I thought that the existence of the Kodiak would make this Marauder IIC completely and utterly pointless. Not necessarily bad, but also not fresh, exciting, or unique. I was very pleased to find that this was not true, and some of my favorite Marauder IIC builds are rather unsuitable for the Kodiak. For the first time since the days of 3 or 4 variants per chassis, I have built out all variants with good, unique builds, and the only variant running a build that can be done exactly the same on another variant is the MAD-IIC-8.
In fact, I like this mech so much that I've had to consider whether or not there's a pay-to-win risk here - my experiences with the Marauder IIC have been very similar to the ones with the Kodiak at its release: reliably high damage games and a sore back. I do think that the Kodiak itself does mitigate those issues, as even without its quirks it remains such a powerhouse, but I believe the Marauder IIC is damn close to problematic without quite being there.
There are definitely some issues holding the mech back, too. First off, it's the most sluggish Marauder I've ever played - the lack of quirks can be a real pain when you're trying to corner in a mech that runs under 70KPH. The armor is also quite thin (though the hitboxes are pretty good), but the most unique issue I've had with it is the cockpit itself; the framework around the windows feels thicker than on most mechs, impeding more of my view when not fully zoomed in. At most, it's a minor nuisance, but I've certainly felt it.
But let's get on to...BuildsMAD-IIC
This is one of my favorite cMPL boats, maybe all-time top. And I love my cMPLs. I prefer this to the KDK-1 and KDK-5 options for a few reasons: it's faster (by 5-10KPH), slimmer (easier to poke without fully exposing), and the weapon placement just feels better.
The build won't be a main meta pick, but it will keep me (and anyone else who enjoys almost-brawling-but-not-quite) happy. Of course, you can do more traditional laser vomit
as well, but that's just uninspired
This is the one variant that I absolutely hate. The only unique feature is a single missile hardpoint with a 15% missile cooldown quirk. I get that it's the only other actually canon Marauder IIC variant in the pack (I think the others are based on stuff, but not actually in canon), but I'm really glad that they used it as just the Early Adopter Reward so that missing out on it wasn't a big deal.
This build (and most others for this variant) can be done exactly the same on the MAD-IIC, but I still think it's worth highlighting it because it's what I was most anticipating going into the Marauder IIC's release. But that RT energy hardpoint is at the mech's hip, making the build so much worse
. Really shoulda seen that one coming...
It's still pretty good, though. You can do it with 4 Large Pulse or 4 ER PPCs, but I went 2 and 2 and had more fun with that.MAD-IIC-A
This variant gave me quite a bit of variety. Of course, nearly all of the builds are based on some sort of dakka, but there are lots of permutations to be found, such as this hotter, slower, longer-ranged version
I'm still not sure whether this is the best variant, or just my favorite variant. There's an awful lot to say for the hero, but it doesn't have the asymmetry and the low mounts didn't treat me all that well on this chassis. But let's move on to theMAD-IIC-B
This is the jumpjetting energy boat of the bunch, with a couple missile hardpoints thrown in for good measure (carbon copy of the MAD-5D's hardpoints). I ended up using this Large Pulse build for the most part, but I am really not a fan of the arm mounts and this "brawler" build
is worth considering.
Probably my second-least favorite variant after the IIC-8, it didn't feel particularly fresh or good, but it also wasn't egregiously sinful.MAD-IIC-C
This is the variant I was expecting to be the best, but after the UAC/10 nerfs, it's not quite living up to my expectations. In fact, it's the only variant that I've had a legitimately bad
game in (though it was also my first VIP match, so I was a bit off balance). It's hot and temperamental, but despite all that, it's a good enough build.
I toyed around with a poptart (even threw an LBX5 in one game for extra alpha), but there weren't enough heat sinks, weapons, or jumpjets for me to really be happy with it. Overall, it's an above-average variant, but not exceptionally exciting to me (though I haven't tried this build
ECM does not a good mech make. And the lack of a larger second energy hardpoint and the low cap on the engine make it hard to use this mech effectively. The best alternative build I've looked at is this full-on sniper
, but both of these builds are just Night Gyr dupes.
It might have been OP if it had the similar hardpoints to the other variants, but I don't think gimping the speed was necessary. Definitely one of the worse variants.MAD-IIC-SC "Scorch"
This variant is the one that gave me the most concern when it comes to balance issues. Not only is it the only one capable of fitting the devastating double PPC/Gauss combo, but it has the most missile hardpoints, making it pretty damn good at most everything. And it does work out that way for the most part; though its symmetry and low mounts do hinder its Gauss/PPC nastiness, it's a surprisingly brutal brawler (I can't not mention the 6s and 20s
build, but I think the extra speed and heat efficiency make 4s and 10s
If it's not the best Marauder IIC variant, it's the second best, and easily the most versatile.Final Thoughts
What a mech. It's got so many good builds on it, and a few great ones. Not to mention, I actually had a lot of fun with it too. I won't be able to definitively say how good
it is until I do more playtesting to compare it to the Timber Wolf, Night Gyr, and Kodiak, but some of the variants being Tier 2 is pretty much a lock, with Tier 1 looking pretty likely.
It's not without flaws, but the Marauder IIC exceeds my personal expectations in terms of performance and enjoyment.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!