Currently only 4 months in and only 10 or so names on the wall due to unfortunate hits (criticals) and being a cheap-ass on armor for fear of repairs, I haven't even unlocked the MECs suits. Most work has been done the biology side using basic laser weapons for the past month and working out the air game. That said 2 abductors were taken with no casualties, and that is no easy feat especially as a 3rd mission(many hospitalized though).

Considering MECs don't have incredibly good uses in my eyes, besides massive damage dealers from my experience with the end of the original Enemy Within game-play (non-modded), is there any reason to push for them? With the new setup those technologies are buried far within the armor and energy trees meaning it, without proper dedicated time, cannot be accomplished without neglecting the basic soldiers which I plan on getting legitimate sniper rifles shortly(research damaged by a high need of weapon fragments) and damaging my air game further. Granted those paths will cross with the need of the firestorm but the point stands, with psionics showing more promise. And no I am not a fan of gene mods besides second heart, neural blocking, and leg mods.

With this long ramble stated, is there any reason to start actual production of MECs within the first 7 months of game-play in long war?



  • A friend of mine(vanilla XCOM EW) went with 1/2 early mechs, he said that the pros of the mechs are not so much about the damage they can deal, but about the damage they can sustain, you get more freedom while moving around and risk your foot soldiers less. Overwatch shots go to the mech, you spot units, and move all your foot soldiers accordingly. Personally I haven't used them. I preferred gene mods. Nicely written question by the way. – Zerjack Mar 6 '15 at 0:08
  • Thank you. Now this is specifically why I mentioned long war beta 15. In beta 15 they reworked the MECs significantly, actually buffing them heavily. With the new 4 classes and the skill reworks they added 8 new MEC classes. Now pertaining to your answer I'm going to say that the health bonuses for MEC builds 1,2 and 3 are 10,14,and 18 respectively. Now the first iteration is 10, then 2 and 3 are unlocked with the next research, and 4-7 are upgrades of those. ufopaedia.org/index.phptitle=Armor_(Long_War)#MEC_Armor The problem is not health its in the time and resources to go for them. – Jack Taylor Mar 6 '15 at 1:51
  • In b13, early MECs saved my game. But the flamethrower was an auto panic. Just started a b15 game, will keep you posted – Kikanaide Apr 5 '15 at 19:54

I'll preface this answer with a few comments. First, my comments will be beta 15f specific (current LW version). Secondly, usefulness is somewhat subjective, I will attempt to lay out this information in a manner that allows the reader to make their own decision. I feel rather than looking at this from a "useful vs. useless" perspective, it should be looked at from a return on investment standpoint, relative to other options available at the time. Lastly, I am going to consider MEC-2 suits as part of the early game, as you can get them within the first 7 months if you push that research path. ** Values shown below are based on the Wiki, which may be slightly out of date.

Short answer, can MECs be useful early game? Yes. Especially with the change to the Jaeger tree, which gives In The Zone at specialist(!). However, the majority of MECs early will be more of a liability due to lack of abilities (rank) and HP using MEC-1 suits, but there are some pros to consider as well.

Before looking at the pros and cons of early MECs, let's look at the required investment. I'll only list MEC specific research, as the MEC research pre-requisites apply to other tech as well. I'll use equipment for a generic flame throwing tank MEC just for illustration.

Facilities ($ | Elerium | Maintenance | Power)

  • Repair Bay (50 | 10 | 10 | 4) [Likely have this without MECs, won't include in MEC resource costs]

Research (Alloys | Elerium | Weapon Fragments | Meld | Days) [Unlocks]

  • Alien Biocybernetics (5 | 30 | 50 | 40 | 25) [MEC-1 Paladin]
  • Improved Combat Exoskeletons (10 | 100 | 50 | 10 | 50) [MEC-2 Suits]

Foundry ($ | Alloys | Elerium | Weapon Fragments | Meld) [Unlocks]

  • Jellied Elerium (100 | 40 | 80 | 50 | 40) [Incinerator module & Panic rolls vs 80 will]

Equipment [slot] ($ | Alloys | Elerium | Weapon Fragments | Meld)

  • MEC-1 [Armor] (150 | 30 | 30 | 30) **Consumed to build MEC-2
  • MEC-2 [Armor] (400 | 80 | 60 | 60)
  • Laser Lance [Primary] ( 75 | 10 | 0 | 10)
  • Flame Thrower [Secondary1] (150 | 0 | 0 | 30)
  • Flame Thrower [Secondary2] (150 | 0 | 0 | 30)
  • Core Armoring [Equip1] (50 | 10 | 0 | 0)
  • Incinerator Module[Equip2] (90 | 20 | 20 | 10)

Augmentation ($ | Meld)

  • Cost is per solider (??? | 60)

Approximate Total Cost to field, and equip, a single MEC-2 trooper is roughly:

  • 1165 in space bucks (+ cost of augmentation)
  • 195 Alloys
  • 320 Elerium
  • 260 Weapon Fragments
  • 320 Meld
  • 75 days of research.

Research included since all other tech is then delayed. These values will change based on how you actually equip your MECs, of course!

Reasons that early MECs can be useful (no particular order):

  • In The Zone available at SPEC on Jaegers (strong use case on terror and large landed, and EXALT missions)
  • Flame throwers (AoE, decent damage, panic low will enemies)
  • High rank crit wounded soldiers (chop into mech in 10 (?) days, rather than be in med bay for 30+ days)
  • If assaulting alien bases early, leading with a MEC is (a little) less risky than a bio trooper taking shots from Itchy Trigger Tentacle activations.
  • MEC primary guns hit pretty hard
  • MEC-2s, if spec'd appropriately, can tank decently

Reasons that MECs may not be worth it early (no particular order):

  • Cost (see above)
  • MEC-1s are rather fragile (only +8 HP), and should mainly stay out of enemy LoS. A 6 HP soldier will only have 14 base HP in a MEC-1. With near 0 defense, one cannot afford to have many shots taken at this unit.
  • MEC-1 suits only have 1 secondary weapon slot
  • MEC aim progression can yield underwhelming % to hit on lower ranked MEC troopers.
  • Augmenting a soldier costs them a rank. Early game, you likely won't have many high ranking troopers, either.
  • Other tech delayed by time spent on MEC specific research (Aerospace, PSI, advanced armor, weapon tech, ect)
  • MECs are susceptible to alien leaders with Heat Ammo (L4+ Disc, L2+ Heavy Floater)

Alternative resource allocation paths:

  • Aerospace research and upgrades. Importance of staying competitive in the air game cannot be understated.
  • Build more uplinks, fighters, satellites, and cover more continents early (assuming you're not gated by engineers!)
  • Psi is incredibly effective against low will enemies, and is an excellent counter against heavy floaters come October-ish. Psi also works against Mechtoids.
  • Going heavy genemods can be very useful (can be done to Psi soldiers, too).
  • Getting Gauss weapons earlier (Long Rifle, Recoiless rifle are especially good)
  • Getting Advanced armors sooner
  • Foundry projects in general

tl;dr My personal stance, I don't even bother fielding MEC-1s, and I don't normally have MEC-2s running around until November-ish. I personally prefer to prioritize the air game, psi and I like to have Gauss early fall/late summer. I feel much "safer" having solid psi by the time Heavy Floaters and (later) Muton Elites show up. For me, it's hard to justify allocating such a huge amount of time and resources early, and then an additional 60 Meld for each soldier I augment. That said, I love MECs, and do end up running 1 per mission mid game, and 2 per mission late game.


An important consequence of researching biocybernetics is that it's an indirect prerequisite for aim boosters, one of the cheapest airgame improvements. It's a good reason to go for it even if you're not interested in early MECs, and once you have it the only inhibition to fielding a MEC-1 is the high meld cost.

Additionally, if you're not using low level MECs your only other way of soaking damage is with a biotank (a soldier with perks and gear that give damage reduction, like reinforced armor and will to survive). A biotank genemod, iron skin, also indirectly requires biocybernetics.


Having a Mech early in the game can be quite useful as they can absorb a lot of damage without being destroyed allowing your to draw enemy fire from your less armored troopers while letting them in turn to quickly kill what is shooting at your mech. That said it's really personal choice, the resource investment into them is high, and their starting tech isn't anything phenomenal, but it does open up new tactical options during a fight.

  • Are you familiar with Long War? Because this answer is essentially the same as my comment, and OP is looking for a Long War specific answer. – Zerjack Mar 23 '15 at 23:35
  • 1
    Also curious if this answer is LW-related or not. That said, the ability to take damage is much higher in LW so this might be right... – Kikanaide Apr 5 '15 at 20:16
  • The problem is that this is not long war specific. I've left a good deal of material regarding MECs specifically above. If you did read that do you mind rephrasing it so it isn't the equivalent of what was above to get the message across a bit better? – Jack Taylor Apr 6 '15 at 18:48

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