So, the update adds some new, interesting, things. There's apparently a lot of bug fixing and balancing that happens (for the PvP crowd?). There's a new mission though, involving Ruler Aliens, that basically makes a hard game much harder for a bit, but the rewards are 'meh' to epic.
My most recent play-through post patch was a mixed bag. I previously did a 3 Specialist/3 Grenadier team, that was just powerful. Eventually replacing one of each with a Psi, to get 2Gren/2Spec/2Psi team that was also really good. This time I was going for Rangers, as I really wanted to explore the Blade line. Two of the Ruler Alien items really lent itself to Rangers. The Berserker Queen armor, and the Axes. Of all the new stuff though, the Icarus armor is just fantastic. Being able to jump just about anywhere is extremely useful.
So a couple of Blade rangers, and a Specialist. The rest was whatever was available. In those spots I typically used a couple Grenade skilled Grenadiers, another Specialist for backup, and I tried a couple Pistol Sharpshooters.
I'm not thrilled with the Grenadiers, I had 2-3 Cannon Grenadiers before, and they simply tore everything up. I had them with Tracer Ammo, Aim PCS and Scopes, and they were just extremely reliable at killing whatever I needed dead. Shredding armor and rupture made sure whatever was left was very easy to finish off. However, they need all that +Aim or else Cannoniers miss most of the time.
The Blade Ranger is a class I liked previously, with stuff like Reaper and Bladestorm making them a great cleanup machine. Plus I got a Hockey mask wearing Ranger that is one of my favorites, and I've had some crazy luck with him in previous games. The Rangers I used this game were pretty good, but I was noticing one of them was a Crit machine with the shotgun. I respec'd her to the gun side, and was not really pleased with the result. I needed far more accuracy, but it would of come at the cost of crit chance. Overall, Rangers are still that class that spends most of their time recovering. The Reaper ability is fantastic, but does require a bit more luck then I like, and definitely requires some setup to maximize the amount of stuff you can clean up in a round. Blades don't have armor shredding or piercing and I think that's a shame... considering Blade damage is about half of what I'd want it to be.
Now for the best part, Pistol Sharpshooter. I've loved Sniper Sharpshooters before, although, in the previous XCom games, they were godly, they're a bit more reasonable in XCom 2. Being as Snipers were so good, I've completely ignored the Pistol line for the most part. With the new Alien Ruler Pistol (Shadowpistol maybe?) I decided to give the pistol it's shot. What a nice surprise that turned out to be. I used AP ammo to maximize the pistol damage, especially in the late game when some mobs have more armor then your pistol damage. Not having to reload is a very nice benefit of the build, and allows you to skip ammo cap and reload gun mods completely.
With a Pistol Sharpshooter, the amount of shots you can get off in a round can be quite impressive, which is needed since Pistols do about half the damage of everything else in game. The Faceoff ability is my favorite AoE in game. Just get as many enemies in range as possible, and fire away. It's like a Grenade with a much bigger radius, and a cooldown instead of limited ammo, and a chance to miss. With the Gunslinger tree, you can get at least two Pistol shots off in every round if you don't take another action, like move (although, Grapple and Icarus Jump don't count as movement). So while the pistol does half damage, you still have a chance to do normal damage with it, and you also still have a sniper rifle too. I like the Gunslinger because it gives you more control over damage. If you only need to do 3 points or so of damage, you can fire the pistol, and then get into Overwatch, or whatever other action, like soften up another target, or just finish off another mob. You can also start with a pistol shot, use a quick shot (free action) and then use a heavier hitter like Faceoff or Fan Fire to seriously deal out some damage. You can choose to have that damage concentrated on on mob, or spread out among many. If using Faceoff I like to soften up a few targets first to maximize the kill count.
Specialists are pretty much the required class. You just need that heal ability, and remote hacking. I went standard fare here with a healer in tow to support the rest of the team. I gave him the Alien Ruler rifle, and found the chance stun procs very useful. The 1 ammo/reload was annoying though, and you couldn't mod it, which also limited it. However, yeah, a specialist because the game has some nasty surprises, and I don't want my A Team dying.
I did add a Psi too. It's not a required class, but the AoE psyche cure/immunity for teammates is very nice, and armor bypassing attacks like Void Rift and Lance are just very useful. I like the Psi class, but it takes a lot to get them in.
I think I'll do another run through sometime soon with 1 Specialist and 3-5 Sharpshooters, with a mix of Sniper and Gunslinger. Mainly to see how it compares to my Cannon Grenadier play-through.
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