MEC Trooper (Long War)
The (M)echanized (E)xoskeletal (C)ybersuit troopers from XCOM Enemy Within have been greatly expanded upon in Long War. They also cost significantly more time and resources to acquire. More research is required before the MEC trooper can be created and, due to the item rebalancing, they show up much later in the campaign compared to vanilla. To counter this, Long War has made significant changes to the SHIV to make up for the steeper cost and time requirements of MECs. Many SHIV upgrades can also be used on MEC units, allowing for broader customization of individual MECs.
As with vanilla, and like the SHIV, MEC Suits cannot take cover beyond breaking line of sight. Fortunately, they possess a limited amount of innate defense and have innate damage reduction, making them more difficult to take down. Some MEC classes can increase this damage reduction even further with perks.
Like vanilla, MEC troopers are chosen from the soldier roster on the base. Only soldiers with a rank of Lance Corporal or above, that are not Officers or Psionics, are eligible for MEC training; the higher the rank, the more abilities the MEC will start with. However, your soldier will lose one rank upon augmentation (a Corporal will become a Lance Corporal MEC).
As Long War has introduced new soldier classes, it also introduced new MEC classes, offering a unique MEC class for each of the 8 classes featured in Long War. These changes allow the MEC to be customized in ways that can suit any playstyle and offer greater tactical freedom when setting up squads for missions. Each MEC class "inherits" traits from the class that the soldier was prior to undergoing MEC training - this means that when creating a MEC it is wise to think what sort of role the MEC should fulfill.
One fundamental (and massive) change to the MEC classes is that One for All is now the 'base ability' for all MEC classes, allowing any and all MECs to function as mobile cover. Now each subclass also has a basic specialist-rank perk (such as Light 'Em Up for Valkyries) that helps define their role along with their unique perk tree and stat progression.
MEC troopers cannot function without a MEC suit, meaning that any surplus MEC troopers will be useless unless given a MEC suit of their own, but also suffer from Fatigue and need to rest after each mission just like normal troopers. Since the suits themselves do not, the suits can be cycled between operators and rearmed as long as you have enough operators for them. Barring injury or Fatigue, it is possible to have a MEC on every mission. Like gear from your other soldiers, MEC gear can break if your MEC takes health damage, and there is a chance to recover the suit and equipment if the MEC trooper dies in combat.
Long War provides multiple options of exoskeletons per tier, splitting upgrades into Survivability and Mobility. The MEC-1 Paladin can be upgraded to either the MEC-2 Defender for a focus on more Survivability, or the MEC-3 Valiant, for a focus on more Mobility. Both of these armors have two different options for the final tier, as well.
Unlike vanilla, there are seven different versions of MECs to be created. While in vanilla MECs had a choice of upgrades at each suit level with a fairly limited progression system, Long War MECs have one primary weapon slot, two or three utility slots and one to three secondary weapon slots. The upgrades that go in these slots are researched and manufactured separately, and can be swapped out for each mission, giving them a higher degree of tactical flexibility compared to their vanilla counterparts.
Primary Weapons include the same basic Minigun/etc. as the base game, with added MEC weapons for the new weapon tiers.
Secondary Weapons include previously tier-specific upgrades such as the Grenade Launcher, Flamethrower, and Kinetic Strike Module. One notable change to Secondary Weapons is that not only can previously mutually-exclusive weapons be fitted (e.g. Flamethrower + Kinetic Strike) but in some cases, multiples of the same Secondary Weapon can be installed, such as multiple Grenade Launchers, or a dedicated medical MEC packed with Restorative Mist.
All MEC soldiers also get the Combined Arms perk, ignoring 1 point of the enemy DR.
Utility upgrades include MEC-specific upgrade modules, along with a handful of items shared with SHIVs.
The different variants each require an ever increasing amount of resources to build, as well as a MEC of the previous version; a MEC-5 Devastator will need a MEC-2 Defender chassis in order to be created, essentially converting the Defender into the Devastator.
MECs are Offensive Support troopers, delivering high firepower to the battlefield, as well as supporting perks such as Combined Arms and One For All.
Due to the MEC's variety of weaponry, ranging from the powerful Kinetic Strike Module to the less damaging but equally useful Grenade Launcher, the offensive capabilities of the MEC are great and offer a lot of tactical variety. However they are less useful as frontline fighters than one might think, due to their rather low ammo capacity and inability to take cover. This means that they, more often than not, become relegated to an Offensive Support role akin to the Rocketeer, though with more armor and a cooler sounding voice.
With a high base HP and somewhat high damage reduction, MECs can take quite the beating, however they are not invincible. During the late game, especially in Long War, they are quickly killed by precise and hard hitting plasma fire from the Muton Elites, Mechtoids or the ever annoying Sectopods. Their maximum health can be boosted by items and Foundry projects, increasing their durability significantly. Classes such as the Goliath also compliment the MEC's "Tank" role, by giving a higher base defense and also several abilities centering around damage and/or panic reduction.
A good rule of thumb when choosing which soldiers to convert into MEC Troopers is that the MEC class will, in most cases, behave like the soldier's original class. This means that a Soldier can perform the same role as before, but with the advantages (and disadvantages) of being a MEC. Some MEC class variants, such as the Shogun, allow for more tactical diversity, while others can give a different spin on a well-established class such as the Archer compared to the Rocketeer. Think about the MEC classes as advanced versions of the Soldier classes. This makes it somewhat easier to figure out what sort of MEC you would want for your specific team.
The Jaeger is created from the Sniper Class. Jaegers excel at delivering highly accurate fire at extended range, potentially emptying their entire magazine with In The Zone, destroying many weakened opponents. They pay for this offensive power by being the most fragile of the MEC classes.
The Pathfinder is created from the Scout Class. Pathfinders are fast-moving units that can flank around and mop up groups of weaker enemies. Pathfinders are also the only MEC with access to the Lightning Reflexes perk.
The Valkyrie is created from the Infantry Class. Valkyries focus on making maximum use of the MEC's main/primary weapon. While not quite as accurate as Jaegers, Valkyries can put out a storm of fire with their main weapon, able to fire potentially four shots per turn with Rapid Reaction and Light 'Em Up. Valkyries also have access to Lock N' Load, allowing them to keep up with their ammo consumption.
The Marauder is created from the Assault Class. Marauders have a more offensive-mobility focus than the Valkyrie, unsurprisingly; and they are the only MEC class that can receive Run and Gun. They are second only to the Pathfinder in terms of mobility, if the correct skills are taken. Marauders are extremely useful for securing time-sensitive, sparsely-covered objectives with their mix of firepower, mobility, and durability compared to regular soldiers.
The Goliath is created from the Gunner Class. Whilst Goliaths are by far the slowest (no perks grant Mobility increases, and their first perk actually reduces Mobility by 1) they also have the most Defense-related perks, and thus excel in the tanking role mentioned above. Goliaths can also utilize HEAT Ammo, increasing their main-gun firepower against mechanical enemies.
The Archer is created from the Rocketeer Class. Whilst slow, Archers are capable of raining down explosive, anti-mech firepower from afar using the Grenade Launcher. Whilst they aren't as effective at destroying cover as the Shogun, they have greater range with their launchers and inflict roughly the same amount of damage. With Packmaster, an Archer can bring a lot of powerful munitions to the fight.
The Guardian is created from the Medic Class. The highly-mobile Guardian's upgrades can make the Restorative Mist unit into a very effective area heal system that can be used several times in a mission, whilst having Opportunist as a basic ability, as well as several Overwatch-enhancing perks also allows for fairly extensive use of reactionary fire to keep enemies pinned.
The Shogun is created from the Engineer Class. Shoguns excels at battlefield control by deploying mines and using the Sapper and Collateral Damage skills to destroy enemy cover. They can also excel in an anti-armor role, as they can receive both HEAT Ammo and HEAT Warheads, making all of their weapons especially effective against robotic opponents.
Hidden Potential in ().
|Specialist||1 (60%)||1 (70%)||1 (70%)||1 (80%)||1 (99%)||1 (60%)||1 (70%)||1 (80%)|
|Lance Corporal||0 (20%)||0 (40%)||0 (40%)||0 (50%)||1 (99%)||0 (30%)||0 (40%)||0 (50%)|
|Corporal||0 (20%)||1 (70%)||1 (70%)||1 (80%)||1 (99%)||0 (30%)||1 (70%)||1 (80%)|
|Sergeant||1 (60%)||0 (40%)||0 (40%)||1 (80%)||1 (99%)||1 (60%)||0 (40%)||1 (80%)|
|Tech Sergeant||0 (20%)||1 (70%)||1 (70%)||1 (80%)||1 (99%)||0 (30%)||1 (70%)||1 (80%)|
|Gunnery Sergeant||0 (20%)||0 (40%)||0 (40%)||0 (50%)||1 (99%)||0 (30%)||0 (40%)||0 (50%)|
|Master Sergeant||1 (60%)||1 (70%)||1 (70%)||1 (80%)||1 (99%)||1 (60%)||1 (70%)||1 (80%)|
|Total||3 (2.6)||4 (4.0)||4 (4.0)||5 (5.0)||7 (6.93)||3 (3.0)||4 (4.0)||5 (5.0)|
Hidden Potential in ().
|Specialist||4 (2-6)||3 (1-5)||3 (1-5)||2 (1-5)||2 (1-3)||2 (1-3)||3 (1-5)||3 (1-5)|
|Lance Corporal||4 (2-6)||3 (1-5)||3 (1-5)||2 (1-3)||1 (0-2)||2 (1-3)||3 (1-5)||2 (1-3)|
|Corporal||4 (2-6)||3 (1-5)||3 (1-5)||2 (1-3)||2 (1-3)||2 (1-3)||3 (1-5)||2 (1-3)|
|Sergeant||4 (2-6)||3 (1-5)||3 (1-5)||2 (1-3)||1 (0-2)||2 (1-3)||3 (1-5)||3 (1-5)|
|Tech Sergeant||4 (2-6)||3 (1-5)||3 (1-5)||2 (1-3)||2 (1-3)||2 (1-3)||3 (1-5)||2 (1-3)|
|Gunnery Sergeant||4 (2-6)||3 (1-5)||3 (1-5)||2 (1-3)||1 (0-2)||2 (1-3)||3 (1-5)||2 (1-3)|
|Master Sergeant||4 (2-6)||3 (1-5)||3 (1-5)||2 (1-3)||2 (1-3)||2 (1-3)||3 (1-5)||3 (1-5)|
All MECs gain 2-3 will per level, or 0-5 will with Hidden Potential.
The Absorption Fields MEC perk has been changed and furthermore integrated into the Damage Reduction system. Absorption fields now work according to the following formula:
fReturnDamage = fReturnDamage * (0.6 + 0.4 * Min(1, 2/fReturnDamage))
Essentially, absorption fields "absorb" up to 40% of the damage done by a strike, and the bigger the strike, the more damage it absorbs:
Absorption fields are applied after all other damage reduction.
|Long War: Soldiers|