Disambiguous This article is about the Cerberus unit in Mass Effect 3. For the line of turian armor in Mass Effect, see Phantom Armor.

The Phantom is a Cerberus unit encountered in Mass Effect 3. Foes and allies alike have described the Cerberus Phantom as "Goddamn ninjas on speed!" with various levels of admiration or dismay.

Description Edit

Phantoms are agile Cerberus agents with a wide array of offensive and defensive capabilities, including particular specialization in evasive maneuvers and firing from cover. Although intelligence on their implants still evades the Alliance, phantoms are known to be able to create a personal barrier for greater protection.

Monomolecular blades and biotic shielding allow phantoms to engage in close-quarters combat, and phantoms can briefly cloak in order to recover from injuries. Because of this ability, the Alliance recommends personal confirmation of a phantom's death.

Capabilities Edit


Phantoms are deadly in melee combat. They are armed with monomolecular blades that they use to deliver lethal strikes; a single direct stab from their swords can kill instantly. They also possess a powerful semi-automatic projectile-based weapon in their right gauntlet, from which they shoot kinetic-based projectiles with deadly accuracy from the palm. They slash their swords once or sometimes twice in quick succession, destroying shields and often health in very little time. Melee combat is strongly discouraged unless the Phantom's sword is broken.


While they are protected by biotic barriers, Phantoms rely on their agility to evade enemy fire. They can quickly sidestep, roll, or leap away from attacks, disorienting the player. They can create a localized biotic barrier (shown as a energy field in the palm of the gun hand and a visible biotic "bubble" surrounding them), making them briefly immune to most powers that have a projectile component, and reducing damage from normal weapons. If endangered, Phantoms will also activate cloaks and take cover for a short period. They can recharge their barriers and (to a smaller degree) their health over time.

Tactics Edit

  • Phantoms are almost as, if not more dangerous than Atlas mechs in terms of potential inflicted damage. Their gauntlet blaster will rip through shields in anything from one to five shots on Bronze or Silver. On Gold, one shot can rip through 875 shield points entirely, and a second shot will subsequently critically injure, or incapacitate. Therefore, the safest way to deal with Phantoms is from a generous distance.
  • Phantoms will normally draw in and attempt to stagger you with their melee attacks, which leaves your character open for an insta-kill. Moving away far enough denies them their instant-kill attack, but they can still kill you with their sword and gauntlet shots and they can still insta-kill you if you fail to move out of the insta-kill range.
    • If an Ops Pack is used directly before the insta-kill animation starts, the temporary invincibility will negate the kill, allowing you to get away.
  • If you want to leave her proximity, fire any projectile power with a travel time, such as Warp, Singularity, Throw, Incinerate or Cryo Blast. The Phantom will attempt to dodge the attack, which delays her attacks for about two seconds. You can use this opportunity to run away.
  • Since the Phantom is able to dodge most projectile powers, it's not recommended to use these powers with the intention of damaging the Phantom. However Flare is an exception to this given its very large area of effect and high damage.
  • If a Phantom cloaks, try to focus weapons fire on it as long as possible to disrupt the cloak, otherwise it will be completely invisible. At very close range, the cloak is as visible as an infiltrator employing Tactical Cloak.
  • Particularly in the later rounds of multiplayer matches, Phantoms are prone to pairing up with a Nemesis. Because the Nemesis has no close range attacks, and is best dealt with by melee attacks or shotgun blast, it serves as a very effective lure for the Phantom. Keep this in mind when watching Nemeses move around the battlefield; if they remain in one corner for an extended period, they are likely being used as bait by a nearby Phantom.
  • Once their barriers are down, biotic powers can be employed to incapacitate them (such as Singularity).
  • Phantoms seem to be immune to the Cryo Blast complete freeze effect, even when their barriers are down. They will be slowed but not frozen completely. However, they can be frozen with the Cryo evolution for the N7 Paladin's shield.
  • Phantoms regularly take cover while closing distance towards targets. Due to the design of cover, their heads are often slightly exposed, making it easier to line up headshots. This is particularly useful if you have a high powered weapon that can instant kill a Phantom with a single shot.
  • It is possible to shoot the Phantom's sword from its grasp, making the Phantom vulnerable to attacks without the worry of being attacked with its fatal melee. This is very difficult to do though without an explosive weapon.
    • Do so if you can. A Phantom with a broken sword will be unable to stagger you, and her AI does not change to keep her distance, resulting in a foolish acrobat open to plenty of opportunities for close range kills. Breaking the sword also staggers the Phantom even if she is protected by her barrier.
  • Using melee attacks against the Phantom is risky, as she is capable of killing almost any character faster than they can kill her while trading blows. Combining melee and any staggering ability such as Concussive Shot can turn the tide.
  • Damage-over-time powers, like Warp or Incinerate, can be very useful in taking down Phantoms. While they may not kill the Phantom outright, when the Phantom hit with the power cloaks, the power will still do damage. Then, when the Phantom can be spotted through her cloak from the damage the power is still doing, she may give you the chance to shoot and kill her.
  • Rolling backward is highly recommended if a Phantom attacks with her sword. If successful, the player not only avoids the attack but leaves the Phantom momentarily vulnerable to a counterattack as she recovers from her sword swing. Naturally, this tactic works especially well if the player has a shotgun. Even if she does hit, you can use a roll to evade impalement.
  • The Falcon Assault Rifle is extremely effective against one, or many Phantoms, even on the hardest of difficulties. This is because the grenades fired can stagger Phantoms, this subsequently leaves them open to any kind of attack. Concentrated fire from the Falcon can effectively "lock down" one Phantom or even entire squads of Phantoms. If you then get your squad (or team) to focus fire on the Phantoms, you can destroy Phantoms in seconds, even in large groups.
  • Sticking with grenades, frags, stickies, clusters- any grenade that does damage is a valid and useful approach against Phantoms. Grenades are arguably the easiest method of taking these enemies out.
  • If one of your allies is down, and there is a Phantom next to it, sometimes it may be best to go against logic, and NOT revive the ally. Because of the animation and the time needed for said person to get back up, the Phantom may initiate its instant kill move before they are capable of escaping. Not only will this mean you've wasted your time and exposed yourself to fire, but she will also kill said person outright. For this matter, the Phantom(s) should be dealt with either with their deaths, or immobilization before you revive downed allies if they are nearby.
  • Phantoms are unable to block "hitscan" powers (Stasis, Overload, Energy Drain, Reave, Dark Channel).
  • The N7 Fury Adept and Asari Huntress Infiltrator are especially adept at killing Phantoms from a distance. A sufficiently-leveled Dark Channel, when specced for Pierce, can kill a Phantom on its own, even on Gold.
  • Phantoms are fortified well with a biotic barrier; however, high-ranked Energy Drain or Overload can take down the Phantom's barrier in one use, which will leave her health open for any attack. A properly leveled Engineer can capitalize on the Phantom's cloak-and-cover defense by using either of these techniques, followed by Incinerate to hit around cover. This is a good way to keep them disoriented and on the run.
  • The Infiltrator is capable of using the Phantom's own tactics against them, with a combination of tactical cloak and melee attacks for massive damage or possibly one hit kills if handled carefully. With enough melee damage upgrades, they are capable of killing Phantoms with a single heavy melee while cloaked. This is a very risky attack, as missing or failing to kill the Phantom will leave you very vulnerable and easily killed.
    • Using a shotgun as an Infiltrator is another viable option, as it lets you deal considerable damage coming out of tactical cloak while still being mobile enough to strafe or backpedal away from the Phantom's counterattack. By using the cloak in short bursts, you can minimize recharge time and continue to use the cloak's damage bonus, or give yourself time to evade and reload without interruption.
  • The Vanguard can use Charge to disorient the Phantom, and follow it up with shotgun blasts or Nova. However, this is a very risky tactic which can be fatal if not well executed. With a sufficiently low Charge cooldown, a Vanguard can continuously charge the Phantom, effectively incapacitating them.
  • A slight variation on this method is to charge the phantom, disorientating them, offload whatever weapon you have into them while retreating (the back command should be active while in the charge). As long as the charge is successful there should be no problem in performing this multiple times to defeat the phantom. There is a small risk that the charge may fail however, in which case, run if you value your pixelated skin.
  • Another Charge variation is to have a squadmate use Warp on the Phantom, then charge. On Normal difficulty, at least, the resulting biotic detonation will completely remove the Phantom's barrier and about half its health, as well as leaving it staggered and easy prey for a final shotgun blast.
  • In multiplayer, the krogan class is capable of killing a Phantom quickly enough with their heavy melee attacks, however, be cautious that the timing of the attack is right, otherwise the Phantom may deal just as much damage if given the chance.
  • The Asari Justicar Adept can, though with risk, inflict significant damage on a Phantom by priming it with Reave then dropping a Biotic Sphere on top of them to detonate.
  • Asari Justicar and Drell Adepts in multiplayer can also kill Phantoms with relative ease using Reave. The continuous damage from Reave keeps the Phantom's cloak disrupted, and since the effects of multiple uses of Reave stack, several uses in succession can ensure the Phantom's death, particularly with the level 6 barrier/armor damage evolution of Reave.
  • While difficult, a Soldier can, with good aim, use the M-98 Widow to shatter the barriers of a Phantom, then utilise Adrenaline Rush since it replenishes ammunition in the "Clip" and fire a second shot in quick succession. Provided your aim is true, a second shot can critically injure, or even kill a Phantom. This is best employed while the Phantom is in cover.
  • When you possess a Scorpion and decent leveled Warp Ammo, the Warp ammo strips down most of the barriers before the grenade explodes.
  • Phantoms are most likely to do an instant kill stab when they are standing still. If the player is a krogan, resist the urge to heavy melee her after she slashes you; it is very likely that she will cancel your melee and kill you instead.
  • An Infiltrator with a Javelin is also extremely effective. Once a phantom's barriers are down (the salarian infiltrator's energy drain does this job well when paired with the tactical cloak) she will attempt to cloak and go into cover. The Javelin's scope will highlight her through her cloak and cover, allowing them to easily pick her off while she is not moving.
  • In multiplayer, batarians are excellent brawlers against Phantoms. Combining Blade Armor and melee-oriented evolutions of Fitness will stagger Phantoms while the Heavy Melee is charged to decapitate or severely injure them.
  • In multiplayer, note that a batarian Sentinel's Submission Net will not reliably hold a Phantom still, though it will still do damage.
  • A geth Engineer or Infiltrator, having maxed out Geth weapon damage, can perform a one shot kill on a Phantom by using a fully charged Geth Plasma Shotgun on Bronze.
  • An Infiltrator of any kind can potentially one shot kill a Phantom with the M-300 Claymore even on Gold (though this will require most of the blast to hit the head on said difficulty). On Silver or Bronze, a single blast can kill outright.
  • Players using the Asari Adept and Asari Vanguard classes have access to Stasis, which renders a Phantom as harmless and ripe for headshots. The Phantom falls to the ground when she takes enough damage, and takes a few seconds to get back to her feet, leaving ample time to dispatch her even on one's own. Alternatively, a Phantom held by Stasis can be attacked with other biotic powers to trigger a biotic explosion, resulting in considerable damage.
  • Melee-oriented players using the Project Phoenix Adept or Project Phoenix Vanguard may find the Smash power to be very effective against Phantoms, despite having one of the weakest melee attacks of all the classes. This of course can be offset by selecting skills which improve melee attacks, which provides an alternative (albeit a weaker one) to Smash. It is recommended that you use a single lightweight weapon (so that you have a +200% cooldown bonus) in order to spam the power.
  • For all classes, the Reegar Carbine is a very effective weapon against Phantoms, being able to kill one in a short amount of time on lower difficulties.
  • A Krogan Soldier built for melee damage is frighteningly effective against a Phantom with proper timing, and careful placement of melees. A Krogan Soldier can have up to 415% extra melee damage or 515% with a Strength Enhancer III. On Bronze and Silver difficulties, this extreme boost to melee damage can kill Phantoms in one heavy melee, or two on Gold (one for barriers, one for health). But be careful; don't try to melee a Phantom who has just hit you or a friend with her blade, as it will lead to disaster otherwise. The good thing about this tactic is if you stagger a Phantom with a heavy melee, if the first doesn't kill (guaranteed on Gold) you can follow up with a second, which under the right circumstances will not give a Phantom a chance to fight back.
  • Shadow Strike is highly effective against Phantoms, as it deals a large amount of damage immediately and can also (with the rank 5 electrical damage evolution) inflict a persistent damage effect that disrupts their cloak.
  • Paired with at least Rank 3 Snap Freeze or Rank 6 frost Shield Mastery, an N7 Paladin Sentinel has the best chance of killing a Phantom in a melee due to having Energy Drain for dealing with her barrier.
  • The N7 Slayer Vanguard can be exceptionally effective for killing Phantoms with relative ease, using a Charge/Melee combination, if the N7 Slayer skill has been built to maximize damage with Charge and melee damage with Fitness. The Slayer's Biotic Charge and melee both can stagger a Phantom, preventing the Phantom's retaliation. One charge will break the barriers of a Phantom on Bronze or Silver, allowing a single powerful heavy melee to finish her off. On harder difficulties, a Charge followed by the Slayer's extremely rapid light melee strikes can finish a Phantom in seconds without giving her time to retaliate.
    • One can also harass the Phantom by Charging, then dodging backward while the Phantom is staggered. This can be repeated indefinitely until the Phantom is dead.
    • These tactics should be performed with caution, as nearby enemies can quickly surround and overwhelm any isolated Vanguard.
  • Phantoms tend to be much harder to kill if the host of a multiplayer game is trying to hit an enemy, as most of the shots will make the Phantom inclined to dodge and therefore drastically reduce damage from subsequent shots. This is especially so with a shotgun where damage is spread into pellets, some of the pellets will do damage and the others simply won't do anything at all. Because Phantoms act in accordance to latency (Ping or Lag), guests of a multiplayer game will not have problems with damage unless the host is hitting said foe with an automatic weapon, or a shotgun. As said above, anything that paralyzes A phantom will obviously mitigate this.
  • The Cabal Vanguard's Nightshade Blades are devastating against phantoms. They are hitscan, and cover an entire area. The player can shoot the phantom, knock off her barrier and then as soon as the phantom cloaks, Nightshade blades can be fired to instantly finish the phantom off. At rank 6, this attack can be fatal to a Phantom at close range, and if the explosive upgrade is made to them, the delayed detonation can finish her off.
  • Phantoms, like many close-range enemy combatants (Geth Hunter, Geth Pyro, Cerberus Guardian, etc.), can be handled with the -juicer- heavy melee attack of the Geth Juggernaut Soldier. As this attack will paralyze the Phantom for longer than a staggering attack such as Concussive Shot, it can allow ambushed teammates to vacate the Phantom's instant kill zone and perhaps join the offensive to finish off the Phantom faster. This tactic is also efficient for protecting teammates from an instant kill while trying to revive a teammate recently taken down by the Phantom.
  • Phantoms will try to block most powers most of the time, however remotely detonated powers can still affect said foes with good timing. After a Phantom rises up from using their biotic shield, that (or roughly a second later to be safe) is your cue to detonate your powers on the Phantom, dealing partial or full damage. However, one should pay attention to both their surroundings, and their health to make sure they can actually detonate these powers, otherwise the Phantom, or her colleagues may incapacitate you before you have the chance to detonate your power.

Jack Edit

If the player does not complete the Grissom Academy: Emergency Evacuation mission in time (either completing three other major missions first or completing Priority: The Citadel II, whichever comes first), then Jack will appear as a Phantom in the mission Priority: Cerberus Headquarters. She is no different from any other Phantom, except in that she utters her trademark threats and taunts during the fight.

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