She’s a capable woman with many talents who could work just about anywhere. That’s right, we’re talking about the Right Hand of the Arataki Gang, Kuki Shinobu! She may spend most of her time getting her fellow gang members out of jail, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t need any help herself. Today, we’re talking about the best Shinobu builds in Genshin Impact.
Let’s get started!
Building a Strong Character: Kuki Shinobu
When talking about character builds, we typically assume everything is fully leveled unless otherwise stated. Being fully leveled means effects are at their strongest and all passive talents are unlocked, which can be important for synergy of your build. That goes for characters, talents, and weapons.
That being said, we usually assume weapon refinement and constellations are their base levels. Unless you’re willing to spend a lot of money, it can be tough to get refinements and constellations up. Not impossible, but certainly not easy.
When it comes to your character build type, we encourage you to do whatever’s most fun for you. Following the meta can lead to big damage numbers, but it’s tedious and sucks the fun out of the game. We’re here to offer you some options so you can get a better idea of what kind of builds you want to work towards and which might be the most suited to your playstyle.
Now that we’ve covered that, let’s get into the actual Shinobu builds!
Best Shinobu Builds: The Basics
Shinobu is a 4-star Electro sword character defined by her unique abilities, both in-game and lore-wise. When building her, there are some things to keep in mind.
Shinobu has two main roles she can fill in your team — support or sub-DPS. Depending on your team’s needs, you even have some options within those roles as well. Regardless of her role, though, you’ll want to keep a close eye on her Max HP. Both her Elemental burst and Elemental Skill scale with her HP, so you definitely want to keep it as high as possible.
After HP, Elemental Mastery is Shinobu’s second most important stat. While it has more effect on her sub-DPS builds, it can still increase her support abilities thanks to one of her Passive Talents.
While building characters in Genshin Impact, you’re going to have to grind for some materials. You’ll need level-up books, enemy drops, regional specialties, and ascension gems, not to mention talent and weapon items, too.
Below, you’ll find the most pressing materials to gather for your Shinobu builds. Luckily, most items won’t be too difficult to gather if you’re willing to put in the time.
To fully ascend Shinobu, you will need:
- 420k Mora
- 46 Runic Fang (4-star boss drop)
- 1 Vajrada Amethyst Sliver (2-star ascension material)
- 9 Vajrada Amethyst Fragment (3-star ascension material)
- 9 Vajrada Amethyst Chunk (4-star ascension material)
- 6 Vajrada Amethyst Gemstone (5-star ascension material)
- 168 Naku Weed (1-star item)
- 18 Spectral Husk (1-star enemy drop)
- 30 Spectral Heart (2-star enemy drop)
- 36 Spectral Nucleus (3-star enemy drop)
Some players may find it difficult to gather enough Vajrada Amethyst, especially since the Ruin Serpent (which drops Runic Fangs) doesn’t drop any. Luckily, Hoyoverse allows you to convert gem ascension materials into other types. To convert ascension gems, all you need is Dust of Azoth and enough slivers, fragments, chunks, or gemstones in another element.
Conversions can be made on a one-to-one scale. Sliver conversions require one Dust of Azoth, Fragments require three, Chunks require nine, and Gemstones require twenty-seven. You can use excess materials you already have on hand or use the Prithiva Topaz dropped by the Ruin Serpent boss.
Dust of Azoth can be purchased with Masterless Stardust in the Shop under Paimon’s Bargains.
To fully level one of Shinobu’s talents, you will need:
- 1,625,500 Mora
- 6 Spectral Husk (1-star enemy drop)
- 22 Spectral Heart (2-star enemy drop)
- 31 Spectral Nucleus (3-star enemy drop)
- 3 Teachings of Elegance (2-star talent material)
- 21 Guide to Elegance (3-star talent material)
- 38 Philosophies of Elegance (4-star talent material)
- 6 Tears of the Calamitous God (5-star weekly boss drop)
- 1 Crown of Insight (5-star talent material)
Talent materials can be more of a pain to grind for. Enemy drops are easy enough to get with enough persistence, but you’ll only get one shot per week for weekly boss drop items. With the 4-star item Dream Solvent, you can make the process slightly less painful.
Dream Solvent can convert boss drop talent materials into other talent materials dropped by the same boss. Meaning you can get more Tears of the Calamitous God by converting either Mudra of the Malefic General or The Meaning of Aeons.
Normally, talent priorities depend on what kind of build you want to create for your character. When it comes to the Arataki Gang’s deputy, though, it doesn’t matter which of our Shinobu builds you want to make. Talent priority will be the same.
First up is Shinobu’s most important talent — her Elemental Skill. It is what sets her apart from all other Genshin Impact characters as the very first Electro healer, after all. Since the healing ring also deals periodic Electro DMG even when she’s off-field, it also makes her a viable sub-DPS character.
After Shinobu’s Elemental Skill, you’ll want to level up her Elemental Burst. It’s a great way to apply Electro to groups of enemies and set off Elemental Reactions quickly.
Whether you want to level up Shinobu’s Normal Attacks after her Elemental Skill and Elemental Burst is up to you. It’s really not that important to her build options, and she will likely spend most of her time off-field anyway.
1. Elemental Skill: Sanctifying Ring
As mentioned before, your first talent priority for Shinobu will be her Elemental Skill. Just be careful around water if she has low HP!
When using her Elemental Skill, Shinobu creates a Grass Ring of Sanctification. The Ring of Sanctification costs a part of her HP, but deals Electro DMG to nearby opponents and heals active party members. If used too close to water, though, it can apply the electro-charged reaction to Shinobu herself and deal DMG more quickly than she heals.
The HP cost of Shinobu’s Elemental Skill varies. It normally costs 30% of her current HP but will not take her below 20% of her Max HP. That means it’s usually more convenient to leave her at low HP.
Shinobu’s Ring of Sanctification follows your active character for up to twelve seconds and deals up to 45% DMG to enemies while also healing active characters.
When Shinobu’s “Heart’s Repose” passive is unlocked, her Elemental Skill will be boosted by her Elemental Mastery. Healing will be boosted by 75% of Elemental Mastery. DMG will also be boosted by 25% of her Elemental Mastery.
Her “Breaking Free” passive additionally increases healing by 15% when her HP is lower than 50%.
2. Elemental Burst: Gyoei Narukami Kariyama Rite
When using Shinobu’s Elemental Burst, she stabs her sword into the ground and deals Electro DMG. She also creates a field around her that deals continuous Electro DMG to enemies within it. DMG scales with Shinobu’s Max HP.
The interesting thing with Shinobu’s Elemental Burst is that it lasts longer when her HP is below 50%. The field created by her Elemental Burst lasts only two seconds, but will last up to 3.5 seconds if she has low health. That means dealing more DMG overall since the field lasts longer.
At Level 10, her Elemental Burst will initially deal 6.5% of Max HP as DMG and a total of 77.86% of Max HP as DMG if Shinobu’s HP is below 50%.
3. Normal Attack: Shinobu’s Shadowsword
No matter which of our Shinobu builds you decide on, her Normal Attack talent is going to have the lowest priority.
Kuki Shinobu’s Normal Attacks allow her to perform up to four hits with her sword. Her Charged Attacks have her perform two harder slashes, and her Plunging Attack deals AOE DMG on impact.
Shinobu’s Charged and Plunging Attacks are standard attacks dealing comparatively low damage. Her Normal and Charged attack DMG ranges from 94% of ATK to 141%. Her High Plunge DMG does deal an impressive 337%, but the opportunity to use High Plunging Attacks is rare.
For each of Shinobu’s builds, there’s a weapon best suited for that build. If you’re willing to Wish for a 5-star sword, that weapon happens to be the Freedom-Sworn sword. It’s a very strong sword that works well with both support and sub-DPS builds.
If you do have the Freedom-Sworn, though, we recommend giving it to another character and focusing on one of the 4-star sword options below.
1. Freedom-Sworn — 5-Star Sword
The best sword for any of our Shinobu builds is the Freedom-Sworn. It’s a 5-star sword which has a high Base ATK and increases Elemental Mastery by up to 198.
The main effect of the Freedom-Sworn, “Revolutionary Chronicle,” increases DMG by 10%. It also creates a Sigil of Rebellion when Elemental Reactions are triggered, even if the character is off the field. The off-field effect is great for Shinobu, since she will likely spend most of her time off field.
Once Shinobu possesses two Sigils of Rebellion, the Sigils will be consumed and nearby party members will gain “Millennial Movement: Song of Resistance” for twelve seconds. This effect increases Normal, Charged, and Plunging Attack DMG by 16% and increases ATK by 20% on top of that.
This effect essentially makes this sword one of the best for support characters, since it grants impressive buffs to the entire party. The increased Elemental Mastery is also very good for sub-DPS builds that rely on Elemental Reactions to be effective.
To fully level the Freedom-Sworn, you will need:
- 225k Mora
- 5 Fetters of the Dandelion Gladiator (2-star weapon material)
- 14 Chains of the Dandelion Gladiator (3-star weapon material)
- 14 Shackles of the Dandelion Gladiator (4-star weapon material)
- 6 Dream of the Dandelion Gladiator (5-star weapon material)
- 23 Chaos Device (2-star enemy drop)
- 27 Chaos Circuit (3-star enemy drop)
- 41 Chaos Core (4-star enemy drop)
- 15 Divining Scroll (1-star enemy drop)
- 23 Sealed Scroll (2-star enemy drop)
- 27 Forbidden Curse Scroll (3-star enemy drop)
2. Iron Sting — 4-Star Sword
As a 4-star option, the Iron Sting is one of the best for Shinobu. It is also very free-to-play friendly, since it’s a foregeable weapon. Like the Freedom-Sworn, its secondary stat also increases Elemental Mastery, though only by 165. That again makes it a good option for sub-DPS builds that will be triggering Elemental Reactions.
The Iron Sting’s main effect, “Infusion Stinger,” increases all DMG by 6% when Elemental DMG is dealt. The effect can also stack up to two times. As a forgeable weapon, it’s much easier to refine, which will up the increased DMG (up to 12%).
To forge the Iron Sting, you will need:
- 1 Northlander Sword Billet (4-star forging material)
- 50 Crystal Chunk (1-star item)
- 50 White Iron Chunk (1-star item)
- 500 Mora
To forge the Iron Sting, all you’ll need to do is speak with one of the blacksmiths. You can go to Wagner in Monstadt, Master Zhao in Liyue, or Hajime in Inazuma. The forging process is very quick, so you will have the weapon almost immediately.
To fully level the Iron Sting, you will need:
- 150k Mora
- 3 Grain of Aerosiderite (2-star weapon material)
- 9 Piece of Aerosiderite (3-star weapon material)
- 9 Bit of Aerosiderite (4-star weapon material)
- 4 Chunk of Aerosiderite (5-star weapon material)
- 15 Fragile Bone Shard (2-star enemy drop)
- 18 Sturdy Bone Shard (3-star enemy drop)
- 27 Fossilized Bone Shared (4-star enemy drop)
- 10 Whopperflower Nectar (1-star enemy drop)
- 15 Shimmering Nectar (2-star enemy drop)
- 18 Energy Nectar (3-star enemy drop)
3. Favonius Sword — 4-Star Sword
As another 4-star weapon, the Favonius Sword isn’t a bad option. It’s more easily available than 5-star swords and will naturally be gained when wishing for either characters or weapons.
In general, the Favonius Sword is for Shinobu builds focusing less on Elemental Reactions and more on popping off her Elemental Burst. It also gives reliable energy to other party members. The secondary stat boosts Energy Recharge by up to 61.3%, which is quite helpful for recouping high Elemental Burst Energy costs.
After its stats, the Favonius Sword’s main effect, “Windfall,” generates Elemental Particles that regenerate six Energy for the active character. Elemental Particles have a 60% chance to be created after each CRIT up to once per twelve seconds. At Level 5 refinement, the chance is increased to 100% every six seconds.
Having a high-level, high-refinement Favonius Sword can make Shinobu a good Energy battery for the rest of your team if you give her the right stats. The high Energy creation is ideal for support builds over sub-DPS, but you can make it work for either build.
To fully level the Favonius Sword, you will need:
- 150k Mora
- 3 Tile of Decarabian’s Tower (2-star weapon material)
- 9 Debris of Decarabian’s CIty (3-star weapon material)
- 9 Fragment of Decarabian’s Epic (4-star weapon material)
- 4 Shattered Piece of Decarabian’s Dream (5-star weapon material)
- 15 Heavy Horn (2-star enemy drop)
- 18 Black Bronze Horn (3-star enemy drop)
- 27 Black Crystal Horn (4-star enemy drop)
- 10 Firm Arrowhead (1-star enemy drop)
- 15 Sharp Arrowhead (2-star enemy drop)
- 18 Weathered Arrowhead (3-star enemy drop)
Best Shinobu Builds: Support
There are a couple of ways you can go for support Shinobu builds. You can either lean into her healing ability and make an off-field healer, or you can pick artifacts that increase her party buffing ability.
Healer Shinobu builds will fit into most parties, while buffing supports are more suited for high Geo parties. There is a lot of overlap between the two support types in terms of building, so it’s actually pretty easy to switch your build up to suit what your party needs most. The biggest difference between the two support types will come down to artifacts.
There are a few options for Support Shinobu builds. The best option will be the 5-star Freedom-Sworn sword as mentioned above. The Elemental Mastery combined with her off-field Elemental Skill and Elemental Burst DMG works very well to boost the damage done by your party overall. The increased party buffs grained by “Millennial Movement: Song of Resistance” even rival some food buffs.
For players who would rather not spend primos on a 5-star sword for Shinobu, the Favonius Sword is the second-best alternative for support builds. It can be obtained easily through wishing and helps offset high energy cost Elemental Bursts for your whole party, not just Shinobu.
If you do choose to give Shinobu the Favonius Sword, make sure you keep her CRIT Rate in mind to make full use of the sword’s effect.
Depending on what kind of support you want to have, there are two main artifact sets to focus on. For players wanting to lean into her healing, we recommend using the 5-star Ocean-Hued Clam set.
The Ocean-Hued Clam set will give a 15% Healing Bonus at the two-piece level and deal DMG based on 90% of accumulated healing over a three second period at the four-piece level. Since the healing accrual can still occur while Shinobu is off the field, it’s a great piece for her Support builds.
The 5-star Maiden Beloved artifact set also gives a 15% Healing Bonus, but doesn’t deal any DMG.
If you would rather buff your party and know you’ll be triggering a lot of Catalyze Elemental Reactions, the 5-star Tenacity of the Millelith set is also a good choice. It increases HP by 20% at the two-piece level, which is helpful for increasing healing and DMG in Shinobu’s Elemental Skill and Elemental Burst. The four-piece effect of this set is only recommended for specific team comps, though, since it increases Shield Strength by 30% after an Elemental Skill hits an opponent. Not very helpful if you’re not using a Geo character or at least a character who can create shields.
The Exile can work as a 4-star alternative, but mostly creates Energy for the party and doesn’t synergize with Shinobu’s talents like the 5-star artifact sets do.
Regardless of which artifact set you choose, you will want the following stats on your artifacts:
- Sands of Eon: HP%
- Goblet of Eonothem: HP%
- Circlet of Logos: Healing Bonus
Primary stats are locked for the Flower of Life and Plume of Death artifacts, so it’s slightly easier to find good artifacts for them.
After finding the right primary stats, you will still want to be on the lookout for artifacts with good substats. Substats can differ depending on what kind of support build you’re going for. HP% is always a good idea, as it increases the efficacy of Shinobu’s Elemental Skill and Elemental Burst. CRIT Rate is important if your build includes the Favonius Sword, but otherwise you’ll want to look for Elemental Mastery and Energy Recharge substats.
Healer Shinobu builds are easier to fit into teams than party buff supports, but the right team can make either build work well. Geo teams work best with buff supports, especially if you use the Tenacity of the Millelith artifact set.
Healer Shinobu builds work well with most Elements, but especially with Pyro and Hydro characters.
Best Shinobu Builds: Sub-DPS
For players who want a more active Kuki Shinobu on their team, a sub-DPS build is the way to go. Sub-DPS builds will be able to do some big damage through Elemental Reactions and increase the DMG output by your main DPS that way.
Sub-DPS Shinobus won’t spend much time on the field, but will be brought on multiple times to pop off her Elemental Skill and Elemental Burst. Her Electro field will linger long enough that you’ll be able to use other characters in your party to trigger high DMG Elemental Reactions to nearby enemies.
Since Sub-DPS Shinobu builds play so much off of Elemental Reactions, having weapons with Elemental Mastery stats is a must. That’s why the 5-star Freedom-Sworn and 4-star Iron Sting swords work so well.
The Freedom-Sworn sword centers around Elemental Reactions and buffing your entire party when they are triggered which makes it invaluable for Shinobu builds meant almost solely for triggering Elemental Reactions.
The Iron Sting sword also buffs characters after Elemental Reactions occur, though not quite as much as the Freedom-Sworn.
Unlike support builds, there is one best artifact set for sub-DPS Shinobu builds. The 5-star artifact set Thundering Fury is essential.
The two-piece effect increases Electro DMG by 15%, which is alright. The four-piece effect, though, increases DMG caused by Overloaded, Electro-Charged, and Superconduct by 40%. Triggering these effects also decreases Elemental Skill Cooldown by one second up to once every 0.8 seconds.
This set offers one of the few ways in Genshin Impact to decrease Elemental Skill cooldowns, which you will definitely want to take advantage of.
If you’re looking for a 4-star artifact set alternative, the Instructor set increases Elemental Mastery by 80 at the two-piece level and increases all party members’ Elemental Mastery by 120 whenever an Elemental Reaction is triggered.
Whether you have a 4-star or 5-star artifact set, though, you’ll want to look for the following primary stats in your artifacts:
- Sands of Eon: Elemental Mastery
- Goblet of Eonothem: Elemental Mastery
- Circlet of Logos: Elemental Mastery
Getting as much Elemental Mastery as you can in your Shinobu sub-DPS build is kind of important. If you feel like you’ve gotten it high enough, you can also look for artifacts with HP% and Energy Recharge substats.
Parties with sub-DPS Shinobu builds will want to have lots of Elemental Reactions. Pairing her with catalyst and bow users is highly recommended, especially Hydro, Cryo, and Pyro bow or catalyst users. These elements will help you make the most of the Thundering Fury artifact set, as well as make it easy in general to set off Elemental Reactions.
Join the High Ground
That’s it for our best Kuki Shinobu builds! Are you doing something different that you think works better? Let us know in the comments below! If you’re looking for more Genshin Impact character build guides, check out our best Arataki Itto builds here. Also make sure to stick around for more news, guides and all things Genshin.