Mass Effect 2

A quick guide to how I play the Infiltrator class in ME2. I've tried to minimise plot spoilers, but there may be some.


For those who haven't played the Infiltrator before, it is a class mixing tech and combat powers. Focussing on sniper rifles and heavy pistols, the Infiltrator can inflict a lot of damage at range, but is easily overwhelmed at close quarters.

Since Mass Effect 1, several elements of the Infiltrator have changed. The first is the removal of sniper rifle sway, making it far easier to aim your shots. In addition, there are some new powers as discussed below.


Sniper Rifles

There is a surprising variation in the sniper rifles available. I'll discuss the merits of each below:

M-92 Mantis

*The Mantis is the basic starting sniper rifle. It fires slowly, has little ammo (9), but deals a large amount of damage. This makes it very powerful against armoured targets.

For most of the game this remains one of my favourite guns, although its ammo restrictions mean you have to rely heavily on your pistol for most combats. For careful, aimed shots the Mantis is only surpassed by the Widow.*

M-97 Viper

*The Viper is obtained early in the game, as part of the "Dossier: The Assassin" mission. It has a much higher firing rate and ammo capacity (48) than the Mantis, making it reasonable against shields and barriers, although still better against armour.

Given the greater ammo, it is possible to use this gun for most of your combat, although you still need to keep an eye on it.*

M-98 Widow

The Widow is obtained towards the end of the game. It has similar drawbacks and strengths as the Mantis, but deals almost double the damage, and has slightly increased ammo capacity (12).

M-29 Incisor (DLC)

The Incisor is obtained as part of the Aegis Pack, or with the Digital Deluxe Edition. It fires in short bursts, making it just as good at taking out shields and barriers as armour. It has reasonable ammo capacity (30) but uses it up rapidly. A good choice if you are annoyed by shielded opponents, but generally I prefer to use my SMG or heavy weapon to take out shields, and save my sniper for targets it excels against.

Heavy Pistol

Your pistol is a vital weapon, particularly if you carry a low-ammo sniper. Sadly, there isn't much variation between your options for this slot.

M-3 Predator

The basic starting pistol, powerful against armour, reasonably accurate and fast firing. With its large ammo capacity (60) it is a very reliable secondary weapon.

M-6 Carnifex

The Carnifex is obtained early in the game, as part of the "Dossier: The Professor" mission. It fires slower than the Predator, and has a significantly smaller ammo capacity (18) but deals a lot more damage per shot.

M-5 Phalanx (DLC)

The Phalanx is part of the Firepower Pack DLC, and is the highest damage pistol. It has a slightly better ammo capacity than the Carnifex (24) and also deals more damage. It takes some time to get used to aiming, as it has a laser sight instead of cross hairs. If you can adapt to that, this is a devastating addition to your armoury.

Submachine Guns

While the Infiltrator does not focus heavily on SMGs, they can be vital for bringing down the shields of opponents, or in low ammo situations.

M-4 Shuriken

The Shuriken is a starting weapon, and is very powerful against shields and barriers. It shoots quickly, and has a lot of ammo (240).

M-9 Tempest

The Tempest is obtained early in the game, as part of a "Dossier" mission. It is faster firing and has a larger ammo capacity than the Shuriken (450) but deals a bit less damage per bullet.

M-12 Locust

*The Locust is obtained as part of the missions for the "Kasumi: Stolen Memory" DLC. It is the slowest firing SMG, and is just as good against armour as shields and barriers. It deals more damage and has the same ammo capacity as the Shuriken (240), but given the Infiltrator is already powerful against armour, this is probably not a good option.

Heavy Weapons

I'm not going to go through all the heavy weapons, as I feel it really comes down to preference. Personally I find shielded opponents give me the most trouble, so I'd recommend either the Collector Particle Beam, obtained fairly early in the mission "Horizon", or the Arc Projector which can be acquired through the Cerberus Network.


The Infiltrator has a range of powers in Mass Effect 2, and knowing when to use them can be vital to your success.

Disruptor Ammo

*Disruptor Ammo can be used from the start of the game, and adds extra damage against shields and synthetic targets. The second rank adds a chance to temporarily disable synthetic targets, and the third adds a chance to overheat the enemy's weapon.

The fourth rank has two choices - either increased damage, and a chance to one shot kill synthetics, or the same damage, but the ammo applies to all members of the party.

Given that the Infiltrator is less powerful against shields, this ammo is very useful. I generally always have it selected.*

Cryo Ammo

*Cryo Ammo is unlocked at the 2nd rank of Disruptor Ammo gives each shot a chance to freeze the enemy solid if they have no special defences. Frozen enemies take extra damage, and have a chance to shatter when shot, dying instantly. Ranks 2 and 3 increase the duration of the freeze.

The fourth rank has two choices - either an increased chance to freeze, and increased duration, or the same chance and duration, but the ammo applies to all members of the party.

This ammo is very useful against enemies who have little shields or armour, and husks will die instantly if frozen, however I find it generally less useful than disruptor.*

Tactical Cloak

*The Tactical Cloak is the most useful and powerful ability in the Infiltrator's arsenal. It combines the boosted damage of the Assassination ability from the first game (from second rank up), with a very useful temporary invisibility. The second and third ranks increase the damage bonus and durability. The fourth rank has two choices: either increased duration or increased damage bonus. I generally opt for the second option, as the difference in duration is only a couple of seconds.

The cloak can be used either offensively - allowing you several seconds free of enemy fire to stand up and line up a perfect shot - or defensively, to escape enemy fire when on low health and get back into cover.*


*Incinerate is unlocked at the second rank of Tactical Cloak, and launches a homing bolt of plasma from your omni-tool at the target. It deals damage over a period of 3 seconds, with a large bonus against armour, stops health regeneration during this time and if used properly can be arced around cover to hit hiding enemies. There is also a slight splash radius, making it possible to hit more than one enemy if they stand close together. The second and third ranks simply increase the damage dealt.

The fourth rank has two choices: either a further increase on the damage dealt, or a large boost the the splash radius, making it easier to hit multiple enemies. Again this is more of a matter of preference, but I find it more fun to increase the splash radius and hit multiple enemies.

Given the Infiltrator already deals a lot of damage to armoured targets, this ability is not vital, but it really can help against heavily armoured opponents.*

AI Hacking

*AI Hacking is unlocked at the second rank of Incinerate. By using this ability on a synthetic target, you cause them to fight for you for a period of time. The second and third ranks increase the duration, and also add a shield to the target if it didn't already have one.

The fourth rank has two choices: either boosted duration and shield strength, or an area of effect such that multiple targets can be hit.

I have found in the past that there are very limited opportunities where this ability can really be useful, but it is very cool to use. Generally I neglect to level it past the first rank.*


*Operative is the passive power for the Infiltrator class. It improves your health, damage, ability cooldowns, grants a time-slowing effect when you scope with your sniper rifle and increases the amount of paragon or renegade points you receive. This increases for the second and third rank. The fourth rank, as always, offers two choices: the Assassin grants greater time-slow on scope, and bonus damage on attacks and powers, while the Agent has more health, abilities last longer and ban be used more often, and a further increase to paragon or renegade points.

Combat Style

The way you play the Infiltrator is largely up to you, but make sure you use the weapons and powers to suit it.

Take a slow firing, high damage sniper rifle to pick off enemies from range. That means you're going to want to rank up Tactical Cloak as fast as you can, to give you time to line up shots, or escape close quarters combat. You'll want a reliable heavy pistol, so you can conserve ammo with your sniper.

Given those weapons, choose the fastest firing SMG you can to maximise your damage vs shielded opponents.

Alternatively, you could opt for a faster firing rifle that can serve you well in closer combat. That means you're not going to be as powerful against armour, so Incinerate will be of great value. For similar reasons, you'll probably want a nice slow firing, heavy pistol. I'd still probably recommend a fast SMG, unless you're still struggling against armour.

Squad Mates

As an Infiltrator, you're going to want to have a bit of space to take your shots. A combat specialist can help a lot with taking out enemies who get to close, but even more important is a biotic. Biotic powers can be used to control the positioning and movement of your enemies, keeping them at range and letting you line up that perfect shot.


As you can see, the Infiltrator is a very interesting class to play. It has its weaknesses, but by carefully choosing your powers and weapons, you can build a devastating character, capable of dealing a lot of damage at long and mid range.

1 comment for this Mass Effect 2 user guide

  • Comment by helixwhiza

    Sorry about the formatting, got a bit careless and can't fix it now.

    Oct. 22, 2013, 12:30 p.m.
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