In this Genshin Impact Guide I’m going to be showing you my Sublimation Build for Hu Tao, which outputs insane amounts of burst damage. Hu Tao‘s burst is rivaled by no other character, and depending on the content, she can deal the highest damage in-game. To emphasize her DPS, we pair her with the best Hydro support characters, for Consistent Vaporize reaction. But we don’t stop at that, we add a Cryo character with the fastest Cryo application rate, to add a Melt reaction amidst her burst window. In reality, we can put Hu Tao into a team similar to permanent freeze composition, so in her downtime, the party still does decent damage. This helps smooth out the difference in DPS while her Elemental Skill is up, and while it’s on cooldown.
In this Guide I’ll explain just how to build Hu Tao to face a wide variety of content, and deal potent damage. On top of that, this team is perfectly suitable to finish the Spiral Abyss, up to floor 12-3.
Genshin Impact Build: Hu Tao’s Guide to Sublimation (Vaporize & Melt)
If you’ve been looking for a Free to Play Pyro build for endgame and Spiral Abyss, look no further. It’s an upgrade over our Klee The Short Fuse build, but different in the type of playstyle. I personally replaced Klee, as the main Pyro DPS after acquiring Hu Tao and could be a viable option for you. The main reason for this is that Hu Tao‘s Pyro application is more controlled, and synergizes better with Melt and Reverse Vaporize. While Klee applies too much Pyro, so she enables Reverse Melt teams instead.
Hu Tao is not a recent new addition to Genshin Impact, but she was introduced a while back in March, earlier in 2021. She’s a limited character, and the only way to acquire her was through her own up rate banner, which only appeared once at the time of writing this guide. This means she’s bound to a return sooner or later. When that does happen, you can get your hands on one of the strongest DPS characters in the entire game. If you are disappointed about the latest five-star Pyro character Yoimiya, and not planning to wish for her, just save for Hu Tao. She’s not only strong, but extremely free-to-play friendly, and scales well with all levels of investment. Hu Tao also requires only four-star support characters, so she’s a perfect pick for new players with limited access to characters.
As playstyles go, Hu Tao has her very own unique pattern, because she has no ICD (internal cooldown) upon Pyro application with a charged attack. This means she can apply Pyro with every charged attack and is able to cause amplifying the reaction with every hit. That goes a very long way for increasing her damage, but she’s limited to the duration of her Elemental Skill, and requires animation canceling.
The easiest team that compensates for her downtime is a Kaeya team, with Xingqiu and Barbara. It’s a very cheap option, with two out of the three guaranteed by just playing the game. We need Xingqiu for a hydro application that Hu Tao can Vaporize, and Barbara as both healer and another hydro source. Then we have Kaeya for freezing enemies, generating energy particles, and doing good DPS during Hu Tao‘s cooldown. Freezing enemies also allows Hu Tao to Melt some of her charged attacks.
Hu Tao’s Guide to Sublimation Attributes
Hu Tao‘s main source of damage is an “amplifying reaction” whether it’s Vaporize or Melt. This reaction benefits from both direct damage buffs, and reaction damage buffs. So a Pyro Damage Bonus and Elemental Mastery goes a long way for her. An % Attack bonus is not bad on Hu Tao, but it’s less effective on her than other DPS characters. This is because her base attack is very low, and she scales other stats better, namely HP.
Hu Tao’s Elemental Skill Guide to Afterlife increases ATK based on Max HP at the time of casting. On top of that, when Hu Tao’s HP drops below 50%, she gets a 33% Pyro DMG Bonus. So the more HP she has, the easier you can keep her under 50% to get the bonus. Finally, if you have the Polearm Staff of Homa, it will add more scaling with HP to Hu Tao.
For sub stats, you always look for Crit Rate, Crit Damage, % HP, and EM. If you use an EM weapon, try not to take a total EM higher than 400, because it starts to have diminishing returns. For the main stats, you need a Pyro Damage Bonus on Goblet and Crit Rate on Headpiece. But for Timepiece, we need to compare % Attack Timepiece with HP Timepiece:
With four-star weapons that have the highest base attack value (44) such as Kitain Cross Spear or Lithic Spear, Hu Tao’s base attack can reach 671 (106+565). Since Goblets with % Attack have a value of 46.6% at level 20, so it adds a 312 flat attack at most. That value gets even lower with proper good four-star polearms such as Dragon’s Bane.
Hu Tao base HP is 15,552 at level 90, so level 20 HP Goblet adds 7247 HP (46.6% of base HP). That translates to 410 Flat Attack bonus at Elemental Skill level 8 (5.66% of added HP). So HP timepiece is much better in all scenarios.
Hu Tao’s Guide to Sublimation Weapon
White Tassel is a three-star weapon you are guaranteed to refine to level 5 with ease. It outperforms most four-star weapons, due to the fact that base attack doesn’t matter much with Hu Tao. It also has a Critical Rate sub stat of up to 23.4%, and Normal Attack damage multiplier of 48%. These qualities are typically better than anything that four-star weapons offer, besides Dragon’s Bane.
So if you are a 100% free-to-play player, and new to the game which will mean more restricted access to better weapons, just go with White Tassel. It’s a very solid weapon that can carry you even in endgame, and one of the reasons why Hu Tao is very free to play friendly.
Gasha 4 Star Weapons
Dragon’s Bane is straight up the best four-star weapon for Hu Tao‘s Sublimation build. Whether she causes Vaporize or Melt, the huge Elemental Mastery bonus on it gives a nice damage multiplier. On top of that, it adds another damage multiplier against enemies affected by Hydro or Pyro. So as long as you use Hu Tao during Xingqiu‘s elemental burst duration, you always get this multiplier.
If you have a higher refinement of Dragon’s Bane, the multiplier gets higher, and the weapon becomes even better than every Five Star weapon. Beaten only by the signature weapon belonging to Hu Tao. You can’t go wrong with Dragon’s Bane if you have a proper Hydro application.
The Ultimate Weapon
Staff of Homa is the signature weapon of Hu Tao, featured only in one limited weapon banner that was released alongside her banner. It’s the best Polearm in the game, and best in slot for many other Polearm users. It’s also considered better than most other weapon categories, and just an overpowered weapon in all regards.
However, Hu Tao is still very strong without it, and it doesn’t require spending your precious Primogems on the weapon banner. Dragon’s Bane at refinement 5 is only 8~12% worse than Staff of Homa. On base value alone, Dragon’s Bane still deals only 15~18% less DPS. So you really don’t have to go out of your way for that extra damage, you will usually find you gain better value for your Primogems from wishing for another five-star character.
Hu Tao’s Guide to Sublimation Artifacts
Figuring out how to customize your Artifacts 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. With the continuous release of new artifacts every couple of patches, things do get a bit complicated. In this section, I will save you some time as I’ve set this up for maximum performance for this build.
This Artifact Set is one of the reasons that all Pyro DPS characters are highly ranked in all-tier lists. It gives higher Pyro damage than all similar sets for other elements. On top of that, it increases Pyro elemental reactions damage. It’s a very good set for any Pyro DPS, and Hu Tao is no exception, especially in Vaporize and Melt team.
The set gives a 15% Pyro damage bonus on 2 set pieces, and an additional 7.5% every time she uses Elemental Skill. This bonus can stack up to 3 times, but Hu Tao can only utilize one stack, due to the long cooldown. It’s fine since the set also gives 15% Vaporize and Melt damage multiplier. However, this ser is not the sole choice for Hu Tao.
The latest addition to Artifact sets is Shimenawa’s Reminiscence, the set came with the 2.0 Inazuma update. This set is incredibly powerful, with high risk, high reward playstyle. The four pieces bonus is an insane 50% Normal and Charged Attack DMG, which is beaten by no other set. However, the condition for triggering this effect is spending 15 energy upon Elemental Skill use. This makes Hu Tao spend more energy than she should and requires you to find new solutions for energy recharge. By using a battery, or the low tide/high tide mechanics in spiral abyss floor 12.
Hu Tao tends to not synergize very well with a Pyro battery, and prefers more Hydro and Cryo support characters. So using Shimenawa’s Reminiscence requires good planning. The energy deficiency created by Shimenawa’s Reminiscence is a challenge because you typically want to use Elemental Burst before buff from Elemental Skill ends. But overall, it’s more Normal and Charged Attack damage and less Elemental Burst damage. This results in more DPS, since her Charged Attacks out DPS her Elemental Burst anyway.
It’s also recommended to spend your resin to farm the new domain, for Shimenawa’s Reminiscence. The two sets here are universally good for most characters, either two pieces or 4 pieces, and it saves your resin to farm one domain that can equip several characters at once.
Even though Hu Tao relies mainly on Charged Attacks, she can’t utilize Wanderer’s Troupe 4 pieces bonus. That’s because the bonus is only given to Catalyst and bow users, while Hu Tao uses a polearm. So the alternative is using a hybrid set of two pieces Wanderer’s Troupe for 80 Elemental Mastery, and two pieces Crimson Witch of Flames for a 15% Pyro damage bonus.
This combination is extremely efficient if you are a new player with less access to good artifacts. It’s usually easier to have good two artifacts from one set, and good two artifacts from another set. It’s also good if you don’t use a weapon with Elemental Mastery, because high EM has diminishing returns.
This set never gets old, and it gives a massive 40% normal and charged attack damage under the protection of a shield. The only caveat to it is the need to have a heavy shield source in party, such as Zhongli. Though if you have Zhongli, your second Abyss party might have better use for him. Since a Hu Tao team has both Xingqiu and Barbara, she will have constant access to healing, and good resistance to interrupts. But Retracing Bolide is still a solid choice, if you decided to go with a shield.
Hu Tao’s Guide to Sublimation Talent Skills
Secret Spear of Wangsheng
Hu Tao‘s Normal Attack combo goes up to six spear Attacks, which we never use, unless she runs out of stamina. Even then, we can use 4 normal attacks into charged attacks. The damage type is physical by default, but attacking casting Elemental Skill converts it to Pyro damage. Internal cooldown of Pyro application on Normal Attacks is 3 hits, or 3 seconds, and is not shared with Charged Attacks. That’s the reason why we rely on Charged Attacks instead.
Charged Attacks make Hu Tao plunge herself forward, for a massive piecing attack that goes through the enemy. This attack displaces her so easily, and requires training on jump cancel to reduce the time and displacement range. If you play Hu Tao without any animation canceling, she will end up all over the place, and even the camera can’t keep up. If you use Dash cancel, she will run out of stamina before finishing her rotation. So the ideal way to play Hu Tao is to perform one normal attack, then go into one charged attack, and quickly jump cancel the animation. Do this before she go through enemies, then start over for maximum damage. You can cancel the animation before damage numbers appear, so don’t hesitate to do it as early as possible.
There’s no internal cooldown for applying Pyro with Charged attack, so Hu Tao can Vaporize every single Charged attack. That’s more than any other DPS can do, and no other DPS can output such damage in a short time frame. To balance it out, Hu Tao has a longer cooldown, and noticeable downtime. But overall, very reliable damage.
Guide to Afterlife
Easily a solid build-defining Elemental Skill, with a 9-second duration, and 16-second cooldown. It converts Hu Tao damage into Pyro, and gives her an Attack buff based on her Maximum HP. The way this talent scales, is it allows Hu Tao to ignore Attack stat, and focus on HP. It also increases Hu Tao’s resistance to interruption, and gives her Pyro damage bonus when under 50% HP.
If you want to maximize your damage during the Elemental Skill, make sure Hu Tao has less than 70% HP before using it. The Elemental Skill itself consumes 30% of the current HP. So starting at 70%, the Elemental Skill will get her just below 50%. If you are using Zhongli‘s shield, it’s recommended that you let enemies hit Hu Tao first to get her HP down before activating the shield. But if you only rely on Xingqiu and Barbara‘s healing, managing HP will become less restricted, but be careful not to let Hu Tao die in one hit!
There’s another mechanic to her Elemental Skill that not many people mention. That’s “Blood Blossom” she applies to enemies, causing Pyro damage to them every 4 seconds. This damage is considered Elemental Skill damage, so it’s insignificant.
Elemental Burst is usually recommended to be used at the very end of Elemental Skill duration. That way, you get the attack bonus from Elemental Skill, the Pyro damage bonus from being under 50% HP. On top of that, you get to heal Hu Tao‘s own HP by a decent chunk, and heal increase with number of enemies hit. Damage wise, Elemental Burst is a good AOE finisher, so make sure to be amidst enemies while casting.
This skill is one of the reasons why we don’t worry about the best healers, and get to use Barbara. Hu Tao can sacrifice damage, and use it early in emergency situations, and switches out. She can also stay on very low HP under the effect of a shield, and heal only when her rotation is done. It’s a very reactive playstyle, and requires both: fast reactions, and quick thinking.
Hu Tao’s Guide to Sublimation party Composition
Genshin Impact has a unique playstyle that relies on switching characters and chaining combos across these characters. So a solid part of Ayaka’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. Even though in the current game version, it’s universally recommended for you to use a five star support character such as Zhongli, Venti, Kazuha, or even Jean. Our Build to Sublimation with Hu Tao requires none of the other five stars to perform at 100% efficacy. Because Hu Tao is very free to play friendly, and most of her strength relies on her own abilities.
Having Xingqiu is a must in this team, before anyone else. He’s not only the best source of Hydro application off the field, but he brings healing, damage reduction, and resistance to interrupt to the team. His reactive healing is a perfect fit for Hu Tao, who wants to keep her HP low, but not die. If built properly, Xingqiu can dish out good damage as well. Xingqiu with Sacrificial Sword can generate very nice elemental particles, which helps with the energy deficiency created by Shimenawa’s Reminiscence.
His Elemental Burst will shoot down rain swords on targets alongside normal attacks of any character on the field. With Hu Tao’s combo of one normal attack, into charged attack, you always apply Hydro first, before proccing Vaporize with charged attacks. If enemy are frozen, this combo can cause Melt instead.
You need to make sure to use Xingqiu‘s Elemental Burst first, then an Elemental Skill to get the damage bonus from C4. Also, spend enough time on Xingqiu after using his Elemental Skill to collect all Hydro energy particles with him. Hu Tao has 7 seconds downtime anyway, so feel comfortable staying on supports before going back to her.
If we have another healer, we don’t need any healing from Xingqiu, so he can go full burst DPS. We go with Energy Recharge on Sands, Hydro damage on Goblet, and Crit Rate or Crit Damage on headpiece. These are the main stats, and for sub stats, we go with Energy Recharge, Attack, and Crit.
If you have enough Energy Recharge from Emblem of Severed Fate set, with Sacrificial Sword, you can ditch Energy Recharge on Sands, and pick one with % Attack instead.
For Energy regeneration, we need to use the Sacrificial Sword for Xingqui. The Sacrificial Sword‘s major benefit is that it can reset the cooldown of Xingqiu‘s Elemental Skill. We can use the second Elemental Skill right after the first one, to get all damage and particles frontloaded. It’s doubling the effect of Xingqiu. But also, doubling the energy generated for entire team.
It gets better with a higher refinement level, so make sure to get more copies of this weapon if you have a chance.
The newly introduced artifact set, Emblem of Severed Fate, is good for Xingqiu‘s DPS and battery role. It gives him more Energy Recharge and scales his damage with the Energy Recharge stat, which we will build anyway. It’s a great pick for him, but as a new set, it requires some time to farm.
Kaeya is a great addition to Hu Tao, and adds good damage, and freeze possibility, so Hu Tao can Melt. We choose him over Rosaria as the Cryo unit, because he can apply Cryo faster with his Burst, and generate more energy than her. His burst also moves around with Hu Tao, and you don’t have to worry about keeping enemies in place. Overall, a very good pick that adds a lot of value to the team. He also a guaranteed character, and every player has him.
Having him in your party decreases all party members’ sprinting Stamina consumption by 20%. This is very nice when you have to dash away from some danger because Hu Tao uses so much stamina on her charged attacks.
Go straight for Energy Recharge on Sands, Cryo damage on Goblet, and Crit Rate or Crit Damage on headpiece as main stats. For the sub stats, focus on Attack, and Crit Rate or Crit Damage. This ensures he has 100% uptime on Elemental Burst, and good damage still.
We are not restricted to Energy Recharge weapons for Kaeya, since he has internal Energy Recharge stat from Ascension passive. However, if you have been a long time player and played through the event “Dragonspine” during 1.1 patch time, you got the Festering Desire weapon from the event.
If you are a newer player, and don’t have this exclusive weapon though, a good alternative is to craft Amenoma Kageuchi, the new sword from Inazuma. This weapon serves the same purpose of generating energy, and does deal good damage but has more focus on damage. Its Attack Bonus is the highest among the four star weapons, and it’s an overall nice choice.
Of course you can use any Five Star Sword you have on Kaeya, or even give him Blackcliff Longsword or The Black Sword if you bought any of them. Kaeya is free to play friendly, and not very demanding when it comes to weapons.
Kaeya can work with the old Noblesse Oblige, or the new Emblem of Severed Fate Artifact set. The first gives the whole party an attack buff, which is only very minor improvement for Hu Tao. The latter boosts Kaeya own Elemental Burst damage, but gives zero damage to his Elemental Skill. They are both viable choices, but I personally don’t recommend them.
What I prefer though is a classic hybrid build with 2 pieces of Blizzard Strayer and two pieces of either Gladiator’s Finale or Shimenawa’s Reminiscence. That gives a solid 15% Cryo damage, and 18% universal attack bonus. However, since Kaeya is the one likely to trigger freeze reaction, you have the option to equip him with the four star Instructor set. It hurt Kaeya’s own damage, but a solid 120 EM for Hu Tao is really huge. It will more than compensate for Kaeya’s damage loss, especially if your Hu Tao is heavily invested.
Due to the increasing number of shield characters, and MiHoYo releasing content that favors parties with a shield, Barbara has seen less usage recently. Truly she’s only a healer, and there are better healers, while Barbara offers little else besides that. In terms of Hydro application, Xingqiu is superior, and in terms of healing Bennett and Jean is superior. With the 2.0 release, even Sayu is considered a better option. However, in the specific case of Hu Tao, Barbara can fit very nicely. Since Hu Tao doesn’t work with Bennett because he takes her HP over 50% in a blink, and she doesn’t work with Anemo units if there’s no second Pyro character in the team (unless Anemo unit is Kazuha). So Barbara finds a home for her in this team.
Unlike most elemental characters who play at medium to large range, Hu Tao plays at point-blank. This makes her one of the few characters that can benefit from Barbara‘s very narrow Hydro field. Hu Tao go near and personal with the enemy, even through the enemy, and she likes to move around, and Barbara‘s field travels with her. On top of that, Barbara‘s the healer that can sustain Hu Tao and does easily run low for the HP requirements.
The way Barbara works is you cast her Elemental Skill and switch out, then this skill will heal active characters once every couple of seconds. So she gives small doses of healing, which pairs well with Xingqiu‘s damage reduction, and reactive healing. They allow Hu Tao to take damage, stay on low HP, but stay alive.
In case of emergency, Barbara can use her Elemental Burst, and refill the entire party HP. She also have long invulnerability frames with Burst, to ignore any of the enemy’s huge DPS spikes. She helps increasing Hydro on the enemy, to make sure that Hydro or Cryo stays the Aura, and Hu Tao always is the one proccing reactions.
As Barbara‘s DPS is always negligible, we need to build her for healing, with burst healing. She can go with a HP main stat on all Sands, Goblet, and Headpiece sets. However, you can instead elect to use Energy Recharge on Sands, and Healing Bonus on Headpiece. For sub stats always look for more HP, and Energy Recharge.
The best healing Catalyst in Genshin Impact is Prototype Amber (Previously named Prototype Malice). It gives HP a bonus, and additional healing upon using Elemental Burst. That’s very nice, but Hu Tao doesn’t need that much healing. So I’d suggest using the best damage support catalyst Thrilling Tales of Dragon Slayers.
The weapon at max refinement gives a 48% Attack bonus to the next enemy that switches in after Barbara. While the Attack is not the best stat to give to Hu Tao, it’s still better than any other catalyst on Barbara. It also has an HP bonus, so Barbara will heal more.
The choice of Barbara artifacts is a tough one, and it’s one of the most complicated choices in the build. Though in the long run, it doesn’t matter unless you want to squeeze as much damage as possible to the last drop. The thing is, Barbara has too long of a cooldown and Energy cost to benefit from the Elemental Burst artifact sets such as Noblesse Oblige. She also can’t proc Tenacity of the Millelith off-field with her Elemental skill, since her elemental skill doesn’t “hit”. That limits her support choices to only Instructor set, and even though, in our Sublimation Build, it’s hard to proc it. In case you use Instructor on her instead of Kaeya, you can boost Kaeya DPS, but you need special conditions on Barabara.
The thing about Instructor is that it needs an active character to proc elemental reaction while on the field to give the bonus. As we don’t swap to Hu Tao unless we need to stay on her, that makes the only other reaction possible to proc be Freeze. In that regard, it’s Kaeya and Xingqiu who will proc most of the freeze, as we swap to Barbara last before Hu Tao. So if we use Instructor on Barbara and are determined to proc it, we have to:
- Be done using Kaeya and Xingqiu skills and Burst
- Switch to Barbara and use her Elemental Skill at point-blank range, without using her normal attack
- That way, she hits the enemy affected by Cryo (from Kaeya burst) with the Skill cast, to proc freeze.
Any other scenarios where you use her normal attacks first will trigger Xingqiu‘s burst, and causes his rain sword to attack, and he would freeze the enemy instead of Barbara. So if you are willing to go through the hassle, use Instructor on Barbara. Otherwise, use it on Kaeya, and just build Barbara for pure healing with Maiden Beloved.
You have reached the end of the Guide. We hope you found this build useful, and hopefully it gives you a good idea of how to maximize Hu Tao’s potential.
Genshin Impact 2.0 update is now available to play on PC, iOS, Android and PS4 and PS5. 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 upcoming 2.0 and be sure to not miss our Ayaka The Snow Bird build. As well as, our Genshin Impact Characters Tier List: Reverse Vaporize (Pyro) for more ideas to build other Pyro characters.