Genshin Impact has taken the world by storm, and its best hook is that it's a free-to-play game that technically doesn't have any dreaded "pay-to-win" mechanics. Of course, as with all anime-esque free-to-play games, some compromises had to be made, and, in the case of Genshin Impact, that would be the monumental amount of grinding involved in getting materials to level up your characters.

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That's why knowing which characters to prioritize leveling up is key to efficiency. Unsurprisingly, some characters are better than others in DPS, soaking damage, or playing support. Most players would certainly want to preserve their precious level-up tokens or party space for these characters. They're currently considered as either the best in their class or necessary utility in the current meta.

Updated June 18, 2021 by Tom Bowen: The world of Genshin Impact is constantly expanding, with new characters and locations being added to the game with every passing month. At the time of writing there are 34 characters available, each of whom has their own unique set of strengths and weaknesses. Though some are arguably far better than others when it comes to raw power, finding success in Genshin Impact isn't always as simple as choosing the strongest characters, but instead selecting units who work well together as a team and tailoring the party to match whatever challenge lies ahead.

20 Xinyan

Genshin Impact Xinyan Burst Element

Xinyan is a Liyue four-star claymore user with a heavy attack. She has the ability to summon flames and surround herself in a pyro shield while also dealing damage, which not only looks incredibly cool, but is also very effective. That's not all that the character has going for herself though.

Her elemental is called rift revelation and causes Xinyan to summon a guitar to deal massive AoE pyro damage. The more enemies that are hit with her elemental burst, the more damage it will do at once making her an excellent character to include when up against large groups of enemies.

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19 Razor

Razor with Wolf Ultimate.

After using characters like Lisa for a while, players will likely have figured out just how devastating electro attacks can be. So, imagine a character that wields a claymore like Noelle but is far more DPS focused and is capable of dealing powerful electro damage. The character you just imagined is Razor.

He has all the benefits of Lisa's charged up Elemental Skill with Claw and Thunder, making him a beast against several groups of enemies that need to be stunned and damaged at the same time. His passive also decreases party-wide Stamina consumption, making him a must-have for exploration.

18 Xiangling

Xinagling relaxing with Guoba in Liyue

For standard pyrotechnic needs, Xiangling serves a healthy dose of incineration with her lovely panda, Guoba, and its Guoba Attack. It's a better version of Amber's exploding flame panda, since Guoba deals consecutive rounds of fire breaths and thus typically dishes out quite a lot more damage.

When not relying on Guoba, Xiangling is usually dishing out some major DPS of her own with her spear which she jabs at enemies like a piston. Other than that, her Elemental Burst is a fire version of Kaeya's and can easily make quick work of groups of enemies that are within melee range.

17 Noelle

Noelle thinking

Noelle might not be everyone's cup of tea in Genshin Impact, but, when it comes to being a tank, she's quite unrivaled. This geo-centric knight can make herself invulnerable for a decent window with the Breastplate skill. Additionally, while that's active, her attacks have a chance to restore health for the whole party.

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That automatically makes Noelle the most reliable panic button in the party for when someone needs a quick healing or a heavy attack needs to be avoided. Meanwhile, she's not a bad damage dealer herself with a spin attack that runs off of Stamina and stun-locks small enemies, making her a solid choice for melee crowd control.

16 Fischl

Fischl and Oz

Fischl is one of the reasons why ranged characters like Amber are lackluster. She's an archer that deals elemental damage that's more useful than fire. She also has tons of flexibility when it comes to combat situations and it's this versatility that makes her a strong addition to just about any party.

Her Elemental Skill, Nightrider, allows her to summon an electro-raven that zaps enemies, and, if they're all wet, then they're just asking to get electrified out of combat. Her Elemental Burst takes this up a notch and transforms her into that same overpowered raven that shocks all nearby enemies.

15 Keqing

Keqing Relaxing

At the time of writing, Keqing is still the only electro five-star character in Genshin Impact. She's also a sword user, making her an incredibly useful character to have in one's party. Her ability to literally blink across the battlefield, coupled with her strong AoE burst, make her a popular character and a very fun one to control.

Keqing is perfect to pair with pyro characters like Xinyan in order to activate the overload effect and is a quick but fierce attacker. In addition, her stellar restoration ability also allows her to teleport up inclines easily, making her great for exploring some of the more mountainous areas of Liyue.

14 Barbara

Barbara attack

When it comes to healing, few can rival Barbara's hydro skills. Her normal attacks are perfect for utility and crowd control since they apply hydro status effects. Her short Elemental Skill also acts as an AoE hydro status generator and healing at the same time since her attacks will restore health while the skill is active.

If that's not enough, her Elemental Burst is capable of healing for a huge amount that scales off her health, so it pays well to build her as a tank. With the amount of healing she has, she easily invalidates other healers in the party and is a strong candidate for those struggling to keep their party alive.

13 Tartaglia

Tartaglia burst attack

Tartaglia is the eleventh Harbinger and a hydro bow user. He has two forms, the first he uses a bow to quickly shower enemies with arrows. Charging the bow will put a seal on the enemy that deals additional hydro damage when hit with a charged area or hit while in his second form.

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His second form gives him dual hydro blades to attack opponents quickly. After a set amount of time, he will revert back to using his bow. In addition, he has two different elemental bursts; in bow mode, he has an AoE attack that drops arrows, while his blade mode is a slash of water that hits nearby enemies.

12 Klee

Klee Explosion

Klee is a fiery child and the youngest member of the knights in Mondstadt. She is a five-star pyro catalyst that specializes in using explosives and was added to the game in October 2020. Though far from the best DPS character available, she does have one or two useful tricks hidden up her sleeves.

Her normal attack hurls bombs at opponents, while her elemental skill Jumpity-Dumpty deals AoE pyro damage after hopping towards opponents. Klee's elemental burst, Sparks N' Splash, sends five sets of four sparks to attack enemies on the field in an AoE style. If nothing else, she's worth bringing along for the fantastic attack animations.

11 Jean

Jean menu

Jean is one of the original five star characters in Genshin Impact and is a strong all-rounder in general. She's an expert at crowd control, using her Gale Blade to release a miniature storm that changes the setup of encounters and battlefields. That alone makes her a good replacement for the main character.

Additionally, she also has a decent heal skill in the form of her passives, namely Wind Companion, which gives her attacks a 50 percent chance to heal 15 percent health for all party members. If players are ever torn between a healer and support in their party slot, then Jean can save one slot for another character since she's a 2-in-1.

10 Qiqi

Qiqi

Qiqi can fill the role of cryo damage dealer much more effectively than Kaeya. Her Elemental Skill, Herald of Frost, deals massive cryo damage to enemies in an area. There there's her Elemental Burst which proves how much of a chiller-killer she can be with the right timing.

Where she truly shines, however, is in her passive ability called Life-Prolonging Methods where her Herald of Frost can also heal all party members by as much as 20 to 80 percent. This makes her both DPS and healer plus support if the enemies are wet, since they'll just be frozen.

9 Diluc

Diluc menu

When it comes to the king of DPS, there are not many that can match Diluc in Genshin Impact. He's a pyro claymore-wielder that can easily start wildfires on the battlefield and deal thousands of points of damage in a matter of seconds when at max-level and equipped with the right weapons.

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His Elemental Skill and Burst both increase his damage exponentially as his Burst, Dawn, gives consecutive buffs and pyro status attacks. Even without it, Diluc's move set and Elemental Skill are enough to make quick work of any enemy not resistant to fire damage. Getting Diluc, however, is a huge headache.

8 Diona

Healing Character

There's very little between Qiqi and Diona when it comes to Cryo-based utility characters, but the latter just has the edge thanks to the extra protection she provides to physical DPS units like Ganyu and Diluc. She's also a good source of AoE elemental burst heals, which will definitely benefit more offensive players.

One of the biggest issues with Diona is her low health and defense, although her Complimentary Bar Food passive makes up for this somewhat. It grants a 12% chance of obtaining extra restorative food when cooking, so players should have no trouble keeping her HP up.

7 Mona

Mona-Attacking-genshin-impact

Despite being among the very first five-star characters in Genshin Impact, Mona still remains one of the best. She's a Hydro user that fights using a Catalyst and is perfect for getting the best out of DPS characters thanks to her unique Elemental Burst. Her Mirror Reflection of Doom Elemental Skill can also be invaluable when up against large crowds of enemies.

Mona's movements are a lot more fluid than a lot of the other units in Genshin Impact, allowing her to perform actions much quicker. Her over-reliance on elemental reactions is perhaps her Achilles' heel, but with careful planning and the right setup, players shouldn't have too much trouble successfully maximizing their damage.

6 Hu Tao

Hu Tao Promo

Those looking for a main DPS character could definitely do a lot worse than Hu Tao. She's a five-star Pyro character with a range of strong attacks, high crit damage and decent HP and defense. She's not great against crowds, but few characters are better when it comes to single target damage.

To really get the best out of Hu Tao, players will want to keep her HP as high as possible, as her Guide to Afterlife Elemental Skill increases her attack based on her max HP. The bonus caps out at 400%, but this should be more than enough to deal with most enemies in the game fairly quickly, especially those who are weak to Pyro.

5 Venti

Venti Bow

In terms of elusive anime RPG gacha characters, Venti is about as rare as Diluc, which is understandable, as he's pretty much a god. His skills, which are wind-based or anemo, effectively make other anemo-based characters obsolete and Venti an invaluable member of the party.

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Venti's Elemental Skill, Skyward Sonnet, allows him to summon a Wind Domain right beneath him, and this will launch him and enemies into the air. Every other skill just blows enemies right off their feet and stuns whole battlefields. Top that off with his ranged bow attacks, and it's easy to see why players need to spend an arm and a leg to get Venti.

4 Zhongli

genshin-impact-zhongli

Zhongli has been buffed and nerfed quite a bit since he was first added to the game in late 2020. After some big ups and downs, however, he's now generally considered to be one of the best utility characters in Genshin Impact, together with the likes of Venti and Bennett.

He's a five-star Geo character who fights using a Polearm and has some incredibly useful skills and abilities at his disposal. He's able to petrify enemies with his Elemental Burst and can deal huge AoE Geo damage with his Dominus Lapidis Elemental Skill. His normal damage is a little lackluster, but others can pick up the slack in this area if needed.

3 Ganyu

Ganyu from Genshin Impact

Ganyu was added to the game in January 2021 and is a cryo bow-user. Unlike most other bow users, though, she is made for DPS and is very good at what she does. So much so, in fact, that despite several five-star DPS focused characters joining the fight since her introduction, she's still considered one of the very best.

Her charge attack has two different charge levels; the first hits the opponent with cryo damage, while the second causes a flower to bloom, resulting in AoE cryo damage. Her elemental burst is called Celestial Show and rains icicles down onto opponents in a large AoE circle.

2 Xingqiu

Xingqiu promo Image

Xingqiu is best used as a secondary attacker due to his somewhat unique selection of attacks and skills. His Elemental Burst ability makes him a great source of Hydro reactions, although he's arguably at his very best when paired with a strong Hydro DPS attacker like Tartaglia.

As well as being able to dish out decent damage, Xingqiu can also be useful when it comes to damage reduction. His Fatal Rainscreen skill creates a number of Rain Swords which will then orbit the character and reduce any damage dealt to him by up to 24% when they break.

1 Bennett

Bennett Close-up

Bennet is the recent DPS obsession of the community as he is a pyro four-star sword user. His power has been likened to that of Diluc's with a useful elemental skill called Passion Overload that allows him to create a fire flame covered sword to strike enemies with.

Bennett also has the elemental burst Fantastic Voyage, which allows him to jump into the air and cause pyro damage to nearby enemies. He'll also summon an Inspiration Field for twelve seconds, which will either restore health or provide an attack bonus depending on his current HP.

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