Best Soldier Build - Constant Explosions

Best Soldier Build - Constant Explosions - Mass Effect 3 (ME3)

By zanuffas
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This post covers the best Soldier build in Mass Effect 3 and Mass Effect 3 Legendary Edition. The class relies on ammo and combat powers. They are the most proficient in weapon handling.

Soldier Build - Explosions Master

The build revolves around three main abilities, maybe even two. The idea is that you can create and detonate your own Tech and Fire Explosions. This allows singlehandedly to take out a group of enemies even if they are protected. Of course, you also have 2 companions that can further improve what you can do with combos.

mass effect 3 best insanity soldier build

The build is able to set up Tech Bursts, that then companions exploit when fighting Geth Prime after each shot. Moreover, a small rocket is released after each snipe that then explodes - Concussive Shot. Soldier build can go both ways - solo or help the team

Squad Point Allocation

This section covers how Squad points should be allocated for the end game on the Soldier Build

soldier build squad abilities mass effect 3

Power name Upgrades Order Level (Points)
adrenaline rush me3Adrenaline Rush - -
concussive shot mass effect 3Concussive Shot Force & Damage
Recharge Speed
6 (21)
frag grenade mass effect 3Frag Grenade - 1 (1)
Incendiary ammo mass effect 3Incendiary Ammo Damage
Explosive burst
6 (21)
disruptor ammo mass effect 3Disruptor Ammo Damage
6 (21)
cryo ammo me3Cryo Ammo - -
combat mastery mass effect 3Combat Mastery Damage
Weapon Master
6 (21)
fitness mass effect 3Fitness Durability
Shield Recharge
Fitness Expert
6 (21)

Bonus Ability

Here I will cover what bonus abilities you should be picking with the Soldier.

Power name Upgrades order Description
marksman mass effect 3Marksman Firing Rate
Accuracy & Firing Rate
This is a very good skill if you are using fast firing weapon with Incendiary Ammo. This will improve fire rate and accuracy, allowing to detonate of more Explosive Bursts.
fortification mass effect 3Fortification Durability
Power SynergyPower Recharge
This is more of a defensive ability that will improve Soldier survivability. Also, it has an upgrade that improves power damage by 30%. Have in mind that it reduces power recharge speed, so equip light weapons.

Ability Progression

This section covers detailed ability progression for Soldier Build. This is just a suggested progression, feel free to adjust it based on your needs. The idea

Order Skill Description
1 concussive shot mass effect 3Concussive Shot Lv 3 This will be the bread and butter of the Soldier Build. At first, you will mainly use it to damage barriers or knockout enemies. However, once you get ammo powers, use this to detonate Tech and Fire Explosions
2 frag grenade mass effect 3Frag Grenade Lv 1 I recommend putting one point at the start of the game as grenades deal substantial damage and will be very useful against some stronger enemies.
3 Incendiary ammo mass effect 3Incendiary Ammo Lv 3 One of the main abilities of the build. At this point in time, it will be useful for quickly damaging enemy armor and burning through their health. Once they are on fire, use a Concussive shot to detonate the Fire Explosion combo.
4 disruptor ammo mass effect 3Disruptor Ammo Lv 3 This ammo power will help to deal with - shields, barriers, and synthetic enemies. Once enemies have a shock animation on them, use Concussive Shot to detonate Tech Burst.
6 Incendiary ammo mass effect 3Incendiary Ammo Lv 6 Now we truly unlock the skill capabilities. Get Damage, Headshots, and Explosive Burst upgrades. The latter will give a 50% chance to create an explosion that deals 100 damage and affects nearby enemies. It is ineffective against shields and barriers.
7 concussive shot mass effect 3Concussive Shot Lv 6 Finally, we fully upgrade this skill by taking Force & Damage (can take Radius), Recharge Speed, and Amplification upgrades. With this Concussive shot can prime Fire Bursts and thanks to fast recharge detonate them after a few seconds. It also gets bonus powers from currently enabled Ammo power.
8 disruptor ammo mass effect 3Disruptor Ammo Lv 6 The last of core abilities is now maximized, take Damage, Headshots, and Damage upgrades. This will maximize the ability effectiveness against shields and barriers. Unfortunately, it does not prime Tech Bursts with Concussive Shot (Due to a bug), but normal shots can do that after a certain damage threshold.

With these abilities, the build should be ready for most of the game encounters. You will be able to create self-combos - tech and fire explosions and will be effective against barriers, armor, and shields.

This is also an excellent time to put some points to bonus powers if you feel a need.

Order Skill Description
8 combat mastery mass effect 3Combat Mastery Lv 5 This passive skill improves the main stats of the soldier. Take the Damage and Headshots upgrades.
10 fitness mass effect 3Fitness Lv 3 This is a great passive perk that improves the durability of Shepard Soldier build
11 combat mastery mass effect 3Combat Mastery Lv 6 The last upgrade Weapon Master will improve weapon damage and ammo powers. This is especially important as Soldier build will always be using them
13 fitness mass effect 3Fitness Lv 6 As we do not use a melee approach concentrate on these upgrades - Durability, Shield Recharge, and Fitness Expert

As you can see, I do not take Adrenaline Rush. Even though it is the iconic ability of Soldier in the Mass Effect series. Unfortunately, it only slows down the combat, as the instant cooldowns of Concussive Shot allow you to constantly stagger and combo enemies. Adrenaline Rush does not allow abilities during its duration (1 ability can be used with a specific upgrade) and after that has a substantial cooldown.

Tactics and Squad

It would seem that Soldier is a simple class that relies on gun combat. However, there are many things to consider, especially when preparing to fight enemies.

The build can have multiple approaches and I will try to cover them here.

Marksman, Incendiary Ammo, and Fast firing weapons

This is a deadly combo. Incendiary Ammo has an Explosive Burst upgrade, which procs the same on all weapons. So to activate it as often as possible you can use weapons with a high rate of fire.

soldier build incendiary ammo

This allows for taking out a three-group enemy in a matter of seconds. Of course, you can use Assault Rifle, which will deal more damage by itself. However, I wanted to showoff that this combination of skills and items relies on your accuracy rather than what weapons you pick.

Of course, you can also use Shotguns as they release 8 pellets at the same time, allowing you to create 4 Explosive bursts in a single shot. This is a good alternative if you prefer to be more in the enemy's face.

Disruptor Ammo

My recommended choice here is to use this ability together with a sniper rifle. They can at most times apply the electrocution effect from a single shot which then primes the enemy for Tech Burst.

soldier build disruptor ammo tech burst mass effect 3

In my opinion, this is much better than landing multiple shots with Assault Rifle and guessing which one will activate it. Once that happens, use Concussive Shot to instantly detonate it. I have found this to be a very satisfying and effective combo.

Of course, you may still use Assault Rifle, but in my opinion, it is not as effective with this particular Ammo ability.

Sniper + SMG

This is my favorite approach, it works very well when you fight enemies that have Shields or are synthetics, for example, Geth. The idea is that you use Sniper with Disruptor Ammo, to prime Tech Bursts. After that, you can use Concussive Shot or get help from companions via Overload to detonate the combo.

This is a very powerful option and can take out a group of enemies in a few seconds. What makes this amazing is that this is not all.

In case you encounter enemies with Armor or just plain health, switch to SMG + Incendiary Ammo + Marksman (mentioned above), and tear them apart using the Explosive Burst upgrade. Feel free to use Concussive Shot to detonate Fire Explosion on primed enemies.

Weight management

The build relies heavily on good weight management. If you have high penalties, your abilities will take a long time to recharge. This will be problematic if you want to use Concussive Shot anytime that enemy is primed by your or companions' skills.

My preferred loadouts:

  1. Sniper Rifle + SMG
  2. Assault Rifle

Of course, you can also go with Sniper Rifle + Assault Rifle. However, it came with a higher-weight penalty. I felt that I was not able to use Concussive Shot at will, due to longer cooldown times.


I think this Soldier build fits particularly well with other classes that can use Tech Powers. I do not think it is useful to take it on a group with biotic users:

  • EDI - she is a perfect choice. She can use Overload and Incinerate. Both of these abilities can take out enemy shields, barriers, and armor. Moreover, they can then be used to create combos with Tech and Fire Bursts.
  • Tali - she is a perfect companion for this. You can use her Energy Shield to detonate enemies primed for Tech Bursts. So try to mix your own abilities and hers for constant combos.
  • Garrus - probably the most overpowered companion, that fluidly matches with Soldier. Besides having huge Assault Rifle damage, he has both Overload and a Concussive Shot. These abilities are a perfect match for a Soldier

If you wish on having Biotic users, take two of these:

  • Javik - for his Dark Channel skill
  • Liara - for Warp and Singularity
  • Kaidan - for Reave and also Overload.

They will be able to cooperate separately to create Biotic Explosions, but this may require a lot of micromanaging.


This section will cover what equipment you should be using with Soldier Build.

Assault Rifles

The good thing about this build is that Concussive Shot can be an alternative to empty ammo. So if you are only carrying Assault Rifle you can easily go through it easily.

Name Upgrades Description
geth pulse rifle mass effect 3Geth Pulse Rifle Magainze Upgrade
Stability Damper
Piercing Mod
Has an extremely high fire rate and the largest clip. It allows continuous fire and is perfect for creating multiple Explosive Bursts.
particle rifle mass effect 3Particle Rifle Magainze Upgrade
Stability Damper
Piercing Mod
Another fast-firing rifle. However, I do not prefer its mechanics of overheating and rather prefer reloads.
M-76 revenant mass effect 3M-76 Revenant Magainze Upgrade
Stability Damper
Piercing Mod
A very powerful rifle, with a large clip and a high rate of fire. The main drawback is its high recoil. A good combo with Incendiary Ammo


I personally do not prefer Shotguns on this build. The main reason is that we do not have any way to instantly restore shields in close combat. Of course, you can use something like Fortification with that if needed.

Generally, you would want a semi-automatic shotgun that could easily shoot multiple shots. This way there is a high chance to apply multiple Explosive Bursts with Incendiary Ammo skill.

Name Upgrades Description
N7 piranha mass effect 3N7 Piranha Spare Thermal Clip
Shredder Mod
Smart Choke
A very powerful shotgun that is fully automatic. It has a large clip size and is lightweight.
M 22 eviscerator mass effect 3M-22 Eviscerator Smart Choke
Spare Thermal Clip
A truly powerful option. It has a smaller clip size which could make it less efficient with Incendiary Ammo compared to other options.
m27 scimitar mass effect 3M-27 Scimitar Smart Choke
High Caliber Barrel
This shotgun can be obtained early in the game. It comes with a high fire rate and good accuracy. Unfortunately, it deals less damage compared with other weapons in the category.

Sniper Rifles

Name Upgrades Description
m 97 viper mass effect 3M-97 Viper Ultralight Materials
Extend Barrel
A perfect sniper rifle to prime Tech Bursts with a single shot. For this to happen use it together with Disruptor Ammo

For the Soldier Build I think that this is the best option. Other Sniper Rifles will have a slower fire rate, smaller clips, etc. And this one is enough to apply Ammo effects from single shots.

Submachine Guns

These weapons are perfect to be used with Incendiary Ammo as they have a high fire rate. The main question is whether you can accurately shoot with them

Name Upgrades Description
geth plasma smg me3Geth Plasma SMG Magazine
Heat Sink
By default I recommend this one, it has the highest fire rate and good accuracy. A perfect weapon for priming combos with ammo abilities.
m9 tempest me3M-9 Tempest Recoil System
This SMG has a high fire rate and decent clip capacity. However, it requires some practice due to its large recoil. It is also the lightest option of the three.
n7 hurricane mass effect 3N7 Hurricane Magazine
Recoil System
This SMG burns through ammo extremely fast. Moreover, it has high recoil. But all of this is rewarded with high base damage.

Heavy Pistol

Unfortunately, I do not use Heavy Pistols for this build. However, it theoretically could be an alternative to Sniper Rifle as the weapon has high damage. This would result in instant activation of ammo powers

Name Upgrades Description
m77 paladin mass effect 3M-77 Paladin Magazine
Ultralight Materials
Piercing Mod
A high-tier weapon that deals high damage. It is also lightweight and has a low impact on power cooldown.
M 358 talon mass effect 3M-358 Talon Magazine
Ultralight Materials
Piercing Mod
A shotgun-like pistol that releases multiple bullets from a single shot. Also deals bonus damage to shields and barriers.


I recommend these armor sets for Soldier Build in Mass Effect 3. They offer highest bonus to weapon damage.

Name Effects
cerberus armor me3.jpgCerberus Armor +10% Ammo Capacity
+20% Weapon Damage
+10% Shields
+20% Health
cerberus nightmare armor mass effect 3Cerberus Nightmare Armor +20% Ammo Capacity
+20% Headshot Damage
+20% Weapon Damage
+10% Shield Regen Speed
+10% Shields

If you wish to go with separate parts. Here is what I recommend:

Type Armor Description
Helmet kuwashii visor me3Kuwashii Visor Increases weapon damage by 5% and headshot damage by 10%
Helmet recon hood me3Recon Hood Increases weapon damage by 10% 
Helmet delumcore overlay me3Delumcore Overlay Increases headshot damage by 5%
Increases weapon damage by 10%
Chest hahne kedar chest me3Hahne-Kedar Increase weapon damage by 10% 
Shoulders armax arsenal shoulders me3Armax Arsenal Increase weapon damage by 5%
Increase headshot damage by 10%
Shoulders hahne kedar shoulders me3Hahne-Kedar Increase weapon damage by 10% 
Arms armax arsenal arms me3Armax Arsenal Increase weapon damage by 5%
Increase headshot damage by 10%
Arms hahne kedar arms me3Hahne-Kedar Increase weapon damage by 10% 
Legs hahne kedar legs me3Hahne-Kedar Increase weapon damage by 10% 


Thank you for reading this post on the best Soldier build in Mass Effect 3. I covered recommended abilities and their progression, best equipment, and tactics.

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!