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So we've got 3 upcoming packs that are full of exclusively hero mech variants of existing chassis. I'm not totally sure about whether or not its helpful for me to be making these pieces for the hero packs, but I need a break from Skill Tree math, so it'll be good to think of something else for a while. Something with slightly fewer decimals.

Now, these are a lot of mechs spread over multiple packs, so I'm gonna be doing things a bit differently. I still am including a specific build for each that I think illustrates its unique potential, but I'm not gonna spend a full paragraph telling you about how the Shadow Cat gets an extra missile hardpoint.

That being said, some of these require...a bit of discussion.

IS Lights

Urbanmech K-9

  • Endo, Ferro (RA stripped, Head at 5, RT at 12, max elsewhere), STD180 (97.2 KPH), 2 JJs
  • 5x MPL
  • 11 DHS
I think this will probably be the best Urbanmech (depending on quirks), but we'll see. Shouldn't be exactly OP.

Wolfhound Grinner
  • Endo, Ferro (Arms stripped, Head at 7, max elsewhere), XL285 (131.9 KPH)
  • 1x LPL
  • 3x ML
  • 12 DHS, ECM
The ECM is nice, but I can't say I'm super impressed in general. Still, not bad for a Wolfhound, and again that'll depend on quirks.

Panther Katana Kat
  • Endo, Ferro (Head at 12, max elsewhere), XL250 (115.7 KPH), 2 JJs
  • 2x LL
  • 2x ML
  • 11 DHS
Eugh. This one really depends on quirks, but I doubt it'll come close to the PNT-9R.

IS Mediums

Crab Florentine
  • Endo, Ferro (Arms stripped, Head at 12, max elsewhere), XL300 (97.2 KPH)
  • 2x PPC
  • 2x SRM4A w/ 1.5 tons of ammo
  • 13 DHS
I like the idea of this mech, but it's really gonna depend on hardpoint locations (I'm pretty sure that picture is just of an existing Crab's head and CT hardpoints). If the ST mounts are high, this could be a really cool machine. If not, I think it'll still be fun.

Enforcer Ghillie
  • Endo, Ferro (RA stripped, Head at 16, max elsewhere), XL280 (90.7 KPH), 1 JJ
  • 3x ERLL
  • 17 DHS, ECM
Basically, it's like the sniper Phoenix Hawk but with way less speed and more heat sinks. I think it could be pretty damn good.

IS Heavies

Grasshopper Mjölnir
  • Endo, Armor (RA stripped, Legs at 49, max elsewhere), XL325 (75.2 KPH), 1 JJ
  • Gauss Rifle w/ 3 tons of ammo
  • LPL
  • 4x ML
  • 16 DHS
I like that you can cram all the energy into the torso sections on this and pair it with a ballistic, but I can't see it getting used over the GHR-5N or any existing Ballistic/Energy heavies.

Black Knight Partisan
  • Endo, Armor (Legs at 49, max elsewhere), XL350 (75.6 KPH)
  • AC/20 w/ 3.5 tons of ammo
  • 6x ML
  • 17 DHS
I think it's really cool that there's no lower arm actuator on this thing, since there's not a lot of AC/20 arms in the game outside of the gun-arm dudes (Jagermech, Rifleman, Blackjack, etc.) I'm not sure it'll be any good, but it could be a decent skirmisher.

IS Assaults

Zeus Skokomish
  • Endo, Armor (LA at 6, max elsewhere), XL340 (68.8 KPH)
  • 4x SRM6A w/ 5.5 tons of ammo
  • 2x MPL
  • 16 DHS
This is the first Zeus with 4 missile hardpoints, making it ideal for an SRM boat. And if it gets any SRM quirks at all reall, it could be quite good at that. But as is, it's looking pretty slow and 4 SRM6s isn't a lot to rely on for an Assault.

Mauler Knockout
  • Endo, Armor (Legs at 67, LA stripped, max elsewhere), STD325 (58.5 KPH)
  • 4x SRM6A w/ 5 tons of ammo
  • LB10 w/ 2 tons of ammo
  • 16 DHS
I could kinda copy and paste everything from the Zeus, but the beefed up survivability and backup weapons is a big help. Still, that's a really slow brawler.

King Crab Kaiju
  • Endo, Armor (Legs at 69, arms stripped, max elsewhere), STD300 (48.6 KPH)
  • 2x UAC/5 w/ 6.5 tons of ammo
  • 2x LRM10A w/ 5.5 tons of ammo
  • 14 DHS
I feel like this thing just has so much potential, but...I couldn't squeeze anything really special out of it. Everything I wanted to do ended up being too heavy or too lame. But if the ballistic hardpoints are high, it should be workable.

Clan Lights

Mist Lynx w/ ED & G Omnipods
  • cEndo, cFerro (Head at 12, max elsewhere), CXL175 (113.4 KPH), 6 JJs
  • 4x cERML (RT, RA)
  • 13 DHS
I think this is actually pretty cool that you're able to side-load this stuff.

Arctic Cheetah w/ SH & E Omnipods
  • cEndo, cFerro (max everywhere), CXL240 (129.6 KPH), 6 JJs
  • 8x HMG w/ 4 tons of ammo
  • 2x Flamer
  • 12 DHS
This could be crazy good, or crazy bad. But 8 Heavy Machine Guns is...it's a lot of Heavy Machine Guns. But since they're probably no good against armor, you might want to swap out the flamers and heat sinks for something like small pulses.

Jenner IIC Fury
  • cEndo, cFerro (Head at 10, max elsewhere), XL295 (136.5 KPH), 2 JJs
  • cLPL
  • 6x HMG w/ 2 tons of ammo
  • 10 DHS
This one's pretty underwhelming, but I'm not upset about that and a ballistic Jenner could be cool.

Clan Mediums

Ice Ferret w/ RC & P Omnipods
  • cEndo, cFerro (max everywhere), CXL360 (129.6 KPH)
  • 5x HML
  • 15 DHS, ECM
The Ice Ferret gets a whole lot of new options from the Hero and new C-Bill omnipods; the Hero gives you 4 missile hardpoints, and the C-Bill one gives you 6 energy. I think this could make the Ice Ferret pretty good, since its lack of hardpoints has been one of the biggest issues it has had.

Shadow Cat w/ MI & H Omnipods
  • cEndo, cFerro (max everywhere), CXL270 (97.2 KPH)
  • 4x SRM4 w/ 5 tons of ammo
  • 2x SPL
  • 12 DHS
The Shadow Cat's really only getting an extra missile hardpoint (the Hero RA is no big deal) and it's coming from the C-Bill variant, which is nice. But it's not gonna revolutionize the chassis.

Hunchback IIC Deathwish
  • cEndo, cFerro (Head at 14, legs at 44, max elsewhere), CXL255 (82.6 KPH)
  • Gauss Rifle w/ 2.5 tons of ammo
  • 5x cERML
  • 17 DHS
If this thing just had jumpjets, it would become such a good poptart. As is, it looks like a pretty cool gauss vomit platform, serving as legit competition for the heavies. Again, not revolutionary, but pretty cool.

Clan Heavies

Mad Dog w/ BA & H Omnipods
  • cEndo, cFerro (Head at 12, legs at 42, max elsewhere), CXL300 (81.0 KPH)
  • 2x UAC/20 w/ 5 tons of ammo
  • 12 DHS
It's not enough ammo or heat sinks, but it's so cool anyways. I think swapping the 20s out for UAC10s and slapping on a few lasers would be a better option, but this is so much cooler. Unfortunately, it's limited to the Hero omnipods...

Ebon Jaguar w/ EC & D Omnipods
  • cEndo, cFerro (LA stripped, legs at 51, max elsewhere), CXL325 (81.0 KPH)
  • 2x Gauss w/ 5 tons of ammo
  • 2x cERSL
  • 13 DHS
This is the most problematic bit of the packages. The extra side torso ballistic hardpoint for the Ebon Jaguar does mean that it's absolutely pay-to-optimize, and potentially p2w. This example doesn't do a great job of illustrating the latter point (dual gauss on a JJ-less heavy isn't the end of the world, regardless of how high the mounts are), but you can also fit dakka builds and all sorts of new and improved ballistic/energy hybrids with high mounts and loads of tonnage.

Hellbringer w/ VI & P Omnipods
  • Structure, Armor (arms at 1, legs at 56, max elsewhere), CXL325 (81.0 KPH)
  • 2x cLPL
  • 4x cERML
  • 21 DHS
Thankfully, both new variants of the 2 Energy RTs, which means you don't need to shell out for this build. I'm a big fan of the tight weapon grouping and armless weight savings you get out of this build, not to mention the high mounts.

Orion IIC Sköll
  • cEndo, cFerro (LA at 1, legs at 58, max elsewhere), CXL360 (77.8 KPH)
  • Gauss Rifle w/ 3 tons of ammo
  • 2x cERPPC
  • 20 DHS
It's basically a Clan Protector, but with one less ballistic hardpoint. So we're looking at way too many heatsinks for the weapons we actually have.

Clan Assaults

Gargoyle w/ KW & E Omnipods
  • cEndo, cFerro (RA stripped, legs at 58, max elsewhere), CXL400 (81.0 KPH)
  • 4x SRM6A w/ 5.5 tons of ammo
  • 4x cSPL
  • 18 DHS
Finally, 4 missile hardpoints on the Gargler. I think this is basically what it'll look like, and I think it'll be really badass. Unfortunately, you're gonna need the Hero LT to truly optimize this thing, but with it this will be a nasty little machine.

Executioner w/ CH & E Omnipods
  • Structure, cFerro (RA stripped, legs at 65, max elsewhere), CXL380 (64.8 KPH), 4 JJs
  • UAC/20 w/ 4 tons of ammo
  • 4x SRM4 w/ 4.5 tons of ammo
  • 17 DHS
This is a pretty cool-looking fast brawler, like a slightly weaker Spirit Bear with jump jets. It does require the Hero omnipods, though, and the C-Bill variant doesn't seem like it'll be too valuable.

Highlander IIC Keeper
  • Structure, Armor (legs at 61, max elsewhere), CXL325 (58.5 KPH), 1 JJ
  • 2x UAC/10 w/ 6 tons of ammo
  • 4x SRM6A w/ 4 tons of ammo
  • 18 DHS
I think this could be a pretty cool variant. Easily the best Highlander IIC, like the HGN-IIC-C on steroids. Plus, you can do builds that use 2 LB20s or Gauss, with missile backup weapons.

Sum-Up

It's hard to make predictions about a lot of these because of the lack of quirk info, but there is cause for concern about that Ebon Jaguar, and I'd estimate about half of these Heroes are either the best variant of the chassis, or have the omnipods required for the best builds on the chassis. Can't say I'm too pleased by that, even though PGI is releasing a buttload of C-Bill variants alongside those Hero Omnimechs.

Still, enough of the new options are cool rather than good for me to still be looking forward to their releases, in general.



GMan129 is an officer of the Steel Jaguar competitive team, he is the owner of and writer for MetaMechs, and he does some writing for NGNG as well. He has been playing MechWarrior Online since the early days of closed beta, and has spent far too much time and money on this crap. If you're interested in supporting his self-destruction, consider checking out his Patreon!

Man I didn't get hyped on the Javelin when I saw it. It was a new light mech, and that along kept me going, but it never struck me as being terribly cool.

But I'm having a good tiiiime! I'm not a "light player", but I've just been having so much fun with this dorky little mech (and it is a real dork), and it might even be one of the better light mechs out there. But why?!

Let's talk about physicality first. It's a 30-tonner, so it's smaller than some of the other lights you see out there. But let's be real, its boxiness and height should not inspire confidence. Its legs are slim (which is a big plus), but there's nothing spectacular here.

But then we get to hardpoints. In comparison to other 30-ton IS mechs (the Spider and Urbanmech) there's no comparison! None at all. It's the only one with missiles (the Anansi DOES NOT COUNT), and it's got more energy too. You won't necessarily be using all of them, but the freedom is there. And even when you compare it to the 35-tonners, it holds its own on hardpoints. Hell, even the JVN-10P (spoilers: this is easily my favorite) kicks all they asses with its missile stacks.

There's an elephant in the room, and I think we all know it. The Skill Tree. For my brief opinion, I made a quick post on MetaMechs), and there'll be more to come. For now, I'm going to try to include the skill trees I've been using for each mech in PUGs (meaning no extra UAVs because greed), but these aren't like Word of God or anything. So let's just get to the

Builds

JVN-10N



Now, I know what you're thinking: not nearly enough ammo. And you're totally right. But the skill tree I used alleviated this problem (though it didn't really solve it):

JVN-10N Skill Tree

Even with the extra ammo for your SRMs, you'll run out of ammo if you live for very long at all. But in spite of that, this was a great variant to run, just a ton of fun.

JVN-10F



JVN-10F Skill Tree

It's fast, it hits hard(ish), and it's just great. I think this might be a favorite of a lot of contemporary light pilots, but it wasn't for me.

JVN-10P



JVN-10P Skill Tree

Oh hell yes, this was easily my favorite variant. The SRM2 has always been a pet favorite of mine, and I believe they've been buffed pretty recently. Skill tree's basically the same as the JVN-10N, but I just made a few tweaks. This is a great assassin, and the precision DPS it can put out in a fight is nuts. Just loads of fun.

JVN-11A



JVN-11A Skill Tree

It's fine, but it's not interesting. Might be good in light battles, but I feel like the FS9-A probably still has it beat. Probably my last favorite of the variants.

JVN-11B



JVN-11B Skill Tree

I wasn't a huge fan of this variant (no JJs), but it was cool to run around in a little light-hunter. Streaks just ain't what they used to be, but the intimidation factor is through the roof!

HI THERE!



HI THERE! Skill Tree

Everything about it is preeeetty similar to the JVN-10F. I give the edge to the 10F for its extra speed, but the arm mounts are pretty nice.

Is it good?

It's pretty good. One of the best light mechs in the game, though I still give the edge to the current kings. I think Tier 2 is a good place for it in general, but it is just a super fun mech.

The JVN-10P is my favorite, and I think the best, but the JVN-10F fills the traditional light role very, very well.

Score

Good: 7
Fun: 9

I know these scores are silly, subjective, and just about irrelevant. Just kinda feels good to put abstract concepts into numerical form. Tickles part of my brain.



GMan129 is an officer of the Steel Jaguar competitive team, he is the owner of and writer for MetaMechs, and he does some writing for NGNG as well. He has been playing MechWarrior Online since the early days of closed beta, and has spent far too much time and money on this crap.

After the folks at PGI had been working on the game for 7 years, they finally got to make a brand new mech, and make it canon. I still think that's really cool. Some people are a bit put out that PGI decided to release this instead of one of the other mechs already in lore, but getting the chance to create something brand new in this universe is an opportunity that I think any fan would relish. But perhaps more importantly, they didn't mess it up.

It also helps that the Roughneck looks pretty cool, though I think that the original concept art was a bit more special than the way it turned out in game: the disproportionate forearms, RT ballistic barrel, and general gangliness seem like they've all been tuned down. I can see why they did these things: a massive barrel is going to obstruct your view, and I can see how such a weird body shape could have made movement look weird. But this has me fearful that the Hollander's (its inclusion is inevitable) Gauss Rifle barrel will be shorter than the mech is tall, which will be really disappointing. That being said, the result is still a pretty cool looking machine, and it definitely looks appropriate to the lore they've created for it as an industrial mech that's been converted for combat purposes.

Aesthetics aside, I've had a fair amount of fun with the mech, despite all the obstacles it has before it. Most classically good builds don't work well on the Roughneck, performing much better on competing heavy mechs. On top of that, the distance between the mounts is pretty extreme, so convergence is almost universally horrid between any two locations but the side torsos themselves. And the cockpit bobbed so much that the top-right screen kept popping in and out of my screen, which got surprisingly annoying.

But the quirks were good, and the fun was had. For the most part, I was driven to brawl. This was a bit surprising to me, since I expected it to be more dakka-oriented, but it ended up being quite serviceable in a short-range role. This also makes it unique as a 65-tonner, since the others are generally glass cannons in a brawl. But the Roughneck can outlive most other mechs in its class, and does so without compromising on anything but heatsinks (usually).

Let's talk about the variants themselves.

Builds

RGH-1A



There are a lot of builds worth considering on this variant, thanks to its 4 ballistic hardpoints. You've got trip 5s, quad 2s, and all sorts of other permeations. But this DPS brawler seemed to fit the mech better than any of those, and did quite well. It brought me back to the days of the AS7-D-DC with UAC/5s, and fits nearly as many weapons. It's a good enough build, but I doubt it'll really blow your mind.

On a whole, this feels like one of the better variants. It lacks the offensive quirks that make some of the others pop, but it's still durable and the double ballistic RT is worthwhile.

RGH-1B

Before writing this, I'd only played this particular variant twice, and I legitimately could not at all remember what I'd run in it, but based on its average damage in my stats page, I didn't have a great time. So I'm going to go give it another few chances.

...

Ok I'm back.



The 20% ballistic cooldown quirk on this variant is real swell, but the arms on this mech are low and wide and that's not a good combination. Sure, 3 AC/5s performed, but it felt bad and left me way too open for return fire. This one functioned much like the main build I recommended for the RGH-1A, but it got some extra speed out of the XL and a bit more damage too. Of course, it gave up the STD survivability and the high RT mounts, so...I think I still prefer the RGH-1A.

This variant didn't stand out much to me (maybe you could tell), but it definitely wasn't bad. Really, I don't think any of the variants are bad, but none of them are clear winners.

RGH-1C



This is probably my favorite variant to straight-up brawl in. The DPS is great, weapons sync up well, and it just feels right. There are lots of permutations on the build, like the one with SRM2s, or a focus on SRM6s, but I found the 4s to be the most efficient option.

Even though it's my favorite to brawl in, its flexibility is...limited. It's not the best ballistic boat (the RGH-2A has better quirks), and there's not much more you can do with missiles that's worth doing.

RGH-2A



It's a...slightly smaller Ilya Muromets. The 15% cooldown obviously isn't quite as good as the 20% on the RGH-1B, but you get a high mount and can mount ultras, which makes up for it. I was really hopeful that 2 AC/10s would be the way to go, but...the convergence issues made it just fine. And this build has the worst convergence of all, but it still has enough firepower to make it work.

I think I was most excited about this variant, but after playing it, I think it might be my least favorite.

RGH-3A



I call this build "Thoroughly Uninspired". Yeah, it's fine, I guess. It's also a decent option for quad Large Pulse. But damn is it boring. All energy boats are these days, but if you're looking for something a bit less boring, maybe look at boating some wubses.

It's easy to argue that this is the best variant. Maybe it's true. I'm pretty sure it is true for organized play. But in PUGs, it never really out-did any of the other variants, at least not when I was playing it.

Reaver

It has a UAC jam quirk. I have no choice.



I had a good enough time. The mounts are too low for me to fall in love, but it's got DPS, it's got range, it's got legs that go all the way to the floor. It's just not great. Other versions with different lasers or even a PPC work too, but still, I'm not wow'd.

But that's a win. For a pre-ordered hero mech, I don't want to be wow'd. I want to not be mad. And I'm feelin' real zen.

Civil War?

Let's talk about how this mech could be effected by the Civil War tech. Right off the bat, I'm lookin' at all these new Ultras, LBX's, and Rotaries, and my imagination goes wild. Again, we're still stuck with some real bad convergence, but you could fit two of those newfangled RAC/5s on the RGH-1A with ease.

On top of that, all those high mounts could end up being premium real estate for good ol' Heavy Gauss Rifle. Slap it on the RGH-2A with a SNPPC to back it up, and we're in business.

Next up, I'm looking at big ol' MRM packs on the RGH-1B in particular. Not something I'm expecting to blow me away, but those high mounts could be sweet for something with a bit more range than SRMs.

And yeah, who knows how the new armor and engine types are going to change things.

Closing Thoughts

It's not a great mech. I think the general reaction from the community of it being underwhelming or mediocre is accurate, but not entirely fitting. I've said it a thousand times, if you're pre-ordering mechs in the hopes of them being better than the mechs you currently have access to, you're doing it wrong. It takes about 5 minutes to survey the mobile game market and see where that sentiment gets you. Or hell, just look at the months where the Kodiak or Timber Wolf or Dire Wolf (etc.) were exclusive. This mech ain't gonna blow your mind, but it's not bad.

And now I want to talk about one of my favorite things about the mech. When I do these reviews, I usually go over each variant, dedicating some space to talking about the variant and its build(s), and then talk about how I feel it ranks in the chassis. It's usually not hard to pick out the best variant, the second best, my personal favorite, etc. But I'll be damned if this isn't one of the most internally balanced chassis out there. Part of that comes from all the variants having similar hardpoints, but in spite of that I was able to make fun, unique builds for each. As such, I feel like this mech is easily one of the best-designed. Which...makes sense.

Score

Good: 6
Fun: 8

I know these scores are silly, subjective, and just about irrelevant. Just kinda feels good to put abstract concepts into numerical form. Tickles part of my brain.



GMan129 is an officer of the Steel Jaguar competitive team, he is the owner of and writer for MetaMechs, and he does some writing for NGNG as well. He has been playing MechWarrior Online since the early days of closed beta, and has spent far too much time and money on this crap.

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