XCOM: Chimera Squad: Character ratings, skills, and recruitment

XCOM: Chimera Squad: Character ratings, skills, and recruitment


XCOM: Chimera Squad features a cast of 11 unique characters, each with their own squad roles and abilities. Some perform extremely well in all situations, while others may need a bit of work. This guide helps you determine which are the best characters, as well as their ratings and the ideal skills to pick.

Note: For more information, check out our XCOM: Chimera Squad guides and features hub.


XCOM: Chimera Squad – Recruiting additional squadmates and gearing up

Character recruitment in XCOM: Chimera Squad works differently compared to previous titles in the series. The 11 available soldiers are unique in their own way, and they aren’t just cannon fodder. Outside of the four default characters you get — Verge, Godmother, Terminal, and Cherub — your other squadmates are unlocked as you progress. You’re given three choices and you can only pick one each time (seen above).

You can only get up to four additional soldiers as you’re investigating City 31’s hostile factions. Likewise, you won’t be able to grab all troopers in a single playthrough, so you might end up replaying the game from scratch. However, starting a new game and skipping the tutorial does let you choose your starting squad members:

Xcsq 2 Squad Comp

Making your picks

While each character in XCOM: Chimera Squad does have unique quirks and functions in a team, the order that you get them and the faction you’re investigating will play an important role in how well they’ll perform. For instance, psionically gifted Verge does well against most biological targets (Progeny faction), but the tech expert Patchwork will be invaluable when fighting androids and mechs (Sacred Coil faction).

Additionally, the order that you choose/unlock them will determine just how useful they’d be in the long run. Getting a character late might mean not being able to level them up fully in time for the endgame. For example, picking Blueblood early and leveling him up gives you access to several awesome perks; picking him late means he won’t be able to reach his true potential.

Xcom Chimera Squad Character Skills Abilities Guide Best Characters Blueblood 1

Training, skill choices, and epic items

As for the character skills and abilities, you’ll need to choose between two skills when you reach the field agent and senior agent ranks (level 2 and level 4). You’ll also be presented with new training upgrades once you reach the special agent and principal agent ranks (level 3 and 5), and these have permanent effects. The special agent training upgrade will provide some decent bonuses, but the principal agent assignment might be a game-changer. You can refer to our training upgrades guide for more info.

Xcsq 3 Research Training

With regard to weapons, your units in XCOM: Chimera Squad follow simple loadouts based on five types:

  • Pistols – Blueblood, Cherub
  • Shotguns – Godmother, Axiom, Claymore
  • Submachine Guns – Terminal, Torque, Shelter
  • Assault Rifles – Verge, Patchwork
  • Melee (no upgrades or epic variant) – Zephyr

Assembly research projects that provide enhanced and master-crafted benefits apply to all characters who use that type of weapon. Similarly, certain epic weapons can truly synergize well with a character’s skills and abilities.

Xcom Chimera Squad Character Skills Abilities Guide Best Characters Terminal 1


Character ratings: The best characters and their skills and abilities

To simplify the description of character skills and abilities, I’ve shortened some terms:

  • “T” stands for the skill’s cooldown and the number of turns.
  • “M” means the ability can only be used once each mission.
  • “P” means it’s a passive skill.
  • If a skill’s description has none of the above, it means it has no cooldowns and can be activated freely each turn.

Xcom Chimera Squad Character Skills Abilities Guide Best Characters Zephyr 1

S-Tier

These are the characters that can completely turn the tide of battle and function well in almost any situation. You’ll likely want to bring them along when you’re facing the toughest missions in XCOM: Chimera Squad.

Terminal

Skills and abilities:

  • Default ability 1: Safeguard – Send the GREMLIN drone to heal one teammate, including Terminal, for 4 HP; cures environmental effects; doesn’t automatically end turn.
  • Default ability 2: Hack Door – Allows you to hack a locked door during Breach Mode (P).
  • Deputy agent: Refresh – Drone heals all allies at their breach point (M).
  • Field agent: Sustain – Enter stasis to prevent getting downed (M); or Pin Down – suppress a target without damaging them to delay their turn (T2).
  • Special agent: Cooperation – Instantly allows a character to have a bonus action (T3).
  • Senior agent: Armor System – Safeguard gives +1 armor (P); or Resilience – Terminal heals to full at the end of every encounter (P).
  • Principal agent: Second Wind – Drone heals the entire squad, cures environmental effects, and stabilizes downed allies (M).

Training:

  • Special agent: Unlock Potential – +1 utility item slot.
  • Principal agent: Guardian – Overwatch triggers for multiple targets as long as ammo is available.

I’m actually tempted to make an S+ tier just for Terminal because of how useful she is in every encounter in XCOM: Chimera Squad. She can regularly heal your teammates each turn with Safeguard, making her a mainstay of your forces. If you have one mob left, you can stun or CC that enemy and have her cast her healing until everyone’s topped up and ready for the next encounter.

Her Second Wind ability is a lifesaver when a fight isn’t going your way, while Cooperation lets other characters get their attacks in. For instance, I usually have Terminal as the first breacher (so she has her turn before everyone else). I’ll cast Cooperation on Zephyr or Blueblood and have them take out opponents that are next in line to act. Then, Terminal finishes them off. The one who was affected by Cooperation then takes their regular turn.

As for skill picks, I went with Pin Down to help delay the attacks of dangerous enemies. I also chose Resilience so I don’t have to worry about healing Terminal if she’s low on health at the end of an encounter.

Xcsq 4 Terminal

Blueblood

Skills and abilities:

  • Default ability 1: Deadeye – A shot with an aim penalty but does increased damage.
  • Default ability 2: Desperado – The standard pistol shot and Deadeye don’t end the turn if Blueblood still has actions remaining (P).
  • Deputy agent: Lancer Shot – This shot during Breach Mode ignores all cover bonuses (M).
  • Field agent: Warm Welcome – The first shot in each clip disorients the target (P); or Ever Vigilant – Automatically activate overwatch if the last action is spent moving, including when subduing foes or stabilizing teammates (P).
  • Special agent: Phase Lance – Fires a shot in a straight line, ignoring all cover bonuses (T3).
  • Senior agent: Fond Farewell – The last shot in each clip does double damage (P); or Cascade Lance – Phase Lance’s damage increases for every subsequent enemy it hits in a straight line (P).
  • Principal agent: Faceoff – Fire your weapon at every enemy in your line-of-sight limited only by your ammo (M).

Training:

  • Special agent: Unlock Potential – +15 crit chance.
  • Principal agent: Free Reload – Reloading doesn’t cost action points.

Blueblood is truly an amazing character to have in XCOM: Chimera Squad. By default, he’s the only one who can fire twice each turn (as long as you don’t move around first), making him ideal to pick off low HP mobs. Much later, especially once you obtain the Artful Fathom epic weapon, you’ll be able to use the Lightning Hands skill to fire another shot that doesn’t cost action points. That’s three shots in a turn.

When you combine this with weapon mods such as scopes and extended mags, you’re looking at a soldier who can continuously land hits to eliminate hostiles before they can even attack. Alternatively, you can replace your extended mag with a laser sight, along with Talon Rounds (+crit). If you picked Fond Farewell, you can proc the double damage a few times each mission. Lastly, Blueblood’s training once he reaches principal agent rank makes reloading a free action.

Xcsq 5 Blueblood

Zephyr

Skills and abilities:

  • Default ability 1: Crippling Blow – This melee attack can cause the disarm, disorient, stun, or root status effects. This will never miss, and it’ll trigger Momentum.
  • Default ability 2: Momentum – Immune to root status effect and allows Zephyr to move after using Crippling Blow (P).
  • Default ability 3: Fearless Advance – Rather than firing during Breach Mode, Zephyr runs straight to an enemy to attack and start the encounter next to them.
  • Deputy agent: Parry – Instead of moving, you can choose to negate all damage from the next enemy attack.
  • Field agent: Lockdown – Immediately kick an enemy that enters or attacks in melee range (P); or Pressure Point – Killing blows knock out enemies instead and gives +1 damage to attacks (P).
  • Special agent: Crowd Control – Attack every enemy in a wide area with kicks and punches (T2).
  • Senior agent: Moving Target – Subdue and Crowd Control create Momentum and Zephyr no longer triggers overwatch (P); or Vital Strike – Melee attacks ignore armor (P).
  • Principal agent: Reaper – Downing an enemy with a melee attack lets you take another action and each subsequent melee attack has lower damage (T4).

Training:

  • Special agent: Unlock Potential – +2 movement.
  • Principal agent: High Impact – Crowd control will apply a random debuff to targets.

Zephyr is just insanely good thanks to her lightning-fast attacks and debuffing strikes. Imagine using Crippling Blow to go straight to a deadly target like a Praetorian or Andromedon, and subsequently stunning them. Her Crowd Control ability has massive coverage, and you’ll likely find two or three mobs to hit, dealing status effects to each one. The Reaper skill which you unlock much later is also amazing for clearing out rooms.

She also shines with her Parry ability. Given that she’s spearheading the squad’s advance, she’ll present herself as a target, only for Parry to completely nullify the damage. Her DPS falls off towards the endgame since you can’t upgrade her Pangolin Gauntlets and many hostiles are already armored, but Vital Strike can help offset this.

Xcom Chimera Squad Character Skills Abilities Guide Best Characters Zephyr 2


A-Tier

While these characters aren’t as good as their S-tier counterparts, they’re still a great addition to your team, and they complement all others nicely enough.

Patchwork

Skills and abilities:

  • Default ability 1: Chaining Jolt – GREMLIN drone attacks enemies for 4 damage; higher damage versus robots; damage chains to nearby enemies.
  • Default ability 2: Hack Door – Allows you to hack a locked door during Breach Mode (P).
  • Default ability 3: Reprogram – Drone hacks a robot combatant for three turns (T4 if the skill succeeds).
  • Deputy agent: Combat Scanners – +15 squad aim at breach point (M).
  • Field agent: Voltaic Arc – Drone shocks enemies that get too close to Patchwork (P); or Threat Recognition – Combat Scanners now has two uses each mission and gives +25 crit to allies at breach point (P).
  • Special agent: Stasis Field – Places a stasis shield around a target (teammate, allied VIP, or enemy); unit in stasis can move, but they cannot attack (T2).
  • Senior agent: Shock Therapy – Chaining Jolt disorients and can stun targets (P); or High Voltage – Chain lightning from Chaining Jolt or Voltaic Arc does extra damage (P).
  • Principal agent: Capacitor Discharge – Casts lightning in a wide area which can stun all targets (M).

Training:

  • Principal agent: Storm Generator – Increases range of Chaining Jolt.

Patchwork does have some use thanks to her GREMLIN drone that always does 4 HP damage. Where she starts to shine, though, is toward the endgame or while fighting the Sacred Coil faction. Due to their penchant for using bots (androids and mechs), you’ll do more damage than your teammates per Chaining Jolt, and you can even Reprogram them to fight on your side. The Stasis Field, meanwhile, is helpful if an ally is in a pinch since you can prevent them from getting mauled while hostiles are on the attack. It can even be used during VIP missions so they can reach the extraction zone safely.

As for the skill choices, Voltaic Arc was almost a non-factor given how rare enemies would attempt to go near Patchwork (and you shouldn’t even be using her to push forward). However, Shock Therapy can help apply status effects to various targets.

Xcsq 6 Patchwork

Verge

Skills and abilities:

  • Default ability 1: Neural Network – Psionic links on each enemy give Verge +10 aim (P).
  • Default ability 2: Stupor – Stuns a target for a couple of actions; adds target to Neural Network.
  • Default ability 3: Battle Madness – Causes hostile to go berserk and attack a nearby target; adds target to Neural Network.
  • Deputy agent: Levitation – Removes cover effects and the alert or aggressive status during Breach Mode.
  • Field agent: Crowdsource – Gain an additional +5 aim and +10 crit for each enemy in the Neural Network (P); or Collar – Enemies in the Neural Network are KO’d instead of getting killed (P).
  • Special agent: Mindflay – Damage all enemies that are part of the Neural Network; KO’s enemies instead of killing them.
  • Senior agent: Network Healing – Verge heals HP each turn depending on the number of enemies in the Neural Network (P); or Slam – Drops an enemy affected by Levitation and adds them to the Neural Network.
  • Principal agent: Puppeteer – Mind controls all enemies in the Neural Network for a turn (M).

Training:

  • Principal agent: Mind Lash – +1 damage to enemies in the Neural Network.

Verge uses brains over brawn; he’s a sectoid so his skills readily show this. He takes a while to get the ball rolling, but, once he does, he becomes a ridiculously good support character as long as you’ve got a lot of enemies linked to you via the Neural Network. Killed enemies get removed from this link, but KO’d ones still apply the effect (so equip Tranq Rounds on your teammates you want).

You can have one link already if you pick Slam (cast Levitation during Breach Mode and then let Slam happen once you start the actual phase). Cast Stupor to stun a dangerous enemy and/or Battle Madness to cause some chaos. If you picked Crowdsource, you’ll never miss your shots given all the hostiles linked to you; if you picked Collar, then the ones your shot at by allies will just get put to sleep.

Xcom Chimera Squad Character Skills Abilities Guide Best Characters Verge 1

Godmother

Skills and abilities:

  • Default ability 1: Scattershot – Damage multiple targets in a frontal cone; costs 2 ammo.
  • Deputy agent: Alpha Strike – Use this during Breach Mode so Godmother can have her turn earlier while also giving a free action point (M).
  • Field agent: Last Stand – Instead of an attack killing her outright, Godmother is reduced to 1 HP and can act immediately afterward (M); or Flush – Does a zero damage attack to remove an enemy from cover.
  • Special agent: Ventilate – A shot that’s guaranteed to hit and destroy the target’s cover; costs 3 ammo (T3).
  • Senior agent: Close Combat Specialist – Take a reaction shot against enemies that get too close (P); or Untouchable – Downing an enemy will make the next enemy attack miss (P).
  • Principal agent: Overtime – Gain +crit, +dodge, and an extra turn in 3 turns (M). The crit and dodge effects will be present the entire time, but the extra turn will only proc much later.

Training:

  • Special agent: Unlock Potential – +1 mobility and +15 dodge.
  • Principal agent: Step Up – Scoring kills grants a free reload action.

Godmother is a no-nonsense squad leader who’ll rush into the fray with her shotgun, and she’s quite good at it. Given how deadly shotguns are at close range, you’re going to be in the thick of the fighting, and I’d suggest using the Lonely Herald epic weapon to have the Run and Gun skill (allows you to use an action/shoot after dashing). Her Step Up skill from principal agent training even lets her reload freely after killing targets, making her ideal for straightforward room-clearing.

For skill picks, Last Stand is infinitely more useful than Flush since you’ll likely take a beating from other opponents. Close Combat Specialist, meanwhile, ensures that anyone who advances towards your position gets blasted in the face.

Xcom Chimera Squad Character Skills Abilities Guide Best Characters Godmother 1


B-Tier

These are fairly decent characters that serve a unique purpose, and you’ll still be fine with them for the most part. However, you might go back to your top picks whenever you’re in a pinch.

Cherub

Skills and abilities:

  • Default ability 1: Kinetic Shield – Shield yourself or an ally to negate an attack; gain a charge when the shield is destroyed.
  • Default ability 2: Kinetic Shield Charge – You can have up to 3 charges, and you can use these to unleash improved skills (P).
  • Default ability 3: Charged Bash – Use up all your charges to unleash a shield bash that creates damages enemies caught in a frontal cone.
  • Deputy agent: Phalanx – Block all damage your teammates take at a breach point; gain a charge for each attack you block (M).
  • Field agent: Generator – Gain a charge at the end of each encounter (P); or Guard – Gain +1 armor at the end of your turn and generate cover for friendlies (P).
  • Special agent: Overload – Store up to 3 charges and gain bonus mobility (P).
  • Senior agent: Recharge – If you use Charged Bash to KO an enemy, you’ll gain an extra charge (P); or Resonance Field -Using Kinetic Shield on an ally gives them +15 aim (P).
  • Principal agent: Supercharge – Expends all charges to increase the squad’s weapon damage while placing a Holo-target effect on all enemies to improve aim (M).

Training:

  • Special agent: Unlock Potential – +2 movement.
  • Principal agent: Return Fire – Automatically fire at an enemy that shoots you.

Cherub is right there with you once you start XCOM: Chimera Squad‘s campaign and he’ll provide you with tanking benefits. You’ll probably keep him around for a lengthy period — until you get Zephyr, that is. She can already debuff enemies while tanking hits consistently, which makes using Cherub almost moot.

Although Cherub can provide a lot of defensive bonuses to your allies — and both Generator and Recharge are useful — he’s just not the best when it comes to pumping out the DPS. He requires a few more actions just to increase the damage of his bashes, and your pistol just won’t do the trick. Heck, if you found the Artful Fathom epic weapon, it’ll likely go to Blueblood instead. As such, if you’re running an extremely efficient room-clearing setup (ie. Terminal, Blueblood, Zephyr, and Godmother), Cherub won’t find a spot in your group.

Xcsq 7 Cherub


C-Tier

Although the tier list is subjective and based on experience, these are the characters in XCOM: Chimera Squad that I simply wasn’t able to use with maximum efficiency. Far too often, better options ended up outshining them. You’re better off using them to complete spec ops or research projects.

Axiom

Skills and abilities:

  • Default ability 1: Rage – Taking damage or using certain skills (Psych Up) increases Rage, which then increases the chance of applying status effects with melee attacks (Smash) or when breaching (Battering Ram). Higher Rage also causes Axiom to go Berserk and attack nearby targets (P).
  • Default ability 2: Smash – Axiom does a ground pound on a single target with a chance to apply disorient, stun, or unconscious.
  • Default ability 3: Psych Up – Increases Rage proactively.
  • Deputy agent: Battering Ram – Rush through a door during Breach Mode; has a chance to panic enemies.
  • Field agent: Aftershock – Smash does a small amount of damage to nearby targets; chance to apply status effects on these targets (P); or Shrug It Off – Chance to reduce damage from an attack to 1 HP.
  • Special agent: Adrenal Surge – Smash and Psych Up no longer end the turn or have cooldowns (T4).
  • Senior agent: Fear Factor – Smash can cause panic (P); or Regeneration – heal a bit of HP at the start of your turn (P).
  • Principal agent: Quake – Slams the ground to do damage to nearby units and destroy cover (M).

I really wanted to like Axiom. He’s a muton brute, after all, and I found him one of the more intriguing new additions in XCOM: Chimera Squad. Unfortunately, I also found little to no use for him, and he ended up becoming probably the worst character in the game.

Smash ends your turn until you unlock Adrenal Surge (which has a long cooldown), but the aforementioned ability still doesn’t hit as hard. You might even get hit by an extremely damaging attack, too, and Shrug If Off is inconsistent in that regard. You can try to generate Rage by way of enemy fire, but that’s not always guaranteed, or you can use Psych Up. Sadly, the additional status effect chance from Rage isn’t as useful as, say, Zephyr’s Crippling Blow or Crowd Control. She already applies debuffs without fail and her attacks also won’t miss compared to Axiom’s Smash.

Xcom Chimera Squad Character Skills Abilities Guide Best Characters Axiom 1

Claymore, Torque, and Shelter

I wasn’t able to pick Claymore, Torque, or Shelter during my first XCOM: Chimera Squad playthrough, so I’ve yet to see how well they’ll perform. Rest assured that the article will be updated with additional details once I’m able to replay the game. If you’ve already tried them out, let us know how you ended up using their skills and abilities.

Xcom Chimera Squad Character Skills Abilities Guide Best Characters Cutscene


XCOM: Chimera Squad is available on Steam. For more information, check out our guides and features hub.



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