Warframe by Canadian company Digital Extremes is a bit of an odd game. Players get to play a space ninja WMD surviving against waves aliens, criminals, and monsters. And while surviving these waves, you’re supposed to be constantly grinding in order to unlock new weapons, frames, and cosmetics.
Each frame has its very own backstory, plays completely differently, and has their own unique style. There are 45 to choose from! Because of all this, it’s hard to tell which are the strongest. So, let’s see if it’s even possible to rank the most powerful ones, shall we?
Updated March 18th, 2021 by Charles Burgar: Warframe has changed quite a bit since this list was originally written. New Warframes, balance overhauls to older frames, and various gameplay additions have made certain Warframes better than ever. Virtually every Warframe is viable with the right investment and mindset, but there are a few that truly stand out as must-haves. Let’s go over the most powerful of the bunch. This article was updated during Update 29.9.
10 Titania: Bite-Sized Woodchipper Of A Frame
On the topic of odd Warframes, Titania is one of the strangest. This Warframe is an embodiment of nature’s wrath, turning herself into a devastating fairy of death. Her appearance won’t strike fear into the hearts of the Grineer or anything, but the sound of her Dex Pixia certainly will.
Titania’s kit is focused on being a nimble fairy that delivers buffs and destruction in equal measure. Her fourth ability, Razorwing, takes a few cues from Archwing. While active, Titania will turn into a miniature version of herself that can fly, melee targets, and fire her dual Dex Pixias to unleash torrents of lead into enemy targets. Her other abilities give her and nearby allies status immunity, a chance to dodge attacks, and her third ability can act as a decent crowd control tool. When you take her augments into account, Titania is nothing short of a cracked-out butterfly utilizing two miniguns. What’s not to love?
9 Mirage: A Jester Of Destruction
Survivability is paramount in Warframe, but sometimes, it’s better to kill enemies before they get a chance to damage you. Mirage showcases this well, utilizing two of the strongest damage buffs in the game to annihilate foes.
Mirage’s kit is centered around two abilities: Hall of Mirrors and Eclipse. Eclipse is an absurd damage buff, but only while bathed in light, while Hall of Mirrors creates four clones made of light that mimic the weapons she’s firing. Only two of the clones actually mimic your weapons, although that’s still three times the projectiles being fired. Running a Kuva Bramma? Now you’re firing three simultaneously. Enjoying the Kuva Nukor? Bring Mirage to shoot three devastating beams simultaneously.
Even her second and fourth abilities can find use in niche circumstances. Prism unleashes a disco ball of death, refracting nearby light to kill targets. Should they survive, you can detonate the Prism to blind them and deal additional damage. It’s a solid ability for low to mid-level content. Sleight of Hand, Mirage’s second ability, is also fantastic in horde-centric modes such as Sanctuary Onslaught. Equip the Explosive Legerdemain augment to turn into an explosive variant of Volt or Saryn.
8 Ivara: Stealth Perfected
Stealth is an underappreciated aspect of Warframe. Striking from the shadows is a satisfying and deadly way to complete missions by yourself. The community’s favorite frog-looking Warframe, Ivara, is the best character for this playstyle.
Manipulating enemies from the shadows with unique arrows and the Artemis Bow, Ivara is a devastating character when played right. A single shot from her Artemis Bow can fire 14 arrows towards an enemy, ripping apart an enemy’s limbs or pinning them to a nearby wall. Her unique arrows give Ivara more subtle options, ranging from generating cloak fields to firing ziplines. If stealth isn’t your thing, certain augments can give Ivara a more explosive approach, letting her Artemis Blow detonate enemies into mists of shrapnel and gore. She even makes for a solid Eidolon Hunter if you use her Empowered Quiver augment.
7 Rhino: The Tanky Beginner Frame
New players will likely make Rhino as their first Warframe. With his easy-to-use kit, it’s not hard to understand why. Rhino’s sheer strength allows him to charge through enemies, envelop his skin with ferrite armor, inspire allies with a multiplicative damage buff, or stomp the ground so hard it warps gravity itself.
For a starter Warframe, Rhino is loaded with a great mix of damage, crowd control, and survivability. Reaching the later stages of Warframe’s progression, Rhino fans can grab a few of his augments to make Rhino viable for Steel Path content. He might not pack as much damage as Chroma or be as mindlessly tanky as Inaros, yet Rhino’s accessible blueprints and simple kit make him one of the best beginner Warframes in the game.
Why Not Inaros?
Inaros is a controversial Warframe to rank. He has a massive health pool, yet his entire ability kit is lackluster by today’s standards. CC and status immunity are solid, yet the likes of Adaptation and shield gating have made those mechanics lose value through the years. Inaros is unquestionably a top-tier Warframe for players that want to play the game without much thought, but players that want more out of their Warframe than a bullet sponge have much better options. He’s by no means bad, but we think Rhino’s accessibility and augments make him a more fitting Warframe for our list.
6 Gara: Frost With An Edge
Gara is a sharp Warframe, both in her aesthetic and devastating kit. Unlike Frost, Gara isn’t a one-trick pony; her manipulation of glass allows Gara to double up as an excellent offensive and defensive Warframe.
Creating rings of glass as Gara makes for solid cover, but it can be doubled up as a damage boost when her second ability, Splinter Storm, is active. Shattering enough Mass Vitrify rings with your first ability will cause Splinter Storm to increase its damage output, decapitating nearby enemies with a thousand cuts. When you also consider the defensive properties of her second and fourth abilities, it’s easy to see why the Warframe community joking refers to Gara as “the unofficial Frost rework.”
Gara is obtained from the open world Eidolon quests, so it’s a decent amount of work to unlock yourself. If you’re into the idea of using shards, barriers, and chunks of glass to decimate enemies, though, Gara is a perfect choice.
5 Protea: Turrets And Archguns Galore
It’s difficult to talk about strong Warframes without mentioning Protea, a time-manipulating prodigy with an affinity for gadgets. Most agree that her fourth ability, Temporal Anchor, isn’t the greatest, but that’s OK; Helminth exists.
Protea becomes a devastating Warframe when you subsume Nidus’ Larva ability, replacing her fourth ability with this devastating CC power. Deploy a Larva near a group of enemies, then summon three Blaze Artillery turrets. The turrets will scale their damage so quickly that they’ll be able to one-shot Steel Path enemies after a brief period of continuous fire.
If that sounds boring, Protea can also generate an infinite amount of energy orbs and Archgun ammo for herself and nearby allies. Have you ever wanted to main the Mausolon or Grattler as your primary? Now you can. When you use her first ability as an added defense layer, it’s hard to argue that Protea is anything below a top-tier Warframe.
4 Mesa: Intergalactic Gunslinger
If you’re into the whole Wild West thing, here’s a top pick for you. Mesa stacks bullets to shred enemies like paper. Mesa is one of the best Warframes to play both in terms of design and damage. Nothing screams “gunslinger” more than using your dual Regulators to disintegrate an enemy’s health bar.
Mesa’s fourth ability, Peacemaker, unleashes the power of her arm-mounted revolvers. Using her thumbs as hammers, Mesa fires dozens of bullets into any target in her cone of vision with perfect accuracy. To make sure she doesn’t die, Mesa also has a defensive shield that absorbs 95% of all damage you take. Not even melee enemies can damage her, as her second ability disrupts nearby targets. It’s always high noon when Mesa is on the field.
3 Wisp: Motes With The Most
Wisp needs little introduction for those that play Warframe. This elusive character is a terror in the hands of a good player, applying constant debuffs to enemies and game-changing boons to allies.
Her first ability, Motes, are Wisp’s bread and butter. Allies that pluck these motes will gain increased health, health regeneration, fire rate, movement speed, reload speed, and stun nearby enemies. It’s the holy trinity of buffs, and that’s all from a single ability. Wisp also packs quite the punch with her third ability. She has tons of mobility, buffs, debuffs, and makes great use of the Helminth system. It’s no wonder why most support-oriented players prefer Wisp over the likes of Trinity or Harrow.
2 Saryn: Poisonous Powerhouse
Saryn is nothing short of a poisonous powerhouse. This Warframe is an absolute hoot to play because it’s all about keeping the poison damage spreading from enemy to enemy. When used correctly, Saryn can melt entire waves before they even leave their spawn.
Essentially, Saryn uses its first ability, Spores, to inflict corrosive poison on the targeted foe. If they die with the poison still on them, it passes on in an area of effect. The longer it’s passed, the more damage it does. Saryn also has a decoy and health regain ability, so she’s got an excellent kit all around. Her usage in tough content and Sanctuary Onslaught solidifies her as the de facto queen of group DPS.
1 Octavia: Beats That Kill
Octavia is the most overpowered Warframe in the game; there’s no contest. Depending on who you ask, she’s also the most boring character to play. That’s the main reason no one plays her, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that Octavia can single-handedly kill level 1,000+ enemies without moving an inch.
Mallet is the star of the show, creating a miniature stereo that blasts the beat of your music at foes. Oh yeah, Octavia plays music that kills people and buffs allies. This device will scale its damage based on how much damage it receives, conveniently forcing all enemies in range to shoot it. It doubles up as a CC and damage tool.
That alone makes her excellent, but what makes Octavia truly insane are her buffs. As Warframe’s take on a bard class, Octavia blasts music with all of her abilities to help her allies. Her third ability, Metronome, gives everyone free invisibility just by crouching to the tune of your music. Firing to the beat gives you free multishot, and jumping to the music gives a movement speed boost. Finally, her ultimate gives everyone a massive damage boost.
Did we mention that you create your own music? Octavia gives allies screens worth of buffs, has infinite damage scaling, and does all of this by playing your music. If you can get accustomed to Octavia’s rather passive playstyle, you won’t find a stronger Warframe in the game currently.
Next: Upcoming Warframe Update Will Overhaul Railjack And Set The Stage For Call Of The Tempestarii
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