Full Hu Tao Guide

Written, edited and helped by these talented individuals


Raisuke#2032 Artesians#0002 Ibvfteh#6658 Kibokari#8307 Vins#9790 Muakasan#2792 UnicornAlpha#0128 Sitri#9504 |TF Cult| Barbara-sama (ps4)#1966

Preface

Since the release of Hu Tao there has been intensive debate, testing and discussions regarding how strong she is, her best team compositions and exactly where she falls between the hypercarries of Genshin Impact. Her youtube portrayal has made her seem to blow a lot of her competition out of the water but admittedly, it’s a little more complicated than that.

A word you may have become familiar with since Hu Tao’s release is caveats, something she has an abundance of: Are you in her E stance? Are you animation cancelling? Do you have stamina? Are you <50%? If you can overcome these demands, Hu Tao rewards you with the highest single target DPS in Genshin Impact during her uptime. In this guide we will dive into the most skill intensive and skill expressive carry that has been released so far in Genshin Impact.

Amplification Tao

Hu Tao is unique to other pyro carries in that she is able to vape and melt quite consistently because she doesn’t shatter like Klee or Diluc, and a separated internal cooldown of pyro application on her normal attack string and her charged attacks. Amplification Tao involves using Xingqiu and/or an additional cryo aura to enable Hu Tao to vape or melt her charged attacks on a regular basis while in her Paramita Papilio stance.

  • Pros:
    • Cheap to build (only a set of Crimson Witch of Flames is needed for Hu Tao).
    • One of the highest single target damage ceilings in the game. More damage than her other compositions with much less investment required.
    • More insurance and is generally safer if you are running freeze variations of Hu Tao due to opponents being frozen and remaining stationary.
    • Hu Tao has the most field time, aka Hu Tao will look the best!
  • Cons:
    • Need a highly invested Hu Tao in order to make up for teams’ lack of damage.
    • At C0 Hu Tao can feel clunky and very mechanically demanding.
      • It is required to learn charged attack cancels to come close to ceiling damage. Without C1 you won’t hit ceiling damage. N1CD not only has higher MV/s but also lets you trigger reactions at a much faster rate, increasing your damage.
    • Hu Tao’s rotation has awkward misalignment with Xingqiu, leaving you in scenarios where you are waiting up to 4 seconds for his cooldowns, and with how Hu Tao’s team compositions are built, your damage is practically 0 during that period.

Talent Priority

Main DPS

Normal Attack: Secret Spear of Wangsheng > Guide to Afterlife > Spirit Soother

For a sustained high field uptime playstyle, the increase from investing in Secret Spear of Wangsheng is far greater than the increase from upgrading Spirit Soother. Guide to Afterlife can be levelled alongside auto attacks but it is suggested to prioritize Secret Spear of Wangsheng.

Burst Support

Spirit Soother > Guide to Afterlife > Secret Spear of Wangsheng

The goal here is to prioritise Spirit Soother as it will be your main source of damage for your nuke, while levelling Guide to Afterlife for the ATK bonus. Normal Attack: Secret Spear of Wangsheng can be ignored if you don’t plan on using her after casting her Q.

Constellations

C1: Crimson Bouquet

While in Paramita Papilio state activated by Guide to Afterlife, Hu Tao’s Charge Attacks do not consume stamina.

Provides roughly a 15% DPS increase IF you efficiently use N1CD (normal attack 1, charged attack, dash & repeat). Also provides a lot more safety with an abundance of invulnerability frames as you dash cancel. Overall, it’s a great quality of life constellation and one of the best first constellations in the game.

C2: Ominous Rainfall

Increases the Blood Blossom damage by the amount equal to 10% of Hu Tao’s max HP at the time the effect is applied. Additionally, Spirit Soother will also apply the Blood Blossom effect.

A decent DPS increase but nothing game breaking. Gives her more ability as a burst support.

C4: Garden of Eternal Rest

Upon defeating an enemy affected by Blood Blossom that Hu Tao applied herself, all nearby allies in the party (excluding Hu Tao herself) will have their critical rate increased by 12% for 15 seconds.

This is probably the second best constellation on Hu Tao. C4 enables her sub DPS potential to explode. Killing an enemy with Q while E is active, even if blood blossom wasn’t previously applied will still trigger this.

C6: Butterfly’s Embrace

Triggers when Hu Tao’s HP drops below 25%, or when she suffers a lethal strike – Hu Tao will not fall as a result of the damage sustained. Additionally, for the next ten seconds, all of her elemental and physical resistance is increased by 200%, her critical rate is increased by 100%, and her resistance to interruption is greatly increased. This effect triggers automatically when Hu Tao has 1 HP left. Can only occur once every 60 seconds.

A pretty decent safety net, and although Hu Tao is a character that will naturally have a lot of HP in addition to self heal, she will often find herself in a lot of low HP situations. It is a great QoL constellation to have, but its true power lies in low Crit Rate and high Crit DMG builds with her nuke compositions. This is the best speedrunning constellation, but overall is not impactful for her main DPS capabilities because of the 60 second lockout.

Weapons

The Staff of Homa is by far Hu Tao’s best weapon, but she is surprisingly quite flexible and has some other decent options when it comes to her weaponry. Several 4-star options are viable or some surpass some of the 5 star options. All of the damage is calculated with Vaporize DPS.

Weapons / Refinements / ConditionsPerfect SubstatsMain Stat OnlyNotes
Staff of Homa <50%128.1%124%Homa can be a 30% DMG increase at optimal stats.
Lithic Spear R5 +4 Liyue113.1%114.8%
Dragon’s Bane R5109.8%116.9%
Primordial Jade-Winged Spear +7 Stacks108.3%109.8%7 Stacks is fairly unreasonable.
Dragon’s Bane R1102.4%109%With full uptime on its passive, Dragon’s Bane is impressive.
Deathmatch (solo)101.7%101.8%
PJWS +6 Stacks101.4%102.7%
Blackcliff Polearm +3 Stacks101.4%99.4%
Vortex Vanquisher (Shielded) +5 Stacks100.5%103.4%Probably not worth the effort compared to Deathmatch.
Deathmatch (2+ enemies)100%100%
Lithic Spear R1 +4 Liyue98.7%100.7%
White Tassel R593.5%94.1%A 3* weapon makes its appearance.
Blackcliff Polearm93.4%91.1%
Skyward Spine93.2%94.9%Energy recharge on Hu Tao isn’t particularly useful.
Dragon’s Bane R1 (no passive)93.2%99.2%Just for reference, no DMG% is shown to see how low Dragon’s Bane can fall.
Lithic Spear R1 +291.9%93.7%Worst case scenario for Vape Hu Tao.

Calculations done by Muakasan#2792.

Assumptions

  • Rotation is 5 N3C + Burst + 1 Blood Blossom.
  • Hutao is level 80/90, with talent level 8, and less than 50% HP.
  • Level 90/90 weapons,.

See this sheet and code for more details. Vaped abilities based on this sheet. Note for Dragon’s Bane, no DMG% bonus is not realistic because there must be hydro aura to vape, but we wanted to show an approximation of the ranking in a non-vaporize composition.

Expanded Weapon Notes

Staff of Homa – As you’d expect, Hu Tao’s signature weapon is also her best in slot . Due to Hu Tao’s low base ATK she doesn’t value ATK% like other characters would, so Homa’s 66.2% Crit DMG and HP scaling passive make it the perfect weapon for her. Compared to other weapons it also refines fantastically at around 5% DMG per refine.

Primordial Jade Winged-Spear – Like with all polearm users currently, the PJWS is an excellent option especially if you do not have the Staff of Homa. Maintaining max stacks is important for using the weapon efficiently (it falls behind Deathmatch without it) which is unfortunately difficult to keep up and maintain on Hu Tao.

Deathmatch – One of Hu Tao’s best available 4 stars and competes for 2nd BiS. It is a huge Crit Rate stat stick which is where most of its value lies. The ATK% gives marginal returns on Hu Tao. It refines very poorly so it’s not suggested to pick up multiple from the battle pass. The Crit Rate is still extreme valuable despite its problems.

Dragon’s Bane – Scales very well with refinements and is another contender for her 2nd BiS. You must be consistently triggering reactions (Vape/Melt) with this weapon or its effectiveness will significantly decrease. Overall, it’s a more situational weapon but is a great choice if used correctly and its greatest challenge is having enough Crit substat rolls.

Vortex Vanquisher – With both its substat and passive being ATK% makes is incredibly unattractive for Hu Tao. She will always prefer Crit, HP% or even Elemental Mastery over ATK%. You must be shielded to use this weapon to its max potential which makes it an inconsistent choice unless you have Zhongli.

Lithic Spear – Can be a very good weapon for Hu Tao at R5 with 4 characters but this can be quite difficult to achieve as it limits your team compositions a lot (No VV support from Liyue). Consider using another weapon unless you can achieve these requirements or are out of options.

Blackcliff Polearm – Probably Hu Tao’s best “F2P” option. It slightly edges out Deathmatch at full stacks but the difficulty of achieving and the impracticality of maintaining the stacks consistently makes it a lesser option than Deathmatch.

Skyward Spine – The energy recharge stat and attack speed boost isn’t effective enough on Hu Tao to justify using this over the above weapons. It should only be used if you have no other options, otherwise it is not recommended.

White Tassel – A surprisingly decent F2P option but only to be used if you have no other options. Using this weapon your combos need to be normal attack focused or it loses even more value.

Black Tassel – The HP% is nice but it doesn’t make up for the terrible passive. If you must run a 3 star weapon, White Tassel is a superior option.

Artifacts

Artifact SetDescription
Crimson Witch of Flames (4)Despite Hu Tao not being able to make full use of the 4PC effect it’s still BiS and surpasses any other options.
Retracing Bolide (4)Strictly less damage than CW or LW but a very decent option if you are protected by a shield for most of her rotation. Naturally very good with Zhongli.
Lavawalker (4)BiS in mono Pyro compositions with Geo/Anemo support. A decent option in Turbo Tao comps as you want to maintain a Pyro aura.
Thundering Fury (4)Used in Tazer Hu Tao builds. Allows Hu Tao to completely eliminate her skills cooldown and have far greater uptime. Sacrifices higher damage per DPS windows with the Crimson Witch of Flames set in exchange for more DPS windows. Solves Hu Tao’s misalignment problems with Xingqiu.

Transitional Artifact Sets

Artifact SetDescription
Crimson Witch of Flames (2) + Wanderer’s Troupe (2)Provides a strong EM bonus for Hu Tao that is fairly strong for her reactions.
Crimson Witch of Flames (2) + Noblesse Oblige (2)Pushes her burst damage just a little more.
Crimson Witch of Flames (2) + Gladiator’s Finale (2)ATK% is just not ideal, but if you have some good pieces lying around, why not.

See Muakasan#2792’s Sheet and Code for more details. Same assumptions as weapon comparison.

Main Stats and Substats

The standard recommendation for main stats is HP sands, Pyro DMG goblet, and Crit circlet. For vaporize or melt reaction comps, EM sands is a viable alternative that can provide more damage, at the cost of flexibility and a smaller health pool to work with.

The exact breakpoint between HP and EM sands depends on your preferred playstyle, EM substats, and whether you use an EM buffer such as Sucrose, Albedo, or 4PC Instructor’s set.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need ANY HP% to make EM sands better. If you are unsure of which to run, it is always safer to input your stats into a calculator. As a very approximate rule of thumb, if your total EM from all sources is less than 250 (main DPS) or 300 (burst), you will get more damage from EM sands. For EM values in the 150-250 range, you may consider sticking to HP sands for more consistency and tankiness at the cost of a few percent DPS.

For reaction comps, the substat priority is (including external buffs like Sucrose for EM):

EM(< 100) > CR/CD > EM(100 ~ 300) > HP > ATK > EM(300+)

For non-reaction comps, EM is useless, so remove it from the rankings.

You should not fear ATK%, as it also provides some DPS gain, especially when using weapons with high base ATK. You can compare the relative gains from HP% and ATK% on Desmos. Reaching the HP to ATK conversion cap of 400% is not advisable since Crit substats always provide more damage than HP substats.

Team Compositions

Hu Tao comps can be classified into two main categories: Amplification Tao and Turbo Tao. These two compositions function very differently and have different artifact sets and substats priority. Their functionality is focused around two core units that you must have in order to play them to anywhere near their potential, but below will be a small sample to help guide you in building your team compositions.

Amp Tao

Hu Tao / Xingqiu / Augment / Support

Amplification Tao comps function around enabling Hu Tao to proc as many Vaporize and Melt reactions as possible. At first glance, this is no different from other Pyro carries (Diluc and Klee) with their Vaporize compositions, but Hu Tao has the added benefit of having slow enough of Pyro application to actively Vaporize. This comp has to be played around Xingqiu’s 21s Burst cooldown, making sure Xingqiu is a part of every rotation is important to keep Amp Tao running efficiently and effectively.

UnitNotes

Hu Tao
Hu Tao compositions would obviously feature Hu Tao. She’s very strong as a Charged Attack spammer with animation cancels. Her ceiling bounces around depending on the time you put into her.
Xingqiu’s Left RainswordXingqiu is currently the only unit in the game that can apply Hydro fast enough for Hu Tao’s attacks. His subtle healing, damage reduction, and stagger resistance are all of great use for Hu Tao. It is a shame that his cooldowns are desynced with Hu Tao’s.

Augment Slot

For the first fill slot, you can use a variety of characters depending on the type of composition and investment you have that will change the composition’s identity sharply.

UnitNotes
BennettLower damage ceiling than the Xiangling variation, but Bennett is much more consistent and safer. Bennett is not needed to make Hu Tao strong, but his presence in a party isn’t a drawback either. A well invested Bennett (giving 800-900 ATK) will compensate for the loss of Pyro DMG% Bonus and low HP damage on her Ascension passive and Spirit Soother.
XianglingThis variation has an incredibly high damage ceiling, especially with Xiangling being a strong complement to Hu Tao’s AoE issues. However, since it is energy-hungry and not very sustainable, it is suggested to run a 4th member with battery capabilities/Favonius Weapon carrier to make it more sustainable. One thing to note is unless your Xingqiu is C6, N1C Hu Tao + Xiangling overtakes aura, and it will stay pyro aura until rotation reset with Xingqiu. With non C6 Xingqiu, it is recommended to do N3C for consistency, with C6 XQ, you can do N1C for higher damage.
GanyuFor whales or mobile player, and those who have a spare Ganyu that they do not need or want to slot as the main DPS on their 2nd Abyss team. Ganyu is the more foolproof, more expensive, and less efficient Kaeya, power budget-wise. Ganyu Q runs on a 15s duration, longer than Hu Tao’s realistic E duration, meaning you have access to Melts throughout your DPS uptime, and mistakes aren’t as costly. She also deals considerable damage during Hu Tao’s off time, that you can use her as a pseudo “sub DPS”. However, Ganyu is the best DPS in the game right now, and using her as an enabler for Hu Tao is frankly quite wasteful of her potential.
KaeyaSince Hu Tao does not shatter on attack unlike Klee and Diluc, Hu Tao can be run in a Melt comp for a higher damage ceiling than Vape, while also being considerably safer due to constant Freezing. Kaeya is a cheap, straightforward, and efficient choice here with his off-field Cryo application. It is recommended to run an Instructor (4) or Noblesse Oblige (4) on him to buff Hu Tao, depending on your fourth slot. However, his Q only runs on an 8s duration, so you want to cast his burst right before you swap onto Hu Tao.

Rosaria
Kaeya version 2.0, Rosaria runs incredibly smoothly as a Kaeya replacement in Melt Tao comps, with some underlining upsides and downsides. Rosaria gives Crit Rate boost (which stacks with Hu Tao own CR team buff, and is generally a free damage increase), provide a more stable, foolproof Cryo application compared to Kaeya where you have to try and make the best use of your 8s DPS spike window, and deals more damage than him once you get C2. In trade, she is less self-sustainable, and is gacha locked, which is a big minus in accessibility.

Support Slot

Hu Tao has a wide cast of supports that she can effectively utilize with her augmenters.

UnitNotes
Worse VentiSucrose is valuable as an Elemental Mastery battery and sees more value here with Bennett or Xiangling in her third slot. When you use Sucrose, you can forgo EM investments if your Sucrose is strong enough. These compositions value a hyper-invested Hu Tao to avoid running out of steam.
ChongyunThe riskier, but higher damage option. Chongyun’s personal damage is much higher than Diona’s, and with C2, he helps to smoothen out her rotation and uptime with Xingqiu by reducing the cooldowns on Xingqiu. This is highly valuable on a unit with awkward cooldowns misalignment with her key support. The attack speed buff is a cherry on top. However, this comp cuts off your insurance and makes Hu Tao gameplay a lot riskier. Only recommended for C1 Hu Tao and above users.
DionaEven though Freeze comps are generally safe, a healer like Diona gains a lot of value in a Hu Tao comp. She helps battery the Cryo applicator, keeping Hu Tao DPS uptime as consistent as possible. Give stamina buff, and provide healing for a stamina-hungry unit who might not be able to dodge. Heavily recommended for C0 Hu Tao users.
ZhongliZhongli, as always, is just an overall great unit that fits everywhere. Omnishred sees more value here as there can be up to 3 damage types, and shield is great insurance that offers increased effective health and knockback resistance. You can also pair him with Albedo, surprisingly, the Hydro aura gauges are not depleted too fast.
VentiVenti is Venti, Hu Tao being able to hit enemies in Venti’s ult sometimes makes the combo even more bonkers in mob content, but occasionally he will grief Hu Tao depending on his level and the content.
MonaMona becomes a very viable option with Hu Tao’s strong Q scaling. Mona and Bennett are a famous nuke duo, and they transfer their specialty well. With proper setup around Hu Tao Q, you can hit some great bursts.
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Fischl
Fischl provides extra damage, but will grief melt setups and potentially force you to chase overloaded units.
JeanViridescent Venerer and healing.

Albedo
Great low economy generalist support for both TF Tao and Amp Tao. With average investment, he is still able to dish out noticeable damage as an off field turret, and his EM buff does wonders in an Amp Tao comp, where she wants all the free EM she can get. However, his main issue comes in when you run him with Hu Tao in a Xingqiu Freeze comp (Melt Tao). In some cases, his E shatters frozen enemies before Hu Tao has the chance to melt, which leads to inconsistent damage loss. Only recommended in Vape/No Xingqiu Melt (double cryo) comps if you run him with Amp Tao

Alternative Team Compositions

PP (Pure Pyro) Tao

Surprisingly, pure Pyro is actually viable. Testings have shown even with the lack of reactions, C1 Xiangling Pyro shred and Bennett buffs in one team can give very competitive clear times in end game content. You can run Zhongli with another Geo (Albedo for example) for the Geo resonance buffs, or run 3 Pyro + 1 VV carrier (Any combination between Xiangling, Bennett, Diluc for 2 pyro slots works).

Team CompositionNotes
Triple PyroWith C1 Xiangling to shred Pyro RES, Bennett to battery, heal, and buff ATK, this composition is fairly straight forward. Any Anemo character works in the last slot for Viridescent Venerer.
Double GeoThis composition utilizes the strong Geo resonance effect with Xiangling’s C1 Pyro RES shred, on top of Zhongli’s omni-RES down. You can also slot in Archaic Petra (4) to increase the Pyro DMG bonus. You can also replace Albedo to run a “microwave” composition with extra Crit rate at C6 Geo MC.

Dual Carry Hu Tao

Both Hu Tao and Childe have great burst damage during their uptime, but are balanced out by uptime issues. However, by running them together, this weakness is greatly relieved. Childe running on a 7-8 second E rotation matches Hu Tao downtimes, and together they keep consistent DPS. Last 2 slots are flexible, and can be filled with either supports for Hu Tao or Childe. Some candidates are: Xingqiu, Fischl, Xiangling, Beidou, Bennett, etc.

Nuke Tao

Hu Tao, not only at C6, has an incredibly strong burst that scales well and importantly, is Pyro. Hu Tao having very inherently high ATK and crit stat values makes her uniquely suited for nuke/one shot compositions. Her Burst also has very low frames and high MV/s values, making her perfect for speedruns. These compositions require very strong undestandings of the game and rotating different buffs on top of optimized rotations.

Team CompositionNotes
The current world record speedrun comp. Sucrose provides VV and EM for Hu Tao to oneshot everything with her Burst. Ganyu is generally the best cryo applicator, but Chongyun is a viable alternative in single target scenarios.
The usual double Vape speedrun comp. However, instead of Bennett proc-ing Mona’s Bubble, it’s Hu Tao. Childe can be replaced by Sucrose if the goal is to boost Hu Tao’s numbers as high as possible.

Thundering Fury Tao


Core Units: Hu Tao/Fisch/2nd Electro or a Hydro/Flex


Thundering Fury Tao teams focus on proccing Overloaded as much as possible, in order to eliminate her skill’s cooldown. This sacrifices some of Hu Tao’s personal damage per DPS window in exchange for giving her more DPS windows, and by pairing her with some of the strongest sub DPS in the entire game, increases her overall team damage output, as now Hu Tao isn’t doing all the heavy lifting herself, and the whole team is contributing high DPS outputs.


Core units:

UnitNotes
 Hu TaoIn the Thundering Fury build, Hu Tao’s stat priorities will remain the same: Crit circlet, Pyro Goblet, and HP/EM Sands. If using a Hydro aura, however, EM Sands becomes a lot more valuable, as you are boosting the damage of both Vaporize and Overloaded. For the substats, prioritize crits then HP then EM then attack.
FischlRequired to play this composition optimally. Between Oz’s regular attacks, Fischl’s A4 damage, and C6 if you have it, she not only provides plenty of electro for Hu Tao to proc Overloaded, but she also deals very single target damage. Additionally, she, along with electro resonance, are a requirement to effectively battery Beidou. Note that if Fischl is your only electro unit active, and you do not have a hydro aura applied to prevent Pyro from becoming the aura, you may run into scenarios where Fischl is the one proccing Overloaded and not Hu Tao. This can be worked around by switching Hu Tao’s combo from N1CD to N3CD. The ICD on her Normal Attacks will give Fischl enough time to maintain the electro aura.


Second Electro/Hydro Aura:


The characters in this slot are here to provide either a secondary electro aura, or a Hydro aura, so that Fischl’s electro aura does not get overpowered by Hu Tao’s pyro, as if this happens, you will no longer be able to trigger the effect of the Thundering Fury (4) effect. Note that no matter which character you pick for this team slot, the others listed here will still work out perfectly as your final team member in the flex slot.

UnitNotes
BeidouAlthough she isn’t required for the team to function, she adds so much power to the team that she should always be used in your first flex slot if available. Beidou is the main reason this team has such a high damage ceiling. With her ult, her off field DPS is so high that it’s able to keep up with Hu Tao’s own damage output. Note that her true damage potential is only reached in scenarios where there are two or more enemies, however, this is the case for most of the end game content. With both Beidou and Fischl providing an electro aura, you will have enough electro for Hu Tao to consistently spam her Charged Attacks without fear of Pyro becoming the aura, even without a Hydro for Electrocharged. Beidou also provides incredible defensive capabilities to the team, as her ult provides damage reduction (32% at lvl 9), and a shield at C1. 
XingqiuBecause the Electrocharged reaction maintains both a Hydro and Electro aura lingering simultaneously, using Xinqiu allows Hu Tao to consistently proc both Overloaded and Vaporize at the same time. In addition, because Thundering Fury eliminates Hu Tao’s skill cooldown, she no longer has misalignment issues with his cooldowns. With a C2 Xinqiu, Thundeirng Fury Tao is able to fit in two DPS windows into one Xinqiu ult. Thanks to the hydro aura he will provide, while Beidou’s ult is down and you only have Xinqiu ult and Oz active, Hu Tao will still be able to do her Charge Attack spam combo without fear of pyro becoming the aura. The damage reduction Xinqiu provides is also additive along with Beidou’s damage reduction, essentially eliminating the need for a healer. If you’re looking for a Hydro aura to pair with Fischl, he is the best one for the job.

Barbara
Although she won’t provide nearly as good Hydro application as Xinqiu, her skill Let The Show Begin is able to provide enough Hydro aura for Hu Tao to get in a few vaporizes. She also provides healing without healing so much that you fear over-healing, and, like Mona and Lisa, can wear the Thrilling Tales of the Dragon Slayers. Since she doesn’t need any specific Artifact set, Barbara can also wear the Instructors (4) set to boost Hu Tao’s Vaporize and Overloaded damage. She makes a very solid option if you don’t have one of the other options for this team slot, or if they are on your team 2. Do be warned, however, that she will be quite a pain in any content with enemies that can freeze you or proc electrocharged.
LisaWith her ult, Lisa is able to proc Electro at an extraordinarily fast rate. She also provides valuable utility to the team, such as being one of the only three characters in the game that can shred enemy Defense (15%, which is about an 8% DPS increase), able to hold a support catalyst such as Thrilling Tales of the Dragon Slayers, to steroid one of your unit’s attack, Prototype Amber to provide micro-healing and help fund her ult, or Favonious Codex to help battery the team. Unfortunately, she isn’t without her flaws. Unlike Beidou, her ult does is limited to the radius of its circle, and depending on the content, you can’t always reliably keep the enemies in the radius. This can be mitigated with a proper crowd control unit such as Venti in the last team slot, however.  Additionally, like Beidou, her ult costs 80 energy with a 15 second duration/20 second cooldown. While Beidou can stack ER and still dish out a ton of damage, Lisa’s personal damage output will pale in comparison. Nonetheless, she makes a perfectly viable option.


Flex Slot:

UnitNotes
BennettThis is a Hu Tao comp where Bennet truly shines. Although he doesn’t provide a significant DPS increase to Hu Tao herself, he is able to provide a huge attack increase for Fischl and Beidou/Lisa to snapshot, significantly increasing their DPS. Moreover, having both Bennet and Hu Tao on the same team will provide the 25% attack boost from Pyro Resonance, as well as ideally holding the Noblesse Oblige (4) set for an extra 20%. The attack he provides effectively doubles both Beidou/Lisa and Fischl’s DPS. With perfect play and Beidou as your 2nd electro character, Bennet provides the team a higher potential damage ceiling than Xinqiu. Note that because you won’t have a Hydro aura if using Bennet, when Beidou or Lisa’s ult is down you will need to ensure that you switch to Hu Tao’s N3CD combo so that Fischl can maintain the electro aura. 
MonaMona is great here because her omen will provide a huge damage increase, which not only Hu Tao will take advantage of, but all of your sub DPS are also able to dish out a ton of damage within this timeframe. With proper timing, Mona’s burst and skill Hu Tao will allow Hu Tao to vaporize her burst (with the omen buff) and a few of her charged attacks. She can be built here either to maximize her own burst damage, or as a full support with a weapon Such as Thrilling Tales of the Dragon Slayers for a big attack increase to Hu Tao or one of your sub DPS, Prototype Amber to help her burst up time while providing micro-healing if needed, or Favonious Codex to provide extra energy to the team, which your high energy sub DPS (Beidou, Lisa, Xinqiu) will be very thankful to have.
VentiVenti is able to solve Hu Tao’s AoE weakness with his insane grouping power, while also providing 15 energy to both Fischl and Beidou/Lisa when you infuse his ult with electro. With the Viridescent (4) set, he will also provide a significant DPS increase to Fischl and Beidou/Lisa. If using Lisa, his Ult can also help keep enemies within the radius of her Ult.
Zhongli Provides a resistance shred to both Pyro and Electro for a big DPS increase. His shield eliminates the need for a healer without fear of overhealing Hu Tao. The Petrify effect from his ult holds enemies in place, preventing them from getting knocked back by Overloaded. Note that because of his slow ult cast time, he will consume a few extra seconds that could have been spent on Hu Tao. He can also wear the Tenacity of the Millileth (4) set or the Archaic Petra (4) set to buff the teams damage.
AlbedoWith his high off field damage and the low amount of field time he requires, Albedo makes an excellent pick. He does not need to be switched to in each of your rotations due to his skill’s 30 second duration, which will allow you to switch back to Hu Tao even faster. He can also wear either the Tenacity of the Millileth (4) set, or the Archaic Petra (4) set to buff the team’s damage.
JeanLike Venti, she can provide electro shred with the Viridescent (4) set, and also fills the role of a team healer and cleanser. Note that she runs the risk of over-healing Hu Tao.

Sucrose
Same as Jean and Venti, she can wear the Viridescent (4) set to boost the team’s damage. She also provides decent grouping power and can hold one of the previously mentioned support catalysts. If using a Hydro, her EM share will also be valuable, as it will boost both your Vaporize and Overloaded damage. Without a Hydro, she becomes a bit less valuable, but her EM share will provide a very respectable damage increase to Overloaded, and her grouping is always appreciated.

Situational Tech


High plunge spam with Venti updraft – In scenarios where you cannot hit more than 1 enemy with your CA AND you have the time to setup a venti updraft, performing 4 high plunges + Q or 5 high plunges can perform better than Hu Tao’s usual combo strings. The ideal setup involves starting by pressing Venti’s hold e, casting your cryo aura burst(s) of choice, cast Venti burst, and finally swap to HT and start using the updraft to perform either high plunge combo. Hu Tao’s pyro application is much slower with this combo so you can consistently melt all 5 hits.

Pros:

  • Gives HT access to a combo string with improved AOE relative to her normal strings
  • Aside from the initial setup, the combo requires no stamina consumption
  • Consistent melt triggers with little-to-no risk of overtaking the cryo application
  • Venti


Cons:

  • The setup is very lengthy and certain enemies can be difficult to keep within Venti’s burst
  • This combo can only realistically be performed once per encounter
  • As you cannot hit the small enemies with plunges while they are inside Venti’s burst, he also needs to be sufficiently invested that these enemies die regardless while you perform the string on the enemies that do not.

How To Play Hu Tao

Hu Tao is similar to Xiao and Ganyu, in the sense that she was designed with very specific limiters on her capability as a main DPS. Like Ganyu’s aiming and Charged Attacks or Xiao’s battery issues and greediness, Hu Tao comes with a suite of problems that have to be addressed. She cannot just spam Charged Attacks without thinking because of how unwieldy the dash is, so you have to perform jump cancels at C0, or dash cancels at C1. It is not recommended to dash cancel without C1, as you can only perform 4-5 of them without the stamina saved from her constellation.

On top of the Charged Attack cancels, she also has input buffering mechanics that allow her to input very quick attacks. With non-spam inputs, as in one click per attack, Hu Tao can cancel the animation of her second attack (N2) with a Charged Attack to perform her N2C combo.

It is in general, a straight damage increase directly from the frames saved from jumping or dashing after she blinks after her Charged Attack or indirectly from avoiding the massive displacement from her Charged Attack. In terms of efficiency, the best combos to do are her N1C, which is the most stamina hungry, N2C, which has the theoretical highest amount of damage, and her N3C, which has the most AoE and Hydro application with Xingqiu’s burst. As for timing, Hu Tao’s Charged Attack will always go through if the attack is cancelled after she blinks off screen.