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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. The terrifying result of reverse engineered Reaper technology, these heavily modified ninja-like cyborgs are a major threat to the enemies of Cerberus.


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.



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 health with ease. Melee combat is strongly discouraged unless the Phantom's sword is broken by weapon fire.


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 their enemies and reducing damage from most standard weapons. They also possess stabilizing thrusters on their suits that enable them to leap up and down terrain and recover quickly from any powers or attacks that knock them down. They can create a localized biotic barrier—visible as an energy field in the palm of the gun hand or as a visible biotic "bubble" surrounding them—which makes them briefly immune to most powers.

Phantoms are always immune to the longer-duration shock-stun effects of powers such as Disruptor Ammo, Overload (including the Neural Shock evolution), Energy Drain, Sabotage, and the default attacks of Combat Drone and Defense Drone, even if their barriers are down. They also cannot be fully frozen by most cryo powers, though they can be chilled. Phantoms do not panic or flail around when on fire, even without their barriers active. Phantoms are also immune to grab instant kills.

If endangered, Phantoms will activate cloaks during which they can regenerate their health to maximum and recharge their barriers as well provided they are not interrupted by damage during this period; this health regeneration can only occur once. Their self-healing can be blocked by certain powers such as Reave and permanently prevented if they are ever damaged by Incendiary Ammo or Incendiary Rounds. While invisible they will not shoot, but they can still pursue their targets and will instantly decloak to attack or ambush. As with most enemies, their barriers also recharge rapidly after several seconds of not taking damage, even outside of cloak.



  • Phantoms are unique in being one of the only "super elite" level enemies in the game that are no larger in size than basic infantry enemies. This actually makes them more dangerous, as they present less of a target and there is nowhere to hide from them.
  • 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. As they are even more deadly once in melee range, the safest way to deal with Phantoms is from a generous distance.
  • A Phantom's barrier is about two times stronger than its health bar.
  • Phantoms will normally draw in and attempt to stagger you with their swords, which leaves your character open for an instant-kill. Moving away prevents them from using the fatal spinning impale, but they can still easily kill you with normal melee swings and gauntlet shots.
    • Phantoms can perform their sync kill for several seconds after attempting any normal melee attack, which staggers most player classes; even if their melees are cancelled or interrupted this will not prevent a subsequent instant-kill stab within a period of time after the first melee attack attempt. They are even able to dodge an attack and still perform their sync kill immediately afterwards, provided they attempted a normal melee attack not long before. In short, stay out of melee range of Phantoms unless you know what you're doing.
    • 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.
    • Performing a combat roll/dodge is the best way to avoid the sync kill if you find yourself in close proximity to a Phantom; classes that can't perform these moves in multiplayer such as batarians and krogan are that much more vulnerable to the swords. A regular sword slash can stun you out of a dodge move, but just attempt the move again until you successfully get out of the way.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • It is possible to break a Phantom's sword with an accurate hitscan (bullet-firing) weapon, or a weapon that fires explosive rounds, staggering the Phantom and rendering it permanently unable to attack you in melee. A swordless Phantom's AI will change so that it no longer attempts to close with you and instead it hangs back and sticks to cover firing its palm weapon. Swords can be broken even if a Phantom's barrier is still up. In single-player, time dilation effects such as from Adrenaline Rush can aid in targeting swords.
  • 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, and her melee attacks stun the player and can prevent melee or even heavy melee attacks from completing. Combining melees and any staggering ability such as Concussive Shot to first interrupt a Phantom's attacks can turn the tide.
  • 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.
  • If one of your allies is down and there is a Phantom next to it, it's usually best not to revive said ally; during time needed for them 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 you got your teammate killed permanently until the next wave. For this reason, any Phantoms in the vicinity of downed teammates should be immobilized, distracted, lured away, or ideally, killed before any reviving is attempted.
  • 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. Anything that paralyzes a Phantom will obviously mitigate this.
  • Phantoms will try to block most powers most of the time, however, with good timing and technique powers can still hit home. After a Phantom rises up from using their biotic shield is a good time to hit them.
  • Spamming powers or weapon fire at Phantoms to force them to evade can be a useful tactic to stall their approach and suppress their attacks.
  • An advancing Phantom makes a constant low electronic muttering that can be used to detect its approach; while not moving a Phantom is silent, however, and can easily ambush the unwary.


  • Phantoms will not spontaneously block hitscan (instant, non-projectile) powers (e.g. Stasis, Overload, Energy Drain, Sabotage, Reave, Dark Channel, Dominate) though unlike most enemies being hit by powers these usually don't stagger, stun, or interrupt them.
    • Hitscan powers can still get blocked if the Phantom already had her power immunity active at the time of being hit.
    • In single-player, all offensive powers used by squadmates function as if they were hitscan, thus powers such as Incinerate or Warp that are projectile-based when used by the player instead land instantly on their targets, and will thus not be blocked by a Phantom unless she has already deployed her defensive bubble or is dodging when the power lands.
    • In multiplayer, Phantoms do not evade powers that immediately fire in a conical arc in front of the player, such as Flamer, Snap Freeze, Nightshade Blades, and Ballistic Blades. As most of these powers deal damage-over-time, they are very useful for revealing Phantoms as well.
    • Phantoms without barriers are still immune to the Neural Shock evolution of Overload. In single-player the Incapacitate evolution of Defense Drone can knock them down if their barrier is down, though this effect has only a 30% chance of applying to the drone's attacks; also, Phantoms recover more quickly than other enemies.
    • Stasis (and Submission Net in multiplayer) renders a Phantom harmless and easy prey for headshots. The Phantom falls to the ground when she takes enough damage, and it takes a few seconds for her to get back to her feet, leaving ample time to dispatch her. Alternatively, a Phantom held by Stasis can be hit with other biotic powers to trigger a Biotic Explosion for considerable damage in an area.
    • Sabotage's delayed backfire effect combined with the Tech Vulnerability evolution can prime up to 2 Phantoms for devastating Tech Bursts; detonating two such combos with a follow up chain Overload is an excellent way to deal heavy damage to them or even kill them outright.
  • Once their barriers are down, biotic powers can be employed to incapacitate them. Powers that actually suspend them such as Singularity and Pull are best, as Phantoms quickly recover from mere knockdowns thanks to their built-in stabilizing thrusters.
  • Since the Phantom is able to dodge or block most projectile powers, they are unreliable for damaging a Phantom unless it can be stunned or is otherwise hit during any action where it can't block or evade, such as when jumping up or down heights.
    • Flare can land if timed after a Phantom uses its evasion flips or if it detonates nearby thanks to its large explosion, but it can still have its damage totally blocked by the Phantom's "barrier hand."
    • 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.
    • Most grenades are still considered projectile powers even though they don't track targets. The Phantom is highly resistant to them while performing their evasion moves or deploying their palm shields.
  • Phantoms are 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 Shield evolution of the N7 Paladin Sentinel's shield.
  • Damage-over-time powers like Warp, Incinerate, and especially Dark Channel (as it can't be dodged) can make Phantoms easier to spot when they cloak and continue to damage them if they retreat to heal or lie in wait.
  • On all difficulties, the area-of-effect (AoE) shock attack provided by the rank 5 Shock evolution of Combat Drone possesses enough force to stagger Phantoms; in either single-player or multiplayer, the white shock pulse can even interrupt their sync kill. The rank 4 Detonate evolution can also stun Phantoms when a drone is destroyed.
  • Phantoms will take full damage from Power Combos, and they cannot evade them if caught in a combo explosion triggered on another nearby enemy.


  • Phantoms are highly resistant to the damage of most standard weapons that fire bullets or pellets, especially when performing dodge moves. This resistance does not extend to weapons that utilize unconventional munitions, in particular those that fire explosive rounds. These weapons not only deal full damage to Phantoms at all times but also stagger them off-balance, preventing them from hurting you or evading, thus making landing powers or follow-up shots more likely. Even better, the area damage can hit multiple grouped enemies simultaneously.
    • The Adas Anti-Synthetic Rifle cuts through Phantoms like butter, especially in single-player where its rate of fire is very high.
    • Uncharged shots from the Venom Shotgun deal good damage and reliably stagger Phantoms. In single-player, charged shots make a mockery of Phantoms, as they do of most foes.
    • The Geth Plasma Shotgun and Graal Spike Thrower are effective, though care must be taken at range to lead their shots to compensate for their travel time.
    • The Falcon Assault Rifle is extremely effective against one, or many Phantoms, even on the hardest of difficulties, especially as it will stagger them on almost every hit and its "proximity airburst" feature can hit them even when they take cover.
    • The Scorpion has excellent stopping power for a heavy pistol and it triggers the effects and priming effects of most ammo powers on almost every shot.
    • The Acolyte is very effective against Phantoms as so much of their durability comes from their strong barriers which the Acolyte easily destroys. However, Phantoms are immune to the stunning effect that Acolyte shots can cause on most other unshielded infantry.
    • The Reegar Carbine is a very effective weapon against Phantoms, though its short range can make using it risky. Its extreme damage can cause a Phantom to stagger, or otherwise attempt to evade out of the line of fire.
    • The Kishock Harpoon Gun can one-shot a Phantom, barrier and all, even on high difficulties especially if a headshot is landed. Using Stasis to immobilize it first makes lining up the shot much easier.
  • Weapons that deal very high damage per shot can be effective against Phantoms, as their "bullet resistance" only activates after they are hit once, causing them to dodge or shield themselves.
    • High-powered sniper rifles such as the Javelin can be very effective, particularly in multiplayer: the Javelin enhanced with Phasic Rounds can potentially one-shot Phantoms on any difficulty, especially with a headshot. In single-player this is less effective, but softening up a Phantom's barrier with a power like Overload and then following up with a high-damage headshot enhanced with Disruptor Ammo or Warp Ammo can work well.
    • Aside from sniper rifles, other "standard" weapons effective against a flat-footed (i.e. not dodging) Phantom include the N7 Crusader, charged shots from the Arc Pistol, and the Executioner Pistol, though the latter tends to be inaccurate unless equipped with a scope or fired at close range.
  • Pellet-firing weapons such as most shotguns and the M-358 Talon, even high damage models like the M-300 Claymore, do not work that well against Phantoms, as even though all of the pellets are technically being fired simultaneously, a Phantom's damage resistance from its dodge or palm shield will still kick in. It's also very difficult to concentrate all of the pellets into an accurate headshot against Phantoms and this requires good aim at close range.
    • It is possible to one-shot or heavily damage a Phantom with pellet-firing weapons, but only if the Phantom isn't in a position to protect itself, such as after being stunned, or if caught totally unaware while taking cover, which is realistically only possible by attacking with Tactical Cloak active.
    • On the plus side, standard shotguns are fairly effective at breaking a Phantom's sword thanks to the pellet spread.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Cabal Vanguard's Nightshade Blades are devastating against Phantoms. They are hitscan, cover an entire area, and deal massive damage. 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 her 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. The paralyze effect can also freeze a Phantom in place if it is the primary target hit and its barrier is down.
  • Phantoms, like many close-range enemy combatants (Geth Hunter, Geth Pyro, Cerberus Guardian, etc.), can be handled with the 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.
  • Uniquely, unprotected Phantoms can be frozen solid by the omni-shield of the N7 Paladin Sentinel with the rank 6 Cryo Shield evolution of Shield Mastery. Snap Freeze can also prime or detonate Phantoms for Cryo Explosions at will.


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.