X-Com: Enemy Within Support Build Guide

The Support class brings balance to your squad, not in the way Anakin brought balance to the Force, thankfully.

The Support class is one of the few that has two very different ways to build him. He can help your troops as a healer or use his abilities to become the perfect utility soldier.

The Support soldier carries the second most useful ability for timed missions and is one of the few soldiers that deserves to appear in your squad more than once. He will add significant defense to your squad when they need it most and put them back in the game when they are down.

Squaddie

Smoke Grenade

Deploy a Smoke Grenade once per mission. The smoke confers +20 Defense to all units, not just allies, and lasts through the turn.

The smoke grenade is the Support signature ability. It comes up rarely just because you don't want to waste the ability too early. It is best used near the end of your activation after you have attacked with the rest of your soldiers. You don't want the smoke cloud to get in the way of your attacks. The +20 Defense bonus could really get in the way.

The cloud also makes a great last-minute defense to your troops that were left out in the wind. An Assault soldier who charged up the middle or a soldier with only a few hit points left can really benefit from this bonus defense.

The cloud can be pretty large and cover most of your squad if they are close enough. The +20 Defense effectively turns half cover into full cover and makes full cover even better.

Corporal

Sprinter

Allows the soldier to move 3 additional tiles.

For what this ability does, it has to be the simplest wording. I highly suggest this ability choice for various reasons. The train mission from "Slingshot" and the St. Johns mission are reason enough alone to choose this option.
Paired with an Assault soldier, the Assault soldier can hit the transmitters while the Support soldier runs to the front of the train for the final trigger. Even if you only use this ability for these reasons, it will be worth it.

Covering Fire

Allows reaction shots to trigger on enemy attacks, not just movement.

Considering how important I rate the Sprinter ability, Covering Fire creates a challenging decision. Covering Fire not only allows your Support soldier to take a reaction shot when an enemy attacks, but your soldier will take the shot first. If successful, the enemy will never get his shot off. Second, abilities farther down on the list will impact this ability even further.

Sergeant

Field Medic

Allows medikits to be used 3 times per battle instead of once.

Tired of having your entire squad carry around medkits in order to keep them alive? Once your Support soldier can use the kit three times, it will allow you to take other inventory items instead, like the far more useful grenade.

Smoke and Mirrors

Allows 2 additional uses of Smoke Grenade each mission.

The Support is one of the few soldiers who has abilities that continue to stack all the way through the ranks. Using the Smoke Grenade three times a mission may not be that impressive, but once you get to add Dense Smoke or Combat Drugs from the Captain level, three times a mission really adds up.

Lieutenant

Revive

Allows medikits to revive critically wounded soldiers at 33% of maximum health, instead of just stabilizing them.

This is an ability that can backfire if not used carefully. Medikits normally stabilize critically wounded soldiers instead of bringing them back into the battle. Stabilized soldiers remain down and don't draw much attention from your enemies while in combat with the rest of your squad. Using this ability will get them back into the firefight.

Problem is, they could very well be shot down again next turn and killed if they aren't protected. You won't get to choose not to use this ability. If your soldier runs the risk of being shot again, leave him down until the last possible moment, giving your squad more time to push away any threatening enemies.

Suppression

Fire a barrage that pins down a target, granting reaction fire against it and imposing a 30 penalty to Aim.

Suppression is more powerful than just the ability that is listed here. The -30 Aim and the free reaction shot is nice, but a little known point is that Suppression fire also removes an enemy from the Overwatch stance. It's an excellent way to maneuver around the field by eliminating potentially deadly Overwatch shots before you move.

Captain

Smoke and Mirrors will work well with either of the options for Captain. It will grant you three uses of either Dense Smoke or Combat Drugs per mission.

Dense Smoke

Smoke Grenades have an increased area of effect and further increase units' Defense by 20.

The increase in the area of effect is about two tiles in every direction. Once you add the bonus 20 Defense from this ability, throwing a smoke grenade is virtually the same as gaining full cover on the battlefield. Just imagine if you already had cover and dropped another 40 Defense on top of that.

Combat Drugs

Smoke Grenades now contain powerful stimulants that grant +20 Will and +10% Critical Chance for all units in the cloud.

This ability just doesn't seem as powerful as Dense Smoke. Usually, you won't know your Willpower is in a bad place until your soldiers are already panicked. It will help prevent them from continuing to panic on further turns, but the damage is already done by that point. The +10% Critical Chance is a small amount by this point in the game, but every bit can count if you can reach 100% Critical Chance on a few of your soldiers.

Major

Deep Pockets

All limited-use items in your inventory receive one extra use.

This ability got toned down a little in the Enemy Within expansion. It used to give you an extra inventory slot. Now a foundry upgrade gives the extra inventory slot. Deep Pockets can take all those one use items and add another use. This will add one more use to your medikits. With Field Medic, this will bump up to four uses per mission. It also includes two uses of a grenade or a third use of the Arc Thrower.

Colonel

Savior

Medikits restore four more health per use.

Medikits are already powerful in the hands of a Support soldier, why not make them even better? The foundry can also research a medikit upgrade to add even more bonus health to the amount healed by the medikit. Once you've reached this point, you can heal soldiers from near death to full health. With Revive, you can bring back a soldier and on a subsequent turn, heal them back into fighting shape.

Sentinel

Allows two reaction shots during Overwatch, instead of only one.

Remember how the Support abilities keep stacking? This and Covering Fire are a fine example. You can go into Overwatch and take two shots at attackers before they even fire. This soldier almost reaches the point of being more useful offering Overwatch than actually firing on his turn.

How to build the Support?

Either you choose to go with a Support character that can heal troops from virtually dead to fighting shape or you can go with a Support soldier that can provide excellent battlefield support with Covering Fire and Sentinel. This is why taking two or more Support soldiers in one squad can't hurt. They don't have the damage that the Heavy does, or the maneuverability of the Assault, but they bring excellent balance to your squad and do exactly what they say, Support.

Check out additional Build guides to complete your squad.

  • Sniper
  • Heavy
  • Assault
  • MEC Trooper
  • Gene Modifications

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 Sep. 8th 2017

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