Ningguang is a 4-Star Geo Catalyst character from Liyue. In addition to the gacha, she can be obtained with Masterless Starglitter in “Paimon’s Bargains” during the months of March and September. Ningguang primarily serves as a carry for your team.
In lieu of sequential animations, Ningguang only has one Normal Attack that she can perform. Each Normal Attack grants her a “Star Jade” when it hits an enemy. Outside of her sixth Constellation, Ningguang can hold up to three of these gems at a time. If she has at least one Star Jade, she can release them alongside her Charged Attack for extra DMG. Thanks to her A1 passive, this will not cost her any Stamina. While certainly atypical, once you get in the rhythm of casting 1-3 Normal Attacks followed by a Charged Attack, you’ll find that Ningguang doesn’t play too differently from most other carries in Genshin. Optimal play does heavily encourage canceling each and every one of her Normal Attacks, particularly movement canceling if you’re on PC, and that does come with a learning curve. However, I would advise that you don’t fret over that too much as it is more work on your part and Ningguang is by no means clunky to play without it.
When Ningguang uses her Elemental Skill, “Jade Screen”, she summons the Geo Construct of the same name onto the field, dealing Geo DMG upon impact with an enemy. Once on the field, the Jade Screen will block any enemy projectiles for 30 seconds. While technically more of a defensive skill, the Jade Screen can surprisingly hit pretty hard thanks to a generously high multiplier (322.56% at Lv. 6). With Ningguang’s A4 passive, the construct gains further utility by providing a 12% Geo DMG Bonus when your active character passess through it. While you do have to take a few seconds to pull this off, it is generally worth doing as 12% Geo DMG Bonus is not something you want to sleep on. That’s only 3% short of the Geo DMG Bonus you get from 2-Piece Archaic Petra and considering that Geo characters have no potential for Reaction DMG, one such as Ningguang could use any DMG Bonus that they can get.
With her Elemental Burst, “Starshatter”, Ningguang fires 6 gems that hone in on any enemies and deal Geo DMG onto them. If Jade Screen is on the field, the construct will deactivate to double the number of gems fired so you should always try to cast the ult whenever the construct is present. At Lv. 6, one gem possesses a multiplier of 121.74%. With twelve gems, that totals to a staggering 1460.88%. Admittedly, the DMG spreads out in mob encounters but for single target scenarios, Starshatter can make for one hell of a nuke. Adding to the ult’s appeal is the fact that it only costs 40 Energy. Jade Screen generates 3 Geo Particles when it hits at least one enemy so Energy should pose little to no issue for Ningguang.
For team comps, you should consider pairing Ningguang with another Geo character in order to have Geo Resonance on her team. This party wide buff boosts Shield Strength by 15% and while your active character is protected by a Shield, they deal 15% more DMG and inflict a 15 second 20% Geo RES debuff with their attacks. As mentioned earlier, Geo has no potential for Reaction DMG so something such as Geo Resonance is practically a must for Ningguang’s DPS.
Given the Shield requirement for Geo Resonance, the most obvious and best Geo companion for Ningguang is Zhongli. The Geo Archon has the strongest Shield in the entire game and not only is durable, it also has 100% uptime that extends with the effects of Geo Resonance. That said, Zhongli is a 5-Star Character so getting him requires luck and/or money. If you don’t have Zhongli and if you’re in need of a second Geo character, you can make do with the Geo Traveler and Noelle. The former provides a CRIT Rate buff with their Elemental Burst (one of the few that exists in the game outside of Food) while the latter provides healing. While Noelle does possess a Shield, Ningguang can’t really enjoy it as Noelle needs it in order to heal and the cooldown is lengthy without her staying on the field to reduce it with her attacks.
So long as you have a second Geo character, it doesn’t matter too much who you team Ningguang with. If you don’t have Zhongli, be sure to have a shielder for Geo Resonance. Alternatively, you could use a really good Sub DPS and have Ningguang trigger Crystallize for a free Shield but bear in mind that said Sub DPS is better used for an Elemental Reaction that actually yields bonus DMG. You will need someone to kill Geo Slimes but anyone can fit the bill (well, anyone besides Amber). Certain Elements helps with breaking certain enemy Shields but since Ningguang is a Geo character, her attacks count as Blunt Attacks and can therefore break all elemental Shields, including Geo-based ones. It’ll just take longer but that’ll only pose a detriment in endgame challenges such as the Spiral Abyss (in which case, you’d plan around that and bring someone fit for the job anyway). That all said, if you are looking for an immediate and straightforward boost to Ningguang’s DPS, I do specifically recommend teaming her with two Pyro characters. Pyro Resonance boosts all party members’ ATK by 25% which is solid buff in general but especially helpful for Geo characters such as Ningguang.
For Constellations, you at least want Ningguang at C1. This upgrade adds an AoE to her Normal Attacks. While Ningguang has AoE covered with her other attacks, this Constellation is nice to have since she has to spam her Normal Attacks for Star Jades and it’d be nice for them to be more viable in mob encounters. C2 is arguably the most useful in terms of utility as it resets Ningguang’s Skill cooldown when the Jade Screen shatters (usually via hitbox collision or her Burst). With this, Ningguang can potentially double her Energy gains, making her an extremely good battery for herself and other Geo characters. However, particle generation via this Constellation is weirdly on a 6 second cooldown so Ningguang’s battery potential can be inconsistent if you’re not mindful. The next best Constellation for DPS is C6 which grants Ningguang 7 Star Jades after she uses her Elemental Burst. With 4 extra Jades, Ningguang’s Charged Attack is at its strongest and it makes for a nice mini-nuke to follow her actual one. That said, it is her last Constellation and getting that far with a 4-Star character can be easier said than done due to the RNG of 4-Star drops in Genshin’s gacha system.
Ningguang is one of the best 4-Star carries in the game, a lot of that owing to a self-sufficient kit, generously high scaling, and direct access to Geo Resonance. That said, there’s no denying that Ningguang is a 4-Star character. As strong as she is, a good amount of work is needed in order for her to compete against many of the game’s top tier carries and clear endgame content such as the Spiral Abyss.
Thanks for reading!