Genshin Impact version 3.4 will see the debut of long-awaited Dendro sword user Alhaitham alongside another rerun for the powerful Vigilant Yaksha, Anemo Polearm user Xiao.
It’s a tough choice for players to make between the two DPS characters!
So, if you need help deciding who to pull for with this limited event banner, or even skipping and waiting for second half’s Hu Tao and Yelan, we’ve got you covered!
Choose the Element and weapon-type you need
Xiao and Alhaitham are both damage dealers who need to have as much on-field time as possible, making them both selfish Main DPS options.
Looking at Alhaitham’s kit so far, it seems that he follows the trend of characters with enhanced Normal Attacks due to his skill infusing his attacks with Dendro. This makes him a DPS focused on Spread and Hyperbloom reactions.
Naturally, he will need lots of field-time because of this, as the Chisel-Light Mirror he generates when unleashing his skill will disappear when he leaves the field.
So if you’re looking for a Dendro Main DPS (and are more attuned to sword characters who deal lots of fast attacks), Alhaitham is your best bet.
Xiao’s long burst, which lasts a whopping 15 seconds, puts him in a state that greatly empowers his Plunging Attacks but automatically ends when you swap him for another character in your party.
His Anemo alignment, although the element usually focuses on Swirl, doesn’t seek to enhance elemental reactions, and instead guns for dealing pure Anemo DMG.
So if you’re an Anemo main who’s into burst damage, Xiao is the best one to go for.
Who’s easier to build and farm for?
If we're talking about which character will be easier to farm for and build up, we all know the answer to this will be Xiao.
Alhaitham is a new character, whose materials come with the new area launching in version 3.4. Unlike Xiao, who’s easily farmable because all his requirements are already in the map, you’ll probably end up grinding the new desert area for a while just to ascend Alhaitham.
When it comes to builds, we think that Alhaitham and Xiao both have pretty straightforward kits.
Looking at Alhaitham’s signature weapon, the Light of Foliar Incision, which increases his Normal ATK and Skill DMG by 120% of his Elemental Mastery, it’s safe to assume what his best-in-slot artifact sets will be.
The 4-piece Gilded Dreams set should be your go-to for Alhaitham, as it gives him Elemental Mastery and ATK% buffs depending on the variety of elements in your party setup.
A second option for his artifact build is the Deepwood Memories set, which increases Dendro DMG Bonus and lowers the Dendro RES of enemies when hit with skills or bursts. But we won’t wholly recommend going for Deepwood Memories, as it’s ideal to equip it to a support character in Alhaitham’s party.
As should be obvious, the Light of Foliar Incision will be Alhaitham's best weapon. But if you’re not gunning for the weapon banner, 5-star alternatives like Mistsplitter Reforged and Haran Geppaku Futsu will do.
For 4-star weapons, good alternatives include the Battle Pass-exclusive The Black Sword and Starglitter Shop weapon Blackcliff Longsword.
Meanwhile, free-to-play friendly options include the craftable Amenoma Kageuchi or the 3-star weapon Harbinger of Dawn.
Xiao, on the other hand, works best with his best-in-slot artifact set, Vermillion Hereafter, which gives an ATK bonus as well as additional ATK when unleashing his burst and losing HP.
Alternatives would be a combination of any ATK increasing artifact set, or 2-piece Viridescent Venerer plus any ATK increasing artifact set like Gladiator's.
For weapons, Xiao’s signature weapon, the Primordial Jade Winged Spear, will be his best bet. An alternative 5-star polearm for him will be the Staff of Homa.
For 4-star weapons, the Battle Pass-exclusive Deathmatch and Starglitter Shop weapon Blackcliff Pole are also good options. And for free-to-play, the craftable Prototype Starglitter will be your best (and only) choice.
Team compositions and tactics according to your playstyle
While both Alhaitham and Xiao are selfish damage dealers, they have the biggest difference when it comes to team compositions.
Due to the fact that Alhaitham’s element is Dendro, it’s easy enough to know that he meshes well with team compositions with varying characters and supports, what with Dendro’s myriad elemental reactions.
He works best with off-field supports, taking most of the field-time to deal damage with his skill while taking advantage of whatever Dendro-related reaction you’re going for, like Spread, Bloom, Hyperbloom, and even Burgeon.
With that said, we recommend going for a 'Quickbloom' lineup featuring Alhaitham, an off-field Hydro character, an off-field Electro character, as well as a flex slot that can be taken by a Dendro support or another Hydro character.
A Quickbloom Alhaitham team will boost his damage via the Spread reaction while also letting his off-field teammates dish out damage of their own via the Hyperbloom reaction.
Xiao, on the other hand, can only function in a team built to amplify his damage-dealing capability, requiring supports like Faruzan and Bennett plus a shielder like Zhongli to be effective.
So if you like to see multi-coloured damage numbers and experimenting on team compositions, Alhaitham is the one you should go for. If you’re the opposite and love to see big damage numbers and are comfortable with only one team, Xiao’s the best bet.
Should you save for Hu Tao and Yelan?
If you’re not keen on pulling for the first half of the event banner, then you can hold on to your Primogems and wait for the beastly second half banners featuring Hu Tao and Yelan.
Hu Tao has been one of the top characters in the metagame since her release, being a powerful Pyro Polearm DPS that shines in Vaporize teams.
She gains more ATK the lower her HP is, so she’s not a beginner-friendly character for new players. Nevertheless, you’re sure to find fighting enemies a breeze with Hu Tao in your team if you play her properly.
Yelan, on the other hand, is a very flexible character due to her Hydro alignment, and can take support, sub-DPS, and main DPS roles.
She wields a bow and scales off of Max HP, making her one of the easiest characters to build while still excelling with little investment.
Yelan is also one of Hu Tao’s best supports in her best top double Hydro composition! So if you’re a Hu Tao main and want to get the best for this cheeky Funeral Director, make sure to pull for Yelan.
Genshin Impact version 3.4 will be released on 18 January. It features the debuts of Alhaitham and Yaoyao as well as reruns for Xiao, Hu Tao, and Yelan and the return of the Lantern Rite event, among a ton of other content updates.
After version 3.4 comes version 3.5, which will feature the debuts of Dehya and Mika. Genshin Impact version 3.5 is expected to be released in late February.
Yan Ku is a full-time dog parent, part-time (gacha) gamer, and part-time writer.