genshin impact character list tier

Genshin Impact Character Guide and Tier List – The Best Characters

Here you will find a Genshin Impact tier list, an overview of every available Genshin Impact character and how they compare to one another. Genshin Impact continues to bring new updates, zones, and characters. We are now at patch 1.5 of Genshin Impact, and these are the best characters in May 2021.


Getting new characters is difficult and even pricey in gacha games, so knowing which characters are top-tier will be essential, especially for endgame dungeons like the Spiral Abyss. So, I decided to post this Genshin Impact tier list both for myself and others.

Genshin Impact Tier List: Who are the Best & Worst Genshin Impact characters?

TierMain DPSSub DPSSupport/Utility
S+GanyuHu TaoDilucBennettVentiZhongli
SEulaKeqingKleeTartagliaXingqiuAlbedoMonaJeanQiqiSucroseDiona
ANingguangRazorYanfeiFischlBeidouXianglingBarbaraChongyun
BNoelleXinyanTravelerKaeya
CTraveler
DLisaAmber

Some of the above rankings are pretty obvious, as Bennett and Venti are the best support/utility characters in the game.

The best main DPS characters at the moment are Ganyu and Hu Tao, followed closely by Diluc. The next tier of main DPS characters features Eula, Keqing, Klee, and Tartaglia.

The best support units are Bennett, Venti and Zhongli. Ideally you want Bennett at C1 or C2, but he is great at C0 too.

I believe the closest thing to an S+ sub-DPS is Xingqiu at C6. I placed him on the S tier as getting him to C6 takes time, but he is the best sub DPS, in my opinion, if built properly. I also believe that maxing out Xiangling's constellation, which is very easy, gets her to the S tier.

Finally, Eula is just awesome and I could have placed her on the S+ tier if played properly.

Why Genshin Impact tier lists don't make much sense

Constellations

Genshin Impact has a lot of good characters. However, the reason it's hard to evaluate them is Constellations.

In Genshin Impact, every character has their own Constellation, which acts as a kind of skill tree. When you unlock part of that character's Constellation, you'll earn a new effect, which impacts an existing skill or offers a completely new perk.

For characters other than the traveler, the only way to level up their constellations is to obtain Stella Fortuna's. A Stella Fortuna is an item players receive after acquiring a duplicate of a character they already possess.

Once you max out a character, you get extra stardust which is enough for you to basically get a free wish if you pull an already maxed character.

So, Constellations are awesome, because, in essence, they make your characters much better every time you get a duplicate character for wishes, because you can unlock up to 6 passive skills (at Constellation level 6 – C6).

So the question here is how do we evaluate characters in Genshin Impact?

Do we do it at C0, C1, … etc.?

I would say that typically you want a tier list at C0 because that's what the majority of the players will have, at least initially.

Elemental Synergies and Elemental Debuffs and Elemental Resonance

Elemental Debuffs

Each element in Genshin Impact has a different negative effect on your enemies, but also on your characters

DebuffElementEffect
Engulfing StormElectroContinuously drains Energy Recharge.
Smoldering FlamesPyroContinuously inflicts damage over time.
Slowing WaterHydroIncreases skill CD duration.
Condensed IceCryoIncreases stamina consumption.
Genshin Impact – Table of Elemental Debuffs

To understand the importance of elemental debuffs we need to talk about Elemental Reactions first.

Elemental Reactions

Combining different elements in combat is the key to success in Genshin Impact. Elemental reactions or synergies maximize your damage output, help you crowd-control (CC), or produce shields that will defend you from a specific element.

Elemental ReactionElemental CombinationEffect
BurningDendro + PyroDeals Pyro damage over time (DoT)
CrystalizeHydro/Pyro/Electro/Cryo + GeoCreates a crystal that will provide a shield when picked up.
Note: The enemy needs to be affected by Hydro/Pyro/Electro/Cryo first and then be inflicted geo damage to produce a crystal.
Electro-ChargedElectro + Hydro/Hydro + ElectroDeals Electro DoT
FrozenCyro + Hydro/Hydro + CryoFreezes the target
MeltPyro + Cryo/Cryo + PyroDeals extra damage (2x)
OverloadedElectro + Pyro/Pyro + ElectroDeals AoE Pyro damage
SuperconductElectro + Cryo/Cryo + ElectroDeals AoE Cryo damage
SwirlHydro/Pyro/Electro/Cryo + AnemoDeals extra elemental damage and spreads the elemental (hydro/pyro/electro/cryo) effect.
Note: The enemy needs to be affected by the
VaporizeHydro + Pyro/Pyro + HydroDeals extra damage (2x)
Elemental reactions list

What is noteworthy in terms of elemental reactions, is that not all of them are equal. Melt and Vaporize are considered the ones standing on top due to the 2x damage they inflict.

So, for instance in Spiral Abyss, on floors where there are a lot of Cryo enemies such as slimes, Pyro characters like Bennet and Diluc will thrive.

However, there is another aspect of this that makes a character's value skyrocket.

Elemental debuffs affect your characters too, with slowing water and condensed ice considered the worst debuffs.

To remove those debuffs you must trigger an elemental reaction on your character(s).

So for instance, Bennett's elemental burst – Fantastic Voyage – will trigger an elemental reaction for every character affected by an elemental debuff you put within its radius. This is one of the reasons Bennett is among the best characters in the game.

Characters that can cleanse themselves or others

Characters who can cleanse – i.e., generate and elemental reaction to reduce elemental debuffs are split into to two categories. Self-cleansing ones and party-cleansing.

The party-cleansing characters and their skills are:

  • Barbara‘s elemental skill Let the Show Begin momentarily applies Wet to the active character when it heals, once every ~4.75 seconds.
  • Bennett‘s elemental burst Fantastic Voyage continuously imbues Pyro's active character when standing within its created Inspiration Field.
  • Jean‘s elemental burst Dandelion Breeze continuously imbues the active character with Anemo when standing within its created Dandelion Breeze.
  • Xinyan‘s elemental skill Sweeping Fervor creates a persistent shield. Upon activation, it imbues Xinyan with Pyro. Additionally, and not mentioned in its description, it also imbues the new character with Pyro when switching characters.

The self-cleansing characters and skills are:

  • Beidou‘s elemental skill Tidecaller, when held, creates a shield. Activating this shield imbues Beidou with Electro.
  • Diona‘s elemental skill Icy Paws creates a shield on-hit; when the shield is created, it momentarily imbues Diona with Cryo. However, if Diona is Wet, she will not self-inflict Freeze.
  • Xingqiu‘s elemental skill Guhua Sword: Fatal Rainscreen applies Wet to Xingqiu.

I hope this gives you an idea of why characters like Bennett are invaluable even if they are 4-star.

A special mention to Anemo characters

I think Anemo characters like Sucrose and Traveller are a bit undervalued. And here is why. When you cast the elemental bursts on top of Fiery ground (e.g. from Bennett's elemental burst, or on grass set on fire from his elemental skill, or from Diona's elemental burst), these elemental bursts turn to a combination of pyro/cryo and anemo. Try the following combo for instance. Use Surrose's elemental burst and immediately switch to Bennett and use his elemental skill on it to set it on fire. Then switch to Diona and watch Swirls on top of Pyro applications and a mix of melts.

Elemental reaction order

When triggering an elemental reaction such as melt the order of the element application does not matter for the melt reaction to be triggered. However, you want your stronger element to be the second one. As an example, when I use Diona first to apply the cryo debuff and then Xynguan to trigger the melt reaction, Xynguan crits for 2k damage. If I choose the reverse order Diona crits for 350 damage. Order matters to maximize your damage output.

Elemental Resonance

When you have a full party, you will receive buffs that correspond to the elemental types of the chraracters present in the party. This won't necessarily affect the character you wish for. But combined with the characters' passives you can create some really nice team compositions.

As an example, I'm still early in the game (AR 25) and I use Bennett, Xinguan, Sucrose and Anemo Traveller for exploration because I get the effect of Fervent Flames and Impetuous Winds. That's +25% ATK, -15% STAM consumption and +10% movement speed.

NameRequirementBuff effect
Enduring Rock2 x Geo Characters in partyIncreases resistance to interruption. When protected by a shield, increases Attack DMG by 15%.
Fervent Flames2 x Pyro Characters in the partyAffected by Cryo for 40% less time. Increases ATK by 25%.
Soothing Waters2 x Hydro Characters in partyAffected by Pyro for 40% less time. Increases incoming healing by 30%.
Impetuous Winds2 x Anemo Characters in partyDecreases Stamina Consumption by 15%. Increases Movement SPD by 10%. Shortens Skill CD by 5%.
High Voltage2 x Electro Characters in the party (and listening to AC/DC while playing the game, lol)Affected by Hydro for 40% less time. Superconduct, Overloaded, and Electro-Charged have a 100% chance to generate an Electro Elemental Particle (CD: 5s).
Shattering Ice2 x Cryo Characters in partyAffected by Electro for 40% less time. Increases CRIT Rate against enemies that are Frozen or affected by Cryo by 15%.
Protective Canopy
Any 4 Unique ElementsAll Elemental RES by 15%.
Genshin Impact elemental resonance buffs

Genshin Impact Character Base Stats

The stats explanations below were taken by this article on Genshin Impact Wiki.

Health

HP, short for Health Points, is a measure of how much life force your character has. If your HP reaches 0, your character will become incapacitated, and the game will automatically bring another character in your team onto the field. Characters can restore HP by eating food, using talents, character passives, weapons passives that heal, or visiting a Statue of the Seven.

The relevant in-game attribute is Max HP — the current maximum HP of a character. Max HP can be increased by raising your character level or equipping artifacts and weapons that provide HP or HP% increase. Leveling up these weapons and artifacts will also increase the HP bonus they provide. All flower-type artifacts increase HP, so leveling these up is a good way to boost HP.

{\displaystyle {\text{Max HP}}={\text{Base HP}}_{\text{Character}}\times (1+\%{\text{ HP Bonus}})+{\text{HP Flat Bonus}}}

Attack

Attack, abbreviated in-game as ATK, is used to calculate how much damage your character does. All forms of damage calculation except specific Elemental Reactions scale linearly with ATK.

Total ATK formula:

{\displaystyle {\text{ATK}}=\left[({\text{ATK}}_{\text{Character}}+{\text{ATK}}_{\text{Weapon}})\times (1+\%{\text{ ATK Bonus}})\right]+{\text{ATK Flat Bonus}}}

Where:

  • {\displaystyle {\textstyle {\text{ATK}}}} is the character's final attack value, which can be viewed from the character's attributes screen.
  • {\displaystyle {\textstyle {\text{ATK}}_{\text{Character}}}} is the flat attack value the character receives from leveling up and ascensions.
  • {\displaystyle {\textstyle {\text{ATK}}_{\text{Weapon}}}} is the weapon's flat attack value.
  • {\displaystyle {\textstyle \%{\text{ATK Bonus}}}} is the percentage attack bonus that is obtained from all sources. It is specifically listed as ATK % and not DMG %. This includes buffs from artifacts, weapon passives, skills, etc.
  • {\displaystyle {\textstyle {\text{ATK Flat Bonus}}}} is the flat attack value obtained from from artifacts, skills, food, etc.

Defense

Defense, abbreviated in-game as DEF, measures how much resistance your character has to incoming damage. The higher your defense, the less damage you take from attacks. Defense can be increased by raising your character level or equipping artifacts or weapons that provide a defense or defense % increase.

Additionally, some characters, most notably Noelle, have talents that increase defense.

Finally, there are food items that provide a temporary defense boost when consumed.

{\displaystyle {\text{DEF}}={\text{DEF}}_{\text{Character}}\times (1+\%{\text{ DEF Bonus}})+{\text{DEF Flat Bonus}}}

For both characters and enemies, defense reduces incoming damage based on this formula:

{\displaystyle {\text{DMG Reduction}}={\frac {\text{DEF}}{{\text{DEF}}+5\times {\text{Level}}_{\text{Attacker}}+500}}}

Elemental Mastery

Elemental Mastery is a measure of how powerful Elemental Reactions created by your character will be. These reactions are Vaporize, Melt, Overloaded, Superconduct, Electro-Charged, Shattered, Swirl, and Crystallize.

The attribute can be increased by equipping artifacts or weapons that provide a bonus to Elemental Mastery. Additionally, some characters, such as Lisa, gain Elemental Mastery by raising their character level.

  • Increases damage caused by Vaporize and Melt by X.
  • Increases damage caused by Overload, Superconduct, Electro-Charged, Shattered, and Swirl by Y.
  • Increases the damage absorption power of shields created through Crystallize by Z.
  • Where XY, and Z are :
    • {\displaystyle {\text{X}}=2.78\times {\frac {\text{EM}}{{\text{EM}}+1400}}}
    • {\displaystyle {\text{Y}}=6.66\times {\frac {\text{EM}}{{\text{EM}}+1400}}}
    • {\displaystyle {\text{Z}}=4.44\times {\frac {\text{EM}}{{\text{EM}}+1400}}}

The damage of Overload/Superconduct/Electro-Charged/Shattered/Swirl and shields from Crystallize also depend on the level of the character triggering the reaction.
Vaporize and Melt multiply the damage of the attack that proc this effect.

Stamina

Stamina is a measure of how much physical exertion your character can expend before needing to rest. It is consumed by performing charged attacks, dodging, sprinting, climbing, and gliding.

Stamina is restored automatically and gradually when your character stops consuming it for a short time. Additionally, you can consume food that restores stamina. You can increase your maximum stamina by finding Anemoculus and Geoculus and offering them worship to their respective Statue of the Seven.

There are also ways to reduce stamina consumption of some or all actions that require it.

Critical Rate

Critical Rate is abbreviated in-game as CRIT Rate and is commonly known as Crit Chance. This attribute, expressed as a percentage, determines how likely an attack will hit critically and deal with bonus critical damage. Crit Rate can be increased by equipping artifacts or weapons that provide an increase to Crit Rate.

The default Crit Chance is 5%.

At critical rates, at or above 100%, attacks give a critical hit every time. 

Additionally, on enemies with weak points guarantees a critical hit regardless if the triggering attack is critical or not, e.g. when targeting the eye of those cyclopean Ruin Guards with a bow.

The Shattering Ice Elemental Resonance provides a 15% boost to Crit Rate against enemies that are Frozen or affected by Cryo.

Some characters, such as Diluc, gain Crit Rate by raising their character level. Finally, you can consume certain food items to temporarily increase Crit Rate.

Critical Damage

Critical Damage is abbreviated in-game as CRIT DMG. This attribute, expressed as a percentage, determines how much bonus damage your character does when an attack hits critically. Equipping Weapons and Artifacts with Crit Damage bonuses will increase CRIT DMG.

Some characters, such as Keqing, gain Crit Damage by leveling up.

Additionally, there are food items that can be consumed to temporarily increase it. The default Crit Damage is 50%, which is a 150% multiplier.

Healing Bonus

Healing Bonus, expressed as a percentage, determines the bonus to outgoing healing by characters that can heal themselves or other party members. You can increase the healing bonus by equipping artifacts that increase character healing effectiveness or provide a healing bonus % increase. Some characters, such as Jean, gain a healing bonus by leveling up.

Incoming Healing Bonus

Incoming Healing Bonus, expressed as a percentage, determines the bonus to incoming healing directed at the character. You can increase the incoming healing bonuses by equipping artifacts that boost healing received or incoming healing. For example, the Elemental Resonance Soothing Water increases it by 30%. Additionally, there are food items that can boost healing effects temporarily.

Energy Recharge

Energy Recharge is the percentage increase of energy regenerated by each elemental particle and elemental orb that is absorbed. You can increase Energy Recharge by equipping artifacts or weapons with the Energy Recharge % attribute. Additionally, some characters, such as Venti, gain Energy Recharge with their ascensions.

Cooldown Reduction

Reduce CD, commonly known as cooldown reduction, is a percentage decrease on the cooldowns after using your elemental skill or elemental burst before you can use them again. For example, if your elemental skill normally has a cooldown of 10 seconds, and you have a 10% cooldown reduction, your skill can be used every 9 seconds.

The Reduce CD attribute stacks additively and is affected by any effect that reduces all cooldowns, but any effects that reduce cooldowns of particular talents will stack multiplicatively.

Shield Strength

The Powerful Shield attribute is a percentage decrease for shield damage taken while your character is active; increasing your shield strength will allow your shields to sustain more damage before being destroyed.

You can increase this attribute by equipping the Retracing Bolide artifact set.

Some Food items (such as Triple-Layered Consommé) can also increase it.

Note: when taking shield damage, the shield strength of the active character is used; this may not be the same as the character that created the shield.

Elemental Damage Bonus

The “Details” page in character attributes lists out a character's damage bonuses for physical damage and for each element (with “damage” abbreviated as “DMG”). These bonuses describe the percentage increase of damage dealt of the corresponding type, and stack additively with other damage bonuses.

In addition to to elemental and physical DMG bonuses, other DMG Bonuses that are not displayed in-game include: Normal and Charged Attack DMG Bonus, Elemental Skill/Elemental Burst specific DMG Bonus, General Elemental DMG Bonus and General Increased DMG Bonus.

Elemental Resistance

The “Details” page also lists out a character's resistance to each damage type (with “resistance” abbreviated as “RES”). These resistances describe the percentage decrease of incoming damage of the corresponding type.

Note that resistances have soft caps below 0% and above 75%; see Damage for more details.

Resistances can be increased by the Elemental Resonance Protective Canopy, Potions (e.g., Frostshield Potion: +25% Cryo resistance), Artifact set bonuses (e.g., 2-piece Tiny Miracle: +20% All Elemental resistances), and Talents (e.g., Lightning Fang: +80% Electro resistance).

Movement Speed

Movement speed, abbreviated as Movement SPD in-game, determines how much faster your character moves in relation to their normal movement speed. To increase your movement speed, you can equip weapons that provide a bonus to movement speed when their conditions are activated. Also, the Impetuous Winds Elemental Resonance increases movement speed by 10%.

Attack Speed

Attack Speed, abbreviated as ATK SPD in game, determines how much faster your character can attack compared to normal. For example, if your character can normally attack once every 0.8 seconds but has a 30% attack speed bonus, they will be able to attack every 0.8 / (1+0.3) = 0.62 seconds instead.

Certain weapons, talents, and character passive abilities provide attack speed bonuses when you fulfill their activation conditions.

Note that Attack Speed does not decrease the amount of hitlag characters receive when hitting enemies, so a percentage increase in attack speed will result in a lesser percentage increase in damage-per-second (for attacks that have hitlag, i.e., most melee attacks).

Stamina Consumption

Stamina Consumption describes the percentage increase of stamina used by actions that require stamina.

The Elemental Resonance Impetuous Winds decreases all stamina consumption by 15%.

Some food items and character talents also reduce the amount of stamina used by particular activities such as sprinting, climbing, or gliding. On the other hand, the Ley Line Disorder Condensed Ice increases all stamina consumption.

Interruption Resistance

Interruption Resistance, or poise, affects how difficult it is for a character or an enemy to being staggered.

Note that the strength of the stagger and knockback effects on characters and enemies is also affected by the subject's and attacker's levels, the particular attack used, and physical properties including separation distance and mass.

Focus on Elemental Reactions

I cannot stress enough the importance of this. Genshin Impact is not a single-character game. Instead, it is a game in which you create combos with character switches.

Elemental Mastery maximizes the damage you deliver with elemental reactions, while Energy Recharge maximizes the frequency of your Elemental Bursts.

So building characters with high Elemental Mastery is incredibly beneficial, while characters with great Elemental Bursts and low Elemental Skill CDs can end up spamming their Elemental Bursts. Like, you know… Bennett.

This is very useful for beginner players. As you progress into the game and raise characters' ascension level you will have to follow individual build guides and stat priorities for each character.

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