The XCOM universe is a pretty scary one, especially for a new player. Each mission will start with you being dropped into hostile territory filled with scary powerful aliens and the goal of fighting your way through them to a specific point before the timer expires. That’s right, if it wasn’t bad enough there is ow a timer to contend with along with the super powerful, technically advanced aliens.

If you’re played an XCOM game before some of these tips will be familiar to you, but XCOM 2 is a whole new beast requiring all new tactics. Veterans may want to take a look through the following as well.

  • Stick to the normal difficulty. XCOM is a notoriously hard game, so don’t go all out with the difficulty settings if you’re a beginner. Normal is enough of a challenge for most.
  • Plan your base expansion. It’s worth investing some time into learning what all of the base modules do before you start construction. Modules can do everything from providing training to your soldiers to weapons and armor upgrades, so picking the right ones is extremely important to your success in the field.
    Modules will also get bonuses when placed beside modules of a certain type. Do your research and you can greatly increase your bases productivity.
  • Assemble your squad with a variety of units. Having squad members with varying skills and from different classes will help cover your but when the unexpected happens.
    Does the battlefield have some fallen ruins that need scouting? Good thing you brought the ranger. Powerful enemies blocking your way up ahead? Keep your units safe by getting your sharpshooter to take them down.
  • Try to get the first weapon upgrade as soon as possible. You start the game with conventional weapons that are woefully outmatched by the enemy’s plasma gear. Put some effort early on into getting the laser based weapons unlocked. They are much better than their bullet based counterparts.
  • Suppression is an underrated tactic. Supressing enemies not only temporarily prevents them from doing harm to your squad, it leaves them vulnerable to attack. Supress the particularly tough enemies while moving in for the kill.
  • Make sure you’re upgrading your units. As your soldiers gain experience and receive training they will be able to add new skills to their repertoire. These skills are extremely important in the later game, so you’ll want to get the equipped and have some practise with them early one.
    Assemble a core squad and use them for the majority of your missions until they are full levelled. You can then swap in rookies one at a time to level them up so you have backups available should the unthinkable happen.
  • Support classes are just as important as the damage dealers. That’s not to say the support roles like the specialist don’t do damage, because they do (and sometimes a lot), but they are more useful because of the support skills they bring to the field.
    The specialist can use their drone as a medic, healing and reviving downed teammates, or as an assault bot, hacking robotic enemies and stunning organic ones. By supporting your core group of damage dealers correctly you’ll keep them alive and increase their effectiveness.

  • Use overwatch liberally. Putting a squad member into overwatch is a great way to defend the rest of your team while they’re on the move. Overwatch will cause the team member using it to fire at the first enemy that moves (and is in the units sight) during the aliens turn. This makes sneaking up on, or approaching your units much more perilous.
  • Get attached to your squad. One of the greatest things about XCOM is that you can rename and customize your squad to whatever you want. Rename them after your friends or family, whatever it takes to make the game more fun and give you that extra motivation to pull off the perfect battle plan. Nothing hurts more than seeing a squad mate named after your cat being carted off the field in a body bag.
  • Know when to run away. It’s easy to over extend yourself into a group of enemies with the fog of war in XCOM, so don’t be afraid to make a tactical withdrawal when you need to. Just be wary of any enemies that may be on overwatch. Any movement from your team will trigger an immediate shot from them.
  • Squad formation is important. The idea is to keep your squad together, but not too close that your entire team gets wiped out with one grenade. A staggered spacing with your close combat units at the front and your ranged and support units at the back is the best way to go.
    Splitting your team is usually not recommended, but if the coast is clear and you have the chance to pull off a clean flank on a powerful enemy save the game and give it a shot.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our XCOM 2 Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 21, 2016

About The Author

A man of many hats, Greg divides his precious gaming time between competitive games like League of Legends and Dota 2 and Action/ Adventure Games like GTA, and Destiny. At Ten Ton Hammer he specializes in making guides for new and veteran players alike.