So having failed miserably and repeatedly at commander/ironman, I've gone back to just regular commander so I can see some late game tech again and just experience the rest of the game, since I've been through the start of the game umpteen times.
Obviously I'm doing well given the freedom to reload, and I did eventually reload but only after a surprising amount of progress first. It was surprising since I was taking a LOT more risks than I would in my ironman games, but the gambles were paying off.
The problem is now they've given me what appears to be an unwinnable mission. I need to protect a relay, but they start armodon
Andromedon (power suited guy) right beside it and he just hits it for 10 hp every turn. Even sprinting to him through 2 pods of enemies only gets his attention about 50% of the time. Even the fliers
archons with him focus on the relay on occasion, even after I shoot them. They really, really want that relay dead. I've managed to stop them a couple of times, but the armadon
Andromedon weapon lights a fire right beside it on the first turn of the mission. The fire burns the rest of the mission and as far as I can tell, burns the relay to destruction eventually. With no way to put out the fire, I'm at a loss.
So even with magnificent
tactics and a lot of luck, the relay just burns to the ground anyway. As far as I can tell, if all the enemies on the map disappeared after the first turn, I'd still lose the relay eventually. With the presence of a pod of enemies on the other side of the relay (even if I kill the pod guarding the relay in time) and reinforcements called in sometime between killing the first 2 pods and attacking the 3rd pod (the one guarding the relay) I am able to reach, let alone kill all the enemies on the map before the relay burns to the ground.
Frustrating. I've tried many times, but it's starting to look impossible. Literally.
edit: No sooner had I written this, than yet another attempt caused the ai to leave the store before engaging. With him out of the store I was able to burn him down to his automated form. He did charge the relay one last time and hit it, but without his weapon he didn't keep the fire burning and it burned out without taking the relay with it. I managed to engage the last pod during its patrol AWAY from the relay, so it wasn't in LOS for them to kill it while fighting me.
Ta da! Took about 10+ tries, the only difficulty was getting the ai to stop firing on the relay. Staying alive, killing aliens, neither was a problem. Winning the mission had nothing to do with tactics or even good RNG for my shots. Just the ai deciding to do one thing instead of another. Ah well. It'd done. Team is pretty beat up as I tried to shake things up, but everyone is alive.