Xingqiu is a 4-Star Hydro Sword character from Liyue. In addition to the gacha, he can be obtained with Masterless Starglitter in “Paimon’s Bargains” during the months of March and September. Xingqiu serves as a Sub DPS support for his team.
When Xingqiu uses his Elemental Skill, “Guhua Swords: Fatal Rainscreen”, he performs two Hydro-infused Sword strikes and leaves behind 3 “Rain Swords” that’ll circle around your active character. The Rain Swords come with a variety of utilities. They briefly apply Wet on your active character and any nearby enemies. Unlike with Barbara’s Skill, the Hydro application on you is not persistent so no need to worry about getting hit with Cryo and constantly getting Frozen (take that, Barbara). While the Rain Swords are active, they provide an increased resistance to interruption. When you take DMG, a Rain Sword will be sacrificed to reduce the DMG taken. With Xingqiu’s A1 passive, the Rain Swords gain another property of healing your active character by an amount equivalent to 6% of Xingqiu’s Max HP when you take a hit or when the Skill duration expires.
As an offensive Skill, Xingqiu’s Skill is just alright. The double strike does possess a high multiplier (235.2% + 267.88 at Lv. 6, totaling to 502.88%) but it also suffers from a lengthy cooldown of 21 seconds so you can’t attack with it frequently. To be fair however, this is now where Xingqiu shines as a sub DPS and his Skill’s value lies more with its utilities. An increased resistance to interruption and a DMG reduction are very helpful buffs to have if you’re not running a Shield on your team. Obviously, the Rain Swords’ healing pales in comparison to that of more dedicated healers such as Barbara and Bennett but they can heal just enough to get by in most fights.
Where Xingqiu’s DPS skyrockets lies in his Elemental Burst, “Guhua Sword: Raincutter”. In addition to generating and refreshing the maximum number of Rain Swords, this ult generates a “Sword Rain” (which isn’t confusing with the Rain Swords at all). This attack is a flurry of 2 or 3 Hydro-based Swords that attack in coordination with your active character’s Normal Attacks. While an individual sword possesses a low multiplier (75.98%), the DMG drastically increases given that the ult sends at least two swords per proc. Furthermore, the bladework has amazing potential for Elemental Reactions. It follows traditional Internal Cooldown but since the Sword Rain attacks at least twice, it generally bypasses the rule and can therefore apply Hydro and set up or trigger its related Reactions with each attack. This makes Xingqiu incredibly good for Reactions, including and especially Vaporize (which can CRIT).
As a trade off, Raincutter comes with a high cost of 80 Energy. You can pair Xingqiu with another Hydro character to lower his Energy needs but I do not recommend this method. Genshin currently lacks a Hydro unit who can act as a battery and units such as Tartaglia and Kokomi already enable Hydro-related Reactions so pairing Xingqiu with them would be redundant. To add insult to injury, Hydro provides one of the worst Elemental Resonances, providing you with 15% Incoming Healing Bonus. The buff is useful for Xingqiu’s A1 passive but it’s largely redundant if you have a built healer, especially Hydro ones such as Barbara and Kokomi. In general, most comps with Xingqiu have him as the sole Hydro unit and he will therefore need lots of Energy Recharge in order to reliably use his Elemental Burst.
Fortunately, Fatal Rainscreen generates 5 Hydro particles when it hits at least one enemy so Xingqiu is capable of being a battery for himself. A common and highly recommended way to bank on this further is to give Xingqiu a Sacrificial Sword in order to build his Energy Recharge as well as allow him to use his Elemental Skill twice to double Energy gains. Since Xingqiu strikes twice with his Skill, he has two chances of triggering the weapon’s Skill Cooldown reset. You can afford to spam the Skill twice as by the time Raincutter cools down, Fatal Rainscreen is just about ready to be reused. Depending on Sacrificial’s refinement level, its passive will also have cooled down. Other weapons with Energy Recharge can work but the vast majority of Xingqiu mains have Sacrificial Sword equipped to how much Energy it yields the character and how reliably it works for him.
For Constellations, you ideally want Xingqiu at C2. This Constellation extends his Elemental Burst duration by 3 seconds and allows it to decrease enemy Hydro RES by 15% for 4 seconds. Now lasting for 18 seconds as opposed to 15, there is only two seconds of downtime and while the Hydro RES debuff lasts for 4 seconds, it technically resets with each Sword Rain proc. It is easily his best Constellation so it’s worth getting him to that level. The second best Constellation is C6. With this, every third Sword Rain proc of Raincutter has increased DMG and will also yield Xingqiu 3 Energy. Why it’s every third proc is beyond me but it is a DMG increase and free Energy so it’s still very helpful to have. Xingqiu’s other Constellations are also quite good. C1 increases the maximum number of Rain Swords he receives with his Talents up to 4, thereby increasing their DMG reduction and healing. C4 increases his Elemental Skill DMG by 50% so long as the Talent is used after his Burst (which you’ll generally do in order to recharge the ult). This adds further appeal to the Sacrificial Sword as this Constellation works with the second charge the weapon can yield, potentially resulting in a deadly 4-Hit combo..
Xingqiu is the single best Hydro Sub DPS in Genshin, practically unrivaled in this role. His Elemental Burst is simply that good for Hydro and Reaction DMG, to the point that he’s the quintessential or at least a very ideal support for almost every carry in the entire game. The only ones who don’t want it are characters who rarely use Normal Attacks (such as Ganyu), are Anemo or Geo (such as Xiao), or are already a Hydro unit (such as Tartaglia). There’s only one issue with Xingqiu and it’s the fact that he cannot be in two teams at once in the Spiral Abyss (which begs the question as to why miHoYo hasn’t just released another Hydro character like Xingqiu). Those with 34 Masterless Starglitter should absolutely consider getting Xingqiu in the shop and while I don’t recommend pulling for 4-Star characters, he is one of the few I would consider a must-pull.
Thanks for reading!