Alien Hunters DLC (XCOM2)
Alien Hunters is a DLC for XCOM 2. It adds a storyline mission, after which the Commander will encounter elite alien rulers randomly in missions. Defeating the alien rulers grants special weapons and items.
The Avenger receives a garbled radio transmission that appears to bear the signature of the original Skyranger. Cleaning up the transmission reveals a voice that may be Dr. Vahlen's. Bradford authorises a mission to rescue Vahlen. Despite misgivings about her... extreme... research practices, her genius could be a huge asset to the resistance.
Mission - Operation Regal Beast
This mission appears early, after recovering the unique weapons from Big Sky's Skyranger. Bradford personally accompanies the squad on this mission. He is a Colonel Ranger with high HP and access to all Blademaster skills - usually far beyond what your squad normally has. The squad approaches the research site and quickly encounters Neonate Vipers, young Vipers with low HP, weak attacks, and no special abilities. Bradford's Reaper ability is extremely effective against these creatures, as they are weak but numerous. Explosives are also recommended.
As the squad proceeds through the facility they hear recordings from Vahlen about her research in to the original, unmodified genetic structure of the alien races. They also encounter displays detailing her creation of three "Ruler" aliens, called Subjects Alpha, Beta, and Gamma. Further recordings describe alarmingly intelligent behaviour on their part, especially Subject Gamma.
Reaching the final chamber, the squad find a containment chamber that has been breached, with a body in the middle of it. They also hear the ungarbled transmission being broadcast - a warning that the test subjects have escaped and to stay away. Bradford decides that having come this far, he must know if the body in the containment cell is Vahlen's. Upon approaching the cell, Subject Gamma, the Viper King, ambushes the squad. A battle ensues, with the player learning first-hand how dangerous the Rulers are. After the Viper King is killed (unlikely even for a mid-game squad) or flees, the squad fully investigate the cell, finding that the body is not Vahlen's, and no trace of her is left.
Alien Rulers are formidable, worthy of being called bosses. As well as having incredible amounts of HP and decent firepower, they have changed and enhanced abilities based upon their original alien. For example, the Viper King spits freezing ice instead of poison, and his Bind has a 50% chance of knocking its victim unconscious.
Alien Rulers have the unique Ruler Reaction ability, where they will take an action for every action your soldiers take on your turn. This greatly complicates many strategies that would work against other aliens - for example, flanking them is very difficult, because they can move or attack the flanking soldier between moving in to position and firing. Balancing offense and defense is vital and challenging.
When an Alien Ruler takes enough damage they will summon a psi-gate and try to escape. If they make it to the gate, they will disappear and return in a later mission with less than maximum HP, proportional to how much they had when they escaped. In this way they can be whittled down and killed over several encounters.
The DLC allows the creation of 4 unique weapons designed to combat the alien rulers. Upon defeating the rulers, autopsying them gives access to unique, powerful armour sets. If any of these weapons of armour sets are equipped by a soldier who dies and the body is not recovered, they are permanently lost.
The unique weapons are all about disabling the Alien Rulers, nullifying their Ruler Reactions. Most can also be upgraded like their regular counterparts. They are:
- The Shadowkeeper - a pistol for Sharpshooters. The user is granted bonuses of 10 Aim and 15 Critical Chance. It also has the ability Shadowfall - a shot with 100% chance to hit, and granting Concealment to the shooter if the shot kills.
- The Hunter's Axe - a melee weapon for Rangers. The damage is one tier higher than a sword of the same level. It also has the ability Throw Axe, where the Ranger throws an axe for lower damage, but as a free action.
- The Bolt Caster - a rifle equivalent, usable by Specialists, Rangers, and Rookies. It only carries one shot, but deals greater damage.