I was very wrong about the characters in Honkai Star Rail at first. Seriously, I never thought I’d actually like the characters in the game. But since I’ve used them, I’ve found myself really like the way they play.
Of course, a large part of the reason is that the game system constantly encourages you to try original characters. It’s fun to learn how the different kits work and apply what you learn to be more successful in combat.
Among them, the newest character in the game is also the second limited 5-star character, Jing Yuan. When I heard he was going to be featured next, I wasn’t expecting it initially. But as a new DPS, he has a very interesting design, giving us some insight into the character design philosophy. We can also see more future possibilities for him.
By far, I think the best thing about Honkai Star Rail is the sheer practicality of most of the roster. The very nature of having to use distinct elements to break through weaknesses obviously encourages you to use a variety of characters. At the same time, giving you so many useful options up front also makes the game great for F2P.
Future 5-star characters are almost guaranteed to be stronger. Jing Yuan embodies this perfectly, as his damage cap is obviously insane. But he also has some glaring weaknesses that are inherent in his design. Let’s quickly break down his abilities.
Jing Yuan starts with a base speed of 60 and 3 strikes per move. Each hit can randomly hit an enemy in the field and cause partial damage to adjacent enemies. You can hit up to 10 times, each of which increases Lightning Lord’s speed by 10%, and both values reset after performing the attack.
This attack will not trigger when Jing Yuan is dead or affected by an immobility debuff such as Freeze or Imprisonment. You can increase the number of layers through Jing Yuan’s other skills. His abilities deal damage to all enemies and stack two times, and his ultimate ability deals damage to all enemies and stacks three times.
Pros And Cons
Jing Yuan can deal massive electric damage and is adept at clearing out wave after wave of enemies. He can even hit all enemies with his skills, the only character other than Herta who can do this.
His unlockable bonus abilities grant him built-in critical strike damage, energy regeneration per fight, and built-in critical strike chance. You can invest a small amount in his Traces, as concentrating on his Lightning Lord talent works well, and building him is pretty straightforward.
As for his weaknesses, aside from some obvious weaknesses. This character has better single target potential and some area-of-effect damage. And the amount of control you have over using DPS characters, and the burden they place on your skill point economy is a sticking point.
For example, in extreme cases we have Seele. We want to maintain her speed buff through skill points at all times. Because she often consumes extra skill points after it knocked an enemy down.
But she has high control because her gameplay is very predictable and doesn’t depend on any RNG. And the only reason she’s still popular is because she maximizes her value when there are more enemies to take down, but that’s conditional.
On the other hand, we also have Qingque, who is my favorite character because she is so different from all the other DPS. Of course, she has the least amount of control, as whether you match four tiles of the same kind to boost her base attack is ultimately a matter of luck.
Even though she’s the only character who can eat all five of your skill points in one turn, the most value she gets from any character is doing only basic attacks. Because she draws a new card every round of allies, and can accumulate those big cards without technically using any skill points to hit.
So the reason I bring this up first is that Jing Yuan’s problem is unique to him. Unlike other low control characters, because of their low control, it usually rate them at a rather low level. And Jing Yuan doesn’t need to meet certain conditions to do well.
Himeko needs a lot of enemies with the right weaknesses to break through them and make follow-up attacks. Herta needs lots of weaker enemies so she can follow up with them when they’re below half health. And Arlan wants low health, but not so low that he’s in danger of dying.
Jing Yuan’s Lightning Lord damage random scatter definitely plays a role here. But I think his low control has more to do with his inability to reliably weaken larger enemies, only giving up control that delays enemy action.
First, while his abilities can hit all five enemies at once, they are less effective at breaking through weak spots. While Lightning Lord’s speed can be affected by increasing its stacks, it won’t give you the same level of control as other characters. Since a lot of times you’ll end up getting hit before it activates, as such, you better hope the attack doesn’t stun you and cancel the whole thing.
Another major weakness of Jing Yuan is his excessive skill point reliance. As far as I know, he’s the only character in the game that actively loses when using his basic attack. Because that’s the only way to not build a stack on his Lightning Lord unless it’s maxed out.
Characters like Jing Yuan and Himeko obviously have special use cases where they can work. But those characters aren’t common enough in the game’s current lineup of challenging content.
His kit took a super unique idea and executed it well, but the flaws in the design really frustrate him. Until then I don’t recommend using him unless you really like his character or already know you’ll like his gameplay.
However, I recognize his strengths. His kit is objectively well designed, especially his ability to function as a DPS is different. It all deals with damage to enemies, and the way he does it isn’t a mashup of abilities other characters already have.
His abilities help create particularly powerful synergies with Speed Support and Power Support, as they give him more opportunities to build stacks on his Lightning Lord.
I think we’ll see more of these characters in the future when we get more Harmony characters. Especially if we get a character that supports follow-on attack damage, like Sampo supports damage-over-time abilities.
As mentioned, you may also want to pair him with someone who can consistently generate those skill points for the team. At times, his uniqueness can backfire, as there are currently a limited number of Light Cones in the game, but Jing Yuan’s selection is not bad.
Sure, his signature “Before Dawn” is pretty good for him, but “Birth of the Self” is also another option that boosts follow-up attack damage. While “Night on the Wilky Way” isn’t amazing overall, it does deliver 5-star stats. And “Make the World Clamor” is the only thing I probably wouldn’t consider the low power budget of his ultimate abilities in his entire kit.
So while Jing Yuan isn’t my favorite character, I really appreciate what he brings to the table. Unique gameplay with powerful strengths and identifiable weaknesses.
If you want to try this role too, getting a proper Honkai Star Rail Account might be the fastest way. There’s obvious room for him to be indirectly buffed by other supporting characters. I also look forward to seeing it continue to be fleshed out in future updates.