Weapons (Long War)

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Soldiers Weapons Long War.png

For detailed charts, see Primary Weapons (Long War) and Secondary Weapons (Long War).

Long War makes several changes to weapons:

  • There are five tiers of weapons: Conventional/Ballistic, Beam Laser, Gauss, Pulse Laser, Plasma.
  • There are several additional types of primary and secondary weapon available in each tier.
  • Many weapons can be Steadied as an action to improve aim for the next turn.
  • Explosives no longer do fixed damage, and their damage reduces the further a target is from the center of the blast.
  • Rocket launchers use a revamped accuracy system using the soldier's aim.
  • Arc Thrower is not as reliable.

Weapon Tiers


These are the basic weapons you start with - and while they're okay to begin with, they're not going to be up to scratch in the long run. The Sawed-off Shotgun is unique to this tier. Ballistic weapons use the same models as EXALT ballistic weapons in vanilla.

  • nothing special

Beam Lasers

Early beam lasers form the second tier of weapons, and all carry a small inherent accuracy bonus, which can make them good 'training' weapons for inexperienced troopers. They also have a little more firepower than ballistic weapons, but it still won't be enough in the long run. Although skipping laser weaponry in vanilla is a viable and at times easy-to-pull-off gambit, in Long War the expenses for gauss weapons combined with the tighter economy makes this less appealing, and the aim bonus beam lasers confer makes them arguably better early game than gauss anyway. Beam lasers use the same visuals as EXALT laser weapons in vanilla.

  • +1 average damage over ballistics
  • +6 aim


Gauss weapons return to ballistic projectiles but elerium power sources make man-portable magnetic accelerators practical; combined with alloy-based projectiles, it's a recipe for pretty formidable personal weaponry. In general gauss weapons have a larger clip size, which can make this tier of weapons preferable for soldiers that has ammo-intensive perks or abilities such as Flush, Suppression, Collateral Damage, In the Zone, Close Combat Specialist, Close Encounters, Light 'Em Up, Rapid Fire. Uniquely, the Sniper Rifle of this tier - the Gauss Long Rifle - grants Snipers the HEAT Ammo perk, who otherwise can't obtain said perk normally. This makes gauss Snipers a powerful counter to mechanical leaders/bosses who can have over 50 health and a staggering amount of damage reduction; though in return, the Gauss Long Rifle has a rather inconvenient clip size of 1. Gauss weapons use the original XCOM ballistic weapon models. Gauss weapons also are able to pierce enemy damage reduction (DR). Specifically, they nullify 0.34 enemy DR, which means that there is a 34% chance of nullifying one point of enemy DR. This amount is doubled upon researching the Quenchguns foundry project.

  • +2 average damage over ballistics
  • 34% chance to ignore 1 enemy DR (68% chance with Quenchguns)
  • +1 ammo capacity (except for Gauss Long Rifle)
  • Gauss Long Rifle only: ammo capacity reduced to 1, grants HEAT Ammo perk (+3 damage against mechanical units that is not reduced by DR), halves the effect of the Hardened Perk on enemies (from -60% crit chance to -30% crit chance).

Pulse Lasers

Refining and enhancing laser technology allows for the development of pulse laser weaponry, another step up in terms of firepower. Pulse laser weapons have a bonus to their critical hit chance, which might make them more preferable to laser weapons in the hands of crit-focused Infantry, Assaults, Scouts, and Snipers. They use the same visuals as XCOM-built laser weaponry from vanilla.

  • +3 average damage over ballistics
  • +8% crit chance


Plasma tier weapons are the most powerful in terms of raw damage, but also expensive and hard to obtain; building them requires captured alien weapons as production components, which means you'll have to stun and capture aliens for every weapon you want to build. Plasma weapons have the same models as the weapons either used by the aliens or made by XCOM like the Sniper Rifle. Since b15e, plasma weapons (except pistols) also carry special effects, making them more unique than vanilla.

  • +4 average damage over ballistics (+5 with the Enhanced Plasma Foundry project)

Individual Bonuses:

  • Plasma Stormgun (SMG): +1 mobility (+4 compared to usual +3 for SMGs)
  • Plasma Carbine (Carbine): +6 defense
  • Plasma Rifle (Assault Rifle): +1.5 crit damage to biological units
  • Heavy Plasma Rifle (Battle Rifle): +1 damage when steadied
  • Reflex Cannon (Shotgun): +1.5 crit damage against units within 4 tiles
  • Reflex Rifle (Marksman Rifle): +1.5 crit damage against flanked/exposed units
  • Plasma Sniper Rifle (Sniper Rifle): +1.5 crit damage against units 35+ range away (i.e. roughly the max range of an extended range weapon such as Marksman Rifles or LMGs)
  • Plasma Novagun (SAW): can be steadied
  • Plasma Dragon (LMG): +1 damage against airborne units
  • Particle Cannon (MEC): +1 damage to robotic units
  • Superheavy Plasma (SHIV): +8 Aim, +4% crit chance

Weapon types

Long War adds many new types of primary and secondary weapon. Most of these weapon types have a corresponding weapon at each technology level. The primary weapon types are, in descending order of average damage: SHIV/MEC Primary Weapons > Light Machine Guns and Shotguns > Heavy Rifles, Marksman/Sniper rifles and Squad Automatic Weapons > Assault Rifles > Carbines and Submachine Guns > Machine Pistols > Pistols. In general, the more powerful a weapon is the more unwieldy it is as well, and that will reflect in aim and mobility penalties/bonuses. The MEC version of heavy machine guns have a unusually large deviation of +/-4. And finally Shotguns' damage is severely impeded by damage reduction.


Many weapons have an extra action available: Steady Weapon. This is a standard action, which will end the turn when used, which grants +20 aim for the next shot. The bonus is discarded if the soldier moves or switches weapon. This essentially allows a soldier to fire a carefully aimed shot over two turns. The use of perks such as Light 'Em Up and Double Tap only apply the bonus to the first shot taken. Note that sniper rifles can be steadied after moving, even if the operator cannot fire them. Steady Weapon's aim bonus also applies to fired rockets, reducing rocket scatter.


In Long War explosives no longer do fixed damage to all targets in their radius. The further a target is from the center of the blast, the less damage it will take. This also applies to cover and cover in general is a little tougher than in vanilla.

This behavior can be 'reverted' to the original mechanics by taking the Tandem Warheads perk, which causes the perk holder's explosives do to full damage across their entire blast radius. The perk is normally available to Engineers, Rocketeers, and Archer MECs; it can sometimes be obtained on other classes via the Training Roulette Second Wave option.


Long War uses a revamped system for rocket accuracy. Aim is used when firing rockets to determine the chance of them landing on target, rather than the fixed 90% chance in vanilla. Rather than the vanilla behavior of a missed rocket veering wildly off course, Long War rockets never "miss" but will veer off course a random amount based on the soldier's aim, with higher aim giving less scatter. Lower range means less scatter, and the soldier achieving 120 aim yields no scatter at any range. Rockets can also be fired after moving, but with increased scatter and reduced range. Rockets cannot change height through scatter.

The hit chance shown while aiming is not a literal % hit chance, nor is it the maximum scatter distance. "Scatter" instead indicates the standard deviation on the X and Y axis. You can expect 68% of your rockets to hit within the standard deviation, 95% to hit within 2 times the standard deviation, and 99.7% to hit within 3 times the standard deviation. Rockets can exceed even this degree of deviation, but the chance is negligible.

Unblocked (no "Shot is Blocked" warning) rockets that veer off course will travel through most destructible terrain to their destination, destroying it in the process. If they encounter an allied or enemy pawn, they will detonate immediately. If the "Shot is Blocked" message is displayed, the rocket will detonate as soon as it hits any terrain.

Arc Thrower

In Long War, the chance to stun non-robotic aliens successfully is much lower than vanilla. The Improved Arc Thrower Foundry project improves that chance. See the following table for details.

Stun Chance
Type / Alien HP 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8+
Arc Thrower 54% 48% 42% 29% low low low low
Improved Arc Thrower 57% 57% 57% 54% 48% 42% 29% low

Also, the Arc Thrower has just one charge by default. This is increased with the Packmaster (+1 charge) and Repair (+2 charges) perks.

See also

Loadout Long War.jpg Long War: Loadout 
Weapons Thumbnail Long War.png
Assault Rifle Long War.png
Pistol Long War.png
Armor Thumbnail Long War.png
Chameleon Suit Long War.png
Leather Jacket
Tac vest Long War.png
Tac Vest
Tac Armor Long War.png
Tac Armor
Phalanx armor Long War.png
Phalanx Armor
Kestrel armor Long War.png
Kestrel Armor
Carapace armor Long War .png
Carapace Armor
Aurora armor Long War.png
Aurora Armor
Banshee armor Long War.png
Banshee Armor
Corsair armor Long War.png
Corsair Armor
Aegis armor Long War.png
Aegis Armor
Titan armor Long War.png
Titan Armor
Seraphim armor Long War.png
Seraph Armor
Archangel armor Long War.png
Archangel Armor
Shadow armor Long War.png
Shadow Armor
Vortex armor Long War.png
Vortex Armor
Inv Mec1.png
Inv Mec2.png
Inv Mec3.png
Equipment Thumbnail Long War.png