Capturing Live Aliens (Apocalypse)
Capturing live aliens
The key to success in Apocalypse lies in the successfull capture of live aliens. Once you have captured a number of different live aliens, you will be able to research their live cycle and then toxiguns. Toxiguns are amazingly effective weapons, especially once you reach the second and third ammo options.
The trick to capturing aliens is to know how stun damage works. Basically, any alien (or human, for that matter) can take stun damage equal to his or her health points before dropping unconcious.
Now, you should realize that this is calculated off of current health points, not maximum. If an alien has taken some stun damage and you drop his health total to below the amount of stun damage it has taken, it falls unconcious. So you can actually stun aliens with any weapon as long as the alien has taken some stun damage (from running through smoke gas for example).
Stun damage is unfortunately capped. This means any target with more health than the paralysis cap will need to be hurt before they fall unconscious. The cap for stun damage is literally 2× the damage level of your weapon. For example, the stun grapple has a stun damage rating of 90. This means that it can only apply 180 points of stun damage at any given time to any unit.
One exception to this rule is the stun damage that is applied during the detonation of stun grenades. The gas or mind stun however are capped at close to the same level as the grapples.
The stun grenade blanket
Equip all your agents with stun grenades, and when you are playing ufo recovery missions in real-time, throw two or three stun grenades at the entrance of the UFO as soon as the door opens. This will cover the outside of the UFO exit as well as a good portion of the inside of the UFO with stun gas, hitting all aliens the cloud with stun damage as well as causing them to try to get outside of the cloud instead of shooting at you. Stun gas blocks line of sight like smoke, so this is a good defensive measure since any aliens that want to attack you will have to walk through a cloud of stun gas to do so.
How to keep an alien stunned for good
If you've stunned an alien, but you've not completed all your objectives in the mission, the alien can wake up as its stun damage decreases. You could leave a soldier or two behind with grapples and stun grenades to put it down again, or toss a stun grenade at it to refresh the stun level, but an easier way is to simply have an agent stand on top of the stunned alien. This prevents them from getting up and means they will count as stunned the entire duration that the agent is standing on them. For large aliens, you only need to be standing on one quarter for this to take effect.
Be warned that if the alien is bleeding, it may die before the end of the mission.
Beware of explosives and poppers
Two things to be aware of. If the alien dropped any explosives and your sitter agent is hit by an explosive, the alien's equipment can explode. This is easily fixed by picking it up. Poppers however are explosive themselves, and there's nothing you can do about it. Worse, a popper who has taken wounds and is bleeding out can explode when it dies. Therefore, be absolutely sure that you're standing on an unharmed popper and you're well out of the combat before sitting on one.
If you equip all your agents with stun grapplers in their second hand, you should start capturing some of these aliens early on in the game. Use the stun grenade blanket if you don't want to make sure.
Anthropods are also one of the only two aliens that are susceptible to psionics, thus psi stun and mind control are viable alternatives to setting up a capture.
In RT if you equip your agents with stun grapples and keep them relatively close together, you should have no problem catching these. In TB, toss a stun grenade on it and it will collapse as soon as it moves. Androids are immune to brainsuckers, so you can send one after it in safety.
An easier method though is to pick up a brainsucker pod and research it. This puts a live brainsucker in your alien containment, far more safely than trying to capture one.
Again, these should be caught easily if your troops carry stun grapples. A blanket of gas can also do in a pinch. Note they have high health, so will need some softening up prior to the capture.
These are hard to capture, but essential to research. They move quickly, so if you see one, pepper the area he is in with stun grenades or close in quickly with stun grapples.
If you were able to capture a Multiworm and reserch it, you will get 4 live specimens after the research.
Chrysalis and Alien eggs.
These aliens are immobile, and count as stunned all the time, although the eggs are armed with a spit attack. You should have no problem capturing them, you'll probably capture them before seeing them on the battlefield.
These can be very hard to capture, they use their flying capabilities to escape from stun gas and once you start encountering them the aliens start coming equipped with heavier weaponry too. While Psionics work on them, they are best caught at the earliest possible opportunity (which is before psi is a viable tactic in my games). Try to engage these aliens in close quarters with stun grapples before they start carrying Disruptor shields, or lay ambushes for them near single-story doors.
The Skeletoid is the other of the two alien species that are most susceptible to psionic control or stun.
Micronoid aggregates can only take stun damage from stun grapples. Therefore they are your only means of capturing them. Micronoids have high health, so some means of injuring them will be needed before initiating the capture. Light arms such as the plasma gun are recommended.
These aliens can only be caught from alien bombers and the first alien building.
Note, due to their very nature, Androids are immune to micronoid aggregate attacks, as well as those of the psimorph. Androids armed with stun grapples are the most ideal means of capturing Micronoids without any opposition.
In RT having a stun grapple in your off-hand will net you one easily. In TB they're more difficult, and you have to get a little bit lucky and see them first or have them charge you and not quite make it, in which case they're easy pickings. If you find one in an open space then a flying unit hovering 4 floors up is safe from poppers and can lob stun grenades down at them at leisure.
These are easy to capture. Stun gas is very effective, and they are weak enough to safely approach for stun grapples to work.
These can be a pain to capture. Equip half a dozen troops with stun grapples and get close and personal. Hope your shields survive the missiles he launches as you get closer. There is one minor blessing, though. He doesn't use missiles when you are within stun grapple reach.
Choking a Megaspawn in a cloud of gas before launching a short range melee attack with power swords or devastator cannons combined with stun grapples can quickly knock a Megaspawn out. This is riskier though. Megaspawn are large, so you can sometimes find one in an enclosed space in a UFO where it can't get out. If so then ruthlessly exploit its predicament by tossing stun grenades round the corner at it.
They fly, so stun gas won't work well, and they take over your non-android troops so approaching them can be tricky. The safest way is to draw away and eliminate any other aliens around your target Psimorph and then retreat your human troops and send in an entourage of androids to capture it. Psimorphs have no way at all of hurting androids, so stunning it with them is trivial.
Alternatively, equip all of your troops with toxiguns and stun grapples. They will get mind controlled, but since toxiguns do little damage to humans and stun grapples can't penetrate shields your soldiers will be quite safe from each other.
This one is rather easy to capture once you know how.
The first step is to finish off the rest of the map, the queen's not going anywhere, so she can wait.
Run in and drop vortex mines on all the teleporters in the room with her so she doesn't get any reinforcements. You can easily dash in, blow some up and dash out before she can take your shield down. Then take out the annoying alien eggs around her.
Then start tossing stun gas grenades into the room with her, waiting for the gas to dissipate between throws. You can run in, throw and run out of range, or run up to the queen's sides where she can't hit you and throw grenades in front of her. Without the teleporters it's just her and you, so you can take as long as you need. After about ten grenades take a few pot shots at her, and you should have a captured alien queen!