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Nekros Prime Guide and Builds

Warframe Nekros

With Tennocon and the upcoming Nekros Prime giveaway, I am foreseeing a resurgence in the popularity in Nekros Prime (particularly for new players) and time for an updated build/guide for 2019. I will cover an overview with tips/hints for Nekros abilities followed by a few builds. Feel free to suggest any more tips or corrections.


(1) Soul punch – this is a truly hilarious, satisfying and under-rated ability. Punch the soul out of enemies and make them ragdoll around! This is a fun method for crowd control and even damage at low levels.

Augment: Soul Survivor – exactly as advertised, it consumes all your energy to revive any downed ally with 30% health. This is excellent for your silly pets that keep getting downed and you don’t want to waste time reviving or for reviving teammates from halfway across the room. You could increase power strength to return even more health but that’s not really necessary.

(2) Terrify – great ability to use in a pinch i.e. when surrounded by enemies and low health. Pop this off to scare them all away as well as reduce their armor. You can even increase the armor stripping with power strength and stack it with corrosive projection.

Augment: Creeping terrify – can’t see any real reason to use this particularly given the current state of CC in the game (where DPS > CC in most cases). Having slow enemies is nice and all for some breathing room but not worth filling a mod slot in my opinion. Farming typically requires a speed nova to improve efficiency so this would be counter productive.

(3) Desecrate – face it, this is the only reason people use Nekros, for the extra loot. Desecrate benefits from slash damage that divides corpses into multiple parts, as each part is counted as a separate body to desecrate. Take note that power strength does NOT affect drop chance. Other important facts are that you CAN desecrate vaporised corpses for a short period of time (around 3 seconds) just after being vaporised e.g. by Nova’s molecular prime or by opticor/arca plasmor.

Augment: Despoil – this is a very useful augment which uses your health pool instead of energy as the resource to desecrate. This allows you to desecrate longer (due to higher health) and spend your tiny base energy pool on the other three abilities. The constant loss of health allows you to consistently pick up health orbs, which synergizes extremely well with the classic combination of Equilibrium (picking up health orbs recovers energy and vice versa) and Health Conversion (picking health orbs grants a stack of armor).

(4) Shadows of the Dead – while this is crucial for maximum survivability, there is a lot of hate in the community (myself included) for these shadows since they block line of sight, create visual clutter and are often confused for enemies. As a matter of principle, I never cast shadows in a group game to not be a nuisance to other players (unless it’s defence and everybody is losing). If you choose to, please at least set your energy colour to something ridiculously bright to create a distinction from enemies (for example, hot pink or bright purple).

Augment: Shield of Shadows – This provides you with a ridiculous amount of survivability. The magic number for power strength required to summon enough shadows to hit the damage reduction cap of 90% is around 214 or 215% I believe. You can shorten the cast time using natural talent. Keep in mind you should always recast the ability BEFORE any shadows die as the cast time is significant shorter to refresh shadows rather than completely recast them.


Slash based weapons can break corpses into multiple parts to synergize with desecrate. Here are some of my top picks:


  • Kohm
  • Flux Rifle
  • Miter
  • Panthera
  • Dread
  • Nagantaka
  • Tigris prime
  • Zenith


  • Twin Kohmak
  • Pyrana Prime
  • Akjgara Prime
  • Akvasto Prime
  • Azima

Melee – Lots of options here:

  • Plague keewar
  • Dokhram
  • Atterax
  • Nikana Prime and variants
  • Skiajati
  • Paracesis
  • Gram Prime
  • Galatine Prime


Arcane Pulse – This is great for sustaining healing for both you and your team. Every time you pick up a health orb, you have a 20% chance to heal 100 health to everyone in 20 metres. With despoil running on nekros, you will be picking up A LOT of health orbs and therefore proc arcane pulse very frequently. A rank 10 arcane pulse is a also reasonably cheap arcane compared to things like Grace and Energize so you could even run two arcane pulse for insane healing.

Arcane Grace – also a good source of personal health sustain but outperformed by arcane pulse when used by Nekros.


The following triad of builds require a total of 4 forma (- for aura, two = and one D). If you really really love your Nekros, you could even spend an Umbral forma and Aura forma.

Build 1 – Umbral Shadow Tank

(205%+ power strength, 100% duration, range, efficiency)

This is the endgame build (filled with expensive/rare mods) I typically run for solo endurance survivals or arbitration where I need the maximum possible damage reduction/survivability. The goal here is simply to hit the power cap of around 214% for Shield of Shadows to create the maximum number of shadows and therefore provide the maximum of 90% damage reduction. Adaptation pushes this to 99% and health conversion is probably just overkill at this point. Keeping duration, efficiency and range at 100% helps round off the build so you don’t have energy management issues when it comes to recasting shield of shadows or firing off terrify in a pinch. I used to run blind rage with half efficiency but there have been several times where the energy regain just hasn’t been fast enough to recast shadows, and in something like arbitrations, you really don’t want to be caught with your shadow pants down. Hence I switched to Energy Conversion + Umbral intensify. Energy conversion is basically always active due to desecrate.

Note that if you are very OCD and want to min/max to 214% power strength you will need to do one of the following:

Variant 1 – Use Steel Charge (needs different aura polarity) to increase mod capacity and use Rank 3 power drift (+10% power) to hit 215% power strength cap.

Variant 2 – Use a precious Umbral Forma and use power drift.

Variant 3 – Use Blind rage + power drift instead of umbral intensify to hit 214% power, can replace with umbral fiber/gladiator resolve/quick thinking for even more tankiness.

Build 2 – Non-shadow Tank

(115% range, 100% power, duration, efficiency)

Can use anything you feel like in exilus e.g. enemy sense, pain threshold, handspring, +bulllet jump

This is more of a casual group build I use for anything that requires playing in a team but requires tanking (e.g. kuva survival). As a matter of personal preference, I never cast shadows when playing with others since I find them extremely irritating (regardless of energy colour) and I’m sure many others would find them irritating too. This means there is no need to reach 214% power strength. Soul survivor is an extremely satisfying way to revive your teammates, your stupid cat or your teammate’s stupid cats.

Quick thinking is a nice way to achieve even more EHP even without shield of shadows. If you hit 2 hp, you will start losing energy instead (at a reasonably slow rate due to adaptation and health conversion). Equilibrium + all the energy orbs lying around should help you regain both energy and health rapidly. In fact, you should make an effort to fire off soul punches and cast terrify without reservation to spend that energy to keep equilibrium going.

Build 3 – Non-tank farmer

(205%+ range, 160% efficiency, 40% duration, 40% power strength)

Again use anything you like in the exilus.

This is the build you use for lazy group farming like orokin cell farming on dark sector survival or other low level maps. Typically you will be hiding in a room with three other teammates and all you need to do is occasionally heal yourself (either by running out to collect orbs and loot, having a trinity to heal, using an ancient healer specter or a Mantis air support Med tower). In this case, the only two stats that matter are range and efficiency so you can stay hidden in the room as long as possible. You can add even more range by ditching things like health conversion and equilibrium for stretch/augur reach, but 280% range seems a little excessive to be honest.

Have fun and experiment with your build preferences!

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