Honkai Star Rail Top S-Tier List 2023

Spotlight on Gepard: Honkai Star Rail Tier Rankings

Tier Ranking: Gepard – S

  • Defensive: SS
  • Utility: B
  • Damage: B
  • Skill Point: SS+
  • Energy Gen: SS

Gepard, the sole five-star defender gracing our Honkai: Star Rail Tier List upon its launch, offers robust protection to his allies. Through his ultimate ability, Gepard conjures shields enveloping the entire team without requiring any skill points (SP). This impressive ability warrants his SS rating. Yet, when it comes to utility, Gepard falls slightly short.

The Utility Factor

Originating from the Preservation Path, Gepard boasts high aggro; his A2 Trace further amplifies this trait. This enables him to divert enemy attacks onto himself, thereby generating energy for his ultimate and maintaining shield uptime. An ideal way to shield the team and enhance their survivability, wouldn’t you agree? Yet, the utility of Gepard concludes here.

Regrettably, Gepard lacks the ability to cleanse, counter-attack, reduce damage, and his area of effect (AOE) is limited. His freeze ability targets single enemies and depletes SP, thus ranking him below Bailu and March 7th. Only when you’ve fully upgraded your characters, and survivability is no longer paramount, could any shielder suffice. In such scenarios, a shielder with greater utility would be a more fitting choice for your team.

At launch, Gepard outshines March 7th when paired with Yanqing. Since Yanqing demands a 100% shield uptime and is an SP glutton, Gepard fills this role efficiently. Moreover, Yanqing’s ability to reliably freeze enemies compensates for Gepard’s shortcomings, lessening team pressure. Consequently, Gepard excels as a standalone Defensive Support, freeing up a slot typically reserved for healers. Yet, without Natasha or March 7th, Bronya would be your sole cleansing option, requiring a trio of Five Star characters and making your team prohibitively expensive and out of reach for most players.

Damage Delivery

Gepard’s strategy involves relentlessly deploying normal attacks, with his A6 Trace providing him Def scaling. Though his damage output isn’t the lowest in the game, it pales when compared to other shielders. For example, March 7th gets three additional counters per turn, and Fire Trailblazer comes with AOE enchanted attacks, leaving Gepard lagging in damage and shield-breaking capabilities.

Skill Point Management and Energy Generation

Gepard has the luxury of disregarding his skill, focusing instead on normal attacks and his ultimate, making him one of the top positive SP characters in the game. On the other hand, his skill is his sole method of freezing enemies; hence, choosing not to use it sacrifices his lone utility feature.

In terms of energy generation, Gepard excels, particularly when taunting enemies and receiving frequent hits. While he’s more effective against AOE rather than single targets, he still generates substantial energy. Although he can’t quite match March 7th’s energy levels, he surpasses most other defensive supports.

Team Compatibility

Gepard fits well in any team requiring only survivability, despite providing minimal additional utility. He naturally slots into teams with double Preservation characters, acting as a primary or secondary tank, or teams utilizing Natasha for healing and cleanses, but needing added defense.

However, certain combinations, such as pairing Gepard with Bailu, prove less effective due to an inability to cleanse and an overabundance of survivability that comes at the expense of utility.

Fire Trailblazer’s Balance: Honkai Star Rail Tier Breakdown

Tier Ranking: Fire Trailblazer – S

  • Defensive: A
  • Utility: S
  • Damage: S
  • Skill Point: SS
  • Energy Gen: S

The Preservation variant of the Trailblazer excels in various domains, ensuring its S-tier status on our Honkai: Star Rail Tier List for Defensive Supports. This well-rounded character offers shields, damage, shield-breaking, energy generation, and SP generation, coupled with taunt and damage reduction capabilities. However, his shields are the weakest, unable to independently maintain team protection despite a minor self-heal from A6.

As a secondary defensive support, Fire Trailblazer proves versatile and utility-rich, radiating excellence. Possessing the ability to create shields through normal or enchanted attacks as well as their skill, and deploying their ultimate for robust AOE damage, they blur the line between offensive and defensive support. This hybridization enables them to exert significant pressure on enemies, freeing the team from a strictly defensive setup and injecting an offensive element.

Exploring Utility

Fire Trailblazer’s primary defensive utilities are on-demand taunt and team-wide damage reduction, with even more potent self-damage mitigation. Their main offensive utility is shield-breaking. They hold significant AOE potential and an above-average shield break ability. Their enchanted attack shatters shields just like a skill, providing a huge advantage for breaking shields while simultaneously generating SP instead of draining it.

In comparison to dedicated shield breakers like Asta, Trailblazers lag slightly in their shield-breaking prowess but don’t deplete any resources. They also deliver consistent defensive support, making them an excellent choice for numerous situations, even surpassing purely offensive supports.

Delving into Damage

As a reliable damage dealer, Fire Trailblazer, with its frequent enchanted attacks, offers higher modifiers and AOE. While we don’t build the Fire Trailblazer with Crit, limiting their damage output, their E1 adds def scaling to both normal and enchanted attacks, of which Trailblazers have an abundance. This, along with the ultimate damage that Trailblazers can spam every two turns, defines their damaging potential.

Assessing Skill Point Generation and Consumption

We deploy Trailblazer’s skill mainly to counteract an enemy’s massive AOE attack charging up, such as Cocolia’s skill in the second phase. Trailblazers enjoy significant self-damage reduction and a decent reduction for their team, leading them to consume SP in these situations. Otherwise, their normal and enchanted attacks suffice to maintain shields, and they seldom need to expend SP.

In terms of SP generation, I rank Trailblazer below Gepard but above Bailu, March 7th, and Natasha. This is a commendable standing for a guaranteed character.

Energy Generation Insights

Trailblazers, like Gepard, can taunt enemies, sustain frequent hits, and generate energy. Their energy cost is relatively high at 120, compared to Gepard’s low 100, and neither have a follow-up attack for extra energy generation. However, at A6, Trailblazers generate an extra 5 energy per turn if they sustain a shield constantly.

Consequently, depending on the situation, Trailblazers’ energy generation varies from good to excellent.

Understanding Team Compatibility

The fire element faces stiff competition from DPS characters like Hook and Himeko, and shield breakers such as Asta. Nevertheless, Fire Trailblazer competes strongly against them all, often proving to be a superior choice. This grants them ample flexibility to integrate into various teams and fulfill multiple roles.

They particularly excel against bosses resistant to freeze but weak against fire.

First Choice in Defensive Support: Natasha in Honkai Star Rail Tier Breakdown

Tier Ranking: Natasha – S

  • Defensive: S
  • Utility: S
  • Damage: B
  • Skill Point: S
  • Energy Gen: A

As a free guaranteed character, Natasha stands as the top choice for defensive support in Honkai: Star Rail, excelling in healing and cleansing. Her skillset is straightforward with a single-target heal on her skill and an AOE heal on her ultimate. Natasha can handle most content competently until you encounter aggressive enemies requiring secondary defensive support.

Although Bailu overshadows Natasha in some aspects, she maintains an edge with her cleansing ability, something Bailu lacks. Unless Bronya or March 7th are in your team, a strong case can be made for using Natasha. Furthermore, in endgame Abyss, having two healers to cover two teams is vital, further cementing Natasha’s utility.

Unpacking Utility

Natasha’s main utility lies in cleansing, a potent aspect in its own right. Debuffs like freeze, imprisonment, or entanglement can disrupt your team’s turn order, forcing skipped turns. Cleansing eliminates these issues and removes DoTs from allies, thereby reducing enemy damage.

Examining Damage

Before E6, Natasha’s damage through normal attacks is minimal. However, Physical breaks calculate damage based on enemy Max HP, not the character’s damage value. This allows Natasha to contribute to damage, especially when working alongside other shield breakers to whittle down enemy toughness bars.

Natasha’s damage also increases through her E6, adding HP scaling to her normal attacks. This bonus is substantial, especially considering a healer like Natasha typically has a high HP value. However, unlocking E6 requires six additional copies of Natasha, which might not be feasible for everyone at game launch.

Analyzing Skill Point Generation/Consumption

Similar to Bailu, Natasha primarily relies on her normal attacks and ultimate to sustain the team. If the enemies deal significant damage, Natasha might need to use her skill for emergency healing. Overall, she is an SP-positive character, generating more SP than she consumes. While not to the extent of shielders, her SP generation is still commendable.

Combining Natasha with a shielder reduces the SP consumption pressure on both characters, thereby increasing their SP generation and enabling a more offensive and SP-intensive approach for the other two slots.

Assessing Energy Generation

Among the two healers in the game, both suffer from poor energy generation, but Natasha’s ultimate has a lower energy cost of 90, making her energy generation a tad more manageable. However, she still requires a good Light Cone with energy generation to address this issue effectively. Without “Post-Op Conversation,” Natasha needs three turns or more to cast one ultimate, which can be detrimental when faced with enemies who relentlessly inflict damage.

Understanding Team Flexibility

At launch, Natasha is a staple in almost every team, whether paired with a shielder or not. She is more of a must-have than a flexible character. Building two teams for Abyss further necessitates a larger pool of healers to replace Natasha. Nonetheless, she remains relevant due to her cleansing ability.

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