Full Zhongli Guide

Updated For Version 1.5


Visit Zhongli Mains for more in-depth analysis on the Geo Archon!

Preface

Zhongli’s rise to power since his buffs in 1.3 has left many Genshin Impact players wishing that they had pulled on his banner. Between a global RES shred and stronger shield, the Geo Archon has rocketed in value since his troubled release. This guide has been updated to represent the changes made in game version 1.5.

Credits

Artesians#0002 Noahboy88#8888 Coronaus#0001 Finrod#8406 IceKane#0689 Another Fish in the Bowl#9373


r/Zhonglimains r/Keqingmains

Playstyles

Zhongli’s versatility is one of the factors that makes him a valuable unit with many different build paths and playstyles open to him with solid slot in potential in most team comps.

Amplifier Support

At level 70, a +20 flower, and talent level 6 in Dominus Lapidis, Zhongli is casting a 4,820 health shield with 150% damage absorption. His damage is pretty weak for shield-bot gameplay, but his utility and the comfort that he offers cannot be understated as you approach the endgame.

  • Pros:
    • Strong Jade Shield that provides stagger resistance and elemental and physical shred.
    • Extremely flexible for players that clear DPS checks with three characters.
    • Makes the game comfortable to play with Jade Shield’s one stop shop utility.
    • Planet Befall has extremely long invulnerability frames.
    • RES shred for a potential 20 seconds can offer (less) increased damage for less work than Viridescent Venerer.
  • Cons:
    • His petrify is fairly short, but it buys breathing time.
    • Using his Planet Befall takes a long time to cast and typically is a DPS loss in the later portions of the game.

Burst Support

This build style focuses primarily on optimizing the damage output from Zhongli’s burst with any other damage or shielding being handicaped in exchange for reducing the previously stated con of Planet Befall being a DPS loss later into the game. This causes a reduction in shielding and team amplification due to the artifact sets run forcing you to be more aware of his Jade Shield and the amount of damage it has most likely taken.

  • Pros:
    • High raw burst damage due to Zhongli’s Planet Befall multiplier
    • RES shred for a potential 20 seconds can offer (less) increased damage for less work than Viridescent Venerer.
    • Provides Jade Shield’s benefits while not sacrificing a large amount of damage
  • Cons:
    • His petrify is fairly short, but it buys breathing time.
    • The reduced durability of his Jade shield can make it difficult to maintain in higher damage scenarios.
    • His burst damage still has lower potential than reaction based burst supports.

Geo DPS

Geo carry Zhongli is centered around the damage caused by his pillars and the resonance pulses between other geo constructs. This (primarily with Geo MC) can result in large amounts of aoe damage in what is referred to as a “Microwave Comp”.

  • Pros:
    • Solid consistent damage
    • Maintaining of Zhongli’s core benefits from his kit.
  • Cons:
    • Very area centric, and enemies leaving the damage zone can drastically reduce dps
    • Requires micromanagement of Zhongli’s steele’s for maximum damage output
    • Damage is nearly halved without having Zhongli’s C1
    • Forces a dual Geo team comp with Geo MC

Physical Carry

Physical carry Zhongli can make use of his global shred and abuse his fast auto attacks with Crescent Pike to push his physical damage further. With his buffs in 1.3, he has more room to deviate from Crescent Pike and can consider using Primordial Jade-Winged Spear or the Staff of Homa.

  • Pros:
    • R3 Crescent Pike is easily achievable, as the game rewards three northlander polearm prototypes.
    • Zhongli is completely self sufficient as a DPS unit, leaving a lot of freedom for his team compositions.
    • Zhongli can empower his supports while on field with Crescent Pike to push the total team damage further.
    • Extremely safe as a DPS unit because of his shield and petrify.
    • His resistance shred still supports his team just as much as his support builds.
  • Cons:
    • The ceiling on Zhongli’s physical damage output is not that high compared to the hypercarries in the game, but is more than capable of reaching equivalent or higher total team damage output against viable carries like Razor or Keqing.

Hybrid DPS

Zhongli as a hybrid DPS attempts to optimize for both Geo and physical damage. This build focuses on having Zhongli on field and allowing him to output both geo damage and physical damage but tends to be gated by weapon selection. It is really only capable of being run with blackcliff pole at a minimum, pushing out most F2P options.

  • Pros:
    • High damage potential comparative to non-reactive setups.
    • Flexible support selection
  • Cons:
    • High investment required
    • Lack of focus causes a reduction in individual performance of damage from

Weapons

Zhong Li’s weapons are dependent on what build you are following. Below are calculations done by Coronaus.

HP Timepiece

ATK% Timepiece

Physical DMG

Thoughts from Coronaus:

Staff of Homa is an exceptionally strong spear on support and Geo DPS Zhongli builds, being BiS for the first, and a contender for the latter. With a support Zhongli build, It is the numerically best option. Other high tier options such as PJWS require more field time to achieve higher damage where as Homa allows that damage right off the bat, allowing you to optimize time on your DPS. It also provide solid additional shielding with it HP% passive boost. A large point to note is Homa’s strength at lower HP. It is very strong but in many situations not ideal to rely on the bonus damage gained from its passive, although a good method of exploiting this can be done in abyss by intentionally taking damage on a lower floor that you have already cleared or no longer are constrained by time on. It beats out PJWS with neither having stacks, making it the most optimal weapon for this build type.

In a Geo DPS build, much of the same holds true in Homa’s strengths. PJWS does win in damage here for the reason of Zhongli having much more field time in this scenario, allowing it to stack and obtain higher damage. While Homa does still win in damage below 50% HP, it’s far less optimal to obtain that buff than PJWS’s buff simply by dealing damage. It should be noted that it’s high damage allows it to edge out Vortex Vanquisher and establish itself as the second most optimal weapon for this playstyle but only by small margins.

In a physical DPS build, Crescent Pike is still BiS.

Staff of Homa scales extremely well with refinements due to gaining scaling on both the HP to ATK conversion ratio and the HP gained from the passive. It is a solid spear to roll for if you lack a spear that is as strong or stronger than Deathmatch for support and Geo DPS Zhongli builds.

Talent Priority

Amplifier Support

Dominus Lapidis > Planet Befall > Normal Attack: Rain of Stone

This path is only recommended for lower budget Zhongli users who will not be optimizing his damage and can clear DPS checks with the other 3 characters on their team.

Geo Damage Builds

Planet Befall > Dominus Lapidis > Normal Attack: Rain of Stone

Planet Befall has the highest talent scaling of any single ability in the game and ramps up quite sharply every talent upgrade (65% per talent level) and the petrified status gets longer. Dominus Lapidis gets power from going beyond talent level 6, but the effects may not be as noticeable as dropping his Burst.

Physical Carry

Normal Attack: Rain of Stone > Planet Befall > Dominus Lapidis

Simple, enough, Rain of Stone will provide your higher talent values per second on your autos. Planet Befall gets more petrification time and damage.

Constellations

C1: Rock, the Backbone of Earth

Increase the maximum amount of Stone Steles created by Dominus Lapidis that may exist simultaneously to 2.

Increases the area of AoE when used in tandem with the Geo MC’s burst constructs. It’s an indirect buff to his energy recharge.

C2: Stone, the Cradle of Jade

Planet Befall grants nearby characters on the field a Jade Shield when it descends.

Offers immense utility for support Zhongli builds, making refreshing his shield and using his burst cost half the time. Stone Steele repositioning is significantly easier. Also works in co-op.

C4: Topaz, Unbreakable and Fearless

Increases Planet Befall’s AoE by 20% and increases the duration of Petrification by 2 seconds.

Significant utility boon for his Planet Befall.

C5: Lazuli, Herald of the Order

Increases the level of Planet Befall by 3.

An additional 195% talent scaling is nothing to scoff at and leaves you at a potential 1034% talent percent at level 13.

C6: Chrysos, Bounty of Dominator

When Jade Shield takes DMG, 40% of that incoming DMG is converted to HP for the current on-field character. A single instance of the regeneration cannot exceed 8% of the character’s Max HP.

This constellation has become a double edged sword for Zhongli with the release of the Staff of Homa and Hu Tao. Its value is now dependent on team composition and weapon choice.

Artifacts

PlaystyleArtifact Set
Amplifier SupportTenacity of the Millith (4)
Zhongli makes good use of Tenacity particularly with C1 although it isn’t required to make effective use of the passive.

Noblesse Oblige (4)
Zhongli makes a decent user of Noblesse Oblige for team damage.
Geo Damage/ Burst SupportArchaic Petra (2) + Noblesse Oblige (2)
A strong bread and butter artifact set for Geo damage centric Zhongli builds. Archaic Petra and Noblesse Oblige make swapping to Zhongli for a little more damage more palatable.
Hybrid CarryPale Flame (4)
This set should be run with a geo damage goblet in order to increase pillar and burst damage while not sacrificing too much physical damage by running the bonuses gained from pale flame.
Physical CarryPale Flame (4)
By far his strongest option for physical damage output.

Pale Flame (2) + Bloodstained Chivalry (2)

Gladiator’s Triumph (4)

Gladiator’s Triumph (2) + Bloodstained Chivalry (2)

Retracing Bolide (4)
Additional NotesFor main stat choices on his timepiece, you can run HP% for stronger Jade Shields on support, and ATK% for more damage. The circlet should still be CRIT, and the goblet is Geo DMG%.

How To Play Zhongli

Amplifier Support

Zhongli as a support is not a particularly cerebral character to play. You swap to him to refresh his Jade Shield and drop Planet Befall and swap back. Occasionally you can use his E to reposition, but at lower investments and without other Geo constructs, it might not be worth it.

As for team compositions, his value extends far and wide. With stagger resistance, universal resistance shred, and a strong shield that can last for 20 seconds, its very clear to see his strength as a support. For particular synergies, he works very well with Ganyu and Xiao to shred resistances and offer them the stagger resistance they so direly appreciate. He fits universally in nearly every type of composition as long as you can keep his Stone Steele from reducing elemental gauges and his resistance shred is weaker than Viridescent Venerer for mono-element compositions.

CompositionNotes
Zhongli as a support is pretty much a universally strong choice, however Ningguang carry with Zhongli support with any kind of passive damage like Fischl, Xiangling, Xingqiu, or Bennett is fantastic. Post 1.3, Ningguang with Zhongli have a Geo resonance that has a 15% DMG increase and a combined 40% Geo RES down, allowing these two to output similar damage to C0 Vaporize Diluc.

Burst Support

Zhongli’s burst support playstyle differs little to his amplifier support build style with a very basic rotation that allows high flexibility while offering solid damage. The higher investment required in this build causes his stone steele to become viable to reposition without a damage loss although it still won’t have very significant damage without resonance from other constructs. Your standard rotations upon swaping to Zhongli will be to burst, hold E and get off field as soon as possible.

Zhongli’s team compositions are very flexible due to his high support value with his stagger resistance, universal shred and shielding capability. He functions well as a ‘slot in’ unit for comps that allow a degree of flexibility in that capacity.

CompositionNotes
A physical sustained composition with razor, swapping to Zhongli for the additional burst damage and shielding to allow for a safe but still high damage composition.

Geo DPS

Zhongli’s Geo dps playstyle differs heavily based on the units used in the composition. This playstyle heavily limits the variety seen in all other Zhongli team comps and forces a higher focus on Geo constructs which can be a very large drawback in certain situations where they become less effective, such as against world bosses. Positioning of Zhongli’s E becomes crucial here and must be placed precisely to gain maximum value and to effectively make use of the damage output from Zhongli.

Concerning team compositions, this playstyle forces a greatly limited number of usable units in your team and results in a very forced team composition and specific playstyle.

CompositionNotes
“Microwave” composition that allows you to play around his resonance with GeoMC. You can replace Bennett with Fischl for significantly more energy to play quickswap.

Stele Positioning

Zhongli’s stone stele’s take a fair bit of effort to play around properly, especially in geo centric compositions to optimize the potential damage output. The range at which a stele will resonate with another geo construct is 3 abyss tiles but the damage radius is only half that. This allows structure placement to be fairly lenient when there are only a few geo constructs in play. Ideally, you would have your constructs only moderately spaced apart and attempt to lure in melee enemies into the overlapping damage zone either with your character themselves or a taunt ability such as baron bunny or Mona’s Mirror Reflection. Keep in mind that only 3 geo constructs can be in play at any given time, and that constructs are overridden by whichever has been on the field the longest. Particularly when using Zhongli at C1 can result in overriding of his pillars if one isn’t paying attention to what order the constructs have been placed down in.

An important enabler of the geo damage Zhongli playstyle is the existence of the geo traveler and the way their elemental burst functions. The 4 geo constructs created by Wake of Earth do not contribute to the previously mentioned cap of 3 constructs. This allows you to have both your pillar, 2 of the traveler’s Starfell sword orbs, and the 4 created by Wake of Earth, all resonating at the same time. This allows for up to 5 resonance damage instances on a single enemy at once, going up to 8 in the same time period with Zhongli’s C1 enabled. When positioning the traveler’s burst relative the Zhongli’s pillars, it’s best to stand right next to the pillar and burst to align yourself properly. If you have C1 and are working around 2 pillars, its best to position your second pillar, right next to where you used Wake of Earth in order to effectively provide full area coverage.

Hybrid DPS

The Hybrid DPS playstyle looks to get value out of Zhongli’s kit wholistically rather than focusing on a specific component. This build allows Zhongli to assume the role of the main or sub DPS, actively playing on field to maximise both Physical and Geo Damage. This build requires an extremely active playstyle focusing on constant stele repositioning in order to maximise resonance damage and also needs the highest amount of investment of any Zhongli build, often being weapon locked on the low end.

For free to play set ups, Crescent Pike and Blackcliff Pole are roughly on par damage wise, Pike redirecting a significant portion of Zhongli’s ceiling towards the physical side of his kit, Deathmatch and Lithic Spear (When ran in an optimal team comp) are the best 4-star options, each raising Zhongli’s personal ceiling by a decent margin. Ideally a 5-star weapon would be used, Homa being the best option followed by Primordial Jade Winged Spear and Vortex Vanquisher.

Regarding team compositions, Hybrid Zhongli teams have a wide array of options with the core component of the line-ups being Geo Resonance. If Zhongli is assuming the main DPS role in this team, Albedo or Geo MC are solid options, while Ningguang is best suited for a Sub DPS Zhongli. The other two available slots can be utilised to optimise specific components of Zhongli’s kit.

CompositionNote
A fairly standard composition with Superconduct Fischl and Geo resonance.

Physical Carry

For physical Zhongli, his combos for proper damage output changes on your choice of weaponry. For Crescent Pike users, optimal damage is using N4 cancels by sprinting after the spear kick. It is recommended to use Superconduct with Fischl and Geo resonance to push his damage profile further. For 5* weapons, N4 spear kicks into a Charged Attack yield strong results. In general, his team compositions are fluid and you can take your pick of the litter in terms of sub-DPS units.

There are several advanced combos that you can use to increase your damage profile. Not only can Zhongli do his N4 Spear Kick, he can also do N7 E taps, where his attack knocks back, and the E pillar will knock up small enemies for fall damage. Furthermore, he also has a Jump Plunge cancel that can follow up on his normal attack string.

CompositionNotes
Zhongli DPS with Geo resonance while strong sub-DPS’s are empowered by his Jade Shield resistance shred.