Sangonomiya Kokomi is a 5-Star Hydro Catalyst character from Inazuma. She can only be obtained via the “Drifting Luminescence” Event banner. Aside from being the one of the prettiest waifus in the game, Kokomi is a dedicated healer with a mix of off field and selfish gameplay.
Let’s first address the elephant in the room: yes, Kokomi can’t really CRIT. This is due to a passive ability of hers called “Flawless Strategy”, which gives her a base 25% Healing Bonus but decreases her CRIT Rate by a 100%. Kokomi can land CRITs if you get her CRIT Rate higher than 100% though to do so requires having a ton of that stat in all her gear, which requires luck and/or money. Some characters provide a CRIT Rate but the only one you’re guaranteed to have in your Genshin account is the Geo Traveler. Food buffs can help but you’ll never have access to them in Spiral Abyss. Even if you do all that, you might not have the CRIT DMG high enough to take advantage of said CRIT Rate. Kokomi actually has pretty high multipliers to her Talents. Her Normal Attacks in particular beat both Barbara’s and Mona’s while her Charged Attack is only a bit worse than theirs. If you somehow get Kokomi a solid CRIT Rate to CRIT DMG ratio, her Talent will hit extremely hard but it unfortunately is impractical for most players to do.
Some will argue in this passive’s defense that this means that Kokomi has greater flexibility when it comes to building her stats. This is both true and false. It’s true in the sense that what would generally be seen as a suboptimal piece of equipment will work perfectly fine for Kokomi. That Maiden Beloved goblet with no CRIT stats? This little mermaid priestess will gladly take it, more so than Barbara even. Conversely, Kokomi doesn’t want any CRIT Rate or CRIT DMG on her gear as those stats are practically useless for her. Certain stats such as HP and DEF are worthless for the vast majority of Genshin‘s playable characters but at least they do something. With Kokomi, you’ll actively want to avoid getting CRIT Rate or CRIT DMG on her Artifacts or at least pray that RNG doesn’t upgrade them as she’ll more or less never get to enjoy those stats.
Kokomi primarily heals with her Elemental Skill, “Kurage’s Oath”. Upon cast, she summons a little jellyfish called the Bake-Kurage and for 12 seconds, this critter will deal Hydro DMG to enemies within its radius and heal your active character every 2 seconds. The Bake-Kurage suffers from a case of split scaling in that its healing scales off of Kokomi’s Max HP but its Hydro DMG follows traditional ATK Scaling. You can definitely balance between the two stats but building Kokomi’s ATK will typically be harder as you want to prioritize her HP for more potent healing. Even if you get her ATK high enough, the Bake-Kurage will still deal underwhelming numbers due to Kokomi’s lack of CRIT. It’s stronger than, say, Barbara’s Melody Loop but that’s only because dealing any DMG is better than dealing none at all.
Oddly enough, the Bake-Kurage is stationary and will not move alongside your active character in the same vein as Barbara’s Melody Loop or Qiqi’s Icevein Talisman. This isn’t a drawback exclusive to Kokomi; other healers such as Bennett and Diona have this as well. It is nevertheless puzzling as one advantage you have to admit with Barbara and Qiqi’s healing is how little you have to worry over positioning. You’re free to move as you as please rather than be forced to stay in one spot to get healed. As a tradeoff however, the Bake-Kurage does make for a solid source of Hydro application. Its AOE is decently large and enemies only need to be at the very edge of the radius to get hit. Furthermore, the Bake-Kurage has no Internal Cooldown, applying Hydro and triggering its related Elemental Reactions every tick.
While Kokomi heals off field with her Elemental Skill, she takes on a more selfish role when she uses her Elemental Burst, “Nereid Ascension”. After dealing Hydro DMG (that scales off of her HP so it can hit pretty hard), Kokomi puts on a “Ceremonial Garment” made out of water. For 10 seconds, the garment provides a number of new effects onto Kokomi. First is a DMG boost that scales off of her HP. Second is an increased resistance to interruption. Third and most importantly is the ability to heal her whole team when she hits an opponent with her Normal/Charged Attacks. Last and definitely least is the ability to walk on water, which sounds awesome but it’s useless in combat and impractical in exploration (by the time the Burst expires, Kokomi will be low on stamina and thus prone to drowning). All of these effects expire should Kokomi leave the field; hence the selfish label.
Is the DMG boost provided by “Nereid Ascension” enough to make up for the lack of CRIT. That’s something more thorough theory crafters to investigate but I will say that the DMG boost is substantial and for someone who can’t CRIT, Kokomi can put a decent dent into an enemy’s HP bar while her Burst lasts. For maximum DMG however, I advise giving her some Elemental Mastery so that she can take advantage of Elemental Reactions. If nothing else, it shouldn’t be much of a problem to build Kokomi with this Talent in mind as it scales off of the same stat as her healing. It’s not like with Barbara, whose HP scaling only benefits her healing. Unless you have insanely good Arifacts, building Barbara for both healing and DPS is almost impossible and you’re generally forced to pick one over the other. In contrast, Kokomi can easily be built for both as more HP will result in more potent heals and a stronger DMG boost from her Burst.
What I don’t understand is why make Kokomi’s Burst a selfish one. Ideally, you want to switch back to your carry once Kokomi is done healing. Compare this to Noelle; even though her Elemental Burst provides her with a massive ATK buff, this effect does not expire when she leaves the field and she’s free to hand the reins over to someone else. This allows Noelle to work very flexibly in a rotation, especially for an emergency. I don’t mind keeping Kokomi on the field for the whole 10 second duration (because look at those animations) or switching her out prematurely but why she doesn’t have the same luxury as Noelle is nevertheless puzzling.
Also questionable is the fact that Kokomi’s Burst is her only means of healing the whole team. Past dedicated healers have a window for when they can heal their teams as well but unlike Kokomi, this ability is tied to their Elemental Skill and not their Burst. Even Noelle who, at C1, ideally wants to have both her Skill and Burst active for a 100% chance to heal, still has her party-wide healing tied to her Skill. Barbara, Noelle, and Qiqi only need to worry about cooldown while Kokomi has to be concerned with that as well as Energy. If you’re in a tight bind and need to heal your whole team, you better make sure Kokomi has her Burst at the ready.
Which brings me to yet another issue. Getting Kokomi’s Burst can be a little tricky as it has the somewhat high cost of 70 Energy. The Bake-Kurage does provide Energy but it is only at one particle every couple of ticks. It’s better than Barbara, Noelle, and Qiqi generating no Energy whatsoever but it hardly makes for a self-sufficient battery. A battery unit can help in this regard though the only F2P option at the moment is Xingqiu. Even then, Genshin doesn’t encourage the use of two Hydro units as the Hydro Resonance only provides an Incoming Healing Bonus, which is redundant if you have a healer such as Kokomi. Meanwhile, the only weapon that can help Kokomi in this regard is the Prototype Amber. It has HP% as its secondary stat, which Kokomi will welcome, and at R1, it gives her 12 Energy back when she uses her Burst. The effect is of course increased at higher refinements but good luck getting the Catalyst Billets you need to craft dupes. The Favonius Codex would’ve made for a better alternative in re-energizing Kokomi but since she can’t CRIT, she can’t trigger its passive.
With Elemental Reactions, it honestly depends on which Talent Kokomi is using in a given moment. With her Skill, Frozen is hands down the best Reaction to use. Yes, her healing is overkill if enemies can barely hit you but by keeping enemies locked in place, you fix the Bake-Kurage’s lack of movement and enemies will barely move in an inch as the jellyfish’s lack of ICD will result in a Frozen proc every tick. The only drawback is that there is 8 seconds of downtime once the Bake-Kurage expires so consider using that period for other things. Conversely, I hesitate to say Frozen is the way to go when Kokomi uses her Burst. Right off the bat, Kokomi can’t CRIT so she can’t take advantage of the free CRIT Rate provided by Cyro resonance or the Blizzard Strayer Artifact set, both hallmarks of an effective Frozen comp. I can maybe see Kokomi serving more as an enabler for a strong off field Cyro Burst but such a thing doesn’t really exist right now. Personally, I find Electro-Charged to be the most enjoyable to use with Kokomi’s Burst, especially with a solid EM stat. It helps that there are two Electro units, Beidou and Fischl, who can support Kokomi off field and allow for tons of Electro-Charged procs while Kokomi’s Burst lasts. Vaporize can work for Kokomi and while Pyro to Hydro has a higher DGM multiplier than the other way around, optimal DMG will fall more on your Pyro unit as they’re the one who can actually CRIT.
While not innately built for this, Kokomi can serve as a potential ATK buffer. As a Catalyst user, she has access to Thrilling Tales of Dragon Slayers, one of the few endgame viable 3-Star weapons in Genshin. In addition to providing HP%, Thrilling Tales has an absurdly good passive in which the next character that takes Kokomi’s place upon switching will receive an ATK buff for 10 seconds. At R5, this buff is at a whopping 48%. The passive has a 20 second cooldown but that works perfectly with Kokomi’s Elemental Skill as it too lasts for 20 seconds. By the time you need to refresh the Bake-Kurage, Thrilling Tales’ buff will be ready for reuse as well. Another possible means of ATK buffing is the Tenacity of the Milelith Artifact set. I personally haven’t tried it yet, because Artifact farming is the single worst thing ever. However, Kokomi would welcome the 20% increase to her HP and the Bake-Kurage sounds perfect in triggering the party-wide ATK and Shield Strength buff of the 4-piece bonus and ensuring it stays up. The only nitpick I’d have is the Shield Strength buff being redundant as Kokomi doesn’t provide a Shield nor do you generally need such constant healing if you have a Shield.
Constellations aren’t necessary for Kokomi to have. Weirdly enough, most of them involve her Burst so those who aren’t that interested in that Talent won’t be missing much. Kokomi’s best Constellation is her first one. This adds an extra attack after Kokomi’s Normal Attack combo when her Burst is active and its DMG is proportionate to 30% of her Max HP, making it very valuable for a DPS-oriented Kokomi. Also neat is Kokomi’s C4, which increases her Attack SPD by 10% and gives her the ability restore 0.8 Energy for every Normal Attack she lands while her Burst is active. It won’t entirely fix Kokomi’s Energy issues but it will make her substantially better at re-energizing herself, especially when combined with the Prototype Amber. As is always the case, you should not go whaling for 5-Star constellations unless you absolutely have the money to burn.
Is Kokomi the unusable and worthless unit that all the naysayers (the majority of whom probably don’t even have her) are purporting her to be. No…but the backlash isn’t entirely unwarranted. Barbara is the more immediate comparison to make, what with both of them being Hydro Catalyst priestess waifus but I think Kokomi also reminds me of Noelle as a healer who can still dish out numbers if need be. There’s aspects that Kokomi does better than either character but as you can tell from this review, there’s also a lot of quirks and issues that prevent her from being absolutely superior to them. I would absolutely love to see Kokomi receive some buffs but given Mihoyo’s recent and continued silence regarding a lot of player feedback, I won’t get my hopes up.
Another thing to consider is whether or not you need a dedicated healer, let alone a 5-Star healer. Mihoyo is possibly starting to push for that with the new Corrosion mechanic but only time will tell how prevalent that’ll be in Genshin’s content as a whole. For now, characters such as Bennett and Diona appear to be preferred as they heal enough and more innate utility besides healing. And for dedicated healers, Barbara and Noelle heal aplenty and they’re both 4-Stars as well as free for all players to obtain. I say if you haven’t been fortunate to get Qiqi and you’re in immediate need for a second dedicated healer, Kokomi is kind of worth pulling. Otherwise, I completely get why she’s being derided as an easy skip.
As for why I pulled and even whaled for her: well, I clearly don’t often do as I say. Plus…look at how pretty she is…
Thanks for reading!