"Mass Effect 3": How to Kill Brutes Easily

Updated on February 20, 2020
Lauryallan profile image

I love to play the "Mass Effect 3" series and come up with various strategies to make gameplay smoother along the way.

How to kill Brutes!
How to kill Brutes!

How to Kill Brutes Easily in Mass Effect 3

Brutes are the first difficult enemy that you will face in Mass Effect 3. Brutes are a mutated mix of Krogans and Turians and were created by the Reapers. When you hear ‘Krogan’ and ‘mutated’ in the same sentence your first instinct is probably to run. However, Brutes are actually pretty easy to take down once you know what you’re doing.

A Brutes' health is made up of 10 yellow armor bars. Once the Brutes' armor is depleted it dies. In order to explain how the Brute loses health, it’s easier to assign each armor bar a value of 10%. This means 10 armor bars equal 100% of the Brutes' health. Please continue reading to find out how to kill Brutes quickly and efficiently.

A Brute in "Mass Effect 3."
A Brute in "Mass Effect 3."

General Tips For Killing Brutes

Choose the Right Weapon

One of the best tips for fighting Brutes is to make sure you use the correct weapon. This will vary according to the class you have chosen.

The game producers haven't made it clear if certain classes actually have bonus damage, with their default weapon types. However, from testing the classes it seems that there are weapon damage bonuses based on classes. For example, it seems that Vanguards do more damage with shotguns than other classes. The same seems to be true for Infiltrators and sniper rifles.

It is important to remember that the default weapons of a class are complemented by the class's powers. For example, when an Infiltrator uses a sniper rifle time slows down and a Vanguard’s biotic powers are most effective at close range along with the default weapon; the shotgun. Therefore, using your default weapon to kill a Brute is the smartest choice.

Incendiary Ammo

If you have access to incendiary ammo, or one of your squad mates does, switch it on. Incendiary ammo burns through armor and stops health regeneration. All other factors being equal, incendiary ammo from a shotgun will inflict roughly 10% damage. On the other hand, using cryo ammo instead the shotgun will only inflict roughly 7.5% damage. It’s much easier to kill Brutes with incendiary ammo.

Frag Grenades or Other Grenades

If you or your squad mates have access to frag grenades, use them. It seems that frag grenades do roughly 10%-15% damage to Brutes, per grenade. During one of my saves on the Turian moon, I ordered James to throw 4 frag grenades at a Brute. The Brute’s armor dropped by 50%.

Use Powers With High Armor Damage

Make sure you use any biotic or tech power that has a high armor damage rating against Brutes. Remember 100% of a Brutes health is armor, so using powers that deal high armor damage hurts Brutes a lot.

If you’re an Adept, or a Sentinel, using the Warp power can be very useful. Warp inflicts 2x it’s base damage, to armor, so it can really hurt Brutes.

If you’re an Engineer or an Infiltrator, using the Incineratepower can be helpful. Incineratehas a high armor damage value.

Head Shots

I have read on forums that headshots cause more damage to Brutes. Personally, I have not noticed. Using a sniper rifle to make a headshot or a leg shot inflicted the same 10% damage per shot. I could be wrong on this but I have found that where you hit the Brute doesn’t make much difference. That being said, landing headshots is fun so if you can get a nice one, go for it!

Dodge Charges and Stay Back

Brutes charge in a straight line, so dodging a charge is very easy. When you see it is ready to charge, dodge to the left or right and get out of its way. After the charge, the Brute is open to attack from behind for a second or two, while it regains its bearings. Make the most of those few seconds.

One of the obvious tips on dealing with Brutes is to stay back. They can do a lot of damage up close and they have no ranged weapons, so staying back will keep you safe. The only exception to this is if you’re a Vanguard but I will discuss that below.

Using incendiary ammo on a Brute.
Using incendiary ammo on a Brute.

Class-Specific Tips for Killing Brutes

Killing Brutes as a Soldier

The first thing you want to do is pull out your assault rifle, turn on incendiary ammo and start shooting. If you have somebody with Warp or Incinerate power, then have them use the power on the Brute. If you have some frag grenades to spare, or if a squadmate does, use them. This is very straight forward and you should kill the Brute in under 10 seconds if you do it right.

Killing Brutes as an Adept

Use Warp power on the Brute as soon as you see him. As mentioned above, if you have squadmates with any useful powers, such as Warp or Incinerate, make sure they use them on the Brute. If you have any squadmates with incendiary ammo make sure they have it switched on. If any squadmates have frag grenades then throw a few at the Brute. Finally, go to town on the Brute with your pistol.

As an Adept class, you want to stay as far away from the Brute as possible. Your light armor means you will probably die from a single charge.

Killing Brutes as an Engineer

Use the Incinerate power as soon as you see the Brute. The rest of the strategy is the same as for an Adept. Use your squad mates abilities and your pistol. Remember to stay back.

Killing Brutes as an Infiltrator

Killing Brutes as an Infiltrator is very easy. First of all, use Incinerate power as soon as you see the Brute. After that simply have your squadmates use their abilities while you snipe the Brute. However, as an Infiltrator, you are more than capable of handling a Brute on your own.

If you want to kill the Brute by yourself use your sniper rifle. If your sniper rifle has any damage mods on it you will most likely do 10%–15% damage per shot. Your sticky grenades will also be useful against Brutes inflicting 10%–20% damage. So the general idea is to use incinerate, follow it up with one or two sticky grenades, and then fire a few sniper rounds into the Brute. This will kill the Brute very quickly.

Do you find it hard to kill a Brute?

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Killing Brutes as a Vanguard

Killing Brutes as a Vanguard is fun. Obviously when it comes to Brutes, the general advice is to stay back. This is not good news for a Vanguard, as Vanguards specialize in close-quarters combat.

As a Vanguard, you will want to stick back initially and use everything at your disposal to take the Brute down to at least 40% health (4 yellow bars left). To do this you should use incendiary ammo on your pistol and pepper the Brute with pistol fire. You should also order your squadmates to attack using the Incinerate power and/or Warp power. Add some grenades to the mix, if you have any.

Once the Brute is at 40% health you have two options. Option 1 is the boring option and option 2 is fun.

  • Option 1: Stay back and continue firing at the Brute with your pistol which should kill him fairly quickly.
  • Option 2: You can switch to your shotgun (make sure you have incendiary rounds on) and charge the Brute with your Biotic Charge. As soon as the charge is complete fire as much shotgun rounds into the Brute as you can.

If you have at least a rank 2 Biotic Charge, the charge itself should remove 10% of the Brutes armor. This will leave approximately 30% of the Brutes health and 3 shots with incendiary ammo should finish it off.

More Mass Effect 3 Guides

Mass Effect 3 Classes can significantly impact how you play the game. With this guide you can discover which Mass Effect 3 class suits you best.

Killing Brutes as a Sentinel

I have not killed a Brute as a Sentinel, but the general idea would be to use Warp power as soon as you see the Brute. As above, you should then have your squadmates use whatever useful powers or weapons they have. Follow this up with as much pistol fire as possible.

If the Brute gets too close, use your Tech Armor power and pray. You should get through it ok if you make good use of your squadmates.

Killing Brutes in Mass Effect 3 Is Easy

As long as you use your squad mates effectively, and use the right combinations of powers and ammo, killing Brutes is very easy. Remember Warp power, Incinerate power, incendiary ammo, and frags and you will be fine. Good hunting, Shepard.


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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I want to kiss you right now thank yoooooooooou

    • SimilarSam profile image

      Samuel Franklin 

      5 years ago

      Brutes were always an issue for me, thanks for the tips!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I play as a Sentinel and an Adept, and a really good strategy is to use Biotic combos, specially the warp+warp combo it doubles the damage from the warp (which means it would deal 4 times the normal warp damage) plus the biotic explosion damage. After that their armor will be reduced a lot, and it will be easy to finish them off.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      correction at the top, it should be relatively easy.

      In addition, as an adept, I find killing shielded enemies harder than armored enemies since adept powers cannot damage shields unless you shoot them. Squadmates with anti-shield powers/ammo, is very effective.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      killing brutes is relatively, even in insanity difficulty.

      The factor which makes the Brutes hard to kill, is that, if these are deployed to be your enemies, reinforcements appear. Among them is the turian look-alike reaper with shields, and or a lot of husks. These enemies' function is to distract you and mismanages your team. Making the Brute harder to kill. If anyone had a situation like this, kill the lesser enemies first especially the long range ones. Brutes are easy to evade, fortunately, so Focus your attack to shielded enemies before killing the Brute, provided you have lots of space. If not, killng the Brute first is the wisest decision.

      I play an adept, first time, both on Insanity difficulty and the Adept class. Progress is still on going.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      the combat in game is to easy, first playtrough on insane and i wasn't impressed by the difficulty

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      It is actually possible to kill brutes in one headshot + one incinerate as infiltrator... fully upgraded widow (normal, not black widow) or javelin (widow is better) will do: it must be headshot + sniper rifle must be max level + damage mod for sniper rifle + cryo ammo + you must have all weapon bonuses from upgrades + sniper damage from cloak + be cloked when doing headshot. This will take brute down in just one shot.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      thank you, this was extremely helpful, (vanguard)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I am always a soldier, and I very effectively kill brutes with a shotgun and armor piercing bullets, usually far under 10 secs, pretty much just dodge and shoot.

    • Lauryallan profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Glad it was useful Sonctja. It's great when you are suddenly able to get past an obstacle in a game.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I am so happy I found your page! I don't play shooter games much, but this is more my speed (I'm an RPG girl, and this combines them pretty well). Fighting the brutes was getting annoying. I died three times before I found your page and the information for the Soldier worked very well. Killed them in under 10 seconds, just like you said. Thanks!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I am the drell vanguard. He works good if u use pull, biotic charge, and then an SMG. If it is still alive, take out a pistol w/using regular rounds. Trust me, it works. Add me on xbox :Terminatorlink

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I know it really comes down to play-style, but I find your advice (on the Vanguard) to be contrary to what works best for me. The Incendiary Ammo is good advice, but the only reason to stay back at first would be if there are other "lesser" ranged players on the battlefield.

      I always start off right off by charging in. The issue, though, is that they can crush you in a single melee if you just stand there and fire away after your charge. I follow Charge up with a left or right dive (to get away from their melee) and THEN hammer away with my shotgun until charge is charged again.

      I play a light-weight vanguard, usually only carrying a shotgun and an ultralight SMG in order to keep the recharge time on my Charge down in the ~3 second range. This approach probably wouldn't work as well with a longer charge time.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      What I find funny is you can use the Leonidas/300 approach and back your self into a tight space that the brute can't get in and they'll just stand there and let you shoot them. Also if your into the "livin on the edge" thing you can try your luck at taking down brutes using only dodges and melee attacks.


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