At the beginning the campaign, there is no more powerful class than the Technical. They immediately have the ability to torch your enemies, rocket them, and carry you to victory. They are the superstars of the early game, glowing brighter than every other class. And then… the Grenadier gets better. Grenadiers can incinerate Advent almost as well as the Technical, but from 15 tiles away, making that opening safer. The Grenadier can remove cover more frequently and almost as well as the Technical. And they have Bluescreen Bombs and Sting Grenades, which the Technical cannot imitate. Instead the Technical gains some defensive traits which won’t matter so much against late game enemies. Technicals are not quite abandoned, but never guaranteed a spot in my late game line up. Here is how I build the Technical:
Fire in the Hole
Fire in the Hole:
A well aimed rocket can win a mission, whereas a stray can do next to nothing. With this ability you can fire a rocket with less than 1 tile of scatter predicted. This will mean targeting 3 enemies is very possible and removing all cover is likely. It is virtually guaranteed to blow up normal vehicles. A direct hit will put most early/mid game enemies on death’s doorstep if not directly in the grave.
Alternatives: Suppression or Roust.
Suppression is a bad choice for so many reasons. The Technical already has a flamethrower to disable enemies, and that is more effective control. The technical can carry a grenade and a flashbang which are usually better options than suppression. Technicals needs to carry an SMG in order to approach inactive pods from concealment, in order to torch them. Suppression doesn’t work here.
Roust is a neat little ability that can be used in creative ways, such as Area Suppressing a group of enemies, then rousting them. It can also finish off heavily wounded enemies behind high cover. It is not as good as Fire in the Hole, which is a shame because it is fun to use.
The flamethrower has a 60% chance to burn targets. There is an additional 50% chance the tile under their feet will ignite and they will burn when they move, meaning you have about an 80% chance to disable enemies with the flamethrower. Napalm-X only matters when the burn fails, and then adds a will check for panic. This effect scales with the gauntlet, 50 with a regular gauntlet, 65 with the Mark 2. It is only a marginal improvement on controlling the enemy, but failing to control enemies can get someone killed. Also, it is nice when an exposed enemy panics and then fails to take cover. Now they are an easy target for the Ranger.
Alternatives: Biggest Booms or Fortify.
Biggest Booms has a 50% chance to add +3 damage (ufopaedia says +2, but its actually +3). This is more helpful than you might expect in the early game, when a little extra damage can go a long way. By late game it won’t matter so much. Still it is a good choice at this rank. The Technical will eventually be able to carry 2 rockets, as well as 2 grenades, so you can get a lot of mileage from this perk.
Fortify is only ok. The Technical is often up front, and in whatever cover is available, and may carry only plating, using 2 slots for grenades/flashbangs. For these reasons some added defense is nice. Fortify has a 5 turn cooldown, but usually there is one critical turn where it can help. I find that the Burnout ability at Sgt. rank does much the same as this, and I prefer to take that one.
This ability will put your Technical in a defensive cloud of smoke, which grants +20 defense. It is very useful for a soldier that needs to get in close. The cloud will sometimes offer some defense to your squadmates which is nice, or the enemy, not so nice. It is much better than the other abilities at this rank.
Alternatives: Concussion Rocket or Shredder.
Concussion Rocket is the weirdest damn thing in the game. It may stun or disorient enemies in the blast, and does a tiny bit of damage, but gives them defensive smoke cover in a wide range. This could be useful in rare situations, such as when there is just one enemy left and he is on overwatch. So you can fire this rocket to remove the overwatch, then have your Assault run in and shotgun him, which will hit regardless of the defensive bonus. Or if you trying to run to the evac and need to stall a pod of Advent... Or something like that.
Shredder is good for a shooter… Technicals are not shooters. It is only just ok on the Technical who already can shred with rockets and grenades. Another problem is that later in the campaign I prefer the Technical to take the role of firing Redscreen Rounds. Shredder conflicts with that role, weakening the robot you are trying to recruit.
Adding 2 HP is good for any soldier, especially one that needs to get in close.
Alternatives: Tandem Warheads or Phosphorus.
Tandem Warheads is a good perk. It increase damage a good amount when your rocket is targeted between 2 or 3 enemies, which it will be. Also the Technical will soon be able to carry 2 rockets with an E.X.O. Suit. Apparently it doesn’t add to environmental damage.
Phosphorus does not combine with Napalm-X to panic or disorient MECs. Adding damage alone to robotic units is not a sufficient reason to select this ability.
This is the most highly anticipated ability for the Technical, and its only 1 tile! Amazing how much that matters. The thing about the Flamethrower is that it works best when you are concealed and the enemy pod is closely packed, and in this scenario, you will be unable to relocate. You have to guess where the pod is moving and get there first. With Incinerator, your Technical is much more likely to hit 5+ enemies with a fire ambuscade.
Alternatives: Javelin Rockets or Fire and Steel.
Javelin Rockets are not very helpful. It is rare that you would want to fire a rocket so far. Maybe during an Invasion to hit the beacon? In most situations this is not necessary.
Fire and Steel is a nice perk, but damage is not the primary goal of either rockets or flamethrowers. Rockets remove cover, and Flamethrowers set bad guys on fire. Damage is nice but a bit more is only marginally helpful.
This is a great ability that make your Technical very difficult to hit. It can be paired with a Defense PCS to optimize it further. With this ability the Technical is something like a Tank, but not really. The enemy will likely just shoot someone else unless the Technical is uncovered, and even with +25 defense, that will likely get him killed. Overdrive Serum or Mind Merge would be necessary to support an uncovered Technical and those items/abilities would be doing the heavy lifting.
Alternatives: Salvo or Quickburn.
Salvo will give you an extra action after throwing out a rocket/grenade. This ability is good. The problem is that Technicals can’t support this ability with ammunition; They just don’t have enough ordinance. Using it up faster will leave the Technical dry, and ineffective. However in the worst situations, outnumbered and surrounded; this is a nice ability to have.
Quickburn is the same as Salvo but with the Flamethrower. It is also good.
The area of effect on this sucker is laughably large. Of all the abilities in the game, this one may be the most fun; tearing open a spherical hole in a building, advent plunging from the roof, numerous helpless targets standing wide open on the flattened devastation… You know, fun. It is a great final ability to add, even if you didn’t pick Fire in the Hole. It shouldn’t matter. Bunker Buster will uncover your enemies. A lot of them.
Alternatives: Rapid Fire or Firestorm.
Rapid Fire is not great on the Technical. The Technical needs to use an SMG to approach pods during concealment in order to incinerate them. The Technical will not have a Perception PCS either. Still this ability can be quite good if you give the Technical Redscreen Rounds, and a Laser Stengun, making him a solid softener of hack targets.
Firestorm is a very powerful ability that is very hard to use effectively, because the Technical must position himself at ground zero. This can often require an officer granting the Technical an additional action, which is costly. Also moving into the center of the enemy position is, well, dangerous. And likely to activate another pod, so even more dangerous. The results are fun. It will light almost everything within the blast radius on fire. But still this ability is just good, not great.