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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]


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.



While glowing, Banshees can cover ground rapidly by essentially teleporting using a series of biotic "hops". This movement can ignore intervening terrain, allowing them to pass straight through thin cover or walls. Banshees walk very slowly when not glowing and charging around in this fashion. While glowing, Banshees also have the ability to grab their foes and subsequently impale them with their hands, resulting in instant death.

Banshees can at any time perform a powerful melee attack by swiping downwards with both arms. This can deal heavy damage to victims and also stagger them.

When Banshees are not glowing and they come under attack, they will sometimes crouch down, after which they will spring upwards, scream, and release a damaging biotic blast over a surprisingly large area that can also stagger players. This Nova-like attack does not strike through terrain, but it can knock targets from cover, potentially exposing them to additional enemy fire. This "scream attack" also possesses a mild draining effect that can delay shield/health regeneration until it wears off.

Finally, when not glowing, Banshees can throw powerful biotic projectiles similar to Warp that move slowly but track their targets. Shields on the average player character can be instantly destroyed, with additional damage-over-time injuring health and delaying normal regeneration. This attack also has an area of effect.


A Banshee's biotic "teleport" allows them to move quickly and unpredictably, which can make them very difficult to shoot. They also possess highly durable barriers and armor. If not damaged within a short period, a Banshee's depleted barrier will rapidly regenerate back to near full strength. Dealing sufficient damage to its armor will force a Banshee to stop glowing and teleporting for a short while. If not killed during this period, it will eventually scream, start glowing, and return to teleporting and trying to use its sync kill impale.

When not glowing and under attack by powers, a Banshee will come to a stop and raise a hand, creating a visible shield that negates all offensive powers for a short duration.

A Banshee's head is vulnerable to bonus damage from weapons that can deliver headshots.



  • 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 can be advisable to outright leave a Banshee alone and kill other enemies first. As long as you maintain a good distance and avoid its ranged attack, it can't really do any lethal damage. Husks can grab and immobilize you for the Banshee to grab you. Ravagers are priority targets due to their high damage at range, and Marauders and Cannibals should follow afterward. Brutes are slow and not a threat unless they are nearby or blocking your path. In multiplayer, this will also usually cut down on the total number of Banshees you will have to face in a round.
  • In single-player, squadmates 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. In single-player, it takes a tremendous amount of damage from squadmates' attacks to dislodge a Banshee's grab.
    • If the Banshee is killed before impaling her victim.
    • In multiplayer, 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 usually still 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. An exception is if you are playing solo in multiplayer, in which case mission failure will occur after being impaled even if you could have revived yourself with medi-gel.
  • In multiplayer, there will be occasions where the Cobra Missile Launcher is the only real option to prevent disaster when fighting Banshees, so save shots for more difficult rounds or to save allies if they get grabbed.
  • If a Banshee is about to teleport within grabbing range of you, time a combat roll to avoid being grabbed; keep rolling if the Banshee keeps coming and you're unable to get out of range.
  • When damaged after their barriers are knocked down, Banshees will eventually stop glowing and teleporting, making them much less dangerous and mobile for a good while. When not glowing, Banshees will not use their grab sync kill, and they will not teleport but only walk very slowly. However, they will use their ranged attacks and power blocking ability.
    • This can be used as an opportunity to attack at close range, but be careful of taking damage from the area of effect attack as that deals damage as well as delaying shield/health recharge.
    • The Banshee will eventually scream, which is the signal that it is about to start glowing and teleporting again. Be ready to resume retreating so that you do not get grabbed.
  • When Banshees are not charged up and glowing, they will use their power immunity ability when hit by powers, usually after being hit by more than one. This is telegraphed by them raising their hand.
    • This can be triggered deliberately as a way of slowing down a Banshee's attacks and making it easier to keep landing shots.
    • In multiplayer, be mindful of triggering the power immunity, as this can severely interfere with your allies' attempts to damage the Banshee.
    • The power immunity makes it difficult to take down a Banshee's armor using Power Combos; it also makes weakening their armor with powers like Warp and Cryo Blast a less reliable tactic as well. One way around this is to be sure to use armor debuffing powers on Banshees before they lose their barrier and stop glowing. Another is to make sure your weapons are augmented with armor-piercing mods and ammo.
    • In multiplayer, powers that immediately fire in a conical arc in front of the player such as Flamer, Snap Freeze, Nightshade Blades, and Ballistic Blades do not trigger the Banshee to use its "denial hand". Their damage will still be blocked if a Banshee puts the hand up due to a different power being used on her.
  • 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 ranged attack can do splash damage in a small area; don't bunch up with allies so multiple parties aren't hit.
    • The ranged attack, though slow moving, is deceptively hard to avoid as it can often be launched by Banshees that don't even have line of sight to you, plus there is no audio cue when the attack is launched and the projectiles are very quiet in flight, meaning you might have been targeted and have incoming without even knowing it. It can also be challenging to accurately gauge exactly how far away the projectiles are from you to time a combat roll. This is exacerbated in multiplayer when not hosting the game.
  • The damage-over-time from the Banshee's Warp and area blast can be mitigated by any shield/barrier restoring power (e.g. Energy Drain, purging Defense Matrix, or the Geth Turret's and Supply Pylon's Shield Restore).
    • In multiplayer, the health drain can also be countered by using an Ops Pack.
    • If no shield-restoring option is available, the damage reduction bonus from attaching to cover or using a heavy melee attack can also mitigate the drain.
  • 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. Biotic Explosions are also effective, damaging the Banshee and any enemies nearby as well. Warp followed by Throw is one effective way of creating such combos.
  • 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. Banshees can rapidly close almost any distance and grab you. Their area scream attack can also expose you.
  • Prior to the Patch 4, Combat Drones and Sentry 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.
  • Like most large enemies, Banshees can't climb ladders or teleport across sufficiently high vertical drops. Even though their teleports can cover some vertical distance, ladders (or jumping down to a lower level) are usually a good way to escape danger from their melee attacks.
  • Even after it is killed, its body continues to be a solid object that blocks movement, weapons fire, powers, etc. until its death animation fully completes.
  • Prior to the release of Patch 4, it was possible for Banshees to get stuck during the teleport routine.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 perform a combat dodge (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.
  • 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.


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.


  • 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.
  • The Codex entry for Banshees states that when they die, their body is destroyed by a biotic implosion to evade capture. However, in the Ardat-Yakshi Monastery, an intact Banshee corpse can be found, both during the cutscene where Shepard finds Falere, and afterwards when the cutscene ends on the floor nearby.


  • 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 in multiplayer, 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.