Combat for Mass Effect 3 focuses on the basic and advanced combat mechanics of the game. From indicating the usage of the various weapons that can be equipped, battle movements, player and enemy combat details, and many more.


Classes Guide



Companions Guide



Beginner Guide




Mass Effect 3 Combat

How to be Effective in Combat


Cerberus Defense

Cerberus uses mobile defenses. Find and destroy the portable generators that power their shield pylons and cover nodes.

Combat Rolls

Use combat rolls to get quickly in and out of cover


Headshots inflict superior damage on most targets.

Heavy Melee

Heavy Melee is an effective attack against unarmored or unshielded enemies.

Higher Ground

Watch out for opponents on higher ground! Elevated enemies can shoot you even in cover.

Barrier Engine

Reaper troops protect themselves by deploying generators called Barrier Engines. Target these first!

Suppress Shields

Keep firing and unleashing powers to prevent enemy shields from regenerating.

Squad Bonus

Squadmates do more damage when ordered to attack a specific target.

Squad Configuration

Choosing the right Companion to complement Shepard's strengths and weaknesses is key. Experiment with squad configurations.

How to Utilize Powers


Here are some helpful tips on how to understand your Powers and how to effectively use them in battle:

  • Armor Piercing: Use hard-hitting weapons against armored opponents. Incendiary and Armor-Piercing Ammo also help.
  • Barriers & Shields: Shields and barriers protect against health damage. Shields appear as blue, and barriers are purple.
  • Heal: Shepard's current health bar will be regenerated, but already-depleted segments can only be restored by using First Aid from the Power Wheel.
  • Passive Powers: The last two power upgrades in a tree are passive skills that improve combat, weight capacity, and Paragon & Renegade bonuses.
  • Revive: Use the First Aid power to resuscitate a fallen Companion from a distance. This consumes Medi-Gel. Move to your comrade to resuscitate them without using a Medi-Gel.
  • Strategy - Barriers & Shields: Use rapid-fire weapons (Assault Rifles) and Disruptor Ammo to bring down shields and barriers. Stop shields from regenerating by decimating them with Overload, Shield Drain, or Disruptor Ammo.
  • Strategy - Geth: Geth rely heavily on their shields and are therefore vulnerable to Overload, Shield Drain, Sabotage, and Disruptor Ammo.
  • Strategy - Cerberus: Target Cerberus generators with Overload or Sabotage to cripple their defenses. If you take a Cerberus' position, repair the shields to use them yourself.
  • Weight Capacity: Carrying too many Weapons will increase the cooldown of your powers, effectively slowing down how often you can use your Powers.
Power Combos

Power Combos require a source power and a detonator power. Source powers generally leave a lasting effect on an enemy (e.g. Pull, Cryo Blast, Reave). Detonator powers generally deal high damage or force (e.g. Carnage, Incinerate, Warp). Most powers can be a source, a detonator, or both, so explore the many combinations. Power Combos come in four types:

  • Biotic Combos: Trigger these by combining more than one biotic effect, such as lifting an enemy with Pull before striking them with Warp. Biotic Combos result in an explosion that blasts not just the target, but also the area around the target.
  • Electric Combos: Trigger these by combining an electrical effect with a detonator, such as electrocuting an enemy with Overload before striking them with Concussive Shot. Electric Combos result in bonus damage to shields and a chance to stun undefended enemies.
  • Flame Combos: Trigger these by combining a flame effect with a lethal detonator, such as igniting an enemy with Incinerate before finishing them off with Carnage. Flame Combos result in bonus damage to armor and a chance to light undefended enemies on fire.
  • Cryo Combos: Trigger these by combining a freeze effect with a lethal detonator, such as freezing an enemy with Cryo Ammo before finishing them off with a Biotic Charge. Cryo combos freeze undefended enemies and will chill the rest.

Utilizing Cover


Use cover objects to hold out against tough enemies. Using cover is essential when playing on harder difficulty levels. Accuracy is improved when leaning out of cover to fire. Heavy recoil is also reduced.

Taking Cover

There are three ways to enter cover:

  • Move against cover and press (SPACEBAR).
  • Roll forward into cover by pressing (SPACEBAR) while moving.
  • Storm/Run into cover by holding (SPACEBAR).

Zoom Fire

Pop out of cover to fire accurately by pressing and holding the Right Mouse Button to zoom and then pressing the Left Mouse Button to fire. While zoomed, a superior targeting reticle appears on-screen.

Peek Fire

Fire over cover without standing up by pressing the Left Mouse Button

Swat Turn

Move from one cover spot to adjacent cover on the left or right by holding (A) or (D) and pressing (SPACEBAR).

Ninety-Degree Cover Turn

Round a corner in cover by standing at the edge of a cover object and clicking the (Middle Mouse Button).


Vault over low cover by holding (W) and pressing (SPACEBAR). Alternatively, quick-vault by tapping (SPACEBAR) twice while approaching low cover. This can also be done while storming to hurdle over cover.

Cover Slip & Cover Kill

  • Cover Slip: Storm forward out of cover by holding (W) while standing at the edge of cover and then pressing and holding (SPACEBAR).
  • Cover Kill: Instantly kill enemies standing on the other side of a shared piece of low cover by moving across from them and pressing and holding (F).

Standing Melee

Attack enemies around the edges of cover by standing at the edge and pressing (F).

How to Counter Enemies


Listed below are tips on how to deal with the various Enemies you'll encounter in Mass Effect 3.

  • Atlas: The Atlas is a hulking death machine with powerful armor, shields, and weapons. Shatter and focus on the canopy to expose the pilot.
  • Banshee: Stop a Banshee when she becomes charged by damaging her while she uses biotic jumps to close in.
  • Brute: Don't let a Brute get close! Brutes are vicious opponents that can instantly kill you.
  • Cannibal: Cannibals form armored plating by reclaiming fallen Cannibals and Husks. Shooting these plates deals no damage to the Cannibal until they are blown off.
  • Centurion: Centurions deploy smoke screens to conceal their movement. See through this by equipping a sniper rifle with certain scope mods.
  • Engineer: Pick off engineers before they set up armored turrets or repair a damaged Atlas.
  • Geth Hunter: A cloaked Geth Hunter moves through the field virtually undetected, allowing them to flank with powerful plasma-shotguns. Take out their shields to disable their cloaking abillity.
  • Geth Prime: Geth Primes are command-and-control units that pulverize their enemies with pulse cannons, missile drones, and gun turrets.
  • Geth Pyro: Geth Pyros have flamethrowers that burn enemies at close range. Target their fuel tanks and use Overload and Sabotage.
  • Guardian: Guardian shields block powers, shots, and melee attacks. To kill a Guadian, stagger them with Throw or Concussive Shot, or use Pull to tear away their shields. Flanking them also works.
  • Marauder: Marauders buff Husks and Cannibals by giving them armored plating. Take out the Marauder first when they are out on the battlefield.
  • Nemesis: The Nemesis is a nimble opponent armed with a powerful sniper rifle. Take cover when you spot a red laser sight that's honing in on your position.
  • Phantom: Destroy a Phantom's sword to remove its melee abilities. Phantoms are agile combatants, so keep pressure on them.
  • Ravager: When a Ravager's sac breaks, Swarmers are released. Swarmers are weak, but a group of them can kill or keep your shields from regenerating.

How to Utilize ME3 Weapons


Here, you'll find useful combat tips on how to properly utilize the different Weapons in Mass Effect 3:

  • Armor Piercing: Use hard-hitting weapons against armored opponents. Incendiary and Armor-Piercing Ammo also help.
  • Barriers & Shields: Shields and barriers protect against health damage. Shields appear as blue, and barriers are purple.
  • Cover Piercing: The Widow, Black Widow, and Javelin weapons can fire through enemies and light cover. Mod other weapons, like the Mattock and Claymore to apply this devastating effect.
  • Firing from Cover: Weapons are more accurate when fired from cover.
  • Firing Ranges: Test out your weapons on the Citadel's firing range, located by the Spectre offices.
  • Overheating: Weapons have thermal clips to prevent overheating. Clips use a universal design, so retrieve compatible clips from combat areas and fallen enemies.
  • Reducing Recoil: Powerful weapons recoil and are difficult to aim. Fire from cover and apply certain mods to steady your hand.
  • Thermal Clips: Spent thermal clips are ejected to cool weapons. Run out of clips, and you can't fire.
  • Weapon Balance: It's good practice to equip one slow, heavy weapon, and one rapid-firing weapon to deal with different defenses.
  • Weapon Mods: Powerful weapons tend to have decreased thermal-clip capacities. Mod your weapon to improve its efficiency.
  • Weight Capacity: Carrying too many Weapons will increase the cooldown of your powers, effectively slowing down how often you can use your Powers.

Squad Commands


This section provides instructions on how to control your squadmates:


  • Point your targeting reticle and press (Q) or (E) to order a squadmate to a position.

Use Power

  • Point your targeting reticle and press (Q) or (E) to order a squadmate to attack the target with their respective default power. Any squadmate power mapped to hotkey (1) through (8) work the same way.

Rally Squad

  • Press (C) to rally squadmates to your current position.

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