================================= Mass Effect 2 (PC): Vanguard Guide by Erik Fasterius, firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright 2010 Erik Fasterius ================================= --------------------- 0.0 TABLE OF CONTENTS --------------------- 1.0 INTRODUCTION What this guide is about, who I am, et cetera... 2.0 VANGUARD GAMEPLAY 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 4.0 WEAPONS & EQUIPMENT 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 5.0 VANGUARD TACTICS It takes more than brute force to surive in a harsh galaxy... 5.1 Using Charge 5.2 Dealing with groups 5.3 Decimating your opposition 6.0 THE SQUAD There's a bunch of them to bring, so who gets to go on the missions? 7.0 UPGRADES Some are more important than others. 8.0 FIGHTING THE... Bring it on, the Vanguard can handle them all! 8.1 ...Collectors and their minions 8.2 ...Blue Suns and Eclipse Mercs 8.3 ...Mechanoids 8.4 ...Krogan and Vorsha 8.5 ...Geth 9.0 SAMPLE BUILDS Here are a few examples of what a Vanguard build might look like. 10.0 CREDITS, VERSION HISTORY, ETC The other stuff... 10.1 Credit where credit is due 10.2 Version History 10.3 Who's allowed to use this guide ---------------- 1.0 INTRODUCTION ---------------- 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! --------------------- 2.0 VANGUARD GAMEPLAY --------------------- So, you've decided to give the Vanguard a try, eh? Well, let me tell you, it's not the easiest class to play, it's quite different from what it was in the original Mass Effect. On the Insanity setting, everything is out to get you, and almost exclusively YOU! You'll find that enemies only ever focus on you, if you don't feed them your squad members on purpose. They are relentless, ruthless and completely insensitive to any feelings you might possess. How do the Vanguard vary from the other classes, then? Well, it's the only class that's heavily specialized in close quarters combat. The Vanguard uses his trusty shotguns and charges straight into the enemies' midst, kills as many as he can, retreats while he regains his posture, and repeats the procedure. It's not as easy as that, though... You'll die. Alot. The Vanguard has probably the steepest learning curve of all the classes. See, the thing about being deadly at close range is that it works both ways: for you AND your enemies. You can't just blindly charge in and hope to survive, you have to think before you act. The Vanguard requires a different set of tactics and strategies from what you use with the other classes. Mostly, they're about choosing which enemy to target first, what defense-stripping abilities they should use on them and how to keep them from getting close. I'm not saying all these things are easy, just that as a Vanguard there are other factors playing in, in addition to them. However, there are few better feelings in the ME2 universe than when you've finally nailed those tactics down! You'll plow through enemies as a knife through hot butter. The Vanguard is not the most powerful class (in my opinion), but it is one of the most rewarding to play! If you're still up for the challange, read on! --------------- 3.0 POWERS --------------- Along with her weapons, it's the Vanguard's wide arsenal of Powers that really makes her shine across a battlefield. They all have a purpose, an ideal way of functioning. Not all are to everyones liking, though. Here I explain what the different powers do, what they're best suited for and what different playstyles think of them. Remember that you can reset all your points later in the game, if you want to try new combinations! 3.1 Base Powers -------------- Charge - This is the Vanguard's signature power. Through biotic prowess the Vanguard surges forward at great speed, hitting his target head on and regenerating her own shields. This is the reason to play a Vanguard, and the first power you should max out. Evolution: Heavy Charge Why? Two reasons: 100% shield regeneration and the time dilation effect you recieve upon impact. Area Charge simply doesn't work on Insanity. (More on Charge in section 5.) Shockwave - Some people like this power, some don't. It definitely has uses, it's just that they don't come up very often. For example, knocking people out from their cover can occasionally be useful, and it can be used to great effect against Husks. The thing is that for most situations, you can benefit more from just using a Charge, instead. If you like Shockwave, do put points into it. If you're uncertain, either put just 3 points into it (rank 2) to be able to use Pull, or ignore it altogether. Pull - Similar to Shockwave in that it is very situational, but still much better in that those situations are a fair amount more numerous than for Shockwave. Pull can be used to draw enemies out from cover, can be curved around corners and can instakill Husks without armour. However, it can ALSO be used to set up Warp- explosions together with your squadmates. A good invenstment is one point for most Vanguards. With a good choice of Bonus Power, you can even skip it entirely. Assault - The Vanguards passive skill. Very important, this should be the Mastery second power you max out. Not alot to say about it, it gives you more health, weapon damage, reduced cooldowns, more paragon and renegade points as well as either power damage or power duration. Evolution: Champion Why? Because you want as short a cooldown on Charge as you can get. With Charge's 100% shield regeneration, you'll be using Charge even when your health is hurt, going from enemy to enemy, surviving simply because you have such a short cooldown. Cryo Ammo - This is one of my favourite powers in the game! It might not do as much damage on enemies with defenses as other ammo powers do, but give it to your squad and they'll start freezing everything they can get aim at. If you've tried it, you know what I mean, and if you haven't, you SHOULD try it! Evolution: Squad Cryo Ammo. Why? Most of the time you won't be using it yourself, and it's so much more useful to have on your two squadmates. It synergizes especially well with the Vanguard, as immobilizing enemies really helps you survive through all those close encounters. Incendiary - This is a very useful ammo power, seeing as armour is the most Ammo common protection on Insanity. You'll often use this yourself, while your squad benefits from your Cryo Ammo. Evolution: Inferno Ammo. Why? More damage is always good, and seeing as your squad will be using your Cryo Ammo most of the time, there's really no reason to take the Squad version of Incendiary Ammo. Also, the chance to ignite other close targets will occasionally save your ass from a lot of hurt. While this isn't as common as you'd want since every enemy has his own defenses, it does happen. (If you REALLY want Squad Incendiary Ammo, pick a squadmate that has it instead.) 3.2 Useful Bonus Powers ----------------------- If you've played through the game once and gotten your squad's loyality, you'll be prompted to choose a Bonus Power at the start of the the game. There are many to pick, but which one should you take? It should be something that complements the Vanguard's other powers and tactics, and there are a few that does just that. Since the Vanguard is focused mostly on point-blank ranged encounters, you should pick Bonus Powers that either compensate or enforce this further. One thing to note about the Vanguard is that it is a really well-rounded class, everything it needs it more or less already has. Your choice of Bonus Power can matter very little, in fact, since you won't be using them nearly as much as the Base Powers. Remember: you can respec your Bonus Power later in the game, should you find yourself wanting to try out another power! Reave - This is one of the more popular choices, since it offsets the Vanguards ranged weaknesses. A solid power, use it to wittle down your enemies' defenses from a safe distance - very useful for those occasions when Charging straight ahead would mean certain death. Reave should be used in conjunction with other biotics that can set off Warp Explosions (from your squadmates). While Reave itself cannot be warped, it can remove defenses so that Pull or Slam can be used on its targets (more on this in section 5). Evolution: Area Reave. Why? You're not trying to kill stuff directly, simply weakening them. While your Reave might not completely negate a target's defenses, it's better to do the same damage on several targets than just a bit more damage on a single target. Barrier - This is more of a defensive power, and might not really seem all that useful at first. Since Vanguards get regenerating shields when they charge, it might seem redundant, but it serves two purposes: One, a panic button for when Charge is inadvisable (such as when the only thing you can Charge towards has 3 other buddies next to it) and two, as a preemptive defensive measure before Charging in at all, since the bonuses stack. Another good thing about Barrier is that it has no activation animation - meaning that you can use it even when you're stunned or staggered. Evolution: Heavy Barrier. Why? Since both evolutions have a far longer duration than the cooldown, Improved Barrier is just a waste. If you pick Barrier you won't be using it THAT often. Slam - An alternative to Shockwave and Pull, Slam kills unarmoured Husks instantly and can be use to set up Warp Explosions. It can also be combined with Pull (before Slam, that is), making the target "bounce" when it hits the ground. Evolution: Crippling Slam The only real difference between the two evolutions is the damage and the stun. Even with the higher damage of Heavy Slam, you are not always guaranteed a kill, which means that the stun you get from Crippling Slam wins out. More crowd control is always good! 3.3 Unsuitable Bonus Powers --------------------------- While some powers do have situational merit, these are the powers that aren't at all well suited for the Vanguard; either because they do something that the Vanguard already does, or because they simply don't match with the Vanguard style of tactics and gameplay. Warp Ammo - This is a dubious one, to be honest. There is some merit in taking it in the beginning of the game, simply as a free all-around ammo power. However, when you start leveling your Cryo and Incendiary ammo, it is quickly made obsolete. The thing about the Vanguard and Incendiary Ammo is that they're a perfect match. The shotgun is fenomenal at taking down both shields and barriers, while the ammo itself takes care of the armour and health. Inferno Ammo also has 10% more damage than Heavy Warp Ammo, plus that it panics any enemies it doesn't outright kill. Armour - Bad for the same reason as Warp Ammo is bad: Inferno Ammo simply Piercing is much better. Even though Armour Piercing Ammo has 10% more Ammo damage than Inferno Ammo, it doesn't panick its targets, and it's not a Base Power of the Vanguard. Energy - Since Vanguards have no way to deal with shields other than to Drain shoot at them, you might think that this is a good power to take. Wrong, because your shotgun is more than capable of taking care of your enemies' shields. Why take down their shields when you can simply Charge them and kill them, instead? ----------------------- 4.0 WEAPONS & EQUIPMENT ----------------------- 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. -------------------- 5.0 VANGUARD TACTICS -------------------- 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 guys! This might sound counterintuitive, but you should actually always be Charging an enemy that has some kind of defense left, whether it be shields, armour or a barrier. Don't Charge things that only have health left! When you do, they'll fly away from you, and you'll have to run to them to be able to hurt them. If an enemy has defenses left it'll only be staggered, leaving itself wide open for your shotgun and melee attacks. The only time when you should Charge somebody with only health is when the target is standing right next to something else that you can kill AND be close to some sort of drop, bridge or rift that he can drop down into and die. Remember that Charge refills your shields! This means that you should always save your cooldowns for Charge, since it can be used defensively as well as offensively. For example, if you've just Charged into a group of three, you've taken out one and is gunning for a second. The second and third will be firing at you, but another Charge as soon as the cooldown is done can save your skin, enabling you to kill the second or third and then the last one, whichever it may be. In fact, any time you're not behind save cover and are low on shields and/or health, you should Charge - unless that Charge leads straight into a big group of bad guys! You might have heard of the term "flanking". This is something that the Vanguard excells at: getting behind the enemy lines and dividing their attention between yourself and your squadmates. Picture, if you will, a group of four Blue Suns Mercs, firing down at you and your squad. Behind them, a bit further off, is another one, about to try to join the group. Charge him! You'll now be behind the group of four, having taken out the guy in the back, and you can safely take cover behind the group. The group will now have a hard time deciding which target they should pick: you or your squad. Since you and your squad are on opposite sides of the group, they have to choose. Alot of the time they'll pick you, since the enemies on Insanity REALLY does hate Shepard. That's fine, sit tight for a while and let your squad take some shots at them, maybe use a power or two. They'll get one down, or take several defenses out, and you can more easily take care of them. They might go for your squad, which is even better. They'll try to get closer to your squad, which means that there will be a "last one" that'll be a bit slower than the other three, either because of the terrain or because he was in a bad position. You can safely take that one out, and then go for the last three. Or... even better, they might split up between you and your squad! Say that they go two and two to each of you. Just wait, and charge the ones heading for your squad and take them out! The two who went for you will now have to turn back towards you and your squad, and since they're only two, you can easily take care of them yourself. Another thing about Charge is that it makes you invulnerable to any projectiles heading your way. Keep this in mind if you see one coming, and Charge if it's safe to do so. Thus, we have these things to keep in mind: 1) Use your radar! 2) Charge enemies close to cover. 3) Do not Charge groups bigger than three. 4) Use flanking to your advantage. Using those few guidelines along with the details above will greatly help you to learn how to stay alive as a Vanguard. After a while they'll become second nature, and using Charge as a tactical device rather than just a brute force will become easier. 5.2 Dealing with groups ----------------------- So, what do you do when those pesky groups DO show up? Because they will. As I explained above, Charging into big groups is a quick path to the reload screen. There will not always be easy flanking opportunities or good enough cover nearby to help you along, and you'll have to solve the problem some other way. The most basic idea is of course to simply let your shotgun have a bit of rest and bring out one of your other weapons, be it an SMG, a sniper rifle or one of the other weapons you have. Pick a target, kill from afar and repeat, until you feel safe to Charge again. Another way is through biotics: pick a target, take down its defenses and use some biotic power on it, preferably one that can be Warp Exploded (Pull, Slam or Singularity). Quick use Warp on the affected target and watch the group get thrown all around. Hopefully they are now spread out enough that you can Charge. Overload works well with this tactic, as you won't really have to shoot anything to get the group vulnerable to biotics. Squad Cryo Ammo really works wonders in dealing with groups as well. As soon as something's down to health your squad will quickly immobilize it, removing one target wrong the battlefield temporarily. You should have enough time to get to work on the rest of the group. 5.3 Decimating your opposition ------------------------------ Ok, so how do you actually kill stuff? Sure, Charge, but what about the details? For one, melee is really, really good. Especially with upgrades. It does very good damage, but more importantly: it staggers. That means that you actually stunlock enemies in one-on-one battles, simply by shooting them with your shot- gun, hitting them once, shooting them again, and so on... You should make a habit of always hitting the melee button as soon as you've fired your shotgun once. This is especially important if you're using either the Eviscerator or the Claymore, as they have much smaller clips than the Katana or the Scimitar. Another good tactic to use is to, after a Charge, actually not shooting the target you Charged, but rather the enemy next to it. Since your Charged target will be staggered by the Charge itself you have a small window of opportunity to either kill or severely wound the targets friend. When you've shot the second target once, go back and hit the first one with a melee attack, staggering it again, and shoot or melee the second target yet again, to kill it. Finally kill the first target, the target you Charged. One of the absolutely best squad powers you can benefit from is Unstable Warp, from either Miranda, Liara or Thane. See, when Warp hits its target(s), it staggers them! This can be a great safety net, as well as an offensive attack for when you need another second to either run to cover or finish an enemy off. Area Overload in conjunction with Singularity or Pull Field can work wonders in keeping your foes busy, as well. Always keep the option for your squadmates' AI to decide for themselves when to use their powers OFF. You should always be manually assigning targets yourself, whether it be by the pause button or the quickbar doesn't matter. ------------- 6.0 THE SQUAD ------------- You have a bunch of abilities and powers. How do you complement them as best you can by choosing the appropriete squad members? Well, there are a couple of things to keep in mind... Biotics are very, VERY good, for one! I don't know how many times I've been saves by a Warp stagger or a last-second Pull Field have kept me wrong being overwhelmed by slavering Husks. It's a good idea to always have at least one biotic user (not counting yourself) in your squad. What about the second member, then? Well, you could go for another biotic user and not have to feel bad about it - you really can't get enough biotics! A favourite of mine is some combination of Miranda, Thane and Liara - the three people who each have Warp. It's that good! (Note that Liara can only be usef for her own mission - getting to the Shadow Broker.) Really, though, after having played with your Vanguard for a while you'll begin to notice that you can actually take care of most of the oppositino yourself, just as long as you can get big groups split up. Squad member choice begins to matter less and less, and can become little more than a matter of preferance. It can be more important in the beginning of the game, where two guys actually stand out: Jacob and Zaeed. They have two very good ammo powers for the start of the game, Incendiary and Disruptor Ammo, respectively. As you'll be maxing your Charge and Assault Mastery before anything else, Jacob and Zaeed both are good sources of increased damage and crowd control from their ammo powers. If you use Squad Cryo Ammo you should get your squad members to use rapid-fire weapons, as they'll freeze enemies more quickly that way. In general, remember that you really don't have to lock yourself into a single team composition (i.e. always bringing the same two squad members to every mission). Different missions will benefit from different squad compositions, you should take advantage of that fact. Some members are very well rounded and take be helpful in almost all situations (Mirande, for example) while some are more suited for specific situations and opposion (Grunt is really excellent against Husks, for example). Don't be afraid to just restart a mission with a different squad setup if you find that your current one doesn't do it for you. ------------ 7.0 UPGRADES ------------ You should try to use as many upgrades as you can get your hands on, as they can only help you. There's no drawback to having upgrades, like switching out a piece of equipment for another or alternating weapons. Some, however, are more important than others and should be given priority. These are mainly the ones that help you, not your squad members. Here's a short list of the most useful and important upgrades. You don't have to skip the other upgrades, just make sure that you have enough money and/or minerals to be able to get the more important ones as soon as they become available. Important Upgrades: Shotgun upgrades Damage Protection upgrades Heavy Skin Weave upgrades Biotic Damage upgrades ------------------- 8.0 FIGHTING THE... ------------------- What follows is a small summary of good tactics and strategies to use against the different types of enemies you'll encounter throughout the game. These are not a complete step-by-step walkthough, just some indication as to how you might go about getting through different types of opposition. 8.1 ...Collectors and their minions ----------------------------------- A general tactic is to let your squadmates deal with the Harbinger, while you Charge around the battlefield and take care of the rest. If you start by killing the Harbinger yourself you'll only risk getting that awful "Assuming direct control!" sound played for you, and you'll have to kill him all over again. Husks can be really, really annoying. Squad Cryo Ammo is very useful against them, however, as is any ability that lifts them from the ground (as this kills them outright). You should probably equip your Heavy Pistol when dealing with Husks, as they're quite easy to miss with your shotgun. Plus, it'll eat away at your ammo supply pretty quickly. The Avalanche really shines against Husks, as well. Just try it out! Scions can both be very deadly and very easy to deal with. If they're shooting at you while you're trying to do other things (killing other Collectors, for example), they be can a real hassle. If a Scion is the only foe that's left, things are different, though. Just wait until it unleashes its Shockwave, Charge past it, shoot the Scion, back up, and repeat until it's dead. 8.2 ...Blue Suns and Eclipse Mercs ---------------------------------- These are the enemies that actually tend to act the smartest, i.e. they stay beind cover and together in groups most of the time. This can be a hassle, even though they're not really all that well-equipped. Just be careful, as a wrong move oftentimes places you in the middle of too much action for you to handle. Just take it cool, split groups up, be mindful of rockets from the Heavies, and let your squadmates focus on bosses and guys with multiple defenses. Don't be afraid to use your heavy weapons to split up groups! 8.3 ...Mechanoids ----------------- Loki Mechs really do gain quite a bit of punch in Insanity, as well as armour. They should be dealth with as any other enemy, but be careful of standing too near them when they die, as they tend to explode. The four-legged versions can more often than not be ignored, as your squad will take care of them before can get to you. YMIR Mechs are a whole different story, though. These are tough bastards, and you really shouldn't try Charging them. Fight them from behind cover, using your SMG and pistol (and any kind of rifle, should you have them). Don't forget your squad powers! If you have Reave, that'll help as well. 8.4 ...Krogan and Vorsha ------------------------ You really, REALLY want Incendiary Ammo for these guys, whether from just your own Inferno Ammo or Jacob or Grunts Squad versions. It's one of the more frustrating things in the entire game to see an almost dead Krogan quickly regenerate 100% of his health, simply because you didn't kill him fast enough. Krogan can be stunlocked, but it's harder than with other enemies, as they'll start using a charge of their own. If that happens, Charge THEM instead! Yours will work, theirs won't. Vorsha aren't really that much of a problem, except the Pyro versions. They should NOT be Charged! Either take them out from afar, or hit the gas tanks on their backs and watch them explode. Overload works as well. 8.5 ...Geth ----------- These are pretty much standard business as usual. They're mostly shields and smaller amounts of health, and since shotguns eat through shields, well... Just be careful of the bigger versions: Hunters, Destroyers and Primes, they can really wreck your day if you're not careful. Any squad members with Overload or other mech-friendly powers are welcome to Geth-heavy missions. ----------------- 9.0 SAMPLE BUILDS ----------------- 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. ---------------------------------- 10.0 CREDITS, VERSION HISTORY, ETC ---------------------------------- 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: Gamefaqs.com SuperCheats.com Neoseeker.com And that's the end of the guide, have fun playing your Vanguard!