In the days leading up to the playable debut of Alhaitham in Genshin Impact, the accusations of him being a Dendro version of Keqing flew around the Internet. Even after his official release, the slander did not die down. However, if one actually spends time building and playing him, it’s clear that Alhaitham’s similarities with Keqing start and end with his animations. He is very much of his own character. Yes, that is a bit of an ironic statement considering his heavy reliance on party comp to maximize his potential.
To call Alhaitham “Dendro Keqing” is like calling Xiangling “Pyro Fischl,” just because their Skills are turrets. Alhaitham is a fantastic reaction-based DPS. Granted, he can be difficult to pick up out of the gate. His damage really depends on whether or not you can set up a Deepwood Memories bot for him. It’s not necessary but there’s an obvious difference in his numbers. The rotation you run him with matters as well. Resource managing with his Mirrors – his meat and bread as a DPS – is also vital, especially because of the horrendously long cooldown on his Elemental Skill. Alhaitham is incredibly powerful once you figure him out, but until then, he can be underwhelming.
What makes Alhaitham fantastic is that you really do not need Constellations. You also don’t need to level up his Burst Talent! His Burst is a fast way to get Mirrors rather than an actual source of damage. So you can save your resources for other Talents or characters until you’re bored. Moreover, his great Dendro application makes him good for Spread or Bloom/Hyperbloom teams. I have the world’s worst luck when it comes to Artifacts. But even with my terrible Alhaitham, his powerful Dendro reactions could clear the latter Abyss floors. It’s more thanks to my Xingqiu and Kazuha than anything, though.
Figuring out a rotation for Alhaitham is probably the most difficult part of actually using him. Unlike characters like Xiao or Ganyu who can get away with literally anybody, Alhaitham’s potential heavily relies on his teammates. I run a hodgepodge team of Spread and Hyperbloom reactions. But choosing one reaction and focusing on that is much better. Alhaitham also has no interruption resistance, so a shielder like Zhongli or Xingqiu (who coincidentally can help in a Bloom or Hyperbloom team) is ideal. Honestly, for how important your team comp is in maining Alhaitham, he has tons of support or sub-DPS options.
Now, some people may not care about the “meta” in a PvE game. That’s totally fair. So how is Alhaitham as a character from the lens of a casual Genshin Impact player? Well, friend, I have great news: he’s still fantastic. Alhaitham is fun to use, as well as fun to look at. His Elemental Skill CD is kind of painful if you want to use it to explore. But on the flip side, the animations for his Normal Attacks are so sexy. Plus, unlike Zhongli, Alhaitham’s role as a DPS means you’ll be seeing those animations a lot. I play with the Japanese audio, so I hear Yuichiro Umehara every time Alhaitham’s out. This man could insult me and I’d thank him. So whether you’re casual or hardcore, Alhaitham’s got it going on. Now stop calling him Dendro Keqing.
Genshin Impact is readily available on the PS4, PS5, Windows PC, and mobile devices. Alhaitham is a limited character in Genshin Impact, and you can only pull from him during the Caution in Confidence Character Event Wish.