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


Tougher, smarter, and more dangerous than a standard EXALT Operative, EXALT Elite Operatives are armed with the EXALT Laser Assault Rifle, as well as an Alien Grenade. Their vastly higher damage output makes them much more dangerous to XCOM personnel, and they pack a very dangerous gene-mod that can completely change the scope of their threat if one isn't careful.


An EXALT Elite Operative possesses no special abilities.

Gene Mod[]

Adrenaline Surge  Adrenaline Surge: Confers +10 Aim and +10% critical chance after taking damage.



Despite the lack of special abilities EXALT Elite Operatives are directly comparable to Mutons - similar accuracy, similar weapon loadout, and though they have a weaker primary weapon, they boast considerably better Will. Just like the Muton, they pack a single Alien Grenade, and will gleefully use it in combat. They are also more accurate than most EXALT units as well, though not so much that it's overwhelming.

What truly sets them apart from the other EXALT units, however, is their unique Gene Mod. If an EXALT Elite Operative is injured and survives, their accuracy and critical chance both increase for the duration of the battle. If properly supported, an EXALT Elite Operative can grow more and more dangerous the longer a battle drags on. Multiple doses of the Adrenaline Surge Gene Mod stack - meaning an Operative who is hit and lives through multiple attacks quickly can wind up becoming terrifyingly accurate and nigh-impossible to affect with Psionics.

Because of the above, EXALT Elite Operatives can be deceptively dangerous. They have no real abilities beyond their Gene Mod, and furthermore don't appear terribly threatening with their sole upside being their armament. However if any of them manages to survive being shot, they are suddenly the equal, accuracy-wise, of a much stronger soldier, and if allowed to survive multiple attacks, they can be extremely dangerous to your troops.


  • EXALT Elite Operatives are more expensive than standard EXALT Operatives
  • Their aim is fairly low and they are otherwise unremarkable
  • Their laser rifle and alien grenade are useful but they should be used grenade-first as their basic counterparts are
  • Their main strength is their gene mod; if they survive a shot with their above-average HP, they will suddenly gain more accuracy and defense. Paired with a lowly EXALT Medic or Elite Medic, they can gain terrifying defense and accuracy, and their powerful Laser Rifle suddenly becomes effective.
  • They may not be customized and their stats are lower than an equivalent XCOM soldier, but are cheaper.


  • This unit's -10 critical chance penalty on Easy and Normal difficulties counteracts the weapon's +10, resulting in a net 0% critical chance.
  • Exalt laser rifles do 1 more critical damage than the XCOM counterparts when looked at In-game.
  • Unlike EXALT Elite Medics, who fire single shots from their rifles in the same fashion as XCOM laser weapons, EXALT Elite Operatives fire a rapid barrage of six shots similar to an Outsider's attack.