In this article, I’ll be going over everything you need to know about Keqing, including her playstyle, best artifacts, weapons, teams, and more.
Since the introduction of Dendro, Keqing has gained a new role as one of the stronger Aggravate carries in the game. As a result, Aggravate has become a very optimal team for her boasting a solid performance in Abyss compared to teams she had access to before Dendro.
Due to this shift, this guide will mainly be focusing on Aggravate Keqing rather than rehash old and otherwise outdated/suboptimal iterations.
Normal Attack – Yunlai Swordsmanship
Standard 5-hit sequence with cool animations along with a Charge Attack that has 2 hit instances. Her Normal Attack combos are a significant portion of her damage on-field, meaning it is just as valuable as her other talents and will require investment.
[see Normal Attack combos under Combo section for combat relevancy]
Elemental Skill – Stellar Restoration
Hurls a Lightning Stiletto that annihilates her opponents like the swift thunder.
When the Stiletto hits its target, it deals Electro DMG to opponents in a small AoE, and places a Stiletto Mark on the spot hit.
Hold to adjust the direction in which the Stiletto shall be thrown.
Stilettos thrown by the Hold attack mode can be suspended in mid-air, allowing Keqing to jump to them when using Stellar Restoration a second time.
If Keqing uses Stellar Restoration again or uses a Charged Attack while its duration lasts, it will clear the Stiletto Mark and produce different effects:
- If she uses Stellar Restoration again, she will blink to the location of the Mark and unleash one slashing attack that deals AoE Electro DMG. When blinking to a Stiletto that was thrown from a Holding attack, Keqing can leap across obstructing terrain.
- If Keqing uses a Charged Attack, she will ignite a series of thundering cuts at the Mark’s location, dealing AoE Electro DMG.
This talent is an important part of Keqing’s kit/playstyle mainly due to it granting Electro Infusion from her A1 passive. It can be either pressed or held with the former being more preferred in combat scenarios, and the latter being more of an exploration tech.
Regardless, the skill will have 2 casts. Your initial cast will throw a Lightning Stiletto in front of Keqing [prioritizes enemies] and can be aimed by holding this skill. After the Lightning Stiletto thrown, recasting the skill again will teleport/blink Keqing in that direction, dealing an instance of AoE Electro DMG.
[see Elemental Skill/Burst combos under Combo section for combat relevancy]
Elemental Burst – Starward Sword
Keqing unleashes the power of lightning, dealing Electro DMG in an AOE.
She then blends into the shadow of her blade, striking a series of thunderclap-blows to nearby opponents simultaneously that deal multiple instances of Electro DMG. The final attack deals massive AoE Electro DMG.
A multi-hit talent that deals AoE Electro DMG with each hit and a final slash at the end with a separate multiplier. While it applies multiple hits of Electro, this talent still has standard ICD, which is something to keep in mind.
Nonetheless still a valuable talent, due to the damage and mainly her A4 passive benefits making Burst incorporation even more worthwhile.
Keqing Talent Priority
Here’s a quick talent priority for Keqing.
Elemental Burst = Normal > Elemental Skill
Character Best Combos
- E – Skill
- Q – Burst
- N – Normal Attack
- # – Number of Attacks
- C – Charge Attack
Normal Attack combos:
Keqing’s Normal Attack combos are fairly straightforward. Her highest motion value combo is N1C spam. However, it can knockback smaller enemies while also being a stamina hungry combo.
Due to this, incorporating an N4C is very viable in order to conserve stamina and provide comfort. While you will still be primarily utilizing N1C’s, be aware of your stamina consumption and apply the N4C when needed.
Elemental Skill/Burst combos:
The ideal order in an initial rotation goes as follows:
> Keqing EQE N1C spam >
The reason why you EQE instead of EEQ initially is due to her infusion and Skill Cooldown. If you EEQ your infusion uptime is wasted during the Burst animation along with the CD not even being up when your infusion runs out.
That is because the Skill CD starts ticking after the INITIAL cast of her skill and NOT the recast. Now if you EQE, you will be able to maximize the infusion, AND have her Skill off of Cooldown by the time your infusion is done.
As you ascend Keqing, she will gain Crit DMG.
1st Ascension: Thundering Penance
After recasting Stellar Restoration while a Lightning Stiletto is present, Keqing’s weapon gains an Electro Infusion for 5s.
The passive that basically allowed Keqing to be an Electro on-fielder. Gives Keqing an Electro infusion to her Normal/Charged Attacks after recasting her Elemental Skill. A very straightforward passive that simply gives her access to another playstyle outside of quickswap.
4th Ascension: Aristocratic Dignity
When casting Starward Sword, Keqing’s CRIT Rate is increased by 15%, and her Energy Recharge is increased by 15%. This effect lasts for 8s.
A very nice and straightforward passive that gives Keqing a whopping 15% Crit Rate along with 15% Energy Recharge immediately after casting Elemental Burst. Simply put, this passive slightly alleviates efforts in offensive substats distribution along with free Energy Recharge for her already low cost Burst.
Utility Passive: Land’s Overseer
When dispatched on an expedition in Liyue, time consumed is reduced by 25%.
As always for constellations, every 5 star unit is completely functional at c0. Constellations in general and what they offer are far from needed. Keqing’s constellations – along with other 5 stars – usually translate to unnecessary increases in damage/ clear time or quality of life aspects.
Due to Keqing’s status as a standard banner character, the only way of getting copies of her is losing your 50/50 and on the standard banner. It is never recommended to go for Keqing specifically, as she is never guaranteed.
- C1: Low Impact
- C2: Low/ Medium Impact
- C3: Low Impact
- C4: Medium Impact
- C5: Low Impact
- C6: Low Impact
Constellation 1: Thundering Might
Recasting Stellar Restoration while a Lightning Stiletto is present causes Keqing to deal 50% of her ATK as AoE Electro DMG at the start point and terminus of her Blink.
A very minimal damage increase and can be inconsistent to set up to where you benefit from both damage instances. On top of that, this constellation and her Elemental Skill share ICD, meaning that it’s an additional instance of damage that unfortunately can’t aggravate.
Constellation 2: Keen Extraction
When Keqing’s Normal and Charged Attacks hit opponents affected by Electro, they have a 50% chance of producing an Elemental Particle.
This effect can only occur once every 5s.
Due to Keqing’s low ER requirements, this constellation doesn’t offer much for Keqing herself, however it can be nice for Electro teammates that would appreciate the particles. Can be a nice quality of life increase at times.
Constellation 3: Foreseen Reformation
Increases the Level of Starward Sword by 3.
Maximum upgrade level is 15
A simple talent increase to her Elemental Burst with a minimal dps increase. Nothing much to be said here.
Constellation 4: Attunement
For 10s after Keqing triggers an Electro-related Elemental Reaction, her ATK is increased by 25%.
Gives Keqing a 25% ATK increase after triggering an Electro reaction. A 25% ATK buff is quite the relevant amount and will provide even more value when used with high Base ATK weapons. Overall, one of the bigger DPS increases out of Keqing’s constellations.
Constellation 5: Beckoning Stars
Increases the Level of Stellar Restoration by 3.
Maximum upgrade level is 15.
A simple talent increase to her Elemental Skill with an even more minimal dps increase compared to C3.
Constellation 6: Tenaciou Star
When initiating a Normal Attack, a Charged Attack, Elemental Skill or Elemental Burst, Keqing gains a 6% Electro DMG Bonus for 8s.
Effects triggered by Normal Attacks, Charged Attacks, Elemental Skills and Elemental Bursts are considered independent entities.
Another simple buffing constellation that gives Keqing 6% Electro DMG Bonus when Normal/ Charge Attacking and using Skill/Burst. While a relevant increase, it is not that big of an increase from the previous constellation compared to C4. On top of that, this is a C6 for a standard character, making it almost never recommendable.
Keqing as an Aggravate carry has a pretty flexible playstyle. While she can be considered an on-fielder, her field time is so minimal to the point where it isn’t restrictive like many on-field carries.
She basically spends most of her time on field with short N1C sequences after her Skill Burst Skill casts. Due to her short field time, you have a lot to work with in terms of rotations and refreshing buff/talent uptimes.
4 Thundering Fury [4TF]
One of Keqing’s go-to artifact sets in an Aggravate comp and arguably best-in-slot due to how much the set offers when maximized. On top of increasing her Aggravate damage, you are able to get extra skill casts throughout your rotation giving you more damage, more particles, and offering flexibility to a rotation, allowing you to fit in additional damage instances/talent timings that you wouldn’t get from other sets.
4 Thundersoother [4TS]
A very competitive set to 4TF provided the passive is maintained. Due to the ability to maintain high Electro aura uptime in Aggravate comps, the set bonus actually proves worthwhile. That being said, there are many enemies with innate elements/auras, which griefs this set entirely, so keep that in mind.
4pc Gilded Dreams [4GD]
A fine option that simply gives Keqing raw buffs depending on the elements of the characters in the party [usually 1 Electro + 2 non-Electro]. While the buffs are appreciable, do note that 4GD does perform 4-8% worse than the aforementioned sets depending on sands mainstats/weapon etc. Nonetheless, this set is still a viable option overall, especially due to the resin efficiency of this domain.
Regarding EM Sands vs ATK sands, it’s mostly substat dependent. Smaller differences will depend on the artifact set, weapon, sources of buffs etc. But choosing the one with better substats will lead to better results more often than not.
- Circlet: Crit Rate/DMG
- Sands: EM/ATK
- Goblet: Electro DMG Bonus
Here’s the order of sub stats to prioritize: Crit Rate/DMG > EM = ATK
Energy Recharge: 100%
Due to Keqing’s low burst cost, A4 passive, along with typically being played with a good battery like Fishcl, she can function on virtually little to no ER investment. Teammates with Favonius weapons also contribute to her very low ER requirement.
Mistsplitter Reforged/Primordial Jade Cutter
These weapons are grouped together due to how competitive they are at being Keqing’s best-in-slot 5 star. Depending on gear/buff assumptions, one can edge out the other in damage, albeit being a small gap.
Both give large amounts of Crit and -while not game changing- having passives that can be relevant at times for Keqing to take advantage of [Mistsplitter stacks/ PJC ATK bonus].
Haran Geppaku Futsu
A close second to the Mistsplitter/Jade Cutter. On top of the Crit stat it offers, the Normal Attack DMG bonus it provides is relevant towards Keqing’s DMG contribution. A very viable option all around if you happen to have it that is.
A usable option due to the EM, DMG% and ATK it offers through the passive. However, it is not recommended due to 4/3 star alternatives being basically comparable or even better at times, along with this weapon being more valuable on another character like a Kazuha for example. That being said, it is still an option and performs just fine on Keqing.
[Keqing’s 4 star weapons at R1 perform relatively similar to each other. Due to this, comparisons will assume and specify high/max refines]
At R5, this weapon is one of if not Keqing’s best 4 star option. The main selling point being the DMG% passive. While conditional, in an Aggravate comp you can basically achieve full uptime on the passive, making this weapon very consistent on enemies with no self-aura. For reference, this weapon is comparable to and can beat out the likes of Freedom Sworn and Summit Shaper.
Another solid 4 star option at R5. Offers Crit Rate along with a DMG Bonus to her Normals. This weapon is more relative to an R5 Iron Sting in terms of performance, rather than competing with an R5 Lion’s Roar. A fine alternative if you happen to have it at high refines, however due to the cost of this weapon in relation to its performance, it’s not recommended. Save ur money!!
An easily accessible weapon and true F2P option for Keqing. Gives a decent amount of Elemental Mastery which is greatly appreciated in Aggravate. Note that refining this weapon to R5 is around a 5-6% DPS increase. Whether or not that is worth the refines is solely up to you. All around a strong baseline option to consider.
Harbinger of Dawn
CAN be a very strong option considering its accessibility, access to refines and rarity. That’s only if the passive is maintained, and that’s a big if. Nonetheless, it’s very relative to the other high refined 4 stars on this list, making this weapon competitive regardless of the caveats. Just make sure you are aware of those caveats during execution and play around them.
Aggravate Carry Keqing
The go-to team comp for Keqing ever since Dendro was introduced and the only one I will be mentioning. Because of the mechanics behind Aggravate, Keqing is well suited as a carry as her fast Electro application allows for many instances of Aggravates, on top of flexible rotations due to her relatively low field time.
Ideally, the team consists of Keqing/Fischl/Dendro/Flex. Fishcl being an optimal 2nd Electro due to her playstyle, damage and A4 passive proccing with Aggravates which Keqing can trigger effectively.
Your Dendro character can really be any off-field Dendro character. Mainly being either Dendro Traveler or Nahida. Both characters provide EM buffing and sustained Dendro application with Nahida also contributing damage from her skill procs.
Your flex slot can be Anemo characters such as Sucrose or Kazuha with both providing VV shred and Sucrose with an EM buff.
This team along with Keqing have a kind of pseudo-quickswap playstyle giving you lots of i-frames/rotation flexibility.
If you still find yourself dying or having low survivability you can always bring a healer like Kuki as a second Electro. Just keep in mind, replacing Fischl will be sacrificing a significant portion of your team’s damage. You can even opt for a shielder as your flex slot provided they don’t interfere with the reactions like a Zhongli for example.
[4TF Keqing, Fishcl, Nahida, Kazuha]:
Fishcl Q > Kazuha EQ > Nahida EQ > Keqing EQE 2N1C N1EE N1C N1 > Fishcl E > Kazuha E > Keqing N1EE 3N1C > repeat
As previously mentioned, Keqing is very flexible within her rotations, meaning deviating from a rotation when the situation calls for it will not be too detrimental to her DPS and this is by no means the end all be all rotation.
- E – Skill
- Q – Burst
- N – Normal Attack
- # – Number of Attacks
- C – Charge Attack
Keqing has proven to be a solid character all around due to the introduction of Dendro reactions such as Quicken/Aggravate, making her more meta than she ever was. Being a standard banner character, many that have lost the 50/50 to her can finally rejoice and reconsider her pull being a “loss” due to her performance in an Aggravate composition. Her value as a unit overall has increased and building her could actually prove to be worthwhile compared to her previous state pre-Dendro.