Best Soldier Class Build in Mass Effect: Legendary Edition


Across the Mass Effect trilogy, players can select a class for their unique Commander Shepard from one of six options. In Mass Effect, there are six classes combining weapons combat, biotic, and tech abilities. Three classes, Soldier, Adept, and Engineer, are the pure combat, biotics, and tech classes, respectively. The other three, Vanguard, Sentinel, and Infiltrator, combine abilities from two classes to allow Shepard a greater range of combat options. The Soldier class is the default option for both a male and female Shepard and is a pure combat class. It is a good choice for players who want to ignore abilities and treat their Mass Effect playthrough more as a shooter than an RPG. While they don’t have many abilities outside an optional bonus power and ammo abilities, Soldiers have the highest possible weapon damage output and health in the series.

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Related: Mass Effect’s Solider Class Explained

Soldiers are effective warriors at all ranges. In the classic trilogy, they were the only class that had all available weapons proficiencies from the start, including the Assault Rifle proficiency. In Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, any class can use any loadout, but Soldiers will still benefit from their ability to absorb and deal increased amounts of damage and use the best weapons and armor. When building Shepard as a Soldier across the Mass Effect trilogy, players should invest squad points to increase damage absorption and output, select bonus abilities to supplement weaknesses, and choose the best equipment and squadmates to round out their team for any situation.

How to Spec Soldier Abilities in Mass Effect: Legendary Edition

Shepard fights husks in Mass Effect 2

Soldiers across the Mass Effect trilogy will have access to most of the same abilities, with a few minor differences. In Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3, after reaching Level 4 on an ability, players can select powerful upgrades for each one based on their preferred fighting style.

Players will need to be careful when selecting a bonus power for a Soldier Shepard. Soldiers do not have access to Omni-Tools for tech ability boosts, nor do they have bio amps for biotics abilities. This makes those bonus abilities less potent than they would be for other classes.

Soldier Abilities in Mass Effect

  • Combat Armor: Reduces damage, increases armor hardening, unlocks the ability to wear Heavy Armor, and grants the Shield Boost ability for further protection
  • First Aid: Increases the amount of health restored by medi-gel; only requires about 4 points to be effective.
  • Assault Training: Unlocks the Adrenaline Burst ability; increases melee and weapon damage
  • Adrenaline Burst: Resets the cooldown of every ability
  • Fitness: Increases total health and amount of time Shepard can spend out of cover; increases health and Immunity cooldown time; unlocks Immunity
  • Immunity: Allows Shepard to absorb a portion of damage dealt without losing health.
  • Soldier: Improves Shepard’s survivability by boosting health and health regeneration; allows Shepard to further specialize as a Commando or Shock Trooper
  • Specter Training: Increases health, adds the Unity ability to revive squadmates, and provides a bonus to damage, power duration, and accuracy.

Suggested Bonus Abilities:

  • Decryption: Unlocks the Sabotage ability that overloads enemy weapons and prevents them from firing; makes it easier to unlock doors and containers
  • Electronics: Allows Shepard to unlock crates, salvage probes, and repair the Mako; helps eliminate enemy shields and provides a shield bonus to Shepard
  • Singularity: Lifts multiple enemies into the air and sends them flying or crashing to the ground; good for crowd control.

Shepard, Ashley, and Liara fight from cover in Mass Effect 3

Soldier Abilities in Mass Effect 2

  • Adrenaline Rush: Key Soldier ability that increases weapon damage for a short time while slowing time around Shepard to 50%, allowing them to line up shots
  • Concussive Shot: Stuns enemies, damages barriers, and knocks enemies without shields or armor backward with a high-impact shot
  • Cryo Ammo: Freezes targets after a few seconds on impact; less useful at higher difficulties
  • Incendiary Ammo: Burns through enemy armor, increasing damage against organics over time; prevents health regeneration
  • Disruptor Ammo: Destroys shields; disables synthetics who no longer have armor and shields; useless against organics, barriers, and armor
  • Combat Mastery: Increases Shepard’s health, storm speed, and Paragon/Renegade scores and decreases power recharge time; evolves into Commando or Shock Trooper.

Suggested Bonus Powers:

  • Geth Shield Boost: Greatly increases shields and, at Rank 4, can provide a 10% damage bonus
  • Barrier/Fortification: Creates additional biotic barriers or armor
  • Armor-Piercing Ammo: Boosts damage to armor and health
  • Warp Ammo: Cuts through biotic barriers; increases damage against targets affected by biotic abilities like Pull or Singularity
  • Reave: Drain armor or shields from an enemy from range; grants temporary health regeneration
  • Inferno Grenade: Sets multiple enemies on fire to get them out of cover and cause them to panic
  • Flashbang Grenade: Disorients enemies, overheats weapons, and disrupts tech and biotic abilities for crowd control.

Soldier Abilities in Mass Effect 3

  • Adrenaline Rush: Key Soldier ability that increases weapon damage for a short time while slowing time around Shepard to 50%, allowing them to line up shots; in Mass Effect 3, using Adrenaline Rush refills a weapon’s clip automatically
  • Concussive Shot: Stuns enemies, damages barriers, and knocks enemies without shields or armor backward with a high-impact shot; detonates tech combos
  • Cryo Ammo: Freezes targets after a few seconds on impact; cuts through armor
  • Incendiary Ammo: Burns through enemy armor, increasing damage against organics over time; prevents health regeneration
  • Disruptor Ammo: Destroys shields; disables synthetics who no longer have armor and shields; deals bonus damage to Barriers and can stun organics in Mass Effect 3
  • Frag Grenade: Damages enemies with a shrapnel-packed grenade; detonates ammo ability setups
  • Fitness: Increases Shepard’s health, shields, and melee damage; increases ability recharge speeds at higher levels
  • Combat Mastery: Increases Shepard’s weapon and power damage, reputation, and carrying capacity.

Suggested Bonus Powers:

  • Barrier/Fortification: Creates additional biotic barriers or armor
  • Energy Drain: Boosts Shepard’s shields by draining enemy shields or synthetic enemies in general
  • Warp Ammo: Cuts through biotic barriers; increases damage against targets affected by biotic abilities like Pull or Singularity
  • Armor-Piercing Ammo: Boosts damage to armor and health
  • Proximity Mine: Creates a sticky mine that detonates when an enemy moves within range; useful against Atlas mechs and Banshees at higher levels; detonates power combos
  • Flare: Create a huge biotic blast that causes massive damage, even around cover; players must take the rank 6 power use evolution of Adrenaline Rush to avoid massive cooldown times on Flare.
  • Defense Drone: Creates a holographic drone that electrocutes enemies in firing range; only useful against melee enemies like husks

Legion snipes Reapers on the IFF in Mass Effect 2

In the original Mass Effect, players should prioritize investing points into Charm or Intimidate to buff their Paragon or Renegade score. These unlock special dialogue options. Higher Charm scores provide bonuses to first aid and power cooldown time, while higher Intimidate scores increase power and weapon damage.

In Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3, players should prioritize maxing out the Combat Mastery ability. It allows Shepard to choose a specialization between Commando and Shock Trooper. Shock Trooper adds further bonuses to Paragon/Renegade scores, boosts health, and increases power duration. Commando increases weapons and power damage and storm speed. In Mass Effect 3, Combat Mastery significantly increases weapon and power damage, reputation, and carrying capacity right away.

How to Select Soldier Equipment and Squadmates in Mass Effect: Legendary Edition

Shepard and Jacob fight through the Cerberus facility at the start of Mass Effect 2

Soldiers may select any weapon loadout they prefer in Mass Effect: Legendary Edition. Many fans who choose soldier elect to use Assault Rifles. Assault Rifles are versatile weapons that are effective against all enemies and defenses. Some Soldier players may also prefer using Sniper Rifles to fight from range. Generally, Heavy Pistols and SMGs can be good options, but primarily as a backup weapon. Ultimately, it is up to player preference. In Mass Effect 3, players need to be mindful of carrying weight to ensure they don’t suffer major cooldowns on Adrenaline Rush or their ammo powers.

Shepard should purchase or research armor upgrades that increase damage, improve survivability, increase ammo capacity, and power recharge speed. Good options include:

  • Hahne-Kedar set
  • Kestrel armor set
  • Kuwashii Visor
  • Aegis Vest
  • Strength Boost Pads
  • Off-Hand Ammo Pack
  • Stimulator Conduits
  • Kassa Fabrication Chest
  • Armax Arsenal Shoulders
  • Rosenkov Materials Gauntlets

Additionally, the best Mass Effect: Legendary Edition squadmates a Soldier Shepard can bring along will fill in for some of their weak points, particularly in tech and biotic abilities. Squadmates with tech proficiencies, like Tali and Garrus, Legion, and EDI are effective. Jack, Samara, and Liara are also good choices for biotic detonations. For the most well-rounded squad, Shepard should always have one squadmate with tech abilities and one with biotic abilities with them. However, bringing two biotics instead can be a deadly combination.

Next: Mass Effect: Legendary Edition – Best Infiltrator Class Build

Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is available for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, with backward compatibility for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.

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