Kafka Guide and Build | Honkai: Star Rail | Prydwen (2024)

Pros
  • Strong single target and AoE damage, making her very versatile,

  • Consistent damage output due to DoTs,

  • Can force proc DoTs on enemies to frontload damage,

  • Doesn’t care about CRIT stats at all,

  • Easy DoT application thanks to her Talent.

Cons
  • Extremely high investment required for both her and her teammates,

  • Wants potentially unreasonable amounts of SPD,

  • Greatly benefits from her A6 meaning she takes a while to reach her max.

The Spirit Whisperer and Destiny’s Slave, Kafka expertly carries out large-scale devastation. She is capable of instantaneously triggering DoT damage on enemies, meaning that with some setup in applying several damage over time debuffs to enemies, Kafka can swoop in and snap enemies out of existence. Due to her DoT-heavy gameplay, Kafka also enjoys focusing almost exclusively on ATK% and some Effect Hit Rate, meaning she does not care for CRIT stats at all.

Kafka’s Skill is what acts as this metaphorical snap. She deals damage to a target enemy as a Blast AoE, hitting adjacent foes as well, and if the enemy you targeted has DoT debuffs on them, they will all immediately deal up to 75% of their original damage. Yes, all of them. Get yourself some DoT-applying teammates and watch the fireworks happen.

Her Ultimate can help start the chain. She deals up to 80% of her ATK to all enemies and has a 100% base chance to apply Shock for 2 turns. In addition to this, enemies will also instantly take a damage instance from said Shock state upon application, a whopping 290% of Kafka’s ATK at max Trace Level.

Kafka’s Talent is also quite a cheeky tool to apply Shock early. When any ally uses a Basic ATK on an enemy, Kafka will instantly perform a follow-up attack onto that target, dealing up to 140% of her ATK and having a 100% base chance to apply the same Shock debuff as the one on her Ultimate. She only gets to do this once per turn, but considering you’re going to have some of your other teammates Basic Attacking a lot, this is pretty much guaranteed to be used at every available instance.

Her Bonus Traces just add to this by improving her consistency with A6 by increasing the base chance for her own Shock debuffs to be applied by 30%, for a new base chance of 130%, and allowing her Ultimate to also explode all DoTs instead of just Shock with her A2. Her A4 grants 5 energy back when a Shocked enemy is defeated.

Kafka really has no need for her Eidolons to be superb, but her E1 and E2 allow her to amplify overall DoT damage for herself and her allies, with E1 causing a target hit by her Talent to take 30% more DoT damage, and E2 increasing all allies’ DoT damage by 25% while Kafka is alive and on the field. Again, Kafka does not need either of these but they are potentially valuable things to have and are comparatively quite accessible should you wish to pull for Eidolons.

Kafka is really not that complicated; the game plan is simple, right? Just apply as many DoT debuffs on enemies as you can and then have Kafka obliterate them. Well… Sort of. Due to the nature of Kafka’s kit, she can safely ignore the typically important stats like CRIT Rate and CRIT DMG, since DoTs simply aren’t capable of hitting crits. However, again due to the nature of Kafka’s kit, she wants SPD and she wants an obscene amount of it. Getting enough Effect Hit Rate and SPD without sacrificing ATK% can be genuinely quite hard.

Adding to this, Kafka’s preferred teammate lineup can also be very against the grain. For Harmony characters, Yukong is completely wasted on Kafka as the CRIT buffs do not help her. For Bronya, aside from the Turn Advance, Bronya’s CRIT buffs are also entirely wasted on a DoT-centric team. Bronya is however still usable, and maybe even good in highly optimized settings, but is generally better used on your second side team.

Instead, a great Harmony teammate is everyone’s favorite Lead Researcher, Asta. She can increase everyone’s ATK and SPD, two things that Kafka absolutely cannot have too much of. Tingyun is also great as her Ultimate can provide more Ultimate uptime for Kafka, and Tingyun’s ATK% buff can be maintained on Kafka permanently, but Tingyun is exclusively buffing Kafka, so using other DoT characters in this situation can be unfavorable.

Kafka can choose to instead be paired with more DoT-inflicting characters. In these situations, the most important thing for Kafka is to have enough DoTs on the enemy to actually dish out small nuclear detonations, meaning she wants to be paired with characters who apply said DoT. In particular, Sampo Koski’s DoT enhancing Ultimate finally has a real use case, and seeing as he can apply up to 5 stacks of Wind Shear at a breakneck pace and also maintain them, he is a complete no-brainer pairing with Kafka. For tough single-target encounters, Luka also makes a fantastic teammate due to his absurdly high Max HP% damage from Bleed.

Final good pairs are of course other Nihility units and debuffers. Pela and Silver Wolf can contribute immensely to increasing the team’s overall damage, far more than a Harmony character (besides maybe Asta and Bronya) would be able to. Silver Wolf in particular being able to implant weaknesses into enemies allows Kafka to frequently get additional sources of DoT from Weakness Breaks, amplifying damage even further.

The issue comes with maintaining these teams, as they tend to be really quite SP-intensive. Sampo can mostly switch to Basic Attacking after his Wind Shear is stacked, but if you’re using Luka or Silver Wolf, you may struggle to keep up with the SP costs, and the absolute worst-case scenario is Kafka being unable to use her Skill because she is pretty much all of that team’s damage. The teammates also need to be very well built since the DoT explosion from her Skill and Ultimate are based on your teammates’ DoT stats, so don’t expect Kafka to hit crazy hard in the late game if your Sampo is level 20.

There’s been a lot of mention of Sampo in this review, and that’s no accident. Kafka does not currently have a true dedicated support for her style of gameplay. It just so happens that Sampo is the closest to being that for her, and as such is the next best thing. While Kafka can make do with someone like Serval, Kafka really wants to be paired with Sampo because he synergizes the best with what she wants to do, and not by a small margin. This may change in the future, and maybe a perfect support unit is released for Kafka, but please do not pull for Kafka with the hopes that that will occur, because there’s absolutely no guarantee.

She is a great character already, and she can perform fantastically, especially with Sampo, or with Tingyun and Asta, having a theoretical damage ceiling far above the clouds of most other characters, and future DoT-based characters are likely to work well with her as well, but if you want to pull for her, do it for her and not for hypothetical future releases, even if they would, in theory, be amazing together.

Besides, who doesn’t love looking at fireworks? “Boom.”

Kafka Guide and Build | Honkai: Star Rail | Prydwen (2024)

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