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Honkai Star Rail: Ranking all 22 Launch Characters

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Ben Hazell,Thomas Richards
| June 10, 2023
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Are turn-based games outdated? According to some, yes, they are. Honkai Star Rail may as well be the entire counterargument at this point. Launching as a Turn-based RPG “Gacha” game (Based on Gashapon in Japan), The official first-week installations lie at 27,992,472 players as of May 2nd, 2023. Riding off the success of Genshin Impact, we may consider this game as evidence that games like this are very much alive. But like any good Gacha, it thrives on its characters. Tom and I will be discussing every one of the beautifully made launch characters and letting you know which are the best in terms of story and useability.

Arlan

Ben’s Thoughts: Arlan reminds me a lot of Pichu from Super Smash Brothers, his battle style involves him hurting himself to do damage, so he gets to abuse all those “Difference between max HP and current HP” effects you find in the simulated universe mode. I don’t think he’s anything special, and his story is kind of a generic self-improvement arc.

Ben’s Rating: 5/10

Tom’s Thoughts: He’s got a lot of responsibility for such a little guy. Arlan has a lot on his shoulders as the head of security on the space station. This explains why he’s part of the destruction path; he just needs to blow off some steam. He also helps out with the space station dog Peppy. He obviously likes Peppy because it’s revealed that he has a picture of the furry friend on his I.D badge; how adorable.

Tom’s Rating: 7/10



Asta

Ben’s Thoughts: Asta is a good boss slayer, and her skill is so much better than her ultimate, so I was using that a lot when I used her. She’d be invaluable on a speed team since her ult boosts speed quite a bit. There’s a funny story about her infiltrating a social media chat that’s badmouthing her, and her voice actor, Felecia Angelle, kills their performance throughout.

Ben’s Rating: 7/10

Tom’s Thoughts: This cinnamon role is just trying her best to be a good boss. She has to deal with Herta being the worst station boss ever, on top of making sure everyone on the space station is okay. She even has a whole quest trying to figure out if Arlan hates her, which ends with her giving the most heartfelt apology I’ve ever seen, even if she has nothing to apologize for. It was great.

Tom’s Rating: 8/10


Bailu

Ben’s Thoughts: The day that Bailu graced my party, it was the most important day of my Star Rail life. She’s undoubtedly the best healer in the game. Scaling with Health and access to her special buff inspiration, which lets people heal on being hit. Her design is top-notch, and her story hasn’t really been developed as of yet, but she’s invaluable to my party. In the roguelike simulated universe mode, she’s pretty much irreplaceable.

Ben’s Rating: 9/10

Tom’s Thoughts: This little dragon munchkin is adorable and useful. She’s a top-notch healer, saving my ass more than once. Even if she doesn’t deal crazy damage, having a good healer is always nice. I also lost it a bit when she flat-out said she didn’t have a dad. There was no hesitation, and the awkward silence afterward was funny as hell.

Tom’s Rating: 8/10


Bronya

Ben’s Thoughts: Bronya has support abilities that make her beautifully paired with her Best friend forever, Selle. She increases both attacks and pushes someone’s turn order forward, her ult being a massive attack boost, she pairs really well with any “The hunt” units, and she’s a focal point of the first story arc. She’s neat.

Ben’s Rating: 8/10

Tom’s Thoughts: The leader of the silvermane guards has one of the more depressing stories. She always tries to impress her mother, but being ignored can do numbers on someone. Through it all, Bronya comes out of it relatively okay (her mother is a bit creepy, though). The twist in her story left me shocked but intrigued to learn more. Oh, she’s also a good support as well.

Tom’s Rating: 8/10


Clara

Ben’s Thoughts: Words cannot describe how broken Clara is. If she gets attacked, her bodyguard robot Svarog gets pissed off and attacks for her, getting considerably stronger with every attack. Her companion story is a deeply powerful exploration into machine sentience and shows how even at a young age, she’s making choices even the most rational adults would find difficult to manage emotionally. She’s like a fusion of the Little Sisters and Big Daddy pairing from Bioshock and Illyasviel from Fate/Stay Night. Absolutely brilliant character mechanics and design. All she needs now is some shoes.

Ben’s Rating: 10/10

Tom’s Thoughts: I don’t know how I feel about Clara and Svarog. On the one hand, their story is one of the more touching ones. Finding a family when you’ve both been rejected is something that’ll tug at everyone’s heartstrings. On the other hand, even though she’s broken, I didn’t find her gameplay the best. By the time I got to try her out, I’d already had the novelty of constant revenge attack loops wear off. She’s still a fun character and can be broken beyond all belief, just not for me.

Tom’s Rating:7/10


Dan Heng

Ben’s Thoughts: Dan Heng is one of the few wind shear characters and has a strong single-target attack. It’s a pity he’s stuck below the other hunt characters, who are both considerably stronger than him. Storywise, he hasn’t been able to do very much precisely because Seele stole his thunder in the first story. He’s pretty cool, though. As a companion for life type of unit, somewhere down the road, he will likely get an evolved form.

Ben’s Rating: 6/10

Tom’s Thoughts: The stoic, intelligent, reliable member of the star rail express, Dan Heng, is a great starter unit to help throughout the main story. Besides being a helpful damage dealer for people who don’t want to spend money (me), his mysterious past is something that I’m excited to learn more about. I also appreciate how he never misses a chance to make fun of March 7th.

Tom’s Rating: 7/10


Gepard

Ben’s Thoughts: Man, Gepard is too lawful neutral for my liking, his motivations are kinda milquetoast, and his haircut can go away. In battle, his shields are really strong, but as with most preservation characters, he does little to no damage. I just don’t like these soldier characters who have no free will of their own. Gepard would do well arguing on Reddit because nobody can ever change his mind.

Ben’s Rating: 4/10

Tom’s Thoughts: Gepard may not have the most screen time, but there are enough little details throughout the world that let his personality shine. For instance, he drew by hand the wanted posters found throughout Belobog. Are they any good? Absolutely not, but at least he tried. I also love how he’s Serval’s number-one fan, always getting people to check out her shows. What a good brother he is.

Tom’s Rating: 6/10



Herta

Ben’s Thoughts: Oh boy, does Herta like to say, “Time to twirl!” As an elation character, she makes follow-up attacks on enemies at 50% HP, it’s great for dealing with waves of enemies, and terrible on bosses. Her addition to freeze builds is really good, though. I cannot really stand her personality, sadly. I hope her character gets more development.

Ben’s Rating: 6/10

Tom’s Thoughts: With all the spinning happening, I thought I was on the teacup ride at Disneyland. Herta is a fun enough character with skills and abilities that can help if your main goal is to freeze enemies in a constant attack loop. I’m more interested in her story, though. Creating multiple robot copies of yourself is cool but also a bit sad because maybe she only wanted a friend.

Tom’s Rating: 7/10



Himeko

Ben’s Thoughts: Another Elation character, Himiko, is amazing at taking advantage of weakness breaks; her ability to burn with area-of-effect attacks makes her invaluable to anyone’s grinding effort. Her design is definitely above most other units too. Also, the Satellite laser goes brrrrr.
In the story, she seems to play a leadership role, with her stoic and dependable attitude endearing her to everyone she meets. Her massive leadership qualities make her a quick favorite.

Ben’s Rating: 8/10

Tom’s Thoughts: Controlling a bunch of drones with the ability to shoot a laser from the sky is definitely a power move. Himeko can be extremely broken if paired with Herta, leading to an endless chain of drone attacks and twirling, which is always funny to watch. I was hoping to get her for my free five-star, but no luck. I only wanted her for her damage potential, though, no other reason.

Tom’s Rating: 9/10


Hook

Ben’s Thoughts: Hook is probably too good for a 4-star unit. Her ability in a battle for single target damage and synergy with, say, Sampo or Himeko leaves a lot of room for her on Damage over time teams. Her character is pretty much an independent kid who reminds me a heck of a lot of the Baker Street Boys with her group of problem-solving kids. I would say she has a really good story, and her personality always brings happiness to the player. Felecia is back again voicing her, and I quickly find I love whoever she voices.

Ben’s Rating:
9/10

Tom’s Thoughts: I do enjoy me some characters that love blowing stuff up. Also, going by Pitch-Dark Hook the Great, Hook brings the childlike wonder and destruction that every game needs. With her trusty diggertron, I laughed every time Hook made enemies explode in a symphony of fire. Her interactions with the rest of the cast are also amazing, even if her side-quest with her dad was a bit sad.

Tom’s Rating: 8/10


Jing Yuan

Ben’s Thoughts: Boy, they really pulled out the stops when it came to the first banner characters. This guy reminds me of Ansem from Kingdom Hearts 1, he has a bulky, godlike being he uses to smite enemies, and his damage goes through the roof. Add on to his grand strategist character type, and we really have a winner. If you have ever played Genshin Impact, here’s your Zhong Li for this game.

Ben’s Rating: 10/10

Tom’s Thoughts: This man might make me spend actual money on this game. Not only is he broken as all hell if built right, but just look at how majestic he is. And his splash art has a FRICKEN LION! They’re just chilling together, and it’s immaculate. It helps that he’s voiced by one of my favorite voice actors Alejandro Saab. Regardless, I’ll end up spending more than I should to get this majestic man on my team.

Tom’s Rating: 10/10


March 7th

Ben’s Thoughts: March is the mascot character for this game. She’s the character you spend most of your time conversing with right now. She’s a solid character who can’t stop moving and won’t stop being reckless, meshing well with the Trailblazer’s aloof and random attitude. She’s pretty much a sugar explosion. As a unit, she works well for freeze teams, and that’s about it. Her story will probably give her an evolved form somewhere along the line, which I look forward to immensely.

Ben’s Rating: 8/10

Tom’s Thoughts: This ADHD-fueled Ice ball is a highlight of every interaction of Star Rails story. Her carefree attitude and obliviousness make any of her dialogue hilarious. Skyler Davenport did a fantastic job bringing March 7th to life. She’s also super helpful during the story, being able to give other party members shields and keeping everyone alive a little bit longer.

Tom’s Rating: 10/10



Natasha

Ben’s Thoughts: Natasha is the underground resident doctor and substitute mom, it would seem. Her attitude is generally caring and thoughtful, and she does everything a doctor character would generally do. Allow me to poke the bear and say that she kinda sucks. Her outfit is all over the place. She loses out to Bailu by a wide margin. She’s a healer with the destruction path, which baffles my brain. The only good thing about her is that you get her free, and she will support you through the early game. Ditch her for Bailu, Gepard, or preservation Trailblazer at the first chance.

Ben’s Rating: 4/10

Tom’s Thoughts: The underground doctor and Wildfire leader, Natasha, does it all. She’s a useful free healer to help you through the story (especially if you didn’t get Bailu). The fact that her weapon is basically a mini-gun that shoots explosions is also freakin dope. Her history with other undergrounders, such as Seele and Hook, is also nice, as she seems to be a mother figure, and her genuine care is touching.

Tom’s Rating: 8/10


Pela

Ben’s Thoughts: Why does Pela exist? Seriously, she does nothing. Her story is non-existent outside of being in Serval’s band. She has 0 impact on the Belobog story, she’s 4-star, and her abilities are much like March, only used in a freeze team. Except that March actually exists, has utility, and Pela is simply just an NPC with animations. This is the character you do not want to pull, ever.

Ben’s Rating: 2/10

Tom’s Thoughts: I don’t have much to say about Pela. She doesn’t have that big of an impact on the current story and has yet to have time to shine. I will say her artistic talent far exceeds Gepard, as she can at least draw, even if it is a bit extravagant. I’m hoping we get to see more of her in the future. I feel like she and March 7th could be great friends.

Tom’s Rating: 6/10


Qingque

Ben’s Thoughts: This character is annoying. She’s simply Yojimbo from Final Fantasy 10, inconsistent and kinda lame. While she’s fun to try to get to work, I don’t get her. In the story, she’s pretty much fleecing people at gambling and then works as your second tour guide. Not much relevance as of yet, but oh boy. You get her for free, though, so that’s okay, I guess. As she’s the only quantum character, you’re likely to get as a free-to-play user outside of spamming Selee’s banner, she’s kind of disappointing. For such a special type of element, this ain’t it, chief.

Ben’s Rating: 3/10

Tom’s Thoughts: A character addicted to gambling in a gacha game, that’s not ironic at all. Qingque has the most unique moveset out of anyone else on the roster. All her skills revolve around chance, so you’ll either one-shot the enemy or do absolutely nothing. She is also always down to risk it for the biscuit; I respect that.

Tom’s Rating: 7/10



Sampo

Ben’s Thoughts: Oh hey Sampo, your voice is grating, your haircut is stupid, and you’re constantly dragging me into your bad salesman problems. You smell bad, and I should have left you in the snow where I found you. I had a great time listening to the entire cast of characters agreeing with me that this character is dislikeable and untrustworthy. In that regard, Star Rail did an excellent job. I’m not going to rate him low because I dislike him, because I’m supposed to dislike him. He is an amazing damage-over-time unit and will probably fill your wind damage slot if you don’t like Dan Heng.

Ben’s Rating: 8/10

Tom’s Thoughts: This slime ball always seemed to show up at just the right time to make a deal. Initially, I thought Sampo would end up double-crossing one too many people and bite the dust, but that wasn’t the case. He does have his moments of sincerity (even if they’re few and far between). Gameplay-wise, if built right, he can be absolutely broken, so he has that going for him. He did make me laugh a few times, so he’s not all bad.

Tom’s Rating: 6/10


Seele

Ben’s Thoughts: Seele is the best unit in the game. No doubt. Amazing damage coupled with a talent that lets her take multiple extra turns; she wipes out entire waves by herself, and she slays bosses the best of anyone except maybe Jing Yuan at this point. Her outfit is amazing, and her personality is amazing. I pulled her once and immediately hyper-focused on getting her second ability by pulling another, but failed. She is, without a doubt, the character to chase after in this game.

Ben’s Rating: 10/10

Tom’s Thoughts: God damn, Seele is cool. Everything from her outfit, to her weapon, to her ultimate, where she goes super speed and murders everything, it’s great. She also plays a major part in the story, adding unexpected depth and agency to the plot (made even better thanks to the performance of Molly Zhang). I tried to get her from the event banner, but alas, my luck is absolutely horrendous. I’ll definitely get her next time when her re-run happens in a decade (I joke, I hope).

Tom’s Rating: 10/10


Serval

Ben’s Thoughts: Serval is a character you can’t help but love. Always trying to do what’s best for everyone, not afraid to break the rules, and a rockstar in her own right. Serval was the shining star of the first storyline, being the only link to common sense you will find in the overworld there for a while. She uses shock and can be amazing if built correctly. Her inner struggle is beautifully written, and I would say she’s worthy of the highest grade. The best 4-star unit, in my opinion.

Ben’s Rating: 10/10

Tom’s Thoughts: A rocker scientist with a guitar that shoots lightning, and voiced by Natalie Van Sistine, what’s not to like? Serval has been a massive help to me during my story playthrough, using her electrical attacks to shock everyone to death. The fact that her song is also translated into every language is a huge bonus as well; love me some catchy tunes.

Tom’s rating: 9/10


Sushang

Ben’s Thoughts: Who is this again? She’s in Dan Heng’s paralogue; ah yeah, that’s right. She’s also a high-damage unit who is really good, in all honesty. Summoning the Kentucky Fried smackdown on her enemies is a good laugh too. She’s cool, I appreciate that she exists.

Ben’s Rating: 7/10

Tom’s Thoughts: Another character who has yet to have much time in the spotlight is Sushang. While I haven’t spent much time with her in the story, she’s pretty fun in combat. Her ultimate is her summoning a giant chicken to rush towards the enemy and run them over, which never gets old. Again, another character I hope we get to see more of in the future.

Tom’s Rating: 7/10


Tingyun

Ben’s Thoughts: Best harmony in the game, maybe? She’s just good in almost any team. Buffs and damage increases are just great for utility. In the story, she’s the first you meet in the third area. She’s quirky, sells stuff a lot, and seems to have a mischievous side to her. I like her.

Ben’s Rating: 7/10

Tom’s Thoughts: Tingyun is one of the more helpful four stars you can pull. Her abilities help buff the rest of the team to keep them alive and deal more damage. Her role in the story of a silver-tongued merchant was also entertaining to watch. I hope in future story updates, she just appears, randomly selling something I’ve never heard of before.

Tom’s Rating: 7/10


Trailblazer (MC)

Ben’s Thoughts: So your main character is made or captured and then gets a Star god implanted in their chest. From that moment on, they pretty much fire back playfully at anyone they meet and have dialogue similar to the Undertale protagonist. Even loving trash cans so much that they enter “The trash dimension,” drawing hilariously from MMO players furiously clicking on everything they see. Also, assaulting hotel workers insisting they’re demons. The trailblazer is a really odd protagonist fully capable of going on deranged bouts of localized insanity if you let them. Wielding a baseball bat and later other weapons, they seem to be along for the train ride, and boy, playing as them is a real treat.

Ben’s Rating: Fell out of a plane and missed the ground/10

Tom’s Thoughts: The trash-loving main character has become an internet meme overnight. They’re also a very useful party member, regardless of where you’re at in the game. The initial baseball bat weapon left me a bit confused at first, but when they started bonking people into oblivion, no confusion was left. The story behind them also has me curious. Who are they? Where did they come from? Why do they love trash so much? All these questions with no answers.

Tom’s Rating: Trash Lover/10


Welt

Ben’s Thoughts: Welt is the only current character with the Imaginary element. Welt is hard to figure out, Welt makes me confused, and Welt is probably far better than people give him credit for. Welt is from other Mihoyo games, apparently. Welt is probably going to be really cool in the future. I just love saying Welt.

Ben’s Rating: 7/10

Tom’s Thoughts: This spectacle marvel is the only character from the other Honkai games to be the same guy, reportedly. I guess he’s seen some shit. Besides that fun fact, Welt is also the only character with the imaginary element, making him a valuable member of any party. He also has a cool cane and saves the main character from destroying a space station, so he gets extra points for that.

Tom’s Rating: 7/10


Yanqing

Ben’s Thoughts: Freeze teams run around this guy, and without him, there are no freeze teams, super cool that he puts his enemies on ice, and his potential will leave you frozen. His character appears to be Ice-olated, being young and under the wing of a general. Leaving him out in the cold when it comes to current events. But he’s a master swordsman and can really sl-ice it when it comes to fights. Hopefully, he can bring just-ice later in the story.

Ben’s Rating: 9 ice cubes/10

Tom’s Thoughts: This ice sword surfing lieutenant is another unique character in the Star Rail line-up. I mean, did you ever think that sword surfing could be a thing? Besides his fun way of getting around, Yanqing can absolutely demolish enemies with a flurry of ice swords that will leave the enemy frozen, dead, or both. He’s a fun character, and I hope I can pull him instead of just using someone else’s.

Tom’s Rating: 9/10


So there you have it. Who were your favorite units in Star Rail? What do you think of upcoming units? Come chat to us in the comments, and let us know who and why!

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