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.BuildsPPC 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
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!