Alien Races

Alien races and hierarchies. Tactical brief-346, by order of Agent J.P. and Agent D.S. Classified EYES ONLY.

By Izo Matsuka, Intel Analyst.

Good morning. Following your beloved training sergeant’s heart attack, I have been drafted in to enlighten you about the various alien species. To defeat your enemy, you must understand your enemy. Their motivation is just as important as yours. The only difference is, you don’t know their motivation. Please pay attention. What you learn might save your life. We do not know everything about them. But we hope to.


Race: Sectoid
Associated Terrorist: Cyberdisc
The Sectoids are the initial threat in the war, and their appearance reoccurs often. They are not ideal shock troops by any means, being somewhat less able than an average squaddie. They do have quick reactions, but physically they are not very resilient. As most of you already know, a double tap from an X-Com issue pistol will drop one reliably. All weaponry is effective against them. Their one strong point is the psi ability of their Leaders and Commanders, which is uniformly stronger than almost every X-Com recruit to date. A Leader or Commander can be found on the larger UFOs and in alien bases. Sectoids are relatively easy to stun, so take full advantage of that and capture them where you can. The information from Leaders and Commanders is absolutely crucial to the war effort.
Ranks: Soldier/Navigator/Engineer/Medic/Leader/Commander.


Cyberdiscs are alien HWP equivalents, armed with an integral plasma weapon. Although it has no auto shot, it is still capable of delivering a barrage of fire at anyone unlucky enough to be a target. Early in the war, heavy weapons are the only way to bring them down. Make sure you’re clear of the resulting explosion as the Cyberdisc self-destructs. Later on, both laser and plasma weaponry are more than a match for them. They follow Sectoids in Battleships, on terror missions and bases.


Race: Floater
Associated Terrorist: Reaper
Despite being considerably larger, Floaters are only slightly tougher than Sectoids, with accurate rifle and pistol fire usually proving sufficient to kill them. Their flying ability renders them very dangerous, with plasma fire and grenades often coming from unexpected angles. The surgical additions and alterations every member of this race displays are probably from the Sectoids, as they have shown a penchant for interfering with other races. Especially ours. Floaters are much easier to fight within the constraints of an alien craft or base, as the tight confines negates their flying ability.
Ranks: Soldier/Navigator/Engineer/Medic/Leader/Commander.


Reapers are large and quick, possessing only natural weaponry. Their bite is only a threat to an unarmoured trooper, but their large mass and thick fur renders pistols and rifles ineffective, except for massed fire from multiple squaddies. High explosives or incendiary are both ideal, the Reaper’s muscles being especially vulnerable to kinetic concussions, and their fur burns very well. Capable of absorbing plenty of damage, their bulk impedes their progress. They accompany the Floaters in Battleships, terror missions and bases.


Race: Snakemen
Associated Terrorist: Chryssalid/Zombie
Snakemen, although typically lethargic and not very strong, are tough, resistant to both pistols and rifles, and seem to take little damage from incendiary ammunition. They are the first race that really necessitates the new laser tech, although being so slow moving, a thick swathe of ground set alight by incendiary rounds can kill them just as effectively. Their lack of mobility makes them possibly the easiest race to deal with.
Ranks: Soldier/Navigator/Engineer/Leader/Commander


Chryssalids are among the most feared aliens, and deservedly so. Although possessing only a melee attack, this impregnates the target with a Chryssalid embryo, and the Chryssalid is quick enough to impregnate multiple targets, X-Com or civilian, within a very short space of time. They can take plenty of damage, and are quite capable of tearing apart the strongest armour we can make, as well as our HWPs. Their presence at terror sites can be most problematic, thanks to the plethora of narrow spaces and buildings. Plenty of incendiary ammunition is a must, with all possible avenues of attack either blocked by proximity grenades or covered by multiple squaddies. They are not stupid; they will come out of nowhere, strike and then retreat. So when you see one, hit it with everything you have. They partner Snakemen in their Battleships, terror missions and bases.


Zombies are the result of a Chryssalid attack, and are slow, shambling shells of their former human selves. Their hand-to-hand attack is not particularly formidable, but as soon as you kill them a Chryssalid bursts forth, so please make sure you have sufficient time to reload or deploy further munitions before doing so. Think about the ramifications of a Chryssalid in the middle of your squad before killing a Zombie. Zombies are not particularly tough, and are best killed with incendiary ammunition. This stops the Chryssalid ‘hatching’ from the human body. A repulsive measure, but a necessary one.

Alien races and hierarchies addendum. Tactical brief-368, by order of Agent J.P. and Agent D.S. Classified EYES ONLY.

By Valerie Durban, Intel Analyst.

Good afternoon. Following Matsuka’s sprained wrist, I’ve been assigned to brief you. Firstly, this is an emergency brief, I apologise for the short notice. Secondly, because of the urgent nature of the brief, there will be no jokes about Matsuka’s unfortunate injury. Please confine such comedy to the writing on the toilet stalls. The information here is incomplete, so please, no questions. The only answer I will have for you is "I don’t know."


Race: Muton
Associated Terrorist: Silacoid/Celatid
Mutons appear to be the elite of the alien invasion force. They have armoured skin, and appear to have very dense musculature and bone structure. Standard rounds from a pistol or rifle will not even pierce their skin. Close combat is ineffective due to their superior height and weight, the shortest specimen so far being six feet six inches tall, and weighing in at approximately four hundred and sixty pounds. Their skin doesn’t conduct electricity very well either, so rods are of little use. Use the most powerful weapons you have, and if psi squaddies are available, use them to their fullest extent. Doing otherwise only gets you a rising bodycount.
Ranks: Soldier/Engineer/Navigator


Silacoids are relatively inefficient terrorists, with no projectile weaponry and a fairly weak melee attack. They are slow and although very resistant to incendiary damage, HE rounds will soon see them dead. Grenades are also useful, as their slothful crawl means they rarely get out of the explosive radius before detonation. Again, rods are of limited use, the Silacoid nervous system does not appear to be affected much by electrical impulses at all. Stay at range and kill them from a safe distance.


Celatids are a somewhat more effective terrorist species, having limited antigrav capabilities and a strange offensive weapon which lobs gobs of poison high into the air. When taking cover, please keep in mind a Celatid can spit these projectiles quite high, somewhere around twenty to thirty feet, and although the accuracy is not phenomenal, it is a threat to unarmoured people, and even those in armour may take slight damage. Do not treat such wound with water; it will only wash the poison further into the wound. Let your medic deal with it. Celatids are not particularly tough, laser weapons are quite sufficient to stop them.


Race: Ethereal
Associated Terrorist: Sectopod
Ethereals appear to be the leaders of the alien invasion. It’s either the Sectoids or the Ethereals, we don’t have enough info to decide which yet. Every Ethereal you encounter will have psi powers at their disposal. Missions against this alien race will require extensive psi screening beforehand. One member of your squad under alien control can cause a lot of damage, so if any squaddie complains of feeling strange or hallucinating during a mission, put him down with a rod. Do not hesitate to kill them if necessary. You cannot let one man bring down your squad. Ethereals are tough, despite the frail form under their robes. We speculate that they can use their psi powers to enhance their physical abilities. They definitely use it to fly, much more effectively than Floaters, actually. Telekinesis is a power only this race has, and it may be put to multiple uses. Be wary. We urgently need members of this race taken alive, but do not, I repeat, do not under any circumstances take risks to do so.
Ranks: Soldier/Leader/Commander


Sectopods are simply gun platforms. Bipedal robots, heavily armoured against plasma weaponry and heavily armed with a plasma turret. These are the only terrorists that really require you to take a technological back-step, laser weaponry being much more efficacious than plasma in this instance. Stun Bomb Launchers are also useful; they disrupt some of the delicate bio-circuits that a Sectopod requires for movement, rendering them immobile and unable to fire. If neither lasers nor stun bombs are available, the current orders dictate a tactical retreat. If withdrawal is not an option, make the best use of cover you can, and concentrate your fire on one target at a time and hope you get lucky.