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For information on the controls, general gameplay mechanics, and AI behaviors of NPC allies, see Squad.
The squad selection screen in Mass Effect 3

This Squad Members Guide is meant as a general overview of the various squadmates Commander Shepard can acquire in Mass Effect 3, summarizing their abilities, strengths, and weaknesses in combat. The proper selection and use of squad members can significantly reduce the challenge of a given mission, especially on the higher difficulty settings.

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

Overview[]

This page focuses on what makes a particular squad member stand out compared to others and is meant to serve as a starting point for how to assemble a team. For recommendations on what squadmate choices work well for specific player classes, see the individual Class Guides. For in-depth information on the various abilities, equipment, and weapon options, investigate those individual pages as most will contain notes and recommendations on squadmate use. Finally, for recommendations on which squadmates to take on specific missions, see the Walkthrough page for that mission.

A good basic understanding of how Power Combos work is essential for getting the most out of squadmates in Mass Effect 3, especially on higher difficulties, so be sure to review that page and see the quick reference table here. Also, the customizable appearances feature for squadmates returns from Mass Effect 2, but significantly, the various armors and outfits now have gameplay effects—see the table on this page for reference.

Note: When the terms "squadmate" or "squad member" are used in this guide, they are only referring to other NPC characters and not Shepard. If Shepard is meant to be included, the terms "party" or "party member" will be used. Squad members are listed in approximately the order in which they become available.

Legendary Edition: All characters and outfits that previously required DLC to unlock no longer have this requirement, but any characters that can only be squad members during select missions that were formerly exclusive to DLC are still categorized as such on this page as they are still not available outside of those missions in Legendary Edition.


James Vega[]

Powers

ME3 James Selection.png


Overview

James plays the same role as the krogan team members in the previous games as the quintessential meat shield and point man, with his unique Fortification power granting him unrivaled toughness. James's class power, Arms Master, potentially provides him with the highest personal bonus to shields and health out of all squadmates though even on Insanity this tends to be overkill; the real prize is the Squad Bonus evolution, letting James share some of his toughness with the entire squad. This evolution is known to be buggy and sometimes fails to apply properly to the entire party, though James himself always benefits from it.

Incendiary Ammo can boost James's firepower and that of the squad if so evolved, and makes him effective at priming enemies for Fire Explosions which he can also self-detonate with Carnage; however, the tradeoff for James's exceptional resilience and above-average firepower is very slow power recharge times, especially while Fortification is active. While this is somewhat mitigated by the passive nature of many of his abilities and also because Frag Grenade has no cooldown, James is not the man to call on for power wizardry.

Liara T'Soni[]

Powers

ME3 Liara Selection.png


Overview

At the opposite end of the spectrum from James, Liara is the most fragile member of the squad, and her weapon options are unimpressive. However, her biotic powers Stasis and Singularity and extremely fast power recharge times can turn battles with rank-and-file enemies into one-sided turkey shoots. The Rank 6 Squad Bonus evolution of her class power makes her a tremendous asset to other biotic party members, as does the vulnerability debuff of her Warp Ammo.

Liara is the only squad member with Warp, an even more versatile power than it was in Mass Effect 2, able to soften up hard targets and set up biotic combos even on heavy, armored enemies that can't be lifted. It's also one of the only biotic powers that can detonate all types of Power Combos, not just biotic ones. The duration of most of her powers combined with the speed at which she can cast them makes Liara more than capable of creating her own combos if needed. Keep her well out of harm's way and Liara can help any party handle virtually any threat.

Garrus Vakarian[]

Powers

ME3 Garrus Selection.png


Overview

Garrus remains much as he was in the previous two games: capable of massive ranged damage, with an excellent collection of powers that enables him to strip shields and support the team, but possessing only average staying power. Armor-Piercing Ammo is exceptionally strong not just for softening up and destroying hard targets, but its cover-penetration properties make it especially useful for NPC squadmates who have a tendency to fire at enemies even when obscured by terrain.

Overload is arguably the most versatile power in Mass Effect 3, now effective at not only damaging both shields and barriers, but also for crowd control and combo potential. Concussive Shot is effective crowd control and a good Power Combo detonator on a relatively fast cooldown. Finally, the Rank 5 Damage Taken evolution of Proximity Mine can soften up hard targets for the entire party. The only real downside of Garrus's kit is deciding which of his powers not to max out; however, as good as his powers are, he can't use them quite as often as the more power-oriented squadmates.

EDI[]

Powers

EDI ME3 selection.png


Overview

EDI is the only squadmate with Incinerate, and the only squadmate other than Garrus with Overload unless Kaidan is also available. She is able to do more raw damage with these powers than any squadmate, as her class power, Unshackled AI, provides substantial benefits to her tech power damage. This can be further increased by her default costume, certain weapon mods, squad bonuses from other party members such as Kaidan or Garrus, and even further by the Rank 5 Power Synergy evolution of her unique Defense Matrix power. EDI's weapon damage on the other hand is mediocre, par for the course for a power specialist.

On higher difficulties, raw power damage starts to become less able to kill even basic enemies by itself, and skillful use of Power Combos and debuffs to increase enemy vulnerability becomes more important. Pairing EDI with party members who possess Sabotage evolved with the Rank 6 Tech Vulnerability can effectively double the raw damage of her powers, even doubling the damage of any Power Combos they create. Pairing EDI with party members able to utilize cryo attacks can also greatly increase her Incinerate damage through its Rank 6 Freeze Combo evolution.

Even if the above strategies aren't used, EDI is always useful for stripping shields/barriers from enemies with Overload, which does not need its damage pushed into the stratosphere in order to perform this function adequately on most enemy types. It can be wiser to focus on improving EDI's power recharge speed by selecting the appropriate outfit and leaving her Defense Matrix power off except for emergencies. Finally, Decoy, her other unique power, is situational but has a few interesting properties; see its page to learn more.

Javik[]

Powers*

ME3 Javik Selection.png


*Javik's powers cannot be reset in the Normandy's medical bay.

Overview

Javik adds another biotic specialist to the team. He doesn't quite have Liara's effectiveness at creating Biotic Explosions on any target or the debuffing powers of Warp and Warp Ammo, but he more than makes up for this by bringing above-average durability and firepower to the squad. The Rank 6 evolution of his Vengeful Ancient passive that increases the Shield Recharge speed of the entire party by a whopping 20% is particularly powerful.

Javik's Pull, Slam, and Lift Grenade powers make him very useful for crowd control. Pull and Slam both take enemies off their feet and keep them out of the battle, they can combo with each other, and both Slam and Lift Grenade are universal combo detonators. Their recharge times are also quite fast, further improved if Javik wears his black armor. If Javik is specced for maximum power damage, his Lift Grenades can deal more damage in a wider area than any other squadmate power, crippling lighter enemies they don't kill outright. All of these powers are most effective against unprotected enemies; shields in particular are something Javik struggles to defeat on his own, but what Javik can't destroy with his biotics, he can always just shoot.

Ashley Williams[]

*dependent on outcome of Priority: The Citadel II
Powers

ME3 Ashley selection.png


Overview

Thanks to her class ability, Alliance Officer, and unique Marksman power, Ashley packs weapon damage potential surpassed only by Garrus, and like him, she is also able to wield sniper rifles. As squadmates don't go out of their way for headshots and their accuracy can't be boosted, evolve her Marksman to maximize rate of fire and duration. Assault rifles with very high magazine capacities such as the M-76 Revenant or N7 Typhoon are ideal choices to use in tandem with Marksman. The power is unfortunately bugged in many versions of the game; turning Squad Power Use off is the easiest workaround.

The rest of Ashley's kit is similar to James's, with ammo and grenade powers. Inferno Grenade can hit enemies in a wide area and penetrates cover, but it is unable to panic protected enemies like it could in Mass Effect 2; it is, however, capable of priming multiple enemies for Fire Explosions, perfect for follow-up powers such as a chaining Overload or Ashley's own Concussive Shot to detonate. Improved from Mass Effect 2, Disruptor Ammo is now effective against not only shields but barriers as well, in addition to having more impact on unprotected organic foes. Ashley lacks the resilience of James, so care should be taken with her positioning.

Kaidan Alenko[]

*dependent on outcome of Priority: The Citadel II
Powers

ME3 Kaidan Selection.png


Overview

Just as in the first Mass Effect, Kaidan is a veritable Swiss Army knife, with only Garrus and EDI approaching his versatility for dealing with enemy protections. Kaidan has Overload for shields and barriers, as well as the fast-recharging Cryo Blast to debuff armor and disable groups of unprotected enemies. His Alliance Officer passive class power can give him an impressive boost to his biotics or tech powers; generally tech is the best route to go as Overload gets the most usage. The passive can also be evolved to either improve the power efficiency of the entire party, or its shield recharge rate.

Kaidan's unique combination of tech and biotics allows him to set up and detonate more types of Power Combo than any other squadmate, and he pairs well with anyone. Defensively, Kaidan is capable of rivaling James in the durability department, as he can layer both Barrier and the Reave damage protection buff; while going this route slows Kaidan's power use, Kaidan can wield assault rifles, ensuring he is always contributing to the party's damage output.

Tali'Zorah vas Normandy[]

*dependent on outcome of Priority: Rannoch
Powers

ME3 Tali Selection.png


Overview

Thanks to the addition of a few new and improved abilities, Tali is much more viable against non-synthetic enemies than in the second game. Her Energy Drain ability enables her to strip away enemy shields and barriers while reinforcing her own shields, and Sabotage is useful for turning enemy synthetics and Turrets into temporary allies. Tali possesses two different flavors of drone, and unlike in the previous game, they have very quick recharge times, making her much more effective at tying enemies up. Her class power, Quarian Machinist, mainly serves to increase the recharge speed of her powers even further, though Tali does decent weapon damage if specced for it and equipped with the right shotgun (the N7 Crusader, if available, is ideal).

As with the other power-oriented teammates, getting the most out of Tali requires a thorough understanding of how to create Power Combos with her kit. She can prime Tech Bursts with both Energy Drain and Sabotage, though both powers have somewhat finnicky conditions for doing so; it's a good idea to read their pages for full details. The Tech Bursts Sabotage can create on organic enemies are particularly powerful with the Rank 6 Tech Vulnerability, especially when detonated by a chain Overload. Overload and other tech powers will also deal double damage to enemies debuffed by the vulnerability, making Sabotage quite useful as an opener against tough enemies with thick shields or barriers.

Reference Tables[]

Weapons Table[]

Weapon Type: Submachine Guns Heavy Pistols Shotguns Assault Rifles Sniper Rifles
Ashley Williams
EDI
Garrus Vakarian
Kaidan Alenko
James Vega
Javik
Liara T'Soni
Tali'Zorah vas Normandy

Powers Table[]

Squadmate Class Power Ammo Powers Biotic Powers Combat Powers Tech Powers
Ashley Williams Alliance Officer Disruptor Ammo Concussive Shot
Inferno Grenade*
Marksman
James Vega Arms Master Incendiary Ammo Carnage
Fortification
Frag Grenade*
Kaidan Alenko Alliance Officer Barrier
Reave
Cryo Blast
Overload
Garrus Vakarian Turian Rebel Armor-Piercing Ammo Concussive Shot
Proximity Mine
Overload
Liara T'Soni Pure Biotic Warp Ammo Singularity
Stasis
Warp
Tali'Zorah vas Normandy Quarian Machinist Combat Drone
Defense Drone
Energy Drain
Sabotage
EDI Unshackled AI Decoy
Defense Matrix
Incinerate
Overload
Javik Vengeful Ancient Dark Channel
Lift Grenade*
Pull
Slam

* Grenade Power

Single-player Power Combos[]

In the table below, the columns marked Biotic/Cryo/Tech/Fire indicate whether the ability can detonate primed Biotic Explosions, Cryo Explosions, Tech Bursts, or Fire Explosions respectively. Underscore indicates whether a power has a multiplier evolution which increases the effective combo level of the power for the purposes of the combo type indicated by the column. These evolutions increase damage by at least 50% regardless of whether the power is used as source or detonator, and whether it is stacking with another power with such a multiplier.

Icon Power Primes Biotic Cryo Tech Fire Notes
ME3 Barrier.png Barrier Biotic* *On self-detonation, primes if target is lifted
ME3 Biotic Charge.png Biotic Charge
ME3 Carnage.png Carnage Fire
ME3 Cluster Grenade.png Cluster Grenade
ME3 Combat Drone.png Combat Drone ✓* ✓* ✓* *On destruction, detonates with "Detonate" evolution
ME3 Concussive Shot.png Concussive Shot Cryo*/Fire*/Tech* *Primes with Amplification evolution with Cryo/Incendiary/Disruptor Ammo respectively
ME3 Cryo Ammo.png Cryo Ammo Cryo
ME3 Cryo Blast.png Cryo Blast Cryo
ME3 Dark Channel.png Dark Channel Biotic
ME3 Decoy.png Decoy ✓* ✓* ✓* *On destruction, detonates with "Exploding Decoy"
ME3 Disruptor Ammo.png Disruptor Ammo Tech
ME3 Energy Drain.png Energy Drain Tech ✓* ✓* ✓* *Only detonates shielded, barriered, or synthetic targets
ME3 Flare.png Flare
ME3 Frag Grenade.png Frag Grenade
ME3 Incendiary Ammo.png Incendiary Ammo Fire* *Priming effect can apply to targets with shields or barriers but only detonatable after shields/barriers destroyed
ME3 Incinerate.png Incinerate Fire
ME3 Inferno Grenade.png Inferno Grenade Fire
ME3 Lash.png Lash Biotic Primes if target is lifted. Armored targets cannot be detonated in MP.
ME3 Lift Grenade.png Lift Grenade Biotic Primes and detonates unprotected enemies only
ME3 Nova.png Nova
ME3 Overload.png Overload Tech Primes primary target only. All chain hits can detonate.
ME3 Proximity Mine.png Proximity Mine
ME3 Pull.png Pull Biotic* *Combo evolution in multiplayer only
ME3 Reave.png Reave Biotic
ME3 Sabotage.png Sabotage Tech* *Only primes non-synthetics, application delayed 1.5s
ME3 Sentry Turret.png Sentry Turret Cryo* *Primes with "Cryo Ammo" evolution
ME3 Shockwave.png Shockwave Biotic* *Primes with "Lifting Shockwave"
ME3 Singularity.png Singularity Biotic ✓* *On self-detonation, detonates with "Detonate" evolution
ME3 Slam.png Slam Biotic* *Primes only during lift effect
Detonates unprotected enemies only
ME3 Stasis.png Stasis Biotic
ME3 Sticky Grenade.png Sticky Grenade Cryo*/Tech*/Fire* *Primes with Cryo/Disruptor/Incendiary Ammo
ME3 Throw.png Throw
ME3 Warp.png Warp Biotic

Squad Member Outfits[]

Default Alternate From Ashes N7 Collector's Edition Pack
ME3 Ashley Basic Outfit.png ME3 Ashley Alt Outfit 1.png ME3 Ashley Alt Outfit 2.png ME3 Ashley Alt Outfit 3.png
Weapon Damage +25% Shields +25% Weapon Damage +25% Power Recharge Speed +25%

Default Alternate From Ashes Alternate Appearance Pack 1
ME3 EDI Basic Outfit.png ME3 EDI Alt Outfit 1.png ME3 EDI Alt Outfit 2.png ME3 EDI Alt Outfit 3.png
Power Damage +25% Power Recharge Speed +25% Shields +25% Power Recharge Speed +25%

Default Alternate From Ashes Alternate Appearance Pack 1
ME3 Garrus Basic Outfit.png ME3 Garrus Alt Outfit 1.png ME3 Garrus Alt Outfit 2.png ME3 Garrus Alt Outfit 3.png
Shields +25% Weapon Damage +25% Weapon Damage +25% Shields +25%

Default Alternate From Ashes N7 Collector's Edition Pack
ME3 James Basic Outfit.png ME3 James Alt Outfit 1.png ME3 James Alt Outfit 2.png ME3 James Alt Outfit 3.png
Shields +25% Weapon Damage +25% Weapon Damage +25% Shields +25%

Default Alternate
ME3 Javik Basic Outfit.png ME3 Javik Alt Outfit 1.png
Power Damage +25% Power Recharge Speed +25%

Default Alternate From Ashes N7 Collector's Edition Pack
ME3 Kaidan Basic Outfit.png ME3 Kaidan Alt Outfit 1.png ME3 Kaidan Alt Outfit 2.png ME3 Kaidan Alt Outfit 3.png
Power Recharge Speed +25% Power Damage +25% Shields +25% Weapon Damage +25%

Default Alternate From Ashes N7 Collector's
Edition Pack
Alternate Appearance
Pack 1
ME3 Liara Basic Outfit.png ME3 Liara Alt Outfit 1.png ME3 Liara Alt Outfit 2.png ME3 Liara Alt Outfit 3.png ME3 Liara Alt Outfit 4.png
Power Damage +25% Power Recharge
Speed +25%
Power Recharge
Speed +25%
Power Damage +25% Power Damage +25%

Default Alternate From Ashes
ME3 Tali Basic Outfit.png ME3 Tali Alt Outfit 1.png ME3 Tali Alt Outfit 2.png
Power Damage +25% Power Recharge Speed +25% Weapon Damage +25%

Temporary[]

David Anderson[]

Powers

ME3 Anderson Character Shot.png


Note: Despite having the Frag Grenade power Anderson won't have any to use.

DLC Mission Exclusive[]

The following squad members are only available during certain missions exclusive to DLC and cannot be chosen during missions of the main Mass Effect 3 storyline.
Legendary Edition: These characters are still not available beyond the few missions in which they appear even though DLC missions are now included with the main game.

Aria T'Loak[]

Powers

ME3-Aria-Squad.png


Overview

Aria is a formidable biotic with several unique powers at her disposal, but her recharge times, especially of Flare, are on the longer side. Lash is her bread-and-butter ability as it has the lowest cooldown time and is the most applicable in general combat situations. With the Rank 6 Shield Penetration evolution of Lash, she can disable any enemy with shields or barriers as long as they are not armored, and Lash is also a universal Power Combo detonator.

Aria's Biotic Boss passive can make her extremely durable, and Reave is a good way to increase Aria's toughness still further in situations where she is likely to come under heavy fire. Aria's kit is rounded out with Carnage, giving her the ability to combo with non-biotics or simply deal a good chunk of direct damage, particularly against armored targets.


Nyreen Kandros[]

Powers

ME3-Nyreen-Kandros.png


Overview

Nyreen is a very versatile and hard-hitting squadmate, but she is fragile unless the player invests in her unique Biotic Protector power which can be used to ensure her survival if she comes under heavy fire. Its Rank 6 evolutions give it long-lasting buffs that make it a useful power even outside of emergencies. Overload and Incinerate allow her to strip away any kind of protection, while her Lift Grenades can disable large groups of unprotected enemies. This wide variety of powers also enables Nyreen to create Power Combos with Aria or Shepard in numerous ways.


Urdnot Wrex[]

Powers

ME3 Wrex Selection.png


Overview

Wrex is the most durable squadmate in the game by a mile. His already high health is further supplemented by Barrier and his unique Stimulant Packs. Like most krogan, Wrex prefers the direct approach and revels in melee combat, rarely taking cover if not ordered to. A Shotgun Blade Attachment or a Shotgun Omni-Blade will substantially improve his damage output. He automatically uses Stimulant Packs when his shields are down (even if Squad Power Use is turned off), but they are limited in number and share their stock with his Lift Grenades.

While Wrex's powers aren't the best for dealing with enemy shields, the Reegar Carbine, if available, can greatly mitigate this weakness. Wrex can create his own Fire Explosions through Carnage and Lift Grenades. Against unprotected enemies Wrex can create his own Biotic Explosions by detonating his Barrier and then immediately using a Lift Grenade. Regardless, in most cases Wrex can safely be trusted to wreak havoc in enemy ranks without needing to use any fancy gimmicks; as long as he's given adequate supporting fire, he'll almost never go down even on Insanity difficulty.

Armax Arsenal Arena[]

The following squad members can be chosen to accompany Shepard in the Armax Arsenal Arena combat simulator only. The simulator can first be unlocked after Shepard gains full access to the Silversun Strip following the completion of Citadel Docks: Retake the Normandy. The character must also still be alive in the main storyline to be available for simulated combat. Enough missions must be played in the simulator to earn the prizes necessary to redeem at the Bronze rewards terminal and unlock them. These squadmates automatically start with all of their powers already at Rank 3, and they have one less available point to spend on their powers than regular squadmates.

Grunt[]

Powers

ME2 Grunt Basic Outfit.png



Jack[]

Powers

ME2 Jack Basic Outfit.png



Jacob Taylor[]

Powers

ME2 Jacob Basic Outfit.png



Kasumi Goto[]

Powers

ME2 Kasumi Basic Outfit.png



Miranda Lawson[]

Powers

ME2 Miranda Basic Outfit.png



Samara[]

Powers

ME2 Samara Basic Outfit.png



Zaeed Massani[]

Powers

ME2 Zaeed Basic Outfit.png


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