Top 5 Mass Effect Teammates For Players New To The Series

With Mass Effect: Andromeda on the horizon, here are the top five teammates for players new to the original trilogy to consider while playing through the series.

There hasn't been a new entry in the Mass Effect series since 2012's Mass Effect 3, the final game of the trilogy covering the story of Commander Shepard, and his or her battle against the mysterious and devastating Reapers. The good news for Mass Effect fans is that the newest entry, Mass Effect: Andromeda, is finally visible on the horizon. As I covered earlier this week, the game recently received a new teaser trailer for this year's E3 conference, and is still on pace for a release sometime in "early 2017."

With that said, now is the perfect time for those who are curious about the Mass Effect franchise to dive into the original trilogy and experience it for themselves. New players might be curious which of Shepard's various teammates throughout the series are the most helpful in the various firefights they will find themselves in through all three games. Here are my top 5 teammates for new Mass Effect players, presented in no particular order along with the games they appear in.

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Liara T'Soni

Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2*, Mass Effect 3

The operation to rescue Liara from a detachment of Saren's forces, including a final showdown with a particularly hardy krogan commander and his geth troops, is in my honest opinion one of the most difficult moments to overcome early in a first playthrough of Mass Effect, but the reward is well worth it. Though she is a researcher and academic by trade, Liara has powerful biotic abilities that give her flexibility on the battlefield. Powers like Warp and Throw (only ME1) are good single-target choices, while Singularity can hit multiple weaker targets at once, freeing up Shepard and the squad to focus on more urgent threats or pile onto the enemies left defenseless while in the radius. In the first Mass Effect, her Barrier can be the key to Liara surviving heated battles, since she won't be able to take as much damage as, say, Wrex. Liara's also great for setting up biotic combos with Shepard and the other teammate as well.

Liara's an available teammate from fairly early in Mass Effect and even earlier in Mass Effect 3, but you'll only be able to team up with her in Mass Effect 2 during the "Lair of the Shadow Broker" DLC. You can compensate the rest of the time using Miranda and/or Samara, as necessary.

Garrus Vakarian

Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3

The always-dependable Garrus is a great choice for general damage-dealing purposes. Players who choose classes like Engineer or Infiltrator for their Shepard might find Garrus a godsend for the more chaotic firefights they encounter throughout the series. Abilities like Overload (which fries enemies' shields) and his Armor-Piercing Ammo are tailor-made counters for hardier enemies. Meanwhile others, like Concussive Shot, make for good crowd control. As an added bonus, he's available early on in every game in the series, meaning that Shepards with glaring combat weaknesses have the option to compensate relatively quickly. Garrus isn't the flashiest or most unique ally, but he always makes battles easier, and that in itself is a great asset.

Urdnot Wrex / Grunt

Mass Effect (Wrex), Mass Effect 2 (Grunt, pictured above)

This will probably come as no surprise, but the two krogan teammates Shepard encounters throughout the series are natural tanks, great at attacting and soaking up a ton of damage before dishing it back out to enemies. Wrex in Mass Effect is particularly handy to have around, because his biotic abilities further extend his versatility and survivability in battle. He has many of the same abilities as Liara (not her Singularity though, unfortunately), but isn't a pure biotic. The meat of his power comes from his weapons, while his biotic powers can soften up tough targets for both himself and the rest of Shepard's team. Grunt eschews biotic power and serves solely as a tank, but an incredibly sturdy and powerful one. One particular research project, his Claymore shotgun, makes him devastating at close range, making him a great decoy for players who prefer to snipe from afar with Shepard rather than charge right in.

Thane Krios

Mass Effect 2

For those players who do like to charge right in, and therefore chose a class such as Vanguard for their Shepard, here's a quality sniper to consider to cover your back. While Garrus can operate as a sniper, and a pretty good one, Thane seems to be, more equipped for the job. For example, his biotic powers (especially Warp, one of my favorite powers in the entire series) are perfect for softening targets, which can then make them susceptible to one of his perfectly placed sniper's bullets. His loyalty power, Shredder Ammo, acts exactly as its name suggests, which can benefit him up close with his SMG, and from afar with his rifle. The only downside to Thane is that he isn't available until fairly late in the game (and only in Mass Effect 2, sadly), but at least this gives you time to tailor Shepard's skill tree and determine his or her vulnerabilities. Thane's precision can make the final "suicide mission" a much easier affair if he's added to Shepard's squad. 

Tali'Zorah vas Normandy

Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3

I have to admit, I saved my favorite teammate for last here. In all my time playing the Mass Effect series, Tali almost never leaves my squad when she's available. Some part of this probably has to do with my personal fascination with the quarians, but I prefer her over almost everyone else because her skill set can easily turn the tide of battle. She's pretty frail, as teammates go, which makes positioning key to keeping her alive. She primarily uses SMGs and shotguns, which makes her skilled in mid- to close-range combat. It is her tech powers as an engineer, however, that make her valuable on the battlefield. She can hack electronic targets, making her particularly lethal against the geth (naturally, being a quarian and all), but also against targets such as Cerberus Atlas mechs in Mass Effect 3.  My personal favorite among her skills is her combat drone, whom she affectionately calls "Chatikka" in Mass Effect 2. Once fully upgraded, it's capable of wreaking absolute havoc on targets, distracting or outright destroying them. It can be used in tense firefights to buy a few seconds, which can be critical to get a wounded Shepard into cover to heal. The other teammate, or Shepard for that matter, can also use the drone to distract enemies, and then flank them for easier battles. She can also use Energy Drain to take the shield energy of enemies to refuel her own, and in Mass Effect 3 she can deploy a defensive drone to complement the offensive combat drone and protect herself, as well.

For the Mass Effect veterans out there: does your Top 5 list look completely different? Do you have any insight you want to share with newcomers? Please feel free to leave a comment below!

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Published Jun. 21st 2016
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