Black Swan emerges as a game-changing character in Honkai: Star Rail, blending complexity with AOE power.
This guide dives into the optimal strategies to unlock Black Swan's full potential, focusing on her skill set, best relics, and ideal light cones.
Let's jump right in!
A Complete Guide to Black Swan: Best Builds and Team Compositions
Understanding Black Swan's Kit
Talent: Loom of Fate's Caprice
Black Swan's talent is essential to her playstyle.
It enables her to apply Arcana, a stackable DOT that can stack up to 50 times on an enemy.
This DOT is particularly strong because it's immune to removal or cleansing, even during phase changes in boss fights, and bypasses resistance to debuffs.
Her talent also specifies that when enemies suffer from DOT, they have a chance to gain Arcana stacks.
Once an enemy has three or more Arcana stacks and it triggers, the damage not only affects the primary target but spreads to adjacent foes.
When Arcana stacks reach 7, the damage then pierces through 20% of the enemy's defense, showcasing Black Swan's role as a relentless damage dealer.
Basic Attack: Percipience, Silent Dawn
Black Swan's basic attack is unusually intricate for such a move.
It has the potential to apply one Arcana stack to enemies, with additional chances to add more stacks for each different type of DOT affecting the enemy, up to four extra stacks.
This chance for additional Arcana per DOT type, including wind shear (which Arcana counts as), underscores the importance of synergizing her with other DOT characters to maximize damage output.
Skill: Decadence, False Twilight
Initiates with blast wind damage and a guaranteed application of Arcana, coupled with enemy defense reduction.
Its trace further aligns with her basic attack, enhancing Arcana stack potential per DOT type present on the enemy.
Ultimate: Bliss of Otherworld's Embrace
Elevates Black Swan's DOT strategy by making all Arcana stacks count as every DOT type for the duration, significantly increasing damage potential.
Furthermore, it creates an AOE wind damage effect, and ensures Arcana won't reset to one stack after exploding, maintaining high damage output across multiple enemies.
Technique: From Façade to Vérité
Her technique uniquely contributes to stacking Arcana, applying stacks successively until a failure to add another occurs, typically resulting in about three additional stacks.
This randomness adds a layer of strategic depth to using Black Swan, so you'll need to manage DOT applications carefully to optimize damage.
Black Swan's Talent is the cornerstone of her kit, enabling the application of Arcana — a DOT that intensifies as it stacks on enemies.
Given its central role in her damage-dealing strategy, this talent should be your first priority for upgrades.
Enhancing this talent increases the base chance for Arcana application and the damage it deals, making Black Swan's DOT more lethal and consistent across the board.
Next in line is Black Swan's Skill, which not only applies Arcana with a 100% base chance but also reduces enemy defense.
Upgrading this skill increases the damage it deals directly and indirectly by improving the efficiency of Arcana stacks applied through it.
Additionally, the skill's Trace, which adds bonus Arcana stacks based on existing DOT types on an enemy, further increases its importance, making it a critical component of Black Swan's offensive arsenal.
Her Ultimate plays a strategic role by creating vulnerabilities in enemies and enhancing the effectiveness of Arcana stacks.
It turns all Arcana into every DOT type, maximizing damage potential from subsequent basic attacks and skills.
Upgrading the Ultimate increases its AOE damage and the debuff's impact, making it a powerful tool for weakening groups of enemies and setting up devastating DOT cascades.
While seemingly less impactful, Black Swan's Basic Attack becomes increasingly valuable due to its complexity and potential to apply multiple Arcana stacks.
Upgrading this last ensures that even her most fundamental actions in combat contribute significantly to stacking Arcana, maintaining pressure on enemies between her skill and ultimate rotations.
Best In Slot: Prisoner in Deep Confinement Set
The Prisoner set is ideally suited for DOT characters like Black Swan.
It boosts attack and ignores DEF, enhancing both her DOT effectiveness and direct damage capabilities.
This set increases her ability to apply and escalate Arcana stacks, making her a persistent threat in prolonged battles.
The four-piece set bonus offers significant ATK% boost and defense penetration, crucial for maximizing the impact of her Arcana-triggered explosions.
Alternative Relic Sets
Eagle of Twilight Line Set
These sets provide a wind damage bonus, directly enhancing Black Swan's elemental damage output.
Pairing wind damage bonuses with attack percent increases her overall damage, particularly beneficial for her DOT and wind-based attacks.
Musketeer of Wild Wheat
Given the importance of speed for Black Swan to apply Arcana stacks effectively between enemy turns, sets that offer speed boosts are valuable.
Speed helps her outpace enemies, ensuring her DOTs can trigger optimally.
Attack sets complement this by boosting her damage output directly.
Pioneer Diver of Dead Waters
This set provides a damage boost to enemies with at least 1 debuff.
Pairing this set with ATK or SPD boosts will help Black Swan increase her overall damage output if you don't have a 4-piece Prisoner in Deep Confinement set.
Pan-Galactic Commercial Enterprise
Ideal for its effect hit rate bonus, which is critical for ensuring Black Swan's Arcana stacks apply consistently.
The attack scaling based on effect hit further synergizes with her need for a high effect hit rate.
Firmament Frontline Glamoth and Space Sealing Station
These sets offer alternative benefits such as increased attack or crit rate, useful for adjusting Black Swan's build towards either more consistent damage or higher burst potential through crits.
Main Stat Priorities
- Body: Effect Hit Rate or ATK%, depending on whether you need to ensure Arcana application or boost overall damage.
- Boots: Speed or ATK%, with speed being a priority for faster Arcana stacking, unless a specific team composition or strategy allows for a slower, more hard-hitting approach.
- Orb: Wind Damage or ATK%, to enhance her elemental DOTs or provide a general damage increase.
- Rope: ATK%, to universally boost her damage output.
Sub Stats Priorities
Aim for a balance between effect hit rate (to ensure the application of Arcana), speed (to outpace enemies and apply DOTs more frequently), and attack percentage (to increase the damage of her attacks and DOTs).
Prioritizing these stats will ensure Black Swan operates at peak efficiency, leveraging her unique DOT mechanics for maximum battlefield impact.
Optimal Late Game Stats for Black Swan
Effect Hit Rate: %110+
Best Light Cones
Best In Slot: Reforged Remembrance
This Light Cone is designed to synergize perfectly with Black Swan's kit.
It boosts effect hit rate and attack percentage, both critical for ensuring her Arcana stacks land consistently.
Additionally, the defense ignore feature enhances her ability to penetrate enemy defenses, increasing the impact of her damage-over-time (DOT) effects and explosive Arcana triggers.
Equipping Reforged Remembrance allows Black Swan to more reliably apply her unique DOT, Arcana, to enemies, making her a persistent threat that can bypass defenses and deal significant damage over time.
Alternative Light Cone Options
Patience is All You Need
Boosts overall damage and speed while inflicting another DOT type that helps Black Swan to stack Arcana easier.
If you pulled for this light cone, it's the second best option after Reforged Remembrance.
It's Showtime (Craftable at S5)
This free-to-play friendly option offers significant stat boosts that can enhance Black Swan's overall damage output.
It's an excellent choice for who may not have access to her signature Light Cone or are looking for a viable alternative without spending resources on gacha pulls.
Good Night and Sleep Well (Effective at S5)
Similar to It's Showtime, this Light Cone provides valuable stat bonuses that support Black Swan's DOT application and damage escalation.
It's another alternative if you're seeking to enhance her without specific gacha Light Cones.
Eyes of the Prey
Offers effect hit rate, which is crucial for ensuring the consistent application of Black Swan's Arcana stacks.
This Light Cone is a great choice if you're focusing on maximizing her debuff reliability.
In the Name of the World
Provides a mix of bonuses beneficial for DOT characters, making it a suitable option for Black Swan, especially if you're are looking to optimize her DOT damage and application rates.
Team Composition Strategies
Core Synergy with Kafka
Kafka emerges as Black Swan's essential partner.
Kafka's ability to detonate DOTs increases Black Swan's Arcana damage significantly.
This duo becomes formidable when Kafka is optimized to act swiftly, allowing her to detonate DOTs multiple times before an enemy's turn.
This interaction not only increases Arcana damage but, with precise timing and investment in Kafka's Eidolons for DOT boosts, it elevates the entire team's DOT effectiveness.
Complementary DOT Units
Sampo for Wind Weakness: Particularly against wind-weak enemies, Sampo's E4 skill synergizes well with Black Swan by detonating wind shear DOTs, including Arcana, enhancing wind toughness damage and helping in quick enemy breaks.
Luka and Guinaifen: For physical and Fire weak enemies, respectively, these characters can complement Black Swan's wind DOTs, offering a broader spectrum of elemental pressure against diverse enemy types.
Buffers and Support
Ruan Mei: She stands out as an exceptional buffer, offering extensive team-wide buffs and break extensions, which fits perfectly with DOT strategies, enriching both Black Swan and her DOT companions' effectiveness.
Huohuo: Provides vital sustainability while boosting the team's attack, ensuring Black Swan and other DOT units can sustain their offensive pressure.
Asta: Offers team-wide attack and speed buffs, potentially accelerating DOT applications and detonations.
Honorable Mentions and Synergies
Sustain and Utility: Five-star sustain characters bring additional utility and comfort, with preservation units like the wearer of the Trend of the Universal Market Light Cone adding another DOT layer through burn on hit, further supporting Arcana stacking.
Example Team Compositions
- Black Swan (DOT Specialist): Main source of DOTs and AOE damage.
- Kafka (DOT Amplifier): Reapplies and enhances DOT effects, synergizing with Black Swan’s kit.
- Silverwolf (Debuff Enhancer): Applies debuffs that can lower enemy defenses and resistance, making them more susceptible to DOTs.
- Huohuo (Support/Healer): Provides healing and buffs, ensuring team sustainability.
E1: DOT Resistance Shred
This Eidolon makes Black Swan the driving force in DOT teams by shredding enemy resistances to various DOT types.
Each DOT on an enemy reduces their resistance to that DOT type by 25%, increasing all subsequent DOT damage.
This not only boosts Black Swan's damage but significantly increases the entire team's DOT efficiency, making her synergize well with any DOT-oriented allies.
E2: Adjacent Target Arcana Spread
Upon defeating an enemy inflicted with Arcana, there's a chance to spread Arcana stacks to nearby enemies.
This capability ensures that Black Swan's pressure and damage output remain high throughout battles, particularly in scenarios with multiple enemies, enabling a chain reaction of DOT damage across the battlefield.
E4: Effect Resistance Lowering & Energy Gain
When Black Swan applies her ultimate's debuff, not only does it lower affected enemies' effect resistance (making it easier to apply additional debuffs and DOTs), but it also grants her energy back whenever those debuffed enemies take a turn or are defeated.
This Eidolon enhances her ability to maintain high uptime on her ultimate, further fueling her DOT application rate and ensuring her debuffs remain a constant threat.
E6: Arcana Application Enhancement
Perhaps the most transformative, this Eidolon allows Black Swan to add Arcana stacks through ally attacks, dramatically increasing the rate at which Arcana stacks on enemies.
This not only accelerates the buildup of DOT damage but also enhances team-wide DOT synergy, as each ally's attack potentially contributes to escalating the DOT damage, making Black Swan's presence on the field even more impactful.
Final Thoughts on Black Swan
Black Swan stands as a top-tier DPS unit in Honkai: Star Rail, offering a rewarding experience when mastering her complex mechanics.
By carefully selecting her relics, light cones, and understanding her synergy within DOT-centric teams, Black Swan can be a pivotal unit in your roster.