Multiplayer Tactics (EU2012)

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Note: See the tactical Gameplay Mechanics page for additional info on Actions, Action Rules, and generalized Tactics that also apply to the single-player environment.


  • Early moves: Unlike the single-player environment, you pretty much know where your opponent is: the direct opposite side of the map. For this reason, you can get away with dashing the first turn, possibly even the second turn, without taking the time to cycle through your entire squad and perform their first movement before cycling through for the second movement. Use this to your advantage by sending out a scout to flush your opponent, create a diversion, or even back the unit off and draw them into a trap. This is not good in single-player and is really only advisable in the first or second move of multiplayer.
  • Ammo: If your opponent uses a Heavy unit or Super-soldier, count the ammo they use and take advantage of when their ammo runs out. (Don't bother counting a Muton's ammo; they have the ammo conservation upgrade.)
  • Countering Ghost Armor: Even though a ghosted target is invisible, your soldiers will react to it ("Enemy spotted!") if it comes into sight. Also, if ghosted unit is flanking your unit, your unit will have a yellow shield to indicate it is flanked.
  • Medic: Consider bringing a medic if you use many soldier units. Although the healing doesn't do much, the revive ability can turn the tide in multiplayer. Dense smoke helps too.
  • First turn: The player with the least expensive squad gets the first turn. It maybe worth giving up a few points to get the first turn. If both player have the same point total, then the first turn is given randomly.
  • Identifying opponent's units: You can see an opponent's unit's stats by activating the attack UI, then choosing help (F1 by default in PC). If you can't do this, see what weapon and armor it has, and check its HP. If there is a 11HP unit with a Light Plasma Rifle and no armor, it might be a smokejumper with chitin plating. A 10HP sniper with a skeleton suit is likely a hunter. Also, you can check the soldier's rank if they perform a reaction shot.
  • Flying Units can be grenaded in multiplayer, as long as they're in the attacking unit's toss range. It's a bit difficult to do, but you can hover your cursor over the hitbox of the flying unit (their actual polygons), and the grenade's ballistic line will "auto-snap" to lock onto the enemy. (Normally in single-player, this will only target the ground a flying enemy is hovering over.) Flying units' idling movements may make you lose the lock, so some timing is needed as well. This is an excellent way to take out drones without wasting time with missed shots.

Unit-specific tips

  • Sectoid
    • They're cheap. One more eye is good to have, and if needed you can sacrifice it to bait overwatch shots.
    • Since they use a pistol, they're not limited by ammo. This means they can shoot or suppress indefinitely.
    • Suppression sometimes destroys cover so other units can kill the target.
    • Their mind merge effectively heals 1 hp, you may consider it when there is nothing better to do. Since mind merge boosts Will too, it can used to help psi units or used as protection from psi attacks. But beware, if the Sectoid dies, the target of the mind merge also dies.
    • Sectoid and Sectoid commander's small stature allows them to move through certain doors without opening it.
  • Drone
    • They cannot overwatch.
    • If you have only a drone and use its overload to kill opponent's last unit, the game will end in your loss.
  • Floater
    • Floaters can take cover while landed.
    • They have undocumented 35 fuel limit.
  • Thin man
    • They have good mobility, but their aim is not so good, so try to flank your opponents or get to higher ground.
    • Since posion is a free aim skill, you might be able to land it from outside of an opponent's LOS or view radius.
    • Poison can be used as area denial.
    • Poison reduces affected units aim by 20, and reduces movement. Poison+suppress will reduce aim by 50, rendering a unit almost useless.
  • Chryssalid
    • They can't make zombie from aliens.
    • Hide Chryssalids, once exposed it will die quickly.
    • Make sure they kill a unit when they attack. They do minimum of 5 damage, and 2 to unit with chitin.
  • Sectoid commander
    • They're cheapest unit who can use Mind Control. Chance to mind control(%): 50+(SC's will)-(target's will)-(30 if target has a mind shield)
    • Will-boosting effects will increase the SC's psi attack chance, but only Psi Inspiration will work on a SC.
    • You may not want to use greater mind merge (especially if you have 2 or more sectoids) since it makes the location of your precious units obvious to your opponent.
    • Sectoid and Sectoid commander's small stature allows them to move through certain doors without opening it.
  • Cyberdisk
    • They have undocumented 35 fuel limit.
  • Heavy floater
    • Floaters can take cover while landed.
    • They have undocumented 35 fuel limit.
  • Ethereal
    • Be careful when using Mind Control. In a 20000 point or unlimited point match, your opponent will have enough firepower to kill Ethereal in a single turn. Using Rift could be better choice.
    • Psi Lance is affected by cover and can be reflected.

Soldier Customizing

  • Smokejumper: It has +1hp, +5aim and +5will over the rookie, which is quite a good upgrade for 100points. If you are going to use a rookie, consider using a smokejumper instead.
  • Light Plasma Rifle + SCOPE combo: These cheap upgrades will make your rookies shoot like marksmen.
  • Nano-fiber vest vs Chitin plating: The Chitin gives 2 more HP and melee damage resistance for only 100 more points. This makes it more cost-efficient than the Nano-fiber vest.
  • Chitin plating vs Carapace Armor: The Chitin gives 1 more HP, and is 300 points cheaper. Although you it takes your item slot, it's still something to consider.
  • Carapace Armor vs Skeleton Suit: Both have the same cost. The Skeleton Suit has 1 fewer HP, but has 10 defense and mobility, making it a better choice in most situations.
  • Mind shield: If you rely on a super soldier, consider giving him/her a mind shield. If he/she gets Mind Controlled, it could cost you the game.
  • Ghost Armor synergy: Using psi abilities don't break invisibility, so consider getting ghost armor for your psi soldier. Or, you can equip a Heavy who has bullet swarm with the ghost armor. He/she can attack, then ghost-move, completely preventing any enemy retaliation. (Due to recent increase in the cost of the cost of ghost armor, this strategy isn't nearly as good.)
  • Combat Stims: These can be really good on assault soldiers. Hide your assault team and seek enemies them with other units. Then, stim up and wreak havoc on them.