Author Topic:  Supernova: Theorycraft, Discussion, Prediction  (Read 3026 times)

21 Oct 16

Read 3026 times

Offline GMan129

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Say what you will about the Supernova, its name certainly isn't false advertising. With a relatively low engine cap and 3 variants that have exclusively energy hardpoints, it seems to be a guarantee that piloting this mech will end in a blaze of glory (emphasis on the blaze). Even without taking ferro or endo, most of the builds that I've looked at still seem to be pretty hot options, to the point where I considered using a STD engine in a clan mech (but CXLs are so OP that even here, it didn't seem to be worth it).

I have mixed feelings about the Supernova. I am glad that we are getting another 90-ton jumpjetting clan mech, as the only other one we have is the Highlander IIC, which I am still disappointed in. Originally I was going to call it a failure, but I felt like that might be a bit too harsh...still, there are a couple of huge shortcomings that made me feel a bit burned by the Highlander IIC. The first was its agility: the relatively low engine cap of 325 made piloting the mech a real pain for me. It's not at the same level as the Dire Wolf, but the torso twist speed, accel/decel, and just the speed in general are all pretty bad; all of which exacerbate the issues that it has with poor hitboxes.

The other issue I had with the Highlander IIC was in terms of its weaponry. A couple of variants have pretty formidable loadouts, but the positioning of the hardpoints made it tough to put something truly threatening together, and the impressive amount of available tonnage was just wasted.

Looking at the Supernova...it definitely falls victim to both of these issues, if in different ways. As far as the agility issue goes, we're looking at a repeat performance, as it has the same engine cap. It's possible that this issue could be solved in quirks (though even the HGN-IIC-C's fairly extreme agility quirks don't feel like enough), but I doubt it based on recent trends. The saving grace could be that the Supernova's profile looks much more forgiving than the Highlander IIC's, which could be good news for its hitboxes. And if its hitboxes are good, the agility issues become less of a viability issue and more of a QoL one.

The thing that scares me on the firepower front is how energy-centric these variants are. The KDK-1 and KDK-5 proved that, after a certain tonnage, clan energy weapons just don't cut it. Energy weapons are the tonnage-savers, so it's hard to fill up an Assault mech with them, and you end up needing more heatsinks than you have slots for. Plus, the long durations of clan lasers make your large mech even more vulnerable to focus fire, and ghost heat only makes the situation worse.

Of course, not all of the variants are pure energy boats. There's one that serves as a missile boat with only 4 missile hardpoints (not enough for an Assault mech to brawl with, but I'm sure many people will be LRMing it up), and the hero...with two ballistics. Which is pretty much guaranteed to be by far the best variant. I will be impressed if any of the others even come close. Which is another thing that has me concerned about this pack - the variant that I expect to be the best is the Hero, and the next-best is in the reinforcement pack. Which drives me up a wall.

So let's talk about the mechs themselves.

Builds

SNV-1

  • Standard Structure, Standard Armor (69 per leg, max elsewhere), XL325 (62.9KPH), 3 JJs
  • 2x cLPL (1 per arm)
  • 6x cERML (3 per arm)
  • 27 DHS, TC4
4 energy hardpoints in each arm. Doesn't get much straightforward than that! This is definitely the most Nova-like variant in regards to hardpoints, but the build does end up looking a tad bit different. It does hit pretty much the maximum ghost-heat-less longest-range laser alpha, but it's still going to be hot and those arms aren't exactly high.

SNV-3

  • Endo, Standard Armor (max everywhere), XL325 (62.9KPH), 3 JJs
  • 4x cLPL (2 per arm)
  • 3x cERML (2 in CT, 1 in head)
  • 24 DHS, TC2
This one's a bit more extreme. The idea is that you can corner-peak on either side with 3 cERMLs and 2 cLPLs, which is pretty heavy duty. And your full alpha strike is also intense, as long as you don't ghost heat alpha strike and shut down. But it's gonna be hot as balls anyway.

SNV-A

  • Standard Structure, Standard Armor (69 per leg, max elsewhere), XL325 (62.9KPH), 3 JJs
  • 4x SRM6 w/ Artemis (2 per side torso) and 5 tons of ammo
  • 4x cMPL (2 per arm)
  • 25 DHS, TC1
I'm sure that most people will be playing this mech as a LRM boat, and I don't blame them for it (it's probably going to be better in that role), but something like this is more my speed. Keeps up pretty decent firepower at short range, and the alpha strike is pretty sweet (80 damage!). Probably my third-most anticipated variant.

SNV-B

  • Standard Structure, Standard Armor (69 per leg, max elsewhere), XL325 (62.9KPH), 3 JJs
  • 8x cMPL (3 per arm, 1 in CT, 1 in head)
  • 27 DHS, TC6
Very similar hardpoints to the SNV-3, but with one less energy in the CT and one added to each arm. Which means you can corner-peak either side with 5 cMPLs or fire both arms for 6, which is pretty nice. Not great for an Assault, but the TC6 is sure to help.

SNV-C

  • Standard Structure, Standard Armor (37 per arm, max elsewhere), XL325 (62.9KPH)
  • 4x cERPPC (2 per side torso)
  • 2x Flamer (1 per arm)
  • 30 DHS, TC1
There's another version of this build I was looking at that dropped 7 heatsinks and the flamers to free up room for endo so it can pick up 3 jumpjets and a TC7, but I'm mainly banking on this being a hill-humper, so it can afford to lose the JJs. That version will probably be better for the 4x cLPL fit, but I think the main version will be the go-to for ER PPCs. This is my most anticipated variant, and I think the most promising one to be the quintessential Supernova (the Hero may be more powerful, but it is more of a mini-Kodiak or plus-sized Night Gyr than anything unique).

Boiler

  • Endo, Ferro (65-66 per leg, max elsewhere), XL325 (62.9KPH), 2 JJs
  • 2x Gauss (1 per arm) with 5.5 tons of ammo
  • 2x cERPPC
  • 16 DHS, TC1
It's not gonna be a poptart (even with 3 hoverjets, I don't think it could do it) but it's still a brutal build and is likely to be the most powerful Supernova. On the bright side, there's no real reason to run it if you can just take a Kodiak, but it also has more interesting secondary builds than the rest of the variants (dual LBX20 + SRMs, for example). And I do find it ironic that the mech with the least reason to worry about heat is named the "Boiler".

Value

It's hard to say what the best value is gonna be in this pack. The base 3 variants...I'm not sure how much fun they're gonna be. A lot of it is gonna depend on quirks. But if you do decide to buy the pack, adding the hero on should be a no-brainer because it's the best, except you can probably have a better time just playing the KDK-3, so maybe not. The reinforcement pack adds the SNV-C which I'm really looking forward to, but it's not like it's a guaranteed winner. So I think my recommendation is to wait at least until we see the quirks - you miss out on those sweet goodies, but I think quirks are going to have a bigger impact on this mech than most.

Predictions

The Hero Supernova, and maybe the SNV-C, will be pretty good mechs, and seen relatively frequently in the PUG queue. There's no OP or P2W stuff in this pack, but there's a lot of risky-looking mechs that may prove to be disappointing. Competitively speaking, it's hard to see a team taking 3 of the Boilers over 2 Kodiaks and a Night Gyr, but perhaps it could be seen as a backup mech in MRBC, or in a tonnage-based league (or CW or Group queue) if you're 10 tons short of a Kodiak. Most variants will probably settle into Tier 3, but 2 or 3 could find their way into Tier 2 or even low Tier 1.



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: 22 Nov 16 by Seth »