How to Beat Protea in Warframe

The final mission in The Deadlock Protocol quest chain pits you up against a Specter of the Protea Warframe. While this fight isn’t terribly difficult, it can be a tad confusing at first, deviating from the usual gameplay loop of “bash it ’til it’s dead”. I’ll go step by step through this fight to help you clear it, but in a nutshell, how you beat Protea is:

Detonate the Xoris glaive near three Errant Specters total, two times each. Once the Xoris is charged, attack Protea to bring her health to zero, and then detonate the Xoris near her when she begins leaving afterimages in her wake. Perform this sequence four times to win the fight.


Your loadout isn’t hugely important for this mission, thankfully; most gear will work just fine. You’ll need the Xoris, of course, as the mission won’t even launch unless it’s equipped. However, you don’t need to mod the Xoris at all, since the mid-flight detonation will kill Errant Specters in the boss fight area automatically. Errant Specters in the rest of the ship aren’t affected in this way, but you can largely ignore them and just make your way to each objective.

None of the enemies deal all that much damage, including Protea herself, so you don’t need to worry much about what Warframe you bring. Some form of healing might help so that enemies don’t effectively nickel-and-dime you to death, but other than that, survival is pretty straightforward. Bring whoever you like.

The Protea Specter itself seems to have some form of damage gate to keep it from being one-shot-killed; I took an unmodded Buzlok for testing, and a heavily-modded Catchmoon Pistol that usually hits in the tens of thousands for each projectile. The Buzlok did around 40 per shot, while the Catchmoon did 327 maximum.

Given this info, I recommend taking a rapid-fire weapon with a focus on Multishot. Buzlok is a good choice, if you’re in a Clan with a Chem Lab developed enough to acquire the weapon. If not, any rapid-fire weapon should do the trick; just bear in mind that Protea can get a bit wiggly, with a slim hitbox and lots of hopping around making it annoying to land your shots, hence why Buzlok’s homing bullets are a blessing.

From what I could tell, Protea has about 500 shields, and 2000 health. These are very rough estimates, mind you; I’m sure the real values are a bit different, but these amounts give a general idea of how much damage you’ll need to deal. Also bear in mind that you’ll need to clear this amount of health multiple times, since she’ll heal back up a set amount for each phase of the fight. Thankfully, the max health drops by 25% each time you clear a phase, so it gets easier as you go.

Starting the Fight

I’ll assume you’ve made it through the rest of the quest chain, and already know how to access the Tribute golden hand statues. Once you’ve meandered through the mission to the point where you’ve entered the boss fight arena, you need to run forward until you see one of the captured rig jockeys in order to trigger the next bit of dialogue.

Make sure to actually pull out your Xoris when the objective prompt tells you to do so; I spent a hilarious amount of time wondering why the mission wouldn’t progress while I bounced around with my Buzlok at the ready.

After some gloating from the bad guy, you’ll start being attacked by Errant Specters, who look a bit like a floating Mr. Conehead with his codpiece fastened too tight.

You’ll need to throw the Xoris towards these guys, and detonate it when it’s in their general proximity. The explosion is pretty large, so don’t worry about getting it right on top of them. You can often catch three or more of them in one blast even when they’re practicing social distancing.

To detonate the Xoris, you first need to throw it by holding the melee button down, and then press either the Heavy Melee Attack button if the Xoris is equipped on its own, or the Alternate Fire button if you’re dual-wielding it with a pistol.

Check the bottom right if you’re unsure what mode you’re in: if it shows “(the name of your pistol) + Xoris”, you’re dual-wielding and will need to use alt-fire. This only happens if you’ve equipped your secondary; if you press your melee attack button while your primary is equipped instead, you won’t be dual-wielding.

Anyway, once you’ve thrown and detonated the Xoris, any Errant Specters caught in the blast will turn into Specter Particles instead, which are ghostly, flailing versions of their original forms.

You need to once again detonate the Xoris near these guys to charge the weapon. They’ll vanish on their own after a few seconds of being put into ghost form, so make sure you blow them up in time. As you kill them with the Xoris, you’ll see the charges build up right next to the crosshair.

Two of the three dots have been lit up; this means I’ve got two of the required three charges for freeing the rig jockeys.

Once you’ve got all three charges, you need to find one of the rig jockeys suspended in the air, and detonate the Xoris nearby to free them. From my testing, it seems that the charged explosion will free them if it goes off anywhere within 25m of their position, so it’s quite forgiving.

After you’ve freed one, repeat the process to free the other two: explode three Errant Specters into ghosts, explode the three ghosts, and explode by a rig jockey.

You can technically use other weapons to damage Errant Specters enough to ghostify them, but this runs the risk of destroying them with the weapon by accident instead of catching them with Xoris. Since the explosion is so large and kills them in one shot anyway, I find it far easier to just do this entire phase with the Xoris alone.

Once all three rig jockeys have been freed, the big bad will gloat a little more before awakening Protea to fight you.

Beating Protea

Once Protea has been awakened, you’ll first want to charge your Xoris just like you did to free the rig jockeys. Kill off three Errant Specters to fully charge the weapon, and then keep it ready for the right moment later on in the fight.

Use whatever weapon you decided to bring along to bring Protea to zero health… Or at least to where she starts leaving behind yellow afterimages. The afterimage phase sometimes triggers before her health has been fully diminished, and I honestly don’t know why. Chalk it up to spaghetti code, I suppose.

You’ll sometimes have The Business patch through the radio to tell you she’s “reversing the temporal field”, which acts as a signal that it’s time to bring out the Xoris, but I found this to be somewhat inconsistent and delayed. The afterimages are a much more immediate way to tell that it’s time to act.

If these little buggers are appearing, it’s time to blast her with the Xoris.

Once the afterimages start appearing, bring out the Xoris and use the three charges you built up earlier to blast her out of the time loop. If you caught her in the explosion, she’ll turn briefly invincible, regain a chunk of her health, and try to scare you with some breathy poetic-but-ultimately-meaningless drivel about endings and eternity.

During this period of invincibility, she’ll flop onto the ground in slow motion. As captivating as her acrobatics can be, this is the perfect opportunity to charge up the Xoris again, so use this window to blow up some of the spectertators that have gathered around to watch the fight.

Protea will actually become vulnerable again before she’s finished standing back up, so if you’ve finished charging the Xoris in time, you can unload on her now instead of having to track a moving target. Bring her to the afterimage phase again, unleash the Xoris explosion, and she’ll once again turn invincible and fall down with some dialogue.

She must be running out of breath, because she’s not being nearly as verbose as she was before.

The process continues. Charge the Xoris, deplete Protea’s health, and blast her when she’s leaving afterimages. She’ll fall down, get one last word out, and try one last time to take you out. It will not work.

Once you down-and-detonate her this one last time, she’ll pop like a sad blue firework, and you’ll be teleported back to the spawn point at the very beginning of the mission, having ended the battle before it ever began, canonically. Just make your way to extraction, and you’ll have your lovely Protea blueprint in hand, as well as some peace and quiet from Solaris’ pleas for help.

…Though there’s still the matter of getting Protea’s individual components to actually craft her. That’s a guide for another time.

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