Zhongli is a Geo Polearm support in Genshin Impact best known for providing the beefiest shield of all characters in the game. For this reason, he is known in the Genshin community as the game’s unofficial Easy Mode button. Despite the fact that our Genshin Impact Character Tier List doesn’t rank characters within the same Tier relative to one another, we still felt obliged to put Zhongli at the very top of the S-Tier.
Furthermore, he can be built and played in a variety of ways. As a support, he can function as either an all-in shield bot or a Burst Support. In this guide, we’ll focus primarily on his shield bot build, as this has proven to be the more impactful build in the meta. We’ll also provide notes on the Burst Support build, but it won’t be our focus. Likewise, we’ll also leave notes for his Physical DMG DPS build, as despite being one of the best Supports in the game, Zhongli can also be played as a fairly competent DPS.
That being said, miHoYo doesn’t seem to be a fan of how universally amazing Zhongli is and how he was able to render an entire support utility—healing—completely obsolete. Recent patches have introduced indirect nerfs to Zhongli by nerfing the impact of shields. Yet even with that, his throne atop the Tier List remains unchallenged if you can build him properly.
Throughout this guide, we’ll show you how to prioritize Zhongli’s talents, whether you should value his constellations, which weapons and artifacts you should equip him with, and finally which teams he works best on. So without any further ado, let’s begin.
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Zhongli’s Talent Priority
(Rain of Stone)
Performs up to 6 consecutive spear strikes.
Consumes a certain amount of Stamina to lunge forward, causing stone spears to fall along his path.
Plunges from mid-air to strike the ground below, damaging opponents along the path and dealing AoE DMG upon impact.
|Zhongli’s attack multipliers aren’t too shabby, hence why he is capable of functioning as a Physical DPS. If you are playing him this way, feel free to level this talent up as much as your resources allow.|
However, as a support, Zhongli isn’t a character who should ever be used to perform on-field Normal Attacks. In this case, there’s no need to level this talent at all.
|Every mountain, rock and inch of land is filled with the power of Geo, but those who can wield such powers freely are few and far between.|
Commands the power of earth to create a Stone Stele.
Causes nearby Geo energy to explode, causing the following effects:
• If their maximum number hasn’t been reached, creates a Stone Stele.
• Creates a shield of jade. The shield’s DMG Absorption scales based on Zhongli’s Max HP.
• Deals AoE Geo DMG.
• If there are nearby targets with the Geo element, it will drain a large amount of Geo element from a maximum of 2 such targets. This effect does not cause DMG.
When created, deals AoE Geo DMG.
Additionally, it will intermittently resonate with other nearby Geo constructs, dealing Geo DMG to surrounding opponents. The Stone Stele is considered a Geo construct that can both be climbed and used to block attacks.
Only one Stele created by Zhongli himself may initially exist at any one time.
Possesses 150% DMG Absorption against all Elemental and Physical DMG. Characters protected by the Jade Shield will decrease the Elemental RES and Physical RES of opponents in a small AoE by 20%. This effect cannot be stacked.
|Here’s the tl;dr of this skill: Hold it to create the most powerful shield known to Genshin Impact players. This shield also creates an aura around the character that reduces the Resistances of all enemies in its AoE by a sizeable 20%.|
Lastly, the skill summons a Geo Pillar that pulses, doing small AoE Geo DMG and causing other nearby Geo constructs summoned by different characters to also pulse and deal the same DMG.
You can summon the Geo Pillar without the shield by pressing the skill, which will cause it to enter a shorter cooldown, although this is only ever used for style points to knock enemies high into the air immediately after performing the entire Normal Attack string as a Physical DMG Zhongli.
If you are playing Zhongli as a shield bot, this is his first priority talent. If you are playing him as a Burst Support, it’s a close second.
|Brings a falling meteor down to earth, dealing massive Geo DMG to opponents caught in its AoE and applying the Petrification status to them.|
Opponents affected by the Petrification status cannot move.
|The DMG scaling on this ability is simply incredible. What’s even more impressive, though, is the fact that it can completely turn enemies to stone, letting your DPS characters hit them with impunity for as long as 4 seconds.|
Burst Support builds hold this as Zhongli’s most important talent, but even shield bot builds consider it a close second in priority.
Zhongli’s Passive Talents
|Arcanum of Crystal||Refunds 15% of the ores used when crafting Polearm-type weapons.||This is inconsequential.|
|Resonant Waves||When the Jade Shield takes DMG, it will Fortify:|
• Fortified characters have 5% increased Shield Strength.
• Can stack up to 5 times, and lasts until the Jade Shield disappears.
|Because the game never tells you exactly how strong your shield is and how much damage it has taken, it’s difficult to gauge the value of this passive. But making the strongest shield in the game even more durable is never a bad thing.|
|Dominance of Earth||Zhongli deals bonus DMG based on his Max HP:|
• Normal Attack, Charged Attack, and Plunging Attack DMG is increased by 1.39% of Max HP.
• Dominus Lapidis’ Stone Stele, resonance, and hold DMG is increased by 1.9% of Max HP.
• Planet Befall’s DMG is increased by 33% of Max HP.
|This is the talent that turns Zhongli from a competent, if one-dimensional, unit into the best unit in the game. Zhongli’s shield naturally scales off of his HP, but until you unlock this talent, all of his DMG will only scale with his ATK. With this talent, stacking HP on Zhongli to strengthen his shield still results in a DMG increase across his entire kit.|
When he first got released, Zhongli was a mess due to his split scaling. Namely, only his shield scaled with HP, and his passive talent only added a bit of HP scaling to his Burst at higher levels. To date, he remains the only character that miHoYo actively buffed. And they held nothing back when implementing his buffs.
The most popular build for Zhongli—the so-called shield bot build—remains effectively unchanged by the buffs the character got. But what these buffs did was make Zhongli’s entire kit stronger and more cohesive by making it so that all of his abilities scale off of HP. This is what makes him such a versatile unit.
In most teams, he’s just there to summon his shield and drop the occasional Burst. Some speedrunners even opt-out of using his Burst due to how long the animation is and how little DMG it does on a shield bot build. This is why you may hear that Zhongli is outdated or not worth it. And for stacked out whale accounts with all 5* characters and all 5* weapons unlocked, this may well be true.
But the beauty of this character is how versatile he is, how competent he can be in all of his roles, and how F2P friendly he is.
This F2P-friendliness is also reflected in his constellations.
|Rock, the Backbone of Earth||Increases the maximum number of Stone Steles created by Dominus Lapidis that may exist simultaneously to 2.||Technically, this increases Zhongli’s DMG output, but the increase is minimal and frankly negligible. It’s useful for maintaining uptime on Zhongli’s best artifact set bonus more consistently, but otherwise not impactful in the least.|
|Stone, the Cradle of Jade||Planet Befall grants nearby characters on the field a Jade Shield when it descends.||This is easily one of the most contentious constellations in the entire game.|
See, despite arguably being the best support in the game, Zhongli is unable to impart his beefy shield to other players in coop without this constellation, making him useless in this scenario. Outside of co-op, it’s another quality of life improvement as it allows you to refresh the shield with his Burst, but again, this is usually not needed.
|Jade, Shimmering through Darkness||Increases the Level of Dominus Lapidis by 3.|
Maximum upgrade level is 15.
|As mentioned, Zhongli’s shield is his strongest asset. This constellation makes the shield that much stronger, which is nice. You could argue the shield is already too strong and therefore derives little value from this constellation, but at the very least we appreciate how the Skill increase comes at C3 rather than C5.|
|Topaz, Unbreakable and Fearless||Increases Planet Befall’s AoE by 20% and increases the duration of Planet Befall’s Petrification effect by 2s.||Another quality of life improvement that has little to no impact on actual gameplay. The extended petrification duration is cool, but the added range rarely comes into play.|
|Lazuli, Herald of the Order||Increases the Level of Planet Befall by 3.|
Maximum upgrade level is 15.
|Only the DMG of this ability scales past level 10, whereas the petrification duration doesn’t. This greatly diminishes the potential impact of this constellation.|
|Chrysos, Bounty of Dominator||When the Jade Shield takes DMG, 40% of that incoming DMG is converted to HP for the current character.|
A single instance of regeneration cannot exceed 8% of that character’s Max HP.
|C0 Zhongli is already considered Easy Mode, so his C6 makes you literally unkillable. Nothing in the game can replicate the feeling of effective immortality provided by this constellation, but honestly, it’s way too much.|
Let’s address the Elephant in the room first: If you wish to play Zhongli in co-op, his C2 is pretty much mandatory.
Outside of that, however, his constellations really aren’t that important. They’re mostly inconsequential perks or small quality of life upgrades that don’t change the core of how the character’s kit functions or add huge buffs.
His C6 is the exception, as it very much affects the core kit by turning the best shielder in the game into a competent healer, but unless you’re the biggest Zhongli fan who’s also got hundreds, if not thousands of dollars burning a hole in their pocket (yes, that’s how much it can cost to unlock this constellation), just forget about it.
Not having access to his final constellation doesn’t make Zhongli any less useful. The character is amazing at C0 and he doesn’t need constellations to do anything he was designed to do and what he excels at.
Best Weapons For Zhongli
|Staff of Homa|
|Interestingly enough, Zhongli’s best weapon isn’t his signature weapon—Vortex Vanquisher—but rather Hu Tao’s signature weapon—Staff of Homa.|
And it’s not because of the beefy CRIT DMG substat, although Zhongli can certainly make good use of it. No, what makes this weapon amazing on Zhongli is the passive, as it not only increases HP but also adds another layer of ATK bonuses based on his overall HP. In other words, the Staff of Homa benefits all three of Zhongli’s playstyles—shield bot, Burst support, and Physical DPS.
|To date, Black Tassel is the only Polearm that featured HP as the substat. Zhongli’s shield scales off of HP. Therefore, Black Tassel is unironically one of the best weapons for a shield bot Zhongli. Unless you’ve got high refinement on Staff of Homa, Black Tassel will outpace it with regards to shield amplification.|
That being said, this weapon is useless for any other build. Also, because of the low Base ATK and useless passive, you can expect your Zhongli’s Burst to hit like a wet noodle.
|The reason we’ve decided to highlight Favonius Lance over any other Energy Recharge weapon is because it allows Zhongli to generate more Energy for other characters, thereby further increasing his support utility. Zhongli’s Burst costs a paltry 40 Energy, so if you don’t need to battery other units, feel free to skip this weapon.|
A Burst Support Zhongli would rather have The Catch as his Energy Recharge weapon of choice.
|Deathmatch is a great weapon for Burst Support Zhongli, as it makes achieving the highly coveted 1:2 CRIT ratio much simpler. For a shield bot Zhongli, this weapon isn’t useful at all.|
|Lastly, we wanted to highlight a great F2P option for Physical DMG Zhongli fans.|
There’s a translation error in this weapon’s passive. When active, instead of buffing Zhongli’s DMG—as it says it does—this weapon actually procs different instances of DMG. What’s amazing about this is that each of these extra instances of DMG can CRIT. And with how Zhongli’s 5th Normal Attack string hits four times, that means Zhongli can proc this passive 9 times in his 6-hit Attack string. In other words, with the right CRIT Ratio and proper Physical DMG buffing supports, this weapon has the potential to shred enemy HP.
To put it in perspective, Zhongli does as much DMG with his Normal Attacks with Crescent Pike as he does with the 5* Primordial Jade Winged-Spear.
Best Artifacts For Zhongli – 4-Piece Tenacity of the Millelith
As far as artifact set bonuses go, the 4-Piece Tenacity of the Millelith looks like it was made exclusively for Zhongli. What it does is increase HP, and then provide a team-wide ATK buff and Shield Strength buff that last for only 3 seconds but refreshes whenever the character’s Elemental Skill hits an opponent. Zhongli’s Pillar stays on the field for a long time, so it’s perfect for maintaining this set bonus even while he’s off-field.
As far as stats go, here are the desired main stats and substats for all three of Zhongli’s playstyles.
Shield bot Zhongli wants HP% on the Sands, HP% on the Goblet, and HP% on the Logos. In terms of substat, you only care for flat HP and Energy Recharge. The 4-Piece Tenacity of the Millelith can work on all builds, but it’s best suited to this one.
Burst Support Zhongli wants either HP% /ATK% (depending on how you want to balance shield strength with DMG) on the Sands, Geo DMG on the Goblet, and CRIT Rate/CRIT DMG on the Logos. In terms of substat, there’s a lot you’re okay with: CRIT Rate, CRIT DMG, ATK%, Energy Recharge, and HP%. The substats are listed in order of value. The 4-piece Tenacity of the Millelith is still technically his best artifact set, but the 4-Piece Noblesse Oblige and 4-Piece Emblem of Severed Fate can also work and require less effort to run.
Physical DMG Zhongli wants ATK% on the Sands, Physical DMG on the Goblet, and CRIT Rate/CRIT DMG on the Logos. In terms of substats, you’re looking for CRIT Rate, CRIT DMG, and ATK%, but you shouldn’t mind the occasional Energy Recharge and HP% roll. Your best artifact sets are a combination of 2-Piece Bloodstained Chivalry and 2-Piece Pale Flame. The 2-Piece Gladiator’s Fury and 2-Piece Shimenawa’s Reminiscence can serve as viable alternatives. And even the 4-Piece Tenacity of the Millelith does decent work here, although it’s not the option that grants the most DMG.
The point of this segment is to provide you with an idea of how well Zhongli synergizes with characters of different Elements. We’re, of course, aware that not all characters belonging to any given Elements are the same and derive equal value from Zhongli. The goal is to let you know which Elements get inherent value from Zhongli’s kit and to which extent, so that you can create your own functional teams in case you don’t have any of the characters we’re going to mention in the next segment.
So, in descending order from most synergistic to least synergistic, we have:
- Geo: Interestingly enough, the Element that works the best with Zhongli is Geo. Pairing another Geo character with Zhongli unlocks the Geo Resonance—arguably the most powerful Resonance in the game. This not only increases the DMG of active characters by a substantial 15%, but it also decreases the Geo Resistance of all enemies by 20% whenever they are hit. Furthermore, the resonance increases the Shield Strength of all characters by 15%, something that Zhongli definitely benefits from. This is what makes Zhongli and Albedo such a powerful support duo capable of empowering any team.
- Anemo: You might think that Anemo is less synergistic than the other Elements because Anemo and Geo are mutually inert, but the fact of the matter is that next to Zhongli’s beefy shield, the Crystallize shields he can create with all other Elements are effectively useless. So if anything, he’s more useful as an Anemo support as Anemo Resistance is one of the hardest Resistances to shred yet Zhongli can do so consistently and effortlessly. The popularity of the Zhongli/Albedo/Xiao/Jean team which is wholly inert when it comes to Elemental Reactions is a testament to this.
- Pyro/Hydro/Electro/Cryo/Anemo: The great thing about Zhongli is that he doesn’t care what Element their teammates belong to—he shields them all the same and buffs all of their DMG by equally shredding all Resistances. The reason these Elements rank lower than Anemo and Geo is because Viridescent Venerer can shred their Resistances even more than Zhongli can.
Best Team Composition For Zhongli
Ningguang is the main DPS. Both the Geo Resonance and Zhongli’s shield serve to significantly boost her DMG and reduce the Geo Resistance of enemies. Despite being a 4*, Ningguang’s DMG potential should not be underestimated. This video shows a very similar team to this one, with the only exception being the inclusion of Mona over Fischl, effectively one-shotting the Andrius, one of the weekly bosses with a substantial HP pool. As mentioned, Zhongli can support any main DPS, but his impact is felt the most with Geo units like Ningguang and C6 Noelle.
Bennett is here to buff Ningguang’s ATK with his amazing Elemental Burst. You could technically replace him with Sara, in which case you should time his short ATK buff with Ningguang’s Elemental Burst. Otherwise, you can replace Bennett with any healer like Barbara or any off-field DPS with a decent range, like Fischl, Beidou, or Xingqiu.
Fischl is not essential to this team in any way. She’s only here because she’s the most consistent 4* off-field DPS that doesn’t rely on her Burst, and therefore disruptive batterying, to function. Just know that you can easily replace her with any character mentioned in Bennett’s segment. In addition to this, you may wish to replace her with Xiangling if you’re already running Bennett and don’t mind playing around the relatively short range of her Pyronado. This will also unlock the ATK buffing Pyro Resonance which Ningguang can benefit from.
- Arataki Itto
Arataki Itto is the main on-field DPS in this team. Since he deals Geo DMG, Itto doesn’t get any direct DMG bonuses through reactions with other Elements. Therefore, he is commonly run in this Mono-Geo team. Zhongli benefits him insofar as he increases Itto’s DMG via Geo Resistance shredding and shielding him so Itto doesn’t get staggered.
Albedo is an amazing off-field DPS who significantly contributes to the overall DMG output of this team. Just like Itto, he’s also a DEF-scaling Geo character, so he gets all the benefits of being run alongside Gorou. If the team is ever in dire need of a healer, either Albedo goes, or Itto gets replaced by a C6 Noelle.
Gorou is the last main support this team has. Despite being a 4* unit, he is an irreplaceable support for Itto and Albedo. He also buffs Zhongli’s DMG by increasing his Geo DMG Bonus, but Zhongli otherwise doesn’t benefit from Gorou’s DEF Bonuses.
For Physical DPS Zhongli
The previous two team compositions were all built with support Zhongli in mind, so that they looked more like Ningguang’s and Itto’s teams, rather than Zhongli’s. While such is the nature of support units, we still want to highlight the best Physical DPS Zhongli team where he’s the one under the spotlight, taking most screen time and dealing the most DMG.
- Raiden Shogun
- Yun Jin
Raiden Shogun is mainly here for her effortless and consistent off-field Electro application. Physical DMG units live and die by their access to the Physical Resistance shredding Superconduct reaction, and as Zhongli is neither Electro nor Cryo, he wants teammates that can provide both of these Elements without interrupting his badass spear kicking Normal Attacks. Fischl and Electro Traveler are the best alternatives.
Qiqi is notoriously considered one of the worst units in the game, but when it comes to supporting a Physical DPS Zhongli, she’s incredibly handy to have. With a Sacrificial Sword, she can maintain consistent uptime on her Elemental Skill, which, when paired with Raiden Shogun’s skill, will keep the Superconduct reactions coming. In addition to this, she can also provide loads of healing, which you may need, given that a Physical DPS Zhongli won’t have the beefiest shield ever. Support Ganyu, Kaeya, and Rosaria are all viable replacements.
Yun Jin is the unit that will turn Zhongli’s Normal Attacks from decent to impressive. And because of the way her Elemental Burst functions, the rapid instances of DMG Zhongli does when he kicks his shield will all get a massive DMG boost. In addition to this, having Yun Jin on the team unlocks the Geo Resonance, which will greatly benefit both Zhongli’s Physical DMG and his survivability. There are no characters that can mimic what Yun Jin does, so if you don’t have her, either use Bennett or get an off-field DPS who can add to Zhongli’s DMG without messing up the Superconduct reaction. Albedo is the best choice, but if you don’t have him you can also use Rosaria, Kaeya, Fischl, Beidou, or a Burst Support Ningguang. Geo Traveler is also fun to pair with Zhongli, as together they can create a bunch of Geo Constructs which will all deal DMG, but this can mess up your Superconducts if you’re not careful.
Is Zhongli Worth It?
Yes, Zhongli is worth it.
It’s as simple as that.
Every account can benefit from having Zhongli in it. Any team that lacks survivability will have most of its problems taken care of by this one unit. The newer your account is, and the fewer 5* characters it has, the better Zhongli becomes, as you can comfortably run him as your main DPS before transitioning him to a support rule when you acquire other main DPS characters.
And if you’re worried that recent nerfs to shields have made Zhongli less useful, you’re wrong. Just because some DMG can bypass shield doesn’t mean you’re magically immune to all the DMG that doesn’t bypass shields. Sure, most teams also need healers now, but shielders are still invaluable insofar as they allow you to maximize your DMG output by not getting staggered by attacks or having to waste time and stamina dodging. So Zhongli, as the best shielder in the game, isn’t going to stop being worth it any time soon.