Author Topic:  Arctic Cheetah Review  (Read 3633 times)

22 Jul 15

Read 3633 times

Offline GMan129

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Welp, the Cheeter and Scat were just released, and it's been a very unusual day in Puglandia. A bunch of crazy lights and fast mediums running down isolated assaults...ok maybe it's a bit similar, but turned up to 11.

For now we're going to take a close look at the Cheeter.

The Arctic Cheeter comes in as the newest Clan Light mech, and the second which functions as an actual scout, and the first of those which is any good. Rocking 6 jumpjets, an engine rated at 142.6 KPH, ECM capability and super high torso mounts (the arms are a bit lackluster), there are only a few real drawbacks. One of which is those 6 jumpjets - more precisely the fact that they're locked, denying 2 tons of free space, another is the fact that it is a 30- and not a 35-ton mech (that alone is going to cost us 2 tons of pod space). Apart from those issues, it's about as good as a Clan Light is going to get, which does kind of indicate how great the Jenner IIC is gonna be but I digress.

There are a couple of neat little noteworthy things I want to point out about this chassis that aren't really good or bad, just stuff that I find interesting. First off, the quirks are mostly about pulse lasers, to the point where you can stack up to a 12.5% reduction in heat generation from them. Also, I would be remiss in not pointing out that the fourth "bonus" variant for pre-ordering is a big deal. It has the only right arm with 2 energy hardpoints, plus that right arm has the best energy quirks of the right arm omnipods. It also gets the energy quirked RT, and a viable alternative to the ECM LT with 2 hardpoints in it. Gotta be disappointing for people that didn't get that variant.

The drawbacks definitely prevent it from being completely broken, but the Cheeter remains one of the strongest, if not hands-down the best, Clan light mechs in the game. The question we end up running into becomes, is it better than its IS counterparts? The main comparisons we'll be making are with the FS9-A for super-short range, FS9-S for normal short range, RVN-2X for medium range, and RVN-3L for long range.

Our first comparison will be between the typical FS9-A and the cSPL Cheeter from above. Thanks to the similar quirks, it's a pretty similar comparison. For firepower, the Cheeter has a slight edge, but the lower duration on the FS9-A gives it more concentrated damage as well as a slight boost to the DPS. When we compare total heat per second the FS9-A comes out a bit cooler, and the 2 extra heat sinks help it out there too. But when we look at range, the Cheeter has a bit over 180 compared to the ~130 on the FS9-A, a very substantial difference. And finally there's the two unique bits about the Cheeter - ECM, and crazy quantities of jumpjets. These are what I feel really push it over the edge. For the other intangible, the physical attributes, the two mechs are pretty even, but the Clan XL engine really does save the Cheeter some grief.

Next up are the FS9-S and the cERSL Cheeter. A lot of deja vu going on in this comparison - same exact firepower, the heat per alpha (and per second) is a bit higher for the Cheeter (though this time the Cheeter gets a few extra heat sinks to help out), and the beam duration is a bit worse for the Clanner, naturally. But the difference in range goes to the FS9-S, and the straight-up DPS is a big win for the Cheeter. Again, the comparison is tight, but the intangibles are weighted pretty hard to the Cheeter.

For mid-range, we're looking at the RVN-2X and a cERML build for the Cheeter. It's a lot harder for this to be a direct comparison, but we can still get a few conclusions. The mid-range firepower is very similar, with the damage drop-off at range on the Medium Lasers being a big part of what gives the Cheeter more punch at that long range. However, the Cooldown and Heat Gen quirks are a big boost to the RVN-2X's staying power. All in all, I'd say the RVN-2X is a bit ahead here, but not by a huge margin, and there are other builds I'm looking at that should help the Cheeter in other ways, including one with 5 cERMLs. They're very different mechs at the end of the day, but the RVN-2X seems more appropriate for extended DPS with safer peeking and the Cheeter for hit-and-run tactics.

Last up is our comparison between the RVN-3L and a cERLL Cheeter. These two are going to use the same weapon systems (well, the IS and Clan versions of it at any rate), both have ECM, high mounts, all in all they are very similar. There are a few differences though, and they mostly play to the advantage of the Cheeter. The Cheeter gets jumpjets, 4 extra points of damage, less vulnerability in general (thanks in large part to the Clan XL), and considerably more range. The RVN-3L, by comparison, gets a cooler build, and the mounts are a bit preferable due to them being on an arm and the cockpit being at the top of the mech. Oh and it's about 2KPH faster. Not much of a contest here if you ask me - I don't even count the beam duration as a point for the RVN-3L because the damage per second of beam duration ends up being higher on the Cheeter.

And one last thing about the Cheeter, specific to comp's worth noting that in a weight-based drop, running 30-tonners instead of 35-tonners can free up room to fatten up your other mechs - dropping 4 Firestarters to Cheeters could mean moving a Stormcrow to a Timber Wolf, and 5 could pay for a Timber Wolf to grow into a Whale. Even just the flexibility they allow you in drops where your current deck is 10 tons under or over the limit could be invaluable.

So, my verdict? The Cheeter is a bit too strong - not only could I easily see it supplanting existing light mechs, but it fills the roles of all of the existing light mechs very well, while also bringing a few new tricks with it.

Score relative to all chassis:

Off: 4/10
Def: 4/10
Mob: 9/10
Fun: 6/10
OVR: 5.75

Score relative to its class:

Off: 9/10
Def: 9/10
Mob: 8/10
Fun: 8/10
OVR: 8.5/10

Later on today, I'll be publishing a review of the Shadow Cat, so look for that, too.

GMan129 is currently an officer of the Steel Jaguar competitive team, is the owner of and writer for MetaMechs, and recently begun writing at 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 contributing to his PayPal and Patreon accounts!
« Last Edit: 22 Jul 15 by GMan129 »