*********************************************************************** FUTURE INTRODUCTION SECTION *********************************************************************** TEMPLAR ROSTER IN-DEPTH: --Need to restructure, add to, and Edit Berserk In-Depth --Need to insert Hydra Thread
PRE-PLANNING YOUR BATTLEFORCE: --Which Templars to Choose and Why
CRITICAL ELEMENTS OF EFFECTIVE BATTLEFORCES: --Buffs --Stealth steamcommunity.com/app/370020/discussions/0/523898291498833723/ --Heat Management --Optimizing Templar Builds --Optimizing Gear Choices --Optimizing Movement --Optimizing Requisition Tree Unlocks
PLAY THEORY AND HOW TO MAXIMIZE EFFECTIVENESS: --Crowd Control and Keeping Calm in the Face of Defeat --Aces in the Hole and How to Fight Dirty --FOCUS ON THE OBJECTIVE --Hydra Theory --Knowing your Options and How to use Terrain to your Advantage --Melee and Ranged Solutions to Hardened Enemies --Overwatch
WALKTHROUGH and BREAKDOWN SECTION: --ntsheep 's Walkthrough Permission given, need to post. --mal 's Walkthrough (With Permission) --Pendell's equipment list Need to post
There are some Templars who follow the commands of those above them. There are more who will never set foot in a Leviathan, their Lineages being better suited for piloting ships, or other vital tasks-- Templars are not only those who fight to protect what remains of humanity. Yet there are some who are born leaders, their Lineages perfectly attuned to know exactly where, when, and how to command others in combat. You are one of these gifted Templars, and it is your sworn duty to execute the will of Templar Command, and defend the fledgling human colonies with your honor. And if need be, your life.
Your Captain is a Blade Pattern Templar Knight, and will carry a Sword into every single mission the game has to offer. In your other hand, you can wield either a mighty Shield, or a deadly Pistol. As you can guess, the Shield will greatly increase your Captain's defensive capabilities, and the Pistol will sacrifice that defense in order to allow your Captain to engage your enemies at range, keeping you out of direct combat until you choose to close the distance. I prefer the latter, though I will try my best to present the differences with as little bias as possible.
The Captain: Driven and Capable Leader Your squad and every single step they take is under the direct command of you, the Captain. Nothing will happen without your direct order, such is the authority of your position. You MUST remember this at all times, as your squad will rely upon your judgement to see the day.
Weaknesses of the Captain: The Captain is impeccably balanced, and is capable of filling almost every single role a squad can need. The one thing the Captain lacks is a group buff besides Commander's Confidence. The lack of defensive buffs means that the Captain is only able to increase your team's offensive presence, any defensive buffs must come from elsewhere.
Strengths for the Captain: There are many, but the ability to lead from the front is always the most visible. Your Captain either needs to lead the way, or protect the most vital flank/front so that your squad is not overwhelmed by the ever encroaching Xeno. --The most diverse set of attack skills in the game means that your Captain has an answer for everything. --Powerful Crippling Orders allows the Captain to greatly impact and reduce the defenses of your enemies. --Every single thing the Captain can do is meant to be the largest piece of the puzzle. Your Captain's choice of gear and Talents will dictate the needs of your squad, so plan accordingly.
Most Useful Talents: Almost everything in the Captain's arsenal is of great use to your Battleforce. Building a Captain to make use of almost any combination of talents will result in a balanced and powerful commander. --Slash and Precision Fire are the first vital talents, Slash for melee Captains and Precision Fire for a Pistol wielding Captain. --Frag Grenades are powerful devices and act as an ace-in-the-hole in sticky situations. --Bladeweave and Arc Fire are the next important talents. Melee Captains need not worry about Arc Fire, but Ranged Captains should grab at least a point in each. These allow the Captian to have an Area of Effect attack to use against groups of enemies.
Least Useful Talents: --Denounce and Honing. Expensive, and not where I would recommend putting any points until your Battleforce is on its second run through and has a cohesive strategy that can make use of these excessively niche talents. It's not that they aren't good talents-- they are, it's just that you have far more important things to worry about. For the same Heat investment per attack, you could go with Bladeweave and Arc Fire and have an AoE attack.
How to Use Your Captain: --Your Captain is the most important tactical asset in the entire Battleforce. There are times where you may be unsure of what to do next, as dismantling an entire Xeno horde seems like an impossible task. First and foremost, your most valuable attacks are your GRENADES. Rush up to a crowd, and throw your grenade(s) in the locations where they will impact the most targets. You don't have to kill them with your grenades, though Skitterings and low health enemies may die outright. They are valuable tools to get enemies to the kill threshold, and any enemy hit will be a much softer target for follow up attacks. Once crowds are damaged and you have cleared the way for your team to advance, move them up! Once your Battleforce has closed distance, using up most or all of their MP before attacking, the Captain can mop up any remaining enemies. Alternatively to this, if you know that there are some enemies that despite your best attempt to neutralize will survive to attack your team the next turn, placing your Captain in a position to intercept them is an excellent strategy. --Captains are best placed between the xeno and your team, either on the front of the assault or defending the flank or rear. if you have ample Overwatch, or perhaps a defensively oriented Berserk/Paladin to guard the flank, then put your Captain on the front lines where they can do the most damage. Damage is what you do best, so make sure the Captain is cutting down the highest value targets on the battlefield, like Goliaths, Hunters, Carapaces, and other targets that require intense firepower to remove. --Another of your most important assets are your +MP talents. A well timed buff can mean the difference between ending the level a turn ahead of when you might have finished otherwise. On the difficulties I want you playing on, it's the difference between life and death, or having the RP to buy that important upgrade. Know how far you and your templars can travel, and always try to buff AFTER moving, instead of BEFORE, as the buffs themselves take MP to use. No sense in wasting it when you really need it the most. Using your +MP talent, plus Rallying Charge 4, plus other personal MP buffs like Overdrive can give a Scout more than 11 MP. 11. Yes that's a gargantuan amount of heat. Yes the Scout will take damage. But when you can rush to the objectives at double time or more, you can finish levels before Heat damage becomes a true threat.
Soldier In-Depth Soldier: The Universal Warrior. The Soldier is easily one of the most, if not THE most important Templar in your roster. Weaknesses of the Soldier: There are no real weaknesses to this Unit, save for a lack of melee defense. Strengths for the Soldier: --EXTREME Flexibility. There are three weapon classes available to the Soldier, brutal short-range Plasma Rifles, powerful mid-range Heavy Rifles, and accurate extended-range Long Rifles. They are also capable of wielding the venerable Concussion Grenades, fantastic devices capable of disabling enemy Movement and Dodge. --Overwatch Support. Possibly the most important ability available to the Soldier, Overwatch is intended to cover lanes of approach and remove threats before they can reach your Battleforce. Soldiers are one of three units capable of providing this vital ability, but the Soldier does it best-- All other units capable of OW support (Engineer's Turret and Neptune) either require investment in certain talents (Engineer) or are better suited for other aspects of their build (Neptunes are capable of OW support, but it could be argued that their Talent points are better spent elsewhere). Soldiers can also Overwatch right out of the box, so to speak, and are vital to every deployment in the game. --Buff Support. The Soldier possesses some of the most potent Offensive buffs in the game, particularly Rallying Charge (provides Damage and Movement Points) and Calling Shots (provides Ranged Accuracy and increases chances to score a Critical Hit). They also possess a powerful defensive buff in Defensive Stand (eventually provides Auto-Block, Parry, Dodge, and Armor bonuses). Most Useful Talents: --Overwatch, used to slow the enemy advance and cover spawn points. --Rallying Charge, used to keep your Battleforce on the move and hitting hard. Next to OW, this is IMO the most important talent for the Soldier, possibly most important in the ENTIRE GAME. Least Useful Talents: --Lockdown; for some builds this could be useful, but it is better to not allow enemies within striking distance. Defensive Stand; there are simply better talents to focus on, and while this could be used, Talent Points are better spent elsewhere. Grapple; unless you need extra melee defense in a pinch, don't bother. I'm not going to list Grapple for every class so I'll just say it here: Unless you are building a Templar to use Grapple (which I would advise against), don't touch this talent unless you have VERY good reason. How to use the Soldier: Often, and with intent. Soldiers are vital to your Battleforce because of the support they provide with both OW and buff Talents. Soldiers are best deployed and paired with the Captain or other melee competent Templars such as the Paladin or Berserks. Overwatch will either kill outright or severely weaken possible combatants, leaving them vulnerable to melee strikes or counterattack from the front lines. Rallying Charge should ALWAYS be employed when moving from one objective to another, and it is often worth keeping your Rallying Soldier below his/her Heat threshold, just in case it needs to be applied in an emergency. Overwatch should be used to cover lanes of approach, especially against the Fog of War where you cannot see Xeno threats before they come through and rip you to shreds. It is highly advisable to utilize Sensorkit Scans with either your Scouts or Engineers to push back the Fog to reveal lurking threats, which can then be covered by OW.
Engineers: The Utilitarian The Engineer, like the Soldier, is one of the most important Templars in your roster. They tend to fill one of several roles, but will ALWAYS be in charge of capturing and maintaining Tact Points, the lifeblood of your Battleforce. Weaknesses of the Engineer: Besides their lack of Melee defense, the Engineer suffers a major setback in that it cannot hit enemies at a range greater than 4 spaces. This limits how far it can reach out and touch enemies, though they are useful for clean-up. Their weaponry also has consistently low Penetration scores, meaning they have a difficult time punching through enemy armor. They also tend to run hotter than ANY other Templar, due to how may things they are forced to do on the battlefield. WILLPOWER must be utilized to keep their Heat Damage per Turn down to a minimum. Strengths for the Engineer: Engineers are the ONLY Templars capable of deploying Turrets, one of the best additions to your battlefield presence. I will be going into Turrets in-depth later in this thread, so stay tuned for a more detailed summary of what they can do. The Engineer is uniquely equipped to reclaim and maintain the Tact Points needed to employ additional Templars, so protecting the advance force is critical if the Captain wants his Battleforce to see the day. To that end, the Engineers are capable of calling down possibly the best defensive buff in the game: Power Field (Raises Deflection %, Parry, Dodge, and Armor levels). They posses the Heat Sink Talent, capable of removing Heat levels from fellow Templars. New to the Engineer is the ability to deploy Landmines to the Battlefield. While expensive on the Req Tree, Landmines provide yet another powerful tool. Landmines have the same ability to attract the attention of the enemy, and can be used to draw groups away from the Battleforce, only to literally blow up in their face.
Most Useful Talents: The Engineer is the sum of its Talents, and several were listed above. --First and foremost, your Turrets will be the most vital aspect for your Engineer Corps. They can be used to cover doorways, lanes of approach, aid in defense so your Templars can burn off some heat or make a last stand. Turrets are also very important as they act as another Templar so long as they remain on the field of battle. This means that you can deploy a Turret behind your advancing Battleforce and have them cover your escape as it draws the attention of every Xeno on the field. This should NEVER be taken for granted, as it will save your shiny metal ass more than once. --Power Field: A Templar's best friend in times of need-- This one buff will protect your squad from all but the most powerful forms of Xeno, and should always be applied before a major assault or if you're in danger of being overrun.
--Heat Sink: Remove Heat from your teammates, at the cost of taking it onto yourself. With the right Reactor and some patience to burn the acquired Heat off, this will save many a Templar from boiling themselves alive due to overtaxing their Leviathan.
--Landmines: As mentioned above, Landmines are the newest addition to your arsenal, and they are highly formidable tactical deployments. Holding a demolition charge within their armored casing, Landmines can be detonated in one of two ways: Manually and by being destroyed. Because they can be destroyed by the enemy, it is wise to hide them behind cover, or out of the line of sight of the enemy. Lancers and Cultist Snipers have no problem detonating them at safe ranges, so keep this in mind. Manual Detonation is best done when there is a crowd around your Landmine. When it detonates, it will have a massive initial damage explosion, then will leave essentially Napalm on the surrounding area. THIS CAN BE USED TO SHUT DOWN SPAWN POINTS.
Least Useful Talents: --Repair: Too niche to justify the investment. There are a hundred reasons why you'll never need this Talent, and only one reason for it: You let your Tact Point or your Turret take damage. That's fine-- YOU NEED TO BE MOVING and not worrying about fixing them. PERIOD. If your TP needs fixing, Spend the 50-200 RP for Reinforced Structure to raise its total HP. Your Turrets are meant to be expendable-- there are NO penalties if your Turrets are destroyed, so don't worry about them. Chances are that you need the distraction anyway, so instead of making patchwork repairs on something, let its sacrifice be the chance to make your timely escape. I can see no other talents that you should avoid, the Engineer can fill several roles in your Battleforce, and are one of the most balanced classes utility-wise. How to use the Engineer: There are several missions that require you to bring an Engineer. This being said, you need to figure out which role you want them to field. I HIGHLY recommend kitting them out with a point in Capture (2-4 Damage makes a WORLD of difference over 1-4 Damage) and splitting their remaining points between Power Field and Sentry Turret. Power Field gives you powerful defenses, and having the best possible Turrets means they will last longer under pressure and hit enemies reliably (DO NOT neglect the Engineer Skill, as it DIRECTLY affects the quality of the Turrets you will create. I also tend to take a point or two in Grapple... I know what you're thinking: 'En1gma, they aren't meant to be in melee combat and Grapple is for melee!' Hear me out-- As the Engineer frequently finds him/herself in the thick of the fighting during the mad rush to complete the objective, they often must withstand attack from Skitterings or Hunters (Anything else would surely spell disaster, so don't leave them in range unless absolutely necessary!!). Having a 1AP attack with a potent defensive buff can sometimes mean the difference between blocking and taking penetrating hits.
Paladin In-Depth (Full thanks to johndramey for this write-up!!!)
Paladin: Your Backup Captain The Paladin is, in my opinion, unfairly pigeon-holed as a healer. Sure, your Paladin can keep your Templars alive and well out in the field. Yes, your Paladin has a "Medic" stat and quite a few talents focused on healing. However, the sheer utility of the Paladin leaves those that truly understand it in total awe. Weaknesses of the Paladin The Paladin suffers from being a pure melee specialist to the extent that it cannot even make use of grenades. As such, you will have issues dealing with ranged enemies and should be a little weary of using one when you are using a Hydra-heavy strategy. The Paladin, just like the Berserk, is a mid-to-late-game templar. Low-level Paladins are a pain in the butt, they bloom late in life. The Paladin, when used in certain roles, will have a lot of issues with heat. You'll want to keep this in mind when thinking about how you want to employ one. The Paladin, more than other classes, must specialize in what you want it to do. You can't really have a multi-role Paladin (at least at Brutal+ difficulty), so you'll want to make use of that free respec ability frequently. The Paladin has a very high cost, this means that you'll generally have to either save or sacrifice other specialist Templars if you want to deploy one.
Strengths of the Paladin The Paladin has a lot of gear harmony with your Captain, especially if you run with a melee Captain. This helps to minimize wasted RP. The Paladin, when built properly, can be an absolute beast in combat -or- an incredible force multiplier through buffs.
Comments and Strategies You may be that the weaknesses far outweigh the strengths of the paladin, and if you are only considering quantity you might be right. However, we are all taught that quality is better than quantity, right? The first thing that you need to realize with the Paladin is that you have two main paths to take; Do you want a Support Paladin that exponentially multiplies the effectiveness of your other Templars, or do you want a Combat Paladin that can wade into combat, shut down an entire lane of advance, and just generally wreak havoc all by its lonesome? Choose!
Support Paladins should be built around Medic and Tactics, with just a bare minimum of combat ability. Basically, you'll want your paladin to always be in the middle of your squad and acting as a janitor, only moving into combat to pick off damaged Xenos or danger-close Xenos. With a support build, you'll probably want your gear to focus totally on getting your Paladin's auto-block, deflection, and armor up as high as possible (in that order). Ideally, you'll want to follow this basic build strategy:
(Everything is written in order of priority) Attributes: Fortitude, Willpower, and Strength Skills: Medic, Tactics*, Warrior, and Evasion Gear: Auto-block, Deflection, and Armor *only bring this up to 6 or so, rarely will you be able to buff more than that many Templars at once.
Talent to go for: Battlefield Medic, is, of course, a good solid choice. Having a couple points in it, level 4 is my favorite sweet spot, and is ideal. Battlefield Enhancers can be a nice substitute for Battlefield Medic, sacrificing single Templar healing for group healing while also adding in very nice damage and dodge bonuses. Warding Fire is the king of defensive buffs, giving anywhere from 10% to 60% (!) auto-block in addition to dodge.
You may be asking, "well John, what about Inspiration?" I generally avoid it because if I'm running a Paladin, I'll generally avoid other melee Templars. Melee is fun, but, in my opinion, at Brutal or above you are asking for trouble if you start putting out more than 1 or 2 of Templars focused on melee.
Really, what you want to do with your support Paladin, is choose between a damage buff focus or a defensive buff focus. The basic Talents will be the same regardless, you'll just change priorities based on what you like more.
Damage buffer: Battlefield Enhancers, Warding Fire, and Battlefield Medic Defensive buffer: Warding Fire, Battlefield Medic, and Battlefield Enhancers
Combat Paladins should be built around one thing only; Smashing everything in their path. You can choose between a Thor paladin that pastes everything within reach with a giant hammer, or a Knight Paladin that, while slightly less smash happy, has a bit more of a defensive focus. Regardless of your particular kink, you'll want to focus your build like so:
(Everything is written in order of priority) Attributes: Strength, Fortitude*, Willpower*, and Focus** Skills: Warrior and Evasion** Gear: Auto-block, Damage, Deflection, and Armor *these skills are a priority up to a certain point, I usually bring them up to 5 and stop. **only after maxing non-starred entries
There are two talents that are just generally good regardless of your focus, and I'll list them here. Battlefield Medic is worth sticking a couple points into. Again, level 4 is my favorite sweet spot. War Machine is very good if you want to have a defensive powerhouse. You'll lose MP, but you'll gain max Heat, Deflection, and Auto-Block while also healing yourself. This is especially good for Thor paladins that are holding a tact point down. Slay is a nice talent to have for some single-target clobberin'. Depending on what you are building for, it my be worthwhile to stick a couple points in it.
Thor Paladins are the masters of disaster. You do lose a bit of Auto-Block, but in its place you gain some amazingly potent offensive buffs. I generally save Thor for late game, as I can usually get a decently high Auto-Block through armor, stats, and tact-systems at that point.
What you want to do with a Thor Paladin is build around one thing: Righteous Embrace. Getting that kill buff should be your mission in life, and as such, you'll want to be out in front stomping on Xeno heads.
Talents to go for, in order of priority, are: Righteous Embrace for its kill buffs, listed below. Death's Embrace (from level 1) grants you +1 MP, +20 damage, +16% auto-block, and +16% penetration. Militant Embrace (from level 3) grants you +6 accuracy, +12 damage, +12% crit, and +12 plasma damage. Ultra Embrace (from level 7) grants you +24% crit, +32 plasma damage, and +16% penetration. Those buffs stack on AoE kills, so if you kill 3 enemies with a single attack you get all three. That means +1 MP, +32 Damage, +16% Auto-Block, +36% Crit, +32% Penetration, +6 Accuracy, and +44 Plasma Damage ON TOP of the standard buff you'll get from the talents itself (+damage and +accuracy) Staggering Blows gives you the AoE oomph for grabbing the kill buffs above.
Basically, build around getting those kill buffs, so shoot for Righteous Embrace level 3 mid game and 7 late game, and then pump up Staggering Blows and Slay. Watch as your beefy Paladin becomes a god, smiting anything that even dares to look at it.
Knight Paladins are more traditional killers, relying on their Shields for defense and their Swords for cleaving through hoards of enemies.
Talents to go for, in order of priority, are: Shieldbearer as it gives you incredible survivability by adding anywhere from 5-30% auto-block and 3-16 parry. Shalun's Wrath is a nice addition to your killing ability because it gives your paladin a buff on hit, increasing damage and crit as well as melee accuracy at higher levels.* Devastating Strikes can be a decent talent to get for its debuffs, it lowers enemy accuracy and dodge.* *One or the other, not both
With your Knight Paladin, you'll want to focus on getting Shieldbearer up high, compliment it with a couple points in Shalun's Wrath for buffs or Devastating Strikes for debuffs, and supplement that with Slay. You basically want to get the buff from Shalun's Wrath and then use Slay on everything.
Berserk: Close Quarters Specialist and Unbreakable Wall. Commanders looking for a pure tank with stellar damage output should look no further.
Strengths: --Capable of amassing an insane amount of Auto-Block, Berserks are able to turn aside massive numbers of attacks per turn, when this is combined with the late game unlimited Counter-Attack abilities, a Berserk can lay waste to multiple Xeno every turn.'. --Berserkers possess the most fearsome grenades in the game. Grenades typically cover only nine squares in a ring around the target-- Berserk Assault Grenades begin with a 13 block diamond and cover far more ground than any comparable grenade. They may not come with frilly bonuses like -MP, but by virtue of their blast radius and the later Relic unlock Roavin Detonator (makes every grenade thrown auto-Penetrate enemy armor), they can demolish entire swaths of enemy forces to clear the way. --Early and cheap Area of Effect in Unbalancing Blows 3+. This powerful strike hits enemies in a 5-Cross pattern and if it lands will strip valuable MP, AP, and large amounts of Accuracy (resulting in more blocks and consequent Counter-Attacks). --Amazing Self buffs meant to shore up any need you may have. 1) Indomitable Defense provides Counter-Attack opportunities 2) Warding Shield increases Auto-Block, Parry, and Armor. 3) Uncapped Fury provides massive attack bonuses at the cost of your Parry and the defense it provides. This ability comes stock with a very minor self-heal component , and only costs 1 AP so if the +12 Heat per use is acceptable, this could very well get you out of nasty situations. 4) Battle Lock allows you to sacrifice mobility in order to provide gargantuan bonuses across the board. Provides Melee Accuracy, Damage, and Armor bonuses. One note here... the mobility debuff is severe, so only activate this ability in order to hold your ground and let your teammates heal up and cool down.
Weaknesses: --Close Quarters Combat only means that unless you are investing heavily in Assault Grenades, you will need to force your Berserks into dangerous positions in order to deal damage. --Low level Berserks are cannon fodder. They take EXPERT tactics to keep them alive, and must be kept safe in order to accrue the experience needed to become the killing machines of middle and late game. If you want to use Berserks, you must invest early in the game and recruit and USE THEM immediately. Your hard work will pay off, have no fear, but it IS hard work. --They will often be forced into extremely high Heat levels, forcing you to choose between Fortitude and Willpower. This is a difficult choice for certain, but keep Willpower 2-3 points behind Fortitude and you should have enough balance to see you through. --Much of their equipment is exclusive, meaning that most of your RP spent on their tree will be used only by the Berserks. Axes, Expert-Procs, and several Relics are Berserk only, and most of the other gear is usable only be the Berserks and Paladins.
Most Useful Talents: --Unbalancing blows 3 is at the core of every Berserk class Templar. At a Heat cost of 3 per swing it is the cheapest melee AoE in the game, and packs some potent debuffs to go with it. --Uncapped Fury allows your Berserk to Heal on the fly, and gives you the punch you need to make an escape. This ability may be best used in a manner similar to the Neptune's Full Vent, where you use it several times in a row in order to get the most benefit. --Wrathful Defense allows you to send your Auto-Block through the roof, and gives your Dual Wield Berserks an insanely powerful way to counter enemy attacks, potentially holding an entire flank or assault force single handed. --Warding Shield provides Shield Berserks with fantastic Auto-Block percentages, and should be used on any Berserk holding a Shield.
Least Useful Talents: --Kill Strike. For all the delicious AoE damage you could be doing, an expensive single target attack just doesn't cut it IMO. --Berserk Slash makes this list, but only if you aren't building your Battleforce to capitalize on Crit boosting. Low accuracy means this is an expensive talent with no guarantee of connecting. If you want it, use it, but make sure it has synergy with your overall strategy. --Battle-lock also makes this list, though it is extremely helpful for allowing your Battleforce to regather strength to make another assault. Many Berserk Armors lower MP in order to provide tougher front line defenses, so using this talent would grind your progress through the level to a standstill. Rallying Charge and Pressing Need can mitigate this however, so keep this in mind as you build your Squad.
How to use the Berserk: CAREFULLY, but they can be one of the most brutal offensive presences on the battlefield. A Berserk is only as good as their backup. Berserks NEED TO BE ONE HIT KILLING. If they need to spend an entire turn attacking only one enemy and not an entire crowd, you should just use a Paladin. --Pairing them with a Scout with Crippling Fire allows the Berserk to approach a slowed enemy on their own terms to make a kill, allowing them to continue the advance and make precision kills. Pairing them with a Suppressing Fire Neptune is arguably the best option however, as Suppressing Fire affects a massive section of enemies, allowing the Berserk to wade in and wreak havoc, preferably backed up by a Headshot Sniper, Concentrated Fire from the Neptune, or your Ranged Captain to clean up the mess. They should always take a point or two in Assault Grenades early so they have a ranged option. Hydra can also fill this role, giving the Xeno a firestorm to wade through, only to meet an immovable Berserk and a razor sharp axe on the other side of the inferno. --Overwatch is another stellar combination, and it allows you to use a Phalanx style offense/defense. Shield Paladin/Captain plus Shield/Wrathful Defense Berserk provides your front line, while a Neptune/Soldier/Turret provides a means to weaken/slow the advancing Xeno Should they decide to wade through the OW field and attempt an attack on the shield wall, they become easy targets for your melee Templars. --Brute force is a somewhat reckless, yet viable style for Berserks. The goal is to wade the Berserk and another Melee Templar (Paladin for backup healing or Captain works well to provide support) directly into Xeno lines, attempting to line up 3 or more enemies for an Unbalancing Blows AoE attack or two, then lobbing a grenade in the center of the largest concentration of surviving Xeno. Snipers, ranged AoE from Soldiers/Neptunes, and follow-up grenades from Soldiers or your Captain are normally sufficient to wipe the entire board clear. Just make sure to leave enough AP for Overwatch to cover the next wave of incoming Xeno/Cultists, as your lines will likely be fragmented and vulnerable.
Scouts: Swift Assassins and Cunning Seekers Scouts are uniquely outfitted to utilize Null-Field technology, which masks their signature so that Xeno have problems finding them on their Heat Map (How the Xeno find and react to your Templars). They carry the longest ranged weaponry the game has to offer and often have the highest percentage chance to score a Penetrating hit of any Templar available. Scouts can also overtax their reactors to boost their Movement Points to staggering levels, gaining almost twice the MP of any other Templar per turn. Weaknesses of the Scouts: Their offensive prowess comes with some significant drawbacks, this is certain. By far the most fragile unit in your roster, you can expect them to meet their end at any time, especially if you leave them overextended, near the Fog of War, if enemy ranged units are nearby, if a Hunter enters the AO, if a Goliath looks at him weird... you get the idea. They get no Area of Effect talents whatsoever, and will be able to attack only twice at range, so any misses or sub-par efforts will drastically reduce their effectiveness. Strengths for the Scouts: They are capable of dealing the highest single-target damage of any Templar in your roster. This alone is a great reason to use them, but there are many more iterations for the Scout to be covered. --Single Target Pwnage. With Crit-boosting buffs and Headshot, they are able to deliver crushing amounts of damage per turn, and can often take out all but the most hardened targets in a single shot. --Crippling Fire when used in conjunction with Bio-Poison is perhaps my all-time favorite build for any Templar (aside from the Hydra of course), as it allows the Scout to both protect their squad and kill the enemy, while indulging your inner sadist. Crippling Fire is the -MP talent with the longest range in the game, which allows the Scout to slow targets at maximum distance, ensuring that they will never reach a mobile Batttleforce. Combining this with Bio-Poison means that affected targets will die a slow, painful death as they struggle to fight against both Crippling Fire and the Bio-Poison delivered simultaneously. Combine ALL that with your OTHER battlefield conditions such as a Hydra's Promethium or Overwatch of any kind and you have a staggering combo of epic proportions, potentially the strongest combination of Talents in the ENTIRE GAME. --Mobile Objective Hunter. Overdrive (+MP), when used in conjunction with the Captain's Pressing Need (+MP) and the Soldier's Rallying Charge (+MP), allows the Scout to double its total Movement points (OR MORE), allowing them to outrun any Xeno in the game, and **POTENTIALLY** reach Objectives without escort or danger. Using the Scout in this manner is an EXTREMELY HIGH RISK strategy, and will leave him/her exposed to Xeno attack with ZERO chance of support. Because of these risks, it is HIGHLY recommended that you use Null Field (+ Stealth Talent) to reduce the range and chances of any Xeno detecting the Scout. --Sensorkit Scan: Only the Scout and the Engineer are able to push back the Fog of War with this talent, and it is essential that you at least consider using/raising this talent. I personally don't raise it until mid-late game, but I have a pretty good memory for where and when the Xeno come for me on any given level. You may see fit to raise Sensorkit Scan, and nobody would fault you for it. Most Useful Talents: Any attack talent (not Grapple), either of the +Stealth talents. Honestly so long as you pick a priority and build them around that priority you will do just fine. Least Useful Talents: Field of Focus. +Damage and +Crit are just fine, but since you will rarely be JUST defending and standing still, this talent is simply not needed IMO. Also, losing valuable MP for 4 entire turns is seldom going to be worth it. If you need increased Damage or Crit %, just focus on raising attack Talents. How to use the Scout: --Piercing Fire/Headshot Support. This Scout prefers to stick close to their squad, not going too far ahead or falling behind. Piercing Fire removes both Deflection and Armor, making follow-up attacks get through for higher damage. They can one-two punch very effectively by hitting with Piercing Fire first, then following up with Headshot to take full effect of the lowered defenses. They are very useful when holding position for a few turns to allow your squad to cool down, and would be the only build that should use Field of Focus (IMO). This Scout should have the most powerful, best penetrating Sniper Rifle available to your Battleforce in order to deal maximum damage. --Crippling Fire/Bio-Poison. As described above, this is my favorite build for almost any Templar. This is a pure Synergy build which enjoys being played like the Piercing Fire/Headshot iteration. Due to the added perceived MP (due to the MP reduction from Crippling Fire), the Bio-Scout is able to venture away from the Battleforce in order to complete objectives. Overdrive plus slowed enemies means that you can speed away from threats or keep them at bay while en route to or from objectives. They also shine as a rearguard, especially in conjunction with Promethium or OW provided by Turrets left behind to slow a Xeno hoard. They can slow fast enemies or finish off ranged Xeno who survive OW or Promethium, keeping themselves and their team safe in the process. --Mobility/Stealth Operative. All in on Null Field and Overdrive, heavy emphasis on the Stealth Skill. This fragile Templar can use either weapon class, and should fit talents to their weapon (Crippling Fire/Bio or Headshot/Piercing). They are meant to be hit-and-run operatives, risking major Heat damage to get their objective finished. Consider having a Heat Sink Engineer available for deployment that you can call in mid-level to help your over-taxed Templars cool down, especially your fragile Scouts.
************************************ Neptune In-Depth(Full thanks to Brutus Aurelius for this section!!!)
Neptunes: Unstoppable Firepower Neptune Troopers exemplify pure firepower, more so than Soldiers. They are typically slower than other Templars, due to their heavier mechs and MP consuming attacks. They must place themselves carefully before unleasing their full firepower, as most of their main attack Talents will consume all remaining MP when used. This means that they must manage Heat carefully, as unchecked, it can quickly cause overheating to the point of shutdown.
Weaknesses: The main weaknesses of the Neptunes are their slower movement due to heavy armor and high MP consumption, and quick overheating due to lack of unused MP and high Heat Talents. If left unchecked, they are quick to overheat and shut down. Higher level Leviathan Repeaters also have trade offs between more Damage and higher Penetration, and choices need to be made to compliment the Battleforce's abilities.
Strengths: Neptunes are masters of heavy hitting across multiple targets. Their main attack, Full Auto, can hit more targets for more damage than Burst Fire from a similarly leveled Soldier. Other Talents of theirs make the most of hitting multiple targets and debuffing them, while providing additional Accuracy dice or venting large amounts of Heat. The Neptune is also the only Templar that can use Overwatch, besides the Soldier, giving them powerful defensive applications.
Roles:Neptunes can be optimized for a number of roles, and they excel at chewing through large groups of enemies very quickly.
Squad Support: Neptunes in this role focus on mitigating their speed loss and Heat gain with lighter Armor. This allows them to more easily keep up with their Battleforce, meaning that they can avoide getting left behind and surrounded by Xeno. This role should focus on these Talents: --Deadly Burst: This allows the Neptune to continue to move after firing, if they have MP left. It also hits up to 3 targets, similar to Burst Fire. --Stabilize Platform: This Buff gives the Neptune extra Accuracy dice, Crit %, and Damage. For this role, it is critical for letting the Neptune take advantage of every shot in their reduced spread. --Concentrated Fire: This gives the Neptune a heavy hitting, single target burst with large Damage bonuses. It is the Neptune's answer to Shredding Fire, with heavier damage, at the cost of only hitting one target. Recommended Equipment: Use Armor Coatings that beef up Armor, as the lighter Gunnery Armor doesn't have as much protective capability as its heavier cousins. Weapon Mods should focus on Accuracy and Penetration to make the most of their limited attack spreads. A good Gauntlet with higher Parry and Auto-Block can aid in melee defense when the Xeno finally get in close.
Defensive Bulwark: In this role, the Neptune is optimized for defense of a small area or avenue of approach. It sacrifices mobility for impressive defensive and AoE capability, and uses heavier armor for better Heat control and for when the Xeno occasionally make it through the repeated barrages of firepower. This role should focus on: --Full Auto: The damage boost isn't as high as Concentrated Fire, but it hits up to 6 targets at higher levels. It allows the Neptune to pump out heavy damage to multiple targets at medium range. --Suppressing Fire: This wonderful Talent is both an AoE attack and a heavy hitting debuff, reducing enemy MP and Dodge, making it both harder for them to approach and easier for others to target. It is great in conjunction with other Neptunes, Soldiers or Turrets on the defensive. At higher levels, it can debuff up to 13 enemies with one attack! --Full-Vent: This Talent allows for the venting of progressively larger amounts of Heat, at the cost of MP and various defensive scores. The lost MP is actually another boon, as it causes Heat to dissapate faster while Full Vent is active. Don't worry about the defensive penalties as much, becasue Overwatch and Supressing Fire will keep most Xeno away from melee range.
Recommended Equipment: Focus on Weapon mods that add Damage and Penetration, to eliminate as many Xeno from a horde as quickly as possible. Every dead Xeno is one less Overwatch shot needed, and one less that can attack a Tactical Point or squadmate. Armor Coatings should focus on Max Heat increases, or Armor boosts to offset Full Vent's penalties. Heavy Gunnery Armor is best, as it has higher Deflection and Armor, while giving faster cooling via -MP. Pick the Leviathan Repeaters that give higher base damage, as most swarms are composed of Scitterings, Brood Mothers, and Hunters, whose armor can be overwhelmed via pure damage.
Overall, Neptunes are heavier hitters than their Soldier counterparts, at the cost of their mobility and much higher Heat generation. They work best with other Soldiers or Engineers on the defense, especially those Engineers that can lay down Turrets to aid in the defense, while helping to sink Heat when the going gets hectic. They also have on of the best AoE debuffs in the game, reducing the MP of entire crowds of Xeno while making them easier to hit for other Templars. They can also deal heavy damage to single targets or small groups of targets, acting in a similar role to Soldiers.