LWOTC Class Builds - Ranger (2024)

Note: This post is a revised version of my Long War 2 Ranger build, with changes to the text/build as appropriate for the new rules and skills in LWOTC. All changes to the rules/mechanics of LW2 are displayed in bold.

LWOTC Ufopaedia: Ranger

The Ranger is a shooter class that specializes at finishing off wounded enemies. While Sharpshooters can do more damage, Rangers take more shots, and so they can split damage across multiple targets, often allowing them to kill 2 enemies after your other soldiers have exposed and wounded them. The Ranger can also be spec’ed to protect your squad with overwatch shots, and equipped to focus on robots or to shred bosses or to burn’em up. Nothing the Ranger does is unique. But the Ranger is uniquely good at doing it.

Mobile Shooter

LWOTC Class Builds - Ranger (1)

Ever Vigilant:

With this ability the Ranger gets to move twice and still overwatch. Doesn’t sound significant. I didn’t even consider taking this ability until I saw other players use it. Ever Vigilant vastly improves the Ranger’s action economy. On timed missions it makes it easy for the Ranger to stay with the squad while also overwatching, and when the Ranger does end up out of position, it allows him to move all the way across the battlefield and still contribute on that turn. One important caveat: Several ancillary actions will cancel Ever Vigilant, such as opening doors, reloading, or picking up loot.

Alternatives: Walk Fire or Close and Personal.

Walk Fire is slightly better in LWOTC than in LW2 - 66% damage (instead of 50%). I still feel that it is not very good. Just shooting twice will often result in very similar probabilities of killing the target, and eventually Walk Fire becomes obsolete.

Close and Personal is okay, but it is often overkill. Both Barrels kills most everything, and the Ranger isn’t usually that close to the enemy for this ability to matter when shooting with a rifle.

Locked On:

In LWOTC, Locked On is now +20 to both aim and crit for successive shots on the same enemy. This is a quintessentially Ranger ability, and it is great. The Ranger will be shooting at the same target quite a bit, and adding a large bonus to both aim and crit is exactly the kind of perk you want on a shooter class. Overwatch shots do activate Locked On. This ability becomes even more valuable if you choose Rapid Fire at GSGT rank, which you should.

Alternatives: Pump Action or Covering Fire.

Pump Action will rarely be useful - the Ranger does not get in close as often as the Assault, mostly preferring to shoot twice rather than moving up. Also in the late game, Rapid Fire becomes almost as deadly as Both Barrels.

Covering Fire still only provides a slight aim penalty to the target. I still feel that this ability is only an okay ability. The most common overwatch fire is on activating pods, and here Covering Fire does nothing.

Center Mass

Center Mass is very good. Rifles have lower base damage than other primary weapons, and Rangers shoot a lot.

Alternatives: Cool Under Pressure or Aggression

Cool Under Pressure doesn’t seem great if you are not specializing at overwatch and taking Rapid Reaction at GSGT rank, but it is still very good if you also have Ever Vigilant. The reason is that it provides both offense and defense. Incoming enemies can shoot you - that is, unless you shoot them first with an overwatch shot. Some of the worst hits I take are from incoming enemies that have flanking shots on my soldiers. Shinobi scouting is one way to prevent this, but your scout can’t be everywhere. The next best thing you can do is have a soldier on overwatch with high aim. Cool Under Pressure adds +10 aim on reaction shots, thus improving your chance to shut down enemy activation fire. Additionally it enables critical hits on overwatch shots, resulting in outright kills much of the time.

Aggression is very good. It grants some additional crit chance, very useful when targeting exposed enemies. It seems about as good as Center Mass, but with more variance in damage output. This is a solid alternative to Center Mass, especially if you plan to equip Talon Rounds. I tend to prefer Shredder, Venom and Dragon Rounds on my Rangers, and so I don’t take this ability.


In LWOTC, the aim and crit bonuses of Executioner have been doubled to +20. This is another core perk for Rangers, the designated finisher, and it’s great; an obvious choice when matched against the alternatives.

Alternatives: Fortify or Suppression.

Fortify is just okay. The Ranger does not get as close to the enemy as other soldiers, and the cooldown timer is very long on this ability.

Suppression is just okay. You don’t have the ammo for it, and by this stage in the campaign it is weak compared to other forms of control. The Ranger needs to be killing, not suppressing. If you want Suppression take a Gunner.


Just like Ever Vigilant this is another action economy ability I never would have selected had I not seen another player using it. Implacable must be seen in practice to be properly understood and appreciated. For example, after putting the Ranger in a dangerous position to get a flank, implacable will allow the Ranger to pull back to safety. Or if the Ranger can finish off an enemy with the first shot, a free move can then give the Ranger a better shot on the next target. During combat, Rangers want to use both their actions for shooting, rather than moving; Implacable allows them to do exactly that, and still relocate if desired.

Alternatives: Bring’Em On or Grazing Fire.

Bring’Em On is very good, but after getting Rapid Fire at GSGT rank, this ability is likely to be overkill in those situations it actually procs, such as when shooting flanked enemies. Still, there are numerous late game enemies with high dodge, or high defense, or high HP. More offense is always needed, and this is a solid pick at this rank.

Grazing Fire is not good this late in the campaign. Its utility diminishes as aim improves, and is less relevant for Rangers that focus on direct fire, given all their bonuses to hit.

Rapid Fire:

This is the Ranger’s class defining ability. Before this rank up, the Ranger is mostly a finisher. With Rapid Fire, the Ranger is a finisher, a burner, a flat out murderer. Rapid Fire has enormous synergy with both Locked On, Executioner, and special ammunition. With Dragon Rounds the Ranger has 3 chances to light a target on fire. Even after running dry, this Ranger can reload with the first action and then shoot twice.

Alternatives: Tactical Sense or Rapid Reaction.

Tactical Sense is just good for a Ranger, and not nearly as good as the other 2 choices.

Rapid Reaction is great. It is so brutal when it procs that it will trivialize many encounters. Only the most dangerous pods can endure a full Rapid Reaction overwatch and still present a threat to your squad. Even if it only adds 1 extra shot on average, it is an amazing ability, weakening incoming enemies, and disabling their activation fire.

So, why choose Rapid Fire over Rapid Reaction? Well, once upon a time, long long ago, I had an A-Team squad of 8 soldiers fighting a pitched battle on a Supply Raid mission. There we are, in good defensive position, my shooters on a cliff, the assault too far forward, maybe one soldier has a scratch, only about 3 enemies active. We had been fighting continuously for many turns, activating one pod after another, but managing to keep it under control... And then the command pod comes over the train, right on my flank. Everything goes to hell. On this critical turn my Rapid Reaction Ranger was in good position but without ammo. He spent one action reloading and the second action was overwatching. What else could he have done? shoot once? A MEC predictably rocketed the Ranger breaking the overwatch, and splitting me open like a cracked egg. The squad wiped, and I quit the campaign. I dissected this encounter like no other; reevaluating all my tactical decisions, squad composition, and every class build. I decided that my principle mistakes were leaving my flank open! over-extending! and awakening the command pod! A lesser revelation was that Reaction Fire Rangers are not very good in a prolonged fight. Yes, they are incredible openers, but what about when the fight spans 3 or more turns? They can potentially take more total shots; a possible 4 instead of 3. But it means you must leave at least 3 enemies alive and mobile, and those enemies must cooperate with your plan, running from cover rather than just shooting. There are a lot of ways that this can backfire. Some enemies have Shadowstep, others high dodge, others high innate defense, others may run through cover. Codices can teleport instead of running, then disable your overwatch with a psi bomb. Gunners can suppress you… and of course MECs can rocket you.

My conclusion is simple. Additional directed shots are much better than potential reaction shots. You should not trade one for the other.

Combat Fitness:

This ability will marginally improve all your stats, which is very good.

Alternatives: Rupture or Kill Zone.

Rupture is great, but usually a bit weaker than Rapid Fire. It uses more ammo, does less damage, and ruptures the target. This is really nice against the toughest boss enemies in the game; otherwise redundant.

Kill Zone works in LWOTC, and it works the way you would expect it to work from concealment. Also, the radius of the cone is much wider than it was in LW2, so you don’t have to maneuver around to get all the enemies within your line of fire. You should be able to target most of the enemies most of the time, making this a great option for ambushes or against pods of enemies that you expect to patrol into your squad. Ammunition can be somewhat of a limitation for a Ranger with Kill Zone, and it mandates using the Extended Magazine weapon upgrade rather than an Autoloader, which would otherwise be acceptable. Kill Zone is much better when paired with Cool Under Pressure, but worth taking regardless, especially if you don’t have it on your Gunner build.

Alternate Builds

I recommend watching DerAva’s Ranger build video, in which he breaks down his 3 builds: Shooty, Overwatch, and Sawed-Off. His class build videos also contain a lot of information on game mechanics and how those interact with various abilities, and is worth watching even if you stick with your own build.

Considering the XCOM row skills, I see a few crit enhancing abilities; Steady Hands, Impulse, Predator. Any two of those abilities might persuade me to go for the crit build, supposing there were not any better options. There are many great shooter abilities available in the XCOM row for the Ranger, and it is likely they will have some tough choices.

LWOTC Class Builds - Ranger (2024)
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