I went right back at it right after my failed run. Had a couple of false starts. Figured it was better to restart on Iron Man if something went bad in the first couple of months than to try to roll with it.
Anyway went through quite a few months without failing anything. Had a couple of snipers up to Colonel. Had a heavy as well... and a healthy assortment of Captain and up troops. Well long story short, I did maintain my perfect streak for a few more months... but the casualties mounted up. They're all dead. I lost at least one of them to the user interface... Why do the actions have to shift around in between moves? I did my move one, was off to click run n gun, but as my soldier got into position and his second turn started all the icons shift and I clicked overwatch or something. Was not happy.
Right now my only senior-ish soldier is a sinper I got as a reward from my last abduction mission. I have all the Officer School upgrades at least, so I have an endless reserve of squaddies. I did manage to get full satellite coverage thanks to the sacrifice of all my senior troops. But with mostly squaddies, and underequipped squaddies it's been a struggle. I managed to afford one Ghost Armor. But everyone else is still on Carapace. I have the tech for Titan and soon Archangel but I'm shit out of luck on alloys. That shortage is also limiting my weapons severely. I have Plasma Rifle tech, but can only field 2 Light Plasmas that I snagged from stunning enemies.
It's frustrating because I made it a point to stay disciplined and not sell that stuff for quick cash. I do have 4 Firestorm interceptors with EMP cannons. Maybe that's the problem. I tend to only look at the cash when I am building stuff and I don't notice what salvage they require. But I started to fail to shoot down the newest UFOs miserably and thought the EMP cannon would net me more valuable salvage.
The first mission I failed was when a Firestorm failed to take down the UFO (didn't have the EMP cannon yet). I attacked with my mid-level Sniper and gaggle of squaddies. It was hilarious. Cyberdisc, its two Drones, like 6 Heavy Floaters, 2 Sectoid Commanders, maybe 4 Thin Men, and a squad of Mutons charge me right at the start. Pretty hopeless. I try to fight it out, in the end only the sniper with her Ghost Armor retreat survived.
This resulted in many of my laser weapons being lost. So now a lot of my squaddies are stuck with defaults. Ugh.
Then there was a Council escort mission. Once again I get attacked right at the beginning before I can get into decent position. Would've pulled it out... but of course one of the squaddies panicked and killed the escortee. I think that mission would have been pretty easy had I gotten some Titan armor. I think every soldier I had got poisoned at least twice. 3 survived, at least I got some salvage out of the deal.
Last mission I played, and surely where I would expect everything to fall apart was a terror mission. Tons of Chrysalids, Mutons, Heavy Floaters, Thin Men... killed them all, everyone except my Ghost armored Assault is pretty heavily wounded... but there's still at least one enemy on the map. I run around with my last couple of turns of Ghost and find... a Sectopod. First one I've seen. It seemed to be stuck in a corner. I couldn't lure it out. Finally I took a pot shot at it (a five point hit!) and it responded with an angry 10 health depleting laser of doom. I run away. It doesn't follow to my well set up ambush of wounder warriors. I think the AI is stuck. So I have to bring the ambush to it.
Snipers first from the longest sight line take a couple of shots with their sidearms. I ran them out there to trigger any potential overwatch defense. Nothing. I take a few health down. Next I send in two heavies at medium range, each takes a shot, one hit. Another 6 health off the board. Finally I send in the Assault and Support with the light plasma rifles. Each takes a high percentage shot from close range, I put one adjacent to it, and one a square off. First shot is a hit... he's almost dead... like 6 health left. Second soldier takes the shot. Miss. End of turn.
I'm thinking to myself I'm in big trouble. I know the death laser will instantly kill one of my guys, so hopefully I'll only lose one of the squaddies. But I'm a bit worried. What happens next I don't really understand. He basically blows himself up. I don't know if he has some area of effect rocket attack or what. He does 16 Critical against himself, and also to the soldier adjacent, who doesn't die but instead goes into bleed-out mode and the mission ends with no deaths on my end.
I have a feeling that I lucked out, the way my rocket attack early in the mission took out part of a wall must have screwed up the Sectopod's pathfinding. I think if that behemoth came out of the monster closet will all the rest of them it would have been a total loss. I earned promotions for all 5 squaddies on that mission which is great.
I finally built the Hyperwave Relay to continue the story. And I shot down the cloaked ship or whatever... but then it told me I was going up against Cyberdiscs, Sectopods, and... Ethereals? I haven't even fought one of those yet. I am more than a little worried. I feel that's an assault I can't win. So I ignored it... was also curious to see if it would stay up as an available mission like the Skeleton Key mission did or what. But it went away. A while later I got the chance to shoot down another. Which is where I am at right now.
But, no alloys, no Titan armor, no laser weapons, and my two heavies are still a level away from getting HEAT ammo to fight those metal monstrosities.
It seems like I didn't suffer any ill panic effects from ignoring the downed UFO so I am tempted to go for another terror mission or Council mission to get some resources to equip my troops. Also my Psionics Lab is almost online. I haven't had one yet so I am hoping whatever it benefits it confers will help, and also won't cost resources that I don't have.