Mass Effect: Who’s the Better Soldier, Urdnot Grunt or Garrus Vakarian?

Dozens of characters star in the cast of the Mass Effect games with many of them being loyal squadmates to Commander Shepard aboard the Normandy. In the first game, Commander Shepard recruits the dissatisfied C-Sec agent Garrus Vakarian. However, in the second game, Shepard awakens Grunt, a lab-grown Krogan soldier who has everything to prove.

Both of these fine soldiers fight bravely by Shepard’s side in this game trilogy. But both of them are also rather competitive and they’d have a spirited debate about who is Shepard’s best soldier on the team. While Grunt and Garrus each bring a lot to the table, they also have unique talents and abilities in the lore and gameplay alike. Who’s the top soldier around here?

10 GRUNT: He Has Backup Organs & Nerves

Grunt was engineered to be the perfect Krogan specimen and he doesn’t disappoint. The Krogan are naturally some of the toughest aliens out there. It’s not just their immense brawn and their humps that contain food and water for survival (like a camel’s hump). Grunt can do more with his perfect genes.

If Grunt suffers a serious injury to his innards, he can keep fighting by switching to backup organs such as a spare lung or heart. Of course, he’ll still need medical attention after the battle is won, but this gives him an edge over Garrus and most other soldiers. He even has a spare nervous system to deal with sudden pain.

9 GARRUS: He’s Been Around The Block

Grunt may have implanted memories of battle in his head, but that’s no substitute for hard-won experience. Garrus has seen and done a lot more on many battlefields than the young Grunt has. Garrus may not have centuries of experience like Samara the Justicar, but he’s still got the upper hand on Grunt.

Garrus was there for Shepard right from the start, too. After the original Normandy’s destruction, Garrus flew to Omega to act as a gun-toting vigilante and rack up lots of experience. He has met many talented people, survived many dire situations, and learned how to shoot many different firearms. That knowledge and tactical experience count for a lot.

8 GRUNT: He Can Carry Heavy Weapons Easily

Everyone aboard the Normandy knows how to carry a gun from Miranda Lawson to Kasumi Goto and Dr. Mordin Solus. But being a beefy Krogan means that Grunt can carry heavier and bigger firearms than anyone else. Some guns require Krogan-level strength to carry let alone shoot.

Some shotgun models are simply too heavy (and have too much recoil) for a human or a Turian soldier to use. Grunt can use those weapons with ease, easily obliterating his foes with each pull of the trigger. If Shepard needs some big boom on the team, they’ll turn to Grunt over Garrus.

7 GARRUS: He Can Snipe

Not all brawls take place at shotgun range. Commander Shepard has fought their way through all kinds of battlefields including big, open battlefields with limited cover. That’s just the place where a sharpshooter like Garrus is a vital asset. It’s time to start sniping.

Ever since the first game, Garrus has been a long-range powerhouse being able to take down priority enemy targets with precise shooting from afar. By contrast, Grunt would need time to charge at a priority target which gives the enemy time to react. Garrus won’t give them that chance.

6 GRUNT: He Can Inspire Other Krogan To Help

Commander Shepard has fought with and against just about every alien and combat mech out there. Shepard sometimes fights alongside Krogan mercenaries or soldiers, such as in Mass Effect 3. By then, the Krogan are ready to help take down the monstrous Reapers, but the Krogan don’t take orders from just anyone.

If Shepard has the notorious Urdnot Grunt on the team, then he can inspire and give orders to fellow Krogan in the chaotic Reaper war. His help and leadership can turn the tide of battle. Such Krogan probably wouldn’t listen to Shepard’s other squadmates, but they’ll risk their lives for Grunt as brothers in arms.

5 GARRUS: He Has Excellent Leadership Qualities

In all fairness, Grunt has leadership skills when it comes to Krogan recruits such as when he commanded Aralakh Company to rescue the Rachni queen. But overall, given his Turian discipline, extensive experience, and let’s call it “charisma”, Garrus is a more effective squad leader or battlefield commander.

Garrus inspired and coordinated a team of diverse operatives on Omega including a Batarian hacker and a Salarian explosives expert. Though a disparate team, they all looked to him for guidance. By contrast, Grunt can only lead other Krogan and, in many cases, there won’t be any Krogan on hand. Garrus is a more effective leader with more diverse sets of troops.

4 GRUNT: He’s More Motivated

All of Shepard’s crewmates are motivated to help fight and take down the bad guys including Garrus. But Grunt, burning with centuries of Krogan history, is on a whole different level. He has everything to prove as a tank-born Krogan and he’s itching to slake his thirst for combat.

Grunt, despite his lack of experience and allies at first, quickly proved himself and made up for lost ground with astonishing speed and strength. He formally joined clan Urdnot despite his youth and commanded Aralakh Company as a mere child in the eyes of other Krogan. This is all because Grunt is stubbornly determined to prove himself the best just like his genetics say he is.

3 GARRUS: He Has A Balanced Pespective

Some of Shepard’s squadmates see the world through a fairly narrow or slanted point of view. Consider Jack’s self-centered and cynical ways to Thane’s exclusive focus on assassination work. Garrus has a well-rounded perspective as a soldier, former C-Sec officer, and vigilante. This varied experience helps him adjust to any situation.

He is not cynical enough to reject opportunities for growth nor is he naive enough to get in over his head (most of the time). He’s the “hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and expect nothing” type. That has made him a reliable teammate ever since the series began. Grunt, by contrast, sees the world in terms of “Fight! Fight! Fight!”

2 GRUNT: He Refuses To Be Used

A major theme of the Mass Effect universe is “create your own destiny.” Plenty of instances of this mantra occur in the series for better or worse. The heretic Geth try to obtain easy power from the Reapers with many strings attached and end up getting used by the Reapers for their own agenda. The Krogan were once used like this during the Rachni Wars, then abandoned by the Council. Oh and sterilized en masse.

Grunt won’t let that happen to him or his people. He is his own man and he will cooperate with allies as needed without becoming someone’s disposable tool or minion. A good example of this was when Grunt rejected Gatatog Uvenk’s offer to join his elite clan in exchange for being a total tool. Grunt responded with lethal force.

1 GARRUS: His Intense Personal Loyalty

Some soldiers, such as Grunt, are best off traveling from one battlefield to another without being tied down to any one cause or person. One could view Samara, Thane, or Zaeed this way, too. Garrus, by contrast, is the most loyal person whom Shepard has met and that counts for a lot.

Garrus has fought hard, risked everything, and made many difficult decisions for Shepard’s sake. After all, no one has inspired him as Shepard has. More than anyone, Shepard can rely on Garrus to have their back even if they face the apocalypse together. A single loyal friend can be worth more than a hundred hired mercenaries.

Next: 10 Epic Science Fiction Games To Play Before Mass Effect Legendary Edition Comes Out

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