It isn’t the winning that counts.
XCOM 2 Ranger Tips
I imagine a lot of XCOM 2 players will be surprised to see the Ranger at the bottom of the pile. It’s the most mobile of the classes, able to attack after sprinting either by using its sword or the “Run and Gun” ability. The Ranger is also a sturdy defensive unit, able to slash at any enemy that comes within melee range using the brilliant Bladestorm, and at Major rank unlocks the “Untouchable” ability, which guarantees that after scoring a kill, the next attack against the Ranger will miss.
The Ranger is certainly XCOM 2’s coolest class, its power and mobility making it the equivalent of the Queen in Chess. But here’s the rub. Like the Queen in Chess, a good XCOM player can manage absolutely fine without one. The Ranger’s main function is dealing damage, which all other classes are perfectly capable of provided they’re used in the right way. In addition, because Rangers like to get up-close and personal with the enemy, it’s very easy for them to end up isolated and in trouble. Basically, they’re deceptive. They seem like a vital asset because of their strength and versatility, but they encourage recklessness and can easily lead a squad to disaster.
Although it feels like a waste of the more entertaining abilities, Rangers are arguably more effective when they avoid combat altogether. It’s possible to build the class around the Concealment mechanic, enabling them to stay hidden from enemy sight longer than other squadmates, and they can even go back into hiding after being revealed. Used this way, Rangers can move ahead of your main force safely, reveal enemies on the map without alerting them, and allow you to position your Snipers, Grenadiers, and Specialists effectively. This tactic is especially useful for missions with larger numbers of enemies, as you can set up multiple ambushes, taking out enemies before they have a chance to respond.
Best Ability: Bladestorm. Whether you opt for a Concealment or Assault-based build, Bladestorm is an indispensable defensive ability.
Worst Ability: Deep Cover: Automatic Hunker Down if you don’t attack. Largely pointless because your Ranger is only likely to avoid attacking when they are concealed.
Hints: If you can, equip your Rangers with a Mimic, which creates a decoy unit that attracts enemy fire. That way, if your Ranger does end up isolated and outnumbered, they can use the Mimic to absorb enemy fire for a turn before moving to a stronger position.