Disambiguous This article is about the enemy in Mass Effect 3. For the assault rifle in Mass Effect, see Elanus Risk Control Services.
Banshees are synthetic-organic creatures derived from asari and mutated by Reaper technology. Frighteningly intelligent, Banshees are advanced pressure units usually found leading a Reaper strike force.[1]

Description Edit

Banshees are the corrupted asari often found leading a Reaper strike force. The Reapers create them specifically from asari with active or latent predispositions to becoming Ardat-Yakshi, a rare neurological condition that enhances the asari's biotic power while causing the immediate death of anyone she mates with.

Lumbering as though in constant pain, the emaciated banshees are surprisingly durable opponents. They are devastating biotics able to hurl lethal balls of energy and create shockwaves as they regenerate. What Alliance military finds most disturbing is the Banshee's ability to spawn her own warp field and seemingly teleport during combat. Although their wails have no apparent physiological effect, the psychological impact is undeniable.

When banshees die, their Ardat-Yakshi genetics twist against them, causing a biotic implosion to ensure they evade capture.

Capabilities Edit


Banshees can charge their enemies (similar to a Biotic Charge); however, this charge only has a range of about five meters, so the Banshee moves quickly using a series of biotic "hops". They move very slowly when not using this ability.

They also have the ability to grab their enemies and subsequently impale them with their hands, resulting in instant death. They have a melee attack that involves the Banshee lifting its arms over its head and then swinging them down. This can completely deplete victims' shields and also stagger them.

Sometimes they will stand still and briefly appear to charge up, after which they will scream and release a damaging and staggering biotic blast over a surprisingly large area. This will also affect players behind cover, exposing them to enemy fire.

Finally, they throw powerful biotic projectiles (similar to Warp) that move slowly but track their target. Shields can be instantly destroyed and up to two health blocks are drained over time. On Platinum, this will drain all but one health block. Abilities that restore shields will interrupt the health drain - this is especially useful if you're playing the campaign on Insanity level or Multiplayer at higher difficulties.


Banshees can biotically "teleport" short distances to move quickly and unpredictably, which can make them very difficult to hit at range. Prior to the release of Patch 4, it was possible for them to get stuck during the teleport routine. They also possess highly durable barriers and armor. When under attack, they may create a visible shield that negates powers.

Tactics Edit

  • A Banshee's head is its weak spot, with each shot dealing 40% more damage. This was taken out with Patch 1 but restored with Patch 4.
  • Besides its deadly melee and shield depleting abilities, even a single Banshee will always have other faster moving units, including Brutes, accompanying it, so be prepared to fight a mobile battle and be aware of your surroundings so you won't be swarmed or boxed in.
  • It is advisable to outright leave a Banshee alone and kill other enemies first. As long as you maintain a good distance and avoid its warp, it can't really do any lethal damage. Husks can grab and immobilize you for the Banshee to grab you. Ravagers can do the most damage in a single volley. Marauders and Cannibals should follow afterward.
  • In the Armax Arsenal Arena, allies incapacitated by the Banshee's impale attack can only be revived via medi-gel and cannot be revived manually.
  • The Banshee's instant kill has one of the longer animations. Though the window is still small (and therefore, it is best to avoid being grabbed altogether), it can be interrupted (and the victim saved) in three ways:
    • If the Banshee is staggered by incoming damage (especially strong attacks like a sniper rifle shot from Tactical Cloak, a Biotic Explosion, or Sticky Grenades). Powers that have extremely high force ratings, like Throw, Biotic Charge, or Concussive Shot are also good at interrupting the attack. However, it takes a tremendous amount of damage from squadmates' attacks to dislodge a Banshee's melee grab.
    • If the Banshee is killed before completing the impale animation.
    • If the player being executed is downed by other enemies just before they are grabbed. The execution animation will play out, but when it is finished, the player can be revived. Similarly, if the grabbed victim is hit by other attacks that down him/her prior to being impaled (for example, the Ravager's cannons or enemy grenades), the Banshee will drop the victim without finishing the impale and they can then be revived.
  • Classes that chiefly use powers may consider keeping the Cobra Missile Launcher equipped when engaging Banshees to reliably save squadmates if they get grabbed.
  • When damaged after their barriers are knocked down, Banshees will sometimes drop to their knees and scream to regenerate. This scream does no damage, and is an opportunity to get in close for melee or shotgun attacks. This is risky however, as the Banshee can still grab you.
  • Do not ignore the Banshee's ranged attack. While the biotic projectile can be dodged with some practice and the right timing (or sufficient cover), it is almost guaranteed to take down all but the strongest shields on impact, then afterwards take down at least one bar of health. This can spell certain (if delayed) death if you're down to your last bar.
  • The health drain from the Banshee's Warp can be interrupted by any shield/barrier restoring power (e.g. Energy Drain, purging Defense Matrix, or the Geth Turret's and Supply Pylon's Shield Restore).
    • On multiplayer, the health drain can also be interrupted by using an OPS pack.
  • It's important to note that, unlike in Mass Effect 2, Overload does more damage to barriers than Warp. Of particular note is the Rank 6 evolution of Overload that doubles its damage to shields and barriers. Squadmates who can use Overload should concentrate on the Banshee to remove its barrier. After the barrier is depleted, Warp is better for wearing down the armor.
  • Reave, Dark Channel, and Energy Drain are also effective in taking down a Banshee's barrier.
  • Repeated use of Warp followed by Throw will create biotic explosions heavily damaging the Banshee 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 biotic explosion and recharge rates on these abilities makes this tactic even more effective.
  • Some biotic powers will never be able to affect Banshees due to their lack of a health bar. Dominate, Pull, Slam and Stasis can't affect a Banshee and will not leave an effect to be detonated.
  • Be wary about sticking to cover. They can rapidly close almost any distance and grab you. Their scream also penetrates cover and will expose you.
  • A Vanguard can successfully use Biotic Charge but should immediately dive away from the Banshee to avoid its grab. This can be a useful tactic if the Banshee has been primed by powers such as Incinerate or Warp, allowing the Vanguard to set off power combos. The detonation will also stagger the Banshee, giving an extra fraction of a second to escape.
  • Human Vanguards with the Nova ability upgraded to give a bonus to cool-down and Biotic Charge upgraded to give back full barriers and to give a power damage bonus can kill a Banshee without having to fire a shot. If you Biotic Charge then immediately roll away, you can use Nova with the damage bonus while staying out of range of the Banshee's melee attack. If followed up with another Biotic Charge, your shields will completely recharge (if the Rank 6 Barrier evolution was chosen), allowing you to follow up with another Nova. If you complete the cycle enough times, you will kill the Banshee without using any ammo. It is important to note that in order for you to use this tactic effectively, you must have a high cooldown recharge bonus.
  • After unleashing the Nova/biotic blast attack, the Banshee will no longer be glowing. In this state, it is unable to either perform another biotic blast or teleport for some time, making it the most opportune time to attack.
  • Also, once they stop glowing, Banshees are less likely to execute a grab move, so it's relatively safe to get closer. Once the Banshee starts screaming again, run away to a safe distance.
  • A properly built krogan or batarian character can survive the Banshee's biotic blast attack without being staggered, giving them a perfect opening to attack with melee attacks while she recovers without risking impalement. This has become easier with the release of Patch 4.
  • Prior to the Patch 4, Combat Drones and turrets were quite useful at distracting Banshees and could be recast almost instantly to keep them occupied. With the Patch active, melee enemies can no longer be distracted by them.
  • More so than other enemies, the Banshee has a tendency to target one player to the exclusion of others. If the Banshee begins to teleport directly toward a certain player, then she has targeted that one player for death and will follow for a considerable distance, ignoring other players in favour of the target. If the player is a class that cannot reliably escape at close range (such as a krogan, batarian, N7 Destroyer, or turian), it is advisable to turn and run in the opposite direction. When the player has placed enough distance between themselves and the Banshee, she may reprioritize her targets and attack a different team member. This is one of the best times to attack the Banshee, as she will remain focused on her new target. The Banshee may also change targets if one team member inflicts a large amount of damage to her, turning her wrath to the source of the damage.
  • Like most large enemies, Banshees can't climb ladders or jump onto higher areas. Even though their teleports can cover some vertical distance, ladders (or jumping down to a lower level) are therefore a good way to escape danger from their melee attacks.
  • A Banshee teleporting through the trip wires of the Cain Trip Mine will not cause the mine to detonate. Only when a Banshee walks through the wire will the mine detonate. To better ensure that a Banshee is caught by the mine, try placing multiple mines parallel to one another with a bit of distance between them.
  • The Geth Juggernaut is completely immune to sync-kills and has high base health and shields. This makes it a viable class to fight against Banshees. However, one should still be cautious as Banshees can still do a large amount of damage to you, even with this large amount of health and shields.

Morinth Edit

If Morinth was spared in 2185, she will appear during the assault on Earth as a Banshee. She will not behave any differently from any other Banshee and must be killed as normal.

Trivia Edit

  • In The Art of the Mass Effect Universe and The Art of Mass Effect 3, Banshees are incorrectly stated to be asari matriarchs, instead of asari with Ardat-Yakshi potential.
  • The Banshee is a female fairy or spirit from Irish folklore, whose wails are said to be an omen of death. Similar creatures appear in Scottish, Welsh, and Norse stories.
  • There is a rollercoaster in Cincinnati Ohio in Kings Island called Banshee. In line and during the ride, a banshee scream identical to the one in Mass Effect is played over loudspeakers

Bugs Edit

  • On occasion, a Banshee will become invisible. Her biotic attacks will still be visible and still affect the player. She is also still capable of using her instakill grab.
  • In rare instances, the Banshee's grab will drag you from a great distance even though the player's character was nowhere near her. The dragged player is helpless when this happens and this can only be prevented if another player would do what he/she would do for a regular grab. This bug has since been addressed by Bioware in patch 4[2], but may still happen on occasion because of latency issues.

References Edit

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