Warframe isn’t really known for having scaling damage. Sure, there are abilities that scale to high levels in various ways. Some abilities, like Octavia’s Mallet, scale based on enemy damage, making them valuable for long survival missions. But most Warframes have some sort of limit. In fact, most frames lack endurance. But what if there was an item that could provide a way to kill any enemies, regardless of level?
For a while, there was such a way to do just that.
It was called Covert Lethality.
Covert Lethality was a mod that could only be used on single Daggers. Whenever you performed a finisher kill on an enemy, that enemy would die, regardless of their level. Covert Lethality would ignore all armour, damage resistance and damage modifiers and flat out kill its target.
And by “regardless of level”, that is genuinely what happened. You do a finisher move on someone, and they die. Combine this with anyone who can easily trigger finisher moves and you’ve got something good going on. Ash, with the Fatal Teleport augment, was always the most popular, but stealth frames Loki and Ivara were also popular. Inaros played really well with Covert Lethality, especially since he’d often be triggering finishers anyway to refill his health.
There was a limit.
Okay, you couldn’t just kill anything. There was an upper limit where Covert Lethality stopped working. But that upper limit was so high that most players would never feasibly reach it. Apparently the limit was like level 1000 or something silly. Which would require a survival mission that goes on literally for hours. To put it another way, a 1.5 hour survival on Steel Path gets you to level 500 enemies, and they START at level 120 or higher.
There were also actual drawbacks.
While Covert Lethality sounded amazing in concept, in execution, it’s not all fun and games. While you ARE invulnerable while performing finishers, finisher moves are very slow. That’s fine in something like the Index, where there are only a handful of enemies. In the normal hordes you see, this quickly becomes impractical. It takes time, energy and patience to keep all enemies around you in an easily-stunned position so they can be killed by finishers. And only a handful of frames can trigger finishers on alerted enemies.
And as enemy levels grow, the chance of you being killed between each finisher you perform increases. Even if you ARE teleporting around as Ash or invisible as Loki.
Oh, and not everything can be killed by a finisher move. Kubrows, Kavats, Grineer Rollers and Corpus Ospreys for example cannot be killed by finishers at all.
Despite its drawbacks though, it was still great.
Sure, the mod was kinda niche. Even in most Warframe content, it simply wasn’t needed. And most bosses were resistant to Covert Lethality anyway. Since you needed to use daggers, the mod never really became that popular, because there were never really many actually good daggers. To this day, the best dagger is probably the Rakta Dark Dagger, although Zaw daggers give it a run for its money.
But when Melee 3.0 came out, Covert Lethality was nerfed into the ground. It became completely worthless.
Today’s Covert Lethality is a ghost of its former self.
In fact, Covert Lethality is not worth using at all. Its modern day stats are a far cry from what Covert Lethality used to be. For 13 drain, you get +16 initial combo and +100% finisher damage.
Those don’t sound too bad, but for the mod capacity, they’re not really worth it. The +16 initial combo isn’t even enough to get you to a combo counter of x2, and the finisher damage can be gotten for cheaper elsewhere. Heck, the finisher damage doesn’t even make that much sense because Daggers actually have the worst damage output when it comes to finishers. The other bonus of +100% finisher damage brings dagger finisher damage up to nearly the same level as LITERALLY ANY OTHER WEAPON. Daggers have x4 finisher damage, and get either x6 or x8 (I’m not sure how the maths is calculated here) with Covert Lethality. Pretty much every other damage type has a minimum x6 or x8 finisher damage multiplier.
And if that doesn’t dissuade you enough, you’re very limited on what weapons you can use. Only the Rakta Dark Dagger, the Karyst Prime and Dagger Zaws are even worth considering, and are more easily replaced by a lot of other weapons. Plus, well, they’re all daggers, with tiny reach and little damage.
Rest in peace, Covert Lethality.
We’ll probably never get anything that comes close to Covert Lethality. A unique mod for an underused weapon type. Maybe one day though, it’ll be buffed into something that’s at least somewhat usable.
But I doubt it.