N7 Piranha shotgun with Extended Barrel mod and Shotgun Shredder Mod. This works for both Gold and Platinum, as my Piranha is level X. Alternatives would include any powerful and lightweight weapon. I optimize for close range only with this build.
Bronze/Silver/Gold: Structural Ergonomics V Gear mod. This is to counterbalance the weight of the Piranha, reducing cooldowns by 15%. Platinum: Structural Ergonomics V Gear mod, Cyclonic Modulator III Armor mod or Adrenaline Module III Armor mod, Warp Ammo IV Ammo mod, Shotgun Rail Amp III Weapon mod. This will be explained later.
Across all difficulty levels, the basic strategy with this character is to devastate enemies at close range. Activate Tech Armor, activate Annihilation Field, then run in close to enemies, hit them with Warp, parry with the Piranha, and repeat. This class is good for crowd control, and excels greatly in one-on-one close range combat. The Tech Armor is only to give the Biotic Annihilator an added 50% damage reduction bonus, essentially making your character twice as hard to kill. Because of this, the Tech Armor is really what makes Annihilation field usable, and is the basis of effectiveness with this character. I will have this on for the whole match, as the detonation of the Tech Armor is not very powerful, being ranked for damage reduction. The Tech Armor also slows power use, so rank six of the power can really go either way, I just prefer the added damage reduction over the alternative of increased power recharge time. To mitigate the added cooldown time of the Biotic Annihilator‘s powers, I always use the Structural Ergonomics V Gear mod. The Warp power does not need to be ranked too high, as it is only needed to detonate the biotic primer from Annihilation Field. I have Warp ranked to level 4 to get the 50% bonus to force and damage of biotic explosions. Annihilation Field is ranked to: have a larger radius, give the Biotic Annihilator added movement speed, have increased duration (90 seconds), drain the shields of enemies to replenish your own. Annihilation
Field’s increased movement speed will let you get enemies in and out of the Field’s enhanced radius quicker, for more biotic explosions, and plus, everyone likes to run faster. Having Tech Armor and Annihilation Field ranked this way adds to the durability of the Biotic Annihilator, making you much harder to kill due to damage reduction(Tech Armor) and quick shield regeneration(Annihilation Field). The increased radius also can set up more enemies for biotic explosions that are best detonated with a teammate with Shockwave. In general, the larger Field also makes priming BE easier. The equipment mods listed for Platinum difficulty are mainly to increase the effectiveness of the Piranha shotgun. The Shotgun Rail Amp III, and Warp Ammo IV make the Piranha much more powerful. Also, the added damage bonus from Warp Ammo will be in effect when firing on nearby enemies affected by the Annihilation Field. The Piranha is also used to fill the lengthened recharge speed of Warp after a Biotic Explosion. Step by step example: Lone Geth Pyro. With Tech Armor and Annihilation Field active, sprint over to the Pyro. Get close enough for Annihilation Field to take effect, and hit the Pyro with Warp. After the Biotic Explosion, move away so the Pyro is out of the Annihilation Field’s radius, and then move back in while bullying and stunning the Pyro with the Piranha until Warp recharges/magazine is empty. Finish off the Pyro with another Biotic Explosion or more Piranha shots. Only use melee to stun a single enemy when the Piranha needs to be reloaded. For a group of enemies, do the same thing as you would with a single enemy. The only difference would be to retreat when necessary to allow your shields to recharge. The Biotic Explosion will stun nearby enemies, making them all vulnerable to the Piranha, and depending on the amount of enemies in the group, you might not even need to move back and forth for the Annihilation Field to take effect, as you only lose the priming effect on the enemy detonated. This build is effective on all enemy types and all enemy characters, but is most effective against the Geth, as there is no risk of being sync-killed (except if you play on Platinum). Caution should be taken when playing Collector, because as a close range specialist, Praetorians and Possessed Abominations are dangerous and numerous. You could solo Gold with this build, but Platinum would be very difficult. The Biotic Annihilator is best used as the spearhead of a two man group, with your teammate covering you from nearby. This build is a driving force on Gold. The best support for the Biotic Annihilator would be a team of a Batarian Slasher, a Drell Vanguard or Adept, and character with throw or another Biotic Annihilator. If you can, avoid teammates with Tech Burst primer powers, as these can be a major troll on your flow, since tech powers take priority of detonation over biotic primers, causing you to waste Warp on a relatively weak Tech Burst instead of a powerful Biotic Explosion, potentially getting you killed. Seriously, Tech powers ccan get you killed! With the Biotic Annihilator, it is important to remember to be aggressive, but to be smart. DO NOT take on too many enemies or risk getting cornered or downed. Only experience can help you gauge the situation and the tactics needed with this character.
3.5 – It takes experience to effectively use the Biotic Annihilator effectively.
Primary: Acolyte with Melee Stunner and Power Magnifier
Secondary: A shotgun with Omni-Blade and High Caliber Barrel
There’s a huge game play choice to be made here. Take Grenade Capacity or Shocktrooper for the ability to spam Cain Trip Mine on bosses. Use Geth Scanner to place Trip Mines more tactically on the fly. Hydraulic Joints or Juggernaut Shield allow you to one shot Dragoons using Armor-Piercing Arrows. Stronghold Package in conjunction with Shield Power cells can greatly increase survivability.
If a weapon enhancement is used, equip Strength Enhancers.
The Talon Merc has been greatly improved since being rebalanced. His heavy melee is now just as fast as his light melee, Killing Spree (5) is no longer a necessity for a melee build, AP Arrows now get 3 arrows per quiver, his grenade regeneration time has been cut by more than half and shooting his bow from left handed cover no longer has such serious hit detection issues. With all that being said, we simply must play him as a melee character since he’s just so unique.
Cain Trip Mine – It’s your crowd control and defensive ability. Instead of using it to destroy enemies coming straight at you I recommend using your limit of 3 mines to fortify a piece of terrain. Place the mines so their beams cross hallways, doorways, ramps, ladders and any other choke points that provide access to where you are. A single mine will kill ANY foot soldier, warn you of approaching enemies and give you the opportunity to replace the mine. Eventually you’ll be overrun. Simply fall back through the unexploded mines and head for another location you can fortify. Enemies will hit the rest of your mines as they pursue you, providing you with enough time to set up the next deathtrap. Another effective way to employ Trip Mines is to shoot them in the path of or at the feet of bosses. Wait for the 3 second arm time and BOOM or keep on shooting more than 3 mines. Deploying more than 3 mines at a time will cause your mines to start exploding one at a time, starting with the oldest.
Concussive Arrow – While it is great fun to launch enemies out of the map with a single shot, ultimately this ability is a gimmick. Armor-Piercing Arrows will kill infantry just the same while weakening armor and doing WAY more damage to bosses.
Armor-Piercing Arrows – Your bread and butter. Always refresh your stock of arrows at the beginning of a wave. Don’t forget that shooting an armored target lowers its damage reduction by 50%. With an Omni-Blade equipped, both melee damage and AP arrow damage is increased by 50%, allowing Hawkeye to one shot nearly any mook. But the heavy melee still takes a second to employ and at close range we need a way to buy that time. The Disciple will stagger anything but the biggest boss, fires quickly, has respectable damage, is the lightest shotgun and is decently accurate. Attaching the High Caliber Barrel increases the likelihood of the Disciple staggering its target. The Acolyte adds 25% melee damage, buffs power damage, is super light, trashes boss shielding and stuns infantry while stripping their protection, which sets them up for a one shot follow up from the AP arrow enhanced Omni-Bow. AP arrows’ one shortfall is they don’t penetrate cover making Guardians a bit of a pain. Counter this with either level 1 AP Rounds, level 1 Drill Rounds, cryo ammo and aim for the feet or lure the slow moving enemy into a trip mine.
Elite Mercenary – Hawkeye dishes out his damage mostly with his powers so focus on Power Damage. Maintaining a light weapons load and taking Power Regeneration (6) permits a very fast 17 second grenade recharge. That’s 1 AP arrow every 6 seconds. This makes his grenade supply nearly endless, without taking trips to ammo boxes. The biggest tactical edge this gives Hawkeye is his ability to strongpoint anywhere on any map. Freed of the need to tether himself to an ammo box or run wildly about the map bouncing from box to box, Hawkeye can focus on setting up and maintaining his defensive perimeter. This increases his survivability immensely.
Fitness – Omni-Bow Damage is a no brainer but be sure to skip Killing Spree. You’ll still one shot mooks with the Omni-bow and anything bigger is going to take 2 or 3 shots anyhow. Shield Recharge reduces the recharge time to almost 3 seconds which is the time it takes for the shield gate to reactivate. Other than trip mines, the shield gate mechanic is your biggest defense but it requires at least 1 point of shields to work so getting that gate back up sooner is far better than 25% additive damage that amounts to nothing.
3 – He’s very easy to use because there is no need to think about power combos. But he’s hard to use because he is pretty squishy. But then he stands up pretty well when he remains in cover and Trip Mines are used as a defense instead of an offense. Just know where some good strongpoint locations are on every map.
Map Difficulty Rating: This build has the potential for Platinum gameplay
Tactical Cloak: Duration (4), Melee Damage (5), Bonus Power (6)
Dark Channel: Damage (4)
Warp: Detonate (4), Expose (5), Pierce (6)
Asari Adept: Damage & Capacity (4)
Fitness: Melee Damage (4), Martial Artist (5), Power Synergy (6)
Primary: Reegar Carbine with Omni-Blade and Shredder Mod
Secondary: SMG with Ultalight Materials and other mod
Hurricane – Heat Sink, Collector SMG – Extended Mag, other SMG – your mod choice
This build is all about the Incendiary Ammo, even if all you have is level I, use that. Hydraulic Joints, Juggernaut Shield or Berserker Package are all solid choices. Don’t bother with a shotgun amp, the Reegar does plenty of damage for our purposes.
As the name implies, Three Trick Pony has three distinctly different ways to attack.
Trick #1: Cloak, close the distance to the target, Warp, Reegar. This attack gets you within the Reegar’s 10m range safely and allows Warp to nearly always hit. Warp will do several things for this attack plan; stagger the target, increase weapon damage by 15%, reduce armor effectiveness by half and along with the Shredder Mod negates armor reduction entirely. The best thing though is an exploit of Warp’s DOT mechanic. Warp’s DOT damage is registered by the game as incendiary ammo damage. This means shooting the target with incendiary ammo will stack the ammo damage to Warp’s DOT which turns into tens of thousands of damage done to the target over the next 5 seconds that the incendiary ammo does its DOT. And the more times the ammo damage is applied, the more extreme the damage becomes. Simply put, Warp + Incendiary Ammo allows the Reegar to melt armor in addition to health, shields and barriers. Your SMG sidearm is great for situations in which you want to keep your distance while still using the same Warp + Incendiary Ammo tactic.
Trick #2: When necessary the Pony can play it safe by cloaking and hitting a target with Dark Channel. The player can let the DOT do its thing or launch a Warp while still cloaked for a powerful BE. It’s a little counter intuitive but both the Huntress and N7 Shadow can do more damage reliably with Tactical Cloak duration + bonus power than with Tac Cloak damage. Taking duration also allows for better utility for objectives, reviving teammates and running to safety for shield recovery. A longer duration also allows for a heavier weapon load out since there is more time to attack cancel out of cloak and take the automatic 3 second cool down. Also of note, the Huntress’
Tactical Cloak damage bonus only applies to melee and power attacks, which relieves the mental pressure to fire your weapon while cloaked and makes taking cloak duration over damage less of a loss than it is on other classes.
Trick #3: The asari heavy melee when used correctly can utterly wreck crowds. First off, the good qualities; the asari heavy biotic blast is area of attack, does respectable damage to health and receives a 50% increase vs shields, barriers and armor. Now the bad qualities; slow to execute, won’t hit through walls and has a one second recovery period. Counter the first two problems by cloaking a good distance away from your targets and carefully choosing your point of attack. Counter the one second recovery time by making sure you’ve already got a heavy melee kill within the past 30 seconds before attacking a shielded foe, ensuring their death in one blow. You can also hit them with Dark Channel or Warp either on approach or just before the melee.
2 – Since the Three Trick Pony has so many different ways to attack she is adaptable to any situation or any enemy and is an awesome team player with her cloak built for utility. And having so many ways to attack just makes her a blast to play.
Primary: A lightweight and “accurate” shotgun with Blade Attachment and High-Velocity Barrel. The best is the Wraith but the Eviscerator and Disciple also work.
Secondary: Acolyte with Ultralight Materials and High Caliber Barrel
Use Shock Trooper gear if it gives you 2 grenade slots, otherwise use Grenade Capacity.
The Alliance Infiltration Unit is the consummate close quarters specialist. Tac Cloak is useful as it always is but provides extra shotgun damage instead of sniper damage. Snap Freeze sets up cryo explosions, staggers across a wide area, provides 10% vulnerability and weakens armor 25%. That last one is a big one especially coupled with High-Velocity Barrel. The damage of every shot against an armored target is reduced by 50 so for shotguns which spread their damage over 8 pellets, that’s 400 damage resisted per shot by armored targets. But with 25% weakening and 65% piercing, only 40 damage is shrugged off by armored targets. Repair Matrix almost feels like cheating. The increased movement speed paired with the acrobatic dodges (which reduce damage taken by 50%) means you simply don’t get hit. So when you get hit, Repair Matrix reduced damage taken by 40% and if you’re hit in the middle of a dodge then that’s 90% damage ignored. That measly 10% is quickly repaired by the 235 shield points regenerating per second. And should you go down for some reason, you get back up with full health and enough invulnerability time to activate another repair matrix, cloak, and side flip to safety. Activating Repair Matrix has no animation which means doing so is instantaneous so long as you aren’t staggered and being a grenade power, using it will not cause you to decloak.
The T-1000’s offense is an extremely fast rotation mixing cloak, Snap Freeze, heavy melee and shotgun blasts. The Wraith’s only shortfall is the time delay between shots. The Infiltration Unit’s heavy melee is both powerful and crazy fast. This speed allows heavy melee to be used to cancel the last second of Snap Freeze that does nothing but slow down the attack and to fill the space in between shots from the Wraith to maintain a continuous assault. Also, once an enemy is killed by heavy melee the T-1000 gains 25% weapon damage for 20 seconds which is equivalent to maxing out Unshackled AI for weapon damage. An assault run looks something like this; Cloak, close distance to enemy, Snap Freeze, cancel to Heavy Melee, Shotgun blast, Heavy Melee, Shotgun, cloak, side-flip, reload, repeat.
Most enemies die with or before the first shotgun blast and only Brutes or higher survive the second shotgun blast. This assault rotation is so fast that only the last shotgun attack doesn’t receive Tac Cloak’s damage bonus.
A few last words on Repair Matrix. With a duration of 12 seconds and Shock Trooper IV or V, the T-1000 has the potential for a full minute and a half of invulnerability. And with that said, Repair Matrix does not need to be active all the time. When facing down one or two enemies, leave it off unless your shields go down. And when attacking groups just form a plan, pick a target and then activate Repair Matrix. This kind of use minimizes trips to the ammo boxes which I make a policy to do whenever I only have 1 Matrix left. Repair Matrix will also stop the damage over time effects from banshees and scions. So in summary only use Repair Matrix before fighting groups, when shields are dropped or being drained and always have one on hand.
2 – Super effective, super fun and Repair Matrix keeps even inexperienced players in the game. Sync kills will still make you super dead, Repair Matrix won’t reactivate you.
Prothean Particle Rifle with Extended Barrel and Magazine Upgrade or Collector Sniper Rifle with Extended Barrel and Piercing Mod. The Prothean Rifle has the advantage for boss killing and the Collector Sniper Rifle is better at shwacking mooks. As well as the Acolyte with Ultralight HP Materials and Power Magnifier for trashing boss barriers/shields. It’s not necessary to carry the Acolyte when using the Particle Rifle except when facing Phantoms.
Warp Ammo is a MUST and anything that increases Assault/Sniper Rifle damage, shield strength or power recharge also help.
The Avatar of Vengeance deals his damage not by spamming Dark Sphere for its explosions but for its biotic priming and following up with warp enhanced particle beams and Seeker Swam biotic explosions. That’s the strategy in a nutshell.
The complex version is this:
Dark Sphere operates in two stages. Stage One is casting in which the sphere is tossed out and sticks to walls without causing a cool-down. Once stuck to a wall the dissipation timer starts which is equal to the DOT duration, 7 sec for this build. At the end of that time the sphere is gone and another can be cast without triggering a cooldown. The Dark Sphere will cause DOT damage and bioticly prime enemies within a radius equal to the detonation radius, 7 meters for this build. Stage Two is initiated by casting the power a second time before the sphere has dissipated, setting off a large blast, causing massive damage and triggering the power’s cool-down. This means the player can use this power without ever triggering its horrendously long cool-down. The downside is no big blast. The upside is that right after throwing a Dark Sphere down a hall the player can immediately cast Dark Channel. Unfortunately, Dark Sphere is NOT a detonating power so a blast from Dark Sphere will not trigger a biotic explosion , only prime them. This leaves Seeker Swarms as the Collector Adept’s sole method of detonating biotic explosions. Rarely have I found myself tossing out more than 2 swarms and while 3 can happen, 4 almost never did. Additionally the total health gained is greater from Fitness Expert (6) than from an extra seeker 10% damage
reduction. The swarms also prime biotic explosions for the duration that they slow down the target, 4 sec with this build.
Since all abilities prime biotic explosions the collector is a natural team player for any other adept or vanguard. Collector dodges are similar to Turian jump jets which mean they can be used effectively for both dodging and locomotion. Ascension mode is an awesome tool but situational so not worth investing fully in. The Avatar of Vengeance is fast and has decent but not amazing shields so use this to your advantage by staying in cover to shoot and use dodges to reach new cover. Staying in cover provides 40% damage reduction and the Seeker Swarms brings that total to a beefy 70%. Using particle weapons frees the Avatar from having to make ammo runs. Lateral dodges can be used to cancel the Seeker Swarm animation.
Single trooper – Dark Channel to stagger and start shooting with particle rifle/collector sniper rifle, if need be, toss a swarm to detonate the biotic explosions and stagger a second time if it doesn’t kill the enemy outright.
Single boss – Dark Channel, unload your weapon into them and watch ‘em melt. Do not detonate the Dark Channel with a Seeker Swarm before shooting. Doing so eliminates the biotic priming, preventing the warp ammo from doing “extra damage vs lifted target”
Multiple troopers – Dark Sphere into group, immediately cast Dark Channel, Ascension Mode heavy melee, detonate Dark Sphere if you wish, detonate biotic explosions with swarms, sprinkle weapons fire through out the process.
Multiple bosses – Ascension Mode heavy melee, Dark Channel, melt with weapon, Dark Channel and shoot next target.
Rushed by many enemies – Dark Sphere and immediately detonate to stagger, use forewing dodges to egress. If desired, turn and detonate biotic explosions with swarms.
Phantoms – Dark Sphere aimed at where the targets will be, hit one phantom with Dark Channel, shoot another with acolyte, detonate Dark Sphere to kill one phantom and drop the barriers of the second. Leave and let the combined DOTs do their thing.
Dragoons – Launching a Seeker Swarm is the fastest power that will both stagger and bioticly prime Dragoons, setting up follow on weapons fire.
3.5 – Takes some getting used to and requires some rare equipment but quickly melting through both bosses and crowds is just amazing. The hardest thing about Vengeance is knowing when it’s a good idea/safe to detonate Dark Sphere and suffer the recharge.