The squads in Into the Breach can be considered as the second layer of difficulty. A high tier squad can solve threats and finish combat without a scratch without perfect one, while a low tier squad could suffer unavoidable loses even with perfect one.
Other Into the Breach Guides:
- Achievements and Unlocks.
- Console Commands (Cheats).
- Distant Friends Achievement Guide.
- Frozen Titans Tips & Tricks.
- Easy Win Custom Squad Build.
- Environmental Interactions.
Most of the opinions are based on the experiences on hard, under which circumstance there will be more aliens and alien alphas than on other difficulty.
Basically, the potential to neutralize threats - make an attacking alien cannot hit any civilian target, is the most important indicator of a good squad. This can be down by killing the bug, disabling the bug or simply moving it to another spot.
Secondly, a good squad should be able to solve more situations than a bad one. Third, we need direct kill or damage to reduce the amount of bugs to reduce further amount of threats.
Generally a squad with most position manipulation is stronger in Into the Breach. Doing damage on one bug may neutralize one threat by kill, but moving one bug may neutralize 2 or more. And lots of hard targets can simply be slain by drop into water or valley.
You can see the situation on the branding image - it's a impossible scenario for Blitzkrieg but can be solved easily with T1 and T2 squads.
T1 - Easy to Get Double Perfect (No Power Grid Lost + All Objetives)
- Damage: Good (4 at start, 10 when full upgraded)
- Utility: Good (2 pushs and 1 multiple push/pull)
- Scale: Good
- Weak To: None
Not surprising, the default squad is one of the best. Both Combat Mech and Cannon Mech can do damage while pushing. If you're skilled on converting pushes into damage, the Combat Mech has the capability to kill hp-3 bugs right on the start. Though it's not recommended to upgrade Cannon Mech before the other two as it's not cost-efficient. You can simply replace the main gun of Mech after the first island clear or just leave it as a pusher.
Artillery Mech is the core of the squad. It has the potential to neutralize several threats each of the rounds. It can be upgraded for surgical strike damage or just be used as a multiple pusher/puller.
The whole team has both a good damage per turn and good position manipulation. So lots of bugs can be killed purely by raw power, lots of bug can be pushed into the water. Everyone in Rift Walker can neutralize one or more threat every turn.
The only drawback I found on this squad is lack of pull power, which can be solved simply by 1 core on building immune upgrade of Artillery Mech.
- Damage: Bad (2 at start, 5 when fully upgraded)
- Utility: Great (2 pulls and 1 multiple push/pull)
- Scale: Great (They accurately stronger in the late games)
- Weak To: Burrower (You can avoid them before secondary weapons equipped for sure)
The Judokas come with the worse initial damage in the game. But this can be compensated easily by the increase on their position manipulation power and the increase damage of alien friendly fires. You accurately kill the bugs with water or with their comrades.
The alien friendly fire is vital for the Judokas. For example, if there's a firefly will attack first, then a hornet will attack. The Judokas can simply solve this situation by pull the firefly to attack the hornet - both threat will be neutralized plus a bug kill, which the other squads must find other ways due to the friendly fire is not enough for a kill. Also, the alien friendly fire scales naturally. +2 can be enough to make the alphas one shot each other.
The power on position manipulation is probably par with Rift Walkers. Judo Mesh can pull an alien for 2 tiles, which is quite unique. You can sink someone 2-tile away from river with it. The landing tile will take damage as well, so when you throw a bug into the forest, it will be on fire. When you throw a bug on acid, it will be corroded before taking damage, which results double damage immediately.
Siege Mesh is probably the best artillery in game. Most of the time, you will need the artillery for multiple push and the Siege Mech is the only artillery that can do damage while pushing. It can be upgraded with building immune and it can shoot an Earth Mover or a Mine Robot to push all bugs around it without damaging it. Gravity Mech has only a weak pull... in artillery trajectory, which is not bad. You can do damage by pulling a bug into another bug or a mountain. It has saved lots of civilians by simply pull an attacking alien away in my game.
Due to both position manipulation and alien friendly fire are naturally scaled. The Judokas can go without any upgrade after the building immune of Siege Mech. So you can invest on secondary weapons right after the first island. A damaging weapon on Judo Mech or Gravity Mesh is mandatory before you challenge an island with Burrowers.
T2 - Like T1 But Falls off in Late Game
- Damage: Good to Medium (3 + dot at start, 5 + dot when full upgraded )
- Utility: Great to Good (1 push, 1 multiple push/pull, 1 swap)
- Scale: Bad
- Weak To: None
The fire behemoth is like a damage per turn version of Rift Walkers. A Flame Mech attack can be considered as a weaker 2 damage attacks - you push a hornet away, so it out of position this turn and die automatically before its next attack.
Meteor Mech is kinda like Artillery Mech, but starts with building immune and loses it after damage upgrade - bad scale.
Swap Mech is a very strong position manipulator. Once it gets the first range increment, it becomes the star of this squad. Naturally, it can directly swap a bug into the water or air strike zone. For minimum effect, it can put bugs on fire tile just as what Flame Mech do.
With some investment or the range of Flame Mech and back burn of Meteor Mech, you can light half of the walkable area on fire easily. And the alien won't be crowd enough to avoid fire tiles. You can just burn the spawn points as well.
So the tactics of this squad is quite simple - throw all bugs into the water you can. Light the rest on fire and just delay them with push, pull and swap to let them burn to death.
The only problem for them is the scaling. They do very well, probably even better than T1 squads during first 2 islands. But they fall in power after. The fire damage doesn't scale, the Flame Mech doesn't have damage increase and the Meteor Mech loses building immune (though compensated with increased range of Swap Mech). On later game, the Behemoth just cannot do enough damage to control the amount of bugs on field.
Rely on Purely position manipulation requires alien friendly damage increment. And the investment on the Behemoth is not low and their capability is quite linked, so it cannot swap to secondary weapons efficiently.
T3 - Expect Eventually Civilian Loses
- Damage: Good on Paper (4 to 7)
- Utility: Good on Paper (1 smoke, 1 smoke + push, 1 weak multiple push)
- Scale: Good
- Weak To: Bugs backed by friendly items
This can be the most newbie friendly squad as it lacks of options when dealing with threats. You have to smoke this one as it cannot be safely pushed; you have to rocket that one as there's no landing tile for the jet. Jet Mech can do 2 damage (1 direct + 1 smoke zip) like the Prime Mech in the other squads. After the range and damage upgrades (with storm generator upgrade as well), it will bombard 2 tiles with 4 damage, which is probably the highest safe damage a Prime Mech can deal. But as the enemies like to batching together under higher difficulty, it will have trouble to find good landing point to launch attacks. Also it have no friendly unit or building immune, which further reduces its amount of options to attack.
Rocket Mech has the highest single-target damage among all artillery pieces. It leaves smoke on the tile behind, so it can disable one bug while shooting one at the front. But it's just single target damage and it cannot move multiple bugs at long distance like the other artillery. Also it has no building immune and it can only push. Generally you have to drop the rocket on the one cannot be reached by Jet Mech.
Pulse Mech is good on paper. It's a multiple push for sure, but it's a land unit and cannot jump like Lerp Mech. Unlike artillery pieces, it needs a clear tile to stand on before release its pulse and it cannot fly. So generally you cannot move to as good a spot as artillery can shoot at. So I call it a weak multiple push. This can be less critical by putting a pilot with ability to fly or to pass through enemies.
The concept for this squad is focused on smoke and smoke damage, but unlike the fire, the enemies will avoid to stop in smoke tiles. So the smokes would only be a 1 damage bonus instead of damage per turn. And the mechs in this squad is not immune to smokes, and putting smoke everywhere will accurately hinder you owner movements more than the aliens, as the aliens have a map full buildings as viable targets. Again, this can be less critical by using Camella as initial pilot.
The same as Frozen Titans, everyone in the team can only neutralize one threat in most of time, which is far from enough in hard or late game.
The damage of the squad is accurately quite low, mainly due to lack of push damage, water kill and alien friendly fire. The alien just swarms the battlefield after 2 or 3 turns.
The same as Fire Behemoth and Hazardous Mechs, this squad cannot get weapon swapped easily as the squad is focused on exploit one passive or element related with initial weapons. Changing only one or two weapons could only make the team even weaker.
- Damage: Good (3 + acid to 7 + acid)
- Utility: Medium (2 pushes and 1 multiple push)
- Scale: Medium
- Weak To: Digger (LoL..), Bugs backed by friendly items
The damage taken on attack isn't a thing for them as the nano bots can resurrect mechs. You can attack with 1 hp without losing the mech if the attack will kill the target. This includes the one killed by pushing against wall or into water. And the resurrect can accurately release the mech from all negative effects as well - you can even jump with fire.
The same as the Rift Walkers, it's very easy for them to convert push into damage, lots of single target damage can be done from them.
Leap Mech is like a weaker version of Siege Mech - it doesn't have building immune and cannot attack occupied tiles. It has 2 upgrade on damage, but they're quite expensive accurately.
Unstable Mech is like a better version of Cannon Mech, it shoot and push, while pushing itself back for one tile. The push of recoil can be used to crash mantis, eggs or burrowers, while shooting another target - considering it's more a bless than a curse.
Nano Mech is mainly a pusher. Acid is good, but in most of situation, you cannot shoot 2 mechs on the same target. And acid won't increase damage by pushing. So just push bugs into the rivers for sure.
The main problem of this squad is quite simple - they have only pushes. So when both the left and top tiles of a bug are civilians, you have to crash it on one of them or just leave it to wrack havoc. In most of the situation, you will want the artillery to shoot a building and push away all bugs surrounding it and Lerp Mech cannot land it. As their play-style is quite unique, like the Behemoth, you cannot put secondary gears efficiently.
T4 - Constant Civilian Loses or Eventually Major Failures
- Damage: Good to Medium (3 aoe + 2 to 4 aoe + 4)
- Utility: Bad (1 push and 1 weak pull)
- Scale: Bad
- Weak To: Scatter Aliens, Map with building in center.
The same as Blitzkrieg, this squad is focused on its Prime and the Prime falls off really quickly. Laser Mech's a pain to use. It's really good at piercing enemies... and damage your own buildings. You have to choose every map to avoid the ones with buildings at the middle parts. Note: You can damage civilian buildings but cannot piercing it.
The damage of Laser Mech is quite good at the beginning as it can kill firefly and scorpion with no core investment, but it has only a 1 damage upgrade, which won't keep up with the alphas. It's mandatory to take ally immune early on or you have to avoid all missions with friendly units like train or tanks.
Charge Mech's another pain in the squad. It costs health to attack and no nano bots to heal it. It attacks both the target and the tile beneath - if it stops in forest, it will be lighted up (come on...). It has 3 hp be default, so it must eat all the 2 shields of Defense Mech or it attacks only 2 of the 4 turns. So you have to put the first time-traveler with +2 hp or the first core on it to free Defense Mesh, and this will delay ally immune of Laser Mech. The damage of it is just on par with Combat Mech in Rift Walkers but damages itself. A pilot with armor can help, but it depends your luck.
Defense Mech has 2 shields, which can neutralize threats, but not potential to damage or drop bugs into water. In early game, you have to find tricky spot to shield both the Charge Mech and a building to make it efficient. The pull is so poor, Basically, this squad suffers from awful collateral damage and self damage in early game and damage fall off in late game. Unlike the Blitzkrieg, however, the mechs are more expensive to upgrade and harder to get weapon swapped.
- Damage: Medium to Bad (3 to 5)
- Utility: Medium (1 reverse, 1 double push, 1 freeze)
- Scale: Bad
- Weak To: Psion, Boss, Swarm of bugs
The gears of Frozen Titans is quite interesting. Aegis Mech's reverse ability works mostly like smokes. It directly remove one threat but nothing else. Barely anytime, you can make use of the reversed attack on something - you have 4 options to move a bug, but only 1 option to reverse one.
Mirror Mech can be annoying to use at the beginning, but when you getting familiar with this squad, you will feel it's the best piece among the 3. It can damage an alien while free the Ice Mech from frozen. It's the only mech in the squad that can neutralize more than 1 threat in a turn. When choosing battle field, be sure to avoid the one with no horizontal or vertical lines free of civilian, or get prepared to take civilian loses. The shiny point of it is that its damage upgrade costs only 1 core, which can be very handy in early games.
Ice Mech is strong in concept. Theologically, you can do two things a turn with it by freeze something while use the self frozen to block a projectile or a spawn point. Even without any target, it can just freeze the buildings or objetives to protect them like shields. But practically, in most of the time, you have to send another mech to free it as it's most efficient as it's a freeze and an artillery piece.
So basically the problem of the squad is that everyone can only neutralize one threat in most of the time. While on higher difficulty and later stage, there can be 5 threats per turn, which cannot be solved with this squad.
Ice Mech requires lots of babysit, it's not common to find a spot that can freeze one alien while have Mirror Mech or another alien to shoot itself free. So it always require repair or help from comrades to broken free, which further decrease the capability of neutralizing threats.
The damage per turn for this squad is terrible, barely any bonus damage from push - note: a push into another alien = 2 damage.
The frozen bug won't be counted as kill and provide no exp to the pilots, which makes missions like kill 7 aliens or kill the boss very hard to complete as well as your pilots slower to level up. Psions are naturally immune to frozen.
But still, they didn't take much cores to upgrade, so you can give Ice Mech a secondary weapon or replace the aegis right after the first island.
T5 - Constant Objectives Loses
- Damage: Good on Paper to Medium on Paper (2 aoe + 2 to 3 aoe + 3)
- Utility: Medium (1 uber pull, 1 weaker artillery)
- Scale: Bad
- Weak To: Friendly Units (Yes, unless you don't care about the white stars)
Lightning Mech can chain damage multiple bugs and allies, so it cannot attack a bug close to a friendly objective unit, which the enemies just love to hug those objective for melee. For tanks and other movable one, you can shield them with Hook Mech, but the unmovable ones will create lots of unsolvable situations. It's single target damage is not really sufficient. It cannot kill a 3 hp common minion in one hit and cannot push/pull it away at early game. When it comes to multiple alpha phase, it cannot even kill the weakest one after fully upgraded.
Hook Mech is very strong. It starts with an unlimited range and loves river or pool on the center of battlefiend a lot. But in most of the time, it just takes dirty works like pull away a melee bug without damaging it; Move a bug to a place to conduct the lightning chain and take chain damage as well - yeah, that's how the armor is used! It's mandatory to take ally shield upgrade early to be capable to protect objective unit from getting fried by chain lightning. To make things more funny - the unmovable friendly unit, like terratranformer, train, satellite launcher, cannot be shielded (not sure if it's a bug or intended).
Boulder Mech is good with 2 initial damage, but end with the same 3 damage as other artillery. It only pushes horizontally, has no building immune, which leaves lots of scenario unsolvable. As the enemy generally won't line up for electrocution, you're mostly forced to use it for damage every turn.
So, to use this squad well, you have to tough through the first island and take as less mission to protect friendly unit as possible. If someone got +2 hp, you need to put he/she on the Hook Mech asap, as the chain lightning really chew off its health quickly.
Secondary weapons or a major weapon swap is mandatory for Blitzkrieg as both the damage of Lightning Mech and Boulder Mech fall off quickly and lack of crowd control measurement.
Fortunately, this squad is not focused on a coordinated meta tactics like Fire Behemoth, Rusting Hulks or Hazardous Mechs, you can freely get weapon swap on them. Just buy fewer power cores on the first island.