Nidus works well in long missions with lots of enemies, especially when staying in a single location and when the map has very few obstacles. He suffers when staying on the move, or if his allies kill enemies faster than he can. He has decent AoE, but is definitely not a nuker.
Nidus has decently high health and armor (450 for both, giving him the 6th and 5th highest values respectively at the time of writing this), and is thus decently durable.
Combined with his passive and 3rd abilities, he can endure high-level missions more effectively than most other Warframes, though not necessarily as easily. His potent defense depend on a decent offense, as you need to hit enemies with your abilities to gain the Mutation stack resource that fuels those survival abilities.
Nidus’ ability damage output starts rather low every mission, but becomes stronger the further you go. This buildup can take quite a while depending on enemy density.
Nidus has multiple passive effects. The first is his Mutation system. He will gain “stacks” when he accumulates enough Mutation, and these stacks fuel or improve his other abilities.
Gaining one Mutuation stack requires building up five pips of Mutation. Pips are gained in three ways… One per enemy hit by his first ability, Virulence; a 50% chance at a pip per enemy killed while held by his second ability, Larva; or one pip per enemy hit by the death explosion of the maggots created by his fourth ability, Ravenous.
Mutation stacks can get as high as 100 by default. Using his third and fourth abilities, Parasitic Link and Ravenous, consume 1 stack or 3 stacks when used, respectively. The damage of Nidus’ first and fourth abilities is multiplied by the number of Mutation stacks Nidus has accumuated, resulting in some pretty powerful damage abilities that are, honestly, rather overkill in all but Endless missions and Steel Path missions.
Mutation stacks are also used to fuel Nidus’ “Undying” passive ability. When your health is brought to 0, you are put back to 50% of your maximum health, granted 5 seconds of invincibility, and lose 15 Mutation stacks. If you don’t have 15 stacks, Undying won’t trigger. Also be aware that the Quick Thinking mod, which uses energy in place of health once your health is depleted, will take effect after Undying, meaning that Mutation stacks will be consumed before energy to keep you alive. This makes Quick Thinking a generally poor mod choice for Nidus.
Lastly, Nidus has somewhat different stat growth from other Warframes as he is ranked up. He has no shields, and thus doesn’t get the 200% increase in shields that most other Warframes receive when going from rank 0 to 30. Instead, Nidus receives 50% more armor, 15% Ability Strength, and health regeneration of 13 health per second. This is in addition to the normal 200% health and 50% energy bonuses that all Warframes receive.
Nidus has an Augment mod for his passive called Abundant Mutation. This increases the Mutation stack cap to 300 instead of 100, but also puts a 30-second cooldown on his Undying passive ability. This gives him much higher offensive capability in long missions, tripling the potential damage of Virulence and Ravenous maggot explosions. Unfortunately, those long missions are the same ones in which you want Undying to be available.
Abundant Mutation’s Undying cooldown makes the mod a complete negative when under 100 Mutation stacks. It’s unlikely that you’ll actually suffer from this sub-100-Mutation drawback unless you’re in a Steel Path mission, however, as most normal missions won’t have enemies capable of depleting your health multiple times in a 30-second period.
The sweet spot is in mid-high difficulty/duration missions, where you have time to build up past 100 Mutation stacks, but enemies aren’t powerful enough to take you down quickly. Pay attention to the flow of each mission as you play, watching your Mutation counter and death frequency, and use that to gauge whether or not Abundant Mutation is worth the mod slot.
Virulence is a wave of infested ground that deals damage to the enemies it comes into contact with. The amount of damage depends entirely on your Mutation stacks. It deals 200 damage at base, plus an extra 200 for every Mutation stack you possess, meaning a substantial 20200 damage when you’re maxed out (or 60200 if you’re maxed with the Abundant Mutation augment mod). This damage is split evenly between Impact, Puncture, and Slash damage types, with no status effect chance.
The ability costs 40 energy at base, which is higher than first abilities usually cost. Thankfully, it has an energy return mechanic which gives you back 25% of the energy spent with each enemy struck. It’s always 25% of the energy used, mind you; if you use the Streamline mod to bring the cost down to 28 energy, you’ll be getting 7 energy back for each hit instead of 10. Similarly, if you have Blind Rage equipped, reducing your efficiency, it will return 15.5 energy due to costing 62. This makes Ability Efficiency fairly unimportant for Nidus, and can even make negative efficiency more valuable when hitting more than 4 enemies at a time.
This ability is also the fastest way to build Mutation stacks, granting 1/5 of a stack for every enemy struck. The AoE is a tad narrow, making it difficult to hit lots of enemies at once when used on its own. If you have trouble gauging the area you’ll hit, you can hold down the button for Virulence to project a rectangle onto the ground that shows exactly where it will hit.
Virulence works very well with Nidus’ second ability, Larva, which pulls enemies into a writhing mass at a single point, letting it hit all of them at once. The width of Virulence isn’t affected by Ability Range, but its range and speed will increase when modded. Reaching 16m by default, Ability Range quickly increases how far it will go, allowing it to reach fully across most rooms in basic mission tilesets.
Virulence can be a tad clunky to use; you can only send one Virulence out at a time, so it needs to finish traveling before you can cast it again. This can take a while if you throw it out into the open where it can travel its full range. However, if you send Virulence into a nearby wall or off a steep ledge, it’ll end sooner, allowing you to use it again more quickly. With the increased speed from Ability Range, you ultimately get faster casts if you’re careful with your positioning.
Lastly, Virulence has some direct synergy with Nidus’ third ability, Parasitic Link. If you’ve linked to a target, whether it’s an ally or an enemy, a second Virulence field will be sent towards your crosshair from that linked target. The extra field will do all the same things as the one that comes from Nidus himself; damage, energy return, and Mutation stack gain will all end up being applied twice over. The only thing that isn’t copied is energy cost, meaning you get to shoot two Virulence fields for the price of one.
Unfortunately, if the Virulence field from your linked target is still traveling, you can’t cast the ability. This adds a bit of complexity to the positioning requirements when trying to spam the power as frequently as possible. If you’re shooting Virulence straight at a wall, but the one from your linked target has farther to travel or is hitting your crosshair and then traveling beyond it until Virulence’s max range, you may actually be get less damage/energy/Mutation from the doubled cast than if you were casting from Nidus alone. Try to keep track of where your linked target is located, and hit the button for Parasitic Link again if their position is causing problems.
Virulence has an augment mod called Teeming Virulence. When getting four or more hits in one cast, you gain a buff for 15 seconds that increases the critical hit chance of your primary weapon. These hits include the Virulence waves that come from the target of your Parasitic Link; if you hit two enemies with the wave from both you and the linked target, you’ll gain the buff.
The buff grants 120% critical chance at base, and is affected by Ability Strength. If you’ve got a strength-heavy build, you can make a critical-focused gun far, far more deadly. Just keep in mind that your weapon will be competing against Virulence itself for damage output; if the gun can’t do more damage than Virulence, it’s probably not worth the mod slot.
Larva fires a blob of goo that flies in a straight trajectory, then shoots out tentacles to grab all enemies in range and drag them to the blob. The blob needs line of sight to every enemy that it grabs, which can be hard to get a feel for since you aren’t seeing through the blob’s eyes yourself. Familiarity with the map layout is a huge advantage for making use of Larva, so take in your surroundings as you play so you can figure out the best spots to throw your Larva.
Something I hadn’t initially realized when I started using Nidus is that you can press the ability button again while the Larva projectile is flying, and it will stop in place, dragging enemies to a midair position. I had been trying to use it entirely by throwing it at any available surface, which made it very difficult to grab enemies behind cover and made Nidus feel quite weak at first. Triggering it in mid-air is essential to grabbing the most enemies possible, so try to get a feel for the projectile’s speed to maximize your control over where it triggers.
Enemies killed while held by Larva have a 50% chance to grant a Mutation pip, providing an alternate method of building up Mutation. It’s much, much slower than Virulence, though, so it’s difficult to depend upon.
While grabbed by Larva’s tendrils, enemies are put in a ragdoll state, unable to retaliate. So not only is Larva good for offense, bringing enemies together to be smacked around by Virulence, Ravenous, and AoE weapons, it’s also an effective defense. If you see your health start to drop dangerously fast, toss out a Larva at your feet to disable every enemy that has visual on you. At least, those that are in range.
With a base radius of 12 meters, Larva’s got decent coverage, but rarely enough to hit everywhere that it sees. Adding some Ability Range to your mod loadout will go a long way towards improving Larva’s impact, as well as the rest of Nidus’ abilities in most situations. Enemies are pulled to the Larva ball very quickly regardless of range, so unlike Virulence, you don’t have to worry about Ability Range having a negative impact.
What you do have to worry about, however, is Ability Duration. Like Virulence, Larva can’t be recast while you already have one active. It disappears when it’s no longer holding any enemies, but clearing them can be difficult with low Mutation stacks, or when Larva is triggered in midair where Virulence can’t reach (unless you have a powerful AoE weapon). There are also rare instances where grabbed enemies get stuck on terrain as they’re pulled in, keeping them from making it to the glob; they still count as being grabbed, so you either have to find and kill them, or wait for Larva’s duration to run out.
Thankfully, Larva has an augment mod called Larva Burst that helps to handle this problem. By pressing the ability button again while enemies are held, the Larva will burst (as the name implies), lobbing enemies gently into the air. This tends to spread them out a little bit, especially in the air where they have more time to fall. The trajectory can be detrimental to Virulence, but you can always use Larva again to consolidate them at ground level. Detonating Larva like this doesn’t cost any extra energy.
The burst also deals damage to enemies in a 5 meter base radius, affected by Ability Range. The damage is 300 Toxin at base, multiplied by the number of enemies initially grabbed. This damage is determined when enemies are grabbed, rather than when Larva is detonated. As such, killing enemies while they’re held won’t reduce the damage of the explosion. That said, the explosion only occurs if Larva is manually detonated; killing every held enemy makes Larva dissipate harmlessly rather than exploding.
The explosion also comes with a 100% chance for a Toxin status effect, dealing damage over time to any enemy that survives the explosion. This effectively results in dealing four times the listed damage, as enemies will take 6 ticks of Toxin damage at half of the initial explosion’s value. Because Toxin bypasses shields, this mod is decently effective against Corpus.
One last benefit to Larva Burst, which isn’t mentioned in the mod’s description, is that you’ll have a 50% chance to gain a Mutation pip for each enemy held at the time of detonation. This gives it a little bit more potential for building up Mutation, though it still isn’t nearly as fast as Virulence.
Parasitic Link consumes 1 Mutation stack to connect Nidus to one ally or enemy via a thin infested tendril to provide a boost, depending on which of the two entity types are targeted. The connection is only limited by range; you can have multiple walls separating you from your target without losing the boost. This range is 20m at base for enemies, and 40m at base for allies, allowing you and your ally to wander a fair bit if you mod in some Ability Range.
When connected to an ally, you both gain a boost to Ability Strength. At base, the boost is 25%, though Nidus’ built-in 15% Ability Strength brings the boost up to 28.75% instead. For you, this means a Virulence that does a little over 50 more damage per Mutation stack, and a Ravenous that heals for 5 health more per second, as well as making the maggots explode for 37.5 more damage per Mutation stack. It’s a decent boost, but it won’t be unlocking any super secret potential or anything.
Unfortunately, the only allies that can be connected to with Parasitic Link are other players. You can’t use it on a Companion or Specter to get an Ability Strength boost while in solo mode.
While it won’t be making waves for Nidus, Parasitic Link could be far more of a gamechanger for allies, depending on what Warframe they’re playing. Nuke powers can be edged up enough to handle a few more rounds in a mission, buffs can be taken to their caps if they’re not already there, enemy target caps can be increased for a select few powers… It’s quite beneficial to learn about your allies’ abilities in addition to your own when playing Nidus.
One particularly nice benefit is throwing Parasitic Link on an ally just temporarily while they activate their Channeled abilities; the Ability Strength will continue to affect those abilities the entire time they’re maintained, even after you’ve broken the link. This is useful for abilities like Oberon’s Renewal, Hildryn’s Balefire, or (though not technically a Channeled ability) Xaku’s Grasp of Lohk. Anything that lasts forever, or at least for an extremely long time, can be made substantially more potent with minimal time investment from you.
Now, when targeting an enemy instead, the benefit is mostly defensive rather than offensive like with allies. The targeted enemy is disabled while linked to (except for bosses and miniboss-types), and a percentage of the damage you take will be transferred to them as well. The percentage is 50% at base, but can be brought as high as 90% if you have and Ability Strength of 180% or higher. Combined with Nidus’ high defensive stats and his Undying passive, Parasitic Link makes him incredibly durable, so long as you can keep it active.
But, keeping Parasitic Link active is the hard part. For one, it can’t really be of much help while on the move, since enemies are locked in place while affected. Second, they are taking your damage; once their health is depleted, they die and the link is broken. One saving grace is that damage from you and your allies won’t affect the linked enemy, so you don’t have to worry about killing your own meatshield. Any damage it would take from you and your allies is stored up, and will be applied once the link is broken, so you don’t have to worry about holding up a round of Defense by keeping the enemy alive as everything else is taken out.
On top of transferring damage taken to the targeted enemy, Parasitic Link will pass along any status effects you suffer, too. This ranges from elemental status effects like Viral or Magnetic, to crowd control effects like being knocked down. Keeping an enemy linked basically allows you to ignore any sense of self-preservation while you go wild on their friends. Just beware of Nullifiers and other similar units; they’ll break the link if they touch you or the linked enemy, so try to keep an eye on them in Corpus missions lest you suddenly take more damage than you’re ready for.
Lastly, as mentioned in the Virulence section itself, your linked target will send out a second wave of infestation when Virulence is used. Having an enemy linked makes the wave far more predictable, since you know exactly where it will emanate from every time. On the other hand, having an ally linked means that they’ll be moving along with you, usually towards enemies, which could make it easier to get hits in and grow your Mutation stacks.
If you notice that an ally is engaging in a lot of melee combat, they’re a prime target for Parasitic Link since they’ll often be right in the fray, giving Virulence a good shot at hitting something every time it’s used. Alternatively, an ally that seems to be moving at the same pace that you are will generally result in their Virulence following roughly the same path as your own, doubling up the benefit of having good positioning.
Ravenous places a circular infested field centered on Nidus, spanning 8m from one side to the other. Three short towers will also be created, and these act as both spawn points for maggot allies as well as “anchors” for Ravenous as a whole. If a Nullifier touches the field itself, Ravenous will persist; the Nullifier bubble has to touch each of the towers individually to cancel the ability, which gives it far more staying power than most other Warframe abilities that place structures on the map.
While standing in the infested field, you and your allies recover health at a base rate of 20 points per second. It’s not a lot on its own, but if you’re latched onto an enemy with Parasitic Link and have 180% Ability Strength, the 90% damage reduction combines with the modified 36 health per second to give an effective regeneration of 360 health per second, which is pretty impactful. You can’t grant your damage reduction to allies, though, so the regeneration is still pretty low for them unless they’ve got defenses of their own. Ultimately, though Ravenous has a healing component, it isn’t nearly enough to make Nidus a healer Warframe for the team.
The real meat of Ravenous comes from the creation of up to nine maggots. (Did that pique your appetite?) One will spawn at each tower roughly every second, take a few moments to get their bearings, and then skitter off to latch onto a nearby enemy. Once attached, that enemy will be disabled due to their helpless flailing. The maggot will also deal 10 Toxin damage every second to the grabbed enemy, multiplied by your Mutation stack total, but not affected by Ability Strength.
Whether a maggot is attached or not, they will also draw enemy fire, distracting them from shooting at you, your allies, or any NPCs or objects you’re defending. Enemies aren’t forced to target maggots, so they may still go after something you don’t want them to shoot, but it’s fairly rare given that the maggots will be right in the enemy’s face. Each maggot has 1000 health, which tends to last a bit longer than you’d expect due to their small size causing a lot of shots to miss.
When a maggot is destroyed, that isn’t the end of its contribution to the battle; it will explode in a 4m radius, affected by Ability Range. This explosion does 150 Blast damage, boosted by Ability Strength and multiplied by your Mutation stack total. On top of that, every enemy hit by the explosion will give you one Mutation pip. With a high Ability Range and a decent swarm of enemies, this can send your Mutation meter soaring.
You don’t have to wait for the maggots to be killed by enemies to get their explosion, either; if the maggot is hit by Virulence, it explodes immediately, effectively making that Virulence nearly twice as powerful (depending on enemy damage resistances), as well as beefing up the Mutation gains. Hitting a mass of enemies all covered with maggots will give loads of Mutation, up to ten pips (two stacks) per enemy if all nine maggots are in position and the enemies have been bunched up with Larva.
Given their size, it can be difficult to tell where your maggots are positioned. Thankfully, by holding the button for Virulence, you can see an icon pop up over each maggot so you can see where your Virulence cast will do the most good.
Unfortunately, given the fact that Ravenous’ infested field is stationary, the ability is nearly impossible to use in missions where you’re constantly moving, such as Exterminate or Spy. It’s very much built for missions where you hunker down to defend something or amass kills, such as Defense or Survival.
Nidus can put out a lot of damage once he’s built up, but even that doesn’t overtake the insane armor of high-level Grineer. You’ll be fine at low-to-mid levels, but once you’re getting into Steel Path and Endless missions, you’ll want to bring along a weapon with Corrosive damage to be able to shave off some of their damage reduction so that Virulence can do its job.
Larva helps tremendously with these high-level missions, allowing your weaponry to hit entire room’s worth of enemies at once, provided you trigger the Larva in a good position. Whether you’re using the weapon just to soften the Grineer’s armor, or to do the killing outright, Larva vastly improves the weapon’s effectiveness.
Most nuke Warframes have trouble in missions like this due to all the armor and the limited AoE of any Corrosive weapons they may have brought, so Nidus’ ability to pull enemies to one spot gives him a bit of a leg up on others against high-level Grineer.
Grineer’s armor also makes them very good targets for Parasitic Link since the damage sent their way will be reduced, letting each linked enemy last longer. It won’t be as important to seek out beefy units to link to like with Corpus and Infested, since they’re all pretty beefy.
The lack of damage mitigation among Corpus units lets Nidus have a field day once he’s built up his Mutation stacks. Virulence will plow through most Corpus units without difficulty, though Ospreys can sometimes fly too high to be hit by the ability.
Nidus actually doesn’t fare too badly against Nullifiers; entering their bubble won’t take away his Mutation stacks outright, instead just taking one stack every two seconds. Compared to other frames that are dependent on building up and buffing themselves, this loss is incredibly minor. Further, the field created by Ravenous doesn’t go away when a Nullifier touches it. To get rid of the field, a Nullifier has to delete all three spawning towers around the area. They don’t actively try to do this, so it’s rare that you’ll lose Ravenous unless you’re swarmed by multiple Nullifiers at once.
The maggots from Ravenous aren’t immediately destroyed by Nullifiers, either, though they will take rapid damage while inside the bubble. If the maggot dies from this damage, it will still explode. This won’t affect enemies inside the bubble, but those outside will be hit.
The biggest problem that Nullifiers will cause is with Parasitic Link. The bubble will cancel the effect whether it touches you OR the targeted enemy, making it much more difficult to maintain your damage reduction or Ability Strength boost.
The high quantity of enemies in Infested missions are fantastic for Virulence usage, allowing Nidus to quickly build Mutation stacks with very little preparation in positioning or using Larva. However, Ancient Healers are the bane of Nidus’ existence at very high levels. Since Ancient Healers recover health when their allies are damaged, they become extremely difficult to kill while in a group, if you’re using Virulence.
The Ancient Healer also protects their allies from the pull effect of Larva. While this does throw a wrench into things, you can actually still use Larva to your advantage in this situation; trigger it far away from the main group, and the Ancient Healer alone will be pulled to it, leaving everything else for you to take out normally. You could also trigger Larva above the group to bring the Ancient Healer into the air, making it easier to shoot using your weaponry instead so that you can remove it from the battle altogether.
When the Juggernaut shows up, don’t bother using Virulence to take it down; it takes far too many hits to be worth it. However, attaching to Juggernaut using Parasitic Link can be a great benefit. You’ll turn the Juggernaut’s high damage output back against it, and it will still survive for an exceptionally long time, providing Nidus with an easy source of damage reduction.
Furthermore, Juggernaut isn’t disabled when targeted with Parasitic Link; if your range is high enough, the Juggernaut could feasibly follow you throughout an entire mission, keeping your defense active without having to stay stationary. How does that saying go, again? “The friend of my enemy is my friend too whether they like it or not”?
Should I use Nidus?
You should use Nidus if you like:
- Staying in Endless missions for many, many rounds.
- Becoming more powerful as a mission progresses.
- Being hard to kill, but want to work for it a bit.
- Using abilities to fight instead of weapons.
- Seeing loads of damage numbers erupt out of a single spot.
- Finding the best positioning to hit many enemies at once.
- Playing solo.
You should avoid Nidus if you like:
- Completing missions as quickly as possible.
- Hitting enemies without seeing them.
- Playing alongside nuke-frame players.
- High freedom of movement.
Special Mission Types
Is Nidus a Good Warframe for Elite Sanctuary Onslaught?
Passably good; Larva will bunch enemies up for quick kills, and both Virulence and Ravenous can deal substantial damage once Mutation stacks have been maxed, which is a quick process given the number of enemies. However, line of sight requirements and small AoEs make Nidus less effective than many other Warframes.
Virulence will be extremely spammable in ESO due to the sheer quantity of enemies, though its effectiveness is highly dependent on the maps you’re placed in. If you intend to play many zones, it may be wise to figure out the map rotation for the week so that you can decide if Nidus is a good fit. Smaller maps with narrow passages are the way to go; Virulence suffers on maps with wide-open areas, or with numerous sharp elevation changes.
Larva is essential to killing enemies quickly enough to keep Simaris satisfied. In the first zone or two, you’ll want to keep Larva close to the ground so that you can build Mutation stacks with Virulence, but after you’re maxed out, you can start triggering it in the air to grab more enemies at a time. Having an effective ranged weapon will be very important in ESO, as you can’t afford to wait for Larva to expire and drop its grabbed enemies. Even the Larva Burst augment is too slow for the process; you need to be taking out each mass of enemies very quickly if you want to keep up with the Efficiency erosion.
Every zone change subtracts 4 Mutation stacks from your total, but this is easily regained by throwing a Larva and spamming Virulence at it. At least, it’s easy if you’re playing solo; if you’re playing in a team, there’s a very good chance that enemies will be killed before you’re able to complete your Larva-Virulence combo. If your kills are being stolen a lot, you may need to focus instead on a supportive role, buffing up your most destructive ally with Parasitic Link to increase their carnage.
Once your Mutation stacks are maxed out, you can usually keep them topped off just with Ravenous, provided you’ve got some Ability Range to increase their explosion radius. The enemy swarms will pop your maggots often, quickly recouping the Mutation stack cost use to cast the ability. Just be careful not to kill off all of the potential targets for your maggots; I recommend using Ravenous somewhere off to the side so that they can work independently from you, unless you or your allies need the healing provided by the infested patch of ground.
Is Nidus a Good Warframe for The Index?
Not good; building Mutation stacks is extremely difficult with the low number of enemies and constant energy drain, which makes Parasitic Link, Ravenous, and Undying largely irrelevant to the mission type. Larva can pull and disable Brokers, but there are better options filling the same purpose on other Warframes.
Nidus’ high durability is nullified by the fact that Financial Stress reduces your maximum health by such a large amount. You may be able to get 15 Mutation stacks for Undying if you’re using Larva throughout the entire match, but this only lets you cheat death a single time before you’re back to nothing and have to spend an entire round building it back up.
Even if you hang back from picking up Index Points so that your health and energy are unaffected, your impact is severely limited. Parasitic Link doesn’t shut down Brokers (though it does still transfer damage and status effects), and neither do Ravenous maggots, making Larva the only option for playing Nidus as a goalie. Which isn’t too bad for the purpose, mind you, but there are other options, such as Khora’s Entangle or Vauban’s Tether Coil, which are Warframes with extra functionality beyond those specific abilities.
Is Nidus a Good Warframe for Eidolons?
Not good at all; Warframe abilities have no affect on an Eidolon, which includes gaining Mutation stacks via Virulence. Vomvalysts and nearby Grineer camps allow Mutation to be gained, but the fact that Eidolons are always on the move means that you’ll have to spend stacks frequently to keep up.
If you’re set on the idea of using Nidus for Eidolons, you’ll likely get the most mileage out of Parasitic Link, provided you can find enough enemies to hit with Virulence for building Mutation stacks. The Eidolon Hydrolyst can put out a lot of damage very quickly, so having 90% damage reduction can save your life. Alternatively, you can use it to boost an ally like Rhino or Chroma so that they can buff the team or deal damage themselves more effectively. That said, people using these frames often already deal more damage than they need to, so it may be wise to see how much damage they’re doing without your boost before using the Mutation stack on them.
Ravenous can technically be used to heal Eidolon Lures, but between the low healing amount, high HP, and constant movement, using Ravenous for healing is a nightmare. The maggots are hardly any help, either; though Vomvalysts are distracted by them, they’re not much of a threat, and they’ll continue firing normally if a maggot actually latches on. Larva also has no effect on Vomvalysts, and their ghost modes can’t be killed by Virulence or maggot explosions.
Is Nidus a Good Warframe for Kuva Liches?
Pretty good; Parasitic Link can be used on Thralls to ensure that your damage reduction lasts for the ability’s full duration, or it can be placed on the Lich itself to both bolster your defense as well as transfer the Lich’s own damage back to itself. Ravenous maggots won’t disable Liches or Thralls, but will distract them.
Unfortunately, though Parasitic Link is still quite effective in Kuva Lich missions, it won’t disable the Lich or Thrall that you attach it to. You’ll only get the damage reduction/transfer. On the other hand, this allows the target to continue attacking, dealing substantial damage to themselves because of the link. If you’re using the long-term strategy of allowing the Lich to convert ten enemies before killing them, use Parasitic Link on a Thrall so that the Lich doesn’t go down while you wait. If you’re just killing the Lich as soon as possible, link to them instead.
Ravenous is most useful with the long-term strategy, as well, to keep enemies from firing at you too much. However, it could be detrimental if you’ve built up a lot of Mutation stacks, as maggot explosions may kill off normal enemies, reducing the Lich’s target pool for Thrall conversion. Try to keep your Mutation stacks somewhat low during Lich missions unless you find that you tend to have survivability issues and need to fuel the Undying passive.
Is Nidus a Good Warframe for Profit-Taker?
Not very good; Profit-Taker doles out so much damage that even Nidus’ high health and armor won’t keep him safe. Parasitic Link needs a very durable enemy to receive Nidus’ damage, and is often cancelled by Nullifier fields. Mutation stacks are difficult to build up due to lack of enemies.
Building Mutation stacks depends heavily on having a low map alert level, as the enemies delivered at this stage are able to be grouped up with Larva. As the alert level increases, the Raknoids and Jackals you fight instead are immune to Larva, making it far more difficult to build Mutation. However, they do make much better targets for Parasitic Link; if you choose to use Nidus for Profit-Taker, you’ll want to build enough stacks to comfortably maintain Parasitic Link throughout the fight (accounting for Nullifiers and similar enemies who will break the link), and then let the alert level rise in order to have bulkier enemies that can withstand all the damage you’ll be redirecting to them.
Is Nidus a Good Warframe for Exploiter Orb?
Not very good; Exploiter does a lot of damage, and the only available targets for Parasitic Link are either too fragile to last long, or need to be killed for the sake of winning the boss fight in the first place. It’s difficult to build Mutation stacks, and none of Nidus’ abilities can stop the Coolant Raknoids that “heal” Exploiter.
Mite Raknoids are rather fragile, making them generally poor targets for Parasitic Link, so you’ll need to make good use of cover while in Deck 12 to survive Exploiter’s powerful attacks. The exception is Exploiter’s scream that hits everywhere; using Parasitic Link on a Mite Raknoid during this attack is usually enough to prevent the scream from doing meaningful damage.
The Mite Raknoid fragility also means that Virulence will likely kill them in 2-3 hits, which can be bad for gaining Mutation. That said, the quantity of Mite Raknoids does make up for how few times you can hit them, allowing you to build a decent number of stacks.
Once Coolant Raknoids show up during the Deck 12 phase, you can hit them with Parasitic Link to more comfortably navigate the area without having to hide from Exploiter’s attacks. Unfortunately, this tactic doesn’t really carry on to the Orb Vallis phase; Parasitic Link won’t disable Coolant Raknoids, meaning that it can still throw its coolant at the Exploiter. A short time after using its coolant, it will self-destruct, making it impossible to use the link for long-term damage mitigation.
Other enemies may occasionally wander into the warzone that you can link to, but this isn’t something that happens reliably, and it’s unlikely that they’ll survive very many attacks. You’ll just need to stay on the move and hope that the Mutation stacks you built in the first phase are enough to fuel Undying however many times you may need it.
Coolant Raknoids won’t bother with Ravenous maggots until after they’ve thrown their coolant, making the ability useless for blocking the heals coming to Exploiter. You likely won’t have enough Mutation stacks to make maggot explosions powerful enough to kill the Raknoids, and the enemy density is too low for Ravenous to pay for itself, ultimately making it a bad idea to use this ability during the fight.
Core Mission Types
Is Nidus a Good Warframe for Defense?
Passably good; Virulence can do high damage to enemies in chokepoints, Ravenous heals the objective, and Ravenous and Larva both disable nearby enemies. However, the narrow AoE of Virulence, line of sight requirement on Larva, and low target cap of Ravenous all make Nidus far from optimal for Defense missions.
With enough time to build up Mutation stacks, Virulence will generally end up being a good power to spam towards spawn locations and the narrow passages leading to the objective. This depends pretty heavily on the map layout, however; wide open areas with distant spawn points or any map with sharp elevation changes will make it difficult to make good use of Virulence. When the conditions are right, though, Virulence will clear enemies quite effectively.
Larva comes in very handy for both damage and protection in the Defense game mode. Using it when enemies get in position to attack the objective will quickly disable them, and you can drag spread-out enemies to one spot for quick eradication. Like with Virulence, however, the problem with this power comes from map layout. If there are many obstacles scattered about, it’s quite common to only snag three or four enemies per cast. If you’ve got a good stream of energy coming in, feel free to spam the ability so long as you quickly kill grabbed enemies in order to reset the cooldown. Otherwise, I’d recommend just using it on top of the objective itself when enough enemies are gathered for it to be worth the cast.
Parasitic Link can take some practice to utilize effectively. With good placement, it can help to give Virulence far more map coverage by launching a second wave from the affected enemy. Just bear in mind that you’ll need to cancel it once the wave’s complete, or else you’ll be waiting for the duration to run down on its own.
Alternatively, use Parasitic Link on an ally to improve their abilities instead. Nuking frames are usually the best target, but someone like Protea or Rhino could turn around and help the team more with the Ability Strength you provide to them. The potential drawback to using Parasitic Link on an ally instead of an enemy is that you have little control over where your secondary Virulence waves spawn from. That said, a melee-centric ally could end up in good positions for Virulence far more often than a stationary enemy would. The link also provides you with bonus Ability Strength, making your Virulence more powerful in the first place.
Technically, using Parasitic Link on an ally means you also give up the damage reduction you would get from linking an enemy, but players are often ignored in favor of the objective, so this drawback doesn’t necessarily come up that often. And if it does, it’s easy enough to simply switch tactics and focus on linking enemies instead.
Every aspect of Ravenous comes into play in Defense missions. The heal effect, while relatively minor, will affect the objective so long as it hasn’t lost health in the past few seconds. The maggots will disable and distract enemies as they come into range. And when the map layout has chokepoints funneling enemies towards their maggot-infested comrades, the maggot explosion can often hit many targets at once, increasing your Mutation stacks quickly and doing substantial damage if you’ve built up a lot of Mutation stacks already.
Be aware that maggots will wander away from the spawning grounds when there are no enemies nearby. This means that you can use Ravenous right after finishing a wave in order to give maggots time to get a fair distance away from the objective, which keeps enemies concentrated in locations where they typically can’t do damage to it.
This can be good or bad depending on the situation. If enemies are strong enough to pose a real threat to the objective, it can be a great boon to keep them away for a while at the start while you whittle down their numbers. On the other hand, spreading them out in such a way means you can’t catch as many at one time in Larva or Virulence, potentially causing the wave to take longer.
If you cast Ravenous early to let the maggots get some distance, keep in mind that you can hold the key for Virulence to highlight where they all are. With enough Ability Range and a map without too many elevation changes, you can cast Virulence from your position near the objective to pop the maggots for a decent amount of damage, possibly enough to wipe out affected enemies. It’s unlikely to result in faster clear times than simply letting enemies make it all the way to the center, but it can speed things up when using Ravenous as a distraction.
Is Nidus a Good Warframe for Disruption?
Passably good, but only due to his durability. Demolysts ignore most of Nidus’ abilities, forcing dependence on other sources of crowd control and damage. Nidus only starts to become effective for Disruption once it begins to scale to high levels, as Parasitic Link and Undying will keep him going despite the danger.
Virulence doesn’t really have anything special going for it in this game mode. It’s still used for building Mutation stacks, however, which you’ll need for triggering Undying if you stay in the mission for a long time. Demolysts take significantly reduced damage from all sources, making the energy-dependent Virulence a poor choice for killing them relative to freely-fired weapons, as you’d need to cast Virulence numerous times to take one down.
Similarly, there’s nothing terribly special for Larva. Demolysts are unfortunately unaffected by the ability, so you’ll just be using it to gather enemies together for area-of-effect damage as you would in any other mission.
Parasitic Link, once again, does not affect Demolysts. However, as the mission scales higher and higher, it will become more and more important to make sure this ability is active in order to keep you alive. You’ll want to make sure that the enemy you target with the ability is off of the main pathways, since the nullifying pulses released by Demolysts will sever the connection if it hits you or your target. This also means you’ll want to be careful when you’re attacking the Demolyst yourself, avoiding melee attacks unless you’re adept at timing your assault to avoid getting hit by the pulse.
Ravenous can be somewhat helpful, but ultimately isn’t very reliable. Incoming Demolysts may be distracted by the maggots for a brief time, but never for very long, and even that minor effect is dependent on the randomly-wandering maggots being in the right place at the right time. Ultimately, it’s not worth using Ravenous for the purpose of dealing with Demolysts. It’s still fine to use for normal purposes, however, by distracting normal enemies, helping to build more Mutation stacks, and healing up what little damage you take after Parasitic Link’s reduction.
You won’t need to worry about the Demolyst nullification pulses when it comes to Ravenous; maggots are completely unaffected, and it’s incredibly unlikely that the Demolyst will take out all three Ravenous nodes given its (lack of) pulse frequency and tendency to stay on the move. The only wrench in the works from Demolysts is that maggots still target them despite being unable to latch on, sometimes causing them to ignore the enemies they’re actually able to affect. Once again, though, the beelining nature of Demolysts means they won’t stay near those maggots for long, meaning they’ll get back to more useful tasks pretty quickly.
Aside from the danger of losing Parasitic Link, being near a Demolyst isn’t too much of a problem for Nidus. Each pulse will remove one stack of Mutation, which ultimately isn’t a very big loss so long as you’re using your abilities frequently throughout the mission.
Is Nidus a Good Warframe for Excavation?
Fairly good; Larva acts as hard crowd control for any enemy in view of an Excavator, and Ravenous provides decent passive protection as well as healing. Nidus’ survivability makes it easy for him to play to high wave counts in Excavation missions, as well.
Because of the wide-open areas that Excavators tend to land, Virulence will have a hard time “flying solo” in this mission type. You can camp at one of the tunnels connecting each map tile to have a chokepoint, but this usually leaves the Excavator vulnerable from other angles. Thankfully, Larva will see a lot of use in the mission anyway, making it easy to maintain your Mutation stacks.
Larva’s main drawback of requiring line of sight isn’t much of a problem in this mission type, as Excavators will usually land somewhat out in the open. By throwing your Larva directly at the Excavator, you can easily defend it from any enemies that are actively threatening it. Don’t worry if the Excavator is between your Larva and an enemy you want to grab; while the initial Larva projectile won’t pass through an Excavator, its tendrils will, even when they’re on exact opposite sides.
When using Parasitic Link, make sure you don’t latch on to Carrier enemies, as they’ll be made invincible, thus denying you from using the power cell they carry. This may not be as large a problem if you’ve been in the mission for a while and power cells are littering the field, but early on, every cell counts.
Ravenous is extremely potent in Excavation, though sometimes unreliable. As the maggots spread out, they’ll distract incoming enemies from the Excavator, greatly helping its survival. The only problem is that maggots will sometimes all rush in one direction, leaving the other side vulnerable. Hold the button for Virulence to see where all of your maggots are congregating, and protect the other side until you’re ready to throw down your Larva.
Is Nidus a Good Warframe for Exterminate?
Not very good, except at higher levels; Nidus’ long wind-up playstyle doesn’t mesh well with the fast-paced in-and-out nature of Exterminate missions. However, when enemies get too high-level to handle with most Warframe abilities, Nidus’ Larva is good for gathering them in one place to take out with weapons.
Virulence isn’t likely to have time to build up past a weapon’s efficacy in this mission type, unless you’re in Steel Path. Furthermore, with how spread out enemies tend to be as you progress through the mission, it isn’t likely that you’ll be able to hit many at once without Larva’s help. Letting the alarms trigger can make it a little easier to get Virulence hits as enemies will group up around strategic locations, though this tactic hurts Larva’s effectiveness since they’re all hunkering down by cover.
Larva’s line-of-sight requirement hurts it a lot in this mission type, as enemies are so scattered that there will inevitably be a few that just aren’t in position to be grabbed. It’s certainly better than nothing, but it doesn’t compare to better-suited nuke Warframes. I’d highly recommend having a good amount of Enemy Radar modded so that you can determine the best places to throw your Larva to grab the most enemies at once.
The Larva Burst augment can be useful in lower-level Exterminate missions, or into missions past level 30 if you’re grabbing enough enemies at once time, as the convenience of grabbing enemies and detonating them immediately without having to aim can speed the run up considerably. Beyond that, the augment has further usefulness at all levels since you can pop the Larva early to let enemies fall down to the ground and hit them with Virulence. Given that aerial Larvas will be the way to go for grabbing the most enemies possible per cast, you’ll very frequently be putting victims out of range of Virulence, and it can slow things down quite a bit having to wait for Larva to expire on its own.
Because you’ll be moving through the map quickly, you won’t have much opportunity to use Parasitic Link or Ravenous, and it’s best not to waste the Mutation stacks trying to use them. That said, Parasitic Link can potentially come into play if you have allies with good nuke powers… But I wish you luck in building the Mutation stacks to to cast Parasitic Link in the first place, as a nuker frame is likely to have most enemies dead by the time you can set up to hit a group with Virulence.
Is Nidus a Good Warframe for Interception?
Pretty good; Larva is an excellent tool for stopping a hack in progress, or preventing enemies from contesting you as you take control of a point. Ravenous can help to keep a point under control, but won’t be enough on its own. Nidus’ high survivability lets him stay in the mission to very high wave counts.
Depending on the tileset, Virulence can have an easy time hitting multiple enemies without needing to stack them with Larva first. Chokepoints are fairly common in Interception maps, and enemies usually focus on one point at a time, resulting in them grouping up as they run for the objective. This is quite helpful, because you’ll be throwing Larva around constantly to protect the capture points themselves, and won’t necessarily be able to use Larva to set up for Virulence as you typically would.
Be aware that, even though Virulence normally staggers enemies, it won’t do so to enemies that are actively hacking a control point console.
Larva will definitely be your bread and butter in this mission type. The main use is for ripping enemies off of the console at distant control points, preventing their capture. While Larva is good for this task, it isn’t necessarily easy; you’ll need to be pretty good at gauging the position of the initial Larva projectile so that you can activate it at the right time to hit both consoles, and you’ll need to be familiar with the control point itself so you know what areas even have line of sight to both consoles in the first place. Due to how many maps there are, I can’t really cover specific locations that you should detonate your Larva, so this knowledge will just have to come with experience.
If you’re playing solo or in a squad that’s only partially full, you’ll want to find a position on the map that lets you throw Larva at as many control points as possible. Most of the time, you won’t be able to
Because of how often you’ll use this ability, between multiple control points being hacked at once and the occasional mistake where you trigger the projectile too early or too late and thus miss the enemy on the console, I highly recommend using the Larva Burst augment in this game mode. Being able to pop the Larva manually to send out a new one gives you far greater control of the map. Enemies are tossed into the air and ragdolled on detonation, so you’ll still get a good chunk of time where the enemies are disabled.
Another use for Larva is to quickly handle enemies that are stopping you from capturing a control point, yourself. Note that you don’t have to pull enemies out of the ring to start capturing it; just having them in the writhing mass is enough to prevent their interference, so you can lob your Larva right into the center of the control point if it’s the best position for getting every enemy off your back. So long as those enemies are still ragdolled, they aren’t contesting your capture.
Parasitic Link isn’t likely to come into play since you’ll be running between every capture point constantly, which will break your link due to getting too far from the target. It may see more use if you’re in a squad where everyone can handle their own capture point, however.
Ravenous seems like it’d be a great fit for Interception, but unfortunately, it’s quite unreliable. Certain enemies are set to beeline for a console, ignoring everything else. This includes the minor taunt effect put out by maggots to make enemies attack them. As such, Ravenous maggots will only help to keep a point protected if one happens to target the hacking enemy directly, making them ignore the console in favor of flailing wildly. This can happen decently often in normal solo Interception missions where enemy spawn counts are kept low, but in multiplayer or Steel Path where enemies are more plentiful, maggots have a hard time keeping up.
Is Nidus a Good Warframe for Mobile Defense?
Pretty good; Larva will completely shut down incoming enemies, and its low cost makes it easy to spam while defending the objective, especially with Virulence’s energy return. Ravenous can potentially keep the objective safe entirely on its own by distracting enemies, though it shouldn’t be depended upon.
Mobile Defense objectives tend to be in somewhat open areas, allowing Larva to snatch enemies from a good distance away. This will generally result in lots of enemies being grabbed at once, easily over the four enemies needed to fully refund Virulence’s cost when used. Hitting seven enemies will net you the energy for both Larva and Virulence, allowing a constant alternation between the two abilities. With decent positioning on Larva, it’s incredibly easy to just grab and stomp repeatedly for the entire defense timer without any variation. Boring, perhaps, but effective.
The best placement for Larva is somewhere that oversees everything in view of the objective, as well as being able to snag enemies currently hiding behind cover. This usually means having it somewhat elevated, on top of rocks or boxes. Placing it in the air works, too, though you’ll have to wait for Larva to expire before you can hit the enemies with Virulence if you do this. But, really, even just shooting the Larva directly at the objective is usually enough to keep it safe.
If you want the extra layer of protection, Ravenous can send maggots every which way to draw enemy fire, which is pretty handy if there’s anywhere your Larva can’t reach. Enemies hiding behind cover and trying to take potshots are particularly annoying, but Ravenous maggots are able to get in their faces to keep them from becoming a problem. In addition to the maggots, Ravenous will also heal the objective if it does happen to take damage, though this healing doesn’t do much good in higher level missions.
I’ve been able to keep Mobile Defense objectives safe by simply casting Ravenous and then standing still to let the maggots do all of the work, though I don’t really recommend counting on this. As is always the case, maggots can be undependable at times, all rushing a single enemy and leaving the opposite side wide open. Larva is the ability you want to focus on; Ravenous is just supplementary.
Is Nidus a Good Warframe for Rescue?
Not very good; Nidus has no speed boosts or protective ally buffs, and his best-suited crowd control power requires line of sight on top of needing to expire on its own before it can be used again. However, Larva can be used to pull Wardens away from consoles, and put them in an easier position to deal with.
Take note that Larva will put grabbed enemies on alert. Shocking, right? Once released from the Larva, Wardens will try to trigger the alarms, so be ready to use the ability again, or take them out while they’re disabled.
Parasitic Link can technically be used to shut down a Warden for a while, but the range relative to Larva makes it a poor choice in most circumstances. If you happen to have Mutation stacks while being out of energy, however, just remember that you have the option.
The Rescue target cannot be targeted by Parasitic Link, so you won’t be able to use them to get an Ability Strength boost.
Ravenous can send maggots to disable Wardens, heal the Rescue target, and distract enemies away from shooting the Rescue target. However, for the first purpose, it’s rather costly and it takes a while for the maggots to spread out and latch on to Wardens, giving them ample opportunity to spot the maggot, freak out, and trigger the alarm. For the purpose of protecting the hostage, its stationary nature makes it a poor choice, given that you should stay on the move as soon as they’re in tow.
Is Nidus a Good Warframe for Spy?
Not good; Virulence can’t reach Corpus cameras, while Larva and Ravenous maggots are unable to grab Corpus cameras or Grineer sensor drones. The only ability that really has a place is Parasitic Link, which can be used on a sensor drone to disable it, allowing you to pass by freely.
If you’re truly attached to the idea of using Nidus in Spy missions, you could build up a very high quantity of Mutation stacks, and use Virulence to one-shot Grineer sensor drones before they’re able to spot you. This takes a lot of preparation time, though, and just isn’t worth it when there are so many Warframe choices that could make the mission go far more smoothly.
Another obscure tactic is to place Ravenous around the corner from a Corpus camera, and then use Virulence to pop a maggot nearby to take the camera down. This relies on having a maggot randomly wander towards the camera, though, which can take quite a long time.
Is Nidus a Good Warframe for Survival?
Very good; the optimal strategy of hunkering down in a side room meshes extremely well with Nidus’ stationary abilities, and the endless flow of enemies gives plenty of time to hit the Mutation stack cap, allowing Virulence to do tremendous damage and ensuring that Nidus can easily survive the swarm via Undying.
It can be difficult enough just to find one room that works well for camping out, but if find multiple and have the choice, go for a room connected to a long hallway. Because Virulence has a long and narrow area of effect, you’ll want enemies to funnel into position as early as possible as they run to you so that they die and spawn the next group of enemies sooner. Remember that Virulence can’t travel up or down ledges, but can go along stairs or ramps.
The constant flow of enemies should mean that you’ll hit half a dozen or more with each cast of Virulence, easily keeping your energy topped off. Just try not to get overzealous; wait a moment between casts so that you don’t throw Virulence through a hallway that’s already been cleared of enemies from the previous cast. Despite the energy return, it’s still entirely possible to run out of energy by just hammering away at the button without paying attention.
Larva will see most of its use while you’re still running through the map trying to find a suitable side room to stay in. If you manage to find a room with a long hallway, Larva won’t really do anything for you. If you have to settle for a room that connects to a wide-open area, you may have to throw out a Larva once in a while to “help” enemies move a bit faster to where you want them to be.
Unfortunately, when enemies bunch up around the door, it’s common for Larva to smack into one of them, triggering much earlier than you’d otherwise want it to and failing to grab far-off enemies. This happens very often in four-man-squad and Steel Path Survival missions, as the number of enemies results in a constant flow of new enemies are rushing into the area, replacing any you might’ve just cleared within a fraction of a second. When this is the case, it’s best to just ignore Larva entirely; using it in a situation where it triggers in the doorway just means that new enemies can’t get past them, which ultimately slows down your kill rate.
Parasitic Link is essential for being able to stay in your Survival mission for an extended period of time. As enemies scale higher, their damage output will start to overtake your health pool. Parasitic Link on an enemy can reduce your damage taken so much that you can stay in for another hour at least before getting one-shot. That said, remember that you also get invincibility for a short time if you lose all your health and trigger Undying; you may benefit more from linking to an ally (or a Tenno Specter) so that your Virulence and Ravenous are more effective, so long as you’re using Virulence enough to restore the 15 stacks lost from Undying before it triggers again.
Ravenous brings multiple things to the table, but isn’t necessarily something you want to keep up at all times. Maggots will help to keep enemies from overwhelming you, and can beef up the damage you deal when you pop them with Virulence. If you have some downtime between waves of enemies, however, you should not use the ability; if the maggots wander a good distance from the room you’re camping in, enemies will go after them and not continue flowing towards you as is optimal. Hold down the button for Virulence to check where your maggots are, and pop any that have gone too far away from you so that enemies continue running to you.
Of course, that’s only if you’re still killing and surviving at a comfortable rate. If the mission has scaled so high that you’re in constant danger of dying, you may want to let the maggots go out to take the brunt of the assault, instead. In this case, try to avoid hitting them with Virulence so that the maggot’s entire health pool can be used in distracting enemies.
The healing on Ravenous is relatively minor, but every bit helps, and it becomes substantially more effective when you have Parasitic Link active on an enemy, as well. When you’re only taking a tenth of the normal damage from enemies, that effectively means that health regained is ten times as high, stretching 40 health to fully absorb a 400-damage hit.