The Honkai Star Rail tier list is seeing major changes every patch as more five-star and four-star characters arrive. The game's DPS meta feels fairly established for the time being, but essential defensive and utility characters are still bringing big meta upsets. Thus far, the game's new characters have also been some of the best characters, which makes every update feel impactful. Here are the best Honkai Star Rail characters you can use today.
Honkai Star Rail characters quick links
Best Honkai Star Rail characters
Honkai Star Rail's first five-star limited healer, Luocha packs basically every defensive utility you could want into one unit. He provides tremendous single-target healing through a skill which automatically triggers, without spending a skill-point, when an ally dips below half health (once every two turns), plus this skill can also cleanse debuffs. His AoE ultimate is guaranteed to remove a buff from enemies and deals a big chunk of Imaginary break damage. On top of that, once you've used his skill or ultimate two times, he'll automatically generate a field that essentially gives your entire team AoE lifesteal for two turns. Luocha makes basically every fight much comfier, and is unquestionably the best healer in the game.
Silver Wolf's unique skill lets you apply new elemental weaknesses to enemies, enabling more allies to break their shields. Her skill also applies noticeable debuffs on top of stacking "bugs" that further weaken enemies and stick around for quite a while. Her ultimate deals relevant damage in its own right and applies the biggest defense debuff in the game, boosting the output of your damage dealers even further and cementing Silver Wolf as a flexible and powerful support unit that unlocks new play styles.
Jing Yuan technically deals pretty average AoE damage himself, which is already fine, but the Lightning Lord he summons dishes out a heck of a lot more, making him the strongest Erudition character by some distance. He offers virtually no utility, but you don't really need that when everything is dead. He's much better against enemies that are weak to lightning because he deals so much toughness damage, but Jing Yuan is strong enough to plow through groups of just about anything. The way his attacks are targeted also makes him remarkably capable in single-target situations, to the point that he can even outpace some Hunt characters, though the likes of Seele will obviously win out one-on-one.
Honkai Star Rail's first rate-up character delivers unmatched single-target damage with indirect AoE in the form of extra turns. Seele can shred bosses one-on-one or bounce around multiple weaker targets through well-timed finishers that grant her additional moves, letting her solo many low-level fights. While she gets fewer extra turns in endgame content, her boss damage output remains uncontested.
Easily the best standard five-star character, Bronya can completely break Honkai Star Rail's turn queue and let characters like Seele make even more extra moves with sizable damage buffs backing them. Her ultimate is another substantial team buff, and her skill's ability to instantly give any ally another turn can also be used to cheat out a clutch heal, giving Bronya invaluable utility.
Like Bronya, Tingyun lets you use your team's best abilities more often while also providing significant damage buffs through her skill, but in her case she excels at refueling your team's ultimates. Tingyun's ultimate gives 50 energy to a teammate of your choice, which is around half of the average ultimate cost. This lets you double-dip on burst damage, healing, or tanking – whatever you need in the current turn. This is invaluable for ultimate-reliant characters and can solve countless problems in tough fights.
Bailu is the standard banner's five-star healer, so it's no surprise that her raw healing is considerable, even if her skill targeting can be a little random. Bailu's unique ability to revive one downed teammate per battle is a great way to smooth over punishing targeting RNG – sometimes enemies just dogpile your Tingyun, and so on – and the persistent, on-damage healing provided by her ultimate adds an extra comfy layer of defense.
Gepard's ultimate gives your entire team the strongest shield in the game. That's pretty much his entire job, and he does it so well that his teams often don't need a true healer, but he can also use his skill to freeze enemies and stop them from acting, further reducing incoming damage. Gepard deals very low damage himself, but he'll definitely keep your team alive.
Great Honkai Star Rail characters
Yanqin's absurdly high base crit rate and innate chance to freeze enemies make him a potent single-target DPS character. The only catch is that you really don't want him to take damage so that he can maintain his buff uptime, which makes characters like Gepard and the fire Trailblazer a great pairing.
Clara's robot dad Svarog dishes out heavy physical damage whenever she's attacked, turning her into a resilient tank with a counter-based play style. Clara's obvious pairing is March 7th, whose shield makes Clara more likely to be attacked, but her naturally high taunt value makes her playable in a variety of teams with no Preservation units. Clara is virtually unstoppable in content like the Simulated Universe, and a strong and flexible fighter everywhere else, reducing the damage the rest of your team takes and hitting hard on her own.
With remarkably high personal damage, the ability to slow enemies with his skill, and an uncommon way to outright delay enemy actions using his ultimate, Welt is a flexible and powerful unit. His multi-hit, AoE abilities let him break shields with ease, applying even more Imaginary-type debuffs.
Natasha is Honkai Star Rail's free healer, and even with characters like Luocha in the game, she remains a great option. Her ultimate provides a panic button AoE heal, and her skill is a crucial debuff cleanse. Natasha does exactly what she needs to, and she's always worth building.
Asta is sort of like a reverse Welt with low damage output. Her ultimate gives your team a huge speed boost, and her skill gives your team a respectable attack buff. Asta is considerably stronger when you're fighting enemies that are weak to fire, in part because her multi-hit skill deals a lot of toughness damage, but her speed buff makes her valuable in high-level content in general.
While not as powerful as her Foxian comrade Tingyun, Yukong's ability to boost the attack, critical rate, and critical damage of allies, on top of her remarkable personal damage and shield break potential, earns her a solid spot in many teams. She demands more skill points than some Harmony units, and the two-turn counter on her buffs does require you to tune your Speed and time her skill and ultimate carefully, but a well-built Yukong performs extremely well when paired with multiple damage dealers.
Pela's skill can remove buffs from enemies, and her ultimate provides one of the only current forms of AoE defense shred. Reducing an enemy's defense dramatically increases the damage they take via a bespoke multiplier, so Pela is quite strong against any group of enemies, even if they aren't weak to her ice element.
Thanks to low skill point needs, solid fire toughness break, small but constant team shielding, and a true forced taunt that complements their built-in damage reduction, the fire version of the Trailblazer main character is a high-value unit. They aren't exceptionally good at any one thing, but they pack so many useful abilities into one free character that they end up being good in a lot of fights.
Good Honkai Star Rail characters
Sushang's skill has a chance to deal extra hits – with a guarantee against weakness-broken enemies – and her ultimate lets her instantly attack again after use, almost turning her into a weaker, physical version of Seele. Her DPS isn't quite on that level, but Sushang is a strong fighter against anything weak to physical damage.
Dan Heng is the first Hunt character you'll ever get, but he can hold his own even in endgame content. By slowing enemies and doubling down on buffs from allies, Dan Heng can boost his damage considerably for short windows, so if you time things right, you can get competitive single-target damage out of him.
Hook is a Destruction character who plays like a Hunt character, mostly dealing single-target damage with some AoE through burn. Her abilities have naturally high uptime and her Destruction path affords her above-average tankiness, and like Asta she's great at breaking enemies that are weak to fire, so don't hesitate to invest in her.
Serval is to AoE damage what Dan Heng is to single-target damage: a free, solid option. Serval's skill applies Shock for damage over time, her ultimate extends this debuff while hitting everything on screen, and even her normal attack becomes decent with her first Eidolon. Serval scales well with investment thanks to her innate crit rate, and as you inevitably get her Eidolons over time, she'll gain significant utility.
With an ultimate that can deny enemy turns through freeze, a skill that gives one ally a chunky shield and increased aggro, and a free counter attack that triggers whenever shield allies are hit, March 7th continues the trend of Honkai Star Rail giving out free characters who actually feel good to play. Note that any shield can trigger her counter, which can be very relevant in Simulated Universe especially.
Though generally regarded as the weakest five-star, Himeko is capable of respectable and sometimes free AoE fire damage, largely thanks to her talent attack which triggers whenever three enemies have their weakness broken. Her skill and ultimate are basic but solid as well. More than anything, it feels like Himeko is waiting for the right content to make use of her abilities.
Sampo deals most of his damage through the Wind Shear DoT, which makes him fairly cheap on skill points since that DoT is just passive damage once applied, and his multi-hit attacks are also great at breaking enemy toughness bars. He gets noticeably better with Eidolons, but he's more than usable at base value.
Unlike Serval, Qingque faces high highs and low lows due to the RNG nature of her AoE damage, which does have more of a single-target edge. Her skill lets her draw tiles, and with enough of the right tiles, her normal attack deals considerably more Quantum damage. Her ultimate also deals damage to all enemies and guarantees one perfect draw. This helps round out her kit, which is actually capable of good AoE and single-target damage, but it's dangerously easy to burn through all your skill points with Qingque for little payoff. Her performance also spikes dramatically with higher Eidolons, which gates her potential.
Not bad Honkai Star Rail characters
Herta is easily the weakest of Honkai Star Rail's free characters, with low attack values and one-off bonus attacks that become virtually irrelevant in high-level content due to enemy HP scaling. Herta can speed up some auto-play strategies, but at best she's an overkill addition to an already capable team.
Though Arlan's skill lets him attack without using skill points, he burns his HP and uses skill points indirectly by forcing you to heal him. More to the point, his Lightning damage numbers aren't worth the effort when Serval is given out for free.
Once you unlock the fire version of the Trailblazer, there's generally no reason to go back to their starter, physical form. Their kit has mild energy and HP regen built in, but it's not enough to make up for their limited usage and average damage, even with all their Eidolons unlocked through the story.
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