Introduced in the Archon quest, Farewell, the Archaic Lord, Zhongli was the first 5-star geo character to be made playable. From his very first appearance in the Liyue Pavilion, Zhongli has been a fan-favorite and there are many reasons for that. While some prefer his detailed character design, others love his gameplay. Currently, he is the strongest shielder in the game. In this guide, we’ll be covering everything there is to know about Zhongli along with different ways to build him.
Zhongli’s normal attacks don’t deliver the biggest damage numbers, but his elemental attacks make up for that.
His elemental skill, Dominus Lapidis, can work in two ways. When the skill is pressed, Zhongli summons a stone stele, a process that does AOE geo damage. Once the stele is set, it does pulsating geo damage every few seconds and it makes nearby geo constructs do the same. On holding the skill, Zhongli creates a jade shield that scales off his max HP and does AOE geo damage upon creation. If there is no stone stele on the field, he will summon one along with the shield.
Zhongli’s elemental burst, Planet Befall, summons a meteor that petrifies enemies and does geo damage. While the petrification only lasts for a few seconds, it can give players enough time to set up elemental reactions or heal their party. This burst is very good for crowd control and with a decent build, it can do a lot of damage.
To ascend Zhongli, you’ll need Prithiva Topaz and Basalt Pillars from the geo hypostasis which shouldn’t be a difficult task as long as you have a claymore user built. Apart from that, he requires drops from slimes and cor lapis to complete his ascension. Hunting slimes is not hard but cor lapis does take 2-3 days to respawn.
These are the total number of items you will need:
Zhongli has three active talents: his normal attack, Rain of Stone, his elemental skill, Dominus Lapidis, and his burst, Planet Befall.
Apart from that, he has three passive talents as well. Resonant Waves, the first passive talent strengthens the jade shield by 5% when damaged, an effect that lasts until the shield disappears.
Dominance of the Earth gives Zhongli an ATK boost based on his max HP. His normal attack is increased by 1.39% of his max HP whereas his elemental skill and elemental burst are increased by 1.9% and 33% respectively. Due to this passive, Zhongli should have a max HP of 20k, if not more.
Arcanum of Crystal is useful for crafting as it refunds 15% of the ores used for crafting polearm weapons.
For talent levelling, you need Teachings of Gold that can be found in the Domain of Mastery: Circle of Embers. This talent book is available every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Zhongli also needs slime drops as well as Tusk of Monoceros Caeli which can only be obtained after fighting the Childe boss.
These are the total number of talent level up materials you’ll need:
Physical DPS Build
If you want Zhongli to be your main DPS, a physical damage build is the way to go.
The best artifact set for this is the Pale Flame set which can be obtained from the Ridge Watch domain. This set is optimal for increasing Zhongli’s damage. And due to the AOE nature of Zhongli’s elemental skills, you don’t have to worry too much about triggering the 4-piece bonus.
Another option is pairing two pieces of Pale Flame with two pieces of Bloodstained Chivalry. Together, the two sets give a 50% Physical Damage bonus. The main stats that you want to aim for are ATK (sands), Geo Damage Bonus (cup), Crit DMG/Rate (helmet). The substats should range between HP, ATK and Crit DMG/Rate.
Weapon wise, a good option for Zhongli is the Staff of Homa because it works well with Zhongli’s passive talent, Dominance of the Earth. Both the polearm and the passive talent will increase Zhongli’s attack based on his max HP. Moreover, Staff of Homa also provides an additional HP boost of 20%. The drawback here is that Staff of Homa can only be obtained from the weapons banner.
The Crescent Pike is another good option, especially if you’re going for pure Physical Damage. The polearm also gives bursts of ATK every time Zhongli’s stone stele generates elemental particles. To activate the secondary effect all you have to do is ensure the stele is on the field and in range of the enemy.
The first thing you want to do while building a party for Zhongli is to pair him with another geo character to activate geo resonance. This strengthens shields and increases ATK by 15%. For this, Albedo is a very good option. Not only does he provide geo resonance but his elemental skill, Abiogenesis: Solar Isotoma, acts as a geo construct that will do pulsating geo damage along with Zhongli’s stone stele. If you don’t have Albedo in your character roster, you can replace him with Geo Traveler. Being an all round character, not only can Bennett heal his party members rapidly but his burst, Fantastic Voyage, while doing AOE pyro damage gives his teammates an attack boost while on the field. Before using Planet Befall, use his burst and watch as your damage skyrockets.
Burst Sub-DPS Build
Apart from being a main DPS, Zhongli can also be a good sub-DPS and the best way to achieve this is by increasing the damage of his elemental burst, Planet Befall.
His passive, Dominance of the Earth, gives him an ATK bonus based on his max HP. That is why, for this build, Zhongli should have an HP of at least 25k. Along with that, he’ll need two pieces of Noblesse Oblige as it increases burst damage by 20% and two pieces of Archaic Petra for 15% Geo Damage bonus. The bonus effects of these two sets work well to increase his burst damage. If you want, you can also opt for four pieces of Noblesse for the 20% attack bonus given to all party members after the burst. The main stats should be ATK (sands), Geo Damage Bonus (cup), and Crit DMG/Rate (helmet). Substats should range between HP, ATK, Crit DMG/Rate.
The Staff of Homa is the optimal weapon for this build as it pairs really well with his passive talent Dominance of the Earth. With this combination of the secondary effect, the passive talent and the bonus from the artifacts, Zhongli’s burst is bound to destroy his enemies with ease. The drawback? Staff of Homa can only be obtained from the weapon’s banner.
If you don’t have any luck when it comes to the weapon’s banner, Deathmatch is a good alternative. Not only does it have a Crit Rate substat but it also gives an ATK boost depending on the enemies on the field. To obtain this weapon you will have to purchase the Gnostic Hymn and reach level 30 of your BP.
If you’re looking for a more affordable option, then Crescent Pike would be the way to go. Its weapon effect increases ATK by 20% every time Zhongli picks up an elemental particle. As long as he has a stone stele on the field and near the enemy, this effect shouldn’t be hard to trigger.
As a burst DPS, Zhongli can fit into almost any team.
A support Zhongli is good for people who can’t dodge to save their lives.
Zhongli’s elemental skill, Dominus Lapidis, creates a jade shield which scales off his max HP. This is why for this build you want to give him as much HP as possible. To do that, the recommended artifact set is Tenacity of the Mellelith. The 2-piece bonus increases Zhongli’s HP, strengthens his shield and also gives an ATK boost when attacked. Most of all, this effect can be triggered even when Zhongli is not on the field. As long as the jade shield is being used, the whole team can benefit. The stats you want to focus on are HP, ATK and Energy Recharge since the idea is to bring him on the field to either use his shield or his burst.
Skyward Spine is a good weapon for this build as it increases Zhongli’s energy recharge, crit rate and ATK. It can also provide an additional ATK known as the vacuum blade which deals damage in a small AOE. While fighting mobs, that can be pretty useful. The drawback? This weapon can only be obtained from the weapon’s banner or the standard banner. The Prototype Starglitter with an energy recharge substat and ATK boost can be used as an alternative. This weapon can be obtained through crafting
Zhongli is a versatile character and can play many different roles depending on the team composition. Whether at C6 or C0, he is definitely worth having on your team. All you have to do is figure out what you want from him and start building him up accordingly.