XCOM-EU - Confounding Light Mission1.jpg

Confounding Light is a unique Council Mission added by the Slingshot Content Pack for XCOM: Enemy Unknown. This mission carries a randomized Operation designation and takes place in a random Chinese city.


Confounding Light is available the month following Friends In Low Places (25 days later).[1] It is initiated by a Council transmission received at the Situation Room:

According to Dr. Shen's report, the transponder device provided by Zhang is tied into the navigation system of an alien battleship approaching our atmosphere. The doctor believes deploying a series of modified transponders could provide you with a means of diverting the battleship before it reaches its target. We will transmit the remaining mission parameters to Central.

– Council Transmission, XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Mission Brief[]

A battleship is closing on the city. The squad must place the transponders in time to divert the attack. Aliens will likely deploy scouts to seek out any human resistance. Enemy contact likely.

– Mission Brief, XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Mission Objectives[]

▪  Plant the transponders on the train
▪  Once the transponders are in place, activate the train's drive control system
– Mission Objectives, XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Mission Site[]

This mission takes place in a train station, complete with a high-speed commuter train. A unique map, the station features two tracks with a central median, and boarding areas on each side. Numerous benches and potted plants are available to be used for half cover, while vending machines, lockers, and advertising provide full cover. Within the three-car train, half cover is available throughout, while full cover is only available near the doorways between cars.

The squad starts out in a corner of the map, near the train's rear. The first (rear) car contains one transponder location, the second car contains two transponder locations, and the third car contains a transponder location along with the control room.

Enemy Types[]

The alien forces encountered during this mission consist primarily of Thin Men who are present on the map at the start of the mission, and drop in as the squad progresses. Mutons are also air-launched from the battleship either as your soldiers advance up the train (e.g. on turn #5), or the next turn after you activated a transponder (e.g. transponder activated on turn #2 have Muton(s) drop in on turn #3). They use Overwatch as their first action. As to how many of them drop in at once, it can be one, two and even 4 at once on Impossible.


When selecting a squad, keep in mind that the follow-up mission aboard the alien Battleship will be offered shortly after Confounding Light's completion. Any soldiers that are wounded will not have sufficient time to recover before the next mission begins, so plan accordingly.

This mission presents a unique challenge in that it has a finite time limit of 10 turns; activating transponders does not extend the time limit like deactivating power nodes do in Bomb Disposal missions. The squad must advance quickly enough to place all four transponders and reach the train's control console within the time limit. Note that reaching the control console with your last action in the last turn counts as a loss (this seems to be a bug as Bradford still comments on your victory).

Considering the time limit and that eliminating all opposition is not required to complete the mission, aliens who are not an immediate threat can sometimes be ignored to focus on the transponders. Additionally, it should be noted that activating a transponder makes Mutons dropping into the map next turn, while not activating a transponder should delay Mutons dropping in until e.g. turn #5. The places of their deployment is not randomized though.

Only one soldier needs to reach the train's controls, so a Sniper with Damn Good Ground and Low Profile can hang back and take advantage of high ground and low cover by climbing the ladder at the rear of the train and advancing slowly along the roof. An Assault with Lightning Reflexes can be useful to counter the aliens' frequent use of Overwatch. If two are available, consider replacing a Sniper or Heavy with a second Assault, as Run & Gun (along with Rapid Fire) may also prove useful. A Support with the Sprinter ability may be well suited for this mission, and a Heavy with a rocket kept in reserve can be useful to clear the control room in a hurry (a pair of Thin Men occasionally hole up within). Also a heavy can fire a rocket at one of Thin Man packs without triggering them, as none of them are patrolling; he can even clear both with Danger Zone if moved in one of the appropriate tiles. Damaging the train during the mission is possible, and in fact very likely, but doesn't fail the mission.

DO NOT SEND A MEC to the controls, as they cannot operate the train.

Status Updates[]

The following status updates are received from Central Officer Bradford during the mission:

  Event or Condition   Update
  Mission begins "Commander, the alien battleship is currently on course for the city, and we don't have much time to respond. Using the device provided by Zhang, Dr. Shen has developed a series of modified transponders that should throw off the aliens' navigational computer. However, the only way for us to get them into position fast enough is by using the commuter rail network running through the city."
  Approach the train "This is the train we're going to be using to move the transponders. It's not ideal, but we'll have to place each of the transponders in a fixed position in order to ensure the signal strength."
  Place 1 transponder "Good, that transponder is in place and operational. Once the rest are deployed, they'll begin transmitting a signal to confuse the alien navigation system. If everything goes according to plan, the signal strength should pull the battleship off course, leaving us with a prime opportunity for an ambush."
  Place 2 transponders "Keep rolling, Strike-One. You've got two transponders left."
  Place 3 transponders "You're almost there, only one transporter left to be activated."
  Place 4 transponders "We've got it, all of the transponders are now transmitting. Now you just need to activate the train's drive system."
  6 turns remaining "The alien battleship is still on course for the city, Commander. We'll have to move quickly."
  4 turns remaining "Commander, we're running short on time! That battleship is still on a direct course for the city! We'll have to move quickly."
  2 turns remaining "Commander, the alien ship is almost in position to attack."
  1 turn remaining "Commander, we have to get that train moving on the double!"
  Mission complete "Nice job, Commander. It looks like all of the transponders are in position and the train is ready to leave the station. Once it crosses paths with the Battleship, the aliens are in for a surprise."

Mission Debriefing[]

We were able to pull the alien ship off course. Now for the final strike - the ship is low enough that we can land a squad directly on its back and attempt a capture. If we can pull that off, it will be a tremendous prize - an intact alien warship with all of its technology.

– Council Transmission, XCOM: Enemy Unknown


The Council rewards XCOM with 2 Engineers.

Completing the mission rewards the "Bait the Hook" achievement, as well as the "All Aboard" achievement if completed with more than 3 turns left on the timer.

The next mission, Gangplank, will be offered by The Council after a brief respite of two days.[1]

In XCOM: Enemy Within, you will earn alien corpses also from enemies that weren't killed by XCOM soldiers.



  1. 1.0 1.1 XComStrategyGame.XGFundingCouncil, DefaultGameCore.ini, game file, XCOM: Enemy Within (2013).