Genshin: Is Xiao Worth Pulling? (Pros & Cons)This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
Xiao is one of the most balanced DPS units in the game. He’ll perform great if you have him, but you’re not missing out on anything if you don’t. He’s basically never a must-pull.
Plus, Xiao is only a great pull if you need another Spiral Abyss team that doesn’t use highly contested supports like Bennett and Xingqiu.
Otherwise, he’s not worth pulling.
He’s still strong in his own right, but there are just other stronger DPS units than him.
Note: This is based on meta only. If you like Xiao regardless of his power level, don’t let this stop you from pulling him.
- Pros & Cons
- Are Xiao’s Constellations Good?
- Deathmatch vs. Blackcliff Pole for Xiao
Pros & Cons
1. Excels in AOE and Occasionally Single-Target
Xiao is an especially great unit against AOE.
His plunge attacks cover a massive area that can hit multiple opponents at once. Aside from Spiral Abyss, this works really well in battle events where multiple mobs appear in continuous waves.
Plus, Xiao does have single-target potential mostly against larger opponents.
Because of how their hitboxes work, Xiao can basically deal an additional instance of damage by hitting the opponent mid-air before hitting the ground.
This is called collision damage – it can increase his total DPS up to ~40% in single-target scenarios.
2. Multiple Artifact Builds
Xiao’s best artifact build very often depends on their substats.
Generally his top three DPS artifact sets are:
- 4pc. Vermillion Hereafter
- 2pc. ATK & 2pc. ATK (Gladiator/Shimenawa/Vermillion/Echoes)
- 2p. ATK & 2pc. Viridescent Venerer
He does have a best-in-slot set (4pc. Vermillion Hereafter), but it’s only 8% better than the next best option. This is still a decent upgrade if your Vermillion pieces are as good as your current ATK/VV ones.
Otherwise, it can easily take weeks for a new 4pc. Vermillion set to catch up with your stronger artifacts.
For instance, 2pc. ATK artifacts like Gladiator’s Finale can be obtained from multiple sources like boss drops, artifact strongboxes, and Trounce Domains.
It’s very likely that you already have good Gladiator pieces.
Similarly, Shimenawa’s Reminiscence is in the most resin-efficient domain in-game. So you’ll likely get good Shimenawa pieces while farming for Emblem of Severed Fate.
Because of this, using good pieces that you already have can be more resin-efficient than spending weeks on farming Vermillion.
Vermillion is only worth farming if you don’t have any good 2pc. ATK pieces or just want to max out Xiao’s damage potential.
Plus, Xiao does have access to a more niche build with the 4pc. Viridescent Venerer (4VV) set.
Although less recommended, this is certainly a viable build that lets Xiao act as a support for his teammates.
The most popular team for this build is NaXiaonal – composed of Xiao, Xiangling, Bennett, and Sucrose.
Xiao acts as both the on-field DPS and buffer in this team. And the team’s total DPS is mainly dealt by Xiao and Xiangling.
3. Flexible Team-Building
Xiao doesn’t have any dedicated supports. So there’s no single strict way of drafting his team.
Generally, he only needs a battery (to help charge his burst) and a shielder/healer (since his burst drains his HP) to function.
His teams also have an extra slot that can fit most off-field DPS units or additional supports.
It’s basically very easy to draft his teams – he has a lot of viable teammates at his disposal. This includes the following characters:
|Sucrose, Jean, Sayu, Raiden||Zhongli, Diona, Bennett, Kokomi, Barbara, Kuki||Albedo, Geo Traveler, Fischl, Xiangling, Rosaria|
4. Easy to Play with Min-Maxing Potential
Xiao’s gameplay is very straightforward.
Just spam plunge attacks until his burst duration ends. And then charge his burst, cast his teammates’ abilities, cast his burst again, and repeat the cycle all over again.
He’s basically impossible to play ‘wrong’.
But he still has min-maxing potential and techniques that further improve his damage and gameplay.
This includes attack combos, pre-funneling, collision damage, positioning, and choosing between low vs high plunges. All of these are great ways of min-maxing Xiao.
1. Single-Target and Easily-Staggered Opponents
Xiao is unfavorable against single-target with smaller hitboxes.
He does have the benefit of collision damage, but this is very inconsistent against opponents with smaller hitboxes.
Xiao mainly excels in AOE anyway – so he does lack damage in single-target.
Plus, his plunge attacks can be a problem against easily-staggered opponents. Since they’re considered heavy attacks, lighter opponents like Geovishaps can easily be knocked back.
This pushes opponents away from Xiao and each other. Chasing after them can be very frustrating and lead to a DPS loss.
2. Energy Management
Xiao has pretty high Energy Recharge (ER) requirements – it’s at around ~160% ER even with a battery.
And since his burst is his main source of damage, reaching this threshold is very important. No burst would just mean dealing no damage.
Plus, there using a battery and funneling energy particles is equally important.
A battery is a unit that generates energy particles for Xiao and helps charge his burst. This is done by funneling the generated particles to Xiao.
3. Fewer Supports
Xiao has notably fewer supports than most DPS units.
This frees up more slots in his team, but it also pulls him behind other units.
For instance, Xiangling is a powerful Pyro DPS that has multiple synergistic supports and teammates – like Bennett, Kazuha, Sucrose, and Tartaglia. This effectively lets her build incredibly strong teams that significantly boost her damage.
In contrast, Xiao has teammates that are often just viable.
Plus, he has very minimal sources of buffs like Anemo resistance shred, Anemo damage, and plunge damage bonus.
4. Fewer Free-to-Play Weapons
Xiao has relatively fewer F2P weapon options than other DPS units.
There are many strong 4-star DPS polearms, but they’re often less suited for Xiao than other polearm users. The only ones that work well on him are:
- Lithic Spear is a limited weapon that can only be obtained through the weapon banner. It’s unlikely for players to have this weapon.
- Deathmatch is paywalled behind the Battlepass – it’s inaccessible to F2P players.
- Blackcliff Pole can be bought in the Straglitter Exchange shop. It’s a good weapon but slightly expensive in cost.
Are Xiao’s Constellations Good?
Xiao has pretty bad constellations – they’re just underwhelming compared to other 5-star units.
But if you still want to pull for his cons, C1 is the best place to stop. It gives an extra charge to Xiao’s skill. This is mainly a quality-of-life constellation that also slightly buffs his damage.
It’s never recommended to pull for his C2-C5. They’re all very minimal quality-of-life and damage buffs.
C6 is his only other notable constellation besides C1. Xiao’s C6 can even situationally double his total DPS against certain content.
Because of this, it’s either you just pull for C1 or go all out until his C6.
Here’s a closer look at all of Xiao’s constellations.
C1: Dissolution Eon: Destroyer of Worlds
Increases his skill charges by 1.
It’s a decent quality-of-life constellation that slightly decreases his Energy Recharge requirements to around 130%.
C1 is a highly recommended place to stop pulling for constellations.
C2: Annihilation Eon: Blossom of Kaeidos
When in the party and off-field, his Energy Recharge is increased by 25%.
Xiao spends a significant amount of field time, so this effect will rarely be active. And even with C2, staying on-field to catch energy particles is always optimal for Xiao.
C2 is practically useless.
C3: Conqueror of Evil: Wrath Deity
Increases his elemental skill talent level by 3.
Most of Xiao’s damage comes from his burst’s plunge attacks, not his skill. C3 is still a damage gain but a very small one.
It’s not recommended to pull for C3 alone.
C4: Transcension: Extinction of Suffering
When Xiao’s HP falls under 50%, he gains a 100% DEF bonus.
This DEF bonus is unnecessary. Xiao doesn’t scale from DEF at all, and his teams already have a shielder/healer that increases his survivability.
And in teams with stronger healers like Jean, it’s rare for him to even fall below 50% HP.
C5: Evolution Eon: Origin of Ignorance
Increases his elemental burst talent level by 3.
This is a damage gain, but it’s not remarkable. His main multipliers come from his normal attack talent, not burst.
C5 just increases the damage bonus from his burst and not his actual plunge multipliers.
C6: Conqueror of Evil: Guardian Yaksha
During Xiao’s burst, hitting at least 2 opponents with his plunge attacks immediately grants him 1 skill charge. And for the next 1s, he can use his skill while ignoring its cooldown.
Against 2 or more opponents, C6 entirely changes his playstyle.
Instead of spamming plunge attacks, he would spam his elemental skill until its charges run out. At most, he can effectively chain 6 skill casts between plunges.
This is a massive damage increase against ideal scenarios – it can more than double Xiao’s total DPS.
It also retroactively makes his C3 a better constellation.
But, while this is a strong constellation, it’s relatively weaker than most C6 5-star DPS units.
It’s mainly powerful against 2-3 targets but much worse against 1 or 3+ targets. In practice, a C6 Xiao would run into the following scenarios:
|1 target||Xiao can’t proc C6’s effect, so the playstyle is exactly the same as C0.|
The most ideal scenario. Xiao can easily proc its effect and continuously spam his skill between plunge attacks.
But if one target has lower HP or dies faster, Xiao is left with only 1 target. He won’t be able to trigger C6’s effect.
|3 targets||This is also an ideal scenario. It’s less likely for Xiao to be left with just one opponent, so he can often safely proc the C6’s effect.|
|More than 3 targets||
Xiao can consistently trigger his C6’s effect, but the opponents hit by his skill are often very random thanks to auto-targeting. And it can only hit multiple opponents when they’re lined up or close to each other.
Plus, performing a plunge attack can push lighter opponents away from Xiao and each other – thus making it harder to maximize his skill damage.
Deathmatch vs. Blackcliff Pole for Xiao
Deathmatch slightly pulls ahead of Blackcliff Pole thanks to its more consistent passive. But against situational content where you can easily get 3 Blackcliff stacks, Blackcliff Pole can outperform Deathmatch by a small margin.
Still, they’re generally interchangeable – it’s best to just use which one you have or better suits your artifact stats.
Deathmatch gives you a lot of CRIT rate, while Blackcliff Pole offers more CRIT damage.