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Subject: Agent order rss

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I've been playing with 5 agents my last few missions, and I've fallen into using the same agent ordering every time which made me curious how other people order their agents!

Here's my order:

- Agent Titanium (Hulk)
- Agent Chromium (Marine)
- Agent Mercury (Infiltrator)
- Agent Iridium (Sniper)
- Agent Thorium (Biotech)

My Alpha Agent shifts around a lot depending on my current tactical needs, but Titanium and Chromium tend to be Alpha Agent far more than anyone else. Iridium and Mercury are roughly tied after them, with Thorium trailing the pack. Here's typically how things play out for the different agents as Alpha Agent, along with my logic for the order:

- Titanium is most often the Alpha because his Charge skill is my only way to explicitly position aliens, so I often want to use him first to set things up for my other agents. Additionally, I usually want him out leading the charge so that he can soak up damage, since once the aliens start rolling 3+ hits his No Pain skill and armor ability make him practically impervious to damage. On the flip side, having him act last (which happens if Chromium snags Alpha Agent) is not that bad because he can soak up so much damage, so even if he gets caught in a bad position he can usually survive it.

- Chromium often gets Alpha if I want to use a grenade (Flash and Smoke in particular can completely wreck alien activations for the rest of the round). Additionally, sometimes Titanium will already be positioned optimally, so I instead have Chromium act first so that he can position himself for his most advantageous Guard attack, or two take a potshot with area damage if I've got a lot of aliens clumped up.

- Mercury is one of my two finishers, and otherwise typically spends her time seeking out objectives. I usually only activate her first if she's adjacent (or in range) of an alien who I really need to kill ASAP. She could actually slot in just about anywhere on the lineup, but I like having her after Chromium because I give her Alpha agent somewhat irregularly (so I don't have to worry about Chromium going last much, which usually makes his Guard less effective) and before Iridium because as my ranged finisher he's often able to clean things up if Mercury has a bad attack roll. Additionally, although I don't get to use it often the Flash + Satellite Strike device combo is absolutely nuts; when I'm able to pull it off, that combo alone makes this ordering make sense.

- Iridium, as mentioned already, is my second finisher. Although his weapon is slightly less reliable than Mercury's, he also tends to dish out far more damage. I tend to make him Alpha if I have positioned him the prior turn in order to make full use of his Sharpshooter ability paired with his Eagle Eye skill (you can get a seriously nuts amount of hits doing this). Because of his crazy range of effectiveness, he tends to pull Alpha more than Mercury since he usually has more targets to choose from. I usually don't care that my second finisher is acting last when Iridium is Alpha, because odds are good that she's on the outskirts fighting something minor anyway. It's far more common for me to want Iridium to follow Mercury back-to-back to ensure a Nexus or whatever goes down before it has a chance to activate this round.

- Thorium almost never pulls Alpha unless I need to heal someone just before they run off into danger (usually Titanium). Very rarely he gets Alpha in order to kick off a round of Area Damage craziness (since my two other Area Damage capable agents immediately follow him in the lineup). Like Mercury, I could shuffle Thorium almost anywhere in the lineup and it wouldn't matter so much. Because Titanium is Alpha so often, Thorium usually ends up playing clean-up (either for agents, or aliens whose health has been taken down by Iridium).

What about you? Do you tend to use the same order mission after mission, or do you mix it up? What's the logic behind your ordering?
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Heraklion Crete
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Really good analysis. I've never thought of this before but after reading your post I realized that we do too like to use a certain lineup more often than not.

Ours is


This is the usual Engagement order for a typical situation.

Titanium plays first, tanks aliens and uses area damage to wound them.

Chromium supports Titanium.

If Chromium is engaged elsewhere and cannot help, Thorium's trusty shotgun helps Titanium OR he acts as a defensive multiplier by healing Titanium therefore really increasing the amount of damage soaked. Because of Titanium's ability to soak damage, using Thorium's healbot on him provides greater value for each Health point healed.

Iridium usually tries to disengage Agents or wound/finish off bigger or distant threats.
Then the fragile Infiltrator swoops in for the kill or takes advantage of a possible hole in the alien's defensive line in order to fulfill objectives. If she can take advantage of her Stealth ability, it's even better.

Mercury plays last so she can either finish off a wounded alien without letting herself become engaged or she can assess the situation and find the best spot to move on towards the objective. Usually this ordering is our battle formation which is used to prepare for the following tactics to advance the party forward.

So when the team needs to advance and Mercury got a clear way forward based on the above tactics, we switch to having Mercury play first.

If she managed to go in last turn and severely wound an enemy, she can play first next turn and finish him off, if that disengages her she moves forward if there is no immediate danger or she pulls back for healing and to let Titanium reposition to an area where he can draw aliens to him and tank them all over again or use his area damage to clear Mercury's path to the objective, backed up by grenades and/or area damage from Chromium or if there are no nearby enemies, with his Guard ability.
If things go wrong, Thorium provides healing for one of those three whoever needs it the most, and finally Iridium either kills any alien that managed to survive or he takes a breather and either repositions to a better vantage point if needed or supports the team with specific devices (medikits, ammo).

One other typical scenario is a wounded Mercury being engaged by an alien.
At that time, it depends on how much Health Mercury has left. If Thorium can heal her up to comfortable level, then Thorium plays first, Iridium tries to disengage Mercury by killing the alien and then she either finishes off the alien if Iridium missed or she tries to take a new safer position.

As you see, my group believes that Mercury is a really good attacker but not a good defender, so the whole team tactics are based on how to keep her safe, for her to either complete the objective or finish off a powerful alien. Especially for aliens like Xeno-Alphas where the other team finisher Iridium rolls many hits but usually the result is really bad because of XA's abilities, Mercury is our go to Agent.

A general rule of engagement for the two finishers is:

Iridium mainly tries to disengage Agents by killing distant threats which have many hitpoints but no damage mitigation abilities.

Mercury kills immediate single threats that have damage mitigation, rerolls and so on.

So Mercury is used to kill big threats while Iridium is used as support for other agents mainly. Their role seems the same as big damage dealers but it is very distinct IMHO.
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Thibaud Dejardin
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With expansions, things change a bit.

Some combos are better one agent after another. If i use Vigil, i want nobium just before him, to mark two targets. And if i really want to abuse of this combo, i add a biotech before or after nobium, to use his skill to mark some more ennemies with drones.

With the expansion, you usually want to deal with diggers, so you have to wait to activate someone that will kill it when it is possible. So the alpha agent will sometimes be the sniper or the damage dealer (I don't really like infiltrators, i find them to be the weakest of the game).
Plus, the urge to use charge is not that important, when deltas run away from you, spiders stay at range 2 and burrowers don't block you in melee.
Finally, some scenarios need a really good timing, so you want your agents to be able to make their task in the right order.

In core game missions, i tend to use the hulk first to clear the path, or sometimes the sniper (who is otherwise third or last for four agents) if a target is possible to destoy. I like the marine to be after the hulk to area damage, too.
I like to have the biotech just before the hulk, especially if he has range 0 (G-droid) for healing. I sometimes select him as the alpha agent to save some bleeding or badly wounded agent. He almost always get the +2 hits tactic to secure things.

But i sometimes change the setup, to test new things, or depending of the weapons/agent i use.
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AI Palm
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I rarelyline the agents up in any order. That is often the luck of the draw. But the hulk is almost always first unless I need the killing blow or the healing.

A nice thread and it made me think, so I will consider the order in the next game I start.
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