Stuck at home and recovering from a surgery, I felt the urge to finally try the expansion content.
This time, I felt brave enough for Ironman. Now that I've experienced it, it's the only way I'll ever play. This is coming from a life-long save scummer.
Ironman has been scary and stressful, but the highs are so worth it. I almost wanted to quit and restart when in the mid-game, I had 5 bad missions in a row where all of my veterans were systematically wiped out. It felt pointless to keep going. Because I had not prioritized scientists, all I had were rookies with basic armor and basic weapons. Not where you want to be when the base invasion mission comes around. I regretted wasting so much effort on MECs and Gene soldiers, when that stuff wasn't needed in the early game.
I decided to just see things through, toughen up and bear witness to my complete downfall. Instead I found out that the game is balanced to give the illusion of impossible. It's actually very possible to come back from this. Apparently I had built my base well enough that I still had options. From then on I prioritized armor, then beam weapons (which I always skipped in Enemy Unknown) and suddenly my rookies started to survive.
Since then, I've lost only 2 vets (some close calls), and getting close to the end I have 8 colonels and a dozen others who are lieutenant or better. Despite that earlier setback, my crew is kind of OP.
Definitely moving up to classic next time. Or that Long War mod.