If you’re lookin’ to get the most out of Warframe for the least amount of effort, you’re in the right place.
Wait What's A Dad Build
First, we should probably clear up the problems with the “Dad Build” definition, starting with "what the heck is a 'Dad Build'?" To summarize, a Dad Build (or Dad Loadout) is basically any build in a loot-based game that is easy to use and acquire but is also sufficiently powerful to be useful for all that game's content.
The term started catching on in the Destiny 2 community and has since caught on with quite a few other publications. PC Gamer provided a fantastic primer on the concept, so we’re going to stick with their definition of Dad Build.
In order to be a Dad Build, it must satisfy the following criteria:
- Is it easy to obtain/build?
- Can it hold its own in end-game difficulty?
- Is it easy to use?
Also, a few other clarifications. Dad Builds might have got their start in Destiny 2, but you can easily find similar builds in Diablo 3, The Division 2, Final Fantasy XIV, or any other game with loot in it. Also, just because the name implies it's for Dads (or Moms, or Non-Binary Parents Of A Human Child) that doesn't mean that anyone who uses one is necessarily lazy or pressed for time. Dad Builds are about efficiency; for getting the most bang for the least buck.
Warframe Needs A Good Dad Build
And since Warframe is a looter-shooter with random drops and tons of grind, it’s the perfect place to discuss a good Dad Build.
There are a lot of Warframes and even more weapons in Digital Extreme’s free-to-play space ninja epic, and most of them require either a significant investment in time or money--two things in short supply if you’ve got a rugrat running around. If that’s you, or if you’ve just got a few other games on your list and can’t spend all day on just Warframe, then this is likely your most efficient way to get to end-game.
Which Warframe Do You Choose
Let’s start with the Warframe you choose. Most recommend Rhino as the first Frame to get after your starter Frame, and while Rhino is absolutely a powerhouse and can take you far, he’s not necessarily the best choice in all circumstances. Furthermore, getting Rhino’s end-game builds often requires Syndicate mods or corrupted mods which can be a pain to get (although relatively easy to get if you use the Warframe market and don’t mind spending a little bit of platinum).
Instead, we recommend Rhino’s slidy little brother, Nezha. Nezha is easily obtained by simply going to your Clan Dojo and buying the blueprints for credits (pretty much every established clan has Nezha unlocked, and even if you’re trying to go solo, he’s still relatively cheap to research). Most of the materials to make Nezha are easily obtained in large quantities, except for Plastids and Argon Crystals. It might take a few farming runs in the Orokin Derelicts to pick up 4,200 Plastids, but thankfully, you only need 2 Argon Crystals to complete Nezha’s build.
The best thing about Nezha is that you can make a sortie-capable build with easy to obtain mods. We’re going to assume you’ve managed to find a potato (that’s an Orokin Reactor, for the uninitiated) but might not have the time to unlock the Exilus slot.
Just about the only two mods you might not have naturally picked up are Augur Secrets and Hunter Adrenaline, however, those are easily obtained on the market, playing a few Plains of Eidolon bounties, or just ask around. Plenty of veteran players have 99 of these mods just lying around and would be happy to part with one.
As you can see, this setup provides an abundance of power strength, range, and armor without the expense of a single Forma. However, if you’re willing to use a Forma or two, you can easily enhance Nezha’s abilities with Primed Continuity and Transient Fortitude.
But being easy to acquire is just one quality of a good Dad Build. Next, it needs to be easy to use and effective at higher difficulty levels. Luckily, Nezha is both.
What Makes Nezha So Good In A Dad Build
Nezha’s four abilities make him both extremely versatile and extremely survivable, while also having a natural synergy. His Fire Walker allows Nezha to enhance his already considerable speed while also putting up a wall of flames wherever he runs/slides. His second ability, Blazing Chakram, provides additional damage whenever you need it while also doubling as a teleport and even doubles the damage of any enemy caught in his fourth ability, Divine Spears.
But it’s his third ability, Warding Halo, that provides Nezha with incredible survivability. Warding Halo prevents 90% of the damage done to Nezha while its hit points last, while whatever gets through gets further reduced by Nezha’s armor. If cast while under fire, the amount of hit points that Warding Halo can absorb is increased, and once the Halo fails, you have a few moments of invincibility to cast it again.
And because of Hunter Adrenaline, what little damage you take while Warding Halo is up will just refill your energy reserves. This can be a real boon for players that can’t invest the time for something like Arcane Energize.
What Weapons Do You Need
Now that you’ve got your speedy, tanky, crowd control-y Frame, it’s time to think weapons. For your Primary Weapon slot, there’s no easier or more effective weapon than the Hek. You can buy it at Mastery Rank 4 and build it with readily available materials. Building the Hek is simple: just put in any mod that says “deal more damage.” That’s it.
For your Secondary, we recommend the Aksomati. Yes, it’s going to need an Akstiletto, which requires a Forma to make, and that’s not easy for anyone on a budget to come by. But you can use the Akstiletto while you’re waiting to get the resources to make the Aksomati, and it’s a very powerful pair of machine guns.
Finally, the melee weapon is a tricky one. Most of the best melee weapons require a huge investment in either time, money, or in-game resources, but there’s a few that can be had on the cheap. First, the Paracesis and Skiajati are both quest-reward swords that come from some of Warframe’s later quests. Both are extremely powerful with the right mods and get more powerful the more you invest in them.
But if you’re strapped for cash and haven’t finished the bulk of Warframe’s quests, then the Lacera is for you. It’s a whip that is once again available for purchase in the Clan Dojo for just a few credits and then built for next to nothing. It’s got great range and power and can be easily modded into a real contender. Just remember to add some range and some attack speed before you slam in all the damage mods.
These weapons aren’t the best, but they can easily take you to end-game content with almost next to no skill and very little investment--perfect for the dad looking to get the most out of Warframe in between bouts of projectile vomiting and diaper changing.