Genshin Impact tier list: The best Genshin Impact characters
(Image credit: MiHoYo)
Welcome to our Genshin Impact tier list, a complete overview of every available Genshin Impact character and how they compare to one another. As Genshin Impact continues to evolve with new updates, adding new zones and dozens of new characters, knowing which characters are top tier is going to be extremely important, especially if you plan on tackling some of the hardest endgame activities like the Spiral Abyss dungeon. That’s where this this Genshin Impact tier list will help.
This Genshin Impact tier list is structured to help you get the best info straight away, with more detailed analysis found further below. If you’re just wanting to know which Genshin Impact characters are the best, you use the sidebar to jump to our quick summary. Below that, you’ll find an overview of which new characters are coming to Genshin Impact over the coming months and years, and finally you can find the Genshin Impact tier list itself—a massive breakdown of every character, their abilities, and where they rank.
Genshin Impact tier list: Who are the best Genshin Impact characters?
Genshin Impact’s character roster is going to continually evolve over time and, along with basic balance changes, that’ll significantly shake up the Genshin Impact tier list as the meta evolves.
Here’s a quick summary of the new characters just added to Genshin Impact:
Zhongli, a Geo polearm user who was extremely powerful in the beta but nerfed heavily before release. He sucks now unless you fully upgrade him, which will cost you thousands of dollars. He’s Poo tier.
Xinyan, a Pyro character that uses Claymores and can also create powerful shields, burn enemies, or toss them up in a big explosion. She’s A tier.
Here’s a quick summary of characters we know will be coming to Genshin Impact eventually:
Albedo, a Geo swordsman that conjures earth flowers that explode and deal damage or can be used at platforms to reach higher places.
Ganyu, a Cryo archer who uses ice flowers to distract enemies and lead them into traps.
Xaio, an Anemo polearm character that turns into a terrifying demon, enhancing his attacks but draining his HP at the same time.
Ayaka, a Cryo swordswoman that attacks with quick slashes and can fire icy shockwaves to freeze enemies.
Element: Anemo (wind) Weapon: Bow Elemental Skill: Skyward Sonnet summons a powerful upward gust of wind that launches enemies and holds them in the air. Can also be used to launch yourself upwards in a pinch. Elemental Burst: Wind’s Grand Ode, fires a giant wind arrow that sucks enemies in and damages them while carrying them forward.
Venti is one of the most sought-after Genshin Impact characters for good reason. Between his two abilities, he can effectively stun an enormous number of enemies for an unparalleled length of time. He’s great in any fight where you’re outnumbered, but Skyward Sonnet can also be useful for solving a few outdoor puzzles and makes climbing a bit easier. He’s useful in practically every circumstance.
Element: Pyro Weapon: Claymore Elemental Skill: Searing Onslaught does a forward slash that deals Pyro damage and can be triggered up to three times in quick succession. Elemental Burst: Dawn unleashes a phoenix that knocks enemies back and deals massive Pyro damage. Afterward, his blade says ignited for a bit so you can deal extra Pyro damage.
Diluc is one of the best DPS characters in Genshin Impact. Between his two abilities, he can put out an absurd amount of damage (so long as your foes aren’t Pyro resistant), and his regular attacks are pretty vicious too. Stun your enemies with a character like Venti, switch to Diluc, and watch them evaporate.
Element: Electro Weapon: Bow Elemental Skill: Nightrider summons Fischl’s electric raven to attack nearby enemies. Elemental Burst: Midnight Phantasmagoria turns Fischl into her raven, greatly increasing her mobility while automatically dealing Electro damage to nearby enemies.
Fischl is S-tier because of her utility and mobility. As a bow user, she normally fights from a safe distance, but it’s often better to use Nightrider and then switch to another character to focus on DPS or queue up an elemental combo with the raven’s Electro attacks. If you get surrounded or pushed into a corner, her Elemental Burst lets you escape quickly without taking any damage. Both are extremely useful skills.
Element: Cryo Weapon: Sword Elemental Skill: Adeptus Art: Herald of Frost deals Cryo damage to all nearby enemies. If you attack them with regular attacks, Qiqi will heal herself and her party. Elemental Burst: Adeptus Art: Preserver of Fortune marks nearby enemies and deals constant Cryo damage. Similar to her Elemental Skill, attacking these enemies regenerates HP for the entire party.
Welcome to your new healer. Qiqi is not only the best Cryo character, but her ability to regenerate enormous amounts of health makes her an easy pick for any team. Both of her Cryo abilities heal the party if she attacks enemies affected by them, but what isn’t immediately obvious is that the healing scales based off of Qiqi’s attack stat. So load her up with attack boosting items.
Element: Pyro Weapon: Catalyst Elemental Skill: Jumpy Dumpty is a bouncing bomb that ignites enemies before exploding into several small mines that detonate when enemies get close. Elemental Burst: Sparks ‘n’ Splash causes a trio of fire lasers to blast enemies for ten seconds.
Though we initially rated Klee much lower, we’ve now realized her potential to be a powerhouse DPS. Her abilities are capable of nuking large groups of enemies all at once, which makes her almost as useful as Diluc as the primary damage dealer on your team. If you have her, you should definitely make use of her.
Element: Hydro Weapon: Bow (but can also use daggers) Elemental Skill: Foul Legacy: Raging Tide switches Tartaglia into a melee stance where he uses Hydro daggers to deal damage. Elemental Burst: Havoc: Obliteration changes depending on whether you’re in ranged or melee stance. In ranged, Tartaglia fires a Hydro arrow that does large AoE damage to enemies. In his melee stance, he slashes all nearby enemies, dealing large AoE Hydro damage.
Tartaglia is an absolute beast. Not only does his passive ability increase the normal attacks of your party, but being able to switch between ranged and melee makes him useful in pretty much every situation. What’s more, his bow attacks and Elemental Burst can apply a status effect called Riptide, which increases the damage enemies take and even causes them to periodically explode, dealing Hydro damage to nearby enemies. All of this combined means Tartaglia can put out extreme amounts of DPS, making him a must-have for almost any team.
Genshin Impact tier list: A tier
Element: Hydro Weapon: Catalyst Elemental Skill: Reflection of Doom summons a water phantom that taunts enemies and deals water damage to them. Elemental Burst: Stellaris Phantasm traps a large number of nearby foes in illusory bubbles, making weaker opponents completely immobile. When attacked in a bubble, enemies are cursed and receive more damage, but the bubble also breaks, dealing Hydro damage.
Mona gets major points for style and also being the only character who can run across water—it’s so useful in some circumstances. The other thing that makes her incredibly useful is her Elemental Skill, because it taunts enemies and deals respectable damage to them so you can switch to a flimsy DPS character and unleash a powerful elemental combo. Whether or not you actually use her will depend entirely on who you already have in your party.
Element: Electro Weapon: Sword Elemental Skill: Stellar Restoration throws an orb of electricity that sticks to whatever it touches and deals damage. If you use the ability again, Keqing will teleport to that location and do an Electro slashing attack, or you can do a charge attack to fire off a series of Electro cuts at the marked location. Elemental Burst: Starward Sword unleashes a fury of Electro sword cuts that damage all enemies in front of Keqing.
Keqing is an admirable DPS character who comes with some nice mobility thanks to her Elemental Skill. She can quickly dart around the battlefield or even up cliffs and other obstacles using Stellar Restoration. Her Elemental Burst also does big damage, making her a great addition to most any party.
Element: Anemo (wind) Weapon: Sword Elemental Skill: Gale Blade pulls enemies into her and then launches them in a direction of her choosing dealing big Anemo damage. Elemental Burst: Dandelion Breeze creates a large zone that knocks enemies back and deals damage while also healing her and the party.
Jean is great, but she’s outpaced by both Venti and Qiqi. Her crowd control and healing just can’t keep up, but she’s a fantastic character if you have neither of the above. Like Qiqi, Jean’s Elemental Burst scales off of her attack stat, so equip her with as many attack-boosting items as possible to really reap the benefits of her healing.
Element: Pyro Weapon: Sword Elemental Skill: Passion Overload, if pressed, performs a swift Pyro slash. If held, Bennett begins charging up. If released during the first phase of the charge, Bennett attacks twice and launches enemies. If held to the second phase, Bennett attacks three times, with the last attack triggering a massive explosion that launches Bennett and enemies. Elemental Burst: Fantastic Voyage causes Bennett to leap at an enemy and attack, creating a large Inspiration Field with different effects. Characters within the field who are below 70 percent health will regenerate HP, and if characters are above 70 percent HP they’ll get an attack boost and deal Pyro damage with their basic attacks.
Bennett is a solid support character who is best used to set up another DPS character to do mad damage. After using his Elemental Burst, you’ll want to switch to a character who will benefit from the increased attack and Pyro damage, like Keqing. His ability to heal characters below 70 percent HP also gives him a ton of utility in fights.
Element: Hydro Weapon: Catalyst Elemental Skill: Let the Show Begin makes Barbara’s attacks heal the party while also doing some healing on its own at regular intervals. Elemental Burst: Shining Miracle heals Barbara and the party.
Barbara is one of the few free characters in Genshin Impact, and one of the first healers you’re likely to get. Fortunately, she’s extremely competent at what she does and she’s simple to use. Let the Show Begin is a great way to get a small amount of healing in, but beware that it makes Barbara wet, so Cryo attacks will freeze her. Shining Miracle is the real reason to have her, as it simply heals a huge amount of damage for the entire party. Both of the healing done in these abilities scales off of Barbara’s health, though, so you want to equip her with HP boosting items.
Element: Electro Weapon: Claymore Elemental Skill: Claw and Thunder is a bit complicated. Pressing it will do a quick Electro attack that temporarily grants you a sigil that increases Razor’s energy recharge rate. He can have three of these, with new ones replacing the oldest sigil. Holding the attack unleashes a devastating lightning storm that clears all of Razor’s sigils and converts them immediately into Energy. Elemental Burst: Lightning Fang possesses Razor with the spirit of a wolf, letting him rapidly claw opponents to deal big Electro damage while also becoming immune to Electro attacks.
Razor is a beast, but only if you use his skills correctly. You’ll want to always have three sigils on the go and then use them all at once to trigger his Elemental Burst that much quicker. While he’s using Lightning Fang, you’ll be able to do excellent damage to a single enemy target. The only issue is that Razor doesn’t play well with other characters, making it hard to set up big elemental combos.
Elemental Skill: Icy Paws fires cute lil’ paws at enemies that deal Cryo damage. For each paw that hits (you’ll fire more if you hold down the button), Diona gets a shield that scales off of her max HP, with its duration scaling off of how many icy paws hit the target.
Elemental Burst: Signature Mix throws a cocktail that shatters on the ground, creating a large area of effect that deals Cryo damage to enemies within it while continuously regenerating the HP of any allies within the circle.
Diona is a fantastic addition to Genshin Impact and a great healer/utility character for your party. Her shield is extremely powerful and easy to trigger, and her healing effect will keep you in the fight for a long time. Because she’s only a four-star character and relatively easy to get, there’s no reason you shouldn’t add Diona to your party—especially if you want to ditch Barbara or another dedicated healer.
Element: Anemo Weapon: Catalyst Elemental Skill: Astable Anemohypostasis Creation – 6308 is one hell of an ability name. It creates a small wind spirit that sucks enemies towards it and deals Anemo damage. Elemental Burst: Forbidden Creation – Isomer 75/Type II creates an even larger wind spirit that pulls in enemies one at a time and then launches them far away. It’ll also react to other elements it touches, like Pyro.
Ah, Sucrose, why are you ability names so dumb? At least they’re extremely useful. If you’re lacking a good crowd-control character like Venti, Sucrose is the next best bet. She’s extremely good at setting up big combos, and because Anemo characters are so rare, Sucrose is a great addition to most parties.
Element: Pyro Weapon: Claymore Elemental Skill: Sweeping Fervor deals Pyro damage to nearby enemies and gives Xinyan a shield that scales based on how many enemies were hit, up to a max of three. Elemental Burst: Riff Revolution knocks enemies up into the air with physical damage and then triggers Pyro explosions.
Step aside Xiangling, there’s a new A-tier Pyro in town. Though Xinyan still doesn’t compare to Diluc, she’s an extremely powerful DPS character who puts out a consistently great amount of Pyro damage to nearby enemies. Her Elemental Burst also has some nice crowd control, which you can use to tee up some big combos.
Genshin Impact tier list: B tier
Element: Pyro Weapon: Polearm Elemental Skill: Guoba Attack summons Xiangling’s magic panda who breathes fire on enemies several times over a few seconds. Elemental Burst: Pyronado summons a spinning polearm wreathed in flames that circles Xiangling dealing huge Pyro damage.
Xiangling is a fantastic Pyro DPS beaten only by Diluc. Her Elemental Burst can quickly cover the entire battlefield in flames and her rapid polearm attacks are vicious. The only downside is that Guoba Attack will take some positioning to use effectively. The panda will always turn to attack nearby enemies, but it’s still easy to throw it the wrong way or to have the action move beyond its reach.
Element: Hydro Weapon: Sword Elemental Skill: Fatal Rainscreen conjures several swords that surround Xingqiu. Each time he takes damage, one of the swords breaks and negates a hefty chunk of it. Elemental Burst: Raincutter creates even more swords and also makes them attack alongside you. They’ll automatically replenish when broken, too, providing some nice damage mitigation.
At the risk of repeating myself, here, defensive characters just can’t compete with offensive characters. For the most part, Xingqiue’s abilities just shave off a chunk of the damage he takes while fighting. But here’s a better idea: Don’t get hit.
Element: Anemo (wind) Weapon: Sword Elemental Skill: Palm Vortex pulls enemies in and then launches them backwards, dealing Anemo damage. Elemental Burst: Gust Surge conjures a tornado that sweeps forward, sucking up all enemies and dealing Anemo damage. It can be combined with other elements like Pyro to deal even more damage.
This is your main character when aligned with Anemo (which can be done at Statues of the Seven found in Mondstadt). You’ll start the game with these Anemo abilities and they’ll be pretty damn useful for a long time until you get access to better Anemo characters. But until that day comes, Traveller will be extremely useful for teeing up big damage combos.
Element: Cryo Weapon: Claymore Elemental Skill: Chonghua’s Layered Frost causes Chongyun to strike the ground, creating a large frost field that imbues regular attacks with Cryo damage. Elemental Burst: Cloud-parting Star calls forth several giant ice spikes that smashes enemies in a small area and launches them upward.
Like a lot of characters in this tier, Chongyun is a capable fighter who just lacks a certain something that makes him exceptional. He’s a solid fighter who can take a beating, but his Elemental Burst just isn’t that useful. His Elemental Skill, on the other hand, is great at setting up big damage combos or freezing groups of enemies solid. Cast the ability and then use Chongyun’s normal charged attack to hit them and apply the Cryo effect, switch to a Hydro character and use a Hydro ability to freeze entire groups solid. It’s great.
Genshin Impact tier list: C tier
Element: Cryo Weapon: Sword Elemental Skill: Frostgnaw fires off a Cryo blast directly in front of Kaeya. Elemental Burst: Glacial Waltz surrounds Kaeya with three rotating icicles, damaging enemies caught in their path.
Another one of the freebie characters, Kaeya just isn’t that useful. Neither of his abilities do much to help the rest of your party, so you’ll quickly replace him.
Element: Electro Weapon: Catalyst Elemental Skill: Violet Arc can be quickly pressed to fire a Electro orb that chases and zaps enemies, or you can hold it to charge up an enormous lightning storm that deals big Electro damage around Lisa. Elemental Burst: Lightning Rose summons a floating lamp that zaps any enemy who gets close.
Like Kaeya, Lisa is another free character who will be replaced as soon as you have someone better. Her Electro abilities are powerful, but her Elemental Skill has to be charged up to be useful, leaving her extremely vulnerable. Otherwise her regular attack damage is unimpressive.
Element: Geo Weapon: Sword Elemental Skill: Starfell Sword calls forth a chunk of earth that erupts upwards dealing Geo damage. It sticks around for a while, so you can climb on it or use it to block enemy attacks. Elemental Burst: Wake of Earth unleashes a shockwave of crystals that knock enemies back and then solidify at the outer rim of the area of effect, which can block attacks or obstruct enemies.
Once you get to Liyue, you can change your main character’s elemental affinity to Geo. It’s not really worth it, though, as neither of these abilities synergizes well with other elements. You still do respectable damage, though, and your Elemental Burst is great at getting some distance between you and your enemies. Starfell Sword is also necessary to complete several puzzles out in the open world, so you’ll be swapping to this version of the Traveller fairly often anyway.
Element: Electro Weapon: Claymore Elemental Skill: Tidecaller, if pressed, performs a quick Electro slash. If held, Beido uses her claymore as a shield. Each time an enemy attacks, that damage is stored up and, when released, unleashed against enemies in front of her. Elemental Burst: Stormbreaker decreases damage taken and how easily Beidou can be interrupted. Her attacks cause chain lightning to jump between enemies.
Beidou sounds really cool on paper, but it’s surprisingly hard to use her Elemental Skill effectively. Timing the block correctly isn’t easy and enemies don’t always attack reliably enough to make the best use of the skill. You’re better off just using a character whose best defense is a good offense.
Element: Geo Weapon: Catalyst Elemental Skill: Jade Screen summons a giant barrier that blocks ranged attacks. Elemental Burst: Starshatter fires several crystalline projectiles at enemies. If Jade Screen is active, it’ll increase the number of projectiles fired.
Like Beidou, Ningguang suffers in that playing defensively just isn’t really rewarding in Genshin Impact. Her Jade Screen can be extremely useful if there are archers at your flank, but that’s situational and staying on the move tends to work just as well. Starshatter is cool, though.
Element: Geo Weapon: Claymore Elemental Skill: Breastplate encases Noelle in armor that absorbs damage and deals a small amount of Geo damage to enemies. When Noelle attacks while armored, she also has a small chance to restore HP to other party members. Elemental Burst: Sweeping Time empowers Noelle’s sword with Geo. After an initial, massive slash, Noelle’s regular attacks hit a much larger area, deal Geo damage, and have increased attack damage.
Noelle is fine if a little boring. Her shield feels pretty useless since it’s always better to avoid damage rather than tank it, and the chance to heal others is so small that you’re better off using a proper healer. Her Elemental Burst ability is fun, though.
Genshin Impact tier list: Poo tier
Element: Pyro Weapon: Bow Elemental Skill: Explosive Puppet taunts enemies and when destroyed or when its timer is up, it explodes and does big Pyro damage. Elemental Burst: Fiery Rain calls down a shower of fire arrows.
Poor Amber. No one loves her. Check any tier list and she’s at the bottom. Why? Well, she’s just not useful at all. Early on in the game, she’ll be helpful with a variety of environmental puzzles because her arrows can be used to light distance torches or shoot down floating targets. But once you have another archer, you won’t need her. Both of her abilities are underwhelming, especially Explosive Puppet, which takes ages to kill. There are much faster, more aggressive characters you can use.
Element: Geo Weapon: Polearm Elemental Skill: Tapping Dominus Lapidis causes a stone stele to erupt from the ground, dealing constant AoE Geo damage. Holding it causes all nearby Geo-aligned objects (like ore) to expode, giving Zhongli a shield and dealing even more AoE Geo damage. Elemental Burst: Planet Befall calls down a Geo meteor that deals a massive amount of AoE Geo damage and immobilizes enemies as if they were frozen.
Oh Zhongli, you were so powerful in the beta. What happened? You came out on live servers and are pretty much worthless, which sucks because you’re also a five-star character. In order to make Zhongli useful, you need to level up his Constellation to level 6, which requires getting six copies of Zhongli—easily worth thousands of dollars unless you’re incredibly lucky. So lucky, in fact, probably have better odds of winning the real lottery. He needs a buff and bad.
Steven enjoys nothing more than a long grind, which is precisely why his specialty is on investigative feature reporting on China’s PC games scene, weird stories that upset his parents, and MMOs. He’s Canadian but can’t ice skate. Embarrassing.
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