Don't rely on this - I've had starts with no steam available at all. I usually go for survivability on Ironman or Marathon, so carapace it is - otherwise lasers. I've never needed to put more than 3-4 up in month 2 (on Classic). I also give priority to alien containment, which I want online if possible before the first Slingshot mission (I haven't actually managed to capture it yet, but if you can taking the Muton alive in Friends in Low Places is the greatest benefit you can get from Slingshot, with early alien grenades and plasma). Yes. I'd forgotten about the movement boost from Kinetic Strike until it was mentioned here, but Servomotors makes all MECs superfast anyway; the flamethrower is still optimal. I usually take two MECs on missions, one with each loadout (plus grenade launcher and, eventually, electro-pulse - I've yet to see any use for either of the other options). I give pretty much everyone mimetic skin without a reason not to - Bioelectric Skin has some uses, but it's not serious competition. Playing with Training Roulette, it's best on whatever soldiers pick up the Major sniper promotion (half cover counts as full). I'll usually prioritise giving it to my Exalt agent, who I prefer to be an assault (Run & Gun) or - without Training Roulette - a sniper (Gunslinger, Double Tap). In particular using a new sniper as an Exalt agent can allow you to promote them quickly, which is often problematic with snipers. I tend to give adrenal fluids to snipers, as they kill very reliably, and muscle fiber density to Heavies (even with random stats, Heavies tend to be picked from lower-accuracy soldiers in my experience and so need the elevational boost). Remember that you can have one of each type of genetic enhancement (skin, torso, brain, eyes, legs) for any individual soldier, not just one enhancement of any kind. Genetic mods aren't all that effective in isolation; they become valuable when you have several on an already strong soldier. I also give Hyper-reactive Pupils to anyone with Bullet Swarm (just thinking of it, I haven't done this yet but it's also a good pick for an Assault with Close Combat Specialist and/or Close and Personal). Neural damping is frankly overpowered (while I don't see feedback as being useful at all). An alien who tries mind-controlling has a 5-turn cooldown - if you have a soldier with neural damping, and he's targeted, you basically nullify mind control for the rest of the combat. Since mind control is the only serious threat other than Sectopods and the ever-dangerous Cyberdiscs in the late game, and a threat mainly because your own soldiers are so powerful, this is a big issue. It really shouldn't have the "never mind controlled" part of the ability. It also has the rather unfortunate effect that Will isn't really a very important stat any more - thanks to medals soldiers never panic past the earliest game, and Neural Damping makes alien psionic powers unimportant.