Want to learn how to create the best build for Kaeya in Genshin Impact? Of the four playable characters you acquire in Genshin Impact's prologue, Cryo Sword user Kaeya is definitely our favourite. He sits head and shoulders above the Traveler, Amber, and Lisa in our Genshin Impact tier list, where he made it all the way to B Tier — and if that doesn't sound like much, consider that this makes him our highest rated free-to-play character until you get the chance to recruit Barbara at Adventure Rank 20.
Kaeya sports a mysterious eyepatch and is definitely flirting with you when he promises to tell you the story over a drink sometime... but more importantly, his Cryo powers are invaluable for creating the ice bridges that help you open up more of the map in the early stages of the game. For this reason you're going to want to keep Kaeya in your party at least for a while (even if his ice-themed combat quips get old really fast). He's also currently the only completely free Cryo character in the game, so if your aim is to play Genshin Impact without spending a lot of cash, Kaeya's your man. So here's how to make sure his fighting skills are a match for his usefulness as an explorer.
Best Kaeya build: Weapons
Kaeya's best weapon is undoubtedly the Skyward Blade. Not only does it boast a boost to Crit Rate, but using Elemental Burst with this sword equipped triggers an effect called Skypiercing Might. Skypiercing Might lasts for 12 seconds, during which movement and attack speed are both increased by 10%, and there's a signficant (variable) increase to both normal and charged attack damage. Kaeya is a strong DPS and close-up combat character in the early game and/or if you're focusing on free-to-play characters, and the benefits offered by the Skyward Blade are considerable if you're planning to keep him in your party long-term.
However, if you're struggling to get hold of a Skyward Blade, the Favonius Sword is a good alternative weapon for Kaeya. There's a high chance that scoring a critical hit with this sword will generate an Elemental Orb which will restore a chunk of Kaeya's Energy. It's not quite the huge suite of benefits offered by the Skyward Blade, but at 4* rarity you're more likely to find the Favonius Sword easily. Keep it in hand while you wait to roll the 5* Skyward Blade.
Best Kaeya build: Artifacts
For Kaeya's Artifact set, use all available slots to equip Blizzard Strayer when you can. The Blizzard Strayer set specifically boosts Cryo characters, and with two pieces equipped all of Kaeya's elemental attacks will deal an additional 15% damage. Equipping four pieces adds 20% crit rate when attacking an enemy vulnerable to Cryo, plus an additional 20% when attacking a Frozen enemy — so you can make the most of a one-two punch using both Kaeya's elemental and weapon attacks.
Best Kaeya build: Ascension Materials
To fully ascend Kaeya you'll need the following materials: 168 Calla Lilies, 46 Hoarfrost Cores, 36 Golden Raven Insignias, 30 Silver Raven Insignias, 18 Treasure Hoarder Insignias, 9 each Shivada Jade Chunks and Shivada Jade Fragments, 6 Shivada Jade Gemstones, and just 1 Shivada Jade Sliver.
Like most of the free-to-play characters, Kaeya's ascension materials aren't particularly rare. The main thing to keep in mind is that all three insignia types he requires are primarily gained through combat with Treasure Hoarder NPCs, and that you'll need to go toe-to-toe with higher-level members of this bandit gang to pick up enough Silver and Gold Raven Insignias.
Best Kaeya build: Talents
All of Kaeya's active skills are worth investing in, since he works best in combat that makes use of both his elemental and weapon attacks. Prioritise his elemental skill Frostgnaw, followed by his weapon skill Ceremonial Bladework, to best play into those strengths.
Here's a full list of Kaeya's Talents:
- Normal Attack: Ceremonial Bladework
- Normal Attack - Performs up to 5 rapid strikes.
- Charged Attack - Consumes a variable amount of Stamina to unleash 2 rapid sword strikes.
- Plunging Attack - Plunges from mid-air to strike the ground below, damaging opponents along the path and dealing AoE DMG upon impact.
- Elemental Skill: Frostgnaw - Unleashes a frigid blast, dealing Cryo DMG to opponents in front of Kaeya.
- Elemental Burst: Glacial Waltz - Coalescing the frost in the air, Kaeya summons 3 icicles that revolve 4 times around him for 8 seconds. These icicles will follow the character around and deal Cryo DMG to opponents in their path for so long as they persist.
- 1st Ascension Passive: Cold-Blooded Strike - Every hit with Frostgnaw regenerates HP for Kaeya equal to 15% of his ATK.
- 4th Ascension Passive: Glacial Heart - Opponents frozen by Frostgnaw will drop additional Elemental Particles. Frostgnaw may only produce a maximum of 2 additional Elemental Particles per use.
- Utility Passive: Hidden Strength - Decreases Stamina consumption when sprinting by 20% for all characters in the party. (Not stackable with other Passive Talents that provide the exact same effects.)
Best Kaeya build: Constellations
Kaeya isn't Genshin Impact's most powerful character, and you might be better off spending your Wishes trying to add a higher-tier Cryo user to your roster. (Ganyu is our top pick for this elemental relation, but Cryo is relatively common among your potential party members, so you should have plenty of options.) However, Kaeya is one of the better free characters in the game, so if you decide to hang on to him, here's a full list of his Constellations for you to work through:
- Excellent Blood (Lvl 1): The Crit Rate of Kaeya's Normal and Charged Attacks against opponents affected by Cryo is increased by 15%.
- Never-Ending Performance (Lvl 2): Every time Glacial Waltz defeats an opponent during its duration, its duration is increased by 2.5s, up to a maximum of 15s.
- Dance of Frost (Lvl 3): Increases the Level of Frostgnaw by 3. Maximum upgrade level is 15.
- Frozen Kiss (Lvl 4): Creates a shield that absorbs damage equal to 30% of Kaeya's Max HP. Triggers automatically when Kaeya's HP falls below 20% and lasts for 20s. This shield absorbs Cryo DMG with 250% efficiency but can only occur once every 60s.
- Frostbiting Embrace (Lvl 5): Increases the Level of Glacial Waltz by 3. Maximum upgrade level is 15.
- Glacial Whirlwind (Lvl 6): Glacial Waltz will generate 1 additional icicle, and will regenerate 15 Energy when cast.
How to get Kaeya in Genshin Impact
Kaeya is the Cavalry Captain of the Knights of Favonius. You'll meet him in Mondstadt as an NPC during Act 1 of Genshin Impact's Prologue questline. Not long after you'll gain him as a Trial character during the Crash Course quest, where you'll clear the Temple of the Wolf domain with his assistance. Completing this quest adds Kaeya to your party as a fully playable character.
It's also possible to re-roll Kaeya as part of the standard Wanderlust Invocation wish pool.
That's everything you need to know about the best Kaeya build in Genshin Impact! If you want to see how he measures up against the game's other Cryo Sword users, check out our Genshin Impact character tier list, or see our guide to the best Kamisato Ayaka build.