Genshin Impact: Xiangling vs Hu Tao (Who’s Better?)This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
These two characters are the two strongest Pyro carries in-game. Xiangling is a free 4-star unit, while Hu Tao is a limited 5-star unit.
They excel in two different types of content – Xiangling for AOE and Hu Tao for single target.
But in most cases, Xiangling outperforms Hu Tao.
This is because Xiangling is much easier to play. A minimal understanding of rotations and funneling is enough to reach her damage ceiling. And as an off-field DPS, she usually just casts her burst and then goes off-field.
In contrast, Hu Tao is mechanically challenging to play. She’s an on-field DPS. Her kit requires attack combos and stamina management to be competitive with Xiangling.
To better explain all of this, let’s take a look at their character values and how they perform in the two game modes of Genshin Impact:
- Overworld (Exploration & Co-op)
- Spiral Abyss (Meta)
All comparisons are made between C0 5-star and C6 4-star characters unless stated otherwise.
- Character Kits Comparison
- In The Overworld
- Spiral Abyss (Meta)
- Who Should You Build?
Character Kits Comparison
Outside of a Physical build Xiangling, it’s never optimal to level her normal attack talent.
Whereas for Hu Tao, leveling this is a top priority.
Most of her damage stems from her charged attacks or CA. These scale off her normal attack talent.
Hu Tao’s CA’s are incredibly powerful, but it’s also what makes her mechanically challenging to play.
Performing CA’s and dodging enemy attacks both consume stamina. Running out of stamina stops you from doing both.
To avoid this, players are required to learn stamina management during combat.
Even then, it’s highly likely for Hu Tao to run out of stamina. This just makes her feel frustrating to play for most players.
Xiangling summons Guoba.
Guoba deals continuous AOE Pyro damage. He stays on the field for 7s.
Hu Tao consumes 30% of her current HP and then enters the Paramita Papilio state.
While in this state, Hu Tao gains the following properties:
- Hu Tao’s ATK is increased based on her max HP. This ATK bonus can’t exceed 400% of her base ATK.
- Her attacks are converted to Pyro damage.
- Charged attacks mark enemies with the Blood Blossom effect. It deals Pyro damage every 4s – this effect can’t be stacked. It lasts for 8s or until Hu Tao leaves the field.
- Her resistance to interruption is increased.
The Paramita Papilio state lasts for 9s.
Since this buffs her charged attacks, this greatly contributes to her overall damage. Leveling Hu Tao’s skill is as important as her normal attack talent.
Xiangling summons her Pyronado.
This whirls around your active character while dealing AOE Pyro damage.
Pyronado is the strongest and most important part of her kit.
This burst costs 80 energy and lasts for 10s.
Hu Tao deals one big instance of AOE Pyro damage.
Additionally, Hu Tao regenerates a percentage of her max HP based on the number of enemies hit. This effect can be triggered up to 5 times.
If her current HP is below or equal to 50%, both the damage and HP regeneration are increased.
Since Hu Tao’s skill consumes her HP, her burst functions as built-in healing. This allows you to not run any healers in your team.
Her burst costs 60 energy.
- When cooking an ATK-boosting dish perfectly, Xiangling has a 12% chance to receive double the product.
- Guoba’s AOE is increased by 20%.
- Guoba leaves a chili pepper upon leaving the field. Picking this up gives a 10% ATK buff for 10s.
- When cooking a dish perfectly, Hu Tao has an 18% chance to receive an additional Suspicious dish.
- When her skill ends, her teammates gain 12% Crit rate for 8s.
- When Hu Tao’s HP is below or equal to 50%, she gains a 33% Pyro damage bonus. Because of this passive, it’s always optimal to stay below 50% HP.
Xiangling’s most notable constellations are her C3 and C4.
- C3 increases her elemental burst talent level by 3. This is a direct buff to Xiangling’s main source of damage.
- C4 extends Pyronado’s duration by 40%. Similar to C3, this is a massive damage buff. A longer burst uptime also smoothens Xiangling’s rotations.
Hu Tao’s most notable constellation is her C1. With C1, charged attacks performed during her skill no longer consume Stamina.
This is among the strongest 5-star constellations.
It’s a massive quality-of-life buff that greatly decreases Hu Tao’s need for stamina management. This also provides a significant damage increase from C0.
Hu Tao feels like an entirely different unit with this constellation.
In The Overworld
Hu Tao performs better than Xiangling in single-player overworld.
This is because of her extremely self-sufficient kit with built-in healing.
Additionally, most of Hu Tao’s damage comes from her elemental skill so your burst is rarely needed.
Even then, her 60 energy cost burst is cheap and easy to charge. Casting it is enough to heal and regain the HP lost from using her skill.
In contrast, Xiangling has an expensive 80 energy cost burst that she can’t charge on her own.
She would need a Pyro battery – usually Bennett. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing since Bennett is a really strong unit.
However, funneling energy is an overall worse experience in the overworld.
Generally, Xiangling and Hu Tao perform similarly in Co-op.
Once again, Hu Tao shines because of her self-sufficient kit.
In instances when you can use 2 units, pairing her with Xingqiu can easily double your damage.
As for Xiangling, her energy problems lessen in Co-op.
Since all her teammates are constantly using their skills, she can easily collect energy particles for her burst.
When using 2 units, pairing her with Bennett solves all her energy problems – and even buffs the entire team’s damage!
Spiral Abyss (Meta)
Both Xiangling and Hu Tao have extra mechanics and techniques that help improve their gameplay.
Here’s a summary of all their relevant gameplay tech and its uses.
|Xiangling||Snapshot||Pyronado and Guoba can snapshot buffs active at their time of casting. The buffs stay for the burst/skill’s entire duration even after the buffs expire.|
|Funneling||Xiangling uses other characters – usually Bennett – to funnel energy for her burst. Simply cast the character’s skill then swap to Xiangling and have her collect the energy particles.|
|Guoba Swirl||Guoba self-infuses with Pyro. This lets you use Guoba to infuse a swirl reaction with Pyro.|
|Hu Tao||Hitlag Extension||Micro freeze animations or hitlag extend Hu Tao’s Pyro infusion during her skill.|
|Animation Cancels||These shorten or cancel Hu Tao’s charged attack animation. It lets you perform more CA’s during her skill.|
Snapshotting allows certain abilities to retain buffs active during their time of casting.
Both Xiangling’s burst and Guoba can be snapshotted.
An example can be seen in the photo above.
Bennett’s burst (the red circle) provides an ATK buff. Casting Xiangling’s burst while inside this circle lets her deal 3,376 damage per hit.
Because Pyronado can snapshot, it still deals the same damage even when Bennett’s burst expires.
The buff stays for the entirety of her burst.
As a comparison, Xingqiu’s burst can’t snapshot.
So, the damage dealt during and after Bennett’s burst is different.
Snapshotting is one of the most important aspects of Xiangling’s kit. It lets you stack multiple buffs at the start of her burst to maximize her damage.
Xiangling uses other characters to funnel energy into her burst.
Her best teammate for this role is Bennett.
Funneling is very easy to perform – just cast Bennett’s skill then swap to Xiangling.
Swapping to Xiangling is very important. This is because characters gain more energy when they collect particles while on-field.
Proper funneling can significantly reduce Xiangling’s Energy Recharge requirements.
Guoba self-infuses with Pyro when attacking opponents.
This can be used to trigger a Pyro-infused swirl reaction.
In the photo above, you can see two instances of Pyro damage. The first number (left) is from Guoba’s attack, while the second number (right) is from Sucrose’s Pyro-infused swirl.
Guoba swirl’s main advantage is to proc the 4-piece Viridescent Venerer or VV set’s passive.
Its passive decreases opponents’ elemental resistance to the swirled element by 40%. Swirling Guoba helps increase this passive’s uptime.
These are micro freeze animations that extend Hu Tao’s Pyro infusion.
Her skill lasts for 9s, and its cooldown is 16s.
So, her infusion should end with 7s remaining on the CD timer.
But because of hitlag, her infusion is extended by a few seconds. You can see how the timer shows 5.7s while her skill is still active.
Hitlag can extend Hu Tao’s infusion by 1-2s.
This is essential for maximizing Hu Tao’s damage.
Her Pyro-infused charged attacks can be canceled extremely early – and doing so allows you to perform more CA’s before her infusion ends.
A C0 Hu Tao is extremely prone to running out of stamina.
This stops her from performing more CA’s and dodging enemy attacks. Animation cancels are very helpful in managing Hu Tao’s stamina.
There are 2 forms of animation cancels: jump cancels and dash cancels.
- Jump cancels are done by pressing jump shortly after the start of her CA animation. This is optimal for a C0 Hu Tao.
- Dash cancels are done by dashing shortly after the start of her CA animation. This is optimal for a C1 Hu Tao.
Since her CA’s displace her across a great distance, performing cancels also help you better control your positioning.
Xiangling and Hu Tao have very different playstyles.
This gives many variations to their team compositions – enough so that they can’t effectively replace each other in their best teams.
So, instead of comparing who’s better for what team, let’s compare their top 3 teams in relation to the meta.
Xiangling has been in the top meta of every Abyss rotation since release.
Her strong team synergies greatly contribute to her success as a unit.
Here’s a TLDR of her three best teams plus their strengths and weaknesses.
|International||It’s generally the strongest team in-game.||Difficult to play. Its best variation uses 2 limited 5-star characters – Kazuha and Tartaglia.|
|Rational||It’s the strongest team against single target – and it’s the easiest meta team to play.||It’s weaker against lighter enemies because of overload reactions. It uses two of the strongest supports in-game – Bennett and Xingqiu.|
|National Team||Exclusively uses 4-star characters that you likely already have.||Uses three of the strongest supports in-game – Bennett, Xingqiu, and Sucrose. This limits the team options for your second Abyss team.|
International or Tartaglia/Childe National
This team is composed of Xiangling, Bennett, Tartaglia, and Kazuha/Sucrose.
International is generally the strongest team in-game. It excels in AOE and works great in single target.
Although, this team is hard to play.
Its rotations are strict and essential to dealing optimal damage.
Additionally, it expects players to learn extra game mechanics like Guoba swirl and Tartaglia’s cooldown management.
Rational or Raiden National
This team is composed of Xiangling, Bennett, Xingqiu, and Raiden.
This is the strongest team against single target – and it’s the easiest meta team to play.
Its rotations aren’t significant, but it’s helpful if you want to reach a higher damage ceiling.
Most of its damage comes from multiple elemental reactions triggered by Xiangling.
Raiden and Xingqiu apply consistent Electro and Hydro auras. So, when Pyronado hits an opponent, it triggers both an overload and vaporize reaction.
However, one of its main disadvantages is that it uses two of the strongest supports in-game – Bennett and Xingqiu.
This limits your team drafting options for your second Abyss team.
Lastly, this team doesn’t work well against lighter enemies. This is because overload reactions can greatly knock them back or apart.
This is the original variant of International and Rational.
It’s composed of Xiangling, Bennett, Xingqiu, and Sucrose.
National uses only 4-star characters that you likely already have in your account. It performs only slightly worse than Rational – and better than most teams in the game.
However, it does use three of the strongest support characters in-game – Bennett, Xingqiu, and Sucrose.
Like Rational, this greatly limits your team drafting options for a second team.
Hu Tao Teams
Hu Tao is a meta character that’s strongest against single target.
Her only necessary teammate is Xingqiu. Because of this, you can easily customize her teams to whatever content you face.
Here’s a TLDR of her three best teams plus their strengths and weaknesses.
|VV Tao||Hu Tao’s strongest team. Its damage output is competitive with Rational.||It’s extremely difficult to play. This requires you to perform strict rotations for the team to work.|
|Double Geo Tao||Hu Tao’s most popular team. Its lower damage is compensated by massive comfort.||Uses 2 more limited 5-star characters – Albedo and Zhongli. Geo’s crystallize reactions can also steal Hu Tao’s vapes.|
|Overvape Tao||Comfortable to play with a strong damage output.||Overload staggers light enemies apart and away from Hu Tao.|
This is Hu Tao’s strongest team comp by far.
Its party members are:
- Hu Tao
- 1 Anemo unit (usually Kazuha/Sucrose)
- 1 Pyro unit (usually Amber/Yanfei/Thoma)
The name comes from the 4-piece Viridescent Venerer or VV set.
Its passive decreases opponents’ elemental resistance to the swirled element by 40%. This team takes advantage of Anemo units wearing this artifact set to buff Hu Tao and Xingqiu.
Although, this is an incredibly difficult team to play.
Its rotations are extremely strict and important just for the team to function.
Because of this, it’s generally not recommended for most players.
Double Geo Tao
This is Hu Tao’s most popular team.
It’s composed of Hu Tao, Xingqiu, and 2 Geo units – usually Albedo and Zhongli.
Running Zhongli provides massive comfort to your gameplay.
His shield eases Hu Tao’s need for dodging enemy attacks. This effectively gives her more stamina for performing charged attacks.
Albedo can also buff Hu Tao and deal a sizeable amount of personal damage.
However, this team is quite expensive. It uses 3 limited 5-star units – Hu Tao, Albedo, and Zhongli.
Albedo and Zhongli’s crystallize reactions can also occasionally steal Hu Tao’s vape.
Their consistent Geo damage removes Hydro auras from enemies. Hu Tao can’t vape without Hydro.
Thanks to Zhongli, this is another comfortable Hu Tao team.
Its party members are Hu Tao, Xingqiu, Zhongli, and Fischl.
This team takes advantage of overvape.
Since Hydro and Electro auras can co-exist on an enemy, Hu Tao can simultaneously proc an overload and vaporize reaction.
Overvape Tao is especially strong against heavy enemies – but it performs much worse against lighter enemies.
That’s because overload is an explosive reaction that knocks back lighter opponents.
Who Should You Build?
Xiangling is undoubtedly the most efficient character to build.
She has teams for both AOE and single target – and all these teams can easily carry you through every Abyss rotation and combat content.
She is also among the easiest characters to build.
- R5 The Catch is her best F2P weapon. It’s free and stronger than most 5-star options.
- Her best artifact set – 4-piece Emblem of Severed Fate – is in the most resin-efficient domain in-game. Since multiple characters can use the artifact sets of that domain, it’s almost always efficient to farm there.
- Only HP and DEF stats don’t work well with Xiangling. Otherwise, she can take advantage of every other artifact substat.
Simply said, you can never go wrong with building Xiangling.