The Divine Damsel of Devastation: A Shenhe Guide

Lead Writer: XenoVX#6150

Co-Writers: Zamo#6399, KB#1111, ApolloIV#8177, Sitri#9504


Updated for 2.4

Art by: Yueko

Preface

Shenhe is a 5 star Cryo polearm unit with a unique kit that bridges the traditional roles of support and sub-DPS. She has proven to be an especially powerful unit in diverse Cryo compositions.


Here, you will find everything you need to get started building and playing Shenhe.

Why should you play/pull Shenhe? An analysis

Shenhe is a unit with an intricate kit that makes her potential difficult to understand. Since her release, she has found a place in many diverse compositions. She is particularly useful in teams that mainly deal Cryo damage, however her potential isn’t limited solely to Cryo-centric teams. 


What is Shenhe’s role in a team?


Shenhe is officially designated as a Cryo-buffing support, though her kit contains elements that are traditionally attributed to sub-DPS units (such as Albedo or Fischl). Her kit combines strong damage buffing capabilities through a combination of DMG% bonus buffs, Cryo RES shred, and a unique ability to add flat damage to instances of Cryo damage dealt by teammates (a mechanic thus far only shared with Yunjin). Within these Cryo compositions, Shenhe has rather low personal damage, which is significantly compensated by amplifying the damage dealt by her teammates, while also being able to provide Cryo resonance, Cryo particles, as well as holding artifact sets with buffing capabilities such as 4 pc Noblesse Oblige

Pros and Cons

Disclaimer: Please remember that only you can decide if a character is worth spending your time, money, and resources on. All we can do is give the most precise information possible to help with your decision. Spend responsibly.

Pros:

  • Relatively cheap to build due to the nature of the main stats used, as well as not requiring important Crit Ratios. Mainly needs high investment in elemental burst and skill talent levels and a level 90 weapon.
  • Can offer up to 30% total DMG % bonus for a Cryo elemental burst (roughly on par with what a 750 EM Kazuha would offer), while also having built in Cryo RES shred
  • Decent weapon access (e.g Favonius Lance), as well as working decently with already available 5* options. 
  • Fairly low field-time due to press Elemental Skill animation not having ending lag, opening the possibility of “Quick Swap” for Shenhe.
  • Universally good with Cryo units, giving her high flexibility within teams that deal mostly Cryo damage.
  • Quills can apply to off-field abilities after they are cast, allowing flexibility in rotations.
  • Icy Quill damage scales with the level of investment of your team, meaning Shenhe’s teammates will do more Icy Quill damage as they get higher crit ratios, more DMG% bonus and more resistance shred.
  • Opens up non-traditional Cryo teams, such as Mono Cryo, which have a niche against bosses that cannot be frozen.
  • Viable in physical comps (ie. Eula/Keqing) and other non-Cryo comps that can make use of her A4 buff and off-field Cryo application (Melt Tao).

Cons:

  • Somewhat high Energy needs due to high burst cost, making Shenhe have high ER% requirements in most of her teams.
  • A significant part of her damage contribution appears through her teammates that can trigger her Icy Quills, rather than her own elemental skill and burst damage. Her personal multipliers are relatively low.
  • Icy Quills are treated as instances of single target damage and are consumed as such, meaning Shenhe’s quills become less impactful as target count increases. This is somewhat offset by her DMG % bonus buffs for teammates’ abilities that hit in AoE.
  • Can be difficult to slot into established compositions, as she is often competing for a slot with healers/shielders, Anemo units for grouping and VV shred, or Hydro/Pyro enablers for Freeze/Melt teams respectively.
  • Lower value in teams that do not use other Cryo or Anemo units that cannot consume her Quills or take advantage of most of her buffs.
  • Has serviceable Energy generation, but if you’re looking specifically for a Cryo battery, other options will perform this role better.

Conclusion: Shenhe is a well-designed, and competitive support/sub-DPS unit who’s unique blend of energy generation, RES shred, DMG % buffs and damage through Icy Quills both improves upon existing compositions while opening avenues for new options such as Mono Cryo. As a supportive unit, she is reliant on bolstering an already well invested Cryo Units’ damage – however, the utility she brings in doing so makes her very competitive.

Art by: Soumashigure

Article I: Character Overview

Talents

Normal Attacks: Dawnstar Piercer 

Performs up to five consecutive spear strikes. 


Generally speaking, Shenhe’s normal and charge attack multipliers are low, and not worth using for most team compositions (outside of niche Chongyun/Yunjin comps). She is simply not designed to be a main on-field DPS at C0.

Elemental Skill: Spring Spirit Summoning

“The frosted dew, silvery and dense, shall exorcise all demons. Grants all nearby party members the Icy Quill effect and deals Cryo DMG in different ways based on whether it is pressed or held.

Press: Rushes forward together with a Talisman Spirit, dealing Cryo DMG to opponents along the path.


Hold: Commands the Talisman Spirit to deal AoE Cryo DMG.


Icy Quill: When Normal, Charged, and Plunging Attacks, Elemental Skills, and Elemental Bursts deal Cryo DMG to opponents, the DMG dealt is increased based on Shenhe’s current ATK.


The Icy Quill’s effects will be cleared once its duration ends or after being triggered a given amount of times. When held rather than pressed, the Icy Quill’s effect lasts longer and can be triggered more times.


When one Cryo DMG instance strikes multiple opponents, the effect is triggered multiple times based on the number of opponents hit. The number of times the effect is triggered is calculated independently for each party member with the Icy Quill”


About Icy Quills In-Depth

  • Shenhe’s Icy Quills add [5-7] instances of flat damage that scales off of Shenhe’s ATK. This flat damage will be applied whenever Cryo damage is dealt by a member of the team. Each member of the team that consumes an Icy Quill will utilise their own stats of DMG% bonus, Crit Damage, and elemental mastery (if applicable for reverse melt) when determining the final damage dealt by the Icy Quill.

Graphic by Haru Atsushi#9050

As a brief example: in a fully buffed Ayaka/Shenhe/Kokomi/Kazuha team, if you have a Shenhe with 3078 ATK and Talent Level 9 Elemental Skill, and an Ayaka with 3034 ATK, 81%/225% Crit ratio against a frozen target, and 132% Cryo DMG bonus and 15% Elemental damage bonus from Shenhe, each of Shenhe’s Icy Quills triggered by Ayaka’s Elemental Burst will do 9678 damage on average, while Ayaka’s Talent Level 9 Burst ticks will do on average 24866 each. However, in game, the ticks of Ayaka’s Burst that trigger the Icy Quills will show 34544 average damage for each tick that triggers a quill.

  • Anemo units dealing Cryo damage through Cryo infused damage will proc quills, but Cryo Swirls will not.
  • Each teammate has their own Icy Quill quota.
  • Shenhe’s quill damage depends on her ATK stat at the time of each Cryo instance of damage. If another character snapshots with their own Skill or Burst, Shenhe’s damage will be applied to the snapshot stats.
  • Shenhe will use an Icy Quill stack on skill cast and will benefit from press skill A4 buff.
  • Quills are consumed on hit, including by shields and will do 15-20% more damage to shields.
  • Icy Quills can be triggered by off-field abilities that have already snapshotted their stats in the middle of that ability’s duration (for example allowing Shenhe to refresh quills in the middle of an Ayaka or Kaeya Burst after the first [5-7] have been consumed).
  • A more in depth overview of the Genshin Impact damage formula can be found here

Shenhe’s Elemental Skill is the talent that contributes to most of her damage to her teams. It is very easy to use and the effect of the quills scales well with her teammate’s level of investment. At Talent Level 9 (where each Icy Quill scales by 77.6% of Shenhe’s ATK), each press skill cast can add up to 388% flat of Shenhe’s ATK as flat damage (if each teammate procs 5 quills) per Cryo or Anemo unit on her team. Shenhe can also build higher ATK than most units to maximise her Icy Quill flat damage through her teammates that are built with higher Crit and DMG % bonus stats. Typically, a 20 second rotation with 2 of Shenhe’s press skills can add a total of 3104% flat damage if all 4 units on her team, including herself, trigger 5 quills per Shenhe press skill twice. As such, even though the on paper multipliers seem low, Shenhe’s elemental skill can add a deceptively large amount of damage to her teams that have multiple units triggering Icy Quills.

Elemental Burst: Divine Maiden

“Unleashes the power of the Talisman Spirit, allowing it to roam free in this plane, dealing AoE Cryo DMG.


The Talisman Spirit then creates a field that decreases the Cryo RES and Physical RES of opponents within it. It also deals periodic Cryo DMG to opponents within the field.

  • Ult has an initial hit, and then each DoT tick hits twice every 2 seconds (for a total of 12 DoT ticks at C0, and a total of 18 ticks at C2).
  • Snapshots buffs, but does not snapshot her A1 talent’s Cryo damage % buff.
  • Res shred for both Cryo and physical resistances.
  • DoT ticks follows standard ICD on Cryo application (once every 3 hits)


This ability is Shenhe’s main source of personal damage and the best way to trigger her own Icy Quills. The buffs it confers from her A1 talent and RES shred add significant damage to her team compositions, meaning this talent is generally worth levelling and building enough ER to use it off-cooldown, even if the raw damage from Shenhe’s Elemental Burst and the Icy Quills Shenhe triggers with the Elemental Burst will generally be lower than her Cryo teammates.

Talent Leveling Order

E>Q, AA can remain unleveled


Shenhe’s Skill contributes the most damage for whatever team she is in, so this takes top priority. Her Burst is a good source of personal damage and is worth levelling next for more RES shred. Her auto-attacks, as previously stated, have unimpressive multipliers; you’re better off not using them at all.

Ascension Talents

Ascension 1: Deific Embrace

An active character within the field created by Divine Maiden’s Deliverance gains 15% Cryo DMG Bonus.

  • Deific Embrace is dynamic and changes as the character enters and exits the Divine Maiden’s Deliverance field.


Shenhe’s A1 gives her a nice Cryo damage bonus buff to the active character on field. It can be snapshotted (ie. applied to skills that save the stats on moment of cast even if the buff wears off on that unit before the skill ends), but Shenhe herself will not snapshot it for her own elemental burst damage.

Ascension 4: Spirit Communion Seal

After Shenhe uses Spring Spirit Summoning, she will grant all nearby party members the following effects: 

• Press: Elemental Skill and Elemental Burst DMG increased by 15% for 10s. 

• Hold: Normal, Charged, and Plunging Attack DMG increased by 15% for 15s.

  • Buff durations for Spring Spirit Summoning (Press) and Spring Spirit Summoning (Hold) are independent.

Shenhe’s A4 allows her to buff either her teammates’ elemental skill/burst damage or normal/charged attack burst damage. At C0, you can have 100% uptime on one of the buffs but not both. It is important to note that elemental skill or burst damage bonuses cannot be snapshotted, but can be dynamically added to snapshotting skills that are already cast doing damage from off-field. For most applications, Shenhe’s Press A4 buff will be more useful because most Cryo units at the time of writing rely mainly on elemental burst damage. However some cases, such as Melt Ganyu, or teams with C1 or C6 Shenhe may prefer the Hold A4 buff. 


Misconceptions about Shenhe’s kit:

  • Shenhe is a deficient battery: While Shenhe’s cooldowns make her particle generation per minute lower than other Cryo units with lower cooldowns (for example compared to Rosaria who also generates 3 particles per skill on a 6 second rather than Shenhe’s 10 second cooldown), Shenhe gets a lot of reward from swapping her in to use her skill off-cooldown without consuming significant field time. Practically, using her press elemental skill twice per rotation, (generating 6 Cryo particles) is enough to make her energy generation acceptable. Favonius Lance is one of her best weapons and boosts her battery capabilities even further.
  • Shenhe’s Icy Quill limit reduces her support potential: When Shenhe first released, many people were disappointed that she didn’t have enough Icy Quills to raise the damage per screenshot of all 20 instances of damage in an Ayaka ult. However, the Icy Quill limit exists to ensure that Shenhe can work equally as well with units that have many weaker instances of Cryo damage as she can with those that have fewer but stronger instances of Cryo damage. Rather than considering the Icy Quills to be a buff, it is better to think of the Icy Quills as a sub-DPS mechanic that scales with her teammate’s level of investment. For example, Shenhe’s Icy Quills function more similarly to Albedo Transient Blossom hits, however, the Icy Quills are delivered alongside other sources of Cryo damage, hijacking her teammate’s stats to do more damage, and are frontloaded rather than sustained over time. Moreover, beyond the fixed Icy Quill count, Shenhe still offers enough DMG % bonus and RES shred to remain competitive with other supports in Cryo teams. Remember that every unit that can deal Cryo damage gets their own Icy Quills, so if you have more Cryo or Anemo units on your team, the total amount of Icy Quill damage increases.
  • Shenhe’s damage buffing capabilities fall off in AoE: While Shenhe’s Icy Quills are consumed per target instance of Cryo damage, meaning her quills will deplete more quickly in AoE circumstances; if three enemies are hit by a single Cryo attack, three of her [5-7] quills will be consumed by that unit. However, Shenhe’s A1 and A4 buffs as well as her RES shred will significantly increase her teammates’ damage in AoE. Typically, the problem of AoE isn’t severe due to the generally low target count and prominent boss floors in post 2.0 abyss cycles. Many units with high single target DPS, such as Hu Tao, Fischl or Xingqiu are considered strong, despite falling behind in AoE content. Icy Quill damage can still be powerful  front-loaded extra damage, even against multiple enemies, especially when the 2-3 of Shenhe’s other teammates can trigger her Icy Quills.
  • Shenhe is a worse buffing unit for Cryo teams than Kazuha or Ganyu Support: Generally speaking, most teamwide calcs show that Shenhe performs better than Kazuha and Ganyu Support in one to two target situations. In AoE, Kazuha and Ganyu can both get quadratic scaling, which allows them to outperform Shenhe’s single target Icy Quills. This is actually good game balance and shows that Shenhe is roughly as valuable as Kazuha or Ganyu in the same slot as a support, with each unit excelling a bit over the others in a specific situation. It is also worth mentioning that Shenhe has high synergy with both Kazuha and Ganyu to amplify her Icy Quills further, or can replace them as a support so you can possibly use Kazuha or Ganyu on your second abyss team.

Constellations

IMPORTANT: Constellation math was done using an Ayaka/Shenhe/Kazuha/Kokomi comp (her current most popular team), to show the increases in damage of both Shenhe and Ayaka with each Shenhe constellation. The damage gains from each constellation will differ in other teams. As always, spend responsibly. The calculations here are mainly to inform you of how these cons could perform in optimal scenarios with a C0 Ayaka. 

C1: Clarity of Heart

Spring Spirit Summoning can be used 1 more time.

  • The charges refreshes Icy Quill stacks based on the latest type of Spring Spirit Summoning cast (Press/Hold).

4-5% increase in team damage from C0


C1 gives Shenhe two charges on her elemental skill instead of one. The quills do not stack. Instead, casting E again will overwrite the effect. However, the A4 buffs will run to their maximum duration independently (so they can both exist at once). Because each charge has to go on cooldown one after the other, you cannot get three skill casts off in subsequent rotation, only the first. That said, you can open with a press skill, use the 5 quills, and swap to Shenhe to use hold E for 7 quills and hold E A4 buff without being limited by hold E’s longer cooldown. This results in 4-5% higher DPS rotation over 20 seconds in an Ayaka/Shenhe comp (mainly due to having 12 quills per Cryo unit rather than 10 and slightly lowering ER requirements). Furthermore, frontloading a 3rd elemental skill cast can lead to higher damage gains (6-8%) if you can clear a room in one rotation, but if you do that you’ll only have two press skill casts for subsequent rotations.


Can be better in teams with access to cooldown reduction (ie. Chongyun C2).

C2: Centered Spirit

Divine Maiden’s Deliverance lasts for 6 seconds longer. Active characters within the skill’s field deals 15% increased Cryo CRIT DMG.

  • The CRIT DMG buff shortly lingers after Divine Maiden’s Deliverance ends.

14-15% increase in teamwide damage from C0, 9-10% increase from C1


C2 is Shenhe’s most impactful constellation for increasing damage, and the extended duration of her burst extends her uptime on Cryo resistance shred and her A1 talent. While her A1 talent does snapshot, keep in mind that the Cryo Crit Damage Bonus it provides cannot be snapshot, and will only apply to active character on field standing inside her ult, which makes its damage increase less significant for Cryo units that mainly deal damage off-field (ie. Kaeya or Ganyu Support). The longer duration elemental burst will tick 6 more times.

C3: Seclusion

Increases the Level of Spring Spirit Summoning by 3. Maximum upgrade level is 15.


17-18% increase in teamwide damage from C0,
~3% increase from C2.


Shenhe’s C3 merely raises her elemental skill talent level by 3, which raises the damage of her icy quills. It is a small increase on her quill’s damage that can be improved in teams with more than one heavily-invested Cryo unit.

C4: Insight

When characters under the effect of Icy Quill applied by Shenhe trigger its DMG Bonus effects, Shenhe will gain a Skyfrost Mantra stack: 

• When Shenhe uses Spring Spirit Summoning, she will consume all stacks of Skyfrost Mantra, increasing the DMG of that Spring Spirit Summoning by 5% for each stack consumed. 

• Max 50 stacks. Stacks last for 60s.

18-19% increase in teamwide damage from C0, 
~1% increase from C3.


Shenhe’s C4 allows her to accumulate a tremendous damage bonus for her next elemental skill cast based on how many quills are consumed by her team (in this rotation it can be up to around 75% elemental skill damage bonus). Shenhe is usually best built using high ATK% as well as ER%, and generally doesn’t require as much crit damage. Essentially,  this talent is somewhat insignificant for boosting teamwide DPS, though it may let you see bigger numbers from Shenhe herself. It may have potential synergy in some comps with Shenhe’s C6 to get closer to the 50 stack limit (250% damage bonus potentially) by consuming quills in AoE, but C4 in and of itself, it’s not a very impactful constellation.

C5: Divine Attainment

Increases the Level of Divine Maiden’s Deliverance by 3. Maximum upgrade level is 15.


19-20% increase in teamwide damage from C0, ~1% increase from C4.


C5 is just a minor damage increase. The RES shred of the talent caps at level 10 at 15% RES shred, meaning this constellation is restricted to slightly increasing the damage from her burst beyond talent level 10 multipliers.

C6: Mystical Abandon

When characters trigger Icy Quill’s effects using Normal and Charged Attack DMG, it does not count toward the Trigger Quota.


~24% increase in teamwide damage from C0, 3-4% increase from C5 in this specific rotation with a C0 Ayaka in single target (other teams may have very different results).


Shenhe’s C6 allows her quills to trigger on every instance of Cryo normal or charged attack damage. While this may sound strong on paper, keep in mind that quills are also triggered by elemental skills or elemental bursts, which can very easily extinguish the quill quota, meaning units that can easily consume all the quills with their burst (such as Ayaka and Ganyu), will want to save Shenhe’s hold E to fill downtime in their rotations with normal and charged attacks. Ayaka in this example can only fit in 2 N2Cs before having to cycle her supports again, meaning Shenhe C6 only gives her 3 more quills in single target over C1. Rotations that drop Ayaka’s ult altogether to do N2Cs instead to use 5 quills per N2C are unable to match the damage loss of not using Ayaka’s burst. AoE scaling with quills could be improved by this constellation, and it may also work better with Ayaka or Ganyu’s C6, but not when they’re at C0 and Shenhe is C6.


Shenhe’s C6 may be much more powerful in whale-investment level melt Ganyu comps that are able to clear rooms in one rotation without being as burdened by the lack of a shield. Shenhe’s C6 would allow Ganyu’s charged shots to apply melted quills against any number of targets in AoE, which could be drastically stronger than the Ayaka example used for comparison above.

Conclusion:

Shenhe is a character that generally does not need constellations to contribute significantly to her team’s damage. If you are able and willing to invest more primogems into Shenhe, C2 is her best overall increase to teamwide damage. Going further than C2 is not recommended for most players, however whales with other C6 Cryo units may have a use for C6 in hyper-invested speed-running teams that are beyond the scope for this guide.

Article II: Artifacts and Weapons

Art by Suiren

Artifacts

Artifacts sets:

4-Piece Noblesse: allows Shenhe to further boost her team’s overall damage and is often BiS for her team performance.


4-Piece Blizzard Strayer: Increases Shenhe’s personal damage by a good amount (especially in high target count situations) while also making favonius procs more consistent. Recommended to use in freeze/mono Cryo teams if the team already has a 4-noblesse holder (such as Mona or Diona).


2-Piece Mix of Emblem of Severed Fate/Blizzard Strayer/Gladiator/Shimenawa: An option that is easier to farm for if the sets above are not available. 2 Glad/2 Shimenawa can be the best for raw Icy Quill damage but will lose to Noblesse in most teams that don’t already have another Noblesse user.

Mainstats and substats:

Sands: ATK%/ER%


Goblet: ATK%/CRYO%


Circlet: ATK%/Crit Rate/Crit Damage


On the topic of running ATK% vs the other mainstats for goblet and circlet, the difference is rather small for Shenhe. Considering the fact that the drop rates for Crit and Cryo mainstats being considerably rarer than ATK%, it’s usually advised to use your Cryo % goblets and crit circlets for your other Cryo characters while giving Shenhe the ATK% pieces. It is likely that your best ATK% goblet is better than your 2nd or 3rd best Cryo% goblet in terms of substats. A more detailed breakdown of ATK% vs other main stats can be found here.


Substats priority is the following : ER% (until ER requirements are satisfied) > ATK% > Crit Rate/Crit Damage

Artifact Comparisons
Damage
Relative difference
Calamity Queller (ER%/ATK%/ATK%)
2 Shimenawa 2 Glad
11,083.52
0.00%
4BS (50% Uptime)
10,909.64
-1.57%
4BS (Full Uptime)
11,104.91
0.19%
2 Noblesse 2 Shimenawa
10,754.58
-2.97%
2 BS 2 Shimenawa
10,887.33
-1.77%
4 Noblesse (Recommended)
10,703.76
-3.43%
Favonius Lance (ATK%/ATK%/ATK%)
2 Shimenawa 2 Glad
8,868.39
0.00%
4BS (50% Uptime)
8,673.54
-2.20%
4BS (Full Uptime)
8,807.59
-0.69%
2 Noblesse 2 Shimenawa
8,626.70
-2.73%
2 BS 2 Shimenawa
8,491.13
-4.25%
4 Noblesse
8,548.67
-3.61%


*Calculated in Ayaka/Shenhe/Kazuha/Kokomi Comp with KQM standards, single target. Shenhe’s damage includes her Icy Quills triggered by teammates.

ER% Requirements


ER% requirements vary from team to team on Shenhe, but generally around 180-190 ER% is recommended on Shenhe for teams with 1 other Cryo unit. Favonius Lance generally lowers Shenhe’s ER% requirements to around 165-175 ER%. With 2 other Cryo units (or 1 Cryo unit and Venti) her ER% requirements drop to 130-145 ER%.


It is generally easier to use ER% sands for weapons that don’t have ER% as a secondary stat, and ATK% sands with ER% subs on weapons that do have ER% as a secondary stat. 


An ER% calculator with Shenhe can be found in the Resources section at the end of the guide to help predict ER% for specific teams.

Weapons

Weapons
Notes
% of Favonius Lance
Calamity Queller
Shenhe’s BiS. Keep in mind that using an ATK% weapon will usually require an ER% sands and/or ER% substat investment, though some teams may have enough Cryo energy generation to bypass ER% sands. The passive ATK% doubles when Shenhe is off-field, but will not reach its maximum until 6 seconds after Shenhe uses her skill.
125.21%
Engulfing Lightning
Provides high base ATK as well as ER, allowing you to deal with energy issues, and scales more ATK with more ER on Shenhe; which is great due to her high ER requirements. Great option for AoE content.
114.63%
Skyward Spine
Provides decent base ATK along with energy recharge.
112.80%
Vortex Vanquisher
(No shield)
Can’t stack off-field, but has enough ATK% to still be a strong option.
110.12%
Staff of Homa
(>= 50% HP)
Offers high base ATK but Shenhe doesn’t make as good use of the Crit damage secondary stat as other characters, which makes the use of this weapon better on them.
106.36%
Primordial Jade Winged Spear
Decent stat stick for base ATK, crit substat is also appreciated
*Not worth to N1.
104.70%
Wavebreaker’s Fin R1
Decent stat stick with high base ATK. Can increase Shenhe’s personal damage with refinements.
104.24%
The Catch R5
Solid ER and elemental burst damage bonus and crit rate, but lower base ATK keeps it behind other options.
101.41%
Lithic Spear R1 (1 Stack)
Provides decent base ATK. Can be better in teams with more Liyue units.
100.66%
Royal Spear
Base ATK stat stick. Not recommended.
100.17%
Favonius Lance
One of, if not her best weapon. Significantly decreases team ER requisites, which allow your team to increase their damage if they can reinvest some ER substats into damage substats. Best choice if you want more team-wide Energy generation from Shenhe (particularly with Ayaka or Eula).
100.00%
Kitain Cross Spear R3
Provides a decent base ATK and a useful passive that helps mitigate her energy issues. Rotations might change when using it. *Have to Q E instead, 158% ER.
99.57%

Article III: Team Synergies and Sample Teams

Art by panosarts_

Unit Synergies


Cryo

Ayaka
On-Field Cryo DPS
Synergy: SStrong carry that can frontload quill damage and take advantage of all of Shenhe’s kit.
Ganyu
On-Field Cryo DPS/Sub-DPS
Synergy: SStrong carry with free Crit Rate and Cryo DMG % buffs that makes great use for what Shenhe provides
Eula
On-Field Physical DPS
Synergy: AWeaker quill damage, but Physical RES shred and Elemental Burst DMG Bonus is synergistic.
Diona
Support
Synergy: AGood energy generation, strong shield, useful in Mono Cryo.
Kaeya
Sub-DPS
Synergy: AStrong battery in freeze, good off-field damage.
Rosaria
Sub-DPS
Synergy: ADecent battery, good off-field damage, can buff Crit Rate.
Chongyun
Support / Sub-DPS
Synergy: B+Viable Reverse Melt Burst DPS; Cryo infusion is niche but useful in some teams (ie. On-field Kaeya Freeze)
Qiqi
Healing
Synergy: BShenhe shred adds a mild amount of damage to clam procs, but the energy deficit from her not producing particles can hinder her team significantly.


Anemo

Kazuha
Grouper/Buffer
Synergy: SSignificantly increased team output when concerning Mono teams.
Venti
Grouper/Battery
Synergy: SStrong for AoE content regarding Mono Cryo or Permafreeze. Helps with Energy.
Sucrose
Grouper/Buffer
Synergy: A-Better at C6, EM buffing isn’t useful for most Shenhe teams.
Sayu
Anemo Support/Healer
Synergy: A-Budget option if you also require healing.
Jean
Anemo Support/Healer
Synergy: A-No Cryo infusion or way to proc quills relative to other Anemo units, healing is appreciated.
Traveler (Anemo)
Grouper
Synergy: B+Burst infuses Cryo first but pushes enemies away.


Hydro

Mona
Hydro Support/Buffer
Synergy: SDecent Hydro application, provides omen buff.
Xingqiu
Hydro Support/Sub-DPS
Synergy: SStrong for single target, not recommended for AoE.
Kokomi
Hydro Support/Healer
Synergy: SToM buffs are nice for Shenhe quills, can give TTDS to a carry and maintain Freeze uptime.
Childe
On-Field DPS
Synergy: CHas to be on field to apply Hydro.
Barbara
Hydro Support/Healer
Synergy: D Last option if nothing else for Hydro. Can give TTDS to a carry.


Pyro

Bennett
Buffer/Healer
Synergy: AIndispensable unit for Reverse Melt Teams, but Shenhe’s Icy Quills cannot benefit from his ATK buff when she is off field.
Xiangling
Pyro Support
Synergy: B+Melt enabler, although having considerable ER needs and a battery.
Hu Tao
Pyro On-Field DPS
Synergy: BCan benefit from Shenhe’s Hold A4 buff and off-field Cryo application, but does not benefit from Shenhe’s more important buffs. Needs Xingqiu.

Sample Teams

Freeze


Shenhe is an excellent unit in a freeze composition with a well invested Cryo character. Unlike other units who can take her slot who provide personal offensive value or defensive utility while also providing energy, Shenhe, while still offering good amounts of energy, provides more buffs for the Main Carry – moreover, her own damage from Icy Quills also scales well with investment into the Main Carry. This is unique to her and allows more investment into the Main Carry unit to give better returns. Moreover, Shenhe can often work well with Cryo units she would otherwise compete with. 


Currently Ayaka/Shenhe/Kazuha/Kokomi is her most popular composition in the spiral abyss at the time of writing, but many strong alternatives are available. For example, Ayaka can be replaced with Ganyu or Kaeya, Kazuha can be replaced by Venti or Sucrose or another Cryo Sub-DPS such as Kaeya, Rosaria or Ganyu Support (to proc higher damage quills and generate more energy at the expense of grouping and VV). The hydro enabler slot is best given to TTDS Kokomi, but it can also go to Mona or Xingqiu if you don’t need as much healing.


Recommended Variants: 

  1. Ayaka/Kokomi/Kazuha (On-Field Ayaka)
  2. Ayaka/Ganyu/Kokomi (Quick Swap)
  3. Kaeya/Chongyun/Xingqiu (On-Field Kaeya)
  4. Kaeya/Rosaria/Any Hydro (Quick Swap)

4 pc Noblesse or 4 pc Blizzard Strayer with Favonius Lance is recommended for Shenhe here.

Pros:

  • Shenhe quills can be front-loaded onto Cryo unit’s elemental bursts for massive additional damage (Particularly strong with Ayaka or Ganyu)
  • Very high performance with 4 star/cheap weapons, scales even better with 5 star weapons (ie. Mistsplitter on Ayaka)
  • High flexibility with the units used allows this type of team to have many viable combinations including less common quick swap variants with accessible 4 star teammates

Cons:

  • For Ayaka variants, if Shenhe is the only Cryo battery, Ayaka will need slightly more ER% than in her other teams (around 140-150 ER% if Shenhe doesn’t use Fav Lance, though this can be reduced by Amenoma refinements/Fav Lance on Shenhe, or Venti/other Cryo supports over Kazuha). Even just using Fav Lance on Shenhe can lower Ayaka’s ER% requirements to around 130-135% with proper funnelling. Teams using other Cryo units will be less affected
  • Loses some value against boss enemies that cannot be frozen, though Ayaka’s ult can still get the team through that type of content servicably
  • Can extend the rotation times of certain Freeze teams with 15 second rotations to 20 due to her own Elemental Burst

Mono Cryo


Shenhe opens up this new team archetype thanks to her high synergy with stacking Cryo units on your team, which is usually not an option. This is made uniquely possible due to the extensive benefits Shenhe provides to specifically Cryo units – thus making stacking them potentially worthwhile, while providing ease of play due to the abundance of Cryo particles and easy VV setups.  As such, for players that are interested in running primarily Cryo units, Shenhe is a great pick. These types of teams can be more effective against enemies that cannot be frozen compared to traditional freeze teams. There are several variations of Mono Cryo that each have their own pros and cons such as:

  • Ayaka Ganyu Shenhe Venti 
    • Highest damage variation of Mono Cryo
    • Low energy requirements thanks to Venti’s 15 energy refund
    • Does well against enemies that can be gathered
    • No healer/shielder or freeze to protect your team
    • Restricted to limited 5* characters
  • Ayaka/Ganyu Diona Shenhe Kazuha
    • Includes Diona to help the team with shield and heals, as well as allowing Kazuha to function since he is vulnerable when using his skill
    • Leverages Kazuha high synergy with mono element teams
    • Ease of use

Rosaria and Kaeya can also function well as a replacement for the Cryo units in the teams above. 

Reverse Melt


A good team for those looking to pair her with accessible 4 star teammates. Shenhe’s quills are amplified by the melt multiplier, which compensates for the fewer units that can trigger her quills in this comp. Moreover, Shenhe can boost both Xiangling and the Cryo unit with her A4 buff, and she provides Cryo RES shred that the team otherwise lacks – increasing her value significantly against high-resistance enemies. 


The Rosaria variant is highly recommended as Rosaria can melt all of her elemental skill and burst damage; however, Kaeya can melt 5/13 hits of his burst due to ICD and his E, meaning he is still viable and may be easier to use in content where the enemies refuse to stay in Rosaria’s circles. That said, his damage ceiling in this comp is lower than Rosaria’s. 


A Chongyun variant, focused around melting all hits of Chongyun’s elemental burst with Shenhe quills, is also possible but lacks damage outside of his burst. Shenhe’s C1 makes the rotation for the Chongyun variant a lot easier, as the multiple charges allow her to ensure both charges get a reduced cooldown from Chongyun’s C2.  


Lastly, a variant with Melt Ganyu doing charge shots as the carry is possible, but it would be very difficult to play without a shield unit. Melt Ganyu can open up Kazuha, Venti or Jean as pyro enablers with their anemo infusions when paired with Bennett, and can also reduce Cryo resistance as well with properly timed rotations. In these Ganyu variations Shenhe will want to use her hold elemental skill and withhold her elemental burst to not steal melts from Ganyu’s charged attacks.


4 pc Noblesse is recommended, as Bennett can run 4 pc Instructors to grant EM to the team.


2 Glad/2 Shime is a good alternative if Bennett is your 4 pc Noblesse user.

Pros:

  • Cheap and accessible team with 4 star units, including 2 that are completely free
  • Scales very well with constellations
  • Easy to play with lots of i-frames, very “set and forget”
  • Main Cryo unit slot is flexible
  • Rotation is highly flexible, allowing Shenhe to freely make use of two tap E’s. This also means Shenhe can be on field for more time, allowing her to make better use of Bennett’s buff

Cons: 

  • Using Bennett and Xiangling to enable reverse melt has a somewhat high opportunity cost for your other team in spiral abyss, though reverse melt teams can still be very strong
  • All units will need very high investment
  • Fewer units consume Icy Quills relative to Shenhe’s other teams, but the extra multiplier from melt compensates for it
  • Most versions of this comp limit the player and enemies to small circles for maximum effectiveness. Highly mobile enemies may present a challenge against this team
  • Melt Ganyu variant is one of the more difficult teams to play, especially without a shield, however the quick swap variants with other Cryo units do not have this problem

Eula Team

Shenhe functions in a similar role as a C6 Rosaria by providing Eula Cryo particles, while also offering DMG% buffs and RES shred. Shenhe’s quills also function well with the many Cryo units that Eula can choose for her team, such as Diona and Rosaria, even if Eula herself will not build a Cryo DMG goblet. 


Some of the recommended flex units are:

  • Raiden Shogun: Provides DMG% buffs, enables Superconduct, and can make use of Shenhe’s A4 buff. Raiden also lowers the team’s ER requirements significantly
  • Diona: Provides shields, healing, and is able to use Icy Quills. Cryo particles are appreciated
  • Zhongli: Provides shield, and universal RES shred
  • Rosaria: Provides Crit Rate buff, and at C6, RES shred. Rosaria can also make great use of Icy Quills. Cryo particles are appreciated
  • Fischl: Enables Superconduct, and can make use of Shenhe’s A4 buff.
  • For more details, check out the Eula Guide


Unless you are using a second Cryo battery (i.e. Rosaria or Diona), a Favonius Lance is necessary to battery Eula even with Raiden. 

Pros:

  • Strong performance with higher ceiling potential from getting more constellations such as C2 providing higher physical shred uptime
  • Grants some mobility with her dash
  • Works well with C6 Rosaria for triggering quills, can offer combined high phys resistance shred with or without Superconduct (opening up the potential for Eula teams without an Electro support)
  • Eula, as well as some of her common teammates (ex. Raiden or Fischl) benefit greatly from Shenhe’s A4 talent buff for elemental burst and skill damage

Cons:

  • While she is one of the stronger options for Eula, Shenhe has stronger teams she could be in instead such as Ayaka freeze
  • Eula benefits from the resistance shred and elemental burst damage % bonus, but her ability to proc high damage quills will be less than other units that can deal Cryo damage

Melt Tao


Shenhe has some potential in teams that are carried by non-Cryo units that can appreciate her A4 buffs and use her off-field Cryo application for elemental reactions. Hu Tao works well in a Vape/Melt team that primarily vaporises, but can sometimes freeze enemies to get some forward melted charge attacks off against them. In this team, Shenhe uses her hold E to give Hu Tao normal and Charged and Normal Attack DMG bonus while allowing the Cryo flex unit to proc quills and applying Cryo to set up a freeze for Hu Tao’s Charged attacks. The Cryo flex unit can either be Kaeya for mobile Cryo application, Rosaria for crit share, Diona if you need a shield, or Ganyu (which is most useful if you have Elegy for the End to buff ATK% and EM for the team).

Pros:

  • High freeze uptime lets Hu Tao get away without a shield/heal unit without as much risk. This can make her jump cancels at C0 more comfortable
  • Strong single target damage
  • Possibility to run instructor set to buff EM for Hu Tao as Shenhe’s quill damage scaling will not matter as much here compared to other Shenhe teams

Cons:

  • Loses some effectiveness against enemies that can’t be frozen
  • Buffing Hu Tao’s charge attacks with Shenhe’s hold E A4 buff means you can’t buff the elemental burst damage for Xingqiu or the Cryo flex unit or Hu Tao’s elemental burst
  • Doesn’t significantly change the experience of playing Hu Tao Melt teams or fit into her highest damage ceiling teams (which are mainly VV Vape teams)
  • Has anti-synergy with Hu Tao’s most accessible weapon, Dragon’s Bane
  • Shenhe will shine more in teams where the Cryo units deal most of the damage

Closing Thoughts

Shenhe is a powerful Cryo support/sub-DPS unit that can work in virtually any sort of Cryo-centric team, as well as a few teams that aren’t focused on dealing Cryo damage but appreciate her buffs or off-field Cryo application. Shenhe also brought mono Cryo teams out of obscurity and into the limelight as a strong and valuable team. For those that have well invested Cryo DPS units, Shenhe is a very strong pickup that is essentially “future proof” in that she will pair well with any possible Cryo unit that can utilise her buffs and trigger her Icy Quills.

Resources

https://library.keqingmains.com/characters/cryo/shenhe

Shenhe Mastersheet – Google Sheets


Constellation Mastersheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1IVZZlRpTVGbmlsWyvY-NHXf4WLVh_8u7REA6fe1sXhI/edit?usp=sharing


Eula Team Mastersheet by TWICE#9958: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1SUcDmc09jUBJGvvGlTUFgtO5Oa0FcuB-qLV13U0Vs1g/edit#gid=649161105


Energy Recharge Calculator – Google Sheets

Change log


Acknowledgements 


Haru Atsushi#9050-Graphic Design Help

Prévisible#7440-Draft Feedback

Emiliabyss#1641 – Draft Feedback 

TWICE#9958-Eula/Shenhe synergy TC 


Shenhe Mains Discord