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The best Genshin Impact characters

Genshin Impact tier list
(Image credit: MiHoYo)

With nearly 35 Genshin Impact characters to choose from—as of the 1.5 update—you may not find it easy to narrow down the best fighters for your team, especially if you're new to the game. Each update introduces two new characters, with the latest additions being Yanfei and Eula, four-star and five-star heroes, respectively. We already have an idea of what to expect from Genshin Impact 1.6's new additions too, courtesy of some detailed leaks.

While miHoYo tends to keep skills and elements pretty balanced, there are some characters that outshine others, and it's those you should aim for. Luckily, this guide highlights each hero's strengths and weaknesses to help you narrow down your search and get the best possible team. Here's our Genshin Impact character tier list, based on the most recent version of the game.

When will there be new Genshin Impact characters?

The next round of characters will arrive in the upcoming 1.6 update. At this point, Kazuha is the only character I’m confident will appear in the new update. The five-star Cryo character Ayaka may be slated for the 1.6 update, and some rumors point to miHoYo adding a character named Yoimiya as well. I think that’s more likely for 1.7, though. She's supposed to be Ayaka’s shrine maiden, and pairing a new four star and new five star character in update banners tends to be miHoYo’s pattern.

Beyond that, there are two other characters presumed to be in the works for some undisclosed point in the future: Baizhu and Yaoyao. Both are Dendro characters, and while neither has entered beta testing as yet, some believe they might be scheduled for October 2021 during Genshin Impact’s second Moonchase Festival.

(Image credit: miHoYo)

How to get Genshin Impact characters

You have a few options, though almost all of them revolve around trying your luck with the game’s gacha system. Genshin Impact gives you five free characters, or six if you include the Traveler. They are:

  • Amber: Story progression
  • Kaeya: Story progression
  • Lisa: Story progression
  • Barbara: Clear 'Song of the Dragon and Freedom' quest
  • Xiangling: Clear floor three, chamber three in the Spiral Abyss
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(Image credit: MiHoYo)

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All other characters must be obtained through the game's Wish system. Wishes cost Intertwined Fates or Acquaint Fates, each of which costs 160 Genshin Impact Primogems. Intertwined Fates are used for event character banners and also for weapon banners called Epitome Invocations. You’ll use Acquaint Fates for the Wanderlust Invocation, which is Genshin’s catch-all banner where you have a small chance of obtaining nearly any character. 

Genshin has a few systems in place to help ensure you obtain at least a few good characters. One is the pity system, which has two layers:

  • After nine consecutive Wishes without a four star character or weapon, you’ll get one on the tenth wish.
  • After 99 consecutive Wishes without a five star character or weapon, you’ll get one on the 100th Wish.

Special character banners also feature increased drop rates for the characters headlining that banner. Also, if you receive a duplicate character, the game turns them into a special item that unlocks one of that character’s Constellations.

Each Wish earns you some Masterless Stardust. You can exchange Stardust in Paimon’s Bargains for a limited number of Intertwined and Acquaint Fates each month. Duplicate character rolls earn you Masterless Starglitter. Paimon’s Bargains included two characters every month for which you can exchange Starglitter, though the cost is rather high.

Genshin Impact tier list: Full overview

S-tier

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

Genshin Impact S-tier characters 

Venti
Venti’s mobility and range give him an extra edge as the best Genshin Impact character. His base attack is low, but he has a powerful Elemental Skill and Burst that can launch or pull enemies, and deal heavy Anemo damage. He excels as both support and DPS.

Eula
Eula’s defense-increasing skill complements her high attack, but she also reduces enemy defense and Cryo resistance and deals massive damage with her Burst. 

Keqing
Keqing’s Elemental Skill throws an Electro blade and lets her warp to its location, while the Burst sets off multiple Electro explosions that deal heavy damage. 

Diluc
Diluc’s tremendously powerful Elemental Burst takes less energy to unleash than most, and his skill can be used several times without cooldown. The only downside is the slow claymore.

Qiqi
Qiqi should have a place on any team. Both elemental abilities deliver continuous Cryo damage and heal the active character, and Qiqi’s high defense mean she can stay in the fray indefinitely.

(Image credit: miHoYo)

Xiao
Xiao’s strong attack makes him deadly, though his Elemental Burst must be used with caution. It increases his attack, but also drains Xiao’s health while active.

Ganyu
Ganyu’s elemental abilities distract foes and keep her away from harm, leaving her free to rain down heavy Cryo damage.

Tartaglia
Tartaglia can switch between ranged and melee, dealing heavy Hydro damage to many enemies at once to make up for his low base attack.

Hu Tao
Hu Tao revolves around repeatedly using her Elemental Skill and Burst to raise attack and restore HP in a cycle of continuous Pyro damage, making her good for more advanced players.

Zhongli
Zhongli’s biggest strength is his Elemental Skill, a multi-layered attack that sets up Stone Steles to deal Geo damage, create a shield, then destroy the Steles to deal additional damage. 

Klee
Klee’s versatile elemental abilities deal reliably heavy Pyro damage in bursts, but her low defense makes her Genshin’s glass cannon. Use with caution.

A-tier

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Genshin Impact A-tier characters

Noelle
You’ll need Noelle’s first constellation to get the most from the maid knight. It unlocks a healing effect that activates when you use her skill shield and heals the entire party. Noelle’s burst charges quickly and lets her deal heavy damage, and she’s the most reliable way to trigger Crystalize during boss fights.

Razor
Razor’s elemental abilities that both deal heavy Electro damage and recharge his energy with each attack make up for low attack.

Albedo
Albedo is the closest to a tank as you’ll get in Genshin, with elemental abilities dealing high Geo damage based on his equally high defense.

Rosaria
Rosaria is like a less-potent Ganyu, with a movement-based Elemental Skill and a Burst that delivers continuous Cryo damage. Low attack power keeps her from being as useful, though.

Mona
Mona’s versatile skill is perfect for distracting mobs and large enemies, though her walk-on-water burst is less than useful.

(Image credit: miHoYo)

Diona
Diona is a solid all-around character. She deals decent damage and high Cryo damage, but also protects against Cryo and heals the party with her skill and burst.

Fischl
Fischl’s real power only becomes apparent after unlocking at least her first constellation, which deals some of her skill damage with every normal attack.

Jean
Jean is a master of manipulating enemy positions with Anemo, but low attack and a healing skill tied to her burst means she’s best used as a support character.

Yanfei
Yanfei is at her best after she's used her burst. It increases her charged damage and keeps her supplied in Scarlet Seals, which let Yanfei launch more charged attacks than normal.

Xiangling
Xiangling’s auto-targeting, fire-breathing bear and swirling spear more than make up for her low attack, especially if you’re lucky enough to unlock her constellations.

B-tier

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Genshin Impact B-tier characters

Traveler (Anemo)
The Traveler’s default state isn’t the strongest, thanks to herpainfully low attack. Their Elemental Skill is perfect for dealing high damage and triggering reactions, however, and the Elemental Burst can push back mobs. You’ll also have an easier time activating their constellations just by advancing the story.

Bennett
Bennett has low attack, but he’s best as a support character anyway. His skill inflicts Pyro, and his burst increases health or attack for incoming characters depending on their HP.

Xinyan
Xinyan’s damage-dealing shield skill and explosive burst should make her an A-tier character, but low attack keeps Xinyan from realizing her potential. 

Sucrose
Sucrose is the bargain Venti, with similar Anemo abilities but lower attack. She’s handy for setting up Elemental Reactions, though.

Chongyun
Chongyun has average stats and decent elemental abilities, but he’s mainly useful teams with polearm users or other claymore wielders.

Barbara
Barbara is Genshin’s best healer, but that’s all she’s good for. Unless you play co-op a lot, spend your level-up materials on a character who can heal and attack.

Xingqiu
Xingqiu is a difficult one to rank. His damage-reduction skill is invaluable, but you can’t rely on it often since the cooldown timer is so long.

Ningguang

Ningguang can be a strong attacker and defender if you use her Jade Screen to boost Geo attacks and unleash her burst, yet low attack still holds her back.

C-tier

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Genshin Impact C-tier characters

Lisa
Lisa is good for setting up reactions and can be strong if you invest some into her weapon and artifacts. However a slow skill charge time and low base attack mean she’s best for the early game when you have fewer characters. Save her for expeditions after that.

Kaeya
Like Lisa, Kaeya is a solid choice in the early game. However, low attack and short-range elemental abilities mean he quickly outstays his usefulness.

Traveler (Geo)
The Geo Traveler retains the same low stats, but replaces useful Anemo skills with clunky, limited Geo AoE skills. Definitely not the best choice if you keep your main character around.

Trash tier

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Genshin Impact characters: Trash tier

Amber
Amber is an introduction for how to use other characters. Her skill distracts foes, but deals little damage, while her burst is a plain AoE attack. She’s handy for setting shields and overgrowth on fire early on, but should be left behind as soon as you have another Pyro character.

Beidou
Beidou suffers from low attack and a lackluster burst, despite the edge her shield skill gives her when dealing with mobs—if you can get it to work.