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Disambiguous This article is about the Cerberus unit in Mass Effect 3. For the main Cerberus station on Aite, see Atlas Station. For the assignment in Mass Effect 2 inside Atlas Station, see Overlord: Atlas Station.

The Atlas is a large Cerberus mech encountered in Mass Effect 3.


With the Atlas, Cerberus's research arm has combined the deadly armor and firepower of a YMIR mech with the tactical superiority of a trained human pilot. An element zero core allows the Atlas to be air-dropped onto a battlefield with minimal impact damage. Its thick armor includes a robust transparent canopy made from a polycrystalline composite proprietary to Cerberus. Alliance engineers hypothesize that the material is some kind of synthetic sapphire composed with interlayers to resist cracking and thermal damage.

Although the Atlas is somewhat unwieldy in the field, its antipersonnel machine guns and ability to shrug off damage from anything short of a heavy weapon makes it a fearsome opponent. Heavy loss of life is to be expected in any unprepared encounter with this unit.



The Atlas is equipped with a powerful rocket launcher which deals immediate damage in an area and then a small amount of burn damage over time to affected targets. It also attacks with a high-powered mass accelerator cannon. The Atlas pauses for a brief moment to fire its missiles, which are guided and very difficult to evade.

At close-range, an Atlas can attack with its claw arm, either by swinging it sideways, slamming it into the ground, or picking up a target and crushing it, resulting in instant death. Atlases can also execute downed players in multiplayer by punching their bodies.

Atlas mechs are destroyed in powerful explosions that deal severe damage to any friend or foe caught in the blast radius. These detonations also ignore intervening cover and terrain.


The Atlas possesses extremely durable shields and armor, and can shoot smoke grenades to cover its advance.

Its shoulders, knees and crotch are protected by destructible armored plating. Once the Atlas is stripped of its shields, the armor plates can be broken by weapon fire, causing a stagger and double the damage needed to break them. When piercing shots are used, the plates can be pierced to cause direct damage to the Atlas immediately, even before the plates break. The plates themselves are considered a health target (red bar).[1]

With weapons that fire piercing shots, the canopy is a double hit area. When piercing ammo augmentations are used (Armor-Piercing Ammo in single-player or Armor-Piercing/Drill Rounds in multiplayer), the three small windows around the canopy are triple hit areas.[2]

The exhaust port located in the rear of the Atlas is also a weakpoint and shooting it causes damage according to the standard boss headshot damage rules.[3]

Atlases receive 24% less damage from Power Combos of all types.[4]


  • The Atlas is slow and makes for a large target, but should not be underestimated. When attacking the Atlas from the front, take cover immediately and watch for when it moves its rocket launcher arm to fire. At melee range the Atlas can easily grab the player for an instant kill, though can only perform the grab after executing a regular melee attack first. Sustained weapons fire and powers should eventually destroy an Atlas provided the player can attack from a safe distance and in cover.
  • In single-player, an Atlas fires its mass accelerator cannon in four shots per burst. In multiplayer, the Atlas fires a three shot volley. It is best to remain in cover until the shots have been fired, though the Atlas will usually fire its guided missile after firing a cannon volley.
  • While the Atlas very visibly telegraphs its rocket, charge and ground slam attack, no such warning is given for the shots from its powerful accelerator cannon, which can quickly and with no warning whatsoever inflict heavy damage on an unsuspecting player.
  • The Atlas can only use its instant kill Grab attack shortly after performing a ground slam or sweeping melee. Consequently, while an Atlas is recovering from its slam may seem like an opening to close in for a melee attack, it is the worst time to do so.
  • An Atlas that has taken damage to its armor discharges white electrical sparks, which can be seen even through smoke screens.
  • The Atlas's tactical value is twofold: initially, it draws fire and protects the deployment of softer targets nearby, protecting them until they can take cover or advance on players' positions. Second, because of its extreme damage output and the amount of ordnance it can soak, the Atlas acts as a pressure unit, slowly but surely taking over defended areas by forcing you to retreat. For both of these reasons, it is important to take an Atlas out quickly.
  • Hijacking: In single-player, once an Atlas's shields have been taken down, the cockpit window can be shattered. This requires a considerable amount of sustained fire, but breaking the window will leave the pilot vulnerable to attack. Killing the pilot (who has no more health than an Assault Trooper) may allow the Atlas to be hijacked, potentially awarding an Achievement. This is not possible in multiplayer.
    • Killing the pilot of an Atlas is not an efficient way of taking one down—it requires a great amount of damage dealt to the canopy (roughly half of the Atlas' full Armor), preferably with a sniper rifle. This tactic also requires that the Atlas not be targeted anywhere other than the canopy, and that normally very effective powers such as Incinerate, Carnage and Proximity Mine not be used. If attempting to hijack an Atlas in single-player, it may be a good idea to manually order your squadmates to attack other targets. This task becomes significantly easier using an armor piercing rifle such as the Widow or Javelin. A headshot against the pilot through the intact canopy can open the atlas with little effort.
    • If Shepard manages to hijack an Atlas, it is best to keep the enemy Combat Engineers alive, since they will on occasions repair the controlled Atlas. This is very useful when facing hordes of tougher enemies.
    • If an Atlas is left empty, Cerberus troops may try taking control of it.
    • An empty atlas mech can be found intact in Grissom Academy: Emergency Evacuation, next to a combat engineer and multiple of them during Priority: Cerberus Headquarters in the back of the hangar.
  • The Atlas can be successfully attacked with Sabotage and turned against other nearby enemies. However, Atlases build up immunity to the power over time, and the same Atlas will not stay hacked as long with each subsequent use of Sabotage (eventually becoming immune).
  • In multiplayer, the Cobra Missile Launcher will instantly kill an Atlas and if well placed, can take out multiple Atlas mechs at once. However, on Platinum, an Atlas will sometimes survive a rocket but with no shields and very little armour left (mostly seems to happen at long range).
  • Repeated use of Warp followed by Throw will create Biotic Explosions heavily damaging the Atlas and any enemies nearby as well. This is true even when the Warp and Throw abilities may appear "orange" on the power wheel, and is especially effective because the Throw ability has a fast recharge. Upgrading the combo damage and recharge rates on these abilities makes this tactic even more effective.
  • The Expose evolution of Warp can severely weaken the armor of an Atlas.
  • Any class capable of throwing any type of grenade that explode on impact, can do considerable damage to an Atlas. This technique works especially well if staying close to ammunition boxes, as you can get new grenades when you have used your own.
  • If upgraded, Pull can stagger an Atlas for a few seconds.
  • An Atlas cannot shoot at you if its right arm doesn't have a line of sight on you. However, be careful around certain covers; due to some bug, an Atlas sometimes shoots through corners, and missiles have been known to phase through some cover.
  • The Atlas' missile very rarely misses its target if they're not in cover. Always stay in cover when engaging an Atlas. It is possible to dodge the missiles either by doing a dodge at the right time, or a little luck while running, but don't count on it happening often though, as it is very difficult to dodge the missiles.
  • Even after it is killed, its body continues to be a solid object that blocks movement, weapons fire, powers, etc. until its death animation (explosion) fully completes. It is advisable to give a dying Atlas a wide berth as its death explosion deals heavy damage even through intervening terrain.

Class Specific[]

  • Like the Sentinel, the Engineer has several powers effective against the Atlas. These include Overload and Incinerate as well as Combat Drone. The latter is an excellent distraction, and the former two are effective against the Atlas' shields and armor, respectively.
  • An Infiltrator can throw Sticky Grenades at an Atlas while cloaked at relatively low risk. If the Atlas is not currently attacking any enemy, it will turn towards the location the grenade was thrown from and shoot with its accelerator cannon. To avoid this shot, don't remain stationary while (or after) throwing grenades.
  • An Infiltrator can use their Tactical Cloak, with the M-98 Widow, and the right upgrades, can take down an Atlas in just a few shots.
  • A Vanguard's leveled Nova can cause considerable damage, and bring this behemoth down fast. However, this is risky as it can leave you exposed to a counterattack from the Atlas, or any ground infantry with a clear shot.
  • Turian Sentinels are very effective against Atlas as they have the ability to deal damage to their armor and shields. They can strip the shields with Overload and then take down its armor with warp. When combined with decent weapons, a turian Sentinel can dispatch an Atlas quickly.
  • A krogan's or batarian's heavy melee can cause an Atlas to stagger, making them the only characters where melee is a viable tactic. Caution should be taken of course, as the Atlas will not always stagger and is likely to retaliate with its own, more powerful melee.
  • Once an Atlas' shields are removed, a drell can inflict devastating damage to its armor, as the Atlas' large silhouette will make it easy to hit with multiple Cluster Grenades, especially if an Adept's Reave is used first, causing devastating Biotic Explosions.
  • Geth Engineers are extremely effective at neutralising the shielding of an Atlas on any difficulty. When power damage is maxed out, Hunter Mode is upgraded with the right specs, and Overload maxed out with pure damage, Overload can inflict over 900 damage per use and be pushed out every 2 seconds. The shields can be stripped even quicker if one uses the Acolyte in unison with Overload, or other damage-boosting powers.


  • According to The Art of the Mass Effect Universe, the Atlas was first intended to be a heavy version of the YMIR Mech with a soldier inside. Eventually, a canopy was added to protect the soldier, and the Atlas was made even larger than the YMIR Mech.
  • An avatar prop of the Atlas is available on the Xbox Marketplace (called the "Cerberus Atlas" in the Avatar Store). It costs USD $2.99 and is one of the few props that is larger than the avatar itself.
  • An aquatic variation of the Atlas mech, known as the Triton ADS, appears in the Mass Effect 3: Leviathan DLC pack.
  • An image of a destroyed Atlas unit marked with the emblem of the Talons can be seen in the Talons' communication feed.
  • During Mass Effect 3: Citadel, the CAT6 mercenaries deploy a single Atlas of their own against Shepard. This Atlas is functionally identical to normal Cerberus Atlas units, but sports a CAT6 gray camouflage pattern.
  • In Greek mythology, Atlas was the name of a Titan who was forced by Zeus to hold the sky up because he and his brother sided against Zeus in the Titanomachy.
  • The Atlas follows the theme of naming mechanical enemies after human mythological figures (A la the FENRIS, YMIR and LOKI mechs), but borrows its namesake from Greek mythology instead of Norse.