TL;DR Guide for Zhongli

A guide by 2Board_on reddit who has given permission for us to post this - you can find the original guide on reddit here.

It is intended to be a brief overview of the strengths/weaknesses of the character, with the authors own opinions on the best currently available gear to pair with the character.

Quick Build

Physical DPS

#1Crescent Pike#2 Primordial Jade Winged-Spear#3 Skyward Spine
2x Bloodstained Chivalry2x Gladiator's Finale

Main stats: ATK% Sands / Phys DMG% Goblet / CRIT% or CRIT DMG Circlet

Substats: CRIT% > CRIT DMG > ATK > EM


Sub/Burst DPS

#1Deathmatch#2 Favonius Lance#3 Royal Spear
2x Noblesse Oblige

2x Archaic Petra

Main stats: ATK% Sands / Geo DMG% Goblet / CRIT% or CRIT DMG Circlet

Substats: CRIT% > CRIT DMG > ATK > EM

Overview & Passive

PSA from OP:

As per usual, thank you so much for the dedicated testers (lol you whaling freaks) who stay up with me and put up with my list of questions! To readers: I apologize that it's a bit long. There are a lot of things and I wanted to make sure I covered all bases!

PSA #1:

A DPS is a literal GOD and their team is their worshipers. Worship your god and they'll make your enemies disappear; otherwise, you better start praying.

PSA #2:

Both Zhongli's abilities scale off ATK, but both also benefit A LOT from HP. As Lord of Geo, he WILL have his order... just make sure you brought some money...


Passive

Arcanum of Crystal

Refunds 15% of the ores used when crafting Polearm-type weapons.

E - Dominus Lapidis

PSA #3:

E has two ways you can use it (BUCKLE UP LOL)

  1. Tap E to summon a stone stele that does damage where it's spawned.

  2. It will pulse 15 times, doing geo DMG to nearby enemies (lasts 30 seconds, 1 pulse = 2 sec).

  3. Nearby geo structures will also pulse geo DMG (will list what can/cannot below).

  4. Can only have ONE out at a time (two if you have C1).

  5. ABSOLUTELY POOPS CRYSTALLIZE SHARDS.

  6. CAN CLIMB THE PILLAR AND IT BLOCKS STUFF.

What resonates with pillar:

  • Geo MC E
  • Geo MC Q (all 4 walls pulse)
  • Ningguang E (pulses from center of gate, not sides)
  • Geo Hypostasis pillars
  • Geo Samachurl pillars

Hold E to summon a shield

  1. Will do massive AoE geo DMG on activation.

  2. Chunks geo elements nearby (up to two targets - clarification below).

  3. Shield lasts 20 sec.

  4. Scales off HP.

What Hold E can absolutely delete:

  • ANY ORE (#1 MINER)
  • GEO SHIELDS/ARMOR
  • ROCK SHIELDS
  • Geo Samachurl pillars
  • Geo Hypostasis pillars

Tap E at the start of the fight, then Hold E when it comes off CD. Always position to attack enemies TOWARDS the pillar to maximize damage.


Resonant Waves

When the Jade Shield takes DMG, it will Fortify:

  • Fortified characters have 5% increased Shield Strength.

Can stack up to 5 times, and lasts until the Jade Shield disappears.

You literally get hit to get stronger...

Dominus Lapidis - Lvl. 4 Example Stats

Stone Stele/Resonance DMG 20.0%/40.0%
Press CD 4.0s
Hold DMG 100%
Shield Base Absorption 1,633
Additional Shield Absorption 16.0% max hp
Shield Duration 20.0s
CD (hold) 12.0s

Summons a giant rod from the ground. Pulses with geo DMG to nearby enemies. 

Q - Planet Befall

YEETS A GODDAMN METEOR AT YOUR FOES. PETRIFIES ALL TYPES OF ENEMIES AND THEY CAN'T MOVE. LORD OF GEO DON'T MESS AROUND.


Dominance of Earth

Planet Befall deals additional DMG equal to 33% of Zhongli's Max HP.

Zhongli is literally one of the few characters that can hit over 12K with ZERO assistance/buffs... This is why...


Talent leveling order: E > Normal > Q (You can honestly go Normal first).

Planet Befall - Lvl. 4 Example Stats

Skill DMG 542%
Petrification Duration 3.4s
CD 12.0s
Energy Cost 40

Weapons

WEAPON #1 (Recommended for ORDER): Crescent Pike

How do I get it D: ? - Forge (Prototype x1, Crystal Chunk x50, White Iron Chunk x50)

Has base Phys DMG% scaling and 80% of Zhongli's damage comes from normal attacks.

Currently Crescent Pike (as per usual) is #1 for both Geo DMG and Phys DMG hybrid builds, Jade Winged-Spear #2, Skyward #3 (CRIT centralized).


WEAPON #2 (Recommended for sub/burst DPS): Deathmatch

How do I get it D: ? - Battlepass (Tier 30)

Has base CRIT% scaling and great for quickly swapping to E than Q.

Favonius Lance can also work if you're really that lacking for energy regeneration. Royal Spear is also felt somewhat good, but once you hit around 45-50% CRIT%, it feels extremely lackluster.

ARTIFACTS

ARTIFACT #1 (Recommended for planetary devastation): Bloodstained Chivalry + Gladiator's Finale

How do I get it D: ?: Bloodstained at Clear Pool and Mountain Cavern Domain (AR 35 locked, 20 Resin per run). Gladiators at any World Boss (40 Resin per run).

Bloodstained Chivalry - Increases normal attack by a ton.

Gladiator's Finale - Overall damage boost.

Compared to 2-set Bloodstained + 2-set Noblesse, Gladiators provides a much higher damage output when tested, as the 18% ATK+ provides overall scaling.


ARTIFACT #2 (Recommended for early smack): Gladiator's Finale

How do I get it D: ?: Gladiators at any World Boss (40 Resin per run)

Basically a bootleg early version of Retracing Bolide. Use 4-set until you can pair with 2-set Bloodstained.

Summary

PSA #4:

So two final things: 1) For support, Deathmatch + Noblesse Oblige will do great. 2) Ignore the people that are abhorrently against DPS Zhongli -- they're the same people who swear by Phys DMG% Fischl but can't reserve the same logic (either that or just blatantly salty they don't have enough gems cause they double downed for Childe).

Main stats: ATK% Sands / Phys DMG% Goblet / CRIT% or CRIT DMG Circlet

Substats: CRIT% > CRIT DMG > ATK > EM

Taking Geo DMG% if you're going burst DPS/Support.