LWOTC Class Builds - Grenadier (2024)

Note: This post is a revised version of my Long War 2 Grenadier build, with changes to the text/build as appropriate for the new rules and skills in LWOTC. All changes to the rules/mechanics of LW2 are displayed in bold.

LWOTC Ufopaedia: Grenadier

The Grenadier is the guy that enables everyone else to be more effective. Their starting job is cover destruction, which is super important. Later in the campaign they can get Incendiary Grenades, Bluescreen Bombs, and Sting Grenades making them the true multitool class, having an answer for every problem. My build for the Grenadier leans into this role, ignoring the ancillary buffs to smoke and action economy in order to maximize the effectiveness of those beautiful beautiful grenades.

Multitool

LWOTC Class Builds - Grenadier (1)
  • Sapper

  • Heavy Ordinance

  • Bluescreen Bombs

  • Tandem Warheads

  • Sting Grenades

  • Volatile Mix

  • Full Kit

Sapper:

This is a very strong ability, allowing your grenadier to guarantee destruction of all but the most sturdy cover.1 In LWOTC, Sapper has been improved, adding +4 environmental damage (instead of 3), making it perfectly reliable against all cover object with 5-10 HP (which is most of them), so long as the grenade is focused on it. Cover destruction and guaranteed damage are the reasons to bring a grenadier on missions in the early game. This is one of their core responsibilities in my squads, and it is incredibly important.

I’ve gotten a bit of pushback about Sapper from the internet, and so I did a bit of testing. I took a couple of soldiers, one with Sapper, the other without, both equipped with Plasma Grenades, toggled GodMode ON, and went on a destruction spree, as pictured below.

LWOTC Class Builds - Grenadier (2)

What I found was that the non-Sapper is pretty good at destroying wooden walls, fences, and the low cover railing on buildings, but could not destroy boulders, logs, or poles reliably - far less than half the time. Whereas with Sapper, and centering the grenade on the boulder or pole, they would always be destroyed. With trees, the Sapper would always damage them, and usually destroy them completely. No one was able to destroy the Advent metal barriers and buildings.

Here’s a quick video comparing a non-Sapper throwing grenades ineffectively vs. a Sapper removing cover like a pro.

Alternatives: Needle Grenades or Rapid Deployment.

Needle Grenades adds +1 damage against unarmored opponents in LWOTC which is nice in the early game. Many players prefer this ability to Sapper because it can kill enemies outright, rather than first destroying cover and then shooting at them, often with poor aim rookies/squaddies. On the other hand, Needle Grenades only add a 25% to kill early game enemies outright - far from guaranteed. My opinion is that cover destruction is more helpful against harder enemies that have more HP, such as Najas, Mutons, Spectres, etc. The other benefit of Needle Grenades, preserving loot, is seldom going to matter. Often a grenade will not kill the target. But even if it is killed, there may not be loot. And even if there was loot, it may have been bad loot. And even if it was good loot you will get it later on.

Rapid Deployment allows the Grenadier to throw a flashbang and then do something else, which is very strong if this Grenadier is an Officer, otherwise not so much. A Grenadier that is wearing plating and picks the Heavy Ordinance or Protector ability at corporal rank can only carry 4 grenades/flashbangs. This will be their ordinance limit for several months of the campaign. And during most missions there will be about 4 pods to fight (3 pods on the map, 1 RNF drop in, give or take), meaning the Grenadier can use 1 item of ordinance per encounter. Blowing through 2 items in one turn will eventually leave the Grenadier dry. It is better to get more out of each grenade (with Sapper or Needle Grenade), than to throw them out faster. Also, early in the campaign Grenadiers should be carrying grenades instead of flashbangs, because of their unique ability to throw grenades a greater distance than other classes. Other soldiers can take a flashbang, which can be thrown much further than a grenade, by everyone who is not a Grenadier.

Heavy Ordinance:

Without grenades a Grenadier is a weak soldier. One extra grenade, is huge. It will be the long and hard missions when this extra grenade is most helpful, and that is when you will need the most help. Later in the campaign, this ability will double the quantity of Incendiary Grenades/Bombs held by the Grenadier, also a big advantage.

Alternatives: Center Mass or Protector.

Protector is exactly the same as Heavy Ordinance except that it adds one extra use of support grenades (flashbang, smoke, etc.) instead of a damaging grenade, and so it is usually not as good. Early in the campaign, the Grenadier should carry grenades not flashbangs, and later in the campaign the Grenadier will want 2 Incendiary Grenades instead of 1. If the Grenadier also wants 2 sting grenades you can equip 2 flashbangs in 2 different slots at no additional cost because flashbangs are free. To do so with Incendiary Grenades would require building twice as many. The only reason to take Protector is that it works with the frost grenade, which is really powerful. However, because there is only one frost grenade in the game, and because I like to equip it on my Skirmisher (with Packmaster), the Protector perk doesn’t have much value for me.

Center Mass is good on shooters… Grenadiers are not shooters. Center Mass makes the Grenadier a marginally better shooter, but it also means the Grenadier will spend an extra round shooting instead of throwing a grenade, a big drop off in utility for that round, in exchange for a small improvement in later rounds.

Bluescreen Bombs:

With this ability the grenadier can now help the Specialist hack MECs, no small contribution. It becomes an even more effective ability when paired with Sting Grenades at TSGT rank. Bluescreen Bombs will typically improve a hack chance by about 30% But it varies quite a bit depending on the target. It’s better against weaker targets. In practice this ability will move your hackable targets up by one tier; from drones to MEC1s, MEC1s to MEC2s, MEC2s to MEC3s.

Alternatives: Boosted Cores or Formidable.

Boosted Cores adds a point of damage to grenades which is ok. The primary purpose of grenades is cover removal and status effects. Damage is good for softening up, but still a secondary concern, and one more point of damage is not important.

Formidable is great on any soldier, especially the Grenadier which will want to carry more grenades rather than protective gear. But Bluescreen Bombs are too good to pass up. Instead the Grenadier can add some much needed HP with their PCS slot, seeing as how they won’t need the PCS to do anything else.

Tandem Warheads:

This is one of the weaker Grenadier abilities but still nice. Damage is not the primary purpose of grenades, but more damage is better than less damage.

Alternatives: Dense Smoke or HEAT Warheads.

Dense Smoke I have never selected. It is terrible; only a +10 Defense buff, much weaker than in the original Long War, and carrying smoke would replace either an Incendiary Grenade or a sting grenade which are far superior methods of mitigating danger.

HEAT Warheads is pretty good, allowing your grenades to pierce 2 armor, and shred one. Eventually the Grenadier will have access to plasma grenades, which shred 2 points of armor, and so this perk will make that 3. Only 1 more armor shredded doesn’t seem like much, but against the heaviest armored enemies (Gatekeepers, MEC3s, Sectopods, and Hive Queens) this can be essential. It is very difficult to kill these enemies without first breaking their armor. But there are better ways to shred armor than this ability. If you take a Gunner with the Shredder ability on every mission, or a Ranger with Shredder Rounds (or Shredder from the Training Center) then I think Tandem Warheads is the better ability at this rank. It is also worth noting that once I have Sting Grenades it is very likely that I will equip no pure damage grenades on this soldier (instead opting for Sting/Incendiary) and without a Specialist w/Airdrop, this ability has no value.

Sting Grenades:

This is one of the best abilities in the game. It is great in every large fire fight but particularly useful against Sectopods and Heavy MEC pods. When faced with an 8 MEC pod, often with 2 Super Heavy MECs, there is almost nothing any other class can do to prevent your squad from taking a beating. Maybe the Specialist can save you with a hack, but he will have a better chance to do so if your first action is tossing a Sting Grenade. This will stun half the pod, disorient the other half, and with the Bluescreen Bombs ability reduce the hack defense of all of them so that your Specialist can cherry pick the best target. Then your other soldiers can kill the disoriented MECs or other enemies, or use Redscreen Rounds on the hack target. Whatever is left of the robots will probably target the turncoat MEC, and you may get away without a scratch. While Sting Grenades do a bit less against non robotic pods, they are still stupid powerful.

Alternatives: Biggest Booms or Chain Shot.

Biggest Booms is not worth considering over Sting Grenades.

Chain shot is not worth considering over Sting Grenades.

Volatile Mix:

This makes a huge difference with Incendiary Grenades/Bombs. For grenades, it will upgrade the plus symbol blast area (5 tiles) to a 3x3 square (9 tiles). For bombs it upgrades the blast area to a civ city (21 tiles). Sometimes this doesn’t matter at all, as you are targeting a single unit, or 2 targets that are adjacent. But more often than not, this will mean you hit additional enemies. With Incendiary Bombs and Volatile Mix, the Grenadier can deliver a burning ambush almost as powerful as that of the Technical, and from range. Volatile Mix will often allow a Sting Grenade to hit additional enemies. It is quite good.

Alternatives: Bombardier or Salvo.

Bombardier is not necessary given that in LWOTC most enemies are moving towards you. Also, with the advanced grenade launcher the Grenadier can reach most targets, especially when equipped with an SMG for added mobility.

Choosing Salvo has the same trade off as choosing Rapid Deployment; it sacrifices effectiveness for a quicker burn rate. With a limited supply of ordinance this is often a bad compromise. While at this stage in the campaign the Grenadier will have access to more ordinance, those extra grenades need to last longer, as there are missions with more enemies and they have vastly more HP. The better strategy is to maximize the effectiveness of each grenade, rather than throwing them out faster.

Full Kit:

This grants 2 extra grenades when using one utility slot for plating. It will mean the Grenadier does not run out of ammo until the very end of long missions, and on short missions, it will mean the Grenadier can spend ordinance with utter abandon, or use 2 utility slots for defensive gear.

Alternatives: Combat Engineer or Ghost Grenade.

Combat Engineer will help you destroy sturdy environment objects, but it is still not 100% reliable. More importantly, we are now so far beyond cover destruction. If the enemy is behind high and sturdy cover, then the Grenadier can instead use an Incendiary Grenade or Sting Grenade. Or your shooters can shoot through the cover. Or your Psi Soldier can Stasis the enemy. And so on. We have options.

I have never chosen Ghost Grenade, but it seems like a nice ability. It is a single use item that acts like a smoke grenade, but grants concealment to a single soldier at the targeted square. 2 uses of Sting/Incendiary are better, especially given that a Shinobi can reacquire Concealment by choosing the Conceal ability at MSGT rank.

Alternate Builds

If you want to consider some other Grenadier builds I would recommend watching DerAva’s Grenadier build video, in which he breaks down his 2 builds: Damage and Support Officer. His series on class builds also contains a lot of information on game mechanics and how those interact with various abilities, and is worth watching even if you are mostly committed to a single class build. It’s also worth watching just for the explanation of how environmental damage and cover destruction work.

Looking over the Training Center I don’t see any skills that would cause me to seriously consider using a different build. This is because most of the Grenadier’s base skills are buffs to grenades, while most of the Training Center skills buff shooting. Even if the Grenadier is offered some awesome shooting skills, there is little you can change in the Grenadier build to complement those skills, and the most effective changes are very costly; Taking Center Mass and Chain Shot, means losing Heavy Ordnance and Sting Grenades. A few abilities improve action economy (Rapid Deployment and Salvo) and those are more valuable if your grenadier is an effective shooter.

1

Cover objects have varying levels of toughness; 5 HP, 10 HP, 20 HP, and indestructible.

LWOTC Class Builds - Grenadier (2024)
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