How to build Kafka in Honkai: Star Rail - Relics, Light Cones, team comp and more

Kafka greatly enables DoT-focused teams, as she can make them deal their damage immediately, all while dishing out tons of DoT and burst damage of her own.

Kafka, the femme fatale of the Stellaron Hunters, finally makes her debut as a playable character in the second half of Honkai: Star Rail version 1.2! Kafka is a Lightning Nihility character that is the undisputed queen of damage-over-time, here's how you build her. (Photos: HoYoverse)
Kafka, the femme fatale of the Stellaron Hunters, finally makes her debut as a playable character in the second half of Honkai: Star Rail version 1.2! Kafka is a Lightning Nihility character that is the undisputed queen of damage-over-time, here's how you build her. (Photos: HoYoverse)

Lay out the red carpet as Kafka, Honkai: Star Rail’s queen of damage-over-time (DoT), finally makes her much-anticipated debut as the banner 5-star in the second half of version 1.2!

Kafka is the face of the infamous Stellaron Hunters, exuding beauty and charm while inflicting fear upon her enemies – even if she herself knows no such emotion.

This femme fatale kicked off the story of Honkai: Star Rail, infiltrating the Herta Space Station alongside fellow Stellaron Hunter Silver Wolf to implant a Stellaron in the Trailblazer and send them on the course to join the Astral Express Crew’s journey across the stars.

Kafka wields the Lightning element and follows the Path of Nihility, inflicting debuffs on enemies in the form of debilitating DoT attacks. She greatly enables DoT-focused teams, as she can make them deal their damage at will instead of waiting for the enemy’s turn, all while dishing out tons of DoT and burst damage of her own.

Whether it’s over the course of multiple turns or in the blink of an eye, Kafka will gracefully dispatch any enemy standing in her way in a dazzling display of lightning, sword strikes, and gunfire – all while wearing an enigmatic smile on her face.

Read on to find out Kafka’s best build, gear, and teammates!

Kafka’s kit and how you can best utilise her

How to use Kafka's skills, talents and ultimate

As a Nihility character, Kafka’s favoured method for defeating enemies is by inflicting them with the Shock DoT debuff, which deals Lightning DMG to enemies over the course of multiple turns. However, Kafka is able to make the Shock debuff – as well as any other forms of DoT – deal its damage immediately with her abilities to greatly boost the damage potential of DoT teams.

Kafka’s bread-and-butter is her skill, Caressing Moonlight. At level 10, it deals Lightning DMG equal to 160% of Kafka’s ATK to a target enemy and 60% of her ATK to any adjacent enemies. If the target enemy is already receiving DoT, then all those DoT debuffs will immediately deal DMG equal to 75% of their original DMG.

Kafka’s primary method of applying her Shock debuff is through her Talent, Gentle but Cruel. Whenever an ally uses a Basic ATK on an enemy, Kafka will immediately launch a follow-up attack which can only be triggered once per turn.

At level 10, Kafka’s follow-up attack deals Lightning DMG equal to 140% of her ATK and has a 100% base chance of inflicting a Shock debuff equivalent to that applied by her ultimate to the target enemy for 2 turns.

Kafka’s ultimate, Twilight Trill, gives her another method of inflicting Shock alongside a huge burst of DMG.

At level 10, this ultimate deals Lightning DMG equal to 80% of Kafka’s ATK to all enemies with a 100% base chance for them to become Shocked for 2 turns. The Shock debuff from Kafka’s ultimate (which is also applied by her Talent) will deal Lightning DMG equal to 290% of her ATK.

In addition, enemies will also immediately receive the full DMG from any DoT debuffs they have when they are hit by hit by Twilight Trill.

Kafka’s major Traces focus on letting her powerful kit deal even more damage. Her A2 Trace, Torture, makes it so that Twilight Trill will make enemies immediately receive damage from any DoT debuffs they have, not just from Shock, whenever they are hit by the ultimate.

Kafka’s A4 Trace, Plunder, eases some of her energy requirements by regenerating 5 energy for her whenever an enemy is defeated while having the Shock debuff.

Meanwhile, Kafka’s A6 Trace, Thorns, greatly reduces the Effect Hit Rate she needs by increasing the base chance for her ultimate, Talent follow-up attack, and Technique to inflict Shock by 30%. It is worth noting that three of her minor Traces also grant her a total of 18% bonus Effect Hit Rate.

Finally, using Kafka’s Technique, Mercy is not Forgiveness, to start a battle lets her immediately deal Ligtning DMG equal to 50% of her ATK to all enemies while also inflicting them with a Shock debuff equivalent to the one from her ultimate for 2 turns.

In battle, use Kafka’s skill and ultimate as much as possible to inflict Shock on enemies and trigger all DoT debuffs they have at will. Use her allies’ basic attacks whenever possible too so Kafka’s Talent follow-up attack can be triggered for even more Shock applications.

As you can probably guess already, it’s best to pair Kafka with other DoT-focused characters, with Sampo and Luka being the top options available currently. Kafka herself is also skill point-hungry, so make sure you have characters that can generate enough skill points for her.

It’s also a good idea to have Kafka’s party members that also deal DoT to have just a bit more Speed than her. This lets her allies inflict their own DoTs first before Kafka uses her skill to pop them during her turn. With that said, don’t neglect building up enough Speed for Kafka herself as more turns for her means more damage output for your party.

When leveling up Kafka’s abilities, her skill, Talent, and ultimate all need to be maxed out so she can reach her full damage potential. Since she wants to use her skill as much as possible, there is no need to level up her basic attacks unless you have the resources to spare.

What Light Cones good for Kafka?

Kafka’s best Light Cone is undoubtedly her signature, Patience Is All You Need. Not only does it give her the best ATK stats, it also increases her DMG by 24% and her Speed by 4.8% after every attack, which stacks up to 3 times.

In addition, Kafka’s signature also gives her an additional DoT source in Erode, which has a base 100% chance to be inflicted upon enemies she attacks. Enemies afflicted by Erode are also considered to be Shocked (but will stack with other Shock sources) and will receive Lightning DMG equal to 60% of her ATK for 1 turn.

Kafka’s signature Light Cone lets her reach her full potential, but that doesn’t mean she needs it to be effective. She does have some very good alternatives available to her if you don’t want to spend more Stellar Jade than you want to.

Kafka’s 5-star alternatives are In the Name of the World, Welt Yang’s signature Light Cone, and Solitary Healing, which can be acquired and Superimposed for free through the Simulated Universe’s Herta Store.

In the Name of the World increases its wielder’s DMG to debuffed enemies by 24% (remember, DoTs are also considered as debuffs) while increasing her Effect Hit Rate by 18% and her ATK by 24% whenever she uses her skill.

Meanwhile, Solitary Healing increases the DoT dealt by its wielder by 24% for 2 turns after they use their ultimate. It also increases their Break Effect by 20% and regenerates 4 energy when the wielder defeats enemies afflicted by their DoT.

Kafka’s 4-star options include Good Night Sleep Well, Eyes of the Prey, Resolution Shines As Pearls of Sweat, and Fermata. The first three can be acquired through Gacha while Fermata is a solid free-to-play option that can be acquired from Echo of War, the Forgotten Hall’s Light Cone Manifest, and the Underground Shop in Belobog.

Good Night Sleep Well increases the DMG of its wielder by 12%, which stacks up to 3 times, for every debuff (which includes DoTs) the target enemy has. Eyes of the Prey increases its wielder’s Effect Hit Rate by 20% and DoT dealt by 24%.

Meanwhile, Resolution Shines As Pearls of Sweat gives its wielder a 60% chance to inflict the Ensnare debuff on enemies. Ensnare decreases enemy DEF by 12% for 1 turn.

Finally, Fermata increases its wielder’s Break Effect by 16% and their DMG to enemies afflicted by Shock or Wind Shear by 16%.

If we’re ranking how good all the above Light Cones are for Kafka, with Superimposition levels for certain weapons in consideration, here’s how it would go:

  1. Patience is All You Need

  2. Good Night Sleep Well (if S5)

  3. Eyes of the Prey (if S5)

  4. Solitary Healing (if S5)

  5. In the Name of the World

  6. Solitary Healing (if not S5)

  7. Fermata (S5)

Which Relics work best for Kafka?

Kafka’s best bet for her Cavern of Corrosion relics is the 4-piece Band of Sizzling Lightning set. Its 2-piece bonus increases its wielder’s Lightning DMG by 10% while its 4-piece bonus increases their ATK by 20% for 1 turn after using their skill.

There’s really no better option for Kafka, though you can run a mixed set of the 2-piece Band of Sizzling Lightning and 2-piece Musketeer of Wild Wheat or 2-piece Messenger Traversing Hackerspace as a placeholder while you farm for the 4-piece Band of Sizzling Lightning set.

As for Kafka’s Planar Ornament relics, then look no further than the 2-piece Space Sealing Station set. Space Sealing Station provides a massive 24% ATK boost to its wielder provided they reach 120 Speed or higher.

Since DoT scales off ATK and cannot crit, Kafka really only needs three stats: ATK, Speed, and Effect Hit Rate. An optimal Kafka build should have around 4,000 ATK and at least 120 Speed.

With the above criteria in mind, the main stats you should look for in Kafka’s artifacts are ATK% for the Body, ATK% or Speed for the Feet, Lightning DMG Boost for the Planar Sphere, and ATK% for the Link Rope.

ATK% on the Body is a no-brainer, but deciding between ATK% or Speed for the Feet will depend on your substats. If you have a lot of ATK substats, go for Speed on the Feet, and vice versa.

As for Effect Hit Rate, you really only need 10% on your substats to guarantee your Shock debuffs will always land on enemies. Thanks to the high base chance to hit on Kafka’s skills and the bonus Effect Hit Rate from her Traces, that 10% is all you need, even against high Effect RES enemies in Memory of Chaos.

You can probably already guess, but the substats for Kafka’s relics you should go for are Flat ATK, ATK%, Speed, and at least 10% Effect Hit Rate. Crit Rate or Crit DMG rolls are nice but not desired.

Which characters should you use with Kafka?

As a Nihility character that enables DoT-focused teams, Kafka should have teammates that also deal DoT. In such compositions, Kafka acts as the Main DPS and support in some way, being the one to ensure all DoTs can be triggered at will.

In a Kafka team, you always need to have either Sampo, Luka, or both as another DoT source and Sub DPS.

Sampo is arguably the better option between the two. He can inflict Wind Shear on enemies with his basic attacks, skill, and ultimate, with the latter also increasing the DoT received by enemies by up to 32%. If you’re only going to run one other DoT character in a Kafka team, then it has to be everyone’s friendly neighbourhood conman.

Meanwhile, Luka is a 4-star Physical Nihility character that makes his debut alongside Kafka. He can inflict the Bleed DoT on enemies through his skill and ultimate, with the latter also increasing the DMG taken by its target.

The Bleed DoT inflicted by Luka is unique in that it scales off the enemy’s Max HP while being capped by a value based on Luka’s ATK. If you’re going against boss-type enemies with high HP pools, then Luka may be a better pick than Sampo (unless you’re going with both).

If you’re not running both Sampo and Luka in the same team, then the third slot can be occupied by either a Nihility character with DEF shred or a Harmony character to provide ATK buffs.

Out of all those options, Asta is arguably the best choice for her huge ATK and Speed buffs. One of Asta’s major Traces also lets her basic attack inflict the Burn DoT on enemies, which also gives you another DoT source on top of the great buffs she provides.

Tingyun is your other option for a Harmony character in a Kafka team. She can use her skill to give Kafka a huge ATK buff, which greatly boosts DoT damage, while her ultimate provides a huge boost of both energy and DMG.

As for a DEF-shredding Nihility character, you can go for either Silver Wolf or Pela.

The DEF shred from Silver Wolf’s ultimate only works on single targets, which makes her best-suited against single-target enemies. Her ability to add Elemental Weaknesses to enemies is a huge boon too.

As for Pela, her ultimate can shred the DEF of all enemies, though her Ice element doesn’t synergise with a DoT playstyle as she can freeze enemies and prevent them from taking a turn and receiving DoTs.

Finally, your fourth team slot should go to a defensive support. Since Kafka uses a lot of skill points, you need a defensive support that isn’t skill point reliant, which makes Luocha and Gepard your best choices.

Luocha can automatically use his skill to heal allies without spending a skill point while his Talent summons a field that gives a party-wide heal every time a teammate attacks, letting you spend as many skill points as possible on offensive abilities.

Meanwhile, Gepard provides the strongest shield in the game with his ultimate that can keep Kafka and your other characters safe from enemy attacks. The Silvermane Guard captain can also sustain his own energy needs through basic attacks with the right build, freeing up skill points for Kafka to use.

If you don’t have those two characters, then the Preservation Trailblazer is also a solid option available to all players.

While the Preservation Trailblazer’s shields aren’t as strong as Gepard’s, he can create and refresh them with every action while also taunting enemies with his skill, which makes him a skill point-neutral character at least.

Their Fire alignment can also make them another DoT source, provided they are the ones to inflict Weakness Break on enemies. With that said, you can give them the Trend of the Universal Market Light Cone to inflict Burn on enemies that attack them.

Bailu and Natasha are also okay healer options, but their healing being tied to their skills reduces the amount of skill points available for Kafka to use in an optimal rotation.

Kafka is the featured 5-star in the second half of Honkai: Star Rail version 1.2, which also features the debut of new 4-star Physical Nihility character Luka.

After Honkai: Star Rail version 1.2 comes version 1.3, which features new 5-star characters Imbibitor Lunae and Fu Xuan as well as a new 4-star in Lynx Landau. Version 1.3 is expected to come out in mid-August.

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

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