XCOM 2 Ability points explained - How to reliably earn AP in the field and how to spend them

How to earn AP to power up those new class types.

XCOM 2 Ability Points are a valuable resource as they are the primary way that the new soldier classes - Reaper, Skirmisher, and Templar - level up.

They still move through the same ranks of Corporal, Sergeant, Lieutenant etc, but when they reach these ranks they gain a number of AP that they can spend on abilities, rather than picking between two mutually exclusive choices.

If you need more help, our XCOM 2 War of the Chosen guide provides a breakdown on how else you can tackle the huge expansion.

XCOM 2 Tips: Top 5 Tips to Dominate Mission Combat (How to Guide for Tactics)

How Ability Points in XCOM 2 work

These abilities can be either from their newly achieved rank, from doubling back to pick up one of the abilities from a previous rank, or from a handful of randomly generated XCOM abilities from one of the other standard soldier classes.

Your regular soldiers - Grenadier, Ranger, Sharpshooter, and Specialist - also earn a few personal AP per level and can pick-up more for the communal XCOM AP pool.

This pot can be dipped into by any soldier class (barring the Psi-Operative, who has their own unique upgrade path detailed in our original XCOM 2 guide) to pay for new abilities via the Training Centre.

How to earn Ability Points in XCOM 2 in the field

AP is earned by your soldiers performing a whole range of tactical manoeuvres during combat. The higher the soldier's Combat Intelligence stat the more likely they are to earn these points.

Actions that have a chance to earn AP out in the field:

  • Landing a shot from a flanking position.
  • Ambushing an unaware enemy from cover.
  • Shooting an enemy from an elevated position.
  • Earning a combo kill, by teaming up with a team mate to take down an enemy.

If you need more help with XCOM 2's expansion, our XCOM 2: War of the Chosen guide and tips can explain everything you need to know, from how to beat The Chosen Assassin, Warlock and Hunter and the new The Lost, Spectre and Advent units. Combat them by learning about each new faction with our Reaper abilities and skill tree, Skirmisher abilities and skill tree and Templar abilities and skill tree pages, as well as learning about the new Challenge Mode, Resistance Ring, Ability Points, Fatigue and Bonds systems. Good luck, Commander!

Other ways to earn AP in XCOM 2

All of the above have a chance to earn a single AP for the communal XCOM pot, but your soldiers can also earn 5 AP for defeating a member of The Chosen during any mission that they show up in.

In addition to the above, Covert Ops that become available via the Resistance Ring have a chance to earn AP. There are also separate missions available via the Resistance Ring that increase soldiers' Combat Intelligence making them more effective overall at earning AP.

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About the author

Stace Harman

Stace Harman


Stace Harman is a freelance writer and zombie survivalist. He writes mainly about video games but has also reported on topics ranging from airline security to Claudia Winklemanís shoes.


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