It’s been well-documented that the Pathfinder in Mass Effect: Andromeda will enjoy more versatility as a combatant than Shepard ever had, and while players can access any ability — and several Profiles that enhance those abilities — you’ll still want to be mindful of the “Training” you select for your Pathfinder during character creation.
Each specialty represents the training your character received in the Milky Way galaxy before the journey to Andromeda, and each determines what skills and starting powers you’ll have access to. It’s roughly the equivalent of choosing your starting class in one of the previous Mass Effect games but has much less of an impact on the experience. In Andromeda, you choose from one of six options, each offering access to a single starting power — which would be locked behind its broader ability tree otherwise — and one or two other skills. You’ll still be able to unlock every other skill at your own pace, but these will set the course for your journey and can impact much of your early-game.
While the previous naming conventions like Adept and Sentinel are gone, each previous Mass Effect class has its equivalent in Training, and now their names more practically describe their combat focus. (Why would you name a sniper an “infiltrator,” anyway?) We’re here to help you go over these options to make the best choice.
Training in Security unlocks Concussive Shot for your Pathfinder, a heat-seeking, high-impact round that can knock enemies down. With that also comes Turbocharge, a short-term boost to weapon fire rate and thermal clip efficiency, and Combat Fitness, increased durability and carrying capacity for weapons.
Security should be the go-to for those who played as Soldier in previous games, really honing in on the core of the combat experience. Combat Fitness has universal appeal in any character build, and both Turbocharge and Concussive Shot are a boon to any weapons-oriented fighter. This Training can make for a solid foundation for anybody’s combat moving forward in Andromeda. No matter what path you choose, guns will play a big role, and there’s a place in any loadout for Concussive Shot.
Selecting Biotic grants easy access to the trifecta of Throw, Singularity, and Barrier, which will allow you to hurl opponents through the air, create small black holes on the battlefield, and grant you a biotic overshield.
Easily analogous to the Adept of previous games, Biotic is — quite obviously — the biotics-focused training for anyone looking to hone in on the “space magic” of Mass Effect. Chain-detonating biotic abilities is a powerful mechanic that can shred through enemy shields and demolish groups of small enemies, and with training as a Biotic, you can do it on your own by using Throw on your own Singularity. It’s not a bad option for anybody looking to dabble in biotics. Barrier would be essential anyway, and Singularity is easily one of the coolest and best biotic abilities available (even Combat- and Tech-focused players should pick that one up). Keep in mind, however, that at least in previous games, Throw didn’t see a lot of utility outside of allowing players to basically “force push” smaller enemies, knocking them down — but it does make for a fun combo with Pull.
As a Technician, you get Overload to chain-shock groups of enemies, but more importantly, deal high amounts of damage to shields and synthetic enemies like robots. You also get Invasion, allowing you to infect the weapons and shields of nearby enemies, and Team Support, which provides additional kinetic barriers to boost your squad’s defenses.
This one’s for players who want to go all in on Tech-based powers and for those who enjoyed Engineer in the original Mass Effect games. In pretty much any build, Overload is going to be essential, as there will be plenty of synthetic enemies throughout Andromeda, particularly the Remnant enemies. Invasion is also useful as a debuff against enemies. And you can’t go wrong with Team Support, of course, if you’re going to even remotely focus on Tech. All that being said, Technician is a really solid option.
Leader grants access to Energy Drain, which functions not unlike Overload but it instead siphons enemy shields directly into your own. Annihilation creates a mass effect field that slowly damages all nearby foes, and Tech Support enhances the tech-based durability of your squad.
Leader is where things get a little more niche when it comes to starting training, less about a singular focus and more about mixing things up. It represents a defensive mix of tech- and biotic-based powers. In that, it’s the Sentinel class equivalent in Andromeda. Energy Drain and Annihilation have great synergy, allowing players to get in close — which makes the durability from Tech Support a necessity — and keep their shields boosted with Energy Drain. Annihilation also primes enemies for biotic detonation, which is always worthwhile. Coupling these abilities with Charge and a Shotgun would be optimal for any and all close range combatants.
Scrappers are the Vanguard-style class, mixing basic combat prowess with biotics for players into high-risk, high-reward combat. Scrapper is one of two Training focuses that comes with a starting power and only one unlocked skill: the classic Charge lets Scrappers launch themselves like a biotic torpedo at an enemy, regaining a bit of their shields in the process. That comes with Combat Fitness for an increase in durability and weapon carrying capacity.
While it might come off as unfair that Scrapper has two instead of three unlocked skills, Charge isn’t worth writing off just yet. Vanguard was a class in the first three Mass Effect games that got better and better over time. First, with the addition of Charge in Mass Effect 2 and then again in ME3 with Nova. In Andromeda, abilities like Backlash, which acts as a reflective biotic shield you can hold in front of you, can stand to make a Charge-focused build mixed with shotguns really formidable. And unless you pick Scrapper, you’ll have to invest nine points in the Biotic skill tree just to gain access to Charge. Who needs Tech when you can bring your best weapons into the fray with a swath of biotic abilities?
Much like Scrapper, Operative grants a single unlocked skill on top of the starting power, and it’s a potent one that would otherwise require you to invest nine points into Tech just to access it. You get instant access to Tactical Cloak, allowing for brief periods of invisibility and bonus damage if attacking when it’s active. You also get Combat Fitness for the much-needed durability and weapon carrying capacity.
Roughly equal to the fan-favorite Infiltrator (which was OP in Mass Effect 2), Operative is the ideal track for tactical snipers. An added bonus is that with the jump-jet in Andromeda, players can activate the cloak and launch into the air to hover and snipe at enemies from an advantageous angle, something that was never possible in previous games.
While committing to one Training that you go back on wouldn’t be the end of the world, especially on higher difficulties, selecting one that suits your desired path is essential. If you’re even remotely considering focusing on sniping, Operative is the clear choice. If you favor shotguns and getting intimate with enemies, then go with either Leader or Scrapper. And if you know you want to focus almost solely on the Combat, Biotic, or Tech skill trees, then the choices are pretty straightforward there as well. That isn’t to say that a Scrapper can’t focus on Biotics, or an Operative can’t augment his Cloak with almost entirely just Combat abilities, but the path is yours to find, Pathfinder.