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Best Abilities Xcom Enemy Within

author
Bob Roberts
• Saturday, 27 November, 2021
• 17 min read

The classes in the modern COM series all have interesting and fun weapons and abilities. Watching the soldiers grow and gain cool abilities is one of the major joys of playing an COM game.

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Contents

The soldiers are the ones that shape the story and are the ones that pull off the hero plays that players will remember fondly. Since they are not a separate class, Psi Operatives from Enemy Unknown will not be included.

The Spark class suffers because they cost way too much compared to human soldiers. Most classes can take some punishment, and even get abilities that negate damage in late game.

They have some neat utility, but there's nothing particularly special about them (unlike the other two hero classes in COM 2). They're like a jack of all trades but master of none in a game where the classes are all specialists in a different field.

All the Assault Class's abilities help it do what it needs to: get in the enemy's face and shoot it with a shotgun. Grenades are extremely helpful during a play through to get chip damage and destroy cover.

A questionable approach by the COM Project to creating great soldiers, the MEC Trooper required a procedure that involved removing the limbs of those who were in the program. Smoke grenades and extra med kit uses help the Support Class keep the other soldiers in their squad alive for longer.

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The problem the Support Class suffers is having to be adjacent to who they are healing or reviving. The Templar is amazing at cutting down units and even gets AOE attacks later on down the line.

The problem is, the Templar needs to build focus each mission to do meaningful damage, so it requires careful planning to make them stronger. The coolest non-hero class, the Ranger wields both a shotgun and a sword and can make great use of both.

Either way, they are a valuable addition to any Resistance team, especially for taking out early game aliens like Seconds. A mix of great utility and free damage makes the Specialist one of the best classes in the COM series.

Specialists can stay towards the back and keep their squad alive whilst also being able to finish off low health enemies for free. Snipers also get access to great utility like the Battle Scanner and Disabling Shot.

Capable of dishing out tons of damage with pistols or sniper rifles, the Sharpshooter deletes things. These masters of stealth and destruction take the cake as the best class in the COM series.

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NextAmong Us: 5 Great Locations In The Held To Kill A Crewmate (& 4 You Need To Avoid) He recently graduated from William Paterson University with a degree in English Writing and Media Studies.

Abilities gained at the Squad die and Major ranks are automatically granted, while at the Corporal, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, and Colonel ranks the player must choose between one of two abilities. Please see the instructions page for reasons why this item might not work withinXCOM : Enemy Unknown.

Every soldier who joins the COM project starts out as a mere rookie. Armed with only a basic assault rifle and a single frag grenade, these inexperienced lads and layettes have to be clever and careful if they want to survive.

* Will is increased by 1-6+2 for every rank up, plus an additional 1-4+2 with the Iron Will perk** The information in this table does not apply if the Second Wave modifier Not Created Equally is selected upon starting a new game RECOMMENDED BACKPACK ITEMS It probably won't save them from dying to a critical hit, but early on that +2 bonuses to health can easily make the difference between injury and death.

Alternatively, giving your rookies Frag Grenades can make surviving early missions considerably easier. “You may want to instruct your men to exercise restraint when using explosives.

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While certainly effective at killing aliens they also destroy the artifacts we're hoping to recover from their bodies. Only ever give a rookie a Medici to hold if your squad does not have a Support soldier.

Giving it to anyone else will effectively waste their valuable item slot, hurting their chances. The aggressive Assault class is great for recon, flanking, blitz tactics and capturing aliens alive with the Arc Thrower .

They are not as durable as the Heavy, but their nimbleness paired with their defensive abilities keeps them alive even if they get caught in alien crossfire. * The information in this table does not apply if the Second Wave modifier Hidden Potential is selected upon starting a new game Run & Gun Allows firing or Overwatch after dashing on the turn Run & Gun is activated.

Lightning Reflexes Forces the first reaction shot against this unit each turn to miss. Close & Personal Confers +30% critical chance against adjacent targets.

Rapid Fire Take two shots against a single target in quick succession. Bring ‘Em On Adds 1 damage on critical hits for each enemy the squad can see (up to 5).

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Extra Conditioning Confers bonus health based on which type of armor is equipped. Killer Instinct Activating Run & Gun now also grants +50% critical damage for the rest of the turn.

Being front-line fighters, Assaults need all the extra defense they can get, especially on higher difficulties where aliens receive bonuses to Aim. With it, you can force an enemy in Overwatch to waste its reaction shot on you without taking any damage.

Close & Personal is a solid choice for a second, more damage-oriented Assault, especially if you did not take Aggression at corporal rank. The damage potential is huge, and at short distances the -15 penalty to Aim is negligible.

You can even trick Berserkers into charging you by shooting them from a distance; if they close to within 4 tiles you get a shot at them for free. Bring 'Em On is a solid choice for the more offensive Assault, especially if you went with Close & Personal at sergeant rank.

The enemies don't even have to be in the Assault's direct line of sight for the damage bonus to work, making this a potentially powerful offensive ability. At higher difficulties, chances an alien will score a CRT against you increase dramatically.

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If you use Run & Gun to dash right up to the enemy and then Rapid Fire at point-blank range, this deadly combination of abilities pretty much guarantees two critical hits at 150% damage, plus 1 damage for each enemy your squad can see. Good defense is a necessity and because of this, equipping your Assault with either a Nanoweber Vest or Chitin Plating is a must.

Chitin Plating is an absolute no-brainer on terror missions and will help you deal with those pesky Chrysalis. The Assault's proximity to the enemy makes them ideal candidates for carrying the Arc Thrower into battle.

Be advised that the Arc Thrower isn't considered a weapon and therefore cannot be used with the Run & Gun ability. Combat Stems are another great choice for Assaults to carry, especially for those that prefer offensive abilities.

The Heavy is a hulking powerhouse, capable of dealing massive amounts of damage to synthetic enemies. And pretty much everything else around them. Armed with a light machine gun and a rocket launcher, these bad boys carve a path through obstacles like no other.

* The information in this table does not apply if the Second Wave modifier Hidden Potential is selected upon starting a new game Fire Rocket Fire a rocket using an equipped launcher. Bullet Swarm Firing the primary weapon as the first action no longer ends the turn.

Grenadier Allows carrying 2 grenades in a single inventory slot. Danger Zone Increases hit area of rockets and suppression by 2 tiles.

Mayhem Confers additional damage based on weapon tech level to Suppression and all area-effect abilities. Use it to dispose of cover, exposing the enemy, or to blow up explosive objects such as cars.

Whether facing a zero rush of Chrysalis or a small army of Futons, Shredder Rocket is your ticket out of a sticky situation. Suppression is not a terrible ability, but it consumes ammo both when you activate it and if the Heavy takes a reaction shot.

With this, chances are good the Heavy won't get hit for more than his armor can shrug off, meaning no more visits to the infirmary! On top of that, the +3 Mobility bonuses allows the Heavy to run farther, enabling him to get in close and shoot the enemy from point-blank range, negating the need for that S.C.O.P.E.

Scaling buildings or taking to the skies in Archangel Armor to find that perfect vantage point, they oversee the entire mission area. * The information in this table does not apply if the Second Wave modifier Hidden Potential is selected upon starting a new game Headshot Fire a shot with +30% critical chance and extra damage on critical hits based on the tech level of the sniper rifle.

Snap Shot Removes the sniper rifle’s restriction on firing and Overwatch after moving. Battle Scanner Scanning device, when thrown creates a new source of vision for 2 turns.

In The Zone Killing a flanked or uncovered target with the sniper rifle does not cost an action. Once every three turns you can fire a shot with a 30% increased CRT chance and extra damage based on weapon tech.

It pairs really well with Double Tap and Ghost Armor for landing two massive cries in a row. Without it, you have to waste valuable time setting your Sniper up on a good vantage point.

It lets you save obstacles that provide full cover for squad members who really need it, and makes ledges, balconies, rooftops and truck trailers that much more attractive as vantage points. In The Zone is excellent for those while open spaces where you are going up against Cyberdiscs, Floaters, Drones, Chrysalis, Zombies or Berserkers, pretty much any enemy that does not take cover.

Double Tap works just fine with all special shots and if you use it with Ghost Armor and Headshot, you can score two huge cries in a row. Sometimes things can get ugly; soldiers start taking hits and go down, or panic in the face of overwhelming odds.

The Support is there to patch them up, strengthen their resolve and help them get back into the fight. These strong-willed warriors have good aim and run like the wind, providing covering fire for their squad or going the distance to flank enemies.

The smoke confers +20 defense to all units, not just allies, and lasts during the enemy turn. Covering Fire Allows reaction shot to trigger on enemy attacks, not just movement.

Field Medic Allows medicine to be used 3 times per battle instead of once. Combat Drugs Smoke Grenades now contain powerful stimulants that grant +20 Will and +10% Critical Chance for all units in the cloud.

You could argue that having 2 Smoke Grenades per mission would allow you to prevent those wounds in the first place, but relying that heavily on Smoke Grenades is risky, especially on higher difficulty levels where the aliens receive bonuses to Aim. It's essential, especially in those Iron man games where every veteran soldier is worth his weight in gold.

You could carry both a Medici and an Arc Thrower, or Chitin Plating and a Mind Shield, or any other combination of offensive, defensive and utility items. Deep Pockets is a defining ability for the Support, and it makes them the most versatile class by far.

Supports are the best at healing squad members and their Deep Pockets ability allows them to carry another, more directly beneficial item as well. Also, the Medici grants immunity to poison, which is excellent when fighting Thin Men.

The Arc Thrower is another great item choice for Supports, especially if you took the Sprinter ability. Supports can run long distances, making it easy for them to get into stun range.

Later, when capturing aliens alive is no longer a priority or even completely unnecessary, you could replace the Arc Thrower with any item you want. Mind Shield will help your Support overcome psionic attacks.

Psionic can get inside the minds of their enemies, causing them to panic and fire on their allies. The most powerful Psionic can even deflect bullets with their mind, or make an alien do their bidding.

Note that Psionic soldiers can only gain ranks and access new abilities by actively using their powers. Mind fray Causes the target to lose grip on reality, inflicting penalties to Aim, Will and mobility, and doing 5 base damage.

Being able to bolster your squad's defense against mental attacks is vital, and strengthening their Will to prevent panic is also important. There's simply no telling what a panicked enemy might do: he could run away in fear, attack his own allies, or he could go berserk and fire on you again instead.

This ability will save your squad from Seconds and Mutton Elites more than a few times before the alien invasion is over. Mind Control is an amazingly powerful ability that can really turn the tide in battle.

With the right combination of gear, items and abilities, you could even use it to mind control an Ethereal, which will grant you an achievement if you succeed. It's intended purpose is to shield the wearer from offensive psi attacks, but it can also be used to power the user's own Psionic abilities.

Use it together with Psi Armor to have a real shot at mind controlling those darn Ethereal. Going with Combat Stems is good if you can't build the Mind Shield yet.

Of course, you could argue that a Psionic has plenty of mental defenses as it is, especially if wearing Psi Armor. You could therefore decide to bolster his physical defense, and that's where Chitin Plating comes in handy.

Psi Armor grants a +20 bonuses to Will, making it that much more likely your Psionic powers will work successfully. In this section you will find some tips that all tie in directly to your squad members and their abilities in some way.

There are four different classes in COM: Enemy Unknown, and there's a total of six spots on your team. They aren't the strongest fighters, but they are accurate and their versatility makes them an excellent addition to your team.

Ideally, you will want one of them to focus on healing abilities, and let the other one take perks like Combat Drugs and Sentinel. Assaults are the perfect counter against Chrysalis and Berserkers, and with Ghost Armor they make excellent spotters for your Sniper, too.

Give them both Squad Sight and maybe a suit of Archangel Armor, and use the rest of your team as spotters. Snipers can deal a stupid amount of damage from afar and if one of them specializes in Double Tap and the other one takes In The Zone, they can lay waste to an entire army of aliens between the two of them.

Soldiers can and will miss shots despite great odds at the absolute worst of times, and you will want to make sure they don't get caught with their pants down. You could argue that dashing is safe unless you are already engaged in a fight, but it's a bad habit regardless.

If any aliens are on Overwatch beyond your line of sight, you have a good chance of wasting their reaction shot with the Assault's Lightning Reflexes. Should your squad stumble upon some aliens, taking an 'active' shot before the end of your turn is always more efficient than reaction fire from Overwatch, especially so if your Sniper knows In The Zone or Double Tap.

Chances are more uninvited guest will crash your party, and that is going to make life really hard for you on higher difficulties. If you don't, your soldiers could be out of ammo halfway through the next firefight, just when they're up against a Second and a small army of Futons.

Consider color-coding your soldiers based on class to distinguish between them on the battlefield more easily. Futons and Cyberdiscs will use this tactic against you if they get the chance, so don't huddle up your soldiers too close when facing them.

Cars, trucks and UFO Power Sources make great bombs. If you need to close in on an alien, so you can flank or stun them next turn, minimize the risk of getting hurt by hunkering down behind cover.

Hunker Down doubles your cover bonus and confers immunity to critical hits, which by itself can make all the difference. Learning to recognize the sounds that aliens make could provide you with important clues as to what you are about to face, and where the threat will be coming from.

Give your fastest runner a suit of Ghost Armor and have him scout ahead in stealth. This way you can start picking off aliens with your Sniper(s) from as far away as the Sky ranger's LA.

On terror missions, be as aggressive as possible without putting your soldiers at great risk. Ain't No Cavalry Coming' Have a soldier survive every mission in a full game.

All it takes is for one of your original squad of four soldiers to come along for every mission in an entire play through. If you take good care of your Sniper and keep him out of harm's way, this achievement should not be too difficult to acquire.

Note that you can still do this if the soldier you depend on is hospitalized, as long as he is back on active duty before the start of the next mission. Your Psionic soldier has to have a very high Will stat to be able to do it, and even then it's going to take plenty of buffs to even have a decent chance of success.

Stack as many Will buffs as you can before attempting the Mind Control to maximize your chances of success. However, an Ethereal is extremely hard to hit with Mind fray, so it might be more worthwhile to try other things.

Lone Wolf Clear a UFO crash site with one soldier on Classic or Impossible difficulty. This way, it's going to be him against 4 Seconds and 1 Outsider, which should give you a pretty good chance of success.

Take one gifted soldier with Mind Control (preferably a Heavy) and use this ability to create allies for yourself. Mutton Elites make the best candidates for Mind Control because they are easy to overcome and can deal hideous damage to their comrades.

I am a huge fan of COM: Enemy Unknown and this game has marked the first time that I've ever been invested enough in a game to write about it, help others with it and share my stories of triumphant victory and gut-wrenching loss with the world. I am extremely grateful to the team at Fir axis for making this wonderful reimagining of an absolute classic.

They have allowed me to experience the greatness of a franchise that I was way too young to appreciate when the original game came out. I've never properly played X-COM: UFO Defense and chances are that I never will, but thanks to COM: Enemy Unknown I now finally understand what made that game so special.

If you find something to like in this guide and if it was helpful to you, it would mean a lot to me if you took the time to drop a line in the comment section or leave a 'like' so that others might see and enjoy it.

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