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


So that might be just me, but I’d love for this thread to be more about Tactical Tuesdays than about general XCOM advice. I watched yesterday’s episode and came here to talk about it, only to be greeted by very long posts on general XCOM details that are not immediately relevant. But again, not a mod, feel free to keep doing your thing!

Yesterday’s stuff was tense enough to literally make me have dreams about it. Woke up in the middle of the night thinking about Mort. Not a joke.

I was kinda down on Elena, but it’s incredible how much difference her presence makes. That claymore hitting 5 enemies was a game changer and completely opened up that mission. Both missions could have gone so much worse, but you’ve done an excellent job on this one! On to North America!


I think there’s room for both. It’s not like the advice given hasn’t been relevant to Austin and Rob’s situation. I’ve been mostly watching the archives and reading the thread alongside, and it has greatly helped my understanding of the game (including the question I asked a couple posts up, that I thought was relevant to the situation at hand)! As someone who started playing the game because of watching this series, I’ve greatly appreciated this thread as a source of learning.

Nonetheless, I agree yesterday’s stream was incredibly tense, I missed the b-team playing, but the a team, while ultimately going smoothly had me so tense as they took so long to come out of concealment! I was also a fan of the direction they took Cameron, as I’m still reeling from The Great Archie Makeover, so a bit more subtle but story relevant makeover was surprisingly nice!


I appreciate Mongoose not being as over the top as the rest of her squadmates. She’s a god damned professional. Though when she’s not out on a mission or training she’s definitely pranking everyone on the avenger. She’s the only one who’d even consider fucking with Valravn’s stuff. Though I’m not sure if she’s actually done it yet.


I thought they did a pretty good job with the two missions. Parry is useful if there is still one enemy standing to draw fire to the templar, in the case of three enemies it might be a better idea to use that momentum move and get into cover. Having two grenades will be useful along with the upgrade to plasma grenades once the proving ground is built.

As someone mentioned in the chat you can use your free actions (lightning hands, whiplash) to attack the alien rulers without them taking an action. It’s best to stack these together to get the maximum amount of damage before they move again. Now that they have encountered the viper king it has a chance to spawn in any mission (including timed ones) so that’s something to be aware of.

The only other thing I noticed was the units got clumped together in some of those doorways and walls which can go terribly wrong if a grenade is tossed. I would say they are getting better at making moves and solving problems. They also proved they have a viable B-team that wont fold under pressure so that’s a good sign. I’d say it’s time to start making some war suits and special ammo (arm mounted rockets are problem solvers). Great job with everything so far.


Caught up with the latest episode, and I was yelling at my laptop sometimes – ok, a lot of the time – but fantastic work guys.

Things I wish I had been in the live chat to yell:

Sniper rifles get a major penalty to-hit when you’re too close! That’s why Fernando seemed nearly useless in the UFO run. This guy who did a major breakdown of all the to-hit math on reddit supplied a rule of thumb: “You shouldn’t be using a shotgun outside the blue range, and you shouldn’t be using a sniper inside the blue range.” (That post is amazingly detailed, and worth reading through if you have a few minutes and want to internalize some very good xcom knowledge.)

(Related to the above, I didn’t want to yell this, but it’s pretty amazing: shotguns get +40 at point-blank range.)

Second, your grenades are so low-damage now relative to the enemies you’re facing (and I know you know this), unless you’re hitting 3 or more enemies I don’t think it’s worth it anymore. Your guns are better. BUT, that new advanced grenade launcher gives you a +2 dmg and +5 range. I really think you should just load advanced grenadiers with as many frags as possible and shoot em like crazy.

And last thing: I think it’s totally worth it to run right up on an enemy when you’re finishing them off. If you know the tactical situation around you well, I think it’s a totally valid play to just run up, out of cover, and blast a guy from one space away. Pow. Even if it takes more than one person to do this. It eliminates any chance (assuming you get 100% chances) and should make tidying up go much faster.

So I guess the summary is: range == to-hit, gun types are unique, and maybe reevaluate grenade strategy now that you’re in a new phase of the game.

But then, I’m not the one who just got a flawless victory on a snake king map.

Oh and …

I love Mort.


Point of order: Advanced Grenade Launcher gives further increased blast radius and range, but not damage. Fortunately, the Springtime of Youth Explosions is upon us, since the proving ground is about to finish.


Very conservative play this week, which is understandable, considering how many missions have gone south.
That Reaper is really a game changing character class! It was fun to see missions that really embrace the stealth mechanic. I like the design of her clothes as well, kind of a STALKER-esque vibe.


Gah, I’m so addicted to this series. Made me pick up XCOM 2 myself again, and now I have taken down 2 chosen.

I agree with commanders Walker and Zachny that the text on Elenas Silent Killer skill is incredibly misleading, took me forever to figure out.

In that vein, another tip that isn’t apparent in the game at all: The claymore can be triggered with another grenade. So with that five-stack, they could put the claymore there, then toss in a regular grenade, dealing double explosive damage to the whole group. It’s so satisfying.


I realized this after the stream on tuesday when my squad was concealed and I wanted to take out a decently clustered but large group in a single action. Maybe not the best use of resources all in all, but it felt amazing. The ways you can combine different actions together in this game is wild!

Edit: to clarify, I was trying to get rid of a group of people in a biggish area, and the venn-diagram shaped explosion caused by slightly overlapping the grenade with the claymore got the job done.


It’s actually a pretty good use of resources if you have a salvo grenadier and your reaper still has a shoot action after tossing the claymore. After you pop a pod you still have those two units shoot action to finish off any survivors or pods that show up when your squad is revealed after the blast. This game is all about extending your turn with multiple actions and once you get enough people who are bonded or have bonus actions (lightning hands, claymore, reaper, chainshot, serial, facoff, etc.) you can take out multiple pods in one turn. I’ve had missions where my squad has killed three pods on their first turn.

When you’re familiar with all these special abilities you can set up some spectacular ambushes. So experiment with chaining abilities, you won’t regret it once you learn how the game works around these mechanics.


I started chugging through the backlog of tactical tuesday stuff as background noise/video while working. ended up enjoying myself so much I had to grab xcom 2 + wotc myself.

a couple of completely lost weekends later, I reeeally don’t know why I thought it was safe for my productivity to buy a scifi tactics game with so much character customization. whoops. :thinking:

thanks for the good content, Austin & Rob! and also for the accidental lesson on the importance of limiting play session length, haha.


I just binged through this whole playthrough last weekend, and I’m very excited to catch tactical tuesdays live this week! I’ve been super impressed with the general play in missions, even if a few have gone south, but god y’all were cutting it close with the Avatar Project bar.


The person in the chat who told you guys that the pods in ambush missions are manageable was right, insofar as they’re small (usually 1 or 2 troops, sometimes 3) but they can be any unit! So always be prepared and outfit your troops well on Covert Ops that have an ambush chance, especially as you start encountering the higher level Aliens.

I learned this is hard way when my poorly equipped three-person covert squad being ambushed encountered not only the Lost, but two Sectoids and an Andromedon right on the Evac site. Only one person got out alive on that one, and I lost the only Reaper I got other than Outrider in my whole playthrough.

Always be prepared!


I’m glad Austin decided to fight on the ambush mission instead of running. While you might be able to run away doing so puts you at risk of triggering one or more of the alien pods on the map while you’re trying to run away from the reinforcements. Fighting the reinforcements 2 on 2 is much better than winding up fighting 3v2 or 5v2 in the middle of the map because you’ve triggered the other pods while trying to run. If you have units that start concealed (reaper, ranger) or have the conceal option then you can easily move around the edge of the map to the evac. One note that I would like to add is the reinforcements themselves are always 1 officer and 1 trooper so it’s best to just over watch and fight them before you move forward on the map. Like the above poster mentioned eventually you will have stronger units in the pods (usually mutons, archons, heavy mechs and one or two andromedons) which will be a nightmare to fight if you are also being chased by those reinforcements.

I would say both missions went very smooth. That gamble with the 37% hacking chance was pretty great and while I probably wouldn’t have done that It all worked out well enough in the end. Taking chances like that is part of the game so good job at realizing your options available to you. Also, having two specialists in your team on certain missions can be a life saver as they are capable of healing and taking a shooting action in the same turn. Having one hacker and one healer is great for timed missions with consoles or chests to hack (once you have a training center give your hacker the heal ability and your healer the hacking ability for extra utility).

Getting the extra grenadier on the last mission was a good choice as well. You always want a few extra of every unit to be ready at any given time and you were very low on grenadiers. Always take the missions that give you free soldiers unless there is something more important from one of the other missions (avatar progress is one thing you always want to stop if you have the choice in the mission).

One more thing I’d like to add is threat assessment. Knowing which units you have to remove from the field once you encounter them is key. You always want to get rid of mechs and priests on the first turn if possible as these units can do some serious damage if you leave them alive for their turn. Mechs are one of the more dangerous units as they can destroy cover on multiple targets in a single turn leaving your units open to being flanked by the remaining aliens on the turn. Priests will cause problems such as mind control or stasis which will take one of your units out for the turn. Archons are bad news too as they hit very hard when they connect but the mech and priest were the smart choices to minimize damage potential on that particular turn. Great job as always and good luck with the rest of the series.


Thanks for the tips (from you and everyone else in the thread!) Can’t wait to dig back in next week!


Archons are a special case. They have a lot of health, plus natural defense and dodge, so they tend to be hard to take out quickly without guaranteed damage on tap, and the battle frenzy buff that triggers when they take damage gives an extra action on their next two turns (it doesn’t stack). So, in the unlucky case where you aren’t confident you can kill it this turn, it’s often best to put your focus elsewhere.


Oh wowwww I didn’t realize that’s how Battle Frenzy worked. Thanks much!


I’ve played a full and two more-than-half campaigns of X-Com 2 and didn’t know this. :stuck_out_tongue: Thanks for the tip!


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I like to think that Mort’s continued excellence is not only a result of his genius-level intellect, but his secret desire to prove himself after being saved by the sacrifice of true MVP Heinrich Schultz.