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XCOM 2 Walkthrough and Guide by Jasper Nikki
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XCOM finally introduces a Melee class. The Ranger class is in the vein of the Assault class in the Enemy Unknown / Enemy Within games. The Assault class is known for its close quarter offense because of the shotgun’s close range prowess. This time around Ranger is armed with a shotgun, and of course, a sword.
The sword has the biggest raw damage in the game, though it has its problems against armored units. The problem with relying with the use of sword so much is it puts the Rangers in grave danger. If the targeted unit survives the sword attack (or totally evades it, for example the dodgy CODEX and Vipers), the Ranger is in big trouble and he or she will not surely survive the retaliation. It is really tempting to go on with that high percentile + good damage, but it is never worth to send a Ranger behind enemy lines for that one kill given that it may trigger more enemy squads that are just around the corner.
The more efficient build of a Rangers is the scouting. The [n] is much better across the game because of its recon capabilities. A concealed unit can move across the map and scout the areas without giving up its location (via Phantom).
It is worth noting though that later on the game, you will gain access to Wraith Armor that is essentially the same as Conceal. It is great to have a pure Blademaster or a combination of both that has no Conceal to take advantage of anything in the [n] skillset.

Phantom vs Blademaster

Phantom from the start to the end of your playthrough. Blademaster’s bonus is good only until later game when it takes advantage of the other [n] skills Bladestorm and Reaper and by extension, Shadowstep. You really have to take Blademaster if you are going to consider all of these skills.

Shadowstrike vs Shadowstep
Shadowstrike gives you two critical hits when you have both Phantom (situational as missions like Retaliation removes the Concealed status of your squad but Phantom allows the Ranger or any unit who learned this via AWC to still start the mission Concealed) and Conceal.
Shadowstep allows you to move across the field without triggering Overwatch and / or bypassing Suppression. This is great, absolutely great, when you have Reaper + Blademaster + Run and Gun learned for your Ranger because you can clear away units in just a turn. Though this must be taken with precaution and must only be done when it is absolutely safe, probably when your Grenadiers and Snipers have ravaged their health bars.

Implacable vs Bladestorm

Implacable is a weird skill because, generally, you do not want to move after securing a kill with a [n] Ranger in order for you not to trigger more hostile squads. It has it uses, but for the most part it is not that useful. It does get better with Deep Cover, however, no amount of hunker down will save your Ranger who is being flanked and is well too deep in enemy lines.
Bladestorm just amazing when you have the Wraith Armor as you can just camp in bottlenecks and let enemies pass your Ranger and they will get massacred. Remember to always, ALWAYS, have Blademaster with this skill for maximum efficiency. Remember, you can still melee attack enemies even if they are behind a wall!

Deep Cover vs Untouchable
Deep Cover is nice when you learn it via AWC with the other classes. It gives so much mobility and defense to units like Sharpshooter and Grenadier, which the former is essentially vulnerable and limited when moving, or the later who just does not move enough. For the most part, though, I really do not think this is much of a useful skill late into the game because you already have various map scanning skills and items in your deployment that you have to risk a Ranger with Deep Cover as a fail-safe.

Remember my warning about the Ranger being in grave danger when attacking with a sword behind enemy lines? Once you learn this, take no caution because by the time you have this skill, your Ranger is beefy and dodgy enough. When he or she finds himself / herself a sitting duck after you send him / her for a secured kill, he / she can still get out there alive.

Rapid Fire vs Reaper
Rapid Fire was an early skill in the first game, and rightfully so they corrected in putting this skill as the final skill in the tree. The -15 Aim penalty is just peanuts when you have an upgraded weapon and all the PCS and what not you invested to your Ranger.

Reaper, as mentioned earlier, only shines through with Blade Master, Shadowstep, Run and Gun, Bladesstorm, and Untouchable. If you want to learn this, be sure that your Ranger is taking the path of pure [n].

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