Chimera Squad Enemy Analysis: Sacred Coil Android

HP: 3/4/5/5 (+1/+3)
Armor: 1 (+0/+1)
Aim: 70/70/75/75 (+2/+5)
Mobility: 10
Damage: Complicated; see below
Will: 50
Initiative: 70
Tech: 30

The Android is our second example of a mechanic returning from Enemy Unknown -variable enemy loadouts!

Just like Thralls, Androids have three weapon loadouts: they can have a Submachine Gun, an Assault Rifle, or a Shotgun. The damage values of the three are...

Submachine Gun

The + values are the usual Act-based bonuses, and as usual the third Act bonus overwrites the second Act bonus. Thus, the damage for the Submachine Gun is 2-4/3-6/4-7.

Behind the scenes, the Act bonuses are adding flat damage, but also +1 damage; a 50%-by-default chance to add 1 damage. I explained the engine's damage mechanics back when discussing XCOM 2's weapons if you need a refresher, but that's why the boosts here aren't simply a flat number.

Of course, how does it compare to the alternatives?


The Shotgun is 3-4/4-5/5-6; it starts slightly more lethal, but outside of Act 1 it's on average about the same as the SMG but with less of a gap between its worst result and its best result.

Then there's...

Assault Rifle
3 damage base
3-5 in Act 2
4-6 in Act 3

.. the annoying Assault Rifle, where I had to change my format again (As I did with Grey Phoenix Paladins) because its Act 2 and 3 modifiers include spread instead of just adding straight damage and/or +1 damage, making for a funky damage progression that's a nuisance to accurately describe in plus-based terms. So instead I just give you its Act 2 and 3 final numbers.

It starts out with the same average performance as a Submachine Gun but minus the variability, but after Act 1 it becomes simply the weakest of the three weapon types.

As I said with Thralls, I like the idea of variable loadouts on individual enemy types, but alas, Chimera Squad's stab at the idea is... janky and mostly on the pointless side.

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

You might expect Prime Self-Destruct to be in this list, but weirdly enough it isn't. Androids really just use the generic baseline list of Alert actions.

Mechanical Chassis
Passive: Immune to Poison and Fire, but susceptible to anti-robot effects. Cannot be rendered Unconscious.

This is one of several reasons why starting with Sacred Coil makes for a rough start; with the other Investigation targets, almost all Missons have enough targets you can KO that you can reliably guarantee 20 extra Intel from every mission so long as you have Tranq Rounds and/or are aggressive about finishing people with Subdue. For Sacred Coil, Androids are their most common unit overall, where it's very regular for a mission to contain fewer than 5 capturable enemies and so it's down to actual chance whether you get extra Intel from a given mission or not, and thus your strategic development is generally slower in a Sacred Coil start than with other starts, potentially quite a bit slower if you get particularly unlucky. (Whether in the sense of non-robots being particularly uncommon in your run, or in the sense that your run has an unusually high rate of 'this 80% chance to get 20 Intel doesn't actually give Intel' incidents)

This is also a notable impactor on agent relevance, as I've touched on before; if you're intending to hit Sacred Coil first in a given run, Patchwork is a great choice, whereas Torque and Verge and to a lesser extent Shelter will find various of their abilities regularly being useless. (Whether by a given mission being literally all robots, or by virtue of you ending up taking out what few non-robots are about before Torque, Verge, or Shelter gets their turn)

Mind, if it was just Androids that were robots on Sacred Coil forces, this wouldn't be quite so reliably impactful, but there's two (and a half) more robots in Sacred Coil's regular units, so even if a given Encounter doesn't have any Androids about (Which is rare, but absolutely can happen) there's often still at least one robot in the Encounter.

I should point out that for most runs the fire immunity will be of limited relevance, since production of fire gear is locked behind defeating Sacred Coil and no agent has an internal ability to set things on fire. A run can still end up getting Dragon Rounds and/or Incendiary Grenades as mission rewards, but that's not expected. More commonly pertinent is that Sacred Coil's Purifiers set things on fire and are pretty prone to friendly fire, and so Android immunity to fire can crop up by virtue of a Purifier catching them with their fire spray or delayed incendiary grenade and then this has reduced or nonexistent consequences.

Whereas the Poison immunity is of course very relevant if you took Torque and can also be relevant even without Torque by virtue of hitting Gray Phoenix before Sacred Coil.

Something I should explicitly point out is that Androids actually use the standard human/hybrid animation set, including that they are in fact susceptible to eg Tongue Pull and Bind. In some sense this is intuitively obvious, but I suspect a number of XCOM 2 veterans assume otherwise, as every enemy with Mechanical Chassis in XCOM 2 did not use the humanoid animation set and so was immune to effects like Justice, and that's the kind of pattern that leads people to incorrect associations or assumptions. ("Everything with Mechanical Chassis happens to be immune to stuff like Bind" becoming in an individual's head "Mechanical Chassis provides immunity to stuff like Bind") Among other points, this means Torque's effectiveness doesn't drop by quite as much as one might assume just because she's faced with an Android-heavy Encounter.

Prime Self-Destruct
1 action point: The Android will now explode when it dies, and gains access to Trigger Self-Destruct. This explosion hits everything within its blast radius for 3 (+1/+2) damage and 1 Shred, as well as damaging the environment. The blast radius is a square with its corners cut off, 2 tiles out. 1 turn global cooldown.

I love the animation for this: the Android just punches itself in the head, and there you go, it makes some ramping-up sounds and starts sparking, ready to detonate.

It's also interesting to me that this is essentially the return of Derelict Mecs from Shen's Last Gift. I quite approve; as I commented in my post about Derelict Mecs, they're an interesting enemy type and it was a shame that XCOM 2 relegated them to a very non-standard DLC mission, no possibility of seeing them (Or an enemy like them) in normal missions, and so it's very nice to see the concept get a second chance in Chimera Squad. There's some jank around Androids in Chimera Squad, most particularly the 'common enemy you can't KO and so drags down your expected Intel intake' issue, but surprisingly almost none of it is around the self-destruct itself.

'Almost' none because there is the point that the game is unreliable about forewarning you of friendly fire when trying to target an Android that has primed its self-destruct. And I do mean unreliable: sometimes it'll warn you, sometimes it won't. I've never been able to discern a pattern. As the explosion preview will also sometimes fail to fully line up with the explosion reality (Mostly in cases where height differentials are involved), this can result in cases where the game indicates you're free and clear and whoops you actually killed a civilian or seriously hurt one of your agents. (Or both) By a similar but less frustrating token, sometimes the explosion preview will indicate that the Android going down will damage some other enemies nearby and one or more of them will just be completely unaffected.

This latter point doesn't come up very often given enemies don't like clustering and all, but is still frustrating if you do run into it.

Anyway, Androids are really obsessed with priming their self-destruct, to the point that even if you vaporize their Cover or flank them, they will virtually always prime themselves and then shoot at someone instead of running for new Cover. I've had a handful of occasions where an Android didn't prime its self-destruct when it had the chance, but it's really rare.

And of course there's...

Trigger Self-Destruct
Turn-ending action: The Android charges a location in its movement radius and explodes at that location, as per the Prime Self-Destruct death explosion. Destroys the Android.

Yes, the icon for targeting a self-destruct is the same as for priming it. It's a little weird.

Note that AI-controlled Androids visibly target a specific unit and always blow up directly adjacent to them. (By 'visibly', I mean 'their target has UI stuff centered on them as the Android charges them') AI-controlled Androids will thus sometimes miss opportunities to catch multiple agents because catching multiple people would require exploding in a spot not adjacent to any agent, and similarly they'll sometimes not use Trigger Self-Destruct in a turn even though they have the reach because they can't arrange to get adjacent to their desired target.

When you control an Android, you can just target an arbitrary tile; it's a weird difference.

By a similar token, access to Trigger Self-Destruct is effectively different in AI hands compared to in player hands. If you Hack an Android, you can Prime Self-Destruct and then in the same turn use Trigger Self-destruct, whereas the AI will never use Trigger Self-Destruct in the same turn it used Prime Self-Destruct, meaning you have a Round to react to an enemy Android prepping itself to blow up. This isn't terribly surprising given that's exactly how Derelict Mecs work in XCOM 2, and Androids really are obviously starting from the Derelict Mec's mechanics as a base, but I imagine there are players who Hacked an Android, assumed the 'prime on one turn, detonate on a later turn' was a mechanical restriction rather than an AI shackle, and so didn't do a one-turn prime->detonate combo in a situation it would've been a good idea to do it in.

On the whole, Androids make fighting Sacred Coil a very different experience from fighting the Progeny or Gray Phoenix, particularly early in the Investigation where various non-basic enemies aren't allowed to show up at all, particularly for runs whose agent roster is tilted toward agents that care about Mechanical Chassis, even though in some sense they're mostly another Boring Basic Stat Block Enemy. It's an interesting balance, even if their immunity to Unconsciousness in particular has some janky implications. In some sense I always look forward to a run getting to Sacred Coil, because that Investigation is always noticeably impactful on my approach to various topics, where transitioning from the Progeny to Gray Phoenix (Or vice-versa) is much more prone to me continuing to do basically what I was doing in the previous Investigation.

It's also interesting to me that Androids are clearly the most common Sacred Coil unit, rather than Commandos. Sacred Coil is largely made up of hybrids, so I'd have expected their most basic and common soldier to be a hybrid soldier. I'm curious if that's meant to be in any real sense representative on a narrative level; it would be very consistent with the game's broader writing if Sacred Coil is much more of a minority position than they make themselves out to be, such that they can only get comparable unit counts to Gray Phoenix by virtue of using robots and Chryssalids to supplement their hybrid soldiers, much like how the Progeny quite clearly have only a relatively small membership and rely heavily on mindslaves to get their unit numbers up. (Only Acolytes and Sorcerers seem to be true Progeny members, in the sense of having willingly joined the organization and believing in its cause)

It's explicitly the case that Sacred Coil goes out of its way to supplement its forces with robots, but I don't think we're ever given an idea of what Sacred Coil's motive or thought process for doing so is, so it's still ambiguous in practice.


I find Android visuals mildly interesting, in that they have what appear to be multiple handles attached to them, as if they're meant to be conveniently carried by hand. Are they supposed to be light enough for that to be possible for a typical human to do? Are those supposed to be for the convenience of industrial arm-things? It's intriguing, but it never gets explicitly touched on verbally, nor are there are visual depictions of the handles being used for any purpose.

This is true even though Sacred Coil Androids are clearly the same type of Android as the player uses; when you look at an Android in the Chimera Squad base, you don't see them hanging from their handles or something. They just stand at the ready in a tube.

Also interesting is that the overall design of Androids suggests to me that they're meant to be relatively cheap robots that aren't designed to last. I'm more used to pop culture implicitly treating robots as if they're intended to last more or less indefinitely, and indeed a common complaint I have with pop culture is how often it's blithely taken as a given that robots would be 'immortal', never needing maintenance, replacement parts, etc, when stock robot concepts would in actuality be more vulnerable to the ravages of time than an organism. If you're not assuming they have nanites or something, your robots don't have 'passive' self-repair to deal with all the little forms of wear-and-tear that are happening continuously to everything!

It's a little disappointing we're never given context on how Androids fit into current or past society. Robotics in XCOM 2 were seen pretty strictly in the form of ADVENT weapons technology and, in War of the Chosen, implicitly real-life-type industrial uses. (ie the Chosen Strongholds have a room type where you can see industrial robot arms that clearly are meant for assembly) There was no suggestion of robotic labor forces or the like, and as far as I'm aware Chimera Squad doesn't clarify the point any.

Which is a bit weird for several reasons. In the first place, we're looking at a global society rapidly retooling itself into a radically different form, including that this requires tons of construction work and repair work, much of it in particularly dangerous conditions. I'd expect to at least hear about Androids being sent in to do work in areas suspected to have a Chryssalid infestation, or where the infrastructure appears dangerously unstable, or otherwise where conditions are such that organic workers are dangerously likely to be maimed or killed if sent in.

For another, we've got Androids showing up as enemies and allies, increasing the number of organic opportunities for tidbits to come up, and yet all we really get is 'Whisper thinks people widely hate androids' (He notably doesn't suggest a reason why people hate androids) and 'Sacred Coil is stealing androids and their parts to use as soldiers'. It's not even clear if Sacred Coil is stealing robots already designed to be combat-capable or if they're stealing some kind of all-purpose robot that happens to be easy to shove a firearm at and slot in some combat programming to make into a disposable soldier, both of which suggest different contexts to the wider world.

The main tidbit we do get is that for unclear reasons City 31 is the only location in the world that currently has the ability to produce androids. Even this is presented in an unclear manner; does 'androids' include Mecs? What about other intersections of artificial intelligence and mobility? Self-driving cars seem likely to exist in this world; are they also only being produced at City 31? Nor do we get a clear explanation of why: were most robotic manufacturing facilities damaged by the time the Ethereals were taken out, with City 31 being a lucky exception? Is the new government vetting all such facilities, making sure they aren't churning out robots encoded with Ethereal/ADVENT values, and City 31 just got through this vetting earlier than the rest of the world?

I've generally praised Chimera Squad for being carefully noncommittal so later games have more freedom to pick whatever answer works best for them, but this is one case where I feel the game mostly just suffers from how thoroughly it's avoided giving specifics. Among other points, it makes it difficult to interpret the significance of Sacred Coil stealing the robots; if things were presented more clearly, I might assume part of the point is to provide a clearer explanation for why Sacred Coil is specifically in City 31. ("They want newly-manufactured robots, so this was the only option," for example)

Androids are also lacking combat dialogue and are rarely referred to by post-mission snippets, further limiting the info on them.

Which is all a bit frustrating because I honestly doubt any later game will revisit the topic and provide more concrete explanations; this is part of why this particular case of ambiguity frustrates me.

Here's hoping I'm proven wrong; this already happened with Chimera Squad coming out after some of my XCOM 2 posts and countering some of my already-published bits of pessimism about future games, so this isn't a particularly unrealistic hope, I think.


Next time, we move on to Sacred Coil's other most basic unit, the Commando.

See you then.


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