Hildryn, the cybernetic shield maiden, joined Warframe alongside the Exploiter Orb and Buried Debts. A powerhouse in her own right, Hildryn differs from other frames in that she doesn’t use Energy for her Abilities – instead, she uses her Shield to power them. At first, this seemed like potentially a mistake, given that Shield is often less effective than Health and Armor, but as it turns out, Hildryn is quite effective.
A favourite of mine, I’d suggest Hildryn should be welcome on most any team, but as with everything in Warframe, she may not match everyone’s personal taste. But it’s ok to be wrong.
Note: Hildryn’s components (Chassis, Systems, Neuroptics) drop from the Exploiter Orb; however, her main blueprint must be purchased from Little Duck (Vox Solaris) using standing – and it’s only available at the rank of Agent (Rank 2).
As mentioned previously, Hildryn uses her Shield to power her Abilities (“Shield Matrix”). However, there are also a couple of other subtle passives that she can make use of:
- Shield Wall – Overshields will protect Hildryn from attacks that would otherwise bypass Shields. Hildryn will also become invulnerable for 3 seconds when her Shield is depleted. This can be shared with allies via her second Ability.
- Shield Dash – performing certain parkour abilities (rolls and dashes) will cause Hildryn to dash in the direction of the ability, spawning cosmetic shields on her shoulders.
- Shield Energize – Channeling will also use Hildryn’s Shield. Collecting Energy Orbs will provide 25 points to Shield and immediately cause her Shield to recharge.
Effectively an Exalted Secondary, Hildryn equips a Rocket Launcher sidearm, which fires bolts of Energy powered by her Shield.These cause 500 Electricity Damage (base at max), but can also be charged over 2 seconds – 50% charge at 1s causes additional 50% Damage, while 100% at 2s causes an additional 100% Damage. As these are rockets, there is also an associated explosion radius of 3m base at max.
Balefire is affected by Ability Strength (Damage) and Range (explosion radius), but as per all Exalted weapons, the Balefire Charger itself can be modded using Secondary weapon mods. We recommend modding for straight Damage.
Abilities that use Shields to power would certainly put the wielder at a significant disadvantage in terms of survivability. As a result there needs to be a way in which Hildryn can recharge her Shields without relying solely on Energy Orbs. Pillage is that Ability, and it has other benefits to boot.
On casting, Hildryn emits an aura pulse with an initial radius of 8m, expanding to 48m over 2 seconds. Any allies hit by this pulse have Status Effects removed. Enemies hit by this pulse will have their Shields or Armor reduced by 25% (base at max) and the total amount Pillaged from enemies will be added to Hildryn’s Shields when the pulse returns to Hildryn. If her Shield is restored in full, any excess Pillaged Shield or Armor will then be applied an an Overshield. As Infested enemies do not have Shields or Armor (mostly), this Ability is less effective against these enemies.
Pillage is affected by Ability Strength (Shield/Armor drain), Duration (expansion duration), and Range (expansion Range). Given the speed of expansion (20m/s), modding for Duration is more effective than modding for Range if you want to Pillage further. That said, if you want the pulse to quickly Pillage and return, modding for negative Duration is also quite effective.
Haven is an interesting Ability – on the one hand, it’s aptly named, as it provides buffs for allies within its aura, but on the other hand, it’s an effective Damage-dealing Ability, and so is quite the opposite for enemies.
On casting, Hildryn releases an aura of 15m (base at max), linking herself to allies and enemies within Range. Linked enemies receive 200 Radiation Damage per second and this amount is doubled when Hildryn has an Overshield. Enemies are also staggered (this effect does not affect all enemy types). As this Damage is affected by Ability Strength, it should be noted that this can become a fairly high-DPS Ability within a short Range – also note that it is effective against Infested, unlike Pillage.
Linked allies, on the other hand, are granted 500 additional Shield points and an 80% faster recharge rate, which are affected by Ability Strength and Duration mods, respectively. In addition, linked allies also receive Hildryn’s Shield Wall passive, making them immune to Damage for 3s on depletion of their Shield.
This Ability can be modded using Strength, Duration, and Range mods.
On casting Aegis Storm, Hildryn becomes an Energy Helicopter, using her jetpacks to launch her into the sky. This is a Drain Ability, which lasts until recast or until depletion of her Shield. While in flight, Hildryn can move in all directions, using the crouch button to descend, and the jump button to ascend. Further, her flight creates an aura around her – 15m base at max, which shrinks as she moves higher from the ground. Enemies within this aura are lifted from the ground and dealt 200 Radiation Damage per second. They will also poop energy Orbs (ok, they don’t poop them, but it looks like it). Deactivating Aegis Storm causes Hildryn to slam down into the ground, causing 500 Impact Damage to enemies within her aura.
And that’s kind of… it. Balefire can be used while in Aegis Storm, but Pillage can NOT. This can be an issue with Shield usage, at it uses 100 Shield to cast, and drains 25 Shield per second, with no way to recover Shield. Further, Hildryn can not fly higher than 10m above the ground, so it is not a get-out-of-danger card. That said, she can use her dodge while hovering.
Aegis Storm can be affected by Ability Strength (Damage), Range, and Duration.
Hildryn is a powerhouse, but she needs to be built with a specific playstyle in mind. If you’re looking for survivability, weak CC, and support, modding for Pillage and Haven might be your best bet. If you’re after strong CC, then raise your Duration and Efficiency and mod for Aegis Storm. For my money, Pillage/Haven with short Duration is the way to go, but note this will have a negative effect on Aegis Storm. She’s also highly effective against the Corpus and Grineer (keep away form Corrosive Projection, though) and so is quite useful in Arbitrations, on the Plains/Vallis, or in the Index. Given her lack of Energy, she is also well suited to Energy Drain modes in Nightmare mode, and Hijack missions given her high Shield. Personally, I can’t recommend her enough.