Gears Tactics guide: Best class builds, gear, weapon mods, and combat tips

Gears Tactics Combat Layout
Gears Tactics Combat Layout (Image credit: Windows Central)

Gears Tactics is a turn-based strategy title set in the popular Gears of War universe. Following strategist Gabe Diaz, you're tasked with bringing down a high-value target known as Ukkon, a Locust scientist responsible for some of the horde's most biomechanical war beasts.

With a class-based soldier structure, you can make some seriously devastating builds if you know what to look for. Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your soldiers, and achieve victory.

Related: Gears Tactics review

Gears Tactics General Class Tips

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Succeeding at Gears Tactics combat is primarily about knowing the different monster behaviors, and knowing what your classes are capable of. Getting additional action points through abilities or executions can seriously help you steal the momentum from your enemies, while certain weapon mods coupled with overwatch can ensure enemies are locked down and interrupted. The basic class structure is as follows.

Vanguard: Vanguards are tanky characters that regenerate some health after every turn. They're designed for close-mid range combat using their Lancer Bayonet charge, and lose accuracy at longer ranges quite quickly. Vanguards can also debuff enemies in close range with potent abilities like Intimidate and Breach, helping the rest of your squad to mop up.

Support: Support soldiers are your medics, effectively, and they operate best hanging at the back. In the later stages of the game, they don't deal particularly great damage, although they can execute many enemies instantly, or at half health using their Lancer's Chainsaw ability. Support classes are all about healing and buffing allies with extra action points, and their long-range overwatch coupled with knockback mods can be used to interrupt and protect your allies.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Sniper: As you might expect, Snipers are all about sniping. Equipped with a Longshot rifle, Snipers can be specialized into long-range disruptive roles or insane damage output with high crits. If you allow Snipers to get flanked by melee range-oriented enemies, they can die incredibly quickly. Keeping the Sniper out of harm's way is key to maximizing its potential, but you can quite easily keep enemies away from you by instagibbing them too.

Scouts: Scouts are a stealthy class that excel at weaving into enemy lines, planting Frag grenade traps, and blowing up large groups of enemies. At close ranges, they can become incredibly dangerous with the shotgun too. They can be incredibly squishy, though, requiring support in some situations. Always plan your escape route before letting a Scout get too close to harm's way.

Heavy: Heavy soldiers wield a Mulcher gattling gun and can devastate groups, providing they're allowed to remain stationary. Each attack with the Heavy grants it an "Anchored" accuracy and damage bonus, which can be further extended to provide health or defense with additional skill points. The Heavy is a bit situational, and excels at certain mission types where you're able to remain stationary, like the supply runs.

Best Gears Tactics class builds and gear (so far)

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Gears Tactics soldiers can be customized with additional skills and talents, selected from a grid with four corner specialties. There aren't enough talent points to select everything, so specializing your soldiers into specific roles is typically ideal.

Some specs compliment each other more than others, and there are simply hundreds, maybe thousands of possible combinations you can potentially play around with. And honestly, experimenting is half of the fun.

To that end, here are some of the best builds we found in our initial playthrough, to give you some pointers on how to get started.

Vanguard Berserker

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Let's call this one the Vanguard Berserker, since it revolves around getting up close and personal with mobs, either to clean up squishier enemies with close range attacks, or to disrupt enemies hiding in cover. For Vanguards, I typically went for tanky armor that would help them survive close-quarters-combat encounters. The Bloodbath skill, found on some chestpieces, is a good one to use, as it grants the Vanguard additional health after making kills. Self-Repair on Trooper boots is also a good pick. I'd say the Vanguard is less gear-dependant than some other classes, so choose items that fit your chosen playstyle.

The crucial skills for this build, and how to use them, are as follows.

Intimidate: Is a critically powerful skill, with a wide range of uses. Penetrating through walls and cover, Intimidate sets down a large area of effect which forces monsters into a knockback state, pushing them out of cover. This can be an incredible tool for breaking Locust overwatch radii, and interrupting enemy snipers who have your colleagues pinned down. It also plants a +30 per cent damage debuff on any affected enemy, which stacks with other damage bonuses from other team mates. Intimidate can also knock enemies into Proximity Mines, and it can be useful for positioning enemies for other area attacks in that vein.

Breach: Breach is a little harder to use in practice, owing to it's small range, but when you're able to get it off, it can be devastating. Breach puts a powerful debuff on affected enemies, granting action points and health to whoever kills that mob.

Bayonet Charge: This is a great tool for both mobility and clean up. Bayonet Charge lets you rush into an enemy (providing you have a clear line of attack), instantly killing any mob that doesn't have strikes of opportunity lined up. The reticle will appear in red around a mob if they will counter-attack beforehand, and of course, charging into an overwatch field is generally a bad idea. This should be used after landing an Intimidate to break overwatch fields. You can also grab other talents that grant additional action points after using it, making for great combos. It also stacks with Breach.

Scout Grenadier

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In what is arguably my favorite, and most overpowered-feeling build, is the Scout "Grenadier." This build revolves around some specific talents and armor mods that reduce the cooldown on grenades. Grenades in general are arguably overpowered, since they interrupt enemies from using overwatch, they can knock enemies out of a cover state, and also deal truly tremendous amounts of damage.

This build revolves around a couple of key skills, but also an armor piece which drives down the cooldown of Frag Grenades to one per turn. I also make sure to adopt as many Stealth-enhancing skills as possible to help this squishy Scout build escape harm's way. Longer Stealth also lets you set up Proximity Mines without losing cover. When in Stealth, enemies behave as though you aren't there, making for good flanking moves too.

Frag Grenade Mastery: Is a passive that reduces the cooldown of Frag Grenade attacks from five turns to three.

Utility Belt: Is a leg piece item that further reduces the cooldown of Frag Grenades. To grab some you'll have to get lucky with the game's (annoying) loot crate system, but they come in rare, epic, and legendary varieties.

Proximity Mine: Gives you an additional grenade toss that sits still until it detects movement. Movement can come in the form of enemy mobility, but also knockback skills. You could set a Proximity Mine down, and use Intimidate or a gun with knockback mods to trigger the mine as well.

Heavy Demolitionist

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This is similar in style to the Scout build above, emphasizing explosions and grenades. There's simply so much utility that comes with explosives that they're hard to overlook in general.

The Heavy Demolitionist gets its very own Explosive Shot, while also decreasing the cooldown of regular grenades. Redeploy is also incredibly useful for general mobility, while also giving you access to those pesky out-of-reach gear crates that might be scattered around the map.

Explosive Shot: Causes a targeted enemy to explode on death, dealing a huge amount of damage and causing knockback to any mob caught in the blast radius. This can be great for clearing swarms of Wretch enemies in chokepoints, who almost always die rapidly.

At The Ready: Is a useful passive that increases all of your explosive damage by 25 per cent, and feeds into Frag Grenades and Explosive Shot nicely.

Boom Grenade: Is an ability that lets you place the Shellshocked debuff on enemies hit by your grenades, decreasing enemy movement speed and accuracy.

Opportunistic: Reduces the cool down on your grenades every time you land a kill, which can provide some great momentum.

Utility Belt: Now you can use a Utility Belt on this build to increase the frequency at which you can use Frag Grenades, but I tend to go with something a little tankier instead. Unlike the Scout, the Heavy cannot easily escape enemies when in close range, typically ideal for using Frag Grenades, so ensuring you have a few defensive abilities as part of your build is pretty important.

Crit Sniper

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The Sniper class is rather epic in Gears Tactics, with a fair bit of versatility. Although up close they can die incredibly quickly (and get an accuracy penalty for close-quarters fighting) keeping them at range will see them become devastating combatants. This build revolves around getting critical headshots, which can put enemies into an execute state very easily. For gearing, I generally hunt for anything that boosts crit chance and accuracy, since critical hits are crucial for this build to work properly.

Lucky Strike: Lucky Strike grants a stacking crit chance bonus every time you land a critical hit, which you can control using other skills.

Spree: Grants a 25 per cent chance per crit to gain two extra actions.

Extra Round: Grants free bullets for each critical hit.

Precision Shot: Boosts your critical strike chance and accuracy by 30 per cent on this turn.

Sleek Bolt: Is a Sniper Rifle mod that grants additional crit chance. The Legendary version also boosts crit damage, making it very powerful.

Holographic Scope: Is another Sniper Rifle mod that grants a 40 per cent crit chance bonus, until your first critical hit. Keeping this shot in stock for when your sniper is properly positioned can easily feed into Spree, if you're lucky, allowing you to start off a big chain of headshots.

Precision Scope: I tend to use the accuracy boosting Precision Scope personally, which provides a flat per cent accuracy bonus. You can't crit if you don't land a hit.

Surgeon Support

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Sometimes a more aggressive playstyle is warranted, but if your group is tanky enough, playing at a slower pace utilizing heavy heals from a Support squaddie is a good option. I generally use Support primarily as healers, but also interrupters using Impact Barrels and overwatch shots to keep enemies at bay.

Keeping them in the fray with the Vanguard was generally a good play, as long as you're using some of the tankier armor pieces like the Self-Repair Trooper Boots or the health-boosting Hardened Trooper Helmet. The Ranger Kit also comes with the Blitz passive, giving you additional action points if you haven't taken a shot that turn, which can be handy if you need to do a lot of healing in a single turn.

Stim: Is a single-target heal that can keep your pals alive in a pinch.

Master Scope (Expertise): Is a Lancer weapon mod that reduces all of your cooldowns by two, making it a great option for a healer.

Stim Grenade Master: Reduces the cooldown of Gabe's Stim Grenade by two, and stacks with the Master Scope for some spammable revivication.

Painkiller: Found at the top of the Surgeon tree, Painkiller grants a 30 per cent damage reduction buff on any ally hit by your healing skills. This stacks with the group healing skills too, and can be incredibly powerful.

Countless playstyles

There are tons of potential playstyles in Gears Tactics, and we're really only scratching the surface here. This is what I used to take down the campaign, which by the end, almost felt a tad overpowered. Thankfully, Gears lets you tailor your difficulty through Hard and Insane modes, if you want the added challenge.

If you come up with any cool character interactions and builds, let us know in the comments!

Related: Read our Gears Tactics full review!

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!