Chroma, the mighty Dragonframe, was originally released way back in 2015 as part of Update 16.0. Looking slightly like an older Godzilla rubber suit, Chroma brought a whole new approach to Abilities – one that hinged on the players use of Energy colour in order to determine the effect. This does make him somewhat confusing to newer players, but also highly versatile. A common choice for team compositions when tackling higher-level content, Chroma’s kit is effective but somewhat passive.
Note: Chroma is a somewhat of a nightmare to build, but certainly not the worst. His blueprints are obtained by completing planetary junctions, with the final part awarded at the Pluto Junction; however, each of his components requires another warframe blueprint as part of the build materials.
We need to go against standard Warframe 101 protocol with this article, as Chroma’s Abilities rely so much on his passive that you need to understand it before you can move on.
Chroma’s passive, Elemental Alignment, means that players can actively alter the effect of his Abilities simply by changing the colour of his Energy (warframe Energy only). Reds, oranges, and yellows will have a Heat effect. White, greys, and black will have a Cold effect. Greens and dark yellows will have a Toxin effect. Lastly, blues and purples will have an Electrical effect. I will do my best to make it clear what element is required for each effect in each Ability below.
You can’t have a dragon without a fire-breathing Ability, can you? (The correct answer is no.) This is Chroma’s fire breathing Ability – it’s simple, really. On casting, Chroma will spew fire from his mouth causing Electricity, Toxin, Heat, or Cold Damage, depending on his Energy colour. This comes with a 60% Status Chance (base at max). Note that this is a drain Ability, which will continue while the player holds down the button to cast.
Spectral Scream is affected by Ability Strength and Range mods.
On casting, Chroma will create an elemental area-of-effect ward, which will provide buffs based on the elemental colour in use. Note that these Auras do not stack – i.e., only one Aura can be in effect at any given time (so if you play to try more than one Chroma, they need to keep away from each other).
- Heat: increases the Health of Chroma and his teammates while causing Heat Damage to enemies within the AoE, with only a small Status Chance..
- Toxin: increases reload and holster speed for Chroma and friends, with a chance of inflicting Toxin Damage on enemies – this has a 100% chance of causing a Toxin Status Effect if the Damage procs.
- Electricity: increases base Shields for Chroma and pals, and also converts incoming Damage into Arc charges, which inflict Electrical Damage on nearby enemies, with minimal Status Chance.
- Cold: increases Armor by up to 150% (base at max) for Chroma and his little buddies, while also applying an ice shield that reflects and increases incoming Damage.
This Ability is affected by Strength, Duration, and Range mods.
This is a strange Ability. Effectively, Chroma casts this upon himself, turning any incoming Damage to Shields into additional Armor, and any Damage to Health into bonus Damage. This makes Chroma quite popular for both his survivability (if you have a high base Armor, you can build a tanky Chroma using Vex Armor) and his Damage output (causing self Damage by use of certain weapons will increase Weapon Damage for certain use cases).
Vex Armor is affected by Strength and Duration mods, but note that if you want the effect to be greatest, you should focus on increasing base Armor if you want survivability, or weapon Damage if you want high DPS.
Turns out Chroma may not be a dragon after all – perhaps he’s just… wearing a dragon’s skin? Whatever the case, Chroma takes his ‘pelt’ and imbues it with Energy, bringing it to some form of life. Acting as a kind of dragon sentry, it will breathe fire upon enemies within its vicinity, causing Heat, Cold, Electrical, or Toxin Damage. This Ability is very good for holding down choke points or protecting Defence targets. Being a drain Ability, it will remain floating in the air until either you recast to cancel the Ability, or run out of Energy, whichever comes first.
Effigy’s Damage output is far greater than his Spectral Scream, so this is quite an effective Ability in terms of DPS.
An additional bonus for Effigy? Credit drops. Yes, this is a credit-hoarding dragon, encouraging enemies killed by the Effigy itself to have a 60% chance of dropping credits (base at max). In addition, any enemy that does drop credits within a 10m radius of the Effigy has a 100% chance to double the credit amount! Nice.
Effigy is affected by Strength, Duration, and Range mods, but keep in mind Duration mods only work to reduce the cost of Energy per second.
Chroma Prime was a long desired variant among many players, as his Abilities make him a very versatile warframe. Thankfully, his Prime does not disappoint, bringing higher Armor (450 vs 350), higher Energy (300 vs 225), and two additional mod polarities. Note, though, that all of this comes with a Mastery Rank 6 requirement…
Chroma, while powerful, is not a perfect frame. In fact, feelings towards him are divided – many players love him for his survivability and usefulness in specific encounters, but others find his kit dull and lopsided. As a result, it’s likely we’ll see a rework before long – he certainly needs some sort of change, particularly to his Spectral Scream.