Going Against the Grain – Warframe Builds Without Min-Maxing

In Warframe, it’s common to min-max a build. By that, I mean that many people build a weapon or character to excel in one specific aspect. For example, a person playing Titania might build her to maximize her Razorwing ability, while letting other abilities fall by the wayside. Or perhaps a Saryn player might put her entire kit into spreading spores as much as possible. Trinity is a good example of min-maxing, as you either put as much duration on as possible for Blessing, or you have as little duration on as possible so you can spam Energy Vampire.

My Trinity Prime build. And even this isn't completely min-max'ed.
My Trinity Prime build. And even this isn’t completely min-max’ed.

If you want to do high end missions, then this is generally what you’ll do. You’ll concentrate on the most efficient way to make the most out of the most powerful part of your kit.

I don’t do that though. I can’t stand it. I like having more than one ability being available to use. While most Warframe builds do allow you to use your other powers (things like a Fast Nova build, which has negative power strength to speed enemies up is one of the few exceptions), I always felt like you’re not getting the most out of your Warframe.

The most obvious build of mine where I obviously don’t min-max is my Volt build. While none of my stats are particularly strong, having 140% power strength, duration and efficiency means I have a nice, rounded build. It also means I don’t need a corrupted mod to increase one of those further and I have leftover room for an extra survival mod (Vigor – extra shields and health) and a space for my augment, either Shocking Speed for normal missions or Capacitance for sorties. Having the extra survival mod (plus Guardian on my good old Carrier) means I can go for just a bit longer than normal. Plus, really, putting everything into Speed is too much, you end up running so fast you can’t always keep up. Well, a slow person like me can’t, and using a min-maxed Speed on other players is going to annoy and confuse them as well.

My Volt build. I could change Vigor out for another mod, but I like having 420 health.
My Volt build. I could change Vigor out for another mod, but I like having 420 health.

The same goes with good old Frost. While he doesn’t get used as much as he used to, ever since I got Rhino and Nidus, I have a pretty rounded build for him too. I build him so that my Snow Globes are pretty strong, but so is Avalanche and Ice Wave. Actually, Nidus is worth mentioning too, since I’ve got a bit of everything on him too, range, duration and efficiency. After all, Nidus is an ability-spammer, but you also want things like your Parasitic Link and your garden of wobbling phallic maggot dispensers to last a while.

My Carrier has a similar treatment. While my Floating Nut Sack Prime (because I finally built Carrier Prime…) has no weapon and can’t attack things, it has a nice, all-round utility build. It gives me ammo, it sucks things towards me, it provides (an admittedly rather weak) shield while I revive people AND it boosts my shields should they be depleted, with a 60 second cooldown – very useful for recovering from screw ups and doing Hijack missions.

Of course, this is why we have multiple builds. On Trinity, I have my min-maxed Energy Vampire build, but I also have a second build which has extra power strength so I can make more use of Blessing as well. I also have a high power strength Speed build for Volt, which I rarely use because it requires sacrificing my survival mods. I fuck up too much to go without enhanced shields and health.

But this added survival stuff has saved my ass more times than I can count. Seriously, I recently did a Sortie mission with three Rhinos while playing Volt and came out with most damage dealt AND least damage. A Volt, compared to three Rhinos who all have invulnerability at the press of a button.

Okay, sure, there’s plenty of times where that maxed out Warframe is going to outperform me, but at least I’ll still be alive to pick them up off the ground.

A bunch of random Warframes.
A bunch of random Warframes.

Really at the end of the day, whether you decide to min-max or not is up to you. But you need to build around what you want your Warframe to do, not what everyone else recommends or whatever is strongest.


Also known as Doctor Retvik Von Schreibtviel, Medic writes 45% of all the articles on the Daily SPUF. A dedicated Medic main in Team Fortress 2 and an avid speedster in Warframe, Medic has the unique skill of writing 500 words about very little in a very short space of time.

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