Best Engineer Build Guide

Best Engineer Build Guide - Mass Effect 2 (ME2)

By zanuffas
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This post covers the Best Engineer build guide in Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 2 Legendary Edition. The Engineer class comes with a unique ability - Combat Drone and AI Hacking. These give some interesting strategic approaches in combat that we will try to explore with the builds below.

Best Engineer Build - Controller

This build concentrates on using Controlling and distraction abilities to dominate the battlefield. The build requires you to have unlocked Morinth in any of the playthroughs as we will need her Bonus power when fighting biotic enemies.

Of course, if you are fighting Syntethic ones like Geth or drones you can take any other bonus power.

Generally, the idea is to use any means possible to make enemies fight themselves or your drone. This way they are distracted and you can take them out one by one.

Squad Point Allocation

This section will cover the end-game build squad point allocation for the Engineer build. This is a quick overview

Engineer build controller squad aiblities mass effect 2

For a mission, you should have either Dominate Level 3 or AI Hacking Level 3. Generally, there are not many missions where you will have both types of these enemies.

Power name Evolution Level (Squad Points)
Overload iconOverload - 3 (6)
Incinerate iconIncinerate Heavy Incinerate/Area Incinerate 4 (10)
Combat Drone Attack Drone 4 (10)
cryo blast iconCryo Blast - 2 (3)
AI Hacking - 3 (6)
Tech Mastery iconTech Mastery Mechanic 4 (10)
dominate mass effect 2Dominate (Bonus Power) - 3 (6)

Bonus Powers

For Engineer build, there are multiple bonus powers that I suggest based on the situation.

  • Dominate - the main ability that I recommend your Engineer build to have when you plan on fighting organic enemies. These include humans, vorcha, krogans, and asari.
  • Warp Ammo - is an excellent option as it deals bonus damage against barriers and armor.
  • Barrier - great survivability ability that increases shields. It has no animation, allowing it to be cast while sprinting.
  • Energy Drain - very good skill against synthetic enemies. Allows to drain their shields and restore your own.
  • Stasis - this is a great Crowd control ability that totally immobilizes enemies. Can be a lifesaver in some difficult fights.

Ability Progression

There are some caveats with this build progression. The thing is that AI Hacking ability only works on Synthetics. To use the controlling ability on organics you will need Dominate. So here is my suggestion

Get Dominate Lv 2 as soon as you can. You will need to have unlocked Morinth either in the current or previous game. This way you will be effective in most missions where you fight against organic enemies. However, for missions that consist of Synthetic enemies like drones or Geth have at least  AI Hacking Lv 2 (level 4 is preferable)

Here is a general progression that I recommend for the Engineer Build:

Order Skill Description
1 Combat Drone Lv 2 Combat Drone is a very important ability for this build. Its main purpose is to distract enemies, however, it also deals some damage. This will greatly improve your combat effectiveness as you can safely shoot down enemies.
2 Overload iconOverload Lv 2 Although we take it for progression it is an effective ability against enemy shields. It will be particularly effective against Blue Suns mercenaries.
3 Incinerate iconIncinerate Lv 2 This is a very important ability as it will allow Engineer to easily dispose of enemy armor. It deals considerable damage and will be effective against boss-like enemies.
4 cryo blast iconCryo Blast Lv 2 We mainly take this for progression. However, it can also be used to freeze enemies that have their defenses stripped. The skill has an extremely low cooldown making it a very good choice for some fast CC.
5 AI Hacking Lv 2
dominate mass effect 2Dominate Lv 2
Get one of these abilities to level 2. They are the pillar of this build that allow controlling organic enemies. Get one of these for a specific level. If you fight synthetics or robots go for AI Hacking otherwise respec (in Research Lab) and get Dominate.
6 Tech Mastery iconTech Mastery Lv 4 Get Mechanic upgrade. With it you will have a 15% longer duration on your abilities. This way Attack Drone and other control abilities will work longer.
7 Combat Drone Lv 4 Upgrade to Attack Drone. We take this upgrade so that the enemy's attention would be drawn away for the longest time possible. This way you can take them out one by one while they concentrate on the drone.
8 AI Hacking Lv 3
dominate mass effect 2Dominate Lv 3
Now we get the highest level of one of these. This way you will be able to have control of the enemy for 9 seconds. Moreover, they will have a decent amount of shields allowing them to soak lots of damage from the other targets.
9 Overload iconOverload Lv 3 We get the third level to deal adequate damage against enemy shields. We skip the fourth level, because, on the last mission, damage to armors is much more valuable
9 Incinerate iconIncinerate Lv 4 Any upgrade works. I prefer Heavy Incinerate, which allows dealing more damage to a single target. I only use this ability with an Engineer when fighting boss enemies. Otherwise, the enemy's protection is taken out by companions.

After you have these, you can then maximize your squad point allocation and have both AI Hacking and Dominate level 3 at the same time. You will not need to respec every other mission.

Tactics and Squad

In this section, I would like to go through some tips on how to best utilize the Engineer Build in Mass Effect 2.

Shuffling abilities and Element Zero

For this build to work you will either need to use AI Hacking or Dominate. Having both of these early and mid-game may be costly. Due to this, I recommend to respec based on the enemies you plan on fighting:

  • Synthetics (Geth, robots) - AI Hacking
  • Organics (human, vorcha, krogan) - Dominate.

However, respec is quite costly and costs Element Zero. So be sure to scan planets and collect as much of it as you can.

Combat Drone

This is a very powerful ability that serves one purpose - to draw enemy attention. Although it deals damage, it is negligible compared to you or your allies.

combat drone mass effect 2

However, it is very effective at wasting the enemy's time. In addition, it can interrupt enemy attacks, making them deal overall less damage.

Just have in mind, that it will not stay alive for long, and should have a plan for your next step.

Use Controlling abilities to their fullest extent

This build revolves around using AI Hacking and Dominate to control both organic and Synthetic enemies. Once they are under control other enemies will start fighting them. This is a perfect opportunity for you to release multiple volleys of shots.

AI Hacking engineer mass effect 2

Moreover, the controlled enemy will get bonus protection so that they would not die instantly. I recommend taking control of the enemy with the lowest HP.

Have your companions help

Companions are very important for this build. You want to have someone who can easily take out any protections for normal enemies: barriers, armors, and shields. Once that is done you can instantly use dominate ability without wasting any time on offensive abilities.

Use everything to create havoc

With all the tips above you should have an enjoyable time using this build:

  • Combat Drone draws attention and deals damage
  • Dominated enemies draw attention and deal damage
  • Companions can easily take out protections and deal damage

engineer combat mass effect 2

As you can see I constantly juggle with all available options in my disposal

Advanced Weapon Training

During the Collector Ship mission, you will be able to obtain Advanced Weapon Training. This means that your Engineer can start using assault rifles, shotguns, and sniper rifles.

  • Assault Rifles - you have some great options that are very effective at mid-range. These are perfect for Engineer build as you want to avoid direct enemy fire.
  • Shotguns - are a more risky option but they can deal tremendous damage from up close. If you have good party composition and Barrier bonus power, you will have no problems in close combat. Of course, there is Geth Plasma Shotgun which is effective from a long range.
  • Sniper Rifles deal adequate damage, however, without any time slowing capabilities like Soldier on Infiltrator it can be hard to hit headshots.

Some caveats

Unfortunately, this build comes with some drawbacks that I want to mention. The big problem is that this is a defensive playstyle. This means that you will not be constantly in the enemy's face and your damage will not be as high, not until higher levels or advanced weapon training.

Have this in mind as some fights will prolong due to the enemy control.


Here is what I recommend for maximizing the squad's effectiveness:

  • Taking Legion, Zaeed or Garrus can be very useful. They deal adequate damage with the Incisor sniper rifle. The problem with this Engineer build is its low damage with weapons until you unlock advanced weapon training
  • Jack can be an extremely useful party member. She has Warp Ammo and with Squad upgrade, it will make you deal more damage against most enemies in the game.
  • If you will fight multiple enemies that have Shield protection take Garrus or Miranda.
  • Against Armored enemies, it is best to have - Samara. Her Reave ability deals double damage against this protection. Mordin is another good choice with his Incinerate and he is available early in the game. Thane and Miranda have Warp, which deals double damage to this protection, however, it seems it is a bit weaker compared to Incinerate
  • For Biotic Barriers definitely take Samara. Reave is a very powerful ability in these situations. Thane and Miranda are other good options as their Warp also deals double damage


This section will cover recommended equipment for the Engineer Build in Mass Effect 2.

Assault Rifles

In case you go with Assault Rifle training during the Collector Ship option here are my recommended weapons:

Weapon Name Effective against Description
M-96 Mattock Heavy rifle mass effect 2M-96 Mattock Armor
My go-to option for rifles. It makes the Engineer much stronger in ranged combat and allows for faster protection stripping
M-15 Vindicator mass effect 2M-15 Vindicator Armor
This is the second option that I suggest taking. Unfortunately, it has fairly low ammo capacity.


Here are weapon options if you choose Shotguns for Advanced weapon training

Weapon Name Effective against Description
geth plasma shotgun mass effect 2Geth Plasma Shotgun Shields
This is a special shotgun that can also shoot accurately from mid-range. This means that you do not need to expose yourself as much. However, it only releases 3 pellets.
m 27 scimitar mass effect 2M-27 Scimitar Barriers
Although this shotgun is a bit weaker compared to other options it has an 8 ammo clip. This allows to release multiple shoots and constantly suppress enemies with fire.

Of course, you can pick any other shotgun here. Just try them out and see how well you can utilize them.

Submachine Guns

Weapon Name Effective against Description
m-9 tempest mass effect 2M-9 Tempest Shields
This is my go-to option against Shields and Barriers. It has a 1.5x multiplier against them, making it very effective against multiple enemies in the game.
m-12 locust smg mass effect 2M-12 Locust Armor
Another SMG option. It has lower multipliers. However, each of its shots deals more damage compared to the above option.

Heavy Pistol

Weapon Name Effective against Description
M-5 phalanx mass effect 2M-5 Phalanx Armors This is my favorite pistol. It provides laser sight for 100% accuracy while aiming down sights. It is also very effective against armors and I use it once I am out of submachine gun ammo.
M 6 carnifex mass effect 2M-6 Carnifex Armors This one has high damage and is obtainable early in the game.

Heavy Weapons

Generally, any weapon works here. However, my favorite ones are below:

Weapon Name Effective against Description
collector particle beam mass effect 2Collector Particle Beam Shields
I enjoy using this weapon in tight situations. It also is very good in the late game against Collectors.
arc projector mass effect 2Arc Projector Armor
This weapon is very effective against a group of enemies. It can easily strip their defenses.


This section will cover what armors I recommend for Shepard Engineer Build. There are multiple options and a few things to concentrate on:

Type Armor Description
Helmet Archon Visor Reduces the recharge time of your powers by 5%
Helmet Umbra Visor Increases power damage by 5%
Chest N7 Chestplate Increases power damage by 3%.
Shoulders Amplifier Plates Increases power damage by 5%.
Shoulders Kestrel Shoulder Pieces Increases shields by 8%
Increases melee damage by 10%
Arms Heavy Damping Gauntlets Increases shields by 5%.
Legs Kestrel Power Pack Increases shields by 8%
Increases heavy weapon ammo capacity by 5%
Legs Stimulator Conduits Increases storm speed by 10%.

Pick the ones based on your preference.


Thank you for reading this Engineer build post in Mass Effect 2. I hope you enjoyed it and now better understand how to use this stealth class correctly.

Feel free to leave a comment below!


Post author zanuffas avatar zanuffas
Gamestegy Founder. I have been writing game guides and builds for 4 years. I like to push myself to create something wonderful for the readers!