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This page is for listing the tropes related to the main antagonists who first appeared in the second Mass Effect game.

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Click here  to see his true form.

Voiced by: Keith Szarabajka

The name for Collector drones possessed by the General to fight Shepard directly. As revealed by the ending, however, the Collector General himself is also possessed by Harbinger, who's actually a Reaper. If the Arrival DLC mission is done after the suicide mission, Shepard can have a brief conversation with it near the end. (If done before the suicide mission, Shepard talks with an image of the Collector General instead.) Mass Effect 3 (the Leviathan DLC, to be specific) further reveals that Harbinger is not just a Reaper — he was the first.

  • Ace Custom: In regards to other Reapers, Harbinger's design is unique and far more powerful: he is larger overall, has a "crest" on top of his chassis, features glowing yellow spots on the front no other Reaper has, is missing the center "tentacle" and seems to have at least half a dozen of those Reaper beams compared to the one or two other Reapers are shown using.
  • And I Must Scream: The Catalyst implies that Harbinger was the first species to be turned into a Reaper as a solution to the endless conflict its race had with synthetics. It was not happy with this solution. Now, the only remnants of the Catalyst's creators, who it mercilessly slaughtered, are stuck serving the very being that killed them for all eternity. This is later confirmed in the Leviathan DLC.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Being a Reaper and all. He's also apparently the oldest and most powerful Reaper. Considering even one regular capital Reaper can wipe out an entire organic fleet and depopulate a city in under an hour, Harbinger's power must be incredibly impressive. Too bad we never see him tearing through other ships.
  • Badass Boast: "I WILL SHOW YOU TRUE POWER." "THIS IS WHAT YOU FACE." And many, many more. Here is a complete list.
  • Beam Spam: While Reaper Destroyers only get one main cannon and Sovereign-class Reapers get one for the mouth and one on each leg, Harbinger has numerous hydrodynamic cannons in his mouth area alone and probably more in his legs too (though only the former sees use). He's not called the most powerful Reaper for nothing, as Hammer Group finds out.
  • Big Bad: Prime antagonist for the main storyline of the second game, controlling the actions of his surrogates in much the same way as Sovereign did. Subverted in Mass Effect 3. Despite being the oldest of them all, he is just another pawn of the Catalyst.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: While he's the top dog, the Shadow Broker (in 2) and the Illusive Man (in 3) are still separate threats in their own right.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: He sincerely believes that turning organics into Reapers is helping them, cut dialogue from the 2nd game has him actually express frustration at Shepard's efforts, believing that being made into a Reaper means that humanity will be immortal and that destroying a Reaper is a senseless waste of life.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Taken very literally. He doesn't appear in person, but takes over regular Mooks, turning that particular Mook into a hyper-powered biotic killing machine. What's more, it doesn't take a lot out of him, so even if you beat his host, he just possesses one of its buddies.
  • Catchphrase: "ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL." And all variations thereupon.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Think you're safely in cover? Think again. He can knock you out of it at will.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Even after sending the Collectors to destroy the Normandy, he has them make an effort to retrieve Shepard's body to make sure the attack worked, only failing because the Illusive Man got it first.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Towards the end of 3, Harbinger personally, physically comes down to Earth to annihilate the Alliance ground forces. The battle is over in a minute, with most of Hammer Group dead and Shepard left severely injured.
  • Demonic Possession: "ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL." More efficient than Sovereign; while he keeled over and got utterly wrecked after feedback from one interrupted Demonic Possession, Harbinger can spam them in succession because he is performing them through his intermediary, the Collector General.
  • Demoted to Extra: He's still the apparent leader of the Reapers and thus the Big Bad of the game, but his only appearance in 3 is showing up at the very end to attempt to stop Alliance soldiers from beaming up to the Citadel.
    • To further emphasize this, remember how much he loved to speak and just wouldn't shut up in the second game? He gets nary a peep in 3. Odd, considering you will hear Keith Szarabajka's voice in other parts of the game.
  • Don't Make Me Destroy You: "IF I MUST TEAR YOU APART, SHEPARD, I WILL."
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Since it's revealed that the Citadel is home to the AI that controls all of the Reapers, that would imply that Harbinger is its second-in-command. However, the Catalyst itself doesn't seem to do much, while Harbinger is the driving force of much of the invasion. It isn't even clear if he knows about the Catalyst at all.
  • The Dreaded: To Shepard. You can hear his/her hesitation and concern upon hearing that Harbinger is physically coming to the battlefield and basically tells Hammer Group to haul ass to the Conduit.
  • Eldritch Abomination: He's a Reaper, and, like Sovereign, just loves reminding you of how far beyond your comprehension he is.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: "Harbinger": the first of many. A synonym to precursor.
  • Easily Forgiven: In the Synthesis ending, the synthesized people of the galaxy sure don't seem to mind Harbinger and the rest of Reapers helping them rebuild, despite the fact that the Reapers were trying to wipe out all life in the galaxy not too long ago. Possibly justified in that Harbinger was freed of the Catalyst's influence, and of course, all organics also gained understanding of synthetics in the process. Ditto for Control, although in that case, Harbinger is now a minion of Shepard, the new Catalyst.
  • Evil Gloating: Less so than Sovereign, but still.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Almost on par with Sovereign.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Sort of. He's very interested in humanity in general and Shepard in particular (which makes him less condescending than Sovereign), but makes dismissive comments about any non-human party members and their species.
    • It's a lot worse when you find out the reasons why their species weren't picked to be made into Reaper babies. The drell and krogan were dismissed out of hand due to lack of numbers, while the quarians were actually considered due to their aptitude for cybernetics.
  • Fighting a Shadow: His favorite tactic.
  • Fireballs: He's capable of shooting them. They're kind of like the Warp power that Shepard and co can use, except it's colored differently and also lights things on fire.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The events of the novel Mass Effect: Ascension are largely his fault. Through the Collectors, he makes a lucrative offer to acquire human biotics. The novel's primary villains, Golo and Pel, are quick to sell out Cerberus and take Harbinger up on his offer.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After billions of years being controlled and directed to kill and enslave countless species, Harbinger finally is able to think for himself and stop the cycles without the catalyst’s influence in the Synthesis Ending. Alternatively, he continues to be controlled and influenced although this time by Shepard’s consciousness in the ''Control Ending'.' Either way, he and the Reapers help the galaxy rebuild.
  • Hero Killer: After humanity proved itself a threat, he sent the Collectors to target them specifically. First on the list: that upstart who got Sovereign blown up...
    • In actual gameplay, whenever he comes on the screen and you're on a higher difficulty, wave goodbye to your squadmates. Their AI tend to make them hide behind cover while periodically popping out and shooting, which doesn't work so well when Harbinger has the ability to knock them out at will while at the same time setting them on fire. Also, half the squad's powers don't even hurt him because he has armor instead of health.
    • Also, in the Suicide Mission, if you pick the wrong tech expert, squad leader, or both, then Harbinger kills your tech expert with a fireball.
    • At the climax of Mass Effect 3, Harbinger personally comes down and blasts Shepard, who is on foot. Amazingly enough, Shepard lives and keeps on going. However, if your military score is too low, both of the squadmates with you are killed.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: When he appears in London, all you can do is dodge his attacks. There is no way to defeat him and he'll get you eventually.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In the Control Ending Shepard becomes the guiding intelligence of Harbinger and the rest of the Reapers - in other words s/he ASSUMES DIRECT CONTROL of him.
  • Implacable Man: "I WILL FIND YOU AGAIN."
  • I Am Legion: Alternates between using "I" and "we"; not only does he have an entire species worth of potential vessels, but Harbinger himself is an entire organic species uploaded into a Reaper shell.
  • I Shall Taunt You: He is a very verbal guy.
  • It's Personal: It becomes increasingly obvious as the games and battles rage on that Shepard's touched a nerve in him, to say the least.
    Harbinger: "FOCUS ON SHEPARD!"
  • The Juggernaut: Like other Reapers.
  • Karma Houdini: In the Synthesis ending, where he pulls a Heel–Face Turn and helps the galaxy rebuild along with the rest of the Reapers. Also in the Refusal ending, where he and the Reapers succeed in their harvest, though they're stopped the next time around.
  • Killed Off for Real: The only way to kill him, along with the rest of the Reapers, is to choose the Destroy ending in Mass Effect 3.
  • Large and in Charge: The largest and oldest of the Reapers, and unquestionably their leader.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: He tends to glow yellow instead of red like the rest of the Reapers.
  • Man Behind the Man: The first time you fight the Collectors, you'll be shown the Collector General possessing lower ranking minions. At the end of the game, when the Collector General dies, you see the actual Reaper, Harbinger. Shepard can have a conversation with him at the end of Arrival.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • It's the spokes-monster of the Reaper fleet, and claims that the real war is coming all too soon.
    • According to Leviathan, Harbinger was the first Reaper, which makes its name doubly meaningful — it's the first of many Reapers. The harbinger of many, as it were.
  • Mind over Matter: Possessed Collectors gain advanced biotic abilities.
  • Monster Progenitor: According to Leviathan, Harbinger was the first Reaper, and created all other Reapers in its own image.
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: "WE ARE HARBINGER." And a few variations thereof.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Harbinger is the first, largest, and most powerful of all the Reapers, as well as their apparent leader; insofar as the Reaper swarm can be said to have a leader. As such, a more appropriate name for him might be Sovereign.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: Despite his many verbal taunts, Harbinger does not fuck around with Shepard. He has the Collectors ambush and kill Shepard in the first ten minutes of the second game and then spent years attempting to acquire his/her body to be completely sure that s/he's dead. Afterwards, he pulls all the stops and traps possible to kill Shepard again. This culminates in Mass Effect 3, when he abandons the space battle over Earth to personally come down and blast Shepard himself.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: He's the oldest of the Reapers, formed from the Leviathans, and his design reflects this: the "tentacles" are fewer, his "eyes" glow yellow and his "tail" section is doubled by a crest.
  • Not So Stoic: He's very unflappable, but when Shepard begins throwing his plans down the poop chute, his stoicism begins to crack.
  • People Puppets: Between possessing Collectors at will, and indoctrination, you expected less?
  • Possession Burnout: He visibly burns his hosts alive - their health is replaced with armor and they crumble to dust after defeat.
  • Powers via Possession: He can apparently force this upon those he controls. Includes heavy shield/armor upgrades and biotic-singularity-throwing as a package deal.
  • Reality Ensues: Hammer Group attempts an all-or-nothing dash towards the Conduit as he's blasting them to pieces; not surprisingly, they're all but completely annihilated.
  • Recurring Boss: Every time a Collector level rolls around, you'll encounter him again. And again. And again. And again...
  • The Reveal: He's a Reaper and the Man Behind the Man. Taken further in the third game's Leviathan DLC: he was the first Reaper ever made.
  • Sapient Ship: Like all Reapers.
  • Say My Name: Harbinger himself will land by the transit beam, and will boomingly say SHEPARD with its real voice.
  • Scripted Battle: His single appearance in Mass Effect 3 is less of a battle and more you frantically trying to dodge his lasers while you run to the Conduit. No matter what happens, he ends up hitting you.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": It's Harbinger. Not Harbringer. There is no R in the middle.
  • Super Prototype: He's the very first Reaper and boasts more raw firepower than any other member of his fleet.
  • Time Abyss: He's the oldest of the Reapers. This makes him, at a minimum, well over a billion years old.
  • Tragic Villain: See And I Must Scream.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: Averted. His Transformation Sequence is several seconds long and he doesn't do anything else in the meantime. Since the sequence causes him to briefly rise into the air and out of cover, this is always the best time to attack him.
  • Transformation Sequence
  • The Unfought: Not counting the innumerable fights with possessed Collectors, you never directly confront Harbinger. Subverted in Mass Effect 3. Harbinger confronts the Alliance ground team directly and destroys them in less than a minute.
  • Unholy Nuke: His version of Warp is a sci-fi equivalent.
  • Villain Override: Basically his primary schtick in the second game, having already taken control of the Collector General prior to the start of the game. Expect him in-game to be bellowing out one of his many Catch Phrases whilst taking over a Collector mook. Surprisingly, he did away with the trope come the third game, probably because he brought in the entire Reaper Fleet with him.
  • Villain Takes an Interest: After humanity led the united charge against Sovereign, he apparently decided that humanity were this cycle's dominant race and sent the Collectors after them.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: Taken to an even more absurd degree than the lesser Reapers, who at are most limited to a laser on each of their tentacles, totaling five. Harbinger has one in each of his six eyes and one on either mandible - that's eight on his face alone. And they see use at the climax of 3. Curb-Stomp Battle doesn't even begin to describe it.
    • (after having its current vessel destroyed) "THIS FORM IS IRRELEVANT."
  • What the Hell Are You? / Worthy Opponent: Gives a backhanded compliment that he considers Shepard to be one in Arrival. Considering the massive ego of Reapers, this is actually quite high praise.
    Harbinger: Shepard, you have become an annoyance.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Averted, has his Collector goons simply destroy the Normandy and kill Shepard in the first ten minutes of the game. No drama, no gloating, just surprise and overwhelming firepower. And while it's not clear if Harbinger could have known about Cerberus' plans to resurrect Shepard, he did try to verify Shepard's demise by buying their dead body from the Shadow Broker. It didn't pan out, but he wanted proof and didn't just assume Shepard was dead. Played literally when doing a Villain Override. He's trying to kill Shepard himself. In the third game, he wastes no time firing at Shepard with his main gun. In the low EMS endings anyway; if the EMS is high enough, he won't fire at Shepard until after his/her squadmates have evacuated the battlefield. But either way, he hits his target with ease and it's a miracle Shepard survived the blast at all.

    The Collector General 
The Collector General


Voiced by: Keith Szarabajka

A special Collector that leads and coordinates the Collectors as a whole. Offering lucrative technological rewards in exchange for live test subjects, amongst the beings he's successfully retrieved were two dozen left-handed salarians, sixteen sets of batarian twins, a krogan born of parents from feuding clans, and two dozen quarians that never left the Migrant Fleet, but nobody knows what happens to the individuals concerned after the exchange is completed.

In addition, the General appears interested in human biotics, as well as Shepard in particular and the human race in general. Just as Saren used Husks to support his army of geth, the General also uses Husks to support his Collectors in a battle, but with three new types: Abominations (suicide runners), Scions (long-range bazooka men) and Praetorians (crab-like bosses).

The General appears to be the leader of the Collectors, using his drones as intermediaries to make contacts in the seedy criminal underbelly of the Terminus system. His most notable accomplishments include sending Golo to capture Paul and Gillian Grayson in Ascension, ordering the Collector Cruiser to destroy the Normandy and murder Commander Shepard in the prologue of Mass Effect 2, consorting with the Shadow Broker to acquire Shepard's body in Redemption, and ordering his drones to personally kidnap entire colonies of humans throughout the rest of the second game.

Apart from a brief holographic image appearing in Joker's cockpit and a possible encounter with him on Arrival, you never confront the General face-to-face, but you hear his taunts constantly, and he possesses various Collectors to fight you off.

Like Saren in the first game, the Collector's theme is used as the Game Over music.

  • And I Must Scream: What happens to the beings that he's received, including the abducted human colonists.
    • This also happens to be the very reason why he even exists.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: Played up as the Big Bad behind the collectors, but is really just a puppet to Harbinger.
  • Big Bad: Subverted. It's technically the highest-ranking Collector, but is more of a mouth piece and physical avatar for the real villain, Harbinger.
  • The Dragon: To Harbinger, being used as a mouthpiece.
  • Dying as Yourself: How much of a conscious mind he had outside of Harbinger's control is unclear; nonetheless, Harbinger releases its control over him, and he apparently does regain whatever was left of his own self, seconds before his death.
  • Eye Lights Out: Just before he dies because Harbinger has abandoned him.
  • Meat Puppet: For most the game and, in fact, most of his life, he's been used as a mouth piece by Harbinger.
  • Mouth of Sauron: An unusual case, in that we never meet the mouth in person, either, unless you play the Arrival DLC before the final mission.
  • Nightmare Face: There's something unsettling about its face.
  • Red Herring: He's not the real villain, just a vessel Harbinger uses, and he was under Harbinger's control for 99% of his life.
  • The Reveal: He's not the Big Bad; he's The Dragon and a former Prothean.
  • Shout-Out: He looks an awful lot like a member of another race of Abusive Precursors.
  • The Unfought: Shepard never sees him directly, and possibly never interacts with him at all.
  • Tragic Villain: Since he was just being controlled by Harbinger the entire time. The knowledge that he's a Prothean Husk only adds to the tragedy.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds:
    • Many people feel sorry for it considering it was most likely under Harbinger's control its entire life and the ending cinematic has it looking around in what looks like confusion and sorrow when Harbinger releases control. Especially impressive considering it has less than ten minutes of screen time in the game and no dialogue outside being Harbinger's mouthpiece.
    • If expressionless bug aliens could make an Oh, Crap! face, that's what it would have done right then.
    • Then again, there is an alternate interpretation. Given how the Collector General slowly turns its head towards the explosion and makes no move to escape, perhaps it was still self-aware enough to realise what it had become and didn't try to escape so its suffering would end .
  • You Have Failed Me: Harbinger tells him this, word for word, after the destruction of the human-reaper.

    Secret Character 

The Derelict Reaper

"Chandana said the ship was dead. We trusted him. He was right. But even a dead god can dream. A god — a real god — is a verb. Not some old man with magic powers. It's a force. It warps reality just by being there. It doesn't have to want to. It doesn't have to think about it. It just does. That's what Chandana didn't get. Not until it was too late. The god's mind is gone but it still dreams. He knows now. He's tuned in on our dreams. If I close my eyes I can feel him. I can feel every one of us."

Voiced by: N/A

A two-kilometer-long Reaper orbiting the Brown Dwarf Mnemosyne. It maintained a mass effect field that kept it from falling into the failed star, but massive holes had been blasted and melted into parts of the hull and remain unrepaired. The only logical conclusion is that the Reaper "died" or was at least reduced to minimal functioning a long time ago. According to Cerberus research, it was fatally damaged by fire from a mass accelerator weapon built by an unknown, long extinct species (presumably as a last act of defiance before the Reapers exterminated them).

The Illusive Man sends Commander Shepard to the Reaper to investigate why Dr. Chandana's team has ceased communication and to search for the Reaper's Identify Friend/Foe tag, which would allow the Normandy to safely utilize the Omega 4 Relay. When Shepard's squad boarded the Reaper, it's kinetic barriers engaged, trapping them aboard. The barriers can only be disengaged by destroying the ship's core, which will also disengage the mass effect field keeping the Reaper from falling into Mnemosyne's gravity well. Fighting through the husks made from the Cerberus team, Shepard acquires the IFF and reaches the core. There, the squad encounters a lone geth, who is incapacitated by a wave of attacking husks. Shepard fought through waves of Husks and destroyed the Reaper's core. They and their squad escaped with the inactive geth to the Normandy just before the Reaper was destroyed by Mnemosyne's atmosphere.

  • Abusive Precursors: It is a Reaper.
  • Almost Dead Guy: Justified as it is a mechanical Eldritch Abomination.
  • Cool Starship: It is the starship.
  • Dented Iron: It has this appearance.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Was on the receiving end of this, but even a dead god can dream.
  • Eldritch Abomination: It is a squid-shaped starship. In fact, it's conscious and able to fight you, in a way, despite being dead.
  • Eldritch Location: Played with. Its interior corridors are described as having disorienting, oppressive contours. See Womb Level below for more.
  • Fighting a Shadow: Played with. At first the closest you get to fighting it in the game is through the waves of husks that attack you. Then you get to its power core and have to destroy it, during which it sends waves of husks to stop you.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Justified as you're fighting inside the boss.
  • Mind Control: Indoctrination". This is where it's revealed that Reapers can do it even when they're dead.
  • Mind Rape: Indoctrination.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Though it's badly damaged, a glancing shot from the weapon that crippled it gouged a canyon out of the surface of a planet that can be seen from space.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: Summons waves of husks and scions to attack you, heavily implied to be made from the huskfied remains of the Cerberus team.
  • Only Mostly Dead: Justified as it is a bio-mechanical warship.
  • Reality Warper: Of the Mind Rape variety, as seen in the quote above.
  • Sapient Ship: Par for the course when it comes to the Reapers, though in this case, a nearly dead one.
  • Time Abyss: Doctor Chandana and his team establish that a race in a cycle 37 million years ago managed to hole it with a mass effect supergun. It predates modern mammals, and apparently Harbinger didn't know it was still intact since he never attempted to find and repair it, but it can still turn humans into various Husk-forms.
  • The Voiceless: It never speaks.
  • Walking Spoiler: Simply realizing its existence and that its nature infers it is a character is a spoiler in and of itself, as that's not revealed until after the attack on the Collector ship (more than halfway through the game, at minimum).
  • Womb Level: The fight against the Derelict Reaper takes place inside it.


    Spoiler character 

The Human Reaper

A new Reaper that was being constructed by the Collectors. It was the reason for the Collectors abducting human colonies in the Terminus systems and taking the colonists to the Collector base. The colonists were broken down into genetic material and pumped through tubes that lead to the Reaper itself. The Reaper was destroyed by Commander Shepard while it was largely incomplete.

  • And I Must Scream: According to Legion, individuals, despite being reduced to grey goo, all retain their intelligence (much like Geth run-times in a single platform.)
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Its eyes and chest, to be precise. Bonus points that said junctions are literally labeled "Weak Point".
  • Background Boss: Pops in and out of the background to make his attacks.
  • Breath Weapon: Has a cannon in his mouth.
  • The Cameo: Appears towards the end of the Cerberus Base in Mass Effect 3, though it's inactive and heavily damaged. Depending on whether you left the Collector Base intact or not, you'll salvage either its heart or its brain as a War Asset.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Being a Reaper.
  • Fetus Terrible: In Reaper terms, it hasn't even come close to being born yet. It was even at one point supposed to be a giant Husk-ified human fetus.
  • Final Boss: Of the second game.
  • Go for the Eye: Its eyes are two of its weak points. The other points are in its mouth and on its stomach.
  • Humongous Mecha: And it's still mostly incomplete.
  • It Can Think: At first glance, EDI isn't even certain whether it's alive (for want of a better term) or not. Once Shepard shoots out the tubes, it turns out that, yep, it is just alive enough. And Shep just made it angry.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: The area it resides in starts falling apart after you defeat the Reaper.
  • Nightmare Face: Take the infamous Terminator skull coming through the flames, add a few extra bits and pieces, and bump up the size to a ten story skyscraper. That's this thing.
  • Nonstandard Character Design: Compared to other Reapers, who's strange Cthulhu shape isn't even close to the humanoid appearance of the Human Reaper-Larva. It was eventually revealed by Bioware that the Larva would be the core of a Reaper "shell", which is the tentacled form we know from Harbinger and Sovereign, and that all other Reapers (perhaps with the exception of Harbinger) are made like this, preserving a sort of "effigy" of the race used to create it within each one. Concept art has the Human Reaper's spine and arms eventually becoming three of the reaper's arms.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Is filled with millions of humans who were turned into Gray Goo.
  • Shout-Out: Bears a strong resemblance to the God Warriors from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, particularly the grotesque, incomplete movie version by Hideaki Anno.
  • SkeleBot 9000: Even looks a lot like the Terminator.
  • The Reveal: The Reapers have been kidnapping entire human colonies to create the biological component of this new Reaper.
  • Walking Spoiler: Its very existence is a major twist only revealed in the final level of Mass Effect 2.

Alternative Title(s): Main Antagonists


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