There are four base elements in Warframe and six combination elements. There are also Warframes that mainly use a single element. Fire, Cold and Electricity are covered by Ember, Frost and Volt. Toxin is… kinda covered by Saryn. But she’s way more toxic than just Toxin alone. She’s viral too. She’s… something else. Oh and she’s insanely powerful.
But let’s start off with the pain in the ass it is to obtain Saryn. You see, she’s locked away behind the Kela De Thayme fight. Which is a good fight in of itself, but it requires you to fight on the arena maps before her boss node on Sedna, to earn Judgement Points to fight her. You can get 10 points at a time by doing the arena mission Nakki and killing enemies 25 times. Luckily, you only need 25 Judgement points to fight Kela De Thayme and you get 13 back if you successfully defeat Kela.
Unfortunately, when I was farming for Saryn (and an extra Systems for Chroma), you needed 100 points to fight Kela and 25 points were consumed every time. And you got way less points for doing the arena missions. I actually obtained Saryn Prime before obtaining Saryn, I just left it unclaimed in the foundry until I got normal Saryn. Saryn Prime is now vaulted, but her parts are still lurking around in a large number of common-but-also-vaulted relics.
Once you’ve got Saryn’s parts and bought her blueprint from the market, building Saryn is surprisingly cheap, especially when you consider she’s the drop from the last boss on the last planet of the game (currently).
As to what Saryn actually does once you have her? Well, she’s a weird one, with a lot of weird synergies between her powers.
Saryn’s first ability is probably her most powerful. Upon casting Spores on an enemy, nasty lumps of spores will appear on them, doing corrosive damage over time. You can pop them by shooting them or by killing whoever the spores infect, causing them to spread to other enemies.
Molt, Saryn’s second ability, is basically a more horrific version of Loki’s Decoy. You basically dump a dead skin version of yourself and use that as a decoy to distract enemies. You gain a small speed boost when using it and the first three seconds that Molt is active, it absorbs damage and adds that to its total health (like Frost’s Snow Globe or Rhino’s Iron Skin).
Toxic Lash gives you extra toxin damage to all your weapons, that doesn’t combine with whatever elements you already have on your weapons. Your now Toxin-ified weapons can now spread spores as well.
Miasma, Saryn’s fourth ability, creates a toxic cloud that deals Viral damage (changed from Corrosive damage), dealing more damage to anything affected by Spores.
Saryn’s passive is simply that status conditions (such as the damage to health over time by Toxin procs) last 25% longer.
When I originally wrote this article, Saryn’s main playstyle was to use Molt then cast Spores on it, which would cause the spores to spread to any enemy that attacked it, and would also spread with weapons with Toxin damage (making Gas weapons very strong due to the toxin clouds they make) but recently Saryn got a rework of sorts, making this incredibly easy nuke obsolete. Although on the flip side, spamming Spores at Molt was always incredibly boring.
Now, you have to put a little bit more effort in spreading your spores. The corrosive damage strips armour but does less on the unarmoured Corpus and Infested. The damage was increased, but with Spores, you need to let that damage build up over time. The difference is that you need more enemies to get that build-up going, making Saryn less efficient in missions like Rescue and Excavation where enemies are limited and much more spread out. She IS amazing in Sanctuary Onslaught though.
On the other hand, Toxic Lash is way better, it’s free Toxin damage on any weapon, with double the amount on melee. This not only preserves old Saryn Melee builds but also gives her a lot more room to build, meaning she’s not reliant on having to use Gas weapons to pop spores. This Toxin damage also is its own damage, meaning that Condition Overload (extra damage per status on your weapon) works even better with her.
But funnily enough, despite her ability to nuke rooms, Saryn is actually reasonably tanky. Her stats are all higher than other frames, rocking over 200 armour, Prime or otherwise. And Saryn Prime? She’s tied with Volt Prime and can have the highest energy pool in the game.
The best thing about Saryn? She looks cool and sexy. All her cosmetics, skins, helmets and Tennogen, are awesome. And you can totally make Down with the Sickness jokes with her.