Heavy (EU2012)

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Heavy Squad

A class specialising in high fire power and area damage with some support capabilities. The Heavy is at its strongest vs mechanical or high health enemies, but can also be really useful in situations were the enemies cluster together. With the heavy damage comes the drawback of high ammo consumption, lower accuracy, limited rockets and the the lack of a side arm.

Primary Weapon: Light Machinegun, Heavy Laser or Heavy Plasma.
Secondary Weapon: Rocket Launcher or Blaster Launcher. (Doesn't carry a pistol).

When it comes to abilities, the options are mostly between an improvement for more and powerful rockets/grenades versus a more potent attack with the soldiers primary weapon. Heavies gain less stats upon promotion than other classes, +10 Aim, +4 HP and +14 Will as Colonel rank.


Rank Ability
Fire Rocket
Fire a rocket using an equipped launcher. This ability can not be used after moving, nor more than once per mission. (6 Damage)
Bullet Swarm
Firing the primary weapon as the first action no longer ends the turn.
Shooting at or suppressing enemies also confers a +10 Aim to any allies' attacks on those enemies.
Shredder Rocket
Fire a rocket that causes all enemies hit to take +33% damage from all sources for the next 4 turns. The rocket's blast is weaker than a standard rocket's. (4 Damage)
Can fire a special shot that grants reaction fire at a single target. The target also suffers a -30 Aim penalty.
+100% to damage against robotic enemies.
EW DLC: Confers +50% damage against robotic enemies.
Rapid Reaction
Confers a second reaction shot, if on Overwatch and the first reaction shot is a hit.
Allows to carry 2 grenades in a single inventory slot.
EW DLC: Allows 2 grenades in a single inventory slot. Frag, Alien, and Needle Grenades receive a 1 damage bonus.
Danger Zone
Increases hit area of rockets and suppression by 2 tiles.
Will to Survive
Reduces all normal damage taken by 2 if in cover and not flanked.
Allows 1 additional standard rocket to be fired per battle.
Confers additional damage based on weapon tech level to Suppression and all area-effect abilities.

Tips & Trix

  • Shredder Rocket is a good opening since it will both destroy cover and increase damage on all following attacks that turn. Each Shredder rocket also deals 4 damage on the target(s).
  • Suppression can be used cover another soldier that is moving up on an alien in Overwatch.
  • Suppression may neutralize a mind-controlled solder long enough to recover him/her.
  • HEAT Ammo applies to all damage dealt by the Heavy (grenades, rockets, Mayhem ...)
  • Mayhem gives +1 damage for the LMG, +2 for Heavy Laser, and +3 for Heavy Plasma. It also gives +2 damage to standard and Shredder rockets and +3 damage to Blaster Launcher rockets.
    • Mayhem does not apply to grenades, only rockets and suppression.
  • Mayhem & Danger Zone combined with Suppression will deal area damage to units close to the suppressed one. Useful against aliens in high cover or versus Cyberdiscs/Sectopods with Drones and does not require the Heavy to hit the shot.
  • Mayhem/Suppression is also very useful as the killing blow to an alien with almost 0 health since its a 100% guaranteed shot.
  • Blaster Launcher does not require line of sight, but can be fired around buildings and walls.
  • Note that the Second Wave modifier Not Created Equally is one way to make the Heavy class more useful in the endgame at higher difficulty levels, at the expense of having to hire, screen and fire a lot of soldiers after getting the OTS New Guy perk. Not Created Equally can randomly generate Heavy Squaddies with up to 82 Aim.

Tactical Advice

Heavies are the class with the most varied choices: HEAT Ammo, Suppression, Shredder Rocket, etc. making each build an individual taste. You can have an explosives specialist capable of putting out major damage in an area, making big plays to pull your squad out of the fire when XCOM decides to be... well, XCOM. Or you can have a Machinegunner expert that crowds out the Support for his job with Suppression, Bullet Swarm and Rapid Reaction. As for the Heavy himself, he's in an interesting place. Though all soldiers begin with 65 Aim, Heavies gain significantly less through promotion than their peers. In contrast, his LMG deals high damage, on par with a Sniper Rifle or Shotgun. These facts, combined with his Rocket Launcher, make him a terror in the early game but potentially less reliable (and thus less relevant) as it progresses. Between their poor Aim and inability to fire rockets after moving, Heavies are the class most hampered by mobility.

In light of this, beginning players may find explosives-centric heavies preferable. Suppression-focused heavies take a while to come into their own and depend on their squad to provide killing power once they do. Explosives Heavies are somewhat more straightforward to play, and they themselves provide more firepower to carry your team before it becomes a well-oiled X-Ray killing machine.

For psionic Heavies, Mind Control may suit a Heavy better, at least as a distraction to keep them and their cover from being attacked, keeping nearby aliens in position for a Rocket/Blaster attack.

The Rocket Launcher has a potentially useful glitch: when the Heavy takes cover behind walls, particularly corners, a clipping oversight with targeting and the firing animation can allow him/her to step and shoot through the wall, logic and physics be damned. As long as the shot information says "90%", and the blast radius "bubble" is where you are aiming, it can make the hit. Similarly: be careful when attempting to shoot either Launcher to target an alien/terrain that's next to your Heavy. The firing animation may make them step into the blast radius.


RANK CORPORAL.png Corporal HEAVY BULLETSWARM.png Bullet Swarm vs Holo-Targeting HEAVY HOLO.png

Either choice will benefit both Heavy builds. Explosive Heavies usually go Bullet Swarm, although Holo-Targeting is also very useful for the rest of the squad to fire against the alien. Machinegunner Heavies may prefer Holo-Targeting in the long run, but also benefit from Bullet Swarm.

Bullet Swarm

  • Gives great tactical flexibility. It allows for Fire and Move, Fire and Fire, Fire and Overwatch, Fire and Suppress, Fire and Throw Grenade and (of course) Fire and Reload. In particular, shooting twice ends up yielding a statistically better chance of hitting a particular alien than Holo-Targeting him and ordering the rest of your Rookies to open fire.
  • Also, firing twice gives the Heavy two chances to destroy his target's cover; in this event, he has just granted your squad more than the benefit of Holo-Targeting.
  • The downside is faster ammo consumption.


  • Applies to both the Machinegun and the Launcher - Heavy shoots/blows cover and marks the remaining aliens for the rest of the team to tag.
  • Helps the whole team to focus their firepower on a single alien - it can be very useful in taking down high-threat aliens, regardless of storyline progression.

RANK SERGEANT.png Sergeant HEAVY SHREDDER.png Shredder Rocket vs Suppression HEAVY SUPPRESSION.png

Shredder Rocket for Explosive Heavies, Suppression for Machinegunner Heavies.

Shredder Rockets

  • Useful throughout the game. On all difficulties except Impossible, they deal enough damage to one-shot Sectoids, Thin Men, and Floaters, making them essentially just another rocket when you first get them;
  • Shredder effect helps with high HP targets;
  • The set damage provided by explosives can help set up aliens for capture.


  • Also a handy utility skill;
  • Can be used to pin down an alien and prevent it from moving (and flanking your position).
  • Suppression will also drop its target's Aim by 30%.


Similar to the Corporal choice, both Heavies like HEAT Ammo, but Machinegunner Heavies can consider Rapid Reaction.


  • Deals extra damage to armmored opponents. Put simply, in XCOM, robots are the devil. Anything that hastens Cyberdiscs, Mechtoids and Sectopods to their circuity grave is awesome;
  • HEAT boosted grenades will make short work of Drones, saving your squad a lot of wasted effort.
  • One of few ways to scale your explosives damage, until Blaster Launcher is available;
  • If combined with Bullet Swarm, Heavies can dole out massive quantities of damage to robotic units, and the team can even drop Cyberdiscs and Sectopods in one turn.
  • On the Enemy Within DLC the bonus damage has been reduced from 100% to 50%, making it less attractive.

Rapid Reaction

  • The complement to HEAT Ammo: an ability for use against weaker enemies as found in Council missions, specially during Overwatch ambushes;
  • Rapid Reaction can also be very useful to guard rooms and corridors;
  • Be sure you get the Ammo Conservation project done in the Foundry or you will find that this is a fantastic way to empty your magazine.
  • The AI almost never moves when suppressed, so this has surprisingly little synergy with Suppression.
  • Can give disappointing results given that Heavies have the lowest aim of all the classes, and the first overwatch shot (with its penalty) has to hit in order to trigger the second shot. Consider giving this ability to Heavies with high aim when using the Hidden Potential option in Second Wave.

RANK CAPTAIN.png Captain HEAVY GRENADIER.png Grenadier vs Danger Zone HEAVY DANGERZONE.png

Both types of Heavy like Danger Zone. Explosive Heavies should also consider Grenadier.


  • Locks you into a single item to take advantage of it, but grenades are admittedly useful.
  • Make sure you acquire some Alien Grenades if you go this route.
  • Consider whether you typically have grenades on any of your other units. If not, giving up a wildly-inaccurate Heavy shot to hurl a grenade is not a big sacrifice by any stretch, and the rest of your squad will thank you for blowing the enemy's cover.
  • Similarly, if you think you'd rather Kool-Aid Man through a wall instead of using the door, doing it with a grenade beats burning a rocket on it.
  • In the Enemy Within DLC, Frag, Needle and Alien Grenades now also have +1 damage with this ability.
  • The Enemy Within DLC also indirectly buffs this ability, with the more varied grenades available (including the very useful Ghost Grenade) and the second item slot meaning your Heavy can still have some flexibility while packing a grenade in one slot.

Danger Zone

  • Explosive Heavies will love having a bigger boom, but Suppression Heavies being able to AOE suppress enemies is the big payoff.
  • AOE Suppression requires fairly particular enemy positioning, but when you can manage it, it's great;
  • You can also apply Holo-Targeting to the whole group, turning it into a nice combination. If the rest of the squad can shoot the targets individually, this results in less collateral damage and more recovered weapon fragments in single player.
RANK COLONEL.png Colonel HEAVY ROCKETEER.png Rocketeer vs Mayhem HEAVY MAYHEM.png

Explosives Heavies will want Rocketeer. Suppression Heavies should take Mayhem.


  • Boosts your overall damage output while taking away some of the nerves you get when thinking about whether now is really the best time to shoot your one, single rocket;
  • While Mayhem does add some damage to your rockets, Rocketeer ultimately amounts to more damage and gives you more control in how you apply it.


  • The grand finale for the Machinegunner - makes Suppression becomes a reliable way to damage enemies;
  • Can be a useful late game way of chipping the health off an enemy you want to capture.
  • The extra damage on your rockets is a nice side benefit.
  • Despite Rocketeer resulting in more overall rocket damage, Mayhem allows you to apply more damage in one turn. This could makes the difference between ending turn facing a Sectopod on 2 HP, or a dead one. Mayhem allows a HEAT Ammo Heavy to one-shot a Cyberdisc on Classic and Impossible difficulties.


Weapons: With the Heavy's high base damage, the standard LMG can often one-shot Sectoids, Thin Men and Floaters on Classic. This means there is no immediate urgency to hasten a Heavy's weapon upgrade over other class-specific weapons. Of course, do upgrade when you can spare the time and resources to keep the Heavy on par with the stronger enemies as they appear.

For a Heavy taking the explosive build route, weapon upgrades do not confer bonus damage on rockets, grenades or suppression until paired with the high ranking Mayhem' perk. Weapon upgrades in this instance will mainly be beneficial for personal defence once their munitions have expired and there are no nearby allies to provide support.

A different approach should be taken for a machinegunner or suppressor build as the primary weapon will be the Heavy's bread and butter weapon.

Armor: Heavies will typically be near the front of your group, as they need to advance and sit still in order to put rockets where they need to be. As a result, armor is a fairly big priority for Heavies, and they should be considered after Assaults for cutting edge suits if you can't outfit your full team. Skeleton Armor and Ghost Armor eliminate mobility issues, with the invisibility from Ghost Armor being particularly helpful in setting up rockets, flanks, or moving into point-blank range to counteract their lesser Aim. Titan Armor, despite being the "heaviest," is not always the best choice due to the aforementioned mobility consideration.

Item: If you went Grenadier grab a Grenade. If you have HEAT ammo and are facing Cyberdiscs/Drones, grab a grenade. A S.C.O.P.E. can improve the Heavy's low Aim, improving their long range combat effectiveness with the machine gun, making it a useful item for any build except for a Grenadier. Heavies also make decent carriers of Medikits if your Supports for some reason don't have enough. Chitin Plating serves as a decent extra padding in any instance that requires your Heavy to get very close to the action.

Gene Mods

Brain Since Heavies aren't as capable of flattening your squad as Assaults are, you can really go either way, depending on the soldier's will.

Eyes Heavies miss a lot unless you got lucky with Hidden Potential and Not Created Equal, so Hyperactive Pupils will get a lot of use. With Bullet Swarm, Heavies can fire twice per turn, so they can get benefit from Hyperactive Pupils without needing to wait. If you're blessed with a Machinegunner with good aim, or you give him a Scope, Depth Perception is also a good choice.

Chest Can't go wrong either way, here. Keeping your troops alive or expediting the enemy's death, either will be useful since both types of Heavies tend to be in the thick of things.

Skin Mimetic Skin will help Gunners get more damage out of their bullets if set up properly. Explosive heavies have set damage so this isn't as useful here. Give your Explosive Heavies Bioelectric Skin just so you can have some Seeker protection in your squad.

Legs Gunners will enjoy Muscle Fiber Density for the easier time positioning. Explosive heavies will probably be better off with Adaptive Bone Marrow but it's a bit of a toss up.


Most Commanders will raise their Heavies as machine killers, and room-clearers, particularly for Terror missions, and those occasions where every enemy in a mission seems to show up at once.

If you don't mind Save Scumming, and have a rocket going off-course (a seeded outcome: it will happen every time): you can manipulate this to still land a rocket precisely where you want it to (it will explode at the same elevation and distance that you aim for, so merely compensate for the angle; roughly 20 degrees).

While their aim starts and ends as the lowest in the game, their capacity for explosives makes their aim semi-irrelevant. Indeed, with Grenadier, and the Blaster Launcher allowing you to place an explosive precisely where you want, they technically have 100% accuracy, and with limited Rocket capacity driving you to conserve rocket shots, those will tend to be the shots that really matter.

With the Suppression/Danger Zone/Mayhem combo, you actually do have an 100% accuracy shot, if a weak one (and a somewhat ammo-costly one. Acquire the Ammo Conservation project to alleviate this, but you should be getting it ASAP anyways). A constant barrage of 3 damage with a Heavy Plasma, and splash damage to neighboring aliens, as well as the aim reduction the targeted aliens will suffer; it's an investment, but a worthy option to consider. Plus HEAT, that's 6 damage to robotic enemies, an excellent way to clear out a Cyberdisc or Sectopod's accompanying Drones while causing significant damage, and not spend a rocket. The one drawback for this combo is that suppression will lose the ability to destroy cover (which is basically random and near-uncontrollable, anyways, and only happens with laser or plasma weaponry)(misses with the normal shot will still have the random chance to destroy cover).

Being only able to carry their main weapon and a limited-use rocket, they actually have significant flexibility with item choice, unless Grenadier is chosen (in contrast, a Commander might never unequip S.C.O.P.E.s and Archangel armor from their Snipers, or Medikits from their Supports), as well as armor. A Heavy can therefore function as an alternative to a second Assault, or a second Support, and their abilities lend to either. For example, Combat Stims and their Will To Survive ability pair well to make Heavies very hard to kill. Chitin Plating, Titan Armor, and Bullet Swarm make them Chryssalid & Berserker killers (and the way those two attack, makes Aim less of an issue), and Archangel armor (or one of the two with the Grappling Hook) can redefine the term "Death from Above."

For UFO assault missions, a support-centric Heavy with Grenadier will allow you multiple, smaller demolitions, rather than risking the larger blast of Danger Zone destroying valuable Elerium generators and navigational computers, but still being able to bring down the hammer in a tough situation.

With the stat-altering Second Wave options (Hidden Potential, Not Created Equal), Heavies can come out of the box with significant to very high Will, as well as good starting Aim, and can receive the same 2-to-12 Will (with OTS's Iron Will) bonus with every level, bringing them back to regular front-line combat readiness in late-game. Their Aim upgrades will still be quite low, though still (potentially) more than without the Second Wave options.

As they have a mix of skills that work either as secondary Support or secondary Assault, and unspectacular leveling will scores, a Psionic Heavy also works either way with support or offensive Psi skills, and again comes down to personal playing style. Psi Inspiration and Telekinetic Field help him help others, while Mind Controlling an alien lowers the odds of your Psionic Heavy being shot at (and risking his cover being destroyed), keeping him safe to launch a rocket next turn, if you had to move to get into range this turn. Plus Ghost Armor, a Mind Shield, and damage-focused abilities, an Inspiration/MC Psi Heavy can be devastating to alien squads, even on his own (a good candidate for the Lone Wolf achievement on a Small Scout).

Enemy Within DLC Supplemental: Tactical Rigging, Shredder Rocket, Rocketeer, Grenadier, Alien Grenades, Blaster Launcher, HEAT: 66 damage (minimum) per mission to Mechtoids, Seekers, Cyberdiscs, and Sectopods. Boom.

If you like the Suppression/Danger Zone/Mayhem combo, the Second Wave option of Training Roulette will make it very unlikely to get, as well as the potential loss of HEAT (on top of the nerfing to 50% damage of HEAT Ammo itself) hurts their potential to fight mechanical enemies... enemies such as the Mechtoid and the Seeker, and the defense-boosted Sectopod.

If Slingshot is on, odds are you'll want Zhang as your primary Heavy: his stats come boosted out of the box vs a naturally-grown Heavy, and adds the power of the Heavy line of weapons to his higher Aim score than any Heavy of the same rank will ever reach (barring certain Second Wave options). Consider allowing your first Heavy from your starting squad to be earmarked for MEC conversion instead, or at least as a ordinance-centric Heavy, whom will rely less on their Aim stat.

In their favor, medals (and a S.C.O.P.E. in that second inventory slot) can help bring up the deficiency in your Heavies' Aim score, and should be capped off with Reactive Pupils. Mimetic Skin and Muscle Fiber can help them get up close and remain hidden and situated for your rocket shots or a Bullet Swarm barrage. And a Squaddie Heavy is a great (if long term) investment for your MEC warrior lineup, as the Heavy bonus to cybernetic conversion is a Defense/anti-critical hits "shield", and as a MEC Trooper, they'll get regular 1-5 increases to Aim every time they rank up, as opposed to the mere 0-2 that Hidden Potential could give them. A Heavy is also a good 'assistant' for a MEC soldier, as the second item slot can take a Arc Thrower or Medikit to heal the MEC, the Heavy's explosives can take out cover for MECs played as gunners, and after a Shredder Rocket and the Kinetic Strike upgrade glitch, a MEC can punch with a staggering 35 points of damage (or 18 points to the hardened Sectopod).

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)