Combo/Ultimate Damage Hybrid Ranger
Shock Nukem has never been a guy who’s holding back. He is a true vanguard – never afraid to lead his team into any battle and often being the first one who is taking fire. He is a fierce warrior and as aggressive as they come – usually right in the middle of the action and only stepping aside for a moment to get a better picture of the situation on the battlefield and to find a good position to bring destruction upon his enemies with a barrage of missiles. With his reliable mace always in close reach he likes to electrify his enemies and end any discussion about who has the upper hand in the fight very quickly with a truly shocking argument: a frag grenade at their feet.
While being a good leader and awesome squadmate to have, this Hybrid Ranger is also built around the general idea of being able to solo all content the game has to offer; including all Strongholds and their bosses. It deals decent single target combo damage and can take out stronger enemies or multiple targets with its ultimate attack quickly. The build also has ways to regenerate health/armor and can be modified on the fly before a boss encounter when playing solo by switching one component. It is usually using 2 Ranger Components and 4 Universal Components and the preferred inscriptions for the latter are Ultimate Damage and Combo Impact Damage.
- Being the only weapon in the game that can fire-prime enemies after a 5-hit-streak this assault rifle is the best choice to deal significant damage to enemies by igniting them. In order to achieve high damage numbers with the Fire-DoT this weapon needs to roll with additional weapon damage. It is best used against armored targets due to a 25% damage bonus fire deals to armor. In combination with the perk from Elemental Ops this weapon turns into a double-primer – priming both fire and acid with a 5-hit-streak and setting them up for devastating combos. Depending on the specific inscriptions on your Ralner’s Blaze plus any additional javelin-wide and elemental damage you might have on some gear you can ramp up the DoT pretty high.
- This weapon has the highest RPM in the game and is therefore perfect in order to achieve hit-streaks very fast. It’s perfect for the Ranger in particular if the build is using Elemental Ops and/or Badge of Devastation which both require hit-streaks to proc their perks. In this build I use Elemental Ops which turns this weapon into an acid-primer after a 5-hit-streak. Before a boss encounter in a Stronghold I sometimes swap the last of my Universal Components for Badge of Devastation which helps charging the ultimate meter (with a 10-hit-streak). You might just use a stat-stick version of this weapon but personally I actually like to utilize it as a damage dealing weapon as well, especially to shred shields - so I recommend double damage rolls if possible.
- Transmuting Volt deals electric damage which can help if you want to strip shields and are using one with double weapon damage rolls. It also primes in a (very) small radius and hitting enemies with it adds charges to the ultimate meter. This means that you can prime electricity in addition to fire and acid from the other weapons. Jumping into a group of trash mobs and then following up with Last Argument can wipe out several enemies at once and gives a huge boost to the ultimate meter. Depending on which version of my other two weapons I’m using, I will either be equipping a Transmuting Volt with double armor inscriptions or with double damage inscriptions. Personally I’d love to have all 3 weapons for this build to deal as much damage as possible but you most likely have to use a stat-stick with armor inscriptions in one of these slots... And most of the time this melee weapon slot seems to be the best choice for that purpose because weapon damage inscriptions on it do not increase the damage of the electricity effect that spreads to enemies unfortunately.
- This ability is great to charge your ultimate meter quickly, especially when used against clustered groups of enemies. It’s a detonator so it is best used against targets that have been primed with one of the aforementioned weapons. Jumping into a group of enemies and hitting them with Transmuting Volt and following up with this grenade can wipe them out easily with the combo damage and boost the ultimate meter a lot. It is recommended to have multiple additional charges -ideally 200% and 100% in my opinion- as the cooldown is quite long and you want to use this grenade often to charge your ultimate meter quickly.
- This is your other detonator ability and it is especially helpful against single targets for which you don’t want to use a grenade as well as against enemies that are a bit further away. This seeking missile also follows the target which is helpful against enemies like Valkyries or Wyvern for example. It fires instantly which also makes it useful in close quarter combat. Another benefit is the perk which resets the cooldown if you detonate a combo with it. Meaning that you can basically use it all the time if you use it to detonate combos. Because it is possible to miss a target or not detonate a combo (especially when playing in a group and somebody else detonates the target before your missile reaches it) it is helpful to have an additional charge.
- This Support Item creates a defensive bubble and also provides 200% Charges for your grenade slot. While the bubble can’t withstand a lot of damage on GM3 it can be helpful at times to provide a second or two of safety – for example when you are reviving a teammate or do the puzzles in the Sunken Cell. The two additional grenades on the other hand can be very helpful. Even if you have four grenades already you can run out of them quickly if you are using them a lot. I prefer this Support Item over the other one simply to have more grenades when I need them. I also have double Combo Impact Damage inscriptions on this particular item which makes it very valuable. And having double Combo Impact Damage inscriptions on the Support Items also means you can’t have additional charges for the item itself as these inscriptions roll in the same slots as Combo Impact Damage (upper left and lower right) which makes the other Support Item less appealing to me if I can’t use it whenever I have my ultimate attack charged again.
Tip of the Spear
- This component is specifically for Rangers only. Unfortunately this means that it can only roll support inscriptions. The component itself however is pretty awesome and one of the best in the game: your Combo Impact Damage increases by 60% and it also restores 40% armor whenever you detonate a combo. And since you are doing combos all the time it helps a lot with survivability. The inscriptions are not that as important as they are on Universal Components because you can’t get the “good stuff” that is available for Universal Components. Shield Delay is a pretty good support inscription as is Resupply or Repair Drop Rate. Ultimate Speed is also nice to have even if you mainly recharge your ultimate meter with your grenades.
- Another component that is specifically for Rangers only. This one does several things: it allows you to stay in the air longer; it increases fire damage and improves your resistance against fire attacks. Most importantly though this components applies acid to any target after a 5-hit-streak which can turn a lot of wepons into primers. In this case it causes Ralner’s Blaze to double-prime with both fire and acid at the same time and turns the rapid-firing Vassa’s Surprise into an awesome priming-tool. Inscriptions, again, are not too important but if you can get one with Shield Delay, Resupply or Repair Drop Rate or Ultimate Speed it might become an even better component.
- This components adds 30% ultimate damage. Additionally it can completely refill the ultimate meter every 120 seconds if you are critically hit which is helpful if you’ve gotten into trouble or at times when you deliberately want to trigger it (in a boss battle for example). A perfect example would be fighting the Legendary Ancient Ash Titan in the Heart of Rage and firing the previously charged ultimate attack and another one right after that when you get hit by its beam attack.
- This component provides some additional armor but more important is its perk which grants a 50% damage boost when picking up a repair kit. This damage boost applies to all damage including combo and ultimate damage. Fighting at close range (by using Transmuting Volt a lot to prime and then detonating with Last Argument) and having some Repair Drop Rate will keep this damage buff active quite often.
- This component provides some additional shields but more importantly grants 75% damage reduction for 10 seconds if your shields break, making it the best defensive component in the game and pretty much a must-have for Interceptor, Ranger and Storm – especially when playing GM3 solo.
Interchangeable Universal Component
- The Universal Component in this last slot is interchangeable. I used Bloodlust for a while when I was using a Transmuting Volt with high weapon damage and because I have one with Ultimate Damage as well as Combo Damage on it. The Bloodlust perk also triggers if you prime an enemy with Transmuting Volt and then detonate it quickly. If you are using Vassa’s Surprise to deal damage then Rapid Hollow Points might be a good choice. Feedback Loop can also be a good option and Rejuvenating Ammo or Thermal Cooling are never bad to have either. In the end it really depends on your personal preference and obviously what components you have with Ultimate and/or Combo Impact Damage. Before I head into a boss battle while soloing I sometimes swap this component and equip Badge of Devastation instead so I can charge my ultimate with Vassa’s Surprise quickly at the price of losing damage from the inscriptions of the Universal Component in this slot. Firing the ultimate more often is favorable over a little more damage in this particular case. In a full squad it the swap is most likely unnecessary however.
Given the right inscriptions on the Universal Components (and your Support Item) the upsides of this build are that you usually have enough combo damage to kill most enemies in one or two combos but also deal decent ultimate damage – either vs. a group of enemies or against a tougher single target. Having the ultimate attack available often also means that you get a full refill of your health/armor and shields. Whenever you are not nuking an enemy or a whole group with your ultimate attack you usually build the ultimate meter with combos and restore health/armor with that. The build can deal with all situations very well; with Legendary Valkyries that have strong shields probably being the most problematic enemies. All other shielded enemies are usually not a problem with either a high damage dealing Vassa’s Surprise or Transmuting Volt. The build is fun to play and a very good choice for solo play.
There are hardly any downsides to this build in my opinion. The most obvious one is that you won’t deal insane combo damage and can't hit combos for over a million damage like a mainly combo-focused build can do. The same is true for your ultimate attack which will always be lower than that of a mainly ultimate-focused build. But it is hardly necessary in most cases and while these more specialized builds can be awesome in a good team to achieve certain goals, they often have disadvantages in solo play and lack versatility. Another downside I can see is that you are using Ranger Components and these can’t roll important inscriptions like Ultimate Damage and Combo Impact Damage. It’s not really a downside because the components themselves are awesome – but they’d obviously be even better if they were able to roll major damage inscriptions. And using Badge of Devastation all the time would become an option then. Last but not least: having the proper gear and inscriptions for this build is important. Mainly: having extra charges on Last Argument as well as having a Support Item with (double) Combo Impact Damage and having Ultimate and/or Combo Impact Damage on all 4 universal components.
To further optimize the loadout I want to end up with a total of around 350% Ultimate Damage from component inscriptions plus sigils and 200% Combo Impact Damage (including Tip of the Spear and the Support Item). An even better Ralner’s Blaze with more damage and maybe additional magazine size would be nice as well. Like most builds this one also benefits greatly from having some additional gear recharge and eventually I’d like to have some more of that to reduce the cooldown time of the grenades because you’ll run out of them regularly even if you have 4 (plus 2 more when using Vanguard’s Rampart). Unfortunately my high gear recharge inscriptions are currently on a Recurring Vengeance without extra charges and on my high damage Transmuting Volt but not on my double armor one.
I usually use an Epic Combo Sigil plus an Epic and a Rare Ultimate Damage Sigil. Another option would be to use an Epic and a Rare Combo Sigil plus an Epic Ultimate Sigil. This depends on your overall damage numbers. If your combos are strong enough for the majority of enemies, use more ultimate damage. If they are a bit too weak, use two Combo Sigils instead.