For the device in XCOM 2, see Battle Scanner (XCOM 2).

Battle Scanner is an ability of the Sniper Class in XCOM: Enemy Unknown.

Scanning device that, when thrown, creates a new source of vision for 2 turns. Can only be used 2 times per battle.

– In-Game Description, XCOM: Enemy Unknown


A battle scanner is a device open to use with the Sniper class. Despite some limitation, (as noted below) the device is incredibly useful. It will save lives if used properly and gives you a chance to jump the aliens, instead of the other way around. Used in conjunction with sound waves, (soldiers hear them during the aliens turn) and with squad sight, (a useful level up for the Sniper class) Snipers can throw a device into the Fog of War, granting sight of the aliens long before they see you. Additionally, (and most importantly) the Sniper may make a long range shot, as long as there is a clean line of sight to the alien.

The device has limitations, and it is not clear whether this is due to bugs or is intended behavior. Throwing a Battle Scanner through a force-field door yields no view of what is behind the force field. The Battle Scanner is unable to see through cover from its landing point, so in order to get the most out of its sight area it needs to be thrown into an open area. If thrown on an elevated surface it often fails to give any view of the area below, as the Battle Scanner sits on the ground. Sometimes if not thrown properly the battle scanner can get stuck in doors and ramps, in which case it will fail to give any sight at all.

When selecting an area to deploy the Battle Scanner it will release waves of blue light that, while unable to reveal enemies, will allow you to view the surrounding layout of a map without actually deploying the Battle Scanner. This along with the other mentioned benefits, makes locating alien ships or Meld canisters in the fog of war shockingly easy- certainly worth the loss of a mount point on the Snipers belt.

XCOM: Enemy Within[]

This expansion, despite not altering the description, amends the following Battle Scanner abilities:

  • Reveal all cloaked enemies within its scan range, making scanners useful for uncovering Seekers who have gone into Stealth mode.
  • Alien door(s) now open when a scanner is thrown through them. (This allows players to retrieve the scanner's view but will triggers any alien pods near the door if at least one of their soldier is in line of sight.)

The utility of the Battle Scanner for scouting is reduced by the presence of the Mimetic Skin Gene Mod, which allows for safe, effective and unlimited scouting; however, the stealth-revealing ability is valuable in the early game prior to researching Bioelectric Skin.