X-Com Enemy Within: MEC Trooper Build Guide

The MEC Trooper is new in Enemy Within and has plenty of customization beyond just the abilities.

The first thing to know about the MEC trooper is that he must be promoted from a squaddie, can't be a psychic and will lose any gene modifications he already has. However, you will get a new ability that will resemble his original class and you will need to build a MEC to put him in. MECs are built to where they cannot gain cover. They have excellent damage reduction abilities. You can't normally leave one out in the open during a firefight, but he can usually survive a turn or two against a few hostiles in the open.

MEC Options

You will be able to build MECs for your soldiers to use. A soldier is not permanently connected to one MEC. If you so choose, you can build different MECs and choose different options to maximize your adaptability in combat. Building a brand new MEC costs $25 and 40 MELD. Each MEC level you take here will cost an additional $25 and 40 MELD. This cost does not include how much it will cost just to get the next MEC design; Warden, Sentinel, and Paladin. MEC troopers can be pretty costly in MELD to produce, but they should deliver the punch you're looking for on the battlefield.

MEC-1 Warden

Flamethrower

Allows the MEC to lay waste to a cone-shaped area. Flame can spill outside the aiming area.

This is pretty much a close range version of the rocket launcher. You can see the flamethrower has an excellent reach. It will also set terrain elements on fire, potentially destroying cover that your opponent might be hiding behind. 

Kinetic Strike Module

A powerful arm upgrade for the MEC, allowing the wielder to pulverize adjacent cover and enemies. Also boosts mobility.

Ever have that alien that has a great covered position that you can't remove? You no longer have to worry about that when you can just walk up and punch the wall he is hiding behind. It will deal a small amount of damage to whatever is hiding behind the wall as well.

MEC-2 Sentinel

Restorative Mist

Medikits require fine motor control; instead, the MEC can spray Restorative Mist to heal all nearby allies.

This is an excellent choice as you can heal more than one soldier at a time if they are positioned properly. The downside is that you'll be using your MEC to heal instead of pushing further into battle.

Grenade Launcher

MECs can make up for their lack of thrown grenade capability with a long-range grenade launcher.

The grenade launcher has a reach that is about 30% farther than your normal thrown grenade. It means you can launch grenades almost as far as your rockets can reach. 

MEC-3 Paladin

Proximity Mine Launcher

Proximity mines can be deployed at medium range, and will await nearby enemy movement before triggering their explosive charges.

Don't expect them to actually deal much damage just because the enemy will avoid them. However, they become excellent tools for controlling the terrain.

Electro Pulse

MECs can stun organic enemies and damage robotic ones with this area of effect electric shock device.

Class Related Bonuses

Assault

Shock Absorbent Armor

Damage received from enemies within 4 tiles is reduced by 33%.

True to the Assault class, this ability reduces damage from all the baddies that you are up close and personal with. The MEC will still have trouble taking damage from enemies while out in the open, so don't get too confident with this ability.

Heavy

Body Shield

The nearest visible enemy suffers -20 Aim and cannot critically hit this unit.

While this only affects one enemy, it does let you charge the MEC into battle with the most difficult enemy. He will likely run or choose a better target, but you will still be pushing the enemy from his desired position. Plus, immunity to any critical hits from that bad guy is always good.

Sniper

Platform Stability

Any shots taken without moving have +10 Aim and +10% critical chance.

It's not likely that your MEC will stay in the same place for long, but if you're entrenched in battle, every bit of Aim and Crit count.

Support

Distortion Field

Nearby allies in cover receive +10 Defense.

Never complain about extra Defense.

MEC Trooper Abilities

Just like any other class, you will get an ability each time your MEC soldier gains a rank. With the MEC options and the Class Bonus ability, you can really stack up your MEC.

Squaddie

Collateral Damage

Area of effect attack that destroys most cover and hits all eligible targets for 34% damage. This attack cannot cause critical hits.


This attack is another skill good at taking out difficult enemy positions and it has a better range than the Kinetic Strike Module. 

Corporal

Advanced Fire Control

Shots from Overwatch no longer suffer any Aim penalty.

The MEC has a BIG gun. Any chance to use it with more efficiency is a plus.

Automated Threat Assessment

Confers +15 Defense when in Overwatch.

Extra Defense on a unit that can't gain cover? Absolutely!

Sergeant

Vital Point Targeting

Confers 2 bonus damage against targets that have been autopsied.

Autopsies don't normally drive my research unless I know I need it, but perhaps this skill will make you want to finish autopsies sooner.

Damage Control

When the MEC takes damage, all further damage will be reduced by 2 for the next 2 turns. 

Another excellent way to start reducing damage to your MEC and make him the tank you need him to be.

Lieutenant

Jetboot Module

When activated, confers the ability to jump to the normally inaccessible heights for the rest of the turn.

Getting your MEC onto high terrain can mean another defense boost for a defense deprived soldier.

One For All

When activated, the MEC becomes a high cover element. Moving or using an arm based weapon will return the MEC to standard posture.

Keep in mind that this deactivates once you fire your weapon. If you turn this on and then use Overwatch, you could free up any soldiers using him as cover, making them dangerously susceptible to enemy fire. This is excellent for delivering an Assault soldier to the front lines more safely.

Captain

Repair Servos

Confers 2 health recovery at the start of each turn. A total of 6 health can be generated per battle. 

Not as good as the Gene Mod, but any health recovery that you don't have to waste an action on is a good one.

Expanded Storage

Allows additional uses of Restorative Mist, Grenade Launcher, and Proximity Mine Launcher in each mission, and increases primary weapon base ammo by 50%.

Increasing the ammo on the Rail Gun that the MEC trooper starts with is the best part of this ability. The rest is just an added bonus.

Major

Overdrive

Firing the MEC's primary weapon as the first action no longer ends the turn.

Just like the Heavy's ability to fire first and take a second action, this becomes a force multiplier by allowing a shoot and Overwatch or reload. 

Colonel

Absorption Fields

Any hit that does more damage than 33% of the MEC's maximum health is reduced to that number.

This ability guarantees it will take at least three shots to take down your MEC. It's unlikely that all the enemies you are facing will have enough firepower to break this limit, but it will make sure even the big baddies will have trouble with your MEC.

Reactive Targeting Sensors

MEC gets a free shot back at the first enemy who attacks the MEC each turn, provided there's enough ammo to do so.

This is pretty much just a free Overwatch shot. It will definitely clear out some enemies foolish enough to engage your MEC first.

Summary

 By the time you have a fully promoted MEC trooper, you will have eleven abilities, more than the psychic trooper. The fact that your MEC trooper can't carry items or use armor is quickly negated by all the options you have. Unlike some of the other classes, there aren't really any lousy abilities on this list and customization is higher than any other class once the MEC options themselves are included. Enjoy your hard-hitting trooper and get out there and waste some aliens!

Columnist

While I do play some of the greats like Civilization and X-com, consider me your Tabletop guru here at gameskinny. Want to know about a tabletop game? Just ask!

Published May. 19th 2014

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