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Frozen Synapse 2 – The Tactician’s Guide

“A great tactician creates successful plans. A good tactician recognizes the soundness of a plan presented on him. A fair tactician must see the plan succeed before offering approval. Those with no tactical ability at all may never understand or accept it…To those without that ability, those who posses it are a mystery.” – Thrawn

The Tactician’s Guide

So, you wanna be a tactician? Well, there is good news and better news. First, the good news! Even if you consider yourself the weakest of tactical masterminds, you can improve by practicing a system and learning more about the game. Secondly, the better news! This guide will attempt to help you by providing advice in a clear manner for budding tacticians.

The guide will be broken down into short segments for easy digestion.

This guide should help you.

Learn the Critical Actions

There are five critical actions that you should master, and use in all situations. All the other commands are a bit of extra topping on the cake. The guide will breakdown each of these actions, and what you should focus on with them. (Most of the time when I play, I only use these five actions.)


  • Kill-Time is not an selectable action, but it must be considered as one.

When ever a vatform begins shooting there is a required time that the enemy unit must be in-sight and in-range. This is the Kill-Time. Each vatform class has their own Kill-Time, which is effected by Cover, Movement, and Aim. If your vatform is moving it can not shoot as quickly. If your vatform is behind cover the vatform takes longer to kill. If your vatform is using Aim, then they will kill enemies quicker. If the enemy steps into a vatform’s Focus Diamond, then they will kill enemies most quickly. The best way to figure Kill-Time out is to test each situation several times before priming your turn.


  • Positioning is the most obvious and most glossed over part of good tactics.

When you are moving your vatforms. It is important to pay attention to the positioning of your vatforms, and also the positioning of enemy vatforms. Close-Range vatforms should be kept near the front or on a flank. Long-Range vatforms should be far enough back that they cannot get flanked. Explosive vatforms should be moved along side other bullet vatfoms, so they can be used in tandem. If you are out of position a lot of things can go wrong, but when you are in position a lot of things can go right. Don’t clump up because all your guys could die in one grenade, but don’t be to spread out because you will get picked off. There is a balance, and it can be found with practice. Positioning is 55% if the battle.

Focus / Aim

  • The Aim cone will improve Kill-Time, but decease unit movement speed.
  • The Focus is the central point of unit’s Aim cone, and will dramatically improve Kill-Time.
  • The Focus is your best weapon against static defensive positions.

The Focus / Aim command is the little green target button undernear each vatform and waypoint. This button is also used to fire weapons for all Explosive and Area-of-Effect(AoE) vatforms. When you use this command you must decide which part you want to use. You can Focus on spot, or you can Aim to cover the most ground. Sometimes you can effectivly do both. You cannot change your Aim cone with out moving the Focus diamond. You can use the Cancle Aim command to allow your unit to move at a standard speed, but you lose the Aim Kill-Time bonus. You can tell when any vatform is using the Aim cone by the letter C that appears next to the vatform, when they open fire. Additionally, You can tell when a vatform is using the Focus diamond because of the large F that appears next to the vatform in combat, this is the quickest way to kill enemy vatforms with bullet based units. If two vatform’s Focus each other the conflict will likely be that both die, unless one has a class advantage.


  • Duck decreases your vatform’s movement speed, but you can hide behind Cover.

Duck the only way to hide behind Cover. Wall will stop bullets if your vatforms are standing. Cover will not stop bullets if your Vatforms are standing. You must use the Duck command to hide behind cover. Be aware, you will need to issue the Stand command to stop ducking.

‘Continue on Sight’ aka. Sprint

  • Continue on Sight inceases your vatform’s movement speed, but you cannot shoot.

Continue on Sight is the only way to make your Vatfrom stop shooting and sprint, while you are sprinting you cannot shoot. You can use this if you wish to cross an short open space, and it must be done at the fastest possible speed. You can Continue on Sight while standing or ducking, but you must use the Engage on Sight command if you want your vatform to start shooting again.

There is no RNGesus here; there is only Tactics.

Know the Vatforms

The first step, beyond familiarity with the user interface of Frozen Synapse 2, is to understand the capabilities of each vatform. This is a key part of making effective plans in Frozen Synapse. Each unit will be briefly reviewed, and key points will be highlighted about each unit. Vatforms will behave in the exact same way everytime. It should be noted that some units in the city game have extraordinary abilities, but this is beyond the scope of this guide.

Short-Range Vatforms

  • Name: Knife
  • Strengths: Instant Kill-Time, Fastest Unit, Cheap
  • Weaknesses: No range, Easily Shotguned, Dead in Open Ground
  • How to use: Sprint up to enemies and shiv them. Chain-kills are a lot of fun.
  • Video link: TBD
  • Name: Pistol
  • Strengths: Incredibly Fast, Short Range, Cheapest Bullet Unit
  • Weaknesses: Slow Kill-Time, Limited Range, Dead in Open Ground
  • How to use: Use them as a distraction, or use them to kill units that don’t shoot back.
  • Video link: TBD
  • Name: SMG
  • Strengths: Quite Fast, Medium Range, Effective Flanker.
  • Weaknesses: Poor Kill-Time, Loses hard to ARs and Snipers, Weak in Open Ground
  • How to use: 2 or 3 SMGs can tackle most units. Use a SMG to kill units that don’t shoot back.
  • Video link: TBD
  • Name: Shotgun
  • Strengths: Nearly Instant Kill-Time, Master of Short Range, Rather Fast
  • Weaknesses: Dead in Open Ground, Limited Range
  • How to use: These are they guys you send through the door first.
  • Video link: TBD

Mid-Range Bullet Vatforms

  • Name: AR
  • Strengths: Jack-of-All-Trades, Average Kill-Time, Medium Range
  • Weaknesses: Outranged by Snipers, Weak in Open Ground
  • How to use: They are a swiss army knife, good at a lot but master of none.
  • Video link: TBD
  • Name: Scoped AR
  • Strengths: Jack-of-All-Trades, Reliable in Open Ground, Medium-Long Range
  • Weaknesses: Outranged by Snipers, Easily Shotguned
  • How to use: Scopes are a reliable Mid-Long range solution, my favorite unit.
  • Video link: TBD

Long-Range Bullet Vatforms

  • Name: Sniper
  • Strengths: Master of Long Range, Fantastic in Open Ground
  • Weaknesses: Easily Killed at Short Range, Slow, Long Kill-Time
  • How to use: Keep snipers at long ranges, with great views, and no enemy flankers.
  • Video link: TBD
  • Name: Turret
  • Strengths: Master of Long Range, Fantastic in Open Ground, Short Kill-Time
  • Weaknesses: Very Slow, Cannot Shoot While Moving, Must Deploy Before Firing
  • How to use: This deadly unit must be carefully positioned, and given time to set up.
  • Video link: TBD

Explosive Vatforms

  • Name: Minelayer
  • Strengths: Denial of Area, Static Explosive, Damn Mines
  • Weaknesses: Delayed Mine Placement, Cannot Shoot, Single Mine Per Turn.
  • How to use: Mine choke points, as mines explode when a unit or grenade steps on them.
  • Video link: TBD
  • Name: Smoke Launcher
  • Strengths: Provides Mobile Concealment In Any Area!
  • Weaknesses: Cannot Shoot, Delayed Smoke Launch, Single Smoke Per Turn
  • How to use: They provide concealment, allowing you to attack, or fallback in cover.
  • Video link: TBD
  • Name: Grenade Launcher
  • Strengths: Grenading Rooms, Punishing Campers, Covering A Retreat
  • Weaknesses: Cannot Shoot, Delayed Grenade Launch, Single Grenade Per Turn
  • How to use: Dump the nade through the door then attack, or retreat.
  • Video link: TBD
  • Name: Toxic Launcher
  • Strengths: Grenading Rooms, Denying Access, Covering A Retreat
  • Weaknesses: Cannot Shoot, Delaid Gas Launch, Single Grenade Per Turn
  • How to use: Gas lingers after each shot, so do not send your own units into your gas.
  • Video link: TBD
  • Name: Rocket Launcher
  • Strengths: Wall & Cover Destruction, Unlimited Range, Ultimate Overkill
  • Weaknesses: Cannot Shoot, Delayed Rocket Launch, Slow
  • How to use: Rockets can be used to reduce a building to rubble, or as a pin-point solution.
  • Video link: TBD

Area of Effect Vatforms

  • Name: Riot Sheild
  • Strengths: Blocks Line of Sight, Blocks Bullets, Grenades will bounce off the Shield
  • Weaknesses: Does not block rockets, Cannot survive explosions, Gets shot if not deployed.
  • How to use: Use this unit to poke corners safely, and to bounce grenades around corners.
  • Video link: TBD
  • Name: Flamethrower
  • Strengths: Instant Kill-Time, Wide AoE, One of Two AoE (Area of Effect) Units
  • Weaknesses: Short Range AoE, Can’t Move While Firing, Short Delay Before Firing
  • How to use: Place them just shy of where you think the enemy will poke, and let um rip.
  • Video link: TBD
  • Name: Minigun
  • Strengths: Medium Range AoE, Instant Kill-Time, One of Two AoE (Area of Effect) Units
  • Weaknesses: Narrow AoE, Can’t Move While Firing, Short Delay Before Firing
  • How to use: Place them just shy of where you think the enemy will poke, and let um rip.
  • Video link: TBD

Each vatform class is a tool. Use it.

Know the Mission

Generally, all Frozen Synapse missions can be solved by neutralizing all hostiles. If they are dead, they don’t shoot back. It is possible to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in many missions by completeing the mission objectives even if you are out-numbered and out-gunned. Some missions can only be completed by following the objective. There are two kinds of battlefields in Frozen Synapse: Multiplayer, and Singleplayer.

Singleplayer missions are played against the evil AI. There are many unique missions that are part of the city game, but you can expect to find a variety of missions. Some of the most common ones involve the following: keeping a unit alive, killing a unit, holding a zone, capturing a zone, killing everything. Some missions are time sensitive. Some basic tactics will be provided for these mission types.

SINGLEPLAYER – Kill/Protect the Target

The AI will try and make a break for the edge of the battlefield to escape with the target. This is also a strategy you may try as well. If the AI does not think an escape is possible it will camp and wait for you to attack. The AI will attack if it has an advantage.

  • Make sure you do not let the Target escape, if you are the Kill Team.
  • Make sure you keep the Target alive, if you are the Protect Team.
  • Use Smoke to hide the Target / Use Grenades to kill the Target.
  • Breach one exit to escape / Cover all the exits to prevent escape.

SINGLEPLAYER – Capture/Protect the Zone

The defending AI will either camp the zone, or make an attack to try kill your squad, while the attacking AI will always look to sneak a unit into the zone. This mode is requires the defender to not let the attacking unit step into the zone at all.

  • When attacking the zone, explosive and shotguns are your best friend.
  • When defending the zone, flamethowers and miniguns are your best friend.
  • The doors and access points to the zone will be critical.


The AI will do several different things based on how the map is shaped, and what unit you have. Be aware of the options the AI has, and check to see what vatforms are within striking range of your vatforms. This striking range often cuts both ways.

  • Combined tactics – explosives, AoE, and bullets – is much stronger than any single tactic.
  • All actions will resolve the sameway everytime. There is no RNGesus; there is only Tactics.
  • Watch out for enemy vatforms near cover, doors, and corners.

Multiplayer missions are played against other humans. There are six mission types. They are listed as follows: Exterminate, Charge, Dispute, Secure, Hostage, and Bomb Defusal. These mission types will be brokendown, and some suggestions and sound tactics will be provided. It is important to remember that each mission will be unique, and you will be forced to adapt to changing situations in battle. Missions can be either Dark or Light, and you can look in the top right corner for either a black (dark mode) or white(light mode) square.

MULTIPLAYER – Exterminate

Extermination missions will end in eight turns.

  • The last one standing wins.
  • Use your units together, if they get picked off you are at a numbers disadvantage.


Charge missions will end in six turns.

  • Bid how far you think you can sucessfully attack, then either defend or attack.
  • Becareful to watch how far foward the enemy pushes. Watch doors and hallways.


Dispute missions will end in sixteen turns, but after three turns objective will appear.

  • Black Friday shopping madness with guns, and explosives.
  • Try to hold 50% or more of the map before turn three, when the packages drop.


Secure missions will end in six turns.

  • Bid for how much ground you think you can hold, then attack/defend the largest bid.
  • Look for cover that you can safely get to.


Hostage missions will end in twelve turns.

  • One team must help all the civilians to escape, while the other is tyring to kill the civilians.
  • Use your civilians to see where the enemy is hiding.
  • Keep an eye on the civilians, don’t let them out of your sight.

MULTIPLAYER – Bomb Disposal

Bomb Disposal missions will end in sixteen turns.

  • One team is trying to blow stuff up, and hold for 25 seconds before the bomb explodes. Stop them.

One Turn missions are played against other humans. There are three mission types. They are listed as follows: Exterminate, Sitting Duck, Secure. These mission types will be brokendown, and some suggestions and sound tactics will be provided. It is important to remember that each mission will be unique, and you will be forced to adapt to changing situations in battle. One Turn‘s are unique in that you only have one shot at this, so take your time. They are a great way to learn more about MP style games.

ONE TURN – Sitting Duck

Sitting Duck missions will end in one turns.

  • One side has to protect a few civilians that cannot move, while other is attacking.
  • Your score will increase for killing enemey units, and protecting/killing civilians.
  • Use combined unit solutions and solid tactics.

ONE TURN – Secure

Secure missions will end in one turns.

  • Oneside has a single vatform that must be protected/killed.
  • Expect the full focus of the opponant on keeping that unit alive, or on killing that unit.
  • The doors and access points to the target will be critical.

ONE TURN – Exterminate

Exterminate missions will end in one turns.

  • Both sides are trying to kill each other.
  • Watch out for enemy vatforms near cover, doors, and corners.
  • Combined use of explosives, AoE, and bullets is much stronger than any single tactic.

Each mission can be solved by neutralizing everything, or completing the objective.

Understand the Green & Red

A core part of Frozen Synapse 2 is a combination of unit synergy, flanking movements, explosive management and use of the focus diamond. It is important to know what options you have in battle; it is also important to know what options your opponent has in battle. These options are two sides of the same coin. If the player send a bullet vatform through a door, and there is an ambush, then the vatform is likely dead. If the player uses another unit in support of that vatform, then the player has a greater chance of success. An example of this would be that red unit(s) have locked down all the entrances to a room. You can destroy the wall with a rocket, and send your unit(s) into the new opening or whittle them down from a distance. The synergistic effect of explosive units, area of effect units and bullet units in a squad cannot be overstated.

Here are synergistic tactics that can be used to improve your abilities in Frozen Synapse 2:

  • Grenades can be used defensively to cover a retreat.
  • Grenades can be used offensively to clear out stubborn resistance.
  • Grenades can be shot over cover.
  • Grenades can be bounced off walls, shields, and cover.
  • Grenades have a restricted travel distance and explosive radius.
  • Toxic and/or Grenade launchers can deny access through a critical area of the battlefield.
  • Enemies can see grenades when they are fired in dark mode
  • Do not leave your grenadier in the same spot after firing.
  • Friendly explosives will kill your own units.
  • Shields can be used to block line of sight.
  • Shields can deflect rolling grenades, but not rockets or explosions.
  • Shields can safely poke most corners, windows and doors.
  • Smoke launchers are a powerful tool, they can be used to block line of sight.
  • Smoke will stop units outside the smoke from shooting units inside or beyond the smoke.
  • Units inside Smoke cannot shoot outside, but they can shoot enemies inside the smoke.
  • You can use smoke to safely disregard long range bullet units and move across the battlefield.
  • A crouched rocket launcher will destroy Cover.
  • A standing rocket launcher will shoot over cover and destroy Walls.
  • Rocket launchers are the only unit that destroys walls from any distance.
  • Look to destroy walls and cover with rockets to kill enemy units on the other side of that wall.
  • You can breach the enemy defense from an unexpected position using rockets.
  • Any vatform that walks into the firing arc of an AoE vatform will die.
  • AoEs have limited range, and they can be easily killed if they are left in the open.
  • AoEs will cause grenades and rockets to blow up on contact with the area of effect.
  • You can use AoEs to lock down areas that you do not want enemies coming through.
  • Turrets are a immobile long-range lockdown the area solution.
  • Turrets are best used coving open ground, while they are behind cover.
  • Unguarded AoE and Explosive vatforms are easy prey.
  • AoE, Turrets and Explosive vatforms cannot move while they are firing.
  • Have the explosive/AoE fire and detonate on the same turn. (No possible opponant reaction)

Combined vatform tactics will insure victory.

Understand the Battlefield

Once you are comfortable with controlling your vatforms and working with the mission objective, you should begin to gain a greater understanding of each unique battlefield you will fight on. The objectives of the mission will change, potential enemy units will change, but one thing you can rely on is that you will live and die by corners, doors and cover. You should always make every effort to use your explosive and AoE vatforms to control the battlefeild: blowup walls and cover with rockets, gas halls and doors, smoke enemy line of sight, grenade rooms and spaces, flame doors and windows, minigun corners and hallways. The buildings and spaces are the keys to success.


  • Doorways should be guarded, always assume the enemy is doing the same.
  • Windows will kill you, you cannot see what is going to pop up from behind them.
  • Corners are tricky because they allow wide views with minimal movement.
  • Hallways can be death traps, expecially with miniguns.
  • Cover is king. If your in cover any enemy is at a disadvatage, unless they also have cover.
  • Open space is the snipers paradise. Use it or die by it.

Read the Battlefield, and use any possible advantage given to you.

Master the Mindgame

Frozen Synapse is a deep game with many levels of involvement. Each person will know how deeply they wish to dive into the mindgame of Frozen Synapse 2. I hope this guide has revealed a few of the unknown tricks to you, so you can arm yourself with them in the defense of Marvok Geist, or in the pursuit of your own wishes.


Written by _Zorbaz

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