Achieving victory in Gears Tactics will often come down to clever use of tactics and abilities, knowing when to use what ability and where to overwatch can easily turn things around in a matter of seconds.
The game does an excellent job at explaining the basics and showing the strengths and weaknesses of enemies as the game progresses, but here are some useful tips and ideas to help you turn a decent campaign into a great one.
General combat tips
Let’s first start off with some useful tips that will help you beat your enemies in style and without as many casualties. You can then combine these tricks with the class specific tips showcased later, in order to become a master at Gears Tactics and dominate even the hardest difficulties.
Bombs away! Frag grenades are incredibly powerful in Gears Tactics, as your gears have the benefit of never missing their throws and able to hit multiple targets with only 1 action point. A single grenade used right can easily level the playing field.
Frag Grenades are incredibly lethal, but they also have some nifty tricks you can take advantage of to make them even more powerful.
The first tip might seem obvious, but is not really explained on it’s own. You are able to bounce grenades off walls and other objects to extend the distance of the trajectory.
You can even use walls to bounce the grenades around corners, letting the grubs know that nowhere is safe.
Frag grenades knock around most targets, disrupting units in overwatch and pushing them out of cover. This has an added benefit of triggering your own units in overwatch and blasting the enemy, if the frag grenade didn’t finish them off.
E-holes, also known as Emergence Holes, are access points where grubs will pour in and turn your outnumbered squad into a doomed one. Shutting them down in most situations will be a top priority, and according to the tutorial, this should be done with Frag Grenades.
However, another great way to shut down E-holes is to plant a mine on top of the E-hole, which is effectively a frag grenade that detonates the moment the hole opens. This will prevent any enemies from ever coming out to begin with, saving you from a world of hurt.
It is also good to note that Scouts have the option to throw the frag mine. This makes it a lot easier to get the mine into position without having to risk walking far out of cover to plant the bomb.
Proper use of overwatch can be the difference between wiping out an enemy squad or being swarmed.
Hosing down your own team is also a very distinct possibility, so be careful when aiming the overwatch and take note on how you position your team around it.
Different situations call for different kinds of overwatch. If there are enemies coming in from multiple points, it may be prudent to have all the angles covered.
If one choke-point has a large swarm of Wretches close by, it might be beneficial for you to focus your overwatch at the point where they come in.
Spread out your squad! Having your whole team at one spot might make for a great photo-shoot, but it is also a big fat target for the enemy. On top of that, you risk tons of friendly fire damage from overwatch fire, if your troops happen to get in front of each other.
Limit your arc of fire! Sometimes the effective range is more important than the maximum range, so adjusting the overwatch distance closer, rather than further, can give you more accurate and devastating shots.
This rings especially true for shotguns and heavy cannons with obstacles in the way.
Pin them down! You can pin enemy shooters by placing overwatch on top of them, while they’re in cover. This means that the moment they try to shoot back or run, you will have a free shot at them as if they aren’t in cover. Only do this if you can afford to, it is not a great idea to waste turns taking potshots on time sensitive missions.
In this section we will outline all the available classes in Gears Tactics and explain what they bring to the table. Mastering each class and learning how they work together is vital for success.
This is the class of the protagonist, Gabe Diaz. Packing an automatic rifle and a bunch of supporting skills, they make for a great backbone to any squad.
The Support classes biggest strength comes from their ability to hand out extra action points to other squad-mates, like they were candy.
Combining skills such as Empowered and Teamwork can give your squad 3 or more extra action points, which is more than enough to wipe most enemy squads
Supports come with the iconic Lancer assault rifle, which rocks the classic under-barrel chainsaw for some brutal melee attacks.
Unfortunately many enemies get a free attack if you get too close or even straight up blow up when they die. Due to this, you should always stop and think before using the powerful melee attack, in order to not get destroyed by accident.
Supports do not rely on any particular stat very much, but rely more on perks. Their kit lacks innate skill refreshes, so item perks that reduce cool-downs will be greatly beneficial to the Support class.
Heavy is one of the two classes you will get as your first side characters. The heavy comes packing with a mulcher cannon and is capable of spitting out a lot of lead and annihilating large groups of enemies with explosive rounds.
The heavy class are your premiere stationary defenders. They are vital to protecting the rest of your squad.
The heavy class relies a lot on positioning, as they depend on the ‘Anchored‘ status to provide additional accuracy and damage.
Moving around will disrupt any stacks of the ‘Anchored’ status and will limit the amount of damage the heavy can deal.
Item mods and perks that increase accuracy and give extra ammo to the cannon are recommended, regardless of what specialization the heavy takes.
This class is what Sid Redburn starts as, bringing a variety of shock and awe to the field. Vanguards serve as your rough and tough front-line brawlers, being the closest thing to tanks Gears Tactics has to offer.
By default they will have passive health regeneration, but can specialize into becoming more tough, distracting enemies or ramming into enemies, killing them with the bayonet.
Vanguards come equipped with the Retro Lancer, which is similar to the Support’s lancer but less deadly at range. To counter the reduced range, the Vanguard class has the added benefit of a bayonet charge.
The bayonet charge lets the Vanguard close the gap between them and the enemy, allowing them to be more economical with action points, in comparison to the Support class.
All sorts of gear will help the Vanguard out, with Health interacting with the class’ passive the most.
Perhaps the class with the least amount of variety, the Sniper is very good at what it is meant for.
You can branch out to deal immense damage with critical strikes or aim more into sustaining fire with free reloads and movement bonuses. Thankfully Gears Tactics is very lenient with resetting skills, so we highly recommend you try out which one you prefer.
Accuracy mods are a top priority for the Sniper class. These come in the form of scopes and stocks, which typically increase accuracy.
However, you should be wary of stocks that trade damage for accuracy, as you do not want to trade one-shot kill damage for increased accuracy.
Scout is the other class, alongside Heavy, which you will get early on.
Scouts have the unique ability to slip past enemies unnoticed using stealth, making them great objective hunters as well as flankers.
The Scout class is also exceptionally powerful if specialized into the Commando build.
Their poor range and limited ammo make them very situational. Scout specializations focus mostly on finishing off enemies, throwing frag grenades, and controlling the objective.
Evasion and movement speed bonuses along with item perks that increase grenade damage or radius are the optimal choice for the Scout class.
When we say the best specializations, we refer to the specializations that bring the most value to the table.
This includes being able to do something special that benefits your team in big ways, such as killing enemies very quickly or becoming unstoppable.
Starting off with the Support, as almost every story mission requires you have a support character aka Gabe Diaz.
The most powerful skill-tree for Support is the ‘Paragon‘ build. It effectively lets you cheat the game by making a teammate shoot up to 6 times with a damage boost to top it off. This and a lot more on top of that make it a fantastic build.
Branching out into Strategist can be a good option and building a combat medic or a surgeon can also be acceptable alternatives as they can be useful in boss fights and healing up your squad on slow missions.
Empowered & Teamwork
Empowered initially allows you to sacrifice 1 AP to give a teammate an extra AP. Its true power starts to shine once you invest some points into the Paragon tree, letting you trade 1 AP for 2 AP and giving a +20% damage boost.
Teamwork can be combined with Empowered on the same ally. This allows for any kills they make under Teamwork to give the Support class an extra AP, letting you effectively refund the AP spent.
For example: Empowering a Heavy in a good position will give him 5 AP, letting him shoot 5 times, each time increasing his accuracy and damage by 10-15%.
If the Heavy kills 3 enemies and you also used Teamwork on the same Heavy, he gives the Support 3 AP back, leaving you with 4 AP, allowing you to shoot 4 times yourself.
Lock and Load
Lock and Load is a situational skill that can be a very powerful ability if used right.
It does exactly what it implies; it makes everyone in your team reload their weapons, regardless of how much ammo they have left, alongside a disgusting +50% damage increase for that turn.
It’s also a very economical skill, allowing you to reload everyone’s guns with fresh mags at the price of 1 AP, instead of reloading separately for a total of 4 AP.
Shock Trooper (Vanguard)
The Shock Trooper tree seems to be the only useful specialization for the Vanguard, as it offers some good crowd control while being the only way to remove buffs from enemies.
Regardless of what specialization you take, the Vanguards place is in the thick of the fight, roaring and stabbing grubs with their trusty bayonet.
The Intimidate skill is available early on and is very useful right out the box.
It allows you to shove enemies out in the open and remove their overwatch by shouting at them, making them easy targets for the rest of your team.
The radius of Intimidate is large, but the overall range is quite short.
Some enemies will gain crazy buffs, such as grenadiers taking less damage when they become enraged.
Using the Demoralize skill on them will remove any buffs they have, making them much easier to take down.
Breach works similarly to Intimidate as it has a large radial effect.
However, the difference is that instead of making enemies easier to kill, Breach gives free action points for taking down any enemies that are affected by it.
This can be combined with the Support to shell out even more action points for the squad.
The Commando build is probably the most overpowered specialization in Gears Tactics.
While the Gnasher shotgun itself is rather situational, frag grenades are definitely not. Frag grenades are the only reliable means of shutting down E-holes and wrecking enemy hard-points.
Commandos are also adept at disrupting enemy overwatch by using Cloak and Sprint, then throwing a frag grenade.
The above-mentioned combo is much more effective in comparison to the Vanguard as they have to get within 10 meters of the enemy in order to disrupt them. This leaves them vulnerable to getting shot by overwatch fire.
Sprint might seem fairly basic and useless at first, especially since it’s not capable of turning around corners or going up ladders. However, its true power arises from it being able to save you valuable action points when moving around.
You should use Sprint to close in on objectives quickly and overcome an overwhelming situation with rapid repositioning to throw or plant grenades.
Just as it says on the tin; a Free Cloak.
Anything that relieves you from spending precious Action Points is a great bonus.
The Proximity Mine can seem worthless at a quick glance as everyone is able to plant frag grenades if they have them equipped.
However in the heat of a fight, being able to safely toss over a Proximity Mine could be the difference between fighting 6 enemies or 12.
This is probably the best ability when it comes to shutting down E-holes, since all you need to do is throw the mine directly on top of the shaking ground where the E-hole will be! This will render the hole and its contents obsolete.
Frag Grenade Mastery & Quick Swap
These two passive skills can easily provide you with a frag grenade to throw every turn. Frag Grenade Mastery reduces the grenade and proximity mine cool-down by 2 turns.
The Quick Swap skill reduces that cool-down even further by 1 turn, if you kill an enemy by shooting them.
Considering how incredibly powerful grenades and mines are, these two skills can give you a massive advantage.
Demolition Expert effectively turns you into a ghost, as throwing or planting grenades no longer breaks your stealth cloak.
It also reduces any damage taken from explosives, making it slightly safer if you decide to execute some weird bomb related shenanigans.
A key weakness of the Scout class are Tickers, suicidal critters that blow up on death. This passive skill drastically reduces the threat posed by Tickers.
Despite their name, Defenders are good on the offensive as well. You just have to do it defensively by locking down enemies with indiscriminate overwatch.
They also bring in some insane crowd control, letting the rest of your team do whatever they want.
The Heavy skills are somewhat scattered so you are not bound to just a single skill tree.
The Explosive Shot turns enemies into grenades if killed with this skill.
This makes it incredibly useful for mopping up a group of survivors or weak enemies such as Wretches and Tickers, that might be standing close together.
Suppressing Fire cancels enemy overwatch and locks down their movement by just shooting at them.
This effect has an area of effect comparable to a grenade. It is an excellent skill to use when your Scout is unable to get in close or if your Sniper misses a shot.
Slayer & Quick Overwatch
This skill combination adds a whopping +50% increase in damage that also stacks with any gun modifications and Support effects like Lock and Load to your Overwatch fire.
In order to unlock Slayer, you will have to unlock the Quick Overwatch skill first.
The Quick Overwatch gives you an extra action point for the Heavy to shoot in their overwatch.
The Redeploy skill is almost a must have for your Heavy have in order to beat boss fights.
It gives you plenty of Action Points in order to reposition and retain the bonus damage from ‘Anchor’ stacks.
This skill can easily mean an extra 500 damage from saving up enough ‘Anchor’ stacks.
There is an argument to be made for prioritizing the Hunter tree, but ultimately the Stalker tree offers a bit more team utility with crowd control (CC) and the ability to reliably knock down enemies for your team to execute.
The Hunter tree is a bit more punishing early on, as you may lack any accuracy bonuses from gear or weapon mods. Of course you can re-spec for the build later on once you have the necessary equipment.
Use this to ring the enemies heads in and deny them a turn.
The Concussion Shot can really save your bacon when a dangerous enemy like a Theron Guard or Kantus decides to ruin your day with their explosive weapons or buffs.
Impact Rounds add reliable knock down effects to all of your shots. This includes pushing enemies out of cover, making them easier for your team to mop up without using any precious frag grenades.
Being able to disrupt enemy Overwatch with regular shots is a blessing when multiple Disciples decide to pin your team down. This is why a passive skill like Impact Rounds is a great addition to your arsenal.
Chain Shot & Ultimate Shot
Chain Shot makes your Sniper deadly efficient. Action points are refunded if you land your shots, letting you rain down a lot of pain.
Ultimate Shot is the same, except it refunds action points if you kill or down an enemy in the same turn instead.
Run and Gun
Run and Gun is a good skill that gives you +50% more damage the first shot you make after moving. It can activate every turn reliably.
Ultimately, you can make almost any class and build combination work, as long as you understand your team and the mission.
You can get far with just guns and grenades if you are tactful. However, when trying to tackle the harder difficulties, good planning and skill-usage becomes crucial.