Found a way to cheese the overpowered Ancient Ruins DLC missions - makes them a cakewalk

[Edit: I found a way to cheese these missions that makes them very easy, but tedious. See my reply below for details. This first post was just me complaining how overpowered and difficult these missions are on the easiest difficulties.]

You had all the opportunities to not make the same mistakes on balancing and yet you made the same mistakes.

On normal, you fixed a lot of the core gameplay balance issues. No longer is it impossible to win without cheesing the game and abusing poorly-implemented abilities. Instead, the game feels much more balanced in the core gameplay loop. At least on normal difficulty. No longer does every single scavenge, defense, etc mission become “extreme” difficulty about 10 hours into a campaign, making it impossible to progress if you haven’t figured out how to manipulate and exploit gameplay mechanics correctly.

But the new DLC with the Ancients… these excavation sites are tedious and overpowered. With 8 maxed out units, I have what feels like an unending number of hoplites with bullet-sponge shields that drain my ammo count to nothing. The only reason I can still fire at the last few enemies is thanks to the pre-order living weapons with un-ending ammo. But that means little…

These excavation sites are brokenly overpowered simply because of the sheer number of these enemies with shields that ONLY snipers can work around. And if your people get too close, the enemy’s sniper rifle beam cannons will annihilate them. If you want the hoplites to miss, you need to stay at a distance. And if you do that, only your snipers are relevant - or a heavy with a grenade launcher.

Not only that, but if you move in to engage 1 or 2 hoplites, suddenly 5 or 6 more appear and engage out of nowhere, which further enforces a “keep your distance and whittle them down” mentality. But you don’t have nearly enough ammo to deal with their numbers if you do this.

The balancing in the new DLC is far more broken than even the original game’s balancing was on launch. That is hard to accomplish, but you did it. Congratulations.

As I’ve said before several times. There is no excuse for this game to be so painfully broken in its difficulty for someone who beat XCOM on its hardest difficulties without save-scumming… WHEN I AM ON NORMAL DIFFICULTY in Phoenix Point. Yes, it is possible to win these levels. I have done so twice. But if save-scumming is the only way to win your matches on normal difficulty, you’ve done screwed up.

I found a great way to cheese these matches that makes them far less overpowered and broken.

Find the cyclops, but without getting close enough to wake it up. That is where 90% of the enemies will come from/spawn from. Go to the opposite side of the map, since it seems to always spawn near-ish to one of the edges of the map.

Have all of your squad be WELL out of range of it - where only snipers would be effective against any hoplites that appear. Get everyone into good cover positions. Then engage with the snipers. Enemy hoplites will begin moving in, but suddenly stop (unless you have any soldiers close enough to them. They will continually and endlessly un-deploy and re-deploy their shields in the same spot. They will not move closer to you, and they will not ever fire.

If any of the hoplites fire at you, or move in closer, you were too close when you began the engagement. If you were indeed far enough away, they will only move close enough for your snipers to fire at them, but then they will suddenly stop, and get stuck in a “deploy my shield only” loop in the same spot, just out of their range to fire at you.

The cyclops will also do this. It will never move closer, and never fire at you. You can simply whittle down the enemies at your leisure.

I’ve done this 3 times now, and it works great. The one problem is on the Orichalcum mine where enemies have 20-30 Orichalcum defense, which means that 20-30 bullets that hit them will be reduced dramatically in damage. Sniper rifles will do ~20 damage a shot and peel off just 1 Orichalcum. If you have good Assault troopers, you can fire at them from a distance and peel off several Orichalcum a burst (while doing around 2 hp damage).

This results in you needing a ton of ammunition. Make sure that your soldiers have a minimum of two reload clips. Preferably 3 or 4. Have a few medkits, but you will never be shot at while you do this. Near the end, you will likely need to send a soldier in closer to spot the final hoplites, which will also then trigger them to move closer. So you might be shot at near the end of the match.

Your squad should have as many snipers as possible. Mine has 3 snipers, 1 heavy, and 2 Assault. Also, have as many non-snipers as possible with Onslaught. This will allow you to shoot multiple times in a turn, making this a lot faster.

This is important: If the enemy has Orichalcum armor, don’t bother trying to shoot over or around its shield. Hit it’s shield directly. The shield will fall after 2-3 sniper shots, and massive damage that ignores the Orichalcum armor will be dealt. I think this is a bug, as the Orichalcum should stop the shot and reduce it to 20 or so damage. But instead, the shot that takes out the shield will ignore the Orichalcum armor and deal full damage, often taking out 3/4 of the hoplites health - which makes peeling down the last 1/4th a lot less time consuming when all the other shots are reduced to 5% of their normal damage…

Here are two images to demonstrate. You can see that I set my soldiers up on the opposite ridge on the other side of the map in one screenshot. The other shows the cyclops and hoplites. Once they take their initial position, they will never move from it to engage you, letting you pick them off without getting shot.

That sounds… Unreliable to me.
I admit I’ve only done one mission and it was on Rookie, but the enemies did not spawn in that manner. There was a Cyclops asleep in one corner, a pack of Hoplites in the polar opposite corner of the map and a pack of Hoplites smack in the center of the map.

That’s fair. It probably won’t always be that way. But I’ve now done 5 of these missions, and they have so far always spawned like this, and then followed these rules as outlined above. That being said, this is only something I’ve NEEDED to do once, the one time I invaded an Orichalcum mine. Their armor then is unstoppable for me without doing the above strategy. The others can be defeated normally, although I normally lose someone if I try that.

Kind of harping on the point, but I really do not see how it is possible to win in the Orichalcum mine without cheesing it and whittling them down. I had 20 hoplites and a cyclops. All with 25ish Orichalcum which means no shots do more than 20 damage, if you have a sniper rifle (except the shot that breaks their shields which does full damage). That is not “extreme” difficulty. It’s a level above… maybe “insane” difficulty.