Have you seen Stalker recently? If you’ve been doing the Complete 3 Assassinations task from Nightwave lately, then the answer is probably yes. But even if you haven’t, the Stalker appearing out of nowhere and attacking is a pretty regular thing. Stalker always says that he’ll kill us, make us pay for what he did, but after a while, he’s just… not a threat any more.
Originally though, Stalker was terrifying. Stalker was an enemy on our level, capable of using Warframe abilities and more than one weapon. His Despair Kunai were thrown with deadly slicing accuracy, his Hate scythe looked menacing as heck and his Dread bow would cleanly take the head off any Warframe who stopped moving for too long. Stalker also reliably used a collection of abilities, most notably a version of Nyx’s Absorb and Oberon’s Reckoning. Combined with the ability to teleport and disappear in clouds of smoke, the original Stalker was a genuine threat even to veterans if he ever caught them off guard. Especially if Stalker uses Absorb while standing on top of a cryopod…
But after players complete the Second Dream, the Stalker gets an upgrade. His dealings with Hunhow and the Sentients means the Stalker managed to nab himself some nice Sentient armour and the massive Sentient sword known as the War. Calling himself Shadow Stalker now, Stalker also gains something else – Sentient damage resistances – but in doing so ditches all his other weapons. And most of his abilities. All he is left with is Mag’s pull, Rhino’s Charge and Excalibur’s Exalted Blade, two of which he already had. He also gets a variant of Mirage’s disco ball of death, which genuinely is lethal. His War is also far more damaging than the Hate was, but Stalker loses his normal ranged weapons.
This upgrade seems great at first. You can’t just kill him in a couple of shots from your Hek or fill him full of bullets like you normally do. Nope, you have to deal with Shadow Stalker’s adaptive resistances. The more you shoot at him with a particular damage type, the less and less damage he takes from it. If you only brought weapons of one particular damage type, you’re kinda screwed and basically have to chip him down insanely slowly…
That is, unless you have your Operator available.
You see, your Space Kid, as flimsy as he may be, can completely and utterly negate that troublesome damage resistance. All it takes is one blast and those resistances are gone.
Between the Second Dream and the War Within, you only have Transcendence with which you can access your Operator. Using Transcendence means you can shoot a powerful beam from your Operator for 10 seconds, before returning to your Warframe and recharging again. This takes 3 minutes to charge from the beginning of a mission, and should Shadow Stalker appear while Transcendence is powering up, all you can do is wait.
After the War Within though, you can use Transference and leave your Warframe completely. Doing so enables you to directly shoot Shadow Stalker with void energy, which absolutely tears him to shreds. Even a freshly War Within’d Operator can make much shorter work of Shadow Stalker, simply because they can shoot Shadow Stalker once, reset his damage resistances and shoot him again.
Heck, once you’ve gotten yourself a level 2 Amp (by reaching rank 2 with the Quills), the secondary fire of an Amp alone will destroy Stalker in a few hits, while you can hide safely in Void Mode. On top of that, dying as an Operator doesn’t count towards Stalker’s revenge, meaning you can just keep on tanking hits as an Operator and not worry about Stalker actually winning. The moment you get yourself an Amp, Shadow Stalker becomes nothing more than a distraction.
So basically, Shadow Stalker ends up sucking. To the point that normal Stalker is considered WAY more powerful than Shadow Stalker. And because more and more people are reaching the Second Dream and beyond, normal Stalker, a miniboss that is actually a threat, becomes rarer and rarer.
Considering how threatening Stalker looks, it’s a bit of a shame that Shadow Stalker is just so, so lame. Really, he needs a bit of an upgrade. A second upgrade, perhaps.
I say that though, chances are, if Shadow Stalker got another upgrade, he might end up even weaker…