Genshin Impact: Talents or Artifacts (Which To Prioritize First)

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Farming for talent books is a lot more consistent than farming for artifacts. So leveling talents is a bigger priority than artifacts.

Leveling talents is an immediate and guaranteed damage boost to your characters. In contrast, artifacts have a lot of RNG, thus making it hard to get a single good piece.

Every step of farming and getting an artifact is RNG – including which artifact set you get from domains, how many pieces, its main stat, substats, and even the substats you get while leveling it.

A good set of artifacts can take months to farm, while leveling talents can be done in over a week.

And for DPS units, leveling talents is always more efficient.

However, there’s an exception for characters that scale off Elemental Mastery (EM) – most notably Anemo supports.


EM-Build Anemo Characters

Kazuha with 4-piece Viridescent Venerer / Genshin Impact
Kazuha with 4-piece Viridescent Venerer

For Anemo characters with an Elemental Mastery (EM) build, getting a 4-piece Viridescent Venerer (4VV) set is a much bigger priority than talent levels.

4VV is a massive damage and support ability buff for these characters.

Leveling their talents will be a slight damage gain, but it’s still not recommended. Unless they build CRIT (also not recommended), most of their damage comes from swirl reactions.

The damage dealt by swirl scales from their character level and EM – not talent level.


Upgrade Priority for Building a Character

Although there are many ways to go about building a character, there is a very resin-efficient upgrade priority – namely:

  1. Character Ascension and Leveling
  2. Level 90 Weapons
  3. Talents
  4. Artifacts

Similarly, this is the most efficient way of pre-farming for a character.


Character Ascension and Leveling

Ascending a character / Genshin Impact
Ascending a character

Ascending character is mainly done to unlock their passive talents and higher talent upgrades.

  • Passive talents are unlocked after the 1st and 4th ascension. These are integral parts of a character’s kit – it’s very high priority.
  • Each ascension increases the talent level cap by 2. Talents are very important damage boosts, thus making character ascension also important.

Additionally, character ascension gives extra stats that generally benefit the character – like CRIT stats, Elemental Mastery, and damage bonus.

Leveling a character is also important but less than character ascensions.

It simply lets you reach the required character level before ascending. After the last ascension, leveling a character to 90 isn’t a top priority.

It is a damage gain, but not a significant one for every character. Check out our guide to learn which characters are worth leveling to 90.


Priority Weapons

Bennett with a level 90 Aquila Favonia / Genshin Impact
Bennett with a level 90 Aquila Favonia

Weapons are the second biggest source of damage or utility. Leveling a weapon to 90 is a significant damage boost, especially to DPS characters.

This is mostly because of its Base ATK and secondary stat.

For ATK-scaling characters, Base ATK is especially important. Every ATK stat and buff gained by a character will scale based on their Base ATK.

For characters that don’t scale off ATK, the weapon’s secondary stat is still valuable. These are often CRIT stats that still benefit their kit.

Support characters also benefit from leveled weapons – but a bit less.

These characters often use weapons with Energy Recharge (ER) secondary stats, and a bit more ER is always appreciated.

Of course, there are exceptions – some characters can fully benefit from an unleveled weapon.

Yelan with an R5 Fading Twilight / Genshin Impact
Yelan with an R5 Fading Twilight

For instance, Fading Twilight is a free 4-star bow that’s viable on Yelan.

But both of the weapon’s stats are ATK. Since Yelan scales completely from HP, there’s no point in leveling the weapon – yet she’ll still benefit from its passive.

In these instances, you can skip leveling the weapon and just head straight to talents.


Priority Talents

Triple-crowned Xiao / Genshin Impact
Triple-crowned Xiao

Leveling talents directly increase a character’s multipliers.

This influences their damage dealt, HP healed, and many more – it essentially guarantees a buff to their character abilities.

But not every talent is worth leveling or top priority.

Genshin does have a talent-leveling priority guide in-game, but they’re not all accurate. Plus, there are nuances depending on what build or playstyle you’re using.

So it’s still very important to read or look up a character’s kit before leveling their talents.


Priority Artifacts

Artifacts are often the last priority for building a character.

This is because of the multiple layers of RNG included in getting a decent piece. Getting a complete set with good stats can easily take months to accomplish.

It’s a much slower and hit-or-miss way of improving your character. There’s never a guarantee that you get the artifact piece you need.

Because of this, there’s also a priority in farming artifacts – which is: main stat > substats.

Artifact main stats / Genshin Impact
Artifact main stats

Main stats are the larger primary stats in each artifact.

Using the right main stat is always more important than its substats – they simply contribute more to your character.

Artifact substats / Genshin Impact
Artifact substats

Substats are the smaller stats under each artifact.

Every 4 levels, one substat is added or leveled. This is very RNG-reliant, so it’s much harder to min-max than main stats.

So simply getting the right main stats on the right artifact is enough as a temporary build.

You can start focusing on optimizing your artifacts once all the other upgrade priorities are accomplished. Keep in mind that min-maxing substats is very resin- and time-consuming.

How Important are Artifact Sets?
Raiden with 4-piece Emblem of Severed Fate / Genshin Impact
Raiden with 4-piece Emblem of Severed Fate

It depends on every character. Some characters only have one best-in-slot artifact set that significantly outperforms every other option. To them, completing artifact sets are very important.

Plus, it’s generally recommended to complete a 4-piece artifact set instead of going for 2-pieces of different sets.

Most notably this includes artifact sets like Viridescent Venerer, Blizzard Strayer, and Emblem of Severed Fate. Their 4pc passives are simply too strong to ignore.

2pc/2pc artifact builds are only the best options for characters that don’t have a specialized artifact set – like Fischl, Yae, and Keqing.

To better specify, here’s a list of characters whose 4pc artifact sets are very important.

Artifact Set Character(s)
4-piece Viridescent Venerer (4VV) Sucrose, Kazuha, Venti, every Anemo support
4-piece Blizzard Strayer (4BS) Ayaka, Freeze Ganyu, Freeze Kaeya, Freeze Rosaria
4-piece Emblem of Severed Fate (4EoSF) Raiden, Xiangling, Xingqiu
4-piece Husk of Opulent Dreams (4HoOD) Itto, Albedo
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Maeri Mgdrg

Maeri is an avid gacha player currently in the clutches of Genshin Impact. She mainly focuses on character analyses, underlying game mechanics, and occasionally reading game code. She also yearns for the day that Dainsleif is finally playable.