Genshin Impact: A guide to the seven elements and their reactions

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Genshin Impact's robust element system affects nearly every aspect of its gameplay. The game has seven elements, namely Pyro, Hydro, Anemo, Electro, Dendro, Cryo, and Geo, with each element able to react with other elements in a variety of ways. (Photos: HoYoverse)
Genshin Impact's robust element system affects nearly every aspect of its gameplay. The game has seven elements, namely Pyro, Hydro, Anemo, Electro, Dendro, Cryo, and Geo, with each element able to react with other elements in a variety of ways. (Photos: HoYoverse)

One of the best things about Genshin Impact is its robust element system, which encompasses almost every aspect of the game from combat, exploration, character archetypes, and more.

The game's elements are greatly inspired from the natural world and how all its different aspects interact.

In Genshin Impact, there are seven elements with seven gods, called Archons, holding dominion over them.

These elements are Anemo, Geo, Electro, Dendro, Hydro, Pyro, and Cryo.

Each element has unique characteristics that give it its own gameplay flavour, create different reactions with other elements, or even strengthen your team when resonating with itself.

So how do the elements of Genshin Impact work and what are their reactions and resonance bonuses? Read on as we break it down for you:

The Elements

Anemo

Anemo harnesses the power of the wind, and is ruled over by Mondstadt’s Archon Barbatos, more commonly known as Venti the (Tone-Deaf) Bard.

Anemo is an element that drives various elemental reactions, making it the element of some of the best support characters in Genshin Impact.

But Anemo isn't strictly a support element, as it also has characters that can wield terrifying whirlwinds to dish out tons of damage, such as Xiao and Heizou.

Geo

Geo is the element that holds dominion over earth, and its Archon is Morax of Liyue, who is also known to have many other names such as Rex Lapis and Zhongli.

Out of all the elements in Genshin Impact, Geo is fittingly the most inert and self-reliant one. It's the only element that doesn’t create a transformative reaction and its characters do not depend on elemental reactions to get the job done.

As such, Geo has an abundance of characters that can create strong shields and are typically given either support or sub-DPS roles.

Electro

Electro is the element that is all about energy, and the Archon that rules over it is Beelzebul, or Raiden Ei, the Raiden Shogun of Inazuma.

This element focuses on energy regeneration and greatly helps with fulfilling your party's energy needs.

As such, Electro-aligned characters in Genshin Impact typically generate a lot of energy for their teammates no matter if they're the party's main DPS or support.

Hydro

Hydro harnesses the boundless ability of water to take any shape. While this element’s Archon has yet to be named, we know that they rule over the nation of Fontaine.

This element is arguably the most versatile one in Genshin Impact, with Hydro abilities often having both offensive and defensive aspects, while also creating some of the strongest elemental reactions in the game.

As such, the roster of Hydro-aligned characters ranges from healers and support-oriented characters to strong damage-dealers.

Pyro

Pyro channels the power of fire and is the most offense-oriented element in Genshin Impact. The Pyro Archon has yet to be named, though we know that they rule over the nation of Natlan.

As the most destructive element in the game, Pyro-aligned characters tend to be a party's main damage dealers, though there are still some supports among their number.

Cryo

Cryo channels the power of the freezing cold and is ruled over by the ruthless Archon of Snezhnaya called the Tsaritsa, who exerts great influence over Teyvat using the Fatui and their menacing Harbingers.

This versatile element is great for dealing damage and locking down enemies by freezing them.

As such, Cryo-aligned characters in Genshin Impact range from some of the strongest damage dealers in the game to some of its most reliable supports.

Dendro

Dendro is the mysterious 'last' element of Genshin Impact, as it was the only element that did not have a playable character upon the game's release.

This element channels the power of nature and its Archon is known as Kusanali, who rules over the nation of Sumeru.

Dendro will finally be released in Genshin Impact version 3.0 alongside the game's first batch of Dendro-aligned characters.

Dendro will also bring a host of new elemental reactions, such as Catalyze and Bloom, though all the Dendro-related reactions and their effects have yet to be fully revealed.

Elemental Reactions

Each element has a unique interaction with each other, as such, players should build their teams around characters whose elemental alignments synergise well with each other.

Here are all the possible elemental reactions in the game so far:

Swirl

The Swirl reaction is triggered whenever Anemo reacts with Hydro, Pyro, Cryo, or Electro. When that happens, the Anemo attack, skill, or burst will be infused with one of those elements and spread them around a large area-of-effect.

Swirl will deal damage based on the Anemo character’s level and Elemental Mastery. Affected enemies will also receive additional elemental damage from the Swirled element.

Since Swirl spreads its absorbed element to enemies, players can introduce another element to the equation in order to create more elemental reactions.

Crystallize

When Geo reacts with Hydro, Pyro, Cryo, or Electro, it triggers the Crystallize reaction and creates a shield from the absorbed element with its strength dependent on the Geo character’s Elemental Mastery.

The Crystallize shield provides better protection against the same element it is Crystallized from.

Electro-Charged

Striking Electro-afflicted enemies with Hydro, and vice-versa, will trigger the Electro-Charged reaction. Electro-Charged targets will be imbued with both Electro and Hydro auras and will take Electro damage every second.

Since an Electro-Charged target carries both Electro and Hydro auras, applying a third element to them will trigger reactions for both elements.

For example, applying Pyro to an Electro-Charged target will also trigger the Overload and Vaporize reactions.

Overload

When Electro hits a Pyro-afflicted target, or vice-versa, it triggers the Overload reaction and creates an explosion that deals Pyro damage to the target and any nearby enemies.

Overload does not apply Pyro to targets hit, and as such, cannot be used to trigger additional elemental reactions.

Superconduct

Superconduct is the only reaction that lowers a target's resistance to Physical damage.

When Electro hits a Cryo-afflicted target, or vice versa, it will trigger the Superconduct reaction and deal Cryo damage in an area that also reduces the resistance of affected enemies to Physical damage by 40% for 12 seconds.

Frozen and Shattered

Frozen, as should be obvious, is triggered when a Hydro-afflicted target is hit by Cryo damage, or vice versa.

This reaction deals no damage when it is triggered but instead freezes and immobilizes enemies as long as they are affected by both Cryo and Hydro.

Hitting Frozen enemies with a claymore triggers the follow-up reaction Shattered, which deals Physical damage and removes the Frozen effect.

Vaporize

The Vaporize reaction is triggered when a Hydro-afflicted target is hit with a Pyro attack, or vice versa. The damage from Vaporize is dependent on which element triggers the reaction.

If the reaction is triggered by a Pyro attack, the damage dealt is multiplied by 1.5.

When Hydro triggers the reaction, the damage is multiplied by 2 instead.

Melt

The Melt reaction is very similar to Vaporize, only it involves Pyro and Cryo. Much like Vaporize, the damage from Melt is dependent on which element triggers the reaction.

If the reaction is triggered by a Cryo attack, the damage dealt is multiplied by 1.5. When Pyro triggers the reaction, the damage is multiplied by 2 instead.

Elemental Resonance

While having characters of differing elemental alignments lets you trigger a lot of reactions, having two characters of the same elemental alignment also benefits your party by triggering an Elemental Resonance.

Elemental Resonances give your team bonuses depending on the element. These bonuses can also apply in co-op gameplay.

Fervent Flames (Pyro Resonance): When there are 2 Pyro characters in the team, gain 25% ATK bonus, and be affected by Cryo for 40% less time.

- Pyro characters tend to be hard-hitters, so why not bring along two or more Pyro characters to make your entire party hit that much harder?

Soothing Water (Hydro Resonance): When there are 2 Hydro characters in the team, increases incoming healing by 30%, and is affected by Pyro for 40% less time.

- Some of the strongest healers in the game are Hydro-aligned, so activating the Hydro Resonance will make your entire party receive more healing. This is arguably the worst Resonance bonus, but it's offset by the fact that Hydro is one of the strongest elements.

High Voltage (Electro Resonance): When there are 2 Electro characters in your team, procuring Electro-based elemental reactions will give you a 100% chance to generate an electro elemental particle (with a cooldown of 5s), and be affected by Hydro for 40% less time.

- The Electro Resonance looks fine on paper, but seems underwhelming in practice since the extra Electro particles it generates only make a difference for Electro characters. With that said, having extra energy isn't bad, especially when Electro characters like the Raiden Shogun or Yae Miko have such high cost bursts.

Shattering Ice (Cryo Resonance): When there are 2 Cryo characters in the team, Crit Rate against Frozen enemies or enemies affected by Cryo will be increased by 15%, and is affected by Electro for 40% less time.

- The Cryo Resonance is hands-down the best Resonance in the game. I mean, it's free Crit Rate! Combine the Cryo Resonance with the 4-piece Blizzard Strayer artifact set bonus and your Cryo DPS no longer needs to look for Crit Rate and focus on Crit DMG instead.

Impetuous Winds (Anemo Resonance): When there are 2 Anemo characters in the team, increases stamina consumption by 15%, increases movement speed by 10%, and shortens Skill cooldown by 5%.

- The Anemo Resonance provides some pretty nice buffs, which are especially helpful when exploring the overworld. While they won't really make a difference in endgame content, the stamina consumption and skill cooldown reductions are still helpful.

Enduring Rock (Geo Resonance): when there are 2 Geo characters in the team, increase shield strength by 15%, and when a character is protected by a shield DMG dealt is increased by 15%, while dealing DMG to enemies will decrease their Geo RES by 20% for 15s.

- The Geo Resonance fits its element well, making Geo shields stronger while providing some great damage buffs. Unlike other elements, Geo doesn't have a way to decrease the Geo RES of enemies, so running a mono-Geo composition is a must when you have a Geo DPS.

Protective Canopy (No Resonance): When there are 4 different elemental types in a team, gain 15% All Elemental and Physical Res.

- Admit it, there are times when you don't really want to think about your team compositions, so you just put characters of differing elements in your party. While doing that won't provide you with any bonus damage or utility, it does give you a good bit of protection, which is always nice.

The Dendro Resonance bonus is expected to be implemented with the full release of Dendro and Sumeru in Genshin Impact version 3.0. The game is currently in version 2.8, which is expected to run until 21 August, meaning version 3.0 should come out on 22 August.

Yan Ku is a full-time dog parent, part-time (gacha) gamer, and part-time writer.

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