Skirmishers (XCOM2)

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The Skirmishers are one of the three new Resistance Factions from XCOM 2's expansion, War of the Chosen. Led by Betos, the first of their number to be freed, the Skirmishers are a faction of rogue ADVENT hybrid soldiers who have removed the chip connecting them to ADVENT's Psionic network, and now seek to similarly liberate their brothers and sisters from the "false gods." Wielding a variety of close-range weapons, such as a unique grapple gauntlet and the Bullpup rifle, they excel at devastating hit-and-run attacks on the battlefield, and can use their knowledge of ADVENT's inner workings to support XCOM's covert operations.


The history of the Skirmishers began in 2020, following the creation and activation of the ADVENT soldier Betos. Though superficially no different from any of the other mass-produced hybrids ADVENT designed to keep the peace on the occupied Earth, an abnormality in her control chip caused the degradation of the control signal designed to keep the ADVENT soldiers obedient and loyal to their creators, and eventually left her completely isolated from the alien psionic network. She soon realized that she and her fellow hybrids were nothing more than tools for the Elders' ambitions, and figured out how to disconnect other ADVENT hybrids from the network as well.

Declared a traitor by the Elders and marked for death, Betos was targeted by the Chosen known as the Assassin, who had been bred specifically for this purpose. Betos managed to escape, however, and eventually came to inhabit the wildernesses beyond the reach of ADVENT. Betos soon built up a network of other ADVENT escapees, and turned their attention towards freeing more of their kind from ADVENT's control; over the next fifteen years, the Skirmishers evolved into a full-fledged military insurgency, and one of three groups that XCOM considered to be a major threat to the ADVENT administration. Despite this, the Skirmishers were treated with suspicion by other resistance groups - particularly Volk's Reapers - due to their origins as ADVENT soldiers. One recent Skirmisher recruit was Pratal Mox, who struggled to overcome his reputation as an Advent Officer infamous for the brutality of his death squads.

In 2035, despite the bad blood between these two factions, the Skirmishers alerted the Reapers to the fact that the Commander was still alive and in ADVENT custody, which would ultimately lead in the XCOM mission that would see the Commander liberated, and a crippling blow dealt to the ADVENT network.

Following the defeat of ADVENT and the destruction of the psionic network responsible for keeping her people enslaved, Betos and her Skirmishers welcomed the now-freed ADVENT troopers as long-lost family with the promise to help them cope with their newfound free will.


Primary Weapon Damage Critical Chance Range Mod Slots
Kal-7 Bullpup 3-4 0 Medium 1
Kal-15 Bullpup 4-5 0 Medium 2
Kal-48 Bullpup 6-7 0 Medium 2
Secondary Weapon Damage Critical Chance Range
Ripjack 3-4 0 Melee
Ionic Ripjack 4-5 0 Melee
Fusion Ripjack 6-7 0 Melee

Class Role

The core of the Skirmishers' role is the Marauder ability, which allows them to move after shooting or shoot twice in the same turn; combined with their inherent access to Grapple, even a basic Skirmisher can shoot twice and move in one turn. While their melee potential is limited compared to that of the Ranger or the Templar and they require a late upgrade to gain access to their equivalent of Slash, all Ripjack abilities cost only one action, letting them quickly reposition or follow up with a different attack after striking. The default Ripjack ability, Justice, also helps to force enemies out of cover.

Skirmishers have three perk trees to choose from, although like all hero classes they have far more flexibility in selecting their abilities than the standard classes. The Hussar tree provides further access to free actions while allowing the Skirmisher to use their abilities more often and with greater efficiency. The Judge tree improves the effectiveness of the Ripjack by providing more opportunities to initiate melee combat. The Tactician tree provides various bonuses for taking multiple actions, allowing a Skirmisher to make the most out of their turn.


Like the other hero classes, Skirmishers can select all abilities available to their rank as long as they can afford the ability point cost. Abilities not selected upon promotion can be bought later at the Training Center.

Specialization Hussar Judge Tactician
Corporal (XCOM 2).png
Shots are not turn ending, allowing for shooting and moving or shooting twice in a turn.
Use the Grapple to pull a humanoid unit to you and deliver a ripjack strike. 4 turn cooldown. "Humanoid" means anything roughly human-sized and human-shaped, such as ADVENT Troopers, Codexes, and Spectres.
Deploy a grappling hook to move quickly to an elevated position. The hook functions identically to the ones used by the Spider Suit and Wraith Suit.
Sergeant (XCOM 2).png
When fired upon, gain one extra action on the next turn. Triggers once per mission.
Total Combat
Throwing a grenade or using an item no longer ends the turn.
Corporal (XCOM 2).png
Use the Grapple to pull yourself to an enemy and deliver a ripjack strike. 4 turn cooldown.
Zero In
Subsequent shots on the same turn provide +10 critical chance. If against the same target, they also grant +10 hit chance.
Sergeant (XCOM 2).png
Attack an enemy with an electrical lash. This attack does not cost an action. 1 charge per mission.
Deals additional damage against robotic enemies.
Full Throttle
Gain +2 mobility for every kill this turn.
Lieutenant (XCOM 2).png
Combat Presence
Grant an additional action to a squadmate.
Free ripjack strikes on any enemies that enter or attack from melee range.
A powerful form of Overwatch. Instead of firing automatically, perform any single action. 1 charge per mission.
Captain (XCOM 2).png
When entering Overwatch, you can take as many shots as you have remaining actions.
Unlocks the Ripjack Slash attack. 5 turn cooldown.
Major (XCOM 2).png
Manual Override
Lower all ability cooldowns by 1. Does not end the turn.
Battlelord - After each enemy in line of sight takes an action, take an immediate action. 1 charge per mission. Lasts 1 turn.
When targeted by an attack, the enemy has a chance to panic.

Potential XCOM Skills

Like other hero units, Skirmishers may buy a handful of abilities from standard XCOM classes to supplement their own skills; in their case, they can take the following abilities:

  • Return Fire
  • Lightning Reflexes
  • Tactical Rigging
  • Volatile Mix
  • Saturation Fire

Resistance Orders

Skirmisher Resistance Orders offer a variety of bonuses designed to aid XCOM's infrastructure and hinder ADVENT forces, both on and off the battlefield.

Resistance Order Effect
Bomb Squad Experimental Grenade and Heavy Weapon projects are completed instantly in the Proving Ground.
Decoys and Deceptions All knowledge gained by the Chosen is reduced by 33%.
Double Agent On every mission, there is a chance an ADVENT unit will join the XCOM squad.
(Randomly chosen from any of the following: Trooper, Officer, Stun Lancer, Shieldbearer, Purifier, or Priest.)
Impact Modelling The speed of all armor research is increased by 15%.
Information War The Tech defense of all enemies and hack targets is reduced by 20.
Inside Job I All Intel rewards increased by 10%.
Inside Job II All Intel rewards increased by 15%.
Inside Knowledge The effect of all weapon modifications is increased.
Integrated Warfare All PCS effects are increased.
Modular Construction Facility construction speed is increased by 25%.
Private Channel All mission timers are increased by 2 turns.
Quid Pro Quo Black Market Intel costs are reduced by 33%.
Sabotage Remove one block of Avatar Project progress at the end of each month.
Tactical Analysis Enemy units lose 1 action on their next turn if discovered on the XCOM turn.
Under the Table I The Black Market pays an additional 20% for sold items.
Under the Table II The Black Market pays an additional 30% for sold items.
Vulture Enemies drop additional loot items.
Weak Points Any shredding attack from XCOM does an additional +1 shred to the target.