Building Your First Warframe Build

This is probably one of the first things you will ever understand in this game: you need to build your warframe according to your play style.  Now, I understand that there are people out there that say NO to this, but in all honesty it is how you play.  There are constraints on warframes obviously, but I've seen some pretty cool applications for their use.  Always remember that when building, adjustments can be made (highly recommended at times) when taking a warframe into a mission.  Sometimes what works in one particular situation, won't work in others.

Let's break down the screen.

  • -Capacity - how many points are taken/total amount of points available
  • -Stats - what to expect with the warframe stat wise.  Red or green numbers will show up if changing out mods that affect those particular stats.  Red means lower while green means higher.
  • -Abilities for this particular warframe.  Hovering over them shows you the stats.
  • -Config - you can save up to 3 different configs as well as name them.  You can even rearrange them by drag/drop with one another.
  • -Forma'd - how many times you have forma'd the warframe.
  • -Arcane slots - what arcane you have equipped.  Can have a max of 2.
  • -Aura - mod slot for an aura only type of mod.
  • -Exilus - only unlocked by applying an exilus adapter.  Gives an additional mod slot.
  • -Polarity - the type of class a polarity icon is.
Unlike your weapons, the order of mods doesn't make or break your warframe.  You've probably noticed that some slots have a small image in the upper right corner.  This means the slot is polarized with that particular class and if you match the image on the mod to the slot, it will cost you half the cost in capacity.  When you get further in the game, you will start finding better mods suited for what you want and in most cases, you will want to forma a slot with a particular polarity.  A forma is an item found in game that allows you to change the polarity of a slot, whether that slot has been polarized already or not.  As of right now, there are 3 types of forma: Aura forma, Umbra forma, and regular forma.

Aura Forma
Umbra Forma
Aura formas can only be applied to the single aura slot.  Formas can be applied anywhere.  Umbra formas can be applied anywhere except Aura slot or Exilus slot.  Here is a quick breakdown of where to get what type of forma (RNG applies unless purchased from the in game market or Nightwave tier rewards):
  • -Aura forma
    • -Prebuilt
      • -in game market
      • -Nightwave reward
    • -Blueprint
      • -Arbitration missions
  • -Forma
    • -Prebuilt
      • -in game market
      • -completion of daily sortie
      • -finding 3rd cache on earth sabotage missions
      • -breaking rare storage containers in the Void, Orokin Derelict, and Lua missions
      • -Nightwave rewards
    • -Blueprint
      • -daily login
      • -void relic cracking
      • -rotation C reward in Orokin Derelict defense mssions
      • -reward for invasions
      • -finding 3rd cache on earth sabotage missions
      • -completing Rathuum arena mission
      • -completing Conclave matches
  • -Umbra froma
    • -high level reward from Nightwave


Obviously this is something that determines if you live or die in any mission.  Build a useless warframe, you're going to die when an enemy so much looks at you.  Don't worry if it happens to you, just learn and move on.  Let's take a look into how to avoid that type of situation.

Warframes have a particular ability set that determines if they are more of a tank or a squish.  For example, Rhino is a pretty well known tank-type warframe while Limbo is more of a squish-type warframe.  An easy way to determine who is more like what, close combat abilities are generally more tank-type warframes.  Warframes that deal more with support and defensive type abilities are generally more squish-type.

For Rhino, his stats and abilities are:

  • Rhino Charge: Rhino charges towards a target, clobbering any in his path and goring his victim.
  • Iron Skin: Rhino hardens his skin, insulating himself from all damage.
  • Roar: Grants all nearby Warframes increased damage for a short duration.
  • Rhino Stomp: Rhino stomps with force sufficient to disrupt time, tumbling enemies around him in stasis.
For Limbo, his stats and abilities are:

  • Banish: Casts a wave of Rift energy that damages hostiles while pushing enemies and allies out of Limbo’s current plane of existence.
  • Statis: Freezes Rift-bound enemies. While active, enemy projectiles are arrested in mid-air, resuming its trajectory when stasis ends.
  • Rift Surge: Surges nearby Rift-bound enemies with Rift energy. When killed the Rift Surge is transferred to a nearby enemy outside the rift. Surged enemies that leave the Rift perform a radial Banish.
  • Cataclysm: A violent blast of void energy tears open a pocket of rift plane which can sustain itself for a short period before collapsing in another lethal blast.
Best suggestion I can offer is this: build what you think will work, then take it out for a spin.  If it doesn't satisfy your wants, change some things around.  I am always looking to improve my warframes, so don't feel like once you hit it, your done.  If you are struggling to start, there are several websites that offer builds: and

After you've collected or cycled through a handful of warframes, you'll start to notice that some play similarly to others.  You can easily use the same build for other warframes, there is no shame in it.


Let's dig a little deeper for building a warframe.  First off, you need to have an idea of what you want to do with the warframe.  Got it?  Great!  Next up is determining how to get that.  For this example, I will be talking about Volt.  I wanted to do a huge AoE with him as well as damage (pretty similar to my Saryn which I had first).  I took my Saryn build and put it on Volt.  It wasn't 100% what I wanted, but it gave me a great starting base.  From there, I just replaced mods until I got what I wanted.  This is my end result:

If you are starting off fresh and have no clue as to what to do, here are some suggestions to follow:
  • -Look at the abilities.  If some of them are close combat focused, such as Atlas's Landslide, Rhino's Charge, Wukong's Primal Fury, Excalibur's Slash Dash and Exalted Blade, etc, then they would best be used for tank-like builds that focus on taking a lot of damage without being affected.
  • -Look at available augment mods.  Sometimes these things can give you an idea of where to take your warframe.  Don't feel like you have to use these, although some are pretty useful for particular situations.
  • -Look at their overall armor, health, and shield capacity.  These things can help you figure out what mods you can use to help make it out alive in missions.  
  • -Remember, nothing is set in stone!  I have a glass cannon type of Zephyr, which I haven't seen much of elsewhere in game.  I also have a pretty heavy damage dealing Frost who is still great at defending an area with his Snowglobe.


There are special mods, aka Augments, that you can get for your warframes.  These are warframe specific, so you can't cross use them on another warframe.  These mods can only be applied to prime versions of a warframe.  In order to acquire these, there are 2 ways:
  • -Syndicates
  • -Trade via trade chat or
Don't feel obligated to run an augment to make your warframe "better".  This game seriously caters to the build-to-how-you-play, so just mess around with what you have.  As mentioned at the beginning of this article, don't think it odd if you have more than 1 type of build on a warframe.  My Hydroid, Khora, and Nekros all have a secondary build for farming drops.  This is just an example of multiple build uses.

Happy hunting :)

REFERENCES - places to get a forma - more info about this forma type - more info about this forma type - all of the various augment mods