The Vanguard is your close quarters specialist with a mixed focus on Shotguns and useful Biotics, the perfect combination of the Soldier and Adept Classes. Due to being in close quarters with your enemies, having access to the Tactical Armor Talent and thus, Medium Armor is a must. On top of that, you can boost your survivability even further with Barrier and the Shock Trooper Specialization. On easier difficulties, survivability is less of a concern but as you reach Hardcore and Insanity, you’ll want to make sure you have as much Damage Protection as possible.
Vanguard Bonus Talent
Provided you’ve unlocked some of the Achievements/Trophies related to using the associated Talents on a previous file, you’ll gain the ability to assign a Bonus Talent to your Vanguard at the time of Character Creation. As the Vanguard already has a nice mixture of Talents, the choice is perhaps easier than other Classes where they have clear strengths and weaknesses. For the Vanguard, there’s two obvious ones to consider, Singularity or Electronics.
Singularity will increase your damage output along with the ability to shutdown enemies in a large area. While Lift is one of the more important Talents for Vanguard, having the ability to use both Lift and Singularity in quick succession makes a huge difference to your overall combat effectiveness. Your Singularity will never be as strong as Liara’s but it’s a potent addition to the Vanguard’s arsenal and makes them better at what they already do great at.
Electronics on the other hand will help boost your survivability more with an increase to your shields and gives you access to Overload as an additional method for dealing damage to enemy shields. Either choice is a good one and will make your Vanguard a lot more tools to play around with.
As a Vanguard, you have access to two Weapon Talents, Pistols and Shotguns with both having great uses. With the change to Legendary Edition’s accuracy penalty, the other weapons now have their uses too (especially Snipers in certain situations) but to offset that, the individual Weapon Talents have seen massive boosts.
For Pistols, you’ll unlock the Marksman which will boost your accuracy, overall damage and headshot damage. The final rank of this Talent will boost headshot damage by 100%, making it a very attractive Talent to pursue now but even the first rank is useful as you unlock the Shotguns Talent. In terms of overall use, Pistols remain useful guns but the fact that you can use a Sniper or Assault Rifle without any accuracy penalty now makes it less a necessity in Legendary Edition.
Shotguns remain the bread and butter of Vanguards and upon reaching rank 4, you’ll unlock the Carnage ability. When activated, this will shoot out a projectile at your enemies (up to 3m at max rank) that will hit the enemy for 200% of your current Weapon DPS. This means that this will scale with your weapons as you reach the endgame to put out some significant damage. Couple this with being able to use Adrenaline Burst often makes it very attractive.
Early on, the Vanguard Talent isn’t worth putting too many points in, Biotic Protection isn’t great and the boosts to Pistol and Shotguns isn’t great enough. Instead, work on unlocking some of the more important Talents such as Barrier by investing 4 points into Warp. Warp is fine enough Talent, it will decrease the damage of enemies around where you fire it off but Barrier is clear the winner here, it’s a buff that will absorb up to 400 points of damage at rank 1, all the way up to 1000 at Master rank. This will do wonders for your survivability up close.
From there, you’ll want to make sure you focus on unlocking both Lift from 7 points of Throw and Medium Armor from 7 points of Tactical Armor. Lift remains one of Vanguard’s best abilities, being able to effectively disable an enemy by lifting them in the air for your squad members to focus fire on is a real boon. Medium Armor, like Barrier, will increase the survivability, the last thing you want to be doing as a Vanguard is wading into combat in Light Armor.
Once you complete the Assignment UNC: Rogue VI, you’ll gain the ability to evolve the Vanguard Talent, with your options being Nemesis or Shock Trooper. The main draw of Nemesis is that you’ll get increased damage to Throw and duration to Warp, which, while nice, isn’t enough of a draw over the superior Shock Trooper. With that, you’ll gain an increased Health, Damage Protection, Pistol and Shotgun damage and then advanced versions of both Barrier and Adrenaline Burst, two of the better abilities in the game. Barrier will not only increase in strength and duration, but also obtain a shield regen while Adrenaline Burst will get a further 25% cooldown meaning you can pretty much use your Talents non-stop.
The final decision to make is when you unlock Spectre Training during the story. Be sure to put a point in there right away to get a nice 5% boost to your health and then consider taking it as far as Unity, beyond that, only return to this once you’ve maxed the more important Talents.