The Ranger is known as a Jack of All Trades, but it does have a few areas it really excels. It’s main strength is single target burst. Whether it’s by Combo or by Ultimate, this Javelin can decimate single targets. It still has decent AoE too, especially when using it's very quick charging Ultimate.
As of 1.7.0 The current meta builds for Ranger as as follows:
This guide serves to give a detailed breakdown of all the gear available to you and how each piece might fit into a play style. For more in depth and complete builds, see our Build Guides section, or find the links at the bottom of this page.
Once you have a handle on the basics and are feeling more comfortable in your Javelin, check out the next step in our Advanced Ranger Mechanics Guide to take things to the next level.
While addressing individual abilities and their respective Masterworks, it's good to remember that these are opinions. It's not a be all, end all, detailed list. Feel free to try things and see how they fit your style of play. So let's just touch on everything this Javelin has to offer in terms of skills, components and how they all handle and interact.
We'll start with the quickest section, Support Skills.
Both options for Ranger are pretty great. There are certain reasons why you may want one over the other, but it's typically best to go for whatever has the most Combo Impact damage rolled on it.
Effect: Deploys a spherical shield.
Masterwork - Vanguard’s Rampart: Additionally provides 200% more charges of your and your allies’ left slot abilities [Q]/[LB]/[L1] when inside the shield and until it expires.
Pretty decent defensive option. Early game, the shield will hold pretty well and offer you some cover when needed, and even in Grandmaster 3 difficulty it can help you get a couple seconds of shield if you need to revive a teammate under heavy fire. The masterwork effect is also fantastic, giving you two extra charges of your grenade while the shield is active (you don’t have to stay inside of it). This also applies to your entire squad, even if they aren’t rangers.
Effect: Deploys a field that augments allies inside, increasing gun damage.
Masterwork - Tarsis’ Last Stand: In addition to gun damage, all damage is increased by 20% while inside the muster point. Also refills all weapon magazines.
At a rarity below Masterwork, it isn’t amazing, but it can still help especially since early game gun damage is far more useful. The masterwork effect is great though, buffing all damage for anyone inside the bubble (even combo and ultimate)
The main downside to this support skill is that unlike Bulwark Point’s Masterwork, you only get this buff while inside the area of effect, which is quite small. So it’s often best to use near cover so you can safely take advantage of it, while mitigating this downside.
Damage Type: Kinetic
Combo Type: Detonator
Masterwork - Rampager: Hitting an enemy grants 10% increased damage for 10 seconds, Stacks to 5. Effect applies to Combo and Ultimate.
A good, reliable detonator and a very powerful masterwork perk. This is another source of true all damage, and 50% when stacked fully. If you want to see big numbers, this is the melee of choice.
Damage Type: Electric
Combo Type: Primer
Masterwork - Transmuting Volt: Hitting an enemy adds 3 Ultimate charges.
A good option if you want to also carry an Electric Primer for a Combo build, or simply to pair with Vassa’s Surprise and Badge of Devastation in an Ultimate-focused build to get a bit of extra charge while reloading your Vassa’s Surprise.
Rampager is often favored for its perk, while this is favored more as an additional Primer when it’s used in builds.
Most of the abilities in this group will be AoE primers or detonators. They offer a mix of benefits and ultility; Including Crowd Control, Ultimate Charge and various buffs.
Ability: Blast everything in a large area with massive damage.
Masterwork - Last Argument: Hitting enemies adds 7 Ultimate charges.
Decent damage, the only area of effect detonator that the Ranger has, and an absolutely vital masterwork perk for any ultimate build. Throw one Last Argument into a group of enemies and half your ult bar is filled.
Ability: Freeze your opponents in place.
Masterwork - Cold Blooded: Hitting an enemy increases melee damage by 270% for 10 seconds.
Cataclysm - Arctic Tomb: Frozen enemies explode and freeze other nearby enemies when defeated.
A very reliable ice primer and a staple of most combo builds, locking things in place and making it easy to tag with a detonator.
The perk on the original Masterwork leaves a lot to be desired, as the Ranger really doesn’t favor being in melee range too often outside of the Ultimate build, which doesn’t use this ability. Ranger’s Melee attacks also aren’t powerful enough even when stacking all the possible bonuses.
Arctic Tomb takes it to another level, freezing almost everything on the battlefield. Every combo detonation will (likely, assuming you kill in a single combo) set off chains of detonations, locking down groups allowing you chain Recurring Vengeance combo after Recurring Vengeance combo.
Ability: Set your enemies on fire, dealing immediate and continuous damage.
Masterwork - Explosive Blaze: Hitting an enemy detonates a fire explosion.
Don’t like the cold? The other combo build option, with a pretty powerful fire damage effect. You can get this burn damage hitting really hard if you stack some global damage.
While not as insane as Arctic Tomb for combos, If you don’t mind moving targets this can be just as reliable of a primer. If your combos fail to kill something, this has the potential to very easily clean them up.
Ability: Lob in one grenade that splits into multiple enemy-seeking missiles.
Masterwork - Explosive Blaze: Hitting an enemy detonates a fire explosion.
Can be used in early difficulties, thanks to its high base damage and buff to weapons. For later stages of the game though, Ranger relies too heavily on Combos to make effective use of this skill. If it were a detonator, it could be an alternative to Last Argument in a niche setup; but it’s not. Which leaves it unused in most builds.
Ability: Hit an adversary with a grenade that latches onto them, dealing damage with extreme prejudice
Masterwork - The Gambit: Hitting an enemy with this grenade detonates an ice explosion.
This skill is a detonator, however Last Argument fills that spot much better, with a much larger radius and a better perk.
The main draw to this skill, despite being niche and rarely used, is the combination of the damage types it deals. The initial explosion deals Armorbreaker damage, which as the name implies, hit harder against Armor. The Secondary explosion from the perk is Ice, which is stronger against shields. It makes for an interesting combo of damage types, but not necessarily an impressive or useful skill.
Most of these skills are single-target, with a few exceptions thanks to perks or other reasons. They are primarily detonators, with a single primer amonst them.
Ability: Launch a missile explodes on impact.
Masterwork - Argo's Mace: Detonates an electric explosion when defeating an enemy.
There is almost zero chance you will ever defeat an enemy with this ability in GM3 in order to see the masterwork perk in action. Even if you did, the explosion is small enough that it’s not going to tag another enemy unless it’s very close to the original target, like within the same tiny radius the base skill has. This combined with the fact that it’s not a Primer or Detonator and how much Rangers rely on combos make this a very unusable skill.
Ability: Charge and release a blast of pulse energy.
Masterwork - Avenger's Boon: Hitting an enemy increases melee damage by 220% for 20 seconds.
Cataclysm - Relentless Pursuit: After hitting an enemy, the blast bounces to nearby enemy targets up to 3 times.
Pretty decent detonator, though the charge time can be annoying. The Masterwork, despite having a seemingly powerful perk doesn’t provide enough of a boost to make a melee build worth using.
The cataclysm version is a big step up, turning this into a chain detonator in a group of primed enemies and one of very few multi target detonators that Ranger has access to outside of a couple of their grenades. Tends to pair really well with Artic Tomb, setting of chains of combos and freezes.
Ability: Launches a missile that homes in on enemies.
Masterwork - Recurring Vengeance: Detonating a combo restores a charge.
Probably the most reliable detonator for the Ranger, very easy to hit your mark. The masterwork effect is fantastic, giving you endless combos if you don’t miss or have a few extra charges. One of the other staple items for a Combo Ranger.
Ability: Fires a sustained beam of energy.
Masterwork - Ember's Lance: Detonates a fire explosion on a small hit-streak.
Puts out pretty good damage in the early game but totally forgettable in the end game. A very Iron Man feel though. Being Fire damage, it has an edge against armored targets.. But unfortunately lacks any priming or detonating capabilities to find use in any builds.
Ability: Acid darts that seek a single target.
Masterwork - Tactical Onslaught: Venom Darts permanently gain an extra charge.
Great acid primer. If you aren’t using Elemental Ops this is a great option, as acid primers increase all damage on the target which helps everyone. Often sees use in Ultimate Builds, in place of using Elemental Ops.
For the sake of fairness, these will be in alphabetical order, by Base Component Name. There’s a lot to cover, so things will be kept brief.
Effect: Increases melee damage by 40% of base and electric effect by 40% of base.
Masterwork - Vanguard's Badge: Performing a melee hit restores 40% shields.
Very helpful when you’re first gearing up and are having troubles surviving in GM3. Pairs well with Shock Mace. Still can have niche use when paired with Softened Blows, to maintain the damage reduction buff.
Effect: Enhances the assault launcher to increase damage by 5% of base damage.
Masterwork - Badge of Devastation: Increases base effect to 30%, Performing a large hit-streak of 10 will instantly add 10 Ultimate charges.
Fairly useless before the masterwork perk kicks in, and then extremely powerful. This is absolutely necessary for any ultimate build. Pair this with a high RPM gun like Vassa’s Surprise for ridiculously fast ultimate charge times.
Effect: Increases impact damage by 35% of base and decreases blast damage by 35% of base.
Masterwork - Airborne Advantage: Hovering increases all resistances by 25%. Effect changes to +50% Impact, -20% Blast dmg.
This would be great, if “Impact” damage applied to “combo impact” damage. Unfortunately, it does not. It does however buff a small set of gear items, as well as the majority of weapons. It’s decent in early gearing because of that, as well as in weapon builds, but weapon builds do fall off compared to the other builds Ranger has access to.
In the case of this component, it’s best to remember that by “Impact” it’s referring to every single-target/non-AoE skill and weapon in the game, which, in certain cases can be powerful.
Effect: Increases blast damage by 50% of base and lowers impact damage by 20% of base
Masterwork - Victors Resolve: Performing a small hit streak of 2 instantly restores 25% of maximum armor.
Compared to the Previous component (Convergence Core), this one is the opposite in every regard. There’s very few blast weapons, however this does effectively buff the damage of Ranger’s grenades.
Since the set of gear that benefits from this is much smaller, it tends to be much less effective and less applicable.
Effect: Increases damage with all guns by 25% of base damage.
Masterwork - Second Wind: On low health, increases weapon damage by 60% for 10 seconds.
25% Weapon Damage is not enough to notice and 60% isn’t enough to stop you from dying at low health. It can be helpful early into the gearing process, but quickly can be replaced by a number of universal components with better effects.
Effect: Increases grenade damage by 5% of base damage.
Masterwork - Combined Arms: Hitting an enemy with [E]/[RB]/[R1] gear increases [Q]/[LB]/[L1] damage by 45% for 10 seconds. Base effect increased to 30%.
This component is incredibly niche and hard to make use of. The only time it might be used is if you wanted to make a build around grenades specifically. Otherwise you’re often running either Arctic Tomb, which does no damage; or Last Argument, which can benefit from not one-shotting enemies so you can get more Ultimate charge out of it.
Effect: Increases grenade recharge rate by 35% of base speed.
Masterwork - General's Favor: Hitting an enemy with melee increases [Q]/[LB]/[L1] damage by 45% for 10 seconds. Base Effect increased to 40%.
Again, useful if you wanted to make a build around grenades, but the melee requirement for the perk doesn’t mesh well into a build that’d want to keep its distance for the most part.
Effect: Increases combo damage by 50% of base damage.
Masterwork - Tip of the Spear: Performing an impact combo restores 40% armor to nearby allies. Base effect Increased to 60%.
Now we’re talking. The most important component for a combo Ranger. Huge boost to combo damage and, at masterwork level, a heal each time you combo (which should be a lot). The amount of Combo damage it provides at a Masterwork level is about on par with a max rolled universal component, making it a very hard to argue option for a combo build, even into endgame.
Effect: Increases fire damage, max heat capacity and fire resistance by 20%.
Masterwork - Elemental Ops: On a hit streak of 5, applies acid to the target.
An extremely versatile component. Gives you a little extra flight time, which is always nice, and the masterwork turns every gun (and even your ultimate) into an acid primer. Ralner’s Blaze works amazing with this, because it will now prime fire and acid at the same time, or you can use it with Vassa’s Surprise for an absolute acid hose.
Effect: Increases the threshold before overheating occurs by 35% of the base threshold.
Masterwork - Tactical Advantage: Weak point hits lower thruster-heat buildup by 80% for 10 seconds. Base effect increased to 50%
Kind of cool in theory, but really unnecessary in practice. The only slight advantage you might get by hovering is making it easier to hit some enemy weak points, however it also typically leaves you vulnerable.