More XCOM: Chimera Squad Guides:
- Cheat Codes (Console Commands).
- Scavenger Market Guide (Items and Costs).
- Agents Guide (Godmother, Cherub, Terminal).
- Agents Guide (Verge, Axiom, Blueblood, Claymore).
- Agents Team Synergies Guide.
- How to XCOM but Breaching.
- Resource Increase Guide.
- Time Increase Guide.
This guide concentrate on how to build and optimize your Agents (Patchwork, Shelter, Torque, Zephyr), as well as how to use them on the field to the best of their abilites. You will find informations about how to outfit your Agents' weapons, a detailed explanation on their abilities and what to choose when leveling, and some example of synergetic team to help you face the various enemies you will encounter in City 31.
Guide to Loadouts, Abilities, Builds and Synergies
Patchwork is a mobile and versatile gadgeteer Agent with great utility. She can quickly become one of your most valuable character as she grows in power and can quickly become the queen of inflicting status effect upon a wide range of enemies. Properly kitted out, Patchwork can solo almost any encounter in the game.
Patchwork use an assault rifle, which make her deal slightly more damage than her fellow Gremlin-wrangler Terminal. She can make great use of the Fortunate Blossom legendary rifle by using its Serial ability to quickly finish off wounded enemies and continue the fight, but you will first need to upgrade assaults rifle in the Armory to make her damage ramp up.
Patchwork is the prime candidate to use a Reflex Grip. Being able to use both of her action to first shoot at an enemy and follow up by one of her Gremlin attack opens up her action economy and provide great versatility to her playstyle. If you ever have the possibility to gain a Reflex Grip in a mission or at the Scavenger Market, do not hesitate and give it to Patchwork, you won't regret it. Since she will mostly be a backline character, she can make great use of a good Scope or even a Holo-targetor to help mark the enemies for the squad.
Patchwork can work very well as a 2nd slot breacher, as she is better played early in the timeline. She can make great use of specialized breach item such as the Target Scanner to provide a valuable alternative to her Gremlin scan across multiple Encounters.
Consider outfitting her with a Plated Vest to increase her survivability. Equipping her with Tracer Rounds to increase her long-range aim is a good choice before access to specialized ammo type. I'd also recommend giving her either a grenade to soften up enemy resistance or a medikit to provide an emergency source of healing.
Abilities and Build
Starting Skill: Chaining Jolt and Reprogram
Chaining Jolt is Patchwork signature skill. She sends her GREMLIN to any enemy in her field of view to deliver a powerful electric shock worth 4 damage. This attack bypasses both cover and enemy armor, it is a guaranteed way to damage enemies and should be used as often as possible. Keep in mind that the electric shock will always kill the enemy target, so let another character subdue the weakened criminal if you want bonus intel. By default, the "chaining" part of the jolt has a rather short range, roughly 3 square, and will only do 1 damage on each subsequent target. Chaining Jolt will end Patchwork turn if used as her first action.
Reprogram makes Patchwork attempt to hack and take control of a robotic enemy (Andromedon "suit" form and Sacred Coil many turrets, android and MECs are prime target). A successful hack will turn the robotic enemy to your side for 1 to 3 turn, and can provide incredibly valuable help depending on the hacked enemy. A successful hack will lead to a lengthy cooldown, so be mindful if you use it toward the end of an encounter. Reprogram will end Patchwork turn if used as her first action.
Deputy Agent: Combat Scanners
Combat Scanners is a one-use breach skill that can be used on the 2nd, 3rd or 4th slot of any door breach situation. Using it will mark all enemies in the room with a Holo Target for the entire duration of the encounter, making them much easier to hit with every member of your squad. Use it as often as possible, as it will greatly help your Agent to deal with well covered enemies. Pair Combat scanners with a Target Analyzer on her breach slot so that you can provide both a Aim bonus and a Crit bonus on long missions.
Field Agent: Voltaic Arc or Threat Recognition
Voltaic Arc provides a point defense passive ability to Patchwork by making her GREMLIN shocks enemies that move adjacent to Patchwork, or Patchwork move adjacent to them. Note that Voltaic Arc can proc if Patchwork and an enemy are separated by only one squad of half-cover. From my personal testing, it seems that Voltaic Arc can sometimes proc multiple time and sometimes only once. The arc will also chains to nearby enemy, which can lead to a surprising amount of low damage across the board. Voltaic Arc will not protect against a Ronin's advance, as their lightning reflexes make them immune to the GREMLIN point defense.
Also, be mindful that the Voltaic Arc will proc if a Patchwork tries to subdue an enemy, which can lead to interesting outcomes : if an enemy has only 4 HP left, Patchwork can reliably subdue them by using her Voltaic Arc bonus damage. If an enemy is actually killed by the Voltaic Arc before Patchwork proceed with the sudbue animation, her action is "canceled" as if nothing happened. This can lead to quite an interesting situation where Patchwork can kill an enemy by moving to subdue them, then subdue another target in the same turn.
Threat Recognition is an upgrade to Patchwork breach skill. It grants one additional use of her Combat Scanners ability and grant an additional +25 Crit upon use, combining the effect of both the Target Analyzer and the Holo Scanner in a single skill, usable twice per mission on any breach slot.
There is no contest in my mind. Voltaic Arc is the better skill to pick at this level as it will lead to even better synergy the more Patchwork gains in ranks. It can also leads to hilarious hijinks, such as killing a charging Chryssalid or frying a Viper that was moving to bind Patchwork. Voltaic Arc provide good defense, utility and offense, and you can use a Target Analyzer as a breach item to proc the same effect as Threat Recognition.
Special Agent: Stasis Field
Stasis Field lets Patchwork put a target, friend or foe, in a statis bubble until her next turn. The unit cannot attack and is immune to all damage. Using Stasis field does not end the turn of Patchwork if used as her first action. This is a powerful tool to shutdown a powerful enemy or protect a wounded ally from status effect damage if you can finish the encounter quickly. It can also be used to protect a hostage or a civilian from an incoming explosion, or to delay the activation of some enemy units skills such as a codex Psi Bomb or an Archon skyward missile barrage. Use it often, but use it wisely.
Upon reaching this rank, Patchwork can undergo training to unlock an additional utility item on her loadout. It is a worthwhile training to undergo, as it will let you equip Patchwork with an ammo type, a grenade and a utility item such as relocation disk (for quickly moving around the field) or a medikit (for emergency healing).
Senior Agent: Shock Therapy or High Voltage
Shock Therapy upgrades Chaining Jolt and Voltaic Arc to be able to inflict Disorient or even Stun upon the targeted enemies. This makes Patchwork able to inflict debilitating status effect consistently and efficiently with her base skill, almost every turn. Taking into account that you can chain target together, you can potentially stun multiple enemies if they are bunched up together. This will also provide a good protection against melee enemies as they can be stunned while approaching Patchwork. In my experience, it even managed to stun Zephyr as she was mind controlled, saving Patchwork for being heavily damaged by her ally.
High Voltage upgrade the damage of the chaining part of the Chaining Jolt and Voltaic Arc damage by 1 to 3 extra damage. This means that Chaining Jolt will still deal 4 damage, but any enemy caught in the chain will get heavily damaged by the arc. Can be an interesting perk to pick if you value DPS over status effect.
In my opinion, Shock Therapy is clearly the superior perk at this rank. Being able to consistently stun or disorient any target on the field is a great advantage as it can completely shut down Ronins, Berserkers and Archons from ruining your day. It can also lead to hilarious hijinks where you render an entire enemy formation stunned during a firefight if they are bunched up together. High Voltage would have been a worthwhile perk if it upgraded Chained Jolt and Voltaic Arc nase damage instead of the chain part.
Principal Agent: Capacitor Discharge
Capacitor Discharge is a one-use active skill that lets Patchwork send her GREMLIN in a location to emits a powerful electric attack on a wide radius, damaging enemies for 4 HP and potentially stunning them. Capacitor Discharge can be great to catch enemies that Patchwork has no visual on, such as behind walls or on a different elevation. It is not more powerful that her base Chaining Jolt attack, so use this skill sparingly to finish off a few enemies that are out of Patchwork field of view.
Upon reaching this rank, Patchwork unlocks a training option that can lead to her most valuable and powerful asset : Storm Generator. This perk greatly enhanced the range where the electric arc of Chaining Jolt and Voltaic Arc can reach between each enemies, and can lead to incredible moment where you can damage and potentially stun the entire enemy roster over a wide area. Be mindful when you select a target for a Chaining Jolt : if you see other enemies highlighted in the timeline and colored red on the field, it means that the chaining jolt can reach them. By unlocking this perk, Patchwork can reliably solo an entire encounter by shutting down every enemy and finishing them off with her rifle. Use both thunderbolt and lightning against your very very frightened enemies.
Synergies and Favored Enemies
Patchwork can fit any combination of Agent and provide a valuable and consistent source of damage over the course of a mission. She can make Axiom and Zephyr aggressive playstyle more safe by stunning enemies around them with her upgraded Chaining Jolt, and will work wonders with Terminal as her cooperation action can help Patchwork spam Chaining Jolt two times in a single round, often leading to hilarity.
She is the Agent to send against any mission involving the Sacred Coil as she will do extra damage to any robotic enemy with her Gremlin. She can be an excellent counter to MECs, detonate self-destructing androids safely and turn a rampaging Andromedon Suit to her side.
Bringing her to the Sacred Coil stronghold mission will greatly enhance your chance of survival.
Final Ranking: S
Patchwork is one of the strongest agents available in the Chimera Squad. She provides an easy and reliable source of damage in the early game that gets upgraded to a deadly chain-lightning once she reaches max rank and undergoes her ultimate training. She will make any missions involving the Sacred Coil much more manageable and is generally a delight to use on the field.
Shelter is a Psi operative that use his power to provide mostly utility on the field and for his teammates. His low health makes him quite vulnerable if his Relocation leaves him in a vulnerable state, and he mostly suffers from being underpowered until he unlocks more of his power. Shelter needs a bit of work and focus to make him efficient on the field, but some efforts can make it worth your while.
Shelter use a submachine gun as his main weapon, but his below average aim makes him a worse sharpshooter compared to his fellow Psi operative Verge. He can somehow make good use of the Surly Constant legendary submachine gun, as its Hail of Bullet can guarantee some damage at the cost of heavy ammo consumption. Consider leaving him with his default weapon, however, as most of his damage and utility comes from his power.
As for weapon mods, a good Scope to counteract Shelter's low aim and either a Holo-Targetor to mark target for the team or a Stock to help him deal consistent damage even with missed shot are worthwhile options.
Try to buff his low health by giving him either some Padded Armor or a Plated Vest. A Hazmat Vest is also a viable option to protect Shelter from the Burning Status, which stops him from being able to use most of his power.
Giving him Tracer Rounds to further boost his aim and a Medikit for emergency healing is a good utility loadout, as being able to heal himself greatly increases Shelter chances of survival.
Abilities and Build
Starting Skill: Relocate
Relocate is Shelter's signature skill. Using it will make Shelter and his target exchange position on the field. He can use this skill on both enemies and allies. Using this skill as Shelter's first action doesn't end his turn, and can be useful to help a ally reach an extraction zone faster or even during Shelter's turn. It can also be used to save an ally from an incoming car or grenade explosion, or to exchange Shelter's place with an enemy to surround him with your remaining agents.
Be mindful, however, as Relocate can often lead to Shelter being completely surrounded and outflanked, or rushed by melee enemies. You need to use Relocate wisely, often paired with a long term plan using your other Agents to deal quickly with a surrounded enemy or to bring back Shelter to a safer place. It is a hard skill to put efficiently into practice, but can lead to spectacular results... sometimes.
Deputy Agent: Dazzle
Dazzle is a one-use breach skill that makes Shelter throw a psionic ball at a target, rendering close enemies disoriented for the breach shootout and his target disoriented for the opening turn. It can be useful to debuff the enemy aim during the breach, especially in conjunction with a smoke bomb to protect your Agents, but Dazzle has basically the same effect as a long-range flash bomb and can be used on any breach slot. Disoriented enemies are unable to use some of their more troublesome skills, such as the Sacred Coil shield-bearer party-wide shield buff. Dazzle doesn't do any damage, and is mostly an utilitarian breach skill to mitigate some incoming damage by virtue of debuffing the opposition aim. It is somewhat a little underwhelming when a flash bomb can do the same effect and still let the breacher shoot at the opposite side.
Field Agent: Temporal Shift or Distortion Field
Temporal Shift upgrade Shelter's Relocate skill to delay the next turn of relocated enemies. It can be used in conjunction with Terminal pin down to truly shut down an enemy from coming into play, and to cancel out a Ronin's Tempo Surge. Be mindful that relocating enemies can leave Shelter in a dire position, and try to aim at enemies that are located on higher elevations to provide good cover to your other agents. Using Temporal Shift can also help in delaying an Archon's skyward barrage, or to make sure an Hostage Taker doesn't harm his captive for a little while longer.
Distortion Field upgrades Relocate so that when Shelter use his skill on another Agent, both him and his friendly target get a hefty +50 Defense until their following turn. This perks lets Shelter take a more defensive role, and he will be able to stay with the squad and provide a useful defensive buff across the board.
It is a tough call to choose between the two perks, and both choices offer a different playstyle to Shelter's relocate ability. Do you want to shut down an enemy and delay their turn in the timeline or do you want to provide your squad with a higher defense (at the cost of maybe a slight disorientation) ? I personally think that Temporal Shift provides the better value, as being able to delay an enemy can make a fight more manageable compared to buffing the defense of an ally that might not be the next target of the enemy. What's more, the slight delay in turn order can be used to force some enemies to blow up on their own comrade's grenade!
Special Agent: Soulfire
Soulfire is Shelter's other signature skill, and once he unlocks this skill his offensive power skyrocket, as well as his versatility on the field. Soulfire is a skill that throws a Psi attack that does about 4 damage to enemies and, more importantly, is guaranteed to hit. It bypass both cover and armor, and is set on a two turn cooldown, but can only do damage to organic enemies. It is often worth it to use Shelter's opening turn to use Soulfire to accurately down a heavily wounded enemy that survived the breach shootout. As an added bonus, if the enemy survive the Soulfire, they will be delayed in the timeline. Throwing a Soulfire then using a Temporal Shift Relocation can really shut down an enemy, but you risk leaving Shelter in a compromised location.
By reaching this rank, Shelter unlock a training opportunity to boost his mobility. It might be worthwhile to undertake this training as Shelter base mobility is quite low, and can help him relocate to a secure location after using his own... relocation.
Senior Agent: Solace or Soul Storm
Solace make Shelter exude an aura that protects from mental status effects for both himself and nearby Agents. This also means that if Shelter move to a stunned or disoriented Agent's side, he will be able to remove the status effect. Solace basically replace the Mindshield armor item, but also make Shelter project a small defensive aura around him to protect his allies. Note that Solace will not protect from Soulfire, Null Lance and Psi Bomb.
Soul Storm upgrade Shelter's Soulfire ability to heal himself for half of the damage dealt, meaning 2 HP. This is mostly a way to provide Shelter with a 2 turn cooldown small heal, that could combine nicely with a Regen Weave to greatly improve Shelter's survivability. However, be mindful that Shelter cannot use soulfire on mechanical enemies such as Sacred Coil android, and such will not have access to his Soulfire heal if he must face an entire army of robots.
For the previous reason, I think that Solace is the better skill between the two. Solace will effectively replace mindshield and make Shelter able to stop a Mind Control attempt or help an agent that has been Psi Disabled and Stunned for 2 turn. The Soul Storm skill would have been invaluable if it could heal Shelter for the same amount of damage dealt, but a medikit in his loadout will provide him with a better and more reliable way of healing himself in emergencies.
Principal Agent: Fracture
Shelter's ultimate ability let Shelter create a Psionic clone of himself that appear with Shelter's current health pool and can use both Relocate, Soulfire (on a 1 turn cooldown) and can both stabilize bleeding out agents and activate objectives. This is Shelter's biggest strength, even if it's a one-use per mission, as it will make your 4 Agent squad gain a new body that will be able to attract incoming fire and actively participate in the fight. The clone can use Soulfire every turn, which mean a reliable and consistent 4 point of damage against organic units every turn, and use relocate to take the place of a outflanked Agent. Use this ability wisely, as it can turn a difficult engagement into something way more manageable and can provide incredible value in difficult missions such as .
By reaching this rank, Shelter can unlock a training option that will let him unlock Writhe, a melee ability that will damage his target and heal him for about the same amount of damage dealt. However, he cannot target mechanical units and cannot use the skill if he's at full health. Which means that Writhe is an extremely situational skill and difficult to put into actual use.
Synergies and Favored Enemies
By building Shelter as a more defensive character, capable of protecting his fellow Agents from mental assault and providing defensive buff with his relocation, Shelter can fit into teams that tends to stay in the backline to be efficient such as a Patchwork and Claymore. As it stands, his offensive abilities are somewhat subpar and his low Aim makes him a worse sharpshooter compared to Verge.
As a Psi Operator, he can be very efficient at fighting the Progenies and Grey Phenix and protect his squad from the various mental disable that can come their way. However, he will have much trouble against the Sacred Coil where most of his skill cannot be used against robotic enemies.
Final Ranking: C
Shelter main's strength is his ability to create a psionic clone of himself that will wreak havoc upon the enemy, but as Fracture is a one-time use skill Shelter will feel somewhat underpowered during long missions with multiple encounters. His Relocate ability is hard to put into efficient practice without leaving Shelter and his low health pool in a precarious position, and his Soulfire ability, if it can deal consistent damage, is less efficient than Patchwork Chaining Jolt. As it stands, Shelter is one of the hardest Agent to put into efficient use, especially compared to some of his comrade in arms.
Everyone's favorite alien girl, Torque is a versatile and surprisingly tanky and mobile character that can deal consistent poison damage and whose main strength is to completely take out a single enemy character out of the fight, at the cost of her own participation to the firefight. Torque is a self-sufficient character that can fit a multiple of role and provide great value to any squad combinaison.
As a submachine gun user and by virtue of having good Aim, Torque can use both legendary submachine gun to great efficiency. I personally give him the Surly Constant prototype, as its Hail of Bullet closely mirrors Godmother's Ventilate ability in being able to guarantee damage at the cost of heavy ammo consumption. A good Hail of Bullet can be used to finish off a wounded enemy that threatens the squad.
As for weapon mods, Torque can make good use of a Reflex Grip to grant her a better action economy and open up her ability to deal damage at range. Alternatively, a good Scope will often be enough to make her a very accurate sharpshooter at range. I personally recommend to give her an Impact Frame, as her superior mobility will let her subdue enemies all over the map and can be used in tandem with her Tongue Pull and Bind ability. A good combo would be to use Tongue Pull and Bind to wound an enemy, release the bind when Torque comes into play, shoot someone with the Reflex Grip as her Torque first action and finish off the previously binded enemy with the Impact Frame. Finally, a Laser Sight can also be considered a good item to give to Torque considering the fact that her superior mobility will let her flank enemies with ease.
I highly recommend giving Torque a Mach Weave as her armor item. The dodge bonus will make her own natural dodge skyrocket until she will be able to dodge most incoming damage, and only receive scratch damage during firefights. Alternatively, a Hell weave can sometimes provide good value as Torque will often attract the ire of melee attackers. She can use the Vent option during breach, effectively mimicking the effect of the Infiltrator weave.
As for utility items, I recommend giving Torque a good specialized ammo such as Talon Rounds or even Venom Rounds if you want to play into the poisonous motif. Note that using Dragon or Caustic rounds on a poisoned enemy can sometimes cancel the poison, or at least it did in a few of my runs. Torque can also make good use of both offensive and defensive grenade, and giving her a medikit for emergencies is also a viable option to consider, especially on higher difficulty, but remember that Torque is by default immune to poison.
Abilities and Build
Starting Skill: Bind and Tongue Pull
Bind is an active skill that makes Torque coil around an adjacent enemy, stopping them from taking any actions as long as they are bound and slowly choking them for about 2 damage. Note that Torque cannot Bind an enemy positioned diagonally to her. Bind will also inflict more damage the longer Torque do not release her Bind. On the first following turn, it will inflict 2 damage, then on the following turn, 4 damage! Also note that Bind will always kill the bound unit, and that if the only enemy unit remaining in the field is currently Bound by Torque, she will automatically snap their spine and kill them. It is a great skill that can completely take out a threatening enemy from the fight, and can be used against almost all enemies except Berserker, MECs, Archons, Andromedons and such. It can be used against Praetorians, Sorcerers and Ronins to shut them off and protect the squad from their powerful ability. Torque will often spend most firefight Binding an enemy, so choose your target well.
Tongue Pull makes Torque throw out her tongue to grab her target and bring them to her location. This skill can be used both on allies, hostages and enemies. It cannot be used against all enemies, notably the Grey Phenix elite Viper and the various giant type of enemies such as Andromedon, MECs and Archon. It seems that all enemies that you can target with Tongue Pull can be subsequently be the target of Bind. You can also use Bind to save an agent or hostage from an incoming car or grenade explosion, or to make a slow Agent such as Claymore catch up with the group during extraction situation. Note that Tongue pull, if used as Torque's second action and if successful in capturing an enemy target, will not end her turn and will let you use bind to take your target out of the fight.
Deputy Agent: Toxic Greeting
Torque breach skill lets her unleash a poisonous spit at a target, dealing 3 damage to them and poisoning them for 2 turns. Poison is a consistent and reliable way to deal exactly 2 damage at the beginning of the poisoned individual turn. Toxic Greeting is also always accurate, so it can be used to quickly take out a wounded enemy during the breach shootout. If an enemy has exactly 5 HP, you can also use Toxic Greeting during the breach to effectively remove them from the fight, as they will die upon starting their turn. While it is most useful in the Early Game, when most enemies still have a relatively low HP pool, it tends to falter during the late game as your main gun out-damage the skill. Please note that you cannot target all enemies with Toxic Greetings. Enemies immune to poison such as robots, enemy Vipers and Codexes will not be targetable by Toxic Greeting.
Field Agent: Tight Squeeze or Hard Target
Tight Squeeze upgrades Bind to deal 5 damage instead 2. This makes Torque Bind ability able to one shot wounded or weak enemies in the same turn she binds them. It can also combo very well with an Impact Frame as the high damage can leave the enemy vulnerable to a Subdue in the following round. There is only a few enemies, even at higher difficulty, that can resist 10 damage dealt over the course of 2 turn by Torque.
Hard Target is a passive buff that gives Torque a hefty permanent +30 bonus to Dodge and a bonus 1 point in mobility on the first turn of every encounter. This, combined with a Mach Weave and her Special Agent training, can effectively skyrocket Torque's dodge to reach 100 and virtually make any damage receive a grazing wound. The bonus point in mobility can be useful in the higher difficulty to secure a contraband cache or Bind a hostage taker.
In my opinion, Tight Squeeze is the better skill between the two as the bonus damage means that Torque will spend less time Binding enemies and more time securing kills and moving on the field. While the bonus mobility and dodge of Hard Target looks appealing, it might seems a bit overkill if you give Torque a Mach Weave and let her undergo her Special Agent training. Tight Squeeze would combo well with both a Reflex Grip and an Impact Frame to open up Torque's ability to deal heavy damage during any encounter.
Special Agent: Poison Spit
Poison Spit is an active ability that basically grant a Torque a permanent access to a Gas Grenade. It is an always accurate attack that share the same blast radius as Claymore's Shrapnel Bomb. When "detonating" her poison spit, enemies will be hit for 3 damage and be Poisoned, which mean they will take 2 damage on the following turn. This can be enough to take down weak enemies in the early game, and as Poison Spit doesn't end Torque turn when used as her first action, can be used to soften a target before shooting them down. Be mindful about using this ability if there are civilians on the field as they can, albeit rarely, run into the poisonous cloud and die. Poison Spit can also be used to detonate Claymore's Shrapnel Bomb. Keep in mind that Poison Spit suffers from a hefty 3 turn cooldown, so use it wisely.
Upon reaching this rank, Torque can undergo training that will grant her a permanent bonus of 1 in Mobility and 20 in Dodge. This is a very important training for Torque as it will greatly help in mitigating incoming damage and makes her one of the most mobile Agent you can field. Combine this training with a Mach Weave and watch as Torque can consistently dodge incoming fire and only take grazing wounds.
Senior Agent: Reinforced Scales or Synthetic Venom
Reinforced Scales is a passive buff that grants +1 Armor to Torque if she is currently binding an enemy and also prevent her from canceling her Bind if she take damage during it. This a good skill if you want to be absolutely sure to secure a kill using Bind, and the bonus armor, while situational, can sometimes be used with Terminal's Safeguard and Torque's natural dodge to reduce incoming damage to ridiculously low number. If you plan on using Torque as an aggressive Agent, moving from target to target on the frontline to bind them, or if you want to use Torque to take out of action a Praetorian or Sorcerer, then Reinforced Scales will help you reinforce that playstyle.
Synthetic Venom is a passive ability that gives Torque a bonus +50% Crit chance against enemies suffering from Poison. It will also let her heal 2 HP if she is ending her turn while standing in a poison cloud, such as the one she produce using Poison Spit, the one made by a Gas Grenade or one from the exploding barrel. Synthetic Venom is a bit situational, but can be used in conjunction with her Poison Spit to deal heavy damage to a unique target. The bonus heal can sometime be useful in a pinch, but is rather small. However, when you take into account Torque ability to dodge incoming damage, it can be helpful to make her heal the grazing wound she endured.
This is a rather tough call when it comes to choosing which skill is better. Your choice should depend on what Torque to specialize in. If you need her to Bind threatening targets and make sure to take them out of the fight, or to serve as a somewhat tanky off-tank that will attract incoming fire when using Bind, then choose Reinforced Scales. If you want Torque to be an aggressive frontliner, who use her superior mobility to flank enemies and deal heavy damage with her submachine gun, then consider picking Synthetic Venom and equipping her and or a few of her comrades with Gas Grenades or Venom Rounds so that her bonus crit chance can be use as often as possible. Both of those skills are situational, but I'd personally go for Synthetic Venom in the long run.
Principal Agent: Vicious Bite
Vicious Bite is an active ability on a 3 turn cooldown that makes Torque attack an enemy in melee and to deal 5 damage and inflicting Poison on her target. Note that this attack can miss and has a base 70% accuracy. Vicious Bite tends to feel a bit underwhelming, especially if Torque is equipped with an upgraded submachine gun and using venom rounds, as she can effectively deal the same amount of damage and apply poison at range and with better accuracy. Note that Vicious Bite will end Torque's turn if used as her first action as well. All in all, Vicious Bite is an interesting skill on paper but see little actual use in gameplay, as it is often more safe and reliable to just use Poison Spit first and then shoot your enemies, but you are still free to use it as you see fit.
Upon reaching this rank, Torque unlocks a training opportunity that will grant her Tag Team, which upgrades her Tongue Pull skill to immediately grand a free action if she use it on an allied Agent. This can be particularly useful to make sure all Agents extract as quickly as possible during Hostage rescue missions, and can lead to a particularly funny bug if you use it on a Stunned Agent as it will still let them be able to move around, seemingly teleporting elsewhere on their knees. Alternatively, try to use a Tag Team on a Blueblood equipped with his legendary pistol, as it can lead to him being able to use Lightning Hand and move around to proc his Ever Vigilant Overwatch on his single bonus action.
Synergies and Favored Enemies
Torque can properly work in many team composition as one of the more mobile frontliner and damage dealer. Her mobility can help her secure flanking positions and her skills will let her inflict poison upon her enemies, slowly softening them up for the rest of the team. She can pair nicely with Godmother to soften groups of enemies before a mighty scattershot. Also, she can be a useful squadmate to Claymore as her poison spit can detonate his Shrapnel Bomb and deal additional poison damage. Furthermore, her Tongue Pull will let a low mobility unit such as Claymore or Cherub move around quickly during extraction missions.
Torque will be most useful against the Progenies, where she can shut down Sorcerers and almost all of the Progenies roster are somewhat vulnerable to poison. She can have a little more trouble against the Sacred Coil, however, as many of them are immune to the Poison status. However, Torque can be used to tongue pull an android and bind them quickly in her opening move to prevent them to activate self-destruct.
Final Ranking: A
Torque is a valuable addition to your Agent roster. She will peak early in power upon unlocking her Poison Spit ability, and will generally be a delight to use against your enemies. Her ability to use Vent breach points will also let her reliably stun aggressive enemies during breach shootouts, and her ability to take out of the fight threatening criminals such as Ronins or Sorcerer will greatly help in controlling the flow of battle.
There's a good reason why she's everyone's favorite slithering alien, it's not just her shiny scales.
Zephyr is a highly mobile unique Agent who only fights in melee and use her momentum to protect herself from incoming damage. Her melee attacks are always accurate, and what she lacks in range damage and breach skills she more than make up in her ability to quickly take down multiple foes in a single turn.
As a melee character, Zephyr uses her unique Pangolin Gauntlets. This means that her weapon cannot be upgraded and cannot be modified in any way except her own leveling abilities.
I highly recommend giving Zephyr either a Mach Weave to give her a good chance to dodge incoming fire. Alternatively, a Regen Weave can provide Zephyr a good way to regenerate lost HP, and an Infiltrator Weave will let her use Vent option during breach where she will face way less aggressive enemies that might shoot her.
Zephyr should usually be used as a 1st slot Breacher, as being able to activate her momentum is primordial considering her opening punch might leave her in a precarious position. During encounters where breach as the 3rd or 4th person, it is highly advisable to use the Cover rush so that she hides behind cover and stops her from being stranded and vulnerable amidst a group of enemies.
Zephyr can make good use of breacher item such as Flashbang bombs to disorient enemies and Breaching charges to open up walls and provide a better avenue to battle.
As she doesn't use any specialized ammo type, Zephyr can bring a good grenade in her loadout and a specialized utility item such as the medikit, the overdrive serum or the kinetic screen to protect herself from incoming damage.
Abilities and Build
Starting Skill: Crippling blow and Momentum
Crippling Blow is Zephyr's default melee skill. It is an always accurate attack that does about 4-5 damage and can be used across her entire movement range. Crippling blow has a chance to inflict disoriented, root or stun upon connecting with an enemy, meaning it can be used to cancel out many enemy skills from being put in use.
Note that, by default, crippling blow will always kill enemies.
By using Crippling Blow on an enemy, Zephyr's Momentum is triggered which gave her a free action point to be used on movement. This is one of the most important part of Zephyr's kit as she is dedicated to hit and run tactics where she punch a criminal in the jaw and retreat back to safety behind cover.
Be careful, as using Zephyr's subdue action will not trigger her momentum, potentially leaving her in a vulnerable spot.
Deputy Agent: Parry
Parry offers the possibility for Zephyr to use her Momentum action as a means to defend herself completely from the next attack instead of using it to move. Parry can cancel pretty much any attack coming her way, including abilities such as Soulfire or a Berserker punch but will not stop Zephyr from getting damaged by environmental explosions or an Android self destruct. Parry is a very important skill for Zephyr as it will greatly reduce incoming damage and can be used to completely negate a Ronin's strike.
Don't forget that Parry can be used each time Zephyr uses her Crippling Blow, which mean that if Terminal grand Zephyr a free action through cooperation later in the timeline, she can use this action to use Crippling Blow and set up her Parry again.
Field Agent: Lockdown or Pressure Point
Lockdown is similar to Godmother's Close Combat Specialist as it makes Zephyr attack any enemy entering or exiting the 8 square adjacent to her. This can often provide a way to score free hit by the means of opportunity attack as some enemies will want to reposition and flee from Zephyr. It can also protect Zephyr from being rushed by Chryssalids or Berserker as she can potentially kill them, if they are wounded, before they can make any attack. Think of it as a permanent melee overwatch, similar to the way Godmother's Close Combat Specialist and Patchwork Voltaic Arc function.
Pressure Point is a passive buff that grant +1 damage to Zephyr's melee attacks. Furthermore, any enemy that has been dealt lethal damage by Zephyr will be rendered unconscious instead of killed. This is the only way to reliably upgrade Zephyr's damage on the long run, and is a real boon on your early Intel economy as you can capture enemies more easily.
I think that Pressure Point is the better skill. Lockdown is a nice skill to have but Pressure Point is one of the only way to upgrade Zephyr's damage reliably, and as Zephyr can only deal melee damage it is a safer, more consistent choice. On the long run, it will also greatly help with your Intel income by rendering many enemies unconscious instead of killed.
Special Agent: Crowd Control
Crowd Control is a powerful active ability on a 2 turn cooldown that makes Zephyr designate a wide radius where she will attack every nearby enemy contained within that radius. She will then stand in the center of the targeted zone. This is a formidable way to quickly deal with multiple enemies that have been left wounded by the opening breach shootout. However, be careful about leaving Zephyr unprotected, as she will not be able to use her momentum action to move to cover or proc her Parry skill!
In the early game, it is better to be conservative with the use of Crowd Control, and use it toward the end of the fight to quickly down multiple wounded enemies. Alternatively, you can use Terminal's cooperation to grant Zephyr a chance to use crippling blow and move back to cover or activate her parry after a successful Crowd Control.
Upon reaching this rank, Zephyr can undergo training to boost her mobility by +3. Keep in mind that, by default, Zephyr is one of the most mobile agent you can have that can potentially cover an entire map by herself, so her boost in mobility might just be overkill.
Senior Agent: Moving Target or Vital Strike
Moving Target makes Zephyr Subdue (if she didn't chose Pressure Point) and Crowd Control able to trigger her Momentum free action. This means that she will be able to run back to cover or use her Parry ability after her powerful Crowd Control, which will greatly improve her damage mitigation on the long run. In addition, Moving Target will make Zephyr not trigger any Overwatch or Reaction fire such as Hitmen or Turrets radial overwatch, or Muttons and Ronins melee stance.
Vital Strike makes Zephyr melee attack bypass enemy armor. This can be use in tandem with her Pressure Point skill to inflict great damage upon heavy armored foes such as Praetorians or Bombers, and is one of the way you can boost Zephyr's damage toward mid-game.
In my opinion, Moving Target is the better skill, especially on higher difficulty. Being able to run Zephyr back to cover or proc her Parry ability after using her Crowd control will let her deal more damage, more consistently and most importantly more safely. What's more, come end game, you can use various grenades or your other agents to shred enemy armor, which makes Vital Strike loose its edge.
Principal Agent: Reaper
Reaper is an active skill that is akin to Serial : It will grant Zephyr an extra action if she manage to down an enemy with a melee attack. However, each subsequent melee attack will deal less damage than the one before. Activating it is a free action, and you can still use Crowd Control under the effect of Reaper mode. However, it will not trigger Momentum, however, so be sure to use one last action to bring Zephyr behind cover. Reaper is a good way to quickly finish off multiple enemies that are left on very little HP, especially combined with Zephyr exceptional mobility.
By reaching this rank, Zephyr unlock a training opportunity that grants her High Impact, which lets her inflict Disoriented, Root or Stun while using Crowd Control. This is a direct upgrade to Crowd Control and is a very valuable asset to Zephyr's kit, as she will be able to disable a group of enemies and leave them dazed, reeling, and about to break.
Synergies and Favored Enemies
Zephyr works exceptionally well with Terminal as she can profit from the bonus action of Cooperation to trigger her momentum and Parry skill in the same round. Zephyr is a strong first breacher, so she can also be paired with Godmother to form a very powerful frontline.
She can fight well against the three enemy factions, but her ability to inflict root and stun upon striking a target will be most helpful against the Sacred Coil many Chryssalids and Ronins. Following this logic, she can be a valuable ally to have when fighting against the Progeny, as her Parry ability will let her absorb their Soulfire reliably.
Final Ranking: A
Zephyr is a strong character that more than makes up from her shortcomings. Even if you cannot upgrade her damage by much, she is able to consistently and reliably deal a lot of damage across the entire firefight by using her momentum. Her ability to inflict debilitating status effect is a welcome addition to any team. However, she needs to be carefully played to avoid leaving her in a dangerous spot following a breach, and tends to falter if she is the target of heavy retaliation fire and left on her own, without allies to support her. She is also one of the prime candidate to go capture objective, as both her mobility lets her cross the map with ease, and her momentum bonus action can be use to grind a few more inches on the field.