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XCOM 2: War of the Chosen guide and tips you need to know before starting the huge expansion

Our guide to tackling War of the Chosen's many changes and additions.

XCOM 2: War of the Chosen represents a significant expansion to the base XCOM 2 game, adding a number of new mechanics and systems, soldier classes, enemies, game play decisions, and much more.

All of this is woven throughout the XCOM 2 campaign and, as Chris Bratt concluded in his review, it all points to the fact that Firaxis really knows how to handle an expansion.

With so much new content on offer, from formidable new antagonists and powerful heroes to meaningful mission variables and a bondmate relationship system, here's what you need to know in order to successfully take the fight to Advent and its alien overlords once more.

Welcome back, Commander.

XCOM 2 War of the Chosen guides

The headline additions of the expansion see you face off against powerful new enemies and recruit new unit types as part of playing a new campaign of XCOM 2.

New friendly factions, new units and rooms:

New enemy units:

New systems:

Also, if you are new to XCOM 2 in general - or need a refresher - our XCOM 2 guide can clue you in on the base game, including details on how to choose the best soldier abilities, build the best base, unlock Hero characters, and when you're up to the task, take on Ironman mode.

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What's new in XCOM 2 War of the Chosen?

As well as the above, there are many new features that change the way you fight on the battlefield, approach missions and handle your troops.

Target preview

For all of its flashy new aliens, tech, systems and scenarios, this is one quality of life improvement that new and existing XCOM commanders will benefit from the most.

Selecting a soldier out in the field, putting the cursor anywhere within their movement range and holding Left-Alt on your PC keyboard will inform you of what known enemy threats you'll be able to see once you move there.

No more whiffed flanking manoeuvres or line-of-sight-fails as you try to eliminate that final Sectoid before it mind controls your final soldier on the final turn of a timed mission. Forewarned is forearmed and getting a heads-up on what you'll see from a new position before you've moved there is huge.

There are some limitations, such as static objectives like workstations and terminals not being shown by the target preview. Nor will previously unrevealed enemy groups show up before you move, but the benefits of this one small addition are nonetheless great indeed.

SITREPs

Throughout your XCOM 2 campaign you're now going to see Situation Reports for many of your missions. These SITREPs are variables that impact your experience on the ground and can affect things for better or for worse.

For example, it may be that intel points to local resistance fighters in the area who can be contacted to provide support, or a higher concentration of robotic enemies than might usually be found.

Some are straightforward, such as the one-off ability to manually enter concealment during the mission, or the presence of the new enemy type The Lost, in addition to regular enemies. Others, though, are more challenging, such as the situation that leads to your higher-ranking soldiers being blacklisted by ADVENT and requiring use of a squad of Sergeant-level or lower troops.

Most of the time, the SITREPs provide an additional factor to consider whilst prepping the mission, perhaps forcing a slightly different approach or pushing you outside of your comfort zone. They are randomly generated and while there's little you can do to pre-empt them, your best course of action is to pay close attention to the pre-mission briefing and select soldiers based on the info you're provided.

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In the case of savage enemy mutons, take powerful ranged units; where there's a positive SITREP consider taking a lesser used soldier to give them some valuable experience, and in the case of The Lost be sure to check out our guide page on new enemies and how to fight them.

Tech breakthroughs and research inspiration

Dr Tygan and his science crew are a hardworking bunch, and so it's good to see that he - and you - will be rewarded for diligent research. Random tech breakthroughs and scientific inspiration can occur at the end of any given research project, making it beneficial to pursue specific future projects right away.

For breakthroughs, this might mean the chance to research a new project that could increase the damage of current weapons, or make the construction of certain facilities cheaper. Inspiration, on the other hand, will speed along the progress of one of your outstanding research projects, saving you valuable time.

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The catch is that such breakthroughs and inspired projects must be pursued immediately to take advantage of the science crews discoveries. Choosing to research something other than the breakthrough or the inspired project will result in that bonus or expedited research opportunity being lost.

Still, not every boosted project is going to suit your current progress plan and so the trick is to weigh the benefits of each randomly generated Eureka moment with your overall goals. Most of the time it's worth taking the time out to pursue the new project, and this is especially true of the breakthroughs more so than the inspiration opportunities. Take a moment to reflect before you set Dr Tygan to work once more.

XCOM 2: War of the Chosen tips

With a bunch of new systems and mechanics to get your head around, soldiers and aliens to manage, and objectives and priorities to pursue, XCOM 2: War of the Chosen can seem overwhelming at times.

Stay calm, commander, and digest these need to know tips before you take the battle to the to the Chosen for the first time, or to the Elders (again).

  • You don't need to try all the new stuff as soon as it's available: Attempting every new mission type, taking on every new enemy, and building every new room as soon as you can is tempting but unnecessary. Keep a cool head, follow your existing XCOM knowledge and check out the best options for building rooms, creating bonds, earning Ability Points and battling the Chosen.
  • Recruit the new factions as early as possible: That said, contact with the Reapers will happen naturally and quickly. Recruiting the Skirmishers and, later, the Templars requires more effort and building the Resistance Ring. You should make that an early priority.
  • The Lost will target enemy troops as well as your own: When undertaking a mission that features only The Lost, you should avoid use of explosives and take The Lost out quickly and efficiently. However, on missions where both regular enemies and The Lost appear you can use them to your advantage. The Lost will typically target the closest body, be it your soldiers, ADVENT troops or exotic alien enemies.

    Canny positioning, and use of explosives to actually attract more Lost, can help keep your more powerful enemies occupied while you thin their numbers. What's more, The Lost always take their turn after the Alien Activity phase, and so have a good chance to trigger Overwatch shots that they aliens have set-up.
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  • Don't use the Templar's Rend melee ability on ADVENT Purifiers, Mutons or Berserkers: The latter are immune to melee attacks and have a chance to counter-attack, while Purifiers might explode when killed. As such, you shouldn't send the Templar (or Ranger for that matter) to melee attack a Purifier. You should also be careful about shooting a Purifier if you have allied troops nearby.
  • Rotate your soldiers to avoid tiredness: Even if they're not getting injured, soldiers will eventually get tired, and so an reliance on the same core group of soldiers will see them taken out of action in one way or another. Our own fatigue page explains this in better detail.
  • Hunt down the Chosen: When they gatecrash regular missions, you can take out a Chosen to earn a handful of valuable AP. Longer term, you're going to want to work with the new resistance factions - Reapers, Skirmishers, and Templars - to track down each of the three members of the Chosen, locate their base and take them out for good.

    Failure to do so will result in them being a persistent thorn in your side, potentially ending your game with an assault on the Avenger, and showing up in your final mission to make your life much harder. Our Chosen Assassin, Warlock and Hunter page explains how to avoid this in closer detail.

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