Congratulations on pulling a brand-new character in Honkai: Star Rail! Now, the question is whether they’ll accompany you in your Trailblazing adventure or remain as a mere seat warmer for the Astral Express. To help you decide, this HSR tier list details the best and worst HSR has to offer, with a score from S to D, based on the experience of the Attack of the Fanboy team and the vast Honkai community.
It’s important to remember that it’s still very early days for Honkai: Star Rail and tier lists can change wildly in the coming months once more characters are released and players better understand the game. Maybe one day Herta will even be useable.
S+ Tier Honkai Star Rail Characters
Having a good healer is essential in Honkai Star Rail, and Bailu is your best choice should you be lucky enough to pull her. Her kit is built around Invigorating allies: a buff applied by her Skill and Ultimate that passively heals characters when hit. If incredible healing wasn’t enough, Bailu can resurrect a fallen partner, which is invaluable in long boss battles and Simulated Universe.
Frozen enemies can’t hurt you, and Gepard loves to freeze enemies with hard-hitting attacks. His Ultimate also applies beefy shields to all allies, which can be paired nicely with shield Blessings in Simulated Universe for significant damage and survivability. As much as I adore March 7th as a character, I noticed battles becoming much easier once I replaced her with Gepard.
If the enemies you fought in Honkai Star Rail were real, Bronya would be the bane of their existence. Her Skill takes away nasty debuffs from any ally, gives them an extra turn, and increases their damage.
Yes, you read that right — her Skill provides all these juicy bonuses, not her Ultimate. As long as you have a Skill point available, you can regularly provide your best characters an extra turn for breaking shields, healing up, or dealing burst damage.
Speaking of extra turns, Seele gains a second turn whenever killing an enemy weak to her element. Combined with the speed boost she gains from her Skill and the use of her Ultimate, you can batter the enemy with attack after attack.
As it stands right now, Seele has the highest potential single-target DPS in the game. Now if only any of the Attack of the Fanboy team could actually pull her.
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Tingyun is the hypewoman everyone needs in their life. With her Skill, she can grant an ally Benediction, which increases their attack by 25 – 55% (depending on her level) for three turns. If that wasn’t enough of a boost for you, the first time an ally with Benediction attacks, they’ll deal bonus Lighting Damage.
Her Ultimate also regenerates a generous 50 Energy for any ally and increases their damage even further for two turns. Pair Tingyun with a powerful damage dealer, and you’ll be asking yourself what you ever did without her.
As you progress through Honkai Star Rail’s story, you’ll have the option to change your player character’s path from Destruction to Preservation and their element from Physical to Fire. Do this, and do not look back.
Not only will you naturally gain their Eidolons naturally, but the Trailblazer absolutely wrecks house in both damage and tanking. Every time they’re hit or use their Skill, they gain a stack of Magma Will, which increases their damage and applies a shield to all allies. Consuming four stacks will massively boost their basic attack, dealing massive damage to a single enemy and splash damage to adjacent enemies.
S Tier Honkai Star Rail Characters
Sushang excels at breaking and adding insult to injury with an increase to her turn speed on every break. Although her kit relies somewhat on RNG, she deals excellent single-target damage with some AoE on the side.
Don’t worry, Honkai fans; Welt is just as great in Star Rail as he is in 3rd Impact. This old man (look it up) slows enemies and deals extra damage to them while they’re slowed. Play your cards right, and you can have this extra boost active for entire fights.
As the only Imaginary character in the game right now, and with so many enemies having an Imaginary weakness, Welt is a character that excels in all situations.
Clara is an excellent character for passive damage, thanks to her robo-dad, Svarog. Anyone with the audacity to land a hit on Clara will receive an attack and Mark of Counter courtesy of her metallic papa. Enemies marked with this debuff will receive additional damage when Clara activates her Skill, which is a Physical AoE attack.
With a bit of setup Clara can deal monstrous amounts of AoE damage. Her only downside is that she needs to be hit regularly to achieve her full potential, which limits the characters you can pair her with.
Himeko and fire are a perfect mix. What, too soon? This fan favorite returning from 3rd Impact deals incredible and consistent AoE damage thanks to her Skill, Ultimate, and her ability to perform a follow-up attack on all enemies when fully charged.
She’s also a fantastic addition to a free-to-play team and ideal for auto-grinding content at 2x speed to farm materials.
Pela is all about debuffing the enemy to lower their Defence and allow her teammates to deal heaps of damage. She can also remove buffs from enemies and gains extra Energy when debuffing, which applies to her Ultimate as well as her Skill.
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A Tier Honkai Star Rail Characters
Being a character given to you from the get-go, you’re more than likely already familiar with March 7th. With the power of being named after a date, March can apply a long-lasting shield to any ally and has an excellent AoE Ultimate with a 50% chance of freezing enemies.
She also deals passive damage when her shielded ally is attacked, and her A2 trace also allows March to remove a debuff from her shielded ally.
If you’re familiar with March 7th, you’ll also be acquainted with her more apathetic companion, Dan Heng. He has strong single-target damage and synergizes well with March, thanks to his Superiority of Reach Talent. You’ll be able to use his Ultimate attack very regularly in comparison to other characters, as you’ve likely noticed when auto-battling.
While there will be better options later on, Dan Heng is a solid character that will stay useful for a relatively long time to come.
It’s hard to compare Natasha to other HSR characters, given that there are only two healers in the game, and the other one (Bailu) is far superior. That being said — she’s free, and she’s a healer; you’re gonna use her.
While Natasha’s damage is pathetic, her healing is fantastic and practically mandatory at the point in the game when you unlock her. Assuming you haven’t been lucky enough to unlock Bailu yet, her Ultimate ability healing all allies is a breath of fresh air now content is starting to get more complex.
Do you like swords? Yanqing does, and it shows. Provided that you can keep him unharmed, Yanqing can deal significant single-target damage and freeze his opponents. He also loves to perform follow-up attacks, which is a great job considering how much energy his Ultimate requires.
You better hope you pre-registered to play Honkai Star Rail because Serval can deal some serious AoE damage. She applies Lightning DoTs to her targets and increases their duration with her Ultimate. While her single-target damage might seem lackluster, her overall damage throughout a fight is nothing to sneeze at.
Sampo is another DoT dealer and one with unusually high passive damage. While he needs a few turns to set up his DoTs, the damage potential is well worth it. His Ultimate also pairs well with other DoT dealers, like Serval, to increase damage dealt to all enemies.
B Tier Honkai Star Rail Characters
If single-target Fire damage is what you need, you can’t go wrong with Hook. Uh, Pitch Dark Hook The Great, rather. She burns her enemies and laughs in their faces as they take both passive damage and increased damage from Hook’s attacks. Oh, and she can get back Energy, too.
Pitch Dark Hook is only let down by her poor AoE damage and lower overall damage potential compared to other single-target characters.
Quantum heroes are few and far between, making Qinque a good pick in certain situations. However, she’s heavily reliant on RNG due to her Tile mechanic. Play your cards right, and you’ll have a powerful damage character; play them wrong and have a character devouring your Skill points. Qingque is a gamble, but that’s what makes her character fun and comparatively unique.
The player character, the Trailblazer, is a fantastic unit in the early game, especially with their free Eidolons. You’ll feel incredibly powerful and notice your character coming in clutch regularly. Once you’ve pulled a few characters and unlocked the option to switch their path, however, they become redundant.
A big plus to the Trailblazer is their ability to heal their party out of combat, which can come in handy during content like Simulated Universe, especially prior to unlocking Natasha. Again, a brilliant unit in the early game but one that’ll warm the bench later after some lucky pulls or a few splashes of cash.
C Tier Honkai Star Rail characters
Arlan is a great unit at the beginning of the game but is unfortunately heavily outshined later on. Instead of consuming skill points, Arlan damages himself every time he uses his Skill, which is a single-target Lightning attack.
While this leaves more Skill points for you to play around with, it simply isn’t worth losing health when all other Destruction/Lightning heroes can outperform him. He does have an adorable puppy you can pet, though.
Herta is given to you early in the story and will stay in your character roster untouched until she’s given a substantial rework, or the community discovers her hidden potential. With March 7th at your disposal from the beginning, using Herta is pointless outside of auto-farming low-end content.
I wrote this guide during Version 1.0.5 of Honkai Star Rail on PC. Please note that characters will change as the game is updated and the community discovers new strategies.
- This article was updated on April 30th, 2023