Rak's mini-reviews of his hero 'Mechs
Tuesday, October 07, 2014 ANANSI , Death's Knell , ember , flame , Heavy Metal , Huginn , Loup de Guerre , Misery , protector , St. Ives' Blue , x-5 Edit-
A Reddit user on OutreachHPG subreddit asked for everybody's comments on their hero 'Mechs and I thought I'd chip-in. I love doing these small reviews and I think they are helpful to those who are looking for comments on these 'Mechs. I'm still on a hiatus, but I think this was a comment worthy of a post on my blog. Here we go!
Energy commando with exclusively arm-mounted hardpoints. This is a good and bad thing; good thing because you're not ammo bound like other commandos and you can rack up the damage if you manage to stay alive for a long time. Bad thing because the Commando's arms are shot off very easily, leaving you weaponless even under mild fire. The heat efficiency is also pretty bad, even for 4 mediums. Lastly, 4 mediums don't hit hard enough especially at the speeds you're going to be running(150+KPH). I personally prefer the other Commandos with SRMs.
Half an Ember with SRMs. That shouldn't discourage you though, you also have half the profile of an Ember and overall a bitch to catch and kill. The CT SRM hits really hard when you're close and it's even possible to win 1v1's against top-tier lights like the Jenner and the Ember. This 'Mech completely destroys anything bigger than a light, I'm surprised it didn't get the recognition the Ember got. You can find my detailed review [here](http://raksarmory.blogspot.de/2014/08/anansi-review-light-brawler.html). My only gripe is that there's no meaningful way to use those 2xAMS hardpoints without crippling the mobility of this 'Mech.
My most deadly light along with my Anansi. The classic 4xML and 4xMG combo build is the last thing a wounded 'Mech wants to see. Even against opponents with full armor, 4xML is enough to punch in after a few good burns. As soon as the component opens 4xMG rips that thing apart. The great thing about this 'Mech is that it's ALWAYS pumping damage, thanks to its heat-neutral MG's. That's what makes it so dangerous in my opinion. On the flip side, the legs of this thing are very fragile and its profile is huge for a light.
PGI's attempt to build upon the success of the Ember, which fell short. Basically the idea is you punch-in with 2xSRMs instead of 4xML's. 4xB and 2xM is very dangerous, but hitbox-wise, the Raven is not suited to close range fights. It's legged extremely easily and its sides are huge when you're twisting. 3L gets away because it can mount long-range weaponry and even with a brawl-build it does somewhat well because of the stealth the ECM provides. You also suck at shooting anything farther than 200 meters. Its value is also somewhat diminished now that the 3L can mount two full-6 tube racks and can actually be an independent mini-brawler with ECM. Still, if you stick with a light-pack or happen to find yourself in a brawl with a few friendlies, it can quickly finish off 'Mechs. It also has the best hero camo in my eyes.
PGI's "light-hunter" Cicada. 4xE and 2xM with only 2 tubes. 2 tube launchers severely limit its firepower and build variety. 4xML+2xSSRM2 is the standard build and it's the best when you consider speed/firepower/heat efficiency. You'll scare lights and dent some armor off the heavier 'Mechs and maybe finish a few wounded ones off, but don't expect it to be consistently good. Now, if PGI bumps those tubes to a 6-pack, it's going to be an extremely dangerous killer. Do the same thing you did to the Raven-3L PGI, give some tubes to the X-5! As it stands, it's a decent 'Mech but only if you're into Cicadas.
This is basically a 7M with an energy hardpoint swapped for a missile. I bought it with great hopes, but I found myself using my 7M more. It takes a lot of tonnage to fill those 4xM hardpoints with SRMs and it hurts its survivability. You also lose 80% of your firepower when your arms are gone, which happens a lot when you mount missiles there which turns them into shield arms. An optional hero if you're into the Trebs.
The only Vindicator with 2xM hardpoints and a decent engine cap(250) which instantly makes it "the" brawler variant of the Vindicators. Those missile hardpoints sit right next to each other which gives it an excellent convergence. With 2xASRM6'es it hits pretty much pinpoint up to 100m. Head laser is useless but one laser in each arm can also be used for LLs or PPCs. It has unique heat generation quirk for both missiles and energy(regular Vindis only get energy bonuses). The Vindi also has great hitboxes but what holds this 'Mech and the Vindicators back overall is that they don't get any mobility quirks at all. Yes, it's a good pocket-brawler but it's hard to use this potential when it handles like a truck.
The Dragon which trades its torso energy hardpoints for a ballistic. It's regarded as the "best" Dragon which I don't agree. The ballistic hardpoint is ridiculously high and perfectly aligned with its cockpit(you expose even less than a hull-down Shadowhawk), so you can pull off awesome hull-down shots and get really good trades. It has 4xE(2 each) in its arms which is a pretty desirable layout. It gets a 5% ballistic cooldown, and together with a cooldown module you can reach ridiculous fire rates(especially the Gauss). It's not all roses and flowers though, those arms get shot off very easily so expect to lose 4xE hardpoints pretty fast. The torso B is also harder to aim when you're on the move and you have to move because the Dragon loves to speed tank. If you want to be a real skirmisher, I think the 1C with its arm cannon is a better choice. If you want the best Gauss harasser in this game though, Flame wins hands-down.
The "best of" Orion that can do many things. It gets dual ballistics from the V, dual torso missiles from the K and on top of that, it gets a unique high-mounted torso E. This means this is the only Orion that doesn't suffer from the "long-slung hardpoints" syndrome. It can snipe with PPC+AC combos, it can brawl with AC20+LPL+SRM combos, it can boat LRMs(30 tubes), it can be a mid-range DPS monster(twin UACs). It's the Orion that offers the most build flexibility and can actually do well with them. Suffers from typical Orion syndromes which include an absolute XL unfriendliness and the resulting sluggishness because of its fragile sides.
The "OP" Stalker. It has 5xE+1xM+1xB layout. The missile hardpoint(6 tubes) is pretty useless and often goes ignored. You're left with 5xE and 1xB which is still very intimidating, especially on a Stalker. You can play for its strengths and do 3xERLL+1xGauss which absolutely demolishes anything at mid-long ranges or go brawling with various AC10/20 builds. Unlike other Stalkers which are sentenced to E+M combos which are very hot(even with the ridiculous number of DHS you can mount in Stalkers), the Misery can have great cooling efficiency and damage output thanks to its B hardpoint. The downsides include bad performance at close range(those huge cheeks don't last long) and bad torso twist(only 65°). If you want something that can hold its own against Clans, this is it along with the Banshee.
The "brawler" Highlander that augments the 733C. Almost exclusively arm-mounted hardpoints, a slightly higher engine cap(330 instead of 325) and more jumpjets(5). The arms hold one of the most numerous hardpoints of all IS Assaults(2xB on right, 3xE on left, only bested by the Boar's Head) which allows it to track targets very easily. 2xM in its left torso offer 30 tubes total if you're an LRM type. Unfortunately good things end here. Almost all of your hardpoints are slung very low on your arms which means you must expose yourself fully to use your firepower. Arms also stand wide apart, so you can't have a "firepower side" and a "shield side". You must expose yourself fully in a "COME AT ME BROS" kind of way to use this thing, which means you're brawling and showering in a laser vomit and a hail of Gauss fire in current meta. Now, it did pretty well in brawls before numerous nerfs, but not anymore. JJ's barely lift this thing off the ground, they generate a huge amount of heat(and HGNs are inherently hot running 'Mechs) and it also got a negative torso turn rate quirk(seriously PGI, negative quirks?) which made it the worst handling Assault considering this 'Mech is limited to 330 rated engines. Not recommended, unless PGI gives it decent buffs in the upcoming quirkicide.