Dark Events are special game-changing enhancements in XCOM 2 applied by the aliens to counter XCOM’s and resistance’s operations. These are basically schemes that are executed by the ADVENT, and can change the game experience quite drastically.
XCOM 2 Dark Events
It is important for you, as the Commander, to inform yourself of the various Dark Events in the game, and which ones you should prioritize countering first. Certain Dark Events when left ignored have the potential to end your campaign entirely if you do not prepare for them.
Dark Events Initiation
At the start of each in-game month, you will be informed of three Dark Events the enemy is preparing to execute. These will appear as cards, with each card explaining which Dark Event it is and what the effect is.
In addition to the Dark Events, you’ll also be shown how long it will take for the ADVENT to implement the Dark Event. There will also be a time given alongside all this information that estimates the next Alien Retaliation attack (the missions during which you must save civilians).
After the first couple of in-game months, you’ll notice that certain Dark Events are hidden when the screen for them pops up. You can spend Intel to reveal the Dark Event. It usually takes 20 Intel.
Since Intel is rare, earned slowly, and extremely important to make contacts to locations with revealed Blacksite Facilities, it’s advisable not to spend your Intel on revealing hidden Dark Events unless you have excess amount.
Dark events that are active and implemented are shown in red on the left side of the screen on the world map screen, just below the primary objectives. In general, Dark Events last for one month.
Countering Dark Events
Dark Events can be countered primarily through Guerilla Ops. You can initiate Guerilla Ops by scanning outside of your Resistance HQ.
You are usually offered 3 Guerilla Ops at once, each one countering one specific Dark Event. Often, one on the Guerilla Ops is easier than the rest, but it also counters the weakest Dark Event.
Choose very carefully when selecting a Guerilla Ops. Weigh in the importance of the Dark Event that it counters, the mission’s enemies, your available soldiers, and also the mission objective’s difficulty.
Remember, all Guerilla Ops have some form of turn limits, so you will need to have good strategic manage.
Note though that not all Dark Events will have guaranteed Guerilla Ops offered to you. This is because Dark Events are regional – each Dark Event has an origin at a specific region. This region is not shown to the player, but is often either an unlocked region or a locked region with a Blacksite Facility in it.
If you wish to have options to counter all possible Dark Events that have been initiated, you should unlock all regions with constructed Blacksite Facilities.
Types of Dark Events
There are numerous types of Dark Events in the game. Some are much more dangerous than others. We’ve discussed each Dark Event in the game below, and also suggested which ones you should prioritize when it comes to choosing Guerilla Ops.
ADVENT Midnight Raids
This Dark Event increases the cost of all recruits (which can be made at Resistance HQ) by 100%.
Recruits are generally very expensive as it is, and it’s not recommended that you spend Supplies on recruiting from the Resistance HQ. Instead, try to recruit through rewards from Guerilla Ops, Council VIP Missions, and scans.
For this reason, this is one of the Dark Events that should be way at the bottom of the priority list.
This Dark Event increases all Intel costs by 100%. This applies to all Black Market prices as well as Intel used to make contact to new regions around the globe. The importance of this Dark Event depends on a number of factors.
Is your AVATAR doom counter dangerously close to filling up? If so, check if you’ve made contact with a region that has a Blacksite Facility. If you haven’t, chances are you’ll want to prioritize this Dark Event.
An indirect way to make this Dark Event more manageable is to establish Comms in different regions of the world you have unlocked. Communication uplinks greatly reduce the amount of required Intel to unlock a region directly connected to the one where you have established it.
Additionally, reserve your Alien Data Caches to decrypt them for a good amount of Intel when required. These Data Caches become even more important if the Alien Cypher Dark Event is active.
ADVENT Rural Checkpoints
With this Dark Event, the aliens will stifle the movement of resistance sources. This will reduce the amount of Supplies of the next monthly supply drop by 50%. Towards mid and late stages of the campaign, this Dark Event can be altogether ignored.
There are a large number of ways to acquire Supplies, and while Supply Drops tend to give you the most, you can more than make up for it by conducting special Guerilla Ops, Council VIP Missions, and also spend Intel at the Black Market if needed.
In early game you’ll want to look out for this Dark Event. Supplies are essential in early game to get your soldiers the best gear and to construct necessary facilities. The importance and impact of this Dark Event dwindles as you progress further.
Avatar Project: Minor/Major Breakthrough
This Dark Event will instantly add one or two pips to the AVATAR doom counter, depending on whether it is a minor or major breakthrough (respectively). The importance of this Dark Event depends on how filled or empty your counter is.
If you’re near your last few pips, prioritize this Dark Event when choosing Guerilla Ops at all costs. If you’re sitting fairly comfortably, simply ignore it.
The aliens will insert a mole within the resistance with this Dark Event, which will lead to an Alien Retaliation 2 weeks earlier.
Alien Retaliation missions are one of the toughest mission, especially during early and midway parts of your campaign. It’s quite difficult to carry out these rescue missions without having a few soldiers injured.
Whether or not you want to counter this Dark Event largely depends on your comfort level with these missions. Certain tactics can make these missions fairly.
Be sure to view our Combat Strategy and Tactics Guide to learn how to approach these types of missions in the best manner.
Now we’re getting to the slightly challenging Dark Events that can make missions significantly more difficult. The first of the lot is Rapid Response. This Dark Event will guarantee ADVENT reinforcements on all Guerilla Ops.
While it doesn’t sound too challenging, reinforcements appear to arrive at random times, and can sometimes overwhelm you. They also become a thorn in your progression to your mission objective, which is often tied with turn limits.
If you have little trouble facing ADVENT soldiers, then this shouldn’t really bother you too much. However, it’s definitely not a Dark Event you want to keep towards later stages of the game when you’re facing enemies like Gatekeepers and Sectopods.
During your first Alien Retaliation mission, you’ll be introduced to the Faceless enemy.
The terrifying abominations pretend to be civilians, but will reveal their true form when a soldier gets close to them. This Dark Event will deploy hidden Faceless enemies in all missions for a month. Not fun.
Alien Infiltrators are a huge nuance early on, but as you unlock abilities like Scan Protocol (Specialist) or acquire items like Battle Scanner, you should be able to counter them.
If you stay at a distance from all civilians in missions while this Dark Event is active, the Faceless will only reveal themselves when all enemy hostiles have been eliminated.
ADVENT Alloy Padding
With this Dark Event active, all ADVENT soldiers (as well as Mecs) will gain extra armor. Towards the later stages of the game, this can be quite infuriating, as ADVENT units often consist of Elite soldiers with boosted stats.
Try to counter this Dark Event quickly as it can greatly prolong missions.
You may not feel the effect in story missions and Blacksite Facility missions, but this Dark Event can make missions with turn limits extremely difficult because of the extra time consumed in combating buffed ADVENT troops.
ADVENT Viper Rounds
This is a fairly annoying Dark Event that gives all ADVENT Troops Viper Rounds. These rounds not only deal their base damage, but also induce poison that is similar to the ones Viper enemies use.
This can make things fairly complicated, especially if you have a series of missions to do. Soldiers get wounded quite easily in XCOM 2, and tend to have significant recovery periods without an Advanced Warfare Center.
Make sure you attempt to counter this Dark Event quickly so you can have as many healthy soldiers as possible.
Arguably the most dangerous Dark Event, Hunt XCOM can change the game drastically. If this Dark Event is initiated, it will have a UFO constantly attempting to intercept the Avenger as you fly to various regions.
The UFO will also be able to ambush you while you are scanning. Although the game gives you the option of taking Evasive Maneuvers to lose the UFO, you’ll only be able to do this successfully a few times before it ultimately catches you.
Once it does, an entire large cutscene is triggered, and a major unique mission is initiated. This UFO Dark Event mission is unique in the game, and is essentially a do-or-die situation.
It’s an extremely challenging mission that becomes more difficult the more time you take in it. Failing this mission will result in game over.
Because of the potentially massive impact of this Dark Event on your campaign, it takes priority over all others. The moment you see this Dark Event, conduct the Guerilla Ops to counter it at all costs.
If you are feeling brave and want to experience a unique and challenging mission though, let this Dark Event initiate and get captured by the UFO. Be prepared for a tough fight for the Avenger!