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Mass Effect Wiki

Dominate is a power in Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3's single-player mode.

Mass Effect 2[]

Dominate Brainwash an organic enemy, forcing him to attack his allies.

Power Ranks[]

  • Rank 1 - Manipulates an organic target's perceptual system, causing it to see its allies as enemies. Only a single target can be dominated at a time.
    • Recharge Time: 6.00 seconds (12.00 seconds Morinth)
    • Duration: 5.00 seconds
  • Rank 2 - Manipulates a single organic target to attack its allies, and also gives it a temporary biotic shield to help it survive longer.
    • Recharge Time: 6.00 seconds (12.00 seconds Morinth)
    • Duration: 7.00 seconds
    • Barrier Strength: 200.00 points
  • Rank 3 - Manipulates a single organic target to attack its allies, and also gives it a temporary biotic shield to help it survive longer.
    • Recharge Time: 6.00 seconds (12.00 seconds Morinth)
    • Duration: 9.00 seconds
    • Barrier Strength: 350.00 points

Rank 4

Evolves Dominate into one of the following options:

Enhanced Dominate[]

  • Your domination's duration is vastly increased against a single target.
    • Recharge Time: 6.00 seconds (12.00 seconds Morinth)
    • Duration: 12.00 seconds
    • Barrier Strength: 500.00 points

Group Dominate[]

  • Your mastery of the mind is so complete you can affect multiple organics near one target point.
    • Recharge Time: 6.00 seconds (12.00 seconds Morinth)
    • Duration: 9.00 seconds
    • Barrier Strength: 350.00 points
    • Impact Radius: 3.00 meters

Player Notes[]

  • Dominate is essentially AI Hacking for organic targets and it works in much the same way except that it applies a temporary barrier to the target at higher ranks as opposed to a shield. At lower ranks it is most useful as a way to kill the target by getting nearby enemies to turn on it, but its usefulness as a distraction is low due to the short duration and because no barrier is given to the target. By contrast, targets of high level Dominate gain thick barriers and will often survive concentrated fire from multiple enemies, distracting even large enemy groups for a long time. In Mass Effect 2, Dominated enemies do not become resistant to the effect with repeat uses.
    • Unlike AI Hacking, which goes into effect instantly, Dominate stuns targets for 1 to 3 seconds (depending on the enemy) before actually taking effect. The stun length counts as part of the duration of the power, further diminishing Dominate's usefulness at low ranks.
  • It can be used on Harbinger indirectly: it has to be successfully used on an enemy Collector just before Harbinger takes control. This is based solely on luck and prediction, as Harbinger will usually take the weakest available, lowest health Collector soldier present, favoring Collector Drones. If successfully done, Harbinger will be under the player's control until the effect ends, taking the barrier with it. It helps if you have chosen Group Dominate because Harbinger can take any Collector, so casting it on a group increases the odds Harbinger will possess a Dominated target. However, as with AI Hacking, Dominate only works against unprotected enemies, so only Collectors without any barrier left can be controlled.
    • Related to the above, Harbinger's possession can make a high level Dominate a less than ideal power during the Collector Base missions as a Collector soldier possessed for a long time with a large extra barrier will often survive until the end of a fight with all other enemies being dead, meaning it will immediately become Harbinger the moment Dominate wears off. This can result in tedious, dangerous, and ammo-consuming extra fighting during missions where finishing fights as quickly as possible is important.
  • It is possible to learn this ability without taking Morinth as a permanent team member, as the ability is available to all your characters after unlocking it. Simply save the game before talking to Morinth in her apartment, side with her the first time, complete the mission to unlock this ability, and then reload. However, if the save is erased, along with any other save files, Dominate will be the only power not available as a bonus power until another save file with Morinth as a squadmate is made.
  • If used on a Husk, Dominate kills it instantly instead of controlling it. Since individual Husks are easily killed, this effect becomes much more useful with Group Dominate. Abominations in contrast are mind-controlled like other organic enemies. Abomination explosions can instantly kill unarmored Husks in a small area but have no effect on armored ones, though note this happens regardless of the Abomination's current "allegiance".
  • Dominate is a biotic power and its cooldown and duration can be enhanced by the relevant upgrades.
  • Friendly Combat Drones will continue to attack and stun dominated targets, which may not be ideal.


Mass Effect 3[]

ME3 Dominate

Power Ranks[]

Rank 1: Dominate[]

Disrupt the synaptic harmonics of an organic brain so it can't differentiate between friend and foe. A single affected target will fight on your side for a short time. Targets grow resistant to the power over time.

  • Recharge Speed: 12 sec
  • Duration: 10 sec

Rank 2: Recharge Speed[]

Increase recharge speed by 25%.

  • Recharge Speed: 9.60 sec
  • Duration: 10 sec

Rank 3: Duration[]

Increase duration by 30%.

  • Recharge Speed: 9.60 sec
  • Duration: 13 sec

Rank 4: Recharge Speed/Duration[]

Recharge Speed

Increase recharge speed by 30%.

  • Recharge Speed: 7.74 sec
  • Duration: 13 sec


Increase duration by 40%.

  • Recharge Speed: 9.60 sec
  • Duration: 17 sec

Rank 5: Lasting Damage/Frenzy[]


Inflict massive nerve damage to the target, doing 50 points of damage per second.


While under the effect of the power, the target does 40% more weapon damage.

Rank 6: Vulnerability/Rage[]


The target takes 30% more damage from all sources.


While under the effect of the power, the target does 60% more weapon damage and takes 50% less damage.

Player Notes[]

  • Dominate is a bonus power in Mass Effect 3, however, the Mass Effect 3: Leviathan DLC must be downloaded and completed to unlock Dominate (the DLC is included by default with Legendary Edition). Like with Stasis in Mass Effect 2, Dominate cannot be selected as a bonus power when starting a new game. The player must select it from Med Bay aboard the Normandy between missions (PC).
  • As the description implies, only one target can be affected by Dominate at a time. Using Dominate on a different target will immediately cancel the power on a target that was already under its effects.
  • Unlike the Mass Effect 2 variant of the power, Dominate now can be used on armored, shielded, and barrier-protected organics, with the exception of Banshees and Harvesters. The downside is that unlike in Mass Effect 2, targets now grow resistant to Dominate over time: each time it is cast on the same target, the effect becomes shorter, and after 3 uses the target becomes permanently and totally immune.
  • Dominate does work on the first Adjutants Shepard encounters on Omega, but against the ones encountered during the the final battle in Afterlife, it doesn't cause either the targeted enemy or any nearby enemies to stop attacking Shepard. This is because during the final battle, enemies remain focused upon Shepard no matter what, and are not distracted by anything except Aria once she is freed.[1] In other words, any of Dominate's secondary effects still apply to enemies during the final battle, but not its primary function of causing enemies to change their focus of attack.
  • Unlike the Mass Effect 2 version of the power, Dominate does not produce a biotic barrier to protect the brainwashed enemy; however, the rank 6 Rage evolution grants substantial damage resistance.
  • Dominated enemies are easily identifiable due to their white aura while under the effect of this power (similar to the visual effect of Stasis).
  • Similar to how Sabotage works on synthetics, if a Dominated target can find no enemy target to attack or the other enemies present fail to "aggro" (attack) it, the Dominated target will simply freeze in place.
  • Friendly Combat Drones will continue to attack and stun dominated targets, which may not be ideal.
  • The rank 5 Damage evolution will cause more total damage to the target if Dominate's duration is longer, e.g. from the rank 4 Duration increase. Also, its damage over time is increased by the rank 6 Vulnerability evolution. Combining these evolutions can easily make Dominate by itself fatal against most basic organic enemy types, even on Insanity difficulty.
  • Despite the in-game wording, the rank 6 Vulnerability evolution does not increase the damage of Power Combos.
  • Enemies like Phantoms that can perform special "execution" attacks that instantly kill players and squadmates do not do so against other enemies while dominated.
  • A Combat Engineer dominated while deploying a Turret will destroy the gun, catching the Engineer in the explosion. Dominated Engineers will still deploy turrets, and if an Engineer is still mind-controlled once the turret is active, he can be targeted and killed by his own creation.
  • Dominated enemies that throw grenades will use them against other enemies, but these grenades can still harm the player and player allies.
  • Even though they have organic pilots, Atlases are considered synthetic enemies and cannot be dominated.
  • Dominate is very useful against minor enemies such as Cannibals or Assault Troopers, who serve as reasonable distractions. If possible, target the enemy farthest from you to flank enemies; those caught in-between will waste time shifting around to target the new threat, creating opportunities to attack without immediate retaliation.
  • Mass Effect 3 has strong enemies: Phantoms, Ravagers, and Brutes are priority targets for Dominate. Even if they don't massacre your enemies while on your side, the respite you gain from them not attacking you can be more than worth it.
  • There are basically two routes to go with this power: one is to maximize the target's damage and distraction potential against other enemies, and the other is to make the target as weak and easy to kill as possible. The latter route tends to be more effective, as the behavior of the mind-controlled target can be fairly inconsistent, as can the behavior of nearby enemies: sometimes they will fight amongst themselves fiercely, but in other instances they will ignore each other. The Vulnerability and Lasting Damage evolutions guarantee that, at the very least, the target of Dominate will take significant damage and be easier for you to kill.
  • At long range, aiming down sights or zooming through a weapon's scope can assist in casting Dominate on distant targets.