Captain Keen Dec 27, 2016 @ 6:12am
Ranger build
So far, most of the choices have been no-brainers. But now I wonder:

Is Phantom better than Blade Master?!

Because it does feel like staying concealed would be extremely situational. Good for squad sight, maybe? Although, thus far, snipers have been highly situational too =(
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Showing 1-15 of 15 comments
Hiddey Dec 27, 2016 @ 6:17am 
I'd go for Phantom. Being able to stay hidden is very useful as you can send the Ranger ahead to spot pods so you can get your squad ready to pop it.

Not saying Blademaster is worthless; I think Phantom is more worth it.
ronald.friedrich Dec 27, 2016 @ 6:50am 
i dont like phantom. In early/midgame on high difficulties rangers are my most reliable dmg dealers. But when u cant use them cause they would be spotted if doing something i simply loos to much dmg output. Later u get conceal. so u can conceal him anyway. if you have 2 rangers in sqad its enough f0r 1 mission
Cahos Rahne Veloza (Banned) Dec 27, 2016 @ 7:17am 
For me Phantom is best used by a shotgun centered Ranger as a scout (especially useful in the Avenger Defense mission) coupled with Run and Gun, as Conceal is the better option for a sword centered Ranger.
Last edited by Cahos Rahne Veloza; Dec 27, 2016 @ 7:18am
Bhryaen Dec 27, 2016 @ 7:23am 
Short answer is you'll have to experiment for yourself regardless. Only you really know your playstyle and the kinds of soldier actions you find most effective or otherwise preferable, so only you'll ultimately know which works for you.

Another consideration is that the Phantom/Blademaster dichotomy is somewhat false. You can sacrifice Run and Gun higher in the rank skills to get Reconceal which is essentially Phantom but allows your ranger to choose when to be concealed at any time (once per mission) even after having attacked. So technically you could have a Blademaster that stealths and scouts, just later in the game. And a further consideration (that I heard from others haha): you could take Phantom at first and build your ranger with shotgun skills to have a stealthed ranger at game start but then later use the Advanced Warfare Center to retrain the same soldier as a Reconcealing Blademaster so that you'd maintain a stealthy ranger from game start while also having them become a Blademaster. So again, it's sorta a false dichotomy.

Then the longer answer. The way I've been playing I prefer Phantom every time (as well as Run and Gun) because it's so effective straight away. As situational as stealth may be, you never KNOW how useless or potent it will be in any given mission until after the mission's over. It could save all your squad from a wipe with a critical forewarning or just keep your ranger ineffectually scouting the wrong terrain or hiding out the entire mission. I like being forewarned (and alive) enough to accept the missing ranger attack contributions with no problem. It's not as if they end up never progressing. My rangers tend to shoot up to Colonel anyway since the last pod doesn't require concealment and sometimes the 6th attack comes in handy... especially given the high single-target damage of shotgun rangers.

The main difficulty with Blademasters for me is the way the weapon works. You get automatically high to-hit-chance attacks with a sort of built-in Run and Gun, but you get notably less damage than with a shotgun and, most important for me, you have to run all the way up to the target in order to execute your moves. This means you take the biggest gamble of running too far ahead, triggering another squad (or more) in the process (a big no-no), being at the end of your turn too far from the group to be protected, having had a paltry number of tiles to choose from as a defensive position (since it has to be 1 tile from your target). So... more guaranteed single-hit for less damage, far more risky both to itself and the entire squad... or much more damage with high chance to hit, much more versatility and thus safety... I abandoned my only Blademaster very early on...

Mind you, the animations for Blademaster attacks are great- always love swordplay from my fantasy RPG experience, so I really want to make one anyway. Also they buffed Blademasters somewhat from their immediately-post-game-launch days (when I last played it), so it's not as if they're not viable. Just gotta try it and see.
Bhryaen Dec 27, 2016 @ 7:34am 
Oh, and yes, scouting for squadsight is indeed situational (with the same caveat that you can't know ahead of time how useful it will be). In my current campaign I only had one mission where I was able to use the Phantom ranger/ squadsighted sharpshooter to pretty much ace everything on-screen without a fight. Hard to get situations with consistent line of sight combined with cover that allows for sufficient proximity without undue risk of concealment break. But that was a very memorable mission. XD

But the instances of picking off turrets at leisure using squadsight are much more plentiful...
Last edited by Bhryaen; Dec 27, 2016 @ 7:35am
Fringehunter7719 Dec 27, 2016 @ 9:14am 
I always go with phantom and respec my ranger when he reaches lieutenant so he has blademaster+conceal.

Phantom is a bit of a double edged sword, as it reduces your soldier count on the first pod by 1, and you can't use him to overwatch ambush in that early part of the campaign when you might want to, the thing is that sword attacks are always double edged too, because they come with an inherent risk of activating more aliens in a lot of situations.

The overall pros of phantom or conceal are:-

  • On timed missions it allows you to make up a lot of time by dashing in a controlled fashion. As long as you don't have the vigilance dark event active and aren't near a lot of high cover corners that a pod might be tucked behind you can afford to move another ~6 yellow tiles with no risk of enemy activation if you don't spot enemies within a blue move. That's a big deal, and it applies every timed mission.
  • On non timed missions any sharpshooter with long watch or killzone, once out of concealment, can be used to trigger aliens into an overwatch ambush on their turn with a bit of patience, effectively guaranteeing a clean pod kill with minimal hassle as you still have your whole turn afterwards.

It's a good tip to note the mission difficulty before you enter, as it tells you the exact number of pods you will encounter (on legend it's easy:3, moderate:3, difficult 4, very difficult 5 for non story missions, I don't know the values for other difficulties, but you can learn them from experience or look them up), so that you can know when your ranger is safe to drop concealment - note that reinforcement drops and turrets do not count towards that limit.

On 3 pod missions even just using regular concealment for the first pod, phantom scout the second for an ambush then have the ranger jump in if you need an extra shot and fight the third pod in regular fashion is hugely helpful, as it allows a bit of extra speed to reach an objective and makes sure you'll never be fighting two pods at once.
Captain Keen Dec 27, 2016 @ 11:06am 
Nice - thanks for all the replies.

I somehow think I'll stick with Blade Master. I use it a lot. And I honestly feel both stealth and snipers are borderline useless.

Oh, the number of times my sniper has been sitting in the rear, doing ♥♥♥♥ all, because the game has magically decided there isn't LoS.
Belhedler Dec 27, 2016 @ 11:37am 
Get Phantom ranger on retaliation missions. Two of them is a good combo. You'll know very fast why they are a must, especially in this kind of mission. Well if you don't I'll explain: they start concealed. So use them to free as many civilians by remaining hidden as far and long as possible. But beware of faceless... Eventually brings in long sight snipers to deal the first shot on exposed pod, possibly followed by a sniper using Kill Zone, and thus making the pod targeting you and not the civilians - well most of the time.
Last edited by Belhedler; Dec 27, 2016 @ 11:46am
FlySC Dec 28, 2016 @ 6:14am 
Phantom is mostly usefull for the Avenger Defense mission, so you can send them concealed toward the objective and take it out with snipers, otherwise it is a pretty big pain to get close enough to the tower to take it out.
Dave Dec 28, 2016 @ 6:26am 
I think it's worth having a few sword masters on hand for lulz, but phantom is better with a shotgun centered ranger. Bringing a sword to a gunfight is always a bad idea.
Captain Keen Dec 28, 2016 @ 6:52am 
Originally posted by Dave:
Bringing a sword to a gunfight is always a bad idea.

I'm endlessly disappointed with how little damage the sword does. If it isn't a nigh-on-guaranteed instakill ..... why for the love of all the gods did they include it?!
Sunwave Dec 28, 2016 @ 7:05am 
Concealment + Sniper = Easy objective killing (destroy device special ops, and also avenger defense missions). Also, it makes sure you don't run into pods unpreparedly later in the game, when you need to be ready for gatekeepers, sectopods, andromedons, etc. Though I do always start out with a blademaster ranger, because blades are very good early game.

- Early game I choose blademaster for reliable damage.
- Late game I choose phantom for scouting and better snipers.
Last edited by Sunwave; Dec 28, 2016 @ 7:05am
Cahos Rahne Veloza (Banned) Dec 28, 2016 @ 7:46am 
Originally posted by Captain Keen:
Originally posted by Dave:
Bringing a sword to a gunfight is always a bad idea.

I'm endlessly disappointed with how little damage the sword does. If it isn't a nigh-on-guaranteed instakill ..... why for the love of all the gods did they include it?!

If you've specced a Sword Ranger with Blade Master and Bladestorm and equip them with the highest tier swords available to you then you'd see the fallacy of your statement. Bladestormers are also awsome as scouts especially with their "smack you in the face if you come near me" attitude.

RFE: Addendum:

Add Untouchable to the build and you've essentially got "He-Man" for your scout, assuming he gets a kill when he Bladestorms an Ayy in the face at/or near the end of his turn.
Last edited by Cahos Rahne Veloza; Dec 28, 2016 @ 7:49am
Captain Keen Dec 28, 2016 @ 8:25am 
Originally posted by Cahos Rahne Veloza:
If you've specced a Sword Ranger with Blade Master and Bladestorm and equip them with the highest tier swords available to you then you'd see the fallacy of your statement.

And if you'd stop assuming I'm an idiot, you'd see the fallacy of yours. Bladestorm isn't something I've seen in-game yet, and the best sword available is essentially a machete.

♥♥♥♥ off.
Kwic Dec 28, 2016 @ 9:04am 
I used to get phantom . But now, I defenitivly get blademaster.
The reasons are :
- you have only 2 missions where you start not concealed : Retaliation, Extract the VIP. All the others, it is useless.
- And even when you wan to scout, then it means that you have one less member to fight which is very handicaping (I beat L/I)
- At the early game, it is VERY important to know that you will sure kill this sectoide !

After changing my set up from phantom to bladmaster, I now even changed the concealment for run and gun !
Actually, scouting is most of the time useless. You have timed missions and therefore no time to scout !

On the other hand, I advise you to have ONE scout with phantom which is VERY IMPORTANT for the Avenger Defense Mission. You can scout to the relay and shoot it with a sharpshooter.

At the late game, blademaster is sort of useless because the damages or too low, but still, I dont retrain to phantom, because, to me, phantom is even more useless !

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Date Posted: Dec 27, 2016 @ 6:12am
Posts: 15