There’s something to be found If you dig beneath the newly prominent Ba’al, The hyped Yae Electro Buffing leaks, and the less hyped Kokomi leaks. Deeper than The Ganyu, Hu Tao & Albedo rerun rumors, the new weapons, all of that – hides a character people aren’t talking about. Will Thoma be a treasure your team needs, or a skippable 4-star? I want to present to you what Thoma can do and what you may wish you knew before skipping or whaling the wrong banner.
Being unreleased Thoma’s numbers can still change meaningfully – but assuming his kit remains mostly intact, does this Pyro Polearm user hold a mix of Zhongli & Xinqiu’s utilities, or will he end up like a less successful 4 star?
How will this fiery negotiator fair in battle?
Kit Utility In-Depth
Normal Attack: Swiftshatter Spear
Thoma currently has a 4 basic attack chain with a pretty decent 44.4% base scaling – this is relevant since he can infuse his damage with pyro, meaning he could chain elemental reactions with it.
Elemental Skill – Blazing Blessing:
Thoma’s E is where things start getting interesting. At face value, the E does 3 things:
It also might be a good battery, depending on how’s the energy regeneration on this at release.
Elemental Burst – Crimson Ooyoroi:
This does Pyro damage and gives your team the Scorching Panoply buff, which can apply 2 effects to every normal attack:
Gain a small Blazing Blessing shield.
Once per second, Trigger a small Pyro damage AoE
Ready to protect, ready to spear – let’s look at his kit in-depth.
Thoma brings to the table a refillable shield, off-field damage, and pyro application.
First, let’s talk about shield mechanics. As you may have noticed, Thoma can easily stack multiple shields – doing so stacks the damage absorption and refreshes the duration, as well as increases shield strength with his passive. This possibly means Thoma can maintain his shield uptime – let’s first look at his base numbers without constellations and bonuses. Keep in mind numbers are highly subject to change, but currently, the base values are as follows:
The shield lasts 8 seconds
The E cooldown is 15 seconds
The 80 energy ultimate allows him to quickly stack the shield, its duration is 15 seconds on 20 second CD.
The shield max HP threshold stacks on Thoma’s max HP, starting around 25%~, and scales with talent level up to about 35%~.
This is without any bonuses.
Thoma’s first 2 constellations are huge when it comes to the shield.
C1 reduces all of Thoma’s cooldowns by 3 seconds if he’s hit with a shield on once every 20 seconds,
C2 reduces his ultimate cooldown by 3 seconds.
If you don’t get hit, the shield is irrelevant; hereby with just C2, Thoma can maintain a maxed shield infinitely as long he’s getting hit, and has energy:
With c2, the shield can stay up 99% of the time when relevant. The exception is if he’s only hit in the overlapping window of the 20-second reduction cooldown and the 17-second cooldown ult.
For comparison, Zhongli’s max shield scaling at talent level 10 is 27.2% of his max HP + 3,389 on a 12-second cooldown. He has a similar passive – not counting for the healing in his C6 and geo crystalize shields Thoma can realistically maintain 80-90% of Zhongli’s shield on a max stacked shield depending on his build. This relies on him ulting in time and your team being able to attack fast enough – but in such teams, he can almost hold up to Zhongli.
This shield being 250% more valuable against pyro enemies means when Thoma can’t deal damage he will provide more defensive value to the team – Impressive, as long as there aren’t shield bypassing enemies in the game. That would be bad ( *Ahm, Ahm* ).
Unlike his rumored banner partner, Thoma sadly doesn’t have an animal form. He does protect his pack, though.
Thoma has 3 things going for him when it comes to damage:
AoE Pyro Xingqiu swords
In his ultimate, his damage mechanics are extremely similar to Xingqiu’s, offering a 15-second off-field buff on a 20-second cooldown that allows him to apply elemental damage on basic attacks. Comparing them by Thoma’s pros and cons:
Thoma doesn’t reduce elemental resistance
Thoma only hits once per basic attack, making his damage scale lower against single targets
Thoma stacks a shield on hit.
Thoma’s base scaling per hit is a little higher.
Thoma’s passive gives him additional HP% damage scaling on every hit.
Thoma can keep his this stance indefinitely as long as he’s in battle.
Thoma’s hits in a medium AoE, making him much better against groups.
Thoma’s animation is faster, meaning less hit lag, meaning more frequent hits.
Thoma’s constellations allow him to regenerate energy a little faster
Thoma’s constellations buff the whole party’s normal attack damage on every hit
Do not underestimate how well Xingqiu’s damage scales against single targets, and how useful Hydro can be – but the fact Thoma’s ultimate is holding up against one of the lead characters in the meta should be indicative.
Pyromaniac. The floor is lava, his polearm is lava, everything is lava – and he’s happy.
When Pyro is useful, when the shield can go a long way, when you rely on other characters’ basic attack damage – Thoma will be a tool you’ll want in your shed. Here are some examples of where and how he could work:
Thoma and Bennett make for a great support core. Bennet provides healing and attack bonus, and Thoma can shield and snapshot to deal more damage. When supporting a pyro carry, Bennet’s C6 can actually be useful – and when supporting a non-pyro carry, they together ensure whatever you’ll face will be affected by pyro and keep up reactions. The extra layer of protection offered by Thoma’s shield will make the carry invulnerable – even when hanging at 75% HP, it’ll be much harder to burst. They also can patch up each other’s energy issues with decent particle regeneration.
Their similarity can work in your favor – any character with decently fast basic attacks will proc high damage vaporize explosions and enjoy both Thoma’s shield and Xingqiu’s healing. Xingqiu being a good battery with sacrificial sword helps, too.
Thoma and Xiangling are pretty similar – they both provide pyro AoE damage and attack buffs for the rest of the team. To use them together effectively you need fast elemental damage to avoid the enemies burning to the ground, wasting precious reactions. Characters like Mona, Childe, Xingqiu and Ganyu are the best ones to keep up the pace, making for an aggressive, high damage yield team.
Out of Kaeya, Rosaria and Chongyun, Kaeya is likely the easiest to make work with Thoma. I’ve overviewed the cryo side DPS group before – Kaeya’s close-range damage works well with Thoma’s reliance on basic attacks, which means they can strongly supplement any melee basic attack carry or most quick-switch team cores, especially when put with a puller like Kazuha.
The National Team
Thoma synergizes pretty well with most of the national team, meaning he’s likely to find a key role in some variants. Whether he’ll be a niche pick or a mainstream pick depends on his comparison with Xiangling – they both have incredible modifiers on their ult; If one is ultimately better than the other, the weaker of the two will find it much harder to justify a placement.
If you’d like to make more than just 1 national team, for example in the abyss – Thoma will be key. Very few other characters can fill Bennet or Xiangling’s role as well as he could, especially on a 4-star budget.
Ganyu, Ayaka, Aloy and Eula
When they aren’t freezing, the cryo basic attack carries will love Thoma. He’s able to keep Pyro up, proccing endless melt and reverse melt. This means both they’ll hit for bigger numbers when imbued with cryo, and that they can stay on the field doing their thing for longer, enjoying Thoma’s shield.
He won’t be necessary to slot in every team just like Xingqiu wasn’t in every freeze team – but non-freeze cryo carry players who use him wisely will probably end up happy with their results.
They can work together in the game, too.
Diluc, Hu Tao, Yoimiya, Yanfei and Klee
Typically when applicable Thoma is outclassed in these teams by Xingqiu – he offers better reactions. Nonetheless, they could work in tandem – in these teams, Thoma will fill all of his normal roles as well as a battery. Sacrificial Spear when, Mihoyo?
Kazuha and Venti
These are incredible for Thoma. Because he hits in an AoE they skyrocket his damage. Because he hits second he doesn’t have to proc VV, which gives him some flexibility fitting with all kinds of elemental carries.
Raiden, Sara and Fischl
Thoma can be used alongside the electro basic attack buffers. With many somewhat viable supports already in the game and an important one to be announced soon, electro quick-switch teams might be more viable than before. In them, Thoma can provide his usual buffs, shields and pyro.
Keqing, Razor and Beidou
The carry electros don’t really like fire. Thoma can probably work, but Xingqiu and Bennet are probably better in them.
This can be incredible – the main competitor for Thoma in these teams is Xiangling. If your Childe team needs a little more defensive utility, Thoma is probably your guy – and he might work well with Xiangling on such a team, too.
Xiao likes Thoma – They patch each other’s weaknesses. Xiao likes both Xingqiu’s damage application and Zhongli’s shield for his ultimate, so Thoma providing both is bound to work. Fischl, Albedo, Bennet and Xingqiu are some characters that can work well alongside a Xiao Thoma core team.
Good synergy, Thoma. Not too shabby for a 4-star.
While Thoma could carry on his own, in most teams mentioned above he is a tanky side DPS / Support. In his most common role of support, he’s one of the best users of Tenacity of the Millelith, utilizing all bonuses it provides; He also makes good use of Noblesse, like Xingqiu. If you’re building him as a side DPS he could splash Crimson Witch of Flames with Noblesse, or even build full Crimson Witch and Lava Flame.
Thoma will be energy-hungry. Because there’s no sacrificial polearm in the game, he can’t battery his own energy as well as Xingqiu; This means he’ll either need heavy ER substats or in most cases ER Sands. His main build for Goblet and Circlet is Pyro damage and crit% – but if you’re extremely hungry for attack or HP, You can fit them in these slots.
As for his weapon Engulfing Lightning is the whale weapon of choice, much better than anything else. “The Catch” is a close second and is much more accessible ( he has a fishing bonus passive, too! ). Skyward Spine, Vortex Vanquisher, or any other 5* polearm can be more valuable than the catch depending on his build – otherwise, ER spears like Prototype Starglitter and the Favonious Lance can also work well. In teams where he deals high reaction damage, Kitain Cross Spear is an interesting prospect to keep in mind.
Handyman, Merchant, Housekeeper, Tour Guide – Thoma is capable. He’s the best at fishing his own weapon, too!
Thoma will probably be a new 4-star pyro polearm user that will likely be introduced in 2.2. His most common role will probably be off-field support, providing a hybrid of Xingqiu’s on-hit damage and Zhongli’s shields as well as pyro application. He will be f2p friendly and relatively simple to make work, especially if you understand his kit in-depth – this will make him work in quick-switch teams or any team with a strong basic attack carry that can enjoy pyro. If this sounds like something that can be relevant for your team, look him up – see if you need him,how many copies, and plan your primo spendings accordingly.
Keep in mind the numbers on Thoma leaks are highly subject to change, and let me know what you think about this one! I really appreciated the positive response and feedback to my Ayaka and Kokomi pre-release theorycraft guides.
Let me know what you think about this guide, and Thoma – Is he the missing piece for your team?