Genshin Impact's 3.5 banner: Should you wish for Ayaka, Shenhe, or their weapons?

Cryo mains, rejoice! Two of Genshin Impact's ice queens are running together in the second half of version 3.5.

The second half of Genshin Impact version 3.5, featuring reruns for Ayaka, Shenhe, and their weapons, will be tough to ignore for players looking to build strong Cryo teams. If you're torn on whether you should pull on their banners, we got you covered. (Photos: HoYoverse)
The second half of Genshin Impact version 3.5, featuring reruns for Ayaka, Shenhe, and their weapons, will be tough to ignore for players looking to build strong Cryo teams. If you're torn on whether you should pull on their banners, we got you covered. (Photos: HoYoverse)

The second half of Genshin Impact version 3.5 is right around the corner!

Featuring a dual rerun banner for Kamisato Ayaka and Shenhe, as well as their signature weapons, this banner is a must-pull for players looking to create or strengthen a Cryo team.

So, if you're still torn on whether you should pull for Ayaka, Shenhe, their weapons, or saving your hard-earned Primogems for the next version, read on and we'll help you to decide.

Need a Cryo carry? Get Ayaka

Don't let Kamisato Ayaka's reputation as the demure Shirasagi Himegimi fool you, she's a fearsome warrior and one of the strongest DPS characters in the game.

With her Cryo-infused Normal and Charged Attacks as well as a barrage of Cryo damage from her skill and burst, Ayaka excels in Freeze teams that stop enemies in their tracks before shredding through them. And while bosses can't be frozen, very few can stand against the blizzards Ayaka can conjure at will.

Aside from her insane damage output, Ayaka is also relatively easier to build compared to most other DPS characters. As a Cryo character, she can take advantage of the Cryo Resonance bonus as well as the 4-set bonus from the Blizzard Strayer artifact set to get up to 55% FREE Crit Rate.

All that free Crit Rate saves you a lot of hassle when farming artifacts, as you only need to worry about getting Crit DMG, ATK, and Energy Recharge. Ayaka is one of the very few characters in Genshin Impact you'll commonly see boasting 80/260 Crit ratios.

While Ayaka is virtually locked to the Blizzard Strayer artifact set (which you can easily farm through the Artifact Strongbox, by the way), she does have a lot of good options when it comes to weapons.

If you don't have her signature weapon, the Mistsplitter Reforged, you can go for the Blackcliff Longsword from the Starglitter Shop or free weapons like the Amenoma Kageuchi or the Kagotsurube Isshin.

Forming a team for Ayaka is pretty straightforward too, you just need a Cryo support, an Anemo support, and a Hydro support. Ayaka's best team features her, Shenhe, Kaedehara Kazuha, and Sangonomiya Kokomi.

For a 4-star team, you can go for Rosaria/Kaeya/Diona/Layla, Sucrose/Sayu, and Barbara/Xingqiu.

With that said, Ayaka isn't as versatile as someone like Ganyu, who can both take up on-field main DPS and off-field sub DPS roles.

While Ayaka's burst can deal off-field damage, she has trouble sustaining her energy needs by herself and needs another Cryo character to be her battery. Coupled with her Cryo-infused attacks forming a signifcant amount of her damage output, Ayaka is most effective as your team's main DPS.

So, if you don't have a Cryo team yet, Ayaka is well worth your Primogems if you want to wield the power of ice to unleash hailstorms upon your enemy. With Fontaine now also on the horizon, you may need a strong Cryo team to help you take on the likely Hydro-based enemies in the upcoming new region.

Need a stronger Cryo team? Get Shenhe

While she seems aloof at first glance, Shenhe's fittingly cold exterior actually hides ferocious strength and a caring heart.

If you already have Ayaka or another Cryo DPS that you want to become stronger, then pull for the Divine Damsel of Devastation to supercharge your Cryo teams.

As a 5-star Cryo support, Shenhe is one of the most niche characters in Genshin Impact. But it's a niche that is well in demand and one where she is unbeatable.

Shenhe boosts her teammates' Cryo damage with her skill and lowers enemies' resistance to Cryo with her burst. If you thought Cryo teams were already strong, then you ain't seen nothing yet. Add Shenhe to the mix and nothing can stand against the onslaught of ice (except for Cryo immune enemies, of course).

What makes Shenhe an excellent support for her niche is that she's very easy to build, as her damage boosts scale off her total ATK. That lets her shine even with low investment, though her support capabilities become absolute bonkers if you have her signature weapon, constellations, and cracked artifacts.

To build Shenhe, you just need to get enough Energy Recharge to use her burst off-cooldown while stacking as much ATK as possible.

For her artifacts, you can either get the 4-piece Noblesse Oblige set (if your team doesn't have someone else carrying it already) or two of the 2-piece sets that give a +18% ATK bonus. Then you can get your Energy Recharge from either a weapon like the Favonius Lance or an Energy Recharge sands.

Of course, it bears repeating that Shenhe is a very niche character. Outside of her role as a Cryo support, she offers little in terms of versatility.

While she's an okay support for Physical DPS characters like Eula (HoYoverse where is she?) with the 15% Phys RES shred from her burst, there are better options out there like C6 Rosaria. You can also make Shenhe a DPS by running her alongside her nephew, Chongyun, to give her attacks a Cryo-infusion, which she can then boost.

But if you think your Cryo team is already strong enough, then Shenhe isn't really a must-pull. But do feel free to get her if you do want that busted Cryo team or if you like her character, which to be fair is one of the best-written in the game.

The dream weapon banner for Ayaka mains

(Photo: HoYoverse)
(Photo: HoYoverse)

The weapon banner for the second half of version 3.5 will be hard to ignore for Ayaka mains. Not only does it feature her signature weapon, the Mistsplitter Reforged, it also features Shenhe's, the Calamity Queller.

If you're an Ayaka main, then you most likely already have Shenhe as her support. If you're still looking for a Mistsplitter, then you wouldn't mind getting a Calamity Queller along the way either.

But if you're pulling just to get Shenhe's signature weapon, you won't feel bad about getting the Mistsplitter either, as it's hands-down the best 5-star sword in the game.

At max level, the Mistsplitter Reforged has a 674 base ATK (tied with the Aquila Favonia for the highest among swords) while also giving 44.1% Crit DMG.

Not only that, it passively gives its wielder a 12% Elemental DMG Bonus and an additional 28% bonus after dealing Elemental DMG with Normal Attacks and using your burst. That's practically an Elemental DMG Bonus goblet, which gives a 46.6% bonus.

And while the Mistsplitter is Ayaka's signature weapon, it's also either the best-in-slot or a great alternative for any sword-wielding DPS.

Characters that naturally infuse their attacks with their respective elements like Keqing, Alhaitham, or Kamisato Ayato will love the Mistsplitter. You can even make this weapon work with any sword-wielder by having them go with someone that can infuse elements to their attacks like C6 Bennett, Candace, or Chongyun.

Now let's move on to the Calamity Queller, which shines best in the hands of Shenhe while still being an okay alternative for other polearm characters.

At max level, the Calamity Queller has a base ATK of 741, highest among all polearms and tied with the Song of Broken Pines claymore for the highest base ATK among all weapons in the game.

The Calamity Queller also has a 16.5% ATK substat while passively increasing its wielder's Elemental DMG Bonus by 12%. After using an elemental skill, the weapon also gives a stacking ATK bonus to its wielder that maxes out at 19.2%. This bonus is also doubled when the wielder is off-field.

The insane ATK stacking from the Calamity Queller is perfect for Shenhe, as to be expected of her signature weapon. But while it isn't the best alternative for other polearm-wielders, it's still worth having for the Elemental DMG Bonus and ATK buffs.

Genshin Impact version 3.5 is expected to run until early April, with its second half featuring reruns for the 5-star characters Kamisato Ayaka and Shenhe as well as the debut of 4-star character Mika.

After version 3.5 comes version 3.6, which will feature the debuts of Baizhu and Kaveh.

Yan Ku is a full-time dog parent, part-time (gacha) gamer, and part-time writer.

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