The Ranger class, the equivalent of the Assault one from the first XCOM, is a class focusing mainly on close combat, in which the ability to use shotguns (and the latter, upgraded variants) and swords for melee combat helps greatly. Thanks to the mobility and available abilities the Ranger is extremely effective at reconnaissance. This class, aside from shotguns and swords, has access to assault rifles as well - but given its main application as a close-quarter combatant, the shotgun is a better choice.
The key element of this class is the ability to use a sword. It allows the Ranger to perform extremely powerful and accurate (often above 95% chance to hit) attacks, which the soldier can use from a great distance, by running up to the target.
Unfortunately, there's also a drawback - each attack has a small chance to miss (which allows the enemy to counterattack) and exposes the soldier to enemy attacks. If you aren't certain that the attack will finish off the enemy, and if there are more foes nearby, never resort to using melee attacks - by doing so you can quickly lose a valuable soldier.
This class starts with the Slash ability, allowing it to use swords for melee combat.
When the squad is revealed, this soldier remains concealed.
Deal +2 extra damage on all sword attacks.
When concealed, gain +25 bonus Aim and +25 bonus critical hit chance when attacking enemies.
This soldier does not trigger overwatch or reaction fire.
Immediately enter concealment once per mission.
Run and Gun
Take an action after dashing. 3 turn cooldown.
If you score one or more kills on your turn, you are granted a single bonus move.
Free sword attacks on enemies that enter or attack from melee range.
If you did not attack this turn, hunker down automatically
If you score a kill during your turn, the next attack against you during the enemy turn will miss.
Fire twice in a row at an enemy. Each shot suffers an Aim penalty of -15.
There is no cooldown on this ability.
A devastating chain melee attack where the first melee attack cannot miss.
Each melee kill in Reaper mode grants an extra action, but further melee attacks deal reduced damage.
There is a 4 turn cooldown on this ability.
The Ranger-class soldier has access to numerous interesting abilities, but the most effective one is probably the one that assumes the usage of those:
- Phantom - the ability to remain concealed even when your whole team was compromised is a powerful one. You can use it to approach the enemy from behind, to increase the damage, or simply for reconnaissance. Additionally, this ability allows the Ranger to enter concealment even on missions where that is normally unavailable (like in Retaliation missions).
- Shadowstrike - a huge boost to aim and especially to the chance of a critical hit during the first attack is something that you should never skip on. This ability is perfect for initiating ambushes - +25% chance to a critical strike is almost always equal to a single dead enemy. The effectiveness is further increased when you select another ability, Conceal, allowing you to enter concealment once more.
- Run and Gun - allows you to attack, use an item, or do another thing even after sprinting to a location. Extremely useful when you want to attack an enemy from up close, and you don't want to rely on using your sword. You can replace it with Conceal if you want to be able to enter concealment once more, or if there is another Ranger in the team.
- Bladestorm - an ability allowing the ranger to attack anyone who comes into melee range. Perfectly suited for finishing enemies that were left with 1 or 2 health points after attacking them with a sword - as soon as they try getting away, they will be slashed in the back. Unfortunately, it has a major drawback when fighting Mutons - those enemies tend to enter some sort of rage mode when attack in melee, after which they will unleash an extremely powerful melee attack on their own.
- Deep Cover / Untouchable - the choice depends on the player's approach and playstyle. If you are constantly moving behind covers while looking for a good place to shoot from, take Deep Cover. If, however, you like to play a little more risky and you tend to send your Ranger into melee combat, the Untouchable ability will be the perfect choice - if you managed to kill an enemy, the next attack on the Ranger will always miss.
- Rapid Fire - the last Ranger ability is a lot better than the counterpart, Reaper, as the latter's effectiveness depends too much on Ranger killing the target, and the damage quickly drop below the level of any effectiveness. Rapid Fire is extremely effective when used against some enemies, mainly the Codex - when fired from a point-blank range, the Codex won't be able to clone itself, as it happens before the whole action of a soldier ends, and the enemy won't be able to survive the amount of damage. The aim can be increased by weapon upgrades and / or implants, and with the upgraded variants of the shotgun the ability is capable of killing most enemies in a single strike.