This post is up to date with Version 3.5 Phase 2
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 an On Field DPS with a penchant for the Frozen Elemental Reaction.
Like Mona, Ayaka possesses an Alternate Sprint. In lieu of the standard running animation, Ayaka instead cloaks herself into an icy mist to swiftly travel 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 far from perfect though its performance has been significantly improved in Version 3.0. Regardless of how you feel about the mechanic, you’ll want to 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 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 seconds 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.
- C1 – Gives Ayaka 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 – Adds 2 smaller snowstorms to Ayaka’s Elemental Burst, each one dealing 20% of the original storm’s DMG. This is Ayaka’s first noticeable upgrade. In most cases, this allows Ayaka to hit more enemies with her ult. Against significantly large enemies, these extra storms can make them die sooner. Either way, this Constellation can be very good for Ayaka’s DPS.
- C3 – Adds three Levels to Ayaka’s Elemental Burst.
- 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 RES debuffs. 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.
- C5 – Adds three Levels to Ayaka’s Elemental Skill.
- C6 – Gives Ayaka’s 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 Elemental 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.
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. Some good stopping points besides C0 and C6 are C2 and C4.
The following list of weapons begins with Ayaka’s 5-Star Signature Weapon, followed by other recommendations in descending rarity and alphabetical order. Stats provided in the parentheses are assuming the respective weapon is at Lv. 90.
- Mistsplitter Reforged (5-Star | 674 ATK | 44.1% CRIT DMG) – Ayaka’s Signature Weapon. In addition to CRIT DMG, the weapon provides a DMG Bonus for all Elements. The passive also grants the wielder up to three Mistsplitter’s Emblems to increase their Elemental DMG Bonus. Each emblem has their own duration and their own scenario in which they are obtained. The first stack lasts for 5 seconds and is obtained when the wielder’s Normal Attacks deal DMG. The second stack lasts for 10 seconds and is obtained when the wielder casts their Elemental Burst. The third stack lasts so long as the wielder’s Energy is less than 100%. In Ayaka’s case, she very easily gains and maintains the first two stacks. The third stack however is easy to lose depending on how easily and how often you’re getting Energy. Overall, the Mistsplitter is an excellent stat stick and regardless if you get all three stacks or not, the passive is an all but permanent DPS boost for Ayaka.
- Summit Shaper (5-Star | 608 ATK | 49.6% ATK) – Increases Shield Strength. Scoring hits on opponents will increase ATK up to 5 times, more so if the wielder is protected by a shield. For Ayaka, the Summit Shaper is purely an ATK stick though you can make full use of the passive if Diona or Layla is on the team.
- Anemona Kageuchi (4-Star | 454 ATK | 55.1% ATK) – Craftable. The Kageuchi’s passive generates a Succession Seed whenever the wielder casts their Elemental Skill (note that you don’t need to hit with it). Up to three seeds can be obtained and they’ll be used up when the wielder casts their Elemental Burst, giving them free Energy two seconds later. This is a good, F2P-friendly way to refuel Ayaka’s Burst. Generally, she can get one or two stacks before casting her Elemental Burst. Chances are, you’ll have Ayaka teamed up with a second Cryo character for the Resonance and Energy so the need to refine the Kageuchi shouldn’t be too high.
- The Black Sword (4-Star | 510 ATK | 27.6 CRIT Rate) – Requires the purchase of the Battle Pass. The passive increases Normal and Charged Attack DMG and can heal the wielder once every 5 seconds when their Normal and Charged Attacks CRIT. Depending on Ayaka’s Artifacts, the CRIT Rate provided by The Black Sword can be overkill for her. Even so, this weapon is worth considering for its Charged Attack DMG Bonus and self-healing mechanic.
- Blizzard Strayer (4) – Cryo DMG set; boosts the wielder’s CRIT Rate by 20% when they attack an enemy affected by Cryo, 40% if they are Frozen. This is the only set you should consider farming for Ayaka. By providing her with some CRIT Rate for free, you can focus on building Ayaka’s CRIT DMG, allowing her to compensate for Frozen’s lack of innate DMG and hit extremely hard with her Cryo attacks. Blizzard Strayer is fortunately one of the least annoying sets to farm. It’s paired alongside Heart of Depth, another worthwhile set, and it’s a strongbox option as of Version 3.0.
- Sands: ATK% or Energy Recharge
- Goblet: Cryo DMG Goblet
- Circlet: CRIT DMG
- Sub-Stats: ATK%, CRIT Rate, CRIT DMG, Energy Recharge.
I personally use an Energy Recharge Sands on Ayaka. Combined with a second Cryo character, it covers all of Ayaka’s Energy Needs. However, it can become overkill if you have plenty of Energy Recharge from Sub Stats. In most cases, an ATK% Sands is preferred.
As mentioned earlier, Blizzard Strayer (4) provides Ayaka with free CRIT Rate. She can gain even more with Cryo Resonance. Therefore, you’ll almost never consider giving Ayaka a CRIT Rate Circlet. With Blizzard Strayer (4), Ayaka can afford to run with 20-30% CRIT Rate from Sub-Stats. With Cryo Resonance added in, she can run with just 5-15%.
Given Ayaka’s penchant for Frozen and the Reaction’s lack of innate DMG, Elemental Mastery is essentially useless on Ayaka. Avoid building the stat on her.
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 many enemies in the game are 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 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 Off Field 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.
Besides Ayaka herself, her ideal team consists of a second Cryo character, one Hydro character, and one Anemo character. A second Cryo character is strongly recommended to address Ayaka’s Energy needs and give her access to Cryo Resonance, which gives 15% CRIT Rate against enemies by Cryo/Frozen. Having an Anemo character is recommended for Viridescent Venerer use. You could forgo an Anemo character to have two Hydro characters on the team though this is only recommended if most of the team benefits from Hydro Resonance (25% Max HP). You can use a Dendro character to use Bloom in conjunction with Frozen though this isn’t necessarily better than using an Anemo character to debuff enemy Cryo RES.
As a disclaimer, the following lists of recommended teammates and example teams is not necessarily a comprehensive one. Also, the example teams may include characters that are not included in the recommendations as they arguably synergize more with someone else on the team and less so with Ayaka.
- Barbara (4-Star | Hydro) – Barbara’s Melody Loop doesn’t apply Hydro at a very fast rate and it ironically puts Ayaka at risk of getting Frozen. Even so, she provides off field application that follows Ayaka around and she’ll keep the latter alive. Being a Catalyst user, Barbara can be equipped with Thrilling Tales of Dragon Slayers to buff Ayaka’s ATK.
- Diona (4-Star | Cryo) – A very versatile support for Ayaka; provides shielding, healing, and Energy.
- Jean (5-Star | Anemo) – Offers off field DMG and healing and can wield Viridescent Venerer (4) to debuff enemy Cryo RES. If you’re lucky enough to have Jean at C2, she can buff her team’s ATK SPD by 15% and for 15 seconds when she picks up an Energy particle. This can be bonkers in Ayaka’s hands.
- Layla (4-Star | Cryo) – Obviously, Layla isn’t as versatile as Diona and her particle generation isn’t as good or consistent as the latter’s. That said, Layla’s Shield is one of the better ones found in the game and it will keep Ayaka alive.
- Mona (5-Star | Hydro) – Not the best for Hydro application due to the downtime of her Elemental Skill. Conversely, Mona’s Elemental Burst can significantly buff Ayaka’s. It’s also worth noting that the Omen effect can be extended with Frozen.
- Rosaria (4-Star | Cryo) – Rosaria’s overall kit skews her towards supporting Physical DPS though she is more than usable for a Frozen comp. Her Elemental Burst is excellent for enabling Frozen and her Elemental Skill makes her an superb Cryo battery.
- Sangonimiya Kokomi (5-Star | Hydro) – Hands down Ayaka’s best Hydro teammate. Kokomi’s Bake-Kurage not only provides healing, it also ignores Internal Cooldown and it 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 is also a premier buffer for Ayaka, being the only HP-oriented character who can wield both Thrilling Tales of Dragon Slayers and Tenacity of the Millelith (4).
- Shenhe (5-Star | Cryo) – Ayaka’s Elemental Burst will burn through Shenhe’s Icy Quills in an instant. For the extremely brief duration however, the ult can experience a sizable spike in DMG. Shenhe is also a pretty solid Cryo battery with her Elemental Skill, more so if she is equipped with a Favonius Lance.
- Sucrose (4-Star | Anemo) – Given Ayaka’s penchant for Frozen, she doesn’t benefit from Sucrose’s Elemental Mastery buffs. That said, Sucrose is still recommended by virtue of her being a 4-Star and her access to Viridescent Venerer.
- Xingqiu (4-Star | Hydro) – One of the best units to use for Hydro related Reactions due to his Burst coordinating with Normal Attacks. Additionally, Xingqiu provides Yanfei with other utilities such as DMG Reduction, healing, and an increased resistance to interruption. If you’re really good at dodging and keeping enemies Frozen, you could run an Ayaka team with just Xingqiu as your healer.
- Yelan (5-Star | Hydro) – A more premier alternative to Xingqiu. Yelan lacks the same supportive buffs that Xingqiu offers but her Burst being functionally the same as Xingqiu’s makes her worth considering if Xingqiu is in a different team during Spiral Abyss. Yelan also buffs her team’s DMG with her A4 passive.
|Kamisato Ayaka||Sangonomiya Kokomi||Rosaria||Sucrose|
|Kamisato Ayaka||Sangonomiya Kokomi||Shenhe||Sucrose|
Ayaka is one of the best characters from the 2.0 era and she’s currently one of the best On Field DPS characters in the game. 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. Those looking to invest in Cryo DPS should strongly consider getting Ayaka on their account.
This post was originally published on July 29, 2021