To begin, theorycrafting in Genshin Impact started in full swing around Keqing to see what weapon and artifacts were the best for her, hence the name: KQM. Shortly after however, theorycrafters realized that the information and data collected for Keqing could easily be applied to other characters, and there was a challenge that every player was met with, the Abyss. From then on, KQM theorycrafting had been focused on efficiency, meta, and how to clear the Abyss with the least amount of resources.
Moving from that point to now has been a journey, to say the least. Players have long since reached the point of being able to invest into units that are fully capable of clearing the Abyss (and not named Xiangling). The line between the best and middling teams has increasingly become blurry, and many units no longer offer direct and clear upgrades over others (Kazuha v. Sucrose).
Often times, Theorycrafting is derided for being too focused on meta. It's understandable that people are tired of being preached to about the strength of Xiangling, Venti, or Ganyu; but we would still argue that being able to tell players who are limited by time what to spend their resin on. Genshin is an easy game, but only if you want it to be. These days, there are just as many players who want to do their best with the units they like the most - and many theorycrafters agree. there is no wrong or right premise to start theorycrafting. Using mathematical analysis to maximize outcomes is just as applicable to the meta as it is for your favorite unit.
The Genshin Impact content sphere is filled misguided advice based on flawed testing that is not any different from misinformation. Testing in game is so rarely effective at discerning the difference between units. It is only possible to get an accurate picture of a unit's power by controlling the testing environment and investment - which is important for being able to provide recommendations for people's Primogems.
How To Start
The Theorycrafting Library is an excellent resource for you to begin reading the intricacies of different units and the game's mechanics. The best way to really get started is to find something that you are particularly interested in and begin exploring. You can find help inside our Discord with plenty of people that are interested in Genshin Theorycrafting.
You can find our Glossary below, to help you navigate the terms that we commonly use.
TC: Theorycrafting, the process of analyzing characters for min-maxing, studying various game mechanics, and the overall pursuit of knowledge of the game. KeqingMains TC accommodates for both the meta and waifu-based play. There is no right or wrong premise to TC.
TCer: Refers to an individual who participates in Theorycrafting.
Pre-TC: Pre-TC is the name given to any kind of theorycrafting work done on content not yet released in the game (leaks). The results of pre-TC work can be unreliable because of the volatile nature of unreleased content and lack of experienced TCers with access to unreleased content. It is currently banned from KeqingMains.
KQM: KeqingMains, a community of nerds who have too much time on their hands.
WFP: Wangsheng Funeral Parlor, a Discord server that allows pre-TC and is partnered with KQM.
Best in Slot = The best gear for the character in that specific slot
General Mechanic Terms
ICD: A hidden timer that starts when an Elemental source applies an aura or trigger to an enemy. For more details, see our page on ICDs.
- During this ICD, repeated use of that specific Elemental source WILL do Elemental damage, but WILL NOT apply an aura/trigger.
- Reactions also have ICD to them.
Snapshot: A mechanic whereby a character's stats are "snapshot" when an attack occurs, allowing that attack to maintain the same stats throughout the entire attack. For example, Xiangling will maintain the same attack for the entirety of her Pyronado, instead of losing attack when her attack buffs expire.
Dynamic: The opposite of snapshot, whereby the damage that an attack deals is dependent on a character's stats at a specific moment in time, rather than at the time the attack was cast.
Transformative Reaction: What miHoYo calls the “Minor” reactions, which consists of: Electro-Charged, Swirl, Overloaded, Shattered, and Superconduct.
Amplifying Reaction: What miHoYo calls the “Major” reactions, which consists of: Vaporize and Melt.
SC: Superconduct, a Transformative Reaction that deals AoE Cryo DMG and reduces the Physical resistance of all enemies in the AoE by 40% for 12 seconds.
OL: Overloaded, also commonly referred to as Overload
Resistance/RES Shred: A debuff which reduces the Elemental/Physical resistance of enemies. e.g.: 4-Piece Viridescent Venerer and Superconduct.
DEF Shred: A debuff which reduces Defense, and in turn increases the damage of every attack on the target (excluding transformative reactions).
DEF Ignore: Where a specific attack ignores a percentage of the enemy's Defense. This only applies to the attack itself and will not affect the damage of other attacks on the target (excluding transformative reactions). DEF Ignore is multiplicative to DEF Shred.
MV: Motion Value, or the Talent Multiplier, which can be found in-game in the Skill Attributes tab. It is the percentage of your attack done by a Normal Attack, Skill, or Burst.
MV/s = Talent damage/percentage done by an attack or string of attacks divided by the time it takes to do them.
- For more details you can check out this video by Artesians on motion values.
CC: Crowd Control, this generally refers to certain Anemo characters being able to pull enemies in with their E or Q.
Elemental Infusion: When a weapon is infused with an Element, it will deal Elemental DMG of that Element instead of Physical DMG. This can be done via certain Elemental Skills, Elemental Bursts, and Passive Talents.
Elemental Conversion: Similar to Elemental Infusion, except a Conversion can not be overridden.
Elemental Absorption: When an Anemo Elemental Skill/Burst comes into contact with Pyro/Hydro/Electro/Cryo and deals additional damage of that Element. Refer to this as Absorption instead of Infusion for clarity. E.g. Kazuha's Elemental Burst can have “Pyro Absorption", not "Pyro Infusion”.
Elemental Absorption Priority: When more than one Element is present, Anemo Elemental Skills/Bursts will absorb an Element in the following order:
- Cryo > Pyro > Hydro > Electro: only Anemo Traveler
- Pyro > Hydro > Electro > Cryo: all other Anemo characters
Chain Reaction: A reaction caused by another reaction.
Hitlag: Whenever a character/enemy hits a target, frames get Frozen to give the player a sense of "weight" behind each attack, in turn making certain abilities, buffs, debuffs and auras last longer. This is referred to as Hitlag. Refer to Hitlag Extension for more details.
Collision: When doing a Plunge Attack, the character will do AoE DMG, referred to as “Low/High Plunge” in-game. Collision DMG requires the character to plunge from directly above an enemy’s hitbox, referred to as “Plunge DMG” in-game.
Character and Stat Terms
Unit Terms: C stands for Constellation, A stands for Ascension, R stands for Refinement, and T stands for Talent Level. There is no R0.
- C3R1 Raiden Shogun would mean: Constellation 3 Raiden with Refinement 1 Engulfing Lightning.
- A4 Fischl would refer to Fischl's second level up passive, unlocked after her 4th ascension.
ER: Short for Energy Recharge.
EM: Short for Elemental Mastery.
CD: Short for Critical Damage.
CR: Short for Critical Rate.
CV: CV = (2 × CR) + CD, it refers to the total amount of CRIT an artifact/character has. It's an indirect method of measuring a character's investment.
ADC: Refers to main stat builds using ATK% on the Sands, Dmg Bonus% on the Goblet, CRIT% on the Circlet.
EDC: Refers to main stat builds using EM on the Sands, Dmg Bonus% on the Goblet, CRIT% on the Circlet.
Weapons and Artifacts
BS: Black Sword (Battle Pass weapon), Blizzard Strayer (artifact set), or Bloodstained Chivalry (another artifact set, preferably abbreviated as BSC).
WGS: Wolf’s Gravestone, a 5-Star Claymore; or Waster Greatsword for the memes, a 1-Star Claymore.
VH: Viridescent Hunt, a 4-Star Bow obtained from the Battle Pass, may also be abbreviated as VHunt.
TTDS: Thrilling Tales of Dragon Slayers. A 3-Star Catalyst that grants a large ATK% buff to another member of the party upon swapping.
HoD: Heart of Depth, an artifact set for Hydro characters or Harbinger of Dawn, one of the better 3-Star swords.
NO: Noblesse Oblige, an artifact set that provides a universal +20% ATK Bonus.
VV: Viridescent Venerer, an artifact set that buffs Anemo and Swirl DMG; or Vortex Vanquisher, a 5-Star Polearm that only appeared once on the Weapon Banner.
ESF: Emblem of Severed Fate, an artifact set which is known for its strength and the domain’s overall resin efficiency.
CWF: Crimson Witch of Flames, an artifact set that increases Pyro DMG Bonus by 15% for the 2-Piece; It also increases Vaporize, Melt, Burning and Overloaded reaction damage as it’s 4-Piece bonus, using an Elemental Skill increases the 2-Piece Bonus by 50% of its starting value for 10s up to 3 stacks.
Standardized Combat Notation:
- N = Normal Attack
- C = Charged Attack
- W = Walk
- D = Dash
- J = Jump
Prefixed numbers indicate the number of repetitions, while the suffix number after N describes the position of the hit in a NA string, this can be from 1 to 6 depending on the character. Walking is a common way to animation cancel NAs, while Jumping and Dashing are common ways to cancel CAs, so one of these letters is often placed at the end of a combo.
- 8N1CD means doing the 1st NA, a CA, dashing to cancel the CA animation, then repeating the combo until it has been performed a total of 8 times.
Rotation: Many team compositions have full rotations that can be listed out using combat notation, and are typically repeatable sequences. Annotations for different buffs are typically not listed explicitly like Thrilling Tales of Dragon Slayers.
- Tartaglia E > Swap Bennett Q > Kazuha Q > Xiangling EQ > Tartaglia
NA: Normal Attacks, an attack string that consists of 1-6 hits, depending on the character.
AA: Auto Attacks, a common but informal way of saying NA.
CA: Charged Attacks, which do more damage that Normal Attacks but consume stamina (although some characters have passives that reduce said stamina).
E: Elemental Skill, E is the default shortcut on PC.
Q: Elemental Burst, Q is the default shortcut on PC.
Recovery: The number of frames after a hitmark that is required before another action can be input. They can be canceled by movement commands like dashes or jumps.
Wavedash: Using Venti's Held Elemental Skill, many characters can perform extremely quick animation cancels. They perform ground attack moves by cancelling them with rapid jumps.
Dragon Strike: TCL Entry
ARCC: TCL Entry
Animation Cancel: Many attacks in Genshin Impact can be cancelled by inputting a movement command, jump, or dash. They either provide better positioning or a way to avoid long recovery periods.
Team Composition Terms
Battery: A character that generates Energy to fund another character’s Burst. Typically you battery using a character with the same Element for increased efficiency, and swap off the battery unit immediately after using their Elemental Skill.
Burst Support = A character that swaps onto the field to deal large damage with their Burst.
Hypercarry/Selfish Carry: A team is focused entirely around maximizing the damage dealt by a single character (the selfish carry) during their period of time where they deal the most damage, but are unable to swap off.
On-field = The character who spends the most time on the field, usually spending more time on-field than all the other characters combined.
Permafreeze = A team centered around permanently freezing enemies to capitalize on the 4-pc. Blizzard Strayer bonus.
PP (Pure Pyro) = A team centered around maximizing Pyro uptime on enemies to capitalize on the 4-pc. Lavawalker's bonus.
Quickswap = A team that has no dedicated carry, spending very little time using normal/charged attacks. These teams deal damage through the use of swapping between characters to use lower cooldown Elemental Skills and Bursts.
Sub-DPS = Characters outside of the main carry that deal damage, usually through their Skills/Burst
Enabler = A character that deploys a Skill or Burst that works even when the character is off-field. Usually, they apply Elements to "enable" reactions.
Support = Characters whose value to the team isn’t to deal damage, but to provide utility.
- Cleanser = A character that has a Skill/Burst that applies an Element onto themselves to cleanse off leyline disorders.
- Healers/Shielders = As the name states, characters that increase the survivability of your other characters by providing healing or shields
- VV = An Anemo character with 4 set Viridescent Venerer on to reduce the Elemental RES of the enemy
For a more in-depth look at reactions, there is a whole section dedicated to them in the TCL.
Amplified(Amped) = A category for reactions, which Melt and Vaporize fall into. Amped reactions multiply the trigger by a specific multiplier, for more details go to General Reaction Mechanics .
Aura = If a targetable entity is currently not affected by any Element, the next Elemental source will apply an aura.
Aura Tax = The aura tax reduces the gauge application from Elemental sources by a multiplier of 0.8.
Coexisting/Underlying Aura = In certain situations (e.g. Electro-Charged) multiple auras of different Elements may exist on the same entity.
Elemental Decay = An aura will persist a certain duration depending on the type of Elemental source. Think of the duration as a gauge that can decay or be reduced in 2 ways:
- Via time (A, B, C)
- The gauge will decay over time. Each letter represents a different decay rate, which can be referenced in Notation. Once the gauge empties, the Elemental aura disappears.
- Via reactions (GU)
- When you apply an Elemental trigger to an existing Elemental aura, a certain amount of the gauge is consumed. If an amount remains, then the aura will persist after the reaction. If the gauge is fully consumed, the aura disappears.
Elemental Gauge / Gauge Units (GU) = The strength of an Elemental source, which dictates how much of the aura is consumed when a reaction occurs.
- See Gauge Unit Database to see each source’s U value
Elemental Source = An Element-imbued attack or Skill that will apply an Element on the enemy. All Elemental sources should have the decay and GU appended.
Internal Cooldown (ICD) = A hidden timer that occurs when an Elemental source applies an aura or trigger to an enemy. For more details, see our page on ICDs.
- During this ICD, repeated use of that specific Elemental source WILL do Elemental damage, but WILL NOT apply an aura/trigger
Reverse [Melt/Vaporize] = A Vaporize or Melt reaction where the trigger gets a 1.5x modifier.
- Is also referred to as Cryo Melt, Pyro Vaporize, Weak Melt/Vaporize
Swirled Aura = An aura that's applied through the use of Swirl spreading the aura of one enemy to a different enemy.
Transformative = A category for reactions, which Overload, Electro-Charged, Superconduct, Freeze, Shatter, Swirl, and Crystallize fall into.
- Transformative reactions deal damage based on the trigger character level and their EM, for more details go to General Reaction Mechanics
Trigger = If a targetable entity has an existing aura, the next Elemental source will act as a trigger for a reaction.
Unit Modifier = A system of modifiers that apply to Elemental sources.
- This modifier can increase or decrease how much of the aura is consumed in reactions.
As the theorycrafting library is being migrated, many of these terms do not have their corresponding entries linked yet.
Cancels = A tech you use to leave animations early. There are a few ways you can perform cancels, which are dependent on the character and attack.
- Variants: Walk Cancel, Dash Cancel, Jump Cancel
Cleanse = A method of cleaning auras off of characters by self-applying an Element from certain Skills/Bursts of characters. For more information see our page on cleanses
Hitlag = Whenever a character hits a target, frames get Frozen to give the player a sense of "weight" behind each attack.
- The amount of hitlag depends on the target hit
- Range characters and Skills aren't affected by hitlag
Poise/Interruption Resistance = A system that determines how difficult it is for a character to be staggered, see our poise page for more information.
For more information see our page on poise.
Force = Determines what level stagger will occur
Poise = All units have a hidden poise bar which decreases when receiving attacks that deal "poise damage". When the poise bar is depleted to 0, the unit becomes "vulnerable".
Stagger = An animation that occurs when a unit is vulnerable (poise bar is 0) and they receive an attack that may interrupt their current action and may displace them a certain distance.
- There are 5 different levels of stagger, ranging from 0 to 4, that describe what stagger animation occurs
Vulnerable = A status that occurs when a unit's poise bar is 0. The next attack received by a vulnerable unit may stagger them depending on the level of the stagger (0 = nothing, 1-4 = stagger)
Vulnerability = A modifier that affects the amount of poise damage taken from an attack