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Operation Half-dead Witch
XCOM 2 Succession Game (Part 28)
It’s been three months since we last checked in on our ongoing communal game of XCOM 2, so it’s time to slip back into the Commander’s chair, a task made a little trickier by my computer refusing to run the game at any speed at all. I was able to record my turn, but the footage is a little glacial in parts, so consider yourself warned. Rest assured, though, it frustrated me playing it at least as much as it could possibly frustrate you watching it.
For a bit of a change from the usual chaos, I started out with a clear plan thanks to Rakuno’s direction a couple of turns ago to attempt to open up contact with Western Europe in order to counter ADVENTs progress on the Avatar Project, the game’s countdown clock to doomsday. I went about building a Radio Relay in Western Africa to give us a foothold and reduce the astronomical Intel cost of operating in Europe just as quickly as my computer would let me.
Before I could finish, our scientists made a breakthrough in Plasma weaponry, so I set them to decode an alien databank in the hopes of earning some much-needed intel and purchased weapon upgrades for our Snipers and Grenadiers. The aliens also made another breakthrough in the Avatar Project, leaving us just 3 hours to midnight, before our scientists came through with the needed Intel and I set them to making the next step in extra-terrestrial understanding by using the Shadow Chamber to investigate our hard-earned Codex Brain.
But before I could start out contacting the Resistance in Europe, the mission alert rang out and it was time for a little Guerilla Op. After equipping the team and designating Cpl. Klaus Weiss as my new avatar (complete with impractical sunglasses) after UnwiseOwl II died an unfortunate death during Kluwes’ turn, it was off to India to retrieve a package.
Operation Half-dead Witch started with a suspicious silence, with enemy soldiers making themselves scarce until the very end of the first turn, and even those disappearing into the shadows during their turn. The first pod, a Stun Trooper and Archon, were isolated on a nearby rooftop and eliminated in short order via a brutal crossfire to open proceedings in the second turn, and the second pod walked into an overwatch trap in short order, dealing only three points of explosive damage to Rocket in exchange for the life of a second Stun Trooper and heavy damage to their Mech.
Truly, after pride cometh a fall. In confidently positioning Volcano to take out the Advent Shieldbearer, I unwittingly triggered the attention of the final and most deadly of the alien pods, a pair of Archons and a Gatekeeper, the squad’s first encounter with this terrifying iteration of the already fearsome Cyberdisk from XCOM 1. This would have been a good opportunity to retreat or to deploy Naithin’s equipped Mimic Beacon to buy myself some time, but instead my hubris caused me to hold the line, with lethal consequences for Volcano when the Gatekeeper and lead Archon pulled off successive flanking attacks.
The team took out the offending aliens, largely thanks to a lucky shot from Weiss, and set up for a good crossfire against the surviving Archon, but the damage was already done, and for the first time in the campaign I left a comrade behind on the field of battle. RIP, Captain Martina “Volcano” Schneider, we won’t forget you, and we’re definitely going to miss your big gun on the battlefield. Bookahnerk also earned a promotion in this mission, joining Magi as a Colonel, but I decided to leave the choice of which skill to take into future battlefields, to wiser Commanders than me.
Thus, victorious but a little deflated, I pass the baton on to Naithin, and wait to see if the prospect of leading the team is enough to drag Time to Loot out of its current hiatus. The save file is here. Good luck, Commander.