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Warframe – Caliban Guide (Best Build, How to Play, Tips)

The half-Sentient warframe Caliban is a unique support who does a bit of everything as a jack-of-all-trades. He is one of the few that specializes in inflicting vulnerability on enemies and can cripple the enemy’s ability to respond to your team. When you build and play Caliban properly, you’re practically a one-man army, leading his team to victory through swarms of helpless enemies.

If you’re looking to systematically tear through the Star Chart (and even the Steel Path) and come out unscathed, then continue reading to master the adaptive might of Caliban.

Caliban’s Stats

  • Health: 100 (300 at rank 30)
  • Shields: 175 (525 at rank 30)
  • Armor: 275
  • Energy: 125 (187.5 at rank 30)
  • Sprint Speed: 1.1

Caliban is slightly on the higher end of the stat spectrum in terms of survivability. Unsurprising given his lineage. While his max Energy capacity is a bit lackluster, it’s nothing that can’t be fixed with mods and careful management.

Overview of Caliban’s Abilities

We’ll go over each of Caliban’s abilities first, so you can fully understand how to utilize his kit. Then we’ll cover the best build for Caliban in detail.

Passive

Allies within Affinity range gain increased resistance to the types of damage they are currently taking.

Caliban passive
(Image: Digital Extremes via HGG / Andrew Oli)

An incredibly simple and straightforward passive that just makes you and your team tankier against all incoming damage. Given that your main role as Caliban is to provide support, you should constantly be in range to apply this to your team.

Razor Gyre (1st Ability)

Become a spinning vortex of death. Hold the fire key (default LMB) to accelerate the maelstrom, increasing damage or target an enemy by tapping the fire key to dash toward them. Hitting enemies inflicted with Sentient Wrath creates a destructive blast.

Razor Gyre - recommended to subsume this ability.
(Image: Digital Extremes via HGG / Andrew Oli)
SpecStats
Strength200/300/400/500 (slash damage per second)
Drain25 energy (+4 per second)
DurationN/A
Range8/10/11/12 m
Misc.Gives knockdown + stagger immunity
Dash knockback on hit
10% slash status chance

While the aesthetics of this ability are amusing, the damage of this spinning vortex of death is less than ideal for most situations in the late game of Warframe.

Not only is the damage lackluster, but you also put yourself in an extremely vulnerable position while locked into the spinning maelstrom animation. Yes, you do heal a bit for each enemy hit while spinning, but you’re probably going to take more damage than you gain in the process.

This makes Caliban’s 1st ability the very obvious choice to be subsumed out and replaced with another ability via the Helminth System (assuming you plan to do so, which you should).

That being said, if you choose to keep this ability, there is some utility to it. You can tap the firing key while aiming at a target to dash to them and knock down/away nearby enemies for some breathing room.

You can also combo this ability with your 2nd ability (Sentient Wrath), as the projectiles from Sentient Wrath travel faster while spinning and also amplify the damage from Razor Gyre – not enough to really make this ability worth keeping, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Sentient Wrath (2nd Ability)

Smash the ground sending out a radial wave of destruction. Those not killed by the initial blast are helplessly lifted into the air, where they take amplified damage for a short time.

Sentient Wrath - Caliban 2nd ability
(Image: Digital Extremes via HGG / Andrew Oli)
SpecStats
Strength6/8/12/16 (max targets)
250/500/750/1000 (impact damage)
15/20/25/35 % (damage vulnerability)
Drain50 energy
Duration4/6/8/10 seconds
Range10/14/18/22 m
Misc.10m/s (projectile speed)

Sentient Wrath is one of the key bread-and-butter abilities in Caliban’s kit that truly promotes a hybrid playstyle of support and crowd control.

Not only is this ability great for mass crowd-controlling huge groups of enemies, but it’s also fantastic for helping you execute any high-priority targets (such as Eximus units) thanks to the damage amplification on suspended enemies.

Keep in mind that the ability will only lift enemies that don’t possess the Overguard effect, which makes them immune to crowd-control effects. It’s also worth noting that for this ability to have the full 100% vulnerability effect, you’ll need at least 287% ability strength.

Also, while this ability may seem spammable, there is a small cooldown that prevents you from recasting the ability while the effect is still active. Other than that, feel free to abuse the heck out of this amazing ability to make short work of your enemies across the Star Chart and Steel Path!

Lethal Progeny (3rd Ability)

Call on Caliban’s Sentient aspect to produce up three Conculyst comrades to fight by his side, and repair his shields.

Lethal Progency - Caliban 3rd ability
(Image: Digital Extremes via HGG / Andrew Oli)
SpecStats
StrengthCaliban’s Rank x AStr (Conculyst rank)
+10/15/20/25 SP/s (shields per second)
1/1.5/2/2.5 x (damage multiplier)
1/1.33/1.66/2 x (health multiplier)
Drain75 energy
Duration10/15/20/25 seconds
RangeN/A
Misc5m deploy range
25m shield repair range
10m teleport radius
40m teleport range
3 max progeny active

Caliban’s Conculyst summons are what makes his kit extremely versatile in terms of playstyle and weapon choice. You can call up to 3 summons at once, who will seek out and slice through nearby foes. Your ability strength will determine the rank of the summons and how much health/damage they possess.

The Conculysts themselves possess a very high level of threat, meaning that most of the enemy focus won’t be on you. This enables Caliban to either rain death from a distance or get up close into the fray with his summons.

Should you end up taking too much fire from the enemy, you can even take refuge near your Conculysts, who will begin to help repair your shields (which can flow into overshield). The more Conculysts near you, the faster the shield recharge.

Thanks to your summons, Caliban has incredible weapon flexibility. As long as you strategically play around your Conculysts to avoid taking too much damage, you can be effective from any kind of range with any weapon.

Fusion Strike (4th Ability)

Converge three streams of raw energy upon a single point, causing a massive reactive blast. The fallout from the blast will strip the armor and shields from all enemies that touch it.

Fusion Strike - Caliban 4th ability
(Image: Digital Extremes via HGG / Andrew Oli)
SpecStats
Strength2,500/3,000/4,000/5,000 (blast damage per stream)
2,500/3,000/4,000/5,000 (explosion blast damage)
20/25/35/50 % (armor and shield strip)
Drain100 energy
Duration6/9/12/15 seconds fallout duration
Range15/20/25/30 m (stream range)
5/6/8/10 m (explosion and fallout radius)
Misc3 streams
100% strip cap

Just when you thought this one-man-army warframe couldn’t possibly get any better. Caliban’s 4th ability is the nail in the coffin when it comes to rounding out his insane kit.

Briefly rooting himself in place, Caliban fires out three lasers that converge in the center to slice through enemies. Upon converging, the lasers will implode, yank any nearby surviving enemies to the center, and create a field that permanently strips a portion of enemies’ shields and health.

With sufficient ability strength, you can strip up to a whopping 100% of enemy shields and armor. While the ability itself may be outclassed by other warframes that specialize in stripping shield and armor (e.g Xaku), this ability is far from useless.

Since Fusion Strike is an ability that can be placed, you can use it to cover certain areas and chokepoints on a map to completely strip the shields and armor of any enemies passing through. While this may require a bit of micromanaging, it’s not difficult.

Aside from the lengthy casting animation of the ability, there’s nothing to really complain about, as it does its job exceedingly well. You can even place more than one down at a time to cover multiple areas, so it really all just comes down to how you use it.

How to Get Caliban in Warframe

Caliban’s main blueprint can be purchased from the market, while the component blueprints for the Systems, Neuroptics, and Chassis can be obtained as uncommon rewards from Narmer bounties on Plains of Eidolon during the day cycle.

After completing The New War quest, you can also get them from Orb Vallis while the Plains of Eidolon is on a night cycle.

Alternatively, if you’re strapped for time, you can just outright buy Caliban from the Market for 325 Platinum. Of course, we don’t recommend this, as he’s a relatively easy to get warframe.

Best Caliban Build – General Meta (5 Forma)

Best Caliban Build in Warframe
Build made with overframe.gg

Regardless of the build, you’ll probably be relying on the shield gating mechanic as Caliban’s main source of survivability in high level missions and Steel Path.

Being able to spam your 3rd ability will net you the most energy back via Augur mods, and the rest should be filled in by your Conculysts that help repair shields. Like every warframe that uses shield gating, you’ll want to be running the Rolling Guard mod for a comfortable invulnerability window to let you regenerate your shields and prepare for the next shield gate. You’ll also want to equip a Decaying Dragon Key to make the shield gating threshold easier to hit and recover more quickly.

This Caliban build can be run solo or in a group, as not much will change at all. The general overview of this build’s gameplay is a standard run-and-gun setup. You’ll mainly use your CC abilities to take the heat off yourself, granting you free access to use the arsenal of your choosing.

The only real necessary requirement for this build is the notable amount of ability strength, made possible with Umbral Intensify. Other than that, the rest of the build is pretty much just whichever weapons you enjoy using.

That being said, the optimal weapon choices are ones that can synergize with the subsumed warframe ability Nourish (aka. high status weapons). Anything that uses Condition Overload or Galvanized mods is also highly recommended.

Arcanes

  • Molt Augmented – More ability strength helps you reach your vulnerability cap on Sentient Wrath.
  • Arcane Energize – Being able to consistently use abilities allows for an easier time activating the Augur mod effects for shield gating. This is your key to survival.

Mod Choice Explanation

  • Combat Discipline – Synergizes well if you decide to run Arcane Avenger, but otherwise it’s mostly for support. Can be replaced with Brief Respite.
  • Primed Sure-Footed – You don’t want to be caught knocked on your butt in high level missions. Can be replaced with Handspring.
  • Rolling Guard – Dodge roll to activate a short period of invulnerability to help you regenerate your shield for shield gating.
  • Augur Mods – Required to regenerate shield if you’re not using Brief Respite.
  • Umbral Intensify, Blind Rage, Stretch, Primed Flow, Primed Continuity – Purely for the stats.

Weapon Choices

Caliban is one of those warframes where you can pretty safely use any of your favorite weapons and be perfectly fine. As your Conculysts will be taking aggro most of the time, you can be extremely flexible in Caliban’s arsenal choice.

As we mention above, any high status weapons or ones that use the Condition Overload or Galvanized mods are particularly good choices.

Helminth Abilities

Caliban’s Razor Gyre (1st ability) is probably the only real candidate to swap out for an infused Helminth ability. Not only do we not really need the damage from it, the spinning animation also leaves us completely vulnerable – which is never ideal. 

  • Gloom (Sevagoth) – Gloom is really never a bad pick on any warframe that is able to sustain energy. Having slower enemies paired with your Conculysts that will hold aggro can make for some pretty chill missions.
  • Nourish (Grendel) – Nourish synergizes incredibly well with Caliban’s Conculysts. Whenever you or your Conculysts get hit with Nourish active, it will produce a viral AoE with guaranteed viral procs. This will happen every time your Conculysts get hit, and they will get hit a lot.

Join the High Ground!

Hopefully our guide helped you better understand how to play and build Caliban. Even while being a jack of all trades, master of none type warframe, he is more than capable of holding his own in any type of mission you throw him into. His kit provides all the needed support and crowd-control to both you and your team, so don’t hold back!

Make sure to subscribe to the High Ground for the latest news, guides, and articles on all things gaming. And check out our other Warframe articles for more builds!

Until next time, traveler!

 

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