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Game Breaker / Warframe

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Since Warframe is a Free-to-Play game with lots of grinding, players are naturally incentivized to do said grinding as efficiently as possible. This, of course, leads to experimentation, min-maxing, and can and do result in absolutely broken builds, frequent developer patches be damned. That said, while with enough dedication, and some luck, any weapon and frame can be turned into an absolute powerhouse, some are still obvious superior to the point where they seem to throw game balance out the window. Here are just a few of them:


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  • Nova is widely considered to be wildly overpowered - she has abilities that can, with the right mods and equipment, do everything. Her first ability provides her with percentage-based damage resistance, her second can clear groups and one-shot bosses, the third allows whole groups to bypass agility/parkour challenges, while her fourth cause all mobs to take double damage from every attack then explode when they die, resulting in a chain-reaction that can kill entire waves at once in defense missions. With proper auras and energy management, a Nova player can often spam these abilities for as long as they need to.
    • It's not even Nova as such, just her fourth ability: Molecular Prime. It does THREE things, any ONE of which would be an ultimate-caliber ability: first, it slows all enemy movement and attack speed by half, effectively neutering any threat the enemy might pose. Second, it causes all affected enemies to take double damage from all sources. Third, it causes any enemy killed to explode in a powerful blast strong enough to kill almost any other nearby enemies (thanks to the aforementioned damage doubling). On top of this, by modding her for negative ability strength, she actually makes mobs faster, making her extremely useful for speeding up grinding on defense and survival missions. You could strip every other ability out of Nova and nerf her stats to the ground, and she would still be overpowered solely because of Molecular Prime.
  • Trinity is the sole reason any new support/healer Warframe is doomed to failure. Not only can she ensure that her team will never run out of energy, but her ultimate makes all other healing powers obsolete, thanks to its damage reduction buff (which stacks with her own damage reduction ability, making her tougher than some tank frames), instant cast time, and large range. Even after a number of nerfs, she's still the one Warframe that every squad wants.
  • While she might look complicated and gimmicky at first glance, Octavia's kit is absolutely insane in the right hands. To elaborate, her first ability, Mallet, is a deploy-able that can pull aggro to it and then sends the damage dealt to it back at the enemy at a multiplied rate on every percussion beat, which can lock down hallways and large rooms fast at high levels. Furthermore, since its damage is dependent on incoming damage, it infinitely scales with the level of the enemies. Her second ability, Resonator, deploys a roller ball that charms enemies like Titania's 'Lantern' and deals light damage, but has the added bonus of being able to pick up the Mallet, which can cause widespread death to enemies. Her third ability is Metronome, which grants an initial armor buff and can grant other buffs based on doing various actions in time to the beat, the best of which is Nocturne, which grants invisibility for a good amount of time, but unlike Loki's invisibility, it can be refreshed at any time so long as 'Metronome' is still active. Her ultimate is Amp, which increases damage in an area and also double's the range and damage of any Mallet that is in the area, making it even stronger and can create choke points out of entire rooms with enough range. Combine all of these, and you get a permanently invisible frame that buffs allies and deals infinitely scaling AOE damage to all enemies in range.
  • Speaking of infinitely scaling, Saryn is the new queen of the niche after patch 22.20. She was a bit of a game breaker before, as when modded right, she could clear entire maps by simply throwing her Spores onto her Molt and then bursting them, spreading them over to all the enemies in range, who then spread them further, resulting in stacking damage over time effects. After the rework, said strategy no longer works, but instead her Spores now scale in damage infinitely based on how long they have been active and how many enemies are infected. Even after later patched toned this back a little, she can still easily reach thousands of corrosive damage per tick.
  • Gara's second ability, Splinter Storm, makes her into an incredibly tough tornado of death by using and abusing her skill synergies. First, her ability can provide 90% damage reduction than acts on shields, making her incredibly tanky. It also deals a bit of damage on enemies in a sphere around her. Furthermore, casting her fourth ability refreshes the duration of her Splinter Storm. Then comes the crazy part: By moving outside of the wall her 4th ability creates and hitting it with her 1st ability, the wall is shattered and deals a good bit of damage to surrounding enemies, but more importantly, 50% of said damage is permanently added to the damage over time effect of her Splinter Storm. Repeating the process enough times can result in Gara being able to kill level 100+ enemies just by running past them while she herself can take their attacks without a care in the world.
  • Ivara is one of the hardest frames to get, but she is also one of the most broken by far. Her Quiver has four different types of arrows that allows her to put enemies to sleep, distract them, make wire paths to circumvent parkour challenges and she can even make things invisible, including rescue targets. Her second ability allows her to guide projectiles even to the point of hitting targets from around corners. Her third ability makes her invisible and allows her to pickpocket enemies, allowing her to steal energy orbs and remain permanently stealthed, while her last ability summons a bow that deals staggering amounts of damage. However, while all of these would make her a top grade warframe, the thing that makes her unquestionably a game breaker is her Prowl augment, Infiltrator, as it completely trivializes spy missions by making her undetectable by all the various defensive lasers and scanners in the data vaults, allowing her to just casually walk in through the heavily watched laser fences and crack the vaults without having to go through the usual process, essentially breaking the entire mission type.
  • Nekros and Hydroid, while middling frames on their own, are actually two of the most crucial frames in every grinding party due to a simple reason: Warframe is a game with a lot of grinding, and they are the frame that boost drop rates, Nekros by his Desecration (which makes dead bodies have a chance of giving an additional drop, multiple if they were cut apart) while Hydroid's Pilfering Swarm augment gives a guaranteed extra drop from enemies killed while grabbed by his tentacles. In a game where you can spend hours upon hours collecting resources, that is nothing to scoff at.
    • While Nekros is still considered a great Frame due to his Desecrate being able to "double-dip" with other farmer frames, Hydroid have been mostly supplanted by Khora, who can more or less do the same role while also capable of delivering a ton of damage and being much considerably more tanky.
  • Mesa, the gunslinger frame, is pretty much a tanky murderous aim-bot on legs. Her Shatter Shield can provide a patently insane 95% damage reduction to projectiles, while her Peacemaker ability makes it so that by holding down the fire-button she rapidly murders everything in her sights with her built in dual pistols.
  • Believe it or not, Revenant is considered by some to be the best frame to use on The Index, due to his second ability, Mesmer Skin. It's an ability with a certain number of charges that not only negates damage dealt to Revenant, but stuns enemies in the process, leaving them open to fire for up to 15 seconds. Alternatively, while they're stunned by Mesmer Skin, you can convert them into one of your Thralls with Enthrall for free, which temporarily makes them fight for you while still keeping them open to damage from your teammates.
  • The Wukong rework brought many improvements to a frame that was previously known for being hard to kill but very little else. Of all of the changes, one particular ability improvement blew the Spy game mode wide open. Originally, Cloud Walker was a very slow way of avoiding damage and not much more. Movement speed was buffed to be faster than full-sprint Volt, casting time was made much faster, energy costs were lowered, it can be cancelled via attacking, and most importantly, it ignores cameras, traps, laser doors, and enemy vision. Spy with Wukong is now as simple as pointing in the direction of the vault, activating the ability, and basically teleporting straight to it.
  • Wisp has a simple but effective kit, including multiple semi-permanent boosts in her first ability (bonus-health plus regen, a movement and attack speed boost, and a CC ability, all in one), a movement skill that can also serve as a distraction, an AOE crowd control skill than doubles as another movement skill, and a Wave-Motion Gun for her last skill. Not only that, but all of her skills synergize with each other, making her simultaneously speedy, tanky, a good damage dealer, a decent crowd controller, and one of the best team supports in the game, all in one.


  • The deceptively simple Hek, a Grineer shotgun that a player can purchase or build early on, doubling as a Disk One Nuke. Without any mods being applied to it, it has a base damage around five times that of many standard mooks, even those who would normally resist its damage type, like the Corpus, and has an absurdly tight pellet spread, giving it mid to long range capabilities. Apply mods to it and throw on a catalyst for good measure, and the thing can make normally difficult bosses like the Terra Frame or Corrupted Vor completely trivial. The only faction it has difficulties with are the Sentients, as they become mostly immune to it after a few volleys due to their natural abilities. Not that it matters that much though, as the player would have access to the Operator's anti-Sentient power by the time they start facing Sentients.
    • Its successor, the Steel Meridian-built Vaykor Hek, is even more powerful, due to its larger clip, high critical chance, and (thanks to Primed Ravage) extremely high critical damage. The one downside is that it loses the ability to use a unique mod for the Hek that increases the number of pellets per shot, but the benefits ultimately outweigh the negatives - it has roughly the same average per-shot damage as the regular Hek with the unique mod but with twice the magazine size, meaning it can, among other things, kill the aforementioned Sentients in one magazine, damage resistances be damned.
  • All beam weapons after their 2018 February rework have became incredibly powerful, but the four biggest winners are Amprex, which is a high-crit chance weapon firing Chain Lightning that can melt entire rooms in seconds, the Atomos, which is pretty much just a tiny Amprex that fires fire beams and does the same as its bigger cousin, the Ignis and its Wraith variant, which is a flamethrower that can also melt entire rooms in a slightly different manner, and finally the Synoid Gammacor, which is a pinpoint-accurate laser that not only deals ridiculous damage, but its syndicate proc also replenishes the user's Energy reserves.
  • Almost every polearm or whip, utilized in the infamous "spin to win" setup. Even after they a nerf preventing melee from hitting through walls and obstacles, when properly modded they can still tear through enemies like tissue paper, so long as the player can stomach constantly spamming slide attacks like a carousel.
    • While the tactic is not as overwhelmingly powerful as it used to be before update 26, it is still perfectly viable after the nerfs.
  • The Sacrifice quest grants you Skiajati, a nikana that gives you 5 seconds of invisibility every time you perform a successful Back Stab. Equip an Enemy-Detecting Radar such as Enemy Sense and you can clear entire rooms crowded with enemies with little retribution. It's also already at max rank when aquired, meaning you don't need to undertake any missions to reach its full modding potential.
  • The Kuva Variant weapons, obtained from Liches, range in quality from bad to average, but are helped by the fact that there's a way to choose what the base element is. There are a few standouts in this category:
    • In general, Toxin is considered the best element to get on a Kuva weapon, due to the fact that it can be adapted into two of the best damage types in the game— Toxin and Electricity creates the armor-stripping Corrosive damage, while Toxin and Cold creates Viral damage, which increases the amount of damage that enemies take per proc.
    • The Kuva Chakkhurr, a flintlock rifle (yes, seriously) that has the highest base damage of all semi-automatic rifles, with a base status chance of 27% and a base critical chance of 50%, which can get boosted up to 150% even without Rivens, deals extra damage on headshots. It was also (prior to Update 27.2) one of the only weapons that dealt Blast damage that didn't kill its user if they hit something that was too close to it, yet it still counted as a launcher!. The only things really holding the weapon back are the below-average ammo maximum, the fact that it uses the uncommon sniper ammo type, and its abysmal three-second reload time.
    • The Kuva Nukor, a variant of the Nukor Pistol. The base Nukor's gimmick is that it has an amazing base status chance, while having one of the lowest critical chances in the game at only 3%— but has a 4x critical damage multiplier. The Kuva Nukor has a still not-great 7% critical chance, but also has a 5x critical multiplier, which can go up to 10.5x before Rivens. But wait, there's more— while the base Nukor can only damage one enemy at a time, the Kuva Nukor sends out additional beams on contact with an enemy, chaining together up to four enemies with hilarious results.
    • The Kuva Bramma, a bow that fires explosive bolts that detonate into cluster bombs, which deal a lot of damage, combined with the second-fastest draw speed of all bows. Prior to the removal of Self-Damage in Update 27.2, this was considered one of the few self-damage weapons worth the risk just because of how powerful it was— even after several other weapons were gutted due to self-damage being replaced with a high amount of knockback and damage falloff from the center of the blast, it's still highly used and coveted.
  • The Redeemer Prime. It had its ups and down, starting out as a 100% status chance shotgun (which was a melee weapon with infinite ammo) that could exploit exponential scaling with pre-nerfed Condition Overload, then after Melee 3.0 it became a status/crit hybrid, and then once the shutgun-status nerf hit the scene, the weapon became a heavy-attack crit nuke instead, and it was the go-to weapon for bursting down the tanky Condrix bosses in the Scarlet Spear event. No matter what happens to the meta, the Redeemer Prime just trucks along as one of the heaviest hitters anyway.

  • The current crit/status melee meta is enabled by four mods:
    • Blood Rush gives a stacking critical chance multiplier based on the combo multiplier, eventually allowing any weapon to reach orange and red crits.
    • Weeping Wounds gives a similar stacking multiplier to status chance at higher combo multipliers.
    • Condition Overload gives a flat 120% base damage boost based on the number of status effects affecting the enemy.
    • Berserk, a mod which increases melee attack speed with each hit.
    • With these combined, they turn any suitable weapon into a blender. Blood Rush provides extra critical hits, which triggers Berserk, which leads to more attack, raising the combo multiplier, which gives more status chance, which then, combined with the increased attack speed, allows more status effects to be inflicted so that Condition Overload would give greater damage buffs.
  • Hunter Munitions and Hunter Adrenaline, easily acquirable from the periodic Ghoul Purge event. The former gives a 30% chance to inflict a Slash proc on a critical hit. This, combined with a high-fire rate, high crit chance weapon can allow the player to kill level 120+ enemies via Death of a Thousand Cuts by piling armor-ignoring bleed effects on them. The latter converts 45% of incoming damage to the frame's health into energy. This might sound bad at first, but there are quite a number of frames (Saryn, Inaros, Nidus, etc.) who either don't have shields to begin with, or have ways to quickly heal back damage, allowing them to quickly gather Energy and use and abuse their abilities with impunity.
    • And this isn't mentioning the other sources of healing available
  • Adaptation is a mod that can make almost any frame, baring the absolute squishiest, borderline immortal. It gives stacking damage reduction based on the damage that you are taking, up to a staggering 90%. It's only available from Arbitrations, but anyone who owns it can tell you it's well worth it.
  • Umbral Mods, in exchange of their high cost and inability to forma slots for them, provide much higher bonuses than their vanilla counterparts, allowing resourceful players to create even more broken builds in exchange of a lot of time and effort.
    • With the release of Umbral forma, Umbral mods have become even more powerful if you can manage to set polarities for them on your warframe and weapons, allowing just about everything to have easy access to these mods for half the cost. The only thing keeping them in check is their extreme rarity.
  • The so-called "Corrupted" Mods obtained from the Orokin Derelict vaults definitely qualify— they give a massive upside, but also a fairly sizable downside. With the right build, the downsides can become irrelevantnote  or even a straight upgradenote .
    • Special note has to be given to the combination of the Vectis sniper rifle and the Depleted Reload and Charged Chamber mods. The Vectis has a magazine capacity of 1 (2 for the Vectis Prime), and Depleted Reload decreases magazine capacity, but increases reload speed, meaning that there is literally no penalty for equipping it onto the Vectis. Charged Chamber is a mod that increases the damage on the 1st shot fired from a sniper rifle's clip by 40%, and has an upgraded version called Primed Chamber (that's not a prime mod) that increases the first shot damage by 100%— and with the Vectis having only one shot and reloading in less than half a second with Depleted Reload... yeah.
  • Certain Augments certainly fit this category. Ivara's Infiltrate (allows her to ignore spy vault defenses), Excalibur's Chromatic Blade (makes his already really powerful 4th even more broken by applying elemental damage based on emissive color and grants it large amounts of status chance), Nezha's Reaping Chakram (makes his Chakrams even deadlier and also free health dispensers), Rhino's Ironclad Charge (makes him able to supercharge his already game-breaking Iron Skin ability), Ash's Fatal Teleport (with a Covert Lethality Dagger, he can automatically one-shot everything not immune to the effect), Inaros' Negation Swarm (makes them practically immune to status procs) Loki's Irradiating Disarm (makes his disarm into one of the game's best Crowd Control abilities), Banshee's Resonance (makes her damage booster infectious) and Resonating Quake (makes her able to swipe entire rooms clean of enemies in one cast), Hydroid's Pilfering Swarm (makes enemies drop additional loot) are just some of the more glaring examples.
  • Riven Mods. There's an incredible amount of RNG and grinding involved with them, from only fitting on a single, randomly-chosen weapon, to grinding out the resource needed to randomise its effects - but they have multiple effects in one mod, with the right combination of effects for their weapon, they can easily take otherwise middling weapons to great, and good weapons to ridiculous levels, thanks to being able to do the job of multiple mods in one. The only thing that keeps them in relative check are semi-regular adjustments to weapons' Riven disposition, which affects how strong (or weak) a Riven's effects are for a given weapon.

    Other game mechanics 
  • The Zenurik focus tree is specialized in energy recovery, which makes it the first school most people unlock. In particular, the Energizing Dash ability gives a massive 150 energy over 30 seconds, allowing most frames to abuse their abilities to their heart's content.
  • Due to the way status chance calculations work, reaching 100% status chance on a shotgun, before multi-shot mods, allows each individual shotgun pellet to proc a status effect with 100% certainty. Depending on the build, this can be easily abused to strip enemy armor, pile slash procs on them, infect them with Viral to temporarily halve their maximum HP, or all of the above.
    • This have been heavily nerfed in early 2020, but some shotguns are still capable of it.
  • The critical damage calculations can also lead to runaway results. If a weapon with 100 damage has a 100% crit chance and a 3x multiplier, it will deal 300 damage. If it has more crit chance, it has a chance for an "orange crit", which would deal 900 damage. Consequently, if they had a 200+% crit chance, they could get "red crits", which would deal 2700 damage.
    • Sadly, due to the melee changes brought by update 26, reaching high enough critical chance for such damage numbers became much harder, but since the underlying calculations remained the same, with Rivens and certain mod and ability combinations, abusing the system is still entirely viable.
  • The Conservation mechanic can make getting standing with Solaris United stupidly easy, especially at higher ranks— completely botching the capture of a Kubrodon still rewards 1,000 standing. This is even easier on Cetus, where echo-lures aren't locked behind rank.

Nothing lasts forever, and in a constantly evolving live service game, yesterday's game breaker can turn into today's run-of-the-mill with a single update.

  • Loki is considered to be bit of a troll-frame, but when used by a skilled player, he is practically unkillable due to a single ability: Invisibility. A properly modded Loki with Zenurik focus can regenerate more energy while invisible than what it cost to cast it, meaning he can stay permanently stealthed, and while it doesn't necessarily make him invincible, in the hands of a skilled player, it might as well do.
    • On top of his invisibility, Loki's other signature move is his Radial Disarm, which when combined with his augment, Irradiating Disarm, makes so that all enemies in his very respectable range would lose their ranged weapons and start attacking each other. It is not impossible to clear entire missions with Loki just by spamming this ability, without firing a single shot.
    • Unfortunately for him, changes to the meta and tweaks to the invisibility mechanics made Loki slowly become obsolete, with other frames being able to do everything he can, without being saddled with two mostly useless abilities.
  • Nyx's Chaos is another very good crowd-control solution, ensuring that the only threat to Nyx is when the Energy is low. In addition, her passive is that enemies will be 20% less accurate when targeting Nyx (except while Absorb is active).
    • Due to the way the meta developed, and the advent of Revenant, who can do most of what Nyx can, but better, she has been considered to be the weakest frame in the game, despite numerous tweaks and a full rework from DE.
  • Similarly to Ivara, Limbo is a frame that can completely trivialize and circumvent the main mechanics of certain mission types. First off, Limbo is capable of entering into the Rift Plane just by dashing, where he is literally invincible, allowing him to go through entire maps unmolested at the cost of not being able to deal damage himself. He can, however, use his Cataclysm ability combined with Stasis to create a bubble where enemies are frozen in time and enemies outside of the bubble cannot deal damage to anyone inside of the bubble. Like this, a Limbo modded for maximum duration can put a Cataclysm bubble on a defense target, mobile defense console or excavator, and then just sit back and laze around in the Rift Plane occasionally recasting Stasis without having to face any difficulties. However, while a skilled Limbo player is practically invincible and can solo even sortie missions of these types, they are consistently hated by most of the player-base because they really don't work well with a team, and newbies in particular, who have no idea of how to take advantage of the Rift Plane and his Cataclysm bubbles can easily get locked out of the loop - or if the newbie's using Limbo, actively hinder their team.
    • While he can still cheese a few game modes, due to the evolving metagame, Limbo has been mostly relegated to a gimmicky frame with better alternatives available.
  • Broken War, the damaged version of Stalker's new sword from "The Second Dream". Stats roughly on par with Dragon Nikana, plus it's a longsword compatible with the already-lethal Crimson Dervish stance. It instantly made most other melee weapons of its time obsolete. Most damningly, you get it for free just for finishing the quest...AND it comes with its own Catalyst and weapon slot!
    • Although it was considered special back in its day, and it is undoubtedly useful for new players due to the things mentioned above, due to power-creep and changes in the meta, Broken War can hardly be considered more than average anymore.
  • A properly-modded Tonkor will annihilate anything in explosive range. Serration, Point Strike, Vital Sense, Split Chamber and Hammer Shot are pretty much requisites. If you're lucky enough to have acquired Bladed Rounds, that will add an additional 3x to the critical damage multiplier, otherwise, Heavy Caliber is a reasonable substitute. After that, set up the mod configuration tabs for specific mission areas using the last two mod slots (Corrosive for Grineer, Toxic to bypass Corpus shields, and max Blast for Infested, mixed enemy types and everything else), and you're good to go. You'll need six Forma to unleash its full potential, but after that, its explosives will kill virtually anything that isn't a boss in one hit, or two if the first happens to not crit.
    • The Tonkor was eventually nerfed to give it lethal amounts of friendly-fire like the rest, making it far less safe to use, but with enough perseverance and caution (or the right frame, such as a Nidus built for spamming Larva) it can still do a lot of damage. Unfortunately, due to the availability of safer and more powerful alternatives, most players only use it for nostalgia anymore.
  • The Tigris Prime can reach 100% status chance (which means every pellet will always trigger a status effect, instead of an overall chance of at least something triggering an effect). Unlike the earlier 100% status shotguns (the Strun Wraith and the Boar Prime), the Tigris Prime has ridiculous base damage (meaning the disadvantage of status builds in terms of raw damage is largely negated), a damage distribution heavily biased toward Slash damage (which is a damage-over-time status effect that ignores shields and armor and can stack with itself, making it a player favorite). A properly built Tigris Prime will melt most mobs with its raw damage like the other top-tier shotguns, and unlike those damage-oriented shotguns, when its raw damage doesn't suffice (mostly against heavily-armored foes at Level 120+ or so), the Slash status effects you inflict on that enemy will still kill it within seconds without requiring another shot (and there's nothing stopping you from firing another shot anyway). It is mainly balanced (with the other top-tier shotguns) by the lack of the healing utility found on the Sancti Tigris, its New Loka syndicate brethren, as well as the highest mastery rank requirement of all weapons at the time (13, shared with the Galatine Prime).
    • After the status chance of shotguns got nerfed into the ground, the Tigris Prime lost almost all of its appeal, and while its huge base damage can still erase enemies on the star chart, it became incredibly underwhelming in late-game content to the point it is rarely ever seen anymore.
  • Maiming Strike is memetic for single-handedly creating the "spin to win" meta. It makes it so that when the player's frame is doing a spinning melee strike during a slide, their weapon gets extra 90 percentage points to base critical chance. This means that a weapon with a 25% critical hit chance will have a guaranteed crit, and 15% chance for an upgraded crit.
    • Update 26 and the melee rework made it so that the critical chance bonus no longer applies to the base critical chance. This means that, while it's still usable, Maiming Strike and crit-chance on slide Rivens are hardly game-breaking anymore.
  • Covert Lethality allows daggers to instantly kill enemies regardless of their health or armor on a melee finisher. This would normally only work on unaware enemies, but there are a number of warframes with crowd control abilities that open enemies up to finisher attacks, allowing tank frames like Inaros to systematically murder their enemies one by one regardless of their level.
    • Update 26 strikes again: this mod now only increases finisher damage, making the aforementioned tactic no longer viable.


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