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XEU Heavy Suppression

Suppression is an ability of the Heavy Class, Thin Men, Heavy Floaters, Mutons, and Muton Elites in XCOM: Enemy Unknown. S.H.I.V.s of all types can also gain this ability with the S.H.I.V. Suppression upgrade. The Support Class can be trained to use a functionally identical ability, Rifle Suppression.

Can fire a special shot that grants reaction fire at a single target. The target also suffers a -30 Aim penalty.
– In-Game Description, XCOM: Enemy Unknown


Suppression can be useful for pinning down a big target, especially if your soldiers are otherwise unlikely to hit or kill it. This can buy you time to get soldiers to cover or into position to flank the alien. Suppressive fire also sometimes destroys the enemy's cover, leaving the enemy exposed to fire (and increased critical hit chances) from the rest of your team.

The ammo consumption for using Suppression is twice that of standard Fire. Also, in most cases, the AI is smart enough not to move while suppressed (avoiding triggering the reaction shot); this is especially true on the higher difficulties, where aliens will frequently land shots despite their Aim penalty or will use an alternative to shooting (such as a grenade, Overwatch, or psionics) to get around the Aim penalty.

Where Suppression shines is how well it synergizes with Heavy Class abilities from the right side of the promotion tree. Holo-Targeting + Suppression reduces the alien's Aim while simultaneously increasing your soldiers'. Danger Zone + Suppression increases the Suppression effect from a single target to a small area, which can result in you Suppressing multiple targets at once and (potentially) granting you reactive fire on any one of the targets. Mayhem + Suppression offers minor, reliable AoE damage with Suppression; this is especially useful for mopping up multiple weakened aliens or getting a small amount of guaranteed damage when a regular shot is unlikely to hit. Combining these abilities with the use of Suppression makes Suppression a very flexible and worthwhile ability.

The trouble with SuppressionEdit

At higher difficulties, using "shoot first and kill often" strategy, it is better to hunker down with an alien in sight and only Overwatch after a short retreat.

  1. Aliens often respond to being suppressed by using their special abilities (grenades, poison, psionics, etc) which is usually worse than the alien just taking a potshot. Worse still, none of these actions trigger the reaction fire from the Suppression. And as for preventing a possible flank, Overwatch will also work. The only exception is when there are melee units in the area or if new aliens join the battle that turn, in which case Suppression is the prophylactic move of choice.
  2. Overwatch and Flashbangs effects are superior to suppression. Suppression can lockdown only one exposed target, but Overwatch and Flashbangs can lockdown multiple enemies AND prevents other foes in cover from moving. Suppression is effective if melee enemies are present or another hostile pack joins the fight that turn (melee enemies will usually ignore reactive fire, consuming the Overwatch, and new aliens joining would also consume the Overwatch, meaning your exposed enemies are no longer held in Overwatch).
  3. Overwatchers are rarely visible until they are already triggered, which is why an Assault with Lightning Reflexes is head and shoulders above Suppression as a method of dealing with Overwatching aliens; Lightning Reflexes also doesn't cost a soldier's turn or ammo!

That said, there is never enough Overwatch-clearing options; if multiple aliens go on Overwatch that is an ideal turn to just park and take a free turn's worth of potshots at everything without fear of retaliation (dropping an explosive and popping smoke ideal but optional).


Some aliens that cannot use Suppression in single player mode, such as Sectoids and Sectoid Commanders, can use it in multiplayer.



Xcom - Suppression not usable (bug?)00:14

Xcom - Suppression not usable (bug?)

Sometimes it's not possible to use Suppression even though 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." The same has been observed with the Support class Rifle Suppression skill. See video for demonstration.

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