In this Mass Effect Legendary Edition Build Guide I’m going to cover my Soldier Build for Mass Effect 1, which is a Soldier Build well-suited for any combat range. I’ll be sharing the best Talents to prioritize, what it means to choose the Commando Specialization for your Soldier, the optimal Weapons, Armor, and Mods to equip, and the Squadmates to take with you on Missions and Assignments. If you’ve been looking for a way to optimally play as a Soldier then this Guide is for you.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition Build Guide: Soldier (Mass Effect 1)
The Soldier Class specializes in shooting enemies from any distance thanks to their proficiency with all Weapons. As a result, they have access to all Weapon Talents and Abilities, which are used as finishers for both protected and unprotected enemies. The versatility of Pistols and Assault Rifles allows this Class to deal powerful damage up close without the need to switch to a Shotgun. Meanwhile, they can easily shoot with an Assault or Sniper Rifle to target enemies from afar.
What makes the Soldier highly resilient is their capability to equip Heavy Armor, which is the only playable Class that can. Coupled with Shield Boost and Immunity, they can avoid death especially in difficult circumstances.
The Commando Soldier Build pushes the power of your Weapon even further by increasing its damage while allowing you to use corresponding Abilities in quick succession due to Adrenaline Burst. This allows you to efficiently kill enemies.
Soldier Talents and Abilities (Mass Effect 1)
In this section, I’ll talk about the different Weapon, Combat and Auxiliary Talents and Abilities that you should focus on to make the most out of your Commando Soldier Build. Note that the number of Talent Points I’ve allocated is based on reaching Level 50, although there is no level cap in Mass Effect 1 Legendary Edition.
Weapon Talents and Abilities
There are 3 Weapon Talents that you’ll have to put sufficient Talent Points into because these will help you tackle enemies depending on how near or far they are from you by increasing the accuracy of your shots and the damage you deal while wielding a Pistol, Assault Rifle, or Sniper Rifle.
This Talent also unlocks the Marksman Ability at Rank 3 and the Shotguns Talent at Rank 4. Note that for this Build, you won’t be making use of the Shotgun since you’ll be maximizing your Weapon damage with Pistols, Assault Rifles, and Sniper Rifles.
The Marksman Ability boosts your accuracy and rate of fire while reducing the heat buildup in your Pistol as you use it for close to mid-range encounters. As a result, you’re able to shoot enemies faster and more often without worrying about the heat buildup that renders your Weapon unusable until it cools down.. I recommend investing 8 Talent Points into Pistols so you can unlock Advanced Marksman, which should be enough to deal excellent damage to enemies.
This Talent also grants you the Overkill Ability at Rank 1 and it makes the Sniper Rifle Talent available at Rank 7. The caveat with using Assault Rifles at earlier levels is that they overheat more often than a Pistol, so I suggest initially shooting with the latter.
Overkill can vastly raise the number of shots you deal while increasing your accuracy with an Assault Rifle, which you should use for close, mid to long-range encounters. I recommend investing 12 Talent Points into Assault Rifles so you can unlock Master Overkill, thereby maximizing the overheat reduction and accuracy of your Weapon.
I highly suggest using the Assault Rifle as your main Weapon since the Soldier is the only playable Class that is fully equipped to wield it.
This Talent also grants you the Assassination Ability at Rank 3. Assassination greatly boosts the damage of your next Sniper Rifle shot. I recommend allotting 8 Points into this Talent so you can unlock Advanced Assassination, thereby adding 250% damage to your next hit from a distance, guaranteeing a death blow.
You can deal at most 2 shots before your Sniper Rifle overheats. Remember to switch to your Pistol or Assault Rifle when enemies start rushing towards you in preparation for closer attacks.
Combat Talents and Abilities
There are 4 Combat Talents you’ll put the maximum number of Talent Points into, which is 12, that will make your Commando Soldier Build highly resilient in mid and long-range combat encounters. These are Combat Armor, Assault Training, Fitness, and Spectre Training. I’ll explain why these are highly prioritized and how they integrate well with your Build.
This Talent makes you more durable in combat by protecting you from incoming Melee and Weapon Damage and Tech and Biotic Attacks. Its corresponding stats, namely damage reduction and Hardening, are increased every time you rank Combat Armor up. At Rank 3, you unlock the Shield Boost Ability, which restores 30% of your depleted Shields. At Rank 12, you can use Master Shield Boost Ability to restore 50% of your Shields per second.
What makes this Talent so good is it enables your Soldier to equip Heavy Armor, which is the only playable Class that can, at Rank 7. Note that at the start of the game, you can already equip Medium Armor so make sure you do while you still can’t wear Heavy Armor. Heavy Armor drastically increases your durability and protection from all sources of damage to compensate for this Class’s lack of Tech and Biotic Abilities. This coupled with Shield Boost will make you very difficult to kill.
This Talent increases your Melee Damage more so than your Weapon Damage, which is acceptable in times when you’re very near enemies. If you need to deal Melee Attacks, there’s now a dedicated button for it in the Legendary Edition.
What makes this Talent essential is it grants you the Adrenaline Burst Ability, which fully refreshes your Abilities as well as the Medi-gel. Because of this, you can immediately reuse them for a second time, which comes in handy, especially when you’re up against challenging enemies.
At Rank 12, you can use Master Adrenaline Burst, which functions similarly but it reduces the recharge time of Adrenaline Burst itself to 45 seconds. You can use this Ability in combination with Shield Boost in cases when your Shields have been fully depleted so you can restore the majority of it to protect yourself once more.
This Talent increases your HP by 30% at Rank 11, adding to your overall durability. Fitness also grants you the Immunity Ability, which increases your damage protection. At max rank, you unlock Master Immunity, which further raises your damage protection by 90%.
This Ability, coupled with Shield Boost, Adrenaline Burst, and Heavy Armor, ensures that your character will not die even in the toughest situations.
This Talent can be unlocked after you become a Spectre when you complete a Citadel Mission within 2 hours of playing. Spectre Training makes your character stronger by raising the accuracy and damage you deal with Weapons, improves your Abilities, as well as raises your higher max HP.
What makes this Talent relevant is its Unity Ability, which lets you revive dead Squadmates. This Ability is especially helpful in fighting challenging enemies when the chances of dying become higher. Also at max rank, you gain access to Master Unity so you can restore 50% of your downed Squad’s HP and 100% of their Shields, immediately protecting them from any form of damage.
As a Soldier, you’ll only need to allocate a small number of Talent Points into the First Aid Talent. This allows you to restore a portion of your Squad’s HP. I recommend increasing it to Rank 4 so that you can give back 70 HP every time you use a Medi-gel.
Commando Specialization (Mass Effect 1)
In this section, I’m going to discuss the Unique Class Talent for this Build as well as its evolved form or Specialization upon completing a certain quest.
The Soldier Class Talent further boosts your HP and HP regeneration upon ranking it up. You can only allot a maximum of 6 Talent Points into it. At which point, your HP increases by 14% and you can regenerate 5.5 HP per second, which is beneficial in keeping you alive for longer periods of time.
At Level 20 when you access the Galaxy Map, the Assignment UNC: Rogue VI on Luna will be given to you by Admiral Hackett. Upon completing this side quest, you will be able to choose between two Specializations, namely, Commando or Shock Trooper. Either Specialization will increase the rank of your Soldier Class Talent from 6 to 12. Note that the Talent Points you may have allotted to your Class Talent prior to unlocking your Specialization will carry over and you’ll be receiving the same bonuses from ranks 7 to 12.
Commando grants you bonus damage to all of your Weapons. This Specialization also vastly reduces the cooldown time of Immunity, Assassination and Marksman Abilities by 25% when you reach Rank 12. Conversely, Shock Trooper focuses on increasing your HP and damage protection even more. It also reduces the recharge times of both Immunity and Adrenaline Burst so you can use both Abilities often.
Between the two Specializations however, I highly recommend taking Commando so that you can inflict greater damage with your Pistol, Assault Rifle, and Sniper Rifle. This Specialization also allows you to use their corresponding Abilities much more frequently than ever before in order to deal more damage to your enemies.
Every time Shepard explores the different clusters of the Galaxy, you’ll be asked to select 2 Squadmates or Companions to bring with you. In Mass Effect 1: Legendary Edition, there are a total of 6 to choose from, each with their own Combat, Tech and Biotic Specialties. Remember that their levels are the same as yours even for those who are left in the Normandy Ship. Since your Squadmates’ Talents are fewer than Shepard’s, they receive less Talent Points every time they level up.
Tali’Zorah nar Rayya
As a Commando Soldier, you specialize in dealing Combat Attacks, however, you lack the Tech and Biotic Abilities necessary to disable enemies. Because of this, you’re not able to damage their Shields with a single Ability or to debuff them. Because of this, it’s best to bring Tali’Zorah nar Rayya who is a pure Tech Specialist. You can recruit her after completing the Expose Saren – Save the Quarian Mission.
Tali has Tech Abilities such as Sabotage, Overload and Damping, which overheats Weapons, directly damages Shields, and disables enemies from using their Tech and Biotic Abilities, respectively. She also has AI Hacking to make Synthetics or robotic enemies attack their own kind. This is a useful distraction especially in cases when you need to move from cover to cover.
Despite these powerful Tech Abilities, Tali lacks Biotic Skills, which help in immobilizing enemies to make them useless in combat. She is also not as resilient compared to other Squadmates because she can only equip Light Armor. For this reason, it is best if you keep her out of harms way as much as possible.
In order to balance your need to employ crowd control techniques with additional firepower, you’ll need a durable Biotic and Combat Specialist by the name of Urdnot Wrex. You can recruit him after completing the Citadel: Wrex Mission.
What makes him such a formidable Squadmate is his Biotic Abilities, and Assault Rifle and Heavy Armor proficiency. He can use Warp to weaken Armor while inflicting damage over time, or Throw to hurl enemies away from your Squad as an offensive or defense mechanism.
What also makes Wrex very capable is his ability to wield an Assault Rifle for close to long-range encounters while using the Overkill Ability, which this Build also uses. Alternatively, you can also use a Shotgun for high-powered damage up close thanks to his Carnage Ability, which magnifies this damage even further.
Wrex is also resilient due to his Heavy Armor, which greatly reduces the damage he receives from any source, and his capability to boost damage protection with Immunity.
Soldier Weapons and Mods (Mass Effect 1)
For the Commando Soldier Build, you should equip the Pistol, Assault Rifle and Sniper Rifle Spectre Gear. To acquire these, you’ll need to unlock the “Rich Achievement” by having 1,000,000 credits and reaching Level 50, which are doable as long as you complete the majority of Assignments. If you don’t reach Level 50 but you get the Rich Achievement, you can still obtain lower versions of these Weapons, specifically HWMP VII, HMWA VII and HMWSR VII, which are still far superior than the other Weapons in the game. You can purchase Spectre Gear from the C-Sec or Alliance Requisition Officers located in the Citadel and the Normandy, respectively.
The best Pistol is the HMWP X Spectre Gear. Both the HMWP VII and X deal 256 to 294 damage, which is significantly more damage than any other Pistol that you obtain from locked containers. Moreover, you can fire about 23 to 29 shots before your Pistol overheats.
The best Assault Rifle you can equip is the HMWA X Spectre Gear. Both the HMWA VII and X inflict 336 to 384 damage, respectively. What makes it remarkable is their excellent Heatsink Capacity stat, which are the highest in the game, depending on the version you purchase. These values warrant the death of multiple enemies.
The best Sniper Rifle in the game is the HMWSR X Spectre Gear. Both the HMWSR VII and X deal extremely good damage, with their excellent accuracy ratings, thereby increasing your hit chances depending on the version you can buy.
For the Pistol, Assault Rifle, and Sniper Rifle Spectre Gear, you can add 2 Weapon Mods and 1 Ammo Mod each. With Weapon Mods, Combat Optics X is a viable option to improve your line of sight because enemies will often jam your radar making it tough to spot their positions and total number. This Mod also raises max accuracy by 21%.
For all Weapons, you can choose the Scram Rail X, which boosts your damage by 26%. Its heat absorption penalty is only 10%, which is 10% lower than the Rail Extension VII Mod. For the Sniper Rifle, I recommend the Kinetic Coil X because this increases the stability of your Sniper Rifle by 28% allowing you to aim better while providing an extra 7% damage.
For Ammo Mods, I suggest switching between Tungsten Rounds VII and Shredder Rounds VII, which deal extra 40% damage to Synthetics and Organics or live enemies, respectively. More often than not, you’ll be using Tungsten Rounds due to the high volume of Synthetics relative to Organics. Occasionally, you can also use Proton Rounds VII because this lets you bypass Shields by 55%, which is to your advantage since you lack the Abilities to directly damage this protective layer.
The only caveat is that the actual damage you inflict is penalized at 20% so test this Mod and switch it for others, which may be more valuable.
Grenade Launcher Mod
For the Grenade Launcher Mod, I highly recommend equipping High Explosive X because this maximizes the blast radius of your grenades by an extra 140 cm, which is essential against enemies far away from you. Your Blast Damage and Weapons Force, or the force by which you can knock down enemies, also increases by 37%. You can also use this in combination with one of Wrex’s Biotic Abilities as a finisher. Alternatively, you can equip the Incendiary Explosive X Mod, which lets you deal 51 Burn Damage for 5 seconds on all affected enemies.
Soldier Armor and Mods (Mass Effect 1)
When it comes to Armor, you can equip Medium Armor to begin with. Any high version should do because this already increases your damage protection as opposed to wearing Light Armor.
When you level up your Combat Armor Talent to Rank 7, you can start equipping Heavy Armor. The best Heavy Armor to have is the Predator H X, which you can obtain by first purchasing the Armax Arsenal License from Expat in the Citadel’s Upper Markets. You can buy this Armor from the Alliance Requisition Officer if your Level is 50+. Note that Predator H X appears randomly in the merchant’s stock so it’s not a guaranteed purchase unlike the Spectre Gear. Alternatively, you can acquire it from locked containers but the drop rate is low.
What’s great about Predator H X is that it has the highest Shields value at 540 of all the Armor in the game and it also has adequate Tech/Biotic Protection at 34. Its Damage Protection is also acceptable at 58 since you have a lot of Combat Abilities that can help boost this stat.
To increase your Tech/Biotic Protection, I suggest equipping 2 Energized Weave VII Mods to increase Hardening by 30%, which is equivalent to a total of 44 Hardening, rounded down. It also raises your Shield Recovery by 32%, thereby ensuring that your Shields are up almost all the time. This is a strong Heavy Armor that boosts your survivability when hit with Combat, Tech and Biotic Attacks.
When selecting your Pre-Service History and Psychological Profile during Character Creation, note that you can choose whatever you like since these only affect dialogue options and have no impact on your Build. Feel free to choose whatever suits the personality of the Shepard you wish to play.
Given that you’ll be facing different enemy types like Synthetics and Organics, remember to alternate your use of Ammo Mods, specifically Tungsten and Shredder Rounds VII, respectively, to effectively eliminate them.
The weakness of Soldiers is their lack of Tech and Biotic Abilities to efficiently strip down Shields. Because of this, you’ll need to utilize the strengths of your Squadmates with Tali specializing in debuffing enemies and Wrex immobilizing and killing them. Since both of them don’t have sufficient training in using Sniper Rifles, you’ll have to deal with enemies that are extremely far away from your squad yourself.
Lastly, make sure to equip higher versions of Weapons if you don’t have access to the best Spectre Gear yet because these will help your Build succeed. The following are good alternatives to Pistols, Assault Rifles, and Sniper Rifles because of their high damage, acceptable Heatsink Capacity, and decent accuracy: Karpov VII, Pulse Rifle VII, and Harpoon VIII, respectively.
A good option is the Mercenary VII because of its high Damage Protection and Shields.. To raise your Tech/Biotic Protection, simply add 2 Energized Weave VII Mods as well. You can get this from locked containers plus your Combat Abilities should help a lot with your survivability.
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!
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