A Pirate101 Guide to
Cool Ranch’s Lesser Companions
(Part 2)


Welcome one and welcome all, to part four of my Pirate101 Guide to the Lesser Companions!  Today we will finish our tour of Cool Ranch with a look at the Lesser Companions recruited by the Swashbuckler and Privateer.

Mustang Sally scores a critical hit

If you’re looking for a Cool Ranch companion not mentioned here, you’ll likely find them in Part One.  And if you want to know more about the Lesser Companions found elsewhere in the spiral, you can read about them in my articles on Skull Island, Monquista, and Valencia.

And just as a refresher…

What are Lesser Companions?


Note that, for the purposes of these guides, “Lesser Companions” are any companions that:

  1. Can be recruited for free as a quest reward by one or more classes.
  2. Do not have spoken dialogue outside of their quest(s).

While these companions are quantifiably less powerful than our “storyline” companions – both in terms of raw stats/Talents, and in the number of Epics and Powers they get access to – they can still prove very useful in the right scenarios: they can fulfill specialized roles in your team, act as understudies to your more powerful crewmates should they fall in battle, and offer an element of unpredictability and variety to your battles while questing.

Today we will be looking at the Lesser Companions found in Cool Ranch, and grading them from one star (not recommended) to five stars (a great choice).

As before, please keep in mind that these grades will be within the context of PvE combat, though much of what I say will still be somewhat relevant to PvP – use these companions in ranked PvP at your own risk!

Now, let’s ride into the sunset!

Swashbuckler Companions

Nurse Quinn (★★☆☆☆)

Class: Witchdoctor

Recruits at: your level +2

Promotes at: N/A

Buy for: 4,495 Crowns

How to unlock: Complete Saving Corporal Sanders in Hidden Valley Ranch

Nurse Quinn, a chicken medicine woman from Cool Ranch

Summary

Oh, Nurse Quinn.  If you’ve talked to other pirates online, you’ve probably heard about Nurse Quinn.  If you’ve played a Swashbuckler at any point in time, you’ve met – and probably dislike – Nurse Quinn.

Long story short, she’s infamous for a reason.  While she is one of only three melee Witchdoctor companions in the game, she also goes to show why melee Witchdoctors are usually a bad idea.  Poor accuracy, terrible dodge chance, low damage, low health… her only redeeming qualities – aside from her uniqueness – are her heal (a simple Rouse) and her admittedly decent Epic pool.

However, I refute the notion that she is completely useless.  Unreliable and impractical, sure, but not useless.  Her Epics allow her to smack around weaker enemies pretty reliably (including summoned creatures, pets, etc.) and her heal can keep one of your more important companions in the fight for a turn or two.  She’s not strong, but she certainly isn’t the weakest companion out there.

Suggested Builds


Fowl Play

  • First Strike 1
  • Vengeance Strike 2
  • Relentless 1

Wild Chicken

  • First Strike 1
  • Relentless 2
  • Blade Storm 1

Team Effort

  • First Strike 1
  • Flanking 1
  • Relentless 2
Froggo Villa (★★★☆☆)

Class: Swashbuckler

Recruits at: your level +2

Promotes at: N/A

Buy for: 4,495 Crowns

How to unlock: Complete There Goes the Bride in Santo Pollo

Froggo Villa, a salamander bandit from Cool Ranch

Summary

A salamander with style to spare, Froggo Villa punches slightly above his weight as a non-promoting companion.  His Epics are good, his stats are decent, and his critical hit animation is top-notch.

While he’s never my first choice to bring into battle, I’m rarely disappointed with his performance.

Suggested Builds


Nasty Knife-Fighter

  • First Strike 3
  • Vengeance Strike 2

Dextrous Duellist

  • First Strike 2
  • Riposte 3

Slippery Salamander

  • First Strike 1
  • Riposte 2
  • Flanking 1
  • Blade Storm 1
Toreador Novillero (★★★★☆)

Class: Swashbuckler

Recruits at: your level +2

Promotes at: level 36

Buy for: 4,495 Crowns

How to unlock: Complete Curses! in Santo Pollo

Mustang Toreador, a mustang duellist from Cool Ranch

Summary

This not-so-humble horse has quite the impressive skillset – a great starting Epic, solid damage, access to all the good Swashbuckler Epics, and a mid-game promotion to boot.

Ultimately, he is only held back by his limited number of Epics – you’ll have to prioritize which of his awesome talents you want to take.  Any way you slice it, he’s a solid dance partner to have on your roster.

Suggested Builds


Fast Fencer

  • Relentless 2
  • First Strike 3

Ole!

  • Relentless 2
  • Riposte 3

Unavoidable Blade

  • Relentless 1
  • Second Chance 1
  • First Strike 1
  • Riposte 2
Weasel Gambler (★★☆☆☆)

Class: Musketeer

Recruits at: your level +3

Promotes at: N/A

Buy for: 2,995 Crowns

How to unlock: Complete Stung in Wasp Cave

Weasel Gambler, a card-throwing companion from Cool Ranch

Summary

Rarely strong but fairly fun, this randomly-named Weasel you can rescue from Gold Creek’s Wasp Cave has some decent build options, but a lack of Epics and a short attacking range prevent him from ever becoming your team’s ace.

Suggested Builds


Card Sharp

  • Quick Adjust 1
  • Burst Fire 2
  • Double Tap 1

Flush Draw

  • Quick Adjust 1
  • Quick Draw 2
  • Burst Fire 1

Wildcard

  • Quick Adjust 1
  • Burst Fire 1
  • Double Tap 1
  • Parting Shot 1
Chicken Miner (★★☆☆☆)

Class: Buccaneer

Recruits at: your level +3

Promotes at: N/A

Buy for: 2,995 Crowns

How to unlock: Complete Miner Difficulties in Cooper’s Roost

Chicken Miner, a chicken companion from Cool Ranch

Summary

Swashbucklers sure know how to pick’em, don’t they?

The humble Chicken Miner has some niche uses, but generally lags behind the rest of the Lesser Companions.  If you’re looking for a vengeance-fueled bruiser to add to your crew, you should probably keep digging.

Suggested Builds


Angry Bird

  • Vengeance Strike 3
  • Second Chance 1

Pick Fights

  • Vengeance Strike 2
  • Repel Boarders 2

Lucky Break

  • Vengeance Strike 1
  • Blade Storm 3
Stormy Sky (★★☆☆☆)

Class: Buccaneer

Recruits at: your level +2

Promotes at: N/A

Buy for: 4,495 Crowns

How to unlock: Complete A Warrior’s Honor in  Arroyo Grande

Stormy Sky, a reformed bison warrior from Cool Ranch

Summary

A Black Storm Raider with a tragic past, Stormy Sky seeks his own redemption through his service to you.  It’s a shame, then, that he isn’t better at fighting.

Stormy Sky is adequate, but unremarkable.  With a poor starting Epic, no access to rank 3 Epics, and a limited number to choose from, he can be specialized as a brawling tank or an anti-Musketeer “bully” unit, but there are far better options available.

Suggested Builds


Fallen Hero

  • Cheap Shot 1
  • Vengeance Strike 2
  • Relentless 1

Black Storm Training

  • Cheap Shot 2
  • Vengeance Strike 2

Musketeer Mauler

  • Cheap Shot 1
  • Relentless 2
  • Blade Storm 1
Buffalo Bill (★★★☆☆)

Class: Musketeer

Recruits at: your level +1

Promotes at: level 60

Buy for: 5,995 Crowns

How to unlock: Complete Payback in Tumbleweed

Buffalo Bill, a member of the Magnificent Seven from Cool Ranch

Summary

Buffalo Bill is complicated.

He’s a decent Musketeer with a good Epic pool and a solid starting Epic… but he lacks Burst Fire, a crucial damage-dealing Epic, meaning that his damage falls behind the rest of the Seven (Bat and Jane notwithstanding).

To me, this means that he should take on a more supportive role – either as an area-controller or an anti-musketeer duelist.  The builds below are my suggestions – feel free to modify them as desired.

Suggested Builds


Welcome to the Gun Show

  • Overwatch 1
  • True Grit 3
  • Quick Adjust 1
  • Double Tap 1

Step Right Up

  • Overwatch 3
  • Double Tap 3

Buffalo’s Eye

  • Overwatch 2
  • Double Tap 2
  • Quick Adjust 2
Mustang Sally (★★★☆☆)

Class: Swashbuckler

Recruits at: your level +2

Promotes at: level 68

Buy for: 4,495 Crowns

How to unlock: Complete Blood’s Own Hand in Tumbleweed

Mustang Sally, a mustang fencer from Cool Ranch

Summary

Mustang Sally is a respectable second-string duelist, capable of taking down (or at least stalling) melee opponents of all sizes – assuming, of course, that she can reliable dodge their attacks.

Her promotion helps significantly, adding to her Epic total and giving her a Super Strike power to start (or end) fights with.  That being said, she remains somewhat fragile, so be ready to support her with buffs and heals if things go wrong.

Suggested Builds


Fancy Fencer

  • Riposte 3
  • First Strike 2

Horse Sense

  • Riposte 2
  • First Strike 3

Stampede Stopper

  • Riposte 3
  • Blade Storm 2

 

Privateer Companions

Bison Shaman (★★★☆☆)

Class: Privateer

Recruits at: your level +2

Promotes at: level 32

Buy for: 4,495 Crowns

How to unlock: Complete To the Rescue! in Elder Bluff

Bison Shaman, a bison spiritualist from Cool Ranch

Summary

A sturdy, reliable companion with a handful of weaknesses, this beefy boy can act as bulky backup to a team in need of support – both in terms of tag-team attacks and respectable healing powers.  Just try to keep him away from Swashbucklers and Musketeers, as they will likely take him down quickly.

My one big complaint about the Shamans (all three of them) is how underwhelming their promotions are.  He gets an extra Epic, but no Super Strike power (as might be expected), and his healing power never improves.

Suggested Builds


Oath Keeper

  • Witch Hunter 1
  • Vengeance Strike 2
  • Second Chance 2

Curse Breaker

  • Witch Hunter 3
  • Blade Storm 1
  • Second Chance 1

Tribal Defender

  • Witch Hunter 1
  • Vengeance Strike 2
  • Cheap Shot 2
Eric Jolly (★★☆☆☆)

Class: Buccaneer

Recruits at: Unknown

Promotes at: N/A

Buy for: 4,495 Crowns

How to unlock: Complete Stomp that Foote in Arroyo Grande (West)

Eric Jolly, a chicken farmhand from Cool Ranch

Summary

A good ol’ farm boy who just wants to see the spiral, Eric tries his best, but probably should have stayed on the ranch.

Don’t get me wrong; a decent starting Epic, good options to pick from later, and a possible niche as a “bully” Buccaneer (a companion built to go after Musketeers and Witchdoctors) shows he has potential.  He simply lacks the number of Epics required to excel in any one area.

If he receives a promotion in a later update, I could see him jumping up to three stars – but as he stands right now, no way.

Suggested Builds


Swing for the Fences

  • First Strike 2
  • Relentless 2

Bully Brawler

  • First Strike 1
  • Relentless 2
  • Blade Storm 1

Pre-emptive Puncher

  • First Strike 2
  • Repel Boarders 2
Mustang Rowdy (★★☆☆☆)

Class: Buccaneer

Recruits at: your level +2

Promotes at: N/A

Buy for: 4,495 Crowns

How to unlock: Complete Bust ‘Em Out in Castillo Sapo

Mustang Rowdy, a mustang knife-fighter from Cool Ranch

Summary

A hard-headed Mustang with a mean streak, this randomly-named Rowdy shows us why you shouldn’t bring knives to a gunfight.

Unable to be promoted and saddled with a sub-par starting Epic, this companion struggles to make a meaningful impact in most fights.  That being said, if equipped with Vengeance Strike 3, there is the slim chance that he could disable a powerful enemy for a turn – buying his team time to turn the tide, or at least avenge him.

Suggested Builds


Knife to Meet You

  • Flanking 1
  • Vengeance Strike 3

Clever Cuts

  • Flanking 1
  • Vengeance Strike 2
  • Riposte 1

Chop Block

  • Flanking 1
  • Vengeance Strike 2
  • Cheap Shot 1
Black Storm Scout (★★★☆☆)

Class: Musketeer

Recruits at: your level

Promotes at: level 37

Buy for: N/A

How to unlock: Complete Black Storm Rising in Scorpion Rock

Black Storm Scout, a bison archer from Cool Ranch

Summary

The Black Storm Scout starts off poorly with a mediocre Epic, but improves dramatically over the course of his adventures.  While never top-tier, he becomes a perfectly decent area controller after his promotion.

Also, some trivia: the Black Storm Scout is the only Lesser Companion that I know of who doesn’t unlock in the Crowns Shop for non-Privateers to buy.  I assume this is a bug, but as a result, this companion is oddly rare to see.

In addition, the Black Storm Scout is one of the very few companions that get access to rank 3 versions of all of their Epics.

Does that make him overpowered?  Not in the slightest, but it is kind of fun.

Suggested Builds


Black Storm’s Rain

  • Parting Shot 1
  • Overwatch 3
  • Double Tap 1

Vengeful Archer

  • Parting Shot 1
  • True Grit 3
  • Overwatch 1

Arrows Everywhere

  • Parting Shot 1
  • Overwatch  2
  • Double Tap 1
  • Quick Adjust 1
Tonka (★★★★☆)

Class: Buccaneer

Recruits at: your level +2

Promotes at: levels 40 and 51

Buy for: 4,495 Crowns

How to unlock: Complete True Love Triumphs? in Boot Hill Docks

Tonka, a bison warrior from Cool Ranch

Summary

Ah, Tonka.  A trusted companion of the first El Toro, this bulky Bison is no slouch in combat.  Boasting not one, but two promotions – along with a versatile and powerful Epic pool – Tonka only gets stronger as he travels with you.

He can be a solid tank, slowing down and tiring out your enemies, or he can run forward and deal some respectable damage.  An all-around impressive fighter, and one of the best Lesser Companions the Privateer recruits.

Suggested Builds


Hit like a Truck

  • Hold the Line 1
  • Vengeance Strike 3
  • Relentless 2

Loyal Guardian

  • Hold the Line 1
  • Vengeance Strike 2
  • Repel Boarders 2
  • Cheap Shot 1

Minion Masher

  • Hold the Line 1
  • Repel Boarders 2
  • Relentless 2
  • Blade Storm 1
Iago (★★★☆☆)

Class: Swashbuckler

Recruits at: your level +2

Promotes at: levels 38 and 50

Buy for: 5,995 Crowns

How to unlock: Complete Upon our Prey we Steal in Scrimshaw

Iago, a unicorn smuggler from Skull Island

Summary

“Now wait a second,” you might be thinking.  “This is supposed to be an article about companions from Cool Ranch.  Why are you talking about some Unicorn from Skull Island?”

A fair question – the answer is that Iago is the only companion to unlock while following the main quest through Port Royal, as part of the overarching Cool Ranch storyline.

With that covered, let’s talk about the Unicorn Smuggler’s combat prowess, shall we?  Iago is very similar to another Unicorn companion I’ve covered in this series; Ridolfo Capoferro.  They are both Swashbucklers, they both carry a pair of blades, and they share most of the same Epics.

The main difference between them – apart from their starting Epics – is that Iago swaps Relentless and Repel Boarders for Cheap Shot and Flanking, making him both weaker offensively and less versatile.  On top of that, Iago gets one less promotion, solidifying his place as the weaker of the two.  A shame, because with his fabulous outfits and dashing Critical animation, this horned horse has style to spare.

All that being said, Iago is still a decent duelist – support him well, and he can take on enemies both big and small.

Suggested Builds


Diabolical Duelist

  • First Strike 2
  • Riposte 3
  • Blade Storm 1

Rogue’s Edge

  • First Strike 3
  • Riposte 3

Never Fight Fair

  • First Strike 1
  • Riposte 3
  • Blade Storm 1
  • Flanking 1
Monterey Jack (★★☆☆☆)

Class: Buccaneer

Recruits at: your level +2

Promotes at: N/A

Buy for: 4,495 Crowns

How to unlock: For Privateers, Complete The Legend of Burly’s Gold in Tumbleweed.  For everyone else, complete Jail Break! in Banditoad Trail

Monterey Jack, a chicken outlaw from Cool Ranch

Summary

Monterey Jack is a study in missed opportunity.  One of several recurring bosses you fight on your way though Cool Ranch, Monterey Jack loses everything that made him unique as a boss when you unlock him as a companion, apart from his unique attack animation.

His starting Epic isn’t great on a Buccaneer, but his Epic Pool is decent.  Jack could serve in a pinch as a backline “bully” unit, though there are many other companions more qualified.  If he gets a promotion in the future, he’ll likely go up to three stars.

Suggested Builds


The Old One-Two

  • Riposte 1
  • Relentless 2
  • Blade Storm 1

Fancy Footwork

  • Riposte 1
  • First Strike 2
  • Relentless 1

Wild Wings

  • Riposte 1
  • First Strike 1
  • Relentless 1
  • Blade Storm 1
Black Angus (★★★☆☆)

Class: Buccaneer

Recruits at: your level +2

Promotes at: level 54

Buy for: 4,495 Crowns

How to unlock: Start Range War! in Tumbleweed

Black Angus, a bison bounty hunter

Summary

A unique companion with some solid skills, Black Angus is everything Monterey Jack wishes he could be.

Even with a weak starting Epic, his access to Vengeance Strike rank 3, coupled with his ability to be promoted, helps him find his niches: a backup tank/brawler unit to stall and disable troublesome enemies, or a respectable “bully” unit to hunt down backline enemies like Musketeers and Witchdoctors.

While far from being the most powerful Lesser Companion, Black Angus is always a good “understudy” to have on hand.

Suggested Builds


Bring the Beef

  • Riposte 1
  • Vengeance Strike 3
  • Relentless 1

Bison Bully

  • Riposte 1
  • Relentless 2
  • Blade Storm 2

Slice and Dice

  • Riposte 1
  • Vengeance Strike 2
  • Relentless 2
Jane Canary (★★★☆☆)

Class: Musketeer

Recruits at: your level +1

Promotes at: level 60

Buy for: 5,995 Crowns

How to unlock: Complete Payback in Tumbleweed

Calamity Jane Canary, a member of the Magnificent Seven

Summary

“Calamity” Jane Canary is a specialist.  She shares her entire Epic pool with Buffalo Bill, but her starting Epic suggests that she fits better as an anti-musketeer brawler than an area-controller (though she can do both, with the right build).

While very situational, Jane is reliable and tough – she can be a real asset against musketeer-heavy teams, shutting them down and allowing your other companions to close the distance and turn the tide.

Suggested Builds


Still Got It

  • True Grit 3
  • Overwatch 1
  • Double Tap 1
  • Quick Adjust 1

Canny Canary

  • True Grit 2
  • Overwatch 3
  • Double Tap 1

Unerring Justice

  • True Grit 3
  • Quick Adjust 3
Wild Bill Peacock (★★★★☆)

Class: Musketeer

Recruits at: your level +1

Promotes at: level 60

Buy for: 5,995 Crowns

How to unlock: Complete Payback in Tumbleweed

Wild Bill Peacock, a member of the Magnificent Seven

Summary

Despite doing his best to stay retired, this old turkey just might be the strongest member of the Magnificent Seven.

Wild Bill starts with the always-useful Burst Fire, and his other Epics suggest a talent for taking on other Musketeers, though he still does reasonably well against everyone else.

With the possible combination of True Grit 3 and Burst Fire 2, Mr. Peacock might be the strongest Anti-Musketeer available in the Crowns Shop, mixing raw damage output and hard-hitting counter-shots with the potential to stun.  Jane and Buffalo Bill may be better at starting fights, but Wild Bill has the best chance of finishing them.

Suggested Builds


Cold Turkey

  • Burst Fire 2
  • True Grit 3
  • Quick Adjust 1

Go Wild

  • Burst Fire 2
  • Quick Adjust 2
  • Double Tap 2

Saloon Shootout

  • Burst Fire 2
  • True Grit 2
  • Double Tap 2
Jim Masterson (★☆☆☆☆)

Class: Privateer

Recruits at: your level +2

Promotes at: N/A

Buy for: 4,495 Crowns

How to unlock: Complete The Ringleader in Fort McMurtry

Jim Masterson, a vampire lawman

Summary

I can think of only two things Jim Masterson has going for him: he can Fly, and his melee attacks deal energy/magic damage, allowing him to deal slightly more damage to enemy Buccaneers and Swashbucklers.

Unfortunately, all of Jim’s Epics are awful, his damage is negligible, and the fact that his attacks do magic damage actually makes him worse at the one niche he might otherwise be able to fill: using his starting Epic of Witch Hunter to counter enemy Witchdoctors, who resist magic damage!

Overall, Jim Masterson is vastly inferior to his brother, Bat Masterson – who is already the weakest member of the Magnificent Seven.  Poor guy shouldn’t have quit his night job.

Suggested Builds


Lucky Bite

  • Witch Hunter 1
  • Blade Storm 3

Hunt ‘em Down

  • Witch Hunter 3
  • Blade Storm 1

Versatile Vampire

  • Witch Hunter 1
  • Blade Storm 1
  • Second Chance 1
  • Flanking 1

 

Neutral Companions

Rooster Cogburn (★★★☆☆)

Class: Musketeer

Recruits at: your level +2

Promotes at: N/A

Buy for: N/A

How to unlock: Complete A Fistful of Mallards in Cooper’s Roost

Rooster Cogburn, a chicken sheriff

Summary

Rooster Cogburn is the first Neutral companion I’ve covered – meaning that he can be recruited by any pirate who completes his quest chain.  While they can take awhile to complete, his quests (most of which involve hunting down and defeating unique outlaw bosses) pay decently, often drop good gear, and eventually lead to you recruiting this snarky sheriff.  So, how good is he?

As Western movie buffs might have guessed, Rooster starts with True Grit, marking him as a solid anti-Musketeer unit from the beginning – and with the addition of Burst Fire, he can put out a decent amount of damage.  His only limits are his short range and lack of promotions (though he does start with one more Epic than average).

Overall, Sheriff Cogburn is a solid pickup.  Bring him in when you know you’ll be facing lots of Musketeers, and let him do what he does best: lay down the law.

Suggested Builds


Sheriff’s Signature

  • True Grit 3
  • Burst Fire 2

Duke It Out

  • True Grit 2
  • Burst Fire 2
  • Double Tap 1

Don’t Bring a Knife…

  • True Grit 1
  • Burst Fire 2
  • Double Tap 2

 

Whew, that’s all of them!  I hope you enjoyed this review of the Lesser Companions of Cool Ranch – and I hope you’ll join me next time as we travel to the distant lands of Mooshu!

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