The various characters, classes and alien types found in ''VideoGame/XCOMEnemyUnknown''.


[[folder:XCOM Base Personnel and The Council of Nations]]
!Central Officer John Bradford
[[caption-width-right:250:"It's not an easy decision, Commander, but it's one you'll have to make."]]
->'''Voiced by:''' David Hoffman (Enemy Unknown), Creator/BrianBloom (XCOM 2)

Serving as the middleman between the Commander and the rest of XCOM, Bradford communicates your orders to everyone else and performs the administrative work, leaving you free to focus on defending Earth. In addition, he coordinates XCOM field operations, monitors the strategic situation and gathers intel on possible alien activity from XCOM's Mission Control center.
* TheBrigadier
* TheGenericGuy: Not much in the way of personality, but at least he keeps the project running. He is the quintessential military man: polite, professional, efficient, and that's exactly what works against him.
* HiddenSupplies: [[spoiler: Keeps a handgun in a secret compartment under one of the control panels near the Geoscape. Turns out to be a reasonable precaution during Base Defense.]]
* TheKirk: To [[TheMcCoy Dr. Shen]] and [[TheSpock Dr. Vahlen]].
* MissionControl: Coordinates all XCOM field operations from Mission Control.
* NomDeGuerre: "Central".
* NumberTwo: To the PlayerCharacter.
* OhCrap: [[spoiler:Almost says one when XCOM HQ is attacked and he manages to re-establish a connection to Delta section... and learns that Delta is going to take the brunt of the attack.]]
* StraightMan: To [[OlderAndWiser Dr.]] [[CoolOldGuy Shen]] and [[ForScience Dr]]. [[OmnidisciplinaryScientist Vahlen]]. Both are quite smart and speak with a certain level of seriousness during missions, while Bradford is quite ignorant and likes to crack the occasional joke.
* TookALevelInBadass:
** In ''Enemy Within'', he ''beats the crap'' out of [[spoiler: a mind-controlled operator during the base defense mission]].
** [[spoiler: If you fail the Base Defense mission, there is a cutscene where the XCOM command center is shown in ruins. Bradford's body and pistol are seen lying near the Hologlobe console, next to a dead Sectoid that seems to have been [[TakingYouWithMe shot at close range]].]]
** In the first mission of VideoGame/XCOM2, he [[spoiler:personally takes to the field to extract the commander]].

!Dr. Moira Vahlen
[[caption-width-right:257:"These weapons... these abuses of science, we still have an opportunity to use them for a greater good."]]
->'''Voiced by:''' Creator/MoiraQuirk

XCOM's Chief Scientist, Dr. Vahlen and her team of scientists are responsible for all research and development carried out under XCOM's auspices. She also oversees the "[[EnhancedInterrogationTechniques interrogation]]" of captured aliens.
* BewareTheNiceOnes: Officer Bradford mentions that Dr. Vahlen may not look like it, but she is without a ''doubt'' the worst nightmare for any captured aliens that get brought back to the base. She calls interrogating the Elite Muton "dangerous and exhilarating", though this may just be her eagerness ForScience. In ''Enemy Within'', [[spoiler: she applies these interrogation methods to the captured EXALT operative as well.]]
* TheDanza: Her voice actress is also named Moira.
* DeadpanSnarker: Shows a dry wit on occasion, such as her autopsy report on the Muton:
--> This is the most physically aggressive specimen we've encountered so far, which the troops 'fondly' refer to as the "Muton". I can only assume there's a colorful back story for such a designation.
* ForScience: Downplayed. She's always eager and interested in what she's researching, no matter how morally questionable, and will be annoyed if soldiers use explosives (which destroys valuable research material). She's also the inventor of the alien "[[EnhancedInterrogationTechniques interrogation]]" device and personally oversees each interrogation. That said, she'll also thank soldiers for the risks they take in recovering live specimens, acknowledge that their survival can come before retrieving research materials and is disgusted by the aliens' callousness and their misuse of their advanced technology, which could have been used to do so much good.
** In ''Enemy Within'', she's appalled at how badly mutated the EXALT Elites are. While she does experiment on XCOM soldiers, she never goes that far.
** Played straight in the second game's DLC "Alien Hunters''. [[spoiler:She inadvertently creates the alien rulers by reactivating genetic markers that the Elders had previously disabled, just to see what would happen. She openly laments later that the commander wasn't around to temper her scientific zeal, as they used to.]]
* [[HerrDoktor Frau Doktor]]: She even gets to show off her German in the tutorial mission.
* HotScientist
* IconicItem: Vahlen is constantly prodding at the tablet tucked under her arm.
* JackBauerInterrogationTechnique: Aliens always give up information when Vahlen interrogates them... and they also never survive the questioning. Ultimately, it's less about torture and more about invasive brain scanning: shoving special devices into cranial cavities and scanning.
** It's quite telling that she earned a reputation for this - persisting to the sequel, ''twenty years later''.
* JustThinkOfThePotential: Vahlen is about as transhumanist as you can get, whereas Shen is less gung-ho about the prospect.
* MadScientist: Downplayed: she's definitely a lot more gung-ho about [[ForScience SCIENCE!]] than [[TheProfessor Dr. Shen]], though she does insist on [[TortureTechnician personally overseeing]] [[BewareTheNiceOnes any interrogation attempts]]. [[spoiler:During the events of XCOM2's Alien Rulers DLC, she is revealed to have accidentally awakened a number of extremely powerful aliens that the Elders had sealed away as a result of her studies in xenobiology without the moderating influences of Shen and the Commander]].
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: Her reaction in the second game's Alien Hunter DLC [[spoiler:When she realizes subject gamma has escaped, is communicating with Vipers and breeding. She laments how if the commander had been around, they'd rightfully never would have allowed her to do such experiments that led to gamma's creation.]]
* OmnidisciplinaryScientist: She is in charge of both alien autopsies (xeno-biology) and interrogations (psychology). Also, she can reverse engineer and discover the basic principles behind captured alien weaponry and devices (electronics and engineering). Might be explained in that she is the head researcher working with other scientists that might covers the fields that she is not an expert on: she's smart enough to understand their conclusions while not necessarily getting in to the details of their methods.
* PutOnABus: Disappeared during the invasion in ''X-Com 2'', and remains hidden for the game's duration. [[spoiler: TheBusCameBack for the Alien Hunter DLC.]]
* ScienceFoils: With Dr. Shen. They are both scientists, but Vahlen is analytical/destructive while Shen is creative/constructive. Also, they represent two different approaches to science: the younger Vahlen is against any restrictions on research and while she acknowledges that her work may be used for evil, she firmly believes that everything will sort itself out--somehow; the OlderAndWiser Shen, meanwhile, is much more cautious about the inevitable repercussions of their work. The game's plot ultimately lets the players decide for themselves whose attitude is correct.
* [[TheSmartGuy The Smart Girl]]
* TheSpock: Opposed to [[TheMcCoy Shen]], Vahlen favors utilizing as much of the might of the alien technology as possible, as logically, it would give humanity the best chances to to beat them.
* TortureTechnician: She personally oversees all interrogations of aliens. In ''Enemy Within'', some of the in-game dialogue indicates that she did the same to the EXALT operative captured during the first mission in ''Operation Progeny''.
* WhatTheHellHero: Both Bradford and Tygan in the sequel [[spoiler:openly wonder what could've motivated Vahlen to make the alien rulers. In particular Bradford will wonder why she felt the need to modify a ''berserker'']]
* WhatTheHellIsThatAccent: Her accent remains consistent throughout the game, and she does use German phrases, but it doesn't quite ''sound'' German. There's a bit of French in there too. [[FridgeBrilliance So she could be Swiss, from the Rhineland, or Alsacien.]]

!Dr. Raymond Shen
[[caption-width-right:300:"We have to keep moving forward with the project, but the thought of treading the same path as the aliens... is troubling."]]
->'''Voiced by:''' François Chau

XCOM's Chief Engineer, he and his team of engineers manufacture everything XCOM may require, ranging from Medikits to Satellites. They are also responsible for maintaining and expanding XCOM's HQ and its fleet of aircraft.
* [[AmbiguouslyBrown Ambiguously Asian]]: Has a subtle maybe-Chinese accent and his last name is Chinese, but we can't get more specific than that. XCOM 2 reveals he is from Taiwan.
* BaldOfAwesome
* CoolOldGuy
* CyberneticsEatYourSoul: He is especially offended by the extent to which some of the aliens have been genetically altered or augmented with machinery, and questions whether humanity is headed in the same direction.
** ''Enemy Within'' has him as very interested in the application of Meld to create MEC Troopers, in contrast to his fear of cybernetic enhancement that still shows up when Floaters are introduced, which would make him a hypocrite but for the fact that his team specifically designs the MEC Troopers to be able to reintegrate into human society after the war, while it's obvious the aliens have no such concerns. His position is essentially that radical augmentation that destroys what you are without any possibility of normal life is evil, and does his best to avoid that with XCOM soldiers.
* DeadManWriting: Leaves one for Lily in XCOM 2's "Shen's last Gift" alongside the SPARK Prototype, [[spoiler:explaining that he built it for her, and telling her he's proud of her.]]
* TheEngineer: He's the head of XCOM's entire engineering team.
* MadeOfIron: During the [[spoiler: invasion of XCOM HQ]] in ''Enemy Within'', he's perfectly fine after [[spoiler: being right next to an explosion]].
* MagnumOpus: InUniverse, Dr. Shen states that out of everything he built for XCOM, the [[CoolPlane Firestorm]] is what he is most proud of.
** In VideoGame/{{XCOM 2}}, where he never got to build the Firestorm, it's the Avenger - though he doesn't live to see it fly.
* TheMcCoy: Opposed to [[TheSpock Vahlen]], Shen has a much more carious view on utilizing the alien technology, as he has ethical concerns that humanity might drift towards becoming too much like the aliens if restraint is not applied in how it is used.
* NoTranshumanismAllowed: When you discover Psionics, he comments on how XCOM may be going too far. This position is tweaked in ''Enemy Within'' to cautious-but-optimistic.
* PosthumousCharacter: In VideoGame/{{XCOM 2}}, where he died of old age after setting up the Avenger, his daughter steps into his shoes. He's often mentioned by her and Central, and the achievement for fully upgrading the Avenger is called "Shen's Legacy".
* TheProfessor: This is the guy that takes maybe ''ten seconds'' looking at a chunk of Outsider crystal whilst listening to Dr. Vahlen's technobabble, and figures out that it's an antenna or receiver of some kind.
* ScienceFoils: With Dr. Vahlen. See her entry for details.

!The Council
[[caption-width-right:350:"Your efforts will have considerable effects on this planet's future. We urge you to keep that in mind as you proceed."]]
->'''Voiced by:''' Jon Bailey

The Council of Nations is the financial backer behind the XCOM project, comprised of [[MultinationalTeam 16 member countries and their allies]]. They provide funding, operative recruits, scientists and engineers for the common defense of Earth. They also occasionally request XCOM's assistance with special matters. Keeping members in the Council is a vital long term objective of the game. If too many members leave, you lose. They are represented by the mysterious Council spokesman.
* BadassBaritone: He's voiced by John Bailey, aka the Epic Voice Guy, so this is a given. It's up in the air how skilled the spokesman is in combat, but he's clearly a high-ranking politician of great renown.
* BaldOfAwesome: While he comes across as very sinister with his shaved head, hidden face, and deep voice, [[ReasonableAuthorityFigure he is generally supportive of XCOM's successes, and understanding even with the failures.]]
* CatchPhrase: The Council spokesman spokesman has a few -
-->Good luck, Commander.
-->We'll be in touch, Commander.
-->Remember, [[BigBrotherIsWatching we will be watching.]]
* DividedWeFall: Invoked to punish the player. If you don't keep worldwide panic levels in check, countries ''will'' withdraw from the Council, taking potential funding and their continental bonus with it (you need EVERY country on a continent to have satellite coverage to secure the bonus[[note]]unless it's the continent XCOM HQ is on[[/note]]). If half or more of the Council withdraw, the XCOM project is terminated and [[ApocalypseHow its game over for you, and the human race]].
* TheFaceless: The Council spokesman's face is always obscured in shadow, forever making his identity a mystery.
* GameOverMan: Fail to keep the allies happy, and he'll close the book on XCOM and announce Earth's new alliance with the invaders.
* TheMenInBlack: The Council spokesman looks like one.
* MultinationalTeam: Members include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, South Africa, the United States and the United Kingdom.
* MysteriousEmployer: There is really very little known about who exactly you are taking orders and funding from[[labelnote:*]]Because you're ''not'' taking orders from the Council at all: XCOM is essentially an independent organization that ''answers to'' the Council. While the Council can recommend missions to help XCOM out and provides funding, they have literally no control over how the organization is run by design: XCOM is free to pursue their agenda, accept and decline missions, and the Council has to abide those decisions. It makes sense in that if the Council ''could'' control XCOM, they would never get anything done: XCOM would have to deal with the bickering and politicking that would be normal in an international group, and every country would be able to threaten to withdraw if XCOM did come protect them ''right now''.[[/labelnote]].
* OmniscientCouncilOfVagueness: Of the good kind.
* PuppetKing: In the game over sequence, the spokesman disavows all connection with the XCOM operatives and writes it off as one big "misunderstanding." The camera pans to show a Sectoid Commander feeding him those lines via hypnosis.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Is generally positive and optimistic about you, saying they're sure you'll improve when Council Missions go wrong and are O.K. with less-than-perfection in monthly reports, only saying that XCOM is clearly not going well if you mess up the month ''really'' hard. They also understand the GodzillaThreshold is in play, and [[HeroInsurance disregard any collateral damage to buildings and vehicles]] that occurs during XCOM operations.


[[folder:Council Mission [=VIPs=]]]
! General
* EscortMission: They're the ones being escorted. Since you have direct control over them, the usual AI problems don't crop up, but they're very fragile (only 3 Health) and don't carry weapons.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: Despite their extraction missions or statements having foreseeable future implications, you never learn any new information relating to them and they are never even mentioned again, whether they are successfully extracted or not.

!Anna Sing
The only person to escape alien captivity, her extraction may allow XCOM to find out what the aliens are doing with their abductees.
* AlienAbduction: The only escapee.
* BreakTheCutie: What she saw affected her horribly.
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome: She's completely removed from the game when ''Enemy Within'' is installed, because her story conflicts with Operation Progeny.
* HeroicBSOD: She's in the middle of a breakdown when XCOM catches up to her.
* SoleSurvivor: Presumably.

!General Peter Van Doorn
A UN official trapped by an alien attack. The death or abduction of such a prominent and high-ranking officer would cause widespread panic. XCOM must extract him to prevent this.
* AFatherToHisMen: He's quite unhappy about the casualties his troops have suffered and hopes he'll get the chance to pay the aliens back in kind.
* FourStarBadass: While he's not any tougher than the other [=VIPs=], one of his soldiers says he went ahead to rescue a wounded soldier when the aliens attacked.
** The ''[[VideoGame/XCOMlongwar Long War]]'' GameMod actually takes it a step further: if he survives the rescue mission, he'll ''resign his post'' at the UN so he can join XCOM and kick ass with the team that saved him.
* IShallTauntYou: While you're rescuing him, he enthusiastically shouts out insults at the aliens.

!Thomas Hutch
A politician and friend of the Council, he has come under attack from the aliens. Extracting him would mean increased support for XCOM.
* LosingTheTeamSpirit: When the aliens started shooting, Hutch started running. He's on the other side of the map from the start while his vehicle is about a third of the way.

!Sgt. Patrick Carlock
A combat engineer, he believes he has found proof that the aliens have contaminated the local water supply. He and his data must be safely extracted in order to conduct further investigation.
* CallBack: He's found proof that the local water supplies have been contaminated by aliens. [[spoiler:[[VideoGame/TheBureauXCOMDeclassified This isn't the first time it's happened.]]]]
* TheEngineer

!William Thorne
A politician suspected of collusion with the aliens. The Council has requested that he be extracted for interrogation.
* TheQuisling: What the Council thinks he is, though he fervently denies it.

!Dr. Hongou Marazuki
A civilian scientist who has been tracking [=UFOs=]. His knowledge of and data on UFO activity makes him a target for the aliens and valuable to XCOM.
* TheProfessor

[[folder:XCOM Soldiers]]
->Few will survive to see the end of this conflict. Fewer still will possess the skills necessary to end it.
-->-- '''Council Spokesman'''

!In General:
* BadassNormal: Normal men and women fighting evil aliens. In ''Enemy Unknown'', they don't get to be genetically or cybernetically enhanced, but they *do* get PoweredArmor and {{Plasma Cannon}}s. in ''Enemy Within'', they can be, but it's up to you.
** EmpoweredBadassNormal: If they have "[[CapitalLettersAreMagic The Gift]]", they can be trained to make use of PsychicPowers.
* ColdHam: Cool, collected, and say some really hammy things.
* MultinationalTeam: Recruited from all over the world. They don't leave if their controlling nation pulls out either.
* PurelyAestheticGender: The soldiers you hire can be male or female but the only thing this affects is their character model and voice snippets.
* SuperSoldier: They can be tested for psionics, which, if they have "The Gift", allows them to weaponize their thoughts.
** In ''Enemy Within'', they can be modified with alien DNA and Meld to increase their survavibility and/or grant them special abilities. Or turned into cyborg MiniMecha pilots.
* WeAllLiveInAmerica: The only two voice clips are an American male and an American female.
* WhyDidItHaveToBeSnakes: They have a chance to Panic if things go downhill. Such as massive casualties, being Intimidated by a Muton-derivative, or getting {{Mind Rape}}d by an enemy using Mindfray or Psi-Panic.

Constantly outclassed, outgunned and/or outnumbered, these green recruits are nonetheless XCOM's most valuable resource. With experience, the raw, untapped potential within each one could become exactly what is needed to save mankind. All Rookies are equipped with [[JackOfAllStats assault rifles]] and {{handguns}}, and are only issued more specialized weaponry and equipment once they have gained sufficient combat experience.
* ATeamFiring: It's not unusual, particularly on the higher difficulties, for rookies to miss. [[RandomNumberGod A lot]]. It's especially not unusual to have every rookie you brought along unleash their barrage on a single Sectoid (the weakest enemy in the game), only for every single round to miss.
* ElitesAreMoreGlamorous: Despite their lack of ability compared to higher ranked units, all XCOM soldiers are specifically recruited from the elite units of the various militaries around the world. They are the best of the best, but working with XCOM makes them ''even better''.
* MagikarpPower: Even the mightiest Colonel started out as a Rookie at some point. Unless you bought the "New Guy" upgrade, in which case they all start as Squaddies.
* MasterOfNone: They lack any special traits to their complete misfortune.
* RedShirt: On higher difficulties, or just if the RandomNumberGod takes exception to you, expect to go through a lot of them. Often {{invoked}} since a player is likely to consider a grunt with no special abilities to be more expendable than an experienced soldier that they've been grooming for several missions into an elite (read: valuable) killing machine.

[[caption-width-right:168:"Moving at the speed of death!"]]
Front-line units specializing in offense and mobility, allowing them to close in on the enemy and flank more easily. They can be equipped with either assault rifles for mid-range combat or {{shotguns|AreJustBetter}} for close encounters.
* CloseRangeCombatant: The domain of the Assault, being able to wield {{Short Range Shotgun}}s or the somewhat farther-ranged [[JackOfAllStats assault rifles]]. Their abilities on the right side are used for offensive bonuses and abilities requiring the Assault to close in, flank, and CriticalHit aliens dead. The left side's defensive bonuses are a bit less strict in their application, but still generally benefit the Assault in trying to see aliens eye-to-eye (and then shooting them).
* CriticalHitClass: They're some of the best at inflicting Critical Hits, since they'll be flanking quite often and shotguns come with above average critical chance rates. The right side of their ability tree is full of bonuses relating to it:
** The Corporal "Aggression" passive ability grants 10% critical chance for every enemy the Assault can see, up to 30%.
** The Sergeant "Close and Personal" passive ability grants 30% critical chance against adjacent targets, diminishing with increasing distance. Changed in ''Enemy Within'' to "Up Close and Personal", giving the Assault a free shot when they're within 4 tiles of the enemy, though it doesn't work if "Run & Gun" is active.
** The Captain "Bring 'Em On" passive ability adds up to 1 damage to critical hits for every enemy the squad sees, up to 5.
** And lastly, the Colonel "Killer Instinct" passive ability adds 50% critical damage from activating Run & Gun for the rest of the turn.
** [[InvertedTrope On the flip side]], the Colonel "Resilience" passive ability makes them immune to Critical Hits.
* CrazyAwesome: In-universe, going by their nicknames. Most Assaults end up with nicknames - which are usually given by their comrades - that essentially state that ''this guy/gal is totally crazy.''
* DeathOrGloryAttack: About three-fourth's of the Assaults tactics involve one version of this or another. If the Assault succeeds, he does devastating damage to an enemy. If the Assault misses, isn't supported, or gets bad orders, he's going to be in a position where enemy fire will tear him apart. i.e. ending a chain of attacks and movement right next to a Berserker who is still clinging to life and ''very'' unhappy.
* DesignatedPointMan: The Assault's special abilities emphasize survivability while charging into unknown terrain, making them the perfect point men for breaching doors and generally running headlong into danger.
* DifficultButAwesome: The Assault's shotguns. While the Assault Rifle would be a better choice in the lower difficulties, the Shotgun is a must in Impossible. In the Impossible difficulty an instant kill is worth its weight in gold, and the Assault Rifle cannot reliably provide that, (even with a flank!) while the Shotgun can. The Shotgun however requires careful placement of your Assault so that he's up in the face of one alien while concealed from the rest, which requires knowledge of how the cover and concealment mechanic works.
* DodgeTheBullet: Their Sergeant "Lightning Reflexes" passive ability lets them dodge the first Overwatch shot made at them per turn[[note]]for example, if an Assault makes a movement that would trigger multiple but non-simultaneous reaction shots, the first one is a guaranteed miss[[/note]], allowing them to close with the enemy by going ''through'' their field of fire.
* LightningBruiser: The "Run & Gun" ability gives them double speed for a turn without sacrificing stopping power, while the Sergeant "Lightning Reflexes" passive ability lets them avoid the first reaction shot that targets them per turn. They also tend to be some of the toughest soldiers in the squad, as noted in MadeOfIron. Being {{Close Range Combatant}}s, they tend to ''need'' that toughness, because they're more likely to be targeted than a midrange Heavy or Support or a [[LongRangeFighter long-range Sniper]].
* MadeOfIron: Has the highest health gain from level ups out of all the classes. Colonel-ranked Assaults are likely to be the toughest soldiers in XCOM, especially if certain abilities are chosen:
** The Corporal "Tactical Sense" passive ability gives them more Defense for each enemy in sight, up to partial cover-level bonus for 4 enemies.
** The Major "Extra Conditioning" passive ability give them extra health, increasing based on the type of armor they're wearing. [[note]]1 HP for basic Body Armor, 4 HP for Titan and Archangel Armor, and 2 HP for everything else.[[/note]]
** The Colonel "Resilience" passive ability makes them immune to critical hits.
* MagikarpPower: The Assault's abilities that affect critical chance require consistent investment to be reliable and tend to be overkill against the earlier aliens, which are likely to be {{One Hit Kill}}ed even with the basic shotgun anyway (though said abilities become more crucial on [[HarderThanHard Impossible]], as all but the Sectoids require more than one non-critical shot to kill), whilst simultaneously being inadequate for {{One Hit Kill}}ing Mutons and Chryssalids on any difficulty. After the Assault has access to a Scatter Laser and the "Bring 'Em On" passive ability, though, they'll become unmatched at running up to things and obliterating them with one shot[[note]]so long as they're not immune to critical hits[[/note]]. In contrast, the Assault's defense abilities pretty much always come in handy and require no prior investment to be useful.
** The ''Second Wave'' "Absolutely Critical" modifier guarantees critical hits against flanked targets, which means less investment is required.
* RefugeInAudacity: Many of the Assault's tactics run on this. Charging straight through enemy fire (possibly even deliberately provoking it so that allies can safely move), rushing into point-blank range, often vaulting over enemy cover to shove a shotgun into their face, all the while getting greater defensive and offensive boosts because of how many enemies they're dealing with, and then shrugging off half the damage they'd take from the inevitable enemy retaliation is all in a day's work for the Assault trooper.
* ShotgunsAreJustBetter: The Assault class is the only unit in the entire game, alien, XCOM or EXALT that can equip shotguns, which are cool enough, but the final shotgun-type weapon, the Alloy Cannon, is the only weapon in the entire game that glows orange. It works on a completely different technology than any of the other plasma-tier weapons, including the ones that the ''aliens themselves have made'', making it possibly the most advanced and unique hand-held weapon in XCOM's arsenal.

[[caption-width-right:203:"Oh, let it rain!"]]
[[{{BFG}} Heavy Weapons]] and [[StuffBlowingUp explosives]] specialists, these guys get [[MoreDakka machine guns of various flavours]] and [[StuffBlowingUp a rocket launcher]].
* ATeamFiring: Their light machine guns deal damage comparable to sniper rifles, but can still be fired after moving. However, the Heavy's Aim stat is the lowest out of all the classes and their shots will only become reliable at much later levels and a S.C.O.P.E. on-hand. While their rockets are more accurate, there's always that 10% chance to miss... that is visually shown by the Heavy blatantly aiming off-target.
* CrutchCharacter:
** The Heavy's high accuracy cover-destroying rocket(s) and ability to fire twice or perform an action after firing with "Bullet Swarm", or boost Aim by 10 against a single target with "Holo-Targeting" are invaluable when your soldiers are still unreliable shots. The high damage of their [=LMGs=] and the utility and area-of-effect of said rockets means they're still useful to any squad much later in the game, but they aren't quite as much of a godsend then.
** At a more specific level, your first soldier to be promoted from Rookie will be the Heavy that survives the disastrous first mission. As your first ranked soldier, he'll likely carry your team until your other units level up.
** Averted in higher difficulty levels, where they can be seen as SupportPartyMember. The Heavy's ability to deal reliable HerdHittingAttack is valuable enough in cleaning out the lesser aliens (who graduated to DemonicSpiders status), but their biggest utility is in destroying covers, leaving the aliens exposed to your Snipers team and worse.
** They're also your best bets against a Sectopod, one of, if not the greatest threats in the late game. Area damage suppression lets them take down the Sectopod's support and cripple their aim. Bullet Swarm and HEAT Ammo gives them unparalleled Damage output and their own durability, boosted by Will To Survive gives them the best chance of survival against one.
* {{Determinator}}: The basis of their "Will To Survive" ability, which reduces any incoming damage by 2 as long as they are in cover and aren't flanked.
* {{Handguns}}: [[AvertedTrope Averted.]] Heavies are the only basic soldier class to not use pistols.
* MightyGlacier: The Corporal "Bullet Swarm" passive ability allows the heavy to trade off mobility for the ability to fire twice in one turn, effectively doubling their damage output. Rocket attacks also require the Heavy to not move in order to use them[[note]]just like Snipers who don't have Snap Shot[[/note]], and can [[HerdHittingAttack waste groups]] of squishier aliens early on or knock down cover to soften up entrenched enemies in later stages. While Assaults tend to have higher health from Extra Conditioning, Heavies have innate damage resistance, with Will to Survive, equally the maximum bonus in 2 hits taken, and exceeding it with any more.
* MoreDakka: They wield light machine guns, which put out even more rounds if the Sergeant "Suppression" active ability is used. It puts out so much dakka that it has the lowest number of shots before requiring reloading out of all the main weapons.
** With the Corporal "Bullet Swarm" passive ability, they can fire twice per turn.
** The Lieutenant "Rapid Reaction" passive ability lets the Heavy fire a second reaction shot if their first shot on Overwatch hits.
* PinnedDown: If the Sergeant "Suppression" active ability is chosen, they can do this to any target of their choice for 1 turn. It does consume twice as much ammo as firing normally, but it reduces the target's Aim by 30 and grants the Heavy a reaction shot should the target move.
** The Captain "Danger Zone" passive ability increases Suppression's area-of-effect by two tiles.
** The Colonel "Mayhem" passive ability adds 1-3 damage to all affected targets based off the tech level of the Heavy's weapon.
* StuffBlowingUp: The unique purview of the Heavy, with the abilities to match.
** At the Squaddie rank, they can launch rockets with the "Fire Rocket" active ability. Does 6 damage to targets hit, fires in a straight line and can be blocked by terrain, always has a 90% to-hit chance, requires the Heavy to not move or fire during the turn to use, and can only be fired once a mission. Can cause UnfriendlyFire. Equipping them with a Blaster Launcher increases damage to 9 and allows it to fire around terrain.
** Sergeants can get the "Shredder Rocket" active ability, which does 4 damage (2 less damage than a regular rocket) and increases damage dealt to affected targets by 33% for the next 4 turns. Otherwise identical to regular rockets, though a separate rocket supply is used. Equipping a Blaster Launcher upgrades it similarly to regular rockets.
** The Lieutenant's "HEAT Ammo" (High-Explosive Anti-Tank) passive ability doubles ''all'' damage they deal to robotic enemies (Cyberdiscs, Drones and Sectopods), which tend to make even more explosions when they die. {{Nerf}}ed in ''Enemy Within'' to a 50% damage bonus instead, due to the addition of more mechanical/robotic enemies.
** A Captain may choose between "Grenadier" or "Danger Zone" passive abilities, the former granting two grenades instead of one if the Heavy equips a grenade, the latter giving the "Suppression" active ability and all rocket attacks an area-of-effect two tiles greater.
** At the Colonel rank, a Heavy can get "Rocketeer" for an extra shot per mission to the "Fire Rocket" ability (and "Shredder Rocket", if chosen earlier) or "Mayhem" to add 1-3 damage to "Suppression" and all area-of-effect abilities based off their weapon's tech level.

[[caption-width-right:241:"There's something on your face... '''*[[BoomHeadshot boom]]*''' Got it."]]
Expert marksmen, they specialize in accurately dealing extreme damage at extreme range with {{sniper rifle}}s and can also use [[ImprobableAimingSkills special shots]] to hinder enemies.
* ATeamFiring: Snipers have an aim penalty when aiming at targets in close proximity to them. Generally signified by them taking their time to zero in their a truck instead of the chyrssalid in their face.
* BlastingItOutOfTheirHands: [[DownplayedTrope Downplayed]] with their Disabling Shot ability. They take a shot at the enemy's weapon for minimal damage, forcing them to reload their next turn.
* BoomHeadshot: The first ability they learn, in fact, granting +30% Critical chance and extra damage on a CriticalHit, depending on the tech level of the sniper rifle wielded.
* ColdSniper: In-universe, according to some possible nicknames. What else are you supposed to assume about someone nicknamed "Ice"?
* CriticalHitClass: Their sniper rifles have the highest base Critical chance out of all weapons. Further enhanced by some abilities. The "Headshot" active ability gives their shot an extra +30% Critical chance and extra CriticalHit damage. The Captain "Opportunist" passive ability lets the Sniper CriticalHit on reaction shots. Combine these with the ''Second Wave'' "Absolutely Critical" modifier to turn the Sniper into an endless font of exploding heads.
* DoNotRunWithAGun: Without the Corporal "Snap Shot" passive ability, Snipers are incapable of firing their sniper rifles on a turn on which they first moved, though they can fire their pistol after moving. However, Snap Shot snipers take a whopping ''-20'' Aim penalty to sniper rifle shots made after moving! ''Enemy Within'' reduces the penalty to -10 Aim, making it more viable.
* FinishingMove: The Captain "Executioner" passive ability aids the Sniper in this, gaining +10 Aim against enemies at 50% or lower health.
* GeoEffects: The Sergeant "Damn Good Ground" passive ability lets the Sniper benefit further from this, gaining an extra +10 Aim and Defense for being at a higher elevation level than their target. They also benefit the most from the Depth Perception gene mod.
* GlassCannon: Their health is the lowest of all the classes, but they can dish out a lot of damage.
* {{Handguns}}: While all XCOM soldiers aside from Heavies pack sidearms, the sniper will probably be the class that uses them most frequently, [[DoNotRunWithAGun since they cannot fire sniper rifles in the same turn that they move]], and the "Gunslinger" Sergeant passive ability even boosts their pistol damage by 2 -- which, considering that it's also the ''only'' pistol-specific ability for XCOM soldiers, actually makes Snipers the best pistol users among the four classes.
* KillStreak: The Colonel's "In The Zone" passive ability sets up a flanking Sniper to do this; a shot that kills an enemy that was uncovered or flanked by the Sniper does not take up an action, potentially letting the Sniper fire and kill over and over again[[note]]or as with the Heavy's "Bullet Swarm" passive, fire and move, or fire and reload, or fire and Hunker Down[[/note]]. Rather conveniently, such tends to be the case with melee enemies, making them your potential best Chryssalid killers in the late game.
* ImprobableAimingSkills:
** The farther and thus more improbable a shot is, ''the more accurate the sniper rifle becomes''. Combine with Squad Sight for some ''really'' long-distance shots.
* LongRangeFighter: As one likely expect from a Sniper. Unlike all other weapons, sniper rifles are ''less'' accurate the closer the target is. The left side of the Sniper's abilities helps alleviate this weakness, but placing a Sniper right next to an alien still probably isn't going to work out that well. Moreover, the synergy of the "Squad Sight"[[note]]allows the Sniper to fire the Sniper Rifle at enemies within the sight radius of a Battle Scanner or a teammate nearer to that enemy so long as line of sight from the sniper to that enemy isn't otherwise blocked; such enemies are indicated with a little yellow "crosshair reticle" over their icon when the Sniper is selected[[/note]] and "Opportunist"[[note]]removes the Aim penalty on Overwatch reaction shots and allows reaction shots to be critical hits[[/note]] abilities allows for shots and situations that would be impossible for any other class.
* MagikarpPower: The Sniper starts out unable to fire their sniper rifles after moving and a "Headshot" ability that tends to not reliably grant critical hits against targets in cover, while the extra damage granted is usually overkill against early-game enemies. Colonel Snipers have the highest Aim in the game and will either outflank aliens and score a KillStreak of {{One Hit Kill}}s with the "Snap Shot" and "In The Zone" passive abilities, or kill enemies from across the map with "Squadsight", which allows the Sniper to shoot at enemies any of the squad sees, barring any obstacles blocking the shot (with Archangel Armor to fly up to the highest vantage point possible, they can do so without ever moving from their starting location!). Both will slaughter aliens with contemptuous ease and be difficult to hit wherever they take cover due to the Major "Low Profile" passive ability making any cover they use count as full.
* MightyGlacier: A properly-specced high-level sniper is potentially ''the'' deadliest force on the battlefield, capable of downing a half-dozen aliens in a single turn, but they can't move and use their sniper rifle in the same turn, so positioning them properly at the beginning of the fight is crucial.
* SniperPistol: Typically with Squad Sight, only sniper rifles can target enemies outside the Sniper's personal range. However, an enemy triggering an Overwatch will still make that Sniper fire, even if they have their pistol equipped and the enemy is across the map. Yes, they can use their pistols for sniping, but only when they act on reflex.

[[caption-width-right:169:"This? Oh, ''it's'' gonna hurt!"]]
A CombatMedic[=/=]Fire Support specialist with support skills like smoke grenades and the ability to carry more gear. They wield versatile assault rifles.
* CombatMedic: The left side of their abilities emphasizes the latter word, the right emphasizes the former. For the former:
** The Corporal "Covering Fire" passive ability allows Supports to activate Overwatch when enemies fire in addition to moving.
** Lieutenant Supports can get the "Rifle Suppression" active ability, elaborated in PinnedDown below.
** The Colonel "Sentinel" passive ability allows the Support to fire two reaction shots on Overwatch instead of just one.
* DrJerk: Some of the lines when using a medkit fall into this territory.
** "Rub some dirt into it, ya wimp."
*** It seems that the more a Support gets promoted, the less this happens. Instead, he or she will give inspiring one liners like "Nothing's broken. You're fine." or "You'll be back in the fight ASAP"
* JackOfAllStats: They tend to be average in most respects compared to the other classes, except movement speed if the Corporal "Sprinter" passive ability (increases walking range by 3 tiles and dashing range by an extra 3 tiles) is chosen. Their assault rifles also tend to be middle of the road in all stats. The "Deep Pockets" passive ability learned at Major rank also enhances their potential versatility.
* TheMedic: Technically, ''any'' class can use Medikits, but only the Support has abilities that emphasize this part of their job description:
** The Sergeant "Field Medic" passive ability gives them 3 uses of the Medikit instead of just 1.
** The Lieutenant "Revive" active ability lets them revive critically wounded soldiers at 33% of their max health instead of just stabilizing them.
** The Major "Deep Pockets" passive ability in ''Enemy Within'' adds an additional charge to Medikits, among other items. In ''Enemy Unknown'', it only added a second backpack slot. [[note]]The ability was changed as ''Enemy Within'' adds a Foundry project that adds a second backpack slot to all non-MEC troopers. [=MECs=], having no backpack slots anyway, are unaffected.[[/note]]
** The Colonel "Savior" passive ability increases the amount of damage healed by Medikits by 4.
* MoreDakka:
** When the Lieutenant "Rifle Suppression" ability is used, the Support's assault rifle tends to spew a lot of shots, even if it normally only fires a few rounds per attack.
** The Colonel "Sentinel" passive ability lets them fire twice during Overwatch. Combined with the Corporal "Covering Fire" passive ability (which lets them shoot at firing enemies during Overwatch), they can fire off quite a few rounds when Overwatching.
* PinnedDown: If the Lieutenant "Rifle Suppression" active ability is chosen, they can do this to any target of their choice for 1 turn. It does consume more ammo than firing normally, but it reduces the target's Aim by 30 and grants the Support a reaction shot should the target move.
* SmokeOut: The base ability for the Support is a one-use-per-mission "Smoke Grenade" ability, which provides a defensive bonus equal to partial cover for all units in the smoke, allied or enemy. It can be further improved by choosing certain abilities.
** The Sergeant "Smoke and Mirrors" passive ability lets the Support get another use per mission.
** The Captain rank lets the Support get "Dense Smoke" (increased area of effect and increased defensive bonus equal to full cover) or "Combat Drugs" (all units in smoke also gain +20 Will and +10% Critical Strike chance - and, most usefully but [[AllThereInTheManual not documented in-game]], +20 Aim) passive abilities.
* SuperSerum: The Captain rank ability Combat Drugs, which increases the will and critical chance of all soldiers in a smoke grenade.

![=MEC=] Troopers
[[caption-width-right:301: "This armor has its advantages."]]
Brave volunteers who have traded their limbs to give humanity a greater fighting chance, Mechanized Exoskeleton Cybersuit Troopers pilot their [=MECs=] into the fray. Though they take significant resources to prepare, equip, and maintain, the firepower and finesse they bring to the field is unmatched.
* ArtificialLimbs: The soldiers have all traded their regular ones for crude replacements. This is necessary, as when they jump into their {{Mini Mecha}}s, the suit's limbs effectively become their own, allowing incredible mobility and finesse.
* BadassBoast: Unlike the other soldiers, MEC troopers take fire very calmly. If they take a hit that does not breach their remaining bonus armor, certain voice options deride the ineffective fire and, if properly specced, they can [[CounterAttack promptly queue up a devastating retaliatory shot]].
--> Minor damage, at best.
--> It's going to take more than that.
--> That's what armor is for.
* BarrierBustingBlow: The "Kinetic Strike Module" can also be used to punch holes in walls. If any enemy is right behind that wall section, well, it's gonna hurt. Most enemies will be killed outright.
* BeehiveBarrier: Briefly manifests this when hit by enemy attack.
* {{BFG}}: The only kind of weapons they can use, which deal more damage than even the heaviest infantry weapons of the same tier. They burn through their ammo supplies incredibly quickly, though (unless you get the right upgrades).
* BlessedWithSuck[=/=]CursedWithAwesome: They trade all their limbs for cybernetic ones to allow them to interface with the [=MECs=]. Dr. Shen states that the base cybernetic limbs are too clumsy for a soldier to take them into battle, and require better development after the war to ensure the MEC troopers can lead semi-normal lives. However, once they interface with their MEC suits they become stronger, tougher, and faster than any human trooper could possibly be on their own.
* CantCatchUp: MEC Troopers only earn half the experience from kills and often lag far behind in terms of promotion. To avert this, level a soldier normally, ''then'' augment them.
* CombatMedic: The MEC-2 Sentinel "Restorative Mist" Tactical Subsystem makes them one. It heals 4 health (6 with 'Improved Medkits' research) to ''all'' allies within 2 tiles, including itself. Since using Restorative Mist is one of the few abilities that ''doesn't'' bring a MEC Trooper out of "One For All" mode, they can often prove to be as good or better than actual Support troops, depending on the situation.
* CounterAttack: The Colonel "Reactive Targeting Sensors" passive ability lets them automatically shoot back at any enemy that attacks it.
* CyberneticsEatYourSoul: MEC Troopers have a Machine Monotone and replace their combat banter with matter-of-fact acknowledgements. They also lose any PsychicPowers they had or might have been able to get. The upside? They get to run around in a MiniMecha with a BFG for an assault rifle and any other goodies you might have put on said giant robot.
* DiscardAndDraw: Soldiers lose all their abilities and any gene mods they might have when turned into MEC Troopers, though they keep their rank and unlock the associated abilities, as well as their stats (useful, as all classes besides Heavies gain more Aim than cybernetic soldiers in the end). Justified, since they are using completely different equipment from before, and they have much of their body replaced with cybernetics.
* DiskOneNuke: MEC Troopers have extremely powerful weapons and abilities and boast enough health to easy take several shots from even a light plasma rifle, making them the deadliest combatants on the battlefield until Cyberdisks show up. Their absolute effectiveness is countered by their incredible cost (augmenting a soldier and building them a MEC suit is one of the most cost-prohibitive actions in the game) and slow level rate. By the end of the game, they're on par with the rest of your elite soldiers, fulfilling a more specialized role instead of just being the "Destroy-Everything" robot.
* EmpoweredBadassNormal: A soldier needs to be pretty badass to qualify for XCOM in the first place, and once you give that soldier cybernetic enhancements, well...
* EnhancedPunch: MEC Troopers in the ''Enemy Within'' expansion have the option to upgrade their cyborg frames with a "Kinetic Strike Module", which is essentially a rocket-assisted fist. [[PunchedAcrossTheRoom The poor saps who get hit will be sent flying]], and if they hit a car, it immediately ''explodes''.
* FireBreathingWeapon: The MEC-1 Warden "Flamethrower" Tactical Subsystem. It does 6 damage (9 with the "Jellied Elerium" Foundry Project) in a wide radius and has a lasting area effect, and is great for mopping up clustered aliens or keeping melee enemies at bay, with the added bonus of panicking ''any'' organic enemies (including Chryssalids, Berserkers and even Ethereals) in its area of effect that aren't killed outright. Does not work on robots.
* GatlingGood: Their starting Primary Weapon is a handheld minigun.
* GoodCounterpart: To the alien's Mechtoids.
* GoThroughMe: Lieutenant-grade MEC Troopers can take ''One For All'', a skill that effectively turns them into a Hard Cover object until they move or fire their weapons. Additionally, Support troops that undergo MEC surgery gain the passive effect ''Distortion Field'', which gives +10 Defense to nearby allies.
* GrenadeLauncher:
** The MEC-2 Sentinel "Grenade Launcher" Tactical Subsystem. Does 4 damage (5 with the "Alien Grenade" Foundry Project) and has a very long range.
** The MEC-3 Paladin "Proximity Mine Launcher" Tactical Subsystem. Once planted, the mines will explode if an enemy moves into its radius or an explosion sets it off, causing 8 damage.
* HealingFactor: The Captain "Repair Servos" passive ability repairs 2HP per turn, up to a maximum of 6HP per mission.
* JetPack: The Lieutenant "Jet Boot Module" active ability lets them jump up buildings.
* TheJuggernaut: With [[BeehiveBarrier Absorption Fields]], a MEC trooper can sustain absurd amounts of firepower that would reduce normal soldiers to slag. Because it caps all incoming damage at 33% of the MEC trooper's max health, it can shrug off 15-damage crits with no personal injury, which would be enough to severely injure even the hardiest soldiers. Their endurance can be further increased by combining it with [[HealingFactor Repair Servos]] and Damage Control.
* KillItWithFire: One of the voice options explicitly says '''"KILLING IT WITH FIRE."''' when you trigger the flamethrower.
* LightningBruiser: Fully upgraded [=MECs=] have mobility on par with a Support with "Sprinter", with the resilience of an Assault and firepower similar to a Heavy. Bringing them in from a Major or Colonel Sniper/Assault also gives them incredible accuracy, almost guaranteeing that each turn they will be able to engage and kill at least one enemy, even on Classic difficulty. Their movement animations depict them as being pretty fast-moving for their size. They are also incredibly expensive, so it's tough to field more than one or two of them at a time.
* MagneticWeapons: Their laser-tier Primary Weapon is a handheld railgun.
* MajorInjuryUnderreaction: They react calmly to damage. Such as saying "Minor repairs necessary" when reduced to one health.
* MiniMecha: Clunky Mech somewhat bigger than the average human? Check. Enhanced strength and resilience over regular infantry? Check. Cockpit area that exposes the pilot? Check. Able to wield {{BFG}}s and [[RocketPunch rocket punch enemies]] so hard they cause [[StuffBlowingUp vehicles to explode]]? Double Check!
* MoreDakka: [=MECs=] are designed around this. The ''starting'' weapon is a gatling gun, and they can wield large and powerful weapons that would be dangerous to use by any other soldier, at the cost of having even fewer shots per magazine than the Heavy.
** Their basic "Collateral Damage" ability has them fire an extended burst at the targeted area, shredding any cover objects and causing SplashDamage equal to a third of their primary weapon's. At worst, it will shred whatever your target happens to be hiding behind. On the other hand, if your target chose to hide behind something explosive...
** The Major "Overdrive" passive ability is identical to the Heavy's "Bullet Swarm", allowing for two shots each turn.
** At Colonel, the "Reactive Targeting Sensors" passive ability makes the MEC [[CounterAttack automatically shoot back at any enemy that attacks it]].
** Basically, you can build your MEC suits as a fully equipped walking heavy weapons platforms: Main weapon is anything from a minigun to a railgun to a particle cannon. Additional weapons can include: A flamethrower, a grenade launcher and a proximity mine launcher. While sadly all of them can't be used at once, all in all the suit packs enough firepower to take on a small army of aliens alone.
* NoHoldsBarredBeatdown: Using the Kinetic Strike Module to kill a Berserker, Mechtoid or Sectopod results in a custom scene wherein the MEC and target engage in one-on-one, close-range combat with the MEC trooper gaining the advantage and landing a spectacular killing blow, usually sending their defeated opponent flying. MEC-troopers using Kinetic Strike finish off Sectopods in a particularly dramatic fashion. The trooper leaps two body-lengths into the air and comes down smashing the Sectopod with its fists, driving it into the ground. Then, as it attempts one last desperate attempt to fire its cannon at point-blank range, the trooper activates the Kinetic Strike Module and [[AttackItsWeakPoint strikes directly into the priming cannon]], detonating the entire Sectopod.
* NoSell: Is immune to poison, strangulation and fire.
* RoboSpeak: Downplayed. They talk like other soldiers do, for the most part, but they sound like they're using a voice synthesizer. They also don't emote as much and use a slightly more formal lexicon (fewer contractions, no slang).
* RocketPunch: The MEC-1 Warden "Kinetic Strike Module" Tactical Subsystem gives the MEC a rocket-assisted fist which does 12 damage (''18'' with the "MEC Close Combat" Foundry Project) and can send [[PunchedAcrossTheRoom aliens killed with it flying across the room]]. Said flying alien can also detonate destructible objects it collides with, [[DisasterDominoes which can lead to even more aliens exploding]]. It can also be used to destroy adjacent cover objects. As icing on the cake, it also makes the MEC it's installed on even faster.
* ShockAndAwe: The MEC-3 Paladin "Electropulse" Tactical Subsystem discharges an electric pulse that deals 5 damage to all units in addition to disabling robotic units in a small radius around the MEC.
* ShoulderCannon: How many of their secondary armaments, such as the grenade launcher and mine mortars, are mounted.
* StuffBlowingUp: Second only to the Heavy for the amount of explosives they can carry. The MEC can choose to mount both the "Grenade Launcher" (that lobs grenades farther than a normal soldier) and "Proximity Mine Launcher" (which sets up mines that detonate when an enemy steps into them) Tactical Subsystems at the same time, for twice the explosive firepower.
* SuperStrength: They overpower Muton Berserkers and Mechtoids for the animations with the Kinetic Strike Module.
* TakeCover: {{Averted}}, [=MECs=] can't take cover at all, instead receiving a permanent 10 defense bonus (half that of low cover), cannot be flanked, and the "Hardened" trait that the alien Cyberdisc and Sectopod have: significant resistance to critical hits. They can, however, take advantage of full cover's ability to break line of sight; the MEC can't see the enemy, but the enemy won't be able to shoot the MEC either. {{Inverted}} with the Lieutenant "One For All" ability, where the MEC Trooper ''becomes'' full cover for your troops to hide behind.
* UnexpectedGameplayChange: After spending the early part of the game learning the often-painful lesson that getting caught outside of cover means a quick death, adjusting tactics to accommodate a unit that ''can't'' take cover takes some getting used to.
* WalkingArmory: It is possible for a fully upgraded MEC to carry up to four different heavy weapons at once.
* WeCanRebuildHim: It's possible to take a near-death character who would require a lengthy hospital stay to get back up to fighting strength and instead perform mech conversion, getting them back on their cyborg feet within a few days instead. The player would have to mismanage things pretty badly for this to be necessary, however.
* YouRequireMoreVespeneGas: Costs Meld to create and upgrade, which is extremely limited and valuable. Creating a pilot and providing him with a fully-upgraded suit costs a whopping ''210'' Meld, and most missions are only guaranteed have 20 Meld available. On the upside, if a pilot does go down, you can generally recover the cybersuit and repair it; while there is a Meld cost to create a new pilot, the cybersuit itself requires much more.

[[caption-width-right:350:[[BadassBoast "Your nightmare is just starting."]]]]
XCOM soldiers who bear "The Gift", as the invading aliens call it, their psionic powers can turn the tide of battle. Any XCOM soldier could have the potential, though those with [[HeroicWillpower strong wills]] are more likely to have it.

* DeflectorShields: The "Telekinetic Field" places a stationary circle that diverts projectiles for anyone in its boundaries. In practice, it raises Defense by 40 points, which is roughly equal to full cover.
* EmotionBomb: "Psi Panic," which forces an enemy into a panic state normally reserved for your troops. Unpredictable since a panicking enemy may fire upon any random target, run away or Hunker Down to become harder to hit. The good thing is that the unit will refuse to act on the enemy turn.
* EmotionControl: "Psi Inspiration" removes the effects of "Mindfray" and panic and boosts the Will of nearby troops.
* EmpoweredBadassNormal: Technically they may have had The Gift all along, but the treatments they are given end up activating it.
* EvilLaugh: They occasionally break one out when using their psi-abilities.
* GlowingEyesOfDoom: Their eyes light up purple whenever they activate their psi-abilities.
* MindControl: Takes control of an enemy for three turns. Especially useful if successful on an alien behind enemy lines, breaking up their position as they try to move to unflank themselves and/or use up their turn taking out the mind-controlled unit. The drawback (until a patch fixed this) is that the game treats the death of any currently mind-controlled unit as a death of someone in the squad, penalizing the entire team's Will.
* MindRape: "Mindfray," an ability all soldiers with the Gift can use that "causes the target to lose grip on reality." Useful in that it has perfect accuracy on most aliens at any range, does 5 damage without fail, and lowers accuracy, mobility, and Will.
* SpyCatsuit: More like ''[[{{Pun}} Psi]]'' Catsuit! ''[[LamePunReaction Ahem.]]'' Psi Armor is exclusive to psionic soldiers, and as pictured above, fits the bill. It comes in different colors, but black is the most common.
* PsychicPowers: Their ''raison d'être''. The two options on the left are more for buffs and defense, while the ones on the right are offensive.
* PurpleIsPowerful: The main color of their Psi abilities.

!Covert Operative
An XCOM soldier assigned to track down EXALT cells, enabling XCOM to target and destroy the EXALT cell operating inside a particular country. Covert Operatives are selected from existing soldiers, barring Heavies and MEC Troopers, and go undercover without armor or heavy weapons.
* ArmorIsUseless: PlayedWith. If they're high-leveled, they can still potentially eat up more damage than your own or EXALT's soldiers. However, unless they have a Nanofiber Vest or Chitin Plating equipped, whatever damage they take will result in a rest in the Infirmary.
* BadassLongcoat: Wears an overcoat that matches the typical XCOM color scheme in the trailer. Averted in gameplay, they wear a green jacket.
* TheEngineer: A variant; they can hack EXALT's transmitters if they get close enough to them, which disrupts their communications and prevents them from attacking for a turn.
* {{Handguns}}: The only weapon they can bring.
* NoGearLevel: The Covert Operative is armed only with a pistol and no armor, though they retain all of their active and passive abilities, including gene mods and psychic abilities.

!XCOM Security Personnel
These guards are tasked with defending XCOM HQ itself from any and all attacks. Their capabilities are akin to raw Rookies, and they are armed solely with ballistic assault rifles and pistols, along with fragmentation grenades. They are the last line of defense for XCOM, and are not intended to serve in the field.
* BadassNormal: Compared to the rest of the squad, very much so, as even Rookies are likely to be better equipped. It's still entirely possible for them to kill even high-end alien units like Cyberdiscs.
* CannonFodder: Since you don't get to keep them after the mission, there's not much drawback to sticking them out in the open when your veterans are in danger so that they will take the shot instead of your regulars.
* PermanentlyMissableContent: Whether they live or die, you don't get to keep them after you complete the mission. Even if they get a promotion.
* RedShirt: Blue shirts, actually, but they fill essentially the same purpose. Given what happens during the Base Defense, it's unlikely you'll make it through without losing at least ''one'' of them. The game's files even ''refer'' to them as 'blueshirts' in a couple of comments.
* ThrowDownTheBomblet: They always spawn with a frag grenade. If you researched the "Tactical Rigging" Foundry Project, then they will spawn with 2. Since they have [[ATeamFiring terrible Aim]] it is usually best to get several of them to GrenadeSpam an enemy or to destroy their cover for your veterans to get a clear shot.
* VideoGameCaringPotential: There's certainly a rewarding feeling to not only managing to keep them alive, but to also see them get promotion indications after you make a kill...
* VideoGameCrueltyPotential: ...that said though, it is far more rewarding to not have your veterans killed. If that means letting these guys take the bullet, well, it's not like you'll be seeing them again anyways.
* ZergRush: It is very unlikely for any single one of them to get a kill unless you deliberately set them up a chance to. However since reinforcements can have up to 2 of them coming at a time, and you can have any number of them at a given time as long as your total soldier count does not exceed 8, then it is possible to kill an alien simply by throwing enough at it until the RNG rolls in your favor.

!S.H.I.V. ([[FunWithAcronyms Super Heavy Infantry Vehicle]])
Advanced autonomous weapons platforms that can be deployed in place of a human soldier, they mount [[{{BFG}} heavier weaponry]] than most human soldiers can carry.
* AllYourPowersCombined: Rookie's expendibility, Heavy's Supression and Squad Automatic Weapon, Support's speed, and Assault's area-denial close combat attack.
* AttackDrone: XCOM's personal ones, with a whole tech tree dedicated to them. They function exactly like the tanks of yore, including, in one case, functioning as portable cover. There are three varieties, Basic, Alloy (which can be used as low cover) and Hover (which can fly).
* BeamSpam: S.H.I.V.s equipped with Laser Cannons, especially if they use their "Suppression" ability.
* CharacterLevel: [[AvertedTrope Averted.]] Although there are 3 different types of S.H.I.V.s, each stronger than the last, they do not level up.
* CrutchCharacter: Like the [=HWPs=] of old, they're better than the NewMeat but lose out to high-rankers. Many strategies for Classic and Impossible involve rushing to get them into production ASAP.
** ''Enemy Within's'' buffs to mechanical units on both sides, however, made them very much viable members of a given squad. A fully-upgraded Hover S.H.I.V. can move as far as an upgraded Support trooper, flies further and longer than a trooper in upgraded Archangel armor, and has a heavy plasma cannon. On top of that, it has an unlimited self-repair system that fixes two bars of damage every turn ''and'' the ability to fire reaction shots at anything within four blocks like an Assault trooper.
* ExperiencePoints: [[AvertedTrope Averted.]] S.H.I.V.s do not earn EXP.
* GatlingGood: They start off with a minigun, which can be upgraded further.
* GoneHorriblyWrong: Immune to most PsychicPowers, except Psi-Lance and Rift, which do absolutely massive damage against its 0 Willpower stat.
* HealingFactor: In ''Enemy Within'', the "Sentinel Drone" Foundry Project repairs 2HP every turn if they're damaged.
* HoverTank: The appropriately named Hover S.H.I.V. version.
* MoreDakka
* NoSell: Is immune to Mindfray, Psi-Panic, Mind Control, poison, strangulation and fire.
* PinnedDown: Can be upgraded in the Foundry to have the "Suppression" active ability, which reduces the target's Aim by 30 and grants the S.H.I.V. a reaction shot should the target move.
* StoneWall: Hover S.H.I.Vs are exceedingly mobile, have very high health, 60 defense while airborne, and are basically immune to most everything that's supposed to bypass their defenses, such as explosives and melee (being airborne), psionics (Robot), poison (Airborne ''and'' robot), do not pannick, and are [[WeHaveReserves expendable]], all of which make using one to scout ahead very effective.
* TakeCover: Averted for all types of S.H.I.V. [[{{Inverted}} Inverted with]] the Alloy S.H.I.V., which ''is'' a low cover that your soldiers can hide behind.
* WeHaveReserves: Each S.H.I.V. is just as capable as the next, right off the production line, a far cry from the soldiers you have to babysit all the way to Colonel, making it more palatable to use them in high-risk roles.

!The Argentine Heavy/Delta 2
The sole survivor of "Operation: Devil's Moon", XCOM's first engagement against the aliens, he is XCOM's first veteran soldier. While he's unlikely to be the only [[BreadEggsBreadedEggs Argentine, Heavy or Argentine Heavy]] to serve with XCOM, his experience against the enemy will likely be vital to XCOM's early operations.
* TheBigGuy: He's a Heavy when he gets promoted, and he's physically large overall.
* MauveShirt: He's just a regular soldier with a pre-set voice, appearance and nationality, but has gotten quite the following in the fanbase. Being the first veteran and promotion of the war, the sole survivor of the tutorial, and being absolutely vital to one achievement (in games with the tutorial enabled) means he's become this.
* SoleSurvivor: Of "Operation: Devil's Moon", the tutorial mission.

!Shaojie "Chilong" Zhang
[[caption-width-right:350:"Funny, that my life should take such an unexpected path. Turning my back on old friends, to defeat a common enemy."]]
Formerly a member of the Triads, he contacts the Council after obtaining a mysterious alien artifact from his former coworkers. Should XCOM successfully extract him, he will join them as a Lieutenant-ranked Heavy class soldier.
->'''Voiced by:''' Feodor Chin
* CasualDangerDialogue: Some of his dialogue when fired at (but not hit) is this.
--> They're good. But not good enough.
* CoolOldGuy: His iron grey hair and subtle wrinkles indicate Zhang is at least past middle-age. He still probably joins XCOM as the highest-ranked soldier and can continue to hold his own even to the endgame.
* DefectorFromDecadence: He chose to defect from the Triads because he realized how ''stupid'' it is to continue to squabble over money when there are aliens trying to kill everyone.
* EscortMission: The mission where you recruit him has him as a slightly tougher (4 Health instead of 3) Council Mission VIP.
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: The first time we see Zhang, he one-shots a Sectoid with a pistol and muses, ''"Not so different from killing a man."''
* {{Handguns}}: [[ZigzaggedTrope Zigzagged.]] In his introductory cut scene, he wields a pistol, but when gameplay starts he is weaponless. Then once he's recruited, he's classed as a Heavy, which doesn't use pistols.
* MauveShirt: While he's got a unique voice and appearance, along with some slightly improved stats, he can still die as easily as any other XCOM soldier after he's recruited.
* NomDeGuerre: "Chilong", which means "Hornless Dragon" in Chinese.
** It is also, hilariously, slang for TeenyWeenie
* OutOfCharacterMoment: Normally pretty stoic, but he'll still let out an EvilLaugh when using psionic attacks. It's...a bit unsettling.
* PreAssKickingOneLiner: Although all soldiers come with these, Zhang's voice set has unique ones befitting his badass status:
--> (Firing rocket) Ready for the fireworks?
--> (Reloading) Let's begin.
--> (Overwatch) If they move, they die.
* PsychicPowers: Not ''[[ZigzaggedTrope guaranteed]]'', but he does have a much higher chance of being Gifted than the standard rank-and-file XCOM troops.
* RecruitingTheCriminal: In turn for protection from his former colleagues, Zhang gets amnesty and a spot in XCOM.
* RuggedScar: Zhang sports a few on his cheek and across his left eye, particularly noticeable [[ during cutscenes]]. No doubt a keepsake from his former profession.
* TheTriadsAndTheTongs: Obviously, being a defecting Triad member.
* UnexplainedRecovery: He can easily die in his recruitment mission if you aren't careful, failing the operation. However, the Council can offer the same mission later on, and he will be perfectly fine despite having died, with zero comment on the matter.
** The above scenario is averted in ''Enemy Within'', where the mission is only offered once, and failing it will end the entire ''Slingshot'' campaign.

!Annette Durand
A mysterious woman with incredible psychic potential, she's managed to attract the interest of the Aliens, EXALT and XCOM simultaneously. The ''Operation Progeny'' content included with ''Enemy Within'' revolves around her. Similarly to Zhang, she can eventually join XCOM as a Sergeant-ranked soldier of a random class.
* ActionGirl: Obviously.
* AndThisIsFor: One of her "Enemy killed" lines.
--> This is for my friends.
* BloodKnight: She really likes killing aliens.
--> When do I get to shoot an alien?!
--> Will I get to kill aliens there?
* BondOneLiner: She's very fond of saying these.
--> Don't worry, your friends will join you soon!
--> I hope you're suffering!
* BreakTheCutie[=/=]BewareTheNiceOnes: She used to be a delicate young woman, but after she was captured and tortured by the aliens and then EXALT, she hardened and picked up her BloodKnight tendencies.
* CheeseEatingSurrenderMonkeys: {{Inverted}}. Despite being French, she's the ''most'' [[BloodKnight visibly bloodthirsty]] of XCOM's soldiers.
* DynamicEntry: The first time she's seen, she bursts through a van's doors, sends your squad sprawling, and then takes off running.
* FragileSpeedster[=/=]GlassCannon: She's either or both depending on which class she joins as, as she always starts off with only 5 Health as a Sergeant, which is lower than anything but a Sniper at that rank.
* HeroicRROD: [[spoiler: Her ability to amplify psychic powers was burned out of her due to the stress the aliens' assault on XCOM HQ caused her. She's still psychic, but she can't use that particular ability ever again.]]
* ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy: This can happen if she joins as a Sniper, since she starts out with much lower Aim than a typical Sniper of the same rank.
* LivingMacGuffin: All 3 of the game's factions seek her out, thanks to her unusual psychic aptitude.
* MauveShirt: Despite her unique voice and appearance, she can still die like any other soldier.
* MildlyMilitary: Whatever she was before the invasion, it definitely wasn't a soldier. When receiving a move order, she'll occasionally complain about how heavy her gear is, lament how she's not a weapons expert when reloading, and only rarely report kills like the rest of your soldiers.
* NomDeGuerre: {{Subverted}}, she's the only soldier who doesn't get one.
* PintSizedPowerhouse: Not especially short for a woman, but she's easily still trouncing bulky men in heavy armor and quarter-ton aliens.
* PsychicPowers: She's ''guaranteed'' to be psionic when she's tested and is one of the most powerful users to date (represented in-game as a very high Will for her rank).
** [[spoiler: AmplifierArtifact: She has the ability to supercharge other psionic users, which the aliens used to attack XCOM HQ. She loses it permanently afterwards due to the strain.]]
* WhosLaughingNow: She's not evil, just [[BloodKnight angry]]. However, she's particularly pleased to use [[PayEvilUntoEvil Mind Control]] on the aliens.
--> Remember me!?

!The Furies
A trio of alien abductees much like Annette, rescuing them is part of the reason why she joins XCOM. If they're successfully rescued from the landed alien ship they're being held in, they will join XCOM as Lieutenant-ranked soldiers. They are Matthew "Alecto" Hawkins (USA, Sniper), Said "Megaera" Tariq (Egypt, Support) and Fatima "Tisiphone" Tariq (Egypt, Assault).
* BrotherSisterTeam: Not explicitly stated, but it seems likely that two abductees with exceptionally strong psychic powers from the same country and with the same surname are likely to be brother and sister. They work well on the same squad (as any two psychic soldiers with sufficient levels do) because one can use Psi Inspiration to boost the success rate of the other's psi attacks.
* MauveShirt: They have custom names, NomDeGuerre, and are guaranteed to be psionic if tested. Still can die just as easy as everyone else.
* NomDeGuerre: "Alecto" (Ancient Greek, approximately means "unceasing anger"), "Megaera" (Ancient Greek, approximately means "envious anger") and "Tisiphone" (Ancient Greek, approximately means "vengeful anger").
* PsychicPowers: Like Annette, they're guaranteed to be psionic when tested.
* ThemeNaming: They're nicknamed after three of the [[ReligiousAndMythologicalThemeNaming Greek Erinyes, also known as Furies.]]

!The Volunteer
An exceptionally powerful psionic, this XCOM soldier has been chosen to lead a crucial, but very dangerous mission.
* [[spoiler: EleventhHourSuperpower: After activating the Gollop Chamber, the Volunteer gains a special psionic power Rift, which is only useable in the final mission and otherwise only available to Ethereals.]]
* GotVolunteered: Despite the Volunteer's title, it's still the Commander who selects a soldier to enter the Gollop Chamber. FridgeBrilliance hits when you realize that ''every'' soldier under your command must have volunteered for the duty, so you only have to choose who will be ''the'' volunteer.
* [[spoiler: HeroicSacrifice: Stays behind on the Temple Ship to send it into orbit and explode normally instead of becoming a black hole.]]
** [[spoiler: NotQuiteDead: ...except they aren't, [[ according to the twitter of Jake Solomon]], [[WordOfGod a designer for the game]]. Apparently, the Volunteer somehow managed to survived the explosion of the Temple Ship.]]
* PsychicPowers: Includes two abilities not available to other XCOM psionics: [[spoiler: the "Rift", a powerful, lingering area of effect attack, and a link to the Ethereal HiveMind]]. In addition, no matter what the Volunteer's Psi rank was when they entered the Gollop Chamber, they come out of it at the maximum possible, even if they were fresh and inexperienced Psi users.
* WeCannotGoOnWithoutYou: If s/he dies you fail the final mission. {{Justified| Trope}} in that s/he is the key to stopping the alien invasion [[spoiler:and to preventing the Temple Ship from forming a black hole above Earth.]]

->All attempts to contact the invaders thus far have failed. Their only purpose seems to be destruction and chaos.
-->-- '''News Broadcast'''

These physically frail aliens serve as expendable scouts for the invaders and appear to possess a telepathic ability unlike anything previously encountered on Earth. Individually weak, they are nonetheless dangerous in numbers, especially if allowed to utilize their ability to merge minds.
* AllMythsAreTrue: These new Sectoids are more birdlike in appearance, scampering around on all fours. Their design also bears a strong resemblance to the "Dover Demon", a Loch Ness-like legend from the backwoods of Massachusetts.
* AlwaysChaoticEvil: Stated to be intrinsically cruel and cowardly [[spoiler: by the Uber-Ethereal]].
* [[ArmCannon Arm Pistol]]: How they wield Plasma Pistols.
* CannonFodder: The weakest of all the aliens, seen best in multiplayer how ''every'' other species can effectively counter them and are only useful as scouts. In singleplayer, they shouldn't be underestimated, especially on higher difficulties.
* CloneArmy: Just like their appearance in ''UFO Defense'', Sectoids all share the same DNA, suggesting that you're fighting the same Sectoid over and over.
* CombatMedic: Their Mind Merge ability allows them to boost the health of other Sectoids for a turn. At 3 HP, the average Sectoid is not hard to kill with a basic assault rifle; a Mind Merged Sectoid gets 4 HP and can often survive a single hit from basic weapons. Furthermore, if a Meld ends naturally between turns and the Sectoid receives a new Meld, they will actually retain the health they gained from the previous meld and gain a little more from the new meld, essentially allowing them to slowly recover their health by repeatedly engaging and mind-melding.
* ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy: Just like other early-game enemies, Sectoids are poor shots (though since this is XCOM, that means they're equivalent in accuracy to your Rookies). Justified, since they hold their pistol arms up beside their head, supporting it with the other hand; this obviously precludes them from using any sort of optics on their weapons.
* TheGoomba: The very first enemy infantry XCOM encounter, they have low health and a damage output that becomes effectively neglectable by the time Carapace Armor is researched. By the mid-game they are only really a threat if they are encountered in larger groups or accompanying a Mechtoid.
* TheGreys: Invokes much of this image.
* NoMouth: Whether it's concealed or totally removed is unknown.
* PintSizedPowerhouse: Only alluded to in-game, but they are actually much stronger than their frail appearance would suggest.
* PsychicPowers: Their hat. Sectoids are one of the few alien races capable of psionic control.
** PsychicLink: Their only psychic ability, called "Mind Merge". The recipient gets +10 Aim and +1 HP for a turn (in ''Enemy Within'', Mechtoids get a 6-HP shield that halves all incoming damage instead). [[GuideDangIt What you're not told until you figure it out for yourself]] is that killing the Sectoid that's boosting the other unit kills them both as a result of psychic backlash (or break the shield and do a small amount of damage to a linked Mechtoid). You'll have trouble finding this out, because [[ArtificialBrilliance the boosting Sectoid moves back, away from your soldiers, while the boosted one moves forward to engage.]] Unless you ignore it (or pull some fancy flanking maneuvers or blind-fire a rocket) it gets difficult to target the other one without taking some serious fire.
* RayGun: Sectoids are armed with Plasma Pistols.
* RunningOnAllFours: Due to their short stature and long limbs they tend to scamper on all free limbs. They keep their weapon hand up though. Interestingly this does give them the rare opportunity to go through doors with holes in the bottom without knocking it open - allowing for silent entry.

!Thin Men
Reptilian aliens extensively altered to resemble humans, they are tasked with infiltrating human society to obtain information and conduct sabotage. They are capable of spitting out clouds of debilitating poison to weaken enemies and deny territory, as well as generating an identical cloud upon their death. In addition, they can leap multiple stories to obtain better positions.
* ActionBomb: When killed, they explode into a cloud of poison.
* TheAdjectivalMan
* AuthorAvatar: Another one of creator Sid Meier's cameos, complete with comb-over.
* BadassInANiceSuit
* CompositeCharacter: A walking pastiche of sci-fi/horror tropes, from Angus Scrimm's character from the ''{{Film/Phantasm}}'' series, to the urban legends surrounding [[Franchise/TheSlenderManMythos Slender Man]], the Thin Man from the movie ''Film/{{Metropolis}}'' the {{MIB}}s, and the Reptilians.
* FaceDeathWithDignity: What does a Thin Man captive do when about to be interrogated? Ignore the torture equipment and stare his captors down as the blast door closes. All the other aliens, even the Ethereals, panic and try to fight their way out.
* FiringOneHanded: They use special light-weight plasma rifles which give a bonus to accuracy.
* FragileSpeedster: Their ability to [[InASingleBound leap multiple levels]], enter the battlefield by dropping from a great height, and general quick movement gives them their speedster designation, but the fragility comes from having among the lowest tier of hitpoints in the game.
* GlamourFailure: While they might initially pass as human, their elongated bodies and unnatural flexibility betray their true nature.
* GlassCannon: They're a pain in the butt in the early game, as they wield plasma rifles that give them a comparable damage output to much later units while your soldiers are still very squishy. Later on, when your soldiers have better aim and upgraded armor, their lack of hit points becomes more of a liability, and one memorable Council mission has you tearing through waves of them; most of them won't even get a single shot off at you.
* ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy: Due to their firing stance, at least on lower difficulties. On Classic and above, they become ''absolutely brutally'' efficient at gunning down your troops.
* HellishPupils: Thin Men have reptilian eyes, hence why they all wear sunglasses to appear more human.
* HughMann: As the 2012 equivalent of Snakemen, they do the bare minimum to disguise their alien nature.
* HumanoidAliens: Justified, as they were designed to resemble humans.
* InASingleBound: Can easily leap to rooftops to get a better shot. In ''Enemy Within'', autopsying them allows you to make a genemod that lets your soldiers do the same.
* KungFuProofMook: Immune to their own poison, as well as that of XCOM Gas Grenades in ''Enemy Within''.
* LeanAndMean: Tall, thin, and very dangerous to humans.
* TheMenInBlack: Designed to channel this trope, but {{subverted}}, as they are '''not''' on any government's side.
* NoodlePeople: Their long, lean bodies, spindly limbs, overlong fingers and small, round heads invoke the trope perfectly, and help highlight [[UncannyValley just how creepy they are]].
* {{Omniglot}}: [[ Promotional material]] states that Thin Men can speak several Earth languages flawlessly. In-game, however, they mostly just hiss and shriek. Justified, since that may be their own language, and it is obviously superior
* OneGenderRace: All Thin Men appear as human males. However, according to [[VideoGame/{{XCOM 2}} the second game]], they're actually an all-''female'' race.
* PaperThinDisguise: An intentionally invoked case of UncannyValley; their inhuman eyes, unnatural slenderness, pronounced fingers and patches of scales all betray what they really are.
* PoisonIsEvil: They're villains who wield poison as their most dangerous trait.
* PoisonousPerson: They can spit poison clouds, as well as generating one on death.
* RayGun: Thin Men are armed with Plasma Rifles.
* SamusIsAGirl: According to [[VideoGame/{{XCOM 2}} the second game]], they're actually ''female'' in their true form, complete with HartmanHips and NonMammalianMammaries. Though it is unknown what the heavily-modified Thin Man's gender is; more than likely it simply lacks reproductive organs.
* SinisterShades: They're an attempt to cover up their HellishPupils.
* SnakePeople: A rare subtle version, having been explicitly gene-engineered to look more human. Their serpentine eyes, discrete patches of scales, venomous SuperSpit, and even their abnormally slender, supple frames all show off their true origin. According to their autopsy, their bones are even structured like the vertebrae of a snake.
** According to [[VideoGame/{{XCOM 2}} the second game]], their true forms look more like the Snakemen of the original X-Com: cobra-headed snake-taurs (humanoid upper torso, giant snake's tail from the waist down).
* SweetPollyOliver: Xcom 2's ''Alien Hunters'' reveals the Elders made the Viper race all female, with the males genetically locked away in their own genome likely as a measure of population control. Male vipers do not breathe venom but frost. All this indicates that the Thin Men are in fact female vipers in a male human form.
* SuperSpit: Can spew globs of venom that quickly evaporate, filling the air with toxic fumes.
* TeleportingKeycardSquad: They fall out of the sky during some Council missions, dropping onto the map and immediately entering Overwatch.
* UndyingLoyalty: According to the [[spoiler:Uber-Ethereal]], they're favored by the aliens' leadership because of this.

Beings consisting of pure energy, they exist solely to operate the invaders' fleet of [=UFOs=]. [[spoiler: They are basically living antennae receiving signals and commands from the Sectoid Commander.]]
* AnimatedArmor
* LightningBruiser: Early game on Classic or Impossible difficulty. They have 5 HP (allowing them to survive being hit by [=LMGs=] and the like if they're lucky), 10 Defense and can OneHitKill lightly armored soldiers with their Light Plasma Rifles, which also enhance their already high Aim. They also have decent movement speed on top of all that, which is boosted even further on Impossible. Once you have laser or plasma weapons and decent armor, however, they quickly become CannonFodder.
* MechaMook
* MookPromotion: All alien [=UFOs=] are commanded by Outsiders [[spoiler: until their disappearance from the game following the assault on the alien base.]]
* MoreDakka: Oddly enough their Light Plasma Rifle fires as if it is automatic. No other alien or human fires that fast or as much. Fortunately it still does the same damage.
* OrganicTechnology: Vahlen's description of them is that they are "organic, but highly magnetized."
* PowerCrystal: What they really are. Upon being alerted they generate a body to fight with.
* PureEnergy: ''Almost'' pure energy, according to an incredulous Dr. Vahlen.
* SculptedPhysique: They look like metal statues with a PowerCrystal inside when physically manifested.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: They disappear from the game altogether and are never mentioned again (even on the [[spoiler: Temple Ship]], which has you fight through every other enemy type in the game) after the attack on the Alien Base. On the other hand, this does make sense, [[spoiler: since they're more hardware than crew and are no longer needed after the aliens' psionic units take command personally after you assault the alien base.]]

!Floaters/Heavy Floaters
A horrific fusion of flesh and machine, these cybernetic monstrosities bear integrated propulsion units, allowing them to take to the skies. The power of these units is such that they can rocket themselves anywhere on the battlefield, though they cannot immediately open fire after they land. The species is likely related biologically to the Mutons.
* AirborneMook
* {{Cyborg}}
** CyberneticsEatYourSoul
* EliteMook: Heavy Floaters are this compared to the normal variant.
* FateWorseThanDeath: Most of their organic parts were ripped out and replaced with machinery to effectively turn them into {{Living Weapon}}s. [[spoiler:The Uber Ethereal even uses the trope name word for word to describe them.]]
* FiringOneHanded: With normal Floaters and Thin Men carrying light plasma rifles, this can be somewhat excused, but Heavy Floaters fire a weapon as long as their arm without steadying it with their other hand or bracing themselves against the ground. Not even the hulking Mutons can do that, and the only reasonable explanation is that their cybernetic augmentations allow it.
* {{Flight}}: Floaters can move fairly freely through the air. They also have the "Launch" ability, which allows them to rocket off into the sky and come down anywhere on the map, allowing them to flank your soldiers without drawing reaction fire.
* GasMaskMook: Normal Floaters.
* GiantMook: Heavy Floaters.
* ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy: And how. Standard Floaters have only 50 Aim, 15 lower than your own Rookies, and miss very often. Heavy Floaters avert this.
* InASingleBound: Floaters are able to rocket through the battlefield with their jet packs.
* JackOfAllStats: Compared to their contemporaries around the time they're introduced. They're tough, but not as tough as Mutons; they can dish out the pain, but not as well as Cyberdiscs; their one unambiguous advantage is their speed. Heavy Floaters beef things up with full-sized Plasma Rifles and three times the health, but by that time you're facing even tougher and harder-hitting enemies like Berserker and Elite Mutons, Mechtoids, and Sectopods.
* JetPack: Built into their bodies.
* MidairBobbing
* ThrowDownTheBomblet: Heavy Floaters can throw Alien Grenades. They also have the "Bombard" ability, letting them toss grenades much further.

These beings, despite their organic appearance, are actually purely mechanical drones capable of flight. Their favored method of attack is to sneak up on and strangle isolated targets with their tentacles, which is augmented by their ability to emit an Elerium-charged vapor screen that grants them invisibility.
* AttackDrone: A very dangerous one, at that.
* CombatTentacles: Which it uses to strangle.
* {{Cyborg}}: [[AvertedTrope Averted]]. Despite its look, it is completely mechanical.
* EmergencyWeapon: Has a Plasma Pistol mounted, which it uses if its invisibility is broken or if all XCOM units are immune to strangulation.
* InvisibilityCloak: They can only strangle while it's active, and it can be broken either by a soldier augmented with Bioelectric Skin or being hit with an area of effect weapon.
* KungFuProofMook: Immune to Stunning, Mindfray, Psi-Panic, Mind Control, poison, fire and Flashbangs.
* MechaMooks
* NinjaPirateZombieRobot: As described by the developers, it is basically "a flying spider shark. That can turn invisible." Aesthetically more like a robotic squid or octopus, though.
* PersonalSpaceInvader: While strangling. A strangled soldier is completely disabled and helpless, and will take damage every turn until an ally blasts the Seeker off or they die.
* StarfishRobots

Vicious and nightmarish insect-like creatures, they seek only to propagate their species through implanting their eggs into a host's body. After a remarkably short gestation period, during which the host body is under the Chryssalid's control, a juvenile will burst out, ready to continue the cycle.
* AttackAnimal: They seem to be this, lacking apparent sapience but possessing a vicious instinct.
* BigCreepyCrawlies
* ChestBurster: Their method of reproduction involves implanting eggs in corpses, which hatch their way out mere moments later.
* ExpressDelivery: In the original, zombies at least waited until you ''shot'' them to hatch. These suckers will sprout almost fully-grown from their human hosts within three turns, defense-capable and ready for action. On the other hand, this time killing the zombie will prevent the "birth".
* EvilIsVisceral
* GlowingEyesOfDoom
* InASingleBound
* InsectoidAliens
* KungFuProofMook: Immune to Stunning and has the "Hardened" passive ability, which reduces the chance of a CriticalHit.
* LudicrousGibs: Once it's birthing time, the zombie host suddenly reels backward on all fours, bending into a spider-shape as the Cryssalid overtakes its body. Arms and legs tear open to reveal newly-grown anthropod legs, and remainder of the skeleton explodes like a water balloon.
* OurZombiesAreDifferent: Human corpses controlled by Chryssalid embryos before hatching.
* PoisonousPerson: They can poison enemies that manage to survive a melee strike. If said enemy dies this way, it will not produce a zombie.
* SlashedThroat: They do this after killing a target to make clearance for their eggs.
* SpawnBroodling: If they manage to kill something, they [[SlashedThroat slit its throat in one quick motion]], then [[FaceFullOfAlienWingWong spit an embryo inside the newly eviscerated orifice]]. The [[OurZombiesAreDifferent body then gets up to fight]], and after a few turns [[ChestBurster rips open to expose a new Chryssalid]].
* UpliftedAnimal
* WeaponForIntimidation: A LivingWeapon For Intimidation. They seem to be engineered to cause panic and horror, and most of them are found in Terror missions.
* ZombieApocalypse: They will very likely cause one if not kept in check. [[spoiler: This is exactly what happens during the Site Recon mission in Enemy Within Chryssalids overrun a small fishing village, killing every inhabitant, turning them into zombies (and, shortly thereafter, more Chryssalids) as well as infesting fish hanging around the village and an entire whale which houses tens if not hundreds of Chryssalids. It takes a massive air-strike to deal with the problem.]]

The invaders' front-line combatants, they are equipped with heavy armor and armaments. If struck by a non-fatal blow, they are very likely to roar their defiance at the firer, possibly intimidating them into submission. Their bloodlust and ferocity has not dimmed their tactical acumen, making them even deadlier foes. Probably related to the Floaters.
* TheBrute[=/=]DumbMuscle: Played with. Mutons are big, strong, heavily armored and [[GeniusBruiser well-versed in tactics]], but their Will is pathetically low, making them quite vulnerable to psionics. Then again, most alien species have very low Will, hinting to either biological vulnerability to psionics, or more likely as a method the Ethereals have instilled to make controlling them earlier. How unintelligent they exactly are is unknown; they are at the very least smart enough to understand the tactical and weapon data implanted in their brains.
* EarlyBirdBoss: The missions from the ''Slingshot'' DLC pit you against Mutons with full-sized Plasma Rifles rather than the Light variant, usually well before you'd expect to have the technology needed to have a good chance against them. Getting hit by a plasma rifle at this stage of the game is usually instantly fatal.
* EvilCounterpart: To XCOM's soldiers in general.
* GasMaskMook: They wear rebreathers over their mouths that sometimes release yellowish gas. This is most likely combat drugs instead of some sort of breathing gas, as all other aliens can breathe Earth's atmosphere, and only the Floaters and Mutons (both hot-blooded, berserker races) have them.
* GiantMook: According to the autopsy information, they weigh around 275 kilograms[[labelnote:*]]more than 600 pounds[[/labelnote]], almost all of it muscle and bone. Their bulky armor makes them look even larger.
* MyBloodRunsHot: as with Berserkers, see below
* NeuralImplanting: All they need to know about tactics and their equipment is written into their brains, to compensate for their apparent unintelligence.
* PinnedDown: They have the "Suppression" active ability, which reduces the target's Aim by 30 and grants the Muton a reaction shot should the target move.
* PoweredArmor: Theirs not only provides protection but also auto-reloads their weapons with miniature servos, letting them fire far more shots than an XCOM soldier with a plasma rifle before reloading.
* PrimalChestPound[=/=]MightyRoar[=/=]ScreamingWarrior: If they get hurt they might use a special Intimidate ability that could cause your soldiers to panic. This is represented as them using their free hand to pound their chest and roar in defiance.
* SuperToughness: They have substantial durability for an organic, which is why they make ideal front-line troops. However, with only 8 or 10 HP, it's actually very downplayed in game- they take a substantial amount of fire from ballistic weapons, but a few laser shots will kill them, and they stand a chance of instant death from a Plasma Rifle burst. This lowers them from "super soldiers" to just "alien infantry" by the time XCOM starts packing plasma weapons.
* ThrowDownTheBomblet: They're the first alien unit you'll encounter that can throw Alien Grenades. You'll need to adapt quickly to the threat of explosive damage and cover destruction or see your soldiers mercilessly slaughtered.
* TronLines: [[DownplayedTrope Downplayed.]]

These hovering weapons platforms provide heavy fire support for the invaders and are capable of shrugging off all but the heaviest attacks. Seemingly unarmed at first glance, they can rapidly transform to bring their many weapons to bear on an unfortunate target.
* ActionBomb[=/=]DefeatEqualsExplosion: Explodes on death, causing damage to everything around it.
* AmbiguousRobot[=/=]MechanicalLifeform
* AttackDrone
* FlunkyBoss: Always accompanied by a pair of Drones.
* KungFuProofMook: Immune to Stunning, Mindfray, Psi-Panic, Mind Control, poison and fire. Also has the "Hardened" passive ability when in disc form, which reduces the chance of a CriticalHit. In ''Enemy Within'', it's also immune to Flashbangs.
* LightningBruiser: Cyberdiscs are heavily armed, fairly durable and can fly very fast in their disc form.
* MechaMooks
* SiliconBasedLife: Stated to be something like a symbiosis between two species: one organic and one inorganic.
* SinisterGeometry: Like its 1994 counterpart, the shell of the creature is a reflective chrome disc. It's the world's worst gift-wrap.
* SpiderTank
* ThrowDownTheBomblet: They can throw Alien Grenades.
* TransformingMecha: They can transform between a nigh-invulnerable but unarmed disc form and a vulnerable but heavily-armed floating insect-bot form. If they take a hit while in attack form, they instantly flip back to disc form.

Small hovering drones, these accompany and provide support to the invaders' mechanical assets. Though their primary function is to repair, they also bear small energy weapons for self-defense and a self-destruct system to prevent capture.
* AirborneMook
* AttackDrone
* CombatMedic
* HackYourEnemy: Drones can be hacked with the Arc Thrower once the "Drone Capture" Foundry Project is completed.
* KungFuProofMook: Immune to Mindfray, Psi-Panic, Mind Control, poison and fire, since it's a robot. It's also immune to Stunning until the "Drone Hacking" Foundry Project is completed. In ''Enemy Within'', it's also immune to Flashbangs.
* MechaMooks
* MookMedic: Their primary purpose is to fix up the bigger machine they're accompanying.
* ShootTheMedicFirst: Unless you want them to patch up the Cyberdisc or Sectopod they usually accompany, you'd better shoot them first.
* SuicideAttack: Can self-destruct, causing 3 damage to everything around it.

!Sectoid Commander
The very first alien encountered by XCOM during "Operation: Devil's Moon", these creatures appear to possess a terrifying capability of telepathically controlling human minds, as demonstrated near the end of the aforementioned operation. They can be found directing the invasion from outposts and [=UFOs=], as well as operating the systems of the latter.
* [[ArmCannon Arm Pistol]]: Like their lesser brethren.
* CombatMedic: Their Greater Mind Merge ability allows them to heal other Sectoids by a single point.
* [[spoiler:DegradedBoss]]: Sort of. The first one you encounter is set up like a boss fight and you encounter increased amounts of them as regular enemies afterwards. However, they're just as strong as the first one.
* [[spoiler: DiscOneFinalBoss]]
* [[spoiler:TheDragon]]: The first one you encounter.
* EarlyBirdCameo: The very first alien the player sees in the tutorial mission.
* EvilCounterpart: The first one acts as one to you, being the one to direct most of the aliens' operations [[spoiler:yet still has superiors to whom it must answer to.]]
* GlowingEyesOfDoom
* TheGreys
* KingMook
* KungFuProofMook: In ''Enemy Within'', immune to Flashbangs.
* MyBrainIsBig: They've got bigger cranial development than the rank-and-file Sectoids.
* NoMouth
* PsychicPowers
** MindControl: The first enemy to have this ability.
** MindRape: Mindfray, which always causes 5 damage, and lowers accuracy, mobility, and Will.
** PsychicLink: They have a stronger version of their lesser brethren's Mind Merge ability, called Greater Mind Merge. However, it only works with regular Sectoids, which generally don't show up anymore once the Commanders do. In ''Enemy Within'', it also works with Mechtoids, which are more likely to show up.
* RedEyesTakeWarning
* RunningOnAllFours: Much like the standard sectoid they run all fours; minus holding their arm with the plasma pistol up.
* SquishyWizard: For all their vaunted psionic abilities, they're just sectoids, and the plasma pistol they're waving around is hardly a threat to your Titan Armor wearing forces.
* ThrowDownTheBomblet: They can throw Alien Grenades.

Sectoids placed in a devastating cybernetic battlesuit, their twin plasma cannons, heavy armor and excellent mobility make them an exceptionally deadly opponent. A side effect of the suit is that the pilot's telepathic abilities have been reduced, preventing them from establishing mental links with their brethren. The aliens have compensated for this by placing an amplifier which converts the incoming psionic energy into a psionic shield.
* {{Arm Cannon}}s [[GunsAkimbo Akimbo]]: Packs a pair of plasma cannons as arms.
* {{Cyborg}}
* DeflectorShield: Gains a 6-HP strong one that halves all incoming damage if another Sectoid [[PsychicLink Mind Merges]] with it.
* EvilCounterpart: To the MEC Trooper.
* KungFuProofMook: Immune to Stunning, poison and fire. Also has the "Hardened" passive ability, which reduces the chance of a CriticalHit.
* LightningBruiser
* MiniMecha
* MoreDakka: Mechtoids can fire their plasma cannons twice if they haven't moved during their turn.
* PowerAtAPrice: As a side effect of the Mechtoid suit, the Sectoid pilots cannot establish mental links with other Sectoids anymore.
* PoweredArmor
* TookALevelInBadass: The [[CannonFodder lowly Sectoid]] becomes incredibly dangerous after being integrated into a mechanized suit.

Even more ferocious and bloodthirsty than other Mutons, these hulking behemoths eschew the invaders' advanced plasma weapons in favor of pure brute strength, for devastating their enemies in melee. Their constant state of rage is such that any non-fatal blow will have them charge blindly at their enemy, allowing them to cover the distance quickly.
* AxCrazy
* BarrierBustingBlow: The "Bull Rush" ability lets them smash through walls, damaging anything in a small radius from the impact point.
* TheBerserker: Natch.
* TheBrute[=/=]DumbMuscle: They'll always charge blindly towards those who have attacked them (often triggering reaction fire in the process), and have a ''very'' devastating melee attack.
* BullfightBoss
* GiantMook
* KungFuProofMook: Has the "Hardened" passive ability, which reduces the chance of a CriticalHit.
* LeeroyJenkins: Their ability to charge in the direction of anything that attacks them, while intimidating, makes them susceptible to Overwatch fire and the Assault's "Close Combat Specialist" skill. You can also take advantage of this by shooting them with an unit that's further away from the others, drawing them farther from potential targets if you can't kill them before their turn.
* LightningBruiser: Berserkers are tough, terrifying fighters and very fast for their girth.
* MyBloodRunsHot: It's noted that their corpse is warm to the touch hours after death.
* NoHoldsBarredBeatdown: When a Berserker manages to score a killing blow, the victim is gut-stabbed and then hammer-fisted into the ground as they double over, and then the alien continues to savagely beat them for a few more seconds.
* OffhandBackhand: During Terror Missions, if a civilian is unlucky enough to be nearby it when a Berserker is first seen, the short video that plays when it comes into view involves the Berserker striding forward and offhandedly smashing the poor civilian's skull.
* PrimalChestPound[=/=]MightyRoar[=/=]ScreamingWarrior: Like other mutons when struck by any damage they'll roar at the attacker while pounding their chest. Unlike other mutons they will ''always'' do so when hurt, and will even run closer to the assailant each time.
* SuperToughness: Even bigger and tougher than regular Mutons.
* ThereWasADoor: One of the Berserker's abilities is being able to ''burst through walls'' to ambush your soldiers. Sometimes one will ''go out of its way'' to get behind a wall in preparation for this. What's worse is that it exposes your unit to fire from other sources.
* WolverineClaws: [[DownplayedTrope Downplayed]], they have a set of blades affixed to the back of their hands which extends to just in front of their fist, like extra-nasty knuckle-dusters.

!Muton Elites
The personal guards of the true leaders of the invasion, these veteran Mutons bear even heavier weapons and armor than their regular counterparts, as well as increased intelligence. Occasionally deployed independently of their masters, their mastery of combat and advanced equipment makes them extremely dangerous opponents.
* BlingOfWar: Muton Elite armour is much more colourful than other aliens', looking almost regal in design. Fitting, given their role as guards to the Ethereals.
* TheBrute[=/=]DumbMuscle: Like other Mutons, though with even more emphasis on the "Muscle" than on the "Dumb".
* CosmeticallyDifferentSides: They wield the same Heavy Plasma weapons as your own Heavies, and both versions of the gun are exactly the same stat-wise. Despite this, the Muton's version fires 3 large plasma blasts, while the human one fires a spray of countless smaller bolts. This does not stop them from using it in suppression either.
* EliteMook: Obviously.
* GiantMook: Comes with being a Muton.
* PinnedDown: They have the "Suppression" active ability, which reduces the target's Aim by 30 and grants the Muton Elite a reaction shot should the target move.
* ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy: ''Heavily'' averted. They're even more accurate than the regular Mutons (who are already competent shots).
* PraetorianGuard: The Ethereals' personal bodyguards. There's always at least one or two of them accompanying an Ethereal in the field.
* PrimalChestPound[=/=]MightyRoar[=/=]ScreamingWarrior: If they get hurt they might use a special Intimidate ability that could cause your soldiers to panic. This is represented as them using their free hand to pound their chest and roar in defiance.
* MyBloodRunsHot: Less than other Mutons. They can't Blood Call to buff their allies, but ''can'' receive the Blood Call bonus from a regular Muton.
* SuperToughness: Like other Mutons, and further augmented by their armor.
* ThrowDownTheBomblet: They can throw Alien Grenades. They also have the "Bombard" ability, letting them toss grenades much further.

Massive war machines designed to utterly crush any opposition, these are the heaviest ground asset available to the invaders. Capable of withstanding incredible amounts of punishment, they also bear a deadly array of weapons to annihilate any who would oppose them.
* ActionBomb[=/=]DefeatEqualsExplosion: Explodes on death. Purely cosmetic in ''Enemy Unknown'', it does 5 damage in a fairly large radius in ''Enemy Within''.
* BossInMookClothing[=/=]DamageSpongeBoss: Sectopods were always tough bastards, but this goes to ludicrous degrees in ''Enemy Within'', with a trait that reduces all incoming damage by 50%, effectively doubling their health to ''60'', while their main counter HEAT Ammo is simultaneously nerfed.
* EvilCounterpart:
** Heavily-armed with rapid-fire weapons, high explosives, and able to tank a tremendous amount of damage before going down? Yeah, it's pretty much the alien answer to your own Titan-armored, plasma-toting Heavies.
** In ''Enemy Within'', it's more akin to high-level MEC Troopers.
* FlunkyBoss: Always accompanied by a pair of Drones.
%%* GiantMook
* KungFuProofMook: Immune to Stunning, Mindfray, Psi-Panic, Mind Control, poison and fire. Also has the "Hardened" passive ability, which reduces the chance of a CriticalHit. In ''Enemy Within'', it's also immune to Flashbangs.
* MacrossMissileMassacre: One of the Sectopod's offensive options is raining down a storm of grenades. The good thing is that it takes a turn to prime and a turn to fire, with the camera indicating where it is aiming, giving you time to relocate.
* MadeOfIron: Literally and figuratively. Sectopods have 30 HP, the highest amongst the aliens (beating out even the [[spoiler: Uber Ethereal]]). Taken UpToEleven in ''Enemy Within'', where they gain a trait that reduces all incoming damage by 50%.
%%* MechaMooks
%%* MiniMecha
* MightyGlacier: They can dish out a lot of damage, though they're not particularly fast.
* WaveMotionGun: A massive chest-mounted cannon they can fire twice in one turn if they don't move and will let them enter Overwatch for free. In the original game, the damn thing also dealt ''splash damage'', which was thankfully nerfed in ''Enemy Within''.

The true masterminds behind the invasion, these mysterious beings represent the pinnacle of psionic power amongst the invaders, compensating for the physical frailty resulting from centuries of existence. Their power is such that it is little wonder that the other aliens have submitted to their rule. They command from the safety of their specialized [=UFOs=].
* ActionBomb: When killed by anything other than a MEC Trooper's "Kinetic Strike", they explode into a psionic flare.
* AttackReflector: Ethereals are able to reflect shots from firearms back to soldiers.
* BeatThemAtTheirOwnGame: Mind-controlling an Ethereal is very difficult, even for a maxed-out Volunteer--but also incredibly satisfying. You even get an achievement for this.
* DefeatEqualsExplosion: Don't stand too close to one that's about to die.
* EvilOverlord: An entire race of them.
* TheFaceless
* FlunkyBoss: Always accompanied by at least one [[PraetorianGuard Muton Elite]].
* [[spoiler: HiveMind: The Ethereal collective.]]
* InformedAttribute: We're told that Ethereals are physically frail, yet they have as much health as Muton Berserkers. It's implied to be because of their extremely powerful psionic ability.
* KungFuProofMook: Has the "Hardened" passive ability, which reduces the chance of a CriticalHit. In ''Enemy Within'', it's also immune to Flashbangs.
* LargeAndInCharge: The Mutons have Ethereals beat in girth, but the Ethereals are the tallest of the invading species.
* LeanAndMean
* MonsterLord: The Ethereals are the masterminds behind all other alien species, [[spoiler: and in fact created every single one of them.]]
* MultiArmedAndDangerous
* NotSoStoic: When interrogation starts, the Ethereal first looks at the machines passively, but as soon as they're active it hunches over in pain and tries to deflect them psychically before the doors close. Almost makes you feel sorry for it...''almost''.
* PsychicPowers: They can use the huge, lingering "Rift" area attack and have a unique "Psi Lance" attack, which does extra damage if an opponent fails a Will check.
** AttackReflector: They have a chance of reflecting both regular attacks and Suppression attempts. The former will always deal 2 damage, regardless of what attack was reflected, while the latter doesn't do any damage at all. The chance is lessened if they're flanked.
** LifeDrain: "Psi Drain", which drains up to 5 Health from their allies. This can kill the drained ally, [[BadBoss not that the Ethereals care]].
** MindControl
** MindRape: "Mindfray", which always causes 5 damage, and lowers accuracy, mobility, and Will.
* TinTyrant

![[spoiler:Uber Ethereal]]
[[spoiler: The leader of the Ethereals and, by extension, the entire invasion. Commands the aliens from their massive Temple Ship and features even greater psionic power than other Ethereals.]]
* ActionBomb: When killed, he explodes into a psionic flare.
* [[spoiler:BigBad]]
* BossBanter[=/=]ExpositionFairy: On your way through [[spoiler:the Temple Ship]] to fight him, he tells you about all the other alien species and [[spoiler: how they were considered failures by the Ethereals.]]
* [[spoiler: EvilOverlord]]
* [[spoiler: EvilPlan: The entire invasion of earth was little more than a test for humanity, to force them to develop psionic powers of their own and eventually become strong enough to defeat them so that they would be ready for what comes after...]]
* [[spoiler:FinalBoss]]
* KingMook: Who else?
* KungFuProofMook: Has the "Hardened" passive ability, which reduces the chance of a CriticalHit. He is also [[ContractualBossImmunity immune to Mind Control]], unlike other Ethereals (who are just ''very'' resistant to it). In ''Enemy Within'', he's immune to Flashbangs as well.
* [[spoiler:LoadBearingBoss: His death causes the Temple Ship to start collapsing into a black hole, forcing The Volunteer to make a HeroicSacrifice.]]
* [[spoiler:TheManBehindTheMan: For the Sectoid Commander.]]
* MultiArmedAndDangerous: Although, like the other Ethereals, his mind is his only real weapon.
* PsychicPowers: The same powers as a regular Ethereal, including the "Rift" and "Psi Lance" attacks.
** AttackReflector: Has a chance of reflecting both regular attacks and Suppression attempts. The former will always deal 2 damage, regardless of what attack was reflected, while the latter doesn't do any damage at all.
** LifeDrain: "Psi Drain", which drains up to 5 Health from his allies. This can kill the drained ally.
** MindControl
** MindRape: "Mindfray", which always causes 5 damage, and lowers accuracy, mobility, and Will.
* WalkingSpoiler

[[folder: EXALT]]
->Your previous directive to [[WouldNotShootACivilian preserve all human life on Earth has been]] ''[[AvertedTrope rescinded]].'' [[GodzillaThreshold You are to use all available resources to locate and eliminate these traitors.]]
-->-- '''Council Spokesman''', "Security Breach" trailer

Debuting in ''Enemy Within'', EXALT is a human paramilitary faction of alien sympathizers. They believe in the aliens' plan to "uplift" humanity and see XCOM as an obstacle to both humanity's ascension and their own plans of global domination via alien technology after the invasion is over.

If not dealt with, EXALT cells can quickly spread across the council nations, inciting Panic even in countries with satellite coverage. They also hinder XCOM's operations by stealing funds and setting back progress on active research projects. The player may counter their spreading influence by periodically initiating global intel scans to detect cells, and launching covert operations to break said cells.
* AlwaysMale: There don't appear to be any female EXALT operatives, which puts them in direct contrast to the very egalitarian XCOM.
* AncientConspiracy: After raiding and burning their headquarters to the ground, some of the VendorTrash that you seize includes collections of historical artifacts [[spoiler:that dates back centuries, suggesting that the organization is much, much more ancient then it might first appear.]] The "eye" in their official logo is a hi-tech Eye of Providence, the symbol most closely associated with conspiracy theories surrounding TheIlluminati.
* AttackAttackAttack: Their operatives, being numerous, fanatical, and not exactly understanding squad tactics, are perfectly willing to throw themselves into the meat grinder.
* BadassInANiceSuit: EXALT troopers wear business casual, often consisting of vests, trousers, and long-sleeve button-up shirts, though their Elites feature armor over their civilian clothes.
* BetterToDieThanBeKilled: Members of EXALT cannot be captured for interrogation like most aliens can, instead committing suicide with a syringe. WordOfGod states that "they will not allow themselves to be taken alive", implying [[TheMobBossIsScarier a far worse fate]] if EXALT gets its hands on an AWOL agent. [[spoiler:Averted with the first EXALT operative you encounter in the first mission of ''Operation Progeny'', who must be escorted to safety like other Council mission [=VIPs=]. He appeared to be badly injured and deprived of his syringe.]]
* BioAugmentation: Their operatives have some enhancements, making them more durable than regular humans even without body armor. The Elite variants also possess gene-mods, some of which go beyond Dr. Vahlen's ethical limits.
* LesCollaborateurs: They welcome the alien invasion and hope to help it succeed by undermining XCOM. They then hope to rule over whatever is left of humanity once the aliens have departed.
* ConspicuousConsumption[=/=]DamnItFeelsGoodToBeAGangster: [[spoiler: Compared to the spartan and straightforward design of XCOM's own headquarters, EXALT's command center is absolutely luxurious, with non-essential things like bear skin rugs, sofas and various kinds of artwork decorating the place. Officer Bradford [[LampshadeHanging points out how it is a bad tactical decision for them to put form over function when designing their command center]].]]
** Possibly justified (Atleast to them) by their HidingInPlainSight, the fancy rugs and carpets ''do'' make it look more like a standard penthouse than a straightforward military base would.
* CoolGuns: All of their weapons are sleek, black metal, German-style weapons, with their assault rifles most notably being a dead ringer for [=H&K G36s=]. Their laser weapons have effectively the same housing as their ballistic weapons, but with additional attachments and glowing red lines.
* CyanidePill: Syringe, actually, but fulfills the same purpose.
* DiabolicalMastermind: Their leader appears to have flown the coop by the time XCOM comes knocking. A villainous throne, a giant holographic globe... all he's missing is a Persian cat.
* EliteMook: They start using Elite versions of their operatives later on in the game, which have been genetically modified and equipped with laser weapons and body armor.
* EvilCounterpart: EXALT operatives use classes, equipment and abilities similar or even identical to that of XCOM soldiers. Their HQ even has a [[GoodColorsEvilColors red-tinted]] counterpart of the Geoscape hologram, but in a fancy wood-lined office rather than XCOM's military base.
* EvilMakesYouUgly: Elite EXALT operatives display deep wrinkles, sunken eyes and some even have greenish skin discolorations. Their regular operatives aren't in much better shape either. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] due to their extreme gene mods.
* EvilTowerOfOminousness: Their headquarters is HiddenInPlainSight inside a skyscraper penthouse.
* FacelessGoons: By way of face-obscuring bandanas.
* FalseFlagOperation: The descriptions for EXALT's CoolGuns mention that they might be useful for random requests from the funding nations.
* HidingInPlainSight: While XCOM goes for an ElaborateUndergroundBase, EXALT just sticks their base of operations in the penthouse of an uptown skyscraper.
* TheIlluminati: They're a secret society of paramilitary operatives working in the shadows and masquerading as ordinary citizens. Each one of them is fanatically loyal to the cause and won't stop at anything to take the aliens' gifts and TakeOverTheWorld. The organisation is also shown to be very old and very wealthy, their base having a lot of fancy decorations and priceless art. Their insignia even has the stereotypical Illuminati "eye"!
* LensmanArmsRace: With XCOM. Both sides start out with ballistic weapons and the like, and reverse engineer alien technology independently of one another, up to the point where, later in the game, EXALT is also fielding laser weaponry and gene augmented operatives of their own, though they lack an equivalent to the Scatter Laser that XCOM can research and field. [[spoiler:However, due to their unwillingness to face the aliens in combat directly (unless a prize as valuable as Annette is at stake), they never reverse-engineer plasma weaponry or powered armour, meaning that they are severely outclassed by XCOM later on.]]
* MalevolentMaskedMen: Their face coverings and attire evoke the image of high-class gangsters, or perhaps yuppie pirates.
* {{Masquerade}}: [[spoiler:After raiding EXALT HQ, a news report is heard discussing an electrical fire breaking out on the top floor of an office building, but no one was injured: a false story to cover up the fact that a clandestine military group wiped out a clandestine terrorist organization.]]
* MildlyMilitary: EXALT operatives take to the field wearing dress shirts and ties rather than body armor. Justified as the members of EXALT are not trained soldiers, but rather weekend warriors. WordOfGod states that "they're not soldiers, you are fighting the believers themselves... These guys were sitting in their offices at the bank, at the PR agency, or whatever, and then the call comes ... and they stand up, go to the closet, push the button, put on the bandanas, and go."
* ShadowArchetype: To XCOM. As stated above, both factions have similar tech trees and field similar units, however EXALT's plans for [[TakeOverTheWorld global domination through alien technology]] conflicts with XCOM's goal of saving humanity from the alien threat. In addition, EXALT has less ethical restrictions when it comes to genetic modification than XCOM.
* VendorTrash: EXALT's CoolGuns aren't a whole lot of use once you have a surplus of plasma-tier weapons, though they can be useful for intermediary outfitting of new soldiers if you don't have enough laser weapons to go around. The bonus loot you get from trashing their HQ is also essentially useless - you can either keep it, or sell it off for a quick few hundred.
* WaistcoatOfStyle: All EXALT operatives wear these.
* WalkieTalkieStatic: To [[WhatMeasureIsAMook keep them from being humanized]], all you hear from them are orders being relayed over their comm links, and said orders are [[ completely indecipherable due to heavy radio static]]. On the other hand, [[KillItWithFire set them on fire with a MEC's flamethrower and you'll hear plenty from them.]]
* WickedCultured: [[spoiler: After raiding their headquarters, the VendorTrash seized by your soldiers includes collections of priceless artwork that can be sold to collectors for more funding.]]
* WesternTerrorists: In fact, they fit the traditional visual design of Western European/American criminals and bank robbers: Business attire, bandanas to cover their faces, and sleek, ultra-modern German-style assault weapons.
* ZergRush: EXALT troops who are after an objective will aggressively push toward it, going so far as to rush your positions, intentionally leaving some of their soldiers exposed, because they know they have an advantage in numbers and they are that fanatically devoted to their cause. This can backfire horribly for them if they decide to charge a MEC.

The basic EXALT infantryman, they rely on overwhelming their enemies with numbers, firepower and aggressive tactics. Equipped with assault rifles and grenades, they are the counterpart to XCOM's Rookie and Assault classes.
* MasterOfNone: Has no special abilities, aside from the unique "Adrenaline Rush" gene mod on the Elite versions.
* {{Mook}}: They're the most numerous, but also the weakest of EXALT's units.
* ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy: And how. With identical accuracy to Floaters (50), but no altitude bonuses, they do a perfect Stormtrooper impression.
** Carried over to Elite Operatives, who have 60 accuracy normally. However, if their Adrenaline Rush is triggered, they can become much more accurate.
* ThrowDownTheBomblet: Can throw Frag Grenades. Their Elite versions upgrade to Alien Grenades.
* TurnsRed: Their Elite versions have the "Adrenaline Rush" gene mod, which increases Aim and Critical Chance by 10% if they're injured.
* ShotgunsAreJustBetter: Amusingly, despite their strategy being very well suited to their usage, operatives don't carry shotguns, preferring standard assault rifles.

These trained combat medics support other EXALT personnel with both healing and fire support. Packing assault rifles, smoke grenades and medikits, they are the counterpart to XCOM's Support class.
* CombatMedic: They can put up a fight with their assault rifles, though not quite as well as other EXALT units. They do have the "Covering Fire" passive ability, which, if they're on Overwatch, lets them shoot first at an enemy that's about to open fire.
* HealingFactor: Their Elite versions regenerate 1 HP every turn thanks to their unique "Regen Pheromones" gene mod, as do nearby allies.
* TheMedic: Of course. Can heal other EXALT units for 4HP with EXALT's version of the Medikit. Can be used 3 times per mission, thanks to their "Field Medic" passive ability.
* ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy: To an utterly ridiculous extent. With 45 aim (the ''absolute lowest'' in the game- for reference, they have just a 45% chance of hitting an XCOM trooper standing out in the open right in front of them), you don't even need to bother carefully picking cover. Given their low damage with assault rifles, getting flanked turns from a terrifying shock to an amusing game of "when will this idiot hit me for negligible damage".
** Carries over to Elite Medics, who only have 55 accuracy.
* SmokeOut: Has the "Smoke Grenade" active ability, which generates a large smoke cloud that provides a Defense bonus to all units within the cloud. They can only use it once per missions. Elite versions have the "Smoke and Mirrors" passive ability, which increases the number of times they can use it per mission by 2.

Armed with [=LMGs=] and rocket launchers, they provide heavy fire support on EXALT operations. With their heavy firepower and increased durability, they are the counterpart to XCOM's Heavy class.
* MadeOfIron: Literally. The Elite variant has a unique gene mod, "Iron Skin", that reduces all incoming damage.
* MightyGlacier: As the EXALT answer to [=X-Com=]'s Heavy class, they share the ability to skip a turn's movement in order to fire a potentially-devastating rocket.
* MoreDakka: Armed with a LMG, which puts out even more rounds when using "Suppression".
* PinnedDown: They have the "Suppression" active ability, which reduces the target's Aim by 30 and grants the EXALT Heavy a reaction shot should the target move.
* StuffBlowingUp: Can fire a rocket and throw grenades.
* ThrowDownTheBomblet: Can throw Frag Grenades. The Elite version upgrades to Alien Grenades.

These expert marksmen can pick off EXALT's enemies from a safe distance with their sniper rifles. Fragile but capable of dishing out a lot of hurt from a distance, they are the counterpart to XCOM's Sniper class.
* DoNotRunWithAGun: Their "Snap Shot" passive ability means that they can move and shoot in the same turn, though they get a -10 Aim penalty if they do move. Given their low accuracy of 70, Snap Shot ends up being worthless for them.
* GeoEffects: Their "Damn Good Ground" passive ability gives them an extra +10 Aim and Defense for being at a higher elevation level than their target. Their Elite versions also have the "Depth Perception" gene mod, which increases the elevation bonus by a further 5%.
* GlassCannon: Has the lowest health rating of all EXALT units, but deals a lot of damage.
* LongRangeFighter: Even moreso than XCOM snipers, since they have no pistol.