Shieldbearers are first deployed at the same time as Advanced Officers. They appear as support troops for both ADVENT and Aliens. Elite Shieldbearers appear at the same time as Elite Officers.
Shieldbearers wear a white and black suit of what appears to be powered armor with a series of silver sockets on the back and a bundle of wires running from the back of the torso to the arms. The suit is marked with red lights on the legs and elbows. Shieldbearer helmets are large with two pieces of plating on the sides of the helmet. Covering the shoulders of the armor is the bulky white pauldrons, which are larger than those of all other ADVENT units. The most notable feature of these pauldrons is the large red ADVENT logo stamped on the left pauldron, which is shaped like a rectangle. Like all ADVENT soldiers, the only visible human feature is the Shieldbearer's mouth.
Like Stun Lancers preferring to use their lance rather than their rifle, Shieldbearers will almost always use their Energy Shield (after getting into cover) instead of shooting at an XCOM soldier. But if there were no other ADVENT or alien allies nearby, they will most likely attack the XCOM soldier instead of using their shield for themselves.
All shielded units gain an individual shield, but if the Shieldbearer should die, all shields created by it will go down; depending on the situation it might be better taking out the Shieldbearer rather than taking down several other shields.
Shields prevent armor shredding until they are broken, but on the other hand are unaffected by armor.
- Energy Shield: The Shieldbearer deploys its shield generator, which confers a 3 health shield to the Shieldbearer and all nearby allies in a large radius. Limited to one use.
- Energy Shield (Elite): Identical to the Energy Shield deployed by normal Shieldbearers, the Elite Shieldbearer grants a 5 health shield instead of 3.
- Killing the Shieldbearer should be the squad's first priority, if they are unable to mind control it, as not to allow enemies an edge.
- Killing the Shieldbearer will collapse the shields remaining on any allies.
- Shields don't last forever - after 3 turns shields collapse even if Shieldbearer is alive.
- Shields are highly vulnerable to EMP Grenades/Bombs and Bluescreen Rounds. These will instantly collapse any shields they hit.
- Using a Psi Operative's Domination ability (or getting lucky with Insanity) to mind control a Shieldbearer before it can activate its Energy Shield both denies the enemy this defense and can allow the shield to be used to protect the XCOM squad, allowing for more reckless and risky tactics.
- Shieldbearers are more expensive than bottom-line units, comparable to ADVENT Troopers, but are still cheaper than some aliens.
- They are excellent support units, due to their energy shield. If one is afraid that their units may be instantly killed by a certain enemy, they can utilize the Shieldbearer to add 3 HP to all allies.
- Be wary of the shield's timer- after 3 turns it'll collapse.
- The Magnetic Rifle is an okay weapon, and the Shieldbearer has a decent 70 accuracy. It's generally a waste to fire the Rifle on any target with 3+ armor. Despite what is quoted in the stats table above, the Magnetic Rifle only does 3-4 damage in multiplayer, same as ADVENT Troopers and Officers.
- Shieldbearers in ADVENT-centric squads can be used as standard troops instead of ADVENT Troopers. In this regard, they can repeatedly shield one another, covering cooldown timers, and have good accuracy and a decent weapon. It's best to lead the squad with an ADVENT Officer, so that one can mark targets and abuse the aim bonus.