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Warframe Zaw Guide and Best Zaw Builds


With hundreds of melee weapons to choose from, Warframe has quite a selection regarding how you want to slice, dice, and bash your enemies. But what about those who want even greater customization options for our melee weapons? For us, there are Zaws. What are Zaws, and how can you craft one perfect for your play style? Our Warframe Zaw Guide will answer these questions and more, including the best Zaw builds.

What are Zaws?

A Zaw is a special kind of melee weapon that you can build in Cetus on Earth. Zaws are unique because each is made of three separate components of the player’s own choosing. Each of these components confers different advantages and drawbacks to the final weapon, giving the player a tremendous amount of freedom in building a weapon that suits their playstyle. How much freedom exactly? Given the number of components currently available, there are more than a thousand unique variations of Zaw you can craft! So how do you build a Zaw that’s right for you?

How to Build A Zaw

To unlock and purchase Zaw components and assemble them into a completed Zaw, you’ll have to visit Hok in Cetus on Earth and spend Standing with the Ostron faction. Not only can you use this Standing to buy the various components, but you’ll need a higher and higher reputation rank with the Ostrons to unlock new parts for purchase.

Once you have the necessary Ostron Stranding, you’ll need to buy three blueprints for each component: a Strike, a Grip, and a Link. There are currently 11 different kinds of Strike, 10 different kinds of Grip, and 16 different types of Link, so choose carefully! Once you’ve purchased the blueprints, you’ll need to build each component in your Foundry before you can assemble them.

After you’ve crafted each component and have it in your inventory, simply return to Hok in Cetus and select the “Forge a Zaw” option. At this point, you’ll be asked to select each component and review the stats of the final product before assembling it. Once you’re happy with your Zaw preview, you can instantly make it a reality by clicking the “Build Weapon” option. And voila! You are now the proud owner of a shiny new Zaw.

How to Upgrade Zaws

Like all weapons, Zaws can be upgraded with mods in your Arsenal, and their mod capacity can be increased with Orokin Catalysts and Forma. However, Zaws are unique because they can also be equipped with Exodia Arcanes, special enhancements that trigger unique effects when certain conditions are met. For example, Exodia Hunt pulls in nearby enemies whenever you perform a slam attack with your Zaw. At the same time, Exodia Might adds a Lifesteal effect whenever the Zaw is used to perform a finisher. Exodia Arcanes can be purchased from Hok for 12,500 Ostron Standing once you’ve reached the reputation rank of Kin with the Ostrons and can make your Zaw even more devastating of a weapon.

Why You Should Gild Your Zaw

When you first create a Zaw, it will be ungilded. This means you can’t name, recolor, Polarize or earn Mastery Rank from it. You also can’t upgrade it with an Orokin Catalyst, Focus Lens, or Exodia Arcane. You’ll need to gild your Zaw to do any of these things.

To gild your Zaw, you’ll need to have a reputation rank of Trusted or higher among the Ostron, and the Zaw you wish to gild must be Rank 30. When those prerequisites are met, you can visit Hok and select the “Gild” option under “Other services.” The gilding process will cost 5000 Ostron Standing and two Cetus Wisps, which can be acquired through Cetus Bounties or rarely be found floating around the Plains of Eidolon. Once you’ve gilded a Zaw, you’ll be given the option of naming it and adding a Polarity to one of its mod slots. Its Rank will be reset to zero, but worry not—you can quickly level it back up to Rank 30. Its gilding will even confer a 10% increase to critical and status chance, a +12 boost to base damage, and a 0.6x boost to the weapon’s critical multiplier. In other words: gilding your Zaw is definitely worth the trouble.

What Effect Each Zaw Component Has On the Final Product

As we mentioned in our Warframe Zaw Guide, you need a Strike, a Grip, and a Link to construct a Zaw. Each of these components has a different effect on the weapon type and stats of the final product. The combination of Grip and Strike will determine whether your Zaw is a staff, polearm, hammer, machete, scythe, sword, nikana, or heavy blade. Make sure to check that you’ve created the weapon type you prefer during the Zaw preview phase of construction.

As for each part, the Strike determines the type of damage your Zaw does, along with its critical chance, critical damage, status chance, and base attack speed. The Strike is also the component that earns Mastery Rank points, meaning you can gain Mastery Rank points once for each Zaw using a different kind of Strike. The Grip also affects the Zaw’s base attack speed and damage bonus, with faster Zaws dealing less damage and vice-versa. Finally, the Link grants bonuses and penalties to attack speed, critical chance, status chance, and damage, with each Link boosting some aspect at the cost of another. These varying effects allow you to make a weapon suited to your specific needs, whether you’re looking for a slow but devastating critical killer or a devilishly quick status slinger. Just make sure you know what you want before spending that Standing!

The Best Warframe Zaw Builds

Cyath Strike, Shtung Grip, Ekwana II Jai Link Zaw Build

Anything that has high base damage in Warframe is considered good. With this build, you’ll be able to deal massive slash procs—and we all know how much Warframe players love to slash everything in their path. This particular Zaw ignores the enemy’s armor and causes them to bleed after the slash.

Plague Kripath Strike, Plague Bokwin Grip, Ekwanna II Jai Link Zaw Build

This staff-themed Zaw can be built so that you can reach a 100% status chance; it features a polearm that can be built to reach the said status chance. Also called a Proc, you can trigger the effects from a Warframe’s build at random. The base duration of a Proc will depend on its type. With this Zaw build, you’re guaranteed to activate your build’s status effects.

Mewan Strike, Plague Akwin Grip, Vargeet II Jai Link

This sword-themed Zaw is more than capable of giving your enemies a taste of your fury. What makes this Zaw interesting is that it has decent attack speed, base damage, and slash damage. Moreover, you get 32% critical damage and a 2x critical multiplier. Overall, this monstrous build has the stats to back up its excellent capabilities.

Balla Strike, Plague Akwin Grip, Vargeet Jai II Link

Crits for everyone! Daggers tend to be looked down on by a hefty portion of the Warframe community. Their attack range isn’t anything to write about, but with “Primed Reach,” you shouldn’t have any problems. This Zaw build is incredible because it’s one of the higher attack speed weapons on this list, and you could take it up a notch further if you added “Berserker” or “Primed Fury.”

Shock and Zaw

Zaws brings a whole new level of customization to Warframe, allowing you to build a melee weapon perfectly suited to your preferences. With the number of options available in components and Arcanes, you’ll unlikely run into any Tenno with the same build as you. We hope our Warframe Zaw Guide will help you build a Zaw that’s a truly unique extension of your play style.

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