Vanguard Guide by Sajber

Version: 1.00 | Updated: 10/18/10 | Printable Version

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?

       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

       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!

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.

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.

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


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!