Author Topic:  Civil War Theorycrafting: Escalation & PTS Thoughts  (Read 3401 times)

12 Jul 17

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Offline GMan129

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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.


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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).

  • 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...

  • 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.

  • 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!
« Last Edit: 12 Jul 17 by GMan129 »

4 Aug 17

Reply #1

Offline topa101

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Hey guys  - I would love to see mods that allow the MRM's to track on live Narc's - homing beacon type situation..
TOPA101's Unit Commander