Build information for Tali, including talent point allocation and ideal gear.
Tali is essentially an Engineer with the Shotguns talent thrown in for good measure, allowing Tali to contribute in close-ranged encounters as well as toss out various tech ability debuffs. Unlike an Engineer, she does not have access to the Medicine talent tree, which… seems like more than a fair trade, honestly.
|Tali’s Talents||Suggested Ranks|
Talent Point Allocation
Tali only has access to two weapon talents, Pistols and Shotguns, and both fill different niches. Shotguns, of course, are short-ranged options, and in lieu of other options, maxing them out to get Master Carnage is worth the effort. At least, it’s better than spending your points elsewhere would be. You’ll need to drop six ranks in Pistols to unlock Shotguns, which is a small sacrifice, considering pistols are Tali’s only midrange option. You can easily stop there if you wish, advance to eight ranks to pick up Advanced Marksman, or just max Pistols out, too. We opt for the latter, as Tali will likely be using pistols and awful lot.
Basic Armor and First Aid
Tali is, unfortunately, restricted to light armor. Worse yet, her anatomy requires a unique set of armor, so you can’t just use the same gear interchangeably for Tali like you can with, say, Liara. Given her ranks in Electronics and Quarian Machinist, Tali will have more Shields than whatever her armor states, making Shield Boost somewhat more useful, but Shields are a poor substitute for Damage Protection. To that end, we suggest you max out Basic Armor - if you can get her a suit of Colossus X Light Armor, it’ll come with a helpful 65 base Damage Protection, which is nice, but by no means insurmountable protection on higher difficulties.
Since her armor is at best adequate, you should obviously invest in First Aid to heal whatever damage she inevitably takes, right? Well… no. It’s still awful. Just be sure to equip Tali with a Medical Exoskeleton armor mod and/or an Energized Plating mod.
Functionally being an Engineer, it should be no surprise that Tali has access to pretty much every tech ability in the game, sans Medicine, which is honestly not a great loss. Get Electronics and Decryption up to rank nine, which is sufficient to unlock both Damping and Hacking, respectively, as well as Master Overload and Master Sabotage. Overload will damage enemy Shields and increase the target’s damage vulnerability for a health duration, while Sabotage will overheat enemy weapons, perhaps rendering them offensively impotent. These are both keystone abilities that you’ll be using throughout the game. Both Electronics and Decryption also allow you to unlock various containers and hack computers, which are indispensible.
Damping isn’t much of a downgrade from the two flagship tech abilities, as it’ll put all enemy tech/biotic abilities on cooldown (up to 60% the standard cooldown, with Master Damping). For enemies that rely on tech attacks and biotics, this greatly hinders their offensive power, and throw in the ability to stun enemies and you’ve got a winner of a skill. The only downside? It requires more investment than the other two - you don’t unlock Master Damping until rank twelve.
Hacking is… the least useful of the tech abiliteis Tali has on offer. That’s not saying too much in light of how good the other three are, but Hacking suffers from a number of issues. First, you have to reach Decryption rank seven before you can unlock it, which means it’ll take a good while to become proficient in it. You might start being able to use it near the end of your first visit to the Citadel… which is ironically around the time you can recruit Tali. Worse yet, the enemies you can affect with this ability are severely limited until you hit Master AI Hacking at rank twelve. You can’t even hack Geth Shock Troopers until you unlock Advanced AI Hacking at rank seven! It’s quite an investment, but there are opportunities throughout the game where hacking one powerful geth or a turret can really make things easier
As a general rule, class talents tend not to be very good, and the same holds for Tali. Quarian Machinist will increase her tech resistance and give her more Shields, which are… fine, but we’d rather max out Pistols. The only reason this talent gets three ranks is because that’s all that’s left after investing in everythinge else, and it’s arguably a better place to dump our remaining talent points than the final ranks of Electronics, Decryption or… First Aid. Perish the thought.
Best Gear for Tali
As a quarian, Tali’s anatomy demands armor specifically designed for quarians. Lore-wise, it really doesn’t even make sense that such would exist, but don’t question it too much; just be thankful Kassa Fabrications saw fit to make a line of Colossus Light Armor for quarians. Colossus X Light Armor is the best armor Tali can wear, and while it won’t offer the same protection as heavier models, a pair of Medical Exoskeletons will give her decent regeneration to offset this somewhat. Alternatively, going with a Medical Exoskeleton and an Energized Plating mod also works.
The best weapons in the game are tier X Spectre weapons: HMWA X, HMWSG X, HMWP X and HMWSR X. These will become available when you return to the Citadel after clearing the missions on Therum, Feros, Noveria and Virmire… provided you’re high enough level. Tali, of course, is interested in shotguns and pistols, particularly if they’re modded with Scram Rail X and Frictionless Materials X.
Finally, as a tech-focused character, Tali needs a good Omni-Tool. The best model on the market is the Savant X (not to be confused with a Biotic Amp of the same name), as it grants a whopping 50% reduction in tech ability cooldown time and a +35% Shield bonus.