A critical hit is a gameplay mechanic in XCOM: Enemy Unknown and XCOM 2.


When firing most weapons, units have a chance to inflict additional damage (about +50% in XC1) upon their opponent with a critical hit. A unit's Critical Hit Damage and Critical Hit Chance stats are partially composed of base stats added by the weapon being used, but may vary from encounter to encounter due to many factors established by both the shooter and the target. These include both parties' pertinent traits, abilities, status effects, gene mods, equipment & upgrades, as well as the positioning of the units. Catching a target out of cover (referred to as "Enemy Exposed" in XC1), or flanking from an unprotected side, increases the chance of a critical hit by 50% in XC1, or 40% in XC2.

Hit ChanceEdit

The critical percent displayed in-game indicates the chance of a successful hit being critical, not the chance of landing a critical hit against the opponent. To determine the latter, multiply the displayed chance to hit by the critical percentage. For example, if you have a 88% chance to hit the target, and a 25% critical chance, the percent outcomes are:

  • Chance of critical hit: 88% × 25% = 22%
  • Chance of regular hit: 88% - 22% = 66%
  • Chance of miss: 100% - 22% - 66% = 12%

Also note that while Aim and Defense modify the chance of a hit, they are not directly related to Critical Hit Chance or Critical Hit Damage stats.


Most weapons, excluding rocket launchers and grenades, are capable of inflicting a critical hit. Of all the primary weapon types, sniper rifles have the highest base chance to inflict a critical hit throughout the game, increasing by +5% critical chance with each technology level. Heavy's LMGs have the lowest critical chance, remaining at zero from conventional weapon through to plasma. The Laser Pistol is the only secondary weapon that has a base chance to critically hit.

WeaponBase DamageCritical ChanceCritical Damage
Light Machine Guns
XEU Light Machine Gun  LMG 3 - 50%6 - 8
XEU Heavy Laser  Heavy Laser 5 - 70%9 - 11
XEU Heavy Plasma  Heavy Plasma 8 - 100%14 - 16
XComEW Minigun  Minigun 4 - 610%8 - 10
XComEW Railgun  Railgun 6 - 810%11 - 13
XComEW Particle Cannon  Particle Cannon 9 - 1110%15 - 17
XEU Pistol  Pistol 1 - 20%2 - 4
XComEU Laser Pistol  Laser Pistol 1 - 310%3 - 5
XEU Plasma Pistol  Plasma Pistol 2 - 40%5 - 7
XEU Assault Rifle  Assault Rifle 2 - 410%5 - 7
XEU Laser Rifle  Laser Rifle 4 - 610%8 - 10
XEU Light Plasma Rifle  Light Plasma Rifle 4 - 610%8 - 10
XEU Plasma Rifle  Plasma Rifle 6 - 810%11 - 13
XEU Shotgun  Shotgun 3 - 520%6 - 8
XEU Scatter Laser  Scatter Laser 5 - 720%9 - 11
XEU Alloy Cannon  Alloy Cannon 8 - 1020%14 - 16
Sniper Rifles
XComEU Sniper Rifle  Sniper Rifle 3 - 525%6 - 8
XEU Laser Sniper Rifle  Laser Sniper Rifle 5 - 730%9 - 11
XEU Plasma Sniper Rifle  Plasma Sniper Rifle 8 - 1035%14 - 16
Source: Tactical Info, XCOM: Enemy Within

Bonuses and PerksEdit

Beyond weapons and troop positioning, there are a substantial number of ways to increase one's chance of avoiding a critical hit, inflicting a critical hit, and critical hit damage.

Basic Abilities and TraitsEdit

Ability / Trait Description
Hardened  Hardened -60% critical chance against this unit.
XCOM: MEC Trooper, all varieties of S.H.I.V.s
Enemies: Berserker, Chryssalid, Cyberdisc (closed), Drone, Ethereal, Mechtoid, Sectopod, Uber Ethereal
XEU Hunker Down icon  Hunker Down  Immune to being critically hit (unless flanked).
XCOM: Assault, Heavy, Sniper, Support
Enemies: All EXALT units, most Alien land units
Overwatch  Overwatch Reaction shots on Overwatch cannot critically hit.
XCOM: All units
Enemies: All EXALT units, Cyberdisc, Floater, Heavy Floater, Mechtoid, Muton, Muton Elite, Outsider, Sectoid, Sectoid Commander, Sectopod, Thin Man

Note: Although they have a similar name and purpose, the civilian ability Head Down is not the same as Hunker Down. Head Down does not provide immunity to critical hits.

Class AbilitiesEdit

Class Ability Description
XEU ClassAssault
XEU Assault Aggression  Aggression +10% critical chance per enemy in sight (max +30%).
XEU Assault BringEmOn  Bring Em On +1 critical damage per enemy the squad can see (max +5).
XEU Assault CloseAndPersonal  Close and Personal  +30% critical chance against adjacent targets. (Doesn't apply in XCOM: Enemy Within due to change to ability.)
XEU Assault KillerInstinct  Killer Instinct Run & Gun grants +50% critical damage.
XEU Assault Resilience  Resilience Immune to being critically hit.
XEW ClassMECTrooper
Body Shield Icon  Body Shield The nearest visible enemy cannot critically hit this unit. (Heavy-based MEC Troopers)
Collateral Damage Icon  Collateral Damage Collateral Damage cannot critically hit.
Platform Stability Icon  Platform Stability +10% critical chance. (Sniper-based MEC Troopers)
XEU ClassSniper
XEU Sniper DisablingShot  Disabling Shot Disabling Shot cannot critically hit.
XEU Sniper Headshot  Headshot +30% critical chance, and +critical damage based on the tech level of the rifle.
XEU Sniper Opportunist  Opportunist Allows reaction shots (e.g. Overwatch) to critically hit.
XEU Sniper Squadsight  Squadsight XCOM: Enemy Within only: Squadsight shots cannot critically hit, unless a Headshot.
XEU ClassSupport
XEU Support CombatDrugs  Combat Drugs Smoke Grenades grant +10% critical chance for all units in the cloud.

The Heavy class is the only soldier class that does not have a class ability involving critical hits. The only critical hit perks available to Heavies are ones available to all (non-MEC) classes, such as Reaper Rounds and Gene Mods. A Heavy that becomes a MEC Trooper gets a critical hit defense ability, Body Shield.

Equipment AbilitiesEdit

Ability Description
XEU Ghost  Ghost Mode +100% critical chance while stealthed (+30% in XCOM: Enemy Within).
XCOM: soldier with Ghost Armor / Ghost Grenade EW
Enemies: None (ability possessed by Seekers but cannot be used to crit)
XEW Reaper Rounds icon  Reaper Rounds EW +20% critical chance against organic targets.
XCOM: Soldier with conventional weapon & Reaper Rounds
Enemies: None

Gene ModsEdit

Gene Mod Description
Adrenal Neurosympathy Icon  Adrenal Neurosympathy EW  +5% critical chance.
XCOM: Gene-modded soldier & nearby allies
Enemies: None
Adrenaline Surge Gene Mod  Adrenaline Surge EW +10% critical chance per turn when wounded.
XCOM: None
Enemies: EXALT Elite Operative
Depth Perception Icon  Depth Perception EW +5% critical chance bonus for height advantage.
XCOM: Gene-modded soldier]
Enemies: EXALT Elite Sniper
Mimetic Skin Icon  Mimetic Skin EW +30% critical chance when stealthed.
XCOM: Gene-modded soldier
Enemies: None

Foundry UpgradesEdit

Upgrade Description
XEU Improved Pistol I schematics  Improved Pistol I +20% critical chance with all pistols.
S.C.O.P.E. Upgrade  S.C.O.P.E. Upgrade  +10% critical chance added to the S.C.O.P.E.


Ability Description
XComEW Medals - Council Medal of Honor icon 2 crit  Council Medal of Honor EW  +10% critical chance if not within 7 tiles of an allied unit.
XCOM: Soldier
Enemies: None
XEU AlienAbility GreaterMindMerge  Greater Mind Merge Receiver is granted +25% critical chance.
XCOM: None
Enemies: Sectoid Commander (transmitter), Sectoid (receiver)
XEU AlienAbility MindMerge  Mind Merge Receiver is granted +25% critical chance.
XCOM: None
Enemies: Sectoid (transmitter/receiver)

Second WaveEdit

A few Second Wave options affect the characteristics of critical hits.

  • Absolutely Critical increases the "Enemy Exposed" and "Flanking" bonuses from +50% to +100% critical chance, while modifying the Hardened trait from -60% to -100% critical chance to compensate for units that cannot take cover. While this option makes flanking or being out of cover more dangerous, it also means that there is a net 10% increase to critically hit a Hardened unit.
  • Damage Roulette alters the calculation of the damage dealt by a critical hit. The bonus damage is the weapon's base damage, added to the randomized damage of the hit (between 1 and 150% of the base damage). As such, going for critical hits is one way to deal consistent damage.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.