Mass Effect EPIC RUN & GUN SKIRMISH INFILTRATOR BUILD, ARMOUR, WEAPONS & POWERS VS ALL INC. ARCHITECTS
Howdy folks, in this video we’re going to be taking a good look at what I consider to be the best build with powers, profile, weapons and armour for a Skirmish, run and gun type approach, making you very hard to kill and deal huge damage from up close and far away. This build also includes a second loadout variant specifically designed for melting Architects. Without further delay, let’s get right into it. <title: Skirmish Run and Gun god mode build> The run and gun Skirmish approach is by far my favourite, I like running through hordes of enemies without stopping firing off super high damage shots at the heads of all enemies. This build works on supercharged weapons from combat and buffing and debuffing from tech to boost those weapons. For normal difficulty, this started as a way to be reckless and make it more satisfying by adding danger and making myself exposed, but now I’ve turned to Insanity it requires some tactics and a bit of good timing, but at the same time if you do it right, completely unkillable.
Let’s do this quickly and in 4 main sections to simplify it all, Weapons, Armour, Powers and Method with an extra section at the end to give tips on where to spend the extra skill points from then on. <title: Weapons> So weapons are nice and simple, you need 3 for normal with a 4th exclusively for Architects that stays out of the loadout till needed. The first weapon is your primary and good for almost everything, those who are familiar with me and the channel will likely know I’m talking about the Dhan, The Dhan while the second highest DPS shotgun, is by far the high per shot, this gun is just a powerhouse that on normal will most likely dependant on skills one shot all red bars and 2 shot all else that isn’t armoured, but there’s something we can do to make armour super squishy and we’ll address that shortly.
The Dhan has high weak point damage also allowing me to one shot shielded kett on normal with a clean headshot critical. Now the best way to build you Dhan is to put a Bio Converter on there, this increases the damage by between 40 and 50% dependent on rank and skills, which is quite frankly insane, and while that extra damage doesn’t apply until you’ve cleared the clip, this run and gun approach will have you non-stop firing, and there’s nothing worse than lining up the perfect shot and seeing you need to reload. For those who are unaware, the bio-converter instantly reloads your magazine at the cost of 5% health, the health cost will be addressed via powers shortly. The other 3 to 4 augment slots dependant on your cryo pod status will be taken up by Kinetic Coils which add 3% damage each. If you melee a fair amount then replace one of the kinetic coils with a single mod extension so you can use the Melee Optimizer Mod.
As for the mods for your Dhan, no matter what, you will want a Barrel and a Receiver, the 4th mod is not helpful in any real way when you have a bio-converter and not at all with vintage, it is the Ammo Capacity mod, ignore this. Your second Weapon is your sniper rifle, this covers the long range and into mid range, The Dhan has a huge range reaching most of mid, but after that, you want your sniper rifle, I recommend for this either a Black Widow or an N7 Valiant, in reality, this gun is whatever suits you and whatever you prefer to use, the Dhan is a set in stone for this build but the sniper rifle isn’t, I currently use a black widow and thoroughly enjoy it. The sniper rifle as well as covering long range is there to mix things up a bit and break the constant Dhan use occasionally. Augment wise, Definite no matter what double mod extension, it is super powerful on a sniper and most other guns really, then if you have a second one, stick a bio-converter in there, if not think about using a Battlefield Assist Module, this gives you 20% extra damage when shields and Health are full.
Fill the rest of your sniper rifles augment slots with Kinetic Coils. As for mods go for Barrel, Receiver and Scope with the 4th slot being Ultra-Light Materials if you have a Bio-Converter and a Spare Thermal Clip if you don’t. Your melee weapon is simple, Asari Sword is the best for this build as it gives you range to use it from, it’s also ultra-rare so 4-5 augmentation slots, The Remnant Cryo-Gauntlet is also an option for those wanting to melee often due to its potential priming ability, This build has room later for increasing the chance to prime from that. You should fill all of these slots with Kinetic Coils for a 12-15% constant increase to weapon damage.
If you don’t plan to use your melee weapon all that often then just get rank 2 on the Asari Sword, less research invested, and it’s milky way to so nice and cheap but very powerful. The architect extension to this build is very small, it adds one more weapon and 2 more powers with a whole new tactic, The weapon being the Piranha Shotgun, This shotgun has one of the highest damage per seconds in the game, I haven’t tested all yet but it may be THE highest, Take this weapon and stick a seeking plasma system in it along with an Aerial Performance Optimizer, the seeking allows the shots to travel far without damage drop off and the aerial performance optimizer allows for 35% extra damage when hovering, you’ll find out why that is crazy good on this weapon later.
Fill the rest of the slots with kinetic coils and barrel and receiver for mods, job done. <title: Armour> The Armour for this build is designed to fill in gaps in the overall builds so focuses on both survival and recharge, that’s health, shield and tech power recharge. The Helmet is the Heleus Helmet, for some reason, the heleus set had its point distributed evenly with the helm and chest yet the chest takes up arms and legs to where the helmet only takes up the helmet slot, so grabbing this is almost always the best choice. Its stats are Power Damage and Weapon Damage, heavy on the power damage. For chest, we have the Remnant, while not the best looking, Talkin’ bout you Hyperguardian you manly chest piece you. It is an exceptionally good chest for survivability, it’s regeneration delay reduction stat is perfect for our build and really helps to bolster the regen aspect to help stay alive and combat the negative effects of the bio-converter. Other than the Health and Shield Regeneration Delay Reduction it also gives Damage Resistance, Health Regeneration and Shield Regeneration.
As you go higher in level especially true from 60 and above, the Maverick chest becomes better for our uses, The more skill points you spend in the passives giving more opportunities to gain regeneration and spark it off through using your tech skills makes the reduction delay from the remnant chest far less valuable, For the architect fight where damage bonuses are stacked, the Maverick is the best from earlier on, if you wish to have a separate armour build for Architect fights with this build let me know in the comments and I’ll make it happen. For both Arms and Legs, we’re using the Angaran armour, These pieces give, Tech Power Damage, Tech Effect Duration and Max Shields in equal measure, the power damage is great but what we really want is the effect duration to help indefinitely keep debuffs on the enemy and buffs on ourselves as well as boosting our shields. For Armour Augments, I find it good to use the special augments for both arms and legs though they are of course optional, some people may just never use them, for arms you’ll want the Aerial Lubricant which gives 35% Tech Damage when hovering, while for legs that’s up to you, just put whichever you’d prefer from the 3 elemental damage buffs on melee jump, I use the Cryo Condensor for cold damage on melee jump.
For Chest you should definitely use a shield oscillator to give you 25% shields on kill, it’s a passive shield buff and a damn powerful one in all difficulties. For the other chest slots fill with kinetic coils for the huge 5 damage resistance each, then all other armour slots to be filled with Tech Recharge Modules to stack that recharge. For fusion mods there are 2 choices, you could go for the fusion mod of adrenaline which will instantly recharge your powers on kill allowing you to use them for each enemy, this would require either combo or tech power to be used on armour instead of tech recharge, and is only better on normal if there.
The one I recommend is the Fusion mod of Shielding which gives you 50% extra shields while giving you 50% less health, or once you have the cryo pod 25% less health, this on paper is a bad trade off, but the entire point of this build is to avoid depleting your shield at all, you boost your shield at every opportunity so the enemies shots don’t take health, only your weapon reloading does, which is combatted from multiple angles with huge regen. Plus think of it this way, with that fusion mod, the bio-converter is now taking 25 or 50% less health with its 5% cost then it did before. For full armour and armour augmentation guides see the link in the top right now or see the description at your leisure. <title: Powers> So here I’ll go over the absolutely necessary powers and then show you the best ones to go for after. To get the 3 powers you need and the passive abilities needed to make you a regenerating beast of a man, you need to be at no higher than level 31 as 141 skill points are required.
It is quite possible to get to this quantity of skill points a few levels earlier via those lovely rare consoles with a puzzle that rewards you 3 skill points, but if you haven’t just happened upon them, it will be easier to get an extra level or 2 for questing etc. This number does not include the further 42 points needed for the architect part of the build which requires a further 7 levels to max. The 3 Powers you’ll be using are Tactical Cloak, Cryo Beam and Energy Drain, Cryo Beam should have it’s rank 4 choice as Recharge Speed, one of the large points of this build is to keep powers recharging super quickly for constant use. Rank 5 of cryo Beam should be Brittle Freeze, This gives you a further 65% on the Armour Defense debuff given with Cryo Beam, this is incredibly important and makes it super powerful. The last point is actually up to you and can be left out if you’d like to use this build earlier, this option is not included in the 141 skill points, I personally go for Snap Freeze for bonus AOE damage when the enemy is shattered, the other option Cryo Trap allows you to place a circle of cold freezing red bars who walk through it by aiming the cryo beam away from enemies.
This all Results in a Cryo Beam that primes targets, deals 162 Damage Per Second, gives a defence debuff of 115% on armoured targets, has a recharge time of 11 seconds, and causes large AOE damage when the frozen enemy is shattered. Next is Energy Drain, For rank 4 go for recharge speed, for rank 5 go Auxiliary Drain which allows the power to affect up to 3 additional targets within an 8-meter radius around the target, restoring 33% shield per additional target. And on rank 6 just go for damage, increasing Energy Drains damage by 25%, damage vs shield by 50% and damage vs synthetics by 15%. All this adds up to a very powerful power that on use will restore 40% of your shields, deal 224 damage to the target, do an extra 150% damage against shields, 30% extra damage on synthetic enemies, has a recharge time of 11 seconds, and AOE impact radius of 8 meters which gives 33% more shields back for every additional target hit by Energy Drain up to a max of 3. And for Tactical Cloak, Have rank 4 as recharge speed as with all, for rank 5 pick duration for 50% increase in its duration and with rank 6 pick escape artist, now this is the most important one by far, this allows you to regenerate when cloaked.
This gives you a tactical cloak that has a duration of 11 seconds but a recharge time of 10 seconds, this alone allows you to stay indefinitely cloak if wished as the power recharges on initiation of the cloak, It also gives you a 50% Gun Damage Bonus on shot from within the cloak, a 50% Power Damage Bonus on power used from within the cloak and a 60% increase in melee damage for the melee hit done from within the cloak, bearing in mind that using a power, gun or melee attack within the cloak will break it giving you a single use when exiting. But the main thing is the regeneration within the cloak, allowing you to duck out of battle whenever you want to regenerate your health.
<title: Passives> As for priority passives, in the Tech Tree, we have Team Support, Go for Support for rank 4 for the extra buffs to restoration and defence, for rank 5 go for tactical revive giving you a huge damage resistance when reviving a fallen ally as well as just after, This build puts you out of combat and aggro meters constantly which puts your squad mates in the firing line an awful lot, they will go down more in this build that most others, so being able to revive a team mate in front of a pissed off architect, is a handy thing. Then lastly go for Life Support giving you a big bonus to your health regeneration and health regeneration cap for 3 seconds after using a tech skill with a cooldown of 8 seconds, meaning you have super regen for 3 of every 8 seconds pretty much.
Then hop over to combat to buff those weapons. Firstly Shotguns, for rank 4 go for weight as ammo capacity isn’t a help for those using Bio-Converters, with rank 5 choose clip size as reload is no help to Bio-Converter users also the bigger the clip the less the bio-converter fires and the less health you lose, then for rank 6 go for Damage & Force unless you melee super often, 20% extra shotgun damage is huge so yeah, pick that one.
Then move to Sniper Rifles and pick weight for rank 4 as the ammo thing again, ammo is perfectly fine to pick here if you are short on bio-converter and don’t have one in your sniper rifle, Rank 5 depends on the weapon you chose, if you chose an Isharay with no bio-converter than pick reload, for all else pick clip size, Then rank 6 go for Damage & Force again.
And for Combat fitness rank 4 go for Regeneration as huge buffs to regen is more valuable than occasional help for consumables, for rank 5 go heavy lifting, it’s entirely for the clip size and most won’t benefit from a 4th holster, it’s mostly pointless especially for those with infinite ammo. Then lastly for rank 6 go for In the Trenches, giving you a big buff to regen delay reduction and damage resistance when in cover giving you crazy survivability. With all these you will have access to rank 4 infiltrator profile, this is a great profile, giving you 35% weapon accuracy, 35% weapon Stability, the important and hugely powerful 35% tech recharge speed, 22% Weapon Headshot/Weak Point Bonus, the ability to see enemies through solid objects including inside buildings which is great for snipin’ and the overpowered Cloak Evade which very briefly takes you out of combat when evading, This is super powerful.
As you level higher and have filled Combat and Tech, filling up biotic will give you access to the explorer profile which some may prefer, with its weapon damage, damage resistance tech recharge, power restoration and defence and blink. That about covers the normal battle priority skills needed for this build, And while most of the rest is just spending points to boost the passives, there are a few more very important skills to get before you go just sticking them all willy nilly.
<title: Architect Powers> The 2 extra powers for the architect extension of the build are Turbocharge from combat and Charge from Biotics, For Turbocharge’s rank 4 go for Duration, this will add 50% duration to the skill which is very important in the rotation later, Rank 5 should be Damage & force, largely as accuracy and stability is not going to be of help in this situation, almost at all, Then for the last go for Supercharge, this was a tough decision as 80% clip size would be useful, but I think it’s over the top for this, so 20% clip size and 20% rate of fire to help increase that damage is going to be more beneficial. This will give you a 12-second buff that recharges every 18 seconds that increases gun damage by 35%, rate of fire by 40%, clip size by 40% and gun force by 15% I should note that 21 points you just spent in combat will make rank 5 of the infiltrator profile accessible which is fan-dabby-tastic! Then for charge’s rank 4 go for Damage & Force as this is purely single target, radius won’t help us, then rank 5 is Weapons and Melee which is an important part of this and then for rank 6 go for bastion, the recharge rate for Charge being quick isn’t a huge deal for our use here, it’s also already quicker than our other powers, so the extra survivability is largely more valuable.
This will give you a power that hits for 536 damage with a force of 800 recharges in only 6 seconds, restores 100% of your shields, increases gun damage by 15%, melee damage by 30% and damage resistance by 75 for 3-5 seconds dependant on buff. Before we cover what to spend the rest of your skill points on, let’s go over the method for using all of these powers and weapons. <title: Method: Run & Gun> So in your run and gun loadout, you will have your Dhan and Sniper Rifle with Tactical Cloak, Cryo Beam and Energy Drain, with the profile Infiltrator. The method here is to use cryo beam then energy drain to debuff armour by 115% take away large amounts of shields, score a tech combo then you can hit tactical cloak to get a supercharged shot off from your Dhan and finish off quickly after with further shots. The 2 powers Cryo Beam & Energy Drain in this build debuff or cripple every enemy out there, you then finish the enemies off with highly buffed weapon fire.
Tactical Cloaks primary purpose is for survivability, it’s duration is 11 seconds, it’s recharge is 10, you could indefinitely stay in cloak to regenerate if you wanted, that recharge I should add is 10 at base, you have one hell of a lot of recharge buffs, it recharges in a few seconds, as do all of them, on insanity you can use Cryo and Energy on all enemies at least once.
<title: Method: Architect> Now this is the fun one, For fighting architects you need your Dhan and Piranha, Tactical Cloak, Turbocharge & Charge and either use the Soldier or Explorer profile, Depending on how many points you’ve spent, depends on which one is better, so if you have the bare minimum I’ve stated, explorer is currently the best, if you have filled a lot of combat then soldier is better.
The tactic is super simple, Time each attack just after the machine gun attack, each architect does the attacks in a different pattern so make sure you do your attacks after the machinegun one so that it doesn’t do it while you’re exposed. Go for the first leg and hit turbocharge, tactical cloak and then charge the leg in quick succesion, as soon as you reach the leg, hover and dash backwards still hovering unloading your entire clip into the leg, That should take it down, if it doesn’t just hit it a few more time from cover while turbocharge recharges. Once the leg is halfway down, the face will be exposed, Once again wait for the machinegun then repeat as you did on the leg, being very aware of where you dash while up there, the architect will face your team the second you hit tactical cloak and once you’re out will retarget you, this makes the head move around constantly and can be a little tricky to aim after the charge and dash.
If the clip didn’t do it finish it off from the ground. between mini phases constantly keep in cloak, you can even revive from it, grab extra ammo for your piranha and more. When adds show up, switch to Dhan to conserve piranha ammo and utilize charge and cloak due to their super fast recharge time. Do each leg to half without fully destroying one and set your squad mates on the half legs to get them down to as close to 0% health as possible, once you have done 3 to 50% or lower and hit the face 3 times, Finish a leg off, then follow it, finish another leg off, follow it again, then finish the last leg before the face and job done Always keep your squad mates focused on either a leg or the face to ensure maximum support fire. I will post a video of me doing this tactic over the next day or 2 to show exactly what I mean. <title: Where to Spend the Rest of the points?> There are a bunch of very valuable passives to gain before just putting the points anywhere.
First, go to Biotics, By purchasing Charge you have unlocked barrier, this is a very powerful passive and no matter what powers or profiles you use will be highly beneficial to you, For rank 4 either would actually be good here, we already have a lot of regen stacked like crazy, so either is fine, I personally went for more regen so Recuperative Barrier, For rank 5 go for Biotic Alacrity as the other option Biotic Link only benefits biotic users, and for rank 6 go for the whole reason you came here, Saving Barrier, This bad boy will restore your shields to full if you drop below 20% shields up to every 15 seconds, this is a life saver and allows you more reckless wiggle room! Then go for Offensive Tech in the Tech tree and hit that up to give all kinds of fantastic weapon and tech power buffs, For rank 4 go for Anti-Armor, rank 5 go for Detonators and for rank 6, Technical Rounds which as a match made in heaven gives you 30% weapon damage for 5 seconds after using a tech power. Then it’s off to Auxiliary Systems, For rank 4 go for Priming to increase the chance to prime with things that don’t 100% prime, You could go for Weapon Mass Reduction here but only if you are low to medium level and want to carry all 3 projectile weapons at once, personally I just carry 2, and at the top ranks, you’ll be fine for all 3.
For rank 5 go for Enduring Tech to increase the tech power effect duration by 25%, fantastic for those debuffs, and for rank 6 go for Shield Feedback which excellently turns on shield regeneration instantly after using a tech power up to once every 12 seconds Then there’s just Combat Tools in the Combat Tree left as far as directed skills go, For rank 4 pick hover as evasion isn’t too useful for infiltrators or explorers, for rank 5 pick aerial melee as the other option is of zero use to us and for rank 6 pick Aerial Combat, This gives you a huge hover time and makes you harder to kill when hovering, If you are having trouble with architects, get this one earlier, it will increase the time spent at the Architect’s face and make you harder to kill when there. All other skill points should be spent filling up combat and then tech and then biotic to increase the passive buffs via skill points spent, you may wish to go for Assault Rifles and Pistols first to give you more freedom for experimenting. <title: Outro> This was yet another frigging huge guide, it’s been in the making since I started playing really, this is my refined build that suits my playstyle to a T after 240+ hours of playtime and testing.
I’m almost certain, there are builds that do more damage out there and I couldn’t give a crap when playing this, You haven’t experienced gameplay until you’ve sprinted through an ungodly amount of kett, exposed to hell and just started shooting before they have much of a chance to do anything. Now I feel this has been refined to as good as it will get, I will likely be switching to a new playstyle, I’m thinking Biotics will be playing a huge role & it will almost definitely be what I use in my Non-stop Speedrun livestream coming up. To all who have made it this far, I am genuinely grateful to you and am very pleased that my work is appreciated. Like if you liked, dislike if you didn’t, share with your friends, and have an awesome day folks.
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