Elemental Reaction is the cornerstone of Genshin Impact’s combat. Since each character in the game specializes in one element only, you should consider the possible elemental reactions you can trigger when choosing the characters for your team.
Elemental Resonance should also be part of your decision. But this deserves a dedicated post.
By the end of this post, you will have an idea which element (and character) you should be choosing to complement with the element of your main DPS character.
What is Elemental Reaction?
In Genshin Impact, elemental reaction triggers when two elements make contact with each other. Depending on the element, this will cause either an added burst damage bonus, negative buffs, area of effect damage or damage over time.
Some monsters such as slimes, already have an innate element and casting an elemental skill will trigger a reaction right away. However, there are also monsters with no element and you can forcefully trigger a reaction by casting two different elements in succession.
To give you an overview, here are the types of elements available in the game and the possible elemental reactions you can trigger:
|In-Game Icon||Element Type||Possible Elemental Reactions||Characters w/ Same Element|
|Anemo (Wind)||Swirl||Jean |
|Geo (Earth)||Crystallized||Ningguang |
Furthermore, in-game weather and surroundings can also apply elemental statuses that will change you or the monster’s element temporarily.
For example, when you’re walking in the field and it is raining, you will get a “wet” status for the duration of the rain. This will make you susceptible to hydro-related elemental reactions.
It is also worth noting that some reactions will have a greater effect depending on the element that came first. More on this below.
These reactions are so effective at adding bonus damage that you literally have to build your team based on the elemental reactions they can trigger.
But to truly understand how elemental reactions works, we cannot skip the elemental status counter which is like a hidden combat mechanics in the game. This is a very important concept especially when it comes to Anemo (wind) elements.
Elemental Status Counters:
Elemental status counters are the icons you see at the top of your enemy’s head whenever you cast an elemental skill or burst. These counters are consumed whenever you trigger an elemental reaction.
For example, if you hit an enemy with a Pyro elemental attack, you will see the Pyro icon at the top of the enemy’s head. At this point, the monster will be susceptible to any Pyro-related elemental reactions such as Overloaded, Vaporize or Melt.
Then once you trigger an elemental reaction, the icons at the top will disappear. This means that a reaction such as Melt will no longer trigger unless you apply another Cryo attack.
So, the only way to trigger an elemental reaction continuously is by continuously hitting them with two different elemental attacks.
The only exception for this is when your target has an innate element such as Hydro, Cryo or Pyro slimes or the Swirl reaction.
In-game events such as rain and burning grasses also continuously apply elemental status counters to the monsters. As with standing on a body of water mentioned earlier.
This is a very important piece of information because some skills such as Venti’s elemental burst continuously apply elemental counters throughout the duration of the skill. The same is true for Kaeya and Xiangling’s elemental burst and even Mona’s elemental skill.
Lastly, the character’s stat who triggered the elemental reaction (the one who put the 2nd elemental status counter) will be used to calculate the reaction damage. There is no exception for this even if the character is off or on the field or no matter what type of reaction is triggered.
By the way, these icons do not have an official name. It’s just a made-up name so we can have something to refer to and better explain how elemental reaction works.
Each Elemental Reaction Explained:
I have tested what each elemental reactions do and how the damage is calculated. This way, you can have a better grasp of which element you should be focusing on when trying to build a team around your main DPS character.
I will explain what each does in great detail but here’s an overview:
|Elemental Reaction||Trigger Combination(s)||Sequence Specific?||Effect|
|Overloaded||Electro + Pyro||No||Deals an additional AoE Pyro damage and knockbacks small enemies.|
|Electro-Charged||Electro + Hydro||Yes||Electro to Hydro - Deals Electro damage after 1 second and spreads the reaction to nearby enemies with Hydro properties. |
Hydro to Electro - Deals Electro damage right away and leaves both electro and hydro elemental status counter. Then deals another Electro damage if no other reaction is triggered after 1 second.
|Superconduct||Electro + Cryo||No||Deal an AoE Cryo damage and reduce the enemy's defense for 9 seconds|
|Melt||Pyro + Cryo||Yes||Cryo to Pyro - Deals 1.5x damage |
Pyro to Cryo - Deals 2x damage
|Vaporize||Pyro + Hydro||Yes||Hydro to Pyro - Deals 1.5x damage |
Pyro to Hydro - Deals 2x damage
|Frozen||Hydro + Cryo||No||Freeze the monsters and can inflict additional "shattered" damage if hit by heavy attacks such as Claymores|
|Swirl||Anemo + Pyro|
Anemo + Hydro
Anemo + Cryo
Anemo + Electro
|No||Deals additional damage and spread the effect of element it comes in contact.|
|Crystallize||Geo + Pyro|
Geo + Hydro
Geo + Cryo
Geo + Electro
|No||Generates an elemental crystal which can be picked up to create a shield based on the element it hits|
|Burning||Dendro + Pyro||No||Deals Pyro damage over time.|
This reaction occurs when you hit Pyro with an Electro element or vice versa. This will create an additional AoE Pyro damage on top of the actual Cryo or Pyro damage you inflicted. It also knockback small enemies such as slimes or Hilichurls.
The damage it inflicts is only affected by your character’s Elemental Mastery, character’s level and the enemy’s elemental resistance. Also, overload damage ignores the target’s defense, level or defensive buffs.
Therefore, this elemental reaction gives a consistent and reliable damage output for your team regardless of your character’s Weapon or Artifacts as long as the level is high enough.
This reaction occurs when you hit Hydro with an Electro element or vice versa. Any enemies affected by this reaction will receive Electro damage per second. It will also spread to any nearby enemy with a Hydro status.
However, this effect only lasts for 1 second (because it will consume the elemental status counter) unless the enemy is standing on a body of water, has an innate Hydro element (such as water slimes) or it is raining.
This reaction is also sequence-specific. If you apply Electro on a Hydro affected monster, the effect described above will trigger.
But, if you apply Electro elemental skill first then follow it up with Hydro, you will deal electro-charged damage right away. But the elemental status counter for both Electro and Hydro will not disappear until the next damage tick.
This means that you have a window of an opening where you can trigger both hydro and electro-related element reaction if you use another element that is not hydro or electro.
If you don’t attack using another element within 1 second, it will trigger the original effect (Electro to Hydro) then consume the elemental status counter.
This reaction occurs when you hit Cryo with an Electro element or the other way around. This will create additional Physical AoE Damage from the epicenter of the superconductor on top of the elemental damage. Furthermore, the superconductor will have a 40% physical resistance reduction debuff for 9 seconds.
Like overload, it ignores the target’s level, defense or defensive buffs. And the damage it inflicts depends on the level, elemental mastery of the caster and the monster’s elemental resistance.
This is great for characters that do normal attacks often.
This reaction occurs when you hit Cryo with a Pyro element or vice versa. Unlike overload, it won’t add separate elemental reaction damage. Instead will multiply your current elemental attack damage depending on the sequence of elemental status counters.
If you apply a Cryo skill on a monster with a Pyro elemental status counter, it will multiply your Cryo damage by 1.5 times.
Inversely, if you apply a Pyro skill on a monster with Cryo element status, your attack will be multiplied by 2 times.
This elemental reaction is affected by the character’s attack, elemental mastery and other damage calculations including critical damage. And yes, if your critical rate triggers during the elemental attack, it will also be multiplied.
Theoretically, this will yield higher elemental reaction damage than overload once the attack stats reach a certain threshold.
The downside is, support characters, which typically have lower attack stats will yield lower elemental reaction damage.
This reaction occurs when you hit Hydro with a Pyro elemental skill or vice versa. Same as Melt, this will multiply your elemental attack damage depending on the sequence of elemental status counters.
If you apply a Pyro elemental skill on a monster with a Hydro elemental status counter, it will multiply your Pyro damage by 1.5 times.
On the other hand, if you apply a Hydro to Pyro, your attack will be multiplied by 2.
The damage is also based on the character’s attack, elemental mastery and critical damage (if it triggered during the element skill).
It also has the same pros and cons as Melt.
This reaction occurs when you hit Hydro with a Cryo element and vice versa. As the name suggests, it freezes the enemy. It does not apply any additional damage, at least directly.
However, when you hit Frozen enemy using heavy attacks from Claymores or Geo skills, it will trigger a “Shattered” damage. This will add physical damage on top of your actual damage.
Shatter is not dependent on your physical attack stat. Instead, it is dependent on your character’s level and elemental mastery stat and it ignores the enemy’s level, defense and buffs. Hence, it deals consistent damage.
Swirl occurs when you hit an enemy with either a Pyro, Hydro, Cryo, Electro elemental status with an Anemo elemental skill. This will add additional damage on top of your current elemental damage. It ignores the target’s level, defense and buffs.
This damage is affected by the caster’s level and elemental mastery only. Therefore, this elemental reaction also deals consistent damage.
However, it works a little differently from the other elemental reactions because Anemo takes any existing element or elements it comes in contact with and spread it across as an area of effect damage.
So on top of the Swirl damage, it will also deal elemental damage of the same element it absorbed.
Monsters with multiple innate elements caught in an Anemo skill will add another type of elemental reaction on top of the Swirl damage.
For example, if you caught an Electro slime and a Hydro Slime on your Anemo skill, it will trigger the electro-charged reaction on top of the Swirl damage. This makes Anemo super good for crowd control.
You gotta be careful though when targeting mobs with the same elements. Since it will spread the same element, it will deal no damage due to elemental immunity.
In the case of non-elemental monsters, Anemo skills will not leave any elemental status counter since it can only absorb an existing one.
What’s great about this reaction is, it doesn’t consume an elemental status counter even after the Swirl. Instead, it renews the original elemental status. This essentially gives you 2 elemental reaction combos in just one elemental status counter.
Say we’re up against a Hilichulr, a monster with no innate element.
Then say, I cast a skill from Kaeya placing a Cryo elemental status counter on the monster. Then I use Sucrose’s skill to trigger the Swirl reaction. After the skill, the Cryo status will still be on the monster, allowing me to trigger a Melt elemental reaction from Diluc.
But if I do Kaeya plus Diluc right away, the Hilichurl will no longer have an element status counter for me to trigger any more elemental reaction.
Crystallized triggers with either Pyro, Hydro, Cryo or Electro elements. It works like Anemo, except that it focuses on defense. When you trigger this reaction, the monsters will drop an elemental crystal that matches the current elemental status counter on the monster.
Once you obtain this orb, it will create an elemental shield that absorbs all incoming damage. The shield will be more effective against the matching element (e.g Pyro attack vs Pyro Shield) of the monsters attacking you.
The shield’s strength is based on your character’s elemental mastery and level.
Take note that like the behavior of Anemo, Geo doesn’t create any crystal from non-elemental monsters unless you manually put an elemental status counter first.
This elemental reaction triggers when you apply Pyro to Dendro. It will apply Pyro damage over time until it eventually wears off or put off by water elements.
At the moment, there is no Dendro character in the game. Also, Dendro currently does not trigger any other elemental reaction aside from this one.
And aside from the Dendro-slimes (the plant monsters that constantly burrows underground), the shields from some Hilichurls are considered Dendro elements. Therefore you can catch them on fire if you cast a Pyro skill on them.
If you play long enough, you will also encounter some Hilichurl mages that cast a wall of vines in the surrounding. You can also remove it by casting Pyro elemental skills.
Some monsters in Genshin Impact have an innate element in them. Basically, they will take no damage to the same element innate to them.
Currently, most monsters that have an innate element are variations of the slime monster. So if you hit a Pyro slime with a Pyro skill, you will deal no damage and you will see an “Immune” notification instead.
This is pretty easy to spot once you play the game. But if you’re unsure, you can always check the elemental status counter icon at the top of their heads.
You can trigger an unlimited elemental reaction without needing to switch to a character with a different element with these types of monsters.
Monster’s Elemental Shields, Armors and Element Weaknesses:
There are also monster with no innate element but can cast an elemental shield around them. Like the effect from the Crystallized reaction, these shields will block all incoming damage until the shield breaks.
You can break the elemental shield by attacking with your elemental skills. Characters that use Catalyst as their weapon can also break shield by using only their normal attack.
The elemental reaction also works with shields.
Keep in mind though that while you can break the shield by using just about any kind of elemental skill, the shield has elements it is strong and weak against.
The shield works like elemental immunity and will take very little damage if you use the same type of element. However, if you try to break the shield using an element it is weak against, you can break it much faster than using any other elements.
Therefore when dealing with elemental shields, you should forget about elemental reactions and just focus on bursting the element they are weak against.
Here are all the known shields monsters cast in the game and their weaknesses:
|Elemental Shield Type||Elemental Weakness|
|Pyro (Fire)||Hydro (Water)|
|Cryo (Ice)||Pyro (Fire)|
You will also encounter some monsters that can cast elemental armor buffs. Unlike elemental shields, armors only reduce some damage from your attack including physical attacks.
And while elemental reactions also work on armors, physical attacks can also break elemental armors. But it is not as effective as using elemental attacks. It will take you a really long time if you attempt to break the armor only using physical attacks.
You can tell if the monster has an elemental armor if you see another bar under their HP bar. The color of that bar represents the type of elemental armor it has. It’s the same color as the in-game icons I’ve listed above so it is easy to tell which is which.
Anyway, you can easily break this armor by using the same element weakness chart above.
We’ve covered quite a lot in this post so I wanted to give some easy to chew takeaways for this whole post:
- You cannot continuously trigger elemental reactions without switching characters unless:
- You’re dealing with monsters with innate elements such as Pyro/Cryo slimes
- You cast an elemental burst/skill that has lasting effects such as Venti or Kaeya’s Burst.
- With the exception of Melt and Vaporize, all other elemental reactions are NOT based on attack. Instead, the damage is scaled by your character’s level and elemental mastery only.
Therefore, they all deal with consistent damage regardless of the monster’s defense and level.
- On this same note, Melt, Vaporize and Electro-charged reactions will have a slightly different effect depending on the sequence of elemental status counter you put on the enemies.
- The elemental status counter you initially placed on a monster (assuming it is non-elemental) will not be consumed even after triggering the Swirl reaction. Instead, it will renew and spread it depending on its AoE range.
This will allow you to trigger one more reaction after Swirl.
When dealing with elemental shields and armors, use the element they are weak against so you can break them faster.
You can trigger an elemental reaction with pretty much every character combination in your team. The key here is understanding which effect works best for your main DPS character then go from there.
Understanding how each of these reactions works will also help you pick the Artifacts and Weapons that best suit your support characters.
Still have some questions? Please feel free to leave a comment. Hope this helps!