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The Linebacker enters the field as a 65-ton heavy mech, with almost half of that tonnage dedicated solely to its massive engine. Even with this considerable tonnage sacrifice, it fails to run faster than mechs that already fill a similar role, and its lack of jumpjets hold it back when compared to harder-hitting heavies. At a point where we already have a half dozen clan mechs capable of running fast and vomiting lasers, this new release needed to bring something fresh to the table, and it seems to have missed its mark.

The Linebacker had very few things going for it leading up to release. A wide profile was not promising good hitboxes, and its pod space is even more limited than its most direct competitor: the Stormcrow. Technically it had more armor, but before the reveal of quirks, it seemed to be a strictly inferior chassis.

And quirks have certainly helped matters. In fact, the build which has yielded the best results for me gets a great deal of its power from the component and set-of-8 quirks that come with the LBK-Prime chassis, resulting in quite the competent PPC sniper. Many other builds also take some advantage of the bonuses that you get from equipping the correct omnipods, but for the most part, these bonuses come in the form of single-digit armor and structure bonuses, rather than sizable heat gen and duration reductions that the chassis is so desperate for.

Builds

PPC Sniper



The LBK-Prime's set-of-8 quirks are absolutely wondrous here, and some of those LBK-Prime hardpoints really accentuate the power of this build. At first, I was really excited about the prospect of mounting two PPCs way up high in those shoulders, but I quickly realized that this asym build was the way to go due to the quirks and the low cockpit.

This is certainly the Linebacker build that struck me as being the best, though it certainly wasn't the most interesting of the bunch. And despite being the best of the Linebacker builds, I'd have a tough time rating it any higher than "pretty good".

Brawler



I played around with a few variations on this idea, including with a build with a UAC/10, a Small Pulse boat, and another based around 4 SRM6s. But none of these alternatives had the DPS and punch that I was looking for. Rather, the Small Pulse/SRM4 combo suited me perfectly, with a plentiful alpha on a low cooldown.

It won't be taking the spot of any existing brawler mechs, that's for sure. But it's decent enough fun, if you're into that sort of thing. Just be prepared for the focus fire.

Gauss Vomit



Just in case you were getting excited, here's the meta to bring you back down. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on who you ask), it's not even that good anymore, but it's more than serviceable if you're looking for something familiar.

Seriously, the mix of high and low mounts and the low cockpit really hold this thing back, and if you could just fit a PPC in that side torso it would be so much better. But the most that you can really fit with the Gauss is an ER Large.

Laser Vomit



Pretty typical stuff. Better than the Gauss Vomit in my opinion, but not by a whole lot, nor is it much more interesting. Still, every once in a while you get those games with a bunch of nasty free alphas and it works out. You can also run it with ER Meds or on another variant if you like.

Final Thoughts

Right, so, after the mech's been out for about a month, I can still only come up with three types of build worth bothering with on this thing. It's not a horrible mech, but...it's certainly lacking in variety. A mix of low tonnage availability and a super-low cockpit hold this thing back from being legit. I doubt we'll see this thing in comp without massive changes to the game in general, and I doubt any but the PPC build will break out of Tier 3.

Scores

Off: 5
Def: 5
Mob: 7
Fun: 3
OVR: 5

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!

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The Roughneck heavy mech was one of the many reveals that came out of yesterday, and I for one am pleased that PGI finally gets to create an original mech from the ground up. Based on the Loader King chassis (which also seems to be a new invention), this 65-ton battlemech has a suitably industrial aesthetic and I was rather taken aback when I first saw it. Though my initial hopes were along the lines of melee combat, I remain excited about the prospect of PGI's art and design teams getting to fully build a mech from scratch. Even if it ends up seeming like more of the same once it hits the game, I'm sure it's at least more fun to work on!

As far as its performance is expected to go, there are a few features that stick out to me. The first is the Hollander-style shoulder cannon, placed right at the top of the chassis next to the cockpit. This is bound to be a pivotal element of many builds, particularly those using energy weapons, which will have 4 high mounts instead of just one or two. The problem with focusing entirely on high mounts with the ballistic variants is that there aren't enough other useful high mounts, as the others are missiles (not great for hill-humping) or a head laser.

It also does seem to have pretty swell hitboxes - there are lots of gaps between relatively slender components, and the arms look to be massive shields. This is one of those things that you can never be sure about until you're in the cockpit, but I'm optimistic about its survivability.

Builds

RGH-1A

  • Endo, Standard Armor (stripped arms, 57 per leg, max elsewhere), XL295 (79KPH)
  • 2x UAC/5 with 5 tons of ammo
  • 2x Artemis SRM6 with 2 tons of ammo
  • Head Flamer
  • 12 DHS
I'm sure triple UAC/5 will be more popular, but it won't be able to surpass the JM6-DD with that build and it feels wrong to build this mech with more of the same (though I'm totally going to be doing that on the Hero anyways). This build looks like a really nice dense bracket build that would be a blast to play in the occasional game where you get to start at mid range and close to short without dying.

RGH-1B

  • Endo, Standard Armor (stripped arms, 57 per leg, max elsewhere), XL280 (75KPH)
  • 3x Artemis LRM15 with 8.5 tons of ammo
  • Head TAG
  • 12 DHS, BAP
I know, gross. At first I was gonna do 3 high-mounted SRM6's, but I figured that the next one would be a better brawler, and I couldn't think of anything particularly special about this mech besides the 3 side torso missile hardpoints. Don't worry, it'll pick up from here.

RGH-1C

  • Endo, Standard Armor (49 per leg, max elsewhere), XL300 (80.4KPH)
  • 4x Artemis SRM4 with 4.5 tons of ammo
  • LBX 10 with 2 tons of ammo
  • 14 DHS
This serves as kind of a jumbo SHD-2D2, running a very splat-heavy build that should put out crazy DPS. The lack of jumpjets and mediocre engine will both hold it back for sure, but it's still a good bit of firepower that should wreck shop in a brawl. I'm not a huge fan of how spread out those SRMs are going to be, but it should be workable.

RGH-2A

  • Endo, Standard Armor (stripped right arm, 53 per leg, max elsewhere), XL285 (76.4KPH)
  • 2x AC/10 with 6.5 tons of ammo
  • 3x Medium Laser
  • 12 DHS
This variant had me a bit discouraged at first as its only unique feature is the CT energy hardpoints, and I was having trouble translating that into a unique and good build. But I like what I came up with here - the WHM-6R taught me that this build will probably be quite hot, but I'm excited to see how it works as a mid-range DPS machine.

RGH-3A

  • Endo, Standard Armor (stripped arms, 57 per leg, max elsewhere), XL295 (79KPH)
  • 4x Large Pulse Laser (2 per side torso)
  • Medium Laser in the head
  • 17 DHS
Normally I'm not a huge fan of shoehorned laser variants, but I'm actually excited about getting one that looks to have 4 super-high mounted energy hardpoints! Two other options that follow the same idea are a quad PPC boat (you have to drop the head laser, but you go a little bit faster), and an ER laser sniper which could be a competitive powerhouse.

Reaver

  • Endo, Standard Armor (stripped LA, 45 per leg, max elsewhere), XL270 (72.3KPH)
  • 2x PPC
  • Gauss Rifle with 3.5 tons of ammo
  • 14 DHS
It definitely seems like the Hero is going to be the strongest of the Roughnecks, which is disappointing to be sure, but at least it doesn't seem like it'll be an OP mech in general. The low-mounted ballistic arm holds it back a fair bit, and better versions of the same build are already available on better chassis like the Timber Wolf. Still, can't wait to play it.

Value

While I'm certain you'll be able to make good use of the chassis by just getting the base pack of 3, the Hero does add the potential for quite a few other unique builds. Particularly when you look at how good those builds are compared to the interesting (but less-than-stellar) options you get from the base 3, it seems like your best bet if you're willing to shell out a bit extra.

But from where I'm standing, there's not a whole lot of reason to get the Reinforcement pack.

Predictions

Roughneck variants with high energy mounts are likely going to be included in many long-ranged competitive drops, and they'll shine well in PUGs to boot. Most of the other variants look to be great all-rounders, but I doubt they will amount to much more than bigger, ballistic-er Shadowhawks (that can't jump). I wouldn't be surprised to put a few in Tier 2, but I doubt any will make it to Tier 1 unless the game gets shaken up...though, I'll be talking about Mech Con within the next few days.

I'll also be posting a late review of the Linebacker - I got it late and was about halfway through writing it when family and Thanksgiving stuff took over, so apologies about all that, but I'm going to get back to writing it now! And by now, I mean after I get some food.



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

Weighing in at 40 tons with a max speed of just over 165 KPH, the Assassin joins the ranks of such mechs as the Cicada, Ice Ferret, and Viper as "technically a medium but really it's an oversized light". I don't think this is necessarily a good or bad thing, but the way the pack is structured does make me pretty happy.

First off, there's some uniqueness to some of the builds. Nothing is terribly radical, but at least it's not a situation like the MAD-IIC where virtually nothing is new (though I feel the need to point out that the Marauder IIC will absolutely be a stronger mech than the Assassin).

But the thing that I really love is how the hero and (to a lesser extent) the reinforcement pack both suck. Not the worst mechs in the game or anything, and there are a couple of decent things you can do, but by far the best and most interesting builds on the chassis are found on the base 3 variants. And oh man, that's some nice stuff right there. I don't even remember the last time that happened. Kinda wish that it had happened for a more brilliant mech, but I'm not complaining!

So I'm a fan of the structure of the pack, but let's dig into the particulars about the variants themselves.

Builds

ASN-21

  • Endo, Ferro (stripped arms, 7 in head, max elsewhere), XL325 (141.5KPH), 1 JJ
  • 4x SRM4 with 4.5 tons of ammo
  • 10 DHS
I'll just say it; it's a jumpjetting Oxide. Obviously we don't know what the quirks are, but...this build has the potential to be good. At the very least, I expect it'll be quite fun, and it's definitely my most anticipated. And yeah, unless it gets good PPC quirks, I expect it'll be the most powerful variant too. Which makes me quite happy, because it's so rare that the primary variant of a chassis is the best.

ASN-23

  • Endo, Ferro (left arm stripped, max elsewhere), XL320 (139.3KPH), 3 JJs
  • 3x SRM2 with 2 tons of ammo
  • 3x SPL
  • 13 DHS
Certainly not one of the more impressive variants, but it's still got my engines going. I've got this dumb thing for SRM2s, but they never make any sense, and slapping some small pulse in there too just makes me so pleased. Could get pretty hot, but the DPS is decent (and focused) enough.

ASN-101

  • Endo, Ferro (left arm stripped, max elsewhere), XL265 (115.4KPH), 2 JJs
  • 3x Large Laser
  • 12 DHS
This certainly isn't the most powerful build I've ever seen, and I imagine it will still work better on all sorts of Cicada variants, but there's a limit on how bad it can be at least. It's hard to tell where those side torso energy mounts are going to be, so here's hoping they're near the top!

ASN-26

  • Endo, Ferro (stripped arms, 7 in head, max elsewhere), XL280 (121.9KPH), 4 JJs
  • 2x PPC
  • 12 DHS
This is probably my second most anticipated build, and the good news is that you can do it on most of the Assassin variants pretty well! I like it here because it puts both PPCs in the same side torso, but you can put it on the ASN-101 without issue, or the ASN-27 for ECM and a better chance at quirks (though you'll have to make sacrifices for that fit).

ASN-27

  • Endo, Ferro (stripped arms, 7 in head, max elsewhere), XL265 (115.4KPH), 1 JJ
  • 2x LRM10 with 7 tons of ammo
  • 10 DHS, ECM
Yeah I'm really not a big fan of this variant, so I figured "what the hell, might as well showcase LRMs". It actually fits surprisingly well (can't manage Artemis, but that's not much of a surprise), but I doubt I'll actually play this build on release.

DarkDeath

  • Endo, Ferro (stripped arms, 7 in head, max elsewhere), XL280 (121.9KPH), 1 JJ
  • 2x Artemis SRM6 with 3 tons of ammo
  • 2x MPL
  • 11 DHS, ECM
Yeah, it's really nothing special. Cool that it can run ECM and all, but ECM isn't strong enough to make up for a massive dearth of hardpoints. We could be looking at another St. Ives' Blues (not the worst thing in the world, for the hero to be worse than the regular variants).

Value

If you're going to get the pack, I would highly recommend just going for the base 3. If the reinforcements or hero are worth a damn, it's going to be by virtue of quirks, and you can't count on that. I'd just go for the base pack, and add others on later if you like what you see in the quirks.

As far as whether or not it's worth buying in the first place, that's up to you. Obviously a 40-tonner isn't going to be giving you a bargain as far as the $$ to C-Bill conversion goes, but the idea is that the pre-order is there to support development rather than just buying this mech.

Predictions

The ASN-27's 50% PPC heat gen and velocity quirks will make it an absolute powerhouse and it'll be included in every comp drop.

But seriously, this was clearly never meant to be a super-powerful mech. I could certainly see some of the variants being used if the quirks are good enough (in particular the ASN-21 and any variant that can mount two PPCs), but I'll be surprised if more than one or two variants make it out of Tier 4. Pleasantly surprised, though.



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

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.

Builds

SNV-1

  • 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.

SNV-3

  • 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.

SNV-A

  • 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.

SNV-B

  • 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.

SNV-C

  • 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).

Boiler

  • 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".

Value

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.

Predictions

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!

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