With Genshin Impact out, I’ve been enjoying it pretty thoroughly. More so than I have Breath of the Wild, largely for Genshin’s more in-depth combat. And while there’s a lot to say about the way the different elements react, I wanted to take some time and illustrate some basic tech which can help make combat more interesting.
We’re going to be looking at the character Xiangling, a spear-wielding cook with a fairly unique moveset. Now, what I’m gonna cover can be used on any character, but the different qualities of Xiangling’s moveset make it the most readily apparent to demonstrate. So let’s get started with that:
Appropriate for a spear, huh! Her multiple stabs and rapid hits feel very good and somewhat unique within Genshin Impact. There’s not really a death-by-a-thousand-cuts character I’ve found quite like Xiangling, but I only have her as the one spear user. Different characters who use the same weapons might have similar movesets in Genshin Impact, but there are often subtle differences – but it’s not really her standard light attack string as demonstrated above that’ll be the real crux of this. Instead, we should look at her heavy attack:
Functionally, this is an extremely basic rush. The only important factors in regular basic use which are worth noting for our purposes is that it knocks enemies back with a trajectory, like the majority of Genshin Impact’s knockback, sending them up into the air a little bit as it knocks them away.
So, where’s the tech, right?
In Genshin Impact, any melee attack can be canceled at any point using an evasion, whether or not the hitbox for the move is currently active or even potentially connecting with an enemy as you perform an evasion. This is demonstrated easily with noting the recovery at the end of Xiangling’s light attack chain.
This alone has its uses: by canceling the majority of the recovery immediately with a dash as the hit connects, the player can clear the majority of the distance that the enemy might be knocked away with immediately, and then continue to juggle the enemy while they’re still in the air.
But let’s go back to Xiangling’s heavy attack for a second because, similar to regular melee attacks, you can cancel a heavy attack with a dodge. Depending on how you time this and the inputs you use to do it, but you can actually see some very interesting quirks if you reverse your control stick or directional input and dodge immediately.
In large part this works functionally the same as following up the regular attack chain, but given that Xiangling’s heavy attack is fairly unique in the sense that it is a rush attack as well as having a fairly extended duration relative to other heavy attacks in game, it makes an excellent move to learn the cancel, in part because it’s quite obvious when you successfully achieve it. At first, I thought Xiangling was the only character capable of doing this because of the characteristics of regular sword users’ heavies!
Which, while we’re here, you might have noticed that those enemies are getting launched backwards relative to the direction Xiangling should be hitting them – they’re going right over her head instead of sailing away from her!
Normally I would say this is because of knockback whose direction is determined by the angle from the source of the knockback to the thing getting knocked back, but in Xiangling’s case… There appears to be some interesting qualities with her canceling her heavy attack – she wants to 180º! Sometimes even more!
Have fun ya’ll.