Attack effects are highly-useful effects added onto damage, changing the damage equation highly. Drones automatically equipped with an attack effect are highly-weakened, similar to flying units. Flying units with an attack effect are often so greatly-weakened, in fact, that they are entirely unusable as a result. While equipment with an attack effect only see a decrease in 20 attack power. See Unofficial Manual#Damage Equation for information about how damage is calculated and how to best equip and fight. See Attack-Type Units for a description of the units and their intended capabilities.
?((DSPD) x ?(flagEvasion))) ÷ ( lower?(APow) x higher?(AAcc)) = Speed Damage
?((DDEF) x ?(flagDefend)) ÷ ( higher?(APow) x lower?(AAcc)) = Defense Damage
?(DBAR) ÷ ( ?(APow) x ?(AAcc)) = Barrier Damage
((?(defDam) x ?(spdDam) x ?(barDam)) x (flagAnti x 2)) = Damage Equation
((((Damage Equation) x ?(Dlow HP)) x ?(flagEvasion)) x random) = Full Evade/Critical Chance
Anti-air and anti-ground are the weaker effect, yet weaken the 5 stat-important drones who carry it naturally very heavily. Anti-air/ground attacks having 'double damage' may seem amazing, however, what the game does not mention is that it uses the final damage equation, after all methods of defense diminish its power. Anti-air/ground drones also have weaker attack ability, and weaker defenses. The final damage output of most attacks in the early game and against high-defense drones will do about the same damage as similar-attacking drones, but only against the drone type they are strong against. When the drone can overcome its enemy's defenses, helped by beam element and good equipment/good area of the game, that damage is doubled in a profitable way, leading to a bit less than the power of two gunners attacking from the same square and in the same turn. Utilizing these drones for their double damage can be difficult, but can also be very worthwhile.
The two normal-level anti-air drones are the two most unusable drones in the game. The dragonfly is phased out after beating the Story Chapters for its incapable defenses. The centipede is likewise also unusable for players who don't master his use.
Firefly: Automatic Beam Cannon
The beam element is unique in the game. For the first third of the game, it is the Hicar-E's unique element. In the second third of the game, it is the enemy's fireflies' element as well as the element of a few very rare and weak guns. The butterfly can gain its final weapon, the flower bit, before the endgame, but requires a highly skilled player. Whereas its use in the endgame is de-canonized and deconstructed, reconstructed into a new aspect of battle.
Beam attacks still use the defense stat to calculate damage, but at a fraction of its value. Beam attacks also require far less total defense to defend against them. It is possible that speed and barrier do not multiply each other for damage, as a high evasion is enough to treat beam attacks as normal damage, and a high barrier provides very little protection comparatively.
For the last third of the game (endgame), it is a powerful tactic at double scrap ore cost to pierce defense. In the early Badlands on Hard Mode, it is again the element of the enemy fireflies who make even very early levels incredibly difficult and even stops Level-based No Repeats Hard Mode 1-9 before reaching rank 9. In Badlands 40+, half of all the enemies carry beam weapons, challenging the player to equip speed more to meet their swelling defenses, and adding the legitimacy of barrier boosters- and on top of that, makes melee beam attacks possible, leading to a new method of attack. While Badlands 50+ officially enstates beam as normal and non-beam as the special method of attacking instead, swapping their original values out and making the new rarer damage method even riskier to the defender.