In Genshin Impact, characters are everything. Each of the 24 currently available characters has unique elemental skills, weapons, and passive bonuses to activities like cooking and mining. While you’ll get a few to start, most will be earned through Genshin Impact’s loot boxes, called Wishes (which you can read about here).
But how do you know if a character you just got is an MVP or a total dud? That’s where this guide comes in. Below, you’ll find a quick overview of each character and their Normal abilities categorized into a handy tier list. Characters are grouped and assigned a letter grade based on how useful they are in combat and while exploring the open world, starting with the most valuable characters in the S-tier rank. If you’re aiming to have the best party possible, then you should follow this guide closely, or, if you just want to see how your favorite characters are ranked so you can tell me that I’m wrong about them in the comments, check out the condensed tier list above.
Genshin Impact characters tier list
Element: Anemo (wind)
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.
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.
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.
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: Anemo (wind)
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
Element: Ameno (wind)
Elemental Skill: Lemniscatic Wind Cycling makes Xiao dash forward, damaging enemies in his path. Can be used twice in succession and while in midair.
Elemental Burst: Bane of All Evil turns Xaio into a monster, increasing his attack range and converting normal attack damage into Anemo damage. Staying in this form constantly drains Xaio’s HP, though.
Xaio has some great mobility that’s useful when exploring, but he’s outmatched by other DPS characters. He’s still a beast, though, especially when using his Elemental Burst—you’ll want to have a healer in your party who can top him up afterward so that he doesn’t become a liability.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you don’t have a better Pyro character like Xiangling or Diluc, Klee is a pretty decent stand-in. Her regular attacks are weak, but both of her abilities can do a lot of damage to a large number of enemies all at once. Other than that, she’s pretty unremarkable.
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.
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. Otherwise, Bennett is just an average fighter.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 somewhat useful, but other Anemo characters are much better at pulling enemies into a confined space and then launching them for big damage.
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.
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.
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.