Ganyu is a 5-Star Cryo Bow character from Liyue. She can only be obtained via the “Adrift in the Harbor” event banner. Aside from being my favorite
waifu character in Genshin Impact, Ganyu primarily serves as a carry for her team.
Ganyu is the first ever Bow character to possess a Level 2 Charged Attack. As she aims, her arrows can eventually charge up into a “Frostflake Arrow”. This Charged Attack fires as a slightly stronger Cryo infused arrow and then blooms into an AoE upon hitting an enemy or a surface. It is Ganyu’s main means of dealing DMG and it is currently, hilariously, and infamously one of the strongest basic attacks in the game.
There’s a number of factors behind the Frostflake Arrow’s strength. It has very high multipliers attached, with the arrow and bloom’s multipliers adding up to 483.84% at Lv. 6 and 587.52% at Lv. 9. Like the arrow, the bloom can be enhanced with Charged Attack DMG Bonus (such as 35% that you can find in the 4-Piece effect of the Wanderer’s Troupe Artifact set). The Frostflake Arrow ignores Internal Cooldown, allowing Ganyu to trigger a Cryo-related Elemental Reaction with every arrow and bloom. Ganyu also has a head start in getting her Charged Attack to CRIT. She gains CRIT DMG as she ascends. Her A1 passive gives her a 5 second 20% CRIT Rate buff for every Frostflake Arrow fired after the first one. In theory, you only need to build Ganyu with 50% CRIT Rate, as opposed to the recommended 70% (35% if you can reliably utilize Cryo Resonance), and focus more on stacking her CRIT DMG. Regardless of what ratio you’re able to get with Ganyu, CRIT DMG is the more important stat for her as aimed shots on enemy weak points, including headshots, will always CRIT anyway. All things considered, the DMG potential for the Frostflake Arrow is extremely high.
As crazy as it may sound, I actually get the reasoning behind giving Ganyu such a strong Charged Attack. In general, Bows have the slowest Charged Attack in the game and adding a second tier to it slows down the rate of fire even more. Manually aiming a Bow, especially if you’re aiming for weakpoints, opens up the chance of missing your mark and it leaves you open to taking DMG and getting interrupted; either scenario resulting in a DPS loss. With all that in mind, I can’t blame miHoYo for cranking the Frostflake Arrow up the wazoo. It needs to be strong in order to justify the potential risks that come with it.
That said, the Frostflake Arrow works a bit too well in practice. I mean, really think about it. As Bow Charged Attack, it isn’t held back by Stamina or Energy. The only downtime it really has is the handful of seconds it takes to aim and charge an arrow. Aimed shots seemingly have no range limit or if there is one, it’s extremely high. The only disadvantage to long range firing is an arrow arcing downwards due to physics and you can accommodate for this by leading your shots. It’s not just the DMG potential of the Frostflake Arrow that makes it so good, it’s also the consistency and range. So long as Ganyu is allowed to aim and she hits her targets, she’ll deal around 400-600% of her ATK every couple of seconds, at any angle, and at any distance. With a sub DPS, Ganyu can trigger an Elemental Reaction every single time. Every arrow after the first one is more likely to CRIT thanks to the A1 passive. Against an enemy weakpoint, the Charged Attack is guaranteed to CRIT. It is downright ridiculous. Even miHoYo seems to have realized this as the next 5-Star character released after Ganyu, Yoimiya, was given a considerably more underwhelming Level 2 Charged Attack (in fact, it’s not even her main means of dealing DMG).
When Ganyu uses her Elemental Skill, “Trail of the Qilin”, she’ll deal Cryo DMG and dash back, leaving behind an “Ice Lotus” at her starting position. The Ice Lotus will taunt enemies and after 6 seconds or when it takes too much DMG, it will explode for AoE Cryo DMG. You can get some decent DMG with this Skill though its value lies more in how it compliments Ganyu’s playstyle. Both the dash and the taunt allow Ganyu to put distance between her and her opponent(s), giving her some breathing room to charge and fire her arrows. The Ice Lotus is also a good, albeit somewhat inconsistent, source of Energy for Ganyu. It generates 2 Cryo particles when it hits at least one enemy and this goes for both its spawn and its explosion. I only call the Energy gains inconsistent because most enemies tend to die to the Frostflake Arrow before the Ice Lotus can hit them with its explosion, thus preventing Ganyu from getting 4 particles instead of 2.
With her Elemental Burst, “Celestial Shower”, Ganyu summons a “Sacred Cryo Pearl”. For 15 seconds, the pearl will rain down shards of ice in an AoE. An individual shard possesses a low multiplier (98.38% at Lv. 6) but the pearl does drop 50 of them and each shard is capable of hitting multiple enemies at once so the overall DMG of the Burst tends to be higher. If not for the DMG, it is worth using Celestial Shower for Ganyu’s A4 passive, which grants 20% Cryo DMG Bonus to anyone within the AoE. It’s worth using even if Ganyu is the sole Cryo unit in the team as it does augment her Charged Attacks. Celestial Shower’s duration and cooldown are both 15 seconds so with sufficient Energy Recharge, the DMG and buff has 100% uptime.
Given the nature of Ganyu’s Elemental Skill and Elemental Burst, she can be used as a sub DPS support. The Skill’s taunt effect provides crowd control and you can swap Ganyu out once you cast it. Meanwhile, the Burst persists even when Ganyu is off field so it can be used to enable Elemental Reactions for other carries in the game. Ganyu can even support other Cryo carries thanks to her Burst’s Cryo DMG Bonus buff. A support build certainly works and it may allow her to stay viable in the meta should she get power creeped (which I can’t deny is always a possibility).
Regarding Elemental Reactions, Ganyu excels in Frozen and Melt comps. Unless you’re going for a Physical DPS meme build or you’re using Ganyu as a support, you generally don’t have her actively using Superconduct. A Frozen comp provides a very safe and comfortable playstyle for Ganyu. Enemies become easy targets and without them attacking, Ganyu can snipe at them with little to no interruption. Frozen also opens the door for Ganyu to equip the Blizzard Strayer Artifact set. The 4-Piece effect of this set grants her 20% CRIT Rate against enemies affected by Cryo and a further 20% if the enemy is Frozen. Combined with Ganyu’s A1 passive, you can run the character with just 10% CRIT Rate in her gear. With Cryo Resonance, the threshold becomes nonexistent. Conversely, Melt involves more risk-reward. Since enemies aren’t immobile, you will need to be better at aiming and dodging. If evasion is a struggle for you, a shielder such as Diona or Zhongli is pretty much necessary in order to have Ganyu comfortably fight in a Melt comp. Unlike Frozen however, Melt has bonus DMG (with very good scaling no less) and Ganyu can abuse this with the lack of Internal Cooldown on her Charged Attack. Ultimately, the choice depends on whether you prefer comfort or high risk with high reward.
For Frozen, the two most ideal Hydro supports for Ganyu are Mona and Kokomi. Both characters have deployable Elemental Skills that apply Hydro off field for a few seconds. These allow Ganyu to freeze enemies with her Skill’s dash animation and then re-trigger the Reaction at a distance with her Charged Attacks. As to which character is better, it boils down to preference. Mona’s Skill is shorter than Kokomi’s and it has a taunt effect that’s frankly redundant given that Ganyu’s does that as well. However, Mona also provides a DMG buff with her Elemental Burst, the duration of which can be extended with Frozen, which can be bonkers for someone as strong as Ganyu. Kokomi’s Skill provides healing, lasts longer than Mona’s and ignores Internal Cooldown. Conversely however, Ganyu can easily dash out of the healing’s range. Kokomi’s Burst is also isn’t too valuable for Ganyu as it turns the former into a selfish carry, which can cause her to compete with Ganyu for field time. Again, the choice is up to you. That is of course assuming that you manage to get both of them as Mona and Kokomi are both 5-Star characters.
Unfortunately, Ganyu lacks a solid 4-Star alternative for Hydro support. Xingqiu is the go-to Hydro Sub DPS in the entire game but Ganyu is one of the very few carries who does not synergize with him. This is because Xingqiu’s Elemental Burst coordinates with Normal Attacks, which Ganyu usually does not use when aiming her Bow. Barbara works slightly better but only marginally so. Her Elemental Skill’s Melody Ring can apply Hydro to enemies and enable Ganyu to do the freezing dash trick. However, the Melody Ring stays on your active character so as soon as Ganyu dashes away, she can’t refreeze anything without getting up close again. If nothing else, Barbara will at least keep Ganyu from dying with her healing. She is also obtainable for free so all Ganyu mains can settle with her until they get someone better.
Funnily enough, a Melt Ganyu comp is in the exact opposite situation in that it has the most F2P-friendly Pyro support in the form of Xiangling. While currently the only (good) Pyro Sub DPS that exists in the game, Xiangling is given out to all Genshin players for free so availability is a complete non-issue. Ganyu’s Elemental Skill synergizes pretty well with Xiangling’s. The taunt effect of the Ice Lotus will keep enemies close by, allowing Xiangling’s panda companion Guoba to actually hit something for a change. More importantly, you have Xiangling’s Elemental Burst, Pyronado, which can be used in tandem with Ganyu’s Charged Attack and Burst to trigger Melt. A shielder and/or healer is practically necessary to pull this combination off as Ganyu has to risk moving closer to her opponent so that the Pyronado is in range. You can’t really control which character is the one triggering the Reaction but since Xiangling’s Burst and Ganyu’s Charged Attacks both ignore Internal Cooldown, you’re bound to see a ton of procs regardless.
Like with every 5-Star character, I can only recommend getting Ganyu’s Constellations if you absolutely have the money to burn. To Ganyu’s credit however, she has a very good set of Constellations (probably my favorite out of the 5-Star characters I have at C6). If it’s not too expensive, I recommend getting the first one at the very least. It adds a 6 second 15% Cryo RES debuff to the Frostflake Arrow’s Bloom and provides 2 Energy when either part of the Charged Attack hits an opponent. Save for the first arrow fired, you pretty much have the debuff on at all times, making it a substantial and all but permanent spike in Ganyu’s DPS.
The other Constellations aren’t as “necessary” but they’re still quite good. C2 adds a second charge to Ganyu’s Elemental Skill. While you generally don’t need two taunts on the field, this combined with C1 drastically lowers Ganyu’s Energy needs. Assuming both Lotuses hit two times, you can get a total of eight Cryo particles. With C4, the AoE of Ganyu’s Elemental Burst will take 5% more DMG and increase by 5% every 3 seconds. By the end of the Burst, enemies will take 25% more DMG (and this effect does last 3 seconds after the Burst ends). This works best for prolonged fights and it synergizes well with Ganyu’s A4 passive. With C6, Ganyu instantly gets the Frostflake Arrow charged up after using her Skill for 30 seconds. Bear in mind that Ganyu would have C2 unlocked at this point so she can get 2 charges back to back. This is a DPS boost in the sense that you save yourself a couple seconds of charging the Frostflake Arrow and can therefore fire a bit faster from time to time. I don’t think it’s necessary to have but it can make a massive difference in timed challenges and come in clutch in extremely intense ones.
Ganyu was the single most broken thing in Genshin Impact when her banner first dropped and she has since remained one of the game’s strongest characters. Her Charged Attack alone makes her a powerful unit and her kit overall is one of the best designed in the game. By now, the throne for best carry is a lot more contested so Ganyu doesn’t come across quite as game breaking as she used to. Some characters can even outperform her by a margin depending on the situation. Nevertheless, Ganyu remains one of the best characters to use for Genshin’s endgame (what little there is of it). And for the open world, Ganyu is practically the most perfect carry for it, due to her insane consistency and range.
Thanks for reading!