Genshin Impact Character Review – Xiangling

Xiangling is a 4-Star Pyro Polearm character from Liyue. She can be obtained for free via the “People’s Choice” event, which requires you to clear Floor 4 Chamber 3 of the Spiral Abyss. Constellations can then be obtained via the gacha as well as with Masterless Starglitter in “Paimon’s Bargains” during the months of January and July. Xiangling primarily serves as a sub DPS support for her team.

When Xiangling casts her Elemental Skill, “Guoba Attack”, she summons her panda companion, Guoba, to attack enemies with Pyro DMG. He attacks a total of 4 times, every 1.5 seconds. Furthermore, Guoba will continue attacking even if Xiangling switches places with a teammate. At A4, Guoba will leave behind a pepper icon that can be picked up for a 10% ATK buff to your active character. However, since you have to take the time to pick it up, it should be treated more as a bonus and not your primary means of buffing.

While Guoba can be a strong turret, he is also sometimes a pretty unreliable one. Whereas Fischl can reposition Oz, Xiangling cannot do the same with Guoba. You plop the panda on the ground and he’ll stay on that spot until he finishes eating his snack and setting things on fire, making it fairly easy for enemies to move out of his range. This problem persists even after getting Xiangling’s A1 passive, which extends Guoba’s range by 20%. Your active character can push Guoba but due to movement physics and Guoba being a fat panda, it’s awkward to do and impractical during combat. The best solution is to place Guoba next to a taunt, which will keep enemies in place and make them much easier targets for the panda to attack. Unfortunately, the best taunts belong to 5-Star characters such as Mona and Ganyu. If you’re F2P, your only option is Amber and that requires using Amber so it’s not worth considering. Other than that, you just have to try your best with sticking close to Guoba which can be easier said than done depending on the enemy you’re fighting.

The real reason to use Xiangling is her Elemental Burst, “Pyronado”. After striking the enemy three times, Xiangling launches a spinning disc of fire that’ll orbit around your active character and deal Pyro DMG to any enemies in its path for 10 seconds. The disc doesn’t have the highest multiplier out there (156.8% at Lv. 6) but it is greatly compensated by its wide range and frequency. It can attack multiple enemies at once and attack each of them every orbit. Furthermore, Pyronado ignores Internal Cooldown and is capable of Snapshotting. In other words, the Burst applies Pyro and triggers its related Elemental Reactions every single time it hits and it will retain any ATK buffs Xiangling receives at the time of casting even when said buffs technically expire. All things considered, you have one of the best Elemental Bursts in Genshin

The only downside to Pyronado is its high Energy cost of 80, making Xiangling hungry for Energy. Guoba technically provides a good amount of Pyro particles, 4 in total, but he generates them one at a time and does so provided that he manages to hit an enemy each time. A Favonius Lance can be used to fix this issue by generating neutral Energy with a CRIT but unless Xiangling procs its passive with one of Pyronado’s three initial swings, you generally have to keep her on field for a bit in order to get the extra Energy. Depending on your Rotation, that can be a bit risky. If Xiangling is paired with another Pyro unit, Energy should be less of an issue depending on how much that other unit generates. Otherwise, Xiangling will generally need to stack a lot of Energy Recharge in order for her to reliably get her ult back. Versions 2.0 and 2.1 have fortunately made balancing between Xiangling’s Energy needs and offense easier by adding the Emblem of Severed Fate Artifact set and a free Polearm called “The Catch”. Both of these increase her Energy Recharge and provide her with a Burst DMG Bonus. 

If you want, Xiangling can alternatively serve as a carry and she can perform admirably in this role. Her Elemental Burst is still her main means of dealing DMG but as a carry, Xiangling will also use her Normal Attacks and act as a driver, enabling her teammates and her Burst for Elemental Reactions. An ideal support for a Main DPS Xiangling is Bennett. The latter is a solid Pyro battery thanks to his low Elemental Cooldown and his Elemental Burst provides Xiangling with both healing and ATK buffing. Xiangling is also among the units who would welcome a C6 Bennett’s Pyro Infusion; her fast and aggressive Normal Attacks becoming more viable now that they deal Pyro DMG. For a further boost to her Normal Attacks, you can have Yun Jin in the team as well. 

Adding to Xiangling’s viability as a carry is the fact that she has at least one unit for every Elemental Reaction related to Pyro. For Vaporize, she can be teamed up with Xingqiu. Just bear in mind that Xingqiu is needed by almost every carry in Genshin. For Melt, she can choose between Chongyun, Rosaria, and Kaeya. Go with either of the latter two if you’re also using C6 Bennett as Chongyun’s Cryo Infusion will be overridden by Bennett’s Pyro Infusion. Overload isn’t as strong as Vaporize and Melt and the knockback effect it causes can be a setback for a melee character but Xiangling does synergize with a number of Electro units such as Fischl, Beidou, the Electro Traveler, and the Raiden Shogun. The latter two are particularly appealing options as they can provide some much needed Energy to Xiangling.

For Constellations, I recommend getting Xiangling to at least C4. This Constellation increases Pyronado’s duration by 40% or 4 seconds, decreasing the Burst’s downtime and allowing the ult to attack more frequently. Pyronado also receives three additional levels from C3 so by C4, the ult is considerably stronger. For her sixth and final Constellation, Xiangling provides a 15% Pyro DMG Bonus during Pyronado’s duration. For Xiangling herself, this Constellation isn’t too helpful, from my understanding, Pyronado can’t snapshot this DMG Bonus. Guoba can use the boost but that obviously doesn’t address the issues mentioned earlier in this review. The DMG Bonus is however valuable if you have at least one other Pyro unit in the team with Xiangling

Most of Genshin Impact‘s starter characters fall on the lower end of the meta spectrum. This is not the case with Xiangling however. Not only is she the best free character, she is currently one of the best characters in the game overall. Even with her Elemental Skill being a little unreliable, her Elemental Burst is way too good to pass up and it alone makes her a valuable asset in any team involving Pyro.

Thanks for reading!

This post was originally published on August 25, 2021

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