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Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer/Character Customization/Vanguard

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Feared frontline opponents, Vanguards favor a biotic charge that immediately brings them in contact with opposing forces, with devastating effect.

Vanguards, meaning 'First-in' or 'First Attack', excel in close quarters combat and stop at nothing to tear enemies apart with their shotguns and biotics.

Human Vanguard Edit

Human Female Vanguard MP

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 Council races 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.

Abilities Edit

Heavy Melee and Dodge Edit

  • Biotic Strike - The Human Vanguard strikes at enemies with a biotically-charged fist.
  • Combat Roll - The Human Vanguard rolls to quickly evade incoming attacks.

Player Notes Edit

General Notes
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Drell Vanguard Edit

Drell MP

The reptilian drell have dense muscle tissue that grants them surprising, wiry strength. With unique hyoid bones in their throats, drell can vocalize high-pitched sounds outside of human hearing range. The bones have the added benefit of making drell extremely difficult to strangle.

Though drell may lack the rugged durability of other races, they are lightning fast and deadly accurate. Drell are to be feared on the battlefield.

Abilities Edit

Heavy Melee and Dodge Edit

  • Biotic Strike - The Drell Vanguard strikes at enemies with a biotically-charged fist.
  • Acrobatics - The Drell Vanguard rolls to quickly evade incoming attacks and flips over obstacles.

Player Notes Edit

General Notes
  • Drell Vanguards have very low barriers, resulting in an endurance lower than nearly every other class with only 900 health and 450 barriers at best. However they are much faster than other classes.
  • Cluster Grenades are lethal against groups, especially in combination with Biotic Explosions.
  • Pull will leave your opponents helpless and vulnerable to biotic detonations--the Drell Vanguard can detonate them with either Charge or Cluster Grenades.
  • If going for just Biotic Charge and Cluster Grenades, one can afford a moderate loadout. If Pull will be used, consider a light loadout so one can constantly yank unprotected, unarmored enemies off the ground. A possible loadout would be a shotgun with pistol in order to balance out firepower and charge cooldown. Alternatively, a Talon can deliver serious damage whilst being very light; at close quarters, it is preferable to the Paladin or Carnifex.
  • Since you are physically weak, it is highly recommended to stick to cover whenever possible. Biotic Charge should be used only when necessary, rather than as a tool of aggression. However, with intelligent selection of the final evolution, it can be used constantly to replenish barriers when combined with a light loadout.
  • Alternatively if one goes for the 150% recharge speed evolution at rank 6 of Pull, you could even afford to bring a heavy loadout, albeit at the cost of a long cooldown for Biotic charge. Or you could forego Biotic Charge altogether, as said power only restores 125-450 barriers, which won't last long against enemies on Gold or Platinum. This would make you much more flexible in how you can deal with enemies, rather than just through the use of powers and aggressive CQB tactics.
  • Your Cluster Grenades will be very effective against Combat Engineers, Assault Troopers, Centurions, and Guardians - use them if you have them.
  • Since speed is a drell's main strength, there is a much smaller chance of being instantly killed by the Phantom's Impale move, but caution should be exercised nonetheless.
  • Pull will prove invaluable against Guardians, since they solely rely on their shields for protection. Yank away their shields, and they become nothing more than a basic Assault Trooper. Timed correctly, it can also be used against Phantoms as they cloak, as it'll force the Phantoms to land which can give you enough time to take them down. Dragoons are the only humanoid target in this faction that is immune to your pulling due to its armor and Atlases cannot be pulled for obvious reasons.
  • Your Cluster Grenades will work wonders here, since all enemies except Marauders and Banshees have only armor or health. Since most enemies are either big, or slow moving and weak, you can easily, with precision throwing, take out huge groups of enemies in a short space of time, even on Gold. You could even take a heavier-than-normal loadout, just to make sure you have some anti-armor weapons to aid you against the Reapers.
  • It is easier for you to get away from Banshees, but you are no less vulnerable than other races. Avoid close quarters with a Banshee, you will likely end up lifeless and spectating the rest of the round.
  • Cluster Grenades are a must here, since all geth (with the exception of the basic trooper), have at least some kind of shielding. Hit your enemies hard, as your enemies will certainly be hitting you hard, especially the Geth Hunters, Primes, and Rocket Troopers with their ability to stun and destroy your shields and health in just three shots.
  • Caution is highly recommended: stick by your team and stay behind cover, as you will otherwise find yourself going down very often.
  • Charge weaker enemies if you aren't too far away from your team as a result, but be on the look out for Hunters, as they will stop you from fighting back afterwards.
  • Pull will only affect Troopers, Rocket Troopers, and Hunters. Use it on the latter when unshielded, as it will prevent them from pressuring you into making a mistake and perhaps leading you into a hail of rockets and gunfire.
  • Your Cluster Grenades will cause no end of trouble for the Collectors, due to most foes being cluster together or fairly big but your lack of shielding leaves much to be desired. Play tactically with this class as you may otherwise end up downed quickly.
  • Charge should be used tactically too, since with what little shielding you have you will quickly find yourself vulnerable.
  • Pull is only effective against the Captains, Troopers and less so, Abominations. Be careful using said power against Abominations, as if you leave it too long you may end up pulling them towards you and/or your team, causing severe damage.

Asari Vanguard Edit

Asari MP

Asari are the most influential and respected sentient species in the galaxy. They are native to the planet Thessia and were the first species to discover the Citadel. Their long lifespan and history have allowed them to serve as galactic mediators for centuries. While not as physically powerful as other species, their proficiency with biotics makes them dangerous opponents.

Asari vanguards use hit-and-run tactics to ruthlessly eliminate their opponents from the battlefield. Their biotic dash ability allows them to charge an opponent, inflict damage, and then quickly get out of harm's way.

Abilities Edit

Heavy Melee Edit

  • Heavy Biotic Blast - The Asari Vanguard unleashes a biotic pulse that damages enemies within a certain radius.
  • Biotic Dash - The Asari Vanguard quickly slides using biotic energy at the expense of barrier strength.

Player Notes Edit

General Notes
  • An Asari's biotic dash is a very quick slide in any direction; however, the dash costs a minor amount of the Asari's barrier.
  • There is often the tough choice of whether or not to go for the Stasis power, or Lift Grenades. Stasis offers a lockdown power that works against even Phantoms while the Lift Grenades are generally more useful all-round. If struggling to make a choice, one could employ both, but at the cost of skill points in other areas.
    • However, one could go for an unconventional build without Charge, allowing for you to put points in both Stasis and Lift Grenades. This combination can be more powerful than the Asari Adept, as Lift Grenades don't require a biotic primer to be used.
  • Asari possess a very powerful Area melee attack. Charging into a group of low-level enemies and then instantly meleeing is very effective, especially on Bronze.
  • Stasis is a godsend against Cerberus as it affects almost every single enemy (Atlases, Dragoons and Turrets are immune to Stasis due to their armor). The notoriously evasive Phantoms can be put into stasis, allowing for easy headshots and Biotic Detonations. However, enemies will build up resistance against Stasis, eventually becoming entirely immune to its effects if they have been put in Stasis too many times. One should use Stasis on stronger enemies, or enemies near incapacitated allies to give said allies some respite when getting up.
  • While not as useful, Stasis can still prove efficient enough to deal with Swarmers, Marauders, Cannibals, and Husks. One should consider using Lift Grenades instead, as it can still stun said foes and its more useful against tougher enemies like Banshees, or Brutes.
  • A Stasis bubble placed on top of a Ravager will kill any Swarmers that appear, which is very useful on Gold, when Swarmers can rapidly drain shields.
  • Care should be taken around geth, as with any class since the Geth Rocket Troopers, Hunters, and Primes can and will stun anybody struck by their shots, or melee.
  • Stasis is very effective against every enemy except Primes and Pyros and will more often than not give the users team a lot of breathing room where its needed.
    • With the Stasis Bubble evolution, one can place it in choke points or areas of high traffic in order to catch a sneaky Geth Hunter.
  • Lift Grenades are also effective here, although all enemies except the basic troops have at least a level of shielding, and since Geth tend to walk together as a single unit, hitting lots of enemies with a single grenade is easier.
  • Sticking by your team is highly recommended despite these advantages, since they can help kill any enemy in Stasis much more quickly.
  • Asari will do quite well against the Collectors due to their natural affinity to biotics.
  • Stasis will stop the Abominations, which are deadly against anybody (even more so when Possessed), Captains to prevent you from being stopped by the Swarms they summon and the troopers will die easily enough.
  • Your Lift Grenades are a good last resort when enemies get too close, since it will suspend unprotected foes in the air and render them vulnerable to a good pasting from your team.

Krogan Battlemaster Vanguard Edit

Krogan Battlemaster MP

Krogan are large bipeds native to the planet Tuchanka, a world known for its harsh environment, scarce resources, and vicious predators. Until the invention of gunpowder, the leading cause of krogan fatalities was "eaten by predators." Afterwards, it was "death by gunshot". Though slow, krogan can take tremendous damage in combat, allowing them to inflict grievous harm with impunity.

Armored like a tank--and as slow as one--an angry krogan has more going for it than the species' infamous belligerence. It should come as no surprise that a krogan dishes out as much punishment as they're able to take on the battlefield.

Abilities Edit

Heavy Melee and Dodge Edit

  • Krogan Charge - The Krogan Battlemaster Vanguard charges forward a short distance and strikes an enemy with held weapons.
  • Krogan Battlemaster Vanguards lack a dodge maneuver.

Player Notes Edit

General Notes
  • The Krogan Battlemaster's Biotic Charge is quite different from other Vanguards'. Charge takes longer to reach its target and has a longer cooldown, but deals more damage.
  • The Krogan Battlemaster has 250 more points of health than either the Krogan Soldier or the Krogan Sentinel, as well being able to have 1800 shields if Fitness is leveled towards this. With the ability to restore shields in an instant with Charge, and with Barrier evolutions that decrease damage taken, the Battlemaster is one of the most durable characters in the game. With the help of shield boosting mods and gear bonuses, he is almost certainly the most durable after the Geth Juggernaut and Krogan Warlord, with the Krogan Shaman close behind.
  • Krogan Battlemasters aren't as capable as other krogan at dealing melee damage in a melee damage build, but it is still lethal nonetheless. Since Barrier doesn't give extra melee bonuses, you may as well keep it on, to make sure you're constantly protected. Combine this with the ability to charge, and a Krogan Battlemaster is nearly invincible, with only the toughest enemies of the factions (Atlases/Phantoms, Primes/Hunters, Banshees/Brutes/Ravagers or Praetorians/Scions) capable of killing you off quick enough.
    • A popular option is to bypass melee usage altogether, and use the rank 5 Biotic Charge ability Weapon Synergy instead in conjunction with a strong close range weapon, especially more rapid firing options such as the Reegar Carbine or the N7 Piranha.
  • Krogan Vanguards are the only class without a grenade or unique power filling up their second power slot. With Carnage being their second power, and it generally being weaker than other powers, its highly recommended to make one's build geared around survivability and skipping said power in order to maximize the potential of the Battlemaster. Opt for protection from Barrier, and use the rank 5 "Martial Artist" evolution in the Fitness skill tree to allow for greater melee damage. Alongside that, make sure the Battlemaster has extra damage protection from when he gets enraged so that the Battlemaster can withstand almost anything.
  • A very efficient and effective way to obliterate enemies is a one-two with the M-300 Claymore. A Biotic Charge specced for full damage and weapon synergy will strip all the shields/barriers of troop-level enemies, allowing the player to make use of the synergy to literally destroy anyone caught in the blast radius for guaranteed one-shot kills.
  • Phantoms are deadly against krogan since they are much quicker and krogan cannot roll. The krogan does have one major advantage however in that his Biotic Charge will almost always stun a Phantom, even when their barriers are up giving the player a large chance to deal heavy damage. Keep a healthy distance between you and Phantoms to prevent a fatal stabbing, and utilize melee or gunfire and Biotic Charge whenever you can. Keep in mind that Phantoms can perform their one hit kill during your own melee animation, making this always a risky option, so if one must melee it's best to do after a Biotic Charge, although simple gun use may be safer.
  • Other than that, Guardians are the Battlemaster's only other threat, which can be countered by using a weapon with piercing or a piercing mod. At higher levels of force, Biotic Charge can stun Guardians too, making them lower their shields for a moment and giving the player an opening.
  • Watch out for Nemeses while closing the distance with them, as one shot will rip the barriers entirely on higher difficulties, while a second shot will deplete health.
  • Using the Reegar Carbine is rather useful as most enemies have just health or shields/barriers, which makes Phantoms much less dangerous. Piercing mod can solve problems with Dragoons, Atlases and Guardians, as it can easily hit through their shields.
  • Care should be taken against Banshees, since they cannot be easily staggered, and Brutes, since you cannot roll to evade their charge. Banshees especially can be seen as the Battlemasters' most major threat, although both enemies can also instantly kill you. The Brutes' instant kill radius is much lower than that of a Banshee however, making it relatively easy to stay out of range and making the Banshee a far higher threat.
    • A trade-off of this to keep in mind however, is while staying close to a Banshee is generally suicide, the Banshee will not perform its grab move when its aura-like, glowing biotic barrier around the Banshee (which also allows it to teleport) is down. This is their moment of vulnerability. Their barrier goes down when they fire a warp projectile or perform their close range burst attack.
  • Aside from the above point, melee and charge should be used generously.
  • This is where the Krogan Vanguard will really shine, especially if Barrier is maxed out for damage reduction, and Rage fully evolved for durability. Since no opponent can instantly kill you, you will be able to engage all Geth units at close range, charging to replenish your barriers as needed. With their massive amounts of shields, plus the 25%-40% damage reduction from Barrier, Krogan Vanguards can shrug off practically all attacks on Silver, with only Geth Pyros and Primes posing a significant threat on Gold.
  • It is much more difficult to melee Geth since some enemies can stun anybody struck by their shots. Time attacks carefully, and stick by your team to avoid any grief. Or otherwise, stick to weapon synergy and firing.
    • However, the Krogan Battlemaster is immune to most staggering attacks, specially during his melee animations. This makes them one of the most capable units for engaging the Geth directly (the only other characters that are immune to being staggered are the N7 Destroyer and the Krogan Shaman).
  • Barrier is a must here, as most enemies will be able to strip shields, and then health in just one or two shots each otherwise.
  • Despite all this, the Geth have no units that can instantly kill, so you can wade into the middle of a group of enemies and smash them with melee attacks and biotic charge without fear of being impaled.
  • Your ability to tank will prove very useful against the Collectors since they favor ranged combat over melee, but are just as deadly at close range. Praetorians are your biggest problem due to their heavy armor and barriers and deadly twin beam cannons and claws, but you cannot be stunned by any enemies shots.
  • While not as restricted by Swarms, it still inflicts noticeable grief upon you since as with most vanguards you need to charge to restore shields.
  • Extreme caution should be exercised when engaging Praetorians, since the Krogan cannot dodge, and because the Praetorian moves quite quickly. Engaging them at melee range is highly inadvisable, since they possess an insta-kill attack, and make use of it frequently.

Project Phoenix Vanguard Edit

Phoenix MP

A result of the Illusive Man's early experiments in enhanced human physiology, Project Phoenix subjects are highly skilled combat and biotic specialists. When the Illusive Man turned to indoctrination in order to ensure the loyalty of his troops, many Phoenix operatives defected and joined the Alliance in order to stop the Reapers.

Phoenix operatives are highly skilled combat and biotic specialists. Their ability to manipulate Cerberus lash and stasis technology, backed up by their powerful skills, make them invaluable assets on the battlefield.

Abilities Edit

Heavy Melee and Dodge Edit

  • Cerberus Lash - The Project Phoenix Vanguard swings biotically-charged lashes, striking the surrounding area.
  • Combat Roll - The Project Phoenix Vanguard rolls to quickly evade incoming attacks.

Player Notes Edit

General Notes
  • The Phoenix Vanguard's Lash ability functions similarly to Pull, except that targets are dealt considerable damage and thrown a good distance. With the Shield Penetration evolution, Lash can be set up to penetrate shields and barriers. Lash can also be used as a primer for biotic explosions, with the Fast Recharge evolution increasing the short time that Lash's biotic effect affects a target.
  • The Phoenix Vanguard is capable of single-handedly creating biotic explosions on armored enemies by using Smash and following it up with Biotic Charge (or vice-versa). Considering that the Rank 6 Armor Damage evolution of the former kills a Brute after three uses on Silver, the Vanguard can take down armored units even quicker and enhance survivability by restoring barriers with Charge.
  • Smash creates a short-ranged shockwave-esque effect that can travel through cover. This is useful against basic infantry enemies, since Smash's high damage will likely kill them.
  • Phantoms should be first priority when possible, since they are capable of killing the players team in moments.
  • Shield Penetration for Lash is borderline mandatory against Cerberus since most of their troops are protected by shielding or barriers.
  • When surrounded, Smash is highly advised since it can give the Phoenix Vanguard a great crowd controlling ability.
  • Lash is very effective against Guardians as it will yank their shields off permanently and allow them to be killed more easily.
  • Although it won't knock it over, Lash will still stagger an Atlas and will give enough time for Smash to be used against them without taking any additional damage.
  • Since Smash can hit through walls it will devastate Atlases while remaining safe and can make living much easier since they usually take up everybody's attention.
  • Like the Phoenix Adept, a smash-melee combo will prove very effective against infantry on Gold difficulty, as Smash will destroy most or all of its initial defenses or health while a heavy melee can hit anybody outside smashes path. Smash can destroy a great deal of armor or barriers when evolved to do armor damage and even with electrical damage remains lethal, ensuring that a melee can gravely injure or kill a Dragoon soon after.
  • Lash is less useful since only the smaller enemies (Husks, Cannibals, and Marauders) will be yanked off the ground.
  • As ever, caution is advised around Banshees since they can and will grab anybody nearby. Smash can be used, but carefully - you don't want to be grabbed.
  • Make sure you don't charge into Banshees, as said above, you don't want to be grabbed.
  • Lash is very effective here since the Hunters and Rocket Troopers are capable of stunning you and the team, so a player can use Lash on them to incapacitate them for a while. Primes and Pyros aren't affected by Lash but Smash will deal more than adequate damage.
  • Make sure any Hunters are lashed quickly, because they can and will stun the team. Combined with other enemies, such as Pyros, or Rocket Troopers, the player's entire team can be brought down instantly. While a Vanguard can be a bit aggressive against the geth, its often best to avoid dare-devil stunts and stick by the team.
  • Project Phoenix Vanguards may find themselves at a disadvantage against Collectors, since they favor powerful ranged attack and excel at close combat.
    • Lash is very useless against this faction, since only three enemies are affected by it, the Collector Trooper, the Collector Captain (only affected if Shield Penetration Evolution was chosen at Rank 6) and the Abominations (though it's ill-advised to do so, since Lash can sometimes pull them to the squad, being lethal if they're possessed).
    • Since this class's most useful power is close ranged, Smash, players may find themselves frequently being downed, since Collector enemies are geared towards ranged combat. They are also just as deadly at close range too.

N7 Slayer Vanguard Edit

N7 Slayer Vanguard MP

These soldiers are the go-anywhere, fight-anything special forces of the Alliance that were trained at the Interplanetary Combatives Academy in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They had to survive combat situations "in an admirable and effective fashion" to receive the N7 rank. Many N7s now train other species in anti-Reaper asymmetric warfare.

Slayers use implants to dramatically improve mobility. Their dizzying sword attacks can hit multiple opponents, and the Slayer's ability to slip fire makes them hard to pin down on the battlefield.

Abilities Edit

Heavy Melee and Dodge Edit

  • Monomolecular Blades - The N7 Slayer Vanguard teleports a short distance forward before slashing at an enemy with his sword, resulting in a decapitation if the attack is fatal.
  • Acrobatics - The N7 Slayer Vanguard flips and teleports a short distance at the expense of barrier strength.

Player Notes Edit

General Notes
  • The Slayer's dodges and heavy melee strikes trigger a teleportation effect (which costs a small portion of barrier each time), which a player can use to teleport not only through objects and walls, but also up and down ladders (note that the high ladders in Firebase Ghost and Firebase Vancouver are an exception to this rule), skipping the seconds of climbing animation that leaves you vulnerable.
    • If a player using the Slayer dies in the middle of a warp (being dodge moves or melee attacks), the corpse will not be visible (except for the sword).
  • Biotic Slash can be one of the most effective powers in the game if used correctly. It can do hefty damage to all forms of protection, as well as knocking unprotected enemies off their feet. With the Rank 6 Range upgrade, it will travel 30m, making it a potent tool for mid range combat (being the range-limited power with the longest reach). Whenever possible, try to use the ability while safely behind tall cover. It is invaluable for slowing enemy advances, weakening strong opponents, and killing weaker ones outright. With a high power recharge rate, one can spam this ability every two seconds.
    • Biotic Slash can be used through cover and walls, helping to negate the lack of damage reduction while the lenghty animation plays.
      • Note that while Biotic Slash will travel through cover, it always travels in a straight line parallel to the ground, making it ineffective for engaging opponents who are at significantly higher or lower elevations. On Firebase Giant, for example, if you use Biotic Slash from the top of a ladder, it will not affect the enemies who are below you.
    • Additionally, the ending lag of Biotic Slash can be cancelled into melee (both types), dodge and cover animations.
  • If Biotic Charge is leveled to restore barriers fully and Fitness to increase melee damage, the Slayer is quite capable of devastating any lone or small group of enemy/enemies. A Charge, followed by a melee flurry, followed by another charge when your Barriers drop repeated ad infinitum allows the Slayer to inflict a constant barrage of high-damage attacks while still maintaining barrier strength. Should the player be able to acquire targets quickly, this tactic can be used against much larger groups, with charge used to jump between kills.
    • As usual, care should be taken when engaging large groups without squad support as they are capable of surrounding and overwhelming you.
  • Phase Disruptor is essentially a long range Nova attack. It consumes your barriers to send out a powerful energy burst that will hit wherever you are currently aiming. However, it does not lock on opponents; it goes where your crosshair is pointed. Its radius can be fairly large, and it can evolved to deal extra damage to armor or barriers. Overall, it can be less effective than Biotic Slash in most situations, though it does have the advantage of not having a cooldown.
    • With a Volus Adept or Vanguard (with Biotic Orbs activated for maximum recharge speed effectiveness) standing next to you and constantly uses Shield Boost, you basically have endless barriers, allowing to spam Phase Disruptor at ease.
    • As of January 15, Phase Disruptor's barrier cost has been significantly reduced, from 50% to 40% naturally and from 37.5% to 20% with the Efficient Blast evolution. This allows the Slayer to fire up to five Phase Disruptor shots from full barrier, greatly increasing their damage output.
  • Because the Slayer also makes use of biotic abilities as well more melee-oriented class skills (such as the N7 Shadow's), one may want to keep their loadout as light as possible, especially if planning extensive use of the Biotic Charge. This will limit your effectiveness with guns, but evolved properly, you can destroy enemies from afar using your Phase Disruptor, Biotic Charge at your enemies to replenish barriers, and then retreat to safety for deadly sneak attacks.
  • In terms of damage, the Slayer ranks a conditional 4th place in heavy melee damage, behind the N7 Shadow (depending on how the N7 Shadow's melee is built and what enemies are being attacked). Despite this, the Slayer's light melee is much faster, making the Slayer far surpass even the Batarians' Enforcement Gauntlets or the Krogan Warlord Sentinel in pure melee damage due to massive DPS. Combining that with Biotic Charge to close into melee range faster makes the Slayer one of the preeminent melee kits.
    • This makes the Slayer uniquely deadly using a "Charge+Melee" tactics, where the Slayer Biotic Charges into enemies (staggering them), following with a series of rapids light melee attacks, then Charging again as soon as Biotic Charge has cooled down. This lends to an extremely aggressive and fast-paced play style, but exacts extreme amounts of damage against enemies.
    • The Slayer's heavy melee is a powerful slash that moves and phases the character some distance forward. Charge this from a distance to hit your target instead of flying past it and leaving yourself open to enemy attacks. Also, similar to his dodge, the Slayer's Heavy Melee also allows the player to traverse areas of certain maps with ease; currently, it can allows the player to climb up certain ledges regardless of if a ladder is nearby.
    • The Slayer's heavy melee also has the unique benefit of teleporting behind enemies in cover (much like a short-ranged Shadow Strike), making this a more useful "moving" heavy melee than the Krogan Charge, which only moves straight forward.
    • The Slayer's light melee is a series of three sword strikes. The character will move in and out of phase with each strike as fast as you make them (similar to N7 Fury's light melee), which means that you can repeatedly strike an enemy with relative impunity. This takes practice, but when mastered allows the slayer to literally shred just about any enemy in a few seconds, even Banshees or Brutes. Using equipment which increase melee damage makes this an extremely powerful form of attack, and can be useful when dealing with a very powerful enemy, or where you are surrounded by several with few avenues of escape. This is also a much faster option than the Biotic Slash, which is slow to implement and can get you killed in such a situation.
    • Care should be taken when engaging in melee fights with Phantoms, Atlases, Brutes, Banshees, Scions, and Praetorians. All of these enemies have the potential to sync-kill a Slayer, even in the middle of a melee barrage. It is usually recommended to either focus on lower-tiered enemies and allow teammates the boss kills, or switch to ranged tactics when engaging aforementioned enemies.
  • The biggest problem for this class against Cerberus is the Guardian. His shield will block all of the Slayer's attacks. A precise weapon (such as the Carnifex) to shoot through the visor or an armor piercing modded weapon is the best choice to use.
    • Another method of dealing with Guardians is to fire your Phase Disruptor just behind them. This will cause them to stagger and leave most of their body, including their head, open to attack. Phase Disruptor is also capable of temporarily knocking a Guardian's shield to the side which, again, exposes the Guardian to gunfire. A charged shot from the Geth Plasma Shotgun aimed at the visor will, on lower difficulties, usually kill the Guardian.
    • Currently, Biotic Slash will affect the Guardian when used head-on, killing them outright in some cases.
    • Phase Disruptor used head on will also stagger Guardians and open their shields leaving them vulnerable to weapons fire.
  • Stick behind cover and use the Biotic Slash to hit enemies through walls and other forms of cover. This will hurt enemies while also protecting you from long-range attacks since this class is generally physically weak.
  • Charge+Melee tactics are very useful against Cerberus, and if maintained properly, will allow a Slayer to rarely be downed even on Gold difficulty, but pay careful heed that Charge+Melee tactics are useless against Guardians, so plan ahead.
  • This enemy class is easy for the Slayer until Banshees and Ravagers come into play. Banshees are very well defended from your biotic attacks and can sometimes kill you with one Reave if you're not careful. The Ravagers' three-shot burst will kill you if all three hit. Once you see one, get behind a wall or other form of cover to Biotic Slash it or let your teammates take it on as you move on to another enemy.
  • Since only one foot soldier enemy is protected by shields (Marauder), Biotic Slash is very useful to dispatch/stun/throw hordes of small enemies. It is also useful to get rid of Swarmers spawned by Ravagers.
  • Phase Disruptor, if specced for armor damage will prove very lethal against Brutes, Ravagers, and Banshees without barriers, but take care not to use said power too liberally, you need to protect yourself as well as kill the enemy.
  • Charge+Melee tactics are very effective against Reapers, but it is not recommended to engage in extended melee combat with a Brute or Banshee in play. Even if you are not fighting the Brute or Banshee, they can still potentially flank (and subsequently sync-kill) you while your attention is focused on another enemy.
  • This enemy class is where the Slayer will excel in combat. Four Biotic Slash attacks will kill every enemy weaker than a Geth Prime on Gold difficulty or lower.
  • The Phase Disruptor power should be avoided since its hard enough to fight Geth that hit hard. When Geth can both hit hard and stun you it can literally disrupt your ability to charge into the enemy. You need to be fully prepared to charge, but tactically, and the last thing you need is your shields stripped when the Geth start hitting on you.
  • Charge+Melee tactics can be effective against Geth, but care should be exercised as all Geth have the ability to stagger you, thus preventing you from entering the next much-needed Biotic Charge until it is too late.
  • Steer clear of the Praetorians if you're focusing on melee, otherwise N7 Slayers are very effective against the Collectors due to their Biotic Slash ability. Scions also need to be handled carefully in melee combat.
  • Phase Disruptor is unaffected by Seeker Swarms.
  • Abominations should be avoided in melee combat. Even the normal explosion usually cancels out the barrier recovery from Charge. However, the Slayer's heavy melee will decapitate Abominations if it kills, nullifying the explosion. That tactic is especially useful against Possessed Abominations that get too close to your team.
  • Charge+Melee is not recommended against the Collectors on harder difficulties (Gold and Platinum), as the abundance of Seeker Swarms and Abominations can leave your powers cooling down or you staggered too often to be effective.

Volus Protector Vanguard Edit

ME3 Volus Protector

The volus homeworld, Irune, has a high-pressure atmosphere that supports an ammonia-based biochemistry. To survive on other planets, the volus must wear pressure suits and breathers or, when facing combat, specially sealed armor.

Abilities Edit

Heavy Melee and Dodge Edit

  • Defensive Stance - The Volus Protector Vanguard cloaks to avoid enemies, or while stationary generates a protective shield sphere that damages nearby enemies.
  • Combat Roll - The Volus Protector Vanguard rolls to quickly evade incoming attacks.

Player Notes Edit

General Notes
  • With Biotic Orbs evolved for Recharge Speed and Orb Count, the Protector can use Biotic Charge faster than a Human Vanguard under the effect of Nova's Power Recharge evolution. He can quickly travel around the battleground with safety, allowing him to protect the squad by charging, then following up with Shield Boost.
    • Using this tactic, the Protector can effectively "tank" bulky enemies, such as Banshees and Atlases. However, care should be taken as these enemies have instant kill grabs.
  • Since volus characters have a Tactical Cloak as their Regular Melee, the Protector can use "stealthy" Charges, which is a useful tactic from getting out of tight situations or dealing surprise attacks.
  • With Biotic Charge and Biotic Orbs, the Protector can detonate biotic explosions set by other squadmembers in quick succession.
  • Biotic Charge also helps with the volus limited mobility, since they cannot use vault context actions; this means they can reach enemies behind low platforms easily without having to move around.
  • The Volus Protector is excellent at supporting allies who fight at close-range. Charge allows them to keep up with faster characters and Vanguards, and their low height and cloaking ability allow them to elude enemies and get into an optimal position to use Shield Boost while other teammates draw the enemy's attention.
  • A barrage of Biotic Orbs is an excellent follow-up to a Charge, especially with Charge's Rank 5 Power Synergy evolution. With Biotic Orbs's Rank 6 Expose evolution, this can set any survivors up for heavy damage.
  • As with all Vanguards, using Biotic Charge against Phantoms and Atlases can be dangerous, since one can quickly get caught in instant kill attacks.
    • The Protector can use its cloak to get behind Guardians to charge them.
      • However, with the use of light melee, Tactical Cloak, the Protector can sneak behind Guardians and Charge at them without being blocked.
  • Despite being a Vanguard, the volus is still a very fragile character, and is susceptible to the barrage of stunning fire that geth specialize in. This means a badly-timed Charge can be lethal and prevent the Protector from efficiently using Shield Boost.
  • Tactical Cloak followed up by Biotic Charge is an efficient way to stop and/or dispose of Geth Pyros and Geth Bombers.
  • Using Biotic Charge against Brutes and Banshees can be dangerous, since one can quickly get caught in instant kill attacks.
  • Similarly, charging Ravagers with their sacs open is ill-advised, as the pool of acid will quickly deplete the Protector's shields.
    • This can be countered by using a Talon and one or two shots to get rid of the sacs. Caution, however, is still advised as overwhelming numbers of Swarmers can prove deadly.
  • Using Biotic Charge against Praetorians can be dangerous, since one can quickly get caught in instant kill attacks.
    • The same applies to possessed Abominations, as their powerful and large explosion is lethal.

Batarian Brawler Vanguard Edit

ME3 Batarian Brawler

Little is known about the batarian homeworld of Khar'shan or its inhabitants. As a result, the race is judged by those whom the Hegemony allows to travel beyond its borders: organized crime enforcers, pirate boarding parties, slaver gangs, and gladiatorial combatants.

Batarians are large brawlers that use nets and spiked weapons to capture targets...or to bleed them dry on the battlefield. If an opponent gets too close, a batarian enforcer bludgeons them with spiked armor and enforcement gauntlets.

Abilities Edit

Heavy Melee and Dodge Edit

  • Enforcement Gauntlets - The Batarian Brawler Vanguard winds up a powerful punch with an omni-tool gauntlet.
  • Batarian Brawler Vanguards lack a dodge maneuver.

Player Notes Edit

General Notes
  • As the name might imply, the Batarian Brawler Vanguard excels in melee combat as a skill build. In particular, his long build-up but unmatched melee synergizes flawlessly with Biotic Charge: by starting the heavy melee right after the charge sequence begins, he can be at the point of impact with a stacked damage reduction right out of a charge, essentially meaning he can 'brawl' enemies with a one-two of the Charge-Heavy.
    • With his powers properly evolved, the Batarian Brawler can easily achieve over 100% damage reduction, combining the stacked bonuses from heavy melee, Blade Armor and Biotic Charge.
  • With the right timing, when following up a heavy melee on a unprotected target (just health) that has been launched far after a Charge, the Brawler will literally slide along the ground till reaching the target and successfully hitting him with the punch.
  • The Batarian Vanguard lacks any direct damage in his abilities except for Biotic Charge, and is therefore not suited to go toe-to-toe with bigger, tougher foes like Praetorians, or Atlas Mechs. Take a powerful, but light weapon, such as the N7 Piranha and equip it with a Shotgun High Caliber Barrel. This will allow you to deal with more powerful foes.
  • Lash will stop most of the smaller foes from being able to fight you, but will prove worthless against armored units.
  • The Blade Armor ideally should be maxed out, and specced for protection and reflect damage. This will make the Brawler much more difficult to kill.
  • A moderately light loadout is highly recommended, to keep Biotic Charge cooldowns fairly low while maintaining weapon dominance are charging. Or if you want to spec yourself for melee damage, take a light shotgun (such as the Piranha) or a close-combat heavy pistol (such as the Talon) with melee mods in order to maximize lethality in hand-to-hand combat.
  • Lash will be most useful here, since all enemies except for Dragoons and Atlases can be affected by Lash. It can stagger Atlases, but that's all it will do and inflicts no significant damage on said mechs.
  • Blade Armor will also be most effective here, since you will be charging into enemies more often than not, and the Phantoms and Dragoons main power comes from close quarters. While it can also be used on Atlases, their massive shield and armor levels will make it nearly impossible for a reflect strategy to come to fruition against Atlases.
  • Be careful against Phantoms, as charging into them will leave you vulnerable due to the nature of physics vs enemy melee attacks. Whether or not you have Blade Armor on, they will be able to follow up your attack with an impalement that you won't recover from.
    • However, Biotic Charge will always stun the Phantoms, allowing to successfully follow up with a heavy melee before the Phantom's counter-attack. Just be extra careful to not charge into a group with more than one Phantom.
      • Also, the heavy melee will hit Phantoms even if they use their cloak, since the attack locks onto enemies.
  • Be careful against turrets. However, if you have a light loadout, you will be able to go toe-to-toe with a turret, as the turret cannot damage you while in the heavy melee animation. Take advantage of this by alternating Biotic Charge and heavy melee.
  • Do not charge into Banshees. As with all bulkier classes, they cannot roll, this will spell your doom if you charge said enemies since you won't be able to immediately pull back like other nimbler classes can. Every other foe is game, Banshees, steer clear.
    • However, while ill-advised, one can charge when they're approaching with biotic jumps, since they will not use any attacks during it.
  • Lash will benefit less from the Penetration evolution, and will generally be less useful since only 3 enemies can be affected: Husks, Cannibals, and Marauders. Consider one of the other powers instead of Lash.
  • Blade Armor works really well against Brutes because they will always be charging at you. Be careful though as your health and shields are as always in finite supply and you cannot take on several brutes at once.
  • Lash will only affect Hunters, Rocket Troopers, and standard Troopers, and Hunters cannot be targeted until you shoot them and land a direct hit.
    • If thrown at in the right direction, Lash can reveal Geth Hunters even if the aiming reticule is not available.
    • If the Rank 5 (Damage over Time) is taken, the constant damage will expose the cloaked Hunter.
  • Blade Armor will help immensely against Hunters, since they will sometimes sneak up on you and melee you in the back. This will stagger them, and give you enough time to either counter-attack, or flee.
  • None of the Geth can instantly kill you, so all you need to worry about, is making sure you don't put yourself in a situation you wont be able to get out of. Remember, Geth Rocket Troopers, Hunters, Primes, and Bombers can stun you with their attacks, therefore you should plan your attack and assess the situation, before you literally go charging in.
  • Heavy melee can hit Geth Bombers even during their high flights to drop bombs. Just make sure to start the attack before they deploy.
  • Every enemy (except troopers) has at least some form of shielding, and therefore an Acolyte is advised to destroy their shields and leave them exposed to Lashes, or other teammates biotics.
  • Your Biotics will serve little use here, since only 3 enemies once again are susceptible to Lash: Troopers, Captains, and Abominations. Lash is even less useful when you use it against a Possessed Abomination, as the explosive power and radius of said foe can seriously damage you and your squad, or even kill ALL of you outright on higher difficulties.
  • Blade Armor is useful against Praetorians since their claw attacks come in hard and fast, but their protection leaves an issue. As well, its no good if you end up getting grabbed and subsequently killed as you cannot reflect damage if it instantly kills you.
  • Every enemy has some form of Barrier, except for Scions, Abominations and Troopers when unpossessed. The Acolyte will deal with this problem.

Cabal Vanguard Edit

ME3 Cabal Vanguard
Turian biotics are isolated from regular infantry in elite units called Cabals, whose proud dictum is, "the intangible is unstoppable." Since turian biotics are relatively rare, Cabals become small, tight-knit teams of fearsome biotic warriors that are trained to handle the deadliest infiltration missions.

Cabal training makes these deadly turians both biotically and technically proficient. Cabals equip their members with venom-infused gauntlets that are fatal to any enemy foolish enough to get within range.

Abilities Edit

Heavy Melee and Dodge Edit

  • Venom Gauntlets - The Turian Cabal Vanguard leaps to a target and slashes outwards with venom-tipped blades, dealing poison damage over time.
  • Increased Mobility - The Turian Cabal Vanguard teleports a short distance at the expense of barrier strength.

Player Notes Edit

General Notes
  • The Cabal Vanguard is the only Vanguard without Biotic Charge. Their replacement for Charge, Poison Strike, is substantially different from Charge; rather than striking a targeted enemy (and potentially others around them), Poison Strike launches the Cabal Vanguard forward a set distance, passing through walls and objects while damaging enemies that they pass through. While Poison Strike does make the Cabal Vanguard invulnerable, it does not restore their barrier.
  • Alongside the the N7 Fury and the Vorcha, the Cabal Vanguard is one of the few characters whose Regular Melee is infinite; she will deliver a series of strikes with her claws as long the players keeps pressing the melee button.
  • Heavy Melee can be somehow compared to N7 Shadow's Shadow Strike: the Cabal will "teleport" behind the enemy and deliver a powerful attack. She will strike with both claws, in a fashion similar to Vorcha's heavy melee. However, there is a limit of range for the attack to trigger the teleport.
    • In addition, the Heavy Melee has very low ending lag, which allows the Cabal to follow it up with multiple Regular Melee Attacks.
  • The Cabal Vanguard specializes in poison damage-over-time—their offensive powers and melee attacks all inflict additional damage over a few seconds in addition to direct damage. Synthetics are not immune to poison damage. Their damage-over-time abilities allow them to restrict enemy regeneration and prevent enemies from cloaking.
  • Both their dodge ability and Poison Strike allow the Cabal Vanguard to pass through walls. Along with the movement speed increase from Biotic Focus, the Cabal Vanguard is a very mobile character capable of skillful hit-and-run and flanking tactics.
  • If evolved for maximum melee damage, the Cabal can take down foot soldiers (even some Shielded ones) with a single Heavy Melee.
  • The Cabal is very useful for assassinating key enemies behind the enemy lines by phasing through the area with Poison Strike and dodge.
  • The Cabal relies mainly on speed, its teleporting ability, and having teammates to cover fire by attacking more dangerous enemies that can shrug of her attacks, such as Brutes and Scions.
  • A longer-ranged Poison Strike can be used to safely disrupt bosses' shields/barriers while launching the Cabal Vanguard far enough away from their high-damaging attacks or instant-kills. This tactic is more risky if evolved for Double Dash, but with careful timing, it is possible to Poison Strike through a target, wait for them to turn around, then Poison Strike through it again before backing off or letting Poison Strike's cooldown end.
  • The Geth Scanner upgrade can benefit the Cabal by allowing her to see through walls, letting her make a tactical assessment of enemy strength before using Poison Strike to phase through the walls.
  • On maps with a lot of tight spaces, the Cabal can be absolutely deadly (Firebase Glacier, in particular, comes to mind). Her ability to move through obstructions can allow her to quickly phase in and out of combat, damaging enemies and then retreating behind solid cover in the blink of an eye.
  • Because of its difference from Charge, Poison Strike can take some getting used to. In particular, the fact that it does not actively target enemies can make it difficult to hit targets who are moving perpendicular to the line of strike.
  • Poison Strike can be efficiently used to close in on distant downed allies; with a little accurate assessment of distance, a skilled Cabal can dash through obstacles and enemies and quickly revive her team-mates.
  • The Cabal can easily deal with most enemies, except for Atlases. She can kill Phantoms and Dragoons with no problems, as long they don't strike first or have the upper hand in range.
  • Poison Strike can not only provide the Cabal Vanguard with a means of getting away from Phantoms in a hurry but can also disrupt Phantoms' cloaking due to its damage over time.
  • Care should be taken against the Geth, as their attacks can easily stun and prevent the Cabal to unleash her true potential, interrupting her melee attacks and overhelming her with massive firepower.
  • Poison Strike can not only provide the Cabal Vanguard with a means of getting away from Geth Hunters in a hurry but can also disrupt Geth Hunters' cloaking due to its damage over time.
  • The Cabal can deal easily with most foot soldiers.
  • Care should be taken if trying to take down Ravagers with melee attacks, as their sacs will explode and expose the Cabal to damage.
  • Banshees and Brutes should be dealt with the extreme care, as the Cabal exposes herself very easily between attacks, and cannot stun those enemies easily with the Heavy Melee.
  • Care should be taken if trying to take down Abominations with melee attacks, as their explosion will harm the player. Extra care with Possessed Abominations.
  • Finishing an Abomination with a heavy melee will prevent them from exploding.
  • Poison Strike can be a useful tool for taking out Abominations, as long as there are no allies in the vicinity. Poison Strike can be used to eliminate an Abomination and phase through a wall before the Abomination explodes. Alternatively, Poison Strike can provide a narrow window of invulnerability for the Cabal Vanguard to avoid damage. Its damage over time also gives a window of time to escape before an Abomination succumbs to the poison.

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