Genshin Impact Elemental System Guide

by Majesty

Hello travelers! Let’s get started with today’s topic of the Elemental System.

From left to right, these elements are Pyro, Hydro, Anemo, Electro, Dendro, Cryo, and Geo. Or in layman’s terms, Fire, Water, Wind, Lightning, Grass, Ice,and Rock.  I’d arguably say that the elemental system is the most important aspect in Genshin Impact and having at least rudimentary understanding is more effective than having a max level character with decked out gear.

Let’s first begin with some set-up to understand why these elements are so important.  In Genshin Impact, you can inflict two types of damage: physical (which is indicated by white damage numbers) and elemental (which is one of the 7 types and indicated by colored damage numbers).  Every enemy can also either take an element type or be typeless.  In order to see whether an enemy possesses an elemental type, simply look at whether there is an elemental symbol above their head.  In addition, you can also use element sight which has an added benefit of being able to see object element types as well.  In order to activate element sight, simply hit the mouse wheel on PC or tap the Icon on Mobile.  In element sight, enemies and objects possessing elements will be highlighted in color, elementless objects and enemies will be white, and the terrain will be dulled.  Enemies can have parts that are different elements as well (such as shields on Hilichurls), so make use of the elemental sight system!

Elements have important uses in this game from activating elemental pylons to causing terrain effects.  Most importantly, however, is the use of the elemental system to proc elemental interactions in combat.  Every enemy in the game can possess two elements; essentially, they can be “given” a second element through elemental skills.  Enemies already possessing an element can be given one element while typeless enemies can be given two (though enemies can be made to lose their original element; more on that later).  When enemies are given a second element, it will trigger an “elemental interaction” which has a variety of effects.  Enemies will lose their artificially gained element after a period of time and adding a new element will override their second element.  Important to note is that elemental interactions can only trigger off of an enemy’s original element type; typeless enemies will instead trigger elemental effects based on their first given element.  This system doesn’t only apply to enemies however!  All player characters have elemental skills that will inflict elemental damage; but playable characters themselves are typeless.  That means you can absorb elements as well, which will show up above your hp bar and you can be inflicted elemental interactions too (there’s nothing better in life than fighting cryo and electro enemies in water at the same time so you get chain frozen + paralyzed).  Also important to note is that enemies possessing an original element cannot be inflicted damage of that element! So, it’s imperative that you pay attention to elemental recommendations on dungeons, so if you bring a Pyro type character as your main damage source to a dungeon with only Pyro type characters, you will not have a good time.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of elements, I’ll give a quick rundown on the possible elemental interactions and their effects:

Burning: Dendro + Pyro

It is essentially the tutorial elemental interaction that they teach to you early on which you will be using for the majority of the early game to deal with shielded enemies.  Burning inflicts a constant Damage-over-Time debuff on enemies which can be extinguished by going into a water source, as well as from ice elemental sources.  Dendro is the second-least seen element in this game, only being possessed by grass slimes and nature mages, meaning that this interaction will be triggered mostly on wooden objects such as shields and clubs (and on the player character) being set on fire.  Burning also has an important use in exploration in that inflicting burning on grass will result in updrafts that characters can use their glider on to gain height in the open world.

Frozen: Hydro + Cryo

Frozen will result in enemies being unable to perform any interaction (and being stuck in the pose

they had as they were frozen which leads to some funny situations).  Frozen enemies will be vulnerable to all attacks and will remain frozen for a short period of time before they become unfrozen.  Frozen can be applied repeatedly with next to no cooldown, meaning it’s possible to lock up single enemies for large periods of time.  Players that are frozen can repeatedly tap movement buttons to unfreeze quicker.  Keep in mind that the player character can end frozen prematurely by applying melt, so don’t use a pyro character after you freeze an enemy.  (Also, you can’t freeze something that’s already frozen, so please stop trying to freeze ice slimes I beg you.)

Vaporize: Hydro + Pyro

Vaporize is used mainly to remove the Pyro elements from enemies that have a base Pyro element, such as fire slimes.  Vaporize also causes additional damage (which the majority of interactions do) on Hydro enemies but not remove their element.  Enemies that lose their Pyro element through Vaporize will regenerate it over time, given they are not inflicted with subsequent Hydro damage.  Vaporize will also remove the burning status, meaning players can find water sources to remove burning.  However, please note that if will remove burning on enemies too, so don’t trip any rain producing stones after you’ve lit all the Hilichurls on fire.

Melt: Cryo + Pyro

Similar to vaporize, but for Cryo instead of Hydro.  Melt will also remove frozen status from any enemies currently suffering it, as well as on the player (which normally doesn’t happen but hey you can get lucky when the enemy AI doesn’t coordinate).  

Electro-charged: Hydro + Electro

Electro-charged enemies will constantly be flinched, interrupting any of their previous actions and resetting any attacks or movement.  This also happens to the player character, so make sure you’re not standing in any sort of water when there are Electro enemies around.  Electro-charged enemies will also transfer this status effect to unaffected enemies if the new enemy can receive it through contact.  

Overload: Pyro + Electro

Overloaded enemies will explode and be launched into the air if they are smaller type enemies.  This explosion can launch surrounding enemies as well.  I’ve never actually seen this interaction on a player character, but I wouldn’t be so eager to test it out unless you want to get ragdolled further than being hit by a spinning Ruin Guard. 

Superconduct: Cryo + Electro

Same effect as Overloaded but with Cryo instead of Pyro.  The explosions here seem to be able to trigger Superconduct in nearby enemies as well, but that could just be a result of most Electro skills having Area of Effect so not entirely sure on that one.  This one I have actually experienced as a player and you will remain frozen and take massive damage simultaneously, so watch out if you’re in water with Electro and Cryo enemies nearby. 

Swirl: Anemo + Hydro/Pyro/Cryo/Electro

Swirl doesn’t proc any supplementary effects on enemies but instead deals a massive amount of bonus damage to the target enemy.  This makes Anemo a pretty good jack-of-all-trades element type since it doesn’t disrupt or counteract any other elemental interactions that might be happening.  I’m also pretty sure you can’t receive this effect as a player (not that Eye of Winds and Dhvalin need to one-shot you, mind you).

You might have noticed a missing element in the above interactions, but don’t worry I have that covered and the interactions of Geo are… *drumroll*

Inert: Geo + Anything (Get it, because rocks are inert and don’t do anything okay I’ll stop)

Okay so that elemental interaction is a joke because Geo cannot react with anything right now.  I swear I’ve seen a “Molten” interaction occur a few times between Geo and Pyro, but I can’t reliably produce it so probably a bug/unimplemented interaction.  As a result of this, those level 20 something Geo slimes end up being your worst nightmare because for any other enemy, one of your characters will find it impossible to kill but for a Geo slime all of your characters will find it impossible to kill (so nuke it with all 4 of your ultimates in succession to save time.)

Out of the currently released 12 playable characters, the ones that can use each element are:

Anemo: Player Character, Jean, Venti

Pyro: Amber, Diluc, Xiangling, Klee(?)

Electro: Lisa, Razor

Cyro: Kaeya, Kamisato Ayaka

Hydro: Barbara

Dendro: None

Geo: None

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