Chimera Squad Enemy Analysis: Gray Phoenix Python

HP: 6 (+1/+3)
Dodge: 15
Aim: 75/75/80/80 (+2/+5)
Mobility: 12
Damage: 2-4 (+1/+2)
Will: 50 (+10/+20)
Initiative: 30

Yes, Pythons don't have difficulty affect their HP at all. It's odd.

Alert Actions: Move to a better position, Hunker Down.

Pythons have only aggressive special actions, so this is unsurprising.

Poison Immunity
Passive: The Python cannot be Poisoned, and will not take damage from certain Poison-based attacks.

This carries basically all the same connotations as when I discussed it on Adders; it probably doesn't matter if you're not using Torque, but does matter a decent amount if you are using Torque.

Tongue Pull
1 Action Point: The Python attempts to pull a single enemy adjacent to her current position, with a minimum range of 3 tiles and a maximum range of 12 tiles. Performs a normal accuracy check with +20 to Aim, and if successful pulls the target adjacent, at which point the Python instantly initiates a Bind. Some enemies cannot be targeted with Tongue Pull. 1 turn cooldown.

This is straightforwardly the Viper Tongue Pull from XCOM 2, which is to say it's not Torque's souped-up version that can be used on allies. By a similar token, the post-pull Bind is automatic, where for Torque it's merely an option.

That said, it fully benefits from Chimera Squad having developed Standard Skeleton Animations for Sectoids, Mutons, and Vipers, which is to say Pythons can Tongue Pull all your agents, and also means that if you Puppeteer a Python it absolutely can Tongue Pull another Python or the like. So it's noticeably more versatile than in XCOM 2.

Of course, talking about Tongue Pull requires talking about Bind, so on to that.

Turn ending free action: The Python immediately does 2 damage to an orthogonally adjacent target, and completely disables them. The enemy in question cannot be targeted until the Bind is terminated, other than by the Python electing to continue the Bind, in which case she'll do 2 more damage immediately. Each time the Python's turn rolls around again, she can abandon the Bind as a free action. She will also automatically terminate the Bind if she takes damage, doing so immediately after taking damage. Some enemies cannot be targeted by Bind.

Unlike Torque's version, this does not ignore Armor. Which is weird given Bind did ignore Armor in XCOM 2. Anyway, this means putting off Gray Phoenix until later and getting Mastercrafted Armor before you fight them halves Bind's damage -it doesn't get any Act-based bonuses.

I'm also pretty sure Chimera Squad has removed the largely-irrelevant thing where Bind in XCOM 2 had some kind of damage scaling component on successive Bind turns. Not completely sure given I never understood the mechanics of that in the first place, but pretty sure. I've had a Python keep someone Bound 2 turns in a row a couple of times and both times their damage was the same every time, for one.

Note that the victim is much safer from other enemies than when Vipers Bound your soldiers in XCOM 2. In XCOM 2, AI shackles dissuaded enemies from targeting a Bound unit, but Bound units were perfectly legal to target, with this resulting in some enemies (eg Lost, the Chosen) ignoring the AI shackles saying 'you're not supposed to attack that unit' because their own AI overruled general AI stuff. In Chimera Squad, a Bound unit is actually an illegal target, and so AI going awry is inadequate to bypass this protection; only effects that aren't directly aimed at a unit can potentially catch a Bound agent. There aren't many of those in enemy hands in Chimera Squad, and some of them can't even share space with a Python (eg ADVENT Mecs with their Micromissiles), so this is very much a narrow edge case concern.

This of course benefits just as much from Tongue Pull being possible to use on Sectoids, Mutons, and Vipers. And yes, a Viper Binding a Viper looks very silly; it really looks like the victim Viper ought to be able to slither right out. This includes that it looks silly if a Python Binds Torque, to be explicit.

Like in XCOM 2, I've never seen an AI-controlled unit end a Bind manually. As far as I'm aware this option existing on the Python primarily matters because you can potentially Puppeteer them, much like it mostly mattered in XCOM 2 because you could Dominate a Viper. That said, a surprising new way it matters is that Berserking a Python in the middle of a Bind will cause them to exit the Bind and then perform their Berserk action, making Verge's Battle Madness actually a very effective way to save an agent from a Bind. So that's a nifty edge case to be aware of if you're using Verge.

Pythons are actually noticeably less aggressive about using Bind as a standalone move than Vipers were in XCOM 2. They'll happily Bind someone you have stand orthogonally adjacent to them, but where Vipers in XCOM 2 would rush out into the open to Bind someone if you left a soldier in range for that to be an option, Chimera Squad's Pythons are reluctant to Bind someone unless they can be in Cover relative to the rest of your squad. Among other points, if you have someone melee a Python from a diagonal, the Python will often back off to new Cover and try to shoot them... unless the agent is along a strip of longer Cover, of course. Then the Python is basically guaranteed to go for the Bind, so long as the Cover does in fact shield them from your other agents.

Overall, Pythons are a surprisingly plain enemy in practice. I'm not sure they're coded to recognize that they can fix 'no target in Tongue Pull range' by getting closer, and enemies in Chimera Squad are much less aggressive about advancing than enemies in XCOM 2; a Python that's 13 or more tiles away will often either stay right where it is and fire a shot, or shuffle to High Cover -possibly moving away from your squad in the process- and fire a shot.

They do default pretty heavily to using Tongue Pull if somebody is in range, mind, but it's surprisingly common for Pythons to end up functionally just a plain 'shoots at you' unit.

Aesthetically, Pythons are the most boring Viper enemy in the game, in the sense that they are basically just the XCOM 2 Viper but adapted from 'alien enforcer of the totalitarian government's will' to 'ragtag fighter with makeshift armor and a scavenged weapon'. They're not a straightforward reskin of the XCOM 2 Viper model, mind, though I suspect a lot of players assume so; the proportions on their head are different, the clothing elements are very different (Pythons lack the 'crown' or whatever that thing XCOM 2 Vipers had on their head is supposed to be, for one), and so on; the basic 'sketch' is similar as far as color scheme and all, but they're actually more divergent from XCOM 2 Viper design than Torque.

But they're still not an Excitingly New Take On The Viper Look.


Next time, we move on to Faceless, because Gray Phoenix has those. Yep.

See you then.


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