To note: These are first impressions and based on guesswork since we don’t know the exact details.
Irene will be the second 6 Star Guard [Dualstrike / Swordmaster] and the 5th member of the overall archetype ranking. His kit introduces a new mechanic: Levitation, which turns enemy melee units into air units (yes, that counts for targeting priority like AA snipers and damage bonuses). It also makes them unable to move, attack, and use skills (duration is halved against heavier enemies). Levitate not only acts as a form of crowd control, but also buffs its own damage, as its 1 talent has increased DEF Ignorance against airborne enemies. Ignoring his talent’s DEF can be very useful for this build since one of the downsides of the build is low ATK due to their double hit basic attacks (meaning they essentially gain “double ” of ignoring DEF for each hit).
Her 2 talent increases her ASPD, which is also nice for this archetype since their skills usually charge on offense. So ASPD not only increases their DPS directly, but also increases the frequency of using their skills.
Her three skills levitate enemies and deal bonus damage. S1 is a single target damage skill that probably won’t be very useful. S2 is a multi-target skill that can hold charges. At first glance, it looks like Bibeak’s S2, which is known to be a very good crowd control skill, so it’ll be interesting to see how it stacks up in practice. The limit to low weight enemies means it won’t be very effective against elite and boss types. S3 is an AoE skill that’s pretty hard to guess too much at this point until we know more about its damage modifiers and weight limits on Levitate, but it could potentially be a interesting skill of multi-enemy burst damage or crowd control.
The main thing missing from his kit is the SP generation. With skill charging in attack, units of this archetype may have difficulty charging their skills when not constantly attacking (such as between waves), which also limits their use in helicopters. This will make SP costs significant for its viability.
So can Irene surpass Ch’en, her Archetype predecessor, and become a hard-hitting meta-operator? It seems that much will depend on the practical usefulness of the new [Levitiate] mechanic, so stay tuned!