the bottom is Bad, which requires no explanation. These units are bad. They need a buff or rework to make them solid.
Why you should listen to me:
Firstly, I'm a mod, so if you don't I'll ban you be unhappy. Secondly, I have finished the campaign (beat every map at least once, up to desolate rift and planetary launch terminal). Thirdly, I have cleared most of the sectors around the poles of the planet, which are the hardest maps in the game, so I know what works and what doesn't at that level. Lastly, I have used most of the units in the game frequently, as well as used logic, so I have experience with almost every unit on the list, and have played around in sandbox with the few I haven't used in campaign, which I will mention as I talk about them.
Alright, lets start
Dagger - Bad
The dagger is a weak T1 unit with exactly one thing going for it, that being it is cheap and mass producible. This makes it ok in PvP, but in almost any map in the campaign it is outclassed by the Nova, Before anyone says it, yes the nova needs titanium, but every attack map I have seen also has titanium, or you can launch it. The downside to the dagger are its low speed and its lack of flight, as well as lackluster damage. There really isn't anything a dagger can do that a Nova can't, so it ends up on the redundant side of the tier list.
Mace - Solid
The mace is just a bigger dagger, but with some key changes. IT has FAR more health, meaning it can get to the enemy before dying, and does a fair amount of damage. This means it is an odd but technically viable way to beat very early game attack maps, as their turrets can't kill a small group of maces before they do damage. On the downside, the mace is slow, lacks range, and gets outclassed by the Nova on most attack maps, so it can't reach anything higher than solid any time soon.
Fortress - Solid
I have not used fortress much, so take my opinion as slightly speculativeThe fortress is slow, can't fly, and is useless for most logic, a trait its entire tree shares. However, the fortress does do a decent level of damage, and has the range to be useful in attack maps and the campaign. Unfortunately, the fortress is objectively worse than the quasar, which is the bane of cores in medium/hard attack maps. I'll get the the quasar later, but their really isn't that much the fortress can do that the quasar can't.
Sceptre - Solid
It's slow, it doesn't fly, it can't build/mine, but it can shoot. The sceptre is good more some attack maps, if a slightly weird choice that isn't needed, but it's usefulness extends to the campaign where it can duel guardians such as the eclipse on NPC (with a large amount of healing of course). However, it is a bit expensive compared to the zenith for attack maps, and isn't really needed to beat the campaign. If zeniths are nerfed, sceptre is Viable, but for now it is Solid.
Reign - Solid
There isn't to much to say here, dagger tree weaknesses, but the reign has enough health, range, and DPS to charge down foreshadows and kill a core on high tier attack maps (One way trip most of the time however). Like the sceptre it is also redundant because of zeniths, so it isn't as good as it could be. It is a decent unit, but you can beat the entire game without using it once.
Nova - Essential
The Nova is an all round amazing unit. Firstly, it mines ores, so it can be used with logic as a miner. It also flies, further increasing its usefulness, as well as its versatility on attack maps. It has a healing aura, making it good for healing blocks, but the best thing about the Nova is its range. Even after the nerf, it still shoots further than a Salvo, meaning Novas can cheese most early game attack maps with ease.
Pulsar - Viable
The pulsar can seem like a downgrade from the Nova, its lacks the amazing range that made it so useful. It is true, the Pulsar isn't really a combat unit, but when you factor in logic, the unit is a lot better. The pulsar can carry 40 items, mine at 500% speed, build, and fly, making it useful for drone factories.
Quasar - Viable/Essential
The Quasar is a great unit. It has the same strengths that make the pulsar so powerful with the addition of being able to mine titanium but it also has a powerful ranged attack that goes through walls. 9 Quasars are a good way to beat a hard level map, but depending on your supply of blast compound, zeniths may outclass the Quasar and make it Viable. If you can't Zenith Bomb, then Quasars are Essential.
Vela - Bad
You would think the nova tree could only get better, but no, Vela is garbage. The vela trades out the Quasar's speed, mining, and relatively cheap cost, for a units with a bad attack and low health/mobility. Being able to fly doesn't make up for having terrible range and damage, and certainly doesn't make up for its cost as a T4.
Corvus - Solid
There isn't to much to say here, the Corvus has a better attack than the Vela but worse movement and cost. It is decent against bases with no plastanium, but seeing as maps you use this on have foreshadows, and zenith bombing exists, it is very redundant except in large numbers, which is too expensive to justify. PvP is an exception, the Corvus is far better in PvP, but this is a campaign tier list
Crawler - Bad
The crawler is a suicide unit, making it automatically bad. It only does 80 damage, which won't do much damage, and the crawlers main strength comes from having shields, which is a campaign only thing. It also doesn't fly, making its logic potential weak.
Atrax - Solid
The Atrax doesn't have to much going for it, but it does have a deal of health. The debuff it inflicts when it shoots something can add up, making hordes of these a viable way to beat low level attack maps, but the nova and zenith tend to outclass it at every stage of the game, and it competes with the mace for its slot as a T2 tank unit.
Spiroct/Arkyid - Solid
I have not played much with the Spiroct and Arkyid, but I hesitantly put them in Solid? tier. They didn't seem to be better than zenith bombing or have much going for them when comparing them to quads or quasars.
Toxopid - Solid
The toxopid is, in my opinion, the most overhyped unit in the game. Let me share a secret with you: Toxopid isn't that good… The problem with it is it is weak to foreshadows and has close range, but most importantly, it is just not needed, ever. There is no map where a Toxopid is required over zenith bombing, quad nuking, or using an Omura (if water). Sure it is good at duelling other units, but it is a misconception that the Toxopid is overpowered, as against bases it is fairly easy to kill from a distance with foreshadows.
Flare - Viable
The flare is very weak in combat, that much I think is given. It does terrible damage and its AI prevents it from doing much damage to a single structure. However with logic counted in, the flare becomes amazingly useful. It is stupidly fast, making it good for transporting items, as well as beating attack maps with some logic schematics. At every stage of the game, the flare is a vital logic unit, making it not essential, but definitely viable.
Horizon - Viable
The horizon is a mix of the flares strengths and weaknesses, it is less useful, but still great, for logic, as it is slower but carries a fair few items, and is also very good at beating attack maps with the bombing strategy. However, it lacks some of the health required to get to is destination which cripples it as a bomber for high level bases, and it isn't needed over Novas for lower difficulty ones, so it isn't essential.
Zenith - Essential
The zenith is, in my opinion, the bests unit in the game for attack maps, on par with the nova (in terms of when you get it). The zenith can beat any base when loaded with blast compound, and in large numbers can be logic controlled to obliterate any enemy defence. This, combined with their generically good movement, damage, health, and range, makes them an all round monster of a unit for killing defences. It also renders every unit of a higher tier less useful, as you don't need anything better to beat the game, which is why you wont see any T4-5 essential units.
Antumbra - Bad
There really isn't much to say about the antumbra, it is a weak unit with a decent amount of DPS, making it somewhat good in the campaign for duelling guardians, but it really isn't needed for anything else, as it just can't compete against foreshadows. Search your feelings, when was the last time you actually used an antumbra…
Eclipse - Bad
A truly sad ending to such a good unit tree, such is the way of most mindustry units. As a T5 unit, there is nothing that can justify making an eclipse. It does ok damage, has a terrible AI, not nearly enough HP for its range, meh speed, and for a unit that is meant to be better than a zenith, it fails miserably.
Mono - Essential
The Mono is a great unit. It does one thing, and does it so well that it is useful in any sector, up until you can export vast amount of copper and lead a minute. The Mono mines, without any logic or fuss, and given its cheap cost it is useful to have as you play, as you never have to worry about copper or lead again with a fleet of 24 of them. There is no reason not to make Monos.
Poly - Essential
The poly, like the mono, has one main job, which it also does really well. The poly assists with building, which is practically mandated for harder maps such as desolate rift, where you have to build quickly to survive an early guardian. They also repair destroyed blocks, which is a little annoying for some people, but overall means the player doesn't have to keep checking on their defences for repairs, and can make a clutch repair on a destroyed base.
Mega - Viable
The mega is a great unit, being able to build fast, mine fast, fly fast and heal things fast. However it overlaps a lot of the poly, and its really needed for most maps, as a poly hoard is usually enough to do everything. Great unit, very viable, just not essential. To give an example: Gamma [150% build speed] + 24 Polys [1200% build speed], is more than enough to build everything fast, more isn't really required.
However, 24 polys plus commanding 9 megas [3360% build speed] is nice to have as well, so its up to you really, it is my opinion that mega is viable, not a hard fact.
Quad - Viable
The Quad is a good unit…on paper. It builds fairly well, and is great on attack maps. It has plenty of good ways to beat enemy bases, and its basic attack is devastating for low health buildings. However, when compared to zenith bombing, the quad isn't really needed, but serves more as a cool niche unit that does the same job, just for a higher cost of resources. I personally think the quad is a cool unit, but until zenith bombing gets a nerf it can't really be considered essential.
Oct - Solid
The oct is another unit that looks a lot better on paper. It has a good shield, a lot of health, and can pick up multiple units or blocks at a time. This technically makes it viable, but due to how hard it is to make a T5, and how outclassed it is by zeniths, quads, and polys/megas for building, it ends up in solid. The oct needs a buff, desperately, to give people a reason to actually make it.
The Entire Tree - Solid
For the sake of speed I am going to summarize all 5 for the Risso Tree units in one go, because they are, at least in my opinion, all exactly the same. They all have either good DPS or good range, and have a lot of health. However, seeing as you hardly get to use them, they are not all that good, as the only map where I have ever used a water unit was an Omura on PTL. In my opinion, the Risso Tree actually needs a nerf, but at the same time their need to be more ways of using the tree, such as more frequent water, and the ability for ores to generate in it, so more maps will have water and resources together. As for the ranking, the entire tree would be viable were it not for their lack of usage and convenience, so they all get a Solid in my opinion.
- Essential: Nova, (Quasar), Zenith, Mono, Poly
- Viable: Pulsar, Flare, Horizon, Mega, Quad
- Solid: Mace, Fortress, Scepter, Reign, Corvux, Spiroct, Arkyid, Toxopid, Oct, Risso Tree
- Bad: Dagger, Vela, Crawler, Antumbra, Eclipse
The main problem with the current state of this list is a combination of two things. The zenith needs a nerf, so it isn't the primary way to clear attack maps, and all T4-5 units need a good reason to justify making them, which practically none have as of now.