|“||A powerful arm upgrade for the MEC, allowing the wielder to pulverize adjacent cover and enemies. Also boosts mobility.||”|
A rocket-assisted punching fist that can perform a free-aiming melee attack that deals 12 damage to enemies or directly destroy cover; the attack can only be performed against adjacent tiles (not diagonally) and may cause some collateral damage to adjacent tiles. Enemies killed by the strike are typically knocked back two tiles; this can cause the corpse to smash through destructible terrain causing further environmental damage and even detonate vehicles. This subsystem also improves the MEC's movement by 2.
The Kinetic Strike Module (KSM) can be upgraded through the MEC Close Combat Foundry project to deal 18 damage. Additionally, the upgraded KSM no longer ends the turn when used as the MEC's first action; this allows the KSM to be used up to two times a turn.
When compared with the Flamethrower, the alternate Tactical Subsystem of MEC-1, the Kinetic Strike Module offers quite a few advantages:
- The KSM has unlimited uses per mission.
- Although the KSM has extremely short range, it offers a +3 mobility boost that is useful in many situations.
- The KSM reliably kills standard infantry (everything up to and including, with the damage upgrade, Muton Elites) in one hit. However it's worth noting that the KSM can't be used against targets in flight mode hovering higher than (starting) ground level, such as airborne Cyberdiscs or Floaters.
- The Flamethrower can't be upgraded to be a non-turn-ending action, while the KSM gets that benefit via MEC Close Combat.
- The KSM is an effective alternative to Collateral Damage in terms of clearing obstructions, but doesn't empty the main weapon and causes about six times more damage to any enemy caught in its path. With the MEC Close Combat Foundry project, a MEC can perform a "dynamic entry", punching through a wall to open a line of fire for their main gun or other soldiers.
- The Flamethrower destroys Weapon Fragments and Meld when killing enemies.
- The Flamethrower does not affect robotic units.
The Kinetic Strike Module is more useful for offensive MECs that readily move to react to threats and opportunities (i.e. based on Assaults and Heavies) and combines well with the Grenade Launcher and Electro Pulse. The movement boost also helps defensive MECs to find the best strategic location to act from (i.e. close to teammates in cover to offer greater Distortion Field effects for MECs based off Supports and optimal sightline positions for Sniper-based MECs).
- The Kinetic Strike Module has special kill animations when finishing off the Mechtoid, Berserker, and Sectopod. Note, however, that the Sectopod animation fails to knock the wreck back any tiles resulting in the MEC being caught in the Sectopod's death explosion and sustain full damage.
- With "Absolutely Critical", if the KSM's punch upgraded with MEC Close Combat kills an enemy with more than 18 health, the animation will not play.
- Ethereals do not explode if killed by the KSM; their robes still disintegrate but their mask remains.
- Using the Kinetic Strike Module to kill a Berserker will grant the "Someone Your Own Size" Achievement.
- It is possible to score a critical hit with the KSM, if used it while under the effects of a Ghost Grenade, allowing the ability when fully upgraded to do up to 23 damage.
- Using the KSM with the "Absolutely Critical" Second Wave option enabled increases the KSM's power by 50%. The punch will do 18 damage before the MEC Close Combat upgrade, and 27 damage after. This means that with 2 upgraded hits, a MEC will do 54 damage, the secondmost damage possible from a single source in one round (behind only Rapid Fire Alloy Cannon crits with Bullet Swarm from Training Roulette, or a very unlikely In The Zone Sniper moment). Two such punches in succession can reduce an intact Sectopod to a trivial 2 HP on any difficulty (as the damage reduction from Reinforced Armor rounds values up instead of down).
- Caution is advised when using the KSM near the Encoder and Transmitter during Covert Data Recovery missions, as it may not highlight as collateral damage when (accidentally) targeted. If an EXALT agent is between the MEC and the device, it should not be killed by a punch, or he'll be sent flying into the Encoder/Transmitter and destroy it.
- When a humanoid enemy is killed by the KSM and the corpse falls down to a lower elevation, a bug might occur where the corspe impales the ground headfirst and remains in a stiff upside down posture when touching the ground.