With Warframe’s Veilbreaker update came the Archon Hunts. These endgame activities rotate weekly, and provide new rewards you can use to finely tune your builds using Archon Shards. However, these rewards are not free: Archon Hunts are extremely high-level activities, and cannot be taken lightly. This guide will provide all the in’s and out’s of Archon Hunts, as well as some tips and suggestions in order to streamline your Archon Hunt experience.
Spoilers: This guide will deal with information after the New War mission. If you have not completed this questline, do so before reading this guide to avoid spoilers for the story.
General Archon Hunt Info
There’s a great deal of information about Archon Hunts that players may want to know in order to optimize their builds for them. This section will cover the basic mechanics and structure of your average Archon Hunt.
What is an Archon Hunt?
Archon Hunts in Warframe are high-level activities in which the player will take on Narmer’s forces of Veiled Corpus or Grineer alongside Sentients. Archon Hunts are accessible after completing the Veilbreaker questline. This activity is structured similarly to a Sortie; it’s three missions long with a similar loot table as a Sortie. There are some key differences, though.
Firstly, Archon Hunts always end in an Assassination mission, though it’s titled as “Showdown.” In these final missions, players face off against an extremely powerful version of one of the three Archons encountered during the New War. Secondly, Archon Hunts are of an even higher level than Sorties. While Sorties start off with enemies as low as level 50 and end with them as high as level 100, Archon Hunts start at enemy-level 130 and end with them at level 150.
What Do I Get for Completing an Archon Hunt?
As stated, Archon Hunts have the same loot table as Sorties (Endo and Kuva rewards are doubled, and Forma rewards are tripled). The main rewards from Archon Hunts are Archon Shards. You are guaranteed one Archon Shard of the color shown the first time you complete an Archon Hunt each week. Archon Shards can be embedded into a Warframe using your Helminth. Doing so provides a stat boost of your choice depending on the color of the Shard. Crimson Shards provide offensive bonuses, Amber Shards give utility bonuses, and Azure Shards grant survivability bonuses.
Archon Shards have a 20% chance of being Tauforged when you acquire them. Tauforged Archon Shards grant 1.5x higher stat bonuses than their standard counterparts. Once embedded, Archon shards can be removed
Archon Hunt Mission Modifiers
These missions have some special modifiers in them:
- Empowered Enemies – Enemies have double their normal armor and shields at this level, and gain an additional 50% increase per player. This maxes out at 4 players for a total defensive increase of 300%.
- Restricted Respawns – Once a Tenno dies, they cannot respawn. Every time a Tenno is revived, their bleedout timer is reduced.
- Restricted Consumables – No summons allowed, and each type of restore has a 3-minute cooldown after use.
- Bonuses to Warframes/Weapons – Similar to Arbitrations, one Warframe and one primary, secondary, and melee weapon will have bonuses to their stats. The Warframe will have +300% ability strength and +500% health, and the weapons will have +300% damage.
Archon Hunt Strategies
Some of the above information may seem daunting, but worry not. These Hunts are challenging, but not impossible, so long as you have the right equipment and strategies. Here are some suggestions for what to bring into Archon Hunts.
For Warframes to use, look for survivability and damage. The enemies unsurprisingly hit hard and can take a beating, especially the Sentients. Crowd control and healing will also be greatly appreciated, as the density of enemies at this level can quickly overwhelm unprepared Tenno. Here are a few examples of Warframes that will greatly aid you in Archon Hunts. While there are only five here, the use-cases for these can be transferred over to most other Warframes. If you know of a Frame whose kit would function with a similar purpose to these, and perhaps to even greater effect, absolutely consider it as an option.
With a high-strength build, Baruuk can pass around massive amounts of damage resistance with his Desolate Hands. Lull is great for crowd control, as it puts enemies to sleep. Finally, Serene Storm combined with the Reactive Storm augment can put in great damage against enemies by automatically adapting to their elemental weaknesses.
Chroma is one of the most iconic weapon-damage-dealers in Warframe, and he still holds true to this day. A Cold-aligned Elemental Ward combined with Vex Armor can put his damage output and bulk off the charts. Pick up a classic Lanka or Rubico Prime and slap on Arcane Avenger and Arcane Rage for even more damage.
Ivara has infinite invisibility thanks to Prowl, which also grants a bonus to Headshot damage. Using her, players can dish out as much damage as they want and never even be damaged or seen. The video below by TheKengineer on YouTube explains how it’s possible to even one-shot the Archon using Ivara.
It’s only appropriate that the Warframe that arrived alongside the Archon Hunts is great in the activity. Styanax has the abilities to strip armor, grant overshields to himself and nearby allies, and dish out great Slash damage. Learn more about how to build and optimize Styanax in this guide.
Volt has it all covered. He can be built for crowd control by investing into ability range and duration and spamming Discharge and Shock. Slap on Adaptation and the Capacitance augment to bolster his defenses. Alternatively, spec for damage by turning that range into strength and replacing Capacitance with Shock Trooper. With the right builds, Volt can carry you through the entire Archon Hunt.
Weapons and Damage Types
For the first two missions, use your most reliable weapons. Building for Viral, Heat, and Slash damage and status is always a good idea. If you want to tackle the armor directly, go for Corrosive damage. The Sentients primarily have Ferrite armor, making this element extremely effective.
Things change when going for the Archon itself. Because it has alloy armor, switch out the elements for Radiation and Cold, and pump up your damage and crit numbers. As explained in the video above, the more multishot you can get, the better. Furthermore, try to do as much damage as you can in a single shot. Due to the Archon’s damage attenuation, weapons that normally ramp up their DPS are less optimal than they would be in something like an Eidolon Hunt.
This isn’t to say that they’re useless, however — far from it. It’s just that you might want to switch up which mods you’d normally use on your weapon for boss damage. You may want to sacrifice some standard or crit damage for extra multishot.
Hunting the Archon
Here are some tips to remember during the actual Showdown against the Archon.
- The Archon’s armor cannot be stripped or reduced by any means
- Each Archon will drop a specific Archon Shard
- Archon Amar will drop a Crimson Archon Shard
- Archon Boreal will drop an Azure Archon Shard
- Archon Nira will drop an Amber Archon Shard
- Each Archon also attacks with a specific element
- Amar will use Heat-based attacks
- Boreal will use Electric attacks
- Nira will use Toxic attacks
- When it drops to certain health thresholds, The Archon will summon Sentient reinforcements. The Archon will be invulnerable until the Sentients are dispatched.
- At half health, the Archon will fall back after a cutscene. Tenno must kill two Deacons and retrieve their veils. Placing them at a gate will allow the players to continue the Hunt.
- Archons share similar attacks and defenses to their New War counterparts. They have some new last resort mechanics as well:
- Amar will create two Heat walls that rotate around him
- Boreal will create a pyramid-shaped shield around itself. Shoot the corners to break it.
- Nira will release a deadly field of Toxin around herself.
Archon Hunts are some of the most challenging activities in Warframe. They require quick wit, polished builds, and perseverance. While difficult, they are not impossible, especially with the right team. Stay on the offensive and keep laying down damage to eventually succeed and claim your reward.