How To Bow Only

By Amatori


Genshin Impact is not a particularly difficult game, in general. As such, many players like to set themselves challenges in order to increase the difficulty. One such challenge is the “______ Only” challenge, in which players only use characters (or weapons, etc) belonging to a particular category. Often, this category is ‘weapon type.’

Inspired by JavaTheCup and his Swords Only challenge and bored of my main account in the time between Inazuma and Sumeru’s release, I made a Bow Only account on February 15th, 2022. Obviously, I began the account with Amber, and immediately pulled Fischl on the Beginners’ Wish banner (as well as Keqing, who was quickly benched…). Following them was Kujou Sara and Gorou in the following months to form my first team of four. The first (bow) 5-star I pulled was Yelan, on her first banner.

It has been more than a year since then. As of May 2023, I own every bow-using character in the game (excluding Aloy, who I tragically will never own on this account). I have earlier drafts of guides, but now, with all of the characters accumulated and every (current) (non-commission-locked) quest completed, I feel like I finally have all the knowledge to make a real guide on how to beat Genshin Impact with Only Bows.


Table of Contents

  1. Making Your Account
  2. The Early Game
  3. Characters
    1. Aloy
    2. Faruzan
    3. Fischl
    4. Ganyu
    5. Yoimiya
  4. Teams

1. Making Your Account

Aside from swords and catalysts, bows are the only weapon type that the player receives two free characters of: Amber and Collei. Collei had not been released when I began playing, but anyone looking to start a Bow Only account has this advantage. However, players do have to go relatively far in the game in order to unlock her.

I recommend rerolling until players start the game with at least two bow characters - on the Beginners’ Wish banner, the only option is Fischl. While I did use the Beginners’ Wish banner (and got Fischl), in retrospect players have far more options on the other banners, many of which have more value than Fischl when it comes to completing archon quests, some of which require certain elements (e.g. Anemo during Liyue Act 3. How did I do this on my playthrough, having lost the 50/50 on Venti’s banner? Uh... don't worry about it.)

3. Characters


Yoimiya was my first limited 5 star on my first account, when I was a brand new player. I started playing the game on her first banner in 2.0. While certainly not the only bow character and not even the only bow 5 star I had, she was the only one I was particularly familiar with upon starting my Bow Only account.

As aforementioned, Yoimiya is a great DPS on a Bow Only account because of her partner Yelan. Pre-Yelan release, vape Yoimiya would have been off the table, but now it is not only Yoimiya’s best option but perhaps the single strongest team comp out of all the bows.

My Yoimiya is, I suspect, my most invested character. I have her on 4-pc SR, which is generally her BiS, and I was lucky enough to pull Thundering Pulse for her while going for Rust, so naturally I focused a lot on her. She is currently sitting at top 3% of vape Yoimiya’s on the Akasha System (not to flex~).

The thing about Yoimiya that makes her difficult to manage on a Bow Only account is that she basically requires a shield, but the only option for that is Diona. You could say, “well, just get good then,” but when people say Yoimiya requires a shield, they don’t simply mean that she’s squishy. No matter how good a player is at dodging and i-framing, having to do so with Yoimiya out and active is a substantial DPS loss. Getting the most DMG out of Yoimiya means completing her NA string uninterrupted, as her strongest hit is her final one and it ought to be vaped, and if she gets interrupted by having to dodge constantly, she is losing out on a big piece of her DPS (if vaped, the final hit of her NA string is up to 30% of her DMG). Unlike Xingqiu, Yelan offers no defensive benefits, nor does any other bow aside from Diona (and, I guess, Gorou? Not that he’s worth investing in). While this issue emerges for other DPS bows, none are hit quite so hard as Yoimiya; CA-focused characters like Ganyu and Tighnari are easier to dodge with and lose less by doing so, and Childe handles like a melee character.

For vape Yoimiya, a team would generally consist of Yoimiya, Yelan, Diona, and a flex slot occupiable by a variety of characters. The addition of Fischl makes the team overvape, and Fischl can be used to buff and/or to deal personal DMG. Venti is not the anemo unit with the most synergy with Yoimiya (he thrives in multi-target scenarios, which Yoimiya wants to avoid), but he is an anemo unit capable of swirling, and to some extent, his AoE makes up for Yoimiya’s lack thereof. Either way, he is capable of VV res shred. In the absence of Yelan, Ganyu can be used as burst support for a melt Yoimiya, but vaporize will generally be superior and Ganyu is best used as a DPS on her own team.