The best sub DPS characters can apply buffs and elements while also dishing out high damage in Genshin Impact.
Sub DPS characters are a core part of any adventure team. While the main DPS spends most of their time out on the field, the sub DPS units are there to support from the sidelines with damaging elemental skills and bursts. Many of them also bring some utility into the fray like incidental healing or shields. If you’re looking for the best sub DPS characters to build up your team, our tier list breaks down who is worth building and why.
This list will rate characters based on their potential off-field damage output with good, but not perfect, weapons and artifacts. Four-star characters are assumed to be at a high constellation level while five-stars are treated as constellation zero. As with all Genshin Impact tier lists, the game’s story content is not particularly difficult and can be completed with any combination of characters, so you can use who you like when tackling those quests.
What is a sub DPS character in Genshin Impact?
In Genshin Impact, sub DPS characters are party members whose goal is to deal damage, but not through physical attacks. They can directly deal damage either through their skills and bursts or by providing elemental reactions. The exact meaning of sub DPS changes from person to person, however. Some wouldn’t consider Bennett or Yun Jin sub DPS characters since they buff other characters rather than dealing damage directly. Both will be included on this list.
Many characters who are meant to be main DPS or pure support also can fit the sub DPS role. Jean, for example, can use her elemental burst to support other party members and apply swirl reactions. Ganyu’s skill and burst provide a similar effect. Most main DPS characters are absent from this sub DPS tier list, but characters who slot equally into either role are included.
D tier characters are barely sub DPSes at all
D tier – Traveler, Amber, Lisa
The worst sub DPS characters are all free, which really says something about the state of Genshin Impact monetization. Traveler is meant to be a jack-of-all-trades character filling many roles using different elements. The on-field skills and bursts of all three forms paint them as a pretty good sub DPS character, but each of their abilities are just underwhelming. Anemo and electro are easily surpassed by gacha units. The geo form does have the unique ability to lock enemies in place, but that’s not enough to raise Traveler above D tier.
As for Amber and Lisa, they both have high energy costs considering their bursts and lackluster skills. Baron Bunny is a useful taunt, but its damage output is lacking even with the appropriate constellations. Lisa’s only real sub DPS ability is her burst, which just isn’t enough given the 80 energy cost. It also has the annoying tendency to knock enemies out of its effective range. Those traits keep Amber, Lisa, and Traveler very far from the best sub DPS characters in Genshin Impact.
C tier characters can function with some help
C tier – Beidou, Rosaria, Keqing, Razor, Ningguang, Xinyan, Thomas
This tier is when sub DPS characters start to show glimpses of real potential, but either lack an appropriate kit or are simply outclassed by better equitable options. This tier includes multiple characters that are meant to be main DPS characters, but struggle in that role during the late game. Instead, they can still function as passable sub DPS units, though they may not excel in the role.
Beidou, Keqing, Razor, and Ningguang all fit that description. All four have okay damage output on the field, but they also have good skills to swap in an use before transferring back to a better unit. Beidou provides a valuable defensive tool in an invincible counter while Razor can apply electro to multiple enemies using his held skill. Both of their bursts are much less useful for a sub DPS, as they require considerable on-field time to really deal damage.
Keqing has the same problem, but worse. Throwing the electro pin and warping to it can be useful, but the electro-infused attack takes time away from the main DPS. Ningguang’s Jade Shield can do work without her on the field, but she needs time to build up Star Jades to really make Starshatter effective. Still, teams using cooldown-dependent DPS characters like Xiao or Hu Tao can find the time to use them effectively.
Rosaria is a bit of a complicated case. She’s effectively a downgraded version of Shenhe, though stacking the pair’s skills can massively boost a team’s cryo damage output. Bonus crit rate is always appreciated. Thoma and Xinyan occupy similar roles as pyro shielders, but they can actually reduce damage output by stealing melt or vaporize procs from the dedicated DPS. Outside of those team compositions, both are valid but underwhelming.
B tier Genshin Impact sub DPS are good at something, but not everything
B-tier – Yae Miko, Ayato, Kaeya, Fischl, Kujou Sara, Qiqi, Gorou, Yun Jin
Now we’re getting to the solid sub DPS Genshin Impact characters, though still not the best in any one particular category. B tier is also the biggest tier in the list because it represents the average. All of the characters in this list are generally pretty good at either dealing indirect damage or applying elemental status for reactions. They tend to suffer from either a lack of specialization or overspecialization. Since sub DPSes usually need to switch between different comps, versatility is important.
The first on the tier is Yae Miko, who is also the newest sub DPS character to be added to the game. Her damage output is decent, but the targeting mechanic buff turning out to be a nerf and ultimately getting reverted doesn’t do her any favors. She’s now much better at applying electro to multiple units, but generally mediocre damage output makes her less desirable than higher-tier sub DPS units.
The game’s newest character is Kamisato Ayato. He is meant as a main DPS, but he also works fairly well as a sub DPS. Hydro is a valuable element to apply with his elemental skill and burst. The attack damage boost from his burst applies to other characters which is very useful across multiple comps. His upgraded normal attacks go to waste as a sub DPS, but he’s great as a backup for cooldown-limited teams.
Kaeya and Qiqi are both great for dealing cryo damage over time to multiple units, but Kaeya offers little utility while Qiqi’s healing is locked behind on-field time. Both are still good for freezing groups of enemies, but they’re very one-dimensional in the way that they help their teams. Kaeya offers more damage while Qiqi is better for freezing large groups of enemies.
Kujou Sara and Fischl share a similar dynamic. Sara is all about buffing another unit, especially a melee DPS. Her flaw is that she requires a lot of on-field time to cast her skill, land a charged shot, and then move into position. This can make her awkward to use in prolonged fights, but the buff is still strong.
Fischl is all about electro damage targeted at one unit. Oz can deal a surprising amount of damage, especially with constant elemental reactions. She scales massively at constellation six, but three or four is enough for her to work effectively.
Finally, the geo duo Yun Jin and Gorou. Yun Jin provides a powerful buff with her elemental burst, but it doesn’t have the same uptime or effectiveness as the top-tier buffs. She can offer some shields with her skill though. Gorou is the definition of overspecialized. With a full geo team, he’s easily the most useful support with one of the strongest buffs in the game. But outside of that specific circumstance, he’s barely useful. That difference puts him in the middle of the pack for the best Genshin Impact sub DPS characters.
A tier sub DPS characters are amazing, but not the best
A tier – Venti, Raiden Shogun, Albedo, Shenhe, Sucrose, Diona, Jean
The pool is a little smaller at the A tier, which consists of some of the game’s best sub DPS choices. This section is defined by characters who can either apply a ton of elemental applications or provide incredible utility in addition to adding substantial damage.
Archons Venti and Raiden Shogun start the list thanks to their incredible utility and damage output, respectively. Venti’s elemental burst invalidates 80% of enemy types by sweeping them up into the air and infusing them with swirl. In tandem with a good elemental application, Venti does an absolute truckload of damage. Raiden Shogun’s burst needs no introduction, but the Eye of Stormy Judgment is often overlooked as an excellent source of electro DPS. Combined with the massive energy recharge from her burst, Raiden Shogun is solidly one of the best sub DPS characters in all of Genshin Impact.
Albedo is a weird character, but his massive elemental mastery boost and low energy requirement make him worth a spot on most teams. Crystallize reactions are not particularly valuable, but Albedo requires little on-field time to function properly. Sucrose is in the same tier for similar reasons. Albedo’s apprentice is almost as good as Venti when it comes to applying swirl, but her higher burst energy cost is offset by a longer effective duration. Sucrose only has to pop in for one second to set up her abilities.
Fellow cryo users Diona and Sucrose both fill very different roles. Diona’s damage isn’t very good, but constant cryo procs from her shield along with an extremely valuable elemental mastery from her higher constellations makes her incredibly useful across several comps. She checks too many boxes to fall anywhere below the A tier. Shenhe is more offensively capable but she only works properly with a cryo main DPS to back her up. Ayaka and Ganyu are both popular picks and both benefit greatly from reduced cryo resistance and boosted attack damage.
Lastly there is Jean. While normally meant as a main DPS for newer players, the Favonius commander is surprisingly versatile as a sub DPS. Gale Blade is more useful for Theater Mechanicus than any major fights, but Dandelion Breeze provides a ton of healing while setting up swirl in a big area of effect. Its low cooldown makes it especially useful for teams with energy recharge to spare.
S tier characters are the best Genshin Impact sub DPS characters
S tier – Xiangling, Xingqiu, Kazuha, Bennett
These four characters are the best sub DPS options in all of Genshin Impact. Each one either checks a ton of boxes well or specializes so well in one area that no other character can come close to matching them.
First is Xiangling, the democratically-elected people’s champ of the beta test. Xiangling’s elemental skill is actually not particularly useful, but her burst is by far the best pyro application tool in the entire game. For compositions built around vaporize and melt, Pyronado offers a massive amount of damage and application whenever she gets 80 energy. Higher constellations improve it even further and add utility to her elemental skill.
Her friend Xingqiu comes next. In the same way that Xiangling applies pyro in a consistent and damaging way, Xingqiu works with hydro. His elemental skill provides a defensive tool along with a good chunk of damage, but his ultimate Guhua Style: Raincutter is absurdly strong. With the right artifact set, Xingqiu can more than double the damage output of many main DPS character.
Kazuha is arguably the best sub DPS character in all of Genshin Impact thanks to his incredible combination of swirl application and crowd control. Kazuha Slash and Autumn Whirlwind can tear down most enemies all on their own, but adding an elemental infusion pushes it to the next level. No other ability can apply as many swirl procs as Kazuha’s elemental burst. For that, he ranks among the very best Genshin Impact sub DPS characters.
Last on the list as the original king of sub DPS is Bennett. While unlucky in Genshin Impact’s lore, any free-to-play player should jump with joy for pulling Bennett. His burst provides a massive amount of healing and a gigantic damage boost that few characters can approach. His relatively high energy costs are a downside, but it’s counteracted by applying pyro to many enemies with both abilities. There’s a reason he stands with the archons on our support tier list. He deserves to be at the top of this one as well.