At the start of the mission, objective markers will appear showing the location of Excavators.

Travel to these points, and use Power Cores to activate the Excavators. Defend the Excavator until it can unearth what it was looking for. Up to three excavators can be activated at the same time.

—In-Game Description

Excavation is an Endless Mission type introduced in Update 14.5 for the Operation Cryotic Front event, and formally introduced as a standard mission type in Update 14.10. This game mode tasks players with searching and then extracting various artifacts buried deep within a planet's surface. This mission is the primary source of Cryotic.

Excavation game modes appear as outdoor Tilesets on Venus, Earth, Mars, Europa, Neptune, and Pluto, including available Dark Sector nodes.


Players will first need to locate dig sites whose positions are located on the minimap by the Lotus every 30 seconds, with a maximum of 4 potential dig sites being available. Dig sites will not spawn near a freshly-excavated area, necessitating constant relocation as the mission progresses. Once players walk within 20 meters of a dig site, an Excavator will drop in on the location and start digging. An Excavator has 500 Shields and 2500 Health and requires 100 seconds to accomplish its task, and must be protected from enemy fire during the duration of its operation in order to receive additional rewards. However, each Excavator only has 20 seconds worth of energy when deployed, thus players will have to locate PowerCell Power Cells which are carried by designated Power Carriers. Killing a Power Carrier will drop a Power Cell, and each cell adds 20 seconds worth of energy to the Extractor and restores its Shields. Holding a Power Cell will limit the player to their Secondary weapon or Melee weapon, identical to a Mobile Defense datamass, and is automatically consumed once the player walks within 5 meters of the Excavator. Extractors will only accept Power Cells if it lacks the necessary amount of energy to complete the task or if its shields are depleted.

Regardless if the Excavator is successfully defended or not, all players will receive Cryotic for every second the Excavator was active (thus awarding 100 Cryotic for a successfully-defended Excavator). Additionally, if the Excavator survives to complete its digging, all players will receive a random reward. Once at least one Excavator is defended, the mission's extraction point will be revealed, allowing players to complete the mission if they choose to. However, Alert Missions (Including Syndicate Alerts and Nightmare Alerts), Invasions and Sorties will only allow extraction after 500 units of Cryotic have been extracted.

Similar to Survival missions, the rewards for every successful excavation stack, and players can claim all artifacts that have been recovered upon extraction. Also, multiple Excavators can be active at once if desired, limited only by the squad's ability to defend them. While survival works by a reward every 5 minutes, Excavation is per extractor. With the ability to run multiple extractors simultaneously, and taking far less than 5 minutes each, Excavation missions lead to more frequent, and usually more numerous rewards.


Planet Mission Name Faction Level Tier
Earth Everest Grineer 1 - 6 1
Venus Kiliken Corpus 3 - 8 1
Mars Augustus Grineer 9 - 14 1
Europa Valefor Corpus 18 - 23 2
Neptune Despina Corpus 27 - 32 3
There are a total of 5 Excavation missions.


Besides the bonus amounts of materials, experience, and mods from the increase in enemies compared to normal missions, certain rewards can be awarded at the end of the mission if the mission is a success. Mission rewards will vary depending on the level of the mission's enemies (the starting level; this tier does not scale during a mission as higher level enemies spawn) and also depends on the amount of time spent.

  • Enemy level tier (in average):
    • Tier 1: Level 1 - 10
    • Tier 2: Level 11 - 20
    • Tier 3: Level 21+
    • Note: While most missions obey these enemy level tiers, there are a few exceptions, such as Valefor. Refer to the table above for a more accurate list of mission enemy level tiers.
  • Drop Rotation (the rewards rotation starts again after every 4th successful extraction):
    • Rotation A: 1st, 2nd; 5th, 6th; 9th, 10th; etc.
    • Rotation B: 3rd; 7th; 11th; etc.
    • Rotation C: 4th; 8th; 12th; etc.
  • The easy way to remember the Rotations is AABC with each successful excavation moving onto the next letter
  • Rewards stack the longer you play.
  • The Rewards for Tier 2 and 3 Excavations are identical to the rewards for Tier 2 and 3 Survival missions
View Rewards List

Rotation A Rotation B Rotation C
Credits64 500 Credit Cache 14.29% FusionCorePackSilversingle Hornet Strike 8.33% VoidProjectionsIronD Lith C4 Relic 12.91%
Credits64 1000 Credit Cache 14.29% FusionCorePackSilversingle Incendiary Coat 8.33% VoidProjectionsIronD Lith D1 Relic 12.91%
Credits64 1500 Credit Cache 14.29% FusionCorePackSilversingle Intensify 8.33% VoidProjectionsIronD Lith L2 Relic 12.91%
Credits64 2000 Credit Cache 14.29% FusionCorePackSilversingle Parry 8.33% VoidProjectionsIronD Lith M4 Relic 12.91%
Endo64 15 Endo 14.29% FusionCorePackSilversingle Serration 8.33% VoidProjectionsIronD Lith S8 Relic 12.91%
Endo64 50 Endo 14.29% FusionCorePackSilversingle Steel Fiber 8.33% VoidProjectionsIronD Lith W2 Relic 12.91%
Endo64 80 Endo 14.29% VoidProjectionsIronD Lith C4 Relic 8.33% FusionCorePackSilversingle Arrow Mutation 3.76%
VoidProjectionsIronD Lith D1 Relic 8.33% FusionCorePackSilversingle Cleanse Grineer 3.76%
VoidProjectionsIronD Lith L2 Relic 8.33% FusionCorePackSilversingle Pistol Ammo Mutation 3.76%
VoidProjectionsIronD Lith M4 Relic 8.33% FusionCorePackSilversingle Rifle Ammo Mutation 3.76%
VoidProjectionsIronD Lith S8 Relic 8.33% FusionCorePackSilversingle Shotgun Ammo Mutation 3.76%
VoidProjectionsIronD Lith W2 Relic 8.33% FusionCorePackSilversingle Sniper Ammo Mutation 3.76%


Up to date as of Hotfix 27.1.2

Rotation A Rotation B Rotation C
Credits64 1500 Credit Cache 16.67% FusionCorePackSilversingle Charged Shell 7.14% VoidProjectionsSilverD Neo A3 Relic 11.06%
Credits64 2000 Credit Cache 16.67% FusionCorePackSilversingle Fast Deflection 7.14% VoidProjectionsSilverD Neo G2 Relic 11.06%
Credits64 2500 Credit Cache 16.67% FusionCorePackSilversingle Hornet Strike 7.14% VoidProjectionsSilverD Neo I1 Relic 11.06%
Endo64 15 Endo 16.67% FusionCorePackSilversingle Provoked 7.14% VoidProjectionsSilverD Neo M2 Relic 11.06%
Endo64 50 Endo 16.67% FusionCorePackSilversingle Serration 7.14% VoidProjectionsSilverD Neo R3 Relic 11.06%
Endo64 80 Endo 16.67% FusionCorePackSilversingle Steel Fiber 7.14% VoidProjectionsSilverD Neo T2 Relic 11.06%
FusionCorePackSilversingle Vital Sense 7.14% VoidProjectionsSilverD Neo Z5 Relic 11.06%
VoidProjectionsBronzeD Meso B4 Relic 7.14% FusionCorePackSilversingle Arrow Mutation 3.76%
VoidProjectionsBronzeD Meso C4 Relic 7.14% FusionCorePackSilversingle Cleanse Corpus 3.76%
VoidProjectionsBronzeD Meso D4 Relic 7.14% FusionCorePackSilversingle Pistol Ammo Mutation 3.76%
VoidProjectionsBronzeD Meso E3 Relic 7.14% FusionCorePackSilversingle Rifle Ammo Mutation 3.76%
VoidProjectionsBronzeD Meso L1 Relic 7.14% FusionCorePackSilversingle Shotgun Ammo Mutation 3.76%
VoidProjectionsBronzeD Meso N9 Relic 7.14% FusionCorePackSilversingle Sniper Ammo Mutation 3.76%
VoidProjectionsBronzeD Meso R2 Relic 7.14%


Up to date as of Hotfix 27.1.2

Rotation A Rotation B Rotation C
Credits64 2000 Credit Cache 25% FusionCorePackSilversingle Flow 6.67% VoidProjectionsGoldD Axi A6 Relic 11.06%
Credits64 2500 Credit Cache 25% FusionCorePackSilversingle Hell's Chamber 6.67% VoidProjectionsGoldD Axi A8 Relic 11.06%
Credits64 3000 Credit Cache 25% FusionCorePackSilversingle Hornet Strike 6.67% VoidProjectionsGoldD Axi A9 Relic 11.06%
Endo64 400 Endo 25% FusionCorePackSilversingle Serration 6.67% VoidProjectionsGoldD Axi B3 Relic 11.06%
FusionCorePackSilversingle Split Chamber 6.67% VoidProjectionsGoldD Axi D2 Relic 11.06%
FusionCorePackSilversingle Stabilizer 6.67% VoidProjectionsGoldD Axi P3 Relic 11.06%
FusionCorePackSilversingle Steel Fiber 6.67% VoidProjectionsGoldD Axi T3 Relic 11.06%
FusionCorePackSilversingle Stretch 6.67% FusionCorePackSilversingle Arrow Mutation 3.76%
VoidProjectionsSilverD Neo A3 Relic 6.67% FusionCorePackSilversingle Cleanse Infested 3.76%
VoidProjectionsSilverD Neo G2 Relic 6.67% FusionCorePackSilversingle Pistol Ammo Mutation 3.76%
VoidProjectionsSilverD Neo I1 Relic 6.67% FusionCorePackSilversingle Rifle Ammo Mutation 3.76%
VoidProjectionsSilverD Neo M2 Relic 6.67% FusionCorePackSilversingle Shotgun Ammo Mutation 3.76%
VoidProjectionsSilverD Neo R3 Relic 6.67% FusionCorePackSilversingle Sniper Ammo Mutation 3.76%
VoidProjectionsSilverD Neo T2 Relic 6.67%
VoidProjectionsSilverD Neo Z5 Relic 6.67%


Up to date as of Hotfix 27.1.2

Excavation rewards follow a similar logic to Survival missions and draw from the same pools of possible rewards, with each excavator successfully deployed counting as a 5-minute interval. This makes Excavation missions ideal to farm Relics, since its reward rotation is quicker than a Survival rotation.

As an example of a possible reward sequence, successfully deploying four excavators in Everest, Earth, could result in players receiving a batch of 1500 credits, 80 Endo, a Lith S8 Relic, and finally an Arrow Mutation mod, in that order.

Dark Sector ExcavationEdit

These Excavation missions have a higher level range than the planet they're found on, but yield greater Affinity and Credits due to the inherent bonuses of Dark Sectors.

Planet Mission Name Faction Level Tier
Earth Tikal Infestation 6 - 16 1
Europa Cholistan Infestation 23 - 33 3
Pluto Hieracon Infestation 35 - 45 3
There are a total of 3 Dark Sector Excavation missions.


  • Excavators cannot regenerate health, but can replenish their shields. An Excavator's shields can also be replenished by delivering a Power Cell to it or using Warframe powers like MagIcon272 Mag's Shield Polarize.
  • Excavators have 2500 Health and 500 Shields, regardless of mission level. This makes a strong defense an absolute must against higher level enemies.
  • GaraIcon272 Gara can use her Splinter Storm to give up to 90% damage reduction to any excavator and is also able to reset the timer of the ability with Mass Vitrify
  • Lost Excavator health can be restored by using a Warframe equipped with the Mod TT 20pxRejuvenation Aura.
  • KhoraIcon272 Khora can directly heal an Excavator by using Venari's Heal posture while having it in the reticle.
  • Lost Excavator health can also be restored by using Protective Dash in the Vazarin Focus tree. This will also succeed in making the Excavator invulnerable for a short time, allowing it to regenerate shields and health from Protective Dash undisturbed.
  • Power cells can be more easily picked up by keeping your Use control (default X ) held down while running over one (or standing under one as it falls to the ground). As with datamasses, they can be dropped by switching to your primary weapon.
  • Excavation is the one of the few missions from which Cryotic can be reliably acquired.
    • While Cryotic is also a cache reward in Bounty, Hive and Uranus Sabotage missions, gathering this resource in those missions is not nearly as efficient as in Excavation.
  • 4 Power Cells are enough to complete one excavation.
  • During a Void Fissure on an Excavation mission, fissures will appear and spawn enemies even when an excavator is not powered, or has not been placed. Squads with players who are low on Reactant may wish to temporarily halt excavator progress until they have enough to open their relic. 


  • Sometimes when a host migration occurs, Power Carriers will stop spawning and the ones that were already spawned in the area will not drop a power cell when killed. However, any Power Cells left on the ground before the migration occurs will remain.
  • The excavator's hitbox is larger than the size of the excavator itself. This can be seen if the player attempts to shoot an enemy near the excavator as the shots will not hit the enemy because the excavators' hitbox is in front of them.
  • Despite being a machine, the Excavator has flesh-type health.
  • Attempting to pick up an energy cell immediately after climbing up will cause a player to fall out of the map.
  • After approaching an excavation zone the excavator may not spawn. This can always be fixed by eliminating existing enemies in the map.
  • Picking up a powercell while equipped with a dual-wield secondary weapon will force single-wield animations, even after dropping the powercell. This causes both weapons to clip since single-wield animations have both hands together, among other graphical problems. No effect on gameplay.
  • Occasionally the dig site's location will not be marked on the mini-map, causing the dig site to not activate.
  • Any players who join after the mission has started (even if an extractor has not been started) will not receive any reward (besides cryotic) for a full extractor.
  • Power Carriers may stop spawning making it impossible to proceed. Allowing enemies to destroy one of your Extractors should fix this and trigger Power Carriers to appear again.


  • Scanner. No longer exists as of Update 16.
  • Excavator.

Patch HistoryEdit

Update 25.7
  • Excavation used to use the base node for enemy count scaling, now difficulty properly scales alongside current enemy level - meaning that the higher the enemy level, the more simultaneous enemies you’ll have to face!
  • Fixed auto-dropping the Excavation Power Cell when picking up Primary Ammo with only a Primary weapon equipped.
  • Fixed towards enemies pursuing the cold, dead corpses of players in Excavation missions.

Update 25.0

  • Non-Endless Survival/Excavation/etc missions (i.e. Alerts, Sorties, Syndicate dailies, etc) now disable individual extraction as it leads to unnecessary Host migrations

Update 24.4

Individual Extraction - Non-Wave Endless!

You are now able to extract from Survival, Excavation, and Defection missions independent of your squad.

  • Once the 'mission complete' interval is met, players can head to extraction any time they choose (i.e 5 minutes for Survival).
  • Any player at extraction triggers a countdown timer.
  • If all players leave the extraction zone, the countdown timer is cancelled.
  • When the timer is up, the extraction ship arrives and any players in the extraction zone leave.
  • Anyone still playing can extract later any time they choose.

Update 22.15

  • Excavation UI displays 'Power: FULL' when the Excavator no longer needs more Power Cells to run to completion.
  • All Lotus transmissions will appear on the right side of the screen as to not obscure the Excavation UI.
  • Added a subtle blue Shield charge FX (similar to Warframe Shield charge FX) to the Excavator when its Shields are recharged by a Power Cell.

Update 22.14

Excavation Objective UI Changes

In the simplest of terms, UI for Excavation missions has been cleaned up and simplified!

  • Endless Excavation missions now display ‘Digs Completed’ instead of ‘Total Cryotic Excavated’. The number of ‘Digs Completed’ is what counts towards the tiered Rewards in the Endless modes, and this change saves you some mental math!
    • You can still see the total Cryotic Excavated on the Mission Progress screen.

Hotfix 22.13.4

Invasion Changes

With the precedent already set from Fissure missions for rewarding per normal endless cycle, Invasions felt strenuous due to their lengthy mission completion requirements. Considering there are other “faster” mission types available to get your reward and get out, it was time to cut back a bit on the way 'endless' variants work within the system. As a result, the following mission completion requirements have been scaled back:

  • Excavation from 1000 Cryotic to 500 Cryotic.

Update 16.0

Excavation Mission Changes
  • The Excavation scanner has been removed from the Mission instead giving 3 dig sites at once.
  • Dig sites will appear in an order that gives players a reasonable tour through the map starting at the closest dig site.
  • Added a small ramp-up to the spawns so that players don't get jumped right away when entering the Mission.

Update 14.5

See alsoEdit

Start a Discussion Discussions about Excavation

  • Excavation enemy scaling?

    2 messages
    • Do the enemies' level on Excavation missions scale with successful extractions or over time? Basically, if I stop activating extractors, w...
    • They scale over time. If you don't trigger any excavations at all, you will still find they scale up.
  • Excavation loot table with relics

    2 messages
    • Hi. I started a google sheet document to register the loots in excavations, as I play these missions a lot.Of course my results alone aren...
    • TRUE , many excavation missions  have been changed or altogether dropped since the induction of SOTR . I used to solo these missions when ...
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