Don’t fret if you’ve had absolutely terrible luck rolling for characters in Genshin Impact gacha banners. The Lantern Rite Festival is running again this year, which means that every player will be able to earn a free four-star character in the Fleeting Colors in Flight event. After accumulating enough event points, you’ll be able to redeem them for Xiangling, Beidou, Xingqiu, Ningguang, Chongyun, Xinyan, Yun Jin, or Yanfei. The question remains: Who do you pick for your roster?
The answer is highly subjective. Genshin Impact tier lists don’t account for characters that perform well under highly specific team compositions. And sometimes, getting an extra constellation for a support character can be better than picking a damage dealer that you’ll never use (just ask me how much I regret accidentally pulling Itto while trying for Gorou). Getting constellations (an extra copy) of a character can drastically change their playstyle and viability in teams. So if you already have too many damage dealers in your team and you don’t feel like spending a month of resources building a new one, then it’s worth picking up a dupe for a good support.
These are characters who are universally useful for almost every team. Regardless of who you have, their great support capabilities will make a noticeable difference to your gameplay experience without significant investment.
This wayward son of a guild manager is widely considered the best support in the game, and for good reason. He can heal somewhat, can raise the damage ceiling of the main DPS, and can trigger powerful hydro-based reactions like “vaporize.” His elemental burst skill automatically applies hydro on normal attacks (there’s no need to aim!), which makes him a great character for beginners or those who play Genshin on mobile. Slap a Sacrificial Sword on him and thank me later.
Anyone who clears the third level of the Spiral Abyss can get Xiangling for free. So the question is: Should you pick her dupe? The answer is yes. She’s considered the second-best pyro support in the game, and solely because Bennett is the uncontested god of pyro. Her burst “Pyronado” does ridiculous amounts of damage, and you want to raise her to at least C4 so that she can keep it running for as long as possible. While she can be a respectable damage dealer on her own, she’s too valuable to run as a main DPS. Pair her with a hydro DPS and watch the numbers fly.
As much as it hurts me to say it, four-star DPS will never out-damage their five-star counterparts without significant resource investment. You should only invest in these if you don’t already have a reliable damage dealer, or if you love their backstories enough to dedicate resources into them.
Keep in mind that numbers aren’t everything. Each DPS character has a unique damage-dealing playstyle. If you find charged attacks too annoying, then it might not matter if a character can out-damage others in its niche.
Before Itto was released, Ningguang was considered the most powerful geo DPS in the game. The queen has since been dethroned, but she’s still relevant to players who don’t have a fully built Itto or those who need to farm materials from the Golden Wolflord. Her jade screen ability also has some support capabilities, which Itto’s kit entirely lacks. Before choosing her, make sure that you enjoy using charged attacks, as that’s where a huge chunk of her damage comes from. The other known issue about Ningguang is that her attacks don’t auto-target very well. It’s fine for the Spiral Abyss mode, but her targeting can be annoying in the open world.
This plucky lawyer is another catalyst user who relies on charged attacks for her kit, except her element is pyro. She’s the main pick for people who need a dedicated pyro damage dealer for reactions or Elemental Resonance (the effect bonus when you stack two or more characters of the same type), but don’t have Diluc or Klee. Otherwise, she’s decent but not exceptional.
There’s only one gameplay reason to pull for Beidou: you love the highs of landing a perfect parry attack. That’s it. Otherwise, electro is a finicky element with damage problems. As of the time of publication, Raiden Shogun’s elemental burst still doesn’t activate Beidou’s burst. If you’re not itching for the challenge of playing her kit, then I would invest in a different character’s constellation.
These characters can be usable, but there’s a huge asterisk included. Only pull for them if you like their story or if you have a specific build in mind. Otherwise, I advise beginners to skip them. They are not newbie friendly.
Yun Jin could be a fantastic support character. There just hasn’t been enough time for the Genshin community to test her team synergy, which is a process that can take several months. On paper, her abilities are ideal for teams with many different elemental types, and a main damage dealer who relies on normal hits for damage. If someone else would benefit your team, then I would go for them and wait for Yun Jin to have a rerun. Otherwise, you should only pick her because you like her backstory or design.
Chongyun is mostly used as a burst damage dealer, for melt reactions, or to synergize with other cryo characters. I was a Chongyun main in the early game, and it wasn’t ideal. His Elemental Skill converts all normal attacks to cryo damage, which is problematic because most characters have skills that optimize their own elemental damage. Characters like Raiden Shogun and Diluc will override his ice field with their Elemental Bursts. You could try to use him with Xingqiu for a permafreeze comp. However, Chongyun’s weapon will shatter enemies instantly, which means that he can’t be the main DPS if you want to run permafreeze. I’m desperately hoping that Shenhe can make his kit viable, but she’s better used on dedicated damage dealers. Kaeya is a free cryo character that is superior in almost every way.
There’s one main reason to not build Xinyan: her ascension materials include Violetgrass. I partially built her and then gave up because climbing mountains to grab these flowers was far too annoying. Gameplay-wise, her abilities are also lackluster. Her kit scales with defense, but she’s a main damage dealer. While a ton of the newer characters also scale off defense, their defense-to-damage scaling is either better (Itto) or their kit is built on support (Gorou, Yun Jin). I would not bring her to the Spiral Abyss, but enemies are fairly weak in the open world. She should be okay as long as you’ve invested in her properly.
If you struggle with making a decision, then just go with your gut. Four-star characters are all relatively easy to obtain even if you only spend the free in-game currency. Everyone can get Xiangling for free at any time, and characters like Beidou, Ningguang, and Xingqiu rotate in the Starglitter shop on a monthly basis. But the event can help if you’ve been unlucky with that one elusive character, or if you weren’t lucky enough to get Yun Jin during the current banners. Just don’t forget to actually farm the Lantern Rite Festival event’s minigames, or you can’t redeem any of these characters!