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The best Genshin Impact characters

Genshin Impact characters Fischl, Mona, Xinyan, and Kazuha
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Explore The Golden Apple with these Genshin Impact 2.8 guides

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Genshin Impact 2.8 (opens in new tab): What you need to know
Genshin Impact Phantasmal Conches (opens in new tab): Sea shells
Genshin Impact Heizou build (opens in new tab): Brawling detective
Genshin Impact Klee build (opens in new tab): Little red bomber
Genshin Impact Kazuha build (opens in new tab): Anemo ronin

The best Genshin Impact characters are those that you choose. Seriously, it's a game all about picking companions that you like and investing time and effort building them with strong weapons and artifacts. Building a character in Genshin is never a minor thing, especially if you get into the nitty gritty of artifact farming and either wishing for five-star weapons, or getting the best no-spend alternative you can through quests.

That said, it's handy to know what each character's strength is, especially if you're just starting out. There are a lot of characters now and new ones are arriving all the time, like Heizou in Genshin Impact 2.8. If you know how characters compare to each other in terms of strength and versatility, it makes creating a decent party that little bit simpler, especially as you're never going to have every single character in the game. Unless you bankrupt yourself that is.

In this Genshin Impact characters list, I'll go through every potential party member in the game, rank them, and talk a little bit about what makes each of them unique. Lower down I'll also explain about upcoming characters, and who you can grab for free simply by completing various quests.

Here are the best Genshin Impact characters

TierCharacters
SGanyu, Hu Tao, Raiden Shogun, Venti, Ayato, Arataki Itto, Bennett, Xingqiu, Zhongli, Albedo, Ayaka, Jean, Eula, Kazuha, Heizou
AYae Miko, Shenhe, Yun Jin, Gorou, Klee, Diluc, Kokomi, Yoimiya, Aloy, Yanfei, Mona, Tartaglia, Xiao, Diona, Sucrose, Keqing, Ningguang, Razor, Fischl, Noelle, Xiangling, Kuki
BThoma, Aloy, Barbara, Sara, Sayu, Beidou, Chongyun, Kaeya, Rosaria, Qiqi, Xinyan
CLisa, Traveller (Electro, Anemo and Geo), Amber

Genshin Impact tier list

S-tier

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Heizou
The first Anemo catalyst-user in Genshin Impact quite literally punches above his weight, using the power of the wind to beat the hell out of enemies, and infusing elements to cause explosions with his Windmuster Kick. Like Bennett or Xingqiu, Heizou is a four-star that really provides five-star value.

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Yelan
This five-star Hydro bow-wielder is effectively the closest thing Teyvat has to a secret agent, running around wrapping up evil-doers with her Lingering Lifelines. Yelan truly shines as a sub-DPS. Her Exquisite Throw is basically a better version of Xingqiu's Raincutter burst, and can combo with other characters to do some serious damage.

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Ayato (opens in new tab)
The head of the Kamisato clan is a strong damage-dealer, due in large part to his speedy Shunsuiken Hydro attacks, and the Namisen effect that buffs them. When you also take into account the normal attack buff from his Suiyuu burst, and his energy regen passive, you have a pretty self-sufficient DPS character.

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Venti (opens in new tab)
This tone-deaf bard is one of the most powerful Anemo characters in-game, using his Elemental Burst to summon an AoE hurricane that sucks in enemies and absorbs other elements to trigger Swirl. This makes Venti a versatile support for most damage-dealing characters. Also he levitates, which is cool.

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Ganyu (opens in new tab)
This Cryo archer is not only one the best DPS characters for that element, but one of the best damage dealers in Genshin. Her greatest strength are her charged Frostflake Arrows that explode and cause AoE Cryo damage, making her fantastic at freezing enemies. Similar to Shenhe, she can also boost Cryo damage with her burst, making them a fearsome duo.

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Arataki Itto (opens in new tab)
Itto is a defense-scaling damage-dealer who gains stacks of Superlative Superstrength that he uses to perform powerful Arataki Kesagiri charged attacks. The Raging Oni King state from his burst strengthens these even further, and grants him Geo infusion similar to Noelle's Sweeping Time.

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Albedo (opens in new tab)
This Alchemist’s strength lies in his Elemental Skill: Solar Isotoma. This ability provides a consistent source of AoE Geo damage, a fast cooldown, and produces elemental particles to fuel other abilities. It also creates a raised platform that your characters can use for plunge attacks, or to rain destruction from—no wonder Klee likes him so much.

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Raiden Shogun (opens in new tab)
Is anyone truly surprised that the Electro Archon turned out to be the ultimate battery? When other character's use their elemental bursts, it makes Raiden's more powerful, but when she uses her own burst, it also recharges everyone elses. Considering that her passives also mean she scales with Energy Recharge, it creates a glorious never-ending cycle of burst feeding into burst.


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Hu Tao (opens in new tab)
Wansheng's polearm-wielding Funeral Director, Hu Tao, hits like a truck on fire. She deals massive Pyro damage with her Elemental Skill and passive, but her burst, Spirit Soother, also inflicts AoE Pyro damage and heals her when it hits.

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Bennett (opens in new tab)
A happy-go-lucky adventurer with an unlucky past, Bennett is a fantastic four-star support character, using his Elemental Burst for healing, a decent attack buff, and Pyro infusion after unlocking Constellation 6. He is especially well paired with Pyro DPS characters like Diluc or Klee due to that 25% attack boost from Elemental Resonance.


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Ayaka (opens in new tab)
A noble yet lonely princess of the Kamisato clan, Ayaka's power lies in her ability to move quickly between opponents using Senho sprint, freezing them, and dealing massive Cryo damage. She is especially well paired with Xingqui for constant Freeze reactions. If you're struggling to find her character ascension matierial, be sure to see this Sakura Bloom locations (opens in new tab) guide.


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Xingqiu
Another excellent support character, this bookish four-star swordsman summons damage-reducing swords that heal, and his Elemental Burst follows up attacks with rain swords that inflict Hydro damage. He pairs well with Electro or Pyro damage dealers, allowing for plenty of Vaporize and Electro-Charged reactions.

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Zhongli (opens in new tab)
As the Geo Archon, Zhongli is understandably a bit of a rock. His fortifying shields are the best in the game and he gains increased damage based on max HP. His Stone Steles also resonate with other Geo constructs causing damage. A good pairing for Ningguang's Jade Screen ability, Albedo’s Solar Isotoma, or even Itto's bull, Ushi.

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Jean
The Dandelion Knight is incredibly versatile, and that's what makes her such a strong character. Firstly, her healing is based on her attack stat, meaning she can be a good support and sub-DPS rolled into one. Her elemental skill can also be used to to gather enemies together and blast them off ledges, while giving her some hefty energy recharge.

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Eula (opens in new tab)
As the highest physical DPS character in Genshin, Eula is very strong. But where other characters provide elemental AoE damage, Eula's powerful Icetide Vortex and Glacial Illumination abilities cater more to a one-shot playstyle, as she gathers stacks of Grimhearts to boost her damage output.

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Kazuha (opens in new tab)
As with many Anemo characters, Kazuha is at his best when built towards Elemental Mastery, strengthening and facilitating Elemental Absorption and Swirl. Like Xiao he also has an extremely fun playstyle with his Midare Ranzan plunging attacks.

A-tier

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Kuki Shinobu (opens in new tab)
This four-star Electro sword-user and deputy leader of the Arataki gang is pretty versatile. She can heal characters with her Sanctfying Ring, but also apply AoE Electro with her burst. Her Heart's Repose skill also buffs her healing based on elemental mastery, making her great for causing Electro reactions.

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Yae Miko (opens in new tab)
Though planting her Sesshou Sakura right can be a little tricky, this five-star shrine maiden and Kitsune is a great Electro character with some fun synergy between her skill and burst. Once she's planted her Sesshou Sakura, she can use her Tenko Kenshin burst to detonate them, dealing powerful Electro damage in an AoE.

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Shenhe (opens in new tab)
The five-star Cryo exorcist and master of adeptal arts is a useful enabler of mono-Cryo parties, boosting Cryo damage with her Icy Quills. Her main downside is that she isn't especially beginner-friendly, and with a limited number of Icy Quill boosts per character, it can get complicated, especially when stacking AoE Cryo bursts and skills.

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Yun Jin (opens in new tab)
Director of the Yun-Han Opera Troupe, Yun Jin, boosts normal attack damage with her burst, making her a useful support for a variety of parties. She can also deal some parry damage with her skill, similar to Beidou, once you unlock her True to Oneself passive. 

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Gorou (opens in new tab)
This canine general is extremely good at what he does—offering strong banner-based buffs to parties composed primarily of Geo characters. While he's still usable without a Geo party, it's where he really shines as a support character.

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Aloy (opens in new tab)
For a free five-star, Aloy is a reliable DPS character able to quickly deal Cryo damage with her elemental skill and burst. With her Coil stacks mechanic she can also gain Cryo infusion, making her handy for Freeze reactions. Most important of all, she doesn't spook birds, so is the perfect Fowl hunter.

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Kokomi (opens in new tab)
The divine priestess of Sangonomiya Temple is a strong healer in a character roster already filled with strong healers. Her Bake-Kurage jellyfish and Nereid's Ascension help her play a useful support role, providing healing and Hydro-damage, but her Flawless Strategy's 100% decrease in crit rate for a 25% healing bonus does mean she is better as a healer than a damage-dealer.

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Klee (opens in new tab)
Imagine Little Red Riding Hood with WMDs and you won't be far off. Klee is one of the best Pyro DPS characters in Genshin due to the high AoE damage her attacks inflict. Her Elemental Burst, Sparks 'n' Splash is similar to Xingqiu's except inflicting Pyro damage, so much so that if you pair them you can trigger almost continuous Vaporize.

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Diluc (opens in new tab)
While Diluc has been somewhat overshadowed by new characters, he's still one of the best DPS heroes due to his ability to frequently inflict Pyro damage and infuse his claymore with the element. Most of all, Diluc is a straightforward and easy damage-dealer to use.

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Yanfei (opens in new tab)
Known, perhaps unfairly, as a discount Klee, Yanfei can't match the little red bomber for damage, but she can offer a consistent source of ranged Pyro to pop off those Elemental Reactions. Pair her with Xingqiu's burst to Vaporize anything.

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Mona (opens in new tab)
This astrologer is a consistent source of Hydro damage, making her useful for hammering Elemental Reactions. Her Mirror Reflection of Doom skill is great at kiting, and her burst, Stellaris Phantasm, is similar to many Anemo abilities in that it allows you to trap and punish enemies. Also she can sprint on water by becoming water.

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Tartaglia (opens in new tab)
This hybrid bow-and-polearm character is a versatile damage-dealer. Foul Legacy: Raging Tide allows him to switch weapons and his Elemental Burst, Havoc: Obliteration, is a strong Hydro AoE that changes depending on weapon stance. His only real drawback is the lengthy cooldown for switching between stances.

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Xiao (opens in new tab)
One of the best Anemo damage-dealers, not only does Xiao have a cool mask, but his burst is especially powerful. It boosts his jumping ability and lets him spam AoE plunging attacks like a demon pogo stick.

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Diona (opens in new tab)
This feline barmaid and archer is a great support character. She uses her Icy Paws skill to provide shields with high Cryo resistance, and her Signature Mix burst for gradual healing and AoE damage.

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Keqing (opens in new tab)
Alongside Razor, Keqing is one of the best Electro damage-dealers in Genshin. Her fast attack pattern and Stellar Restoration skill allow her to move quickly between opponents, but also infuse her blade with Electro for Elemental Reactions.

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Sucrose
Since her passives boost Elemental Mastery, Sucrose is a good Anemo support character for facilitating and strengthening Elemental Reactions. Her burst, Forbidden Creation - Isomer 75 / Type II is good at absorbing other elements and causing Swirl.

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Ningguang

As a Geo spellcaster, Ningguang constantly creates elemental shields through the Crystalize reaction. Her Jade Screen skill is also very useful, blocking enemy projectiles while allowing your characters to continue to fire through it.

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Razor (opens in new tab)
This wolf boy is Genshin's go-to Electro damage-dealer due in equal parts to his high Physical damage and his ease of use and playstyle. Also because he's a four star, you're far more likely to pull him than you are Keqing.

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Fischl (opens in new tab)
Alongside Oz, her pet raven, Fischl is a very good source of almost constant ranged Electro damage. Like Xiangling's Guoba, Oz keeps firing even if you switch characters, meaning you can hammer those Elemental Reactions.

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Noelle (opens in new tab)
Alongside Zhongli, this four-star maiden knight is Genshin's go-to Geo tank. This is because Noelle's Elemental Skill, Breastplate, provides a healing shield that scales from her defense, and she can gain elemental shields through the Crystalize reaction.

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Xiangling (opens in new tab)
Though this polearm-wielding chef isn't as strong as some DPS characters, her Pyronado and Guoba Attack abilities form a fantastic Pyro toolkit for enabling Elemental Reactions.

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Yoimiya (opens in new tab)
This five-star Pyro archer can be amazing with the right build and when paired with the Raiden Shogun or Fischl, due to her Pyro-infused attacks. She may be a little squishy, but she adds some unique possibilities in terms of ranged Pyro-reaction damage. 

B-tier

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Sara (opens in new tab)
This Tengu archer can be powerful when you activate her Constellations, and the ambush-based attack buffs from her Tengu Juurai are a very cool concept. Still, in actual play they are far more fiddly to use, and this makes Fischl a more consistent Electro archer for your party.

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Thoma (opens in new tab)
While this housekeeper for the Kamisato clan can be pushed towards damage, he's mainly good at one thing: shields. Both Thoma's elemental skill and burst provide Pyro shields that stack, meaning he can offer some pretty wild damage resistance for your party.

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Sayu (opens in new tab)
Genshin Impact's first pint-sized claymore-user is a fun support character. Fuuin Dash turns her into an elemental chariot, running back and forth over enemies while triggering reactions, and her Muji-Muji Daruma can heal and deal Anemo damage. Still, unless you enjoy her somewhat fiddly playstyle, Sucrose is likely a more solid support pick.

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Barbara (opens in new tab)
Mondstadt's first and only idol is a great healer, but she lacks the extra utility and damage of Jean and Bennett. Still, she's very good for a character that Genshin gives you for free after the 'Song of the Dragon and Freedom' quest.

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Beidou (opens in new tab)
Though a solid Electro damage-dealer, this pirate captain is generally considered less preferable to Razor due to her primarily defensive Elemental Skill. However, her burst is very powerful, and she does make her a decent tanky sub-DPS.

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Chongyun
Chongyun is a great Cryo DPS when paired with characters like Bennett and Xingqui for Melt, Freeze, and Shatter reactions, but can be somewhat overshadowed by Genshin's other amazing Cryo characters.

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Kaeya
As a free character you get for completing early story quests, Kaeya will most likely be your source of early game Cryo. But it's hard to recommend investing in him when there are so many stronger Cryo characters (unless you think he's hot, that is).

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Rosaria (opens in new tab)
As you might imagine for a killer nun, Rosaria is all about fast and deadly strikes, buffing crit rate with her passives and attack speed with Constellation 1. She is well paired to further increase the effectiveness of a high damage character like Diluc.

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Qiqi
This zombie herbalist is an incredible healer, and as her talisman-based healing scales on damage, like Jean she can be an effective sub-DPS. This healing can often feel excessive, though, and as a four-star Cryo support, Diona is often preferable in both versatility and rarity.

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Xinyan (opens in new tab)
As a four-star Pyro character, Xinyan is easier to pull than Diluc, but she's actually better as Physical DPS support than her original role of damage-dealer. Her passive '... Now That's Rock 'N' Roll' increases Physical damage by 15% for characters protected by her shield skill. 

C-tier

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Lisa
Though a good source of Electro and useful in some party combos, Lisa's Elemental Skill doesn't stick around after she's switched, making her less effective than other four-stars like Fischl.

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Traveler (Anemo and Geo)
The Traveller is a decent early game character and is relatively strong, but they're outperformed by Genshin's other five-stars in terms of both Anemo and Geo. Genshin is a game about trying new characters, so it's not surprising the first character we get is one of the least-used.

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Amber
Though she's generally considered one of Genshin's weaker archers, Amber does possess one of the game's best decoy abilities: Baron Bunny. She's also a free source of early game Pyro.

New characters

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New Genshin Impact characters

The latest new Genshin Impact character is Shikanoin Heizou, a four-star police detective who uses the power of the wind to kick and punch criminals. Heizou is the first melee catalyst-user in Genshin, and it grants him a really unique playstyle that's far more aggressive than regular catalyst-users.

miHoYo has also revealed three characters that are set to arrive with Sumeru in version 3.0. Tighnari (opens in new tab) and Collei (opens in new tab) are both Dendro bow-users, with the former as a five-star and the latter as a four-star, so they might be the first banner characters of the update.

There is also the Electro four-star, Dori (opens in new tab); a merchant from Sumeru who has a genie that she uses to regenerate energy and health. The approximate release date for Genshin Impact 3.0 is August 24, and though we don't know when the three characters are launching exactly, we do know their abilities. 

How banners work

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What is Pity in Genshin Impact?

To get Genshin Impact characters, you have to use the game's gacha system to 'Wish' on a banner. You use Genshin Impact Primogems to purchase Intertwined Fate or Acquaint Fate that amount to a single wish and can be used individually or in sets of ten for a guaranteed four star hero. 

Different banners feature different characters and boosted pull rates, so if you want a specific character and don't want to spend money, it's better to save up your Primogems and wait for them to be featured. The Genshin Impact pity and soft pity systems are also important to understand:

  • After nine wishes without a four star, the tenth wish is guaranteed to be four star.
  • After 89 wishes without a five star, the 90th is guaranteed to be a five star. From 75 wishes onwards the chance to pull a five-star is increased every wish until it hits 100% on the 90th.
  • After 79 wishes on a weapon banner without a five star, the 80th is guaranteed to be five star. From 65 wishes onwards the chance to pull a five-star is increased every wish until it hits 100% on the 80th.

If you pull someone you already have, they are converted into an item that lets you unlock a Constellation upgrade for your current version of the character.

Free characters

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How to get free characters in Genshin Impact

Genshin Impact also gives you five free characters (and one who is technically free) for completing various story quests and challenges. Here's how to get them and the order they are available in:

  • Amber: Complete the quest "Wind-Riding Knight"
  • Noelle: Use ten of your free starting wishes on the beginner banner
  • Kaeya: Complete the quest "Crash Course"
  • Lisa: Complete the quest "Spark Amongst the Pages"
  • Barbara: Complete the 'Song of the Dragon and Freedom' quest
  • Xiangling: Clear floor three, chamber three in the Spiral Abyss

You can purchase further characters from a rotating pool at Paimon's Bargains with Masterless Starglitter, a resource you accumulate through wishes. It's lesser twin, Masterless Stardust, is also earned through wishes and can be used to buy both kinds of Fate for use in wishing.

It's worth keeping an eye out for free four-star seasonal characters as well, like Fischl in the upcoming Summertime Odyssey event in version 2.8.

Sean Martin

Sean's first PC games were Full Throttle and Total Annihilation and his taste has stayed much the same since. When not scouring games for secrets or bashing his head against puzzles, you'll find him revisiting old Total War campaigns, agonizing over his Destiny 2 fit, or still trying to finish the Horus Heresy. Sean has also written for EDGE, Eurogamer, PCGamesN, Wireframe, EGMNOW, and Inverse.