XCOM 2 Best Class Revealed - What Class Do You Need More Of?

best xcom classes, xcom 2, xcom, best strategy games 2022, war of the chosen, wotc
Knowing your soldiers' strengths and weaknesses will aid the fight against invading aliens.

Is your team getting wiped trying to take down the ADVENT?  Having a balanced team with different classes fulfilling their specialized roles makes for a smoother mission (or at least gives you a better chance at success, this is still XCOM 2). 

A fundamental and primary mechanic in XCOM 2 is team construction. Of course, all classes aren’t made equally. Sometimes doubling up on a class or two might be smarter than getting one from each of the nine classes. However, I believe that there is an opportunity for most, if not all classes in any situation.  Ultimately, it is up to you how you want to build your team.

If you’re a beginner trying to figure out the game through trial and error or a grizzled vet trying to find better team synergy at higher difficulties, I have some tips that’ll rally the troops. Here is the list of all the XCOM 2 soldier classes as well as how to use them. 

9. SPARK (Shen’s Last Gift DLC)

Although the SPARK is in last place, it still has its uses. 

This large MEC is introduced in Shen’s Last Gift DLC, an add-on to the base XCOM 2 game. Even though it is last on my list of all the classes, it still has its merits. It can be your usual defensive tank or be a heavy weapons robot that rains hellfire wherever they step foot. If appropriate for the mission, I like having the strategy of using two of them, each an expert in their own categories. The defensive bullet-sponge MEC can protect soldiers using their Bulwark ability and use Repair on the offensive-oriented MEC while they wreak havoc. 

Last but not least, it is fun naming and designing a huge bright MEC and plopping him (or her) on the battlefield for a stealth mission. Players can even change up his voice–my personal favorite is his Julian voice, likely portrayed by William Salyers, who voices Rigby in Regular Show and Dr. Octopus in Sony’s Spider-Man. 

What SPARK Excels In:

  • Protecting human squadmates (Future Combat)
  • Taking the bulk of the damage away from squadmates (Future Combat)
  • Destroying the environment, providing less cover for enemies (War Machine)
  • Good close-up and AoE combat (War Machine)
  • Need a reliable option against mental, burn, and poison effects
  • Providing sassy and humorous remarks (Julian voice)

Pick SPARK if:

  • You find yourself without sufficient high cover (Future Combat)
  • You need another armor-shredding operative
  • You love a good melee option (War Machine)

SPARK Details

8. Psi Operative

The Psi Operative is fun and useful granted to unlock them early enough in the game.

Now, Psi Operatives are very useful. Their main downside is that they’re not readily available at the start of the game like the other soldier classes. The player needs to have Dr. Richard Tygan perform an autopsy on a Sectoid and build a Psi Lab to train a psi operative, which may not be high on your priority list. They also train to get their abilities, which takes days, and cannot train if they are injured. 

Though once you train one, their effects on missions are chaotic and fun. They step into a mission with their white hair (if you’re asking me, always choose the afro) and have the ability to mind-control enemies, protect and buff squadmates, and inflict mental effects on enemies. All around a good time. 

What Psi Operative Excels In:

  • Remotely detonating grenades on Mutons (Telepath)
  • Inflicting status conditions, payback for what Sectoids did early game (Telepath)
  • Granting bonus action to squadmates (Resonant)
  • Causing insanity with many of their abilities (Resonant)
  • Learning all of their abilities, given enough time

Pick Psi Operative if: 

  • You find controlling unique enemies a fun mechanic
  • If you need to debuff enemies
  • You can keep them alive and relatively unharmed

Psi Operative Details

7. Skirmisher

These rogue ADVENT can turn into your most trusted allies throughout your campaign. 

Who could ignore Pratal Mox with the insane shearling armor drip? Not me, but he may be left on the Avenger for another Specialist on my squad. Mox, along with other Skirmishers, is part of a coalition of rogue ADVENT soldiers. In the War of the Chosen DLC, they are one of the factions that are introduced. Their gimmick is that firing their Bullpup rifle does not end their turn. So they can fire twice, or fire and then move. They also have melee capabilities and have a grappling hook that does not cost an action. 

While it all sounds great, having so many builds to go with their abilities kind of limits them in a way. Compared to the other classes, they do not excel in one thing. Instead, they are great all-around and shine in certain missions. 

What Skirmisher Excels In: 

  • Multiple melee strikes or hits
  • Terrain traversal with their grappling hook
  • Zero-In ability stacks critical chance

Pick Skirmisher if:

  • Your next mission includes The Lost
  • You need one particular enemy to be pulled from cover
  • You have enemies with high health
  • You have robotic enemies

Skirmisher Details

6. Grenadier


The Grenadier makes a lot of things go boom with their cannon and grenade wielding abilities.

While this heavy weapons guy doesn’t have as much personality as Team Fortress 2’s Heavy, their function is similar: eviscerating the bad guys in an explosive and devastating manner. They are equipped with a minigun cannon and a grenade launcher, rendering them the most volatile out of the classes.

They definitely have a role on the team but are burdened with small ammo limitations in the early game. In addition, a lot of their abilities require multiple ammo, requiring them to reload often. Demolition Expert-type builds are not very effective in missions including The Lost because grenades attract more enemies. 

What Grenadier Excels In: 

  • Using grenades for AoE purposes (Demolitions Expert)
  • Destroying cover (Demolitions Expert)
  • Shredding armor (Heavy Gunner)
  • Using special Overwatch shots called Suppression to pin down aliens (Heavy Gunner)
  • Inflicting critical damage on a single target

Pick Grenadier if:

  • You have different grenades you like to use (Demolitions Expert)
  • You are facing enemies with high health
  • You are facing enemies with armor

Grenadier Details

5. Templar

The Templars' design is sleek and futuristic while they deal out some very volatile damage. 

Templars are self-righteous, flashy, and fun squadmates to have. They are melee-based soldiers that primarily attack with their Shard Gauntlets. They also wield an Autopistol but it does not carry that much value in their builds. A Templar with Bladestorm is an insane pairing against weaker enemies that swarm you like the Lost of Chryssalids.

One strategy that I try to employ is having them be among the first soldiers to advance in case they trigger an enemy pod. Fellow squadmates will have Overwatch to cover them. Even if the strategy fails, their high mobility allows them to retreat and wait for a chance to strike.

What Templar Excels In: 

  • Finishing off weakened enemies to build up their Focus meter
  • Guerilla-style fighting with Momentum, allowing you to retreat
  • Hammy lines that always causes me to laugh

Pick Templar if:

  • You are not facing Mutons, because they will counter their Rend
  • You are facing multiple weak enemies
  • Want a great pairing with a Reaper

Templar Details

4. Sharpshooter

With the ability to shoot using their sniper rifle or with their pistols, the Sharpshooter class is a threat from any range. 

Sharpshooters have two very unique builds, Sniper and Gunslinger. Both are valid and fun options. Snipers take a traditional sniper role, where you perch on top of rooftops or fire escapes and fire from above. Gunslingers shoot using their pistols and tend to shoot multiple times per round. 

One thing about Sharpshooters, you feel their impact when they shoot. There are not a lot of more satisfying feelings than landing a sniper shot to kill an alien in the distance or using the Faceoff ability to fire against every alien within your eyesight. Not to mention, using a Gunslinger means outfitting them to be the rootinest-tootinest cowboy you’ve ever gosh darn seen this side of the Alamo. Not my words, it’s mandatory. 

What Sharpshooter Excels In: 

  • Staying back and picking off enemies from a distance (Sniper)
  • Automatically firing back at enemies during their turn (Gunslinger)
  • Firing multiple times a turn (Both builds allow for this)

Pick Sharpshooter if:

  • You can have one accessible vantage point above a battlefield and stay there for most of the mission
  • Using different ammo types to inflict status effects
  • [SPOILERS] Using the Hunter’s weapons (War of the Chosen DLC) provide for a great weapons upgrade

Sharpshooter Details

3. Ranger

The Ranger class provides some up close and personal offensive options with their shotgun and melee weapon combo.

Possibly my favorite class in the game for how useful they are. If you haven’t noticed a trend in this article, I love using melee or up-close-and-personal weapons. They are very satisfying and a soldier who uses axes, swords, and a shotgun is right up my alley. They are highly mobile and I have them right behind my Reaper when advancing. 

However, I do end up leaning towards a full Assault build with maybe some Scout abilities sprinkled in. Rangers do not work as well scouting as Reapers do, in my opinion. 

What Ranger Excels In: 

  • Using high mobility to get close to the enemy with their shotgun (Assault)
  • Very useful in swarms of enemies like Chryssalids or the Lost (Assault)
  • Shotgun and sword actions deal a lot of damage

Pick Ranger if:

  • Reapers are not available
  • Your team is lacking close-distance damage
  • [SPOILERS] Using the Katana and Arashi (after defeating the Assassin) on your Ranger makes them a killing machine

Ranger Details

2. Specialist

The Specialist has a unique set of skills that is invaluable to every mission. 

Even though the Specialists are big nerds, they may be the most useful class in the game. Using their GREMLIN, they can hack access points, deal extra damage to robotic enemies, and heal injured squadmates. Specialists have a lot of tools in their arsenal and players cannot go wrong selecting abilities from both skill trees. 

Using their Guardian ability alone is such a great endgame ability. Planting a specialist and seeing them shoot consecutive enemies in slow motion is always a fulfilling feeling. 

What Specialist Excels In:

  • Healing squadmates multiple times a mission (Battle Medic)
  • Reviving unconscious squadmates (Battle Medic)
  • Revealing hidden enemies before their pods are activated (Combat Hacker)
  • Granting a defense bonus to squadmates (Combat Hacker)

Pick Specialist if:

  • You suck and your team is always getting hurt (just kidding)
  • If you’re going on a mission in the city and need to hack ADVENT security towers
  • You will be facing robotic enemies
  • If the Chosen will be appearing during the mission

Specialist Details

1. Reaper

The most useful of the War of the Chosen classes, the Reaper turns the entire game in your favor. 

Possibly the best addition to the game and changes its core strategy to your advantage. They can set traps, sneak past dozens of enemies, and masterfully picks off injured enemies. This class can even be OP in easier difficulties. Shooting with your Vektor Rifle in the shadows may not even reveal your location in many instances. That does not make this class not interesting though. XCOM 2 can still be difficult in any instance. 

If you’re looking for a challenge, I believe that setting off your Claymore in the right situations is trickier than your standard scouting and shooting. 

What Reaper Excels In: 

  • Seeing what enemy pods you will be facing ahead of time
  • If you have an access point you need to reach with limited time
  • Almost all of the possible abilities (abilities from other classes) are viable options

Pick Reaper if:

  • Appreciate the stealth aspect of a mission
  • Love setting traps for enemies
  • You are playing XCOM 2


Reaper Details

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Long Beach writer with extensive prowess in pausing the menu and eating food for health. Prone to natural lagging and the occasional input delay.
Gamer Since: 1996
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
Top 3 Favorite Games:Mass Effect 3, Team Fortress 2, XCOM 2

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