Garuda is the Warframe that was released alongside Fortuna, having been hyped as the “blood and gore” Warframe. But after I worked my ass off trying to get her… it turns out I don’t like Garuda. And it seems as though I’m the minority when it comes to that opinion.
Right off the bat, Garuda is a bit of a problem. You see, she LOOKS like she is easy to obtain. Her blueprint is acquired after the Vox Solaris quest that introduces you to Fortuna and her component blueprints drop The drop rates on her Neuroptics, Chassis and Systems are all actually alright, on par with Gara in Plains of Eidolon bounties. But like Gara, you need to components from the nearby open world area before you can build her. Sure, Gara needs some gems and fish oil, that’s alright, but Garuda requires Cove, the second highest rank obtainable, with Solaris United!
To put it simply, you can’t just farm for Garuda in a day, unless you’ve already reached that level by the time you obtain Garuda’s parts. Which, if you’re doing bounties, you won’t be, because her components do drop pretty easily. There are worse grinds out there, particularly the likes of Khora and Ivara, but Garuda’s grind gives you false hope. And really, because standing is time-gated, possibly takes longer.
Anyway, I obtained Garuda as fast as I possibly could. I had all her blueprints in a day. It took a good week to get to the rank of Cove. I could have shaved a day off if I hadn’t bought the fishing spear, tranq gun, animal lures and blueprints for Orb Vallis gems and minerals, but what’s the point of raising my standing if I’m not going to ever buy any of the new stuff? Anyone who wanted to try MOAs or Kitguns or whatever in the mean time would have needed even more time to get Garuda. Actually, Garuda’s farm was somewhat unique in the fact that you could tell who farmed for Garuda and who bought her with Platinum. Anyone under MR23-24 within the first 4-5 days of Fortuna who had Garuda HAD to have bought her with Platinum since no one could obtain the rank of Cove within the first 4-5 days of Fortuna. And Smokefinger didn’t even sell any of the rare gems required either.
But what about Garuda herself?
Well, she’s, uh, weird.
Her first ability makes you leap towards a target and gives you a carried shield, just like Volt’s electric shield. It also gives you a weird squelchy blood ball which increases in damage the more you use her first ability. The ball can be thrown by holding your 1 button, and frankly you need to really charge it up for it to do any damage.
Her second ability turns an enemy into a blood alter, which heals you and allies in a nearby radius. It’s alright but lacks the mobility of most other healing abilities.
Garuda’s third ability is literally an on-demand version of Rage or Hunter Adrenaline. You lose health in exchange for energy. You can’t kill yourself with it though, I tried, you go down to 2 health minimum. You can very easily die to everything else though.
Her fourth ability is a hold-and-charge sort of thing that does slash damage to nearby enemies. I guess it looks cool but the animation seems off (especially if you cast while running around) and apart from the bleeds, it doesn’t seem to have much… of an impression.
Basically, Garuda’s first three abilities all feed into each other. You cast 1 to get yourself a shield. You then cast 3 to get yourself some energy. Then you use some of that energy to create a healing area. Then you use 1 again to refresh your shield. Then you get yourself some more energy again and cast Blood Altar when that runs out. Then you cast 1 again and get a shield then…
It’s a circle. It’s a circle that does make Garuda hard to kill, especially if you use Quick Thinking (which drains energy whenever you take damage that would otherwise kill you) but apart from being hard to kill, Garuda doesn’t have much else to offer.
Like, sure, she can heal team mates. But so can Oberon, Trinity, Harrow and Khora, and none of them require you to stand in one place.
Sure, Garuda can do a lot of slash damage, but so can Equinox, more easily and over a wider area. Heck, the Tigris does more reliable slash damage.
Garuda can have a shield to block damage, but it only protects herself, unlike Frost, Gara, Limbo, Khora and Volt and their shields.
And lastly, you can stack her blood clot thing indefinitely, but there are other indefinitely-stacking Warframes around, many of which are quicker or easier to do, and don’t trap you in a pretty long animation.
I don’t know where Garuda fits in. She could be called a generalist, but she doesn’t really have any defining features, and without the use of high armour, health and the Quick Thinking mod, she’s easy to kill as well. I’ve been playing around with some builds and just… I don’t know what makes her work.
The only things that stick out for me are Garuda’s looks and her passive. Her passive means she gets more damage the less health she has, and if you don’t have a melee weapon equipped, you can upgrade and use Garuda’s talons instead. The talons are actually pretty good and you can use any of the three existing claw stances available, but they don’t even sit properly on Garuda’s hands.
Clearly though, it’s just me. Because I haven’t really seen anyone else dislike Garuda as much as I do. If anything, I feel Garuda is worse than Revenant, because while Revenant isn’t very strong, he has a pretty good theme, and people instantly complained that Revenant could be better, with tons of suggestions on what he could do to be better. I’m not seeing that at all with Garuda. But I’m also not seeing Garuda being used.
My recommendation? There’s no rush to get Garuda. Not yet anyway. She does what other frames do, just with more blood.