My grenadier just ranked up to Captain and received a Hidden Ability, and I'm curious how many other Hidden Abilities are out there. Are any of them class-specific, and are their rarities (as in some abilities are rarer to get upon promotions than others) different or all the same?

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1 Answer 1


Under the Hood

So, since I'm a capable programmer with nothing better to do, I took a break from playing XCOM2 to dive into XCOM ModBuddy. All of the following is taken directly from the SDK. Presume all statements to refer only to the base game, unless otherwise qualified.

All potential Hidden Abilities come from soldier classes, which, in the base game, means Ranger, Grenadier, Sharpshooter, Specialist, or Psi Operative. What the game does is iterate through all the classes, checking each class' ability list for abilities that are marked "CrossClassEligible". Abilities from the current unit's class aren't added as possibilities. (So a Sharpshooter will never get "Death from Above" as a Hidden Ability, even though Hidden Ability is Cross-Class eligible)

It looks like there are hooks for an extra list of non class-associated abilities, and I've heard people get "Lightning Reflexes", which isn't a class perk, but I haven't found that list yet.

After assembling this list, the game simply generates a random number from 1 - X (where X is the total number of skills) and assigns that as the Soldier's Hidden Ability.

TLDR: Most abilities are class-specific, and you will never get abilities from your class as Hidden Abilities.

List of Cross-Class Skills


  • Hail of Bullets
  • Blast Padding
  • Holo Targeting
  • Shredder
  • Volatile Mix
  • Chain Shot
  • Rupture
  • Salvo


  • Run & Gun
  • Untouchable
  • Implacable
  • Shadowstep
  • Phantom
  • Deep Cover
  • Rapid Fire


  • Deadeye
  • Death From Above
  • Serial
  • Kill Zone
  • Aim


  • Ever Vigilant
  • Guardian
  • Covering Fire

Advanced Warfare Center (Unique)

  • Lightning Reflexes

(Think the Specialist misses out since most of their skills are Gremlin Focused)

  • Are those all the abilities? What about psi operative - does he have any crossclass abilities? Will psiop unlock a hidden ability when levelling up during training?
    – SkyHiRider
    Commented Feb 14, 2016 at 23:41
  • @SkyHiRider No, none of the psioperative abilities are cross-class. They should still be able to unlock an AWC bonus ability, though! Commented Feb 15, 2016 at 0:22
  • 1
    One of my psi operatives unlocked "Hail of bullets" after she unlocked all her abilities and I inspected her through the customize soldier screen. My second psi operative did not unlock any hidden ability after unlocking all psi abilities.
    – SkyHiRider
    Commented Feb 21, 2016 at 13:18
  • @SkyHiRider Did you visit the soldier's ability screen every time they increased in rank? Given how the AWC works, you can miss your cross class ability if it's unlocked and you don't visit the promotion screen. Commented Feb 21, 2016 at 19:56
  • I just trained a second pair of psi operatives. I visited the ability screen after they learned each new ability and yet the hidden ability did not unlock on neither of them.
    – SkyHiRider
    Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 0:40

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