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PSA

As of Hotfix 16.9.2.1, Exalted Blade will no longer automatically activate life strike, you have to MANUALLY CHANNEL to use life strike, draining a good amount of energy. You can kinda still exploit it by channeling and using the waves to boost health, so there is no additional channeling energy penalty, but the health restored is mediocre, especially in endgame.


Welcome back, Tenno!

Everyone is using the reworked excalibur, so here is a quick guide on how to optimize him effectively. His last ability is the most fun I've had in warframe in ages.

If you find this type of build/guide blog boring, tell me how I can improve or if I should stop doing this type of modding guide blog entirely, in the comments.

Let's cut to the chase.

Changelog (23/6)

Requirements

This build is centered around using it with Exalted Blade to create a durable and regenerative tank. You also need a Steel Charge aura to make Exalted Blade awesomer. Needs a potato'd Excalibur and any potato'd and forma'd melee weapon (perferably one that can equip the "+100 melee damage" syndicate weapon augment).

Preferred Melee Weapons: Jaw Sword, Skana/Prisma Skana, Dual Cleavers with their augment mods.

Disclaimer

If you think that this weapon or warframe is not viable for endgame, that doesn't mean I can't write a guide for it. This build is focused on optimizing Excalibur for using Exalted Blade, which may not fit your playstyle. You can mod however you want. This is only a suggestion and is by NO MEANS the "best" or "only" way to mod this warframe, mod any way you want. If you think my build is totally wrong or I am missing something vital, then comment below with your suggestion(s), thanks.

Abilities Overview (skip if you want) 

  • Slash Dash: Dashes forward, dealing medium damage (with decent melee weapon and channeling Exalted Blade) to all enemies in a small area with auto-homing melee strikes to a maximum of 3 enemies only, think of short range bladestorm.
  • Radial Blind: Blinds enemies around you, also allowing you to perform finishers on them for massive damage (with decent melee weapon and channeling Exalted Blade).
  • Radial Javelin: Launches javelins into a maximum of 12 nearby enemies within line of sight, dealing medium damage.
  • Exalted Blade: Activates lightsaber/Zeus' master-bolt and lets you do increased medium melee damage, also spawning energy waves every swing doing light damage to enemies caught in the wave.

(My damage classification is totally arbitrary)

Key Concept(s)

  1. The damage of Exalted Blade can be increased by mods on your melee weapon, not by the melee weapon's base damage.

  2. Elemental mods only increase the damage of melee Exalted Blade hits, not the energy waves. Throwing melee mods don't do jack. Channeling mods such as Parry, Quickening and Killing Blow only work when you hold down the LMB (channeling while channeling), I don't think it's worth it, so just go for elemental.

  3. Steel Charge and Berserker works on Exalted Blade.

  4. Excalibur passively attacks 10% faster and deals 10% more damage with longsword type weapons (eg. skana, jaw sword, exalted blade?)

  5. Does 2 different damage numbers on each hit, one with melee and one with wave.

Build

Frame and Melee build (preferably a melee weapon that can equip a weapon augment for extra damage)

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Melee build with weapon augment.

Warframe00614

Melee build without weapon augment.

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Note Vitality and Steel Charge.

Explaination

  • Maximize your power efficiency and then power strength, in that order.
  • Use a vitality mod only to take advantage of constant health regen and Excalibur's high armor.
  • Use Steel Charge for obvious reasons.
  • Thief's wit is my personal preference, if you don't like it, use Steel Fiber instead.
  • Flow for 24/7 Exalted Blade channeling.
  • Blind rage is personal preference, you can ditch it for extra efficiency.
  • Melee stance is irrelevant, Exalted Blade has it's own combos.
  • Life strike for health regen every channeling melee hit.

Berserker Build? Rage? Corrosive Projection?

Berserker is somewhat viable while using Exalted Blade, and I say somewhat because it has a really low crit chance, and with a maxed crit chance mod I was getting a crit every 4-13 (avg: 8-9) hits, it was very inconsistant. However, once you do get a critical hit, the attack speed is drastically increased, which may appeal to some players, but not me. I don't really enjoy button mashing when the attack speed skyrockets, and I think it's too unpredictable. Mod how you want, Tenno.

I tried out a rage build earlier, by replacing fleeting expertise with rage to get more duration with radial blind, but I didn't like it very much. You pretty much need a dragon key to make sure your shields are always off, and you have to take controlled damage, which is really tricky, and the energy restore is meh at best.

Some say that corrosive projection is better than steel charge, but I have to do more testing.

Gameplay Tips

  • Keep Exalted Blade on as much as possible in combat, but immediately stop channeling when out of combat (ie, waiting for a lift)
  • You can kill light units easily enough, but once you see a heavy unit, use a slide attack to blind enemies and take down heavies with the stealth multiplier, or just cast radial blind while you channel (you can do that) to easily one hit kill them.
  • Face your enemies at all times to parry their attacks (includes infested melee strikes).
  • Break containers to refill your energy, or consider ditching blind rage if you run out of energy a lot for some reason.
  • Channel the blade once you get low on health so you can heal with life strike.

Simulacrum Tests (companion videos)

Test against level 80 corrupted heavy gunners by yours truly, enjoy (no syndicate weapon augment equipped, because I haven't thought of using those yet when I made this video). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaae5tLy3E4&feature=youtu.be

Versus 20 level 80 Manic Bombards: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-diI4_z-yc0

Melee Frames Rundown: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOahzPq6OK4

Montages

10 Minutes after the tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCKqDcEmsNc

Dera Vandal Hype Teaser: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9802KZAhul4

Might of the Grineer Montage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5aMmZjetA8

Conclusion

Excalibur's toggle-able ultimate and easy-to-use sword (compared to valkyr's hysteria) makes it viable as a melee frame even in late game, and the unique energy waves mechanic allows you to kill low level mobs quickly and easily. However, with no life leech or invulnerability, he's more squishy in late game.

Please leave your thoughts in the comments, I'd love to know what you think, thanks.

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