Get to know Anthem's Ranger javelin

Anthem gives you the pick of the litter at the start, allowing you to choose one of four javelin types to dive-bomb Scars and bop Dominion in. If you're like me and don't like to committing to a playstyle from the get-go, the Ranger will probably suit you well. And if you came here expecting a full-on Ranger guide, I can help, for sure, but my first bit of advice might sting: don't pick the Ranger. 

It has no defining characteristics that set it apart from the rest. The Interceptor is fast, the Colossus has a chunky shield and big guns, and the Storm can hover and rain down elemental storms. The Ranger isn't too fast or too slow, it can hover for around 10 seconds, it can toss grenades and shoot little missiles, but it doesn't do any one thing in a unique, flashy way. It's the run-and-gunner of Anthem, an all-around javelin, sure, but an all-around boring pick. However, if you must, I finished the entire game inside of one and know a thing or two about how to play the Ranger the right way. 

The short version: stick to abilities that work with the combo system. But before I explain, let's get to know our all-purpose pal. 

Melee and Ultimate abilities 

Melee: As the Ranger, you'll want to hit fools with your electric sword often. If you waltz up to someone and bash them with it, you'll do damage and give them an electrified status. Trigger melee from the air and you'll slam down and do electric damage over a large area instead. This isn't just good for making a stylish entrance, but it primes enemies for a combo. Leap in, prime, leap out, and detonate. 

Ultimate: The Ranger's ultimate ability allows you to target multiple enemies for a fast, devastating missile barrage. Here's the trick: when you trigger the ult, you can sweep your cursor over the enemies you'd like to target, or just one enemy you'd like to target. The number of missiles you shoot will be the same. Keep it in mind if you're trying to clean up a crowd or focus damage on one enemy.

Ranger weapons

  • Heavy pistols 
  • Machine pistols 
  • Marksman rifles 
  • Sniper rifles 
  • Assault rifles 

Bring something for long distance and no distance encounters. I find that a heavy pistol or marksman rifle paired with an LMG, shotgun, or machine pistol make the Ranger helpful at any range (heh) in most encounters. 

Assault Launcher 

Pulse Blast: After a charge-up period, blasts a pulse of raw energy and acts as a detonator. While I dig the feeling of charging the pulse blast up, it doesn't do much damage outside of combos. A fast cooldown makes it great for seeking out combos to finish off, but don't expect to take down the the whole of the Dominion with it. Pair with frost grenades or inferno grenades to be your own combo machine. 

Seeking Missile: Launches a missile that tracks toward a single target and acts as a detonator. I prefer seekers over pulses because they feel more powerful and it's harder to mess up shots, but to each their own. Pair with frost grenades or inferno grenades. Combos, baby. 

Venom Darts: Fires a volley of three acids darts that seek a single target. It's not a combo ability, but can be fired twice in quick succession for fast damage while inflicting acid status. Acid is a defense debuff, meaning enemies take more damage while the effect is active. Pair with sticky grenades or frag grenades to take advantage of that debuff. 

Blast Missile: Launches a missile that explodes on impact. With a larger impact radius than the seeking missile, reserve the blast missile for doing damage to clusters of enemies. Not a combo ability, surprisingly. Pair with frost grenades to make sure that radius doesn't go to waste. 

Spark Beam: Fires a single beam that deals damage over an extended period of time. Another clean-up move, the spark beam is like a little damage firehose you can unleash as much or little of you want to at a time. I find it pretty helpful for tearing down shields or sweeping across a crowd, but because it's not a primer or a detonator, it's hard to recommend. Pair with whatever you want. Personally, if it doesn't make the ka-ching combo sound, I want no part of it. 

Grenades 

Frost: Freezes targets in place and acts as a primer for combos. I prefer frost grenades over inferno grenades because the freeze status keeps enemies grouped just long enough for a squadmate to notice and drop a nice detonator on the crowd.

Inferno: Sets enemies on fire and acts as a primer for combos. Fire does damage over time, so if you don't have time to waste not doing damage over time, it's time to light some fires. Fire is especially great against armored enemies (yellow health bar). 

Sticky: Attaches to targets and detonates after a short delay. Since grenades tend to magnetize to targets anyway, the key difference between the sticky and grenades with elemental affinities is that it acts as a detonator for a combo on a single target. A great option for finishing high damage combos on the squishier bad guys. 

Frag: Explodes in a large area. Of the Ranger grenades, the frag has the largest radius, but does not inflict enemies with elemental status effects. It's just a damage-doer. However, frag grenades' wide reach makes them an excellent detonator for groups of primed enemies.

Seeker: Splits into submunitions that seek nearby enemies. The seeker doesn't act as a primer or detonator for combos, so save it for clean-up. That said, I've yet to find any reason to use an ability that doesn't prime or detonate, since that's where the real damage is done, so skip the seekers if you can. 

Support Gear 

Muster Point: Deploys a field that augments allies inside, increasing gun damage by 20%. Good luck getting anyone to sit still long enough, including yourself, to make use of it. Stick with the Bulwark until a use for it is found in the higher difficulty settings. 

Bulwark Point: Deploys a spherical shield that blocks projectiles over the Ranger's position. Enemies spawn in by the dozen in Anthem, so you'll inevitably need to take cover to recharge your shield or help a downed friend back up. Higher level Bulwarks have higher damage thresholds, so unless it's carrying a perk you can't quite let go of, swap them out as soon as a better bulwark drops.