Garuda joined the roster in late 2018 as part of Update 24 – alongside the release of Fortuna. Billed as a “goreframe”, Garuda was highly anticipated by the community for her blood-soaked Abilities and razor-sharp talons. While all of her Abilities are themed around blood and blades, she is still yet to find a firm place in the roster – while she is quite fun to play, she doesn’t seem to fit any role better than (or even as well as) many others do…
Note: Garuda’s Blueprint is given to the player as a reward upon completion of the Vox Solaris quest, which also opens up Fortuna. The rest of her Blueprints are offered as Fortuna bounty rewards. Keep in mind, though, that the materials required to build her are not immediately available without grinding through Fortuna.
Garuda’s passive, Death’s Gate, provides benefits that directly impact one of her Abilities, so we’ll cover it upfront. In brief, Garuda outputs more Damage as her Health decreases – maxing out at 100% additional Damage at very low Health (2 points of Health remaining)
As a second passive, Garuda’s Talons become a usable Melee weapon if no alternative Melee weapon is equipped – these can be modded as per other Melee weapons in the Arsenal. This is not an exalted weapon, however.
Cast on an enemy, Garuda will leap forward and pounce upon an enemy within Range, slashing at them with her massive talons. This will cause them to be knocked down, and will also stagger any enemy within 8m. If at or below 40% Health, the enemy will be instantly killed.
By performing this attack, Garuda extracts the victim’s lifeforce to create a Dread Mirror for up to 20s (base at max), which blocks, and absorbs incoming Damage. The absorbed Damage (which is also multiplied prior to absorption) is stored within a Dread Heart, which floats above the mirror. Once the time is up, the Mirror will dissipate, but the Heart will remain. Recasting the Ability will cause Garuda to pounce at a new target and refresh the Mirror’s Duration.
Recasting and holding the Ability at any time (even while the Mirror is active) will cause Garuda to grasp the Heart in her hands, during which time she can increase the Damage stored within the Heart by 50% per second (note, though, that this also drains 50 Energy per second). On release, Garuda will then throw the Heart in the direction of her reticule, bursting the Heart on impact with enemy or environment, and causing the stored Damage to be dealt as Impact Damage within a 10m radius.
Modding is complicated, but Dream Mirror is affected by Ability Strength (increases Damage multiplier), Range (pounce and explosion radius) and Duration (Mirror Duration ONLY). Ability Efficiency will, of course, improve Efficiency and reduce drain.
Also cast on an enemy target, Blood Altar will cause Garuda to charge at an enemy, impaling them for up to 20 seconds. This will also stagger any other enemies within an 8m radius. Impaling the enemy will, of course, completely disable them, but will also cause them to bleed, healing all allies within an 8m radius (there is a noticable aura around the impaled enemy to make this radius clear). Garuda can create up to 3 of these altars at a time, creating areas of Health restoration across the field of play.
Note that the restoration effect heals 25% per second (base at max) of the missing Health, not the total Health of the target.
Blood Altar is affected by Strength (healing percentage), Duration, and Range (pounce Range and heal aura radius) mods.
Making direct use of her passive, Garuda will slash at herself on casting, reducing her Health by 50% and restoring 25% of her Energy. This, of course, results in her Damage output increasing as a result of her passive, and the Ability can not be used to reduce her Health below 2 Health points.
When modding, only Ability Efficiency will make any difference here, but it is an important difference – it will increase the amount of Energy gained upon casting. Note that if you are aiming for 100%, you’ll need to get your Efficiency up to 175%.
A charged Ability, holding down the casting button will cause Garuda to channel blood beneath her, rising her up into the air. During this time, a ring aura will expand outwards from her, indicating the Area of Effect when cast. On release, any enemies within the AoE will be struck by flying spears summoned by Garuda, causing 150 Slash Damage, stunning them, and marking them for 10s. Attacking marked enemies provides a 50% Chance to cause a Slash proc, even if the weapon is not modded for Slash.
This Ability is affected by Strength (for Damage AND Slash proc Chance – if you’re chasing 100%, you’ll need to hit 200% Ability Strength), and Duration mods, but note Duration will only affect the Duration of the mark.
Garuda is a fairly tanky frame – note that her base Armor means you should definitely be modding her for Armor and Health – and her Abilities synergise well to allow players to cycle between high Damage output and Health regeneration, which is certainly useful. However, her Dream Mirror, while somewhat useful, is clunky and imprecise. While her high-DPS and healing capabilities are useful for groups – not to mention her ability to mark enemies for virtually guaranteed Slash procs – she doesn’t do anything remarkably well, and sadly, there are other frames that do. That said, her Abilities will scale with enemies, so she is useful in long-term missions – I just hope she finds her place over time.