Saturday, February 22, 2014

Mass Effect 1 - Classes - Vanguard (on Insane Difficulty) and Wrex

Mass Effect 1: Classes - Vanguard (on Insanity Difficulty) and Wrex

In this article, we discuss Vanguard builds for Insane Difficulty.

The Vanguard talents are:
  • Pistols → Shotguns
  • Assault Training → Tactical Armor
  • Throw → Lift
  • Warp → Barrier
Recommended Builds:
  • Shepard Solo Build (90/102 points)
    • Assault Training 12
    • Throw 7, Lift 12
    • Warp 12, Barrier 12
    • Vanguard 6, Shock Trooper 6
    • Spectre 11
    • Bonus Talent: Sniping Rifle 12
  • Shepard Biotics Support Build (95/102 points)
    • Pistols 8
    • Assault Training 12
    • Throw 7, Lift 12
    • Warp 12, Barrier 12
    • Vanguard 6, Shock Trooper 6
    • Spectre 11
    • Bonus Talent: Decryption 9
  • Shepard Close-Quarters Combat Build (93/102 points)
    • Pistols 8
    • Assault Training 12, Tactical Armor 12
    • Throw 7, Lift 12
    • Warp 6, Barrier 12
    • Vanguard 6, Shock Trooper 6
    • Spectre 11
    • Bonus Talent: Damping 1, Decryption 1, or Electronics 1
  • Wrex - Krogan Battlemaster (82/82 points)
    • Assault Rifles 8, Shotguns 12
    • Combat Armor 12, Fitness 12
    • Warp 12, Throw 7
    • Barrier 12, Stasis 1
    • Krogan Battlemaster 6
Shepard
Like the Turian Agent (Garrus only), the Vanguard has the interesting ability to quickly refresh a full range of dangerous powers, in this case their biotics. For this reason, they make very good battlefield control characters, although their powers are not as versatile as those of a Sentinel: Against flyers, they have nothing to shut them down and will have to rely on a team mate or their Barrier (tricky against rocket-launching enemies).
  • For the Biotics Support Build, you could swap the Sniping Rifle for a mix of Pistol and/or Shotgun talent, and take Decryption. Decryption turns off weapons, which is good against the robotic drones in the game that cannot be affected by Throw or Lift, and have only one weapon. For long-range engagements, close to a shorter range with Barrier or use Marksman with your Pistol. Weapon skills are severely reduced in this sort of build unless you make sacrifices elsewhere, such as with Warp.
  • Also, if you take the Sniper Rifle, then your Vanguard weapon bonuses are basically wasted, though there will definitely be times when you will want your pistol.
The Vanguard is supposed to rush into close quarters. Unlike the Soldier, however, the Vanguard does not have Fitness (and the associated Immunity skill), so on Insanity difficulty, fighting enemies who fight back with hand-to-hand (which ignores shields, including Barrier) is a bad idea since you probably can't outlast them.
Many enemies, however, like to back away from melee -- which makes the Vanguard, with their Barrier skill, quite survivable by trying to outshoot them because you can outlast them with Barrier. Vanguards can put up a strong barrier, and if it drops from fire, put it up again quickly using Adrenaline Burst. They are probably one of the few characters who can expect to go close quarters with a rocket-launching enemy on Insanity difficulty and survive.

Given that hand-to-hand is extremely risky and annoying to micromanage, it is probably better to play an Adept as a close-quarters-capable support character. But if you insist on rushing Shepard in, here are some considerations:
  • If you are fighting a biotic or tech specialist, they can use their skills at any range, which means you are in trouble. You could open with Damping and quickly take them out with melee if you cannot consistently stay in melee distance and keep them knocked down.
  • Enemies won't use Immunity until they are hurt, so instead of Warp to counter Immunity, you can use Damping before attacking them. This can save you 8 Talent Points to further invest elsewhere.
  • As mentioned before, your biotics can't neutralize flyers, and they can be quite dangerous (e.g., Rocket Drones), so Decryption would make a more "all-situation" biotics build. You could also just try to tough it out with Barrier.
  • If you are always going into hand-to-hand when at close range, don't invest in Shotguns, but make sure you have a Barrier up against enemy shotguns. And remember that Barriers won't help against enemy hand-to-hand, so Krogans will still destroy you because you don't have Immunity to help at all.
    • Instead improve your Pistol skill to get higher proficiency with the Marksman power, to help with long-range engagements.
If you forgo the Sniping Rifle skill, you can try to make up for it with a combination of Pistol and Shotgun skills. A pistol is pretty good at long range already, so you can follow up Marksmanship with the occasional Carnage blast from a shotgun. Carnage has no spread to the (slow) shot, and does a lot of damage. Between the two, you should be able to handle enemies at long range, though not as efficiently as with a Sniper Rifle and without the usual ability to exploit minute deficiencies in enemy cover (like a very small exposed portion that you could normally snipe).

For Specialization, the Shock Trooper is probably the better choice. The Nemesis gets improved biotic abilities, but you can have more flexibility by improving your ability to re-use your biotics again rapidly (by reducing the cooldown on Adrenaline Burst). Also, the additional protection afforded by the Storm Trooper specialization helps if you are going into melee, which you might as well every time it is safe to do so since you are maximizing Assault Training as a side effect of getting the highest level of Adrenaline Burst.

Wrex
For Wrex, Stasis is taken only to 1 level and as a crisis power because the enemy cannot be harmed while in Stasis. Take it in mid-game as an emergency escape trump card.
I recommend maximizing Shotguns instead of Assault Rifles because the Carnage power is very accurate with no spread. Also, close-quarters proficiency is more critical than squad mid to long range engagement ability since at mid to long range, Shepard can typically solo anyway.

In the early game, get Throw and some Immunity to help survive other Krogan. Even Wrex goes down very quickly on Insanity difficulty, and unlike "real" Krogan, he does not get a second wind and get up.

Wrex has very strong hand-to-hand potential, but on Insanity difficulty, it is quite dangerous to send him in. If you use an attack order, he tries to shoot. If you issue a move order, he goes to the location, which is not necessarily where the target will be. Also team mates typically have trouble pathfinding, so you could lose valuable time arranging melee. The best option is probably to rely on his Barrier and shotgun if you want to send him in at all.

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