The Genshin Impact metagame once had shield protectors like Zhongli essentially at the top of the food chain; When you were shielded, you were essentially unstoppable.
The best way to clear endgame content like the Spiral Abyss was to tank through enemy damage with shields while Onga Boonga uses your DPS to fight his way to victory, and the Overworld was no different.
But since the release of Inazuma in version 2.0, we’ve been faced with enemies like the Rifthounds, which deal “corrosion damage” that completely ignores shields.
Environmental phenomena like Balethunder also bled through shields, dealing steadily increasing damage.
And even shields are zero when facing the weekly boss Magatsu Mitake Narukami no Mikoto and her frightening Musuou no Hitotachi Signature slash.
Suddenly, the security behind the cocoon of Geo or other elemental shields began to dwindle.
Now that we’re in version 3.0, the question is: are shield characters still worth getting?
Sumeru is the land of reactions
Upon entering Sumeru, all shield-busting enemies and phenomena seem to have been put aside (for now).
But that doesn’t mean Shielders rule the game again – Sumeru’s unique terrain and the new Dendro element require a team built to generate multiple Dendro elemental reactions.
Simply put, Shield Impact has now become Elemental Reaction Impact.
Losing a spot on your team to a character like Noelle or Zhongli whose only elemental reaction is Crystalize isn’t ideal, especially if you’re playing an Electro character or the newly released Dendro 5-star DPS Tighnari.
Electro got the buff it deserved with the release of Dendro due to the new Aggravate Reaction, which increases Electro DMG against an accelerated enemy.
Dendro also gets the same treatment with Spread, increasing Dendro DMG on a sped up enemy.
Therefore, the best option would be to go for a team with two Dendro characters to trigger the Dendro Resonance, which increases your party’s Elemental Mastery, which in turn increases the damage they deal from Elemental Reactions.
The remaining members of your Sumeru team should be drawn from one of the three elements that react with Dendro: Electro, Hydro, and Pyro.
Having an Electro character like the Raiden Shogun, Yae Miko, Keqing, or Fischl on your team increases everyone’s damage, as they can either be the main DPS themselves or increase your Dendro DPS’ damage with Spread.
Hydro adds versatility to your team, as they can trigger the Bloom Reaction – which can further trigger the Hyperbloom or Burgeon Reactions – and provide either damage or healing out of field. Yelan and Xingqiu are great at dealing damage off the field, while Sangonomiya Kokomi offers both damage and healing.
While Pyro isn’t the best element to react with Dendro, you can never go wrong when you have someone like Bennett around to max out your damage abilities.
So where are the signs?
Geo shields like Zhongli and Noelle offer nothing but their shields unless they are your main DPS.
Even then, you’re giving up any additional damage a character that can trigger elemental reactions will deal.
Diona, the game’s only dedicated Cryo Signer so far, offers both shields and healing, but not much else. Sure, she can bestow Elemental Mastery buffs on the party even at C6, but that hardly makes up for her lack of reactions.
However, Pyro Shields in Thoma and Xinyan are in a better position as they can react with Dendro.
Releasing Dendro seems to have been the buff Thoma desperately needed now that he’s viable as a Shield that can reliably trigger the Burgeon Response from off-field.
He used to be one of the most awesome characters in the game, but it’s safe to say that Thoma has now found a niche where he shines. In fact, he’s the only Shieldsman worth running in the current meta.
Unfortunately, we can’t say the same for Xinyan since she can’t reliably trigger Burgeon. Their scale also makes them difficult to use effectively.
Accept the reactions
In short, the Genshin Impact The metagame in Sumeru no longer favors shields, although they don’t counter as hard as they did in Inazuma.
You can still have one in your party to comfort you if you want, but you will sacrifice damage doing so (unless you have a built Thoma in a Burgeon party).
But then again, and as we’ve always emphasized, play how you want to play!
With the advent of elemental reactions in the meta, shields will not suddenly be null and void.
The added security of not being damaged while pounding it on your enemies will always be a welcome bonus to your gameplay.
There will always be a place for every type of character Genshin Impact, regardless of whether the meta favors them or not. With enough investment in your characters, anything can work.
Yan Ku is a full-time dog parent, part-time gacha gamer, and part-time writer.
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