IntroductionThe Warhawk continues to be one of my favorite assaults. Not because it's such a beast in combat when used right, but also because I keep discovering new builds for it almost every time I start playing with one. It handles the heat-hungry energy and missiles weaponry particularly well and fortunately clan lasers and missiles happen to be their best weapons.
Before buying the Warhawk, I was drooling over all those heat-efficient brawler builds that I made up in the Smurfy's Mechlab. I just couldn't understand why people weren't wrecking faces in brawls with this heat-efficient monster. After buying one, I realized that this 'Mech isn't cut out to be a brawler at all. The biggest reason is that it's almost as big as a Dire Wolf while being 15 tons lighter. Your sides also tend to tank more than your CT so under concentrated fire the death is often quick (you don't want to lose sides quickly as a clanner). For this reason this 'Mech shines the most when you bring mid-long range weaponry and leverage your superior range and firepower. More about the characteristics of this 'Mech later when I finally get around to review it.
The BuildThe main idea for was that I wanted to use MPLs and LPLs together. Both of the Clan LPLs are in an amazing position right now with the MPL having 2 DPS and the LPL almost 3. Unfortunately, usually it's hard to justify the usage of MPL's over ML as that extra tonnage is better used for more heat sinks in Clan 'Mechs. This is true for almost every Clan 'Mech except the Warhawk. Warhawk suffers from lack of available crit space due to enormous number of fixed DHS scattered around the torso. You usually end up with free tonnage but not enough crit slots and this is where "tonnage expensive" weaponry like MPLs start to make sense.
Here's the build:
Not only this thing sports a "supercharged" laser vomit, it even has some tonnage left for missiles on top of that. The combination of both gives you the ability to reach almost anywhere on the map, directly or indirectly. 27xDHS take care of the heat on even the hottest maps and the usage of the B Arm Omnipod gives you an arm with arm actuators. This makes aiming the lasers a breeze, perhaps even more precise than a Timber Wolf or a Stormcrow, which need to separate their lasers as torso and arm mounted.
You may find the LRMs a bit odd, but they're mostly there to fill slots and tonnage. I still found them immensely helpful in suppressing your targets or force them into cover when you're in a tough spot. If the LRMs bother you a lot, you can also swap them for 2xSSRM6'es for light deterrence and additional damage farming. However this costs you a DHS as well.
It's also a build that offers you redundancy. If your LPL side gets blown off, you still have 3xMPL and 2xLRM10's to do damage at all ranges. If you MPL side is blown off then you still have 2xLPL (26 alpha) to keep up the damage.
Note: Since the B arm gives you a +15% Laser Cooldown quirk, you need to bring both MPL and LPL cooldown modules to negate it. I use the last mech/weapon module slot for an MPL Range module.
How to play it
If you've piloted laser vomits before, you'll feel right at home. Still, don't forget that you're in a fragile Warhawk and not in a brick-tanked Timber Wolf with jump jets to throw off enemy's aim. What you should do is essentially move from cover to cover and dump your alpha on an unsuspecting target before retreating back into the cover. Use your LRMs whenever you can, it's free damage after all.
When both of the teams are in a stand-off, I tend to camp the contested corners with this thing. More often than not, an enemy 'Mech will get overconfident and peek to finish off a friendly 'Mech. All you have to do is move just enough to free both of your arms and dump your 50 damage alpha. Anything other than a 90+ tonner will either outright die or slip back into cover with a red component. Try to peek when the enemy team is busy shooting at another 'Mech.
During an attack (push), try to stay at the front as much as you can without losing your torsos and afterwards simply disengage and fall back behind tankier 'Mechs. Unlike the Dire Wolf you have the speed and maneuverability to do so.
When trying to survive under fire, try to shield with your destroyed side if your CT still has some armor. You'll benefit from reduced damage transfer from your destroyed side.
This build is nothing special, but among the other tens of builds I've tried, this somehow feels "just right". It leverages the advantages of the Warhawk chassis and the weapons aren't tricky to manage.