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Messages - GMan129

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1
This might be the first mech release in years that I've actually supported, in a way. I'm a full-on broken record about hating the MWO business model, but releasing C-Bill variants without even putting them behind a paywall for half a year? Get outta here!

It's worth mentioning that their decision to do so came to placate a massive backlash over how (potentially) OP the original state of the Clan Wave II Heroes pack was, so it's not this pure beacon of goodliness. But still, it's deserving of generating a fair amount of goodwill, since it gives everyone cool new toys.

And boy, are they some cool toys. Of course you've got the Mist Lynx, where the free variant on its own has catapulted the mech into relevance, but almost all of the 9 chassis have received some fantastic new options that will at the very least inject some fresh builds into the game, if not resulting in a new best build.

There's a fair few builds to talk about, so let's get into it.

Mist Lynx

MLX-G



Skill Tree

This build, and the version using ER Smalls & LMGs, are easily the two biggest to come out of the new Mist Lynx variants. Each of the builds have pretty crazy DPS, with the Heavy Smalls/MGs build coming up with higher damage at the cost of half the range and worse heat. I still prefer it, though, as the Mist Lynx is generally quick enough for the range to make little difference, and the damage gap is substantial.

Ebon Dragon



Skill Tree

It's not horrible, but the ammo is simply inadequate. As such, I also tried out swapping out two of the 4s for 2s to get an extra ton of ammo, but that still wasn't a stupendous performer. And since a 2-missile LA omnipod is the only new thing to come out of the Hero, there's not much else worth trying.

Arctic Cheetah

ACH-E



Skill Tree

It can poke with lasers, it can spray with LMGs, and it's just a really good mech. However, it splits its focus just a bit too evenly for me, and the HMG alternative is too range limited (and not good). As such, it's not my favorite Arctic Cheetah build to come out of the new variants. That honor requires omnipods from the...

Shard



Skill Tree

The change isn't too dramatic, but it's enough in my mind to change it from a split focus on poking and spraying, to a definitive focus on spray with some extra flat damage thrown in against armored foes. The Shard's RT omnipod also makes the Arctic Cheetah the best 8xHMG boat (Skill Tree) and lets you put out ridiculous DPS, but lacks any backup weapons and the ammo might not last terribly long.

Ice Ferret

IFR-P



Skill Tree

An ECM CT would be pretty cool, but I'm all about the firepower. It gets hot for sure, but the Ice Ferret's always been one of the better mechs at flanking, poking hard, and running away.

Rainbow Crow



Skill Tree

So here's where we get our ECM. I'm not generally a fan of mechs that keep all their weapons on one easy-to-destroy arm, but this one was pretty decent. The damage and range are pretty good for a mech of its weight & speed, and the ECM helps compensate for the extreme duration of those lasers.

Shadow Cat

SHC-H



Skill Tree

I'm not a big fan of streaks, but this mech has enough of them and runs fast enough to actually kill enemy lights, rather than just chasing them off. The big limiting factor is ammo, and I did look at this alternative build that alleviates that concern with backup weapons and has ECM to boot, but I think it compromises too much of its main goal in the process.

Mishupeshu



Skill Tree

The Mishupeshu's only new omnipod is the Right Arm, and it's almost universally useless. However, this build at least is a teensy weensy bit better than it'd be without the omnipod.

Mad Dog

MDD-H



Skill Tree

The MDD-H's Left Arm is, without a doubt, the best thing to ever happen to Mad Dog laser vomit builds. But I mean, who the hell runs laser vomit on a Mad Dog? Still, it definitely works, and it actually can carry a decent armament, comparable to a Hellbringer (but no ECM and low mounts). Plus those side torsos are tanky as hell.

Bandit



Skill Tree

It's a pretty decent build - with the ammo nodes, you've got a pretty decent potential damage. Still, the firepower is low, and the DPS is lower, so you might wanna look at a Gauss Vomit version (Skill Tree). The ballistic side torsos aren't game breaking, but they still are really powerful for a hero mech.

Ebon Jaguar

EBJ-D



Skill Tree

The 2E RT is a pretty great deal, but the lack of any energy weapons with a ghost heat cap of 3 makes the omnipod less useful for trading. Still, this build turned out to be pretty decent, and you can also run more powerful asymmetrical-ish laser vomit (Skill Tree).

Esprit de Corps



Skill Tree

The ballistic LT was the biggest concern I had about the Clan heroes in general, and while it's not some P2W monster, it's still pretty good. The dual gauss Eb Jag got some attention a while ago (though I really didn't like it), but the ability to use 2 high mounts and add Heavy meds instead of ERs makes a considerable difference.

Hellbringer

HBR-P



Skill Tree

It's just the classic laser vomit Hellby, but better. Higher mounts, less armor needed on the arms, and it just generally nails it. And since it's on the C-Bill variant, I've got no complaints.

Virago



Skill Tree

The Hero's about as useless for omnipods as the Shadow Cat, but the set-of-8 quirks are actually pretty good (-10% energy heat). You lose out on the ECM, and you need to stick some weapons in your arm, but it's still good.

Gargoyle

GAR-E



Skill Tree

I love that we got some Gargoyle torso mounts, but getting this cool stuff after the cSPL nerf just hurts, dude. Still, it's a decent knife fighter, and I like how it fits.

Kin Wolf



Skill Tree

Well this is just as splatty as you can get it. I think the ammo is a bit too low to be a real good build, but it's still got enough to make it work.

Executioner

EXE-E



Skill Tree

I really like the 3E RT omnipod, but I feel like the Executioner just has some intractable issues holding it back. Still, if you're gonna run an energy-boat Executioner, might as well use the omnipod.

Cherbi



Skill Tree

It's got some real good DPS, but the range is crap and I hate how spread out the weapons are. Still, it's nice that we finally get a usable number of missile hardpoints on this mech.

Overall Thoughts

These huge packs are intense. I'm pretty happy with how this pack turned out, though. The hero mechs aren't actually stronger than existing options for the most part, with most of the power available on the C-Bill variant. Instead, the heroes focus on offering new options which are interesting without being super good, which is the way I always want them to be.

I think the big winners from this pack are definitely the Mist Lynx (most improved), Hellbringer (most reliable, but I mean, it was already pretty good), and Arctic Cheetah (just the best). I'm not sure if the Arctic Cheetah's RT omnipod is better than using one of the energy omnipods, which is the only potential for p2w in the pack, but I don't think that it wins by much if it even wins at all.

Sorry it took so long to finish this article, by the way. I'll get to work theorycrafting some Thanatos.

2
This patch was intense. All sorts of new weapons, new equipment, and new mechs hit us hard, and it's a bit of a process to digest it all. Personally, I'm a fan of the changes overall (though ghost heat on gauss rifles is silly), and I think it's injected a good deal of novelty and fun into the game.

This piece is going to be focused on the new mechs - of course, this does kind of require some discussion of tech, but we're gonna keep that to a minimum. Since this is a full mech pack of 4 chassis that I'm going to be reviewing, we might not be going in depth on each and every variant, but I want to hit the main notes for each of the mechs.

The Cougar

ATMs, baby!



Skill Tree

ATMs are not some incredible broken OP-pls-nerf weapon, but they're pretty good if you play it right. And for some reason, the Cougar has given me some of the best results with ATMs; this build being the chief performer. As long as you can stay between 120 and 310 meters of your target, you're gonna be rocking 81 damage alphas, and even out to around 600 (though I don't know the exact number) you're still doing 54 points, which is more than a light, or even a medium, should be able to.

The downside (aside from the 120m min range) is that you need that reinforcement pack or the Hero in order to build it out. And idk how many people want to actually spend more than the base amount on the Cougar.

Hero Dakka



Skill Tree

Any true medium mech would be able to run 3 UAC/5s instead of 2, but this is alright I guess. The DPS isn't nuts, but if you can keep it up for a while you'll be good. The high mounts also make it great for just peaking over cover a bit, and it can trade pretty effectively.

On the other hand, firing your weapons literally blinds you for a fraction of a second, and you need the Hero omnipods to make it work. So, not for everyone.

Base Pack Laser Vomit



Skill Tree

This one I built out specifically to accomodate people who only want to buy the base pack, because damn I think every other build uses either the Reinforcement or Hero omnipods. It still works pretty good as a laser sniper/vomit-er, but it's not one of the builds I'd focus on.

Base Pack Brawler



Skill Tree

This is the last build that I want to highlight, just because I was shocked by how not-terrible it is. You can lean pretty heavily on the UAC/20, and honestly it's worth considering dropping or downgrading the SRMs just to add more ammo, but when you put it all together it's a massive punch.

Survivability is a massive issue though, and you'll die fast if you get noticed.

Overall Thoughts

Expectations were low. Real, real low. But I actually ended up really enjoying my time with this mech. It's not great, or even good, but it's far from the travesty I was looking forward to.

The obvious problem with the Cougar is that, while it has the armor and profile of a light, it has the speed of a heavy and the pod space of a skinny medium. It's not a great combination in theory, and it turns out it's not great in practice either! But I'm glad there were at least a few builds that I could have some fun with.

4/10: Not enough armor.

The Uziel

UZL-2S (Heavy PPCs)



Skill Tree

I gotta say, I think the Uziel (and this variant in particular) might be the best mech to run 2 Heavy PPCs on, and I'm a big fan of that build in general. You're basically running double gauss on a 50 tonner. Sure, it's hot and has a minimum range, but the lack of a need to charge and a lower cooldown balance that out for the most part.

An alternative to this build shows up on the UZL-6P, which certainly resolves problems that the UZL-2S had around low mounts, not enough JJs, and survivability, but the loss of velocity and heat dissipation kills it for me.

UZL-2S (Dakka)



Skill Tree

The UZL-2S having two go-to builds (I originally was going to say great, but that'd just be false) makes it the best variant in my opinion. But I don't think that 2 UAC/5s is quite enough firepower when it doesn't have good cooldown or jam chance quirks. That being said, the high mounts are fantastic.

UZL-3S (Gauss Vomit)



Skill Tree

This isn't a stand-out build, but it's real solid. You can lean on the Gauss for a while (might even want to swap out a JJ for a half ton of ammo), and the ER Med is one of the top new weapons in my book. I feel like one or two extra energy hardpoints could have pushed this into being really good, but hey. What're ya gonna do.

Belial (MRMs)



Skill Tree

I've always been a fan of SRM poptarting, and MRM poptarting has caught my fancy in the Civil War era. The Belial does a decent enough job of it, but it's gotta be said, it doesn't stand up to the SHD-2K's 3x MRM/20 poptarting build.

UZL-6P (Med Pulse)



Skill Tree

Again, not the best mech for the job, but it's a great job for this mech. And as someone who generally hates cooldown quirks on energy builds, I loved them here. I was able to shut down enemy mechs hard with repeated pokes and get pretty crazy DPS.

ER Meds deserves a shout out too, but that one deserves to be on the CDA-2A.

UZL-3P (MechAssault Belial)



Skill Tree

This is a bad build, but it's the closest I could get to something like what the Belial from the original MechAssault might look like in MWO. And I kinda think it stands as a proof of concept for why the Belial in MWO could have paid homage to the original Belial in more than name. But I think I might be the only one bothered by this.

If you want to go full-on OG Belial, btw, here ya go. Disclaimer: These builds may be presented by GMan129, but they are in no way endorsed by him.

Overall Thoughts

Man, I loved the Uziel ever since I laid eyes on it in MW4. I think it ends up being in a similar place to the Bushwacker - it's good enough, and its nostalgia factor is high enough to warrant a buy for the right person, but there's no risk of OP-ness.

Still, there are a lot of things I like about the mech in MWO, even though it's not super fantastic. The high mounts make it very usable - not just the high side torso mounts, but the arms stick out at a pretty high level, around where the cockpit is. That sort of thing is great for QoL, even if the cockpit itself is a bit low.

6/10: IS 50-tonners have a tough life.

The Mad Cat MK II

Deathstrike (Gauss Vomit)



Skill Tree

This variant, regardless of build, has gotten the most attention of all them. For good reason. It's the best variant, and we all knew it would be, and it's possibly one of the best variants in the game in general - it's not a pre-order KDK-3 situation, but it's still stronger than almost all other Assault mechs. This stings balance enough in my opinion, but then there's the added hurt of it being a Hero, and I'm just generally sad about it.

Other builds generally use some sort of heavy laser, be it all heavies or just the larges, and there's multiple variations of each of those builds. Either way, I found ER Meds to be more reliable and more up my alley.

MCII-B (Dakka)



Skill Tree

I was excited for this build, since it's basically a KDK-3 with a jumpjet and arm mounts. But more importantly, because it's on the Mad Cat MK II. It still does work pretty well, but the mounts aren't super high and the damage is a bit lame, which really does hold it back. Still, it's worth a mention, and it's worth a play for sure.

MCII-2 (Brawler)



Skill Tree

It's like a Scorch with a jumpjet. It is strong enough in its role to be worrisome, but its speed makes me almost completely unconcerned about it being P2W (just like with the Scorch). Its lack of defensive quirks also means that its effectiveness as a brawler is limited, but man, if you can get in there, you can tear it up.

MCII-1 (Budget Deathstrike)



Skill Tree

It's simply not as good as the Deathstrike, but it's still a serviceable Gauss Vomit mech, and most importantly, it's in the base pack! So if you love the Mad Cat MK II (one of my all-time favorite mechs, if not #1) but don't want to drop the coinage on the Hero or reinforcement packs, you can still run a full-on meta build! Even if it's sub-optimal...

Overall Thoughts

As I mentioned, I love the Mad Cat MK II. It contends with mechs like the Highlander and Nova Cat for all-time favorite battlemech. In many ways, I'm pleased with its implementation into MWO - it's certainly strong enough and I love its look (my only aesthetic complaints go back to its missile pods - I don't think they look right regardless of the weapon you put in there, and the pegs left behind when you don't equip missiles look bad to me).

My complaints about the mech being too strong all go back to the pre-order system. I know that I'm just a broken record on this one, but I hate the pre-order model because it makes it so that new strongest mechs can't be released without being P2W. I don't think the Mad Cat MK II is strong enough to be P2W, but it still makes me uncomfortable, and it's entirely possible that it's stronger than I give it credit for.

Also, broken jumpjet animation. Thought we were over that.

9/10: Jumpjets should get you way higher.

The Annihilator

ANH-2A (Dakka)



Skill Tree

This is probably the most typical Annihilator build, and it's certainly special as it is the first IS mech capable of 5 UAC/5s, which is quite a powerful build. Despite having one less UAC/5, I even think it's up there with the 6 UAC/5 Dire Wolf, due to the IS UAC/5 using only a single projectile and some crazy armor quirks on top of that. Not that either are at the top of the charts, but still, it's impressive to me.

You can also run this build with 2 UAC/10s to replace 3 of the UAC/5s, both options are great. I was disappointed to discover that the ANH-1A's AC/10 cooldown quirk doesn't seem to apply to UAC/10s, so either variant is equally good at the build.

Another great variation on the build relies on 6 AC/5s, which I'm not as huge a fan of, but is certainly an intriguing option, and uses this Skill Tree.

ANH-1A (AC/10 PPFLD)



Skill Tree

It took me a while to stumble onto this build (it wasn't until I realized that the AC/10 quirk didn't apply to UAC/10s that I started considering normie AC/10 builds), but I really dig it. The SNPPC can be swapped out if you can work out a good alternative, but man I love the 30-damage hit on a sub-2 second cooldown. 15 reliable DPS before you even add the next weapon.

ANH-1X (Quad LB 10-X)



Skill Tree

Sure, you could do some Gausszilla shenanigans on this variant, but you'll probably only get to hit one or two mechs with that before the round ends. This isn't incredible, but the DPS is surprisingly good and you're tanky enough to keep dishing out damage for as long as you feel you have to. The lack of speed is felt even more on an LBX build, unfortunately.

ANH-1E (Energy Boat)



Skill Tree

I don't think the Annihilator is a great platform to boat energy due to its low engine cap (limited internal heatsinks for one), but this...this is a good build. I don't completely understand why, but it felt better than most other builds, and its heat rating on Smurfy's is deceptive - it absolutely is hot, but not prohibitively so.

Overall Thoughts

This mech is as slow and sluggish as a Dire Wolf. In fact, the only differences between the two in terms of their agility is that the Annihilator has a bit less torso pitch (and the Dire Wolf isn't exactly known for its pitch) and a good deal more torso twist (which you really, really feel). But to offset the slowness, it not only has the greatest firepower potential of any IS mech, it also has some pretty incredible defensive quirks.

In general, I think the main factor that limits this mech is its engine cap, but man it's a huge limitation. It could be OP as hell, but the engine cap really keeps it in check.

One thing I really love about the Annihilator in the context of this pack is that the Hero is interesting but not the best (or even one of the best), and the base pack has some very useful variants in it.

7/10: Needs a fifth Gauss Rifle.

The Pack Itself

Just for a few general thoughts about the pack...personally, I prefer the mech-a-month. Not in terms of my enjoyment of the game, but man, it makes these reviews way easier and lets me get more in depth. I lost progress in this review alone twice from the annoying forgetting-to-save bug that my brain has, and part of that is due to the amount of material covered. And there's the excuse I'm using for why it took so long!

Not that this stuff matters to the average consumer. I think overall, this is a nice group of mechs - even the Cougar, which I expected to be the disappointment, isn't completely horrible. In terms of balance, I don't think this pack causes a huge issue, with the Deathstrike being the only cause of concern I can see. So, I'm relatively content.



GMan129 is an officer of the Steel Jaguar competitive team, he is the owner of and writer for MetaMechs, and he does some writing for NGNG as well. He has been playing MechWarrior Online since the early days of closed beta, and has spent far too much time and money on this crap. If you're interested in supporting his self-destruction, consider checking out his Patreon!

3
It's been a week since the PTS ended, and I think I played more there than I have in the actual game for the last month. With that experience, I want to take a look at how the new mechs in the Civil War Escalation pack might turn out, and adjust some of the old thoughts I had about the original Civil War pack. The latter is coming out in just a week, but hopefully I can call out a couple interesting builds worth trying out while I work on the review.

The main focus is going to be the Escalation pack, and the PTS itself. I'm personally very excited about the Nova Cat coming in, since it's always been my favorite mech aesthetically speaking (I had it as my desktop wallpaper for years as a kid), but the Nightstar and Arctic Wolf have their own assets to be excited about. Can't say I'm such a huge fan of the Osiris, but I've never been a lights fan anyways.

So let's get it out of the way first.

Osiris

OSR-3D
  • Endo, Ferro (LA Stripped, Head at 7, max elsewhere), XL280 (151.2 KPH), 1 JJ
  • 5x ER Medium Laser
  • 14 DHS
Could be hot, in both senses of the word. It should blow the other 30-ton IS laserboats out of the water, but that's not really saying much, and its job should be done better by 35-tonners like the Jenner and Firestarter. We'll see about quirks.

OSR-4D
  • Endo, Ferro (Arms Stripped, Head at 9, max elsewhere), XL255 (137.7 KPH), 3 JJs
  • 3x Light PPC
  • 11 DHS
This is the build I'm most excited about. The problem is, it's gonna be hot. You can squeeze in an extra heatsink by dropping some jets and/or some speed, but that's it. Still, this should be the killer variant since it can also do all the laser builds.

OSR-1V
  • Endo, Ferro (RA Stripped, Head at 7, max elsewhere), XL255 (137.7 KPH)
  • 3x MRM10 w/ 3.5 tons of ammo
  • 10 DHS
This is an pretty bad build, for a pretty bad mech. There are some SRM builds that would work better, but not by enough to be worth mentioning. And hey, MRMs are cool!

OSR-2V
  • Endo, Ferro (Arms Stripped, Head at 9, max elsewhere), XL265 (143.1 KPH), 2 JJs
  • Snub-Nose PPC
  • 2x Heavy MGs w/ 2 tons of ammo
  • 10 DHS
A super weak poptart with some HMG backup? It's not gonna break any damage records, but it could make for a good harasser and/or finisher if it doesn't ever meet another light mech.

OSR-1P
  • Endo, Ferro (Head at 5, max elsewhere), XL255 (137.7 KPH), 3 JJs
  • 2x ER Medium Laser
  • 4x Heavy MGs w/ 3 tons of ammo
  • 10 DHS
Small Pulses were the original thought process, but it's already running ridiculously cool. It's a pretty similar concept to the OSR-2V build, but with way less of a focus on harassing and more of one on actual late-game brawling.

Sekhmet
  • Endo, Ferro (Head at 5, max elsewhere), XL255 (137.7 KPH), 3 JJs
  • 4x MPLs
  • 11 DHS
How boring is that? Yeah I don't see much potential for new in this variant, unless you want a super-fast double LPPC boat.

Nightstar

NSR-9J
  • Endo, Armor (Legs at 67, max elsewhere), STD325 (55.4 KPH)
  • 2x UAC/10 w/ 6 tons of ammo
  • 4 Medium Lasers
  • 16 DHS
I think this is going to be a really hot build, but the damage it can throw out should be pretty great. I wish I could slap in ER Meds instead of regular ones, but I feel like you'd never get to shoot them. Hopefully I'm wrong.

NSR-9FC
  • Endo, Armor (Legs at 67, max elsewhere), XL340 (58 KPH)
  • 2x Gauss w/ 4 tons of ammo
  • 2x PPC
  • 14 DHS
Here's hoping it's got skinny side torsos! The build's pretty basic, and probably will work better on the King Crab (not to mention the many many Clan versions), but I didn't see much else worth doing.

NSR-9S
  • Endo, Armor (Legs at 59, max elsewhere), LFE320 (54.6 KPH), 1 JJ
  • 2x Gauss w/ 4 tons of ammo
  • 3x Light PPC
  • 14 DHS
This is one of the variants worth being excited about. And here's the thing - if PGI actually doesn't slap ghost heat on the UAC/20 (and I'm sure they will), that'll instantly make this variant absolutely badass, and not at all worth running Gauss on. This variant also runs most of the other builds I'm gonna be talking about better than on the originally-listed variant, just by virtue of not having as many actuators.

NSR-9P
  • Endo, Armor (either arm stripped, Legs at 67, max elsewhere), LFE325 (55.4 KPH)
  • 3x UAC/10 w/ 8 tons of ammo
  • 13 DHS
This is the other variant to look out for. Not only can it do this sweet triple UAC/10 build (assuming they don't slap ghost heat on that too), it can do my personal favorite Civil War tech build:
  • Endo, Armor (either arm stripped, Legs at 67, max elsewhere), STD305 (52 KPH)
  • 2x Heavy Gauss w/ 6 tons of ammo
  • Snub-Nose PPC (either arm)
  • 10 DHS
Which I freely admit isn't the best, but it's still fun as hell.

NSR-10P
  • Endo, Armor (either arm stripped, Legs at 67, max elsewhere), LFE325 (55.4 KPH)
  • 2x UAC/5 w/ 5 tons of ammo
  • 2x UAC/2 w/ 4 tons of ammo
  • 2x ER Medium Laser
  • 13 DHS, ECM
This build is actually pretty close to stock. I originally made builds for all the Escalation mechs a while ago and never got around to doing the write-up, and back then the build I was looking at used RAC/2s. Hopefully they get fixed, but in their PTS state I don't think that'd be a great idea.

Wolf Phoenix
  • Endo, Armor (either arm stripped, the other at 30, Legs at 60, max elsewhere), LFE325 (55.4 KPH)
  • 4x MRM30 w/ 8 tons of ammo
  • 13 DHS
I'm still an MRM fanboi, but I wasn't particularly impressed by them on the PTS. I do think they have their value, though, and despite having to stagger fire these to avoid ghost heat, it's a fun build and worked out pretty well for me personally (120 damage is 120 damage).

Arctic Wolf

This is a weird one because there are both omnimech and nonmnimech variants. I think we can make it through.

SRMs (omni)
  • Endo, Ferro (either arm stripped, Head at 17, max elsewhere), XL240 (97.2 KPH), 3 JJs
  • 4x Artemis SRM6 w/ 5 tons of ammo
  • 13 DHS
It's like a slightly slower Javelin with Artemis and extra heatsinks. Could be a great value for the tonnage and one of the best builds, but it's not super new and it's a bit slow for me.

LRMs (omni)
  • Endo, Ferro (either arm stripped, Head at 17, max elsewhere), XL240 (97.2 KPH), 3 JJs
  • 3x Artemis LRM10 w/ 5.5 tons of ammo
  • 11 DHS, ECM
It actually looks like it'd be a half decent LRMer for the tonnage. It's not much more powerful than the Light LRM boats that the clans already have, but the Artemis, ECM, and jumpjets could set it apart.

ER Meds (omni)
  • Endo, Ferro (Max Everywhere), XL240 (97.2 KPH), 3 JJs
  • 6x ER Medium Laser
  • 20 DHS, TC1
This build could be really quite swell! Again, the speed is a bit low for a 40-tonner, but that's a lot of heatsinks, way more than you get out of the other low-weight ER Med boats.

ER Larges (omni)
  • Endo, Ferro (Head at 12, max elsewhere), XL240 (97.2 KPH), 3 JJs
  • 2x ER Large Laser
  • 3x ER Small Laser
  • 18 DHS
If the side torso mounts are high, this could turn out to be a great little sniper, like the Purifier but with way more heatsinks and backup weapons in case for when it gets caught.

ACW-1
  • Endo, Ferro (either arm stripped, Head at 17, max elsewhere), XL270 (109.4 KPH)
  • 7x SRM4 w/ 5 tons of ammo
  • 16 DHS
It's gonna run hot, and there are no jumpjets, but that's an insane build for a 40 tonner. I'm starting to question my math, it's so absurd.

ACW-2
  • Endo, Ferro (Head at 12, max elsewhere), XL265 (107.3 KPH)
  • 3x Streak SRM6 w/ 4 tons of ammo
  • 2x ER Small Laser
  • 13 DHS, CAP
It leaves a bit to be desired in terms of firepower, and ideally I'd like it to run faster to catch those pesky lights too, but it should still do a good job of hunting the buggers down.

Blood Kit
  • Endo, Ferro (Head at 12, max elsewhere), XL265 (107.3 KPH), 2 JJs
  • 2x Heavy Large Laser
  • 2x ER Medium Laser
  • 17 DHS
It's simple and not that great, but heavy lasers will do huge damage, though you have to stare for a while. A fast mech like the Wolf might be able to get away with it on some good flanks. Or it might just get killed.

Nova Cat

Laser Vomit
  • Endo, Armor (Legs at 59, max elsewhere), XL280 (64.8 KPH)
  • 2x Large Pulse Laser
  • 5x Medium Pulse Laser
  • 26 DHS, TC1
It's a straight-up mini-Supernova. It's short 3 heatsinks, a MPL, and a jumpjet, but at least it goes faster and weighs 20 tons less. I'm sure it'll be one of the more popular options (if nothing drastic changes tech-wise).

PPCs
  • Endo, Armor (Legs at 48, either arm at 34, max elsewhere), XL280 (64.8 KPH)
  • 4x ER PPC
  • 26 DHS
You can swap out some or all of the PPCs out for Large Pulses obviously (and I think I'll be running 2 and 2) for better heat efficiency, but any way you run it should be fantastic.

Poptart #1
  • Endo, Armor (Legs at 56, Right Arm at 34, max elsewhere), XL280 (64.8 KPH), 2 JJs
  • Gauss Rifle w/ 2.5 tons of ammo
  • 2x ER PPC
  • 21 DHS
I'm not sure whether or not this will move in on the Night Gyr's turf (better convergence and, I would guess, agility, but less damage and jumpjets), but I'm sure it'll be strong in its own right. Possible competition for the Timber Wolf at the very least (look at all those heatsinks!)

Poptart #2
  • Endo, Armor (Legs at 59, max elsewhere), XL280 (64.8 KPH), 4 JJs
  • 2x Gauss Rifle w/ 4 tons of ammo
  • ER PPC
  • 11 DHS
We saw a mini-Supernova before, so here's a mini-Night Gyr. It's straight up identical, save for a few tons that would get spent on a TC, or backup weapons, or excessive ammo, or pointless heatsinks. If the agility's good...

Dakka
  • Endo, Armor (Legs at 51, max elsewhere), XL280 (64.8 KPH), 2 JJs
  • 4x UAC/5 w/ 8.5 tons of ammo
  • 11 DHS
It's not as good as the Dakka you can do on the Night Gyr, but it's not bad at all. I'm not a fan of it all being in the arms (and if you want, you can drop a UAC/5 for a PPC to get something in your torso at least), but it's a solid dakka build to be sure.

Streaks
  • Endo, Armor (Legs at 59, max elsewhere), XL280 (64.8 KPH), 4 JJs
  • 6x Streak SRM6 w/ 7 tons of ammo
  • 19 DHS, BAP
Certainly one of the strongest streak boats in the game, but the speed makes it almost a non-starter. If you can get a bead on a light, they're toast, but good luck.

Value & P2W

Guys, the Nova Cat might be really good. Like, really really good. Like, Night Gyr-level good. Like a little Night Gyr that does basically the same thing and can also run a sick af laser vomit build. As long as you pre-ordered the reinforcement variants, that is. As such, I definitely recommend going for the reinforcements if you're planning on getting the pack and want to play any of the ballistic builds, but you can skip the Hero.

And the same could be said (though possibly to a lesser extent) of the Arctic Wolf. The crazy SRM build on the ARC-1 could easily be competition-worthy - certainly in any leagues based on tonnage rather than class - but the variants you get in the standard pack aren't that impressive due in large part to their low speed (though they're still pretty good).

The Nightstar also has a few variants that I expect to be significant. For the most part, it's a lighter King Crab (with better hitboxes), but the NSR-9S's energy mounts (particularly on the head and CT) set it apart, and the NSR-9P looks more like a faster Annihilator than anything else. And the ECM Dakka variant looks like it could be pretty good, too.

The Osiris looks fine, but I don't think it'll be something worth worrying about.

So, how do I feel about this pack? Not great. I love the Nova Cat, and most of the mechs bring some cool new stuff, but this is a mix of P2W and P2Optimize that I really don't feel comfortable with. I hate just throwing around the P2W term, and I really don't know if this stuff is P2W (obviously I haven't played with it yet), but the Nova Cat and Arctic Wolf both have the potential to be best-in-class. Though, I'd rate the chance at maybe 30%. Still too high, but the Night Gyr will probably still be better than the Nova Cat, and the Hunchback IIC and Huntsman both will probably be better choices than the Arctic Wolf.

I really don't like the P2Optimize, though. For the Nova Cat, you're stuck with 1 or 2 interesting laser builds without the reinforcements, which add Gauss poptarting (which I expect to be some of the most popular Nova Cat builds, probably a tie with Laser Vomit really) and Dakka. And the crazy Arctic Wolf build that sets the chassis apart requires you to get the Reinforcements. As for the Nightstar, 2 of the 3 variants that I'm excited about (and which are probably going to be the best) are Reinforcements.

It's rough, dude.

Civil War Pack #1 Adjustments

After getting some exposure to the new weapons on the PTS, I wanna give a brief revision to my prior thoughts.

First off, if RACs don't get some love (and honestly, even if they do) my main Annihilator build I'm looking forward to is as follows:
  • Structure, Light Ferro (either arm stripped, Legs at 64, max elsewhere), LFE300 (48.6 KPH)
  • 5x UAC/5 w/ 9.5 tons of ammo
  • 10 DHS
At long last, I'll get to achieve my dreams of 5 UAC/5s on an IS mech. Unfortunately, it's exactly as slow as a Dire Wolf. Some other notable mentions include 6 UAC/2s, various mixes of UAC/20s and UAC/10s, and of course, my best friend H.G. Snubs.

Also, most of my Mad Cat MKII builds don't look like they'll be that great. I'm still a believer in ATMs (the damage is insane in the right situation), but I'm not liking the current state of Heavy Lasers. On the bright side, double Gauss double Peeps will still be alive and well, as will the crazy brawling build.

As for the Uziel, a lot of those builds require modification. The Heavy Gauss isn't strong enough to be the only weapon on the mech, so I'd replace that with an LFE UAC/20 build, maybe with some energy backup. 2 MRM40s produce ghost heat, so that build would go to 2 MRM30s. Also, the Heavy PPC build will be way too hot, so I'll revise that to use an XL280, only 2 jumpjets, and drop some armor to net 2 extra heatsinks. It probably will still be really hot, but at least it'll be better, and that still sounds like a damned good build.

I hope the Cougar gets some decent quirks.

PTS Thoughts

Just thought I'd write down a few things I've got kicking around my brain. Some of which you've probably figured out if you've read through this whole post.
  • Builds using Heavy Gauss & Snub Nose are super fun (Sleipnir is the best at them of the mechs currently in the game). The ridiculous max range on these weapons means 2 of each (70 damage at 200m) still does 50 damage at, like, 400m, and 25 at 600m. Still not competitive, though.
  • 2 UAC/20s without ghost heat is ridiculous. Especially now that they have ammo.
  • ATM min range is still really rough and I don't think it needs to be that long (I'm still a 90m advocate), but their damage at short range is insane. But their tracking is terrible. Honestly I wish they would just replace the LRM flight pattern with the one for ATMs, and then make something new for ATMs.
  • RACs feel super buggy and don't last for nearly long enough.
  • MRMs are really fun, but I think they need to go faster to be good.
  • I don't like heavy lasers.
  • I kinda like ER Micros.
  • A stealth armor CDA-3M with 3 LPPCs is hilarious.
Anyways, thanks for reading.



GMan129 is an officer of the Steel Jaguar competitive team, he is the owner of and writer for MetaMechs, and he does some writing for NGNG as well. He has been playing MechWarrior Online since the early days of closed beta, and has spent far too much time and money on this crap. If you're interested in supporting his self-destruction, consider checking out his Patreon!

4
So we've got 3 upcoming packs that are full of exclusively hero mech variants of existing chassis. I'm not totally sure about whether or not its helpful for me to be making these pieces for the hero packs, but I need a break from Skill Tree math, so it'll be good to think of something else for a while. Something with slightly fewer decimals.

Now, these are a lot of mechs spread over multiple packs, so I'm gonna be doing things a bit differently. I still am including a specific build for each that I think illustrates its unique potential, but I'm not gonna spend a full paragraph telling you about how the Shadow Cat gets an extra missile hardpoint.

That being said, some of these require...a bit of discussion.

IS Lights

Urbanmech K-9
  • Endo, Ferro (RA stripped, Head at 5, RT at 12, max elsewhere), STD180 (97.2 KPH), 2 JJs
  • 5x MPL
  • 11 DHS
I think this will probably be the best Urbanmech (depending on quirks), but we'll see. Shouldn't be exactly OP.

Wolfhound Grinner
  • Endo, Ferro (Arms stripped, Head at 7, max elsewhere), XL285 (131.9 KPH)
  • 1x LPL
  • 3x ML
  • 12 DHS, ECM
The ECM is nice, but I can't say I'm super impressed in general. Still, not bad for a Wolfhound, and again that'll depend on quirks.

Panther Katana Kat
  • Endo, Ferro (Head at 12, max elsewhere), XL250 (115.7 KPH), 2 JJs
  • 2x LL
  • 2x ML
  • 11 DHS
Eugh. This one really depends on quirks, but I doubt it'll come close to the PNT-9R.

IS Mediums

Crab Florentine
  • Endo, Ferro (Arms stripped, Head at 12, max elsewhere), XL300 (97.2 KPH)
  • 2x PPC
  • 2x SRM4A w/ 1.5 tons of ammo
  • 13 DHS
I like the idea of this mech, but it's really gonna depend on hardpoint locations (I'm pretty sure that picture is just of an existing Crab's head and CT hardpoints). If the ST mounts are high, this could be a really cool machine. If not, I think it'll still be fun.

Enforcer Ghillie
  • Endo, Ferro (RA stripped, Head at 16, max elsewhere), XL280 (90.7 KPH), 1 JJ
  • 3x ERLL
  • 17 DHS, ECM
Basically, it's like the sniper Phoenix Hawk but with way less speed and more heat sinks. I think it could be pretty damn good.

IS Heavies

Grasshopper Mjölnir
  • Endo, Armor (RA stripped, Legs at 49, max elsewhere), XL325 (75.2 KPH), 1 JJ
  • Gauss Rifle w/ 3 tons of ammo
  • LPL
  • 4x ML
  • 16 DHS
I like that you can cram all the energy into the torso sections on this and pair it with a ballistic, but I can't see it getting used over the GHR-5N or any existing Ballistic/Energy heavies.

Black Knight Partisan
  • Endo, Armor (Legs at 49, max elsewhere), XL350 (75.6 KPH)
  • AC/20 w/ 3.5 tons of ammo
  • 6x ML
  • 17 DHS
I think it's really cool that there's no lower arm actuator on this thing, since there's not a lot of AC/20 arms in the game outside of the gun-arm dudes (Jagermech, Rifleman, Blackjack, etc.) I'm not sure it'll be any good, but it could be a decent skirmisher.

IS Assaults

Zeus Skokomish
  • Endo, Armor (LA at 6, max elsewhere), XL340 (68.8 KPH)
  • 4x SRM6A w/ 5.5 tons of ammo
  • 2x MPL
  • 16 DHS
This is the first Zeus with 4 missile hardpoints, making it ideal for an SRM boat. And if it gets any SRM quirks at all reall, it could be quite good at that. But as is, it's looking pretty slow and 4 SRM6s isn't a lot to rely on for an Assault.

Mauler Knockout
  • Endo, Armor (Legs at 67, LA stripped, max elsewhere), STD325 (58.5 KPH)
  • 4x SRM6A w/ 5 tons of ammo
  • LB10 w/ 2 tons of ammo
  • 16 DHS
I could kinda copy and paste everything from the Zeus, but the beefed up survivability and backup weapons is a big help. Still, that's a really slow brawler.

King Crab Kaiju
  • Endo, Armor (Legs at 69, arms stripped, max elsewhere), STD300 (48.6 KPH)
  • 2x UAC/5 w/ 6.5 tons of ammo
  • 2x LRM10A w/ 5.5 tons of ammo
  • 14 DHS
I feel like this thing just has so much potential, but...I couldn't squeeze anything really special out of it. Everything I wanted to do ended up being too heavy or too lame. But if the ballistic hardpoints are high, it should be workable.

Clan Lights

Mist Lynx w/ ED & G Omnipods
  • cEndo, cFerro (Head at 12, max elsewhere), CXL175 (113.4 KPH), 6 JJs
  • 4x cERML (RT, RA)
  • 13 DHS
I think this is actually pretty cool that you're able to side-load this stuff.

Arctic Cheetah w/ SH & E Omnipods
  • cEndo, cFerro (max everywhere), CXL240 (129.6 KPH), 6 JJs
  • 8x HMG w/ 4 tons of ammo
  • 2x Flamer
  • 12 DHS
This could be crazy good, or crazy bad. But 8 Heavy Machine Guns is...it's a lot of Heavy Machine Guns. But since they're probably no good against armor, you might want to swap out the flamers and heat sinks for something like small pulses.

Jenner IIC Fury
  • cEndo, cFerro (Head at 10, max elsewhere), XL295 (136.5 KPH), 2 JJs
  • cLPL
  • 6x HMG w/ 2 tons of ammo
  • 10 DHS
This one's pretty underwhelming, but I'm not upset about that and a ballistic Jenner could be cool.

Clan Mediums

Ice Ferret w/ RC & P Omnipods
  • cEndo, cFerro (max everywhere), CXL360 (129.6 KPH)
  • 5x HML
  • 15 DHS, ECM
The Ice Ferret gets a whole lot of new options from the Hero and new C-Bill omnipods; the Hero gives you 4 missile hardpoints, and the C-Bill one gives you 6 energy. I think this could make the Ice Ferret pretty good, since its lack of hardpoints has been one of the biggest issues it has had.

Shadow Cat w/ MI & H Omnipods
  • cEndo, cFerro (max everywhere), CXL270 (97.2 KPH)
  • 4x SRM4 w/ 5 tons of ammo
  • 2x SPL
  • 12 DHS
The Shadow Cat's really only getting an extra missile hardpoint (the Hero RA is no big deal) and it's coming from the C-Bill variant, which is nice. But it's not gonna revolutionize the chassis.

Hunchback IIC Deathwish
  • cEndo, cFerro (Head at 14, legs at 44, max elsewhere), CXL255 (82.6 KPH)
  • Gauss Rifle w/ 2.5 tons of ammo
  • 5x cERML
  • 17 DHS
If this thing just had jumpjets, it would become such a good poptart. As is, it looks like a pretty cool gauss vomit platform, serving as legit competition for the heavies. Again, not revolutionary, but pretty cool.

Clan Heavies

Mad Dog w/ BA & H Omnipods
  • cEndo, cFerro (Head at 12, legs at 42, max elsewhere), CXL300 (81.0 KPH)
  • 2x UAC/20 w/ 5 tons of ammo
  • 12 DHS
It's not enough ammo or heat sinks, but it's so cool anyways. I think swapping the 20s out for UAC10s and slapping on a few lasers would be a better option, but this is so much cooler. Unfortunately, it's limited to the Hero omnipods...

Ebon Jaguar w/ EC & D Omnipods
  • cEndo, cFerro (LA stripped, legs at 51, max elsewhere), CXL325 (81.0 KPH)
  • 2x Gauss w/ 5 tons of ammo
  • 2x cERSL
  • 13 DHS
This is the most problematic bit of the packages. The extra side torso ballistic hardpoint for the Ebon Jaguar does mean that it's absolutely pay-to-optimize, and potentially p2w. This example doesn't do a great job of illustrating the latter point (dual gauss on a JJ-less heavy isn't the end of the world, regardless of how high the mounts are), but you can also fit dakka builds and all sorts of new and improved ballistic/energy hybrids with high mounts and loads of tonnage.

Hellbringer w/ VI & P Omnipods
  • Structure, Armor (arms at 1, legs at 56, max elsewhere), CXL325 (81.0 KPH)
  • 2x cLPL
  • 4x cERML
  • 21 DHS
Thankfully, both new variants of the 2 Energy RTs, which means you don't need to shell out for this build. I'm a big fan of the tight weapon grouping and armless weight savings you get out of this build, not to mention the high mounts.

Orion IIC Sköll
  • cEndo, cFerro (LA at 1, legs at 58, max elsewhere), CXL360 (77.8 KPH)
  • Gauss Rifle w/ 3 tons of ammo
  • 2x cERPPC
  • 20 DHS
It's basically a Clan Protector, but with one less ballistic hardpoint. So we're looking at way too many heatsinks for the weapons we actually have.

Clan Assaults

Gargoyle w/ KW & E Omnipods
  • cEndo, cFerro (RA stripped, legs at 58, max elsewhere), CXL400 (81.0 KPH)
  • 4x SRM6A w/ 5.5 tons of ammo
  • 4x cSPL
  • 18 DHS
Finally, 4 missile hardpoints on the Gargler. I think this is basically what it'll look like, and I think it'll be really badass. Unfortunately, you're gonna need the Hero LT to truly optimize this thing, but with it this will be a nasty little machine.

Executioner w/ CH & E Omnipods
  • Structure, cFerro (RA stripped, legs at 65, max elsewhere), CXL380 (64.8 KPH), 4 JJs
  • UAC/20 w/ 4 tons of ammo
  • 4x SRM4 w/ 4.5 tons of ammo
  • 17 DHS
This is a pretty cool-looking fast brawler, like a slightly weaker Spirit Bear with jump jets. It does require the Hero omnipods, though, and the C-Bill variant doesn't seem like it'll be too valuable.

Highlander IIC Keeper
  • Structure, Armor (legs at 61, max elsewhere), CXL325 (58.5 KPH), 1 JJ
  • 2x UAC/10 w/ 6 tons of ammo
  • 4x SRM6A w/ 4 tons of ammo
  • 18 DHS
I think this could be a pretty cool variant. Easily the best Highlander IIC, like the HGN-IIC-C on steroids. Plus, you can do builds that use 2 LB20s or Gauss, with missile backup weapons.

Sum-Up

It's hard to make predictions about a lot of these because of the lack of quirk info, but there is cause for concern about that Ebon Jaguar, and I'd estimate about half of these Heroes are either the best variant of the chassis, or have the omnipods required for the best builds on the chassis. Can't say I'm too pleased by that, even though PGI is releasing a buttload of C-Bill variants alongside those Hero Omnimechs.

Still, enough of the new options are cool rather than good for me to still be looking forward to their releases, in general.



GMan129 is an officer of the Steel Jaguar competitive team, he is the owner of and writer for MetaMechs, and he does some writing for NGNG as well. He has been playing MechWarrior Online since the early days of closed beta, and has spent far too much time and money on this crap. If you're interested in supporting his self-destruction, consider checking out his Patreon!

5
Man I didn't get hyped on the Javelin when I saw it. It was a new light mech, and that along kept me going, but it never struck me as being terribly cool.

But I'm having a good tiiiime! I'm not a "light player", but I've just been having so much fun with this dorky little mech (and it is a real dork), and it might even be one of the better light mechs out there. But why?!

Let's talk about physicality first. It's a 30-tonner, so it's smaller than some of the other lights you see out there. But let's be real, its boxiness and height should not inspire confidence. Its legs are slim (which is a big plus), but there's nothing spectacular here.

But then we get to hardpoints. In comparison to other 30-ton IS mechs (the Spider and Urbanmech) there's no comparison! None at all. It's the only one with missiles (the Anansi DOES NOT COUNT), and it's got more energy too. You won't necessarily be using all of them, but the freedom is there. And even when you compare it to the 35-tonners, it holds its own on hardpoints. Hell, even the JVN-10P (spoilers: this is easily my favorite) kicks all they asses with its missile stacks.

There's an elephant in the room, and I think we all know it. The Skill Tree. For my brief opinion, I made a quick post on MetaMechs), and there'll be more to come. For now, I'm going to try to include the skill trees I've been using for each mech in PUGs (meaning no extra UAVs because greed), but these aren't like Word of God or anything. So let's just get to the

Builds

JVN-10N



Now, I know what you're thinking: not nearly enough ammo. And you're totally right. But the skill tree I used alleviated this problem (though it didn't really solve it):

JVN-10N Skill Tree

Even with the extra ammo for your SRMs, you'll run out of ammo if you live for very long at all. But in spite of that, this was a great variant to run, just a ton of fun.

JVN-10F



JVN-10F Skill Tree

It's fast, it hits hard(ish), and it's just great. I think this might be a favorite of a lot of contemporary light pilots, but it wasn't for me.

JVN-10P



JVN-10P Skill Tree

Oh hell yes, this was easily my favorite variant. The SRM2 has always been a pet favorite of mine, and I believe they've been buffed pretty recently. Skill tree's basically the same as the JVN-10N, but I just made a few tweaks. This is a great assassin, and the precision DPS it can put out in a fight is nuts. Just loads of fun.

JVN-11A



JVN-11A Skill Tree

It's fine, but it's not interesting. Might be good in light battles, but I feel like the FS9-A probably still has it beat. Probably my last favorite of the variants.

JVN-11B



JVN-11B Skill Tree

I wasn't a huge fan of this variant (no JJs), but it was cool to run around in a little light-hunter. Streaks just ain't what they used to be, but the intimidation factor is through the roof!

HI THERE!



HI THERE! Skill Tree

Everything about it is preeeetty similar to the JVN-10F. I give the edge to the 10F for its extra speed, but the arm mounts are pretty nice.

Is it good?

It's pretty good. One of the best light mechs in the game, though I still give the edge to the current kings. I think Tier 2 is a good place for it in general, but it is just a super fun mech.

The JVN-10P is my favorite, and I think the best, but the JVN-10F fills the traditional light role very, very well.

Score

Good: 7
Fun: 9

I know these scores are silly, subjective, and just about irrelevant. Just kinda feels good to put abstract concepts into numerical form. Tickles part of my brain.



GMan129 is an officer of the Steel Jaguar competitive team, he is the owner of and writer for MetaMechs, and he does some writing for NGNG as well. He has been playing MechWarrior Online since the early days of closed beta, and has spent far too much time and money on this crap.

6
After the folks at PGI had been working on the game for 7 years, they finally got to make a brand new mech, and make it canon. I still think that's really cool. Some people are a bit put out that PGI decided to release this instead of one of the other mechs already in lore, but getting the chance to create something brand new in this universe is an opportunity that I think any fan would relish. But perhaps more importantly, they didn't mess it up.

It also helps that the Roughneck looks pretty cool, though I think that the original concept art was a bit more special than the way it turned out in game: the disproportionate forearms, RT ballistic barrel, and general gangliness seem like they've all been tuned down. I can see why they did these things: a massive barrel is going to obstruct your view, and I can see how such a weird body shape could have made movement look weird. But this has me fearful that the Hollander's (its inclusion is inevitable) Gauss Rifle barrel will be shorter than the mech is tall, which will be really disappointing. That being said, the result is still a pretty cool looking machine, and it definitely looks appropriate to the lore they've created for it as an industrial mech that's been converted for combat purposes.

Aesthetics aside, I've had a fair amount of fun with the mech, despite all the obstacles it has before it. Most classically good builds don't work well on the Roughneck, performing much better on competing heavy mechs. On top of that, the distance between the mounts is pretty extreme, so convergence is almost universally horrid between any two locations but the side torsos themselves. And the cockpit bobbed so much that the top-right screen kept popping in and out of my screen, which got surprisingly annoying.

But the quirks were good, and the fun was had. For the most part, I was driven to brawl. This was a bit surprising to me, since I expected it to be more dakka-oriented, but it ended up being quite serviceable in a short-range role. This also makes it unique as a 65-tonner, since the others are generally glass cannons in a brawl. But the Roughneck can outlive most other mechs in its class, and does so without compromising on anything but heatsinks (usually).

Let's talk about the variants themselves.

Builds

RGH-1A



There are a lot of builds worth considering on this variant, thanks to its 4 ballistic hardpoints. You've got trip 5s, quad 2s, and all sorts of other permeations. But this DPS brawler seemed to fit the mech better than any of those, and did quite well. It brought me back to the days of the AS7-D-DC with UAC/5s, and fits nearly as many weapons. It's a good enough build, but I doubt it'll really blow your mind.

On a whole, this feels like one of the better variants. It lacks the offensive quirks that make some of the others pop, but it's still durable and the double ballistic RT is worthwhile.

RGH-1B

Before writing this, I'd only played this particular variant twice, and I legitimately could not at all remember what I'd run in it, but based on its average damage in my stats page, I didn't have a great time. So I'm going to go give it another few chances.

...

Ok I'm back.



The 20% ballistic cooldown quirk on this variant is real swell, but the arms on this mech are low and wide and that's not a good combination. Sure, 3 AC/5s performed, but it felt bad and left me way too open for return fire. This one functioned much like the main build I recommended for the RGH-1A, but it got some extra speed out of the XL and a bit more damage too. Of course, it gave up the STD survivability and the high RT mounts, so...I think I still prefer the RGH-1A.

This variant didn't stand out much to me (maybe you could tell), but it definitely wasn't bad. Really, I don't think any of the variants are bad, but none of them are clear winners.

RGH-1C



This is probably my favorite variant to straight-up brawl in. The DPS is great, weapons sync up well, and it just feels right. There are lots of permutations on the build, like the one with SRM2s, or a focus on SRM6s, but I found the 4s to be the most efficient option.

Even though it's my favorite to brawl in, its flexibility is...limited. It's not the best ballistic boat (the RGH-2A has better quirks), and there's not much more you can do with missiles that's worth doing.

RGH-2A



It's a...slightly smaller Ilya Muromets. The 15% cooldown obviously isn't quite as good as the 20% on the RGH-1B, but you get a high mount and can mount ultras, which makes up for it. I was really hopeful that 2 AC/10s would be the way to go, but...the convergence issues made it just fine. And this build has the worst convergence of all, but it still has enough firepower to make it work.

I think I was most excited about this variant, but after playing it, I think it might be my least favorite.

RGH-3A



I call this build "Thoroughly Uninspired". Yeah, it's fine, I guess. It's also a decent option for quad Large Pulse. But damn is it boring. All energy boats are these days, but if you're looking for something a bit less boring, maybe look at boating some wubses.

It's easy to argue that this is the best variant. Maybe it's true. I'm pretty sure it is true for organized play. But in PUGs, it never really out-did any of the other variants, at least not when I was playing it.

Reaver

It has a UAC jam quirk. I have no choice.



I had a good enough time. The mounts are too low for me to fall in love, but it's got DPS, it's got range, it's got legs that go all the way to the floor. It's just not great. Other versions with different lasers or even a PPC work too, but still, I'm not wow'd.

But that's a win. For a pre-ordered hero mech, I don't want to be wow'd. I want to not be mad. And I'm feelin' real zen.

Civil War?

Let's talk about how this mech could be effected by the Civil War tech. Right off the bat, I'm lookin' at all these new Ultras, LBX's, and Rotaries, and my imagination goes wild. Again, we're still stuck with some real bad convergence, but you could fit two of those newfangled RAC/5s on the RGH-1A with ease.

On top of that, all those high mounts could end up being premium real estate for good ol' Heavy Gauss Rifle. Slap it on the RGH-2A with a SNPPC to back it up, and we're in business.

Next up, I'm looking at big ol' MRM packs on the RGH-1B in particular. Not something I'm expecting to blow me away, but those high mounts could be sweet for something with a bit more range than SRMs.

And yeah, who knows how the new armor and engine types are going to change things.

Closing Thoughts

It's not a great mech. I think the general reaction from the community of it being underwhelming or mediocre is accurate, but not entirely fitting. I've said it a thousand times, if you're pre-ordering mechs in the hopes of them being better than the mechs you currently have access to, you're doing it wrong. It takes about 5 minutes to survey the mobile game market and see where that sentiment gets you. Or hell, just look at the months where the Kodiak or Timber Wolf or Dire Wolf (etc.) were exclusive. This mech ain't gonna blow your mind, but it's not bad.

And now I want to talk about one of my favorite things about the mech. When I do these reviews, I usually go over each variant, dedicating some space to talking about the variant and its build(s), and then talk about how I feel it ranks in the chassis. It's usually not hard to pick out the best variant, the second best, my personal favorite, etc. But I'll be damned if this isn't one of the most internally balanced chassis out there. Part of that comes from all the variants having similar hardpoints, but in spite of that I was able to make fun, unique builds for each. As such, I feel like this mech is easily one of the best-designed. Which...makes sense.

Score

Good: 6
Fun: 8

I know these scores are silly, subjective, and just about irrelevant. Just kinda feels good to put abstract concepts into numerical form. Tickles part of my brain.



GMan129 is an officer of the Steel Jaguar competitive team, he is the owner of and writer for MetaMechs, and he does some writing for NGNG as well. He has been playing MechWarrior Online since the early days of closed beta, and has spent far too much time and money on this crap.

7
In some ways, it's the culmination of years of dreaming. In others, it's just another medium mech. When it comes to mediums, it takes a special blend of nostalgia and cool builds to get me hyped, and the Bushwacker nailed it. However, I've never been particularly fond of the Assassin, and most of the variants seem like more Vindicators and Phoenix Hawks. But there is one build that really got me going.

Years back, when builds using four SRM4's first became popular, it always annoyed me how light the weaponry was in comparison to the 55 ton mechs carrying it. It struck me as woefully inefficient, but the only lighter alternative was the Loup de Guerre, whose hardpoints are just dreadfully spread out (though I still love it). It took years for PGI to release the BJ-2, which was much more weight-efficient in terms of boating these light missile weapons, but the engine cap drove me crazy. I still liked the mech, but it was a real disappointment.

And so I waited. And waited. And finally, my patience has been rewarded with the ASN-21. A mech with enough tonnage and hardpoints to just barely boat 4 SRM4A's, a mech that goes well over 100 KPH without issue, a mech with decent hitboxes, not-terrible quirks, jumpjets, and no glaring issues to speak of.

I don't want to give you the impression that the Assassin is some incredible mech that everyone needs to buy. To the contrary, if you haven't shared that same dream, I'm not sure how much enjoyment you'll squeeze out of the chassis. The other variants can be fun for sure - one of them even has some cool PPC nipples - but none of it strikes me as revolutionary. It's a dream come true, but a very specific, super lame, and honestly mostly faded dream.

So let's look at the specifics.

Builds

ASN-21



This variant makes the Assassin a worthwhile addition to the game. It's probably not a better pick even for tonnage than a mech like the JR7-IIC, and it's certainly not a better pick than a Griffin if you're considering class, but it's a cool new option and I'd love to see 8 of them going ham in a low-tonnage comp drop. I also had a good time swapping out the SRM4A's to SRM6's, or you could drop Artemis to push the engine even higher.

This is obviously my favorite variant, and probably the best. It's definitely the one with the most reason to exist.

ASN-23



This build is very similar in play to the ASN-21, but the extra heat and lower sync-up makes me a bit more queezy about it. Still, it's more than serviceable, and you can also try swapping flamers in for those pulse lasers.

This is also one of the variants with a solid alternate build: laser vomit. It seems to work decently on this variant as a very high speed poker, though I do question its merit over something like a Cicada or even Phoenix Hawk. Still seems worth mentioning.

I'm not as huge a fan of this variant as the prior one personally, but it seems to be only slightly weaker.

ASN-101



This variant has two nicely situated mounts - not super high, but high enough. I had fun playing it with this poptart build, but it gets really hot (though most of my games with it were on Caustic, Tourmaline, etc.) You can drop ferro and reduce the engine to an XL255 in order to pick up one extra heat sink, but any lower and there's really no point to the mech over the vastly superior BJ-3.

Still, I like the build enough to rate it as my second favorite, but probably more tied for 2nd or 3rd in terms of how good it actually is.

ASN-26



I ran it as a plus-sized Hollander, as a dakka boat, even a poptart. Nothing felt good or right, so I'm just gonna go with this build. It's alright, I guess. Problem is, this variant is just a worse version of lots of other mechs, chiefly the BJ-1. Speed is all it has going for it, but the ballistics we have are all too heavy, and its energy mounts and quirks aren't great.

This is one of the bad variants for sure, but I hesitate to say worst. Least favorite, probably.

ASN-27



Yeah, I used it as a LRM boat. And honestly, it performed better than most of the Assassin builds I tried out...which makes me so, so sad. It's not even really a good LRM boat (though the speed and ECM make it more versatile than your LRM80 assault), but it's workable.

Right now this is probably my second-least favorite variant, and the second worst overall.

DarkDeath



This variant is pretty well optimized to not be optimized. Like a miniature Pretty Baby. So I gave in and used this...thing. It's not pretty and it's not great, but it actually worked decently well, and was pretty fun to boot.

That being said, it's probably the worst variant. In the middle for fun though.

Civil War Tech Predictions

While some of the Assassin variants are pretty bad, there's a chance that the new tech in the Civil War update will help out with those issues. Double RAC/2s on the ASN-26 could be cool, or MRM boating on the ASN-27 and DarkDeath. Running the ASN-21 as a super-fast streak boat could also be a thing, but nobody wants that.

That being said, other mechs will probably continue to do its job better, and being super-maneuverable isn't quite enough.

Final Thoughts

Yeah, it's not a good mech. Even the best variants aren't gonna shake up the meta or anything like that. But at least it's got some strange to it, and I can appreciate that.

I can also appreciate that the three best variants are all in the base pack, and the Hero is (in my opinion) the worst of the bunch. I'm not at all a fan of the mech pack model, but that's how it's supposed to work.

Score

Good: 3
Fun: 8

I'm simplifying the score system a bit. Still completely silly and subjective, but at least now I don't have to worry about the murkiness of comparing it to mechs in different classes or the same class or role or...well. Yeah. It's much more simple, and hopefully more useful.



GMan129 is an officer of the Steel Jaguar competitive team, he is the owner of and writer for MetaMechs, and he does some writing for NGNG as well. He has been playing MechWarrior Online since the early days of closed beta, and has spent far too much time and money on this crap. If you're interested in supporting his self-destruction, consider checking out his Patreon!

8
It's finally here! With the timeline skip, we'll be looking at 4 new fan favorite mechs as well as oodles of new tech to shake up the battlefield (and balance), hopefully for the better. We'll see.

First up, we have the Uziel. This is one of the mechs that really sticks in my memory from the MW4 days; with a unique shape to it and some cool loadouts, even stock. I love the style for it in this game; it was one of the better-designed mechs in MW4 (even the original art for it is pretty good) and it seems that Alex has stayed pretty close to that design, which pleases me. The biggest gripe I have with this mech (which isn't much of a complaint, more of a pet peeve) is its Hero mech: the Belial. Now, it took a reddit thread to jog my memory of why that sounded so familiar, but it's because the mech was introduced in MechAssault as an OP (iirc) version of the Uziel with a Gauss Rifle in each arm. I do think it's cool for PGI to pay it some homage, and copying that build over to MWO would have been a bit absurd (even with Light Gauss it'll go slow and have very little armor), but I really wish that they'd have gone all-out with it.

Next is the Annihilator. This mech is known for two things: tying the Urbanmech for the slowest thing on the battlefield, and carrying a ridiculous amount of firepower. The best way to describe this thing is as the Inner Sphere Dire Wolf; it has the same maximum engine, very similar hardpoints, and probably very similar builds as well. The mech's design is really quite odd, but again, it's in a way that's faithful to the original. Even more than the Cyclops, the shape of this mech's neck and head conjure images of the Geth from Mass Effect, lending a suitably alien aesthetic to this mech. Still, I would love to see it without its hands waving in the air.

The first clan mech of the pack is the Cougar. While I have appreciated this mech a great deal in other games, and I think it'll be a real hoot in MW5, I gotta say I'm a disappointed in it here. Weighing in at 35 tons and running at 87.1 KPH after speed tweak, it is the single slowest light mech in the game, and it's even slower than most mediums. Needless to say, I have very low expectations for this mech, but it does have roughly 18.5 tons of pod space. So who knows, maybe it'll be a half-decent weapon boat.

Finally, we have the Mad Cat MK II. Easily one of my own all-time favorites, I cannot wait to play this thing. The design is great; it has a very IIC approach of keeping similar features but using new geometry, and I am in love with the arms. As with the Uziel, it seems to stick pretty closely to existing art for the mech, and that's not a bad thing at all. The mech appears to have pretty good hitboxes (assuming that the missile pods go away when you don't have missiles), lots of hardpoints, relatively high mounts (dem arms), and on top of all that, it's a nomnimech (as in, not an omnimech). So it'll have lots of options for customization. I'm worried that its builds will be too symmetrical and its arms too wide, but it still looks pretty good.

Perhaps more important than all of these new mechs is the new techs! Seriously, all of the new options have the potential to completely change the meta. I wanted to do a short list of all the bits I'm excited about, but really the list of things I'm not particularly excited about would be way shorter (Stealth Armor, LAMS, IS ER lasers, IS Streaks, LMGs, LAPs, and LTAG). Not to say they won't be good, they just don't tickle me yet.

As such, I'm going to be going over builds as usual, but with an emphasis on making the most of the new technology. I'm also saying that each point of Light Ferro weighs .0296 tons, which seems to line up with the Belial build. But without further ado, let's take a closer look.

Uziel

Not sure if it'll be better than the existing mediums, but it's fun to think about its futuretech possibilities.

UZL-3S

  • Endo, Light Ferro (stripped arms, head at 14, max elsewhere), XL265 (92.3 KPH), 5 JJs
  • 2x Heavy PPC
  • 13 DHS
It'll probably be too hot to be legit, but if so you can cut a few JJs for a larger engine and extra heatsink.

UZL-2S

  • Endo, Ferro (stripped arms, legs at 34, head at 4, max elsewhere), XL255 (88.8 KPH), 1 JJ
  • 2x Light Gauss with 4 tons of ammo
  • 10 DHS
The armor's too low, there's not enough ammo, and I'd prefer a couple more jumpjets, but if the Light Gauss is good enough...

UZL-2S [part 2]

  • Endo, Ferro (stripped arms, legs at 40, head at 8, side torso at 15, max elsewhere), STD250 (87.1 KPH), 2 JJs
  • Heavy Gauss with 4 tons of ammo
  • 10 DHS
Who needs a shield side when you're just a super-sized Hollander?

UZL-3P

  • Endo, Ferro (legs at 43, head at 12, max elsewhere), XL310 (108 KPH), 4 JJs
  • 2x Snub-Nose PPC
  • 3x Heavy MG with 1 ton of ammo
  • 13 DHS
If HMGs are any good, this could be an interesting way to approach them.

UZL-5P

  • Endo, Light Ferro (stripped arms, head at 14, max elsewhere), XL225 (78.4 KPH)
  • 2x MRM/40 with 4.5 tons of ammo
  • 10 DHS
Too hot, too slow, no JJs, and not enough ammo, but goddamn it's got 2 MRM/40s.

UZL-6P

  • Endo, Standard Armor (head at 16, max elsewhere), XL325 (113.2 KPH), 4 JJs
  • 6x ER Medium Laser
  • 19 DHS, TC1
Super simple, but I think it might be pretty good. We'll see what the heat's like; could be that this build runs "too cool", and it could fit better on a smaller mech.

Belial

  • Endo, Standard Armor (head at 16, max elsewhere), XL300 (104.5 KPH), 3 JJs
  • 4x Light PPC
  • 18 DHS
I'm feeling enthusiastic about this one. The question is, will it be better than putting 2 ER PPCs on any of the variants with energy side torsos.

Annihilator

So much weight...so much to work with...

ANH-2A

  • Endo, Standard Armor (arms at 45, legs at 72, max elsewhere), STD300 (52.2 KPH)
  • 4x Rotary AC/5 with 11 tons of ammo
  • 12 DHS
Yeah, this mech might end up with the highest DPS in the game. Depending on how RACs work out, of course.

ANH-1A

  • Endo, Light Ferro (legs at 56, head at 17, max elsewhere), XL300 (52.2 KPH)
  • 4x AC/10 with 8 tons of ammo
  • 12 DHS
This one's pretty much just a stock+ loadout. Kind of a personal fantasy to run 4 AC/10s in a mech, so I'm happy that's gonna happen. Obviously, the XL's gonna be a real bad idea.

ANH-1E

  • Standard Structure, Standard Armor (legs at 81, max elsewhere), STD300 (52.2 KPH)
  • 4x Snub-Nose PPC
  • 3x Light PPC
  • 22 DHS, TC1
I'm pretty sure that Light PPCs will have a ghost heat cap of 4, but I doubt Snub-Noses will get any more than 2. Could be fun if you don't mind shooting in 3 separate groups.

ANH-1X

  • Endo, Standard Armor (arms at 45, legs at 72, max elsewhere), STD300 (52.2 KPH)
  • 2x Heavy Gauss with 10 tons of ammo
  • Snub-Nose PPC
  • 10 DHS, TC1
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

ANH-1P

  • Standard Structure, Light Ferro (arms at 36, legs at 62, max elsewhere), STD300 (52.2 KPH)
  • 4x Heavy PPC
  • 20 DHS
Yeah you know you like that.

Mean Baby

  • Endo, Armor (arms at 33, legs at 52, max elsewhere), STD300 (52.2 KPH)
  • 2x MRM/40 and 2x MRM/30 with 8 tons of ammo
  • 13 DHS
I'm droolin' just a little bit.

Cougar

Making builds for this mech felt like eating my vegetables as a kid. Or as an adult.

New Lasers

  • Endo, Ferro (head at 10, max elsewhere), XL175 (87.1 KPH), 2 JJs
  • 2x Heavy Large Laser
  • 3x Micro Pulse Laser
  • 16 DHS, TC2
I liked the feel of Heavy Large Lasers in other games, we'll see if they're any good here.

Gauss

  • Endo, Ferro (head at 10, max elsewhere), XL175 (87.1 KPH), 2 JJs
  • Gauss Rifle with 3.5 tons of ammo
  • 4x ER Micro Laser
  • 11 DHS, TC2
Meh.

ATMs

  • Endo, Ferro (one arm stripped, head at 15, max elsewhere), XL175 (87.1 KPH), 2 JJs
  • 2x ATM/9 with 7 tons of ammo
  • 10 DHS, ECM
Could be interesting if ATMs are any good. Basically the equivalent of either 2 LRM10s or 3 SRM6s.

Mad Cat MK II

Clans don't get as many fun toys as IS, but let's see what this kitty can do.

MCII-1

  • Endo, Standard Armor (61 per leg, max elsewhere), XL360 (69.7 KPH), 2 JJs
  • 4x Heavy Large Laser
  • 2x ATM/9 with 4.5 tons of ammo
  • 20 DHS, TC1
Don't worry, this was the least interesting build.

MCII-2

  • Endo, Ferro (65/66 per leg, max elsewhere), XL370 (71.6 KPH), 1 JJ
  • 2x LB 20-X AC with 5 tons of ammo
  • 4x SRM6 with 5 tons of ammo
  • 14 DHS
This is pretty hot, but it looks like a pretty goddamn sick brawler. Like the Scorch, but better.

MCII-4

  • Endo, Ferro (69 per leg, max elsewhere), XL360 (69.7 KPH), 1 JJ
  • 4x ATM/12 with 7 tons of ammo
  • 4x Heavy Medium Laser
  • 15 DHS, BAP
If PGI sticks with TT values, 4 ATM/12s is like 12 SRM6s when fired on HE mode. I feel like PGI's gonna nerf that. I also feel like maybe I should just go purely for ATMs...

MCII-A

  • Endo, Armor (69 per leg, max elsewhere), XL375 (72.6 KPH), 1 JJ
  • 2x ATM/12 with 5 tons of ammo
  • 2x Heavy Large Laser
  • 3x Heavy Medium Laser
  • 20 DHS
This one might actually be worse than the first variant. The CT ballistic seems a bit pointless.

MCII-B

  • Endo, Ferro (56 per leg, max elsewhere), XL360 (69.7 KPH), 2 JJs
  • 4x UAC/5 with 10.5 tons of ammo
  • 2x Heavy Medium Laser
  • 14 DHS
All that dakka comin' out of them arms.

MCII-B

  • Endo, Ferro (65/66 per leg, max elsewhere), XL335 (64.8 KPH), 2 JJs
  • 2x Gauss with 4.5 tons of ammo
  • 2x ER PPC
  • 17 DHS
Yeah, I know, it's not new at all. But it could be OP. We'll see how the hitboxes and weapon locations work out.

Deathstrike

  • Endo, Ferro (65/66 per leg, max elsewhere), XL375 (72.6 KPH), 2 JJs
  • 2x Gauss with 5 tons of ammo
  • 6x Heavy Medium Laser
  • 16 DHS
High damage, high heat Gauss Vomit.

And All the Rest

I wanted to include a few other mechs that struck me as being potentially awesome with the new tech.

LCT-1V

  • Endo, Ferro (head at 5, max elsewhere), XL190 (165.4 KPH)
  • 4x Heavy MG with 2.5 tons of ammo
  • 10 DHS
Again, maybe the HMG sucks, but if not this could be cool.

SHD-2H

  • Endo, Ferro (stripped arms, legs at 48, head at 16, RT at 15, max elsewhere), STD270 (85.5 KPH), 3 JJs
  • Heavy Gauss with 5 tons of ammo
  • 10 DHS
I just love that high mount and the 25% Ballistic Cooldown quirk.

MAL-1P, MAL-MX90, or Sleipnir

  • Endo, Armor (legs at 62, arms at 3, max elsewhere), STD315 (61 KPH)
  • 2x Heavy Gauss with 8 tons of ammo
  • 10 DHS
These guys look like the best option for a straight-up double Heavy Gauss build. And by best, I mean pretty much only.

Predictions

The Mad Cat MK II is gonna be one of the greats, the Uziel will be pretty good, and the Annihilator will be funny as hell (seriously, I didn't even scratch the surface of the possible silliness). Let's not talk about the Cougar.

I have no idea how the tech is going to be, though, since we don't have any of the actual stats. The Inner Sphere gets a lot more cool stuff than Clans, though, so that could do some interesting things to the balance of the game (I'm already hyped on Light Ferro).



GMan129 is an officer of the Steel Jaguar competitive team, he is the owner of and writer for MetaMechs, and he does some writing for NGNG as well. He has been playing MechWarrior Online since the early days of closed beta, and has spent far too much time and money on this crap. If you're interested in supporting his self-destruction, consider checking out his Patreon!

9
The Supernova certainly lives up to its name in some ways, if not others. This energy boat has nearly enough energy hardpoints to satisfy the cravings of even the most ammo-hating pilot, but its (relatively) low engine cap prevents it from being a personal favorite. With a maximum engine rating of 325, you are not only limited to a meager 62.9 KPH, but also a maximum of 3 additional engine heat sinks. When compared to competing Clan energy boats in the Asault class, it falls far short of the KDK-5 and the MAD-IIC on paper, which is a bad sign for a mech whose supposed specialty is energy weapons.

But mechs don't live and die on paper, and the Supernova has some real merit when it gets to the actual battlefield. If you are fortunate enough to own a variant with side torso energy mounts, they can be a real pleasure to use; the SNV-C is made quite enjoyable by virtue of its high mounts, and the Boiler is able to benefit from the same (though that mech finds its true strength elsewhere). Hitboxes are another strong point of the Supernova, at least relative to some of its fellow Assaults: I found that I was frequently able to roll damage quite well, even if the arms are only barely usable as shields.

It's also worth mentioning the quirks on a few particular variants of the chassis. While these recipient variants are generally the weaker ones, it makes the leveling process much less of a grind. It makes it so there's really only one variant that I didn't enjoy (the SNV-3) and it's just one of those lovely little boosts to quality of life. Though all the agility quirks in the world won't make up for the pitiful engine.

Anyways, I think it's time we talk about...

Builds

SNV-1

The hardpoints are what you'd find if you stripped a stock DWF-Prime of its ballistics (and missile). So, not great, but there is a certain build that stuck out to me:



I will say that a huge part of my love for this build is just the way it feels. And a big part of that is putting the cLPL in last. Just knowing that the lasers are arranged so that a great big blue bolt fires from the center of a trio of medium lasers feels so right to me, even if the optimal way to build would be to put the cLPL in first so that it goes up top. But aside from all that, it's a pretty decent build, and can stand up at mid-range as long as you're not hill-humping.

This variant gets arguably the best quirks of the bunch, and that helps it rank as just below average for the chassis, in my mind.

SNV-3

My least favorite variant, and probably the worst. The hardpoints are thoroughly unspectacular and the quirks don't do much to help with that. The centerline energy hardpoints are the only truly unique factor, and after trying a few ways of using them, I eventually decided to forgo them entirely.



It's not a bad build by any means, but it's not particularly good. The wide arms and low mounts make trading a real hassle, and it gets hotter than a mech with that firepower should. It's not the best choice, but I suppose it's decent enough.

Despite getting some of the best generic quirks (just a tad better than the SNV-1 for agility, but worse on defense and offense), this is my pick for worst variant, and certainly my least favorite.

SNV-A

This is the most missile-oriented variant, and while I've seen a sad number of people making LRM boats out of it, I encourage brawling.



It's really hot for what it is, but that's not the end of the world. Still, it's not as good as I had hope for, and closing in this mech can be a real pain.

Despite all that, it's probably tied with the SNV-1 for my 4th pick. It's just got that unique flavor to it, and in the right situation it can really explode.

SNV-B

This mech is meant to be a pretty generic energy boat, from the looks of it, and I suppose it did that job. The high number of energy hardpoints made this build a no-brainer for me:



I don't think you can understand how badly I want just one more energy hardpoint in that center torso. That would mean that each side of the mech can fire 6 cMPLs on its own, it would have a much tighter fit of heatsinks, and I would be happy.

As is, it's still my 3rd favorite variant, though it only barely edges out the SNV-1 and SNV-A.

SNV-C

This is easily my favorite of the energy boats. Absolutely no quirks, but it has actually high mounts, which makes it pretty much the best at everything ever.



I'm breaking my cardinal rule of putting jumpjets on any mech that can take jumpjets, but you don't get a whole lot out of them anyways. This build and versions that replace 2 or all of the PPCs with cLPLs are my favorites so far, though there are plenty of ways you can take advantage of the high mounts on this beast.

Despite its obvious strengths, its lack of quirks and low engine cap reall hold it back. It's good and I had fun playing it, but it's not a mech that would keep calling me back for more. Still, the second best of the bunch in my view.

Boiler

This is pretty much a case of the Hero being better than the other options, and offering much more interesting builds. That being said, the main build I played wasn't exactly...groundbreaking.



It's not the only build you should run on this variant (there are some cool LBX options), but it's clearly the best as far as I can tell.

And it's the best variant, too. I'm not super excited about that prospect, but at least it struggles to compete against fellow clan assaults like the Marauder IIC and Dire Wolf.

Final Thoughts

It's an interesting and enjoyable chassis, but nothing really stands out to me. The Hero is the strongest of the bunch (which is a big no-no), and I think that it's strong enough to be concerning from at least a pay-to-optimize perspective, but I didn't find its power to be overwhelming. That being said, I'm a bit worried about if its jumpjets will propel it into greatness later on; certainly something to be wary of.

Despite my overall impression of it being not particularly special, it's not bad at all. Not on the level of the Kodiak or Marauder IIC for the most part, but I could see it being comparable to the Dire Wolf (at least certain variants). The best variants should be low Tier 1, high Tier 2.

Scores

Off: 8
Def: 8
Mob: 5
Fun: 5
OVR: 6.5

For what it's worth, I know these scores are silly, subjective, and just about irrelevant. Just kinda feels good to put abstract concepts into numerical form. Tickles part of my brain.



GMan129 is an officer of the Steel Jaguar competitive team, he is the owner of and writer for MetaMechs, and he does some writing for NGNG as well. He has been playing MechWarrior Online since the early days of closed beta, and has spent far too much time and money on this crap. If you're interested in supporting his self-destruction, consider checking out his Patreon!

10
I'm a huge fan of the Bushwacker. Just, in general, it's always been one of my favorite designs. I think a huge part of that is the MechCommander 2 is possibly my favorite game of all time (yeah, probably 95% nostalgia), but it's also just always had one of those most interesting and MechWarrior-y aesthetic, up there with the Mad Cat. Honestly, in this game, something about the Bushwacker doesn't sit right with me. Maybe it's just a bit too long, or maybe it's that right torso, but something looks off. Not the end of the world, though, it's just a bit of a unique case because I'm usually a huge fan of the way mechs turn out in MWO (but I might be alone in this, too).

I found it fun to play, at least. It's not a revelation, and I've been a bit disappointed by those builds I was most excited for, but overall it feels good to play the Bushwacker. I think I'd describe it as a budget heavy more than anything else - I really do feel a bit like an Ebon Jaguar in this mech (which is totally appropriate), but a bit slower, more fragile, and less heavily armed. That being said, it's been doing pretty alright for me. I'm not blown away by its power, which I think is definitely appropriate for a medium, but I've been able to do work in quite a few games with some reliability.

It does have hitbox issues (I haven't died that often but I don't remember any of my deaths being to CT), but I think that could be easily addressed in a patch, and even without that, I was able to take a few more hits than I would be able to in other good mediums like the Enforcer.

I've found that the Bushwacker finds its niche at mid or short range. I tried out some more long range builds, including dual gauss, but I wasn't a huge fan of those builds. The Bushwacker looks a lot like the Ebon Jaguar, but it does not share its proficiency for trading.

So let's look at some of those builds. I might not talk much about every variant, but rather focus on the few that I really enjoyed.

Builds

BSW-X1

This is the prime variant. The tradition has historically been for the prime variant of each mech to be the most boring with the least options, but I think this is actually one of the better variants for the Bushwacker. 3 ballistic torso hardpoints is enough to make it unique in a good way, and the quirks aren't horrible (relative to the other Bushwacker). I went with this build:



3 AC/5s isn't the greatest build ever, but for a medium, that's pretty badass. In fact, the only other medium mech that runs this build is the SHD-2H, and it has to make massive sacrifices to do so due to needing a standard engine. The minimal offensive quirks on the BSW-X1 make sure that it's not overwhelmingly good, but it's still good enough. I also liked the 4x AC/2 build, but not quite as much. And they both have ammo problems.

I think this might be my favorite variant. Not necessarily the best, but most appropriate for the way I like to play. And also, probably one of the best.

BSW-X2

This variant's hardpoints are decent, but not super interesting to me. However, it does have the best agility quirks out of the bunch, which makes it my top choice for some of the more universal Bushwacker builds that can be done on different variants. Such as...



Man, I was so pumped for this build when the Bushwacker was announced. Double AC/10s has been effective on mechs like the WHM-6R for me, and I've really enjoyed them, but I haven't been able to make it work yet. It's still fine, but it gets destroyed in trades and DPS fights, and it's too big to be easily ignorable. I'm probably going to keep trying to make it work, though.

I think that this is the most versatile variant, and one of the best, but it also didn't have anything special on it to really get me carried away.

BSW-S2

This is one of the two variants that I was really not feeling. It doesn't have much to set it apart from the other Bushwackers (the BSW-P1 puts it to shame), and it didn't even feel like it had a reason to exist when there are mechs like the GRF-2N. I ran this brawler build:



And I really didn't feel anything special come out of it. Did alright, I suppose, and you might want to try it with flamers instead of mediums, but nah.

BSW-P1

Speaking of brawlers...this one is the bomb. The 6xSRM4 build leaps off the page, to be sure, but what I love about this variant is the number of ways you can actually build it out to brawl. So yeah, this is the obvious option:



But there are lots of other builds out there. My personal love right now involves LBX and Artemis, resulting in a much tighter spread. And I've heard people complain about the spread on this mech, but really, I didn't have that issue. I'm not normally a huge fan of brawling mediums in PUGs, but man, this thing made it work for me.

All in all, I'm calling this the best Bushwacker variant. Not my usual style, but that's not a bad thing.

BSW-P2

The energy hardpoints and heat gen quirks give this a clear niche, but I honestly wasn't a huge fan of it. You can run it with PPCs, full laser vomit, or hybrid without much issue, but this is the one that I definitely liked best:



The punch is pretty decent, but it's not great and it's not all that interesting. Definitely one of the bottom 2.

BSW-HR

The hero is very similar to the archetype of hardpoints established by the BSW-X1 and -X2, and runs mostly the same builds. Almost every build you run on the High Roller can be done on those, sometimes done better, unless you're stacking energy weapons, in which case you can look at the BSW-P2. That being said, the quirks do provide opportunities to optimize certain builds, such as this one:



You can run the same exact loadout on 3 other variants, but I think that the High Roller's energy range and turn speed quirks make it the most appropriate choice. And it's just a straight-up solid build. Nothing to really write home about.

This variant is probably middle of the pack...don't feel obligated to buy it if you haven't yet.

Final Thoughts

I'm a big fan of this chassis for a few reasons. It's got a great nostalgiac factors, it has some unique builds for its weight, and I have generally had a good time with it. That being said, it's not the strongest mech in the game. The Hunchback IIC reigns supreme, and that is also a very fun mech.

I think we might see as many as two or three of the variants in Tier 2, but the bulk will be Tier 3 at best.

Scores

Off: 7
Def: 5
Mob: 5
Fun: 9
OVR: 6.5

For what it's worth, I know these scores are silly, subjective, and just about irrelevant. Just kinda feels good to put abstract concepts into numerical form. Tickles part of my brain.



GMan129 is an officer of the Steel Jaguar competitive team, he is the owner of and writer for MetaMechs, and he does some writing for NGNG as well. He has been playing MechWarrior Online since the early days of closed beta, and has spent far too much time and money on this crap. If you're interested in supporting his self-destruction, consider checking out his Patreon!

11
Reddit rejoiced yesterday at the reveal of the next mech. I imagine the rejoicing has died down by now, but at the time of writing, reddit itself has been dead for a few hours.

The jubilation was not without cause. It's been a year and a month since the last light mech was released (the Jenner IIC), and that one was announced in Summer 2015, so the Javelin represents the end to a year and a half of drought. Since the Jenner IIC, we have had 17 releases in the form of solo mechs, none lights (though a couple were super-fast mediums).

On top of all that, we have a price reduction! Sure, the Kodiak is still more cost-effective, but you're also getting enough extra goodies like premium time, mechbays, and camo nonsense to be "worth" over 15 bucks without adding in the mech (15 bucks of MC will get you just the 30 days of premium time with 500 MC left over). So it's still a pretty good bargain, even if it's not god-tier like the Kodiak. And it looks like this will be the last one-shot pre-order pack, with next one being a pack of 3060 mechs.

And this is all without talking about the mech itself. I'm not a light pilot, never have been really focused on that particular style, but it's still pretty neat looking. Aesthetically, humanoids are notorious for looking quite same-y, so that's a real risk here. Lights in particular don't have much real estate to differentiate themselves from each other, and the Wolfhound and Panther have already proven the issues with that. In spite of all that, I'm really digging the shape of this mech - perhaps it's just the pose it takes in the image, but it's bringing up thoughts of K-2SO and Bastion, with the sort of long-armed lankiness that we don't see much of in MWO.

In terms of performance, I'm about to talk about that in detail, but it at least seems interesting. Which is to say, very few of the builds are copy-pastes, and I think there are some unique options to consider.

Builds

JVN-10N

  • Endo, Ferro (stripped arms, 9 in head, max elsewhere), XL255 (148KPH), 2 JJs
  • 4x Streak SRM2 with 3 tons of ammo
  • 10 DHS, BAP
Let's start off nice and easy. It's been a long time since I've made a streak boat without saying "eugh", and...well this one isn't great. But it fits nice, it's fast, and it should do its job. Plus, if this mech has Firestarter syndrome (no torso pitch/yaw), at least your streaks won't care.

JVN-10F

  • Endo, Ferro (stripped arms, 9 in head, max elsewhere), XL280 (162.5KPH), 2 JJs
  • 4x Medium Pulse Laser
  • 11 DHS
4 MPLs ain't much to write about, but that speed is pretty swell. If the hitboxes live up to the art, we could be looking at a spider-esque harasser, and 4 MPLs are plenty of firepower for that. I do think it'll need some weapon and acceleration quirks to make that work, though.

JVN-10P

  • Endo, Ferro (5 per arm, 17 in head, max elsewhere), XL255 (148KPH)
  • 6x SRM2 with 4 tons of ammo
  • 11 DHS
This build gets me all tingly; I've always been an SRM2 fan and there are remarkably few mechs for which SRM2s make sense (the only one that comes to mind is a COM-1D). And honestly, they don't make that much sense here either - SRM2s are excruciatingly hot weapons, which means that 11 DHS is a nail in the coffin of this DPS mech. Still, can't wait to play it.

JVN-11A

  • Endo, Standard Armor (2 in LA, max elsewhere), XL255 (148KPH), 2 JJs
  • 7x Small Pulse Laser
  • 12 DHS
This is probably the most copy-paste build of the bunch, and I don't place much confidence on it beating the FS9-A in a meaningful way (even that wouldn't be saying all that much anyways). All that said, I'm sure this mech will be just fine.

JVN-11B

  • Endo, Ferro (stripped arms, 9 in head, max elsewhere), XL225 (130.6KPH)
  • 4x SRM4 with 3.5 tons of ammo
  • 11 DHS, ECM
The slowest build I'll be looking at, this one emphasizes stealth and power over manueverability. It doesn't even get access to jumpjets, but the ECM might make the difference, and it has by far the most offensive power of all the builds I've looked at seriously (though 6xSRM6 on the 10P could be hilarious...1 ton of armor, 1.5 tons of ammo, XL170 if you're curious).

JVN-HT

  • Endo, Ferro (5 in head, max elsewhere), XL255 (148KPH), 3 JJs
  • 4x Medium Pulse Laser
  • 11 DHS
The Hero mech is not more powerful than the other mechs (at least, not until quirks), but adds a feature that the others don't get without making it OP. I'm pleased. Feel no obligation to dish out the moolah unless you really like the idea of arm-mounted lasers, or having only 2 missile hardpoints, or (and this is the best reason possible) you love the paint job.

Value

Obviously, this is the cheapest pack to date, and as I spoke about earlier, the bonus goodies that come with the base pack sell for more MC than you can buy with 15 bucks. So if you buy premium time in 1-month chunks at full price, this is a great deal! But realistically, buying this should be for the mech. The fact that this is the first light mech we've gotten in over a year confers a certain value to it already, but of course how you personally feel about the mech is subjective.

At the end of the day, there's not much more I can say about whether or not it makes sense to buy the pack. The question is more about whether or not to buy the Reinforcement pack and Hero. Of those, I'd say the Reinforcements look much more attractive, with the JVN-11B being a nasty-looking assassin, and the JVN-11A being a relate-able energy boat. The Hero, though, does not appeal much to me. At any rate, I'd wait until we see quirks to pick either up, since I don't think you actually miss out on anything by doing so.

Predictions

The Javelin will be a pretty decent light mech, maybe even Tier 2. While the mech won't be considered a power-house, it will have a bit of the Spider's ability to be a real nuisance and do more damage than you'd think. And if it gets decent quirks and a small stature, it could be the replacement for the over-sized 35 tonners.



GMan129 is an officer of the Steel Jaguar competitive team, he is the owner of and writer for MetaMechs, and he does some writing for NGNG as well. He has been playing MechWarrior Online since the early days of closed beta, and has spent far too much time and money on this crap. If you're interested in supporting his self-destruction, consider checking out his Patreon!

12
I thought that the existence of the Kodiak would make this Marauder IIC completely and utterly pointless. Not necessarily bad, but also not fresh, exciting, or unique. I was very pleased to find that this was not true, and some of my favorite Marauder IIC builds are rather unsuitable for the Kodiak. For the first time since the days of 3 or 4 variants per chassis, I have built out all variants with good, unique builds, and the only variant running a build that can be done exactly the same on another variant is the MAD-IIC-8.

In fact, I like this mech so much that I've had to consider whether or not there's a pay-to-win risk here - my experiences with the Marauder IIC have been very similar to the ones with the Kodiak at its release: reliably high damage games and a sore back. I do think that the Kodiak itself does mitigate those issues, as even without its quirks it remains such a powerhouse, but I believe the Marauder IIC is damn close to problematic without quite being there.

There are definitely some issues holding the mech back, too. First off, it's the most sluggish Marauder I've ever played - the lack of quirks can be a real pain when you're trying to corner in a mech that runs under 70KPH. The armor is also quite thin (though the hitboxes are pretty good), but the most unique issue I've had with it is the cockpit itself; the framework around the windows feels thicker than on most mechs, impeding more of my view when not fully zoomed in. At most, it's a minor nuisance, but I've certainly felt it.

But let's get on to...

Builds

MAD-IIC



This is one of my favorite cMPL boats, maybe all-time top. And I love my cMPLs. I prefer this to the KDK-1 and KDK-5 options for a few reasons: it's faster (by 5-10KPH), slimmer (easier to poke without fully exposing), and the weapon placement just feels better.

The build won't be a main meta pick, but it will keep me (and anyone else who enjoys almost-brawling-but-not-quite) happy. Of course, you can do more traditional laser vomit as well, but that's just uninspired.

MAD-IIC-8



This is the one variant that I absolutely hate. The only unique feature is a single missile hardpoint with a 15% missile cooldown quirk. I get that it's the only other actually canon Marauder IIC variant in the pack (I think the others are based on stuff, but not actually in canon), but I'm really glad that they used it as just the Early Adopter Reward so that missing out on it wasn't a big deal.

This build (and most others for this variant) can be done exactly the same on the MAD-IIC, but I still think it's worth highlighting it because it's what I was most anticipating going into the Marauder IIC's release. But that RT energy hardpoint is at the mech's hip, making the build so much worse. Really shoulda seen that one coming...

It's still pretty good, though. You can do it with 4 Large Pulse or 4 ER PPCs, but I went 2 and 2 and had more fun with that.

MAD-IIC-A



This variant gave me quite a bit of variety. Of course, nearly all of the builds are based on some sort of dakka, but there are lots of permutations to be found, such as this hotter, slower, longer-ranged version.

I'm still not sure whether this is the best variant, or just my favorite variant. There's an awful lot to say for the hero, but it doesn't have the asymmetry and the low mounts didn't treat me all that well on this chassis. But let's move on to the

MAD-IIC-B



This is the jumpjetting energy boat of the bunch, with a couple missile hardpoints thrown in for good measure (carbon copy of the MAD-5D's hardpoints). I ended up using this Large Pulse build for the most part, but I am really not a fan of the arm mounts and this "brawler" build is worth considering.

Probably my second-least favorite variant after the IIC-8, it didn't feel particularly fresh or good, but it also wasn't egregiously sinful.

MAD-IIC-C



This is the variant I was expecting to be the best, but after the UAC/10 nerfs, it's not quite living up to my expectations. In fact, it's the only variant that I've had a legitimately bad game in (though it was also my first VIP match, so I was a bit off balance). It's hot and temperamental, but despite all that, it's a good enough build.

I toyed around with a poptart (even threw an LBX5 in one game for extra alpha), but there weren't enough heat sinks, weapons, or jumpjets for me to really be happy with it. Overall, it's an above-average variant, but not exceptionally exciting to me (though I haven't tried this build yet).

MAD-IIC-D



ECM does not a good mech make. And the lack of a larger second energy hardpoint and the low cap on the engine make it hard to use this mech effectively. The best alternative build I've looked at is this full-on sniper, but both of these builds are just Night Gyr dupes.

It might have been OP if it had the similar hardpoints to the other variants, but I don't think gimping the speed was necessary. Definitely one of the worse variants.

MAD-IIC-SC "Scorch"



This variant is the one that gave me the most concern when it comes to balance issues. Not only is it the only one capable of fitting the devastating double PPC/Gauss combo, but it has the most missile hardpoints, making it pretty damn good at most everything. And it does work out that way for the most part; though its symmetry and low mounts do hinder its Gauss/PPC nastiness, it's a surprisingly brutal brawler (I can't not mention the 6s and 20s build, but I think the extra speed and heat efficiency make 4s and 10s superior).

If it's not the best Marauder IIC variant, it's the second best, and easily the most versatile.

Final Thoughts

What a mech. It's got so many good builds on it, and a few great ones. Not to mention, I actually had a lot of fun with it too. I won't be able to definitively say how good it is until I do more playtesting to compare it to the Timber Wolf, Night Gyr, and Kodiak, but some of the variants being Tier 2 is pretty much a lock, with Tier 1 looking pretty likely.

It's not without flaws, but the Marauder IIC exceeds my personal expectations in terms of performance and enjoyment.

Scores

Off: 9
Def: 7
Mob: 7
Fun: 8
OVR: 7.75

For what it's worth, I know these scores are silly, subjective, and just about irrelevant. Just kinda feels good to put abstract concepts into numerical form. Tickles part of my brain.



GMan129 is an officer of the Steel Jaguar competitive team, he is the owner of and writer for MetaMechs, and he does some writing for NGNG as well. He has been playing MechWarrior Online since the early days of closed beta, and has spent far too much time and money on this crap. If you're interested in supporting his self-destruction, consider checking out his Patreon!

13
Man, I just want a normal Hollander...


But I know I'd only play it, like, twice.

14
Articles / The Late Linebacker Review
« on: 5 Dec 16 »
The Linebacker enters the field as a 65-ton heavy mech, with almost half of that tonnage dedicated solely to its massive engine. Even with this considerable tonnage sacrifice, it fails to run faster than mechs that already fill a similar role, and its lack of jumpjets hold it back when compared to harder-hitting heavies. At a point where we already have a half dozen clan mechs capable of running fast and vomiting lasers, this new release needed to bring something fresh to the table, and it seems to have missed its mark.

The Linebacker had very few things going for it leading up to release. A wide profile was not promising good hitboxes, and its pod space is even more limited than its most direct competitor: the Stormcrow. Technically it had more armor, but before the reveal of quirks, it seemed to be a strictly inferior chassis.

And quirks have certainly helped matters. In fact, the build which has yielded the best results for me gets a great deal of its power from the component and set-of-8 quirks that come with the LBK-Prime chassis, resulting in quite the competent PPC sniper. Many other builds also take some advantage of the bonuses that you get from equipping the correct omnipods, but for the most part, these bonuses come in the form of single-digit armor and structure bonuses, rather than sizable heat gen and duration reductions that the chassis is so desperate for.

Builds

PPC Sniper



The LBK-Prime's set-of-8 quirks are absolutely wondrous here, and some of those LBK-Prime hardpoints really accentuate the power of this build. At first, I was really excited about the prospect of mounting two PPCs way up high in those shoulders, but I quickly realized that this asym build was the way to go due to the quirks and the low cockpit.

This is certainly the Linebacker build that struck me as being the best, though it certainly wasn't the most interesting of the bunch. And despite being the best of the Linebacker builds, I'd have a tough time rating it any higher than "pretty good".

Brawler



I played around with a few variations on this idea, including with a build with a UAC/10, a Small Pulse boat, and another based around 4 SRM6s. But none of these alternatives had the DPS and punch that I was looking for. Rather, the Small Pulse/SRM4 combo suited me perfectly, with a plentiful alpha on a low cooldown.

It won't be taking the spot of any existing brawler mechs, that's for sure. But it's decent enough fun, if you're into that sort of thing. Just be prepared for the focus fire.

Gauss Vomit



Just in case you were getting excited, here's the meta to bring you back down. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on who you ask), it's not even that good anymore, but it's more than serviceable if you're looking for something familiar.

Seriously, the mix of high and low mounts and the low cockpit really hold this thing back, and if you could just fit a PPC in that side torso it would be so much better. But the most that you can really fit with the Gauss is an ER Large.

Laser Vomit



Pretty typical stuff. Better than the Gauss Vomit in my opinion, but not by a whole lot, nor is it much more interesting. Still, every once in a while you get those games with a bunch of nasty free alphas and it works out. You can also run it with ER Meds or on another variant if you like.

Final Thoughts

Right, so, after the mech's been out for about a month, I can still only come up with three types of build worth bothering with on this thing. It's not a horrible mech, but...it's certainly lacking in variety. A mix of low tonnage availability and a super-low cockpit hold this thing back from being legit. I doubt we'll see this thing in comp without massive changes to the game in general, and I doubt any but the PPC build will break out of Tier 3.

Scores

Off: 5
Def: 5
Mob: 7
Fun: 3
OVR: 5

For what it's worth, I know these scores are silly, subjective, and just about irrelevant. Just kinda feels good to put abstract concepts into numerical form. Tickles part of my brain.



GMan129 is an officer of the Steel Jaguar competitive team, he is the owner of and writer for MetaMechs, and he does some writing for NGNG as well. He has been playing MechWarrior Online since the early days of closed beta, and has spent far too much time and money on this crap. If you're interested in supporting his self-destruction, consider checking out his Patreon!

15
The Roughneck heavy mech was one of the many reveals that came out of yesterday, and I for one am pleased that PGI finally gets to create an original mech from the ground up. Based on the Loader King chassis (which also seems to be a new invention), this 65-ton battlemech has a suitably industrial aesthetic and I was rather taken aback when I first saw it. Though my initial hopes were along the lines of melee combat, I remain excited about the prospect of PGI's art and design teams getting to fully build a mech from scratch. Even if it ends up seeming like more of the same once it hits the game, I'm sure it's at least more fun to work on!

As far as its performance is expected to go, there are a few features that stick out to me. The first is the Hollander-style shoulder cannon, placed right at the top of the chassis next to the cockpit. This is bound to be a pivotal element of many builds, particularly those using energy weapons, which will have 4 high mounts instead of just one or two. The problem with focusing entirely on high mounts with the ballistic variants is that there aren't enough other useful high mounts, as the others are missiles (not great for hill-humping) or a head laser.

It also does seem to have pretty swell hitboxes - there are lots of gaps between relatively slender components, and the arms look to be massive shields. This is one of those things that you can never be sure about until you're in the cockpit, but I'm optimistic about its survivability.

Builds

RGH-1A

  • Endo, Standard Armor (stripped arms, 57 per leg, max elsewhere), XL295 (79KPH)
  • 2x UAC/5 with 5 tons of ammo
  • 2x Artemis SRM6 with 2 tons of ammo
  • Head Flamer
  • 12 DHS
I'm sure triple UAC/5 will be more popular, but it won't be able to surpass the JM6-DD with that build and it feels wrong to build this mech with more of the same (though I'm totally going to be doing that on the Hero anyways). This build looks like a really nice dense bracket build that would be a blast to play in the occasional game where you get to start at mid range and close to short without dying.

RGH-1B

  • Endo, Standard Armor (stripped arms, 57 per leg, max elsewhere), XL280 (75KPH)
  • 3x Artemis LRM15 with 8.5 tons of ammo
  • Head TAG
  • 12 DHS, BAP
I know, gross. At first I was gonna do 3 high-mounted SRM6's, but I figured that the next one would be a better brawler, and I couldn't think of anything particularly special about this mech besides the 3 side torso missile hardpoints. Don't worry, it'll pick up from here.

RGH-1C

  • Endo, Standard Armor (49 per leg, max elsewhere), XL300 (80.4KPH)
  • 4x Artemis SRM4 with 4.5 tons of ammo
  • LBX 10 with 2 tons of ammo
  • 14 DHS
This serves as kind of a jumbo SHD-2D2, running a very splat-heavy build that should put out crazy DPS. The lack of jumpjets and mediocre engine will both hold it back for sure, but it's still a good bit of firepower that should wreck shop in a brawl. I'm not a huge fan of how spread out those SRMs are going to be, but it should be workable.

RGH-2A

  • Endo, Standard Armor (stripped right arm, 53 per leg, max elsewhere), XL285 (76.4KPH)
  • 2x AC/10 with 6.5 tons of ammo
  • 3x Medium Laser
  • 12 DHS
This variant had me a bit discouraged at first as its only unique feature is the CT energy hardpoints, and I was having trouble translating that into a unique and good build. But I like what I came up with here - the WHM-6R taught me that this build will probably be quite hot, but I'm excited to see how it works as a mid-range DPS machine.

RGH-3A

  • Endo, Standard Armor (stripped arms, 57 per leg, max elsewhere), XL295 (79KPH)
  • 4x Large Pulse Laser (2 per side torso)
  • Medium Laser in the head
  • 17 DHS
Normally I'm not a huge fan of shoehorned laser variants, but I'm actually excited about getting one that looks to have 4 super-high mounted energy hardpoints! Two other options that follow the same idea are a quad PPC boat (you have to drop the head laser, but you go a little bit faster), and an ER laser sniper which could be a competitive powerhouse.

Reaver

  • Endo, Standard Armor (stripped LA, 45 per leg, max elsewhere), XL270 (72.3KPH)
  • 2x PPC
  • Gauss Rifle with 3.5 tons of ammo
  • 14 DHS
It definitely seems like the Hero is going to be the strongest of the Roughnecks, which is disappointing to be sure, but at least it doesn't seem like it'll be an OP mech in general. The low-mounted ballistic arm holds it back a fair bit, and better versions of the same build are already available on better chassis like the Timber Wolf. Still, can't wait to play it.

Value

While I'm certain you'll be able to make good use of the chassis by just getting the base pack of 3, the Hero does add the potential for quite a few other unique builds. Particularly when you look at how good those builds are compared to the interesting (but less-than-stellar) options you get from the base 3, it seems like your best bet if you're willing to shell out a bit extra.

But from where I'm standing, there's not a whole lot of reason to get the Reinforcement pack.

Predictions

Roughneck variants with high energy mounts are likely going to be included in many long-ranged competitive drops, and they'll shine well in PUGs to boot. Most of the other variants look to be great all-rounders, but I doubt they will amount to much more than bigger, ballistic-er Shadowhawks (that can't jump). I wouldn't be surprised to put a few in Tier 2, but I doubt any will make it to Tier 1 unless the game gets shaken up...though, I'll be talking about Mech Con within the next few days.

I'll also be posting a late review of the Linebacker - I got it late and was about halfway through writing it when family and Thanksgiving stuff took over, so apologies about all that, but I'm going to get back to writing it now! And by now, I mean after I get some food.



GMan129 is an officer of the Steel Jaguar competitive team, he is the owner of and writer for MetaMechs, and he does some writing for NGNG as well. He has been playing MechWarrior Online since the early days of closed beta, and has spent far too much time and money on this crap. If you're interested in supporting his self-destruction, consider checking out his Patreon!

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