Zhongli Backstory & Vision
Warning! Spoiler alert for Archon Quest Chapter I: Acts I-II and beyond. Read at your own risk.
Name: Zhongli (a.k.a. Rex Lapis, Morax)
Birthday: 31 December
Constellation: Lapis Dei
Titles: Vago Mundo, Geo Archon, the Warrior God, God of Contracts, God of Commerce (by merchants), God of History (because he’s the oldest of the Seven and knowledgeable on many things)
As a primarily defensive-oriented character, Zhongli is best used as a tank. He has various bonuses concerning his HP, and his shield is the best one in the current meta.
His E skill, Dominus Lapidis, summons a stone pillar. Upon skill activation, it produces AoE Geo DMG. The pillar remains in the field for a time, regularly sending out a Geo pulse radiating from the construct. It damages enemies near it, as well as resonating with other Geo constructs within range. Holding the button produces a Jade Shield as well as a pillar.
Using his skill along with a Geo-attuned Traveler (and his first constellation upgrade) creates something like a minefield for enemies. The Traveler can summon up to 3 Meteor constructs, plus what is generated by their Elemental Burst. That’s a total of 6 constructs to resonate with Zhongli’s Stone Stele. It’s only limited by the 3-construct limit placed on the world (Traveler’s Burst doesn’t count). That’s only about 5 constructs to resonate with, 4 if with the upgrade.
Zhongli’s Elemental Burst, Planet Befall calls down a meteor onto an area in front of him. Upon landing, the meteorite deals Geo damage and petrifies enemies caught in the blast. These aren’t considered Geo constructs, so the Stele won’t resonate with them. It’s a good crowd control tactic and has a big area of effect. With the right build, it can deal massive damage.
As mentioned above, he is a primarily defensive support character. However, with the buff granted to Geo characters, offensive builds became viable on him. Still, it’s up to you, the player, to decide how to build him. At the current meta, with the right constellation upgrades, he should be able to take any role between tanker, DPS, or healer.
Before reading about this character’s backstory, try him out with a Genshin Impact Zhongli account.
Zhongli is the esteemed consultant of the Wangsheng Funeral Parlor. He is knowledgeable in all kinds of matters, from commerce and the flow of products to fashion and snacks and teas. Along with that, he is one of the few beings who still knows all about various ceremonies concerning adepti.
Having all kinds of knowledge at his disposal, the people of Liyue sometimes call him ‘living history’. Zhongli only deflects and confesses he has a good memory.
Despite knowing a great deal about commerce and the economy, he spends Mora like it was a limitless resource. Where other people might love haggling and bargaining, Zhongli would not hesitate to pay the full price of anything that catches his eye. Yet, he keeps on forgetting his wallet. Friends pay off some of the smaller bills, and he always finds ways to write off bigger ones.
Some may brush this behavior off as a quirk of his, but it hides a big secret. Zhongli is the vessel or human guise the Geo Archon had taken. It explains his broad, expansive knowledge, having lived for several millennia. Being the originator and producer of Mora, it never occurred to him that he can’t just produce more Mora now that he’s retired and gave up the source of his power.
As the Geo Archon, he has outlived the other Archons who have since been replaced (save for the Anemo Archon). Feats throughout his long life include felling evil gods and the creation of Guyun Stone Forest, being one of the winners of the Archon War, and saving a young yaksha adepti among others.
He also had a hand in creating and watching the land of Liyue in its entirety. He watched as his city and land prospered, even taking some opportunities to walk among them in the guise of a human. As time passed, the winds or storms wore down the sturdiest of rocks. Once, while walking the streets of the city in his mortal guise, he heard an employer tell an employee that they’re finished with work and can go rest.
That sparked a moment of reflection for the Archon. Has he finished his duties? Can he leave his beloved city to the hands of his subjects? To answer his question, he made a bet with the Tsaritsa, the Cryo Archon. While the Traveler was not privy to all the details of the bet, the wager was about whether Liyue can survive without the intervention of its Archon.
In any case, the Tsaritsa won and Morax handed over his Gnosis as per the contract. The Geo Archon Morax has retired, though he’s still observing and watching as Zhongli.
Later, Dainsleif will tell the Traveler the Archons had a hand in the destruction of Khaenri’ah 500 years ago. Zhongli was mum when asked by the Traveler of his involvement, saying he’s under contractual obligations not to say anything about it.
About the Gnosis
The Gnosis is the proof of an Archon’s divinity and position. It allows them to commune with Celestia and defend their country if need be. Judging from the Anemo Archon’s dialogue, anyone with a Vision is eligible to receive a Gnosis, and are called allogenes. It may be the same for the adepti in Liyue.
At any rate, from what is seen in-game, they are shaped like chess pieces. Barbatos’ was a queen, while Morax’s is a rook.
Now that they are no longer in possession of their Gnosis, much of their power was taken away. However, they still have enough to manipulate their element. Zhongli confesses that he cannot make any more Mora, as the ability was dependent on the Gnosis.
So far, there are still too many mysteries about the Archons. What was their involvement in the calamity of Khaenri’ah? Why is the Tsaritsa collecting the Gnoses of fellow Archons? There’s also the floating island of Celestia seen all around Teyvat.
We can only wait for the answers to those questions. In the meantime, there’s still the Midsummer Event ongoing. There are still a few days left to complete all the tasks and clear out the shops. Enjoy Genshin Impact through playing it or making fan content!