Honkai: Star Rail has a large cast of characters that you can have in your party, with 23 characters available at launch and more to be added over time.
Each character has unique skills to set them apart, and they also fit into one of 7 general categories.
In this guide, we’ll go over every character’s skills and how the 7 role categories work.
Path of Destruction
Characters in this category are your general damage dealers. They don’t have a specific focus and are just solid all-around units.
Your first character here will be the Trailblazer (Physical). This is the starting form of the protagonist! They have the “RIP Home Run” skill, which will deal damage to their target and adjacent enemies.
The Trailblazer’s ultimate skill is “Stardust Ace”. This ultimate allows you to pick whether you want to deal strong single-target damage, or deal less damage to multiple targets, making it very versatile.
Next up we have Arlan. He has the very unique “Shackle Breaker” skill, which allows him to deal Lightning damage by using up his health instead of consuming Skill Points.
His abilities also help support this skill, as he will gain more damage the lower his HP is. He’s a risky character to use but deals good damage without consuming the party’s SP.
Clara is another Destruction character and potentially the strongest in the game. She comes paired up with her adoptive father, Svarog. Her skill “Svarog Watches Over You” deals even more damage to enemies marked by him!
What makes her stand out is her “Because We’re Family” talent, however. She has a permanent 10% reduction to damage taken, and Svarog will retaliate against any enemy that harms her!
Lastly, we have Hook. This small lass is capable of dealing high fire damage with her “Hey! Remember Hook?” skill, which will also burn enemies for extra damage.
Her “Boom! Here Comes the Fire!” ultimate will deal ridiculously high damage to a single target, while also enhancing her next skill.
Path of the Hunt
Unlike the Destruction characters, these characters specialize in taking out single targets. They can’t deal with groups well but are perfect for bosses.
Let’s first talk about Dan Heng. He’s a simple unit, with his “Cloudlancer Art: Torrent” skill dealing high wind damage and weakening enemies on critical hits. He’s great early on due to enemies being weak to wind.
Next, we have Seele. Her “Sheathed Blade” skill allows her to deal high Quantum damage to single targets, while also buffing her speed! Her “Butterfly Flurry” ultimate will also greatly buff her.
Sushang is another Hunt character and excels at taking down enemies after exploiting their elemental weakness.
Her “Cloudfencer Art: Mountainfall” has a chance to trigger a Sword Stance for extra damage, but it’s guaranteed against enemies with Weakness Break.
Lastly, we have Yanqinq. His “Darting Ironthorn” skill deals high ice damage to a single enemy and activates Soulsteel Sync.
This buff makes him less likely to take damage, while also increasing his Crit chance and damage!
Path of Erudition
The opposite of the Hunt characters, Erudition characters specialize in dealing damage to groups. You will want to use them against regular enemies.
Herta is the first unit you will get in this category, as she joins you early on in the story. Her “One-Time Offer” skill will deal ice damage to all enemies. It will deal even more damage to enemies with low HP.
Next we have Himeko, who deals high fire damage to a target and adjacent enemies with her “Molten Detonation” skill.
“Heavenly Flare” is her ultimate, and it deals high fire damage while also restoring Himeko’s energy for every enemy she defeats.
Qinque is another free Erudition unit. Uniquely, her “A Scoop of Moon” skill is a self-buff! She will draw 2 jade tiles which increase her damage until the end of the turn and can be stacked up to 4 times.
She’s a weird unit as she relies on random luck when drawing tiles for various effects.
Finally, we have Serval. Her main skill and ability is “Lightning Flash”, which deals Lightning damage and also shocks enemies.
Shocked enemies will take damage over time, which also allows Serval to deal more damage to them even when she targets another enemy!
Path of Harmony
This category is where you will find characters that specialize in offensive and utility support abilities.
First, let’s go over Asta. Her unique “Astrometry” ability gets her 1 stack of Charging whenever she hits an enemy, which will buff the entire party’s damage!
On the other hand, Bronya supports her allies by not attacking. Her “Combat Redeployment” skill will make the targeted ally get a turn instantly, while also increasing their damage.
Lastly, Tingyun will support by granting elemental damage to her allies. Her “Soothing Melody” skill increases an ally’s damage greatly and grants Benediction. This makes them deal extra Lightning damage.
Path of Nihility
Characters in this category are debuffers. That means that they apply negative status effects to weaken foes instead of focusing on direct damage.
Pela is the first Nihility unit, mostly useful due to her “Preemptive Strike” ability which allows her to lower enemies’ defense at the start of a battle. Her “Frostbite” skill deals ice damage and removes buffs.
Sampo is the next unit and a great SP battery. All his attacks have a chance to inflict “Wind Shear”, which deals strong damage over time. He doesn’t rely on his skill, saving the party’s SP by using basic attacks.
Lastly, we have Welt. He focuses on slowing down enemies with his “Edge of the Void” skill. He excels at delaying enemies’ turns, keeping them from acting at all!
Path of Preservation
Another support category, Preservation characters focus on defensive abilities and are also good at tanking damage.
The main character is also in this category! The Trailblazer will get the Preservation Fire form during the story’s progression.
This form of the Trailblazer gains the “Ever-Burning Amber” skill, which has a chance to Taunt all enemies. If it works, enemies will be forced to attack the Trailblazer, preventing allies from taking damage.
Next, we have March 7th, which is another free unit. She can give a shield to her allies and divert enemy attention toward them with her “The Power of Cuteness” skill.
Finally, there’s Gepard. He has the “Intimidating Strike” skill, which deals ice damage to a single target and has a chance to freeze them. Frozen enemies can’t act and will also take ice damage each turn!
Path of Abundance
Last but not least, these are your standard healers. They focus on keeping other characters alive by restoring their health.
First of all, we have Natasha. She will join you for free during the story in Jarilo-IV. Her “Love, Heal, and Choose” skill allows her to restore her allies’ health. The effectiveness depends on Natasha’s max HP.
Natasha’s ultimate is the “Gift of Rebirth”, which will greatly heal your entire party! Her abilities allow her to heal weakened allies even more effectively, as well, making her a fantastic support.
The only other healer at release is Bailu. Her “Singing Among Clouds” skill provides the best healing in the game currently, though Bailu is incapable of clearing debuffs on allies.
Her ultimate is “Felicitous Thunderleap”, which will heal the entire party and apply the Invigorate buff to them. She can also heal allies past their max HP, overcharging them!