Genshin Impact's best free ‘Stand By Me’ character

Genshin Impact's Lantern Rite Event Festival is currently underway and as part of the new “Stand By Me” event - which lasts from February 18 until March 7 - players can grab themselves a free 4-star character from Liyue.

If you’ve managed to complete all the pre-requisites of the “Stand By Me” special offer - which is to reach the Glow of a Thousand Lanterns part of the event, and have 1000 Peace Talismans in stock - you are eligible to receive a free 4-star character.

It’s the first time Genshin Impact has given an option to choose for a free character, so decision-making can be pretty tough. There is always a golden rule when it comes to this sort of thing in gacha games: pick your favourite. You can never go wrong picking a character that you love and have resources. That's half the reason why we roll the gacha for Wishes in the first place.

However, there are times where even that gets overtaken by the thought of increasing the potency of your roster. Even one crucial addition makes all the difference in maximizing damage, and each character has their own compelling case of being added, or being granted an additional Constellation should you already have any of them. It all comes down to the individual player's needs.

So, who should you pick?

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Xinyan: Defensive Firepower

The rock ’n’ roll enthusiast makes unorthodox use of the Pyro Vision to generate a shield that grants effects based on her DEF stat, but her level up bonus is an ATK% increase instead. Though, don’t be fooled by the mix-match of her stat increases; she’s still a Pyro user who loves to be in the middle of the chaos and make the crowd wild, making her abilities rewarding to use against large groups of enemies.

She can make do as a Sub-DPS or Utility thanks to her shield-based playstyle, but there are better options other than her for Pyro damage dealers, like Bennett and Xiangling. However, getting her to higher constellations is very rewarding and can vie for that position with a few unlocks.

The first gives a simple attack speed boost in her regular attacks, and her second grants her a Level 3 shield from her Skill immediately after her Elemental Burst. Her final constellation amps her charged attack with an increase based on her DEF stat. The more copies of her feel rewarding, so if you’re nearing any of these constellations, it’s going to help her immensely.

If you’re lacking on Pyro users, want to play around with her defensively offensive playstyle or just want to rock out whenever you’re out on an adventure, Xinyan has you covered.

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Beidou: The Counter Queen

So far, Beidou is the only Genshin Impact character to have a “counter” ability in her kit, making her a bruiser that can both act as a tank and as a damage dealer simultaneously. Her playstyle revolves around her skill, which can be held down to absorb damage and charge for the counterattack, or activate at the exact time she gets inflicted with damage for a fully-charged skill.

She can be built either as a physical-Electro damage hybrid, or a HP-based bruiser to let her absorb more damage and make full use of her explosive Tidecaller. Befitting her history as the Uncrowned Lord of the Ocean, Beidou perfectly fits with Superconduct and Electro-charge teams so keep those reactions in mind if you have a plethora of Hydro and Cryo users on your roster.

Constellation-wise, the more you get her the more powerful she is. Her true peak is at the fourth Constellation, where after her burst Stormbreaker, her normal attacks get an additional Electro DMG proc as a bonus. Her first Constellation alone is alright, being granted a shield based on max HP after using her burst.

If you’re the type of player that doesn’t bother to dodge or guard, and can constantly chain lightning as much as possible while acting as the eye of the storm, Beidou and her unique counter style is well worth trying out.

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Xinqiu: Unlimited Rain Works

Tier lists often label the Guhua student as a sub DPS when really, he should have a class of his own—this author often likes to call him an Enchanter, borrowing terminology from a different game because that’s what his kit does. The cooldowns may be long, but he doesn’t really stay in the battlefield too long, when the others are ready to shred the enemy after giving them your tools.

Xinqiu favors in getting to activate Fatal Rainscreen as quickly he can, then switching out for the real DPS to come in and wreak havoc with Hydro-based Elemental reactions. Even more so when Raincutter gets activated, and now every member of the team gets to keep activating reactions repeatedly for maximum damage with the help of his Elemental Burst.

Even his constellations go all in on buffing his really effective burst. The second constellation grants a duration increase and Hydro RES shred to Raincutter, his Skill gets a massive buff when the burst is still active, and the final constellation buffs the damage on said burst in every third proc of it.

If you’re looking for someone that can raise the overall damage output of the team even when he doesn’t spend much time out in the open, or looking to feel what it’s like throwing swords as a projectile, Xinqiu is a must-have on the roster.

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Xiangling: Cooking with Spice

Creating great-tasting dishes often involves a balance of flavors. Xiangling, being the genius mad chef that she is, has brought that ideology into her combat style as she is able to go between dealing Pyro by herself or with Guoba, and a quick physical damage combo with her polearm.

Both Guoba and her Burst last even when she gets switched out, thus allowing her teammates to continue the cooking process with their Elemental reactions. They also get a little kick from the peppers her partner leaves behind every now and then, so don’t be afraid to grab it while it’s out there.

Her flexibility is what makes her invaluable as a pick, which players quickly learned shortly after the launch of the game where she was available as a free character. For those that didn’t make it to that point, no worries—she’s perfectly fine at base level, but does appreciate boosts to her kit like a Pyro RES shred from Guoba in the first Constellation, a Pyro explosion at the last hit of her normal attack combo on her second, and a Burst duration increase on her fourth.

Think of it like this: sometimes Xiangling can be a condiment, and other times she’s an entire full course meal all on her own. It’s all on how the player chooses to serve her likeness, should she be the chosen one.

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Chongyun: Everyone is Cryo

One would think for a second that creating a Cryo-infused zone that turns physical damage from swords, greatswords and polearms into Cryo damage would certainly have its perks as an Elemental Burst—but that’s just actually Chongyun’s Elemental Skill. Add the fact that the downtime for the skill is just 5 seconds longer than the duration of the zone, and

While the ultimate can deal massive amounts of damage with the right set up, it’s hard to argue how the Cryo zone left by Chonghua’s Layered Frost can set up crazy elemental reactions from his teammates, especially given how strong the Melt and Superconduct reactions are. He can make use of it himself, and let his allies go nuts with their abilities.

He also gets better on additional copies. Additional ice blades at the last hit of a normal attack combo at Constellation 1, ability cooldown reductions inside the Cryo zone on the second, and Energy Regeneration for every two seconds Cryo status gets inflicted on the fourth? He needs to chill, but he already is.

Chongyun’s your man if you’re missing a secondary DPS that can swap to Cryo damage and application in a snap, and if you’re eager to see another melee user proc Cryo reactions all on their own.

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Ningguang: Tianquan’s Full Power

When people first saw the buffs to Geo Resonance that were going to be implemented on this very patch months ago, Ningguang had already claimed their minds as free rent as Rex Lapis had seemingly passed the torch of Geo Vision holders to her gameplay-wise. All she needs is someone that can keep up a constant barrier, and she can singlehandedly make use of the new Geo RES shred and attack bonus to incredible effect.

Her Jade Screen skill can also be a lifesaver at the last if a projectile headed her way is going to land a fatal blow, and for good measure she can close it herself to fire more projectiles from her Burst. That’s on top of the Geo damage bonus she gets for a period of time when passing through the screen.

And of course, she rewards the wealth of luck that comes with additional copies. The first constellation alone is a massive buff that makes her auto attacks deal AoE splash damage, and the second one can let her reset the Jade Screen’s cooldown whenever it shatters. Getting her last constellation will skyrocket her DPS capabilities; three Star Jades can hurt a lot on their own, and now imagine getting pelted by seven right after her Burst.

While she may be busy governing the people of Liyue now that the Qixing have stepped in after Rex Lapis has passed, she will easily prove her worth as the Tianquan should you choose her as your partner in the Lantern Rite.

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