How to use this long-distance powerhouse class to make short work of the Collectors.
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Attempting a Mass Effect 2 playthrough on Insanity without some semblance of plan or strategy is like going to war with an accordion: there will be lots of screaming and loud noises, but you'll probably end up getting murdered. Might I suggest abandoning the accordion, and instead choosing the long-range murder machine that is the Infiltrator? Yes, I might. And yes, I do.
Crafting Your Shepard
As with any playthrough in ME2, you'll want to import a character from a prior campaign, as opposed to starting from scratch. Also, it is beneficial if you've already completed the game at least once, so you'll have access to Jack's special Warp Ammo skill from the beginning (provided you gained her loyalty during that playthrough).
If you've imported a high-level character, you can go ahead and start distributing skill points to abilities once the game starts. As you begin to level up during the first few missions, concentrate on Incinerate, Warp Ammo, and the passive skill Operative. It helps to map Incinerate and Warp Ammo to their own respective buttons (RB and LB on Xbox), as you'll use them religiously to take down enemy armor and biotic barriers.
You should avoid leveling up Cryo Ammo, as it doesn't provide the sheer power and versatility that Warp Ammo does. Also, avoid leveling up AI Hacking beyond level 1; it can sometimes provide a short distraction during a high-pressure Geth swarm, but if you're not fighting Geth then it's pretty much useless.
Once you've reached a high enough level to start maxing out powers, concentrate first on Operative, and choose the specialization class Assassin. It gives you a nice power boost, and also improves the invaluable Sniper Time Slowdown perk (when using a sniper rifle, zooming in actually slows down time for 2.25 seconds). Then concentrate on either Incinerate or Warp Ammo, transforming them into Heavy Incinerate and Squad Warp Ammo, respectively. Heavy Incinerate can take down an enemy's armor in one hit, and can also be aimed around corners, while Squad Warp Ammo gives your entire squad a 35% weapons damage boost
The other two powers, Disruptor Ammo and Tactical Cloak, should also be maxed out, although I don't overuse them as much as Warp Ammo and Incinerate. Squad Disruptor Ammo is useful against YMIR Mechs and Geth Swarms, and Assassination Cloak provides two very useful perks: it gives you a massive power boost for the 6 seconds that it's active, and will render you invisible so you can escape a sticky situation.
Assembling Your Squad
The main source of difficulty when playing on Insanity is the fact that all of your enemies will have some secondary defense (armor, shields, barriers). Even the lowly LOKI Mechs have full armor; I've thrown many a controller because of an unexpected LOKI ambush. So, when choosing your squad, you'll need to think about having someone on your team that can help take down these defenses.
The natural first choice for me is Miranda, simply because she has both Overload and Warp. These two powers alone take care of all three defense types. Max these powers out (both to their Heavy versions), and you'll be able to quickly take out any enemy defenses in a flash. Don't even bother with Slam. It's generally time-consuming and useless. A downside to Miranda is her dainty figure (not a downside aesthetically, of course, but definitely a downside in combat). She gets taken out way too easily if she's not behind cover, so make sure to place her near the back of whatever area you're in, behind some reliable cover. Her powers are just as effective from afar. Once you've leveled her Cerberus Officer skill to Cerberus Leader, she'll be able to withstand a bit more, but still try to keep her at a safe distance. Medi-Gel is not that plentiful.
For your second squadmate, most situations call for the genetically engineered Krogan super-soldier, Grunt. Most Grunt enthusiasts lovingly refer to him as "tank", and rightfully so. He is a mega-durable powerhouse, especially after leveling up his powers into Heavy Concussive Shot, Krogan Warlord, and Improved Fortification. Inferno Ammo is unnecessary alongside your Squad Warp Ammo, so don't bother with it. Also, since he's a Krogan, his health stats are through the roof. Enemies usually find it very difficult to take him down.
Sometimes, I make an exception to the Miranda/Grunt rule, in favor of the Miranda/Garrus combo. on missions where most of the enemies are Blue Suns or Geth, think about taking Garrus instead of Grunt. He's got Concussive Shot, like Grunt, but most importantly, he also has Overload. On Insanity, almost every Blue Suns merc you encounter will have full shields, and every Geth will have full shields, so having two teammates with Overload means taking down twice as many shields. Garrus may not be as durable as Grunt, but having Overload in addition to sniper rifles makes up for it in a shield-heavy firefight.
Choosing Your Weapons
The Infiltrator can use heavy pistols, submachine guns, heavy weapons, and most importantly, sniper rifles.
I personally don't have a preference when it comes to heavy pistols; the Predator has a much higher ammo capacity, but the Carnifex and Phalanx have superior firepower (the Phalanx comes in the Firepower Pack DLC). It depends on the situation, really. I usually keep the Predator on hand just in case I run low on SMG and sniper rifle ammo.
For the SMG category, avoid the Shuriken if you can. If you've downloaded Kasumi, then finish her loyalty mission immediately. You'll have access to the Locust, which is nearly twice as powerful as the Tempest, but has a lower ammo capacity. This will probably be your go-to weapon in most firefights; keep Warp Ammo equipped at all times, and fire in moderate bursts to maintain accuracy. It has an inherent damage bonus to all 3 types of secondary defense, and Warp Ammo just increases it even more.
This is purely a situational choice. I tend to always take the Arc Projector, since it can heavily damage multiple enemies with one shot, and leaves them vulnerable for a few seconds. It's also very effective against Geth Prime and YMIR Mechs, and comes in handy against the Praetorians.
This is where the true power of the Infiltrator is revealed. As soon as you reach the Collector Ship, choose the Widow as your special weapon. With Warp Ammo equipped, this monster is capable of taking out most regular enemies in one shot (armor/shields/barrier included), especially if you use Assassination Cloak before you fire. Whenever you need to take out an especially annoying enemy (looking at you, Harbinger), just equip the Widow, use Assassination Cloak, zoom in (which slows down time for 2.25 seconds), and fire off a clean headshot. If done correctly, a well-placed Warp from Miranda is all it takes to finish him off completely.
Since your teammates essentially have unlimited ammo capacity for any weapon, just equip them with the most powerful weapons they're trained to use. When you add in Squad Warp Ammo, then your entire team is just a rolling death machine.
The unique thing about these juggernauts is that they only attack Shepard. Take advantage of this by finding an object that you can take cover behind on all sides, and then peek out to spam Incinerate at it, while using your squadmates' powers to whittle down its barrier/armor. On Horizon, I just stayed behind the truck near the middle of the area. Just keep it between you and the Praetorian, and you won't even take any damage.
Until its shields are down, use Squad Disruptor Ammo and Overload like crazy. Once the shields are down, switch to Squad Warp Ammo and aim for the head. The Widow makes this a walk in the park after the shields are down. Also, when it's down to just the health bar, use Concussive Shot to knock it down, giving you a few more precious seconds to shoot at it.
If you can stay behind cover, then its Shockwave won't hit you. Use Incinerate and Warp as rapid-fire as possible. If you can avoid the inevitable Husks and Abominations that come with Scions, then they shouldn't give you too much of a problem; they are extremely slow and easy to hit.
These powerhouses can sneak up on you if you aren't careful. Get rid of their armor quickly using Incinerate and Warp, then use Concussive Shot to knock them on the ground, where they're easy targets. If you're really in a bind, heavy weapons are the way to go.
Infiltrate Your Way To Victory
The Infiltrator, if used correctly, is perhaps the most effective class to use when attempting an Insanity playthrough. Stay behind cover, keep your squadmates alive, always have Squad Warp Ammo equipped, and spam Heavy Incinerate everywhere, and you're on your way to Infiltrating the hell out of the entire galaxy.
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