An EXALT Elite Heavy is a new enemy in XCOM: Enemy Within.


An EXALT Elite Heavy is a more formidable foe than a standard EXALT Heavy. In addition to superior Aim, Health, and Will, they are armed with an EXALT Heavy Laser (equivalent to XCOM's Heavy Laser). They are also genetically modified with Iron Skin to reduce incoming damage, and possess the Rapid Reaction ability.


Ability Description
Fire Rocket  Fire Rocket Fire a rocket using an equipped launcher. This ability can not be used after moving, nor more than once per mission.
Holo-Targeting  Holo-Targeting Shooting at or suppressing enemies also confers +10 Aim to any allies' attacks on those enemies.
Rapid Reaction  Rapid Reaction Confers a second reaction shot if on Overwatch and the first reaction shot is a hit.
Suppression  Suppression Can fire a special shot that grants reaction fire at a single target. The target also suffers a -30 Aim penalty.

Gene Mod[]

Iron Skin  Iron Skin: Reduces all incoming damage by 25% (Damage is rounded to closest natural number and damage reduction is applied after every bonus to damage is applied.)



Killing EXALT Heavies should be the squad's first priority when encountered. Their rocket launcher can do a good amount of damage and will destroy cover, leaving your squad exposed to any other EXALT forces. It should be noted that like XCOM Heavies, EXALT Heavies cannot fire their launcher after moving. Like most aliens that possess area-effect equipment or ability attacks, their chances of using it increases if they have low a Aim chance to all visible XCOM soldiers, and also if you have multiple soldiers clustered together. Thus, avoid situations where you have multiple soldiers clustered together, in heavy cover, within line of sight of an EXALT Heavy at the start of his turn; if all conditions are met, it is virtually a guarantee he will fire a rocket, which is his most dangerous attack. Knowing this, multiple counter-tactics can be employed, as discussed below. (It must be kept in mind that hacking a comm relay does NOT disable their Fire Rocket ability.)

Employing stealth is advised when facing EXALT Heavies, given that, despite possessing AoE abilities, said enemies will only use fire a rocket if they have a direct line of sight to at least one target; they will not fire at a nearby square of empty terrain in an attempt to catch targets in the blast area, despite being aware of an XCOM soldier there. Staying at least one tile away from corners, for example, will force EXALT Heavies to move in an attempt to obtain line of sight on an enemy, possibly exposing themselves to reaction fire and/or flanking maneuvers, to say nothing about the fact that, as aforementioned, rockets can't be fired after moving. This effectively means that executing this precautionary tactic successfully renders rocket-armed EXALT Heavies even less dangerous than enemies equipped with grenades.

Rockets used by EXALT Heavies can only be fired in a straight trajectory, meaning that they are susceptible to collisions. This allows a soldier to safely lure enemies by using Hunker Down in full cover even when Heavies are present, as they will not fire against a soldier within their LoS if a large enough object is located between them.

As an added warning, when an EXALT Heavy goes on Overwatch, take note of their ability to fire twice (if the first Reaction Shot hits) due to Rapid Reaction. Though their base Aim is rather low, and will be further penalized by the standard Aim penalty for Overwatch (and furthermore the Defense bonus against Overwatch if the XCOM soldier is Dashing), bad luck for the player can result in a soldier being hit twice, possibly with high damage rolls. In a highly improbable worst-case disaster, this can result in up to 14 damage if both shots hit. However, due to the aforementioned low Aim stats of this enemy type, this is really only of consideration on high-difficulty Ironman games, if a valuable high-ranking soldier's life would be put at risk by a move action in sight of an Overwatching EXALT Heavy. Note that the first Reaction Shot must hit in order to fire the second, so Lightning Reflexes will still effectively protect against this.