XCOM 2 Item Analysis: Experimental Ammo
Experimental Ammo is a Proving Ground Project available the instant you've built the Proving Ground, and it's one of a handful of Projects to share a unique gimmick: randomized results.
In short, performing Experimental Ammo spits out a random Ammo type from among the 5 types I'll be covering in this post, each time it's performed.
Note that this is a single copy of the Ammo type, and nothing more. You do not unlock the ability to directly purchase additional copies of a given Ammo type or anything like that. If you want a second copy, you're going to need to perform the Project again and hope the RNG smiles on you.
... or you can savescum, I suppose. Turns out the game doesn't actually decide what result you get until the Project actually completes, meaning it's absolutely possible to manipulate the results with only a minor time investment. Just save shortly before it will complete and reload until you're happy with the result.
In any event, be aware that if someone gets left behind, corpse or otherwise, while carrying Experimental Ammo, it's going to be a pain to replace it.
Experimental Ammo itself only costs 1 Elerium Core, no Supplies, taking 10 days by default, 20 on Legendary, though staffing an Engineer at the Proving Grounds will halve this duration. In the early game, you tend to have Elerium Cores lying around and little else to do with them or the Proving Grounds' production queue. Experimental Ammo is thus pretty easy to justify rolling 2-3 times. Conversely, later in the game Elerium Cores and the Proving Ground production queue tend to end up being limiters, making it harder to justify time and resources on Experimental Ammo. It's generally best to get it done early, as a result.
All Ammo types -including Bluescreen Rounds, even though it's not an Experimental Ammo- have broadly similar behavior. You can't equip multiple Ammo types at once, and they provide boosts of some kind to your primary weapon. Sharpshooters additionally apply Ammo to their Pistols, making Ammo particularly useful for them. Templar also apply Ammo to their Autopistols, but of course they don't apply them to their Gauntlets so they're not double-dipping the way Sharpshooters are. You also can't check the Ammo carried by a Templar, so if you have memory issues or routinely save and quit mid-mission it's easy to lose track of what Ammo you gave a Templar and so make poor decisions like firing on a Mec with Venom Rounds because you thought they had Bluescreen Rounds. Ammo is thus an iffy pick to put on Templar, especially since they only have the one slot.
Primary weapon and Pistol or Autopistol ignore up to 5 points of Armor.
Note that even on the highest difficulty, there's only two enemies with more than 5 Armor. The vast majority of the time, thinking of AP Ammo as 'ignores Armor entirely' is essentially correct!
Unfortunately, AP Ammo is close to being a dud Ammo type in the base game, particularly until you're fairly late in the game. Against enemies with 0-1 Armor, Dragon Rounds and Venom Rounds are 100% superior, and even if the target has 2 Armor Dragon and Venom is basically superior, since inflicting Burning or Poison automatically adds an additional point of damage while throwing in penalties beyond that. AP Ammo is only really justifiable over them if the target has 3+ Armor...
... and the thing is, the majority of such units are susceptible to Bluescreen Rounds, which add 5 damage outright (As opposed to up to 5 by ignoring Armor) and are not randomly spat out by a Proving Ground Project, being consistently unlocked by completing an early-to-midgame Autopsy. (And then completing a Proving Ground Project, but there's no randomness involved) Meaning every run can elect to run Bluescreen Rounds over AP Rounds/
The only target AP Rounds are very solidly justifiable useful against is Andromedons, being a 3 or 4 Armor non-robot that is conveniently also immune to Poison and Burning. That's... pretty niche. Not worthless, and thankfully Andromedons are a sufficiently high-value target that this can be justified to burn an Item slot on...
... but it's still quite niche, and notably AP Rounds is probably the worst Ammo type to roll first in a run, since nothing has enough Armor to really give it better performance than Dragon or Venom Rounds until fairly late in a run. Indeed, against early game Armored targets, you'd probably rather carry a grenade of some kind, bar maybe a Sharpshooter you intend to actually have sniping.
Things get slightly better in War of the Chosen, where on higher difficulties the Chosen are an immediate, Armored threat that harries you on a regular basis, and they can get to pretty high Armor. Since they're not vulnerable to Bluescreen Rounds, AP Rounds isn't pushed aside against them. It's not a huge help, to be honest, as on higher difficulties the Chosen are such massive sacks of HP you really should just Shred them, making AP Rounds a bit moot, but it can eg be worth considering putting on whoever will do the initial Shredding to maximize damage. A Banish Reaper who rolled Shredder can be a great opener on Chosen, for example.
Helping slightly more is the presence of Purifiers, who are Armored from very early on, aren't susceptible to Bluescreen Rounds, and aren't susceptible to Dragon Rounds or Venom Rounds. This provides an early-game enemy AP Rounds are the best choice against.
Reapers are also pretty generally good users of AP Rounds (Assuming you luck into Tactical Rigging...), thanks to low base damage and a strong preference for landing kill-shots. Dragon Rounds and Venom Rounds will still be equal or better total damage against eg Mutons, but a Reaper with Silent Killer is deeply unhappy with landing a shot that leaves a target on one HP, even if it dies to Poison or fire before taking an action.
As such, AP Rounds is still relatively low value in the early game of War of the Chosen -and indeed is completely worthless against Lost- but is no longer a dud if rolled very early.
It's too bad there's no Sitrep that forces you to heavily fight non-robot enemies with heavy Armor, though. Bit of a missed opportunity to prop up AP Rounds, there.
+10 Aim when firing primary weapon, Pistol or Autopistol.
Tracer Rounds is, oddly enough, essentially XCOM 2's idea of a S.C.O.P.E. Unlike all the other Ammo types, it offers no possibility of a damage boost, which unfortunately makes it probably the lowest-value Ammo type. 10 Aim is useful, but usually damage is more useful in XCOM 2.
Still, early in a run it's pretty useful for offsetting the poor Aim of your low-level troops, and even later in a run it can significantly help a Sharpshooter with sniping; +10 Aim is offsetting 3 tiles of Squadsight Aim penalties. That can be the difference between being able to justify sticking to a decent sniper nest vs feeling the need to scramble to catch up with the squad.
It's main issue, ultimately, is that Scopes and Perception PCSes are both fantastic choices for their slots with little serious competition on many classes. A Colonel Specialist, for example, with a Superior Scope and a Superior Perception PCS has 127-131 Aim before high ground or close-range Aim boosts. That's enough to 100% reliably hit the vast majority of enemies even if they're in Low Cover -and also enough to 100% reliably hit Archons, even aside that you'll usually be getting 5 Aim beyond the prior from them being in the open. Even a closed Gatekeeper on Commander and Legendary only has 40 Defense; this Specialist will have a minimum of a 92% chance to hit. (Thanks to the +5 against open targets; as far as I'm aware multi-tile units are never treated as 'in Cover', not even for the Scope bonus)
At which point Tracer Rounds adds barely anything, and indeed absolutely nothing if eg you're setting up Holo Targeting before getting serious about shoot-to-kill. This is also ignoring that in the base game the GTS will upgrade that Superior Perception PCS, and also ignoring that Covert Ops can provide permanent Aim boosts in War of the Chosen; either way, this Specialist can easily be hitting 100% in all but the most extreme worst-case scenarios.
For the classes unlikely to stack on both a Perception PCS and a Scope, such as Skirmishers desperately needing ammo or Rangers having little cause to slap a Scope on their Shotgun... other considerations tend to work against Tracer Rounds. A Skirmisher would really rather fire twice with a damage boost, and can arrange 100% accurate shots with Justice, Wrath, and Reckoning. A Ranger can hit 100% accuracy against most targets with no external Aim boosts at all. A Templar doesn't usually use their Autopistol if they can avoid it, and often if they are firing it they're performing an opportunistic, close-range Quickdraw or Lightning Hands, which often means 100% accuracy all on its own. Etc.
The primary exception to all this is Grenadiers, who are often your leading Shredder -which only triggers on a successful hit- while having miserable base Aim even at Colonel, and notably Chain Shot has a further Aim penalty and is wasted entirely if the first shot misses, making it very important to bolster Aim significantly. A Superior Scope and Superior Perception and Tracer Rounds Colonel Grenadier only has a base minimum Aim of 112, and when using Chain Shot it will be knocked down to 97; against a target in Low Cover, that's only a 77% chance to hit with the first shot, which is not really a thing you want to be planning around as if it's a sure thing. Even with the GTS upgrade or Aim grinding from Covert Ops, it's not trivial to hit 100% accuracy on a reliable basis with Grenadiers, when they're designed so it's extra-important to actually hit. (Where eg a Specialist's Overwatch fire missing can still be doing damage via Stocks, and was likely 'free' damage anyway)
Even there, they can force a clutch shot with Hail of Bullets, so it's possible to play in a way that minimizes the need for further Aim boosts. This is particularly true in the base game, where Gatekeepers are the only Armored enemy that has high innate Defense and under most conditions you'll only encounter one, maybe two in a given mission. It's easy to hold onto Hail of Bullets for them in particular.
War of the Chosen makes this a lot less viable and so bolsters the viability of Tracer Rounds Grenadiers. The Chosen are generally impractical to kill in a single turn above Regular difficulty, can appear in basically any mission right alongside eg Gatekeepers, increasingly have innate Defense while using Cover, and Strengths can worsen the difficulties. (Low Profile giving them +20 Defense, Planewalker making it impossible to force them out in the open for multiple shots unless you have the Frost Bomb, Blast Shield can make it undesirable to achieve Shred via explosives and so make regular shots missing more of a problem, etc) Chosen assaults on the Avenger can have crazy stuff like three Gatekeepers.
Lost also provide a situation where accuracy is disproportionately important, and if you have Between The Eyes damage boosts are actually worthless against Lost. At that point a The Horde Sitrep makes all other Ammo types worthless unless you expect the Chosen to pop in. So hey, why not throw Tracer Rounds on someone?
Tracer Rounds is still relatively low value in War of the Chosen, mind, but in the base game I consider it nearly completely irrelevant, to the point that selling it at the Black Market is actually worth considering. In War of the Chosen I feel it's something you should absolutely hold onto for a rainy day, even if in most situations you find it valueless.
+1 damage when firing primary weapon, Pistol, or Autopistol, and the target is set on fire. Neither effect applies unless the target is susceptible to being set on fire.
The most general and arguably best Experimental Ammo type. +1 damage against the vast majority of targets is enough to make Dragon Rounds great all by itself, and the potential to Burn is fantastic. What does something being on fire do? Why, it disables virtually every action that isn't Standard Shot or Hunker Down, in addition to doing 1-3 damage per turn. (By the way, enemies don't have Hunker Down, which is particularly important in War of the Chosen where Hunker Down can be used to stop being on fire)
The exact list is finicky and super-arbitrary, and critically War of the Chosen makes it so that Burning doesn't cripple quite so many units, but it's very consistent about shutting off access to explosives, the ability to reload, psychic abilities... the main non-standard ability you should assume it doesn't block is melee attacks, particularly in War of the Chosen. (In the base game it absolutely does shut off most, if not all, melee attacks, leaving Chryssalids and Berserkers completely helpless) For whatever reason ADVENT Officers can Mark targets and ADVENT Shieldbearers can throw up their shields even when they should be doing stop-drop-and-roll, but still. Most non-standard abilities are shut off by it.
As the non-standard abilities are often what makes a given enemy particularly dangerous, this is a pretty big deal! In particular, XCOM 2 is a lot better than the previous game about avoiding having enemies whose special abilities are less of a problem than just taking a shot at you: certainly, in XCOM 2 plenty of enemies have special abilities that don't immediately cause damage, but only a few of them are reasonably accurate to describe as less of a problem than being shot at. Sectoids are one of a small handful of cases where it can be disadvantageous to light 'em up, and that's not really a big deal given they mostly show up early in the game and you can always just have whoever is carrying the Dragon Rounds focus their attention elsewhere if the Sectoid is worryingly healthy.
Dragon Rounds are great and I have to have a really uneven distribution of Experimental Ammo types to be unhappy with getting more. Indeed, they're probably the best Experimental Ammo in the base game, with Bluescreen Rounds handling almost all targets Dragon Rounds don't help against.
+1 damage when firing primary weapon, Pistol, or Autopistol, and the target is Poisoned. Neither effect applies unless the target is susceptible to Poisoning.
In the base game, Venom Rounds is overall a poor man's Dragon Rounds. There's exactly one enemy that's immune to being burned while being susceptible to Poison, and the thing is Gatekeepers are also susceptible to Bluescreen Rounds, which are a vastly better choice against them. Poison's penalties aren't even all that great on Gatekeepers to boot. Meanwhile, Vipers and Chryssalids are both immune to Poison while being susceptible to fire, and furthermore setting enemies on fire often disables their access to powerful special abilities, up to and including completely shutting off melee-only enemies. Poison's stat penalties don't really compare.
War of the Chosen is much more favorable to Venom Rounds. While the Lost are new and immune to Poison while being extra-vulnerable to fire, setting enemies alight isn't as broadly powerful due to melee-only enemies retaining their ability to attack, and critically setting the Chosen on fire is only valuable for adding some extra damage -as far as I'm aware none of their special abilities is disabled by fire. Poisoning them, meanwhile, makes it harder for them to re-position to get to good Cover or flank your troops and makes it so that if they take shots against you they're a lot more likely to miss. The Hunter in particular spends a lot of time shooting, but also noteworthy is that most of the Warlock's abilities are useless against a SPARK, at which point Poison penalizing his Aim can be quite helpful.
Poison specifically lowers a victim's Mobility by 4, lowers their Aim by 30, does 1-3 damage per turn, and can infect adjacent units. (Making it confusing that it's not presented as a disease effect or something similar. Why is venom infectious?) Note that it only spreads if, at the start of the Poisoned unit's team's turn, it was standing adjacent to another unit; it won't spread from passing by, or even from stopping next to, another unit. Its two penalties are fairly reliably helpful; most AI units hover somewhere near 70 base Aim, even into higher difficulties and late into a run, so in conjunction with Cover a Poisoned unit will generally have a miserably low chance of actually hitting anyone. The Mobility penalty, meanwhile, is significant enough it may well prevent a melee unit from reaching anyone next turn. This latter point is hampered by the actual profile of melee units, as they're all immune, have access to a ranged weapon, and/or potentially punish you shooting at them with greater ability to eat ground, but still, it's at least worth taking a shot at an already-enraged Berserker in hopes of offsetting the Mobility boost enough that no one gets punched. And remember that melee does use Aim: if the Berserker gets close enough to throws a punch while Poisoned, it's a lot less likely to hit! (75-30=40, in fact, almost halving its chance to hit)
So while Dragon Rounds are overall better, there are enemy compositions it can be worth considering taking Venom Rounds instead.
This is especially true in War of the Chosen, where Burning's ability to cripple enemies has been reduced. In the base game, Dragon Rounds can make a Berserker completely useless, which is obviously superior to Venom Rounds making them slower and less likely to hit. In War of the Chosen, Venom Rounds is the superior choice against Berserkers, since setting them on fire has no effect whatsoever.
ADVENT Priests are also an addition that could be viewed as tilting things a bit more in Venom Rounds' favor. Sustain often prevents you from actually killing them, and Burn preventing them from using their abilities is overall undesirable; Mind Control is a waste of their turn if you immediately kill them and limited in its impact if they're going to die to Poison before their victim has a chance to act, Holy Warrior lets you two-for-one enemies, and Stasis is usually only mildly inconvenient. A Burning Priest taking a shot and doing some damage is almost always a more undesirable result than them using any of their abilities, and they strongly prefer to use their abilities over shooting unless presented with a flank.
I still feel Dragon Rounds is favored over Venom Rounds in War of the Chosen, but the comparison is much closer to even, and if nothing else you'll want to bring Venom Rounds when hitting Chosen Strongholds.
It's a little disappointing Lost are immune to Poison, though, since their behavior would actually make it relatively plausible for the spreading element of Poison to actually matter. As-is, it's basically a technicality, so much so I sometimes forget it's a mechanic at all; enemies almost never end up adjacent to each other (Except for Chryssalids, who are immune to Poison, and in certain cases ADVENT Mecs... who are also immune to Poison), and as for your own forces there's exactly one enemy that tries to use Poison and Vipers deliver Poison exclusively with a splash attack, so even if you have a habit of lining your troops up... the infectious element rarely matters.
It's also a bit puzzling that the Lost are immune to Poison. There's no lore justification provided that I'm aware, unless you squint and go 'they're zombies, that's why', but while Tygan emphasizes that Lost really shouldn't function in their current state that doesn't necessarily imply poisons wouldn't work on Lost. Especially since frankly we're dealing with actual Aliens, where it's a bit eyebrow-raising that a compound poisonous to humans is also poisonous to almost every Alien. If you gloss over that bit of unreality... well, Lost being immune isn't a logical automatic assumption.
+20 crit chance and +1 damage on crits when firing primary weapon, Pistol, or Autopistol.
Remember: XCOM 2's crit formula is weird and in most situations crit chance boosts are larger than they seem. Talon Rounds are somewhat less underwhelming than they might seem. Still pretty underwhelming, mind...
Rangers and Sharpshooters can get decent mileage out of Talon Rounds. Say your Ranger is flanking the target, has a Superior Laser Sight attached to a Storm Gun, and you've grabbed Hunter's Instincts at the Guerrilla Training School; that's already at least a 90% chance to crit. With Talon Rounds, now it's guaranteed to crit and gets a bonus point of damage to boot. Given Shotguns get particularly high damage from crits and Rangers have multiple powerful skills that trigger on kills, being sure your Ranger will crit and thus vaporize the target can be worth the Item slot.
Sharpshooters tend to need a little support to get a flank if you're going to have them snipe instead of using their Pistol, but if you assume other troops remove the target's Cover a sniping Sharpshooter can also get impressively high crit chance, enough so to make Talon Rounds more or less a sure thing. I tend to feel other Ammo types are still better for them, but if all you've got is Talon Rounds a Sharpshooter doesn't mind burning the slot, generally. It's not like non-Ammo Items are particularly great for Sharpshooters, especially if you're trying to snipe with them. Just keep in mind Pistols have terrible damage from crits; a Pistol-focused Sharpshooter is basically always better off with a different damage-boosting Ammo type.
In War of the Chosen, Reapers are also worth considering giving Talon Rounds. (Assuming they luck into Tactical Rigging...) They're excellent at achieving flanks unmolested, get massive bonus damage out of crits, can easily pull off getting close enough for a Laser Sight's close-range boosts to kick in, and even have a skill for boosting their crit chance... even if Soul Harvest is a bit lackluster in practice in most missions. Regardless, a crit-focused Reaper is surprisingly decent, and if you're trying to use Silent Killer to maintain perpetual Shadow than the assumption is that you're always going for kill-shots where Dragon Rounds and Venom Rounds having lingering effects is a moot point. Tracer Rounds is also probably irrelevant if you're doing all this, since Reapers have excellent Aim, you'll be bypassing Cover, and you'll be getting really close, basically ensuring you're at 100 accuracy already. So out of Ammo types, that leaves AP Rounds and Bluescreen Rounds as remotely in competition with Talon Rounds for such a Reaper build, and they're both more specialized than Talon Rounds.
Just remember it doesn't help Banish at all, so if you're eg bringing a Reaper into a Chosen Stronghold to Banish them, or doing the same with an Alien Ruler's Facility, Talon Rounds is probably the worst choice. Stick with AP Rounds or Venom Rounds in that case.
Overall, though, Talon Rounds is pretty lackluster. It's a little ahead of Tracer Rounds in the base game due to the previously-covered point that it's easy to end up with Tracer Rounds completely irrelevant, at which point you might as well throw on Talon Rounds if you don't have better, but in War of the Chosen it's probably the worst Ammo type outright. The crit chance boost per se isn't very significant; it can push an 80+% chance into a guarantee, but you'd usually crit if using some other Ammo type in that situation. It can create crit chance where you don't already have one, but in that case the expected result is you don't crit, making it worthless. When you do crit, Talon Rounds adding +1 damage is clearly inferior to other damage boosters; AP Rounds against 1 Armor targets is the only other case where another Ammo type is just as bad at boosting damage as Talon Rounds... and even then, AP Rounds affect Stock damage, giving them a non-trivial edge.
Furthermore, Talon Rounds is always worthless on regular Overwatch shots unless attached to a Specialist in specific, where other other Ammo type can actually benefit Overwatch fire. While Overwatch fire should be a relatively small portion of your shots, this still hurts Talon Rounds, particularly since Overwatch fire is exactly where it's okay to throw dice and hope you get lucky; a bunch of Repeater-backed Overwatch shots failing to execute the target is disappointing, but usually it was all 'free' shots anyway, not you constructing a plan that gets people killed if the RNG is uncooperative.
In theory, Talon Rounds has the unique edge of being the only Ammo type that can boost damage against any enemy -no enemy is ever immune to crits- and thus should constitute your 'generalist' option. In practice, the game isn't constructed to make that a useful line of thinking -you'd rather have a mix of AP Rounds, Bluescreen Rounds, and Dragon Rounds and point soldiers at whoever they're effective against than give out a bunch of Talon Rounds- and even if it did Talon Rounds has pretty underwhelming numbers.
It providing +1 damage on crits is inferior to every other damage boosting Ammo type in their respective situation, aside the narrow example of AP Rounds against a 1 Armor target... where they're equal in benefit. It's tempting to count a weapon's own crit damage to Talon Rounds' benefit when comparing numbers, so that eg a Shadow Lance Talon Round is +6 damage to literally anything vs Bluescreen Rounds being +5 damage against a limited list of targets, but this logic only holds if if Talon Rounds are your only source of crit chance... at which point they only apply 20% of the time, with no way for you to plan around their payoff. If you instead say this Reaper has a Superior Laser Sight and always flanks targets if possible... now you're critting somewhere above 75% of the time, which sounds pretty good!... but without Talon Rounds, you'd still crit at least 55% of the time. That's less than a third of all your crits being something you can credit to Talon Rounds per se; the majority of the time, other Rounds would have better performance when critting.
Furthermore, even if you do decide to credit Talon Rounds ever single crit, the result is surprisingly un-generous for several attackers. Bullpups, Pistols, and Autopistols all get exactly 1 damage from a crit prior to beam-tier, and only 2 from a crit at beam-tier. Counting that as +2/3 damage from Talon Rounds... when Bluescreen Rounds is +5, Venom and Dragon Rounds add +2-4 when you count the damage over time, AP Rounds is +2-5 depending on how Armored the target is... why would you want Talon Rounds for Skirmishers, Templar, or Pistol-focused Sharpshooters? You need high innate crit damage to result in even this incorrect metric sounding good for Talon Rounds.
Talon Rounds would've really needed either more aggressive numbers -eg +60 crit chance and +2 crit damage- or had its crit specialization lean on more esoteric mechanics (eg guaranteeing crits in some situation or another, in addition to the damage boost) to really work as a meaningful 'generalist' option. As-is, there's only a few edge cases where Talon Rounds isn't clearly inferior to the collective alternative; pre-Shredded Andromedons and Purifiers, specifically, since they're not electronic enemies and are immune to Burn and Poison and Shredding them beforehand makes AP Rounds irrelevant. Neither of these is a strongly common enemy, and if they were that would just tend to encourage AP Round use. There's not even a Sitrep for eg forcing a Purifier-heavy force.
I'm not surprised Talon Rounds are underwhelming, but I am surprised they only add 1 damage. I always want to remember it as 2 damage. That would still have been lackluster in practice, but it would've made more sense to me that someone thought this was comparable to the other damage boosters, and honestly I'd probably have run it on Rangers fairly regularly at that point, if nothing else. With these numbers, though, even for Rangers I tend to only throw it on if I lack better options at the moment. For one thing, a Ranger with a Superior Laser Sight Storm Gun flanking a target and Shadowstriking is already a minimum of 100% crit chance! And yeah you can't repeat that indefinitely, but for a long time you only expect to fight three pods in a given mission, particularly in the base game. Triggering it twice is close enough.
I'm especially surprised War of the Chosen didn't boost Talon Rounds any.
Ah well. Could certainly be worse, like Reaper Rounds in Enemy Within.
Interestingly, the code seems to indicate there were intended to be two additional Ammo types: one would've been an anti-organic Ammo that provided +2 damage, while another would've induced Bleeding the way the Chosen Hunter's weapons can. They even have graphics in the code, as does another ammo labeled 'Redscreen Rounds', though I've no clue what that would've been intended to do. My best guess is that Bluescreen Rounds' two effects were originally split between them and Redscreen Rounds, but it could easily have been something else entirely, such as Stunning robotic enemies.
Anyway, Experimental Ammo is a decent choice to invest Elerium Cores into, as while Ammo quality is a bit uneven, once you have Predator Armor online they're certainly all better than an empty slot. Tracer Rounds is lackluster in the long haul, but is pretty decent in the early game, before you can hit extremely high Aim, Talon Rounds is actually at its best early in the game when most enemies are flankable, have no Armor, and aren't electronic, AP Rounds is always good in War of the Chosen and is eventually reliably decent even in the base game... and there's not a lot of early-game accessible competition for the second Item slot. You don't need Medikits on people if all your enemies are dead, for example.
On a completely different note, in the base game Experimental Ammo is bugged and will sometimes waste your Elerium Core with no payoff at all. Every time I've had this happen it's been permanent to the run, where any further attempts to perform Experimental Ammo will all result in nothing. I've never run into this in War of the Chosen, fortunately, but beware in the base game. This mod addresses the issue in my experience, so if you're running into this problem consider grabbing it.
Next time, we look at Experimental Grenades.
See you then.