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Defense is a game mode in which the player(s) must defend either a Cryopod (all faction tile sets) or a Power Core (some Grineer tile sets) from waves of enemies. The wave will be considered cleared when all the enemies in the wave have been killed.

Every 5 waves the player(s) will receive an option to either leave the mission and receive a displayed reward or to continue against progressively harder enemies for an additional 5 waves. The mission is considered completed whenever the team accepts the offer to claim a reward and exit and fails if the Cryopod/Power Core is destroyed or the entire team dies. Since U15, you keep the reward awarded every 5 waves (like in survival).

Mission Description

There are a total of 31 Defense missions for eight tile sets available. Four of them are mostly specific to the Grineer:

  • Grineer Galleon (A: Defend at an elevator platform in a galleon's ventilation complex).
  • Asteroid, Cave (B: Defend a cylindrical Orokin Reactor in a dark cave).
  • Grineer Settlement, Shelter (G: Defend a cryo pod within a metallic shelter, with entrances all around you.)
  • Grineer Shipyards (I: Defend a cryo pod that's sitting on a tram in a multi-decked shipyard.)

The other five are mostly specific to the Corpus:

  • Corpus Ship, Cargo Bay (C: Defend a raised platform, with two main avenues of approach and 2 approaches from behind).
  • Corpus Base, Ravine (D: Defend out in the open, surrounded by snowy caves and cliffs).
  • Corpus Base, Courtyard (E: Defend in a courtyard in a frigid Corpus outpost).
  • Corpus Base, Dam (F: Defend in a frozen dam complex, with enemies storming across two bridges).
  • Corpus Gas City, Deck (H: Defend on the multi-level deck of a gas city ship, with enemies approaching from three ascents).

When an Infestation is occurring on a defense mission, the infested use the original tile set.

The maps A, B, E, and G have the objective in the center (enemies come from every direction), while the maps C, F, H, and I are not so open to approach, making them often more easy to defend (the Reactor is near the edge of the map, where the enemies can't spawn). Map A has recently been updated with a moving objective, where the elevator platform can randomly raise or lower the objective to a different position every wave.

Map D has 3 different locations where a Cryopod can randomly spawn: one is in the lower area of the map, one is in the upper area of the map, and one is up on the raised platform above the upper area.

  • The lower area has 3 avenues of approach (the vast majority of enemies only come from 1 direction - this is the easiest location to defend on this map).
  • The upper area has 4 avenues of approach (enemies are more spread out among the 4 - this is generally the hardest location to defend).
  • The raised platform only has 2 avenues of approach and MOAs can jump up the side of the platform as well (the majority of enemies only come from 1 direction - this is the second easiest location to defend).

On map D, once the game begins, the Cryopod remains in the same location for the duration of the mission; there is no way to select the spawn point of the Cryopod (but you can exit the mission and restart it to have it randomly select a new location). Note: If the Cryopod spawns in the upper area and you run underneath it (in the caves below, usually while collecting loot before the mission begins), it will trigger the start of the mission. (This is most likely a bug.)

On map I the cryo pod is sitting on a tram that randomly moves along a rail between 2 locations.

  • The tram usually stays in one location for multiple waves, with a chance of moving at the end of a wave. Tenno can also ride the tram while it's moving.
  • The cryo pod will always spawn in the same location.
  • Councilor Vay Hek's Prosecutors begin to spawn on wave 5 and every wave thereafter.

Currently there are several planet-exclusive defense maps:

  • Grineer map G is available only on Phobos.
  • Corpus map H is available only on Jupiter.
  • Grineer map I is available only on Ceres.


Planet Mission Name Faction Level Map Tier
Mercury Lares Grineer 1 - 6 B 1, 2, 3*
Venus Kiliken Corpus 8 - 13 D/E/F 1, 2, 3*
Venus Venera Corpus 8 - 13 C 1, 2, 3*
Earth Lith Grineer 1 - 6 B 1, 2, 3*
Earth Lua Grineer 3 - 8 B 1, 2, 3*
Jupiter Io Corpus 11 - 16 H 1, 2, 3*
Mars Olympus Grineer 6 - 11 D/E/F 1, 2, 3*
Saturn Helene Grineer 11 - 13 B 1, 2, 3*
Sedna Camenae Grineer 16 - 21 B 1, 2, 3*
Sedna Hydron Grineer 20 - 25 A 1, 2, 3*
Europa Eligor Corpus 21 - 26 D/E 2, 2, 3*
Europa Paimon Corpus 23 - 28 D/E/F 2, 2, 3*
Phobos Drunlo Grineer 16 - 21 G 2, 2, 3*
Phobos Kepler Grineer 18 - 23 G 2, 2, 3*
Uranus Bianca Grineer 23 - 28 B 2, 2, 3*
Uranus Miranda Grineer 21 - 26 A 2, 2, 3*
Eris Ixodes Infestation 28 - 33 B 2, 2, 3*
Eris Kala-azar Infestation 28 - 33 C 2, 2, 3*
Eris Xini Infestation 32 - 37 C 2, 2, 3*
Neptune Despina Corpus 26 - 31 C 2, 2, 3*
Neptune Proteus Corpus 26 - 31 D/E/F 2, 2, 3*
Ceres Varro Grineer 31 - 36 I 2, 2, 3*
Ceres Casta Grineer 35 - 40 I 3
Pluto Narcissus Corpus 31 - 36 C 3
Pluto Outer Terminus Corpus 31 - 36 5 D/E/F
There are a total of 25 Defense missions.

[*] This shows the tier of waves 5, 10, and 15

The "tier" of a set of 5 waves depends on the level of the enemies within those waves. The tier will change as enemy levels increase. There are a total of three tiers. The tier determines the reward pool players have access to at each 5th wave checkpoint.


At the end of each round, the decision screen indicates what each individual player intends to do, with undecided players continuing to battle. It is not a vote and extraction occurs for individual players, not the group; these players will appear to disconnect. It is normally advised to decide on a leaving wave before entering the mission or alternatively shortly after it starts. If not, then everyone should leave at the same time as soon as one of the party members decides to extract.






  • The percentages are an indicator of what you can expect as a wave 5, 10, etc. reward.
  • Rewards from Wave 15 onwards are predictable with high accuracy. There are tools available to predict wave rewards: AHK script(outdated U10).
  • Eris appears to still be drawing from the Infested reward pool.
  • Rewards stack from waves to waves.

Mod Corpus Grineer Infested
Vitality 9.48% 12.65% 12.65%
Fast Deflection 9.48% 12.65% 12.65%
Quick Rest 9.48% 12.65% 12.65%
Rush 3.69% 2.76%2.76%
Magazine Warp 9.48% 12.65% 12.65%
Trick Mag 9.48% 12.65% 12.65%
Pressure Point 2.01%2.01%2.01%
Ammo Drum 3.69%2.76%2.76%
Fast Hands 3.69%2.76%2.76%
Tower I Extermination Key 9.48%2.76%2.76%
Tower I Survival Key 9.48%2.76%2.76%
Tower I Capture Key 3.69%2.76%2.76%
Tower I Defense Key 3.69%2.76%2.76%
Tower I Mobile Defense Key 3.69%2.76%2.76%

Mod Corpus Grineer Infested
Speed Trigger 8.43%8.43%8.43%
Fast Hands 1.84%1.84%1.84%
Point Strike 8.43%8.43%8.43%
Vital Sense 8.43%8.43%8.43%
Piercing Hit 1.84%1.84%1.84%
Metal Auger 1.84%1.84%1.84%
Pistol Gambit 8.43%8.43%8.43%
Target Cracker 8.43%8.43%8.43%
No Return 8.43%8.43%8.43%
Ravage 8.43%8.43%8.43%
Blunderbuss 8.43%8.43%8.43%
Point Blank 1.84%1.84%1.84%
Serration 1.84%1.84%1.84%
Hornet Strike 1.84%1.84%1.84%
Fury 1.01%1.01%1.01%
Reflex Coil 1.84%1.84%1.84%
Pressure Point 8.43%8.43%8.43%
Banshee Systems Blueprint 1.01%1.01%1.01%
Tower II Extermination Key 1.84%1.84%1.84%
Tower II Survival Key 1.84%1.84%1.84%
Tower II Capture Key 1.84%1.84%1.84%
Tower II Defense Key 1.84%1.84%1.84%
Tower II Mobile Defense Key 1.84%1.84%1.84%

Mod Corpus Grineer Infested
Convulsion 15.17%0%0%
Deep Freeze 0%15.17%0%
Hellfire 0%0%15.17%
Shocking Touch 15.17%0%0%
North Wind 0%15.17%0%
Heated Charge 0%0%15.17%
Stormbringer 2.01%0%0%
Cryo Rounds 0%2.01%0%
Molten Impact 00%2.01%
Split Chamber 2.01%0%0%
Hell's Chamber 0%2.01%0%
Barrel Diffusion 0%0%2.01%
Stretch 2.01%2.01%0%
Continuity 2.01%0%0%
Streamline 0%2.01%2.01%
Intensify 0%0%2.01%
Tower III Extermination Key 2.01%2.01%2.01%
Tower III Capture Key 2.01%2.01%2.01%
Tower III Defense Key 2.01%2.01%2.01%
Tower III Mobile Defense Key 2.01%2.01%2.01%
Tower III Survival Key 2.01%2.01%2.01%
Master Thief 2.01%0%0%
Handspring 0%2.01%0%
Thunderbolt 0%0%2.01%
Tower II Extermination Key 15.17%15.17%15.17%
Tower II Survival Key 15.17%15.17%15.17%
Uncommon Fusion Core 15.17%15.17%15.17%
Rare Fusion Core 2.01%2.01%2.01%

Dark Sector Defense

Defense missions that take place in Dark Sectors can only be reached by Solar Rails and always involve the Infested. These Defense missons have a higher level range (and thus, higher difficulty) than the planet they're found on, but give out larger quantities of experience, including the experience bonuses inherent in Dark Sectors. There are currently 13 Dark Sector Defense Missions, one each for every planet except Mercury.

Planet Mission Name Faction Level
Venus Romula Infestation 10 - 20
Earth Coba Infestation 5 - 15
Jupiter Sinai Infestation 13 - 23
Mars Kadesh Infestation 10 - 20
Saturn Caracol Infestation 17 - 19
Sedna Sangeru Infestation 22 - 32
Europa Larzac Infestation 27 - 37
Phobos Memphis Infestation 22 - 32
Uranus Ur Infestation 27 - 37
Eris Akkad Infestation 32 - 42
Neptune Yursa Infestation 30 - 40
Ceres Seimeni Infestation 37 - 47
Pluto Sechura Infestation 35 - 45
There are a total of 13 Dark Sector Defense missions.

Wave Defense

Wave Defense functions similar to the standard endless defense type, except that Tenno must protect the Power Core, Cryopod, or Artifact for a predetermined number of waves. There are no mission rewards until all waves are completed. This is used in Defense Alerts (10-15 waves), and Nightmare Mode Defense missions. This mission type was first introduced in the Artifact Defense Event.


  • Defense missions are considered some of the best missions for mod farming due to the unlimited amount of enemies and the ability to easily leave after each 5 rounds.
  • As of update 9, enemies will now swarm the pod or reactor much more aggressively, with more enemies running up to the defense objective and attempting to destroy it. Also due to update 9, enemies will increase in level with each wave faster then before.
  • The first wave will start only when one of the players have reached the activation "ring" around the objective. Players are free to loot all the resources around the map before activating the first wave by stepping into the ring.
  • As of Update 9.7, enemies can jump onto boxes and ledges, including many "safe zones" (such as the platform on the bottom right of the picture) making it even harder to avoid damage. 
  • Update 9.7 also made it possible for enemies to walk onto and across the large railbox (top left of the picture) providing another (and quicker) way for enemies to reach the pod, and that pathway is more difficult to defend.
  • As of update 12, the being inside any cryopods has changed from a human to a humanoid wearing a gold and black suit, similar to the color scheme of primes.


  • There is a bug where you will click to exit the defense mission, but you will stay in the mission without a HUD, and sometimes not being able to move or chat at all. Dying will not bring back the HUD and you will not be able to revive. The only way to leave the mission is to force close the game using Alt + F4 or through a process manager.
  • Having the chat window open and active while in the process of choosing between 'Claim and Exit' or 'Battle' will result in the typing player ending the mission as if they chose 'Claim and Exit', even if they chose 'Battle' explicitly.
  • AncientRetribution
    A test mod card labeled "Ancient Retribution" may show up as a reward, although it cannot actually be rewarded and claiming the card may crash the game or cause instabilities afterwards. The card is used by Digital Extremes for testing and does not actually represent a real mod now or in the future.[1]


  • Endless Defense as seen in the lobby (U9)
  • Level: 541
    Participants: iizoell1029, wink46, lefthandshoot, 41rd13
  • Tenno? inside the cryopod.
  • Cryopod after update12


Start a Discussion Discussions about Defense

  • Defense: Frost' Snow Clobe vs Limbo' Cataclysm.

    43 messages
    • What's wrong with having both a frost and limbo?
    • wrote:What's wrong with having both a frost and limbo? Nothing. What should be done is minimum range for limbo and maximum for fro...
  • "Are you sure" button

    14 messages
    • Dikkedude wrote: Grunni wrote:What about just requiring a majority in order to continue to battle, and the groups can't be split up by th...
    • Grunni wrote: I get that you'd want to stay sometimes while the majority want to go. My suggestion, though, is in line with the reality of m...

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