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Unlike the standard weapon upgrades, ammo upgrades in mass effect are a lot more complicated. There are about a half dozen different types, each split into two tiers, and all of them with different effects. The main difference between weapon upgrades and ammo upgrades is that weapon upgrades effect how your gun operates, and its stats, whereas ammo upgrades effect what your weapon does to the enemy. That in mind, let’s take a look at ammo upgrades in mass effect!
Anti organic ammo.
Anti organic ammo does extra damage against organic enemies such as Krogan and humans. It is important to note that this upgrade does not mean you do less damage against non organic targets. So, if you’re fighting a group of geth with one Krogan ally, you’re better off with anti synthetic ammo.
This upgrade comes in two tiers, Anti personnel rounds and shredder rounds. Once you’ve got shredder ammo, you don’t need AP ammo anymore.
Anti Synthetic/ armour ammo.
These rounds are great for taking down Geth! There are no penalties for using these rounds against organics, so don’t swap over rounds mid fight just to shoot at one organic enemy amongst a legion of geth. They come in two tiers, Armour Piercing rounds (also called AP ammo) and tungsten rounds. Again, once you have the tungsten rounds ammo upgrade, you can dispense with the AP ammo.
Very useful ammo in all situations. These upgrades cause a DOT (damage over time) effect on every enemy they hit- as well as imposing an accuracy penalty on the target! If you’re fighting a lot of enemies at once, or if a certain enemy has a very powerful weapon, these upgrades can help turn the tide. The damage over time also helps a lot against the Krogan- it can partially nullify their regeneration.
Two tiers, Incendiary rounds and inferno rounds. Once you have inferno rounds, you can let go of incendiary rounds.
The first ammo type that differs across the two tiers. Tier one freeze ammo upgrades are cryo rounds. Like incendiary rounds they impose an accuracy penalty on the enemies they hit, but also they help bypass shields. Personally I don’t have much use for them, but if you’re playing an adept, being able to bypass shields can be very useful.
The second tier are called snowblind rounds. They are very useful items as they are one of the few weapon upgrades in mass effect that just give a straight bonus to damage on everything. In adition to this, they also inflict an accuracy penalty and rate of fire reduction against their targets.
For the large scale battles at the end of mass effect, these weapon upgrades are second to none.
Sometimes, you just need a shit tonne of dakka! For these situations, explosive ammo is the daddy. They provide a massive bonus to weapon force, a nice bonus to damage, and give you an A.O.E. These will shred enemies who are hiding in cover! But… there is a drawback. They also generate a massive amount of heat.
You can deal with this in a few different ways. Carnage and overkill abilities help a lot, As can upgrades that reduce your heat level.
If you really want to get the most out of this ammo upgrade though, stick it in a sniper rifle, and add the best rail extension you can. The heat will be huge, but the damage and the AOE will ensure nothing in the immediate area escapes damage, and woe betide anything that takes a direct hit from that weapon upgrade combo!
High Impact rounds.
This ammo upgrade is very helpful for taking down enemies who are trying to storm your position- such as the fight against Matriarch Benezia. They cause your guns to impact with much greater force, knocking your enemies over, and meaning they cannot fight back as effectively.
Tier one are hammerhead rounds, which simply add the force bonus.
Tier two are sledgehammer ammo which also adds some toxic damage (See below), but lowers the weapon’s ability to disperse heat.
If you really want to see the effects of these rounds, stick ‘em in a shotgun and watch the fireworks!
The marmite of mass effect. Some people love toxic ammo, some hate it. They inflict a percentage damage on the enemy’s healing factor. This makes it great against Krogan, but pretty much useless against everyone else. Unlike most other ammo, this is probably the only time you’ll want to change mid fight. Want to take down that Krogan warlord? Use toxic ammo. But at the higher levels, it’s just not worth it compared to things like incendiary ammo upgrades. Two tiers, Chemical rounds and Polonium rounds.
Shield piercing ammo upgrades
These give you a bonus to shield damage but a penalty to actual damage. To be honest, they’re not worth bothering with, and the only time I’ve ever used them is in the final battle against Saren, as his shields where very tough to discharge.
Two tiers. Phasic rounds and Proton rounds. With proton rounds, the damage penalty is slightly reduced.
Still, I wouldn’t bother much.
Anti Biotic/ Anti tech Ammo upgrades.
These weapons upgrades inflict a cool down time penalty on your enemy’s special powers making them very useful against targets such as Benezia’s Asari Commandoes (or any asari for that matter). For the most part, don’t bother with them- killing your enemy means they’ll never use their biotic or tech powers ever again! They only come in one tier.