The wait is finally over. Genshin Impact has made Kamisato Ayaka, the last character from the game’s pre-release beta tests, officially available to play as. For me, Ayaka was the most character I was most anticipated to pull for. Even after whaling for other characters, I remained motivated to get her. While I do think Cyro currently suffers from an abundance of Cyro characters and Cyro has the uncrowned queen that is Ganyu, Ayaka was very much worth the wait for me. She’s an extremely fun character to play as and a very strong carry to have in a team.
Ayaka serves as a Main DPS whose main reaction in combat is Frozen. Upon exiting her Alternate Sprint, Ayaka infuses her Normal Attacks with Cyro. Even though the duration is technically 5 seconds, it is effectively indefinite so long as Ayaka periodically Dash Cancels. Ayaka’s Elemental Skill, “Kamisato Art: Hyouka” launches enemies with Cyro DMG in an AOE. Her Elemental Burst, “Kamisato Art: Soumetsu”, is a snowstorm that can stick to enemies and repeatedly inflict Cyro DMG onto them. Pair this kit up with a support who can apply Hydro off field such as Barbara, Mona, and Xingqiu and it should be obvious why Ayaka is so ideal for Frozen-based teams. Either her or her Hydro support will constantly proc Frozen, allowing for a very safe playstyle that turns the toughest fights into complete cakewalks. Frozen is especially handy for Ayaka’s Burst as while it can stick to enemies, it is also easy to miss. By freezing enemies in advance, either with Ayaka’s Normal Attack or her Elemental Skill, you’ll ensure that the Burst will hit your target and that your target will suffer every single Cyro DMG tick the Burst has to offer.
Technically, Frozen does not provide any additional DMG. Its appeal as an Elemental Reaction primarily rests in its ability to immobilize enemies. This is however compensated by Genshin providing ways for Cyro characters to stack up on free CRIT Rate for a Frozen-based setup. Cyro Resonance provides a 15% increased CRIT Rate against enemies affected by Cyro. The Blizzard Strayer artifacts, which is what I have equipped on my Ayaka, has a 4-Piece Bonus increases CRIT Rate by a whopping 40% if the opponent you’re attacking is frozen. With either or both of these, a Cyro character can have very good uptime with their Critical hits and/or forgo some innate CRIT Rate to better stack CRIT DMG. Anemo Supports can further assist by using the 4-Piece Bonus of the Viridescent Venerer set to debuff an enemy’s Cryo Resistance and doing so won’t interrupt said enemy’s Frozen status. In the case of Ayaka, she also enjoys a free 33.4% CRIT DMG increase as she ascends in level. So long as you take advantage of some, if not all of these, a Frozen-based Ayaka should not have any issues.
Conversely, other Cyro-related reactions are not exactly Ayaka’s forte. While she can do a lot of damage with Reverse Melt, it currently stands as the more niche approach for Ayaka. There currently isn’t a Pyro support who can keep up with the frequency of Ayaka’s Cyro application. This could very well change however when a new Pyro support is introduced (frankly, Genshin is in dire need of another one anyway). Meanwhile, Superconduct can allow for Ayaka to be a Physical DPS but it’s completely wasted on her unless you make the impractical decision of not using her dash. Unless miHoYo reworks how Alternate Sprint is used, you’re better off having a secondary carry who can deal with any Cryo Slimes that your Ayaka team encounter.
Outside of combat, Ayaka is a really fun character to use in exploration, thanks to her Alternate Sprint. Alternate Sprint became a point of contention for the Genshin community as anyone has Mona can attest that the sprint feels a lot clunkier compared to traditional dash and running. Thankfully, miHoYo has readjusted Alternate Sprint for Ayaka’s official release. You sometimes still clip onto something but dashing and running with both Ayaka and Mona feels a lot snappier and more fluid now. Having Alternate Sprint allows Ayaka to briefly travel across water and because it is Cyro, Ayaka can also freeze the water below her for a temporary platform to stand on. Reinforce it with her Elemental Skill and wait a bit for your stamina to replenish and you can essentially Ice Bridge indefinitely. Sometimes, Ayaka will leap out of her sprint too far and land in the water instead. I would also say that Kaeya still ranks higher in the Ice Bridge tier list; his Elemental Skill requires so little timing and thought in creating an effective Ice Bridge. Still, I can’t deny that it can be extremely satisfying to traverse large bodies of water with Ayaka, especially in her home country of Inazuma which is a series of islands to begin with.
There a lot of Cyro characters to pull for in Genshin. I would argue far too many in fact. Also, if I had to pick one Cyro character to pull for, I frankly would answer with Ganyu. Ganyu remains one of the most overpowered characters in the game and she’s very flexible, more so than Ayaka in terms of what role she can play in a team comp and what Elemental Reactions she can use. Even so, those looking to get Ayaka for their account should have no regrets with her. Ayaka is an extremely viable carry for your team, her ability to keep enemies frozen and dish out high damage in the process being borderline cheap.
Thanks for reading!