Genshin Impact tier list: Character ranking guide

Genshin Impact 2 5 Yae Miko Official Screen
(Image credit: miHoYo)

Genshin Impact, the latest action RPG from miHoYo, has dozens of characters along with many more coming soon. As with any gacha game, the best Genshin Impact characters require a fair bit of luck and/or money to add to your team. Characters each have different rarity levels and belong to different tiers. Typically, the higher up the tier they are, the more powerful they are. So, which characters should you be hoping for and investing your resources in leveling up? We're here to help. 

And if you find that Genshin Impact just isn't your type of game, there are plenty of other excellent Android games to choose from for even more mobile fun.

How many playable characters are there?

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There are 54 different playable characters in Genshin Impact. A handful are rewards for completing certain portions of the story, including the protagonist, but most are pulled in gacha-style wishes. There are a few different types of wishes, both permanent and temporary, and a multitude of ways to earn the currencies to make those wishes. While buying the currency with real money is an option, even if you have a ton of money to sink into this game, you will still need some luck to pull the best characters. Let's just say you have unlimited access to all of the characters in the game. Knowing which are worth investing your time and resources into leveling up is also important.

Characters are ranked in this guide based on overall utility. While even the low-ranked characters have certain areas where they excel, the higher a rank, the more places you'll be able to really get the most out of these characters. So if you're playing FtP, the S and A rank characters are the ones you should hold out for in your rerolls.

S-Rank characters in Genshin Impact

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The best of the best. If you are lucky enough to roll one of these characters, hold onto them and invest your resources and time into them. These characters all perform remarkably well in nearly every area of the game.

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Name & RarityElementWeaponAbout this character
5⭐ VentiAnemo (Wind)BowEasily one of the best characters in the game, Venti has an Elemental burst capable of absorbing Hydro, Pyro, Cryo, and Electro power, and inflicting that damage on enemies. Venti is extremely versatile.
5⭐ DilucPyro (Fire)ClaymoreThe best DPS in the game, Diluc is capable of breaking enemy shields and deflecting all but the largest of enemies' attacks. He has the highest attack and critical attack stats too.
5⭐ QiqiCryo (Frost)SwordQiqi is extremely easy to use individually and with other characters. Her Cryo abilities freeze enemies in place and she's the best healer in the game. Unlike most healer class characters, Qiqi has high attack stats and heals directly in correlation with her attacks.
5⭐ MonaHydro (Water)CatalystMona's high speed and ease in setting up Elemental Reactions make her an excellent addition to any party. She is also capable of dashing across the water and simply becoming water when she dashes. Add this to her taunting elemental skill, and Mona can be quite hard to hit.
5⭐ XiaoAnemo (Wind)PolearmXiao stands out as one of the only main DPS Anemo characters and he does a pretty great job in the role. His elemental burst sacrifices his own HP to do extensive damage, so pairing him with a healer is your best bet, but you can also use him in short bursts or by very carefully dodging to get the most out of his limited window.
5⭐ KleePyro (Fire)CatalystAn expert in incendiaries, Klee has a massive base attack, as well as great AoE potential. Just be careful with those bombs or you will find yourself surrounded by flames.
5⭐ ZhongliGeo (Earth)PolearmCapable of filling both sub-DPS and support roles, Zhongli got a massive upgrade with the 1.3 update. He can deal a lot of damage, while also providing shields and buffs to other party members and even petrifying enemies.
5⭐ TartagliaHydro (Water)BowChilde of the Eleven Harbingers, Tartaglia has the unique ability to switch between his bow and hydro daggers. As far as Hydro characters go, he is the best main DPS and his melee stance in particular pairs great with Cryo abilities.
5⭐ GanyuCryo (Frost)BowWith extremely high base attack power and powerful AoE abilities, Ganyu can constantly freeze enemies and deal loads of damage. She makes for a great main DPS.
5⭐ Hu TaoPyro (Fire)PolearmCapable of sacrificing her own HP to do massive damage and healing herself, HuTao can be extremely useful on the battlefield with the right build and good timing. She's not the easiest character to use, but definitely worth the resources and time to master.
5⭐ Kaedehara KazuhaAnemo (Wind)ClaymoreKazuha is great to use as a sub or main DPS and works wonders for your Elemental Mastery. His Elemental Burst can cause additional Hydro, Pyro, Cryo, or Electro damage if it comes in contact with them.
4⭐ BennettPyro (Fire)SwordBennet has a unique passive skill that reduces Expedition time by 25% and he can heal based on his own HP. However, his attack stat is abysmal. As a support character, he's incredibly useful, but don't try to make him serve DPS.
5⭐ Kamisato AyakaCryo (Frost)SwordThe princess of the Kamisato house, Ayaka was available during the first closed beta. She does an insane amount of elemental and critical damage, making her a great choice for your main DPS party member.
5⭐ Raiden ShogunElectro (Lightning)PolearmThe famed Electro Archon packs quite a punch, though she's best used as a sub-DPS to buff your main DPS. This is because her Elemental Skill Transcendence: Baleful Omen grants nearby party members additional Electro damage along with boosted Elemental Burst damage.
5⭐ Arataki IttoGeo (Earth)ClaymoreItto is the head of the Arataki gang and is currently in a feud with Kujou Sara, who took his Vision in a fight. He excels as a main DPS, using his Elemental Burst to deal massive Geo damage and unleashing his inner Oni King. He's definitely someone you want in your party if you need a powerful Geo character.
5⭐ ShenheCryo (Frost)PolearmShenhe comes from a clan of exorcists and is Cloud Retainer's disciple. She works best with another Cryo user on the team, buffing their attacks and decreasing Cryo RES with her Elemental Burst. Though she can be used as a sub-DPS character, she's best used to support your team with her buffs.
5⭐ AyatoHydro (Water)SwordKamisato Ayato is the current head of the Kamisato Clan and Yashiro Commission. He works best as a main DPS, with his Elemental Skill and Burst dealing a ton of AoE damage and buffing nearby party members.
4⭐ Shikanoin HeizouAnemo (Wind)CatalystHeizou is the first melee catalyst user to join the roster, and he's an incredible one. It's rare that a 4-star character joins the S-rank, but Heizou excels at doling out a ton of damage, especially against characters effected by Hydro, Pyro, Cryo, or Electro.
5⭐ TighnariDendro (Nature)BowTighnari hails from Sumeru and is the watcher of the Avidya Forest. His charged attacks sends out tracking arrows that deal massive amounts of Dendro damage, and his Elemental Skill serves as a way to deal AoE damage, making him an effective main DPS or sub DPS on your team.
4⭐ DoriElectro (Lightning)ClaymoreA traveling merchant with black market goods, Dori always seems to have what you need. She's a competent healer similar to Bennett, and only gets better when her constellation is activated. Her Elemental Burst summons a Jinni that will heal active party members scaled off of Dori's max HP. It also constantly regenerates energy and deals Electro damage to nearby enemies.

A-Rank characters in Genshin Impact

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While S-Rank characters are ideal, A-Rank characters will absolutely get the job done. These characters are versatile and will get you through most of the game with relative ease.

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Name & RarityElementWeaponAbout this character
5⭐ JeanAnemo (Wind)SwordJack of all trades, Jean doesn't particularly excel in any one role, but can often make up for an empty slot in your team. She can heal, as well as perform solid crowd control. She also has an added 12% of doubling some of your cooking results.
5⭐ KeqingElectro (Lighting)SwordCapable of dealing a lot of damage with Elemental Reactions, Keqing is easy to use and has high stats all around. Despite being a sword user, she can do both melee and ranged attacks, and she can even teleport across the battlefield with her elemental skill.
4⭐ XianglingPyro (Fire)PolearmXiangling is capable of summoning a fire breathing bear who auto targets enemies. She has an elemental burst that surrounds her with a swirling Pyronado and her melee attacks are easy to pull off. She also gives a 12% chance of doubling cooking results for attack boosting dishes.
4⭐ FischlElectro (Lightning)BowWith a Raven summon and the ability to deal ranged damage over a large area, Fischi can be a little tricky to handle but more than makes up for that with the amount of damage she inflicts.
4⭐ XingqiuHydro (Water)SwordA great character for beginners, Xingqui is easy to use for close-range attacks, but he has a very small range, requiring a lot of dashing to dodge attacks. He can heal the current character, although he is outclassed by other healers. However, his passive skill gives a chance of regaining materials while crafting, so he's definitely worth keeping around if only for that.
5⭐ AlbedoGeo (Earth)SwordA sub-DPS character, Albedo is useful for setting up elemental reactions, as well as doing large AoE Geo damage with a very short cool down. His Solar Isotomas can also give other party members a boost. Literally.
4⭐ DionaCryo (Frost)BowAn actual cat girl, Diona can be useful for support, but doesn't excel in any area in particular. She can heal, create shields, and freeze many enemies at once, but there are definitely better characters for each of those roles.
4⭐ NingguangGeo (Earth)CatalystPrimarily defensive, Ningguang protects your party from ranged attacks. She can also inflict earth damage, setting up for the Crystalize Elemental Reaction. Where Ningguang is really useful, however, is farming for Ore thanks to her passive skill which reveals ore deposits on the map.
4⭐ RazorElectro (Lightning)ClaymoreWhile Razor is solid for close range, melee attacks, he doesn't work well for players who switch often and he has very limited Elemental Reaction potential. However, he is great to have in your party because of his passive ability that cuts stamina lost while sprinting by 20%.
4⭐ SucroseAnemo (Wind)CatalystBasically a budget Venti, Sucrose can be great for those who haven't been blessed with the Tone Deaf Bard. As a Catalyst wielder, Sucrose can deal elemental damage with her normal attacks, and most of her attacks hit across a wide range, letting her excel in Time Trials. She also has a chance of regaining materials when crafting.
4⭐ RosariaCryo (Frost)PolearmA sister at the Church of Favonius, Rosaria has the unique ability to increase movement speed at night. These fast attacks can be used to your advantage, and her ascension abilities buff critical damage.
5⭐ EulaCryo (Frost)ClaymoreCaptain of the Reconnaissance Company with the Knights of Favonius, Eula is perfect as a main damage dealer if you haven't been able to aqcuire any others, dealing area of effect and physical damage with her Elemental Skill and Burst.
4⭐ YanfeiPyro (Fire)CatalystAs the daughter of an Adeptus, Yanfei is quite powerful and excels at being a main damage dealer. Her Elemental Skill and Burst deal large amount of Pyro damage. Additionally, she can cut her stamina consumption through the use of Scarlet Seals, granted upon successful attacks.
4⭐ Kojou SaraElectro (Lightning)BowSara works best with other Electro members in your party and is great to pair with the Raiden Shogun. For this reason, she skirts the line between A tier and B tier, but we felt she deserved a higher spot due to her Elemental Skill granting characters within its AoE bonus damage.
5⭐ YoimiyaPyro (Fire)BowThe owner of Naganohara Fireworks, Yoimiya attacks with a lot of flare. As your main DPS, she can deal a ton of Pyro damage that can pass from a fallen enemy to a nearby one, thanks to her Elemental Burst. When it comes to Pyro Bow users, she is much, much better than Amber.
4⭐ SayuAnemo (Wind)ClaymoreAnother support character, this tiny ninja can double as a sub DPS or a healer, should you not have a better option in your party. Using her Elemental Skill, she can absorb other elements and deal additional damage of that type.
5⭐ Sangonomiya KokomiHydro (Water)CatalystA Divine Priestess, Kokomi works best as a support character, healing the party through her Elemental Skill. She also can work as a decent sub DPS, much like Sayu. Her normal attacks and Elemental Burst can deliver a significant amount of damage.
4⭐ ThomaPyro (Fire)PolearmThoma is often described as a helper around the Inazuma islands, so it's fitting that he acts as a great support character, buffing your party members with shields to prevent enemy attacks from doing a ton of damage.
4⭐ GorouGeo (Earth)BowA friend of Kaedehara Kazuha, Gorou is the general of the Sangonomiya troop with "beast-like" fighting capabilities. His Elemental Skill and Burst help buff your party's defense, and he's best used in conjunction with Itto as their Geo damage complements one another.
4⭐ Yun JinGeo (Earth)PolearmYun Jin is a singer, dancer, and the current director of the Yun-Han Opera Troupe. She works best as another support character, granting party members bonus damage based on her defense with her Elemental Burst. Combined with a powerful main DPS character on the party, she's quite useful.
5⭐ Yae MikoElectro (Lightning)CatalystYae Miko can be found overseeing the Grand Narukami Shrine in Inazuma. She is a powerful catalyst user and can unleash a ton of damage with her Elemental Burst, dealing extra damage based on the amount of Sesshou Sakura left behind from her Elemental Skill.
5⭐ YelanHydro (Water)BowHead of the Yanshang Teahouse, Yelan excels in a sub-DPS role that emphasizes buffs for teammates along with a decent damage output herself. She's not the best 5-star option out there, but with the right team she's a valuable character.
4⭐ Kuki ShinobuElectro (Lightning)SwordKuki Shinobu is the Deputy Leader of the Arataki Gang in Inazuma. Her Elemental Skill and Burst are all about dealing bonus Electro damage while healing the current active character in a party, making her a versatile asset on the battlefield.

B-Rank characters in Genshin Impact

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Although B-Rank characters aren't worth getting excited over, they give solid performance across several areas in the game. Your first character, one of the Traveler twins, falls in this rank. You can get through the game with a team of these characters, but you'll have to work harder and switch out more often. 

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Name & RarityElementWeaponAbout this character
4⭐ BarbaraHydro (Water)CatalystWith an abysmal attack stat, Barbara is a much more traditional healer, which makes her good as a support character, but not much else. She can also cover large areas with water, allowing easy setup for Elemental Reactions, but this will work against you against any Cryo enemies.
4⭐ ChongyunCryo (Frost)ClaymoreAs a Claymore user, Chongyun is slow, but hits hard. He's great for setting up Elemental Reactions, and can use rain or nearby water to freeze enemies. His elemental burst is pretty great and has a very short cool down, allowing him to constantly freeze enemies.
4⭐ KaeyaCryo (Frost)SwordKaeya is easy to use in close combat and though his Elemental Skill doesn't do a ton of damage, it recharges fast, allowing you to continually freeze enemies. He can also cross large bodies of water without burning stamina, and his passive talent reduces the stamina used sprinting by 20%.
4⭐ BeidouElectro (Lightning)CatalystBeidou is slow, like most claymore wielders, but her charged attacks can cancel out enemy attacks. Her biggest strength is the ability to reduce damage while charging her Elemental Skill. She also reduces the stamina burned when swimming by 20%.
4⭐ XinyanPyro (Fire)ClaymoreAlthough Xinyin has the highest base attack of four star characters, there are better Pyro characters, better Claymore users, and, of course, Diluc. Still, if you didn't luck out pulling Diluc, she can fill the role.
5⭐ AloyCryo (Frost)BowAloy's a bit of a special character because she was added to Genshin Impact as part of a cross-over with Horizon Forbidden West. She can hit with a decent amount of damage, and with the right party, she can probably be an A-tier character. By herself, We'd say she's just above average.
4⭐ ColleiDendro (Nature)BowOne of the manga's main characters and a former prisoner of the Fatui, Collei is a ranger trainee in Avidya Forest. She works best as a sub DPS character in conjunction with other elemental reactions, but there are plenty of others better suited for the sub DPS role.

C-Rank characters in Genshin Impact

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C-Rank characters are, generally speaking, worth re-rolling. There are definitely areas where they shine, but they're a lot more limited, and there are much better characters in each of those areas. However, if you're 100% FtP, characters like Lisa and Noelle are easy to get and will bolster your team.

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Name & RarityElementWeaponAbout this character
5⭐ Traveler (Anemo)Anemo (Wind)SwordThe main character of Genshin Impact, whichever twin you selected at the beginning of the game is capable of changing Elements throughout play. While not the best choice if you've done well in your gacha pulls, the Anemo Traveler is great for beginners. Their melee attacks are easy to pull off, and they're capable of inflicting Wind damage over a large area and with their normal attacks. Their constellation material is also relatively easy to gain without needing gacha luck. Pays to be an outlander!
5⭐ Traveler (Geo)Geo (Earth)SwordWhen changed to Earth, the Traveler retains their ease for melee use and gains the ability to raise a pillar from the ground. Using this ability in conjunction with your ranged fighters, the Traveler can put an archer up out of range of enemy attacks. They're also good for climbing puzzles.
4⭐ NoelleGeo (Earth)ClaymoreNoelle is guaranteed in the first draw of the Beginners' Wish pack. Her Elemental Skill puts up a shield to protect your party and grants a chance at healing. She also provides a 12% chance of doubling the results while cooking defense boosting food.
4⭐ LisaElectro (Lightning)CatalystLisa can deal significantly more damage than some of the other welfare characters because of her wide area attacks. If you didn't get lucky in your gacha pulls, you'll want to invest in building her up. Her Catalyst weapon also allows her to deal elemental damage with normal attacks, and she has a chance of regaining materials from crafting and potions.

D-Rank characters in Genshin Impact

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There is currently only one D-Rank character, and she's a freebie. She is the first playable character you meet after selecting your twin and is largely how Genshin Impact teaches you to play multiple characters.

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Name & RarityElementWeaponAbout this character
4⭐ AmberPyro (Fire)BowThe very first party member you meet, Amber is definitely at the bottom of the pile. However, in the early game, she complements the Traveler quite well. She can target enemies from far and hit their weak spots, dealing extra damage and even stunning some enemies. She can also be useful for lighting torches. Regardless, Amber is a welfare character, so you can't complain too much, especially if you're FtP.

Genshin Impact characters coming soon

Like any gacha game, Genshin Impact will continually release new characters to keep things fresh. While some characters were revealed during the closed beta tests, which have yet to be released, others have been teased on Twitter or in the official manga. The following are all the characters we expect to see soon, as well as what we know about them:

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Name & RarityElementWeaponAbout this character
?⭐ BaizhuDendro (Nature)UnknownThe mysterious owner of Bubu Pharmacy, little is known about Baizhu.
?⭐ LyneyUnknownUnknownA young man from Fontaine, Lyney appeared in the Teyvat Storyline Preview.
?⭐ LynetteUnknownUnknownA young woman with cat ears and a tail who appears alongside Lyney in the Teyvat Storyline Preview.
?⭐ IansanPyro (Fire)UnknownA very young girl from Natlan, Iansan appeared in the Teyvat Storyline Preview.
?⭐ CynoUnknownPolearmA young man from Sumeru, Cyno has appeared in the Genshin Impact manga, as well as the Teyvat Storyline Preview.
?⭐ DainsleifUnknownUnknownA mysterious man from the land of Khaenri'ah, outside of the gaze of Teyvat's seven gods, Daisleif is the narrator of the Teyvat Storyline Preview video posted on Genshin Impact's YouTube channel, as well as an NPC in a handful of quests so far. While he has been confirmed as an upcoming playable character, he isn't coming anytime soon.
?⭐ YaoyaoUnknownUnknownXingling's former junior disciple and Ganyu's assistant, Yaoyao, is rumored to be an upcoming playable character.
?⭐ NilouHydro (Water)UnknownNilou performs theater and traveled with Dori across Teyvat for a time. She's described as innocent and graceful.

More to come

Keep in mind that for any upcoming characters, what details we do know could change before release. Genshin Impact usually sticks to a strict 42-day update cadence, barring any unforeseen delays, which always add new characters. As the game continues to grow over time, so will its list, and if you see a character you like it's best to try and get them soon before their event wish ends. 

Regardless of which tier we may have ranked your favorite character, they all excel in different areas. You might find a B-ranked character that fits perfectly into your team. As long as you're having fun, that's what matters.

Jennifer Locke
Games Editor - PlayStation, Android, VR

Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life. You can find her posting pictures of her dog and obsessing over PlayStation and Xbox, Star Wars, and other geeky things.

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