Kuki Shinobu is a 4-Star Electro Sword character from Inazuma. She primarily acts as a support/healer for her team. Finally, after a year and three quarters, Genshin Impact finally has an Electro healer!
Shinobu heals with her Elemental Skill, “Sanctifying Ring”. At the cost of 30% of her current HP, she creates a “Grass Ring of Sanctification” which follows and heals your active character while also dealing Electro DMG to any enemies within range. Shinobu’s healing scales off of her Max HP. The Grass Ring’s biggest draw is its uptime. It ticks at a very fast rate of 1.5 seconds. It also lasts 12 seconds against a 15 second cooldown, leaving Shinobu with just 3 seconds of downtime. The solid uptime of Shinobu’s Skill makes her a viable candidate for the Tenacity of the Millelith Artifact set. She has no trouble maintaining the 3 second ATK and Shield Strength buff of the set’s 4-Piece effect as her Skill ticks are half of that duration. The set will also increase Shinobu’s Max HP by 20% with its 2-Piece bonus. That all said, Shinobu’s healing has some of the lowest multipliers Genshin has seen for healing. Even with her frequency, Shinobu doesn’t necessarily outperform her fellow 4-Star healers such as Barbara, Bennett, and Diona.
For DPS, Sanctifying Ring is frankly not that good. While Shinobu’s healing scales off of her Max HP, her Elemental Skill DMG scales off of her ATK. Much like with other characters that suffer from split scaling, building Shinobu for both HP and ATK can be difficult due to the RNG of Genshin‘s Artifact drops. Building Shinobu’s ATK isn’t even worth doing anyway as her Skill DMG multiplier is pitifully low. At Lv. 13, the Grass Ring has a DMG multiplier of 53.64%. For context, this is up to par with the Raiden Shogun’s Skill at Lv. 4 and it is considerably lower than Fischl’s Skill at Lv. 1. The Grass Ring is stronger compared to, say, Barbara’s Melody Loop, but that’s only because actually dealing DMG is better than not dealing any at all. For Electro Sub DPS, I recommend Fischl or Beidou.
With her Elemental Burst, “Gyoei Narukami Kariyama Rite”, Shinobu stabs her Sword into the ground to create an electric field that continuously attacks in an AoE for 2 seconds. If Shinobu’s HP is below or equal to 50% while she’s casting her Burst, the Burst will last 3.5 seconds instead. Shinobu’s Burst is very similar to Amber’s Elemental Burst and that is hardly a comparison a character in Genshin wants to have. It does attack numerous times but its duration is far too brief and it follows traditional Internal Cooldown, resulting in the Burst contributing little to your DPS. Needing Shinobu’s HP below or equal to 50% for the longer duration is also really annoying as it forces you to neglect healing Shinobu herself. And as we’ve established, Shinobu can heal herself with her Elemental Skill so to keep her HP low, you have to switch her out of the field before her Grass Ring ticks. At the very least, miHoYo were smart enough to scale Shinobu’s Burst DMG off of her Max HP. The ult would’ve been even worse if it scaled off of ATK.
At A4, Shinobu gains the passive, “Heart’s Repose”, which boosts Sanctifying Ring’s healing by 75% of her Elemental Mastery and its DMG by 25% of the same stat. This means that even if Shinobu doesn’t proc Elemental Reactions, any Elemental Mastery won’t go to complete waste as it does augment her Elemental Skill in both utility and offense. Conversely, the passive is a bit of a bait as to really see a meaningful difference in numbers, Shinobu’s Elemental Mastery has to be extremely high. Bear in mind also that this passive does not affect her Elemental Burst so overall, you should still prioritize on building HP for Shinobu. That said, you should consider giving Shinobu a weapon with Elemental Mastery as there is actually not a single Sword in Genshin with HP% as its secondary stat. The closest is the Primordial Jade Cutter (which increases HP via its passive) and even as someone who doesn’t have the weapon, I think it’d be a huge opportunity cost giving it to Shinobu, let alone pulling for it just for her.
Frankly, Shinobu doesn’t improve much with Constellations so those who have her at C0 don’t have much to fret over. The only Constellation worth pulling is C2, which increases the duration of “Sanctifying Ring” by 3 seconds, giving the Elemental Skill 100% uptime. This lets the Skill tick one or two more times and it pairs very nicely with 4-Piece Tenacity of the Millelith. The second best Constellation is C4 though mileage will vary with this one. This allows the Grass Ring to deal a coordinated attack with your active character’s basic attacks. It allows Shinobu to synergize more with ranged carries such as Yoimiya but with a 5 second cooldown, it is frankly unreliable to use. Again, for Electro Sub DPS, you’re better off using Fischl or Beidou.
Shinobu’s kit has a lot of flaws. In particular, her offensive options are downright pitiful, to the point that I don’t know why miHoYo even bothered giving them to her, other than the mere notion that versatility is what Genshin players finds appealing in healers. Also questionable is the HP management that Shinobu encourages, which is at serious odds with her intended role. That said, her healing is decent and her being Electro makes her a convenient choice for when you need both Electro Resonance and healing covered. With solid Elemental Skill uptime, she can also act as an effective buffer via 4-Piece Tenacity of the Millelith.
Thanks for reading!