Hello, this is a guide for Captains around, approaching, or is level 80 or even returnee Captains! The guide serves as a general basis for what is still good, is good now, and/or are no longer a priority for the recent v4.0. After reading this, you should have a better idea on how to optimize your game playing! Keep in mind that I will not cover everything like an encyclopedia, but I will cover some rather important ideas that I believe all captains should know by the time they hit level 80.
Good Playing Habits
This section isn't really affected heavily by the version of the game, but here are some good habits you can pick up:
Managing your stamina:
It's understandable that overflowing stamina can result in less playtime. If you don't have enough stamina after using them up, you'd need to spend some stamina potions.
You might think, “oh it's fine to overflow since the dorm saves up any excess”. However, the dorm only saves 45% of your excess stamina. Instead of letting your stamina overflow everytime you wake up and log back onto the game, you can keep your stamina amount at around 20-70 before you sleep (since people sleep for 6-10 hours and 1 hour = 10 stamina). There are plenty of stages that eat up your stamina in no time, such as story, Overworld (OW) missions, raids, weekly stages, event stages, etc!
How to effortlessly use stamina in no time:
So you have a lot of stamina (before you sleep or you're just down right busy with your life right now), and you just don't know what to do with them. Well there's ways to put your stamina to good use!
Because every day at 4:00AM Server Time that the server refreshes, you get a new batch of daily missions, including doing 5 story stages. This set of missions can be accomplished with Expeditions (found in Dorm) as well. You can put your stamina into at least 5 Expeditions every night before you sleep so you can collect them the next day to fulfill the Story Stages missions.
It's recommended that you have gotten all the crystals from the story and chronicle stages (in all difficulties) because crystals are more valuable. And if you have completed all the available stages in the Story, you will have access to more expeditions. Expeditions are also very important in farming for valkyries to unlock/rank-up. For more information on what valkyries you should prioritize in farming, visit the next section.
Expeditions are not the only way to quickly keep your stamina from overflowing. Overworld missions are pretty expensive in stamina. You can accept up to 5 missions per cycle. Each cycle lasts from Monday-Wednesday, Thursday-Friday, and Saturday-Sunday. I don't recommend putting all your stamina into Overworld missions at the start of each cycle. At best, accept 2-3 missions from the start of a cycle so you will have enough stamina for other stages.
You will have a much easier time playing throughout the MA if you plan ahead what sort of gear to use. Deciding what teams and gear to use against which bosses each week gives yourself an easier time of fighting and encourages yourself to play more because you don't need to fret on how to beat down each boss. Fortunately, there are plenty of videos on the internet for you to look at that you can copy for a high score.
I suggest checking out the website https://www.3rdguide.com/web/teamnew/index (use Google Chrome app on both mobile/pc for auto-translate) or https://honkai-guide.web.app/#/ by Discord user paep3nguin #9170 for searching up the right team for you. Note that in the picture below, “Ultimate theater” means Exalted while “Advanced Theater” means Masters.
If you wish to see what would be next week in store for your valkyries, you can check out the Future MA Lineups tab of the honkai guide website. Here is a direct link to it.
Valkyries to Farm
In 4.0, you might be wondering, what Valkyries should I farm? In 4.0, there's plenty of valkyries, both base A-rank and base S-rank, that you should be farming. So let's cover the important ones.
Credits to Marisa for this image
Starlit Astrologos is a new valkyrie who will be very prominent in 4.0 as a support valkyrie. In 4.0, there will be a lot of ways for you to farm for her fragments. I do not recommend captains pull for her in her special supply with your valuable crystals but I do recommend farming for her up to until SS rank. She can apply a lot of debuffs and buffs for her team through her QTE. For more information on Starlit Astrologos, visit the link below for a more in-depth guide about her, made by yours truly!
Other A-rank based valkyries can be farmed through expeditions found in the dorm and requested from your Armada's warehouse.
Hawk of the Fog, the augmentation of Valkyrie Accipiter, claims as one of the top meta DPS valkyries. You want her at at least SS rank, but especially SSS rank. Her presence can be felt every week among the leaderboards. You want her at her strongest! And with the newly introduced Memorial Boss, Bright Knight: Excelsis, you'll need HF more than ever.
Swallowtail Phantasm, Void Drifter (augmentation of Valkyrie Ranger), and Night Squire, are all valkyries who are very powerful DPS. These three are very versatile in many physical DMG demanding matchups. The only thing is that they want to be SS rank at the very least and Void Drifter needs Tranquil Arias and Schrodinger T. The other two would like the DIrac set Stigmatas to be top scorers but can still make high scores without. And with the introduction of Starlit Astrologos, Swallowtail Phantasm will be even more menacing than before.
Drive Kometa, the augmentation of Yamabuki Armor, is a top tier support who works very well in Physical Teams. She can apply most of her support while barely ever coming out to fight. And she tends to be in a team with Starlit Astrologos quite frequently. You want DK to be at least SS rank, particularly SSS rank.
Divine Prayer, at just A rank, can provide a Time Fracture ultimate to slow down the MA timer while also applying debuffs from her stigmatas with the help of the weapons Thunder Kikaku or Jing Wei's Wings. You want her to be at SS rank, where her ult can provide an attack speed bonus for her team and she can ultimate evade twice (S-rank skill).
In the War Treasury, I suggest to always buy all the Ancient Willpowers before the next month arrives. Otherwise, play as much Memorial Arena as possible! If you have gotten your Land of Wishes eggs and the Dorm Supply Guarantee, I suggest farming either your Knight Moonbeam (to SSS) or your Lightning Empress (to at least SS). They have a lot of support potential especially after level 80.
Now, depending on your existing gears and S-ranks, you may consider the other following:
Valkyrie Executioner - Important for Twilight Paladin to at least SS rank if you have Hekate's Gloom and Kafka. TP has an important role in the meta today.
Knight Moonbeam - A top tier support who can invoke Time Fractures upon evading and has an amazing PRI weapon, Positron Blasters, to apply Physical DMG intake debuffs.
Lightning Empress - A top tier support whose leader skill is amazing and she can apply conductivity for Lightning DMG intake debuffs. Recommended at at least SS tier and with her Signature PRI Mag-Typhoon.
Phoenix - An amazing elemental support valkyrie who can apply both buffs and intake debuffs for Elemental DMG for her team and enemies respectively. Recommended to be at least SS rank.
Goushinnso Memento - Unless you have her signature sword to craft for her PRI Frozen Naraka, Schrodinger T, Mei: Beach Party M, Shakespeare B (or Newton B), as well as planning to get her to SS rank, I do not recommend unless you have the other more important valkyries.
Molotov Cherry - Unless SS rank and geared, she performs poorly as DPS in MA. However, she makes for an effective Blood Dance support for Lightning Empress and Hawk of the Fog teams as a PSY valkyrie who can invoke Time Fracture upon ultimate evasion.
Blood Rose - A niche valkyrie who can be a niche support with ignite and Blood Dance.
Six Serenade - A niche DPS mainly for lower Abyss tiers and for fighting Titans. Not recommended, even at the needed SS tier.
Dimension Breaker - Not worth unlocking nor ranking up. Her only value now is to unlock Herrscher of Reason's SS-locked shared skill. However, HoR has a hard time making the highest of scores in today's meta as just S rank.
Valkyries to Pull
Land of Wishes and Dorm Supply Guarantee
If you haven't already done so, it's extremely important that you get your first guaranteed S-rank Valkyrie from the Dorm Supply. You might ask, “but aren't there more exciting and important S-ranks and Equipment to pull from other supplies?”. Well, yes, there are most often such cases. However, you want to get your bases covered first. In other words, you want to take advantage of the easiest ways to strengthen your account. If your dorm supply for Valkyries states that you will get an S-rank within 25 pulls or less, then you should definitely pull for that supply first.
If you have already gotten your S-rank from the Dorm supply, then you should next focus on the Land of Wishes (accessible from the Bonus tab on your left at the main menu). There are two Valkyrie Ovyom Eggs. Both are dropped from their respectable Land of Wishes, and the first egg must be obtained before you can get the second. Each pull costs 60 crystals and it takes a maximum of 100 pulls for the first egg and 80 pulls for the second egg. Expect yourself pulling at least 90 times and 70 times before you can start getting your first and second eggs respectively.
Once you do get your hands on these eggs, you should decide which valkyrie to select. And because you have already pulled from the Dorm Supply, you may or may not have already gotten a valkyrie that was one of the choices from these two eggs. If you have, then that just means you don't need to pick that valkyrie in your eggs.
As of now in 4.0, Knight Moonbeam and Lightning Empress makes for top tier supports. Between both of them, they are great choices. However, with the way the story is heading, I recommend picking Lightning Empress out of the 3 choices for the first egg.
For the second egg, I recommend picking Phoenix out of the three. She makes for an amazing support in both Masters and Exalted Memorial Arena. Blood Rose has an extremely niche support in Memorial but only requires Blood Dance while Goushinnso Memento can make great plays but requires a lot of gear and to make a difference.
In 4.0's meta, there are quite a few non-farmable Valkyries that you want to farm and gear up still.
Stygian Nymph reigns supreme in top DPS S-rank Valkyrie for some time, and 4.0 is no different. Getting her and her gear is a safe bet. On the other side of the coin, Bright Knight Excelsis, who was introduced in v3.9, has become even more valuable with the introduction of the A-rank valkyrie Starlit Astrologos. And Vermillion Knight, when equipped with at least the divine key weapon Might of An-Utu, can take down various bosses, such as Herrscher of the Void and Argent Knight: Artemis, for very high scores. I highly suggest getting these three, with Stygian Nymph being the highest priority of the three.
Despite the introduction of the BIO support valkyrie Starlit Astrologos, Celestial Hymn remains as the top physical Support Valkyrie due to her impairing capabilities and her PRI weapon 11th Leitougia's SP and CRT supporting skills. She is an absolute must when it comes to pulling for supports.
And just like Celestial Hymn, Azure Empyrea is the “elemental” support variant of Celestial Hymn. She provides easy SP regen and a lot of Elemental DMG team buffs and enemy debuffs. She's also another important support valkyrie you want your hands on.
Others (Herrschers lol):
Ironically, the pre-existing Herrschers at just S rank, do not do enough for high scores when placed in their DPS roles. If you enjoy the Herrscher of Reason, she can still make some good scores at S rank but you'd want her at SS rank at least. And the Herrscher of Void makes for great support for her teammates, such as Twilight Paladin, at S or SSS rank. Her leader skill as well as being a Mjolnir holder, enables her as a support.
Weapons/Stigmatas to Farm
There are actually a surprising amount of good free2play stigmatas and weapons available to us that are pretty viable, even in the late game and higher tiers. Therefore, I will be suggesting gear that is usable even at level 80 and beyond.
Items to Farm:
Before we get started on the gear, I wish to relay the importance of these two items, especially AE imaginons. AE Imaginons and SS Imaginons, farmable through expeditions and overworld missions, are very important currencies. While both enable you to craft, the AE Imaginons can be used to buy Honkai Shards. Due to the significance of this possible purchase, I recommend that, unless there are crystal rewards, you always accept Overworld Missions that reward at least 4 AE Imaginons per mission.
Having maxed weapons without needing to sacrifice your own gacha weapons is what helps push you to higher tiers.
In the foundry, there are a couple of gears that you should be aiming to get or have already.
This weapon allows the wielder to inflict damage to enemies even when she is switched out. So that means that while switched out, the wielder can apply any stigmata debuffs/buffs to the enemy or her team upon damage infliction. And this weapon is good for ignition as well. You only need to have 1 and do not need to max it out. It makes for a good substitute to Thunder Kikaku.
Theresa: Origins has a great passive 3-set effect that buffs her team's Basic ATKs Physical DMG by 15%. In addition, the M piece lowers weapon skills cooldown of the host; the M piece is very important for Support valkyries such as Celestial Hymn.
Ogier T and Ogier B each have great passives. While the host is switched out, the team will gain Elemental or Physical DMG respectively. This makes for a great support stigmata. I highly recommend owning 2-3 pieces of both stigmatas.
Roald Amundsen is really only good for its 3-set effect passive. The team gains 10% Fire, Lightning, and Ice DMG, making it good for Elemental Teams. 1 or 2 of the entire set is only needed.
Dark Jixuanyuan is a good set for specific strategies. Almost never, are all 3 pieces equipped at the same time for a host. The T stig is good for shield breaking, M is amazing for increasing Crit Rate for valkyries like Void Drifter and Twilight Paladin, and B stig pairs with M for the 2-set effect of increased Physical DMG.
Marco Polo is a good f2p stigmata with fairly good effects for a DPS to use. Its effects aren't too bad but aren't good enough to warrant its costs. However, if you do not like spending real money on this game, then Marco Polo is an option you can go for, despite the high-cost.
Zhuge Kongming T has a great effect of lowering Ultimate Evasion cooldowns for the host. This can be crucial in boss fights. It's usually given to Drive Kometa or Knight Moonbeam. I recommend owning only 1 but if you must, get 2.
For an f2p stigmata set, the Musician set extremely good. It strengthens the host's Fire DMG by a lot and has great 2set and 3set effects. It's best effects are its 2set effect and M effect due to its team support capabilities for both physical and elemental teams. Therefore, I recommend owning a full set and an extra M so you can pair up the TM pieces and MB pieces to two different valkyries on two different teams. These pairs usually get equipped with Ogier T or B.
Jingwei T is an amazing f2p stigmata for DPS hosts in boss fights. Because most boss fights only have 1 enemy, the host will always have a 31% Total DMG Multiplier. I recommend owning 1-2 T pieces.
Theresa: Gluttony T is a great stigmata that Support Valkyries can use to help their DPS. Picking up a candy dropped by this stigmata boosts the eater's Total DMG by 5s. Candies can be dropped even when the host is switched out as long as the host deals damage in one way or another. This stigmata can be used by the new 4.0's Starlit Astrologos. I recommend only 1 until you are used to using it, afterwards, owning a total of 2 is recommended.
Picasso TM are great when their 2set effect is applied. The host of just PIcasso T can apply Red paint to enemies. The host of just Picasso M can apply Yellow paint to enemies. However, the host of both Picasso T and M, can apply Orange Paint to enemies when the host hits an already Red or Yellow painted enemy. Orange Painted enemies intakes 25% more Physical DMG, making Picasso a great Physical support set. I recommend owning two Ts and two Ms, two Ts and one M, or one T and two Ms. The reasoning behind this is because if you have one support valkyrie with Picasso TM and another support valkyrie with Picasso T or M, you can have the 2nd valkyrie apply red or yellow paint, and then switch to your 1st valkyrie to apply the Orange paint.
Zhangheng B is a stigmata that Hawk of the Fog can use. Her powerful and quick casting Ultimate can be invoked immediately after her ultimate evasion. Therefore, she enjoys Zhangheng B's amazing 120% Lightning DMG buff. I highly recommend getting your hands on one B piece. Hawk of the Fog is very powerful in 4.0's meta.
Fu Hua: Knight M and Fu Hua: Pride B are amazing Melee Physical DMG stigmatas for DPS hosts. They both give 30% Melee Physical DMG buff each at all times. A lot of strong valkyries are Melee Physical DPS, so they would enjoy these stigmatas as good substitutes.
Bounties to seek out
Bounties are a good way for one to get their hands on strong weapons without needing to pull anything from gacha. The only downside is that it can be quite time consuming and that it would suck if what you farmed was not worth it. So I will list the following that are worthwhile to farm for. Keep in mind that PRI weapons, craftable once the Captain is above level 80 and have owned the lv.35 non-PRI variant at least once in their account play-time, can be crafted with any gacha lvl50 weapons and are very powerful. However, some may not be worth it or even be right for you.
Hyper Railguns, MagStorm, and Briareus PRI all have powerful PRI variants for some time and time to come.The three's PRI variants serve as niche powerful DPS weapons but even more powerful as support weapons. Hyper Railgun's PRI, Positron Blasters, is capable of inflicting a Physical DMG debuff. MagStorm's PRI, MAG-Typhoon, is capable of inflicting a Lightning DMG intake debuff and Lightning Empress's (if she is the wielder) conductivity Lightning DMG intake debuff as well. And Briareus PRI's PRI, Briareus EX, applies a large AOE Time slow Field for 6s that also impairs enemies to intake 65% more Physical DMG for 10s. Briareus EX has a large presence with Drive Kometa who teams up often with Starlit Astrologos, the new BIO Support Theresa who does not impair. So farming for any of the three are very safe choices.
The PRI of Demonblade - Florid Sakura, Ruinous Sakura, enables Flame Sakitama, regardless of her rank, to be great Elemental Support. Flame Sakitama can use the PRI's active weapon skill to apply a 42% Fire DMG intake debuff and a 15% Lightning/Ice DMG intake debuff to enemies.
If weapons don't cut it for you, you can aim for these stigmatas instead:
Lier B provides the host with pure Physical DMG as long as they have full HP. At first glance this may seem terrible, but for DPS valkyries who quickly come and leave such as Void Drifter, it is the perfect stigmata.
Fuxi B may be outshined by Leeuwenhoek, it can still land the player extremely high scores when hosted by Vermillion Knight. It is also versatile with other Fire Valkyries who can ignite often as well.
And lastly, Cleopatra B isn't used often. However, it's a powerful niche stigmata for enemies who can be paralyzed (note that most bosses cannot be paralyzed). If you were already working on this piece, don't fret, it's still good, just don't expect too many uses out of it too often.
And lastly, I wish to discuss the Exchange House. This section of the shop can bring the player both weapons and stigmatas. However, it can be very expensive to obtain just one item, and for a f2p player, you want an item that is good for a long amount of time, if not forever. Therefore, I will only be mentioning gears that have been good since day 1 and are still good today.
The Nuada's Grief and 11th Sacred Relic provide decent effects. It's their PRI variants that push the player to their upper limits. Both PRI variants of the aforementioned weapons are extremely powerful in the hands of Hawk of the Fog and Celestial Hymn. If you have either of those two valkyries and are planning to go beyond lv80, I highly suggest getting your hands on these two for the PRI (unless you have owned either of these weapons once in your gametime and you have another gacha glove or cross that you do not mind turning into Nuada's Revenge or 11th Leitourgia).
Blood Dance has been and still is a top tier Elemental Support weapon. Any enemies hit by the small moving AOE tornado of blood will be debuffed into intaking 60% more Elemental DMG for 9 good long seconds.
Schrodinger T, Mei: Beach Party M, and Newton B are all time lasting stigmatas that have been amazing, especially Newton B. Schrodinger T has less meta valkyries who use it but it still has the capabilities for extremely high scores.
Newton B is the most important stigmata of the game. The more you have, the higher your score potential will be, especially in Memorial Arena. I recommend owning at least 5-6, while stopping at owning 7-9. It causes a debuff to enemies to intake more Total DMG, and its debuff can be stacked onto another Newton B's. Newton B can be applied when the host hits the enemy, regardless of if the host is on or off-field. So weapons like JingWei's Wings and the new valkyrie's Starlit Astrologo's QTE can apply Newton B off-field.
Mei: Beach Party M is like the M piece of Newton B but has a weaker debuff effect but also provides an all time Total DMG Multiplier buff to the host, making it useful for quick attackers/supporters like Hawk of the Fog and Starlit Astrologos. I recommend owning 1-2 pieces.
Gustav TM is a powerful pair of physical support stigmatas. Its M piece buffs the team while the 2-set effect slightly debuffs the enemy into intaking more Physical DMG. The T piece is useless without the M piece. Do note that the new Shujing stigmata may take up some of the playtime that the player has been dedicating to Gustav. I recommend owning only 1 pair of Gustav TM.
Jin Shengtan M provides an Ice DMG buff to the team when the host is undeployed. But more importantly, the 2-set effect creates an AOE field when the host hits an enemy, even when it's off-field (such as Starlit Astrologos hint hint), that buffs the Elemental DMG of any team members in the field and debuffs the Elemental DMG intake of any enemies in it. Due to the powerful effects that Jin Shengtan gives, I recommend owning 2 pairs of Jin Shengtan TMs.
You've reached the end of the Free2Play Esscentials guide! I hope you enjoyed reading this guide and now know what are some gears you should prioritize over the other! I look forward to people joining the competitive scene of Honkai Impact 3rd. If you wish to visit me, my discord ID is Reinbex #1347. My Armada's ID (NA) is 1019 and Discord link is https://discord.gg/bVBRkF4. If you have any questions or just want to visit, don't hesitate to say hi!