Nilou is a new character released in the second half of the 3.1 patch. Feel free to check out her character trailer above. She is a hydro unit designed specifically for bloom teams. Now, I will be honest. When I pulled for Nilou on the first day of her banner, I lost the 50/50. I decided at that point to save my guarantee for Nahida, the upcoming dendro archon, in the next banner. However, I really liked Nilou’s character and her passives which boost bloom team damage, and I remained intrigued by how she would play. Plus, more information was emerging that she might be very valuable in creating a strong Spiral Abyss team. A week later, I made the decision to use up the rest of my wishes and pulled her. Do I regret the decision? No, not at all.

Nilou is without doubt a restricted character. To use her to her full potential you need to put her in a team with only hydro and dendro units. The reason for this, is her passive talents which cause dendro cores, formed when dendro and hydro meets, to spawn more frequently and do far greater damaged. This results in some crazy DPS when using an eligible team. The team I used was Nilou, Tighnari, Dendro Main Character and Kokomi. I have heard people claim that Collie works better in Nilou’s team than Tighnari. However, I do not have her built and I like using Tighnari. He felt kind of clunky initially but when I pushed his elemental recharge stat to 150, he suddenly seemed to start working smoothly in the team. I could get back-to-back dendro application from his skill, three boosted charged shots and then by swapping to the dendro main character and back. Bloom teams are generally more geared to be AOE damage focused, which Collie does better. However, I find that with Tighnari as main DPS, he balances the team out for better boss and single target damage.

Which dendro characters you choose is entirely up to you. I don’t really feel there is a wrong choice among the dendro characters currently available. I do, however, advise a 2-2 ratio of dendro and hydro characters with one of the hydro being Kokomi or Barbara. The reason for having two dendro is that with only one of the three currently available dendro units in a team, they seem struggle to keep dendro applied. I did try a team of Nilou, Dendro Main Character, Yelan and Kokomi but there were noticeably less bloom cores produced and therefore less damage which Yelan’s DPS and stat boosts could not make up for. Also, you need a healer in the team because, unless you have an all ranged team, your on field character will take some damage from the exploding cores. As the cores explode instantly, they are hard to dodge and can take a cumulatively big chunk of HP out of your HP bar. As there are no dendro healers, at this time, you will need a hydro healer to keep the HP topped up.

This is obviously a lot of dos and don’ts which is why Nilou is not currently regarded as a meta character. However, the damage a full bloom team deals with her, is certainly worthy of the meta title. The damage can get insane. When I tried her out on floor 12 of the abyss, even with three of the four characters in her team at level 80 and with level 15 artifacts, the results were significantly better than any of my previous teams did, even those at level 90 with higher talents and maxed artifacts. If you are struggling with the later floors and need a DPS boost then Nilou would certainly help.

Nilou does also have some advantages. The first being that all the characters needed to build a good 4 star team, for her, are free. Dendro Main Character, Collie and Barbara are all free to acquire units. Nilou can also use old artifact sets which you might already have in your inventory making her less painful to build. The main drawback, and it is a biggie, is that you can’t really use her effectively in a team outside of her hydro, dendro specialty. People have managed, with high artifact grinding, to get her functional in a vape team. If you are a new player or just want a hydro character for overworld exploration or storyline content then you can build her to be a decent but far from exceptional DPS in other teams. However, other 5 star hydro units would perform much better in those teams.

If you are thinking of pulling for Nilou, you need to be willing to build, or already have built, a hydro, dendro bloom team. Or you need to like her character enough that you would be willing to accept a less powerful vape or taser team, just to have her on your team. Other 5 star hydro characters are rumoured to be coming up in the next couple of patches, so if all you want is a hydro 5 star for a non-bloom team, you might be better waiting a while.

So, in conclusion, Nilou is a great character but a highly restrictive character, in terms of team building. I love her play style and her damage is great. However, I would advise anyone planning to pull for her to think carefully about what they are getting, and if they are willing to restrict themselves to a bloom team, play style.