Xaku is very deadly in mid-range, passively destroying any enemy that comes into view. Their ability to completely remove enemy armor makes them great for highly scaled endless missions. Their low health, armor, and shields make them quite fragile, even with their inherent evasion.
Xaku’s evasion passive is highly unreliable. Mathematically, it works out to a 25% boost in effective health, or 75% if The Vast Untime is active… But realistically, you won’t be feeling the effects. When an attack connects, it’ll still be at full power, and due to Xaku’s extremely low defensive stats, each hit makes quite a dent.
It can work marginally well against one or two low-fire-rate enemies, as they might miss for long enough to let your shield recharge after triggering the shield gate mechanic, but any more enemies than that will make the passive effectively useless. Even if you do only have a couple attackers, it’s entirely possible to just get unlucky and be hit multiple times in a row, making it feel like the passive has done nothing to help you.
Xata’s Whisper goes beyond a simple weapon damage boost, as Void’s status effect is a bubble that redirects all incoming fire to the affected enemy, including attacks from other enemies, or the affected enemy itself. This is especially useful with a melee weapon as you’ll be inside this bubble, causing all shots directed at you to hit your melee target instead. The status chance of the weapon is what determines the likelihood of the Void bubble being triggered, so high status chance is required if you want to use this aspect of Xata’s Whisper reliably.
Applying the Void status effect will also erase any resistances built up by Sentient shielding. This is a rather niche benefit, as very few Sentient enemies currently exist, but it does let Xaku deal with those rare situations without missing a beat… Provided your weapon has high status chance.
As for the damage component of Xata’s Whisper, it’s decently reliable due to the fact that no enemy health, shield, or armor types have any sort of modifier for Void damage. As such, the boost will make up a higher portion of total damage when hitting enemies with a weapon they’re resistant to, or it will make up a lower portion of total damage when the enemy is weak to the weapon.
Xata’s Whisper is an equalizer, of sorts; whereas a straight damage boost like Rhino’s Roar will only be one quarter as effective when using a Radiation weapon against an Ancient Healer, Xata’s Whisper will deal a percentage of the weapon’s base damage without regard for the enemy’s resistances.
This works in reverse, as well, however… If you hit that same Ancient Healer with a Corrosive weapon, your extra damage will only be about 15% of the damage dealt by the weapon, without Ability Strength. This is relative to the extra damage being 52% of the weapon’s damage in the Radiation example, with the same Ability Strength.
Grasp of Lohk is a powerful damage ability, shredding enemies in range with Void damage that, again, is unaffected by enemy health types. This keeps it relevant for all enemy factions, unlike damage abilities that use elements resisted by most enemies in any given mission.
On top of the versatile damage type, the damage of each gun is multiplied by the level of the enemy the weapon was stolen from, allowing the ability to scale well into higher level content. In fact, past a certain point, the damage scaling begins to overtake enemy health scaling; I tested Grasp of Lohk against a single Charger of varying levels to see how many shots it would take to kill. I reduced Xaku’s Ability Strength to 10% in an effort to get more accurate data. Here’s a table to show how it played out:
|Charger level||Number of shots||Charger level||Number of shots||Charger level||Number of shots|
If that seems like a lot of shots to take out one enemy, let me reiterate that I dropped Xaku’s Ability Strength to 10% to get greater accuracy. Chargers will actually die in two hits most of the time, or even just one if you’re at 200%+ Ability Strength, which I highly recommend modding for due to The Lost: Gaze!
As the table shows, the ability is actually more powerful against level 160 enemies than it is against level 60 ones! Given what I understand about the health scaling formula, I assume the shots needed only continue to drop as you get to higher and higher levels. It’s not exactly easy to test the damage in actual missions with swarms of enemies coming at you, and it would take quite some time in an endless mission to scale enemies high enough anyway, so I’ll just have to push this as a theoretical advantage. Sorry for the lack of concrete data, but I believe the hypothesis is sound.
One weakness of Grasp of Lohk is its range. While the radius for stealing enemy weapons is a healthy 15 meters, the radius for firing those weapons is only 8 meters instead. Adding some Ability Range is necessary to make it do more than just fend off melee attackers.
Thankfully, Ability Range is quite handy for Xaku’s other powers as well, and even provides some extra benefit to Grasp of Lohk beyond just the increased attack radius. For every 17%ish Ability Range, you can steal one extra gun, increasing both the crowd control of the power as well as its damage output. More guns also means more targets, saving you from their random targeting allowing dangerous enemies to slip by and thwack your fragile skull.
By the way, if you’re wondering, Grasp of Lohk can still be used against Infested enemies even though they don’t actually have any guns to steal. It won’t make them any less dangerous like it does when stealing a Bombard’s rocket launcher, but you’ll still be able to get a full armory floating at your side. The “stolen” guns will usually take the shape of your equipped primary weapon, though they’ll also sometimes just be little floating orbs instead. What they look like has no effect on their damage output, fire rate, or projectiles.
The Lost is three different abilities rolled into one: Accuse, Gaze, and Deny. They somewhat share a common theme of crowd control, but they’re definitely all more different than they are the same. They also have a fairly big discrepancy in usefulness… Gaze is extremely potent, Accuse is somewhat niche, and Deny is just very niche.
Accuse will generally be used to stop attacks against you and your allies. As appealing as the idea of a personal army may be, enemy damage is ridiculously low compared to their health and armor. Pitting two Arid Lancers against one another, I had to wait a full minute before they got through almost 10% of their opponent’s health. Your minions will NOT be getting kills for you.
What your minions WILL do for you, however, is provide juicy targets for the enemies to shoot at instead of the things you don’t want them to shoot at. Defense and escort objectives are made pretty safe thanks to all the distraction, though it’s not a 100% reliable tactic; sometimes enemies will still decide to ignore their buddy uselessly plinking them in the head, and focus instead on what they’re actually supposed to be attacking.
Gaze is FAR more dependable since it doesn’t rely on unpredictable AI, and it has a way, way bigger impact to boot. After freezing an enemy with the ability, all other enemies in range lose a portion of their armor or shields, making them MUCH easier to take down. At lower levels, it probably won’t need to be used, but as you go higher and higher, where Grineer armor cuts your damage down to a fraction of a percent, it becomes one of the best supporting powers in the game.
Effective use of Gaze basically demands 200% Ability Strength. As an example, my pistol shots during testing did 24547 damage to a level 160 Heavy Gunner when affected by a Gaze aura at 200% Strength… But only a mere 12830 at 194% Ability Strength, instead, only half of what could be achieved with 6% more Ability Strength. Every point counts.
You could build to fall just short of 200%, in order to still have the armor’s resistances come into play. By getting myself to 198% Ability Strength, my Radiation damage pistol did 37680 damage to a Bombard with Alloy Armor instead of 24547 with 200% Ability Strength. A very substantial boost! However, to a Heavy Gunner with Ferrite Armor, the shots only did 18834.
It comes down to versatility; by stopping short of 200%, you can become much deadlier against certain enemies, but others can then take more shots, instead. Bear in mind that Xata’s Whisper will help to make up the difference due to its unresisted damage; it will do more to a Bombard with its armor fully stripped than it will if the armor is left at 1%, making the total gain from finagling Ability Strength into a smaller number than it may be worth.
Deny is the last sub-ability in The Lost, and I’m afraid I can’t add “but not least” to that statement. It does Void Damage in a straight line in front of Xaku, and causes struck enemies to be suspended helplessly in the air for a time afterwards. The problem is, that straight line is pretty narrow, generally making it a poor choice for crowd control given its energy cost. It can potentially be useful against exceptionally dangerous enemies, but Accuse is usually a more impactful (and much easier to aim) option.
As for the damage that Deny deals, it’s pretty high at a base of 4000, and that damage is multiplied by the number of guns you’ve grabbed with Grasp of Lohk. Unfortunately, the limited area-of-effect and energy cost hurt it once again, making it more of a single target vaporizer rather than something for general use. Given how quickly everything dies thanks to Grasp of Lohk and Gaze, however, it’s rare that such a thing is needed.
Basically the only common situation I’ve found where Deny truly comes into play is in killing off Ancient Healers, whose damage reduction auras make it much harder for your Grasp of Lohk guns to clear out the crowd. I usually run with a Radiation-built pistol, which only does a quarter of its normal damage to Ancients, so having a button I can press to delete them is somewhat able to come in handy. That said, it’s a lot of energy to spend for that purpose, so I often just shoot them anyway, or shrug and let Grasp of Lohk take its time on them.
One enemy I’d definitely have liked to use Deny for is the Nox, given its massive inherent damage reduction. But, alas, Deny’s damage is reduced by even more than their typical reduction, taking a blast that does 300,000+ to an Ancient Healer and turning it into a jaw-dropping (in a bad way) 834 damage instead. At least it makes them stop walking and shooting.
There is one big thing Deny does that the other two abilities can’t, however: freeze a Kuva Lich. While the other two sub-abilities have no effect, Deny will suspend the Lich just fine, making them an incredibly easy target and preventing their potentially-devastating attacks.
I’ll be testing whether Deny works on other bosses in the future, but for now, it will have to wait.
The Vast Untime is an interesting ability that’s mostly used to keep your energy under control and reduce the juggling you’d otherwise have to perform with all of your abilities, though it has other facets as well. For one, any enemy within the ability’s range and line of sight will be hit with a bit of Void damage, simultaneously being debuffed to perform all actions more slowly (as though affected by the Cold status effect), as well as take more damage from the Void damage type.
The slow effect is somewhat minor and easy to miss, but it can potentially cut down on the damage you take due to lower enemy fire rates. The Void resistance debuff is a good deal more noticeable, though with Gaze and Grasp of Lohk going, it’s rare that you’ll need the debuff or even have time to apply it. The line-of-sight requirement, somewhat lengthy animation, and high energy cost all make it difficult to justify using for the debuff or slow functions.
Using The Vast Untime also sheds Xaku’s armor to boost your speed and evasion. The armor loss is only visual; your actual Armor stat continues to reduce the damage you take as normal, not that the stat is terribly high. For the duration of the ability, your speed is boosted by 20%, and the evasion from your passive goes from 25% to 75% instead. Ability Strength has no effect on either of these buffs, unfortunately, so you won’t be flying across the map or dodging every bullet because of this one ability. The buffs are mostly just a bit of icing on the cake.
The real benefit of The Vast Untime is in its ability to pause the timers of all of your other abilities. In a way, it’s like you’re casting all of your abilities at once whenever you activate The Vast Untime, so long as those other abilities are all already active. Grasp of Lohk sees some extra benefit from Untime since you can recast it to grab more guns up to the cap, which is useful if you couldn’t max out on a single cast. It also helps a lot with positioning your Gaze auras, since you can get an enemy into the perfect position just one time and have the aura stay put for far, far longer than Gaze would last on its own.
I considered at one point whether it was actually worth casting The Vast Untime rather than just recasting the abilities themselves as they came off cooldown, so I did some math to figure it out. Using the base stats of each ability, Xata’s Whisper costs 25 energy for an effect lasting 35 seconds, for an energy cost per second of 0.71. Grasp of Lohk costs 50 energy for a 12s effect, for an EPS of 4.17. And Gaze costs 75 energy for a 14s effect, for an EPS of 5.36. In all, you’re looking at spending 10.24 energy every second, mathematically speaking.
Meanwhile, The Vast Untime is 100 energy for a 25s effect, for a nice, round EPS of 4. Not only is this much cheaper than casting each ability as you go, it’s cheaper for Grasp of Lohk alone, and that’s something you’ll want to keep going pretty much non-stop. Add in the fact that each recast of Grasp of Lohk isn’t guaranteed to get you to the weapon cap, and the value of The Vast Untime becomes quite clear.
Should I use Xaku?
You should use Xaku if you want:
- Consistent damage output regardless of enemy resistances; Xata’s Whisper ignores all enemy resistances, dealing the same damage to anyone unless the target is armored.
- Potency no matter how high a mission scales; between Gaze’s armor removal and Grasp of Lohk’s enemy level modifier, you can go forever.
- Low reliance on weaponry; Grasp of Lohk will be the source of most of your damage.
You should avoid Xaku if you want:
- Low reliance on expensive mods and Arcanes; Xaku needs a lot of energy, as well as Ability Strength and Range.
- Easy survivability; the evasion passive isn’t nearly enough to offset Xaku’s poor defensive stats.
- A nuke Warframe; though Xaku kills anything close to them, their attacks lack range and can’t go through walls.
Special Mission Types
Is Xaku a Good Warframe for Elite Sanctuary Onslaught?
Somewhat good; Grasp of Lohk can deal quite a lot of damage, and The Lost: Gaze has the potential to make enemies much easier to kill. The Vast Untime keeps energy costs low, though building the initial energy needed for each wave takes time. Xaku can be quite fragile, as well.
While Grasp of Lohk is an effective way to get a lot of kills, it’s rather severely hampered by its relatively low targeting range and its line-of-sight requirement. Other nuke powers will outperform it rather easily. What really brings Xaku up to a decent level for Elite Sanctuary Onslaught is Gaze; Grasp of Lohk is just the best way for Xaku to capitalize on the debuff Gaze provides.
With 200% Ability Strength, Gaze will completely remove enemy shields and armor, making them far less durable. As such, Xaku can make a great support for nuke Warframes that have trouble with tankier enemies, such as Volt or Gara, allowing them to remain effective at much higher wave counts than they could manage on their own.
The Vast Untime allows you to keep the above abilities active for an extended period without having to recast them, resulting in overall lower ammo consumption than most other Warframes. The only problem is that getting the initial energy for all of those abilities can be difficult, as your energy is reset to 50 each time you enter a new zone. It can be quite frustrating to spawn in with an energy leech Eximus already active, as they will make it take far longer to get the ball rolling.
Xaku’s low defensive stats put them in a perpetually precarious situation. While their 75% dodge chance is helpful, it’s not reliable; when an enemy gets a hit in, it hits hard, and if you get unlucky and fail to dodge three or four times in a row, you’ll be on the ropes, if not in the dirt. Given the need to be in line of sight for Grasp of Lohk to deal damage, hiding from damage isn’t really an option.
Overall, Xaku is better-suited to a supportive role in Elite Sanctuary Onslaught, though they have the means to carry a team into zone 8 if need be, with the right setup. For more details, click the button below.
When I go to determine if a Warframe is good for Elite Sanctuary Onslaught, I’ll generally run it solo multiple times with different builds. I eventually made it to wave 10 with the build below:
You by no means have to use the same build, but I just wanted to show it to point out some potential difficulties with Xaku. First off, reaching 200% Ability Strength is very important; Gaze will fully remove enemy armor and shields at this point, and although you probably don’t have to go all the way, every percentage point short makes a pretty big impact on enemy survivability. Being at 195% Ability Strength can double the enemy’s effective health relative to being at 200%, as an example.
High Ability Range is also quite important. For one, you’ll want to squeeze every inch you can out of Gaze’s area of effect; you can only have two enemies frozen at a time, and their auras likely won’t be large enough to cover the entire map on their own. Without high Ability Range, the area-of-effect is laughably low, making very little impact on the overall flow of the mission.
Another benefit to high Ability Range is that it increases the number of guns you can steal with Grasp of Lohk, along with the more obvious increase to steal and targeting range. Because of the gun quantity increase, Ability Range actually directly boosts the damage of Grasp of Lohk, which is quite important to keeping Simaris happy with the Efficiency meter.
High Ability Duration is less necessary, but does help a good deal by reducing how often you have to cast The Vast Untime to keep all of your abilities going. A similar effect could be achieved via Ability Efficiency, allowing you to get all of your abilities active sooner at the cost of having to put in more effort overall.
Even with Umbral Vitality, I found survival to be rather difficult with Xaku. I remedied this by using a Rakta Dark Dagger built for Radiation to continually refill my shields, and that made it much easier to survive while the guns from Grasp of Lohk did most of the killing work.
Is Xaku a Good Warframe for The Index?
Pretty bad; though Xaku has a few interesting tricks available to them for Index missions, none of them are potent enough to really carry the match. Xaku’s low defensive stats also make it easy to die even without the Financial Stress debuff, making them almost more of a liability than an asset.
The biggest disappointment is that Grasp of Lohk has no effect on the brokers, removing what could have been a great option for quickly gathering points. Not only do enemies keep their weapons then the ability is cast, but Xaku doesn’t create any weapons to float around them.
The only exception to this is when used on the Nemes drones summoned by Ved Xol. Because there’s no guarantee that that particular enemy will be present at the start of the match, plus the fact that they rotate out as the match goes on, their presence doesn’t do much to make Grasp of Lohk viable.
Gaze somewhat functions as normal, stripping shields from enemies near the frozen target. Strangely, however, armor will not be affected. The duration is also reduced when used on brokers, but The Vast Untime makes that largely a non-issue.
However, while removing their shields puts a huge dent in the brokers, making one invincible for the sake of softening just a few others isn’t necessarily a very good tradeoff, especially at earlier rounds where a well-modded weapon can take them out with little difficulty, anyway.
Accuse can affect brokers as normal, aside from having a reduced duration. This helps in a few ways; one, by stopping them from attacking you and your allies. Two, by stealing their support abilities for your own team. And third, by making them show up on the minimap for the entire team. The last one could be done with multiple Enemy Radar auras, too, but I like to include every pertinent detail when I’m making a Warframe decision.
While Accuse has some utility to it, the fact that it costs 75 energy at base makes it very difficult to utilize, especially if you end up grabbing any points and taking on the Financial Stress debuff. Combine this with the need to use The Vast Untime, another 100 energy, and you’ll likely find it too expensive to keep up with throughout the match. To add yet another layer to its high upkeep, the effect goes away for a broker once they’re killed, meaning you’ll have to keep using it repeatedly to reap its benefits.
High Ability Efficiency is essential if you decide to go for it anyway. Ability Duration can also help by letting you recast The Vast Untime less often, but you’ll need a lot of Ability Range to catch enemies in Accuse’s area of effect, cutting down on your available mod space. And if you also want to use Gaze to reduce enemy shields, you need high Ability Strength.
Realistically, you just can’t beef up Xaku’s abilities enough to make them perpetually and adequately impactful for Index. It’s possible to use Accuse OR Gaze, but using both just isn’t really feasible. Basically, you’d want to get Efficiency and ignore Strength for Accuse, or get Strength and ignore Efficiency if you want to use Gaze. Both require high Ability Range, and benefit from high Ability Duration. But ultimately, I just don’t find them to be potent enough to rely upon for running Index compared to other Warframes.
Beyond all that, Xaku’s low health, armor, and shields make them an awful point carrier. I tried rolling with this as a positive by putting on three Augur mods and the Brief Respite aura alongside a Decaying Dragon Key so that casting Accuse would instantly refill my shields, restoring the shield gate with every ability cast.
It sort of worked, but if Accuse was already at its target cap (primarily from Ved Xol’s drones), I’d be unable to cast it and thus get splattered. Getting hit by knockdown was also a death sentence, as the shield gate would wear off before I could get back up. Handspring or Primed Sure Footed could remedy this, and I had the mod space, but the tactic was already reaching fairly ridiculous levels of desperation, so I decided to just stop there. If you’re absolutely set on using Xaku for Index, that approach might do the trick, but it’s just nowhere near as efficient as using a better-suited Warframe.
The last little bit of trickery I tried using was to take a status-modded Mutalist Cernos and covering the area with clouds while Xata’s Whisper was active, in order to keep enemies affected by the Void status effect so they couldn’t fire at me. This also sort of worked, but was unreliable; if enemies happened to weave through the small gas clouds, they could still get shots off at me, wiping me out in an instant.
In addition, Void status apparently can’t be applied at all to Derim Zahn, Jen Dro, or Tia Mayn, the brokers that look like Operatives or Hostages. It’s not a big problem for the melee-based Tia, but the first two can shoot at you completely unhindered.
Overall, though Xaku has some fun ways to mess with the brokers, they ultimately lack the power to make a big difference in Index missions.
Is Xaku a Good Warframe for Eidolon Hunts?
Slightly good; Grasp of Lohk will quickly destroy any Vomvalyst coming into range so that the Eidolon Lure can pick it up, keeping the Eidolon from getting reinforcements. However, Xata’s Whisper does not allow Xaku to damage the Eidolon’s shields, and all of Xaku’s other advantages are minimal.
Xata’s Whisper provides a decent-enough damage boost to your weapon, but there are better boosts available on other Warframes that are also more durable. As stated above, despite being Void damage, you aren’t able to damage the Eidolon’s shields with this ability; it will only help when firing on the Synovias, or during the final phase when the Eidolon becomes vulnerable overall.
Grasp of Lohk won’t stop Vomvalysts from firing, but you do still receive guns from them. With enough Ability Range, these guns can quickly put incoming Vomvalysts into their ghost forms, allowing them to be vacuumed up by your team’s Eidolon Lures. While Vomvalysts are hardly the most dangerous aspect of an Eidolon fight, removing them from the equation quickly and effortlessly via Grasp of Lohk can make everything go much smoother.
Accuse can turn Vomvalysts over to your side, though they aren’t exactly useful as allies; they can’t hurt the Eidolon, and when attacking other Vomvalysts, their homing shots tend to fly underneath the target rather than hitting them. One potentially useful aspect to Accuse, however, is that converted Vomvalysts will stop charging the Eidolon’s shields after its regeneration scream.
With enough Ability Range (and Strength, if enough Vomvalysts have gathered to warrant the increased target cap), Accuse is a much faster way to stop the shields from increasing than trying to find and kill them all. Just be sure to take them out before the effect ends, as they’ll go back to charging the shields once they’re on the Eidolon’s side again. That said, Grasp of Lohk and an Eidolon Lure should be enough to prevent Vomvalysts from becoming a problem in the first place, so it’s unlikely you’ll need to use Accuse in this manner. Just know that it’s an option if things get out of hand.
Gaze has very little impact in Eidolon hunts. Since the debuff doesn’t affect the Eidolon, and Vomvalysts have no shields or armor in the first place, its only real application is in locking down a single Vomvalyst, or softening Grineer if the Eidolon happens to wander into their camp. Given the low level of Grineer in the Eidolon Plains without a bounty active, debuffing their armor is massive overkill since they already go down so easily.
Deny has almost no purpose at all in Eidolon hunts. Its crowd control component has no effect on Vomvalysts, and Grasp of Lohk will almost certainly have all of them in ghost form before you can even line up a shot. The energy cost is massive for something that could be handled by any decently-modded weapon, and aiming for the drifty little buggers with such a long windup before the beam is unleashed makes it a nightmare to use.
The Vast Untime is mostly just there to help keep your Grasp of Lohk guns maintained, though it does have some amusing functionality: its initial burst of damage will hurt Vomvalysts in ghost form. Unfortunately, this is more just a silly tidbit than something that can really be incorporated into a hunt, as the damage isn’t nearly high enough to kill Vomvalysts in a single hit. Eidolon Lures will eat ghost-form Vomvalysts instantly, anyway, making Vast Untime’s damage unnecessary even if it were high enough to kill them.
The slow effect works for Vomvalysts, as well, which can make them a tad easier to hit if need be, as well as reducing their fire rate. This can be marginally helpful, but it probably isn’t worth ending the ability and recasting it for this purpose. The debuff is fairly minimal for the energy cost, Grasp of Lohk eliminates the need for aiming, and Accuse will stop all of their damage against you rather than just making them hit you less often. The only time I can really see it coming into play is if you have no Eidolon Lures to eat them after they’ve been put into ghost form, and are having trouble hitting them with your Amp.
Overall, Xaku can be helpful for dealing with Vomvalysts, and is a tad bit better than a regular Warframe for damaging the Eidolon during its vulnerable periods, but definitely won’t be making it into any speedrunning teams.
Core Mission Types
Is Xaku a Good Warframe for Defense?
Somewhat good; Xaku has many abilities to hinder enemy forces, thus keeping the objective safe. Grasp of Lohk also makes Xaku into an effective turret, able to quickly eradicate visible threats. However, needing line of sight makes each wave take longer than it would with a better nuke Warframe.
The bonus damage from Xata’s Whisper might help with dealing extra damage to enemies, but the guns from Grasp of Lohk will usually have that well in hand, taking out enemies before you get a chance to fire on them. Thus, weapons that hit behind corners will see the most benefit from this ability. Ultimately, the best advantage from Xata’s Whisper will be more defensive than offensive; using a weapon with high status chance, such as the Mutalist Cernos, you can ensure that enemies coming into view of the objective are affected by the Void status effect, vacuuming all of their own bullets back into them.
As mentioned above, Grasp of Lohk will make quick work of enemies that come into view. Because the damage of each gun is multiplied by the level of the enemy it was stolen from, this ability scales well into later waves.
If you simply stand on the objective, our stolen guns will nigh-instantly shred any enemy that gets close enough to be a threat. Unfortunately, the line of sight requirement makes it more of a defensive ability than an offensive one, though taking a proactive approach by running towards enemy spawns can speed things up. Just be careful not to leave the objective vulnerable b running off like this, as Xaku’s crowd control abilities aren’t really thorough enough to guarantee that no enemies get through.
Technically, Grasp of Lohk can be used in a more straightforwardly defensive manner by taking guns from enemies attacking the objective… In practice, however, you shoulder be capped out on how many guns you can grab at pretty much all times, preventing its use in emergency siuations. Not to worry, though; you have another good option for handling emergencies.
While it’s not a foolproof solution, Accuse can make nearby enemies into defenders of the objective, themselves, helping to deal damage (though less and less effectively as enemy levels scale, boosting their durability faster than their damage output), and drawing fire away from the objective.
The problem with using Accuse, however, is that converted enemies still count towards each wave, meaning you’ll have to take them out at the end for the mission to progress. They aren’t made immune to your attacks, thankfully, so you won’t have to wait for the timer to run down, but they also won’t be targeted by your Grasp of Lohk. It just has the potential to add time to the end of a wave, likely more time than is saved by having their firepower on your side.
I’d recommend using Accuse more as an emergency power if enemies start to get through, rather than a staple part of playing Xaku in Defense. If you do end up using it and having to clear out the converted enemies at the end of a wave, note that they’ll show up as blue dots on the minimap, no matter their distance from you; this makes them far easer to hunt down.
Gaze is essential in higher level missions against non-Infested factions, allowing Grasp of Lohk to mow down anyone that comes near. It can sometimes be a bit difficult to catch a target for Gaze while Grasp of Lohk is unloading on everything, but this is ultimately a self-correcting problem; once enemies get durable enough to need Gaze’s defense debuff, you’ll have plenty of time to get the ability out.
Your allies can get a lot of mileage out of Gaze’s potent debuff, perhaps even more than you can yourself. For Warframes whose nuke abilities start to struggle against high-level Grineer armor, Gaze can keep them going for much longer than they could on their own. Note that this can be highly dependent on the mission’s tileset, however. Though Gaze’s aura radius is large, it’s not as big as most good nukes, so it’s easy for enemies to be out of reach and survive the damage. Look at the minimap and overall layout carefully to determine the best locations to have your two Gaze auras centered for maximum coverage.
Unlike Accuse, enemies affected by Gaze don’t need to be eliminated before the next wave… Sometimes. Honestly, I’ve run many different tests and haven’t been able to figure out why, but on occasion, you’ll need to release the enemy you just Gazed and take them out for the wave to end. Thankfully, this seems to be on a per-enemy basis rather than per-wave; if you Gaze an enemy that allows the mission to progress after everything else is dead, you shouldn’t have to worry about them holding up the game at a later time.
Xaku’s Deny ability is… Not terribly useful. Its crowd control component might have a tiny chance to come into play if you’ve already hit the target cap for Accuse and still need to stop an enemy, but that’s a lot of energy to spend to disable just one or two targets.
The only use I’ve found for the damage component of Deny is for quickly taking out Ancient Healers; their lack of shields and armor means they aren’t weakened by the Gaze aura, while their high health takes a decent chunk of time for even a full Grasp of Lohk firing line to take out. With enough stolen guns, Deny should instantly remove an Ancient Healer from the equation. Again, though, it’s a lot of energy to spend on one target.
The Vast Untime will only really come into play for pausing your ability timers. Which isn’t to understate its importance – being able to keep your Gaze auras and Grasp of Lohk guns going indefinitely is incredibly useful – but the other aspects of the power just don’t have much use. Unmodded, the damage can only reliably take out basic enemies up to level 15-20, so it’s not going to act as a nuke power for very long. Even with 200% Ability Strength, the slowness debuff doesn’t make that big an impact. The Void resistance debuff has a bit of potential for letting Grasp of Lohk do even more damage, but unless you’re at insanely high levels (200+ at least), the difference in kill speed is negligible.
Overall, Xaku has a lot of tools for keeping the objective safe, mostly through annihilating any enemy that gets close enough to shoot. Their line of sight requirements mean that they can’t nuke the map, making Defense missions take longer than with a more suited Warframe, but the effects of Gaze can greatly help other Warframes’ nukes to remain effective far, far beyond when they would otherwise have run out of steam.
Is Xaku a Good Warframe for Disruption?
Not very good; while Grasp of Lohk and The Lost: Gaze can help to clear most enemies quickly, each faction presents different problems that make Xaku unreliable for dealing with Disruption missions. Xaku’s low defensive stats make it very difficult to stay alive in later waves, as well.
For Corpus Disruptions, Nullifiers will be your bane, preventing enemies inside the bubble from being targeted by Grasp of Lohk’s guns. This gives them ample time to fire on Xaku, making the low defense a major problem. Furthermore, if the Nullifier bubble passes over an enemy you’ve targeted with Gaze, they will be freed from the effect, allowing enemies to begin charging their shields again.
Infested Disruptions have Ancient Healers, which massively increase how much punishment each enemy can take, allowing the swarms to easily overtake Grasp of Lohk’s damage. Although, with a weapon that can deal constant Radiation status effects in a large area, you can prevent this from being so large a problem.
Grineer are the easiest faction to deal with when you keep Gaze active, but the high damage they deal at a long distance means that enemies sitting outside of Grasp of Lohk’s somewhat small range will have an easy time bringing Xaku down. Ultimately, it comes down to map layout; if the conduit is out in the open, with long sight lines for Grineer to snipe from outside of Grasp of Lohk’s range, you’ll have a very difficult time. Unfortunately, a secluded conduit that has very little line of sight brings its own problems.
If a Demolisher is only in line of sight for a short distance before reaching the conduit, their nullifying pulses have an easy time hitting you, removing the guns you’ve built up and thus massively dropping your damage output when you need it most. And, while ultimately a minor thing, Demolishers can’t be targeted by Grasp of Lohk during the pulse, resulting in a tad less time that they’ll be fired upon compared to other enemies in the area.
Aside from those many problems, Grasp of Lohk can deal a good amount of damage and make keys drop very frequently, with less overall energy spent than most nuke Warframes. It’s still a potent ability, it’s just that the reliability is hampered by certain enemies. If you bring good weaponry and deal with problem enemies quickly, Xaku can work pretty well, it’s just that they have to work harder than better-suited Warframes.
Xata’s Whisper will help a tad in dealing with Demolishers more quickly via its damage boost if you attack them with more than just Grasp of Lohk. The Void status effect makes their attacks useless, as well, though they aren’t exactly deadly to begin with, and often won’t even bother firing as they make their mad dash to the conduit. Just be careful using melee weapons, as the nullifying pulse will remove the damage bonus, all of the guns you’ve built up through Grasp of Lohk, and The Vast Untime’s duration freezing effect and evasion boost.
Accuse can help to prevent most of the problems Grasp of Lohk has with each faction, though finding the energy to fuel the ability can be difficult. Furthermore, Grasp of Lohk won’t target enemies that are controlled by Accuse, so you’ll have to kill them manually after the threat has been neutralized so that you can free up the target cap to have Accuse available again when you need it.
Against Grineer, Accuse can convert enemies out of range of Grasp of Lohk, preventing them from firing on you or at least making them into alternative targets for other units that would otherwise give you trouble. It’s unlikely that they’ll be able to actually kill each other, so the main purpose is distraction rather than eradication.
Against Infested, the main use of Accuse is simply to remove targets from Grasp of Lohk’s attention so that they can focus on Demolishers. Catching Ancient Healers in the Accuse effect is most important, as it will remove the damage reduction aura from unconverted enemies, allowing Grasp of Lohk to quickly eliminate them. Unfortunately, the aura will still apply to other converted units, making it just as difficult to take them out as before when it’s time to free up Accuse’s target cap… More difficult, actually, since Grasp of Lohk won’t target them while they’re your allies.
Against Corpus, Accuse can be a bit unreliable depending on enemy positioning. Like with Grasp of Lohk, Nullifier bubbles will protect the enemies inside from being converted, or de-convert those that the bubble passes over. However, if enemies are outside of the bubble, their shots can quickly shrink it down to allow Grasp of Lohk to take out the enemies inside.
As a quick note, Accuse won’t work on Demolishers in actual Disruption missions, even though they’re affected in the Simulacrum. Even if they were affected, however, their nullifying pulses continue to trigger every five seconds, removing Accuse from themselves and enemies around them. Demolishers also tend to ignore Accused enemies while they’re running for the conduit, so the only advantage to using Accuse on a Demolisher is to remove other targets from the area so that Grasp of Lohk focuses exclusively on them.
There’s one more very niche use for Accuse, too. During testing, I ran into a bug where I was unable to grab enemy guns anymore with Grasp of Lohk. Going into Operator mode, falling into a pit, and respawning were all ineffective at fixing the problem. The only thing that worked was using Accuse on a group of enemies, and then grabbing the guns from them.
One rather niche use for The Vast Untime is in dealing with the Minefield or Magnetic Anomalies conduit effects; because the ability does damage to objects within its huge area of effect with no need for line of sight, you can quickly cast (or recast) it to instantly clean the entire area, effectively negating the conduit effect.
Is Xaku a Good Warframe for Excavation?
Good enough; Grasp of Lohk and The Lost: Accuse both provide potent methods of defending an Excavator, but have very little impact if Xaku isn’t in the immediate area. The Lost: Gaze makes it easier to take an offensive approach at high levels, but won’t help a lot earlier on.
Xata’s Whisper will allow you to take out enemies a bit faster, if you embrace the phrase “the best defense is a good offense”. At mid-high levels, where enemies can survive your attacks long enough to take shots at the Excavator, the Void status effect can redirect those shots into the enemy that fired them, keeping the Excavator safe. That said, the fact that you need to shoot those enemies first makes it unlikely that this’ll come into play until later levels, given that Grasp of Lohk tends to take care of any enemies that comes into view well before you have time to take aim.
Grasp of Lohk is quite effective for eliminating any enemies that come near the Excavators, so long as you’re close by yourself. That said, you’ll need to be moving around a bit to really make it work; the ability’s limited range won’t be enough to take care of enemies firing on the Excavator from a distance. As a silver lining, however, despite my expectations, the guns can fire through Excavators to hit enemies on the other side, so you don’t need to worry about circling around to avoid having your line of sight blocked.
The fact that Grasp of Lohk disarms enemies can also be somewhat handy, but since the ability can’t be recast while at maximum guns, it’s rare that this can come into play.
Accuse can be extremely potent in Excavation missions, immediately halting an enemy assault and distracting unaffected targets from the Excavator. The problem is, however, that enemies won’t likely have time to group up to an extent that really maximizes Accuse’s effect; given the fragility of Excavators, you don’t want to wait for a full army to build up on the outskirts, even if Accuse stops the attacks instantly. As such, you’ll often spend a high 75 base energy just to turn four or five enemies to your side. If it gets the job done, I suppose that’s not much of a problem, but such inefficiency tends to rub me the wrong way.
Gaze won’t see much use at lower levels where Grasp of Lohk can blast down an enemy in one or two shots, but as with any endless mission type, Gaze becomes more valuable the longer you fight, especially against Grineer. However, it can be difficult to get the optimal enemy positioning for Gaze’s aura to affect all incoming enemies. You’ll typically want to take enemies out before they get close to an Excavator, so unless you specifically allow an enemy past, you won’t be able to set a Gaze aura to cover the entire area around the Excavator as would be optimal.
You’ll have to take advantage of the fact that you can Gaze two different targets at once, and set up one aura at each of the paths with the highest traffic. Some Excavators sit smack dab in the middle of big intersections, making aura placement somewhat difficult to manage.
Deny costs a lot of energy for what little you get out of it, but if you’ve already capped out on Grasp of Lohk and Accuse, it may be your only option. If it doesn’t kill the targeted enemy outright, the levitation effect will keep them out of the picture for plenty of time to get a handle on things. However, if you’re faced with multiple enemies, Deny’s narrow targeting makes it highly unlikely to be helpful.
The Vast Untime is unlikely to have the damage output to deal with incoming enemies on its own, and the Void vulnerability debuff on enemies isn’t necessarily worth the energy cost until absurdly high levels. The main benefit will be the paused timers, but even that may not be something you want to make use of; since Grasp of Lohk and Accuse are both unable to be cast while at their maximum capacities, it can be useful to let them lapse as you go so that they’re available when you need them.
Overall, Xaku has decent-enough tools for defending Excavators, but has to be physically present to perform. Compared to better-suited Warframes that can defend Excavators remotely, Xaku takes a lot of effort for not as much effectiveness.
Is Xaku a Good Warframe for Exterminate?
Quite good; Grasp of Lohk will quickly eliminate most enemies that come into view, while The Lost: Gaze drastically softens higher level enemies to make them easy to defeat. Xata’s Whisper gives a respectable boost to weapon damage, and The Vast Untime keeps energy costs low.
While Grasp of Lohk will generally have things under control throughout the mission, Xata’s Whisper will help your weapons to clear out especially tough enemies like Grineer Noxes or Infested Ancient Healers. The Void status effect will also keep these enemies from being able to shoot at you while you chip away their health, provided your weapon has enough status chance and/or fire rate to apply the effect early on and maintain it as long as needed.
Grasp of Lohk is quite straightforward in Exterminate missions. Unlike many other mission types, you’ll be moving straight from one enemy group to the next rather than staying put while enemies come from all directions. As such, the limited range of Grasp of Lohk tends not to be much of a problem.
The line of sight requirement, on the other hand, can throw a wrench into the works. If you have it, equipping a maxed out Primed Animal Instinct on your companion should be enough to show you where to move. If you don’t have that mod, however, considering taking along Enemy Radar, Enemy Sense, or Vigilante Pursuit.
Accuse is honestly more trouble than it’s worth, for Exterminate. Controlled enemies won’t be targeted by Grasp of Lohk, and enemy damage isn’t nearly enough to overtake the wild health and armor/shields scaling of their comrades. It might be useful in emergencies if you see your health dropping, but Xaku’s fragility doesn’t tend to me much of a problem with the relatively relaxed pace of Exterminate missions.
Gaze won’t be necessary in regular Exterminate missions. In Steel Path, however, it will be a staple, at least for Grineer. Unfortunately, with how quickly Exterminate missions move through the map, Gaze will have to be cast very frequently in order to weaken each group you come across, which burns through energy extremely quickly. I found Energy Generator on the Dethcube Sentinel to be indispensable, as well as Arcane Energize. The previous suggestion to get some Enemy Radar goes double, here, too; to minimize how often you cast Gaze, you’ll want to see what enemies are in the middle of the pack in order to affect as many targets per cast as possible.
The Vast Untime will be essential in maintaining your energy and gun count. I tested running Exterminates without using it, and while it was workable, I wasn’t doing damage nearly as quickly due to having fewer guns from Grasp of Lohk at my disposal. With Grasp of Lohk and Gaze, the resistance debuff from The Vast Untime will rarely come into play, so it’s best to just focus on keeping it going rather than finding the perfect moment to cast.
Is Xaku a Good Warframe for Interception?
Not very good; while Accuse can halt a hack in progress, controlled enemies aren’t strong enough to stop further hacks from occurring. The Vast Untime’s slow debuff can give some extra time to act, but its line of sight requirement makes it overall superfluous.
Another weakness of Accuse is the target cap. Once you’ve converted all the enemies allowed, you’re unable to cast the ability until killing some of the units you’ve converted. Furthermore, unconverted enemies aren’t really distracted by the converted ones, and one random unit out of every several will still beeline for the console as normal.
Deny can stop a hack in progress, but the fact that you have to aim directly at the enemy and spend 75 base energy means that it’s a rather inefficient method of handling hacks, even if it works in a pinch.
The Vast Untime has a different role in Interception than it tends to have in other missions. Unlike in combat situations, the slow debuff has a noticeable effect on hack times, giving a substantially larger window of opportunity to deal with enemies. However, it still requires line of sight, drastically reducing its impact. If the enemy is already in view, it’s typically better to just eliminate them. That said, it can work well as a preventative measure, slowing full groups if you lack the firepower to take them all out.
As an endless mission, Gaze can make a huge difference if you shoot for later waves. The small size of each capture point makes each aura quite reliable, as well as being easy to place since enemies will constantly rush to where you need them. That said, since killing enemies is only one of many ways to prevent hacks from occurring (and not even one of the best ways, honestly), Gaze isn’t as useful for Interception as it can be for other endless mission types.
Xaku has a difficult time taking and keeping all four capture points relative to better suited Warframes. While having allies obviously makes the mission easier, as it does for any Warframe, Xaku can bring more support to those allies via Gaze if they aren’t using more obscure methods of defending each point. For example, a Limbo using Stasis isn’t really going to need the extra enemy vulnerability since their approach stops enemies regardless of how difficult they are to kill.
If you end up in a match with one player at each capture point, you’ll probably want to place one Gaze aura at your point of choice, and one at the capture point being defended by whoever isn’t using crowd control abilities to keep enemies away. Because Accuse can stop a hack in progress as well as make the area safe for you, you may be able to give your own Gaze aura to another player’s point if they need it, and just focus on taking out Accused enemies as you go so that you can cast it again when needed.
Is Xaku a Good Warframe for Mobile Defense?
Pretty good; Grasp of Lohk and The Lost: Gaze can quickly eliminate most enemies that come near the objective, while The Lost: Accuse is an effective emergency button for swarms. However, Xaku has no direct defensive abilities, allowing long-ranged or fast enemies to slip through.
Mobile Defense objectives tend to be placed against the walls, making the possible angle of approach much smaller for enemies. Because of this, Xaku can stray away from the objective a bit in order to put Grasp of Lohk’s guns in position to fire on the enemy, lessening the drawback of the ability having a somewhat low range. This also makes it easy to create Gaze auras in an effective location, since you don’t need to wait for enemies to get close to the objective before freezing them.
Further, because killing enemies isn’t necessary for clearing Mobile Defense missions, it’s okay to stay in sight of the objective to ensure that Grasp of Lohk can eliminate incoming threats, rather than having to wander about to give the guns a clear shot like in normal Defense missions.
Accuse is effective in this mode, both stopping an enemy assault at the time of casting and distracting future enemies from firing on the objective. However, though it will usually keep incoming enemies occupied, this isn’t guaranteed; some enemies may decide to just shoot for the objective despite being under fire, which keeps Accuse from being entirely reliable.
There’s also Accuse’s target cap to consider. If you already converted a group of enemies at one objective location, you won’t be able to convert a new group at the next spot. Make sure to kill off the enemies you’ve converted towards the end of the defense timer so that you have the ability available for the next area.
Xata’s Whisper with a high status chance weapon can work decently well for preventing enemies from attacking the objective, as well. I like Mutalist Cernos in particular for this task, as the 8-second gas clouds can be spammed at each checkpoint to give prolonged defensive coverage that helps to overcome Xaku’s long-ranged-enemy weakness.
Is Xaku a Good Warframe for Rescue?
Somewhat good; any one of The Lost’s sub-abilities can be used with The Vast Untime to completely lock down Wardens during the rescue process. Xaku’s abilities are less helpful when running to extraction, however, since their two best-suited powers can’t be used after reaching the target cap.
Grasp of Lohk’s weapon-thievery (and the short animation that follows as enemies draw their melee weapons) can give a good window of opportunity to run through enemy groups after you’ve rescued the hostage. If you’ve already been using the power before reaching the jail cells, however, this ability won’t be available on the way to extraction.
Accuse is nice for instantly stopping a large enemy group from coming down on the hostage, but it can generally only help once if you’re not pausing to clear each room as you go. While converted enemies will teleport to your area as you get farther away from them, it takes a long time to do so and you won’t necessarily get them all at once. It’s best to just assume they won’t be there to help after the initial cast.
In emergencies, The Vast Untime could be recast in order to hit visible enemies with its slow effect, reducing their damage output on the hostage. It’s a lot of energy to spend for a rather minimal effect, though.
A high status chance weapon can be useful when paired with Xata’s Whisper, spraying enemies as you go to give them six seconds of being effectively unable to fire their weapons as the hostage tags along behind you. The weapon needs to have exceptional status chance, fire rate, and area coverage to be dependable for this purpose.
As for the rescue itself, Xaku makes the entire process incredibly simple. As stated, any one of The Lost’s sub-abilities will do the trick with The Vast Untime making those powers effectively permanent. Honestly, though, even though it cuts into Accuse’s target cap, I can’t help but be amused at the idea of the Wardens themselves aiding in your escape. The large area-of-effect on Accuse makes it the easiest to use, too.
If necessary, The Vast Untime’s own slow effect can give you a bigger window to deal with Wardens, as the slow affects their activation of the console as well, but The Lost abilities should be able to handle the situation easily on their own.
Is Xaku a Good Warframe for Spy?
Not good at all; none of The Lost’s sub-abilities can prevent Grineer camera drones from activating the alert, and Corpus cameras count as enemies, preventing The Vast Untime from destroying them like it does for containers. With no stealth and no way to pass barriers, Xaku is a poor choice for Spy.
The only trick up Xaku’s sleeve is in Corpus missions, where they can use Grasp of Lohk’s hovering guns to peek around a corner to take out security cameras without putting themselves into its line of sight. This is an extremely minimal advantage, however, easily surpassed by weapons with an area of effect or adequate Punch Through. Even worse, the guns aren’t even terribly reliable for this purpose; they sometimes simply decide not to shoot at cameras at all, for reasons I’ve yet to identify.
For Grineer Spy missions, Grasp of Lohk can even be a detriment, as the guns will fire on the drones the moment they come into view. Even being invisible due to something like the Untraceable Parazon mod or a Huras Kubrow won’t keep the guns from firing. As such, you either have to avoid using Grasp of Lohk for an extended period before coming to any vaults, or you need to wait for the ability to wear off prior to entering.
Is Xaku a Good Warframe for Survival?
Pretty good; Grasp of Lohk can deal with enemies quickly to keep the life support modules flowing, and The Lost: Gaze ensures that armor doesn’t become a problem as enemy levels scale higher. The Lost: Accuse can be used to prevent being overwhelmed, if absolutely necessary.
Be wary of using Accuse for this purpose, though. Enemies under your control still count towards the spawn cap for the mission, meaning fewer enemies being sent your way, meaning less opportunity for life support modules (as well as affinity or resource drops, if those are your goal). Controlled enemies will also run off into other areas, pushing the “front line” further and further back, making it more difficult for you and your allies to use area-of-effect weapons, as well as spreading out the life support module drops. Accuse is best saved for emergencies rather than being used as a staple power.
On the subject of spread-out life support modules, Grasp of Lohk’s line of sight requirement is actually beneficial in Survival missions; because enemies will only be taken out once they’re in view, it’s easy to ensure that life support is consolidated in one place. The common tactic of hunkering down in one room where the enemies come to the squad is made extra effective due to Grasp of Lohk, even moreso than typical nuke Warframes like Volt or Saryn.
Gaze is also made more useful by the hunkering tactic, since all incoming enemies are guaranteed to end up in its aura. As an obscure added bonus, you can even freeze an enemy right at the door to your chosen room in order to keep it open, giving line of sight outside of the room. The guns from Grasp of Lohk ignore doors, anyway, so it won’t result in killing enemies any further away than you normally would. What it does do, however, is allow you to see how many life support modules have built up, as well as snipe any Nullifiers or Ancient Healers coming to ruin your fun.
Those two will be your biggest threats, by the way; Nullifiers will protect huge groups from being targeted by your Grasp of Lohk guns, and Ancient Healers will make every enemy take ten times as many shots to bring down. You’ll want to deal with these enemies as quickly as possible, or use Accuse to make others fire on the bubble or lose the defense aura, respectively. Killing them outright is the preferable option, but Accuse ensures that you won’t get overwhelmed by the enemy buildup these two units can cause if you’re unable to kill them quickly.