|Image courtesy of 2buiart|
The Hellbringening and the magical wubCW is also where the Hellbringer finally clicked with me. This 'Mech is so good in CW that I can hardly justify (other than sheer boredom) to pick anything else over it. ECM for invisibility and LRM invulnerability, ability to have a shield side, hardpoint locations for excellent side-peeking and hillhumping along with an abundance of energy and ballistic hardpoints to boot. It especially excels in the phase when a push stops/stalls and devolves into a trading fest. Only laser drill Stalkers will be able to outtrade/outhillhump (now that's a new term) you and even then they lack ECM to do surprise peeks. I don't like this type of cautious and repetitive gameplay in the group queue, but unfortunately CW gameplay is almost completely made up of this.
The next ingredient is of course, the Stormcrow. Fast, speed-tanks to the extreme, can boat both missiles and lasers and can be made to anything from an LRM boat to an in-your-face brawler. Everybody knows how good it is.
It also happens that 2xHBR+2xSCR combo fits snugly into that 240T limit. Now, if only we can decide on what weapon to focus on. I don't know you, but I have a fever when I'm on the Clan side and the only prescription is bringing more C-LPLs. That weapon is so ridiculously good that I find it hard to justify bringing anything else. Yes, a Gauss might do better but every miss hurts and the ammo is eventually going to run out. You'll be left with a handful of C-ERMLs with horrible heat efficiency and at that point you'll be craving to respawn. C-ERLLs have great range, but the required face-time is obscenely long. C-ERMLs are all-round awesome weapons but they lack punch at range. The verdict? Bring all the C-LPLs. It's an awesome combination of IS-LPL and IS-ERLL.
Without further ado, here's my current CW deck which I use to great effect (bring two of each):
The Hellbringer is very modest at first look. A lot of people must be thinking "2xC-LPL+2xC-ERML? I can do that in my Adder!" when they read my loadout. Well, in this case it's not about what you can do, but how to play to the strengths of this 'Mech. Yes you can also opt to fill every hardpoint on the HBR and come up with a 2xC-LPL+5xC-ERML build, but that'd just be a horrible build in many ways (such as terrible heat efficiency and diminished hillhumping/peeking potential due to the usage of arms). This build is not about killing your opponents in a single blow, but sustaining your decent laser alpha (40) for a long time. When you dedicate 23xDHS to cooling down 2xC-LPL+2xC-ERML, you'll outcool/damage pretty much anything on the battlefield. You will know you're wreaking havoc when you actually reach and start riding the heat limit with this thing. (by the way you can alpha your LPLs when you're at about 80% heat and your lasers at 90% heat with give/take a few percentages depending on the map). Your right side and arms are completely expendable, but be aware that right torso holds a great amount of heatsinks. Losing it will seriously cripple your capacity to cool down.
This HBR is also all about fighting from cover. Find yourself a comfortable nesting place near your teammates and keep dumping that sweet and cool 40 alpha repeatedly on unsuspecting targets. even in close range combat try to find a corner/cover to hide your 'Mech as much as possible. Only expose yourself when firing and the most important of all, always have some speed when firing. Don't just expose yourself and promptly sit stationary while firing and only go back to cover when you're finished. You should start firing as you're popping out of cover and you should ideally finish your laser burn when you're in cover again. This movement is ideally perpendicular to the direction the target is. That rhythm is crucial to your longevity on the battlefield. In MWO even a slight speed relative to your target helps a lot in the survivability department. Especially in CW where fights and trades often happen at longer ranges where individual components of 'Mechs are only visible as small pixels. Another tip I can give is reduce the exposure time if your movement is being anticipated. It's better to shoot some rocks and waste heat than taking a Gauss to your good torso. Relocate or wait until enemies start focusing on other friendlies if you start getting bad trades.
The Stormcrow is similar but it's more versatile. I already explained this build in great detail in this article. 4xSLs give you extra punch at short range brawls while C-LPLs are used for pretty much anything ranging from brawling to sniping. The SCR is not as good hillhumper/peeker as the HBR and therefore it's more suited to a more mobile gameplay. I find myself roaming around the battlefield from a position to another trying to find a suitable angle to get shots with it. This is probably due to how much durability the SCR loses when it's stationary. You should especially avoid side-peeking (the SCR is bad at it) but it's decent at hillhumping.
There you have it. I suggest dropping with the Hellbringers first and then switching to the Stormcrows. Though if there's a furious brawl going on out there you might want to bring the SCR for a better alpha.
Coincidentally these builds are still useful in the solo/group queue so you can just switch from group queue to CW or vice versa without worrying about your modules.
But wait, there's more!There are however, some modifications to this loadout I've been trying lately since hillhumping can get incredibly boring after some time. The change I tried to make was to include a C-ERML/ASRM6 MDD/TBR in the deck while keeping the HBRs. This allowed me to spice up the gameplay a bit by bringing something that can really hurt in just a single alpha. It especially comes in handy when the enemy is overwhelming you with tanky TDRs that soak a ridiculous amount of damage before going down. You can laser these things all day and they'll just keep coming. The solution? Just blast them away in two alphas. Ladies and gents, I present you my best/most successful MDD and my experimental TBR which I'm still trying to refine.
I know, you were probably expecting a standard issue SRM36 MDD but bear with me. The biggest issue with the SRM36 MDD is the lack of range. It does great at surprising opponents around corners or just charging mid-brawl into furballs and single-handedly mopping up, but those things happen rarely in CW. When a push comes, it comes en-masse and even though you might be able to cripple a 'Mech, you'll be swiftly focused and be dealt with. It doesn't do good at pushes either, you'll need a lot of luck getting into SRM range. This true for CW but also for the solo/group queue for the most part. You must have some ranged weaponry to guarantee usefulness.
That's why I came up with this build and it's been working wonderfully as a brawler/skirmisher hybrid with a great alpha. It looks very hot at first glance, but the secret of this build is the ridiculous DHS amount for a brawler. 21xDHS gives you enough heat capacity to alpha two times with some heat to spare on another SRM volley and a laser arm fire. You can use your lasers for 35 alpha while closing in and finish off with SRMs. You'll also notice that the cooling efficiency is enough to still have some decent chance at continuing fighting when you hit the heat cap. Try not to get attention at longer ranges with this and save yourself for close range skirmishes. Those side torsos tend to combust spontaneously if you take an unexpected alpha. Another tip is not to twist too much in this thing. Let the CT tank as much as possible before losing a torso.
These being said, I usually bring 2xHBR+MDD+NVA when I want to mix this MDD in. The Nova build is up to you, but considering the pace of CW I suggest a 6xML+6xSPL build. You'll usually have enough time to cool off between laser volleys.
As I said, this TBR is still experimental. That being said, this thing is purely built for blapping tanky 'Mechs and outbrawling anyone foolish enough to take you on in SRM range. It still has some range for skirmishes, but what it does the best is mopping up failed pushes or quickly taking out key enemy 'Mechs and slowing down the tide. Over the MDD it offers vastly improved survivability, so you don't have to rely on other 'Mechs to get attention. It's also suitable for leading pushes and of course it has JJs for abusing that ridiculously broken JJ animation.
If you opt-in to bring the TBR, I suggest a 2xHBR+TBR+KFX deck. The KFX build is again entirely up to you and honestly its existence won't matter in the grand scheme of things. You might also think about an ERPPC Adder if you have one lying around. Everybody ignores the poor Adder.
I hope I could give you guys some ideas and inspiration for a CW deck! I've been doing quite well with these 'Mechs and I wanted to share them with you guys. My deck will surely get some modifications as I play more CW and if I think it changes so much to grant a new article, then I'll share them with you again.