Learn more about this heavy warframe by reading this in-depth guide, explaining the playstyle, mods and preferrable loadouts on Rhino!
Disclaimer: This guide aims at Warframe beginners or players with some experience that want to get infos about a new Warframe before buying or building it. The content of this guide is written under the mindset to “get the most benefit with relatively minimal effort”. If you are looking for a guide describing the one perfect, maxed-out frame and never want to look back again, please search somewhere else. 🙂
Introduction – Why play Rhino?
Imagine you just started playing Warframe with Excalibur as your first frame and you really like those meaty “point-blank” combat situations. Now multiply that experience by five and you end up with a result that’s relatively close to playing Rhino. Even with the recent nerf to his “Iron Skin” ability (which reduced the former invulnerability to a maximum of 1200 damage absorb) he still feels and plays just like how he looks: a bulky powerhouse. And it also was a necessary nerf because it allowed this frame to basically solo any content on its own. Rhino now feels pretty in-line with most of the other frames but still plays and acts like a tank thanks to his useful set of abilities paired with good survivability.
The change to his new “Roar” ability makes Rhino a valuable contribution to every team, netting a massive 50% damage boost for all team members nearby. His skill set furthermore allows him to both snipe unharmed from a distance thanks to “Iron Skin” or just go right into and out of battle using the “Rhino Charge” ability. His “Rhino-Stomp” allows for good and almost instantaneous crowd control paired with a more than decent damage output which – like all his other abilities – can be greatly improved with “Focus”, “Stretch” and and other power-improving mods. Combine that with a good supportive frame like Trinity in your back and you will soon feel like playing a session of “God of War”.
And if that isn’t already enough, Rhino also features a very good selection of alternate helmets, which either increase his tanking capabilities or completely negate his inherent slow move speed, making him almost as speedy as Volt, Ash or Loki if modded correctly. When choosing this frame you simply cannot do anything wrong, as his skill set and playstyle is very easy to learn and understand.
- Has a strong kit with 4 useful abilities, almost feels like cheating through the early game 😉
- Easy to learn and recommended for beginners as his “Iron Skin” basically keeps you alive even against enemy up to level 60
- Completely immune to CC and Damage as long as his “Iron Skin” lasts, good for “toe-to-toe” melee combat if you prefer that
- Inherently tanky at earlier levels thanks to high levels of armor and base health
- Versatile in combat, can be either built tanky or very fast
- Good as solo or team-player alike, contributes well to any team
- Damage buff to team is unique among all frames and compliments damage spells from caster-frames like Nova and Saryn
- Has a quick and effective-to-use ultimate
- Does well in most nightmare missions as “Iron Skin” negates most negative effects like 0 shields or live-drain
- Very slow when unmodded or not using the “Vanguard helmet“
- Damage-components of his spells do not scale too well into late game (but the CC-part is still useful)
- Relatively small energy pool (which can be easily addressed using mods)
- Well..i…can’t think of anything else right now – yeah he is that good!
As said before, Rhino is pretty straight-forward in his skill set and easy to understand. Once you hit level 2, start adding “Iron Skin” into your mod set and you will most likely not run into any problems if you keep your energy level above 50. Once casted, the ability lasts indefinitely or until the shield is depleted, so all you need to remember is to keep that 2 button ready when needed. Even if your speed may be severely lacking at the start you can easily overcome this downside by frequent usage of “Rhino Charge”. This ability, when used in combination with “Streamline” can be spammed, allowing for great mobility and also good CC in any situation.
Be aware when using “Roar”. It has a limited range and you want to hit all your teammates with it, making positioning a key priority in tense situations. If you have the excess energy to spare you also can combine “Roar” with any other of Rhino’s abilities for an even greater damage effect. The same “positioning rule” applies to “Rhino Stomp”, which not only applies decent damage (fatal to most lower and mid-end enemies), but also has no cap on how many enemies are affected within its range. The usage of “Enemy Radar” mods may be a good idea if you have trouble guessing the approximate and optimal usage range of “Rhino Stomp”.
Here are some basic hints to get you going:
- Use “Rhino Charge” to quickly dash to, keep up or help your teammates in need.
- “Rhino Stomp” can be re-casted quite quickly, but keep the energy-consumption in mind. Try to use it defensively to keep enemies from your squishier mates or the defense objective.
- “Roar” does not just affect guns but all of your damaging abilities. Keep that in mind when starting a chain of moves.
- Pay attention to when your “Iron Skin” ability wears off and immediately refresh it as it grants you CC immunity (including energy-drain from disruptors) and is cheap to use.
- Keep an energy reserve of 25-50 energy to have some means of escape nasty situations. Higher level poisons or Grineer weaponry can quickly bite through your excess armor.
- Armor only affects (and protects) your life-pool, so only increase armor if you focus on having high health.
- The use of high damage, wide-area and CC-based 2H-melee weapons is highly recommended on Rhino as you can easily throw yourself into combat.
When to engage
While it is relatively easy to engage and disengage from combat using “Rhino Charge”, be reminded that higher level enemies can quickly peel of your extra layers with only few shots. So as a main advice: Keep moving, use cover and don’t rely too much on your extra protection. Having a good amount of shield and/or life as a backup isn’t a bad idea either to give you extra seconds needed to collect much-needed energy orbs. When playing defensive missions in a team don’t get tempted to move away from your team too far as you might end up being shot down, requiring your other (usually more squishier frames) to revive you in midst of an enemy crowd – not a favorable situation.
Instead, focus on being the “valiant knight” for your team. Keep enemies attention on yourself and away from teammates and objectives. Be ready to engage and save a downed teammate when necessary, but also keep an eye on your back to “Rhino Charge” right back to the defense objective you just left unattended. Your job is to be there when needed.
Generally speaking i would recommend engaging under the following mindset:
- There’s no other major threat
- A teammate requires reviving and no one else is nearby
- A defense-area is not within focus of your team, so you get in to stall other enemies with “Rhino Stomp”
- Your teammates are still in the vicinity so you can quickly get back and assist them (line of sight is a good indication)
In most of all cases you can rely on your “Iron Skin” and dish out damage. You will get quickly used to that extra comfort, but don’t rely too much on it. Keep moving, avoid fire and learn to “judge” how long that shield will last under the current condition, thus allowing you to estimate how long you can stay in the mid of battle.
Things to note:
- “Iron Skin” allows you to pass through laser barriers and even withstand short periods of poison or laser traps
- “Iron Skin” can be applied in mid-air
- “Rhino Charge” throws enemies off their feet, but you will be stopped if you dash into a “wall of meat”, which can be hindering if you want to escape
- “Rhino Charge” can also be used to greatly increase your jumping reach
- “Rhino Stomp” is very useful to allow aiming for weak spots of your (high-level) enemies
Rhino can effectively act in many roles. You are not simply a tank who has to stand in front. Although that is a prefered role when playing Rhino you can also act as “Quarterback”, supporting teammates with prolonged and quite heavy hitting ability combos. When playing alone you can combine speed mods with “Vanguard helmet” to reach ridiculously high run speeds combined with great survivability for those quick nightmare and boss-runs. Combine this with duration-improving mods and you can spam “Rhino Charge” to quickly move through a level, jumping over major chasms and avoiding enemy gunfire with ease.
Offensive sentinels like “Dethcube” are a no-brainer and greatly compliment the skill set of Rhino. A great alternative is the “Carrier” sentinel which quickly replenishes your rather small energy pool or acts as “item supply” when you are busy dishing out damage with a heavy 2H-weapon. Using a shade-sentinel is not recommended as your “Iron Skin” acts as aggro mechanism, which will be effectively negated once you are cloaked. This will draw attention to your teammates, which is undesirable in most situations.
- High powered shotguns or fast firing rifles to deliver a lot of damage point-blank are a great choice for Rhino. Accuracy is not so much required as you get into your enemies face, so instead focus on raw damage per second.
- Rocket launchers can also be a valid option as your “Iron Skin” can protect you from accidental self-inflicted damage. Be aware though that this can quickly remove your “Iron Skin” charges, leaving your susceptible to CC.
- Big 2H-weapons that sweep over a large area are a great choice as you can stagger, CC or outright kill huge packs of enemies with ease.
- Sentinels should be equipped with a guardian mod to quickly boost your shields. Make sure your sentry is also durable enough to withstand gunfire for a while.
- Focus on accurate but fast firing-weapons like the “Soma” to deliver a huge burst of damage during your “Roar” ability
- Stunning or disabling melee weapons (Fragor or Amphis) are a great choice when combined with Rhino stomp, effectively increasing your capabilities to control huge crowds of enemies
- Prefer mods that optimize your ability duration, reach and power consumption to keep enemies at bay using chain-rhino stomps
- Focus is a great choice when playing defensively, further increasing the damage output you provide to your teammates using “Roar”
Loadout A like: Allrounder
This is my prefered build. It grants high mobility while keeping yourself afloat with a quite high amount of shields and life (both around 800). Even with “Iron Skin” active it is helpful to have higher amounts of life as poison damage from infested ancients simply ignores shields and armor. Focus and Constitution mods maximise your “team buff” and “Iron Skin” potential while Flow allows you to store enough energy for a whole combo. A good combo would be: “Roar” within your teammates, then “Rhino Charge” into a crowd, then “Rhino Stomp” and start dishing out heavy damage with almost no risk for yourself. High mobility from “Rush” ensures that you can quickly maneuver yourself out of harms way, keeping “Rhino Skin” intact as long as possible.
Loadout B like: Bulwark
A good build for defense missions as it nets you with over 1000 shields and a high recharge rate, which is ideal when going against Corpus or Grineer. Be aware when going against high-level infested though, as the shields get completely ignored by their poison damage. In this case use higher levels of vitality or go for poison resistance mods if you want to go in directly. Your abilities will act more as a form of crowd control, as your energy pool is not very huge. If you want to remain near your team (or objective) and use more defensive abilities instead, consider removing “Rhino Charge” in favor of “Focus” or “Flow” to improve ability effectiveness. Spend your remaining mod points whatever feels good to you. If you want an alternative, go with B like Berserker: just use the “Steel Charge” mod and start waving those huge blades around – you will be amazed at the numbers you can dish out using high-powered 2H-weapons like Galatine.
Btw: Even with this loadout i would recommend avoiding the Thrak Helmet as it only grants 200 base health + 25 % = effective 25 health. Rhino’s base movement speed is what hampers him most, so “Vanguard helmet” or the default helmet are the best choice in almost any situation.
Loadout C like: Catch me if you can
This is a very nice loadout when you want to fully focus on your abilities and movement speed. Combine walk speed with the “Vanguard helmet” and spam away those “Rhino Charges” for a movement speed that keeps up with Volt and Loki. Use this build if you want ot focus on being getting basically everywhere quickly. Even with the durability of “Rhino Skin” you might opt for gunplay instead of melee combat as this build greatly compliments the effectiveness of your defensive and evasive abilities.
Naturally, this is a very good build if you want to solo missions, quickly farm bosses or just want to experience Rhino in a whole different way. If you feel like it you can easily remove Rhino Stomp in favor of further ability enhancing mods like “Flow”.
Why no “Armor” mods?
You might ask why “Steel Fiber” was avoided in these builds, although it seems a natural choice on high-armor frames like Rhino. The answer is simple: As the game is now, armor only affects your effective health pool. One of the main causes of death in higher level missions is the poison of high-level ancients which quickly deletes your health pool once “Iron Skin” wears off. Additional armor has absolutely no effect on poison damage, so Vitality or even Vigor is a better choice in almost any situation you may encounter. As an added insult to insury, “Steel Fiber” is very expensive to level and provides little benefits in return.
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