Tier List

Introduction

While many players to Genshin Impact will have seen one of the versions of the character Tier List before, it can be helpful to supplement this list with a well-rounded understanding of what it’s intended to do, as well as what as what it isn’t intended to do.

Let’s take a look at the Tier List in more detail, and we’ll use the version of it as presented on the Genshin.gg page dedicated to it to do so.

To make sure we’re giving credit to where credit is due, Usagi Sensei is the one who originally created most of the content for this list, and he’s made a great foundational piece of information for players to pull from in terms of working with their characters.

What we’re going to do here is take a holistic view of the Tier List as a whole, and dive in to some of the Genshin Impact player community’s praises of the list, as well as its criticisms – because some of them are held by our community as well, and they’re good topics for discussion.

It’s a General Reference, Not an Absolute Reference

What I’m ultimately getting at with this statement is that if you were to follow the Tier List to the letter, and never deviated from it even marginally, you’d do pretty well in terms of your team compositions and loadouts. In other words, you generally wouldn’t struggle with your play being difficult purely from a character selection standpoint (assuming, of course, that you balanced damage types when you needed to, accommodated an archer when you needed one, etc.).

The oversight that some have made in terms of this ideology is in thinking that if you do deviate from the Tier List, your team build must be absolute garbage – because you also must be absolute garbage for picking it in the first place.

While this makes for highly entertaining conversation and we do make jokes and memes about it from time-to-time, serious purveyors of the Tier List tend to create misconceptions about some characters, which can cause less-seasoned Genshin players to think that some very usable, good characters are, in fact, complete rubbish.

Which lends itself to what’s perhaps one of the most toxic, misleading ideas that floats online the co-op and online playing community for this wonderful game:

“If you’re attempting to competitively run a character that’s ranked low on the Tier List, such as Amber or Lisa, not only is your build composition terrible, you actually can’t even win with it due to how bad it is.

If you’ve ever been forcibly booted from an online co-op game purely because you were running Amber in a boss fight or domain (the author has), you can likely relate to this.

The danger here is that not only is the final statement an outright lie, but it’s actively used as a means to “bully” newer players who don’t get amazing wish pulls into thinking that they have to load money into Genshin just to be able to get anywhere with it.

To help illustrate this point, consider the following power scaling system relative to the inherent difficult the game presents:

The idea here is that as long as your weapon and itemization is prudently thought out for whatever archer you may need to run in your gameplay, even if you’re running Amber as your archer of choice, you’re still above the difficulty curve in terms of what you need to win in the game and progress yourself.

To add another interesting consideration into the mix, several Ganyu players have told me word-for-word in recent weeks that they feel that Ganyu has so much damage output and such a rounded toolkit that she feels as if she makes the game artificially feel too easy. Once a player plateaus on the archer power curve with Ganyu, it causes a perspective shift that Amber veterans may not have. How you feel about that entire landscape is up to you.

To add a clarification to this, I readily agree with those who’d suggest that not all characters are created equal, and some characters are naturally better at roles than their more-common counterparts, and have better access to damage. But…

“While some tools are better than others, all tools still work.”

Role Allocation is Broader than the Tier List Implies

In terms of the core differences between ‘Main DPS’ and ‘Sub DPS’ in Genshin Impact, there are two general schools of thought among players. Neither one is wrong in any way, and you can readily win in-game with both – but they reflect two alternate perspectives in approaching a common problem.

The first approach is to have one “primary” conventional attack- or ability-based damage dealer in your party, and then have most of the other characters in the party add buffs, positioning setups, or elemental combo setups for this primary damage character. This is the idea behind the concept of the ‘Main DPS’.

The second approach is to recognize that the single easiest way in-game to get your party’s damage output higher is to use elemental combo reactions. Elemental combos cost you nothing in terms of additional weapons or levels, character levels, artifacts, or talent levels – in other words, they’re a means to increase your overall damage for free. With this in mind, a player would forego the concept of a “Main DPS” and instead have 3-4 elemental damage-based characters in their party with low cooldown timers on their Skills/Bursts, and simply cycle through them in sequence for ability-based reaction damage.

While this is a concept I go into greater detail on in the Character Roles guide on our site, the main idea I’m trying to convey here is that the concept of “Main DPS” vs. “Sub DPS” is quite broad, and sometimes pretty blurry depending on a player’s approach.

In similar fashion, the ‘Utility’ role contains several different sub-role summarizations, with the biggest point of interest being the “Healer” sub-role. In my humble opinion, ‘Healer’ really needs to be broken out into its own role; while many high-tier players may forego running a healer at all in many types of scenarios (they don’t need to because the amount of damage and lockdown they have is so high), the simple fact of the matter is that for most everyday play and common party compositions, nearly everyone runs a character with healing capabilities. It’s simply too resource-inefficient not to.

And, the final role observation that’s also made on the Character Roles page:

Characters can have more than one role, and some characters (Bennett, Jean, etc.) actually have all of them.

Tier List is not Mihoyo-Official

The Tier List was created and maintained by various members in the Genshin Impact player community.

As such, it can’t be directly compared to the in-game official “Tips and Tricks” or “Beginner’s Guide” sections that are common in many other types of RPG or JRPG games. It’s a summarized collection of views on how some very mindful strategists and builders have approached the game’s concepts.

Obviously, we value the Tier List’s information – if we didn’t, we wouldn’t be talking about it here. It’s an excellent reference point for discussion, and our community frequently refers to it.

To my observation, the general idea behind the Tier List is that it’s geared to be as concise a general explanation as possible of how you can structure your character compositions and roles to get your team to top out the highest. For most seasoned players of the game, this is the end goal for their play at the stage in the game they’re at. It’s what most “whale” accounts are focused towards, as well.

My guess is that had Miyoho actually created their own version of both the Tier List and Character Roles allocation guides, their guide would be less focused on how to get your team to top out the highest, and more focused on offering general principles and information about party composition and helping to ensure that players didn’t find themselves scraping up against the game’s difficulty curve due to misunderstandings about the game’s mechanics.

This core difference is actually a big part of the reason why we offer some of the information we do here on the Sons of Dvalin group – whereas there are plenty of resources available such as the Tier List and its underlying mentality, there are fewer resources on simply putting together some core strategies for building characters and parties that work with any player level.

While community-produced resources don’t have the credit for being officially-produced content, they present information that can help players make more holistic choices about what direction to go in with their gameplay.

And that’s what we’re about, too.

Tier List is not a Whaling Guide

The best illustration of why not to use the Tier List as the main dictator for priority in your pulls is to note that in the current iteration of it (March 2021), Tartaglia is listed as S-tier only if you have him at Constellation 6.

Tartaglia’s pretty monstrous even at Constellation 0 – although he does require precise itemization and good execution to hit his higher potential levels as a character.

If you have enough money and resources vested into Genshin Impact to the point that you can get most limited banner characters and items as they’re released, the Tier List probably isn’t a reference point to you for whaling because you’re going to get all but the most uninteresting pulls, anyway. However, this mentality comprises less than 3% of the total player base for Genshin.

Most players tend to sit moderately in the free-to-play camp, while only putting small amounts of real-world currency into the game for things like the Blessing of the Welkin Moon, the Battle Pass, or the occasional pull on a banner they’re really interested in.

Then, there’s also the smaller sub-group of players who approach the game from a truly free-to-play standpoint. To them, they’re likely only Primogem-pulling for limited banner items they absolutely want, or absolutely need – because they only get a full run at such items once every month or two.

Generally speaking, the best mentality to have with pulls is to pull for the items you really want or are really interested in (and occasionally because something meshes particularly well with something else you already have), and not pull purely because the Tier List says that it’s the greatest thing since Geo in Patch 1.3.

Some of us can call to mind that the Tier List has undergone several iterations of change since it was first introduced. Bennet was originally A-Tier, Ningguang was B-Tier, and Fischl was S-Tier in the Patch 1.1 version of the Tier List. The list was updated since to be rescaled relative to characters that have been added since then.

The moral of the story is:

Roll for what you want and need, not based off the Tier List.

Conclusion

It’s our hope that this discussion 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