- The SPARK troop is mechanical, and cannot be healed during a mission by medikits.
- The SPARK will not heal automatically, and must be staffed in Engineering to repair after battles.
- Also, SPARK armor provides healing when a mission is completed. The tier of the armor indicates how many HP will be healed (+2 HP for second tier and +4 HP for third tier). For example, if a SPARK which is damaged by 5 completes a mission, only 3 HP need to be repaired to fully restore the SPARK.
- The SPARK also cannot equip any Personal Combat Sims, or apply any weapon upgrades to its weapon. (In the War of the Chosen expansion, you can apply weapon upgrades to the primary weapon.)
- While the SPARK's Bit can hack enemies and objectives, it is much less effective at it compared to a Specialist. Even with a third-rank Bit, the SPARK's hacking skill is still only 5.
- A SPARK can climb buildings and raised terrain at any point, without needing a ladder/vine-wall.
- With max-rank gear, a SPARK can have up to 4 passive armor, making it the most heavily armored troop available to XCOM.
- Similar to the MEC troopers of 'Enemy Within,' the SPARK cannot use cover. Cover still works to keep the unit hidden in concealment though.
- Similar to a Grenadier with the Shredder ability, a SPARK's basic shots will shred enemy armor.
- SPARKs do not require rest after battles in War Of The Chosen, which can be taken into consideration if all soldiers are consistently tired or otherwise unavailable.
Ability Comparisons Edit
The two paths, Future Combat and War Machine have abilities that compliment different playstyles. Future Combat is geared towards using the SPARK as a damage sponge and overall supportive unit, while War Machine is focused on making the SPARK a damage dealer focused on close combat.
Bulwark vs Adaptive Aim
The SPARK has similar accuracy levels to a grenadier, with AIM scores potentially in the 70s even at max rank. Adding in the defense of late game enemies, cover, and the inability to buff the SPARK's accuracy with either PCS or a scope weapon upgrade, a SPARK can often find itself shooting with a 60-something percent accuracy. Coupled with a SPARK's inability to use cover, the extra armor of Bulwark will probably give you more mileage. That said, if coupled with a Grenadier's Holo Targeting, the potential damage output and armor shred of Adaptive Aim is very significant.
Rainmaker vs Strike
- Rainmaker is similar to a Grenadier's Volatile Mix, though a SPARK cannot use grenades and so has its effectiveness diminished. Additionally, it will only see one use per mission due to the limited ammo of heavy weapons. However, the additional range bonus coupled with the heavy weapons can lead to a very significant template that can deal high guaranteed damage to multiple targets, while also shredding armor.
- Strike can be used multiple times per mission (with a 3-turn cooldown), and has increased accuracy over its rifle shots. With an active Overdrive, and access to Nova, Strike will also be the most effective means of getting your SPARK into Nova range. Unlike the Ranger class, however, a SPARK can do little to mitigate return enemy fire once its put itself close to enemy pods, so use with caution.
Intimidate vs Wrecking Ball
Intimidate will be usually preferred, unless building the SPARK for melee combat.
- Intimidate has a 25-55% (depending on chassis rank) chance to cause enemy units that target the SPARK to panic (whether they successfully hit the SPARK unit or not). This is useful when using the SPARK as a damage sponge, as enemies that target it may panic and shoot their allies or otherwise waste their turn.
- Wrecking Ball's can be used to create new entrances into/out of buildings. While manually determining the movement path of the SPARK, Wrecking Ball can potentially destroy the cover of several Advent troops. This ability will often put you extremely close to enemy troops, and so is best used in conjunction with Strike and Nova.
Repair vs Bombard
- Repair is the only means of restoring a SPARK's health during a mission. Because a SPARK cannot take cover, it will often be the target of enemy fire- especially if you use the SPARK's Sacrifice, Bulwark, or Strike abilities regularly. Being able to restore health thus gives your SPARK an effective additional 12 HP, which is significant.
- Bombard only deals 3-7 damage in a 3 tile radius, and does not shred enemy armor. However, it destroys terrain, and can be used at any range (though not in the Fog of War) with 100% accuracy. An infinite-range grenade gives the SPARK a lot of potential utility, especially against clustered enemy units in cover.
Channeling Field vs Hunter Protocol
- Channeling Field offers an additional +1 damage whenever any enemy unit targets the SPARK (that stacks with successive targeting). On the upside, the SPARK has a higher chance of landing this extra damage (compared to Hunter Protocol, on a per-proc basis) due to units having higher accuracy during the active turn. However, in order to maximize use of this skill the SPARK a) needs to be targeted multiple times, and b) needs to land that shot. Taking hits is generally avoided as much as possible, and the SPARK has a low accuracy, which means that Channeling Field may often end up not doing much.
- With the already low AIM skill of a SPARK, Hunter Protocol will miss as often as not. However, with a full clip, Hunter Protocol can potentially land a shot on each member of a 3-unit pod as it is revealed. On average, the SPARK will get a free shot on at one member of newly-revealed pods. This skill will generally trigger more often than Channeling Field in a mission, and therefore potentially have more of a per-mission impact, despite the lower accuracy.
Sacrifice vs Nova
- Sacrifice has a lot of potential utility, especially against AoE damage. If used to prevent an AoE, the SPARK will only take one hit, even if protecting multiple allied troops from the blast/psionic damage. Against physical shooting, the SPARK can have 6 armor, which can drastically reduce incoming damage. Coupled with a Specialist troop's Aid Protocol, the SPARK can have an additional 60 defense, which adds a significant chance for enemy troops to miss standard shots. As a protective ability, Sacrifice is unmatched by any other ability available to XCOM (potentially excepting a Psionic trooper's Stasis).
- Because Nova has unlimited uses (and does not require an action), Nova can deal up to a potential 24 damage as a blast AoE in a turn. With Overdrive activated, an originally-full-health, and two Repair skills, Nova can do up to a maximum of 30 damage with a single unit's turn, making it the highest potentially damaging ability available to XCOM. Additionally, as it does not cost any actions, enemies will not react to a Nova, regardless as to how many times you trigger it. However, Nova has a range of only 3 units around the SPARK, requiring you to be almost in melee range before you can use it, and so is best used in conjunction with the Strike ability.