ME3 squad selection a
A squad is the group of team members which Commander Shepard or Pathfinder Ryder can select to accompany them on field missions, or while visiting one of the main civilized centers such as a station or planet.

A squad is typically made up of three members: Shepard/Ryder and two squadmates. Although, for some specific missions, such as loyalty missions, a specific team member is required. In addition, the squad can, for some missions or assignments, be reduced to two members, or even to Shepard/Ryder alone.

Squad Members Edit

Mass Effect Edit

Mass Effect 2 Edit

Mass Effect 3 Edit

1 Requires Kasumi - Stolen Memory DLC pack
2 Requires Zaeed - The Price of Revenge DLC pack
3 Temporary squadmate during the missions of the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC pack
4 Depending on decision made during Virmire: Assault
5 Requires Mass Effect 3: From Ashes DLC pack
6 Depending on if they survived the Suicide Mission
7 Temporary squadmate during the missions of the Mass Effect 3: Omega DLC pack
8 Temporary squadmate in Mass Effect 3: Citadel DLC pack, if alive
9 Available in the Armax Arsenal Arena in the Mass Effect 3: Citadel DLC pack, if alive

Mass Effect: AndromedaEdit

Selecting Squadmates Edit

Mass Effect Edit

ME squad selection
Squadmates are chosen from a screen whenever Shepard leaves the SSV Normandy in Mass Effect, or the Normandy SR-2 in Mass Effect 2. Shepard can only take two squadmates at any given time, so be sure to pick carefully as Shepard cannot usually reselect squadmates after leaving.

In Mass Effect on the squadmate selection screen, Shepard will have the six squadmates, and below the squadmate name is a box which has one, two, or three different colored lines:

  • red representing combat strength
  • purple representing tech strength
  • blue representing biotic strength

At the bottom of the squad screen is a box showing the total strength of the squad.

  • Initially, it shows only Shepard's strength.
  • When a squadmate is selected, the squadmate will become highlighted, move forward from the others, and the squadmate strengths will be tabulated in the bottom box.

Once both squadmates are selected, the option to either keep the squad, or reselect is given. If Shepard has not recruited a squadmate or the squadmate is dead, they will be blacked out and Shepard will not be able to select them.

Mass Effect 2 Edit

In Mass Effect 2, however, Shepard can reselect the squad at any time:

  • at the Rapid Transit terminals on each level of the Citadel
  • at the airlock to the Normandy on Omega and Illium
  • the Kodiak on Tuchanka
  • if Shepard starts a mission on one of the hub worlds (when starting that mission)

For example, if Shepard has Miranda and Jacob in the squad when landing on Omega and then starts Mordin's recruitment mission, Shepard will have the option to reselect the squad.

ME2 squad selection

In Mass Effect 2, the squad screen is quite different.

  • Squadmates that haven't been recruited are represented by a datapad icon, while those that have been killed are colored red.
  • When hovering over a squadmate, two or three options are available: select for the squad, remove from the squad, and switch outfits (if alternate outfits are unlocked).
  • By selecting "Info", a box opens that shows the name, what weapons can be used, and what powers are unlocked.
  • If a squadmate doesn't have a power unlocked yet, it is greyed out.
  • If Shepard has not recruited the squadmate, the datapad icon in that place will be blacked out or highlighted (depending upon whether Shepard has an active dossier on the squadmate). An active dossier will allows a description of the squadmate to pop up.
  • If there is a red ring around the squadmate's feet, that squadmate is loyal.

Shepard can also change a squadmate's outfit or view the squadmate dossier from the private terminal in the Normandy's CIC or Shepard's cabin. Shepard can change the weapon loadouts of squadmates at the Weapons Locker in the Normandy's armory on deck 2.

Mass Effect 3 Edit

In Mass Effect 3, Shepard can only choose the squad when leaving to go on a mission. Shepard explores the Citadel alone but can encounter squadmates on the Citadel as well as some former crew members from the Normandy.

ME3 squad selection b

In Mass Effect 3, the squad screen functions are much like those in Mass Effect 2.

  • No icons are displayed in the place of squadmates, however, as squadmates are only added once recruited.
  • From the screen Shepard can change squadmate outfits, which have bonuses for the squadmate's individual stats (unlike in Mass Effect 2 where the outfits are there for purely cosmetic purposes), and view squadmate powers and weapons.

Like in Mass Effect 2, Shepard can change squadmate outfits from the terminal in either the CIC or Shepard's cabin.

Mass Effect: Andromeda Edit

In Mass Effect: Andromeda, Ryder can choose the squad:

  • right before leaving to a land-able planet
  • at a Forward Station on a planet
  • from any loadout station including the one near the exit aboard the Tempest

Just like in Mass Effect 3, Ryder can encounter squadmates on the Nexus as well as other crew members from the ship.

In Mass Effect: Andromeda, the squadmate selection screen is noticeably different.

MEA Squadmate Selection Screen
  • The background is a darkened blue and green scene which appears to be neurons inside the brain.
  • Squadmates that have not yet been recruited have a dark gray silhouette that says UNKNOWN and LOCKED on it, as well as a lock symbol.
  • Selected squadmates have a green checkmark in the upper right corner of their picture.
  • Squadmates that are required for a particular mission have a small handshake icon in the upper right corner of their picture.
  • Several buttons can allow Ryder to view squadmate statistics or bios, but not perform cosmetic changes like in previous games.

Squad Mechanics Edit

Effectively using the squad requires knowing squadmate weapons, what talents/powers/skills squadmates have, and what kind of enemies that will be faced.

  • Remember though that squadmates only do about half the damage of Shepard/Ryder, no matter what weapon the squadmate is using, so use the squadmate for covering fire or to pin down enemies rather than for taking them out.
  • Against hard enemies, excessively relying on squadmates is not recommended because of the damage reduction, but by focus the squadmate abilities can make it work.

Each game is different, but some threads stay the same.

  • The first is the need to keep up to date with what the squad is using, in addition to what Shepard/Ryder is using.
  • Keep adapting the squad based on the situation being faced.
  • Each squadmate brings certain things to the table, so determine what each squadmate has, what the squadmate doesn't, and what Shepard/Ryder has and doesn't have, then pick a third squadmate based on that.

The squad is there to support Shepard/Ryder, not to do all the work.

Note: In Mass Effect, if Shepard doesn't have access to either Electronics or Decryption, bring along a squadmate with one or both of those talents to be able to loot crates and lockers. Shepard is not required to have access to those talents, as anyone in the squad will suffice. Garrus, Kaidan, and Tali have access to both talents, while Liara has access to Electronics. Ashley and Wrex do not have access to either talent.

Squad Controls Edit

Mass Effect Edit

Commanding Your Squad Edit

Each version of Mass Effect has different controls. On the PC Shepard can command each squadmate individually, while on the Xbox 360 and PS3 using any of the commands will order both of the squadmates to do the same thing.

Xbox 360 and PS3: Use the D-pad to command squadmates.

  • Pressing "Up" on the D-pad will order squadmates to the position where indicated.
  • Pressing "Left" on the D-pad will order squadmates to rally on Shepard.
  • Pressing "Right" on the D-pad will order squadmates to focus fire on the selected target.
  • Pressing "Down" on the D-pad will order squadmates to hold position.

PC: Use the HUD to command squadmates by moving the mouse over the HUD for the appropriate squadmate. The upper box functions the same way as the D-pad controls.

Using Squad Talents Edit

See also: Talents, Combat

Talents are the biotic and tech abilities that Shepard and the squad have access to. The abilities have varying effects and recharge times, so use them wisely. When selecting squadmates, it is recommended that to try and keep a balanced squad of combat, tech, and biotic strength. However, each mission or assignment will be different, so plan accordingly.

Squad Equipment Edit

The first thing to note is that all squadmate weapons have a damage reduction, meaning that squadmates don't do as much damage as Shepard's weapons do.

The second thing to note is that even if not using a particular squadmate, still continue to keep that squadmate's equipment up to the rest of the squad, in all fields of equipment: Biotic amps, Omni-tools, armor, weapon types (even if untrained in it) and the various upgrades.

When it comes to squadmate equipment, keep in mind that while squadmates don't do as much weapon damage as Shepard, squadmates still have talents which can save Shepard's life on the battlefield. There should be no stigma attached to giving Ashley a better assault rifle than Shepard, especially if Shepard is untrained in Assault Rifles. The same goes for any other squadmate with any equipment.

At any time, Shepard can change out squadmate equipment at the respective locker in the Cargo Bay of the SSV Normandy SR-1.

Mass Effect 2 Edit

One of the biggest changes from Mass Effect to Mass Effect 2 is the size of the squad to select from: it effectively doubles from 6 to 12 if all DLCs installed, otherwise it is 10. This allows more options, but unlike in Mass Effect, some squadmates will be required on certain missions.

Commanding Your Squad Edit

Xbox 360 and PS3: Commanding the squad in Mass Effect 2 is a bit less complicated than in Mass Effect. The D-pad is still used but the controls are more simplified.

  • Pressing "up" on the D-pad will direct both squadmates to fire on the selected target.
  • The "left" and "right" buttons on the D-pad have more options.
    • Using "left" and "right" on the terrain will direct the squadmate to move there and take cover if applicable.
    • Using "left" or "right" on an enemy will direct that squadmate to use an assigned power against that enemy. That power can be changed from the Power Wheel.
  • Pressing "down" on the D-pad will cause squadmates to leave cover and regroup on Shepard.

PC: The defaults are Q and E for left squadmate and right squadmate, respectively. If not targeting an enemy, the chosen squadmate will go to the direction specified by the targeting reticle. If an enemy is highlighted, the chosen squadmate will attack the target.

Using Squad Powers Edit

See also: Powers, Combat (Mass Effect 2)

The talent system from Mass Effect underwent a massive overhaul, in addition to the renaming. Powers in Mass Effect 2 have a global cooldown for easier and more frequent use, as well as a different upgrade system. Squadmates also have a dramatically reduced power pool to use: squadmates only have three offensive/defensive powers and one passive power. Because the level cap has been reduced to 30, keep in mind that there are fewer points to spend. Squadmate powers have a little more cooldown and do a little less damage than Shepard, but will often have access to powers that Shepard won't - especially the DLC characters, Zaeed and Kasumi.

That said, never count out squadmates in a fight, where squadmate powers might be much more effective – especially if squadmates are on a respective loyalty mission, which is well-suited for the squadmate power and weapon set.

Don't forget that if Shepard specifically orders a squadmate to use a power, it is proxied through Shepard, so if Shepard can't see the target, don't do it. However, if squadmates use powers automatically, it isn't proxied through Shepard, so consider turning on Squad Power Usage. Also, squadmate powers don't arc like Shepard's do, but go straight to where Shepard is aiming.

Squad Equipment Edit

See also: Research

Like the power system, the weapon and armor system underwent a massive overhaul from Mass Effect to Mass Effect 2. All squad members generally use the same weapons, which can be upgraded through the Research system. The researched weapon upgrades will apply to both Shepard and the squad, so there is no need to go over stats like in Mass Effect.

Again, keep in mind that squadmate weapons do a reduced amount of damage to enemies. In terms of recoil, however, squadmates have a huge advantage over Shepard, as squadmates don't suffer from it at all. Squadmates are also more accurate with weapons and powers. Since there is a reduced weapon set to work with, keep in mind that some weapons are better wielded by Shepard, and others by squadmates.

The armor system has also been overhauled, or rather done away with: squadmates' outfits are now fixed ensembles without particular stats. In addition to the initial outfit, all squadmates have an outfit that is unlocked once Shepard completes the squadmate's loyalty mission. For six squadmates, a third option can be obtained with the Alternate Appearance Packs. The outfits from the packs are unlocked at the moment the packs are downloaded and installed. Squadmates still have health and shields/barriers as appropriate and that information is displayed on the level-up screen.

Mass Effect 3 Edit

Mass Effect 3 sees a return to a much simpler squad, with a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 7 squadmates (with DLC). The squad is smaller, but is much deadlier than the last time Shepard met them, even if that was only six months ago.

Commanding Your Squad Edit

Xbox 360 and PS3: The controls are the same as in Mass Effect 2. The only change is that the controls have been refined.

PC: The controls are the same as in Mass Effect 2.

Kinect Commands Edit

On the Xbox 360, the player can command the squad using the Xbox 360 Kinect device. Below is a list of Kinect Commands.

Using Squad Powers Edit

See also: Powers (Mass Effect 3), Combat (Mass Effect 3)

Importing a save from Mass Effect 2 grants a bonus in this regard because the level in that save will carry over to Mass Effect 3. Since the level cap is now 60, but the system is the same as in Mass Effect 2, there are still more opportunities to level up squadmates. Furthermore, squadmates now have access to an additional offensive/defensive power apart from the three other offensive/defensive powers and the passive class power.

There is still a global cooldown as in Mass Effect 2, but it is not affected by the weight of squadmates' weapon loadouts. Squadmates still usually have longer cooldowns than Shepard, but the power evolutions are expanded to level 6 so squadmates can be even deadlier.

Squad Equipment Edit

From Mass Effect 2 to Mass Effect 3, equipment changes are rife. In fact, the equipment looks more like that of Mass Effect than Mass Effect 2. Weapon Upgrades have returned, with each being different and giving different effects to the weapons. While the same system from Mass Effect 2 passes into this game, with a set amount of weapons, a new upgrade system comes in where Shepard spends credits to upgrade weapons, rather than researching upgrades. The Search and Rescue system can also help with this by getting small retrieval missions for turn in and even directly acquiring credits from scanning planets.

Like in Mass Effect 2, weapons are still nerfed for squadmates, but squadmates still don't suffer from recoil, meaning that squadmates can equip weapons with piercing and damage increasing mods rather than worrying about recoil or stability mods. A scope, however, will increase a squadmate's accuracy.

Because of the purchasing system to upgrade weapons, keep up with what the squad is running and upgrade appropriately – especially since Shepard cannot change weapons of squadmates between missions.

Armor effects also make a return. Each squadmate has at least two outfits with different effects: some reduce power recharge time, others increase shields, and others increase weapon damage. Choosing the squadmate's armor thus has much more of an impact than in Mass Effect 2, where it was for aesthetic purposes only.

Mass Effect: Andromeda Edit

Mass Effect: Andromeda returns to the much smaller squad size, only being matched by the original Mass Effect in terms of its six member team. One of the main differences is that the number of squadmates cannot fluctuate, as no squad members can die in this game. As well as this, combat utilizing a squad has been made much more rudimentary than in previous titles.

Commanding Your Squad Edit

PC: The controls have been changed from the past three games, but are still customizable. The defaults are Z and C for left squadmate and right squadmate, respectively. If not targeting an enemy, the chosen squadmate will go to the direction specified by the circle with a shield atop it. If an enemy is highlighted, the chosen squadmate will attack the target. It is also possible to use the X key to select both squadmates to perform any of these actions.

Each squadmate now has an individual respective symbol to avoid confusion during a fight; this symbol is shown above a targeted enemy (or both squad members' symbols if using the X key) when selecting the enemy to be attacked.

Squad Skills Edit

See: Squadmate Skills The power wheel has been completely scrapped in Mass Effect: Andromeda, in favor of letting the squadmates' AIs figure out when to use specific powers. All squadmates have three active skills and two passive skills. The third active skill is unlocked after a specific amount of skill points have been used in that squadmate's skill trees. Squadmates start off with one starting power and nothing else, unless auto-level up has been toggled in the options menu.

There is no global cooldown like in previous titles, which means that multiple powers can be used in quick succession. To learn these cooldown times, look in the skill menu of that squadmate's power and factor in the percentage boosts to diminishing recharge time.

Squad Equipment Edit

Selecting any armor, consumables, weapons, etc. has also been completely scrapped for squadmates. This means that squadmates will always retain exactly the same equipment. This makes it easier to manage squadmates than in the past, but also makes it harder to improve a squadmate without the use of skills.

Of course, weapons, skills, and defensive bonuses can be improved by the passive skills from the squadmates' respective skill menus.

Squad Combinations Edit

See also: Squad Members Guide (Mass Effect 2), Squad Members Guide (Mass Effect 3)

For any game, it is highly recommended that to select the squad based on what enemies that will be faced. Each game is different in what that entails, however.

In Mass Effect, keeping the squad as balanced as Shepard is a good recommendation, especially since talents are more effective when it comes to heavier units. The bars on the squad selection screen help in this regard: if Shepard is facing synthetics, for example, bringing some extra tech along is recommended.

In Mass Effect 2, the bar system is done away with. While managing the squad is thus more troublesome, it gives the allowance to customize the squad. There are a few factors that need to be considered:

  • The first factor is Shepard, that is, which weapons and powers that Shepard will have access to and which are lacking.
  • The second factor is what Shepard will be facing: fighting geth or tech-heavy enemies, will likely need less biotics and more tech.
  • The third factor is what weapons the entire squad brings to the party: while an assault rifle can't replace a sniper rifle or a shotgun, it is more effective at various ranges. Given the sheer size of the squad, Shepard will have a lot of options to customize and adapt.

In Mass Effect 3, there are fewer squadmates, so the need to focus more on what each of squadmate brings: with a minimum of three and a maximum of seven squad members, Shepard will need to micromanage more. While Shepard can equip any weapon, squadmates are still limited to two weapon types. Shepard will often be facing different kinds of enemies, so keep in mind that the squad will need to work with smaller resources and in more chaotic situations.

In Mass Effect: Andromeda, there are only six squadmates so it is recommended to select the squadmates based on what enemies will be faced.

  • Ryder may also select squadmates based on narrative reasons and/or which ones are preferred/liked the most.
  • Most enemy types still have combinations of health, armor, and shields so it is fairly hard to have a noticeably superior squad selection depending on the fight.
  • It is possible to retrofit specific squadmates with skill trees that can favor destruction against armor, shields, or light enemies (health); this means that selecting two squadmates for anti-armor, two-squadmates for anti-shields, and/or two-squadmates for light enemies and crowd control.

All in all, it is most likely the best option to simply select squadmates based on narrative preferences.

Squad Behavior Edit

In general, the squad is designed to follow wherever Shepard/Ryder goes, engage any hostiles, and take any immediately available cover, with some differences in behavior during the course of three games.

  • Trying to deliberately leave squadmates behind by ordering them to a specific place then putting as much distance between Shepard/Ryder and them, squadmates magically reappear beside Shepard/Ryder. Squadmates can never really be 'lost' unless the plot calls for it.
  • Squadmates will only melee opponents who close in on them and cannot be ordered to do so directly, though ordering the squadmate to move closer to the enemy to increase chances of such melee attacks.
  • Squadmates do not appear to suffer from weapon recoil.
  • Skill spamming is what squadmates do best across all three games in the trilogy, if auto skill usage is set on.
    • Targeting an enemy then pressing the button that tells the squadmate to attack the enemy will cause the squadmate to let out a skill first, unless powers are cooling down, or the squadmate has no powers considered appropriate to the targeted enemy. If auto skill usage is on the skill let out is highly unlikely to be the one most appropriate for the situation due to cooldowns.
  • Quirks in pathfinding and the limitations of projecting a 3D environment into a 2D screen often mean squadmates won't take cover in the position selected. This poses a danger in that the squadmate won't be able to fire back if improperly positioned.
  • Squadmates do not queue up orders nor follow interrupted ones. Telling a squadmate to go somewhere, then using a skill, the squadmate will stop what the squadmate is doing and use that skill. Telling the squadmate to rush headlong at an unprotected position will cause the squadmate to remain stationary at the position even if under fire.
  • Squadmates, if ordered to cover, get out of entrenched positions only after a battle is over.

Mass Effect Edit

  • Squad members with weapon affinities do appear to register a marked effectiveness with the weapon than those who do not. For example, while everyone can wield sniper rifles, Liara with a sniper rifle is decidedly not as accurate or effective as Garrus with a sniper rifle (and training).
  • Squadmates will squeeze the trigger for a weapon as long as the overheat threshold is not yet reached. Giving squadmates the High Explosive Rounds will reduce firing rate due to the overheat: automatic weapons are reduced to burst fire.
  • Sniper rifles drastically increase squadmates' line of sight even if the squadmate is not really trained for it. This is evident in the planetside missions where squadmates will often snipe at enemies that can't be seen yet (e.g. in a far-off hill or mountain).
  • Squadmates may automatically switch to a different weapon if the squadmates is holding an inappropriate one.
  • Squadmates often take cover if Shepard takes cover.

Mass Effect 2 Edit

  • Squadmates never charge chargeable weapons, like the Geth Plasma Shotgun.
  • Squadmates have infinite ammo, though the squadmates do need to reload when necessary.
  • Squadmates do not fire as often as Shepard would and will use whatever weapon the squadmate has currently equipped even if it is unsuitable under the circumstances
  • Squadmates automatically set up whatever protection skill/appropriate ammo power the squadmate has at the start of a battle.
  • Squadmates' powers will activate instantly when ordered to use them if the squadmates are not visible on the screen. If the squadmate is visible on-screen, the squadmate will perform the animation for using the power.
  • Squadmates do not do a good job of staying behind cover to recharge their shields and health if they are close to death and instead continue trying to pop out to shoot, which on higher difficulty settings results in them dying quite often in firefights. How often they pop out from cover is determined by their currently selected weapon: in general, squadmates will pop out for longer periods to fire rapid-fire weapons with large magazines such as SMGs and Assault Rifles and they will pop out less often with slow-firing weapons such as sniper rifles, heavy pistols, or shotguns. The only way to prevent them from exposing themselves to enemy fire at all is to keep them far back from the action or behind large cover with their lines of sight completely blocked.

Mass Effect 3 Edit

  • All the above points for Mass Effect 2 apply to squad members in Mass Effect 3 as well with one notable improvement: in Mass Effect 3 squadmates are much better at taking cover long enough for their shields to recharge, and they tend not to pop out to shoot as often if they are under especially heavy fire. As a result, squadmates have much better staying power in protracted firefights.
  • Certain powers with a purge function are ignored by the squadmates who possess them, like James Vega and his Fortification. This means a squadmate's power must be purged manually if so desired.
  • Squadmates do not take into consideration the trajectories of bouncing projectiles. Squadmates like Javik or Liara never do trick shots with the Acolyte.
  • Squadmates never use grenades unless ordered to do so.
  • If Squadmate Power Use is on, Squadmates will automatically activate whatever protection skill the squadmate may have at the start of a battle (e.g. Barrier, Fortification, Defense Matrix). However, extra consideration before putting points in these skills should be taken as they reduce power cooldown speeds while active.
  • Squadmates will automatically activate any ammo powers they possess even if Squadmate Power Use is off, unless the ammo power has been evolved to be shared with the entire squad.
  • Squadmates when ordered to use a skill against an enemy through Q or E (the defaults for PC) will stick to signature moves. Javik always uses Dark Channel first. Liara always uses Singularity first.
  • Squadmates are unfazed by Cerberus smokescreens; the squadmate will continue to target and attack enemies as normal through the smoke.
  • Squadmates can perform combat rolls and they tend to do so if they come under fire outside of cover, though sometimes they will combat roll out of cover if they take damage which can actually put them in more exposed positions and get them killed.
  • Squadmates do not take damage from enemy grenades.

Mass Effect: Andromeda Edit

  • Squadmates will automatically use skills to detonate primed enemies for combo explosions, as well as semi-randomly priming enemies.
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