|“||Allows the MEC to lay waste to a cone-shaped area. Flame can spill outside the aiming area.||”|
The Flamethrower does 6 damage in a cone-shaped arc that broadens to five tile across by seven tiles deep; the environment is set on fire by the attack and flames may spill outside the damage cone. This attack largely ignores cover (certain angles or structures, like walls, can still block the flames completely) and can cause damaged enemies to panic. The Flamethrower can only be activated twice per mission. Researching the Jellied Elerium Foundry project upgrades the Flamethrower's attack to 9 damage.
When compared with the Kinetic Strike Module (KSM), the alternate Tactical Subsystem of MEC-1, the Flamethrower offers a few advantages:
- The Flamethrower can easily hit multiple hostiles and will reliably kill weaker foes (i.e. Sectoids and Thin Men.) Doing that otherwise requires Overdrive (a high-rank skill), careful plotting with the KSM (that can only be invoked in a car-rich location), or higher-level Tactical Subsystems (exponentially more expensive).
- The fact that it's a ranged weapon is often undervalued - unlike the KSM, which requires the target's location to be known before the MEC moves in, the Flamethrower can be used against an unexpected group of hostiles, and is generally more tolerant of poor positioning. It can be used without moving beforehand in quite a few cases, permitting a preceding shot via Overdrive. Also, any movement forward carries a risk of putting another hostile squad into play.
- The Flamethrower ability to ignore cover helps deal with entrenched hostiles quickly; this is especially useful with low level MEC Troopers whose poor Aim is significantly reduced against targets in high cover.
- The Flamethrower almost always makes low-Will enemies panic, and, unlike Psi Panic, does not have a chance to cause them to fire on XCOM operatives. This gives your troops a whole turn of cheap shots.
The Flamethrower's role is two-fold. It can help rack up much-needed kills with the very first MEC. Afterwards, it can be paired with MEC Troopers that are constrained in their mobility, i.e. ex-Supports projecting Distortion Field over standard operatives, or ex-Snipers looking to benefit from Platform Stability.
- The Flamethrower's activation limit cannot be increased via the Expanded Storage ability.
- Units affected by the Flamethrower will be highlighted in red when the weapon template is overlaid upon activation of the ability. Unaffected units (units which are either immune or out of range) will not be highlighted.
- Anything killed by Explosion or Flame destroys Weapon Fragments. It also destroys any Meld or other materials that would be recovered from Heavy Floaters.
- Most useful against Chryssalids, which have no qualms about coming at your soldiers in a pack of three and getting roasted together. As they don't carry any weapons so you lose nothing by killing them with flame. Note: Chryssalids cannot be "one-shot" by the Flamethrower unless the Jellied Elerium foundry upgrade is researched. However, despite having 120 Will they frequently panic and run away when hit by it, which may give your soldiers one more turn to kill them.
- On Covert Data Recovery missions, the Flamethrower can be used on the Encoder without damaging it.
- When the Second Wave option Absolutely Critical is selected, the Flamethrower does 9 base damage to enemies (13 with Jellied Elerium researched). The increased damage is noted in the weapon description in the battlescape HUD.
- Flames seem to damage cars enough to make them explode in the next round. Amidst all the squad tactics you must remember when and where not to send your soldiers next to a soon-to-explode car which you have previously enflamed. Conversely, this also means dealing extra damage to hostiles situated next to a car! Be extra careful because bigger construction machinery like diggers which have a shovelhead situated away from their main space and blocking one tile as full cover also act as exploding cars (unlike smaller Bobcat type bulldozers).