The Life and Grind of a Kuva Lich – My Thoughts So Far

The biggest focus of Warframe’s The Old Blood update is the fact that everyone gets their own customized boss that pisses players off and can only be killed in a certain way – with special mods only obtainable via relics obtained by Kuva Floods and Siphon missions. And frankly, so far, I’m not a fan.

Don’t get me wrong, the Kuva Liches themselves are pretty neat. The personalities are cool, they look cool and they do kinda feel a bit threatening when they’re not being amusing. The actual Liches are genuinely a good thing and are pretty well randomized, except for the fact that certain frames will grant you certain types of Lich and the list is somewhat arbitrary – for example, a Lich born from an Oberon has Toxin damage rather than the far more obvious Radiation damage.

And once that Lich has spawned, it will affect an entire planet, claiming it as its own and stealing any loot you earn there, even outside of its controlled territory Grineer-only missions. Your Lich is now a permanent, immortal threat who will complain that you tore his limbs off over and over even though you have video footage of an Oberon shooting a Kuva Larvaling in the head with the Kuva Seer dropped from the Oberon’s previous Lich. In fact, you ONLY get to kill the Lich twice – when you create him and when you get the mod combination right.

Seriously, this Lich is essentially invulnerable to you now. Sure, you can hurt it, but unless you get INSANELY LUCKY with Requiem Mod combinations, your Lich WILL insta-kill you once you try to stab it. You can’t even avoid it (unless you actively avoid them), they just break your back and throw you on the ground and force you to use a revive. This actually bothers me more than it should – it’s an inescapable death that you can’t avoid unless you stay away from the Lich completely. They don’t reduce your health to zero like you do to them, they just instantly kill you.

But it’s not HARD to defeat a Kuva Lich, it’s completely random. The enemies are Sortie-level (level 60-120-ish depending on your Lich’s level), so if you can reliably do sorties, it’s not that hard. No, the problem is that you’re fighting pure randomness.

Kuva Lich Influence
The influence of my current Kuva Lich

The first stage of randomness comes from even getting relics. Kuva Siphons only have a 50% chance of rewarding a Requiem Relic and Kuva Floods (which are time-gated missions and only spawn once an hour) are currently bugged and don’t have a 100% drop rate as advertised – but if your Kuva Lich is present, then they have a random chance to steal your Kuva Relic.

Then you need to open the relic on a fissure in the Kuva Fortress. But the Requiem Mods are all uncommon rewards and there’s only two per relic, meaning that 1. you need the right relics to get the right mods and 2. you need to rely on randomness to actually get the mod in the first place. This is the only time where you don’t want the rare gold rewards. You’ll need to repeat this even after you’ve killed the Liches because the mods have 3 charges and disappear once a mod has been used to kill a Lich three times.

Requiem Relic Three Golds. This is actuallu a bad thing.
This is actually a bad thing.

There is more randomness to be had though, because once you have the mods, you need to work out the right combination, and this is done SOLELY with luck. Because you need a very specific mod combination to kill the Lich and each time he kills you, the Lich gets stronger. The only way to find this out is via trial and error – testing different mod setups and then going into a mission hoping that the Lich spawns.

Sure, you can go and kill 130 Thralls to work out which three mods you need, but because of the poor spawn rate of Thralls, this means you’re guaranteed to run into your Lich, who you almost certainly can’t kill and will almost certainly murder you. The time it takes to fill one Requiem Murmur, which will tell you one of the three mods you need to use (assuming it doesn’t bug out and give you a mod you already knew) is kinda long – sure, you can probably get a full murmur done in about half an hour if you get lucky with Lich-controlled missions (Mobile Defense and Survival have far higher spawns than Exterminate and Capture) but that’s still 30-70 slow-spawning Thralls at a time. Which spawn essentially at random and can sometimes be unkillable enemies like turrets. Getting killed by your Lich also gives progress, but that feels… wrong.

Rest in peace, Ladd Impa. You were great.
Rest in peace, Ladd Impa. If I’d known that you 1. dropped and ephemera and 2. would have gotten the ephemera had I spared you, I would have kept you by my side.

Even IF you get all three murmurs though, it’s STILL randomness because you need to put the mods in the right order. If you get lucky and get the first mod right and the second mod wrong, then you only need one other attempt but it’s still pure randomness whether you are right in the first place.

Assuming you have everything planned out, it can take about an hour, maybe two hours to kill a Lich, but that is under the assumption that you have all the mods already and know what you’re doing and dedicate your time to farming and killing (or sparing) this Lich. And what do you get from it? If you’re really lucky, you’ll get an Ephemera. But otherwise it’s a Kuva variant of an existing weapon with an added status effect, or the chance for your Lich to randomly help you in missions.

You also get your stolen loot back (most of it) and some peace and quiet, because I’ve already gone through all the lines male Kuva Liches have.

It’s soooo much randomness. And it’s not even fun randomness. It’s repetitive randomness that the player has little control over.

The other option is to ignore the Lich once you’ve created him, but you can’t even really do that, since their influence spreads if you ignore them. So you have no choice but to fight this bastard.


Phovos writes 50% of all the articles on the Daily SPUF since she doesn't have anything better to do. A dedicated Medic main in Team Fortress 2 and an avid speedster in Warframe, Phovos has the unique skill of writing 500 words about very little in a very short space of time.

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