Mastering Elements & Elemental Reactions in Genshin Impact

Mastering Elements & Elemental Reactions in Genshin Impact
Last updated:
March 22, 2024

Genshin Impact's combat system is deep and complex thanks to its elemental interactions, which can significantly impact your gameplay experience.

Whether you're looking to optimize your favorite character or achieve 36 stars in the Spiral Abyss, understanding elements, elemental reactions, and elemental resonance is crucial.

This guide will cover everything you need to know about the current seven elements in the game.

Let's dive in!

Mastering the 7 Elements and Elemental Reactions in Genshin Impact

The Basics of Elemental Auras

in game pyro element auro in genshin impact

When enemies are hit with attacks from the elements of Pyro, Cryo, Electro, Dendro, or Hydro, they gain an aura of that element, visibly indicated above their head.

This aura means the current elemental influence affecting the enemy, opening elemental reactions that can be triggered by combining different elemental effects.

However, it's important to note that Anemo and Geo, two of the seven elements in Genshin Impact, do not apply auras but interact with them in unique ways.

Elemental Aura Duration

The duration of an elemental aura can vary depending on the source of the element.

Elemental skills, bursts, and even environmental effects can apply these auras for set periods, influencing how long you have to initiate a reaction.

It's a critical factor in timing combinations and maximizing damage output or utility effects.

Role of Anemo and Geo Elements

While Anemo and Geo do not apply auras, they interact with existing auras to create powerful effects.

Anemo, associated with wind, can spread or swirl elemental effects, amplifying the area of effect and applying additional damage.

Geo, on the other hand, reacts with auras to create crystals that provide protective shields against damage.

Elemental Reactions and Transformative Effects

in game elemental reaction electro-charged in genshin impact

Elemental Reactions Explained

Elemental reactions in Genshin Impact happen when two different elemental effects interact with each other on an enemy or within the environment.

These reactions can be broadly categorized into two types: Amplifying Reactions and Transformative Reactions.

Amplifying Reactions

Amplifying reactions enhance the damage dealt by triggering specific elemental combinations.

The primary amplifying reactions include:

  • Melt: Triggered by combining Pyro and Cryo. When Pyro applies to a Cryo-affected target or vice versa, the resulting reaction increases the damage of the triggering attack. The amplification factor varies depending on the order of application.
  • Vaporize: Happens when Pyro and Hydro elements interact. Similar to Melt, the damage amplification depends on which element triggers the reaction.

Transformative Reactions

Transformative reactions create effects that deal additional elemental damage, independent of the character's attack damage.

These reactions include:

  • Overloaded: Results from the combination of Pyro and Electro, causing an explosive effect that deals AoE Pyro damage.
  • Electro-Charged: Occurs when Electro and Hydro come together, dealing sustained Electro damage over time to affected enemies.
  • Superconduct: A reaction between Cryo and Electro, dealing Cryo damage and reducing physical resistance of affected targets.
  • Swirl: Triggered by Anemo interacting with another element (Pyro, Hydro, Electro, Cryo, or Dendro), spreading the secondary element's effect to nearby enemies.

Dendro: The New Element on the Block

With the addition of Dendro, several new elemental reactions were introduced, expanding the elemental reaction system:

  • Burning: When Dendro meets Pyro, it triggers the Burning reaction, which continuously deals Pyro damage over time to affected enemies or environmental objects.
  • Burgeon: Triggered by causing an Overloaded reaction near Dendro, leading to an explosive burst of Dendro damage in an area.
  • Quicken: Occurs when Dendro and Electro interact, it doesn't directly deal damage but sets the stage for more powerful reactions like Aggravate and Spread.
  • Aggravate: Enhances Electro damage when an Electro attack hits a target affected by Quicken.
  • Spread: Triggers when a Dendro attack hits a target affected by Quicken, causing AoE Dendro damage.

Understanding Elemental Mastery

in game elemental mastery details in genshin impact

Elemental Mastery determines the additional damage or effectiveness of elemental reactions beyond the base damage or effect.

It does not affect the raw damage output of your character's attacks, skills, or bursts that do not involve elemental reactions.

Instead, EM boosts the damage or impact of specific reactions like Vaporize, Melt, Overloaded, Electro-Charged, and more.

Direct Impact on Elemental Reactions

EM has a direct impact on both Amplifying and Transformative reactions:

  • Amplifying Reactions (Melt and Vaporize): These reactions have their damage multiplier increased by EM. The higher your EM, the greater the damage multiplier for these reactions.
  • Transformative Reactions (Overloaded, Superconduct, Electro-Charged, Swirl, and the Dendro-related reactions): For these reactions, EM increases the fixed damage that these reactions provide. Since transformative reactions deal damage based on the level of the character and their EM, increasing your EM leads to significantly higher reaction damage.

Elemental Mastery and Reaction Roles

It's essential to understand the role of the character triggering the reaction, as EM on the trigger character is what influences the reaction's effectiveness.

This means:

  • If your character is primarily used to apply an elemental status (the "applier"), EM on this character won't boost the reaction damage.
  • If your character is used to trigger the elemental reaction (the "trigger"), then their EM will directly boost the reaction's damage or effect.

Optimizing Elemental Mastery

Character Roles and Builds

Include EM-focused artifacts and weapons to characters who frequently trigger elemental reactions in your team.

Anemo characters like Sucrose or Venti, who often trigger Swirl reactions, benefit immensely from high EM.

Different team compositions rely on various elemental reactions.

Identify the reactions your team comp is built around and equip EM accordingly. For teams focusing on Overloaded or Swirl, EM becomes a priority on triggers.

Elemental Mastery in Team Composition

Some characters have abilities or passives that synergize with EM, enhancing their effectiveness as reaction triggers.

Optimizing these abilities can increase the impact of your EM investment.

While EM is crucial for maximizing elemental reaction damage, it's also important to balance it with other critical stats like ATK, CRIT Rate, and CRIT DMG, especially for characters who deal significant direct damage alongside triggering reactions.

Elemental Resonance for Team Synergy

in game elemental resonance details in genshin impact

Elemental Resonance provides benefits ranging from increased attack power and energy regeneration to resistance against certain elements and status effects.

These bonuses are crucial for creating a balanced team capable of handling countless scenarios you'll encounter.

Fervent Flames (Pyro Resonance)

Increases attack by 25% and reduces the duration of being affected by Cryo by 40%.

This resonance is ideal for teams focusing on high DPS output.

It's particularly effective in environments where Cryo is frequent or when using characters that can frequently apply Pyro to trigger reactions like Melt or Vaporize.

Soothing Water (Hydro Resonance)

Increases healing received by 30% and reduces the duration of being affected by Pyro by 40%.

Suitable for teams that rely heavily on sustained healing for survival, especially in long fights or when tackling content where Pyro-based damage is common.

Impetuous Winds (Anemo Resonance)

Decreases stamina consumption by 15%, increases movement speed by 10%, and reduces skill cooldown by 5%.

Excellent for exploration and fast-paced combat strategies.

It benefits teams that rely on mobility and frequent use of skills for control and damage.

High Voltage (Electro Resonance)

Superconduct, Overloaded, Quicken, Aggravate, Hyperbloom, and Electro-Charged have a 100% chance to generate an Electro Elemental Particle (cooldown of 5s).

Reduces the duration of being affected by Hydro by 40%.

Favors teams that capitalize on Electro reactions for damage. It's particularly effective in maintaining energy for characters who depend on their Elemental Bursts.

Shattering Ice (Cryo Resonance)

Increases CRIT Rate against enemies that are frozen or affected by Cryo by 15%.

Reduces the duration of being affected by Electro by 40%.

This resonance is perfect for teams that use Freeze compositions, improving damage output through increased CRIT Rate on targets.

Enduring Rock (Geo Resonance)

Increases shield strength by 15%.

Characters protected by a shield will have the following special characteristics: DMG dealt increased by 15%, and dealing DMG to enemies will decrease their Geo RES by 20% for 15s.

Ideal for defensive strategies and teams that use Geo constructs for protection and combat.

Boosts both survivability and damage output under shield protection.

Sprawling Greenery (Dendro Resonance)

All characters in the party receive an Elemental Mastery increase of 50.

This boost enhances the damage or effectiveness of all elemental reactions triggered by your team.

When triggering specific Dendro-related reactions, the resonance provides additional Elemental Mastery boosts:

  • For Burning, Quicken, or Bloom: All nearby party members gain an additional 30 Elemental Mastery for six seconds.
  • For Aggravate, Spread, Hyperbloom, or Burgeon: All nearby party members gain an additional 20 Elemental Mastery for six seconds.

Protective Canopy (Any 4 Unique Elements)

All characters receive Elemental RES +15%, and Physical RES +15%.

It is unique in that it doesn't focus on improving the power of a specific element but instead offers a broad defensive boost applicable in a wide range of scenarios.

Internal Cooldowns and Reaction Mechanics

in game elemental reaction vaporize in genshin impact

Internal Cooldowns (ICD) Explained

In Genshin Impact, an internal cooldown is a hidden timer that prevents certain actions—like elemental reactions—from occurring too frequently within a given timeframe.

This mechanic is applied to various aspects of combat, but it is particularly relevant for characters whose abilities apply elemental effects that can trigger reactions.

How ICD Works

Elemental Application: When a character applies an elemental effect to an enemy (e.g., applying Pyro with a basic attack), an internal cooldown may be initiated, during which applying the same elemental effect won't trigger reactions.

Reaction-Specific Cooldowns: Different elemental reactions can have different ICDs. For example, the Electro-Charged reaction might have a different cooldown compared to the Vaporize reaction, affecting how frequently you can trigger them.

Character Abilities and Weapons: Some characters and weapons have abilities that can bypass or reduce the effect of ICDs, allowing for more frequent triggering of elemental reactions.

General ICD Guidelines

Elemental Application ICD: For basic attacks that apply elemental effects (such as a catalyst user's normal attacks), the common ICD observed is around 2.5 seconds. This means after applying an elemental effect with a normal attack, another elemental effect from a normal attack won’t be applied until after approximately 2.5 seconds.

Elemental Skill/Burst ICD: These vary significantly between characters and specific skills or bursts. Some abilities are designed to apply elemental effects with every hit, while others may have a cooldown before the elemental effect can be reapplied. The ICD for skills and bursts can range from no cooldown (instantaneous reapplication possible) to several seconds.

Reaction Mechanics

Elemental reactions are at the heart of Genshin Impact's combat strategy.

Understanding how these reactions work and how they are affected by ICDs is key to mastering combat.

Amplifying and Transformative Reactions
  • Amplifying Reactions (e.g., Melt, Vaporize): These reactions boost damage output and are influenced by the character's Elemental Mastery and attack power. Knowing the ICDs for these reactions allows for timed attacks that maximize damage.
  • Transformative Reactions (e.g., Overloaded, Superconduct, Electro-Charged): These reactions deal fixed damage based on Elemental Mastery and character level, independent of the attack power. The timing of these reactions is crucial for consistent damage output.

Dendro Reactions and ICD
  • Burning (Dendro + Pyro): Unlike most reactions that instantly deal damage, Burning applies a damage-over-time effect. The ICD for Burning affects how quickly areas or enemies can be re-ignited, making it a strategic tool for area denial.
  • Quicken, Aggravate, and Spread (Dendro + Electro): These reactions form a complex chain where Quicken acts as a prerequisite for either Aggravate or Spread. Managing the ICDs for each step of this chain is crucial for maximizing damage output. For example, strategically timing Electro applications after Quicken can ensure that Aggravate's damage boost is used to its fullest.
  • Bloom, Hyperbloom, and Burgeon (Dendro + Hydro for Bloom, further reactions depend on additional elements): Bloom reactions create Dendro cores that explode, dealing damage. The ICD for creating and detonating these cores is critical for controlling when and where explosions occur, allowing for precise manipulation of the battlefield.