star rail best characters
Image via HoYoVerse

Some Honkai: Star Rail Characters Are Always Worth Pulling for and Building

Honkai: Star Rail has come a long way since its debut, with around fifty playable characters in the roster and still counting. Because of all the characters and Paths, it might be difficult to choose who to prioritize, especially when it comes to gacha. However, some characters are good for general content and usage, which means you’ll probably never regret pulling for or building them! This guide will introduce the best characters to pull for and build in Honkai: Star Rail.

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As a note, I’m not focusing on the meta, which shifts depending on the version, pick-up character, or mode. For example, no one gave Himeko or Herta any attention until Pure Fiction became a permanent endgame challenge mode. The early patches in Version 2 gave heavy focus on characters that have follow-up attacks in their kits thanks to Aventurine and Robin. Until then, follow-up attack characters like Topaz, Dr Ratio, and even Jing Yuan were just “okay” compared to Destruction characters (due to Dan Heng Imbibitor Lunae, Blade, and Jingliu coming out in consecutive patches). The characters in this list should be good no matter how the meta changes, meaning you can use them in any patch or content type.

Of course, the thing about gacha games is that some players prefer to focus on characters they like. That’s a very valid way to approach things and it’s how I like to play gacha as well! Even if certain characters aren’t on this list, you should still pull for them and raise them to enjoy Honkai: Star Rail your way.

Best Destruction Character: Firefly

Image via HoYoVerse

Though Jingliu was the best Destruction unit for a while due to her easy investment and powerful scaling, Firefly’s appearance in Version 2.3 dethroned her from the spot. While I admit that I thought Firefly’s viability would extend to the Break Effect meta (therefore she would lose relevancy when HoYoVerse focuses on the next mechanic), I underestimated how powerful she would be with Super Break. The best thing is that Firefly’s optimal support is the Harmony Trailblazer, who is a character everyone can E6 for free just by playing the game. Firefly is also extremely easy to build (albeit Destruction doesn’t have a lot of Light Cones that suit her unique kit), as she only needs Break Effect, ATK, and SPD. So there’s no need to balance between the various modifiers for DMG % or Crit.

Honorary Mentions:

  • Jingliu (While she’s still a very powerful unit, she might need yet another dedicated support to shine again.)
  • Dan Heng Imbibitor Lunae (His SP cost is too high to comfortably run unless you have Sparkle or use Yukong’s passive but not her Skill.)

Best Hunt Character: Dr. Ratio

star rail best characters hunt ratio
Image via HoYoVerse

Dr. Ratio is a great Hunt character due to his strong follow-up attack and Ultimate. He was also free, meaning a lot of players already have him. In situations where he can focus on a single target, his damage output per turn is insane. You can also put him on a variety of teams rather than the usual hyper-carry team. I have to admit that Dr. Ratio has some glaring negatives though. For one thing, his follow-up attack triggers depending on how many debuffs are on the enemy. For another, he only ever does one hit per attack, which means he only has one chance to get a Critical hit.

Honorary Mentions

  • Seele (She’s not a bad investment, but her glory days came from her pseudo-AoE attack. Now that we have more Erudition and Destruction attackers, Seele’s scaling means other characters can easily outclass her.)
  • Boothill (He’s good, but he needs a dedicated Break Effect team to shine in harder content.)

Best Erudition Character: Argenti

star rail best characters erudition argenti
Image via HoYoVerse

Truth be told, I didn’t want to give Argenti this spot. But as of Version 2.2 (and arguably, even with the addition of Jade in Version 2.3), he is probably one of the best Erudition characters to get because of his basic kit. Argenti is fantastic when it comes to farming, as well as in modes such as Pure Fiction. While he does need support characters like Tingyun or Huohuo to utilize his max potential, you can get away with the first level of his Ultimate if you’re up against a horde of cannon fodder. For reference, Argenti’s Energy requirements are 90 for his level 1 Ultimate and 180 for level 2.

Honorary Mentions

  • Jing Yuan (Jing Yuan works well in his niche but his Lightning Lord has way too many problems. Its fixed SPD, inability to function if Jing Yuan is under a Crowd Control debuff, and SP hungry nature make him less desirable now compared to before.)
  • Himeko (She was never as bad as people made her out to be.)

Best Harmony Character: Ruan Mei

ruan mei

Ruan Mei is one of the best support characters in the game for a multitude of reasons. She can increase the party’s damage, Weakness Break Efficiency, SPD, and All-Type RES PEN. Ruan Mei can also deal additional damage to the enemies using her Ultimate and her Talent. Robin can provide similar stat boosts, as well as deal damage using her Ultimate. But Ruan Mei is the only character who can provide the Weakness Break Efficiency and All-Type RES PEN. As well, certain teams and characters (such as DoT attackers like Sampo) can’t make full use of Robin’s kit due to Robin’s Crit DMG boost. In that sense, Ruan Mei can go with literally any team and character.

Honorary Mentions

  • Sparkle (Her ability to grant more SP and break the maximum limit is great. Like Robin, she isn’t as good as she can be when on a DoT team, though. Bronya has a similar issue.)
  • Tingyun (For a 4-star, Tingyun is one of the best support characters, especially for a hyper-carry team. She’s kind of squishy though, and can only target a single character for her Skill and Ultimate.)

Best Nihility Character: Kafka

Image via HoYoVerse

Kafka is one of the best Nihility characters you can get in the game due to how many teams she can fit on. You can run her as a normal hyper-carry or as a DoT enabler. Even if you don’t have the premium option of Black Swan, you can use Kafka with characters like Sampo and Guinaifen. I’d go as far as to say you can’t make a good DoT team at all unless you have Kafka, meaning she basically unlocks a new style of play with her.

Honorary Mentions:

  • Silver Wolf (Her ability to plant a Weakness is no longer as crucial since most players should have a good roster of characters and Types available to them now. Her biggest hurdle is that she’s single target, which makes her fantastic with Hunt characters but not as effective with, say, Erudition.)
  • Acheron (She’s one of the best attackers in the game with her insane scaling, but she needs to have two Nihility characters to function, limiting your team compositions. You’ll need to give her her signature Light Cone to be really strong, as well as Eidolons to remove the Nihility limit.)

Best Preservation Character: Fu Xuan

fu xuan
Image via HoYoVerse

Fu Xuan is one of the more unique shielder in the game in that she doesn’t provide a shield. Rather, she can distribute damage to herself when her Skill is active. She can also provide a Crit Rate boost to the entire party, as well as let them resist a Crowd Control debuff for one turn. Though she doesn’t work well with Yanqing and can be weak against AoE attacks if your Fu Xuan doesn’t have enough DEF, her unique Matrix kit makes her valuable in endgame content where enemies can melt through shields.

Honorary Mentions

  • Aventurine (He was my first pick until I remembered a large part of why I think he’s better comes from him having Eidolons and his signature Light Cone. Without them, he’s really just an okay shielder who’s much more SP hungry than Fu Xuan is.)

Best Abundance Character: Huohuo

Image via HoYoVerse

While Luocha was king of Abundance back in the day, he’s pretty much outclassed by little unassuming Huohuo. Huohuo was the start of a new trend of Honkai: Star Rail characters who could combine two types of units in one. In her case, she was a combination between an Abundance and a Harmony. Not only can she heal (and cleanse every turn, trivializing enemies who could Freeze or inflict DoT), she can also increase the party’s ATK and Energy with her Ultimate.

Honorary Mentions

  • Luocha (His manual cleanse makes him SP hungry and if you rely on his auto-heal, you might fall behind. His Cycle of Life Field is still a really good way to heal though, especially if you’re running a team with mostly attackers.)

Honkai: Star Rail is readily available on the PS5, Windows PC, and mobile devices.

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Stephanie Liu
Stephanie is a senior writer who has been writing for games journalism and translating since 2020. After graduating with a BA in English and a Certificate in Creative Writing, she spent a few years teaching English and history before fulfilling her childhood dream of becoming a writer. In terms of games, she loves RPGs, action-adventure, and visual novels. Aside from writing for Siliconera and Crunchyroll, she translates light novels, manga, and video games.