Warframe’s Damage Types Guide – What is the Best Damage Type? – 2021

Warframe's Damage Types Explained Warframe Damage Guide Icon

Warframe’s Damage Types Guide – What is the Best Damage Type? – 2021

Warframe’s damage types can get quite confusing. I know I’ve played my first hundred hours if not more without fully understanding what the differences between them are. Without a doubt, there is a lot of room for confusion between base damage, primary and secondary elements, modding, status chance, status effects and so much more! “Warframe’s Damage Types Guide” is the first part of a series of guides which will explain everything around dealing damage in Warframe!

Contents

Warframe’s Physical Damage Types

The most common damage of unmodded weapons are the three physical damage types, often referred to as IPS:

  1. Impact Damage Icon Impact
  2. Puncture Damage Icon Puncture
  3. Slash Damage Icon Slash

These are innate to most weapons and can be increased by regular damage mods like Serration or those specific to one of the three types like Maim.

Augur Pact Warframe Damage Mod
Maim Warframe Slash Damage Mod

In comparison to elemental damage, they all have one drawback: Mods like Maim are barely usable because they go off the value of the damage type they increase, instead of the whole base damage like other mods.

Lex Prime Warframe's Damage Types

Take the Lex Prime for example. Unmodded, it comes with 150 base damage distributed over IPS like this:

Lex Prime with Augur Pact Warframe's Damage Types

Now, if we put Augur Pact on it which adds 90% damage we have additional 150 * 0,9 = 135 damage for a total of 285. This is distributed over IPS in the same manner it was before so nothing changed in that regard.

Lex Prime Maim

But if we add Maim with its 120% Slash damage bonus we only gain 15 * 1,2 = 18 additional Slash damage because Maim adds 120% of your Slash damage instead of the whole base damage!

As a result, you are usually better off adding regular damage mods rather than those specific to Impact, Puncture or Slash considering the higher cost as well (the Lex Prime is an extreme example but still). Elemental damage, on the other hand, works the same way as regular damage mods. This means you can increase your elemental damage output in two ways: adding elemental mods or adding damage mods. But in most cases your IPS damage output can only be improved by adding regular damage mods. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s actually get into Warframe’s damage types…

Impact Impact Damage Icon

Warframe Impact Damage

Impact damage is decent against shields which means fighting the Corpus is its strongest suit. Unfortunately, Impact falls off very quickly once you’re through the shields and hitting the actual health. Because of that, it’s usually better to add Toxin damage when modding against Corpus as Toxin bypasses shields alltogether AND deals an additional 50% damage against Corpus flesh. This makes Impact damage quite obsolete though the next update is meant to make its status effect useful for Parazon finishers. More on that once it releases.

Speaking of its status effect, currently it does two things: Firstly, it staggers enemies for a one second… which is somewhat underwhelming. And secondly, it increases the treshold to use your parazon finisher up to a max of 80% as of the Sisters of Parvos update.


Good for:

  • activating Parazon finisher mods

Bad for:

  • everything else

Puncture Puncture Damage Icon

Warframe Puncture Damage

Puncture damage is generally good against armored targets which are mostly Grineer, heavy Infested and some Corrupted. On the other hand, it suffers greatly against shields but stays neutral against pure health. The Puncture status effect reduces damage dealt by the affected unit by 30% on the first proc up to 75% with a total of 10 procs.


Good for:

  • /

Bad for:

  • Corpus
  • Infested

Slash Slash Damage Icon

Warframe Slash Damage

Slash damage performs great against pure health, stays neutral against shields and is weak against armor when ignoring the status effect. By this division, it seems that Slash is good against Infested but bad against Grineer, though the status effect actually changes a lot here. It makes targets bleed for 35% of your base damage each second for 6 seconds. This is true damage meaning no matter how much armor your target has, it will be completely ignored. At high levels like the Steel Path, these DoTs (Damage over Time) will usually exceed the damage you dealt with the original hit unless you stripped a lot of armor beforehand.

Because of this, Slash damage is widely regarded as the best of Warframe’s damage types even including elemental ones. Especially combined with Viral it melts through enemies almost regardless of level but more on that later.


Good for:

  • Any faction, especially Grineer
  • generally dealing damage

Bad for:

  • /

Warframe’s Primary Elemental Damage Types

Cold Cold Damage Icon

Cold Damage Icon

Cold damage has a small advantage against Shields and armored (mini-)bosses like Noxs and Bursas. And don’t use it against infested. Actually, I wouldn’t recommend it ever as you’re not performing exceptionally well against any faction, really. Once you’re through the Corpus’ shields, you lose the whole bonus so just use toxin to ignore the shields straight away. As far as Grineer are concerned, Heat is a lot better.

Cold’s status effect sadly doesn’t make using it worthwhile either. To nobody’s surprise, it slows enemies by 25% for 6 seconds on the first proc up to 70% at 10 stacks. This affects movement speed, attack speed and fire rate. To be honest, this is just a worse version of the Electricity status effect.


Good for:

  • /

Bad for:

  • Infested

Electricity Electricity Damage Icon

Electricity Damage Icon

Electricity has a problem dealing with the armored (mini-)bosses Cold has an advantage against. This means Napalms, Bombers, Noxs, Bursas the Stalker and Corrupted Vor among others (no Heavy Gunners). On the other hand, it destroys the health of Corpus robots… which is not that useful as you can imagine. They mostly have shields and aren’t strong enough to warrant building against them anyway. In my opinion, Electricity is fine to use against any faction except Grineer as long as you have decent status chance as it stays mostly neutral in damage while its status effect is quite useful.

Speaking of which, Electricity’s status effect stuns the target with a single proc for 3 seconds. It doesn’t need 10 stacks to slow someone by 70% like cold. It simply stuns it completely and if you need more than three seconds to kill a regular enemy in Warframe, you’re probably doing it wrong (bosses don’t count, they’re immune). And it doesn’t stop there! The Electricity status effect also deals 50% of your base damage per second to every enemy within 3 metres of your target over 6 seconds, too!


Good for:

  • Crowd Control

Bad for:

  • Heavy Grineer

Heat Heat Damage Icon

Heat Damage Icon

Next up, we have the single best primary elemental damage type: Heat! Heat damage has bonuses against Grineer and Infested health while performing worse against the shields of Corpus (mini-)bosses like Zanuka and Nullifiers. This means Heat is good vs Infested, neutral vs Grineer and bad vs Corpus, right? Not quite…

The Heat status effect is frankly overpowered. It does a couple of things:

  • deals 50% of base damage per second over 6 seconds
  • causes the target to panic for 4 seconds (which is basically a stun)
  • strips 50% of the targets armor over 2 seconds

Heat takes care of health and armor making it great against Infested and Grineer. But what about its weakness, Corpus bosses? Well, its only weak against their shields and since Corpus bosses are bosses, they often have armor as well! Once you are through their shields you actually have an advantage again due to the armor reduction. Apart from that, you have no disadvantage against any other Corpus and the extra damage and 4-seconds stun of the status effect is great against any faction.


Good for:

  • Grineer
  • Infested
  • Corrupted

Bad for:

  • /

Toxin Toxin Damage Icon

Toxin Damage Icon

Toxin has the niche-use of being absolute king against Corpus. As I mentioned before, it completely ignores any shields. As a result, you will only have to deal with the often miniscule health making quick work of most Corpus units. To top it off, you even get extra bonus damage against Corpus health excluding robots which you’re slightly weaker against.

The Toxin status effect simply deals 50% of your base damage per second over 6 seconds. So in this regard its very similar to Heat, though Toxins status effect ignores Shields, of course.


Good for:

  • Corpus

Bad for:

  • Infested

Warframe’s Secondary Elemental Damage Types

Secondary elemental damage types are created by combining two primary ones. Hellfire, for instance, provides 90% of your weapons base damage as extra Heat damage which is a primary element. But if you also add High Voltage which provides 60% extra Electricity damage (another primary element) it combines with Heat. As a result, your weapon will not have any Heat nor Electricity damage but rather 150% Radiation damage because Heat + Electricity creates Radiation (and 90% + 60% = 150%, obviously). If the weapon you are using has innate primary elemental damage, like the Ignis for example, it will combine with other elemental mods you add, too.

Hellfire Mod Warframe Heat Damage
Heated Charge Mod Warframe Electricity Damage

As an easy reference which primary elements combine into which secondary ones, here is a great graphic from the Warframe wiki:

Warframe Damage Types Secondary Elemental Damage Types

Since half of these are honestly useless, I will keep those parts short.

Blast (Heat + Cold)

Warframe Blast Damage Icon

Blast damage is one of these useless damage types as it suffers from reduced damage against some armored Grineer and Infested and merely has a damage bonus against unarmored Infested and Grineer robots. Meaning the only time you will MAYBE use this is if you are hunting for Tusk Thumpers…

The status effect reduces their targets accuracy by only 30% for 6 seconds on the first proc and that doesn’t even work for melee attacks. Even the worst primary elemental damage type, Cold, is more useful than this. A 25% slow to fire rate/attack speed also results in them hitting you at least 25% less. Not to mention that their movement speed is slowed, too.


Good for:

  • Grineer Thumpers in the Plains

Bad for:

  • everything else

Corrosive (Electricity + Toxin)

Warframe Corrosive Damage Icon

Corrosive, as the next of Warframe’s damage types, fares extremely well against regular Grineer units like Butchers, Lancers and Heavy Gunners (and Kuva Liches) but also bigger Infested enemies without armor like Ancients, Boilers and Mutalist MOAs. In turn, the shields of elite Corpus units like Nullifiers and Techs are where it falls off.

Corrosive’s status effect is one of the better ones as it reduces armor by 26% for 8 seconds on the first proc which stacks up to 80% at 10 stacks. This can be extremely useful in high levels against heavily armored enemies but is unfortunately often overshadowed by the Viral status effect. Still, if you are going into the Cambion Drift where most enemies are immune to Viral, hunting non-boss Sentients in Railjack or playing against Steel Path Grineer without access to Slash procs, Corrosive is still useful.


Good for:

  • High level Grineer
  • High level Corrupted

Bad for:

  • Corpus

Gas (Heat + Toxin)

Warframe Gas Damage Icon

Gas damage has problems dealing the the health of Corpus enemies while getting bonuses against the health of weak Infested units like Crawlers, Chargers and Leapers. As these Infested are extremely easy to kill without Gas damage anyway, Gas has barely any reason to be used for its damage bonuses.

Well, and its status effect doesn’t make it any better. The Gas status effect creates a Gas cloud of 3m radius around its target. With more procs you can increase this radius up to 6m at 10 stacks. This cloud lasts for 6 seconds and deals half of your modded damage per second. This is really quite useless unless you are camping in a small tube with Vauban who always pulls enemies into the Cloud. In any other scenario, you will get rid of them before the Gas cloud can deal any substantial damage.


Good for:

  • Infested

Bad for:

  • Grineer

Magnetic (Electricity + Cold)

Warframe Magnetic Damage Icon

Magnetic damage is made to be great against shields. And it really is but why would you ever bother with shields if theres Toxin that bypasses them alltogether. Why mod for Magnetic damage to nuke shields when you can mod for Toxin and forget their existence?

The Magnetic damage status effect prevents natural shield regeneration and increases damage dealt to shields but as I just explained, there’s really no point in using it unless you want another element for Condition Overload. Truly the worst of Warframe’s damage types.


Good for:

  • /

Bad for:

  • DON’T USE MAGNETIC I BEG YOU

Radiation (Heat + Electricity)

Warframe Radiation Damage Icon

Radiation damage has a huge damage boost against heavy Grineer units like Napalm, Noxs and most armored bosses including Eidolons. On the other hand, I wouldn’t use it against Infested except maybe in the Cambion Drift where most are heavily armored, too.

As for the status effect, Radiation confuses enemies making them shoot anything that moves, including their allies, for 12 whole seconds. Furthermore, it increases their damage against allied units by 100% on the first proc up to 550% at 10 procs. This is basically 12 seconds that an enemy will barely shoot at you (unless you shove yourself in his face) but instead deal extra damage in your name. Compare this to the Blast status effect which makes him 30% less likely to hit you for 6 seconds (not even including melee units) and you can see why this is infinitely better to increase your survivability.


Good for:

  • Grineer
  • Corrupted
  • Crowd Control

Bad for:

  • Infested

Viral (Toxin + Cold)

Warframe Viral Damage Icon

Viral damage comes with quite tame damage bonuses/reductions. Firstly, a damage bonus against Grineer health, which is usually protected by armor anyway. Secondly, a damage bonus against Corpus health, which is usually overshadowed by the higher amounts of shields. And thirdly, a damage reduction against weak Infested like Chargers and Leapers which will still die very easily. Where it gets fun, though, is the status effect…

For 6 seconds, any damage done to their health will be amplified by 100% on the first proc. This stacks up to 325% on 10 procs making them take over 4 times the usual damage. And the best part is that this works through armor, too! As a result, you can cut the effective HP of any enemy who doesn’t have shields (and isn’t immune to status effects) in half with a single Viral proc!

As I already touched on in the Slash part, the Viral status effect combined with the DoT of the Slash status effect is the way to go for the highest levels of Warframe. The armor-ignoring damage of your Slash procs will be amplified by the Viral status effect resulting in lots and lots of damage.


Good for:

  • Grineer
  • Corrupted
  • Infested
  • combining with Slash

Bad for:

  • /

Best Damage Types For Each Faction Guide

As the conclusion of this part of the Warframe damage guide, I want to leave you with a quick overview as to which of Warframe’s damage types fits your situation. The higher a damage type is on the list the better it generally is against the faction.

Best Damage Types against Grineer

Warframe Best Damage Types against Grineer
  1. Viral
  2. Heat
  3. Slash
  4. Corrosive
  5. Radiation

Especially Slash but also Corrosive should be prioritized more the higher level you face. As I already mentioned, Viral + Slash is the ultimate combination.

Best Damage Types against Corpus

Warframe Best Damage Types against Corpus
  1. Toxin
  2. Cold
  3. Impact

Again, just use Toxin against the Corpus if you can.

Best Damage Types against Infested

Warframe Best Damage Types against Infested
  1. Viral
  2. Slash
  3. Heat
  4. Gas
  5. Corrosive

If you are in the Cambrion Dift, ignore Viral and prioritize Corrosive over Gas as those enemies are immune against the Viral status and have a special type of armor.

Best Damage Types against Corrupted

Warframe Best Damage Types against Corrupted
  1. Viral
  2. Heat
  3. Slash
  4. Corrosive

This list is similar to the Grineer one as Grineer are usually the hardest to kill and so we are focusing on their corrupted versions, too. The problems you will have with Corrupted are more affected by your own loadout than other factions which makes it hard for me to give general advice. What I can say, though, is to add elements depending on the specific problem you have. If you can’t kill Ancients or Heavy Gunner, add Corrosive. If you can’t kill those corrupted Corpus, add Toxin or even Impact.

Thanks for reading!

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