Even so, psionic powers today are nowhere near as powerful as they used to be, and are now limited to strictly line of sight attacks. Gone are the days of nigh peerless dominance over your enemy forces with sheer willpower alone.
In fact, latent psionic powers have watered down so much that only those spliced with Sectoid genes are even able to use them to any great effect. Ordinary humans at best can use it to probe enemies once in a blue moon. Androids can use the mind bender as a fancy paper weight.
A highly skilled hybrid however can effectively direct the Mind Bender to practical use in combat. It can be used to probe an enemy's vital statistics, stun an alien by numbing its mind or even force it out of combat temporarily by making it panic. The more useful but most difficult attack is mind control, although this can only be done very briefly.
Though the duration of a mind control session is short, a lot can be done. For example, in a few seconds you can instruct the victim to set all of its grenades timers and have it throw its Disruptor shield over to you before breaking the psionic link. Or just make it jump off the side of a building.
One major disadvantage of the Mind Bender is that very few aliens are susceptible to psionic attacks. The only two that can be reliably affected by it are the Anthropod and Skeletoid. All other aliens are either highly resistant to psi attacks (Multiworm, Hyperworm, Queenspawn, Psimorph, Micronoid Aggregate), or practically immune Spitter, Brainsucker, Multiworm Egg, Chrysalis, Popper, Megaspawn (only probes work on these, and even then only one-fifth of the time). Human opponents, on the hand, are fair game.
It's not an essential device to have in combat, as it does not have very immediate initial benefits. It does however pay off in the long run after you've invested the time and money in training naturally powerful hybrids. It becomes indispensible for disarming humans and humanoid aliens of their Disruptor shields.
"A Psionic projection device for psionically trained Agents. This device must be used in order to initiate Psionic attacks in combat situations. The target needs to be within clear line of sight of the operator before an attack can begin. The Agent has a choice of four different attacks of increasing difficulty. Psionic Probe reveals information about the target, Psionic Panic reduces morale, Psionic Stun will render the target unconscious and psionic control will allow complete control of the target."
- Real Time notes
- When using the mind bender in real-time combat, in addition to the initial cost of each attack, as long as any psionic effect is in place, the user's psi energy will be drained to keep up the attack. This continues the attack, and the user continues to deal morale or stun damage to the target.
- Psi-energy costs differ depending on the severity of the attack used. Once psi-energy is completely drained the attack ceases to take effect. Psi Energy recharges over time. It is recommended that the psi-link is maintained only for as long as necessary to conserve psi energy.
- Turn based notes
- When using the mind bender in turn-based combat, there is no additional psi-energy cost as stun and panic are treated as a one-off attack against the target. Likewise, a successful mind control will only ever last until the end of the turn. Assuming they have enough PSI energy and TU, multiple psi attacks can be made by a single unit in one turn. Mind controlled units may only have a few TUs left, but since priming or dropping items does not have a TU cost it can still be a very effective tactic.
- As in real-time combat, psi attacks have differing psi-energy costs. Psi-energy will slow recharge every turn. Stun and Panic attacks will affect the target immediately, the floating icon above the target is only an indication that it succeeded, there is no need to maintain further visibility nor does "breaking the link" with another action remove/decrease the effect.