In this Engineer Build Guide for Mass Effect 2 Legendary Edition I’m going to cover the best Engineer Build, which is an optimized Operative Engineer Build to destroy enemy defenses. I’ll be sharing the best Powers to prioritize, what it means to choose the Operative Specialization for your Engineer, the optimal Weapons, Armor, and Upgrades to use, and the Squadmates to take with you on Missions and Assignments. If you’ve been looking for a way to effectively play as an Engineer, then this guide is for you.
Engineer Build Guide | Mass Effect 2 Legendary Edition
The Engineer Class specializes in dealing decent damage up close and at mid-range distances due to their added Weapon Proficiency with the Submachine Gun and Heavy Pistol, respectively. The Submachine Gun is a perfect Weapon to inflict the maximum amount of damage at point-blank range and to compensate for their lack of Biotic Powers in order to strip down Barriers. If Engineers must deal with enemies from mid to long-range distances while still maintaining decent accuracy and damage, then they’ll switch to using the Heavy Pistol.
Another quality that makes the Engineer deadly is their prowess with Tech Powers, which are very effective against Shields and Armor. With Overload at higher ranks, they can momentarily deactivate enemy Weapons while inflicting heavy damage versus Synthetics or robotic enemies and Shields. With Incinerate, they can burn down the HP and Armor of affected targets. Additionally, Engineers can even manipulate Synthetics into attacking their own kind with AI Hacking allowing them to swiftly kill these enemies.
The Operative Engineer Build further enhances their ability to interfere with the strategies of targets due to their Unique Class Power, which is Combat Drone. Combat Drone attacks at least one enemy to fully divert their attention from your Squad and to give you the safety net that’s necessary to successfully deal Power and Weapon Damage. As such, the Engineer is a reliable Class to play if you intend to disable and to eliminate enemies up close or from a distance.
Powers – Engineer (Mass Effect 2)
In this section, I’ll talk about the different Tech and Bonus Powers that you should focus on to make the most out of your Operative Engineer Build. Note that the number of Power or Squad Points I’ve allocated is based on reaching Level 30. Moreover, there’s no strict sequence when it comes to unlocking one Power first over another, and instead, it’ll depend on your preferences.
This Power is very effective against the HP of Synthetics and Shields such that at higher levels, Engineers can stun them, disable their Weapons, and deal double the damage. However, that only unprotected enemies are stunned so it’s still necessary to strip others of their defenses beforehand. Moreover, Overload is also best used when there are explosive containers nearby so it can be detonated, thereby inflicting massive damage. I recommend investing the maximum number of points at 10 into Overload to reach Rank 4.
Between its two evolutions, you can choose Heavy or Area Overload. Heavy Overload maximizes the damage you inflict on Synthetics and Shields whereas Area Overload widens your Impact Radius by 3 meters. I suggest selecting Area Overload in order to deal 160 damage, which is decent considering that multiple enemies will be affected all at once.
This Power burns Organics or live enemies over time while stopping their HP regeneration. In order to successfully do this, you’ll have to make sure that targets no longer have any form of protective layer. What’s also good about Incinerate is it’s very effective against Armor. Moreover, it can cause pandemonium, thereby stunning enemies and preventing incoming attacks, giving you an opportunity to move towards a better cover. Alternatively, you can take advantage of this situation by killing them.
Occasionally, you can also inflict Fire Damage against those who are hiding behind a cover. Note that Incinerate deals little to no damage versus the HP of Synthetics so you’ll have to switch to using Overload against them instead. I recommend investing 1 point into Incinerate since you’ll have to preserve these points for other Powers later. At this stage, you’ll be able to deal 130 damage over a short period of time.
This Power allows you to freeze unprotected enemies like Husks to make them vulnerable to your attacks. Remember to inflict Weapon Damage so that they receive double of what they’re supposed to, thereby killing them efficiently. However, note that Cryo Blast isn’t effective against protected enemies, so you’ll have to ensure that you’ve destroyed their defenses first. As such, I suggest investing only 3 points into this Power to reach Rank 2 in order to briefly freeze enemies and more importantly, to unlock AI Hacking, which I’ll discuss next.
This Power lets you manipulate Synthetics or Geths into attacking their own kind to aid you in combat. At higher ranks, they develop Shields to improve their resilience in order to eliminate more enemies. There are some differences as to how AI Hacking works in Mass Effect 2 compared to Mass Effect 1. First, hacked enemies will not attack you or any of your nearby Squadmates, just the rest of the Synthetics. And second, this Power will only work against unprotected enemies. The best targets of AI Hacking are those positioned at the back of the group.
This adds extra movement for unaffected Synthetics to turn around and to gang up on the hacked enemy, giving the latter extra time to kill its comrades. What’s more is you can keep hacking the same enemy when the duration of this Power runs out if you wish.
I recommend investing the maximum number of points at 10 into AI Hacking to reach Rank 4. Between its two evolutions, you can choose Improved or Area AI Hacking. Improved AI Hacking significantly increases the target’s Shield Strength at 500 while lengthening the duration of this Power. Meanwhile, Area AI Hacking accounts for the extra Impact Radius at 3 meters to hack groups of Synthetics. I highly advise selecting Improved AI Hacking due to the high increase in Shield Strength, making them incredibly durable in order to survive multiple incoming attacks. Besides, groups of unprotected Geths are rare to come by so you won’t be fully taking advantage of Area AI Hacking should you choose this evolution.
In Mass Effect 2, you can add one Bonus Power to Shepard at a time. This is earned by completing your Squadmates’ Loyalty Missions. You’ll then be able to add and use your chosen Bonus Power via the Research Terminal in the Tech Lab. Note that every time you change your Bonus Power, you’ll have to pay 5,000 Element Zero Resources.
This Power is very effective against the enemy’s Armor and HP. Since your Incinerate Power, which also burns Armor, will only reach Rank 1, Armor-Piercing Ammo more than compensates for it. This Power can be obtained by completing Garrus’ Loyalty Mission.
The advantage of this versus other Bonus Powers is it doesn’t compete for the cooldown time of the rest of your Powers because this is an ammo type. As such, upon activation, it will remain as is until you switch to another Ammo Power. I recommend investing the maximum number of points at 10 into Armor-Piercing Ammo to reach Rank 4. Between its two evolutions, you can choose Tungsten or Squad Armor-Piercing Ammo.
Tungsten Armor-Piercing Ammo boosts the Weapon Damage you inflict from 50% to 70% while Squad Armor-Piercing Ammo activates said Power for your entire Squad, overriding the Ammo Power they’ve been using. I suggest selecting Tungsten Armor-Piercing Ammo because of the huge damage buff you can deal towards the enemy’s HP and their Armor. Squad Armor-Piercing Ammo isn’t as effective since Squadmates deal much less Weapon Damage than Shepard anyway, so they can instead focus more on their Power usage.
Operative Specialization – Engineer (Mass Effect 2)
The Engineer’s Unique Class Power is Combat Drone, which allows you to control a drone to attack and to force an enemy out of their hiding place. Once the drone is engaged, the affected enemy will try its best to eliminate it, thereby losing focus on attacking your Squad. While keeping them preoccupied, this drone can even stun them and chip away at their Shields over time.
The Combat Drone is most effective against challenging enemies so you can debuff, disable and kill weaker types instead. Note that you can only spawn one drone at a time. Because of its short Recharge Time and long active duration, the Combat Drone is an effective way to distract numerous strong enemies. At Rank 3, the drone is given a health bonus of +140%. Furthermore, you can also upgrade their durability via the Research Terminal.
As soon as you spawn the Combat Drone, they’ll begin attacking your target regardless of how close or far they are. Conveniently, you can do this from behind a cover, and then the drone will approach the target while firing at them. This becomes especially useful when your Shields have been depleted.
I recommend investing the maximum number of points at 10 into Combat Drone to reach Rank 4. Between its two evolutions, you can choose Attack or Explosive Drone. Attack Drone enhances the damage dealt on the enemy’s health, as well as their Armor and Barriers whereas Explosive Drone detonates when it has been destroyed, imposing 100 Pulse Damage on nearby enemies. I recommend picking Explosive Drone since you’ll get to damage more enemies after your drone has exploded rather than just focusing on one. Besides, the damage you deal if you’ve chosen Attack Drone is small at only 40 points. Just remember to let enemies destroy your drone for the Pulse Damage to take effect, otherwise if you summon a new one prior to detonation, the original drone will not explode. Moreover, Explosive Drone has a wide Pulse Radius at 6 meters, affecting multiple enemies at once in terms of stunning them and dealing explosive damage.
Tech Mastery is the Power you should focus on when it comes to choosing your Engineer’s Specialization. As it ranks up, your HP increases while the recharge time of your Powers decreases. When you reach Rank 4 after investing 10 points into this, you’ll get to choose between Operative or Mechanic. Operative significantly boosts your Power Damage by an extra 15% while Mechanic lengthens your Powers’ duration by the same amount. Both Specializations reduce Power Recharge Time. I recommend selecting Operative because this gives you bonuses to the amount of damage you inflict using your Powers. As a result, when you use Combat Drone, Overload, or Incinerate to deal with different enemy types, you’re more likely to take them down faster.
Squadmates – Engineer (Mass Effect 2)
Every time Shepard explores the different clusters of the Galaxy, you’ll have to select 2 Squadmates or Companions to bring with you, similar to the previous game. Remember that their levels are the same as yours even for those who are left behind in the Normandy. Since your Squadmates’ Powers are fewer than Shepard’s, they receive lesser points every time they level up.
As an Operative Engineer, you specialize in dealing Tech and Combat Attacks, however, you lack the Biotic Powers necessary to immobilize enemies, especially those with Barriers. Because of this, it’s best to bring Thane Krios who is a Biotic and Combat Specialist.
Thane becomes available after completing the Dossier: The Assassin Mission. He has Powers that are effective against Armor and Barriers as well as unprotected enemies. Thane has Warp, which prevents the target from regenerating their HP while using a mass effect field to strip down their Armor and Barriers. He also has Throw, which acts as a defensive and offensive move that hurls unprotected enemies away from the Squad and inflicts Impact Force Damage when they hit the ground.
Thane’s most notable Power is Shredder Ammo, which is also one of the Bonus Powers you can select after completing his Loyalty Mission. At Rank 3, this Ammo Power deals 60% Weapon Damage against unprotected Organics, killing them after a few shots, thereby saving you extra ammo. Additionally, Thane is well-trained in using the Submachine Gun and Sniper Rifle, with the latter being the most useful in order to shoot enemies from a very far distance.
In order to balance your need for additional Biotic Powers and firepower damage up close, you’ll need another Biotic and Combat Specialist, specifically, Jack. You can recruit her after finishing the Dossier: The Convict Mission.
Jack has Shockwave, which damages all targets and knocks back unprotected enemies while staggering protected ones. She also has Pull to immobilize enemies by making them float up in the air. One of the reasons why Jack goes well with Thane is they can both execute Biotic Explosions thanks to their Pull and Warp Powers, respectively. When Pull is activated first followed by Warp, which serves as the detonator, they’ll be able to deal extra damage.
Moreover, Jack’s most notable Power is Warp Ammo, which can be unlocked after completing her Subject Zero Loyalty Mission. This Ammo Power does extra damage against the enemy’s HP, Armor and Barriers and increases the Weapon Damage she inflicts as its rank becomes higher. Additionally, Jack is also proficient with using a Heavy Pistol and Shotgun, with the latter Weapon being more useful in terms of dealing additional damage at point-blank range.
Weapons – Engineer (Mass Effect 2)
When it comes to Weapons, the Operative Engineer is well-trained at using the Heavy Pistol, Submachine Gun, and Heavy Weapon. Out of these three, you can direct your focus to upgrading the Heavy Pistol and Submachine Gun the most since you’ll be primarily using these in combat.
The best Heavy Pistol is the M-6 Carnifex, which you can acquire during the Dossier: The Professor Mission. It’s effective against Armor but weak versus Barriers and Shields. This Weapon is viable at dealing mid-range damage coupled with the Armor-Piercing Ammo to efficiently break Armor and eliminate enemies. Compared to other Heavy Pistols, its Ammo Per Clip and Clip Size are small, which shouldn’t be a problem given your Bonus Power.
The best Submachine Gun is the M-9 Tempest, which is very effective against Barriers and Shields in addition to its high Ammo Per Clip and Clip Size. This can be obtained from the Dossier: Tali Mission. You can switch to a Submachine Gun especially when you run out of Heavy Pistol Ammo. Note that its recoil and stability are both poor due to its rapid fire rate, which makes this Weapon erratic when you continuously use it so it’s better to shoot in short bursts.
When it comes to using a Heavy Weapon, there are a lot of options to choose from. However, I do recommend the M-66 Avalanche or M-920 Cain, which are part of a Research Project in the Research Terminal. Both Heavy Weapons are very effective when inflicting great damage against Armor, Shields and Barriers.
Weapon Upgrades – Engineer (Mass Effect 2)
When it comes to improving the performances of your Weapons, you’ll have to collect Upgrades from Missions, Assignments, Squadmates and Merchants. You can then use the Research Terminal in the Normandy’s Tech Lab to research and to apply these Upgrades thereafter. When you do, you’ll pay using credits or Resources. Note that some Upgrades require prerequisites by leveling up others first in order to unlock them.
For the M-6 Carnifex, you’ll need to research 3 Upgrades, specifically the Titan Pulsar, Sabot Jacketing, and Smart Rounds. Titan Pulsar significantly boosts your overall Heavy Pistol damage at Level 6. Sabot Jacketing increases your Heavy Pistol Damage against Armor by 50%. Lastly, Smart Rounds sometimes doubles the damage you deal with a Heavy Pistol.
For the M-9 Tempest, you’ll also need to research 3 Upgrades, namely the Microfield Pulsar, Phase Jacketing, and Heat Sink Capacity. Microfield Pulsar considerably increases your Submachine Gun damage when it reaches Level 6. Phasic Jacketing gives a bonus of 50% damage against Shields and Barriers.
Lastly, Heat Sink Capacity increases your rounds by half.
Note that Heavy Weapons don’t receive damage Upgrades unlike the other Weapons. Instead, its Upgrade is concentrated on increasing Power Cell Capacity, which corresponds to the Microfusion Array. At Level 6, your total Heavy Weapon capacity will have increased by a total of 90%.
Armor and Other Upgrades – Engineer (Mass Effect 2)
When it comes to Armor, you can choose to equip an Armor Set or customized Armor, which allows you to swap pieces to make improvements. For the Operative Engineer Build, you can wear the Blood Dragon Armor Set, which provides bonuses to both Power Damage and Shield Strength. Power Damage is essential since you’ll be relying on it a lot to disable and to hack enemies. Additionally, given your low HP, you’ll need all the Shield bonuses you can get to improve your survivability. Unlike the Kestrel and N7 Armor Sets, the Blood Dragon Armor Set can’t be customized.
As an alternative, you can pick Armor pieces that boost your Power Damage and Shields while reducing the delay in the regeneration time of your Shields. I highly recommend choosing the following:
+5% Power Damage
-10% Shield Regeneration Rate Delay
+5% Power Damage
+5% Shield Strength
|Legs||Kestrel Power Pack|
+8% Shield Strength, +5% Heavy Weapon Ammo Capacity
When it comes to improving the Operative Engineer’s durability and capabilities, you can further add Armor Upgrades to increase your protection from damage as well as your max HP and Omni-tool Upgrades to improve the performance of your Tech Powers.
For the Shield Upgrades, it’s imperative to get all three, specifically Ablative VI, Nanocrystal Shield, and Burst Regeneration. Ablative VI notably increases your Shields by more than half at Level 6. On the other hand, the Nanocrystal Shield reduces the damage that your Shield receives by 20%. Lastly, Burst Regeneration improves the chances of fully and instantly restoring your Shields when it breaks.
For Cybernetic Upgrades, you’ll only have to fully invest in two of them, specifically Lattice Shunting and Skeletal Lattice. Lattice Shunting increases your HP by a total of 70% at Level 7. Skeletal Lattice reduces the damage your HP receives by 50% against Melee Attacks. This is only a precaution on the off chance that enemies get too close to you to inflict Melee Damage.
Since the Operative Engineer is a Tech Specialist, it’s essential to acquire all Omni-tool Upgrades, specifically the Multicore Amplifier, Custom Heuristics, and Hydra Module. Multicore Amplifier considerably raises your Tech Power Damage at Level 6. Custom Heuristics increases the duration of all Tech Powers by 20%. This greatly benefits Combat Drone’s duration at Rank 4, which will be 28.8 seconds from 24. Lastly, Hydra Module reduces the recharge time of all Tech Powers.
Final Tips – Engineer (Mass Effect 2)
Since you’re now faced with enemies who wear multiple types of protective layers, you’ll have to remember the appropriate Powers to use against them. This can be identified through different Power colors. If the color is red with a downward arrow, it means that that Power’s effect against the target is negligible. However, if the color is orange, then the damage you’ll inflict to diminish their Armor, Shields and Barriers is effective.
It’s worth remembering that the Operative Engineer’s weaknesses involve immobilizing enemies and breaking down Barriers due to their lack of Biotic and Combat Powers. As a countermeasure, you’ll need the help of your Squadmates. Thane and Jack are exceptional when it comes to wrecking Barriers. Together, they can execute a powerful Biotic Combo by activating Pull and then Warp in quick succession, to deal extra explosive damage. Additionally, Thane can effectively shoot from afar thanks to his Sniper Rifle Proficiency whereas Jack can deal double the damage at point-blank range due to her Shotgun expertise.
Lastly, make sure to level up your Upgrades as much as you can in order to take advantage of the boosts they provide so you can eliminate enemies as soon as possible.
Stay tuned for more Build Guides for Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, and be sure to check out the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition Wiki if you have questions about the game!