Genshin Impact has an ever expanding character roster with already over 50 playable characters and many more on the way. With so many characters it can get overwhelming trying to find the best ones to play and understanding how each and every one of them works. That’s why we’re taking the guesswork out of it for you! Today we’re tackling the best Cryo characters in the game and ranking them from worst to best. (We also cover quick guides on artifacts for each character too!)
No matter your playstyle or experience level, we guarantee there will be a character for you somewhere and we’re here to give you an idea of how they all work.
Table of Contents
Cryo Characters Ranked Worst to Best
This list isn’t an objective, immutable ranking. It is a general ranking from OK to Best Cryo Character overall- based on how useful each character is to teams at large. Depending on the build and your personal preferences, certain characters may be more or less helpful and thus seem higher or lower on our list.
The important thing is to play to your preferences.
Now without further ado, let’s get started.
Aloy – DPS
In our number 10 spot on the list of the best Cryo characters in Genshin Impact is Aloy! She’s an outlander from another world just like the Traveler but she also has her own game and is the first collaboration character.
Aloy was introduced as a crossover character during a collaboration between Guerrilla Games and Hoyoverse. She was given to every player who logged in during version 2.2 of Genshin Impact at no cost via the in-game mail system. Even if you haven’t played the Horizon games she is originally from, she can still be a fun character to play in Genshin.
What Makes Aloy Good?
Aloy is a 5-star Cryo bow user whose Elemental Skill Frozen Wilds allows her to throw Freeze Bombs which explode on impact dealing Cryo DMG. The explosion causes her Freeze Bombs to split into smaller Chillwater Bomblets that also explode and deal Cryo DMG.
Her Elemental Burst Prophecies of Dawn allows her to throw a Power Cell at enemies and detonate it with an arrow, dealing high AoE Cryo DMG.
Aloy’s Elemental Skill and Elemental Burst are both great for applying Cryo which will synergize with teams that trigger lots of elemental reactions.
There is a reason Aloy is so low on our list despite her high Elemental Burst DMG potential. Her Normal Attack DMG isn’t great and the Chillwater Bomblets dropped by her Elemental Skill are so scattered it’s hard for more than one or two of them to actually hit enemies. Even in dense groups.
Her Elemental Skill cooldown is also pretty long at 20 seconds. That means players are stuck either switching in other characters to deal damage or trying to finish off enemies with Aloy’s underwhelming Normal Attacks.
Another drawback to Aloy is that despite being released in version 2.1, as of version 2.8 there are no ways to unlock her constellation. Even through wishing. She was never released in a character banner and the constellation menu in game simply says “the time has not yet come for this person’s corner of the night sky to light up.”
She can be fun to play, just don’t expect her to be very effective.
Since most of Aloy’s damage comes from her Elemental Skill and Elemental Burst, the best artifact sets for her will be ones that buff those. Focus on artifacts with these stats:
- Cryo DMG Bonus
- CRIT Rate/ DMG
Good sets for her include 2-piece Blizzard Strayer and 2-piece Wanderer’s Troupe. The Cryo DMG increase given by Blizzard Strayer pairs well with the Elemental Mastery boost if your party is equipped to trigger Elemental Reactions.
The 4-star Instructor artifact set is a good alternative for players wanting lower rarity artifacts and will still increase the damage dealt by Elemental Reactions.
Chongyun – Support/ Sub-DPS
Liyue’s premiere exorcist takes our number 9 spot! While he may not have seen a spirit in person himself, his powerful yang energy makes him pretty much the best at what he does. His unique energy unfortunately comes with side effects though so players will often find him trying to beat the heat with special popsicles.
Chongyun is a 4-star Cryo claymore character and has been available since the game was released in version 1.0.
What Makes Chongyun Good?
Chongyun’s Elemental Skill Spirit Blade: Chonghua’s Layered Frost has very high damage potential and is the strongest part of his kit. Not only does it deal high DMG it also creates a field which buffs party members within it (as long as they wield polearms, claymores, or swords).
His Elemental Burst Spirit Blade: Cloud-Parting Star also has some damage potential and creates visually stunning icy blades. These blades drop down on enemies and explode, dealing AoE Cryo DMG. The Energy cost of this Elemental Burst is pretty low too so it isn’t hard to recover the cost once used.
Unfortunately while Chongyun’s Elemental Skill does quite a bit of damage and also can buff other team members, the long skill cooldown makes it hard to rely on. Without relying on Spirit Blade: Chonghua’s Layered Frost, dealing damage with Chongyun becomes significantly harder.
His Normal Attack SPD is also low and his Elemental Burst DMG doesn’t deal a whole lot of damage either. He can be fun to play but make sure you have another stronger character on your team if you’re planning to take on any tough opponents.
The right artifact set can help even mid-tier characters shine so make sure you choose wisely. In general, prioritizing artifacts with these stats will help Chongyun the most:
- Cryo DMG Bonus
- CRIT Rate/ DMG
As for specific artifact sets, there are a few different ones that work well with our unfortunate exorcist. Depending on your build, the 5-star sets Emblem of Severed Fate or Noblesse Oblige will be the best options.
For players wanting 4-star alternatives, either The Gambler or The Exile are both viable options too.
Rosaria – Support
In our number 8 spot of the best Cryo characters in Genshin Impact is Monstadt’s most terrifying nun, Rosaria!
Rosaria is a mysterious woman who was introduced to players in version 1.4. She’s a 4-star Cryo polearm character who seems to have very little regard for the Anemo Archon despite being part of his church. Little is known about her but we hope to see more of her in upcoming quest lines.
What Makes Rosaria Good?
Rosaria’s strengths lay in her Elemental Burst and Elemental Skill. Her Elemental Skill Ravaging Confession allows her to quickly get behind enemies and stab them with her polearm, dealing Cryo DMG. The cooldown for this skill is just 6 seconds meaning it’s easy to use again and again to apply Cryo to enemies.
Her Elemental Burst Rites of Termination summons an Ice Lance which plunges into the ground and deals Cryo DMG on impact. The Ice Lance then deals periodic Cryo DMG to nearby enemies for 8 seconds as well.
Both Elemental Skill and Elemental Burst are a great way to gain control of enemy mobs. Mobs are especially easy for Rosaria when paired with a Hydro character who can freeze enemies in their tracks for our combat nun to finish off.
The biggest drawback to Rosaria is that her Elemental Skill just doesn’t really work on large enemies or bosses. The size restriction severely limits how and who she can fight. So if you’re taking on a Mitachurl or a hypostasis you’ll want to have other characters on your team who can compensate.
There aren’t too many other drawbacks to Rosaria but only being able to target small enemies is a pretty big one.
For players wanting to make Rosaria even stronger, we suggest artifacts with the following stats:
- Cryo DMG Bonus
- CRIT Rate/ DMG
THe best artifact sets for Rosaria differ depending on how you want to play her. For more support leaning players, try out a 4-piece 5-star Noblesse Oblige artifact set. The increased Elemental Burst DMG and party buff will certainly help out your whole team.
For players wanting a more aggressive build, you can’t go wrong with 4-piece 5-star Blizzard Strayer artifacts either. Most of Rosaria’s DMG is Cryo so the increased Cryo DMG from this artifact set will definitely help her out.
For a 4-star alternative, the best option is likely the Berserker set. It is very combat focused though so it’s not the beset option for support builds.
Kaeya – Sub-DPS
The Cavalry Captain of the Knights of Favonius takes our 7th spot in the best Cryo Characters. He’s an eccentric man full of mysteries and a painful past. That’s right, it’s Kaeya!
Kaeya is a 4-star Cryo sword character and Quartermaster of the Knights of Favonius. Additionally, he is one of the default party members who helps the Traveler on their journey through Teyvat. Players will be able to unlock Kaeya upon finishing the Crash Course Quest at the beginning of the game.
What Makes Kaeya Good?
Most players who stick with Kaeya will tell you the best thing about him is his Elemental Skill. Frostgnaw blasts opponents with Cryo energy and deals Cryo DMG to any enemies in front of him. It also has the benefit of being one of the few abilities in Genshin Impact which can create a sustainable ice bridge over water.
Whether players use the ice bridge or not, the fact remains that it’s only possible because of the short Elemental Skill cooldown. This short cooldown is extremely useful in combat and for applying Cryo to enemies.
Kaeya’s Elemental Burst Glacial Waltz creates 3 icicles which encircle active characters and deal Cryo DMG to enemies who come too close. The icicles linger for 8 seconds regardless of which character is on the field.
Whether by Elemental Skill or Elemental Burst, Kaeya is a character that can very consistently apply Cryo to enemies and the environment. This makes him invaluable on a team that triggers Melt or Freeze Reactions frequently.
Oddly enough, one of the biggest cons to Kaeya (as well as Amber and Lisa) is that his constellations are notoriously difficult to unlock. Despite being given freely during the beginning of the game, he has yet to be featured in any Wish banners.
His stats on their own are all right but being able to level up his Elemental Skill and Elemental Burst would push him up our list a bit.
After difficulty in unlocking constellations, Kaeya’s Elemental Skill can also be quite tricky to aim. Its range of effect is small so players have to be pretty intentional in order to use it to its fullest. It can be very easy to completely miss or accidentally auto aim at a single target while missing large groups.
For Kaeya’s artifacts, players will want to prioritize the following stats:
- Cryo DMG Bonus
- CRIT DMG
Like most Cryo characters on our list, the artifact sets recommended for Kaeya include the 5-star Blizzard Strayer and Noblesse Oblige sets. Depending on your build, using one or both sets can increase Kaeya’s damage potential by a lot.
For a 4-star alternative, The Exile can work well though more as a way to generate Energy than directly increasing damage.
Diona – Support
Monstadt’s angriest little bartender has secured our 6th spot on Genshin Impact’s best Cryo characters list. Diona may work for the Cat’s Tail serving drinks but that doesn’t mean she actually likes it. Her mission is to upend and destroy the wine industry of Monstadt. This only makes her all the more infuriated when her strange concoctions bring in droves of patrons.
Diona was introduced in version 1.1 as the first 4-star character added to the game after its release.
What Makes Diona Good?
As a 4-star Cryo bow character, Diona is one of the few characters in the game who can both create a shield and heal your party.
Her Elemental Skill Icy Paws shoots off attacks -also called Icy Paws- that deal Cryo DMG while creating a shield around active characters. The duration of the shield depends on the number of Icy Paws that hit their target.
When her passive talent “Cat’s Tail Secret Menu” is unlocked, characters shielded by Icy Paws will also have their Movement SPD increased by 10% and their Stamina Consumption decreased by 10%.
Diona’s Elemental Burst Signature Mix creates a Drunken Mist AoE field. In the Drunken Mist field, enemies are continuously dealt Cryo DMG and party members will continuously regain HP.
Both her Elemental Skill and Elemental Burst scale with Diona’s max HP which makes building her much easier. Rather than trying to balance multiple stats, players can focus on just one or two.
Not only are Diona’s Elemental Skill and Elemental Burst useful Support talents, they can easily apply Cryo to enemies consistently. On top of all that, Diona’s Passive Skill “Complimentary Bar Food ” gives a 12% chance to double food with restorative effects (i.e. health or resurrection effects).
The two for one chance makes it much easier on players trying to conserve resources.
While there are a lot of good things Diona can do, dealing high damage isn’t one of them. Her overall damage potential is pretty low. Not to mention her base HP is also very low. Not great considering how important her HP is to her Elemental Skill and Elemental Burst.
The best thing for players wanting to use Diona is to have her in your party to shield and apply Cryo. Then switch to a DPS character who can actually deal some damage. At the end of the battle Diona can then come back out to use her Elemental Burst and heal everyone up.
As you may have guessed, ATK is not the most important artifact stat for Diona. Instead, look for artifacts with the following stats:
- Energy Recharge
- Healing Bonus
For Diona the best artifact set is actually a mix of the 5-star Tenacity of the Millelith and the 5-star Emblem of Severed Fate sets. The HP boost granted by the Tenacity of the Millelith set is invaluable to the efficacy of her Elemental Skill and Elemental Burst. The Energy Recharge from the Emblem of Severed Fate set will then allow her to heal more frequently too.
Players wanting a 4-star alternative artifact set should consider The Exile set.
Qiqi – Support
At number 5 on the list of best Cryo characters in Genshin Impact is Liyue’s one and only zombie! She currently works as a pharmacist’s assistant to Baizhu at Bubu Pharmacy, mostly collecting herbs and trying to get her hands on some cocogoat.
Qiqi is a Cryo sword character who was introduced in version 1.0 as one of the first 5-star characters of the game.
What Makes Qiqi Good?
Qiqi’s strongest asset is her healing ability. She is one of the few characters in Genshin Impact that can heal via Elemental Skill rather than Elemental Burst. This earned her a slightly higher spot on the list than Diona.
Her Elemental Skill Adeptus Art: Herald of Frost creates an Icevein Talisman which circles active characters. The Talisman can periodically heal active characters as well as deal Cryo DMG to nearby enemies.
When Qiqi is the active character and deals damage to enemies while the Icevein Talisman is active, she will heal the entire party. Sometimes even faster than she can be damaged herself!
Qiqi’s Elemental Burst Adeptus Art: Preserver of Fortune unleashes Cryo DMG in an AoE and marks nearby enemies with a Fortune-Preserving Talisman. When enemies marked by the Talisman take DMG, the character which dealt the DMG will regain HP.
All that to say, Qiqi is a really good healer. She’s especially helpful in co-op mode since she has a lot of healing potential for other players’ characters as well.
Unlike most of the characters on this list, Qiqi has a hard time applying Cryo to opponents. That makes it hard to trigger Elemental Reactions which eliminates a huge source of damage potential.
On top of not being able to apply Cryo very consistently, Qiqi’s long Elemental Skill cooldown can mean going a while in between healing. For players going up against a tough opponent or enemies that can apply the Corrosion effect, she may not be the best choice.
Since Qiqi’s healing scales with her ATK stat, it’s important to prioritize artifacts with the following stats:
- Healing Bonus
There are a few different artifact sets that can fit well with Qiqi. The best though is the 5-star Ocean-Hued Clam set. Not only does it increase Qiqi’s Healing Bonus, it also converts healed HP into DMG too.
The 4-star artifact set The Exile also makes for a viable set. The increased Energy Recharge can help fill in the gaps left by Qiqi’s long Elemental Skill cooldown.
Shenhe – Support
Coming in at number 4 on our list of the best Cryo characters is someone actually related to another character on our list. Shenhe was taken in and raised by the adeptus Cloud Retainer after being sacrificed by her father. After growing up in the mountains, Shenhe is unfamiliar with the ways of mortals but she makes up for it in pure strength alone.
Shenhe was introduced in version 2.4 as the first 5-star Cryo polearm character in the game.
What Makes Shenhe Good?
When it comes to Cryo support characters, Shenhe is second to none. Her Elemental Skill Spring Spirit Summoning gives party members the Icy Quill effect and deals Cryo DMG to nearby enemies.
Characters with the Icy Quill effect receive a DMG boost to all attacks that deal Cryo DMG. The DMG boost is based on Shenhe’s ATK, asking it her most important stat. The Icy Quill’s duration can differ depending on the number of enemies hit and whether the Elemental Skill was pressed or held. The DMG boost is especially helpful for Cryo DPS characters.
Shenhe’s Elemental Burst Divine Maiden’s Deliverance creates an AoE field which deals periodic Cryo DMG to enemies within it. The field also decreases enemies’ Cryo and Physical RES. Her passive talents increase the buffs granted by her Elemental Skill and Elemental Burst, further increasing the damage Cryo party members are able to deal.
For Cryo teams, Shenhe is an essential party member to have.
Of course, Shenhe’s buffs really only apply to characters that deal Cryo damage. Which makes her kind of useless on teams that don’t have any other Cryo characters. Ideal teams for Shenhe will have at least one other if not two to three other Cryo characters.
Other than being less than helpful for non-Cryo centered teams, Shenhe’s Elemental Burst also has a pretty high energy cost which makes it tough to use frequently.
To make the most of Shenhe’s buffs and talents, players will want to focus on the following stats:
- Energy Recharge
There are two main routes artifact sets for Shenhe can take. They can either increase her ATK or they can buff the whole party. The 5-star Noblesse Oblige artifact set increases Elemental Burst DMG and increases party members’ ATK on top of that which is perfect for Shenhe.
Other artifact sets that just increase ATK are still decent for Shenhe which is true for both 5-star and 4-star artifacts. The 2-piece effect of both 4-star artifact sets Brave Heart and Resolution of the Sojourner will increase ATK by 18%.
Eula – DPS
At number three on our best Cryo characters in Genshin Impact list is the captain of the Reconnaissance Company with the Knights of Favonius. She’s been expelled from the aristocratic Lawrence Clan of Monstadt yet still hasn’t quite made it into the good graces of the common people either.
Eula is a 5-star Cryo claymore character who was introduced in version 1.5 as the first 5-star Cryo claymore.
What Makes Eula Good?
The Spindrift Knight of the Knights of Favonius is unlike any other Cryo character yet.
Eula’s strength actually lies in her Physical DMG potential rather than Cryo DMG. This is thanks to her Elemental Burst Glacial Illumination. When triggered, her Elemental Burst creates a Lightfall Sword which follows her for up to 7 seconds. During this time, Eula’s attacks will charge the Lightfall Sword. After the 7 seconds are up (or when Eula leaves the field), the Lightfall Sword will fall and explode, dealing Physical DMG.
The Physical DMG dealt by her Elemental Burst may take a while to set up but its potential is certainly one of the highest in the game. Easily reaching over 100k with the right support characters.
Other than her Elemental Burst, Eula’s Elemental Skill also has quite a lot of damage potential. Icetide Vortex slashes enemies with Cryo DMG and grants Eula a Grimheart stack. Holding her Elemental Skill, Eula will consume up to 2 Grimheart stacks and deal AoE Cryo DMG to nearby opponents. Consumed Grimheart stacks will also decrease enemies’ Physical and Cryo RES.
Not only do Eula’s talents deal high damage, they also make her resistant to interruption which is great for slow moving claymore characters.
While Eula does deal a lot of damage, her Elemental Skill has an especially long cooldown after consume Grimheart stacks. That added to the high Energy cost of her Elemental Burst makes it difficult for players to use either talent very often.
To use Eula effectively, most players will need to have a secondary DPS character to switch to when they’re waiting for her cooldowns. A support character who can generate consistent energy is also needed to shorten the time between Eula’s Elemental Bursts.
Artifacts for Eula should focus on the following stats:
- Physical DMG Bonus
- CRIT Rate/DMG
Luckily Hoyoverse introduced an artifact set tailored to Eula’s talent set. The 5-star Pale Flame artifact set will increase her Physical DMG Bonus and her ATK. Keep in mind though ATK is only increased after hitting enemies with an Elemental Skill.
As a 4-star alternative, players can use the Martial Artist artifact set as well. It won’t increase Physical DMG but it will still give Eula a nice Attack DMG bonus.
Kamisato Ayaka – DPS/ Sub-DPS
The young miss of the Kamisato Clan takes our number two spot for the best Cryo characters in Genshin Impact. While her elegance and grace are well known throughout Inazuma, this young lady sadly doesn’t have many people she can rely on. That hasn’t stopped her from being one of the strongest characters in the game though!
Ayaka was introduced in version 2.0 as the second playable character from Inazuma after Kaedehara Kazuha.
What Makes Ayaka Good?
Ayaka’s first strength is her alternate sprint. Kamisato Art: Senho allows her to not only run on water, she can even apply Cryo to nearby enemies when she stops running. For a short period after ending her sprint Ayaka’s blade is also infused with Cryo too.
Having a character who can run over water is so helpful when exploring, especially around islands like Inazuma. Stamina lasts a lot longer while running versus swimming so Ayaka is definitely a great character to have. Exploration abilities aside though, Ayaka is also an extremely strong DPS.
Ayaka’s Elemental Skill Kamisato Art: Kyouka creates an ice bloom which launches nearby enemies while dealing AoE Cryo DMG. The cooldown is decently quick too so it’s easy to control mobs and get some breathing room .
While her Elemental Skill is good, her Elemental Burst is great. Kamisato Art: Soumetsu summons a snowstorm which slashes at enemies repeatedly with Cryo DMG before exploding and dealing AoE Cryo DMG. The snowstorm only lasts 5 seconds but the right build can deal just as much if not more damage as Eula’s Elemental Burst over that time.
Ayaka’s alternate sprint is incredibly helpful for covering short rivers and streams between land… Just make sure you’re keeping an eye on her stamina. Players who don’t properly manage their stamina will find their whole party drowning in shallow waters. Then you’ll quite literally end up where you started.
Properly using Ayaka’s sprint in combat will require some practice too. She won’t be able to dodge quite the same as other characters. This can throw some players off and cause her to take unnecessary hits.
After the drawbacks to her alternate sprint, Ayaka’s Elemental Burst has a high Energy cost making it hard to use more than once. There are some workarounds for this but it will mean putting more thought into her build and party members to compensate.
Ayaka has a naturally high base CRIT DMG so artifacts won’t have to focus on it as much. We suggest prioritizing the following stats:
- Cryo DMG Bonus
- CRIT Rate
The best artifact set for Ayaka is the 5-star Blizzard Strayer set. The Cryo DMG bonus will give her Elemental Skill and Elemental Burst a nice boost on top of increasing her CRIT Rate against Frozen enemies.
Players wanting a 4-star alternative artifact set should consider the Martial Artist set. It will help increase her Normal and Charged Attacks while players are waiting the short time for her Elemental Skill cooldown.
Ganyu – DPS
Finally, we have our top spot. Our number one best Cryo character is the only Cryo adeptal playable character in the game. She also happens to serve as the general secretary for the Liyue Qixing. That’s right, it’s Ganyu!
Ganyu was introduced in version 1.2 as a 5-star Cryo bow character shortly after the Chalk Prince and the Dragon event.
What Makes Ganyu Good?
Ganyu’s damage potential is insane. She has high base CRIT DMG, multiple AoE skills, and can apply Cryo to enemies on command. There are also multiple ways to play her. Whether you want to focus on her Elemental Skill and Elemental Burst or her Charged Attacks, you’ll still be able to deal a ton of damage.
Unlike most other bow characters, Ganyu’s Charged Attack has two charge levels. At the second level she fires off a Frostflake Arrow which deals Cryo DMG and explodes on impact. The exploding arrows also deals AoE Cryo DMG (Timmy’s pigeons better beware!).
Her Elemental Skill Tail of the Qilin creates an Ice Lotus which draws aggro from nearby enemies. After 6 seconds of drawing enemies near, it explodes and deals high AoE Cryo DMG. The Ice Lotus’ HP scales with Ganyu’s HP and will explode if its HP reaches 0.
As an archer, having a talent that can draw enemies’ attention is invaluable. It allows Ganyu to back away and make Charged Attacks without interruption.
Her Elemental Burst Celestial Shower summons a Sacred Cryo Pearl which continuously rains down shards of ice within an AoE and deals Cryo DMG. Luring enemies into the field with Ganyu’s Elemental Skill and letting the ice shards take out their HP is an easy way of dealing with enemy mobs and domains.
As a bow user, Ganyu has low HP which is unfortunate. She is often left vulnerable while using her Charged Attacks. If her Elemental Skill doesn’t draw enough attention from enemies it can be easy for them to sneak up behind her and take out a big chunk of her HP.
The time she is left vulnerable does get shorter through constellations but only at C6. Getting to C6 is no easy feat for most players either.
The best stats to focus on for Ganyu’s artifacts should be:
- Cryo DMG Bonus
- CRIT DMG/ Rate
Depending on the team you choose to put Ganyu on, the best artifact set for her can change. In general though you can’t go wrong with the Blizzard Strayer set. If you’re looking for other artifact sets, check out this list of all the sets in the game. You’ll be able to compare effects and even see what the rarity of each set is too.
As a 4-star alternative, the Martial Artist artifact set is great for her. It increases her Charged Attack DMG which is already one of her greatest strengths.
Join the High Ground
That’s our list of the best Cryo characters in Genshin Impact! Hopefully this gives you an idea of how to use your Cryo characters or which 5-star Cryo to pull for next. Do you agree with our ranks or do you think someone should be higher/ lower? Let us know in the comments below!
If you liked this list, make sure to check out our list of the Best Pyro Characters too!
Related Reading: Genshin Impact Guides