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Not to be confused with Cosmetic Armor.

Armor is an attribute that reduces damage taken by certain entities, including Warframes, most bosses, and all Grineer. Their health is displayed as yellow and damage taken is reduced. All armored entities have an armor value and as well as an armor type. This article investigates the mechanics of this reduction and its effect on damage.

To explain these terms:

  • Armor values indicate the effectiveness of the damage reduction, and are generally set for each entity. They are displayed simply as "Armor" under the codex and infobox. However, they can vary, depending on the type of entity: Warframe values can be modded, while enemy armor scales to their level. Certain abilities and debuffs can change temporarily change this number as well.
  • There are two types of armor, Ferrite and Alloy. All armor has percentage modifiers to the damage types, indicating specific resistances and vulnerabilities. These mean that the net effect of armor is less against certain types of damage. Both the flesh type damage modifier and the armor modifier are combined when calculating effective damage.

Effect of armor

When damage is inflicted to a target with armor health, that damage is mitigated by the target’s armor value. Thus, the target’s health can absorb more points of gross damage than its nominal value. Therefore, there are two ways how the armor functionality can be imagined: either as a reduction to damage, or as an increase of (effective) health.

Armor as Damage Reduction


Damage inflicted to health points is mitigated according to the following formula:

Net damage = gross damage / ( 1 + net armor / 300 )

This asks how much net damage is inflicted, if a certain amount of gross damage is applied. As armor increases, the denominator increases and an inversely proportional relationship

An armor value of 300 will divide the gross damage by ( 1 + 300 / 300 ) = ( 1 + 1 ) = 2, so only half of the gross damage is inflicted as net damage. At 900 armor, damage is divided by 4, so only a fourth of the gross damage is inflicted as net damage, and so on. 

Armor as Effective Health Increase


A powerful alternative way to think of armor transforms the above equation to the following:

Net damage * ( 1 + net armor / 300 ) = gross damage

And asks how much gross damage needs to be applied, until a certain amount of net damage is inflicted. While this may be less intuitive when considering damage, it is useful for calculating survivability. In order to change perspective away from the target one speaks of health rather than damage. Net damage switches to nominal health, and gross damage becomes effective health.

Effective health = nominal health * ( 1 + net armor / 300 )

An armor value of 300 will multiply the nominal health with 2, so the effective health will be double the nominal health. At 600 armor, it’s three times the nominal health, and so on.

Armor type

See also: Damage 2.0 § Damage Calculation

There are two types of armor, Ferrite and Alloy. Both are strongest against Slash b Slash damage and weaker against Puncture b Puncture. The main difference is in the elemental weaknesses, which are completely different. Ferrite armor is relatively common with mid-level enemies such as Lancers and Troopers, and has generally weaker resistances than the more advanced Alloy Armor, which is used by Bombards, Napalm, and other bosses.

Damage type modifiers inherently affect armor's effectiveness. They are linked by the following equation:

Net armor = gross armor * ( 1 – type armor modifier )

Apart from this armor value modification, type damage modifiers against the armor and health type of the target also affect the damage as independent factor. Therefore, all put together, the formula for damage modification considering armor and damage types is:

ND = GD * ( 1 + TAM ) * ( 1 + THM ) / ( 1 + AR/300 * ( 1 – TAM ) )

Where ND is the net damage, GD the gross damage, TAM the type armor modifier, THM the type health modifier and AR the armor (before type modification). 

Conversely, the effective health of a target against a certain damage type is:

EH = NH * ( 1 + AR/300 * ( 1 – TAM ) ) / ( 1 + TAM ) / ( 1 + THM )

Where EH is effective health and NH is nominal health, other abbreviations consistent with above.

When calculating exact net damage or effective health values for more than one type of damage being applied at a time, most notably for weapons which usually apply more than one damage type, TAM and THM are the weighted averages of the individual participating damage types; weighted by their relative amounts:

TMtotal = TM1 * GD1/GDT + TM2 * GD2/GDT + TM3 * GD3/GDT + ...

With these formulas, accurate damage calculations are possible. 

Warframe armor values

The armor value of Warframes is always the same for that Warframe, and the armor type is Alloy and their health type is Flesh. Their armor health never depletes. While there is no such thing as a general effective health value, since effective health depends on the damage type the health is subjected to, a reasonable benchmark to compare the durability of Warframes is their effective health against equally distributed physical damage, i.e. equal portions of Impact, Puncture and Slash, since the vast majority of enemy damage against players is comprised of these types. Inserting these assumptions into the previous formula, we get:

EHIPS = NH * 60/53 * ( 1 + 67/60 * AR/300 )

As a meaningful PvE benchmark. For actual values, see the figure below.

EH compare

High Nominal Health vs High Mitigation

Although both affect effective health and combine multiplicatively, one may have to decide between increasing nominal health or damage mitigation (i.e. armor or the strength of some damage mitigating abilities) in some builds. There are a few things to consider apart from the total gain in effective health:

  • Higher Mitigation will increase the amount of effective health you regain from heals that restore a fixed amount of nominal health points, e.g. red orbs, blue orbs with Equilibrium and life steal from Life Strike or Well Of Life.
  • Higher Nominal Health will increase the amount of energy you get out of the depletion of your health pool with the Warframe mod Rage.

Steel Fiber

Steel Fiber is currently the only mod in the game that increases a Warframe’s armor value, and it does so by a percentage. Therefore, Warframes with higher base armor values have a higher benefit from it. Neglecting damage type modifiers, the relative increase is in effective health from this mod is SF * (1-1/(1+AR/300)), where SF is the effect from Steel Fiber. For example, for Warframes with the common base armor value of 65, the benefit of a maxed Steel Fiber is only about +19.6%, whereas the benefit of a maxed Vitality at level 30 is +246.7% (though keep in mind, the +19.6% apply to red orbs etc. as well). More on Steel Fiber can be found on the respective article.

Abilities that boost Warframe armor temporarily are Valkyr’s Warcry, Oberon's Hallowed Ground, and Rhino’s Ironclad Charge.

Enemy armor

Enemy armor values are displayed under the codex and infobox, but scale to the enemy's level. Generally, only Grineer and boss enemies have armor, while the Corpus and Infested factions do not have any. When the enemy health bars is yellow, armor is in effect and damage will be reduced and cause it to flicker red.

Scaling of enemy armor values uses the following formula:

Armor = base Armor * (1 + ((current Level - base Level)1.75 / 200))
  • base Armor: Base armor value for the enemy.
  • current Level: The level of your target enemy.
  • base Level: This is the initial level an enemy can spawn. This is important because certain enemy types, such as Heavy Grineer, will not spawn until certain levels (like level 8 for Heavy Gunners), so while they may be level 30, their armor has only scaled up 22 times.
Grineer Armor New

This graph shows the amount of armor for Grineer Heavy Gunner up to Level 120.

As mentioned before, this formula causes high level Grineer (lets say up from level 50) to be very hard to kill, as you can see in the example of a level 108 Heavy Gunner:

500 * (1 + (((108 - 8) ^ 1.75) / 200)) = 500 * (1 + (3162 / 200)) = 500 * 16.81 = 8405
mitigation multiplier = 1 / (1 + (8405 / 300)) = 0.0345

The resulting damage is dramatically reduced to ~3.45% of original damage.

Alternative formula

  • base Armor * (1 + ... is equal to base Armor + (base Armor ...
  • / 200 is equal to * 0.005

Thus Armor = base Armor + 0.005 * base Armor * (current Level - base Level)1.75 gives the same result as the formula above. This is provided as a more readable format for readers without a mathematics background.


Several debuffs affect enemy armor: Corrosive damage procs, the Corrosive Projection aura, Nekros’ Terrify, and Seeking Shuriken.

See also

Start a Discussion Discussions about Armor

  • What's the symbol on his right shoulder?

    9 messages
    • Nope, not Danger. Danger is on his back. The thing on his shoulder is the same with Nekros', Evolution. At least I think so.
    • Oh yeah, your right. PSN- Deepwater20
  • Diminishing Returns

    12 messages
    • With these calculations, they never show that the theoretical shield health uses the recharge, yet theoretical health/armour health can only...
    • Starfreak911 wrote:With these calculations, they never show that the theoretical shield health uses the recharge, yet theoretical health/arm...

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