Chimera Squad Enemy Analysis: Sacred Coil Mature Chryssalid

HP: 7 (+1/+3)
Defense: 15
Dodge: 20
Aim: 80/80/85/85 (+2/+5)
Mobility: 14
Damage: 2-3 (+1/+3)
Will: 50 (+10/+20)
Initiative: 50

It's interesting to me that mature Chryssalids don't have Armor, unlike XCOM 2, instead getting slightly more Defense. Chimera Squad is lighter on Armor than XCOM 2 in general, but still.

Also, I should explicitly note that while I keep calling them mature Chryssalids (as distinct from Neonate Chryssalids) the game itself appends no modifier to their name: they're just Chryssalids.

Alert Actions: None.

Same as Neonates.

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

Still same as Neonates.

Passive: Cannot be Poisoned.

Also same as Neonates.

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

See Neonate commentary.

Chryssalid Slash
Turn-ending action: The Chryssalid's primary attack is a move-and-melee attack.

See previous.

Chryssalid Poison
Passive: The Chryssalid's melee attack inflicts Chryssalid Poison on civilians, resulting in a Chryssalid Cocoon with 5 (+1/+2) HP that will then produce 4 HP Neonate Chryssalids up to 3 times. Does 1-3 damage per turn. No effect on Chimera Squad agents.



Before talking about narrative stuff, I should explicitly point out that neither Chryssalid type can Burrow, unlike in XCOM 2. The game is willing to use the animation for Unburrowing, specifically as the way Chryssalids reinforce in on select missions, but the actual mechanical capability has been removed. I assume this is chiefly because the Encounter framework gives it no place, but given how buggy Burrow is in XCOM 2, I'm not exactly in tears at this loss.

A related point is that both kinds of Chryssalid are not allowed as reinforcements outside the missions that have Unburrowing Chryssalids as a special mechanic. (Plus one exception for later; still not standard reinforcements, though) You'll never see a Commando use Call Reinforcements and then a Neonate Chryssalid dig itself out of the ground, or a mature Chryssalid come in via the edge of the map. For that matter, the reinforcement bit in It Came From The Sea of Chryssalids jumping up out of water goes entirely unused in Chimera Squad; no need to be wary around water.

Anyway, narrative!

I've previously touched on some of the relevant bits, but Chryssalids are unique in Chimera Squad in that they're essentially the only species that doesn't get brought into the giant group hug of acceptance the game defaults to. (Unless you count the Ethereals, I guess, but they don't show up and the game actually only rarely references them at all)

Which... that's fair.

We are, after all, talking about a species that, as of XCOM 2, can attack almost anything organic to turn its corpse into a birthing chamber for more Chryssalids, which seems to be the fundamental basis of this species' reproductive system. That's fundamentally very worrying as a hypothetical neighbor.

Notably, the series has consistently shown that newborn Chryssalids are immediately fighting-fit and seem to have a default instinct to go on the attack. There's some murkiness in terms of how literally the player is expected to take various mechanical aspects -that for example newborn Chryssalid having accurate friend/foe identification right out the gate seems unlikely to be fully accurate to the setting's 'reality'- which makes it a bit of a nuisance to accurately describe the situation with full confidence... but 'baby Chryssalids are immediately combat-ready' in particular is pretty heavily supported as being narratively true.

Anyway, this combination of qualities creates a significant hurdle to any attempt to try to integrate Chryssalids into general society, even if we start from the assumption that communication and whatnot is practical. (That is, simply assuming that Chryssalids can understand and agree to trying to integrate) Which is, itself, a pretty big assumption to make, and one the series has never tried to support. Even with psychic powers offering new avenues of communication, Chryssalids have always been presented not like soldiers of the Ethereals, but like predatory animals thrown at the enemy with minimal evidence of control or coordination; it honestly seems likely that integration of the sort other aliens are doing is just not possible at all with Chryssalids.

In conjunction with how Chimera Squad makes it quite clear that the Earth has plenty of problems that need to be resolved before things can truly be stable and all, any high-minded ideals of embracing All The Alien Species As People Just Like Us is quite understandable to compromise in this case; it's unclear if it's possible at all, if it is possible it's probably extremely difficult, screwing up could be quite catastrophic, and there's simply too many other, more urgent concerns that need to be focused on.

Indeed, Chimera Squad treats Chryssalids as more like living war crimes, in the sense that Sacred Coil's willingness to use them as part of their combat efforts is presented as one of the more offensive things Sacred Coil does. Which... yeah, fair.

Chimera Squad itself never really offers an opinion on what a solution to the Chryssalid situation ought to look like, whether Earth will attempt some kind of 'reformation' (With Ethereal technology, theoretically Chryssalids could be reengineered into something less fundamentally problematic, for example), or commit to extermination, or not commit to a grand plan of any kind. I suspect the primary motive is just to keep options open for any future games to go with whatever situation they find most useful, but not only is that A Good Thing in my book in its own right, it's also quite realistic for no firm decision to have been committed to as yet, especially as the Earth government is still coming to grips with all the new options offered by the new technology and all.

My one disappointment in this regard is that Chimera Squad avoids giving any sense of what kinds of opinions in regard to Chryssalids can be found among those who once served under the Ethereals, both in the sense of their opinions when working under the Ethereals, and in the sense of their opinions now that they're away from that regime. Was their usage as a weapon widely resented, something the Ethereals mandated over the objections of underlings? Were there people quietly troubled by the inconsistency in the Ethereals' stated values and their ready usage of Chryssalids as a weapon? Were Chryssalids actually something of a secret, where plenty of folks didn't know about Chryssalids at all, or at least not in meaningful enough detail to understand the implications of deploying them? Were there people shrugging off Chryssalid deployment as One More Terrible Thing in a long list of such? People who didn't really think of it as bad at all?

Chimera Squad manages to not touch on this at all, even though the Bugtown Massacre is one of the more heavily covered bits of City 31's history, among other topics that seem like they ought to touch on this incidentally. It's honestly pretty weird.

But maybe this is more 'keeping options open for later games' and XCOM 3 will get into it. Here's hoping.


Next time, we move on to the 'generic' elite Sacred Coil unit, the Ronin.

See you then.


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