Garuda’s first ability is less a mirror than a shield of absorption. When cast, Garuda leaps towards her foe, damaging them with her talons and stripping them of some of their life force. At the time she reaches her opponent, she releases an 8m area of effect stagger around the target. This is then used as a shield that protects from incoming damage – from the front only. Not only does it stop incoming damage, but it actually absorbs it, storing the damage in a blood orb at the top of the shield. Once the shield is depleted – note that is is duration-based – the orb can be charged and fired at enemies, discharging a bunch of energy within an area of effect (10m base range at max rank). When charged in the air, Garuda can also hover for a few seconds! Take that, Zephyr!
This ability is affected by duration, range, and strength mods and, while it is a useful ability, it could do with some tweaking (Garuda is new after all). Currently, the animation is pretty long, putting players at risk when it should be more of a quick defensive ability. In addition, the front-facing shield poses a challenge when surrounded by enemies.
Here, Garuda impales an enemy on a stake, siphoning off health within a radius around them., and causing a stagger effect in an 8m radius. This health restoration effect works on both Garuda herself and her allies, making this a very useful ability in groups. She can create up to 3 altars at a time, effectively providing health for a whole group to defend an area – although the ability is duration-based.
This is affected by duration, range, and strength mods, but would probably benefit most from duration and range. It’s easily one of her best abilities and ties in very well with her third.
Her third ability is highly synergistic – relying directly on her passive (which, as you’ll learn, increases damage as her health decreases). When cast, Garuda will slash herself with her talons, effectively halving her health and increasing her damage output as a result. On recast, Garuda will continue to reduce her health until a base of 2 health points. As a bonus, Bloodletting also restores some of Garuda’s energy – 25% per cast at max rank.This means you can cast Bloodletting to increase damage output, and follow it up with a Blood Altar when you want to regain health – and you should have no need to worry too much about energy.
Note, though, that if you want to increase energy gain, this ability is affected by efficiency and not ability strength, restoring 100% of energy at 175% efficiency.
Seeking Talons was controversial at first unveiling, initially looking to be a “press 4 to win”-style blender of death. However, with enough complaint, DE reworked the ability to be much more proactive. Now, you need to hold the cast in order to charge up an area of effect (and similar to her 1, charging in the air will allow her to hover for a few seconds). Any enemy that is within this area of effect upon releasing the charge will be sought out by Garuda’s talons, hence the name. This will, of course, cause minor damage, and any surviving enemy will have a 50% chance of also suffering a bleed proc from any subsequent attack.
This ability is affected by strength and duration – increasing ability strength will actually also increase the chance to proc bleed, so this is the recommended focus. While this ability is highly effective when surrounded, the damage caused by the talons is actually quite low (150 base at max rank), which means that this is not an ability you would use to get out of a sticky situation. Tie that in with a lengthy animation, and Garuda is actually quite vulnerable, which means that this ability is best used after casting her first ability.
Garuda actually has two passives – her primary passive, Death’s Gate, increases her damage output as her health decreases. When her health reaches 2 health points, she is at 100% increased damage (there is a counter at the top of the screen if you want to keep an eye on how this scales).
Her second passive is very interesting – she can actually use her talons as a melee weapon, but only if you don’t equip an alternative. This can be modded individually, and is actually quite effective; however, it has very limited range.
If I’m honest, Garuda could probably do with a couple of tweaks – particularly to her ability animation time, as the two abilities that should be considered a “get out of trouble quickly” card take too long to perform and leave her vulnerable. It would probably also be nice for her Seeking Talons to do a little bit more damage on cast. Still, if you can keep on top of these little niggles, she’s still an extremely good frame to use – both in terms of damage output and as support in a group.
NOTE: Edited Dec 2, 2018 – added changes per this article on Warframe.com, but left my final summary as I’m yet to test. The changes likely make these complaints less severe.