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A soldier is an elite XCOM operative who has military training and executes combat missions in XCOM 2.

Soldiers come from many walks of life: bodyguards, prisoners, and resistance members are all part of XCOM's pool of hirees. Regardless of their background, they are united in their desire to take back their planet from the alien menace. While they start as unskilled "Rookies", they can gain special abilities through combat experience and promotion and eventually become a force to be reckoned with - if they survive.


Soldiers are the ground-level troops of XCOM, sabotaging ADVENT activities in guerilla raids, protecting civilians from retaliation, and acquiring intelligence regarding the alien threat. They are usually deployed in squads of 4-6 soldiers, often covertly, through the Skyranger, a VTOL troop transport.

When not in combat, soldiers recover from their wounds and, optionally, receive training, either through the Advanced Warfare Center or the Psi Lab.


The appearance, origins, and personalities of soldiers are randomly generated, but can be deeply customized, though some features are not unlocked until the soldier is promoted to a certain rank. Soldiers are not allowed a nickname until they reach the rank of Sergeant.

  • Character Info ( First / Last Name, ** Nickname, Nationality, Gender, Biography)
  • Props ( Helmet / Hat, Arm / Leg type, Torso type, ** Armor / Weapon pattern, ** Tattoos / Scars)
  • Face
  • Hair / Facial Hair
  • Hair / Eye / Skin Color
  • Race / Voice
  • Main / Secondary Armor Color, Armor Pattern
  • Weapon Color, Weapon Pattern
  • Attitude (Normal, Laid Back, Twitchy, Happy-Go-Lucky, Hard Luck, Intense, By The Book)***

** - Some customization features are locked until your soldier achieves a veteran rank.

*** - Unchangeable until a veteran rank is achieved.


Soldiers have several specializations available, known as classes. Each class has a unique set of equipment, and comes with abilities that unlock with promotions. A soldier can become one of four random classes when promoted from Rookie to Squaddie:

  • Ranger: Wields a shotgun or assault rifle and carries a blade for melee attacks.
  • Grenadier: Wields a chaingun and grenade launcher, and can carry more grenades than other units.
  • Specialist: Uses a Gremlin Drone to heal allies and play havoc with electronic enemies.
  • Sharpshooter: Uses a long-range sniper rifle and a pistol.

A fifth class can only be unlocked by sending a Rookie into the Psi Lab:

  • Psi Operative: A soldier with psychic powers. Uses a Psi Amp to amplify their natural abilities.

The Shen's Last Gift DLC adds new soldier unit type with a unique sixth class:

  • SPARK: An autonomous heavy robot class that must be found in the Shen's Last Gift story mission or manufactured in the Proving Ground. Uses a SPARK Autocannon, an embedded heavy weapon, and a Bit Drone which behaves much like the Specialist's Gremlin.

The War of the Chosen expansion pack adds another new soldier unit type, "hero classes", which can only be recruited from the three Resistance Factions added by that expansion. Rather than unlocking one ability per promotion, hero classes interact with their ability trees exclusively through the ability point system.


Soldiers' attributes affect their survivability and effectiveness in combat. Attributes increase with promotions, and can be increased or decreased through armor, items, weapons, and status effects (like Poisoned).

Attribute Description
HP How much damage the soldier can take before dying or being critically wounded.
Armor Directly subtracted from damage dealt to the soldier. (Unless it's damage that somehow ignores armor, obviously)
Will Resistance to psionics and panic.

50 Will and below: 0% chance to Bleed Out.
+1% (+2% with Stay With Me upgrade) Bleed Out chance for each Will point above 50.
4 turn Bleed Out timer.

Aim Soldier's base accuracy. This is combined in the field with factors such as target's defense, cover bonuses, height advantage and ability effects to determin actual accuracy of the shot. Each point of aim adds a point to that total accuracy and as such is worth 1% hit chance (up to the obvious limit of 100).
Defense How difficult the soldier is to hit. Directly substracted from opponent's shot's accuracy. Worth the same 1% per point as Aim.
Hack How accurate the unit is when hacking.
Mobility Determines the maximum number of tiles a soldier can move per action point.
Sight Radius How far a unit is able to view the battlefield. Hidden stat.
Dodge How likely the soldier is to take less damage than normal. Seperate from hit chance.
Crit chance How likely the soldier is to deal a critical hit. Separate from hit chance.
Psi Offense Dictates the likelihood of chance-based psionic attacks, like Insanity and Domination, to succeed.

Ability Points (War of the Chosen)Edit

The War of the Chosen expansion introduced the concept of ability points. Soldiers are individually awarded their own ability points with each promotion after squaddie. The squad is also awarded global ability points for employing good combat tactics during missions. Among other things, these tactics include ambushes, flanking attacks, and high ground attacks. The global ability points earned this way can be used by any soldier. The Training Center allows soldiers to spend ability points to activate new abilities in their skill trees.

There is also an option to retrain the soldier at the training center. This will allow the player to reset the soldier, and re-choose an ability for each promotion level. All the ability points the soldier originally earned through promotions will also be refunded. However, any global ability points that had already been spent on that soldier will not be refunded.

Combat Intelligence (War of the Chosen)Edit

Combat intelligence is a new game mechanic introduced in the War of the Chosen expansion. Every soldier is assigned a random combat intelligence level, which determines how many ability points they gain with every promotion after squaddie:

  • Standard: 3 points per promotion
  • Above Average: 4 points per promotion
  • Gifted: 5 points per promotion
  • Genius: 7 points per promotion
  • Savant: 10 points per promotion

A soldier's combat intelligence can only be increased through covert ops. Once combat intelligence has been increased, the ability points are adjusted retroactively.