Archer - Best Long Range Mech?

Archer - Best Long Range Mech?

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Gaiking

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I have always be a fan of the Archer (from watching in the Robotech cartoon) and was wondering, is it the best overall long range mech? I know they are some best armed or armored, but I believe that around, the Archer is the best. Thoughts?
 

Prussian Havoc

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The Archer is an stalwart and highly capable Long Range Indirect Fire Asset... : )

but when it comes to BATTLETECH, the Bull Shark is the best Long Range Mech in my book and my favorite. :bow:

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MeiSooHaityu

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For it's class (Heavy), I think the Archer is the best for ranged indirect fire. With it's module for tighter LRM grouping, it can be pretty nasty (especially with good LRMs and called shot.

I still like other options like the Catapult (especially visually), but the Archer is the better option.

Now direct fire heavies...the Jager can be pretty nice at range (ballistic wise). I think the Marauder and Warhammer too. The Rifleman has that good site range, however I think the better durability/capacity of the Jagermech offsets it. Still, I wouldn't be upset with a Rifleman. I also think the Black night is good for direct fire support, but it is very hot being energy focused (same with the Grasshopper).

Anyway, I ramble too much :). I like the Archer for indirect fire and I do run one occasionally for that purpose. It's a good machine.
 
Feb 23, 2018
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With the reduced spread on LRMs, the Archer is my first choice when it comes to indirect fire support heavy mechs. The Catapult is still decent, as is the JM6-A, but both lack the quirk and a little tonnage.
For direct fire support, I prefer using the JM6-S over any other mech, even the Rifleman. It's not like the quirk matters too much when using smaller UACs.
For energy-based fire support with PPCs, the obvious choice for me is: Don't do it unless you have access to SLDF mechs ;D The excessive heat reduces sustained damage too much. Until you get an SLDF Warhammer, it's probably not worth it, better use LLs instead.
 

koz-ivan

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May 8, 2018
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For LRM boats, imho the Stalker still reigns supreme, more tonnage, 4 missile hard points.

For Heavy LRM boats, the Archer is really good, in particular the 4 hard point version.

The Cat C-4 & Jager JM6-A are both perfectly reasonable platforms as well.

Ranking:
1. Stalker
2. Archer 2S
3.a Cat C-4 (is the best looking LRM boat imho)
3.b Jager JM6-A
4. Highlander 733
5. HIghlander 733p
6. Orion V
7. Archer 2R
8. Trebuchet (it's not great, but it is handy to have one for weight restricted missions / backup)

Theoretically the Highlanders could be ranked higher, I just very rarely specialize them into pure LRM boats, and feel like they are better used as mixed platforms, likewise the Bullshark falls into the same category.

All that being said, getting an early Archer 2R makes it a perfectly reasonable LRM option until a 2S or Stalker is obtained.
 

gh0s7

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Get four SRM6+++ in the Archer-2S and watch it blow up the targets. :D
Even more if you have a fast jumping Medium with NARC++ (21 per missile for the SRM+++ and 10 per missile if you use the Telos +2 Dmg LRM's, IIRC)! :eek:

I'm quite fond of the Catapults, and I won't hesitate to use it if I get one, but it will go to storage the moment I manage to get my hands on an Archer. Nowadays, I only use a Centurion-A/Archer-2R/BSK-M3 for indirect long range.



EDIT: Correction on the damage per missile if using certain types of launchers along with the NARC++. :oops:
 
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Feb 23, 2018
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For LRM boats, imho the Stalker still reigns supreme, more tonnage, 4 missile hard points.
Well, the Bull Shark M3 is superior to both the Stalker and the Highlander 733, it also has 4 hardpoints and alot of free tonnage. While the Stalker has 57.5 free tons, the BSK has 75.5 (!) - allowing for some really supreme missile spam. The Stalker is cheap and easy to come by midgame, which is it's real advantage. It's still decent though.
 
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koz-ivan

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May 8, 2018
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Well, the Bull Shark M3 is superior to both the Stalker and the Highlander 733, it also has 4 hardpoints and alot of free tonnage. While the Stalker has 57.5 free tons, the BSK has 75.5 (!) - allowing for some really supreme missile spam. The Stalker is cheap and easy to come by midgame, which is it's real advantage. It's still decent though.
Fair points, I tend to think of the Shark as a ballistic platform first instead of setting it up as a LRM boat, and for me they were pretty late game mechs, that being said, I'll give it a chance in the next go round.
 
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If we're just talking about long range but not stipulating indirect fire support then I'm not sure anything can beat an Annihilator with 6 UAC/2++ supplemented with some long range energy weapons.
 
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Theoretically the Highlanders could be ranked higher, I just very rarely specialize them into pure LRM boats, and feel like they are better used as mixed platforms, likewise the Bullshark falls into the same category.
Let's say you have three A-II and you want the fourth mech to be a pure LRM boat, would you pick a Catapult instead of a Highlander just because the Highlander has more hardpoints and weight available?.

Also feels like a weird argument, because the regular HGN is bad outside the LRM boat role, mediocre at best (only 1 ballistic and 2 energy hardpoints) while the Stalker you put on the top position is worse as pure LRM boat than the HGN yet much better at other things with its six energy hardpoints and one ton weight JJs.

And don't forget a mech like the King Crab, far better as a LRM boat than the mentioned Catapult: 50 tubes with 4xTTS+++, 3xJJs, max armor and -6 alpha heat. The BSK would be kinda the same but with more missiles.

If we're just talking about long range but not stipulating indirect fire support then I'm not sure anything can beat an Annihilator with 6 UAC/2++ supplemented with some long range energy weapons.
The Marauder can very easily beat it. Not as much firepower but better headcapping power and even for CT core, although much worse per salvo, it is likely you'll be able to fire more often and at targets in more vulnerable positions due to the higher mobility and superior survivability.
 

LongRange

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Stalker with 4x 15LRM (+2 dam, +2 stab, or combo) is a tremendous amount of damage. Include a TTS and it gets even better. With a spotter, you can rain as much as 360 damage on a target without exposing a unit to harm. I carry LOTS of ammo so I can just keep sending alphas if needed. Add in a pilot with -2 indirect fire penalty and you create headaches for anyone, regardless of tonnage.

Archer is nice, but basically an upgrade to the Catapult with more tonnage and a built in TTS. Cats are nice in the early/mid game until you get the larger units.

Haven't thought of converting a BSK to missiles. Been having too much fun using it as a bullet sponge/ballistic platform. My current Steiner Scout Lance is Atlas IIc, BSK-MAZ, Anni, Stalker.
 

Insahnity

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If we're just talking about long range but not stipulating indirect fire support then I'm not sure anything can beat an Annihilator with 6 UAC/2++ supplemented with some long range energy weapons.
As stated earlier, only 5 hardpoints unless someone has been monkeying with the Unity asset files (bad mechwarrior!).

*** For AI (Campaign/Career) Only ***

I've had better luck running with 4xGauss as a headcapper. The extra 20% damage afforded by the BCS module overcomes the 20% protection offered by trees or basic guard. If they have a little more (40% or 60% guard) it gets tougher. No cockpit I have seen in the game exceeds 61 hp (16 structural, 45 armor). So an ER PPC++ (70) or Gauss of any variety (75+5 + 20% for BCS on Annhilator) or AC20 (110 + BCS) can blow through the cockpit

Here's the math.
With an elite mechpilot sporting 10 gunnery, chance to hit head on called shot is ~18%. Or for the purposes of math, 82% miss rate.
4 Gauss guns aiming for a cockpit, statistically will get miss (82%*82%*82%*82) - 45% per turn

Compare that to a Marauder (Lance Command bumping Called Headshot to 35% chance to hit for same Elite Pilot with 10 gunnery, game maximum), who sports 2 ER PPC++s (and if you drop heat management or armor to squeeze in an AC10), who has a miss rate of 65%

2 PPC (65%*65%) - 42% chance of missing per turn
3 (2xPPC + AC10) - 27% chance of missing per turn

BUT...
The Annhilator's Gauss guns are doing 75+20% = 90 Damage plus 5 structural, and typically if they don't hit the head they will inevitably hit a torso, which will strip off most if not all the armor, possible cause a crit, and if 2 shots hit the same torso will blow up both the torso and the attached arm, severely improving your already impressive survival rate in a 100T mech. Or can sometimes blowout a leg. Occasionally you can get lucky with 3 or 4 shots all landing in the cockpit and coring it out in one shot. And if you had pre-softened them with an LRM boat, its a near guaranteed knockdown. Both versions of Gauss work, the ++ version weighs less allowing more ammo (space shouldn't be an issue with a 4 Gauss Annhilator build). The Gauss++ allows me to carry enough ammo to last 12 shots for all 4 guns without shedding too much armor, (95% of my battles only need 8 shots), while still sporting 2 jump jets (for the high ground or get over pesky terrain).:cool:

Compare that to a Marauder, doing 70 damage with at best 2 rare PPCs (Donnegal ++), and an Autocannon (Kali Yama ++ doing 70 damage), you are less likely to blow out a torso or other body part and never core out a mech. It's rarer to get a knockdown with 2 PPCs and one salvo from an LRM boat (better chances with an AC10 as a 3rd weapon, but then you are trying to cool down next few rounds, not firing much).

The situation gets worse for the Marauder for guarded targets in cover, but not nearly as bad for the Annhilator.

An Annhilator running with 5xAC2++ does (35 damage + 20% - 42) which doesn't go very far especially scattered over several pieces (and certainly can't headcap). Heck you could try an 4xAC5++ that does 55 + 20%, or try carrying a UAC5(++) with more ammo. Same effective range (can't see past 300-420/520 m anyways), and the extra weight is well within what the ANN-1A can carry. At AC10 you might start having weight issues, dropping one gun/armor to carry 3xAC10s plus associated ammo last 9+ rounds. You could go 2xAC20s (or 2xUAC20s) with 3xAC2s with the leftover weight until you can close the distance. 2xUAC20 just shreds everything Heavy or lighter in one shot. Leave the energy weapons on your Atlas II/Highlander 732b (or Warhammer 7A if you find one), the weight is better used on ballistic weapons and ammo due to BCS module.

The one downside to the build is dealing with swarms of light mechs (pr light-esque mechs like Assasins). Yeah, they can't actually hurt a lance of assault mechs, but trying to hit them with 6 evasion charges is not fun. Best to soften them up first with your LRM boat. By the time you have this setup, you won't see too many swarms of light mechs anyways.

Bullshark with 4xUAC5++'s can shred things in 2 turns, but it's not a headcappper. Useful to follow up a failed headcap from an Annihilator, and the Thumper (-MAZ) is good for base destruction or freshly dropped lances of light mechs nicely clustered together or urban settings. 2 x UAC5s will take out even heavy turrets and most vehicles at the same range, with multishot you can take out 2 turrets (vehicles) per turn (same as 2 Gauss guns per heavy turret/vehicle). It's also better suited to counter swarms of light mechs (better chance to plink with UAC5s than with Gauss rifles).

TL;DR
Anecdotally speaking, the Gaussian Annihilator edges out the Marauder (or anything, really) for quick take downs, either directly by headcapping or just shredding them to pieces in 2 turns at any visible range. To say nothing of running ice cold even on martian planets, which you can't say the same for firing off 2 ER PPCs even when sporting Exchanger++'s, Heatbank++ and Double Heatsinks on the Marauder. Or taking out turrets/vehicles, which are best done with Ballistic weapons. It has more than enough armor, or just stand it behind an Atlas with full armor to soak damage, sitting guarded at 40-60% DR Guarded (Nothing practical can kill that or knock it down).

Still, I run both an Annhilator and a Marauder (and King Crab/Bullshark/Stalker/etc.) behind the Atlas, to get the 10% damage reduction from Marauder Lance Command Module and use the extra distance a Marauder runs to scout. At worst, the Annhilator continues murdering enemy mechs while the Marauder goes for a swim.
 

Insahnity

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Apr 13, 2020
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Stalker with 4x 15LRM (+2 dam, +2 stab, or combo) is a tremendous amount of damage. Include a TTS and it gets even better. With a spotter, you can rain as much as 360 damage on a target without exposing a unit to harm.
Stalkers are perfectly capable of (and the only mech in the game that can, IIRC, due to proper hardpoint placement of one per area instead of 2-3 jammed into one area and free tonnage) actually carrying 4xLRM20s. It gets a little tissue-papery if you add jump jets and enough ammo, and it doesn't mount any other weapon, but 80 LRMs are a huge improvement over 60. It guarantees Unsteady in the lousiest conditions (barely can see it, cover, guard, etc.), and more chances to crit, taking out crucial weapons (assuming +++ variants of stab/crit). This is why it has a spot in my lance over the Archer despite the module. + damage is wasted on LRMs, they are knockdown weapons, and indirect fire LBXs as far as armor sanding.

Although LRM20s are not tonnage efficienct compared to LRM15s (.5 tonnes per missile tube on LRM20s vs 0.467 for LRM15s), they are more heat efficient (0.9 heat for LRM20s per missile vs 0.933 for LRM15s). In the long run, the heat is a bigger problem especially in hot biomes, and the Assault class Stalker can carry the extra weight.

They are better utility as well, firing 2x40 LRMs at two targets (mechs/turrets/vehicles), still doing up to 160 stability damage (assuming +++ variant) per target, enough to unsteady even heavy mechs, The equivalent LRM15s would only do up to 120, which accounting for misses (even with TTS modules) is not enough to guarantee instability in heavies (and nothing for assaults). While it won't take down mechs, having 2 enemy mechs unsteady improves YOUR survival (your lance mates can hit the other mechs, and penalties to their shots).
 
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Feb 23, 2018
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Stalkers are perfectly capable of (and the only mech in the game that can, IIRC, due to proper hardpoint placement of one per area instead of 2-3 jammed into one area and free tonnage) actually carrying 4xLRM20s.
I run a heavily modified BT with classic crit slots etc, so I can't check atm, but doesn't HBS:BT support 10 critslots each sidetorso and the LRM20 has 5?
So the Bull Shark M3 with 2 missile hardpoints in each ST is also capable of mounting 80 tubes, while easily having enough free tonnage without sacrificing armor, cooling or ammo. With ammo for 12 salvos (1 ton per 10 tubes, my standard) it should be 48tons for weapons and ammo. The Stalker has 57.5 tons available, so that leaves 9.5tons for armor and cooling. The BSK-3M has 75.5tons of free tonnage, could easily add 14 single heatsinks to run perfectly cool (not necessarily a good idea) and still get shot at with 13.5tons of armor.
I mean, yes, you can make an 80tube LRM stalker that runs cool while firing all tubes every round, with DHS and 2.5 tons of armor. But with DHS being rare and expensive, the mech having 8 tons of highly explosive ammo - and stray shot's tendency to hit things that shouldn't get hit - I'd rather not put them into a mech that's basically made from plywood.
I never add 80 tubes to my stalkers, 70 tubes is fine, you can scrap a ton of ammo, switch 2 launchers to LRM15s, saving 7 tons and 6 heat in the process, get sustained damage without using lostech. But then you can also use the Highlander instead, it can do the same. Unless you want to use JJs or build some overheating, underarmored mech, the Stalker has no real benefit over the Highlander as an LRM boat.

If I had both Mechs and wanted one to be an LRM boat, I'd probably use the Highlander for this. With it's lighter JJs, 6 energy and 4 missile hardpoints, the Stalker is an insanely strong close range jump brawler, while the Highlander is mediocre (albeit iconic) in this role.

Although LRM20s are not tonnage efficienct compared to LRM15s
When you want to run cool with +-0 heat and use SHS, LRM20s are fine. With DHS, it looks slightly different, but 0.5tons aren't too much of a problem. And if you want to use multitarget with breaching shot, it's still totally worth it.
 

Insahnity

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Stalkers are perfectly capable of (and the only mech in the game that can, IIRC) actually carrying 4xLRM20s. It gets a little tissue-papery if you add jump jets and enough ammo, and it doesn't mount any other weapon, but 80 LRMs are a huge improvement over 60. It guarantees Unsteady in the lousiest conditions (barely can see it, cover, guard, etc.), and more chances to crit, taking out crucial weapons (assuming +++ variants of stab/crit). This is why it has a spot in my lance over the Archer despite the module. + damage is wasted on LRMs, they are knockdown weapons, and indirect fire LBXs as far as armor sanding.
I run a heavily modified BT with classic crit slots etc, so I can't check atm, but doesn't HBS:BT support 10 critslots each sidetorso and the LRM20 has 5?
So the Bull Shark M3 with 2 missile hardpoints in each ST is also capable of mounting 80 tubes, while easily having enough free tonnage without sacrificing armor, cooling or ammo. With ammo for 12 salvos (1 ton per 10 tubes, my standard) it should be 48tons for weapons and ammo. The Stalker has 57.5 tons available, so that leaves 9.5tons for armor and cooling. The BSK-3M has 75.5tons of free tonnage, could easily add 14 single heatsinks to run perfectly cool (not necessarily a good idea) and still get shot at with 13.5tons of armor.
I mean, yes, you can make an 80tube LRM stalker that runs cool while firing all tubes every round, with DHS and 2.5 tons of armor. But with DHS being rare and expensive, the mech having 8 tons of highly explosive ammo - and stray shot's tendency to hit things that shouldn't get hit - I'd rather not put them into a mech that's basically made from plywood.
I never add 80 tubes to my stalkers, 70 tubes is fine, you can scrap a ton of ammo, switch 2 launchers to LRM15s, saving 7 tons and 6 heat in the process, get sustained damage without using lostech. But then you can also use the Highlander instead, it can do the same. Unless you want to use JJs or build some overheating, underarmored mech, the Stalker has no real benefit over the Highlander as an LRM boat.

If I had both Mechs and wanted one to be an LRM boat, I'd probably use the Highlander for this. With it's lighter JJs, 6 energy and 4 missile hardpoints, the Stalker is an insanely strong close range jump brawler, while the Highlander is mediocre (albeit iconic) in this role.



When you want to run cool with +-0 heat and use SHS, LRM20s are fine. With DHS, it looks slightly different, but 0.5tons aren't too much of a problem. And if you want to use multitarget with breaching shot, it's still totally worth it.

If I had both mechs, I too would make the Bullshark the LRM boat, but realistically, you're gonna get more Stalkers than Bullsharks as you level up. And I trully prefer a Bullshark with 4xUAC5s for long rage support (2nd choice to an 4xGauss Annhilator for head capping).

The Highlander sucks balls being stuck at 50 LRMS (2x15s and 1x20 in LT), which then forces more ammo in other areas (thank god HBS mechanics make ammo explosions relatively trivial). But despite the extra armour of the Highlander over the Stalker, if you get a lucky AI (or a human, that knows) your left torso is a big single point of failure (compared to being gimped if either torso is taken out of the Stalker. Same goes for King Crab left torsos, Atlas Ballistic Right torso, etc.

But yeah, the Highlander is iconic and a persona favourite. They REALLY should make Highlander specific -DFA self damage unsalvaged modules stuck on each leg, like the Vectored Thrusts on a Phoenix Hawk.

As for the heat-tonnage math, assuming 60 LRMs (3x20 LRMs vs 4x15 LMS), assumign all SHS, the 4x15 LRMs comes out more efficient in terms of tonnage and heat for the same damage, but as you say, 3x20 LRMs are better for breaching shot (as longs as HBS limits multishot targets to 3). Still the difference is super negligible (1 tonne savings and negligibly better heat dissipation under normal biomes). In hotter biomes where heat sinks are gimped producing less heat through LRM 20s is your better bet.
 

Aluminium Gerbil

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Nov 27, 2018
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I see this come up now and again and I'm somewhat confused. For the purposes of creating an LRM80 assault the Stalker gets touted as the best in class a fair amount. If you strip all armor and just mount 4 LRM20s:

Stalker - 17.5 free tons
Highlander 733 - 20.5 free tons
BSK-M3 - 35.5 free tons

It would appear to me that both the Highlander-733 and BSK-M3 are objectively superior to the Stalker. What does the Stalker bring to the table over them? From an availability standpoint the Highlander is just as likely to spawn in stores or missions, the BSK is a little more iffy but once you progress far enough into the HM mission chain it also will spawn in random missions.
 

Insahnity

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I see this come up now and again and I'm somewhat confused. For the purposes of creating an LRM80 assault the Stalker gets touted as the best in class a fair amount. If you strip all armor and just mount 4 LRM20s:

Stalker - 17.5 free tons
Highlander 733 - 20.5 free tons
BSK-M3 - 35.5 free tons

It would appear to me that both the Highlander-733 and BSK-M3 are objectively superior to the Stalker. What does the Stalker bring to the table over them? From an availability standpoint the Highlander is just as likely to spawn in stores or missions, the BSK is a little more iffy but once you progress far enough into the HM mission chain it also will spawn in random missions.
Because the only variant is the 533 (532b and 533P can't do LRM80), and it's all on the left side. You get your left torso blown off by the AI or a human you are screwed, whereas the stalker has a single hardpoint across 4 different regions (so if you lose a torso you are down to 50% not dead in the water). To say nothing for careful placement of ammo in the Highlander. But the Highlander is great LRM boat, arguably slightly better than Stalker in some respects as long as you are up against AIs.

And yes the Bullshark is better for LRM80, but much rarer to get. And some rare people may not have expansion packs, and/or the comments date back to 2018 before the bullshark was released.
 

koz-ivan

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May 8, 2018
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Let's say you have three A-II and you want the fourth mech to be a pure LRM boat, would you pick a Catapult instead of a Highlander just because the Highlander has more hardpoints and weight available?.
Really it depends on what the game state is, usually I've got a Stalker long before I get Highlanders / Bullsharks or King Crabs, and if I've got my stalker already upgraded and tricked out, there isn't a need to upgrade from that. If in my next go round a Highlander falls into my lap early, I'll make that my LRM boat. I'm tempted to try out a Bull Shark but that seems like a pretty late game upgrade.

Technically LRM boats are very weird, they don't need gobs of armor since they can avoid having a clean LoS, I don't run them with tin foil, but I don't armor them up like I would my other units, for what I want it to do, the Stalker is darn close to perfect.

Also feels like a weird argument, because the regular HGN is bad outside the LRM boat role, mediocre at best (only 1 ballistic and 2 energy hardpoints) while the Stalker you put on the top position is worse as pure LRM boat than the HGN yet much better at other things with its six energy hardpoints and one ton weight JJs.

And don't forget a mech like the King Crab, far better as a LRM boat than the mentioned Catapult: 50 tubes with 4xTTS+++, 3xJJs, max armor and -6 alpha heat. The BSK would be kinda the same but with more missiles.
Like I said above, the Highlander could be ranked higher, but despite a 1000+ hrs play time, I've never used a highlander as my primary LRM boat "on paper" they seem good but I don't claim first hand experience with them.

The King Crab is kinda interesting, Once upon a time I had one with either AC2's or AC5's + LRMs and it was fine, but it was more reliant on keeping LoS.
 

Aluminium Gerbil

Sergeant
Nov 27, 2018
71
1
Because the only variant is the 533 (532b and 533P can't do LRM80), and it's all on the left side. You get your left torso blown off by the AI or a human you are screwed, whereas the stalker has a single hardpoint across 4 different regions (so if you lose a torso you are down to 50% not dead in the water). To say nothing for careful placement of ammo in the Highlander. But the Highlander is great LRM boat, arguably slightly better than Stalker in some respects as long as you are up against AIs.

And yes the Bullshark is better for LRM80, but much rarer to get. And some rare people may not have expansion packs, and/or the comments date back to 2018 before the bullshark was released.
Pure LRM boats have alot of versatility when it comes to placement and facing. By this same logic you can put your HGN behind a mountain and shield arm with the right side, so even if you lose the torso you still have 100% of your firepower. Brawlers should have more consideration for weapon/ammo placement.

As for the it being a variant I don't see where you are coming from. The way the game treats spawns you are as likely to run into Stalkers as you are HGN-733s. If the Stalker had multiple variants with the appropriate hardpoints then it would be easier to find but in vanilla there's just the one.