Want to be a Warframe builder but not sure where to start? It’s understandable, coming to such a complex game afresh. Or perhaps you want to eke maximum efficiency out of your chosen Warframe. That’s understandable too, since Warframe builds are all about stacking mods around key abilities and adapting your playing style to suit. With 34 Warframes and over 500 unique mods available to choose from there are a total of… hang on, give us a sec… carry the one… er, there’s practically no limit to the number of Warframe builds you can create.
To save you the effort of adding up all the damage multipliers and cooldown reductions yourself (not to mention all the reams of notepad paper we’re saving the environment), we have collected seven of the very best Warframe builds going, each with a detailed rundown of the mods you should equip and why. Plus we’ve thrown in a quick guide on how best to employ them once you’ve actually built them.
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Without further ado, here are the best Warframe builds:
- Nidus Warframe build
- Atlas Warframe build
- Oberon Warframe build
- Excalibur Warframe build
- Loki Warframe build
- Ivara Warframe build
- Inaros Warframe build
Nidus Warframe build – balanced/4 Forma
Nidus is a very versatile Warframe with abilities that are ideal for crowd control and tanking. But he is also capable of dealing enormous amounts of damage with the right setup. He can even provide some support for your team with healing powers and a damage buff – this Warframe build makes use of every ability so you can provide decent support in whatever form it is required.
Nidus Warframe abilities
Passive – Adaptive Mutation
If your health is reduced to 0 you will become Undying and consume 15 Mutation Stacks, regaining half health and becoming invulnerable for five seconds.
Active 1 – Virulence
Mutation Stacks are gained by hitting enemies with Virulence. Nidus can gain up to one hundred of these Mutation Stacks, which grant a maximum of 250 armour and significantly increased Ability Strength. Nidus also regenerates 10 energy per enemy hit by Virulence, although the impact of this reduced by some of the mods equipped as part of this Warframe build.
Active 2 – Larva
Spawn an infested tentacle monster that grabs nearby enemies and pulls them into a mass of writhing limbs, dealing damage in the process.
Active 3 – Parasitic Link
Nidus can link himself to a nearby Warframe, which increases both Nidus and his target’s Ability Strength as long as they remain linked. Alternatively, you can link yourself to a nearby enemy, which deals a percentage of the damage Nidus receives while Parasitic Link is active.
Active 4 – Ravenous
Create a pool that spawns maggots that target enemies and explode upon death, dealing heaps of damage. The infestation pool also heals allies.
Nidus Warframe build mods
Primed Flow – massively increases your energy pool for more ability uses
Primed Continuity – extra ability duration for Ravenous, Parasitic Link, and Larva
Transient Fortitude – increases Ability Strength
Intensify – even more Ability Strength
Vitality – increases health significantly, which is useful for this Warframe build as Nidus has no shields and a large base health pool
Rage – converting a significant portion of health damage received into energy, Rage is ideal for Nidus, whose combination of a large health pool and a lack of shields draws the maximum benefit from this mod
Stretch – extended range for Larva
Cunning Drift – even more range for Larva
Corrosive Projection – reduces enemy armour, which is always helpful
How to use the balanced Nidus Warframe build
Playing Nidus is all about accruing Mutation Stacks as fast as possible for increased survivability and damage. The best way to do this is to target large groups of enemies using Larva and then follow up with Virulence. Not only will this give Nidus plenty of Mutation Stacks, it also regenerates lots of energy, provided your Larva grabs enough enemies.
Use Parasite Link to help you survive against high-level enemies – link yourself to heavy enemy units such as Grineer Bombards and you will take very little damage, and there is always Ravenous if you need to top up your health. Equipping launchers and area-of-effect weapons like Lenz is also advised as this Warframe Nidus build is heavily focused on combating multiple foes in tight spaces.
Atlas Warframe build – Tank/2 Forma
Previously, few Warframe builds made use of Atlas, but recent updates have made this a much more popular Warframe pick among players in the know. This Warframe build focuses on abilities like Landslide and Petrify, which are ideal for taking down high-level enemies, provided you have the right mods equipped.
Atlas Warframe abilities
Passive – Monolithic
Atlas’s Passive is twofold. Firstly, this Warframe is immune to knockdown effects while on the ground. Secondly, and more importantly, Atlas can collect Rubble from dead petrified enemies and Rumblers. Rubble heals Atlas if injured, but if Atlas is at full health then Rubble provides armour that decays over time.
Active 1 – Landslide
Atlas charges an enemy in range and punches it dealing impact damage. This acts like a melee attack with a 200% critical damage multiplier and 5% critical chance. Range mods can increase the range of the impact, while Strength mods and base damage mods on your equipped melee weapon will increase Landslide’s damage. Hitting successive enemies with Landslide will reward you with even more damage, energy reduction on landslide, and a bigger radius upon impact.
Active 2 – Tectonics
Atlas creates a wall of stone that can block incoming fire. The wall gains extra health based on Atlas’s armour and is invulnerable for four seconds after casting – any damage taken during this time will be added to the wall as extra health. If you use Tectonics again while near the wall Atlas will turn it into a rolling boulder that deals high damage to any enemies it hits. After 15 metres, or after it collides with the environment, it will explode damaging nearby enemies.
Active 3 – Petrify
Enemies in range of this cone ability will be turned to stone for a short duration. While petrified they cannot move or attack and will receive more damage from all sources. Rubble drops are what make Atlas such a powerful base for constructing tank Warframe builds around, and Petrify is a good way to ensure Rubble drops. Rubble gives 50 armour or 50 health if you are not at max. Enemies killed by Landslide while petrified will drop 75 health or 75 armour Rubble. Atlas can gain a total of 1,500 Armor from Rubble with armour decaying at a rate of 5 armour every second – this decay is paused for two seconds upon picking up Rubble.
Active 4 – Rumblers
Atlas will summon two rock golems that will attack enemies. The initial cast will also petrify all enemies that are close to Atlas for a short duration. Use the ability again while the Rumblers are deployed and they will explode dealing blast damage to any enemies in range.
Warframe Tanks Atlas mods
Vitality – more health for survivability
Steel Fiber – more armour for survivability
Primed Flow – this build is about constantly using abilities so a bigger energy pool is vital
Hunter Adrenaline – converts a percentage of health damage received into energy
Primed Continuity – offsets some of the negative duration effects from Fleeting Expertise and Transient Fortitude so that Petrify still lasts for a decent amount of time
Transient Fortitude – adds Ability Strength giving Landslide more damage
Fleeting Expertise – increases ability efficiency so that abilities can be used at less of a cost
Stretch – adds more range to Petrify and impact damage for Landslide
Power Drift – adds extra ability damage for Landslide
Steel Charge – the melee damage provided by this mod applies to Landslide as well
How to use the Tank Atlas Warframe build
As Warframe builds go, this Atlas build is exceedingly simple to use. Hit enemies with Petrify first to turn them into stone, then follow up with Landslide for a stack of quick kills – be sure to round up any dropped Rubble for the extra armour and health. A melee weapon backed with plenty of base and elemental damage mods will buff Landslide’s damage beyond that of any equipped Ability Strength mods. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, Sentinels with the Vacuum mod cannot pick up Rubble, which makes manually gathering the valuable resource rather tiresome. One word of caution on melee weapons: avoid anything built for status effects as these do not affect petrified enemies.
Oberon Warframe build – Reckoning/3 Forma
Oberon is a top-tier support Warframe that excels at buffing allies with armour and healing them over time. On top of this, Oberon can strip away all enemy armour with the Reckoning ability, which this Warframe build will focus on.
Oberon Warframe abilities
Passive – Beastmaster
Oberon buffs friendly pets with extra health, armour, and shields. His pet also receives an instant revive once per mission.
Active 1 – Smite
Deals damage that causes the target to be knocked down, suffer a radiation proc, and be confused – they will then emit orbs that deal damage to nearby foes.
Active 2 – Hallowed Ground
Oberon consecrates the ground around him causing enemies who enter to take radiation damage every half a second. Allies who stand on Hallowed Ground will be cleansed of status effects.
Active 3 – Renewal
When cast, allies within range of Oberon will be healed every second for the duration of renewal. Allies who are already at full health will be cleansed of status effects. Allies and Oberon will also receive bonus armour if they move onto hallowed ground while the renewal buff is active.
Active 4 – Reckoning
Oberon lifts enemies into the air and slams them down causing radiation procs and dealing damage. This ability also reduces enemy armour and with 170%+ Ability Strength it can completely remove enemy armour in two casts. Enemies killed by Reckoning also have a 50% chance to drop a health orb.
Oberon Warframe build mods
Vitality – more health, more survivability
Primed Flow – larger energy pool for ability casts
Rage – better energy economy
Stretch – increases the range of Oberon’s abilities, which is important for Reckoning as it will sweep up more enemies
Intensify – Ability Strength buff for more damage and armour stripping
Transient fortitude – additional Ability Strength buff
Streamline – lower energy cost for ability casts
Primed Continuity – abilities last longer
Cunning Drift – increases ability range
Growing power – Buffs Ability Strength by 25% by way of status procs and stacks if other players in your group have this mod equipped
How to use the Reckoning Oberon Warframe build
What makes this Oberon one of the best Warframe builds going is its ability to completely shred enemy armour. Reckoning and Smite are the essential abilities to buff – the former strips armour while the latter is highly effective against enemies with low armour. Equip a status effect weapon (preferably viral) and start spreading procs for the nearly constant 25% Ability Strength buff from Growing Power – you can trigger this more often by equipping a Sentinel with Artax. This Reckoning Oberon Warframe build is especially effective against Grineer thanks to their weakness to radiation damage.
Excalibur Warframe build – Chromatic Blade/3 Forma
This Excalibur Warframe build focuses on the Exalted Blade ability, which is very popular among Warframe builders because of the high amounts of damage it deals in combination with with the augment mod, Chromatic Blade.
Excalibur Warframe abilities
Passive – Swordsmanship
Attack faster and do more damage when using swords.
Active 1 – Slash Dash
Dash between enemies, striking them with the Exalted Blade.
Active 2 – Radial Blind
Enemies in range of this ability will be blinded for a short duration, which leaves them unable to attack.
Active 3 – Radial Javelin
Launches javelins at your targets dealing impact, puncture, and slash damage. Radial Javelin also pins targets to walls or stuns them if the damage is not enough to kill.
Active 4 – Exalted Blade
Summons the Exalted Blade, which takes the place of your melee weapon. Attacks with this sword will send out waves of energy that damage enemies in their path. The damage of this is ability is not only affected by Excalibur’s Ability Strength mods, but also the mods on his melee weapon, such as base damage mods, attack speed mods, status chance mods, and crit chance mods.
Excalibur Warframe build mods
Vitality – more health for… living
Intensify – more damage for exalted blade
Chromatic Blade – this augment mod will cause the damage type of Exalted Blade to change depending on Excalibur’s energy colour: white is cold damage, red is fire damage, green is toxin damage, and blue is electric damage. The mod will also increase Exalted Blade’s status chance by 50%, which stacks with any status chance mods on your equipped melee weapon, too. This ability will drain energy while active and deactivate if your energy runs out
Hunter Adrenaline – energy regeneration is extremely important for Chromatic Blade
Primed Continuity – reduced energy drain while using Exalted Blade
Primed Flow – greater energy pool for using Exalted Blade
Streamline – reduced energy cost for abilities and less drain on Exalted Blade
Quick Thinking – not entirely necessary, but adds survivability, which can be an issue with this Warframe build
Power Drift – more damage for Exalted Blade
Steel charge – yet more damage for Exalted Blade
How to use the Chromatic Blade Excalibur Warframe build
This Excalibur Warframe build is very simple: activate Exalted Blade and kill everything with it. Job done. You should also equip your melee weapon with the Condition Overload mod as this adds a massive amount of damage and works very well with the Chromatic Blade mod as it boosts Exalted Blade to 100% status chance. It should also be noted that you can combine the elemental damage from Chromatic Blade with the element on your melee weapon – for example, toxin damage and a melee weapon with fire damage will combine to make gas damage.
Loki Warframe build – Irradiating Disarm/1 Forma
Loki is a stealth Warframe that excels at traversing for long periods of time totally undetected. He can distract enemies with a decoy and disarm them to make taking them out much easier.
Loki Warframe abilities
Passive – Wall Grapple
Loki can hang from walls for longer.
Active 1 – Decoy
Create a holographic decoy that aggros enemies. The decoy has its own health and shields so it can be destroyed.
Active 2 – Invisibility
Become invisible to enemies. Also applies a stealth damage multiplier to all melee attacks made by Loki while invisible. Enemies will still react when Loki attacks them so keep moving between hits.
Active 3 – Switch Teleport
Loki swaps positions with his target – this also confuses them and renders them unable to attack for a short duration.
Active 4 – Radial Disarm
Disarm all enemies within range and inflict impact damage. Enemies hit by Radial Disarm are no longer be able to use their ranged weapons and will use melee weapons instead.
Loki Warframe build mods
Vitality – more health, never a bad thing
Stretch – more range for Radial Disarm
Overextended – even more range for disarming foes
Primed Flow – expanded energy pool for additional ability castsStreamline – ability casts cost less energy
Natural Talent – shortens the cast time of all abilities, particularly useful for Radial Disarm and Invisibility
Irradiating Disarm – cause all enemies hit by Radial Disarm to suffer a radiation proc, making them attack one another while also being disarmed
Primed Continuity – increases the duration of invisibility and makes the radiation proc from Irradiating Disarm last longer.
Cunning Drift – extended range for Radial Disarm
Whatever you prefer. Steel Charge works well
How to use the Irradiating Disarm Loki Warframe build
This Warframe Loki build is brilliant for dispersing and weakening large groups of enemies, making it easier for your team to get to work on tougher foes. If survivability is an issue then you can always turn invisible and use decoys, stealth attacks, and quick movement to take on high-level enemies without taking too much damage. Part ninja, part support – what’s not to love?
Ivara Warframe build – Prowl and Covert Lethality/3 Forma
Ivara is arguably the best stealth Warframe as she can remain invisible indefinitely, put enemies to sleep, distract them, and deal massive damage with Artemis Bow. This Ivara Warframe build will focus on staying invisible for as long as possible while still racking up plenty of kills with finishers.
Ivara Warframe abilities
Passive – Sentry
Reveal all enemies up to 20 metres away on the minimap; you can use mods like Enemy Radar or Enemy Sense to increase the range.
Active 1 – Quiver
Ivara has a selection of four arrows to choose from. Cloak arrows will cause Ivara and any allies within its radius to become invisible. Dashwire arrows will form a zipline that Ivara and her allies can run across. Noise arrows will cause enemies to move towards the area of impact to investigate. Sleep arrows will put enemies to sleep which leaves them vulnerable to finisher attacks.
Active 2 – Navigator
Take control of an arrow and steer it towards a target. The projectile gains 100% damage per second in the air (up to a max of 500%), which can be increased with Ability Strength.
Active 3 – Prowl
Ivara becomes invisible, gaining bonus damage to headshots and allowing you to pickpocket enemies. Movement speed is reduced while cloaked. Do note that bullet jumping, sliding, or sprinting will cancel prowl – rolling and jumping will not. Prowl drains your energy while active and when you perform cloaked melee attacks. Ability duration and efficiency mods can mitigate this drain. Obviously, unsilenced weapons will break this cloak effect.
Active 4 – Artemis Bow
Use an exalted bow that fires volleys of arrows but drains energy with each shot. The damage of the Artemis Bow is affected by Ability Strength and your equipped mods.
Ivara Warframe build mods
Streamline – reduces the energy cost for activating Prowl and performing melee attacks while cloaked
Constitution – reduces the energy drain on Prowl
Primed Continuity – further reduces the energy drain on Prowl. The ability duration will also keep enemies asleep for longer when using sleep arrows
Narrow Minded – even more duration and energy efficiency
Stretch – counteracts the negative range stat from Narrow Minded so that sleep arrows retain some area of effect
Primed Flow – larger energy pool so you can use Prowl for longer
Fleeting Expertise – even more time in Prowl
Infiltrate – gives Ivara a 25% buff to movement speed when cloaked (not entirely necessary and can be swapped out)
Cunning drift – counters the negative range effect from Narrow Minded
Whatever you prefer. Enemy Radar is a good fit for abilities like Sentry
How to use the Prowl and Covert Lethality Ivara Warframe build
This build is intended to be used with a dagger that is equipped with the Cover Lethality mod. Why? This deadly weapon mod adds 100 base damage to melee attacks with a dagger or lethal damage when performing a finisher, which makes it a particularly devious augment to use in tandem with prowl. Moreover, with sleep arrows it will instantly kill enemies no matter their level. Ivara’s pickpocketing ability while in Prowl will be very helpful for survival missions, allowing you to steal life support modules with ease. One piece of advice if you are using Ivara for these mission types: bring a sentinel with Vacuum as the slow movement in Prowl will make collecting life support modules tedious.
Inaros Warframe build – Covert Lethality/2 Forma
Inaros is a very powerful tank and crowd control Warframe with several healing abilities for you and your allies. This Inaros Warframe build is all about using the Dessication ability along with the dagger mod, Covert Lethality.
Inaros Warframe abilities
Passive – Undying
When bleeding out after being downed Inaros can drain health from enemies and eventually revive himself, although this only really works on low-level enemies. Additionally, if Inaros kills an enemy with a finisher (excluding ground finishers) it will heal him for 20% of his maximum health.
Active 1 – Desiccation
Blind enemies with sand in a cone attack. This also deals damage over time – 25% of which is returned to you as health. Enemies that are blinded by this ability are left vulnerable to finishers.
Active 2 – Devour
Trap your target in sand rendering them unable to move or attack, dealing damage per second, and healing Inaros all at once. If the enemy is killed by this ability they will become a Sand Shadow and attack enemies, but these are not very powerful or useful.
Active 3 – Sandstorm
Become a sandstorm that flings any enemies in its radius around while dealing slash damage – this will consume energy every second that it is active.
Active 4 – Scarab Swarm
Charge this ability to trade health for hardened scarab armour – during this time Inaros cannot move and will increase his base amour value by up to 100%, losing 29 health per second in the process that can easily be healed back. Use the ability again to exchange 25% of the scarab armour and 25 energy to ensnare targets in the Scarab Swarm. Any enemies caught will be unable to attack or move and will take corrosive damage, all the while any allies in range will be healed.
Inaros Warframe build mods
Vitality – add to an already huge health pool, with max rank Vitality you will have a total of 4,620 health
Steel Fibre – increase base armour for better damage resistance
Primed Flow – a larger energy pool for ability casts
Hunter Adrenaline – as Inaros has no shields all the damage he receives will be to health, which works very well with this mod
Overextended – more range for Desiccation so that more enemies will be blinded
Stretch – even more range for Desiccation
Negation Swarm – This augment mod changes Scarab Swarm armour so that it also prevents status effects. It will also prevent him from being knocked down, which can be very useful when fighting higher level enemies
Primed Continuity – increase the duration of the blind from Desiccation meaning more time to perform finishers on afflicted enemies
Cunning Drift – even more range for Desiccation
Up to you, but health mods like Physique and Rejuvenation are always useful for a tank Warframe build like this one
How to use the Covert Lethality Inaros Warframe build
This Inaros Warframe build can kill enemies at any level if they are affected by Desiccation thanks to finishers – a dagger with Covert Lethality equipped is required for this. Keeping a stock of Scarab Swarm armour will massively increase your survivability and with Negation Swarm you can even avoid getting knocked down, which is ideal for tanking the attacks of high-level enemies. The Undying passive and the health it provides from performing finishers is a neat bonus, too.