Tactical Combat (Chimera)
Tactical combat in XCOM: Chimera Squad is mostly the same as in the XCOM 2, but it has some new mechanics that totally change combat experience. Unlike previous games, using Utility items in combat (Miscellaneous items and Grenades) does not cost any action.
Mission consists of 1-3 Encounters. Before tactical combat begins, each Encounter has a Breaching phase.
Most prominent change is removing the classic turn system in favor of the new one: the Timeline. Put simply, there are no "team" turns. Instead, every single unit has its own "order number" in the line, alternating between XCOM and the enemy with each turn. Now, the "turn" means the turn of a single unit, while the period from the first turn to the last turn is called the "round". Without any interference, there is no way to change the order inside the Timeline aside from agents' positioning during the Breach phase. However, some abilities will change the position of affected units in Timeline:
- Relocate (Shelter) – if Temporal Shift is learned, an enemy affected by Relocate will be delayed for a few turns
- Soulfire (Shelter) – affected enemy will be delayed for a few turns, as well as receiving damage
- Pin Down (Terminal) – affected enemy will be delayed for a few turns
- Alpha Strike (Godmother) – when activated, will move Godmother's turn to nearest teammate's one
- Last Stand (Godmother) – when activated, creates additional turn right after the turn Godmother was hit
- Preparation (XCOM only) – sends affected operative closer to the beginning of the Timeline, as well as giving +30 Defense and +50 Dodge and removing Burning debuff, if present
- Team Up (XCOM only) – sends affected Agent to the second position in Timeline
- Tyranny (Progeny Sorcerer) – sends affected unit in the beginning of the Timeline
- Tempo Surge (Sacred Coil Ronin) – creates two additional turns in the Timeline at the second and fourth turns from current position
By deciding to capture someone alive, however, there is an opportunity to gain an additional reward. Capturing enemies instead of killing them increases the chances of receiving a reward in the form of Intel. 20 Intel can be acquired at the end of Mission. Each captured enemy increases the chance of gaining this Intel by 20% (0% chance for 0 captured enemies, 100% chance for 5 or more captured enemies).
You can knock opponents Unconscious in many different ways. The two simplest methods are:
- Using the Subdue ability – it can be used by almost all playable characters (Cherub instead has the Charged Bash ability). Remember, in this case, that a Subdue attack inflicts minor damage. The enemy must be severely weakened in order to lose the last HP points when trying to incapacitate them.
- Using Tranq Rounds – you can purchase it in the Supply. It must then be placed in the loadout of one or more agents. With this ammunition, a weapon attack that deprives the opponent of the last Health Points will lead to knock down rather than killing.
Thanks to their unique nature, Chimera Squad Agents cannot be killed in action. Instead of dying, they will always start to Bleed Out, should they run out of HP. In this case you have 4 rounds to Stabilize them until that agent dies, otherwise their death will fail the mission (and fail the entire game, should you play with Hardcore mode on). To stabilize an agent, you must move another agent next to them and use Stabilize ability or, if you have Terminal in the squad, just order her to stabilize the wounded agent. Remember: you can choose not to stabilize the agent should you be sure that you can finish the mission/encounter in time, as well as evacuate the whole squad without stabilizing the wounded, UNLESS this agent carries a mission item, then leaving them behind will automatically fail the mission. If an agent(s) was/were knocked out in the middle of the mission and there are still Encounters remaining, you must replace them with Android(s), which can be purchased at the free time in Supply section (the first Android will be given for free after finishing first Assembly project).
Androids are robotic soldiers that can serve in Tactical Missions in place of agents. Androids are generally weaker than an agent but are expendable and can be lost without triggering Mission failure. If an agent falls Unconscious during a Mission, you can assign an Android to fill in for them during the next Encounter. Androids give you a better chance of completing Missions despite agent losses. They can be upgraded to improve their base stats and just like agents equipped with Weapons (even Epic), Weapon Mods, Armor Mod, Breach and Utility items.
Enemies can also call in reinforcements. A reinforcement alert will appear on the Timeline several turns before new enemies appear on the battlefield. Enemy reinforcements can only enter combat from certain points on the map; these points are marked by a triangular icon with a skull. As enemy reinforcements arrive, each reinforcement unit is given its own slot on the Timeline.
If a Chimera Squad agent moves adjacent to a civilian, the bystander is rescued and will run to safety. If an enemy approaches a civilian, the bystander will flee to a different location within the Encounter. Completing an Encounter means any remaining civilians are automatically rescued. Each civilian killed increases the risk of increased Unrest level in a given District by 20%. If enemies are actively killing many civilians, failing to protect enough of them will cause fail of the Mission.
Scars are markers of the battle trauma suffered by units after particularly tough combat. Agents receive Scars any time they are reduced to the Bleeding Out state during a Mission. There is also a chance to receive a Scar if an agent was gravely wounded (their health has dropped to below half). Scars weaken one of a agent's stats and can seriously impact their effectiveness in battle. Scars can be mended by sending the agent to Training. Otherwise, Scars will linger from Mission to Mission, for long periods of the campaign, before mending on their own. Scarred agents who are reduced to Bleeding Out again either suffer a new Scar or a deepening of their existing Scar. A deepened Scar inflicts a greater stat debuff.
Scars never count as damage. If a Scar lowers an agent’s HP, their maximum HP is affected. Receiving healing during combat will not raise their Health to its non-Scarred state. Their Health will only be fully restored when the Scar is mended.