Operation Swamp Queen
XCOM 2 Succession Game (Part 24)
There comes a time in each man’s life when he has to step in and command an alien defence force, and my time is once again now. Yes, last week I got the ping that meant that it was my turn in the Blaugustinian’s ongoing communal game of XCOM 2, so I strapped myself into the old command chair and prepared to show the aliens the colour of my laser. As usual, I’ve included the recording of the play-through below (the sound quality is better than last time, but still has definite room for improvement), but if you’re more of a written word person or all that ceaseless camera rotation makes you dizzy, you might prefer to follow along with the written AAR version instead. Or do both, that’s fine too.
On arriving on the Avenger, I wrestled my underperforming computer and quickly set our engineering team to excavating another room and spent humanity’s entire stockpile of money on upgrading to Plasma Pistols for our snipers and on a Mimic Beacon to provide our troops with a combat decoy. I’ve never actually used a Mimic Beacon, but I’ve heard good things about them, and looking at the large number of wounded soldiers in our barracks I think we could probably do with having an ace in the hole.
I didn’t get to do anything in the Geoscape, because as soon as I arrived I was notified about an Advent retaliation in progress against a Resistance haven, so it was immediately time to saddle up and go save some lives. In the interests of trying to bolster our reserves a little, I opted to send our only two remaining uninjured senior officers, Major Magi (Sniper), Lieutenant Volcano (Grenadier), along with Sergeant Hound Dog (Ranger), Squaddie Malakhov (EXO-Suited Grenadier), and two green recruits, Paeroka and Geekinby, to carry the medikits, flashbangs and mimic beacon and act as the support troopers in the absence of any uninjured Specialists. I also liberally distributed our stock of weapon enhancements and PCS’, as I had a feeling we were going to need all the help that we could get in the coming mission.
As Operation Swamp Queen began, I made the parameters clear to the team, we were going to move extremely cautiously in order to minimize team casualties, even if that meant significant civilian losses. Losing more soldiers to the Medibay could easily lead to the loss of humanity’s last hope, and I didn’t want that on my conscience.
The squad didn’t meet with enemies in the first round, which allowed them to be in good defensive positions at the end of their turn, which was just as well, as out of the darkness chittered a terror heretofore not witnessed so far by this XCOM team, the Chryssalid.
As someone who had a X-COM: UFO Defense themed nightmares as an impressionable child with unfettered access to my father’s 386, the mere mention of the hell-beast known as the Chryssalid, a beast whose terrifying screams haunt the darkness, that is resistant to rifle fire and able to instantly zombify any soldier unfortunate enough to encounter them, is still enough to turn my legs to jelly. The XCOM (2012) version is slightly less impossible to deal with, but still starred in a memorable mission in an infested fishing village that absolutely must not be played at night. The XCOM 2 incarnation can hide underground and leap out at you just to pile on a little more nightmare fuel, so it definitely needs to be treated with utmost respect. If I hadn’t already commanded the team to look after themselves and leave the civilians to their fate, I would have done so now. You don’t mess with Chryssalids.
Thankfully, the first two left themselves exposed in the open after spotting the squad, allowing the team to easily mop them up before moving gingerly forward. Volcano manged to set one on fire with a incendiary rounds, and the other was taken out by crossfire from Malakhov and Paeroka. The team edged slowly into the shadows, leaning heavily on overwatch in case more chittering terrors appeared. The overwatch would prove to be useless when they did, with Volcano’s shot going wide, but at least providing enough of a distraction to spook the lead insect into missing its attack on Malakhov. Magi, Volcano, Malakhov and Geekinby combined to ensure that neither it or its buddy would get another chance.
After that, the overwatch trap that was prepared for the remaining Chryssalid instead snared itself a Faceless lurking among the civilians, and the team quickly identified the location of the last full pod of Advent troops by triangulating the horrified screams of the dying civilians. Magi set up a Kill Zone, which combined with Volcano’s grenades, Malakhov’s EXO rocket, and Hound Dog’s shotgun easily dealt with the Mech and Trooper, leaving just an Advent Captain to be stunned by Paeroka’s flash grenade, and cleaned up in the next turn by Volcano’s critical hit.
In the subsequent turn, the remaining Chryssalid finally showed its creepy crawly little face and got pummelled by Paeroka and Magi, and the last Faceless also showed up and was quickly executed by Hound Dog. I don’t think we’ll be having any nightmares about hidden aliens tonight.
The XCOM team showed their professionalism today, with a 100% percent hit rate, and the loss of only three civilians despite the revised mission parameters. I was suitably proud to hand out field promotions to Squaddies Paeroka (Sniper) and JstGeekinBy (Grenadier); Captain Volcano received the Chain Shot ability, allowing her to fire two shots at a single enemy for a slightly reduced chance to hit, and Magi became the team’s first Colonel, with the Serial ability allowing them to mow through multiple enemies with the sniper rifle in the same turn.
With that, I pass the reins back to our noble leader Naithin for his shift protecting the Earth. The save file is here. Good luck Commander.