After a gruelling patch of god knows how many weeks, Alhaitham is finally out and as much as his gameplay may look similar to Keqing, he’s far from it. The verdict deems him a great unit but he’s certainly not an easy, unga bunga unit to master. Keep reading and we’ll explain everything there’s to know about his gameplay and skills in simple, easy language. We are not academics like him after all.
Alhaitham’s Basic Kit Explained
Alhaitham’s kit is a tad complicated and it requires high skill to master. You’ll have to know your way around the clock to time his attacks well to get the most out of him. While he doesn’t perform poorly with head empty gameplay, he can be so much stronger when played correctly- to the point you’ll feel like you’re being punished for playing him sub-optimally.
Alhaitham’s normal attacks do puny damage on their own. His main source of DMG is his Chisel Light Mirrors which infuse his NAs with Dendro and also does coordinated Dendro attacks on enemies when his NAs connect.
His first Ascension Passive allows him to gain one Chisel Light Mirror with his Charged Attack or Plunge Attack every 1.6 seconds approximately which eventually becomes part of your rotation.
Alhaitham’s E can be used to dash at opponents and when held, it can be used to aim and teleport to target specific opponents or even Plunge Attack from above.
His E skill cast gives him a maximum of 2 Chisel Light Mirrors. This means that if you use his Skill when you already have one Mirror from a Charged Attack, then it will just give you one more Mirror. But if you use his Skill when you have no Mirrors, you’ll get 2 Mirrors directly. You’re expected to follow his Skill cast with a Charged Attack to get a total of 3 Mirrors- which is the maximum number of Mirrors he can get at any point in time.
The coordinated attacks from his Mirrors reflect the number of them he has at the time. One Mirror does one coordinated attack and 3 Mirrors do 3 coordinated attacks. Of these 3 coordinated attacks, 2 are able to trigger a Spread reaction. This means you’ll essentially want 3 Mirrors on him as much as possible.
His teleport with his E skill may look similar to Keqing’s but it’s a bit different. Keqing leaves a Lightning Stiletto at the location you aim her Skill at and then when you cast her Skill again, you teleport to the location of her Stiletto. As for Alhaitham, he just needs to aim his Skill and he can directly teleport without any second casting of his Skill.
His Skill also has a high 18s CD which means you can maintain a 100% up-time with his Mirrors. Additionally, each of these Chisel Light Mirrors only last about 4 seconds- and this includes the one he can get from his Charge or Plunge Attack.
Alhaitham’s Q is also similar to his E skill in that if it’s used when he has no Mirrors, it rewards him with 3 Mirrors at the end of it. However, if it’s used when he has Mirrors, the burst consumes all his Mirrors to do more damage. His burst dishes out the highest total DMG when it consumes all 3 Mirrors but in this scenario, Alhaitham doesn’t get any Mirrors back after his burst ends.
His burst has a 70 Energy cost and Alhaitham only gets energy when his Mirrors trigger coordinated attacks on opponents. At most he can get 5 energy particles this way.
In short, Alhaitham’s constellations aren’t anything game-breaking. He’s a complete and powerful unit at C0 and that’s a compliment.
As for his constellations, his C1 reduces his E cooldown with every coordinated Mirror attack but at most, it can go from 18s to 12s which is a lot but 12s is still a comparatively long CD. His C2 gives him bonus EM which in turn increases his damage. His C4 will buff his teammates with bonus EM and will buff himself with bonus Dendro DMG bonus. Finally, his C6 changes his entire playstyle and solidifies him as an on-field Dendro DPS. C2 is a good place to stop if you’re pulling for constellations.
How To Play Alhaitham like a Pro
Now that you know the basics of his kit, it should be clear to you why his kit requires considerable skill to master. There are essentially two ways to play him- quick-swap DPS or on-field DPS. Both of them require you to use him a bit differently. And before you ask, his on-field playstyle dishes out the maximum overall DMG.
Here you’ll want to use his Skill > Charged Attack > A few NAs (optional) > Burst. In this scenario, you’ll gain the 3 Mirrors after using his E and Charged Attack which will maximise his Dendro DMG. You can weave in a few Normal Attacks or Charged Attacks if you feel like you have time and then use his Q while he still has 3 Chisel Light Mirrors on him to get the maximum damage from his Burst.
In this playstyle, you’ll need to use his Burst > NAs (until 2/3 Mirrors run out) > Skill > Charged Attack > A few more NAs if possible (optional) > Burst again. This is Alhaitham’s ideal playstyle as he can dish out the maximum damage. Of course, you’ll need another Dendro unit to reduce Dendro RES and help him with ER to have his burst back up by the time he needs to use it again.
How to Build Alhaitham
Alhaitham needs what you would expect from a meta Dendro DPS. His basic kit gets most of his damage from EM but ATK is not useless. He also needs the usual basic 1:2 CRIT ratio and of course, Dendro DMG bonus is a must. He also additionally needs ER to compensate for his high burst cost of 70. This ER requirement varies- depending on if he has Dendro teammates and if his party members are using Favonius weapons. His stat priority in general are as follows:
- Dendro DMG Bonus
Alhaitham needs about 180-200% ER when he’s the only Dendro character on the team which is not recommended since you already need another Dendro unit running Deepwood Memories to shred enemy Dendro RES. When paired with a Dendro teammate, his ER requirement comes down to 130-150% ER. You will need to reach this ER threshold before you work on his other stats.
Alhaitham’s artifacts require him to have the following main stats on the following pieces:
- Sands: EM (recommended) or ATK- unless he has low ER in which case ER sands can also be used.
- Goblet: Dendro DMG Bonus (recommended) or ATK.
- Circlet: CRIT (recommended) or ATK.
Now that you know what main stats to look out for, here are his best artifact set builds:
|1.||5-star||Gilded Dreams- 4pc||BIS due to bonus EM and ATK.|
|2.||5-star||Deepwood Memories- 4pc||Only to be used when Alhaitham is the only Dendro unit in the party.|
|3.||5-star||Emblem of Severed Fate- 2pc & Wanderer’s Troupe- 2pc (or any other 5-star Artifact set with EM as its 2pc bonus)||For when his ER threshold isn’t met.|
|4.||4-star||Instructor- 4pc||BIS before AR45.|
|5.||4-star||Gambler- 4pc||Boosts your Skill DMG and occasionally removes Skill CD.|
|6.||4-star||Martial Artist- 4pc||Boosts NA and CA DMG.|
Alhaitham has plenty of weapon options and he’s flexible with his choices. So here’s a selection of his best weapons.
|5-star||Gacha||Light of Foliar Incision||BIS and signature weapon.|
|5-star||Gacha||Primordial Jade Cutter||CRIT Rate stat stick and bonus HP and ATK boost.|
|5-star||Gacha||Mistsplitter Reforged||CRIT DMG stat stick. You’ll need to maintain its stacks to get the most out of it.|
|5-star||Gacha||Haran Geppaku Futsu||CRIT Rate stat stick and bonus Elemental DMG bonus and NA DMG bonus from its passive.|
|5-star||Gacha||Freedom Sworn||EM stat stick and buffs ATK and DMG in general.|
|4-star||F2P Event||Toukabou Shigure||BIS 4-star weapon in single-target scenarios.|
|4-star||F2P Craftable||Iron Sting||At max refinement, it’s an overall BIS.|
|4-star||Battle Pass||The Black Sword||CRIT Rate stat stick and HP recovery.|
|4-star||Gacha||Xiphos’ Moonlight||Good EM stat stick with bonus ER.|
|4-star||F2P Event||Festering Desire||Best ER weapon for his ER needs.|
|4-star||F2P Craftable||Sapwood Blade||Great ER stat stick with EM bonus from its passive.|
|4-star||Standard Gacha||Favonius Sword||Helps with ER for the whole team.|
|3-star||F2P Overworld||Harbinger of Dawn||One of the best F2P weapons if used with a strong shielder like Zhongli.|
Teammates and Team Building
Alhaitham performs best in Spread teams but he’s also viable in Hyperbloom teams. With that in mind, here are his best teammates:
- Dendro Traveler
- Kuki Shinobu
- Raiden Shogun
- Yae Miko
For his Spread teams, you’ll want double Dendro on the team. His best Dendro teammate is Nahida, followed by Dendro Traveler.
As for Electro, you can go double Electro with units like Yae Miko, Kuki Shinobu, Raiden Shogun or Fischl to get a few Aggravates in.
Or you can also use a shielder like Zhongli or an Anemo buffer like Kazuha or Sucrose for an EM or Elemental DMG buff.
For Hyperbloom, Xinqiu and or Yelan are the best Hydro drivers. The best Electro unit for Hyperbloom is Raiden Shogun, followed by Kuki Shinobu and then Yae Miko.
One Electro unit is more than enough for Hyperbloom teams. You can still go double Hydro or double Dendro depending on your needs and playstyle.
Finally, if you’re struggling with survivability- healers like Kuki, Yaoyao, Kokomi, Barbara and Jean can help. Or you can simply use Zhongli and forget about taking damage. This will depend on your team comp.
First Impressions and Overall Thoughts
Alhaitham is a complete unit at C0 with only his ER requirement being a noticeable problem. But this ER need isn’t technically resolved by his constellations either so you’ll have to work around it either way. Other than that he’s a very technical character who has a specific playstyle- straying from which will feel punishing as you’ll be left with your puny Normal Attacks without the maximum Mirror stacks- dealing low DMG.
He’s still a very F2P-friendly character as you have multiple F2P weapon options and his artifact builds aren’t too stringent either. He values overall stats more than set bonuses so as long as his stat requirements are met, you can use just about any set for the most part and still get reliable powerful Dendro DMG from him.
As a premium Dendro DPS who’s certainly better than Tighnari, Alhaitham is certainly a meta unit but just like his in-game character, mastering him requires big brain energy with high skill and rotation mastery. Essentially, if you have mastered units like Childe and prefer that high-skill difficulty to a character, you’ll like Alhaitham.
Though if you just want a unga bunga easy character who you can use anyhow, Alhaitham is not for you as his kit may feel actively punishing to such players. He’ll still destroy overworld content with ease but Spiral Abyss and hardcore combat events might be beyond him unless your support units are hyper-invested. At the end of the day, if you like the character and don’t care about gameplay or meta, you can pull for him anyway because it’s not like he makes the game harder.