Nobody had high expectations for this mech, but...I was really hopeful. I figured that it would get good quirks! I was expecting at least 50% extra structure with better offensive quirks than the Blackjack. But in terms of straight-up combat effectiveness, the barely-quirked Phoenix Hawk is a let-down.
That being said, this mech is not without its points. It's not a good mech, but it does have...
- Two ECM variants
- Two or three variants with good hardpoint layouts
- Huge engine cap
- Lots of agility quirks
- Jumpjets on most variants
- MASC on one variant, making it the fastest mech in the game
- Not-bad weapon locations
- It's pretty. And actually, its aesthetic kinda goes well with the mech's focus on agility
It ends up being a mech that feels kinda good without being terribly impressive in an actual fight. I find it more than likely that the Phoenix Hawk will get buffed with some extra arm armor (maybe like, 14 points?) since those fall off incredibly easily, and perhaps some heat gen and ballistic quirks to boot.
Anyways, time to talk about the variants!PXH-1
This is one of my least favorite variants, with incredibly unspecial hardpoints and overly-specific quirks. But it's not exactly worse than half of the other variants!
It's a pretty lame build, but I've gotten more enjoyment out of its (relatively) high DPS than the range on the Large Laser build or even the triple Large Pulse option.PXH-1B
And this is my favorite variant! Even though it has relatively few weapon hardpoints, it's one of the few with torso mounts, and it has ECM and extra structure on top of all that.
I'm opting for this build because most of the others need you to get too close for comfort, and it has more DPS than the poptart. That being said, it is kinda wimpy...regardless, it remains one of the best variants.PXH-1K
This variant doesn't get the equipment advantages of the others (no jumpjets, ECM, or MASC), but it does have a whopping 8 energy hardpoints.
This is a pretty sweet build as far as offense goes, but you generally will want to stagger fire to avoid ghost heat. This does end up compromising the build a bit, but I still found it to be more useful than any of the versions of Laser Vomit. This is also one of the best variants.PXH-2
This gets ECM, jumpjets, and 6 energy hardpoints! It even has (relatively) a useful weapon quirk.
Easily my favorite build for the variant, though it can run many other options without a problem. I'm not huge on the range for such a squishy mech, but I do think that the MPLs are worth it for their extra damage and low duration.PXH-3S
This mech is pretty unremarkable in almost every way. But
when you activate MASC, it becomes the fastest mech in the game...so I guess it's got that going for it, which is nice.
It's a terrible build. Absolutely horrid. But all the "good" builds are just clones of builds that go better on other variants, so I wanted to highlight something unique.Kuroi Kiri
I get that this is based on a lore mech, but honestly, its existence kind of offends me. It offers pretty much nothing unique, and I just don't understand why it has to even exist. Super-similar variants really bother me, but usually it's excusable just to achieve the 3 needed to be able to elite a mech (another thing that drives me crazy), and this isn't even the only hero
mech, and brings the total variant count up to 7. Oof.
It's got heat gen, so it's the best variant for 4 larges, sort of. There's a bunch of other builds you can do too, but...nothing exciting.Roc
Also known as "St. Ives' Blues". The high engine cap is legit, and honestly it does have relatively
good quirks. Better than friggin 5% duration on just regular lasers...
It's pretty fast and the DPS isn't horrible, but it's squishy and it's really weak for a brawler. I suppose there are worse mechs, though. Just, not many. I do at least appreciate that it's different from the other variants
The Phoenix Hawk is a very weak mech, and it makes me sad. It's not the worst mech in the game in my opinion, but most of the variants are certainly down there.
It's gotta be said, it feels pretty good. It's super agile, there aren't any big quality-of-life issues (just damage and durability issues), and the high engine cap gives you a fair bit of build flexibility.
The main thing I keep coming back to is how the mech is just a straight-up worse Blackjack! It has lower mounts, worse defensive quirks, worse
offensive quirks, and way way worse hitboxes. ECM, MASC, and agility quirks absolutely don't bridge that gap.
If you're interested in more builds, search for the Phoenix Hawk in the Build DatabaseScores
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!