Clearing UFOs

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Given their preprogrammed response to fight to the death, most aliens will eventually leave their UFO in an attempt to kill X-COM soldiers. This does take time, however, allowing you to set up a UFO Exit Ambush. However, sometimes, aliens will be perfectly content to sit in their UFOs and wait for you to come to them. This is especially true of any alien who is capable of psionic warfare. This page is a guide for sweeping UFOs depending on species and UFO type.

General Strategies

  • Aliens cannot come down a gravlift if a soldier or HWP is standing on it. Use this to your advantage.
  • Aliens are highly reluctant to fire down a gravlift with any weapon except the Blaster Bomb, and then they may run into the CE Blaster Bomb Vertical Waypoint Bug and often kill themselves.
  • Explosives tossed to the top of a lift shaft and allowed to detonate allow you to clear any elevator ambushes they may be preparing.
  • Grenades can be tricky to use in a UFO because of the confined space, but feel free to do so around any compartment that isn't housing Elerium. Most UFO components can be easily manufactured, serve no in-game purpose aside from sale, or both.
  • The first person through a dangerous door should meet as many of the following conditions as possible: He should be wearing armor, have good reactions, and be expendable. If all else fails, rookies may have to take one for the team.


Specific species have specific cautions when clearing UFOs containing them.






Time is NOT on your side when fighting Ethereals; unless your Psi Team is truly powerful, you will likely have to enter the UFO and sweep it quickly in order to avoid being psi'd to death. Ethereals have fairly high stats, and often have a significant number of Leaders, so you'll want to use verteran troops and HWPs to clear the UFO out.

Sectopods, when present, are an additional challenge, as they are difficult to affect with Psionics, never lose Morale, and are heavily armored and thus difficult to take down. An explosive or shooting it in the back is probably your best bet.


Small Scout

If the alien is inside the UFO, stand underneath him in the gravlift beam, and shoot up the gravlift until you kill him. Simple, easy, and effective. Completely safe, as well, assuming you don't let him come down.

Medium Scout

Not much procedure here. Only one room, so enter at the beginning of a turn and spray the occupants with weapons fire. If the power source and Elerium have already been destroyed, feel free to open the door simply to toss in an Alien Grenade or High Explosive and let that be your clearing solution.

Large Scout

Getting a bit trickier, the Large Scout has the infamous 'camping alien' who hangs out in the one small room on the lower left corner. Procedure dictates sending two groups in, one to clear from the top, the other to clear from the bottom, meeting in the bridge before assaulting the UFO Power Source room together. The Engineers will often be armed with Small Launchers, which will allow you to easily capture them by tricking them into firing the weapons at close quarters.



Supply Ship

Terror Ship