Genshin Impact General Character/Combat Systems/Party Composition Overview/Guide By: Aleie

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Preface

I’ll be going over what makes a character (char) good, different systems of the game that involves combat, and ultimately whether a party composition (comp) is “good”.

There’re a lot of aspects/variables to comps in GI.

I’ll be occasionally drawing comparisons of Genshin Impact (GI) between:

  • Honkai Impact 3rd (HI3), miHoYo’s previous game with “similar” game play; playing since global release back in March 2018 F2P

  • League of Legends (LoL), playing since Season 1 back in 2010; I only really watch LEC/LCK these days; will probably watch C9 Perkz

  • etc.

Before I get to comps, I’ll touch upon the different systems that involve combat first. I’ll also talk about things that I think are undervalued/underrated (e.g. Elemental Resonance for Hydro: Soothing Water).

Since this is a gacha game, use who you have and if you really like a char even though they aren’t that “good”, go ahead and put resources into them.

GI currently doesn’t have any PvP aspect (e.g. leader board) that gives extra rewards (e.g. Primogems, etc.) that requires you to have the most top tier chars maxed out. A lot of a char’s strength comes from artifacts. You can currently get by the game’s current end game, Spiral Abyss, with the guaranteed chars the game gives you (e.g. Enviosity on Twitch).

Table of Contents

  1. What Makes a Character Good? (5 mins 7 sec)

    1. Ease of application/execution of abilities/character skills (1 min 34 sec)

    2. Cost of abilities (22 sec)

    3. Numbers (2 mins 55 sec)

  2. Character Weapon Type (56 sec)

  3. Element Overview (48 sec)

    1. Special Consideration for Geo (32 sec)

  4. Elemental Resonance (7 mins 57 sec)

    1. Elemental Resonance: Soothing Water, Really Good (7 mins 22 sec)

      1. Xingqiu (Taking Advantage of Soothing Water) (3 mins 35 sec)

      2. Mona (48 sec)

  5. Elemental Debuffs & Reactions (23 sec)

  6. Heals vs Shields vs Damage Reduction (1 min 58 sec)

  7. Party Compositions (9 mins)

    1. Spiral Abyss (25 sec)

    2. Character Switch Mechanic (22 sec)

    3. Optimizing Cooldowns (and Energy) (1 min 56 sec)

    4. Having Elemental Resonance vs More Elemental Reactions (2 mins 5 sec)

    5. What You Need in a Party (31 sec)

    6. The Dilemma of One Main DPS vs Two Main DPS (1 min 38 sec)

    7. The Optimal Party Composition (1 min 25 sec)

    8. Artifacts (12 sec)

  8. TL;DR (1 min 17 sec)

Total of 27 min 32 sec assuming 225 WPM.

What makes a Character Good?

What makes a char good (similar in LoL) boils down to three things:

I’ll be referring to char combat talents (normal/charged attacks, Elemental Skills/Bursts) and passive talents with the word ‘ability’.

Ease of application/execution of abilities/character skills

Ease of application of abilities means how easy is it to apply/do what ability intends to do. Ease of application of abilities typically involve e.g. missile speed, size of ability, single/multi-target, etc..

An ability might have the potential to do a lot of damage (DMG) and only DMG (backed by high numbers), but if the ability’s ease of application is really low (i.e. it’s really hard to actually apply that DMG), then that skill is generally going to be “worse”.

An example from Pokémon is one-hit knockout (KO) moves (Fissure, Horn Drill, Guillotine and Sheer Cold). They can one-hit KO the enemy Pokémon, but they have 30% accuracy, so their ease of application is very low relative to other skills in Pokémon.

One of the best examples currently in GI of ease of application of ability is Venti’s Elemental Burst: Wind’s Grand Ode. It’s really easy to use since it’s area of effect (AoE) is relatively huge, etc..

Note that just because an ability isn’t easy to apply, doesn’t mean it’s bad. If you continue to play a char that has a/some low ease of application abilities and become really good at them, they could become one of your strongest chars.

What I’m talking about are mechanics. How well can you play a char in terms of GI, or in LoL terms, how mechanically proficient are you at a champion.

You can think of mechanical skill as critical rate. The expected DMG output of critical DMG is critical rate % * critical DMG %. Increasing your mechanical skill is like increasing the percent chance of you doing optimal DMG of your char (or champion in LoL). So mechanical skill * char/champion potential = character/champion realized potential.

A classic example of mastering a mechanic in LoL is Riven’s Q animation cancel,. On the same front in GI is Klee’s animation cancel for her normal/charged attacks. Mastering a char/champion can greatly increase the versatility and potentially DMG of said char/champion. You can learn more about Klee’s animation cancelling from JinJinx’s video (I’ve never watched any of his videos except this one for this post):

https://youtu.be/gm0J77–zYI

Cost of abilities

Currently in GI, the cost for Elemental Skills is cooldown (CD), with some chars having a charge system. And for Elemental Bursts, it’s CD and Energy.

If an ability has a relatively low cost compared to what it does, then that ability will be generally better.

Once again, we look at Venti’s Elemental Burst: Wind’s Grand Ode. Wind’s Grand Ode has an Energy Cost of 60. That’s a relatively low cost for what it provides compared to other abilities currently in GI.

Numbers

What everything is built upon: numbers. Ability DMG, ability CDs, ability Energy Costs, AoE size, missile speed, etc..

Higher numbers for positive intents are better than lower numbers for positive intents, and vice versa.

One of the big things the general population of the game (and in LoL) doesn’t look at/ pay more attention to are base stats. Base stats are what makes the char in terms of combat strength and to an extent role (HP, ATK, DEF, e.g. Diluc’s innate CRIT Rate%, Jean’s Healing Bonus%, etc.) because almost everything scales off of them (-5 base AD/base Movement Speed makes a huge difference for anyone that plays LoL). Though in terms of the systems in place in GI, base stats only really matter for your main DMG per second (DPS) char.

Since GI is a gacha game, 5⭐ chars inherently have higher base stats than 4⭐ chars (5⭐chars also have abilities with higher DMG, lower cost and high ease of application. If one or more of these aren’t relatively as good, then the other(s) will be compensated).

But the biggest thing in terms of numbers is the number of things a char can do. Because a comp consists of 4 chars, if the number of things a char can do is high, then you can potentially take out a char that’s dedicated to one of the things and put in another char that provides e.g. more DMG, more utility, etc..

Here comes Bennett. Previously on a certain site, he was rated pretty low on the tier list (I’ll also add that the site’s tier list provides no explanation on their placement besides the tier list and a char’s main role e.g. main DPS, healer, etc.).

But after someone posted Usagi-Sensei’s (known for making Azur Lane tier lists (I don’t play AL) and plays HI3) tier list, Bennett “became” top tier:

https://reddit.com/r/Genshin_Impact/comments/jriwru/cn_usagi_sensei_tier_list_ver_10_includes_main/

The reasons why Bennett’s good:

  • His Elemental Burst: Fantastic Voyage provides good healing and utility thanks to its massive attack (ATK) DMG % bonus to any char in it’s Inspiration Field. It also has a relatively low Energy Cost of 60 for what it provides, and it’s duration is relatively long at 12s compared to it’s CD of 15s

  • Bennett’s Elemental Burst has a high ease of application along with it’s Inspiration Field being relatively big

  • Bennett’s Elemental Skill: Passion Overload also has a relatively low CD of 5s for a tap, so you can generate more Energy

  • Bennett is Pyro, so getting the 2 Pyro Elemental Resonance: Fervent Flames boosts your party’s attack even more

Another example is Jean, who can heal the entire party, easily provides the 4-Piece Bonus of Viridescent Venerer, has a high DMG low CD displacement Elemental Skill: Gale Blade, a knock-up as a charged attack, etc..

Remember that everything’s a balancing act and everything depends on numbers. If Bennett’s base ATK or base health (HP) was abysmal or if his ability ratios were low, he wouldn’t be rated as high.

What makes a char “broken” is the imbalance of the things mentioned above. If a char does relatively huge amounts of DMG compared to every other char in the game at a realtively high ease of application, then the char’s broken. GI’s “brokenness” is in the form of Constellations, where a lot of a char’s power is (currently locked behind gacha).

A recent prime example in LoL is Season 10 World’s patch Ornn. Ornn provided high value utility, with high ease of application and also high DMG while being the premier tank in the game. LS describes Ornn as:

https://reddit.com/r/leagueoflegends/comments/fuugmj/an_accurate_description_of_ornn_by_ls/

One thing to point out is that different chars require different amounts of resources put into them to reach their max potential. This also includes Constellations.

You can describe a char’s strength in general terms, but to truly know testing has to be done against almost every different scenario in the game.

You can read more about DMG and game mechanics here:

https://genshin-impact.fandom.com/wiki/Attributes

From r/KeqingMains:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1FaLYqA7MBow0DNBPUc2b9t_dEBhvRT-vs-l03PW0Wu8/edit#heading=h.yod4at9e188f

Character Weapon Type

You can read about weapons here:

https://genshin-impact.fandom.com/wiki/Weapons

Currently, weapon types don’t really matter in Abyss except that bows can hit weak points.

There’s also claymores that can break through Geo shields and deal extra DMG to frozen enemies.

You might think that different weapon types correlate to different ATK speeds (SPD) (specifically for Fischl (or Xingqiu’s Elemental Burst) because Fischl’s Constellation 6 (C6) scales off the active char’s ATK SPD), but that’s not the case in GI (and HI3). It depends on a char’s attack pattern. In HI3, you have claymore users attack as fast if not faster than katana users. This isn’t inherently “bad”.

You have melee weapons:

Ranged weapons:

All having varying ranges. Same as before, don’t expect chars that hold the same weapon type to have the same range/pattern (e.g. Klee’s auto attacks, Tartaglia’s Elemental Skill: Foul Legacy: Raging Tide). miHoYo likes making unique things that don’t follow the conventions they created, which isn’t inherently “bad”.

One main thing to note are catalysts. Currently, catalyst-wielding chars can only do Elemental DMG (corresponding to their element) for their normal/charged attacks. This can factor into your comp.

Wait till miHoYo creates something that needs high ATK SPD to defeat/clear.

Element Overview

You should already know the current seven elements in GI:

https://genshin-impact.fandom.com/wiki/Elements

One thing to mention is Physical DMG. Physical DMG applies to everything except for elemental shields. While with Elemental DMG, you have to worry about enemy elements. Because of this, you can think of Physical DMG as an element with no reactions.

Special Consideration for Geo

IMO the most interesting element is Geo (currently excluding Dendro because we don’t have enough information on it).

The game is balanced around DMG, especially from elements/Elemental Reactions.

Geo’s Elemental Reaction is:

Crystallize: Absorbs the element and drops a crystal of that same element. The crystal will give an elemental shield. The shield absorbs all types of damage, but it protects more efficiently against the shield’s element.

Because every other Elemental Reaction is an additional source of DMG, miHoYo has to compensate Geo chars by either increasing their base ATK, adding mechanics/conditions that increase DMG while shields are active (e.g. Elemental Resonance: Enduring Rock, Memory of Dust, etc.), etc. to make people want to invest in Geo chars.

Elemental Resonance

Before I talk about Elemental Debuffs & Reactions, I’ll touch upon Elemental Resonance:

https://genshin-impact.fandom.com/wiki/Elemental_Resonance

If you have two or more chars of the same element in a party, your party gets additional buffs.

This is where things get interesting.

Currently, since parties are a maximum of 4, you can have at max two Elemental Resonances at once. But having two chars of the same elements in your party means you’re losing at max three possible Elemental Reactions assuming all other chars in your party are different elements. In return, you get increased energy from Elemental Reactions created by chars of the same element (discussed in Party Compositions).

Elemental Resonance has trade-offs, and those trade-offs can only be realised by testing your comp against different scenarios.

Elemental Resonance: Soothing Water, Really Good

I’d like to discuss is the two Hydro Elemental Resonance: Soothing Water:

Affected by Pyro for 40% less time. Increases incoming healing by 30%.

Almost everyone likes to bash on “increased incoming healing by 30%” thinking it’s bad relative to every other Elemental Resonance.

IMO it’s insane how good it is.

Currently, the only other way to get increased incoming healing is from the 4-Piece Bonus of Maiden Beloved:

Using an Elemental Skill or Elemental Burst increase healing received by all party member by 20% for 10s.”

While Soothing Water is 30% increased incoming healing all the time.

Remember that Healing Bonus % and Character Healing Effectiveness % only affects outgoing healing. So with increased incoming healing, you can also have chars that have self healing benefit off of Soothing Water (e.g. The Black Sword, Aquila Favonia and to an extent Prototype Malice, Qiqi’s Fortune-Preserving Talisman).

What this means is that you can run two Hydro chars that aren’t dedicated/utility healers that have some sort of healing in place of:

  • a dedicated healer (typically having an Elemental Skill and Burst that provides healing e.g. Barbara, Qiqi)

  • or possibly a utility char with healing (e.g. Bennett, Jean)

If you’re already running a non-healing Hydro char, you can put in a Hydro char as described above (subbing out one char in the current comp). If you’re running no Hydro chars, you can put in 2 Hydro chars, with one or both as described above (subbing out two chars in the current comp).

Currently, Spiral Abyss requires you to have a healer on both parties (unless you’re a whale, I have no clue how fast you can clear Spiral Abyss without a healer).

More importantly, Spiral Abyss has a timer on all floors besides the Domain Monolith floors (though it also requires you to quickly defeat enemies or control enemy movement/attacks) so you have to do enough DMG.

If you have two Hydro chars with one not being a dedicated healing char and play Spiral Abyss with some attention to avoiding enemy abilities, then you’ll potentially have a better clear time than with a dedicated healer because:

  • Dedicated healers/utility healers typically require a low amount of resources. Give them the 4-Piece Maiden Beloved without caring about substats and you’re good to go

  • The problem is that dedicated healers (even if built) typically have low DMG compared to every other class, so you’re required to get artifacts with amazing substats and enhancements on your main DPS, and artifacts with good substats and enhancements on your secondary DPS/utility chars

If you can replace a dedicated/utility healer with a Hydro char as described above (e,g, Tartaglia + Xingqiu instead of Tartaglia + Barbara), or replace a dedicated/utility healer plus another char with two Hydro chars described above (e.g. sub out one non-main DPS char + Qiqi with Mona + Xingqiu), then I hypothesis you’ll need less amazing artifacts for your chars to clear Spiral Abyss than with a dedicated healer.

Due to the nature of Spiral Abyss, you want to make sure to run the appropriate elements of chars (if you have resources put into them) if you can’t brute force through floors.

Note that any catalyst user can be a pseudo healer because of Prototype Malice:

Using an Elemental Burst regenerates 4 (6 for Rank 5) Energy every 2s for 6s. Additionally, all party members will regenerate 4% (6% for Rank 5) HP every 2s for this duration.

So now I’ll talk about the Hydro chars (there’s currently only 3…) in the game with a form of healing: Xingqiu and Mona (with Prototype Malice).

  • Currently, Xingqiu and Mona are two of the best support DPS chars

  • Tartaglia’s the only other Hydro char in GI, meant to be main DPS or secondary burst DPS

So you’ll either have:

  • Tartaglia (main/secondary DPS) and Xingqiu (support DPS)

  • Tartaglia (main/secondary DPS) and Mona (support DPS)

  • Xingqiu (support DPS) and Mona (support DPS), either can act has healers

Xingqiu (https://genshin-impact.fandom.com/wiki/Xingqiu)

Xingqiu provides healing from his Passive Talent 1: Hydropathic:

When a Rain Sword is shattered or when its duration expires, it regenerates the current character’s HP based on 6% of Xingqiu’s Max HP.

Xingqiu generates 3 Rain Swords (C1 increases the number to 4) from casting his Elemental Skill: Guhua Sword – Fatal Rainscreen (21s CD) and from his Elemental Burst: Guhua Sword – Raincutter (20s CD, 80 Energy).

Note that Xingqiu’s Elemental Burst states that:

Rain Swords remain at the maximum number throughout the ability’s duration.

So while Xingqiu’s Elemental Burst is active, you consistently have it’s DMG reduction (discussed later), but Rain Swords don’t shatter so you only get the heal when his Elemental Burst duration ends.

Here’s the math:

  • Xingqiu’s base HP at 60/70 (7,190 HP)

  • Guaranteed HP he gets from a 5⭐20/20 Flower of Life artifact (4,780 HP)

  • Not including any other source of HP

So…

  • Each Rain Sword heals for 718.2 HP, or 2,154.6 HP if you have them all 3 up

  • Top it off with Soothing Water and it’ll be 2,800.98 HP every 21s (remember that Xingqiu’s Elemental Skill goes on CD the moment he casts it. If you’re able to keep the Rain Swords up for the full 15s, the next cast will be in 6s) from his Elemental Skill

  • 2,800.98 HP every 20s from his Elemental Burst, assuming you’re able to keep up in Energy (since you’ll have another Hydro, you’ll be able to gain more Energy for Xingqiu)

1 Rain Sword3 Rain Swords4 Rain Swords (C1)
Healing (HP)718.22,154.62,872.8
Healing w/ Soothing Water (HP)933.662,800.983,734.64

If you need more healing, you typically run a 4-Piece Bonus Noblesse Oblige, then with any 5⭐ 20/20 Circlet of Logos Healing Bonus % (35.9%) (only taking into account the healing bonus %, rounding numbers down):

1 Rain Sword3 Rain Swords4 Rain Swords (C1)
Healing (HP)9762,9283,904
Healing w/ Soothing Water (HP)1,2683,8065,075.2

Calculate the healing over time by yourself. Want more healing? Go with 2 or 4-Piece Bonus Maiden Beloved. Then there’s Sacrificial Sword as well.

Xingqiu provides a lot of healing for a non-primary healer.

But…

You’ll also have to consider what else his Elemental Skill provides:

More importantly:

What this means is that if you take DMG while Xingqiu’s Rain Swords are active on the current active char, you get additional effective HP:

XingqiuTalent 1Talent 6
DMG Reduction (%)2025
DMG Reduction (%) w/ 20% Hydro DMG Bonus from Passive Talent 2: Blades Amidst Raindrops2429
DMG Reduction (%) w/ 5⭐ 20/20 Goblet of Eonothem Hydro DMG Bonus (46.6%) and the above cell33.32%38.32%

If an instance of DMG is low enough, you heal off being attacked while the Rain Swords are up.

Xingqiu can provide strong healing, strong shielding (you can think of DMG reduction as a form of shield, discussed later) and even more healing with Soothing Water with a medium/high ease of application. With Xingqiu’s utility with his Elemental Burst DMG and how it interacts, he’s a Jack-of-All trades that excels in every aspect (besides displacement utility).

The healer most suitable to be replaced by Xingqiu is Barbara.

  • Barbara’s Elemental Skill: Let the Show Begin constantly makes you Wet (and also enemies) when the heal triggers every 5 seconds for 15 seconds, which could be good (to get rid of Smoldering Flames) but almost always bad (e.g. Frozen, etc.). Xingqiu’s Elemental Skill only applies Wet on activation

  • Barbara’s Elemental Skill has a high CD (32s) and it’s passive healing is low

  • If you need healing, you’ll need Barbara active with her Elemental Skill active, normal/charged attacking and dealing almost no DMG while providing relatively small amounts of healing even at C6 with Maiden Beloved. Xingqiu doesn’t (this is why Qiqi’s so strong, she provides strong healing while inactive)

  • Barbara’s Elemental Burst: Shining Miracle has the same CD (20s) and Energy Cost as Xingqiu (80 Energy). But you’re typically only using it to heal one char at really low HP which is usually your main DPS. If you juggle HP and only use her Elemental Burst when every (other) char is low HP, you lose a lot of DMG. Xingqiu’s Elemental Burst provides albeit less healing and not instant, but more effective HP and a relatively massive DMG increase

Mona

Assuming Mona 60/70 (people with Mona typically max her):

  • 7,246 base HP

  • 60/70 Prototype Malice Rank 1 (30.4% HP)

  • 5⭐ 20/20 Flower of Life artifact (4,780 HP)

(7,246 * 1.304 + 4780) * 0.04 = 569 HP every 2s > 1,707 HP over the 6s duration.

With Soothing Water, 739.7 HP every 2s > 2,219.1 HP over the 6s duration.

With 5⭐ 20/20 Healing Bonus % Circlet of Logos (35.9%),

1,005 HP every 2s > 3,015 for the 6s duration.

Mona’s Elemental Burst: Stellaris Phantasm has a 15s CD and 60 Energy Cost.

You might be able to get by if you also run Maiden Beloved.

From the healing numbers, I wouldn’t recommend Mona as a healer (or any non-healing catalyst-wielding char). But if you don’t have another healer/shielder or if you don’t have the resources, you might be able to make this work.

As for catalyst-wielding support chars, you’ll also be giving up Thrilling Tales of Dragon Slayers, which provides a massive ATK% buff to the char that switches in.

Elemental Debuffs & Reactions

You can read more about Elemental Debuffs and reactions from the following:

https://genshin-impact.fandom.com/wiki/Elements

https://genshin-impact.fandom.com/wiki/Elemental_Reactions

From r/KeqingMains:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1FaLYqA7MBow0DNBPUc2b9t_dEBhvRT-vs-l03PW0Wu8/edit

Remember that some abilities apply an element onto your char (e.g. being Wet from Barbara).

As I mentioned before, having Elemental Resonance in your party has the trade-off of lowering the amount of Elemental Reactions you can make in your party (discussed later).

You’ll have to test your comps against different scenarios.

Heals vs Shields vs Damage Reduction

Another thing to consider are heals, shields and DMG Reduction.

Shields increase the effective HP you have and have a varied range of durations. They prevent DMG and make sure you don’t get one shot by a really strong enemy ability. Shields don’t “stick” i.e. they expire due to their time duration.

Heals recover HP up to the maximum HP a char has. Heals “stick” because there is no time duration on the HP you get from a heal.

Heals and shields are different but serve the same goal: Make you survive if you will be taking DMG.

Currently, miHoYo is making different shields provide additional effects e.g.:

  • Elemental Resonance: Enduring Rock (Increases resistance to interruption. When protected by a shield, increases Attack DMG by 15%)

  • Diona’s Passive Talent 1: Cat’s Tail Secret Menu (Characters shielded by Icy Paws have their Movement SPD increased by 10% and their Stamina Consumption decreased by 10%)

  • Noelle’s Elemental Skill: Breastplate (Summons protective stone armor, dealing Geo DMG to surrounding enemies and creating a shield)

Currently, heals don’t do anything else, which is probably due to balancing because shields are inherently more difficult to use (explained below).

The real difference is in the management of HP.

For healing, it really doesn’t matter when you use a heal because it sticks. So you’ll just heal if a char has low HP. You need to manage your heals’ CDs.

For shields, you have to make sure your shields are up 24/7, or if they aren’t up you don’t take DMG. This is because shields don’t stick. If you do take DMG while a shield is down, you can’t recover the HP loss with a shield (unless there’s an additional effect) so there’s a lot more risk in using shields compared to heals. You have to manage your shield durations along with their CDs.

Another thing to note about shields are that shields don’t stack and only the “biggest” shield active takes precedence (i.e. when DMG is taken, all active shields are dealt that DMG):

https://genshin.mihoyo.com/en/news/detail/6085

Then there’s DMG Reduction. You can think of DMG Reduction as a shield (duration/interaction depends on the ability). The main difference between a shield and DMG Reduction is that shields scale off your char’s stats, while DMG Reduction primarily scales off the enemy’s stats/DMG.

Back to why Xingqiu’s good. He gives a lot of effective HP with his Rain Swords due to it’s DMG Reduction. He doesn’t invest in defensive stats to increase his effective HP strength because DMG Reduction scales off enemies. His Rain Swords’ DMG Reduction has the numbers to back it up.

Party Compositions

Taking everything above into consideration, I’ll now talk about comps and what to consider:

  • Spiral Abyss

  • Character Switch Mechanic

  • Optimizing Cooldowns (and Energy)

  • Having Elemental Resonance vs More Elemental Reactions

  • What You Need in a Party

  • The Dilemma of One Main DPS vs Two Main DPS

  • The Optimal Party Composition

  • Artifacts

Once again, use who you have. I’m talking about comps theoretically.

Spiral Abyss

First to address Spiral Abyss. If you want to clear floors 10 and up (relatively easily), you’ll need to be able to make comps that benefit off Blessing of the Abyssal Moon and almost always Ley Line Disorders. You’ll need to use chars that have elements that can easily break through shields, or e.g. Anemo chars that can trigger elemental reactions from the floor’s Ley Line Disorder, such as Anemo Traveler’s Elemental Skill: Palm Vortex on Fatui Skirmisher – Electrohammer Vanguard with the Condensed Ice Ley Line Disorder to break the Electro Shield.

Character Switch Mechanic

In GI, because of Elemental Reactions of different elements and the 1.0s switch delay of chars (HI3 is 4s), the game typically wants a comp to swap chars every couple seconds.

On the flip side, there can also be comps that have a char out for an extended period of time, typically with e.g. ATK/ATK SPD buffs that only work while active that last a relatively long time to the switch delay and other abilities.

Optimizing Cooldowns (and Energy)

To optimize DMG, you’ll need to optimize the costs in GI, which are CD and Energy (opportunity cost vs marginal benefit).

In GI Elemental Bursts almost always contribute to the “identity” of a char in terms of combat. A lot of a char’s strength is put into their Elemental Burst, which has a CD and Energy Cost.

Elemental Skills do things, but one of the main things they do are to generate energy for Elemental Bursts. Elemental Skills have a CD (and sometimes a charge system that scales off CD) cost.

To do optimize DPS, you’ll typically want your support/utility to use their Elemental Bursts/Skills (that contribute to increased DMG) at the same time as when your main DPS uses their Elemental Burst.

Similar to LoL, whether you’re 1v1, 2v2 skirmish or 5v5 team fight, you’ll want your ultimate up at the same time as everyone else in your team. Also, you’ll want to make sure you reach your key item breakpoints at the same time as your team to optimize DMG.

To do so at a consistent rate, you’ll need to optimize the CDs of the majority of your comp so they’re relatively the same, and the the energy generation to make sure your Elemental Bursts are up at a consistent rate (discussed in the next section).

For example, you have Razor as your main DPS (primarily does Physical DMG).

To maximize DMG, you’ll need a team that can trigger Elemental Reaction: Superconduct, so you’ll need Cryo. Superconduct lasts 8-9s, so you’ll want to be able to trigger Superconduct after 8-9s.

Razor’s Elemental Burst: Lightning Fang has an Energy Cost of 80, so you’ll want to have another Electro char to generate more energy for Razor and to take advantage of Elemental Resonance: High Voltage to generate even more energy.

Knowing all this, a (budget) comp consisting of Razor, Lisa (I’d replace with Fischl for more energy and possibly? DMG), Kaeya and Diona is good because:

  • Takes advantage of 2 Elemental Resonances (explained in the next section)

  • Sole purpose is to increase Razor’s DMG

  • All chars have an Elemental Burst Energy Cost of 80 and have a long duration and CD almost matching the same as Razor’s

  • All Elemental Bursts persist to increase Razor’s DMG while his Elemental Burst is active (remember that Lisa’s Passive Talent 2: Static Electricity Field decrease the DEF of enemies hit by her Elemental Burst: Lightning Rose by 15%, and has a relatively large area)

  • Kaeya and Diona’s Elemental skills’ CDs’ almost match Razor’s Elemental Skill, so they can be rotated easily to maximize Elemental Skill downtime and DMG

Having Elemental Resonance vs More Elemental Reactions

Finally talking about the thing I’ve mentioned multiple times before.

In general, having more Elemental Resonance in a comp is better than more Elemental Reactions.

The amount of Elemental Reactions you can make (each instance of an Elemental Reaction is counted i.e a Pyro and Electro char counts as two because both elements can trigger an Elemental Reaction with each other) in a comp is:

Note that I’m currently excluding Dendro because we don’t have enough information on it, and note that Swirl and Crystallize are only one way i.e. the enemy must have a status effect.

In LoL (same logic applies in Magic), team comps (specifically in Pro Play; Solo/Duo Q in NA… yikes) typically have a theme and are meant to do one thing e.g. a team fight comp, a split push comp, global comp, etc.. Doing many things okay typically puts you at a disadvantage unless one of those things is “broken”. But if that one thing is “broken”, you’ll want to maximize that one thing anyway.

The same logic applies to comps in GI. You want a team comp that does one thing (or maybe two things) really well (assuming you’re avoiding DMG immunity discussed later). You don’t want a comp that does many things at a mediocre level.

This is where Elemental Resonance further incentivizes you to do one thing (or two things) really well because you get bonuses off having the same elements in a comp.

Ley Line Disorders in Spiral Abyss goes even further, providing huge buffs for specific elements/Elemental Reactions.

For example, you have a main Pyro DPS char with a Cryo, Electro and Anemo char all as support/utility.

Your main Pyro DPS mainly does Pyro DMG.

Then you have to think to yourself, why do you have a Cryo and Electro in your comp?

Cryo + Electro creates the Elemental Reaction: Superconduct which reduces a target’s Physical DMG Resistance by 40%.

Your main Pyro DPS mainly does Pyro DMG, so lowering Physical DMG Resistance means almost nothing to boost your DMG (multiplying a small number by 1.4 makes a not as small number).

Then you’ll have to ask yourself:

Do the things above outweigh swapping out the Electro char with e.g. a Pyro char that does what the Electro char does (or even a bit worse) for Elemental Resonance: Fervent Flames which increases ATK by 25% for everyone in your party, especially for your main Pyro DPS?

I think not.

Once again, you’ll need to test your comps and variations of comps against different scenarios.

What You Need in a Party

A party will typically need the following:

And that’s pretty much it. Comps completely revolve around what you’re facing, which depends on what chars you have. This is the same in LoL, and the same in HI3. This to an extent also depends on what weapons you have and the artifacts you have.

You might need:

  • some form of healing/shielding/DMG Reduction that is reliable if the enemies you’ll be facing can guarantee DMG on you and kill you (reliable meaning in cases where you do need a heal/shield/DMG Reduction, you can use them knowing you’ll be able to survive).

  • a char with a displacement ability.

The Dilemma of One Main DPS vs Two Main DPS

The biggest question is whether or not having one main DPS or two main DPS chars in a comp is better. Which is once again dependant on what you’re fighting against.

This dilemma to an extent doesn’t exist in LoL or HI3 because there’s no innate DMG immunity to certain types of DMG:

  • LoL doesn’t have inherent DMG immunity against specific types of attacks. A champion might have a lot of armor, but ATK DMG chars can still do DMG to that champion. There are also tools around armor in the form of armor reduction/penetration and true DMG

  • HI3 doesn’t have this problem because even at a type disadvantage, the disadvantage is only 30% less DMG. A team in HI3 (size 3) with one main DPS at a type disadvantage and two supports that boost the main DPS’s DMG isn’t optimal, but can still defeat enemies faster than having two main DPS Valkyries and one support Valkyrie that boosts DMG

This does exist in GI because Spiral Abyss has time limits, and there are enemies that are immune to certain types of DMG (e.g. slimes) and enemy shields as well.

Hypothetically (to an extreme case), you take the top tier chars on Usagi-Sensei’s tier list (e.g. Klee, Xingqiu, Bennett and Jean) having Klee as the main DPS and the rest built for support. But the floor has Chamber 1 being only Pyro slimes (Klee’s almost useless now), Chamber 2 only having Electro slimes, while Chamber 3 being Fatui Skirmisher – Electrohammer Vanguard. Your comp of top tier chars won’t be able to clear it in time.

This is hypothetical, but these instances currently do happen in the Spiral Abyss.

But then you can apply the same comp to a world boss (which currently is only one enemy with no elemental immunity or high resistance to most elements). Great, you can clear that boss really quickly.

An exception to this is Physical DMG. There’s currently no enemy in the game that’s immune to Physical DMG (though there are specific shields).

The only thing you can theoretically make a comp for is if it’s one enemy (while not accounting for anything else the enemy might throw at you).

The Optimal Party Composition

So what is the optimal comp considering everything above? Once again it depends on the enemies you’ll have to face and you’ll need to test your comps, but here’s my theory.

Assumptions:

  • miHoYo will release all classes to all Elements (i.e. there will be a main DPS, healer/shielder, DMG booster, displacement utility, etc. and combinations of them for every Element)

  • The enemies the comp will fight aren’t immune to a single Elemental Reaction

  • The enemies the comp will fight has shields the comp can deal with in a relative short amount of time

Taking those into consideration, the optimal comps are comps with 2 chars being the same element, and the other 2 chars being the same element:

  • This takes advantage of the Elemental Resonances

  • This takes advantage of extra energy produced by the same element

  • The two elements contribute to the Elemental Reaction you will abuse to deal more DMG

  • You can have one main DPS in both elements if you notice some enemies you’re facing are easier to deal with with the other element (increasing Klee’s value even higher since she’s already a top tier DPS and DPS enabler)

Considerations:

  • Physical DMG comps need a way to apply Elemental Reaction: Superconduct

  • The advent of 4-Piece Bonus of Viridescent Venerer makes it so having a char that can deal Anemo DMG is almost always beneficial for DMG, though it doesn’t scale well past a certain point. So instead of having 2 chars being the same element and the other 2 chars being the same element, you’ll have 2 chars being the same element, one char enabling the abuse of the Elemental Reaction created with the element of the 2 chars being the same element, and one Ameno char (e.g. Diluc, Bennett, Xingqiu and Venti). But imagine facing a Geo or Anemo enemy. You can’t Swirl Geo. Or if your main DPS does Physical DMG Viridescent Venerer doesn’t matter

Artifacts

Main DPS will use DMG artifacts, everyone else will use artifacts to boost the main DPS’s DMG. Generally secondary reaction-based DPS will run Elemental Mastery if they’re Anemo/Electro/Hydro/Cryo related inclusively. Mainly ATK/ATK%, CRIT RATE% and CRIT DMG% for Melt/Vaporize. If you need more healing, then use Maiden Beloved.

TL;DR

  • Ease of application of abilities, cost of abilities and numbers make a char good (especially if a char can fulfill multiple roles so you can replace another char with a better DPS)

  • There are a lot of different systems for the combat of this game to take into account when making a comp (e.g. weapon types, elements, Elemental Resonance/Debuffs/Reactions, missile speed, etc.)

  • Elemental Resonance: Soothing Water is underrated and makes Xingqiu a good healer while he’s already one of the best DPS enablers in the game as well as “shielder” with DMG Reduction

  • Shields require more thinking than healing and are currently compensated with additional effects while shielded. You can think of DMG Reduction as “shielding” that scales off enemies

  • Elemental Resonance should be prioritized over more Elemental Reactions

  • Optimize the cooldowns (and energy) of your comps’ Elemental Bursts and Skills respectively to maximize your main DPS’s DMG (i.e. try to make the CDs and durations of Elemental Bursts and Skills relatively the same, typically respectively)

  • IMO the optimal party takes advantage of two Elemental Resonances (i.e. 2 chars being the same element, while the other two being the same element but different from the first 2)

  • A lot of what I’ve said is theoretical

  • You have to test comps against different scenarios

  • Make do what what you have

  • Venti’s broken

  • You’ll need a main DPS of every element

Expect miHoYo to power creep chars so that there’re “must have chars” that force an “optimal comp”. Imagine miHoYo releasing a Cryo char that can easily apply Cold on enemies and boosts Pyro DMG on enemies afflicted by Cold, a char that bypasses element immunity/shields or removes element disadvantages, etc.. Coming from HI3, they have and probably will.

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