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Squad Members Guide (Mass Effect 3)

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This Squad Members Guide details information and strategies corresponding to each of the squad members Shepard can acquire during the course of Mass Effect 3, including recommendations for use against particular enemy types and a quick reference table. Especially on harder difficulty levels, the proper selection and use of squad members can significantly affect the difficulty of a given mission or assignment.

General Information Edit

When selecting a squad for effective combat (especially on higher difficulties), it is best to look for squadmates that have great synergy with not only Shepard's class, but also with other squadmates.

Adept, Vanguard and Sentinel Shepards will want to consider having at least one squadmate possessing biotic powers, namely Liara, Kaidan or Javik. This allows for Biotic Explosions.

Soldier Shepards will want at least one squadmate who can strip away enemy protections (ie. armor, barriers and shields); Garrus, EDI, and Kaidan are excellent choices in this regard.

Engineer, Sentinel and Infiltrator Shepards should consider having Kaidan, Garrus, Ashley, EDI or Tali on their squad for easier access to the various tech explosions: Tech Bursts, Cryo Explosions, and Fire Explosions.

Squadmates with powerful weapon bonuses are Garrus, Ashley and James.

The sturdiest squadmates, possessing high health and shield bonuses and powers increasing defenses, are Kaidan, James, and EDI.

There are many factors affecting which squad will be most effective for a given Shepard, so the aim of this guide is to provide detailed information about what certain squadmates provide in combat, and how well they team up with other squadmates to give Shepard the best chance of survival in battle.

Squad Member Overview Edit

Kaidan Alenko Edit

No matter what class Shepard is or who the third member in the party might be, Kaidan makes an effective partner for anyone. Only Garrus and EDI match his versatility for stripping enemy protections, as Kaidan has Overload to deal with shields, as well as his unique power, Reave, for armor and barriers. This package is rounded out by Kaidan's ability to use assault rifles, which ensures that even when his powers are on cooldown, he is reliably contributing to the party's damage output.

His Alliance Officer passive class power can give him an impressive boost to his biotics and tech powers, with one reaching 80% and the other reaching 110%.

Defensively, while James has higher shields overall due to his class power, Kaidan has access to both Barrier and Reave which, if used together cuts the amount of damage he receives from all sources by a maximum of 70%.

Kaidan's ability to contribute to power combos is unparalleled. He can prime Cryo Explosions with Cryo Blast, Reave can prime and detonate Biotic Explosions, and Overload can prime and detonate Tech Bursts in addition to the ability to detonate Cryo Explosions and Fire Explosions.

EDI Edit

EDI's powers can be evolved to give her some of the highest power damage in the game. Her class power, Unshackled AI, provides substantial benefits to her tech power damage, a maximum of 110%. This is increased further by her default costume and by squad bonuses from other party members, such as Kaidan. She possesses the unique Defense Matrix power to reduce damage taken, which can also be purged to restore her shields. In addition, she can utilize Decoy, her other unique power, to distract enemies.

Weapon options for EDI are the SMG and heavy pistol, so her offensive punch is largely based on judicious use of her powers. Thanks to Unshackled AI's massive accumulation of bonuses to power damage, EDI's Overload will devastate shields and barriers, while Incinerate will ravage health and armor. Note, however, that the Unshackled AI class power does not provide any power recharge reduction and utilizing Defense Matrix will slow power cooldowns even further, so her offensive strikes require proper timing.

EDI can prime both Tech Bursts and Fire Explosions thanks to Overload and Incinerate, while both powers allow her to detonate Cryo Explosions as well.

Javik (DLC)Edit

  • Specialty: Biotics
  • Weapons: Assault Rifle / Heavy Pistol

Javik possesses more biotic power than any other squadmate, as his Vengeful Ancient class power can bulk his power damage by up to 150%; this is of most benefit to his most damaging ability, Lift Grenade. His Dark Channel ability can be used against shields, barriers, and armor. Javik is also quite adept at starting Biotic Explosions, as his unique Dark Channel power will jump to another target if its current target dies while under its effect, while Pull will render most unprotected enemies completely helpless.

Javik's Pull, Slam, and Lift Grenade powers make him very useful for crowd control. Pull and Slam both take enemies off their feet and keep them out of the battle. Pull can be upgraded to affect multiple targets and to lengthen the amount of time they are incapacitated. Likewise, Slam can be set at its highest rank to stun affected enemies and keep them out of the battle even longer. Lift grenade can damage and incapacitate a large swath of enemies very easily; it can further be upgraded to stun enemies longer and affect a wider radius of enemies.

Note that unlike other squad members, Javik's powers cannot be reset in the Normandy's med bay, so extra care must be taken when first setting him up. Also note that Javik is one of the more durable squad members in that he starts with 600 barrier strength.

Liara T'Soni Edit

  • Specialty: Biotics
  • Weapons: Submachine Gun / Heavy Pistol

Liara is the most fragile member of the squad, and her weapon options are less impressive than most other squadmates. However, her Warp Ammo can give a tremendous boost to her damage output against everything other than shields; especially useful when equipped on a rapid-firing submachine gun. Her duration-based biotic powers, Stasis and Singularity, can turn a battle with rank-and-file enemies into a one-sided turkey shoot. Liara's Pure Biotic class power primarily serves to reduce the recharge time of her powers, so that at maximum rank the cooldown period for Stasis and Singularity is only a few seconds. Liara's mixture of biotic powers allow her to both prime and detonate biotic explosions.

Garrus Vakarian Edit

  • Specialty: Combat / Tech
  • Weapons: Assault Rifle / Sniper Rifle

Garrus is an effective, well-rounded option for any class Shepard happens to be. Garrus offers superior ability to inflict damage with weapons; maximum ranks in Turian Rebel can provide a total of up to +160% damage with his sniper rifles and up to 150% with assault rifles; combined with a weapon damage bonus from one of his appearance options, the net effect would amount to almost triple damage on every shot he fires.

Garrus' mix of powers makes him effective against all three categories of defense. Armor-Piercing Ammo contributes even more damage to health and armor. Overload is effective against both shields and barriers. Concussive Shot is likewise effective against barriers and is also useful for crowd control, especially when its radius is increased. Choosing the Damage Taken evolution of Proximity Mine further boosts not only Garrus' damage output, but the entire party's. Garrus is also another character who can prime Tech Bursts with Overload, and all three of his active powers can detonate Tech Bursts, Cryo Explosions, and Fire Explosions.

Garrus does not have strong defensive capabilities. Turian Rebel's damage bonuses come at the price of relatively low shield and health bonuses (+50% maximum), and focusing on his weapon damage will make his Overload tech do less damage than other characters.

James Vega Edit

  • Specialty: Combat
  • Weapons: Assault Rifle / Shotgun

The quintessential meat shield, James is built expressly for close-quarters combat. His unique Fortification power allows him to alternate between a damage reduction buff and a melee damage buff. Equipping him with a strong point-blank-range shotgun that's been modded with a blade attachment can make him brutally effective as a point man and at close range.

James' class power, Arms Master, potentially provides the highest bonus to shields and health of all squadmates, topping out at +140% at rank 6, and a maximum bonus of +50% to weapon damage at rank 4. Incendiary Ammo and Carnage provide a strong counter to armored enemies, particularly when they are combined to create Fire Explosions (by hitting a burning opponent with Carnage). Since Incendiary Ammo and Fortification are 'passive' powers that should be on all the time, and Frag Grenades are limited in number rather than cooldown, James is also good at blasting enemy armor and unshielded enemies with an unending stream of Carnage blasts.

James lacks abilities to deal with shields and barriers; Frag Grenade can be upgraded at Rank 6 to deal increased damage to shields, but still remains a limited power. James is capable of detonating Tech Bursts and Cryo Explosions with with both Carnage and Frag Grenade.

Ashley Williams Edit

  • Specialty: Combat
  • Weapons: Assault Rifle / Sniper Rifle

Ashley packs weapon damage surpassed only by Garrus. Her class ability, Alliance Officer, can increase her weapon damage dramatically, with a potential 75% base damage boost to both her weapons at rank four, 120% to her sniper rifles at rank 5 and 135% to her assault rifles at rank 6.

Her unique Marksman power increases her weapon accuracy and rate of fire. Equipping her with the M-76 Revenant or N7 Typhoon are ideal choices; Marksman easily offsets the Revenant's wide spread while using the Typhoon allows the weapon to fire twice as fast, cutting opposition down with immense speed. When equipped with either weapon, Ashley will gain the ability to lay down suppression fire (by firing at the location the enemy is at, even if they're in cover). With patches newer than 1.3 her unique power is bugged and freezes her.

She also carries Disruptor Ammo, allowing her to quickly take down shielded or synthetic enemies. This makes her deadly on missions involving Cerberus or geth, as both make use of shields and/or are susceptible to Disruptor Ammo. It also makes her yet another character that can prime Tech Bursts.

Though Ashley has Inferno Grenade for dealing with armored opponents, there are more ideal squadmates for countering armor, particularly since Inferno Grenade has limited uses. Grenades are not subject to power cooldown, so Ashley has the ability to create her own fire explosions by using Inferno Grenade with her Concussive Shot. Concussive Shot and Inferno Grenade can also detonate Tech Bursts or Cryo Explosions, making Ashley an excellent choice to detonate almost any type of power combo.

Ashley receives fair bonuses to health and shields through Alliance Officer, to a maximum of +75% at rank 4.

Tali'Zorah vas Normandy Edit

  • Specialty: Tech
  • Weapons: Shotgun / Heavy Pistol

Thanks to the addition of a few new and improved abilities, Tali is far more flexible than in the second game. Overall, Tali functions similarly to the Engineer class. Her Energy Drain ability enables her to strip away enemy shields and barriers while recharging her own shields, and Sabotage is useful for disabling enemy weapons and turning enemy synthetics and Turrets against each other. Tali possesses two different combat drones to give enemies other targets to shoot at, as well as deal damage of their own; and as opposed to in the previous game, her drones have very quick recharge times, making her much more effective at tying enemies up. Her class power, Quarian Machinist, mainly serves to increase the recharge speed of her powers even further.

More so than other squadmates, Tali can be difficult to manage. There is no way to know if her drones have been destroyed or whether you simply can't spot them at the moment. Although it is generally far more effective to manually control squadmate powers, in Tali's case it may be more prudent to turn automatic power usage back on when she's on the team. While effective against shields, barriers, and synthetics, Tali lacks measures against armor and therefore might not be the best choice against Reaper forces, which rely heavily on armor and cannot be hacked.

Tali is also rather fragile, which may be compensated for by equipping her with a longer-range shotgun, like the Geth Plasma Shotgun or the Graal Spike Thrower, to allow her to sustain combat effectiveness whilst at safer ranges. The N7 Crusader, if available, is by far the most effective weapon in this regard given its extremely long range, high damage, and innate armor-piercing. If one has the Mass Effect 3: Groundside Resistance Pack, the Venom Shotgun is another good alternative. Energy Drain may also be used to provide a defensive boost (in both restoring her shields and potentially reducing damage through the Rank 6 Evolution "Armor Boost"), while her Defense Drone will attack and stun enemies coming into close range.

Tali can prime Tech Bursts with both Energy Drain and Sabotage, though it is tricker than with other characters. She also has a harder time detonating Cryo Explosions and Fire Explosions than other tech users due to the nature of Energy Drain and Sabotage.

Temporary Squad Member Overview (DLC)Edit

Nyreen KandrosEdit

  • Specialty: Biotics / Tech
  • Weapons: Assault Rifle / Heavy Pistol

Nyreen is a very versatile squadmate, but she's a bit fragile unless the player invests in her unique biotic power Biotic Protector, but using it is a bit inconvenient as the player can't see her the entire time. It can also be used when enemies surround or overwhelm her, to ensure her survival. Overload and Incinerate allow her to strip away any kind of protection, while her Lift Grenades can disable large groups of unprotected enemies.

Aria T'LoakEdit

  • Specialty: Combat / Biotics
  • Weapons: Shotgun / SMG

Aria is the most powerful crowd controller of the game. All her powers can detonate biotic explosions, but recharge times of the more powerful ones are quite long. Her lash wipes out weak enemies. With the proper rank six evolution of Lash, she can disable shielded enemies except for Atlases. Reave and Carnage make her effective against armor.

Urdnot WrexEdit

  • Specialty: Combat / Biotics
  • Weapons: Shotgun / Heavy Pistol

Urdnot Wrex is the most durable squadmate in the game. His already high health is further supplemented by Barrier and Stimulant Packs. He usually fights in close-ranged combat and rarely enters cover, so a Shotgun Blade Attachment or a Shotgun Omni-Blade will substantially improve his damage output. He automatically uses Stimulant Packs when his shields are down, but they are limited in number and share their stock with his grenades.

Wrex's class power, Krogan Battlemaster, gives him more health than any other squadmate.

His powers aren't the best to deal with shields and barriers, so it's recommended to make sure Shepard or the third squadmate can fill that role while Wrex acts as a tank. Wrex can create his own Fire Explosions through Carnage and Lift Grenades. Against unprotected enemies Wrex can create his own Biotic Explosions by detonating his Barrier and then immediately using a Lift Grenade.

Squad Pairing Edit

James/Ashley Edit

  • Weapons: Sniper rifle, Assault rifle x2, Shotgun
  • Grenades: Inferno, Frag
  • Ammo: Disruptor, Incendiary
  • Power Combos: Tech, Fire

This pair confers the benefit of having two different characters with impressive weapon damage, and different ammunition types for all types of enemies. James also has Carnage to deal with armor, while Ashley can handle shields with Disruptor Ammo. James is also able to take a point-man position thanks to Fortification, while Ashley can switch to sniper rifles to deal with armored foes. There is also a plentiful amount of grenades for clustered foes.

James and Ashley are quite versatile with Fire Explosions; Carnage, Incendiary Ammo, and Inferno Grenade can prime enemies, with both Frag Grenade and Carnage for James and Concussive Shot for Ashley to detonate. Ashley's Disruptor Ammo will also set up Tech Bursts to increase the squad's anti-shield/barrier power. Work these combos in with any powers Shepard may have and you can leave utter destruction on the field.

James/Kaidan Edit

  • Weapons: Assault rifle x2, Shotgun, Heavy pistol
  • Grenades: Frag
  • Ammo: Incendiary
  • Power Combos: Tech, Fire, Cryo

An extremely tough team, with both James and Kaidan having defensive powers and a superior amount of shielding. The two are also very good at setting off tech combinations of any kind, since Kaidan's Overload will trigger with James's Incendiary Ammo, while Overload or Cryo Blast will be triggered with James's Carnage.

Unless Shepard has biotic powers, train Kaidan's Alliance Officer skill to boost his tech damage, since he won't be using any biotic detonations with this team. The team's only real drawback is that it relies on Kaidan to strip enemy protections, since James can only reliably hit armor with his powers.

James/Garrus Edit

  • Weapons: Sniper rifle, Assault rifle x2, Shotgun
  • Grenades: Frag
  • Ammo: Armor-Piercing, Incendiary
  • Power Combos: Tech, Fire

This is a solid pair having no major weaknesses, and pairs well with Engineers and Infiltrators due to triggering Tech bursts or Flame explosions. James and Garrus both offer sizeable weapon damage bonuses. James makes up for Garrus' relative fragility with high Health/Shield bonuses and Fortification, while Garrus can easily strip the Barriers and Shields that James has trouble with by using Overload.

James/Liara Edit

  • Weapons: Assault rifle, Shotgun, SMG, Heavy pistol
  • Grenades: Frag
  • Ammo: Incendiary, Warp
  • Power Combos: Biotic, Fire

A solid choice for most teams, as Liara's biotics can be triggered by an Adept, Vanguard, or Sentinel, while an Engineer or Infiltrator can have James trigger tech or flame explosions, while Liara can immobilize enemies or detonate flame explosions with Warp. It also has a variety of different ammo powers, helping mitigate Liara's lower weapon damage.

James/Tali Edit

  • Weapons: Assault rifle, Shotgun x2, Heavy pistol
  • Grenades: Frag
  • Ammo: Incendiary
  • Power Combos: Tech, Fire

Tali's fragile nature is easily overcome by pairing her with James, as he can be positioned to take point and draw enemy fire while she augments this with her combat drones. In addition, Tali's Energy Drain very easily compensates for James's lack of ability to hit shielded targets. First striking a target like a Phantom or Geth Hunter with Energy Drain and then finishing them off with James' Carnage is a quick and effective strategy.

James/EDI Edit

  • Weapons: Assault rifle, Shotgun, SMG, Heavy pistol
  • Grenades: Frag
  • Ammo: Incendiary
  • Power Combos: Tech, Fire

James and EDI both possess defensive skills, so it may be more prudent to build James defensively, and focus all of EDI's skill points for Unshackled AI into bulking her tech damage, getting the most use out of Incinerate or Overload. Pairs well with an Infiltrator or Engineer for tech or flame explosions, as well as an Adept, who can safely use their biotics from a distance.

James/Javik Edit

  • Weapons: Assault rifle x2, Shotgun, Heavy pistol
  • Grenades: Frag, Lift
  • Ammo: Incendiary
  • Power Combos: Biotic, Fire

A team with not a lot of synergy, as James possesses no skills for biotic detonations and Javik's powers are less than optimal for detonating the Fire Explosions that James can set up. However, James can take point with his superior defensive skills, while Javik uses Dark Channel to soften targets as they get close to James, leaving both Javik and Shepard to drop foes from a distance.

What James and Javik lack in power synergy, they make up for with a common ability—a grenade power that inflicts high instant damage over a large radius. A squad with both James and Javik will have little trouble wiping out squads of enemies or weakening boss enemies in tight situations.

Liara/Ashley Edit

  • Weapons: Assault rifle, Sniper rifle, SMG, Heavy pistol
  • Grenades: Inferno
  • Ammo: Warp, Disruptor
  • Power Combos: Biotic, Tech, Fire

Liara and Ashley compensate for each other's shortcomings very handily: Liara's lack of ability to harm shielded enemies is mitigated easily by Ashley's Disruptor Ammo and Marksman, while Ashley's inability to reliably damage armor without grenades is covered by Liara's Warp. Singularity allows Ashley to use Marksman and mop up weaker, unprotected enemies, making this team a great choice for missions with Reapers, as Husks and Cannibals fall prey to a crossfire very easily.

Liara/Kaidan Edit

  • Weapons: Assault rifle, SMG, Heavy pistol x2
  • Grenades: none
  • Ammo: Warp
  • Power Combos: Biotic, Tech, Cryo

A team very adept at creating biotic combinations, as Kaidan's Reave and Liara's Warp can both start or finish a biotic explosion. These explosions, when coupled with Liara's Pure Biotic passive class, can come out quite swiftly. Even without explosions, it can rip through targets with armor and barriers quite handily. In addition, Liara's inability to do extra damage to shielded opponents is mitigated with Kaidan's Overload which can then be detonated by Liara's Warp for even more damage and crowd control. If Shepard does not have biotic powers, this is the only squad that can reliably chain biotic explosions with other types of power combos.

Warp Ammo can be given to Kaidan and he can do passable damage with an assault rifle, but most of this team's damage will be caused with biotics.

Liara/Garrus Edit

  • Weapons: Sniper rifle, Assault rifle, SMG, Heavy pistol
  • Grenades: none
  • Ammo: Armor-Piercing, Warp
  • Power Combos: Biotic, Tech

This combination is a well-rounded option suited for most combat situations. Garrus provides strong firepower, Armor-Piercing ammo for armor/armor plate/cover penetration and Overload for shields and barriers, while Liara provides Singularity and Stasis for crowd control and immobilizing unarmored foes such as Phantoms, and Warp and Warp Ammo for even more armor and barrier damage. Taking both Warp and Proximity Mine's Rank 5 evolutions to increase damage done to the target can increase an enemy's vulnerability by up to 40% for several seconds if the powers are used in tandem, significantly weakening heavy enemies like Brutes and Banshees. This team's versatility can easily work with whichever class Shepard may be, as a biotic can create biotic explosions with Liara, while an Engineer or Infiltrator can use Garrus for tech bursts.

The main drawback of this combination is the lack of close range capability and survivability. Keeping Liara on effective crowd control, spending points in Proximity Mine, or having Shepard's class be one such as Vanguard or Sentinel, can be useful.

Liara/Tali Edit

  • Weapons: Shotgun, SMG, Heavy pistol x2
  • Grenades: none
  • Ammo: Warp
  • Power Combos: Biotic, Tech

This pairing can provide a variety of powers to deal with a variety of enemies, and has effective crowd control with Liara's Singularity and Stasis as well as Tali's drones. It can also deal with armor via Liara's Warp and shields or barriers with Tali's Energy Drain, and can destroy very tough foes like the Atlas or Geth Prime. However, this is a fragile team, the most fragile in the game, and almost requires Shepard to be a tougher class such as the Soldier, Sentinel, or Vanguard.

Liara/EDI Edit

  • Weapons: SMG x2, Heavy pistol x2
  • Grenades: none
  • Ammo: Warp
  • Power Combos: Biotic, Tech, Fire

This pair provides little in the way of weapon firepower compared to some other pairings, but it makes up for it with a variety of different uses of powers. Since EDI has Defense Matrix and Decoy, she can act on the front lines, protecting Liara from damage and allowing her to use Singularity and Stasis to help manage enemies further. Liara's inability to hit shielded targets is covered easily with EDI's Overload.

Liara/Javik Edit

  • Weapons: Assault rifle, SMG, Heavy pistol x2
  • Grenades: Lift
  • Ammo: Warp
  • Power Combos: Biotic

An interesting contrast exists between Javik and Liara's implementation of biotics. Liara's Stasis and Singularity powers immobilize, while Javik's Pull and Slam fling them about. Together, they provide a great deal of battlefield control, and, of course, biotic explosions should abound. Singularity can be detonated with Slam, since the enemies will still be clustered even with the detonation at the apex of Slam's ascent, while Warp will still detonate Dark Channel.

Garrus/Ashley Edit

  • Weapons: Assault rifle x2, Sniper rifle x2
  • Grenades: Inferno
  • Ammo: Armor-Piercing, Disruptor
  • Power Combos: Tech, Fire

Ashley and Garrus possess the highest weapon damage of all of the squad members. With access to both Armor-Piercing and Disruptor Ammo, any enemy protection can be swiftly dealt with, allowing Garrus to ignore Overload in favor of his other skills, as the squad evolution can give him Disruptor Ammo to deal with shields instead. Ashley works well on a fully-automatic assault rifle, with points placed into her Marksman ability to use it well, while Garrus can switch weapons based on the enemies the team is facing.

With the right distribution of powers, this pair can set up and detonate fire explosions and tech bursts. With Overload evolved to hit multiple opponents, one Inferno Grenade can start a chain of fire explosions.

Garrus/Kaidan Edit

  • Weapons: Assault rifle x2, Sniper rifle, Heavy pistol
  • Grenades: none
  • Ammo: Armor-Piercing
  • Power Combos: Tech, Cryo

An exceptionally versatile team that can utterly devastate higher-level enemies, such as Banshees, Brutes, Geth Primes, and Phantoms. No other team can come close to stripping enemy armor, shields, or barriers so quickly and effectively, or mopping up unprotected enemies with gunfire.

Garrus's Overload can be ignored entirely in favor of Kaidan's, as Kaidan's Alliance Officer passive skill, and the Power Synergy of Barrier, will provide more tech damage than Turian Rebel. This leaves Garrus free to specialize in weapons and his other skills, granting the team more crowd control with Proximity Mine, Concussive Shot, and Cryo Blast.

In addition, Garrus's lower health and shields can very easily be compensated by having Kaidan, who has two defensive skills, taking a point position and letting Garrus stay back in cover.

This team will also synergize well with any class Shepard may be, as Kaidan's Reave can assist with any biotic detonations if Shepard is an Adept, Vanguard, or Sentinel, while the Soldier or Infiltrator can take full advantage of Cryo Blast to deal maximum damage. Garrus' and Kaidan's Overload can also help set up or set off tech bursts for Engineers.

Garrus/Tali Edit

  • Weapons: Assault rifle, Sniper rifle, Shotgun, Heavy pistol
  • Grenades: none
  • Ammo: Armor-Piercing
  • Power Combos: Tech

This team brings together both long and short range, and some complimentary powers. Combining Garrus' Overload with Tali's Energy Drain can take a good chunk out of enemies' shields, and Tali's two combat drones provide crowd control and keep enemies off Garrus. Enemies can be destroyed before they even reach Tali with judicious use of the pair's powers, although a Soldier, Vanguard, or Sentinel Shepard works even better with this team, as they can act on the front lines if Tali is getting swarmed.

Garrus/EDI Edit

  • Weapons: Sniper rifle, Assault rifle, SMG, Heavy pistol
  • Grenades: none
  • Ammo: Armor-Piercing
  • Power Combos: Tech, Fire

This tech-heavy team is very effective at tackling Cerberus missions. Both can overload shields, and a combination of Armor-Piercing Ammo and Incinerate will make short work of armor. Place EDI front and center, keeping the heat off of Garrus with Decoy and Defense Matrix, while keeping Garrus behind cover with a sniper rifle to deal heavy damage with his Weapon Damage bonuses. Equipping Garrus with a rifle that penetrates cover like the M-98 Widow and levelling up his Armor-Piercing Ammo will prevent Cerberus Guardians from getting close enough to cause issues.

Even against the Geth or Reapers, EDI's ability to hit all enemy protections and superior defensive abilities work well with Garrus's superior weapon damage. Geth Primes and Pyros can be easily destroyed with two characters having access to Overload, while Brutes and Banshees can be destroyed safely at a distance with Armor-Piercing Ammo and Incinerate.

Garrus/Javik Edit

  • Weapons: Assault rifle x2, Sniper rifle, Heavy pistol
  • Grenades: Lift
  • Ammo: Armor-Piercing
  • Power Combos: Biotic, Tech

An unusual combo. Garrus provides powerful long-range weapon fire while Javik handles closer ranges. Garrus can easily take down shields and barriers with Overload, and handles armor with Armor-Piercing ammo. Javik deals great damage to unprotected foes with Lift Grenade or Slam. Javik's Pull renders unprotected enemies helpless in the air, which are easy pickings for Shepard and Garrus.

The main drawback is the relative fragility of this team, so a Sentinel Shepard, who can also create biotic detonations with Javik's Dark Channel, synergizes the best with this pair.

Tali/Ashley Edit

  • Weapons: Assault rifle, Sniper rifle, Shotgun, Heavy pistol
  • Grenades: Inferno
  • Ammo: Disruptor
  • Power Combos: Tech, Fire

Useful squad pairing for Geth and Ceberus missions, Tali provides Sabotage and drone support while Ashley has Disruptor Ammo to strip shields and stun geth enemies. This can also cause a Tech Burst when an enemy dies, helping deal with clustered foes.

Tali's drone support will force enemies out of cover and straight into Ashley's line of fire. This becomes extremely effective if Ashley is armed with the M37 Falcon or M76 Revenant, or for an Infiltrator or Soldier Shepard specializing in sniper rifles.

This team relies on the limited-use Inferno Grenade to deal with armor, so taking a Shepard that does bonus damage against armor, such as the Engineer with Incinerate or Adept with Warp, is a good idea.

Tali/Kaidan Edit

  • Weapons: Assault rifle, Shotgun, Heavy pistol x2
  • Grenades: none
  • Ammo: none
  • Power Combos: Tech, Cryo

For missions against the geth, this is one of the best teams to use, as both Tali and Kaidan can start or finish tech explosions with Energy Drain or Overload, and utterly rip through geth. As all of the opponents are synthetic, Tali's Energy Drain will allow her to keep her shields charged. Even against Reapers or Cerberus, the team has excellent crowd control with Kaidan's Cryo Blast and Tali's drones, and Tali's inability to do extra damage to armored opponents is covered by Kaidan's Reave.

Tali/EDI Edit

  • Weapons: Shotgun, SMG, Heavy pistol x2
  • Grenades: none
  • Ammo: none
  • Power Combos: Tech, Fire

This pairing is one of the most ideal for Geth and Cerberus missions. EDI can Overload shields, while Tali drains them. Armor is easily dealt with through EDI's Incinerate. EDI is tough enough to take the brunt of geth hunters, who will find themselves uncloaked by Tali's drones. Between Tali's drones and EDI's Decoy power, the enemy will rarely be spending much time attacking the squad itself. The weakness of this team is weapon damage and range, and relies on powers to effectively deal with enemies.

Tali/Javik Edit

  • Weapons: Assault rifle, Shotgun, Heavy pistol x2
  • Grenades: Lift
  • Ammo: none
  • Power Combos: Biotic, Tech

An interesting combination exists between Javik's Dark Channel and Tali's combat drones. The lack of range becomes almost a non-issue for them, as proper power use can mitigate this completely, dropping unprotected foes before they can even come close.

Javik's inability to hit shielded targets is covered by Tali's Energy Drain. However, this team lacks the ability to hit armor effectively, and needs Shepard to cover this.

EDI/Ashley Edit

  • Weapons: Assault rifle, Sniper rifle, SMG, Heavy pistol
  • Grenades: Inferno
  • Ammo: Disruptor
  • Power Combos: Tech, Fire

An utterly versatile and vicious team that can tear through enemies quickly. Particularly effective against Cerberus, since Ashley and EDI can provide quick tech detonations to quickly drop Atlas Mechs and turrets, as well as killing the nearby engineers that set them up. Also extremely effective against the geth, as Ashley's Disruptor Ammo will do extra damage to all targets.

While Ashley has decent toughness, EDI's superior defensive abilities and Ashley's superior range provides the dynamic for EDI to take point while Ashley hangs back in cover.

EDI/Kaidan Edit

  • Weapons: Assault rifle, SMG, Heavy pistol x2
  • Grenades: none
  • Ammo: none
  • Power Combos: Tech, Fire, Cryo

First and foremost, this is one of the toughest teams in the whole game for raw survivability: both EDI and Kaidan are among the two most survivable characters in the game.

Offensively, both characters are tech powerhouses, and the passive squad boosts of Unshackled AI and Alliance Officer will stack with each other. Both EDI and Kaidan can decimate any enemy protections with their wide variety of powers. EDI's Incinerate will combo with Kaidan's Cryo Blast to deal increased damage to armor, making them extremely effective at dealing with Brutes, Banshees, and Atlas Mechs at the higher levels, while both have Overload to deal with Shields or synthetic enemies.

EDI/Javik Edit

  • Weapons: Assault rifle, SMG, Heavy pistol x2
  • Grenades: Lift
  • Ammo: none
  • Power Combos: Biotic, Tech, Fire

While this team does not have a lot of synergy with each other, it does cover all of its bases due to EDI's versatile use of powers, having Overload and Incinerate to deal with all types of enemy protections. Slam can easily kill unprotected enemies from combat if EDI cannot get rid of them, while Dark Channel can help thin out the numbers of the enemies from a distance.

Javik/Ashley Edit

  • Weapons: Sniper rifle, Assault rifle x2, Heavy pistol
  • Grenades: Inferno, Lift
  • Ammo: Disruptor
  • Power Combos: Biotic, Tech, Fire

Javik's inability to hit shielded targets reliably is easily covered by Ashley's Disruptor Ammo, Marksman, and massive amount of weapon damage due to her Alliance Officer passive bonus class, while Dark Channel can weaken foes in addition to this, making this team very effective at long range.

While the team has numerous amounts of grenades, it lacks both the ability to reliably hit armor, and effective crowd control, relying on Concussive Shot and limited amounts of grenades, and relies on Shepard to provide both of these.

Javik/Kaidan Edit

  • Weapons: Assault rifle x2, Heavy pistol x2
  • Grenades: Lift
  • Ammo: none
  • Power Combos: Biotic, Tech, Fire

When it comes to biotic power, this team is unmatched, as both Javik and Kaidan's squad boosts will synergize with each other, propelling Javik's already high power due to Vengeful Ancient even higher.

Biotic combos will be plentiful with this team, so Kaidan's Alliance Officer skill should boost his biotics. Due to the time Javik's Slam triggers detonations, at the apex of being lifted, it is better to have Javik use Dark Channel or Pull, and have Kaidan detonate fields with Reave. Javik can also use Lift Grenades or Slam to detonate Tech Bursts or Cryo Explosions that have been primed by Kaidan.

This team works wonders against Cerberus teams, since Javik's pull makes quick work of Guardians, while Kaidan can decimate Engineers and their turrets.

Another possible benefit is if evolved right, Shepard's shield regeneration will be significantly bolstered, resulting in a shorter period of time in cover. Very useful for weapon-heavy loadouts.

Temporary Squadmates Pairing (DLC)Edit

Note:

  • Aria and Nyreen require Mass Effect 3: Omega DLC. Cerberus enemies are the only opponents this pair will fight against in the DLC.
  • Wrex requires Mass Effect 3: Citadel DLC. CAT6 enemies are the only opponents Wrex will fight against in the DLC, unless Wrex is purchased as a squadmate license for the Armax Arsenal Arena.

Aria/Nyreen Edit

  • Weapons: Assault rifle, Shotgun, Heavy pistol x2
  • Grenades: Lift
  • Ammo: none
  • Power Combos: Biotic, Tech, Fire

This combination is the only squad available for the Omega DLC, except for the parts when Nyreen is not present.

Only Cerberus foes will be fought, so Aria's Lash will be very effective in getting rid of Guardians' shields, as well as safely disabling Phantoms. A biotic Shepard will find a lot of synergy with Aria's Reave, which can detonate or be detonated by any other biotic power. Nyreen can also detonate these with Lift Grenade, although it is not ideal, as grenades are in limited quantities.

With Aria and Nyreen having Carnage and Incinerate, fire explosions will be plentiful, a useful tactic, as many of the new enemies: Rampart Mechs, and Adjutants all have armor defenses. Aria also has Carnage to detonate Nyreen's Overload, allowing them to make quick work of shields.

Wrex/Ashley Edit

  • Weapons: Assault rifle, Heavy pistol, Shotgun, Sniper rifle
  • Grenades: Inferno, Lift, Stimulant Pack
  • Ammo: Disruptor
  • Power Combos: Biotic, Tech, Fire

Wrex's close-range combat style works well to occupy enemies, leaving Ashley safe to lay down covering fire from a distance. Wrex's inability to do extra damage to shielded foes is easily eliminated by Ashley's Disruptor Ammo, and his Carnage will couple with her Concussive Shot to provide reliable armor damage, something Ashley lacks without using grenades.

Ashley's Disruptor Ammo let's her quickly strip enemy shields, and can create a Tech Burst when detonated by her own Concussive Shot or Inferno Grenades or Wrex's Carnage or Lift Grenades. Wrex can single-handedly detonate a Biotic Explosion on unprotected enemies by detonating his Barrier and immediately hitting the enemy with a Lift Grenade. Inferno Grenades and Carnage can be detonated by each other in addition to Ashley's Concussive Shot and Wrex's Lift Grenades causing Fire Explosions.

Wrex/EDI Edit

  • Weapons: Heavy pistol x 2, Shotgun, Submachine Gun
  • Grenades: Lift, Stimulant Pack
  • Ammo: None
  • Power Combos: Biotic, Tech, Fire

EDI's Incinerate couples with Wrex's Carnage to create Fire explosions quite ably, and Wrex's lack of utility against shielded foes is mitigated thanks to EDI's Overload and very high tech damage modifiers due to her Unshackled AI passive ability. Most enemies can be incapacitated by Overload, including CAT6 Heavies, which will disable their shields, and allow Wrex to use his Carnage with impunity.

Decoy is less useful, as Wrex will often close the gap between enemies and leave EDI well protected. This allows her to not use her Defensive Matrix, and not have her power recharge time hampered.

Wrex/Garrus Edit

  • Weapons: Assault rifle, Heavy pistol, Shotgun, Sniper rifle
  • Grenades: Lift, Stimulant Pack
  • Ammo: Armor-Piercing
  • Power Combos: Biotic, Tech, Fire

Garrus's high sniper rifle damage is supplemented quite well with Wrex, who provides front line cover and distracts most enemies. He also possesses Overload, which provides much needed damage boosts against shields, and locks enemies in place.

Carnage can be detonated for a fire explosion by many of Garrus's skills, including Overload, which can be detonated again by Wrex's Lift Grenade for a Tech Burst, as grenades are unaffected by power cooldown, a double combination that makes quick work of even tough enemies.

Wrex/James Edit

  • Weapons: Assault rifle, Heavy pistol, Shotgun x 2
  • Grenades: Lift, Stimulant Pack, Frag
  • Ammo: Incendiary
  • Power Combos: Biotic, Fire

Potentially the game's most durable squad, James and Wrex pack a lot of synergy with each other. Incendiary Ammo can be evolved to give Wrex a power boost to his guns, and both have grenades to detonate fire explosions when the other uses Carnage. This team lacks a reliable offense against foes with shields or barriers, having only a spec-ed out Frag Grenade, and requires Shepard to fill in the gap.

Wrex/Javik Edit

  • Weapons: Assault rifle, Heavy pistol x 2, Shotgun
  • Grenades: Lift, Stimulant Pack
  • Ammo: None
  • Power Combos: Biotic, Fire

Javik possesses Dark Channel, which can be detonated by either his own, or Wrex's Lift Grenades. Additionally, since Wrex will often be up close to the enemy, he can also detonate his Barrier to create a biotic explosion, and not use grenades unnecessarily. This team lacks an effective punch against foes with shields, however, so Shepard will have to provide a talent to assist with that.

Wrex/Kaidan Edit

  • Weapons: Assault rifle, Heavy pistol x 2, Shotgun
  • Grenades: Lift, Stimulant Pack
  • Ammo: None
  • Power Combos: Biotic, Tech, Fire, Cryo

Kaidan and Wrex are one of the most durable squads in the game, and both possess impressive biotic power and peerless combo potential. Kaidan's Reave can be detonated by Wrex's grenades, or by detonating his barrier, a technique that works well because Wrex is often in close range with his foes.

Wrex can detonate Kaidan's Overload, or his Cryo Blast, with his Carnage or Lift Grenades. Additionally, Kaidan can detonate Wrex's Carnage with his Overload, allowing all types of power combos to be created with impunity. Wrex's high health and front-line fighting also allows Kaidan to avoid using his Barrier, allowing combos to come out faster than they normally would.

Wrex/Liara Edit

  • Weapons: Heavy pistol x 2, Shotgun, Submachine Gun
  • Grenades: Lift, Stimulant Pack
  • Ammo: Warp
  • Power Combos: Biotic, Fire

The fragile Liara can greatly benefit from having the durable Wrex in the squad, who can also detonate her Warp with his Lift Grenades or by detonating his Barrier. Against armored foes, Wrex's Carnage can be detonated by Liara's Warp, which also reduces the enemy armor rating to make follow-up gunfire more effective.

Liara's Warp Ammo can also be evolved to be equipped onto Wrex, although his penchant for melee combat can make this less effective than with other squadmates. This team lacks an effective weapon against shields, and Shepard will be necessary to fill in these gaps.

Wrex/Tali Edit

  • Weapons: Heavy pistol x 2, Shotgun x 2
  • Grenades: Lift, Stimulant Pack
  • Ammo: None
  • Power Combos: Biotic, Tech, Fire

Tali's fragility is almost completely overcome by having Wrex in her party and her combat drones on the field. Her Energy Drain provides both a useful shield-damaging power that Wrex lacks, and a way to disable CAT6 Heavies, allowing Wrex to mop them up with his Carnage. Tali can additionally detonate his Carnage with Sabotage, making the team more effective against armored foes.

Countering Enemies Edit

Cerberus Edit

Many Cerberus forces have shields, while Cerberus Phantoms have barriers. This makes bringing at least one squad member with Overload, Energy Drain, or Disruptor Ammo a priority.

Cerberus brings many Assault Troopers, which are unshielded and unprotected, into fights, so Tech Bursts, Cryo Blast and Singularity are invaluable for stopping multiple opponents.

The only armored units that will appear are Atlas mechs, which are rare but demand immediate attention. Atlases possess both armor and shields, so squad members who can hit both are good choices. Regardless of squad member, having Piercing or Shredder Mods on weapons is also a good idea, for both the Atlases and the shield-toting Guardians.

Combat Engineers can be very annoying, as they set up and repair Turrets, damaged Atlas Mechs, or Shield Pylons. They possess shields, and Overload tends to briefly stun them, so make them a priority when they are encountered.

Reapers Edit

More than any other force, Reapers possess a lot of cannon fodder, unshielded troops with Husks and Cannibals, so effective crowd control is extremely prudent. Singularity and Cryo Blast are very effective against Reaper forces.

Marauders are very common and possess shields, so having a squad member who can damage shields quickly is also a priority. Because multiple Marauders can be present at the same time, Disruptor Ammo becomes significantly more effective since there is no recharge time for an ammo power.

Ravagers can be very dangerous on higher difficulties, particularly to more fragile squad members, so durable party members are much more effective once Ravagers enter the game.

Armor, and more specifically, armored plating, is very common among Reaper troops, as Brutes and Ravagers possess it constantly, Cannibals possess it when they consume a fallen foe, and Marauders can buff Husks or Cannibals with it. Warp and Cryo Blast can weaken the effectiveness of armored plating by a significant amount. Reapers also use Barrier Engines to buff their front-line fighters by giving them a layer of barriers.

Reaper forces also possess Banshees, which can instantly kill a target, possess both barriers and armor, and phase across a battlefield. Reave or Warp will do extra damage to a Banshee, no matter which protection she is using.

Geth Edit

Almost all geth are shielded, and all are synthetic foes. As such, Overload is an invaluable power, as is Disruptor Ammo and Energy Drain. In addition, Sabotage will work on almost any target, giving enemies an extra target to shoot at.

Geth Hunters cloak frequently. While they have a noticeable outline, it can be difficult to make out. Having the Combat Drone, Sentry Turret, or Decoy powers can help flush them out, as they will de-cloak when they are about to fire. Hunters that have had their shields stripped lose their ability to cloak, which makes anti-shield weapons and powers all the more useful against them.

Geth Pyros are brutal at short-range, and possess armor in addition to shields. Geth Primes lack the short-range damage of Pyros, but are defensive juggernauts with strong armor and shields along with a hard-hitting pulse cannon and the ability to create small drones and turrets. Using powers from a distance is the best way to deal with them.

CAT6 (DLC)Edit

All CAT6 mercs except for CAT6 Heavies possess shielding, so anti-shield powers are a priority.

CAT6 Specialists are the most aggressive units and cause the most trouble, as their Multi-Frag Grenades and Disruption Drone are very powerful and make it more difficult to stay hidden in cover. Overload can usually destroy a drone in one shot.

CAT6 Snipers prefer long range combat and move fast like Cerberus Nemeses, but they are a much a bigger challenge due to utilizing Tactical Cloak and smoke grenades.

CAT6 Heavies play the same role as Cerberus Guardians, while possessing armor instead of health and being armed with a stronger weapon that can cover longer ranges. They can not be headshot through their shields. Overload, Energy Drain, or Disruptor Ammo will destroy their shields instantly.

CAT6 also utilizes a type of Atlas mech, which functions similarly to that of Cerberus.

Collectors (DLC)Edit

Collectors are available only on Armax Arsenal Arena. They're the most mobile type of enemy and their unique abilities are summoning nets that slow their target down and Seeker Swarms that disables powers. All Collector units have the ability to become "Possessed" in which they are tougher and hit harder than normal.

6 units have grenades and almost all are ranged combatants, but all of them have powerful melee attacks. Collector Troopers are as dangerous as Cerberus Assault Troopers, but gain barriers when possessed or the player has given the enemies protection. Collector Captains have stronger weapons than troopers, better protection, and they can summon Seeker Swarms to disable powers, making them very dangerous for power-oriented classes. The swarms do not, however, prevent gunfire.

Abominations are similar to husks in which they come to close range, but they also detonate when they are killed. This detonation is even more devastating when the Abomination is possessed, and can be deadly.

Scions are heavy hitting artillery with armor, while Praetorians have long range damage and can synch-kill if they get close.

Because Collectors are protected by armors and barriers, the best powers to bring against them are biotic and fire-based powers. Warp Ammo, Armor Piercing Ammo, and Incendiary Ammo are the ammo powers to use. Disruptor Ammo can be useful against Collector barriers, but becomes rather useless once the barriers are removed. Biotic Explosions and Fire Explosions are invaluable — squadmates that can prime and detonate those combos are the ones to bring along against Collector units. Likewise, Reave and Warp will do extra damage regardless of which protection a Collector has.

Squad Member Weapon Selection Edit

Selecting the right loadouts for your squad can greatly increase their effectiveness in combat. While squad members can perform admirably with most weapons, there are several points to bear in mind when selecting a gun for your squadmates:

Generally speaking, squadmates are significantly less effective than Shepard when equipped with a single shot weapon such as the Widow, Javelin, or Executioner Pistol. Furthermore, squadmates will never charge a weapon; they will only fire uncharged shots. Thus, weapons such as the Geth Plasma Shotgun, Arc Pistol, or Venom Shotgun will be less effective in the hands of team members than Shepard.

Certain weapon mods will provide no benefit to squad members. These include, but are not limited to, Ultralight Mods, Spare Thermal Clip Mods, and Stability Mods.

However, squadmates do have some advantages when it comes to weapon selection: unlike Shepard, they are not affected by weapon weight. Additionally, they will never run out of ammo, allowing them to make effective use of weapons that burn through ammo quickly, or have smaller spare clip capacities, though they still need to reload periodically. Finally, squadmates are unaffected by weapon recoil, so they can maintain accuracy easily with heavy recoil guns such as the Hornet or Tempest.

Squad AI behavior is, to some degree, affected by their active weapon. While there are some individual exceptions, Shotguns and Submachine Guns cause the character to close in on the enemy to maximize damage, while Assault Rifles, Heavy Pistols, and Sniper Rifles will prompt the character to keep their distance. This is an especially important consideration for more fragile squadmates that may not be able to handle close ranges.

Squad Member Outfits Edit

Default Alternate From Ashes N7 Collector's Edition Pack
ME3 Ashley Basic Outfit ME3 Ashley Alt Outfit 1 ME3 Ashley Alt Outfit 2 ME3 Ashley Alt Outfit 3
Weapon Damage +25% Shields +25% Weapon Damage +25% Power Recharge Speed +25%

Default Alternate From Ashes Alternate Appearance Pack 1
ME3 EDI Basic Outfit ME3 EDI Alt Outfit 1 ME3 EDI Alt Outfit 2 ME3 EDI Alt Outfit 3
Power Damage +25% Power Recharge Speed +25% Shields +25% Power Recharge Speed +25%

Default Alternate From Ashes Alternate Appearance Pack 1
ME3 Garrus Basic Outfit ME3 Garrus Alt Outfit 1 ME3 Garrus Alt Outfit 2 ME3 Garrus Alt Outfit 3
Shields +25% Weapon Damage +25% Weapon Damage +25% Shields +25%

Default Alternate From Ashes N7 Collector's Edition Pack
ME3 James Basic Outfit ME3 James Alt Outfit 1 ME3 James Alt Outfit 2 ME3 James Alt Outfit 3
Shields +25% Weapon Damage +25% Weapon Damage +25% Shields +25%

Default Alternate
ME3 Javik Basic Outfit ME3 Javik Alt Outfit 1
Power Damage +25% Power Recharge Speed +25%

Default Alternate From Ashes N7 Collector's Edition Pack
ME3 Kaidan Basic Outfit ME3 Kaidan Alt Outfit 1 ME3 Kaidan Alt Outfit 2 ME3 Kaidan Alt Outfit 3
Power Recharge Speed +25% Power Damage +25% Shields +25% Weapon Damage +25%

Default Alternate From Ashes N7 Collector's
Edition Pack
Alternate Appearance
Pack 1
ME3 Liara Basic Outfit ME3 Liara Alt Outfit 1 ME3 Liara Alt Outfit 2 ME3 Liara Alt Outfit 3 ME3 Liara Alt Outfit 4
Power Damage +25% Power Recharge
Speed +25%
Power Recharge
Speed +25%
Power Damage +25% Power Damage +25%

Default Alternate From Ashes
ME3 Tali Basic Outfit ME3 Tali Alt Outfit 1 ME3 Tali Alt Outfit 2
Power Damage +25% Power Recharge Speed +25% Weapon Damage +25%

ME3 Icon Mass Effect 3 Guides ME3 Icon
Completion WalkthroughMoralitySearch and RescueEquipment and Items
Classes AdeptEngineerInfiltratorSentinelSoldierVanguard
Other Squad MembersPC TweaksInterruptsMerchantsThe One and Only
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