As content in Genshin Impact gets more and more complex, shielders become an almost necessary part of certain team compositions. Above all shielders, stands the Geo Archon himself, Zhongli. I’m here to give you the best Zhongli build in Genshin Impact.
The CEO of GEO has the ability to consistently provide a nearly unbreakable shield for your team whilst also pulling his weight in damage.
When he was first released in November of 2020, Zhongli completely changed the Genshin scene. His powerful shield and strong damage buffing capabilities allowed him to cement himself as a must-pick for players.
The only thing harder than his shield is the process of collecting his level-up materials.
I’ll show you the best build for your Zhongli, how to level up, which talents to level up, and some of his best artifact sets, weapons, and team compositions.
What are the Best Builds for Zhongli?
Zhongli has a wide variety of different builds for different areas of the game.
Early Game Build
In the early game, artifact builds are not as important. Zhongli’s best early game artifact set is Gambler.
Zhongli’s shield scales off of his max HP. However, there are no early game artifacts that affect as a set effect.
Instead, because Zhongli’s elemental skill, Dominus Lapidis, both creates a shield and a pillar to deal pulsing Geo damage to nearby enemies, we can try to use the Gambler’s 4-piece effect to maintain his shield uptime.
As for weapons, the most available option in the early game is likely to be the Black Tassel. This polearm is one of the only ones in the game that gives %HP as a main stat.
Unfortunately, its weapon effect is quite pointless. The weapon is a common drop from wishing on any banner. It can also sometimes be found in chests.
An option that does not require wishing is the Prototype Starglitter. This weapon, once again, has a weapon effect that will not be of much use to Zhongli, but the Energy Recharge main stat will allow him to have his elemental burst more often.
Late Game Build
Late game, Zhongli has two main builds/roles he can fill. When building your Zhongli, be mindful of his second passive ability, Dominance of Earth, which increases Zhongli’s damage by a portion of his max HP.
In practice, this passive makes quite a difference and even allows a fully max HP-centered Zhongli build to dish out acceptable damage.
This build focuses mainly on optimizing Zhongli’s incredibly powerful shield. Since his shield strength is determined by his max HP, it revolves around giving him as much HP as humanly possible while also leaving him with some support capabilities.
The artifact build used most for Shielder/Support Zhongli is Tenacity of the Mililith.
The 2-piece effect increases his max HP. And the 4-piece effect allows him to buff his allies even while he is off the field.
Because his elemental skill places down a pillar that deals consistent Geo damage, he can maintain the set’s attack and shield strength boost.
The artifact substats you are looking for are HP%, Crit Rate, Crit Damage, and Energy Recharge.
For main stats you want the following:
- Circlet: HP%
- Sands: HP% or Energy Recharge
- Goblet: HP%
This build for Zhongli fits into almost any team that needs a shielder. At the highest levels, it normally pairs Zhongli with characters that have to maintain their attacks without dodging.
Else they suffer a massive DPS loss like Yoimiya or characters that deal more damage on lower health like Hutao. However, Zhongli’s shield can be used to protect any team and works well with a good Tighnari build.
In addition to his shielding and minor attack buff, Zhongli’s burst is also used here to support as it petrifies all opponents hit by it in a rather large area, giving your other characters some time to set up their rotations.
If you wanna go for as high a max HP as humanly possible, it is fine to continue using Black Tassel with this build. However, it’s recommended that you sacrifice the extra HP main stat for a higher-level late-game support weapon.
Sub-DPS Burst Zhongli:
This team composition is built around Zhongli’s elemental burst, Planet Befall. As the name might suggest, it launches a large meteor towards enemies, dealing massive damage and petrifying them for a few seconds.
The burst’s low energy cost means that this build for Zhongli involves switching him in occasionally to use his burst for a large chunk of damage and keeping him off field while his burst recharges.
It’s worth noting that Zhongli is still capable of providing a sizeable shield with this build but because he is aiming for offensive artifact substats and is no longer using Tenacity of the Millilith, his shield is not comparable to a full shielder build and he loses out on his attack buffing capability.
This set mainly utilizes a half-and-half combination of Noblesse Oblige and Archaic Petra artifacts.
As the 2-piece effects for both sets might suggest, these just help to maximize his burst potential as his burst does Geo Damage.
The artifact substats you are looking for are Crit Rate, Crit Damage, Attack %, HP%, and Energy Recharge.
For main stats you want the following:
- Circlet: Crit Rate or Crit Damage
- Sands: Attack % or HP%
- Goblet: Geo Damage Bonus or HP%
This team composition has similar pairings to Shielder/Support Zhongli as the max HP damage scaling on his elemental burst given by Dominance of Earth means that the HP you do build on him goes towards his shield and his burst damage.
Keep in mind that this version of Zhongli is intended mainly for dealing damage. His shield is a lot weaker and you’ll have to refresh it often.
Because both Shielder and Sub-DPS Zhongli can effectively use max HP, if you have artifacts with both good HP main stats and good crit substats, it is possible to run a hybrid of both builds.
Best Weapons for Zhongli
If you do not have a good 5-star polearm, Zhongli can still make good use of the Black Tassel or Prototype Starglitter.
However, Favonius Lance serves as a much better 4-star option, allowing him to create his own energy and provide some energy for his team even.
This allows him to better support his team as Shielder/Support Zhongli or have more burst uptime as Sub-DPS Zhongli
His top 3 polearms are:
Staff of Homa
Is an incredible 5-star polearm option for Zhongli but is especially well suited for Sub-DPS Zhongli.
The Crit Damage main stat is helpful for any damage-dealing character and the weapon effect increasing max HP synergizes wonderfully with his kit.
Keep in mind you might sacrifice some Energy Recharge using this polearm though.
Is Zhongli’s most well-rounded option. It is viable in both builds. It can provide Zhongli with a massive amount of Energy Recharge.
On top of that, the weapon effect generates Energy Particles that can be used by the entire team.
Running this spear sacrifices some damage but ensures that both Zhongli and his teammates have their elemental bursts up more often.
Despite being Zhongli’s signature 5-star weapon. Is not his best option.
The attack main stat does not scale as well as HP but is still useful for Sub-DPS Zhongli. The weapon effect increases the strength of his shield, making it somewhat confusing what build this weapon is intended for, but still somewhat viable.
How do I Level Up Zhongli?
Every character has 4 ascension materials needed to level up: boss drops, common monster drops, a region-specific gathered material, and their corresponding element’s elemental gem pieces.
The player must also have the standard experience books for any character. Like all Geo characters, Zhongli will require Prithiva Topaz to level up.
In addition to these, Zhongli requires Basalt Pillars dropped by the Geo Hypostasis Boss, Slime dropped from slime enemies, and Cor Lapis which can be mined all around Liyue.
To ascend Zhongli to level 90, you will need:
- 1 Prithiva Topaz Slivers
- 9 Prithiva Topaz Fragments
- 9 Prithiva Topaz Chunks
- 6 Prithiva Topaz Gemstones
- 46 Basalt Pillars
- 168 Cor Lapis
- 18 Slime Condensate
- 30 Slime Secretion
- 36 Slime Concentrate
- 12 Wanderer’s Advice
- 15 Adventurer’s Experience
- 414 Hero’s Wit
- 420,000 Mora
What Talents Do I Level Up for Zhongli?
Zhongli’s two most important talents are his elemental skill, Dominus Lapidis, and his elemental burst, Planet Befall.
Dominus Lapidis creates the shield Zhongli is most known for as well as placing down a Geo Pillar on the ground that will deal periodic Geo damage to nearby enemies.
Keep in mind that upgrading this talent increases the strength of the shield significantly but the duration of the shield will always remain at 20 seconds.
Planet Befall launches a meteor at enemies, petrifying them. Leveling up this talent increases the damage and duration of the petrification
You should prioritize different talents depending on how you plan to use Zhongli. If you want to focus on Sub-DPS Zhongli, his elemental burst is more important.
If you want to focus on Shielder/Support Zhongli, his elemental skill is more important. The total materials needed to level one of Zhongli’s talents to max level 10 is:
- 3 Teachings of Gold
- 21 Guides to Gold
- 38 Philosophies of Gold
- 9 Tusk of Monoceros Caeli
- 6 Slime Condensate
- 22 Slime Secretions
- 31 Slime Concentrate
- 1 Crown of Insight
- 1,650,000 Mora
Note that Gold Talent Books are dropped from the Taishan Mansion Domain in Jueyun Karst, Liyue on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Tusks of Monoceros Caeli are a unique boss drop from the weekly boss Child at The Golden House just south of Liyue Harbor.
Note that you can only fight this boss once a week and Tusks of Monoceros Caeli are only required to level a talent past level 7.
Zhongli continues to be one of the best characters in the game. For a time, he defined the meta of Genshin Impact.
His ability to both fulfill a strong Shielder/Support role whilst also being able to dish out impressive damage makes him a wonderful option for many teams. Especially for fights against the Thunder Manifestation or Cryo Regisvine bosses.
While the process of leveling his ascension and talents can be quite tedious, it is also incredibly rewarding. He is a great character to invest in and his kit will serve you well throughout the game.