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- Mass Effect Andromeda
Like other Mass Effect games, Andromeda comes with an extensive list of abilities that you can allocate and upgrade to fit your playstyle. Unlike prior games, you can customize your character with an assortment of different Combat, Biotic, and Tech abilities in addition to supplementing them with a Profile of your choice. These aren’t the typical classes you find in other RPGs, but rather part of an open-ended system that encourages experimentation.
After playing the game from beginning to end and learning from build successes and failures, I’ve highlighted the best skills to take advantage of early on depending on which style of play you like best.
To read a more advanced guide that focuses on a build, including weapon and armor recommendations, see here.
The Combat tree focuses on a more traditional approach to your offense and defense. Its skills are basic in nature, featuring a standard grenade, mine, and barrier. Meanwhile, its weapon and combat effectiveness skills are reliable ways to increase the power of your character. While the options in this tree might not be flashy, and offer very few combo options, every player should spend at least a few points in the tree.
The concussive shot is one of the most potent abilities in the game. It is dependable, simple to use, and provides crowd control capabilities. It is also a primer, meaning that it can set up devastating combos. You'll likely want to invest in another tree when it comes to a combo finisher, though.
If you’re going for a standard soldier type of build to Andromeda, make sure to use many of your skill points to level this ability up. Improvements to range and effectiveness, in addition to a reduction in cooldown time, allows it to be a powerful element of your toolkit.
This is a simple grenade found in most shooters, but it’s incredibly helpful in tough situations against swarms of weaker enemies. It’s simple to use if you’re short an ammo and need to take out enemies that are approaching quickly.
Sometimes the basics work best. During my playthrough I was able to deal some significant damage to bosses with these grenades. They are a powerful complement to your primary weapon.
Within the Combat tree are upgrades for each of the various weapon types. Which you use as your primary is up to you, and I'm happy to report that assault rifles, shotguns, and sniper rifles are all relevant.
By upgrading your weapon you're able to improve your combat effectiveness in a major way. No matter how many skills you have, you'll be spending a lot of time shooting your primary firearm. Upgrade it!
Combat serves as a great foundation for a build, but usually shouldn't be invested in by itself. Though, if you are going heavy into Combat, you will want to pick up Turbocharge due to how much it'll increase your DPS if you're a close range combatant.
The Biotics tree is flashy, serving as the "magical" tree of Mass Effect: Andromeda. Its skills are offensively tailored to disrupt and extinguish enemies. Due to the number of fun skill options in the tree, it is recommended as the primary option for characters who have built a strong foundation and are looking to add options to their toolkit.
At initial inspection Annihilation doesn't seem all that special. However, it is the best skill in the game for priming targets for combos provided you're playing a close range character.
Combos are the bread and butter of a high DPS build. By applying Annihilation to enemies nearby, you can setup massive damage using finishers such as Lance or Charge. This is an outstanding setup ability that only works well in specific builds, particularly Adepts or Vanguards, and becomes the highlight of the show.
The Charge ability is a beefed up version of your jet pack’s small boost. It launches you towards an enemy at fast speeds, making it the perfect ability choice for more aggressive players and an absolute necessity for Vanguard players. It also is a combo finisher, pairing well with abilities like Annihilation.
Charge is a heavily front-line oriented skill, so if you're going for a sniper rifle oriented build or something that's less aggressive, skip Charge and go for something that doesn't hurdle you into the face of enemies.
Lance is a high uptime ability that is best used as a finisher for combos. Unlike many other finishers, it is low cost, and can be used repeatedly if your loadout permits.
In conjunction with Annihilation you can build into one of the most effective setups in the game, capable of constantly smashing enemies with burst damage without downtime.
If you aren't interested in the Annihilation + Lance/Charge setup, a build many consider to be the most effective in the game, then we recommend Pull and Throw. The combination of these two abilities is fun, and it can be used to completely dismantle an enemy. Alternatively, Singularity is good on its own as an AoE crowd control with good setup potential.
The Tech tree is all about subterfuge and technology. Unlike the other two trees it doesn't necessarily specialize in one style of play, and instead is a good supplemental tree that can improve both your close-range or long-range effectiveness with combo options and supportive abilties.
This ability might not be very fun to use for most players, but there's no doubt that it's highly effective.
The Assault Turret serves two purposes. One, it provides reliable damage that slowly chews away at enemy health bars whether or not you're in good position. Secondly, it's a great distraction. In some ways it can be looked at as a fourth wheel for your squad, providing support and suppression fire that opens your offense.
Energy Drain performs much better than it appears on paper. Similar to Overload, it deals massive damage, and is one of the best ways to dispose of high HP enemies while also recharging a portion of your shield.
However, unlike abilities such as Overload, it can be used at its full effectiveness without charge-up. This allows it to perform much better against mobile enemies, and on higher difficulties. Note that it can be used as a finisher when combo'd with an ability like Annihilation.
If you aren't planning on playing a more passive build such as one that's built around the use of a Sniper Rifle, then skip this ability. However, for builds that have low uptime but high burst damage, Tactical Cloak is a godsend.
The cloaking part of Tactical Cloak is neat, and allows you to reposition safely in most cases. Though, it's the increase to your next damaging attack that is most worth your attention. What you want to do is use the cooldown often, and aim for the head. If your aim is on-point, then you're going to deal catastrophic damage that enemies won't like.
Tech is best served as a tree for character builds that center around the sniper rifle, though a few of its skills are a great pick-up for characters that prioritize Combat. If you aren't primarily a sniper, then picking up flamethrower for short-range AoE (pairs well with Singularity) or Energy Drain (for its burst and shield recharge) are fantastic options.
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