Honkai: Star Rail has a plethora of characters to use, and while you’ll likely have to rely on the gacha system to flesh out your parties, you actually get a ton of free characters just by progressing early in the game.
Each character has a path, which classifies what kind of character they are, whether they specialize in defensive strategy, multi-target attacks, healing, or other combat methods. Each character also has a type, which is the element they attack with. All enemies have a weakness that you’ll want to exploit.
Every character will have a basic attack, a skill that requires skill points to use, and an ultimate that requires a full energy gauge to execute. In addition to this, characters have passive skills called talents and out-of-combat skills that you can use before engaging in a fight called techniques.
You’ll want to make full use of each character’s skillset, path, and type to create a balanced party. Luckily, you get a good number of characters for free to build with.
There are nine characters you can get for free: Asta, Dan Heng, Herta, March 7th, Natasha, Qingque, Serval, Yukong, and the Trailblazer.
Below, we talk about how to get these characters and what they do.
The Trailblazer (The Destruction/Physical, The Preservation/Fire)
This is your main character, named as whatever you set them as. As you play through the game’s story, you’ll unlock multiple forms for them. At first, they’ll start off with The Destruction path and Physical type, but you’ll unlock another form at the end of the Jarilo-VI storyline. This second form will be The Preservation path with Fire type. You can swap freely between the forms by selecting “switch” under their Light Cone.
Generally, the Trailblazer is strong and worth using, especially in the pool of starting characters. Their physical damage form allows them to take an extra big swing of damage to the enemies and their fire form allows them to provoke and tank damage for your allies.
March 7th (The Preservation/Ice)
March 7th unlocks shortly after starting the story.
She serves as a support who can freeze enemies and shield allies. She will counter for allies that are shielded and she can freeze enemies at the start of battle by using her technique, making her pretty valuable.
Dan Heng (The Hunt/Wind)
Dan Heng unlocks alongside March 7th very early in the story.
He deals massive single-target Wind damage. He can also buff himself using his technique before battle, making him even stronger.
Asta (The Harmony/Fire)
Asta is who you get guaranteed from the gacha-pulling tutorial.
She’s a Fire-type buffer, increasing the speed and attack of her allies with her skills. Her technique allows her to start the battle with some AoE fire damage.
Serval (The Erudition/Lightning)
Serval is a free character, doled out because players hit a certain number of pre-registrations. You can claim her from your inbox as soon as you’re able to access that menu.
She specializes in multi-target Lightning attacks. Her skill can also apply shock damage-over-time to targets and she’ll deal even more damage if her targets are shocked. Her technique allows her to deal :Lightning damage to a random enemy and all enemies get shocked.
Natasha (The Abundance/physical)
You unlock Natasha as you make your way through the Jarilo-VI story, shortly after you meet her.
She’s a healer through-and-through and mainly focuses on restoring HP to allies. If you’re not running March 7th, you probably should run Natasha to get some healing and defensive options in. Her technique hits an enemy and applies a weakness debuff to all enemies.
Herta (The Erudition/Ice)
You can unlock Herta for free by clearing World 2 of Simulated Universe. You’ll get additional Eidolons for completing World 4 and 6.
Herta is another multi-target attacker, but she specializes in Ice. She’ll launch follow-up attacks when enemies drop below a certain percent of their max HP. Her technique buffs up her attack, similarly to Dan Heng’s.
Qingque (The Erudition/Quantum)
You get a copy of Qingque by completing Memory Stage 3 of Forgotten Hall, Honkai: Star Rail’s endgame.
Qingque fights using mahjong-like tiles that do different things to supplement her multi-target Quantum attacks. She randomly draws tiles throughout the battle and if she gets a four-of-a-kind, she gets an attack buff. Her technique allows her to start with two tiles.
Yukong (The Harmony/Imaginary)
To get Yukong, you’ll need to complete the first stage of Forgotten Hall: Memory of Xianzhou. This section of Forgotten Hall only unlocks once you beat the Trailblaze Mission, “Xianzhou Luofu — A Dragon Gallant, Its Ocean Distant.”
Yukong is a buffer who beefs up attack, crit damage, and crit rate. That said, she’s a very powerful support, and great if you don’t have Bronya.
Update (July 20): We’ve updated this guide with information on how to get Yukong for free, as part of the 1.2 update.