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Combat Roles and Kit

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I figured we could use a thread to discuss our squad compositions and the thinking behind them. Don't worry I'll start:

Breach Team:

2 Shotgun Troopers, and 2 LMG Troopers.

My Shotgun Troopers are always the two with the most TUs. The basic idea is that these two suicidal fools rush into a room, find an alien, get directly adjacent to it, and unload as much Snap-Fire as possible.

Perhaps surprisingly (it is to me anyway), I find these guys typically aren't the ones who get killed. Unfortunately they're pretty crap outside UFOs. Or I'm using them wrong.

My two LMG troopers basically ghost the Shotgun Troopers. The idea is that the Shogunners uncover the entire room, and the LMG Troopers Burst-Fire the hell out of anything the Shotgunners didn't have the TU to dead with. My LMG Troopers are picked pretty much exclusively on the basis of their Accuracy. High Accuracy LMG Bursts are very effective, and mostly avoid trashing all the shiny thingies that keeps my bases funded and my research progressing.

Map Clearing Team:

2 Rifle Troopers, and 1 Vehicle.

I'd be lying if I said I pick my Rifle Troopers based on their stats. I pick them based on their lack of stats. Basically, these two suicidal fools uncover the fog of war for the Vehicle, so the Vehicle can blast stuff without getting blasted too badly in return.

My LMG Troopers help provide fire support for the Vehicle, and I do occasionally manage to provide fire support and/or band-aids to the Rifle Troopers with my Shotgunners. But my Breach Team bee-lines for the UFO, so the Rifle Troopers and Vehicle are often on their own for a few Turns.


Kit considerations are basically that I always give everyone at least 1 Medkit, 1 Smoke Grenade & 1 Stun Grenade. Smoke and Medkits are just incredibly good if you, like me, get shot a lot. Stun Grenades are pretty situational, I find, but totally worth it when RNGesus is kind enough to provide the ideal circumstances.


So what does your Squad look like? And what do you think of mine?

I know a lot of people use Riot Shields & Handguns. I've only tried one out, but I found the range on the handgun to be completely inadequate, and the damage output to be pretty miserable as well. But I'm inclined to think it's better to kill an alien in 1 hit, than it is to have an improved chance of surviving return fire.

Then again, I'm not exactly great at the game yet, so it's very possible I'm going about things all wrong.

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I favor brutal fire superiority. Anyway, here goes.

Firepower Team

Gunner: LMG and plenty of ammo.

Grenadier: Rifle, Rocket Launcher ready in the Backpack when needed.

Support: Rifle, Medikit, Grenades (anything that's generally needed, the prior 2 Soldiers mostly carry ammo).

That's a general 3 Person fireteam. To fill out the rest of personnel slots you can either take a tank (which I prefer), or bring an additional soldier into each fireteam for scouting and breaching.

Edit: I select my soldiers primarily by Strength and Accuracy. Everyone who does not yet fulfill the requirements to carry a heavy gun will either play support (which is a good rookie position) or stay at home.

Edited by theSovereign
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Well my squads change as the game goes on. But in the beggining I basically have 1 high reflex/HP guy with a shield as a scout. Their job is to uncoveer new areas of the map and cop any reaction fire. Its a great position for a rookie meatshield, as you dont care so much if they get vaporised. You are right about pistols, they arn't much good, which is why i also load him up with many different types of nades. I still get them to take pistol shots at things its just that im doing it to level up accuracy rather than expecting any real damage to be done from it. An MG or 2 are great for suppression and a rocket is super useful when you get to those nasty building type maps where you know a reaper or seb is just gonna run round the corner and unleash in your face... I pretty much demolish buildings and cover left and right with them so i have nice long firing ranges. They are also super useful for blowing the crap outta the inside of alien ships from a safe range or even better gas rockets >8)

The remaining soldiers carry both rifles and shotguns. That way they can do both longer range combat through the map and shotgunning when it comes time to UFO breach or clearing buildings. And yeah 1 of each nade type and a medkit each. After blowing the doors off the UFO the shield guy goes in with a suppression nade and then Ive got 3 or 4 shotgun guys to finish the job. I also usually take one sniper who carries a spare rocket, C4, etc.

I'm finding I pick troops based on Hitpoints, bravery and reflexes now since TU, strength and accuracy are probably the easiest to level. Of course very low strength or TU are avoided its just that they're not my number one priority any more. On veteran a low HP soldier in jackal armour is likely to die from a single shot, whilst a higher HP one can scrap through to survive the mission. I dont use vehicles at all till the very end of the game.

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So my current approach is a flexible team - 8 guys.

1 X Shield. Equipment: Shield, pistol and a bucket-load of grenades. Favoured stats: Health, TUs

The shield acts as a scout where there is little cover, spotting units for the other Xenonauts. The shield also guards UFO doors while I get my team ready, and is used to draw reaction fire. The grenades help extend the shield's usefulness a bit - smoke for cover, flash for suppression and a grenade to explode tricky aliens.

1 X Assault. Equipment: Shotgun and bucket-load of grenades. Favoured Stats: Health, TUs, Accuracy, Reactions (often the best all round soldier).

The assault scouts in areas with lots of cover, especially full cover. Useful for eliminating those pesky aliens who hide behind corners. The assault also goes into UFOs after the shield has drawn the alien fire and finishes off the aliens. The grenades help give the assault a bit more utility when the shotgun is out of range.

1 X Sniper. Equipment: Sniper Rifle. Favoured stats: Accuracy.

The ballistic sniper rifle is useful, but underwhelming compared to the later versions of sniper-rifle. The range and accuracy though make even the ballistic sniper rifle a useful addition to a team. Good for staying out of the enemy's sight and dealing the initial damage to aliens spotted by the scout.

1 X LMG. Equipment: Machine Gun. Favoured stats: strength, accuracy.

LMG is brilliant for damage output. It can also be used to suppress enemies in a pinch, though is somewhat risky due to the reaction fire malus of the machine gun. Good wherever an alien is behind cover or is too tough to be killed with the other weapons. Awesome against grouped aliens.

1 X Rocketeer. Equipment: Rocket Launcher. Favoured stats: accuracy, strength.

The rocket launcher tends to be the weapon of last resort due to its tendency to destroy precious artifacts, but I wouldn't go on a mission without one! They are very good at blowing up the alien that has somehow survived a turn's worth of fire. Also brilliant at getting aliens behind cover, especially full cover. The stun rocket is potentially useful, but I've never really used it.

3 X Rifles. Equipment: rifles, c4, grenades. Favoured stats: any.

The rifles are the Xenonauts left over. I use the rifle position as a training position and try to have 8 Xenonauts on rotation to ensure I have relatively skilled replacements rather than complete rookies when a Xenonaut dies. The C4 is incredibly useful for blowing doors off UFOs, which I find makes them easier to breach. Other than that, they serve a general purpose role. Grenades give them a bit more oomph too.

My team strategy is to generally advance in two directions - the open path is taken by the shield with the sniper, rocketeer and a rifle providing support. The path with lots of cover is taken by the shield, backed up by two rifles and the machine gunner. Once I've cleared the map I blow the UFO's door off its hinges and shoot any vulnerable aliens with the MG and sniper. The shield and assault then go in and finish the job. I've found during my play that you can never have enough grenades either...

On a side-note, I've found the pistol to be quite useful. If you can get close to an alien (the shield helps), the low TUs of each shot allow you to do a fair bit of damage to an alien. Generally though, I tend to use the pistol to finish off an already damaged alien.

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My favorite is still the following:

2x Shotguns

2x Rifles w/Rocket Launcher

2x Rifles w/Medikit

2x Machine Guns

+ loads of grenades for everyone

I may use pistol + shield before I get armors for the shotgunners.

I've always found Sniper rifles kind of awkward to use but I maybe experiment with making Snipers out of the two most accurate veterans when I get a Shrike.

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2 riot cops with shields and stun batons, with shotgun for times, when shield is broken

2 rifles

2 lmg + rocket launchers

2 snipers

everyone, except heavy weapon has a medpack and big payload of nades, preferably stun (I'm can't get what smoke grenades effect is and what it is good for, so haven't use them much)

also everyone is overloaded by 1 kg.

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My recovery/base attack team: Two shotgunners, one LMG, one Rocketeer, two riflemen, one vehicle. Terror team: two LMG, two rocketeers, two riflemen, one vehicle. When I get to larger troop ships I add a sniper and another riflemen. Occasionally, if I have someone that starts with high accuracy and good strength I'll drop one riflemen and take a sniper from the beginning, however, that sniper will

Breaching equipment:

1 C4, 3 non-lethal grenades, two smoke grenades, 1 extra magazine, first aid kit, shotgun


2-3 magazines, 1 smoke, 1 non-lethal, 1 HE, first aid kit, 1 C4 if weight allows, rifle

also carrying some breaching equipment and a pistol along with the sniper rifle. Everyone wears the best armor they can carry while maintaining the equipment load out.


As many magazines as possible, one first aid, 1 smoke


As many rockets as possible (mix of gas and HE), one first aid, nearly always light/no armor


4 magazines, one first aid kit, pistol w/spare magazine, smoke grenade, 1 non-lethal

As a side note: On terror missions I'll often overload troops with rockets and ammo then drop them on the floor or ground when I arrive. Liberal application of HE and suppressive fire is important on terror missions.

Edited by StellarRat
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I've never found rifles to be any good, as they're too weak or consume too much TU's to be useful. Given the slow nature of machine guns, and the high TU consumption, I typically only have one of these. While I adore the raw power of the machine gun, typically the only thought that goes into my machine gunner is strength; can they carry the weapon and ammo? Accuracy and everything else is pretty much pointless, since the machine gun is so powerful and just 1-2 hits hitting the target will usually kill them that I don't bother with stats on that.

I typically only have one or two riflemen, just to fill in a vague niche role.

The basis of most of what I do comes in on my snipers, shotguns, and my shield. The Shield serves as a scout, but also as a damage soak. I'm not sure how many of my guys were saved just by a well positioned shield, but to begin with my shield is usually a higher ranking dude. Although the pistol is weak, I've noticed it doing a lot more damage than I expected, and even killing aliens in 1-2 successful shots, so they tend to get a lot of kills. Later in the game I put my least favorite guy in the position as a damage soak/to level them if they survive.

Shotguns and machine guns are GREAT at clearing out UFO's; shotguns do a ton of damage, like three shots on the same guy for virtually no TU's. I typically found that since their actions cost the least TU's, I can afford to put in guys with lower TU's, however typically they have the most average stats, with slightly above average accuracy.

Snipers are fantastic since they can basically ignore all range restrictions. I typically have at least 2; if your scout for instance discovers an alien but used up all his TU's, a correctly positioned sniper can usually pick them off.

I typically replace one riflemen or other crappy soldier with a guy with a rocket launcher and use him mostly to stun aliens, predominately in early UFO missions before good armor/high accuracy to incapacitate as many aliens as early as possible. You not only recover all the items you want without damaging them, but you also tend capture your alien enemies, so you achieve your objective. From my experience, later in the game stun rods are the only reliable thing that will take down an officer and such, so you may put one of those are on your stun rocket man.

Bear in mind, I play on easy and normal, so Idk if the health is that much higher on aliens. I don't really like having a rocket since they're essentially wasted man except in the right situations.

So, 1 machine gun, 1 shield, 1-2 riflemen/or 1 rocket mansz, 2 shotgun, 2 snipers.

The purpose of my tactics are to be rather aggressive. The maps are relatively small, compared to say real life, and the furthest enemy is likely less than 150 tiles away, so the game is almost all close combat. Thus, things like shotguns can move in real quickly and take people out. If you kill the enemy, the enemy can't kill you, so getting in close and taking powerful shots with the shotgun is really nice. I often have shotgun guys kill 2 guys in a single go, just because the TU consumption of their shots are pretty low. Aliens tend to cluster, so you often find them near enough to exploit that.

Always travel in 2's except for sometimes shields (who can absorb enough damage to not die), with one man covering the other. I typically use my slower guys, machine gunners and rockets, to be put on guard duties. If you look at the map, there is typically that one area that a bad guy could sneak up on you on from behind or come out of nowhere and flank you, so, by putting a machine gunner and rocketer there, who tend to work fairly well together, or a sniper, you can also make sure no-one is sneaking up on your main team, and thus always focus on what's ahead of you. Basically, you block off a bottle neck area where either your team or aliens would have to travel through and have troops there monitoring what's going on, or that can kill the enemy if need be. You can typically move your machine gunners and stuff to new positions as you clear more areas and come across new "crossroads" that are finnicky to clear, but due to the high TU consumption and the danger of moving you typically have to commit with these guys. This allows me to focus as much fire as possible on the aliens by concentrating my forces without leaving them open to another attack. AS compared to say, a rifleman, machine gunners and rocket guys can handle themselves when it comes to killing aliens, so if they're relatively still but in ideal shooting positions should an enemy walk by, they are full on TU's and can typically kill the enemies in one go without a lot of assistance. My machine gunner/rocket team once took out a wave of 3 reapers, and it wasn't even all during my turn.

The main objective is to move cautiously, opening up new areas, and then to act aggressively when I see a new alien. Obviously you want to move tactically and behind cover, but, shotguns can typically kill alien in 1 turn at close range, so if you can get them within range, and kill the alien, you don't have to worry about return fire. I.E. your offense is your defense, you kill aliens to prevent damage to yourself.

While I like machine gunners, I find them too cumbersome to have in large amounts. Because they can only move short distances and are powerful, I find them very useful in room clearing or UFO stuff. They ironically have a long range though, so in a wide open area like a road or desert they are also particularly useful. Shotguns can travel long distances in short periods of time, so they're typically very useful. I like to go all out, I suppose. I focus fire all my troops on a small amount of aliens to try to get as many kills as possible, since damaging two aliens is worse than killing 1 alien, since 2 damaged aliens that are still alive means double the damage to yourself.

I've only typically found rifleman useful in a support role; that is, every now and then, a guy will be at half health or lower, and my riflemen has a long enough range to pick them off, instead of leaving them alive and having one messy alien to deal with. With burst fire, if caught unawaresz, a rifleman can typically kill an alien in one turn, so they have some degree of defense, but otherwise do too little damage to do anything else but provide support for another troop, I find. I imagine with larger sizes (above 8, for instance) you could get a lot more help from support units, but with the small sizes I mostly go for broke and focus on all out strategies, with lots of snipers and shotguns.

A shield is a must have, since you will just have guys get shot or die a lot without one. I imagine it's worse on later levels, although the shield itself wears out a little too quickly. I'd love to have two shields, but they tend to be rather weak the pistol (although stronger than I would have thought), so you lose quite a bit of power by having more than one. With more than 8 guys though, they'd be one of the next guys I'd add.

Edited by John Smith
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