Chimera Squad Enemy Analysis: Sacred Coil Commando

HP: 3/3/4/5 (+1/+3)
Aim: 70/70/75/75 (+2/+5)
Mobility: 10
Damage: 3 (+1-3/+1-3)
Will: 50 (+10/+20)
Initiative: 70

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

Commandos are moderately fond of tossing their Smoke Grenade when Alert, but far from guaranteed. Also note that tossing it as their Alert action does in fact eat the charge. (You can confirm this in-game with mind control) Commandos are surprisingly prone to tossing the Smoke Grenade to cover their allies rather than themselves -and unfortunately they don't coordinate, where you'll sometimes see an Alert Commando toss a Smoke Grenade at an Alert ally who promptly bails out of the smoke.

So let's talk about Smoke Grenade!

Smoke Grenade
Turn-ending action: The Commando tosses a Smoke Grenade to a location, Shrouding all units in the area for one round. 2 turn global cooldown, one charge.

This works exactly like your own Smoke Grenades, raising the Defense and Dodge of units in its radius, including that it affects everybody in the radius regardless of which faction they are.

I like the idea of enemies using Smoke Grenades themselves, but unfortunately Chimera Squad is probably the wrong game to have made the attempt. There are simply too many powerful agent abilities that ignore Defense and Dodge (And where you have strong cause to use them even when those specific advantages are completely irrelevant), including the omnipresent Subdue action, that it's entirely possible for a Smoke Grenade toss to be a waste of a Commando's turn, or even actively counterproductive. (eg Zephyr charges in to punch the Smoke Grenade target, and thus benefits when an enemy attempts to shoot her, while her punch ignored the smoke entirely) Notably, Sacred Coil itself is relatively light on Smoke-ignoring actions, and so it's pretty easy to end up with formations where the Sacred Coil forces have no counterplay to an agent standing in smoke.

Fortunately, Commandos aren't strongly hung up on using Smoke Grenade, so the impact of these issues is lighter than it could've been. This would be much more unfortunate if they were obsessed with using it.

In spite of tending to behave as a bland stat block enemy, Commandos actually have a second ability, too;

Call Reinforcements
Turn-ending action: Triggers a wave of Sacred Coil reinforcements to arrive a Round later. 3 turn global cooldown.

Call Reinforcements has a number of mission types it's forbidden from being used in. Straight from the config file:


It's interesting that this bothers to specify mission types exclusive to the other Investigations, where Sacred Coil troops won't show up. ('TP' is 'The Progeny', and 'GP' is 'Gray Phoenix') Notably, the Commando's weapon is placed in the weapondataconfig file under a section labeled 'mercenary', under which multiple Shrike troops are placed, suggesting that at some point the Commando and its ability to call for reinforcements was a Shrike unit instead of a Sacred Coil one. So presumably this bothering to forbid Gray Phoenix and Progeny missions is a holdover from when the Commando was supposed to be a Shrike unit.

Anyway, Call Reinforcements doesn't show up as a visible ability on Commandos even if you Puppeteer them or use Chimera Squad's F1 mod, and thus doesn't have a real icon (I'm borrowing Mark Target's icon), but it exists. Commandos don't use it very often, mind; I suspect plenty of players have no idea Commandos can do this, as I've had multiple runs where no Commando ever bothered, so probably there are players who have done 3+ runs without ever seeing Call Reinforcements.

On the rare occasions that Call Reinforcements does see use, it can be a nasty surprise. Among other points, whatever the AI routine for deciding to call it is, it's clearly not set up as specifically a last-ditch effect; it's entirely possible to have done barely no damage to the enemy in the Breach Phase, have your first agent finish their turn, and then a Commando immediately calls for help even though the room is already packed with uninjured enemies. If the Encounter is already looking like an uphill fight, this can turn things outright overwhelming, where you're just not going to be able to push through so many enemies before they wipe out your squad.

Part of why is that the reinforcement routine clearly isn't very tightly-tuned as far as mission challenge stuff. It's possible to have a couple Ronin show up in an Encounter that already has 2-3 elite Sacred Coil troops running around, for example.

Also, note that once Call Reinforcements has been triggered, it's not interruptible; you can't just down the Commando to put a stop to it or anything of the sort. Depending on the mission type, you may be able to achieve victory before the reinforcements actually show up, but as far as I'm aware that's the only way to prevent the reinforcements from arriving.

The reinforcements themselves work exactly like reinforcements normally work in Chimera Squad: 3 enemies walk in from points at the edge(s) of the map at the beginning of the Round (The possible points are arbitrarily defined per-map, though they're generally visually intuitive; enemies will walk in through doors, or sometimes jump through windows, and in any event the possible entrances are marked if reinforcements are currently on the way), inserting their turns into the Timeline so that they're (normally) spaced out between your agent turns. This includes all the usual limitations on reinforcements, where eg Turrets can't walk in (Because they're immobile), Chryssalids will never walk in, etc. 


Aesthetically, I appreciate that Commandos are, in fact, equipped with an ADVENT-style mag rifle. Its model has been recolored and given the Sacred Coil icon, but it is the basic model. Sadly, the audiovisual elements of the shots are Chimera Squad's standard yellow rounds and whatnot, not the audiovisual elements of ADVENT magnetic weapons in XCOM 2; I'm not sure why the devs handled this piece this way. It's not like they're entirely unwilling to recycle such elements; Sacred Coil Turrets use a new model for the unit itself, but their weapons fire looks and sounds exactly like ADVENT Turret fire in XCOM 2.

Otherwise, Commandos are aesthetically... confusing, in a manner that recurs across multiple Sacred Coil units. In concept, Sacred Coil is made up of hybrids still loyal to ADVENT; I'd expect their forces to thus either be relatively mild modifications of ADVENT troop designs from XCOM 2 (ADVENT Trooper But Red for the Commando, for example), or to hit a note comparable to the Skirmisher aesthetic in terms of 'take ADVENT troops, then make their stuff look like it's old and poorly-maintained'. Instead Sacred Coil's hybrid forces are mostly wearing skintight bodysuits and headgear that completely encloses their head and doesn't look at all plausibly protective against gunfire, all of it looking freshly-manufactured and never previously worn. I think the concept may be intended to be that this is an underarmor layer to the ADVENT getup, except that doesn't explain whatever they're covering their head with, nor why it's so pristine.

As far as I'm aware the game doesn't offer any particular explanation for any of this. It's possible there's some bit of lore I just never happened to see, or that there's an implication I personally don't find intuitive, but it sure seems like a fairly inexplicable aesthetic. The red-and-black color scheme is natural enough given that's literally the color scheme of ADVENT Officers, not to mention overlaps with ADVENT Heavy Mec aesthetic (Which Sacred Coil uses), not to mention is understandable just for setting the factions apart (There's a notable trend of the Progeny being heavy on green, Shrike on grey, and Gray Phoenix trending toward blues, though Shrike is the only faction where the color scheme is held to completely consistently so I suspect plenty of players don't notice there are color schemes for the factions), but otherwise it's... confusing.

Narratively, Commandos are never directly addressed to the best of my awareness. They're presumably representing the low-level gumbies of Sacred Coil, hybrid soldiers who probably would've been Troopers in the days of XCOM 2, possibly supplemented by hybrids who went civilian for a bit and then changed their mind and joined Sacred Coil, but stuff like why they have the gear they have just doesn't come up. Their dialogue doesn't exactly clarify things, either; they pretty generically make statements about moving when, y'know, moving, on those uncommon occasions Chimera Squad has enemies speak up at all. There's not anything akin to how Thrall dialogue is the primary evidence of their drugged state. Commandos are just vaguely professional, basically.

The 'Commando' name also isn't exactly helpful. Video Game Memes would typically assign such a name to a more elite class of soldier, and/or to a sneaky infiltrator type, neither of which really aligns to the Cmmando's gameplay and aesthetic. And given the evidence is they were originally meant to be a Shrike unit, I suspect the name made sense in that context and is weird and confusing in the current context for no deeper reason than 'they didn't bother to update the name when they changed which faction the unit was assigned to'.

So all-around, the Commando is narratively murky.


Next time, we move on to the Purifier.

See you then.


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