A Revised Xingqiu Handbook

By IonFox
Original Document: here

By IonFox

Current Patch: 1.4 (Farewell of Snezhnaya)

Introduction

“A young man carrying a longsword who is frequently seen at book booths. He has a chivalrous heart and yearns for justice and fairness for all.”

He also happens to be a superb hydro enabler for reactions, a fantastic sub-DPS capable of boosting most carries and overall one of the best 4* units in the entire game. If you don’t want to take my word for it, you can always watch JinJinx’s video on him below with the link! Seriously, it’s a good video that covers a lot of the points in this guide.

Why Xingqiu is better than several 5 Stars GET HIM WHILE YOU CAN | Genshin Impact Guide

While I could wax poetic about XingQiu all day, I think it would be best to simply present his pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Can consistently apply hydro status to enemies for reactions and
  • Deal large amounts of consistent damage over time, both while offscreen
  • Able to boost the survivability of your carry through large amounts of damage reduction and efficient, auxiliary healing
  • Is perfectly viable with no constellations
  • Offers flexibility in team building, extremely easy to use

Cons:

  • Requires a decent amount of investment (Ascension 4, Level 60/70)
  • Is gated by long cooldowns (21s for skill, 20s for ult)
  • Requires your main DPS to be basic attacking, damage is generally single target
  • Is very energy hungry (80 energy ult)
  • Wants Sacrificial Sword to reach full potential

Now, a very common question people ask is: Why bother with XQ over someone like Mona or even Barbara? I will admit that Genshin is designed well enough that each character is viable and excels in their own respective niches, and this is no exception.

If you’re looking for someone to help you with mobbing, or a character with an insanely high burst ceiling, Mona would probably be more suitable. Mona is the strongest hydro burst support, but she requires you to build your team around her in order to maximize your damage during the 4-5s of her Omen debuff, and probably forcing you to include vaporize as well. She also requires complex/precise micro in order to maximize that small burst window. On the other hand, XQ is a very flexible sub-DPS that can be built around your carry, and is much easier to use, only really needing you to use his skill then ult before swapping off for that consistent Hydro Sword damage.

Likewise, if you simply need a dedicated healer for Abyss and aren’t too concerned about losing damage for more safety/survivability, then Barbara might indeed be the better choice for you. An interesting thing to note is that while XQ heals less raw amounts than Barbara, his own healing is actually accented by the damage reduction of the hit which triggers it (since he only heals when the Rain Sword shatters). It is also already woven into your DPS combo, giving you efficient healing only when you need it. While for Barbara, you have to take damage first, probably getting interrupted in the process and then being forced to swap to her and use her skill before going back to DPS.

Therefore, if you’re in the market for an easy constant source of Hydro application, that can be built into a massive, sustained offscreen DPS with a decent helping of survivability, then I can safely say there is no better choice for you than Xingqiu. So thanks for picking up this guide, and read on to discover just what makes him so good, and how to help him reach that point so he can help you!

Talent Analysis

 Normal Attack: Guhua Style

Unfortunately, there isn’t much to say here. XQ’s basic attacks aren’t unusually fast and they lack good damage multipliers, which stops him from being a carry. This is definitely the talent you want to level last.

Guhua Sword: Fatal Rainscreen

Now we reach something a lot more potent and interesting. XQ’s elemental skill (E) is a very highly damaging 2-hit skill that generates a good amount of hydro energy particles, and is one of the most mechanically versatile abilities in the whole game.

Hydro Application

Upon use, this skill generates 3-4 orbiting Rain Swords, and momentarily applies hydro to yourself, but only for ~0.3 seconds during the casting animation, and self cleanses at the end, so self-freezing is a lot less of a worry.
If we look at applying hydro status to an enemy, each hit of this skill is capable of applying its own source of hydro status, meaning you apply two stacks in quick succession, letting XQ trigger a reaction on an enemy and then immediately reapplying a hydro aura on them. Moreover, the orbiting Rain Swords are also capable of applying hydro status to enemies in melee range, but have an internal cooldown (ICD) of ~2.2 seconds (meaning that the orbitals can apply hydro onto the same enemy only once every 2.2 seconds).

Interrupt Resistance

This is an often undervalued part of XQ’s kit; that makes your characters immune to knockback from weaker enemy attacks. While this doesn’t sound all too impressive, this means your carry has less DPS loss from being interrupted mid attack or skill cast as long as they have at least one Rain Sword orbiting them.

Damage Reduction

The damage reduction of EACH Rain Sword instance can be broken down as follows:
(20% base) + (up to 9% from talent levels) + (up to 24% from hydro dmg) = 53% max.

However, this is obviously unrealistic as it would require a level 10 talent and 120% hydro damage, which isn’t achievable right now. A more realistic calculation would be:

20% + 5% (level 6 talent) + 16.32% (20% of A4, 5* hydro cup, 2 Hydro artifacts) = 41.32%

Now, while the in-game text states that “when a character takes DMG, the Rain Sword will shatter, reducing the amount of DMG taken”, implying that you can only reduce the next 3 or 4 hits taken. However, testing revealed that taking multiple hits in a short period of time would still only shatter a single rainsword, but damage taken was still reduced, indicating that the damage reduction will be active as long as there is at least one Rain Sword orbiting you.

Guhua Sword: Raincutter

Finally, we reach the talent that makes XQ one of the wildest sub-DPS’s in the whole game, his burst/ult, which has a deceptively huge amount of damage, and the talent to prioritize leveling whenever you can.

Rain Sword Orbitals

Upon casting his ult, XQ creates the maximum number of Rain Sword orbitals and maintains them through the whole duration of Raincutter (15-18 seconds). The benefit of this is, your carry or active character will benefit from constant damage and interrupt resistance. However, none of the swords can shatter, which also means that you will not get any healing from his A2 talent.

Another thing to note is that using his skill and then burst in any order (E > Q, or Q > E) will not destroy and create new Rain Swords, it will simply add orbitals back up to the maximum. The Rain Sword duration timer will also be running down in the background during Raincutter, so all swords will expire when his ult ends and heal you for the full amount immediately.

Summoned Hydro Swords (Sword Rain)

The main component of XQ’s ult is that for its duration, whenever the active character makes a basic attack, they will also summon a wave of Hydro Swords that will target the attacked enemy. Some points to note:

  • The number of Hydro Swords summoned per wave follows a specific pattern, usually alternating between 2 and 3 swords. At C6, this is upgraded and follows a pattern of 2 → 3 → 5… which then repeats.
  • There is an approximately 1 second interval between summoned Hydro Sword waves, so that means a theoretical maximum of 15 or 18 waves.
  • Each wave of Hydro Swords is capable of applying one (1) source of Hydro status, and each individual sword is capable of getting a crit.
  • The damage calculation of Hydro Swords is dynamic, meaning that buffs or any changes in values after activating Raincutter will affect damage as expected.

So, if we put all of this together at C0…
At talent level 6, every single sword summoned has a 76.0% damage multiplier.
An average XQ ult is about ⅔ efficient, which would be 25 hydro swords (10 waves).
So by getting XQ’s ult to level 6, you can expect 25 * 76.0% = 1900% skill damage every time you use it, which can go higher by making better use of his ult.

At the higher end of things, with a C6 XQ, you could even reach 5076.5% skill damage with a near ideal ult (Level 9 talent, summoning 55 swords or 17/18 waves). And all of these scenarios don’t even account for any bonus hydro damage from his A4 talent and/or goblet artifact, or the 15% hydro res reduction from his C2.

So in short, that’s a lotta damage.

Hydropathic/ Blades Amidst Raindrops/ Flash of Genius


XQ’s ascension talents are straightforward enough. Each Rain Sword heals for 6% of his own max hp when shattered (A2) and a static 20% Hydro DMG bonus (A4).

His crafting passive is also arguably the best in the game, since farming talent books is  the largest resin sink after artifact grinding, and those recycled books add up fast.

Constellations

Fabulae Textile, or “Woven Tales”

C1: The Scent Remained

Increases the maximum number of Rain Swords by 1. Decent bump in survivability.

C2: Rainbow Upon the Azure Sky


Extends the duration of Raincutter by 3s, decreases the Hydro RES of enemies hit by sword rain attacks by 15% for 4s. Two very simple effects, but together they make this XQ’s arguably greatest power spike and most important constellation. If he’s rate up on the banner, or available in the store for Starglitter, this is where you want him ideally. Assuming the generic enemy has 10% hydro res, this is an added 36.7% increase on your burst damage.

C3: Weaver of Verses


Increases the level of Raincutter (Ult) by 3, which is a 16%-18% increase in burst damage. Another amazing constellation as a sub-DPS.

C4: Evilsoother


Throughout the duration of Raincutter, the DMG dealt by Fatal Rainscreen is increased by 50%, and shifts the general combo to Q>E. This is actually a really massive spike in burst potential, especially when paired with Sacrificial Sword. It is also the only source of true multiplicative damage in the game.

C5: Embrace of Rain


Increases the level of Fatal Rainscreen (Skill) by 3. This is good for raising his skill damage (by about 110% before accounting for C4 or Sac doublecast), but not as important as C2 or C3.

C6: Hence, Call Them My Own Verses


“Activating 2 of Raincutter’s sword rain attacks greatly increases the DMG of the third. XingQiu regenerates 3 energy when sword rain attacks hit enemies.” So it’s a common trend in Genshin for C6 to be amazing on most characters, and XQ is no exception.

This effect is in quotations as the actual mechanical effects differ greatly from what is written or expected. The “DMG increase” actually refers to upgrading the pattern of his Hydro Sword waves from 2/3/2/3… to 2/3/5/2/3/5… which is an increase in the maximum number of possible swords from 42 to 55 (~30% increase).

The second effect is also either mistranslated or bugged, and testing has shown that XQ only gets the 3 energy back when a wave of 5 Hydro Swords hits an enemy. This reduces the expected energy regen, but still noticeably smooths out his recharge issues to a reasonable degree, returning an average of 12-15 energy per ult. Still an incredible capstone constellation.

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Alright so before moving on, a common misconception I saw in video comments or online forum posts was that XQ only gets good with his constellations, making him a trap or poor choice to invest in at C0.

I just want to say that I’ve hopefully disproven that statement by showing the expected damage from an average ult, and you can also see his skill/ult scalings in Appendix 3 just to get an idea of just how high they are. Just because he gets better with constellations doesn’t mean he’s poor at base. In fact, all it means is that his constellations are amazing, and I will repeat my earlier statement that C0 XQ is a perfectly viable choice.

Author’s Note: That is not my C6 XingQiu above. I wish it was.

Weapons

1. Sacrificial Sword

Generally agreed upon by all, Sacrificial Sword is considered Best in Slot (BiS) as XQ’s weapon of choice. At level 80/80, this weapon gives 401 attack and 55.9% energy recharge, which XQ sorely needs, and its ability to let XQ doublecast Fatal Rainscreen is what sets it apart from the competition, including the 5* Skyward Sword, which unfortunately also means a lot of his power is tied to this weapon.

So there are a couple things to understand here. First, the doublecasting of his skill is crucial for XQ, not just for the double burst damage, but for the generation of a second set of hydro particles. Raincutter has a hefty cost of 80 energy, so XQ needs every form of help he can get to make sure he can reliably cast it off cooldown whenever possible.

Next, some specifics about making use of Sacrificial’s skill reset. Ideally, you want to use XQ’s skill then ult, and then cast his skill again if it got reset (E>Q>E) in most cases. The reasoning is that casting his ult immediately partially cancels Rainscreen’s animation, and ensures that the first set of hydro particles are picked up by XQ for full efficiency, and that after using his skill a second time, you can immediately swap to your main DPS or wait a little to let XQ collect those particles too. At C4, you can alternatively do (Q>E>E) for a larger damage spike at the cost of burst uptime with your DPS or energy management (since you either have to wait longer to pick up particles or swap before XQ gets them).

2. Favonius Sword


This weapon has the exact same stats and scaling as Sacrificial Sword, except that it’s ability is usually blank, which makes Sacrificial the superior option. A couple very important points to note is that firstly. Favonius’ ability can only be triggered while XQ is the active character meaning that you have 2-3 chances to activate it during a usual combo (skill cast and maybe a single basic attack).

The second point is that the energy orb generated provides energy to your whole team which means that if your XQ has a reasonable crit rate, Favonius is not a bad alternative since it’s able to help top off the energy for your whole team. It also has a higher base energy recharge than Skyward Blade, and since I personally rate recharge and consistent Raincutter uptime to be the priority, this takes the 2nd place spot.

3. Skyward Blade


Now, at level 80/80, this weapon gives 532 attack and 50.3% energy recharge, along with a 4% crit rate from its passive. Generally speaking, recharge is much more valuable than base attack on XQ, and skyward’s passive is generally blank since XQ himself can’t take advantage of Skypiercing Might (increased move & attack speed, and basic/heavy attack damage boost).

Moreover, the opportunity cost of using Skyward in terms of energy is greater than initially expected, since you also miss out on the hydro particles from the second skill cast that Sacrificial offers. (Chinese theorycrafters calculated it to be a total difference of slightly over 20 energy, and would require anywhere from 50%-140% ER just to cover this difference.) However, if you have Skyward but no Sacrificial/Favonius, or a refined version of this weapon, feel free to use it.

Festering Desire [F2P]


And claiming the prize of XQ’s best F2P weapon is this new, shiny 4* sword, released during The Chalk Prince & The Dragon event in patch 1.2. It’s 4* and has energy recharge as it’s substat, and a passive ability which has some reasonable use with XQ, immediately making it better than all other previous F2P alternatives. (At level 80/80 it offers 449 attack and 41.9% recharge.)

However, it has a higher base attack and lower energy recharge stat, causing it to fall behind the other weapons in this ranking. While the boost to elemental skill damage and crit rate is nice, the 21 seconds on cooldown means the increase in DPS isn’t as high as it appears at first glance. Still definitely the best choice for XQ as an F2P player with none of the above weapons.

(If you missed this weapon, then your best F2P choice will be Skyrider Sword.)

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Hang on, what about…?

I have received quite a few questions on alternative, non-ER weapons (specifically Jade Cutter/Summit Shaper/Aquila Favonia/R5 Harbinger of Dawn). After some testing and stat comparisons, my personal conclusions are: If your XQ is on a budget, it’s probably best to use Sacrificial Sword with ER sands since you’d likely get more damage from constant Raincutter letting you spam vaporise/freeze.

With more levels and decent artifacts, I’d recommend pivoting to Sacrificial Sword and Atk% sands, as this would let you increase XQ’s personal damage, while still being able to maintain burst uptime. I would only advise going for Jade (or any other offensive sword) with ER sands if you have at least one or more of the following to help compensate for energy loss:

  • Amazing artifacts (that give ER and optimised crit stats)
  • Childe DPS
  • C6 XQ

Though if you’re comfortable with less energy/bursts, feel free to use those weapons as they do have the highest damage potential at higher levels. Do note that Sacrificial’s doublecast damage is very high itself so the actual gap for most cases isn’t too big.

Artifacts

Noblesse Oblige

No matter how you craft XQ’s artifact set(s), you should always have at least the 2 set NO bonus on him at all times, since getting 20% extra damage on every single Hydro Sword is insane.

XQ is also a fine choice to hold a full 4 piece NO set (as every party should have one), though there are better options since a 20s ult cooldown is not ideal. For example, if you use Bennett and XQ in the same party, Bennett should get 4NO since he’s able to cast his ult much more frequently and consistently, and XQ should take 2NO and another 2 piece set, such as…

Heart of Depth

With the arrival of the Dragonspine artifact domain in Patch 1.2, 2 NO/2 Depth has become XQ’s best set, assuming you are able to consistently cast your ult when possible, stacking both burst and 15% extra hydro damage for maximum benefit (which also boosts the damage reduction of the Rain Swords).

Gladiator’s Finale

As far as 2 piece sets go, 2 NO/2 Glad is a decent mixed set. The individual pieces are also transferable to other characters, so it’s hard to go wrong here with +18% attack.

The Exile/Scholar

Early on, if you want to avoid investing too much into XQ and still get relatively good returns on team DPS from him, then 2 Exile/2 Scholar is generally what you should aim for at first since the 40% extra recharge will greatly increase the consistency of your ult uptime. A 4-piece Exile set is also a valid choice at low investments as it will help smooth out the energy for the rest of the party whenever you ult while still giving 20% recharge, which is what you should be doing anyway.

As you slowly invest into XQ and get higher energy recharge stats from your weapon, hourglass or just artifact substats and can maintain casting your ult, you can slowly transition to sets with better damage, such as 2 NO/2 Recharge. After that, you can swap from 2 Recharge to 2 Glad or Hydro once you’re able to consistently cast XQ’s ult off cooldown with your weapon and artifacts alone. Just remember that 4* artifacts have much more limited stat scaling compared to 5* ones, which can hurt DPS.

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Artifact Stats

So now that we’ve gotten sets and bonuses out of the way, let’s discuss your main stats and substats. If you’ve been following this guide so far, you should have noticed that XQ’s biggest issue is that 80 energy cost on his ult. Chinese guides recommend 200% – 250% recharge on him, and they’re pretty much spot on. Of course, having a C6 XQ, Sacrificial Sword and/or other hydro characters in your party help ease this burden, but we found that ~200% recharge is a good benchmark to aim for, which is why recharge sets are good early on or if you’re missing certain pieces.

As for his other stats, you generally want to lean towards the usual DPS stat optimisation with ATK%, Crit Chance and Crit DMG, and of course Hydro DMG on your goblet. The reason for choosing DPS over Elemental Mastery is simple: It just ends up giving you more damage given how each individual Hydro Sword scales with DPS stats, compared to the gain from reactions.

With all this in mind, what I would personally recommend to aim for to begin with is:

  • Hourglass: Energy Recharge / ATK%
    A max 5* hourglass gives 51.8% recharge. Paired with a recharge substat sword, you’ll be able to get close to or even pass the 200% recharge mark easily. At higher levels once you have enough recharge from your weapon and artifact substats, feel free to pivot to Atk% sands for more damage.
  • Goblet: Hydro DMG%
    This is pretty much non-negotiable. XQ is all about the hydro dmg on his ult, this gives it a 46.6% boost with a maxed 5* goblet, while boosting the damage reduction of your Rain Swords. No exceptions.
  • Circlet: ATK% / Crit Rate / Crit DMG
    Any of these three would boost your damage, but if you want to minmax I suggest using a calculator like this one: Genshin Artifact Optimizer. Eventually, once you get enough crit from substats in the endgame, a crit-based main stat will likely be optimal for increasing DPS.

In the end, what is optimal on artifacts is always changing depending on your substats and rolls, but this is what I would recommend in general. Of course, if you have a level 80 Sacrificial Sword and enough recharge substats to hit 200% just like that, feel free to go for an ATK% hourglass instead as stated earlier.

Choosing your DPS

Alright, you know how to build XQ, what weapon to give him, what artifacts to focus in order to maximize his individual contribution to your team. But Genshin isn’t a single character game, and XQ’s only as good as his synergy with your main carry/DPS. Thankfully, he works well with almost any choice, and below are some extra synergistic choices with explanations and tips, in no particular order.

Please note that the list below is not exhaustive by any means. XQ can work well with almost anyone as DPS, it’s just that the choices below were deemed to have greater synergy or special use cases.

Razor

Razor is a basic attack focused carry, who wants to stay as long as possible on the field to take full advantage of his 15 second ult. XQ is a sub-DPS who enhances basic attacks with his own 15 second ult. This also doesn’t disrupt the team if you have a cryo member too, as both frozen and electrocharge maintain their elemental statuses over the full duration, meaning superconduct can still be triggered to boost Razor’s physical damage.

Keqing

Keqing is another prime carry to pair with XQ. Both her normal attack chains and charge attack combo are capable of spawning Hydro Swords, and are rather fast as well so you’ll be able to squeeze out more summons. This is a rare case where XQ can use a full Thundersoother set (4TS), due to how electrocharge works (it leaves an electro aura on enemies instead of removing it). Explaining it fully is very complex, but I advise you all to read about it… HERE! (Link to KeqingMains theorycrafting library)

Diluc

Diluc and other pyro focused carries have added synergy with XQ due to how pyro and hydro elemental gauges interact. Whenever a Vaporize reaction is triggered, both elements are supposed to be removed.

However, what actually happens is that the “strength” of the pyro element is reduced, resulting in weak pyro sources like Diluc’s E and Attacks to not fully remove the hydro aura, letting him trigger multiple vaporizes off the single hydro proc from each Raincutter wave. A more detailed explanation of how elemental gauges work can be found in the KeqingMains theorycrafting library.

Hu Tao

Hu Tao is basically exactly the same as Diluc for considering XQ as a support. Just make sure that she properly vaporizes her ultimate! (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧

Klee

Klee is rather similar to Diluc in this list as a pyro focused carry. The main things to note are that XQ’s summoned hydro swords are perfectly functional at range. Also, given the travel time of Klee’s basic attack bombs, they usually land after the hydro swords unless Klee is in melee range. Her vaporize combos (involving her charge attacks) will take a bit more finesse, but she can still get 2 vaporizes per hydro application.

Rosaria

Rosaria has become a good cryo DPS option for freeze comps, using Chongyun support to convert all her attacks to cryo. XQ naturally slots into this team as he is the only character that can apply hydro consistently while off-field via Raincutter allowing for the highest possible freeze uptime making it easy for Rosaria to proc her A2 talent (since backstabbing frozen enemies is easy), and fully benefiting from Blizzard Strayer and cryo resonance.

An interesting note is math/testing showed that this is another rare case where XQ can also use the full Blizzard Strayer set as it would grant him more damage in specifically this team. I would still personally go for a NO build as it’s usable in all cases, unless you plan to use XQ exclusively in a freeze team.

Tartaglia

Tartaglia aka Childe. Now this recommendation is a little different from the rest. For the rest of this list, XQ is perfectly compatible with them at C0. However, with Childe, I can only make this recommendation if your XQ is at least C2, since you need that hydro res shred from Raincutter to balance out the fact that hydro resonance is pretty bad, as well as the opportunity cost of going XQ over any other possible team build.

Thankfully, there are a couple of benefits to pairing XQ with Childe, such as both of them benefiting from Viridescent Venerer shredding hydro res and/or the dmg% bonus from Archaic Petra. Also, Childe will be constantly generating hydro particles as he deals damage, greatly boosting XQ’s own energy, making it is possible to opt for an ATK% hourglass over a recharge one if you find your Raincutter uptime to be consistent enough, though you definitely still want a high recharge stat.

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This was mentioned above, but I feel that it is vital to repeat myself. XQ will work well with any carry/main DPS that likes basic attacking for any amount of time, which is to say most of them. So choices such as Crescent Pike Xiangling, Fischl DPS or anyone else you care to name who basic attacks will still be able to benefit just fine from having a XQ sub-DPS. It is merely that those in the list above have synergies and/or considerations beyond that.

Conclusion

If you skipped all the way here in search of a TL;DR, I apologize but I haven’t made one yet for this guide. Otherwise, thanks for reading this far!

I hope that I have managed to share with you a well reasoned take on why he’s not merely a good hydro reaction enabler or sub-DPS, but one of the very best 4* in the game now, and likely in the future too. Hopefully, this will help convince you to give him the resources he needs to shine, and be pleasantly surprised in turn by how he returns all that and more, no matter where or who you choose to slot him with.

~ The End ~

Please submit all errors, feedback and suggestions to IonFox#8887 on discord.
Special thanks to Doug#8888, Cenpi#3224, Charlielipsie#0001 and JinJinx, along with the rest of the members of discord.gg/Keqing theorycrafting and translation community. Please check out their theorycrafting library!