A.B.C. Vanguard – by Achire
Biotic Charge: Radius (4), Power Synergy (5), Barrier (6)
Nova: Force & Damage (4), Half-blast (5), Pierce (6)
Alliance Training: Damage & Capacity (4), Power Damage (5), Weapon Weight (6)
Fitness: Durability (4), Shield Recharge (5), Fitness Expert (6)
Radius (4). Radius allows you to stagger multiple enemies, which gives you some breathing room. Damage allows you to stagger Phantoms with charge on Gold, but it’s unreliable and does get you grabbed every so often.
Power Synergy (5). As a Human Vanguard, most of your damage will come from powers.
Barrier (6). Absolute must for every build. Full shield recharge keeps you alive and allows you to do more damage with Nova.
Damage (4). The radius of Nova is large enough to begin with.
Half-blast (5). Half-blast allows you to Nova twice for increased invulnerability frames, and is easier to play. The power recharge bonus of full Nova stacks with itself, and that build is perfectly viable on Gold as well. In this playstyle you need to spam Nova at all times to keep your power recharge up. The Full Nova playstyle is more difficult than the typical Half-Blast style, and if you can utilize it on Gold you certainly don’t need this build/guide for anything.
Pierce (6). This allows you to do good damage to shields, barrier and armor with Nova. On Gold the damage is relatively lower and it takes time to solo Geth Primes, but it’s still ok.
Weapon Weight (6) or Weapon Damage (6). As a Vanguard, your main weapon is either a Shotgun or a Heavy Pistol. If you use a Shotgun, you need the weight reduction to get a higher power recharge rate. If you use a Heavy Pistol such as Carnifex X, you will have +200% recharge anyway. Thus you might as well put your points into more damage.
Weapons are not the main source of damage for a Human Vanguard. They are useful for things such as killing Guardians (charge to stagger the shield, then headshot or use AP ammo/mod to headshot from afar), softening up Turrets before charging (Gold only, on Silver you can just charge), finishing off enemies when you don’t feel safe to use Nova, and damaging Banshees when there is nothing else to kill.
Thus the most important thing about weapons is having a high recharge rate. +200% recharge is by no means required, but will make your life easier. Heavy Pistols such as Phalanx (on Silver) or Carnifex X (Gold) are a good choice. Light shotguns such as Eviscerator X or simply the starting shotgun Katana X are also good. Disciple X and Scimitar X are not suggested for Gold. For lighter shotguns it is a good idea to use an armor piercing mod or armor piercing ammo to avoid the armor damage penalty (50 damage lost per pellet on Gold!). Heavy Shotguns such as the Claymore X more or less require the use of Power Efficiency III equipment or the Full Nova build, and are best left to advanced players.
HOST THE GAME! There is a nasty bug in the ME3 multiplayer that gets you stuck in the level geometry for the whole duration of the match. It mostly only affects Vanguards. The bug can be completely avoided by hosting the game yourself. Hosting the game also allows you to perfect the timing of Charge and Nova.
Vanguards stay alive by utilizing invulnerability frames. During the animation of Charge and Nova, you are invulnerable. You will not take any damage from enemies (unless grabbed or staggered). The core tactic of playing a Human Vanguard is to maximize your invulnerability frames while dealing damage. This can be achieved by using two buttons: 1 (Charge) and 3 (Nova).
Start off by charging an enemy, then use Nova. After the first Nova hits, Half-Blast allows you to use Nova again for more invulnerability frames. After the second Nova hits, your Charge cooldown is over and you can Charge again to restore full shields and repeat. Charge, Nova, Nova, repeat. It’s easy! Try it out on Bronze or Silver, and you can solo everything just with the careful use of these two abilities.
Notes on Nova. You can move and turn while casting Nova. Always move during Nova, and make sure you have a new target lined up to charge when your second Nova hits and you are out of shields. Never just stand there in the face of grab attack enemies such as Phantoms, Atlases or Brutes while casting Nova; move away from them (backwards) during the Nova animation.
Nova canceling. You can cancel the Nova animation by rolling to the side (or forward). This allows you to gain the invulnerability frames of Nova without using up shields. This is useful when you are being shot at from afar and you need to reach cover, or if you don’t have enough shields to do two Novas before the Charge cooldown is over. It’s always a good idea to cancel out of the second Nova if there is nothing near to hit.
Quick run-down on enemies:
Grab attack enemies: Atlas, Phantom, Brute. It has been confirmed by developers that all these enemies will do a normal melee attack before using the instant kill grab attack. Therefore it is essential to pay attention to what was the last attack animation of these enemies if you charge them head on. In the case of Atlases, they can be soloed even on Gold by simply by waiting for them to shoot at you after they do a melee attack, and then charging. Phantoms are much more difficult, and can instantly grab you straight from a charge that staggers them if their last animation was a melee attack. According to Zenning, the cart-wheel dodge counts as a melee attack for this purpose. All grab attack enemies but the Banshee are completely safe to charge as long as they are concentrating on someone else.
Banshees: Do not charge banshees. Kill the ravagers, let Adepts take care of Banshees. If there is nothing else nearby to kill, use Nova to set off explosions/tech bursts on the Banshee and shoot with your gun. The banshee grab attack can be interrupted with biotic explosions. If you are in a good team with multiple biotics, you can safely charge banshees since the explosions will save you from the grab.
Turrets: Bronze/Silver. Charge, Nova twice while moving around it. Repeat. If you get low on shields, use Nova cancel instead of Nova. On Gold, Turrets can kill you much faster, and it’s usually a good idea to soften them up from afar before charging in.
On Bronze (and Silver to a lesser degree), many Vanguards learn bad habits such as charging Banshees or charging half across the map and dying alone. This is not a winning strategy on Gold. Charge and Nova damage drop off considerably on Gold, and simply soloing a Geth Prime will take a while. Vanguards are Team Players on Gold. Your main job is protecting the team by tanking the enemies, and setting off biotic explosions and tech bursts. You are not John Rambo; protect the damn team.
Vanguards excel at killing trash mobs. They are not that good at killing big enemies such as Atlases, Primes or especially Banshees (unless you are setting off biotic explosions). Usually you should concentrate on killing nearby trash shooting at your team instead of the big enemies. Infiltrators and Adepts can easily take care of those. Ravagers in range of your team are your top priority. It’s easy to take out multiple Ravagers even on Gold, and when they’re shooting at you they’re not killing your friends.
Ideally you tank all the enemies in a position slightly ahead of your team. Vanguards are great for Hacking objectives or FB: White farming. In reality enemies will almost always come from multiple directions, so you absolutely need to watch the flanks and what the rest of your team is doing and who’s shooting at them. In well-coordinated teams with biotics you can charge slightly ahead of the team and keep moving forward while biotic explosions kill everything. Really fun with friends, but does not often happen with random people.
Human Vanguards can solo Bronze and Silver fairly easily. On Gold, your damage output drops off significantly (compared to enemy HP). You need help from the team to kill stuff. You are there to help THEM kill stuff. Vanguards excel at setting off combos. Charge and Nova can set off every type of combo in the game. Vanguards play really well together with biotics and engineers.
The idea is simple: your team mates set up the combo by using a biotic ability such as warp or reave, or with a tech ability such as overload. As a vanguard, you charge or Nova the enemy affected by the biotic/tech ability. This sets off the combo, and does good AOE damage to nearby enemies. Drell Adepts or Asari Justicar Adepts are the best possible team mates for a Vanguard. They can use (Area) Reave to affect every enemy within a 3 meter radius. As a vanguard, you can use Nova to make every one of the affected enemies explode. This allows you to clear a whole room in seconds.
As a Vanguard, you’re expected to be able to tank most enemies in the game without dying. The simplest way to practice this is by making a private game and soloing on your main difficulty (Bronze, Silver or Gold). It might seem like a sink or swim type of thing, but you will learn how to use Charge and Nova to survive very quickly.
In the words of the great Alec Baldwin: “A B C. Always. Be. Charging. You know what it takes to play a Vanguard on Gold? It takes brass balls to play a Vanguard on Gold.”
Noob rating: (scale 1-5, 1 is easy for everybody!)
3. Human Vanguard is a power class that does not require good weapons on Silver. However the real test of skill is Gold, and it requires a completely different, more defensive playstyle. Many Human Vanguards are unable to make the jump to Gold.
-edits by Lucien Midnight
GD Star Rating