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XCOM Chimera Squad guide: 25 tips and tricks for beginners

Tips for managing your squad and reducing city unrest

XCOM Chimera Squad came out of nowhere didn't it? The latest in the rebooted XCOM series opts for a more streamlined approach than its predecessors, focusing in on a fixed squad that must keep the peace in City 31. Things can quickly snowball out of control if you don't know what you're doing, but that's where we come in.

XCOM Chimera Squad guide

Our XCOM Chimera Squad guide will go over all the tips you need to know to get started with the new XCOM game. It will go over what XCOM Chimera Squad is, if you need XCOM 2 to run it, tips about breach points, and key things to know about the HQ.

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What is XCOM Chimera Squad?

The latest game in the reboot of the XCOM series is a smaller game set after the events of XCOM 2. While the aliens have relinquished control of Earth, the population now has a mix of human natives and alien immigrants who have mingled with the rest of society. Taking control of Chimera Squad, you'll command human and alien soldiers to keep the peace within the districts of a large settlement known as City 31.

Humans and aliens have weapon types that are fixed and unique abilities based on their species. Combat has also been revamped to turn battles into shorter chunks while keeping the unpredictability that XCOM is known for. There's also a new way of calculating turn order based on stats, as well as a breaching mode where you deploy your squad into the action.

Do I need XCOM 2 to run XCOM Chimera Squad?

Since XCOM Chimera Squad is a standalone game, you do not need to have purchased XCOM 2 to run it. The minimum and recommended system specs are a little different to those from XCOM 2, so make sure you check before you buy. If you want to buy it, it's currently 50% off regular price on Steam.

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XCOM Chimera Squad tips

While nowhere near on the scale of XCOM 2, there are plenty of things to keep in mind when playing this smaller XCOM experience. We've split each of the tips into two categories: combat and reclamation HQ.

Reclamation HQ tips

  1. In the city map, you'll be able to assign agents to tackle missions and situations. Missions involve combat while situations do not require any fighting.
  2. Before starting a mission, pay attention to the "Projected Breach Options" as it can help decide when to use certain items like breaching charges or hacking doors. This is different from the unique breaching options.
  3. Targets change every day so make sure you are certain about which situations and missions you take on that day and the consequences of not doing so.
  4. Remember the types of missions are colour coded. Purple missions advance the story while yellow missions are side missions that reduce unrest and give you either leads or resources.
  5. Red missions are emergency missions that only appear when a district has severe unrest. Upon completing these, your unrest in that region will be reduced by two stages.
  6. Sometimes you'll be required to investigate factions. Doing Groundwork missions helps you learn about that faction, Operations are hidden missions that upon completion disrupt their plans, and Takedown are final missions to end their threat to City 31.
  7. You'll occasionally be able to recruit new agents in the Armory tab. Eventually you'll be able to recruit all of them, but initially you'll have to choose one at a time from a selection of three.
  8. If an agent was knocked out, you can temporarily assign an android to take their place while they recover. They do not gain experience and can only be upgraded by purchasing items in the Supply Market. To build them, head to the Assemble tab.
  9. You need one of three resources to build things: Elerium (the lightning bolt), credits (the weird dollar sign), and Intel (magnifying glass).
  10. Occasionally, a wounded or bleeding out agent will also pick up a scar that decreases a specific stat. Use the training facility in your base to remove the scar, but this process will take a few days.
  11. Assigning healthy agents to the training facility also gives improved stats and new abilities.
  12. Use Spec Ops to send agents to gather resources or reduce the unrest in the city.
  13. If a district's unrest reaches five bars (red), the overall unrest in the city will increase. Should the overall unrest reach the maximum point, you'll lose the game.
  14. Unrest rises more as the game progresses through the different investigations. Use Field Team abilities and Spec Ops assignments to manage how much they increase by.
  15. After unlocking the Scavenger Market, make sure you keep a healthy stockpile of Intel ready whenever they are open. The stuff they have on sale is higher level than regular items are in the Supply Market.

Chimera Squad combat tips

  1. At the beginning of each encounter of a mission, you'll assign breach points. Assign agents carefully to specific breach points, as each has a positive or negative effect.
  2. When breaching in, the order in which you select agents is important for turn order. Think about which team member you wish to act early on and which ones you wish to save until later.
  3. It's usually best to injure four enemies while breaching rather than killing two. Leaving multiple enemies on lower health means you can use your subsequent turns to kill them off before they get a chance to act.
  4. Some breach points can only be assigned to specific units in the squad, so always save before going into a mission to see what breach points are going to appear and build your team accordingly.
  5. If a teammate is bleeding out, try to stabilise their condition using either allies or drones. They'll still be unconscious and therefore unable to fight, but fully bleeding out will fail the mission.
  6. Pay attention to which abilities can synchronise with other units. For example, moving an enemy unit will trigger a nearby ally's overwatch ability.
  7. Arresting enemies with subdue or Cherub's Kinetic Shield Bash ability can give you a chance to gain more Intel. The more enemies arrested, the higher the chance.
  8. If you find your units are getting controlled by enemies with psionic abilities, use a flashbang grenade to disorientate the enemy and lose the mind control link. Killing the psionic enemy also severs the link.
  9. If you are playing a mission with the option to evacuate, make sure you take a pot shot at enemies or disrupt them before clicking the "Evac" button. Evacuating the mission is a free action.
  10. If you are not playing Ironman mode, save often. You may find that certain decisions made in Reclamation HQ affect your ability to fight in battle.

XCOM Chimera Squad guide

XCOM Chimera Squad guide series

Thanks for reading our XCOM Chimera Squad guide. Do check out the rest of our guides below, which includes details on agent builds, as well as other key info.

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Dave Irwin avatar

Dave Irwin

Former Guides Writer

Dave was a guides writer for Rock Paper Shotgun from 2018-2020. He previously worked as a freelancer for TheSixthAxis, Tech Advisor and Kotaku, producing hundreds of guides to help people get better at their favourite games. He now writes guides for PCGamesN.