|“||Fire a barrage that pins down a target, granting reaction fire against it and imposing a 30 penalty to Aim.||”|
– In-Game Description, XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Rifle Suppression is almost identical to the Suppression ability of the Heavy Class. As the Support has weak offensive options, unlike the Heavy, Rifle Suppression can be moderately effective at keeping fire off squad members without significantly reducing offensive firepower.
Rifle Suppression can be useful for pinning down a target, especially when soldiers are otherwise unlikely to hit or kill it; this can buy time to get soldiers to cover or into position to flank the enemy. Rifle Suppression is capable of destroying cover, leaving the enemy exposed to fire (and increased critical hit chances) from the rest of the squad. This promotion is especially useful for neutering Sectopods (or Mechtoids in XCOM: Enemy Within) who can fire twice per turn.
It should be noted that Rifle Suppression, like Smoke Grenades, often encourages enemies to choose alternative forms of attack (grenades, poison, psionics, etc) which are not affected by the Aim penalty; none of these actions trigger the reaction fire from Rifle Suppression. As such, enemies lacking in any effective alternative offensive actions more are suitable targets for suppression, while the other types should simply be killed. A special exception is the Sectopod, as where Cluster Bomb is very damaging, the delayed nature of the attack is not a threat if you are confident that it can be killed within the next turn of shooting.
Rifle Suppression is often less effective at preventing enemies from hitting their targets on the higher difficulties as most enemies receive Aim stat increases; instead at least two suppression effects will be required to reliably disable a target's weapon fire against your troops. As such, it is often better to hunker down with an alien in sight or to enter Overwatch after a short retreat.
Rifle Suppression can be used to negate an enemy's Overwatch which can be a nice secondary option to an Assault with Lightning Reflexes; that said, if multiple aliens go on Overwatch, it may be better just to park your squad and take a free turn's worth of potshots at everything without fear of retaliation.
While Rifle Suppression can be used to "lockdown" an exposed target or to prevent an enemy from moving into a flanking position, it can be argued that entering Overwatch is more effective as doing so can potentially lockdown multiple enemies AND deter other foes in cover from moving. Rifle Suppression tends to be more effective when there are other factors that might trigger (and thus neutralize) Overwatch such as if melee enemies are present or if there is a chance of another hostile pack joining the fight that turn.
- The ammo required just to initiate Suppression is twice that of standard fire; at least a third round will be expended if the target moves (or shoots back if the Soldier has the Covering Fire perk), and finally if the soldier is also a Sentinel who can follow up with a secondary reaction shot, they can potentially find themselves starting the next turn with a severely depleted if not completely empty weapon.
- Flashbang GrenadesEW can provide a superior and persistent Aim penalty on multiple enemies, as well as hampering their movement.
- Sometimes it's not possible to use Rifle Suppression even if a normal shot is available. Even with a target visible and the Fire option available, clicking on Suppression shows the message "No targets within range." See the Suppression page for a video demonstration.