XCOM 2: WOTC - Beginner's Guide
WOTC has some nasty boss enemies, a lot of new mechanics, and some important priorities for base building. This guide should help you get started.
This guide is designed to help those new to War of the Chosen, and perhaps new to XCOM. I will be going over the unique features of WOTC, rather than general XCOM tactics.
Set-up and Mods:
I would recommend playing with the Alien Hunters DLC Integrated. The Alien Rulers are better balanced in WOTC than in Vanilla XCOM 2. While they are still tough, their reaction shots won’t trigger on neutral actions such as reloading or hunkering. Rulers are a little more challenging than the Chosen, which you will be fighting throughout the campaign, anyway.
If you want to add some mods, here is a good set to start with: WOTC - Base Mods. The most significant mod in that list is Gotcha Again which gives you more information about LOS when repositioning.
Overwatch: Overwatch shots in WOTC will trigger on a single tile movement, whereas in XCOM 2, they required 2 tiles of movement to trigger.
Beaglerush Maneuver (Concealment broken on enemy turn): In XCOM 2, when concealment is broken on the enemy turn, your squad would get free overwatch shots; the enemy none. In WOTC, the enemy may get to shoot at you first if they discover you in concealment.
Getting through the first month - Gatecrasher:
The first few missions in WOTC are very difficult. Some of the hardest in the campaign. For the Gatecrasher mission, it is very important to get a good ambush from concealment and eliminate the first pod you encounter without taking injuries. To do this, it is best to get on top of a building for the height advantage. You can initiate the ambush with a grenade while the other soldiers are on overwatch. The grenade will wound all of them (usually kills one) then any hit will finish off the enemy. Then you need to stay put, reload and overwatch, hoping the 2nd pod comes to you. It is critical to not trigger both of the remaining pods at the same time. If the enemy does not come to you, then you may want to move forward cautiously, 1-2 tiles a turn, then enter overwatch. Some other tips:
Try to stay in high cover.
Beware of mind control; prioritize killing the sectoid.
Grenades are crucial on this mission, but you only get 4. Don’t waste them; Don’t horde them.
The Advent Officer is very dangerous, but if he is flanked or out of cover, he will often just move and mark. Try not to let him take 2 actions from high cover, which allows him to mark then shoot, which is very dangerous.
You can fall back to high cover and roof tops, leaving some well positioned soldiers on overwatch. Advent does like to run towards you.
Getting through the first month - Base Strategy:
After the first mission, you will have a few decisions to make at your base. Typically I start with Modular Weapons research, and start building the GTS in the one empty room. The GTS is super important; it enables you to get Squad Size I (for $100) which allows you to bring a 5th soldier on missions.
Getting through the first month - 2nd Mission:
The 2nd mission is even harder than gatecrasher. Surviving soldiers will now be squaddies and have new abilities, but they are still weak and easy to kill. Again grenades and a good initial ambush are crucial to winning the 2nd mission. You may want to build a Flash Grenade, which is expensive, but they are very good at disabling a Sectoid that has mind controlled one of your soldiers.
If the 2nd mission is “Neutralize Field Commander” you want to find him before you break Concealment. This is not easy, as it means sneaking around the map without triggering any pods or getting surrounded. Even if you can’t find the Commander, you need to get further into the map before ambushing a pod. Once you go loud, the Field Commander will try to retreat, and you will only have about 4 turns to find and kill him. Ideally you use your Concealment ambush on the Field Commander himself (very hard to pull off). At the very least, you should be far enough into the map, that you can intercept the Commander as he retreats to the evac flare. He is very dangerous, so don’t leave your soldiers vulnerable as you chase him. Once he gets to the evac zone, he will not immediately disappear. Sometimes this is the best time to kill him as he will often be out of cover.
Every other mission type (Hack Terminal, Destroy Relay, Protect Relay, etc.) requires speed rather than stealth. Move fast, and get a good ambush on the first pod you encounter. Don’t try to maneuver around pods, as this usually just wastes time and gets you surrounded. Also, the AI cheats a bit, and the nearest pod will move to stay between you and the objective. The key to victory in this mission, and most every variety of XCOM is to not activate multiple pods at the same time; so try not to do that.
If you win the 2nd mission, don’t forget to assign your new engineer to a job. I suggest speeding up the construction of the GTS.
Getting through the first month - Lost and Abandoned:
If you enabled “Lost and Abandoned”, it will occur next. This mission should be easy for experienced players as it mostly follows a script. For new players it is going to be rough but very lucrative as you gain a new soldier and a bunch of XP. There are 3 total encounters. You will be selecting 2 squads of 2 soldiers who will be joined by a Reaper and a Skirmisher respectively. The 2nd team has the harder duty, and should have the higher ranked soldiers. I like to take a rookie in the first squad. Both teams will mostly be fighting the Lost, which are easy once you get used to them. Stay back and let them come to you; don’t take any unnecessary risks.
The 2nd team will need to fight more Lost and also a duo of purifiers right at the start of the mission. Killing both of the purifiers before they can attack is important. I find that if I move forward slowly and go on overwatch I can usually start things off with an overwatch trap. Then I want to grenade them and use Mox’s grapple to flank from height to finish them off. After killing the purifiers, move your XCOM soldiers to the top of the stack of shipping containers, and move Mox toward the gate to trigger the cut scene and the hordes of Lost.
The 3rd encounter in Lost and Abandoned will start off with the appearance of the Chosen Assassin. She is very tough. Overwatching will not work against her, and her first strike is guaranteed to hit. The only way to beat her without taking damage is to find her after she disappears. To do this, move all your soldiers to the edge of the elevated train tracks on your first turn of this mission. Then the Assassin will appear, her strengths and weakness will be revealed, and she will disappear. She is hiding somewhere. Perhaps under the tracks. Perhaps in the shop at the corner. Perhaps behind one of the vehicles on the road below. Move your soldiers to search these most likely hiding places. If you get lucky, you will expose the Assassin. It is very possible to kill her in one turn. Often the Reaper’s Claymore, activated by a grenade, will be your best attack (supposing the Assassin doesn’t have the “Blast Shield” strength). After you defeat the Assassin, you only have Lost to deal with. Take it slow and it should be cake.
Getting through the first month - 4th Mission:
If you started building the GTS right away, the 4th mission will likely be the last with only 4 soldiers, and still challenging. This will be a Haven Retaliation or a Haven Assault. Hopefully your Reaper was not injured as she is the perfect soldier to help you win this mission. Use the Reaper or a Phantom Ranger to find the first pod. The rest of your squad will not be in Concealment and should try to set up an overwatch trap. You can use this strategy again on the 2nd pod if your Reaper retains Concealment. Alternatively you can activate a pod using the Reaper’s Claymore.
If the Assassin is present on this mission it will be rough, even for experienced players. Save the Claymore for the Assassin, and get far away from any other enemies. She is going to come at you. Position the Reaper to try to expose the Assassin as she approaches. Keep your other soldiers pretty close together so that you can reach the Assassin after her initial strike, with your least valuable soldier further forward than the others, hoping that she will target him. As with all missions where a Chosen is present, forget about the actual mission objective; your job is to survive and kill the Chosen.
Getting through the first month - More Base Strategy:
After this mission you should have the GTS built and be able to buy Squad Size I when you get the supply drop. The next priority is to build the Resistance Ring so that you can auto-promote a soldier up to Captain level and buy Squad Size II. The Resistance Ring is also an incredibly powerful tool for developing your soldiers and stalling the Avatar Project. You should prioritize the mission to rescue Mox, and find the Templars. Both give you a soldier and put you in contact with those factions which means you have more options in the Resistance Ring, and are able to scan at their bases. The Skirmisher base is very important early in the campaign; scanning there will speed up construction and excavation.
One other tip, if the Black Market is available you should consider buying another Scientist or Engineer.
Starting TECH Order:
This build order is a rough sketch, and you should be opportunistic with Inspired Research and Special Projects. Getting to Mag Weapons and Plated Armor is very helpful, and a top priority, but require a lot of research time and alloy to utilize. On lower difficulty levels Predator Armor is cheaper. At Legend difficulty 60 alloy is required to build Predator Armor, and so researching Mag + Gauss first makes sense at Legend. It is a good idea to buy some alloy from the Black Market when you complete this research.
Modular Weapons - Allows use of Weapon Upgrades
Hybrid Materials - Nanoscale, other Tech
Alien Biotech -Other Tech
Advent Officer Autopsy - Proving Ground
Plated Armor - (On Legend difficulty you may want to do this after you research Mag + Gauss)
Experimental Weapons - Frost Grenade, Hunter’s Axe, etc.
Faceless Autopsy - Mimic Beacons
Starting Build Order:
The earlier you build the Psi Lab the better; or it can be skipped entirely. Switching the order of the Proving Ground / Training Center / Infirmary is ok.
GTS - Squad Size I
Psi Lab (optional)
I find that the Specialist/Ranger and the Sharpshooter/Grenadier bonds work the best for the base classes. The Specialist often has an action to spare and the Ranger can benefit the most from an extra action. Often The best way to defeat a Chosen is to use Run and Gun with the Ranger, followed immediately after with the Teamwork ability, giving the Ranger 2 shots at point blank range. When the Ranger acquires Rapid Fire, this will be 4 shots. Very Powerful.
The Sharpshooter and Grenadier can benefit from a tier 2 bond by targeting the same enemy for +10 aim. If they are standing next to each other it is +20 aim. This duo is less likely to benefit from shared actions via the Teamwork ability early in the campaign, but they have the best Tandem attack of all class combinations.
I typically bond the Reaper to a Grenadier, as you can never have too many Grenadiers. Having 2 Rangers or 2 Sharpshooters can be difficult to use effectively as both classes have positional limitations; Rangers want to get in close, while Sharpshooters cannot move and shoot. A concealed Reaper can often spare an action to give to his bond mate and the Grenadier is always able to find a use for another action.
Other WOTC Tips:
My tactical guide for fighting the Chosen can be found here: XCOM 2: WOTC - Fighting the Chosen
Specialist, Ranger, and Grenadier benefit a lot from high combat intelligence. Sharpshooter not so much.
Psi Operatives do not use ability points at all and thus do not benefit from high combat intelligence.
After completing the 1st and 2nd mission in the “Hunt Assassin” mission chain, the Reapers will offer a Covert Action where you can recruit a 2nd Reaper soldier. Having 2 Reapers is quite good, so this should be a priority.
Use the Resistance Ring to hinder Avatar Progress. This is the best and easiest way to buy time.
You do not need to build any Vest Armor at all. Typically your soldiers will want other items such as specialized ammo and a mimic beacon.
Mimic Beacons are still very powerful, though some new enemies are less likely to be distracted by them.
Plasma Grenades and the Frost Grenade/Bomb are the best ordinance. Other specialized grenades/bombs are usually not as good.
Hacking is unreliable. Bluescreen rounds don’t improve hack chance very much.
Every kind of special ammo is useful and good. I recommend developing these and ignoring the specialized grenades.
Frost Grenade/Bomb does not seem to work on the Chosen.
Frost Grenade/Bomb on Prime Enemies (A Better Advent Mod) will negate their bonus actions.
Stasis does not work on the Chosen.
The Chosen are immune to all mental status effects, so Flashbangs will not work on them.
The Warlock’s Mind Control ability is very dangerous. There are only a few ways to break it. If you do enough damage to the Warlock he will turtle up in a protective shell which cancels the Mind Control. The tier 2 bond mate ability “Stand By Me” and the Psi Operative ability “Solace” will both cancel all mental status effects, including Mind Control. Also, Mind Shields can be worn when you expect to encounter the Warlock, which prevents Mind Control.