XCOM games have always been known for their diverse cast of alien foes, and XCOM 2 is no different. You will not only encounter slightly modified staples of XCOM games past, but all new monstrosities that will test your equipment and your tactics.
Luckily, most of these baddies have at least one weakness that you can capitalize on to give your squad a fighting chance. So you don’t have to learnt hem the hard way, we’ve compiled a quick list of the enemies in XCOM 2 and the best ways to kill them.
Trooper – The most basic of enemies you’ll find. The only thing to watch out for are possible flanks, but otherwise just shoot to kill. The elite versions come with a single unit of armor.
Stun Lancer – These guys can be extremely annoying if they land a successful stun on one of your squad, so take them down early. Basically as soon as you see them they will bee-line it for the nearest soldier and try to knock them unconscious with their lance. If you don’t want to be lugging around a sleeping squad mate the rest of the game, take them out fast.
Consider equipping a ranger with the blade storm ability and placing them in the front of your formation to deal with lancers.
Officer – The red cloaked troopers are the same as the baseline ones, only they pack a little more health and a grenade that can deal heavy damage to grouped up troops. They’re not a huge threat, so only focus them first if they’re with regular troopers, and otherwise take aim at deadlier targets.
Shield Breaker – the shield breaker is an Advent support unit that applies a shield to all nearby enemy units. The shield absorbs a good deal of damage, but luckily if you kill the shield breaker all of the shields come down. Focus these guys early to save a ton of ammunition and time.
Turrets – These mounted guns don’t pose a huge threat if you’ve got a gremlin with hacking capabilities. Stay out of their vision range and either blast them from a distance, or hack them then blast them to eliminate them from the equation.
MEC – The robotic advent units are very susceptible to hacking, but if you fail a hack it actually gives them a bonus to certain stats. They are very good at range, equipped with a blaster and a long range missile barrage that does a ton of damage.
If you don’t want to risk hacking them your best bet is to shred their armor with explosives or a grenadier, and then go at with from a distance with your heavy hitters.
Sectopod – The ultimate Advent weapon, the Sectopod has a massive health pool and a ton of armor to shred through. Hacking is a good go to strategy but be careful as a failed hack can have all sorts of undesirable consequences. It might be better to use the gremlins special robotic attack (assuming you chose it), which does a good deal of damage to robotic enemies with the added benefit of ignoring their armor.
You’re only option here is to shred that armor and then throw everything you have at it. They’re not that great at dodging, so snipers are a great choice to chunk off large amounts of health.
The Sectoid is a beefed up version of what we say in XCOM Enemy Unknown, but they’re still relatively simple to deal with. They are also very weak against melee attacks, so if you can get a ranger close enough, they can usually deal with them with a single slice of their blade. Even without a melee attack, they are quite frail and start falling in single shots to must weapons after you’ve equipped the magnetic weapons.
Mind control is their main ability that can create some major headaches if it lands successfully. Luckily there are two items you can use to deal with this. The mind shield which prevents mind control abilities, or the flashbang, which will interrupt a sectoids mind control freeing the affected soldier.
If they start raising the dead, keep your focus on the sectoid. Taking them down will instakill the zombies.
The heavy handed Muton is like a super tough advent trooper. Like any tanky enemy in XCOM, they are susceptible to fire, poison, and acid damage, so be sure and pack some away when you start encountering these guys. Ranger shotguns and sniper shots can make quick work of them once their armors gone.
Just don’t try to melee attack them. They have a special counter attack that deals a ton of damage to the poor soldier that misses.
Mutons also love throwing grenades, so when you see one be sure your formation is spread out or risk getting your entire team blown up.
The Codex is a wily opponent that can teleport around the battlefield at will, essentially rendering cover useless. They also have a psionic area of effect ability that detonates after one turn dealing heavy damage to those caught within. It also has the annoying side effect of removing all the ammo from your weapons. If you’re soldiers are inside one of these vortexes get them out on your turn or they will get chunked for a large portion of health.
You’re first shot on the Codex should be a big one, so use your heaviest hitter like a sniper or a ranger. This is because after it takes its first batch of damage it will clone itself, with the codex retaining one half of the remaining health and the clone taking the other. If you can get them down to half health with one shot, you’ll have them both at a measly 2 or 3 health after they split.
They are also immune to most effects like burning and poison, so focus fire them fast and early to keep them from wreaking havoc in your back lines during a fight.
The creepy faceless enemies emerge out of the bodies of civilians, so always keep an eye peeled when you are on a map with them wandering around. Luckily when they do emerge, they are a very large easy to hit target with no armor, so focus firing them should be suffice.
Just be sure and keep out of their melee range and to stay spread out. One swipe from the faceless does damage to several tiles in front of it for an unsettlingly large amount of damage.
One of the most talked about new enemies are the vipers which turned out to be the true form of the thin men from the previous XCOM game. They’ve got a bag full of tricks that they use to throw your squad into disarray, making them a good target to take out early in a fight.
Their three main abilities are a grapple where they use their tongue to pull solders from a long distance right into their grasp. The second ability plays right off of the first as they coil around the soldier slowly choking the life out of them each turn. If that wasn’t enough, they have a poison attack which of course ignores armor.
Vipers are pretty good at dodging but don’t have a lot of health. Your best bet is to get a ranger in close enough to blast them with their shotgun, but grenades work great too. If one of your team does get grappled by the viper, you can break the bind with a flashbang, or by doing damage to the viper.
Distance is the key here. Stay away from these melee monsters at all costs. Their attacks will poison you, and if your soldier happens to die, they can come back as another Chryssalid you’ll have to fight.
Unfortunately they are quite fast and can travel long distances on a single turn. Keep at least one squad member on overwatch to prevent a sneak attack from the fog of war. They can also burrow and pop out at any time, another fun feature you’ll need to be aware of.
Apart from that they are quite weak. A single shotgun blast is enough to kill most of them, just keep your overwatch up and your eyes peeled.
Another enemy you don’t want to get up close and personal with. The Berserker is a tanky beast that specializes in melee combat. Luckily it has to get to you first, so like the Chryssalid you should keep overwatch up to get a bunch of free shots on them while they rush your position.
Their dodge skills are also sub-par, making them prime targets for snipers in the back lines. When it takes enough damage, the Berserker goes into a rage attacking anything nearby, even other aliens. Try to get it to this point while it’s still close enough to its own lines to get a few bonus kills courtesy of the Berserker.
A highly mobile enemy, the Archon is great at dodging both regular attacks and overwatch shots. It’s for this reason that explosives are a great choice for dealing with their meagre health pool. If explosives aren’t available, rangers can do great work with their shotgun, but their blade attack is prone to misses.
Take them out early to avoid their blazing pinions attack that fires a barrage of explosives into your squad. If you see them setting up for this and can’t take them down, a tactical retreat may be in order.
One of the tankiest enemies going, the Andromedon is a formidable foe that essentially has two lives. The first incarnation of the Andromedon is an organic life form. Your strategy for this phase should be to shred the armor first, and then focus all of your heavy firepower into the Andromedon’s large health pool.
During this phase you should also stay spread out to avoid the acid grenade that the Andromedon is fond of firing.
When you’ve manage to take its pilot down, the suit itself will power up and start to charge your units for a melee attack. This second phase changes the Andromedon from an organic unit to a mechanical one, opening it up to hacking abilities if you’ve got them. If you don’t, just try to keep away from it while doing as much damage as possible. It’s not as tanky as its first phase so it shouldn’t take too many shots.
You’ll only encounter this unit once or twice, but when you do you should be prepared. It will either be closed, where it takes a reduced amount of damage or open, where it unleashes a powerful beam attack and brings back multiple fallen units to life in one turn.
You can see why the Gatekeeper is a target you’ll want to deal with sooner rather than later. Shredding armor early is a good bet especially if it’s closed. Its large size and slow movement also make it a prime target for distance shots from the sniper or specialists armed with a rifle, especially in overwatch.
Another reason to stay at a distance is the Gatekeeper’s consumption ability. Although it must be fairly close to use it, the consumption ability drains a soldier’s life bar while refilling the Gatekeeper’s. A double whammy to your squad that’s hard to recover from.
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