Full Xiao Guide

Xiao guide by Artesians#0002

Preface

Since the first few weeks of Xiao’s testing, he has cemented his position among the best damage dealers, and his problems have proven to be not as impactful as we had thought.

Before we continue, it should be noted that you can play Xiao in several different manners depending on his part members. At hyper investment at ascension 5+ and 8+ talents, Xiao is easily topping the damage charts in Genshin. At C6, Xiao is unchallenged as the new premier DPS unit in AoE situations.

Selfish Hypercarry:

Xiao, no matter what investment level, will always be a selfish hyper-carry with a high energy cost that will hog on-field time. There are multiple ways to address Xiao’s energy cost and his high field time with his party members, which will determine how you play him.

  • Pros:
    • In general, a strong unit because he bypasses shields with easy access to plunge damage spam that has strong AoE and allows you to dodge damage.
    • Can play to abuse Anemo infusion or high damage multipliers with strong MV/s, so he isn’t slowed down by elemental enemies.
    • You can utilize an ATK% Goblet without losing much damage.
    • Xiao is a hyper-carry, so he has justified high investment that will bring him closer to his ceiling.
  • Cons:
    • Very limited team compositions, where the units that can play well with Xiao have to fulfill pretty specific roles.
    • Energy issues – high cost & no energy generation during burst may require most players to prioritize ER% more than most other main DPS carries.
    • Getting knocked out of your plunges or being staggered causes your DPS to fall off a cliff.
    • Virtually impossible to farm Gladiator’s Triumph, at Adventure Rank 55, it’s 40 resin for a 50/50 for Gladiator or Wanderer’s Troupe – but you only need 2. (To be clear however, you can just run 2 good Viridescent Venerer pieces with off-set pieces that have strong substats).

Credits:

Artesians#0002
Pichu#0002
Fluffy#5580
HailCorporate#2970
xTuki#3169
shdwbld#8103
Lindon#3315
zajef77#2838

r/XiaoMains
r/Keqingmains

Weapons

Weapons / Refinements DPS at 90 (% of Blackcliff Pole)Notes
Staff of Homa R5 (<50% HP)150.63%Absolute ceiling calculations for R5, 5-star polearms.
Vortex Vanquisher R5 (Shielded)144.93%ATK% is valuable to Xiao because of his abundance of DMG%.
Primordial Jade Winged-Spear R5 (7 Stacks)143.28%
Staff of Homa (<50% HP)130.08%The important thing to note is how close the 5-star polearms are to each other.
Vortex Vanquisher (Shielded)128.73%Pretty decent choice if you have Zhongli.
Lithic Spear R3 (+4 Liyue)127.85%+4 Liyue is unrealistic, but Lithic remains a decent choice if you missed Homa.
Primordial Jade Winged-Spear (7 Stacks)127.63%Again, still relatively similar to Homa.
Vortex Vanquisher (Unshielded)120.63%
Staff of Homa 120.41%
Blackcliff Pole R1 +3 Stacks114.52%Realistically, you don’t have +3 stacks at the beginning of a fight.
Primordial Jade Winged-Spear (0 Stacks)111.91%
Lithic Spear R1 (+2 Liyue)108.81%This is the “worst-case” scenario for Lithic.
Skyward Spine107.92%Good option to fulfill your ER% demands, but the vacuum blades are pretty useless.
Deathmatch (2+ enemies)105.39%Great option for getting a good amount of CRIT Rate.
Blackcliff Pole R1 +0100%Base standard weapon to compare.
Favonius Lance93.51%The orbs are more powerful than can be measured by DPS.

These calculations are made under the following assumptions:

  • Level 90 Xiao
  • Level 90 Weapon
  • Ideal Artifact Rolls with minimum 130% ER (optimally distributed)
  • In Xiao Q, Talent Level 9, with 15% DMG from his A1 passive
  • 2 pc. Viridescent Venerer and 2 pc. Gladiator’s Triumph

How are these useful then? The weapon ceilings are important to just visualize, because the best weapon for you is always dependent on the context around your Xiao’s substats. You might think that Deathmatch is a pretty average option in the tier list, but a critical rate sub-stat is extremely important for a lot of players that have weak crit sub stat lines. Another example, Favonius Lance gives you incredible uptime on Xiao’s ultimate and provides energy for the rest of his team composition at the cost of a lot of damage.

Another thing to note is that the calculations for Primordial Jade-Winged Spear vs. Homa 50% are within 5% of each other. PJWS stacks actually gets diluted out by the DMG% gained when Xiao uses Bane of All Evil, so you have to start weighing out 50% HP against stacking PJWS.

Talent Priority

Normal Attack: Whirlwind Thrust > Bane of All Evil > Lemniscatic Wind Cycling

For the most part, Bane of All Evil talent levels will yield a better damage profile for Xiao. There are cases where you might want to put some levels in Lemniscatic Wind Cycling, as some early testing says that would make utilizing his A4 during downtime could be strong. It’s safe to say to prioritize Normal Attack: Whirlwind Thrust at every ascension, and it’s worthwhile to consider leveling Bane of All Evil to talent level 7 for the reduced health drain.

For those of you at C6, the majority of your damage profile is your Lemniscatic Wind Cycling casts.

Support Xiao? Quickswap Xiao?

Probably want to skip Support Xiao or Quickswap Xiao.

Constellations

C1: Dissolution Eon : Destroyer of Worlds

Increase Lemniscatic Wind Cycling’s Charges by 1.

Definitely a strong constellation, it gives you more energy and more damage for very little frames. Is it worth pulling for? Arguably not, arguably so.

C2: Annihilation Eon : Blossom of Kaleidos

When in the party and not on the field, Xiao’s Energy Recharge is increased by 25%.

Pretty good constellation when we examine the fact that a lot of our rotations could be generating orbs and the increased efficiency is pretty good depending on your team compositions. This constellation also has the incredible benefit of opening up Xiao’s non-battery comps or heavy swap comps.

C4: Transcension : Extinction of Suffering

When Xiao’s HP falls below 50%, he gains a 100% DEF Bonus.

I assume you’re here because C6.

C6: Conqueror of Evil: Guardian Yaksha

While under the effects of Bane of All Evil, hitting at least 2 opponents with Xiao’s Plunging Attack will immediately grant him 1 charge of Lemniscatic Wind Cycling, and for the next 1s, he may use Lemniscatic Wind Cycling while ignoring its CD.`

This constellation is not whalebait. It’s the real deal, Xiao’s C6 is outperforming melt-Ganyu.

Team Compositions

Since he’s energy hungry with a 70 energy cost for his burst, he mostly needs an Anemo battery. With high energy recharge builds, Xiao compositions open up to compositions that are a little more “energy dense,” for example with Fischl and Xingqiu. In general however, Xiao compositions are not too flexible with Anemo batteries. You have room for 2 units that have to offer one of the following good off-field damage, heal, or give Xiao a damage buff. Since his burst burns a percentage of his max health, weaker Xiao’s suffer from it more so than hyper invested Xiao’s.

Anemo Batteries

Sucrose: (115-120+ ER)

Offering the strongest option for Anemo particles, you can cast her E up to 3 times with Sacrificial Fragments and C1, but optimally, you cast it twice and immediately switch to Xiao for the on-field particles. Thrilling Tales of Dragon Slayers is another good weapon, it buffs Xiao’s ATK by 48% for 10s, but the buff is quite short with relatively high downtime.

Venti: (130+ ER)

You use him as DPS while Xiao is out of his burst because Xiao cannot plunge enemies inside Venti’s Q. Your optimal rotation can be quite awkward to manage because of the constraints he puts on your team. 8 seconds is a longer amount of time than you think.

Jean: (140+ ER)

Jean condenses as a healer and an Anemo battery. Her 6 second cooldown is very appreciated when your rotations come apart, and her battery capabilities improve with a Favonius Sword.

Anemo MC: (150+ ER)

Shreds Anemo RES with Q for 10 seconds post-AR46 and also works better with a Favonius Sword.

Battery energy recharge thresholds are hard to define because of HP threshold orbs. Testing Xiao on the current abyss floor 12 is obscenely skewed especially when compared to single enemy fights like the Primo Geovishap. For low investment Xiao, aim for 160+ energy recharge, while hyper invested Xiao’s can scrape by with 120% or lower depending on the enemy density.

Healers

Xiao prefers quick bursts of healing or healing over time that can be done off-field. Using Diona and Bennett might seem powerful, but realistically, Xiao isn’t really on field and in a single place for a very long time. This pushes the value of Barbara, Jean, Qiqi, and Xingqiu a little higher. All supports have the ability to run Favonius weapons that can generate neutral particles for Xiao.

Qiqi: Very strong heals and her E uptime is pretty close to Xiao’s burst uptime, but she literally does nothing else and generates 0 particles.

Bennett: His healing takes Xiao up to 70% of his max health, so you’re bouncing around 40-70% of Xiao’s health if you can maintain high uptime on Bennett who would also require a boatload of ER. The major problem is that Xiao’s plunge spams push small enemies out and chasing them hurts the healing, not to mention the ATK buff, but perhaps the greater issue is that you end up killing enemies extremely quickly so that you end up chasing enemies anyways. Trying to reposition to bounce enemies inside hurts his dps uptime A LOT because you don’t want to use his E mid ult.

Diona: Pretty good zone healing like Bennett, suffers from the same problems. The upside is that Sacrificial Bow Diona generates an insane amount of Cryo particles. The shield max duration is capped at lv7 Icy Paws, with hold E the shield has 12 seconds of shield up time, 15s CD if no sac bow passive proc. And her shield in full HP build (shielder build) is quite large.

Jean: Burst healer and Anemo. Might not be enough particles, but that just means you need more energy recharge because running triple Anemo is atrocious.

Barbara: Access to off-field healing and a burst heal make her pretty valuable. She’s a catalyst user so she can also run Thrilling Tales of Dragon Slayers to help Xiao’s ATK% deficit, but the uptime on the buff is iffy, just like her energy particle generation.

Xingqiu: Actually one of the stronger options to use with Xiao with the caveat being that Xingqiu needs to be really well invested in order to heal Xiao enough. His presence also forces you to use normal attack cancels with plunges or combo with normals. Also offers stagger resistance and damage reduction.

Buffers

Zhongli: The best in slot by providing Xiao a beefy shield that also shreds Anemo RES and anything that Xiao is swirling. You would have had to have pulled Zhongli while he was significantly weaker.

Anemo MC: At AR46 you gain access to a constellation that can also shred Anemo RES after Q casts. The only mechanic to note is that casting the Anemo MC Q on any kind of obstruction (ice cages or Zhongli pillar for example) will allow the Q to stop moving.

Bennett: An invaluable unit that provides healing as well as a massive ATK bonus that can make up for the lost ATK% on lower invested Xiao’s, but in practice, it’s really easy to knock away small enemies out of the circle.

Lisa: Charlie and some others have proposed using Lisa A4 for the DEF down area effect. It runs into the same problem as Bennett and Diona because of the zone, but the buff is undoubtedly powerful. Another issue is that providing Lisa with enough energy is more difficult than battery for Xiao. 4TS Xiao is a possibility.

Sub-DPS

Ganyu: I’m not really sure why you’re here to ask me if Ganyu can be used as a support, when she’s the best DPS option in the game, but sure: it works. Just cast your Q and E and go off, her raw damage over 15 seconds if nothing else makes it viable.,

Fischl: Very strong with Xiao and generates a lot of passive orbs on field while Xiao is out.

Albedo: Albedo has some of the strongest AoE sub DPS capabilities in the game, and Xiao can attack at a high frequency. Their power as a duo is very strong against large groups of enemies, and Albedo drops small shields for what it’s worth.

Tartaglia: Offers +1 to your Auto Attack: Whirlwind Thrust and has a low energy cost for his burst. Quick in and out.

Xingqiu, Beidou, Lisa: Very strong choices at high values of energy recharge. Their only limitation is that the number of orbs that are being generated are fairly low in the composition and are typically funneled into Xiao.

How To Play Xiao

By merit of how his burst works and its energy costs, Xiao has to play as an extremely greedy hypercarry. There are several important things that have to be fulfilled while playing him:

  • While in elemental burst, you cannot cast your Lemniscatic Wind Cycling at all without losing the energy that it would provide later.
  • While off field, your rotations have to be optimized to keep high uptime on any buffs or damage supports that would be online while Xiao is in his burst.
  • Generated Anemo particles should be picked up by Xiao himself for higher efficiency, so you should rotate from your battery into Xiao.
  • High plunges should be utilized almost at all times, however, low plunges can deal more damage if you can collide with the enemy for plunge damage. For example, Ruin Guards and Ruin Graders have big collision hitboxes.
  • Recharging his 3rd Q cast is very, very painful. You need to weigh your damage output against your Xiao’s uptime. Use things like Thrilling Tales or Noblesse Oblige (4) to give Xiao more damage.

Xiao’s kit allows him to string many of his attacks together, but very few are efficient and provide good damage without compromising his energy.

N1CJP – “Jet Combo”

N1CJP is an abbreviated form of Normal Attack 1, Charged Attack, Jump, High Plunge. It is a combo that cancels the animation for Xiao’s charged attack and allows Xiao to plunge enemies that he has knocked up. Currently, it is his highest MV/s combo while he is inside his burst, but it’s not too practical to use against most enemies because his attacks push enemies up and around.

To do it, just hold down LMB for your Charged Attack, then jump after Xiao swings upward with his spear, then plunge after he passes the upper part of the rake from his Charged Attack.

Plunge Spam

Plunge spam is exactly as it sounds, you jump up high enoughfor a high plunge and cancel the recovery frame by holding down a movement key or attacking once with a normal attack. If you want to do a low plunge spam, you can just spam an attack input after jumping.

JEP Combo

This combo can be used if you need to gap close with its high mobility and high damage for the time it takes to do. You just jump, use Lemniscatic Wind Cycling, and plunge. However, you should only use this outside of your burst and when you are certain you can hit the enemy for Anemo particles.