Best Vanguard Melee Build

Best Vanguard Melee Build - Mass Effect: Andromeda (MEA)

By zanuffas
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This post covers the best Vanguard Melee build in Mass Effect Andromeda. This Biotic class is the epitome of aggressive play using melee combat weapons. Moreover, they become effective at using skills that consume shields, instead of cooldown times.

Vanguard Melee Build - Space Samurai

With this build our goal is to use Melee attacks to utilize the huge bonuses that we get from the Vanguard profile. The result is a fast-paced build that looks something like space samurai. Each melee hit will also restore shields, allowing sustained combat encounters

vanguard melee build combat mass effect andromeda

Unfortunately, the build has some weaknesses. For example, it has problems against airborne enemies like Remnant Constructs. Another difficult encounter would be Architects with their special mechanics, which you cannot reach with melee. Unfortunately, Fiends can also be difficult if they catch you with their finisher move. Fear not, I have some weapon recommendations, that will make these encounters easy.

Another downside is that we do not have many bonuses to combo detonations. However, if you wish to use them and also use Vanguard like Charge, check the Adept build

The build has been tested on Insanity difficulty

Skills allocation

This section covers how skill points should be allocated for the end game on the Vanguard Build.

Check this post on how to reset Ryder skill points and start using this build

Biotic Skills

vanguard build biotic skills mass effect andromeda

Power name Upgrades Choices Description
charge mass effect andromedaCharge
  1. Damage & Force
  2. Weapons & Melee
  3. Bastion
The bread and butter of this build. It allows one to swiftly attack enemies from great distances. Moreover, it restores your shields, provides damage resistance, and improves melee damage/ Not only that but this animation also provides invincibility frames, allowing you to play extremely risky.
annihilation mass effect andromedaAnnihilation
  1. Any
  2. Damage Attractor
  3. Draining Field
The second active skill of the ability. For the 4th level upgrade, both options work. However, I would recommend taking Recharge Penalty if you are not using Fusion Mod of Rapid Deployment
barrier mass effect 3Barrier
  1. Recuperative Barrier
  2. Biotic Alacrity
  3. Active Barrier
Defensive passive skill that improves shield capacity, carry weight, shield regeneration, etc. More importantly, it restores shields by 10% after each enemy is killed.
offensive biotics mass effect andromedaOffensive Biotics
  1. Amplitude
  2. Exploitation
  3. Biotic Warrior
Provides damage, power recharge cooldown, and other offensive bonuses. The level 4 upgrade is a difficult choice. However, I went with more Biotic damage. My main reason is that only one of our powers relies on recharge times, while all benefit from greater damage.
containment mass effect andromedaContainment
  1. Radius
  2. Shield Detonation
  3. Event Horizon
Provides general improvements to biotic skills like Radius, force, etc.

This still leaves one skill slot. What to choose? Generally, I think there are two biotic abilities that use the bonuses from Vanguard. Both of them have their own benefits. So pick your choice.

Power name Upgrades Choices Description
lance mass effect andromedaLance
  1. Damage & Force
  2. Anti-shield
  3. Shield-powered
My personal preference for this build. Take the Shield-Powered upgrade at level 6. With the Vanguard profile, the shield cost to use is very low. So you can use it to detonate combos, damage shields, etc. I think it expands some of the combat options for Vanguard.
nova mass effect andromedaNova
  1. Damage & Force
  2. Any
  3. Shield Powered
This ability allows doing a melee-like biotic attack that does AOE damage. Perfect when there are a group of enemies, and you want to dispatch them quickly. With the upgrades we choose, it will have no cooldown but use shields, that you can easily recharge by killing enemies or using Charge.

Combat Skills

vanguard build combat skills mass effect andromeda

Power name Upgrades Choices Description
shotguns skill icon mass effect andromedaShotguns
  1. Weight
  2. Clip Size
  3. Melee Synergy
Improves shotgun weapon handling. Generally, try to increase the clip size, as we will use Bio-Converter whenever possible. Moreover, we need the last upgrade Melee Synergy. It gives a large boost to melee damage after a shotgun shot.
combat fitness mass effect andromedaCombat Fitness
  1. Regeneration
  2. Any
  3. Hold the Line
Amazing defensive passive skill that improves health regeneration. The last upgrade gives a huge damage resistance boost when the HP is low
combat tools mass effect andromedaCombat Tools
  1. Evasion
  2. Aerial Melee
  3. Martial Arts
Provides bonuses to jumping and melee combat.


You will need to spend 116 skill points in Biotic and Combat trees each to unlock level 6 Vanguard profile
Profile Description
vanguard profile icon mass effect andromedaVanguard The vanguard profile gives boosts to melee damage and reduces the shield costs of some abilities (Lance or Nova, with specific upgrades). Moreover, it gives an increased biotic skill cooldown rate

Ability Progression

This section covers detailed ability progression for the best Vanguard Melee Build. This is just a suggested progression, feel free to adjust it based on your needs.

Generally, you want to pump up your biotic skills and sprinkle combat little by little. This will make early to mid-game much easier.

Order Skill Description
1 lance mass effect andromedaLance Lv 3
nova mass effect andromedaNova Lv 3
We unlock the first active skill and get Offensive Biotics to accumulate 9 spent skill points for the next abilities.
2 offensive biotics mass effect andromedaOffensive Biotics Lv 2
3 charge mass effect andromedaCharge Lv 3 The main ability of this build. You can also use it to detonate combos that your companions apply
4 annihilation mass effect andromedaAnnihilation Lv 4 I recommend taking the Recharge Penalty upgrade early in the game. Later on, level 25+, when you have good power recharge times feel free to switch it to Radius. Moreover, if you will not use Fusion Mod of Rapid Deployment then keep the Recharge Penalty upgrade.
5 shotguns skill icon mass effect andromedaShotguns Lv 3 First combat skill to unlock Vanguard profile
6 offensive biotics mass effect andromedaOffensive Biotics Lv 5 Get the sweet Exploitation upgrade for more damage.
7 charge mass effect andromedaCharge Lv 6 Get the recommended upgrade. Now you will also get a damage resistance boost and increased melee damage.
8 shotguns skill icon mass effect andromedaShotgun Lv 5 Some improvements to shotguns and 2nd level of Vanguard profile unlock.
9 annihilation mass effect andromedaAnnihilation Lv 6 Huge improvements to damage and shield restore after each kill
10 barrier mass effect 3Barrier Lv 3 Get some defensive stats to boost
11 lance mass effect andromedaLance Lv 6
nova mass effect andromedaNova Lv 6
Finish upgrading your last active skill. This will also enable you to use them with shields instead of having a cooldown.
12 shotguns skill icon mass effect andromedaShotgun Lv 6 Get the last level and unlock Melee Synergy
13 combat fitness mass effect andromedaCombat Fitness Lv 6 Improves your survivability.
14 offensive biotics mass effect andromedaOffensive Biotics Lv 6 Maximize passive abilities to improve general build survivability, melee damage, and biotic powers.
15 barrier mass effect 3Barrier Lv 6
16 combat tools mass effect andromedaCombat Tools Lv 6
17 containment mass effect andromedaContainment Lv 6
18 Any Combat skill Lv 6 Unlocks level 5 Vanguard profile
19 2 Combat Skills Lv 6 Unlocks level 6 Vanguard profile

Now you can invest more into the combat tree to unlock Vanguard Lv 6.


This section will cover playing the best Vanguard build in Mass Effect Andromeda.

Main Combat rotation

Although the build's idea is to use Melee weapons, you should still incorporate biotic powers and shotguns. Let me explain

The shotgun passive skill gives a 40% melee damage boost after shooting and hitting an enemy. This is a crazy large boost. After using melee, your shotgun shot is boosted by 25%. However, this is not all. Charge and Offensive Biotics, also provide more melee damage after using biotic skill

So generally this would drill down to:

  1. Use Biotic skill (Charge)
  2. Shoot with shotgun
  3. Use melee attack
  4. Shoot with shotgun

Of course, for the melee attack to get the bonus from biotics you only have 3 seconds and you must not miss with a shotgun. So this may be difficult to perform. However, if you fight simple unprotected enemies, using shotgun + melee or biotic +melee is usually enough

How to fight Heavily armored enemies

The weakest part of this build is fighting Armored enemies like Fiends or Hydras. Unfortunately, If you do not have good timing you will be easily taken out by their grab attacks, which instantly kill Ryder. However, you can deal with them easily by equipping good guns. Check the gear section for recommended weapons.

vanguard build melee biotic ranged combat mass effect andromeda

My preferred choice is N7 Piranha which with correct augments makes fighting these enemies easier. Of course, you can still engage them in melee combat which is risky. Moreover, we have one more option in the arsenal. If you picked Lance, use it to create Biotic Combos together with Annihilation


Okay, so now let's take a look at how best we can support the Vanguard Melee build. Check the squad build recommendations


cora skills mass effect andromeda

She is very useful for this build and fills all the roles we need. With her Nova, she can prime enemies for Biotic combos. Moreover, she has Shield Boost ability. This instantly restores shields, the provides a bonus shield regeneration. That is not all, this also gives HP regeneration that you may need

More or less she ensures that you would not die in most of the encounters that would be too risky.


jaal skills mass effect andromeda

He is a great addition to the party. Jaal has two skills that can prime enemies for Tech Combos. This gives some variety to the type of damage you do with detonations. However, for Avenger Strike, you will need to finish his loyalty mission


drack skills mass effect andromeda

Drack is a beast. He has one active ability Incinerate that primes enemies for Fire Combos. In addition, his Krogan Warrior level 6 upgrade allows him to shoot fire bullets, ensuring even more burning and combos. That is not all, he is extremely sturdy and his AI makes him run into enemies. This is perfect as it ensures you can avoid some of the enemy's attention


peebee skills mass effect andromeda

Her biotic abilities are top-notch. With Pull and Shockwave, she can prime enemies for Biotic Combos. Be sure to be on the lookout if you see a floating enemy and exploit this with either Charge or Lance. Generally, she should greatly improve the number of combos you detonate with Ryder.


Vetra skills mass effect andromeda

Has two abilities that can create Tech Combos - Power Armor and Turian Smuggler. However, both of them need a level upgrade, which can only be obtained once you finish her loyalty mission.


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


Choosing a good weapon can make the early game much easier with Vanguard.

Name Mods Augmentations
n7 piranha mass effect andromedaN7 Piranha
  • Shotgun Melee Optimizer
  • Shotgun Barrel
  • Shotgun Receiver
dhan mass effect andromedaDhan
  • Shotgun Melee Optimizer
  • Shotgun Barrel
  • Shotgun Receiver

There is also an option that maximizes your power and melee damage. Moreover, you can still use it for Melee Synergy shotgun skill.

Name Mods Augmentations
scattershot mass effect andromedaScattershot
  • Shotgun Melee Optimizer
  • Shotgun Barrel
  • Shotgun Receiver

Melee Weapons

Having a good melee weapon is important for the Vanguard melee build. The main reason is that the augmentations that you choose apply all the time. So go for the one that has the most slots (these are Ultra Rare)

Name Augmentations Description
asari sword mass effect andromedaAsari Sword Has 4 augmentation slots, the most out of all melee weapons. However, it also has a unique effect that makes the wielder invulnerable during its use. I prefer adding 4 Biotic Recharge Module to have a good recharge rate for Charge


Here are what Armor pieces I recommend for the Vanguard

Armor piece Stats Augmentation options
heleus icon helmet mass effect andromedaHeleus Helmet +7%-25% Power Damage
+2%-8% Weapon Damage
hyperguardian armor mass effect andromedaHyperguardian Chest +10%-25% Max Health
+2%-15% Max Shields
+20%-40% Melee Damage 
n7 legs armor mass effect andromedaN7 Legs +2%-12% Max Shields
+3%-12% Biotic Power Damage 
n7 arms armor mass effect andromedaN7 Arms +2%-12% Max Shields
+3%-12% Biotic Power Damage 

Fusion Mods

Name Description
fusion mod of rapid deployment mass effect andromedaFusion Mod of Rapid Deployment I do not think this mod is necessary, however, you should try it. This mod gives 50% power recharge speed and decreases weapon damage by 30%. For me this gives enough safeguards, to freely use Charge whenever I want to restore shields
fusion mod of battering mass effect andromedaFusion Mod of Battering Gives 30% melee damage, by decreasing all other damage that Ryder does by 20%. I definitely recommend this one, if you are okay with missing the 50% recharge rate from Fusion Mod of Rapid Deployment


Thank you for reading this post on the best Vanguard Melee build in Mass Effect Andromeda. 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!