Day 0 Guide for the New Vanguard Class in Mass Effect 3's Earth DLC

Comic-Con 2012: Take a closer look at this character build for the new N7 Slayer multiplayer class in Mass Effect 3.


Mass Effect 3

By now you've probably saved the universe in Mass Effect 3 a few times over. However, developer BioWare is hoping you'll keep your galactic readiness rating high--just in case--by pumping their multiplayer mode full of new DLC. The latest is the upcoming Earth DLC, a free update that brings three new weapons, three new maps, and a new character for every class. At this year's Comic-Con, we caught up with quality assurance associate team lead Reid Buckmaster to learn his strategy with one of the new classes: the N7 Slayer.

The Mass Effect 3 Earth DLC will be available on July 17 for the Xbox 360 and PC worldwide. The PlayStation 3 will get the update on July 17 in North American and on July 18 in Europe.

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N7 Slayer (Vanguard)

This new class is based largely on Kai Leng from the single-player campaign, with high mobility and a close-range play style.


Biotic Charge: Force & Damage (4), Power Synergy (5), Barrier (6)

The staple for any Vanguard class, biotic charge has been modified to deal extra damage while granting the user extra shielding. The extra defenses will be paramount since this build forgoes many of the fitness durability upgrades.

Phase Disruptor: Damage (4), Knockdown (5), Shield Damage (6)

This biotic power fires a burst of energy in a straight line in front of the user, similar to the Phantom's palm blast. The blast takes careful aiming since it has a narrow hit cone, but it does a great job of staggering enemies, even the Atlas. You can't abuse it too often, however, since it costs roughly half your maximum shields to cast.

Biotic Slash: Damage (4), Recharge Speed (5), Damage (6)

This biotic power is a two-in-one attack. First, the caster performs three quick melee attacks that will strike enemies around him. Second, the caster finishes with a fourth strike that sends out a cascading wave of biotic energy, similar to the shockwave ability. Be careful not to abuse this power as well, since the caster cannot cancel the attack once it starts and is exposed to ranged attacks during the first portion.

N7 Slayer: Damage & Capacity (4), Power Damage (5)

Fitness: (1), (2), (3)

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N7 Piranha X: This new shotgun has a high rate of fire thanks to its top-loaded drum barrel, a wide shot spread, and low recoil for extra control. By default, it can fire eight shots before needing to reload. The new omni-blade attachment was used, increasing melee damage by 50 percent, but also increasing weight. A high-caliber barrel for additional weapon damage was also used.


This build is a glass cannon, designed to be used as a hit-and-run assassin that takes maximum advantage of biotic powers. The N7 Slayer also uses the new teleport mechanics. His dash pops him out of existence and reappears a few feet away. It costs roughly a sixth of maximum shields, but can go through walls and other pieces of cover. The melee and heavy melee attacks also use teleportation. Quick melee strikes pop the user between multiple targets quickly--somewhat reminiscent of Nightcrawler form the X-Men. Heavy melee had the user draw his sword, teleport ahead a few feet (locking onto the target), and strike with a single, powerful slash.

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The map we played on was the new London map, with a layout of several ruined buildings surrounding a central courtyard. It was described as a great map for snipers, since the buildings provided good sniper nests with great views overlooking the main area. A new mission type--escort--also came up. This involved activating a drone on the map and escorting it back to the extraction point. The more characters standing near the drone, the faster it moved.

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