MASS EFFECT 2: SQUADMATES GUIDE Written by The Black Mamba *************************************************************************** Table of Contents CODE: Ctrl+F *************************************************************************** 1. Introduction 10intr 2. Know Your Class 20clas A. Soldier 2Asold B. Infiltrator 2Binfi C. Engineer 2Cengi D. Sentinel 2Dsent E. Adept 2Eadep F. Vanguard 2Fvang 3. Know the Enemy Faction 30enem A. Mechs/Non-Synthetics 3Amech B. Blue Suns 3Bblue C. Eclipse 3Cecli E. Blood Pack 3Dbloo D. Geth 3Egeth F. Collectors 3Fcoll 4. The Squad 40squa A. Garrus 4Agarr B. Grunt 4Bgrun C. Jack 4Cjack D. Jacob 4Djaco E. Kasumi 4Ekasu F. Legion 4Flegi G. Miranda 4Gmira H. Mordin 4Hmord I. Samara 4Isama J. Tali 4Jtali K. Thane 4Kthan L. Zaeed 4Lzaee M. Morinth 4Mmori N. Liara 4Nliar 5. Squadmate Recommendations 60reco 6. Mission-Specific Recommendations 60miss 7. Collector Base Strategy 70base 8. Other Notes 70othe 9. Credits/Update History 80cred =========================================================================== =========================================================================== ++++++++++++++++ | Introduction | 10intr ++++++++++++++++ This guide is for the second game of the Mass Effect trilogy: Mass Effect 2. The purpose of this guide is to cover all aspects related to or concerning the available squadmates in the game. Because squadmate abilities can often determine the ease or difficulty of getting through missions, it’s important to have a firm understanding of what each squadmate is capable of. As a result, we can use enemy factions and the user’s class to determine ideal setups for each mission. A good squad can make a large difference on Hardcore and Insanity difficulty. I hope that you find this guide useful. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions and/or recommendations regarding it. ============================================================================ ============================================================================ +++++++++++++++++++ | Know Your Class | 20clas +++++++++++++++++++ One of the best ways to know what squadmates are most efficient is to know what things Shepard can and can’t handle by himself. The Adept excels at things that the Engineer doesn’t, but also has weaknesses that an Engineer doesn’t have. Some classes are sturdier and won’t need damage-soaker squadmates, while others have excellent crowd control and thus need more damage-dealers. NOTE: All of the tips that I provide for each class are based upon the builds I have posted. Suggested squadmates may change based on what your build and bonus power are. Soldier 2Asold ********** Weapons: Pistols, Shotguns, Assault Rifles, Sniper Rifles Suggested Build: - Hardened Adrenaline Rush (4) - Concussive Shot (0) - Squad Disruptor Ammo (4) - Inferno Ammo (4) - Cryo Ammo (1) - Shock Trooper (4) - Squad Warp Ammo (4) The Soldier is the weapons expert of ME2. He has access to every available weapon type sans SMG’s, and he also gets the most default ammo types of any class. Adrenaline Rush plays into his weapon mastery as well, allowing him to slow down time and nail shots while targets seem to “stand still.” Soldier Shepard also gets the highest passive health bonuses of any class in the game, and he is generally seen as a more durable combatant. The Soldier’s expertise with weapons helps him excel at drilling enemies with pure damage. Whether its shields, armor, or health, the Soldier has an ammo power to take it down more quickly. The only defense that he does not have an option for, in fact, are barriers. Warp Ammo is your best option of negating this. While an extra ammo power might seem redundant on a class that already has three, Squad Warp Ammo is fantastic against Collectors; not only does it take care of their barriers, but the Squad evolution allows every teammate to put more heat on the Collector forces with weapons in deadly crossfires. If you don’t have access to Warp Ammo or simply don’t want it, then any of the three durability powers (Fortification, Geth Shield Boost, and Barrier) are also useful on the Soldier, but be warned: on high difficulties, these defenses tend to get destroyed very quickly anyway. The cooldown of these abilities also strongly interferes with Adrenaline Rush, which tends to be a more useful defensive power anyway – especially if you evolve for Hardened Adrenaline Rush. Because the Soldier has access to assault rifles, sniper rifles, and shotguns, he is at a strong advantage when it comes to range. On missions where several enemies charge you at once (some Collector missions, Blood Pack missions), an Inferno Ammo shotgun does a wondrous job of taking down enemies. On missions with geth and Blue Suns forces from afar, a Disruptor Ammo sniper rifle will drop enemies very quickly. The assault rifle generally is your most useful weapon, however. It covers every range efficiently and is even more deadly when combined with Incendiary/Disruptor Rounds. When planning to spec the Soldier’s powers, it’s important to consider whether you want Squad evolutions on your ammo powers. Before you spec points into the final ranks of these abilities, be sure to consider whether your most common squadmates have ammo abilities or not. Miranda, Kasumi, Samara, Legion, Tali, and Mordin do not have ammo powers; Garrus, Thane, and Jack do not attain ammo powers until after their loyalty missions are completed. Zaeed, Grunt, and Jacob all have default access to ammo powers. In the early stages of the game, you may want to evolve squadmate ammo powers since it will likely be a long time before you can fully evolve your abilities to the fourth rank; then, if you have Lair of the Shadow Broker, you can complete it and respec squadmates as you wish, allowing you to drop ammo abilities on them if necessary. Alternatively, you may simply evolve these ammo abilities for the more powerful evolution as opposed to the Squad option. This is a particularly good idea for Incendiary Rounds; the Inferno evolution excels at helping you drop health and armored enemies in a hurry, and most squadmates either have an anti-armor power or an anti-armor weapon anyway. Advanced Training: Aboard the Collector Ship, you will have the opportunity to upgrade Shepard’s assault rifle, shotgun, or sniper rifle. I would personally recommend taking the Revenant since it offers deadly fire at the expense of a bit of range. Alternatively, if you prefer to stay back and take enemies out from afar with the help of Adrenaline Rush, then the Widow is also excellent. Squadmates: Miranda is perhaps the most ideal squadmate for the Soldier since her weapon damage and health bonuses benefit him the most; additionally, her access to both Overload and Warp make her capable of dropping any defense so that Shepard can tear into enemies with his weapons. Crowd control teammates are also very valuable; Jack and Samara are both particularly useful since their recharge times are low. (With Jack, you can actually spec out of her Warp Ammo if Shepard already has the Squad evolution, and invest fully in her other abilities.) Against Geth, Tali and Legion’s Combat Drone and hacking skills make fantastic distractions. Generally, as long as you take squad evolutions on both Warp Ammo and Disruptor Ammo, you can be a little more free about choosing squadmates since you’ll always be able to improve everyone else’s damage-dealing capabilities. Infiltrator 2Binfi ************** Weapons: Pistols, SMG’s, Sniper Rifles Suggested Build: - Heavy Disruptor Ammo (4) - Cryo Ammo (0) - Assassination Cloak (4) - Incineration Blast (4) - AI Hacking (1) - Agent (4) - Squad Warp Ammo (4) or Area Drain (4) The Infiltrator is proficient in using sniper rifles and has the added bonus of possessing some tech abilities. His class-exclusive power, Tactical Cloak, has multiple functions. In addition to making Shepard invisible for the power’s duration, the cloak also provides a massive damage bonus to gunfire when the cloak is broken. This is why the Infiltrator is so good with sniper rifles – the high-powered shot becomes even more deadly when Tactical Cloak is added on top of it. Like the Soldier, the Infiltrator gets both Disruptor and Cryo Ammo (no Incendiary, unfortunately). Of these two abilities, Disruptor Ammo is invaluable; it provides a heavy shield bonus and also has stunning effects on synthetic enemies. This makes the Infiltrator capable of tearing through heavily shielded factions in a hurry – especially the Geth and Blue Suns. While Cryo Ammo can find use against health enemies (especially when evolved for the Squad evolution), it’s not really worth evolving the power when the Infiltrator has so many other valuable assets that deserve the points more. Additionally, because the Infiltrator specializes in sniper rifles, the freezing effects from Cryo Ammo aren’t typically useful since the extreme amount of damage tends to rip through health enemies anyway. On the tech side, the Infiltrator gets Incinerate and AI Hacking. Incinerate helps the Infiltrator deal with armored enemies that aren’t always practical to snipe – this includes many of the Blood Pack mercenaries, or the countless FENRIS and LOKI Mechs that you’ll encounter. At Rank 4, Incinerate can be evolved to have a radius effect. This bonus is very important, so consider maxing out Incinerate quickly. AI Hacking, on the other hand, is very situational. It only affects synthetics, and it only works once the enemy’s defenses are down. However, if you do manage to hack an enemy, it can provide a valuable distraction or disable a particularly dangerous enemy (like YMIR Mechs). For this reason, it’s worth putting atleast one or two points into AI Hacking. The Infiltrator’s main weakness is dealing with barriers. The best way to combat this is to select Warp Ammo as a bonus power, much like the Soldier. Because this power is useful against the tough Collectors, it’s also a good idea to evolve this for the Squad evolution if you plan on bringing power-based allies that don’t have ammo abilities. However, on missions where you’re not facing Collectors or the Blood Pack, the Infiltrator would actually benefit more from something like Energy Drain. Because it receives tech bonuses, offers a direct method for removing shields, and restores your own shields, it can potentially be an invaluable power against shielded or synthetic factions. If you already know what enemy faction you will be facing on a particular mission, then it’s recommended that you alternate between these two powers – as long as you don’t mind using some eezo to do it. Advanced Training: Aboard the Collector Ship, you will have the opportunity to either obtain the M-98 Widow for Shepard, or give your Infiltrator the ability to use assault rifles OR shotguns. For the Infiltrator, I would highly recommend selecting the Widow. While assault rifles are not a bad option (especially for missions with lots of barriers), the Widow is too good of a sniper rifle to pass up. The Infiltrator, being the ultimate sniping class, will make perfect use of it. Squadmates: Much like the Soldier, the Infiltrator benefits highly from squadmates with anti-barrier abilities as well as crowd control powers. Because the Infiltrator is less durable than the Soldier, any distractions or temporary stuns/setbacks are always useful, especially for sniping purposes. Once again, Miranda is one of your best options for her defense-stripping powers and damage boost. Tali is perfect against heavily shielded factions; her Combat Drone will help draw enemies out of cover while Energy Drain is a good direct option for shields. For Collectors, Samara is a fantastic option. You also may want good tanking characters for missions with lots of enemies rushing you. Grunt fulfills this role best, but Jacob has the added bonus of Pull to draw enemies out of cover. In either case, you can evolve Incendiary Ammo for the Squad evolution in case Shepard wants the fire effect – it’s particularly useful in close quarters where sniping is not practical. Engineer 2Cengi *********** Weapons: Pistols, SMG’s Suggested Build: - Area Overload (4) - Incineration Blast (4) - Attack Drone (4) - Cryo Blast (2) - AI Hacking (1) - Mechanic (4) - Warp Ammo (3) The Engineer specializes in removing defenses, disabling enemies, and distract through his five tech powers. Overload and Incinerate will take care of most shields and armor, and both powers can be evolved for extra radius, allowing you to knock out the defenses of groups of enemies. Cryo Blast enables you to stop health enemies dead in their tracks – this is very useful against the Blood Pack faction after you’ve melted armor with Incinerate. As with the Infiltrator, AI Hacking is situational but still useful for making a distraction when synthetics are present. However, due to the usefulness of the Engineer’s other abilities, AI Hacking may not be worth spending any points in at all. The Engineer’s unique ability is Combat Drone. If you’ve used this power with Tali and Legion, you’ll know that it’s extremely useful for giving enemies something else to look at. Damage-wise it isn’t very effective, although the Rank 4 Attack Drone evolution can increase its offensive capabilities. Because the Engineer lacks proper barrier damage, Warp Ammo is once again going to be one of the best bonus powers. It also greatly helps the Engineer’s weapon damage, which he lacks greatly in since he is generally a power-oriented class. However, you may find that investing fully in a bonus power is a hindrance if you want to instead have access to all five of the Engineer’s tech powers. (See below for more details.) When accounting for all of his abilities, the Engineer generally excels against most factions. He does struggle with Collectors a little more than others, however. With the exception of Combat Drone, his abilities don’t really offer much crowd control against them, especially if Cryo Blast isn’t at Rank 4. He also naturally lacks barrier damage without access to Warp Ammo. For this reason, be careful when selecting squadmates against them. Choosing a solid biotic – like Samara or Jack - and a good weapon damage teammate – like Thane or Zaeed – will greatly benefit you and offset the Engineer’s relative weakness against the game’s most powerful faction. Speccing the Engineer’s powers can be somewhat difficult in comparison to other classes; because the Engineer has such a diverse skillset, it’s desirable to have access to as many of these skills as possible. Incinerate and Overload should always be maxed out, as they are your main sources of damage, and the passive ability provides some good bonuses that you will want. I would also strongly recommend four ranks in Combat Drone since the Attack Drone evolution can help you against non-shielded factions. That leaves Cryo Blast, AI Hacking, and Warp Ammo (assuming it is your bonus power). The Engineer benefits greatly from taking combat-oriented squadmates with them, and most of these characters already have ammo powers. For this reason, you might not want to spec into Warp Ammo at all if you already plan to keep people with you that have Squad ammo powers. If you do use Warp Ammo, I would suggest taking it only to the third rank so that you can spare enough points for two ranks of Cryo Blast and one in AI Hacking, as both will find their uses on specific missions. Advanced Training: Aboard the Collector Ship, the Engineer will have the chance to be trained in assault rifles, shotguns, or sniper rifles. Because the Engineer generally is better a long range, sniper rifles are a very excellent choice, but assault rifles aren’t bad either and can help you damage barriers better. Squadmates: Tech squadmates tend to be inefficient with the Engineer since they already possess some of the Engineer’s tricks. A solid biotic is a great choice, especially if Warp Ammo is equipped. As per usual, Samara is an excellent option (once you gain her loyalty) due to Pull and Reave. Thane offers a high amount of weapon damage in addition to his armor/barrier damage from Warp and crowd control with Throw. A loyal Jack is also useful for her Squad Warp Ammo if Shepard didn’t take it as a bonus ability. Finally, Garrus, Grunt, and Zaeed are all good weapon-oriented classes that offer Concussive Shot to damage barriers. I would recommend pairing up one of those three with one of the biotics listed above for the most efficient results. Sentinel 2Dsent *********** Weapons: Pistols, SMG’s Recommended Build: - Throw (2) - Heavy Warp (4) - Assault Armor (4) - Area Overload (4) - Cryo Blast (1) - Guardian (4) - Warp Ammo (3) Often considered the “jack-of-all-trades” class, the Sentinel is capable of handling any situation in the game. His is the only character in the game that has two powers capable of destroying every defense (Warp and Overload). He also has Throw and Cryo Blast for crowd control, and Tech Armor for both defensive and tactical purposes. This combination of abilities allows the Sentinel to do very well against every faction in the game. Warp and Overload rip through every defense in the game. Warp is invaluable and should be evolved as quickly as possible; not only does it damage armor, but it also takes care of barriers that are often present in the Collector and Eclipse factions. Unfortunately, you must evolve Throw for two ranks before you can put any points into Warp. As with the Engineer, Overload is a fantastic tool when facing geth, Blue Suns, and Eclipse, who all have lots of shields. While it becomes moot against Collectors and Blood Pack, it is still important to invest in. Cryo Blast and Throw are both aimed at crowd control. Because you are forced to put two ranks into Throw in order to access Warp, it’s probably better to focus on Throw for crowd control as opposed to Cryo Blast. Throw’s high force also makes it better for flinging enemies off of ledges. Tech Armor is the Sentinel’s signature power. When the armor is activated, Shepard receives a shield boost of varying values (this depends on the level of the power); if you lose all of your shields, then the armor detonates, causing heavy damage in a radius and throwing all enemies back. This feature is extremely invaluable against hordes of Husks/Abominations, Pyros, krogan, and varren. At Rank 3 and higher, reactivating the armor will also reset the cooldowns of every character. For power-intensive squadmates like Miranda, Samara, and Tali, this is an extremely useful feature since it allows them to use their abilities almost as often as Shepard can. The final rank gives you two options. The first, Assault Armor, increases the radius, force, and damage of armor detonations and also provides an incredibly useful 50% shield bonus after armor is destroyed. The second, Power Armor, increases your power damage while Tech Armor is active and also boosts the shields you receive from initially activating Tech Armor. Personally, I think that Assault Armor is much more useful, especially if you go with Guardian for the final rank of the Sentinel’s passive. The backup shielding is the real seller: even when an enemy attack is strong enough to go through to your health, the shield boost you receive after detonation will negate all of the extra damage and restore 50% of shields. The more powerful detonation is also better against melee enemies, and ME2 has several of them. Warp Ammo is an easy choice for me as a bonus power. However, due to the way that the Sentinel’s powers are unlocked, putting four ranks into Warp Ammo cannot be done if you want to max out Tech Armor, Overload, Warp, and Defender (and you should want all four of these powers at Rank 4 on higher difficulties). Still, three ranks in Warp Ammo gives you a hefty 35% damage bonus against barriers, armor, and health, so even without a final evolution it’s a very useful ability to fill in the Sentinel’s relative weapon weakness. Advanced Training: Aboard the Collector Ship, you will gain the ability to use assault rifles, sniper rifles, or shotguns. Given the nature of the Sentinel’s abilities, assault rifles are a very good choice. Sniper rifles are a good option too, but keep in mind that since the Sentinel can withstand more heat than the Infiltrator, Engineer, or Adept, sniping is somewhat counterproductive when you can use Tech Armor’s shield boost to stay out of cover more often and shoot assault rifles. Squadmates: If Tech Armor is at Rank 3 or 4, then power-oriented classes gain a huge advantage. This includes Miranda, but keep in mind that her abilities mirror the Sentinel’s with the exception of Slam. Against geth, a loyal Tali is invaluable since her relatively long recharge times can be overridden with the reactivation of Tech Armor. The same goes for Jack and Samara, although both of them have faster innate recharge speeds when their passives are invested in. However, because the Sentinel lacks in weapon damage, combat classes are potentially even more useful. Zaeed and Thane are both great options, and both of them have useful powers that can be reset with Tech Armor. Legion is also a good choice once you acquire him. Adept 2Eadep ******* Weapons: Pistols, SMG’s Suggested Build: - Heavy Warp (4) - Throw (1) - Singularity (3) - Pull (2) - Improved Shockwave (4) - Bastion/Nemesis (4) - Bonus Power (4) Suggested Bonus Powers: - Stasis - Warp Ammo - Barrier - Dominate On higher difficulties where all enemies have protection, the Adept is at a rather large disadvantage since most of his abilities are only effective on health targets. Warp is the exception of this rule, and it should be evolved quickly since it generally gets used often, especially against heavily armored factions; the barrier damage also helps greatly against some Eclipse troops and most Collector forces. Every other ability that the Adept has is designed for crowd control, but only against enemies with no shields, barriers, or armor. Still, both Shockwave and Throw have enough force to knock enemies off their feet or briefly stagger them, and even Singularity and Pull can stagger a little bit. Shockwave is an extremely useful tool for keeping a whole line of enemies at bay and to temporarily stop them from attacking; it also does minor damage against defenses depending on the damage and force of the waves. For this reason, I would recommend fully investing in Shockwave. While not always necessary, it will prove invaluable on any mission where enemies tend to rush you. That leaves Singularity, Pull, and Throw. Singularity is probably the most useful ability of this bunch since it has an innate radius and does a better job of suspending enemies than Pull does. Pull and Throw are about even in usefulness, but because investing in Pull (and Singularity beforehand) is necessary to access Shockwave, you might as well focus on it and leave Throw at 0. Additionally, having access to both Singularity and Pull makes it easier for you to create biotic explosions with Warp. Selecting a bonus power for the Adept can be tough. As you see above, I have not suggested any single power in my build, because the Adept actually has quite a few viable options. Most of the abilities listed below also benefit from biotic research upgrades and the Adept’s Biotic Mastery class, so consider this when choosing one. Naturally, Warp Ammo is on the list since it offsets the Adept’s weakness in weapon damage; additionally, the Adept is the only other class besides the Vanguard that can benefit from the “lift bonus” that Warp Ammo gives. With the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC, Stasis becomes available. Unlike most of the Adept’s other abilities, Stasis works on every defense; while you can’t damage enemies in the Stasis field, you can stop them dead in their tracks for several seconds, giving you a chance to keep a particularly dangerous enemy out of play. Since the Adept lacks rugged durability, Barrier is also a good choice to help last longer in a fight. Unfortunately, it does have a rather high cooldown, even with bonuses from the Adept’s passive ability. The final suggested power is Dominate, if you have unlocked it from taking the renegade path in Samara’s loyalty mission. Dominate is essentially an organic version of AI Hacking, and since organics are more plentiful in the game, it has more use in general. Alas, like so many of the Adept’s other abilities, it only works with no protection. The final rank of the Adept’s passive ability is also up to you. Bastion gives you higher Paragon and Renegade bonuses, so if dialogue is important to you, then I would go for this. If you do end up choosing Bastion, then Stasis becomes even more useful as a bonus ability since the duration bonus affects it. Nemesis gives greater damage to Warp and Shockwave, however, and you will likely be using those abilities often. Advanced Training: Aboard the Collector Ship, you will gain a new weapon type. I would strongly recommend going with sniper rifles; shotguns are impractical for such a squishy class, and while assault rifles are solid, the Adept may have a tough time sustaining fire since he can take less damage. Sniper rifles not only give you minimal time out of cover but are excellent for taking out enemies suspended by Singularity or Pull. Squadmates: Against factions with lots of shield enemies (Blue Suns, Geth, and Eclipse), characters with shield-damaging capabilities should be at the top of the Adept’s priority list: this includes Garrus, Miranda, Kasumi, and loyal Tali. Zaeed can also be very beneficial if you evolve Disruptor Ammo for the Squad evolution. Squadmates like Legion or Grunt that can take more damage are also good since Adept Shepard is not very durable, and Tali/Legion’s Combat Drone does a good job of distracting from you. While other biotics aren’t recommended against heavily shielded factions, any of the five biotics can synergize well with the Adept since they all have either Warp or Pull, and the Adept can either detonate a Pulled enemy with Warp or use Singularity/Pull to suspend an enemy and then have someone detonate with Warp. Vanguard 2Fvang ********** Weapons: Pistols, SMG’s, Shotguns Suggested Build: - Inferno Ammo (4) - Cryo Ammo (1) - Heavy Charge (4) - Shockwave (3) - Pull (2) - Champion (4) - Area Reave (4) The Vanguard is a rather interesting character. It has the highest risks of any class available, but also reaps a lot of satisfying rewards if you use his abilities effectively. In the case of the Vanguard, he only really needs two powers to be successful: Charge and Incendiary Ammo. Everything else available to him, with the exception of his passive class, is generally not suited for his playstyle. Shockwave can be useful for causing havoc from a distance, but typically Cryo Ammo and Pull will not be necessary for a Vanguard at higher difficulty levels. Because of the Vanguard’s limited skillset, he has few options available for removing defenses of any kind. This is why it’s a really, really good idea to take Reave as a bonus power. Not only does it decimate both armor and barriers, but it provides great health regeneration for the Vanguard. This allows the Vanguard to refill both his health and barriers with two different powers. In fact, both Reave and Charge can turn the Vanguard into a surprisingly durable combatant. Not only do they both provide regeneration of some type, but Charge slows down time. For as risky of a power as Charge can be, it’s also a very good defensive tool. When under a lot of weapon fire, a Charge at the right time can not only restore your barriers but give you an opportunity to get behind cover. While the Vanguard can be really destructive on his own, squadmates (especially on Insanity) can be highly useful since the Vanguard isn’t great at damaging defenses – even with Reave. Remember that Reave will usually be competing for a cooldown with Charge. Defense-damaging teammates are invaluable here, as are long-range fighters for missions where the Vanguard can’t reach perched enemies (like during Grunt’s recruitment mission) or in situations where using Charge is a deadly mistake. As you progress through the game, focus on investing points into Charge, Incendiary Ammo, and Combat Mastery first, with one or two ranks in Reave as well. Once those four abilities are maxed, your Vanguard generally has everything they need to succeed. Shockwave can occasionally be useful for dealing small shield damage from afar, but generally you won’t need it. Advanced Training: The Vanguard has the option to either gain the M-300 Claymore Shotgun or gain the ability to use assault rifles or sniper rifles. If you have the Eviscerator shotgun from DLC, then I would actually recommend choosing assault rifles instead of the Claymore. While the Claymore is a powerful shotgun, it isn’t always viable on the highest difficulties since one shot often won’t be enough to kill even trooper-level enemies, which makes the Eviscerator better. The Vindicator assault rifle also gives you a very strong option for mid to long-range combat in scenarios where Charging is not safe. Squadmates: Miranda is one of your best options here for her Warp and Overload abilities; Zaeed also proves useful with Squad Disruptor Ammo. This really helps Shepard on missions against the Geth and Blue Suns where shields are plentiful. Tali and Legion can provide useful distractions for Shepard as well with Combat Drone. Garrus is another viable option since he has Overload for shields and sniper rifles for long distances that the Vanguard can’t handle. Kasumi also has Overload, and she can make pretty good distractions too after Shadow Striking a target. Any distractions are very useful for the Vanguard since he can close in on enemies while others are preoccupied. Against Collectors or the Blood Pack, Thane can be very useful for damaging armor with Warp, knocking enemies off balance with Throw, and dealing heavy damage at long range with his sniper rifles. ============================================================================ ============================================================================ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++ | Know the Enemy Faction | 30enem ++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Knowing the enemies that you’ll be facing on specific missions is sometimes vital to your success. Sure, there are some holes in each class that need to be filled by squadmates, but it’s inefficient to bring a squadmate suited for geth on a Collector mission. This section, therefore, is designed to help in understanding each of the enemy factions at hand and what characters excel against them. This section does not include single boss enemies that only appear once; for instance, NOTE: All of the listed protections assume that you’re playing on Hardcore or Insanity mode. On lesser difficulties, not all enemies have shields, barriers, or armor. Mechs/Non-Geth Synthetics 3Amech **************************** Enemy Types: - Assault Drone Shields - Cerberus Turret Armor - Combat Drone Health - FENRIS Mech Health, Armor - LOKI Mech Health, Armor - Rocket Drone Shields - YMIR Mech Health, Armor, Shields Due to how much they intermix with other factions, I did not include a list of locations for these mechs as they can show up in almost any faction that isn’t Collectors or Blood Pack; you’ll typically see them alongside the Blue Suns and Eclipse factions. Mechs are fairly easy to defeat. The majority of them have minimal defenses, and only the YMIR Mech proves to be a sturdy opponent. Assault Drones, Combat Drones, and Rocket Drones are all dropped very quickly provided you put the heat on them instantly; Combat Drones in particular can be a nuisance if you leave them around too long. FENRIS and LOKI Mechs are the next tier up, and while neither of them are particularly dangerous, they’ll rush you without hesitation; this can make them dangerous if you’re glued to cover and don’t take them out soon. YMIR Mechs, on the other hand, are very boss-like in nature; they take a lot of damage to bring down, and with their turrets they don’t let off of your squad very easily. Since mechs usually pop up with the other factions, there’s no real use of giving squadmate advice against them. Just bring a balanced squad (with more emphasis on crowd control), and you’ll do fine. They are the easiest faction as long as you don’t have to face too many YMIR Mechs. Blue Suns 3Bblue ************ Enemy Types: - Blue Suns Centurion Health, Shields - Blue Suns Commander Health, Armor, Shields - Blue Suns Heavy Health, Shields - Blue Suns Legionnaire Health, Shields - Blue Suns Pyro Health, Shields - Blue Suns Trooper Health, Shields Locations: - Dossier: Archangel - Dossier: The Convict - Dossier: The Warlord - Garrus: Eye for an Eye - N7: Archaeological Dig Site - N7: Blue Suns Base - N7: MSV Strontium Mule - Zaeed: The Price of Revenge As you can see, every Blue Suns enemy has shields on higher difficulties. For this reason, it is a very wise idea to choose squadmates who can deal damage to shields when facing them. This includes powers like Overload, Energy Drain, and Disruptor Ammo, or squadmates who specialize in SMG’s or assault rifles. It also doesn’t hurt to have characters that excel in crowd control, because although the Blue Suns won’t typically rush you as much as geth or the Blood Pack, they do often have LOKI and FENRIS Mechs that will. Armor damage isn’t bad either for the mechs, although there are very few Blue Suns organics that have it. Because the Blue Suns won’t normally rush you, choosing squadmates that can fight from a distance are desirable too. For their shield damage and long-range excellence, Garrus and Zaeed are two of the best against Blue Suns (which is fitting since both of their loyalty missions have Blue Suns). Kasumi is also a great choice; between Flashbangs to disorient groups, Shadow Strike to pick off enemies from afar, and Overload to decimate shields, her abilities are very well-used against the Blue Suns. Tali is also surprisingly useful against the Blue Suns. Her Combat Drone distracts well from afar, AI Hacking comes in handy when the Blue Suns have mech companions, and Energy Drain of course works very well on their shields. You may want to wait until after gaining her loyalty, though, as Energy Drain is a critical power. The only two classes that will have a slightly rougher time fighting the Blue Suns are the Adept and Vanguard, who have no access to shield-stripping powers. This makes it all the more important to pick squadmates who can. For the most part, however, they are not a particularly tricky faction to fight against. Eclipse 3Cecli ********* Enemy Types: - Eclipse Commando Health, Armor, Barriers - Eclipse Engineer Health, Shields - Eclipse Heavy Health, Shields - Eclipse Operative Health, Armor, Shields - Eclipse Trooper Health, Shields - Eclipse Vanguard Health, Barriers Locations: - Dossier: Archangel - Dossier: The Assassin - Dossier: The Justicar - Kasumi: Stealing Memory - N7: Captured Mining Facility - N7: Lost Operative NOTE: The Shadow Broker troops are very much like the Eclipse faction, so when playing the DLC consider that the enemies will be very much like them. Eclipse is quite similar to the Blue Suns, but there are a few differences that set them apart. Unlike the Blue Suns, they do not have any Pyros, and they also have less weapon-oriented attackers. To balance this out, they instead have several power-oriented enemies. Engineers and Operatives can summon Combat Drones and shoot Incineration blasts while Commandos and Vanguards have biotics at their disposal (as well as shotguns). Eclipse is also more diverse in defenses than the Blue Suns; several enemies do still have shields, but barriers are also thrown in via the fairly common Vanguards. Like the Blue Suns, Eclipse will often use mechs, although probably even more so. This makes armor very prominent among their defenses too. Finally, Eclipse has several annoying powers that can easily tie you up if you’re not careful. Combat Drones should be hacked/killed quickly, as their stunning will be a huge annoyance. Incinerate and Warp blasts also have a tendency to catch you off guard and stagger you, so target the Engineers and Vanguards first if at all possible. Choosing squadmates against the Eclipse is easier than any other faction due to the diversity of enemy types you’ll normally face. Great abilities to have against them include Overload, Energy Drain, Disruptor Ammo, Warp, Concussive Shot, Reave, Incinerate, and most ammo types. Biotic controllers like Pull, Throw, or Shockwave are great too once you strip defenses. All in all, you can’t really go wrong with any squadmate when facing them. Everyone has something that’s useful for the faction. The only recommendation I would make is to ensure that you have someone with an anti-shield power on the squad, because even though they have diverse defenses, shields are still dominant and need to be taken care of. Blood Pack 3Dbloo ************ Enemy Types: - Blood Pack Boom Squad Health, Armor - Blood Pack Pyro Health, Armor - Blood Pack Trooper Health, Armor - Blood Pack Warrior Health, Armor Locations: - Dossier: Archangel - Dossier: The Professor - Jack: Subject Zero - Mordin: Old Blood - N7: Blood Pack Base - N7: Blood Pack Communications Relay NOTE: The numerous krogan fought during Dossier: The Warlord and the end of Grunt’s loyalty mission are very much like the Blood Pack krogan. The Blood Pack characters never have shields, and only the bosses will have barriers. Everything else is purely health and armor. In some ways, this makes them an easier faction, especially if you’re an Adept or Vanguard; however, their enemies are capable of dishing out damage very quickly, and charging krogan are not good if your squad can’t handle them. Taking squadmates that don’t specialize in armor damage can also be a major setback, so choosing accordingly is important. One important thing to remember about the Blood Pack is that they can regenerate health, and as a result anti-health powers are just as important as the anti-armor powers. This includes practically anything biotic along with abilities like Cryo Blast and Concussive Shot; for armor, go for Warp, Incinerate, or Reave. Most ammo powers aside from Disruptor Ammo are also highly useful for the faction, and Shredder Ammo can make a sizeable impact too once armor is down. Warp Ammo is probably a better alternative though since it’s effective against all Blood Pack defenses. If you evolve Jack for Squad Warp Ammo then she becomes one of the most effective squaddies against the Blood Pack. Finally, anti-barrier abilities will come in handy for the rare bosses, so try to make sure that atleast one squad member has something at their disposal to use; if you already have something like Warp or Reave then that should do nicely. One more thing: the Blood Pack enemies have a tendency to rush you more than the other two merc factions (especially krogan), so Infiltrators and Engineers are at somewhat of a disadvantage. This can be stopped by bringing someone like Grunt or Jacob to tank more damage, or simply a good biotic like Samara or Jack that will disable health enemies before they reach you. However, Infiltrators also get a slight advantage since Blood Pack enemies don’t have many long-range offensive options, making them easy targets for a sniper. Geth 3Egeth ****** Enemy Types: - Geth Colossus Health, Armor, Shields - Geth Destroyer Health, Shields - Geth Hunter Health, Shields - Geth Prime Health, Armor, Shields - Geth Recon Drone Health, Shields - Geth Rocket Trooper Health, Shields - Geth Trooper Health, Shields Locations: - Dossier: Tali - Legion: A House Divided - N7: Anomalous Weather Detected - N7: Imminent Ship Crash - Overlord - Overlord: Atlas Station - Overlord: Prometheus Station - Tali: Treason Geth retain several of their unique enemies from Mass Effect, but in general the faction has a lot of changes. Geth Shock Troopers are replaced by Geth Hunters while Geth Snipers, Hoppers, Ghosts, and Juggernauts no longer exist. Destroyers now have flamethrowers and Primes can now summon annoying drones. However, in comparison to ME1 the geth faction is much more streamlined, making it easier to manage the various types on the battlefield. Additionally, there are far fewer geth missions than in ME1. With 100% synthetic enemies, no barriers, and a whole lot of shields, there are a few characters that shine against geth. Zaeed is very preferable when he has Squad Disruptor Ammo, and even without four ranks of the ability the rounds will only expand upon Zaeed’s exemplary weapon damage. While Tali normally takes a back seat to other characters, her skills are naturally very suited for the faction. Legion too has the skillset to battle them efficiently. While it lacks Tali’s Energy Drain, Legion still has great durability with Geth Shield Boost and also has far more range than Tali does with its sniper rifles; additionally, the bonuses from its passive ability give it a quicker recharge speed than Tali. As usual, anything with Overload works well. Area Overload becomes even more effective in the cramped quarters during Tali or Legion’s loyalty missions, as well as some of the areas of Overlord. The two classes that naturally have a disadvantage against geth are Adepts and Vanguards. Remember that the use of SMG’s will help greatly in tearing through shields, and you can also use Advanced Training specifically for geth missions to get Energy Drain, and then change it afterwards. Or you can simply ensure that your selected squad can effectively handle shields. Collectors 3Fcoll ************ Enemy Types: - Abomination Health, Armor - Collector Assassin Health, Barriers - Collector Drone Health, Barriers - Collector Guardian Health, Barriers - Harbinger Armor, Barriers - Husk Health, Armor - Scion Armor - Praetorian Armor, Barriers Locations: - Collector Base: Infiltration - Collector Base: The Long Walk - Collector Vessel - Derelict Reaper - Final Battle - Horizon - N7: Abandoned Mine (Husks, Abominations only) Last but certainly not least, the Collectors are probably the most challenging faction to face in the game. With some of the most powerful trooper-level enemies, some really annoying horde-style creatures, and abilities unique to no other faction, the Collectors can possibly make short work of you on Insanity unless you have the right skills to succeed against them. Take a look at the composition of Collector defenses. It’s a pretty good balance between health, armor, and barriers, although the vast majority of enemies you face (except for the Reaper IFF mission) will be the three trooper types. For this reason, it is highly important that you bring atleast one person that can knock out barriers with ease. The best power for this, naturally, is Warp, but in case you’re not a Sentinel or Adept and you don’t feel like bringing Miranda or Thane with you, Reave and Concussive Shot also work well. Reave can actually be great against patches of troopers when evolved for the area evolution, so be sure to consider this if you’re using it as a bonus power (or if you bring Samara with you). Because I have recommended Warp Ammo as a bonus power for five out of the six classes, this is also naturally a very good ability to have with you, especially if evolved for the Squad evolution. With a lot of health enemies running around, Collectors are surprisingly vulnerable to simple biotic attacks; anything that quickly neutralizes pesky enemies or barrier-ridden troopers are golden on Collector missions. Pull does an excellent job of forcing enemies out of cover while Throw or Concussive Shot can knock back charging enemies easily. Shockwave is invaluable in later parts of Horizon and the Collector Ship and a damned near lifesaver on the Reaper IFF mission where you get swarmed by tons of Husks and Abominations. Other great disabling powers include Cryo Blast, Singularity, and Reave since it offers you health regeneration while stopping any enemies hit by it. Speaking of which; for all of the listed abilities above, radius evolutions are extremely useful if you have enough points for them. Armor is last priority but is still very important. If you already have Warp or Reave then they’ll work fantastically against armor, but for groups of Husks or Abominations you may consider Inferno Grenades of Incinerate (when evolved for the radius). Incendiary, Warp, and AP Ammo are all great as well, especially if multiple squad members can have them for cross-firing. Snipers are also very effective against armor, and typically they’re the best for damaging Scions from afar anyway. Don’t count on them for groups of Husks or Abominations, though. So which squadmates are we looking for here? Biotics are usually great, especially if the character has Warp or Reave – as a result, Thane, Samara, and Miranda are some of your best options. Other crowd controlling biotic powers are good too. Jack is good for this, but she falls short of others unless you have Warp Ammo unlocked. On the other hand, you can go for a combat-oriented type that can deal solid damage through weapons. Garrus and Zaeed are good options since they both have Concussive Shot, and they both also have anti-armor powers. Garrus’ Squad evolution on Armor-Piercing Rounds proves very useful. Mordin is the only other tech character that’s really suited for Collectors since his abilities are more focused on disabling and melting armor, although remember that he has no anti-barrier ability. Finally, Kasumi provides an extremely useful distraction against Harbinger-possessed Collectors with Shadow Strike, and her Flashbangs are useful for temporarily disabling whole groups of Collector troops. The classes that will struggle the most with Collectors are probably the Infiltrator and Engineer due to their lack of an anti-barrier power (and in the case of Engineer, a lack of range). Try to remedy this by picking a good bonus power beforehand if you haven’t already. You can’t really go wrong with Warp Ammo – especially on the Infiltrator – and Reave is awesome too if you don’t mind having a biotic ability on a tech character. ============================================================================ ============================================================================ +++++++++++++ | The Squad | 40squa +++++++++++++ As the purpose of this guide is to provide useful information regarding squad setup, it’s important to understand more about the squad available. This covers the ten regular in-game squadmates (as well as Morinth), the two DLC squadmates, and Liara, the DLC-specific squadmate. I have provided a build for each squadmate. These builds are designed to give the most optimal results against the factions as a whole, rather than specific ones. However, I have also given notes for different circumstances with different classes, as some builds work better for different classes than for others. Additionally, I have provided notes for Collector builds. However, it can possibly be redundant to spec into these builds if you don’t have Lair of the Shadow Broker to respec powers. If you do not, then taking the most balanced build is the best choice. NOTE: I have not given a specific Rank 4 evolution for any of the ammo abilities; this is largely up to you. Different circumstances with different classes may make one evolution better than the other. Garrus Vakarian 4Agarr ****************** Acquisition Dossier: Archangel Specialization Combat, Tech Weapons Assault Rifles, Sniper Rifles Health: 200 Shields: 250 Suggested Build: - Concussive Shot (2) - Area Overload (4) - Turian Rebel (3) - Armor-Piercing Ammo (4) Garrus is one of the first available squadmates in the game, albeit having one of the toughest recruit missions. Garrus is one of the few squad members to have a power dedicated to every defense in the game. With Overload, Garrus easily strips enemy shields. Concussive Shot makes a dent in barriers and also knocks down health enemies, while Armor-Piercing Ammo greatly improves his weapon damage against armor. His versatility makes him able to take on any faction efficiently; this is a trait that is very are in Mass Effect 2. Additionally, Garrus excels on missions where there are long, clear lines of fire for sniping. Garrus is best when left in a spot to pick off enemies around the battlefield without having to get into the heat of things; he is not a very durable squadmate. As a result, it’s a good idea to pair him with another character that uses a shotgun/SMG or is more durable, like Grunt, Jack, or Jacob. Garrus is a decent character against Collectors, but he lacks a bit of rugged durability and Overload also becomes a moot power for the faction. If you’re planning on using him during the Collector Base, spec out of Overload and invest full points into all of his other abilities instead (if you have Lair of the Shadow Broker). Grunt 4Bgrun ******* Acquisition Dossier: The Warlord Specialization Combat Weapons Assault Rifles, Shotguns Upgrades M-300 Claymore Heavy Shotgun, Krogan Vitality (x2) Health: 300 Armor: 300 Suggested Build: - Concussive Shot (2) - Incendiary Ammo (4) - Krogan Pureblood (4) - Fortification (3) Another squadmate available early in the game, Grunt fills the “tank” role in Mass Effect 2. With two special health boosts, strong passive health increases, passive health regeneration, AND his loyalty Fortification power, Grunt is able to withstand a lot of damage at high levels. He reaches an all-time durability high when paired with a Cerberus Tactician Miranda. His durability and use of shotguns makes him a valuable asset on missions where several smaller enemies attempt to rush the squad. The most ideal mission for him is perhaps the Reaper IFF mission very late in the game; it features tons of husks and abominations that run straight at you. Grunt can not only withstand these enemies, but you can use his Concussive Shot ability to knock them down (especially if it’s specced with an area affect). Grunt doesn’t perform as well on missions where long-range combat is favorable; he also lacks against shielded enemies due to his lack of anti-shield powers. However, against Collectors, Blood Pack forces, and mechs, he is very useful, especially when paired with a Warp character. Although Grunt has Concussive Shot for barriers, it doesn’t provide as much raw barrier damage, and Warp can also help with the direct decimation of armor. Be sure to research the three Grunt-specific upgrades in the research lab; the health boosts and the powerful shotgun make him considerably more powerful. Jack 4Cjack ******* Acquisition Dossier: The Convict Specialization Biotics, Combat Weapons Pistols, Shotguns Upgrades Subject Zero Biotic Boost Health: 200 Barriers: 250 Suggested Build: - Improved Shockwave (4) - Pull (2) - Subject Zero (3) - Warp Ammo (4) Jack is a handy character for classes that can’t control crowds very well, and also for missions where hordes of enemies rush at the same time. After investing in power recharge speed bonuses from Jack’s passive ability, she can effectively hold off whole groups of health enemies with Pull and Shockwave alone, especially if either of the powers is evolved for a radius evolution. If Shepard is a Sentinel or Adept (or if Miranda, Thane, or Liara is on the squad), then you can also take advantage of Pull to create explosions with Warp, neutralizing several health enemies in a hurry. After you complete her loyalty mission, you also gain access to one of the best anti-Collector powers in the game: Warp Ammo. When evolved for the Squad evolution, your weapons will practically tear through Collectors since every Collector enemy is comprised of health, barriers, armor, or a combination of them – and these three defenses are all vulnerable to Warp Ammo. The combination of the ammo type and the crowd control abilities make Jack particularly effective against hordes of Husks and Abominations; she is also pretty decent against mechs and the Blood Pack. Her real difficulty lies in shielded enemies. It is not recommended that you take her on missions where geth or the Blue Suns are primary enemies as her powers can’t effectively deal with them. Also, while she is preferable against the weaker Collector forces, she struggles a bit with the troops and Scions unless she has a teammate that can drop barriers first. Luckily Warp Ammo contributes to this a bit. Jacob Taylor 4Djaco ************** Acquisition Default Specialization Biotics, Combat Weapons Pistols, Shotguns Health: 200 Barriers: 250 Suggested Build: - Pull (2) - Incendiary Ammo (4) - Cerberus Specialist (4) - Barrier (3) Available for the entirety of Mass Effect 2, Jacob shares a lot of traits with Grunt. Instead of Concussive Shot, he has Pull, which is also useful for neutralizing health enemies. Both have Incendiary Ammo, and Barrier replaces Fortification as a defensive power. However, Jacob ultimately falls short of Grunt due to his lesser passive abilities; Grunt benefits greatly from health regeneration and an overall higher health rating, which Jacob does not have. Additionally, Concussive Shot does direct damage to barriers while Pull does not. Jacob does have one perk over Grunt, though; a Pulled enemy can be detonated by any character with Warp, resulting in massive damage. Still, Jacob is applicable in a lot of the same situations that Grunt is. Miranda is a particularly effective squadmate to pair him with; she can remove defenses with Overload or Warp and then Jacob can follow up with Pull. This also applies to Sentinel Shepard himself, and the Squad Incendiary Ammo can be quite useful if Shepard has no ammo powers of his own. Jacob is at his best against mechs or Blood Pack members. While he also has some perks against Collectors, several squadmates out-perform him due to better abilities. For instance, Jack has Warp Ammo instead of Incendiary, which is more useful for damaging ALL Collector defenses. Jacob’s abilities just aren’t optimal in comparison. Kasumi Goto 4Ekasu ************** Acquisition Citadel (Kasumi – Stolen Memory DLC) Specialization Tech Weapons Pistols, SMG’s Health: 200 Shields: 250 Suggested Build: - Rapid Shadow Strike (4) - Area Overload (4) - Master Thief (3) - Flashbang Grenade (2) Kasumi’s strong combat versatility along with her early acquisition (she can be recruited as soon as you finish with Freedom’s Progress) make her an excellent squadmate. While she lacks weapon strength and durability, Kasumi can serve many functions on the battlefield. With Overload at her disposal, she is a prime option for knocking out enemy shields in a hurry; her use of SMG’s also helps. For crowd control, she can use her Flashbang Grenades (after loyalty) to disorient whole groups of enemies. However, her real perk is Shadow Strike, an ability exclusive to her character. Shadow Strike serves many functions. It’s a great damage-dealer, for starters; it’s usually capable of dropping a health enemy after any defenses have been removed. The power also creates a distraction on the battlefield, allowing Shepard and another squadmate to fire away; this is very useful for Vanguards, since less heat makes it easier to engage in close-quarters combat. As a result, Kasumi generally excels against any faction she’s up against. While she lacks a solution for barriers, this only generally causes issues against Collector Drones and Guardians, and even then as long as you have a squadmate with an anti-barrier power you should be fine. Legion 4Flegi ******** Acquisition Reaper IFF Specialization Tech, Combat Weapons Assault Rifles, Sniper Rifles Upgrades Widow Anti-Material Rifle, Geth Shield Strength (x2) Health: 200 Shields: 350 Suggested Build: - AI Hacking (2) - Attack Drone (4) - Geth Assassin (4) - Geth Shield Boost (3) With its very high starting shield amount, its two available shield strength upgrades, and the Geth Shield Boost ability, Legion is capable of withstanding a lot of shield damage when leveled up properly. As a result, it becomes one of the most durable characters in the game. Legion is also capable of using a powerful sniper rifle with the appropriate upgrade. While its passive ability doesn’t boost weapon damage as much as Thane or Zaeed, it is still capable of dishing out a high amount of sniper rifle damage. Its Combat Drone ability also allows it to distract enemies to make them easier targets for itself and the rest of the squad. With AI Hacking, Legion can also manipulate Geth and mech forces; however, this power loses usability on higher difficulty levels since AI Hacking doesn’t go through shields or armor. Legion’s main weakness (other than the fact that you acquire it so late in the game) is that it has no abilities that deal direct damage to defenses. This is why it’s important to pair Legion with a squadmate like Zaeed, Miranda, or Garrus so that you can use the latter to remove defenses for Legion. While Legion generally excels against other geth and mechs, it has such a late acquisition that often times there are few available missions left for it to go on. Try leaving Tali’s loyalty mission or the Overlord mission for the period after Legion’s acquisition so that you can use it in a few of them. Miranda Lawson 4Gmira **************** Acquisition Default Specialization Biotics, Tech Weapons Pistols, SMG’s Health: 200 Shields: 250 Suggested Build: - Area Overload (4) - Heavy Warp (4) - Cerberus Leader (4) - Slam (1) Miranda is arguably the most useful squadmate in the game. With an answer for every enemy defense, crowd control, and a passive ability that actually boosts squadmate stats, it’s hard to go wrong with taking her on any mission. For armor, she has Warp, which also serves as a debuff and a biotic detonator. For barriers, she also has Warp. Warp alone makes her proficient against Collectors and the Blood Pack; her bonus ability, Slam, also vastly improves her crowd control ability against the health enemies of these factions. Finally, Overload gives her an edge against geth, Blue Suns, and other members of the Eclipse faction. This allows her to basically handle any faction in the game with ease, as you’ll always be able to make use of atleast two of her powers. The second reason for Miranda’s versatility is her passive class power. With the possibility to increase squad health by 15% or squad weapon damage by 15%, she can offer great bonuses to teammates. With all bonuses considered, characters like Zaeed and Thane can attain weapon damage comparable to Shepard’s in the presence of Miranda. For this reason, Miranda is one of the best teammates against Collectors if you pair her up with a weapon-oriented squad member. Grunt benefits from the health boost at Rank 4, but he is really the only character that does, so weapon damage is more preferable in my opinion. Mordin 4Hmord ********** Acquisition Dossier: The Professor Specialization Tech Weapons Pistols, SMG’s Upgrades Mordin Omni-Tool Health: 200 Shields: 250 Suggested Build: - Incineration Blast (4) - Full Cryo Blast (4) - Salarian Savant (4) - Neural Shock (0) Mordin specializes in armor damage and disabling health enemies, and he does a very good job at both of these aspects. Incinerate is one of the best anti-armor powers in the game; while it lacks the debuff of Warp, it can hit in a radius at Rank 4, which increases its effectiveness against groups of LOKI Mechs or vorcha. It also does respectable health damage. Cryo Blast and Neural Shock are somewhat redundant when both are invested in since they both pretty much do the same thing, and Neural Shock is even less useful since it only works against organics. For this reason, it’s usually a better idea to spec fully into Cryo Blast and opt out of Neural Shock completely. He is most useful against the Blood Pack faction or any mechs. Due to his lack of anti-shield or barrier powers, it’s recommend that when facing other factions (particularly Blue Suns or geth) you bring a character with Overload, Energy Drain, or Squad Disruptor Ammo. While Mordin has powers that excel against Collectors, he doesn’t have anything to strip barriers so characters with Concussive Shot, Reave, or Warp are desirable for those missions. Samara 4Isama ********* Acquisition Dossier: The Justicar Specialization Biotics Weapons Assault Rifles, SMG’s Health: 200 Barriers: 250 Suggested Build: - Throw (2) - Pull (3) - Sapiens Justicar (4) - Area Reave (4) At first glance, Samara does not look like a particularly useful squadmate. Pull and Throw are extremely similar in function, and neither one of them works against protected enemies. However, once you gain her loyalty to access Reave and attain enough points to invest fully in her passives, Samara becomes one of the most powerful squadmates in the game against Collector forces, and makes a formidable opponent against other groups as well. The extremely low recharge time of her powers with the Sapiens Justicar evolution gives her the ability to use her three powers liberally. Area Reave is a wonderful skill on her; not only does it function defensively for her when used against health targets, but it’s perfect for knocking out barriers and armor like Warp – only unlike Warp, it hits in a radius. Additionally, Pull and Throw work well for stopping advancing enemies or drawing stuff out of cover. After loyalty, Samara is most useful against Collectors or Blood Pack enemies, or the Eclipse faction due to the barriers of asari Vanguards and Commandos. While the Reaper IFF mission is potentially one of the toughest in the game, Samara greatly helps in dealing with the hordes of Husks and Abominations. She pairs up very well with an Overload kit, like Garrus or Miranda. The former can offer long-range weapon damage while Miranda’s Warp combos well with Samara’s Pull. Tali 4Jtali ******* Acquisition Dossier: Tali Specialization Tech Weapons Pistols, Shotguns Health: 200 Shields: 250 Suggested Build: - Attack Drone (4) - AI Hacking (2) - Quarian Machinist (3) - Area Drain (4) Tali’s usability in Mass Effect 2 ranges from destructive to almost useless, depending on the faction. Against geth and any merc faction that has mechs, Tali makes short work of enemies once Energy Drain is unlocked. Against everything else... she suffers greatly. Because AI Hacking only works on synthetics and Energy Drain only affects shielded enemies, she is at a severe disadvantage against Collectors and the Blood Pack, as Combat Drone becomes her only useful power. For this reason, maxing out Combat Drone early is a great idea. While the power isn’t exactly a game-changer, it does an admirable job of giving enemies something else to shoot at; it’s especially good for stalling tough/dangerous enemies like Harbinger, rocket troopers, or mid-tier bosses while you work on defeating the weaker forces. Unfortunately, Combat Drone has a rather high cooldown that can’t really be negated; unlike Legion, Tali has no recharge speed bonuses from her passive ability. Energy Drain functions like Overload, so be sure to invest fully in this power once you’ve unlocked it. You may even want to save points for Energy Drain until you do complete Tali’s loyalty mission so that you can immediately invest them afterwards (or, if you have Lair of the Shadow Broker, simply respec on Liara’s terminal). As said above, Tali’s combination of skills makes her most efficient against any faction with lots of shields or synthetics. While she is not 100% useless against the Blood Pack and Collectors (her drone can still be a solid asset), it is not recommended to bring her on Insanity difficulty. Thane 4Kthan ********** Acquisition Dossier: The Assassin Specialization Biotics, Combat Weapons SMG’s, Sniper Rifles Health: 200 Shields: 250 Suggested Build: - Throw (2) - Heavy Warp (4) - Drell Marksman (4) - Shredder Ammo (3) Thane shows a lot of versatility as a squadmate, capable at many ranges against many targets. His skillset makes him most useful against health, armor, and barriers – perfect for Collectors or Blood Pack forces. One Warp can usually knock out the barriers or armor of troop level enemies and put a sizeable dent in boss types. Throw is a good stun and knock out power for unprotected health enemies. This gives Thane both practical damage and a dose of crowd control. He is also one of the few squadmates that has fantastic weapon damage along with useful powers. Along with Zaeed, Thane has the highest weapon damage passives in the game at a maximum 50% extra. Additionally, when facing organic targets, Shredder Ammo provides even more damage to health. This makes Thane capable of inflicting heavy sniper rifle damage on unprotected enemies, often times enough to kill them with one shot – even against targets with high health values. With all of Thane’s abilities considered, he is one of the most ideal Collector squadmates in the game. If you have Squad Warp Ammo or have Jack as a second squadmate, then you can actually activate it instead of Shredder Ammo to give Thane an even greater edge against the Collectors. Thane’s only real weaknesses are his lack of durability and his relative weakness against shields, although his use of SMG’s does supplement that slightly. He still does respectable damage against shielded factions though, and he’s good for seeking out the Blue Suns and Eclipse targets that tend to stay back in cover. Zaeed 4Lzaee ******** Acquisition Zaeed: The Price of Revenge (DLC) Specialization Combat Weapons Assault Rifles, Sniper Rifles Health: 200 Shields: 250 Suggested Build: - Concussive Shot (2) - Squad Disruptor Ammo (4) - Mercenary Warlord (4) - Inferno Grenade (3) Zaeed’s early acquisition, instant loyalty mission access, and diverse skillset make him one of the most diversely useful squadmates throughout the course of the game. For starters, Zaeed’s weapon damage compares to that of Thane’s; he too gets a 50% weapon damage bonus at the last rank of his passive power. Against synthetics or shields, this number is increased further due to the boost of damage from Disruptor Ammo. These stats make Zaeed a formidable opponent against geth, Blue Suns, Eclipse, and mechs. Additionally, his Inferno Grenades and Concussive Shot account for armor and barrier damage, respectively, and the Concussive Shot works well for downing unprotected enemies. With so many options for dishing out damage and controlling crowds, it’s hard to really know what points to spend and what to opt out of on Zaeed. I think it ultimately depends on how you plan to use him. If you would prefer to make him a Collector killer, then Disruptor Ammo should go. If you would rather he decimated geth and highly shielded factions, then the last ranks in Concussive Shot might be worth getting rid of. Or you could distribute points between the three active powers. In any case, I would recommend leaving the full points in the passive, as his weapon damage bonuses are quite unsurpassable given their uniqueness. Zaeed’s only real weakness is that he doesn’t do well with larger groups of enemies given his low durability and his lack of close-range weaponry. For this reason, consider bringing someone like Grunt or Jack with him to counter his low crowd control. Morinth 4Lmori ********** Acquisition Samara: The Ardat-Yakshi Specialization Biotics Weapons Assault Rifles, SMG’s Health: 200 Barriers: 250 Suggested Build: - Throw (2) - Pull (3) - Endua-Yakshi (4) - Improved Dominate (4) Morinth shares three of the same abilities as Samara: Pull, Throw, and her passive talent (while they have different names, Ardat-Yakshi has the exact same evolutions as Asari Justicar does). Her third power, Dominate, replaces Samara’s Reave. In my opinion, this is a much less useful power. While Dominate can potentially turn dangerous organics against eachother and do some good, but the power in general suffers too much from the fact that it can only be used when an enemy is reduced to health. Pull and Throw also have this limitation, so essentially none of Morinth’s abilities can be used on protected enemies. Still, she can find some use against Collectors and other organic factions, especially on lower difficulties where there are no protections on many of the weaker enemies. However, unless you’re aiming to play as a pure Renegade in Mass Effect 2, I would just recommend keeping Samara. Reave is much more useful. Liara 4Kliar ********** Acquisition Lair of the Shadow Broker (DLC only) Specialization Biotics Weapons Pistols, SMG’s Health: 200 Barriers: 350 Suggested Build: - Singularity (2) - Heavy Warp (4) - Asari Controller (4) - Stasis (3) In comparison to Mass Effect, Liara’s skillset is much more restrictive in ME2. While she does have access to Warp, and excellent power for removing the armor and barriers of the Shadow Broker troops, the effectiveness of her other two powers are diminished by restrictions placed upon them. The main problem with Singularity is its high cooldown. Although this is lessened when points are invested into her passive ability, it still doesn’t make the power worth it since it only lifts unprotected enemies. Stasis has a shorter cooldown but doesn’t allow you to damage enemies in the Stasis field, making it redundant unless you simply want to temporarily remove a powerful enemy from the playing field. In this case, Stasis is probably more worth it than Singularity. Since Liara is a default squadmate on only the Lair of the Shadow Broker mission, I would recommend bringing a squadmate with Overload, Energy Drain, or Disruptor Ammo since a lot of the Shadow Broker agents have shields. Garrus, Kasumi, Miranda, Zaeed, and a loyal Tali are all great options. Of course, if Shepard has anti-shield powers then he would be efficient himself. If you can’t bring a direct shield-damaging power, try to pick characters with assault rifles or SMG’s. ============================================================================ ============================================================================ +++++++++++++++++++++++++ | Squad Recommendations | 50reco +++++++++++++++++++++++++ In the final section I will point out notable squad configurations that are either solid versus any faction or particularly successful against a specific one. These squads usually fit with any class. Garrus/Grunt ************** Weapons: Assault Rifles (x2), Shotgun, Sniper Rifle Active Powers: Concussive Shot (x2), Overload Ammo Powers: Armor-Piercing, Incendiary Other: Fortification (Grunt) The biggest perk of Garrus and Grunt is that they can cover any range efficiently. Garrus’ use of sniper rifles and Grunt’s shotgun expertise allow you to kill from near and afar; plus you get powerful assault rifles on both. Additionally, you get two ammo powers to choose from if you’ve evolved them for the squad evolution. This is an efficient use of firepower against any faction. Plus, with two Concussive Shots, enemies can be knocked about quite frequently. These two compliment eachother well against Collectors since they pick up on eachother’s weaknesses. Garrus can snipe at Collector troopers hiding from afar while Grunt takes care of close-range troops and Husks/Abominations. Grunt’s high durability also makes him a tough combatant against a very destructive group. The only minor weakness here is that neither character has a power for dealing direct armor damage; however, because Armor-Piercing Ammo and Incendiary Ammo are both excellent against armor, this shouldn’t be an issue. Garrus/Kasumi **************** Weapons: Assault Rifle, Sniper Rifle, SMG, Pistol Active Powers: Overload (x2), Concussive Shot, Flashbang Grenade, Shadow Strike Ammo Powers: Armor-Piercing This squad has a heavy emphasis on picking out single targets and destroying them. Garrus’ high sniper rifle damage packs a lot of punch into one target, as does Kasumi’s Shadow Strike. Additionally, access to double Overloads allows you to knock out almost any shields with the use of both powers at once (this won’t usually be necessary, however). Garrus also has the ability to briefly stagger targets with Concussive Shot and Kasumi can disorient everyone with Flashbangs. Needless to say, this pairing packs a lot of damage into their powers, and even though they are probably more useful against synthetics, they also excel against most factions in general. However, this group does not excel against hordes of enemies. Because Garrus is a sniper and Kasumi’s trademark ability is designed for single enemies, using this pairing against missions with lots of advancing mechs, varren, or Husks/Abominations is not the best idea. Garrus/Miranda **************** Weapons: Assault Rifle, Sniper Rifle, SMG, Pistol Active Powers: Overload (x2), Concussive Shot, Warp, Slam Ammo Powers: Armor-Piercing This setup is ideal against synthetics or for missions in wide, open areas... in actuality, however, this is an excellent pairing for any class against any enemies. With two powers for barriers, two powers for shields, and one power for armor + another anti-armor ammo power, all defenses are covered with this group at all ranges. The pair also has good mutual benefits for weapon damage; Miranda boosts Garrus’ stats with her passive ability, and Garrus offers Miranda an anti-armor power that considerably raises her weapon damage as well against health and armor. This is a highly efficient pairing that works against any faction with any class. It’s especially useful if Shepard is a close-range class that can take on hordes and keep them at bay, but it’s not necessary. Garrus/Tali ************* Weapons: Assault Rifle, Sniper Rifle, Shotgun, Pistol Active Powers: AI Hacking, Combat Drone, Concussive Shot, Energy Drain, Overload Ammo Powers: Armor-Piercing This is arguably one of the greatest combinations in the game against synthetics. With two anti-shield powers plus AI Hacking and the drone for distractions and more shield damage, Tali and Garrus can handle geth with ease. Plus they get the added bonus of having varied range with Tali’s shotgun and Garrus’ sniper rifle. Mechs and geth won’t get very far with the constant damage output, hacking, and stunning that this group brings to the table. The downsides to this pairing is that they generally have a hard time incapacitating health enemies – especially organics. Garrus’ Concussive Shot can only do so much, and the drone doesn’t always work. Additionally, the group struggles a bit against armor and barriers. Garrus does have AP Ammo, though. This is a great go-to group for geth missions or possibly Blue Suns, however. Garrus/Thane ************** Weapons: Sniper Rifle (x2), Assault Rifle, SMG Active Powers: Concussive Shot, Overload, Warp, Throw Ammo Powers: Armor-Piercing, Shredder While double snipers wouldn’t seem like the most efficient option, it is incredibly efficient if you’re facing enemies that don’t charge right at you. Garrus and Thane excel at wiping out single targets from afar, and they also have the abilities to counter every defense. This makes them perfect against Blue Suns and Eclipse, and possibly Collectors if you’re not on a mission with tons of Husks or Abominations. Additionally, you can tailor Thane’s powers away from Shredder Ammo if Garrus already has Squad Armor-Piercing; the extra armor damage proves to be much more useful for such a heavy weapon damage dealer like Thane. Plus, this gives Thane the ability to maximize his efficiency with his other two abilities + his outstanding passive stats. This group can potentially be useful against the Blood Pack; after all, there is a high amount of armor damage here and good crowd control with Throw and Concussive Shot. Despite this, the pairing is not good up close, so Shepard would likely need to cover that aspect. The same goes for the Husk/Abomination horde missions. Garrus/Zaeed ************** Weapons: Assault Rifle (x2), Sniper Rifle (x2) Active Powers: Concussive Shot (x2), Inferno Grenade, Overload Ammo Powers: Armor-Piercing, Disruptor Another double-sniper pairing, Zaeed differs in his role from Thane slightly. He brings Disruptor Rounds to the squad instead of Shredder, which improves versatility. Inferno Grenades affect more enemies than Warp but they deal less armor damage and nothing to barriers; Concussive Shot is quite similar to Throw although the former has added barrier damage. Put him together with Garrus, and you have some of the best versatility in the game for dropping defenses. You can alternate between Disruptor and Armor-Piercing Ammo depending on the mission; Disruptor is better for geth, Blue Suns, and Eclipse, while AP Ammo excels for Collectors and the Blood Pack. What weaknesses do they have? Dealing with enemies at close range. This can go one of two ways. Either the enemies won’t reach Garrus and Zaeed quickly enough due to the high amount of DPS the two give out, or Shepard needs to be able to hold the line if enemies make it to them. Therefore, this is one of the best – if not THE best – pairing for a Vanguard in the game. Grunt/Legion ************** Weapons: Assault Rifle (x2), Sniper Rifle, Shotgun Active Powers: AI Hacking, Combat Drone, Concussive Shot Ammo Powers: Incendiary Other: Fortification (Grunt), Geth Shield Boost (Legion) This is a rather interesting setup made of two of the most durable squadmates in the game. Grunt has health regeneration and Fortification while Legion gets a hearty shield boost from his bonus ability. Additionally, Grunt covers long-range combat while Legion picks off enemies from afar with its Widow sniper rifle. The squad also offers various methods of crowd control that are particularly effective against geth due to the nature of Legion’s abilities. Also, because Geth Destroyers and Hunters tend to get up close and personal, Grunt’s resilience in close-combat accounts for that while Legion can pick off geth further out, such as Rocket Troopers and Primes. Also, oddly enough this is a great group against the Blood Pack too. Legion’s sniper rifles rip through armor quite well, especially when combined with Squad Incendiary Ammo. If it stands back and lets Grunt do the tanking against krogan, then Legion can deal significant damage. This squad has two weaknesses. For starters, it cannot effectively deal with shields or barriers unless Shepard has that covered, and the only two classes that have answers for both shields and barriers are the Soldier and Sentinel. Secondly, Legion’s very late acquisition makes the pairing useful for only so many missions. Still, this is not a bad choice for Legion’s loyalty mission, or parts of Overlord (Prometheus Station in particular). Grunt/Miranda *************** Weapons: Assault Rifle, Shotgun, SMG, Pistol Active Powers: Concussive Shot, Overload, Slam, Warp Ammo Powers: Incendiary Other: Fortification (Grunt) A pairing that covers almost all of the bases, Grunt and Miranda work very well together for taking on any faction that has rushing enemies with defenses of all types. For starters, Miranda’s passive health boosts will turn Grunt into an even more powerful tank. Additionally, Grunt’s combat expertise combined with Miranda’s focus on powers makes for a formidable group. Grunt’s Squad Incendiary Ammo gives Miranda more weapon damage while Miranda improves Grunt’s health in return. They are a very complimentary arrangement. Better yet, they are excellent against almost any faction. The only weakness is that they don’t really excel at long-range combat, but this won’t be an issue on the majority of maps you come across. Plus, if Shepard is a Soldier or Infiltrator, his use of sniper rifles balances this squad almost perfectly. Grunt/Mordin ************** Weapons: Assault Rifle, Shotgun, SMG, Pistol Active Powers: Concussive Shot, Cryo Blast, Incinerate, Neural Shock Ammo Powers: Incendiary Other: Fortification (Grunt) A squad ideal for tackling armored targets, Grunt and Mordin have three abilities for disabling health targets, one anti-armor ammo ability, and one anti-armor power that can hit in a radius. This makes the pair not only useful for the likes of Collectors and the Blood Pack, but even more so for specific missions where enemies come at you in hordes. Mordin can continuously fire off Incineration Blasts to melt the armor of groups while Grunt charges on and takes out husks. Or, if the armor is already down, use one of Mordin’s disabling abilities to stop health enemies in their tracks. Concussive Blast on Grunt is also great for this. Do NOT use this squad for any faction that has a lot of shields. This includes geth, the Blue Suns, and most Eclipse missions (Samara’s loyalty mission is one exception where there are mostly troops with barriers). The squad simply doesn’t have the powers to deal with it, unless you plan on making Shepard take them out on his own. Grunt/Thane ************* Weapons: Assault Rifle, Sniper Rifle, Shotgun, SMG Active Powers: Concussive Shot, Throw, Warp Ammo Power: Incendiary, Shredder Other: Fortification (Grunt) An interesting relationship exists between Grunt and Thane’s abilities that proves deadly against armored opponents. Grunt excels at short-range combat while Thane offers some of the highest sniper rifle damage in the game. Both enemies have decent crowd control options with Concussive Shot and Throw, and Grunt’s Incendiary Ammo combined with Thane’s Warp will decimate the armor of mooks and bosses alike. This is one of the most ideal setups in the game against Collectors and the Blood Pack as a result. Rushing enemies will quickly be decimated by Grunt while Thane will pick off troops hiding in cover. However, their effectiveness is lessened against heavily shielded bunches such as the geth or Blue Suns. Eclipse isn’t as bad as long as Shepard has an option for shields. Grunt/Zaeed ************* Weapons: Assault Rifle (x2), Sniper Rifle, Shotgun Active Powers: Concussive Shot (x2), Inferno Grenade Ammo Powers: Disruptor, Incendiary Other: Fortification (Grunt) Like most squads that have Zaeed in them, this is a versatile combination. However, this one differs slightly from most in that Grunt accounts for Zaeed’s relative lack of durability while Zaeed compliments Grunt’s shotgun usage with sniping. With an extra Concussive Shot and Inferno Grenade to melt the armor of groups, the Reaper IFF mission becomes ridiculously easy with these two, especially if Shepard has another anti-armor ability like Area Incinerate or Area Reave. The group also makes short work of all merc factions. Also, although the pair has no direct anti-shield abilities, this is still a viable faction against Geth if you evolve Zaeed’s Disruptor Ammo for the squad evolution. If you’re a biotic or an Overload class in need of some manpower, however, this is a great pairing for almost any situation. Classes without an ammo type also get the benefit of being able to switch between Squad Disruptor and Squad Incendiary Ammo depending on the situation. Jack/Miranda ************** Weapons: Pistol (x2), Shotgun, SMG Active Powers: Overload, Pull, Shockwave, Slam, Warp Ammo Powers: Warp If Shepard deals high weapon damage, then this is a very good combination to bring alongside him for two reasons. For starters, Jack’s inability to strip defenses is covered by Miranda’s Warp and Overload. Once defenses are gone, then Jack can easily lift an enemy with Pull or topple several with Shockwave. Jack offers up Squad Warp Ammo, which will boost her weapon damage, Miranda’s, and Shepard’s against all defense types but shields. If Squad Warp Ammo has already been obtained, then this group will make very short work of Collector forces. Neither squadmate is particularly durable, however. Neither have very much range either. This is why it’s good if you can handle sniper rifles or assault rifles, as enemies that are far away and hiding in cover will not be susceptible to all of this group’s abilities. Jack/Thane ************ Weapons: Sniper Rifle, Shotgun, SMG, Pistol Active Powers: Pull, Shockwave, Warp, Throw Ammo Powers: Shredder, Warp Between Jack and Thane there aren’t many biotic abilities that you don’t have; for this reason, this is not a good pairing if Shepard is an Adept or even a Vanguard. However, considerable strength can be found in this pair versus Collectors and other heavily armored factions. Like the Jack/Miranda combo, this squad has access to both Squad Warp Ammo and Warp itself. The difference is that Thane deals a considerably higher amount of weapon damage than Miranda does, so Warp Ammo actually ends up benefiting him more. It even makes his own ammo power, Shredder Ammo, somewhat moot since Shredder Ammo only affects health whereas Warp Ammo affects health plus two other defenses. This pairing also has greater range and also versatility of range since Jack wields shotguns. The main weakness in comparison to Miranda is that Thane cannot disable shields. For this reason, unless Shepard has Overload or Disruptor Rounds, it is not advisable to take this pairing against geth, Blue Suns, or Eclipse. Still, there is a high amount of crowd control mixed with armor damage in here, making this pairing very ideal for missions with hordes of armored enemies – i.e., the Reaper IFF, the Quarian Crash Site, The Long Walk, the Hahne-Kedar Facility, etc. Blood Pack forces are trivial with this pairing. Jacob/Miranda *************** Weapons: Pistol (x2), Shotgun, SMG Active Powers: Overload, Pull, Slam, Warp Ammo Types: Incendiary Other: Barrier (Jacob) The game’s default squadmates actually have a lot of synergy with eachother, especially if you’re an Infiltrator. Of course, Miranda tends to synergize well with most squadmates, but Jacob’s durability, ammo power, and low-cooldown Pull go together well with Miranda’s defense-stripping abilities. As with anyone who has Overload, a quick Overload + Pull renders almost any trooper-level merc helpless. For Blood Pack vorcha and most Collector troops, a Warp + Pull does the same thing. This is a highly effective combination to have. Of course, you can also use Pull + Warp for biotic explosions. With Squad Incendiary Ammo added on, this group will bust through armored targets easily and do pretty well against barriers and shields too. The only thing that’s lacking here is range; once again, if Shepard is an Infiltrator, this is covered very well. An Infiltrator also has Disruptor Rounds. With the Squad evolution, you can swap out with Incendiary ammo whenever you’re against a highly shielded faction. Kasumi/Legion **************** Weapons: Sniper Rifle, Assault Rifle, SMG, Pistol Active Powers: AI Hacking, Combat Drone, Flashbang Grenade, Overload, Shadow Strike Other: Geth Shield Boost (Legion) One of the game’s better options for synthetics, Kasumi offers Overload for shield damage while Legion brings AI Hacking. Combat Drone also does a good job of distracting enemy synthetics and dealing shield damage, and Shadow Strike can also draw the attention of enemies. All of these abilities together make this a rather great group for keeping the pressure off of Shepard. Plus Kasumi can fire off Flashbang Grenades to disorient enemies. Additionally, the two are excellent for dealing with enemies hiding far away; Kasumi can reach them in a hurry with Shadow Strike and Legion can easily snipe at them. However, this group is not advisable for factions with lots of barriers or too much armor. This pretty much rules out Collectors; although Kasumi does fine against them, Legion has more trouble since none of his abilities are particularly suited for them. Kasumi/Miranda **************** Weapons: SMG (x2), Pistol (x2) Active Powers: Overload (x2), Flashbang Grenade, Shadow Strike, Slam, Warp Another excellent squad against synthetics, Kasumi and Miranda are both highly power-oriented, which fits well for a Soldier or Vanguard. With two Overloads, anything synthetic will get decimated on this squad, and shields drop very quickly, enabling weapon classes or biotics with powers like Pull to make short work of the unprotected enemies that are left over. Additionally, Miranda and Kasumi have other cool abilities like Warp, Flashbangs, and Shadow Strike to manipulate enemies in other ways. Warp, of course, is useful in a variety of circumstances, and it accounts for the group’s otherwise incompetence with armor. Flashbangs do an excellent job of stunning groups, and Shadow Strike will draw enemy attention, which is perfect for a Vanguard that needs to close in or a Soldier who wants to tear into enemies with weapon damage. This squad doesn’t really have any weaknesses outside of the fact that they are both highly power-reliant and neither one is particularly durable. This is why the Soldier does well with these two, and the Vanguard also benefits highly. The Adept will also enjoy the double Overloads, which lighten the Adept’s weaknesses considerably. Kasumi/Tali ************* Weapons: Pistol (x2), Shotgun, SMG Active Powers: AI Hacking, Combat Drone, Energy Drain, Flashbang Grenade, Overload, Shadow Strike Here’s another pair that’s effective against geth, synthetics, and shielded enemies. Again, this group has two options for destroying shields, and for Tali this also works as a defensive measure. With so many “disabling” techniques in the combined skillset, this pairing can also keep geth in check almost constantly. Hack one, throw a Flashbang to overheat weapons, release a distracting drone... there’s a lot you can do for battlefield control. On the downside, neither of them are durable, neither have the most effective anti-armor abilities (except Kasumi’s Shadow Strike), and neither have effective anti-barrier methods either. Additionally, while the pair has good disabling techniques, they can’t handle groups or hordes of enemies well, even though Tali has a shotgun. It’s best to limit this combination to groups of purely shielded enemies, and even then Shepard will have to compensate for the relative weakness against armor this group possesses. Kasumi/Zaeed ************** Weapons: Assault Rifle, Sniper Rifle, SMG, Pistol Active Powers: Concussive Shot, Flashbang Grenade, Overload, Shadow Strike Ammo Powers: Disruptor Here’s another excellent squad versus synthetics, and this one is unique in that it doesn’t just offer two anti-shield active powers, but one regular power and an ammo power. When evolved for the Squad evolution, not only will you have Kasumi’s Overload, but also a whole squad cross-firing with little disruptors in the bullets. Additionally, due to Inferno Grenades and Zaeed’s high weapon damage, the combination will decimate armored foes in the process. This makes the squad practically invaluable against any geth or mechs. While this squad is very good against the Blood Pack and Collectors too, it’s more practical to spec out of Overload and Disruptor Ammo if you know that you’ll be facing them. You’re still left with two great abilities on Kasumi (Shadow Strike is awesome for trolling Harbinger) and an anti-armor and anti-barrier power on Zaeed. While the overall power of the two is lessened, they can still hold their own against Collectors quite well. Legion/Tali ************* Weapons: Assault Rifle, Sniper Rifle, Shotgun, Pistol Active Powers: AI Hacking (x2), Combat Drone (x2), Energy Drain Other: Geth Shield Boost (Legion) Now here’s a rather interesting pairing; on paper, this does not look good due to the doubling up of two abilities, but when you pit Legion and Tali against geth, they are nigh unstoppable. Why is this? If you spec the two so that they each specialize in either AI Hacking or Combat Drone (for the purposes of making efficient usage of points, it’s better to take Legion’s AI Hacking to 4 and Tali’s Combat Drone to 4) and then fill in the rest of their points in the passive and bonus ability, then you have two very distinctive characters that no longer share the exact same abilities, but also kick butt against geth. In addition, Tali and Legion cover both short and long ranges well with their weapons. Legion also has a very high durability with all of its shield bonuses from upgrades and its passive bonus power, and Tali gets Energy Drain to restore shields. The only weakness of this pairing is that until Tali has unlocked Energy Drain, the pairing can’t actually deal any direct damage against shields with powers alone, and will have to rely on Shepard to deal it. They also don’t have a lot going for them against geth armor. In fact, with the exception of Legion’s sniper rifle, a lot of the damage in this setup has to come from Shepard. If Shepard is a weapon-oriented class, then this should not be an issue. Legion/Zaeed ************** Weapons: Assault Rifle (x2), Sniper Rifle (x2) Active Powers: AI Hacking, Combat Drone, Concussive Shot, Inferno Grenade Ammo Powers: Disruptor Other: Geth Shield Boost (Legion) Here’s another excellent combination for geth forces. This one is probably slightly better than Legion/Tali since Zaeed gets an anti-shield power to start with as opposed to during his loyalty mission, and with loyalty he gets the Inferno Grenades to melt armor. This covers your bases against geth a lot better, and Legion can also benefit strongly from a Squad evolution of Disruptor Rounds. The disadvantage of this group, however, is that they cannot effectively deal with enemies up close. This is why the squad is most efficient when Shepard is a Vanguard, or possibly an Adept so that you can use your biotics to keep enemies in check when they get near you. The extra shield damage with your guns will also help biotics greatly. Miranda/Mordin **************** Weapons: SMG (x2), Pistol (x2) Active Powers: Cryo Blast, Incinerate, Neural Shock, Overload, Slam, Warp Miranda and Mordin are another very power-centric group, but an interesting synergy exists between Miranda and Mordin’s powers. Miranda can easily remove any defense with Overload or Warp, and Mordin can follow it up with a Cryo Blast or Neural Shock to immobilize the health target. This synergy also works in other ways. The two can use their combined abilities to practically destroy any armored boss; Miranda can drop their shields/barriers with Overload/Warp, then Mordin uses Incinerate to start melting armor, then Miranda lays down another Warp, and then when you reach the health, Mordin unleashes Cryo Blast/Neural Shock to finish them off. While most pairings with Miranda generally excel against several factions, this one in particular is excellent against almost anything if you can throw in ammo power to the mix; Disruptor is pretty good, or possibly Warp for added barrier damage against Collectors. If you’re an Infiltrator and you have both ammo abilities, then this is a fantastic squad for you. Just keep in mind that neither one of them is very durable, so try not to let them get overwhelmed too quickly, although this shouldn’t be a problem given their ability to drop health targets quickly. They are also somewhat weak against larger boss enemies like Praetorians and YMIR Mechs (Scions are not an issue since they both have good armor-damaging powers). Miranda/Samara **************** Weapons: SMG (x2), Assault Rifle, Pistol Active Powers: Overload, Pull, Reave, Slam, Warp, Throw With a plethora of biotic abilities + Overload, Miranda and Samara are pretty well suited for anything. In fact, Samara serves almost the exact same role as Mordin does, only she has one better weapon than Mordin and has slightly greater durability due to Reave’s health regeneration. Additionally, Samara’s Pull works exceptionally well with Miranda’s Warp for biotic explosions. Like Mordin, Samara also exhibits high synergy with Miranda’s defense-stripping abilities: most enemies can be completely disabled with a quick Warp/Overload + Pull/Throw combination. On missions with a high amount of armored enemies, Samara’s area Reave can also be put to good use. While not completely advisable against geth (unless Shepard also has an anti-shield ability; Disruptor Rounds are once again very good), this pairing can take on almost any faction in the game to great effectiveness. Until you get Samara, Mordin and Miranda are great, but once Samara is with you, she accomplishes nearly the same thing as Mordin with a few extra perks. Miranda/Tali ************** Weapons: Pistol (x2), Shotgun, SMG Active Powers: AI Hacking, Combat Drone, Energy Drain, Overload, Slam, Warp This is probably one of the most effective anti-geth setups in the game if Shepard is a combat-oriented class. As long as Tali has Energy Drain unlocked, these two will tear through shields through a combination of Overload and Energy Drain. When stripped to health, Miranda can either fling them around with Slam, or Tali can hack the synthetics for greater crowd control; if stripped to armor, Miranda can also Warp them down, although another anti-armor ability wouldn’t hurt this group. Incendiary Ammo classes are particularly good since they also offer a squad ammo ability. While best against geth, this group is also pretty useful for the other shielded mercs as well, and since they usually come with synthetic mechs and drones, AI Hacking still maintains its uses. Just don’t expect this pairing to tear bosses up too much; they can only deal so much damage outside of their powers. Miranda/Thane *************** Weapons: SMG (x2), Sniper Rifle, Pistol Active Powers: Warp (x2), Overload, Slam, Throw Ammo Powers: Shredder Here’s a pretty excellent anti-Collector squad that works effectively before both characters have gained loyalty. Like the Miranda/Mordin and Miranda/Samara pairings, both characters feature anti-armor abilities, only in this case, having double Warps gives you the potential for extremely high damage against heavily armored targets like Scions, Praetorians, Harbinger, krogan, and all of the boss-type merc enemies. This feature does not go unnoticed on a Collector mission. Additionally, Thane has access to Throw and Miranda to Slam (after loyalty), which gives the group strong crowd control once defenses are down. Finally, unlike the two pairings listed above, Thane gives the squad greater weapon damage, especially when combined with Miranda’s bonuses. The expense of this group is that they cannot effectively deal with enemies at close-range or hordes that are too big. While area versions of Slam and Throw are available, this alone isn’t good enough for two fragile characters like Miranda and Thane. A shotgun-wielding class will do the two well. Additionally, tech-based classes (besides the Sentinel) will find the group’s anti-barrier abilities to be very useful. There are a lot of classes that can strongly benefit from this arrangement. Miranda/Zaeed *************** Weapons: Assault Rifle, Sniper Rifle, SMG, Pistol Active Powers: Concussive Shot, Inferno Grenade, Overload, Slam, Warp Ammo Powers: Disruptor This is arguably one of the game’s greatest pairings. It matches a versatile power character with a very versatile weapons character, and their strengths are mutually beneficial. Zaeed provides high weapon damage where Miranda cannot, and Miranda boosts Zaeed’s weapon damage even further. Zaeed has Inferno Grenades for lesser damage on groups of armored enemies; Miranda has Warp for high armor damage on a single armored target. Again, Miranda offers high shield damage with Overload while Zaeed gives the entire squad passive shield damage through Disruptor Rounds. Finally, barriers are tackled through a mix of Warp and Concussive Shot, and health enemies are disabled through Concussive Shot or Slam. There are multiple options for every single defense. There is no one faction that really suffers more than another from this pairing. In fact, you can actually respec the pair’s powers for the most ideal effects against the faction at hand. For Blood Pack and Collectors, Miranda drops Overload and Zaeed drops Disruptor Rounds (while not practical to do this constantly, it is a good idea to respec without these powers when you go on the Suicide Mission, where it’s all Collectors). Because this pairing is so great at filling in every gap, there is also no one class that gets a bigger advantage than another with this grouping. Adepts and Vanguards will love the anti-shield potential here, while Infiltrators and Engineers will make use of the anti-barrier powers. Soldiers will enjoy the ability to strip lots of defenses before tearing into enemies with weapon damage, and they also get Miranda’s damage bonus. A Sentinel, on the other hand, puts this squad into the stratosphere, as you will have THREE options for every defense in the game. Mordin/Samara **************** Weapons: SMG (x2), Assault Rifle, Pistol Active Powers: Cryo Blast, Incinerate, Neural Shock, Pull, Reave, Throw As you can see, Mordin and Samara share very similar abilities. They both have an anti-armor power (Incinerate, Reave) plus two powers for disabling health targets (Cryo Blast and Neural Shock, Pull and Throw). While this would seem to make them redundant together, they are not if you pit them against enemies where their strengths lie, much like Tali and Legion. In this case, this pairing decimates the Blood Pack and Collectors, especially if you have evolved for radius evolutions. Even though the squad is not overly durable, there is such a high amount of crowd control going on that neither one of them should really be in danger unless you let a stray krogan or group of husks get close. Even that’s pretty hard to do since every power available to the two can be evolved for a radius evolution. This is a killer pairing for any combat class against the factions mentioned above. A Soldier or Vanguard will also be able to provide Incendiary Ammo, which only furthers the armor damage being dealt. Just don’t pit this group against the geth or Blue Suns unless you want to deal with all of the shields yourself... Mordin/Thane *************** Weapons: SMG (x2), Sniper Rifle, Pistol Active Powers: Cryo Blast, Incinerate, Neural Shock, Throw, Warp Ammo Powers: Shredder Another ideal combination against heavily armored foes, Thane’s replacement of Samara has its positives and negatives. On the plus side, Thane has the highest squadmate weapon damage in the game, and Warp is probably a better anti-armor ability against bosses; it also combos well with Singularity/Pull classes. He also gives the squad Shredder Ammo, although typically it’s not worth evolving Thane’s ammo ability to Level 4, as it forces you to remove a final rank from either Warp or his passive – neither of which is a good idea, in my opinion. On the negative side, Thane has less crowd control and cannot deal armor damage in a radius. Luckily, Mordin covers this. You can typically use Mordin’s Incinerate on groups of weakly armored enemies and focus Thane’s Warp on heavily armored targets, like Harbinger or Scions. This squad is applicable in all of the same situations that Mordin and Samara are. Samara/Thane ************** Weapons: SMG (x2), Assault Rifle, Sniper Rifle Active Powers: Throw (x2), Pull, Reave, Warp Ammo Powers: Shredder Another biotic powerhouse team, Samara and Thane are once again only recommended against non-shielded factions, but when you put them up against the likes of the Blood Pack or Collectors, they excel. There is great potential here for flinging enemies off of ledges or for knocking back hordes of husks and abominations, which makes this group ideal for the Reaper IFF mission – or any circumstance where you need sufficient crowd control. Samara can devastate groups of armored targets with Reave while Thane tears away at boss armor with Warp. Both can make the weaker ones fly with Throw, and Samara can Pull a few enemies to set up a nice explosion with Warp. Both offer pretty good weapon damage as well. This pair has a lot of synergy with eachother. In fact, if you’re a character that has Overload or even Disruptor Rounds, this squad can potentially be great against anything. Because they both have SMG’s and Samara uses assault rifles, shields actually aren’t too big of a problem. The squad’s versatility outside of shield damage is very, very useful for most classes in the game, especially those that don’t have the best options against barriers. Tali/Zaeed ************ Weapons: Assault Rifle, Sniper Rifle, Shotgun, Pistol Active Powers: AI Hacking, Combat Drone, Concussive Shot, Energy Drain, Inferno Grenade Ammo Powers: Disruptor A fantastic pairing against geth forces, Tali’s Energy Drain combined with Zaeed’s Squad Disruptor Ammo are ideal for tearing apart enemy shields and stunning synthetics. Zaeed also makes up for Tali’s lack of armor damage with Inferno Grenades, which allows the group to handle Primes more easily than normal. There’s also a good amount of range here with Tali able to get in close with shotguns and Zaeed to snipe/shoot from afar with his rifles. Throw in a fair bit of crowd control with Concussive Shot, AI Hacking, and Combat Drone, and this pair is set to go against the geth or any heavily shielded merc faction. There are no real drawbacks when this squad is faced against geth, Blue Suns, or Eclipse, so if Shepard can contribute some more armor damage or crowd control to the group (which any biotic can do perfectly), they’ll be good to go. Thane/Zaeed ************** Weapons: Sniper Rifle (x2), Assault Rifle, SMG Active Powers: Concussive Shot, Inferno Grenade, Throw, Warp Ammo Powers: Disruptor, Shredder Thane and Zaeed have the highest weapon damage passives of any character in the game, and both of them also wield sniper rifles. This makes them capable of dishing out tons of damage from afar; this number is increased even further when facing shielded enemies if Zaeed has Squad Disruptor Ammo. If you throw in an Overload or Energy Drain from Shepard, this squad will decimate against any faction since both characters can also adequately deal with armor and barriers. Because of their high focus on weapon damage, this squad is ideal for a power-oriented class; tech types will benefit from their barrier damage more, however. Or, if you’re an Adept with good crowd control and you’re facing an armored faction, bring Thane and Zaeed along to deal the solid weapon damage for you while you throw stuff around and send out Warps. A biotic combined with these two can make quick work of Collectors. Be careful though, because this group is not the best for dealing with enemies up close. It shouldn’t ever come to this due to their good group-stopping ability in Throw Field and Concussive Blast, but it is a possibility. ============================================================================ ============================================================================ +++++++++++++++++++++++++++ | Mission Recommendations | 50reco +++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Due to the circumstances of various mission layouts, some squads may be more useful than others. NOTE: These squads are ONLY recommended if you’re more concerned with gameplay as opposed to dialogue and story. There are often better squadmates if you want to hear unique lines. Dossier: The Professor ************************* Primary Factions: Blue Suns, Blood Pack Suggested Squad: Zaeed and Garrus/Grunt Other Suggestions: Miranda, Jack While there are some Blue Suns enemies on this mission, they are very few in comparison to the vorcha and krogan encountered later on. Additionally, because the streets of Omega offer a lot of opportunity for sniping, Garrus and Zaeed can put this to very good use. However, there are also sections where several krogan and vorcha will come at you simultaneously; Grunt is able to handle these sections quite well. Miranda and Jack don’t have the range of Zaeed or Garrus; however, both have abilities that come in handy for the varied enemies of this mission. Jack’s Shockwave is also highly useful for knocking the large groups of enemies in the latter part of this mission off their feet, and Pull is great for getting vorcha off of balconies. Dossier: Archangel ********************* Primary Factions: Eclipse, Blood Pack, Blue Suns, Mechs Suggested Squad: Kasumi and Miranda Other Suggestions: Grunt This dossier mission features every main mercenary faction, so you will predominantly have a lot of armor and shields to work through with a sprinkling of barriers from the Eclipse Vanguards. As such, double Overloads from Kasumi and Miranda are invaluable here, and Kasumi’s ability to sneak around Archangel’s hideout with Shadow Strike to pick off hiding targets is really nice. However, be warned that there is one very difficult bit of this recruitment mission that features a lot of Blood Pack forces coming at you at once. Grunt is extremely useful for this bit since he doesn’t go down as easily, so if you would prefer to swap him out with Kasumi or Miranda, it will not be an issue and should make that section easier. Dossier: The Convict ********************** Primary Factions: Blue Suns Suggested Squad: Garrus and Zaeed Other Suggestions: Kasumi, Miranda Shield-damaging abilities are incredibly powerful here, as every Blue Suns trooper will have shields on Insanity. In essence, any of the four characters with anti-shield powers will do well here, but Garrus and Zaeed are particularly more useful since they can snipe in the very large rooms aboard Purgatory, where enemies don’t rush you very quickly. In fact, shotgun-users are at something of a disadvantage here since it’s a dangerous idea to get too close to the big crowds. Double Concussive Shots are also great for getting enemies off their feet if they poke out of cover. Dossier: The Warlord *********************** Primary Factions: Blue Suns, Krogan Suggested Squad: Miranda and Garrus/Zaeed Other Suggestions: N/A Unless you want to hear the dialogue of other squadmates, I wouldn’t stray too far outside of Garrus, Zaeed, and Miranda on Insanity. There are a surprising amount of spots on this mission where enemies are far away and shooting rockets at you; not only does this make shotguns next to useless for those bits, but Kasumi’s Shadow Strike also becomes a moot ability, because similar to how the Vanguard cannot reach these places, Shadow Strike can’t either. Garrus and Zaeed are both excellent here for their sniping ability. However, Miranda is almost necessary in my opinion due to Warp. There is a portion of the mission where you will face several krogan at once, and Warp is the easiest way to drop their armor. Zaeed does have Inferno Grenades if his loyalty mission has been completed, but they won’t melt as much armor, and Garrus won’t yet have Armor-Piercing Ammo. N7: Hahne-Kedar Facility *************************** Primary Factions: Mechs Suggested Squad: Jack and Mordin Other Suggestions: Grunt, Jacob Available early in the game once you complete the two relevant side missions that are prior to it, the Hahne-Kedar Facility is one of the unique parts of the game where armored enemies tend to relentlessly rush at you. For this reason, Jack and Mordin are invaluable characters to bring with you. A constant use of Shockwave combined with Incinerates and Cryo Blasts will keep the mechs at bay, allowing Shepard the chance to easily drop them and advance along the line – and LOKI Mechs are VERY relentless. Snipers have a difficult time here, although Zaeed’s Inferno Grenades can be useful for the groups of armored mechs. If Jack or Mordin are not available, then Grunt and Jacob can make good damage soakers too that also burn through the mechs with Incendiary Ammo. Horizon ********* Primary Factions: Collectors Suggested Squad: Miranda and Grunt/Zaeed Other Suggestions: Garrus, Kasumi, Mordin Miranda is somewhat of an essential squadmate here since she is the only one with access to Warp. Although Overload is useless here, Warp is going to be useful almost 100% of the time since every enemy will have either armor or barriers on Hardcore/Insanity. I would also recommend Grunt as your second since his Concussive Shot functions as both crowd control and barrier damage, and his close-range demeanor make him perfect for the hordes of Husks that you’ll encounter later on. Zaeed is also a great second to Miranda IF you’ve unlocked Inferno Grenades, which are very helpful for the Husks. Garrus, Kasumi, and Mordin are also decent choices, but these characters only have powers suited for either armor or barriers instead of both. Dossier: The Assassin ************************ Primary Factions: Eclipse, Mechs Suggested Squad: Miranda and Garrus/Zaeed Other Suggestions: Jack, Samara (loyal), Tali (loyal) This mission has a LOT of enemies that have every defense type. For this reason, a combination of Miranda, Garrus, and Zaeed is probably most ideal since they can handle every defense and dish out a lot of damage; however, if Shepard himself is competent in handling defenses, then you should be able to stray from this arrangement a bit to bring in someone like Tali or Jack that offers more crowd control. There are a lot of mechs on this mission, so Tali’s AI Hacking proves useful, and Jack’s Shockwave can topple the crowds of enemies that like to hide behind crates and walls. If both Tali and Samara are loyal, then the two of them can actually make a really fantastic squad if Shepard is a weapon-oriented class. Dossier: The Justicar *********************** Primary Factions: Eclipse, Mechs Suggested Squad: Miranda and Thane Other Suggestions: Garrus, Grunt, Jack, Mordin Unlike other instances where you face Eclipse mercs, Samara’s loyalty mission has enemies mostly comprised of barriers with few shielded ones. Also, because this environment includes canisters of acid that improve biotics, both Thane and Miranda will receive benefits from it. Adding in the long, open sight lines, and Miranda and Thane are definitely the most ideal choices for this one. Double Warps allow you to drop barriers quickly, and Thane can use Throw to knock enemies around. Miranda’s Overload will also be useful for the few shielded rocket troopers your meet. If Thane is not available or you don’t wish to use Miranda, then there are a plethora of other characters that can make good squadmates here. Mordin’s Incineration Blast comes in handy for the groups of mechs that you’ll encounter, and Jack can use Pull to get enemies out of cover to be detonated by a Warp from Thane/Miranda. Dossier: Tali *************** Primary Factions: Geth Suggested Squad: Garrus and Zaeed Other Suggestions: Kasumi, Miranda, Legion Overload, Disruptor Ammo, and sniper rifles are your best friends in this mission, and the Garrus/Zaeed pairing fits these necessities extremely well. Should you not wish to bring one of them, then Kasumi and Miranda are excellent backups. Also, should Legion be on your team at the time of Tali’s recruitment, it is not only a rather useful teammate for hacking geth but it also has a lot of unique dialogue... Collector Ship **************** Primary Factions: Collectors Suggested Squad: Thane and Garrus(loyal)/Jack(loyal)/Miranda Other Suggestions: Grunt, Kasumi, Zaeed While the entirety of the Collector Ship mission is difficult, the toughest bit – and arguably the toughest of the entire game – is the fight on the platforms in the enormous central chamber. Here, you will benefit most from teammates that can pick enemies off from afar or offer up barrier damage. Because Thane fits the bill on both of these roles, I would consider him a mandatory squadmate for the mission if you’re having trouble passing it on Insanity. The second squadmate can be a variety of teammates. If Jack is loyal, then I would suggest her for two reasons: first, her Squad Warp Ammo is incredibly beneficial to the squad if Shepard doesn’t have it (and if Shepard doesn’t, then I would recommend it for this mission unless a loyal Jack is going). Secondly, Jack’s Shockwave comes in handy near the end of the mission when you face off against several clustered Collectors and hordes of Husks/Abominations. As always, Miranda is a worthy combatant since Warp tears through every Collector defense, and Miranda’s passive squad boosts are really useful. Finally, a loyal Garrus with Squad Armor-Piercing Ammo – or even just AP Ammo for himself – can do some good damage against Scions and Praetorians, and his Concussive Shot is great for barriers too. Grunt, Zaeed, and Kasumi are also good choices, especially if they’re loyal. Ultimately, choosing a squad here is not that difficult since most everyone with the exception of Tali will benefit the team in some way. Experiment a bit, and if you find out that your current squad can’t handle the fight on the platforms well enough, then simply restart the mission and adjust. There’s no fighting up until the platform battle, so you won’t have to replay too much. Zaeed: The Price of Revenge ****************************** Primary Factions: Blue Suns Suggested Squadmate: Garrus Other Suggestions: Kasumi, Miranda Shields, shields, and more shields. An Overload character is very ideal for your second squadmate, and Garrus happens to be even more suited for this mission due to the long sight lines. Kasumi and Miranda are still great options, though. While a loyal Tali also has good shield damage, her hacking ability won’t be as handy here since there are few mechs to fight. Jacob: The Gift of Greatness ******************************* Primary Factions: Hunters, Mechs Suggested Squadmate: Miranda Other Suggestions: Garrus, Mordin, Zaeed The Hunters have shields, and the plethora of mechs here will have lots of armor. Miranda is probably your best all-around option, but if Mordin has Incineration Blast or Zaeed has unlocked Inferno Grenades, then those area armor abilities will become more useful. Miranda: The Prodigal *********************** Primary Factions: Eclipse Suggested Squadmate: Garrus Other Suggestions: Kasumi, Tali (loyal), Zaeed Garrus is the most solid option here due to the long sight lines and the mix of shields and barriers, which is perfect since he has Overload and Concussive Shot at his disposal. Kasumi and Zaeed are also good options due to their anti-shield abilities, and a loyal Tali can hack mechs and drain shields with Energy Drain. Jack: Subject Zero ******************** Primary Factions: Blood Pack Suggested Squadmate: Grunt Other Suggestions: Jacob, Mordin, Samara (loyal), Thane Biotics that can fling health enemies about are very useful here, but Grunt is even better since he can handle the packs of varren and charging krogan very well and still contribute with his Incendiary Ammo and Concussive Shot to knock enemies about. Basically, anything that has access to solid armor damage or incapacitation is really useful for the very aggressive enemies on this mission. Mordin: Old Blood ******************** Primary Factions: Blood Pack Suggested Squadmate: Thane Other Suggestions: Grunt, Jack, Samara (loyal) Unlike the encounters with the Blood Pack during Jack’s loyalty mission, you’ll have more freedom to snipe enemies from afar during Mordin’s encounter, meaning that Thane is ideal since he offers both long-distance sniping and solid armor/barrier damage and incapacitation with Throw. If Thane isn’t present, however, there are a variety of teammates that work well here. Jack can topple the groups with Shockwave, a loyal Samara can fling enemies around with Pull/Throw and drop armor with Reave, and Grunt can do his usual tanking and armor damage with Incendiary Ammo. Grunt: The Rite of Passage ***************************** Primary Factions: Blood Pack Suggested Squadmate: Samara (loyal) Other Suggestions: Jack, Mordin, Thane, Zaeed Another Blood Pack mission. The difference here is that there will be a lot of armored enemies rushing you at once, and the Klixen in particular are very durable. This means that characters with good armor damage and incapacitation are better if they can recharge their abilities quickly, and a loyal Samara fits the bill here. Jack is also really excellent for providing crowd control at a quick pace, even though she won’t have any direct armor damage. Squad Warp Ammo is extremely useful, however. Zaeed’s Inferno Grenades are also quite handy, as is his Concussive Shot. Mordin also can use Incineration Blast quite effectively. Thane is yet another option, but Warp doesn’t have a radius. Garrus: Eye for an Eye ************************ Primary Factions: Blue Suns Suggested Squadmate: Kasumi Other Suggestions: Legion, Miranda, Tali (loyal), Thane, Zaeed Snipers and shield-damagers are great on this mission. Because there are several high profile targets as well, Kasumi’s Shadow Strike is remarkably useful for knocking them out and providing distractions; there is a lot of gunfire going on. This is why Tali is also an excellent choice if she’s loyal, as there are several mechs to hack as well in addition to the shields to drain. AI Hacking is particularly useful for the double mech battle near the end. Miranda, Thane, and Zaeed are all good companions too. Tali: Treason *************** Primary Factions: Geth Suggested Squadmate: Garrus/Legion/Zaeed Other Suggestions: Jack, Kasumi, Miranda While a sniper wouldn’t be my first choice for the cramped rooms aboard the Alerei, the geth that you’re facing on this mission are very susceptible to shield damage, so Garrus and Zaeed are great choices here (although Zaeed loses some of his worth if Disruptor Ammo doesn’t have the squad evolution). Other Overload characters like Kasumi and Miranda are excellent choices too, and Jack’s access to Shockwave is perfect for toppling the hordes of geth that you encounter in the small rooms. However, should Legion be present, taking it is good for two reasons; its AI Hacking ability is great for geth, and it causes some rather interesting dialogue among the quarian admirals and during the trial. Reaper IFF ************ Primary Factions: Collectors (only Husks, Abominations, and Scions) Suggested Squad: Grunt and Samara Other Suggestions: Jack, Mordin, Zaeed The Reaper IFF mission can be either a very smooth experience or a disaster depending on your squad. The vast majority of this mission features enormous hordes of husks and abominations charging at you and your teammates; while these enemies are easy to defeat individually, this is not the case when you’re on Hardcore/Insanity difficulty and facing several of them at a time. They will overwhelm your team very quickly if you don’t drop them in a hurry; if they don’t overwhelm you, then the Scions with their constant shockwaves will. As a result, you need squadmates that can handle them. Grunt is perhaps the biggest no-brainer here for a few reasons. First of all, he is durable enough to withstand the pressure of several Husks and Abominations coming at him at once. Secondly, his use of shotguns combined with Incendiary Ammo allows him to rip through the armor of all enemies encountered here. Finally, he can use Concussive Shot (or even better, Concussive Blast) to topple the enemies after their armor is gone. Assuming that Samara is loyal, her abilities compliment Grunt’s extremely well. If you are already at Level 30, then you can max out Pull Field, Sapiens Justicar, and Area Reave to cripple the enemies on this mission. Not only are the two area powers incredibly useful for the hordes of Husks and Abominations, but Samara gets a very quick recharge speed if you evolve her passive to Rank 4. She can constantly send out Pulls and Reaves to keep all of the enemies at bay while Grunt tanks. Other great alternatives here include Jack, Mordin, and Zaeed. Jack is very similar to Samara in function; the exception is that she has Warp Ammo instead of Reave. If Shepard doesn’t already have Warp Ammo as a bonus ability, then Squad Warp Ammo from Jack will be a lifesaver in addition to Pull and Shockwave. Similar to Samara, Mordin can rattle off constant Incineration Blasts and Cryo Blasts to keep the numerous enemies at bay; he does have longer cooldowns than Samara, however. Zaeed’s Inferno Grenades are perfect for the hordes of armored enemies and his Concussive Shot works well for disabling them. While Miranda and Thane are also good since they have Warp for armor and Slam/Throw for disabling the Husks and Abominations, it’s important to note that Warp does NOT hit in a radius, meaning that it will lose a lot of utility against the hordes in comparison to Area Reave, Inferno Grenades, or Incineration Blast. ============================================================================ ============================================================================ +++++++++++++++++++++++++++ | Collector Base Strategy | 70base +++++++++++++++++++++++++++ WARNING: The following part of this guide details every correct and incorrect choice that you can make during the Collector Base. For this reason, I wouldn’t advise reading this guide if you don’t want to be spoiled to details regarding how to make it through the Base with zero casualties. Collector Base: Infiltration ******************************* Tech Specialist: Tali, Legion, or Kasumi (must be loyal) Fire Team Leader: Jacob, Miranda, or Garrus (must be loyal) Suggested Squad: Thane and Kasumi/Legion Other Suggestions: Garrus, Grunt, Samara First of all, be warned that choose a non-ideal or non-loyal tech specialist or fire team leader will result in the death of your tech specialist. This means that even a loyal Tali, Legion, or Kasumi can die if your fire team leader isn’t the correct choice. The first segment of the Collector Base features – you guessed it – Collectors. However, there are a few twists to this mission. For starters, you’re often under time constraints to activate valves so that your tech specialist can get through without being fried; reach the valve too late, and they’re dead. For this reason, distractions are a good thing, and both Kasumi and Legion can do this quite well with Shadow Strike and Combat Drone (respectively). Additionally, Legion is also fairly durable with its Geth Shield Boost, making it easier for it to stay alive while the fights are ensuing. Harbinger appears quite a bit, and since Kasumi can troll him very well with Shadow Strike, she is another great option. Thane brings about more solid barrier/armor damage, and the various open areas give him good opportunity to snipe. Note that the loyalty of your squadmates in this section do not matter. Collector Base: The Long Walk ******************************** Escort: Jack, Mordin, Kasumi, or Tali (must be loyal) Barrier Specialist: Samara/Morinth or Jack (must be loyal) Fire Team Leader: Miranda, Garrus, or Jacob (Garrus/Jacob must be loyal) Suggested Squad: Garrus/Thane and Samara/Jack Other Suggestions: Legion, Mordin, Zaeed Note that the escort actually doesn’t matter as long as they’re loyal; however, Mordin, Kasumi, Tali, and Jack are all good choices since they offer the lowest rating for the Hold the Line section of the third mission. Since Jack is a possible barrier specialist, I wouldn’t choose her to go unless you know you’re going to pick Samara/Morinth instead. Keep in mind that your chosen escort will not be able to accompany you during the Long Walk OR during the final battle, though. When it comes to the barrier, Samara/Morinth or Jack are the only ideal choices, and they must be loyal as well. If they are not, then one of your squadmates that you choose to go with you under the barrier will die at the end. For the fire team leader, a non-ideal or non-loyal fire team leader will die. The only exception to this rule is Miranda, who will not die regardless of loyalty. The fire team leader has no effect on any part of this mission other than themselves, however. Once you’ve chosen your specialists and escort, then it’s time to pick a squad for the Long Walk. This mission features more Collector troops, but this time there will also be several Husks/Abominations and Scions too. Snipers have an advantage here since they can deal a lot of damage from the confinement of the bubble; shotgun classes are weaker since they don’t have the range. Garrus and Thane are both excellent choices. For your second squadmate, consider going with either Jack or Samara (the one that isn’t holding up the barrier, obviously). Samara is the more useful of the two since she has access to Reave, but Squad Warp Ammo from Jack is also very handy. Like the first section, the loyalty of your squadmates doesn’t matter here. If the barrier specialist is not ideal, then loyalty still won’t matter as the game has a preset list for squadmates that automatically die. Collector Base: Final Battle ******************************* Suggested Squad: Thane and Miranda/Samara (must be loyal) Other Suggestions: Jack, Legion, Mordin First of all, one huge thing to consider during the final phase: your Hold the Line rating. Assuming that you’ve recruited everyone possible, had no casualties throughout the base mission, and you sent an escort earlier, you will have nine squadmates holding the line while you head to the central chamber. Each squadmate has a value for the “Hold the Line” sequence (if the character is not loyal, then they will have the lower value): 3 or 4 – Garrus, Grunt, Zaeed 1 or 2 – Jacob, Legion, Miranda, Samara/Morinth, Thane 0 or 1 – Jack, Kasumi, Mordin, Tali The nine squadmates that are left behind count for your “Hold the Line” rating. This rating is determined by adding together all of the values of the nine squadmates left behind and then averaging them. If the average is above 2.0, then there will be no casualties. Assuming that all of your squadmates are loyal, anyone that you take on the final squad will survive. Additionally, if all of your squadmates are loyal, then it is far more likely that no one will die holding the line since greater values will increase your averaged score. For greater safety, leave atleast two of the characters with a “3 or 4” value behind to ensure that your average is high enough. It is impossible to lose a squadmate if you do this – even if you chose an escort that has a higher value. If certain squadmates are not present or if you didn’t secure everyone’s loyalty, then things get increasingly trickier if you’re trying to save everyone. Taking squadmates to the final battle that have low values is a wise choice; if you bring along a loyal Jack and Mordin, for instance, and you sent back a loyal Kasumi/Tali as an escort, then you can have several disloyal characters holding the line without losing any of them. (There eventually comes a point where too many disloyal teammates drags your average down too much, however.) For the sake of the final mission and its challenges, Miranda and Thane are a rather excellent pairing. Although they have medium Hold the Line ratings, this still leaves Garrus, Grunt, and Zaeed behind, which will practically ensure the success of the other team. Miranda can spam Slam and Warp on the Collector troops while Thane also spams his abilities and snipes. Samara is an excellent alternative to either character, and Jack’s Squad Warp Ammo is highly useful as well. Legion with its Widow sniper rifle is also a surprisingly powerful teammate here, especially if you’re using a squad ammo power like Warp or Incendiary Ammo. It is also rather survivable due to the Geth Shield Boost, and its drones are great for distracting Harbinger. ============================================================================ ============================================================================ +++++++++++++++ | Other Notes | 60reco +++++++++++++++ - For simplicity, you’ll find that Garrus, Miranda, and Zaeed are your three most versatile squadmates in the game, especially after loyalty. All have powers tailored for every defense in the game. Other teammates are better specialists in certain areas. Thane and Samara, for instance, have powers that destroy the Collector faction. Mordin and Grunt are tailored for the Blood Pack. Tali is obviously invaluable against Geth, and Kasumi shines against the Blue Suns. - Building squadmates can be somewhat difficult before you have gained their loyalty. If you are sure that you want to spend several points in a bonus power tree but haven’t yet gained the character’s loyalty, then consider not spending points. This task is solved with the completion of the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC, however; I would recommend doing it as quickly as possible. - Once you unlock the Retrain Powers option in Mordin’s lab, use it to your advantage. An Engineer or Sentinel Shepard may consider dropping Overload for missions with Collectors and instead investing fully in Incinerate or Warp; similarly, when you fight Geth or Blue Suns, retrain your powers again and evolve Overload. - Ammo powers are tricky to evolve. On one hand, Shepard is going to benefit the most from them out of anyone, so if you’re a Soldier, Infiltrator, or Vanguard, it is a good idea to take the more powerful evolution so that you can do max damage. However, you’ll find that the game’s sniper characters (Legion, Thane, Garrus, and Zaeed) benefit tremendously from squad ammo powers. While Garrus, Zaeed, and Thane already have their own ammo powers, these powers aren’t always useful. For instance, Zaeed’s Disruptor Ammo is not an ideal ammo power versus Collectors. Overriding it with a squad ammo power like Warp Ammo is a good choice. In Legion’s case, using any squad ammo power will be very useful for its damage. - In the case of squadmates, I would almost always recommend evolving for the squad evolution, unless Shepard already has the ammo power. - Don’t underestimate the seemingly “weak” powers on Insanity, like Pull, Throw, Concussive Shot, Cryo Blast, or Combat Drone. These powers are surprisingly useful for immobilization. Because squadmate powers will hit instantaneously if the squadmate is not in your vision, activating the power wheel and then using a quick immobilizer can often mean the difference between living and falling. - Some characters are powerful before loyalty while others gain their most viable asset after loyalty. Jack, Tali, and Samara are cases where they have very limited usage before loyalty since their loyalty power gives them an edge or stronger diversity; Garrus and Zaeed are also similar, but they are still quite viable beforehand. Characters like Miranda, Mordin, and Thane are extremely usable before loyalty since their loyalty ability is not as useful. ============================================================================ ============================================================================ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ | Credits & Update History | 80cred ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Credits: - Mass Effect Wiki for their plethora of ME-related information. - Bioware for making a fantastic game. - You for reading this. I hope you found this guide useful; it is a simple one, but the point is to inform and to recommend for using your squadmates, and I believe it accomplishes that purpose. Thank you again! Update History **************** 6/11/14 – First version completed.