XCOM 2: War of the Chosen – 11 Expansion Starter Tips | Beginner’s Guide

XCOM 2: War of the Chosen is a massive expansion, adding new features and systems to every aspect of the vanilla XCOM 2 campaign. There are so many changes to the formula, even XCOM die-hards like us can get lost in all the fancy new minutiae. That’s why we’re here to break down 11 features, tips, and changes you need to know about before diving headfirst into War of the Chosen.

New factions, new bosses, new missions and new enemy types are all included in XCOM 2: War of the Chosen. There’s so much new, we couldn’t even fit every single updated thing in the following list. The Chosen, the big bad boss monsters that randomly appear in your missions? That’s just the start.

You’ll have more unique soldiers thanks to the Soldier Bond system, tons of enhanced rooms to construct, more gear to research, and three Resistance Factions to keep happy with Covert Actions. Every aspect of XCOM 2 now features a whole lot more choice.

More XCOM 2: War of the Chosen guides on Gameranx:

11 Expansion Starter Tips | Beginner’s Guide


#1: Be Prepared For The Chosen | Hunter, Assassin & Warlock

The Chosen are an entire enemy faction unto themselves in XCOM: War of the Chosen. These cunning predators appear at random to engage XCOM, and each one has a variety of boss-like abilities to terrorize, kill or capture members of your combat team. They are reoccurring opponents, and the only way to kill a Chosen is to track them down to their Citadel (using new strategy layer Covert Ops, we’ll talk about those later) and destroying their regeneration sarcophagus.

There are three Chosen, champions of the alien faction that compete with one another. Each one wants to claim Earth for themselves, so you won’t see Chosen teaming up against you. But, they will appear during any regular mission, unexpectedly crashing the party and ruining your current strategy.

Important Note: The real threat from all three Chosen is their capture ability. All three Chosen will attempt to captureĀ  members of your team, interrogate them, and reveal the location of the Avenger. If the Avenger is located, the aliens will launch a devastating attack.

The Chosen will resurrect after being killed, and each Chosen controls a random area of the map. When you enter these territories for a mission, there’s a much greater chance of a Chosen appearing. The Chosen will also cripple XCOM on the strategy layer. One of their negative affects is lowering earned income.

The Chosen do have a weakness — each Chosen is vulnerable to one of the new three hero factions you can recruit. We’ll talk about them later, but for now, let’s dive into another group of enemies you’ll have to deal with.

#2: New Enemies Will Ruin Your Day | Purifier, Priest & Spectre

ADVENT has acquired three new alien opponents, and all three are going to give XCOM problems. The Purifier is a heavy-duty ADVENT trooper armed with a flamethrower, the Priest uses a variety of psychic abilities to stun and disable your XCOM team, and the Spectre is a stealthy sniper that can disappear from the battlefield entirely or create shadow clones of your troopers.

  • Purifier
    • Armed with a flame-thrower. Spreads fire in a wide area to “purify” Lost swarms, or when attacking settlements in terror missions. Also known to use incendiary grenades.
    • Explodes on death, so stay back! Keep your distance in general.
  • Priest
    • Armed with a Magnetic Rifle and lots of Psionic powers. Can Mind Control, Stasis, or mind merge with allies — killing the Priest will kill the enhanced soldier while mind merged.
    • Sometimes, Priests can bounce back from the brink of death and re-shield themselves.
  • Spectre
    • Uses Stealth to ambush with a Sniper Rifle, and can Vanish at will.
    • At close range, will use Shadowblind ability to stunlock and create a shadow clone of the targeted XCOM soldier.
    • Have Lightning Reflexes on first Overwatch, and can heal themselves with the Horror ability at long range.

These are three devastating opponents, but they’re not the only new enemies. The Lost are a mutant swarm you’ll encounter often — and they can help, or hinder, your enemies.

#3: The Lost Are Mutant Threats That Attack Everything, Alien Or Human

The Lost are a pack of mindless zombies — byproducts of alien biological weapons. They don’t discriminate between targets, and will kill aliens just as fast as they kill humans. The Lost are drawn to loud noises, and they just keep coming. You can’t defeat a Lost swarm. You can run, but you’ll never win — eventually their numbers will overwhelm you.

NOTE: When fighting the Lost, you earn a free action after every headshot kill. You can continuously chain headshots to take down an entire group before you’re overrun, but you’ll want to watch your ammo count.

That’s why you’ll want to divert Lost from your location and send them after the aliens instead. Grenades and other loud noises, including shots from ADVENT soldiers, will attract the Lost.

#4: Pick Your Faction | Reapers, Templars & Skirmishers

War of the Chosen’s second massive feature are the factions — there are three factions spread across the globe, and convincing these factions to work with XCOM is going to be a challenge. The factions are highly independent, but winning their allegiance will earn XCOM specialized hero units that are devastating on the battlefield.

TIP: Each faction provides a different bonus in the strategy layer. Finding and unlocking a faction HQ gives additional intel (Reapers), heals your soldiers faster (Templars), or causes builds to complete faster (Skirmishers).

There are three factions; the Reapers, the Templars, and the Skirmishers. They all have competing ideologies, but by providing them aid (completing missions for them), they can be convinced to work with XCOM. Send soldiers on Covert Ops or complete requests to improve your standing with one faction — which might hurt your standing in a different faction. It’s all about choice, and deciding which faction you want to go with first is an important first step in War of the Chosen. Here’s a few tips to help you make that tough decision.

#5: Stay Stealthy With The Reapers | Reaper Faction Tips

The Reapers are stealthy resistance soldiers dedicated to hunting the Chosen. They’re resourceful, and have a smaller detection radius when in stealth — they can also re-enter stealth after being spotted by the enemy. This allows the Reapers to scout ahead and continuously ambush opponents throughout a mission.

  • Reaper Tips
    • Reapers come equipped with a powerful sniper rifle that’s deadly accurate.
    • Some abilities allow the Reaper to remain in stealth after a killshot. Get only killshots, and you’ll stay in cover forever.
    • Reapers can use Saboteur abilities to self-destruct cars, or drop extremely powerful Claymore explosives.
    • You can even attach a Claymore to an enemy, giving another team member a 100% successful shot.

#6: Gain Deadly CQC Momentum With Psi-Enhanced Templars | Templar Faction Tips

Unlike the Reaper, the Templar is a melee-focused soldier that’s the center of attention in any battle. They start under-powered, but gain Momentum as you begin killing enemies — using the Rend ability to kill gives the Templar another charge of “Focus” — as Focus is increased, Rend becomes more powerful, Templars gain more mobility, and all of their defensive stats increase. But, using the most powerful abilities requires Focus.

  • Templar Tips
    • Because of their reliance on Focus, set up killshots for Templars early in a mission. Damage enemies with other soldiers, then kill with the Templar. After building up Focus, the Templar becomes much, much more powerful.
    • The Templar can swap locations with an enemy — use exchange to swap an enemy to the Templar’s location, then run back and stab them! That way, you don’t have to run far away from your team to kill enemies in melee range.
    • Templars can use their Parry skill to draw fire from enemies, and Deflect gives a high chance to completely block incoming attacks.
    • Save powerful Templar AoE abilities for multiple killshots — you can restore all the Focus you just used up.

#7: Control The Battlefield With Upgraded Alien Skirmishers | Skirmisher Faction Tips

The Skirmishers are the most versatile of the new faction. These former ADVENT soldiers have escaped the alien’s evil clutches, and they’re seeking revenge. The Skirmishers are straight-up soldiers, and their default Assault Rifle can fire twice per turn, or use the deadly Ripjack melee weapon to devastate enemies at close-range. Their grappling hook makes them incredibly mobile, too.

  • Skirmisher Tips
    • Using the grappling hook is a free action. Use it to change positions and use all your actions for attacks, especially if you can zip straight into flanking shots.
    • The Skirmisher’s melee ability has a high chance to stun targets. Useful for capturing or locking an annoying target.
    • The insane Battlelord abilitiy is exclusive to the Skirmishers. When activated, you can take an action after every enemy action — just like the Alien Rulers.

#8: Unlock Bonus Skills With The New Soldier Bond System

The Bond System is a complex addition to XCOM2 that makes your soldiers even more unique. If soldiers experience special, climactic events — like being the only two survivors in a squad, or if a soldier rescues another — they are far more likely to become bondmates. Every soldier has a basic compatibility, and the more soldiers work together, the more that compatibility will increase. When two soldiers bond, they’ll appear in the bar getting drinks together, practicing at the shooting range, or a variety of other activities.

That’s when you get bondmates. You’ll want to send bondmates out on missions together — as their bond increases, you’ll earn new abilities that are exclusive to the bondmates.

  • Bondmates can grant additional action points to their bondmate, give bonuses to aim, restore negative mental effects, speed up Covert Actions, provide even more Action Points, or shoot enemies with a powerful Dual Strike.

A bonded soldier cannot be bonded to any other soldier — until death — and if one bondmate witnesses the death of their fellow bondmate, they’ll fly into an uncontrollable rage. That’s just one negative side-effect, there are others

#9: Send Soldiers On Covert Actions For A Variety Of Tactical Benefits

Covert Actions are a new addition to the tactical layer, allowing the Commander to send individual soldiers on non-combat missions with lots of incredibly useful benefits. You can rescue soldiers captured by the Chosen, uncover new recruits, soldiers, or resources — or track down the Chosen Citadels.

  • Covert Actions – Examples:
    • Hunt Chosen Strongholds
    • Rescue Soldiers Captured By Chosen
    • Locate Faction HQs
    • Counter Chosen Activity
    • Recruit Faction Soldiers
    • Unlock Resistance Orders

Covert Actions don’t always work out. If a Covert Action fails, your soldier can return home wounded, or you’ll jump into a tactical map situation with only 2-3 soldiers, forced to extract before the aliens kill your team. You’ll be able to assign extra soldiers and staff to help increase the odds for a successful Covert Action.

As a reward for Covert Actions, you can unlock Resistance Orders. These are special policies you can unlock, unique to each faction, that provide a variety of long-lasting benefits. The Reapers can slow mission timers, or summon extra Resistance Soldiers to help in battles. Skirmishers increase facility construction and special explosive weapon breakthroughs. Templars can limit the negative effects of any status effects, or increase the chances for research breakthroughs.

There’s more than that, but earning Resistance Orders will help your cause tremendously in the long run.

#10: Take the Fight to the Chosen For Unique Weapon Rewards

To locate a Chosen Citadel, the Commander must complete three Covert Actions to find intel on the Chosen Citadel of your choice. After finished three intel-collecting Covert Actions, the Chosen Citadel itself will become available.

Invading a Citadel and defeating a Chosen permanently will reward XCOM with unique weapons — each Chosen has two special weapons XCOM can collect and equip, and they’re all incredibly powerful. Here’s what class of weapon you’ll get for defeating each Chosen.

  • Hunter: Sniper Rifle & Pistol
  • Assassin: Shotgun & Blade
  • Warlock: Assault Rifle & Psi Amp

Keep these rewards in mind before choosing which Chosen to takedown first. Pick the Chosen with the weapons you’re looking for!

#11: Savescum! Save Often, Load Often

This final tip is pretty self-explanatory — save often, load often. It isn’t the most honorable way to play XCOM, but if you’re struggling with the campaign and can’t handle losing soldiers you’ve invested in, there’s no reason to skip saving.

XCOM 2, by default, will autosave after every turn. We recommend trying to move forward and complete missions, even if a particular turn doesn’t go in your favor — but it’s all up to you, and your skill level. If the game is getting too tough, there’s no reason to lower the difficulty just yet. Go back and try again at the start of the mission to avoid losing those valuable troops you’ve spent so much time leveling up.

NOTE: The term “savescumming” is a relic of the rogue-like community, even if these days most rogue-like games have removed the option entirely. Basically, it’s all about saving and loading until you get the most optimal result from your actions. Miss a shot? Reload! Get shot? Reload! Etc.

Don’t be a total savescummer. Do your best, keep some previous saves handy, but don’t be too quick to reload. Failure is part of the fun in XCOM.