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Say what you will about the Supernova, its name certainly isn't false advertising. With a relatively low engine cap and 3 variants that have exclusively energy hardpoints, it seems to be a guarantee that piloting this mech will end in a blaze of glory (emphasis on the blaze). Even without taking ferro or endo, most of the builds that I've looked at still seem to be pretty hot options, to the point where I considered using a STD engine in a clan mech (but CXLs are so OP that even here, it didn't seem to be worth it).

I have mixed feelings about the Supernova. I am glad that we are getting another 90-ton jumpjetting clan mech, as the only other one we have is the Highlander IIC, which I am still disappointed in. Originally I was going to call it a failure, but I felt like that might be a bit too harsh...still, there are a couple of huge shortcomings that made me feel a bit burned by the Highlander IIC. The first was its agility: the relatively low engine cap of 325 made piloting the mech a real pain for me. It's not at the same level as the Dire Wolf, but the torso twist speed, accel/decel, and just the speed in general are all pretty bad; all of which exacerbate the issues that it has with poor hitboxes.

The other issue I had with the Highlander IIC was in terms of its weaponry. A couple of variants have pretty formidable loadouts, but the positioning of the hardpoints made it tough to put something truly threatening together, and the impressive amount of available tonnage was just wasted.

Looking at the Supernova...it definitely falls victim to both of these issues, if in different ways. As far as the agility issue goes, we're looking at a repeat performance, as it has the same engine cap. It's possible that this issue could be solved in quirks (though even the HGN-IIC-C's fairly extreme agility quirks don't feel like enough), but I doubt it based on recent trends. The saving grace could be that the Supernova's profile looks much more forgiving than the Highlander IIC's, which could be good news for its hitboxes. And if its hitboxes are good, the agility issues become less of a viability issue and more of a QoL one.

The thing that scares me on the firepower front is how energy-centric these variants are. The KDK-1 and KDK-5 proved that, after a certain tonnage, clan energy weapons just don't cut it. Energy weapons are the tonnage-savers, so it's hard to fill up an Assault mech with them, and you end up needing more heatsinks than you have slots for. Plus, the long durations of clan lasers make your large mech even more vulnerable to focus fire, and ghost heat only makes the situation worse.

Of course, not all of the variants are pure energy boats. There's one that serves as a missile boat with only 4 missile hardpoints (not enough for an Assault mech to brawl with, but I'm sure many people will be LRMing it up), and the hero...with two ballistics. Which is pretty much guaranteed to be by far the best variant. I will be impressed if any of the others even come close. Which is another thing that has me concerned about this pack - the variant that I expect to be the best is the Hero, and the next-best is in the reinforcement pack. Which drives me up a wall.

So let's talk about the mechs themselves.



  • Standard Structure, Standard Armor (69 per leg, max elsewhere), XL325 (62.9KPH), 3 JJs
  • 2x cLPL (1 per arm)
  • 6x cERML (3 per arm)
  • 27 DHS, TC4
4 energy hardpoints in each arm. Doesn't get much straightforward than that! This is definitely the most Nova-like variant in regards to hardpoints, but the build does end up looking a tad bit different. It does hit pretty much the maximum ghost-heat-less longest-range laser alpha, but it's still going to be hot and those arms aren't exactly high.


  • Endo, Standard Armor (max everywhere), XL325 (62.9KPH), 3 JJs
  • 4x cLPL (2 per arm)
  • 3x cERML (2 in CT, 1 in head)
  • 24 DHS, TC2
This one's a bit more extreme. The idea is that you can corner-peak on either side with 3 cERMLs and 2 cLPLs, which is pretty heavy duty. And your full alpha strike is also intense, as long as you don't ghost heat alpha strike and shut down. But it's gonna be hot as balls anyway.


  • Standard Structure, Standard Armor (69 per leg, max elsewhere), XL325 (62.9KPH), 3 JJs
  • 4x SRM6 w/ Artemis (2 per side torso) and 5 tons of ammo
  • 4x cMPL (2 per arm)
  • 25 DHS, TC1
I'm sure that most people will be playing this mech as a LRM boat, and I don't blame them for it (it's probably going to be better in that role), but something like this is more my speed. Keeps up pretty decent firepower at short range, and the alpha strike is pretty sweet (80 damage!). Probably my third-most anticipated variant.


  • Standard Structure, Standard Armor (69 per leg, max elsewhere), XL325 (62.9KPH), 3 JJs
  • 8x cMPL (3 per arm, 1 in CT, 1 in head)
  • 27 DHS, TC6
Very similar hardpoints to the SNV-3, but with one less energy in the CT and one added to each arm. Which means you can corner-peak either side with 5 cMPLs or fire both arms for 6, which is pretty nice. Not great for an Assault, but the TC6 is sure to help.


  • Standard Structure, Standard Armor (37 per arm, max elsewhere), XL325 (62.9KPH)
  • 4x cERPPC (2 per side torso)
  • 2x Flamer (1 per arm)
  • 30 DHS, TC1
There's another version of this build I was looking at that dropped 7 heatsinks and the flamers to free up room for endo so it can pick up 3 jumpjets and a TC7, but I'm mainly banking on this being a hill-humper, so it can afford to lose the JJs. That version will probably be better for the 4x cLPL fit, but I think the main version will be the go-to for ER PPCs. This is my most anticipated variant, and I think the most promising one to be the quintessential Supernova (the Hero may be more powerful, but it is more of a mini-Kodiak or plus-sized Night Gyr than anything unique).


  • Endo, Ferro (65-66 per leg, max elsewhere), XL325 (62.9KPH), 2 JJs
  • 2x Gauss (1 per arm) with 5.5 tons of ammo
  • 2x cERPPC
  • 16 DHS, TC1
It's not gonna be a poptart (even with 3 hoverjets, I don't think it could do it) but it's still a brutal build and is likely to be the most powerful Supernova. On the bright side, there's no real reason to run it if you can just take a Kodiak, but it also has more interesting secondary builds than the rest of the variants (dual LBX20 + SRMs, for example). And I do find it ironic that the mech with the least reason to worry about heat is named the "Boiler".


It's hard to say what the best value is gonna be in this pack. The base 3 variants...I'm not sure how much fun they're gonna be. A lot of it is gonna depend on quirks. But if you do decide to buy the pack, adding the hero on should be a no-brainer because it's the best, except you can probably have a better time just playing the KDK-3, so maybe not. The reinforcement pack adds the SNV-C which I'm really looking forward to, but it's not like it's a guaranteed winner. So I think my recommendation is to wait at least until we see the quirks - you miss out on those sweet goodies, but I think quirks are going to have a bigger impact on this mech than most.


The Hero Supernova, and maybe the SNV-C, will be pretty good mechs, and seen relatively frequently in the PUG queue. There's no OP or P2W stuff in this pack, but there's a lot of risky-looking mechs that may prove to be disappointing. Competitively speaking, it's hard to see a team taking 3 of the Boilers over 2 Kodiaks and a Night Gyr, but perhaps it could be seen as a backup mech in MRBC, or in a tonnage-based league (or CW or Group queue) if you're 10 tons short of a Kodiak. Most variants will probably settle into Tier 3, but 2 or 3 could find their way into Tier 2 or even low Tier 1.

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!

Not gonna lie, I didn't have terribly high expectations for the Huntsman. Basically, I was envisioning a mech that was slightly inferior to the Hunchback IIC in most regards, but with a few extra missile builds. This was actually kind of an exciting prospect for me; I've always been a big fan of SRMs, and since the Hunchback IIC's release, it's been easily one of my favorite mechs in the game. But it turns out, it's not that much worse than the Hunchback IIC at many of the classic builds that chassis excels at, and adds a fair few that aren't just SRM brawlers.

That being said, it is still very similar to the Hunchadoozie in many respects. The fragility factor is absolutely still there, and the agility is hardly changed (most Hunchback IIC builds end up going a skosh faster, but have one less jumpjets). The big drawback to the Huntsman ends up being the usual story with omnimechs - an inability to customize the engine and equipment, leading to less room (both in terms of tonnage and slots) to fit guns. But the available hardpoints do a lot to redeem this mech - depending on the level of pack you purchase, the mech can have up to 8 missile slots, or 5 ballistics, or 9 energy hardpoints. Which is a pretty stupendous amount, and very few builds actually end up approaching hardpoint saturation. But on top of that, it also ends up having superior torso twist and usable arms, which ends up providing great utility.

Which does bring up one of the greater issues I have with the Huntsman - not the mech itself, but the pack. If you just purchase the base 3 variants, you could have some fun with a couple of cool poptarting builds, even one or two pseudo-dakka mechs can be made to work. But there's not a whole lot available that is both unique to the chassis and good (the fun bit is a bit more subjective, but I wasn't blown away by any of it). Buying the hero pack does open up a couple more options in terms of SRM boats, including the build that I've had the most fun with so far, but the big draw of 8 SRM launchers is locked behind buying both the hero pack and reinforcement pack. It's hardly the first time it's happened, but it's not like I'm just gonna stop complaining about it.


SRM Boat

With a weapon density that rivals even the Splat Jenner, this Huntsman build miniaturizes the dumbest of ARC-5W builds into a compact and sexy package. With tactics ranging from flanking to short-range poptarting, the splat Huntsman is sure to tear through even the sturdiest assault mechs with ease. Sure, maybe it can't focus on components very well, it might not have enough ammo to last through an extended fight, and perhaps the heat is a bit ridiculous, but...8 SRM6s, yo.

I was actually expecting to prefer the SRM4A build to the SRM6 version, as its missiles come out in a pretty tight grouping, but it really just lacked the brutality that I was looking for. That being said, the Pakhet build took the cake for me personally, as it's set up perfectly for SRM poptarting (my favorite style of play right now) and its DPS, longevity, and quirks all felt superb.


This is one of those builds that was certainly doable on the Hunchback IIC, but never got a lot of attention due to how low-mounted the PPC ended up being, and so both the the dual PPC and dual Gauss versions were favored. But on the Huntsman, these weapons are all in the top mounts, so you don't have to worry about that. And as a nice little bonus, this build (and many variations on it) is completely doable on just the base 3 variants.

Speaking of variations on it, I had a good time in the UAC/5 version of the build. It wasn't as sleek-feeling, but the extra DPS was greatly appreciated. There's also the dual PPC build to consider. It doesn't have the same oomph behind it as either of these, but it's popular on the HBK-IIC-A for a reason, and those reasons mostly carry over here.


This is honestly the style of build I was least impressed with. Sure, it's doable, but you generally have to skimp on firepower, ammo, TC, or all of the above. Certainly one of those situations where the HBK-IIC builds are far superior.

But there are a few neat little things you can do with the mech to get some uniqueness out of it, like this dakka/brawler build I slapped together (just be careful of the heat).


It's not the most creative build, and it's certainly not my favorite, but it works fine all the same. If you've played MWO in the last couple years, you probably have some experience with the style, and there's not much more I can tell you other than that the Huntsman can do it perfectly fine.

You can mix it up a bit too, but it's still going to be kinda disappointing if you're coming from the HBK-IIC-A.


Probably my least favorite build I've run, but I did it. it's obviously devastating to lights, and it's not bad against other soft targets, but it's nothing to write home about. If you can get a pre-lock as you poptart, though, it can be absurd. You'll just have to deal with the heat.

Final Thoughts

While it doesn't quite hold up to the Hunchback IIC, it's a good enough mech that it will likely be seen in competitive play in a brawler/assassin type role. I recommend that, if you are planning on buying it, you go for at least the Hero pack and maybe even the reinforcement pack. Otherwise, you're not going to get much out of it that you wouldn't get out of the Hunchback IIC. At least that does mean that it's not OP or P2W or anything.

The SRM builds are quite fun; probably the most fun I've had playing SRMs in PUGs in a long time. But it's quite the investment to get to that point, so I don't think waiting for the C-Bill release is a bad idea at all.


Off: 7
Def: 4
Mob: 6
Fun: 7
OVR: 6

For what it's worth, 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. If you're interested in supporting his self-destruction, consider checking out his Patreon!

<a href="http://youtu.be/R8NaGwvbWNo" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://youtu.be/R8NaGwvbWNo</a>

The Night Gyr should, by all rights, be OP. It has better hardpoints than any Clan heavy in the game, it has more pod space than any omnimech but the Dire Wolf (Warhawk...debateable), and it comes with lots of jumpjets that don't even generate heat due to the laser heat sinks. It should be broken as hell. But from what I've experienced, it's merely incredibly strong.

The size, shape, and speed of the Night Gyr hold it back (thankfully), and draw an easy comparison to the Timber Wolf. The Timber remains one of the tankier heavy mechs in the game because of these three factors - it's relatively small, its body is round with relatively indistinct hitboxes, and its speed helps it get out of sticky situations. By comparison, the Night Gyr is tall as hell, relatively flat with clearly defined hitboxes, and it's the slowest heavy omnimech in the game; its speed more comparable to a fast Assault (which is only fair).

All that being said, the Night Gyr is the culmination of a lot of personal mech fantasies, similar to how the Kodiak was. A heavy mech poptarting with 2 Gauss Rifles and a PPC is the dream, baby, and this thing makes that CTF-3D build look like an absolute joke. Of course, we also have many of the obvious dakka builds, but what really makes me happy about this mech is the number of weird builds that actually work pretty well in this thing. I think this might just be a result of how oddly spaced out the hardpoints are - some builds that could have been amazing aren't doable because of the crit slot limitations, so these weird facsimiles get their moment in the sun.

But enough generalities, let's look at the nitty gritty.



This build has easily given me both the most success and the most fun - not particularly surprising given my love for the Timber Wolf. But the extra damage and lack of heat limitation that this build holds over the Timber poptart really set it off.

The problem is, it's a very unforgiving mech to play. Your arm mounts aren't terribly low, but you still have to expose much more than a Timber does, and speaking of arm mounts...the Gauss convergence isn't particularly lovely (though it absolutely could be way worse). Add onto that the fact that you're going about 18 KPH slower, and it's just a really vulnerable mech.

A very powerful, vulnerable mech.

You can also run this build with Dakka or less Gauss, but those are way less cool.


It certainly doesn't mitigate any of the vulnerability issues coming from the previous build...but it doesn't lose any firepower either. It's one of the highest DPS builds you can run on the mech, and the main strike I have against it is that it runs out of ammo fairly quickly. That being said, it also does a lot of damage fairly quickly, and you should be able to get over 1k in any game that runs you dry.

There are lots of other dakka options to consider (UAC/5s, UAC/10s, UAC/2s, other hybrids), and one of those may prove superior in time, but right now this is my favorite.

Gauss Vomit

Honestly, I wasn't expecting much from this. It seemed like it would be way too hot for not nearly enough damage, but it was actually quite manageable. And the quirks ended up playing a considerable role in making this build work for me. That being said, it's not the main Gauss Vomit build that you're likely to see on this chassis.

I imagine most people will be running this build a bit differently, however. Dual Gauss with lasers is the obvious choice, and you can upgrade to a Large Pulse too. Or ER Larges. Or Med Pulse. There's just so much you can do!


This is the my favorite of the wacky builds. A bit light on Gauss ammo for my taste, but it actual worked out surprisingly well for me. I mean, a lot of people are running the poptart with one Gauss and 2 PPCs, and why run 2 PPCs when you can run 2 UAC/10s! Don't answer that.

I also really ended up liking this version of the poptart build with a UAC/5 instead of a PPC. Mainly because I wanted to take full advantage of them quirks, but it's also just kind of fun.


The Night Gyr is variety incarnate. Not only can it run many different sorts of builds, I simply can't not mention all of the different ways it can run those archetypes. Just in the dakka category, there are multiple completely legitimate options, and I think mechs with this great a variety are generally healthy for the game. And I didn't even mention the brawling builds...or the LRM builds...

I'm also decently pleased with how many of the core builds are completely doable with just the base pack of 3 variants. There are absolutely some interesting options that aren't doable without buying into the reinforcement or hero packs, and that does not make me a happy chappy, but only a few of the strongest builds require over a $20 investment.


I'm happy with many things about this mech. And since it's not a Kodiak, it can't be all that OP. But I do think it's too strong for a pre-order mech. And I mean, I'm always gonna feel that way about any pre-order mech that performs at a high level, which is why I really hate the mech pack model...but there's not much I can really do about that.

I still need to do more testing, but my first impressions are placing the Night Gyr in Tier 1. It just has so many guns that I can overlook its weaknesses in other areas, and it just performs, man. I also get the feeling that once we see it in comp, it could really explode. So we'll see how it shakes out once the Night Gyr craze is over.


Off: 9
Def: 5
Mob: 6
Fun: 8
OVR: 7

For what it's worth, 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. If you're interested in supporting his self-destruction, consider checking out his Patreon!

Highslide JS

The Bushwacker hits my nostalgia particularly hard based on my memories of it from MechCommander 2 and MechWarrior 4 - I'm not sure if it was particularly good in those games, but it was one of the mechs I used the most so I'm happy that it's coming to MWO (and I think it was a much better pick for a fancy reveal than the Linebacker was).

That being said, there has been a definite increase in the "not another mech pack!" sentiment around the community. Which I absolutely get, but I'm not sure why this has been exploding around the Bushwacker of all mechs. Not only is it a relatively yearned-after mech (not Mad Cat MK II levels, but still one of the cooler IS mechs imo), but it also has more uniqueness to it than many mechs in the game (more on this in the builds section, of course).

Still, just want to re-iterate my schtick about how I'd never tell you whether or not to buy things. My goals when writing these are to a) have fun, b) educate people as best I can about what these mechs will be capable of, and c) try to highlight the best values if you do want to spend money.

Another conversation that's been elevated by the Bushwacker is the ever-present question of a timeline jump (in terms of tech). There are good arguments on both sides of this issue (adds variety, raises massive balance concerns, etc.) but if PGI does decide to go with it, there are a few guiding principles that I'd like them to consider.

First, introduce new tech slowly - just one or two things per patch. Dropping a steaming pile of new tech on the playerbase could easily cause massive balance issues and complaints everywhere, whereas gradually introducing this new content allows you to balance the new tech as it comes out.

Second, make sure that the tech is distinct based on mechanics rather than just numbers. The introduction of Clan tech had successes like the Clan UAC and LRMs, but for the most part, the only changes many Clan versions got were numbers (duration, range, etc.). You can absolutely balance things like the RAC/5 and Heavy Laser, but make sure that they get something to really distinguish them from the toys we already have.

And finally, give us a reason to get hyped about it. Release the weapons by putting out new variants of chassis that are already in-game which already have those weapons equipped - that way we get fresh mechs with fresh weapons and everything can feel much more new. I think the AS7-S2 with its Heavy Gauss, or the RFL-8D with its Rotary AC/5s could be great ways to experience the weapons for the first time.

But enough of that, let's talk about the Bushwacker.



  • Endo, Standard Armor (arms at 0, legs at 48, head at 16, max elsewhere), XL225 (71.2 KPH)
  • 3x AC/5 (side torsos), 8 tons ammo
  • 10 DHS
This is one of the builds that makes the Bushwacker unique as a medium mech - 3 AC/5s isn't an outstanding amount a firepower, and it does have to slow down to equip it, but it is still the only IS medium that can carry it reasonably (the SHD-2H sadly doesn't work well, though I do love the build). If it's well-quirked (which it probably won't be), it could be pretty sweet.


  • Endo, Standard Armor (arms at 3, max elsewhere), XL255 (80.7 KPH)
  • 2x AC/10, 6 tons ammo
  • 10 DHS
And this is the most exciting (to me) build for the Bushwacker. I could see this being quite good, and it doesn't really have to sacrifice anything to mount these guns. This build can also be run on (and will likely be the best option for) 4 of the 6 Bushwacker variants we're getting, but I'll still be listing a build for each of them.


  • Endo, Standard Armor (RA at 2, max elsewhere), XL285 (90.2 KPH)
  • 4x SRM6 w/ Artemis, 5 tons ammo
  • 2x Flamer
  • 14 DHS
It's nothing special for a brawler, and the GRF-2N is just going to be directly superior for the most part, but it could be interesting to see if it gets any special quirks or if its hitboxes are just stupendous.


  • Endo, Ferro (RA at 6, max elsewhere), XL345 (109.2 KPH)
  • 6x SRM4, 5 tons ammo
  • 14 DHS
Now this is something special. It still is likely to be an inferior product when compared to the GRF-2N or the upcoming Huntsman, but on its release it will have the most missile hardpoints for an IS medium mech, which means that it will be a pretty brutal brawler. And you can fit SRM6s in there too, but with some significant losses in speed and heat efficiency.


  • Endo, Armor (arms at 0, legs at 48, head at 16, max elsewhere), XL200 (63.3 KPH)
  • 2x Gauss Rifle, 3.5 tons ammo
  • 10 DHS
This is one of the variants where your best bet is to run dual 10s, but...I can't not mention this option. As is the theme with this mech, this is the lightest IS mech where you can run this build, but the HBK-IIC did beat it to the punch a bit. Still, it's a fun little option if you don't mind dying really quickly.


  • Endo, Armor (arms at 3, max elsewhere), XL255 (80.7 KPH)
  • 2x UAC/5, 5 tons ammo
  • 1x LPL
  • 10 DHS
I actually rather like the look of this build. It's a pretty reasonable alternative to the AC/10s build and it should have slightly better DPS and alpha than the 3x AC/5 option you get on the BSW-X1. And you can run it on 4 of the 6 Bushwacker variants, so that's just a sweet bonus.


If you do decide to buy the Bushwacker, I think you can get a lot out of just the $20 pack. The BSW-X1 runs 90% of the cool unique builds that can even be done on the chassis in general. Of course, it could end up having crappy quirks, but if that's not the case, this base variant should be the most useful one, which is a refreshing change of pace. Which also could mean that you might want to buy the $40 pack (not something I usually recommend, but if you expect you'll play it a lot...)

If the variant with 6 missile hardpoints tickles your fancy, it might make sense for you to add it on too. I expect it will function as a super KTO-18, with (probably) better hitboxes, up to you whether that's worth 15 bucks.

I don't see a huge reason to spring for the Hero, though, since the only uniqueness it gets is 4 energy hardpoints - not enough to be a huge selling point in my opinion (2 UAC/5s and 4 medium lasers is the main build I can think of which uses them well).

So if you do decide to buy this pack, I recommend just going for the base $20, with maybe the $15 reinforcement pack if those really tickle your fancy.


The Bushwacker will eventually settle into its role as a mid-range fire support mech, mainly using dakka builds or AC/10s. With decent structure quirks, we could see it being a mainstay in PUGs at least, though it's hard to see it supplanting the Hunchback IIC in more competitive environments. This also does mean that it could have a high CW potential for people interested in that gamemode - I actually could see it being the best IS medium for that mode.

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!

Highslide JS

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