Last updated on April 21st, 2021
In this Genshin Impact Guide I’m going to be showing you my Geo Empress Build for Ningguang, that utilizes Geo element to its maximum potential. We build two Geo characters for Geo Resonance, that’s good in 1.2 version, and getting buffed at 1.3. Composing a party for each situation in Genshin Impact can be a bit of a challenge, with the limited options for those focusing on free-to-play.
In this Guide I’ll explain just how to build the Geo Empress to face a wide variety of content, deal potent damage, and counter all situations Genshin Impact has to throw at you. On top of that, it makes a perfect team to finish the Spiral Abyss, with the current buff for Geo element which was introduced in 1.2. So it’s one build to rule them all, if you’ve been looking for a Free to Play Geo build. I’ll go through what Weapons to use, what Artifacts to upgrade and which companions to pick up, so check this one out!
Genshin Impact Build: Ningguang, The Geo Empress
Ningguang is a four star character, that’s accessible through all banners, with an especially high rate when the Childe‘s banner was live. After three months in the game’s lifespan, all players will have a high chance of having most of the four star characters by now. Whether you have one constellation for Ningguang, or unlocked several constellations, she’s good as a Carry role. Her focus is dealing massive damage to a single target, so she needs another Geo support that focuses on AOE.
For the second Geo character, Noelle can be good. But for optimal output, we use either of the five star Geo characters, Zhongli, or Albedo. That’s because Ningguang is a special case, a four star character but still one of the best characters with a Geo element, and five star characters are better off supporting her. If you pulled wishes for Zhongli, you will most likely have him, or if you skipped this banner, you will very likely have Albedo. I chose Albedo, because he’s a better support at zero constellations, and very cheap to build. He’s the definition of free to play friendly among all five star characters.
The team for the Geo Empress Build is composed of Ningguang, as main DPS and single target damage, Albedo for AOE and energy particles generation, then Diona as a healer, and a wild card for the last slot. You can swap the character in the last slot depending on your roster, and as the Spiral Abyss needs. Elemental combo is important, and with two party slots going for a natural element like Geo, you need a certain amount of flexibility. If you need Hydro go for Xingqiu, and for Pyro, pick Xiangling, or Xinyan. Choose either Fischl, Lisa or Beidou for Electro. That doesn’t mean you have to build all these characters for merely one slot in a party, but these are choices you can pick from.
Ningguang, The Geo Goddess Attributes
We build Ningguang as a straight forward Geo DPS. So we need a Geo Damage Bonus, % Attack, Critical Rate, and Critical Damage. Finally, use some flat Attack and choosing some Energy Recharge would be nice.
If we are using the Royal Grimoire as a weapon, it would be more convenient to concentrating on building more Critical Damage than Critical Rate. The nature of Ningguang‘s attacks is that it hits several times per attack, so you are guaranteed to score several critical hits per attack even with a small Crit Rate bonus. This way, a relatively small Crit Rate is acceptable, especially if you are augmented by Royal Grimoire.
Ningguang, The Geo Empress Weapon
Ningguang uses a Catalyst as a weapon, a weapon magical in nature, and all its talents are elemental by default. If you rolled enough wishes to get a five star character, you will probably have enough Masterless Starglitter to buy a good weapon from Paimon’s Bargains. The Royal Grimoire is the best free to play option for her (compared to craftable Catalysts). The Royal Grimoire has the highest base attack among all four stars, and adds an additional % Attack bonus as a secondary stat. Its passive provides a small Crit Rate increase bonus, per non-crit hit. So it works best with a moderate Critical Rate (20-35%), which is typical for a low investment build.
However, if you get perfect Critical stat rolls on Artifacts, this weapon falls short, so be cautious if you wanna spend Masterless Starglitter to buy it. It’s optimal only if you have another Catalyst user to pass down Royal Grimoire for him or her, after Ningguang gets a better weapon.
Gasha 4 Star Weapons
There are a variety of weapons that you can get randomly from pulling wishes with various banners, and Ningguang can utilize many of them to an extend. The Widsith is a very good catalyst because Ningguang can benefit from 2 of the three different buffs it has. It also has a huge Crit Damage bonus, which allows building a Crit Rate Headpiece for good damage. It’s overall a great option, if you are lucky enough to get it.
Second to that is Eye of Perception, which has a big attack bonus secondary stat, and a damage proc every 12 seconds. It only falls short because it lacks any crit stats, so it’s a little worse than Royal Grimoire, but if you have it, you can save your Masterless Starglitter.
The Ultimate Weapon
Two of the five star Catalyst suits Ningguang the best, Lost Prayer to the Sacred Winds, and Memory of Dust. Five star weapons have become slightly more accessible to free to play players after the 1.2 update. Hitting pity in the standard banner equals 50% chance to get a five star weapon. Though she doesn’t need either of them to function properly, as you can get quite a similar performance with 4 star Battle Pass weapon, Solar Pearl. Actually, Ningguang is one of the best characters that can utilize Solar Pearl among all Catalyst users. Solar Pearl increases damage of all her normal attack, her Elemental Skill, and her Elemental Burst, though it doesn’t work with her charged attack. So picking up this weapon might change the way you use Ningguang attacks.
Ningguang, The Geo Empress Artifacts
Figuring out how to customize your Artifact sets is one of, if not the hardest part of making a Build in Genshin Impact as there are a lot of components involved, and generally takes a try or two before getting it right. In this section, I want to show you how I’ve set this up for a good overall performance with Ningguang.
We use a hybrid Artifact build to maximize damage output. The two-piece bonus from Archaic Petra is 15% Geo DMG, and the two-piece bonus from Gladiator’s Finale is 18% attack. Both these stats increase the damage of Ningguang globally, because all her talents are Geo. We don’t take any specific bonus for Normal Attack, charged attack, Elemental Skill, or Elemental Burst because Ningguang deals damage with every talent she has. Picking a very specialized bonus would benefit one portion of her kit, and be useless with others. So we stick with Archaic Petra/Gladiator’s Finale, or even forgo the Gladiator’s Finale for perfectly rolled two pieces.
Flower of Life & Plume of Death
These two pieces have their main stat predetermined, they are flat HP and Attack respectively. I wouldn’t focus on leveling them, unless they’re a five star artifact, and have good sub-stats to go with it. To make the decision of leveling them or not, ask yourself: How likely is it that you will get a better piece next month? If the stats are good enough, you wouldn’t get a better piece anytime soon, so the recommendation would be to max level it.
We want any combination of Crit Rate, Crit Damage, and %Attack on sub-stats here. With Flat Attack, and Energy Recharge, being good bonuses, but with a lower priority.
Sands of Eon
We want % Attack as main stat on the Timepiece, because it’s the best among the various choices here. It’s easier to roll the stat we want (% Attack) on this piece than other pieces, so wait until you get some good sub-stats to go with it. These stats are Crit Rate, and Crit Damage. Second to them are Energy Recharge and Flat Attack.
Goblet of Enotherm
We must pick up a five star Goblet with a Geo Damage Bonus as the main stat, and nothing else. It’s harder to get the right main stats on the Goblet, because it can roll every type of damage, making the pool of modifiers huge. So what we do is to use our four other pieces in the set, and prioritize Geo Damage Bonus on Goblet from any other set. This freedom allows us to pick the best Geo Damage Bonus Goblet, with some good sub-stats. These stats are Crit Rate, and Crit Damage. Second to them are % Attack, and Energy Recharge.
Circlet of Logos
We need this Headpiece dedicated to either Crit Rate or Crit Damage as the main stat. It’s a very important stat, you can’t easily replace. Crit Rate is usually the better stat in early game, while your build lacks Crit Rate anywhere else. Unless you use Royal Grimoire or Solar Pearl Catalyst, in that case, you can shift the focus to Crit Damage on the main stat.
Get as many good sub stats as you can, such as % Attack, Crit Rate, and Crit Damage. With Energy Recharge and Flat Attack being better than HP, Def, or Elemental Mastery.
Ningguang, The Geo Empress Talent Skills
Normal Attack sends two Geo Gems towards enemies from a long distance, it has a very unique combo pattern. First, Ningguang waves her hand and shoots two gems, then she twirls and shoots, then waves her hand and shoots for a third time. The first and third attack are nearly the same speed, and the second attack (the twirl) is a little faster. So if you want to pull a fast combo, you can use two attack combos, and then cancel. However, you can also cancel the animation of every attack to pull combos almost 30% faster, by holding the forward button while attacking.
The gems auto-aim towards the nearest target in the general direction you aim at. Upon hitting the enemy, they grant one “Star Jade” to Ningguang, up to a maximum of three, with the First Constellation Piercing Fragments, Gems do AOE damage in a small radius.
If Ningguang uses a charged attack with star jades present, she will shoot them alongside her charged attacks. Each star jade deals a separate instance of damage and has a chance to deal a critical hit. Also, each star jade procs “on hit” effects, if characters have any. With the passive talent Backup Plan, Ningguang consumes no stamina with charged attacks.
This unique feature makes charged attacks very strong, and a must use for Ningguang. Also, charged attacks with the Geo element have a strong impact on enemies, and can knock enemies several times in the air. But sometimes in a big crowd of enemies, it becomes harder to select your target, because gems and star jades auto-aim.
The ideal way to weave it into combos is debated, whether it’s [1 Normal attack –> 1 charged attack], or [2 Normal attack –> 1 charged attack]. I’d advise testing for yourself, and make your own choice. The existence of animation canceling complicates things a little, as you have to hold the “Forward” button to combo normal attacks and let go of it to do a charged attack.
The signature Geo construct Ningguang summons is her Jade screen, a Geo gate with curtains that prevents enemy arrows, and allows characters to pass through. With the Strategic Reserve passive, it gives a 12% Geo damage buff to anyone passing through it. If used aggressively, the Jade screen has a wide AOE and deals some nice damage. However, I would advise placing it at a safe distance from enemies, to have enough time to pass through it, and then to use it with Elemental Burst later.
Also, if you are using another Geo construct on the field, and then cast Jade screen cast onto it, it will be shattered and not placed. Zhongli, Albedo, and Geo main character all have Geo constructs as an Elemental Skill, so be mindful when using Ningguang with them. I prefer moving after casting any Geo construct skills, so any following skill doesn’t collide with it. Especially Albedo‘s construct, because it can cancel other non-Geo skills such as Beidou‘s counter.
Her Elemental Burst does a massive amount of damage with a short cooldown, and has little Energy cost. It fires six gems at once towards enemies, and if there’s only one enemy to deal with, they all will hit him. If the Jade Screen is present, it will dissolve and fire six more gems, with a total of twelve being fired. The gems have smart auto-aim, and not all of them will hit the same target at the same time. But some will linger, to check if the target is still alive, hitting it if it hasn’t died, or will change target if it’s already dead.
At skill level 6, each gem deals 122% damage, so it has a total of 1464% potential damage, assuming all gems hit the same target. On a single target though, two gems will likely hit the ground, so more likely 1220% damage is more realistic. Against multi-target, the damage will split between enemies, unless they are clustered together for AoE to hit multiple enemies.
It’s important to remember placing the Jade Screen and walking through it before using Elemental burst “Starshatter” as this will maximize the damage. It’s also advised to use it against Assassin enemies, when they go invisible, because it targets them in their invisible state, quite useful!
Ningguang, The Geo Empress Party Composition
Genshin Impact has a unique playstyle that relies on switching characters, and chaining combos across these characters. So a solid part of Ningguang‘s build is knowing which characters will accompany her, and what roles they will play.
In this section, I’ll fill you in on some of the best characters that synergise well with this build. I’ll mostly use Four Star characters here, but it’s recommended you use a five star Geo support like Zhongli, or Albedo if you have them. The Geo roster is small, and the options are limited. I had to save some of my free-to-play Primogems and aim for Pity pulls to get one of the five star Geo characters for a better Geo team.
My second Geo character is Albedo, because he’s the easiest to use out of all the Geo characters, and also the cheapest to build. He generates elemental particles randomly with his Elemental Skill, but he’s better than Zhongli at this. Also his elemental Construct takes very small space, so he will not block Ningguang‘s gem attacks. On top of that, his elevator provides a nice escape for her, when there are a lot of hostile AOEs going on. Ningguang auto aims, so the elevation provides zero problems for her. He also gives an Elemental Mastery buff, which we can make support characters utilize, to increase damage for one chosen reaction.
We use Albedo to put his Elemental Skill down, and then switch out. His skill lasts for 30 seconds, and deals AOE Geo damage to all enemies in a huge radius every time they take damage (on 2 seconds cooldown). Ningguang is good at triggering this skill, because she hits multiple times, so she wouldn’t miss that two seconds cooldown. Also her projectiles bypass wooden, rock, and ice shields of the hilichurls. There’s nothing that can be done against Abyss Mage shields though, because these mages take zero damage while their shields are up, so players have to tackle that first.
Albedo had his own banner through December 2020, and the beginning of January 2021. So if you didn’t get him this time round, you will need to wait for the next banner. Albedo was one of the best characters released since launch, and his banner has been the best banner since Klee banner. Not only for having Albedo, but also for the four star characters that were possible along with it. A good banner for players focusing on free to play to pull wishes for, so I’ll make a few guides with characters from that banner in the upcoming weeks.
For pure elemental skill scaling, we only need Def stat. Albedo is amazing at this because there’s no other character competing with him over this stat, so he will always get the best Def artifacts. After that, we need Geo Damage Bonus, Critical Rate, and Critical Damage. He doesn’t even need Energy Recharge, because his Elemental burst is less important and deals less damage. It scales with Attack, but we don’t scale for attack in this build.
Surprisingly, the best in slot weapon for Albedo turns to be the three star weapon, Harbinger of Dawn. It’s excellent for him because it provides a massive Critical Rate and Critical Damage bonus while the character is above 90% HP. The thing is Albedo will not be losing HP if he’s off the field 95% of the time. For the time he’s in play, he has some good invulnerability frames, so he will not take damage. If players mess up and he takes damage, he can be easily healed by food and stay healed.
The three star weapon has a small base attack, and because we don’t scale the attack, it’s irrelevant. It’s truly the best DPS weapon for Albedo, and beats all four and five star swords by a huge margin. It’s very easy to refine as well as level, and it’s worth the investment.
Second to Harbinger of Dawn, there was a new four star sword introduced in Albedo‘s story quest, during The Chalk Prince and the Dragon event. The Festering Desire sword is a good alternative, because you were granted max refinement for free during the event. It also has a good base attack, and nice Energy recharge as a secondary stat, but we can use it for the passive multiplier for Elemental Skill damage, and Elemental skill Crit rate.
Finally, there is another three star sword, the Traveler’s Handy Sword. It can scale up to 27.5% Def stat, which is nice, but weaker than outright multipliers from previous swords. Harbinger of Dawn is just better in every way possible, even if Albedo’s HP is not over 90%.
We use Def main stat on Timepiece, Geo Damage Bonus on Goblet, and Critical Rate or Critical Damage on Headpiece. For set bonus, the ideal setup is 2 pieces of Archaic Petra for Geo damage and either 2 pieces of Gambler for Elemental Skill damage, or 2 pieces of the Defender’s Will for Def bonus.
But I wouldn’t be too obsessed with getting the perfect Set bonus for him, as we can save our better pieces for main DPS. You can throw a couple of random artifacts with Def bonus on all slots and he will just do his job.
Similar to our Klee build, we can use Diona to provide a decent shield to make Ningguang comfortable while using charged attacks. Geo Element will generate small crystallized shields on its own, but pick these up only after Diona‘s shield expires because shields don’t stack. The second reason why we pick Diona over Bennett as a healer is the fact that she can heal characters up to 100%, while Bennett heals little above 70%. We need 100% heals for optimal damage from Albedo.
The Cryo element is also nice to bring down Electro Fatui shields. It can also proc Freeze if you slot Hydro, or setup Melt if used with a Pyro character.
Getting Diona was easier with the release of the same banner as Ningguang during November last year, so you could get her and some of her constellations open, with C1 being a massive energy cost reduction. She’s likely to be the sole bow user in the party, so remember to use her to solve bow puzzles, and shoot enemy weak spots to stun them.
We need HP, and then even more HP as both her healing with Elemental Burst and shields with Elemental Skill scale with HP. So we need HP as the main stat on everything, it’s way better than the healing bonus, or anything else. Energy Recharge is also beneficial, so get it as a secondary stat, and on her weapon.
As usual with healer support characters, we use weapons with Energy Recharge as a secondary stat. Either Favonius Warbow and Sacrificial Bow are good at that, depending on what you have. I prefer the Sacrificial Bow because of the ability to reset the Elemental Skill cooldown. Diona’s skill hits twice if pressed, and five times if charged, so the 40% chance to reset CD on un-refined Sacrificial Bow is close to a 100% chance. However, if you build some Crit Rate on her and use the Favonius Warbow, you can get more energy particles for a better uptime for her heal.
For the set bonus, we either go for more healing via the Maiden Beloved set, or Energy Regeneration for the party with The Exile set. Although I’d recommend prioritizing Artifacts with HP as the main stat over the set bonus, at least until you have built artifacts for all DPS characters. Energy Recharge and Crit Rate are also nice as sub stats.
The good thing about Xingqiu as a support is the multi-role he can play, as well as the diversity he brings to the team. He can heal, reduce incoming damage, and apply a good Hydro element while off-field. He can also deal some decent damage with his Elemental Skill. We had an increased chance in getting Xingqiu by using wishes on the “Klee Sparkling Steps” banner when it was available, and he has returned once more in the Ganyu banner with an up rate. He’s a solid character and his Constellations are great.
His Elemental Burst will shoot down rain swords on targets alongside normal attacks of any character on field. Rain swords are ranged, so they easily synergise with Ningguang. They are also Hydro element, so they will cause Freeze if they meet Diona‘s Cryo element. Geo damage from Ningguang can Shatter frozen enemies, for small extra damage, but freeze is just a defensive stat to keep you safe. His Elemental Skill also reduces incoming damage, so it will allow shields to stay up longer, and he heals character when they take damage. Which’s a very convenient playstyle.
If you don’t have Xingqiu, or you need another element in your party, you can replace him with Beidou for an Electro element. Beidou‘s Elemental Burst works better offensively, especially if you have C2 on her, because it hits many targets. On the other hand, Xiangling will suffice if you need a Pyro element, her Elemental skill is a turret that stays on the field for long and deals good damage. Also, you can Melt a few hits if you use Diona‘s skills prior to her. Overall, this last spot is more flexible, and can go in several directions.
If we need healing, we should scale Xingqiu‘s HP, for maximum efficiency. But if you have enough healing from Diona, we should sim for more damage. The most important stat in either situations is Hydro Damage Bonus, because it increases both damage and damage reduction. It works when his Elemental Skill is active, and makes you take less hits, and allows shields to last longer. Energy Recharge and Attack is useful stats, unless you go full offensive where you need to also build Crit Rate and Crit Damage.
For Energy regeneration, we can use either use the Sacrificial Sword or Favonius Sword for Xingqui. The Sacrificial Sword‘s major benefit is that it can reset the cooldown of Xingqiu‘s Elemental Skill. A 21 seconds cooldown is a really long time in this rotation, and reducing that is great for DPS and defense increase. If the Sacrificial Sword allows the use of one more Elemental Skill, it’s doubling the effect of Xingqiu.
An interesting alternative is the new sword introduced in the 1.2 update, Festering Desire. It has a nice Energy Recharge, along with a huge damage buff and Crit Rate for Elemental Skill. If you don’t use Festering Desire on Albedo, consider using it on Xingqiu for better damage while keeping the Energy recharge bonus.
Use two pieces of The Exile set and two pieces of the Scholar set in early game. It’s a good way to get the Energy Recharge for the Elemental Burst, because it really increases the overall damage of the party. However, in the endgame, we seek four pieces of the Noblesse Oblige set, to increase the entire party’s damage.
Get a Hydro Damage Bonus as the main stat on Goblet, % HP or % Attack on Goblet, depending on whether you prioritise offense or defense. Then Crit stat or HP on the headpiece artifact. For the secondary stats look for Energy Recharge, HP and Attack.
In the case that you choose Beidou, we can build 2 pieces from the Thundering Fury set and two pieces from Noblesse Oblige. Or use straight-up 4 pieces of Noblesse Oblige. Xiangling on the other hand is better off with four pieces of the Crimson Witch of Flames set for full damage.
We hope you found this build useful, and it gives you a better idea of how to maximize Ningguang‘s potential.
Genshin Impact is available to play on PC, iOS, Android and PS4. If you enjoyed this Genshin Impact Guide be sure to check out more even more info on our Genshin Impact Wiki. You can also keep an eye out for more guides for Genshin Impact 1.2, and upcoming 1.3 and be sure to not miss our Genshin Impact Getting Started Guide, as well as our Xinyan, The Dragonspine Explorer.