Iceman Infiltrator Guide by robsonwt

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    Iceman Infiltrator Guide by robsonwt

    Version: 1.0 | Updated: 02/11/16 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    Introduction and Copyright

    Purpose of this FAQ is to provide a guide for a Cryo Ammo based Infiltrator, my favorite build of Mass Effect 2 and 3 (I did a guide for ME2 here on GameFAQs: http://www.gamefaqs.com/pc/944906-mass-effect-2/faqs/71400).

    I'm writing this assuming that readers will be familiar with game mechanics and have all DLC (If you don't, please do yourself a favor and buy them, they worth it).

    Differently from Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3 Insanity level preserves protection layout of each enemy. So If a Cerberus Assault Trooper has no shields in Normal, he will have no shields in Insanity too. This fact makes the game to be more playable for an Iceman character even in Insanity (You will be able to freeze enemies as frequently in any difficulty level). So I will focus this guide on Insanity level of difficulty.

    "Mass Effect 3" copyright Electronic Arts, Bioware 2012.

    The Iceman Infiltrator Build

    This particular build is a Cryo Ammo based Infiltrator. Other key characteristic is that he/she is builded more towards an Engineer than Sniper, so focus is more in tech powers and less on Tactical Cloak and heavy sniper rifles.

    Cryo Ammo

    Cryo Ammo now works on protected enemies, making them chill rather than freeze. Chilled enemies will move slowly and chilled armored enemies will have their armor weakened so fixed damage reduction of their armor is debuffed and your weapons' bullets can deal more damage per shot. Double damage of frost targets from ME2 seems to have been gone, and instead you have damage bonus only in one of tree choices of power evolution for chilled and frost enemies (See more details below). Enemies are staggered when they are being frost. Husks won't shatter instantly when frost anymore.

    Chill or Freeze?

    The in-game description of Cryo Ammo uses confusing terminology to designate chilled and frost enemies. Sometimes they refer to frozen targets but it's not clear if it's referreing to unprotected completely frozen enemies or the protected chilled ones. Let's take the Level 6 tree branches of the power as an example:

    Freeze Chance
    Improve the odds of freezing a target by 50%.
    Decrease a frozen target's movement speed by an additional 20%.

    Damage Combo
    Increase damage to frozen targets from all sources by 50%.
    Weaken the armor of chilled targets by 25%.

    In the Freeze Chance branch, the increase of the odds of freezing also increase the odds of chilling, so in this case freeze = chill. In the same example, a "frozen" target movement speed will decrease 20%. Well, if they meant by "frozen", only completely frozen enemies, the movement speed reduction would be already 100% and that 20% increase would not make sense. In that case, freeze = chill.

    But in the Damage Combo branch, they are specifically saying "chilled targets" would have the their armor debuffed and it's not clear if the damage increase of "frozen targets" would include the chilled targets or not.

    I didn't manage to test this doubts in game yet. So I'm assuming that, otherwise specified, when it's written frozen, it includes chilled as well.

    Weapon Fire Rate

    Name of the game for this build is Weapons Fire Rate. Slowest the fire rate = better chance for Ammo Processing, in our case, Freeze and Chill. The formula:

    Ammo Processing Chance = 100 * Processing Factor * (60 / Weapon Fire Rate*)

    Processing Factor: built in factor that Ammo Power has. It starts with 1 (100%) and is increased as power evolves (It has some branch evolutions designed specific to increase that factor).

    The Ammo processing chance is calculated in every shot. So if you have a high rate of fire weapon, it will have a low chance of processing, but since you will be sorting various shots in a row, at each round hit your overall chance will increase (thought it's not linear, and it has a diminishing increase of chance after each shot). But in this case you will probably end up killing your enemy before it gets frost.

    *For shotguns, multiply the Fire Rate for 8 (The number of pellets of most shotguns).

    Cryo Explosions

    Your main damage output will be creating Cryo Explosions. Power Combos were the only damage output feature that scales with difficulty. So if you manage to kill an enemy with a Cryo Explosion in Normal, you will be able to kill that same enemy in Insanity as well. So the best is to create as many Cryo Explosions as you can. Cryo Explosions also freeze and chill enemies nearby.

    Damage of Cryo Explosion (and other Power Combos) depends only on level of priming power (In our case Cryo Ammo) and detonating power (Incinerate, Overload, Concussion Shot etc.). Individual damage of priming and detonating powers don't matter to combo damage. Exception will be some specific power evolutions that explicitly modify radius, force and/or damage of power combos.

    Problem with Cryo Explosion is that you can only prime it for unprotected enemies, so your main focus will be stripping defenses. The freezing will be taken care later by yours and your squadmates' guns. You will be detonating your Cryo Explosions with detonating powers like Incinerate, Overload, Concussion Shot etc.

    When you freeze an enemy, there's this freezing animation that happens. The enemy will only be primed for Cryo Explosion when this animation ends and the enemy is fully frost. It's kind of annoying, but you have to learn to wait for this animation to end, and sync the release of your detonating power so it will not hit the enemy during the animation and therefore don't trigger the Cryo Explosion.

    Recharge Speed

    There are some considerations about Recharge Speed:

    • As stated before, the most damaging blow you can deliver in the game is Power Combos. And the damage of those combos depends more on the level of the priming and detonating power than the individual damage of those powers. So, as frequent you can deliver priming and detonating powers, as frequent you will be creating Power Combos.
    • Recharge Speed has diminishing returns as you increase it. The formula is: Base Time / (1 + Bonus Recharge Time). So when you have a 100% bonus, you get to half your recharge time: Base Time / (1 + 1). When you get a 200% bonus, you get a third of your Recharge Time: Base Time / (1 + 2). So, when you have a high bonus recharge time, each increase you have it will get you fractions of seconds of increase.
    • But those fractions of seconds will make a difference in the heat of the battle. It's easy to miss an Incinerate (and more frequently Overload and Energy Drain) cast. And it's easier to hit a detonating power in a not completely frost enemy and miss the trigger of the Cryo Explosion. So that fraction of a second it's the difference that allows you to cast your power a second time, your enemy still be frost and get the Cryo Explosion.
    • So for this guide I will be focusing in Recharge Speed rather than Damage.

    Powers

    I'll be showing the Starting leveling build and the Level 60 build for the character before the Walkthrough. The Starting build depends on whether you have a New Character, or an Imported Mass Effect 2 file. Unfortunately Cryo ammo only unlocks at level 3 so you won't be able to be an Iceman after you reach that level. So I'm assuming a ME2 imported character. Note: Import a ME2 character that has all his/her powers reset, and all points unspent. It will make all your point unspent also in the beginning of ME3 and allows you to create a more flexible configuration.

    Bonus Power

    If you are playing a second playthrough you can choose a Bonus Power right away. The best bonus power for the Iceman Infiltrator is Energy Drain. Since you will not focus on Disruptor Ammo, you will need a way to strip shields and barriers. Energy Drain fills that role and will give you a boost in survivability because it will refill your shields and add a layer of damage protection when you hit enemies with shields or barriers or synthetics.

    Sabotage or not Sabotage, that's the question

    That's a controversial choice. Sabotage combines the overheating debuff of ME2 Overload with ME2 AI Hacking. In ME2 you could only hack unprotected enemies, and since your unprotected enemies would be frost, AI Hacking was useless. But now you can Hack protected enemies. And more importantly, it has a branch in the power evolution that gives you 100% tech damage bonus for 10 seconds, and this power has a base power of 8 seconds (It can be as low as almost 2 seconds with all Recharge Bonus applied).

    But to max it right from the start you will have to sacrifice points in Cryo Ammo, Incinerate and/or Energy Drain, your core powers to strip defendes, freeze and detonate Cryo Explosions. So, if you are playing this build merely as an Engineer focused Infiltrator, and Cryo Ammo is just another tool in your belt, by all means, max Sabotage as soon as you can.

    But if you are playing as a true Iceman, you will make the extra effort to freeze your enemies and you will be focusing in maxing Cryo Ammo, Incinerate and Energy Drain, to chill and freeze enemies and will avoid hacking. So you will be maxing Sabotage later in the game for the 100% tech damage bonus.

    Leveling

    Starting Build (Level 30)

    • Disruptor Ammo (0)
    • Cryo Ammo (6)
      • 4: Squad Bonus
      • 5: Headshot
      • 6: Freeze Chance
    • Incinerate (6)
      • 4: Radius
      • 5: Recharge Speed
      • 6: Freeze Combo
    • Tactical Cloak (1)
    • Sticky Grenade (2)
    • Sabotage (0)
    • Operational Mastery (3)
    • Fitness (2)
    • Energy Drain* (3)
    • Max your Cryo Ammo as soon as you can. Cryo Explosion damage is based on the level of the priming and detonating powers rather than the damage of the power themselves. So a level 6 Cryo Ammo will result in more powerful Cryo Explosions. And you will need the Level 6 Freeze Chance right away as it will be explained below:
      • Level 4: Squad Cryo Ammo is a given, you need all your squadmates with means to freeze your enemies.
      • Level 5: You will find plenty of ammo during missions, and you will see the "Full Ammo" sign a lot, so no need to get Ammo Capacity bonus (unless you will be playing with the Krysae Sniper Rifle). So Headshot damage bonus is the better option.
      • Level 6: In the beginning of the game, you will only have access to high rate of fire weapons (Predator, Avenger), so if you want to be an Iceman right from the start, you have to increase your freeze chance, so you can freeze some enemies. If you keep the freeze chance at 1.3 will be very hard to freeze enemies with the Predator and Avenger.
    • Max your Incinerate as soon as you can. Incinerate will be your main detonating power, so a level 6 Incinerate will create more powerful Cryo Explosions.
      • Level 4: Radius is the always the best option. It has a better chance to detonate more enemies in a single blow, and you can hit enemies behind cover when they are at long range and they can't be target by your system (Don't show their health and type of protection)
      • Level 5: Recharge Speed as stated above.
      • Level 6: Freeze Combo is a given since your enemies will always be chilled or frost.
    • Put only one point in Tactical Cloak, so you can access this power. Use it defensively when you are swarmed, or to find a better sniping position in a battle.
    • Put one or two points in Sticky Grenades so you won't waste those grenades laying around in the missions battlefields. You wont use them frequently, but since they are independent from your Global Power cooldown and don't break your Tactical Cloak they are useful in panic situations. In addition, they can carry properties of the ammo power currently activated, in our case, freeze or chill. When a grenade is attached to an enemy he will freeze or chill momentarily until the grenade explodes. The explosion don't freeze or chill nearby enemies though.
    • The time dilation of your Sniper Rifle Scope view is very useful, so max it as soon as you can, buying 3 levels of Operational Mastery.
    • Distribute the rest of points in Energy Drain and Fitness.

    Final Build (Level 60)

    • Disruptor Ammo (0)
    • Cryo Ammo (6)
      • 4: Squad Bonus
      • 5: Headshot
      • 6: Damage Combo
    • Incinerate (6)
      • 4: Radius
      • 5: Recharge Speed
      • 6: Freeze Combo
    • Tactical Cloak (6)
      • 4: Duration
      • 5: Recharge Speed
      • 6: Bonus Power
    • Sticky Grenade (6)
      • 4: Radius
      • 5: Max Grenades
      • 6: Proximity Trap
    • Sabotage (6)
      • 4: Backfire
      • 5: Recharge Speed
      • 6: Tech Vulnerability
    • Operational Mastery (6)
      • 4: Weapon Damage (and Power Damage)
      • 5: Squad Bonus
      • 6: Damage and Duration
    • Fitness (6)
      • 4: Durability
      • 5: Shield Recharge
      • 6: Durability
    • Energy Drain* (6)
      • 4: Radius
      • 5: Recharge Speed
      • 6: Damage
    • You won't use Disruptor Ammo, so any points left can be assigned here or remain unspent.
    • In the beginning of the game you gain access to slow rate of fire sniper rifles so you can reset your powers and change Cryo Ammo to Level 6 Damage Combo.
    • Tactical Cloak
      • Level 4: you will be using it to solve game puzzles, escape enemy swarming, pass through battlefield bottlenecks and find better sniping positions, so Duration is better than Damage bonus.
      • Level 5: You won't melee, so Recharge Speed is the best option.
      • Level 6: This build is power based and not weapon based, so it's best to be able to span a power in cloak than to increase the Sniper rifle damage.
    • Sticky Grenades
      • Level 4: The greater the radius, the better the chance to detonate power combos. You will be using grenades to flush enemies out of cover, so radius is good for that too.
      • Level 5: It goes either way. It's good to have a damage against armor, but I think it's better to have more grenades to use it more frequently.
      • Level 6: You won't be using the proximity trap feature, but the bonus in radius makes this upgrade worth it.
    • Sabotage
      • Level 4: You won't be hacking enemies, so it's better to make enemies weapons backfire.
      • Level 5: You won't be hacking enemies, so it's better to increase Recharge Speed.
      • Level 6: Tech Vulnerability is a given. You will use it a lot against bosses.
    • Operational Mastery
      • Level 4: You will want the increase in Power Damage.
      • Level 5: Even if the Weight capacity bonus would increase your Recharge Speed bonus, the increase in 15% in Power damage for all squad makes the Squad Bonus a better option.
      • Level 6: This is a power oriented build, so the Power Damage is the better option.
    • You won't melee, so your Fitness should focus on Health and Shields.
    • Energy Drain
      • Level 4: Radius is the best option. More Power Combos primed and detonated.
      • Level 5: You will be using this power offensively so Recharge Speed is the best option.
      • Level 6: You will be using this power offensively so Damage bonus is the best option.

    Power Priorities

    1. Cryo Ammo and Incinerate
    2. Energy Drain
    3. Operational Mastery and Fitness
    4. Tactical Cloak
    5. Sticky Grenades
    6. Sabotage

    * If you are playing ME3 for the first time, you won't have Energy Drain right away. So distribute its points following the priority above. When you acquire Energy Drain later in the game, reset your powers and redistribute them following this priority.

    Weapons

    As stated above, you will need weapons with low rate of fire to increase your chance for chill and freeze. So you have to focus in hard hitting weapons like Sniper Rifles and Heavy Pistols. In addition, in ME3 you won't need an submachine gun or shotgun to fill the role of anti shields or barrier weapons. In general, all weapons deal the same damage against all protections.

    Weapons work very differently for Shepard comparing to Squadmates:

    • Recharge time of Squadmates are not affected by weight of weapons.
    • Squadmates have unlimited ammo, although they need to reload their weapons.
    • Squadmates don't have any problem with accuracy
    • Squadmates have bionic eyes: they can see through smoke and sometimes walls.
    • Weapons of Squadmates deal much less damage than Shepard's.

    So I will be analyzing the weapons focusing on Shepard and then Squadmates.

    Weapons are to freeze not to kill

    An important detail of this build is that you want your weapons to work like Cryo Blast against unprotected enemies. You don't want to kill them, but to freeze. A frost enemy killed by your weapons is a lost opportunity for a Cryo Explosion. So when you sense you are going to need a Cryo Explosion to crowd control or to damage a protected enemy nearby, aim for the body, wait for the freezing animation to complete and trigger a Cryo Explosion.

    Sniper Rifles

    For Shepard

    Your main weapon will be the Viper. It has a rate of fire that is low enough to freeze and chill in every shot but it's not bolt action, and you will be able to freeze and chill multiple targets without reloading. And also has a good spare ammo capacity and is very light. Fortunately, you have access to the Viper very early on the game.

    Until that, you will have the Level 6 Freeze Chance upgraded (for the Predator and Avenger in the Prologue: Earth mission), so it's better to use the Indra than the Mantis. The Mantis has low rate of fire, but you will have to reload at each shot, meaning that you will loose time reloading instead of casting Incinerate to trigger a Cryo Explosion or Energy Drain to strip enemies' shields and barriers.

    Weapon Mods

    You will need a way to deal with the Guardian Shields, so equip the Viper with the piercing mod. It will be also useful to hit enemies in cover, make them flee and be exposed to your Energy Drain and your squadmates Overload.

    Against Cerberus, equip the Enhanced Scope to see through smoke. Against other enemies, equip the Concentration Mod. You will have a damage bonus and more time to line up headshots against protected units.

    Don't equip mods that increase the weight of your weapon as you will need the maximum power recharge bonus and they aren't worth it because of the weight penalty.

    Other Sniper Rifles

    Another option is to use the Krysae. It has an area of effect meaning that you can freeze multiple enemies with a single shot. But it's too heavy, has a small clip size and has low spare ammo capacity. It's best suited to your Squadmates, since weight and spare ammo is not an issue for them.

    For Squadmates

    As stated before, the best option is the Krysae. Equip it with Concentration Mod and High Caliber Barrel. Krysae don't fire bullets, so penetration mods won't work with it.

    Close Quarters Combat

    You will be a Sniper. A power oriented one, but a Sniper nevertheless. So Close Quarters Combat will be your main weakness. You will need a tactic to compensate that. There's two alternatives: Use the Viper to shot from the hip (You don't need to worry of the damage reduction penalty, because your weapon doesn't need to deal damage but it's a mean to freeze and chill) or use a side arm. Since you are looking for weapons with low rate of fire, the Heavy Pistols are the best option.

    Heavy Pistols

    For Shepard

    The best option is the Talon. It has a good ammo proc chance, and it fires 3 pellets similar to a shotgun, but apparently its fire rate it's not multiplied by 3 when calculating the freeze chance. So the pellets create some sort of Area of Effect, meaning you can chill and freeze multiple enemies with one shot. Although is kind of hard to manage to hit different pellets into different targets.

    Weapon Mods

    The Talon is not that light, so you will need Ultralight materials to compensate that and make your power recharge bonus next to 200%.

    Against Cerberus, use the piercing mod to deal with Guardians. Against other enemies, equip the Power Magnifier.

    Other Heavy Pistols

    There are other options to consider:

    • Acolyte: It has an area of effect so you can freeze multiple enemies with one shot. But you have to charge for each shot which means it could be difficult in a close quarters situation. It has an excellent bonus of 500% damage against shields and barriers which will help a lot stripping defenses to create Cryo Explosion opportunities. It's best suited for Squadmates as their main weapon.
    • Scorpion: This weapon fires grenades similar to Shepard's Sticky Grenades, so it means you will freeze your target momentarily when the grenade is attached to him, but the Area of Effect for the grenade's damage will not freeze and chill nearby enemies. In addition Scorpion is kind of heavy for Shepard to use. Hence the Acolyte it's a better option.
    • Until you get the Talon, equip yourself with the lowest rate of fire weapon you get. First, the Predator and then the Phalanx.

    For Squadmates

    As stated before, the better option is the Acolyte. Equip it with the Power Magnifier and the Heavy Barrel. If you don't have it, then use the High Caliber Barrel.

    Assault Rifles

    For Shepard

    Although it's possible for Shepard to use Assault Rifles, it's not recommended for this build. The ones that have low rate of fire and good freezing chance are too heavy. And in addition, you will have to equip them with Thermal Scope (+50% weapon weight) to deal with Cerberus' Smoke Grenades.

    For Squadmates

    The best option is the Falcon. It has a good freeze chance and has an area of effect for freezing.

    Weapon Mods

    The Falcon has no bullets so piercing mod is not going to work with it. Equip the Magazine Upgrade so they can fire more rounds before reloading and Extended Barrel increasing overall damage.

    Other Assault Rifles

    Unfortunately the Falcon it's only available until the game is almost over, unless you are playing a New Game+. Until that use:

    • Saber: good ammo processing chance. No area of effect though. Uses bullets, can pierce cover. Equip it with Piercing mod and extended barrel
    • Chakram Launcher: not so good ammo processing chance. Area of effect for damage but not freezing. Don't use bullets. Equip it with Magazine Upgrade and Extended Barrel.
    • Striker: not so good ammo processing chance. Area of effect for damage but not freezing. Don't use bullets. Equip it with Magazine Upgrade and Extended Barrel.
    • Adas Anti-Synthetic: even worse ammo processing chance, but it would work with the Level 6 Freeze Chance upgrade. Has a shields/barrier damage bonus. Good for stripping enemies defenses. Don't use bullets, can't pierce. Equip it with Magazine Upgrade and Extended Barrel.

    Shotguns

    You won't use it: They have a x8 factor multiplier for their fire rate to calculate freezing chance making the odds too low. The exception is equipping Aria T'Loak in the Omega DLC mission. See more details below.

    Submachine guns

    You won't use it: The rate of fire is too high.


    If you want to know more, check out this detailed file with all stats from all weapons of Mass Effect 3: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1U8T5SZxl9sncgkcIGQVuNI1BHwKyPEkqfAOwOXRXD38/

    Squadmates

    Your best buddies in this game will be EDI, Kaidan and/or Garrus.

    Kaidan

    • Reave (6)
      • Level 4: Radius
      • Level 5: Recharge Speed
      • Level 6: Barriers & Armor
    • Cryo Blast: (6)
      • Level 4: Radius
      • Level 5: Cryo Explosion
      • Level 6: Frozen Vulnerability
    • Barrier (0)
    • Overload (6)
      • Level 4: Chain Overload
      • Level 5: Recharge Speed or Neural Shock
      • Level 6: Shield Damage
    • Allliance Officer (6)
      • Level 4: Weapon Damage
      • Level 5: Tech Damage
      • Level 6: Squad Bonus damage

    In Mass Effect 3 you won't need a biotic specialist anymore to deal with Barriers, since Overload is more efficient against Barriers than Warp. So you will build Kaidan more like an Engineer rather than a true Sentinel.

    • Cryo Blast:
      • Radius: always the best option. Freezes more enemies in one cast. More chance for Cryo Explosions.
      • Cryo Explosion: it's not the Power Combo Cryo Explosion, is only a damage bonus, which is better than decrease in enemy speed.
      • Frozen Vulnerability: Cryo Blast is already a fast power. It's better to have another damage bonus.
    • Overload:
      • Chain Overload is the "radius" option for the Overload. It hits a second nearby target with 60% damage. It helps to strip more enemies defenses and detonate additional Cryo Explosions.
      • Overload it's kind of a slow power so Recharge Speed is good. In the other branch, you won't need the incapacitate feature, but it will give you a huge damage multiplier against organic shields and barrires. So either option is good.
      • Shield Damage: 100% Damage multiplier against Shields and Barriers is the better option. You won't need more crowd control with the 3rd hit with 16% damage.
    • Reave: Only use it in a panic situation if you need to kill an armored enemy fast. This power will prime for biotic explosion that your tech powers can't detonate and it won't detonate the tech explosions you primed.
      • Radius is better than duration.
      • You won't use this power defensively, so Recharge Speed is better than Damage Redution.
      • You want to use it as striking blow, so Damage bonus against Armor and Barrier it's better than Damage and Duration.
    • Don't put any points in Barrier and even reset Kaidan powers so he has 0 points in this power. Sometimes Squadmates use defensive powers even with Automatic Squadmate Power is off. Barrier decreases Kaidan recharge speed and you don't want that. You won't use Kaidan as a tank, and if he ever dies, use Medigel to revive him.
    • Alliance Officer
      • Weapon Damage is better than Durability
      • Kaidan in this build is an Engineer, so Tech Power is the best option.
      • You won't need extra protection, so Squad Bonus to Power Damage is better than Shield Recharge

    Power Priorities

    • Cryo Blast
    • Overload
    • Alliance Officer
    • Reave

    Weapons

    Equip him with the Falcon. Until you have it, equip him with the Acolyte.

    Armor

    Equp him with the Armor that gives him +25% Power Recharge Speed.

    EDI

    • Incinerate (6)
      • 4: Radius
      • 5: Recharge Speed
      • 6: Freeze Combo
    • Overload (6)
      • Level 4: Chain Overload
      • Level 5: Recharge Speed or Neural Shock
      • Level 6: Shield Damage
    • Defense Matrix (0)
    • Decoy (0)
    • Unshackled AI (6)
      • Level 4: Power Damage
      • Level 5: Tech Damage
      • Level 6: Squad Bonus damage

    EDI will be the proper Engineer on your team. Detonating Cryo Explosions in unprotected enemies and setting Fire Explosions on armored bosses and stripping defenses with Overload.

    • Build Incinerate the same way as Shepard
    • Build Overload the same way as Kaidan
    • Don't put any points in Defense Matrix. Sometimes Squadmates use defensive powers even with Automatic Squadmate Power is off. Defense Matrix decreases EDI recharge speed and you don't want that. You won't use EDI as a tank, and if she ever dies, use Medigel to revive her.
    • Don't put any points in Decoy. You won't use it. Sometimes Squadmates use defensive powers even with Automatic Squadmate Power is off. Decoy has a long recharge speed and will prevent EDI from using her other powers and you don't want that.
    • Unshackled AI
      • Power Damage is better than Durability
      • Power Damage is better than Weapons Damage
      • You won't need extra protection, so Squad Bonus to Power Damage is better than Shield Recharge for EDI.

    Power Priorities

    • Incinerate and Overload
    • Unshackled AI

    Weapons

    Equip her with the Acolyte.

    Armor

    Equp her with the Armor that gives her +25% Power Recharge Speed.

    Garrus

    • Concussion Shot (6)
      • 4: Radius
      • 5: Shatter
      • 6: Amplification
    • Overload (6)
      • Level 4: Chain Overload
      • Level 5: Recharge Speed or Neural Shock
      • Level 6: Shield Damage
    • Proximity Mine (?)
    • Armor Piercing Ammo (0)
    • Turian Rebel (6)
      • Level 4: Weapon Damage
      • Level 5: Power Damage
      • Level 6: Squad Bonus power damage
    • Concussion Shot
      • Radius is always the best option
      • As your enemies will be always chilled or frozen, Shatter is the best option.
      • Amplification is a given here. It transforms Concussion Shot in some sort of Cryo Blast, freezing and chilling enemies. You can prime Cryo Explosions too, but you will need to wait a little longer because the freezing animation of the Concussion Shot is longer than the one for Cryo Blast.
      • Concussion Shot has a bug that is a bonus for this build. You can prime and detonate Cryo Explosions against Atlas:
        • You shoot a few rounds at the Atlas canopy with your Sniper Rifle with piercing mod and that appears to prime a Cryo Explosion on the Atlas Pilot.
        • Then you cast a Concussion Shot and the Cryo Explosion happens.
        • Another way is to prime the Cryo Explosion with the Concussion Shot and detonate it with another Concussion Shot or even an Incinerate or Overload. But that's more difficult and don't happen as often.
    • Build Overload the same way as Kaidan
    • You probably won't use Proximity Mine. It has a recharge speed that is too long. Put points here whatever you like.
    • Don't spend points in Armor Piercing Ammo. You are an Iceman, so Cryo Ammo for all your Squadmates.
    • Turian Rebel
      • Weapon Damage is better than Durability
      • Power Damage is better than Weapons Damage
      • Squad Bonus to Power Damage is better than Damage for Sniper. Your weapons are to freeze and not to kill.

    Power Priorities

    • Concussion Shot
    • Overload
    • Turian Rebel

    Weapons

    Equip him with the Falcon or the Krysae.

    Armor

    Equp him with the Armor that gives him +25% Weapon Damage.


    During the Game, you will have to bring along some other Squadmates because of the story. Let's see how we would build them:

    James

    • Carnage (6)
      • 4: Radius
      • 5: Recharge Speed
      • 6: Armor Damage
    • Frag Grenade (6)
      • Level 4: Radius
      • Level 5: Max Grenades
      • Level 6: Armor Piercing
    • Fortification (0)
    • Incendiary Ammo (0)
    • Arms Master (6)
      • Level 4: Weapon Damage
      • Level 5: Power Damage
      • Level 6: Squad Bonus
    • Use Carnage to detonate Cryo Explosions and prime and detonate Fire Explosions on armored units.
      • Radius is always the best option
      • You won't need the crow control feature of Incapacitate, them Recharge Speed is the best option.
      • You want to maximize your damage against protection so Armor Damage is the better option.
    • Use Frag Grenade to detonate Cryo Explosion and other Tech Power Combos. Take advantage of the fact that Grenades can work out of the Cooldown cycle.
      • Radius is always the best option
      • You won't need the extra damage against organics, so Max Grenades is the best option.
      • You will only use James in two missions: Mars and Palaven, and in Palaven you will face a lot of Brutes, so Armor Damage is the best option.
    • Don't put any points in Fortification and even reset James powers so he has 0 points in this power. Sometimes Squadmates use defensive powers even with Automatic Squadmate Power is off. Fortification decreases James recharge speed and you don't want that. You won't use James as a tank, and if he ever dies, use Medigel to revive him.
    • Don't spend points in Incendiary Ammo. You are an Iceman, so Cryo Ammo for all your Squadmates.
    • Arms Master
      • Weapon Damage is better than Durability
      • Power Damage is better than Shield Recharge
      • You won't need the extra protection for James and you won't build him like a tank so he won't melee. Therefore the best option is extra protection for the entire team.

    Power Priorities

    • Carnage
    • Frag Grenade
    • Arms Master

    Weapons

    Equip him with the best Assault Rifle you had at the time, following the Weapons section above. In order: Falcon, Saber, Striker or Adas.

    Armor

    Equp him with the Armor that gives him +25% Weapon Damage.

    Ashley

    • Concussion Shot (6)
      • 4: Radius
      • 5: Shatter
      • 6: Amplification
    • Inferno Grenade (6)
      • Level 4: Radius
      • Level 5: Max Grenades or Damage
      • Level 6: Armor Damage
    • Marksman (0)
    • Disruptor Ammo (0)
    • Alliance Officer (6)
      • Level 4: Weapon Damage
      • Level 5: Power Damage
      • Level 6: Squad Bonus
    • Build Concussion Shot the same way as Garrus
    • Use Inferno Grenade to detonate Cryo Explosion and other Tech Power Combos and to prime Fire Explosions on armored units. Take advantage of the fact that Grenades can work out of the Cooldown cycle.
      • Radius is always the best option
      • Max Grenades or Damage both will work fine.
      • You want damage maximized against protection, so Armor Damage is best.
    • Apparently Marksman is bugged for Ashley, but it's not that useful anyway, so don't spend any points in it.
    • Don't spend points in Disruptor Ammo. You are an Iceman, so Cryo Ammo for all your Squadmates.
    • Alliance Officer
      • Weapon Damage is better than Durability
      • You want your weapons to freeze and powers to kill, so Power Damage is better.
      • It's better to have Weapons Damage to the entire squad than to give a boost only to Ashley's Assault Rifle.

    Power Priorities

    • Concussion Shot
    • Inferno Grenade
    • Alliance Officer

    Weapons

    Equip her with the Falcon or the Krysae.

    Armor

    Equp her with the Armor that gives her +25% Weapon Damage.

    Liara

    • Warp (6)
      • 4: Detonate
      • 5: Expose
      • 6: Pierce
    • Singularity (6)
      • Level 4: Radius
      • Level 5: Recharge Speed
      • Level 6: Detonate
    • Stasis (6)
      • Level 4: Stasis Strength
      • Level 5: Recharge Speed
      • Level 6: Bubble
    • Warp Ammo (0)
    • Pure Biotic (6)
      • Level 4: Recharge Speed
      • Level 5: Duration and Force
      • Level 6: Squad Bonus
    • Warp has an upgrade branch that increases damage, radius and force of Power Combos, so use it as your main Cryo Explosion detonator when you are in a mission with Liara.
      • Detonate is a given as stated above.
      • The odds is that if the enemy has not died because of the Cryo Explosion detonated by the Warp, he/she will be a armored unit and will receive a lot of power casts and power combos right after. So Expose will add 15% on all those damage outputs.
      • Liara has a good passive on Recharge Speed, so here it's better the increase in damage on protection: Armor and Barrier.
    • Use Singularity mainly to remove riot shields from Guardians.
      • Radius is always the best option
      • You won't lift many targets so Damage is not very useful. The Recharge Speed bonus is better because makes Singularity a very fast power, allowing Liara to be free to use Warp in the next Cryo Explosion opportunity.
      • Detonate is better because it can trigger an unexpected Tech Explosion.
    • You probably won't use Stasis, so you can use the suggestions above, but they don't really matter much.
    • Don't spend points in Warp Ammo. You are an Iceman, so Cryo Ammo for all your Squadmates.
    • Pure Biotic
      • Recharge Speed is always the better option.
      • Liara doesn't have any powers that deals force in Newtons (N) like Throw, so I think when the description says "Power Force" they probably mean "Power Damage". In this case Power Damage is better than Weapon Damage.
      • Warp will be the most used power for Liara, so it's better to have an increase in 10% in Power Recharge for all powers (Warp included) than a greater bonus only for Singularity.

    Power Priorities

    • Warp
    • 1 point only in Singularity to deal with Guardians
    • Pure Biotic
    • Singularity
    • Stasis

    Weapons

    Equip her with the Acolyte.

    Armor

    Equp her with the Armor that gives her +25% Power Recharge Speed.

    Tali

    • Energy Drain (6)
      • 4: Radius
      • 5: Recharge Speed
      • 6: Damage
    • Sabotage (6)
      • 4: Backfire
      • 5: Recharge Speed
      • 6: Tech Vulnerability
    • Combat Drone (6)
      • 4: Shields & Damage
      • 5: Shields & Damage
      • 6: Rockets or Chain Lightning
    • Defense Drone (3)
    • Quarian Machinist (6)
      • 4: Recharge Speed
      • 5: Tech Upgrade
      • 6: Squad Bonus
    • Build Energy Drain the same way as Shepard.
    • Build Sabotage the same way as Shepard
    • Use Combat Drone to smoke enemies out of cover and to lure them to your Sniping field of view.
      • You want your Drone to last longer, so Tali can be free to cast Energy Drain to strip enemies shields, so Shields and Damage in both Level 4 and 5 branches.
      • Chain Lightning will create more crowd control, but Rockets will work just fine as well.
    • You won't be engaging in close quarters so you won't use Defense Drone. But it can useful in certain parts of some missions like when swarmed by Geth Hunters in the Geth Dreadnought or Primes in Rannoch.
    • Quarian Machinist
      • Recharge Speed is always the better option.
      • Power Damage is better than Weapon Damage.
      • Energy Drain will be the most used power for Tali, so it's better to have an increase in 10% in Power Recharge for all powers (Energy Drain included) and for all party members than a greater bonus only for Drone powers.

    Power Priorities

    • Energy Drain
    • 1 point only in Combat Drone to have access to this power
    • Quarian Machinist
    • Sabotage
    • Combat Drone
    • Defense Drone

    Weapons

    Equip her with the Acolyte.

    Armor

    Equp her with the Armor that gives her +25% Power Recharge Speed.

    Javik

    • Slam (6)
      • 4: Radius
      • 5: Force
      • 6: Recharge Speed
    • Lift Grenade (6)
      • 4: Radius
      • 5: Max Grenades
      • 6: Damage
    • Dark Channel (1)
    • Pull (6)
      • 4: Radius
      • 5: Expose
      • 6: Double Pull or Recharge Speed.
    • Vengeful Ancient (6)
      • 4: Power Damage
      • 5: Power Damage
      • 6: Squad Bonus power damage
    • Slam has an interesting feature or bug that is a bonus for this Iceman build: When you hit an enemy in the animation of being frozen (not completely frost, so not yet primed for Cryo Explosion), the detonation will happen only a few instants later when the enemy is slammed to the ground, resulting in a Cryo Explosion, even if the enemy shatters because of the first Slam impact. I've used this denotation a lot of times and I didn't missed a single Cryo Explosion due to an enemy not yet fully frost.
      • Radius: always the best option.
      • The Detonate branch only applies to Biotic Combos which you will not prime. So Force is the better option.
      • You won't need the extra crowd control of the Stun branch. So Recharge Speed is the better option.
    • Use Lift Grenade as a common grenade to detonate Tech Explosions and deal damage against armored units.
      • Radius is always the best option
      • You won't use the Lift feature of the grenade because probably all unprotected enemies will be frost and would die because of the grenade explosion, so Max Grenades is the best option.
      • Enemies would probably not be lifted so Slam would not occur. So the best is the increase in Damage and Radius.
    • Don't use Dark Channel. It won't detonate tech explosions and will prime only for biotic explosion that your tech powers can't detonate.
    • Pull is sometimes useful when Frost enemies fall behind cover and your target system can't reach them so you can't cast an Incinerate.
      • Radius is the best option, so you can cast the power and hit enemies behind cover.
      • Floating Frost Enemies will probably be a good opportunity for Cryo Explosion, so you don't want them to shatter prematurely because of Lift Damage. Having a damage bonus when you hit the detonating power is the best option.
      • Double Pull or Recharge Speed would both work.
    • Vengeful Ancient
      • Power Damage is better than Durability
      • Power Damage is better than Weapon Damage
      • You won't need extra protection, so Squad Bonus to Power Damage is better than Shield Recharge

    Power Priorities

    • Slam
    • 1 point in Lift Grenade to have access to this power
    • Vengeful Ancient
    • Lift Grenade
    • Pull

    Weapons

    Equip him with the Falcon. Until you have it, equip him with the Acolyte.

    Armor

    Equp him with the Armor that gives him +25% Power Recharge Speed.

    Aria

    • Carnage (6)
      • 4: Radius
      • 5: Recharge Speed
      • 6: Armor Damage
    • Flare (6)
      • 4: Radius
      • 5: Recharge Speed
      • 6: Improved Damage
    • Reave (?)
    • Lash (6)
      • 4: Damage
      • 5: Recharge Speed
      • 6: Fast Recharge
    • Biotic Boss (6)
      • 4: Power Damage
      • 5: Power Damage
      • 6: Squad durability
    • Build Carnage the same way as James.
    • Use Flare as anti-Shield power against Bosses or to destroy Shield Pylons and Generators. This power have a big radius and it will destroy Cerberus defense gear that are hidden behind cover in the battlefield.
      • Radius is always the best option
      • Although Detonate will increase the damage and radius of Cryo Explosions, you won't use Flare as your detonating power because Power Recharge is too long. Use Carnage instead, and you will have another power for another combo more quickly dealing more damage in the long run. So Recharge Power is better so when you have to use Flare against Bosses shields and Cerberus defense gear, you can get a faster cooldown to use another power more quickly.
      • You want the Shield damage upgrade to deal with Atlases.
    • Don't use Reave. If you need an anti armor power, use Carnage. You won't face many enemies with Barrier, so Shepard's Energy Drain is enough.
    • Use Lash to take away riot shields from Guardians.
      • Detonate bonus only works for Biotic Explosions, so Damage is the best option.
      • You want to use this power in a very specific situation, so you want the recharge time to be the lowest, so Aria can be free to use Carnage or Flare. So, Recharge Speed is the best option.
      • You won't Lash protected enemies. You want then stripped of their shields so they can be frost and so you don't want to toss them off the map. So Fast Recharge is the best option.
    • Biotic Boss
      • Power Damage is better than Durability
      • Power Damage is better than Weapon Damage
      • You won't need extra protection to Aria, she will not be a tank. It's better to give Shepard a little more protection, so if Aria eventually dies, Shepard can revive her with Medigel. Therefore Squad Durability is the better option.

    Power Priorities

    • Carnage
    • 1 point in Lash to have access to this power
    • Biotic Boss
    • Flare
    • Lash

    Weapons

    Aria is a problematic character for this build weapons wise. She has only access to Submachine guns, which all have a high rate of fire, so a low ammo processing chance and to Shotguns, which all have their fire rate multiplied by 8 and also a low ammo processing chance. The least worst option is to choose a shotgun that has the lowest rate of fire, that even multiplied by 8 would have an acceptable ammo processing chance. This shotgun is the Eviscerator

    Equip it with the Smart Choke. This mod will reduce the spread of the Shotgun, making it perform better at medium range and increasing the odds of all pellets hit the same target, increasing the chance of freezing or chilling that target.

    The other mod will be the Shredder Mod to pass through Guardian Riot Shields until you have access to Shotgun High-Velocity Barrel with the same level.

    Armor

    You can't customize Aria's armor.

    Nyreen

    • Incinerate (6)
      • 4: Radius
      • 5: Recharge Speed
      • 6: Freeze Combo
    • Overload (6)
      • Level 4: Chain Overload
      • Level 5: Recharge Speed or Neural Shock
      • Level 6: Shield Damage
    • Biotic Protector (0)
    • Lift Grenade (6)
      • 4: Radius
      • 5: Max Grenades
      • 6: Damage
    • Turian Huntress (6)
      • 4: Weapon Damage
      • 5: Tech Power Damage
      • 6: Squad Power Damage

    Nyreen, as Kaidan, is a Sentinel that you are going to build as an Engineer, focusing on Tech Powers and leaving the Biotic Powers for later.

    • Build Incinerate and Overload the same way as EDI
    • Build Lift Grenade the same way as Javik
    • Don't use Biotic Protector. Nyreen can't move, shoot or use powers. You won't need her as a living decoy and she won't be in the frontlines anyway.
    • Turian Huntress
      • Weapon Damage is better than Durability
      • Nyreen is built like an Engineer so Tech Power Damage is the best option.
      • It's better to have 20% Damage bonus for the entire team, than only 30% for Nyreen alone.

    Power Priorities

    • Incinerate and Overload
    • 1 point in Lift Grenade to access this power.
    • Turian Huntress
    • Lift Grenade

    Weapons

    Equip her with the Falcon. Until you have it, equip her with the Acolyte.

    Armor

    You can't customize Nyreen's armor.

    Wrex

    • Carnage (6)
      • 4: Radius
      • 5: Recharge Speed
      • 6: Damage
    • Lift Grenade (6)
      • 4: Radius
      • 5: Max Grenades
      • 6: Damage
    • Barrier (0)
    • Stimulant Pack (6)
      • 4: Damage
      • 5: Max Capacity or Duration
      • 6: Weapon Damage
    • Krogan Battlemaster (6)
      • 4: Weapon Damage
      • 5: Power Damage
      • 6: Squad Bonus

    Wrex will be your Squadmate during a brief period in the mission Citadel Wards: Ambush in the Citadel DLC.

    • Build Carnage the same way as James, except for Level 6. In this brief part you won't be facing any Armored enemies, so it's better to increase the Damage overall. Unless you will want to use Wrex in the Armax Arena a lot. In this case, build his Carnage like James.
    • Build Lift Grenade the same way as Javik
    • Don't put any points in Barrier. See Kaidan proflle for more details.
    • Apply a Stimulant Pack to increase the Damage output of powers, weapons and melee. Keep it on during the mission if you can.
      • Damage is better than Durability
      • Max Grenades or Duration both work fine
      • Weapon Damage is better than more Shields and Melee damage.
    • Krogan Battlemaster
      • Weapon Damage is better than Durability
      • Power Damage is the best option.
      • It's better to have a boost in protection for the entire team than for Wrex alone. If Wrex dies, Shepard can revive him with Medigel. If Shepard dies is game over.

    Power Priorities

    • Carnage
    • Krogan Battlemaster
    • Stimulant Pack
    • Lift Grenade

    Weapons

    It seems that you can't customize Wrex weapons for this fight. Instruct him to use his pistol, even if it was a Predator. If you want to use him later in this mission or Armax Arena, equip him with the Acolyte.

    Armor

    You can't customize Wrex's armor.


    Armax Arena Citadel DLC Characters: Soon

    Armor Customization

    Your priorities will be Power recharge, Power damage, Shields and Health.

    Head

    • Archon Visor Reduces the recharge time of powers by 10%. Until you get it use...
    • Mnemonic Visor Increase power recharge speed by 5%. Increase power damage by 5%.

    Chest

    • Rosenkov Materials Reduces the recharge time of powers by 10%. Until you get it use...
    • Serrice Council Increase power damage by 10%

    Shoulders

    • Rosenkov Materials Reduces the recharge time of powers by 10%. Until you get it use...
    • Serrice Council Increase power damage by 10%. Until you get it use...
    • Kassa Fabrication Increase shields by 10%

    Arms

    • Rosenkov Materials Reduces the recharge time of powers by 10%.

    Legs

    • Rosenkov Materials Reduces the recharge time of powers by 10%.

    Notable Armor Sets

    Armor sets have more cumulative benefits than the customizable parts listed above, but their enhancements are always more distributed and aren't allocated in one attribute like 50% Power Recharge Speed that Rosenkov parts + Archon Visor can give. Since we are maximizing Power Recharge Speed, it's better to use the customizable parts than Armor Sets. But this Armor sets are a good alternative, even more because you can purchase them before you get the customizable parts during the game.

    • Blood Dragon Armor +10% Power Recharge Speed, +30% Power Damage, +20% Shields
    • Inferno Armor +30% Power Recharge Speed, +30% Power Damage
    • Cerberus Spirit Armor +30% Power Recharge Speed, +30% Power Damage, +10% Shield Regen Speed, +10% Shields

    Upgrades

    Your priority will be the Energy Drain (Bonus Power), Viper sniper rifle, Piercing Mod for Sniper, Sniper enhanced Scope, Piercing Mod for Pistol, Talon Pistol, Armor Customization for Power Recharge Bonus, Power Recharge and Power Damage from Intel Terminal, Pistol Ultralight Materials, Pistol Power Magnifier, Sniper Rifle concentration Mod, Pistol Heavy Barrel, Pistol High Caliber Barrel, Sniper Rifle High Caliber Barrel, Medi-Gel, Eviscerator Shotgun, Shotgun Shredder Mod, Shotgun Smart Choke, Shotgun High Caliber Barrel, Falcon, Saber, Assault Rifle High Caliber Barrel, Assault Rifle Magazine Upgrade.

    Bonus Power

    Energy Drain

    Invite Tali to your quarters after Priority: Perseus Veil.

    Sniper Rifles - where to acquire

    M-90 Indra - Available via code from Alienware preorders or the Firefight Pack DLC.

    M-97 Viper - In Priority: Palaven, in the middle of the first base on some crates, near a datapad.

    Sniper Rifle Piercing Mod

    You will need it as soon as possible so you can deal with Guardian Riot Shields.

    • Cipritine Armory
    • Kanala Exports
    • Grissom Academy: Emergency Evacuation - Can only be acquired by importing a file in which David Archer was sent to Grissom Academy at the end of Project Overlord.
    • Priority: The Citadel II
    • Arrae: Ex-Cerberus Scientists

    Sniper Rifle Enhanced Scope

    You will need at least one of those upgrades as soon as possible to deal with Cerberus Smoke grenades

    • Kanala Exports
    • Cipritine Armory
    • Priority: Palaven - In Victus' camp, head all the way to the left from the entrance. After hitting the other end, to your right there will be a tent. This mod will be lying in front of the tent next to a medkit. Get it before defeating all enemies, as the mission will end immediately after the last enemy falls.
    • N7: Cerberus Lab - In the room that the ramp to the left leads to, you can find this mod tucked into the corner on your left after you have entered the room.
    • Priority: Geth Dreadnought

    Pistol Piercing Mod

    You will need this upgrade as soon as possible to deal with Guardian Riot Shields in close quarters combat.

    • Kassa Fabrication
    • Aegohr Munitions
    • Priority: Palaven - In a tent adjacent to General Corinthus in the vicinity of a weapon bench and Armax Arsenal shoulder armor
    • Attican Traverse: The Rachni
    • Priority: The Citadel II

    Heavy Pistols - where to acquire

    Acolyte - Groundside Resistance Pack DLC

    M-5 Phalanx - In Priority: Tuchanka, in the first area right before the battle with the Reaper.

    M-358 Talon - Can be acquired during Priority: The Citadel II. The weapon is in a locked room right before reaching the Executor's office. The door can be opened via a terminal in one of the rooms in the same area.

    Armor Customization - where to acquire

    Head

    • Mnemonic Visor
      Increase power recharge speed by 5%
      Increase power damage by 5%
      Acquire during Grissom Academy: Emergency Evacuation or purchase from Aegohr Munitions
    • Archon Visor
      Increases power recharge speed by 10%
      Acquire during Priority: Geth Dreadnought or purchase from Nos Astra Sporting Goods

    Chest

    • Serrice Council
      Increase power damage by 10%
      Acquire during Grissom Academy: Emergency Evacuation or purchase from Aegohr Munitions
    • Rosenkov Materials
      Increase power recharge speed by 10%
      Acquire during N7: Fuel Reactor or purchase from Nos Astra Sporting Goods

    Shoulders

    • Kassa Fabrication
      Increase shields by 10%
      Store purchase from Cipritine Armory after Priority: Tuchanka is completed.
    • Serrice Council
      Increase power damage by 10%
      Acquire during Kallini: Ardat-Yakshi Monastery or purchase from Nos Astra Sporting Goods or Aegohr Munitions
    • Rosenkov Materials
      Increase power recharge speed by 10%
      Acquire during Priority: Horizon

    Arms

    • Rosenkov Materials
      Increase power recharge speed by 10%
      Find during Tuchanka: Bomb or purchase from Kassa Fabrication after N7: Cerberus Abductions

    Legs

    • Rosenkov Materials
      Increase power recharge speed by 10%
      Store purchase from Spectre Requisitions after Priority: The Citadel II

    Intel Terminal Upgrades

    Armor Modkit - Shield Strength +5%

    You won't need Ammo Capacity so Shield Strength is the best option.

    The Armor Modkit intel can be obtained after returning to the Normandy SR-2 from the Citadel for the first time.
    Note: Only available if Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC is completed