Vanguards are a very interesting class of ME2, with their own bag of tricks for combat specialization. The Vanguard is even more capable of “in your face” combat than the Soldier. Their signature Charge ability and Shotgun proficiency demonstrate. Charge can be either very good, or very bad: the mark of a good Vanguard is deciding when is a good time to use it and when not. The Vanguard tends to become less powerful as the difficulty rises, in particular. However, the Charge is absolutely devastating against opponents reduced to health, while other biotic abilities make the Vanguard a fearsome foe.
– Shotguns – SMGs – Heavy Pistols
Incendiary Ammo – Powerful against organics and against armor – Can set enemies on fire, preventing them from going into cover – Very important for the Vanguard as your primary ammunition – Can be upgraded into: Inferno Ammo: More personal damage with Incendiary Ammo. Squad Incendiary Ammo: Gives Incendiary to your whole squad.
Cryo Ammo: Requires Incendiary Ammo Rank 2 Cryo Ammo does not suit the Vanguard’s kill-or-be-killed playstyle. You should not be trying to freeze your opponents, you should be pumping them full of shotgun rounds.
Charge – Increases the force of your Charge and even gives you a shield bonus when used – Can be upgraded into: Heavy Charge: Increases shield bonus, force, and your reaction speed. Recommended, as having multiple opponents down to health is not frequent on higher difficulties. Area Charge: Gives the Charge an Area-of-Effect, potentially hitting multiple opponents.
Shockwave: Requires Charge Rank 2 – Creates a swathe of destruction along a line along the ground – Can hit multiple opponents and throw them into the air . Only damages and stuns shielded opponents, does not throw them into the air. Can be upgrade into: Heavy Shockwave: Increase force on your Shockwave. Improved Shockwave: A wider impact radius for your Shockwave/
Pull: Requires Shockwave Rank 2 – Levitates opponents helplessly into the air when reduce to health – Increases duration of the Pull effect on the target – Teammates can use Throw on Pulled opponents to fling them massive distances – Teammates can also use Warp on Pulled opponents for significant damage – Charge also works well on Pulled opponents – Can be upgrade into: Heavy Pull: Targets are suspend for longer periods of time Pull Field: Multiple targets can be afflicted by your Pull.
Assault Mastery – Boosts health, weapon damage, power recharge, and paragon/renegade points – An obvious choice for any Vanguard – Can be upgrade into: Destroyer: Increased weapon/power damage.Champion: Increased power cooldown/duration. Inferior to Destroyer, as lengthy combat is not what the Vanguard is about.
Three More Powers For Mass Effect
– Full Incendiary Ammo – Full Charge to Heavy Charge – Full Assault Mastery to Destroyer – Remaining points in Pull or Shockwave based on preference (I prefer Pull)
– M-300 Claymore or M-22 Eviscerator with M-97 Viper – M-9 Tempest Submachine Gun – M-6 Carnifex Pistol
Vanguard has a great deal of flexibility in this regard as they already have a strong ammo type, as well as numerous natural biotic abilities. Personally, I used Barrier on my Vanguard, as it compounded with Biotic upgrades, and provided increased survivability. While the Charge does provide a shield bonus, it is not necessarily prudent to charge into the enemy’s midst to recharge your shields.
Vanguards should use Charge quite a bit in their playstyles. This helps get the most out of your shotgun, dazes/blasts your opponents, and recharges your shields. However, a good Vanguard will recognize situations where your opponents should not be Charged (let’s not charge a Praetorian).
The biggest decision for the Vanguard is the Collector ship weapon specialization. This can make a huge difference for the class. If you get the M-300 you will see an improvement in your short-combat abilities (obviously your class strength). You may find yourself still in trouble against multiple opponents supporting each other. I preferred the M-97 Viper for the Vanguard, as it gives you another option to Charge if you need it, as well as being reasonably effective against armor/health.
Charge is your bread-and-butter as a Vanguard. It can also work upwards in elevation (I tested this on Horizon), so be aware of that as well. The shield recharge is very important for the Charge and it should be maxed out as soon as possible.
As I mentioned in the Pull section, it is valuable to use Pull and then another biotic power. Not only does this count towards your Tactician achievement (if you’re into that kind of thing) but it creates some cool combinations. Sending opponents hurtling through the air or creating a nifty biotic explosion is always nice to see.
The Vanguard is quite flexible in its teammates, depending on your own playstyle, weapon proficiencies, and personal choice. Miranda is always around with her ever popular (at least for me) warp and passive damage buff. Garrus and Thane represent a ranged option that will be badly needed if your Vanguard is a pure close-combat specialist (you chose the M-300 Claymore). Grunt can also be selected to distract opponents with his sheer survivability and natural charging ability. It should be noted you are basically choosing a copy of yourself if you do. Other biotics can also compound your Vanguard’s Pull through careful, regulated use of their abilities.