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This page is about community-derived information, concepts, or terminology.
This page contains unofficial information, concepts, or terminology derived from or based on community discussion, invention, or knowledge. This page may be subjective and contain information or terminology that is not used by miHoYo or in official Genshin Impact communications, and may not be an officially recognized concept.

Gauge Unit Theory (unofficial name) is a community-created framework on how Elements are handled within the game.[1][2]

It attempts to explain the following phenomena:


The fundamental concepts of Gauge Unit Theory are auras from elemental attacks and the gauge cost of elemental reactions.

Elemental Gauge — a unit that measures the amount of an element that a character's ability or attack applies. The value of this gauge influences both the duration in which the elemental aura lingers and the reactions the element can produce. In a way, this describes the relative strength of the element application of an aura or trigger in a reaction. A high gauge on an aura implies more opportunities to produce reactions, however, a high gauge on a trigger is particularly expensive and usually consumes the elements immediately.

Elemental Aura — In addition to applying an elemental gauge, a character's ability can apply an elemental aura, a state in which the element lingers in the target for a duration. Notably:

Decay — Depending on the value of the elemental gauge, the elemental aura will decay at a certain rate.

Elemental Application

The following discusses notation used to describe the gauge unit application of character's elemental attacks.

Cryo, Dendro, Electro, Hydro, and Pyro

The notation for elements capable of applying an Aura uses two values to convey the elemental properties of the character ability.

  • Elemental Gauge Value — This denotes the amount of the element the character's ability applies.
    • A character's ability can apply a base elemental gauge values of 1, 2, or 4 units.
  • Duration Value — This denotes the duration of the resulting elemental aura.
    • The elemental aura produced can have a base decay rate of 9.5, 6.0, or 4.25 seconds per unit - which for convenience and differentiation should be noted as A, B, and C.
  • Character Ability Gauge Value — The final notation combined from the elemental gauge and duration value.
    • The gauge value of ALL character abilities are noted to initially apply only the following combinations: 1A, 2B, or 4C. It is only after a certain duration or reaction do these values change dynamically.
    • For the complete dataset for character talents, see Gauge Unit Theory/Talents.
Aura Duration Equation

Setting the elemental gauge values of 1, 2, and 4 in the equation below produces aura durations of 9.5, 12.0, and 17.0 seconds, respectively.

Dividing the durations with their respective gauges produces the values for A, B, and C. This notation not only accounts for elemental gauges but also decay durations - which will be particularly useful in reaction calculations.

Example: An elemental aura noted to be 0.75B is defined to have 0.75 Units of Hydro gauge. The Hydro aura, without any reaction, has a decay duration of 4.5 seconds (0.75 × 6.0).

Anemo and Geo

The notation for elements incapable of applying an Aura and thus, cannot decay, only uses the elemental gauge value. The Anemo/Geo status may sometimes exist very briefly on the target (as in a Swirl or Crystallize reaction), before immediately disappearing.

  • Elemental Gauge Value — This denotes the amount of the element the character's ability applies.
    • A character's ability can apply a base elemental gauge value of 1, 2, or 4 units.

Elemental Reactions

An elemental reaction is produced from a combination of two different elements. The gauges of the elemental aura and the triggering element dictate the cost of the reaction — specifically, in each reaction, this is expressed as:

Melt, Vaporize, Overload, Superconduct, Crystallize, and Swirl

  • When , the elemental gauge is reduced due to the reaction, however the aura still remains.
  • When , the elemental aura is cleared.

The reaction modifier for each reaction type is as follows:

Reaction Type Reaction Modifier,
Strong Melt and Strong Vaporize 2.500
Weak Melt and Weak Vaporize 0.625
Overload and Superconduct 1.250
Crystallize and Swirl 0.625

Strong Melt is triggered by applying Pyro on a Cryo aura, while Strong Vaporize is triggered by applying Hydro on a Pyro aura. Conversely, Weak Melt is triggered by applying Cryo on a Pyro aura, while Weak Vaporize is triggered by applying Pyro on a Hydro aura.

Example: A target with 2 units of Pyro aura can trigger Weak Melt 4 times by using a trigger of 1 unit of Cryo , however, a target with 2 units of Cryo can only trigger Strong Melt once using a trigger of 1 unit of Pyro .

In practice, the decay of elemental aura and internal cooldown of elemental application might negatively impact the ability to repeatedly trigger reactions. However, the underlying principle is the same - weak reactions are meant to be triggered repeatedly for multiple damage instances while strong reactions are meant to be triggered once for massive damage.


The same equation applies, with some added mechanics:

  • Reaction Modifier is .
  • Electro and Hydro exist simultaneously as an aura during the reaction regardless of the element that acted initially as the aura or trigger.
  • The consumption for Electro-Charge occurs each tick, and reduces the gauge of both elements by 0.4 units until either element's gauge value reaches 0.
  • The target is inflicted by both Electro and Hydro auras at the same time for the duration of Electro-Charged thus reactions involving these elements are still possible during its duration (i.e. a Pyro attack can trigger both Vaporize and Overload simultaneously on an Electro-Charged target).

Frozen and Shatter

The application of gauge theory is both complex and unclear for these reactions. However, a few important notes can still be made:

  • Frozen duration is not extended by the repeated application of Hydro.
  • Frozen can have an underlying Hydro aura that can coexist with the Cryo aura.
  • Shatter prioritizes the application of a heavy attack (e.g. Claymore, Geo, Plunging Attack, Explosion) over the element of the same attack. This clears the Frozen effect and only applies the elemental aura afterwards.

Decay Rate Inheritance

For Identical Elements - the elemental gauge value will inherit the elemental gauge of the aura or trigger - whichever is higher, however, the decay rate of the initial elemental aura will be inherited.

  • Example: Applying 1A on a 2B aura is inefficient since the resulting gauge would still be 2B, which still has a decay duration of 12.0 seconds. However, the reverse, applying 2B on a 1A aura is better since the resulting gauge would be 2A, which now has a duration of 19.0 seconds.

For Reactions - the decay rate of the initial elemental aura is also inherited up until it is cleared by reactions.

  • Example: Applying 1A on a 2B aura would cause a Superconduct reaction that still leaves an elemental aura of 0.75B.

This may or may not apply to certain reactions due to their nature: Electro-Charged, Frozen, and Shatter.

Elemental Shields

Internal Cooldown of Elemental Application

Triggering reactions has no cooldown, but characters' skills have internal cooldowns before being able to reapply their elemental effect.

When applying an element with an attack, there is an internal cooldown (ICD) on sequential applications with the same type of attack.

Attack strings are counted in series of 3, of which only the first hit in the series will normally apply an element.

Additionally, the moment you start an attack series, a 2.5s timer starts running, and regardless of where you are in a series, the next attack after the 2.5s timer expires will be an elemental application. The timer will reset the progress of the attack series.

Different characters don't share ICDs.

  • For example, when Klee does a Normal Attack to an enemy, it will apply a Pyro state. Then, quickly switch to Mona and let her do a Normal Attack, it can trigger a Vaporize reaction.

The ICD is individual for each enemy.

  • For example, when Klee does a Normal Attack to the enemy A, it will apply a Pyro state to the enemy A. Then, quickly let Klee do another Normal Attack to the enemy B, it can apply a Pyro state to the enemy B.

Change History

Released in Version 1.0