Warframe Specter AI Guide

Ash

AshCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
ShurikenAny enemy is in line of sight.15 seconds.
Smoke ScreenCasts when cooldown ends.8-12 seconds.Attacking with Warframe weapons ends Specter invisibility. Operator attacks do not end invisibility. Cooldown is lower if your attacks end their invisibility early, but specific cooldown is sporadic in this case.
TeleportEnemy is more than 10m away.10 seconds.
Blade Storm5+ enemies within 50m, at least 1 in line of sight.55 seconds.Doesn’t necessarily target all 5+ enemies, just needs 5 to cast in the first place.
Because Specters are essentially unmodded Warframes, Ash’s damage-focused moveset results in a Specter that scales very poorly into higher levels. As such, Ash Specters have very little impact beyond the first few planets.

Atlas

AtlasCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
LandslideAny enemy is in line of sight within 12m.25 seconds.Skips straight to third punch, sending affected enemies flying.
TectonicsDoes not cast.n/a
PetrifyDoes not cast.n/a
RumblersAny enemy is in line of sight within 30m.100 seconds.Golems do not benefit from a Specter’s scaling health and armor, making them very quick to die in high-level missions.
Atlas Specter can provide some small amount of crowd control (or really, crowd chaos, given how far enemies are sent flying), while being immune to being knocked down due to their passive. Ultimately, however, there are just better options than Atlas for this purpose.

Banshee

BansheeCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
Sonic BoomAny enemy is in line of sight within 7m.13 seconds.
SonarAny enemy is in line of sight.30 seconds.Because Sonar’s actual range is 30m, Sonar will often go to waste in maps with long sightlines, as the Specter casts the ability as soon as an enemy comes into view.
SilenceAny enemy is in line of sight within 10m.65 seconds.
Sound QuakeAny enemy is in line of sight within 10m.13 seconds after end of effect.Maintains up to 10 seconds, but is highly inconsistent, sometimes deciding to stop the effect immediately after starting to cast the ability.
Banshee is a pretty good support Specter largely thanks to Sonar. Dealing five times as much damage for hitting the weak points is a huge boost, and affected enemies are shown on the minimap within 45 meters, making Enemy Radar mods less necessary. Its other three abilities help to disrupt enemies, making them unable to to attack due to being ragdolled, deafened, or staggered.

Baruuk

BaruukCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
EludeAny enemy is in line of sight.50 seconds from end of effect.Maintains for up to 120 seconds.
LullAny enemy is in line of sight within 30m.35 seconds.
Desolate Hands3+ enemies within 25m, with at least 1 in line of sight, and has no daggers already orbiting.40 seconds.
Serene StormWhen enemy is in melee range.40 seconds from end of effect.Maintains for up to 130 seconds. Will only ever use Serene Storm attacks when they would otherwise attack in melee.
Baruuk Specters have some minor potential for crowd control and boosting the team’s survivability, but their long cooldowns and short durations make it difficult to depend on those abilities being active when you need them.

Chroma

ChromaCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
Spectral ScreamDoes not cast.n/a
Elemental WardAny enemy is in line of sight within 15m.55 seconds.Seems to have no effect. My guess is that the rework that made Spectral Scream determine element type instead of energy color has resulted in Elemental Ward using no element at all, thus giving no actual buffs.
Vex ArmorAny enemy is in line of sight within 15m.30 seconds.
EffigyAny enemy is in line of sight within 15m.60 seconds from Effigy recall.Effigy does not use elemental breath, but will use radial pulses. Stun pulse is typically used once per Effigy cast, while knockback pulse is used every 5 seconds if enemies are within 5m.
Specter will often recall Effigy right away on the first cast upon Specter’s creation, but otherwise leaves Effigy out for 15-25 seconds, even if enemies are defeated.
The Chroma Specter has unfortunately become a tad less useful with the minor rework Chroma himself received. However, Vex Armor still has great potential for boosting your own Warframe’s weapon damage and armor, so long as the Specter is taking damage and you have the means to keep them alive.

Ember

EmberCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
FireballAny enemy is in line of sight.20 seconds.
ImmolationWhenever available.None.Shield lasts up to 50 seconds. If it expires naturally, Specter will wait 10 seconds before casting again.
Fire BlastAny enemy is in line of sight within 15m.40 seconds.Doesn’t seem to prioritize casting this ability once the cooldown is over, so it may wait for a while longer than the minimum cooldown.
InfernoWhenever available.60 seconds.Bugged. Specter simply plays the animation for the ability, with no actual effect.
Ember makes a decent offensive support Specter for Grineer missions due to Fire Blast’s ability to halve enemy armor. However, the long cooldown and odd casting prioritization can make it unreliable.

Equinox

EquinoxCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
MetamorphosisWhenever available.35 seconds.
Rest & RageAny enemy is in line of sight within 20m.24 seconds.
Pacify & ProvokeAny enemy is in line of sight.33 seconds.Maintains for up to 25 seconds.
Mend & MainAny enemy is in line of sight.33 seconds.Maintains for up to 25 seconds.
Because each ability varies substantially based on the Specter’s current form as determined by Metamorphosis, Equinox is an incredibly unreliable ally. Beyond that, their last two abilities end immediately upon Metamorphosis being cast, hurting that reliability even further.

Excalibur/Excalibur Umbra

ExcaliburCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
Slash DashAny enemy is in line of sight within 12m.20 seconds.
Radial Blind/HowlAny enemy is in line of sight within 15m.50 seconds.
Radial JavelinAny enemy is in line of sight within 10m.60 seconds.
Exalted BladeDoes not cast.n/a
Though Radial Blind has a little bit of value as a support power, cooldowns and lack of power scaling prevent Excalibur from being a useful Specter.

Frost

FrostCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
FreezeAny enemy is in line of sight.12 seconds.
Ice WaveAny enemy is in line of sight within 13m.25 seconds.
Snow GlobeSpecter shields are below 25%.30 seconds.Will not cast if any other Snow Globes exist on the map, even those made by players. Scaling Specter Armor makes Snow Globe extremely durable.
AvalancheAny enemy is in line of sight within 10m.70 seconds.
Frost Specters make handy allies for defensive missions, able to keep the objective encased in their Snow Globe while spamming Freeze to completely shut down one enemy at a time. However, the casting trigger for Snow Globe can be hard to reach when enemies are focused on the defense objective, especially considering the high shields of a Specter scaled to high level missions. The fact that no other Snow Globes can exist for the Specter to cast the ability also means that it is not suited to Mobile Defense missions, as the first Snow Globe is unlikely to ever be destroyed. If you’re after an effective Specter for defense-oriented missions, I recommend Gara instead.

Gara

GaraCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
Shattered LashAny enemy is in line of sight within 5m.12 seconds.Will only cast the sweeping Slash damage variant of Shattered Lash, never the stabbing Puncture variant.
Splinter StormDoes not cast.n/a
SpectrorageAny enemy is in line of sight.70 seconds.
Mass VitrifyAny enemy is in line of sight within 7m.70 seconds.Because Specter armor scales with its level, the walls from this ability are often more durable than that of a player’s Gara.
Gara Specters are a fantastic tool for missions with stationary objectives in need of protection. Defense, Mobile Defense, Interception, and some Sabotage missions are all made much safer by using a Gara Specter due to Mass Vitrify, Spectrorage, and her blinding passive ability. I recommend equipping it with a Proboscis Cernos to help it draw enemies closer to trigger Mass Vitrify, or pairing it with an Ancient Healer Specter which will yank enemies over on its own. Take care to eliminate enemies near her after she’s cast Mass Vitrify, or else she’ll destroy it with Shattered Lash soon after.

Garuda

GarudaCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
Dread MirrorDoes not cast.
Blood AltarDoes not cast.
BloodlettingSpecter health is above 90%.30 seconds.Increases Specter’s damage due to Garuda’s passive ability.
Seeking Talons4+ enemies are in line of sight.40 seconds.
Garuda’s passive makes the Specter decent for weapon damage relative to other Specters, but enemy scaling quickly overtakes that advantage, and there are better Specters for low-level content. The damage isn’t enough to mean much for highly-scaled missions, and the fact that this Specter halves its own health right off the bat makes it a good deal more fragile than other Specters, as well. Avoid this one.

Gauss

GaussCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
Mach RushAny enemy is in line of sight.5 seconds from end of effect.Does not use when set to Hold Position. Maintains until target is knocked down, or when the target can’t be reached without leaving the ground. Can cast other abilities while active, but will not fire weapons.
Kinetic PlatingAny enemy is in line of sight within 12m.60 seconds.
Thermal SunderAny enemy is in line of sight.28 seconds.Uses Heat variation exclusively.
RedlineAny enemy is in line of sight.70 seconds.
Gauss can make a good turret Specter, set to Hold Position while it unloads on nearby enemies under the effects of Redline. However, having it set to Follow tends to make it fairly ineffective; because it uses Mach Rush so frequently, it will spend most of its time in melee range, causing it to switch to its far-less-potent melee weapon. Being in Follow mode also seems to make it lose the ability to fire weapons without reloading, causing a massive loss in damage output.

Grendel

GrendelCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
FeastAny enemy is within 10m.40 seconds.
NourishCurrently holding an enemy via Feast.30 seconds.
RegurgitateCurrently holding an enemy via Feast, and target is in line of sight within 10m.5 seconds.
PulverizeCurrently holding an enemy via Feast, and target is in line of sight within 45m.60 seconds from end of effect.Maintains for up to 60 seconds. Ignores Hold Position command while rolling, but will return to position after ending the ability.
Grendel Specters have some small defensive benefit in that they will completely remove enemies from the fight via Feast, but the ability’s long cooldown paired with the very short cooldown on Regurgitate means that they don’t tend to hold those enemies for long. Pulverize can stagger affected enemies, further bolstering Grendel’s identity as a defensive crowd control Specter, but it ultimately has a smaller and less reliable impact than other options. Grendel isn’t a very effective Specter choice.

Harrow

HarrowCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
CondemnAny enemy is in line of sight within 15m.15 seconds.
PenanceAny enemy is in line of sight.25 seconds.
ThuribleWhenever available.52 seconds.Typically aims for an energy return of 13.5.
CovenantAny enemy is in line of sight.55 seconds.
Harrow has the potential to be an effective healing Specter, but it depends on having its shield restored to keep this healing going reliably. Because Penance has its duration increased based on the shield value that Harrow spends casting it, it can last indefinitely at high levels where Specter shields have scaled into the tens of thousands.

However, every cast of Penance depletes the Specter’s shields entirely, necessitating some form of shield recovery, and Condemn isn’t usually up to the task since it restores a flat amount for each enemy affected, rather than a percentage. This Specter is dependent on downtime for shield recovery, a Shield Osprey Specter from Cephalon Suda to max its shields out immediately, or Warframe abilities that restore shields.

Hildryn

HildrynCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
BalefireAny enemy is in line of sight.25 seconds from end of effect. (Determined during old testing before becoming bugged.)Bugged to not deal any damage. Maintains indefinitely, even when shields are depleted. Charges all shots.
PillageAny shielded enemy is in line of sight.45 seconds.Will cast even when enemies are too far away to be affected.
HavenAny enemy is in line of sight and Specter shields are above 50%.30 seconds from end of effect.Maintains until Specter shields are depleted.
Aegis StormDoes not cast.n/a
Hildryn is an extremely niche support Specter, slightly useful only in very high-level Corpus missions. The Specter spends all of its time in Balefire, dealing no damage while quickly burning through its shields. It’s only able to fuel its other abilities when its shields have been scaled to huge numbers and Pillage is able to keep it topped off, hence the requirement for high-level Corpus missions to be usable. In these missions, it can periodically take a chunk out of enemy shields via Pillage, and substantially boost the shield potential of allies via Haven. In any other mission type, Hildryn is the worst Specter you can take along, beating out even Limbo and Wukong who barely use their abilities at all.

Hydroid

HydroidCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
Tempest BarrageAny enemy is in line of sight.21 seconds.
Tidal SurgeAny enemy is in line of sight within 20m.25 seconds.
UndertowDoes not cast.n/a
Tentacle SwarmAny enemy is in line of sight.70 seconds.
With three different medium-AoE crowd control powers, two with low cooldowns and two with long durations, Hydroid makes a pretty good crowd control Specter. Still not 100% reliable due to occasional ability downtime, but more effective than most. If you need to trip up enemies regularly, such as in Interception or Disruption missions, Hydroid is a decent choice.

Inaros

InarosCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
DesiccationAny enemy is in line of sight within 5m.20 seconds.
DevourAny enemy is in line of sight within 20m.45 seconds.Specter will not fire at an enemy while it is affected by Devour.
Sandstorm5+ enemies within 25m, with at least one in line of sight.60 seconds from end of effect.Maintains for up to 10 seconds. Will disable Hold Position command when cast, but will not change the toggle action displayed; telling the Specter to Follow after it has cast Sandstorm will instead cause it to Hold Position.
Scarab SwarmDoes not cast.n/a
Inaros Specters ultimately have a fairly low impact due to lack of damage scaling and Sandstorm’s long cooldown. However, Devour has an uptime of 66%, so it can be a decently reliable way to give yourself invincibility in dangerous situations, as you can’t take damage while using the interact key with an enemy.

Ivara

IvaraCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
QuiverAny enemy is in line of sight within 25m.15 seconds.Only uses Sleep Arrow.
NavigatorDoes not cast.n/a
ProwlWhenever available.13 seconds from end of effect.Maintains up to 75 seconds, until Specter uses melee or fires an Alarming weapon, or until the player uses any weapon on their Warframe. Operator attacks do not end invisibility. Specter does not steal from enemies while in Prowl.
Artemis Bow4+ enemies are in line of sight.50 seconds from end of effect.Maintains up to 20 seconds.
Quiver allows Ivara Specters to have some small degree of crowd control capability, with the cooldown and effect duration making it decently reliable, but the limited trigger range and area-of-effect prevent it from having quite enough impact to make Ivara a staple Specter type. I tried using her as a Rescue Specter, putting Wardens to sleep while using Prowl so I could sneak by, but she continued to fire at the enemy while invisible, alerting them and causing them to sound the alarm.

Khora

KhoraCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
WhipclawAny enemy is in line of sight within 5m.9 seconds.
EnsnareAny enemy is in line of sight.25 seconds.Despite the ability’s base range of 30m, the Specter’s version will affect enemies at any range.
VenariPassive.45 seconds to respawn after death.Venari is kept in Protect posture, and follows the player rather than the Specter. Does not use parkour maneuvers. Health does not scale with Specter level, making it die nearly instantly in high-level missions.
Strangledome3+ enemies are within 8m, with at least 1 in line of sight.30 seconds.
In my first round of testing, Khora was a broken mess, using no abilities except Strangledome, which had no actual effect. At some point since then, they fixed this Specter, and she is now a fantastic crowd control option. Ensnare and Strangledome both have pretty good range, as well as excellent durations relative to their cooldowns, resulting in 50% and 66% uptimes, respectively. On top of completely disabling affected enemies, it also pulls them into one location, making it easier to hit them all with AoE weapons.

Lavos

LavosCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
Ophidian BiteSpecter is aware of enemy within 10m.8 seconds.The actual range of the ability is 8m, making this ability miss if cast on the very edge of the trigger range.
Vial RushDoes not cast.n/a
Transmutation ProbeDoes not cast.n/a
Catalyst4+ enemies within 25m, with at least 1 in line of sight within 15m.35 seconds.
Unfortunately, Specter Lavos does not utilize infusions, resulting in half the base damage that players typically deal. This also means that elements with helpful status effects like Viral or Corrosive aren’t used, nor are elements tailored to enemy weaknesses, making Specter Lavos far less effective than a player’s Lavos.

Limbo

LimboCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
BanishAny enemy is in line of sight within 20m.22 seconds.Does not send targets to the Rift, only causes knockdown.
StasisDoes not cast.n/a
Rift SurgeDoes not cast.n/a
CataclysmDoes not cast.n/a
Given the disruptive nature of the real Limbo’s abilities, it makes sense that the Specter version is so stripped down… But that unfortunately makes him a truly awful Specter to use. The only thing Limbo Specters can do is cause infrequent knockdowns in a tight cone, which many other Specters can easily surpass. Avoid this one.

Loki

LokiCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
DecoyAny enemy is in line of sight.25 seconds.Places Decoy directly on top of the targeted enemy.
InvisibilityWhenever available.7 seconds when cut short, 3 seconds when expiring naturally.Invisibility ends whenever player attacks with a weapon.
Switch TeleportDoes not cast.n/a
Radial DisarmAny enemy is in line of sight within 10m.70 seconds.
Between Decoy’s lack of health scaling, Invisibility’s break-on-attack, and Radial Disarm’s long cooldown, Loki makes a very poor Specter.

Mag

MagCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
PullAny enemy is in line of sight and between 8m and 15m away.20 seconds.
MagnetizeAny enemy is in line of sight.33 seconds.Tap cast variant only. Maintains bubble for 6 seconds instead of full duration.
PolarizePlayer is within 20m and has 60% or lower shields.5 seconds.The animation is buggy, often making it seem as though the Specter casts this ability three times in a row, but it only takes effect once.
CrushAny enemy is in line of sight within 10m.30 seconds.
Mag makes a good survivability Specter, as Polarize will refill the player’s shields extremely frequently. As the ability restores 400 each cast, you’ll either want to have the Adaptation mod equipped so that those 400 points can stretch further, or you want to make sure that your maximum shield value is under 400 so that each cast restores your shield gating. Mag also has some decent crowd control abilities that will further help your survival, though their low-duration effects and mid-length cooldowns make them second fiddle to the shield restoration of Polarize.

Mesa

MesaCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
Ballistic BatteryAny enemy is in line of sight.45 seconds.
Shooting GalleryAny enemy is in line of sight within 10m.90 seconds.
Shatter ShieldDoes not cast.n/a
PeacemakerAny enemy is in line of sight.45 seconds.Maintains for up to 10 seconds.
Mesa Specter’s Shooting Gallery can provide a helpful overall boost to effectiveness while it’s active, increasing your weapon damage as well as preventing nearby enemies from attacking. It’s certainly potent, but with a 30-second duration versus a 90-second cooldown, its uptime is severely lacking. Furthermore, the duration is split between all allies in the mission, making it far less dependable in squads.

Mirage

MirageCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
Hall of MirrorsDoes not cast.n/a
Sleight of HandAny enemy is in line of sight within 15m.20 seconds.
EclipseAny enemy is in line of sight within 20m.40 seconds.
PrismAny enemy is in line of sight within 30m.70 seconds from end of effect.Maintains for up to 10 seconds.
Thanks to Eclipse, Mirage has the potential to be a deadly turret Specter if you can find an extremely well-lit spot to place her. However, this can be harder than it sounds, and there often won’t be much light where you really want the Specter to protect. Between Eclipse-turreting and Sleight of Hand, I had hoped Mirage would make a good Specter for Interception missions, but from what I could tell, Sleight of Hand does not booby-trap the Interception consoles. Ultimately, there are more reliable choices for a Specter.

Nekros

NekrosCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
Soul PunchAny enemy is in line of sight within 20m.13 seconds.Does not summon a shadow version of the marked target.
Terrify5+ enemies are within 25m, with at least 1 enemy in line of sight.60 seconds.
DesecrateDoes not cast.n/a
Shadows of the DeadDoes not cast.n/a
Unfortunately, the dream all players hold of having a pocket Desecrate has been dashed, as Nekros Specters do not use the ability. Because Terrify only affects enemies within 15m at the time of casting, Nekros is likely to waste the ability triggering it 10m early, and the cooldown makes these casts extremely infrequent. The single-target nature of Soul Punch means that, even with its low cooldown, it will have very little impact on the mission.

Nezha

NezhaCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
FirewalkerDoes not cast.n/a
Blazing ChakramAny enemy is in line of sight within 20m.20 seconds.
Warding HaloUpon taking damage.70 seconds from end of effect.
Divine SpearsAny enemy is in line of sight within 10m.30 seconds.Cancels ability immediately after casting.
Nezha has some slight value as a crowd control and damage buffing Specter, but is far from being the best option for these purposes. Blazing Chakram doubles the damage that affected enemies take, but the unreliable nature of its bounces means that very few enemies will be affected by it, and though the cooldown is fairly short, it’s not enough to make it dependable. Meanwhile, Divine Spears is a decently-frequent large-area crowd control ability that completely stops enemies from acting, but the fact that it’s cancelled immediately means that the effect doesn’t last long enough to make much of a difference.

Nidus

NidusCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
VirulenceAny enemy is in line of sight within 15m.12 seconds.
LarvaDoes not cast.n/a
Parasitic LinkAlly is within 30m.20 seconds from end of effect.Only casts ally variant.
RavenousAny enemy is in line of sight within 15m.50 seconds.
Nidus is a highly effective Specter, with each ability bringing good value. Virulence can get to be quite powerful if the Specter lives long enough, making it a good damage dealer for endless mission types. I recommend equipping it with a Proboscis Cernos so that it can stack enemies up for quicker Virulence damage growth. Parasitic Link essentially gives you a free 28% Ability Strength boost with a 75% uptime, provided you stay in range; breaking line of sight is fine, but getting more than 40m away will end the boost and start the cooldown. Ravenous will continually heal allies in the area, as well as sporadically stun nearby enemies with the maggots spawned by the ability, with an excellent ability uptime of 80%. Finally, Nidus’ passive completely refills its health if it’s built up enough Mutation stacks from Virulence, making it a great fire-and-forget Specter.

Nova

NovaCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
Null StarAny enemy is in line of sight.30 seconds from end of effect.
Antimatter DropAny enemy is in line of sight and over 15m away.25 seconds.
Worm HoleDoes not cast.n/a
Molecular PrimeAny enemy is in line of sight.50 seconds.
Given the lack of damage scaling on abilities, Nova Specters don’t make much of an impact. You can potentially make use of Antimatter Drop by firing at it to increase its damage, but keeping track of when it’s cast tends to be more effort than it’s worth. Molecular Prime provides a bit of supportive benefit via its 30% slow effect, but the cooldown makes it unreliable.

Nyx

NyxCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
Mind ControlSpecter is damaged by enemy within 20m.30 seconds from end of effect.
Psychic BoltsAny enemy is in line of sight.13 seconds.
Chaos5+ enemies are within 20m, with at least 1 in line of sight.50 seconds.
AbsorbSpecter is damaged while under 80% health and an enemy is within 10m.75 seconds.Lasts up to 5 seconds.
Nyx makes for a good “softening” Specter, as Psychic Bolts will strip 80% of its target’s armor or shields as well as disable the damage reduction aura of Ancient Healers. The low cooldown, being just higher than the ability’s duration itself, makes the Specter quite reliable for this purpose. The only issue is the target limit of 6, which makes it likely for heavy enemies and Ancient Healers to not be affected when in a horde. Ultimately, however, the target limit isn’t a dealbreaker, and Nyx makes a good Specter for high-level missions if you don’t have other ways to reduce armor and shields.

Oberon

OberonCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
SmiteAny enemy is in line of sight within 20m.30 seconds.
Hallowed GroundAny enemy is in line of sight.30 seconds.
RenewalPlayer health is below 80%.40 seconds from end of effect.Maintains for a very sporadic amount of time, usually 30-40 seconds, but recorded as high as 140 seconds.
ReckoningAny enemy is in line of sight within 7m.50 seconds.
Oberon makes a decent support Specter, protecting allies from status effects and providing minor health regeneration with a roughly 50% effect uptime, as well as applying Radiation to enemies every once in a while. The Specter is versatile, but the uptime of most effects leaves a bit to be desired. If your goal is status effect negation, Oberon is a good choice, though I should mention that the Ancient Healer Specter from New Loka is also able to prevent you from getting status effects, while being perpetually mobile and not taking a Tenno Specter slot.

Octavia

OctaviaCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
MalletAny enemy is in line of sight within 10m.15 seconds.
ResonatorAny enemy is in line of sight within 10m.16.5 seconds.
MetronomeWhenever available.20 seconds.
AmpAny enemy is in line of sight between 10-20m. Will not cast if any enemy is closer than 10m.40 seconds.Damage boost does not increase with noise levels.
Octavia is a highly effective all-purpose Specter. Mallet, when under heavy fire, can end up putting out a lot of damage to enemies. Resonator has an extremely high targeting priority, making you effectively invisible to any enemies near it. Metronome is constantly active, providing an armor bonus just for being near her as well as giving somewhat-easy access to the speed, multishot, melee damage, and stealth buffs inherent to the ability, the only issue with which is the awkward pulse timing due to the Specter using the default Mandachord song. Amp is of limited usefulness due to being unaffected by noise levels and having awkward trigger conditions, but it’s still basically a free minor damage boost. Finally, Octavia’s passive still takes effect with the Specter, with all of their abilities giving a 30-second buff to nearby allies that slowly restores energy.

Protea

ProteaCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
Grenade FanAny enemy is in line of sight within 30m.30 seconds.Will only cast the Shrapnel Vortex variant, never Shield Satellites.
Blaze ArtilleryAny enemy is in line of sight within 60m.12 seconds.
DispensaryPlayer health, ammo, or energy are below 70%.40 seconds.
Temporal AnchorSpecter health is below 75%, and 2+ enemies are in line of sight.70 seconds.Maintains ability for up to 10 seconds.
Protea Specters are very helpful due to their Dispensary, providing a constant source of energy. The ammo pickups are able refill Archgun ammo, as well, making them helpful for Profit-Taker if you can place the Specter somewhere safe. Blaze Artillery can put out a lot of damage if enemies are clustered in one place. I recommend equipping a Protea Specter with a Proboscis Cernos in order to concentrate enemies together for this purpose.

Revenant

RevenantCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
EnthrallDoes not cast.n/a
Mesmer SkinDoes not cast.n/a
ReaveDoes not cast.n/a
Danse MacabreWhenever shields are depleted.5 seconds from end of effect.Maintains until no enemies remain within a set range. This range increases based on the number of enemies. As best I can tell, every enemy adds 15m to this range requirement; 1 enemy within 15m, 2 enemies within 30m, 3 enemies within 45m, and so on. Shields must begin recharging before Specter will cast the ability again.
Revenant Specters are very much a one-trick-pony, but that trick is pretty potent. So long as there’s a constant flow of enemies, the Specter won’t stop using Danse Macabre, which deals hefty damage even in Steel Path missions, at least for Corpus and Infested.. I was able to park it in a Steel Path Dark Sector Survival and have no trouble keeping Life Support going, as an example. The shield depletion trigger means that it can take a while before the ability is used, making Revenant Specters a bit of a time investment any time you want to use one, but few other Specters have the same damage potential as this one.

Rhino

RhinoCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
Rhino ChargeAny enemy is in line of sight and between 5m to 20m away.15 seconds.
Iron SkinAny enemy is in line of sight.20 seconds from end of effect.
RoarAny enemy is in line of sight, and 2 or more other Specters are in the mission.75 seconds.Companions and other players do not count towards the trigger conditions: only having two other Specters in the mission will cause Roar to be used. These Specters can belong to other players, they do not have to come from you. Keep in mind that you can only have one Tenno Specter out at a time, so you’ll need Syndicate Specters if you want to trigger Roar when solo.
Rhino StompAny enemy is in line of sight within 15m.70 seconds.
Rhino is a bit of a varied Specter, with a smattering of usefulness in different areas. Iron Skin makes it exceptionally durable, especially at higher levels where its armor has scaled to massive levels. Charge and Stomp both provide some small level of crowd control, though the targeted nature of Charge and the long cooldown of Stomp make them somewhat unreliable. Roar is a highly effective damage boost for weapons and abilities alike, though with such a long cooldown, you won’t be able to depend on it consistently. That said, the 30 second duration is enough to plan around its presence when it does come, even if it’s not ever-present. If you’ve built a lot of Specters, you could theoretically throw it out specifically when you want the buff, and have a good chunk of time to act while boosted.

Saryn

SarynCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
SporesAny enemy is in line of sight within 50m.20 seconds.Often seems to cast without the usual handwave animation.
MoltWhenever available.6 seconds.The body double appears in front of the Specter and blocks its line of sight. Despite this, it will still target the closest enemy, ignoring others that may actually be targetable, effectively shutting down its AI. As such, using Hold Position is highly detrimental.
Toxic LashAny enemy is in line of sight.45seconds.
MiasmaAny enemy is within 5m.55 seconds.
Due to the lack of mods and simple AI, Saryn Specters aren’t nearly as deadly with Spores as a player can be, providing little more than a tickle to enemy hordes. Frequent use of Molt can somewhat help to distract enemies and provide survivability, but the body double lacks any increased targeting priority, so enemies will still go after you if you’re closer. Overall, Saryn makes a rather underwhelming Specter.

Titania

Titania (retesting)Casting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
SpellbindAny enemy is in line of sight within 25m.20 seconds.
TributeAny enemy is in line of sight within 20m.40 seconds.Enemy “soul” vanishes almost immediately, and does not seem to apply any buff.
LanternAny enemy is in line of sight within 15m.40 seconds.
RazorwingDoes not cast.n/a
Titania Specters have some minor value as crowd control, disable enemies in a small area every 20 seconds with Spellbind and potentially locking down large groups for up to 25 seconds with Lantern. However, the duration of Lantern depends on the enemy targeted by the initial power; low-health enemies won’t survive very long, releasing the group crowd control fairly quickly. Titania’s healing passive is present on Specters, as well, but it’s simply not powerful enough to be much help.

Trinity

TrinityCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
Well of LifePlayer health is below 80%.30 seconds.Casts even when there are no enemies to target with the ability.
Energy VampireAny enemy is in line of sight within 100m.40 seconds.
LinkAny enemy is in line of sight within 20m.35 seconds.
BlessingPlayer health is below 60%.60 seconds.
Trinity makes a fairly good support Specter, though perhaps a bit overrated in my experience. Well of Life and Blessing are both potent healing abilities, but with their long cooldowns, you can’t be careless. Trinity Specters are best suited to helping medium-survivability builds, something with high health and armor but little to no extra survivability beyond that. Low-health builds will see little benefit from Trinity’s healing abilities. Energy Vampire can also be quite handy, restoring 100 energy total if the player is touched by all four pulses, but the long range means that the ability is often triggered too far away for the player to benefit from, and the cooldown makes these instances all the more impactful.

Valkyr

ValkyrCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
Rip LineAny enemy is in line of sight and between 6m to 15m away.15 seconds.
WarcryAny enemy is in line of sight within 10m.40 seconds.
ParalysisAny enemy is in line of sight within 10m, and Specter’s shields are above 33%.25 seconds.
HysteriaDoes not cast.n/a
Valkyr Specters only really have Warcry going for them, providing a 50% attack speed and armor boost. If you frequently fight using your melee weapon, this might be helpful, but the 15-second duration paired with the 40-second cooldown gives it a pretty low uptime. Rip Line has a fairly low impact given its single-target nature, and can be detrimental given how far it flings the affected enemy. Paralysis doesn’t gain much power from the highly-scaled shields of Specters in late-game missions, and constant enemy fire prevents their shield regeneration, keeping the ability from being used in most combat situations.

Vauban

VaubanCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
Tesla NervosAny enemy is in line of sight.20 seconds.Spawns one roller when enemy is over 30m away, or multiple when enemy is within 30m. Throws up to 10 grenades at a time with no juggling windup like player-run Vaubans, though only 4 of these grenades can spawn rollers.
MinelayerAny enemy is in line of sight within 30m.30 seconds.Uses a random variant on each cast. Overdriver affects the Warframe or Specter that is closest to the impact point, determined when the ability is cast, not when the projectile actually lands.
Photon StrikeAny enemy is in line of sight with none within 10m.10 seconds. Usually.The Specter does not adjust its throwing angle when enemies are far away, making the strikes fall well short of their target. While the cooldown is usually 10 seconds, Vauban can sometimes inexplicably use the ability multiple times in a row.
BastilleAny enemy is in line of sight within 10m.30 seconds.Heavily favors Vortex variant, but will very rarely use Bastille variant instead.
Vauban Specters are rather chaotic in their AI, but the sheer potency and frequency of their abilities makes them an exceptional choice for crowd control. If you want a Vauban Specter to keep enemies away from a certain location (such as Interception consoles), I recommend placing them about 15m away from that position so that they’ll spam Photon Strike there, throwing enemies away constantly. If the Specter is too close to enemies, it won’t use Photon Strike at all, making it a little bit less dependable (though still very potent regardless).

Volt

VoltCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
ShockAny enemy is in line of sight.9 seconds.
SpeedWhenever available.30 seconds.
Electric ShieldAny enemy is in line of sight.25 seconds.
DischargeAny enemy is in line of sight within 10m.85 seconds.
A Volt Specter’s greatest role is in assisting with the defense of an area that has only one entrance. Electric Shield’s duration means that one will always be active, so as long as you’re staying in one location and can’t be flanked, this Specter will keep you completely protected, as well as provide an exceptional offensive boost via the Electric damage and critical hit improvements provided by firing through the shield. Speed can be helpful, but has a low uptime given its cooldown, and you’ll often be out of range if you’re moving quickly. Shock provides some decent crowd control due to its frequent usage, though the duration of the effect makes it a minor benefit rather than a core function of the Specter.

Wisp

WispCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
ReservoirsAny enemy is in line of sight within 40m.20 seconds.Reservoir type is random.
Will-O-WispAny enemy is in line of sight within 30m.12 seconds.Teleports to decoy as soon as it reaches the targeted enemy.
Breach Surge2+ enemies are in line of sight within 30m.45 seconds.
Sol Gate3+ enemies are in line of sight within 40m.65 seconds.Will maintain ability for up to 25 seconds. Will focus on one enemy until it dies or moves out of range before targeting a new one. Cooldown begins once the beam ends.
Works well in missions that take place in only one or two rooms for an extended period of time due to Reservoirs. While the Reservoir placed is random, the cap of six gives a decent chance that you’ll have all three available at any given time.

Wukong

WukongCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
Celestial TwinDoes not cast.n/a
Cloud WalkerDoes not cast.n/a
DefyWhenever available.13 seconds.
Primal FuryDoes not cast.n/a
Wukong Specters are a one-trick-pony, and that trick barely works. The taunt duration is too low to make a significant impact, and won’t even stop enemies from shooting at you half the time anyway. Wukong’s passive isn’t active as a Specter, either, so it won’t revive itself when killed. Avoid using this one.

Xaku

XakuCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
Xata’s WhisperDoes not cast.n/a
Grasp of LohkDoes not cast.n/a
The LostDoes not cast.n/a
The Vast UntimeDoes not cast.n/a
Unfortunately, it seems that Xaku was never given any AI to use their abilities in the first place. Even their evasion passive is absent. They still fire their weapons, at the very least.

Zephyr

ZephyrCasting TriggerCooldownExtra Notes
Tail WindAny enemy is in line of sight within 5m.20 seconds.
Air BurstAny enemy is in line of sight within 10m.20 seconds.
TurbulenceSpecter takes damage.50 seconds.
TornadoAny enemy is in line of sight within 10m.70 seconds.
Zephyr has slight value as a crowd control Specter, but the infrequency and restrictive trigger ranges reduce her potential impact massively. There are much better choices if you want crowd control, like Vauban or Khora.

14 thoughts on “Warframe Specter AI Guide”

  1. Super useful guide.
    If had any suggestion, it’d be to add a general guideline on which weapons are good for specters (like, what to look for when selecting the weapon. on the wiki I see a lot of contradicting info like “specters have bottomless clip” and “specters have to reload” etc.)

    1. Thanks!
      Yeah, that sounds like good info to have. It’s true that Specters *usually* have an infinite magazine, but there are occasions where they’ll reload the weapon. I haven’t figured out what makes them reload, but it sounds like a fun thing to test. 🙂
      As a quick answer right now, I tend to equip mine with Exergis or Proboscus Cernos, depending on whether I want them for damage or general utility. Not that Probuscus Cernos is weak; it tends to clear large groups faster than the Exergis, though it falls behind when enemies are flowing in steadily.

  2. I didn’t see a feedback link, so I’ll drop this here:

    I’ve read a number of your articles so far, and you’re doing a wonderful job. Keep this up and Google’s algorithm will be promoting you in no time. I really like your “Is frame X good at Y?” format; frames are nuanced.

    Wisdom > Information > Data. Unlike the data mongers, you’re pushing wisdom.

    P.S. This article is the one that brought me here, but you can see its popularity from your web reporting.

    1. Thanks so much! That’s some great input, I’ve been wondering if I was on the right track with that format or if I was just making things overwhelming by using it.

      I didn’t even think of a feedback link. o_o I suppose it makes sense that some wouldn’t want to broadcast their comments to everyone at once, though. I’ll see if I can add something for that, at some point. 🙂

  3. Turritopsis_Dohrnii

    I really love the article and I can now see how my “Broberon” (Oberon) specter and the specifics on the Hydriod specter timings and how they feel from another player’s perspective ranks in with the others. I really like the straightforward way you present the information.

    Small question though, how long does it take to observe each specter’s behavior?

    1. Thanks, glad to have been helpful!

      The length of time to figure out each Specter can vary pretty heavily. I perform the tests in the Ballroom Simulacrum, starting off by placing the Specter on the player platform and waiting to see if they cast anything right away. If not, I spawn in twenty enemies, and wait another moment to see if they do anything. If they don’t, I place the Specter right in the middle of the enemies. Doing this, I can see if they have any simple ability triggers that’ll just take quick tweaks to the situation to figure out (such as enemy count and distance).

      If there are any abilities that don’t get cast through these basic tests, I enable enemy AI so that the Specter and I can take damage, to see if anything triggers those other abilities. The triggers can sometimes be rather obscure, like Rhino’s Roar requiring two other Specters to be present. The length of time needed to work out the full scope of a Specter’s behavior depends mostly on whether or not they have obscure triggers like these. If it’s all just basic “cast when enemy is within x meters” kind of stuff, it can take as little as twenty minutes.

      1. Turritopsis_Dohrnii

        I’ve been playing around with Specters more and found what I was comfortable with… When it came to their abilities. I’m still somewhat in the dark on what’s good for weaponry for Tenno Specters in general. (I did notice they don’t really use secondaries however)

        Do you have any plans in adding a sort of generalized “weapons section” for this page? Although I enjoyed how you cited the Proboscis Cernos on some of the descriptions…

        1. I hadn’t considered testing weapons, but it could be fun! It’s a little harder than testing the Warframes themselves due to how many are in the game, but I can start by seeing if the AI is the same between crafted Specters and the inherent Specters of Excalibur Umbra, Wukong, and Equinox. If it is, that’ll make testing way easier since I won’t have to wait for them to craft.

          So, yeah, I’ll look into it! In the meantime, I’ve found Exergis to be potent for sheer damage output, and yes, Proboscis Cernos has some handy utility to it. Secondaries are indeed ignored, except for when the Specter is downed, which is… Finnicky. They sometimes skip downed state altogether.

          1. Turritopsis_Dohrnii

            Convinced a couple of clan mates to try out Specters and one of them likes using the Wisp Specter.

            It seems that the Wisp Specter is actually great for other Specter types because of her Reservoirs which also buff ally Specters. What are your thoughts on how effective this actually is?

            1. Wisp is certainly one of the better Specters! As for how her Reservoirs affect other Specters… It can be a tad unreliable, unfortunately, but decently potent. One big problem is just getting the Specters to actually touch the Reservoir in the first place; they don’t specifically aim for the buffed area, and if the Specter’s owner is moving quickly through a level, it may just teleport to keep up, which means no opportunity to touch the buff zone.

              As for the buffs themselves… The Health Mote is a drop in the bucket at higher levels, where Specter health has scaled into the tens of thousands. The healing component can be quite nice for keeping non-Tenno Specters alive, though, especially with an Ancient Healer decimating the damage taken.

              Shock Motes can be kinda handy with lots of Specters running around, just because it means more area being covered by the stun effect.

              The major player is the Haste Mote. The increased fire rate makes other Specters all the more powerful, especially since they don’t need to reload (most of the time). The movement speed and melee speed aren’t necessarily that helpful for Specters, but there is the niche benefit of giving a speed boost to the Grineer in Defection missions, provided you can ensure that your Wisp Specter is in their path, and luck into having her place a Haste Mote. You can always just set her to Hold Position at one of the healing stations to nearly-guarantee that the defectors will get the buff.

              Ultimately, using Wisp to buff your team’s other Specters is a handy tactic. It’s no gamechanger, but it can speed things up a bit, and there aren’t really any better options except perhaps Rhino, who strangely only casts Roar when there are other Specters present.

              And while Rhino’s buff results in a higher damage boost than Wisp’s Haste, it misses out on movement speed and health/healing, so it’s not a clear-cut choice; you’ll have to decide if you want to go all-out on damage, or get the more generalized buffs that Wisp offers.

  4. Hi! Thanks a lot for the research you have done. Do you have any information about the different specters? (Vapor, Phase, Force, and Cosmic)? I cant find any information about them (health, armor,…) and i dont see a big difference, but the higher grade specters need a lot more resources to craft. So I prefer the Vapor or Phase specters.

    1. Howdy! Sorry for the late response, wasn’t able to check on things until now.

      The different Specter types simply spawn in at different levels. If I remember correctly, Vapor Specters match the level of of enemies, Phase Specters spawn three levels higher than enemies, Force Specters spawn five levels higher, and Cosmic Specters spawn ten levels higher.

      Ultimately, those levels aren’t going to do much; they’ll scale the weapon damage, health, and shields of the Specter by a little bit, but nothing else. Once you start getting Steel Path and Sortie missions, Vapor Specters will have plenty of durability without the level boost.

      The main way you should decide the loadout for each Specter is based simply on what you’ll use most often. I have a Mag in my Vapor Specter slot, for example, since her Polarize ability provides some nice durability to most of my Warframes, making her consistently useful. Meanwhile, I only really use my Protea Specter for giving me energy when I’m piloting my Railjack, so she’s in the Cosmic loadout because I know I won’t need her as often.

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