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Mass Effect 3 Legendary Edition

Best Vanguard Builds

Shane Williams

This page will show you some of the best Vanguard builds in Mass Effect 3. Here, you’ll find details on the best abilities to pick, the best weapons to equip, and you’ll find what armor works best for the build.

Vanguard Overview

The Vanguard is a core class in Mass Effect 3. The Vanguard class is for players who prefer an extremely aggressive play style, being up in the enemies face all the time with the use of Biotics

Biotic 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, unleash Nova twice to take down anyone nearby.

Power Upgrade Path
Biotic Charge Radius > Power Synergy > Barrier
Nova Force and Damage > Half Blast > Pierce
Fitness Durability > Barrier Recharge > Fitness Expert
Assault Mastery Damage > Squad Bonus > Power Intensity
Cryo Ammo Squad Bonus > Headshots > Damage Combo
Incendiary Ammo Damage > Headshots > Explosive Burst
Pull and Shockwave Any


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

Biotic Charge

Biotic 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. Following the path above, you’ll be able to hit multiple targets and your weapon damage will be increased by 25% for 15 seconds after the power, so you’ll be able to finish off any remaining enemies. Also, using this skill will fully recharge your shields and you’ll be able to use it constantly.


Nova will take in the energy of your barrier to unleash a deadly blast. Following the path above, you’ll be able to hit multiple targets, use the power two times in a row.


Following the path above you’ll be increasing your Barrier’s strength and decreasing your shields recharge delay. This will allow Nova to deal more damage.

Assault Mastery

Assault Mastery will allow you to acquire skills that will increase weapon and power damage. Following the path, you’ll heavily increase your weapon and power damage as well as duration.

Incendiary Ammo

Incendiary Ammo will cause your equipped weapon to cause fire damage, this is especially useful again armored enemies. You’ll want to charge into burning targets to cause a large explosion.

Cryo Ammo

Cryo Ammo will cause your equipped weapon to cause cryo damage, this is especially useful again armored enemies. You’ll want to charge into frozen targets to cause a large explosion.

Best Weapons

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

Heavy Pistols

Weapon Base Damage Clip Size Reserve Ammunition Capacity Rate of Fire Accuracy
M-77 Paladin Medium 4 16 Low Low High

The M-77 Paladin is acquired from the Spectre Requisitions Store which can be accessed at the Citadel or via the terminal in the Shuttle Bay of Normandy.

With this build you’ll want to be wanting to focus on using your Powers, but if you have to make use of your Pistol, then the Paladin is your best option due to the large damage output.

Submachine Gun

Weapon Base Damage Clip Size Reserve Ammunition Capacity Rate of Fire Accuracy
Geth Plasma SMG Low 100 600 Very High Very Fast Average

The Geth Plasma SMG is acquired from the Elkoss Combine Arsenal Supplies Store which can be found in Presidium Commons at the Citadel.

This weapon is only equipped for the +200% Power Recharge Speed, so you don’t want to be using this weapon unless you absolutely have to.

Best Armor

Armor Location Stats
Inferno Armor Kassa Fabrication, Presidium Commons Power Recharge Speed +30%, Power Damage +30%

The Inferno Armor is the perfect set for this build, as it increases power damage and recharge speed.

Guide Information

  • Publisher
    Electronic Arts
  • Platforms
    PC, Wii U, PS3, 360
  • Genre
    Action RPG, Third-person shooter
  • Guide Release
    22 March 2012
  • Last Updated
    14 June 2021
    Version History
  • Guide Author
    Andrew Mills, Claire Farnworth

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For years, a lone soldier has told tales of the Reapers, of their return, of these sentient machines reaching out across the vastness of space, to harvest all sentient life. But the warnings were all for nothing. Until now. The Reapers have at last come to Earth and these warnings can no longer be ignored. You are Commander Shepard, the first human spectre and elite soldier of the Alliance, tasked with uniting the galaxy in the fight to stop the Reapers destroying everything you hold dear. In your hands lies the fate of the entire Milky Way but luckily, this time, you are no longer alone.

  • All side missions completed containing the included DLC.
  • Find every single weapon mod tucked away in the game.
  • 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.
  • All Biotic Combos and Tech Bursts explained.
  • Details on every Power.
  • Builds for all squad mates.
  • Trophy/Achievement guide.

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