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Cannibals are synthetic-organic creatures derived from batarians and humans and mutated by Reaper technology. During the Reaper attack on Earth in 2186, Cannibals form a significant portion of the Reaper ground forces, along with Husks.


Cannibals are front-line Reaper units created from corrupted batarians. The nickname refers to their propensity to devour the bodies of fallen comrades. This triggers a biochemical process through which the cannibals spontaneously heal themselves and grow new chitinous armor. The transformation also appears to give cannibals a greater awareness of their surroundings, leading to more strategic behavior and careful use of battlefield cover.



Cannibals possess a large gun held in place by a human corpse that serves as an arm.[1] This gun is fairly powerful, and can kill the player easily if they're not careful, especially when multiple units are involved. From this same arm cannon, they can also launch Frag Grenades. They can also use melee attacks, trying to grab whatever gets close to them. In multiplayer, Cannibals are capable of executing downed players by regurgitating stomach acid and consuming them.


Cannibals are large, slow and do not dodge powers, so they are rather easy targets. They are very single-minded and are not panicked by the burning effects of Incinerate or incendiary ammunition. They often take cover to avoid fire, albeit not as effectively as Assault Troopers.

Cannibals have the ability to gain constantly regenerating health by consuming other fallen enemies on the battlefield. This regeneration can be paused if the Cannibal is frozen or while taking damage from certain powers such as Reave, though usually a Cannibal will continue to heal even while taking damage. Incendiary Ammo/Rounds will halt their regeneration permanently, provided that the Cannibal was shot after consuming a corpse.

When Cannibals eat a corpse or are buffed by Marauders, they gain plating on their body which protects them from most types of weapon damage in that area until they are shot off; this often protects their heads, shielding them from taking additional damage from headshots unless the plates are destroyed or penetrated.

The armor-plated state is a separate status from their health regeneration, which they can only gain from eating a corpse. On certain missions, notably Priority: Earth, Cannibals are encountered with both armor plating and regenerating health by default.


  • Cannibals do not possess any form of combat roll or dodge move, leaving them highly vulnerable to powers of all types. The damage and force damage of powers and Power Combos is also not affected by any armor plating Cannibals may possess.
  • Cannibals have more raw health than comparable basic enemy infantry types such as Cerberus Assault Troopers, so anything that increases their vulnerability to damage such as Warp or freezing attacks helps counter this.
  • As with other enemy types that throw grenades, disable or kill Cannibals quickly to reduce the number of grenades coming your way.
  • Weapons that fire explosive projectiles such as the M-37 Falcon do not have their damage affected by any armor plating a Cannibal may have unless the plating is hit flush by the projectiles.
  • Cannibal armor plating can be penetrated by weapons that can be modded to penetrate cover or certain weapons that have a cover-penetration attribute baseline (e.g. M-98 Widow, Black Widow, Javelin). Even armored Cannibals can be easily dispatched with headshots using this tactic without needing to completely shoot the plating off first.
  • The use of Incendiary Ammo or Cryo Ammo is effective when engaging large numbers of Husks and Cannibals; the bodies of the dead will burn away or shatter, leaving no corpses behind for Cannibals to devour. Their health regeneration is also paused while frozen and stopped by incendiary ammunition.
  • Certain weapons such as the Particle Rifle, Collector Sniper Rifle, Venom Shotgun, Krysae Sniper Rifle, Acolyte, and Reegar Carbine leave no bodies behind for Cannibals to consume. The Carnage power also destroys enemy bodies on dealing fatal damage.
  • Destroying enemy corpses isn't necessarily a good thing, as feasting Cannibals are not attacking; they will usually single-mindedly move to devour any corpse, leaving them open to attack. Interrupting a feasting Cannibal at the right time can prevent it from gaining regeneration or armor, but the corpse being eaten will still disappear.
  • The Cannibals encountered during Prologue: Earth do not throw grenades.


  1. The Art of the Mass Effect Universe