Chimera Squad Enemy Analysis: Sacred Coil Mec

HP: 7/7/8/8 (+1/+4)
Armor: 1
Defense: 10
Aim: 75/75/80/80 (+2/+5)
Mobility: 12/12/14/14
Damage: 3-5 (+1/+2)
Shred: 1
Crit Chance: 0/0/10/10
Will: 50
Initiative: 50
Tech: 50/50/70/70

I don't get why Mecs get a Mobility boost on higher difficulties while actual melee enemies don't... nor do I get why they're one of the only enemies that's ever allowed an innate crit chance. And the unique oddities don't stop here!

Alert Actions: Re-position.

Mecs being able to move when Alert is weird. Every other enemy that doesn't use Cover simply does nothing if Alert; why are Mecs an exception, and in fact the sole exception?

Even more baffling is the way they use the move. They don't attempt to flank your agents, or charge toward them; they most often move laterally relative to your squad, which is generally basically pointless. You'd think they'd seek a flank, or just generally get closer for the accuracy bonus. (Which would still make it easier for them to flank, for that matter)

I'm really curious why Mecs in specific have all these oddities concentrated on them.

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

Much the same implications as with Androids or Turrets, aside that Mecs have a good enough Tech Defense score that Patchwork's chance of Hacking them is fairly low, especially if playing up on the higher difficulties where their Tech Defense jumps 20 points.

Passive: Does not make use of Cover, but does not suffer penalties from being in the open.

As always, this is much less notable of a distinction than in XCOM 2.

Passive: Can travel Z-levels freely as part of normal movement.

This is much less relevant than it was in XCOM 2. Chimera Squad simply isn't big on major height differences -most maps have either one Z-level outright, or have exactly two major Z-levels, and due to how Chimera Squad's decisions and mechanics intersect Mecs will only rarely get to use this to flank someone unexpectedly. They also still don't prioritize taking to high ground for the Aim bonus, for that matter,

It's not completely irrelevant, but I imagine there's people who have beat Chimera Squad one or more times without ever seeing a Mec take advantage of their vertical mobility, not even in a pointless 'pathed through high ground to reach a location they could've reached without taking to high ground' way.

Pin Down
Turn ending action: The Mec expends 1 ammo to push a target back in the Timeline by 3 slots. This does no damage. 2 turn cooldown.

This is the example of how Pin Down is Chimera Squad's idea of Suppression; when I said Terminal having Pin Down was a callback to Suppression on Supports, that wasn't me jumping to conclusions, it was 'a returning enemy uses their Suppression animation when using Pin Down and no longer has Suppression'.

Anyway, unlike Suppression, Pin Down isn't almost guaranteed to be a waste of a turn. The AI doesn't know how to use Pin Down correctly, no, but pushing one of your agent turns back some slots is basically always going to cause some kind of trouble for you unless either you're literally going to end the Encounter with the next agent action and they didn't Pin Down the relevant agent or you were already going to use Team Up on the targeted agent immediately after the Mec's turn. As you generally only have 4 possible targets on the field and Mecs are very reluctant to Pin Down whoever is furthest down, even randomly choosing among the remaining options is a respectable 33% chance to target the agent you least want targeted, so if you let Mecs take turns regularly there's pretty decent odds they'll blunder into the right choice at some point.

Notably, the player's ability to undo the damage is actually fairly limited. Action point gifting is relatively common, but the only on-demand way to pull an agent's position on the Timeline forward is the Team Up action, which of course only has one charge across an entire mission. This is a pretty big contrast with Suppression in XCOM 2, where a Mec can be tapped for literally 1 point of damage to render it irrelevant; Pin Down is not something you can trivially, incidentally obviate over and over.

It won't be killer every time or anything -a Mec that's the last enemy on the field when it decides to use Pin Down is just wasting its turn, for example- but it's actually something to keep in mind, and can get you in serious trouble if you build plans without accounting for it.

Turn-ending action: Carries one Micromissile charge, which does 3 Damage and 1 Shred in an area while destroying environmental objects in the area.

This is literally the basic Mec version of Micromissiles from XCOM 2. This includes it retains the insane range and ludicrously generous targeting behavior, though those points are a lot less maddening now. For one thing, Chimera Squad doesn't do destructible floors; you don't have to worry about Micromissiles killing people with fall damage. For another, you'll generally get a chance to respond to your agents being forced into the open by Micromissiles wrecking their Cover, instead of a pile of enemies getting to immediately try to kill them while they're vulnerable. For a third, Chimera Squad's smaller maps and innate global map awareness means you're never going to have someone sitting inside a building two screens away getting Micromissiled while you scream in frustration at how that should be impossible; no map is big enough for that, and a player in control of a Mec would be able to do exactly the same thing without guessing, so the AI doing such a thing is simply not cheating like it was in XCOM 2. For a fourth, High Cover providing a point of Armor is, counterintuitively, protective against Micromissiles (Even if Micromissiles smashes the Cover in question!) which isn't a mechanic that existed in XCOM 2.

This isn't to say Micromissiles aren't a threat, mind. They're still completely unavoidable damage, they can potentially catch multiple agents at once, the Timeline can still potentially work out so one or more enemies can fire on now-exposed agents before anything of yours gets a turn, and if you have Mastercrafted Armor then that point of Shred leaves everyone hit a bit more vulnerable to follow-up hits for the entire rest of the mission. (And with Chimera Squad's lower damage values, losing a point of Armor is more proportionately impactful than in XCOM 2)

In conjunction with how Pin Down can actually be quite problematic, I personally rate Mecs as one of the higher-priority targets in Chimera Squad. Their peak threat level is a bit lower than in XCOM 2, but they almost never just waste a turn outright, so they're more consistent about being a threat; if it weren't for certain other enemies on Sacred Coil being even nastier, I'd probably rate Sacred Coil Mecs as an apex threat outright.

Unfortunately, Micromissiles is -say it with me- yet another example of a Sacred Coil unit not fully scaling with Acts and so making Sacred Coil particularly difficult if hit early. This is one of the less bad examples since Micromissiles have Shred and so get a bump in relevance as soon as you get Mastercrafted Armor online, but still...


Narratively, Mecs are presented in a fairly unclear way. It seems there's ongoing production of ADVENT Mecs, with Sacred Coil stealing Mec parts and possibly also stealing complete Mecs from factories, but it's never really explained why such production is ongoing, what these Mecs are for.

This is in fact possibly one of the most poorly-communicated bits of Chimera Squad's narrative, in the sense that the game does seem to have a fairly clear model in mind, but the central plot bits only touch on some parts in a manner that can easily paint a rather different picture from what I suspect is the intent.

If you just go by the cinema bits and obvious gameplay elements, it's easy to think that this is production of the traditional XCOM 2 ADVENT Mec, the kind that's a killer robot that exists only to violently enforce the will of the ADVENT police state, which is... concerning of a scenario. However, various easily overlooked bits point in a bit of a different direction if you're paying attention;

This is another cinema chunk in regards to Sacred Coil Mecs, for example, and you might notice it's actually depicting what looks to be SPARK-001's design, aside having a black-and-red color scheme. This connects to a random map detail -that there's a handful of Encounter maps that take place in what is apparently a store selling SPARK-style robots to the common citizen, with no weapons in evidence.

The intended implication seems to be that ADVENT Mec production lines have been repurposed to produce robot assistants for non-combat purposes, which the common citizen can purchase to help around the house or to do physically demanding labor, or whatever, and there's enough overlap in parts and whatnot with ADVENT Mecs that Sacred Coil can then steal parts and possibly entire robots, possibly do a bit of reprogramming, slap familiar Mec weapons onto the frame, and there you go here's an XCOM 2-style killer robot working for Sacred Coil.

This is a much less eyebrow-raising scenario, but guessing it requires a player happens to get a mission that takes place in one of the maps depicting a robot store (They're not common to see, in my experience), pays enough attention to the map to notice SPARK-style robots are being sold as non-combat units, and then connects it to the Sacred Coil cinematics and so on. I imagine there's players who have beaten the game one or more times without connecting these dots together, quite understandably.

(There's actually also ads for the robot stores in other maps, but if you don't know about the robot store maps, these ads are easy to miss, or to misunderstand; among other things, pretty much all text within Chimera Squad's maps is rendered in the 'alien alphabet' cipher, and while it's really just English letters with gaps and other stylization to obscure this point, I suspect plenty of players never figured that out, and even with knowing this is the case it can still be pretty hard to read some of the text correctly. For another, it's not necessarily obvious that a given depiction of the SPARK-001 head is meant to be specifically that, nor is it necessarily obvious that Chimera Squad associates this specific SPARK head with these non-combat robots if you haven't seen the robot store maps)

The game also never does address how such robots are supposed to fit into the metaphorical landscape of City 31, or the Earth as a whole. We're told that City 31 has the only currently-operating robot factories in the world (Presumably it's taking time to retool factories from producing legions of killbots that enforce the Ethereal will to producing general labor robots that don't murder at the drop of a hat), but we never get a clear idea of what's happening with these robots, beyond that there's at least some cases of them being sold commercially within city limits.

That is, are these robots primarily being shipped elsewhere to work on difficult, dangerous tasks that need doing, such as investigating Chryssalid-infested regions? Or are they primarily a local and commercial phenomenon, sold more or less exclusively within city limits to any interested citizen? And what is the usual context of such purchases, anyway? Are these robots very expensive, such that only fairly wealthy individuals can really afford them? Are they cheaper than I'd expect, or perhaps government-subsidized, such that just being modestly middle-class is enough to cover such a robot purchase? If a common citizen buys such a robot, what's the typical usage? Do these robots get used as babysitters by busy parents, or set to home improvement tasks while the purchaser is at their job, or sent into the wilderness to scavenge for materials without the purchaser having to risk being shot or getting eaten by a Chryssalid? Or are they just robotic maids-and-so-on, as pop culture so often defaults to when imagining robots in a domestic context?

It doesn't help that Chimera Squad clearly has some fun with the whole thing in a manner you probably shouldn't take seriously in-universe; some of the depictions are literally riffing on Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots in a manner I very much doubt is meant to be 'real' within the setting.

So even once you get past the hurdle of 'the game largely implies the context through map details and whatnot', the Mec manufacturing situation is pretty vague!

I suspect that this is one of the blunter examples of Chimera Squad being deliberately non-committal to keep options open for later games, with the effect that the context in Chimera Squad itself is pretty vague. Robots are touched on sufficiently lightly by Chimera Squad that XCOM 3 (Or whatever) has significant room to maneuver; if XCOM 3 wants to say robotics was significantly cut back (Because the devs don't want to feel obligated to give the player a robot soldier type, or whatever), Chimera Squad has left enough room to have that outcome happen without it contradicting Chimera Squad's depiction; just say people are still wary of complex Ethereal-tech, especially of the self-directing kind. If instead XCOM 3 decides to heavily expand on robotics being a part of the setting (Such as because the devs once again return to the SHIV/SPARK/Android concept, but this time want it to be a full member of your team of equal gameplay standing to your organic soldiers), then it just needs to say that what we saw in Chimera Squad was the early stages of this process and the world as a whole relatively readily embraced robotics.

Which would honestly be a nice thing for the long-term coherency of the series, assuming later games do indeed properly leverage it, but in the moment it leaves things pretty murky.

Aesthetically, the Mec is of course literally a Heavy Mec from XCOM 2, aside that its model has been shrunk a bit and its gun has had some red paint added instead of being entirely black. As Sacred Coil broadly has their color scheme be red and black anyway, this is straightforwardly intuitive; the Heavy Mec color scheme is already on-brand.

I am a little surprised the devs didn't add a Sacred Coil icon to the Mec's 'face' or something, though.


Next time, we cover the Neonate Chryssalid, because Chimera Squad actually has more than one Chryssalid type.

See you then.


  1. In XCOM 2 WOTC there's a main menu screen which is the inside of a mec factory which i found cool with mecs being made almost the exact same as in lost towers and some of the sacred coil missions just a cool infomation tidbit

    1. That's a shot of one of the room types you can see inside Chosen Strongholds, actually.


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