Honkai Star Rail 1.3 character tier list: Best characters in September 2023

Honkai Star Rail official artworkHoYoverse

Honkai Star rail version 1.3 has entered phase two, and Fu Xuan’s banner is finally here. Amidst the constant additions to the roster of playable characters, let’s take a look at the best Honkai Star Rail characters as of September 2023 through a tier list.

To enjoy the open world and the story in Honkai Star Rail, you require a team of four characters that can attack, defend, protect, and heal. With every update, we’re witnessing new characters with unique abilities, and naturally, picking a team of four from such a diverse roster can be confusing.

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You cannot excel in Honkai Star Rail’s turn-based combat without forming balanced teams. However, getting the desired characters is also an arduous task due to the scarce Stellar Jade and the pity system.

To help you form the best teams, here’s a Honkai Star Rail characters tier list featuring the strongest characters released so far.

Honkai Star Rail charactersHoYoverse
Honkai Star Rail is the fourth game in the series after Honkai Impact 3rd.

Honkai Star Rail characters tier list

In the table below, every Honkai Star Rail character has been assigned a tier. The characters placed in the S tier are the strongest while the ones in the D tier are the weakest:

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TierCharacters
SBronya, Gepard, Seele, Tingyun, Silver Wolf, Luocha, Blade, Kafka, Dan Heng Imbibitor Lunae, Jing Yuan, Fu Xuan
AWelt, Sushang, Trailbazer (Fire), Lynx, Pela, Yanqing, Himeko, Yukong, Clara, Luka, Bailu
BAsta, March 7th, Sampo, Natasha
CServal, Qingque, Hook, Herta, Dan Heng
D Arlan, Trailblazer (Physical)

Best Honkai Star Rail characters (S-tier units)

Based on the meta right now, these are the strongest characters in Honkai Star Rail:

Fu Xuan

Fu Xuan exploring space in Honkai Star RailHoYoverse
Fu Xuan is the Master Diviner of the Xianzhou Luofu’s Divination Commission.
  • Path – Preservation
  • Element – Quantum

Fu Xuan is as close as it gets to being a perfect support character in Honkai Star Rail. By granting her a ton of HP through Planar Ornaments, Relics, and Light Cones, you can make Fu Xuan almost unkillable in the game, and her damage output is high as well.

By activating Fu Xuan’s second trace, you can make her a solid healer and her Technique makes her one of the best characters to start your battles with. During fights, your goal should be to use her Skill every three turns due to which she’ll absorb the team’s damage and build up her own damage.

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Dan Heng Imbibitor Lunae

Dan Heng Imbibitor Lunae in Honkai Star RailHoYoverse
Dan Heng Imbibitor Lunae is an iteration of the four-star character, Dan Heng.
  • Path – Destruction
  • Element – Imaginary

Dan Heng Imbibitor Lunae is one of the most explosive damage-dealers in Honkai Star Rail as his skills build up aggressive stats such as ATK and Crit Dmg. His damage increases as the battle progresses so you’d want to protect him at all times with healers and shielders.

Dan Heng Imbibitor Lunae can deal AoE as well as single-target damage which is exactly what you want from a versatile damage dealer. By pairing him with a character that can boost his Ultimate regeneration ability, you can frequently use Dan Heng LI’s separate skill points without affecting the team’s ability to use skills.

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Kafka

Kafka in Honkai Star RailHoYoverse
Kafka plays a major role in Honkai Star Rail’s campaign.
  • Path – Nihility
  • Element – Lightning

Thanks to the second phase of the 1.2 banner, players can now play the game as Kafka, a powerful five-star character. She’s a Lightning element character in the Path of The Nihility, meaning she can deal damage to enemies while applying debuffs for greater effects.

Most of Kafka’s abilities allow her to deal Damage over Time (DoT), and her Ultimate, while dealing considerably less damage than others, has a 100% chance of shocking enemies. This can work very well alongside any other DPS character.

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Blade

Blade in Honkai Star Rail cutsceneHoYoverse
Blade’s kit in Honkai Star Rail is very similar to Hu Tao from Genshin Impact.
  • Path – Destruction
  • Element – Wind

If you’ve ever used Hu Tao in Genshin Impact, then understanding Blade’s kit in Honkai Star Rail should not be a problem. Simply put, he is an excellent AoE damage dealer who deals damage based on his HP and for the highest damage output, Blade must lose HP.

Blade gets enhanced basic attacks through his skill and his Ultimate skill automatically reduces/increases his HP to 50% which reduces the character’s dependences on healers. He doesn’t rely a lot on his skill as the enhanced attacks last 3 turns.

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Blade is a self-sufficient damage dealer in Honkai Star Rail and you can primarily focus on HP while building him. He is beginner-friendly and now that Lynx is out, you can unlock a tailor-made healer for him as well.

Luocha

Luocha in Honkai Star Rail cut sceneHoYoverse
Luocha is a five-star healer in Honkai Star Rail.
  • Path – Abundance
  • Element – Imaginary

We finally have an aggressive healer in Honkai Star Rail because Luocha’s healings scale off his ATK and this alone makes him an S-tier unit. Moreover, this character has the ability to form a healing field for all allies and heal teammates based on their own attacks. This means that Luocha heals even if an opponent disables him.

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With a proper build, Luocha has the potential to grant over 5000 healing per character with two stacks of his Abyss Flower skill. At the same time, you won’t be sacrificing Luocha’s personal damage as the healing amount is directly based on his ATK. If this wasn’t enough, he can apply debuffs and remove any active buffs from enemies.

Overall, Luocha seems like the ideal healer for any team in Honkai Star Rail. If you’re yet to unlock a powerful healer or are struggling to survive against tough enemies, pulling on Luocha’s banner is a no-brainer.

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Silver Wolf

Silver Wolf official art work in Honkai Star RailHoYoverse
Silver Wolf specializes in dealing single-target damage in Honkai Star Rail.
  • Path – Nihility
  • Element – Quantum

Silver Wolf is a single-target damage dealer in Honkai Star Rail and being a five-star unit, she certainly doesn’t disappoint. Her abilities apply debuffs such as DEF reduction, weakness, ATK reduction, SPD reduction, and more.

Silver Wolf won’t carry your team with explosive damage numbers but the debuffs she applies are great for maximizing the damage of other members of the team.

Jing Yuan

Jing Yuan in Honkai Star RailHoYoverse
AoE damage dealers like Jing Yuan specialize in targeting multiple targets simultaneously.
  • Path – The Erudition
  • Element – Lightning

Jing Yuan arrived in Honkai Star Rail after Seele, and despite having big shoes to fill, he was able to impress the community with his high damage output.

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Jing Yuan summons the Lightning Lord during battle and it looks as good as it sounds. The damage is equally brilliant and you can easily break the shields of multiple enemies with his consistent AoE attacks. The only thing you’ll have to take care of is Jing Yuan’s energy cost (130 for Ultimate) which can be fixed by having support characters that help in energy regeneration.

It is worth noting that you’ll have no control over the Lightning Lord summoned by Jing Yuan. While some of his attacks might win you battles, others might be as ineffective as it gets. Regardless, the five-star Arbiter General is a true AoE damage dealer as his attacks deal the same amount of damage to all targets.

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Bailu

Bailu in Honkai Stair RailHoYoverse
Bailu is one of the strongest healers in Honkai Impact Star Rail.
  • Path – The Abundance
  • Element – Lightning

Bailu is similar to Genshin Impact’s Kokomi but the former fortunately has decent damage stats as well. She is a dedicated healer and early on in Honkai Star Rail, you’ll need a healer so that the damage dealers and supports can stay on the field for longer durations.

Gepard

Gepard screaming in Honkai Star RailHoYoverse
Gepard can shield your team while dealing strong damage to enemies.
  • Path – The Preservation
  • Element – Ice

When it comes to versatility, Gepard outshines almost every character in Honkai Star Rail. From applying ice damage that freezes opponents to shielding the entire party, this character can attack as well as defend.

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Gepard can also revive himself with a talent and this comes in handy when you’re facing tanky bosses with explosive damage.

Seele

Seele in Honkai Star RailHoYoverse
Seele is the first five-star character with her banner in Honkai Star Rail.
  • Path – The Hunt
  • Element – Quantum

Seele in Honkai Star Rail is all about dealing damage and unlike other The Hunt characters, she excels in multi-target scenarios because she gets an additional turn after killing an enemy.

Seele is brilliant at breaking shields and her damage against opponents that aren’t weak to Quantum attacks is what makes her the most reliable damage dealer in the game.

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Tingyun

Tingyun in Honkai Star RailHoYoverse
Energy generation helps in getting your character’s ultimate in Honkai Star Rail.
  • Path – The Harmony
  • Element – Lightning

Tingyun is easily the best four-star character in Honkai Star Rail, thanks to her brilliant buffs for DPS characters. She can generate energy for allies and boost their damage for multiple turns. Hence, using her with the likes of Seele and Dan Heng is a no-brainer.

Support characters like Tingyun become very important once you’ve built your DPS units. From the looks of it, Tingyun has already established herself as a top-tier four-star support and will continue to be the best at it for a long time.

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A-tier characters in Honkai Star Rail

Lynx

Lynx sitting on a chair in Honkai Star RailHoYoverse
Lynx’s kit in Honkai Star Rail complements Blade’s playstyle.
  • Path – The Abundance
  • Element – Quantum

Lynx is a four-star healer tailor-made for Blade in Honkai Star Rail. Her skill grants single-target healing while the Ultimate is all about healing allies collectively. She can also remove any debuffs through the Ultimate and with the right build that focuses on increasing her max HP, Lynx can easily outshine Natasha.

Lynx has a special ability that lets her control the target of enemy attacks and in a turn-based setting, this is undoubtedly a huge advantage. On top of this, the character deals decent damage as a healer and overall, you shouldn’t have any complaints.

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Bronya

Bronya in Honkai Star RailHoYoverse
Bronya plays a major role in the Honkai Star Rail lore.
  • Path – Harmony
  • Element – Wind

Bronya is a solid support character that you’d want to have at the outset of your Honkai Star Rail journey. She can buff the damage of teammates in an AoE, remove debuffs, increase movement speed and Crit Rate, and you can’t expect more from a single unit.

Bronya’s ability to grant an additional turn is like the icing on the cake. By properly utilizing this skill, you can easily deal double damage or heal your team twice.

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Bailu’s healing is based on max HP which is why building her in the game is quite straightforward. Her passive talents grant Energy as well and overall, this character brings a lot to the table.

Luka

Luka in Honkai Star RailHoYoverse
Luka is part of Wildfire even though he isn’t part of that storyline.
  • Path – Nihility
  • Element – Physical

Luka arrived in the game alongside Kafka, and he packs a punch. This Wildfire member has a mechanical arm he uses to inflict damage on targeted enemies. However, he can also apply debuffs to enemies to weaken them even further.

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Luka’s abilities make him a versatile character capable of fulfilling different roles in battle. You can set it as a DPS with the right Traces upgraded, but you can also use him as a support character for other powerful team members.

Clara

Clara's ultimate animation in Honkai Star RailHoYoverse
Clara is a master of counter-attacks in Honkai Star Rail.
  • Path – The Destruction
  • Element – Physical

Clara becomes useful in Honkai Star Rail if you largely rely on counterattacks. Her follow-up attacks generate extra energy and deal more damage than standard basic attacks. You can bait enemy attacks with her skill and due to her tanky nature, she can absorb a ton of damage.

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Damage reduction and attack are the two things you need to focus on while building Clara in Honkai Star Rail. Overall, she lets your damage dealers deal damage freely and it is hard to find a better tank in the game.

Yukong

Yukong in Honkai Star RailHoYoverse
Yukong isn’t a strong damage dealer in Honkai Star Rail, but she buffs the damage of allies.
  • Path – The Harmony
  • Element – Imaginary

Yukong is a four-star support character in Honkai Star Rail that can greatly improve the damage output of your team. After using her skill, she can grant up to 100% ATK bonus which is as massive as it sounds and after using her Ultimate, allies gain a major Crit Rate and Crit DMG boost.

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This also makes Yukong a very flexible character as the buffs she provides can be utilized by any damage dealer in Honkai Star Rail. However, her attack speed can be a major bone of contention and if you’re running two damage dealers, you might get the attack and Crit buffs for only one of them.

Himeko

Himeko in Star RailHoYoverse
Himeko belongs to the Fire element in Honkai Star Rail.
  • Path – The Erudition
  • Element – Fire

Alongside healers and supports, damage dealers are a major part of any Honkai Star Rail team. Himeko can easily fulfill this role with her brilliant Fire AoE damage and her abilities are strong enough to end the entire battle in one turn.

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Welt

Welt in Honkai Star RailHoYoverse
Welt can slow down enemies and control their attack movements.
  • Path – The Nihility
  • Element – Imaginary

Welt has decent damage-dealing potential in Honkai Star Rail, but he primarily excels in crowd control. He can create portals and control the movement and speed of enemies to a large extent making him the ideal support character for Dan Heng and Seele.

Sushang

Sushang in Honkai Star RailHoYoverse
There are six free characters in Honkai Star Rail.
  • Path – The Hunt
  • Element – Physical

Sushang is a solid four-star damage dealer in Honkai Star Rail. Her physical damage will be quite useful during the early game and the four-star Light Cone called Swordplay is tailor-made for her.

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Sushang deals single-target damage which is why she can be comfortably replaced with better five-star characters. Having said that, Sushang with her signature weapon makes a powerful combo to carry any team.

Trailblazer (Fire)

Honkai Star Rail official artworkHoYoverse
Traiblazer in Honkai Star Rail can alter their Path and Element.
  • Path – Can change as you progress.
  • Element – Can change as you progress.

The original Trailblazer in Honkai Star Rail can be converted to Fire and this Path significantly improves their performance. The damage output is much better and you can use them as a support character in a wide variety of teams.

Fire damage also allows you to apply debuffs on enemies such as Burning. Overall, converting the Path is one of the best things you can do for the Trailblazer.

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Natasha

Natasha using her attack in Honkai Star RailHoYoverse
Natasha is a healer in the Undergrounds in Honkai Star Rail.
  • Path – The Abundance
  • Element – Physical

Natasha might not be as good as Bailu, but she’s still one of the best four-star healers you can get in Honkai Star Rail. Her skill and ultimate are strong enough to heal allies and save them from explosive attacks.

Natasha also deals physical damage with her basic skill which helps in breaking many shields during the early game.

Pela

Pela in Honkai Star RailHoYoverse
Pela’s kit in Honkai Star Rail is all about applying and removing buffs.
  • Path – The Nihility
  • Element – Ice

Pela, as a four-star Honkai Star Rail character, offers way more than you’d expect. She can reduce enemy defense, remove enemy buffs, and generate energy quickly. Her low-energy ultimate can be spammed frequently and all you need to do is apply debuffs with her moves.

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Yanqing

Yanqing in Honkai Star RailHoYoverse
Yanqing is a solid four-star DPS in Honkai Star Rail.
  • Path – The Hunt
  • Element – Ice

Yanqing is often outshined by Seele as a The Hunt damage dealer. However, this does not mean that you can’t use him as a main DPS to carry your team.

Yanqing gets massive Crit boosts with his Ultimate and he can follow up attacks that freeze the enemies. When paired with a strong shielder like March 7th, Yanqing can be a consistent damage dealer and unless you get a better five-star DPS, there’s no need to replace him.

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B-tier characters in Honkai Star Rail

Asta

Asta in Honkai Star RailHoYoverse
Asta manages Arlan in Honkai Star Rail.
  • Path – The Harmony
  • Element – Fire

Asta is a free character in Honkai Star Rail and you should not expect anything outrageous from her kit. She is mainly a support character for Fire DPS units as she increases the Fire DMG of allies and can apply Burning to enemies.

March 7th

March 7th using her attack in Honkai Star RailHoYoverse
March 7th can be obtained for free in Honkai Star Rail.
  • Path – The Preservation
  • Element – Ice

March 7th is another free four-star character in Honkai Star Rail who can deal Ice damage and grant shields to allies. When an enemy hits a character shielded by March 7th, she does a follow-up attack that deals Ice damage.

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In terms of utility, March 7th is undoubtedly impressive as a free four-star character. After unlocking good healers and damage dealers, you’d certainly want March 7th to increase their survivability.

Gepard is the only existing character in Honkai Star Rail who feels like a proper replacement for March 7th. Hence, until you unlock the five-star defender, relying on March 7th is not a bad strategy.

Sampo

Sampo in Honkai Star RailHoYoverse
Sampo is introduced to players early in the campaign.
  • Path – The Nihility
  • Element – Wind

Sampo’s kit in Honkai Star Rail is quite similar to Welt but of course, the Element and Path are different. He has a bounce skill and the Ultimate applies a DoT debuff to opponents which makes them absorb damage for multiple turns.

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Sampo is also brilliant at breaking shields which is one of the primary tasks in Honkai’s combat. To use him efficiently, just make sure to cycle between his skill and ultimate, and as the DoT accumulates, you can spam basic attacks.

C-tier characters in Honkai Star Rail

Serval

Serval in Honkai Star RailHoYoverse
Serval is great at playing music.
  • Path – The Erudition
  • Element – Lightning

You’d want Serval in Honkai Star Rail for breaking the shields of enemies with a Lightning weakness which is all she has to offer. Her remaining abilities are underwhelming and her damage output is not even comparable to someone like Seele.

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Despite the shortcomings, Serval does more than enough as a free character. Early on, you might want to keep her on the team solely for the Lightning damage and then replace her with Tingyun or Bailu.

Dan Heng

Dan Heng in Honkai Star RailHoYoverse
Dan Heng is a free four-star character in Honkai Star Rail.
  • Path – The Hunt
  • Element – Wind

Dan Heng is a four-star character that you get for free in Honkai Star Rail. He is good enough to clear any early-game content as a main damage dealer but after some time, you might feel the need to upgrade to a five-star DPS unit or better four-star alternatives like Yanqing.

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Dan Heng’s kit is very straightforward making him perfect for beginners. You need to slow down enemies to get the most damage from his Ultimate which might compel you to make a team around Dan Heng.

Despite the advantages, Dan Heng becomes easily replaceable as you progress

Qingque

Qingche in Honkai Star RailHoYoverse
Qinque has one of the most unique kits in Honkai Star Rail.
  • Path – The Erudition
  • Element – Quantum

If the RNG in Honkai Star Rail’s warp system isn’t enough, you can play Qingque who deals damage based on an RNG system. She picks tiles during battles and the amount of the tiles she has impacts her state and damage.

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Fans of unique playstyles should definitely try out Qingque but it is worth noting that her damage output isn’t consistent.

Hook

Hook in Honkai Star RailHoYoverse
Hook can trouble enemies affected by Burning in Honkai Star Rail.
  • Path – The Destruction
  • Element – Fire

If combat in Honkai Star Rail was all about dealing damage to enemies affected by Fire, Hook would easily be an S-tier unit. However, that is not the case which is why she is so low on our tier list.

Hook gains extra energy and attack after attacking enemies affected by Burn. For this to work properly, you need to have a Fire DPS and a team that complements her play style. This is undoubtedly too much effort for a four-star character, and you’ll be better off with Himeko or Asta.

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Herta

Herta in Honkai Star RailHoYoverse
Herta has made the Simulated Universe in Honkai Star Rail.
  • Path – The Erudition
  • Element – Ice

Herta only provides AoE damage in Honkai Star Rail which severely impacts her utility in a team. Other free characters like Serval are better damage dealers than her and the multipliers are simply not that big.

Herta’s follow-up attacks can be useful in finishing the job but something so situational isn’t enough to place her higher in this tier list.

D-tier characters in Honkai Star Rail

Trailblazer (physical)

Trailblazer in Honkai Star RailHoYoverse
Trailblazer gets access to new Paths and Elements as you progress.
  • Path – Can change as you progress.
  • Element – Adaptive.

Trailblazer, which is the main character in Honkai Star Rail, starts their journey as a physical damage dealer. This is arguably their weakest form as there’s a basic attack that deals single-target physical damage and the skill does slightly more by dealing AoE damage.

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Apart from breaking shields, there isn’t a lot that Trailblazer (physical) excels in and they’ll most likely be the first character you switch on your team.

Arlan

Arlan in Honkai Star RailHoYoverse
Arlan is the weakest character in Honkai Star Rail.
  • Path – The Destruction
  • Element – Lightning

Honkai Star Rail is a game where you not only attack opponents but also shield and heal your characters so that they survive. Arlan doesn’t work too well in this setting, considering that his skill costs HP, and his damage increases when he’s low on HP.

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Arlan’s damage isn’t good enough for you to use the valuable skills of your shielders and healers on him. There are a ton of alternatives to the character and you can get way more rewards without even sacrificing anything.

At the end of the day, you can have fun and progress in Honkai Star Rail without chasing the meta too. Hence, feel free to focus on unlocking the characters that suit your playstyle and expectations.

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On the flip side, if you’re someone who wants to complete all challenges with ease and only wants the most potent characters to be on your team, this tier list will definitely help.


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