During my last game, my troops were whisked off to Newfoundland and forced to kiss a cod. Oh yeah - they also had to deal with a whale infested with Chryssalids.

During the mission, you have a limited time to move your troops from one end of the map to another, while an apparently unlimited number of Chryssalids spawn from the husk of a whale . This is quite unlike any other mission in the game and I found that my existing tactics just did not work.

What tactics do work, as far as ensuring you can move across the battlefield in less than 8 turns, while not being impaled on the tusks of a Chryssalid?

More Information: I don't know if this mission appears at the same time every game. I encountered it in month 3 when I had laser rifles, but no upgraded armour, though I did have level 1 MEC Troopers. The majority of my troops were around Lieutenant level.

  • its random, appearing early on makes it really tough. I've encountered it before with only basic guns and i've encountered it with full plasma
    – l I
    Commented Mar 19, 2014 at 22:39

12 Answers 12


It's been a few months, but here's how I recall beating this part on Classic difficulty.

I grouped all my units up at the pier and walked them down the long pier from the Chryssalids' ship to the rescue zone in the following manner:

  • First, I split them into two groups of approximately equal strength.
  • I walked one group half of their maximum walking distance down the pier, and attacked/overwatched with the other group.
  • The next turn, I ran the full distance down the pier with the second group, while attacking/overwatch with the first.
  • The next turn, I ran the full distance down the pier with the first group, while attacking/overwatch with the second.


All the enemies that came after us came down the pier, which was long and open, giving my squad plenty of time to attack them. It helps if you have two snipers with squad-sight, so you can always have a sniper watching your back every turn. It also helps to have an Assault with Tactical Sense and especially Close Combat Specialist, and always keep him in the rear in case any Chryssalids get close enough.

Doing it this way, rather than having each group use at least one action moving each turn, allows you to take advantage of snipers with squad-sight, as well as Heavy with Bullet Swarm. You average about 1/2 each unit's max movement length (rather than 3/4ths), which was still enough for me to make it to the rescue zone on time.

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    just to add, the standard going into cover at the end of the turn is useless so make sure you always move to the maximum.
    – l I
    Commented Mar 19, 2014 at 23:35
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    So, leapfrog your way back to the Skyranger. I can see that working.
    – au revoir
    Commented Mar 20, 2014 at 4:39
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    Just a piece of insight: On normal, your full move (dashing) is longer than the chryssalids' normal move, so if you keep running, they can't attack you (as long as you have somewhere to run and they don't surround you). Sure, the one soldier that went to enable the ship's responder might croak thanks to one chryssalid jumping up from the ship's hold, but that's still better than the whole squad.
    – Humungus
    Commented Jun 23, 2014 at 11:55

One further note about this scary mission: Once you trigger the airstrike and have only 8 turns to get back, certain objects in the middle of the map will burst into Chrysalids on each turn. However, they don't do this if they've been destroyed. So what you can do is, after killing the first few zombies and Chrysalids, don't approach the ship yet. Bring at least one MEC, and spend a while using Collateral Damage to blow up anything that might house a Chrysalid.

But indeed, as z- mentions, if the mission will be too tough for you (as it was for me) then you can just skip it. It's not like Canada actually gets overrun with a plague of thousands of Chrysalids like it really would if you left that village alone.


I typically do this mission for the experience. Have very rarely felt the need to skip it, even on I/I, but lasers and practice help.

My biggest piece of advice is to be careful when you activate the whale. If you are very cautious on approach (either a grapple from a ways outside the opening, or running along the outside rail on top of the ship) you can avoid activating the whale until you've basically turned on the transmitter. There should be only one soldier activating the transmitter, preferably either an Assault for Run-and-Gun, or Support with Sprinter. Or, alternatively, a rookie you don't care about...

The rest of the crew stays back a bit (the closest they should get is the hut on the docks), while your bait sets the transponder. Once that's done, he double-moves back toward the rest of the crew (can run-and-gun once if an assault). The rest of the crew either single-moves and shoots or double-move if no targets are in sight. You should be able to make it back relatively quickly.

It's also a great idea to put a squadsight sniper on the boat-facing corner of the initial roof, but that requires him/her to wear Skeleton Armor, which I often don't have for this mission. If you've got it, that's where you sniper is to stay. If you don't, you can put one in the "booths" (they have ladders) directly past that first building.


If you have 2-3 MEC troopers on your squad, I suggest using one to guard the front of the pack and using the other to support the rear. With the MECs to act as buffers, you could use human soldiers' full move and place the MECs on overwatch.


Blueraja 's answer is good from a tactical perspective. Strategically, I believe that this mission can appear at any time, so my advice is not to take it unless the majority of your squad can comfortably one-shot a chrysalid. That means at least laser weapons, and high enough ranks that their aim is good.

I've only had this mission pop late in the game, with a high-ranking squad with plasma weapons, and in these circumstances it's been trivial. If the mission appears early in the game, I would just ignore it.

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    sometimes its tough to ignore as it offers a juicy global panic reduction, thus removing the need to launch some satellites if you have panicked countries. As long as its achieveable I'd probably go after it and use a rookie as bait or something along those lines.
    – l I
    Commented Mar 20, 2014 at 11:58
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    @z- I could have sworn it said the reward was just a panic reduction for Canada, which was irrelevant at that point in my game.
    – au revoir
    Commented Mar 20, 2014 at 12:44
  • @JasonBerkan you might be right. In that case, unless canada is panicking its definately not worth it as you don't even get any corpses out of the mission.
    – l I
    Commented Mar 20, 2014 at 12:48
  • Yep, the panic reduction is only in Canada, which does make the mission pretty useless. Lots of EXP, but balance that against the risk of losing lots of soldiers.
    – AlexC
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 14:50

I just saw this mission for the first time before laser weapons are available, and it sure is mean. I'm playing the Long War mod, but this strategy applies to the standard game as well: battle scanners. Lots of battle scanners. In order to fight chryssalids safely, you need to see them coming. Also, battle scanners grant Squadsight, so your snipers can shoot them down a long way off.

Other than that, there are (I think) 5 patrols of 3 full-grown chryssalids wandering around the map, plus about a dozen young chryssalids spawning from assorted sharks and the whale. You just have to get lucky and not get 3 of the patrols all at once.


I lost 2 people on this mission, including my namesake character, who just happened to be a captain level heavy, and a lieutenant level sniper, so I can teach you what not to do.

First, you want to move quite close knit, moving some units, preferably a sniper and support/assault to cover the higher ground beside the buildings and move the rest of your team into cover on the docks, moving slowly as you go, making sure to overwatch often. A zombie should appear at the high ground, so pray your sniper and support are accurate. As you move down, make sure to note all the sharks, they ALL spawn chrysalids, mny advice would be remove the one nearest to the spawn, it can burst out and be at the extraction zone in one turn, that's how one of my men died.

Don't sprint often as you will rely on overwatch to save your soldiers. head for the high ground and the anchor chain at the front of the ship and have everyone cover and overwatch at the cover on the deck, moving them no further than the beginning of the gap in the deck. Next run your fastest unit to the bridge, making sure to overwatch so they aren't hit by any chrysalids that spawn (one at a time at first) until they are with the rest of your squad.

Next job is to run. Don't stop to shoot, just flat out sprint to the extraction point. Chrysalids will have to sprint to catch you and as such can't hit you, and since they're melee, cover means nothing, just run. Rockets are great for dispatching groups of chrysalids, as are mechs.

Hopefully you should survive this mission, but to be safe, take laser rifles and carapace armour, it is very helpful.


Man, I feel your pain. I got this mission in the 3rd month 1st play through on Classic difficulty. At that time, I got 2 satellites, no laser weapon, no advanced armor, no Mech, no gene implants, but I need the panic reduction. I was able to have a squad of 6:

  1. Chinese ex-con Heavy Captain from another council mission
  2. Support Captain with sprinter
  3. Assault Lieutenant with free reaction fire within 4 tiles
  4. Assault Lieutenant with free fire within 4 tiles
  5. Support Coperal
  6. Squadie Sniper (No share vision, only headshot)

I got 2 scopes, 2 light vests (hp+2). My squads in general need 3 fires to kill a Chrysalid. I absolutely got nothing at all against those monsters. I cannot even destroy the dead whales. But I made it out with all of my squads.

Here is my strategy:

  1. Save and Reload 100 times.
  2. Nothing to say before you got on that liner.
    1. Once you got on that liner, stop behind the over bridge so that you do not trigger any enemy response as well as the transmitter objective.
    2. Set two of your good shots in front of the overhead bridge to overwatch.
    3. Move the other 4 in tight group to the transmitter from the right side of the overhead bridge. This will minimize the enemy response from the dock side. Out of these 4 people, you need a Gun and Run Assault to activate the transmitter. Your entire life depends on Overwatching. The tight formation will protect you. My Free Reaction fire Assault, and Free Fire Assault definitely helped me a lot. In general, I have around 6 reaction fires to take care of the 2 Chrysalid spawned per round. This will lasts for about 3 rounds.
  3. Once the transmitter is in one Run and Gun distance, use your Run and Gunner to do the job. The other 3 squad mates keep overwatching and falling back.
  4. Once the transmitter is triggered, you have 8 turns to evacuate. Your 4 squad mates group will have to slowly move back to the other overwatchers while keep overwatching themselves in tight formation. Once your 6 squad mates get together. You do not overwatch anymore.
  5. Run like hell. There will be new Chrysalid to intercept you on your way. Try to stay together around these places, rely on Free Reaction fire and Free fire from your Assaults. Try to make your run the most efficient so that the fastest guy run 1st. Leave one or two of your strongest dude with 9 to 10 hp in company with your slowest dude to block the Chrysalids' way at the tail of your escape. This will prevent the Chrysalids from blacking and slowing you down. I got hit twice in my escape, but nobody died. This is a slow escape so that you will be able to pull out in the last second.

I made it out the first time playing this game in Classic difficulty with no high tech. You can do it as well. Bloody game developers!


Chryssalids are formidable, but they have two major exploitable weaknesses. First, a soldier flying with Archangel armor can't be attacked by them, and second, they are unable to use cover and thus register as exposed by the game.

Thus, the expediency of a Colonel-level Sniper with the In The Zone ability (which makes killing an exposed alien a free action) as well as the judicious use of Archangel armor makes this mission much more enjoyable.

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    It's quite impossible to have Archangel armour by month 3. If you get this mission later on, this is a viable plan, though.
    – au revoir
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 19:10

Just played this one for the first time. Had only laser rifle upgrades (no laser sniper), but had a crack-shot Major sniper, two assaults (one with rapid fire), two heavies both with bullet swarm, and a sprinter support. Really wasn't that tough, just tricky. I put my sniper on the really tall boat at the opposite end of the dock from the whaling ship, where she could see nearly the whole area and got many, many squadsight hits. After clearing the zombies and one group of chryssalids, I parked the assaults/heavies on a single roof in the market, then ran around with my support triggering the other chryssalid groups and drawing them out (always reserve second move on the support for opening up the distance and use as much space as possible going around corners). Repositioned the killers onto the dock shack near the whaling ship, then again used the support to trigger the whale spawns (going just far enough in to start them, then hauling back out to the firing line). Was a near thing, once needing massed grenade fire when a whole knot of baddies got by overwatch and I lost LOS, but it worked. After running the whale dry, I repositioned all the gunners on the cargo container nearest the big building (and the LZ) so all could fire down the length of the lower dock. Then I triggered the ship's transponder with the support and legged it out. He made it out in plenty of time. Timer was on four when the squad dusted off, so the comments above about having to wait until it expires are incorrect or that bug has been fixed.


I do this naturally on normal. Basically the front soldier move slower and do over watch. The soldiers closer to chrysalist on the back dash all the way to the front.

I think if we just keep running it would work but once in a while there are some crysalids in front.

Another thing I could try is to have most troops already in front and one guy activate the beacon. That one guy then catch up the rest of the troops while the troops in front kill a few crysalids that's around.

Basically it all comes down naturally to

  1. Those in the back should run as fast as possible
  2. Those in the front should not run too fast so your squads can remain close to each other. Because they got to slow down, might as well shoot.

The numer of cryis that attack you is very small. So it's easy to take them down without losing speed.

If you have 6 squads and 2 is attacking the crysalids, consider that your speed is redeuced by a mere 33% because the 2 that attack crysalids change all the time.


Just one more thing to add. There is an 8 turn timer on the mission's escape phase, but if you get there early (as I regrettably did) , THE MISSION WILL NOT END as you would think. Plan to get there in the nick of time, or your troops may be exposed to chryssallid attacks without many good options (or be able to put up a defense there).

EDIT: This may be a bug

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    I'm pretty certain it ends the moment your entire team is in the evac zone. Commented Feb 21, 2015 at 13:44
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    This is not true in general. Possibly it happened to you. But that was a bug and not general behavior. Have probably played this mission ten tunes, have never sat at exit waiting.
    – Kikanaide
    Commented Apr 5, 2015 at 16:36

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