XCOM 2 Analysis: Training Center

The Training Center is the inheritor of the Advanced Warfare Center's will, unlocking bonus skills on your soldiers that are otherwise inaccessible. It's even the same set, entirely unaltered from the base game.

The actual mechanics are radically different, however.

First of all, instead of soldiers maybe getting one bonus skill, they always get 2-4 bonus skills. They'll still only ever get one at a given rank, and they're assigned randomly across ranks, but no soldier completely misses out. (Except Psi Operatives and SPARKs; just as they didn't benefit from the Advanced Warfare Center, they don't benefit from the Training Center) Among other points, this means that combinations like Deep Cover+Aim aren't restricted to only two of your classes, which can lead to stuff like a Specialist who is an extremely effective Overwatch specialist that's also extremely difficult to kill!

Second and much more significant is that these skills aren't provided for free. Instead, in War of the Chosen each individual soldier is randomly assigned a 'combat intelligence' rating, which determines how many Ability Points they accumulate per level. You can't see their Ability Point totals until you've actually built the Training Center, but they're building them up regardless. Acquiring bonus skills requires spending AP...

... which brings us to point three: your soldiers can buy their normal level-up skills as well!

Yes, that means you can potentially have a Grenadier with every Grenadier skill and more. Or a Sharpshooter maxed out, or a Specialist, or a Ranger.

A supplemental point: as you play, you also accrue 'XCOM Points'. Killing an Alien Ruler, driving off one of the Chosen, or defeating Julian in Shen's Last Gift all 100% reliably give points, and an Alien Ruler escaping also reliably gives points, but fewer than you get for killing one. Additionally, any time you shoot an enemy whom you had height advantage on (As in, had +20 to Aim from height advantage), kill an enemy that didn't know you were there beforehand (eg Concealment Overwatch ambush, but it also works to chuck a grenade from somewhere they can't see or just Squadsight shoot them or have a melee attacker charge from around a corner), kill an enemy that has already been attacked by allied units, or take a flanking shot (This does not have to be lethal) there's a chance for a pop-up to occur informing you that you got 1 Ability Point out of it. The chances in question are:

Height Advantage: 20%
Flanking Shot: 45%
Ambush Kill: 40%
Combo Kill: 40%

This makes pursuing flanks the most reliable way to push up your chance of triggering AP bonus generation, especially since it doesn't actually require you make a kill.

Curiously, the wider internet claims that AP gains are doubled-up on, with one going to the XCOM pool and the other going to the soldier who triggered the effect, but my own testing indicates no such thing happens. I've no idea why the wider internet would claim this, beyond that the game is poorly-documented in general.

Anyway, where normal Ability Points can be spent by a soldier on themselves, XCOM Points can be spent on whoever you like. (Aside, again, SPARKS and Psi Operatives) Have a favorite soldier you want maxed out in everything? Sure, blow 75 XCOM Points grabbing what they can't cover themselves! And then cry when they die the mission afterward.

I personally prefer to use XCOM Points primarily to, for example, cover cases where a soldier is just short of getting a skill that would be particularly useful for them. It's a bigger bang for your buck in my opinion.

Additionally, you can be offered Covert Operations to add XCOM Points, or even to raise the soldier's own Combat Intelligence rating permanently.

Speaking of Combat Intelligence. The specific ranks are:

Above Average

Standard is the default Combat Intelligence rating, occurring in 50% of your soldiers. Above Average covers half of what remains, which is to say 25% of your soldiers. Gifted is 15% of your soldiers. Genius is 9.5% of your soldiers. Savant is a mere 0.5% of your soldiers, which is to say 1 in 200. (ie if you see more than one in an entire run, that's insanely good luck... or you using Covert Operations to raise Combat Intelligence)

What does Combat Intelligence actually do?

Well, for Rangers, Specialists, Sharpshooters, and Grenadiers, it works out as:

Standard: Gains 3 AP per level-up.
Above Average: Gains 4 AP per level-up.
Gifted: Gains 5 AP per level-up.
Genius: Gains 7 AP per level-up.
Savant: Gains 10 AP per level-up.

Skirmishers, Reapers, and Templar work a bit differently, but I'll get into that more when going over the Resistance classes in particular.

Of course, to appreciate how much these are worth, we need to know how much a skill costs. This is fairly straightforward: with a few exceptions, every skill's cost is decided entirely by its rank. A skill at Corporal will always cost 10 points. A skill at Colonel will always cost 15 points. The ranks in between increment by 1 for each step away from whichever rank you want to use as your reference point; Major is 14 points, because it's one rank below Colonel, or 4 ranks above Corporal, whichever you prefer.

This means anybody short of a Savant has to scrape together a minimum of two levels to be able to buy a skill without spending XCOM points, and even a Savant needs two levels or XCOM points to buy anything other than Corporal-level skills.

A sub-point of all this is that when I say a skill's cost is decided by its rank, I'm including bonus skills. What does Ever Vigilant on a Ranger/Grenadier/Sharpshooter cost? Depends on what rank it got placed. A soldier who got it placed down at Corporal can buy it for 10 points. A soldier who has to wait until Colonel for it has to spend 15 points for the privilege. This is a small enough difference I'm not going to make general statements to the tune of 'this skill is worth buying if it's at Corporal and not at Colonel', as usually other factors are much more important, but it does sway things a little bit. If you have two skills you consider basically equal, it's obviously easier to justify buying whichever one ended up lower-level and thus cheaper to buy. That kind of thing.

The caveat to this is that some skills are fixed at 25 points no matter what rank they're placed at... with the caveat to that caveat being that if it's actually a native skill, it follows the normal rank skill cost progression. In other words, even though Kill Zone costs 25 points for a Grenadier, Ranger, or Specialist to acquire regardless of its rank, a Sharpshooter has no artificial incentives to spend their level-up-based skill purchase on Kill Zone to avoid an AP surcharge from acquiring it through the Training Center.

This is a nice little system that encourages variety and replayability with a minimum of min-max optimization nonsense! The closest thing to a complaint I have about it is that technically speaking a soldier would generally prefer the 25 AP skills be placed later in their list than any non-fixed cost skills, since the 25 AP cost is flat rather than being a different 'base' cost (That is, these skills don't cost 30 AP at Colonel), but this is extremely minor so whatever. Even Savant's rarity isn't some irritating game-breaker: just make a point of checking who your Geniuses are and send them on Covert Operations that'll boost them, taking them to Savant.

This all means that even though the Training Center's skill list is the same as the Advanced Warfare Center's, I'm covering all those skills anew for War of the Chosen, as the context is radically different.

Do note that you can't check a soldier's bonus skills at all until you've built the Training Center/ Among other points, it's not possible to see a good skill on a soldier at a low level and so decide to build the Training Center earlier than you otherwise would. A related point is that you can only see their bonus skills by checking them through the Training Center. As such, you might actually want to not level core class soldiers up immediately after completing a mission once you've built the Training Center, as it's possible their newly-unlocked bonus skill might sway your preferred skill at that level. I don't generally feel it's important enough to deal with the hassle involved, but you might.

Ever Vigilant
At the end of the squad's turn, the soldier enters Overwatch if all they took no non-movement actions.

Like in the base game, Rangers still can't get Ever Vigilant to avoid conflict with Deep Cover.

... unfortunately, Sharpshooters and Grenadiers are not forbidden from rolling Ever Vigilant with Deep Cover. If you're unfortunate enough to get that combo, don't take it; Ever Vigilant will be overruled by Deep Cover, making it a waste of AP.

Anyway, Ever Vigilant remains particularly useful for Salvo Grenadiers (Which now potentially means 'all your Grenadiers' regardless of how you prefer to lean them overall), making it easier for them to catch up while still contributing, but tends to be difficult to justify buying on Sharpshooters and Rangers. For a Sharpshooter, the payoff is too low since it'll be a Pistol Overwatch, even if they're equipped with the Darklance. For a Ranger, if you haven't already taken Run And Gun it makes more sense to buy Run And Gun than to buy Ever Vigilant, as you can outright replicate Ever Vigilant's utility with it, but with even more options and even better accuracy if you're using Ever Vigilant to set up a shot on an enemy your Ranger can't otherwise get into position to shoot.

If you've bought everything you actually want and still have AP to spare and no better skills, it can be worth purchasing on a Ranger anyway, but it's pretty niche.

Covering Fire
Overwatch can trigger on most non-movement actions, in addition to movement.

Generally even more junk than in the base game, since you have to spend AP on it. It can be worth considering purchasing on a soldier who also rolled Ever Vigilant and/or Guardian. Ever Vigilant in particular makes it easier to justify taking Covering Fire, since it can create situations where a soldier is out of position, Dashes to get a flank on a target, and kills it when it attempts to take an action, no matter what that action was. Risky, but potentially a lifesaver, and if you've got the AP to spare after all those purchases, still potentially worth considering.

Each time an Overwatch shot hits its target, there is a 50% chance the soldier will remain in Overwatch.

Guardian is generally lower priority than purchasing good native skills, but is a decent enough purchase for all three classes, particularly if it shows up at a low level, where taking advantage of Overwatch ambushes is still a thing your squad does regularly. (Assuming you pushed for the Training Center fairly early as well, admittedly)

It's particularly worth grabbing if you have a habit of using a Reaper to scout while also taking advantage of the target preview mechanic to stop your soldiers just outside of enemy sight before going into Overwatch, making it extremely likely you'll manage to catch the enemy with Overwatch shots. Guardian is basically free-if-unreliable damage with no downside if you do all that, and that's all worth doing anyway.

It's also much more worth considering if the soldier rolls Ever Vigilant, of course.

Guardian is also particularly valuable so long as the Warlock is still alive, since he predictably summons Spectral Zombies atop your forces ever five turns, which can in fact be caught in Overwatch fire. Guardian can allow you to, for example, get lucky and not only kill the zombies with Overwatch fire but also still be ready to catch a pod that unexpectedly stumbled into your troops.

Blast Padding
+1 Armor, and explosives do only 34% of normal damage to soldier.

Much worse off than when you got it passed out for free by the Advanced Warfare Center. It's nice to have the option, certainly, but you have to justify spending 10-15 AP on it, which is a harder sell.

I tend to buy it when it pops up on Rangers simply because they're the most likely of the core classes to end up in an awkward position and draw fire unexpectedly, but otherwise I'd usually recommend you put your points elsewhere first. There's not even another defensive skill Blast Padding synergizes with to occasionally make it disproportionately appealing.

Primary weapon has Shred equal to weapon's tech level.

Shredder is basically an auto-buy in my book, particularly for Supports. Being able to rip off Armor incidentally is a huge edge and makes it a lot more likely you can untangle a tricky situation because you don't eg find yourself in a situation where your Grenadier is the only soldier who can do three different vital tasks. The Chosen in particular make Shredder a lot more valuable to have on hand, since they'll pop in without the Shadow Chamber warning you, have a lot of HP to chew through, and on higher difficulties will outright be ahead of the general Armor curve.

As in the base game, Sharpshooters tend to get the least value out of it due to their incentives to land killshots and the difficulties with their primary weapon. The Darklance can correct the latter issue in the late game, but even more strongly incentivizes having Sharpshooters focus on killshots thanks to how it interacts with Death From Above, so Shredder still tends to be a bit eh on Sharpshooters.

Still worth considering buying, though, just in case.

Chain Shot
Fires a shot at -15 Aim. If that shot hits, immediately follows-up with another shot at -15 Aim. 3 turn cooldown.
Costs 25 AP.

I really don't get why this is one of the extra-expensive Training skills.

It's worth explicitly pointing out that a soldier who rolls Rapid Fire and Chain Shot should always grab Rapid Fire first, since the greater cooldown is the only reason it isn't 100% superior.

Chain Shot was strictly inferior to Rapid Fire in the base game but as a bonus thrown in was still nice to occasionally use. In War of the Chosen, it's almost always a hard skip: you can literally buy two other skills with the AP not spent, and Chain Shot is only particularly decent on Rangers and to a much lesser extent Specialists who happened to also roll Run And Gun. (So they can get right on top of a target for a Chain Shot)

Late-game Sharpshooters might consider it worth purchasing if you have AP to spare simply due to the Darklance making it a lot more practical to leverage it and their lack of an innate ability for double-shooting with the Sniper Rifle, but even that's a stretch.

Chain Shot does benefit from the potential for a non-Grenadier to roll Shredder and/or Holo-Targeting. Shredder in particular can give you the option to wear down a Sectopod much faster without having to burn limited resources.

But still: mostly a hard skip.

Holo Targeting
Firing your primary weapon at an enemy marks it until the start of the soldier's next turn, adding +15 Aim to all following attacks at that target.

Basically an auto-buy in my view. Sharpshooters are least inclined toward firing their actual primary weapon so they're the easiest to justify ignoring it if they roll it, but the potential to fire a low-odds shot for the purpose of tagging the victim with Holo Targeting makes it intermittently useful even for a Sharpshooter fully dedicated to Pistol use.

Holo Targeting doesn't stack, sure, but War of the Chosen makes it impractical to field the same six soldiers from start to finish so this isn't much of a reason to avoid buying Holo Targeting, especially since Skirmishers and Templar can't get it so even if you have a preferred A-team of six particular soldiers you're not going to end up with a squad of 6 Holo Targeters anyway. Not even getting into SPARKs and Psi Operatives.

Hail of Bullets
Expends 3 ammo, but is guaranteed to hit the target. Can't crit. 5 turn cooldown.

Hail of Bullets is great to roll on a Ranger, letting them land a clean shot even at long range with a Shotgun, and since Shotguns have 4 ammo instead of a Cannon's 3 ammo it's not that hard to fire it off when you need it, especially if you tend to have Rangers Slashing a lot, making it easy to justify buying it on a Ranger. It also benefits from the potential to combine it with Shredder and/or Holo Targeting on non-Grenadiers, allowing such a soldier to ensure a target is Shredded and/or take a sure shot while making it easier for follow-up shots to land.

It's not as impressive on a Specialist, but is worth considering grabbing since it's affordable and clutch shots can be lifesaving.

It's still generally underwhelming to get on a Sharpshooter (And indeed it's lost a lot of its utility for allowing a Sharpshooter to fire after moving), but you might consider buying it on a Sharpshooter later in the game when you've snatched the Darklance from the Chosen Hunter. It still doesn't work at Squadsight ranges, but at least it's reasonable to get in range of a target before firing, and Sniper Rifles have the most trouble with coping with Defense/Cover/etc, since they only ever suffer penalties from range, instead of the boosts other weapons can get.

Even more so than in the base game, Hail of Bullets not getting to crit is a lot more relevant as a bonus skill than as a native Grenadier skill. Rangers and Sharpshooters are still crit-focused, the Assassin's Shotgun comes with a Superior Laser Sight built in, and now there's the point that the Warlock's Disruptor Rifle has an auto-crit effect on specific targets... which Hail of Bullets' no-crit effect overrules. If you're not paying attention, it's easy to go for a Hail of Bullets shot you expect to 100%-for-sure kill a Codex, and whoops, no crit means no kill!

Expends 3 ammo, but is guaranteed to crit on a successful hit and the target permanently suffers from the Rupture status, which causes all following attacks to do an additional 3 damage per hit. 3 turn cooldown.
Costs 25 AP.

Rupture was pretty darn good to get for free in the base game.

In War of the Chosen, it's a much harder sell.

I can see justifying buying Rupture: a Sharpshooter with Death From Above can really appreciate how much the forced-crit spikes their damage, for example, letting them reliably land kill-shots to trigger Death From Above that would otherwise be unreliable, and anyone can appreciate the ability to apply the Rupture status to a hard target so it dies more readily. Particularly worth noting is that all three Resistance classes do or potentially can excel in dumping multiple relatively weak shots onto a single target, and so Rupture has been indirectly buffed by War of the Chosen, since the +3 damage is flat per shot.

But... it's still 25 AP. That's really hard to justify for a single skill that isn't actually amazing.

Do note that Shotguns have had their crit damage lowered by a point all-around, so Rupture is slightly less effective on a Ranger than you might be used to coming from the base game.

Using a Heavy Weapon or throwing a Grenade as the first action doesn't end the soldier's turn.

If it rolls on someone you like to have in Heavy Armor anyway, Salvo is basically an auto-buy for them.

Note that Salvo is particularly useful for late-game Sharpshooters, whom can use the Darklance to leverage Death From Above an insane number of times in a turn, because Death From Above sets the attacker to 1 action point, rather than what you might think it does of refunding an action point. As such, if your Darklance user isn't intending to move before firing, Salvo can let them slip in a completely free Heavy Weapon use before they start the kill streak. Say, to set up said kill streak.

Volatile Mix
Grenades do +2 damage to units.

Volatile Mix is still a lot worse on a non-Grenadier than on a Grenadier, but now it can be rolled alongside other skills that may create situations where chucking a grenade is the best thing for a soldier to do at a given moment, such as burning through all their ammo with Death From Above while still needing to attack, same with Serial, getting Run And Gun to let them Dash and then lob a grenade at a group, etc. As such, while I'd usually recommend you focus on other skill purchases over Volatile Mix, there are times it can be a decent purchase.

Keep in mind that since non-Grenadiers don't get radius boosts, you should probably default to using a Gas Grenade/Bomb on non-Grenadiers with Volatile Mix, since Gas Grenades/Bombs have an unusually large blast radius, helping compensate for not having a radius boost from a Grenade Launcher.

Hunkering Down confers +20 Aim to the soldier's next shot.

If you happen to roll Aim alongside Deep Cover on a Specialist or Grenadier, taking them both is a fantastic combo that can generate free Aim.

Otherwise, Aim is pretty lackluster. It was generally an underwhelming roll in the base game, but it was at least free. In War of the Chosen, you're paying for the privilege of a pretty dubious skill.

It does admittedly benefit from the fact that Hunkering Down is now a way to reliably clear Burn. I don't think that's enough to justify buying it, but it's... something?

Death From Above
Killing an enemy with the primary weapon that the soldier had height advantage on refunds one action point and doesn't end their turn.

Remains an excellent skill to be passed out, and now can be rolled with other skills! Implacable and Run And Gun in particular combo well with it; Implacable+Death From Above lets a soldier land a killshot, immediately move to a new high ground flank, and land another free killshot, and Run & Gun does the same but with more control over when the movement happens, albeit  without letting you do it turn after turn.

It's also neat to get alongside Guardian. Not precisely a synergy, but Death From Above can allow you to kill some enemies and put the same soldier immediately into Overwatch, at which point the soldier can get lucky with Guardian triggering on a pod that stumbles into you, or Spectral Zombies the Warlock summons.

But seriously, always take Death From Above. Rangers are the only class where it's relatively low priority, and it's still worth having just in case your Ranger ends up in a situation to leverage it. This'll happen more often than you might expect, honestly, especially if you're fond of putting them into light armor.

Fires a shot with the primary weapon which does 50% more damage if it hits, but reduces the final accuracy value by 25%. 2 turn cooldown.

Deadeye was decent on a Ranger in the base game, where you were getting it for free. In War of the Chosen it tends to struggle to justify itself over buying a passive skill, or a more reliable active skill. Its one advantage of note is that it's one of the only skills that directly boosts a soldier's damage output that doesn't cost 25 Ability Points. (Guardian and Death From Above being the others) And for a Ranger it probably makes more sense to buy Rapid Fire or Reaper, whichever one you didn't take on level-up.

It's too bad Shadow Strike isn't in the pool, as Deadeye would be pretty solid to roll on a Guardian or Specialist who also rolled Shadow Strike just for opening Overwatch ambushes with it. As-is... there's usually better things to spend your AP on.

On the plus side, Deadeye can now be fired after a move, making it a lot less clunky to take advantage of if you are going to purchase it. This particularly enhances its Ranger performance, making it much easier to get point-blank shots while still able to fire it.

Kill Zone
Designates a cone-shaped region, in which the soldier will automatically perform Overwatch fire on any enemy that passes through or fires from within the region, lasting until the soldier's primary weapon runs out of ammo or their next turn arrives. 3 turn cooldown.
Costs 25 AP.

Kill Zone is hampered by the fact that you need to actually buy it, particularly in conjunction with it being one of the extra-expensive skills. If you get the best-case scenario of a Specialist who rolls Kill Zone, Shredder, and Holo Targeting, Kill Zone becomes an appealing expenditure of AP as a means to spray Shred and Holo Targeting in an Overwatch ambush while having above-average odds of hitting (Thanks to the Specialist getting Cool Under Pressure via the Guerrilla Tactics School), but otherwise? It tends to be hard to justify the AP expenditure.

It is, however, worth pointing out that Kill Zone has been bolstered by Reapers existing, as it's much more realistic to aim a Kill Zone at a pod you know is coming that hasn't activated yet. If you're good at leveraging Reaper scouting, Kill Zone becomes arguably better than Saturation Fire; while Kill Zone is operating under an accuracy penalty due to being Overwatch fire, if you're catching an inactive pod it'll usually be more than made up for by the fact that the pod members will be in the open, and Kill Zone has a lower cooldown. It also benefits significantly from the ability to move before setting up Kill Zone, making it a lot more practical to jump on a good Overwatch ambush situation than you might otherwise be able to, and indeed Kill Zone is vastly more useful on non-Sharpshooters than on Sharpshooters if you can bear the AP cost. The Darklance doesn't really change this, because sure you can Kill Zone after a move with it, but you'll only get out three shots and there's no way to expand its ammo.

In general, Specialists are particularly effective users of Kill Zone thanks to Cool Under Pressure, so they're the easiest to justify the expenditure of AP, even considering how much incentive Specialists have to burn AP on internal skills.

For Sharpshooters and Rangers it should generally be skipped. Especially Rangers if you tend to religiously keep them wielding Shotguns.

At least it no longer requires two action points as a bonus skill?

Activated ability that causes kill shots with the soldier's primary weapon to cost no actions for the rest of the turn. 4 turn cooldown.
Costs 25 AP.

In the base game, Serial was a bit underwhelming to roll, but it was free so you'd probably end up using it anyway.

In War of the Chosen, it's extremely difficult to justify actually buying it, so much so that it's arguably a net negative that it's in the pool at all, potentially creating soldiers who effectively have only 1 bonus skill. Particularly insulting is how it's largely inferior to Death From Above, yet costs more AP! You'd need a lot of AP lying around to make Serial worth considering buying.


It's too bad given it's no longer burdened by the annoying, dumb limitation of needing 2 action points to activate. Fundamentally, though, War of the Chosen is actually pretty hostile to a kill mobs skill; the real threats tend to be tough single targets, like the Chosen, proper Reaper usage vastly reduces the tendency to pull too many pods at once, ADVENT Priests can arbitrarily interrupt a kill streak via Sustain... if this were a regular points-cost skill, it would actually still be a bit iffy!

This soldier starts every mission in Concealment, and the rest of the squad being revealed does not break this soldier's Concealment.

Specialists are still barred from getting Phantom, just like in the base game.

Phantom is both better and worse off than in the base game. On the plus side, you don't have to worry about your Kill Zone Sharpshooter being neutered by being gifted Phantom with no way to refuse it. On the minus side, if you actually want Phantom on someone, you're going to have to spend points to buy it.

A more subtle plus side is that with classes getting 2-4 bonus skills instead of maybe one, it's actually plausible to end up being able to assemble a diverse team of Phantoms and suddenly be able to bring a full team of Concealed troops into a mission you're not supposed to be Concealed in. Even better, assaulting the Chosen strongholds is such a mission type, and in fact is a two-parter where you might desire to sneak past the first part as much as possible so you can save your strength for the actual Chosen confrontation. So that's an actual niche of note!

Still, for general purposes Phantom tends to be of limited use, and making things worse is that you can actually buy Concealment in Item form in War of the Chosen. So even if you want to primarily sneak through a Chosen Stronghold assault, Phantom is not necessarily a worthy expenditure of AP, given that AP is a much more limiting resource than Supplies and Spectre corpses.

A subtle issue with Phantom is also just the fact that Reapers exist and have a superior form of Phantom. Even if you want a guaranteed Concealed troop to forward scout in eg Retaliation missions... Reapers are better at the job, and don't require luck with the Training Center rolls.

Still, this is an improvement over the terrible design situation of base-game Phantom.

Reaction fire does not activate against this soldier.

Interestingly, the Grenadier is forbidden from getting Shadowstep, as is the Specialist, both of which are new restrictions. This is almost certainly to avoid a single soldier getting both of Shadowstep and Lightning Reflexes, just like how Rangers were barred Lightning Reflexes in the base game.

Sharpshooters rolling Shadowstep isn't terrible, but it'll tend to be a low priority purchase. Sharpshooters don't tend to be your preferred class for moving in a combat situation, and War of the Chosen has actually exaggerated this; once you've looted the Darklance, there's really no reason to not take Quickdraw so you can slip in free shots, at which point you're still not moving.

As such, Shadowstep being in the Training Center list is... bordering on a technicality. Whoops.

Run And Gun
Immediately provides an additional action point, which cannot be spent on movement. 3 turn cooldown.

Sharpshooters in particular benefit immensely from the Training Center overhaul simply because Run And Gun is vastly more likely to pop up and can actually be combined with other skills. A Sharpshooter who rolls Run And Gun plus Implacable, for example, can perform a Dash's worth of movement in a single turn without sacrificing the ability to fire their Sniper Rifle!

A secondary benefit to Run And Gun is the introduction of the Bonds system, as there are situations it can make sense to use Run And Gun to then pass off the action point via Teamwork. This is particularly easy to leverage if the partner to the Run And Gunner is a Skirmisher, but bonus turns on other classes are plenty useful, arguably more useful since other classes aren't tuned around the ability to fire 2+ times in a turn. Advanced Teamwork in particular can let a Run And Gunner allow their Bondmate to act three times in a turn while still taking their own shot/firing a grenade/whatever!

Run And Gun isn't as strong an auto-buy as some of the other skills I've described that way, but it's pretty close, being incredibly versatile and useful no matter your class.

Landing a kill provides a single action point. This action point can only be spent on movement.

Still most helpful to Sharpshooters, but fairly close to an auto-buy, particularly on Legendary where mission time pressure is a lot more pressing. Bonus movement from kills is basically always useful, much more so than you might expect, whether to run off somewhere the enemy can't target, move to set up for next turn's flank, get to high ground, or some combination of the above.

Also benefits mildly from the potential to roll it alongside one of the offensive skills like Rapid Fire, though only mildly.

If the soldier lands a kill, during the next enemy turn the first time the soldier should have taken damage from enemy action they won't, even if it's an action that is normally incapable of missing such as a grenade.

Surprisingly, even though Untouchable is a fairly ridiculous skill, the game doesn't throw in a surcharge. This makes it basically an auto-buy, especially because one of the primary caveats to it doesn't apply to Specialists, Sharpshooters, or Grenadiers; they're not melee-capable and so have no incentive to shove their face right up against an explosive enemy to be unpleasantly surprised when Untouchable doesn't protect them from the on-death explosion because they killed the target on their own turn.

Admittedly, if you're building a Sharpshooter to abuse Squadsight it becomes a much less appealing skill, but it isn't necessarily hard to squeeze it in, particularly as the Sharpshooter has comparatively limited motivation to buy up skills from both lanes compared to other classes.

It's also nice being able to potentially combine it with Implacable. Kill something, then use the bonus movement to walk into the open and say 'Come on, hit me!' at whatever enemy is still alive so it'll waste its turn failing to hurt them. Fun and practical.

Rapid Fire
Fires two shots with the soldier's primary weapon, both of which occur at -15 to Aim. 5 turn cooldown.
Costs 25 AP.

If you're lucky enough to roll Shredder as well (On a Specialist, of course), this is a fairly tempting purchase in spite of the high price. Even a Grenadier might want to buy it, even though Chain Shot will cost them less and has the same best-case result, simply because Chain Shot is less RNG-resistant than Rapid Fire is.

Rapid Fire is, in fact, by far the easiest 25 AP skill to justify taking the plunge, simply because it's relatively easy to work around its flaws. Still probably not worth the price on Sharpshooters, but not too difficult to to justify on Grenadiers or Specialists. Also goes well with Holo Targeting, since the first shot will Holo Target for the second, so that's another ability that can make it easier to justify Rapid Fire -and also another reason why it's pretty easy to justify grabbing it on a Grenadier, in spite of them getting Chain Shot for cheap.

Not as amazing as it was in the base game, between the high price and the introduction of a cooldown, but still the easiest of the expensive skills to justify.

Deep Cover
If the soldier did not attack in a turn, they automatically Hunker Down when their team's turn ends.

Specialists are forbidden from acquiring Deep Cover, to avoid it conflicting with Ever Vigilant, just like in the base game.

Remember that Deep Cover triggers when activating Overwatch. If you take Deep Cover, you should be going into Overwatch in situations you can't land a killshot in, not taking low-odds shot in hopes of getting lucky.

That said, Deep Cover is kind of an eh ability to roll, generally. If you're playing decently, most of the situations it'll trigger in are situations it won't have any chance of benefiting you in. I rarely bother to buy it. It doesn't help that it doesn't synergize with many skills, and in fact conflicts with the actually-useful Ever Vigilant.

Lightning Reflexes
The first reaction fire performed against this soldier in a given turn automatically misses.

Lightning Reflexes remains unique for not being a native class skill, yet still available via training.

War of the Chosen has retained Rangers being unable to roll Lightning Reflexes. It's also barred from Sharpshooters, dividing the core classes in half between 'class that can get Lightning Reflexes' and 'class that can get Shadowstep'. Interestingly, this is actually extended into the Resistance classes -Skirmishers get Lightning Reflexes and Templar get Shadowstep as bonus skills, while Reapers get neither, so there's exactly as many Lightning Reflexes classes as Shadowstep classes. Amusingly, when counting other DLC this also means this is perfectly balanced against classes that have neither, since the Psi Operative, SPARK, and Reaper also adds up to three classes. I wonder if anyone on the development team intended that or if it's just a coincidence?

Anyway, Lightning Reflexes is still overall fairly low-utility, but if you get it on a Grenadier or Specialist it can be actually worth considering. Most worth pointing out is the Chosen, since they can get a Strength that causes them to go into Overwatch every turn for free. The Assassin in particular will combine this with Bending Reed to duck somewhere out of your sight, forcing you to either successfully blind-fire an indirect attack into her or walk someone into her Overwatch. As such, if the Assassin rolls that Strength, Lightning Reflexes is something you should consider taking on at least a couple of soldiers.

The Hunter or the Warlock rolling that Strength still gives utility to Lightning Reflexes, though, since you're quite likely to end up having to walk into their Overwatch thanks to their behaviors, albeit probably only the one time. Having someone who can break the Overwatch in that situation is actually good.

In any event, Lightning Reflexes is hurt a little by the need to purchase it, but helped a lot by the potential to actually be relevant in good play conditions, so it's overall a bit better off in War of the Chosen as far as actually mattering.


Next time, we do an overall intro for the new Resistance classes.

See you then.


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