Warframe: Top 15 Melee Weapons, Ranked

warframe-top-15-melee-weapons-ranked

Warframe gives players the chance to master guns and melee weapons, and both are highly effective. We take a look at the best melee weapons!

Masters of gun and blade alike, the Tenno are the protagonists of Digital Extreme’s Warframe. This popular free to play game tasks players with clearing sections of the solar system for sweet loot and cool cosmetics.

When the game mentions that the Tenno are masters of both guns and blade, there is no exaggeration. Melee weapons are some of the most powerful weapons in the entire game, taking out the toughest of targets in a couple of hits. Rapid attacks, fluid combos, and incredible critical and status chances make these weapons shine above most primary weapons. From gunblades to heavy blades, here are the 15 best melee weapons players can currently use in Warframe.

Updated October 5th, 2020 by Charles Burgar: Warframe is an ever-evolving game that continues to change its meta with every patch. New weapons and balance patches release constantly to keep the game fresh. As a result, some entries in this article were somewhat dated. On top of updating some older entries, we have also given five additional melee weapons for players to consider when choosing a top-tier killing machine.

15-Hirudo

Warframe Nidus using Hirudo sparring melee weapons.

This Infested sparring weapon was sadly overlooked by many due to it releasing before Melee 3.0. Now that melee is stronger than ever before, the Hirudo is a solid critical melee weapon for aggressive players.

When a player critically hits a target with the Hirudo, they will gain a portion of their health back equal to 5% of the damage dealt. They will also gain 5% of their unmodded, rank zero health pool added as life for 15 seconds, an effect that can stack up to five times. It provides negligible maximum health at best. That said, the weapon’s amazing 3x critical damage multiplier and life steal effect make it a solid choice for aggressive players pushing endless missions.

14-Prisma Dual Cleavers

Warframe Harrow holding Prisma Dual Cleavers.

Frequently forgotten about when discussing dual swords, the Prisma Dual Cleavers are a great option for slicing targets apart.

High critical and status stats allow this weapon to be built as a hybrid between the two, allowing it to scale well in Steel Path and endurance missions. Players should also note the weapon’s Justice Blades Mod while leveling it, as this augment Mod provides free AoE damage when the player accrues enough Affinity from kills and objective completions. Available at Mastery Rank 9, most players that have put a solid chunk of hours into Warframe should be able to obtain this weapon from Baro Ki’Teer whenever he arrives at a Relay.

13-Ninkondi Prime

Warframe Zhuge Prime And Ninkondi Prime

Some consider the Ninkondi Prime to be a lackluster melee weapon due to its pitiful range and diluted damage stats. While cases can be made that other melee weapons are better, many forget just how strong Nunchaku stances are.

Atlantis Vulcan works wonderfully alongside the Ninkondi Prime’s high critical and status chances. Combos such as Blazing Vortex turn this good melee weapon into an exceptional single-target weapon by attacking an enemy 13 times in just over a second. So many multiattacks are baked into the Ninkondi Prime that it’s criminal it doesn’t get used more often. Just make sure to install Primed Reach on this melee weapon before using it.

12-Venka Prime

Warframe Valkyr Prime and Venka Prime.

Claws aren’t known for their range, hence why so few players decide to use one. While this is certainly an issue for the Venka Prime, the damage it can dish out is so great that it makes up for this small issue.

Primed Reach is mandatory to make the Venka Prime a room-clearing machine. Once installed, players can enjoy a weapon that builds melee combo multiplier up to a cap of 13x instead of 12x, although players should know that Mods which rely on combo such as Blood Rush cap out at 12x no matter what.

Regardless, the weapon’s great 32% critical chance, 2.6x critical damage multiplier, and 24% base status chance make for a potent melee weapon. Put a few Forma into this thing and prepare to rip and tear.

11-Orthos Prime

Warframe Orthos Prime and Harrow.

Polearms are fantastic at clearing out hordes of enemies all around the player, not just in front of them. The Orthos Prime is still one of the best choices for clearing out hordes thanks to its 24% critical chance and immense range. Build this weapon for critical hits and range to become a whirlwind of death in combat.

10-Gram Prime

Warframe Chroma Prime and Gram Prime.

Heavy blades saw an overall reduction in their damage with the Melee 3.0 update, gaining extra base damage but losing the absurd combo and Blood Rush scaling from before.

With that said, the Gram Prime is still one of the best weapons in all of Warframe. Its large base range and its incredible status and critical chance allow this weapon to be built however the user wants. Great stances like Cleaving Whirlwind allow for plenty of damage. Tempo Royale is also an amazing pick if players wish to be more mobile. Even after the nerfs, the Gram Prime is still king of heavy blades.

9-Nikana Prime

Warframe Saryn Prime holding Nikana Prime.

The Nikana Prime was always good. It had great damage, stats, amazing combos, and it looked amazing as well. Melee 3.0 somehow made all Nikana weapons even stronger.

They now have an even better range and the best stances in the entire game. Blind Justice has some incredible mobility options and upward sweeps to deal with any opponent. Tranquil Cleave deals significant damage and is easy to use, and Decisive Judgement has some good sweeping attacks for Infested or swarms of enemies. Since the Nikana Prime is one of the strongest Nikanas in the game, it benefited from all of these changes. The Dragon Nikana is also fantastic, but without a great Riven, the Nikana Prime is just a better Dragon variant.

8-Nami Skyla Prime

Warframe Hydroid Prime holding Nami Skyla Prime.

Arguably the most undervalued melee weapon in Warframe is the Nami Skyla Prime. These dual swords pack a serious punch. High base damage, crit, and an exceptional status chance allow this weapon to melt targets with rapid status afflictions and critical Slash procs. This gets even better when paired with Swirling Tiger, its first combo making this weapon attack five times in quick succession before dealing a triple damage Slash proc.

7-Kronen Prime

Warframe Tiberon and Kronen Prime weapons.

Tonfas are powerhouses on their own thanks to great combos, but some tonfas go further beyond with great damage and supplemental stats. The Kronen Prime is the best example of this.

A base range that can rival most heavy blades is complimented with high base damage that is biased in Slash. When built for status, these tonfas can bleed any enemy to death with its flurry of blows. Do not use the normal variants, as the Prime variant is such a large upgrade from the original its hard to justify even using the base Kronen. Their average Riven disposition also takes these blades to a whole new level of power.

6-Reaper Prime

Warframe Frost Prime with Reaper Prime.

The Reaper Prime lives up to its name ever since heavy attacks received their overhaul. The Reaper Prime does everything a player would expect from a top-tier melee weapon.

Yet it tops almost everything else due to its huge-swinging arcs and incredible stances. When combined with Reaping Spiral, this scythe kills the whole thing. Better but,  heavy attack Mods allow the Reaper Prime to deal large harm and effective Slash procs. This weapon does so much Slash damage on a heavy attack that gamers can forgo armor stripping totally to kill enemies. Players can even kill bosses using solely a Stance Mod. The Reaper Prime is that appropriate.

5-Stropha

Warframe Excalibur holding Stropha gunblade.

Gunblades are one of the strongest melee archetypes in Warframe due to their inherent benefits of firing projectiles while benefiting from a melee combo multiplier. While most stick with the Redeemer Prime, there is one solid alternative.

Obtained from the Jackal and diverse degrees of Granum Void, the Stropha is an Arca Plasmor variant of the Redeemer Prime. This toaster gun/melee hybrid functions a 30% important hit threat with a 2.4x crucial harm multiplier with a subpar 14% reputation threat, despite the fact that this will without difficulty be fixed with Weeping Wounds. When this weapon is constructed round heavy attacks, nothing in the player’s close proximity will continue to exist. Its plasma rounds will collapse all however the toughest of foes.

4-Lesion

Warframe Lesion polearm.

Status and the Lesion polearm go together better than any other melee weapon in Warframe. Not only does this Infested polearm have a 37% status chance and great range, but it also has a hidden mechanic where it gains 100% additive Toxin damage and 15% increased attack speed when an attack inflicts a status effect.

Since the weapon has a major bias towards Slash, using Weeping Wounds is a must. Condition Overload is also a great choice on this weapon when paired with Viral, making every Slash proc deal significantly more damage. Polearms can’t get much better than this.

3-Kuva Shildeg

Warframe Kuva Shildeg melee weapon. Image from Lukario Warframe (YouTube)

 

This Hammer deals a low amount of base damage by itself—only clocking in at 205—but it actually becomes one of the best melee weapons when players consider it is a Kuva Lich weapon.

Lich weapons come with an elemental damage bonus that is based on the first Warframe that vanquished them, so it is possible to get upwards of 300 base damage with a third of it in an element of the player’s choice. As with most top-tier melee weapons, the Kuva Shildeg has incredible status and critical stats that a player would expect. If players can stand the layers of RNG that surround killing a Lich, they will be rewarded with one of the best weapons in all of Warframe.

2-Zaws

Warframe Zaw parts from Hok.

What could be better than a weapon tailored to a player’s preferences? Zaws are special, player-made melee weapons crafted at Hok’s Anvil in the Plains of Eidolon.

Zaws cover nearly every weapon category in the game. Skull-crushing hammers and swift nikanas are all available here. Best of all, each Zaw comes with an Arcane slot that grants further bonuses such as life steal or making enemies levitate helplessly in the air. The stats can be tailored to what the player wants, so practically any build is viable on a Zaw. Some of the best melee weapons in Warframe are crafted Zaws.

1-Redeemer Prime

Warframe-Redeemer-Prime

Who even needs a gun when gunblades exist? The Redeemer Prime is a mix between a melee weapon and a shotgun, blowing holes into targets after slashing them to pieces.

While they do not build mixture right away in comparison to other guns, they make up for it with their exceptional harm capacity. This weapon does a rediculous three,2 hundred base damage on a heavy attack, nearly all of that’s in Slash. That isn’t always a typo; the Redeemer Prime does greater damage than a Tigris Prime! When a player’s mixture counter starts to upward thrust, so too does this weapon’s already ludicrous damage. Every player should have a Redeemer Prime crafted.