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Why the Skirmisher is underpowered – XCOM 2

XCOM 2 Skirmisher

The fundamental reason the Skirmisher is underpowered is that they don’t really do anything.

Let me explain.

The Reapers do what you want to be doing in XCOM anyway – sneaking around enemies. All of their skills are build around being able to hide, and since hiding is a core part of the XCOM 2 gameplay, that’s really good. Concealment is one of your biggest advantages against ADVENT, so, better concealment is just better all around.

Templars let you do something you can’t do in XCOM 2 really well, and that’s tank and melee. Templars fill a gap in your lines and that gives the player more versatility.

The Skirmishers, however, are kinda all over the place. There isn’t a clear progression or role for them.

  • The bullpup makes you want to play standoffishly, finding high cover and staying there for multiple shots, but its range makes you want to move. It’s fighting against its own design, and that makes it less powerful. The Skirmisher on the whole reminds me a lot of the Long War 2 ranger class because of the Marauder ability, but the LW2 ranger was designed around standoffish combat, the Skirmisher, as you can tell by the name, isn’t.
  • There isn’t a lot of synergy in its abilities. Look at Full Throttle – +2 mobility for every kill on your turn. You need to be grenade specced or really lucky for this to work, but…the payoff isn’t that great. You don’t really have ways to futz with the action economy as a Skirmisher, so all their abilities that rely on having multiple actions feel kinda alone (though more on Full Throttle later).
  • They don’t synergize with other soldiers – Reapers and Rangers + Snipers is an obvious example. The sneaky dude stays in concealment and spots. Grenadiers – holotargeting, shredding and grenades all let them help their squadmates. Specialists are fairly obvious here.

So what’s the point of the Skirmisher? I’d say fighting the Lost, mostly. This is where Full Throttle can give you a lot of mobility, where a close in weapon that can be fired multiple times is really useful, where their psuedo-bladestorm is really helpful, and so on. Against the Lost, Skirmishers can be really useful. The problem is that the bullpup has too little ammo to let the Skirmisher really shine here, so a Gunslinger sniper + between the eyes will still be better.

Overall, the Skirmisher feels nerfed, and I say that because I can see a really overpowered class here.

I’ll try and reconstruct that class, and it’s really simple to do so:

  • Reflex probably originally had a cooldown, which meant that a Skirmisher could “go off” and have a fairly regular three-shot turn.

With a reliable three-action turn, a lot of stuff makes sense. Right now, Reflex is bad because it’s a resource and you can’t control when you use it. On a cooldown, you’ll get a useful Reflex bonus action a lot more often.

The three-shot clip makes sense too – with a four-shot clip, you would be able to; pop a pod, take an overwatch shot from ambush, get shot at, then shoot three times.

That’s also probably why they nerfed the Skirmisher’s accuracy.

Waylay makes sense, Manual Override makes sense, these things all make a lot more sense in this context.

It’s also easy to see how broken this was. I think they probably nerfed everything before nerfing Reflex, and sort of forgot to un-nerf it because the Skirmisher isn’t blatantly underpowered and it still kinda has a niche.

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