Must-have weapons build examples and mod-setups in Warframe

Must-have weapons build examples and mod-setups in Warframe

Alright, so to kick this article off, I’m just going to give a short overview of what it will cover and contain content-wise. We will walk you through builds I, myself, am using at this moment for those weapons listed in the article “Must-have weapons in Warframe” where we listed a few weapon examples that I have good experience with and consider strong alternatives.

First we start off by analyzing base stats of a weapon to find potential viable builds and mod-setups

What I mean by this is that lets take Soma prime as an example, and let’s take a closer look at it’s base stats:

  • 28.6 accuracy
  • 30.0% critical chance
  • 3.0x critical multiplier
  • 15.00 fire rate
  • 200 magazine capacity
  • 3.0 reload
  • 10.0% status (chance)
  • Automatic
  • 1.2 Impact
  • 4.8 Puncture
  • 6.0 Slash

Alright, so we got the base stats to analyze and look over, what is the next step? Well now we can get somewhat of an idea of how this weapon can be most efficiently utilized by watching what is “hightened” for this particular weapon.

If we start from the top we can see a very high critical chance of 30% coupled with a 3x damage multiplier ON CRIT, as well as a massive magazine of 200 bullets(!).

Just from this, I kind of feel like this weapon would be good to optimize for crit, if you didn’t know it already – you want to “boost” the stats that are already high from the start since all mods affect stats with percentages, which generally means the higher the base stat – the bigger an improvement it gets from a percentage mod.

If your weapon is say Boltor Prime for example instead you have the following base stats:

  • 50.0 accuracy
  • 5.0% critical chance
  • 2.0x critical multiplier
  • 10.00 fire rate
  • 60 magazine capacity
  • 2.4 reload
  • 10.0% status (chance)
  • Automatic
  • 5.5 Impact
  • 49.5 Puncture

With a weapon like this – it may be prefered to focus on empowering the most hightened stat which in the case of the Boltor Prime would be Puncture.

If a weapon were to have base-elemental damage you might wanna focus on empowering that stat or turn it into one of its elemental combo damage types to make it most effective.

Good example on How modding in Warframe works and applies to stats

This is like for warframes – if you get a warframe with 500 base armor, it would be more worth putting on a Armor mod like Steel fiber to boost the armor with 50% making it 750, compared to putting a 50% Steel fiber armor mod on say a weaker warframe with only 65 base armor which would only end up around ca. 97.5 armor. I always found this example easy for understanding how modding in warframe works :)

Crit bonuses introduced

Remember if you manage to somehow boost your critical chance to 100%+ you will start doing Orange crits with more damage, 300% for Red crits :) Check out DMG System 2.0 for more information.


How to generally empower ALL stats of a weapon when modding in Warframe

There are a few mod-stats that will cause a “general” improvement of a weapons damage – Fire rate (increases DPS), Multishot and Damage mods are a few of these AND Punch through(!) (kind of) :P


Adding Multishot is like adding a percentage of extra amount of bullets to be fired simultaneously, which would cause the damage to tripple theoretically if you had a mod with 200% multishot.

Barrel Diffusion is the name for this mod for pistols (secondarys) as well as Lethal torrent which adds both Multishot as well as fire-rate. For rifle it’s Split Chamber that adds Multishot and for shotguns it’s Hell’s Chamber and specifically for Hek shotgun you can get Scattered Justice from Steel Meridian to add both syndicate proc as well as 200% multishot(!).


To talk a bit about Fire-rate this stat is how many bullets will be fired PER SECOND. Increasing this also increases general damage of all stats for a weapon PER SECOND since the amount of bullets per second increases. Worth remembering is that you may be firing faster which makes damage come out faster – but it is not actually “higher” damage per magazine, but the DPS (damage per second) will be higher, this also means that you probably will run out of ammunition way faster – a rifle ammunition or ammo mutation mod might be helpful if you opt for a bit of Fire rate in your mod-setup for your weapon – you could also try Magazine capacity mod and see if this would help – because theoretically this would give you more damage PER MAGAZINE compared to without it :)

Damage %

There are mods that increase Damage by a percentage per weapon – this will obviously boost ALL Stats that a weapon has to offer.

Punch through

Alright, so there are mods that can affect “Punch through” for a weapon – you might not know what this even is – well it’s how many meters a projectile can penetrate objects, enemies and cover.

So basically if you add a mod that gives a weapon +1.2m Punch through, and you have 3 enemies standing close enough together not to exceed 1m in depth, you can shoot all of them with 1 single projectile, instead of 3 if you aim correctly :)

I would argue that this way of modding could be considered “increase of overall damage” for a weapon – since each projectile gets significantly more powerful – BUT ONLY in very situational circumstances since its based on random chance of how enemies are placing themselves as well as your own positioning and a lot of other factors.

So it’s a bit of a gamble to increase weapon damage with punch through in my opinion – but I imagine it could be very useful for example Bows which take some time to fire generally.

Must-have weapon mod-setups and builds

Boltor Prime (with 3 Formas) Puncture rifle – a Grineer’s nightmare

I have tried turning my Boltor prime into somewhat of a Grineer-specific killing machine xD With corrosive, blast and some additional status chance :)

Boltor prime build mod-setup
Boltor prime build mod-setup

You can experiment to switch out the mods used to get blast (thermite rounds and cryo rounds) and just keep corrosive and try with fire-rate and/or puncture mods instead and see how that feels :)

In my build I sacrifice a bit of accuracy in order to gain additional % damage with Heavy Caliber – if you prefer to keep your accuracy you could also switch this one out to increase Fire rate with Speed Trigger or Shred for example – Shred also gives Punch through if you’re interested in this to try out :)

If you prefer, like me, to go dual elemental combo damage, and want to adapt your damage types to work well against say corpus (not that the Puncture will be very effective there) you should be able to simply switch them around – you need Toxin damage mod (Malignant force in my case – might be Infected clip in your case) closest to the Heat damage to create Gas damage which was very effective vs. Corpus enemy units and then have Electricity (stormbringer mod in my case) closest together with cryo rounds (cold damage) to get the Magnetic damage which was also very effective vs. Corpus enemy units (especially the shield ones).

Soma Prime (2 Formas) Rapid fire crit rifle

I have focused my build on Soma Prime on crit since it had 30% base critical hit chance as well as a 3x Critical hit damage multiplier. together with corrosive and cold for Void/tanky enemy units and some shields.

Soma Prime build and mod-setup
Soma Prime build and mod-setup

The damage stats to the left might not look the stongest, but I can assure you, they will suffice just fine :) With this build I generally do 1300 damage crits constantly on enemies – imagine this with a 200 ammo Magazine together with a 15 shot fire-rate per second xD, its like Rapid fire mayhem :P Also very good vs. Grineer and tanky units thanks to relatively high puncture damage – especially when empowered with corrosive and cold :)

Ignis (5 Formas) Best Infested Melter EVER – Flamethrower supreme

This beauty, and I truly mean beauty because that’s what it is – can be obtained from chem lab in a Clan Dojo. Mastery rank requirement etc. was covered in “Must-have weapons in warframe” (MR Requirement was 4, FYI).

I bring this badboy to every single infested mission and just about melts everything instantly, the beautiful thing is I don’t even have to aim properly and waste time on that, I just drag my mouse across the screen and stuff just instantly incinerates in all kinds of directions xD

Ignis has base damage of Heat, 25% status chance/second to proc since its a beam/stream weapon. And it has 2.0 Punch through xD 2 meters punching through stuff with your fire beam – you get now why I love this rifle so much? xD

Magazine capacity is 150. And since it has base heat damage, modding it for heat or heat-combined damage will obviously be increased compared to not having heat at all in the first place :P

This is my ignis infested melter build and mod-setup
This is my ignis infested melter build and mod-setup

I feel Fire-rate helps out quite a lot with beam/stream weapons hence speed trigger mod, it increases status procs per second as well by almost 24% for me. This way I can have Hellfire, Cryo rounds and Stormbringer and not the “lesser elemental damage” ones that have status chance and it’s enough with Malignant Force for some additional status chance :)

Heavy caliber reduces accuracy quite a bit, but doesn’t really matter since it should spread to the surroundings anyway in my opinion since its a flamethrower afterall.

If you feel you run out of ammo a lot and don’t have access to Team Medium/Large Ammo Restores, like I do, you might want to add in Rifle Ammo Mutation mod instead of cryo rounds to get only heat + corrosive vs. infested or something. But for me this works very well in missions :)

Another Fun thing you can try out with Ignis modding, is to remove Cryo rounds (for example) and add in the mod Combustion beam it will cause enemies to explode upon death dealing +600 damage to everything around them – it kind of extends the AoE (area of effect) capabilities of Ignis + is fun to look at :P

Shred and Wildfire are two other mods you might want to try and experiment with – to increase fire-rate and punch through as well as the heat damage and possibly even magazine capacity (not that I think it’s needed that much but it’s good to try stuff out).

Synoid Simulor (4 Formas) – 3 Elemental-combo-damage OP Syndicate weapon with secondary explosion trigger

This used to be one of the strongest weapons in Warframe back in the day when I bought it – I even bought it once I reached 125k standing with Cephalon Suda for the impactful feeling of it :)

This weapon is still quite a bit of a Beast in my opinion – requires a Mastery Rank of 12 to even get access to use, and is unique in its way to mod it so that you have 3(!) Elemental combo damage types instead of 2 which is the regular thing. It can do this thanks to it having Base Magnetic damage from the start which means no matter how you mod it, you will always have magnetic (I think). As with a lot of weapons with Base elemental damage there is a special way to manipulate the base damage to be turned into what you want (used to be possible at least) – warframe wiki might have more information about this.

Synoid simulor is not only strong because of the possible 3 Elemental damage types – it also has a “secondary trigger” which can trigger your bullets to explode(!) dealing additional secondary damage – AND it’s bullets are like black-hole generators – if you add 3 close together to one another, they will suck enemies towards them as well as loot – secondary trigger (usually bound to one of the mouse buttons) can then explode these bullets.

It also has quite high status chance of 35%.

Remember also- you don’t have to farm the syndicate points to get this weapon – at mastery rank 12 you can also buy it for plat from :) Syndicate weapons usually are around 30 plat.

Oh and one last thing about Synoid simulor is that each “Bullet” or stack as the weapon calls it – adds to the damage of the other bullets it is attracted to or in proximity with.

Synoid simulor build and mod-setup
Synoid simulor build and mod-setup

For Radiation, Viral and Magnetic you can simply swap places with Thermite Rounds and Malignant Force.

It’s a really good weapon in general, and to use to CC (crowd control) higher-level enemies  as well as collect loot :)

Vaykor Hek (2 Formas) – Massive sustained burst shotgun from Steel Meridian with focus on Puncture and crit

Vaykor Hek is one of my absolute favorite weapons in this game, it has Massive damage potential – especially Puncture damage, it also has quite high crit chance and status chance.

It’s my strongest rifle I think – especially vs. Bosses and high-level enemies, and I find it more “comfortable” than Sancti Tigris since it has a magazine of 8, and doesn’t have to reload as often and still packs quite a nice punch.

The beauty with this shotgun is that generally – you expect shotgun pellets to spread very widely making it almost impossible to hit at large distances – with Hek or Vaykor Hek this is not the case, it keeps the shotgun clusters concentrated even over long distances, which for me is amazing – obviously it’s damage is reduced compared to if it were on close range though.

Apparently according to it’s damage falloff relative to distance to target is 100% up to 10m range, and falls off to 25% at 25m range. Very interesting to know.

Even this (since being a syndicate primary weapon) requires a mastery rank of level 12.

The weapon also has a built-in “Justice effect” – similar to other effects other syndicate weapons have – that activates every 1000 affinity earned with the weapon – in this case, the effect Justice, release and AoE (area of effect) radial attack 25m around the player dealing 1000 Blast damage and staggering enemies within the range. It will also restore 25% of players Max health and provide a 25% bonus armor boost for 25 seconds :)

It has 341.3 Puncture base damage, 105.0 Slash base damage and 78.8 Impact base damage as well.

Vaykor Hek build example
Vaykor Hek build example

And as you can see xD the damage to the left gets quite insane quite easily :P

Especially the Puncture and elemental damages. I use this build for most things, but if you rather have Gas and Magnetic vs. them evul Corpus units you simply swap place of Blaze and Accelerated Blast and you can switch out the Scattering Inferno for Toxin Barrage and you will end up with almost 4k magnetic damage, and 5.8k Magnetic damage :) Which is quite good as well.

Amprex (6 Formas) – Beast Crit electrical beam rifle 125% critical chance!

This awesome and fun weapon can be obtained from the Energy lab in the Clan Dojo. With the build I’m running with I can get Red crits(!) at times which can be read more about on DMG 2.0 System in Warframe but basically they tripple the damage your weapon does and together with crit multipliers this can become a lot of damage.

It requires Mastery Rank 5 to access and use, and has a base critical chance of 50%(!) as well as 20% status chance per second and a fire-rate of 20 per second. It’s base damage is pure electricity and it has a magazine capacity of 100 and crit multiplier of 2.

With my build for it I have 125% crit chance, 51.6% status chance per second, 4.4x crit multiplier and 83.6 corrosive damage and 1.2 meter Punch through just for the fun of it :P

Amprex build and mod-setup
Amprex build and mod-setup

I run out of ammo quite often with this build, so had to put maxed Rifle ammo mutation on it xD

And now let’s move on to the Secondarys!

Atomos (3 Formas) – Hand-held “bouncing” flamethrower gun

Atomos is probably my most used secondary ever, this is because you can basically mod it for whatever mission you’re about to go to, and it has good base heat damage to work it and a neat unique ability to have it’s flamethrower beam “bounce” between enemies that are within certain range of one another – making it spread through the entire room with the proper modding by only hitting 1 single enemy :) I think this is quite nice to have to clear enemies quickly and effectively.

It requires Mastery Rank 4 to access and use and blueprint can be obtained from market – you simply just have to try this one ^^.

Atomos build and mod-setup
Atomos build and mod-setup

Ruinous extension is a Must for this weapon – it extends the range the beam can bounce between enemies :D

As with all beam/stream weapons some extra fire-rate is nice to have, hence Lethal torrent.

It’s really easy to switch it from Blast and Corrosive with this build to become Gas and Magnetic for Corpus instead – you simply swap Convulsion with Scorch and switch out Scorch with Frostbite for cold damage instead of heat damage :)

Hikou Prime (1 Forma) – Ultra-Rapid Ninja Throwing stars with good Puncture & near-instant Reload speed(!)

Hikou Prime requires a mastery rank of 4, and is Ninja-like throwing stars that can be modded to pierce almost any kind of armor with ease :)

Hikou Prime build and mod-setup
Hikou Prime build and mod-setup

Since it had a 15% status chance I chose to mod to increase this and managed to reach 78.2% as you can see which feels quite nice when it procs pretty often :)

Telos Akbolto (2 Formas) – Cool-looking Massive Puncture Syndicate pistols

These badboys require mastery rank 6 since they are syndicate secondarys but they have quite the nice damage.

They are relatives of the infamous Boltor that we could read about (Boltor prime) earlier in this article they are part of “same family” once could say.

These pistols are dual pistols and have a magazine of 30, a fire-rate of 10 bullets per second, 45.0 base puncture damage(!), 12.5% base status chance and are semi-automatic which feels good when using them on missions :P

Since these guns are from Arbiters of Hexis syndicate faction, they have the so called “Truth effect” whereas the Steel meridian weapons have the “Justice effect”. The truth effect is also an AoE but it separates itself from the Steel Meridian one by having Gas damage of 1000 instead of Blast damage and instead of additional armor for 30s it will boost your parkour moves for 30s.

Telos Akbolto build and mod-setup
Telos Akbolto build and mod-setup

On the picture you can see it being modded for Gas and Magnetic damage even though it’s base damage is not highly effective against this, if you want to change it “back” to Blast and corrosive and go for a spin vs. a few soon-to-be-impaled-to-the-wall-grineer then you simply switch Convulsion with Heated Charge (can possibly switch out Heated charge for Scorch for extra status chance) and then place heated charge where Frostbite used to be for example.

Stug (4 Formas) – Corrosive rapid-fire Acid spit gun

This fun thing requires Mastery Rank 2 to access and use.

This weapon has 156.0 base Corrosive damage(!) and apparently seem to include both inventory slot as well as catalyst! :P

I thought this gun was so much fun that I just had to Forma it to perfection, so it got 4 Formas(!) xD

Stug build and mod-setup
Stug build and mod-setup

As you can see, the corrosive and blast damage become quite high after some modding, it’s so fun to use vs. grineers xD

It basically shoots out what looks like acid spit of corrosive puddles that attach to enemies and have a delayed “melting” effect which is quite awesome in my opinion :P

Azima – Rapid fire huge magazine pistol (fun to use – reward from 100 days of login to Warframe)

This is one of the more fun rapid-fire pistols I’ve ever used, I imagine with some proper modding this could be great, as far as I know it’s only obtainable after having logged in 100 days to Warframe.

It requires a mastery rank of 5 minimum to access and use.

This pistol have two firing mechanisms, the default one is Rapid fire machine gun pistol, with 10% critical chance, 10% status chance, 10 fire-rate, 2.0x crit multiplier, 13.0 slash base damage and has a magaizine of 75(!).

Whilst the second firing mechanism is firing of a “Disc” – secondary firing mechanism can be used with a special mouse button by default for PC – same as for Synoid simulor, otherwise you can probably keybind your own to this.

I honestly don’t have a mod for this one yet, but if I had one, I’d probably bet on maximizing that Slash damage together with perhaps Heat/Corrosive or something to be really effective vs. Infested since base Slash damage.

And now onwards to the Melee Weapons!

General Melee weapon (Crit) modding (to stack into Infinite Damage) in Warframe

In Warframe there are a few key mods to use when you wish to build a Crit-build for your Melee weapon. I will list them here and Explain a bit how it works.

First off all, you probably want to have a weapon that has already good base critical hit chance, such as Galatine, or Dragon Nikana or similar.

Then you want to add a matching polarity Stance mod (for Galatine or Galatine Prime Tempo Royale is the prefered one, or Cleaving Whirlwind) so you get good amount of mod capacity from that. Then you want to add the following mods:

  • True Steel for critical chance +60%
  • Berserker for +30% (max 75%) attack speed on crit for 24s
  • Body Count to increase Combo duration with 8s
  • and Blood Rush for +% critical chance stacks with Combo Multiplier

Okay, so we got some new terms we got to sort out the understanding of here – for example what is Combo Duration and Combo multiplier?

Alright, so here’s how it works, basically every time you attack with your melee weapon within short periods of time will start a so called: “Combo Counter” – you can see this Above you Weapon interface in the bottom-right corner of the screen saying a number together with an X after. And this combo counter will track how many hits have been made. The Combo counter is RESET after 3s of not hitting any enemies with your melee – however duration can be increased with mods such as the one above: body count.

Once a certain number of hits have been made the weapon will receive a “damage multiplier” increasing the overall damage of the weapon – including both base and elemental damages. After 5 consecutive hits for example your melee weapon will get a 1.5x damage multiplier.

After achieving 3 times the previous amount of hits that gave a damage multiplier, the damage multiplier will be increased by 0.5xso for 15 consecutive hits you will get 2.0x damage multiplier for the melee weapons overall damage, after that its 3*15 = 45 which gives 2.5x damage multiplier, and I think you get the point after that.

What this means for such a mod like Blood Rush for example I think is that every time you upgrade the combo multiplier, you also upgrade your critical chance with however many % your Blood Rush gives – I could be wrong here, but I think this is how that works :)

Which means you can stack up insane amounts of damage this way with virtually no end, after long enough going without stopping attacking with your melee weapon you could probably one-shot high-level enemies if you can keep the damage multiplier alive that is ;) Take on that challenge if you dare ^^

Berserker will help to speed up the process of this insane damage stacking for melee battling :P

For more information about Combo Counter see

Combine this with Pressure point for % damage increase as well as some elemental damage the possibilities are virtually endless :)

Other than this type of melee modding – same principals go for melee weapons as you have seen earlier in this article – for example if you notice a melee weapon have high Slash damage, it might be worth looking into capitalizing on that, or if a weapon have high base status chance focus on that etc.

Wall attack

Wall attacks are basically – probably never ever used, it’s when you “latch” onto a wall with your right-click (on PC) and attack from the wall – for some weird reason this supposedly usually does increased damage for melee weapons, don’t ask me why though, because I cannot understand it myself :P

Spin attack and Leap attack

Spin attack and Leap attack you can probably somewhat understand what they mean, basically Spin attack is whenever you spin such as when your sliding alongside the floor with CTRL on PC whilst running and you then press E to attack, sometimes certain melee weapons will execute a spin attack this way.

Leap attacks on the other hand is when you attack from having jumped before attacking – one example is when you Jump up in the air, aim downwards and Melee attack – it is also known as “Slam Attack” because you execute a Slam-ground animation with this sort of attack, and this also does increased damage most of the time (can be seen in the general weapon stats under Leap attack).

Parrying (blocking projectiles with your melee weapon in Warframe)

Did you know you can become a proper Ninja in Warframe and block bullets with your sword or Melee weapon? And only by clicking your right-click (on PC) when standing still or moving slowly – this will block incoming projectiles to a certain degree – to increase your odds of being successful there are specific mods suited for this that you can equip to your weapon :P

It’s a kind of fun mechanic to block projectiles, but personally I’ve never had to use it as far as I can remember :P Fun nonetheless though ^^

Charge attacks

Did you know you can Charge your melee weapon by holding down your Melee attack key E on PC – and this will create an attack that deals around 3 times your normal damage(!) with your melee weapon.

Ground finisher attack

If you somehow managed to knock down an enemy to the ground you can stand above him aiming down at him with your melee weapon equipped and you can attack the enemy dealing “Finisher damage” which will ignore all Armor and Shields.

Food for thought ;)


Do you actually know what adding a Stance mod to a melee weapon does? Except for giving more mod capacity that is?

Once equipped to a melee weapon, a stance mod will unlock secret combination attacks that you can access in arsenal->melee where you mod your weapon, by clicking “Combos” box next to the Stance modthe more you upgrade your stance mod, the more combos you unlock!

You can do some really cool stuff with some certain stance mods xD Get to exploring them and see which one you like the best ;)


Hope this article is found helpful and not too much of a drag to read through ;) Enjoy fellow Warframer’s ^^

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