Assault (EU2012)

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A Squad of different Assault soldiers.
Assault

A class with high mobility, defence and close range damage, hence the Assault class excels at close combat in urban or indoor environments. Its main drawbacks are the limited effective range of the Shotgun and the high cool down time of; and high dependence on Run & Gun. Useful for flanking and scouting.

Primary Weapon: Shotgun, Scatter Laser and Alloy Cannon.
Alternative Primary Weapon: Assault Rifles, Laser Rifles, Light Plasma Rifles & Plasma Rifles
Secondary Weapon: Pistol, Laser Pistol or Plasma Pistol.

The Assaults Ability choices are mainly divided between attack or defence stats/abilites on each tier, giving the player the choice of either going full defence, high damage or a trade of between both. Stats gained through rank promotions will give the Assault a total of +24 Aim points upon reaching Colonel rank, together with a total of +4 HP and +14 Will.

Abilities

Rank Ability
RANK SQUADDIE.png
Squaddie
ASSAULT RUNGUN.png
Run & Gun
Allows firing or Overwatch after Dashing on the turn Run & Gun is activated. 2 turn cooldown. Does NOT allow use of Arc Thrower but can pick up Meld.
RANK CORPORAL.png
Corporal
ASSAULT TACTICALSENSE.png
Tactical Sense
Confers +5 Defense per enemy in sight (max +20).
ASSAULT AGGRESSION.png
Aggression
Confers +10% critical chance per enemy in sight (max +30%).
RANK SERGEANT.png
Sergeant
ASSAULT LIGHTNINGREFLEXES.png
Lightning Reflexes
Forces the first reaction shot against this unit each turn to miss.
ASSAULT CLOSEPERSONAL.png
Close & Personal
Confers +30% critical chance against adjacent targets. The bonus declines with distance from the target.
EW DLC: The first standard shot made within 4 tiles of the target does not cost an action. Cannot combine with Run And Gun.
RANK LIEUTENANT.png
Lieutenant
ASSAULT FLUSH.png
Flush
Fire a shot that causes enemies to run out of cover. The shot is easy to hit with, but does reduced damage. (+30 Aim, 50% Damage)
ASSAULT RAPIDFIRE.png
Rapid Fire
Take two shots against a single target in quick succession. Each shot carries a -15 penalty to Aim.
RANK CAPTAIN.png
Captain
ASSAULT CLOSECOMBAT.png
Close Combat Specialist
Confers a reaction shot against any enemy who closes to within 4 tiles. Does not require Overwatch.
ASSAULT BRINGTHEMON.png
Bring 'Em On
Adds 1 damage on critical hits for each enemy the squad can see (up to 5).
RANK MAJOR.png
Major
ASSAULT EXTRACONDITIONING.png
Extra Conditioning
Confers bonus health based on which type of armor is equipped. Heavier armor increases the bonus.
RANK COLONEL.png
Colonel
ASSAULT RESILLIENCE.png
Resilience
Confers immunity to critical hits.
ASSAULT KILLERINSTINCT.png
Killer Instinct
Activating Run & Gun now also grants +50% critical damage for the rest of the turn.

Tips & Trix

  • Run & Gun could land you in trouble by activating more alien groups, when trying to set up a flanking position.
  • Run & Gun will only allow Fire, Overwatch and Rapid Fire after dashing. Use any free actions (like Ghost Mode) before.
  • Close Combat Specialist will trigger against any hostile unit that closes within four tiles, whether or not the soldier has taken any actions. Useful for setting up multiple shots against Berserkers or defending from Chryssalid charges.
  • Rapid Fire is not consumed if the alien is killed with the first shot. If the original hit chance is in 34%~96% range, rapid fire offers more chance to land at least one hit.
  • Flush will cause an alien to leave one cover position for another (if available). Make sure to set up Overwatch, Suppression or Close Combat Specialist shots beforehand.
  • Extra Conditioning gives +1 health with the starting Body armor, +2 for Carapace, Skeleton , Ghost, and Psi Armor, and +4 with Titan or Archangel Armor.
  • Killer Instinct (+50% crit dmg), may also be combined with Overwatch and Close Combat Specialist shot.
  • The Enemy Within DLC version of Close And Personal functions similar to a Heavy's Bullet Swarm, given that the Assault is within the 4-square range (when this Ability is available, enemies will have an orange ring around them, akin to Arc Thrower functions). With Rapid Fire, how one would move, and shoot three times: move to within the ring. Fire a normal shot as the free move. Then use Rapid Fire. Only works once per turn (won't get multiple free shots on enemies with overlapping rings).
    • You can't activate Run & Gun after free Close And Personal shot, and you don't get Close And Personal shot after activating Run & Gun.
  • Lightning Reflexes works not only against Overwatch or Suppression shots, but it also forces a miss on Covering Fire shots.


Tactical Advice

Assaults are the only class that has a choice between primary weapons (Shotgun vs. Assault Rifle). Because of this and the broad applicability of their individual skills, they don't necessarily have clear cut build paths. Shotguns offer damage values identical to Sniper Rifles -- albeit with slightly lower chance for critical hits - and with the right abilities can enhance this to make the Assault one of the most damaging units in the game. Assault rifles trade damage for the safety of distance (and typically better cover, as a result), and defensive skills can further improve the soldier's ability to protect himself and his squad. All Assaults, however, provide the toughness and mobility to form a backbone for your squad, and bringing two (or even more) will become typical as you expand your squad size.

Abilities

RANK CORPORAL.png Corporal ASSAULT TACTICALSENSE.png Tactical Sense vs Aggression ASSAULT AGGRESSION.png
  • Here starts the divergent options of offense vs. defense. Which one you choose should be dependent on how you are planning to equip and play the Assault, choosing to accentuate strengths or shore up weaknesses.
  • Generally though, shotgunners will prefer Tactical Sense and riflemen will want Aggression.

Tactical Sense

  • Defense bonus is powerful for both riflemen and shotgunners;
  • Its value increases exponentially with other defense boosts such as cover, Ghost Armor, and smoke grenades;
  • Shotguns do a ton of damage by themselves, so Tactical Sense can be a great pickup to help you survive the stupid situations that result from charging in using Run and Gun with a short range weapon.

Aggression

  • Similarly offers value for both weapon types;
  • Assault rifles have low base damage and thus benefit from an easy way to increase that output without jeopardizing their cover
  • Shotguns do gain more damage from critical hits than Assault Rifles, and you probably don't want to charge up to enemies, empty your weapon on them, and not kill them. Bear in mind, however, that flanking is easier to achieve and up close and provides a 50% bonus to critical chance. That large swing has the potential to make this somewhat redundant.
RANK SERGEANT.png Sergeant ASSAULT LIGHTNINGREFLEXES.png Lightning Reflexes vs Close & Personal ASSAULT CLOSEPERSONAL.png
  • These skills both address your ability to close in on enemies, either in getting there safely or finishing them once you're there.
  • Lightning Reflexes is generally preferable, but shotgunners should consider Close & Personal as well.

Lightning Reflexes

  • The Assault's unique Lightning Reflexes ability allows it to completely evade the first reaction shot fired by the aliens. Further reaction shots are received normally.
  • One of the best abilities, you will want at least one unit with it on your team. The ability to safely "clear out" Overwatches is good all the time, and it's particularly great when dealing with escort missions and Sectopods. While you can always count on XCOM to teach you that probability is a fickle mistress, Lightning Reflexes will always be there to tuck you in at night and feel safe.
  • If you have a lot of Ghost Armors on your team, you'll see your usage of this dwindle. Nevertheless, Ghost Armor comes around late enough and sometimes you can't see the enemies entering Overwatch that you'll still get usage of this.

Close & Personal

  • Continues the trend of making Assaults crit-monsters, and combined with Aggression will give you a 40%-60% bonus to critical chance before taking either weapon stats or flanking into account.
  • If you can get in close, your target is going to need to be cleaned off the walls with a spatula. However, as riflemen generally will keep their distance, this will be of dubious value for them.
  • Similar to Aggression, shotguns have high damage, good crit chance, and love flanks by default - Close And Personal may prove to be overkill.
  • On the Enemy Within DLC, this ability has been changed, giving the Assault a free shot to any enemy units within close range (marked by a circle around the Assault).
RANK LIEUTENANT.png Lieutenant ASSAULT FLUSH.png Flush vs Rapid Fire ASSAULT RAPIDFIRE.png
  • Usually, Rapid Fire will be the clear choice but Flush can also have its uses;
  • Both choices increase your ammo consumption, so if you're using them frequently, consider the Ammo Conservation Foundry project.

Rapid Fire

  • Rapid Fire allows an Assault to attack twice at reduced accuracy, and does not consume itself if the first shot manages to kill the enemy.
  • If the original hit chance is in 34%~96% range, rapid fire offers more chance to land at least one hit.
  • This is one of the most broadly useful skills in the game, and is never a bad pickup. Also note that if you kill target with first shot, you'll spend only one ammo.

Flush

  • The Flush ability allows an Assault to force an enemy to take a move action. This can force a unit to move out of cover, but can also cause the unit to simply move to different cover. The enemy may trigger Overwatch and Close Combat Specialist as it is running out of cover.
  • It costs 3 ammo, so you can't use it every turn and will reload more often than Rapid Fire - assuming you have enough ammo left to use it in the first place;
  • While it drives the target out of its current cover, the enemy could go to different cover or break sight range completely. Destroying the target's cover with explosives may be preferable;
  • The shot has significantly improved accuracy, but at reduced damage. Has +30 aim and does half damage. This can make it useful for setting up captures, or giving a hefty Aim boost to a shotgunner who is a little too far away.
  • Uses for Flush can include set up plays for Snipers who don't quite have line of sight, Heavies who are going to be launching rockets and hope to catch one more enemy in the blast zone, or other Assaults itching for a Close Combat Specialist crossfire. In most cases, however, you will struggle to take advantage of the movement Flush triggers.
RANK CAPTAIN.png Captain ASSAULT CLOSECOMBAT.png Close Combat Specialist vs Bring 'Em On ASSAULT BRINGTHEMON.png
  • Continuing the earlier theme, the Assault tree has a lot of great options. This is a choice for both weapon types.

Close Combat Specialist

  • Close Combat Specialist will trigger against any hostile unit that closes within four tiles, whether or not the Assault has taken any actions. As a practical matter, this means that an Assault can react before the end of the turn against aliens who have just been 'triggered', or even against Berserker that have entered the 4-tile radius from their reaction to being shot, even if the Assault triggered them to start with.
  • A Godsend against charging melee, the poor fool that wanders through a door you are next to, or any close range engagement. Shotgunners will see this trigger more frequently, and thus have a little more use for it than riflemen.
  • This stacks with Overwatch, allowing your Assault to potentially fire twice in a single enemy turn. Also combines well with Rapid Fire for a possible three shots on your turn against a Berserker.
  • If you leave a soldier cloaked with Ghost Armor for the alien turn, if this triggers it will decloak them, allowing aliens with remaining move to attack them.

Bring 'Em On

  • In contrast, has no range requirement but offers tremendous synergy with the other crit abilities available to an Assault - If you took Aggression and/or Close & Personal, this is a chance to make large dividends on that decision;
  • Riflemen with upgraded S.C.O.P.E.s will similarly get some extra mileage. Just remember that the bonus is based on enemies that the squad can see, so you may want to have this unit attack before your other soldiers in order to maximize its value.
RANK COLONEL.png Colonel ASSAULT RESILLIENCE.png Resilience vs Killer Instinct ASSAULT KILLERINSTINCT.png
  • Again, both choices are great options. This is similar to the choice of Lightning Reflexes vs. Close & Personal in weighing defensive certainty versus major killing power boosts, and should be considered for both weapon types.

Resilience

  • Will turn the Assault Colonel into a brick. Immunity to critical hits takes luck out of the equation and put shotgunners at less risk of being taken out in one fell swoop as they charge in for kill shots.
  • Remember that you can briefly duplicate the effect (and more!) with Combat Stims, however.

Killer Instinct

  • The blood-soaked cherry atop the murder sundae that is the critical hit-focused Assault. In concert with Bring 'Em On, your critical hits can exceed 20 damage, regardless of weapon type.
  • Even without it, you can make some very aggressive plays with Killer Instinct. Run at full dash to a good position, open up with Rapid Fire and blow a Sectopod or Ethereal away in one fell blow. (Or two, as the case may be.)

Equipment

Weapons: Upgrading your weapons is a fairly significant concern for Assaults, as a base Assault Rifle won't reliably kill even Sectoids or Thin Men. Luckily, riflemen get some freebies from capturing enemies. No such luck for shotgunners, who unfortunately are also 1 step further down the tech tree. If Light Plasma Rifles are the most advanced assault rifles you have, give them to Assaults (rather than Supports) in order to offset some of the penalty from Rapid Fire. Shotgunners will also appreciate a decent pistol if you have any to spare, though this is typically a lower priority than giving one to your Sniper.

Armor: Assaults will be a major part of your front line regardless of their weapon and should get first choice of the most advanced armor you have. Ghost Armor is typically your best bet late game, as the defense bonus will generally serve you better than the few extra hitpoints of Titan Armor (though on Council Missions, which are almost exclusively Thin Men, you may want to stick with giving them Titan Armor). Shotgunners in particular will love Ghost Armor's movement speed bonus and invisibility as they charge into the fray. The +100% crit chance you get from firing while invisible also has great synergy with Bring 'Em On and Killer Instinct.

Item: Any item is a viable choice on an Assault, excepting the Medikit. Their position at the front line makes them good grenadiers and good secondary users of the Arc Thrower if your Support's hands are full. If you don't need either of those, Nano-Fiber Vests or Chitin Plating provide a an extra layer of survivability for shotgunners. Later on they can be upgraded to Combat Stims to provide massive stat boosts and damage reduction for breaching. Riflemen with Rapid Fire will appreciate a S.C.O.P.E., especially with its foundry upgrade. Keep an eye on your unit's Will and use Mind Shields if necessary.

Gene Mods

Brain Neural Dampening is probably a wiser course than Feedback since Assaults are usually in the midst of your squad and you don't want your Shotgunner getting MC'd then flattening your Medic who just got finished healing him/her. This is a fairly high priority.

Eye Hyper Reactive Pupils will help Shotgunners out when they can't get up close (fire and miss, sure, then get a +10 Aim bonus your next turn). Riflemen will enjoy the added destruction they can cause with Depth Perception. A decent priority, but not insane.

Chest A Secondary Heart on your Shotgunners will help for those "whoops" moments, while your squad will reap the benefits of Adrenal Neurosympathy on Riflemen. Adrenal Neurosympathy on Shotgunners isn't as useful since they may or may not be with the rest of the squad.

Skin Since Assaults are usually in and amongst the Squad, Bioelectric Skin isn't as useful or necessary. Mimetic Skin will help Riflemen if they're able to sit still. Shotgunners usually move around, or are in inopportune positions for it to be of any use. Since your early Shotgunners may often be the first target for Seekers, they would benefit from Bioelectric, since the strangle attack can easily overcome the meager HP bonus of starting armor, and keep them in the Infirmary for the Rapid Healing you can't buy yet. Riflemen have more priority here than Shotgunners.

Legs Adaptive Bone Marrow will be of huge help to Tank Shotgunners, while Muscle Fiber Density will help Riflemen get into good positions. Get the Adaptive Bone Marrow on your Tank Shotgunner fast.

Summary

Another way to consider your thinking on how to build your Assault soldiers is "Medium Range vs Close-Range". Depending on how you want them to fight, this means choosing either the shotgun weapons for point-blank combat, or giving them rifles to keep your distance from enemy guns. Either way, your Ability choices should match the combat style.

Assault troopers with rifles will be better served with Ghost Armor, plus Crit-chance boosting abilities, and perhaps a S.C.O.P.E.. As you will be keeping them just out of range, Close Combat and Close & Personal are less useful to them, and Bring 'Em On helps them get those last few points of damage they'll need to consistently kill aliens.

Meanwhile, an Assault with a Shotgun-type weapon won't benefit as much from defense (aim is calculated with additive/subtractive values: +20 defense on a 130 point shot (ie: 130%-20%=110%) is still a guaranteed shot), and should be equipped to inevitably soak up damage with Archangel or Titan Armor & Chitin Plating (a grand total Armor HP bonus of 18 for a Major or Colonel: two of these on the front lines, under cover, and you may never have to worry about any soldiers needing time in the Med Bay). As more aliens will move in range, Close Combat Specialist will activate often, and with an Alloy Canon, any alien that tries to run through a door guarded by an Assault Trooper will almost always die. And while Rapid Fire loses a few points on aim, a shotgun-wielding Assault soldier won't even see that point loss on the aim percentage, when they've got the barrel right in the alien's throat. Plus if Ghosting, and Rapid Fire counting as one move, and the Alloy Cannon, an Assault is capable of doing a "One" Shot Kill against anything, even a Sectopod, or the Uber Ethereal, even on Impossible.

Lastly, the Second Wave option "Absolutely Critical" will render all the improve Critical Chance abilities redundant for Shotgunners who you play close-quarters tactics with - save for Hardened enemies, which will only have a +10% difference of receiving Critical Hits.

Also: a common squad formation is two Snipers, two Support, and either two Assault or an Assault and a Heavy. Heavies with the HEAT ammo ability are a little better at killing mechanized enemies, and tend to be able to do so at a safe distance, while two Assaults are better for killing things all around, as most players will focus heavies on being anti-Mech warriors.

Psionic Assault troopers will be easy to train, since their being in the front line means there's always an alien in range to Mindfray (additionally, the reduction to Aim and Move that the alien suffers will help keep your Assault trooper out of danger). As one should always be more proactive with Assault troopers, an assault benefits more from being Psi Inspired rather than Inspiring others, saving his move for attack than defense. It's a toss-up between Telekinetic Field and Mind Control: again, defensive TK may be better if someone else does it for him/her, as is MCing, as anyone in range of a close-range focused Assault will probably be in range of the rest of your squad. Perhaps MC is best for a Psi Assault, as while they may miss a turn doing damage, they'll be closer to the rest of the alien squad, and possibly succeed in MCing an alien that will then be flanking the remaining two aliens. The drawback to this is that MCing the rearmost alien carries the risk of activating any other alien squads that were before, just out of range.

Enemy Within DLC Supplemental:

Ghost Armor is still probably the armor of choice, especially for Shotgunners. Paired with Bioelectric Skin, this makes them excellent forward scouts, and anti-Seeker units (since they'll then usually be the ones to trigger them-- though be aware: without that skin, if they are the unit the Seeker is attempting to strangle, Close Combat Specialist will not trigger). Medals may be more useful for Riflemen Assaults, but redundant for a Shotgunner. Both benefit from Tactical Rigging: the S.C.O.P.E. can either give another boost to a Shotgunner's already high critical hit potential, or both aim and critical chance boot to the Rifleman.

Or, if you play Assaults as tanks: Titan Armor, Chitin Plating, Nano-Fiber Vest/Respirator Implant, and Extra Conditioning means an Health bonus of 20, and Second Heart & Adaptive Bone Marrow plus Resilience means you can laugh at anything and everything thrown at them. Add Neural Feedback, a Mind Shield instead of that +2 health item, and certain medal choices, and high stats from Not Equal/Hidden Potential, you have a soldier that can go toe-to-toe with Ethereals and not even flinch.

Assaults make for good Covert Operatives: Lightning Reflexes greatly reduces the risk from EXALT overwatches, using Run & Gun to dash to perform an EXALT transmitter hack can help in a pinch, and the altered Close & Personal combined with Rapid Fire (that's 3 shots total) for flanking shots with a Plasma Pistol will almost certainly kill any EXALT agent. With Training Roulette, if they get abilities such as Low Profile (to go with Mimetic Skin), Bullet Swarm (as an alternate to Rapid Fire), Sprinter (with Run & Gun), Gunslinger (+2 to the only weapon they can use? Yes, please!), or Grenadier (as Operatives have no armor, lobbing grenades from out of sight is a safe battle option to keep them out of the Med Bay), they can complete anti-EXALT missions with great ease.

See Also

EU2012 Badge XCOM: Enemy Unknown (2012): XCOM Units
Soldiers:CLASS ASSAULT.png AssaultCLASS HEAVY.png HeavyCLASS SNIPER.png SniperCLASS SUPPORT.png SupportCLASS PSIONIC.png PsionicCLASS MECH.png MEC Trooper (EW DLC)
S.H.I.Vs:S.H.I.V.Alloy S.H.I.V.Hover S.H.I.V.
Attributes:ClassesClass BuildsAbilitiesStatsNicknamesGene Mods (EW DLC)Medals (EW DLC)
Loadout:WeaponsArmorEquipmentMEC Suit (EW DLC)
Barracks:Officer Training SchoolPsi LabMemorialGenetics Lab (EW DLC)Cybernetics Lab (EW DLC)
Other: VolunteerHeroesZhang (Slingshot DLC)Annette (EW DLC)Covert Operative (EW DLC)Training Roulette (EW DLC)