Now that we already have the Kodiak to represent maximum breakage and the Highlander IIC to exemplify missed potential, it seems like a good time to introduce a reasonable Clan Assault nonmnimech (it's a fun word to say).
I've gotta be honest, I'm having a hard time getting all that excited about this particular mech. When theorycrafting the builds, I started out kind of pumped, but each build ended with me thinking "man...this works way better on the Kodiak". Which is not a good feeling, but it's one that I expect I'll have to get used to for future assault mechs. Though it's worth noting that this is the first jumpjet-capable 85-tonner in the game, so...yay!
It's also worth noting that we have a return of the "early adopter variant" thing. Which I'm hoping is just for this pack. But the version of it that we see here really doesn't bother me, because its hardpoints are just straight-up worse than those of the base variant. I'm actually not even gonna mention it while discussing builds. But knowing PGI, it will be quirked to all hell and be the best variant.
But it's not all doom and gloom. It seems like it should be balanced - maybe on the strong side but the Kodiak's existence prevents it from being OP, and it has enough else going for it to keep it from being weak. There are also plenty of Marauder-lovers out there (Russ cited 25,000 package owners), so I imagine at least some of those will be happy about the IIC. Personally, I was never big on the Marauder, but I'm not mad at it.BuildsMAD-IIC
- Endo, Standard Armor (65 per leg, max elsewhere), XL375 (76.8KPH)
- 2x cLPL
- 6x cERML
- 28 DHS, TC2
Starting off super-simple, with a high-alpha high-speed laser vomit build. It's nothing new, but it is at least a powerful iteration of the build, with better speed than the Kodiak and more heatsinks than the Timber Wolf. The MAD-IIC-8 runs something very similar, but less impressive.MAD-IIC-A
- Endo, Ferro (68 per leg, max elsewhere), XL365 (74.8KPH)
- 3x cUAC/5 with 8.5 tons of ammo
- 4x cERML
- 18 DHS, TC1
This variant in general is identical to the MAD-3R in terms of hardpoints, but clantech is a hell of a drug. Instead of only being able to fit 3 regular AC/5s with a STD engine, you can do 3 UAC/5s with an XL. Which is just insane. And I'm sure it'll be great. Though I'm already thinking of replacements for the lasers - PPCs maybe?MAD-IIC-B
- Endo, Ferro (59 per leg, 17 on head, max elsewhere), XL375 (76.8KPH), 2 JJs
- 4x cLPL (in arms)
- 24 DHS, TC1
Again, the hardpoints are full-on lifted from the MAD-5D, and it's the lamest variant by a mile (note: the MAD-IIC-8 does not count as a variant, at least not until quirks). The build's not bad, and there are other similarly not-bad builds, but there's nothing revelatory here eitther.MAD-IIC-C
- Endo, Ferro (59 per leg, 17 on head, max elsewhere), XL370 (75.8KPH), 1 JJ
- 2x cUAC/10 with 6 tons of ammo
- 5x cERML
- 19 DHS, TC1
And this variant's a dupe of the MAD-5M, so I'm happy with it. It won't be wildly powerful, but UAC10s are still great and the lasers, while hot, will add a lot to it.MAD-IIC-D
- Endo, Ferro (68 per leg, max elsewhere), XL340 (69.7KPH), ECM
- 2x Gauss with 5.5 tons of ammo
- 11 DHS, TC7
This is the first big departure from the original Marauder hardpoints, more resembling the Warhawk really. The ECM and hardpoints all give it a lot of potential, but that engine cap...man. It's just gross. So gross that I threw in a TC7, cuz why not. So much extra tonnage.Scorch
- Endo, Ferro (68 per leg, max elsewhere), XL360 (73.8KPH)
- 2x Gauss with 4.5 tons of ammo
- 2x cLPL
- 12 DHS, TC1
I think the Hero's probably gonna be the best. It's not a certainty (the MAD-IIC-A looks pretty sweet) but this variant seems like it ticks enough boxes to be a bit too strong. And you can swap the lasers for PPCs (though I'd drop the engine down for heat sinks in that case). Or you can do some sweet missile builds...Value Assessment
I think that you could get only the $20 pack without feeling like you missed out - the base variant can do some great laser vomit and the IIC-A looks pretty fun as well. But both of the variants in the reinforcement pack look really sweet, and the hero has so many builds available that make me really quite concerned about it being the strongest of the bunch. If there's anything you're really excited about, go for it, but don't feel obligated (and you can always upgrade later).Predictions
It's going to be a slightly better Warhawk. The hitboxes will be better, the hardpoints will be better, the mount locations will be better. The only place where it will be worse is probably going to be quirks, which I expect to be minimal.
As such, I'm predicting that it'll land somewhere in Tier 2 - probably on the low side. The Kodiak'd obsolescence is just too strong.
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!