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The best free character to pick in the Genshin Impact Lantern Rite event

Spoilt for choice.

Getting to choose a free character in Genshin Impact is pretty rare. Sure, we have seasonal events that offer individual four-stars like Beidou in Thunder Sojourn and Xinyan in Labyrinth Warriors, but for this year’s Lantern Rite event we get our pick of the full Liyue roster, including a new character, Yun Jin.

In many ways, Yun Jin seems like the obvious choice. She isn’t available on any other banner, and if you recently grabbed Gorou, the pair make a powerful Geo support team. Then again, if you chose Shenhe, you might want to pick her nephew, Chongyun. His AoE Cryo infusion pairs pretty well with the new five-star.

Maybe you grabbed Eula during her rerun and want to use Xinyan to buff her Physical damage, or perhaps you just got Zhongli and want to pair him with Ningguang for that Geo construct resonance between his Stone Stele and her Jade Screen. In this list, I’ll go through the Genshin Impact Lantern Rite free characters, summarise some of their strengths, and offer my own recommendation at the bottom.

Earn 1,000 talismans in Oceanic Defender and Wondrous Shadows, and complete the Lantern Rite quest to get your character.miHoYo

Who are the Genshin Impact Lantern Rite free characters?

First, I’ll summarize each of the free characters and their strengths, then offer a recommendation:

Xiangling

  • Element: Pyro
  • Weapon: Polearm

Considered to be one of the best sub-DPS characters in Genshin Impact, this unconventional chef has a fantastic toolkit of Pyro abilities including her skill 'Guoba attack' and her burst, 'Pyronado'. These are strong because they stay on the field even when Xiangling isn't the active character, meaning they can repeatedly cause Pyro elemental reactions as your primary damage-dealer is doing their thing. As she's free in the Spiral Abyss, I’m not currently sure whether the event will let you grab a constellation for her instead, though.

Beidou

  • Element: Electro
  • Weapon: Claymore

This pirate captain is a fearsome damage-dealer, but like Xinyan, seems to be less popular due to her somewhat niche playstyle. Like Yun Jin, Beidou uses her Tidecaller skill to create a shield that scales with her HP, before unleashing a powerful Electro attack based on how many times she's been hit. However, once she unlocks her 'Retribution' passive she can use the skill to parry enemy attacks, immediately dealing a max damage strike. If you're into parrying or characters with unique playstyles, she's extremely fun.

Xingqiu

  • Element: Hydro
  • Weapon: Sword

Alongside Bennett, this book-loving swordsman is one of Genshin's best support characters. Xingqiu’s Fatal Rainscreen skill summons Rain Swords that reduce damage and boost resistance to interruption, while his Raincutter burst does the same, but also follows up normal attacks by firing Hydro swords. This continues even when he isn't the active character, meaning like Xiangling, he can use it to support a primary Pyro or Cryo damage-dealer in causing reactions.

Yanfei

  • Element: Pyro
  • Weapon: Catalyst

Referred to as 'discount Klee' when she was first released, this legal aficionado and part-Adeptus is all about normal and charged attacks, accumulating Scarlet Seals with the former, and converting them into a damage buff for the latter. Her Signed Edict elemental skill grants her the max number of Scarlet Seals, and her burst lets her enter a kind of superstate where she gets a seal at intervals and a buff to her charged attacks. This creates a very similar playstyle to Klee, and as a catalyst user, Yanfei is also great for powerful Pyro elemental reactions.

You can also get Ningguang’s new Orchid’s Evening Gown outfit for free during the event.miHoYo

Ningguang

  • Element: Geo
  • Weapon: Catalyst

Though a little outshined by the recent influx of amazing Geo characters, Ningguang is still the only Geo catalyst user. She has a playstyle similar to Yanfei, except with Star Jades boosting her charged attacks instead of Scarlet Seals. Her Jade Screen is also a powerful defensive skill against single entities, and because it's a Geo construct, resonates with Zhongli's Stone Stele to deal Geo damage. If you've just grabbed the Geo archon and are looking to match him with someone, you could do a lot worse than Ningguang.

Chongyun

  • Element: Cryo
  • Weapon: Claymore

Once you discount Eula as a Physical damage-dealer, Chongyun is the only true Cryo claymore-user in Genshin. Similar to Bennett's C6, Chongyun's skill grants characters in an AoE with Cryo infusion, which unsurprisingly makes him a good pairing for his aunt, Shenhe, whose Icy Quills buff the Cryo damage of each party member. If acquiring Shenhe has inspired you to try a Cryo team, he's a great addition.

Xinyan

  • Element: Pyro
  • Weapon: Claymore

Though less popular due to the niche of what she offers, Liyue's rockstar is still a fun character with a great aesthetic, and functions as a damage-dealer or Physical damage support for a character like Eula. This is because the Pyro shield she creates with her Sweeping Fervor skill buffs Physical damage by 15 percent once you unlock her 'Now That's Rock 'N' Roll!' passive. Her Riff Revolution burst also deals Physical damage.

Yun Jin

  • Element: Geo
  • Weapon: Polearm

This opera singer is a great support character, providing a buff to normal attack damage with her Cliffbreaker's Banner burst. She's especially powerful when used alongside Gorou in mono-Geo parties, since as a Geo character, she counts towards his banner buff, but can further boost Geo damage-dealers like Noelle who relies on normal attacks. Like Beidou, her Opening Flourish provides a static shield before unleashing a powerful strike and can be used to parry enemies once she gets her 'True To Oneself' passive.

The Lantern Rite is a great way of getting Yun Jin if you didn’t wish on Shenhe or Xiao’s banner.miHoYo

Which free character is the best to pick?

In our view, the best choice is either Xingqiu or Yun Jin. Of course, it depends on what you need in your party and who you like, but Xingqiu is an amazingly versatile support character, while Yun Jin's normal attack buffs offer a lot of value if that's your primary method of dealing damage.

Xiangling would have been one of our first choices, but since you can get her for free in the Spiral Abyss, there isn't much point grabbing her ⁠— and it’s unclear whether the event will let you claim a constellation instead. Another important factor to take into account is that all of these characters are available on the Wanderlust Invocation banner, except for Yun Jin. That means this is the only way you can currently get her. Like Gorou, she's sure to be added to the character pool, but that means she won't be available until version 2.5 at the earliest.

Those are our picks for the Genshin Impact Lantern free character. We hope you enjoy whoever you choose!

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