So you picked Sniper specialist, or you’re the spotter. Wonderful! Let’s get started, shall we?
The Sniper's Equipment
You will notice several pieces of gear in your box.
- This is the M42A Sniper Rifle. Only you can use it. (ESSENTIAL)
- Your battle sight. (ESSENTIAL)
- your ghillie suit (matched to fit the AO’s weather): (Recommended, but not essential)
- Spotter’s Kit Box. (Not required. Only PVT’s & PFC’s can use the kit.)
In your spotter’s kit box, there will be:
- a pamphlet. (ESSENTIAL, read IMMEDIATELY)
- A Spotter’s laser designator. (ESSENTIAL)
- Spotter’s Sight. (ESSENTIAL)
- Ghillie Suit (matched to fit the AO’s weather). (Recommended but not essential)
If you are a spotter, you do not get a weapon. It is recommended to take a shotgun if you are a spotter. If you are fighting/shooting you are likely in a compromised position and are engaging in CQC to try to get away with your sniper pal.
Well, it seems you have your gear. If you’re the sniper spec yourself, it is recommended that you spend your points on either flak or normal ammunition.
It is time to teach you how your equipment and gear work.
Ammunition, Aimed shots, and Spotting Mechanics
The bread-and-butter of sniper is aimed shots. Your entire kit basically revolves around this ability.
When you have your M42A Sniper Rifle in your hand you will be presented with 2 additional buttons:
- Aimed Shot (Selection Type)
- Toggle Targeting Laser (Toggle Type)
For Spotters, you will get a special Laser Designator labelled “Spotter’s Laser Designator” and is ID-locked to you.
You get an additional button:
- Spot (Selection Type)
Let’s start with Aimed Shot (Spotters can also benefit from this information).
Aimed shot GREATLY enhances the type of ammunition you fire out of your weapon. Think of it like charging a rail-gun.
Firing with your selected ammunition types will do the following for each type of ammo for both normal-fire, and aimed shot:
Default Ammo: The Damage-Dealer
Does 70 damage with 50 AP (Full Penetration) on a normal shot
Does 210 damage (3x normal) with 50 AP (Full Penetration) on an aimed shot
Flak ammo: The Slowing
does 54 damage with 0 AP (No Penetration) and a 5x5 AOE applying the same damage on a hit centered on the point of impact on a normal shot
does 108 damage (2x normal) with 0 AP (No Penetration) with NO AOE, but inflicts the SLOWED condition for 4 seconds on an aimed shot
Incendiary ammo: The Burning
does 61 damage with 23 AP (Good Penetration) and 15 fire-stacks on a normal shot
does 61 damage (same as normal) with 23 AP (Good Penetration) and MAX 45 fire-stack and inflicts the BLINDED condition for 4 seconds
If you want my opinion as someone with over 200 hours in specialist, You’ll be using Normal and Flak ammo most of the time.
Aimed shot must have a clear line-of-sight to the target when the channel both begins, and ends in order for the weapon to actually fire. This means if the xenomorph is keeping it safe and keeps running behind cover to block your ‘shot’, you will consistently not be firing.
Keep in mind a few things with ammo. Your rifle may have IFF (it doesn’t hit marines), but you can hit allies with the AOE of the flak rounds if you are shooting it without aimed shot. Incendiary rounds are good when it comes to T1 xenos and forcing enemies to retreat; but if there is a ravager or the queen shows up it is 100% useless. You may as well switch to a default M4RA battle rifle and shoot it with AP … or better yet switch to one of the other types of ammo you have.
Now that you know what aimed shot does the rest is pretty simple to explain; as toggling the M42A’s Laser and Spotting simply Enhance the Aimed Shot’s abilities.
Toggling the M42A’s Targeting Laser allows you to shoot/channel aimed shot in half the time (50% reduction). The downside of course, is the fact that you and the target are tethered by a VERY hard to miss/ignore red-laser beam
So … how do we get the same benefit of the faster aimed-shot
For you Spotters, this is where you come in. As a spotter, you have the ability to consistently, and constantly “spot” or “mark” enemies on the battlefield.
Now, if you’re visible, there will be a yellow-orangey line tethering you and the target. Keep in mind this tether isn’t broken, or stopped if there is a wall or piece of cover between you and the target.
However, if you are cloaked, the laser will inherit the alpha (transparency/invisibility) of the user. This is good because then you won’t give away your position.
Here’s how spotted targets, Laser Targeting and aimed shots work:
No Spot, No Targeting Laser:
Full channel-time (3 seconds)
Spotted OR Targeting Laser:
Half channel-time (1.5 seconds)
Spotted WITH Targeting Laser:
1/3 channel-time (1 second)
Keep in mind that your aimed-shot COOLDOWN also decreases with channel-time.
Alrighty, now that you know how everything works, it’s time for some strategy suggestions.
As a sniper, it’s not always the best idea to just spam spots and aimed shots. You’ll see what I mean when you are covering the front.
As a sniper you are a MASSIVE deterrent to any and all xenomorph pushes. They want to extend? Aimed shot. They keep pushing? 210 damage with normal ammo (half to 1/4 the health of most xenomorphs).
Here is what I have seen as the most effective strategy as someone with more than 200 hours as specialist:
Believe it or not, you are a psychological warfare asset on the battlefield, if you reveal your hand too early before a big push, you may stop the push, and therefore your team may not get as many kills, if any at all.
My personal strategy is to load flak.
Get me and my spotter near the front.
Wait for a xeno to over-extend. (I usually say to my spotter something like ‘if they hit the barricades, spot them’ or 'if they get within melee distance of marines, spot them. CO-ORDINATE WITH YOUR SPOTTER IF YOU HAVE ONE)
After the xeno over-extends, the marines will already be firing on them (hopefully). Your spotter spots them. You aimed-shot with targeting laser. They mistake the noise / battle sounds as normal bullets hitting them.
Suddenly, the xeno is SLOWED, but it typically doesn’t know that until it starts to retreat … which means it’s low on health.
A slow xeno targeted by marines … is a DEAD XENO.
Your slowed shot works on ANY target, not just the small ones.
YES, THAT MEANS YOU CAN SLOW QUEENS AND TIER 3’S.
You will NEVER feel more powerful than when the queen or a T3 is trying to retreat, and they are SO … FRIGGIN’ … SLOW as marines, quite literally, out-pace them while WIELDING weapons and they mow 'em down.
… Want more advice? Talk to the community. I may have 200 hours as specialist, but people generally have good advice on discord if you ask. Some even have better advice than I do for certain situations. It’s ALWAYS a good idea to have a second opinion or set of eyes.