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Best Zaw Builds in Warframe (2024)

Everyone knows that there are hundreds of different weapons in Warframe. While there’s certainly no shortage to your arsenal, have you ever wanted to make your own custom-fitted weapon catered for your specific (killing) needs? Maybe you’ve already tried out modular weapons before but haven’t had any luck finding one that suits you. Don’t worry Tenno. Today, we’ll be going over how to craft the best Zaw for you in Warframe.

Back when they first released, Zaws seemed to have the edge over most other melee weapons in Warframe. However by today’s standards, Zaws are no longer the “best” around, but they’re still extremely viable in all aspects and will get you through any content.

In this Warframe article, we’ll go over a few different Zaw combinations that we think are worth building and trying out for one reason or another. If you’ve always wanted to try making a Zaw but weren’t really sure which parts you would need in order to make the “best” Zaw, we may be able to shed some light and give you insight on that!

What Exactly is a Zaw?

What is a Zaw
Image: Digital Extremes via HGG / Andrew Oli

A Zaw is a modular weapon in Warframe that you can create with parts at Hok on Cetus, Earth. Every Zaw is made up of three different components: grip, strike, and link. Each of these components affects a different characteristic of the final product Zaw.

  • Grip determines the base attack speed of the Zaw, whether the weapon is 1-handed or 2-handed, and the reach/form (dagger, polearm, etc.) of the weapon
  • Strike alters the critical strike and damage distributions of the Zaw. It also affects the speed of the weapon as well.
  • Link adds additional stat bonuses or penalties for critical strike, critical damage, speed, and damage depending on the link itself.

Combine these three parts, and you’ll have yourself a Zaw that can be customized to your liking. However, in order to fully customize your Zaw, you need to gild it first.

Gilding is a process that requires the reputation rank of at least Trusted with Ostrons. Once you reach that rank, make sure the Zaw you have in mind is rank 30. Then, you will be able to take it back to Hok on Cetus for gilding. Gilding a Zaw will cost 5,000 standing and 2 Cetus Wisps. This will unlock the usual weapon options such as slapping on an Orokin Catalyst, polarizing it, etc.

Best Zaw Combinations

Let’s go over some of the best Zaw builds in Warframe. These are in no particular order, as each Zaw will shine in different situations depending on what build you’re going for.

Best Melee/Crit Zaw

best zaw warframe - Strike: Sepfahn, Grip: Peye, Link: Vargeet II Jai
Image: Digital Extremes via HGG / Andrew Oli
  • Strike: Sepfahn
  • Grip: Peye
  • Link: Vargeet II Jai

This is an amazing crit weapon for all you katana fans out there. This Zaw is made for fast crits with its Peye grip paired with a Vargeet II Jai link. You can easily mod it for orange and even red crits with the help of your generic crit mods.

While this Zaw may have a rather low riven distribution, getting a riven with elemental damage on it can save you a mod slot (always a plus). Because it’s a crit weapon, it’s best used alongside warframes that complement melee weapons more.

This consists mainly of warframes that are tankier or don’t rely on their abilities to do damage in general. For example, Valkyr is a great choice to pair with this Zaw. Her kit is built around melee and being able to enhance your own attack speed – exactly what you want to make this Zaw shine.

Best Status Effect Zaw

best zaw warframe - Strike: Plague Kripath, Grip: Plague Bokwin, Link: Ekwana II Jai
Image: Digital Extremes via HGG / Andrew Oli
  • Strike: Plague Kripath
  • Grip: Plague Bokwin
  • Link: Ekwana II Jai

If you’ve been looking for a status melee weapon and are having trouble, look no further. This Zaw is a status beast that comes immediately with a massive 32% status chance (before any mods). Due to that, you can easily reach 100% status chance on this weapon with elemental mods.

The weapon has great range with the Plague Bokwin’s staff appearance which pairs well with the fact that status weapons usually like to be hitting many enemies at a time. If you feel like you don’t need 100% status chance on your weapon, feel free to change the link to your liking if you don’t mind losing some status chance.

Whether you have this weapon built purely for status or with a little bit of crit, it will get you through most, if not all content the game currently has to offer. This weapon even fairs pretty well in Steel Path as well.

Best Projectile Zaw

best zaw warframe - Strike: Balla, Grip: Peye, Link: Vargeet II Jai
Image: Digital Extremes via HGG / Andrew Oli
  • Strike: Balla
  • Grip: Peye
  • Link: Vargeet II Jai

While this Zaw’s appearance may not look impressive, you may be surprised when you pair this weapon with Exodia Contagion. The Zaw alone is a swift crit machine, but when paired with the arcane that allows it to shoot out ranged projectiles, its full potential starts to shine.

Since this build has the Zaw take the form of a dagger, the projectiles from Exodia Contagion will come out quickly and with very little travel time while in the air. This is why we like using the Peye grip with the Balla strike, as it makes for an even quicker weapon, which compliments Exodia Contagion perfectly. The link is there for the crit chance, but Vargeet II Jai is a very solid link to use regardless of the build.

This Zaw is amazing when used with a warframe that can further amplify the damage from the projectile, such as Wisp with her Breech Surge ability.

Best Balanced Zaw

Strike: Mewan, Grip: Plague Akwin, Link: Vargeet II Jai - best zaw warframe
Image: Digital Extremes via HGG / Andrew Oli
  • Strike: Mewan
  • Grip: Plague Akwin
  • Link: Vargeet II Jai

This Zaw build is more of a jack of all trades, master of none kind of weapon. But thanks to that, you can bring it with you for pretty much any mission. This Zaw has above-average stats in damage, crit, and attack speed but doesn’t necessarily specialize in any of them.

So keep in mind that this is probably not the greatest weapon for status effects. With that being said, this is your run-of-the-mill hack and slash weapon. You’ll mostly be relying on it when you just need to smack some enemies to victory. Thankfully, you can’t really go wrong with building this big hitter.

Best Infested/Plague Zaw

Strike: Plague Keewar, Grip: Plague Bokwin, Link: Vargeet II Jai
Image: Digital Extremes via HGG / Andrew Oli
  • Strike: Plague Keewar
  • Grip: Plague Bokwin
  • Link: Vargeet II Jai

This can be a great critical variation of a status Zaw that doesn’t focus too heavily on trying to reach 100% status. If you feel like you can live with a little bit less than 100% status chance in return for some higher crit numbers or even red crits, then this weapon is right up your alley.

It also performs extremely well with Exodia Contagion. The only real downside is the arc of the projectile is relatively heavy compared to the Balla dagger version. You can also easily mod these types of weapon to help fill your arsenal for the Profit Taker encounter if you’re in need of extra elemental weapons.

Infested Zaws are amazing because they have innate viral damage which means you can save two mod slots that can be used for even more elemental mods. This alone can make it worth it to make a Zaw using these infested parts, even if you don’t plan on using the Zaw for anything else besides Profit Taker.

Join the High Ground

Hopefully our guide to the best Zaw combinations in Warframe helped you discover and put together a powerful weapon that you can call your own. If you find yourself unsure about which Zaw you should make, the ones on this list are definitely worth looking into!

Farming the initial standing and materials for the Zaw parts may be a little bit of tedious work, but it will pay off in the end! Did we leave out your favorite Zaw combination to use? Maybe you just want to share some of your favorite Zaw builds? Let us know in the comments!

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