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Mass Effect 2 Legendary Edition

Best Tali Builds

Matt Chard

This page will show you some of the best builds for your squad mate Tali’Zorah vas Neema in Mass Effect 2. Here, you’ll find details on the best abilities to pick, and the best weapons to equip.

Tali Overview

Tali’Zorah vas Neema is a Quarian who has to live in a full-body environmental suit due to the Quarian’s weak immune system. You first meet her during her Pilgrimage, which is a Quarian rite, where young Quarians leave their home to obtain a gift to pass on to their Captain, which allows them to join the Ships crew. She is a technician, and engineer by heart as well as being renowned by the Migrant Fleet, but has additional pressure to reach the heights of her mother Rael’Zorah who is an Admiral for the Fleet. After the incident with Shepard which happened on the Normandy at the beginning of Mass Effect 2 she becomes a part of the crew of Neema, which is shown in her name.

When do you get Tali

Tali is available around the mid-point of the game during Act 2, which starts after Mission Horizon. Once that’s been completed, four more Dossiers will become available, with Dossier: Tali needing to be completed before she is available.

Energy Drain Build

This build revolves around maxing out Tali’s Energy Drain to help the squad take down enemy shields whilst replenishing her own. Combining that with her ability to send in an Explosive Drone, she makes a very strong squad mate. Finally, we max out her passive skill line Quarian Machinist which increase her Health as well as her Weapon Damage and Power Duration.

Power Evolution Squad Points
Combat Drone Explosive Drone 10
Energy Drain Area Drain 10
AI Hacking
Quarian Machinist Quarian Mechanic 10


This section will go into more detail on why the Powers are chosen for this particular build.

Combat Drone

At higher difficulties, the Combat Drone doesn’t stay alive long enough to use it as a distraction. For this reason alone, we spec into the Explosive Drone evolution as it has a wide radius, and decent damage.

Energy Drain

Energy Drain is Tali’s best Power, and should be your focus whenever you’re using her Powers. It’s similar to Overload where it’ll strip the enemies shields, but it’ll also replenish hers at the same time, giving her some much-needed survivability. We chose the Area Drain upgrade to hit as many enemies as we possibly can with it, and a lot of enemies in Mass Effect 2 like to be clustered, so this makes perfect sense.

Quarian Machinist

Quarian Machinist is Tali’s passive skill line which’ll increase her Health, Weapon Damage, and Power Duration. We chose the Quarian Mechanic evolution to get the extra Weapon Damage as we’re not using AI Hacking or the Attack Drone in this build which is the only things to benefit from the increased duration .

Best Weapons

This section will talk about what weapons are best for this particular build.

Heavy Pistol

Weapon Base Damage Accuracy Recoil Fire Mode Fire Rate Clip Size
M-5 Phalanx 109 High High Semi-Automatic 80 RPM 6

The M-5 Phalanx was originally added as DLC in the original Mass Effect 2, in the Legendary Edition, it can be purchased from Ratch, who resides on Tuchanka.

What makes the M-5 Phalanx so effective, is that it’s highly accurate due to its built in laser, and it hits like a truck with 109 base damage. Like most handguns, it’s better to use against enemies with armor, or as a weapon to fall back on if you run out of ammo in your primary.

Submachine Gun

Weapon Base Damage Accuracy Recoil Fire Mode Fire Rate Clip Size
M-9 Tempest 14 Moderate High Automatic 925 RPM 50

The M-9 Tempest is available after the Mission Dossier: Tali which means you can equip it straight on her when you put her in your squad. What makes this weapon so great, is its high rate of fire making it easier to tear the shields of your enemies, allowing your Biotics Powers to influence the battlefield.


Weapon Base Damage Accuracy Recoil Fire Mode Fire Rate Clip Size
M-12 Locust 25 High Low Automatic 550 RPM 20

The M-12 Locust was originally added with the Kasumi - Stolen Memory DLC which is Kasumi’s loyalty mission, in the legendary edition, the mission is available once you acquire Kasumi at the Citadel. The weapon can be picked up during the mission, or if you miss it, as a mission reward.

The Locust is one of the strongest SMG in the game, especially at mid to long range due to its pinpoint accuracy, and low recoil. This makes it act more like an Assault Rifle than an SMG.

Guide Information

  • Publisher
    Electronic Arts
  • Platforms
    PC, PS4, XB1
  • Genre
    Action RPG, Third-person shooter
  • Guide Release
    23 June 2014
  • Last Updated
    14 June 2021
    Version History
  • Guide Author
    Paul Williams

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The guide for Mass Effect 2 Legendary Edition features all there is to see and do including a walkthrough containing coverage of all Assignments, detailed breakdown of all the important choices, class builds and much more!

  • A complete walkthrough for the entire campaign incorporating all research projects, weapons and side-tasks.
  • Every Assignment covered.
  • All Loyalty and N7 Missions detailed.
  • In-depth look at the major choices and consequences of each.
  • Full details on all possible Romances.
  • Class builds to get the most out of your chosen class.
  • Details on every Power.
  • Builds for all squad mates.
  • Trophy/Achievement guide.

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