This post is up to date with Version 3.4 Phase 2
Hu Tao is a 5-Star Pyro Polearm character from Liyue. She can only be obtained via the “Moment of Bloom” Event banner. Primarily, she serves as a selfish On Field DPS.
Hu Tao evokes a berserker/glass cannon playstyle. When she casts her Elemental Skill, Guide to Afterlife, she sacrifices 30% of her current HP and enters the Paramita Papilio state. Under this state, she gains a Pyro infusion and increases her ATK by a percentage of her Max HP for 9 seconds. Her Charged Attacks also gain the ability to inflict the Blood Blossom effect, which deals small amounts of Pyro DMG every 4 seconds throughout a 8 second duration.
As simple as it may sound, Hu Tao’s Elemental Skill makes her a force to be reckoned with. For one, the ATK increase can get disgustingly high. With the Skill at Lv. 6, the increase is equivalent to 5.06% of Hu Tao’s Max HP. If you only factor in her base HP at Lv. 90 (15,552), Hu Tao already gets about 870 added to her ATK. With the right build, you can buff Hu Tao’s ATK by the thousands.
Ideally, you want Hu Tao to spam her Charged Attacks. You may think this is because of the Blood Blossom effect and it is a decent DoT. However, the strength of Hu Tao’s Charged Attacks lies in its potential for Elemental Reaction DMG. Hu Tao uses the standard Polearm Charge Attack animation which has an Internal Cooldown of 0.5 seconds. For all intents and purposes, every single one of Hu Tao’s Charge Attacks can trigger a reaction.
Spamming Hu Tao’s Charged Attacks is not without its flaws however. Depending on the enemy’s size, Hu Tao can knock them aside upon lunging at them and zipping across the field may require her to reposition and reorient herself before attacking again. You can work around this by canceling the animation either by jumping or dashing but this can take some getting used to. There is also the fact that Charged Attacks consume Stamina. This naturally limits how frequently you can use a Charge Attack and should you run out completely, you won’t be able to dodge. If all this sounds awkward to you, you can always just use her standard Normal Attacks. While not considered optimal, they’ll still deal more than respectable DMG.
Despite the self-harm caused by Hu Tao’s Elemental Skill, you actually want to hold off on healing her. This is because of Hu Tao’s A4 passive, which gives her a valuable 33% Pyro DMG Bonus so long as her HP is at or below 50%. Depending on her current HP, Hu Tao may not have this passive active during her first rotation or so. Once she reaches the desired number however, you want to hold off on healing her outside of an emergency in order to maintain the passive.
Ironically, Hu Tao is among the characters who can screw you over in maintaining her A4 passive. This is because of her Elemental Burst, Spirit Soother. Upon activation, Hu Tao conjures up a ghost and swings it around to deal AoE Pyro DMG (how the ghost can set things on fire is beyond me). In addition to nuking enemies, the Talent also restores some HP back to Hu Tao. How much healing she gets will depend on how many enemies she hits with her Burst, with 5 times being the maximum number of stacks. If Hu Tao’s HP is at or below 50%, the DMG dealt and healing given by her Burst is increased. While the number varies depending on how many enemies you hit and the level that Burst itself is at, Hu Tao can generally heal herself by a lot, to the point that her current HP might surpass 50% and her A4 passive gets deactivated. As a result, you should cast her Burst every other rotation or for an emergency. You want to save the ult for when Hu Tao’s HP is low anyway so that it deals increased DMG.
Oddly enough, Hu Tao does have one supportive Talent: her A1 passive. This buffs her teammates’ CRIT Rate by 12% and for 8 seconds after Paramita Pappilio ends. Because of the timing, you will not enjoy this buff during your first rotation. And for the second rotation onwards, you may have some downtime depending on the general length of your rotation. So while this passive can be nice to have, you should still try to have some CRIT Rate built on your other three characters for the sake of consistency.
- C1 – Alters Hu Tao’s Charged Attacks to consume no Stamina so long as she is in the Paramita Papilio state. This is Hu Tao’s most crucial Constellation as it allows her to better spam her Charged Attacks and therefore raise her DPS.
- C2 – Increases Blood Blossom DMG by 10% of Hu Tao’s Max HP and gives her Elemental Burst the ability to apply Blood Blossom. The former upgrade is a substantial boost to the Blood Blossom effect. The latter is also nice but pre-C2, the Blood Blossom doesn’t really have uptime issues and you’re not banking on these to begin with.
- C3 – Adds three Levels to Hu Tao’s Elemental Skill.
- C4 – Buffs Hu Tao’s teammates’ CRIT Rate by 12% and for 15 seconds when you defeat an enemy affected by the Blood Blossom effect. This is functionally similar to Hu Tao’s A1 passive and likewise, it has a similar issue in that it’s situational. You will not enjoy this buff until you kill one enemy. For boss encounters, you’ll never get to enjoy this Constellation at all. Even so, this buff can make Hu Tao’s CRIT Rate buffing a little more active.
- C5 – Adds three Levels to Hu Tao’s Elemental Burst.
- C6 – Buffs Hu Tao’s RES for all attributes by 200%, her CRIT Rate by 100%, and her resistance to interruption by an unspecified amount when her HP drops below 25%. If Hu Tao takes a lethal strike, her C6 will allow her to survive with 1 HP and give her the aforementioned buffs. While it is a fantastic lifeline and buff, it is also conditional and very expensive. Theoretically, this Constellation allows you to ignore building CRIT Rate on Hu Tao and instead go all into CRIT DMG. Depending on Hu Tao’s current HP however, you won’t have this Constellation active during the first couple of rotations. Outside of its use as a lifeline, this Constellation is generally used for showcases and speedruns on YouTube.
As is always the case with 5-Star characters, you should only consider going after their Constellations if you have the money to burn. A good stopping point besides C0 and C6 is C1.
The following list of weapons begins with Hu Tao’s 5-Star Signature Weapon, followed by other recommendations of descending rarity and in alphabetical order. Stats provided in the parentheses are assuming the respective weapon is at Lv. 90.
- Staff of Homa (5-Star | 608 ATK | 66.2% CRIT DMG) – Hu Tao’s Signature Weapon. In addition to the CRIT DMG, the Staff of Homa also provides HP% and an ATK increase by a portion of the wielder’s Max HP via its passive. If the wielder’s HP is below 50%, the ATK buff gets even stronger. I don’t have this weapon so I can’t personally attest to it but it is widely agreed to be Hu Tao’s BiS, due to how well it increases her stats. Hu Tao is also the only Polearm user who reliably makes full use of the Staff’s passive.
- Deathmatch (4-Star | 454 ATK | 36.8% CRIT Rate) – Requires the purchase of the Battle Pass. The passive increases ATK and DEF depending on the number of opponents nearby. For Hu Tao, this buff can net a diminishing return but it’s still usable for her. The fact that Deathmatch provides CRIT Rate also makes it a strong option for Hu Tao.
- Dragon’s Bane (4-Star | 454 ATK | 221 Elemental Mastery) – Deals increased DMG against opponents affected by Hydro or Pyro; a pretty good option for Vaporize comps.
- White Tassel (3-Star | 401 ATK | 23.4% CRIT Rate) – Obtained via Chests of Exquisite quality or higher in Liyue; make sure to lock any that you get for your account. This is Hu Tao’s most F2P-friendly option. The passive increases Normal Attack DMG. While not synergistic with Hu Tao’s Charged Attack spamming, it’s still usable since she has to perform at least one Normal Attack in order to perform her Charged Attack. The fact that this is a 3-Star weapon with CRIT Rate is also something to bear in mind.
- Crimson Witch of Flames (4) – Pyro DMG set; also increases Pyro-related Reaction DMG. If the user uses their Elemental Skill, the 2-Piece’s Pyro DMG Bonus is increased by 50% for 10 seconds and up to three times. Hu Tao can only get one stack of the latter effect as her Elemental Skill takes 18 seconds to cool down. Even so, this set is still a strong option for her. It is also a lot more tolerable to farm now that it’s been added to the Strongbox system in Version 3.0.
- Shimenawa’s Reminiscence (4) – ATK% set; provides a 10 second 50% basic attack DMG Bonus when the wielder casts their Elemental Skill and at the cost of 15 Energy. This set goes great with Hu Tao’s Charged Attack though the Energy cost will make it harder for her to cast her Elemental Burst in a pinch.
- Sands: HP%
- Goblet: Pyro DMG Bonus
- Circlet: CRIT Rate or CRIT DMG
- Sub-Stats: HP%, ATK%, CRIT Rate, CRIT DMG, Elemental Mastery, Energy Recharge
While an ATK% Sands is usable, you’ll get more mileage from the buff provided by Hu Tao’s Elemental Skill so you should instead give her an HP% Sands. Likewise, Hu Tao benefits more from having HP% as a sub-stat than ATK%.
Since Hu Tao usually casts her Elemental Burst every other rotation, Energy Recharge is generally a low priority. If she is wielding Shimenawa’s Reminiscence (4) however, the stat is more valuable for her.
Vaporize is practically the one and only Elemental Reaction Hu Tao wants to use. Aside from the reaction’s strong scaling, Hu Tao is very good at abusing it due to the low Internal Cooldown of her Charged Attack. As a result, Hu Tao’s most popular and most meta team comps generally include a Hydro Off Field DPS. Frankly, none of the other Pyro related reactions are really worth using with Hu Tao. Melt has the same scaling as Vaporize and it could be stronger if Hu Tao triggers it but there currently does not exist a Cryo Off Field DPS who can keep up with her Pyro application. At best, you’d include an occasional Melt proc into your Vaporize comp’s rotation. Overloaded isn’t as strong as Vaporize and Melt and the knockback effect it has on lightweight enemies doesn’t gel well with Hu Tao’s Charged Attack spamming. Burgeon is strong but Hu Tao’s low Internal Cooldown makes her more likely to cause Burning to occur and the self DMG caused by Burgeon could be dangerous for her. All things considered, you pretty much have to utilize Vaporize with Hu Tao and that does limit her team comp options.
Another thing to consider for your Hu Tao team is shielding. Since Hu Tao wants her HP at or below 50%, it is strongly discouraged to include a healer such as Bennett and Kokomi. For survivability, having a shielder is pretty much a must for Hu Tao.
Elemental Resonances to consider for Hu Tao are Geo (15% Shield Strength and 15% more DMG while protected by a shield), Hydro (25% Max HP) and Pyro (25% ATK).
As a disclaimer, the following lists of recommended teammates and example teams are not necessarily comprehensive ones. Also, the example teams may include characters that are not included in the list of recommended teammates as they arguably synergize more with someone else on the team and less so with Hu Tao.
- Amber (4-Star | Pyro) – Yes, I really am giving a shot-out to Amber of all people. Since Amber is Pyro and has 100% uptime with Noblesse Oblige (4), Amber can be a decent option to boost Hu Tao’s ATK as well as enable a Viridescent Venerer (4) holder to debuff enemy Pyro RES.
- Layla (4-Star | Cryo) – A very respectable shielder that can be teamed with Hu Tao if you lack Zhongli or are using him on some other team. While Layla’s off field attacks are generally really weak, they can enable Hu Tao to occasionally trigger Melt.
- Mona (5-Star | Hydro) – Not recommended for consistent Vaporize procs but Mona’s Elemental Burst combined with Hu Tao’s can result in one hell of a nuke.
- Sucrose (4-Star | Anemo) – Provides crowd control and can wield Viridescent Venerer (4) to debuff enemy Pyro RES and buff her team’s Elemental Mastery with her passives.
- Thoma (4-Star | Pyro) – Provides Hu Tao with a shield, which Hu Tao can consistently refresh with her occasional Normal Attacks. Thoma also gives Hu Tao access to Pyro Resonance and he can enable a Viridescent Venerer (4) holder to debuff enemy Pyro RES. That said, Thoma’s shield isn’t the best and him being Pyro means he can steal Vaporize procs from Hu Tao.
- Xingqiu (4-Star | Hydro) – Xingqiu is more or less essential to a Hu Tao comp. His Elemental Burst coordinates with Normal Attacks. His Rain Swords apply Wet at close range, which pairs nicely with Hu Tao zipping across to enemies with her Charged Attack. The Rain Swords also provide Hu Tao with DMG Reduction, increased resistance to interruption, and the right amount of healing to keep her alive while still maintaining her A4 passive.
- Yelan (5-Star | Hydro) – Yelan lacks the close-ranged Hydro application and utilities such as DMG reduction and healing so I actually recommend Xingqiu over her for a Hu Tao comp. Nevertheless, Yelan’s Elemental Burst is functionally the same as Xingqiu’s so she’s still a viable teammate. Yelan also has HP scaling so she benefits from Hydro Resonance just as much as Hu Tao does.
- Yun Jin (4-Star | Geo) – Hu Tao doesn’t make the best use of Yun Jin’s Normal Attack DMG buff but the effect is usable for her. Yun Jin is a decent pick if you have her and you lack any other Geo supports to use for Geo Resonance.
- Zhongli (5-Star | Geo) – Befitting of Genshin canon, Hu Tao’s employee is one of her best supports. Zhongli’s Jade Shield is the strongest shield in the game, has 100% uptime, and casting it debuffs the RES of nearby enemies for all the Elements, including Pyro. Having the shield allows Hu Tao to stay alive at low HP and comfortably chip away her opponent’s health.
|Hu Tao||Xingqiu||Zhongli||Yun Jin|
I’m personally not the biggest fan of Hu Tao as a playable character (if we’re talking in terms of lore however, she’s high up there). That almost entirely boils down to preference. A berserker playstyle isn’t really my thing and I find the general Polearm Charged Attack awkward to use (even after getting the hang of it and getting Hu Tao at C1). That said, I fully acknowledge Hu Tao as a powerful unit. If you’re looking for a Pyro On Field DPS, you can’t go wrong with getting Hu Tao.
This post was originally published on November 13, 2021