The various characters, soldier classes and alien types as modified or added for Long War and Long War 2.
Largely similar to vanilla's Assault, the Assault is a CQC specialist. His default ability, "Run & Gun", is the same as in vanilla, allowing the Assault to fire or Overwatch after using both actions to move.
- Nerves of Steel: "Steadfast" prevents an Assault from panicking due to getting wounded, Intimidation or allies panicking, getting wounded or killed. The +5 Will the ability gives also helps to resist direct psionic means of causing panic.
A new class with no direct parallel in vanilla, but best described as a lovechild of the grenade-related skills of vanilla's Heavy and Support. Default ability is "Grenadier", which allows two destructive grenades from one inventory slot and allows her to throw grenade 20% further.
- Grenade Spam: With the right build and Tactical Rigging, an Engineer can carry a whopping nine damage grenades.
- Pinned Down: Engineers are one of the classes that can Suppress enemies.
- Required Secondary Powers: The Engineer can learn Fire Rocket at master sergeant, but without the variety of perks the Rocketeer can learn, its effectiveness will be limited.
- Support Party Member: With the Smoke & Mirrors and Packmaster perks an Engineer can also get three uses out of each support grenade such as smokes, flashbangs, or acid grenades. They also have the Dense Smoke perk from the base game.
One half of vanilla's Heavy, getting the use of the SAW or LMG. Default ability is "Suppression", which reduces an enemy's aim and causes reaction fire to be taken should it attempt to move.
- Mighty Glacier: Can be invoked by equipping the LMG rather than the SAW. Similar to Snipers with Squad Sight, LMG Gunners cannot move and fire on the same turn, making them slower than their SAW-using peers, but deal more damage and can shoot beyond their own visual range. But even using a SAW comes with higher damage and lowered mobility compared to an assault rifle.
- Pinned Down: As mentioned above, Gunners get Suppression right from Squaddie.
- Support Party Member: Following the Bullet Wizard build means eschewing the powerful offensive perks in favor of making a Gunner that can apply Holo-targeting and Shred while Suppressing multiple foes, letting the rest of the squad be more accurate and deal more damage.
A new class with no direct counterpart in vanilla. Best described as something of a hybrid between the Assault and Heavy, the Infantry is a direct fire and Overwatch specialist. His default ability, "Light 'Em Up", is identical to the Heavy's Bullet Swarm in that a standard shot taken as the first action no longer ends the turn.
- Achilles' Heel: As powerful as well-built Infantry are, their lack of access to HEAT or Shredder Ammo means they're in trouble against Heavily Armored robotic foes or Incredibly Durable Enemies and must defer to other classes when those appear.
- Anti-Air: His "Deadeye" skill provides +15 Aim against flying aliens.
- Boring, but Practical: The Infantry is meant to find a position with good line of sight and full cover and stick to it, delivering two shots a turn until the pod is eliminated. He has no fancy flanking moves or Herd Hitting Attacks, just skills that enhance his ability to shoot, Overwatch or survive.
- Nerves of Steel: "Steadfast" prevents an Infantry from panicking due to getting wounded, Intimidation or allies panicking, getting wounded or killed. The +5 Will the ability gives also helps to resist direct psionic means of causing panic.
- Pinned Down: Infantry are one of the classes that can Suppress enemies.
- Simple, yet Awesome: Despite the seemingly straightforward setup, a properly-trained Infantry with a Battle Rifle that lands two critical shots can outdamage almost any other class in damage per turn. He might not have the cover-destroying Herd Hitting Attacks of an Engineer or Rocketeer, the Kill Streak ability of an In The Zone Scout or Sniper or the boss-slaying sheer burst damage potential of an Assault or Gunner, but he gets his multiple shots per turn ability right from class acquisition, and since he's not reliant on limited-use items or special abilities with cooldowns, he can bring the pain with a consistency that few others can match or beat.
The other half of vanilla's Support with the healing-related skills and some support abilities. Default ability is "Field Medic", which grants a free use of a medikit per mission, two additional uses for any medikits equipped, and allows each Restorative Mist to be used thrice a battle instead of only once.
- Divergent Character Evolution: their rightmost tree is dedicated to buffing medkits as per their namesake. The other two trees instead make them decent overwatch specialists and smoke grenade specialists, respectively
- Pinned Down: Medics are one of the classes that can Suppress enemies.
- Support Party Member: With healing, smoke grenade and Overwatch-improving abilities, but little in the way of directly harming the aliens or making herself better at doing so, the Medic is quite clearly not a combat frontliner.
The other half of vanilla's Heavy, getting the use of the Rocket Launcher.
- Death-or-Glory Attack: A single rocket can change the tide of battle. With the scatter mechanic, however, the equation is: In whose favour?
- Divergent Character Evolution: Rocketeers have a decent Aim growth. Combined with the right perks, they can be built instead as Overwatch specialists with a high explosive panic button.
- Magikarp Power: Rocketeers are of limited utility right off the bat. The scatter mechanic means rocket use can be a liability unless the firer has high base Aim, yet if running the Commander's Choice Second Wave option, high Aim rookies usually get priority to be Gunners, Infantry or Snipers, meaning Rocketeers are likely to end up with moderate starting Aim at best. A high-leveled Rocketeer will, in addition to decent Aim growth, also learn abilities that reduce scatter, thus making him far more effective.
- Mighty Glacier: Rockets can kill many weaker aliens or wound and expose stronger ones. However, since every rocket carried reduces mobility, a Rocketeer can find himself lagging behind the rest of the squad. Furthermore, rockets suffer aim and range penalties if fired on the second action, further discouraging movement.
- Pinned Down: Rocketeers are one of the classes that can Suppress enemies.
Vaguely analogous to a hybrid of the Assault and Snap Shot Sniper, Scouts are reconnaissance specialists that can also offer damage and utility. His default ability, "Lightning Reflexes", greatly reduces the chance of enemy Overwatch shots hitting.
- Anti-Air: His "Deadeye" skill provides +15 Aim against flying aliens.
- Glass Cannon: A properly-equipped, trained and supported Scout is an absolute murder machine (Note: video depicts pre-nerfing). However, while he does have skills to make him much harder to hit, he doesn't have anything that lets him survive more damage if shots connect. A standup fight with the aliens is not in his favour.
- Hit-and-Run Tactics: As the name suggests, "Hit and Run" allows a Scout to take another action if his first that turn is a standard shot against an exposed or flanked target.
- I Work Alone: Invoked by the "Lone Wolf" skill, which increases aim and critical chance for Scouts a certain distance away from any allies.
Largely unchanged from the base game.
- One-Hit Kill: They are probably the best class to pull these off with if the right perks are taken. A properly built sniper can take out all but the toughest enemies with a single crit.
A new mechanic that replaces vanilla's medal system. In Long War, all XCOM troopers follow the enlisted rank structure, as opposed to starting as enlisted and mustanging along the way. Instead, a limited number of troopers can be promoted to officers, who offer benefits to the squad.
- Badass Normal: Officers are, by definition, regular GI joes, with no psychic powers and no giant robot suits.
- Empowered Badass Normal: They can still, however, be given gene mods.
- Multinational Team: Invoked by "Legio Patria Nostra", which grants the squad additional Will for every different nationality present.
- Mutually Exclusive Powerups: A trooper who becomes an Officer cannot be a MEC Trooper or Psionic.
- Support Party Member: While an Officer still retains her class-specific combat skills, none of the Officer perks directly harm the aliens.
Unlike in vanilla, eight different types of MEC classes exist, one for each of the normal classes.
- Discard and Draw: The Archer MEC loses the Rocketeer's ability to use rockets in exchange for enhanced grenade use.
- Empowered Badass Normal: With few exceptions, the MEC is usually a straight upgrade from the unaugmented trooper class they used to be.
- Mutually Exclusive Powerups: MEC troopers still cannot be or become Psionics, but they also cannot be Officers now too.
Iago Van Doorn
The EXALT Commander, battled in the EXALT base.
Long War 2
A deliberate throwback to the Assault class from the original X-Com. One key difference is that their secondary weapon is the Arc Thrower, essentially a Taser pistol, that gives the normally close-quarters specializing Assault some long-range utility. Their signature ability is "Run and Gun", which lets them use both actions to move and still be able to shoot or Overwatch.
- Herd-Hitting Attack: The Trench Gun skill.
- Leeroy Jenkins: The signature ability of all Assaults, Run and Gun makes its return as a default skill. This trope ensues when it's used improperly.
- Not the Intended Use: The middle tree, improving the usage of the Arc thrower, may seem underwhelming when compared to the more direct trees but combining this tree with an assault rifle turns the Assault into a supporting midrange unit - and a surprisingly viable candidate for officer training.
- Shock and Awe: The Arc Thrower hurls a bolt of non-lethal lightning a considerable distance.
- Short-Range Shotgun: Played straight for the most part, but in an commonly seen used ability the Slug Shot ability changes the weapons' range characteristics to be more in line with a conventional rifle.
- Super Reflexes: Can learn skills that protect them from reaction fire.
One half of the vanilla Grenadier, LW2 Grenadiers give away the use of the cannon in favour of more effective grenade use, including more options benefiting support grenades. Uses a rifle, SMG or shotgun as primary weapon, with the Grenade Launcher as secondary.
- Boring, but Practical: The basic flashbang grenades, in the hands of an appropriately-skilled Grenadier, can be made to not only affect mechanical enemies, but stun organic enemies outright.
- Divergent Character Evolution: Grenadier skills tend to focus on improving either destructive or support grenades.
- Grenade Spam: The Grenadier not only gets an extra inventory slot for a dedicated grenade, but two (mutually exclusive) early skills allow them to double the uses of the grenades in that slot, allowing them to bring 4 grenades total.
- Overt Operative: They are so unstealthy that they actually suffer a penalty to infiltration time.
The other half of the vanilla Grenadier, Gunners wield heavy machine guns with knives as secondary and employ a variety of advanced firing patterns and tricks to impede alien troops or destroy individual targets. Their default abilities let them employ both Suppression and an Area Suppression version.
- Counter-Attack: They can parry and counter melee attackers with their knives.
- More Dakka: The skill Hail of Bullets guarantees a hit on whatever it is used on through sheer volume of firepower.
- When All You Have is a Hammer : The gunner can: Force enemies to move, suppress single or small groups of enemies, destroy cover entirely (setting off cars in the process), slow the movement of all enemies in an area, turn misses into grazing hits, shoot at anything in a large area and saturate a single target with so many bullets as to guarantee damage. All through the simple trick of firing a heavy machine gun in the general direction of the enemy.
Not to be confused with the vanilla Ranger, this is more accurately the successor to the first Long War's Infantry class as a direct fire and overwatch specialist. Uses a rifle, SMG or shotgun as primary weapon, with a Sawed-Off Shotgun as secondary. Their default ability, "Light 'Em Up", means that taking a standard shot with their primary weapon as first action no longer ends the turn.
- Boring, but Practical: The Ranger's Sawed-Off Shotgun is a basic weapon that is well over 120 years old by the time of the game. Its Both Barrels ability is the most damaging single-target ability available to a squaddie. The Ranger class in general doesn't use fancy tricks or gadgets, instead focusing on effective use of the primary weapons available to all rookies.
- In Name Only: Has nothing to do with the vanilla Ranger.
Largely similar to the vanilla Sharpshooter, but trading out the pistol and attendant skills for a Holotargeter that boosts the squad's Aim for that turn. Starts with the skill Squadsight letting them use nearby squad members to extend their sightlines.
- Divergent Character Evolution: the skill Snapshot effectively replaces Squadsight turning the Sharpshooter into more of a midrange rifleman.
- Support Party Member: Going down the middle set of abilities effectively turns the Sharpshooter into a dedicated spotter, who dramatically boosts accuracy and damage against single targets with their Holotargeter. This setup synergizes well with Officer skills.
The inheritor of the vanilla Ranger's stealth and sword skills. Uses a rifle, SMG or shotgun as a primary weapon, with a sword as secondary. As default, they have "Phantom", the ability to remain concealed when the squad is revealed.
- Death-or-Glory Attack: "Fleche" even moreso than vanilla's "Slash". Since it grows in power with the distance between the Shinobi and the target, dashing the full extent of a soldier's mobility to make melee attacks is even more powerful than in vanilla... assuming you don't accidentally activate more pods in the process.
- Non-Action Guy: In a tense firefight with limited resources the idea of one capable soldier going out of their way to avoid the enemy seems counterproductive. However, a dedicated scout is extremely useful at protecting you from setting off inactive pods before you're ready for them.
- Stealth Expert: Can learn all the vanilla Ranger's Concealment moves, as well as new moves that reduce enemy detection radius against them and moves that reduce infiltration time. The Gunnery Sergeant-level skill "Tradecraft" reduces infiltration time enough that you can actually bring another soldier on the mission to make up for the loss in potential damage that bringing a Shinobi over a more combat-oriented soldier may result in.
- Super Reflexes: Can learn moves that increase their Dodge stat and render them highly protected against reaction fire.
- Technicolor Ninjas: The Shinobi's stealth is in no way compromised by what you colour their armour.
The combined Medic-Hacker from Vanilla X-Com 2. Largely unchanged in their role as medics and support hackers.
- The Cracker: Far more well-intentioned than most, given that they are part of an underground resistance movement. Uniquely, they can interact with the Watchtowers to give their squad tactical bonuses at the risk of bringing more ADVENT down upon their position.
- Divergent Character Evolution: Like the vanilla Specialist, they can be advanced down routes that either enhance their hacking or medical capabilities, or down a middle path that lets them act as a supporting rifleman. Unlike the vanilla Specialist, they start with the Haywire Protocol, allowing even medically-focused Specialists to be effective against enemy mechanical units.
- The Medic: The most effective healer available, able to heal/revive/stabilize/sedate at considerable distances thanks tho their Gremlin.
- Not the Intended Use: Hacker aligned specialists benefit from having a skulljack to further boost their already high hack stat. This makes them particularly good at dealing with Advent Officers in close-combat with a flat 70% chance to kill them outright.
A new class not previously available in the Long War Perk Pack. Uses a rifle, SMG or shotgun as primary weapon. Secondary weapon is the Gauntlet, which allows them to use a rocket launcher and flamethrower without needing EXO or WAR suits; as a result, the left and right branches of their skill trees are built around enhancing their ability to use these heavy weapons.
- Anti-Armor: They can learn "Shredder", which acts as it did in vanilla, plus "Phosphorus" also lets flamethrower attacks shred one point of armor.
- Crippling Overspecialization: Technicals' abilities are mostly built to enhance their rocket and flamethrower, which makes them most adept at dealing with the very large crowds of enemy troops that you'll encounter in low-Infiltration missions. However, said heavy weapons have limited uses, so getting the relevant abilities means they can't do much more than rookies once they're out of charges. A mod exists to let them be reloaded for more actions than reloading the normal weapon, but given the fast pace of most missions, it doesn't solve the whole problem. Still, they are very useful for cover-busting and stripping off the armor of large, powerful enemies.
- Cross-Melting Aura: Mechanical foes are usually Kung Fu Proof against fire. Their "Phosphorus" skill lets them ignore that.
- Death-or-Glory Attack: "Firestorm" has the Technical burn everything in a circle around them. With good placement and luck, this can burn, disorient or panic an entire group of enemies, allowing the rest of the squad to mop up easily. If poorly used or unlucky, this leaves a Technical that has been painstakingly cultivated to Master Sergeant rank right in the centre of an entire group of enemies, and thus in a lot of trouble.
- Disc-One Nuke: The large-area rockets and the area-disrupting burning-inducing flamethrower are a serious boost of firepower for early teams. Gets Deconstructed to an extent - you need those nukes to effectively handle the higher-tier enemies and larger pods the Aliens will throw at you.
- Divergent Character Evolution: Many of the Technicals' Rocket or Flamethrower-based skills complement only one particular function of the gauntlet, requiring an early decision to specialize on one side or the other.
- Kung Fu-Proof Mook: "Firestorm", in addition to its main offensive use, also makes Technicals immune to fire damage themselves.
- Not the Intended Use: Their middle set of perks have a nice mix of defensive and rifle skills. Technicals who invest in those can make surprisingly decent Scout-Tank hybrids or Officers. While this does limit the effectiveness of their gauntlet abilities it also makes them more useful in longer missions where the limited number of rocket/flamethrower charges works against them.
- Overt Operative: Out of all of the soldier classes, the Technical is so awful at infiltration that they suffer a penalty to Infiltration time beyond what simple squad numbers would cause. This penalty was removed in 1.3.
- So Much for Stealth: A well-placed rocket is one of the most effective ways of completely wiping out an unactivated alien pod in a single turn, although it's usually good to have a few overwatching soldiers nearby to mop up the survivors.
Advent Trooper Variants
While regular Advent Troopers, Officers, Shieldbearers and Stun Lancers are largely unchanged in their roles from the base game, Advent has expanded its ranks to include a number of Evil Counterparts to the expanded XCOM squad.
- Elite Mooks: Generals, Shock Troopers, Vanguards, Scouts, Seargents and Commandos. Restricted to one per pod and come with noticeably better training.
- Evil Counterpart: Rocketeers to Technicals, Scouts to Assault, Sentinels to Rangers, Engineers to Grenadiers, Gunners to, well, Gunners.
- Kung Fu-Proof Mook: Scouts have Shadowstep, making them immune to reaction shots.
- Lets Get Dangeous: With the introduction of these guys Advent becomes a lot more dangerous and a lot better at combined-arms action. The Elite soldiers are even a match for a mid-level X-com operative.
Advent Surveillance Drone
Small, fragile, flying robots used by Advent to supplement their patrols - by employing close-quarters stunning devices.
- Attack Drone: A not-too-lethal one at that.
- Elite Mook: Hunter Drones are mechanically similar but statistically nastier.
- Logical Weakness: Specialists being able to hack from their initial promotion,
- Spanner in the Works: They aren't a huge danger to the squad by themselves, but they can reliably take a soldier out of the action for up to two turns which can be disastrous if you're in the middle of running to an evac site.
Advent Mechanized Forces
Advent's foot tanks and mobile heavy weapon platforms. Now coming in even heavier and ranged specialist designs.
Two variations on the snakelike Vipers; the fast-moving Sidewinder and the sniper Naja.
- Cold Sniper: Najas trade most of their maneuverability and utility skills for sniper rifles and the squadsight ability.
- No-Sell: Sidewinders are immune to Overwatch attackes
- Snake People
Packs of Mutons may now be led by Centurions while the Elite Guards make a return from the last game.
- Boring, but Practical: Mutons do exactly 3 things: smack enemies in close-quarters with their bayonets, shoot (or suppress) enemies at range with their plasma rifles and throw grenades at anything they don't have a clear shot at. But with the raw power of their stats that's all they really need to do to be a serious threat.
- Elite Mooks: It's in the name.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Elite Mutons have been upgraded with ablative energy shields.
- Mook Lieutenant: Centurions. Stats aside, their main difference from regular Mutons is a rallying ability.