Ever since being introduced, Layla has been a terribly endearing character. She’s a sleep-deprived student who does her best work sleepwalking. The epitome of a sleeping genius, she is already proving to be a valuable shielder in Genshin Impact, blowing up media and critics with better results than when Thoma was released.
Related: Who is Layla in Genshin Impact? – Answered
But it’s a bit of a questionable take having her weapon be a sword, it doesn’t match up to her for a number of reasons and is a curious choice for Hoyoverse devs to take.
Our First Clumsy Playstyle
We’ve had characters fling polearms, arrows, and even their own bows at enemies, but Layla is our first character who feels as though her swordplay is unrefined. It’s adorable and adds a lot of her character into the jumpy cluttered movements. But it could easily be shown through a catalyst as well. We’ve seen many personalities shine through playstyles from Yae Miko’s lackadaisical and yet powerful strikes to Heizou absolutely obliterating enemies with a burst of Anemo from his fists and kicks. Her clumsy playstyle could have easily been represented or replicated in a catalyst form with the same Starry Night animations that we have seen in the last sword slash of her last normal attack.
Aesthetic, Functionality, and Literally; Catalyst Makes Better Sense
Based on her role in team compositions, Layla wielding a catalyst would only make that much more sense. She stands in a team by providing support and protecting allies while also applying multiple hits of Cryo to either damage or freeze enemies when needed. As a catalyst, she would be bumped from a good unit to a steller one that you would need to pull for. Players often look to banners and decide to pull based on usability, playability, and personality.
As a Cryo Catalyst, Layla would have been easily a top-tier unit that is flexible in any campaign. Looking at the roster, Hoyoverse’s decision could have been hindered by the fact that they are releasing many characters that use catalysts. Not something that veteran players would find new given that Polearm Impact and swords are prevalent in Liyue and Inazuma respectively. But rather than it being seen as an overused weapon type banner after banner, it appears to be a trait from heritage or culture that is reflected upon the country. It should come as no surprise that Inazuma is based off Japan so sharp sword skills are then seen through Kazuha, the Kamisato’s, and even Raiden. Having catalysts be a trait in Sumeru would make sense given that its archon wields a catalyst and as a nation that embraces the spirituality of dreams and dedication to knowledge. Lisa from Mondstadt was also said to have studied at the Academia in Sumeru, and while her being a catalyst may have been a coincidence, it does seem to be a characteristic of scholars.
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Weapon Availability and The Lack Thereof
Layla’s damage and shield absorption rely heavily on her Max HP, but the problem with all tiers of swords that exist in Genshin Impact is that only one exists and that’s the five-star signature weapon The Key of Khaj-Nisut. A powerful weapon that’s passive only works somewhat on Layla since it involves elemental mastery, which would be good for freeze comps but not for Layla’s shield. Its primary purpose would be to give a hefty boost to Layla’s HP at 66.2 percent once maxed to level 90. The only other weapon that provides such a bump is Primordial Jade Cutter which comes in with a 20 percent added once it’s equipped to a character. This would be the best weapon to give to Layla, but it’s also a five-star weapon that’s not so easily grabbable.
Out of the weapon roster, swords are the only weapon that does not have an HP main stat or passive that is four-star or even three-star. While Layla’s trial uses Favionious, a staple for any character, it’s ridiculous to have a character that requires a scaling on HP so heavily with no suitable free-to-play weapon to access. Catalysts have a range of weapons that scale on HP that are available in every tier of quality. Not only that, but there are plenty of catalysts that can be crafted, bought, dropped by mods, or even gained for free through attending events. Layla could have had a lot more options than just shoddy seconds if she had been a catalyst instead of a sword.
This isn’t to say that she isn’t a fun character as is nor to diminish her adorable playstyle in which she either whales her sword hopelessly at enemies or sleeps through their attacks. She’s one of the most exciting four stars we’ve seen since entering Sumaru and gaining Collei, but she should have been a catalyst. Not only does it fit her aesthetically, functionally, and narratively, it would have had her blown up as the first Cryo Catalyst that’s playable, filling out an empty gap in the roster on Hoyoverse’s list.
How do you find her play style? Do you agree? Disagree? We’re excited to hear your thoughts!