Along with the returning 5-star character Hu Tao, one of the most anticipated reruns, we also have the newcomer 4-star Pyro Polearm Thoma, but how good is he? Is he actually a good pair for the girl? Or is this Childe lookalike just another misplaced unit in a banner?
Here, we’ll cover all of Thoma’s skills and how they actually work in a real situation. We’ll also talk about his best artifact builds and pairings. He’ll be soon available for pulling in all of the other banners, so even if you don’t plan on pulling for Hu Tao, keep your eyes open for him.
Thoma is a 4-star Pyro Polearm user, just like Xiangling and Hu Tao, and the first playable Inazuma male character (although he was born in Mondstadt). His primary function is, just like the Protector from Afar title suggests, to protect his teammates.
With good defensive status and a kit focused on constantly stacking shields, Thoma is a great alternative to other 4-star shielders like Diona or Noelle. While Thoma cannot compare himself to Zhongli in terms of protection, he can be a great substitute if built correctly.
One of his most interesting quirks is his Burst, which is similar to Xingqiu’s. With each normal attack, your characters will constantly refresh Thoma’s shield while also dealing extra Pyro damage.
But how good is the shield Thoma is providing to the party? Time to find out!
Elemental Skill and Burst
Thoma’s Elemental Skill is Blazing Blessing. After delivering a kick in front of him, Thoma shields his party with a pyro-resistant barrier, which scales with his own HP.
This shield lasts for 8s and can be stacked with itself, reaching a reasonably high strength level. But if its cooldown is 15s, how can you stack it if there’s no Sacrificial Lance?
The answer is in his Burst, Crimson Ooyoroi. As mentioned before, every attack your party delivers while it’s active will refresh Thoma’s shield, while also dealing some extra damage.
It lasts for 15s, and Constellations makes it even longer. Theoretically, if you can keep Thoma’s energy always recharged, you can never run out of shields, just like Zhongli, and also have some extra damage in your attacks.
The downside is that each instance of the shield is not that strong, so while an unending shield is possible, it may all go away in a single strong hit. But it doesn’t make it bad in any way, it’s simply balanced for a 4-star unit.
Seeing how similar Thoma is to Zhongli, it is good to see that his passives also remember the Geo Archon’s own talents.
His first passive makes Thoma’s shield strength stronger every time he refreshes a shield. In other words, at almost every single normal attack you deliver.
His second passive makes his Burst scale with some of his own HP. Since HP also makes his shield stronger, HP’s a must for him.
Lastly, his utility passive is something unique to Genshin at the moment: He may grant you an extra catch while fishing in Inazuma. We may expect similar passives for characters in different regions.
If you’re going for Hu Tao, you may leave the banner with a few extra copies of Thoma, and that’s a good thing.
All of his Constellations are great, and their main focus is his Burst. With each of them, it’ll be easier to keep it up at all times, and C6 makes you always want to keep his Burst turned on, as it helps your main DPS with extra attack damage.
From what we’ve discussed, Thoma’s main strength lies in his shield. Since he also has some sub DPS potential, he must also deal some nice damage in his Burst, which must be kept up at all times.
With that said, how to keep Thoma with good uptime on his Burst? The answer is the Emblem of Severed Fate artifact set. It provides the extra ER you need, and its 4-piece effect gives his Burst some extra potency which is always welcome.
This is the best choice to go for subdps Thoma, with the usual offensive substats. You may use ER% or ATK% Sands depending on your weapon. Pyro% Goblet is also a must.
You may also use 2-piece Crimson Witch + 2 Noblesse Obliged, but you may feel the need for some extra recharge. Remember that his Burst costs 80 energy.
The best weapons for him are the Staff of Homa, “The Catch” and the new Wavebreaker’s Fin, available in Homa’s banner. Most polearms work fairly well on Thoma, but these ones have better efficiency on him. Focus on Atk or Energy Recharge, whichever you need the most.
Alternatively, you can use 2 Emblem + 2 Tenacity of Millelith to give him ER + HP in a pure shielding build. Your Burst won’t be as strong, but your shields will be even bulkier even without stacking them.
In this build, your objective is to get as much HP as possible. If you’re also going for the Black Tassel weapon, feel free to use ER% Sands or, at least, compensate some with your substats.
Thoma is good at protecting your team, and for that reason alone, he’s already a great pick for many comps. Yes, he is a great match for Hu Tao’s banner, since he can protect her while she’s at low HP, while also boosting her own attacks.
He also works great with Childe, since he gets some extra bulk and good damage from Thoma’s Burst. Thoma will also apply Pyro to the enemies, allowing Childe to go for big numbers with Vaporize.
The main problem is that Childe still applies Hydro too fast, and for that reason, Thoma will be the one triggering vapes most of the time. That’s a similar problem to the interaction between Yoimiya and Xingqiu.
Thoma’s Burst also works in Raiden’s own Burst, so that’s another good partner to consider. Almost every auto attack user is very good to use with Thoma, given how flexible he is.
TLDR; How good is Thoma?
Thoma is a great support and a nice subdps. While his damage may not be huge like Xingqiu’s, his shields are always welcome in any team comp. He’s very flexible, and should not be overlooked.
He’s also Pyro, which gives us another support to enable the Pyro resonance in the party.
His capacity for permashielding should not be overlooked. While he lacks heals, as other 4-star shielders usually have, he has some good elemental application and extra damage to the team.
His main problems are that his shield may be easily broken, if not previously stacked, and that he must focus on a single type of build. Go either for a damaging build or for a shielding one. The Staff of Homa may provide you with the best of both worlds, but it’s probably best used on a pure DPS character such as Xiao or Hu Tao.
Another issue that you may encounter is his competition. For Pyro supports, Xiangling and Bennett are top-tier picks, and most people probably already built them. Thoma is a whole new character to build, get artifacts, and level talents.
The fact is that his niche is not currently covered by any other Pyro character. And seeing how good Thoma is in the area of protecting and dealing damage, it’s safe to say that he’s bound to be another great addition to the Genshin cast.
Genshin Impact is currently on its 2.2 version, “Into the Perilous Labyrinth of Fog”, which introduces a whole new area to explore, as well as new enemies, weapons, events, and the return of previously limited characters and gadgets.
You can play the game for free on mobile devices including Android, iOS, Playstation 4, Playstation 5, and Pc on both miHoYo’s official launcher and Epic Games Store. A Nintendo Switch version is stated to be in development.