Humans joined the galactic community after discovering a Prothean data cache on Mars in 2148. Their devotion to understanding and adapting to modern warfare left the staid Councilraces stunned. Humanity's persistence and unflappable spirit has taken them further than anyone in the galaxy could have imagined.
Human vanguards are feared frontline opponents that can charge across the battlefield, surprising enemies before devastating them in hand-to-hand combat.
The Human Vanguard is the only character to have the Nova power, allowing for a unique play style that shouldn't be underestimated.
The Human Vanguard can be a deadly ally on the battlefield, as Nova can stun, stagger and destroy enemies time after time. As Biotic Charge recharges barriers, this allows the player to always follow up with a single Nova (or two with the Half Blast evolution) and then rinse and repeat. With that in mind, Vanguards are heavy-hitting biotic combat specialists that can completely control the battlefield and live up to their names (Vanguard is a military term for those who are 'First-in').
Because a Human Vanguard's strength is in their biotics, a light loadout is recommended.
Nova shares some of the mechanics of grenade powers: it doesn't trigger a cooldown, but is limited in use: it can be used as long the Vanguard has barriers.
With a Volus Adept or Vanguard (with Biotic Orbs evolved for maximum recharge speed) standing next to you and constantly using Shield Boost, Human Vanguards will never have their barriers depleted, allowing for successive Nova usage.
On higher difficulties, it may be wise to take the Rank 5 Half Blast evolution of Nova. This will reduce the damage of Nova by 40%, but will also reduce its barrier consumption by half. This will increase your overall survivability, since you will still have some barriers left for emergencies (for example, being staggered by large opponents like Brutes and Geth Primes after executing a Nova attack). If some enemies are left alive from the first blast, you can always use your remaining barriers to unleash a second Nova attack.
Nova's Power Recharge evolution bonus stacks up to 4 times, effectively giving the Vanguard a 300% cooldown bonus. This allows for a higher-damage Charge/Nova cycle with a smaller window of vulnerability than Charge/Nova/Nova, since the Vanguard is invincible while using either power. Using power efficiency Equipment and Gear can shorten the vulnerability window but not eliminate it.
While one may choose to neglect Shockwave in favor of Charge and Nova, Shockwave is the only power that can be safely used from a distance (up to 24 meters) to knock enemies off their feet and detonate Biotic Explosions.
Against Cerberus, the Human Vanguard's notorious Charge-Nova tactic is nigh unstoppable. As most Cerberus troops can be staggered by biotic abilities, Charge-Nova will rip through anything but an Atlas or Guardian. The rank 6 Pierce evolution on Nova will only devastate their infantry even more.
Guardians are the only real enemies that can stand against you. Using Charge, Shockwave, or Nova against Guardians will stagger them, exposing them to a quick burst from your weapon. It would also be highly recommended to take a weapon with a piercing mod so you can take out said foes.
Atlases can instantly kill you if you are not careful, so it is preferable to attack them from behind. With that in mind, the Vanguard can effectivelly tank the Atlas, drawing their attention away from the rest of the squad.
Your biggest threat as a Human Vanguard is going to be the Seeker Swarms which will deny you the means of which to use your powers. They will bring any advance you make to a screeching halt, and make you very vulnerable due to the reliance on powers a Human Vanguard exhibits.
Nova will prove extremely effective against every single enemy, but as stated above you must avoid Seeker Swarms as they will stop you from using said power, and Abominations since they will completely destroy you, especially if possessed.
Shockwave will not be as useful, and should be avoided, since this power would be better suited to Cerberus. Stick to Nova.
Be aware that a Praetorian's quick melee slashes can stagger you continuously, even immobilising you until they are ready to use their instant-kill move. Thus, Charge-Nova tactics should be used with care.
Geth are much more difficult to kill since Geth Hunters, Geth Primes, and Geth Rocket Troopers are capable of stunning you (although not in either of the Biotic Charge or Nova animations). Because of this, it is highly recommended to exercise caution if you wish to go for the Vanguard class since you will very quickly be stripped of both your barriers and your health. However, they cannot instantly kill the player, making it less risky to close with them than Cerberus or Reapers.
Nova can hit and stagger Geth Bombers even while they're flying higher.
The Human Vanguard's Charge-Nova tactic is very effective against most Reaper ground troops, though caution should be taken when facing a Brute or Ravager. Against these two enemies, constantly circling them while using Charge-Nova is recommended.
Extreme caution (and possibly avoidance) should be taken around Banshees, as charging a Banshee will not cause them to stagger and will put you within range of their instantly killing Impale ability.
Should one decide to face the Banshees, do not charge them while they are 'jumping towards you/your teammate. Only charge it when it has stopped jumping and starts throwing Warp projectiles towards you. This applies to all Vanguards.