Psionic (Long War)
Psi powers have been significantly overhauled in Long War. Psi talent is now trained, not discovered, so with enough time and attempts, every soldier can be a psionic (barring some exceptions). There are many more powers distributed among more levels.
Nearby allies are healed for 1 health each turn, and has a 100% chance to remove acid effects (after b15f2). This does not repair damage to body armor or other hp-granting items. Imposes +24 hours postmission fatigue for psi soldiers. (Passive ability)
Causes damage to psi attackers and puts all of their psi attacks on cooldown. Does not reduce the attacks' chance of success. Protects the psion and nearby allies who pass a will check. Imposes +24 hours fatigue after missions.
Causes the target to lose grip on reality, causing -25 aim/stack, -25 will/stack, a reduced area-of-effect attack range, reduced mobility, and doing one base damage. Robotic units are immune. Lasts 3 turns. 2 turn cooldown. Imposes +24 hours fatigue after missions.
Nearby allies in cover receive +10 Defense. Imposes +6 hours postmission fatigue for psi soldiers. (Passive ability)
Removes Mindfray and panic from all allies within 3 tiles, and strengthen their Will by +30 for 3 turns, 4 turn cooldown. Imposes +6 hours fatigue after missions.
Cause target to panic on its following turn, if the target's Will is overcome. The duration is (caster Will / 50) turns; fractional results have a chance to be rounded up, the chance is proportional to the distance to the next integer. Robotic enemies are immune, 2 turn cooldown. Imposes +6 hours fatigue after missions.
Merge minds with the target, granting the target +25% critical chance, bonus will, and temporary health (for aliens) or damage reduction (for humans: DR=caster_will/60). Imposes +6 hours postmission fatigue for psi soldiers.
Project a bolt of pure psi force that destroys cover but does not harm units. 4 turn cooldown. Imposes 12 hours additional post-mission fatigue.
Ignite fires at the target location. Does not cause injuries. Imposes +12 hours postmission fatigue for psi soldiers.
Create an immobile telekinetic field that lasts through the enemy turn. The field distorts and deflects incoming attacks, granting +40 Defense to allies within the field, 4 turn cooldown. Imposes +12 hours fatigue after missions.
Difficult psi technique that, if successful, grants control of the target for 3 turns. Does not work on robotic enemies. 5 turn cooldown. Imposes +12 hours fatigue after missions.
Devastate an area with a storm of psi energy. The rift does more damage against targets with low Will, and reduced damage against targets with high Will. 4 turn cooldown. Requires special armor designed for psionic beings. Imposes +12 hours fatigue after missions.
Creating a Psionic Soldier
After 5 total completed missions a soldier can be trained in psionics, with a choice at first rank of one of three Psionic powers: Neural Feedback, Mindfray, or Regen Biofield. This training requires the research of Xenopsionics and the construction of the Psionic Labs, which are located in the Barracks, and there are 3 slots for training. Upon successful completion of the training, the soldier will become rank 1 psionic, Awakened.
Gaining Psi Ranks
Subsequent ranks can be unlocked by completing 5 successful missions between each Psionic Rank up. Each completed mission awards the soldier with exactly 1/5th of the necessary Psi XP to advance to the next rank; note that 'extra' Psi XP earned will not roll over for the next level. You can see the current Psi XP level and cap in their Barracks profile.
The Neuroregulator (an EXALT loot item) provides a +50% bonus to Psi XP earned; effectively, it is counted as an additional half mission for each mission it is worn in. Thus, if a soldier wears the item for any two missions between each rank, it will shorten this time by one mission, from five down to four.
Every round of training takes approximately 5-10 days (this is halved with Nigeria's Old Path starting bonus); the duration of the training and it's success chance is affected by the soldier's Will score, with higher Will scores leading to shorter training times and higher success rates.
Each rank will offer the selection of a new psionic perk and provide the Psionic Soldier with a bonus of 1-6 extra Will per psi level: [1 + rand(6)].
The success rate of the training depends on the soldier's Will and the Psi Rank. If the target will for the level is equal to the soldier's will, the chance is 45% (65% with Mexico's starting bonus Legacy of Uxmal). It increases asymptotically to 100% at infinite will and drops to 0% at 0 will.
The target will values are:
- Level 1 Awakened: 50
- Level 2 Sensitive: 60
- Level 3 Talent: 70
- Level 4 Adept: 80
- Level 5 Psion: 95
- Level 6 Master: 120
Effects on Fatigue
A psi-trained soldier takes longer to recover from post-battle fatigue. The increase is dependent upon powers learned as follows:
- Level 1 Awakened: +24 hours
- Level 2 Sensitive: +6 hours (30 total)
- Level 3 Talent: +6 hours (36 total)
- Level 4 Adept: +12 hours (48 total)
- Level 5 Psion: +12 hours (60 total)
- Level 6 Master: +12 hours (72 total)
Note the Egypt's starting bonus Gift of Osiris halves this additional fatigue.
Unlocking Additional Psi Powers
By default, only Mindfray and Neural Feedback are available. Unlocking further powers is generally accomplished by performing autopsies and interrogations, with the final rank Rift being a notable exception. Unlocking Rift requires the soldier to Mind Control an Ethereal in battle; each soldier attempting to attain the final rank of Psionics and learn Rift must successfully perform this feat.
Mechanics of the Powers
Units that utilize or are affected by certain Psionic abilities cannot be subject to the effects of any other psionic abilities which modify will. Such units are referred to as "Psionically Active". Psionically active Officers who, through Lead By Example, increase the Will of nearby allies also make those allies Psionically active.
- Psi Inspiration: Increases Will. Psionically active units cannot be affected by Psi Inspiration or any of its other benefits, such as panic removal.
- Mind Merge: Provides benefits based off the casters Will, including a buff to the targets Will. A psionically active unit cannot use Mind Merge nor can they be subjected to the Mind Merge of another. Both the target and recipient of a Mind Merge are considered Psionically active for the duration of the effect.
- Psi Panic: A psion with an active outstanding Psi Panic effect on an enemy is considered Psionically active and thus cannot be subjected to Psi Inspiration or Mind Merge.
- Mind Control: A psion with an active outstanding Mind Control effect on an enemy is considered Psionically active and thus cannot be subjected to Psi Inspiration or Mind Merge.
- Officers: An Officer who becomes Psionically active, such as from receiving the benefits of Psi Inspiration or Mind Merge, shares the status of being Psionically Active with any nearby allies whose Will he passively increases using the Officer perk Lead By Example.
Opposed Will Check
Mindfray, Psi Panic, and Mind Control require the caster and target to make an opposed Will roll to subject the target to the effect. Similarly for Neural Feedback, if a psionic soldier passes an opposed Will check against the caster, the protection of Neural Feedback applies to nearby allies. The chance of success is [CasterWill - TargetWill + BaseAbilityChance]%. Therefore, if the caster's and target's Will are equal, the success chance is equal to the BaseAbilityChance, and each 1 point difference in Will between the caster and target increases or decreases this base chance by 1% accordingly. The BaseAbilityChance for the above abilities is as follows:
- Mindfray: 50%
- Neural Feedback: 50%
- Psi Panic: 40%
- Mind Control: 15%
The range of Psi Inspiration, Psychokinetic Strike, and Pyrokinesis scales with the user's Will according to the following formula:
AbilityRange = VisualRange * (1 - (28 / (28 + Will)))
This produces a max AbilityRange of 1/2 of VisualRange at 28 Will, 2/3 of VisualRange at 56 Will, 3/4 of VisualRange at 84 Will, 4/5 of VisualRange at 112 Will, and so on. Other ability ranges are as follows:
- Neural Feedback: all allies within 8 tiles of the caster
- Regen Biofield: all allies within 3 tiles of the caster
- Distortion Field: all allies within 4 tiles of the caster
- Mindfray, Mind Control, Rift: visual range
|1||None||The caster makes an opposed Will roll with the target at 50% base success rate. If successful, deals 1 damage to the target (increased to 2 if Shredded) and applies a 'Hallucinations' status effect that applies the following penalties: -25 Aim and Will per application of Mindfray, -40% mobility, -25% throwing range.|
|None||Causes damage to a psi attacker equal to the difference between the attacker and targets Will (the formula is [casterWill * 1.3 - targetWill] / 10) and puts all their psi attacks on cooldown. This ability is triggered automatically. It always activates if the psion themselves is targeted, and also extends to allies within 8 tiles of the psionic soldier if the psionic soldier passes an opposed Will check at a 50% base success rate.|
|Thin Man Interrogation||Provides +1 HP regeneration and cures acid from all ally units within 3 tiles of the psionic soldier. The healing triggers only if an ally is wounded beyond the bonus HP provided from their armor. Furthermore, the healing effect can stabilize critically wounded allies without requiring the use of a Medikit.|
|2||Sectoid Interrogation||Removes all harmful mental effects (panic, hallucination, fallen allies penalty) from everyone inside the AOE as well as granting them +30 Will for the next 4 turns. Unlike in vanilla, Psi Inspiration is not centered around the user but can instead can be targeted much like a rocket. The cast distance scales with the caster's Will (see above). A unit that is Psionically Active cannot have Psi Inspiration used on them.|
|Muton Interrogation||Provides +10 Defense to all units within 4 tiles of the Psionic soldier, excluding the Psionic soldier. It is always on.|
|3||Sectoid Commander Autopsy||Merge minds with the target, granting the target temporarily increased health for aliens and damage reduction for XCOM operatives based on user's Will (the HP/DR is equal to Will/50). It also grants +25% critical hit chance and a Will bonus that scales with the caster's Will (the formula is 25 + [casterWill / 10]). Mind Merge can't be applied by or to "psionically active targets", which includes soldiers with the Psi Inspiration buff, Mind Control or Psi Panic on cooldown, those who are already mind merged, or those whose Will is being buffed by a nearby officer who is Psi Inspired.|
|Berserker Interrogation||Cause target to panic, if the attacker defeats the target on an opposed Will roll (40% base success rate); panicked units will either flee or hunker down. Robotic enemies are immune with the exception of Mechtoids. The duration of the panic effect is 1 + (casterWill / 50) turns, with fractional results having a chance to round up or down as with DR. 2 turn cooldown.|
|4||Sectoid Commander Interrogation||A cover-destroying, free-aimed psionic attack. AoE trigger field about the size of a grenade's blast, any destructible item that is even partially in the field is entirely destroyed (ie; getting a part of a log destroys the entire log, barely clipping a wall will destroy as much as if directly hit with a rocket). It does not cause any damage to units, just cover. The cast distance scales with the user's Will (see above).|
|Muton Elite Interrogation||Create non-damaging fire upon targeted area, which non-robotic aliens cannot cross. The cast distance scales with the user's Will (see above).|
|Ethereal Autopsy||Provides +40 Defense in a wide radius, centered on the caster as well as revealing Seekers.|
|5||Ethereal Interrogation||The caster makes an opposed Will roll against the target at a 15% base success rate. If successful, the target becomes controllable by the caster for 3 turns or until the caster is killed. Unlike vanilla, alien weapons are no longer dropped intact if killed while under Mind Control.|
|6||Mind Control an Ethereal||A highly damaging area effect attack that deals damage over time in an area and lasts for two turns. The base damage is equal to 8 in the round it is cast and 10 damage in the second round, with +1 or -1 to damage for each full 10 points of difference in Will between the caster and the target (down to a minimum of half the base damage). The secret to creating Rifts can only be found by Mind Controlling an Ethereal in battle; this must be done for every soldier that you wish to learn Rift. Casting it also requires a Vortex Armor equipped.|
Neural Feedback vs Regen Biofield vs Mind Fray
Mindfray is a great tool to limit effectiveness of a single dangerous foe and decrease the threat of their AoE abilities, performing a similar role to a Flashbang that can be used many times per mission. The will debuff also exposes the target for more powerful psionic attacks such as Mind Control and Psi Panic. It is fairly effective against Floaters, Mutons, Heavy Floaters, and Mechtoids.
Neural Feedback on a high Will trooper does solid damage to psionic enemies, making it very effective at outright killing basic Sectoids who attempt to attack your party with Mindfray; however, neither Mindfray nor Mind Merge have a cooldown of longer than 1 turn, so it will not stop their psionic onslaught if the damage fails to kill. With enough luck (i.e. the aliens pick the right abilities and the trooper passes an opposed Will check), you may be able to put the powerful psionic abilities of Sectoid Commanders and Ethereals on cooldown, such as Mind Control, Psi Panic, and Greater Mind Merge. By contrast, if they instead lead with Mind Control, Neural Feedback can do little or nothing to stop them from doing significant damage. The choice of who to target and which psionic attack to perform is influenced by the Will of available targets and the success rate of the ability in question, so it's possible to manipulate the AI into using Mindfray or Psi Panic if the success rate of Mind Control on all available targets is low enough.
Regen Biofield is a passive ability focused on providing small support benefits; it is good on low Will psionic troopers who will take one or two ranks in Psionics to unlock Neural Gunlink and give a few extra points of Will. With the automatic stabilization and acid removal properties, you won't need to keep a spare medkit in reserve for such emergencies, potentially saving you an item slot.
Distortion Field vs Psi Inspiration
Distortion Field is a passive ability that applies +10 defense to all allied soldiers in a nearby area, excluding the Psion themselves. It is excellent on an Assault class DR tank, as it will ensure opponents have a higher chance to hit them over any nearby allies, which will encourage foes to target them. The Psion can still benefit from the Distortion Field effects of other allies, so multiple Distortion Field Psions can protect each other.
Psi Inspiration is a great defensive buff and utility tool: it eliminates all negative will effects, including Panic. It is absolutely crucial to have in rare but life-threatening emergency situations; better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
Psi Panic vs Mind Merge
Psi Panic is an excellent way to disable key aliens for multiple turns when (read: not "if") you get overwhelmed. It is very effective against Heavy Floaters and Mechtoids, which appear in abundance in the mid-to-late game.
Mind Merge can both protect the soldier from harm and improve his chances to both resist and deploy psionic powers. It's buffs are excellent on tanks and frontline DPS like infantry, and the bonus DR it provides can allow a frontline tank to soak up massive amounts of damage, though as it lasts only a single turn and costs an action, it will see its biggest use as a way to mulligan a turn on backline troopers like LMG gunners, or critical hit sniper who are out of position and unable to immediately contribute, or consumable users such as rocketeers and grenadiers who want to keep their consumables in reserve.
Telekinetic Field vs Pyrokinesis vs Psychokinetic Strike
For these three abilities, soldier class will be the primary decider, followed by playstyle.
Telekinetic Field lasts one round and consumes an action, but is vastly more powerful than its lesser cousin Distortion field, providing +40 bonus defense (equivalent to being in heavy cover) to everyone in the radius; the Area of Effect is massive, and one mid-range or backline caster can catch your entire party in the effect as long as you aren't too spread out. Keep in mind that it is centered on the caster, and that anyone not in the field should still be behind it: due to the downright awful hit chances of any attacks directed to targets within the field, it has an unfortunate habit of drawing fire to any soldiers not under it's active protection, so have them at least in high cover or out of alien LoS.
Psychokinetic Strike can turn any soldier in to an ersatz Sapper Engineer, or can be used when you don't want to blow a unreliable rocket or grenade on some cover (and/or don't want to risk killing the alien for either capture or artifacts). It's for when some cover needs to be destroyed right now. In programming terms: any game asset 'prop' that is in the AoE bubble is entirely destroyed, even if it is only clipping into it, with the exception of walls, which will be destroyed to the rough equivalent as if they had received a direct rocket hit. It's range is below visual range, like grenades so it's best on short-to-midrange attackers who lack good cover destruction, like Assaults, SAW Gunners, and Infantry.
Pyrokinesis is adapted from the MEC's Flamethrower: it casts a non-damaging fire (that gradually destroys cover/objects: usually at the end of the next Alien Activity) upon a targeted area, and functions as a ground-denial ability: like normal flames from explosions, organic enemies (and non-fire-immune XCOM soldiers) cannot cross it, so it can be used to either block a choke point from enemy movement (i.e.: force Chryssalids and Berserkers to either stop or take a detour), deny high cover spots from enemies (block flanks, or keep EXALT from lining up in a Transmitter/Encoder capture area), or lock an alien from moving (be wary of any with jumping/flying abilities): in effect, a weak-willed Psionic's alternative to Psi Panic (though keep in mind it doesn't keep enemies from firing). Concealment Scouts in particular can use it to great effect on certain pods with dangerous leader units like Ethereals and Berserkers, as the movement-denial effect of the flames will often stop at least a couple enemies from scattering properly.
Mind Control is the only choice, and it's as powerful on XCOM soldiers as it is on the aliens. Low Will organic targets like Heavy Floaters and Mechtoids continue to be the best choice for it.
Note that if you Mind Control an alien with health regeneration, keep in mind that it will heal at the end of your turn, be released (and take actions), then heal again at the end of it's turn.
To use Rift in battle, there are 4 requirements a soldier must meet:
- Gain sufficient PsiXP to advance to the psionic rank of Master
- Have previously Mind Controlled an Ethereal
- Successfully completed the Master rank training for Rift in the Psi Lab
- And lastly, the soldier must wear Vortex Armor into battle. Otherwise, the icon for this ultimate attack will not appear, even if all other requirements are met.
Mind Controlling an Ethereal
In order for Mind Control to have a 50% chance of succeeding, your Psionic soldier must have 35 more will (buffs and debuffs included) than the target. Bring 2-3 high will Psionics, boost their will using Psi Inspiration and/or Mind Merge, and focus on lowering its will using multiple stacks of Mindfray while keeping it docile with Psi Panic. Other buffs to Will, such as Mind Shield, Neuroregulator, and Vortex Armor can help.
Base Ethereal will is 135 on normal/classic, 160 on brutal, and 170 on impossible (they gain +15 will on day 1). Ethereals gain up to +55 additional will at max Alien Research (1200 days in). Ordinary Ethereal pod leaders can also gain up to +40 additional will ("Superboss" Ethereals that appear in special situations during ultra lategame Terror Missions and Base Assaults can have an additional +30 on top of this). Whether an Ethereal will have these upgrades or not is randomly rolled; an Ethereal can spawn with the maximum upgrades (that are unlocked) just as easily as they can spawn with no upgrades at all (but all of them will have at least base will based on Alien Research).
The "Perfect Information" Second Wave Option will allow you to check an Ethereal's Will in advance and identify whether it will be suitable prey for a Mind Control attempt or whether it should just be defeated. The Hyperwave Relay can potentially help you identify whether Ethereals will appear on a mission and prepare the appropriate squad.
|Long War: Soldiers|