Exploiting Mind Control
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Mind Control Madness
Whenever you mind control another unit, it automatically returns to the alien side at the end of the aliens' turn. This is true even if you mind control a Civilian. While saving civilians leads to higher scores, "removing" them from play in this way, then killing them off as aliens removes the risk of a score penalty that would result if the civilians were killed by the aliens.
Resurrect Zombified Agents
also known as: Permanent Control of a Chryssalid/Tentaculat
To 'rescue' your zombified agent you must mind control/molecular control its zombie form, then shoot it to make it hatch. The chrysallid/tentaculat that just hatched will appear to be hostile, but don't kill it. Next turn, and for the rest of the mission, it will be controlled by you without additional psionic actions. A chryssalid/tentaculat that is under your permanent control still gains experience as if it had never been zombified before this and you can do with it as a normal soldier. However, you may not look at its rank as this causes the game to crash. Sometimes the weapon it has will disappear but this can be solved by going into its inventory and picking it up and putting it back in the hand it was in.
If one of your agents got zombified, and you use this trick, you can 'recover' the agent if the chrysallid/tentaculat version of the soldier survives until the end of the mission. The resurrected agent will be back at base. You don't need to create new armor for a 'rescued' agent even though they have been 'killed'.
If your pet chrysallid/tentaculat happens to get zombified, just repeat the steps to gaining permanent control. This action effectively regenerates your pet's health.
However, each time this happens, you lose morale and the counter for the number of X-Com soldiers lost on that mission increases as if it were a different soldier being killed. So you may go in with 10 soldiers, but leave with 10 and -5 casualties. You could use this exploit to turn most of your troops into super soldiers but your morale will suffer so much that your psionic/molecular control troops may panic or go berserk if you push it too far. This could end up with you having very few troops under your control and more aliens that you could shake a stick at after you.
This exploit can also be used when civilians get zombified. And, since the terror units have many TU, they make excellent scouts. You could give your pet alien a weapon, but they have terrible throwing and accuracy skills. They do, however, have incredible reactions which makes them deadly if you post them right at the side of a door to shoot anything that comes through. However, if you give your pet a primed high explosive and send them off to scout, they will drop it when they die resulting in an explosion that kills everything in the area (or at least knocks off a good chunk of their health). Zombified civilians cannot be 'drafted' as new soldiers or replace any soldiers killed during the mission.
IMHO, the BEST use of your pet is to use the Alien Inventory exploit and give it a Stun Rod or a Heavy Plasma with a Stun Rod in it. With its rather insane TU, it can pretty much run up to and stun or kill anything it can see, assuming it isn't killed in mid-sprint. Alternatively, give it a med-kit, since those use a fixed 10 TU per use, and your pet has a LOT of TU, it can become the best doctor in the game... provided your patient is on the ground and not on top of your ship.
My Pet Alien
Any alien can be your agent's personal escort. Just remember to mind control the alien every turn. When there are large terrorists on a mission, you'll notice that they take up four squares. Each square has its own stats. If you mind control one quadrant, the other three quadrants still stay under alien control.
If you move the large alien, there is a good chance that it will SHOOT ITSELF (if it can) via reaction fire! If the large alien does not shoot itself, you can use up its TU to fire on hostiles, or use it to scout. Once the TU are used up, mind control another quadrant to keep using this alien. You can do this four times.
Alternatively, you can target the other quadrants of the alien and make the terror unit shoot itself. This is a worthwhile tactic to use on Cyberdiscs and Sectopods. Cyberdiscs explode on death, while the Sectopod has a Laser Auto Shot which can dish out a maximum of 300 points of damage each shot.
The best use of mind control: scout. If you see someone holding a Blaster Launcher, mind control it and fire, then drop the weapon, rendering a bunch of aliens dead and one harmless if you're lucky.
Access the Alien Inventory Screen
When an alien is mind controlled, you can't directly see their inventory by clicking the inventory button. However, if you switch to a human soldier, and check their inventory, you can use the arrows in the top corner to cycle through all units.
WARNING There is a critical bug which is connected to this exploit. Read about it here: Alien Inventory Stacking Bug
Use this exploit to change their inventory. You can give them weapons (eg: for Reaction Training), live grenades, or anything else. Remember to mind control them each turn if you use them as mules.
Exponential Mind Control
Any creature with psionic skill can use a psionic amplifier. Therefore, you can take control of (e.g.) an Ethereal and then toss it a psi-amp, use the alien inventory exploit, and have him pick it up. Then you can use the Ethereal's psionic talents to take over other aliens. With the right application of psi-amp relay tosses and mind control, this can have an exponential effect of complete control of all the aliens in the very first turn.
It is even easier to use several high-level Psi troops (80+ Psi Strength & Skill), each with their own Psi-Amp, to create chains of aliens extending across the entire map; each new alien discovered and controlled becomes the forwardmost scout while your troops remain safely at the back of the chain (or even in the transport). This is easily the single most imbalancing tactic in the game, short of hacking the game files.
Permanent Control of Aliens via Stunning
- Mindcontrol any 1x1-sized alien, except Zombies (as these can't be awakened once unconscious).
- Stun that alien. Stun Bombs from the Small Launcher are the preferred method, because the stun rod depends on alien status to function. (On Windows Version, you can´t use the Stun Rod on friendly units).
- Revive the alien. You can either wait until the alien recovers on it's own, or use stimulant shots from a Medi-Kit to speed things along.
- Wait until the start of your next round. After the alien wakes up, it will appear as alien, but this lasts just for your present turn.
That's it, the alien should now be under permanent X-COM control. You can do anything with an X-COM alien as you can with a normal soldier: Directly access the aliens inventory screen without scrolling through all your guys first. Arm it and send it in as a advance scout into UFOs. In all practicality, they are yours to do with as you please.
Invincible Strategy & Four-quadrant Aliens
Getting your first soldier with 90+ psionic strength and a Psi-Amp, pretty much guarantees a win even on superhuman difficulty. Train this soldier in the Lab and by using all their TUs on mind control every tactical turn. He/she will soon have seemingly 100% chance in controlling every kind of alien there is, at whatever difficulty level, at whatever distance. As you gather more 90+ psi strength soldiers, the game becomes absurd. You can control every single alien in an undamaged battleship/alien base in the same turn. Just push alien pets forward to find more potential pets. Make sure your "chain of command" won't break in next turn by having an alien around every corner to link up your extended line-of-sight next turn.
Controlling four-square aliens requires special care. The top quadrant grants main control, no matter which way it's facing. For those without guns (reapers), the top quadrant is all you need to control. For large terrorists with guns, controlling the top quadrant means the other three quadrants can still reaction fire on you, or reaction fire on itself. However, they will not reaction fire on themselves if you turn them. Of course, you can always kill them just by moving it around.
When using these terrorists to train your firing accuracy, make sure you deplete the terrorists' TUs AFTER you control all four quadrants. You can then use them for firing practice safely.
Mind controlling each additional quadrant also "re-fills" it's TUs. For example, you can run the reaper halfway across the map, control another quadrant, and regain all it's spent TUs.