XCOM Multiplayer Analysis Part 1: XCOM

This multiplayer analysis is primarily being written from the assumption of 'competitive' play -so 10,000 points to spend on a team.

If you want a quick-and-dirty summary of the numbers, minimal analysis given, the UFOpaedia page is mostly up to date as of this writing. It doesn't list Needle Grenades at all, among other holes, but it's the single most complete summary I've found online.

Enemy Unknown

XCOM soldiers have a base cost of 800 points. All points values listed on individual soldier types are additional costs beyond that.

Almost all units use their Normal difficulty statline, XCOM units included. The one exception is Thin Men, who have 4 HP and no damage penalty, as on Classic, but are otherwise using their Normal statline. (ie 65 Aim and no crit chance bonus) Note that XCOM units are at their base abilities -no Officer Training School upgrades, no Foundry upgrades. Will is non-randomized: Rookies have 40 Will, and every rank past that adds 5 Will regardless of class.

Assault
Recon (Squaddie): 600 Points
Run & Gun

1400 points for a guy who has an exceptionally large range they can move to and attack within. Problem: you'll need to dump more points into them to get their damage up so that this is worthwhile, not to mention their HP. It probably makes more sense in every case to either grab an Alien or go with a higher tier Assault.

Thin Men, in particular, will tend to fill a similar role more effectively and more cheaply. The only things the Recon has over them are 3 HP, 30 Will, and 2 Aim. To be fair, 7 HP puts the Recon out of reach of being one-shotted by Alien Grenades, means Light Plasma Rifles can't one-shot them, and means Plasma Rifles have a chance of low-rolling and thus failing to one-shot them, but it's still the case that 7 HP is painfully fragile, and attempts to compensate for the Recon's failings mean they get more and more expensive. If you give a Recon a good gun (Light Plasma Rifle: 250 points) and good Armor (Skeleton Suit/Carapace Armor: 600 points) you start having to wonder why you didn't just take two Thin Men instead. (A Recon with a Light Plasma Rifle and a basic Armor is 2250 points, which post-patching is more expensive than two Thin Men) You can't afford six slots at more than 2000 points apiece, after all.

The Recon is a questionable buy.

Gunner (Captain): 2200 Points
Run & Gun
Aggression
Lightning Reflexes
Rapid Fire
Bring 'Em On

3000 points for an Assault that isn't complete garbage. Problem: way, way overpriced for what they do, especially since you'd need to dump even more points into them to give them respectable damage output or pick up access to XCOM-unique perks.

Lightning Reflexes and Rapid Fire are, admittedly, quite powerful/useful abilities, but Rapid Fire is dependent on weapon strength -an Alloy Cannon to take maximum advantage puts you at 3950 points- and Lightning Reflexes is in some ways less effective in Multiplayer, as human opponents are usually smarter about their use of Overwatch than the AI. Ideally you put them in at least a Skeleton Suit, as well, jumping them to 4550 points. The expense at that point is high enough that the Gunner is basically the centerpiece of your squad, and at that point you're probably better off taking the 800 extra points to upgrade to a Commando. If you're spending almost half your points on one guy, why not jump to a little over half so they're much harder to kill?

Commando (Colonel): 3000 Points
Run & Gun
Aggression
Lightning Reflexes
Rapid Fire
Bring 'Em On
Extra Conditioning
Resilience

If you were thinking of grabbing a Gunner, you're probably better off sucking up the 800 extra points for a Commando. The cost is worth the extra HP/Aim/Will, and crit immunity makes aggressive flanking maneuvers considerably less suicidal. I'm not sure any Assault is worth spending the points on, but the Commando is probably the best of the bunch. If the enemy has their own 5000~ points unit, the Commando can probably rush in and take them out in one round with the right support (28 HP is as high as you can get, and that would be an enemy Commando in Titan Armor with Chitin Plating. Rapid Fire will do 16-20 damage when using an Alloy Cannon, assuming no crits, and under 20 HP is a more realistic value for an XCOM soldier), and at that point the match is probably basically won.

How worthwhile this is basically depends on whether single expensive pieces are the default or the exception in the metagame.

Psi Warrior (Major): 4750 Points
Run & Gun,
Tactical Sense
Lightning Reflexes
Rapid Fire
Close Combat Specialist
Extra Conditioning
Mindfray
Psi Panic
Mind Control

Take a Sectoid Commander instead.

You'll get an actually competent Psi unit, a free Alien Grenade, and you'll have saved more than 2000 points. You'll also have an extra point of health, unlimited ammo and only one point of damage less than a base Shotgun on your gun, and Mass Mind Merge thrown in for free if you happen to be using Sectoids or a Mechtoid.

The Psi Warrior is disgustingly overpriced and makes no sense to purchase, and this only got worse once the balance patch hit and reduced the Sectoid Commander's price. Worse, the Sniper's version is the same price point and Psi list and far more useful, so even if you insist on a Psi-capable XCOM unit (I can't imagine why you would, but if you did) the Psi Warrior loses out to the Psi Assassin as a choice. It's not like the Assault's skills are synergistic with Psi powers -you can't use Run & Gun and then Mind Control someone, for example.

Sniper
Marksman (Squaddie): 150 Points
Headshot
At 950 points, the Marksman is not remotely worth using. A Smokejumper will be cheaper, able to move and shoot, have an extra hit point... 1 extra point of damage, 5 Aim, and Headshot aren't worth the trade-offs. If the Marksman were one rank higher and had Squadsight, even if they tacked on 500 more points, they'd fill a role, but a Squaddie Sniper is just bad.

Hunter (Captain): 1000 Points
Headshot
Snap Shot
Gunslinger
Battle Scanner
Executioner

1800 points for a Hunter is not worth it. The only good thing I have to say about the Hunter is that they're a (relatively) cheap source of a Battle Scanner. Why do they even have Snap Shot and Gunslinger? Those are largely redundant with each other.

If you want a unit that can move and shoot competently for relatively cheap, take an Alien. If you're planning on loading gear onto them to make them more relevant... take an Alien.


Dead Eye (Captain): 2000 Points
Headshot
Squadsight
Damn Good Ground
Battle Scanner
Opportunist

Your cheapest Squadsight option. Worth it even at 2800 points because Squadsight is amazing. All they need is a Plasma Sniper Rifle to be relevant, and 3800 points is still worth it. Expensive, but worth it. Every skill they have synergizes with being a Squadsight Sniper, too. Just be careful -unlike the AI, human opponents are fully capable of having a unit enter line of sight and promptly take a shot at your Sniper, or even Squadsight sniping your Sniper! Don't get too comfortable in assuming they're safe in whatever nest you set them up in.

One nice thing is 88 base Aim, when getting them on high ground, is enough in conjunction with Damn Good Ground for them to essentially ignore Partial cover: 118 drops down to 98% if the target is in Partial Cover. That's pretty dang close to perfect accuracy!


Agent (Colonel): 2000 Points
Headshot
Snap Shot
Gunslinger
Disabling Shot
Executioner
Low Profile
Double Tap

Another Snap Shot Sniper. Another Snap Shot Gunslinger Sniper, at that. Why.

Literally the only good thing about them is Double Tap, and since they don't have Squad Sight it's not worth it. The Heavy's Machine Gunner is only 250 more points, gets the vastly superior Bullet Swarm, and can lob a Rocket into the enemy, Disabling Shot is the only reason I could imagine wanting this, and frankly it's nearly worthless, being useless against various Aliens and of limited use against anything with a backup weapon of any kind. I think that leaves literally basic Floaters as actually locked down by Disabling Shot?

Floaters are garbage, so Disabling Shot is just... ugh. Low Profile isn't good enough to justify the expense, either.

Do not buy Agents. They are awful.


Psi Assassin (Major): 4750 Points
Headshot
Squadsight
Damn Good Ground
Battle Scanner
Executioner
Low Profile
Mindfray
Psi Panic
Mind Control
It's worth commentary that Snipers get their last hit point at Major, and not Colonel, which, aside from Skills, tends to be one of the biggest impacts of a given level-up. The Psi Assassin thus doesn't suffer that much from being down a level, relative to the Agent.

They suffer far more from their insane points cost.

I said it with the Psi Warrior and I'll say it again: buy a Sectoid Commander instead. Or if you want a Squadsight unit, buy the Dead Eye -Executioner is too minor of a bonus to care, Low Profile is only relevant if enemies are attacking you and if enemies are attacking your Squadsight unit you have bigger problems, while your Psi powers are all incompatible with Squadsight, so the Psi Assassin has essentially nothing over the Dead Eye as a Squadsight abuser.

Seriously, you can almost literally afford a Dead Eye and a Sectoid Commander for the Psi Assassin's price -in fact, after the Sectoid Commander's price was dropped, the Psi Assassin is 250 points more expensive than buying a Dead Eye and a Sectoid Commander!

Just buy a Dead Eye and Sectoid commander if you're considering the Psi Assassin.



Heavy
Rocketman (Squaddie): 1800 Points
Fire Rocket

Overpriced garbage. For 2600 points you can almost afford a Muton, and an Alien Grenade hits just as hard as an unaugmented Rocket with no chance of a misfire, while the Muton is better in almost literally every stat.

After the balance patch hit, the Muton became cheaper than the Rocketman, making the situation even worse. No, it is not worth giving the Rocketman a Heavy Plasma -a Muton Elite will, post-patching, cost only 400 points more at that point and be better in literally every way. Bombardier even means their Alien Grenade has comparable range to the rocket!


Machine Gunner (Captain): 2250 Points
Fire Rocket
Bullet Swarm
Suppression
Rapid Reaction
Danger Zone
3050 points is a bit pricey, but Bullet Swarm is an amazing skill. I can see buying this guy for certain builds, at least in Enemy Unknown.

Its main problem in my opinion is that the Commando will tend to outperform it at damage output, with better base Aim, better mobility, and secondary perks that are more useful.

Its other problem is that Enemy Within introduces the Mechtoid, which has a similar price-point, has basically-Bullet-Swarm, more HP, synergy with Sectoid Commanders and Sectoids, better base damage (And better than the Heavy Laser, which is the cheap-seats way to up damage output), and its only real weaknesses are susceptibility to HEAT Ammo (Barely relevant) and zero Will. The latter point is, admittedly, a huge weakness if the enemy is fielding Mind Control, but I'm not so sure the Machine Gunner is worth fielding over a Mechtoid regardless.


Demolitionist (Captain): 4150 Points
Fire Rocket
Holo-Targeting
Shredder Rocket
HEAT Ammo
Grenadier

Skip.

Just shy of 5000 points, this is horribly overpriced garbage. A second Alien Grenade added in for "free" means upping the price to just under 6500 points (Down to just under 5500 in Enemy Within, but that's still insanely expensive) and HEAT Ammo is only relevant against Cyberdiscs in the original game. In Enemy Within HEAT Ammo also applies against Seekers and Mechtoids, but HEAT Ammo has been weakened so you just don't care as much. They don't even get Bullet Swarm!

The Shredder Rocket is theoretically useful, I guess?

Juggernaut (Colonel): 4900 Points
Fire Rocket
Bullet Swarm
Suppression
Rapid Reaction
Grenadier
Will to Survive
Mayhem
5700 points is obscene for any one unit. If it was an Enemy Within Sectopod, I might consider it worthwhile.

The Juggernaut is not an Enemy Within Sectopod, and again has a skill slot that demands you spend more points to actually get use out of it. Will to Survive is the only thing that comes close to justifying taking this guy over a Machine Gunner, and Will to Survive is not worth more than 2000 points.

I seriously think Firaxis vastly overestimated the utility of Fire Rocket. It's the only way I can explain the Heavies all being so ridiculously overpriced.


Support
Smokejumper (Squaddie): 100 Points
Smoke Grenade

Never take a Rookie. 100 more points nets you an extra hit point, a free Smoke Grenade, and small bonuses to Will and Aim. The jump costs less than a Nano-Fiber Vest and is almost as much HP benefit without eating an item slot or anything.

The Smokejumper is your highest end "spammable garbage" unit -if you have too many points left over for Sectoids to make sense, a Smokejumper is probably going to fill in your last slot or two. Don't get too excited about upgrading them with gear though -if you pile on good gear, they're probably competing with Mutons and losing. A Laser Rifle might be acceptable, but a Plasma Rifle is probably a bad idea.

As a basic cheap unit for rounding out your slots, they're plenty good. Sectoids are cheaper and hit just as hard as a Support with no weapon upgrade, but they've got less than half the health, so they both have arguments in their favor, and the Smokejumper can further enhance itself with a cheap Item and a cheap Gene Mod pair. If the rest of your team puts you at an awkward remaining points value like 1300, then a Smokejumper with some cheap gear is basically a free improvement over a Sectoid.


Medic (Captain): 750 Points
Smoke Grenade
Sprinter
Field Medic
Revive
Dense Smoke
Just shy of 1600 points and an excellent supporting unit for your organic allies. You'll have to buy a Medikit, ideally, but 100 extra points isn't a big deal, and not many items are really competing for the slot. Sprinter is nice, too, and Dense Smoke makes your one Smoke Grenade actually pretty relevant. Just the potential to cheaply support something like a points-intense XCOM soldier that's acting as your linchpin is good.

Only bad news is that the EXALT Elite Medic is pretty much flatly superior. Revive is difficult to take advantage of in a multiplayer match, and Sprinter and the one Dense Smoke Grenade use have difficulty competing with what the EXALT Elite Medic brings to the table.

Still, in Enemy Unknown the XCOM Medic is a solid choice.


Tac Officer (Captain): 1000 Points
Smoke Grenade
Smoke and Mirrors
Covering Fire
Rifle Suppression
Combat Drugs
I'm not sure why you'd buy this. Yeah, the Tac Officer gets 2 (3 in EW) uses of Combat Drugs-type Smoke Grenades, but that's a lot of points to spend on giving other units some minor-to-modest stat bonuses a handful of times. Suppression isn't really a reason to take them on its own -a lot of the Aliens have Suppression just sort of thrown in, including the staple Muton- while Covering Fire is... well, it's garbage in Enemy Unknown.

Enemy Within helps the Tac Officer's case, with Smoke and Mirrors being another use over Enemy Unknown and Covering Fire now triggering before the enemy shoots rather than after, but these are both small things, and Covering Fire in particular is... basically the only situation you shouldn't have just taken a regular shot but still actually benefited from Covering Fire is in the edge case of an enemy entering your range, stopping exactly at the edge of it, and then taking a shot that either would kill the Tac Officer or gets them killed by the Tac Officer before firing.

Maybe I'm just missing some utility from Covering Fire Rifle Suppression, I dunno. Suppression doesn't benefit from Covering Fire. No.


Imperator (Colonel): 2000 Points (1700 post-patch)
Smoke Grenade
Smoke and Mirrors
Covering Fire
Rifle Suppression
Combat Drugs
Deep Pockets
Sentinel
The Tac Officer's direct upgrade, aside from the expense.

In Enemy Within, particularly post-patching, I'd tend to say you should take the Imperator over the Tac Officer if you're considering the Tac Officer. Sentinel synergizes with Covering Fire to do a decent job of ensuring the soldier will get in a couple of shots before going down. Deep Pockets, though a bit niche (It does nothing if you're not using an item with multiple charges, and it's a bit of a waste to go for a Medikit -so basically you have to be taking a grenade of some kind), is still pretty notable, especially since the Imperator is roughly half the cost of the Demolitionist, making it arguably the better choice for a Grenade chucker. No Alien unit really competes with the Imperator in this regard -only the Cyberdisc carries two Alien Grenades, and it's 5500 points.

Sentinel doesn't synergize with Suppression, unfortunately, so that's potential not realized. Still, having Suppression when you already are worth using works out okay. If you happen to stumble into a situation in which Suppression is actually useful, great! If it never crops up, that's fine too.


Psi Guardian (Major): 2500 Points (2200 post-patch)
Smoke Grenade
Sprinter
Field Medic
Revive
Dense Smoke
Deep Pockets
Mindfray
Psi Inspiration
Telekinetic Field
Psi-medic!

I'll give the Psi Guardian one thing: no Alien provides Telekinetic Field or Psi Inspiration or anything sufficiently similar to invalidate them. Even so, 3000+ points for that is... questionable, and the rest of their build is heavily oriented toward being a medic, which job is generally going to be better done by other units.

I actually kind of like the idea of the Psi Guardian, but they're painfully overpriced given that XCOM always has to spend even more money to get competitive with non-XCOM units. Psi Inspiration is very niche, and Telekinetic Field can't justify the points on its own, even though it's legitimately good. So... they're just really difficult to justify.


Primary weapons
The conventional tier of a weapon is always free.


Laser Rifle: 200 Points

I'm not sure why they think you'd buy this given the Light Plasma Rifle is 100% superior for an additional 50 points.


Light Plasma Rifle: 250 points

Nearly double your damage for a modest fee and throw in a small Aim bonus for free. I'm there!



Plasma Rifle: 900 Points

I have no idea why this thing is so expensive.

Plasma-tier weaponry's expense is a major contributing factor in why players should usually buy Aliens if they're considering stacking gear onto an XCOM soldier -a Smokejumper with just a Plasma Rifle and no other gear is already 1800 points, which is only 1050 points less than the original Muton price while having less HP, fewer useful abilities, and no Alien Grenade. (Which originally was 1500 points!)



Scatter Laser: 250 Points

If you're fielding an Assault, you might as- wait no, take the Light Plasma Rifle, it's almost flatly superior.


Alloy Cannon: 950 Points

Why is this so pricey, anyway? In particular, why is it more expensive than the Heavy Plasma??


Laser Sniper Rifle: 250 Points

If you're going for a cheapskate Squadsight Sniper, this is an auto-buy. 250 points is worth a 50% increase in damage with free crit chance increase thrown in.


Plasma Sniper Rifle: 1000 Points

A further 50% increase over the Laser Sniper Rifle. If you're going for a Squadsight Sniper, probably worth springing for it -the Sniper's damage output is the only thing that really matters. Still, if you want to free up points for elsewhere, it may well be worth dropping down to a Laser Sniper Rifle.



Heavy Laser: 200 Points

An auto-buy if you're using a Heavy of any kind. The Machine Gunner is the only Heavy really worth considering, though.



Heavy Plasma: 900 Points

No idea why this is identical to a Plasma Rifle in price. Regardless, if you're going for a Machine Gunner this is probably a worthwhile purchase. Similar logic to the Plasma Sniper Rifle, only you might actually want to spend points into your Heavy's survival ability.


Pistols
There is no Blaster Launcher in Multiplayer. No idea why, honestly. It's not like it would be a gamebreaker.

Laser Pistol: 100 Points

The only reason I could imagine buying a Pistol is if you were using a Gunslinger Sniper -which has the problem that all the Gunslingers are also Snap Shotters, so it will almost always make more sense to just buy their primary gun.

Okay, fine, if you're completely unable to spend your points into anything more relevant and you have some points leftover, yeah, you might as well upgrade Pistols. Otherwise? Skip.



Plasma Pistol: 225 Points

See entry on Laser Pistol.


Armor

Carapace Armor: 600 Points

Take a Skeleton Suit instead. Why is this the same points cost as the Skeleton Suit, anyway? An extra hit point is not worth losing out on Mobility, Defense, and the grapple!


Skeleton Suit: 600 Points

By far the best armor for the points. Not quite a must-have on every XCOM soldier, but definitely worth its points.


Titan Armor: 1700 Points

Pricey, and the main value it provides is HP. In Enemy Within it also provides Strangulation immunity, but you can achieve that far more cheaply with an Item slot use via Chitin Plating, while still getting a nice boost to HP. If you're stacking points onto a single XCOM soldier, it's the best intersection of cheap and good, so it's still worth considering, but I feel it's a bit overpriced.


Archangel Armor: 2400 Points

Flight is enormously useful, and Dead Eye has Damn Good Ground. Unfortunately, you're spending more than 5000 points just on taking a Dead Eye and putting them into Archangel Armor, which is half your points in competitive matches! It's really too bad there isn't an In The Zone Sniper -that would be able to justify this kind of expense much more readily.

If you're not trying to equip a Dead Eye for maximum sniping, Archangel Armor is extremely questionable. There's multiple flight-capable Aliens, and Heavy Floaters in particular, especially post-patching, tend to make any XCOM build relying on Archangel Armor a dubious choice. Just putting a Rookie in Archangel armor is already 3200 points, and Heavy Floaters are 3750 points pre-patch, and 3000 post-patch, while throwing in a long-range Alien Grenade, a built-in Plasma Rifle, the Launch ability, and auto-cover even when standing in the open! Any kind of XCOM soldier who isn't a Squadsight Sniper just can't compete with that without launching so far above in price that the Heavy Floater is still the better choice.



Ghost Armor: 4200 Points

In the base game, might be worth it. Maybe. Honestly, probably not, as it's horribly expensive, but maybe.

In Enemy Within the Lurker Gene Mod package providing Mimetic Skin largely invalidates it, being considerably cheaper and still providing reliable stealth access. The caveat on Mimetic Skin -that you must be out of sight of enemies before you move and be moving into Full Cover- isn't much of an imposition. As such, in Enemy Within, if you're considering Ghost Armor, forget it: take Lurker+Skeleton Suit. All Ghost Armor really provides at that point is slight stat bonuses.



Psi Armor: 3000 Points

No.

Seriously, no. A Sectoid Commander has the same Will score as a Psi Assassin/Psi Warrior in Psi Armor while costing less than half the points the XCOM soldier requires. With the leftover points you can cover whatever direct combat value the xcommie would provide by buying a Muton or something. It's not like there's a synergy between being competent at psi and being competent at non-Psi attacks -not in Multiplayer, anyway, as there's no Psi Heavy option to take advantage of Bullet Swarm letting them shoot their gun and use a Psi ability in the same turn. Like, okay, the xcommie will have 5 more HP than the Sectoid Commander, yay?

If for some ungodly reason you still insist on buying a Psi Warrior or Psi Assassin, buy a Mind Shield instead. It's literally a tenth the points while providing more Will, and there's not actually a lot of quality competition for the item slot, and with the points you saved you can buy Titan Armor and still have 700 points left over compared to buying the Psi Armor, ending up with more Will, more HP, miscellaneous immunities... the only thing Psi Armor has over this setup is a slight enhancement to Mobility and to Defense. Skeleton Suit matches or exceeds Psi Armor on those counts, costs even less, and only loses out 3 HP compared to Psi Armor.

Seriously, never buy Psi Armor outside of, like, an unlimited points match. A fully committed Psi guy -Psi Warrior or Psi Assassin in Psi Armor with a Mind Shield- is just over 9,000 of your 10,000 points gone. I don't care that you can Mind Control enemies mostly-reliably, that leaves you enough to buy like two low-cost teammates (Sectoids, basically), leaving you with half a full team that's really, really hoping the enemy doesn't bring Cyberdiscs or anything else that's a hurdle to using psi, and meanwhile your Psi soldier only has 120 Will.


That gives you a 30% chance of Mind Controlling Chryssalids (50% chance of Mind Fraying them), a 60% chance of Mind Controlling Sectoid Commanders, 70% chance of Mind Controlling Muton Berserkers... basically anything you're guaranteed to Mind Control -or Mind Fray, for that matter- is something the Sectoid Commander would've been guaranteed to succeed against, too, and the Sectoid Commander will hit almost as hard with its gun (Unless you upgrade your Psi soldier's weapon, in which case that's even less points to go into teammates) and bring along a free Alien Grenade (Which you can't give your Psi Soldier in Enemy Unknown at all, and in Enemy Within will leave you with like 450 points if you do take it) and throws in Mass Mind Merge and, you know, only costs 3200 points. (2700 after patching!) You can have literally three Sectoid Commanders for your one super Psi guy! That completely overwhelms basically all the advantages the one "super Psi guy" brings to the table.

And yes, that means there's only three Armors worth buying for XCOM soldiers: Skeleton Suit, Titan Armor and, for Dead Eyes in specific, Archangel Armor.

Items

Medikit: 100 Points

If you're buying a Medic or a Psi Guardian, they need this to do their job at all.

Outside of them, a single use of +4 HP for a friendly organic unit is probably not worth the item slot, even at 100 points. The immunity to Poison/ability to clear Poison is barely noteworthy, too, in part because Thin Men are overpriced and Chryssalids are more of a threat for their raw damage output than for the Poison on their claws.

In Enemy Within, you're probably better off grabbing an EXALT Elite Medic, instead of trying to give an XCOM soldier a Medikit.



Combat Stims: 400 Points

Worthless and overpriced to boot. Do not buy.



Frag Grenade: 900 Points (300 in EW?)

Horrifically overpriced in the base game, and quite obviously so. Seriously, a Smokejumper with a Frag Grenade is 1800, while a Muton pre-patch is 2850. If you give your Smokejumper a Plasma Rifle to make them more competitive, they're just short of the Muton's price, but with less HP and a weaker Grenade and instead of Intimidate and Blood Call and Suppression and doubled ammo they get one use of a Smoke Grenade.

Better in Enemy Within, but honestly the only way I could see buying it instead of an Alien Grenade is if you have 300-450 points leftover and only one item slot left to fill on your team.



Alien Grenade: 1500 Points (500 in EW)

In the original game? Never buy it. If you're thinking of buying it, scrap the idea and grab a Muton. Or a Sectoid Commander, if you wanted a Psi-capable guy with a Grenade. Your points will go farther. Way farther.

In Enemy Within 500 points is still iffy -especially once the patch slashed the Muton's price- but I can imagine wanting to slap it into an xcommie's hands.



S.C.O.P.E.: 100 Points

Well, if you're making a Squadsight Sniper, this is the best pick, even in Enemy Within. For that matter, it's a workable thing to slap into any xcommie's hands where you don't have a better idea or don't have the points to spare for better ideas.



Nano-fiber Vest: 200 Points

Prior to the patch, take Chitin Plating instead, unless you, like, have exactly 200 points and one item slot to spare. Post-patch... honestly, still take Chitin Plating instead if you aren't in the middle of looking for a place to cut 300 points to fit something else in.


Chitin Plating: 300 Points (500 post-patch)

The best item to put in your item slot if you're not a Squadsight Sniper, basically.

In Enemy Within, particularly after the patch, you might give consideration to giving the Grenadier Heavies (Demolitionist and Juggernaut) an Alien Grenade instead. Assuming you're using them. Which is a questionable decision.



Mind Shield: 300 Points

If you must insist on taking a Psi Warrior or Psi Assassin, give them a Mind Shield. It's a noticeable buff to their psionic ability for a small points cost. The Psi Guardian can benefit too, I guess, but only Mind Fray actually uses Will out of their skills.

You can also use it to defend against psionic assault, and even to protect against panic, but I question the value in expending points on that, particularly in Enemy Within where you can take a Gene Mod pack to punish psionic attempts instead.


--------------------

I feel one problem with the Multiplayer balance is that there seems to have been a concept that XCOM units are supposed to get by on their flexibility and versatility, to the point that they're charged extra for their potential rather than their real value. For instance, with the original points values, a Rookie equipped with a Plasma Rifle and an Alien Grenade is 800+900+1500 points=3200 points. If you compare that to a Muton? The Rookie has less HP, less Aim, lacks Suppression, lacks Blood Call, lacks Intimidate... the only advantage the Rookie has is higher Will, which is mostly relevant when facing Psi users. The Muton? As you'll see in the next post, it was originally 2850 points.

That's one of the bluntest examples, but it's a recurring pattern. Pretty much anytime you can closely compare an XCOM build to an Alien, the XCOM build is overpriced, sometimes significantly so. In practice XCOM is forced to lean heavily on qualities simply not found on Aliens to stay relevant, such as Squadsight, because they're just too expensive to really compete when it comes to anything they do share with Aliens. This seems basically backwards to me: I'd expect the Multiplayer balance to be rooted in the assumption that Aliens have unique qualities and said unique qualities are the way they stay relevant.

Oh well.

Next time, we cover the Aliens in Multiplayer.

Comments

Popular Posts