Kuva Nukor Build – Warframe’s Strongest Sidearm

Kuva Nukor Build Warframe's Strongest Sidearm Post Icon

Kuva Nukor Build – Warframe’s Strongest Sidearm

Usually, sidearms tend to be more on the supportive side while primaries and most importantly melee weapons are the actual damage dealers. The Kuva Nukor doesn’t care about that. A simple Kuva Nukor build is all it needs to obliterate enemies even past the level 100 mark. Keep reading to learn all about the best element, its special mechanics and, of course, the best Kuva Nukor builds.


  1. Best Element for the Kuva Nukor
  2. Kuva Nukor’s Chain Mechanic Explained
  3. Build Requirements
  4. Kuva Nukor Build
    1. Damage and Status
    2. Kuva Nukor Status Effects
    3. Exilus Mod
  5. Kuva Nukor Crit Build
    1. Why bother with a Crit Build?
    2. Additive Critical Chance
  6. Conclusion: Kuva Nukor Build – Warframe’s Strongest Sidearm

Best Element for the Kuva Nukor

As you probably know, every Kuva weapon has a nice little elemental damage bonus. The bonus can range from 25% up to 60%. Which element this will be depends on the Warframe you use when spawning your Lich, the so-called “progenitor” Warframe. Here is a table from the Wiki showing which Warframe will result in which element:

As for the best element for this build, it’s generally Toxin. We will be building into either Viral or Corrosive so Toxin fits both. You can also go with Magnetic or Impact to add a forth unique status effect if you plan on using your Kuva Nukor alongside Condition Overload or the Cedo. Still, if you’re in doubt, stick with toxin.

Related: Best Cedo Build – The Strongest Endgame Shotgun?

Kuva Nukor’s Chain Mechanic Explained

One of the most important things about the Kuva Nukor is its chain mechanic. Whenever you shoot an enemy or even a dead body, the beam will spread to the closest foe in a nine meter radius four times! Though the damage falls off with every chain, status effects will be applied normally. As a result, when your main target dies and you switch to the next one, he will already be heavily weakened by all the Viral, Heat and Radiation debuffs! On the right is a table showing you how the damage falloff works.

By the way, the Kuva Nukor also has a ramp-up mechanic meaning it actually deals only 30% damage when you start shooting. It only takes 0,6 seconds for it to reach 100%, though, so I didn’t want to make a whole paragraph about it.


Build Requirements

  • 5 Forma for maximum Mastery Point
  • Orokin Catalyst
  • Exilus Adapter

Kuva Nukor Build

Kuva Nukor Build Modding Guide
Fire Rate25
Crit Chance7%
Crit Multiplier5x
Status Chance110%

Damage and Status

As you can see, this build is mostly very straight forward. Basic DPS increase through damage, multishot and fire rate. The Kuva Nukor has innate Radiation damage, while we add Viral with Pistol Pestilence and Frostbite as well as lots of Heat with Primed Heated Charge. Our Viral damage is further amplified by the extra Toxin damage from it being a Kuva weapon. I’m using 60/60 mods for Toxin and Cold to push us past the 100% status chance mark while the Primed variant of Heated Charge offers lots of damage. With a fire rate of 25, status chance of 110% and the Nukor’s chain mechanic you’re spreading status effects like no other weapon.

Kuva Nukor Status Effects

Primed Heated Charge mod for Kuva Nukor Build

I’ve chosen Viral and Heat for my Kuva Nukor build for multiple reasons: Fristly, Viral is simply the strongest status effect right now. With all the effects you’re applying, you will very quickly reach the 325% extra damage the Viral status can offer.

Secondly, Heat not only deals damage itself but also decreases enemy armor. Since we can’t have Viral and Corrosive, Heat is the best option. Not to mention, Primed Heated Charge is the only primed elemental mod for pistols and Heat only requires one mod, too. If you don’t have Primed Heated Charge, get it ASAP Scorch is probably the next best option as the DPS difference between normal Heated Charge and Scorch is minor while the latter increases your status chance to 140%.

Warframe Jolt Mod

When facing Infested, I advice switching Frostbite for Jolt which will turn your Viral damage into Corrosive. Many Infested, especially in the Cambion Drift on Deimos, are completely immune to the Viral status effect so Corrosive is superior there.

Exilus Mod

Due to the high fire rate with this Kuva Nukor build, you may run out of ammo from time to time. To prevent that, I added Prime Ammo Mutation though you are completely fine with the normal version, too. Still, as this is a Kuva weapon, we will want to forma it five times anyway so the capacity cost of Primed Ammo Mutation isn’t a problem at all.

Kuva Nukor Crit Build

Why bother with a Crit Build?

Primed Target Cracker for Kuva Nukor Crit Build

You may have noticed the incredibly high critical multiplier of this weapon. It is, in fact, the highest one in all of Warframe but unfortunately coupled with a very low 7% critical chance. The critical chance is also the reason for me not using any crit mods in the main build. But believe me when I say that we can still make great use of the multiplier!

The build itself only changes in that you switch Magnum Force for Primed Target Cracker. This time, the primed version is actually a must as the build simply isn’t worth it with a normal Target Cracker.

Additive Critical Chance

Adarza Kavat Critical Chance Increase Cat's Eye Mod

To increase our critical chance we will not use mods, we will use flat increases from external sources: most importantly, Harrow’s Covenant (4) which grants up to 50% additive crit chance on bodyshots and 200% on headshots. As you can imagine, a Kuva Nukor dishing out red crits thanks to 207% crit chance with a multiplier of 10,5x due to Primed Target Cracker deals A LOT of damage.

You can push this even further by using an Adarza Kavat with its Cat’s Eye ability and Arcane Avenger on your Warframe.

Cat’s Eye buffs our crit chance by 60% while Arcane Avenger grants another 45% leaving you at 312% critical chance on headshots with everything active! Need I say more?

Conclusion: Kuva Nukor Build – Warframe’s Strongest Sidearm

The Kuva Nukor is a very special weapon and definately fun to use. The combination of awesome status chance and critical multiplier with terrible critical chance makes it very interesting from a build-building perspective, too. You can create a whole array of different builds with many of them being viable, not just the two I showed you.

As for the critical Kuva Nukor build, it is definately the one with most damage but you will need a lot of preperation for it to work as you have to get a maxed Arcane Avenger, pull out a properly modded Adarza Kavat so it doesn’t instantly die and even bring a Harrow modded for Covenant. Not to mention, all these buffs must be active, too.

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The main Kuva Nukor build, on the other hand, only needs the weapon itself and so you can still use other Warframes, for example, to use a melee weapon as Wukong while your Twin decimates with the Kuva Nukor. Or you bring room-clearing with Saryn while also adding Corrosive damage to your Kuva Nukor build.

How you want to play is up to you, just remember to aim for the head!

Thanks for reading!


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