Honkai: Star Rail Kafka Build Guide
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Honkai: Star Rail Kafka Build Guide

In this Honkai Star Rail Kafka Build Guide, we’re going to be covering the damage-over-time dealer, Kafka. She’s a potent enabler for DoT teams and is a flexible character that builds as a main carry, or sub-DPS. Kafka herself may focus on Crit builds, DoT builds, or can hybrid between them. Fitting splendidly in a great variety of party compositions, and filling many roles, depending on the needs of the team.

Honkai: Star Rail Kafka Build Guide

Kafka is a five-star character, who was part of a limited-time banner during the second half of 1.2 patch. She’s a lightning character from the Nihility Path, which focuses on Damage Over Time (DoT). Kafka brings a new archetype of teams, that may rely solely on DoTs. In addition to the standard team comps she may form, such as Hyper carry, mono lightning, and dual DPS teams.

In a turn-based game such as Honkai Star Rail, DoT procs on the enemy’s turn, rather than the character’s turn. Kafka changes this fundamental rule and adds another proc to all DoTs existing on the enemy per her own turn. She procs the DoT with her Skill, and the extra proc doesn’t consume the DoT’s duration. It’s preferable to use Kafka’s skill every turn and have a high number of turns, to proc more DoTs. She may achieve this by either by having very high Speed, or using ways to advance her turn. This can be through using Bronya to advance her turn and the Dance Dance Dance Light Cone on a Harmony support.

The high number of turns with the constant Skill usage makes Kafka consume a lot of Skill Points (SP). So most of her team builds rely on pairing with low SP consumption characters.

Honkai Star Rail Kafka Build Guide: Active Skills

Skill leveling Priority: Ultimate >= Skill > Talent >> Basic Attack.

Midnight Tumult – Normal Attack

Kafka uses a normal attack, which causes one unit of Lightning to break. However, in her optimal rotation, Kafka never uses normal attacks. It has no unique properties and applies no DoT, nor proc existing ones.

Not using Normal Attacks make Kafka an SP-Negative character, that needs an SP-Positive support to help her out.

Caressing Moonlight – Skill

A Splash (Blast) type skill, that deals high damage to a single target, and lesser damage to adjacent targets. In Kafka’s case, there’s a big difference between damage to the main target and the secondary target. However, this doesn’t have a huge impact, because the main feature of her skill is proccing all existing DoTs immediately, on the main target.

When Kafka procs these DoTs with her skill, it counts as a bonus action, and the DoT duration doesn’t reduce. So it has the potential to cause a lot of damage to the main target, depending on the DoTs already applied.

Note that Kafka doesn’t apply shock with her skill, she still needs either her Technique, Ultimate, or Talent to apply. So if you build Kafka as a pure DoT character, she needs to use an Ultimate or Talent before her skill for optimal damage.

Increasing Kafka’s Skill level results in an increase in the DoT’s procs when using the skill. So it’s effectively a team-wide buff in the case of DoT teams.

While using Kafka’s Skill, you can see an indicator of which enemy has DoTs to trigger and highlights the main target.

Twilight Trill – Ultimate

At the cost of 120 energy, Kafka deals true AOE damage to all enemies. The damage of the initial hit in her Ultimate is relatively low, but she applies a shock to all enemies. Unlike any other DoT in the game, it procs immediately, before any enemy turn has passed. Increasing the Ultimate level will result in a big boost to Kafka’s own DoT damage.

The Shock damage from Kafka’s Ultimate is massive. It can go up to 290%. This will proc once when using her Ultimate, once every enemy turn for two turns, and once every time Kafka uses her skill. So in a three-turn rotation, Kafka can proc her own DoT five times!

That’s a lot of AOE damage, and that’s very hard to match by most characters in the game. It enables Kafka to play as the sole DoT character, and still carry the team.

Kafka will easily refund her energy in three turns, without building any energy Regeneration source. Casting three skills refunds 90 energy, her ultimate gives 5 energy, and three of her talent procs generate 30. That’s 125 energy without killing any enemy or proccing her A4 Trace.

Gentle but Cruel – Talent

Her Talent is a follow-up attack that procs when an ally uses a normal attack. It can proc one time between each of Kafka’s turns, so she can get more procs if she builds higher speed.

The follow-up hits one enemy, generates 10 energy, and inflicts shock equal to shock from Ultimate. So Kafka can get her DoT going, even before she uses her Ultimate.

The follow-up helps break the main target faster, and may eventually lead to additional DoT from break. It becomes more potent if any ally with a high Break Effect deals the breaking hit. The DoT from breaking can be procced with Kafka’s Skill similar to any other DoT.

Mercy Is Not Forgiveness – Technique

Using Kafka’s Technique will initiate battle, so it’s mutually exclusive with similar Techniques. The decision to use it over another initiating Technique falls down to how potent the other Technique is.

Kafka will deal small damage in AOE to all enemies, and apply the same shock from her Ultimate. So it’s a decent damage increase Technique, but still a lower priority than say Silver Wolf‘s Technique. I consider it equally as good as the technique of someone such as Blade, and I use either of them, depending on the enemy’s weakness. But it’s stronger than Serval’s Technique if you pair Kafka with Serval.

Honkai Star Rail Kafka Build Guide – Traces

Traces are passive skills that characters unlock after leveling, and reaching certain ascension levels. For this Honkai: Star Rail Kafka Build, you need to farm and spend resources to unlock Traces, but they give a huge advantage to Kafka. As a DoT enabler and damage dealer, Kafka should prioritize all major Traces, especially A2, and A6. As for minor Traces, she really needs the “Effect Hit Rate” and “Attack” ones.

Torture – Ascension 2

Upon using Ultimate, Kafka procs all DoTs on the target, effectively giving her another Skill DoT. This trace increases Kafka’s efficiency as a DoT enabler and is very important to get it early on.

Without it, Kafka only procs her shock when using her Ultimate. So get it as soon as possible.

Plunder – Ascension 4

Upon the defeat of an enemy that has shock status, Kafka generates 5 energy. This doesn’t require Kafka to deal the killing blow and proc upon any enemy defeat.

It’s a nice bonus to have, and if procced, it might allow Kafka to get Ultimate a little earlier. This doesn’t matter a lot though, because Kafka will still need three turns to get her Ultimate. It may only save her one follow-up, or by using one normal attack instead of a skill when SP is tight.

Thorns – Ascension 6

A very important trace, that saves Kafka a lot of stats. It increases the chance of landing her shock stat on all her Talent, technique, and Ultimate by 30%. This is equal to a whole 8 average sub-stat rolls in Effect Hit Rate, or even 9 low rolls.

These sub-stats would be necessary to get if Kafka doesn’t have this Trace. It would waste a lot of damage-related stats, and lower Kafka’s damage output. So players should always ascend their Kafka at level 70, and get this Trace as soon as possible.

Before getting A6 trace, you would be fighting lower-level enemies anyway, which doesn’t take a lot of Effect Hit Rate to land the shock status. But at endgame, this trace is a must, along with Effect Hit Rate minor traces.

Minor Traces

Kafka gets ten minor stats increases, distributed as the following:

  • Attack (Five Nodes)
  • Effect Hit Rate (Three Nodes)
  • HP (Two Nodes)

Attack stats boost her DoT and direct damage, so it’s a great bonus. While Effect Hit Rate is very important to make her shock stick to enemies 100% of the time. So overall, Kafka gets a lot of effective damage from minor traces, and they should get priority.

Kafka – Light Cones

For this Honkai: Star Rail Kafka Build, gear is a crucial part, and Light Cone is a major part of gearing. The niche Kafka needs to fulfil is DoT damage, which requires Speed, Attack, Lightning Damage, and generic Damage. Then there are some builds that utilize Crit stats as well.

Kafka is of the “Nihility” Path, and among the Light Cones of this path, there are several that help her damage. There are decent free-to-play LCs, easy-to-obtain LCs, and limited LCs, and each player can pick what suits them.

Fermata – Four Star

We start off with four start options since the Nihility path has no good Three Star Light Cone for Kafka. The three options require either slow, using basic attacks, or giving no damage bonus. So we can skip to the free four-star option, Fermata.

Fermata is an excellent Light Cone for Kafka, it has a similar attack value to most four-star Light Cones. On top of that, it increases the damage modifier to enemies with shock and increases the Break Effect. The damage bonus applies to direct damage and DoTs, so it’s a universal damage increase to Kafka’s entire kit. and the condition is met by default, as Kafka inflicts shock all the time.

As a free weapon you get a drop from weekly bosses, and purchase from the memory of Chaos shop; the Player can get Fermata to Superimposition 5 pretty easily. At S5, the damage modifier is 32%, and the Break Effect is 32%, which are pretty good values for a four-star option.

Good Night Sleep Well – Four Star

Another upgrade over Fermata is the Good Night Sleep Well Light Cone. This Light Cone gives bonus damage against enemies inflicted with debuffs. The bonus can stack up to three times, on enemies with three debuffs or more.

The good thing about Good Night Sleep Well is that all DoTs are considered debuffs. As well as all Control status effects such as Slow, Freeze, Entanglement, or Imprison. So regardless of what debuffs your Kafka and team inflict, she can easily get the maximum bonus.

The damage modifier starts at 12% at S1, and stacks up to three times, to max at 36%. That’s already higher than Fermata at S5, so it’s an easy upgrade, even if you only get one copy of this Light Cone. At S5, the bonus gets up to 24% per debuff, for max 72% damage modifier! That’s huge damage with very easy-to-meet conditions.

Good Night Sleep Well is very competitive with five-star options. It’s one of the reasons that pulling for Kafka’s signature Light Cone is not an optimal option, even if you have a lot of money to spare.

Kafka Relics & Stats

In this Kafka Build we’ll cover all four Relics slots: Head, Gloves, Body, and Feet. As well as the two accessories slots, Sphere and Rope. Head always comes with a Flat HP main stat, and Gloves comes with a Flat Attack main stat. Then Body, Feet, Sphere, and Rope come with random stats. So gearing the Head and gloves will lean more towards finding the best sub-stats, while the other four have to also roll a good main stat.

For Kafka, we prioritize Lightning Damage stat, on the Sphere piece. Then we can get either Attack or Crit Rate on Body, depending on if we build Kafka as a pure DoT or Crit build. Then pick Attack on Rope, and either Speed or Attack on Boots. That’s the easiest way to build Kafka, for pure damage build.

Usually, getting more than two Attack main stat starts to yield diminishing returns. That’s especially more prominent when teams have massive attack buffers, such as Asta. So it’s usually wise to go for Speed instead of Attack on Boots and get more damage from proccing Kafka skill more often.

For sub-stats, we aim for more Speed and Attack. to keep Kafka build easy and straightforward. However, if we go for the Crit build route, we should prioritize both Crit Rate and Crit Damage. We rarely need to get “Effect Hit Rate” on Kafka, as she accumulates enough from abilities base chance, minor traces, and A6 passive.

Band of Sizzling Thunder – Relic Set

The best Relic Set for Kafka, gives both Lightning damage, and a huge attack bonus. Both stats affect DoT damage, and direct damage, making it a general all-around set for all of Kafka’s builds.

The only downside is that you need to farm the Cavern of Corrosion that drops lightning and Def set pieces. Which is decent, but not the best place to farm.

So in case you don’t want to stick there for very long, you may use hybrid 2x Sizzling Thunder, and 2x Musketeer as a solution. You lose 8% Attack from the set bonus, but you usually get better sub-stats from picking the best two pieces of each set.

Space Sealing Station – Accessories Set

The standard offensive set for attack-scaling characters. It increases Kafka’s own Attack value, which is the main stat for DoT build, and a very good stat for the Crit build as well. Space Sealing Station gives 24% Attack, so nothing comes close to it.

Space Sealing Station comes from World 3 in the Simulated Universe, paired with Fleet of the Ageless, one of the best support sets for DoT teams. So farming one world will help you equip the entire team.

Honkai: Star Rail Kafka Build – Team Composition

Kafka is an enabler of all DoT teams, regardless of elements. So she fits with several other characters that rely on DoTs to deal damage. But aside from that, Kafka can also form a normal team with her as the hyper carry, or secondary DPS. One guide is not enough to cover every team composition Kafka can build, so I’ll skim through an example team. In a future guide, I’ll follow up with a dedicated guide for some of her well-crafted teams.

DoT damage dealer from Nihility Path

The most basic team Kafka builds is a DoT team, with her and another Nihility character as DoT damage dealers. There are two other fully dedicated DoT damage dealers in the game as of version 1.2: Luka, a physical Nihility character that focuses on Bleed, and Sampo, a wind Nihility character that focuses on Wind Shear. You can make a case for each of them versus the other, but usually, you will use each of them against enemies weak to their respective element.

Sampo can apply DoTs with basic attacks, so he may save very precious SP for Kafka and other SP-negative supports. This enables Kafka to pick and use Bronya to the full extent for example.

Luka on the other hand, has a very high DoT multiplier, and his element entertains the highest DoT from breaking in the game. So he may output higher personal damage if circumstances are right.

There’s a third option that’s not fully dedicated to DoTs, but still possible to pair with Kafka. That is Serval, from the Erudition path instead of Nihility. Serval applies shock DoTs that are separate from Kafka’s shock, and they can be a nice damage boost. However, Serval’s ideal build is Crit build with some DoTs, so pairing her with Kafka is more suitable as a mono lightning team, instead of a DoT team.

All of Serval, Sampo, and Luka came from the same banner as Kafka in version 1.2. So you would likely have them, and some of their Eidolons, if you got Kafka.

Offensive support from Harmony or Nihility Path

There are many good buffers for Kafka’s teams, depending on Kafka’s own build, and team composition. For example, Asta is a perfect match for Kafka DoT build. She increased the speed of the entire team, so Kafka would be able to proc her skill more frequently. Also, her Attack buff is a very good increase to all DoTs.

DoT teams actually see the best use of Asta, as no other team can utilize Asta’s kit to this degree. And it gets very interesting if Asta herself builds as a sub-DPS because the team could potentially have three damage dealers.

Other than Asta, mono lightning teams can use Silver Wolf, to focus on inflicting lightning and Quantum weakness. Both DoT and Crit Kafka versions can use Bronya, who is especially viable when a team uses Sampo to generate SP. Bronya would target Kafka with her skill, to give her two turns per cycle. This allows Kafka to ditch speed, and build more Attack for higher DoT damage.

A Defensive Support from Abundance or Preservation Path

Unlike Blade, Kafka doesn’t care if the defensive unit is a shielder or a healer. She has no mechanic that relies on gaining or losing HP, nor staying at full HP to deal damage. So any sustainer that keeps the team alive is fair game.

Luocha is usually the best healer, but he’s a limited character that not everyone has. However, in a mono lightning team that pairs with Silver Wolf, you may prefer to use Bailu or Lynx to prevent the team from having a third different element. That way, Silver Wolf can easily apply the desired lightning weakness.

Gepard is all-around provides great defensive support that can shield the entire team, so he fits this slot as well. Gepard doesn’t use any SP, similar to the healers. But he brings no cleanse nor enemy buff removal, therefore, he’s not the first choice for this slot.

Honkai: Star Rail Kafka Build – Final Tips

Kafka teams are not limited to Damage Over Time teams. With some effort and investment, you may get a Kafka hyper-carry with Tingyun and Silver Wolf. Or you may build a mono-lightning team with Jing Yuan as the main DPS. She may even fit Blade in her team, and perform very well as a secondary DPS.

Overall, Kafka is one of the most flexible units in the entire game, and she can help any account. She’s friendly to F2P accounts, and spenders alike, due to having access to great free Light Cones. Also using free characters such as Asta for good teams makes her a smart choice.

Stay tuned for more Honkai: Star Rail Guides. For more Honkai: Star Rail content, check our Honkai Star Rail Guide: 5 Best Eidolons, as well as our Honkai Star Rail Guide: Best Relics To Farm. For more character builds, check our Honkai: Star Rail Luocha Build Guide.

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