Hydro characters are in more demand than ever thanks to Bloom reactions. Nilou, the new Hydro 5-star coming in Genshin Impact 3.2, has one of the first Bloom-focused kits that increases her potential with each Dendro and Hydro unit on the team. However, free-to-play players and baby dolphins (those who spend a modest amount of money on the game) might wonder if she’s a must-have as a Hydro party member and applicator. The answer? No, of course not. In fact, there’s a free-to-play Hydro character that can help you: Barbara.
Barbara is a four-star Hydro healer. Everyone has the opportunity to get at least one copy of her for free after a certain point in the Genshin Impact storyline. She had a reputation as a “heal bot” when she first debuted, a.k.a. someone only good for healing teammates without much other utility. Genshin Impact content creators recommended Xingqiu over her for applying Hydro because she simply couldn’t match his damage and he could at least partially heal and buff teammates.
However, thanks to the Dendro “Bloom” reaction and new artifact sets, Barbara has become an effective hybrid healer and Bloom enabler in the meta.
Hybrid healer — Like Kokomi, Barbara’s healing capabilities make it easy for her to accumulate damage with a four-piece Ocean-Hued Clam Set. It activates a Sea-Dyed Foam bubble that stores damage based on the amount of HP theoretically healed (including HP that isn’t actually restored but would be if damage was done) and explodes, dealing Physical DMG equal to 90 percent of the HP healed to nearby opponents. So the more you heal, the more damage you deal. My level 80 Barbara with 30k HP and a fully leveled 5-star Healing Circlet dealt about 18k damage with her Burst with a couple thousand in damage every few seconds just from the continuous HP generation from her skill.
Bloom enabler — She also works as a Bloom replacement for Nilou. Barbara can efficiently generate Dendro Cores, even after HoYoverse patched her “Infinite Bloom” bug. She’s even Abyss worthy with her Bloom capabilities. One player featured Barbara in their one-minute Floor 12 Abyss run with Dendro Traveler, Collei, and Kazuha, where Dendro Traveler and Collei kept Dendro active as much as possible and Kazuha supported them as crowd control. All Barbara had to do was run into the Dendro-affected enemies to make it Bloom City.
Barbara’s Elemental Skill applies Wet status to any enemy unit it touches. During the Infinite Bloom incident, her skill treated Dendro Cores as “enemies” and caused them to infinitely spawn. However, even after her patch, her skill’s AoE and the rate she applies Hydro are fast enough that Dendro Cores effortlessly spawn so long as Dendro Traveler and/or Collei on deck. Swap the final character to whoever you like and that’s basically her meta team comp now. Kazuha’s a great choice for crowd control, but one player even goes with Rosaria.
Fridge comp — Why Rosaria? Well, because of Fridge comp. Fridge teams consist of Hydro, Cryo, and Dendro characters that work together to trigger as many Bloom reactions as possible. Most of the damage comes from the rupturing Dendro Cores from the reactions. It only works on “pure” Bloom teams with Hydro and Dendro, as Cryo will unfavorably react with Pyro and Electro into another reaction.
As explained by Genshin YouTuber Sevy, Dendro and Cryo can affect an enemy at the same time because they don’t react with each other. Also, Freeze (Cryo plus Hydro) reactions have priority over Bloom. If Barbara triggers a reaction on an enemy affected by both Dendro and Cryo, it should freeze them and remove the Cryo status. Even though Cryo doesn’t react with Dendro itself, the resulting Freeze allows her to easily trigger Bloom reactions with the leftover Dendro element. Ideally, the Hydro unit causing the reactions would have Elemental Mastery built on them. The new Elemental Mastery set is the fan-favorite choice because of the ATK and EM buffs on it.
Players are still debating whether Barbara is the “best choice” for this comp. However, she’s the most readily available and she works. Of course she isn’t going to be as good as Kokomi or Nilou. She’s for the rest of us that don’t want to roll for her five-star counterparts.
If you haven’t revisited Barbara since her days as a “heal bot,” maybe it’s time you do. She’s worth considering even more if you happen to pull other copies of her during Nilou and Albedo’s banners coming in Genshin Impact 3.2. She improves with every constellation, but even those aren’t necessary to make her versatile healing, damage-dealing, and Bloom-enabling character.
Genshin Impact is available for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, iOS, and Android.