XCOM 2 Class Builds, Best Weapons and Armor Loadouts, Squad Setup Tips

By   /   Feb 8, 2016
XCOM 2 - Grenadier Class

XCOM 2 punishes players heavily if their tactics aren’t right, and it does it proudly.

For more help on XCOM 2, read our PC Tweaks Guide, PC Cheats Console Commands and Starter Guide.

XCOM 2 Class Builds

In order to get the best out of your squad, you have to build each member so the squad overall is balanced and can successfully everything the large variety of aliens throw at it.

This is where building the squad becomes important. This guide will go through possible builds that can get the best out of each class in the game.

Squad Setup
Before going through the builds though, it’s important to remember to take a balanced squad on missions.

Assuming you have access to all 6 slots, you should take 2 Rangers, 2 Specialists, 1 Sharpshooter, and 1 Grenadier. The Ranger and Specialist duos should have abilities that mirror one another to grant the most balance.

This setup is generally the best way to counter all kinds of scenarios, and is proven to given the squad great balance and versatility.

Grenadier Class Builds and Recommended Loadouts

The Grenadier is similar to the ‘Heavy’ class in XCOM: Enemy Unknown, though with a bit more mobility and slightly nerfed (instead of rockets, we have grenades with a smaller range).

Build 1 – Immense Pressure
The Grenadier’s grenade launcher may be an iconic weapon of the class, but certain abilities make the class extremely potent when it comes to pressuring enemies. For a build that focuses on suppressive fire, exposing enemies, and keeping them pinned down, choose the following skills:

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Shredder, Suppression, Holo Targeting, Chain Shot, Hail of Bullets, Saturation Fire

Recommended Loadout

  • Equip your weapon with an attachment that will give you an aim bonus to get the most out of Chain Shot.
  • Extended magazine is extremely important with this build!
  • Using a vest with this type of Grenadier isn’t a bad idea. It will sacrifice one grenade, but it will allow you to be more aggressive with your positioning

Build 2 – Demolition Man/Woman
This is the more conventional way of using the Grenadier. The cannon appears to have the best accuracy at medium range, so keeping the Grenadier with this build in a position between your Rangers (forward-most) and your Sharpshooters is a good idea.

Launch grenades to do chip damage as well as destroy enemy cover. Consider this as the ‘true’ heavy Grenadier.

Blast Padding, Demolition, Heavy Ordnance, Volatile Mix, Salvo, Rupture

Recommended Loadout

  • Get yourself some specialized demolitions from the Proving Grounds to really amp up your Grenade launcher’s damage.
  • Equip your weapon with a custom grip to guarantee damage even when you miss. This is invaluable for a grenade launcher-based character

Build 3 – Hybrid
This build is great if you want to mix demolitions with heavy suppressive fire. This is probably the ideal way to play the Grenadier, as you should only have one from the class in a squad of 5 or 6.

Blast Padding, Suppression, Holo Targeting, Volatile Mix, Salvo, Rupture

Recommended Loadout

  • Get yourself an extended magazine to make the best use of Salvo and Holo Targeting frequently
  • An armored vest can make you an absolute tank if you choose to wear one with this build.

Ranger Class Builds and Recommended Loadouts

The Ranger replicates the Assault class but gives great infiltration abilities, as well as a fantastic melee weapon that can be extremely lethal and useful. What’s great is you can use your melee weapon even after dashing. I recommend building one Ranger as a stealthy infiltrator and the other as a pure aggressor.

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Build 1 – Infiltrator
The Ranger has some excellent stealth-based skills to take full use of, which can give the class an added advantage on the battlefield by letting the Ranger stay concealed for a longer period of time. This allows you to close the gap and use your shotgun with maximum accuracy (or just put a sword into the enemy).

Phantom, Shadow Strike, Conceal, Bladestorm, Deep Cover, RapidFire

Recommended Loadout

  • This build makes excellent use of the shotgun as it allows you to flank through stealth
  • Use an aim-improving weapon attachment with your shotgun to guarantee kills from flanking
  • There’s absolutely no use of grenades since your objective with this build is to flank and get in close. Consider wearing an armored vest instead.

Build 2 – Bladerunner
The melee aspect of the Ranger makes it an extremely exciting class, and a player who can use melee consistently will reap the rewards.

You’ll be the spearhead of your squad with this build, meaning high-risk, high-reward tactics. Untouchable is a must-have for such a class, as you can get away with being exposed after performing a melee attack.

Shadowstep makes it altogether easier for you to constantly abuse melee.

Blademaster, Shadowstep, Run & Gun, Bladestorm, Untouchable, Reaper

Recommended Loadout

  • Because you’re the spearhead, make sure you have additional protection through an armored vest.
  • It’s up to you if you wish to use a shotgun with this build or simply want to use ranged weapon. Both work well.
  • Research advanced melee weapons to give this type of character even more lethality!

Sharpshooter Class Builds and Recommended Loadouts

The Sharpshooter is the long-ranged weapons expert in your squad, but can also do a good amount of damage with the sidearm pistol. Overall, it’s the Sharpshooter’s job to watch over the entire team from a distance, and to deal devastating blows from long range.

Build 1 – A Mile Away
This is arguably the best way to play the Sharpshooter – by staying behind everyone else and shooting from a good distance. You’ll just have to make sure you aren’t susceptible to being flanked.

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Long Watch, Deadeye, Death from Above, Kill Zone, Steady Hands, Serial

Recommended Loadout

  • It’s highly unlikely your Sharpshooter ever needs to use a grenade, so slap on something more meaningful like armor vest for extra protection.
  • Using a specialized scope with your long-ranged weapon can consistently get you above 85% chance shots.
  • Use an extended mag! Long-ranged weapons only have 3 bullets, which is too little!

Build 2 – Steady and Sure
The pistol is an underrated weapon for a Sharpshooter in this game, but you’d be surprised by what you can do when you combine it with your expert long-ranged shooting. This build helps you do exactly that.

You’ll need to be a bit more aggressive with your sniper if you wish to use such a build.

Return Fire, Lightning Hands, Quick Draw, Kill Zone, Aim, Fan Fire

Recommended Loadout

  • This build works best with advanced pistol weapons. Make sure you research and buy new pistols for this.
  • Use a specialized scope with your sniper rifle to stay extremely accurate
  • An armored vest is absolutely necessary for this type of build, as you’ll have to be much more aggressive than what is normal for a ranged class.

Build 3 – Hybrid
Why not make use of both long-ranged abilities and pistol? This is the ideal type of build for players who like to move their Sharpshooters constantly, but still prefer using sniper rifles instead of pistols.

Long Watch, Deadeye, Quick Draw, Faceoff, Steady Hands, Serial

Recommended Loadout

  • An extended magazine is of the utmost importance!
  • Use an armored vest, since you’ll be more mobile than a conventional sniper unit
  • A laser sight will allow you to damage targets even when you’ve missed. This can combine wonderfully well with the pistol chip damage, so don’t underestimate its importance.

Specialist Class Builds and Recommended Loadouts

The Specialist is a versatile, technician and support class that is of the utmost importance in XCOM 2. Having two Specialists with mirroring builds in a single squad gives you a massive tactical advantage.

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Build 1 – Medic
There are two branches to the Specialist, and both are invaluable. The first one is Battle Medic. Words cannot describe the importance of a mobile medic who can aid allies remotely with the GREMLIN drone. This kind of Specialist can turn a losing battle into a winning one.

Medical Protocol, Revival Protocol, Field Medic, Threat Assessment, Guardian, Restoration

Recommended Loadout

  • Equip the Medikits. That’s obvious. Field Medic + Medical Protocol can give a total of four charges from a single equipped medikit. That’s impressive.
  • Using a ranged weapon with a lase site can make the Medic an extremely valuable offensive part of your squad as well.

Build 2 – The Tech Junky
Hacking is a new addition in the series, and it is extremely useful and highly underrated.

Building a second Specialist as a tech expert allows you to deal with just about every situation, and their services are invaluable in certain types of missions like ADVENT retaliation missions and Blacksite missions.

Combat Protocol, Haywire Protocol, Scanning Protocol, Threat Assessment, Ever Vigilant, Capacitor Discharge

Recommended Loadout

  • Equipping this type of Specialist with grenades can give them an underrated amount of firepower.
  • The tech Specialist has to be one of the forward players. Use an aim-improving attachment to guarantee shots and prevent the Specialist from being in danger.

Don’t forget to share your own class builds and recommended loadouts for XCOM 2 by commenting below!