|“||Very difficult technique that, if successful, grants control of the target for 3 turns. Robotic enemies are immune. 5 turn cooldown.||”|
– In-Game Description, XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Mind Control's success rate is, like all psi powers, only reliant on the Will of the target and the psionic, and completely ignores physical cover, distance, and elevation, provided that Line of Sight is maintained. So the lower the target's Will (or the higher your unit's), the higher the chance will be to successfully control the target. Towards the end of the game, consider putting on Mind Shields and Psi Armor to increase your soldier's psionic defense and offense.
Mind Control has a 5 turn cooldown.
If successfully initiated, Mind Control allows the psionic unit to gain temporary control of non-robotic enemies for four turns. The first "turn" is counted when the Mind Control takes place and the enemy unit isn't allowed to act, making for only three actual turns in which the Mind Controller can make the enemy unit perform actions. When the turns elapse or the Mind Controller in question is killed, any Mind Controlled unit will return back to the original owner's control.
A soldier that becomes Mind Controlled by a Sectoid Commander or an Ethereal will retain all abilities they had before being possessed and should be considered a severe threat to the remaining squad members in the field. There are a number of ways to neutralize a Mind Controlled soldier:
- The safest and quickest method is to kill or stun the Mind Controller.
- Using a Sniper's Disabling Shot, a Heavy's Suppression, or a Support's Rifle Suppression on a Mind Controlled soldier can give players extra time to deal with the Sectoid Commander or Ethereal threat. Do mind these are not perfect. (Suppressed soldiers can still hit lucky shots, and if they move you end up shooting your own soldier as well as risking a shot from them. All methods can also be countered by grenades, provided that a soldier has one, and rockets for a heavy.)
- Killing the Mind Controlled soldier is an option but will result in that unit's permanent death unless they have the Secondary Heart gene mod.
- Fleeing is also viable tactic when dealing with a Mind Controlled soldier.
- Use Mind Controlled aliens to scout ahead, allowing them to draw fire from other aliens.
- Mutons, Heavy Floaters and Muton Elites make good targets for Mind Control, as they have low Will and can do considerable damage against their comrades. Additionally, they carry Alien Grenades, and can effectively be used as suicide bombers in order to weaken/kill themselves before Mind Control expires.
- Muton Berserkers are also valuable if tougher targets for Mind Control, as they are quite capable of defeating the other Mutons that normally accompany them while absorbing significant damage. They can also Bull Rush aliens in cover to expose them, so the soldiers may move in to finish off the uncovered unit.
- Mind Controlled aliens should be kept a fair distance from a player's soldiers, so they won't cause too much trouble when they break free again.
- Since Mind Control and other psionic abilities don't suffer range penalties/bonuses, it's best to keep psionic soldiers back away from the enemy.
- In single player mode, Mind Control can turn the course of battle in otherwise fatal situations, as a successful Mind Control puts a target for enemies usually in close/flanking positions of them, forcing the A.I to consider the mind-controlled alien a priority target, and can draw lethal damage amounts that would normally kill a squad member.
- Using a soldier capable of Mind Control makes obtaining the "Lone Wolf" achievement much easier.
- Combat debuffs from wounds (and loss of teammates) cause a drop in Will and can make targets easier to Mind Control.
- Aliens which die while Mind Controlled often leave intact weapons (and alien grenades for applicable units) for collection, as if they had been stunned by an Arc Thrower. Additionally, they count towards the Defender's Medal award at the end of the mission.
- Should your entire squad succumb to Mind Control, the mission will immediately end in defeat with all soldiers KIA. This is primarily only a risk while attacking crashed or landed UFOs during the mid game when Sectoid Commanders may be encountered in multiples. Still it is unlikely that your entire squad will become Mind Controlled in the base game unless they have already suffered significant casualties while assaulting the UFO, but there is a higher possibility while playing XCOM: Enemy Within as Sectoid Commanders may also accompany Mechtoids that may be present on the map, particularly if trying for the "An Army of Four" achievement.
- It is worth noting that it is not possible to use Mind Control to repossess a controlled ally, nor can an enemy who is currently possessing an ally be Mind Controlled, although they can be affected by other psionic abilities like Mindfray and Psi Panic.
- Psi Inspiration does not remove Mind Control.
- If the enemy mind controls one of your soldier that is on overwatch, the overwatch will activate toward movement from your units.
- This also applies to Reactive Targeting Sensors on MEC Troopers.
- In Enemy Within, if Mind Control is a major concern, the "Lead by Example" upgrade is very helpful. Units with subpar Will such as low-ranked soldiers or battle-scarred Colonels that have been critically injured numerous times should be kept close to a high-Willed squad leader, preferably boosted by Psi Inspiration.
- In the tutorial mission of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, a German soldier saying “Hilfe” (german for “Help me”) is encountered. If approached, a cutscene showing he is being mind-controlled by a sectoid commander will play, in which he will shoot and instantly kill the soldier who approaches him before committing suicide with a grenade. It is unknown how he instantly kills the soldier, as even a soldier with stock armor can survive an attack from the standard assault rifle that the soldier uses.
- Mind Controlled psionic soldiers are immune to Flashbang Grenades.
Previously, a Mind Controlled unit took Will penalties for losing allies that it had while Mind Controlled, and Mind Controlled enemies that died while under the player's control would inflict Will penalties on the player's squad. This was fixed as of Update 3.