If a unit is in overwatch and an enemy moves a single step from a tile outside of the unit's vision to a tile inside the unit's vision, will overwatch trigger? How about the reverse - if an enemy moves a step from a tile inside the unit's vision to a tile outside the unit's vision?

If an enemy is on tile A and takes a step to tile B, and unit gets an overwatch reaction shot against it, does the game use the cover status in tile A or tile B? i.e. if an enemy is in full cover and I think it is likely to move next turn (Stun lancer, e.g.), would it be better to overwatch instead of take a shot, or will the shot consider the enemy to be in full cover anyway?

  • I'm not totally sure of this, but it seems to me that Overwatch is triggered exactly when a target moves out of a visible tile. I've found that moving up to the very first tile from which I can see an Overwatching enemy is safe, allowing me to then shoot or throw a grenade or whatever. Also, Overwatch shots are basically always in no cover, which is good; but Overwatch itself confers an aim penalty to offset that, except from ambush. I almost never take direct shots under 50% if I'm in good enough cover that I think the enemies won't shoot either.
    – Paul Z
    Feb 14, 2016 at 18:21

1 Answer 1


So, two part answer. First, Overwatch is triggered by moving more than 1 tile within the overwatcher's line of sight in a single move. You can move 1 tile without triggering overwatch, and you can move 1 tile twice (as part of two actions) without triggering overwatch. If you only spend 1 tile to move out of line of sight, you can continue your move unhindered.

As near as I can tell from looking at the SDK, overwatch shots will not benefit from cover, because they interrupt the move action, and the first part of the movement action removes current cover. (Though they don't count as flanked, either) There is also the standard overwatch hit % penalty of .7 (vs. moving enemies) and .6 (vs. dashing enemies).

  • 1
    This seems right, with the caveat that overwatch from a soldier with Covering Fire might still suffer cover penalties if they're firing at an alien taking an action from behind cover. Feb 22, 2016 at 21:36

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