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Finding the advantages (or lack of them) of Excalibur/Prime over Umbra


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Good day,

I'm an avid Excalibur fan. I've always used my Excalibur the most once Super Jump was replaced with Exalted Blade (thank goodness.) I took a long break once I got my hands on Excalibur Umbra and now that I'm back, I'm wondering if there is still some use to my beloved Excalibur, especially since I have the Prime variant.

If I was not mistaken, the "meta" for Excalibur was Chromatic Blade at 180% Power Strength. Once you've had that, most people would build however they want to. There are some builds that have less Power Strength while utilizing Status Chance mods on their weapons, but I won't be delving into that. Once Excalibur Umbra came into picture, basically everyone has agreed that Excalibur Umbra surpasses Excalibur in most aspects. Excalibur Umbra has the following as an advantage:

  • Higher Armor (300 vs. 225)
  • Higher Energy (150/225 vs. 100/150)
  • Exclusive use of three Umbra (Umbra Pol) polarities on Warframe and two on Exalted Blade. Umbral mods themselves aren't exclusive to Excalibur Umbra, only the polarities are.
  • Second ability (Radiant Blind) replaced with Radiant Howl, which blinds and removes any active damage resistances.
  • Excalibur Umbra can remain active during Transference, providing support using his abilities and weapons.

The first two points only apply for Excalibur base, while Prime also has those similar stats. If we remove those two points, Excalibur Prime has the following advantages instead:

  • Radiant Howl's animation lasts much longer than Radiant Blind's. Currently, only Sentients and Shadow Stalker can use damage resistances, which is composed of at most 5% of the content that most players engage in, and that's being generous
  • With the AI not being that great, the last point doesn't really hold up as a real advantage, especially since Umbra can be damaged during this
  • Sacrificial mods on Exalted Blade doesn't grant that big of an advantage compared to the Umbra mods on the Warframe. There are a vocal some that would rather have those replaced with the non Sacrificial variants

We can then say that Umbra's biggest advantage are his Umbra polarities. However, this doesn't stop Excalibur from using Umbral Mods, so let's check how much we can push Excalibur.

Suppose we'll use one of the more common Quick Thinking + Rage build that Excalibur users have. Before the release of Excalibur Umbra, a Quick Thinking + Rage build for Excalibur would look like so: http://warframe-builder.com/Warframes/Builder/Excalibur_prime/t_30_4403022330_2-1-10-5-7-5-6-4-5-27-9-3-34-8-5-57-0-5-59-5-3-411-6-10-481-3-10-830-2-3_57-8-2-6-830-9-481-7-6-11-59-5-411-8-5-5-34-14-27-9_0/en/1-0-6/0



I've tried building Excalibur using all three Umbra mods, but so much Drain is used up to a point that nothing great can really be built from it. However, substituting Vitality and Intensify with their Umbral variants, and adjusting accordingly gave us this build instead: http://warframe-builder.com/Warframes/Builder/Excalibur_prime/t_30_4013023333_5-7-5-27-9-3-34-8-5-57-0-5-59-5-3-481-3-10-830-2-3-860-6-5-873-1-10-875-4-10_57-8-873-16-830-5-481-7-875-16-59-5-860-4-5-5-34-14-27-5_0/en/1-0-6/0


The overall difference in stats are as follows

  • Higher Tau Resistance (22% vs. 0%)
  • Higher Health (850 vs. 740)
  • Higher Power Duration (100% vs. 72.5%)
  • Lower Power Strength (179% vs 185%)
  • More Forma consumed, regardless of build and if Prime or non-Prime variant
  • Much higher Endo investment

Basically, this is trading 6% Power Strength (or 99.5% Status Chance vs 100%), some Forma and Endo for much better ability to survive and sustain your Exalted Blade. Personally, I would pick the latter build once I get enough Endo so that I won't shunt my Excalibur at any point in time.

However, what happens if an Excalibur Umbra uses a similar build? http://warframe-builder.com/Warframes/Builder/Excalibur_Umbra/t_30_3777400230_5-0-5-34-8-5-57-4-5-59-7-3-481-5-10-615-9-5-830-6-3-873-2-10-874-1-10-875-3-10_5-5-874-8-873-8-875-8-57-8-481-14-830-9-59-5-34-14-615-9_0/en/1-0-61/0


What done is substituting Augur Secrets and Handspring (or any Eximus mod for that matter) for Umbral Fiber and Power Drift, respectively. Assuming a similar Exalted Blade build (and yes, that means not utilizing the Sacrificial mods on Exalted Blade Umbra,) the overall difference in stats are as follows

  • Higher Armor (877.5 vs. 300 [for Prime] vs. 225 [for non-Prime])
  • Higher Energy (787.5 vs. 525) - only true for non-Prime variant
  • Higher Health (1070 vs. 850)
  • Higher Power Strength (181% vs. 179%)
  • Less Forma
  • More Endo overall due to Umbral Fiber
  • To maintain that high of Power Strength, the Exilus slot has to be Power Drift.
    • Otherwise, Streamline, Quick Thinking, Primed Flow, or Rage has to be substituted for Auger Secrets to have that freedom in the Exilus slot

In other words, if you really wish to keep that 180% Power Strength, you are trading your Exilus slot (the earlier builds are not forced to be Handspring, it can literally be any other Exilus mod) for more than double/triple the armor and around a quarter more health. Do you think it's worth it? However, in truth, there are a lot more variables to consider such as the difference in build for Exalted Blade. What do you guys think?

As an expansion, here are some other things to think about as well. Would your opinion change or stay the same if any of the following below were done instead?

  • Builds without Primed Flow, which reduces the energy difference to only 75 energy instead for non-Prime variants (Fleeting Expertise and Primed Continuity come to mind)
  • Using a non-Quick Thinking + Rage build
  • Forgoing a build utilizing Adaptation
  • Builds not revolving around 180% Power Strength or Chromatic Blade altogether

Appreciate any discussion or feedback with regards to this.

Edited by denmax
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The fact that vanilla Excalibur and its Prime variant aren't polarity locked gives them an advantage over Umbra. Since the Umbra polarities can't be forma'd back Umbra is pretty build limited. 

I play a max range Excalibur for blinds and utility from slash dash. Weapons do the talk damage wise and when you're up against higher level enemies crowd control is king. 

Until we see what's up with the extra buffs against sentients there's little that Umbra offers at this time. The specter mode for Index farming is great though

Edited by Omega
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I'd swap Rage for Hunter Adrenaline for extra 5% Energy. My build is almost the same as yours but I prefer to use Steel Charge aura because my exalted blade build is pure status damage (corrosive + blast for Grineer, gas + magnetic for Corpus/Infested), that is if you use Exalted Blade as frequent as me. For engaging enemy with ranged weapons I think CP has an advantage. Also I use Arcane Strike and Arcane Avenger, and Adarza Kavat.

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vor 14 Minuten schrieb Antiphoton:

Does Umbra get the standard Excalibur passive (increased damage with swords, rapier and nikana), or is it replaced by the "autopilot when in operator mode" passive? 

Yes, Umbra has the same passive as regular Excal with the added "bonus" of using specter AI when in transference.

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Two main advantages to Excal Prime over Umbra.


1. There are some build that Prime can do that Umbra can't, unless you want to ruin Umbras Umbral polarities which you cant get back.

2. While in Operator your frame is immune and wont be mostly dead when you hop back in it.


Three main advantages for Umbral over Prime.

1. Some builds you can do that Prime can't because of the Umbral polarities.

2. Clear sentient damage resistance.

3. Umbra will keep fighting while you are in operator mode.


In all practical terms, the frames are pretty equal. Personally because of Umbra continuing to fight while I'm in Operator, I'd prefer Excal Prime. Since I'm not a founder, I dont have that option so I just don't use Excal at all anymore outside of Index. It just gets really old for me to have my warframe mostly dead every time I go back into it when I left it full health.

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