Players who have completed Ironman on Classic and Impossible difficulties recommend taking at least Bullet Swarm, Shredder Rocket, and Danger Zone.

Bullet Swarm vs. Holo-TargetingEdit

Bullet Swarm is preferred for most cases: Holo-Targeting is weaker as a stand-alone talent; it requires commitment to its synergies (Suppression, Rapid Reaction, Danger Zone, Mayhem), which are also individually weaker.

  • Bullet Swarm promotes a defensive strategy and allows the Heavy to be devastating in shootouts.
    • Bullet Swarm's alternative actions available after the first shot ensures adaptability:
      • Fire weapon twice per turn
      • Fire weapon before using Reload
      • Fire weapon before using a grenade (or other items)
      • Fire weapon before using Overwatch
      • Fire weapon before using Suppression
      • Fire weapon before using Mindfray (or other Psionic abilities)
      • Fire weapon before using Hunker Down
      • Fire weapon before moving
    • Bullet Swarm's additional shot with a heavy weapon against large targets is frequently better than an Aim bonuses. Even double shot misses are relevant as LMG fire can destroy light cover, leaving some targets exposed for easy followup kills.
  • Holo-Targeting promotes an offensive strategy as it's unaffected by an initial half-move.
    • Holo-Targeting offsets the reaction fire penalty and reliably triggers Rapid Reaction when landing Suppression shots.
    • Holo-Targeting's +10 Aim bonus is useful for Rookies and Squaddies in earning kills and encourages focus fire as a squad against large targets.

Shredder Rocket vs. SuppressionEdit

Shredder Rocket is preferred for most cases: Suppression is weaker as a stand-alone talent; it requires commitment to its synergies (Holo-Targeting, Rapid Reaction, Danger Zone, Mayhem), which are also individually weaker.

  • Shredder Rockets provides an additional rocket that deals 4 damage and applies 33% increased damage debuff against struck foes.
    • Shredder Rocket destroys cover, hits multiple targets, detonates cars/power sources/explosive terrain, has a long range and a wide area of effect.
    • Shredder Rocket allows precise lowering of an aliens' health (without weapon damage variance or critical hits) for easier alien capture.
  • Suppression applies a -30 Aim penalty and grants reaction fire on a single target.
    • Suppression primary uses are:
      1. Neutralize aliens that are dangerously close to gaining a flank
      2. Lockdown movement of exposed & flanked targets from regaining effective cover
      3. Clear away Overwatchers, as Suppression removes Overwatch
    • Suppression costs 2 ammo; Heavies only have 3 shots per clip (and only 6 after Ammo Conservation).
    • Suppression's Aim penalty does not prevent aliens from killing squad members, unless said target is locked down under multiple suppressions.
    • Suppression's lockdown utility may be better utilized by S.H.I.V.s and the Support Class's Rifle Suppression ability.

HEAT Ammo vs. Rapid ReactionEdit

HEAT Ammo is preferred for most cases; both have merits. Rapid Reaction is weaker as a stand-alone talent; it requires commitment to its synergies (Holo-Targeting, Suppression, Danger Zone, Mayhem), which are also individually weaker. 

  • Rapid Reaction is an unreliable general purpose boost to reactive fire as the Heavies' Aim is generally not that great.
    • Rapid Reaction is extremely effective against Chryssalids and Berserkers, as melee aliens must move in order to attack, so they always trigger large quantities of close range reactive fire.

Grenadier vs. Danger ZoneEdit

Danger Zone is preferred for most cases: it synergizes with both sides of the Heavy ability tree in ways Grenadier does not.

  • Danger Zone increases Area of Effect on grenades, Suppression, and Rocket attacks by 2 tiles.
    • Danger Zone increased area of effect of Rockets is quite significant, and effectively extends a rocket's reach even further.
      • The area of effect is so big that even if the rocket veers off target, it may still nail the intended targets.
    • Danger Zone adds an area of effect onto Suppression which is transformative.
      • Danger Zone results in suppressing two (or more) targets at once, granting reactive fire on each of these targets.
  • Grenadier allows two grenades in a single inventory slot. In XCOM: Enemy Within, the ability also grants +1 damage to Frag, Alien, and Needle Grenades.

Rocketeer vs. MayhemEdit

Both promotions are a significant upgrade and are preferred for most cases: select whichever best suits the Heavy's role.

  • Rocketeer makes rationing 3 rockets per mission simpler.
    • There is safety in having an additional source of reliable damage, and destroying cover and exposing foes is always relevant.
      • Rocketeer greatly speeds up missions overall - there are always a few stubborn alien packs, and Rocketeer allows for the removal of 1-2 said groups at the first sign of trouble while still retaining another for insurance.
      • Rocketeer is exceptional for setting up kills for the Rookies, making them easy prey in follow up shots.
  • Mayhem adds 1-3 damage based on weapon tech level to Rockets and Suppression.
    • Mayhem is the pièce de résistance, maximizes the power of Rockets against clusters of enemies, and offers minor, reliable AoE damage on Suppression, making Suppression frequently worthwhile.
    • Mayhem kills Chryssalids in one shot, no Blaster Launcher required.
    • Mayhem is a safer pick for the dangerous missions, especially Terror Sites, where Heavies are overrun in an instant.
    • Mayhem does not add damage to grenades.

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