Kamisato Ayaka is a 5-Star Cryo Sword character from Inazuma. She can only be obtained via the “Heron’s Court” Event Banner. Primarily, Ayaka serves as a carry with a strong penchant for Frozen.
Like Mona, Ayaka possesses an Alternate Sprint. In lieu of the standard running animation, Ayaka instead cloaks herself into an icy mist that swiftly travels across the ground. Upon exiting her sprint, Ayaka applies Cryo onto nearby opponents and she gains a Cryo Infusion for 5 seconds. If Ayaka successfully applies Cryo with her sprint, her A4 passive grants her 10 Stamina and a 10 second 18% Cryo DMG Bonus buff.
Alternate Sprint is a potential point of contention against Ayaka. I won’t lie, the mechanic is clunkier and awkward than the traditional dash and run, even with improvements made in Version 2.0 to coincide with Ayaka’s first banner. That said, you better get used to it if you intend on using Ayaka. Both the Cryo Infusion and Cryo DMG Bonus buff that Ayaka can gain are simply too valuable to pass on. You’ll also want to get used to dash canceling with Ayaka as consistent dashing refreshes the Cryo Infusion’s duration, practically making it last indefinitely. Dash canceling can drain your Stamina but fortunately, this is sometimes compensated by Ayaka’s A4 passive giving her 10 Stamina if her sprint manages to apply Cryo onto an enemy.
Ayaka’s Alternate Sprint also gives her a slight edge when it comes to exploring Genshin’s open world. Like Mona, the Talent enables Ayaka to briefly travel across water. But whereas Mona’s Alternate Sprint has no additional effects in this regard, Ayaka is able to briefly freeze the water below her and form a temporary platform to stand on. If you can juggle this with Ayaka’s Elemental Skill and be mindful of her Stamina, you can have her travel on water indefinitely. The one downside is that Ayaka arcs a bit when she leaps out of her sprint, which sometimes causes her to land in the water instead of her platform. Those looking for an easy icy bridge may still want to bring out Kaeya for the job.
For her basic attacks, Ayaka ideally wants to end her combos with her Charged Attack. It is currently one of, if not, the best Charged Attack among Sword users. It attacks three times and at Lv. 6, it has a multiplier of 80.13% per hit with a total sum of 240.39%. This narrowly beats the total multiplier of Keqing’s Lv. 6 Charged Attack by 3.76%. The Charged Attack lacks the knockback effect that most Sword users cause with their Charged Attack, making it easier to spam. Unlike other Charged Attacks, Ayaka’s has hitscan. Rather than simply strike at the front, it locks onto an enemy within a radius and attacks them regardless if they are is within Ayaka’s Normal Attack range. Each hit also has a small AoE and is therefore capable of hitting other enemies if they are close to the original target. There are some checks and balances to this mechanic. The hitscan resets for each hit and there is an Internal Cooldown that prevents every hit from attacking additional targets. In spite of those, Ayaka’s Charged Attack still has above-average range and AoE. She does have to be mindful of Stamina when spamming it though this is somewhat compensated by Ayaka’s A4 passive. Should Ayaka lack Stamina, she can always just use the usual Normal Attack combo, which still ranks as her second best attack string.
When Ayaka casts her Elemental Skill, “Kamisato Art: Hyouka”, she creates a circle of ice around her that’ll deal Cryo DMG to anything within its radius. The animation of this Skill is pretty short by default though you can shorten it even further by Dash Canceling or by casting Ayaka’s Elemental Burst. The latter action can be used to prefunnel Energy into Ayaka for the next use of her Burst. Ayaka’s Skill generates 4.5 Cryo particles if it hits at least one enemy, making it a very good source of Energy for her as well as any other Cryo character on her team. Lightweight enemies can be launched into the air by this Skill which can be a little annoying though the knockback isn’t quite as extreme as that seen with Overloaded and it can make for a breather in an intense fight.
The main reason to use Ayaka and the biggest component of her DPS is her Elemental Burst, “Kamisato Art: Soumetsu”. It is a snowstorm that travels forward and inflicts Cryo DMG up to 19 times towards anything in its path before then exploding in an AoE. At Lv. 6, each slash has a multiplier for 157.22% while the bloom has a multiplier of 235.83%. Assuming all 20 attacks hit their mark, Soumetsu has an insane total multiplier of 3,223.01%. This of course gets even higher if you raise the ult past Lv. 6. Soumetsu has a brief duration of 5 second but it is nevertheless Snapshottable. It retains all buffs Ayaka receives prior to its activation throughout its entire duration. All things considered, Ayaka’s ult is one of the strongest currently available in the entire game.
A downside to Ayaka’s Elemental Burst is that it has a high Energy cost of 80. As mentioned earlier, Ayaka’s Elemental Skill can generate 4.5 particles so she doesn’t really struggle with supplying herself with Energy. With high Energy Recharge, she is capable of refueling her Burst off cooldown. Whether you want to stack Energy Recharge is a whole other matter as a carry such as Ayaka does need to prioritize building ATK and CRIT. Alternatively, you may want to consider pairing Ayaka with another Cryo character who can act as a battery. I personally prefer Diona or Shenhe for this role. Both characters can generate a handful of Cryo particles while also bringing other utilities to the table. Diona offers shielding and healing. Shenhe provides a flat DMG buff that can be applied to a Cryo Talent post-Snapshotting (which can be neat for Ayaka’s Burst, even with its brief duration). Kaeya and Rosaria are also good Cryo batteries though the former doesn’t offer much utility beyond Sub DPS and I find the latter’s utilities to be better off with a Cryo/Physical carry such as Eula.
As mentioned at the start of this post, Ayaka has a penchant for Frozen. The Elemental Reaction allows her to perform a very safe playstyle and turn the toughest fights into complete cakewalks. It is especially handy for her Elemental Burst as it can be easy to miss with it and almost every enemy in the game is capable of evading it. The ult does stay in place once it hits an enemy but that does not guarantee that your target(s) will do the same. To ensure an enemy suffers every single DMG tick the Burst has to offer, you pretty much have to freeze them. A major exception to this are select bosses. Many of them have specific windows where they get incapacitated and become sitting ducks while some of them such as Regisvines are fixed in place anyway.
Conversely, other Cryo-related Reactions are not Ayaka’s forte. While she can get strong DMG procs with Melt, she can’t really abuse it as her entire kit follows traditional Internal Cooldown. Melt also won’t keep enemies in place for her Elemental Burst. She can maybe work as an enabler for a Pyro Sub DPS such as Xiangling but that’s about it. Meanwhile, Ayaka has little business to do with Superconduct. It’s a great Reaction for Physical DPS units but Ayaka seldom deals Physical DMG unless you either forget to activate her Cryo Infusion or make the impractical decision of not using her dash.
Technically, Frozen does not provide any additional DMG. Its innate appeal is its ability to immobilize enemies. This is however compensated by Genshin providing a couple of ways for Frozen users such as Ayaka to more easily build their CRIT ratio. The Blizzard Strayer Artifact set has a 4-Piece effect that boosts its wielder’s CRIT Rate by 20% when they attack an enemy affected by Cryo, 40% if they are Frozen. Assuming that the enemy is Frozen, Blizzard Strayer allows Ayaka to run with 30% CRIT Rate in her gear as opposed to the recommended 70%. With Cryo Resonance, Ayaka gains an additional 15% CRIT Rate when attacking an enemy affected by Cryo or Frozen. Combined with Blizzard Strayer, she can run with just 15% CRIT Rate. With either or both effects in place, Ayaka doesn’t really need to worry about her CRIT Rate and she can instead prioritize on stacking her CRIT DMG. Ayaka even gets a headstart in that department as she gains 33.4% CRIT DMG as she ascends. Unless you get screwed over with your Blizzard Strayer drops, it won’t take too long for Ayaka to achieve a solid CRIT Ratio.
Since Ayaka wants to use Frozen, she should be paired with a Hydro character. I personally found Kokomi to be my favorite support for Ayaka. Kokomi’s Bake-Kurage not only provides healing, it also ignores Internal Cooldown and can therefore proc Frozen with every tick. Combined with Ayaka’s kit, enemies will barely break out of Frozen while the jellyfish is on the field. Kokomi can also be equipped with Thrilling Tales of Dragon Slayers and 4-Piece Tenacity of the Millielith, turning her into an ATK buffer. Remember that Ayaka’s Burst is Snapshottable so she can really abuse the buffs Kokomi can provide her. The only caveat to Kokomi is that her Elemental Burst isn’t too valuable for Ayaka as it turns the former into a selfish carry, therefore competing with the Ayaka for field time. Activating it does however refresh the Bake-Kurage’s duration and Kokomi’s enhanced basic attacks can be used to keep enemies frozen for Ayaka’s Burst. Another solid support for Ayaka is Mona. While her Elemental Skill has more downtime than Kokomi’s, it does taunt enemies, making them easier targets for Frozen. Mona also provides a DMG buff with her Elemental Burst, the duration of which can be extended with Frozen. This can be extremely helpful with Ayaka’s Burst.
If you don’t have Kokomi or Mona, you can make do with the 4-Star Hydro characters (all two of them!). Both Xingqiu and Barbara’s Elemental Skills do apply Hydro and they follow Ayaka around, making them somewhat decent for Frozen. Barbara is slightly worse though as it hilariously applies Hydro onto Ayaka, ironically making the latter as vulnerable to Frozen as her foes. Xingqiu is the more offensive option with his Elemental Burst dealing Hydro DMG in coordination to his teammate’s Normal Attacks. Do note however that Xingqiu is desired by almost every other carry in the game, particularly Pyro carries for Vaporize comps. Barbara is a more supportive alternative. She can heal and if equipped with Thrilling Tales of Dragon Slayers, she can also provide an ATK buff. She is also obtainable for free so if nothing else, she is available to all Ayaka mains.
Like with every 5-Star character, I can only recommend getting Ayaka’s Constellations if you absolutely have the money to burn. That said, Ayaka does have a very good set of Constellations for players to consider getting. With her C1, Ayaka gains a 50% chance to decrease her Elemental Skill cooldown by 0.3 seconds with every one of her Normal or Charged Attacks. While inconsistent, it can make for smoother rotations and allow Ayaka to refuel her Burst a bit sooner. C2 is the first noticeable upgrade as it adds 2 smaller snowstorms to Ayaka’s Elemental Burst, each one dealing 20% of the original storm’s DMG. Against mobs, Ayaka can potentially hit more enemies. Against larger enemies, these extra storms will make them die sooner. Either way, this Constellation is very useful in expanding Ayaka’s AoE capabilities. C4 adds a 6 second 30% DEF debuff to her Elemental Burst. DEF debuffs are hard to come by and they scale much harder than a REs debuff. Considering Frozen’s lack of bonus DMG, something such as this Constellation makes for a huge spike in DPS. It is easily Ayaka’s best Constellation and it is frankly annoying that it’s a late one. Ayaka’s C6 is frankly not too worthwhile. It gives her Charged Attack a 298% DMG Bonus which is amazing but you can only take advantage of it every 10 seconds. Once again, much of Ayaka’s DPS lies in her Burst so if that’s all you care about, it’s pretty easy to skip C6. That said, if you’re willing to whale for her C4, you might as well get her last two Constellations.
Ayaka is currently one of the strongest characters in Genshin and she’s one of the best characters to have come out in the game’s second series of patches. Her DPS is reliant on whether or not you can freeze an enemy but if said enemy checks that box, she is an absolute monster. Her ability to keep enemies at bay and dish out high DMG in the process is downright cheap. I personally prefer Ganyu as a Main DPS, she has more range and flexibility, but you really, really can’t go wrong with Ayaka.
Thanks for reading!
This post was originally published on July 29, 2021