For the enemy in The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, see Sectopod (The Bureau: XCOM Declassified). For the enemy in XCOM 2, see Sectopod (XCOM 2).

A Sectopod is an enemy in XCOM: Enemy Unknown. It's a massive bipedal robot with a heavily armored central 'head' that houses several potent weapon systems.


The Sectopod is an extremely dangerous robotic enemy. It appears around six months into the campaign (usually after researching Heavy Plasma) and is usually accompanied by two to three Drones. It is often found aboard larger alien ships and during late game Terror Site missions. The Sectopod's primary threats come from its very high health and its Cannon Fire ability which allows multiple devastating attacks in a single turn. While extremely powerful weaponry is required to reliably kill a Sectopod, these deadly machines are most definitely not invincible.

In XCOM: Enemy Within Sectopods take 50% less damage from all sources, effectively doubling their health as well as the amount of damage repaired by any escorting Drones. This, combined with the reduction of the HEAT Ammo bonus against mechanical units from 100% to 50% makes them one of the most significant threats in the game. Many of the strategies listed in this article were formulated before the release of XCOM: Enemy Within and thus will not work as specified, they will have to be modified in order to be effective against Sectopods with their new trait.

Sectopods cannot be selected to be on your squad in multiplayer.


Sectopods first appear during the seventh month (September), or February 2016 if the "Marathon" Second Wave option is enabled. There is a limit of one per mission the month it is introduced, and two per mission thereafter; however players have reported up to 4 Sectopods appearing on a single mission in Normal mode. These deployment limits do not appear to apply to Impossible mode. In later months of an impossible difficulty terror site, all five enemy pods can be Sectopods.

Sectopods can be deployed for several mission types, including terror sites and large UFO landing and crash sites, but are not encountered during abduction missions.

The Overseer Crash Site mission features at least one Sectopod, even if you haven't reached September yet.


Ability Description
Cluster Bomb  Cluster Bomb Mark a large area and, after one turn, saturate it with a barrage of explosive mini-bombs.
Cannon Fire  Cannon Fire Beam attack that causes high damage and grants free Overwatch. If the Sectopod does not move, Cannon Fire can be used twice (against different enemies).


Trait Description
Hardened  Hardened Reduces the chance of suffering a critical hit by 60%.
Reinforced Armor  Reinforced Armor EW Reduces all damage taken by 50%. Damage taken is rounded up to the nearest whole number.
XEU AbilityPlaceholder.png  Robotic Immune to fire, poison, and several Psionic abilities.
Stun Immune  Stun Immune This unit cannot be stunned with the Arc Thrower; taking a live specimen is not possible.


  • No



  • Despite its size, the Sectopod, like the Cyberdisc, can fit through one tile wide doors and pathways.
  • In addition to the Cluster Bomb, Sectopods have a separate, accurate and deadly plasma Chest Cannon that it utilizes for Overwatch. They automatically enter Overwatch after using their Cannon Fire ability.
  • While the Sectopod has a self-destruct animation upon its death, it does not deal damage to the surrounding area like the Cyberdisc.
    • This issue has been fixed in XCOM: Enemy Within, with the Sectopod dealing 5 damage to all units within 3 tiles upon death.
  • There is a rare glitch that triggers Sectopod's Overwatch fire per 2-3 squares your soldiers move. This glitch lasts to the end of a mission.



  • It may seem obvious, but the best way to deal with a Sectopod is to keep your squad together and in good cover. Sectopods can take damage, and dish it out, but concentrated fire from Plasma weapons can take them down without your squad suffering too much damage.
    • While it may seem counter-intuitive to attack a Sectopod, this is actually the best strategy for dealing with Sectopods that are by themselves. Given the low movement and high defense of Sectopods, they can't trigger Overwatch reaction shots easily, and even if they do trigger them, the shots are inclined to miss after penalties are applied. Attacking a Sectopod also allows the player to choose the grounds of engagement and the cover available to them.
      • Do make sure that the Sectopod doesn't have too many allies nearby.
    • Upon engagement, lead with the Heavy's damage abilities like Rocket Launcher, Shredder Rocket, and secure the kill with Headshot and Double Tap, or the Assault's Run and Gun with Rapid Fire abilities.
      • In XCOM: Enemy Within, a squadmember with Mimetic Skin is incredibly helpful in scouting ahead to locate said Sectopod and possible allies. In an engagement, the MEC (preferably an Assault type with Shaped Armor) should stay on point to tank damage, while his squad members follow up.
      • Alternatively, one could employ a Heavy type MEC with the Kinetic Strike Module and Electro Pulse tactical subsystems. Combined with Advanced Servomotors and MEC Close Combat, the MEC can completely eliminate the Sectopod's ability to retaliate. First, the soldier with Mimetic Skin scouts the location of the Sectopod. Next, the MEC moves as close as possible to the Sectopod without exposing itself (a good idea would be to hide behind a corner that grants full cover). Before the MEC springs the trap, ensure that all troops are prepared to move into position and open fire if necessary. Then, in one move, order the MEC to run out of cover and stand on a tile adjacent to the Sectopod. After this, order the MEC to activate the Electro Pulse module. Command the rest of the squad to open fire. If the Sectopod survives into the next turn, order the MEC to employ its Kinetic Strike Module. If the Sectopod is rendered weak enough for the rest of the squad to destroy it, order the MEC to retreat 4 tiles so that when the squad destroys it, the MEC will not be damaged in the ensuing explosion. By mixing and matching the classes of the soldiers constituting the MEC's backup squad, various tactics can be exercised should the situation turn pear-shaped. For instance, the player could deploy a Sniper with Disabling Shot to buy the squad another turn should they fail to destroy the Sectopod before the Electro Pulse wears off. Alternatively, the player could opt to deploy Supports with Dense Smoke to further augment the Heavy MEC's evasive abilities when faced with multiple opponents in addition to the Sectopod.
  • Using Drone Capture against an accompanying Drone, or Mind Control against a nearby alien may cause the Sectopod to attack it. If close enough, the Sectopod can damage itself with its area of effect (AoE) attack.
    • In XCOM: Enemy Within, the Sectopod's Chest Cannon no longer causes AoE damage.
  • Suppressing a Sectopod with a Support, Heavy, or S.H.I.V. reduces its accuracy. Sectopods seldom move when suppressed, so don't expect to score a free reaction shot this way.
  • It is possible to buy time in a fight against the Sectopod by clustering soldiers together in good cover; this may cause it to prepare for a Cluster Bomb barrage instead of immediately using its Chest Cannon. However, in all likelihood it can result in massive splash damage as well.
    • This tactic is much more effective in XCOM: Enemy Within, as Sectopods no longer deal area of effect damage with their Chest Cannons.


  • Holo-Targeting can help compensate for the Sectopod's high Defense rating.
  • Using Bullet Swarm to fire twice with a Heavy Laser or Heavy Plasma can deal significant damage to a Sectopod.
  • The HEAT Ammo ability (+100% damage vs. robotic enemies) is invaluable against the Sectopod. When combined with Heavy Plasma, a Heavy can reliably inflict 20 points of damage to a Sectopod. Combining this ability with the use of the Rocket Launcher can also produce devastating damage with the added benefit of destroying any accompanying Drones. Combining HEAT Ammo with the Mayhem ability grants the possibility of a one-shot kill against a Sectopod when used with a Blaster Launcher or using Heavy Plasma with Ghost Armor (firing while cloaked = 100% critical hit chance).
  • In XCOM: Enemy Within, the above tactics with a Heavy are not as effective due to: 1) the nerf on HEAT Ammo damage bonus from +100% to +50%, 2) the Sectopod's 50% damage reduction ability, and 3) cloaking only confers +30% critical hit chance.
    • A Shredder Rocket can help offset the Sectopod's 50% damage reduction ability.


  • Can engage a Sectopod from far outside its effective range if using the Squadsight ability.
  • Armed with at least a Laser Sniper Rifle, a Sniper can inflict substantial damage when making use of the Headshot or Double Tap abilities. Alternatively, scoring a critical hit with a Plasma Sniper Rifle will almost completely destroy an undamaged Sectopod.
  • The Disabling Shot ability can provide valuable time for fellow squad mates to temporarily react to the Sectopod without fear of retaliation. However, on certain platforms, it has been proven that Disabling Shot has no effect on the Sectopod.
  • In XCOM: Enemy Within, the above tactics with a Sniper may not be as effective due to the Sectopod's 50% damage reduction ability. However, Disabling Shot does properly disable a Sectopod's Cannon Fire and Overwatch, although it doesn't stop Cluster Bomb if it was initiated the previous turn. This alone can buy your squad the time they need to bring it down.


  • Armed with the Alloy Cannon and enough critical boosting abilities, an Assault can kill a Sectopod with two critical hits.
  • It is possible to destroy an undamaged Sectopod in a single turn if the soldier in question also has the Rapid Fire ability, providing that both shots successfully hit.
    • In XCOM: Enemy Within, the above tactics with an Assault are not as effective due to the Sectopod's 50% damage reduction ability. However, high ranking Assaults with Titan Armor and Combat Stims can weather a Sectopod's attacks for up to 4 turns.
  • An Assault with Lightning Reflexes can take the first move, allowing your squad to re-position with impunity.
  • If playing with Training Roulette, keep watch for Assault soldiers who gain HEAT Ammo. Combined with an Alloy Cannon, Rapid Fire, Ghost Armor, Run & Gun, and Sprinter, if possible, a soldier can cloak, dash to 4 tiles away from the Sectopod, and deliver both shots with the first shot having critical bonus. This will reliably eliminate ten or more HP.

Hover S.H.I.V.[]

A squad consisting mostly (or entirely) of fully-upgraded Hover S.H.I.V.s is an expensive, but extremely effective attack formation against Sectopods:

  • One S.H.I.V. can suppress it each turn, reducing its Aim by 30. This, combined with the S.H.I.V.'s base 20 Defense, makes it very difficult for the Sectopod to shoot back effectively.
  • While flying, Hover S.H.I.V.s gain +20 Aim, which helps counteract the Sectopod's high Defense rating.
  • Even if the Sectopod does manage to land a few lucky hits, the Sentinel Drone EW ability will repair the damage over time.
  • If the S.H.I.V.s are armed with plasma cannons, each successful hit deals about 10 damage (5 in XCOM: Enemy Within).
  • In addition to the cost, a drawback to this strategy is that fewer human soldiers in a squad means less XP/rank gains.
  • Unless, of course, you hide a rookie or two in the woods nearby.

MEC Trooper[]

  • A Sectopod can be stunned by MEC-3's Electro Pulse ability for one turn, provided the MEC Trooper can get close enough to bring the Sectopod into range.
    • Electro Pulse does not prevent the Sectopod from using its Cluster Bomb ability if it was initiated the previous turn.
    • Electro Pulse's 5 damage is not mitigated by Reinforced Armor.
    • Electro Pulse followed by two hits with a MEC Trooper's Kinetic Strike Module upgraded with MEC Close Combat the following turn deals a total of 23 damage to a Sectopod, leaving it with only 7 HP, which, given two turns, can easily be made up with a few shots from supporting soldiers.
    • Bear in mind that if the MEC Trooper remains in close quarters when the Sectopod is destroyed it will incur 5 damage.


  • The Rift ability granted to The Volunteer is possibly the best damage-dealing ability against Sectopods, as robotic units are counted as having effective Will of 0. This makes the two Sectopods faced at the final mission probably the easiest Sectopods to destroy in the game.


  • A destroyed Sectopod yields alien alloys and Elerium.
  • The stomping sounds of a Sectopod moving within the fog of war are re-used for the Mechtoid in Enemy Within.