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Honkai Star Rail: Combat System Explained

The only combat guide you will need!

Honkai Star Rail is the newest game released by HoYoverse. After the success of their previous game Genshin Impact, they developed Honkai Star Rail with almost similar kinds of mechanics but with some changes. Honkai Star Rail’s biggest change is its combat system. Honkai Star Rail has a turn-based combat system. It is also the first turn-based combat game for HoYoverse.

Even though turn-based combat is nothing new in terms of Gacha games, none of them is as mainstream as Honkai Star Rail. So if you are a new player struggling to grasp this turn-based system’s ins and outs, you are in the right place. Here we will go through all the combat systems and discuss how to deal the most damage to get you through any encounter in the game.

Turn-Based Combat System: Fundamentals

As you know, the main combat system in Honkai Star Rail is turn-based. That means only one of you or the enemy gets to attack at a certain time. A team in this game has four different members. Each member will get their own turn eventually. When it is your character’s turn, you can attack with either the basic attack or the skill of the character. A basic attack will fill your skill gauge, while using a skill will use up one skill gauge charge. You can hold a maximum of 5 charges.

Image via HoYoverse

Then the turn will shift to the enemy side, and they will attack. The bar at the left corner of the screen indicates which character will attack first. You can change the order to characters who will attack first using the “speed” stat. We will discuss more on it in the Relic section. And finally, each character has their ultimate skill, which can be used at any point of the battle. They don’t need a dedicated turn to be used.

Attacking vs. Buffing vs. Defending

There are a few options to choose from when it is your character’s turn. Every character has a path and an element assigned to them. The element indicates what type of damage the character will do, while the path will decide their role.

Honkai Star Rail Doomsday Beast down phase, Honkai Star Rail Doomsday Beast boss
Image via HoYoverse

All characters will damage with their basic attack, but depending on the path, they will attack, buff, heal, or shield your character while using the skill. So attack with one or two different characters and focus on defending against the upcoming attacks with the other two characters.

Basic Attack vs. Skill vs. Ultimate

One decision that is crucial to the game’s combat is when to use the basic attack, the skill, and the ultimate. This one decision can change the entire course of the battle. So in this section, we will go through what to use in which situation.

The decision to use basic attack and skill differed from character to character. There are some hunt and erudition characters that rely on their skill to do most of the damage. You need to use their skill as much as possible. But since skill point is limited, use your healer and tank to do basic attacks and refill the skill gauge. You don’t need to use taunt or heal on every round. Save those skill points using these characters and use them on the main attacker to deal the most damage.

Image via HoYoverse

Ultimate is also kind of similar case. Unless it is a damage ultimate, you don’t need to use it as soon as you get it. Use the damage ultimate on recharge to deal the most damage. But if it is ultimate that buffs or heals an ally, use it depending on the situation. Don’t just use it as it recharges and waste it. Damage buff ultimate can be combined with the damage dealer’s ultimate to get a massive damage boost. So try to combine these two if you are running an attacker buffer in the team.

Enemy Weakness and Shield Break

Every enemy in Honkai Star Rail is weak to multiple elements. These elements show up above their HP bar. If you look closely, every enemy has a red and a white bar above their head. The red bar indicates their HP, while the white one is the shield. As long as the shield is active, the enemy will take less damage, but it is still possible to kill them without breaking the shield.

Image via HoYoverse

Hitting the enemy with their respective weak element will make them take damage to the shield portion or the bar. Once the shield bar is down, the enemy will get stunned for one turn. Not only that, but the enemy will also take some amount of damage while the shield bar breaks. Then any damaging attack will do extra damage to a shield-broken enemy. This way, the game encourages the player to use different elements on the team to cover all weaknesses of the enemy.

Relics and Ornaments

Relics and Ornaments are the gear system of this game. They are crucial in making the character more powerful. Typically, an attacker needs crit rate and crit damage in their gears. Certain gears provide extra effect when used as a set. Try to get these set effect bonuses to increase the character’s damage.

Honkai Star Rail Kafka cover
Image via HoYoverse

If the character specializes in debuff, you may want to have the effect hit rate to increase the chance of landing said debuff on the enemy. Depending on what they are scaled on, a tank or shield character needs HP and Defense. You can check out our different character guides for more in-depth suggestions on what to use on a certain character.

Other Combat Mechanics in Honkai Star Rail

These are all the basics for combat in Honkai Star Rail. But there are a lot more little mechanics in the game. Hit Effect Rate is one of the mechanics that indicates the chance of your character landing a DoT effect. You can read about Hit Effect Rate in our guide Hit Effect Rate Explained.

In case you are wondering what DoT effects I can land on an enemy, every element has its own effect in the game. You will find the details in your Every Character Element guide. Also, some characters can make extra attacks, known as Follow-up Attack. You can also find out about it in our Follow-Up Attack Guide.

Honkai Star Rail Beginners Guide | Honkai Star Rail Relics Guide | Honkai Star Rail Character Progression Guide | Honkai Star Rail Banners Guide | Honkai Star Rail Reroll Guide | Honkai Star Rail Redeem Codes

Did this guide help you improve in the game? Let us know in the comments below!

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