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Genshin Impact character tier list: the best, the good and the not bad

Genshin Impact update 1.5
(Image credit: MiHoYo)

A good Genshin Impact character tier list is tricky to write. New characters are added every few weeks, and resulting new synergies can push previously overlooked characters higher up the list. We've also seen substantial elemental changes since the game's launch, and more are on the way, so entire elements could be turned on their head in a single update. On top of that, you can clear nearly any challenge in the game using virtually any combination of characters, though some choices may require more time and practice.

With all of that said, we've updated our Genshin Impact character tier list based on the strength of each character's elements and abilities, how easy they are to use and build, and how valuable they are in a variety of content. You can't go wrong with any of the best Genshin Impact characters and the good ones will take you quite far as well, and even characters who are just not bad can shine after a little more investment. 

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Best Genshin Impact characters

Zhongli 

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

Zhongli is the ultimate support unit. His elemental skill places a geo pillar that deals AoE damage in a small area (or a big area when paired with characters who can chain this damage to other geo constructs), and you can hold this skill down to create an incredibly tanky shield that makes nearby enemies take more damage from all sources. His elemental burst, meanwhile, deals a ton of damage and petrifies enemies for a few seconds. The so-called CEO of geo is a potent mix of offense and defense, and an easy pick for any team.  

Ganyu 

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

The sheer power of Ganyu's cryo charged attacks makes her one of the strongest and safest attackers in the game. Her skill is a handy taunt and her burst deals cryo damage in a huge area, but charged shots are her bread and butter. You don't even need to land headshots to deal heavy damage since her charged arrows explode on contact. If you're looking for a true ranged fighter, look no further.  

 Venti 

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

Venti's elemental burst is iconic. It creates a tiny black hole that pulls enemies together, clumping them up for juicy AoE damage. With a short cooldown and big damage of its own, his skill is no slouch either, plus it can launch you into the air if you hold it down. Venti's abilities aren't as useful against big targets, but he's invaluable in many activities.  

Hu Tao 

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

Hu Tao rewards aggressive play. Most of her damage is tied to her elemental skill, and she deals more damage when she's below half health, so her play style revolves around short windows of incredibly high damage. She's a fun, characterful, and powerful pyro DPS option, and her attacks can land some huge hits if you set up melt or vaporize reactions.  

Xiao 

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

Xiao is similar to Hu Tao in that his damage output is explicitly tied to an ability that sacrifices his health, but he feels very different in practice. His burst converts all of his damage to anemo, boosts his jump height, and allows you to spam powerful plunge attacks, albeit while taking mild damage over time. Even compared to the power of pyro reactions, Xiao shines as one of Genshin's strongest attackers. 

Eula 

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

Eula is one of Genshin Impact's few dedicated physical damage dealers, but what she lacks in elemental reactions, she makes up for in raw power and fun, fluid attacks. Her elemental skill can reduce enemy physical defense, priming them for her immensely powerful burst attack, which summons a floating sword that detonates after charging for a few seconds, dealing more damage based on how many hits you land while it's charging. Eula's the newest addition to this list, and she handily earns a spot in the upper echelons. 

Diluc 

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

Even after several updates, Diluc is still one of the strongest and most reliable picks for pyro damage. His burst has a short cooldown and a massive AoE, his skill is fun and easy to spam, and for a claymore user he attacks quite fast. His innate critical rate boost makes him pretty forgiving to build, too.  

Klee 

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

Klee is a tiny little monster who can beat even Diluc's pyro damage output with proper play. She's a unique catalyst user who lobs short-range bombs with her auto attacks and elemental skill, while her elemental burst zaps enemies with orbiting pyro lasers. MiHoYo packed a lot of power into Klee's tiny frame, making her a fabulously flashy character.  

Bennett 

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

Jokingly referred to as a hidden five-star, Bennett can boost any team through the power of his elemental burst, which not only gives a huge attack boost to anyone standing inside, but also heals them remarkably quickly. The short cooldown on his elemental skill also allows him to generate a ton of pyro energy for your team. This makes him a great unit in virtually all cases, but especially in pyro teams.  

Xingqiu  

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

Xingqiu's skill has a long cooldown but packs a punch, but it's his burst that really pushes him over the top. It summons hydro swords that attack with your current character, adding hydro damage to your normal attacks. Xingqiu's burst is especially powerful when paired with pyro characters like Hu Tao and Diluc since it can set up free vaporize reactions. His summoned swords also have some light defensive and healing capabilities to round out his kit.  

Good Genshin Impact characters

Jean 

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

The de facto leader of Mondstadt is one of the most flexible characters in Genshin Impact. Jean's skill can clump enemies together and send small ones flying for some heavy fall damage, her burst can heal your entire team while taking a chunk out of enemies, and her anemo abilities can be combined with the Viridescent Venerer artifact set to make enemies take more elemental damage. She's not quite on Zhongli's level, but Jean is a good pick for nearly any party.  

Tartaglia 

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

Like Hu Tao, Tartaglia's normal attacks totally change once you use his elemental skill, swapping his bow for powerful short-range water swords that deal heavy hydro damage – and exponentially higher damage against groups thanks to stacking AoE. The longer you use this skill in one go, the longer the cooldown will be when you toggle it off, so to play Tartaglia effectively, you'll want a sub-DPS character to play while his skill is recharging. Played correctly, Tartaglia can add a lot of damage to your team, plus his passive ability will boost your whole team's normal attack power.  

Keqing 

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

With access to high physical and electro damage, Keqing is relatively easy to build and always fun to play. You can use her skill to perform a teleporting slash that converts your damage to electro, or you can detonate it manually for an electro explosion, usually to trigger superconduct and low enemy resistance. Electro reactions are a bit niche compared to things like melt and vaporize, but no matter how you build her, Keqing is a strong choice.  

Ningguang 

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

Plenty of four-star characters are viable for a main DPS role, and Ningguang is an old favorite. With a fast burst, a skill with surprising utility, and powerful ranged charged attacks, Ningguang excels when paired with geo characters like the Traveler or Zhongli. Running two geos enables the powerful geo party resonance, and geo is a pretty neutral element, too, so you can fill the rest of your team with staple characters like Bennett without fussing over elemental reactions. 

Yanfei 

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

Yanfei's charged attack-focused catalyst play style is very similar to Ningguang's, and the way her skill and burst fuel her charged attacks has also drawn apt comparisons to Klee. Yanfei's abilities feel great to use and her charged attacks hit like a truck when you time them right, so if you're looking for a pyro attacker but haven't rolled any of the five-stars, Yanfei is a fantastic choice.  

Razor 

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

Speaking of four-star attackers: it doesn't get much simpler than Razor, a physical damage carry whose elemental burst increases his attack speed. Razor's electro abilities can also trigger the ever-important superconduct reaction to lower physical resistance, so his entire kit was clearly built for physical damage. If you just want to swing a big sword and hit really hard – and summon a giant lightning wolf – Razor might be for you.  

Albedo 

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

One of the most underrated five-stars, Albedo can fit onto virtually any team. His elemental skill adds free geo damage to your attacks, and his talents give your whole team a nice bump in elemental mastery. Albedo can also make good use of all those defense artifacts you've likely stockpiled since his skill damage scales with defense. Depending on how you build him, his burst can be devastating as well. Albedo's a true jack of all trades that shouldn't be overlooked.  

Mona 

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

You've probably seen Mona in some highlight reels flashing giant damage numbers, and there's a reason for that. Her elemental burst not only makes enemies take way more damage for a short period, it also hits extremely hard on its own, making Mona a wombo-combo machine. She's particularly good with cryo characters like Ganyu, since the freeze status effect can extend the damage boost provided by her hydro burst. The taunt provided by her elemental skill is handy, too.  

Fischl 

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

Fischl is the poster child for free damage. Her skill and burst summon a turret-like bird named Oz who'll deal consistent electro damage even when Fischl isn't on the field. Like Albedo, this means Fischl is basically extra passive damage that's easy to maintain – and becomes frankly bananas at higher constellations.  

Rosaria  

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

With a persistent elemental burst that deals cryo damage in a sizable area, plus a talent that can substantially boost the crit rate of your whole team, Rosaria is a far more selfless character than her personality might suggest. She's a great offensive support unit by default, and she can be a fierce physical attacker, too, especially with the craftable crescent pike polearm in her hands.  

Diona 

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

Just as Albedo scales with defense, Diona can make good use of all your HP artifacts since the tankiness of the shield on her elemental skill and the power of the healing on her elemental burst both scale with HP. Even if she deals virtually no damage, Diona can add a lot to your party by generating tons of energy, protecting you from most attacks, and healing you up when you do get hit. 

Sucrose 

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

On top of the resistance-reducing Viridescent Venerer artifact set, Sucrose can add two valuable tools to your team. Her talents provide a substantial party-wide elemental mastery boost, and her elemental burst does a pretty good job of grouping enemies together. Her burst isn't as powerful as Venti's, but her elemental mastery boost makes her uniquely powerful in many teams.  

Xiangling 

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

You can't go wrong with a giant flaming disc that spins around your character, and Xiangling's elemental burst provides just that. Guoba, the fire-breathing bear named that her skill summons, provides yet more off-field damage, putting Xiangling just below Fischl in terms of free passive DPS, but with the added advantage of melt and vaporize reactions.  

Kaeya 

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

Kaeya's cryo element and high basic attack damage make him a decent physical carry, while the short cooldowns on his abilities suit a support role. He's great when paired with pyro or hydro units since his skill and burst can apply cryo pretty well while dealing respectable damage. Kaeya is one of the best units from the initial freebies you get through the story, so don't hesitate to invest in him.  

Beidou 

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

Beidou takes a lot to build since you have to make room for tons of energy recharge on top of the usual damage stats, and she does get a huge power boost at her second constellation. But if you build her properly and make good use of her parry skill, you'll gain a unique, fun, and monstrously powerful electro support. Beidou is an unwieldy character, but totally worth building.  

Geo Traveler 

The Traveler is among the weakest five-star characters in the game, but their geo abilities are pretty solid overall. Their skill has a very short cooldown and hits reasonably hard, and their burst has huge range and provides a critical rate boost to everyone nearby. These abilities make the geo Traveler pretty strong in geo comps, not to mention teams looking to spam low-cooldown abilities while cycling characters.  

Not bad Genshin Impact Characters

Qiqi 

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

Qiqi unquestionably provides the strongest healing in the entire game, but that's all she provides. Her abilities don't hit very hard or generate much energy, so her utility pretty much stops at healing. Qiqi can help in some tough fights, but characters like Bennett can get you through them faster through attack bonuses, whereas characters like Diona can prevent you from taking damage to begin with. Qiqi is not bad, she's just a little inflexible.  

Barbara 

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

Barbara is similar to Qiqi in that her entire kit boils down to healing, but if anything she's even more laser-focused. Her burst doesn't deal any damage and her skill deals very little damage, so she is really a pure healer. She's not bad when healing is all you need, but in activities where time is limited, she'll always lose to healers with more damage utility. 

Xinyan 

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

Xinyan's skill creates a pyro shield that can protect all your characters, while her burst deals a chunk of physical damage in a small area. She can be played as a main DPS or a burst support character with some shield utility, but without constellations, she's tough to fit into most teams. Her shield is weak, and her burst doesn't scale very well. And even with constellations, she never really excels at any one role.  

Chongyun 

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

Paired with a few select characters like Diluc or Bennett, Chongyun is quite good. The thing is, he's actively bad in a lot of other teams. See, his elemental skill puts down a field that converts the melee attacks of everyone inside to cryo damage (with a few exceptions, most notably Hu Tao and Xiao), and this can really throw off your build. Chongyun unlocks some fun cryo synergies and his burst packs a punch, but he's tougher to use than someone like Kaeya.  

Noelle 

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

Noelle is a flexible character able to shield you and directly heal you, but she's a bit overly reliant on constellations to fix her clunky abilities. Her healing doesn't really come online until her first constellation, and even then it's inconsistent. Plus, without her sixth constellation, her damage output is relatively low. Noelle can get you through some hard times, but she's one of the weaker defensive support units available.  

Lisa 

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

Again, electro reactions are pretty niche, so the fact that Lisa can only deal electro damage – and her ascension stat is elemental mastery, further leaning into reactions – holds her back. Her charged elemental skill hits hard but comes with a long cooldown, and her burst is tough to fully utilize since it knocks small enemies away. Her charged attack is actually decent, but it can't compare to Ningguang's or Yanfei's, so Lisa really doesn't stand out.  

Amber 

Genshin Impact character tier list

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

Amber is generally regarded as the weakest character in Genshin Impact, and for good reason. Her elemental skill throws down a taunt dummy that deals very minor damage when it explodes, and her burst is a brief rain of arrows. She doesn't deal much pyro damage, none of her abilities have any major synergy with other characters, and her normal bow attacks are almost never worth using.  

Anemo Traveler 

The Traveler's starting anemo kit isn't as useful as their geo tree. Their elemental skill deals decent anemo and swirl damage, but their burst is very awkward to use, often pushing small enemies out of your range while totally whiffing on larger enemies. The anemo Traveler isn't a bad pick, but any other anemo character will surpass them in most situations. 

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a staff writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature.