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    Vanguard Guide by Sajber

    Version: 1.00 | Updated: 10/18/10 | Printable Version | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    Mass Effect 2 (PC):
    Vanguard Guide by Erik Fasterius, 
    Copyright 2010 Erik Fasterius
           What this guide is about, who I am, et cetera...
           Just charging straight intro the fray? Forget it!
       3.0 POWERS
           What powers you should have, and when to invest in them.
              3.1 Base Powers
              3.2 Useful Bonus Powers
              3.3 Unsuitable Bonus Powers
           So much metal and colour! How do you choose?
              4.1 Shotguns
              4.2 SMGs
              4.3 Heavy Pistols
              4.4 Heavy Weapons
              4.5 Bonus Weapons
              4.6 Equipment
           It takes more than brute force to surive in a harsh galaxy...
              5.1 Using Charge
              5.2 Dealing with groups
              5.3 Decimating your opposition
       6.0 THE SQUAD
           There's a bunch of them to bring, so who gets to go on the missions?
       7.0 UPGRADES
           Some are more important than others.
       8.0 FIGHTING THE...
           Bring it on, the Vanguard can handle them all!
              8.1 ...Collectors and their minions
              8.2 ...Blue Suns and Eclipse Mercs
              8.3 ...Mechanoids
              8.4 ...Krogan and Vorsha
              8.5 ...Geth
       9.0 SAMPLE BUILDS
           Here are a few examples of what a Vanguard build might look like.  
           The other stuff...
             10.1 Credit where credit is due
             10.2 Version History
             10.3 Who's allowed to use this guide
    Hello, and welcome to my guide! My name is Erik, a guy from Sweden who enjoys
    reading and making these kinds of guides for these types of games, namely
    character-building for roleplaying games. I've been known to occasionally lurk
    the GameFaqs forums, but I rarely post or contribute with something. Making
    these guides is a way for me to to just that - contribute!
    When I get a new game, I usually play it through once on normal difficulty, just
    the enjoy the story, and if it's good enough I'll crank it up to the absolutely
    hardest on following playthroughs. And if I've REALLY enjoyed the game I'll 
    write up one of these guides and call it a day.
    I do consider myself very fluent at english, especially in writing, but mistakes
    still make their appearance. If you find one, feel free to tell me about it in
    a mail - you can find my e-mail adress at the top of this document. 
    A neat little trick you can do to quickly find your way through text in your
    browser is to press Ctrl + F. You'll get a search field; just type in what 
    you're looking for, and your browser will jump to matching texts within the
    document. I've numbered all the sections in this guide for easy reference, so
    you can simply look up what you want in the Table of Contents above and do a
    search on it. No need to scroll through the entire thing!
    A quick note about this guide: it's a GUIDE! I have no illusions of being the
    best at playing the Vanguard out there, and there are quite alot of other
    opinions out there than mine. I've tried to include as many of them as I know
    about, but if you feel that I've missed something, just send me a mail. This is
    also NOT a walkthrough! I cannot stress this enough. If you send me a mail,
    asking for help with something not related to character building and/or tactics,
    I'll simply ignore it. This is a guide to building and playing your very own
    version of the Vanguard class: read it for what it is.
    This guide is written base on playing Mass Effect 2 on the "Insanity" difficulty
    setting. This means that while its contents aren't necessarily wrong for the 
    lower difficulties, they are optimized for the hardest one. I've tried to make
    this guide readable for all kinds of players, whether you're on your first play-
    through, a veteran or an expert. Hopefully you'll find something useful, no 
    matter where you are in the game! Oh, and this guide contains spoilers, so if
    you're on your first run: you were warned.
    If you've enjoyed reading the guide or found it useful, feel free to send me a
    mail about it! I also welcome constructive criticism, things you feel I've
    missed or if you have another take on what I've written. Remember: just because
    it's in a GameFaqs guide doesn't mean it's right! ^^
    With all that done, let's get on with the guide!
    So, you've decided to give the Vanguard a try, eh? Well, let me tell you, it's
    not the easiest class to play, it's quite different from what it was in the
    original Mass Effect. On the Insanity setting, everything is out to get you, and
    almost exclusively YOU! You'll find that enemies only ever focus on you, if you
    don't feed them your squad members on purpose. They are relentless, ruthless and
    completely insensitive to any feelings you might possess. 
    How do the Vanguard vary from the other classes, then? Well, it's the only class
    that's heavily specialized in close quarters combat. The Vanguard uses his
    trusty shotguns and charges straight into the enemies' midst, kills as many as
    he can, retreats while he regains his posture, and repeats the procedure. It's
    not as easy as that, though...
    You'll die. Alot. The Vanguard has probably the steepest learning curve of all
    the classes. See, the thing about being deadly at close range is that it works
    both ways: for you AND your enemies. You can't just blindly charge in and hope
    to survive, you have to think before you act. 
    The Vanguard requires a different set of tactics and strategies from what you 
    use with the other classes. Mostly, they're about choosing which enemy to target
    first, what defense-stripping abilities they should use on them and how to keep
    them from getting close. I'm not saying all these things are easy, just that as
    a Vanguard there are other factors playing in, in addition to them.
    However, there are few better feelings in the ME2 universe than when you've 
    finally nailed those tactics down! You'll plow through enemies as a knife 
    through hot butter. The Vanguard is not the most powerful class (in my opinion),
    but it is one of the most rewarding to play!
    If you're still up for the challange, read on!
    3.0 POWERS
    Along with her weapons, it's the Vanguard's wide arsenal of Powers that really
    makes her shine across a battlefield. They all have a purpose, an ideal way of
    functioning. Not all are to everyones liking, though. Here I explain what the
    different powers do, what they're best suited for and what different playstyles
    think of them. Remember that you can reset all your points later in the game, if
    you want to try new combinations!
    3.1 Base Powers
     Charge     - This is the Vanguard's signature power. Through biotic prowess the
                  Vanguard surges forward at great speed, hitting his target head on
                  and regenerating her own shields. This is the reason to play a
                  Vanguard, and the first power you should max out. 
                  Evolution: Heavy Charge
                  Why? Two reasons: 100% shield regeneration and the time dilation
                  effect you recieve upon impact. Area Charge simply doesn't work
                  on Insanity. (More on Charge in section 5.)
     Shockwave  - Some people like this power, some don't. It definitely has uses,
                  it's just that they don't come up very often. For example, 
                  knocking people out from their cover can occasionally be useful,
                  and it can be used to great effect against Husks. The thing is 
                  that for most situations, you can benefit more from just using a 
                  Charge, instead.
                  If you like Shockwave, do put points into it. If you're uncertain,
                  either put just 3 points into it (rank 2) to be able to use Pull,
                  or ignore it altogether.
     Pull       - Similar to Shockwave in that it is very situational, but still
                  much better in that those situations are a fair amount more
                  numerous than for Shockwave. Pull can be used to draw enemies out
                  from cover, can be curved around corners and can instakill Husks
                  without armour. However, it can ALSO be used to set up Warp-  
                  explosions together with your squadmates. A good invenstment is 
                  one point for most Vanguards. With a good choice of Bonus Power, 
                  you can even skip it entirely.
     Assault    - The Vanguards passive skill. Very important, this should be the
     Mastery      second power you max out. Not alot to say about it, it gives you
                  more health, weapon damage, reduced cooldowns, more paragon and
                  renegade points as well as either power damage or power duration.
                  Evolution: Champion
                  Why? Because you want as short a cooldown on Charge as you can 
                  get. With Charge's 100% shield regeneration, you'll be using 
                  Charge even when your health is hurt, going from enemy to enemy,
                  surviving simply because you have such a short cooldown.
     Cryo Ammo  - This is one of my favourite powers in the game! It might not do as
                  much damage on enemies with defenses as other ammo powers do, but
                  give it to your squad and they'll start freezing everything they
                  can get aim at. If you've tried it, you know what I mean, and if
                  you haven't, you SHOULD try it! 
                  Evolution: Squad Cryo Ammo.
                  Why? Most of the time you won't be using it yourself, and it's so
                  much more useful to have on your two squadmates. It synergizes 
                  especially well with the Vanguard, as immobilizing enemies really
                  helps you survive through all those close encounters.
     Incendiary - This is a very useful ammo power, seeing as armour is the most
        Ammo      common protection on Insanity. You'll often use this yourself,
                  while your squad benefits from your Cryo Ammo. 
                  Evolution: Inferno Ammo.
                  Why? More damage is always good, and seeing as your squad will be
                  using your Cryo Ammo most of the time, there's really no reason
                  to take the Squad version of Incendiary Ammo. Also, the chance to
                  ignite other close targets will occasionally save your ass from a
                  lot of hurt. While this isn't as common as you'd want since every
                  enemy has his own defenses, it does happen.
                  (If you REALLY want Squad Incendiary Ammo, pick a squadmate that
                  has it instead.)
    3.2 Useful Bonus Powers
    If you've played through the game once and gotten your squad's loyality, you'll
    be prompted to choose a Bonus Power at the start of the the game. There are many
    to pick, but which one should you take? It should be something that complements
    the Vanguard's other powers and tactics, and there are a few that does just 
    that. Since the Vanguard is focused mostly on point-blank ranged encounters, you
    should pick Bonus Powers that either compensate or enforce this further.
    One thing to note about the Vanguard is that it is a really well-rounded class,
    everything it needs it more or less already has. Your choice of Bonus Power can
    matter very little, in fact, since you won't be using them nearly as much as the
    Base Powers.
    Remember: you can respec your Bonus Power later in the game, should you
    find yourself wanting to try out another power!
     Reave      - This is one of the more popular choices, since it offsets the
                  Vanguards ranged weaknesses. A solid power, use it to wittle down
                  your enemies' defenses from a safe distance - very useful for
                  those occasions when Charging straight ahead would mean certain
                  death. Reave should be used in conjunction with other biotics that
                  can set off Warp Explosions (from your squadmates). While Reave 
                  itself cannot be warped, it can remove defenses so that Pull or
                  Slam can be used on its targets (more on this in section 5).
                  Evolution: Area Reave.
                  Why? You're not trying to kill stuff directly, simply weakening
                  them. While your Reave might not completely negate a target's
                  defenses, it's better to do the same damage on several targets 
                  than just a bit more damage on a single target.
     Barrier    - This is more of a defensive power, and might not really seem all
                  that useful at first. Since Vanguards get regenerating shields
                  when they charge, it might seem redundant, but it serves two
                  purposes: One, a panic button for when Charge is inadvisable (such
                  as when the only thing you can Charge towards has 3 other buddies
                  next to it) and two, as a preemptive defensive measure before 
                  Charging in at all, since the bonuses stack. Another good thing 
                  about Barrier is that it has no activation animation - meaning 
                  that you can use it even when you're stunned or staggered.
                  Evolution: Heavy Barrier.
                  Why? Since both evolutions have a far longer duration than the
                  cooldown, Improved Barrier is just a waste. If you pick Barrier
                  you won't be using it THAT often.
     Slam       - An alternative to Shockwave and Pull, Slam kills unarmoured Husks
                  instantly and can be use to set up Warp Explosions. It can also
                  be combined with Pull (before Slam, that is), making the target
                  "bounce" when it hits the ground.
                  Evolution: Crippling Slam
                  The only real difference between the two evolutions is the damage
                  and the stun. Even with the higher damage of Heavy Slam, you are 
                  not always guaranteed a kill, which means that the stun you get
                  from Crippling Slam wins out. More crowd control is always good!
    3.3 Unsuitable Bonus Powers
    While some powers do have situational merit, these are the powers that aren't
    at all well suited for the Vanguard; either because they do something that the
    Vanguard already does, or because they simply don't match with the Vanguard 
    style of tactics and gameplay.
     Warp Ammo  - This is a dubious one, to be honest. There is some merit in taking
                  it in the beginning of the game, simply as a free all-around ammo
                  power. However, when you start leveling your Cryo and Incendiary
                  ammo, it is quickly made obsolete. The thing about the Vanguard
                  and Incendiary Ammo is that they're a perfect match. The shotgun
                  is fenomenal at taking down both shields and barriers, while the
                  ammo itself takes care of the armour and health. Inferno Ammo also
                  has 10% more damage than Heavy Warp Ammo, plus that it panics any
                  enemies it doesn't outright kill.
     Armour     - Bad for the same reason as Warp Ammo is bad: Inferno Ammo simply
     Piercing     is much better. Even though Armour Piercing Ammo has 10% more 
     Ammo         damage than Inferno Ammo, it doesn't panick its targets, and it's
                  not a Base Power of the Vanguard.
     Energy     - Since Vanguards have no way to deal with shields other than to
     Drain        shoot at them, you might think that this is a good power to take.
                  Wrong, because your shotgun is more than capable of taking care of
                  your enemies' shields. Why take down their shields when you can
                  simply Charge them and kill them, instead?
    The Vanguard has three basic weapons at her disposal: shotguns, SMGs and heavy
    pistols. The shotgun is, of course, the preferred weapon for many a fight, but
    the other two does help as well, especially when you're starved for ammo. It
    never hurts to bring out the trusty pistol and kill one or two baddies, just 
    before switching back to the shotgun and Charging in to kill the rest. But there
    are so many versions of the different weapons... Which one do you use?
    4.1 Shotguns
    All the shotguns do bonus damage to shields and barriers, and some against foes'
    armour, as well. Some have big clips, some can only shoot once before reloading.
    Which shotgun you pick is mostly up to what type of playstyle you like, since 
    all of them are good - there is no "bad" choice here. Try them all out, see 
    which ones you like, and stick with those.
    (Statistics: Bonuses are Shields (S) Barriers (B) and Armour (A), the Clip Size
    is [number of shots]/[number of clips])
                  Damage           Bonuses         Clip Size          Notes
    Katana         220            +50%, S/B          5/10
    Scimitar       163            +50%, S/B          8/16
    Eviscerator    294           +25%, S/B/A         3/12        Cerberus Network
    Claymore       400           +25%, S/B/A         1/10          Bonus Weapon
    I prefer the Eviscerator myself, as it's well rounded in terms of bonus damage,
    has a good clip size for somebody who likes to melee and good enough damage to
    kill things in one hit. If it doesn't, I use melee to get that last bit of 
    health down to zero. 
    The Claymore can kill most things in a single shot, but has a very slow reload
    time, and since you have to reload after every shot, well... Some people swear
    by it though, so don't take my word for granted!
    Both the Katana the Scimitar are more "forgiving" shotguns, as you don't have to
    hit with every single shot for it to count. The Eviscerator can afford to miss
    once in a while, but the Claymore has no room for mistakes whatsoever.
    There's also the Geth Plasma Shotgun, but that's (weirdly enough) a more ranged
    weapon than a shotgun. It doesn't really suit the Vanguard, but try it out, by
    all means. It is included in the "Firepower" DLC.
    4.2 SMGs
    These won't be used nearly as much as your shotgun will, but they're good to 
    have when you're low on ammo. Here you'd want something accurate, so you can at
    least try to hit targets far off. Use these to take down the shields of YMIR
    Mechs and the like.
                  Damage           Bonuses       Clip Size           Notes
    Shuriken        20            +50%, S/B       24/240
    Tempest         14            +50%, S/B       50/450       Tali's recruitment
    Locust          25           +25%, S/B/A      20/240    Kasumi's loyalty mission
    Clip Size and ammo is not an issue, since you won't be using them enough to have
    to worry about it. To me, the Locust is the best by far, for it's all-around
    bonuses and extreme accuracy. The Tempest is more suited to your squadmates,
    since it has slightly higher damage output but is alot less accurate. Your squad
    usually circumvent that accuracy problem, though.
    4.3 Heavy Pistols
    Again, you won't use them much, and it comes down to personal preference, more
    or less. Very good for those pesky Gunships and YMIR Mechs you come across from
    time to time, though!
                  Damage           Bonuses         Clip Size          Notes
    Predator        37             +50%, A           12/60
    Carnifex        85             +50%, A            6/18
    Phalanx        110             +50%, A            6/24         Firepower DLC
    The Phalanx does more damage than the Carnifex, but fires much slower. It is 
    also VERY accurate: where the laser sight is aimed is where you hit. It'd say
    they're about equal. I hate that laser sight, though, so I go with the Carnifex.
    4.4 Heavy Weapons
    There sure are alot of Heavy Weapons to choose from in this game! I won't even
    bother listing the statistics, as the weapons themselves are so different in
    their uses that it's hard to do a comparison simply by numbers. Again, this is
    more or less personal preference, as you won't use them very often, except when
    you're up against big enemies like the YMIR Mechs. Try each one out and pick 
    your favourite(s). I myself prefer the Avalanche, since it's so good at taking
    out Husks.
    4.5 Bonus Weapons
    When you get to the Collector Ship, you get a choice of either picking up the
    Claymore shotgun, or learn how to use Sniper Rifles or Assault Rifles. This is
    not a trivial choice at all. The Claymore is the "best" shotgun, depending on
    your playstyle, but both the Sniper and Assault Rifles are excellent at taking
    on ranged combat, the Vanguard's biggest weakness. 
    Sniper Rifles are, in my opinion, a mixed blessing. They are very, very accurate
    and is the real defenition of ranged combat, but it can be very hard to hit your
    targets with them without the time dilation effects both the Soldier and the
    Infiltrator classes (the "sniping" classes, if you will) have. For example, when
    I snipe, I prefer the heavy-hitting rifles, the Mantis and the Widow. It is
    essential that you hit with every shot with them, and that they are headshots.
    They are not very well sutied for the Vanguard. The Incisor and the Viper works
    much better, as they have bigger clip sizes and can afford to miss, the Viper
    being the superior in the latter. 
    Assault rifles can be used to great effect in ranged combat, even though they're
    not as accurate at really big distances as sniper rifles are. The Mattock rifle,
    however, really does shine through here. It's very accurate over large distances
    and packs the biggest punch of all the assault rifles.
    Keep in mind that, as with the Bonus Powers, the choice does matter, but not as
    much as you'd think. The Vanguard is still very well rounded, and the powers and
    weapons you'll use the best are still the Vanguard's base choices. I myself
    prefer the Mattock Rifle along with the Eviscerator, since I don't like the
    Viper all that much. 
    4.6 Equipment
    This is one of the things that matter only slightly more than nothing in your
    ability to play the Vanguard. I myself hate to wear a helmet simply because I
    want to see my character talk in dialogue, so I either don't wear a helmet or
    pick the visor, even if I don't do many headshots, and this is a perfectly fine
    way to play. Equipment matter alot less in this game than it did in the original
    Mass Effect. Of course, every little bit DOES help, and several small bonuses
    can quickly add up to something significant.
    That being said, things you should look out for are things that either increases
    your survivability or your offensive prowess. The Kestral armour is excellent,
    as it covers both pretty well, with bonuses to both health, damage AND melee
    damage. There are shoulderpads that give you +25% melee damage as well, and they
    can be very nice to have, if you're a fan of using melee (and you should be!).
    Really, just take whatever you think looks best.
    While most other classes sit behind cover and unleash their own powers upon 
    their foes, oftentimes just waiting for them to come to them, the Vanguard
    fights in a fundamentally different way. You'll almost never shoot from behind
    cover, for one, and the means to survival doesn't just include knowledge of when
    to get out of cover and shoot. A Vanguard has to think before he acts, or she'll
    find herself overpowered and easily dispatched of.
    5.1 Using Charge
    This is the most basic question that a Vanguard should constantly ask herself.
    "Should I Charge now?" is something you should be asking all the time. While
    others may simply have to ask themselves if they should use Warp or Singularity,
    Drone or Incinerate, a sniper round or an assault rifle barrage, the Vanguard
    has to be a bit more tactical. 
    It may sound like I'm downgrading the other classes, but the fact is that when
    a Soldier, and Adept or an Engineer makes a mistake, such as aiming bad or using
    the wrong power on the wrong enemy, that only means (most of the time) that they
    will have to wait for their powers to recharge and try again. When a Vanguard
    makes the mistake of Charging when they shouldn't have, they die. So, you will
    die, alot, before you've gotten the nack of Charging down.
    There are, however, some good ways to learn how to Charge properly. First and
    foremost is this: use your radar! You should ALWAYS know where the enemy is, how
    many they are and if they're bunched up or spread out. The radar is an 
    invaluable tool to the Vanguard, use it!
    A good rule of thumb is that you should never Charge a group of four or more. 
    Even if you manage to kill the one you Charge with a quick shoot+melee, you'll
    quickly find yourself lacking in both shields and health simply because there
    were three other nasties shooting at you the entire time. In the beginning of
    the game, when you haven't gotten as many upgrades, you might even have trouble
    Charging groups of three. Get a feel for what you're capable of - don't chew off
    more than you can handle.
    Another good rule is that if there's an enemy that's adjacent to cover, you can
    go ahead and Charge, even if there are more guys behind him. Charge, shoot, hit
    him with a melee attack, and drop behind cover. You can chain Charges together
    in this way, continually going from enemy to enemy, cover to cover. This is
    quite a good way to take care of large groups of more or less spread out bad
    This might sound counterintuitive, but you should actually always be Charging an
    enemy that has some kind of defense left, whether it be shields, armour or a 
    barrier. Don't Charge things that only have health left! When you do, they'll 
    fly away from you, and you'll have to run to them to be able to hurt them. If 
    an enemy has defenses left it'll only be staggered, leaving itself wide open for
    your shotgun and melee attacks. The only time when you should Charge somebody 
    with only health is when the target is standing right next to something else 
    that you can kill AND be close to some sort of drop, bridge or rift that he can
    drop down into and die.
    Remember that Charge refills your shields! This means that you should always
    save your cooldowns for Charge, since it can be used defensively as well as
    offensively. For example, if you've just Charged into a group of three, you've
    taken out one and is gunning for a second. The second and third will be firing
    at you, but another Charge as soon as the cooldown is done can save your skin,
    enabling you to kill the second or third and then the last one, whichever it may
    be. In fact, any time you're not behind save cover and are low on shields and/or
    health, you should Charge - unless that Charge leads straight into a big group
    of bad guys!
    You might have heard of the term "flanking". This is something that the Vanguard
    excells at: getting behind the enemy lines and dividing their attention between
    yourself and your squadmates. Picture, if you will, a group of four Blue Suns
    Mercs, firing down at you and your squad. Behind them, a bit further off, is
    another one, about to try to join the group. Charge him! You'll now be behind
    the group of four, having taken out the guy in the back, and you can safely
    take cover behind the group. 
    The group will now have a hard time deciding which target they should pick: you
    or your squad. Since you and your squad are on opposite sides of the group, they
    have to choose. Alot of the time they'll pick you, since the enemies on Insanity
    REALLY does hate Shepard. That's fine, sit tight for a while and let your squad
    take some shots at them, maybe use a power or two. They'll get one down, or take
    several defenses out, and you can more easily take care of them.
    They might go for your squad, which is even better. They'll try to get closer to
    your squad, which means that there will be a "last one" that'll be a bit slower
    than the other three, either because of the terrain or because he was in a bad
    position. You can safely take that one out, and then go for the last three.
    Or... even better, they might split up between you and your squad! Say that they
    go two and two to each of you. Just wait, and charge the ones heading for your
    squad and take them out! The two who went for you will now have to turn back
    towards you and your squad, and since they're only two, you can easily take care
    of them yourself.
    Another thing about Charge is that it makes you invulnerable to any projectiles
    heading your way. Keep this in mind if you see one coming, and Charge if it's
    safe to do so.
    Thus, we have these things to keep in mind:
     1) Use your radar!
     2) Charge enemies close to cover.
     3) Do not Charge groups bigger than three.
     4) Use flanking to your advantage.
    Using those few guidelines along with the details above will greatly help you to
    learn how to stay alive as a Vanguard. After a while they'll become second 
    nature, and using Charge as a tactical device rather than just a brute force
    will become easier.
    5.2 Dealing with groups
    So, what do you do when those pesky groups DO show up? Because they will. As I
    explained above, Charging into big groups is a quick path to the reload screen.
    There will not always be easy flanking opportunities or good enough cover nearby
    to help you along, and you'll have to solve the problem some other way.
    The most basic idea is of course to simply let your shotgun have a bit of rest
    and bring out one of your other weapons, be it an SMG, a sniper rifle or one of
    the other weapons you have. Pick a target, kill from afar and repeat, until you
    feel safe to Charge again.
    Another way is through biotics: pick a target, take down its defenses and use 
    some biotic power on it, preferably one that can be Warp Exploded (Pull, Slam or
    Singularity). Quick use Warp on the affected target and watch the group get
    thrown all around. Hopefully they are now spread out enough that you can Charge.
    Overload works well with this tactic, as you won't really have to shoot anything
    to get the group vulnerable to biotics.
    Squad Cryo Ammo really works wonders in dealing with groups as well. As soon as
    something's down to health your squad will quickly immobilize it, removing one
    target wrong the battlefield temporarily. You should have enough time to get to
    work on the rest of the group. 
    5.3 Decimating your opposition
    Ok, so how do you actually kill stuff? Sure, Charge, but what about the details?
    For one, melee is really, really good. Especially with upgrades. It does very
    good damage, but more importantly: it staggers. That means that you actually
    stunlock enemies in one-on-one battles, simply by shooting them with your shot-
    gun, hitting them once, shooting them again, and so on... 
    You should make a habit of always hitting the melee button as soon as you've
    fired your shotgun once. This is especially important if you're using either
    the Eviscerator or the Claymore, as they have much smaller clips than the Katana
    or the Scimitar. 
    Another good tactic to use is to, after a Charge, actually not shooting the 
    target you Charged, but rather the enemy next to it. Since your Charged target
    will be staggered by the Charge itself you have a small window of opportunity
    to either kill or severely wound the targets friend. When you've shot the second
    target once, go back and hit the first one with a melee attack, staggering it
    again, and shoot or melee the second target yet again, to kill it. Finally kill
    the first target, the target you Charged.
    One of the absolutely best squad powers you can benefit from is Unstable Warp, 
    from either Miranda, Liara or Thane. See, when Warp hits its target(s), it 
    staggers them! This can be a great safety net, as well as an offensive attack 
    for when you need another second to either run to cover or finish an enemy off.
    Area Overload in conjunction with Singularity or Pull Field can work wonders in
    keeping your foes busy, as well. 
    Always keep the option for your squadmates' AI to decide for themselves when to
    use their powers OFF. You should always be manually assigning targets yourself,
    whether it be by the pause button or the quickbar doesn't matter.
    6.0 THE SQUAD
    You have a bunch of abilities and powers. How do you complement them as best you
    can by choosing the appropriete squad members? Well, there are a couple of 
    things to keep in mind... Biotics are very, VERY good, for one! I don't know how
    many times I've been saves by a Warp stagger or a last-second Pull Field have
    kept me wrong being overwhelmed by slavering Husks. It's a good idea to always
    have at least one biotic user (not counting yourself) in your squad.
    What about the second member, then? Well, you could go for another biotic user
    and not have to feel bad about it - you really can't get enough biotics! A
    favourite of mine is some combination of Miranda, Thane and Liara - the three
    people who each have Warp. It's that good! (Note that Liara can only be usef for
    her own mission - getting to the Shadow Broker.)
    Really, though, after having played with your Vanguard for a while you'll begin
    to notice that you can actually take care of most of the oppositino yourself,
    just as long as you can get big groups split up. Squad member choice begins to
    matter less and less, and can become little more than a matter of preferance.
    It can be more important in the beginning of the game, where two guys actually
    stand out: Jacob and Zaeed. They have two very good ammo powers for the start of
    the game, Incendiary and Disruptor Ammo, respectively. As you'll be maxing your
    Charge and Assault Mastery before anything else, Jacob and Zaeed both are good
    sources of increased damage and crowd control from their ammo powers.
    If you use Squad Cryo Ammo you should get your squad members to use rapid-fire
    weapons, as they'll freeze enemies more quickly that way.
    In general, remember that you really don't have to lock yourself into a single
    team composition (i.e. always bringing the same two squad members to every 
    mission). Different missions will benefit from different squad compositions, you
    should take advantage of that fact. Some members are very well rounded and take
    be helpful in almost all situations (Mirande, for example) while some are more
    suited for specific situations and opposion (Grunt is really excellent against
    Husks, for example). Don't be afraid to just restart a mission with a different
    squad setup if you find that your current one doesn't do it for you.
    7.0 UPGRADES
    You should try to use as many upgrades as you can get your hands on, as they can
    only help you. There's no drawback to having upgrades, like switching out a
    piece of equipment for another or alternating weapons. Some, however, are more
    important than others and should be given priority. These are mainly the ones
    that help you, not your squad members. Here's a short list of the most useful
    and important upgrades. You don't have to skip the other upgrades, just make 
    sure that you have enough money and/or minerals to be able to get the more 
    important ones as soon as they become available.
    Important Upgrades:      Shotgun upgrades
                             Damage Protection upgrades 
                             Heavy Skin Weave upgrades
                             Biotic Damage upgrades
    8.0 FIGHTING THE...
    What follows is a small summary of good tactics and strategies to use against
    the different types of enemies you'll encounter throughout the game. These are 
    not a complete step-by-step walkthough, just some indication as to how you might
    go about getting through different types of opposition.
    8.1 ...Collectors and their minions
    A general tactic is to let your squadmates deal with the Harbinger, while you
    Charge around the battlefield and take care of the rest. If you start by killing
    the Harbinger yourself you'll only risk getting that awful "Assuming direct 
    control!" sound played for you, and you'll have to kill him all over again.
    Husks can be really, really annoying. Squad Cryo Ammo is very useful against
    them, however, as is any ability that lifts them from the ground (as this kills
    them outright). You should probably equip your Heavy Pistol when dealing with
    Husks, as they're quite easy to miss with your shotgun. Plus, it'll eat away at
    your ammo supply pretty quickly. The Avalanche really shines against Husks, as
    well. Just try it out!
    Scions can both be very deadly and very easy to deal with. If they're shooting
    at you while you're trying to do other things (killing other Collectors, for
    example), they be can a real hassle. If a Scion is the only foe that's left, 
    things are different, though. Just wait until it unleashes its Shockwave, Charge
    past it, shoot the Scion, back up, and repeat until it's dead.
    8.2 ...Blue Suns and Eclipse Mercs
    These are the enemies that actually tend to act the smartest, i.e. they stay
    beind cover and together in groups most of the time. This can be a hassle, even
    though they're not really all that well-equipped. Just be careful, as a wrong
    move oftentimes places you in the middle of too much action for you to handle.
    Just take it cool, split groups up, be mindful of rockets from the Heavies, and
    let your squadmates focus on bosses and guys with multiple defenses. Don't be
    afraid to use your heavy weapons to split up groups!
    8.3 ...Mechanoids
    Loki Mechs really do gain quite a bit of punch in Insanity, as well as armour. 
    They should be dealth with as any other enemy, but be careful of standing too
    near them when they die, as they tend to explode. The four-legged versions can
    more often than not be ignored, as your squad will take care of them before can
    get to you.
    YMIR Mechs are a whole different story, though. These are tough bastards, and
    you really shouldn't try Charging them. Fight them from behind cover, using
    your SMG and pistol (and any kind of rifle, should you have them). Don't forget
    your squad powers! If you have Reave, that'll help as well.
    8.4 ...Krogan and Vorsha
    You really, REALLY want Incendiary Ammo for these guys, whether from just your
    own Inferno Ammo or Jacob or Grunts Squad versions. It's one of the more 
    frustrating things in the entire game to see an almost dead Krogan quickly
    regenerate 100% of his health, simply because you didn't kill him fast enough.
    Krogan can be stunlocked, but it's harder than with other enemies, as they'll 
    start using a charge of their own. If that happens, Charge THEM instead! Yours
    will work, theirs won't.
    Vorsha aren't really that much of a problem, except the Pyro versions. They 
    should NOT be Charged! Either take them out from afar, or hit the gas tanks on
    their backs and watch them explode. Overload works as well.
    8.5 ...Geth
    These are pretty much standard business as usual. They're mostly shields and
    smaller amounts of health, and since shotguns eat through shields, well...
    Just be careful of the bigger versions: Hunters, Destroyers and Primes, they
    can really wreck your day if you're not careful. Any squad members with Overload
    or other mech-friendly powers are welcome to Geth-heavy missions.
    I encourage you to just build your own character with the guidelines throughout
    this document, but if you really want one that's done and ready, here are three
    examples of well-rounded Vanguards.
    The Standard
    Bonus Power: Reave (Skips Shockwave and Pull)
    Bonus Weapon: Sniper Rifles
    This is the most common type of Vanguard, it's a pretty straightforward thing.
    Sniper Rifles and Reave gives her plenty of ranged capabilities, offsetting any
    previous weaknesses she may have had.
    The Versatile
    Bonus Power: Reave
    Bonus Weapon: Sniper or Assault Rifles
    This Vanguard puts three and one points into Shockwave and Pull, respectively.
    "Why not use all the powers at ones disposal?" is the motto here. She has
    several ways to deal with both ranged combat and those ugly Husks, and there's 
    an answer to every question not far away.
    The Powerful
    Bonus Power: Barrier
    Bonus Weapon: The Claymore
    This Vanguard is all about overpowering her foes before she herself succumbs to
    the night. She's methodical, precise and rarely (if ever) wastes bullets by
    missing her targets. Barrier gives her a safety net as well as a something small
    in way of preparation.
    Here it is, the end of the Guide! Hopefully you'll have learned some new things
    and maybe gained a few new insights into what is a truly wonderful and fun class
    to play in Mass Effect 2. If you have any comments, questions, criticism or 
    kind words concerning the guide, feel free to send me an email about it! You can
    find my email at the top of this page.
    10.1 Credit where credit is due
    So far nobody except me has contributed anything to the guide, as it only is the
    very first version. 
    10.2 Version History
    ver. 1.00, 18th of October, 2010
         - Initial release.
    10.3 Who's allowed to use this guide
    If you wish to put up my guide on another page, you will need my permission to 
    do so first. Simple send me a mail asking if it's alright to put it up on your 
    page, and I'll probably say yes - I've yet to refuse somebody. Keep in mind that
    the guide need to be presented in it's entirety, un-altered and free.
    The following sites are allowed to use my guide:
    And that's the end of the guide, have fun playing your Vanguard!