Stagger, Knockback, & Launch

Introduction

One of the lesser-discussed mechanics in terms of Genshin Impact, yet one of the most vitally useful ones in terms of higher-level play is the idea behind how you can interrupt an opponent by knocking them back or staggering them.

This mechanic is essential in making sure that Abyss Mages with broken shields can’t regenerate them, or Cryo Slimes with destroyed shields aren’t able to stay out of combat for a few seconds and regenerate their shields, just to name a few very common examples.

An understanding of it can help prevent rough situations where “I was attacking the Cryo Slime with my catalyst user constantly, but it just regen’d its shields, anyway!”, or “I dealt 30,000 damage with Ganyu’s bloomed charged attack to that Pyro Fatui mage when it was dancing, so why didn’t I interrupt his dance and prevent him from re-shielding?”.

In this guide, we’ll take a walk through how Stagger, Knockback, and Launch work in Genshin Impact. We’ll examine strategies for maximizing this against enemies, why this works better with some characters than others, and how to passively plan for having this in abundance in team compositions where you need it.

To give credit to where credit is due, this guide is brought to you courtesy of several users on the NGA.cn Chinese Forums who compiled a database of various statistics related to it, as well as the Genshin Impact Fandom’s overview of some of this information. While these resources were by no means exhaustive, they were invaluable in our analysis.

Core Mechanics

So, let’s start from the beginning. What exactly is stagger?

Stagger, as a mechanic, is actually one of four categories of interrupts that are possible in Genshin Impact, ranked below in ascending order of magnitude. It should be mentioned that each subsequent interrupt encompasses the same effects as each preceding interrupt.

  1. Stagger Shakes or disorients the enemy briefly, but otherwise does not move them at all.
  2. Knockback Knocks the enemy back a short or medium distance. Can push enemies to the ground.
  3. Launch – Lifts the enemy up into the air, and pushes them back a medium or long distance.
  4. Ragdoll – Lifts the enemy up into the air, causes them to spin/ragdoll in midair and unable to use any attacks/abilities for the duration.

One thing that should be mentioned before continuing on is that Character Level is a large, if not all-encompassing factor in terms of being able to execute any of the stagger-class interrupts. While the exact math of this is still under scrutiny, it appears that being under-leveled by 20 levels or more seems to be the break point for most interrupts to work properly. When Jean is more than 20 levels below her enemy, she struggles considerably to be able to Launch at all; same for Venti, and for every claymore-wielding character currently in the game.

To break down the way that the interrupt mechanics are applied to enemies, we’re going to need to factor in several variables in the following sections to get our end result. They are:

  1. Interrupt Threshold
  2. Interrupt Vulnerability Duration
  3. Interrupt Damage

Interrupt Threshold

The Interrupt Threshold value, in its simplest form, is a recyclable value that represents how much interrupt damage an enemy can take before they go over their threshold for it and are subjected to an interrupt. Different enemies have different thresholds; some of the more common enemy thresholds have been summarized in the below table:

If you’re able to deal enough Interrupt Damage to an enemy quickly enough (which we’ll get to in just a minute), in essence, you’ll inflict an interrupt to them. What kind of interrupt, you ask? Well, it depends on three things.

First off, enemies that have a larger mass are much more difficult to Launch or Ragdoll up into the air. It’s substantially easier in most situations to Launch a Common Hilichurl than it is to Launch a Stonehide Lawachurl simply because the Hilichurl has less mass to have to move. A sample table has been included below for reference:

Secondly, the more interrupt damage you can inflict over the threshold on the attack that ends up reaching the threshold will tie in to the magnitude of the interrupt, although a depth study on how specifically this works is yet to be carried out.

Third, vertical force of some kind, usually via a Skill/Burst, explosion, or Elemental Reaction explosion is often necessary to Launch or Ragdoll an enemy that has a mass rating of greater than 1. To be fair, it does make a degree of physics sense that you’d need to actually push an enemy up instead of just pushing them sideways to actually get them to fly up in the air.

One thing to note in passing, here – mass is a mechanic that actually affects your own characters as well. A short female character, such as Barbara, has less mass than a tall male character, such as Diluc. As a result, Barbara is more prone to interrupt tactics than Diluc is, purely because it takes fewer attacks or force to interrupt her.

Interrupt Vulnerability Duration

Unfortunately, players don’t have an unlimited amount of time to get through an enemy’s Interrupt Threshold – they have to so it within the enemy’s Vulnerability Duration, otherwise the Interrupt Threshold will reset and the player will have to start over in their effort to deal an interrupt.

An example table of this is included below:

Something that’s interesting to note about Vulnerability Duration is that your party’s characters actually have it, too. While an in-depth discussion of how your own characters are susceptible to interrupt mechanics is beyond the scope of this guide, what’s worth noting is that Melee characters have a Vulnerability Duration of 2 seconds, while Ranged characters have a Vulnerability Duration of 3 seconds – meaning that Ranged characters are 50% more susceptible to interrupts than their Melee counterparts.

Another note is that Lawachurls’ Vulnerability Duration, when coupled with their mass, explains why it’s so difficult for most players to be able to Launch or Ragdoll them. Bennett and Diluc are the only characters (as of Patch 1.5) that have a kit that naturally allows this to be readily done; all other strategies have to involve a mix of characters and approaches to be able to consistently launch an enemy with a Vulnerability Duration that low, with a mass that high.

Interrupt Damage

Finally, the heart of the matter – being able to deal damage to inflict an interrupt on an enemy.

The most recent study conducted on the topic of how much damage each respective character deals is missing large pieces of information, and was performed in Patch 1.3. While some characters are missing and others have incomplete information, some helpful numbers can still be gleaned from it. The asterisks represent the ability to break an extremely long channeling ability on an enemy, such as a Cryogunner Legionnaire’s Spraying Frost ability. (a normal interrupt of any kind does this as well, just note that the asterisk abilities can do it on-demand)

We immediately notice that Ningguang is the only catalyst user who actually inflicts interrupt damage on her normal attacks. Catalyst users and bow users in general are disadvantaged towards dealing Interrupt Damage in terms of their normal and charged attacks by design, with many of their attacks dealing none at all.

It also becomes obvious why Bennett and Diluc make Launch such as easy mechanic to execute – between Bennett’s Skill and Diluc’s Burst, they’re able to produce extremely high Interrupt Damage numbers readily.

Not only do characters produce interrupt damage based off their kits, but Elemental Reactions actually do, as well! A brief summary can be noted from the below table:

An interesting effect of elemental reactions creating this damage is that the level restriction on characters for being able to inflict interrupts doesn’t apply to these reactions’ ability to deal this damage. You can use extremely under-leveled, under-geared characters – even catalyst users – to produce reactions to inflict interrupt damage.

General Observations

There are several really cool strategies that revolve around a mastered implementation of interrupts, and they can make many fights in Genshin that would otherwise be extremely difficult much more within the realm of possibility.

  1. Using Electro-Charged reactions and their arc effect to chain-stun groups of enemies. This usually requires either your electro or hydro effect producer to be capable of dynamic damage (damage that stays in play after the character that produces it isn’t the active character anymore). The point isn’t quite so much to deal colossal damage quickly, but to keep nearby enemies wet and electrified, causing near-constant interrupt effects to them and preventing them from doing anything. Extremely useful against large, but weak mobs.
  2. Have a character with high interrupt damage available when fighting enemies with annoying shields. Using a character such as Bennett, Diluc, or Klee can be quite helpful when fighting against an enemy such as a Frostarm Lawachurl that you don’t have enough damage to 100-to-0 in one round once you’ve whittled his shields down. Being able to interrupt the Lawachurl when he goes to regen his shields can be a quick means of not having to re-do your previous work.
  3. Don’t count heavily on bow or catalyst users to prevent Abyss Mages from regenerating shields. Since bows and catalysts only really inflict interrupt damage on certain charged attacks, skills, or bursts, they usually take a secondary role in terms of being able to stop a dancing Abyss Mage from re-shielding. Physical impact weapons naturally excel here in greater degree.

Conclusion

It’s our hope that this guide has been helpful for you, and you’ve found it insightful for your playstyle and general approach to the game.

We welcome comments or constructive feedback if additions or corrections can be made to to this content. Feel free to drop us a note with your thoughts.

Cheers,

The Sons of Dvalin community