After almost a year, Genshin Impact fans will finally be getting a proper new region.
Along with this, miHoYo will be introducing new bosses, materials, weapons and artifacts and, of course, new characters.
With a few hours before the 2.0 update hits, let's take a look at the current roster of 5* characters in Genshin Impact, and some of our predictions for them with the upcoming patches.
Standard Banner 5* characters
Mona had a pretty quiet first-year with Genshin Impact. Sure, she had some air time in the Unreconciled Stars event, and she had some fixes to her skills, but she's largely been overshadowed by other Hydro characters. If you want a Hydro damage dealer (DPS), Tartaglia makes a more compelling option, and as a support, she loses out to a more attainable Xingqiu.
The Heart of Depth artifact set introduced with Dragonspine, together with a traditional Mona-set like the Noblesse Oblige, did provide some fun builds, and Mona had some usability within the Spiral Abyss, but ultimately these seem to get overshadowed, especially since Tartaglia had a banner rerun.
Her Ascension materials include the Nectar drops from Whopperflowers, which put her in direct competition with two of the most stacked 5* characters on this list, Ganyu and Hu Tao, while her talent books meant you'd need to choose between her and characters like Diluc, Bennyboy Bennett and the recent ice queen Eula.
Fortunately, she has less competition for the Philanemo Mushrooms, with only our idol in existential crisis (if you use the English VO) Barbara and the questionably destructive Klee fighting for the same local specialties.
That being said, you can probably expect Mona to play more of a role with Alice, Klee's mommy, on the horizon. With Inazuma incoming, too, her Hydro skills could find themselves in for a second breath of life. The new upcoming 5* Emblem of Severed Fate also looks like it could really amp up her viability in a more DPS role, given that Mona's Ascension stat is Energy Recharge.
She's also one of the easiest characters to use for Hydro application, the other being Barbara, and while DPS Barbara is a thing, Mona can probably rest easy on that front. For now.
Oh, and before we forget, Mona's dash allows her to cross bodies of water (as long as her stamina lasts), and her utility passive can help a bit with the farming of Weapon Upgrade materials.
Verdict: Could be a game changer with the new artifact set, but best to take a wait and see approach if you haven't yet raised her.
Qiqi's got it rough. Sure, she's a cute height-challenged zombie with adorable responses, but she's also a healer whose skills are tied to her ATK stat. And, for her Ascension, she requires Violetgrass, one of the most annoying local specialties to collect (though there's new competition from those Sea Ganodermas), though her use of Prosperity talent books meant she saw little competition in that area, with Xiao being the only non-standard 5* who needed them.
Her greatest contribution to the Genshin Impact story thus far is introducing us to Cocogoat, while her usage in teams has seen a fair bit of a drop since shields started being a more important part of the meta than healing.
Qiqi's weird kit combination meant that you'd have to find some combination of Attack stats on artifacts which gave healing bonuses (pretty much the Maiden's Beloved set at this point), and the long cooldown of her Elemental Skill meant you really only had one viable weapon option (Sacrificial Sword).
Given that there are other characters who could perform that role, and even her elemental resonance slot could be taken up by the similarly-height-challenged Diona (who can both heal and shield), or the damage enhancing Chongyun, Qiqi's spot in a team really isn't that assured.
Sure, she can revive if you get her to Constellation 6, but so can Barbara, who is a 4* and requires much less investment to do the same thing (not to mention her damage boost when equipped with Thrilling Tales of Dragon Slayer). That's quite the fall from grace for a character who was widely sought after during the initial weeks of Genshin Impact's official launch.
While she's likely to still play a part in the story, especially with the introduction of Baizhu as a playable character, that might still be some time away. Unfortunately, without a rework of her kit, it does look like Qiqi will remain one of the weaker 5* characters for now.
Verdict: Only invest in her if you really like the character. If you just want a vertically-challenged Cryo user, Diona is way ahead currently.
Admittedly, we got Keqing late, and by that time we'd already had a level 90 Diluc and a level 80 Fischl, which covered our need for a DPS as well as an Electro character. She was, notably, the only standard banner 5* to get her own character event banner.
Even in the initial stages, our favourite wolf boy Razor was seen as a more easily attainable Electro DPS, while characters like Fischl and Beidou had more utility behind them. For those who got Keqing early, levelling her was likely a no-brainer, but that would've changed in the months since with the release of other characters.
Keqing's main strike against her throughout the last 10 months or so has been the underwhelming Electro reactions, which ironically puts her in a good position with Inazuma coming up.
Sure, Transformative reactions were reworked recently, but that felt more like a buff for Swirls than a buff for Electro. And with the Raiden Shogun Baal herself more or less confirmed in a coming patch, you can bet miHoYo will want to avoid another Zhongli-sized misstep with an Archon-class gacha character.
This bodes well for Keqing mains, with the potential for an Electro buff on the horizon. Additionally, Keqing has always had a good selection of swords to choose from, be it the 4* ones like the Battle Pass' The Black Sword, Lion's Roar, the Flute and of course one of the most sought-after 5* banner weapons, the Jade Cutter.
However, her Ascension materials include the Nectar from the Whopperflowers, which, similar to Mona, would have put her against the two "top tier" 5* characters, while her local specialty, Cor Lapis, set her up against Rex Lapis himself, Zhongli. Fortunately, Cor Lapis is one of the easier local specialties to find.
In the end, what is perhaps one factor in the coming months that could affect Keqing's status within your team is really one that we've been seeing affect most of the DPS that were here last September - power creep. It's undeniable that the newer damage dealers, such as Ganyu, Hu Tao and Eula, have all pretty much outstripped the OG cast of Genshin characters.
All that said, Keqing does have one thing going for her a lot of the other standard banner 5* characters don't - she's got a very dynamic playstyle, teleporting around the battlefield and all. And her Elemental Skill also allows her a bit of flexibility in exploration, which is something you might want to consider since, you know, new region and all.
Verdict: Can level her up for exploration, and could receive a potential buff. But if it's a resource-limited choice between her and Zhongli or Hu Tao/Ganyu, those three would take priority.
Jean, in some ways, is similar to Qiqi in that she is a healer with her basic heal tied to ATK. Unlike Qiqi, Jean's Elemental Skill has a fair bit of utility to it, as anyone who had her and used her in the recent Midsummer Island Adventure would know.
Yes, Jean is pretty much the yeet queen. Her Gale Blade can pull most enemies towards her... and then yeet them. Yeet them off platforms. Yeet them off cliffs. Yeet them into the water. Yeet them into the Abyss.
That alone makes her useful in quite a few scenarios, but her mega heal Elemental Burst, Dandelion Breeze, also cleanses debuffs on your characters. She and Diluc would have fought for your Resistance talent books, but there was probably enough reason for you to level both characters, if you had them.
Jean has also been an integral part to the story since launch, and was even one of the first two characters (along with her sister Barbara) to get cosmetic outfits. A support-oriented Jean that went through the 1.2 update would also have found one of the best F2P swords currently in the game, the Festering Desire, but any of a variety of the 4* swords would have been sufficient in her hands.
As healers go, Jean is one of the better ones in the game. But if you're the type of player that's huge on Elemental Reactions and their insane numbers, sparing a slot on your team for a healer may not be your thing. For everyone else (meaning people who don't need to screengrab ridonkulous numbers for a thumbnail), Jean will likely still have a place in your different team comps.
Verdict: Still worth to invest in her, even with 2.0 coming up. Dandelion Seeds can be a bit tiresome to collect, though (can't wait to play Genshin Farmer with the new update).
Finally, the last of the standard banner 5* characters, the great Daddy Diluc himself. If you were one of the lucky ones to get Diluc early on, he's likely already at level 90 and armed with a decent claymore.
Diluc remains a decent damage dealer (and one of the only DPS that remains viable if you accidentally activated Constellation 6 on your Bennett), but his age shows with each new DPS character we get on the banner.
Sure, Klee may have not overshadowed him that much, but Hu Tao basically relegated him to the bench. If you pulled Eula, she was and probably still is rocking the claymore you built for Diluc in the early days (unless you happen to have a Song of Broken Pines). Ganyu is pretty much an artillery platform, while Diluc is... Diluc.
There's no sugarcoating it, Diluc gets boring to play. Once you know his attack patterns, it's pretty much rinse and repeat. There's no "whoops, how did I do that but that was so cool" element to Diluc's gameplay. Yes, there was a short-lived period when Diluc could perform what was known as a Dragonstrike, but that was really just a glitch and was eventually patched by miHoYo.
For a character that's basically Mondstadt's Batman (while Kaeya sometimes feels like he has a Superman origin story), Diluc is very one-dimensional. He's good at what he does, but he only does it one way. Smash with fire. Summon bird. Smash with more fire. Summon bird.
Yes, we still want that cosmetic butler outfit for him (and Noelle) from China's KFC promotion, but for those who have Ganyu or Hu Tao or even Eula, the vineyard vigilante looks increasingly to be spending time on the sidelines.
Verdict: If he's already levelled to 90, start hoping for cosmetics. If you've just pulled him, there's nothing wrong with investing in him... just remember - smash with fire, summon bird, smash with more fire.
Venti was the first of the non-standard banner 5*s we met, and the Tone-Deaf Bard has continued to play an influencing role since then, especially with the recent buff Transformative reactions and Swirls.
Venti remains one of the best crowd-control characters within Genshin Impact, and he works right out of the box (his Constellation 1 is a joke, so don't bother unless you were whaling to go higher than that).
He's generally also a low-investment character, unless you intend to use him to trigger reactions, in which case levelling him higher than 80 may be required. For the most part, though, you could get by with a level 70 Venti, and he works readily with a couple of 4* bows, including the F2P Windblume Ode, which you could've max refined for free during the Invitation of Windblume event.
Of course, Sucrose and Kazuha can both fill a similar role in your team, but with the Spiral Abyss requiring two full teams, Venti's place still seems pretty secure. He's great for exploration, giving you a height boost when you need it, pretty good for collecting Dandelion Seeds and a bit of an alcoholic enabler. He's also likely still to play a key part in the story, given that he's you know, the Anemo god.
Verdict: If you have him and haven't levelled him, why did you wish for him? But really, one copy of Venti is enough, unless you can summon money the same way he summons the wind. Venti is an easy plug and play character, and he can definitely enhance any team he has a place in.
Klee charmed a lot of people when she first arrived, and it's easier to see why. Whether it's her destructive personality or her childish demeanour, Klee's always a blast (pun not intended) to have around.
That said, Klee isn't the easiest of characters to use. To get the most out of her, you really need to master her animation cancels, which may not be for every one. It can feel clunky and very technical, even when compared to other characters that require you to learn the same thing (eg, Hu Tao).
Adding to that, the newer 4* Yanfei is quite similar to her in terms of playstyle - a Pyro Catalyst user that relies on switching between Normal and Charged Attacks. While Klee's raw damage may still be more because she is a 5*, Yanfei's no slouch. Both characters also do well with the same artifacts, including the BP's Solar Pearl, The Widsith, or one of the 5* catalysts if you're lucky to have one.
Sure, you can use Klee in more of a support role, using her Elemental Skill to do some damage shred with (potentially expensive) Constellations, but Klee is very much supposed to be the selfish DPS who gets all the buffs then stays on the field to rip everything apart.
Her talent book, Freedom, is also used by Diona, who is easily one of the must-haves supports, as well as Sucrose and Tartaglia. At this point, though, it is safe to assume that most people who wished for Klee have already built her. And while some people may have transferred her Lavawalkers or Crimson Witch sets to Hu Tao, the upcoming Shimenawa's Reminiscence looks possibly to be something fun for her.
However, that set also looks promising on some of the other characters who rely on activating an Elemental Skill and then Normal/Charged/Plunging Attacks, and the list is long, with Hu Tao, Ganyu, Eula, Ningguang, Keqing, Tartaglia... you get the idea. Yes, we are getting a sort of artifact reroll in 2.0, but artifact farming is still going to be a painful affair.
Verdict: If you like the character, that's great, but Klee has definitely fallen down the pecking order. If you have her but haven't built her, it's unlikely you'll do so unless there's a dearth of new content after the main goodies from 2.0 are done. That said, Klee has probably replaced Amber as Genshin's Pyro mascot...
As we've mentioned before, using Tartaglia is a load of fun. That's hasn't changed since then, and with Electro coming to the fore in 2.0, you can be sure that there's even more in store for Tartaglia's future.
Already, he has good combos with Fischl and Beidou, only being let down by weak Electro-Charged reactions prior to 1.6. Let's also not forget that his Delusion (which may still be more rumour than anything at this time) is Electro, and this Harbinger definitely still has a part to play in the story.
Tartaglia was also an easy investment for a lot of folks who have him, having no competition for the Starconch local specialty, though he did need to fight things out with Diluc and Ningguang for the Fatui Insignias. His weapon of choice, Rust, is a 4* and easy to refine to R5, in most cases putting it on a par or even ahead of the 5* bows at R1 (if you have an R5 Skyward Harp, you do you).
If there is one downside to investing in Tartaglia, it's that the Oceanid he needs to get Cleansing Hearts from takes forever to fight, regardless of how stacked your team is, purely because of the cutscenes and animations.
Similar to Mona, Tartaglia might have some new builds with the upcoming artifact sets and weapons, but overall, as a Hydro DPS, he still has a spot in the team which isn't easily replaced. And did we mention he's fun to play?
Verdict: Still has a place and could be up for new combos with Electro coming into play. Also still one of the Four Heavenly Husbandos (Diluc, Zhongli, Tartaglia, Kaeya).
We've said a lot about the CEO of Geo, but we'll say it again. If you don't have a Zhongli, get one the next time he's on the banner and invest in him.
Give him your Cor Lapis, your Gold talent books, everything he needs. There's a reason why Zhongli, Ganyu and Hu Tao are seen as the gold standard of 5* banner characters in the last year.
As one of the Seven, you can be sure you've not heard the last of Zhongli in the story, and his versatility means he continues to be part of many teams. Originally released as a support, Zhongli was buffed so hard when Chinese forum users complained that he became a nice-to-have into a must-have, capable of fulfilling almost any role you had in mind for him.
Top that off with a HP-focused artifact set released recently, and the fact that shields are still pretty much in the meta, it's hard to argue that Geo Lord is the top of the top of 5* tier lists.
He's great at Constellation 0, although Constellation 2 is reasonable for those who are willing to invest their primos.
Verdict: Zhongli will likely fit into many teams to come, and his shield is, in a lot of cases, more valuable than the resurrection you could get on Qiqi or Barbara. If you have him but still haven't invested in him, perhaps you should be questioning your choices in life.
Admit it, most of us without Albedo probably forgot he was in the game until he popped up again recently in 1.6.
The mysterious Chief Alchemist and Captain of the Investigation team first showed up in 1.2, and was all the rage when Geo got buffed and Geo DMG bonus was in the Spiral Abyss. Coupled with his low investment cost (he could either use the 3* Harbinger of Dawn or the F2P Festering Desire available in 1.2), Albedo saw his stock rise for a while as part of dual Geo teams.
It's been a bit quieter since then, and it will likely continue since Geo, unlike Anemo, does not have a way of proccing Transformative Reactions, and it also doesn't really benefit from a stat like Elemental Mastery.
And with reactions the flavour of the season, it's hard to dedicate more than one slot to Geo/Anemo. Albedo has a more support/burst DMG type Geo character will probably find it hard to replace your Zhongli, Venti, Sucrose or even the newly-released Kazuha in your line-up.
One thing Albedo has going for him, however, is his passive chance to make more Weapon Ascension materials. Getting those gold mats, even at 10% chance, feels like a lot of resin saved.
Verdict: Good utility passive and definitely more story to tell, but at the moment Albedo will struggle to find a place in team comps looking to take advantage of the recent buffs to Transformative Reactions.
Xiao is in a tough spot. He's not exactly new, but he was reworked. His playstyle is high risk, high reward. And he uses a Spear.
While his mechanics play differently, his spot pretty much would have been replaced the moment you got your hands on Hu Tao. Hands up if Xiao no longer has a 5* Spear in your team.
Like Klee, Xiao is a selfish DPS that wants to stay on the field, unlike Klee, Xiao is Anemo, which gives him trouble with certain shields and renders him unable to create reactions on his own. Also unlike Klee, Xiao loses health to maintain his Elemental Burst, which means you will need to rotate him out or keep feeding him Sweet Madames (likely against his will, since he's more of an Almond Tofu kinda guy).
Don't get me wrong, Xiao is fun to play. But the novelty of his plunge attacks wears off over time, and DPS characters will always be at the mercy of power creep.
Somewhat decent at smacking trees for wood, though.
Verdict: Primo for Primo, Hu Tao is a better spear-user for now. Xiao's still great to take out of storage when events roll around with Plunge DMG buffs.
No one really knew when Ganyu was first announced just how insanely powerful she would be.
After the Cocogoat herself arrived, anyone who had called her "Cryo Amber" would have had to eat their words together with probably two helpings of grass, because she was no a mere bow user.
As far as bow users go, if Amber was considered a bow unit, and Fischl a turret, Ganyu is the equivalent of an artillery team that also comes with its own anti-infantry defence mechanism and decoy capabilities.
Part of Ganyu's appeal is also how she can be built, with both Cryo resonance and the Blizzard Strayer set giving her bonus Crit Rate, which means you can put trade off some of the artifact CR for Crit DMG and its instant boost. A good Wanderer's Troupe set is another entirely viable set for her, especially for those who rely heavily on her Charged Attacks for damage-dealing.
And despite being very much a main DPS, Ganyu can perform as a support for your Melt/Freeze/Superconduct reactions, with both her Elemental Skill and Elemental Burst continuing when she's off the field.
Indeed, Ganyu has set very high expectations for upcoming bow-users, so Yoimiya beware. The Cocogoat is likely here for the long-term.
Verdict: Ganyu will likely continue to dominate against most non-Cryo enemies, and her versatile Skill and Burst mean she can also work to trigger some juicy Transformative Reactions with other characters. It's a long way from "Oh, it's just a Cryo Amber".
Hu Tao was the third 5* Pyro DPS miHoYo introduced to the game, and she's by far the most successful. However, it's key to remember her success wasn't just because of her character - the Staff of Homa is one of, if not the best, banner 5* weapon to date.
Paired together, there's hardly anything the two can't demolish, and when combined with other Elements, those numbers keep adding up.
The boss of the Wangsheng Funeral Parlor may have taken a while longer to appear because of a delay (presumably due to the Lunar New Year), but she's definitely made an impact, relegating scores of Dilucs/Klees to second-tier or storage within a week or so.
Even without her signature weapon, Hu Tao's damage numbers are mightily impressive, allaying any fears over her low base Attack in datamined releases. Despite using the same talent books (Diligence) as Ganyu and some other decent characters like Chongyun (whom she also works fantastically with), Hu Tao was simply worth the investment.
Story-wise, she has had a fairly small role thus far, especially compared to her "employee" Zhongli. That said, miHoYo is bound to have more, and she's likely to have some crossovers in Qiqi-related quests at some point.
Verdict: As far as Pyro DPS goes, miHoYo has set a high bar with Hu Tao, so it remains to be seen what Yoimiya brings to the table when she's released. Hu Tao's playstyle makes her easy to set up, and if you also have Staff of Homa, she's in a pretty good spot and is likely to remain in your team for a long while yet.
The Spindrift Knight Eula is in a more unique spot compared to most other DPS characters - a fair bit of her damage is Physical, which gives her that added flexibility, even when up against Cryo enemies. However, this ironically also means she doesn't go too well with Chongyun, or any other support that might change your DMG to another Element, unless you've really planned for it.
She plays well with Electro support, with Superconduct giving a DMG shred to her Physical DMG attacks, but her more limited Cryo attacks means she won't be triggering that many reactions.
Up against other claymore users, Eula easily feels more dynamic, graceful and fun, and she also has her own Song of Broken Pines that pairs very well with her kit. That said, Eula works well with any attack-oriented claymore, meaning you shouldn't struggle too hard to find a weapon for her (or steal it off Diluc).
In terms of story, Eula, like Hu Tao, really only has had a part to play in her own questline, but that's likely because she was just released one version ago.
All things said, it feels like she's really just the DPS flavour of the season, and could easily find herself replaced when the next Physical DMG attacker comes around. Without really being able to make the most out of reactions, Eula's giant white DMG numbers only mean much when no one else can give you the same thing.
Considering we're already getting the next Cryo 5* (come home, Kamisato Ayaka-san) in a few hours, and with the Cryo queen's crown still on Cocogoat's head, Eula is one of those nice-to-haves, and not really a must-have.
Verdict: She's nice to have and works well with Electro supports, but Eula could be replaced as soon as the next Physical DMG-oriented DPS comes along. That sneeze, though...
Finally, the last of the 5* characters before Inazuma... is ironically already from Inazuma. Kaedehara Kazuha has only been out a few weeks, but his kit and playstyle have been incredibly fun, seemingly taking the fun parts from the other Anemo characters without ever overshadowing them completely.
The introduction of the temporary Golden Archipelago to house all the Ascension materials Kazuha needed was an interesting way to get us familiarised with new stuff, and the fact that Kazuha is more support than DPS means he already has a longevity advantage.
However, as a support, Kazuha also finds himself fighting with two of the best supports in the game currently - Bennett and Xingqiu, who are both sword-users that ike the Festering Desire, the Sacrificial Sword, or the Favonius Sword/Iron Sting as a third option.
Of course, this would hardly be a problem if you managed to get Freedom Sworn, but on the flip side, you could have easily gotten 14 Skyward Atlases. And, if you are F2P or low-spending, you might also have needed to set aside another sword for the Traveler
That being said, Kazuha is an easy fit in most teams, and it's undeniably fun to watch him hang in the air for a brief moment before plunging back down and unleashing whatever infused Element he has on opponents.
You can also be sure the Anemo ronin has more to say on Inazuma, given what we know of his backstory.
Verdict: Unlike a Geo support like Albedo, Kazuha can trigger reactions with his Swirls, and he can also absorb Elements. It's still very early days for Kazuha, and he will likely be relevant in your team for the foreseeable future.
GellyPanda is a casual gamer who occasionally dabbles into gacha games.
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