I didn’t try to recruit Kokomi, the water-element healer, during her initial, limited release. Instead, I opted to skip her for Childe, the water-based archer who can slay packs of enemies in seconds flat. I regret that now. After spending over a hundred wishes to get Childe (which would’ve cost around $300 if I bought gacha packs individually, instead of grinding quests for them), I’ve ultimately replaced him with the recently improved Kokomi. Watch out, Hydro family: DPS Kokomi is here, and she’s a human turret.
Kokomi was widely mocked during her launch for being a more expensive version of Barbara, another Hydro-element healer. Her reception only worsened when players realized that a passive skill she had prevented her from scoring critical hits. The Genshin community even coined the term “Kokopium,” for the seemingly vain hope she’d be discovered to not be that bad, or that her kit would eventually improve.
Of course, all of this could have been prevented if the Ocean-Hued Clam set had been around when she first joined the game. This artifact set enables a character to deal additional damage whenever they overheal, and it was tailor-made for Kokomi. Equipping her with this catapults her damage output into respectable 5-star limited character territory. She’s still a support character, but now her damage output finally helps justify her gacha rarity a bit more.
In truth, it was mainly just the limit on her damage ceiling that was holding her back. Unlike a recent character who was so buggy that HoYoverse was forced to apologize, Kokomi’s skills have always been well-implemented. The jellyfish that she spawns with her elemental skill can not only heal your allies, but also apply consistent “wet” status on nearby enemies. That makes it easier to achieve powerful “vaporize” and “freeze” reactions. Oh boy: I haven’t had this much fun since I became a Zhongli main.
And her healing abilities have always been great, so she’s practically a tank. Sometimes I “forget” to have Zhongli throw up a shield before I swap him out because Kokomi will shortly top-up her own health bar anyway. Playing as Kokomi is fun because her playstyle is super forgiving to mistakes and experimentation. And where players mocked her for not being able to use critical hits, not having to give her items that improve crit percentage actually gives me more wiggle room on improving her other stats. Not having to optimize every artifact for crit took a huge weight off my shoulders.
Full disclosure: I don’t usually care about the endgame Spiral Abyss mode. What I do care about is running up to a group of enemies in the overworld, slapping down Kokomi’s jellyfish, and raining Ganyu or Shenhe’s ice-based burst to freeze ’em all in their tracks. Mona’s aggro-drawing Phantom skill can technically do the same thing, but that doesn’t heal. Do you want consistent damage without having to rely on appealing to the RNG gods? Kokomi can do that. Do you want heals? Hydro application? The prettiest attack animations in the entire Inazuma region’s lineup? Kokomi isn’t the best at one particular thing, but she’s now superb at multiple things at once. It’s a fitting skillset for the revered tactician of the Watatsumi Army. I love her for it.
Best of all, I’ve found that she’s extremely cheap to build. I nabbed her free signature weapon during the Enkanomiya event. I’ve also had good results with the Prototype Amber catalyst, which you can easily craft at any forge. The best part of building Kokomi is that she has absurd HP-to-damage conversion with her elemental burst (an ult that gives her additional passive abilities). So if HP weapons or artifacts you’ve collected have been gathering dust, Kokomi wants them. Just like any good tactician, she carries you even when you don’t give her your best.
Mona is still the vaporize queen. Childe is still the king of shredding large groups of enemies. Ayato stacks crits on anything he comes into contact with. The best part of playing Genshin is that everyone has their own niche within the meta. As opposed to being a one-person army, Kokomi’s is the one support character that I can consistently rely on, and I love her for it.