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— Battlelog description
The M18's main purpose is to obscure areas or objectives, like Control points or M-COMs, allowing players to move around in the smoke undetected. Unlike past incarnations, the smoke created by the grenade now blocks any Spotted players inside or beyond it, making it more effective at concealing players. However, the smoke now also covers player's hands and weapons, making it more difficult to navigate or fight inside of it.
The M18 does not provide immediate cover however; the smoke takes a few moments to fully plume and cover an area. This is the main advantage of its two launcher counterparts, the 40mm Smoke grenade for the M320/GP30 and the 25mm Smoke airburst grenade for the XM25, compared to the grenade. These projectiles provide immediate smoke cover upon impact, (with the 25mm Smoke having the added benefit of allowing the smoke to airbust, covering sightlines for rooftops or high buildings) however, they cover a much smaller area and last for a shorter amount of time compared to the M18, with multiple M18 grenades providing much better concealment over the long term. The projectile grenades do have the advantage of doing direct impact damage, as the M18 is the only grenade available that is unable to kill in any circumstance (Hand Flares are capable of detonating damage explosives and being credited with a resulting kill).
All grenades were rebalanced with Battlefield 4's Fall 2014 patch to discourage grenade spamming. Unlike the fragmentation grenades and the M34 Incendiary, the M18 and M84 Flashbang were not majorly nerfed, with their resupply times only being increased to 9 seconds from 5.
- Until Battlefield 4, smoke grenades had no effect on spotting. Late patches eventually caused smoke grenades to hide spotting icons for those within the cloud, but does not affect spotting of enemies beyond.