Mass Effect 2, by Bioware, is the sequel to one of the most popular science fiction RPG games ever. All six classes from the original game are available in Mass Effect 2, including the Vanguard. This class is still the master of close combat, but there are a few extra tricks this time around.

Here are some tips on successfully playing a Vanguard in Mass Effect 2.

New Vanguard Power: Charge

One of the most obvious changes to Vanguards in ME2 is the addition of a new core power, Charge. Charge will send your character hurtling at a target at super-speed, ending in a collision. The target is blown backwards and takes heavy damage. At higher levels, a player can choose to specialize in a a Heavy Charge, which increases damage, or an Area Charge, which will hit multiple opponents.

Charge is very effective at taking out small groups or enemies or damaging boss targets, particularly when combined with a powerful shotgun. Perhaps more importantly, many Mass Effect 2 players report that Charge is a lot of fun. Using Charge effectively is an essential part of the Vanguard class.

Spending ME2 Power Points

The Vanguard power choices in Mass Effect 2 leave some room for personal preference, particularly on the “easy” or “normal” game levels. However, leveling up Charge as quickly as possible is often helpful, and really utilizes the Vanguard’s unique abilities. The choice between Heavy or Area Charge depends much on a player’s gaming style, although Heavy is more useful in boss fights.

After Charge, Vanguards would do well to put the maximum number of points in Assault Mastery, which is another class-specific power. This power will give a character improved health, weapon damage, and power recharge time, and also adds unique conversation options during the game. Players with 10 points in Assault Mastery will have a choice between becoming a Destroyer (improved damage) or Champion (improved survival).

Choosing a Good Vanguard Team

Even if it is fun, Charge is not very useful against large groups of enemies or bosses with proximity damage. Fortunately players can choose two team members can help fill in the gaps in their combat plan. As with powers, Mass Effect 2 gives much room for personal preference with team members, but having one character with strong biotic or tech damage (depending on the enemy) and one with strong ranged weapon damage will best complement most Vanguard players.

Vanguards should use their tech or biotic teammate to soften up heavy targets before Charging. Teammates with either the Throw or Pull abilities will help clear out areas where enemies are out of range of Charge.

Vanguards are still the masters of close combat that they were in the original Mass Effect, although they have some new, unique powers in Mass Effect 2. Vanguard players should focus on these class-specific abilities, such as Charge and Assault Mastery, and pick teammates to complement their approach to combat. At the end of the day, the Vanguard class is still considered to be a ton of fun to play.