|“||Commander, I believe we are seeing something entirely new...an alien species that has so far managed to elude capture or observation by resistance forces. I strongly advise cautious approach.||”|
–Richard Tygan upon discovering the first Avatar
The Avatar is an alien enemy encountered in XCOM 2. They are the ultimate goal of the Avatar Project, led by the ADVENT occupation on Earth: a new series of bodies for the Elders that are far more healthy than their decaying Ethereal ones, but still exponentially more powerful psionically.
While very powerful, the Avatars encountered in game are incomplete; without the entirety of the Avatar Project, their bodies are not nearly as potent as a completed Avatar is presumed to be.
This newly integrated enemy is rumored to be the remnants of the Ethereals, merged with the best genes of the human species, to create the "Avatar". They appear to be androgynous, heavily armored white-haired humans in purple facemasks. Their faces can be faintly seen within.
Having a lot of health, damage potential and mobility, this unit is one of the strongest in the game. Killing it should be your top priority, as it can easily annihilate an unprepared squad. However, they should not be a serious threat if one is well prepared to face it.
In the last mission of the campaign, Operation Leviathan, the XCOM Commander is briefly inserted into a man-made Avatar body and is a controllable unit.
- Mind Control: A single enemy Avatar can have multiple units under mind control at the same time. The link is broken if you kill the Avatar or disorient it using abilities such as Capacitor Discharge. (Flashbang Grenade doesn't sever the mind control but damages the Avatar.) Mind Control lasts 4 turns.
- Teleport: The Avatar can teleport for the cost of 1 action, which means he can use an ability or fire right after. The Avatar automatically uses this ability whenever it takes damage from an action.
- The Commander's Avatar is not able to teleport, either during your turn or in response to damage.
- Dimensional Rift: The Avatar can target a massive area for a powerful AOE attack, damaging all units inside of the Dimensional Rift and emptying their weapons. At the end of the enemies' next turn, the Dimensional Rift will collapse, dealing additional damage to all units still within. The resulting collapse destroys cover as well.
- Null Lance: The Avatar fires a beam of energy in a line in any direction, dealing a large amount of damage to any units within the beam's path, bypassing any obstacles in its way. Identical to the Psi Operative ability.
- Psi Fortress: The Avatar is immune to condition-inflicting psionic attacks such as Insanity and Mind Control. It can still, however, be damaged by skills such as Null Lance, Soulfire and Void Rift.
- Avatar Regeneration: The Avatar quickly regains health when wounded. (+5 HP/turn)
- Avatars are encountered just twice in the campaign, and cannot be encountered outside of these scenarios.
- An Avatar is created when a Skulljack is used on a Codex, which can only be done once. Killing this Avatar reduces the progress of the Avatar Project by 3 points.
- Three Avatars are encountered in the final mission of the campaign, killing them will complete the mission and end the game.
- In the XCOM 2: War of the Chosen – Tactical Legacy Pack DLC, three Avatars appear on the final mission of each Central's Archives operation (five in Operation Lazarus).
- Avatars will regenerate 5 HP every turn, so, if possible, it should be dealt with in a single turn.
- As an Avatar can teleport after receiving damage, a good strategy is to spread units out to attack it no matter where it teleports, in order to finish it off in a single turn.
- Avatars are immune only to negative mental effects. It is still vulnerable to Poison, Acid, Burning, etc. It is a good idea to inflict these effects on the Avatar to reduce their options.
- It can be a good idea to Mind Control a Viper to bind Avatars. As long as an Avatar is bound, it can't teleport after taking damage or use any of its abilities, making it effectively disabled. However, as the bind effect will be removed if the Viper takes any damage, it is best to do this when you are able to protect the Viper.
- In War of the Chosen, the Templar's Void Conduit ability can also be used to pin an Avatar in place and keep it from teleporting away. Note that this will only last until the end of the player turn.
- As of the Alien Hunters DLC, Avatars are vulnerable to being frozen via Frost Bomb or the Serpent Suit's Frostbite ability; whilst frozen they won't teleport after being damaged, making it easier to deal with them on the XCOM turn.
- However, freezing them only removes one action point from them on their next turn, so don't rely on this method to temporarily neutralize them.
- In the last mission of the campaign, Operation Leviathan, the XCOM Commander is briefly inserted into a man-made Avatar body. Since enemy Avatars are immune to mind control, this is the only way to control an Avatar over the course of the single-player game.
- Mind Control (Commander's Avatar): When using the Commander's Avatar, be aware that unlike the Psi Operative's Domination ability, the Avatar's Mind Control ability is only temporary. It will expire after a few turns (around 5, may depend on selected difficulty), and the alien you are controlling will turn hostile and attack if it is not killed by the time mind control ends. (Note that your units can fire weapons at mind-controlled enemies.) To make up for this, Mind Control can be used multiple times throughout the mission, unlike Domination.
- A projection of an Ethereal from the previous XCOM game can be seen behind the Avatar. Presumably this is a manifestation of the Ethereal mind controlling the Avatar, since it dissolves upon the Avatar's death.
- Despite being an alien enemy, it shows the ADVENT soldier head instead of an alien one when targeting it.
- Internally, the Avatar is referred to as a "Psi Witch" in the game files.
- It is possible, when given the objective to Skulljack a Codex, to spawn multiple Avatars if there is more than one Codex and you bring multiple soldiers equipped with Skulljacks, as usage of the Skulljack ability (rather than Skullmine) is not disabled for Codices until after the mission is complete, and the Avatar spawn triggers each time a Codex is jacked within said mission; this is not recommended as there are no real benefits to doing so and having multiple Avatars on the field will make life very difficult (even during the penultimate mission with three Avatars, they spawn in sequence, giving you some breathing room). This is likely an oversight.
- There are models for both the Commander's Avatar and a damaged Avatar. Both are used in cutscenes (the final mission and the Avatar autopsy respectively), but not in-game.
- All the Avatars wear a strange visor which most likely contains a HUD (Heads Up Display).