Kaeya: Death After Noon

Updated for Version 2.0

Guide Authors

elijam#7142

Ai#7362

Introduction

Kaeya is a strong free to play early game unit, a versatile enabler and sub DPS, and a conditionally powerful main DPS. His low ER requirements and consistent cryo application make him a valuable support for superconduct and vapemelt teams, and his burst damage is strong enough to make him a viable off-field reverse melt unit, but Kaeya’s true niche lies in freeze, where he can utilize his A4, cryo resonance, blizzard strayer, his C1, and Chongyun’s elemental skill field to lean fully into cryo damage and crit damage. Cryo freeze builds will generally be Kaeya’s highest personal damage ceiling, both as a sub DPS and as a main DPS. 

Talents

Ceremonial Bladework

Normal Attack: Performs up to 5 rapid strikes.


Charged Attack: Consumes a certain amount of Stamina to unleash 2 rapid sword strikes.


Kaeya’s AAs are perfectly adequate, but they are not the centerpiece of his kit. His NA multipliers are among the highest out of all current sword users, while his CA multipliers fall behind only Keqing and Jean’s, but his slower attacks mean he ends up more or less in the middle of the pack for sword user MV/s. Despite Kaeya’s slightly more even distribution of damage between normals and charge attacks as compared to most other sword users, his optimal attack strings all still include charge attacks. Without cancels, Kaeya’s highest damage attack string is N2C, followed by N1C and then N3C. With either jump or dash cancels, Kaeya’s N1C is his highest damage string, followed by N2C and then N3C. However, N1C is stamina negative even with jump cancel only, while the other two will be closer to stamina neutral or positive in a vacuum. Stamina is much less of concern for Kaeya than for other sword users, since he can abuse freeze to reduce stamina consumed from dodging and avoid enemy knockback, and his utility passive provides an additional boost to stamina economy when dodging does become necessary or when using dash cancels, but it is still a factor nonetheless. Kaeya’s N4 and N5 are not generally recommended for optimal gameplay due to their long animations without the multipliers to justify them. Most calculations for this guide assumed N2C attack strings for the sake of consistency, but players can use any practical combinations of N1-3C provided they can manage their stamina consumption over the course of sustained combat. 

Frostgnaw

Unleashes a frigid blast, dealing Cryo DMG to opponents in front of Kaeya.


A simple but useful tool. It produces a cone of cryo damage in front of him with a hitbox which extends further in reach than his burst can, but only targets forwards rather than all around the character. Strong elemental application on a short cooldown makes it a powerful shield breaking tool, especially against electro and hydro shields. Frostgnaw generates 2 to 3 particles weighted to roughly a 2.67 average as a baseline, but can serve as a more powerful battery in conjunction with his fourth ascension talent discussed further below. 

Glacial Waltz

Coalescing the frost in the air, Kaeya summons 3 icicles that revolve 4 times around him for 8 seconds.


These icicles will follow the character around and deal Cryo DMG to opponents in their path for so long as they persist. 


Kaeya’s burst is the largest single source of damage and consistent cryo application in his kit, on field or off field, single target or AoE, from C0 to C6. At C0, it summons three icicles which revolve around him or the on field character at a rate of one rotation every two seconds for eight seconds, colliding with enemies in their path to deal cryo damage, and ending with all icicles shattering for a final three hits, for a total of up to fifteen instances of damage with a stationary character and enemy. The burst snapshots character stats after cast, but before energy drain.


The icicles have a hitbox just in front of their animated position, which means you need to be within about one abyss tile of your target for his burst to hit them. When an icicle hits an enemy, Glacial Waltz will deal an instance of AoE cryo damage with a radius similar to that of the entire burst but centered on the relevant icicle. That icicle will then be locked out of dealing damage for 0.5s, or one fourth of a rotation. However, independent icicles have independent cooldowns. Thus, the clockwise movement of Glacial Waltz can be taken advantage of by the player moving counterclockwise around a single target to quickly hit the enemy with successive icicles, allowing players to fit in more instances of damage and cryo application in the same time frame. 

Kaeya’s burst hits the first hilichurl to the left, dealing AoE damage (blocked by their shields) and cryo application that hits the two hilichurls to the left and the furthest left one behind him. The burst is locked out from dealing damage until after it has passed the three hilichurls behind him, so the icicles move through them without triggering any additional instances of damage. Footage from elijam#7142.


Kaeya’s burst follows the standard three hit/2.5s rule for internal cooldown of elemental application, for up to about one instance of cryo application every 1.6s on average and a total of six instances throughout at C0 with a stationary on field character and enemy. However, because the final three hits of his burst occur simultaneously, in practice cryo application occurs at a rate of just over once every 2s on average with an additional instance quickly following the previous at the end of the ability. Glacial Waltz’s ICD also places a limiting factor on Kaeya’s damage with reverse melt, as only up to 40% of his burst is meltable. As a superconduct enabler or in freeze, internal cooldown of cryo application is rarely a practical gameplay concern while Kaeya’s burst is active; cryo application is sufficient enough and managing number of hits past that is generally more of a damage concern. 

Cold-Blooded Strike

Every hit with Frostgnaw regenerates HP for Kaeya equal to 15% of his ATK. 


A sustain oriented talent, but not a particularly strong one. A few hundred HP a couple times a rotation will rarely make or break your abyss clear. That said, freeze teams generally border on the edge of being able to run without a healer or shielder depending on player skill and game content, so any additional survivability is a welcome bonus and a nudge in the direction of more damage oriented teams for Kaeya. 

Glacial Heart

Opponents Frozen by Frostgnaw will drop additional Elemental Particles. Frostgnaw may only produce a maximum of 2 additional Elemental Particles per use. 


Kaeya’s A4 unlocks his potential as conditionally the strongest battery in the game, second only to an on field Bennett. The description is incorrect; Frostgnaw can produce up to two additional particles by either freezing enemies or hitting already frozen enemies. This allows main DPS Kaeya’s team members to run slightly under on ER requirements, and allows him to battery other cryo units with ease provided a hydro applier on the same team without having to settle for options that would limit his personal damage like Favonius or Sacrificial weapons while still having the option to run them for even more battery power if desired.

Kaeya equipped with a Favonius Sword uses his skill to freeze a group of slimes, generating five cryo particles from his skill, three neutral particles from Favonius Sword’s passive, and additional hydro particles from hydro slime HP thresholds, filling a majority of Ganyu’s energy meter with one ability. Footage from EdisonsMathsClub#6469. 

Hidden Strength

Decreases sprinting Stamina consumption of your characters in the party by 20%.


Not stackable with Passive Talents that provide the exact same effects.


Shared with Razor and now Kazuha, stamina reduction on sprint is one of the only utility passives actually useful in combat. Valuable to everyone, but especially to stamina hungry charge attack focused DPSes, including to some degree Kaeya himself. 

Constellations

DPS increase is evaluated as a % improvement over previous constellation DPS. Improvement should be similar across all variations of sub DPS builds except when noted otherwise. 

Main DPS calculations assume lvl80/90 Kaeya, TL9/9/9, 90/90 R1 Blackcliff Longsword with one stack, 4BS with 100% freeze uptime, ATK%/Cryo DMG%/CDMG, 8 rolls into ATK% and 12 rolls into crit balanced with no more than 8 in either CR or CDMG, 4NO active and cryo reso, cryo infused autos, E Q N2C E N2Cx2 rotation. Sub DPS calculations assume lvl70/80 Kaeya, TL1/8/8, 90/90 Harbinger of Dawn, 2NO2BS, ATK%/Cryo DMG%/CR or CDMG, 8 rolls into ATK%, 12 rolls into crit balanced with no more than 8 in either CR or CDMG, 4NO active, 2 Es and 1 Q per rotation. 

C1: Excellent Blood

The CRIT Rate of Kaeya’s Normal and Charge Attacks against opponents affected by Cryo is increased by 15%. 


Main DPS: 3%

Sub DPS: –


Useful for DPS Kaeya, negligible otherwise. Synergizes nicely with 4BS set bonus and cryo resonance, as it also applies to frozen enemies despite only saying cryo affected. 

C2: Never-Ending Performance

Every time Glacial Waltz defeats an opponent during its duration, its duration is increased by 2.5s, up to a maximum of 15s. 


Main DPS: 0-31%, 12% with one extension 

Sub DPS: 0-49%, 18% with one extension 


Ranges from useless to incredible depending mostly on abyss matchups. Glacial Waltz does not actually need to take kill credit in order to gain an extension; any kills from anyone in your party will count towards the trigger condition. In late game, most abyss chambers will have multiple enemies, and most people will be aiming to clear them within only a few rotations, so one extension per rotation is assumed for higher constellation calculations. 

C3: Dance of Frost

Increases the Level of Frostgnaw by 3.


Main DPS: 3%

Sub DPS: 4%


Kaeya’s E is better for cryo application and battery utility than it is for damage, so levels don’t do much, but they’re still always nice to have. 

C4: Frozen Kiss

Triggers automatically when Kaeya’s HP falls below 20%:


This shield absorbs Cryo DMG with 250% efficiency.


Can only occur once every 60s. 


Main DPS: –

Sub DPS: –


Sure, additional survivability is a welcome bonus. But Kaeya’s C4 shield has a frustratingly low HP threshold to trigger, it will not trigger if the incoming attack deals enough damage to one shot you, it does not transfer to other characters, the shield it gives is relatively weak compared to other sources of shielding, and on top of all of that it has a minute long cooldown. 

Kaeya’s C4 shield is activated upon taking damage in a domain. Footage from Artesians#0002.

C5: Frostbiting Embrace

Increases the Level of Glacial Waltz by 3.


Main DPS: 9%

Sub DPS: 14%


A direct upgrade to your largest source of damage, great for any version of Kaeya. 

C6: Glacial Whirlwind

Glacial Waltz will generate 1 additional icicle, and will regenerate 15 Energy when cast. 


Main DPS: 18%

Sub DPS: 26%


The raw increase in burst damage alone is significant enough to make this a great constellation, but its value for Kaeya as an enabler sub DPS goes beyond that. One extra icicle brings Glacial Waltz’s cryo application to one instance every second on average, and the reduced burst cost can allow for Kaeya to drop ER requirements in teams where he might otherwise be forced to take an ER weapon or sands. 

Kaeya’s burst at C6, with four icicles revolving around him. Footage from Artesians#0002.

Playstyles

Sub DPS

In many teams, Rosaria will be able to fill Kaeya’s role to varying degrees of success. Before going into Kaeya’s teams and builds as a sub DPS, this guide will compare their strengths and weaknesses to help with choosing which to use in a given team. 

Kaeya
Rosaria
  • ER ascension can allow him to run full damage builds in many teams
  • Elemental burst follows the on field character, helpful with characters that tend to move around the field a lot or stagger enemies out of their initial positioning
  • Elemental burst has higher single target MV/s at C0, about equal at C0 vs Rosaria C2
  • Slightly higher rate of cryo application
  • A4 can eliminate ER needs on teams with hydro units, and allows him to serve as a powerful battery to other cryo characters on freeze teams
  • Free to play, meaning everyone has at least C0
  • ATK% ascension can be more valuable for damage as long as ER requirements can be otherwise met
  • Elemental burst has wider AoE provided the fight remains within its range
  • Elemental burst extension at C2 is guaranteed rather than dependent on enemy kills
  • Cryo application is more consistently timed
  • All cryo damage is meltable, making her more suited to reverse melt teams
  • Gives crit rate team buff based on her own crit rate with A4
  • Slightly better battery outside of freeze at a constant 3 particles per skill use
  • Constellations are easier to obtain since she is available on event and weapon banners, and has rate ups

Roles/Teams

Superconduct/Phys

Razor
Keqing
Zhongli
Eula
  • Eula can supply the cryo half of superconduct herself, but generally requires a cryo battery to consistently get her burst up; Diona is better at providing cryo particles with fewer swaps, while Rosaria has more consistent particle generation than Kaeya without his A4 and can use Favonius Lance without sacrificing as much of her personal damage as Kaeya does with Favonius Sword due to its higher base atk, but Kaeya can work if necessary
  • Phys teams will generally limit Kaeya’s damage as he may have to use an ER weapon or sands if there is no hydro character or second cryo character on the team, and he will likely not be able to reverse melt or effectively utilize 4BS or cryo resonance
  • 180-200ER, 130-150ER with Amenoma Kaguechi

Vapemelt/Forward Melt

Hu Tao
Bennett
  • Vapemelt teams rely on a combination of Xingqiu’s hydro application and other cryo application to achieve some reasonable portion of melts, with other instances of pyro application ideally being at least vaped
  • Bennett pre-C6 can also run pure melt, without any hydro applier, thanks to his infrequent and controllable pyro application
  • Kaeya can utilize his A4 passive in vapemelt teams, and pure melt Bennett teams that use Kaeya generally bring two cryo sub DPSes, so energy recharge is less of an issue, but damage is still somewhat limited without reverse melt or freeze
  • 150-170ER, 120-140ER with Amenoma Kaguechi

Reverse Melt

Klee
Yanfei
Xiangling
Kazuha
Bennett
  • Kaeya is generally less suited for reverse melt sub DPS roles than Rosaria for reasons discussed above, but they can work well together with pyro DPSes with enough elemental application to sustain both, allowing both of them to run lower on ER requirements thanks to the other’s particles
  • Even with only a portion of his burst being meltable, reverse melt can increase Kaeya’s sub DPS output by as much as half depending on team and rotations
  • 160-180ER, 120-140ER with Amenoma Kaguechi

Freeze

Kamisato Ayaka
  • Kaeya in a freeze team can generate enough particles every rotation to fill over half of Ayaka’s 80 cost burst (assuming players switch to Ayaka to catch the particles produced) all by himself, without any help from Favonius or Sacrificial weapons, with zero ER built on Ayaka
  • Blizzard Strayer’s passive works from off field, allowing him to opt in to his highest damage output build and contribute well to team DPS while supporting other units with particle generation and activating cryo resonance
  • 120-140ER

Artifacts

Rankings are meant to give a rough guide to usable set options to farm for and level- in order to determine which set is actually best for you when so many options are viable, it is recommended to use an optimizer that can account for your specific weapon, team buffs, and artifacts. In particular, Bennett, Sucrose, Kazuha, and weapons that give significant volumes of one stat over others will change the comparative value of artifact sets and substats significantly. 

Comparisons assume lvl70/80 C0 Kaeya, 90/90 Harbinger of Dawn, TL1/8/8, ATK%/Cryo DMG%/CR or CDMG, 8 rolls into ATK% for no melt and freeze and 6 rolls into ATK% and 6 rolls into EM for melt, 12 rolls into crit balanced with no more than 8 in either CR or CDMG, 4NO active, 2 Es and 1 Q per rotation. 

No Melt/Freeze

Main stats: Atk% or ER/Cryo DMG%/CR or CD


Substats: ER to requirement > CR/CD > Atk% > anything else

Setsvs. 2BS2NO DPSNotes
2BS2NO
100%Best outside of 4ESF by a small margin, but substituting either bonus for 2glad is only a minor downgrade.
2BS2glad
98%
2NO2glad
98%
4NO
91%A minor sacrifice for Kaeya’s personal damage, but probably worth it with a well invested carry and other damage dealing teammates who can benefit from the buff. Note that if no other teammates would be holding 4NO otherwise, then the difference is much narrower- 4NO would fall only slightly behind 2NO2glad. 
4ESF
The value of 4ESF depends largely on Kaeya’s ER requirement in a given team. The set never makes it worth it to stack ER, but it can help you deal better damage when you need the ER anyway. 4ESF will be roughly equal in damage to 2BS2NO at low ER requirements, marginally better at mid ER requirements, and significantly better at high ER requirements. The threshold for 4ESF to become about 10% better than 2BS2NO is 180-190ER required. 
4ins
A serious sacrifice for Kaeya’s personal damage, but potentially worth it with a well invested carry who appreciates the EM, usually Hu Tao, in vapemelt teams where Kaeya can consistently trigger the buff as a freeze enabler. Note that the 4pc effect can only be triggered on field, so it will apply for only 8s after Kaeya is brought in in the rotation- roughly the duration of his burst without extensions. 

Reverse Melt

Main stats: Atk% or ER/Cryo DMG%/CR or CD


Substats: ER to requirement > CR/CD > Atk%/EM > anything else

Setsvs. 2BS2NO DPSNotes
4LW
104%Best outside of 4ESF for reverse melt comps, but requiring a 4pc can make it hard to grind good artifacts for. Any of the below combinations should make a fine substitution. 
2BS2NO
100%
2BS2WT
100%
2BS2glad99%
2NO2WT
98%
2NO2glad
98%
2glad2WT
97%
4NO
91%A minor sacrifice for Kaeya’s personal damage, but probably worth it with a well invested carry and other damage dealing teammates who can benefit from the buff. Note that if no other teammates would be holding 4NO otherwise, then the difference is much narrower- 4NO would fall only slightly behind 2NO2glad. 
4ESF
The value of 4ESF depends largely on Kaeya’s ER requirement in a given team. The set never makes it worth it to stack ER, but it can help you deal better damage when you need the ER anyway. 4ESF will be roughly equal in damage to 2BS2NO at low ER requirements, marginally better at mid ER requirements, and significantly better at high ER requirements. The threshold for 4ESF to become about 10% better than 2BS2NO is 180-190ER required. 

Freeze

Main stats: Atk%/Cryo DMG%/CD


Substats: ER to requirement > CD > Atk% > CR (up to about 45%) > anything else

SetsNotes
4BS
Blizzard Strayer is far and above the best option. Nothing else comes close. 
4NO
A sacrifice for Kaeya’s personal damage, but potentially worth it with a well invested carry and other damage dealing teammates who can benefit from the buff. 

Weapons

Weapon rankings for sub DPS Kaeya vary significantly based on artifacts, rotations, team buffs, and ER requirements. To determine the highest damage option for Kaeya as a sub DPS, it is recommended to use an optimizer that can account for your current artifacts, but it is also valuable to keep in mind the team benefits certain weapons provide in terms of batterying potential and buffs. The list below is an evaluation of the strengths and niches of various weapons, not a ranking. 

WeaponNotes
Mistsplitter Reforged
Kaeya’s burst does not snapshot the energy related stack, so it can only receive at most one stack or two in teams with Chongyun or C6 Bennett. Even taking this into account Mistsplitter Reforged should still be competitive with Primordial Jade Cutter for Kaeya’s personal damage depending on team, rotation, and build. 
Freedom Sworn
EM secondary stat is useful in reverse melt, team buff passive is useful anywhere Kaeya can trigger reactions.
Primordial Jade Cutter
At its strongest in teams where Bennett can supplement the low base ATK, at its weakest in freeze teams where the crit rate can be unneeded, but still powerful in any case. 
Summit Shaper
Hard to stack the passive as a sub DPS, but still a very good option as a 5* weapon with a good secondary stat.
Skyward Blade
Good for teams where Kaeya would be forced to run an ER sands or weapon.
The Black Sword
Passive is useless for a sub DPS, but still works as a crit statstick.
Blackcliff Longsword
Hard to stack the passive as a sub DPS and even harder to snapshot it onto burst, likely not worth the starglitter but still works as a crit statstick if you already have it. 
The Alley Flash
EM secondary stat is useful in reverse melt, passive is strong for primarily off field characters. 
Lion’s Roar
Very strong passive for reverse melt, especially with refines. Scales all of Kaeya’s damage, surpassing issues other reverse melt specific weapons have with EM only benefitting hits that melt as limited by ICD. 
The Flute
Passive is useless for a sub DPS, equal to Lion’s Roar in teams where its passive won’t be active as a pure ATK% statstick. 
Sacrificial Sword
Better suited to characters with long skill cooldowns and more damage concentrated in their skill, but still an okay option for Kaeya when an ER weapon is necessary.
Favonius Sword
Good option when an ER weapon is necessary, additionally provides powerful team utility through additional neutral particles. 
Festering Desire
Better suited to characters with more damage concentrated in their skill, but still a strong weapon on Kaeya.
Iron Sting
EM secondary stat is useful in reverse melt, though Lion’s Roar or Alley Flash are stronger if they are available.
Amenoma Kageuchi
Helpful energy passive, especially when Kaeya is in teams where he can use his skill multiple times per burst. Can allow you to forgo an ER sands where it would otherwise be necessary.
Harbinger of Dawn
Incredible for a 3* weapon, limited only by its conditional nature and low base ATK. Almost always the best option or one of them for players who can manage staying above the HP threshold. 

Main DPS

Phys/Reverse Melt

Kaeya can be also played as a main DPS using builds and teams focused on his Phys DMG or on Cryo DMG but with reverse melt, but these teams are generally either lower damage for Kaeya and for his team or would be better served by another main DPS. The majority of Kaeya’s damage is cryo damage from his skill and burst; even in a team with superconduct, no cryo res shred, no cryo infused autos from Chongyun, no external buffs to Cryo DMG%, and bursting five seconds after cooldown due to energy issues without freeze or a second cryo, running 2BS2glad and a Cryo DMG% goblet will still result in comparable damage to running 2PF2BSC and a Phys DMG% goblet. To borrow a quote from the Full Beidou Guide by ZΛNTO#4984, “when we ‘optimize’ Physical for most damage, it ends up not being Physical at all.” With freeze and any kind of cryo res shred, even without cryo infused autos, cryo builds pull clearly ahead- a full cryo Kaeya with infused autos will have almost double the personal DPS of a traditional phys Kaeya. Reverse melt has higher damage potential than phys, but it has its own share of issues. Kaeya’s internal cooldown means that only just over a third of his burst damage and NA/CA damage with infusion from Chongyun can reverse melt, while Rosaria can fully melt her burst and all of her charge attacks thanks to having separate internal cooldown on elemental application between her normal and charge attacks. In general, the strongest option for Kaeya as a reverse melt “main” DPS is a quickswap team with Kaeya, Rosaria, Xiangling, and Bennett, but in practice this is no different from the sub DPS reverse melt builds already discussed, just with Kaeya able to come back on field more often thanks to Xiangling’s reliable off field pyro application. Both builds are still viable enough to clear abyss with enough investment into Kaeya and his teams, and players are free to build however they choose, but this guide will focus only on cryo freeze main DPS builds. 

Freeze

Freeze teams typically consist of two cryo units in order to take advantage of cryo resonance, one anemo unit to shred cryo elemental resistance using the Viridescent Venerer artifact set, and one hydro unit to enable freeze. Kaeya fills one cryo slot himself; this section will go into choices for his other three teammates, sorted by element type. Note that it can be acceptable to play with other variations on this framework depending on what characters are available to build with; anemo units in particular tend to be a struggle as the only 4* option currently available does not synergize particularly well with Kaeya, so some players may find themselves better served by just losing VV and taking an additional cryo or hydro, or Zhongli or Bennett. 

Cryo
Chongyun
  • Allows Kaeya to convert his autos to cryo damage, enabling a more sustained playstyle with higher personal damage for Kaeya
  • Ascension talents buff attack speed for melee units inside his circle and shred cryo resistance
  • C2 gives cooldown reduction that can allow for Xingqiu to have full uptime on his burst, as well as more frequent skills and bursts for other party members
  • Short burst cooldown and low energy requirements make him a great 4NO holder
  • Personal damage contribution is limited
Rosaria
  • Can use 4BS to boost her already strong personal damage contribution and enable a quickswap playstyle with more even team damage distribution, though this also requires more investment split amongst the team
  • A4 crit share does not include conditional crit such as from cryo resonance or 4BS, so crit share will be less valuable than it is in other teams, but even a few percent is nice
  • Second best chest out of all cryo DPSes
Ganyu
  • Technically an option if you really like Kaeya that much, but probably better used as a second DPS
  • A4 grants Cryo DMG% bonus to characters within her burst
Diona/Qiqi
  • Can fill healer role
  • Without Chongyun on the team, Kaeya’s damage with sustained field time will not be as strong, and Diona and Qiqi’s damage is negligible, so other teammates should be chosen to bring as much skill and burst damage as possible
Eula
  • No
Anemo/Flex
Jean
  • Jean Can fill healer role
  • Skill damage is respectable when well built
  • Able to abuse fall damage mechanics with charge attacks and skill to easily handle certain difficult enemies such as Fatui agents and cicin mages
  • 2U anemo application on skill and burst make swirling both hydro and cryo in one hit easy- for more information on double swirls in freeze, see Keqingmains Library
  • C2 grants attack speed boost to party members
  • Good use for all the insane crit roll VV artifacts you’ll have lying around after spending three months grinding for EM pieces
Kazuha
  • Strong personal damage contribution
  • A4 provides substantial elemental damage team buff
  • Provides grouping and additional CC on a short cooldown
  • 2U anemo application on hold skill and initial burst hit
  • Shatters on plunge, which can interfere with omen extension techniques if Mona is being used as the hydro applier
Venti
  • Strong personal damage contribution
  • 2U anemo application on skill
  • Energy refund from A4 not really needed, unless you can absorb hydro
  • Burst can lift enemies out of melee range, already frozen enemies generally will not be lifted unless they unfreeze, but this is difficult to maintain for the full duration of his burst
Sucrose
  • Can hold Thrilling Tales of Dragonslayers (TTDS) to buff a team member
  • No strong anemo application
  • Limited damage as an off field unit, since her swirls are more field time locked than Kazuha or Venti
  • EM share is useless in a freeze team
Anemo MC
  • No strong anemo application
  • Burst is clunky and can pull enemies away from you
  • Generally a last resort choice
Xiao
  • Better than Eula?
Zhongli
  • Honorary anemo for res shred
  • Shield allows him to replace healer role
  • Hold skill and pillar pulses can shatter, but this can be managed by leaving pillar out of range of combat
Bennett
  • Honorary anemo for giving you enough atk that you don’t care about res shred
  • Can fill healer role
  • Limited pyro application means he doesn’t interfere with freeze uptime too much
  • Can allow Xingqiu to vape the first hit of his skill or Chongyun to melt his burst with certain rotation setups
  • Probably better used in other teams, or with a similar team but Bennett as the main DPS
Hydro
Xingqiu
  • Strong personal damage contribution
  • Great off field hydro application
  • Damage reduction and minor heals make running without a healer more viable
  • Rotation desync isn’t a major problem since Kaeya doesn’t have any field time locks
  • Only real downside is the possibility that he may be needed for another team
Mona
  • Burst buffs team damage, omen bubble can be extended with freeze for longer uptime on buff- for more information on Mona omen freeze extension, click here
  • Can hold TTDS, but will likely need to use an energy recharge catalyst or risk struggling to fund burst
  • Limited off field hydro application, can be supplemented with hydro absorption and/or swirling from Kazuha’s skill and burst or to some degree Sucrose’s burst, but Kazuha’s plunge will shatter and pop omen bubble
  • Limited personal damage, especially when unable to vape burst
Barbara
  • Can fill healer role
  • Limited off field hydro application, can be supplemented with hydro absorption and/or swirling from Kazuha’s skill and burst or to some degree Sucrose’s burst
Tartaglia
  • C4 can make him a viable freeze support with good burst damage
  • If you don’t have C4, see Xiao

Artifacts

Main stats: Atk%/Cryo DMG%/CD


Substats: CD > Atk% > CR (up to 30-45%, don’t be too afraid of overcapping on NA/CA CR with C1, skill and burst are still a majority of Kaeya’s damage) > anything else

SetsNotes
4BS

Blizzard Strayer is far and above the best option. Nothing else comes close. 

Weapons

Weapon rankings vary based on artifacts, rotations, and team buffs. To determine your highest damage option, it is recommended to use an optimizer that can account for your current artifacts. 

Calculations assume lvl80/90 C1 Kaeya, TL9/9/9, 90/90 R1 Blackcliff Longsword with one stack, 4BS with 100% freeze uptime, ATK%/Cryo DMG%/CDMG, 8 rolls into ATK% and 12 rolls into crit balanced with no more than 8 in either CR or CDMG, 4NO active and cryo reso, cryo infused autos, E Q N2C E N2Cx2 rotation.

WeaponR1 vs. HoD R5 DPSNotes
Mistsplitter Reforged
136%Calculated at two stacks. Kaeya’s burst does not snapshot the energy related stack, so it can only receive at most two stacks with Chongyun, and Kaeya’s high innate particle production in freeze and ER ascension stat can limit uptime on the energy stack for the rest of his damage as well. Even taking this into account, Mistsplitter Reforged is still generally the strongest option for Kaeya as a DPS by a respectable margin. 
Summit Shaper
120%Calculated with full stacks, unshielded. Very strong option despite usually not being able to make full use of the passive
Aquila Favonia
113% Gains some value in teams without cryo infused autos since the secondary stat is no longer completely dead, but still easily viable as a high base ATK stat stick with an ATK% passive in teams with cryo infused autos. Sustain oriented passive also makes it easier to run without a healer. 
Primordial Jade Cutter
109%The more you can stack crit damage, the stronger it gets, but it overcaps crit rate in freeze even before any substat rolls. 

Blackcliff Longsword
106%Calculated with one stack. High base atk and CD secondary stat make building artifacts around it easier, and give it a higher ceiling than any other 4* options. Stacks are inconsistent, especially given that Kaeya’s burst snapshots which means you almost certainly won’t have stacks for a major source of your damage your first rotation, but the passive can be conditionally powerful depending on abyss matchups. 
Skyward Blade
102%ER is a wasted secondary stat for Kaeya as a main DPS, and attack speed is generally weaker than it appears for melee characters due to hitlag, but still not a bad option.
The Blacksword
101%Similar requirements to Jade Cutter as far as artifact building goes, though not quite to the same degree. Sustain oriented passive makes it easier to run without a healer.
The Flute
101%Strictly better than Lion’s Roar since the passive actually works in freeze, but phys proc passives are generally relatively weak on elemental DPSes, especially scaling into late game.  
The Alley Flash
101%Calculated with active. High base ATK and strong passive make it viable despite the EM secondary stat being wasted. Reasonable passive uptime should be achievable with freeze, but conditional is still conditional. 
Harbinger of Dawn
100%Calculated with active. Reasonable passive uptime should be achievable with freeze, but conditional is still conditional. 
Freedom Sword
99%Calculated without active up. Stronger after considering active for Kaeya himself, not to mention it’s a team buff.
Lion’s Roar
98%Usable as a pure ATK statstick. 
Amenoma Kageuchi
95%Passive is unhelpful for main DPS Kaeya, and low base ATK hurts more for a 4* unit, but at least the secondary stat is usable. 

References

More extensive comparisons and interactive calculator


Attack String MV/s with and without cancels


Kaeya’s Cavalry Discord server