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Is Genshin Impact’s new 5-star character Xiao worth the pull? That depends

Genshin Impact patch 1.3 is right around the corner, meaning another five-star banner is set to launch sometime on February 3. Last month’s Ganyu spotlight is making way for Xiao: Another Adapti we’ve seen quite a bit more of in the story as of late. With just how strong Ganyu managed to be, it’s hard to imagine another new character usurping her throne quite so soon. Is Xiao good? Should you pull for Xiao? Should you save your gems for after Xiao? They’re all valid questions we’ll be answering below.

Xiao is only the third polearm user to make it into Genshin Impact behind Zhongli and Xiangling, meaning as far as data goes, there isn’t much to compare with right now on the raw damage front. Instead, we need to focus on how Xiao uses his weapon and how his Anemo skillset can be used to trigger elemental reactions.

Should you pull for Xiao?

Character Demo - "Xiao: Doombane" | Genshin Impact

Back when she was the only polearm user around, Xiangling did little more than rapidly strike single targets, piercing to those behind. There was a small sweep attack toward the end of her combo, but other than that, she was primarily situated as a single-target brawler. The future of polearms wasn’t looking particularly exciting, but Zhongli’s Geo-based platforms opened up some interesting playstyles for the weapon class.

Xiao, on the other hand, is accelerating the polearm’s vertical mastery. Rather than being confined to the floor or needing to use slight elevation to hit the weak points of larger enemies, the combination of Xiao’s elemental skill and burst allows him to rapidly scale targets in a flurry of strikes similar to Childe’s final form, which should make for a far more versatile combat experience.

Normal Attack

  • Tap: Performs six consecutive spear strikes.
  • Charged: Delivers an upward thrust.
  • Plunge: Deals AoE damage. Xiao is immune to plunge damage.

Skills

  • Elemental Skill (Lemniscatic Wind Cycling): Lunge forward, dealing Anemo damage to enemies in the path. Can be used in mid-air. Starts with two charges.
  • Elemental Burst (Bane of All Evil): For 15 seconds, Xiao’s jump height, AoE radius, and DMG all increase. Any damage dealt becomes Anemo. His health drops by 2% or 3% each second, depending on the level of the skill.

As you can imagine from the skill descriptions above, Xiao relies on zipping around the battlefield with his elemental skill. Paired with his elemental burst, his ability to jump high means his multiple skill charges can be used to rapidly attack weak points that most other melee characters have no natural way of targeting.

Paired with a persistent elemental burst from a character like Xiangling, his rapid Anemo attacks are bound to shed most targets with powerful Swirl reactions.

Are the Xiao banner four-star characters good?

Genshin Impact Xiao
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Of course, when pulling for a four-star character like Xiao, you’re automatically pulling for the three rate-up four-star characters, too. With a slim chance of a Xiao pull, you need to weigh up whether the four-star characters you’re bound to get along the way add a little extra worth. The rate-up characters in the Xiao banner are as follows:

  • Beidou
  • Diona
  • Xinyan

Xinyan (Pyro/Claymore) and Diona (Cryo/Bow) make their second rate-up appearance in this one. As a support character, Diona can absolutely fill in for Qiqi or cause Cryo reactions like Ganyu. Xinyan, on the other hand, feels a little lackluster in both damage and support departments and doesn’t tend to see much use outside of heavy melee-based teams. As for Beidou, she’s no Fischl, but with the right build, her unique elemental skill can see you through some otherwise deadly situations.

In patch 1.3, you get to claim a four-star Liyue character of your choice for free. If you’re looking to build either Beidou or Xinyan, the freebie alone will make this banner a sure-fire way of filling in their constellations quickly.

What banner is after Xiao?

Genshin Impact Keqing
Image used with permission by copyright holder

One thing to make note of with the Xiao banner, though, is that what comes after isn’t another new five-star banner. Rather than following tradition and releasing a new character like Hu Tao at the end of the Xiao banner, launch character Keqing will take the spotlight in her own banner, potentially spelling the end of the tradition of launching two new five-star characters throughout each patch.

It’s not all bad news, though. Keqing’s banner offers rate-up pulls on Bennett, Ningguang, and Barbara — three very powerful support characters. If you’re close to getting a guaranteed Xiao through pity and don’t need his boosted four-star characters, grab him quickly and save your gems for Keqing’s banner purely for the support potential.

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Josh Brown
Josh Brown is a UK-based freelancer with devoted interests in video games, tech, film, and anime/manga. Just don't talk to…
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