Gepard, Serval's little brother, is the ultimate defensive character in Honkai:Star Rail.
He went from B-tier to S-tier after players realized his defensive potential.
This guide explores Gepard's stats, abilities, traces, eidolons, pros and cons, and the best relics, light cones, rotations, and team compositions.
The Ultimate Guide to Gepard: Builds, Rotations, and Teams
Who is Gepard?
Gepard, a 5-star Ice character, is part of the standard 5-star units in the game.
Following the Preservation path, he's dedicated to shielding and protecting your allies.
With immense shields, great uptime when built right, and the unique ability to enable DPS characters, Gepard is a force to be reckoned with.
At level 80, Gepard boasts a high base HP of 1397, a base attack of 543, and a towering base defense of 654.
While his speed is on the lower side, at 92, he makes up for it with a low energy cost of 100.
Gepard's taunt value is the highest in the game at 150, making him the top choice for taking hits and protecting the team.
Gepard's Abilities: A Closer Look
Fist of Conviction
It deals ice damage to a single enemy, dealing 30 toughness damage, and regenerating 20 energy for Gepard.
This energy regeneration capability plays a vital role in his overall rotation and shield uptime, enabling him to use his skills more frequently and maintain his defensive stance.
Gepard's skill, Daunting Smite, deals a significant amount of ice damage to a single enemy with a 65% base chance to Freeze. Freezing enemies not only halts them in their tracks but also allows for extra damage at the start of their turn.
This freezing capability can be a game-changer in clutch situations, potentially saving your team when things get tough.
While Daunting Smite can be powerful, its utility is somewhat limited before Gepard reaches E1. At 65% base chance, it requires 157% Effect Hit Rate to guarantee a freeze, and bosses with CC or Freeze resistance can make it less effective.
The star of Gepard's kit is his ultimate, Enduring Bulwark.
With an energy cost of only 100, this ultimate applies a shield to all allies, which scales significantly with his defense. This shield remains in place for three turns, providing a buffer period to regroup and strategize.
With a well-built Gepard, this shield can reach a strength of around 3000, providing robust protection for your team.
Talent: Unyielding Will
When Gepard is hit with a killing blow, instead of being knocked down, he restores a percentage of his max HP (50% at max level) and continues fighting.
This talent can only trigger once per battle but can be instrumental in surviving tough situations with shield downtime.
It also removes any debuffs Gepard currently has, providing additional utility against strong debuffing enemies and bosses.
It's a buffing technique that applies a shield to all allies, equal to 24% of his defense plus 150, for 2 turns at the start of the next battle.
This initial shield can be critical in surviving the first hits before you start your rotations and shield uptime.
Traces: Boosting Gepard's Capabilities
His first ascension passive, Integrity, increases his chance of being attacked by enemies, amplifying his tanking capabilities.
The second ascension passive, Commander, fully restores his energy when his talent is activated, allowing him to deploy a large shield even after taking a deadly hit.
His final ascension passive, Fighting Spirit, grants him an attack buff based on his current defense, ensuring that he can deal decent damage despite being a preservation unit.
These traces significantly boost Gepard's strength, making him one of the most formidable units in the game.
Gepard's Eidolons: The Power Boosters
- Due Diligence: This Eidolon enhances Gepard's freezing capabilities. It provides an extra 35% base chance of landing a Freeze with his skill, increasing it to 100% base chance and reducing the effect hit rate (EHR) needed to guarantee a freeze to 67%. It's a valuable Eidolon especially against enemies without freeze or crowd control resistance.
- Lingering Cold: After an enemy is frozen by Gepard's skill (only his, not an ally's), when they become unfrozen, their speed is reduced by 20% for 1 turn. It's a powerful slowdown effect, but it mainly benefits those rare occasions when you use his skill to apply a freeze.
- Faith Moves Mountains: This Eidolon increases all allies' effect resistance by 20%. This means Gepard himself has a base effect resistance of 38%, reducing the chance of strong enemies debuffing him to around 81%. However, it does not help his team against enemies with a 100% debuff chance unless they have additional effect resistance stats.
- Unyielding Determination: This Eidolon enhances Gepard's talent. When his talent is activated, he instantly takes action and restores an additional half of his maximum HP. While not a game-changer, it does provide an extra level of survivability, allowing him to potentially withstand lethal blows and continue fighting.
Best Light Cones for Gepard
Gepard's Signature Light Cone
Gepard's Signature Light Cone is an excellent choice as it provides a 200% aggro modifier, which increases his chance of being targeted by enemies to 76%.
Also, it boosts his defense and effect hit rate, making him even more durable and improving his ability to freeze enemies with his Daunting Smite skill.
Landau's Choice is another excellent Light Cone for Gepard.
This Light Cone offers a significant damage reduction for Gepard and given his role as a tank who will be receiving a majority of enemy attacks, this can be immensely beneficial.
Day One of My New Life
The Day One Light Cone provides a damage resistance buff, and bolsters Gepard's shields even further.
Remember, stronger shields mean less damage taken, which is always a win for a tank like Gepard.
Knight of Purity Palace Set
When it comes to relics, the Knight of Purity Palace set is considered the best for Gepard.
This set provides a unique shield bonus, the only one of its kind in the game, which boosts the strength of Gepard's shields.
Additionally, it enhances his already high base defense, augmenting his tanking capabilities.
Fleet of the Ageless or Belobog of the Architects?
For the 2-piece set, Fleet of the Ageless is a viable option as it provides a stacking attack bonus.
However, Belobog is generally recommended as it offers an additional defense bonus and more if you reach a 50% effect hit rate, which is beneficial for landing freezes.
Your chest piece should have defense% as the main stat.
For boots, speed is the optimal choice.
For the planar sphere, also aim for defense%.
The rope should always have energy regeneration rate as the main stat.
In terms of substats, prioritize DEF%, speed, and effect hit rate as well as effect resistance.
Stacking DEF% or not?
You might wonder why we don't stack DEF% on Gepard, given his role as a tank and the importance of his defense in his abilities. The key lies in achieving balance and optimizing his overall performance.
While defense is crucial for Gepard, it's equally important to consider other aspects such as speed and energy regeneration.
Speed ensures Gepard gets more turns and keeps pace with his team, while energy regeneration allows him to maintain his shielding uptime and use his ultimate more frequently.
By focusing solely on DEF%, you may end up with a Gepard who can take a lot of hits but struggles to keep up with the pace of the game and maintain his shield uptime.
A balanced approach considering DEF%, Speed, and Energy Regeneration is recommended for Gepard.
Strong Synergies with Gepard
Gepard has excellent synergy with characters who either benefit from staying at low HP, such as Arlan, or those who prefer not to take damage, like Yanqing.
Arlan prefers to stay at low HP to maximize his abilities. Gepard's shields provide a safety net for Arlan, allowing him to stay at low HP without the risk of being knocked out.
Yanqing is a character who doesn't want to take damage. Even if Yanqing gets hit while behind Gepard's shield, he maintains his talent passive.
Also, both Gepard and Yanqing share the Ice element, which opens up the possibility of a mono Ice team.
Optimal Rotation for Gepard
For Gepard, the optimal rotation involves using his basic attacks to generate skill points for the team and energy for himself.
With an energy regeneration rope, you'd need three basic attacks and two enemy hits (which are quite likely given his high chance of being hit) to charge up his shield.
Using his skill, Daunting Smite, can sometimes save you a tanked hit if it freezes an enemy.
Possible Team Compositions with Gepard
Gepard's defensive capabilities make him a versatile character who can fit into most team compositions.
Mono Ice Team
This team offers excellent survival chances and significant damage output, especially through Yanqing who can operate at his highest power.
Free-to-Play Team Comp
For players on a budget, Gepard can be paired with two DPS characters and a support or one DPS and two supports.
This team composition allows players to take full advantage of Gepard's defensive capabilities while maintaining a balanced team with a reasonable damage output.
Gepard's shielding capability is unparalleled in the game.
His ultimate, Enduring Bulwark, can provide a substantial shield to all allies that scales off his defense, making him a fantastic choice for teams needing robust protection.
Enables DPS Characters
Gepard's shields enable DPS characters to perform at their best without worrying about taking damage.
This means that characters who traditionally struggle with survivability can focus on delivering maximum damage, significantly improving the team's overall damage output.
High Base Chance of Being Targeted
Due to his innate aggro modifiers, Gepard has the highest base chance of being hit out of every unit in the game.
This makes him an excellent choice for soaking up damage and protecting more fragile team members.
His technique, Comradery, provides a large AoE shield unlike others that freeze or do a single target shield.
This initial shield can be key in surviving the first hits before starting your rotations and shield uptime.
Shield Uptime Can Be Tricky
Maintaining the uptime of Gepard's shield can be challenging in some scenarios.
Although strategies exist to keep it up permanently in most cases, fast allies who get double turns from Bronya have one less turn of shielding and could be susceptible to big hits from enemies.
Skill Has Low Chance Until E1
Gepard's skill, Daunting Smite, has a relatively low chance of freezing the enemy until he reaches E1.
Even after reaching E1, using the skill too much can drain the team's skill points, meaning Gepard is typically relegated to basic attacks and shields.
Eidolon Scaling is Mediocre
While Gepard's Eidolons provide some benefits, they don't significantly impact his overall performance.
His first and fourth Eidolons are beneficial, but the rest only offer minor improvements and are not worth prioritizing.
That's all on Gepard!
This versatile, defensive character is a force to be reckoned with and can be a game-changer on your team.
With the right build, he's the ultimate protector and enabler for your DPS.