Picture this: You’re kinda new to Warframe. You’ve unlocked a nice handful of planets. But things are starting to get tough. You want to stick more mods into your Warframes but you only have one Orokin Reactor available. Which Warframe should you stick a golden potato in, with which to get the most mileage? Which Warframe is the best all-rounder who will carry you the rest of the way through the solar system?
A quick note, I’m mainly looking at easy-to-get Warframes. Starter Warframes are always a good choice to potato though, as you’ll most likely know their ins and outs quite nicely. Volt is quite easy to build for, the hardest mods you need are Syndicate mods and the primed versions of Flow and Continuity (although the normal versions work fine). Mag is tricky, and frankly rather squishy after a while.
Trinity Frost and Excalibur
I WAS going to put Trinity here. She used to be available from Ceres, by defeating Lech Kril and Vor, but as of Jan 11th 2018, she was moved to Pluto and locked away behind the tedious-as-heck Ambulas fight. Frost, who was my other choice for fourth place alongside Excalibur, now takes her place on Ceres, while Excalibur is available from Lech Kril on Mars. As Excalibur is now available much earlier on in the game, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t recommend him.
Excalibur’s nice because he doesn’t need complicated mods. A bit of Intensify will carry you a long way, as will a single Streamline. Throw a Pressure Point on your melee weapon as well and you’ve got a pretty easy way to tear through hordes of enemies with Exalted Blade. You don’t need any fancy mods at all. Radial Blind, uh, blinds enemies. Slash Dash also kinda does as it says, slashing enemies as you dash forward. Really Exalted Blade is Excalibur’s pride and joy, a magical sword that shoots rays of death as you swing it around. Excalibur also has a bit of extra tankiness because of his melee-induced ways.
But you have to put some mods on him. As always, a Vitality will take you a long way, as will an Intensify. Streamline means more sword-swinging time. You can use Continuity to increase duration for Radial Blind, but it’s not game-ruining if you don’t have one.
This is great and all, unless you picked Excalibur as your starter.
If not, Frost IS a worthy choice here, even if he is now locked away on Ceres. Frost’s innate slight tankiness, his simple abilities that all have some form of crowd control and his incredibly useful Snow Globe (which gains more health if you cast it multiple times in one spot) are all incredibly handy abilities, and there are few times you shouldn’t use them.
A quick note on Frost though, don’t leave Snow Globes everywhere as you can’t shoot through them from the outside. If you are no longer protecting an area, stand outside and shoot the snow globe with a snowball (his 1) and the globe will shatter in a glorious, snowy explosion.
Both Excalibur and Frost are pretty easy to build as well.
The very angry tortured kitty of a Warframe comes in at number 3 because honestly there is very little that can withstand her furious claws. I mean, yeah, you can use War Cry to buff your armour and attack speed, you can use Ripline to throw enemies around as if they’re ragdolls and you can use Paralyze to damage and stun nearby enemies at the cost of what little shields you have, but why do any of that when you can tear everything to shreds with your claws of death and destruction?
The only downside is that you will need a somewhat strong melee weapon, because Hysteria’s damage is partially based on your melee weapon, but your basic Pressure Point and elemental mods will help a lot. Apart from that, you’ll just need your standard Steel Fiber, Vitality, Intensify, Flow and Streamline. Redirection is not worth it due to how little shields Valkyr has. If you can, get Rage as well (or its equivalent Hunter Adrenaline, available on the Plains) since any damage you take is converted into energy.
Valkyr is obtained on Jupiter, by killing Alad V and his pet Zanuka. You can also get Valkyr Prime, who has more slots with polarities.
Oberon’s pieces drop from Eximus enemies, the larger, stronger enemies with random auras around them, meaning technically Oberon can be obtained from anywhere. Oberon is a balance between supportive abilities and offensive abilities, mostly based around radiation damage, which causes enemies to attack each other. His first ability will knock down enemies and do radiation damage to them. His second ability, Hallowed Ground, makes you immune to a large number of status effects while you stand on it, and again causes enemies to attack each other. Renewal heals both you and nearby allies at the cost of energy drained over time, and when people stand on Hallowed Ground, they also gain extra armour. Reckoning looks cool, as you lift enemies up and slam them in the ground. It is a somewhat good way to give yourself a second to get out of a tight spot, and can lower enemy armor if used on Hallowed Ground, but it is more of an emergency ability.
Most people like to use high efficiency with Oberon, but a standard Streamline will do the job for lower levels. You’ll also want a Vitality, Intensify and Flow. Continuity for duration is also helpful, but the set mod Augur Message is much easier to obtain from low level bounties.
An added bonus of Oberon is that he looks awesome, and his alternate helmets are pretty common in alerts. Oberon Prime is also somewhat easily available and is even stronger than normal Oberon.
Invulnerability, crowd control AND a way to buff team mates! Rhino has a little bit of everything and is almost a foolproof character. You can build him in a ton of different ways and Rhino is almost always useful. Iron Skin is basically a stronger version of Nezha’s Warding Halo, Roar buffs both your damage and the damage of nearby allies, based on your power strength and Stomp stuns nearby enemies, making them float in midair and leaving them completely vulnerable. Even Rhino Charge is good, as it ragdolls any enemies you hit and, with the Stretch mod, allows you to travel quite long distances – useful for the Plains of Eidolon.
You can build what you want on Rhino, but like Valkyr, you’ll want Steel Fiber and Vitality for armour and health. Stretch is handy for making Stomp affect more enemies. Intensify and Continuity, for strength and duration, are good for Roar. As Rhino has low energy levels, you’ll most likely also want a Flow in there as well.
These four Warframes all have a little bit of everything, but most importantly, they’re rather tanky and work well with basic mods. It’s worth investing an Orokin Reactor in these guys.
And if you need more Orokin Reactors (and Orokin Catalysts), check both Alerts and Invasions regularly. There is also always one or the other available as a Gift of the Lotus, when Warframe Prime Time streams are on. These alerts last 24 hours, so there’s plenty of time to get them.
Good luck, Tenno!