Archer - Best Long Range Mech?

Archer - Best Long Range Mech?

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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.
Those 4x15 tubes are not good enough imo (for an assault). Even if they are +2 dmg they don't guarantee a vehicle kill in any circumstance. And for me that's one of the primary reasons I do use LRM boats. Far before a 60 tube Stalker I'd rather take a 50 tube King Crab, so I'd have jump jets, much more armor and enough TTS so I'll never have any acc penalty. But 70+ tubes will do if you have guaranteed 95% base chance, from 60 to 70 tubes there is a big difference imo. Betheen 50-60 not so much.

The KC I mentioned also wouldn't be a good LRM boat but it makes for an excellent trainer mech which also can fire some missiles from very long range with indirect fire, excellent armor, JJs and many TTS+++.

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.
The Archer has nothing to do with the Catapult, the TTS does nothing similar to the Archer quirk. You could say that if you take a 2xLRM20 Archer setup, the build will behave much more similar to an hypothetical dual AC20 loadout but having way longer range and indirect fire (the caveat being a lot worse headcap performance). In fact the Archer outperforms any other LRM based setup when used with Precision Shot. The bad is that the lack of firepower, which matters a lot more without PS or when you just want the spread to finish a mech.

Here two charts, one with Precision Shot and another without it:

With Precision Shot the Archer is on par or even superior to the BSK, and clearly better than Stalker or Highlander. The downside is without PS, then raw firepower is more important and loses against STK, HGN, BSK.


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.
You're comparing a decent weapon (the Gauss) for the ANH with a pretty bad one (PPCs and AC10s) for the Marauder. Here goes a few setups:





Note, the charts don't take critting into consideration but I count the +5 internal damage from the Gauss as extra regular damage. TTS+++ included: green 1, dark blue 2, pink 0 (too tight), orange 2, light blue 1, olive 2. Also added one ERLL to the UAC5 setup, just four UAC5 seemed very weak.


Also one extra chart to show damage/weight/heat efficiency for 80% headcap/CT-core, the darker the color the better:

For headcapping the Marauder has no rival, only the ERML/UAC based can keep the pace, but that's with lower mobility, lower evasion, worse initiative. For CT core of course the Marauder has no chance against 3xUAC20/4xUAC20 or UAC/ERML ANH based setups, but it hold its own against the 4xGauss, and I'd say it surpasses it when two consecutive salvos are considered, as I wouldn't spend two rounds of ammo for a meager 16% of destroying it at 60% DR. You could argue that it has lower range, but range is meant to increase survivability, hit without being hit. The Marauder has already excellent durability without needing higher range weaponry than what ERML provides, and it can spot for himself.

Also the "typically if they don't hit the head they will inevitably hit a torso", no they won't. If you aim at the head but miss then the torsos don't have preferential treatment, CT gets 16% and side torsos 14% each, still considerably more than arms+legs combined but it's not inevitable at all. Chances to hit twice with a 4xGauss setup while aiming a the head are 12% for the CT and 9.5% for each side torso. That's not exactly something to rely on. It still won't be enough to destroy a side torso against most assaults and some heavies unless lucky with the crits, for which you'd only get two tries (assuming you did hit twice in the same side torso) which may not land the crit slot you wanted to crit within the side torso you wanted (if missed the head), or may hit where you wanted but miss the crit roll on a ammo bin.

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.
The ANH no doubt is a monster BUT it needs support, some mechs around, because it's not nearly as survivable as the Marauder. In contrast the Marauder can very easily complete hard five skull missions alone with barely or no damage taken while the ANH can't (very easily). It is far more mobile too, and much better for support even if you have lower range weapons, having four JJs. That means very often you might be able to fire at foes in a vulnerable position where you couldn't with the ANH because you couldn't arrive in time before the foe is not-braced or not in cover/bulwark.

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 thing is that the Bullshark is the best LRMb mech but otherwise other mechs far surpass him, in particular the very easy to come by Marauder.

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 4xUAC5++, as it is (no more weapons besides that) is very poor for a high-end setup imo.

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.
Sure, but imo 60 tube +2 dmg LRM boat is far from perfect when you cannot rely on it killing the hardest vehicles any vehicle in any circumstance without PS. In my experience you need at least 70 +2 dmg tubes if you have maxed base chance, and that's a bit harder to do with the Stalker. At that point every ton of weight matters if you want to optimize for vehicle killing while retaining decent cooling and armor.

And if you can get rid of the hardest vehicles easily at any moment, cover or no cover and from the front, that gives you more flexibility when planning ahead. Because you can't make sure to oneshot or twoshot the heaviest mechs with a single LRM boat but at least you can secure the vehicle issue.

Edit: added one extra chart for weapon efficiency
 
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Apr 30, 2018
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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).
I think you're understating the impact of a 420 point, extreme range, 40 heat alpha. Beyond that, after you install your 5 autocannons, load up enough ammo for 15 alphas, max out the armor, and add 2 jump jets you've still got 24 tons and plenty of space left.

Here's a quick sample build:



So at max range with a spotter you've got a 420 point UAC/2 alpha, at medium range you can add in another 105 from the MLs, and at short range you can melee for 175 + 60 or unload a 585 point short range alpha with no risk of overheating. And you have JJs, max armor, and a +3 defense gyro (or 2 more ML++ and a 655 alpha). That's pretty good.

The other thing that's pretty good is that the build I laid out is easy to slap together. It doesn't rely on any lostech or unique items, but if you have that stuff it gets even better. A Gauss rifle and ERML build cooled by a bunch of DHS takes some time to assemble. A UAC/2++ and ML++ build is trivial - odds are you'll already have everything you need the day that you get your first Annihilator.

To me a build that is easy to assemble, can core anything in the game with a single called shot from beyond LRM range, and gets more dangerous if you close with it takes the prize as the best long range mech.
 
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koz-ivan

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Sure, but imo 60 tube +2 dmg LRM boat is far from perfect when you cannot rely on it killing the hardest vehicles any vehicle in any circumstance without PS. In my experience you need at least 70 +2 dmg tubes if you have maxed base chance, and that's a bit harder to do with the Stalker. At that point every ton of weight matters if you want to optimize for vehicle killing while retaining decent cooling and armor.

And if you can get rid of the hardest vehicles easily at any moment, cover or no cover and from the front, that gives you more flexibility when planning ahead. Because you can't make sure to oneshot or twoshot the heaviest mechs with a single LRM boat but at least you can secure the vehicle issue.
Interesting.

fwiw at this point I think we're veering a bit off track into the core idea / assumptions we make on what do we expect a missile boat to be able to do. Personally I'm not that focused on being able to one shot tanks, I've got 3 other mechs that can one shot tanks / or possibly multi-shot into them, what I want is something to soften up enemies at range, able to clear turrets, and not taking a whole lot of return fire.

At the risk of getting way off track, only the Demolisher has the armor and firepower to withstand 60ish tubes of LRMs on any regular basis and to be a threat when firing back.
 
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Interesting.

fwiw at this point I think we're veering a bit off track into the core idea / assumptions we make on what do we expect a missile boat to be able to do. Personally I'm not that focused on being able to one shot tanks, I've got 3 other mechs that can one shot tanks / or possibly multi-shot into them, what I want is something to soften up enemies at range, able to clear turrets, and not taking a whole lot of return fire.

At the risk of getting way off track, only the Demolisher has the armor and firepower to withstand 60ish tubes of LRMs on any regular basis and to be a threat when firing back.
If this thread is about what the best long range mech is with the Archer as a reference then I don't think that's going off track. IMO being able to easily deal with vehicles is an important role for a kind of weapon (LRMs) which is much better against vehicles than against mechs, due to the first having fewer locations.

The Demo would be enough for me, as common as it is in higher skull missions with vehicles, but you also have the Manticore. And sure, you can do it with other mechs too (but my 6xLL+++ 2xAC2++/1xAC5++ A-II can't for example, not reliably). Being able to kill them at any moment with indirect fire and no PS is a deciding factor in my case when I take an LRM boat into a late game lance. This way you can ignore them for a while (focusing in another target for example) and only kill them when you need to in a predictable/safe way with only one salvo and no PS, or killing all vehicles first with SL + indirect fire and then go for the big fish. And of course, having more damage doesn't hurt when dealing with mechs.

Also I'm not very fond of the "soften up" enemies concept. I see missile based (any >2 hits multihit weapon) as finishers, not softeners, to be used after direct damage so you exploit the crit capabilities (many more potential crit rolls) for some ammo explosion kills from time to time or to take advantage of the higher spread to finish low health foes (with one or two exposed internal locations) which would require quite an amount of firepower from one hit weapons (and/or Precision Shot) to be sure something hits them, or to kill some weaker foes entirely with missiles.
For example you go with a high alpha direct damage mech and try to core an Atlas, you may succeed or not. If you do, then that's it, but if you don't LRMs with indirect fire (which have a bias towards the CT and side torsos) are quite good finishers. If instead you fired your LRM first them you may be wasting the entire LRM salvo because it wouldn't be needed, or perhaps only half of the tubes, or you may come short if you are too greedy and fire half of the LRMs before your direct damage mech. And if I were to soften up a mech wouldn't be with LRMs but perhaps with something like a harasser, a fast medium range direct damage mech, not really expecting to kill but to remove all or most of the armor in a single location so the missiles have good chances to deal crits at ammo or big guns (mostly would be in mid game).
 
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Insahnity

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Apr 13, 2020
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Interesting.

fwiw at this point I think we're veering a bit off track into the core idea / assumptions we make on what do we expect a missile boat to be able to do. Personally I'm not that focused on being able to one shot tanks, I've got 3 other mechs that can one shot tanks / or possibly multi-shot into them, what I want is something to soften up enemies at range, able to clear turrets, and not taking a whole lot of return fire.

At the risk of getting way off track, only the Demolisher has the armor and firepower to withstand 60ish tubes of LRMs on any regular basis and to be a threat when firing back.
But I think you are missing the point that both he and I are trying to make. An LRM Boat is meant to hit MECH targets given that LRMs (and to a lesser degree, SRMs) are balanced around stability damage (which does squat against vehicles and turrets). Even SRMs aren't that great for taking those down, although its a bit better, you just don't mount enough hardpoints (except again, Archer as an SRM boat along with its Quirk). If you want to take out vehicles (or turrets) at range, it is way way more efficient to use ballistic weapons over LRMs or even long range energy weapons. You'd need 2 mechs, a more mobile mech which may mount less powerful weapons (hopefully a lot of ERMLs) backed by the aforementioned LRM boat, when a single ballistic based mech can easily take out 2 vehicles or turrets per turn at range. This is why you are given several mechbays, instead of the same 4 mechs, to customize your lance composition to mor efficiently match the mission at hand. For convoy destruction or base destruction, reserve one ballistic mech to take out objectives while using the others to take out mech reinforcements (that may include an LRM boat or two and one brawler/direct fire support). If you are doing battles, assassinations, etc. then a Marauder is all you really need, maybe some LRM boats to keep others knocked down, or possibly aggro other targets from afar so they don't all gang up on your Marauder. If you are trying to take out turrets or vehicles with LRMs its really inefficient, that's not its job. Also LRM boats are usually low mobility, the jump jets help it climb to higher vantage points for sight lines and hit bonuses (not unlike what a Marauder does), and take advantage of spotters to whittle away at enemy mechs. That's its job in the HBS Battletech world, in this current patch (although I wasn't around for it, earlier patches may have been a different story).
 
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But I think you are missing the point that both he and I are trying to make. An LRM Boat is meant to hit MECH targets given that LRMs (and to a lesser degree, SRMs) are balanced around stability damage (which does squat against vehicles and turrets). Even SRMs aren't that great for taking those down, although its a bit better, you just don't mount enough hardpoints (except again, Archer as an SRM boat along with its Quirk). If you want to take out vehicles (or turrets) at range, it is way way more efficient to use ballistic weapons over LRMs or even long range energy weapons. You'd need 2 mechs, a more mobile mech which may mount less powerful weapons (hopefully a lot of ERMLs) backed by the aforementioned LRM boat, when a single ballistic based mech can easily take out 2 vehicles or turrets per turn at range. This is why you are given several mechbays, instead of the same 4 mechs, to customize your lance composition to mor efficiently match the mission at hand. For convoy destruction or base destruction, reserve one ballistic mech to take out objectives while using the others to take out mech reinforcements (that may include an LRM boat or two and one brawler/direct fire support). If you are doing battles, assassinations, etc. then a Marauder is all you really need, maybe some LRM boats to keep others knocked down, or possibly aggro other targets from afar so they don't all gang up on your Marauder. If you are trying to take out turrets or vehicles with LRMs its really inefficient, that's not its job. Also LRM boats are usually low mobility, the jump jets help it climb to higher vantage points for sight lines and hit bonuses (not unlike what a Marauder does), and take advantage of spotters to whittle away at enemy mechs. That's its job in the HBS Battletech world, in this current patch (although I wasn't around for it, earlier patches may have been a different story).
Not sure if you're referring to me but I very much disagree. Regular LRMs (with no +dmg tubes) might be balanced around stability damage but with +2 dmg tubes and enough amount of them no other kind of setup can compete with a full fledged LRM boat for killing vehicles imo. A one salvo = one dead vehicle at very long range without precision shot AND with indirect fire no matter the cover or facing, what mech does better than that?. LRMs are actually very damage efficient for a long range weapon without PS, less than the LBX2 (which doesn't have indirect fire), around same as UAC2 and better or much better than all other ballistic weapons (including UAC5-20, LBX5-20 and Gauss) and bellow (but not by a lot) the MLs (around the same as ERMLs).

At the point where what mech is the best long range mech and an Archer is brought to the table along Stalker, Bullshark and so on, at that moment I just don't care about stability damage anymore. Not when most of the mechs you fight are assaults or heavies, quite resilient to it plus the pilots are more likely to have Sure Foot, which in addition is quite easy to use by the AI (just by walking).


Edit: I forgot to ask, what ballistic setup are you thinking of when you talk about killing two vehicles, let's say two demos in cover from the front?. Because something like a 4xGauss can't reliably kill one Demo in cover from the front without PS.
 
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Insahnity

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These charts are kinda hard to read. Y-axis is kill percentage (sometimes?), but X-axis? What is the independent variable here?

Here two charts, one with Precision Shot and another without it:

With Precision Shot the Archer is on par or even superior to the BSK, and clearly better than Stalker or Highlander. The downside is without PS, then raw firepower is more important and loses against STK, HGN, BSK.
And here?

You're comparing a decent weapon (the Gauss) for the ANH with a pretty bad one (PPCs and AC10s) for the Marauder. Here goes a few setups:





Note, the charts don't take critting into consideration but I count the +5 internal damage from the Gauss as extra regular damage. TTS+++ included: green 1, dark blue 2, pink 0 (too tight), orange 2, light blue 1, olive 2. Also added one ERLL to the UAC5 setup, just four UAC5 seemed very weak.


Also one extra chart to show damage/weight/heat efficiency for 80% headcap/CT-core, the darker the color the better:

For headcapping the Marauder has no rival, only the ERML/UAC based can keep the pace, but that's with lower mobility, lower evasion, worse initiative. For CT core of course the Marauder has no chance against 3xUAC20/4xUAC20 or UAC/ERML ANH based setups, but it hold its own against the 4xGauss, and I'd say it surpasses it when two consecutive salvos are considered, as I wouldn't spend two rounds of ammo for a meager 16% of destroying it at 60% DR. You could argue that it has lower range, but range is meant to increase survivability, hit without being hit. The Marauder has already excellent durability without needing higher range weaponry than what ERML provides, and it can spot for himself.
A Gauss rifle is a great weapon but it's not that great for coring. Even the ER PPC you dismissed isn't great either. The argument was based around overcoming that 61 damage requirement for the head, statistically. If you want to core out mechs then yes heavier UACs and MLs (of all kinds) are much more suited to the task. But specifically the weapons I mentioned go over the 70 damage mark per shot, at a decent range (given that to field the kind of weapons you need a heavier mech that lacks the mobility, to say nothing of very few ballistic hard points at mediums mechs and only Urbies at light). Tactically speaking, if someone decides to hunker down at 60% DR (and do nothing offensively to achieve this), you're better off selecting a different target firing at you (which you CAN if you have more range, less so with lower range weapons) with 0 or 20% DR or even go after vehicles/turrets. The problem is these charts don't take tactics into account. If you have no other targets and the opponent choose to sit in the forest for 60 DR (I have seen the AI do this, strangely), you can just whittle it away slowly with little regard to your personal safety.

I will admit, both these charts or my arguments do very little to address high evasion pip mechs. And a Gauss Rifle setup or a worse a ER PPC is pretty crappy at those, especially if you are swarmed by 2 lances at a go. Luckily the AI is pretty dumb, or else it would sacrifice one or two Light mechs to close the distance and get around the rear firing arc with several mechs. The sort of thinking that went into Clan elemental warfare (but I digress). But your ERML/UAC (moreso UACs/LRMs/SRMs to bring about Unstable and wipe out evasion pips for a marauder or annhilator to demolish, which brings us back to LRM boats of as many tubes as possible, given that trying to crit takes a backseat priority tactically to wiping out evasion pips) is way more suited for those situations as well, their light armor make them susceptible to one hit of a high damage which is more likely to land a hit the more you have. Which will happen since aforementioned fast mechs generally don't sport any long range threats or enough firepower to be a threat at medium to short ranges until they get to the rear arc,

Respectfully, given the 300m/400m restriction to sight (because a spotter isn't always available, or takes time to achieve, or you are tying down one mech to sensor lock regardless of its loadout, which again sensorlock is inefficient for swarms) the damage gains of UAC5 outweigh the distance penalty, or even the extra tonnage when in assault mechs. Where UAC2s shine are the weight savings for medium/heavy mechs or specifically to fill out something already sporting UAC20s or Gauss rifles. If you want to plug in something try an Annhilator with 2xUAC20s and 3xUAC2s which I have successfully run. Tactically the 3 UACs can whittle down armour of a large foe as you close the distance for the kill using the UAC20s, or wear out evasion pips at distance until you can get to UAC20 distance and just destroy it. And fabulous for turrets/vehicles.


Also the "typically if they don't hit the head they will inevitably hit a torso", no they won't. If you aim at the head but miss then the torsos don't have preferential treatment, CT gets 16% and side torsos 14% each, still considerably more than arms+legs combined but it's not inevitable at all. Chances to hit twice with a 4xGauss setup while aiming a the head are 12% for the CT and 9.5% for each side torso. That's not exactly something to rely on. It still won't be enough to destroy a side torso against most assaults and some heavies unless lucky with the crits, for which you'd only get two tries (assuming you did hit twice in the same side torso) which may not land the crit slot you wanted to crit within the side torso you wanted (if missed the head), or may hit where you wanted but miss the crit roll on a ammo bin.
Where are you getting these numbers? I don't buy it at all. Against a slow medium or any heavy/assault, if you fail to hit the head on PS, you will ALWAYS hit either CT or LT or RT (maybe small chance of arm or leg, yes I agree, but in my books that's effectively a total miss) but 16/14 hit chance or even 48% aggregate makes no sense, especially since sizing penalties do apply against your target. The only time you miss is with high evasion pips, which isn't factored into your spreadsheets directly (indirectly with TTS modules). And no, I am not relying on hitting a torso, it's the consolation prize to HEAD CAPPING WITH A 70+ damage weapon. If your first salvo fails to hit, then you have decision, to try and head cap again (which is more likely against assaults) or switch tactics and aim for the weak torso spot or core out the mech if you ended up with CT hits.

Not sure if your simulations for CT Coring also factor in misses where you end up hitting the LT/RT (or legs/arms). Does the sim tactically switch to exploit the hit LT/RT of a heavy/assault on the next salvo? Because if it doesn't it's effectively a miss.

The ANH no doubt is a monster BUT it needs support, some mechs around, because it's not nearly as survivable as the Marauder. In contrast the Marauder can very easily complete hard five skull missions alone with barely or no damage taken while the ANH can't (very easily). It is far more mobile too, and much better for support even if you have lower range weapons, having four JJs. That means very often you might be able to fire at foes in a vulnerable position where you couldn't with the ANH because you couldn't arrive in time before the foe is not-braced or not in cover/bulwark.
Yeah, the Marauder is flat out overpowered for which there are plenty of examples under way too many configurations. Realistically, if Lance Command was swapped with the anemic CP-10-HQ Advanced Command Module (with the Called Shot bonus to make up for the pathethic loadout of the cyclops HQ, and only a +1 Lance Accuracy /-10% Lance damage to everyone in Marauder Lance) that would have made way more sense.

The thing is that the Bullshark is the best LRMb mech but otherwise other mechs far surpass him, in particular the very easy to come by Marauder.
That's an accurate generic statement, but if we're dragging back to LRM Boats its what someone here was looking to do then bullshark is the answer. Again Marauder needs a nerf.

The 4xUAC5++, as it is (no more weapons besides that) is very poor for a high-end setup imo.
Disagree, see above.

Getting back to weapon range, it's not a defensive (primarily, anyways), its to counter its lack of mobility. Assault mechs trade initiative for heavier armor, and mobility for more tonnage to mount high range, high damage weapons with impunity (and associated gear, like TTS, heat management, etc.). It's that high damage high range that help it cope with scurrying vehicles (although I would generally assign a slow medium or a heavy for that job)
 

Insahnity

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Edit: I forgot to ask, what ballistic setup are you thinking of when you talk about killing two vehicles, let's say two demos in cover from the front?. Because something like a 4xGauss can't reliably kill one Demo in cover from the front without PS.
Vehicles in convoys generally travel on roads or open terrain, where cover isn't an issue. I've found 2 Gauss shots or two UAC5s can take out most vehicles without PS. If something is covered, go attack another vehicle that isn't covered, and wait for the next turn as vehicles never sit still. I'm not worried about vehicles in trees attacking me, those are secondary to wiping out lances (whereas convoys can get away from out on occasion which I am more worried about).

On an annoying note, allied vehicles you must escort cannot, for their life, ever get away fast enough, yet chasing after the same vehicles in enemy convoys is much harder. What is up with that?!?!
 
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A Gauss rifle is a great weapon but it's not that great for coring. Even the ER PPC you dismissed isn't great either. The argument was based around overcoming that 61 damage requirement for the head, statistically. If you want to core out mechs then yes heavier UACs and MLs (of all kinds) are much more suited to the task. But specifically the weapons I mentioned go over the 70 damage mark per shot, at a decent range (given that to field the kind of weapons you need a heavier mech that lacks the mobility, to say nothing of very few ballistic hard points at mediums mechs and only Urbies at light). Tactically speaking, if someone decides to hunker down at 60% DR (and do nothing offensively to achieve this), you're better off selecting a different target firing at you (which you CAN if you have more range, less so with lower range weapons) with 0 or 20% DR or even go after vehicles/turrets. The problem is these charts don't take tactics into account. If you have no other targets and the opponent choose to sit in the forest for 60 DR (I have seen the AI do this, strangely), you can just whittle it away slowly with little regard to your personal safety.
My point is that ERPPC may be ok, mediocre actually, not good not bad at 0% DR but it's terrible for 20-60% DR (for 20-40% too, not just 60% DR).

I agree with the 60% DR statement but not because the target is not firing but because it's just too much and the chance too low. If a target has a 40% DR and you have a good chance at it then better now than later. Very often several mechs may try to get closer to you, all of them braced and perhaps in cover and/or bullwark, so let's say all of them 40-60% DR and none of them firing this turn. What you're going to do, not firing at anyone even if you can do it safely?. And even at 0% DR a ERML/UAC2 based setup is much more efficient than the Gauss (or the ERPPC).

A different perspective would be that 40-60% DR foes can be good targets or even the only targets when very seldom are you fired upon, even none at all, which sometimes happens if you are actively trying to make that happen. When playing in such a way most of the time they'll be braced, around half of them will have Sure Foot and around half of them will have Bullwark, some with have both.

I will admit, both these charts or my arguments do very little to address high evasion pip mechs. And a Gauss Rifle setup or a worse a ER PPC is pretty crappy at those, especially if you are swarmed by 2 lances at a go. Luckily the AI is pretty dumb, or else it would sacrifice one or two Light mechs to close the distance and get around the rear firing arc with several mechs. The sort of thinking that went into Clan elemental warfare (but I digress). But your ERML/UAC (moreso UACs/LRMs/SRMs to bring about Unstable and wipe out evasion pips for a marauder or annhilator to demolish, which brings us back to LRM boats of as many tubes as possible, given that trying to crit takes a backseat priority tactically to wiping out evasion pips) is way more suited for those situations as well, their light armor make them susceptible to one hit of a high damage which is more likely to land a hit the more you have. Which will happen since aforementioned fast mechs generally don't sport any long range threats or enough firepower to be a threat at medium to short ranges until they get to the rear arc,
The chart do address high evasion mech to some extent (as you noticed, including TTS), although of course I agree is not the full picture. What it does is showing some reference as a base to interpret along with tactics used and weapon's range, availability of weapons, ...

Regarding evasion my way of thinking is: if foe is slow I don't need to counter a lot of evasion (if any); if the target is very fast I may not counter all the evasion but at the same time I don't need to deal as much damage to kill it with a PS. Evasion is not much of an issue when you have TTS and moderate to high damage and TTS are easy to get in mid-late game, as they're not cheap but you don't need a lot of them, less than DHS.

For the LRMs don't take me wrong. I use 80 tubes in the BSK because I can, but in the Highlander originally I used to have 75 tubes and later downgraded to 70 when I got a couple TTS+++ from flashpoints, 65 wasn't enough for vehicles, 75 was enough but barely and 70 was good enough if you have max base chance and I would generate less heat with a couple extra tons of armor after the TTS are added. If I use LRMS against light mechs is not to remove evasion but because I expect to kill with those missiles. If not I'll use a higher damage direct damage mech.

Respectfully, given the 300m/400m restriction to sight (because a spotter isn't always available, or takes time to achieve, or you are tying down one mech to sensor lock regardless of its loadout, which again sensorlock is inefficient for swarms) the damage gains of UAC5 outweigh the distance penalty, or even the extra tonnage when in assault mechs. Where UAC2s shine are the weight savings for medium/heavy mechs or specifically to fill out something already sporting UAC20s or Gauss rifles. If you want to plug in something try an Annhilator with 2xUAC20s and 3xUAC2s which I have successfully run. Tactically the 3 UACs can whittle down armour of a large foe as you close the distance for the kill using the UAC20s, or wear out evasion pips at distance until you can get to UAC20 distance and just destroy it. And fabulous for turrets/vehicles.
Sensor Lock is mostly for free zero risk kills, even if inefficient damage wise, it's on the way for getting Master Tactician (which is what I really want for an assault) and for a medium range mech or even a long range one (if it has JJs) gives him another role he can do without requiring LoS (for those free kills). And you can have more than 300m visual range using a Rangefinder, super useful IMO, as it makes a long range setup much more self reliant.

UAC2s imo are super good because are very damage/weight/heat efficient (even ignoring range) but they can't be easily massed in most builds. And sure an ANH like you describe can be run successfully, I've also successfully run setups I consider bad in my own estimation, but my question would be if you think that setup would do well if pressure tested, because firepower sure has a lot but survivability? not much, even taking into account said killing power. I find easier to solo five skull missions with some medium mechs than with the ANH, just due to much higher survivability. And of course with some heavies and other assaults too.


Where are you getting these numbers? I don't buy it at all. Against a slow medium or any heavy/assault, if you fail to hit the head on PS, you will ALWAYS hit either CT or LT or RT (maybe small chance of arm or leg, yes I agree, but in my books that's effectively a total miss) but 16/14 hit chance or even 48% aggregate makes no sense, especially since sizing penalties do apply against your target. The only time you miss is with high evasion pips, which isn't factored into your spreadsheets directly (indirectly with TTS modules). And no, I am not relying on hitting a torso, it's the consolation prize to HEAD CAPPING WITH A 70+ damage weapon. If your first salvo fails to hit, then you have decision, to try and head cap again (which is more likely against assaults) or switch tactics and aim for the weak torso spot or core out the mech if you ended up with CT hits.
No, you won't always hit the torsos. I get the numbers from the hit location tables in ...BattleTech_Data\StreamingAssets\data\constants\CombatGameConstants.json for the front, apply a 18 multiplier to the head, sum the values and divide CT by the sum, the LT/RT by the sum. The mechanics are known since very few months after release.

Something like this:


Notice here I also have the two settings needed for global clustering, for when I do use the AIM Improvement mod.

It's funny because there is a mod which does exactly what you think vanilla does (but doesn't). And not only that, I also have that mod (AIM - Attack Improvement Mod from Nexus) into account (disabled) in the down-right settings 'Global Clustering' and 'Global Multiplier' from my charts. And what you say makes a lot of sense, that if you aim at the head the torsos should get increased chances (it's actually clustering for all weapons!) but the game doesn't work that way. The mod is not maintained anymore since a good while though so right now is a useless setting in my chart as well.

And then another note. If you attack with a big hitter and fail then next turn you begin from scratch. With multi-hitters, if you fail it's still likely you'll be half way, so the next turn will be easier (and importantly, more predictable). It also depends on the precise threshold but the more damage a weapon has per hit the more likely is you're going to overkill or falling too short. For example if you need 77 dmg but the minimum damage you're going to do while still succeeding is 140 dmg then there is an obvious waste there which isn't going to happen as much with more but lower damage hits, where that difference of damage is used in more hits increase the chances at 77%. It will make harder to do near maximum damage but also harder to do near minimum damage. That's how you can have higher chances with one setup dealing a lot less damage.

Not sure if your simulations for CT Coring also factor in misses where you end up hitting the LT/RT (or legs/arms). Does the sim tactically switch to exploit the hit LT/RT of a heavy/assault on the next salvo? Because if it doesn't it's effectively a miss.
Also yes, I take clustering into consideration, like a first missile landing at a leg (or any other location), clustered the adjacent locations and then getting the desired location chance, which may be adjacent or not (adjacent ones get a bonus to hit with LRMs). I also account for then especial clustering rules implemented for the head. So for CT coring I get the chance for the CT when head is clustered + %CT when LT clustered + %CT when CT clustered + .... + %CT when RL clustered. When H/LT/RT are clustered the CT receives a bonus multiplier because is adjacent but that's the only difference, it still can be hit when LL is clustered, for example.

Edit: before I thought you were talking about LRM clustering but now I'm not sure. The chart shows chances for one specific location, it doesn't simulate the whole mech. I could do it but I don't think it does worth the effort. If I'm looking for CT chances then I'm looking for that, and if I want to know LT chances then I clone the chart, replace CT with LT and recalculate. Take one example you can very easily calculate by hand: if you aim at the CT with an AC20 and miss the hit will have a 3.9% to hit the RT, landing two AC20 hits in a row at the RT when you aimed at the CT (0.039 x 0.039)? that doesn't interest me, just too low.


Edit: added another chart as a clarification

This shows the Precision Shot chances for every location when aiming at the CT. It only works for single first weapons or the first hit from multi-hit weapons.

Disagree, see above.

Getting back to weapon range, it's not a defensive (primarily, anyways), its to counter its lack of mobility. Assault mechs trade initiative for heavier armor, and mobility for more tonnage to mount high range, high damage weapons with impunity (and associated gear, like TTS, heat management, etc.). It's that high damage high range that help it cope with scurrying vehicles (although I would generally assign a slow medium or a heavy for that job)
Well, I added an ERLL++ to remedy that and you didn't complain...

Vehicles in convoys generally travel on roads or open terrain, where cover isn't an issue. I've found 2 Gauss shots or two UAC5s can take out most vehicles without PS. If something is covered, go attack another vehicle that isn't covered, and wait for the next turn as vehicles never sit still. I'm not worried about vehicles in trees attacking me, those are secondary to wiping out lances (whereas convoys can get away from out on occasion which I am more worried about).
But that's why I use the word "reliably". Two Gauss or two UAC5s are not enough to kill the hardest vehicles even if all hits land in the same location. Like said before, a 4xGauss won't reliably kill a demo from the front and also neither from the side (although somewhat more likely). A demo side plate needs three hits from four total with a 4xGauss setup (cover or not), and the frontal needs three hits too (four if within cover).

That's not a good vehicle killer in my book and it is what I want to avoid when taking one LRM boat with me (if I take two or three of them then it is very different, now they're the main damage dealers and all other mechs are support). I want dependability for vehicles and piece of mind, at least for this issue.

On an annoying note, allied vehicles you must escort cannot, for their life, ever get away fast enough, yet chasing after the same vehicles in enemy convoys is much harder. What is up with that?!?!
Yeah, I know. Most of what I play now are solo missions and ambush ones are among the most difficult, although once in a while they can be very easy. All depends on how much time I have depending on the path for the vehicles to follow. Escort missions are very easy though, as foes come one lance at a time.
 
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Icewraith

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Vehicles in convoys generally travel on roads or open terrain, where cover isn't an issue. I've found 2 Gauss shots or two UAC5s can take out most vehicles without PS. If something is covered, go attack another vehicle that isn't covered, and wait for the next turn as vehicles never sit still. I'm not worried about vehicles in trees attacking me, those are secondary to wiping out lances (whereas convoys can get away from out on occasion which I am more worried about).

On an annoying note, allied vehicles you must escort cannot, for their life, ever get away fast enough, yet chasing after the same vehicles in enemy convoys is much harder. What is up with that?!?!
Allied vehicles are coded to stay within a certain distance of your mechs, you’re supposed to be escorting them. If they get too far away they’ll stop moving and tell you they’re no longer moving.

Escorts in flashpoints do not have this behavior, I think they just go for it.
 

Prussian Havoc

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Allied vehicles are coded to stay within a certain distance of your mechs, you’re supposed to be escorting them. If they get too far away they’ll stop moving and tell you they’re no longer moving.

Escorts in flashpoints do not have this behavior, I think they just go for it.
They used to stop moving.

Since the last set of patches, when I move away from them and into Battle they continue to move... milling around and throwing shots back downrange toward the fight.

I don’t recall that being their behavior previously.
 

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.
Ok, finally got the chance to try out the Bull Shark LRM boat.

By the numbers it was pretty amazing, 80 LRMs with enough Heatsinks to pretty much full alpha every turn, it is probably the best LRM platform, and still carries armor appropriate for an Assault class mech, and 12 rounds of full alpha strikes.

That being said, I have some aesthetic problems with it.

Problem 1. with a 4x LRM 20 build, the side torsos are pretty much all launcher slots, the ct is a Gyro (or DHS, or TTS), the legs are full of ammo, leaving the arms to hold the Double Heat Sinks. In a perfect world I'd much rather have the Launchers in the arms and my heat sinks in the torso.

Problem 2. I don't like the look of the flipper arms without guns installed in them. Solution - run 2 LRM 20s & 2 LRM 15s + 2 LBX2s but this just loops back around into why run a mech that could carry 80 LRMs if I'm only running 70.

Problem 3. I feel like I'm really struggling with crit slots on this mech, I'd love to carry some more ammo or backup lasers but just can't squeeze them in anywhere.
 

foamyesque

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Problem 3. I feel like I'm really struggling with crit slots on this mech, I'd love to carry some more ammo or backup lasers but just can't squeeze them in anywhere.
That piece is basically inevitable when you have to devote that many crit slots to the launchers and ammo. Even if they were split into four segments it wouldn't help much. My Shark LRM boats skimp on ammo and armour to install a full set of JJs so they can manouver with their lancemates (particularly handy on maps with either lots of movement-slowing tiles or elevation shifts), so I only carry six tons of ammo to your eight.

It's also nice to have it run ice cold so's you can take it out on any biome and still have thermal capacity to jump and fire:

 
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Problem 1. with a 4x LRM 20 build, the side torsos are pretty much all launcher slots, the ct is a Gyro (or DHS, or TTS), the legs are full of ammo, leaving the arms to hold the Double Heat Sinks. In a perfect world I'd much rather have the Launchers in the arms and my heat sinks in the torso.
I think that shouldn't be problem. You still can have decent armor after JJs, LRMs and TTS, and likely in cover too.

Problem 3. I feel like I'm really struggling with crit slots on this mech, I'd love to carry some more ammo or backup lasers but just can't squeeze them in anywhere.
This is the setup I tend to use:

Backup weapons are unnecessary, you still can fire your missiles at relatively short range without penalty (maxed pilot), even point blank (penalty but you have 2xTTS+++ and perhaps +20% from Precision Shot too), a few MLs aren't going to help much compared to your main weapons if (let's say) some mech comes relatively close, you should have support from your other mechs and anyway that shouldn't ever happen (foes coming very close to you), not when you have JJs. And faster foes should be killed the first, as they are easier to kill and they potentially act as spotters for other more powerful mechs with long range weaponry.

If what you want is more ammo you have a few choices to remove: Gyro, Cockpit mod, JJs, downgrade one LRM20 to LRM15, ... But besides very few Story missions I find 10 salvos are more than enough for a mission.
 
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CT ammo storage? You're braver'n I am.
Could be... if it was true XDDD

Actually the equipment/weapon allocation is random within constraints (Gyro only in CT, weapons in locations with compatible hardpoints, JJs only in torsos & legs...). Just to make sure all fits in the mech and to have some general idea of the layout. I don't want to make that kind of very small decisions here. Same as armor, just knowing total maximum, frontal maximum and current (if have enough for full frontal or not) is perfect for me, I'd rather not bother with each location armor level until I actually build the mech ingame.
 

Prussian Havoc

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That piece is basically inevitable when you have to devote that many crit slots to the launchers and ammo. Even if they were split into four segments it wouldn't help much. My Shark LRM boats skimp on ammo and armour to install a full set of JJs so they can manouver with their lancemates (particularly handy on maps with either lots of movement-slowing tiles or elevation shifts), so I only carry six tons of ammo to your eight.

It's also nice to have it run ice cold so's you can take it out on any biome and still have thermal capacity to jump and fire:

Great Missile Boat! : )

I like your idea of the LRM-70 too. 6-more tons would let you ramp up your Armor, thus better preserving all that +++ equipment, ammo and Double Heat Sinks. :bow:
 

foamyesque

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I like your idea of the LRM-70 too. 6-more tons would let you ramp up your Armor, thus better preserving all that +++ equipment, ammo and Double Heat Sinks. :bow:
Honestly, if I was going to add anything, it'd be either another TTS or more ammo. Downgrading to a 70 does buy you a lot of tonnage and space because of the reduced need for cooling (you could cut, for example, a DHS for a gyro) but the full 80 tubes are pretty key for priming people for knockdowns, especially with all the Ace Pilot opposition that shows up by the time you can put one together. Three bar entrenched assaults need 240 stability damage, or 60 hits. A four-bar entrenched heavy needs 256 stability damage, or 64 hits. At a 95% hit rate 70 tubes gets you an average of 66.5. That's not enough margin for me to feel comfortable with, even with +6 from TTS, because sometimes you're forced to fight at a disadvantage (long range, uphill, etc) and don't get that hit rate -- and sometimes even when you do get that as the nominal to-hit, the random spread means you're under-threshold.

80 tubes, on the other hand, has lots of margin, allowing you to get closer to maxing the bar in one go even through entrenchment and subdividing nicely into unsteadying two targets at once if they aren't entrenched.
 

koz-ivan

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Backup weapons are unnecessary, you still can fire your missiles at relatively short range without penalty (maxed pilot), even point blank (penalty but you have 2xTTS+++ and perhaps +20% from Precision Shot too), a few MLs aren't going to help much compared to your main weapons if (let's say) some mech comes relatively close, you should have support from your other mechs and anyway that shouldn't ever happen (foes coming very close to you), not when you have JJs. And faster foes should be killed the first, as they are easier to kill and they potentially act as spotters for other more powerful mechs with long range weaponry.

If what you want is more ammo you have a few choices to remove: Gyro, Cockpit mod, JJs, downgrade one LRM20 to LRM15, ... But besides very few Story missions I find 10 salvos are more than enough for a mission.
Your spoiler layout pretty well illustrates my frustrations with this mech, ammo in both arms & all 3 torso locations, it's rare that a missile boat is getting hit for critical - at the same time it is potentially possible and that layout makes for a walking bomb.

Overall though I agree with you, 10 rounds is probably fine & backup weapons have very little actual function on this kind of mech, like I said above my issues with the mech are more the aesthetics and general thoughts about what kind of mech this should be as well as understanding the risks of the design.

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That being said, while I agree that Jump Jets would be nice, I don't see the need for an indirect platform to devote space and or tonnage to jump jets.

I love some jets on a mech like the Annihilator where setting up direct LoS and or firing from cover are important, but I don't see it as high priority here - especially with virtually every crit slot filled.
 

foamyesque

Corporal
Apr 24, 2020
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That being said, while I agree that Jump Jets would be nice, I don't see the need for an indirect platform to devote space and or tonnage to jump jets.
It's mostly so they can manovuer with the rest of the squad, have some speed to relocate and fire when necessary (because an LRM platform should always be firing, hence you can't use sprint), and to seek high ground or obscure spots to reduce the chances of anyone being able to fire on them.

Then again I might not be the best person to ask; I put jumpjets on everything.