As an Engineer main, the Ranger is by far one of my favorite weapons. While it takes some skill to use well, the payoff is ridiculous and is overall a fun weapon to use. Also, 120 damage crits at any range is a godsend for a shotgun. I’ve jarateed off many friends with a lolcrit smashing them in the face.
The Rescue Ranger is a weak weapon in combat, shooting repair claws that do 60 damage at close range and 20 at long range, with a base damage of 40. But then again, the Engineer was never meant for shooting people to death. Instead, he has 128 DPS aimbots that fight for him. The fact that it has the lowest DPS of all Engineer primaries, it’s hitbox is not the size of a truck and it isn’t the Frontier Justice means it’s rather uncommon to be seen used by most players. Don’t let that put you off though because the Ranger has two amazing practical uses(other than being a Ninjaneer): sentry transportation and supporting other engineers from your own nest’s safety.
The ability to haul a sentry to a nearby location in a flash is a seriously under-appreciated ability. Have you ever tried building up to a level 3 on the front lines? It’s near-impossible unless you haul a sentry from a safe place and walk there at below heavy speed. This allows you to build at spawn, haul your sentry to somewhere that overlooks the front lines, drop it and haul it there later, and is one of the most effective ways of playing Engineer on offense without using the Gunslinger.
Here’s an example, a long map that has open areas and lots of flanks. I’m thinking something like pl_barnblitz or cp_mountainlab. If you build a level 3 sentry and teleporter at the spawn area on Offense and then move your sentry so that it overlooks A from a safe area while your team clears the area between the spawn and the point. Now finish up by adding a teleporter exit and a dispenser(level 1 will do), you’ve denied any counter-pushes. Once your team is through, move up the sentry and teleporter and you have blocked the enemy from pushing back. This can be done aggressively to clear unaware enemies off objectives prematurely, but the fewer teammates in front of you, the riskier it is.
The Ranger’s teleport abilities also work on Defense. You can link various vantage points where you can bring your sentry and/or other buildings to the next area on a whim to prevent it from being destroyed or heavily damaged. An example is on the last point of Mountainlab: you can transport your sentry from the spot next to the main point access door to the upper walkways in a flash, whether it be protection against an Uber or something much worse.
As for support, if you have 2 or more Engineers, you can build an auxiliary sentry slightly behind the team and shoot bolts at the other damaged sentries while you keep them healed, deal with Spies (if the Pyro isn’t doing his job) and give the enemy a big surprise once they push past the main sentry nest. This usually only works on maps with a decent setup time and are solely defensive (RED on Payload and Attack/Defense). This works wonders with 3-4 engineers, with 2 holding the point from different angles, one using the Gunslinger and one with a hidden sentry, calling out people behind the lines and healing the other sentries.
My personal Ranger Loadout is the Southern Hospitality, Wrangler and the Ranger itself. The Wrangler allows for some very good mobility via sentry jump, allowing you to move yourself and your buildings even faster than before. Since you need a long line of sight to make use from the haul, the Wrangler provides the perfect solution for dealing with people outside of the sentries range.
Anyway, what are your thoughts on the Rescue Ranger?