This guide on how Shield Damage works in Genshin Impact has been posted and updated with permission, and you can always find the original document here.
Compiled by vibe checker#5502 on Discord thanks to resources provided by the Genshin Impact Fandom Wiki.
Special thanks to Keqingmains Theorycrafting Community for discussion and new information on some of the concepts.
To suggest edits or ask for clarification, please message me on Discord.
Genshin Impact does not use a generic single-variable HP system for enemy shields like other games. Instead, total Shield HP is in the form of its Shield Gauge Units (Shield GU), a value which represents the shield’s “elemental strength”. This can be decreased to 0 (thereby breaking the shield) through reactions, character damage (excluding Elemental Armor shields) and the Poise values of your talents.
(Poise values are explained in the document and affect Geo / Frozen* shields only)
*Disclaimer: “Cryo” Shields/Armor on enemies are considered as “Frozen”. Frozen is a sibling element to Cryo, and shares most features from Cryo, but it cannot react with Hydro except in a few cases.
Total Shield Damage = Reaction Cost + Damage Cost + Poise Cost
Table of Contents
- 1 Reaction Cost
- 2 Damage Cost
- 3 Poise Cost
- 4 Practical Example
- 5 Glossary
- 6 References
- 7 Changelog
Table of Contents
- Reaction Cost
- Damage Cost
- Poise Cost
- Practical Example
All technical terms used can be found alongside a definition in the glossary at the end of the document.
Reaction Cost is affected by the reaction coefficient and the elemental gauge for reaction.
Reaction Coefficient (RC)
The reaction coefficient (RC) is a variable which represents how effective your character ability’s element is when dealing damage to an elemental shield. The RC then multiplies with your character ability’s Gauge Units (GU) in order to deal damage to a shield. Usually when considering transformative reactions the RC is 1. When using the same element against a shield the RC is 0. Hence, the Reaction Cost of an attack which matches its element with the enemy shield is nullified in the total shield damage calculation. This includes Geo.
RC values of Fatui Skirmishers are different to all other enemies, which is why Hydro Fatui have a different weakness compared to Hydro Abyss Mages. A list can be found here.
Important Note: All shields in the game have a set Shield GU which acts as their total effective HP post calculation. Abyss Mages have a Shield GU value of 12 (except for Electro, where their value is 8), while Fatui Skirmishers have a Shield GU value of 8.
A compact table in terms of the GU required to break each shield can be found here.
*(Note: Melt takes priority over Shatter when using a Pyro Blunt attack on a Frozen shield. This is different to applying Melt onto a Frozen enemy, wherein Shatter takes priority.)
**(Note: The ending tick of electrocharged can occur on the target prematurely if the total GU runs out between 0.5-1sec from the last tick)
Geo Force Shields* / Elemental Armor* work differently to Geo Object Shields* (physical entities). For Force Shields / Elemental Armor, applying an element does not consume the Geo but instead maintains aura on the enemy. This aura can then be reacted from a character’s Geo application to produce crystallise, which uses an RC value of 2 and uses the Character GU of the elemental ability which applied aura.
For Object Shields, this scenario only works when the Cryo element is applied.
*All three shield types are explained in the Glossary.
Some Frozen shields/armor can be frozen through applying both Hydro and Cryo which allows for a special shatter to occur, dealing 8GU of damage.
This method works with the following enemies:
- Ice Shield Hilichurl Guards
- Ice Shieldwall Mitachurls
- Cryo Whopperflowers
- Frostarm Lawachurls
- Fatui Cryo Cicin Mages
- Cryo Regisvine’s root and crown
- Cryo Samachurl’s ice pillar
This method does not work with the following enemies (due to being immune to freeze state while shield/armor is active)
- Large Cryo Slimes
- Cryo Abyss Mages
- Cryogunner Legionnaires
Elemental Gauge for Reaction (Character GU)
The elemental gauge for reaction refers to Gauge Units (GU) applied by character abilities. This varies between characters. See Gauge Unit Theory for a further in-depth analysis. A link to all known values for each character can be found here.
Example: If Kaeya uses his elemental skill (2 Character GU) onto a Hydro Abyss Mage’s Elemental Force Shield, it will have a Reaction Cost value of 2 x 1 = 2. As Abyss Mages have a Shield GU value of 12, this will result in 1/6 of the Hydro Abyss Mage’s shield being removed at minimum.
Reaction Cost can therefore be considered as the effectiveness of your element (RC) multiplied by the strength of the ability (GU).
To contradict my earlier statement of shields only having a total HP in the form of Shield GU, Elemental Force/Guard Shields (Large slimes, Abyss Mages, Cicin Mages; Wooden Hilichurl Shields, Geo Hilichurl Shields) actually do have a total HP that works with character damage. The final value dealt to an enemy shield is still in the form of Shield GU, and this equation works as a conversion from character damage to GU.
An example of Damage Cost being used to calculate total damage against a shield can be found in the Practical Example.
Damage Cost is affected by the damage conversion ratio, the final damage value, the elemental gauge of the shield, the shield HP ratio and the max HP of the target.
Damage Conversion Ratio
The damage conversion ratio is the major factor for the Damage Cost, and it determines to what degree a shield can be affected by character damage.
For Elemental Force/Guard Shields this value is usually 0.2, meaning shields take 20% of normal damage dealt. For Elemental Armor (Whopperflowers, Lawachurls, Fatui) where your damage bypasses the shield, this value is 0, resulting in a 0 for the entirety of the Damage Cost calculation. This then relies on the Reaction Cost and Poise Cost for shield damage.
Character shields also have a damage conversion ratio. Most shields have a value of 1, though against their corresponding element (where applicable, See Diona, Xinyan, Beidou C1) the damage conversion ratio is 0.4. That is how the 250% element DMG absorption bonus is calculated. Using this, you can think of an enemy shield’s damage conversion ratio as an x% total DMG absorption bonus.
Final Damage Value
The final damage value is the damage value of the character’s attack, considering critical strikes, damage bonuses and damage reductions (defense, resistance, etc). This does not consider amplifying reaction damage bonuses like Melt or Vaporise, but does consider transformative reactions and EM modifiers placed upon them. This is equal to 0 if the attack’s element matches the shield (except for Geo).
Elemental Gauge of Shield (Shield GU)
The elemental gauge of shield is affected by base elemental gauges and special multipliers. Different enemy shields have different base elemental gauges, known as Gauge Units (GU). A list can be found here, though the most relevant will be listed below.
Pyro / Hydro / Cryo Abyss Mages → 12 Shield GU
Electro Abyss Mages → 8 Shield GU
Fatui Skirmishers → 8 Shield GU
Abyss Heralds / Lectors → 36 Shield GU
There are three types of special multipliers which increase the effective Shield GU of an Elemental Force Shield, which apply in their own respective situations. These are Domain, Abyss and Co-Op multipliers. A list of the following can be seen below.
Only Elemental Force Shields (Large Slimes, Abyss Mages, Cicin Mages) will receive this multiplier.
Shield HP Ratio
The shield HP ratio acts to connect the elemental gauge of the shield with the HP value of enemies. For most enemies or objects, the shield HP ratio is 1. This means the HP of their shield is at a 1:1 ratio with their own HP. This then uses the Damage Conversion Ratio to calculate EHP (Effective HP).
Example: If an enemy shield has a 0.2 Damage Conversion Ratio and a 1 shield HP ratio, the EHP of the shield will be at a 5:1 ratio with their own HP, as the shield takes 20% of normal damage, effectively making the shield’s health 5x larger than the enemy’s health.
Max HP of Target
The max HP of targets are different for different enemies. In fact, it is found that the base HP of all enemies are in proportion to the base HP of Cicins. The max HP is affected by base HP, the level multiplier* and special multipliers**.
*Level multipliers refer to a ratio at which Cicin base HP is converted at any given level for an enemy. These can be found in the hyperlink above.
**Special multipliers include the Abyss multiplier and the Co-Op multiplier. This applies to all enemies, so it is not exclusive to calculating shield damage.
Damage Cost can therefore be considered as the percentage of damage done to the target’s shield EHP (shield HP ratio multiplied by enemy HP) in terms of GU.
Poise Cost is affected by the initial Poise damage of attack and the Poise damage conversion ratio.
Before covering these variables, Poise as a concept should first be explained. An enemy is placed into the vulnerable status once their Poise has reduced to 0, which will then cause an enemy to stagger once the enemy is attacked. Different stagger levels exist for different attacks that trigger it. If you’re familiar with Sekiro or similar games, this works the same as a concept. Different enemies have different total stagger values which can be reduced to 0 through dealing initial Poise damage.
All attacks performed by characters have two tags associated with them. These are the Attack Type and the Strike Type.
Attack Type: Denotes the combat style of the attack. Categories include None, Melee and Range.
Strike Type: Subset of the Melee Attack Type. Denotes the strike effect of the attack. Categories include None, Default, Slash, Pierce, Blunt and Spear.
The important ones here are the Melee Attack Type and the Blunt Strike Type. A list of what attacks these include are shown below.
Initial Poise Damage of Attack
Geo shields and Frozen shields are the only shields that are affected* by Poise damages. An attack’s initial Poise damage is their talent scaling at level 1 multiplied by a certain number which changes depending on the talent specified. All talents have a different initial Poise damage value when calculating for stagger and are listed here.
*Please note that this is only referring to the Poise Cost section of the total shield damage formula. All attacks still have the potential to deal damage to Elemental Force Shields, but shields that are not Geo or Frozen will not include a Poise Cost value in that calculation.
Poise Damage Conversion Ratio
The Initial Poise Damage of Attack can then be converted into GU damage through the Poise damage conversion ratio. This takes the initial Poise damage then multiplies it by a certain value. This value depends on whether the attack is Melee or Blunt and whether it is hitting a Geo shield or Frozen shield.
Example: Diluc’s elemental skill has an Initial Poise Damage value of 120. Against a Cryo Abyss Mage, this will be multiplied by the 0.006 Poise damage conversion ratio and therefore at minimum it will deal 2 (1 Character GU multiplied by RC of 2) Reaction Cost + 0.72 Poise Cost worth of Shield GU damage per hit. This will result in the shield being destroyed after 5 consecutive skill uses minimum (2.72 x 5＞12). This calculation ignores Damage Cost for simplicity due to its value changing between players.
Poise Cost can therefore be considered as the reason why Geo shields can be damaged by their own elements even when the Reaction Cost is nullified, and why both Geo and Frozen shields can be damaged by physical attacks (with Blunt attacks being more potent due to having a higher Poise Damage Conversion Ratio).
Before reading this example, please familiarise yourself with the formula for Damage Cost and its respective constants when considering damage onto an Abyss Mage’s shield. For convenience they will be listed below.
Abyss Mage HP at level 90: 48708 (4 x Cicin Base at level 90)
A level 90 Hu Tao in her Elemental Skill with the following stats and a level 7 elemental burst talent uses her (above 50% HP) Elemental Burst, which does not critically strike, against a level 90 Cryo Abyss Mage with no domain / Co-op multiplier active.\
Her Elemental Burst applies 2 Character GU Pyro. This is then multiplied by the Reaction Coefficient of Pyro onto a Frozen Elemental Force Shield, which is 2RC. Therefore, her total Reaction Cost is 4 Shield GU.
Her Damage Cost is
0.2 × 8443.77 × 12 = 20265
1 × 4 × 12177 = 48708
20265 ÷ 48708 = 0.416 Shield GU.
Her Poise Damage Cost is 0 Shield GU due to not falling under Blunt Strike Type.
Therefore, her total shield damage will be 4.416GU against a 12 Shield GU Cryo Abyss Mage’s shield, subtracting 36.8% of the shield’s total GU.
70px / 190px = 36.84%
The foundation of this document was collected from the Genshin Impact Fandom Wiki, namely this link. This document is simply a way of presenting such information in a logical and easy to understand manner. All information compiled in this document can be found in References in its original form.
Elemental gauges are a value used in equations relating to reactions and shield health. These are commonly denoted in the form Gauge Units (GU). For shields, GU are directly related to the post-calculation max HP. See Gauge Unit Theory for a further in-depth analysis.
Character Gauge Units (Character GU)
The measurement used for a character’s elemental application strength in the form of Gauge Units. All character abilities have a different elemental strength when applying their element, which is directly correlated to their Character GU application when casting. This value can be 1GU, 2GU or 4GU, and a higher number means a “stronger” application. Bennett’s elemental burst applies 2GU of Pyro to enemies when cast, while Amber’s charged shot applies 1GU of Pyro.
Shield Gauge Units (Shield GU)
The measurement used for an enemy shield’s HP in the form of Gauge Units. All enemy shields have their total post-calculation HP in the form of Shield GU, which can be decreased to 0 for all shields through reactions. This value does not change as the level of the enemy increases. Some shields also consider character damage, while others also consider the Poise values of the attack used. Poise values do not change as the level of the enemy or character increases.
Not all shields in Genshin Impact are the same, but they can be grouped into different categories depending on their visual properties and how they interact with reactions / character damage. These include Elemental Armor, Elemental Force Shields, Elemental Guard Shields, Enemy Object Shields and Object Shields.
A type of shield that cannot be affected by character damage. Instead, it acts as a “state” inflicted on an enemy in which they may gain increased resistances or other special effects. The enemy itself can still take character damage directly, hence the distinction made between Armor and Shields. Elemental Armor can only be broken with elemental reactions.
Fatui Skirmishers, Whopperflowers, Lawachurls and Regisvines fall into this category.
Elemental Force Shield
A type of shield that can be affected by character damage. They have a health bar which can be considered in terms of both Shield GU and damageable HP, but ultimately character damage is converted INTO Shield GU damage during the Damage Cost calculation. This is why HP for shields are treated as some value of Shield GU which breaks upon reaching 0.
Large Slimes, Abyss Mages, Cicin Mages and Abyss Lectors/Heralds fall into this category.
Elemental Guard Shield
A type of shield wielded by enemies in the overworld that can be affected by character damage. These differ to Elemental Force Shields in the sense that they are physically held, and as such can be bypassed through hitting the enemy from the back or sides.
Shields physically held by Hilichurls and Mitachurls fall into this category.
A theory which relates to enemy stagger and the related equations. An enemy is placed into the vulnerable status once their Poise has reduced to 0, which will then cause an enemy to stagger once the enemy is attacked. Different stagger levels exist for different attacks that trigger it. If you’re familiar with Sekiro or similar games, this works the same as a concept, with all character attacks having different stagger values. This is further explained in the Poise section of this document.
A combination of two elements to produce another effect. Reactions against shields produce a Reaction Cost which multiplies the Character GU of the attack with that specific shield’s Reaction Coefficient.
27/07/21 – Added information regarding Electro Abyss Mages
17/07/21 – Added into “Final Damage Value” that transformative reactions contribute to damage cost
23/06/21 – Added disclaimer at the top which explains the difference between “Frozen” and “Cryo” shields. Geo shields’ special interactions were reworded and expanded on (Reaction Coefficient section)