The Vanguard is one of Mass Effect: Legendary Edition's six playable classes. It is a hybrid-style class, combining abilities from the Solider and Adept classes. From the Soldier, the Vanguard gains the ability to use weapons and armor to their full effect. From the Adept, the Vanguard picks up Biotic abilities which allow them to both protect themselves and throw around their enemies in Mass Effect: Legendary Edition.
The Vanguard combines these two skill-groups into the most effective close-combat class in the Mass Effect series. Living up to their name, Vanguards are always found at the front of the battle, using their combat and Biotic skills to push straight through enemy defenses.
This makes the Vanguard one of the most dynamic classes in Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, and the only one to be able to fight effectively without using cover at all. The Vanguard's signature weapon throughout the series is the shotgun, an aggressive weapon that requires the user to constantly advance into range to be effective. Played well, there's no class in Mass Effect: Legendary Edition more devastating than the Vanguard.
The Vanguard in Mass Effect 1
While the Vanguard's theme and specialty remains constant throughout Mass Effect: Legendary Edition's campaign, in the first game it plays a little differently. The Vanguard in Mass Effect 1 has the following Combat Talents:
In addition, it also has access to the following Biotic Talents:
These two sets of Talents give the Vanguard its killing-edge in close-range engagements, but it's the Shotguns and Barrier Talents that are the most essential. The Shotguns Talent tree gives the Vanguard mastery over one of the damaging weapons in the game, while the Barrier Biotic Talent allows them to stay alive throughout their reckless assaults. However, the Vanguard in Mass Effect 1 is still missing a signature ability, one that it won't acquire until the second part of Mass Effect: Legendary Edition.
The Power of Biotic Charge
While the six Mass Effect playable classes stay mostly the same between Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2, they all receive at least one new ability. A single new power may not seem like a lot, but the abilities that the classes receive are some of the most game-changing in Mass Effect: Legendary Edition. Mass Effect 2's Infiltrator receives their signature Cloaking power, the Soldier gets Adrenaline Rush, and the Vanguard gets Biotic Charge.
Rather than changing the Vanguard's optimal playstyle, Biotic Charge doubles-down on it. The signature power allows the Vanguard to hurl themselves forward with Biotic energy, passing through cover and slamming directly into enemies. Not only can the charge knock-back and damage unshielded foes, it also puts the Vanguard into their ideal combat position.
The Biotic Charge ability can bypass cover, environmental hazards, and cross-fire to deliver the Vanguard directly into the face of their enemies. At point-blank range, the Vanguard's skill with Shotguns will allow them to quickly dispatch any of Mass Effect's enemies. This combination of Biotic-skill Charge and Combat-skill Shotguns is at the heart of the Vanguard's playstyle throughout games 2 and 3 of Mass Effect: Legendary Edition.
From Mass Effect 2 onward, the Vanguard is one of the most unique and devastating Mass Effect classes to play. Their Shotgun specialization and ability to quickly close with the enemy mean they rarely need to rely on cover. However, both these abilities can come with their own hazards. A Vanguard must be very careful who they decide to charge. It's best to aim for isolated enemies, as leaping into a hostile squad with zero cover can quickly see the Vanguard overwhelmed.
However, the close-combat specialist does have a few skills up their sleeve to help negate these risks. One of these is Barrier, which the Vanguard has access to through all three games of Mass Effect: Legendary Edition. Barrier allows the Vanguard to reinforce their already-formidable armor and shields with Biotic energy, giving them an instant boost of protection. This combines very well with one of the most interesting features of the Vanguard's Biotic Charge.
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