Tactical Tuesdays (XCOM) Thread: Rob & Austin Save The Earth ... Hopefully



After the last ten-fifteen minutes of this week’s episode, I think it’s safe to say that ROB IS A BAD INFLUENCE


Nah, I’m pretty sure Rob is taking the right course. None of us don’t want to admit it, but they’re behind and will get overwhelmed eventually. They need to make a big play to get themselves back on track.


Rob literally saved their game from certain doom. If they ignored that mission, they would have lost contact with Western Europe. XCOM 2 is not warning you 50 times not to ignore those missions for funsies.


It’s so weird that they’re not more clear about that. With retribution missions, that makes sense: Okay, they’re coming for my outpost. But coming off of XCOM 1, where crashed UFOs are largely opportunities to build up resources and complete open-ended objectives, the idea that a landed UFO here is a risk that large seems out of the blue!


For the urgent missions, it would be nice if it told you the rewards/repercussions instead of just fly there or ignore it. It’s not even like ‘figure out how the game works’ is a major design aesthetic in this game. When you fly to most missions they tell you rewards/repercussions, it tells you what all the villains’ effects do, it tells you what all your skills do, line of sight and cover were specifically redesigned so that players could understand them, etc. In fact, the developers have talked about giving the player as much information as possible; if you look up screen shots of the in-development line of sight and cover systems, it’s just information overload. So it is odd that it doesn’t just tell you “if you ignore this, you will lose the region.”


That’s the penalty for skipping any time-sensitive mission. Having it apply to things like crashed UFOs and supply raids feels like a design oversight to me.

I’d like to see a future XCOM move towards incorporating more strategic target selection, maybe with something like a streamlined version of the system in Long War 2. That kind of approach has a secondary benefit of providing rewards to having a deep bench, beyond just avoiding the punishment of being tired like in WotC.


So I’m catching up on this series watching the archives and I just finished the episode with the ship attack…

They really just fuck up Archie’s whole situation don’t they?


Just caught up with the latest episode, and I would like to say: pleaaaaaase remember that you get a major hit bonus from height. Please please. Height bonus is a big deal.

[sorry about the bad quality. this is Grave Digger, with pistol, from the rooftop in the last mission.]

If you’re at a higher level than an enemy you just get +20 to hit. Period. Everyone gets this. I think you have at least one soldier that has a damage bonus ability from height as well.

I will annoyingly mention this in chat next week too (if I can find time to join the stream). It’s important! Height bonus! Don’t forget!

I am a little more worried about the strategy layer right now, though…


You’re probably thinking of Grave Digger having Death From Above, which grants an extra AP after scoring a kill with a primary weapon shot (which he could use to reload, shoot his pistol, whatever).


(let me know if this is too much so I can cut it down to size)

I would like to start out by mentioning I bought this expansion after Austins article a few months ago ( I was pretty disappointed by the base Xcom 2 content) and I’ve been enjoying this game much more since the expansion.

I’ve been casually watching your progress through xcom 2 wotc and thought I’d add a few tips on things that have been confusing you guys while you’ve been playing instead of spamming stuff in twitch chat.

For starters this game is very similar to the 2012 xcom reboot in terms of jank/bugs. Most of the stuff that you would run into playing that game will pop up in some form or another with xcom2/wotc. These bugs can range from annoying (missed prompts, accidental skipped turns, loss of sight on a target right in front of you, etc.) to game breaking (infinite loops, and outright crashing).

I’ll start with a list of things I’ve come across while playing:

  • The new movement info feature
    holding alt to get information on shot availability doesn’t always relay accurate information. Most of the time it will be correct but if you use an ability like the skirmishers grappling hook it will most likely be wrong (it will only be accurate for movements within dashing range, so, if you were to use it on a roof top you wouldn’t be able to get to by normal movement it’s not going to tell you what your shot availability is, and thus remains blank most of the time.

  • Destruction indicators
    Usually the game is pretty good at telling you what is destructible and what isn’t by highlighting anything within a blast radius or shot radius in red. Sometimes it’s just lying to you as some cover is indestructible (this is usually steel supports in the tunnels and any sold object like concrete blocks and slabs in the city levels (again some are destructible and some aren’t). There is also cover that can only be partially destroyed such as tree trunks and and certain other concrete slabs :stuck_out_tongue: so keep that in mind when tossing explosives or using cover busting mechanics. I would also like to point out that destroying walls and cover can potentially bring another pod into los and create even bigger problems so try not to destroy a wall behind an enemy with grenades or other explosives.

  • Line of sight
    line of sight in this game is pretty baffling to most people including me sometimes. You may not get los on a target for numerous reasons including just being one tile too far from the enemy. Sometimes the game will lose los if you destroy an enemy units cover (this feels like a bug to me). For the most part this only happens when an enemy is leaning on a corner and their cover is blown up but there is remaining cover next to or behind them.

  • “misclicks or unintended actions”
    A "misclick " is usually accidental due to how jittery the mouse selection tends to be in the game. Sometimes they are unavoidable while other times you can work around them. My general rule is to never use the keyboard shortcuts or click on any shortcuts for actions while the camera is transitioning or you have just made a move action. For some reason beyond me they decided to CHANGE the order of your action bar once you have used an action point. So, for example, if “launch grenade” is set to the 4 key on your first action it may move to the 5 key after you move as the game shuffles out the actions you can’t take due to lack of points. Always let the game catch up before you queue up another action. As far as grenades go just line up your shot and press the enter or spacebar key to actually use the action instead of clicking with the mouse.

  • Game breaking bugs
    This game is still prone to crashing and other game breaking bugs throughout the campaign. I would suggest that you back up your save files after each session. It sucks to lose an entire games worth of progress because the game decides that you have killed an enemy unit so hard that it will sit in an infinite loop instead of giving control back to you (I’ve lost no less than 3 ironman games due to this specific bug so now I back up my game files after each session).

  • Mission timers and The Chosen
    When the chosen show up in a time sensitive mission the turn counter will pause as soon as you have initiated a fight with the chosen. This is important to note as you can take as much time as you need to kill the chosen. once the chosen is killed the turn counter will reactivate on the last turn it was on before your fight. So if you’re low on turns make sure you fight the chosen as close to the evac point as possible to buy some extra time.

I would also like to point out that some maps are generated with the objective in the furthest possible corner. With these missions it is imperative that you move your units the furthest you can in the first few turns while avoiding combat/staying in concealment. These missions can come down to the last turn if you’re unlucky. If you have a relay that needs to be destroyed in 7 turns it may take 4 turns just to get in range.

  • Ambush missions
    Every covert op you take in the resistance ring has a chance to be ambushed unless otherwise stated on the mission description. These missions all take place on the same map with the exact same number of enemies(3 enemies on the map +2 reinforcements). These missions suck. They are probably the worst missions in the expansion and they are all EXACTLY THE SAME. While the missions themselves aren’t terribly hard they do carry the risk of a squad wipe. My basic strategy when it comes to these missions is to send out a ranked up Ranger and a pistol trained sniper (you will be dealing with lost swarms on these missions so those are the best choice as far as I’m concerned).

Once the mission starts move your units to cover and overwatch/end turn. On the second turn reinforcements will be called in right behind you, so move up and overwatch your units right where the reinforcements will land. This usually nets you some damage or a kill to at least one of the two units that spawn (1 advanced officer and 1 elite trooper/lancer). If you don’t cheese it like this you will most likely take damage in the next turn as both units have a decent amount of hp and will run behind cover making them harder to hit. After you take care of those units just move slowly forward and deal with the remaining three units on the map and evac.

  • Equipment
    Sometimes you just have rotten luck and get only stocks and elerium cores. One way around that is buying weapon mods from the black market. Check the market once a month for new items and buy anything you need (generally you want to save at least 40-80 intel to expand on the world map but spend the rest).

  • Scopes
    Scopes are great and I usually add them to everything except shotguns. Ideally you want all of your grenadiers weapons equipped with scopes to make up for their weak aim (I usually give them a scope and and aim pcs to get their aim to around 90). A grenadier that can actually hit a target with their chain gun is worth their weight in gold in this game. Combine that with the chain shot skill and holo targeting and the grenadier is the most broken unit in the game.

Another candidate for a scope is the skirmisher. While they don’t have the worst aim stats in the game they do have the all important ability to take two shots per turn. Giving the skirmisher the scope means you’re more likely to hit both of those shots.

  • Laser sights
    Laser sights are for your close range units such as the Ranger. Add a scope to a rangers shotgun combined with talon rounds and hunters instincts and prepare for 169% crit chances (I’m not joking). They also work well on grenadiers if you want to take the up close approach to compensate for their lack of aim. Since laser sights are better the closer you are to the target they will offer a substantial crit boost.

  • Expanded magazines
    These are good for snipers (you just got a kill zone sniper so imagine what it would be like if he had 6+ shots instead of three). You also wan’t to put these on reapers (banish + expanded mag + annihilate + repeater = everything will be dead). Skirmishers are also a great candidate for expanded mags considering how much ammo they go through and how small the starting capacity is for their weapon. Lastly if you have already given these to all the above units consider them for grenadiers as they also have low capacity mags on their guns.

  • Repeaters
    Save these for your reaper and your skirmisher or any unit that has the capability to take more than one shot on a turn. You recently got a kill that said “executed!!!” and were a little confused about it. That was a repeater kill. These mods will give you a 5-15% chance to instantly kill the targeted enemy no matter how much hp they have. So it makes the most sense to put them on units with multiple shot capability.

  • Stocks
    Eh, just throw them on the rookies guns so they do SOME damage even if they miss. This can come in handy more often than you would think.

I would also like to add a few suggestions I have after watching the latest stream. You chose to add +2 contacts to your resistance ring bonus which was a good play. Getting those contacts saves you time and money building the resistance comms so you have temporarily relieved some pressure on that end. You also chose the bonus that add’s a chance for a resistance fighter to show up on any mission. While this is a good perk it is not guaranteed. Sometimes they show up on several missions and other times you could go 5 missions in a row without the extra fighter showing up.

My suggestion would be to add the guardian angels perk back to an open slot next month. The reason I’m saying this is because this perk is a life saver and without it every covert op has a chance of ambush. That means you can’t send your rookies on those missions and you will be relying on your higher ranked soldiers to do them. Having that perk will relieve some of your personnel issues and get your rookies free experience for every covert mission you send them on. Not only will they gain xp but they will also level up a few ranks after you send them out. Basically it’s free rookie training.

Another thing I’d like to mention is you guys are coming up on the mid-late game difficulty spike where you will have much tougher enemies dropping in on you. My advice is to go for plasma weapons asap, then further down the line go for powered armor. I noticed you went for the proving grounds now that your comms are temporarily sorted. Smart move. You will need the upgrades to your grenades very soon and mimic beacons are a get out of jail free card.

One last thing I’d like to add is give your grenadiers two grenades instead of equipping a flashbang (the flashbang is good but the extra damage and utility of a second grenade is way better). Train up more grenadiers (4 is a good number to have so they can be rotated) and send two on every mission that you can to level them up. Once you get to captain rank you can unlock the bigger booms perk in the guerrilla tactics school (adds critical damage to grenades!) along with the extra grenade perk when your grenadiers rank up.

Sorry about the wall of text and by no means do you have to do anything I’ve just described to be successful. I just thought I’d share some of my experience that has carried me through my runs in this game. The key to this game Is taking your time and cycling through your units before you commit to an action. Almost every situation has a solution if you plan accordingly.


If a unit is in cover, they can be shot by having line of sight to adjacent squares. If they are out of cover, or can’t use cover, you must be able to see the exact square they are standing in.

If, for whatever reason, you can see a square next to them, but not the one they are in, destroying their cover will break your line of sight.

Well, every mission that says it has a chance to be ambushed has one, but that’s only like half of them unless the dark event is up.


The more missions you have available through upgrading your status with the factions (doing the hunt the chosen missions) there will be more missions with ambush potential (I think once you’re max status its 4-5 missions per faction).The missions that you’re most likely to do are going to be the hunt missions and avatar missions and those will always have ambush potential. I believe the counter dark event missions will also be ambush missions, so It pays to have those missions safe while you’re dealing with manpower issues. Smaller missions like supply runs and teambuilding will be less likely to be ambushed but I’ve seen ambush potential on all the misssions dark event or not. This might be changed with difficulty settings?

The line of sight issues I was describing were when the game bugs out by removing cover. There are numerous other los issues that I didn’t cover that are also possible. For example: I had a haven assault where a muton was standing behind a shack with 4 units that had los. As soon as I blew up the cover the muton was no longer visible to any of my units. This bug also manifests as an invisible wall when certain walls are blown up making it impossible for units to pass through the entire area. Something with the destruction mechanic breaks the games pathing lines when some walls are destroyed rendering units invisible to your units as well until you change position again. This bug popped up for me in xcom 2012.

There are of course plenty of situations where los isn’t bugged it’s just unclear to the player what counts as having los. I’m pretty sure that’s the issue most of the time and that’s one of the reasons they added the preview button to the game.


You sure?


Again it may be adjusted with difficulty. I usually play on commander difficulty sometimes legend if I feel like going through all the bs that entails. It could be random and I just get ambush potential on all the good missions :stuck_out_tongue:. Having an extra fighter is a good bonus but I like not dealing with ambush missions due to their annoying sameness and having to put more experienced fighters in the slots to deal with an ambush situation.

For this specific run I think they are better off leveling up their rookies with covert actions while they keep the a-team and b-team for the main missions. The other bonus to sending your rookies out on covert actions is that it will also form bonds between them so that’s an added plus. If there were more veterans on their team I’d be fine taking off the guardian angels order and sticking the extra fighter option in. As it stands they have a large deficit in veteran units in several key positions.

There is either an upgrade or a resistance order that pops up randomly that will let you recruit people at sgt. rank instead of rookie rank too, so that’s something to keep an eye out for.

edit I did a little bit of reading on ambush probability in this game and from what I could find it seems the more covert actions you take the higher the chance of ambush on all missions. I don’t know if that’s true or not but it explains why I remember ambushes being quite common on most of my covert actions. I try to cram as many into the month as I can for the maximum amount of bonuses or resources I can get from them.


That screenshot is actually from a legend campaign. It’s just that ambushes get way more common after the chosen for that faction hits level 3 knowledge.

The real problem with guardian angels is that it turns into a malus any time an ambush would just be free xp and loot, which is pretty often. And in the dire situations where it could be the critical difference-maker, you’re taking it to help you keep your dudes ready to go, but you’ll still have to yolo into random injuries and pay out resources to not get captured.

Live Fire Training is probably rad but it’s always like a continent bonus on the other side of the planet for me so I’ve never gotten to use it :frowning:


Yeah I noticed the days to complete were higher than a standard game. If they were to up their faction rep with the templars or skirmishers they would have an open slot to take everything including the guardian angels perk. My main issue is that the ambush missions can lead to a wipe if they aren’t careful. I think they should build up their squads before they take that order out of the resistance ring (plus the awesome bond progress those missions create that would take several regular missions to accomplish otherwise).


So today was the first day I’ve finally been caught up to the stream. Mostly I’m just happy to see Rob and Austin able to survive another week as they’ve been down to the wire for a bit now!

I do have a question: it seems that the power curve of the game is very strict. Would it be a good idea to try to find an opportunity to run a mission or two to bring up some rooks or squaddies or is it pretty much do or die from here on out?

(I might be asking this for myself as well, as I’ve had some bad deaths happen in my campaign and I’m worried if the power curve is so strict)


Bringing one of your understudies along is definitely a good idea when you’re confident your squad will still have it under control. It only becomes a problem if you’ve fallen behind on tech.

You can also handle an xp shortage with:

  1. Getting pre-leveled soldiers from guerilla ops rewards, the black market, or scanning (or rarely, getting faction heroes from a covert action)
  2. Throwing your soldiers into covert actions with promotion rewards repeatedly
  3. If you’ve built one, put a rookie in the Psi Lab at 350 degrees, then come back in a few weeks when they’re nice and crispy (They do psi training while tired, so it’s ok to bring them on missions, too)
  4. SPARKs. They’re just great all the time.


Sparks are expensive and cost two cores on top of the initial supply cost. If you have lots of supplies and extra cores then build one and give it a scope so it can actually hit targets. They also need upgrades to armor to get more health.

Psi soldiers are good if you spec them up quickly early on (get upgrades for the psi amp) otherwise they are mid-late game units due to the research time (on top of training) and building costs.

If you have plasma weapons give your rookies scoped up rifles so they can get some hits and kills during missions. using 2 rookie grenadiers with as many grenades as they can carry will help out if you are low on man power. I also like to use double ranger, double grenadier, sniper(pistol), and specialist team load out to get rookies trained quick (one vet grenadier and one vet ranger). Just let the vets knock off some health and drop grenades and flanking shotgun hits to mop them up with the rookies.

Once they get leveled up a bit just purchase extra abilities with their points or x-com points to round them out (combat protocol is a skill I buy instead of choose when they level up along with reaper for rangers and chainshot for grenadiers and all the pistol skills for snipers).

I find the intel costs on soldiers in the black market a bit too high so I wouldn’t buy a soldier unless you absolutely need them.