In this Honkai: Star Rail Tier List – Single Target DPS article, we’ll discuss how the generous roster of Honkai: Star Rail’s characters compare against each other. With 24 playable characters as of Version 1.0, it’s important to know how they rank. One way is through Character Tier lists. Resources are precious in this game, and players will need to decide which character is worth their time.
Honkai Star Rail Tier List – Single Target DPS
To properly ensure each Character gets a fair chance of representation, I’ve decided to split characters by the roles they can play in a team. Characters in Honkai: Star Rail can be categorized as follows: Single Target DPS, AOE DPS, Offensive Support, and Defensive Support. These are the main roles, with some characters showing up in two roles, while others may only fit one niche role in their category.
In this Honkai Star Rail Tier List – Single Target DPS article, I’ll be taking a look at both The Hunt Path characters, and single target characters from the Destruction Path. These two Paths focus primarily on a single target and on boss killing. For Defensive supports, check out our Honkai Star Rail Tier List – Defensive Supports. If you’re looking for Offensive supports, try this guide Honkai Star Rail Tier List – Offensive Supports.
One major factor I will be taking into account is how much damage a character provides. I’ll also be comparing skill points consumption, in addition to how much utility they add. Five-star characters will not only be judged on this but their base kit and without the use of any Eidolons. Characters that require more Eidolons to function will be scored lower compared to ones who have their whole kits by E0. I rank four-star characters based on what they can achieve with E1, E2, or E4, or even on an E6 performance. As they have a chance to show up as a rate up in several banners, making getting higher Eidolons much easier. With that in mind, let’s get into the DPS tier list!
Honkai: Star Rail Tier List – Seele – SS
Skill Point: D
Energy Gen: SS
Seele is the first rate-up five-star character, and the highest single target DPS in the game. Her kit is solely focused on dealing damage, getting kills, and resetting her turn to do more damage. She’s a quantum DPS, that inflicts an Entanglement debuff on toughness break. This delays an enemy’s turn and allows Seele to accumulate more damage that triggers on the next turn.
Even without triggering kills or breaking toughness, Seele deals exceptionally potent single-target damage. She possesses a very high speed, which is further boosted by her skill buffs. As a result, she can take multiple turns within each round. Her modifiers are remarkably high, and she enhances her own damage. Additionally, she maintains near-constant Quantum resistance penetration.
So Seele is very stacked with ways to deal large amounts of damage. No one in the game even comes close to her in this regard. Another bonus is that players can pick Seele regardless of enemy weaknesses.
Seele lacks any utility besides the action delay she inflicts when breaking the toughness of enemies weak to quantum. In this Honkai Star Rail DPS tier list, Seele does not rank at the absolute top SS+ Rank. Her lack of utility makes it possible for developers to introduce enemies that can easily counter her. It is also possible for them to release characters that outperform Seele, but that will likely take a while to happen.
Skill Point Generation/Consumption
Seele is not only hungry for SP, but she’s an absolute glutton. The way she deals more damage in an AOE is to reset her turn, taking another action. This allows Seele to use two skill points in one turn. Furthermore, due to her speed, she can take another turn before the enemies’ turn, allowing her to consume one or two more skill points.
This playstyle requires several fast supports that focus solely on generating SP. Even in a single target scenario, without any turn reset, Seele consumes more SP than any other character in the game. It’s a well-repaid SP investment but prevents Seele from using any strong sub-DPS that may need to utilize their skills. As a result, she is forced to play as a hyper carry and handle the majority of team damage herself. However, Seele is fully capable of fulfilling that role and can blast through most content.
On the other hand, the repeated actions enable Seele to generate a significant amount of energy rapidly in order to cast her ultimate. Her ultimate costs 120 energy but can recharge rather quickly. When playing Seele with Tingyun, there are instances where you can use her ultimate twice per turn, resulting in a massive increase in damage.
As a pure DPS character, Seele lacks any helpful defensive capabilities. However, swiftly eliminating the additional enemies that the boss spawns reduces the pressure on your team. After all, dead enemies are unable to deal any damage.
Seele falls somewhere in the mid-range of flexibility in the Single Target Tier List. On one hand, she only requires SP-positive allies to be on her team. On the other hand, Seele isn’t too particular about which character pairs well with her. You can use more offensive supports like Bronya and Tingyun, or opt for more defensive supports like Fire Trailblazer and Gepard. As long as the ally is capable of generating SP, they are fair game.
Star Rail Tier List: Yanqing – SS
Skill Point: C
Energy Gen: B
Yanqing doesn’t deal the same amount of damage as Seele, but he comes quite close. The main distinction between Seele and Yanqing is that Seele has resistance penetration against all enemies. While Yanqing only penetrates resistance against enemies with an Ice weakness. Therefore, until the introduction of characters that can alter enemy weaknesses, namely Silverwolf, Yanqing cannot fully unleash his potential against every enemy.
However, pure damage isn’t Yanqing’s sole specialty. As an Ice character capable of landing multiple hits per action, Yanqing has a very good chance to freeze enemies. Freezing forces enemies to skip a turn, and with proper support from imaginary characters, you can permanently freeze them. In this Honkai Star Rail Single Target Tier List, Yanqing is a strong contender.
Yanqing buffs his own critical rate, critical damage, and speed. With high investment, optimized stats, and proper support, he can achieve a remarkably high damage output. However, the main restriction Yanqing faces is the need to avoid taking damage in order to maintain his buffs. This necessitates the use of a shielder to protect Yanqing from taking damage.
As long as Yanqing remains shielded or has someone drawing all the aggro away from him, he maintains high single-target damage. While he may not excel in AOE like Seele, with the right setup, he can rival her against single targets. Additionally, considering that Forgotten Hall and Memory of Chaos modes require two teams. If you use Seele on one half, Yanqing is likely the best choice for the second half.
I consistently assign higher rankings to characters with freeze abilities when it comes to the utility category, and Yanqing proves to be an incredible source of freeze. His follow-up attacks have an inherent chance to freeze, which doesn’t require significant investment to proc. In Honkai Star Rail, not all bosses are immune to freeze, meaning you can effectively freeze them. This enables the team to interrupt enemy charging shots, force enemies to skip turns and enhance overall team survivability.
With his buff active, Yanqing has less aggro than any other character in this Star Rail Single Target Tier List. This helps you control aggro more easily by placing Yanqing in the furthest slot in the team and then positioning the tank in the furthest slot on the other side. This way, the majority of enemy attacks are directed in one direction.
Skill Point Generation/Consumption
Yanqing’s optimal rotation involves using his skill every turn. This consumes a significant amount of SP, but only once per turn, which is less frequent compared to Sushang and Seele. Therefore, a team can generate enough SP for Yanqing with just one SP-generating support.
That way, there’s room for a sub-DPS to use their skill, and have the fourth character on the team refund said sub-DPS. This gives Yanqing’s team room for increasing the total damage, and gains more utility.
The cost of Yanqing’s ultimate is the highest in this Star Rail Single Target DPS Tier List, requiring 140 energy. In order for Yanqing to recover this much energy, he needs to have many turns or be hit multiple times by enemies. However, getting hit is detrimental for Yanqing as he loses his buff when taking damage. Even if Yanqing is shielded, being frequently hit necessitates more frequent shield recasting, resulting in consuming more SP.
With March 7th, Yanqing can strike a balance between getting hit, and not worrying about the damage taken. However, with Gepard, Yanqing rarely take hits. So overall, Yanqing should rely on his own abilities to get energy back, which takes a bit longer. His follow-up attacks help, but they are not 100% guaranteed every turn. On average, Yanqing requires three turns to cast one ultimate. However, the immense power of his ultimate justifies the longer downtime. It boasts massive critical modifiers that carry over to his next turn as well.
Freeze is a good defense overall, preventing enemies from acting or reacting. You typically want to use Yanqing against enemies that are weak to Ice. You get additional freeze for breaking their shields this way. Using March 7th’s technique to start a battle generates more freeze at the beginning. On top of that, Yanqing prefers to have at least a shielder, or two, as this helps with keeping the team safe.
To pick a team for Yanqing, you have to use a shielder, and a SP generator. Luckily, players can fill these two roles by using the same character, such as Gepard. This leaves room for supports, especially ones that can capitalize on increasing Ice weakness.
The highest performing team for Yanqing at Version 1.0 for Star Rail is to have Clara play both a tank and AOE DPS, March as a shielder, alongside Yanqing as a single target DPS. You add any offensive support you like. But there are also permanent freeze teams which use an Imaginary support such as Welt to delay enemy turns further. Then the standard f2p, dual DPS teams with Yanqing and Serval.
Sushang – S
Skill Point: A
Energy Gen: S
Sushang plays the best physical toughness breaker and excels in our Star Rail Tier List Single Target DPS. Sushang as a DPS enables high damage, but at a slightly more expensive cost. She advances her turn with a 100% forward. This means effectively taking two turns consecutively. But unlike Seele who resets her turn, Sushang just takes another turn. The difference is, Seele doesn’t consume the duration of buffs from allies fast, while Sushang expends them rapidly. This makes Sushang harder to support, and a tad more costly.
All in all, this doesn’t prevent Sushang from doing great damage. However, she comes in only below Seele and Yanqing on this list because she doesn’t have the same consistent uptime for all her self-buffs.
Sushang’s kit has several buffs, from triggering additional hits on enemies, to increasing attacks. She also advances her own turn and increases her own speed. On top of that, stacks up damage with an additional damage modifier for her extra hit “Sword Stance”.
She’s certainly the better four-star DPS, especially when she attacks enemies who have had their toughness broken. That synergizes well with her E4, increasing the break effect, as well as all her speed buffs. Though it’s a bit hard to keep enemies broken for several turns, Sushang will need some planning for maximum efficiency. She can also benefit from an Imaginary support such as Welt to delay enemy turns. Freeze also can help in the same way.
The main utility of Sushang is her increased shield breaking. This not only helps delay enemy turns, but inflicts a nasty Bleed DoT. Sushang attacks much more frequently than your average DPS, and hit more times. This allows her to break effectively, and frequently. This is valued against both small enemies, and bosses. However, Sushang can’t carry a team on AOE alone, so keep that in mind.
Skill Point Generation/Consumption
Sushang on E1 is a totally different story from E0. At E1, she’s able to refund skill points after using her skill on a broken enemy. This transforms her from being a very SP negative character, into a mostly SP neutral. This makes way for other DPS members on the team to use the extra SP. Among all characters from the Hunt Path, Sushang is the only character who can be SP neutral.
This alone could elevate Sushang by one rank in this Single Target Tier List. Putting her at the same rank as Seele and Yanqing. However, it isn’t guaranteed to keep an enemy’s shield down continually. Sometimes, enemies have a weakness to different elements. Other times they simply have very high shields to knock down. Or you may get bosses with long turns, without any additional enemies, and bosses tend to recover from the break effect quite quickly. So the SP refund depends on the situation.
Sushang’s energy generation varies from moderate to high, dependent on kills and getting hit by enemies. Her turn advance and speed help her to refund more energy than average, which is a lot better compared to Yanqing. It’s not quite as high as Seele though, even though the cost is the same 120 energy.
Being able to refund SP against broken enemies enables Sushang teams to use another DPS or SP heavy-buffer. But on the other hand, you need to build a team around shield breaking, to get the most benefits from Sushang.
Another thing to consider while building a Sushang team is how fast she consumes buffs from Harmony Support characters. The buff duration is a set amount of turns, and Sushang goes through these turns very quickly. So buffs expire before supports have time to recast their buffs. Ideally, the best support for Sushang is a debuffer from the Nihility Path instead, since debuff durations depend on enemy turns instead of the character’s.
Dan Heng – A
Skill Point: B
Energy Gen: A
Moving on to Dan Heng, he has the potential of dealing high damage, but has several conditions that need to align. Some of these conditions are RNG based, and some require enemies to have certain formations. These conditions can vary from impossible to hard. This is why Dan Heng gets a tier lower than Sushang in this tier list.
To deal high damage, Dan Heng will need to tick all these boxes:
- Dealing Crit hit with skill on enemy -> Apply slow, which gives an ultimate multiplier.
- The enemy has 50% or more HP -> To get a Crit Rate buff
- Get buffed from an ally exactly right before using an ultimate -> Gain wind resistance penetration.
The wind resistance penetration is the major factor here, and to get it, you have to use a buffer at the right time. This is not relatively easy to do, considering it has a two-turn cooldown, and this cooldown ticks only during Dan Heng’s own turn. This could waste a potentially good buff, if the buff expends faster than Dan Heng’s cooldown.
On the other hand, if an enemy hits Dan Heng and he fills up his ultimate, you are forced into one of two bad scenarios. The first is having to skip a turn without using an ultimate to get a buff first, wasting a lot of energy generation, then delaying the next ultimate even further and resulting in a lowered DPS. Or use an ultimate without the buff, which also lowers the DPS.
So in reality, Dan Heng’s DPS depends on getting lucky, and having the stars align. Planning around the resistance penetration buff ultimately is rather inefficient.
Dan Heng possesses the capability to slow down one enemy at a time with his skill. As a single-target DPS character, Dan Heng’s preference lies in consistently attacking the same enemy to apply the slow effect and maximize his damage modifiers. However, it should be noted that the success of the slow effect is dependent on chance and there is a possibility for it to fail to apply. In such instances, both Dan Heng’s damage output and utility diminish significantly.
Investing in an effect hit rate is bad news for Dan Heng’s damage, as you have to rely on luck again to get good utility out of him. Also applying slow on a single target is not as impressive as AOE debuffs of a proper debuffer.
Skill Point Generation/Consumption
Dan Heng wants to use his skill as often as possible. However, once he applies slow, he doesn’t lose much from using normal attacks instead of skill. The majority of Dan Heng’s damage comes from the ultimate anyway, and he can opt for generating SP instead of consuming it once in a while. It doesn’t have the same impact as Sushang’s outright SP refund, but it’s also more forgiving to use normal attacks on Dan Heng than on Yanqing for example. Overall, Dan Heng’s SP consumption is average, compared to most on this tier list.
His energy cost is set at 100, but due to the absence of turn advancement, follow-up attacks, and turn resets, Dan Heng’s energy generation remains at an average level. It falls below that of Seele and Sushang but surpasses the rest of the characters in the Single Target DPS Tier list.
Besides having to use a buffer from the Harmony Path to trigger his resistance penetration, Dan Heng can fit into almost any team. Ideally matched with buffs that have a short duration, but have high effect to buff the most important ability, his ultimate.
He can also derive benefits from allies who have the ability to inflict slow on enemies, reducing his reliance on his own skill to apply the slow effect. This allows him to become less dependent on RNG and eases up on SP consumption.
Hook – A
Skill Point: A
Energy Gen: A
Hook is a fire-based Single Target DPS character from The Destruction Path. Unlike characters from The Hunt Path, Destruction characters incorporate a bit of AOE damage into their kit, resulting in slightly lower single-target DPS. This puts them in an awkward position as the AOE damage is still unreliable and inferior to characters from The Erudition Path, but they end up sacrificing single target DPS for it.
The main focus of Hook’s gameplay revolves around inflicting endless burns on enemies. This burn effect allows her to deal additional damage to enemies who are already affected by burn and grants her the ability to hit them multiple times. However, it should be noted that Hook’s burn is relatively weaker compared to other DoT effects, such as Serval’s Shock damage. Both burn and shock effects function similarly, lasting for two turns with the possibility of extending their duration. Additionally, both effects deal damage at the beginning of every enemy turn.
Hook’s damage is decent, but nothing to go crazy about. Her DoT is not the strongest, but her Talent adds an additional hit to every attack against enemies with a burn. This extra attack, combined with the high multiplier on her ultimate ability, forms the majority of Hook’s damage potential.
You can trigger Hook’s additional hit, even if you use a normal attack, as long as the enemy has burn. This allows Hook to sustain good damage without consuming excessive amounts of SP. After using her ultimate, Hook gains access to an enchanted skill that deals more damage than her standard skill and includes some AOE damage. Additionally, using her ultimate advances Hook’s turn, enabling her to attack more frequently.
With the help of Eidolons, Hook’s burn duration is extended, her AOE capabilities improve, and her raw damage output increases. This significantly enhances her performance, especially at E6. But besides the sustained DPS, Hook lacks any other form of adding more damage. Unlike characters such as Yanqing, who have follow-up attacks, Sushang, who has various modifiers against broken enemies, or Dan Heng, who can experience power spikes by properly aligning his buffs.
Hook, unfortunately, lacks any significant utility in her kit. Even her break ability primarily focuses on dealing damage rather than providing any additional utility to the team. As a result, she doesn’t bring much else to the table besides her numerical value, which is easily outranked by all the higher DPS characters from launch or future.
In essence, Hook is one of the earliest characters who will become less useful due to power creep. She is already outclassed by other Fire characters like Fire Trailblazer and Asta, who offer a combination of damage and utility that surpasses Hook’s capabilities.
Skill Point Generation/Consumption
Hook can use her skill once to apply burn lasting three turns. She can then ignore her skill and do normal attacks. This can be kept going until she’s charged and cast her ultimate, which enchants her skill. Then she can then use a skill again, deal more damage, and reapply burns. That way, Hook can save on SP, and become SP neutral, at the cost of lowering her damage slightly.
It’s not the optimal way of getting the most damage out of Hook, considering that other characters have more damage increases from casting a skill instead of a normal attack. That way, the SP is better spent on another character, whether it’s a second DPS or a support role. Hook is fine dishing out normal attacks as long as the enemy continues to have a burn effect.
Hook doesn’t have the greatest energy generation, if you don’t use her skill every turn. Her ultimate cost is 120 energy, and she generates 5 extra energy when she attacks a target inflicted with burn. This Talent procs on any normal attack, skill, or ultimate, which helps Hook refund some energy. At A6, she generates an extra 5 energy after using an ultimate. All of these add up, but still isn’t quite enough to let Hook unleash her ultimate in less than three turns.
Hook is a self-sufficient character, that doesn’t need any special teams. At the same time, she doesn’t add anything but pure DPS numbers. If you are stuck with no other Single Target DPS, you can slot Hook right into that team. You need two DPS characters to put one in each team in the Forgotten Hall, and Hook will fill that role if a necessity arises.
Arlan – B
Skill Point: A
Energy Gen: B
Arlan is another character from Destruction Path, with a unique setup that has him consume his HP to cast a Skill. This eliminates the need for Skill points, and means he can use a skill every turn. Sounds perfect. There is a catch though which requires having to play Arlan at a low HP all the time. This requires to have a lot of extra defensive options on the team. On top of that, his damage is not great to begin with.
Using his skill, Arlan deals lightning damage to a single enemy, without any chance for shock or dealing an extra hit. He only gets a damage modifier from consistently keeping a low HP. This is still not enough to make any breakthrough. At Max level, after you get Arlan’s HP to less than 1%, you only get a 70% damage modifier.
For comparison, Dan Heng gets up to a 120% damage modifier for their ultimate, by merely having an enemy slowed. Dan Heng also has several other buffs to offer. Arlan on the other hand gets barely any damage modifiers and applies little utility to the team. Overall, he’s a high risk, and has a mediocre payoff, ranking him at the bottom of our Star Rail Tier List Single Target DPS guide.
Arlan offers defensive tools that only apply to himself, and nothing for the team. He can prevent himself from dying once, he resists DoTs, and removes debuffs from himself. He can also nullify the damage received from the first hit he gets. All of these qualities don’t seem to balance out the downside of having to have continual low HP, and continually consuming more HP every turn.
Skill Point Generation/Consumption
As Arlan doesn’t consume SP, as he uses HP instead, he can be an SP neutral character, even while spamming skill every turn. Or he can get some positive SP if you use normal attacks in between. But Sushang can achieve this and more, without sacrificing HP and putting herself at risk.
At the cost of 110 Energy, Arlan deals lightning damage to a single target, and splashes damage to enemies adjacent to it. It adds some decent damage this way, though Arlan struggles to refund the energy cost easily. Without any special energy gain, follow-up attacks, or turn advancement, there’s barely any source of extra energy.
Having to stay at low HP, and requiring healing imposes some restrictions to team with Arlan. You’re likely to need both a shielder and a healer. As Arlan doesn’t give enough DPS, you have to use another damage dealer in the last slot, making a team without an offensive support or debuffer. Ultimately, that’s a lot of restrictions for less gain. It’s usually better to use a support in place of Arlan.
Stay tuned for more Honkai: Star Rail Character Guides and be sure to drop by our Twitch Channel if you have questions about the game. For more Honkai: Star Rail content, check our Honkai Star Rail Tier List – Defensive Supports, and Honkai Star Rail Tier List – Offensive Supports. As well as, the full list of our characters Build guides.