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XCOM: Enemy Unknown Class Builds, Progression, Abilities Guide
However, it’s essential to figure out the abilities of each class, so to understand what set of soldiers you want to send into a battle.
Soldiers and Classes
Soldiers in XCOM begin with no specific class assignment. You can send them out to battle, but it isn’t until they reach the Squaddie rank that you can find their class. Thankfully, it doesn’t take too much to get soldiers to rank up initially. Soldiers increase their rank by killing or capturing enemies.
However, if you wish to avoid that tiny bit of hindrance, then consider purchasing the ‘New Guy’ tactic from the Officer Training School.
Once a soldier’s class is determined, it cannot be changed. If you are unhappy with your new recruit’s class, you can always dismiss him/her and opt for some more, since hiring soldiers is fairly inexpensive.
After you have determined every class, you should look to have a balanced squad. There are four classes in XCOM, and six slots for a squad. This obviously suggests that you can have duplicates of a class type in a squad.
This is where the abilities of the classes come out. Each class has different ability branches. This means that two supports may not exactly be alike in-terms of traits.
Now, it’s important to have a backup. You may absolutely love your fully ranked squad of all Colonels, but the factor of injury and even death can never be neglected.
Thus, it’s extremely essential to rotate with ‘backup’ soldiers and keep them at a good rank.
Assault Class Builds, Progression and Abilities
The Assault class is your primary frontline class. They have the ability to deal out the most damage, but also have the drawback that they take the bulk of damage. Thus, it’s important to have a strong support with your assault class.
I recommend using two assault class soldiers in your squad.
Note that you have to only have one ability per rank. There are a few ranks with multiple skills, but only one can be chosen. This allows for a good amount of diversity if you have multiple soldiers with the same class in a squad.
Run & Gun: Allows firing or Overwatch after Dashing. Two turn cooldown.
Tactical Sense: Confers +5 Defense per enemy in sight (max +20)
Aggression: Confers +10% critical chance per enemy in sight (max +30%)
Lightning Reflexes:Forces the first reaction shot against this unit each turn to miss.
Close and Personal:Confers +30% Critical Chance against adjacent targets – bonus declines with distance from target.
Flush:Fire a shot that causes enemies to run out of cover.
Rapid Fire:Take two shots against a single target in quick succession. Each shot carries a -15 penalty to aim.
Close Combat Specialist: Confers a reaction shot against any enemy who closes within 4 tiles.
Bring ‘Em On: Adds 1 damage on critical hits for each enemy the squad can see (max 5).
Extra Conditioning: Confers bonus health based on which type of armor is equipped. Heavier armor increases the bonus.
Resilience: Confers immunity to critical hits.
Killer Instinct: Activating Run & Gun now also grants +50% critical damage for the rest of the turn.
I would recommend having one Assaulter built around defense while the other focuses on offense.
For the Defense Based Assaulter, consider the following skills:
Tactical Sense, Lightning Reflexes, Flush, Close Combat Specialist, Resilience
For the Offense Based Assaulter, consider the following:
Aggression, Close and Personal, Rapid Fire, Close Combat Specialist, Killer Instinct
Support Class Builds, Progression and Abilities
The support class is primarily used as a Medic. However, the have some extra utility benefits such as smoke grenades and the ability to run further than other classes.
I recommend using two differently built supports in your squad.
Smoke Grenade: Deploy a smoke grenade once per mission. The smoke confers +20 Defense to all units, and lasts through the enemy turn.
Sprinter: Allows the Support to move 3 additional tiles.
Covering Fire: Allows reaction shots to trigger on enemy attacks, not just movement.
Field Medic: Allows medkits to be used 3 times per battle instead of once.
Smoke and Mirrors: Allows 1 additional use of Smoke Grenade each mission.
Revive: Allows medkits to revive critically wounded soldiers at 33% of max health, instead of just stabilizing them.
Rifle Suppression: Fire a barrage that pins down a target, granting reaction fire against it and imposing a 30 penalty to aim.
Dense Smoke: Smoke Grenades have increased area of effect and further increase units’ Defense by 20.