[Top 3] XCOM 2 Best Base Layouts

Top XCOM 2 Best Base Layouts
The Workhorses of the XCOM Initiative


XCOM 2 made significant changes to base building in that it is much less complicated when considering where you should place everything in the Avenger. In the first game, it was important to build facilities adjacent to ones that would provide bonuses to one another such as Generators providing bonus Power or Workshops refunding materials, also there were 24 spaces to build in where XCOM 2 has cut that number in half and overall reduced the number of facilities you need to build. The changes here emphasize less focus on meticulous base building. While you should consider when to build what facilities, the focus on where to place them is generally inconsequential. That said, I’ll be getting into a handful of builds to consider regarding the facilities and what can be concluded to be the most efficient build orders depending on your needs.

Before we move along, I will note that these builds are explored specifically with the War of the Chosen and other DLCs installed. This doesn’t necessarily create huge changes compared to vanilla XCOM 2 but one notable difference is that the Advanced Warfare Center was replaced and split into the Training Center and the Infirmary.

 

Workshop Rusher

This build can be useful in case you are low on Engineers to staff your facilities. It can also be used to support Excavation projects and building Facilities to perform those tasks faster. Generally, this isn’t much of a problem as the game attempts to provide you with enough Engineers and Scientists as to not screw you over, but it can happen for various reasons.

workshoper rusher base preview

As soon as you get your first Engineer, you’ll want to set them to Excavate B2 and get your Workshop up.

Essentially, the Workshop doubles an Engineer’s effectiveness. Placing one Engineer to work in this Facility allows you access to two Drones that can do everything that an Engineer can, with the minor drawback that the Drones can only reach the rooms adjacent to the Workshop itself. You can allow the Drones to Excavate the adjacent rooms and handle the Facility building when that is done. Now, if you are struggling with an Engineer deficiency, you would build a second workshop below the first and use those Drones to help Excavate the other areas. What will most likely happen is you will have at least one Exposed Power Coil on the third floor (if you’re lucky both will be here but that is unlikely). The best part about this is that the resources you can gain from the extra Excavation can boost your reserves in a pinch, just note that the deeper you dig, the longer the Excavations take, and you will benefit from putting multiple Drones/Engineers on such jobs (this applies for building Facilities as well).

At 250 Supplies and 3 Power, and then another 150 Supplies and increased to 5 Power upon upgrade, the cost of Workshops can be rather steep, and I would not recommend this build unless necessary. Furthermore, it’s best to remove Workshops from your Avenger when you have enough Engineers for your needs as the Upkeep and Power consumption would be virtually a waste. I assume the developers make the Workshop one of the most expensive Facilities because you essentially get a free Engineer but overall, the cost versus usefulness is screwed.

Why Workshop Rusher is Good:

  • Lower Engineer Requirement
  • Greater Excavating Potential


Employee Benefits Plan

This is meant as a build that focuses on the Training Center and Infirmary being built as soon as possible to keep your soldiers on their feet and train Rookies into a Specialization. You’ll notice I still recommend the GTS (you can flip the Training Center and GTS either way) as it is rather crucial to increase your Squad size as soon as possible. This build is geared for play styles that lead toward frequent injuries and/or loss.

As a small note: a general rule of thumb, you should build your facilities that require Engineers to man them on the outer edges of your base just in case you decide you want a Workshop. Those facilities would be the Defense Matrix, Infirmary, Power Relay, Proving Ground, Psi Lab, Resistance Comms, and Resistance Ring.

With some effort, it is possible to never have to field a Rookie past the initial mission. This is preferable on higher difficulties for several reasons. Rookie stats are generally as such:

xcom rookie stats

These stats come with a lot of downsides. In most events, ADVENT Troopers and Officers won’t one-shot your soldiers (their weapons base damage is 3) but it is possible if they happen to crit. Anything above them is extremely liable to one-shot your soldier. The real problem here is Aim. Due to low Aim, you need to capitalize on Flanking and Height Advantage to land shots on enemies, especially anything beyond the relatively easy-to-hit early-game enemies. Both Flanking and Height Advantage are tactical risks, with Flanks often putting you in a position closer to the enemy as you attempt to take advantage of angles, and Height Advantage because higher elevation locations in XCOM 2 rarely provide High Cover (you do get a Defense bonus for enemies at lower elevation, but this is much less reliable than High Cover). By the second mission, you are already running into Sectoids where low Will makes Rookies easy Mind Control targets.

Employee Benefits Plan base preview

Leveling any soldier to Squaddie grants stat bonuses depending on class, but most importantly, it grants them access to abilities that greatly improve versatility and effectiveness in combat situations. That said, you would want your higher-ranking soldiers to be in the field as much as possible, and the Infirmary can help ensure that. With an Engineer manning it, the Infirmary increases the healing rate of wounds to be twice as fast. At 115 Supplies and 3 Power, it’s not incredibly expensive and it’s well worth the cost. You can upgrade it with the Hypervitalization Module to field a wounded soldier for the cost of an Elerium Core, but that is steep and only works once per soldier for the entirety of the campaign. The big secondary benefit is removing Negative Traits which cannot be removed otherwise.

If you’re lucky, you will be able to make use of an early Soldier Bond which provides various boons to the two bonded soldiers like granting each other actions points and the like.

The biggest gripe with this build would be delaying the Resistance Ring for a time, but I feel that this is only a minor downside. You may miss out on one or two Covert Ops but nothing that would make this build completely useless.

Why Employee Benefits Plan is Good:

  • Room To Be More Reckless
  • Rapid Training
     


Energy Efficient

It’s common to think that you should always build your Power Relays on top of the two Exposed Power Coils that appear in two random (in two of the six rooms on the bottom two tiers of the Avenger) rooms but this is just the obvious choice, not necessarily the most efficient. Exposed Power Coils allow you to completely ignore the Power cost of a Facility when you build them there, meaning that it is a strong strategy to build the most Power-hungry facilities on these locations to negate the drain. The most Power expensive facilities are the Psi Lab, Resistance Comms, and Shadow Chamber, at 5, 3, and 5 Power consumption respectively. Another argument is the Laboratory, but the Resistance Comms uses 7 Power when fully upgraded while the Laboratory upgrades to 6.

facility breakdown

The three most expensive facilities also happen to be the ones essential to the game, along with a few others. Note that Exposed Power Coil adds 7 Power to the Power Relay. With efficiency in mind, it’s wasteful to build Power Relays on the Exposed Power Coils. The additional Power gained does not cover the end Power cost of the two most expensive facilities where building them on Coils would negate their Power consumption.

Furthermore, Exposed Power Coils appear so deep into the Avenger that Excavating to them to build your Relays on may cause you to delay constructing other facilities due to not having enough available Power. Both the Psi Lab and Shadow Chamber are facilities that you would only be considering building once you have reached these layers but every other Facility is important to build well before then, such as the Resistance Comms, Infirmary, Proving Ground, etc. The Avenger does not start with enough available Power to delay that long without delaying important projects as you wait to Excavate the deeper layers of the Avenger. 

All that said, know where your Coils are and dig for them, but concern yourself more with what you need at the time. Both the Shadow Camber and Psi Lab are essential to completing the game, but both are late-game Facilities. I would recommend the Psi Lab first so that you can begin training a Psi Operative. 

Why Energy Efficient is Good:

  • Minimal Power Concern
  • Minimal Delays
  • Room To Over Upgrade

BONUS

Ideal Build Order

Assuming a randomly generated layout where your Exposed Power Coils are on the bottom tier in slots C1 and D3. Note that placement is unimportant outside of where Workshops are placed and where Exposed Power Coils are. Builds will vary. Asterisks (*) will note priority with one * meaning top priority.

ideal base build

I would recommend building Laboratories last of any other Facilities and building two is probably overkill but you should have more than enough energy with the Efficiency build. Most people don’t find Workshops necessary either, but if you do want one, that placement is efficient so that you can get the maximum four Drones to work in surrounding rooms.

More on this topic:


A cynical hermit wearing rose-tinted glasses, he is fascinated with the human psyche, personality quirks, and is a closet melodramatic. Avid proponent of the age old epigram: "Stay awhile and listen."
Gamer Since: 1998
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: RimWorld
Top 3 Favorite Games:Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect, Shadowrun: Hong Kong


More Top Stories