Honkai: Star Rail version 2.0: Should you pull for Black Swan, Imbibitor Lunae, and their signature Light Cones?

The first half banners for Honkai: Star Rail version 2.0 features the debut of Black Swan and the first rerun for Imbibitor Lunae. If you're torn on who should you pull for, read on and we'll help you decide. (Photos: HoYoverse)
The first half banners for Honkai: Star Rail version 2.0 features the debut of Black Swan and the first rerun for Imbibitor Lunae. If you're torn on who should you pull for, read on and we'll help you decide. (Photos: HoYoverse)

Honkai: Star Rail version 2.0 is almost upon us, bringing with a new planet in Penacony as well as a new set of playable characters to join us in our journey across the cosmos!

The first half banners for the upcoming update features the debut of the 5-star Wind Nihility character Black Swan and a rerun for the 5-star Imaginary Destruction character Dan Heng Imbibitor Lunae as well as their signature Light Cones.

There will be plenty of Stellar Jade and Star Rail Special Passes to go around once version 2.0 drops, but should you spend them on Black Swan, Imbibitor Lunae, or their signature Light Cones? Read on and we'll help you decide.

Get Black Swan to give Kafka her long-awaited 5-star DoT partner

Black Swan wields the Wind element, follows the Path of Nihility, and is the game's first-ever 5-star damage-over-time (DoT) character. She will be the 5-star DoT partner to finally pair with Kafka, who can cause all DoT debuffs on enemies to pop at will while also dealing tons of Lightning DoT herself.

Black Swan's kit is centered around the stacking 'Arcana' debuff that she can inflict on enemies using her basic attacks and skills or whenever they receive DoT.

Similar to Wind Shear, Arcana also deals Wind DoT on afflicted enemies at the start of their turn. Arcana also triggers additional effects on enemies based on the number of stacks on an enemy. Each stack of Arcana will increase the DMG multiplier for the Wind DoT and will then reset to 1 stack.

When an enemy has over 3 Arcana stacks, it will also inflict Wind DoT and 1 stack of Arcana to adjacent targets. When an enemy has over 7 Arcana stacks, the Wind DoT will ignore a certain percentage of the DEF of both the target and adjacent enemies.

Whenever Black Swan uses her basic attack on an enemy, she has a chance of inflicting them with 1 stack of Arcana. If the target also has Wind Shear, Bleed, Burn, or Shock debuffs on them, each debuff will also have a chance of inflicting the enemy with 1 additional stack of Arcana.

Meanwhile, Black Swan's skill deals Wind DMG to an enemy and any adjacent targets. At the same time, it also has a chance of inflicting all enemies hit with 1 stack of Arcana and reducing their DEF.

While Black Swan's ultimate doesn't inflict enemies with Arcana stacks, it does apply the powerful 'Epiphany' debuff on all enemies. The epiphany debuff increases the damage enemies receive on their turn while also making all stacks of Arcana become regarded as Wind Shear, Bleed, Burn, and Shock debuffs. Additionally, Epiphany will prevent Arcana stacks from being reset once.

Since Black Swan's damage output is reliant on inflicting as many Arcana stacks on enemies as possible, she will need a lot of Effect Hit Rate stats to ensure enemies will not resist them. Thankfully, this synergises with one of Black Swan's ascension passives that increases her damage based on a percentage of her total Effect Hit Rate.

It's easy to get lost in the sauce when you're trying to fathom how Black Swan's kit works, but here's the gist of it: Black Swan's basic attacks and skills apply a stacking DoT debuff that increases the amount of damage it deals the more stacks you have of it on enemy, though they do reset after the enemy's next turn. Her ultimate also increases the amount of damage received by enemies while also preventing stacks from resetting, giving you an extended damage spike.

It's not hard to see why Black Swan and Kafka are a perfect pairing. Black Swan deals a ton of Wind DoT and reduces enemy DEF while Kafka can pop all DoTs on enemies during her turn. The additional DoT debuffs from Kafka also increases the chance of inflicting Arcana stacks on enemies, basically letting you create a cascading cycle of DoTs.

While you can fit a third DoT character alongside the Black Swan-Kafka pairing, we reckon you're better off filling that third slot with Ruan Mei. Ruan Mei buffs her allies' DMG, Weakness Break Efficiency, Speed, Break Effect, and All-Type RES PEN — basically all the stats Black Swan and Kafka need to supercharge their damage output.

As for the fourth character in a Black Swan-Kafka team, you can just go with any skill point-positive sustain.

When it comes to building Black Swan, you will have the luxury of being able to pre-farm her relics. Go with the 4-piece Prisoner in Deep Confinement for your Cavern of Corrosion relics and the 2-piece Firmament Frontline: Glamoth for your Planar Ornaments.

As for Black Swan's Light Cones, there are plenty of options already available for her if you don't plan on pulling for her signature but we'll get to that bit later.

All-in-all, Black Swan is looking like a top-tier damage-dealer that will push DoT teams to all-new heights. She'll do great in just about any type of encounter too, whether it's against powerful bosses in Memory of Chaos or unending waves of mobs in Pure Fiction. I can say with confidence that Black Swan will be well worth however many Stellar Jade you spend on getting her.

Get Imbibitor Lunae for a top-tier Destruction character

In stark contrast to Black Swan's 'death by a thousand cuts' fighting style, Imbibitor Lunae employs a more straightforward approach of pumping out as much damage as possible in a single turn. He does this by spending skill points to enhance his basic attack, with each skill point spent increasing the amount of damage it does.

By itself, Imbibitor Lunae's basic attack is nothing special and just deals Imaginary DMG to one enemy. But he can use his skill up to three times to enhance it, increasing the damage it does and the number of enemies it hits.

When you spend three skill points to enhance Imbibitor Lunae's basic attack, it will unleash a powerful 7-hit attack that deals Imaginary DMG to a single target target, with the fourth hit onward also dealing damage to adjacent enemies.

Imbibitor Lunae's ultimate lets him continue his onslaught by dealing Imaginary DMG to a target and any adjacent enemies as well as giving him extra skill points to spend to enhance his basic attack.

Meanwhile, his Talent gives him a stacking DMG bonus for every hit during an attack that lasts until the end of his turn. His major Traces, while nothing special, give him some valuable utility to keep him in the thick of battle.

Gearing up Imbibitor Lunae is also fairly straightforward with a typical damage-dealer build. His go-to Cavern of Corrosion relic sets are either the 4-piece Wastelander of Banditry Desert or the 4-piece Musketeer of Wild Wheat while his Planar Ornaments should be the 2-piece Rutilant Arena set. We'll break down his Light Cone selections in the section below.

As for Imbibitor Lunae's best teammates, they should always be Harmony or Nihility characters that can buff up his powerful attacks or debuff enemies while also preferably generating skill points for him. These include the likes of Yukong, Tingyun, Bronya, Silver Wolf, and Pela. You can also go for Sparkle in the second half of version 2.0 as she provides insane damage buffs and tons of skill points.

Once you get the hang of managing your skill points in battle, Imbibitor Lunae can sweep all opposition aside in a display of his draconic power. And it should go without saying that one of the best damage-dealers in the game is worth his weight in Stellar Jade.

Should you pull for Black Swan and Imbibitor Lunae's signature Light Cones?

(Photos: HoYoverse)
(Photos: HoYoverse)

As with any 5-star character, Black Swan and Imbibitor Lunae reach their full potential when they wield their signature Light Cones. With that said, they can still excel even when equipped with certain alternatives. So, let's break down their signatures first before going over the alternatives so you can decide whether or not to also spend your Stellar Jade on their Light Cone banners.

Black Swan's signature Light Cone, Reforged Remembrance, passively increases her Effect Hit Rate by 40%. And whenever she deals DMG to an enemy inflicted with Wind Shear, Burn, Shock, or Bleed, the targets will individually gain 1 stack of Prophet, which can stack up to 4 times.

In a single battle, each type of DoT can only generate 1 stack of Prophet. Every stack of Prophet increases Black Swan's ATK by 5% and the DoT dealt will ignore 7.2% of the target's DEF.

Meanwhile, Imbibitor Lunae’s signature Light Cone, Brighter than the Sun, passively increases his Crit Rate by 18% and gives him 1 stack of Dragon’s Call for 2 turns every time he uses his basic attack. Dragon’s Call can be stacked up to 2 times and will increase Imbibitor Lunae’s ATK by 18% and Energy Regeneration Rate by 6%.

As you can see, Black Swan and Imbibitor Lunae's signatures are very powerful and will be worth spending if you have the Stellar Jade for it. But if you don't, then don't feel forced to spend as they both have plenty of alternatives worth using too.

For Black Swan, your best bet will be the 5-star Solitary Healing, which can be acquired and Superimposed for free through the Simulated Universe’s Herta Store. At max Superimposition level, it increases its wielder's Break Effect by 40% and increases the DoT dealt by them for 2 turns after using their ultimate. In addition, whenever an enemy affected by a DoT from its wielder is defeated, it will also regenerate 6 energy for them.

You can also go for the 4-star Light Cones Good Night and Sleep Well, Eyes of the Prey, Resolution Shines as Pearls of Sweat, and Fermata.

For Imbibitor Lunae, his best alternative 5-star Light Cone is On the Fall of an Aeon, which is also available on the Herta Store. It passively increases the wearer’s ATK by 8%, stacking up to 4 times, whenever they attack. When the wielder inflicts Weakness Break on enemies, it will also increase their DMG by 12% for 2 turns.

Another good 5-star Light Cone is Something Irreplaceable, Clara’s signature, though you can also go for 4-stars like Nowhere to Run, Under the Blue Sky, and The Moles Welcome You.

Honkai: Star Rail version 2.0 will drop on 6 February and features a new planet in Penacony, three new characters in Black Swan, Sparkle, and Misha, as well as tons of other new content. To find out more about what's to come in version 2.0, check here.

After version 2.0 comes version 2.1 in late March, which features three new playable characters in Acheron, Aventurine, and Gallagher.

Yan Ku is a full-time dog parent, part-time (gacha) gamer, and part-time writer.

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