When building a squad in XCOM 2, there are several things to keep in mind. Your team has to be versatile, with enough firepower and utilities to be able to cope with anything.
Before we dive into the skills, here are some tips on general team building:
Our ideal build includes Return Fire, Lightning Hands, Death From Above, Kill Zone, Steady Hands and Serial. As far as equipment is concerned, we like to upgrade our sniper rifles with scopes and give battle scanners to the people using them.
We like to specialize in blast damage, so we pretty much always go with Shredder, Demolition, Heavy Ordnance (Holo Targeting for B Team grenadier, maybe), Volatile Mix, Hail of Bullets and Rupture. Modding your heavy cannon with a magazine extender is a must. We also encourage you to experiment with different types of grenades whenever you can.
Although making a phantom ranger is a smart move and can be a better solution at higher difficulty settings, honestly, the sword-wielding maniac is so much fun to play. Our favourite Ranger build includes Phantom, Shadowstep, Run and Gun, Bladestorm, Untouchable and Reaper. Early on in the game, a ranger with Run & Gun and a medkit can be a lifesaver. Later on, it’s best to just focus on providing the ranger with protection, since he will be getting the closest to danger.
The wise choice would be to have one of each – a medic and a hacker. When upgrading them, you should just follow the left side for the doctor and the right for the hacker, except at Captain and Major ranks. There, we recommend taking Threat Assessment and Ever Vigilant. The medic should be equipped with a medkit, obviously.
However, most players won’t be able to unlock all of the skills, so there’s still the need to choose. Our recommendations would be Inspire, Stasis Shield, Sustain, Fortress. Fuse and Domination are both great skills, as are Null Lance and Void Rift.
Having a poorly built squad will lead to your doom. For the best results, you’ll have to carefully choose abilities when your soldiders advance through the ranks. This guide will show you the best squad skills builds in XCOM 2 that will help you win most fights.
Before we dive into the skills, here are some tips on general team building:
- It’s imperative that you have at least one of each class in your squad. When you increase your squad size, you can insert a second Grenadier or Specialist, but before that it’s best to have one of each.
- Have a Team B. Your main soldiers will get hurt in combat. You need to have capable stand-ins for times like that. Use low difficulty missions and the GTC to boost your backup guys.
- Diversify your inventory. Having a bunch of frag grenades might seem like a good idea, but there are times when a smoke grenade can do so much more than an explosive one. Fill up your utility slots with different items.
Sharpshooter SkillsSharpshooters start with the Squadsight ability, which lets them target anyone the team can see, as long as they have a clean line of sight. Here’s a list of all the abilities you can unlock for this class as you progress:
|Rank||Sniper Skills||Gunslinger Skills|
Allow Overwatch to trigger with Squadsight
When targeted by enemy fire, automatically fire back with your pistol once per turn
Take a shot with a small aim penalty for a significant damage boost
Fire your pistol at a target. This attack does not cost an action
|Lieutenant||Death From Above:|
Killing an enemy at a lower elevation with your sniper rifle costs only a single action, and does not end your turn
Firing your pistol with your first action no longer ends your turn
Take a reaction shot against any enemy that moves or attacks within a cone of fire
Fire once at every visible enemy with your pistol
If you did not move last turn, gain +10 Aim and +10 Critical chance
Hunker Down now confers +20 Aim to the first shot on the following turn
A powerful chained shot ability. For every kill made with your sniper rifle, your actions will be refunded
Fire the pistol three times at the same target
Grenadier AbilitiesGrenadiers begin with a skill called Launch Grenade, which lets them use a grenade launcher. The grenades it shoots have better range and do more damage than regular ones. Here are the rest of their abilities:
|Rank||Demolitions Expert Skills||Heavy Gunner Skills|
Your gear includes layers of extra padding and blast plates, granting a bonus point of Armour and 66% less damage from explosive attacks
Your cannon attacks shred armour
Unleash a volley of bullets at your target’s cover, significantly damaging or destroying it. Deals no damage to your target
Fire a barrage that pins down a target, granting reaction fire against it if it moves, and imposing a -50 penalty to the target’s aim
The grenade in your grenade-only slot gains a bonus use
Any directed cannon shot, hit or miss, will mark the target, increasing your squad’s aim by +15 against this target
Your grenades have an increased radius of 1 tile and deal +2 damage
Take a shot with an aim penalty of -15. If you hit the target, you take another shot on the target automatically
Launching or throwing grenades, or using heavy weapons with your first action, will not end your turn
|Hail of Bullets|
Unleash a hail of bullets that is guaranteed to hit your target, but uses a lot of ammunition
Fire a cone shaped barrage of bullets at every enemy in an area. In addition, the cover of those enemies can be damaged or destroyed. Uses three ammo
A Rupture shot deals critical damage and ensures that the target takes an additional +3 damage from all attacks in the future
Ranger SkillsRangers start off with Slash, a skill that lets them run up to any enemy within dashing distance and attack them with the sword. The rest of the skills focus either on swordsmanship or staying concealed and making good use of it:
|Rank||Scout Abilities||Assault Abilities|
When the squad is revealed, this soldier remains concealed
Deal +2 extra damage on all sword attacks
When concealed, gain +25 bonus aim and +25 bonus critical hit chance when attacking enemies
This soldier does not trigger overwatch or reaction fire
Immediately enter concealment once per mission
|Run and Gun|
Take an action after dashing
If you score one or more kills on your turn, you are granted a single bonus move
Free sword attacks on any enemies that enter or attack from melee range
If you did not attack this turn, hunker down automatically
If you score a kill during your turn, the next attack against you during the enemy turn will miss
Fire twice in a row at an enemy. Each shot suffers an Aim penalty of -15. There is no cooldown on this ability
A devastating chain melee attack where the first melee attack cannot miss. Each melee kill in Reaper mode grants an extra action, but further melee attacks deal reduced damage
Specialist AbilitiesSpecialists have a starting ability called Aid Protocol, which allows the gremlin to buff an ally with increased Defense for one turn. The other abilities will develop them into either a medic or a hacker:
|Rank||Battle Medic Skills||Combat Hacker Skills|
The GREMLIN can perform healing actions remotely: GREMLIN Heal and GREMLIN Stabilize. The GREMLIN has a single charge. If a medikit is equipped it has two charges
Send the GREMLIN to an enemy to jolt them, dealing guaranteed damage, which is increased against robotic enemies
Send the GREMLIN to an ally to remove any negative mental status effects: Disoriented, Stunned, Panicked, or Unconscious
You may target robotic and mechanical enemies with your GREMLIN, attempting to hack them and seize control
Equipped medikits have 2 extra charges
The GREMLIN can trigger an instant scan of the area, increasing the Specialist’s sight radius substantially for one turn, and revealing any hidden or disguised enemies
Overwatch shots can now be triggered by any enemy action, not just movement
Aid Protocol now grants the target a Covering Fire Overwatch shot, but the Aid Protocol cooldown is increased by 1 turn
If you spend all of your actions on moves, you are granted an automatic overwatch shot at the end of the turn
With every successful Overwatch shot, there is a 50% chance that another shot will be taken
The GREMLIN flies to each squad member, healing or reviving them as needed
Send the GREMLIN to a location where it emits a substantial electric discharge, damaging and potentially stunning all nearby units. Robotic units take more damage
Psi Operative AbilitiesPsi Operatives are like mages in the XCOM universe. They use their minds to do damage and disable enemies. They start off with a random low-level psi ability, and the rest of their skills aren’t mutually exclusive. If you have enough time and missions, you could level up the psi soldier in such a way to have all the skills in the game. Here’s a list of them:
Debilitating telepathic attack that can inflict different negative conditions, including mental control of the target.
Grant a bonus action immediately to a nearby squadmate
Soul Fire transfers half of the damage done back to the Psi Operative as health
Stasis can be cast on allies, rendering them immune to any attacks, and stunned, for 1 turn
Psi Operative is surrounded by an aura that immediately extinguishes or blocks any mental impairments for themselves and any nearby squadmates
If the Psi Operative takes enough damage to be killed, they are immediately put in Stasis for 1 turn and their health is only reduced to 1 HP. This can only happen once per mission
Insanity now does a small amount of guaranteed damage, and applies Rupture to the target
The Psi Operative is immune to fire, poison, acid and explosive damage
If an enemy is carrying explosives, they can be remotely detonated by the Psi Operative
Permanently mind control an enemy. Only one successful Domination can be performed per mission
Project a beam of terrible power that damages every target it passes through. This attack can penetrate multiple enemies and obstacles
Generate an explosive field of Psionic energy that damages everything within. Organic enemies have a chance to suffer Insanity.