Frozen Synapse 2 – The Tactician’s Guide

Learn the Critical Actions

There are five critical actions that you should master, and use in all situations. All the other commands are a bit of extra topping on the cake. The guide will breakdown each of these actions, and what you should focus on with them. (Most of the time when I play, I only use these five actions.)


  • Kill-Time is not an selectable action, but it must be considered as one.

When ever a vatform begins shooting there is a required time that the enemy unit must be in-sight and in-range. This is the Kill-Time. Each vatform class has their own Kill-Time, which is effected by Cover, Movement, and Aim. If your vatform is moving it can not shoot as quickly. If your vatform is behind cover the vatform takes longer to kill. If your vatform is using Aim, then they will kill enemies quicker. If the enemy steps into a vatform’s Focus Diamond, then they will kill enemies most quickly. The best way to figure Kill-Time out is to test each situation several times before priming your turn.


  • Positioning is the most obvious and most glossed over part of good tactics.

When you are moving your vatforms. It is important to pay attention to the positioning of your vatforms, and also the positioning of enemy vatforms. Close-Range vatforms should be kept near the front or on a flank. Long-Range vatforms should be far enough back that they cannot get flanked. Explosive vatforms should be moved along side other bullet vatfoms, so they can be used in tandem. If you are out of position a lot of things can go wrong, but when you are in position a lot of things can go right. Don’t clump up because all your guys could die in one grenade, but don’t be to spread out because you will get picked off. There is a balance, and it can be found with practice. Positioning is 55% if the battle.

Focus / Aim

  • The Aim cone will improve Kill-Time, but decease unit movement speed.
  • The Focus is the central point of unit’s Aim cone, and will dramatically improve Kill-Time.
  • The Focus is your best weapon against static defensive positions.

The Focus / Aim command is the little green target button undernear each vatform and waypoint. This button is also used to fire weapons for all Explosive and Area-of-Effect(AoE) vatforms. When you use this command you must decide which part you want to use. You can Focus on spot, or you can Aim to cover the most ground. Sometimes you can effectivly do both. You cannot change your Aim cone with out moving the Focus diamond. You can use the Cancle Aim command to allow your unit to move at a standard speed, but you lose the Aim Kill-Time bonus. You can tell when any vatform is using the Aim cone by the letter C that appears next to the vatform, when they open fire. Additionally, You can tell when a vatform is using the Focus diamond because of the large F that appears next to the vatform in combat, this is the quickest way to kill enemy vatforms with bullet based units. If two vatform’s Focus each other the conflict will likely be that both die, unless one has a class advantage.


  • Duck decreases your vatform’s movement speed, but you can hide behind Cover.

Duck the only way to hide behind Cover. Wall will stop bullets if your vatforms are standing. Cover will not stop bullets if your Vatforms are standing. You must use the Duck command to hide behind cover. Be aware, you will need to issue the Stand command to stop ducking.

‘Continue on Sight’ aka. Sprint

  • Continue on Sight inceases your vatform’s movement speed, but you cannot shoot.

Continue on Sight is the only way to make your Vatfrom stop shooting and sprint, while you are sprinting you cannot shoot. You can use this if you wish to cross an short open space, and it must be done at the fastest possible speed. You can Continue on Sight while standing or ducking, but you must use the Engage on Sight command if you want your vatform to start shooting again.

Know the Vatforms

The first step beyond familiarity with the user interface of Frozen Synapse 2 is to understand the capabilities of each vatform. This is a key part of making effective plans in Frozen Synapse. Each unit will be briefly reviewed, and key points will be highlighted about each unit. Units will behave in the exact same way everytime. It should be noted that some units in the city game have extraordinary abilities, but this is beyond the scope of this guide.

Short-Range Vatforms

  • Name: Knife 
  • Strengths: Instant Kill-Time, Fastest Unit, Cheap 
  • Weaknesses: No range, Easily Shotguned, Dead in Open Ground 
  • How to use: Sprint up to enemies and shiv them. Chain-kills are a lot of fun. 

  • Name: Pistol 
  • Strengths: Fast, Short Range, Cheapest Bullet Unit 
  • Weaknesses: Slow Kill-Time, Limited Range, Dead in Open Ground 
  • How to use: Use them as a distraction, or use them to kill units that don’t shoot back. 

  • Name: SMG 
  • Strengths: Fast, Medium Range, Effective Flanker. 
  • Weaknesses: Poor Kill-Time, Loses hard to ARs and Snipers, Weak in Open Ground 
  • How to use: 2 or 3 SMGs can tackle most units. Use a SMG to kill units that don’t shoot back. 

  • Name: Shotgun 
  • Strengths: Nearly Instant Kill-Time, Master of Short Range, Standard Speed 
  • Weaknesses: Dead in Open Ground, Limited Range 
  • How to use: These are they guys you send through the door first. 

Mid-Range Bullet Vatforms

  • Name: AR 
  • Strengths: Jack-of-All-Trades, Average Kill-Time, Medium Range 
  • Weaknesses: Outranged by Snipers, Weak in Open Ground 
  • How to use: They are a swiss army knife, good at a lot but master of none. 

  • Name: Scoped AR 
  • Strengths: Jack-of-All-Trades, Reliable in Open Ground, Medium-Long Range 
  • Weaknesses: Outranged by Snipers, Easily Shotguned 
  • How to use: Scopes are a reliable Mid-Long range solution, my favorite unit. 

Long-Range Bullet Vatforms

  • Name: Sniper 
  • Strengths: Master of Long Range, Fantastic in Open Ground 
  • Weaknesses: Easily Killed at Short Range, Slow, Long Kill-Time 
  • How to use: Keep snipers at long ranges, with great views, and no enemy flankers. 

  • Name: Turret 
  • Strengths: Master of Long Range, Fantastic in Open Ground, Short Kill-Time 
  • Weaknesses: Very Slow, Cannot Shoot While Moving, Must Deploy Before Firing 
  • How to use: This deadly unit must be carefully positioned, and given time to set up. 

Explosive Vatforms

  • Name: Minelayer 
  • Strengths: Denial of Area, Static Explosive, Damn Mines 
  • Weaknesses: Delaid Mine Placement, Cannot Shoot, Single Mine Per Turn. 
  • How to use: Mine choke points, as mines explode when a unit or grenade steps on them. 

  • Name: Smoke Launcher 
  • Strengths: Provides Mobile Concealment In Any Area! 
  • Weaknesses: Cannot Shoot, Delaid Smoke Launch, Single Smoke Per Turn 
  • How to use: They provide concealment, allowing you to attack, or fallback in cover. 

  • Name: Grenade Launcher 
  • Strengths: Grenading Rooms, Punishing Campers, Covering A Retreat 
  • Weaknesses: Cannot Shoot, Delaid Grenade Launch, Single Grenade Per Turn 
  • How to use: Dump the nade through the door then attack, or retreat. 

  • Name: Toxic Launcher 
  • Strengths: Grenading Rooms, Denying Access, Covering A Retreat 
  • Weaknesses: Cannot Shoot, Delaid Gas Launch, Single Grenade Per Turn 
  • How to use: Gas lingers after each shot, so do not send your own units into your gas. 

  • Name: Rocket Launcher 
  • Strengths: Wall & Cover Destruction, Unlimited Range, Ultimate Overkill 
  • Weaknesses: Cannot Shoot, Delaid Rocket Launch, Slow 
  • How to use: Rockets can be used to reduce a building to rubble, or as a pin-point solution. 

Area of Effect Vatforms

  • Name: Riot Sheild
  • Strengths: Blocks Line of Sight, Blocks Bullets, Grenades will bounce off the Shield
  • Weaknesses: Does not block rockets, Cannot survive explosions, Gets shot if not deployed. 
  • How to use: Use this unit to poke corners safely, and to bounce grenades around corners. 

  • Name: Flamethrower
  • Strengths: Instant Kill-Time, Wide AoE, One of Two AoE (Area of Effect) Units
  • Weaknesses: Short Range AoE, Can’t Move While Firing, Short Delay Before Firing
  • How to use: Place them just shy of where you think the enemy will poke, and let um rip. 

  • Name: Minigun
  • Strengths: Medium Range AoE, Instant Kill-Time, One of Two AoE (Area of Effect) Units
  • Weaknesses: Narrow AoE, Can’t Move While Firing, Short Delay Before Firing 
  • How to use: Place them just shy of where you think the enemy will poke, and let um rip.

Know the Mission

Generally, all Frozen Synapse Missions can be solved by nutralizing all hostiles. This is a pretty way of saying, if they are dead they don’t shoot back.

It is possible to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in many missions by completeing the mission objectives even if you are out-numbered and out-gunned. Some missions can only be completed by following the objective. There are two kinds of battlefields in Frozen Synapse: Multiplayer, and Singleplayer.

Multiplayer Missions are played against other human opponants. There are six mission types. They are listed as follows: Exterminate, Charge, Dispute, Secure, Hostage, and Bomb Defusal. These mission types will breakdown each of these, and provide some suggestions and sound tactics. It is important to remember that each mission will be unique, and you will be forced to adapt to changing situations in battle.

Singleplayer missions are played against the evil AI. There are many unique missions that are part of the city game, but you can expect to find a variety of missions. Some of the most common ones involve the following: keeping a unit alive, killing a unit, holding a zone, capturing a zone, killing everything. Some missions are time sensitive.

One Turn missions are played against other humans. There are three mission types. They are listed as follows: Exterminate, Sitting Duck, Secure. These mission types will be brokendown, and some suggestions and sound tactics will be provided. It is important to remember that each mission will be unique, and you will be forced to adapt to changing situations in battle. One Turn’s are unique in that you only have one shot at this, so take your time. They are a great way to learn more about MP style games.

Understand the Green & Red

It is important to know what options you have in battle; it is also important to know what options your opponent has in battle. These options are two sides of the same coin. The synergistic effect of explosive units, area-effect units and bullet units in a squad cannot be overstated. If the player send a bullet vatform through a door, and there is an ambush, then the vatform is dead. But if the player use a grenade before the player send the vatform in, or if the player use a flamethrower to pin down the enemy unit, then the player have a greater chance of success. A core part of Frozen Synapse 2 is a combination of unit synergy, flanking movements, explosive management and use of the focus diamond.

Smoke grenades are a powerful tool, they can be used to block line of sight. This will stop units outside the smoke from shooting enemy units hidden inside or beyond the smoke. If a long range red unit is camped behind cover, you can use smoke to safely move across the battlefield. Units inside smoke cannot shoot outside, but they can shoot enemies inside the smoke. You can use this, try dropping a smoke on top of the enemy position then sending your close range unit inside the smoke to kill the enemy that is also inside the smoke.

Toxic grenades and regular grenades can be used to deny an enemy access through a critical area of the battlefield. Grenades have a restricted travel distance and explosive radius. Grenades can be bounced off walls, shields, and cover. Grenades can also be used offensively to clear out stubborn resistance. Do not forget to look for opportunities to catch red units in transit from one point to another. Enemies can see grenades when they are fired in dark mode, so do not leave your grenadier in the same spot after firing.

Rocket launcher units are the only unit that destroys walls from any distance. This ability can be crucial to victory. A tactician should look to destroy walls to kill enemy units on the other side of that wall, or to breach the enemy defense from an unexpected position. An example of this would be that red unit(s) have locked down all the entrances to a room. You can destroy the wall, and send your unit(s) into the new opening or whittle them down from a distance. A crouched rocket launcher will destroy cover, where as a standing rocket launcher will shoot over the cover.

Flamethrowers and Miniguns are wonderful for locking down door ways. It does not matter how many units attack. If they walk into the area of effect, then they are dead. You can use AoEs to lock down doorways that you do not want enemies coming through. AoEs will cause grenades and rockets to blow up on contact with the area of effect. Flamethrowers and Miniguns have limited range, and they can be easily killed if they are left in the open.

Turrets are your long range lockdown the area solution unit. Once they are set in place and pointed in the direction of the enemy they will begin to rapidly clear any enemies caught in the open. I suggest you use these units to deny open areas of the map to the enemy. They are similar to a sniper, but they remain immobile while deployed.

AoE, Turrents and Grenade vatforms cannot move while they are firing. They should be protected from long range threats such as Snipers. You should also watch out for flanking units, as AoE and Grenade units are easy prey.

Understand the Battlefield

Once you are comfortable with controlling your vatforms and working with the mission objective, you should begin to gain a greater understanding of each unique battlefield you will fight on. The objectives of the mission will change, potential enemy units will change, but one thing you can rely on is that you will live and die by corners, doors and cover. You should always make every effort to use your explosive and AoE vatforms to control the battlefeild: blowup walls and cover with rockets, gas halls and doors, smoke enemy line of sight, grenade rooms and spaces, flame doors and windows, minigun corners and hallways. The buildings and spaces are the keys to success.

  • Doorways should be guarded, always assume the enemy is doing the same. 
  • Windows will kill you, you cannot see what is going to pop up from behind them. 
  • Corners are tricky because they allow wide views with minimal movement.
  • Hallways can be death traps, expecially with miniguns. 
  • Cover is king. If your in cover any enemy is at a disadvatage, unless they also have cover.
  • Open space is the snipers paradise. Use it or die by it.
Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 13553 Articles
I love games and I live games. Video games are my passion, my hobby and my job. My experience with games started back in 1994 with the Metal Mutant game on ZX Spectrum computer. And since then, I’ve been playing on anything from consoles, to mobile devices. My first official job in the game industry started back in 2005, and I'm still doing what I love to do.

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