Adeptal Guide to Conquering Xiao

Credits

Principle Authors

baeliph#8346
Orum#8459

Principal Theorycrafters

Pichu#0002
shdwbld#0081
xTuki | xツキ#4893

Contributors

Alerine#1591, for the Lithic Thesis.
leeyuuh#4128, for notes on Diona, Qiqi, and Zhongli.
3.14#9270 for notes on Energy Management and Zhongli.
Poiyo#3488 and ioncy#5314 for notes on Energy Management.
JenjenJL#6582, muse#0188, Llamagician#8583, and Rich3331#9097 for edits and comments.
Memu#6453, for collision damage mechanics and video examples.

Acknowledgements

dri#1236, for contributing their artwork for the cover of this guide.
Xiao Mains’ Alatus and Abyss Conquerors, whose on field expertise were invaluable.
Xiao Mains, for their constant input, testing, and feedback.
Xiao, for mentally supporting us while this guide was being made.

tl;dr Visual Guide

Overview

Character Introduction

Xiao is a 5★ Anemo Hypercarry DPS. He takes up most of the team’s field-time on account of his long Burst duration forcing players to stay on him if they want to maximize damage. The average Xiao will generally be dealing most of the team’s damage, and so his teams exist to permit him to do damage by funneling energy to him for recharging his Burst, keeping him alive, boosting his damage, etc.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Excellent AoE DPS.
  • Has high multipliers and does not require reactions or enabling supports to output top-tier DPS.
  • Consistent sustained damage over long Burst windows.
  • Scales well with high investment.
  • Requires little team investment.
  • Plunges can constantly stagger enemies.
  • Plunges can bypass Shieldwall enemies, such as Mitachurls.
  • His burst offers vertical maneuverability, allowing for easier damage avoidance.
  • Doesn’t require specific artifact sets to shine; substats are generally more important.
  • Because no enemies in Spiral Abyss have thus far been immune or resistant to Anemo Damage, Xiao has historically been and continues to be viable in all Abyss floors.

Cons

  • F2P friendly weapon choices are lacking.
  • Needs a battery in combat scenarios needing more than 2 Bursts.
  • Does not have a good F2P battery option. There is only one 4★ Anemo battery, Sucrose, and every other Anemo support is a 5★. Anemo MC can act as a battery, but is generally lackluster as a battery and as a support.
  • Enemies being knocked back from plunges can be annoying to work around. Good positioning and grouping are necessary for optimal DPS.
  • Cannot be effectively run as a Sub DPS or Support for other DPS characters.

Is Xiao worth it?

If you’re looking for a Hypercarry DPS who will be doing a good majority of the team’s DPS, then Xiao is a great pick. He is more than capable of handling and dealing with all end-game content because of his high talent modifiers, high AoE/multi-target DPS, and more than acceptable single target DPS. In the average team, all he needs is someone to keep him alive and funnel energy to him for his Burst.


Xiao’s gameplay is highly mobile and unique in that it revolves around the plunge mechanic. So he can also be a good pick if you’re looking to shake up your Genshin experience. With that said, his gameplay centers almost completely around his plunges. If that style does not suit your tastes, then Xiao may not be the best fit for you.


In addition, Xiao only shines as a Hypercarry DPS. We do not recommend using him in a Sub-DPS, Support, or Quick Swap based role. So if you are looking for a flexible character who can fit into your existing team comps, or if you already have other DPS options that you prefer, he may not be an optimal investment for you.

Talents

Talent Priority

C0 – C5

>

>

10AA > 8Q > 8E > 9Q > 9E

  • Getting 7Q before 10AA is also an option if you want to reduce the HP drain during Xiao’s Burst.
  • If you’d like to save on resources, you can stop at 7Q and 6E. His AA is a bigger priority.

C6

>

>

10E > 8AA > 8Q > 9AA > 9Q

  • Getting 7Q before 10E is also an option if you want to reduce the HP drain during Xiao’s Burst.
  • If you’d like to save on resources, you can stop at 7Q. His AA and E are a bigger priority.

Why prioritize Normal Attack over Burst?

Xiao’s Elemental Burst only modifies and increases Xiao’s Attack Damage (it does not affect his Elemental Skill). However, you get better returns (i.e. higher modifiers) on Attack Damage per level invested if you directly upgrade the Normal Attack Talent rather than Elemental Burst. For example, leveling Xiao’s Normal Attack Talent from 9 to 10 increases the plunge multiplier by 7.6%, while leveling his Burst Talent from 9 to 10 only increases it by 2.4%.

Constellations

Which constellations are worth it?

C0

What Xiao comes with out of the box.

Offers everything you need to clear the hardest content in the game.

C1 – Dissolution Eon: Destroyer of Worlds

Xiao gains an additional charge of his Elemental Skill, for a total of 3 charges.

While this Constellation doesn’t increase DPS by much, it’s a decent upgrade simply because it permits Xiao to generate more particles for himself. The extra charge also allows you to manage the cooldown of his Elemental Skill better and provides some extra flexibility with his ER.

C6 – Conqueror of Evil: Guardian Yaksha

During Xiao’s Burst, if Xiao hits at least 2 opponents with his Plunging Attack, he gains a charge of his Elemental Skill.
Additionally, for the next 1 second, he may use his Elemental Skill ignoring the cooldown.


One of the most powerful Constellations in the game. It changes Xiao’s gameplay entirely, so long as you are fighting at least two opponents. It increases his overall DPS so much that it qualifies him to be the highest DPS character in the game.

C2 – 5

Unfortunately, none of these constellations contribute significantly to improving Xiao’s DPS or improving his gameplay. For this reason, we recommend players to either only pull for C0/ C1, or to fully commit to C6.

Artifacts

Main Stats

Timepiece: ATK%
Goblet: Anemo% > ATK%
Circlet: Crit Rate or Crit Dmg

ER Sands?

There is no situation where running an ER sands is beneficial, because you lose too much in terms of damage. You should always aim to get sufficient ER% from substats instead. If you lack ER% and have trouble charging Xiao’s Burst, run Sucrose as a battery, ideally at least C1 or with Sacrificial Fragments if she is only C0. If you don’t have Sucrose, any Anemo battery or supports with Favonius weapons can help generate additional particles.

Anemo% vs. ATK% Goblet

Xiao possesses many sources of DMG Bonus (e.g. his burst multipliers), so while an Anemo DMG% Goblet is still preferable over an ATK% Goblet one, the difference between the two is not as substantial as it would be for other dps characters.

In team situations where Xiao receives many sources of ATK buffs (ex. Pyro Resonance, Bennett Burst, Noblesse 4-piece bonus, Thrilling Tales of Dragon Slayers, etc.),  Anemo DMG% Goblets end up performing much better than ATK% Goblets. An Anemo DMG% Goblet is generally a better choice if running Xiao in teams where buffs are readily accessible.

However, if Xiao is used as a solo unit, or if he is on a team that does not have an array of buffs, ATK% Goblets end up only being slightly worse than Anemo DMG% ones. At that point, the substats on the goblets make more of a difference on damage output than the mainstat, so players who will be relying on Xiao’s damage as a solo unit should choose whichever goblet has better rolls.


Always confirm your own personal selections with a damage calculator or live damage tests (making sure to take into account team buffs as well).

Crit Rate vs. Crit Damage Circlet

In general, choosing between a crit rate and crit damage circlet depends solely on which stat you need more of. Generally, if using a crit rate weapon, you should use a crit damage circlet, and if using a crit damage weapon, you should use a crit rate circlet.


However, due to Xiao’s ascension stat being crit rate, it is possible to reach enough crit rate with artifact substats to run Xiao with both a crit damage weapon and circlet. Generally, we recommend reaching at least 65-70% crit rate before considering that option in order to ensure consistency in Xiao’s DPS.

Sub Stats

Crit Rate = Crit Dmg > ATK % > ER %

Aim to increase Xiao’s stats according to the “golden ratio,” i.e., increase Xiao’s ATK%, Crit Rate, and Crit Dmg proportionately to each other.


Xiao comes with Crit Rate ascension, so Xiao requires less additional Crit Rate substats relative to other characters who do not have innate Crit Rate. However, Crit Dmg and Crit Rate should always be increased proportionately, following an approximate 1:2 “Golden Ratio.” For example, a Crit ratio of 80:160 offers more average DPS than a ratio of 50:220. Fortunately, Xiao starts at a baseline 24.2:50 Crit ratio, which is already approximately the Golden Ratio.


Unless you are running an ER weapon, all of Xiao’s ER must come from his substats. We will delve into how much ER you need in the teams section, but it generally ranges from 120-140% depending on your team comp, how your Xiao is built, and your personal ER experience.

Recommended Sets

2pc Viridescent Venerer / 2pc Gladiator’s Finale

Xiao’s best and most general-purpose artifact set.

Prioritize 2VV over 2Glad due to the many external Atk% sources available to your team. If you can’t get both, then having one set is somewhat better than none at all.

No Set

Yup. Xiao doesn’t need artifact sets.

In reality, the DPS increases from the 2pc VV and 2pc Glad artifact set bonuses are marginal given the large amounts of Anemo DMG% from Xiao’s burst and the many external ATK% sources in game. For these reasons, breaking up artifact sets to use your best artifact pieces (in terms of substats) is reasonable, and even encouraged, especially given how difficult it is to farm Glad pieces.

Conditional Sets

4pc Viridescent Venerer

Doesn’t buff Xiao’s damage, but buffs Xiao’s supports that deal elemental damage.

While this build could prove potentially useful if you run Xiao with strong reaction-based supports, such as a Xingqiu and Xiangling vape combo, it’s much better to put 4pc VV on your Anemo Battery instead of Xiao. We do not recommend running Xiao as a 4pc VV enabling other characters’ DPS.

Useless Sets

2pc Noblesse Oblige

Does not work with Xiao’s Elemental Burst.

Xiao’s Burst only transforms and modifies Xiao’s Plunging Damage, therefore he can not utilize the Elemental Burst DMG buff that is provided by 2pc Noblesse.

Baseline Stats Investment

Xiao is a Hypercarry, so the more you can afford to invest in him, the better. We recommend building Xiao at least to the point where he is able to clear most content in 3-4 Bursts with team support.


For specific stats, we recommend you don’t drop below 60% crit rate (aiming for 70% to 80% ideally) in order to ensure consistent crits in Xiao’s plunges. Crit Dmg and Atk should be scaled proportionately.


Despite Xiao’s nature as a Hypercarry, if Xiao is in a team with proper supports, his stats do not necessarily have to be highly invested in order to clear later Abyss floors. Indeed, proper Abyss knowledge and practice is just as—if not more—important than your individual character stats.


Here are some example clears of Floor 12 in Spiral Abyss with purposefully nerfed Xiaos:

1.5 Abyss Floor 12 Second Half, 9 Stars – No Reset, no Abyss Cards
by leeyuuh#4128
https://streamable.com/t4dpsz
Xiao Stats:
‣ 1.88k Atk, 70/100 Crit
‣ Crescent Pike
‣ Level 10 AA Talent

1.4 Abyss 12-3-1 Xiao/Jean Duo w/ Xiao Lvl 1 Beginner’s Protector
by Memu#6453
https://streamable.com/31ppxk
Xiao Stats:
‣ 1.3k Atk, 75/143 Crit
‣ Lvl 1 Beginner’s Protector
‣ Level 10 AA Talent

Weapons

Summary

The table above displays average plunge DPS with average investment (15 perfect artifacts rolls distributed proportionately across Atk%, Crit Rate, and Crit Dmg).


Notably, this table only takes into account average plunge DPS. Other considerations for these weapons, such as ease of building, necessary teams, ER effects, etc., are not taken into account.


Therefore, the numbers in this chart alone should not be used to create a weapon ranking. We highly recommend you read the following weapon-specific sections to understand their benefits and drawbacks in-depth. In essence, the best weapon for your Xiao will depend heavily on the artifacts and stats available to you.


To calculate your Xiao’s damage with different weapons (and artifact sets), please use our damage calculator.

5 Star Weapons

Jade Spear vs Staff of Homa

In actual practice, the average Xiao will find both weapons relatively the same in performance, to the point where picking one or the other is simply a matter of artifact selection, team comps, and the player’s skill. If a player has either of these weapons, there’s very little reason to be chasing the other outside of some niche scenarios.

ATK674608
PassiveOn hit, increases ATK by 3.2% for 6s. Max 7 stacks. This effect can only occur once every 0.3s. While in possession of the maximum possible stacks, DMG dealt is increased by 12%.HP increased by 20%. Additionally, provides an ATK Bonus based on 0.8% of the wielder’s Max HP. When the wielder’s HP is less than 50%, this ATK bonus is increased by an additional 1% of Max HP.
Substat22.1% Crit Rate66.2% Crit DMG
Pros
  • Most general purpose Xiao weapon with basically no caveats.
  • One of the highest base attack spears.
  • The passive is easy to proc and stacks Atk% and DMG%.
  • With Xiao’s Ascension Crit, you get a total of 46.3% Crit Rate.
  • It’s Xiao’s canon and sexiest weapon.
  • Massive stat stick that allows you to stack Atk and Crit DMG.
  • Taking advantage of Xiao’s crit rate ascension and artifact substats, you can run Homa and a Crit DMG circlet, gaining an easy 128.4% Crit DMG.
  • Preferred spear for speedruns as low Crit Rate can be resolved by resetting.
Cons
  • Not ideal for speedruns, as it takes a couple of seconds to get the passive stacks and Crit Dmg is more valuable in speedruns due to the ability to reset chambers on missed crits.
  • Harder to stack Crit Dmg in comparison to Homa.
  • Cannot use Crit Rate circlet.
  • Reliably activating Homa’s under 50% passive may limit team comps. Please see the following section for details..
  • For the reasons explained below, you can choose to use Staff of Homa while disregarding its 50% HP requirement.

Caveats of Homa <50% HP

To reliably activate Staff of Homa’s passive, Xiao will require one of these characters in the team to ensure you can stay under 50% HP:

  • Zhongli: his shield allows Xiao to run without a healer.
  • Diona: her shield allows for more infrequent healing, and because her healing requires staying within an AoE field, it’s easy to avoid over-healing.
  • Xingqiu: for his minimal healing and damage reduction. However, this could mean taking Xingqiu away from a Pyro DPS team on the other side who needs him more.
  • Noelle: her conditional healing makes her a viable solution.
  • Barbara: she can be built with minimal investment to avoid overhealing, and can also equip TTDS to provide Xiao an Atk buff.

Furthermore, to ensure you can stay under 50% HP, you generally cannot use any of these strong and popular supports on your Xiao team:

  • Bennett: while his Atk Buff is quite powerful, his healing ticks are both frequent and potent, so Xiao will often end up with over 50% HP while taking advantage of Bennett’s Burst.
  • Jean: even though she is a great pick for Xiao as a healer, battery, and VV user, her initial Burst healing can overheal Xiao and put him at above 50% HP.

While you could purposefully underbuild these units to make sure Xiao stays under 50%, we do not recommend doing so, as their utility when built properly is too much of an opportunity cost.

Vortex Vanquisher

While Vortex isn’t a bad weapon, it is overshadowed by Jade Spear and Staff of Homa. There is very little reason for someone to be rolling on this weapon for Xiao.

ATK608
PassiveIncreases Shield Strength by 20%. Scoring hits on opponents increases ATK by 4% for 8s. Max 5 stacks. Can only occur once every 0.3s. While protected by a shield, this ATK increase effect is increased by 100%.
Substat49.6% ATK
Pros
  • Very high ATK% through substat and passive, allowing one to not search for much through artifacts.
Cons
  • Requires Zhongli in order to be used effectively.
  • No Crit substat means you’re relying solely on artifacts for Crit Rate and Crit DMG, which is difficult to build around.

Skyward Spine

Comically named ‘Copium Spine’ by the members of the Xiao Mains Discord server. It is unfortunately the worst of the 5★ Polearms, and 4★ options such as Deathmatch, Blackcliff Pole and Lithic Spear often surpass it at higher investment builds.

That being said, if you’re a F2P player who happened to pull this weapon, it is simply better to stick with it rather than spending your Starglitter on Blackcliff Pole; if that is your situation, it is not worth pulling on a weapon banner for Lithic Spear nor even deciding to buy the Battle Pass just for Deathmatch.

ATK674
PassiveIncreases CRIT Rate by 8% and increases Normal ATK SPD by 12%. Additionally, Normal and Charged Attacks hits on opponents have a 50% chance to trigger a vacuum blade that deals 40% of ATK as DMG in a small AoE. This effect can occur no more than once every 2s.
Substat36.8% ER
Pros
  • Gives a perfect amount of ER% so that you don’t have to build for any ER% substats.
  • One of the highest base attack spears.
  • Offers 8% Crit Rate.
Cons
  • Passive only triggers if using NA cancels between plunges, or the N1CJP combo.
  • Vacuum blades deal an insubstantial amount of damage.
  • No Crit Substat means you have to look for every source of Crit through Artifacts, making this weapon difficult to build around.
  • Generally the only benefit of this weapon is the high ATK and ER%. It provides comparatively little in terms of damage.

4 Star Weapons

Lithic Spear

A 4★ Polearm of terrifying power, it is capable of rivaling and/or surpassing 5★ Polearms at higher refinements. That being said, we don’t recommend actively attempting to pull for this weapon, simply because Weapon Banners are a huge risk and a potential Primogem sink. Furthemore, it is also the most difficult weapon to build a team around, as many of Xiao’s best supports (not to mention all anemo supports) are from Mondstadt. Please check out Alerine#1591’s in depth Lithic Thesis, for team comp recommendations if you’d like to run this weapon.

ATK565
PassiveFor every character in the party who hails from Liyue, the character who equips this weapon gains a 7% ATK increase and a 3% CRIT Rate increase. This effect stacks up to 4 times.
Substat27.6% ATK
Pros
  • High base attack for a 4* weapon
  • Passive and Substat permits one to obtain both Crit Rate and high ATK% through the weapon.
  • Passive is unconditional in combat. It is always active and does not punish player mistakes.  
Cons
  • The passive is very difficult to build due to a majority of Xiao’s best supports being from Mondstadt.
  • Without a proper team or high refinements, you aren’t getting much Crit Rate from the weapon passive. If that’s the case it can be difficult to farm artifacts for.

Deathmatch vs Blackcliff Spear

In a way, the two can be considered 4★ versions of Jade Spear and Homa. In actual practice the two will likely not differ too much, simply because the main reason you pick either weapon is because they are excellent stat-sticks. If your artifacts rolled more Crit Rate substats, Blackcliff will likely be the best option for you, and vice versa with Crit Dmg substats and Deathmatch.

Because of this we advise you to pick whatever you can afford. Blackcliff Pole is essentially the only good polearm for F2P players, since Deathmatch is locked behind the Battle Pass and Lithic Spear is only available on limited Weapon Banners.

ATK454510
PassiveIf there are at least 2 opponents nearby, ATK is increased by 16% and DEF is increased by 16%. If there are fewer than 2 opponents nearby, ATK is increased by 24%.After defeating an opponent, ATK is increased by 12% for 30s. This effect has a maximum of 3 stacks, and the duration of each stack is independent of the others.
Substat36.8% Crit Rate55.1% Crit DMG
Pros
  • Highest Crit Rate spear. With Xiao’s innate Crit Rate, you get an easy 61% Crit Rate.
  • The passive is easy to utilize, as it is constantly active.
  • Similar to Homa, it allows you to stack Crit DMG with enough Crit Rate substat rolls. Running a Crit DMG Circlet with Blackcliff grants 117.3% Crit DMG.
  • Also gives you the option to pick a Crit Rate Circlet.
Cons
  • Low base ATK for a 4★Polearm.
  • Can’t use a Crit Rate circlet.
  • A very conditional passive that may be rendered unusable on Abyss Chambers with a small number of enemies.

Other 4★ Options

Favonius Lance makes a great transitional weapon for when Xiao, especially earlier in the process of building him. It offers a number of benefits:

  • High base attack.
  • Favonius Lance’s passive generates extra particles which can help to fund Xiao’s burst while players are still building him and are unable to consistently rely on HP threshold particles to fund his Burst.
  • When Xiao is later transitioned to a better weapon (e.g. Deathmatch, Blackcliff), Favonius Lance can be transferred to other supports like Xiangling or Zhongli.

We do not recommend staying on this weapon, however. Xiao’s ER% needs should be ideally met with artifact substats, and can even be alleviated entirely once the player achieves enough DPS to rely on HP particles or is able to clear most content in only 1-2 Bursts.


We recommend Prototype Starglitter as a last-resort choice because of its ER% Substat. However the weapon’s passive is generally worthless for Xiao.


Every other 4★ and 3★Polearm is considered suboptimal for Xiao, and should generally be avoided.

Team Comps

Overview

Xiao is a hypercarry, meaning that he should be on the field dealing damage as often as possible. Consequently, his most synergistic supports exist can be categorized into the following roles:

  1. Anemo Battery: Funnel him energy for continuous Bursts
  2. Sub DPS: Offer off-field DPS
  3. Healer: Heal Xiao from enemy damage and Burst HP drain
  4. Utility: Buff Xiao’s damage, reduce enemy’s def/resistance, provide shields, or offer crowd control for easier AoE

In the following sections, we have ranked characters by their primary role in a Xiao team. We have also listed any other noteworthy sub-roles that they may occupy.

Anemo Battery

Due to Xiao’s ability to pre-funnel particles into his first Burst, Xiao can generally comfortably get his second Burst with some additional energy from his supports (especially after accounting for HP particles dropped by enemies). However, beyond that second Burst, Xiao will often require considerable energy to charge any subsequent Bursts.


This is the role of the battery: to generate particles using their skills and then quickly swap to Xiao so that their particles “funnel” into Xiao and charge his Burst. As Xiao will gain more energy absorbing Anemo particles than other elemental particles, we will only examine Anemo batteries here.


Note: If your Xiao team is strong enough to only require 1-2 Bursts to clear content, then you do not need to run a dedicated Anemo battery. For more energy mechanics, please see Energy Management.

Sucrose

‣ Crowd Control
‣ Buff (TTDS, 4p NO)

‣ Sucrose is the best possible Battery for Xiao. At C0 she will require Sacrificial Fragments, but at +C1 she can equip whatever Catalyst suits your needs.
‣ Recommended Xiao ER: 100 – 120%

Venti

‣ Sub-DPS
‣ Crowd Control
‣ Shred (C2)

‣ While Venti is a pretty good Battery, his Elemental Burst can be detrimental for Xiao’s DPS against smaller enemies that are lifted up in his Burst.
‣ However, with proper rotations, Venti can offer powerful Sub DPS damage that makes up for this.
‣ Recommended Xiao ER: 130%

Jean

‣ Healer
‣ Buff (4p NO)
‣ Shred (C4)
‣ Burst DPS

‣ Jean’s main strength as a battery lies in her multi-purposeness, without messing too much with Xiao’s DPS.
‣ She can be built as a Burst DPS, while still being an excellent Healer.
‣ Recommended Xiao ER: 140%

Anemo Traveler

‣ Shred (C6)
‣ CC

‣ Generally not recommended, considered a desperate option.
‣ Their Burst can push enemies away from optimal positioning (e.g. inside Bennett’s Burst AoE), but because it provides elemental absorption shred it can still be useful against sturdier enemies that don’t get picked up.
‣ Recommended Xiao ER: 150%

Kazuha General Conclusion

Generally speaking Xiao and Kazuha simply do not possess much synergy to properly function in a team.

  • Kazuha lacks the ability to prefunnel for Xiao, which is something other Anemo Supports possess.
  • Kazuha may serve as a general battery, but the window to swap to Xiao would be tight for a majority of players due to Kazuha’s E animation.
  • Kazuha’s full damage rotation takes far too long for a Hyper-Carry DPS like Xiao, which steals field-time away from Xiao’s DPS window. Likewise, Xiao’s entire Burst duration is far too long for a Quick-Swap oriented DPS like Kazuha.
  • Kazuha is stronger on teams that permit him to Swirl, and high-end Xiao teams are reactionless and/or lack teammates with good elemental application.

Do note this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever use Kazuha and Xiao together, you are free to run what you like. We are simply stating that it is sub-optimal, especially compared to existing choices.

Sub DPS

Good Sub-DPSes for Xiao take the least amount of field presence possible.

Albedo

‣ Buff (Geo Res)

‣ Amazing off-field Sub DPS.
‣ Cheap to build since his E scales off of Defense.
‣ Decent particle generation through Elemental Skill, but less than Fischl’s.
‣ If used along with a second Geo character, Geo Resonance provides +15% Dmg when shielded.

Venti

‣ Battery
‣ Crowd Control
‣ Shred (C2)

‣ While Venti is a pretty good Battery, his Elemental Burst can be detrimental for Xiao’s DPS against smaller enemies that are lifted up in his Burst.
‣ However, with proper rotations, Venti can offer powerful Sub DPS damage.

Fischl

‣ Buff (4pc ToM)

‣ Can be run in a more support oriented build with 4pc Tenacity of Millileth.
‣ Decent particle generation through Oz.

Xiangling

‣ Buff (Pyro Res & Guoba)

‣ Offers powerful off-field pyro DMG through her Pyronado.
‣ Often requires Bennett in the same comp to fund her Burst’s expensive energy cost.
‣ Best suited for one-burst clears or Xingqiu comps.

Xingqiu

‣ Pseudo-Shielder
‣ Pseudo-Healer

‣ Provides stagger resistance and supplemental healing.
‣ Requires using JET or NA cancels between plunges in order to utilize as a proper Sub-DPS.
‣ Other DPS characters (particularly pyro ones) can utilize Xingqiu much more effectively than Xiao can.

Healer

Jean

‣ Healer
‣ Buff (4p NO)
‣ Shred (C4)
‣ Burst DPS

‣ Jean’s main strength as a battery lies in her multi-purposeness, without messing too much with Xiao’s DPS.
‣ She can be built as a Burst DPS, while still being an excellent Healer.

Bennett

‣ Buff (Burst, 4pc NO)

‣ Q offers fast healing.
‣ Offers Atk buff from both his talent and 4pc NO.
‣ Due to Xiao’s plunges knocking back enemies, it can sometimes be hard to stay within his Burst’s circle at times.
‣ May be better utilized in reaction comps.

Diona

‣ Shield
‣ Buff (4pc NO)

‣ Provides a solid shield that is the most practical after Zhongli’s. Noelle’s shield is stronger, but has uptime issues.
‣ Solid healing, though ticks are slower than other options.
‣ Can consistently generate particles with Favonius Bow. Every paw from her Hold-E has a chance to proc the passive, so even with low crit rate the chance to proc the passive is high.
‣ Sacrificial Bow can also be used, though Cryo energy particles have less value to Xiao than Favonius’ neutral energy particles.

Barbara

‣ Buff (TTDS)

‣ Can equip Thrilling Tales of Dragon Slayers to provide Atk buff.
‣ Applies Wet to Xiao, making him susceptible to Freeze, Electrocharge, etc. Depending on the Abyss enemies, this can make her unplayable.
‣ No particle generation.

Qiqi

‣ Buff (Burst, 4pc NO)

‣ Provides more off field healing than Barbara or Diona at much lower investment levels.
‣ Only Liyue healer (for Lithic comps).
‣ No particle generation.
‣ Cannot hold TTDS.

Utility (Buff / Shred / Shield / Crowd Control)

Zhongli

‣ Sub DPS
‣ Crowd Control
‣ Buff (4pc ToM or 4pc NO)
‣ Healer (C6)
‣ Eye Candy
‣ Moral Support
‣ Xiao’s Savior

‣ Zhongli’s shield offers Anemo shred at C0.
‣ His shield is strongest in the game, allowing Xiao to resist stagger from enemies and focus on plunging safely.
‣ For the daring, you can even opt out of bringing a healer entirely by relying on his shield alone.
‣ Zhongli’s Burst can Crowd Control by petrifying enemies.
‣ Can run 4pc NO or 4pc ToM* to buff his team.
*Please see our Zhongli section for recommended builds.

Bennett

‣ Healer

‣ Q offers fast healing.
‣ Offers Atk buff from both his talent and 4pc NO.
‣ Due to Xiao’s plunges knocking back enemies, it can sometimes be hard to stay within his circle at times.
‣ May be better utilized in reaction comps.

Geo Traveler

‣ Burst DPS

‣ Adds Geo Resonance to a comp for +15% Dmg when shielded.
‣ Crit rate increased by 10% within Wake of Earth (Burst).
‣ Can run 4pc NO to offer Atk buff on Burst.
‣ Wake of Earth can help contain enemies.
‣ If used with Zhongli, can help proc 4pc ToM buff more effectively by expanding resonance area.
through resonance ticks.

Lisa

‣ A4 Passive Talent shreds enemy Def by 15% for 10s.
‣ Can hold TTDS for Atk buff.
‣ Only viable in speedrun comps. Not practical for general use.

Ningguang

‣Burst DPS

‣ Adds Geo Resonance to a comp for +15% Dmg when shielded.
‣ Can hold TTDS for Atk buff, however TTDS drastically decreases her Burst DPS potential.

Mona

‣ Buff (Burst, 4pc NO)

‣ Omen can buff 2 of Xiao’s dashes and 3-4 plunges of his Burst. Useful for speedruns comps
‣ Omen only lasts 5s. Requires building her with lots of ER to use consistently, sacrificing her own damage potential.
‣ Better suited for reaction-based team comps.

On Zhongli, Xiao’s Best Support

With contributions from: 3.14#9270, leeyuuh#4128, xTuki | xツキ#4893


Zhongli Builds

Shield BotBurst Support
DescriptionA Zhongli whose sole role and purpose is to be a shielder, advised to get up to 40k+ HP. His Burst is ignored entirelyGenerally speaking, even a 20k-30k HP Shield is more than sufficient for nearly all content. Thus, you can trade extra HP for more damage on his Burst
Artifact Main StatsHP/HP/HPHP/Geo DMG/Crit
Pros
  • Resource friendly, as it does not require optimal substats
  • Most comfortable build for selfish carries like Xiao
  • Can remove the need for a healer, allowing for more flexible team building
  • Zhongli’s Pillar and Burst will deal more damage.
Cons
  • May render him less impactful in team comps dependent on his damage, such as the Pillar Resonance / Microwave Team with Geo MC.
  • Zhongli’s Burst doesn’t do enough damage to justify its field time. Xiao’s Burst plunge rotation will often out-DPS Zhongli’s Burst
  • To make Zhongli’s Burst damage worthwhile, you may need the Staff of Homa, which you will likely only have one of and be given to Xiao.

Conclusion

Zhongli’s shield offers insane value to Xiao. For that reason, we recommend building full HP Zhongli for Xiao. This is his most resource friendly and comfortable build when used in a Xiao team.

However, if you already have an invested Burst Zhongli or don’t require that much HP on his shield, then it is fine to use Burst Zhongli, provided his shield is still maintaining maximum uptime.

Finally, Zhongli’s main stats are flexible. If you find your Burst Support Zhongli’s shield is breaking too often, for example, you can opt for a compromise such as HP/Geo/HP or HP/HP/Crit. This sheet by 3.14#9270 calculates Zhongli’s shield strength for different builds and investment.

Zhongli’s Artifact Sets

4pc Tenacity of Millileth

With this set, Zhongli’s shield will be stronger, and he can also provide his entire team with an Atk buff. However, due to the small range of Zhongli’s pillar, this buff can be hard to rely on without C1 or another Geo support, as enemies will often move around or be knocked back by Xiao’s plunges.

4pc Noblesse Oblige

If you do not already have a 4pc NO user on your Xiao team, Zhongli can also be a suitable user of this artifact set due to the low energy cost of his Burst.

2pc Noblesse Oblige / 2pc Archaic Petra

This is the best set for Zhongli to maximize his Burst damage.

Example Team Comps

Please note: many of these team comps are flexible, and many supports can be flexed in place of other options. Team comps in Spiral Abyss are also highly dependent per chamber. For specific team building advice, please visit Xiao Mains’ Discord and ask in the #questions and #spiral·abyss channels.

Whale? Luck Sack? Take a Guess.

Crafted using exclusively 5★ characters, this comp is one of the most comfortable and powerful Xiao teams. Albedo can be flexed for whoever you’d like, like Fischl, Bennett, or Geo MC. Jean can also be replaced with Sucrose  for TTDS and extra energy, while relying on Zhongli’s shield to keep you alive.

XiaoJeanZhongliAlbedo

Xiao Succ Benny Dong (& Other Variants)

Lovingly named, this comp is one of Xiao’s most flexible and general purpose team comps. However, placing both Bennett and Zhongli may overbalance Xiao’s team, so we often recommend picking one to use with Xiao and the other to use on your second team.


Bennett and Zhongli can be flexed with other shielders/healers like Diona, or another Sub DPS like Albedo, Fischl, or Xiangling.

XiaoSucroseBennettZhongli

Lithic Teams

Please check out Alerine#1591’s in depth Lithic Thesis. This document covers Xiao’s different Lithic team comps in detail, noting their tradeoffs and overall viability.

Gameplay

Attack String

Low Plunge vs High Plunge vs Plunge Dmg

Every character has three different plunge modifiers: High Plunge, Low Plunge and Plunge. The AoE Damage of Xiao’s Burst Plunges are scaled off High or Low Plunge Modifiers, depending on the height from which Xiao plunges from. In general, anything slightly above Xiao’s height will be considered a High Plunge. Video Example showing Low vs. High Plunge by Artesians#0002

High Plunges have higher modifiers than Low Plunges. While Xiao’s optimal DPS comes from frame perfect High Plunges, there is only a 1 frame difference between the two, and Plunging slightly too early can cause Xiao to do Low Plunges instead. Thus, it’s better to hit slightly late High Plunges consistently than to aim for frame perfect High Plunges and risk Low Plunges, which could hurt your overall DPS.


The third Plunge Modifier is known as Collision Damage. This damage only happens in situations where Xiao has direct contact with certain parts of an enemy, in which case you will notice an additional damage number. For more notes, please see our dedicated Collision Damage section.

JET (N1CJP)

N1CJP is an abbreviated form of Normal Attack 1 > Charged Attack > Jump > (High) Plunge. It is also known as JET for ease of naming.


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.


However, it should only be used on single (sometimes duo) target enemies. Otherwise, High Plunge spam is still his highest combo in AoE mob situations.

Video Example by Artesians#0002

Auto Attack (AA) Cancel

AA Cancel is beneficial when using units like Xingqiu or Beidou, since the first swing of the AA has no hitlag, can be canceled out with a jump, and applies on-hit effects. Xiao’s N1 consists of two hits: a swing, and then a thrust with his spear. When using AA cancel, be sure to cancel out his N1 after the initial swing and before the thrust, as the full N1 animation has hitlag.


To AA cancel, hit the Jump and Normal Attack keys at the same time. Note: Doing this does not reduce Xiao’s plunge endlag or speed up his plunging speed.

Notice how only the first swing of Xiao’s N1 is shown in the animation.

Out of Ult Playstyle

You should be minimizing Xiao’s Out of Ult time as much as possible, especially in the context of Abyss. Thus, these combinations should be used sparingly.

While you should be minimizing Xiao’s Out of Ult time, there may be times where you don’t want to Burst with Xiao. For example, if you are playing Abyss and would like to save your Burst for the next chamber, you can use Xiao’s E dashes and Normal Attack strings to finish off enemies.


N1C is Xiao’s highest DPS Normal Attack string. The Charged Attack also helps keep some smaller enemies staggered. If you have an E charge, you can also use N1CJEP, which is N1C > Jump > E > Plunge. Video Example by Memu#6453

Plunging Effectively

Xiao’s AoE

Xiao’s plunge has a surprisingly large AoE radius. In the example below, you can see that Xiao easily plunges all three Cicin Mages continuously, even while knocking them back.

Video Example by Memu#6453

Positioning

Generally, positioning Xiao’s plunges fall into one of two strategies:

  • Place him in the center of all enemies to hit as many as possible.
  • Place him in line with enemies so that they are knocked back in the same direction.

The first is useful when trying to hit many enemies at the same time, as in the example above. However, if the enemies are scattered in many different directions, the knockback will eventually push some of them out of Xiao’s AoE.


That’s when you can employ the second strategy. Instead of knocking them back in separate directions, you want to knock them back in the same direction. This way, as Xiao plunges towards the enemies who are knocked back, you can adjust Xiao’s plunging position by holding the forward key to make him go forward while jumping.


Another trick you can use in Abyss is to lure enemies next to the walls. Then, when plunging with Xiao, plunge the enemies towards the wall. As they will be backed up against the wall, they won’t be knocked back, allowing Xiao to plunge freely without having to reposition. This trick can also be useful to consistently hit collision damage on select enemies.

In Air Maneuverability

As mentioned in the previous section, you can hold a directional key in order to adjust the direction of Xiao’s jump before plunging. This can help him keep up with enemy knockback.


Another trick that can be useful is avoiding damage by hanging (or even gliding) in the air while enemies are attacking or damaging structures (i.e., ice cages) are beneath you. Then, when the coast is clear, you can initiate the plunge with Xiao and plunge safely without taking damage.


Momentarily gliding can also help you reposition Xiao more dramatically than just holding a directional key while jumping.

Energy Management

With contributions from: 3.14#9270, Poiyo#3488, ioncy#5314

How to Battery Xiao

Xiao is heavily reliant on his Elemental Burst, as his Normal Attack DPS outside of his Elemental Burst is significantly less than his plunges with his Burst. Therefore, it is crucial to understand energy management and keep Xiao’s Elemental Burst active as much as possible.


Funneling particles is the process of using generated particles from your supports, either via their Elemental Skills or weapon passives (e.g., the Favonius weapon series), and then switching to Xiao to “catch” those particles. Since an on-field character that absorbs the particles receives more energy than if they were off-field, this makes funneling particles into Xiao important, especially to minimize Burst downtime. Furthermore, Anemo energy particles will fund more energy than neutral or other-element particles, hence the value of an Anemo battery on Xiao’s team.


Due to the speed of Xiao’s Burst animation, Xiao is able to take advantage of something called pre-funneling.


When Xiao’s Burst is ready, before activating it, use 2 of Xiao’s Es. If done quickly, the energy particles generated by Xiao’s Es will not reach Xiao until after he has activated his Q, allowing him to pre-funnel those particles into himself to fund his next Q. Then, after Xiao’s first Q ends, you will be able to use his Anemo Battery’s Es and his own refreshed Es to generate more particles to get his next Q up.


If using Xiao’s dashes for prefunneling, do not E in the air, as the time necessary for Xiao to reach the ground (via plunge or otherwise) and activate his Q is too long and prevents pre-funneling. Thus, make sure to double E on the ground. Also, even if you have C1+, do not use all three of his E dashes, as there is only enough time to use his E twice before the energy particles reach Xiao.


Also, you are not just limited to Xiao’s own dashes for pre-funneling. For example, using two of Sucrose’s E Skills generates more energy than two of Xiao’s E dashes. In fact, with Sucrose in particular,  you can actually prefunnel three Skills worth or energy particles into Xiao’s Burst by using Sucrose E > Xiao E > Xiao E > Xiao Q. Please see the video example below for reference.

Xiao Double ESucrose Double ESucrose E > Xiao Double E
Burst Energy After Pre-Funneling
(100% ER)
Video Examplehttps://streamable.com/x3k1bohttps://streamable.com/4ugbbmhttps://streamable.com/oy5b3y

Past your first and second Q, you will realise that you will need  to manage your energy better or your burst uptime will be significantly reduced. For a lot of players they may end up absorbing too many particles than intended and hence reduce their burst uptime and CDS, to mitigate or prevent that, here is a video.


Video example


Using this trick can significantly increase your burst uptime and give you your second/third Q more easily.

Rotations

With contributions from: 3.14#9270

TL;DR: Swap through his supports to gain team buffs. Before bursting, use Xiao or his Anemo battery’s E skills to pre-funnel energy for his next Burst. Activate his Burst and destroy enemies. Rinse and repeat.

Rotations for Xiao’s teams are fairly standard. When entering a battle, first rotate through and cast any support/Sub DPs abilities, such as Fischl’s Oz, Zhongli’s shield, etc. Pay special attention to the interactions of your supports and buffs. For example:

  • If any of your supports provide buffs for a limited time, such as Bennett with his Burst or a 4pc Noblesse Oblige user, prioritize swapping them in closer to Xiao’s Burst in order to apply the buff for the largest percentage of Xiao’s Burst
  • For Thrilling Tales users, be sure to place them right before Xiao in your rotation so that Xiao is the one to receive the Atk buff.
  • With Venti, it is often optimal to cast his ult first so that the duration will be somewhat used up once you rotate through your other two characters and get to Xiao.

Once all your necessary supports have been rotated through, you can swap to Xiao to pre-funnel and activate his Burst. 

Video Example


During his Burst, avoid using his E dashes, unless you have C6, as Xiao’s Es do not generate energy during his Burst.


After Xiao’s Burst ends, rotate through his support’s abilities once more. Use your Anemo Battery and Xiao’s refilled E charges to charge Xiao’s next Burst. Then, just like your first rotation, swap through your team members to apply any team buffs, generate particles for pre-funneling (if any Skills are up), and then Burst again. Repeat these steps until all enemies have perished.


Video Example

Mob Interactions

Xiao inherently possesses a lot of stagger in his kit. His Normal Attacks, Charged Attacks and Plunge Attacks can knockback enemies with ease. This permits him to CC some enemies by staggering them consistently.  


His vertical mobility also plays interestingly with some mob AI, which can sometimes be of help and other times be detrimental.

Shieldwall Enemies


Enemies with physical shields such as Mitachurls and Hilichurls go into a defensive mode, where they can block incoming damage. But when Xiao High Plunges, it forces them off of defensive mode, permitting Xiao to plunge through the shield.

Abyss Mages


Because Xiao’s plunges count as Heavy Attacks, and the Abyss Mage shields are neutral against Anemo, he can shred and destroy their shields on his own. However, doing so is often slow (often taking around 12 plunges), as Anemo is not effective against their elemental shields.


Thus, to take out their shields quickly, we recommend using Xiao’s plunges to swirl another element, preferably an effective element, onto their shields. For example, Xiao can plunge a Hydro Abyss Mage’s shield within Diona’s Burst field to swirl Cryo onto its shield. Applying other elements on their shields in this way will greatly speed up the shield breaking process.

Abyss Heralds/Lectors


During their Shielded Phase, Xiao is unfortunately unable to do much against these enemies without the aid of supports. One option is to use supports like Chongyun and Bennett C6 that override Xiao’s Normal Attacks in their fields. This way, Xiao can use his fairly fast Normal Attack string to apply a lot of Cryo/Pyro. However, there are characters who can apply these elements faster, such as Zhongli.


Xiao can stagger them quite effectively, and knock them into a corner or a wall for easier grouping. However, this can be a double-edged sword, as an imprecise stagger could knock enemies away instead of grouping them. Avoid plunging in between two enemies; instead, plunge in the region outside both enemies and rely on Xiao’s massive plunge AoE to hit both enemies. So we recommend utilizing Xiao to burst them down to their shield quickly, and then selecting supports to handle the shield breaking portion of the fight.

Ruin Guards

If Xiao performs a high jump, which positions Xiao above the Ruin Guard, it’ll force them into missile mode. One can prevent this by only jumping while the Ruin Guard is performing other attacks.

 Video Example by Memu#6453


If Xiao uses his Elemental Skill twice through the Ruin Guard’s weak points (the eye and the back socket), it’ll disable the Ruin Guard. However, you cannot use his Skill twice consecutively, as there is a cooldown. Instead, use his Skill once, let Xiao drop down, and then use his Skill again.

Video Example by JenjenJL#6582

Ruin Graders

The Ruin Graders weak points are its eyes and its knees that are only exposed during specific attack movements. Its knees are fairly accessible for Xiao, as his Blurst Plunge AoE are capable of reaching them and staggering them. Because of this, it is the easiest Ruin Machine for Xiao to go against.

Ruin Hunters

If Xiao performs a high jump, the Ruin Hunter will go into missile stance and position itself high up in the air, making it unreachable through usual melee attacks. Because of this, it is advised to spam low plunges, or force the Ruin Hunter’s missile animation through other methods and then shooting it down with an archer.


Alternatively it is possible to disable the Ruin Hunter by high jumping and using Xiao’s Elemental Skill to target its Eye. This however is inconsistent and may not work, so it is unadvised to even attempt  in most situations. Video Example by Llamagician#8583 and Capt’n Rabbit#9104


There is one more advanced trick to more consistently take down Ruin Hunters. In Xiao’s Burst, jump slightly above the Ruin Hunter’s head and then open your glider, forcing it to enter its fly mode. The Ruin Hunter will then take off, causing a wind gust that will blow Xiao higher than the Ruin Hunter. From there, you can use Xiao’s E dash into the Ruin Hunter’s now exposed eye in order to take it down. Video Example by Aurora

Cicin Mages / Fatui Assassin

The Cicin Mages can be permanently staggered with the usage of Xiao’s Normal and Charged Attacks to prevent them from shielding. Video Example by Orum#8459 


Xiao’s Burst plunges can also do the same. Video Example by Memu#6453

Fatui Skirmishers

While Xiao struggles a bit to destroy the Fatui shields themselves, he can easily prevent them from getting the shields up in the first place by staggering them with just physical attacks or by utilizing his plunges during Burst. Video Example 1 and  Video Example 2 by Memu#6453

Geovishaps

Before their Elemental Infusion phase, the Geovishaps are prone to staggering and being knocked back. Which can be useful and detrimental; staggering them does permit you to prevent them from attacking you, however if there are multiple enemies it can be difficult to group them up properly. Because of their high stagger, it is advised to try and push them against a wall.

Their diving attack can be dodged with proper Burst Plunge-Jumps and/or abusing the iframes of Xiao’s Burst, this is because the Geovishaps only deal damage on us once they actually hit the ground. Video Example by JenjenJL#6582

Collision Hit Boxes (WIP)

If you’d like to help the development of this section, please DM or ping either Orum#8459 or baeliph#8346, or share your thoughts/findings in the Theorycrafting Channel in the Xiao Mains Discord Server

Introduction

As mentioned earlier, every character has three different plunge modifiers: High Plunge, Low Plunge and Plunge. The third Plunge Modifier only happens in situations where Xiao has direct contact with certain parts of an enemy, which is why occasionally you’ll notice an additional damage number. The parts of the enemies will be referred as Collision Hit Boxes, while the damage itself will be referred to as Collision Damage.


You can see an example in this video (by Memu#6453) where there’s an initial ~27k-28k DMG when Xiao hits the top of the Ruin Guards, and then a secondary number 55k-70k when Xiao actually hits the ground and unleashes his Plunge AoE Damage. You can also hear a distinct sound when the Collision Plunge is performed.

What enemies have Collision Hit Boxes?

This section is still being developed, but here is a database of user interactions with Collision Hit Boxes. Thank you Rhetorical#8956 for your bulk testing.


If you can make Xiao have direct physical contact with an enemy, you’ll likely notice Collision Damage. The main problem is that many enemies are small and/or easily staggered, so it can be difficult for Xiao to hit their Collision Hit Boxes properly. So this technique isn’t relevant in many situations.

Larger enemies such as Azhdaha, Primo Geovishap, Geovishaps, Ruin Guards, Ruin Graders, Lavachurls, etc. possess a bigger Collision Hit Box so it is more reliable to hit them.

Collision Hit Boxes themselves don’t appear to be static, such as Ruin Guards’ Collision Hit Boxes disappearing when they’re deactivated. Or Ruin Hunter’s Collision Hit Box on its jets when it’s air-born.

There’s also unique situations such as Abyss Mage Shields possessing Collision Hit Boxes.

How is this relevant?

On enemies that Xiao can perform Collision damage on, it’s an easy way to increase his overall DPS by a significant amount. In regular rotations, spamming High Plunges is better than Low Plunges, but if one can reliably perform Plunge Collision Damage with Low Plunges, it would out-DPS High Plunges.

Here’s an example damage and DPS comparison of these different combos:

Attack RotationDMGDPS
Low Plunge Spam16714.1215428.42
Low Plunge Spam + Plunge Collision25072.7123144.04
High Plunge Spam20877.5816702.07
High Plunge Spam + Plunge Collision29236.1723388.9

Afterword

Thank you for taking the time to read this guide. We hope that this has provided you with all the information you need to play the Eternal Yaksha Xiao.


If you have comments or suggestions for the guide, or wish to contribute to our Theorycrafting in the future, be sure to join the Xiao Mains Discord. We would love to have you there!

Additional Resources

Changelog

June 4th, 2021

  • Guide published

Appendix: Guides

Materials

Guide 1, courtesy of neocores#0784


Guide 2, courtesy of Kickenfire72#7667

Qingxin Farming Route

For farming Qingxin, we recommend using Xiao and/or Venti as there is a lot of climbing in Route 1 and a lot of gliding in Route 2.

Slime Farming Route

Please see the Teyvat Interactive Map.