In this article, I’ll be going over everything you need to know about Xiao, including their playstyle, best artifacts, weapons, teams, and more.
Xiao is an Anemo Polearm user who is primarily played as a hypercarry with exceptional AoE and consistent damage output through his plunge attacks/combos during his burst.
Normal Attack – Whirlwind Thrust
Performs up to 6 consecutive spear strikes. Fairly standard attack string with fluid animations. The majority of your damage is coming from your plunges so let’s take a look at its scalings.
In Xiao’s talent description, you actually have 2 instances of damage within your Plunge Attacks [Plunge DMG AND Low/ High Plunge DMG]. The “Plunge DMG” is what is called Collision Plunge and the “Low/ High Plunge DMG” is your actual plunge when you hit the ground, depending on what height you plunge from.
Collision Plunge is basically another instance of Plunge damage that you can get on an enemy, provided you hit them on the way down. This Collision Plunge is mostly relevant against larger enemies/ bosses but it can still be performed against other smaller enemies.
It is important to note that this talent should be prioritized over Xiao’s burst, as your plunges in your burst state still scale off of this talent and the base modifier of your plunges.
Elemental Skill – Lemniscatic Wind Cycling
Upon cast, Xiao lunges forward, dealing Anemo DMG to opponents in his path. This talent can also be cast mid-air.
Pretty standard skill mainly used for particle generation outside of just doing quick damage. Cast this ability twice before casting burst as you will be able to catch the particles provided you cast your burst in succession.
Elemental Burst – Bane of All Evil
When casting this ability, Xiao enters a state that lasts for 15s. This state gives him the following qualities.
- Increased jumping ability
- Increased attack AoE and attack DMG
- Converts his attacks into Anemo DMG that cannot be overridden by any other elemental infusion.
Keep in mind during this state, Xiao will continuously lose HP, so supports with sustain pair well. Regarding talent priority, leveling your Burst past 7 is a very minimal increase compared to the higher increase you gain from leveling your Normal Attacks. This is due to Xiao’s Burst levels only giving you DMG%, which you already get from other sources (vv/ goblet/a1 etc).
Character Talent Priority
Here’s a quick talent priority for Xiao.
Normal Attack > Elemental Burst > Elemental Skill
Character Best Combos
Despite having a straightforward plunge spam playstyle during his burst, you can incorporate a decent amount of combos that are situationally optimal.
- N = Normal Attack
- # = Number of Normal Attacks within the string
- J = Jump
- C = Charge Attack
- P = Plunge
(Example: N1CJP = 1 hit Normal Attack into a Charged Attack followed by a jump and plunge)
N1CJP – Xiao’s highest motion value combo in single target. You want to cancel the charge attack animation by jumping as soon as it hits into a plunge.
High Plunge Spam – Your go-to option on AoE/ mobbing content. Very straightforward spam gameplay.
N1 Cancel into Plunge – Mainly used with teammates that require Normal Attacks to proc their abilities such as Xingqiu or Yelan. Your N1 can be canceled fairly early while still applying the hit.
Depending on your team composition and enemies you are facing, you can incorporate a mix of these combos which makes Xiao’s combos quite versatile in multiple scenarios.
As you ascend Xiao, he will gain Crit Rate.
1st Ascension – Conqueror of Evil: Tamer of Demons
While under the effects of Bane of All Evil, all DMG dealt by Xiao increases by 5%. DMG increases by a further 5% for every 3s the ability persists. The maximum DMG Bonus is 25%
Straightforward DMG Bonus during Xiao’s burst state. Woo DMG%!
4th Ascension – Dissolution Eon: Heaven Fall
Using Xiao’s Elemental Skill increases the DMG of subsequent uses of the skill by 15%. This effect lasts for 7s, and has a maximum of 3 stacks. Gaining a new stack refreshes the effects duration.
Another straightforward DMG Bonus, this time for your skill and the more you use it. Another source of DMG% WAHOO
Utility Passive – Transcension: Gravity Defier
Decreases climbing Stamina consumption for your own party members by 20%. Not stackable with Passive Talents that provide the exact same effects.
As always for constellations, every 5 star unit is completely functional at c0. Constellations in general and what they offer are far from needed. Xiao’s constellations – along with other 5 stars – usually translate to slight increases in damage/ clear time or quality of life aspects. Do keep in mind constellation value takes into account the value you lose going for another copy of the character rather than a completely different character that could impact your account far more than a constellation would.
That being said, Xiao has some pretty bad Constellations with C1 and C6 being notable. Anything in between is simply not worth it whatsoever.
- C1: Low/ Medium Impact
- C2: Low Impact
- C3: Low Impact
- C4: ZERO IMPACT
- C5: Low Impact
- C6: Medium/ High Impact
Constellation 1: Dissolution Eon: Destroyer of Worlds
Increases your skill charges by 1.
Mostly a quality of life constellation, however it can slightly lower ER requirements past your initial rotation albeit a minimal DPS increase.
Constellation 2: Annihilation Eon: Blossom of Kaleidos
When in the party and not on the field, Xiao’s Energy Recharge is increased by 25%.
While it might seem nice, this constellation is nowhere near significant enough to roll for. Especially since Xiao wants to be on field not only doing damage but receiving particles from teammates through funneling.
Constellation 3: Conqueror of Evil: Wrath Deity
Increases the Level of your skill by 3. Maximum upgrade level is 15.
Only relevant if your Xiao is C6. Other than that it does nothing due to the majority of your damage coming from plunges
Constellation 4: Transcention: Extinction of Suffering
When Xiao’s HP falls below 50%, he gains a 100% DEF Bonus.
Constellation 5: Evolution Eon: Origin of Ignorance
Increases the Level of your burst by 3. Maximum upgrade level is 15.
Due to Xiao’s wide access to DMG Bonus% as explained in the talent section, it is not relevant enough to go for and is insignificant in terms of DPS increase.
Constellation 6: Conqueror of Evil: Guardian Yaksha
While under the effects of Bane of All Evil, hitting at least 2 opponents with Xiao’s Plunging Attack will immediately grant him 1 charge of his skill, and for the next 1s, he may use his skill while ignoring its CD.
A constellation that significantly increases Xiao’s damage output, due to it allowing your skill to be incorporated along with your plunge damage during your burst window. While this constellation is quite strong, there are still some downsides on top of it being such a high constellation.
It effectively does not exist against single target scenarios, and requires much more attention towards your playstyle and skill management. On top of that, auto-targeting, enemy movement, and vulnerability while dashing are all relevant cons to be aware of.
Xiao’s playstyle is very simple as he functions as a hypercarry. This means the majority of your team damage is coming from his field time and your teammates are mostly there to make sure Xiao is able to output high damage consistently through buffs/ sustain.
4pc Vermillion Hereafter
Xiao’s Best-in-Slot artifact set. The ATK% buff lasts the full duration of his Elemental Burst and is easily stackable the moment you cast it. Keep in mind the damage increase compared to his 2pc + 2pc variations are around 5-10%, which may or may not be worth the resin depending on artifacts you might already have access to.
2pc VV + 2pc ATK / 2pc ATK + 2pc ATK
A very close option to consider is combining 2 piece Viridescent Venerer and a 2 piece ATK% set like Gladiator’s or Shimenawa’s. You can also simply combine 2 ATK% sets together.
The difference is very minimal to care about; however, it is situational nonetheless. If your Xiao is lacking on ATK% investment, 2pc ATK + 2pc ATK wins out. If your Xiao is using external sources of buffs, 2pc VV + 2pc ATK performs better. Assuming no external buffs, 2pc ATK + 2pc ATK is slightly better.
TLDR; regarding the 2pc combinations, choose whichever artifacts have the best substats.
- Circlet: Crit Rate/DMG
- Sands: ATK%
- Goblet: Anemo DMG Bonus/ATK%
Here’s the order of sub stats to prioritize:
- Energy Recharge
- Crit Rate / Crit DMG / ATK%
Energy Recharge: 120-130
Xiao actually doesn’t need too much ER and lack of ER can be mitigated through Favonius weapons + Anemo battery. It just depends mostly on how he is played, your teammates, and the type of content you are facing and particle generation from enemies as well.
Generally I would say around 120 – 130 is a comfortable range but with good play and particle management/ funneling you can find yourself getting away with lower.
Primordial Jade Winged Spear
One of Xiao’s best weapons along with Staff of Homa. A high base ATK weapon that gives you a generous amount of Crit Rate along with a passive that is very easy to proc/stack, giving you appreciable stats in ATK% and DMG%. Slightly Better than Staff of Homa assuming Homa passive is not active. Technically his signature weapon and looks damn good on him.
Staff of Homa
An insane stat stick that is comparable to and can beat out PJWS assuming you are under 50% HP. Keep in mind, drafting a team comp around this passive is quite limiting and generally not worth it. This means you are not going to be using good supports that also heal (Bennett/ Jean etc). Still a very strong weapon on Xiao if you happen to have it.
Very very high base ATK weapon with an unconditional Elemental DMG Bonus. If you happen to have this weapon, Xiao can definitely utilize it well. Keep in mind this weapon along with other ATK oriented weapons get worse especially when paired with external sources of ATK. The ATK substat from these weapons also require more Crit rolls from your artifacts in order to balance out your stats.
Another ATK substat weapon that requires Xiao to be shielded in order to maximize this weapon’s effectiveness. Better than Calamity queller assuming shield uptime. Keep in mind this weapon along with other ATK oriented weapons get worse especially when paired with external sources of ATK. The ATK substat from these weapons also require more Crit rolls from your artifacts in order to balance out your stats.
Xiao’s worst 5 star option and unfortunately is outperformed by 4 star weapons such as Deathmatch/ Lithic Spear. It gives you Energy Recharge and a high base ATK however, that’s pretty much it. It requires a lot more crit from your artifacts and the passive is irrelevant in plunge spam gameplay. However If you happen to have this weapon through standard wishes and it is your only polearm for him, it is usable from a F2P perspective.
One of Xiao’s best 4 star weapons that offers a high amount of Crit Rate and an almost unconditional passive that you can always benefit from. Keep in mind its base ATK is low and gives you so much Crit Rate that you can find yourself overcapping at times. You generally want more rolls into Crit DMG on your artifacts with this weapon. A weapon that is only beaten out by 5 stars and other 4 stars with very optimistic assumptions/ passive uptime.
A very strong 4 star option for Xiao provided you meet its conditions. At 4 Liyue teammates, it beats out Deathmatch and a 3 stack Blackcliff Polearm. At 2 Liyue teammates, it’s roughly comparable to the two. This weapon’s strength highly relies on team building around the passive which may or may not be efficient depending on the characters you have access to. Nonetheless, a strong weapon for Xiao under certain assumptions.
A solid option for Xiao while being a true F2P option with quite the conditional passive. Assuming max stacks, this weapon beats out Deathmatch and 3 Liyue Lithic Spear. It’s important to note that the passive is very conditional and dependent on the content you are facing. Usually between Deathmatch or Blackcliff for Xiao, the general consensus is if you have one of them don’t go for the other.
While this weapon is on the low end in terms of Xiao’s personal damage, the utility it offers is so strong to the point where it is by no means bad. Due to Xiao’s field time and playstyle, he is able to easily proc the passive providing particles to your team and slightly lower their ER requirements. This ensures comfortable rotation uptime which can lead to more consistent damage [assuming refinements].
Mostly used on teams where Xiao is supporting his team with Viridescent Venerer. While it is a good weapon in general, if you have the other options and want to play Xiao as a hypercarry, you’re better off using other weapons.
Xiao is by nature, a hypercarry. This means that his comps are mainly focused on giving him the necessary tools to do as much damage as possible while he is on field. This can be in the form of external buffs, energy, and sustain through shielding/ healing.
Usually the framework for a Xiao team is Anemo battery/ Sustain/ Flex but in general, Xiao’s team comps tends to be very flexible with him basically only needing a battery.
Xiao also does not rely on Bennett or Xingqiu even though they still can be paired together. There are some niche comps that I will be mentioning where Xiao is played as VV support with Fav Lance but if you are a Xiao fan you probably are more inclined to play him as a hypercarry anyways.
Xiao Double Geo
This team is one of Xiao’s standard comps where he is paired with Zhongli, Albedo and an Anemo battery. Your Anemo options here are usually Jean/Sucrose. Jean provides healing/particles and Sucrose provides the TTDS buff along with particles as well. Zhongli being the best shield option for Xiao and provides resistance shred, tenacity buff, and passive damage along with Albedo’s passive damage.
This team can be quite expensive especially when using all 5 star units, however it’s worth noting that this team basically frees up all high value units for your other side which can be seen as a benefit.
Xiao + Anemo + Flex
As mentioned previously, Xiao really only needs an Anemo battery while arguably not needing a shield. Jean in general pairs great with Xiao due to the fact she is able to provide particles AND a relevant initial heal. Sucrose with TTDS is also very viable here if you do not have access to Jean.
After that you can basically run whatever you want/have as long as it is not hindering Xiao from outputting damage. Off field damage dealers, buffers, you name it. Fischl is an option here, provided you don’t need her for your other teams. She can also utilize Tenacity of the Millileth if you so please. Any Noblesse/ TTDS user works as well. Just make sure you incorporate a minimal thought process when drafting a Xiao team.
4VV Xiao XL Vape (Xiao National)
While somewhat of a fun meme team due to being another national variant, it is unironically one of if not Xiao’s highest damaging teams and for good reason.
This is mainly due to the national core however, Xiao with a Favonius Lance and 4VV actually supports this core quite well.
That being said, the Sucrose variant of this team is infinitely better than the Xiao variant and I would never recommend this particular team to someone struggling in Abyss. I just thought it was something worth mentioning along with putting Xiao’s hypercarry role into perspective.
Overall, Xiao is a unit that hasn’t changed much since his release. As always with hypercarries, they usually aren’t as favored compared to supporting units or units with reaction value. That being said, Xiao does boast consolidated AoE and flexibility in his teams.
He also doesn’t require high value units which is definitely a benefit to Abyss oriented content. If you enjoy the character and find his playstyle fun go for him! Just keep in mind he may or may not bring value to your roster depending on your in game goals.