Heavy (EU2012)

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Firepower and damage specialist, carrying both a Light Machinegun and a Rocket Launcher. They are essential to support squad attacks, engage enemies on their own or the demolition of terrain obstacles. Its main disadvantages are the low progression on aiming and the limited ammunition (1 round) for the launcher.

  • The LMG is the Heavy's main weapon, capable of dealing heavy damage to targets and also to suppress them, if the Heavy has that ability. As research on laser and plasma weapons progresses the Heavy will later be able to upgrade its primary weapon to Heavy Laser or Heavy Plasma advanced models.
  • The Rocket Launcher is the secondary weapon for the Heavy and it gives him 1 rocket shot, to use against groups or enemies or to take down terrain. The launcher can be further upgraded with the Shredder Rocket ability, which gives an extra, special rocket; and the Rocketeer perk, which allows for further rockets to be brought to a mission.
  • Frag Grenades will be essential for Heavies with the Grenadier ability during combat missions.
Rank Required Ability
Squaddie Fire Rocket
Fire a rocket using an equipped launcher. This ability can not be used after moving, nor more than once per mission.
Corporal 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.
Sergeant 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.
Can fire a special shot that grants reaction fire at a single target. The target also suffers a -30 Aim penalty.
Lieutenant HEAT Ammo
+100% to damage against robotic enemies.
Rapid Reaction
Confers a second reaction shot, if on Overwatch and the first reaction shot is a hit.
Captain Grenadier
Allows to carry 2 grenades in a single inventory slot.
Danger Zone
Increases hit area of rockets and suppression by 2 tiles.
Major Will to Survive
Reduces all normal damage taken by 2 if in cover and not flanked.
Colonel Rocketeer
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.

Additional Notes

  • The Heavy's initial choice of Corporal abilities is between improving its firing abilities (allowing it to fire twice or fire and move) with Bullet Swarm or turning it into a team tagger of aliens by choosing Holo-Targeting and improving the aim of everyone else who fires at the same alien. Attacking with Bullet Swarm counts as using your first move action, so cannot be followed by a Rocket attack. Bullet Swarm only works with your primary weapon, so using an item or psionic ability as your first action will still end the turn.
  • Heavy Ordinance path: Focuses on area effect damage. Suggested perks include Shredder Rocket, Grenadier and Rocketeer. This perk line is designed to accentuate area damage, good for taking out groups of weak aliens or to soften up and destroy the cover of hard targets.
  • Heavy Suppression path: Focuses on suppression perks like Suppression, Rapid Reaction, Danger Zone and Mayhem. Suppression allows the player to pin down the enemy and freely move around Run & Gun Assault units to systematically eliminate the enemy. This would be good for scenarios that are not time sensitive so you establish position and plan out movements to minimize Overwatch consequences.
  • Both Holo-Targeting and Shredder Rocket are designed for other squad members to take advantage of them, allowing the Heavy to act as a squad multiplier, including other Heavy units, if present.
  • Heavies are the class that will receive lesser rank bonuses in stats upon promotion, specially in Aim (+10 Aim points total upon reaching Colonel), receiving also a total of 4 HPs and 14 Will points.
  • The Shredder Rocket deals 4 damage as opposed to the regular rocket's 6 damage.
  • The damage bonus for HEAT Ammo is applied to all of the Heavy's damaging attacks, be it regular shooting, grenades, rockets, or Mayhem.
  • Mayhem deals 1 damage per tech level of the heavy's primary weapon, so the LMG will deal 1 damage, the heavy laser will do 2 damage, and the heavy plasma will dish out 3 damage.
  • VERY USEFUL: The suppression ability of Heavies allows a pair of them to effectively immobilize a mind-controlled ally. This will save you from killing your own soldiers, or having an alloy-cannon-armed assault soldier turning on you on while you're in the tight spaces of a downed UFO.

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 machine gun 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.


Corporal icon.jpg Corporal Bullet Swarm Holo-Targeting

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 tactical flexibility. It allows for Fire and Move, Fire and Reload or Fire and Fire. 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.
  • Since the machine gun only has 3 rounds, even if you take Suppression, you need Bullet Swarm to Suppress two rounds in a row. Finally, 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 its high ammo consumption plus using it can make the Heavy immobile and vulnerable against superior enemies.


  • 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.
Sergeant (EU2012).jpg Sergeant Suppression Shredder Rocket

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;
  • Shred 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 to move (and flank your position);
  • Suppression will also drop its target's Aim by 30% if it fires against an exposed squadmate.
Lieutenant (EU2012).jpg Lieutenant HEAT Ammo Rapid Reaction

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


  • Deals extra damage to robotic opponents. Put simply, in XCOM, robots are the devil. Anything that hastens Cyberdiscs and Sectopods to their circuity grave is awesome;
  • One of few ways to scale your explosives damage, until Blaster Launcher is available;

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.
Captain (EU2012).jpg Captain Grenadier Danger Zone

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 upgrade to Alien Grenades in the Foundry 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.

Danger Zone

  • Explosive Heavies will love having a bigger boom, but it's Suppression Heavies that make out like bandits;
  • AOE Suppression requires on fairly particular enemy positioning, but when you can manage, it's a great boon;
  • You can also get to apply Holo-Targeting and Rapid Reaction to the whole group, turning it into a nice combination.
Colonel (EU2012).jpg Colonel Rocketeer Mayhem

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;
  • The extra damage on your rockets is a nice side benefit.


Weapon: More than any other class, the Heavy doesn't need primary weapon upgrades. By all means do so if you can spare the resources, but keep in mind that rockets, grenades, and suppression all ignore your machine gun. Moreover, with the high base damage of the weapon, Heavies can one-shot Sectoids, Thin Men, and Floaters on Classic, mitigating the need to upgrade to Laser.

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 all mobility issues, with the invisibility from Ghost Armor being particularly helpful in setting up rockets or flanks, counteracting the low Aim. Titan Armor, despite being the "heaviest," is not actually a great choice due to the aforementioned mobility consideration.

Item: If you went Grenadier, grab a Grenade. Otherwise, S.C.O.P.E.s can offset the Heavy's low Aim if you find that you're using your gun a lot. Heavies also make decent carriers of Medikits if your Supports for some reason don't have enough, as their combat effectiveness drops after they run out of rockets.