Favorite Ability Combinations?

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#1 Posted by Junkerman (538 posts) -

So far I've been playing with Overload, Sentry, Incinerate on an Engineer/Infiltrator with a sniper and pistol.

I'm really interested in trying out Biotics or Combat if anyone has any experience playing with those.

What are some fun weapons you've discovered?

Personally I'm overwhelmed by the choices and wish there was a training room where you could test out all the different weapons available. I was disappointed by the avenger assault rifle in this game, which is usually my classic favorite. I found that the old trilogy was mostly a medium range game being such a narrow corridor shooter usually. However this time around I find I'm usually long range or up close in melee/pistol engagement.

The mods for weapons and armor are also really cool! There is even a mod that turns the weapons back into Original Mass Effect style heat sinks. Pretty neat!

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#2 Edited by MezZa (3058 posts) -

I'm a fan of the trusty Shield drain, Incinerate, and cloak on a an engineer profile. I wish there was an easier way to prime someone who has shields for a combo though. I think the only way is annihilation and singularity? I feel like I waste a lot of effort with bullets trying to drop a shield so I can combo, or I use my only detonator to kill shields and am left without my combo for a bit. If we could just have 4 abilities... I might drop cloak at some point to fix that, but cloak into my black widow is so nice. I've also been running the phalanx pistol because I like slower accurate guns over spray style.

I tried flamethrower because i heard it had such good damage, but damn that range is restrictive. Basically a dead skill unless someone is right on me. I might try again later once I can activate reach on it.

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#3 Edited by Efesell (4632 posts) -

Pull, Charge, Land, Shockwave.

They make it sound like Vanguard is more of a melee class but hell you're more a sniper that just so happens to be firing yourself at people.

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#4 Posted by Sterling (4134 posts) -

Been playing as an Explorer. Pull (Biotic), then Freeze (Tech), and then shatter with Concussive Shot (Combat).

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#5 Posted by TheHT (15889 posts) -

Been using Charge, Frag Grenade, and Throw. Not exactly abilities that work together, but I like being able to charge one enemy, force push another, lob a grenade and peace the fuck out. That said, the Pull>Throw>Charge>Air Melee combo looks pretty darn cool. Might have to try that out.

Haven't decided on what weapon I'll use though. I was planning on pistols but I'm kinda liking snipers. Charge the furthermost elevated enemy, thin the herd, then charge back into the fray and clean up.

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#6 Posted by jadegl (1414 posts) -

I am so early in the game that I can't really say for sure what is going to be my bread and butter, but right now using charge and then meleeing feels pretty great. I also crafted the Disciple shotgun, which was my go to weapon in ME3, and that's been a great follow up to the charge ability.

What I really want is an Asari sword. In my mind, charging someone and then pulling out a sword on them sounds like the most badass thing ever.

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#7 Edited by militantfreudian (688 posts) -

I'm currently using two primers (Incinerate and Singularity) and one detonator (Lance), with an adept profile. Not sure if I should stick with it or spec towards a sentinel profile. I really like those mini-biotic explosions though. I've been using an ultra-rare assault rifle I got very early into the game, and it's been fairly effective even 15 hours in.

Edit: I wasn't having a lot of fun with my previous build, especially during the open-world combat encounters, so I reallocated my points. Currently, I'm use two profiles: sentinel (Incinerate, Singularity and Energy Drain) and adept (Lance, Singularity and Energy Drain). Incinerate and Energy Drain act as primers as well as detonators. Since I use the Remnant Gauntlet, I can basically pull off all four types of combos, which has been neat.

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#8 Edited by Quipido (1576 posts) -

Incinirate for armor/dot

Overload for shields/stunning

Concussive shot to set of explosions

For weapons I modded both my weapons with vintage heat sinks so I never ever reload or collect ammo, my assault rifle is single shot with a scope for long/medium range, properly modded I can easily kill 2-3 normal enemies before having to take a pause to cooldown. Secondary wapon is a researched SMG with extremely high rate of fire and huge magazine, so it shreds everything that gets too close.

A shooting range would be awesome, but don't forget you can re-spec in your med bay (on the Tempest) if you need to.

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#9 Posted by TheHT (15889 posts) -

@jadegl Ahh, I saw the Kett melee weapons on a stream and thought it was a spear and was so excited to get that for my melee. I went to make it last night and realized it was actually a sword that they show you straight-on in the menu. The thought of charging around with a goddamn spear woulda been so badass to me.

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#10 Posted by jadegl (1414 posts) -

@theht: That would be pretty dope. I also think the Krogan hammer looks neat too (I saw it under the research tab) but I assume it's heavy and I don't want to trade too much off in weapon weight vs power recharge rate.

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#11 Posted by EthanielRain (1564 posts) -

I like the Hurricane SMG, with turbocharge and mods toward consumable ammo types, it melts people in a fun way :D Cryo fist, then whatever other random weapon I don't really use.

Cryo-beam, Overload & Turbocharge.

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#12 Edited by OurSin_360 (6226 posts) -

So far all i have is cloak, incenerate, and overload. Not far enough to get more profiles yet so not sure how that will work. I am more of a stick to your class type of player so i doubt i add biotics and may just focus on 3 skills and some weapons. Haven't decided on shotgun or sniper yet, used to be a damage boost for shotguns or snipers in 3 not sure if its the same though.

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#13 Posted by probablytuna (5010 posts) -

The old classic pull then throw is still so satisfying. Can't get enough of it. I also put points into Overload for dealing with synthetics or enemies with shields. I'm not liking how the third ability is mapped to pressing both shoulder buttons though. I wish you could remap buttons on the controller.

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#14 Posted by Ungodly (450 posts) -

Being able to pull six or seven explosive barrels to me, and then throw them at a couple of fellas, is pretty satisfying.

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#15 Edited by mems1224 (2514 posts) -

I've been rocking the same. Overload, sentry and incinerate but I use a semi auto assault rifle and SMG combo with an Asari sword. I just respeced though because I got the remnant tech power and that seems more interesting. I also like singularity, charge then cloak myself away.

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#16 Posted by redyoshi (1426 posts) -

Playing Vanguard with Charge, Annihilation and Lance. I especially like the movement speed upgrade you can spec into with Annihilation. Piranha Shotgun and Asari Sword. It's been fun. One thing I dislike about that Asari sword is, for as nice as the animation looks, I've been having some problems where I totally whiff on my melee strike because the little warp carries me past them.

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#17 Posted by vikingdeath1 (1310 posts) -

For abilities I started with that biotic charge but I've found myself getting killed off pretty quick after charging into a group of enemies, so i think i'm gonna respec to get those points back. I've liked Incinerate, and the Infest ability looks right up my alley so i'll probably go for that next (I love big area of effect debuffs!) I'm not sure I fully understand how abilities interact with each other? like, setting up ability combos? So maybe i'm choosing bad combos.

i'm about 10 hours in, and I haven't found any weapons that I didn't have to purchase from a vendor or craft myself, and i'm doing most/all the side quests! I don't want to waste money/ crafting materials on a weapon type I don't know if i'll like or not, so I've only bought 1 pistol I remember liking in ME2/3 and crafted the lvl 2 version of the starting assault rifle.

I REALLY wish there was a firing range somewhere convenient. I remember ME3's firing range being kind of annoying to get to, but at least it had one! (or maybe there is one and I just haven't found it yet)

I'm mainly having fun running, jumping, boosting around the world. I love fun movement abilities in games!

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#18 Posted by BRich (536 posts) -

I'm used to playing on insanity where you need a whole array of abilities to take down a huge shield or armor, so I'm really stuck on what to do with only 3 abilities accessable. I turned it right down to normal and went with overload for shields, pull/throw combo.

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#19 Posted by sfw44 (275 posts) -

I'm messing around with different skills, but since I always played Sentinel in past ME games I usually have Overload, Charge, and Nova equipped

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#20 Posted by ll_Exile_ll (3017 posts) -

I'm running Singularity, Lance, and Charge with a shotgun and a sniper as an Adept. I like to open fights sniping at long distance and using Singularity and Lance to create biotic explosions. Singularity is basically the best biotic primer and Lance is great at detonating, because it's the equivalent of hitscan (it also does good damage on its own in a pinch). The Adept unique class passive is particularly great for a biotic combo focus, because it creates huge chain reactions when you detonate a biotic combo near other enemies (it's basically the Voidwalker ability "Bloom" from Destiny).

After thinning enemy numbers from a distance with my sniper and biotics, I'll pull out the shotgun and charge in. Charge is great for both closing on enemies quickly and a panic shield replenish in a desperate situation. I'm also using an Asari Sword for close encounters where I have my sniper drawn or my shotgun needs to reload (or just as a fun way to clear lesser enemies).

I'm playing on hardcore and I'm having a ton of fun with combat. My only issue are occasional instances where the autosave/checkpoint system is a bit inconsistent and a death forces me to replay sections and combat encounters I've already done.

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#21 Posted by DrPeatore (51 posts) -

No love for Backlash?

I swap between a couple of Favorite sets, my main one is Charge, Overload and Backlash.

Backlash is super useful for tanking while Charge is on cool down, Killing enemies with it is also pretty fun.

I use the Explorer profile with Biotic Blink. Teleporting and charging around like a mad man then reflecting stuff back at enemies is a great time.

Using the Asari Sword for melee works great with this loadout as well.

*Teleports behind you*

"heh, nothing personnel , Kett".

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#22 Edited by Junkerman (538 posts) -

Now that I've got an extra like 75% weapon weight and can start rolling around with a heavier load out I've switched over to Infiltrator fully and I'm loving it a lot. I also swapped out Incinerate for Flamethrower and have been having a blast. Its way more versatile then Incinerate is as you can tag multiple enemies for the same damage or more if you sustain on them.

I tend to play as an aggressive Haloesque sniper whose always moving forward with Snipers, SMG and a shotgun. So I can hit them far and as I get close or if I get over my head Flamethrower is there at the touch of a button to bail me out. I'm contemplating swapping out Overload for Shield Drain but I haven't committed yet.

I wish they allowed you to spend your talent points differently per profile too. As it stands right now the feature is kind of useless... why would I ever give up my higher level awesome abilities for a 1 charge grenade or watered down biotic? I mostly just use it for switching the actual profiles themselves rather then the abilities assigned to them.

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#23 Edited by ArtisanBreads (9107 posts) -

I like this game a lot but one complaint I have is that you can't just have 4 abilities. The game gives you far too many abilities and points to upgrade to not give you at least one more. I think it would be a huge improvement.

@vikingdeath1 said:

For abilities I started with that biotic charge but I've found myself getting killed off pretty quick after charging into a group of enemies,

If you like it, you just need to work around it. For example, I have focused on ways to get shields back quickly. I have a weapon mod I crafted to get shields on a kill, and if you have the Vanguard profile you get shield siphoned from enemies when you do melee attacks. Also when you upgrade Charge itself you can do things to get more shield.

Other abilities help in combos. I use the Cloak ability and right after a Charge is one of the best times to use it (it allows you to quickly set up a big melee attack (which can recharge your shields) or if you need get away. I also use the Charge safely many times now when I use Pull on an enemy (you get a combo for it).

Your approach is valid too but I just thought I would suggest those. Charge does take a little more effort to make work than it did in past ME games but I have adjusted. By now my upgrades for it are getting so good though that I get full shield charges for hitting a guy with Charge so in a way the game plays like DOOM with the melee attacks where my best option when close to death is to smash into the enemy.

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#24 Edited by MezZa (3058 posts) -

@vikingdeath1: The weapon drops should pick up eventually. I didn't find any at all and then suddenly it was like someone flipped a switch. Now I'm constantly running out of inventory. Make sure you get the AVP ability that let's you see hidden caches on the map. They always have good stuff inside and scale to your level as you go from what I've heard. If you like something thiugh, craft it. Unless you're saving resources for some sick armor you won't really need them for anything else, and it's easy to get more later on.

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#25 Edited by Tennmuerti (9465 posts) -
  • biotic charge
  • annihilate with lowered cooldown penalties
  • throw, aoe plus detonation spec
  • asari sword
  • rest of the points into weapons and passive combat/biotic perks

Asari sword does more damage then most sniper rifles per hit even without any melee boosting perks or mods and there are a lot of those. It also comes with 4 upgrade slots (5 with avp perk) so that's an extra 25% extra power or cooldown reduction. The blink it comes with makes you temporarily invulnerable. Equip your armor with mostly +shield mods and a +50% extra shields -50% health chest special augment, for massive shields (600+).

Combine biotic charge shield restore, plus vanguard profile passive shield restoration on melee hits (which are massive in dmg due to asari sword + perks), plus shield restore on kill mods. Voila I recharge massive shields to full basically at will, you're all but invincible if you want to be.

Annihilate acts as a constant combo primer all around you and it can affect even shielded/armored enemies. Throw with aoe increase and detonation boosts can wipe out several enemies at once. Reason I go with throw versus lance is that lance is not homing and has a much smaller aoe, while throw basically can't miss at close ranges, while a lance can wiff, and anyway the big dmg here comes from the combo detonation anyway (which again throw boosts better too)

Throw in some cooldown reduction via perks and gear.

I basically charge>throw>melee strike>charge>etc non stop; sometimes melee a few more times if in a crowd or against a bigger enemy. Don't even need the final 75% biotic charge reduction to keep this up. You're basically an insane zigzagging maelstrom of death and destruction with things dying all around you at an incredible pace. It uuuh makes the combat kinda trivial to be honest, but hey it's still fun to do.

The only wrinkle is the massive mini bosses or enemies with only specific weak points that can be damaged. Which is where the combat part of the vanguard pulls it's weight.

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#26 Posted by Do_The_Manta_Ray (1651 posts) -


I'm so sorry.

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#27 Edited by Shadow (5356 posts) -

On insanity, you've got to fight from a pretty reasonable distance to be effective. I'm really liking singularity, incinerate, and throw. a lot of people seem to be really into pull, but I'm guessing that's mainly on lower difficulties since it doesn't tend to work too well from behind cover. I'll probably replace throw with overload once I start seeing more enemies with shields

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#28 Edited by NTM (11901 posts) -

Been putting everything into tech and combat. I haven't yet put anything into Biotic yet. I haven't changed from soldier yet either; not sure if I will anytime soon. I'm using a shotgun and sniper, though I have a Kett assault rifle upgrade. I don't use it anymore, though. It's just in case I run out of ammo for some reason. Fifty something hours in, I just got done with Liam's loyalty mission. I think I'm level 34 or something. This game is great and it gets better in my opinion. Contrary to popular feelings it seems, this is my favorite game of the year so far despite its issues. Well, Resident Evil 7 is close. The most recent, and also great games I've played are Nioh and Horizon Zero Dawn, but I think I'm liking this a little more even though I think this has more issues just on a technical level.

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#29 Posted by Efesell (4632 posts) -

I still use Charge a whole bunch but increasingly I'm relying on my beam laser rifle because it's very effective.

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#30 Posted by Battery24 (20 posts) -

I've been thoroughly enjoying my infiltrator build so far. Going classic infiltrator with just maxing out Tactical Cloak, Overload, and Incinerate. Great for spreading fire and tech explosions everywhere. All other points are going into weapons and passive buffs. Cloak is great for lining up one shot kills on most enemies with my Black Widow (especially with my mods/augmentations that add damage while hovering), plus helping me get out of trouble (though I'm needing that less and less as I go on).

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#31 Posted by sandalinbohemia (42 posts) -

I'm currently going with tactical cloak, cryo beam and remnant VI. I also focus heavily on melee combat. Admittedly, I'm playing on casual difficulty because I don't play Mass Effect for the combat, but so far it has been fun to hover in the air while cloaked and just slam dunk down on enemies that had no idea I was there.

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#32 Posted by Bane (927 posts) -

I've been running the Classic Adept build: Pull, Throw, Singularity. Medium to long range.

  • Pull: press for a combo primer, or hold to force choke. The choke recharges my shield, and the enemy takes additional damage which is nice because your team tends to focus fire the one you're choking.
  • Throw: combo detonator, or used to throw pulled explosive containers and enemies around.
  • Singularity: AoE combo primer and choke point lockdown. Biotic explosions for days!
  • N7 Valkyrie assault rifle: accurate, burst fire, good for headshots, works well at my typical engagement range, matches my armor!

I want to try the Annihilator Adept build: Annihilation, Lance, Charge. Short range.

  • Annihilation: short-range AoE combo primer, primes everything within its AoE
  • Lance: combo detonator, no cooldown if evolved to use shields
  • Charge: shield regenerator, gap closer
  • Shotgun: augmented/modified to regen shields on empty clip and on kills
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#33 Posted by zaccheus (2099 posts) -

Incinirate -> charge -> shotgun to the face has been my jam most of the way. I have a Piranha automatic shotgune that restores shield when the clip empties. I've been playing on normal and it has been a cake walk, I don't really want a challenge from this game.

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#34 Posted by DeathTrap (427 posts) -

I've primarily been using:

  • Remnant VI
  • Invasion
  • Energy Drain

The VI is great - does a lot of damage, follows you when its AI doesn't break, and has a fair amount of health. Invasion is just useful - often does a short "stun" for normal guys, spreads reasonably far, adds to my damage. Energy Drain is just useful as a Detonator and for a shield heal. I am really curious about Cryo Beam, though - it sounds fun.

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#35 Posted by GenocidalKitten (283 posts) -
  1. Charge
  2. Lance
  3. Backlash

I've been having fun with the above combo. There is an upgrade for lance that gives it 0 recharge time but drains shields and an upgrade for charge that restores your shields every charge. So typically I kill things with lance and then charge whenever I run out of shields. With that you can actually lance 4 or 5 times in a row and then almost immediately charge again. I use backlash as a panic button if I'm waiting on a charge cool down. I use pistol and shotgun. With some of of the biotic barrier passives and some augments that boost shields it feels a little overpowered but I like it.

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#36 Edited by lGinGeRlKinGl (1 posts) -

Seeing everyone's different ideas of play style is interesting, I'm actually surprised I haven't really seen a replica of what I have been doing so I want to know what you guys think.

**note I have only spent about 2-3 hours playing sadly because of work but this weekend I will catch up

I have been running: Tactical Cloak, Nova, haven't chosen 3rd ability yet. I combine this with Infiltrator with Tech recharge for cloak & multiple opportunities for critical strikes with the extra 2 seconds of cloaking after attacking with shotgun.

by the time I have unloaded my 600 damage shotty of its 4 critical shots/melee I use nova blink out & already have my cloak back for reset.

Will be adding 3rd ability for armor shred. Overload maybe?

I normally am the stealthy sniper type player but this game seems more attractive for in & out with cloak shotgun/melee/biotic AOE.

Weapon loadout is Shotgun/Pistol.

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#37 Posted by SpaceInsomniac (6353 posts) -

After playing for about 40 hours, I'm now really happy with this combo:

Enemy doesn't have shields or armor? Pull and throw, mixed with the biotic echoes profile boost, and the occasional charge attack.

If the enemy has shields? Shoot them once or twice to damage the shield a bit, then prime them with an anti-shield pull, and follow that up with a detonation throw.

Enemy has armor or a lot of health? Freeze-prime and weaken their armor with the cryo beam, then detonate AND re-prime them with a single incinerate blast, and THEN detonate that fire-prime with a charge attack that fully restores my shield and give me temporary damage resistance.

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#38 Edited by philosyfee (171 posts) -

Singularity, Remnant VI, Concussive shot.

Remnant is equipped with detonation missiles, singularity has fast recharge with AOE damage on exit, concussive shot is high damage with slightly increased recharge speed.

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#39 Posted by Shadow (5356 posts) -

Through end-game on insanity, I used overload, incinerate, and tactical cloak. The ability that halves recharge time of tech abilities when you use a tech ability meant I could always either be invisible, or electrocute and burn folks

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#40 Posted by The_Tribunal (481 posts) -

flamethrower, annihilation, and lance. combat points went to the passive traits.

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#41 Posted by two_socks (518 posts) -

I played through the majority of Normal mode with Overload, Incinerate and Singularity and used an Avenger and the Piranha. It got pretty boring toward the end but it also dealt with every situation in the game well enough for me to not want to switch, so I guess the egg is on my face.

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#42 Edited by Lethandis (1 posts) -

First, engineers are broken op in this. Playing on legendary is still easy with them.

Legendary starung char op setup:

Overload, Energy Drain, Incinerate. All 3 can build up to both prime and detonate, and affect nearby enemies. Overload stuns even shielded enemies. Energy drain works through cover. Incinerate is solid against armor.

Once you have these up a bit, level asst rifles to max (get all the clip enhancements you can and the stacking defense debuff at the end). Build yourself a PAW assault rifle. A few seconds of surgical accurate fire (about 15-20% of the clip) and target is taking +24% dmg from ALL sources. Hit him with incinerate (more vulnerability), then tag with energy drain to combo. Need enemies to stand still a sec? Charge overload and zap em.

Fun "biotic wizard" build:

Start with charge, annihilation, and shockwave. Build those and the passives from biotic. Use the adept profile. Use any gun that's good at eating shields. Fill your melee weapon and gun augments with (bio dmg, combo dmg, combo radius, bio dmg, bio dmg) in that order depending on slots.

As you level and get new abilities, make shure annihilation is in the same slot. This way, it will not shut down when you change profiles. Annihilation will prime any unshielded enemy in range. Fling detonations, watch them chain and wipe out entire battlefields.

Break the game on legendary ng+:

Assault rifle combo from above. Use charge, backlash, and energy drain. Build heleus champion set or pathfinder with extra damage reduction in chest(kinetic coils are for sale on the nexus every time you go there). Build up all 3 skill groups' passive offense and defense, plus team support from engi and barrier from biotic. Buy all the tech and biotic abilities you can. Doesn't matter what you get (some things like flame thrower can be great for dropping big enemies quickly), but every point spent in those trees will boost your shields, as well as a few other things.

There you go. Dont even worry about taking cover. Wade through legendary while laughing at the silly aliens trying to look tough as you miw them down. If you get bored with the PAW, build up shotguns and roll with the N7 Piranha. You don't even need the defense debuffing anymore.

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#43 Edited by monkeydude40 (1 posts) -

I get where you are coming from OP ! There are so many guns and powers to use it can get a bit OTT. I have respecced quite a few times now just so I can try out different combinations.

As it stands now I have two profiles, one for close quarters combat and one for long range:

Vanguard (Frontline Fighter) - restores shields on melee hit

Nova, Annihilation, Charge - Usually I open with charge, Nova anything at the point of impact and then use my Asari sword on anything left alive. If they are tough then jump and impact strike. If they are still alive and floating from the Annihilation effect then charging at them again sets off a combo.

Infiltrator (Tactical Agent) - See enemies through cover with scopes. - Energy Drain, Singularity, Incinerate. Get them floating helplessly with Singularity and then watch multiple combos happen with either my powers or whatever my companions are using at the time.

I was using Overload, Freeze and Drain a while back. You can combo twice by freezing them, over-charging Overload (which sets off a Freeze combo, then electrocutes them). Once electrocuted if you are quick enough you can set off a Tech Combo with Drain.

Weapons : I have chopped and changed a bit but now I am using a Naladen V sniper rifle (looted) for the sheer fun of firing explosive plasma rounds and a crafted Disciple III shotgun that is modified to fire seeking plasma bolts and has +25% use with fire ammo. I also have a crafted pistol (I forget which make) that is modified to fire electrical streams. For melee, I have a crafted Asaria Sword III for the sheer awesomeness of its inbuilt biotic blink.

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