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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

LongRange

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But a high ML load, like with the GRH or the HBK laser boat, will sand off armor more effectively than a couple of LRM20s. Not the knockout blow of some of the AC20s or UAC10s, but important to survival none the less.

I have fond memories of discovering the awesomeness of the GRH. Armored up to ~1200 total armor points with all those lasers makes a beast for anything in its weight class or below.

I will also say that there is nothing like the relief you feel when getting your first Heavy class in the game. You’re usually still running mostly lights, then boom have a heavy, either by salvage or cash, and suddenly you have a beefy big brother to take care of the little Lights. Had a lance of PHX, VND, PNT and JR7 and disabled a Marauder (the laser version). Now my lance is MAD, PHX, VND, PNT. PPCs for everybody!
 

Kereminde

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How that can be?
As said by the other person after you:

But a high ML load, like with the GRH or the HBK laser boat, will sand off armor more effectively than a couple of LRM20s. Not the knockout blow of some of the AC20s or UAC10s, but important to survival none the less.
Sanding off armor is, by definition, not efficient. Effective? Sure. Efficient? Not so sure. You want to remove that target from being a threat as swiftly as possible, with as much assurance as you can muster.

So while you're trading a single high-damage shot for multiple lower-damage shots, they also are more likely to hit across the target. (Though it's seriously not as bad as tabletop, since HBS' game simply makes it impossible to hit the left side of the 'Mech from standing on the right side.) Even if you control where you're hitting by taking side-shots, after a certain point in Campaign Mode (not so certain on Career Mode) ... when your pilots are gifted with 10 Gunnery and 10 Tactics... There's no reason not to use higher-damage weapons to blast someone down. And I'm not talking about going for the heavy guns, mostly because there's a big trade for that. Large Lasers and AC/10s are quite enough.

Or, alternatively, load up the LRM/SRM racks and go for sanding armor off as well as stability damage.

Me? I'm happy to have trawled through post-Campaign systems until I could outfit two 'Mechs with Gauss Rifles and two ammo bins each... and simply snipe at where units keep their ammo. That through-armor-structure damage is quite decent at exploding ammo... works like a charm on Thunderbolts.
 
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Doctor Machete

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So while you're trading a single high-damage shot for multiple lower-damage shots, they also are more likely to hit across the target.
Here you're ignoring MLs are actually more dmg/heat/efficient and not merely smaller hits dealing the same total damage overall than big hitters. If you can mass MLs then most likely you're dealing MORE damage total and delivering the same (or more) damage to the desired location plus extra damage onto other locations as well.

Now, if you're factoring range then that's much more difficult to quantify, but weapon efficiency alone? that's easy.

Me? I'm happy to have trawled through post-Campaign systems until I could outfit two 'Mechs with Gauss Rifles and two ammo bins each... and simply snipe at where units keep their ammo. That through-armor-structure damage is quite decent at exploding ammo... works like a charm on Thunderbolts.
That's very situational but we can make some estimations:

Code:
0.80 (chance to hit CT with max base chance) * 0.60 (~ chance to crit if landed) = 0.48 chance to crit aprox
    TWO AMMO SLOTS IN CT --> .48 * .5  (2/4 slots) = .24 -> 24% TO CRIT AMMO SLOT PER HIT
        1x GAUSS --> ~24% TO EXPLODE AMMO
        2x GAUSS --> ~42% TO EXPLODE AMMO
        3x GAUSS --> ~56% TO EXPLODE AMMO
        4x GAUSS --> ~67% TO EXPLODE AMMO
    ONE AMMO SLOT  IN CT --> .48 * .25 (1/4 slots) = .12 -> 12% TO CRIT AMMO SLOT PER HIT
        1x GAUSS --> ~12% TO EXPLODE AMMO
        2x GAUSS --> ~23% TO EXPLODE AMMO
        3x GAUSS --> ~32% TO EXPLODE AMMO
        4x GAUSS --> ~40% TO EXPLODE AMMO
A 4xGauss is two alphas from a dual 2xGauss, a massed ML based setup is going to have higher chance to CT core with two full salvos against a mech with two ammo in CT (unless 60% DR), much more against mechs with only one ammo in CT and way way more if the target has no ammo at all in the CT. So I wouldn't say ML boats are the least efficient weapon setups, although for single alpha a 2xGauss is superior against mechs with two ammo in CT.

And if I'm not mistaken there are only four mechs with two ammo slots in the game. Ammo explosions are not exactly a reliable tactic while having more damage helps against everybody to some extent.

A gun like the Gauss don't scale as well as other big guns when you use more than one and those big guns don't scale as well as MLs. A TEX10% reduce 16.7% heat from MLs and 20% from Gauss, but reducing heat is almost meaningless for Gauss while it isn't for MLs, which also are far easier to mass.

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Corraidhin

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Weapon efficiency is intrinsically linked to the chassis it's mounted on for me. UAC/5s are horrifyingly efficient on an Anni, The PHX-1B is just plain terrifying with 2 LL+++ML++S, and SL+++. It would still be slasher film worthy even without the ++/+++ variants.

With a GRH, its actually the 6 MGs you can throw on it that make me giggle, especially with the +variants. Anything below an assault tends to just dissolve under a full salvo to the side.
 

Kereminde

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Weapon efficiency is intrinsically linked to the chassis it's mounted on for me. UAC/5s are horrifyingly efficient on an Anni, The PHX-1B is just plain terrifying with 2 LL+++ML++S, and SL+++. It would still be slasher film worthy even without the ++/+++ variants.

With a GRH, its actually the 6 MGs you can throw on it that make me giggle, especially with the +variants. Anything below an assault tends to just dissolve under a full salvo to the side.
"How about a magic trick? I'm going to make this DRG-1N disappear...."