Honkai: Star Rail (HSR) is the latest title from powerhouse developer HoYoverse, where you get to go on a space adventure and experience a fresh new take on an otherwise classic gameplay mechanic. As most of you know, HSR takes a different approach to combat and employs a turn-based system, which is quite unlike the hack-and-slash and arcade styles of their previous titles. This warrants a different set of strategies and tactics, and that’s where our combat mastery guide comes in. The game itself takes great lengths to make the combat mechanic simple enough for new players but can be quite hard to master for seasoned veterans. So without further ado, let’s dive into some tips and tricks to help you counter enemies in Honkai: Star Rail and emerge victorious in any fight.
The Importance of Speed and Turn Order
In a turn-based game like HSR, you might be wondering how speed can be a factor when you and your opponents take turns attacking each other. Well, speed plays a crucial role in determining the order of turns. The character with the highest speed stat will always go first in battles, meaning they can attack first and often or use their abilities before their opponents.
Basically, speed or SPD, affects each character’s Action Point (AP), which are those little numbers you see next to your character’s icon on the turn order. The more SPD your character has, the less AP they’ll have, which brings them up the queue. So even if a particular character’s turn just ended and their SPD is high enough, they’ll have a lower AP and can quickly get back to the top of the queue and take another turn before their opponents.
To sum it up, having higher speed stats will bring any character’s AP down, putting them at the front of the turn order and giving them more chances to attack ahead of the enemy. This can be extremely useful in battles where you need to act fast and take down opponents before they have a chance to attack. It also allows you to use abilities or spells before your opponents have a chance to react, giving you a strategic advantage.
Attacking and Countering Enemies
In any battle in HSR, you’ll be faced with either a normal enemy, an elite, or a boss. Your main objective is to defeat your opponents by reducing their HP to zero. To do this, you’ll need to attack them using your character’s weapons or abilities. In each turn, you’ll be given a choice to either use a Basic Attack or a Skill. Basic Attacks will deal a decent amount of damage while also granting you one Skill Point. On the other hand, skills deal much more damage and effects, but they require you to spend a skill point. You can have a maximum stack of five skill points, so make sure you use them wisely.
Certain characters also deal follow-up attacks. These are different from a normal attack or a skill as they cannot be triggered manually by the player. Follow-up attacks automatically trigger when specific conditions are met, such as when an enemy is critically hit or when they suffer from Weakness Break. These attacks can deal extra damage and provide additional effects that can turn the tide of battle in your favour.
Finally, your characters can also use their Ultimate Skill, which can either deal massive damage to all enemies or apply added effects such as healing, shielding, or debuffing the enemy. Ultimate Skills can be triggered at any point in the battle, even if it’s not your turn. As long as your energy gauge is full, you can unleash your character’s Ultimate Skill and deal a devastating blow to your enemies.
Weakness Breaks and Elemental Debufffs
Every battle in HSR revolves around understanding the combat weaknesses of your enemies. Each enemy has a specific weakness to a certain set of elements, and it’s up to you to exploit that weakness to deal maximum damage.
One big factor why elemental weakness is important is the ability to break enemies. This can be done by depleting an enemy’s toughness gauge. During combat, you can see the Toughness gauge above the enemy’s HP gauge. If you attack an enemy with an element that it’s weak to, the Toughness gauge will decrease. It’s important to note that only characters that deal the right type of elemental damage will be able to damage an enemy’s Toughness gauge and initiate Weakness Break. Of course, you can still do a decent amount of damage to your enemies even without using their elemental weakness, but it won’t be as effective as using the correct elemental type.
For example, if you’re fighting an enemy with a weakness to Frost, Wind, and Imaginary elements, using a Fire element character like Himeko will only deal a small amount of damage on the enemy HP and does not deal damage to the Toughness bar. However, using a Wind element character, like Dan Heng, will deal more damage to both the enemy’s HP and Toughness bar.
When the Toughness gauge is fully depleted, you can initiate a Weakness Break on the enemy, where they take additional Break damage on top of your usual attack. They will also receive a debuff based on the element that caused the Weakness Break, while also delaying their next action by 25%. However, in the next turn, the enemy will recover from Break and have a full Toughness gauge again.
Let’s take a look at the different elemental debuffs you can inflict upon breaking an enemy:
|Weakness Break Element
|Apply the Bleed effect and deal Physical damage over time (DoT).
|Apply freeze on the target, immobilizing them and dealing extra Ice DMG.
|Apply Wind Shear effect and deal Wind DoT.
|Apply the Burn effect and deal Fire DoT.
|Apply the Burn effect and deal Lightning DoT.
|Apply Entanglement to enemies, delaying their action in the next turn while also dealing extra Quantum DMG.
|Apply Imprisonment to enemies, reducing their speed and dealing extra Imaginary DMG.
All these debuffs and status effects make combat more strategic and give players more options to control the battlefield. They also add a layer of complexity to the game, making it more challenging and rewarding for skilled players.
Taking Advantage of Techniques
Aside from the usual skill and ultimate attack, each character in HSR also possesses a Technique. These are special skills that you can use while traversing the world of HSR that can give you a significant advantage in any fight. Techniques can only be used outside of battle, but their effects apply during combat. Techniques cost Technique Points (TP) to use, which can be earned by destroying some of those stray canisters of purple energy around the map.
Essentially, Techniques serve as your opening salvo when entering a battle. Before you engage an enemy, make sure to consider which Techniques you can use that will give you a great advantage in any fight. Casting a technique can result in various effects, depending on your character. Some Techniques deal an insane amount of damage at the start of the battle, like those from Serval or Natasha.
Another example is March 7th’s Technique, where she immediately attacks an enemy with her ice arrows. At the start of the battle, there’s a 100% chance to freeze a random enemy for one turn. Dan Heng’s Technique, on the other hand, gives him a 40% attack buff at the start of the battle, which is available for the next three turns.
All in all, Techniques are essential to winning battles in HSR. They add another layer of strategy to the game and give players the opportunity to open battles with a powerful advantage. Make sure to collect TP and experiment with different Techniques to find the ones that work best for your playstyle and team composition.
Combat Tips to Win Any Fight in HSR
Winning battles in HSR is easy enough. But winning them in as few turns as possible is an entirely different story. Now that you know exactly what Weakness Breaks are and how to counter enemies during combat, it’s time to put them into practice with these combat tips:
- Pay Attention to the Turn Order: Before entering combat, you can see the turn order on the screen. This will give you an idea of which characters will act first and which ones will act last. Use this information to plan your strategy accordingly. Your goal is to attack first and attack often without giving your enemy a chance to retaliate.
- Know When to Get Hit: Sometimes, it’s better to take a hit in order to set up a more powerful attack in the next turn. For example, suppose you know that an enemy is going to use a powerful attack that you can easily survive. In that case, it might be better to let one of your characters take the hit and then use the energy you gain to fill your Ultimate gauge, leading to a more devastating counterattack.
- Use Your Skills Wisely: Character skills can deal a lot of damage or provide helpful buffs to your team. Use them strategically to turn the tide of battle in your favour. Don’t just use your skill or your ultimate attack as soon as it becomes available. Wait for the right moment to use it, such as when your enemy is vulnerable or when you need a boost in damage.
- Manage Your Resources: At its very core, HSR is also a resource management game on and off the battlefield. When fighting enemies, you need to conserve your skill points to be effective in your attacks. You have to know which characters should use a normal attack or a skill, and when to use your Ultimate. Always keep your an on the turn order and plan your attacks to conserve your energy and your Skill Points. Remember, one small misstep can leave you vulnerable and cost you the battle.
- Level up and Equip Your Characters: As you progress through the game, make sure to level up your characters and equip them with better gear. Be sure to farm Relics and upgrade your characters’ Talents when you have time. This will give them stronger stats and abilities, making them more effective in combat.
- Plan Your Team Composition: Your team composition can make or break your battles. Make sure you have a good mix of characters with different roles, such as damage dealers, tanks, buffers, and healers. There are times when a healer or a tank will only hurt you by reducing your damage potential. In situations like that, bringing a buffer or an AOE specialist might be the better choice so you can quickly dispose of your enemies.
- Know When to Use Techniques: If you want to gain a huge advantage at the start of the fight, use your Techniques wisely. Some Techniques can increase your stats, debuff your enemies, or deal massive damage. You have to know when to use them and when to save them up for a critical moment.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Retreat: Sometimes, a battle may seem hopeless. If you’ve already lost your healer and your damage dealer has been relentlessly attacked and debuffed by the enemy, it may be time to retreat and regroup. You can always come back stronger and better prepared for the next encounter.
Honkai: Star Rail is a vastly entertaining and challenging game that requires strategy, planning, and quick thinking. With this combat mastery guide, we hope you’re able to understand the mechanics of the game and develop a winning strategy that suits your play style. Remember, practice is essential, and you’ll need to learn from your failures to become a master of combat in HSR. So, keep playing, keep learning, and, most importantly, have fun!
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