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Defense is both a unit attribute and a gameplay mechanic in XCOM: Enemy Unknown.

Overview[]

Defense directly decreases an enemy's chance to hit the unit with most weapons. It does not reduce the damage sustained when hit. Note that melee attacks, area of effect weapons (such as grenades and rocket launchers), and offensive abilities ignore a unit's Defense attribute and always hit.

Chance to Hit[]

A unit's chance to hit is:

Shooter's Aim - Target's Defense ± Weapon Range Modifier

The game mechanic adds the shooter's Aim attribute to any applicable Aim modifiers (abilities, items, etc.), subtracts the target's Defense attribute and modifiers, then adds or subtracts a weapon range modifier (if applicable), to determine the chance to hit.

For example, an enemy with 65 Aim has a 65% chance to hit (without taking into account weapon range and other modifiers). A soldier in full cover is granted 40 Defense, giving the shot a 25% chance to hit.

When aiming a shot, the player can select "More Info" to see a list of modifiers that are currently being applied.

Units[]

XCOM[]


Alien[]

Aliens have an innate Defense attribute that is determined by their species and the game difficulty:

Alien Defense
Species Defense Species Defense
Berserker 20 · 20 · 20 · 20 Muton Elite 20 · 20 · 30 · 30
Chryssalid 10 · 10 · 10 · 10 Outsider 0 · 0 · 10 · 10
Cyberdisc 10 · 10 · 10 · 10 Sectoid 0 · 0 · 0 · 0
Drone 10 · 10 · 10 · 10   Sectoid Commander   20 · 20 · 20 · 20
Ethereal 40 · 40 · 40 · 40 Sectopod 30 · 30 · 30 · 30
Floater 0 · 0 · 0 · 0 Seeker EW 10 · 10 · 20 · 20
Heavy Floater 10 · 10 · 10 · 10 Thin Man 0 · 0 · 0 · 0
Mechtoid EW 10 · 10 · 10 · 10 Uber Ethereal 40 · 40 · 40 · 50
Muton 10 · 10 · 10 · 10 Zombie 0 · 0 · 0 · 0
Easy · Normal · Classic · ImpossibleSource: DefaultGameCore.ini, XCOM: Enemy Within

EXALT[]

All EXALT members have an innate Defense attribute of 0.

Cover[]

Main article: Cover

Using cover increases a unit's Defense. Conversely, units receive a +50% critical chance bonus when targeting an exposed enemy. These factors combine to make cover the most frequently used method of boosting a unit's Defense. There are two types of cover available, full and partial:

Full cover: +40 Defense
Partial cover: +20 Defense

All EXALT units and most alien species can use cover for Defense bonuses equal to XCOM's. Chryssalids, Cyberdiscs, Drones, Ethereals, MEC Troopers, Mechtoids, Sectopods, Uber Ethereals, Zombies, and all varieties of S.H.I.V.s cannot use cover.

Bonuses and Perks[]

Beyond the use of cover, there are a substantial number of ways to increase a unit's Defense.

Basic Abilities and Traits[]

Ability / Trait Description
XEU AlienAbility Evasion.png  Evasion +20 Defense when airborne.
XCOM: Soldiers equipped with Archangel Armor
Enemies: Cyberdisc, Drone, Floater, Heavy Floater, Seeker
XComEU Head Down icon.png  Head Down +10 Defense, even when not in cover.
XCOM: Civilians only
Enemies: None
XEU Hunker Down icon.png  Hunker Down  Doubles the cover Defense bonus.
XCOM: Assault, Heavy, Sniper, Support
Enemies: All Muton species, All EXALT units


Class Abilities[]

Class Ability Description
XEU ClassAssault.png
Assault
XEU Assault TacticalSense.png  Tactical Sense +5 Defense per enemy in sight (max +20).
XComEW MEC Trooper logo trans.png
MEC EW
Automated Threat Assessment Icon.png  Automated Threat Assessment Confers +15 Defense when in Overwatch.
Distortion Field Icon.png  Distortion Field Nearby allies in cover receive +10 Defense. (Support-based MEC Troopers)
XComEU Psionic icon.png
Psionic
XEU Psionic TelekineticField.png  Telekinetic Field Grants +40 Defense to all units within the field.
XEU ClassSniper.png
Sniper
XEU Sniper DamnGoodGround.png  Damn Good Ground Confers +10 Aim and +10 Defense against enemies at a lower elevation.
XEU Sniper LowProfile.png  Low Profile Makes partial cover count as full.
XEU ClassSupport.png
Support
XEU Support DenseSmoke.png  Dense Smoke Smoke Grenades increase Defense by +40 instead of +20.
XEU Support SmokeGrenade.png  Smoke Grenade Confers +20 Defense to all units in the smoke cloud.


Body Armor[]

Armor Description
XComEU Ghost Armor transbg.png  Ghost Armor Confers +20 Defense. 
XComEU Psi Armor transbg.png  Psi Armor Confers +10 Defense.
XComEU Skeleton Suit transbg.png  Skeleton Suit   Confers +10 Defense.


MEC Suits[]

MEC Suit Description
XComEW MEC-1 Warden transbg.png  MEC-1 Warden EW Confers +10 Defense. 
XComEW MEC-2 Sentinel transbg.png  MEC-2 Sentinel EW   Confers +10 Defense.
XComEW MEC-3 Paladin transbg.png  MEC-3 Paladin EW Confers +10 Defense.


Medals[]

Medal Description
XComEW Medals - Star of Terra icon 1 will.png  Star of Terra EW Entire squad receives +5 Will and +5 Defense in battle.
XComEW Medals - Urban Combat Badge icon 1 defense.png  Urban Combat Badge EW  +5 Defense when in cover.
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