Helldivers 2: EXO-45 PATRIOT Guide

Tips and tricks guide on how to get the absolute most mileage out of your EXO-45 PATRIOT.

You can find all the details of how EXO-45 PATRIOT works and how to become the most effective and powerful pilot you can be in this guide.

This guide was created by Litany of Fire.

Tips and Tricks on EXO-45 PATRIOT

This is an advanced tips and tricks guide on how to get the absolute most mileage out of your PATRIOT battle mech- learn how to become a true killing machine!

Mechs: How do they Fit in Combat?

It’s easy to assume that a mech will just turn you into an invincible super-soldier, mowing down enemies with ease as you sit comfortably behind invincible armor. This is not how mechs work in this game.

Like everything else in the Helldivers franchise, mechs are extremely powerful when used right, but very weak when used poorly. If you cannot compensate for their inherent weaknesses and leverage their strengths, you’re gonna have a bad time.

We only have the one mech so far, so I will concentrate on the EXO-45 Patriot for this guide. I may update as new mechs come out, as I expect the other two from the first game to eventually reappear.


Vehicle Mounted Weaponry: This is obviously the biggest one. The Patriot has a minigun that is extremely effective against light an medium armor, and a rocket launcher that is very effective against heavy armored threats (it can kill any enemy in just 2-3 shots). They both carry a decent amount of ammo (though much less than you would wish!). Of all the walker variants, the Patriot is the most flexible, able to engage any type of enemy and contribute to any encounter. Additionally, it’s weapons do not need to reload- you can continuously fire, if you wish, until your ammunition runs dry.

Extra armor: Mechs are not super tough, but they’re MUCH tougher than a Helldiver on foot. They have considerable armor value- the smallest enemies in the game won’t penetrate it at all, (scavengers and all bot small arms deal 0 damage to you) and medium strength attacks will require many hits to get through and start dealing real damage. Beware larger enemies- Chargers and Bile Titans will crush you like a tin can, and annihilator tanks will turn you to scrap in a single shot. You do not want to expose yourself to rockets or enemy heavy weaponry if you can help it, your mech will die VERY fast.

Stompy feet!: You can actually just straight-up step on the smallest enemies, killing them instantly without damaging yourself. You will also be able to simply walk through any terrain feature that would normally be a small obstruction, so you aren’t slowed down. (Barrels, boxes, fences, etc. If you think you can walk through it, you probably can.)

Low Aggro: It’s counterintuitive, but enemies will generally prefer to try to go for your squishy, on-foot friends over just charging the mech, a feature that greatly helps you in covering them. When you’re not in a mech, enemies will generally ignore it completely.

Hot Drop: The Pelican delivers your vehicle personally, and will happily use it’s autocannon to blast nearby enemies, helping to clear a bit of space for your deployment.


Limited Supply of Mechs: When you select the strategem, you get 2 mechs. Hooray! But- you only get those two. Once your second one is done, you cannot call in a third. Additionally, the cooldown between mech call ins is massive, ten minutes in a standard mission, and 15 if there’s orbital fluctuations.

Limited Ammunition: The guns you have are very strong, and you can do a TON of damage before you run out of ammo. That being said, you will run out of ammo MUCH quicker than you would like.

Minigun Spin-Up: The minigun does have a delay when starting up, which can make burst fire awkward.

Clunky and Slow: You move slowly, at a speed just faster than a Helldiver on foot walks, but not nearly as fast as they run. most critically, you also turn slowly. Being surrounded is a very bad thing for a mech, as you cannot easily clear off enemies on your back before they either significantly damage you, or kill you.

No visible health bar: There’s no easy way to really tell how much damage your mech has taken. When it begins to get close to death, it will start smoking- that is your cue to either get out of the Mech, or die a heroic fiery death inside of it. If your mech is ever suddenly on fire, get out and hit a stim IMMEDIATELY or you are dead, it’s about to blow.

If it dies, you die: It’s a small explosion when it dies, and if you’re inside, you’re toast.

No call ins: You can’t use your other call-ins when inside the mech. This is mostly clunky for calling reinforcements, but you’ll need to exit and reenter to call other strats as well.

No computer interfacing: Similarly, you can’t touch objective panels or do other required mission stuff while in a mech, you’ll need to get out.

Hot Drop: Yup, this is a pro and a con. The pelican LOVES to shoot enemies, and will happily start blasting at enemies that were otherwise unaware of you, drawing their attention.

So What is the Playstyle?

Given the above, it’s clear that the mech is a large, cumbersome unit that absolutely does not want to be surrounded, or engaging enemy heavies outside of its own terms. It is incredibly powerful when it is leveraged well, but it really needs to be used well. This is exactly how the mechs were in Helldivers 1, and in that game people tended to either really love them or really hate them.

It is best to think of the mech not as a tank, but as a support weapons platform. That is, your role is NOT to draw attention and take damage- your goal is to be able to use your weaponry as efficiently and as often as possible, in support of your team.

The mech really is best thought of as a team vehicle. Your teammates are going to help keep enemies off your back, and in return you will deal ridiculous damage to the enemy forces, and shred waves that would otherwise tie up your team.

Ideally, you want some distance- in an ideal world, all the enemies in your mech combat are in a 90 degree arc in front of you. Do not stand right on an objective with the mech! You WILL get surrounded and you don’t have a way to stop it. Instead, set up so you have a good overview of the objective, preferably with a teammate. A mech pilot and an autocannon gunner overwatching an objective site can be terrifyingly proficient.

The mech is not the frontline of a combat, full stop. It is a heavy weapons platform and support unit, and it should be used as such. Remember, not a tank: a support weapons platform.

Summoning the Mech and Mission Tempo

You get two mechs with a 10-minute timer between them. To use both (and we do want to use both!) you will need to have a plan.

Generally, it’s the wrong move to summon your mech right away. On the high difficulties at mission start, the Pelican WILL find an enemy patrol to shoot and alert. Because the mech is slow, you also cannot evade the common bot drop/bug breach that often happens shortly after drop. The best case scenario is that you summon it and use all it’s ammunition to escape the situation. Not ideal.

Instead, it’s generally best to summon your first mech when you first reach an objective or sub-objective with a teammate. (I generally won’t summon it for a secondary objective, unless we’re doing something like assaulting a major bot base.) You want to summon your mech as the initial engagement is happening, so it can drop in a good position to cover your allies as they play the mission. When you do so, WATCH YOUR RADAR. You do NOT want a surprise enemy patrol rolling up on you as you are trying to cover your friends!

Remember that you are a ranged unit, and act like it. You can’t do the mission in a mech, but you can ensure someone else can. Your number one focus should be on keeping your mech functioning by taking out immediate personal threats, and whenever you’re not doing that you should be looking at your allies and killing whatever is most dangerous to them at any given moment. Prioritize putting missiles into big enemies if you can, but do not underestimate how quickly you can clear small enemies as well! A Patriot can use its minigun to rapidly annihilate enemies like Hunters, making the whole teams life much easier.

Remember, you are a support platform. Do not run into the enemy. Do not charge a charger. That is bad and you will die.

I will cover my allies as they complete the objective, and then make a choice- if the enemy is overwhelming and pouring in from every direction, it’s time to go full scorched earth and blast a breakout route, then ditch the mech to evade remaining enemies. If we did a good clear and there’s not much aggro, I’ll stay in the mech and look for other nearby stuff to do. The mech is VERY good at quickly clearing POIs, and if there’s a close secondary objective I’ll accompany a teammate to help them do that. By the time that’s done, usually the ammo is low, and it’s time to get out.

The second mech has a ten minute timer after the first. If your team is moving a little slow, it should be ready right about the time you need to complete the primary objective. If you’re moving fast, you’ll still have a mech ready for extract.

Covering your allies on the primary objective is just like the sub-objective- take a position that is a little further from the battle and unlikely to be flanked, and provide on-demand covering fire against priority threats. Once the primary objective is done, take stock of your ammo and decide whether you can hunt POIs or if you need to leave the mech and run to extract.

If you’ve got a mech at extract, the rules are a little different. I know a lot of you are communication-phobic in this game (and god do you make your high level missions much harder as a result) but you NEED to talk with your team. Make it clear you are covering a certain direction, and have them cover your back. A fully loaded mech can hold back enemies an awful long time if it’s not being flanked and surrounded, making extract much easier. If you don’t have cooperative allies, well, sorry, but your mech probably isn’t going to last long.

Enough about Strategy

Your Patriot comes with two great weapons- a minigun and a powerful rocket launcher. I will talk about them separately.

The strength of the minigun is in it’s powerful continuous DPS, it’s deep reserve that doesn’t require a reload, and its ability to shred anything that’s not covered in heavy armor. Its weakness is it’s limited ammo that is all to easy to spend, and the fact that it has to spin up before firing.

The minigun is absolutely best used in extended bursts, each one lasting 0.5-2 seconds. This greatly conserves ammo while still being very effective at quickly clearing light and medium enemies. It’s important to note that the minigun also spins down when you stop firing it, so taking a very brief pause between bursts means you don’t have to wait for the whole spin up cycle again. As you fire, try to pick out specific enemies, rather than just spraying wildly. You can very quickly eliminate the worst threats in a horde this way. If you are facing an absolute carpet of bugs, then sure, hold down the trigger and sweep ’em, it’s fun, but you generally want to make your shots count and use them to eliminate problem units. For bugs, I prioritize Brood Lords, Hive Guard and Hunters. For bots I aim for rocket launcher bots, Heavy Devastators, and Berserkers as priority targets. Note that the minigun sadly cannot penetrate Scout Strider armor, though the low aggro mechs have often means you can manage a pilot shot if you’re positioned correctly. Note also that it is surprisingly effective against Hulks if you are out of rockets, it deals great damage to both their face and vent weak point. If you use the minigun surgically, in bursts, the 1000 rounds you get for it will get amazing mileage, and a LOT of kills.

The rocket launcher is the exact opposite of the minigun- it fires instantly, deals amazing damage to heavy armor, but is very ammo limited (14 rounds) and does not work very well against smaller targets. The rocket projectiles themselves move quickly but do have travel time, making it ill-suited to hitting moving targets at very long range. Something to note about the rocket launcher is that it can close bug holes (generally a waste unless there’s not another good option) and it can destroy automaton factories, but only if you hit one of the vents with the rocket.

The key to getting full use form the rocket launcher is to master its pacing and its projectiles. It’s very easy to panic and shoot off a massive salvo, using up most of your ammo while not increasing in effectiveness. (That being said, it is definitely a strength of the mech that you can unload if needed.) Mastering hitting your shots is just practice, and it is worth slowing down to really learn how quickly the rockets travel and how to aim them. Do note when aiming the rocket launcher that it always fires directly at the center of the reticle, regardless of anything else. The floating aim circle is just for the minigun, the rockets aim much faster.

If you can land your shots, you can start to take down enemies with confidence, and become efficient with your ammo. A charger needs only 1 shot to the leg to strip the armor, and then your minigun can finish it. (Or 2 rockets to the same leg if you’re in a hurry.) Bile titans go down to 2 rockets if hit in the head, though you’ll want a third one ready in case one of your shots is slightly off. Hulks die in 2 well placed shots, and any Automoton tank will die in 2-3 put directly into the turret, even if you’re shooting their front.

A special note for chargers- if you’re firing in to support your team against several chargers, it’s often better to strip armor and then start aiming to strip the next one instead of focusing one until it’s dead. You can let your teammates finish them, once you’ve cracked them open. That’s the hard part.

Between the minigun and the rockets I generally expect to kill anywhere from 5-7 big enemies and 60+ small ones. That’s great value for a single call-down, and can really make some extremely difficult fights much easier.

Finally, let’s talk about movement. Remember when I said that in an ideal world, all the enemies you’re fighting are in a 90 degree arc in front of you? Move to make that happen. Do not be afraid to fall back while shooting, the mech is actually very good at that, able to fire at full effectiveness while retreating, much better than a soldier on foot.

Remember that you are not a Gundam, some lone-wolf hero who is invincible and can destroy everything. You are part of a team. Always move with this in mind, and remember that clearing enemies off teammates frees them to clear them off you. You always want to be aware of the direction your team is moving as they fight, and making sure that you are moving with them. Ideally, your team is communicating the direction they’re fighting and the objectives they’re trying to accomplish, allowing you the ability to position yourself well to move to the next objective once the fight ends.

Other Tips

Remember that your shots originate from the guns themselves. That means you can use cover to obscure your mech almost completely, only poking out the weapon to shoot. You do not need to expose yourself to enemy fire! In fact, if you look for it, you can often find a lot of usable cover for the mech. This is critical to keeping your robo pal alive against the bots in particular.

Getting out of and back into your mech is quite fast. Don’t be afraid to jump out and call in strikes when needed. Similarly, it can be worthwhile to jump out and clear out enemies coming from behind you, as long as there’s not too much of them.

Radar, radar, RADAR. You can look at your map while embarked in the mech, and you should be doing so constantly. Enemies are so good against you when they come from behind, and they’re so bad against you if they’re in front of you.

A good mech pilot is an absolute nightmare for Stalkers. The minigun absolutely shreds them. If you see stalkers, just start moving in the direction they came from. Keep your eyes open and blast them when you see them, as you become the slow, plodding, inevitable doom of their nest.

Environmental hazards can suck. A meteor shower is your absolute worst nightmare, and that effect being active should make you think twice about a vehicle stratagem. If you are playing with it, be very aware of how long it’s been since the last shower- there’s nothing worse that calling in your mech and having it get instantly destroyed by a falling chunk of ice.

If you’re having an experience of always getting swarmed, or always having a big enemy annihilate you right after calling in your mech, you are calling it in at the wrong time. Think about why it went wrong, and make adjustments. I promise you, even on the hardest difficulties there are absolutely good windows to call it in and position it.

The mech is an extremely powerful ranged support piece that can obliterate enemies with ease, but it has specific drawbacks that must be mitigated to make it useful. I suspect many won’t bother to spend the time to really learn it, and that again many more will simply not play with teams that have the requisite communication to make it shine, which is fine. Use what you like and what feels good to you. But if you do spend the time to learn how to use it, the mech will be a powerful and satisfying part of your arsenal and your gameplay experience. It is not a tank, it is not a button to become big and invincible for a minute, but it is an absolute reaper and an unmatched source of covering fire for a Helldiver team in the thick of it.

Make us proud, pilot, and deliver swift death to the enemies of managed democracy!

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