Warframe Kuva Weapon Tier List: Best Kuva Weapons & Damage Elements

Let's take a look at some Kuva weapon rankings for all your dedicated lich hunters.

Find only the best Warframe Kuva weapons in our Kuva weapon tier list! Well, technically we’ve included every Kuva weapon in the game so far. But we have neatly arranged them into tiers for you to peruse and try to determine which gun (or hammer) is right for you. Acquiring each Kuva Lich weapon is a long and sometimes arduous process. Might as well get your hands on the one you want right out of the gate!

Thus, the following gear has been arranged into categories. Mostly according to its general use. Don’t expect a lot of Riven talk; the randomized mods are simply too variable to account for. Especially since no one player can guarantee what they’ll get. Though we do take into account more general things — like whether a Kuva Arch-gun is good for Necramech combat or not.

In addition, every weapon has a slightly more comprehensive breakdown below the visual reference. Similar to our overall Warframe tier list. In the case of Kuva weapons, though, we’ll also recommend some elemental damage types to select.

And so, with that out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff with our Warframe best Kuva weapons tier list!

How Are the Rankings Selected?

Before we continue with more specific notes, there are two things worth noting. First is that this is not a basic starter guide to Warframe itself. We will probably use some jargon that total newcomers won’t recognize. Though we do our absolute best to be clear in most cases. Second of all… The fact of the matter is that nearly every Kuva weapon in Warframe is pretty good in a vaccuum. They’re all high-end guns and melee weapons attached to Kuva Liches: endgame bosses that require a lot of work and high-level play to vanquish.

For that reason, these Kuva weapon rankings don’t reflect overall viability. Instead, these are mostly presented in comparison to one another. Every weapon takes roughly the same amount of work to acquire. Thus, this tier list should help show you which is worth prioritizing first.

The Kuva Twin Stubbas, for example, are still one of the best weapons in their archetype (i.e. dual pistols). Does that mean you should pick acquire them instead of a Kuva Tonkor? Probably not.

This also doesn’t really take “fun” into account. I personally prefer high-precision weapons (like the burst fire of the Kuva Hind) over fire-and-forget archetypes. Like the Kuva Bramma. However, if we’re discussing what is purely the most effective at efficiently clearing out enemies, explosive crowd control is hard to beat.

This is actually a small point of contention among certain Warframe fans. You can simply equip Wukong and let his clone passively blow through missions for you with a Kuva Zarr. Is that actually fun? It depends on your perspective, but many players think not.

As always, however, you should expect at least some personal tilt to influence the rankings. Every tier list is written by human beings with personal biases, preferences, and experiences, and expectations.There is no such thing as an “objective opinion,” after all. Anyone who tells you different is trying to sell you something.

Notes on Damage Elements

Every Kuva weapon comes with an extra damage type. This “progenitor” bonus is tied to whichever Warframe you use to kill the Kuva Larvling holding the weapon — thereby selecting the weapon you intend to hunt. However, not every damage type in Warframe can be applied through a progenitor bonus. Instead you only have access to the following:

  • Impact
  • Heat
  • Cold
  • Toxin
  • Electricity
  • Radiation
  • Magnetic

This obviously skips some of the most popular damage types in the game: Slash, Viral, and Corrosive. That’s kind of the point, in fact. The options were chosen in part by developer Digital Extremes to encourage more players to use less common damage types (e.g. Magnetic). At the very least, the weapons are balanced by the fact that you need to use up mod slots to achieve elements like Viral.

However, several possible damage types nearly always stand apart from the rest. Heat and Toxin are by far the most popular. Heat is popular in part because it has the unique ability to stack its status effect, Ignite, infinitely. Toxin is popular because it can be combined with Cold to create Viral. It’s chosen instead of Cold because there are typically better Cold damage mods (such as Primed Cryo Rounds). Not to mention Toxin can be converted into Corrosive and Gas, or left alone to deal direct damage via the Poison status.

Corpus enemies — which are predominantly weak to Magnetic, Cold, and Impact — are typically considered easier to kill than other foes. Except in very rare cases, such as Treasurers and Hounds, their shields are much easier to penetrate or bypass entirely than Grineer (and certain Infested) armor. In those rare cases, Magnetic is most effective, but is also the only damage type in the game with a status effect that is totally useless against everyone but Corpus.

Well, almost totally useless. A few Magnetic Lich weapons allow you to inflict damage combinations that are otherwise impossible to achieve. Such as Magnetic plus Radiation on the Kuva Nukor. Theoretically, this allows you to apply larger combinations of status effects. This “primes” enemies for the kill using mods like Condition Overload: which multiplies melee damage according to how many status effects an enemy is suffering).

In practice, however, this is only useful against the highest of high-level enemies with massive health pools. The reason being that weaker enemies will simply die before you get a chance to use your fancy combo. I’ll mention the possibility of Magnetic combinations in this guide for posterity.

Finally, Impact is largely ignored. It’s mostly effective against shields and physical damage types don’t combine into any interesting elements. The Impact status effect, Stagger, also doesn’t work on bosses and even certain enemies.

S Tier – Warframe Kuva Weapons

The Kuva Bramma is undeniably devastating. It’s an explosive bow: that means it’s great for crowd control as it can very quickly hit large swathes of enemies without ever needing to reload. However, the Kuva Bramma also releases cluster bombs on contact, spreading the damage (and knockdown) even further. You can even release the cluster bombs in midair — allowing more precise control over where your blast attacks land.

The damage itself is also great. Thanks at least in part to a very high base critical hit chance and a solid status effect chance.

One massive, obvious downside to the Kuva Bramma is its ammo capacity. Warframe bows have a “clip size” of one, referring to the single arrow you nock per attack. However, you can also only hold a measly five arrows in reserve at one time while wielding this bow in particular. This all but requires players to use a mod like Sniper Ammo Mutation to keep up their supply of arrows. On the bright side, this is an Exilus mod, meaning it doesn’t take up a “real” slot on the weapon’s build.

Undoubtedly, it’s one of the best Kuva weapons in Warframe.

Recommended Damage Types: Toxin, Heat, or Radiation. Toxin is perfectly acceptable on its own. However, one very popular trick is to equip the Kuva Bramma with a Cold damage mod and Hunter Munitions. Due to its high crit chance and the multiple cluster bomb hits, this allows the bow to eat enemies alive. Bleed (from the Slach procs on Hunter Munitions) ignores armor (due to dealing True damage) while Viral amplifies the damage even further.

Kuva Zarr: This one fits a fairly similar mold as the Kuva Bramma. It’s an explosive weapon that deals high damage and generates follow-up mini-bombs. Plus, it has sports high crit and status chances. While it reloads pretty slowly, it also reloads shots individually, meaning you can cancel the animation and still achieve a partial refill. It can also hold significantly more ammo than the Kuva bow: 20 rounds in total.

Both the Kuva Zarr and the regular Zarr can also fire shotgun-like blasts for added flexibility. The pellets even have extra-strong punch-through.

Recommended Damage Types: Toxin. The “Viral plus Hunter Munitions” trick works pretty much the same here as it does on the Kuva Bramma. Toxin is chosen over Cold on primary weapons because Primed Cryo Rounds combines for even higher levels of Viral. Meanwhile, Radiation eats through Alloy Armor. Heat is also a flexible damage type that will let you add the Corrosive element, if you prefer.

♦ Kuva Nukor: Just look at that status chance. Just look at that crit multiplier… The Kuva Nukor received a very notable nerf in the middle of 2021. The secondary weapon fires a beam of Radiation damage that arcs between multiple targets. That used to mean four enemies; now it only means two. Yet the gun is still absolutely bonkers. This is largely thanks to its speed and ability to very rapidly build up status effects on targets. It has a whopping 50% status chance: the second highest in Warframe.

Recommended Damage Types: Heat or Magnetic. Lich weapons that deal innate Radiation damage (and have a high status chance) combine well with Magnetic. This is currently the only way to reliably combine the two damage types on a single gun. Doing so allows you to then add a third damage type — as well as its status effects.

This combos well with Condition Overload and the natural arc ability of a Kuva Nukor. You can “prime” multiple enemies with several effects at once and then pop them with melee strikes. Not to mention Magnetic damage is a good “generalist” element. It’s strong against shields and only weak against Alloy Armor (which Radiation compensates against).

Heat damage, on the other hand, stacks its Ignite status effect infinitely (albeit linearly) while also stripping armor. This is perfect for the fast-firing sidearm.

warframe kuva liches

A Tier – Warframe Kuva Weapons

♦ Kuva Hind: A somewhat basic but surprisingly versatile rifle that can switch between semiautomatic, fully automatic, and five-round burst fire. Its exceedingly high status chance and accuracy (mostly using the burst mode) make it great for Galvanized mods that rely on specific types of kills (e.g. headshots with Galvanized Scope). Then you can switch to full-auto fire for clearing trash mobs when necessary.

Recommended Damage Types: Toxin. There’s not much special going on here. You can turn this into Corrosive (for removing armor) or Viral (to amplify its natural Slash damage).

♦ Kuva Tonkor: The standard Tonkor is a longstanding crowd control weapon for new players. That remains true with the upgraded Kuva Tonkor. This beast of a grenade launcher has an excellent critical chance and lacks the minimum firing distance of its normal cousin. This is a small double-edged sword, however, as close-range explosions stagger players — even when fired by their own weapon. The Kuva Tonkor also lacks the cluster bombs and exceptional status chance of the Kuva Zarr.

Recommended Damage Types: Just about anything is fine for this bad boy. However, since it deals good Slash damage in addition to Blast, you may want to consider Toxin (and turn it into Viral).

♦ Kuva Hek: Here we have an extra-powerful and pretty versatile shotgun. The signature skill of the Kuva Hek is its four-round alternate fire: which lets you empty an entire magazine in one boss-killing shot. When using the standard blast, on the other hand, you’ve got a really good status chance for a shotgun and a totally solid crit chance across the board.

Recommended Damage Types: Radiation, Heat, or Magnetic. Radiation is also just plain good against armor. If you’re using the alt fire, you’re going to kill most stuff in one shot anyway, forgoing the need for status effects. But because this is a shotgun, Galvanized Savvy may be used instead of (or in addition to) Condition Overload against ultra-hard targets.

♦ Kuva Chakkhurr: The Chakkhurr is a bit of an acquired taste. It’s a “flintlock” style rifle, which is cool on its own! Yet that also means the weapon is slow to fire and slow to reload. Making up for those shortcomings, however, are massive damage and critical hit chance.

No, seriously. It’s got the highest base damage of all semiautomatic rifles. Not to mention the highest crit chance of all weapons in the game. Period. Kuva Chakkhurr shots also explode on contact and deal a guaranteed Impact proc. This staggers enemies. Though the use case is limited to situations where a hardcore sniper rifle makes sense.

Recommended Damage Types: Radiation. As a sniper, this is a perfect weapon for Eidolon hunting. Eidolons are weak to Radiation, so… There you have it.

♦ Kuva Seer: This highly accurate pistol (it’s literally got a scope) fires darts that explode into Corrosive clouds. What more could you ask for?

Well… High ammo capacity, for one. The Kuva Seer is better than its standard variant in almost every way. Including crit and status chance. However, it won’t hold many bullets at one time. That’s no great loss in most situations since pistol ammo is fairly common. Yet it can lead to more resource management than you might want to bother with.

Recommended Damage Types: Toxin for Viral is still the “safe” choice. However, you can also build for Gas damage instead to further enhance its general crowd-clearing abilities.

♦ Kuva Ayanga: It’s a (comparatively) fast-firing grenade launcher, but in Archgun form. This comes with multiple pros and cons. It can absolutely lay waste to large groups of enemies when paired with a Necramech, for example, but will self-stagger you to hell and back if used as a heavy weapon.

Recommended Damage Types: Radiation, Heat, or Toxin. Anything you like will work, though. The high critical hit chance and explosions are the stars of the show here.

warframe kuva lich

B Tier – Warframe Kuva Weapons

♦ Kuva Shildeg: Currently the only melee Kuva weapon available in the game. It’s pretty solid! It’s also nothing to write home about compared to some of the wackier weapons on this Warframe tier list. It’s a hammer with good critical and status chance. The problem is that it mostly deals Puncture damage, followed by Impact. This leaves the best physical damage type — Slash — to wither in third place. Which means you’re not getting those lovely Bleed procs.

Recommended Damage Types: Radiation or Electricity. It’s Puncture weapon; you’re likely going to use it against armor. Radiation helps with that while Electricity will let you add Corrosive damage. You can also achieve Corrosive by starting with Toxin, of course, but the latter damage type is readily available for melee weapons via Primed Fever Strike.

♦ Kuva Karak: This is arguably the most basic weapon of the bunch. The Kuva Karak is an assault rifle. That’s… about it. Similar to the Kuva Shildeg, it has good overall stats, but little that sets it apart from the pack. It does prioritize Slash damage, however, which is a plus. It’s also a notably better AR than the Kuva Hind (when the other gun is in that mode). The issue is that a “bullet hose” archetype has strong competition from both the Kuva Nukor and more explosive crowd clearing options among the Kuva weapons.

Recommended Damage Types: Heat or Toxin. Similar to the Kuva Nukor, you can build up Ignite very quickly since the gun is built for rapid hits. Or just go straight for Viral using the Toxin element.

♦ Kuva Quartakk: Somewhere between the Karak and the Hind is the Kuva Quartakk. It’s the last Kuva-based assault rifle — one that features both burst and automatic fire. The four-round burst is the more interesting attack, however, since the Kuva Quartakk shots every round all at once. A bit like a shotgun. Though it still eats up four bullets per blast instead of one. This leads to some potential popularities, like bullets just barely missing their mark because of the cross-shaped spread. The accuracy, status chance, and crit all make up for it, though.

Recommended Damage Types: Heat or Toxin. Nothing fancy. It’s not a super fancy gun!

♦ Kuva Ogris: This honest-to-goodness rocket launcher archetype is oddly unique in Warframe. It’s arguably more “comfortable” to use than the Kuva Tonkor, Kuva Zarr, or Kuva Bramma.

That’s not to say it isn’t unique, though. The special Nightwatch Napalm mod lets it spew burning gunk wherever you fire — causing area denial and continues damage to large groups. In some cases, this is actually more useful than the cluster bombs of the gun’s closest cousins. Though it’s counterbalanced somewhat by terrible crit chance.

Recommended Damage Types: Toxin to spread some Viral damage around. Or use Heat to juice up Nightwatch Napalm.

♦ Kuva Brakk: A “shotgun pistol,” this upgraded Brakk has excellent status and critical hit chance. What it doesn’t have is good damage falloff. Not to mention the theoretical firing speed will make it hard to keep your target in your sights. You can combat one (but not both) of these issues with your Exilus slot. Steady Hands will fix the recoil while Lethal Momentum will assuage the damage distance.

This makes the gun, while powerful, a bit of a potential headache. It might just be worth it for the speed and synergy with Galvanized Shot, however.

Recommended Damage Types: Heat, Toxin, or Magnetic. Galvanized Shot is another one of those “you do more damage for every status effect on your target” mods. That’s potentially good for Magnetic builds. Not to mention the Kuva Brakk is Impact focused, which makes it a decent anti-shield weapon to start.

warframe kuva lich profile

C Tier – Warframe Kuva Weapons

♦ Kuva Drakgoon: There’s nothing inherently wrong with the Kuva Drakgoon. It’s just a better version of the Drakgoon: a shotgun that can charge up for tighter pellet spread. The issue is that it competes with a pretty crowded space of good shotguns and crowd clearance. Why try for a Kuva Drakgoon when you could get a Kuva Zarr?

Well, it has significantly better ammo reserves. It can also use the weapon-exclusive mod Formorian Accelerant. This allows its already bouncy flak shots to bounce even more (and faster). That’s pretty good for closed spaces. Either clear enemies out or prime them with status effects for things like Condition Overload.

Recommended Damage Types: It’s a Slash weapon. As per usual, that means Toxin is a good default choice.

♦ Kuva Grattler: This Archgun is totally usable, both on the ground and in space, but lacks a good niche. The Kuva Ayanga and even the Mausolon are better in most circumstances (i.e. Necramech content). Meanwhile, its slower maximum firing speed means it actually doesn’t do much more damage-per-second than a standard Grattler. Which is much easier to acquire.

Recommended Damage Types: Heat. Since it’s a fast-firing machine gun, this element is once again good for building up Ignite procs on hard targets.

♦ Kuva Twin Stubbas: Another bullet hose, the Kuva Twin Stubbas are a secondary option. They’re, like, fine. You know what I mean? They have a strong status chance. Though it’s nothing compared to the Kuva Nukor. Another issue with “twin” secondary weapons is that reload times are often abysmal. That’s true here, too. Other than that there’s not much to make these blasters stand apart from the pack. If you’re specifically looking for the best Warframe Kuva weapons, you can do better.

Recommended Damage Types: Heat or Toxin. The Kuva Twin Stubbas benefit from all the usual stuff. Dealing primarily Slash damage, they love proccing Viral. Since they shoot fast, Heat is also good.

♦ Kuva Kraken: The Kuva Kraken is a massive improvement over its predecessor in every way. That still isn’t saying much, on its own, but the pistol has a really interesting alternative fire. One very similar to the Kuva Hek. You can unload an entire 21-round clip in a “single” shot.

Combined with its naturally high status chance, you can build up Ignite really quickly this way, melting foes a second later. You can further combine this with Arcane Pistoleer to give yourself unlimited ammo and blazing fast DPS. However, the amount of work required may not seem worth it for the novelty.

Recommended Damage Types: Heat or Magnetic. As mentioned above, you can stack Heat fast with this thing. It’s also an Impact weapon, meaning it might have niche applications as a shield-eater when combined with Magnetic.

D Tier – Warframe Kuva Weapons

♦ Kuva Kohm: This weapon isn’t as bad as its D tier placement might make you think. It’s still a Kuva weapon, after all! It simply suffers from being arguably worse than the regular Kohm — which you can acquire much more easily off the market while leaving your Kuva Liches to more interesting items.

Both the damage falloff and ammo efficiency on this thing are absolutely atrocious. The Kuva Kohm once made up for that with its high status chance. However, changes to how shotguns apply status effects (all the way back in 2020) killed that momentum. The gun hasn’t been touched since and probably needs a bit of tuning. Even the Riven disposition on the standard Kohm is better.

Recommended Damage Types: More slash means more Toxin means more Viral.

What Do the Rankings Mean?

As alluded to above, nearly every Kuva weapon works well with setup, preparation, and/or practice. That’s a good thing. That’s variety! Our philosophy is that players should be proud of their ability to have fun and make any and all weapons (or Warframes, or abilities) work well with their particular build. Yet accounting for every single, possible scenario in a game this highly variable is not the intent behind this or any other tier list we create. We’re here to help give an overview to help you decide.

As such, we’ve categorized all Warframe Kuva weapons between S and D ranks. There is no F tier since no weapon is so totally beyond hopeless that it can’t be used (except in the case of bugs, of course, at which point we have bigger problems). This is to indicate that pretty much anything can work. You just might need to put in more effort as a result!

Here’s a very basic drilldown of what we’re trying to communicate with each tier:

  • S Tier – Excellent in nearly all content. Weaknesses are either negligible or easily compensated against.
  • A Tier – Excellent in most content or very good in nearly all content. Weaknesses are either negligible or easily worked around.
  • B Tier – Very good in most content. Weaknesses may be apparent, but are hardly dealbreakers, or they can be worked around.
  • C Tier – Good in most content or perfectly usable in nearly all content. Weaknesses are apparent and probably require workarounds.
  • D Tier – Perfectly usable in most content, but the weaknesses leave them simply outclassed by multiple better choices.

And that’s it for our tier list showcasing the best Kuva weapons in Warframe! Hopefully, this helps make your violent shopping spree just a little bit easier the next time you look for a Larvling. Best of luck!