Genshin Impact: Xiao vs. Itto (Who’s Better?)

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Xiao and Itto are both hypercarry units with a limited 5-star rarity.

A hypercarry spends the most field time and deals most of the team’s damage. Xiao and Itto are essentially very similar but with different elements and gameplay.

At baseline, Xiao outperforms Itto – but Itto has a higher damage potential.

Xiao performs well even without a dedicated support. He doesn’t have an exclusive team. So, as long as you give him a battery and healer, he’ll already deal good damage.

In contrast, Itto does have a dedicated team, but this team is quite expensive. It uses two other limited 5-stars, Albedo and Zhongli – plus his dedicated support, Gorou. At C6, Gorou significantly buffs Itto and his team’s overall DPS.

Itto will outdamage Xiao with this level of investment.

To better explain, let’s compare their character values and how they perform in the two game modes of Genshin Impact: Overworld (Exploration & Co-op) and Spiral Abyss (Meta).

Note: All comparisons made are between a C0 Xiao and C0 Itto.


In The Overworld


Exploration (Single-Player)

Xiao’s normal attack combo / Genshin Impact
Xiao’s normal attack combo

Xiao performs better than Itto in exploration.

This is because Xiao has a lot more useful exploration abilities, namely:

  • His elemental skill can be used mid-air. This can lengthen your gliding distance and better maneuver Xiao while gliding.
  • His elemental burst greatly increases his jumping ability. It can help you reach higher places faster than climbing.
  • His exploration passive decreases climbing stamina consumption by 20%. A lot of Genshin’s exploration involves climbing, so this passive is certainly useful.
  • He doesn’t take damage from performing a plunge attack at any height. If you run out of stamina while gliding, plunging with Xiao lets you land unharmed.

Since Itto has the tallest character model in-game, he’s still great for exploration.

This is simply because sprinting and swimming with taller characters cover a larger distance.


Co-op (Multiplayer)

Itto’s idle animation / Genshin Impact
Itto’s idle animation

Xiao and Itto are equally great in Co-op.

Fighting in Co-op generates a lot of energy particles. This eases most of their energy requirements and allows them to spam their elemental bursts.

And, as hypercarries, they can easily deal high personal damage.

This is especially great for Co-op where you can only use 1-2 characters. So, they’re easily among the best options for Co-op battle content.


Spiral Abyss (Meta)


Gameplay Tech

Xiao and Itto have different mechanics and techniques that affect and improve their gameplay.

Here’s a summary of all their relevant gameplay tech and its uses.

Character Gameplay Tech Definition
Xiao Collision Damage

Animation Cancel

Xiao can hit the top of opponents while plunging. This deals additional damage.

During his burst, Xiao can cancel the animation of his charged attack or the first normal attack. This also lets him deal extra damage.

Both Funneling


Refers to funneling energy particles into Xiao’s and Itto’s burst.

Refers to casting their burst before catching the particles – doing so pre-funnels energy for their next rotation.

Itto Snapshot

Hitlag Extension

The DEF to ATK conversion of Itto’s burst can snapshot the DEF stats he has when it’s cast.

Hitlag animations, or lag caused by hitting an opponent, can extend the duration of Itto’s Geo infusion.

Collision Damage
Xiao dealing collision damage / Genshin Impact
Xiao dealing collision damage

Xiao can adjust his plunge attacks to be above the opponent’s collision hitbox.

This is a part of their body where you can proc collision damage. Collision hitboxes are generally placed at the head and center of an opponent.

Collision damage is dealt before Xiao hits the ground.

In the photo above, it’s the smaller damage number that dealt 17,755 damage.

This significantly increases Xiao’s DPS output.

Although Xiao is mainly an AOE-oriented character, dealing collision damage makes him viable against single-target.

Animation Cancel

This refers to canceling an attack animation.

Animation cancels let a character still deal damage while spending lesser attack frames.

During his burst, you can cancel his normal and charged attack animations by jumping.

These attacks can be weaved between his plunge attacks – doing so essentially lets him deal more damage.

Xiao canceling his normal attack animation / Genshin Impact
Xiao canceling his normal attack animation

Canceling his first normal attack combo is done by pressing jump and attack simultaneously.

This completely cancels the animation while still dealing damage.

Xiao canceling his charged attack animation / Genshin Impact
Xiao canceling his charged attack animation

Charged attacks can be canceled by pressing jump shortly after the animation starts.

This is especially recommended against 1-2 targets.

(1) Sucrose generating energy particles with her skill (2) Xiao catching the particles / Genshin Impact
(1) Sucrose generating energy particles with her skill (2) Xiao catching the particles

Both Xiao and Itto make use of batteries that help them charge their bursts.

A battery is a character that generates energy particles for another teammate. They cast their skill, generate particles, and then funnel them to their teammate.

Funneling is done by switching characters to catch the particles.

For instance, Sucrose is one of Xiao’s best batteries. To battery Xiao, you can cast Sucrose’s skill and then quickly swap to Xiao. This lets him directly catch the energy particles – switching to Xiao is very important.

This is because characters gain more energy when collecting particles while on-field.

(1) Pre-funneled particles heading toward Xiao during his burst cast (2) Xiao collecting the particles shortly after his burst drains his energy / Genshin Impact
(1) Pre-funneled particles heading toward Xiao during his burst cast (2) Xiao collecting the particles shortly after his burst drains his energy

A character can’t gain any more energy when their burst is full. Instead, you can pre-funnel energy particles before casting their burst.

This is done by generating particles and then quickly casting a character’s burst before they can collect the particles.

Pre-funneling helps Xiao and Itto prepare their bursts for the next rotation.

For instance, Xiao can cast his skills before his burst. Doing this in quick succession lets him collect the particles shortly after his burst is cast.

In the photos above, pre-funneling was able to charge Xiao’s burst by half.

This is especially important for Xiao.

His skill doesn’t generate any particles during his burst, so pre-funneling is essential for smoother rotations. Without it, Xiao can lose burst uptime – which is a damage loss.

(1) Itto’s stats after casting his burst with a DEF buff (2) Itto’s stats after losing the DEF buff during his burst / Genshin Impact
(1) Itto’s stats after casting his burst with a DEF buff (2) Itto’s stats after losing the DEF buff during his burst

Some character abilities can snapshot or retain the stats active when they are cast.

This generally includes most stats visible on the character’s stat page – but Itto only snapshots the DEF to ATK conversion of his burst.

The ATK buff gained from his burst can’t be affected by any DEF stats lost or gained after casting.

This is demonstrated by the photos above.

The first photo shows Itto’s stats after casting his elemental burst with a DEF buff. His DEF has already been converted to an ATK increase.

In the next photo, he loses the DEF buff. You can see that the DEF stats decrease, while the ATK stats don’t. Since this conversion snapshots, any additional DEF lost can’t affect the ATK increase.

The same mechanic applies vice-versa.

If Itto gains a DEF buff after casting his burst, the ATK conversion won’t increase.

Hitlag Extension
Itto’s Geo infusion extended through hitlag / Genshin Impact
Itto’s Geo infusion extended through hitlag

Hitlag is a micro freeze or lag animation triggered upon hitting an opponent.

This helps increase the duration of Itto’s Geo infusion. By hitting enemies, Itto’s burst can be extended through hitlag.

Hitlag extension is better demonstrated by the photo above. The Geo infusion of Itto’s burst lasts for 12s, and its cooldown is 18s.

So the infusion should end with a 7s cooldown remaining on the timer.

Since Itto can trigger a lot of hitlag, the infusion is greatly extended. You can see how the timer displays 3.1s while his burst is still active.

Although this can also apply to Xiao, his hitlag extension is not as significant as Itto’s.


Team Compositions

Itto’s elemental burst animation / Genshin Impact
Itto’s elemental burst animation

Xiao and Itto have very different teams.

Although their gameplay is similar, their team compositions greatly vary. Xiao’s team drafting options are a lot more forgiving than Itto’s.

So instead of comparing who’s better for what team, let’s compare their strongest teams in relation to the meta.

Xiao Teams

Xiao is a meta character that excels against AOE.

His teams are very versatile. At the lowest point of investment, you simply need a battery and healer/shielder.

Here’s a TLDR of his three best teams plus their strengths and weaknesses.

Team Strengths Weaknesses
Double Geo Xiao Xiao’s strongest team. This team also lets him take advantage of Geo Resonance buffs. Performs unfavorably against enemies with elemental shields.
Mix & Match Very easy to build – just make sure Xiao has an Anemo battery and a healer/shielder. Although there are a lot of viable teammates, some will perform much better than others.
NaXiaonal Has a strong DPS output, especially against AOE. Bennett and Xiangling enable Pyro resonance buffs. Not entirely a ‘Xiao team’. This team nerfs Xiao’s damage to support Xiangling.
1. Double Geo Xiao
Double Geo Xiao team / Genshin Impact
Double Geo Xiao team

This team is composed of:

  • Xiao
  • 2 Geo units – usually Albedo and Zhongli
  • 1 Anemo battery

Double Geo is Xiao’s most popular team.

This lets him take advantage of Geo Resonance.

Geo Resonance is enabled when there are at least 2 Geo units in the team. Its effects increase the team’s shield strength by 15%.

Additionally, characters with a shield gain the following effects:

  • Increases damage dealt by 15%.
  • Dealing damage to enemies will decrease their Geo resistance by 20%. This lasts for 15s.

Since this team only has Geo and Anemo units, it’s unfavorable against elemental shields.

2. Mix & Match
Mix & Match Xiao team example / Genshin Impact
Mix & Match Xiao team example

This team takes full advantage of Xiao’s team versatility. Its party members can be anyone that can support Xiao. Namely, at least one Anemo battery and a healer/shielder.

However, some units perform much better than others.

This means that certain units are still a lot more favorable — not every unit will work great, just viable.

3. NaXiaonal
NaXiaonal team / Genshin Impact
NaXiaonal team

This team is composed of:

  • Xiao
  • Bennett
  • Xiangling
  • Sucrose

NaXiaonal is essentially a variation of the National team.

Although this is a good team with high DPS, it’s not a standard ‘Xiao team’. Instead, he shares the DPS role with Xiangling – they both deal most of the team’s damage.

However, NaXiaonal does nerf Xiao’s damage.

For this team, his build is adjusted to support Xiangling.

  • He uses the Favonius Lance polearm. This lets him generate a lot of energy particles for both himself and the team.
  • He uses the 4-piece Viridescent Venerer set. Because Xiao’s burst deal Anemo damage, it can also consistently swirl elements.This artifact set’s passive shreds enemies’ elemental resistance against the element swirled by Xiao. Upon swirling Pyro, Xiao can further buff Xiangling’s damage.

Regardless, Xiao is still Xiao. He will still deal good damage.

Itto Teams

Itto is a meta character that excels against a smaller AOE and single-target.

His only essential teammate is Gorou – Itto’s dedicated support. However, maximizing Gorou’s buffs requires 3 Geo units in the team.

Because of this, it limits Itto’s teams between Mono Geo and Triple Geo.

Here’s a TLDR of these two teams plus their strengths and weaknesses.

Team Strengths Weaknesses
Mono Geo Itto’s strongest team. It’s also very easy and comfortable to play. Uses two other limited 5-star characters, Albedo and Zhongli. This team is hard-countered by elemental shields.
Triple Geo Has an extra slot for almost any unit. This slot can be used to solve whatever the team lacks. None
1. Mono Geo
Mono Geo team / Genshin Impact
Mono Geo team

This team uses 4 Geo units, namely:

  • Itto
  • Gorou
  • Albedo
  • Zhongli

Mono Geo is Itto’s strongest team

Itto and Albedo are the two main damage dealers. These two are especially great teammates because they both scale from DEF.

Gorou buffs DEF and Geo damage – thus effectively buffing both Itto and Albedo.

Plus, Zhongli’s strong shield makes this team extremely comfortable to play.

However, it is hard-countered by elemental shields. Geo is not a great element against these shields.

Still, Mono Geo is a very strong team.

2. Triple Geo
Triple Geo team / Genshin Impact
Triple Geo team

This team is composed of:

  • Itto
  • Gorou
  • 1 Geo unit
  • 1 other unit – usually Bennett or Diona

Triple Geo is played the same as Mono Geo, but with a non-Geo slot.

The extra slot can be filled by any character. This lets you adjust the team to whatever content you face – or to whatever the team lacks.

For instance, Diona is a great Zhongli replacement.

Like Zhongli, she provides shields to enable the Geo Resonance effects. She also provides strong healing to further support the team.


Who Should You Pull?

Xiao’s elemental burst animation / Genshin Impact
Xiao’s elemental burst animation

Although Xiao outperforms Itto, they’re still very similar in strength.

Because of this, the one with a greater pull value depends on what units you have and whose playstyle you prefer.

If you already have Albedo and Gorou – Itto is the better option. He’s very easy to play. Plus with a few more Gorou constellations, he will outperform Xiao.

Otherwise, Xiao is the better pull. His teams are much easier to build, and he deals more damage at lower investment.

Plus, despite being AOE-oriented, he has gameplay tech that makes him viable even against single-target.

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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.