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Honkai: Star Rail Combat System Guide

HoYoverse new turn-based game has finally released its 2nd beta access. Have you already familiar with how the turn-based combat system works? Here are all 7 main principles that you need to know about the combat system.

Wondering which characters are the best? Check out our Honkai: Star Rail tier list guide.

1. Pre-battle activation: Weakness Advantage vs Ambush Disadvantage

Since Honkai: Star Rail is an open-world turn-based game, we as the player have the free will to engage in the battle or if we want to ignore the enemies in the world. Even before the combat begins, there are 2 things that you need to know first. One of them is the pre-battle advantage vs disadvantage.

When you approach the enemy, you can actually see the details of their attribute. What is the enemy’s level, what is their elemental weakness, and you can actually see the details of their available skills too. This will be crucial if you will fight some hard bosses and you want to know how to counter them during the battle.

To start the battle, you can simply press the attack button and it will trigger the combat sequence. But, if your active character’s element is the enemy’s elemental weakness, you will get a “headstart” in the combat. Basically, it will randomly reduce the enemy’s toughness bar.

Honkai: Star Rail Combat System Guide

You can read this article: Honkai: Star Rail Elements Weaknesses if you want to know more about the toughness bar, weakness break, and what exactly each element’s weakness break will do.

In this game, we are not the only ones who can trigger the battle. If we stand close enough to the enemy, they can also chase us and trigger the battle. But don’t worry, high-difficulty enemies like a world boss for example will not chase us, so we can always prepare ourselves first before triggering the attack with the bosses.

If the enemies managed to approach us and trigger the battle without us pressing the attack button, then we will get ambushed instead. Since our main party doesn’t have a toughness bar, the enemies will have a “headstart” with an early turn instead.

Honkai: Star Rail Combat System Guide

Need free items? Check out our Honkai Star Rail Codes page.

2. Pre-battle activation: Character Technique

Before the battle starts, you can also use the technique first. Technique is like a character’s support skill or buff skill that you can use to “modify” the start of the battle. Some characters like Dan Heng’s technique are used to buff themselves. Some character’s techniques are used to heal the entire team like our physical MC, some are used to deliver debuff to random enemies like March 7’s technique, and some characters like Blade’s technique are used to reduce random enemy’s HP bar.

Honkai: Star Rail Combat System Guide

We only have 4 stacks of technique, and each time any of our characters used the technique, the stacks will deplete. If we won the battle, it will recharge the technique stacks again. There is also a breakable item that will recharge our technique stacks.

Unfortunately, teleporting ourselves to the teleport waypoint will only heal our character’s HP bar and it will not replenish the technique stack.

So, you need to use your technique wisely, especially if you will fight stronger enemies.

3. Turn Order

Since this is a turn-based game, the turn order is actually quite self-explanatory. On the left side of the screen, you can see the turn order, whether will it be your turn or the enemy’s turn.

During your turn, you can either use a normal attack or skill. You can actually trigger your “burst” or ultimate anytime you want (as long as the ultimate is ready). Let’s start with a normal attack and skill explanation first.

Honkai: Star Rail Combat System Guide

4. Normal Attack 

Normal attack is your default attack. There are no stacks to trigger a normal attack, thus you can use a normal attack infinitely during your character’s turn.

5. Skill Attack

As for skill attack, this is your stronger form of attack (or heal for your healer). Some characters like Bronya will buff your character instead of attacking the enemies too. Your character can only use 5 consecutive skills in a row.

Honkai: Star Rail Combat System Guide

If you don’t use your skill in that turn, the skill slot stacks will increase by 1. 

You can see in this example, this character (Pela) gained 1 skill slot because she used normal attack.

Honkai: Star Rail Combat System Guide

But if you use your character’s skill, the skill stack will decrease by 1.

Like this character here (Dan Heng), his skill stack depletes from 3 into 2.

6. Ultimate Attack

Anytime you use a normal attack or skill, it will recharge the ultimate energy. Once the energy is fully filled, you can activate your ultimate (depending on which character’s ultimate you want to use), and it will skip the turn, jumping the turn order to prioritize that character that will use the ultimate.

This means that you can cut your enemy’s turn too. Who knows, maybe you can change the tide of the battle from losing to winning if you can time your ultimate correctly too.

Honkai: Star Rail Combat System Guide

For example here, since I have Natasha’s ultimate ready (she’s a healer), my character is 1 hit from K.O., but Natasha’s ultimate cuts the enemy’s turn, and she can heal my team’s HP and prevent K.O. from one of my character there.

So it’s totally up to you to save the ultimate for later on, or if you want to use it immediately.

If you used the ultimate during your character’s turn, it will prioritize the ultimate attack first, then either you will use a normal attack or skill attack. So, using ultimate during your turn will not end your character’s turn.

Honkai: Star Rail Combat System Guide

For example, I used Dan Heng’s ultimate here during his turn. After the ultimate attack is finished, he still has the turn to do a normal attack or skill attack.

You can actually use all of your characters ultimate together in a row too. So, if you enjoy seeing big damage together in 1 go, you can definitely do that!

7. Weakness Break

If you see the bar above the enemy’s head, yes there are actually 2 bars.

The red one is for the HP bar, and the white one is for the “toughness” bar.

Above the bars, there are also their weak elements.

If you attack the enemy using their element weaknesses, it will deplete their toughness bar. Once the toughness bar reached 0, you will deal additional damage to the enemy because they will get damage over time based on what is the last elemental attack that you did to make the toughness bar reach 0.

Honkai: Star Rail Combat System Guide

If you attack the enemy without using their elemental weakness attack, it will only reduce their HP. While reducing toughness is great to deal additional damage over time, doing so is not mandatory. You can still beat strong enemies even without depleting their toughness bar. But I need to admit, triggering a weakness break (toughness bar reached 0) is very useful, and it could also be a “game-changing” moment for you inside the battle.


Now that you know more about the combat system, you can also check this article: Is Honkai: Star Rail like Genshin Impact? to see what are the things inside Honkai: Star Rail that is very similar to Genshin Impact.

And that was our Honkai: Star Rail combat system guide. I hope that after reading this, you’re now familiar with the turn-based system of Honkai: Star Rail. Even before the battle starts, there are already 2 things that you can do. Character technique and attack using their own elemental weakness to have a headstart inside the battle. The ultimate feature is also a unique system that makes Honkai: Star Rail’s combat system different from any similar turn-based game too.

So, are you hyped to play Honkai: Star Rail?