Noelle, Maid of the Knights of Favonius, is a 4-Star Geo character. She is the star of Genshin Impact‘s Beginner’s Wish banner, being guaranteed to drop within your first 10-pull. For all intents and purposes, Noelle is the first healer that Genshin players can get in their account for free. She is thus a character F2P players should prioritize building, at least until they get more “meta” healers from the gacha.
Noelle heals via her Elemental Skill, “Breastplate”. With this, she summons a shield and while the shield is active, her Normal and Charged Attacks have a percent chance to heal the whole team. At Lv. 6, the chance to heal is at 55%. While a bit of a gamble, you can easily put the odds in your favor by having Noelle spin to win with her Charged Attack (making her one of the few Claymores characters who want to use their Charged Attack). She attacks the fastest with this move and she’ll swing her Claymore so much that she’s bound to proc a heal while spinning. Most appealing is the fact that Noelle provides a shield, meaning that she can heal very comfortably in the heat of combat. She can potentially take no damage while healing and having a shield means she’s unlikely to be interrupted while attacking to heal. Both the shielding and healing of “Breastplate” scale on Noelle’s DEF, making it easy for Noelle to both replenish some HP as well as ignore plenty of attacks from her foe(s). Building DEF shouldn’t be that hard either as Genshin loves giving you Artifacts with DEF% as its main stat. One of the free craftable weapons, Whiteblind, has DEF% as its secondary stat, making it one of the most ideal weapons (certainly the cheapest) for Noelle to wield.
Conversely, the shield provided by “Breastplate” mostly benefits Noelle alone. Case in point, the skill won’t heal unless Noelle is the one on the field and dealing damage. Furthermore, “Breastplate” has serious downtime due to it having a 12 second duration versus a 24 second cooldown. This downtime can be minimized via Noelle’s A4 passive, in which every 4 Normal or Charged Attack of hers will decrease the CD by a 1 second. The CD can effectively become a handful of seconds if Noelle is able to attack frequently, particularly with her Charged Attack. Again, this means that Noelle should stay on the field while using her Elemental Skill. You can let your other characters enjoy the shield if you get Noelle to heal quick enough. Noelle also provides an extra shield when a teammate is about to die, thanks to her A1 passive. All things considered though, you’re better off using other characters such as Diona to provide shielding for the whole team. On the flipside, Noelle being selfish with her shield means she’s a great candidate with the “Retracing Bolide” artifact set. Normally, it’s a niche set as the Shield Strength it provides only benefits the one equipped with it but that works perfectly fine for Noelle and it’ll make her even better at tanking.
Surprisingly, Noelle has DPS potential thanks to her Elemental Burst, “Sweeping Time”. After performing an AoE attack, Noelle will infuse her Normal Attack with Geo and increase her ATK with a portion of her DEF. The latter is particularly crucial as, since she wants high DEF for her Elemental Skill anyway, the buff to her ATK can be substantial and the damage she can deal spikes drastically as a result. “Sweeping Time” also has a 15 second duration versus a 15 second cooldown. In other words, you potentially have a 100% uptime with this ability. As if being able to tank and heal at the same time wasn’t enough, Noelle can even serve as your carry thanks to this Elemental Burst.
The only issue with Noelle’s Elemental Burst is actually being able to use it. Thing is, Noelle’s Elemental Skill does not generate any Energy at all. Without Energy, Noelle won’t be able to reap the benefits of her Burst. This can be remedied with a battery unit and fortunately, that role can be fulfilled for free thanks to the Geo Traveler. Pairing Noelle with the Geo Traveler will also allow her to reap the benefits of Geo Resonance, which is a free 15% to Shield Strength as well as a 15% DMG increase and a 20% Geo RES debuff to enemies when attacking while a shield is up. For a more self-sufficient approach, equip Noelle with a Favonius Greatsword. This will allow her to periodically get Energy with her CRITs. The Favonius Greatsword also has Energy Recharge as its secondary stat which further help Noelle in getting her Burst back up.
For a character whose canonically very selfless and undemanding, Noelle is insanely greedy when it come to stats. Obviously, she wants DEF as that’s what her entire kit benefits from. If you want to build Noelle for DPS however, she’ll also want ATK, CRIT Rate, CRIT DMG, and/or Geo DMG Bonus. To improve the uptime of her Elemental Burst, she needs Energy Recharge. For better healing, she wants Healing Bonus. For better defense, she wants Shield Strength. On one hand, this gives Noelle quite a bit of flexibility with artifact sub-stats and viable artifact sets. On the other, this makes Noelle kind of a nightmare to build. Aside from DEF, it can be an insane juggling act trying to balance various stats for Noelle and it’s a huge commitment getting her the most perfect artifacts to the reap the full benefits of her kit.
Speaking of commitment, Noelle is among the 4 star characters whose kit is heavily gated by Constellations. Right from the get go, you’ll want her C1 as it gives her a 100% chance to heal when both her Elemental Skill and Elemental Burst is up (thereby making the uptime of her Burst even more important). Noelle’s C2 decreases her Stamina Constellations of her Charged Attack by 20% and even increases its DMG by 15%; very valuable if you’re spinning to win. By far, her best Constellation is her C6 which boosts the DEF to ATK buff of her Elemental Burst by a whopping 50%. For context, “Sweeping Time” increases Noelle’s ATK by 56% of her DEF at Lv. 6. C5 will boost that to Lv. 9 for 68% DEF. With C6, the effect is now 118% DEF. Provided you did the smart thing and gave her high DEF, Noelle’s ATK will skyrocket when her Burst is up. Noelle works decently at C0 but her power and utility only truly shines at C6, which unfortunately leaves players at the mercy of Genshin‘s gacha system.
Between her and Barbara, Genshin‘s two F2P healers, I think Barbara is the better of the two by a slim margin. Barbara is way easier to build, only needing HP and Healing Bonus, and she’s not nearly as needy for Constellations as Noelle is. Conversely, Noelle is better for DPS or at the very least has a more straightforward path at that role than Barbara as her offense scales on the same stat as her utility. Being a Geo character means Noelle has greater flexibility in what teams she can fit in. It ultimately boils down to personal preference and you’ll likely want to build both girls anyway so that you have options with your team comps.
Noelle is actually my favorite healer to use in Genshin Impact. I just have a huge soft spot for her. There are more meta and less flawed healers out there such as Bennett and Diona but Noelle is still a very respectable option, being able to heal while also dish out respectable numbers and ignore enemy attacks in return. Besides, Noelle is an armored maid so screw the meta if only for that.
Thanks for reading!