The Sharpshooter engages enemy targets with pinpoint accuracy from extreme range. They are also trained in pistol marksmanship for the occasional close encounter. The Sharpshooter is the successor to the Sniper class.
- Primary Weapon: Sniper Rifle
- Secondary Weapon: Pistol
The Sharpshooter has perhaps the two most distinct roles of the games classes, that significantly alter their playstyle and function. Their signature ability is Squadsight, which allows them to fire on targets outside of their vision range with their sniper rifle.
Their first tree, Sniper, is dedicated to dealing single, high-damage shots with their Rifle from an extreme distance, preferably from a vantage point. Key abilities expand their function in this role, allowing them to risk hit chance for single, extreme-damage shots that punch through armour, allow Overwatch to function from their range, and later on, to designate an entire area for them to take repeated overwatch shots into, potentially decimating entire pods.
Their second tree, Gunslinger, focuses instead on their pistol, which by contrast deals multiple low-damage shots from the center of combat. Many of the Gunslingers abilities increase the amount of times the pistol can be fired in a round, with high-rank gunslingers regularly spitting out five shots per round. This gives them great potential damage output in the right situations.
Experimental Ammo is an important item for Gunslingers. The Face-Off ability can be used to apply status effects from your ammo to multiple targets, getting a lot of value from Dragon and Venom ammo. High damage ammo modifications like Bluescreen and Armor Piercing benefit greatly from the multiple shot abilities granted by Lightning Hands and Fan Fire. For example, using Fan firing, shoot and Lightning Hands on a Sectopod gains the benefit of Bluescreen rounds 5 times, for a +25 boost to damage output (mitigated by armor 5 times mind).
Sniper-build Sharpshooters should not be taken on missions where an Extraction is necessary, as they rarely get chance to set themselves into a strong position and hold it, due to the need to be constantly on the move.
Since they are rarely capable of using other items, Sniper-build sharpshooters should be given an ammo type, and a medikit, simply allowing them to carry extra healing for the team on longer missions. Alternatively, equipping Spider or Wraith can be very effective, with the grapple allowing the sniper to reach high elevation easily. An EXO or WAR suit can be surprisingly sensible as well, with the Rocket Launcher giving the Sniper a weapon they can use at long range on turns where they're forced to reposition or reload (though if short on resources, this should be a low priority use of an EXO or WAR suit, though is a fair use of an old EXO suit instead of selling it once you upgrade to WAR).
Sniper Sharpshooters have extreme synergy with Scout-based Rangers, who can provide visual on enemies whilst remaining concealed, allowing Sharpshooters to fire indiscriminately at them from their nests.
Gunslinger sharpshooters are generally less effective combatants until they unlock their higher-level abilities, whilst Snipers are safe and easy to train. For this reason, one might consider using the AWC to switch a high-ranked Sniper into a high-ranked Gunslinger once they have access to the abilities that let them shine.
Gunslingers do not benefit from attachments to their primary weapon.
Snipers benefit greatly from Scopes, since they are rarely not taking a shot when possible, and later on, from Expanded Magazines and Auto-Loaders once Kill Zone is eating into their ammo usage.
Placing a Kill Zone on an untriggered enemy pod, then setting them off, will often deal severe damage to the group, but expend the Snipers ammunition. Placing Psi-Inspire onto the Kill Zone sniper, and reloading, will not remove the Kill Zone, allowing it to trigger once again on the enemy turn. Using this technique, a sniper can take two shots at every enemy in a group.
Deadeye does not provide a static penalty to Aim, rather reducing the chance to hit by a fraction. As such, it's better to use this ability on only moderate hit chances. Otherwise, it can be used when reducing an enemy to low health is as useless as missing them.