After the speculation and uncertainty during Xiao and Keqing's banner, we can now say that Hu Tao is finally launched in Genshin Impact! Hu Tao is definitely a strong DPS character with a risky and challenging playstyle that may require some skill and time to master. She works best with 50% of her maximum HP, to allow for a greater Pyro DMG bonus. This guide will introduce her playstyle, as well as give recommendations for various weapons, artifacts and team setups. I will include free to play options and other builds for beginners. Do read the playstyle section below, as there are certain things to note when playing Hu Tao.
Hu Tao works best with a CRIT Rate weapon to maintain a 1:2 CRIT Rate and CRIT Damage ratio. These 3 weapons above can work amazingly for Hu Tao. You can also use the CRIT Damage Blackcliff weapon (if you purchased it from this month's Starglitter Shop) with a CRIT Rate artifact to achieve the same ratio. Additionally, you can use the Primordial Jade Winged Spear although it is Xiao's designated weapon since it also has a CRIT Rate stat.
The Staff of Homa is Hu Tao's weapon and the sub-stat allows you to benefit from her HP, exactly like how her kit works. I will explain the HP benefit in detail later, but this is definitely the first choice weapon if you have it.
If you would like to purchase the Battle Pass, the Deathmatch is a great option for Hu Tao as well due to the CRIT Rate substat and the increase in ATK and DEF that could help with Hu Tao's low HP playstyle. If you would like to read more about the Battle Pass weapons, you can read my review of those weapons here, with recommendations of whether the weapons fit your playstyle and the characters that these weapons are made for.
The 3 star White Tassel works well, particularly due to the increase in Normal Attack DMG which helps if you use Hu Tao's normal attacks in between charged attacks.
The Black Tassel could work with an ATK sub-stat, but the increased 40% DMG to slimes is extremely situational and is hence not recommended for the endgame.
Using an Elemental Mastery weapon can be great if you have Xingqiu in your party setup. Hu Tao with an elemental mastery build works best with Cryo and Hydro support characters on your team, to allow for constant elemental reactions. From this, you can use her Pyro-infused attacks (after using her elemental skill) to have greater damage numbers.
In terms of craftable weapons, the Crescent Pike and Dragonspine Spear are not as good compared to the weapons listed above, as Hu Tao focuses more on her Pyro DMG, rather than a Physical build. The Prototype Starglitter could be helpful with the Energy Recharge substat, but you would ultimately benefit more from a weapon with a CRIT Rate substat instead since Hu Tao's E contributes greatly to her Ultimate regeneration. The Lithic Spear could work on Hu Tao too, but do aim for a CRIT Rate weapon if possible.
For beginners, I would recommend aiming for the White Tassel (and refinement) for Hu Tao.
The best set for Hu Tao is rather dependent on your team composition and playstyle. The various options are listed below:
A 4 set of Crimson Witch of Flames works best with Hydro and Cryo Support characters on your team. The 4 set benefit of increased elemental reaction damage can be reaped if you use Xingqiu, an amazing support character. With his rainswords activated and Hu Tao's elemental skill activated, it allows for constant Vaporise reactions. With Kaeya or Diona, it could allow for Melt reactions too. If you intend to use Hu Tao for her Pyro infused charged attacks and damage, I would definitely recommend this 4 set.
Alternatively, using Hu Tao as a Burst Support is also possible. If you intend to use her only for her ultimate as a Burst Support (similar to Zhongli), I would recommend the 2 Noblesse Oblige and 2 Crimson Witch set. This works better if you already have a specific team composition that you do not want to edit much, as a 4 crimson set would require you to build your team around Hu Tao.
This can be obtained from Clear Moon and Mountain Cavern domain, you can read my guide about the domain here.
The 4 piece Lavawalker increases DMG against enemies affected by Pyro, so this could be a better artifact set if you do not want to change your team composition greatly to include Hydro or Cryo applicators. This is a good set to use as well, but overall a 4 piece of Crimson Witch would definitely allow you to see the highest damage from Hu Tao.
Both Lavawalkers and Crimson Witch of Flames can be obtained from the Hidden Palace of Zhou Formula, which you can read my guide about here.
If you just started playing Genshin Impact, you might want to use the Berserker's set 4 piece (which can be obtained from bosses) for the increase in CRIT Rate or Martial Artist set 4 piece (obtained from Hidden Palace of Zhou Formula) for the increased Normal and Charged ATK in the meantime, but definitely do switch out when you reach a higher level.
The stats and sub-stats that you should prioritise are as below:
- Flower sub-stats: Crit DMG, Crit Rate and HP
- Feather stat: ATK; sub-stat: Crit DMG, Crit Rate and HP
- Watch stat: HP%
- Goblet stat: Pyro DMG Bonus (can be any artifact set, as long as the main stat is Pyro DMG)
- Mask stat: Crit DMG or Crit Rate (depending on your weapon sub-stat and other artifact sub-stats)
I recommended a HP% for Watch stat since she deals additional damage for her additional skill based on her Maximum HP.
Talents and Playstyle
The best order to upgrade Hu Tao's talents is below:
Guide to Afterlife > Secret Spear of Wangsheng > Spirit Soother
This is slightly dependent on the team composition and your preferred playstyle of Hu Tao.
With regards to her playstyle, you should use her Ultimate only when her Elemental skill is active. This allows for infused Pyro attacks for more elemental damage. Also, do note that you should keep her at below 50% of her maximum HP, to increase her Pyro DMG by 33%, this increases her Ultimate DMG as well, with the extent depending on the talent level. Her charged attacks mark enemies with a Blood blossom during her elemental skill duration, similar to Tartaglia, and can be very useful if you have Xingqiu on your team to give constant Vaporise DMG. Lastly, her charged attacks are fast but might move her out of the range to perform melee attacks on enemies. This animation can be cancelled by jumping when performing charged attacks. This might require some time to master, but could save you some time when trying to perform normal and charged attack combos.
The best support character for Hu Tao would be Xingqiu, as his rainswords provide constant elemental infliction of Hydro. This gives greater Vaporise DMG and you should definitely capitalise on elemental DMG since Hu Tao can do insane Pyro DMG. Other good support characters would include Kaeya and Diona, or even Fischl if you want an Overloaded reaction team setup.
It would be best to have a shield character such as Zhongli or Diona on your team, to benefit from her below 50% of Maximum HP damage. Once you have hit 50% of your maximum HP on Hu Tao, switch to your shield character and apply the shield to prevent Hu Tao from dying. This risky playstyle is dangerous but rewarding, once you have ascended Hu Tao past ascension level 4.
Given that Pyro characters can do the most damage with a Melt reaction, starting with the Cryo application, definitely do bring a Cryo character on your team. If you enjoy using Hu Tao's Pyro-infused charged attacks, you can bring Diona or Barbara as both their passives give reduced stamina consumption, allowing you to perform more charged attacks in succession, before running out of stamina. You might want to bring a Healer if you are worried that Hu Tao's HP drains too quickly for you to remain alive, but if your shield is strong enough, just using a shield character could suffice. Bennett as a healer, however, could work against her HP buff due to regeneration with his ultimate. Do ensure that you have extremely low HP before using Bennett's Ultimate on Hu Tao!
Hu Tao is one of the best damage dealers in the game with incredible potential. With a flexible playstyle and various builds (as mentioned above), she can appeal to many. Her playstyle does not constantly require her to be on the field but does require some time to master the various considerations. Players who prefer having characters at maximum or high HP might not enjoy Hu Tao, so do consider that before pulling for her. Pull for the characters that you enjoy playing the most -- you can test Hu Tao out through the Trial. We hope you enjoyed this Hu Tao guide, do let us know if there are any other Genshin Impact guides that you would like us to cover!