Gunner (Long War)

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Gunner
Long War Main Page

The Gunner class is similar to a suppression specialized Heavy in vanilla XCOM. Their signature ability is Suppression, and they are the only class that can use the Light Machine Gun and Squad Automatic Weapon line of weapons. Suppression is improved over vanilla, working to restrict the target's ability to use rockets and grenades as well as its vanilla effects. To compensate, the Gunner loses the vanilla Heavy's rockets.

Primary Weapon: SAWs, LMGs, Assault Rifles, Carbines, SMGs.
Secondary Weapon: None.
Class-Limited items: Armor-Piercing Ammo.

Abilities

Rank Ability
RANK SQUADDIE.png
Specialist
Suppression
Suppression
Fire a barrage that pins down a target, granting Opportunist reaction fire against it if it moves. Imposes a -30 penalty to aim and reduces range of many area-of-effect attacks, including grenades. Also negates overwatch from the target while suppression is active. Lastly, enemy AI prioritizes breaking the suppression by shooting the suppressor, so it functions as a mini-taunt. Not possible with shotguns, sniper rifles, or strike rifles.
No other bonuses.
RANK CORPORAL.png
Lance Corporal
Flush
Flush
Fire a shot that may cause non-flying enemies to run to new cover. The shot is easy to hit with (+30 aim), but does reduced damage (-50% base weapon damage), and consumes extra ammo (2 ammo). Hunkered units will not relocate.
Covering Fire
Covering Fire
Allows certain reaction shots to trigger on many enemy actions, not just movement (excludes reload, overwatch, and hunker down actions).
Holo-Targeting
Holo-Targeting
Shooting at or suppressing enemies confers +10 Aim to allies' attacks on those enemies until end of turn.
No other bonuses. + 2 Aim. No other bonuses.
RANK SERGEANT.png
Corporal
HEAT Ammo
HEAT Ammo
Your primary weapon, not including shotguns, does an additional 50% of its base weapon damage to robotic enemies after any damage reduction is assessed.
Opportunist
Opportunist
Eliminates the Aim penalty on reaction shots, and allows reaction shots to cause critical hits.
Shredder Ammo
Shredder Ammo
The Shredder debuff causes any unit hit to take 40% additional damage (after DR, rounded down) from all sources. Gunners and MECs apply the Shredder debuff for the remainder of the current turn to any target struck by their primary weapon. Rocketeers get an extra rocket that is weaker than a standard rocket (60% rounded down), cannot penetrate cover, has a +50% larger blast radius, and applies the Shredder debuff to all targets struck by the rocket for the next 3 turns.
No other bonuses. No other bonuses. No other bonuses.
RANK LIEUTENANT.png
Sergeant
Will To Survive
Will To Survive
Gain 1.5 Damage Reduction (DR) if in cover and not flanked.
Executioner
Executioner
Confers +10 aim and +10 critical chance against targets at or below 50% health.
Ranger
Ranger
Confers +1 damage with primary weapons, rocket launchers, MEC secondary weapons and sidearms. Negates the long-range accuracy penalty with sidearms when shooting beyond 14 meters.
+3 Will No other bonuses. No other bonuses.
RANK CAPTAIN.png
Tech Sergeant
Rapid Fire
Rapid Fire
Take two shots against a single target in quick succession. Each shot carries a -15 penalty to Aim.
Ready For Anything
Ready For Anything
If the unit fires without taking any other costly action, it automatically enters overwatch at the end of its turn.
Double Tap
Double Tap
Allows a second action restricted to Standard Shot, Precision Shot, or Disabling Shot as long as the first action was a Standard Shot, Precision Shot, Disabling Shot, or Flush provided no costly actions were taken. 1 turn cooldown. (Note: Double Tap is cancelled in the following cases: (1) the first shot results in a kill, and no more enemies are visible to the unit, or (2) for gunners only, the first shot depletes the ammo.)
No other bonuses. + 2 Aim. No others bonuses.
RANK MAJOR.png
Gunnery Sergeant
Resilience
Resilience
Confers immunity to critical hits.
Platform Stability
Platform Stability
Shots taken before any costly actions have +10 Aim and +10% critical chance. Also grants +10 aim for purposes of reducing scatter if the soldier has not moved this turn, and increases range of Blaster Launcher (which does not scatter).
Danger Zone
Danger Zone
Increases area of effect of Suppression, rockets, grenade launchers and proximity mine launchers.
No other bonuses. No other bonuses. No other bonuses.
RANK COLONEL.png
Master Sergeant
Extra Conditioning
Extra Conditioning
Confers 1-4 bonus health based on which type of armor is equipped. Heavier armor increases the bonus.
Sentinel
Sentinel
Allows two reaction shots during Overwatch, instead of only one.
Mayhem
Mayhem
Confers +2 damage for suppression, SAWs, LMGs, explosive grenades, proximity mines and rocket launchers. Confers +4 damage for sniper and long rifles, marksman's, strike and reflex rifles using Standard Shot or Precision Shot.
+4 Aim, +4 Will, +1 Mobility. No other bonuses. No other bonuses.


Stat Progression

Rank Health
/level
Health
total
Aim
/level
Aim
total
Will
/level*
Will
total*
Specialist 1 1 3 3 5(6) 5(-6)
Lance Corporal 0 1 2 5 5(6) 10(-12)
Corporal 1 2 3 8 3(4) 13(-16)
Sergeant 0 2 2 10 3(4) 16(-20)
Tech Sergeant 1 3 3 13 3(4) 19(-24)
Gunnery Sergeant 0 3 2 15 3(4) 22(-28)
Master Sergeant 1 4 3 18 3(4) 25(-32)
  • Note that, even without Hidden Potential turned on, there is a chance of gaining 1 extra will per level (shown in parentheses above). Psionic soldiers can also gain 1-6 extra will per psi level (1 + rand(6)).

Tactical Advice

Role: Medium Range Offense / Offensive Support

The Gunner is akin to the vanilla Suppression Heavy, but with a key difference: the Long War Gunner has mediocre aim, compared to the vanilla Heavy's abysmal aim, meaning that unlike the vanilla Heavy she can put out reasonable damage with the machine gun when nothing needs suppressing.

In a sense the Gunner's first "perk" is their ability to use SAW and LMG-type weapons. Both LMGs and SAWs cause the reaction shot taken against a suppressed target to suffer no aim penalty and be capable of critting. SAWs have higher damage and larger magazines than assault rifles, with a mobility penalty. LMGs are even more restricted on mobility, but have even higher damage and larger magazines and have extended range. A major decision when building a Gunner is deciding if they will use a LMG or SAW-type weapon. SAW gunners have more mobility but shorter range, so will value some mobility and defense as well as offense. LMG gunners will be more interested in offense. Note that Suppression works at the LMG's full range.

Gunners have a lot of flexibility in their builds, with many viable combinations. Several strong utility perks are available, including Holo-Targeting and Shredder Ammo and of course Suppression. One potential offensive support build combines the debuff perks; Gunners can suppress in AoE with Danger Zone, apply Holo Targeting on those targets, make it inflict damage with Mayhem, and thus shred them with Shredder Ammo. Some strong offensive perks are also available in Double Tap, Rapid Fire and HEAT Ammo.

Sample Builds

HEAT Gunner

Chases down and kills robots.

Suitable Recruits: Average stats across the board are acceptable. Above average Aim, Health and Mobility are valuable. Sub-par Will and Defense are tolerable.

LCPL: Flush. Helps hit flying robots. Lots of utility value for finishing shots on weakened targets and forcing cover-using enemies into the reaction fire of other soldiers.

CPL: HEAT Ammo. Essential perk. With HEAT Ammo, the Gunner should be able to destroy small robots (seekers, drones) in one hit (sometimes even a single Flush hit!) and cause major damage to larger ones despite their damage reduction.

SGT: Will to Survive. Although not a primary "tanking" unit, this Gunner engages the enemy at mid-range on the front-lines, and often gets right up close to maximize its range bonuses, so it benefits from this strong defensive perk.

TSGT: Rapid Fire. Greatly increases both the chance of at least one hit on an enemy and the average damage per turn. This rank completes the offensive part of the build: from here on the soldier gets tougher and more reliable, but not significantly more devastating.

GSGT: Resilience. Preventing critical hits lets the Gunner be used more aggressively with less risk.

MSGT: Extra Conditioning. Toughens and improves the Gunner across the board. If you were already happy with the toughness and stats of the soldier, you could take Mayhem instead.

Role: Early on, HEAT Gunners make short work of drones and seekers just when other soldiers are struggling to get through their DR. They are not that strong against Cyberdiscs, which they struggle to score hits on reliably. However, they really come into their own against Mechtoids and Sectopods, being probably the most easily trained and developed way of bringing to bear the massive damage needed to destroy them.

When no enemy robots are present, HEAT Gunners are still useful, offering a versatile set of tools for controlling or eliminating different enemies: Flush can pick off damaged/wounded aliens or set squadmates with Opportunist up for easy shots; Rapid Fire can cause major damage to the likes of Berserkers and boosts average damage and the chance of at least one hit (under most circumstances); and Suppression is available as for any Gunner.

Gear: HEAT Gunners should use the SAW/Autolaser line of move-and-fire machine gun weapons. Enemy robots often take up tricky positions and it is necessary to move up to get a clear line of sight. In addition, the Gunner will often benefit from maximizing the range bonus to hit. Armour should be the heaviest available. A mix of protective and offensive items make a good balance. AP Ammo makes the Gunner's fire even more lethal against robots and other heavy targets. SCOPEs are effective, particularly once the Gunner has Rapid Fire. Plating is welcome.

Limitations: The HEAT Gunner is focused on single-target damage, particularly on robotic targets. Swarms of smaller robots can overwhelm him: the rest of the squad needs to be able to handle the smaller ones while the HEAT Gunner deals with the pod leader. He can still contribute against large numbers of cover-using enemies, but no more than many other types of soldier. He is not recommended at all for use against EXALT.

When there are powerful enemy robots present, to be fully effective the HEAT Gunner requires support from his squadmates: other soldiers should inflict holo-targeting and shredded status effects (and perhaps acid too) on the target to maximize the HEAT Gunner's hit chance and damage. Other soldiers also have the jobs of finding the targets and protecting the Gunner (smoke, suppression) if he has to move up to a dangerous position to strike.

SAWs have good ammo capacity, but Flush, Suppression and Rapid Fire can burn through it quickly. In prolonged engagements, Gunners can lose critical turns to the need to reload. If enemy robots are known to be present, but not yet involved in the engagement, limit the Gunner's ammo use to keep some firepower in reserve for the worst contingencies.

Suitable Maps: HEAT Gunners are valuable whenever powerful enemy robots may be encountered. On such missions, if you are not bringing a HEAT Gunner, it's vital to bring some other source(s) of HEAT Ammo.

Other Notes: There are many other sources of HEAT Ammo available in Long War: Rocketeers/Engineers with HEAT Warheads; Snipers with Gauss Long Rifles (Precision Shot Snipers can be effective against strong robots with any sniper rifle, in fact); Engineers can get HEAT Ammo (but only at GSGT and their most powerful guns are shotguns or battle rifles and they get only one shot per turn); SHIVs can use a HEAT Ammo item. However, all of these options are less consistent or sustainable, or harder to train or develop, than the HEAT Gunner.

Only the advent of Mechs threatens to challenge the HEAT Gunner's dominance of the anti-robot role, but Mech suits and troopers are very expensive compared with TSGT Gunners for not that great an improvement in anti-robot firepower (depending on the Mech build).

Bullet Wizard

Lighting up the enemy.

Suitable Recruits: High Health is preferred. Below average Aim and Mobility are tolerable.

LCPL: Holo-Targeting. Will help the rest of the squad hit the enemy. Particularly valuable against entrenched enemies and very tough single targets that need focus-fire.

CPL: Shredder Ammo. Causes shredded status on a hit for yet more effective focus-fire.

SGT: Will to Survive. The Bullet Wizard will often engage from squadsight range, but can't rely on this keeping her safe. Suppressors tend to draw fire and the build doesn't allow for any other defensive perk choices.

TSGT: Double Tap. Allows the Gunner to inflict holo (and shredded on hits) on two different targets every other turn, or put more fire on a single target, the second shot benefiting from the effects inflicted by the first.

GSGT: Danger Zone. Holo-targeting will be applied to all targets within the Danger Zone area-of-effect.

MSGT: Mayhem. This final perk finally brings the magic to the Bullet Wizard build. With Mayhem and Danger Zone, the Gunner can automatically inflict not only holo-targeting but also shredded statuses to not one but a whole group of enemies using Suppression, softening them up for easy kills by team-mates. Mayhem's light damage may be completely absorbed by DR, but if not it can allow for automatic kills.

Role: As well as having great big long-range guns, Bullet Wizards provide a range of support in all kinds of firefight, making enemies easier for squadmates to kill even if the Gunner can't do it herself, or pinning them down with highly-intimidating Suppression. At maximum rank, Bullet Wizards become incomparable for dealing with the large mobs of enemies the late-game regularly inflicts on XCOM.

Gear: Bullet Wizards prefer to use LMG-type move-or-fire weapons, although SAW-types may be preferred on maps where sight-lines are not clear, like Urban Blocks. Heavy armor is preferred, but other soldiers may be higher priority for it as the Bullet Wizard prefers to engage from long range. AP Ammo can help compensate for the lack of HEAT Ammo. A SCOPE helps to increase the odds of causing shredded status (prior to MSGT). A Bullet Wizard is a decent choice for back-up Medikit carrier.

Limitations: Despite the huge gun, the Bullet Wizard is fundamentally a support soldier. When she hits, she hits very hard, but more often she will be pinning enemies down with Suppression or softening them up for kills by other units. In addition, the whole build only really comes into its own with the final rank, when shredding can be guaranteed. If the priority is a reliable source of shredding for a single target, there are more accessible options such as Rocketeers, a Flush+Shredder Gunner (CPL), an Engineer with Suppression, Mayhem and Shredder Ammo equipment (TSGT), or an Assault with Shredder Ammo item. SHIVs, Scouts and Engineers are alternative providers for holo-targeting.

Suitable Maps: Maps with open sight-lines such as small or medium UFOs suit the Bullet Wizard.


Overwatch Gunner

Damage build on Gunners with high base aim stats, deploy with squads expecting to advance slowly, on most missions, particularly those with mechanized forces expected.

LCPL: Covering Fire for the bonus aim and improved overwatch efficiency.

CPL: Opportunist to bring the Overwatch build online.

SGT: Ranger for extra damage, and because the gunner will be out of sight much of the time.

TSGT: Ready for Anything for maximum volume of fire efficiency (up to 3 shots per turn with Sentinel).

GSGT: Platform Stability

MSGT: Sentinel for the bonus shots on overwatch; LMG carriers usually wear medium armor to restore mobility and aren't generally close to the front, so Extra Conditioning isn't as helpful.

Equip completed build with: LMG-class weapons for static raw damage output and larger magazine. With flying armor, squadsight on LMGs is extended to obscene range. LMG overwatch can hit slightly beyond sight range, so keep the OW gunner in the back, but not too far back.

Overwatch Gunners make excellent psi candidates; build offensive psi to allow them to assault enemies even after moving. No core gene mods.

Jack of All Trades, Master of Everything

An incredibly powerful hybrid that slaughters mechanicals while bringing massive utility to the squad via HEAT, Rapid Fire and Danger Zone Suppression. As it doesn't take many defensive perks, needs a squad with defensive support, like Smoke Grenades and Flashbangs. Can be brought on every single mission type. Useful from the beginning of the game with its mix of utility and damage, midgame brings in heavy robotic damage, and late game it comes online again with massive utility.

Suitable Recruits: Average stats across the board are acceptable. Above average Aim, Health and Mobility are valuable. Sub-par Will and Defense are tolerable.

LCPL: Holo-Targeting. Will help the rest of the squad hit the enemy. Particularly valuable against entrenched enemies and very tough single targets that need focus-fire. Helps ensure that at least the second shot of Rapid Fire will hit. Later, can be applied to entire groups of enemies with Danger Zone.

CPL: HEAT Ammo. Essential perk. With HEAT Ammo, the Gunner should be able to destroy small robots (seekers, drones) in one hit and cause major damage to larger ones despite their damage reduction. With Rapid Fire becomes your primary big robot killer, not surpassed until late game MEC troops.

SGT: Will to Survive. This Gunner engages the enemy at mid-range on the front-lines, and often gets right up close to maximize its range bonuses, especially with Rapid Fire, so it benefits from this strong defensive perk. Suppression also draws a lot of enemy fire.

TSGT: Rapid Fire. Greatly increases both the chance of at least one hit on an enemy and the average damage per turn. Allows this build to crush large mechanicals like tin cans.

GSGT: Danger Zone. Holo-targeting will be applied to all targets within the Danger Zone area-of-effect.

MSGT: Mayhem. This final perk brings part of the magic of the Bullet Wizard utility to your primary robot killer. With Mayhem and Danger Zone, the Gunner can automatically inflict not only holo-targeting but also chip damage from HEAT ammo to a whole group of enemies using Suppression, softening them up for easy kills by team-mates. Mayhem's light damage may be completely absorbed by DR, but if not it can allow for automatic kills, and the HEAT chip damage is immune to DR.

Role: Early on, HEAT Gunners make short work of drones and seekers just when other soldiers are struggling to get through their DR. They are not that strong against Cyberdiscs, which they struggle to score hits on reliably. However, they really come into their own against Mechtoids and Sectopods, being probably the most easily trained and developed way of bringing to bear the massive damage needed to destroy them. They also provide general utility and with area Suppression and Holo.

Gear: HEAT Gunners should use the SAW/Autolaser line of move-and-fire machine gun weapons. Enemy robots often take up tricky positions and it is necessary to move up to get a clear line of sight. In addition, the Gunner will often benefit from maximizing the range bonus to hit. Armour should be the heaviest available. A mix of protective and offensive items make a good balance. AP Ammo makes the Gunner's fire even more lethal against robots and other heavy targets. SCOPEs are effective, particularly once the Gunner has Rapid Fire. Plating is welcome.

Limitations: The only weakness of this build is its lack of heavy defenses, as it often gets up close and personal to a large robot, and draws a lot of fire with Suppression. Bring Smoke Grenades and Medkits.

See also

Lone Wolf (EU2012).jpg Long War: Soldiers
Soldiers
RANK ROOKIE.png
Soldiers
CLASS ASSAULT.png
Assault
Class Infantry (Long War).png
Infantry
Class Rocketeer (Long War).png
Rocketeer
CLASS HEAVY.png
Gunner
CLASS SNIPER.png
Sniper
Class Scout (Long War).png
Scout
CLASS SUPPORT.png
Medic
Class Engineer (Long War).png
Engineer
MEC
CLASS MECH.png
MEC Troopers
Class Marauder (Long War).png
Marauder
Class Valkyrie (Long War).png
Valkyrie
Class Archer (Long War).png
Archer
Class Goliath (Long War).png
Goliath
Class Jaeger (Long War).png
Jaeger
Class Pathfinder (Long War).png
Pathfinder
Class Guardian (Long War).png
Guardian
Class Shogun (Long War).png
Shogun
Sub-classes and abilities
ABILITY LEAD BY EXAMPLE (EU2012).png
Officers
CLASS PSIONIC.png
Psionics
Gene Mods Soldier Icon (EU2012).png
Gene Mods
ABILITY SHIVCOVER.png
S.H.I.V.s