Mona is traditionally seen as a support. And she’s great at it, don’t get me wrong. Her ability to apply water 4 times with her E (Mirror Reflection of Doom) and her ultimate popping for huge damage and a DMG bonus for your team are all great supportive qualities. But her DPS capabilities are absolutely through the roof if you are building around her correctly.
DPS Mona has several key strengths:
Her charge attack is an incredibly potent tool. Very importantly, it hits as a single AoE nuke (as opposed to, say, a flurry of attacks which is seen in most other charge attacks). This allows her to be one of, if not the best abusers of vaporize in the game – arguably the best scaling elemental reaction along with melt.
Her charge attack grants her extreme consistent AoE damage at a fantastic range.
Her E allows for easy grouping of enemies and self-peel. This taunt even works on Elite mobs. This makes DPS Mona extremely safe.
DPS Mona also has some key weaknesses:
Her charge attack spam (the highest DPS output rotation for Mona) is extremely stamina-hungry. Her charge attacks cost 50 stamina, thus depleting your stamina bar in about 5 attacks (you do regenerate a bit of stamina between charge attacks). This weakness will almost certainly become less of an issue as the months go by and we further increase our stamina pool with the new regions/ anemoculus-equivalents.
Her dodge/tap-sprint is a bit clunky at times. It does not travel nearly as far as many other dodges, it cannot be cancelled mid-way through, it cannot be used to cancel into other attacks, and swapping directions is not possible until the dodge animation has finished. This is something to get used to and becomes pretty easy to deal with in time. But it makes positioning as Mona all the more important.
KEY CONSIDERATIONS MOVING FORWARD:
DPS Mona will absolutely be at her strongest in a vaporize team comp which enables her to constantly proc charge attacks on fire-afflicted enemies. Xiangling and Bennet are excellent for this task. Even Amber is alright. I wouldn’t really suggest wasting Diluc as a mere enabler but there is definitely something satisfying about relegating him to fire-fodder for Mona.
Mona’s ideal damage rotation for the purpose of this guide will be Burst —> 4 Charge Attacks on Fire-afflicted enemies. 4 Charge attacks is what you have time for within Mona’s omen buff duration. It is also the number of times Xiangling’s Guoba can afflict an enemy with fire. We will not be considering the vaporize burst trick (although you can check out a great post explaining the trick here: https://www.reddit.com/r/Genshin_Impact/comments/jhl3pr/mona_nuke_and_the_two_ways_to_do_it/).
The damage formula we’ll be using for the above consideration is: Burst + 4 Charge Attacks Damage on Fire-afflicted Unit = (Burst Damage ATK Ratio) + ((Charge Attack Damage Ratio) (Base ATK(1 + Sum of ATK% Bonuses) + Flat Attack Bonuses) (1 + Sum of DMG% Bonuses including omen) (1 + (Crit Rate * Crit DMG))(2(1 + 0.00000004(EM)3 – 0.00011561(EM)2 + 0.19487198(EM) + 0.07024967))). Feel free to punch that into an online calculator if you want to see it formatted more nicely. (The Elemental Mastery Growth Curve is given here and comes from this great post)
This is a guide for DPS Mona. Not support Mona. The following artifact recommendations will be made on the assumption that your Mona is taking the field the majority of the time and dolling out her charge attacks as constant DPS. This is NOT a guide for support Mona or any variant which involves her just dropping her E/Burst and swapping out. There are several guides for that already.
BEST-IN-SLOT ARTIFACT SET, MAIN STATS, AND WEAPONS
Artifact tl;dr: Wanderer’s Troupe is the best-in-slot artifact set for DPS Mona. The main rolls should be ATK% and Hydro Damage Bonus% if you’re not giving that many ATK buffs to Mona (Ex.. no Thrilling Tales of Dragon Seekers, Bennet, Food, or other external buffs). If you are buffing Mona externally (mostly through the aforementioned methods), then crit rate will be the best main roll on your circlet.**
Weapon tl;dr: Sacred Winds 5 star catalyst offers the highest potential damage with its time-stacking damage amplification effect, peaking at 16 seconds. However, Skyward Atlas offers damage that is only slightly lower and also boasts a great effect that deals 720% ATK Physical Damage over 15 seconds (on a 30s cooldown). Due to DPS Mona’s reliance on teammates to enable vaporize and her stamina consumption, this makes Skyward Atlas a better overall choice. **
Results from this spreadsheet show that:
Itemizing for double ATK% and Hydro DMG Bonus% yields anywhere from a 5% to 9% bonus over Crit Rate, Hydro Damage, ATK% or double ATK%, Crit rate main stat combinations.
Even highly commital crit builds – the supposed “late game stat” of choice for many characters, is suboptimal on Mona in many situations. A peak crit build boasting 62.3% Crit Rate and 112.6% Crit Damage still lost (by nearly 10%) to a no-crit investment double ATK%, Hydro Damage% main stat setup.
ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS, COMMENTS, AND AVENUES OF IMPROVEMENT:
The calculations for optimal main stats were done without consideration of external buffs to Mona. These could include buffs from Bennet Burst, Food, Sucrose, Thrilling Tales, etc. Due to the diminishing returns of any given damage buff type, these could heavily swing certain stats to be more favourable. The stat most heavily affected by this would likely be crit rate and crit DMG simply due to the vast majority of damage buffs in the game targetting attack, elemental mastery, and other non-crit stats.
Noblesse Oblige is often thought to be Mona’s best-in-slot artifact set. This is not the case for DPS Mona. Once Mona uses 3 or more charge attacks for each time she uses her Burst, she will already have gained more value from Wanderer’s Troupe compared to Noblesse Oblige. On the other hand, Noblesse Oblige is likely the best choice for a support Mona who seldom charge attacks and instead, focuses on her E and Burst to support her team.
Sub stats are a huge part of any build and need to be more thoroughly explored. Due to the diminishing returns of ATK%, crit rate and crit dmg are likely the best substats to roll for, especially in a team that buffs Mona to any significant degree.
Xiangling is likely the best partner for DPS Mona. Guoba afflicts enemies with fire at nearly the same rate that Mona can charge attack, allowing for great DPS and quick Vaporize combos (4 total). Bennet is also a great addition to a DPS Mona teamcomp. Alongside Xiangling, you gain fire resonance and also his ultimate which offers a huge bonus to Mona’s attack. In this case, crit rate and crit dmg will almost certainly be the prioritized stats for DPS Mona.
Thank you for reading. I’m very open to discussing any questions or critiques of this sweaty gamer’s study.