Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mass Effect 2 Class Build - Vanguard (on Insanity difficulty)

Mass Effect 2 Class Build - Vanguard (on Insanity difficulty)
(Click here for all Mass Effect 2 Builds)

Assault Build
  • Incendiary Ammo 4, Cryo Ammo 1
  • Charge 4, Shockwave 2, Pull 3
  • Assault Mastery 4 (Champion)
  • Advanced Training: Reave 4
  • Weapon Training: Claymore
Anti-Barrier: Reave
Anti-Shield: None
Anti-Armor: Reave
Anti-Regeneration: Reave
Anti-Melee: Charge

Incendiary Ammo
One of the best ammo powers. The fire-panic that temporarily neutralizes unprotected enemies is good enough that you typically do not have to switch to Cryo Ammo for outright immobilization.

This is a very difficult power to get any consistent benefit from:
  • Some of the time, enemies will be completely inaccessible (e.g., across a rift or on a balcony) and the power is useless.
  • Some of the time, you think you have a path, but for unclear reasons you will power up but not charge.
  • Most of the time, enemies are too numerous that being out of cover for more than a few seconds is suicidal on Insanity difficulty. Knowing where your enemies are, and preferably being able to channel them instead of having them spread out can help a lot.
  • Damage appears to be based on what happens to the target once it is impacted. The force itself will do some damage, but whether the target is knocked into anything and how far it flies also appears to affect damage, so that sometimes you can do a lot, other times you will do very little -- a situation very similar to Throw.
    • You will stagger protected enemies and knock down unprotected ones. Regardless, as soon as you are out of the Charge, you will likely need to shotgun whoever is still left standing and/or head for cover.
Unless you really want to experiment with the Charge power specifically, play an Adept instead. If you want to fling targets around, play an Adept or Sentinel and use Throw.

Both evolutions have their benefits, but the Heavy Charge is safer for Insanity difficulty because you get more shield recharging and a brief time dilation. Enemies are typically too spread out for small area effects to hit more than two targets.

In the video below, notice that the kills are mostly done with weapons and that Charge often does very little damage compared to other options. It moves you in safely, and restores your shields.

On Insanity Difficulty, where almost every enemy has protection, this is often useless. See our notes on Shockwave in our Adept build guide.

You will generally want a good duration with this to support Charge and Shockwave, both of which benefit from a target made weightless. If you are good at keeping teammates alive, Jacob and Jack can also Pull for you, so duration is less important. Also, Pull has a short cooldown, so you can use it on its own and shoot at the target with Incendiary Ammo.

Assault Mastery
The reduced cooldown and increased duration from the Champion evolution trumps any damage bonus from the Destroyer evolution, which may or may not apply to physics-based damage such as enemies falling from a Pull or knocked back by a Charge.

The Vanguard suffers the same ammo-dependence problem as the Soldier, so a solid attack Power is highly recommended for those times when ammo is scarce. Against organic enemies, Reave has the additional benefit of disabling the enemy briefly, and healing you, which can be important if you are stuck in a bad tactical position after a Charge.

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