How often do you find yourself experimenting with new primary weapons in Warframe? With hundreds of different types of firearms available in the game, there’s bound to be something that catches your eye.
Although you have access to a variety of shotguns, rifles, snipers, and bows for primary weaponry, it’s nearly impossible to test each one to its fullest potential. Fortunately, we’ve conducted our own research and are pleased to present what we consider to be the best primary weapons available in Warframe.
Here at the High Ground, we’ve narrowed down our selection to the top 5 primary weapons that are effective throughout the entire Star Chart and even in Steel Path mode.
Top 5 Best Primary Weapons in Warframe
*Note: All of the following primary weapons are top-tier overall and are just being ranked in comparison to other top tier primary weapons of a similar caliber.
Ignis Wraith (C-Tier)
The Ignis Wraith has consistently topped tier lists for many years, and with good reason. Obtaining this flamethrower was quite the challenge in the past, as the blueprint was only available through an in-game event that very few clans had access to.
However, nowadays, it’s more feasible to obtain the blueprint from Baro when he makes his rounds. Thankfully, the Ignis Wraith still has a reputation for incinerating most of its competition and any foes that cross your path.
This crit-based flamethrower thrives with crit mods and a viral status. With the right build, you can achieve approximately 70% status chance, while still allowing you enough mod space to improve crit chance and damage.
While the Ignis Wraith can perform well without a riven, it requires a significant amount of forma (5-7) to achieve its full potential. Therefore, this weapon is highly effective in the endgame, but it demands a greater investment than the other weapons on our list.
Ever since its release, the Nataruk has dominated the competition and claimed the throne as the best bow in Warframe. Obtaining this weapon is as simple as completing “The New War” questline, making it a top-tier weapon that you can acquire for free just by playing the game.
The Nataruk has a unique mechanic that allows you to achieve a perfect shot by releasing your arrows within the marked indicator on the crosshair. This perfect shot significantly increases your critical chance and damage, effectively transforming your arrows into military-grade ballistas that tear through enemies with ease.
The strongest builds for the Nataruk incorporate some form of slash procs, ensuring that the immense amount of slash damage finishes the job if the impact of the perfect shot doesn’t instantly obliterate what’s in front of you.
Although it may sound too good to be true, the Nataruk becomes even more impressive when you consider that it only requires investing 2 formas to make it viable in Steel Path. Since everyone has access to this incredible bow, it’s definitely worth giving it a shot in Steel Path content if you’re looking for a new primary weapon to experiment with in Warframe.
Phantasma Prime (A-Tier)
Our A-tier pick for this list is the Phantasma Prime, also known as the spooky ghostbuster gun. It’s worth noting that the normal Phantasma is still a great weapon to use if you don’t have access to the prime version, which only recently became available.
The Phantasma Prime is arguably the best status weapon in the game, assuming you have a primer secondary such as Epitaph or Nukor to stack initial status. Since this weapon is often used in Steel Path, a primer is usually used anyway because of how tough Steel Path enemies are. Even so, this status hose of a shotgun will absolutely annihilate Steel Path enemies.
Despite its high fire rate and having the fastest base reload speed among all shotguns, the Phantasma Prime does have one weakness: its ammo consumption. It can burn through ammo quickly, but this can be mitigated with a shotgun ammo mutation mod.
Overall, this is just an excellent primary weapon to bring along, particularly if you’re planning on tackling Steel Path content in Warframe.
Tenet Arca Plasmor (S-Tier)
One of the best Tenet weapons that you can obtain from the Sisters of Parvos is this beast of a shotgun. As a Tenet weapon, it comes with innate built-in radiation damage, making it an excellent match for any combination of status effects of your choosing.
Most players tend to go for the toxin variant of this weapon, as higher-level Steel Path enemies are much harder to kill without viral on your weapons. By selecting toxin as the element, you can free up a mod slot for viral, which can be replaced with a more direct damage mod.
This weapon fires a 3-meter wide, oval-shaped projectile that guarantees an impact proc, ricochets off surfaces, and has infinite punch through. The substantial damage output of this weapon, combined with your choice of elemental damage types, will make quick work of even the toughest enemies.
Overall, this shotgun is a fantastic primary weapon for any Warframe arsenal, particularly for players looking to tackle Steel Path content.
It’s not surprising that an Incarnon weapon is the final pick on our list. The Felarx, an automatic shotgun, shares similar functions with other Incarnon weapons and has 5 levels of evolution, each unlocking perks that make it borderline overpowered even by Steel Path standards.
Even without considering the meta builds for this weapon and its evolutions, the sheer variety of combinations possible with the evolution perks alone makes it worth picking up and experimenting with.
The standard meta build for this weapon follows the same pattern as many others, pairing either corrosive or viral damage with slash damage for Steel Path. However, what sets the Felarx apart are its evolution perks, such as reloading half the mag when holstered or having a 50% chance to deal 2000% damage when you land a non-critical hit.
Given that you’re likely to switch to a primer secondary in Steel Path, reloading this weapon becomes unnecessary. The incentive to avoid building crit chance is a unique addition to these Incarnon weapons, but the 2000% damage boost more than makes up for it.
The icing on the cake is the Felarx’s Incarnon form, which completely changes the function of the weapon. It swaps out the shotgun aspect and transforms into an accurate, hard-hitting, semi-automatic, single-shot weapon that deals radiation and impact damage. Depending on your build, this may or may not seem like an upgrade.
Join the High Ground!
These are our top picks for primary weapons to tackle the endless threats in Warframe, whether in the Star Chart or Steel Path. When built properly, these weapons will greatly contribute to clearing high-level content and more.
Realistically, all five weapons on this list are top-tier and can be used just about anywhere. The main differences between them are the barrier to entry or the cost of effectiveness before being able to handle endgame content. The S-tier choices, in particular, possess qualities that make them shine brighter than the competition.
But rest assured, you can’t go wrong with any of these. Focus more on finding one that you enjoy using and fits your playstyle.
Hopefully, we’ve provided you with some ideas and insights on primary weapons to build and try out for yourself in Warframe! We aimed to keep the list short and concise with only five weapons, but we’re aware that there are many more primary weapons that could have made the cut.
If we missed your favorite primary weapon, feel free to let us know in the comments below! And make sure to subscribe to the High Ground for the latest news, guides, and articles on all things gaming.
Safe travels, Tenno.