Xiao’s the first five star character to come along with 1.3, and although he’s been something testers have had their hands on for awhile, as far as the rest of Genshin’s characters go so far, he’s entirely different. In fact, I’d say Xiao is the first character to really threaten having a proper spectacle fighter or character action game move set by having both a launcher and a rush attack.
Basic Attack String: Whirlwind Thrust
Xiao’s basic attack string is a six input, six attack combo, two of them being multi-hit: the first and the fourth. Most of the string is basic, but the attacks have very little windup before their hit boxes become active making for an effective juggle tool. This instant response is a key theme with Xiao, and shows up again with his charged attack and elemental skill. As well, similar to Venti, Xiao’s basic attacks can be summarized in a 1, 2, 3, repeat pattern.
As already mentioned, Xiao’s charged attack has very little windup in contrast to most other charged attacks, this blow rapidly lifting enemies off of their feet and into the air. However, it’s ineffective against heavy weight enemies such as Mitachurls in regards to getting them up in the air.
Elemental Skill Press: Lemniscatic Wind Cycling
As if having a launcher wasn’t good enough, Xiao’s elemental skill is a rush attack, clearing a respectable distance as well as being usable in mid-air. At Constellation 0, this ability has two charges, and even on perfectly level ground, allows for a plunging attack to follow up after an activation in the air.
Honestly, if I’m being quite frank, it’s a simple rush, but the fact it’s present in Xiao’s moveset allows for using just him to begin to perform combos that are orientated towards positioning without having to work in a character swap to use a different spear user’s charged attack.
Elemental Burst: Bane of All Evil
Xiao’s elemental burst is a super-mode type shift which converts all of his physical damage into Anemo damage, providing a damage buff in the act as well as increasing his vertical jumping height, the increase in jumping height allowing for rapid plunge attacks for its duration of fifteen seconds.
If Xiao leaves the field, he’ll return to normal mode.
With only a three second interval between its maximum duration and its cooldown, Bane of All Evil can effectively be used all the time with the exception of the life drain at 2.5% per second. This largely has an impact on team composition by necessitating a healer to use Xiao’s ultimate for extended periods.
With his well rounded moveset, Xiao defines what I typically believe all characters in an spectacle orientated game should have, and because of that, he most definitely has interesting potential as far as doing awesome combos and just keeping the game from getting boring.
But more importantly, he also offers some extremely strong synergies in different cases. As with most Anemo characters, I firmly recommend that very green artifact set, the Viridescent Venerer, and probably in a full four set. While there are advantages to mixing an Anemo damage buff (2x Viridescent set) alongside another pair of artifacts for a different buff, I don’t believe the outweigh some of the methods in which Xiao can be supported by other characters for more damage, especially considering that he can’t be on the field 100% of the time with an elemental burst which saps his health.
Specifically, both Fischl and Beidou can deal their Electro damage from Fischl’s elemental skill and Beidou’s burst while off the field. Therefore, Xiao can be utilized to deal both a significant chunk of Swirl damage, compromising the target to the elemental effect and creating some fairly rapid chunk damage.
It’s possible to exploit the ten seconds of duration for the Swirl debuff very strongly, as well as the fact that the cooldown on Xiao’s elemental skill is ten seconds, allowing him to keep the debuff up nearly permanently with ease. That offers particularly strong synergy with Beidou’s elemental skill, allowing her to deal significant chunks of damage for a fully charged counter at nearly every opportunity.
Unfortunately, as I’ve mentioned, the fact that Xiao will bleed himself to death does require he be paired with some healing character in order to replace the health that’s lost, which is definitely his greatest drawback as a character.