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Mass Effect 2 Legendary Edition

Best Vanguard Builds

Matt Chard

This page will show you some of the best Vanguard builds in Mass Effect 2. Here, you’ll find details on the best abilities to pick, the best weapons to equip, including what heavy weapon to choose. Also, you’ll find what armor works best for the build.

Vanguard Overview

The Vanguard, like the Soldier and Engineer, is a core class in Mass Effect 2. The Vanguard class is for players who prefer an extremely aggressive play style, being up in the enemies face all the time, using Charge whilst finishing them off with a shotgun and/or melee.

Heavy Charge Build

This build revolves around charging at enemies with the aptly named power, Charge. This will close the distance to any enemy you are locked on to, once you’re in their face, pump them with a shotgun blast to finish them off, if that fails, throw a couple of punches to make sure it does.

Power Evolution Squad Points
Charge Heavy Charge 10
Pull Pull Field 10
Incendiary Ammo Inferno Ammo 10
Assault Mastery Champion 10
Bonus Power: Reave Heavy Reave 10


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


Charge is the bread and butter of being a Vanguard, it allows you to target an enemy, and charge across the battlefield towards them providing you have line of sight. Rank 2 onwards it’ll replenish 50% of your shields, used in conjunction with Barrier or Reave, can make you very tough to take down.


Pull works a little similar to Singularity, it’ll levitate the enemies in the air, rendering them helpless as you take them out. What makes Pull so good, is that you can aim above the enemies who are hiding behind cover, and it’ll crash down, levitating them into harm’s way. We choose the Pull Field Evolved variant, so we can hit more targets per cast, allowing more control of the battlefield.

Incendiary Ammo

Incendiary Ammo will cause your equipped weapon to cause fire damage, this is especially useful again armored enemies. It also has the chance to panic enemies when they’re being burned, although this only happens on unprotected sentient enemies. We choose the Inferno Ammo Evolved variant as this spreads the effect to multiple enemies, having this and a squadmate with Area Overload is extremely potent.

Assault Mastery

We max our Assault Mastery to get all those Health, Weapon Damage, Power Damage and Power Cooldown passives allowing you to take more hits, cast more powers, and deal extra damage. We choose the Champion variant of the Evolved Power mainly to increase the duration of your Charge as well as other Biotic abilities.

Bonus Power

Bonus Powers are granted to you when you complete a companions’ loyalty mission, once you have the Power unlocked, head to Mordins tech lab on Deck 2 of the Normandy, and learn it from the Advanced Training Research Upgrade. You can only have one of these Powers equipped at any given time. We chose the Reave Power from Samara because it’s, in general, a great power. This will double the damage you do to armor and barriers, and it will restore some health if it’s used against organic enemies, also it’ll give you bonus health on top. It’s worth noting that in the early stages of the game, Barrier might be a better for protection, but later game it drops off due to its long cooldown.


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-6 Carnifex 85.4 Moderate High Semi-Automatic 145 RPM 6

The M-6 Carnifex can be obtained during the Mission Dossier: The Professor, when rescuing Mordin Solus.

Because of the close-ranged nature of the Vanguard, the M-6 Carnifex is great as a backup to your shotgun. Mainly due to its stopping power.


Weapon Base Damage Accuracy Recoil Fire Mode Fire Rate Clip Size
M-300 Claymore 400.8 Low High Single Shot 1

The M-300 Claymore is only available to Shepard as a Soldier or Vanguard class, and can only be obtained during Advanced Weapon Training on the Collector Ship.

What makes the M-300 Claymore so strong, is that its base damage is sitting at 400 (50 per pellet), making it one of the hardest hitting weapons in the game, this pairs great with the Charge ability allowing you to one-shot most enemies providing you upgrade it primarily with damage mods.


Weapon Base Damage Accuracy Recoil Fire Mode Fire Rate Clip Size
M-22 Eviscerator 294.4 Low Moderate Semi-Automatic 48 RPM 3

The M-22 Eviscerator was originally a DLC weapon, but in the Legendary Edition, it can be researched as soon as Mordin is recruited.

The M-22 Eviscerator is a ridiculously strong gun, and at times, it performs better than the Claymore. Although it has lower damage per shot, it has 3 shots per clip, meaning it has higher potenial DPS, on top of that, you get more ammo back per thermal clip.

Best Heavy Weapon

Weapon Base Damage Accuracy Recoil Fire Mode Fire Rate Clip Size
Collector Particle Beam 20 None Moderate Automatic 1200 RPM N/A

The Collector Particle Beam can be obtained during the Mission Priority: Horizon, where you first find the frozen colonists, by a stasis pod, there’s also another two in the same Mission, if you missed the first one, failing that, you’ll get it after the mission as a reward.

The reason the Collector Particle Beam is taken, is to help with you take down enemies Barriers, this thing will shred through them, allowing you to take them out quicker with your arsenal.

Advanced Weapon Training

During the Mission Collector Ship, you’ll get the choice to get Advanced Weapon Training, this will allow you to pick another weapon type to add to your arsenal, that your class wouldn’t normally be allowed to use.

For this build, choose Shotgun, and you’ll receive the extremely powerful M-300 Claymore, arguably the best shotgun in the game.

Best Armor

Armor Location Stats
Kestrel Armor Serrice Technology, Illium 30% Melee Damage, 5% Headshot Damage, 11% Weapon Damage, 25% Shield Strength, 5% Spare Heavy Weapon Ammo Capacity

The Kestrel Armor, originally a DLC, is a great all-rounder set, which makes it great for this build. It boosts your offensive output whilst also helping you defensively due to its 25% Shield Strength. The Shield Strength is especially great for Vanguards due to how Charge works. Charge’s bonus to shields depends on how much shield you have, so this helps you tremendously. Finally, the Collector Armor is also another good armor set for Vanguard.

Best Squadmates

For this build to shine, bring companions who can rip the enemies protections off them, this’ll allow you more time charging around the battlefield with Charge and your shotgun. Garrus and Miranda fit great here due to both of them having access to Overload, furthermore, Garrus has access to Concussive Shot which works great against Barriers whilst Miranda has access to Warp which is great against Armor. The DLC characters Kasumi and Zaeed can also work, as Kasumi has Overload and Zaaed has access to Disruptor Ammo

Guide Information

  • Publisher
    Electronic Arts
  • Platforms
    PC, PS4, Xbox One
  • Genre
    Action RPG, Third-person shooter
  • Guide Release
    23 June 2014
  • Last Updated
    21 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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