I want to let you all in on a little secret: the Ranger is an AOE powerhouse. Don’t let anyone tell you that the Ranger’s only good at single target damage. His combo effect and many of his abilities definitely lean that way, but who cares? The Ranger is one of the best javelins in Anthem when it comes to just blowing s**t up and I’ll tell you how.
To make the Ranger an AOE powerhouse you want to focus on one simple thing: Blast damage. Blast damage is Anthem’s “AOE” damage type and the Ranger is able to leverage it in quite a few ways.
Primary: Divine Vengeance – Divine Vengeance is a Masterwork/Legendary Warden assault rifle. It’s perk gives every third hit a large fire explosion. This should scale with the Blast damage you’ll be stacking, but I’ve not fully verified this yet. Either way, the Divine Vengeance is an incredibly potent weapon that will chunk even shielded enemies when you strike their weak points. A useful alternate weapon is Ralner’s Blaze, which is an upgraded Hammerhead that inflicts burning when you land a five-hit hitstreak. Yes, this gun will prime targets for you, which can come in handy since you won’t be running any Primers (aside from your melee).
Secondary: Truth of Tarsis/Devastator – You’ll want either a Devastator or its Masterwork/Legendary upgrade, the Truth of Tarsis. Either will work fine. The damage component everyone loves the Devastator for (its huge explosion) is blast damage and yes, it scales.
Assault Launcher: Argo’s Mace/Blast Missile – Blast Missile is the Ranger’s only AOE attack available in its Assault Launcher slot and unfortunately it’s neither a Detonator or Primer. That’s OK though, because its base damage is high and it features the all-important Blast damage we’re looking for. At 3, the radius isn’t huge, but it’s still solid.
Grenade: Last Argument/Any Damaging Grenade – All of the Ranger’s damage grenades scale with Blast damage (including Inferno Grenade), except for Frost Grenade since, well, it doesn’t do any. Any of these will work while leveling, but I used Sticky Grenade for the high single target burst, since Blast Missile covered my AOE. If you want to go all AOE, just grab the Frag Grenade.
Speaking of Frag Grenade, the Last Argument is the Masterwork/Legendary Frag Grenade and this is the skill that glues the entire build together. Last Argument grants 700% Ultimate charge on hit. Yeah, you read that right. This ability is a game changer as your Ultimate, Micro Missiles, will go from something you occasionally use to basically being an ability like anything else, albeit on a slightly longer cooldown. With Last Argument, it’s not uncommon to be using your Ultimate every 60 seconds, often even sooner, depending on how target rich the environment is. And guess what? Micro Missiles also scales with Blast damage.
There are only two Components that are mandatory for this build and they are Crossed Arms and Victor’s Resolve. Crossed Arms will improve your Blast damage by 50% and you can equip it alongside its Masterwork/Legendary upgrade, Victor’s Resolve. Victor’s Resolve does the same thing, giving you a total of +100% Blast damage, though you’ll be trading off for -40% Impact damage, which will reduce the damage you deal with guns. Victor’s Resolve also has a handy self-heal component on a small multi-kill, but you’re really here for the Blast damage. And yes, this means you will be running an Epic in one of your six Component slots, even at endgame.
Because you’re focusing on +Blast damage, you’ll want to avoid equipping Convergence Core and/or its Masterwork/Legendary upgrade, Airborne Advantage. These items will lower your Blast damage in exchange for higher Impact damage.
The -40% Impact damage can also be softened up by equipping Firearms Calibration or Defensive Bulwark, its upgrade. These Components grant +25% weapon damage each. I wouldn’t equip both, since you’ll lose out on a ton of mitigation, but doing so is an option if you really don’t want to lose any Impact damage.
Tip of the Spear (Combos +50% damage) is a handy Component to slot in even though you won’t necessarily be Comboing as often as it offers you a massive 40% heal on Combo. The heal also applies to nearby allies, so it is helpful for both you and your teammates. What really makes it the MVP though is the fact it can actually rez downed teammates. The healing pulse originates from your location, so you can stand near a downed ally and pull off a combo to get them back on their feet, even if the enemy is far away. With only your melee (or Ralner’s Blaze) as your options for priming, this is a bit more situational in this build, but it’s worth noting nonetheless.
Inscriptions are mostly preference for this build. Obviously, you can chase down all those juicy +damage/Blast damage inscriptions. Or maybe you want to shore up your mitigation with +Shields, or even better +Armor. If you have the choice between either, I’d suggest you go for +Armor because the healing offered by Tip of the Spear and Victor’s Resolve are both percentage based, so they’ll scale better with higher base Armor.
The one Inscription that I feel is absolutely crucial for this build is Q/Gear Speed. The more Last Argument grenades you can toss out, the faster your Ultimate will charge. Your Ultimate, as you might imagine, is a massive source of damage, but it’s also a way to heal yourself to full and you’re invincible for its duration as well.
And that’s it! Put these items together and you’ll be cranking out crazy AOE damage.
I’ll leave you with one final tip, if you don’t mind getting into melee, an air melee with the Ranger’s Shock Mace will prime a group of enemies for you. Follow it up with Last Argument to get an easy Combo detonation off a group of enemies and a ton of Ultimate charge.