When is corrosive better than viral? (Answer: depends on context)

Warframe15 - When is corrosive better than viral? (Answer: depends on context)

Warning: This is a post with some a lot of math

TL;DR: 6500 armor is a massive over-simplification. Above 1238 armor for ferrite-armor/cloned flesh, above 960 armor for flesh/ferrite armor and effectively never (viral almost always better) for alloy-armor, no matter health class (we don't talk about the infested here).


A few days ago I came across a comment discussing the new corrosive vs viral and the person concluded that some quick math determines corrosive is better than viral above 6500 armor. That is correct… in the most niche case possible, when one considers only damage modifiers from the status effect and not the element itself. However, in Warframe, Grineer and Corpus health classes have varying susceptibilities to Viral, and corrosive gives a hefty +75% effectiveness to Ferrite Armour. So, when we take these into account, how does the new corrosive stack up to viral?

The Math

Before we begin, humor me and allow me to refresh your memory of Warframe's armor. The amount of damage taken is (300)/(300+x) times whatever the base damage is where x is the enemy's armor. With max corrosive stacks, x becomes 0.20x (80% armor removed), and with max viral stacks, the whole thing is multiplied by 4.25. Some quick desmos show the point of interception is indeed 6500 armor!

Red line is viral, blue line is corrosive

However, let us consider the grineer. Both viral and corrosive does a hefty 75% bonus damage against cloned-flesh ferrite armor, and corrosive, in addition, ignores a further 75% of armor. This causes our new equations to be D(viral)=((300)/(300+x))*4.25*1.75 and D((corrosive)=(300)/(300+0.25*0.2x))*1.75. Plugging that into desmos, we get…


Red line viral, blue line corrosive

1238 armor, beyond which corrosive damage (after taking into account damage modifiers) is better than viral. That is a tad low, innit?

Now consider our friendly bombards with alloy armor (with no weakness to corrosive) and cloned flesh (still more vulnerable to viral). Using the appropriate equations, (D(viral)=((300)/(300+x))*4.25*1.75, D(corrosive)=(300)/(300+0.25*0.2x))*1.75), we get

Red line viral, blue line corrosive

Oh. Oh… So, with the new S-curve, practically never (the intersection point comes after 100k armour, and god forbid you have to ever see that).

And another thing

I won't go into details, but running this for corpus with their standard flesh class (for crewmen and some index brokers) give 960 armor for flesh/ferrite armor and similarly high values for alloy armor.


So, if you intend to fight ferrite armor, corrosive is still better at higher (and not even sortie) levels. If you go against alloy armor, use viral, no matter what.


Don't trash your stormbringer mod, it is still useful in like, some situations, but definitely, primed cyro rounds is your new best friend. Oh, and you should try this out for yourself in simulacrum to see whether this theory holds.

But that's just a theory. A FRAME THEORY!

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