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MEA: Best Skill Paths for Ryder

With the amount of skills in Andromeda, I thought it would be helpful to explain the optimal skill paths for indecisive players. If you’re unaware of “skill paths” they are provided upon getting to rank 4 of an ability. You will get the option of one of two upgrades to an ability. In this guide, I will highlight if an ability has a definitively stronger path or if they are equal. Upvote if you find this helpful, if you disagree with any of my statements, leave a reply. Also, this guide is being updated as I use powers more, it should be completed shortly.

Skip to the end and look for “Examples of Strong Profiles/Favorites”

How does Damage Resistance work? The formula:

DamageTaken = BaseDamage / (1 + DamageResistance/100)

This means at 100 DR, you reduce damage by 50%. At 200 DR you reduce damage by 66.6%. If you are familiar with MOBAs, it works very similar in those games to ME:A. I point this out because it is important to show that DR has diminishing returns especially after 100. Outside of Hold the Line, it is hard to stack high amounts of DR and probably isn’t worthwhile to stack values over 50. This means that armor with Damage Resistance (Pathfinder Armor and Remnant Heritage Armor) are to be prioritized over armors with health/shield bonuses as a defensive stat. You can also get Damage Resistance from putting Kinetic Coils on Chest armor.

What does Tech Armor do from the Sentinel profile? It seems the description is misleading, because it provides 30 Damage Resistance at all times (shields and armor). This means on its own it reduces damage by 33% at all times, making it pretty strong.

This means at 100 DR, you reduce damage by 50%. At 200 DR you reduce damage by 66.6%. If you are familiar with MOBAs, it works very similar in those games to ME:A. I point this out because it is important to show that DR has diminishing returns especially after 100. Outside of Hold the Line, it is hard to stack high amounts of DR and probably isn’t worthwhile to stack values over 50. This means that armor with Damage Resistance (Pathfinder Armor and Remnant Heritage Armor) are to be prioritized over armors with health/shield bonuses as a defensive stat. You can also get Damage Resistance from putting Kinetic Coils on Chest armor.

What does Tech Armor do from the Sentinel profile? It seems the description is misleading, because it provides 30 Damage Resistance at all times (shields and armor). This means on its own it reduces damage by 33% at all times, making it pretty strong.


Mass Effect Andromeda Best Weapons


Weight/Spare Ammo: Bioconverters, vintage heatsinks, and remnant weapons do not benefit from spare ammo (bioconverter TECHNICALLY but barely). Most people should take the reduced shotgun weight.

Reload/Clip Size: As stated previously, because most people will use bioconverters, vintage heatsinks, or remnant weapons, most people will not benefit from a faster reload. However, having a larger clip size does have a single negative drawback. Using the Scattershot with Shield Oscillator and Charged Plasma System and mods that reduce clip size allow the gun to use a single shot to empty the clip and restore shields through the Shield Oscillator; try YouTube if you don’t understand what I’m saying. If you plan on doing that, do not take clip size.

Damage&Force/Melee Synergy: If you took Martial Arts in the Combat Tools passive and use Weapons & Melee from the Charge skill, then it’s worth getting Melee Synergy, otherwise Damage & Force is better.

Most effective path: Weight, Reload, Damage&Force. Exceptions for people who spec into melee under Charge and Combat Tools and also for people who do not use the Shield Oscillator trick with the Scattershot or similar weapons.

Assault Rifles

Weight/Spare Ammo: Assault rifles weigh less or have more spare ammo. Keep in mind that on remnant weapons and weapons equipped with vintage heat sinks do not benefit at all from increased spare ammo. Even then, everyone benefits from less weapon weight.

Reload/Clip Size: Faster reload speed or bigger magazines. Having a bigger magazine synergizes more with many of the assault rifles and the Turbocharge ability.

Shattered Defenses/Critical Hits: Hitting enemies with an assault rifle causes targets to take increased damage for 2 seconds or increased accuracy/stability/headshot damage. Although Critical Hits gives a lot, Shattered Defenses can do much more if set up properly.

Most effective path: Weight, Clip Size, Shattered Defenses

Combat Fitness

Consumables/Regeneration: +30% consumable effectiveness or +20% health regen cap, +50% health regen, +20% shield regen. Consumables in this game are strong; considering how limited they are and how they already seem sufficient as-if, go for Regeneration. The health regen cap is a pretty strong passive without the shield regen.

Extra Holster/Heavy Lifting: An extra weapon slot and +25% weight capacity or +20% clip size, +25% spare ammo, +1 power cell capacity. Pure Combat characters will benefit much more from Heavy Lifting but Tech/Biotic characters may have good use for Extra Holster. Hold the Line/In the Trenches: 200 DR while at or below 30% health or 100 DR and 50% shield delay while in cover. DR in this game is not additive, it has diminishing returns. DR also does not apply to shields. That being said, both of these will make you extremely tanky when proc’d. Both are pretty strong, but the shield recharge delay makes In the Trenches stronger. Sorry Kirrahe.

Most effective path: Regeneration, Heavy Lifting, In the Trenches

Combat Tools

Hover/Evasion: Extra hover time and accuracy while hovering or 100 DR while evading. If you want to augment your aerial combat, it’s better to just go for the Milky Way researchable augmentations. Also, evading in this game is very good, having 100 DR on top of that will make getting out of a pinch less risky.

Aerial Melee/Detonators: +20% jump melee damage and +40% radius or +30% combat detonator damage. Keep in mind that Concussive Shot is the only combat detonator outside of rank 6 Trip Mine. If you have rank 6 Trip Mine and Concussive shot, consider getting Detonators. If you like to do melee plunge attacks (it’s fun) get Aerial Combat. If you meet both scenarios, Aerial Melee is probably better.

Aerial Combat/Martial Arts: Hover longer with more DR and accuracy or a stacking melee damage buff per melee hit or kill. Considering that Martial Arts is a buff that must be stacked to take effect, it is worthless unless you are using melee attacks every engagement. Likewise, if you don’t hover then you aren’t getting the effect. If you do neither, you probably shouldn’t take either upgrade. If you’re trying to maximize rank 1-3 of the combat passives, Aerial Combat is probably better due to it doubling the hover duration.

Most effective path: This path should be chosen for player preference. Evasion is the only exception. Also if you haven’t noticed, after rank 4 of this passive it is likely one of the weakest passives in the game.


Mass Effect Console Commands


Duration/Radius: +50% Duration or 4M radius. Having a larger radius is more beneficial for pull considering you can grab enemies and objects with it. Duration is good for Biotic Drain later, but not enough to prioritize it over radius.

Crushing Grip/Expose: 35 DPS while pulled or +30% damage taken while pulled. This one is debatable. If you’re using pull to control a target while focusing on other enemies, the DPS is better. If you use pull to focus on your target, the extra damage taken is considerably better.

Anti-Shields/Biotic Drain: 600 extra shield damage or 10% shield restored per second. Tech powers are typically better for taking out shields, but if you’re full biotic then the 600 shield damage may be worth it. Generally however, the shield restoration is better given that this ability can fully replenish your shields over its duration. I also believe it procs for multiple targets held.

Most effective path: Radius, Crushing Grip/Expose, Biotic Drain


Damage&Force/Radius: +30% Damage/Force or 2M radius. Keep in mind that giving an ability a radius opposed to increasing the radius is usually stronger. 2M is poor, but after other passives it can stack up. However, picking double Throw at rank 6 makes the radius more effective. This makes the damage/force evolution stronger in that scenario.

Duration/Recharge Speed: +400% knockdown duration or +25% recharge speed. Another debatable one. If you use Throw for ignoring enemies, knockdown duration is better. If you use throw for biotic combos or to knock enemies off-map, recharge speed is better.

Double Throw/Swift Detonation: +30% detonate damage and +25% recharge speed or launch two projectiles. Having two projectiles makes up for throw not having a radius (or an extremely small one if you took Radius earlier). It can also hit the same enemy twice if you’re lucky. I say that Double Throw slightly outweighs the other choice here. It’s also a lot more fun.

Most effective path: Damage&Force, Duration/Recharge Speed, Double Throw


Damage&Force/Radius: +30% Damage/Force or 3.5M radius. A 3.5M radius is on the cusp of being a great upgrade, but not enough to say it is definitely better than the extra damage. This is down to preference.

Weapons&Melee/Power Synergy: Extra gun/melee damage for 3 seconds or extra power damage/force for 5 seconds. Are you using charge followed with a shotgun and melee or a nova instead? If you’re going all in on a target (Charge, Annihilation, Nova/Pull) the power damage is better. Duration of each effect may also be a consideration.

Shock Trooper/Bastion: +75% recharge speed or damage resistance & extra shield restoration & extra damage for 5 seconds. Keep in mind that high recharge speeds can be attained via passives and the one fusion mod. Bastion is definitely better unless your goal is to get around the battlefield as quickly as possible.

Most effective path: Damage&Force/Radius, Weapons&Melee/Power Synergy, Bastion


Damage&Force/Radius: +30% damage/force or +40% radius. I personally consider the damage to be better, but considering that Nova has a base radius of 4 meters, extra radius on this is definitely viable. Anti-Armor/Anti-Shield: Extra damage to armor or shields. I consider tech powers to be better against shields, but this one is more complicated. More enemies have shields and armored enemies tend to be scarier close-up which is how you have to use Nova. However, armored enemies have more health and get more benefit out of using Nova multiple times. Down to your preference.

Seismic Nova/Shield-Powered: +30% Damage/Force, combo priming, and knockdown or use all shields to trigger Nova with no cooldown. After some passives, Shield-Powered can allow you to proc multiple times in succession and other abilities can make you use Shield-Powered even stronger. However at higher difficulties, this makes this strategy extremely risky. Making Seismic Nova a priming ability gives it much more utility on an ability whose primary goal is melee range AOE damage. While Shield-Powered is fun with the right passives, Seismic Nova is the best because of the utility it provides.

Most effective path: Damage&Force/Radius, Anti-Armor/Anti-Shield, Seismic Nova


Damage&Force/Radius: Neither path affects Shockwave so significantly that one is necessarily better. Either skill path can also be obtained with passives. This is up to preference.

Recharge Speed/Reach: +25% recharge speed or 50% extra range. In my experience, Shockwave cannot combo properly sometimes without the extra range. This is especially true if you use Shockwave as a detonator. The recharge speed path also isn’t enough to contend with the range.

Anti-Armor/Lifting Shockwave: Extra armor damage or a “Pull effect” on enemies. Armored enemies are scarce, being able to detonate and prime enemies with a single ability is much stronger.

Most effective path: Damage&Force/Radius, Reach, Lifting Shockwave


Radius/Recharge Penalty: +50% radius or -30% recharge penalty. The extra radius on this ability pairs slightly better with later ranks of this ability.

Damage Attractor/Biotic Wind: Extra damage from incoming sources or faster movement speed. Although the extra movement speed is very noticeable and fun, extra damage from incoming sources (including Annihilation) is extremely strong.

Draining Field/Vortex: 30% shield restoration when killing enemies affected by Annihilation or a “Pull” effect on Annihilation. It is worth noting that an enemy must die to proc the shield restoration. Both of these are very strong. Which one is better for you depends on the build you are using.

Most effective path: Radius, Damage Attractor, Draining Field/Vortex


Durability/Recharge Speed: Backlash is already on a short cooldown. Considering that you can obtain higher amounts of recharge speed than the skill path in Backlash, it is much better to take Durability.

Durability/Reflection: Doubling the amount of reflected damage is extremely powerful.

Shield Resurgence/Damage Aftermath: Restore up to 50% of shields or increase your damage after releasing Backlash. Damage Aftermath does not last quite long enough. If anyone knows a way to increase the duration of the effect through passives, let me know how. Otherwise Shield Resurgence is slightly better.

Most effective path: Durability, Reflection, Shield Resurgence Singularity

Duration/Radius: Neither of these paths are very strong, but it is worth noting that Radius seems to work better once you reach rank 6 of Singularity.

Anti-Shield/Recharge Speed: The anti-shield effect is so strong and the recharge speed isn’t enough to contend with Anti-Shield. Taking Anti-Shield is also extremely important as pure biotics don’t have much they can do against shielded and armored targets.

Exploding Singularity/Expanding Singularity: Do damage within 7 meters after the end of the duration or triple the size of singularity over its lifetime. Expanding Singularity is very strong if you have a lot of passives that increase the radius of biotic abilities, but Exploding Singularity gives Singularity a nice bit of extra damage and utility. This will depend on your playstyle and build.

Most effective path: Radius, Anti-Shield, Exploding Singularity/Expanding Singularity Lance

Damage&Force/Radius: The decision of choosing Radius or Damage & Force should come down to your Favorites (3 active abilities) and if your Biotic Passives & Armor/Weapon augments are spec’ed heavily into radius increases. Focused

Blast/Anti-Shield: More headshot damage or more shield damage. Both effects are pretty tame but Bioware buffed Focused Blast in one of the patches that makes it come out ahead in my experience. Knockdown/Shield-Powered: Turn Lance into a stronger Rank 4 Throw or use your shields as your cooldown (similar to Rank 6 Nova). With Biotic Alacrity in Barrier and the Sentinel profile, you can use Lance four times consecutively. Taking Shield-Powered is probably the most clear-cut decision of any skill path.

Most effective path: If spec’ed heavily into radius increases then choose Radius, Focused Blast, Shield Powered. If not, swap Radius for Damage&Force.


Unyielding Barrier/Recuperative Barrier: +10% extra shield or better shield regeneration. If you’re using the Remnant armor, take the shield regen. If not, take the extra shield capacity.

Biotic Link/Biotic Alacrity: Higher shield when enemies are affected by biotics or extra movement speed/weight capacity/shield cost reduction (applies to rank 6 nova/lance). Both of these are relatively weak, take either.

Active Barrier/Saving Barrier: Restore 10% shield for player and allies when killing with biotics or 100% shield when brought to low health (only every 10 secs). It is worth noting for Active Barrier to proc, you must kill with biotics. Regardless,

Saving Barrier is so much stronger.

Most effective path: Just make sure to pick Saving Barrier. It is one of the strongest passives in the game.

Offensive Biotics

Amplitude/Alacrity: Doesn’t need explaining. Pick either.

Exploitation/Detonation: If you detonate your biotics, choose Detonation. If not, choose Exploitation.

Biotic Expert/Biotic Warrior: If you use Charge/Nova, choose Biotic Warrior. If not, choose Biotic Expert.

Most effective path: Read above.


Radius/Duration: Down to preference.

Shield Detonation/Concussive Detonation: More shield damage by detonations or knockdown enemies with detonations.

Get concussive detonation.

Manifold Duration/Event Horizon: Increase biotic duration per affected enemy up to 40% or higher biotic radius and force.

This is pretty close, but Event Horizon has slightly better numbers in its favor.

Most effective path: Radius/Duration, Concussive Detonation, Event Horizon.


Mass Effect DLC


Radius/Burning: Radius is only worth getting if you’re spec’ed heavily into radius increases through passives and augmentations. Burning nearly doubles Incinerate’s damage-over-time.

Impact/Anti-Armor: Impact only increases Incinerate’s initial damage by 30% which is already pitiful. Anti-Armor is better.

Detonator/Double Incinerate: Double Incinerate lets Incinerate do so much more effective damage but Detonator allows Incinerate to become such a versatile ability. Choosing Detonator will allow you to detonate a combo and then setup for a Fire combo right after. I think Detonator is the better choice.

Most effective path: Radius/Burning, Anti-Armor, Detonator

Cryo Beam

Damage/Recharge Speed: +40% damage or 30% recharge speed. I think higher damage is always better than recharge speed unless it’s a significant amount and also because of the Fusion Mod of Adrenaline and Rapid Deployment.

Brittle Freeze/Radius: +65% armor defense debuff or add a 2M radius. The armor defense debuff is very strong but adding a 2.5M radius to this ability lets it do some very powerful cryo bombs at rank 6. Your choice really depends if you prefer to use this ability on armored targets or not.

Snap Freeze/Cryo Trap: Make shattering enemies do AOE damage and snap-freeze affected enemies or let surfaces hit by cryo beam leave a persistent effect. Both skill paths are very strong but Snap Freeze combos can end up doing more damage and cover a larger area if done properly.

Most effective path: Damage, Brittle Freeze, Snap Freeze works on a larger variety of enemies but if you want Cryo Beam to be a one-trick pony to take out armored enemies, then exchange Radius for Brittle Freeze and possibly change Snap Freeze to Cryo Trap.

Energy Drain

Effectiveness/Recharge Speed: Extra shield restoration and damage or recharge speed. Considering Energy Drain has a long base cooldown (15 seconds), both choices are viable but Fusion Mods make Recharge Speed paths less appealing. Effectiveness also allows Energy Drain to fully replenish shields off a single target if taking the right Tech passives.

Extended Drain/Auxiliary Drain: Extra shield restoration over 3 seconds or add a radius. This decision will come down to your use Energy Drain with your Favorites (3 active abilities). I’ve added some useful loadouts at the bottom of the post that will show examples.

Damage/Team Drain: Both effects are very underwhelming. Damage is a weak path because Energy Drain already does low damage and the way this path works makes it only get a noticeable damage boost against shielded synthetic enemies which are very few in the game. Team Drain is weak because you barely need to care for your squadmates survival anyway.

Most effective path: Effectiveness is the only noticeably better option. Extended Drain and Auxiliary Drain is a choice that should be decided by your Favorites. Both rank 6 options are bad.

Team Support

Squad Offense/Support: I would take Squad Offense if your use the Remnant VI or Assault Turret and Support if using Energy Drain or Charge.

Team Recovery/Tactical Revive: Considering that I only revive teammates about 20 times in a full playthrough, Team Recovery seems better.

Defense Grid/Life Support: Defense Grid is a good way to gain Damage Resistance (a very strong stat) but there are better ways to get Damage Resistance through armor and augmentations. Life Support heals your health for every tech ability used. It is such a strong ability to pass up on.

Most effective path: People not using constructs should take Support, Team Recovery, Life Support.

Offensive Tech

Anti-Armor/Anti-Shield: Up to preference.

Detonators/Anti-Synthetic: The description of detonators states that it increases the damage of “tech detonators*. I’m not sure if this means combos primed by only Overload and Energy Drain, the ones that cause electrical currents and called “Tech Combos” or any detonation caused by a tech ability. Assuming it’s the latter, I would choose Detonators over Anti-Synthetic unless you’re role-playing as someone who hates the Remnant.

Elemental Tech/Technical Rounds: Elemental Tech may as well say “Increased damage for all tech powers”. Hell yeah.

Most effective path: Anti-Armor, Detonators, Elemental Tech

Auxiliary Systems

WMR/Priming: +40% weight or +100% combo priming rate. For tech abilities, this applies to rank 6 Assault Turret, Cryo Beam, and Flamethrower. It also applies to special ammo and priming melee weapons like the Cryo Gauntlet and Kett Vakarsh. I believe that Annihilation does not immediately prime targets and may be affected by combo priming rate, but I am not sure. If you take the right weapon passives and upgrade your researched weapons, you should not need the weight unless you use 4 sniper rifles.

Enduring Tech/Impact Dilation: +25% tech effect duration or +25% tech AOE. This decision should come down to your choices in paths like rank 4 Incinerate, rank 5 Energy Drain, and rank 5 Flamethrower.

Shield Feedback/Omni-Vents: Activate a tech power to start recharging shields or half the cooldown times on abilities when using a tech ability. Because shield recharging can be interrupted, it is advisable to go Omni-Vents. unless you are spec’ed to restore shield very quickly with In the Trenches, Recuperative Barrier, Remnant armor, and augmentations.

Most effective path: Priming is the only best path. All others should be determined by how a player is spec’ed.


Long Range Caster

Pull: Radius, Expose, Biotic Drain
Throw: Radius, Duration, Double Throw
Lance: Radius/Damage&Force, Focused Blast/Anti-Shield, Shield-Powered

Shield Destroyer

Singularity: Radius, Anti-Shield, Exploding Singularity
Lance: Damage&Force, Anti-Shield, Shield-Powered
Any other ability of preference
Be sure to have a way to restore shields like a Shield Oscillator

Close-range AOE Annihilation

Annihilation: Radius/Recharge Penalty, Damage Attractor, Draining Field/Vortex
Charge: Radius, Power Synergy, Bastion
Nova: Damage&Force, Anti-Shield, Seismic Nova

Biotic God/All-range Detonator

Annihilation: Radius, Damage Attractor, Draining Field/Vortex
Throw: Radius, Duration, Double Throw
Lance: Radius/Damage&Force, Focused Blast/Anti-Shield, Shield-Powered
Scattershot and Chest Armor w/ Shield Oscillators are recommended


Long-range Tech Caster

Cryo Beam: Damage, Radius, Snap Freeze
Incinerate: Radius/Burning, Anti-Armor, Detonator
Energy Drain: Effectiveness, Auxiliary Drain, Damage

Remnant Destroyer

Overload: Damage, Anti-Shield, EMP
Energy Drain: Effectiveness, Extended Drain, Damage
Either Remnant VI w/ rank 6 detonate or Incinerate w/ rank 6 detonate

Construct Commander

Remnant VI: Expedited Repairs/Recharge Speed, Focus Module/Close Combat Module, Detonating Missiles
Assault Turret: Durability/Recharge Speed, Omni-Link, Cryo Ammo
Either Invasion, Overload, or Energy Drain w/ rank 5 priming


Detonation God/Well Rounded

Throw: Radius, Duration, Double Throw
Incinerate: Radius, Anti-Armor, Detonator
Energy Drain: Effectiveness, Extended Drain, Damage

Singularity Sentinel

Singularity: Radius/Duration, Anti-Shield, Exploding Singularity Incinerate: Radius, Anti-Armor, Detonator
Energy Drain: Effectiveness, Auxiliary Drain, Damage

Unkillable Sentinel

Annihilation: Radius/Recharge Penalty, Damage Attractor, Draining Field
Energy Drain: Effectiveness, Extended Drain, Damage
Either Charge or Backlash


Annihilation: Radius, Damage Attractor, Vortex
Lance: Radius/Damage&Force, Focused Blast/Anti-Shield, Shield-Powered
Energy Drain: Effectiveness, Extended Drain, Damage

There are many other Favorites I have thought of but I think that these are the best ones that can be made. IMO the best setup is the Detonation God as it provides access to Biotic, Tech, and Fire combos on top of being able to crowd control enemies and do good damage against unarmored, armored, and shielded enemies. It lets you stay far away and have high survivability with Tech Armor and Energy Drain.

Original Link – Continuation of discussion

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