Warframe features over forty different playable frames as of August 2021, and few of them are truly bad picks. Most frames are useful in one situation or another. But some Warframes stand above the pack for their powerful abilities and utility across a wide variety of mission types. Here are my picks for the top 10 Warframes in the game right now.
When you’ve got to wipe out an entire map’s worth of enemies, Saryn is your Warframe. Her Spores ability is one of the best mass damage-dealing powers in the game, and her ultimate, Miasma, makes it even more deadly. Saryn is so deadly, in fact, that playing with one on your team often means your foes will drop dead before you get a chance to shoot them. Is that annoying? Maybe, but until Saryn gets nerfed, few Warframes can touch her in terms of sheer destructiveness.
Mesa sports agility and skill with secondary weapons — but let’s be real, you’re running her for her Peacemaker ability. This power lets her wield her dual Regulator pistols in her best Bayonetta impression, wiping out everyone in sight. Casting her Shatter Shield ability beforehand reduces her vulnerability, and maximizing ability duration helps make sure that when the smoke clears, nobody else is left standing.
Protea’s kit makes her a jack-of-all-trades, capable of healing allies, generating resources, locking down areas, and doing massive burst damage with her ult. There’s really nothing like activating her four, spamming grenades and turrets for a few seconds, then getting all your energy back to do it again. Equip mods that increase ability cast speed for maximum fun.
She gets a slight nod here over perennial favorite, Wisp, due to her Necramech support. Protea can generate infinite energy and health for regular Warframes and their Necramech vehicles. This is especially great during the Profit-Taker fight, as well as Orphix and other Railjack missions — all of which benefit from sustained mech play. Railjack has become incredibly lucrative in the last year or so, making it one of the best places to farm Arcanes and open Void Relics.
Another well-rounded frame, Wisp has a huge energy pool that helps her make the best of her powerful abilities. Reservoirs is one of the best team buffs in Warframe, granting Wisp and her allies haste, bonus health, and a proximity shock ability. The summoned pods are indestructible and last indefinitely, making Wisp especially useful in defense-style missions. Will-o-Wisp gives Wisp a mobility power, and Breach Surge is a useful debuff that blinds and damages enemies. Finally, Sol Gate is a huge fricking laser beam for when you’ve had enough and just want every Grineer you can see to fall over. She’s technically listed behind Protea here, but they both excel most in different situations.
One of the most complicated Warframes in the game, Octavia’s abilities are all built around her Mandachord: a fully-functional music sequencer. Her Resonator and Mallet offer powerful debuffs, and Metronome grants her and her allies a range of useful benefits like increased movement speed, multishots, and bonus melee damage — if you’re able to move to the music, that is. Her skill ceiling and narrow focus on damage over support put her in the middle of this list, but she’s honestly hard to compete with in terms of raw power.
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Nova is both deadly and versatile. Her ult, Molecular Prime, tags all enemies around her with antimatter that makes them more vulnerable, slows them down, and detonates them on death. Equipping mods that give Nova negative Ability Strength will actually make enemies move faster, which makes her uniquely helpful for speeding up Defense missions. Null Star gives her some damage resistance while also granting some bonus firepower. Worm Hole is a straightforward mobility power that can also transport bullets and other projectiles. Finally, Antimatter Drop is a tricky ability to learn, but one of the most damaging powers in Warframe when mastered.
Khora is a fast-moving, hard-hitting Warframe with a great companion in the form of her Kavat Venari. Whipclaw hits hard, while Ensnare gives her a means of taking powerful enemies out of the fight temporarily. But Khora’s star ability is the incredibly-named Strangledome, which locks down an area with chains that render foes helpless and more vulnerable to damage.
This Warframe has been good for a very long time, but she’s especially useful now. The Steel Path “new game plus” mode Digital Extremes introduced in 2020 has become an important part of endgame play. Khora, specifically kitted out with the Accumulating Whipclaw mod, is a demon of damage with great crowd control for exactly that mode. Meanwhile, Venari Bodyguard bypasses normal tank build by giving you an entire extra set of mod slots to work with on your space cat.
The only major downside to Khora, right now, is investing so much into her and her companion right now. An inevitable Khora Prime will one day supersede them both.
Speaking of tanks, Rhino is one of the most straightforwardly powerful ones in Warframe. Using Iron Skin makes him almost completely invulnerable and immune to status effects. Roar is one of the most useful team buffs in the game, massively increasing ally damage. Rhino Charge is a useful mobility skill that can also disrupt enemies, and Rhino Stomp is an easy-to-use crowd control power. Rhino may be a simple Warframe, but who needs complexity when you’re this tough?
Wukong is one of the best solo Warframes in the game. In fact, playing him means you’re never really playing solo at all. His Celestial Twin ability lets you double your firepower and combos with all of his other powers to great effect. Cloud Walker gives you incredible mobility while clearing status effects, and Defy makes Wukong completely invincible for a few seconds, after which he amplifies and deals back any received damage in a kind of offensive version of Rhino’s Iron Skin power. Finally, Primal Fury is a powerful Exalted Weapon with great range. The Monkey King reigns supreme.
Playing Inaros goes like this: drop into a mission, dump most of your health into Scarab Armor, use Desiccation to stun enemies, hit them with finishers to regain your health, and become an unkillable Egyptian God Card. If that’s not enough, you have an uninterruptible healing ability in Devour that can also turn enemies into allies, not to mention the endless fun and area control of Sandstorm. Inaros is a killer solo Warframe, but it can also help out on teams by healing allies with Scarab Swarm. Plus, he just got a Prime model that comes with improved stats and makes him look even classier.
Inaros is interesting because he’s a bit of a blank slate — and thus perfect for modifying for the Helminth system. His stats and ult already make him nearly immortal. You can supplement next supplement them with mobility, utility, damage, or better crowd control. Swap out the so-so Sandstorm, for instance, with Eclipse. Or turn Devour into Blood Altar to heal yourself and teammates while freeing yourself up to move and attack.
Those are my picks for the 10 best frames in Warframe right now! Like I said above, few frames are truly bad, and there are a number of picks that could stand alongside those on this list, depending on your taste: like Limbo, Nidus, Gara, Trinity, Chroma, and Gauss, just to name a few. Did I miss your favorite? Let me know in the comments.