Meet Serval, the underrated 4-star lightning character who's much more powerful than most players realize.
This guide will go deep into Serval's unique skills, powerful builds, and how she can become an essential part of your team.
Read on to uncover her true potential!
The Ultimate Serval Guide in Honkai Star Rail: Best Build and Teams
Serval, despite being a 4-star unit, boasts some remarkable stats that set her apart from many other characters in the game.
- HP: 917
- Attack: 652
- Defense: 374
- Speed: 104
- Taunt: 75
Comparative Analysis: Her attack stat rivals the likes of Qingque, making her one of the highest damaging units in the game. This is particularly notable given her 4-star rating. Additionally, her speed ranks her among the top 10 fastest units, giving her an advantage in terms of attack frequency and energy regeneration.
Basic Attack: Roaring Thunderclap
Serval's basic attack, termed 'Roaring Thunderclap', isn't just a simple strike.
When she launches an attack, it delivers standard lightning damage to an enemy. In addition, it inflicts 30 toughness damage, regenerating a skill point and 20 energy simultaneously.
Skill: Lightning Flash - A Surge of Potent DoT Damage
Lightning Flash showcases Serval's ability to deliver devastating DoT (Damage over Time) effects.
This skill is a blast type, focusing on a primary target but also dealing collateral damage to adjacent enemies. There's an 80% base chance to inflict a Shock debuff on all enemies affected. When enemies are under this shock debuff, they're dealt a significant amount of lightning damage at the beginning of their turns.
Remember, the break effect won't enhance this DoT's damage.
The skill inflicts 60 toughness damage to the primary target and 30 to the adjacent ones, using a skill point and regenerating 30 energy in the process.
Ultimate: Here Comes the Mechanical Fever
Serval's ultimate is a testament to her potential, and many players often underestimate its utility.
When activated, it dishes out a substantial amount of lightning damage to all enemies. But the real game-changer is its ability to extend shock debuffs by 2 turns.
Why It's Broken: Many players might overlook this feature, focusing on the immediate damage output. However, this extension is very powerful. It elevates her skill DoT to a 4-turn duration, amassing to a whopping 416% multiplier value of damage. This is comparable to a Seele ultimate in terms of sheer damage potential. Additionally, the ultimate also enables the stacking of Weakness Break shocks, amplifying the damage output exponentially.
Talent: Galvanic Chords - The Hidden Powerhouse
At first look, Serval's talent, Galvanic Chords, might not seem like much. However, it's a powerhouse in prolonged battles.
This talent doesn't focus on toughness damage or energy gain. Instead, whenever Serval attacks, be it a basic attack, skill, or ultimate, she deals additional lightning damage to all shocked enemies.
Imagine facing three shocked enemies. With Galvanic Chords, even a basic attack from Serval will deal supplementary damage to every one of them. This talent accentuates her role as an AoE damage specialist, ensuring that no shocked enemy is safe from her.
Technique: Good Night, Belobog
"Good Night, Belobog" is Serval's technique. While it has its uses, it might not live up to the expectations set by her other abilities.
This technique is an attacking one, which means buffs should precede it. It deals a base 60 toughness damage to all enemies weak to lightning. Following that, it delivers lightning damage to a random enemy. The real kicker is its 100% base chance to shock all enemies for three turns, but with a lower multiplier than her skill.
Initial tests showed that the shock from "Good Night, Belobog" doesn't stack with the shock from her skill. In cases where both are active, her skill shock seems to override the technique's shock. This makes it less potent than one might hope.
Tracing Serval's Strength: An Overview of Her Traces
Serval boasts a set of traces that further emphasize her role as a powerful lightning dealer with shock DoT.
1. Rock 'n' Roll: The first trace passive, "Rock 'n' Roll", supercharges her shock-inflicting power. It boosts her skill's base chance to inflict shock by 20%. This enhancement greatly aids her in avoiding Effect Hit Rate issues, especially when combined with her other trace bonuses.
2. String Vibration: This trace gives Serval an energy kickstart. Right at the battle's start, she gains 15 energy. This helps her to start with 65 energy in Memory of Chaos scenarios, positioning her for a potential immediate ultimate.
3. Mania: Every time Serval defeats an enemy, she's rewarded with a 20% attack buff that lasts for 2 turns. While it shines against weaker adversaries, its utility might diminish against bosses.
Serval's Eidolons: A Deep Dive
Echo Chamber (E1)
At first glance, E1 might seem underwhelming. However, it has its niches. With "Echo Chamber", Serval's basic attack delivers 60% of its damage to a random enemy adjacent to her target. Though the damage is modest, it can trigger her talent's additional damage, offering a small DPS bump.
Encore! (E2) - The Energy Powerhouse
This Eidolon is a game-changer. It turns her talent's additional damage into an energy regeneration machine. Every shocked enemy on the field, per attack from Serval, regenerates 4 energy for her. Its value is exponential when facing multiple adversaries.
E4 - A Quality of Life Boost
This Eidolon ensures that Serval's ultimate can apply shock to any unshocked enemies with damage equivalent to her skill. This versatility allows her to apply and then extend her skill's shock, improving her gameplay.
E6 - The Damage Amplifier
Adding a whopping 30% more damage against shocked enemies, this Eidolon ensures Serval's attacks, including her talent, skill, ultimate, and basics, consistently hit harder.
The Rise of the Break Effect: Unveiling its Power
The Break Effect, often overlooked and even disregarded by some, is an attribute that shines in the late game.
- Scaling with Level: As characters level up, particularly between levels 60-70 and 70-80, base break damage sees a substantial increase. For instance, the leap from level 60 to 70 gives a 62% base damage spike, while 70 to 80 provides another 41%.
- Endgame Synergy: In the endgame, when characters reach their highest potential, the Break Effect manifests its power. A Break Effect Rope, especially when paired with the right light cones, can significantly amplify Serval's damage output.
- Planning and Execution: The beauty of the Break Effect lies in its strategic aspect. Proper planning, such as understanding the enemy's toughness and adjusting the team's actions accordingly, can amplify its impact.
Check out this Break Effect Serval build showcase to see her potential:
Crafting Serval for the Early Game
Preferred Light Cone
For F2P players, the "Breakfast Light Cone" is a reliable choice, offering a blend of Crit, Speed, Lightning, and ATK.
This light cone delivers a balanced boost, ensuring Serval can consistently deal damage.
Stats to Focus On
In these early stages, players should focus on core stats like ATK%, with an emphasis on speed to ensure Serval gets her turns swiftly and can capitalize on her fast base speed.
A Balanced Build
While the Break Effect begins to shine later, an early game Serval build should focus on ATK and Speed stats. This ensures she remains a formidable asset in battles, even before her full potential is unlocked.
Endgame: Perfecting Serval’s Arsenal
The Shift to Break Effect
As players go deeper into the game, Serval's build makes a shift.
The Break Effect Rope emerges as a cornerstone of her endgame build.
- Strategic Gameplay: The endgame is all about planning. This involves understanding enemies’ toughness, identifying break opportunities, and capitalizing on them. Speed planning might seem daunting, but break planning, with the right knowledge, can be more straightforward.
- Comparative Analysis: When compared with a pure ATK% rope, the potential of the Break Effect becomes evident, especially when Serval's gameplay is optimized. For instance, even if the ultimate extension fails, the sheer break damage from the Break Effect Rope can rival or even surpass the ATK% rope.
- Light Cone Recommendations: Light cones such as "Before Dawn" stand out due to their raw stats. However, "Seriousness of Breakfast" remains the best choice, offering commendable damage without any associated costs.
Choosing the Best Relics for Endgame
Thief of Shooting Meteor or Band of Sizzling Thunder?
Both relic sets are great for Serval, but there's a clear winner.
Thief of Shooting Meteor is the best choice for her as it increases Break Effect by 32%, a key stat for Serval's build.
Best Planetary Set
Space Sealing Station is the best choice for Serval as planar ornament, as it grants a 24% ATK increase when her speed reaches 120.
You could also go for Talia: Kingdom of Banditry if Serval's speed is above 145, which will give her a 36% extra increase in Break Effect.
Why the Right Relic Stats Matter
As with any character, the right relics can amplify Serval's strengths, making her an unstoppable force on the battlefield. Here’s a guide to selecting the perfect relics for her:
- Break Effect Rope: This relic emerges as a cornerstone for an optimal Serval setup. It accentuates her break capabilities, ensuring that her ultimate and other skills deliver maximum impact.
- Stat Preferences: Main stats to prioritize include CRIT Rate or CRIT Damage for the chest piece, Speed for the boots, and Lightning Damage for the orb. The Break Effect Rope remains non-negotiable for maximizing damage in the most optimal setups.
- Substats to Seek: Speed and Break Effect should be at the forefront. CRIT is an added bonus, and extra Effect Hit Rate can be beneficial, especially considering the high effect resistance of endgame enemies.
Lighting the Way: Top Light Cones for Serval
- Before Dawn: This light cone reigns supreme due to its sheer stat power, making it a top pick for those looking to maximize damage.
- Night on the Milky Way: An excellent choice, especially when it maintains its 3 stacks during combat. However, its value diminishes against single enemies.
- Seriousness of Breakfast: A versatile and free light cone, its damage output is high, making it an attractive choice for many players.
- Passkey: An easier and more straightforward option, especially for those aiming for a simpler break playstyle.
Mastering the Break Playstyle
Serval's gameplay is unique and requires meticulous planning to maximize her potential.
- Planning Attacks: The objective is simple – allow Serval to break the enemy's weakness. Ideally, the best move is to use her ultimate for this.
- Skill Rotation: Start by applying the initial skill DoT to adversaries. At E2, you can rely on basic attacks until her ultimate is ready. Upon activation, her ultimate should break the enemy's weakness, extending the DoTs and setting the stage for a cycle of devastating attacks.
- Speed is Key: With Serval, speed isn't just about getting the first move. It's about optimizing her break effect potential, allowing for more break opportunities and faster ultimates.
Synergies: Best Teams & Partners for Serval
Serval and Kafka: An Electrifying Duo
One cannot understate the potency of Serval when paired with Kafka. Their synergy is unparalleled, making them a deadly combination against any enemy.
Why They're Perfect Together:
Kafka, like Serval, inflicts shock. The beauty lies in the differentiation of their shocks. Every shock from Kafka is uniquely her own, allowing Serval and Kafka to stack their respective shocks. The cherry on top? Serval can extend these shocks infinitely.
Unleashing Full Potential: Kafka excels at inflicting weakness breaks, and when she gears towards a break effect, her damage potential skyrockets, especially with Serval at her side. Also, Kafka's intrinsic DoT vulnerability amplifies the duo's damage output.
Ultimate Synergy: Kafka's and Serval's shock effects can stack. Given the right planning in Memory of Chaos, this combination can be unbeatable, especially with Serval's ability to extend these shocks.
For optimal results, consider pairing Serval and Kafka with two defensive characters.
This combo not only ensures survivability but also maintains a consistent damage output.
F2P Friendly Teams
For those on a budget, consider a mix of defensive supports like Natasha, March 7th, or the Fire MC.
Conclusion: Embrace Serval's Full Potential
Serval's complexity offers a rewarding and dynamic gameplay experience.
This guide aims to provide a deep understanding of her capabilities, builds, and synergies, especially with Kafka.
Whether you're planning breaks or using her unique shock abilities, Serval is a versatile and powerful 4-star addition to any team.