XCOM 2 Advanced Tips & Tricks

By Marcello Perricone 14 Oct 2019 0

XCOM 2 is a great tactical game. So great, in fact, that it made it onto our list of best turn-based strategy games. It's also a game that may seem simple after you get the hang of it, but there are a lot of advanced tactics and strategies that the tutorials don't cover.

Here at Strategy Gamer we aim to provide fun content while helping players learn new things about their favourite games, and we've put together a guide of some of our favourite tactics, tricks & tips. Don't forget to check out our XCOM 2 squad build guide to help maximise your success in both tactical battles and the strategy layer.

XCOM 2 Squad Tips

  • Mimic Beacons are extremely useful for luring out enemy forces, as they force every alien in the vicinity to attack them before your real operatives. One secret feature, however, is that you can throw the beacon near an obstacle to have the projection take cover to avoid enemy fire, significantly extending the beacon’s lifetime.
  • The Phantom perk allows Rangers to start missions concealed even if the rest of the squad didn’t, which makes a world of difference in the realm of intel. Use your concealed ranger as a scout to anticipate alien patrols, then ambush them by shooting them in the back.
  • Most levels have extremely destructible environments, allowing for a wide range of tactical options. You can destroy roofs to relocate landing zones, take down walls to deny enemy cover, and level houses to create a quicker path to your objective. You’re also able to deal direct damage with environmental interaction, such as blowing out the floor underneath an enemy. This causes fall damage as well as explosive wounds, and works especially well against turrets. Just remember: the aliens can use the same tactic against you.
  • You can order your soldiers to follow a specific path to get somewhere by holding control and left clicking, which places waypoints for them to follow. This is especially useful to avoid overwatch arcs during engagements and enemy fields of vision/breaking through windows during the concealment phase.

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  • Soldiers left behind can usually be rescued. When an XCOM operative is not extracted for any reason, they’re captured by Advent forces and taken into custody. There is a chance that they won’t be killed and can sometimes be rescued, which takes the form of a VIP rescue mission.
  • If you complete a mission before the timer on dropped items expire, you will pick them up automatically. That also works in the unfortunate event where a soldier dies and you need to reclaim their gear.
  • War of the Chosen's Skirmishers’ can use their grappling hooks as a free action, allowing them to relocate and still have two actions.
  • Soldiers assigned to Covert actions together will see their bond strengthen just like operatives in normal tactical missions, so use them to increase cohesion between low-ranked squad members.
  • The Teamwork bonus from bonded squadmates is more useful than just providing extra shots to finish enemies. It allows one member to dash ahead and scout, but still enter Overwatch, hunker down, or do anything else in case they find an enemy patrol.
  • The Dual Strike bonus from bonded squadmates causes the bondmate to fire their primary weapon, regardless of restrictions, as long as both have ammo. That means sharpshooters can fire their sniper rifle even when they've already used it that turn. 

XCOM 2 Enemy Tips

  • If a Viper has grabbed one of your operatives on a choke hold and you’re not confident on your ability to shoot before the turn ends, you can throw a grenade at it. Carefully aimed explosives can hit the vipers without damaging your soldier, allowing you to damage or outright kill the reptile and free your soldier unscathed with one action.
  • The enemy usually calls down reinforcements as soon as the main objective is complete, and the timer is often as small as one turn. Use that to anticipate enemy deployment and the placement of evac zones, if you have the chance.
  • All psionic status effects can be neutralised by killing the enemies from which they originated or hitting them with a flashbang. This includes the Sectoid 'Mind Control', Chosen's 'Daze', and all offensive Priest abilities. Curiously, it also worked with Spectres' 'Shadowbound', even though they are not psionic units.


  • War of the Chosen's Purifiers can explode upon death damaging anything around it, regardless of allegiance. Don't engage them in melee.
  • (War of the Chosen) Be aggressive when fighting The Lost, as getting closer to them allows you to hit more often and chain attacks together. Methodically pick them off from weakest to strongest.
  • (War of the Chosen) The Lost are hostile to human and aliens alike, and often target the closest enemy. Keep the aliens between you and the swarm to maximise your chances of survival. The Lost always take their turn after the Alien Activity phase, so they can be used to trigger enemy 'Overwatch' and ruin ADVENT’s strategy. 

 XCOM 2 Base Guide

  • While constructing a room can take days, upgrading them is instantaneous.
  • The adjacency bonuses are less pronounced than they were in XCOM 1, but they still matter; building rooms near a Workshop allow them to be staffed with the little Gremlin bots, freeing up valuable engineers for other duties. The biggest efficiency factor this time around, however, is their location; besides the power cores that must be restored to working order, placing power generators on the bottom floor grants them a bonus to power generation.


  • Less of an advanced tip and more of an essential strategy, the Guerrilla Tactics School and Advanced Warfare Center must be built as fast as possible. The GTS allows you to field more units, level them up quicker, and get more items per mission, among many other useful perks. The AWC allows your soldiers to gain one extra ability outside of their class, and while you can retrain high level soldiers to unlock them, building the Center early minimizes the amount of time soldiers will be off duty retraining their skills.

  • The AWC is replaced with the Infirmary and the Training Centre in War of the Chosen, which can heal soldiers twice as fast when staffed with engineers (Infirmary) and upgrade bond levels, respec characters, and allows you to buy skills outside their class (Training Centre). The Infirmary should be prioritised, as it is used after virtually every single mission.
  • War of the Chosen's Resistance Ring should be built quickly, as it unlocks recruitment of powerful factional units and allows you to field more resistance orders at once, giving you multiple passive bonuses every month.

What do you think? Can those tactics help you improve your game? Do you have any advanced tips we missed? Let us know in the comments below!



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