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In some ways, it's the culmination of years of dreaming. In others, it's just another medium mech. When it comes to mediums, it takes a special blend of nostalgia and cool builds to get me hyped, and the Bushwacker nailed it. However, I've never been particularly fond of the Assassin, and most of the variants seem like more Vindicators and Phoenix Hawks. But there is one build that really got me going.

Years back, when builds using four SRM4's first became popular, it always annoyed me how light the weaponry was in comparison to the 55 ton mechs carrying it. It struck me as woefully inefficient, but the only lighter alternative was the Loup de Guerre, whose hardpoints are just dreadfully spread out (though I still love it). It took years for PGI to release the BJ-2, which was much more weight-efficient in terms of boating these light missile weapons, but the engine cap drove me crazy. I still liked the mech, but it was a real disappointment.

And so I waited. And waited. And finally, my patience has been rewarded with the ASN-21. A mech with enough tonnage and hardpoints to just barely boat 4 SRM4A's, a mech that goes well over 100 KPH without issue, a mech with decent hitboxes, not-terrible quirks, jumpjets, and no glaring issues to speak of.

I don't want to give you the impression that the Assassin is some incredible mech that everyone needs to buy. To the contrary, if you haven't shared that same dream, I'm not sure how much enjoyment you'll squeeze out of the chassis. The other variants can be fun for sure - one of them even has some cool PPC nipples - but none of it strikes me as revolutionary. It's a dream come true, but a very specific, super lame, and honestly mostly faded dream.

So let's look at the specifics.



This variant makes the Assassin a worthwhile addition to the game. It's probably not a better pick even for tonnage than a mech like the JR7-IIC, and it's certainly not a better pick than a Griffin if you're considering class, but it's a cool new option and I'd love to see 8 of them going ham in a low-tonnage comp drop. I also had a good time swapping out the SRM4A's to SRM6's, or you could drop Artemis to push the engine even higher.

This is obviously my favorite variant, and probably the best. It's definitely the one with the most reason to exist.


This build is very similar in play to the ASN-21, but the extra heat and lower sync-up makes me a bit more queezy about it. Still, it's more than serviceable, and you can also try swapping flamers in for those pulse lasers.

This is also one of the variants with a solid alternate build: laser vomit. It seems to work decently on this variant as a very high speed poker, though I do question its merit over something like a Cicada or even Phoenix Hawk. Still seems worth mentioning.

I'm not as huge a fan of this variant as the prior one personally, but it seems to be only slightly weaker.


This variant has two nicely situated mounts - not super high, but high enough. I had fun playing it with this poptart build, but it gets really hot (though most of my games with it were on Caustic, Tourmaline, etc.) You can drop ferro and reduce the engine to an XL255 in order to pick up one extra heat sink, but any lower and there's really no point to the mech over the vastly superior BJ-3.

Still, I like the build enough to rate it as my second favorite, but probably more tied for 2nd or 3rd in terms of how good it actually is.


I ran it as a plus-sized Hollander, as a dakka boat, even a poptart. Nothing felt good or right, so I'm just gonna go with this build. It's alright, I guess. Problem is, this variant is just a worse version of lots of other mechs, chiefly the BJ-1. Speed is all it has going for it, but the ballistics we have are all too heavy, and its energy mounts and quirks aren't great.

This is one of the bad variants for sure, but I hesitate to say worst. Least favorite, probably.


Yeah, I used it as a LRM boat. And honestly, it performed better than most of the Assassin builds I tried out...which makes me so, so sad. It's not even really a good LRM boat (though the speed and ECM make it more versatile than your LRM80 assault), but it's workable.

Right now this is probably my second-least favorite variant, and the second worst overall.


This variant is pretty well optimized to not be optimized. Like a miniature Pretty Baby. So I gave in and used this...thing. It's not pretty and it's not great, but it actually worked decently well, and was pretty fun to boot.

That being said, it's probably the worst variant. In the middle for fun though.

Civil War Tech Predictions

While some of the Assassin variants are pretty bad, there's a chance that the new tech in the Civil War update will help out with those issues. Double RAC/2s on the ASN-26 could be cool, or MRM boating on the ASN-27 and DarkDeath. Running the ASN-21 as a super-fast streak boat could also be a thing, but nobody wants that.

That being said, other mechs will probably continue to do its job better, and being super-maneuverable isn't quite enough.

Final Thoughts

Yeah, it's not a good mech. Even the best variants aren't gonna shake up the meta or anything like that. But at least it's got some strange to it, and I can appreciate that.

I can also appreciate that the three best variants are all in the base pack, and the Hero is (in my opinion) the worst of the bunch. I'm not at all a fan of the mech pack model, but that's how it's supposed to work.


Good: 3
Fun: 8

I'm simplifying the score system a bit. Still completely silly and subjective, but at least now I don't have to worry about the murkiness of comparing it to mechs in different classes or the same class or role or...well. Yeah. It's much more simple, and hopefully more useful.

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>

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It's finally here! With the timeline skip, we'll be looking at 4 new fan favorite mechs as well as oodles of new tech to shake up the battlefield (and balance), hopefully for the better. We'll see.

First up, we have the Uziel. This is one of the mechs that really sticks in my memory from the MW4 days; with a unique shape to it and some cool loadouts, even stock. I love the style for it in this game; it was one of the better-designed mechs in MW4 (even the original art for it is pretty good) and it seems that Alex has stayed pretty close to that design, which pleases me. The biggest gripe I have with this mech (which isn't much of a complaint, more of a pet peeve) is its Hero mech: the Belial. Now, it took a reddit thread to jog my memory of why that sounded so familiar, but it's because the mech was introduced in MechAssault as an OP (iirc) version of the Uziel with a Gauss Rifle in each arm. I do think it's cool for PGI to pay it some homage, and copying that build over to MWO would have been a bit absurd (even with Light Gauss it'll go slow and have very little armor), but I really wish that they'd have gone all-out with it.

Next is the Annihilator. This mech is known for two things: tying the Urbanmech for the slowest thing on the battlefield, and carrying a ridiculous amount of firepower. The best way to describe this thing is as the Inner Sphere Dire Wolf; it has the same maximum engine, very similar hardpoints, and probably very similar builds as well. The mech's design is really quite odd, but again, it's in a way that's faithful to the original. Even more than the Cyclops, the shape of this mech's neck and head conjure images of the Geth from Mass Effect, lending a suitably alien aesthetic to this mech. Still, I would love to see it without its hands waving in the air.

The first clan mech of the pack is the Cougar. While I have appreciated this mech a great deal in other games, and I think it'll be a real hoot in MW5, I gotta say I'm a disappointed in it here. Weighing in at 35 tons and running at 87.1 KPH after speed tweak, it is the single slowest light mech in the game, and it's even slower than most mediums. Needless to say, I have very low expectations for this mech, but it does have roughly 18.5 tons of pod space. So who knows, maybe it'll be a half-decent weapon boat.

Finally, we have the Mad Cat MK II. Easily one of my own all-time favorites, I cannot wait to play this thing. The design is great; it has a very IIC approach of keeping similar features but using new geometry, and I am in love with the arms. As with the Uziel, it seems to stick pretty closely to existing art for the mech, and that's not a bad thing at all. The mech appears to have pretty good hitboxes (assuming that the missile pods go away when you don't have missiles), lots of hardpoints, relatively high mounts (dem arms), and on top of all that, it's a nomnimech (as in, not an omnimech). So it'll have lots of options for customization. I'm worried that its builds will be too symmetrical and its arms too wide, but it still looks pretty good.

Perhaps more important than all of these new mechs is the new techs! Seriously, all of the new options have the potential to completely change the meta. I wanted to do a short list of all the bits I'm excited about, but really the list of things I'm not particularly excited about would be way shorter (Stealth Armor, LAMS, IS ER lasers, IS Streaks, LMGs, LAPs, and LTAG). Not to say they won't be good, they just don't tickle me yet.

As such, I'm going to be going over builds as usual, but with an emphasis on making the most of the new technology. I'm also saying that each point of Light Ferro weighs .0296 tons, which seems to line up with the Belial build. But without further ado, let's take a closer look.


Not sure if it'll be better than the existing mediums, but it's fun to think about its futuretech possibilities.


  • Endo, Light Ferro (stripped arms, head at 14, max elsewhere), XL265 (92.3 KPH), 5 JJs
  • 2x Heavy PPC
  • 13 DHS
It'll probably be too hot to be legit, but if so you can cut a few JJs for a larger engine and extra heatsink.


  • Endo, Ferro (stripped arms, legs at 34, head at 4, max elsewhere), XL255 (88.8 KPH), 1 JJ
  • 2x Light Gauss with 4 tons of ammo
  • 10 DHS
The armor's too low, there's not enough ammo, and I'd prefer a couple more jumpjets, but if the Light Gauss is good enough...

UZL-2S [part 2]

  • Endo, Ferro (stripped arms, legs at 40, head at 8, side torso at 15, max elsewhere), STD250 (87.1 KPH), 2 JJs
  • Heavy Gauss with 4 tons of ammo
  • 10 DHS
Who needs a shield side when you're just a super-sized Hollander?


  • Endo, Ferro (legs at 43, head at 12, max elsewhere), XL310 (108 KPH), 4 JJs
  • 2x Snub-Nose PPC
  • 3x Heavy MG with 1 ton of ammo
  • 13 DHS
If HMGs are any good, this could be an interesting way to approach them.


  • Endo, Light Ferro (stripped arms, head at 14, max elsewhere), XL225 (78.4 KPH)
  • 2x MRM/40 with 4.5 tons of ammo
  • 10 DHS
Too hot, too slow, no JJs, and not enough ammo, but goddamn it's got 2 MRM/40s.


  • Endo, Standard Armor (head at 16, max elsewhere), XL325 (113.2 KPH), 4 JJs
  • 6x ER Medium Laser
  • 19 DHS, TC1
Super simple, but I think it might be pretty good. We'll see what the heat's like; could be that this build runs "too cool", and it could fit better on a smaller mech.


  • Endo, Standard Armor (head at 16, max elsewhere), XL300 (104.5 KPH), 3 JJs
  • 4x Light PPC
  • 18 DHS
I'm feeling enthusiastic about this one. The question is, will it be better than putting 2 ER PPCs on any of the variants with energy side torsos.


So much weight...so much to work with...


  • Endo, Standard Armor (arms at 45, legs at 72, max elsewhere), STD300 (52.2 KPH)
  • 4x Rotary AC/5 with 11 tons of ammo
  • 12 DHS
Yeah, this mech might end up with the highest DPS in the game. Depending on how RACs work out, of course.


  • Endo, Light Ferro (legs at 56, head at 17, max elsewhere), XL300 (52.2 KPH)
  • 4x AC/10 with 8 tons of ammo
  • 12 DHS
This one's pretty much just a stock+ loadout. Kind of a personal fantasy to run 4 AC/10s in a mech, so I'm happy that's gonna happen. Obviously, the XL's gonna be a real bad idea.


  • Standard Structure, Standard Armor (legs at 81, max elsewhere), STD300 (52.2 KPH)
  • 4x Snub-Nose PPC
  • 3x Light PPC
  • 22 DHS, TC1
I'm pretty sure that Light PPCs will have a ghost heat cap of 4, but I doubt Snub-Noses will get any more than 2. Could be fun if you don't mind shooting in 3 separate groups.


  • Endo, Standard Armor (arms at 45, legs at 72, max elsewhere), STD300 (52.2 KPH)
  • 2x Heavy Gauss with 10 tons of ammo
  • Snub-Nose PPC
  • 10 DHS, TC1


  • Standard Structure, Light Ferro (arms at 36, legs at 62, max elsewhere), STD300 (52.2 KPH)
  • 4x Heavy PPC
  • 20 DHS
Yeah you know you like that.

Mean Baby

  • Endo, Armor (arms at 33, legs at 52, max elsewhere), STD300 (52.2 KPH)
  • 2x MRM/40 and 2x MRM/30 with 8 tons of ammo
  • 13 DHS
I'm droolin' just a little bit.


Making builds for this mech felt like eating my vegetables as a kid. Or as an adult.

New Lasers

  • Endo, Ferro (head at 10, max elsewhere), XL175 (87.1 KPH), 2 JJs
  • 2x Heavy Large Laser
  • 3x Micro Pulse Laser
  • 16 DHS, TC2
I liked the feel of Heavy Large Lasers in other games, we'll see if they're any good here.


  • Endo, Ferro (head at 10, max elsewhere), XL175 (87.1 KPH), 2 JJs
  • Gauss Rifle with 3.5 tons of ammo
  • 4x ER Micro Laser
  • 11 DHS, TC2


  • Endo, Ferro (one arm stripped, head at 15, max elsewhere), XL175 (87.1 KPH), 2 JJs
  • 2x ATM/9 with 7 tons of ammo
  • 10 DHS, ECM
Could be interesting if ATMs are any good. Basically the equivalent of either 2 LRM10s or 3 SRM6s.

Mad Cat MK II

Clans don't get as many fun toys as IS, but let's see what this kitty can do.


  • Endo, Standard Armor (61 per leg, max elsewhere), XL360 (69.7 KPH), 2 JJs
  • 4x Heavy Large Laser
  • 2x ATM/9 with 4.5 tons of ammo
  • 20 DHS, TC1
Don't worry, this was the least interesting build.


  • Endo, Ferro (65/66 per leg, max elsewhere), XL370 (71.6 KPH), 1 JJ
  • 2x LB 20-X AC with 5 tons of ammo
  • 4x SRM6 with 5 tons of ammo
  • 14 DHS
This is pretty hot, but it looks like a pretty goddamn sick brawler. Like the Scorch, but better.


  • Endo, Ferro (69 per leg, max elsewhere), XL360 (69.7 KPH), 1 JJ
  • 4x ATM/12 with 7 tons of ammo
  • 4x Heavy Medium Laser
  • 15 DHS, BAP
If PGI sticks with TT values, 4 ATM/12s is like 12 SRM6s when fired on HE mode. I feel like PGI's gonna nerf that. I also feel like maybe I should just go purely for ATMs...


  • Endo, Armor (69 per leg, max elsewhere), XL375 (72.6 KPH), 1 JJ
  • 2x ATM/12 with 5 tons of ammo
  • 2x Heavy Large Laser
  • 3x Heavy Medium Laser
  • 20 DHS
This one might actually be worse than the first variant. The CT ballistic seems a bit pointless.


  • Endo, Ferro (56 per leg, max elsewhere), XL360 (69.7 KPH), 2 JJs
  • 4x UAC/5 with 10.5 tons of ammo
  • 2x Heavy Medium Laser
  • 14 DHS
All that dakka comin' out of them arms.


  • Endo, Ferro (65/66 per leg, max elsewhere), XL335 (64.8 KPH), 2 JJs
  • 2x Gauss with 4.5 tons of ammo
  • 2x ER PPC
  • 17 DHS
Yeah, I know, it's not new at all. But it could be OP. We'll see how the hitboxes and weapon locations work out.


  • Endo, Ferro (65/66 per leg, max elsewhere), XL375 (72.6 KPH), 2 JJs
  • 2x Gauss with 5 tons of ammo
  • 6x Heavy Medium Laser
  • 16 DHS
High damage, high heat Gauss Vomit.

And All the Rest

I wanted to include a few other mechs that struck me as being potentially awesome with the new tech.


  • Endo, Ferro (head at 5, max elsewhere), XL190 (165.4 KPH)
  • 4x Heavy MG with 2.5 tons of ammo
  • 10 DHS
Again, maybe the HMG sucks, but if not this could be cool.


  • Endo, Ferro (stripped arms, legs at 48, head at 16, RT at 15, max elsewhere), STD270 (85.5 KPH), 3 JJs
  • Heavy Gauss with 5 tons of ammo
  • 10 DHS
I just love that high mount and the 25% Ballistic Cooldown quirk.

MAL-1P, MAL-MX90, or Sleipnir

  • Endo, Armor (legs at 62, arms at 3, max elsewhere), STD315 (61 KPH)
  • 2x Heavy Gauss with 8 tons of ammo
  • 10 DHS
These guys look like the best option for a straight-up double Heavy Gauss build. And by best, I mean pretty much only.


The Mad Cat MK II is gonna be one of the greats, the Uziel will be pretty good, and the Annihilator will be funny as hell (seriously, I didn't even scratch the surface of the possible silliness). Let's not talk about the Cougar.

I have no idea how the tech is going to be, though, since we don't have any of the actual stats. The Inner Sphere gets a lot more cool stuff than Clans, though, so that could do some interesting things to the balance of the game (I'm already hyped on Light Ferro).

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!

The Supernova certainly lives up to its name in some ways, if not others. This energy boat has nearly enough energy hardpoints to satisfy the cravings of even the most ammo-hating pilot, but its (relatively) low engine cap prevents it from being a personal favorite. With a maximum engine rating of 325, you are not only limited to a meager 62.9 KPH, but also a maximum of 3 additional engine heat sinks. When compared to competing Clan energy boats in the Asault class, it falls far short of the KDK-5 and the MAD-IIC on paper, which is a bad sign for a mech whose supposed specialty is energy weapons.

But mechs don't live and die on paper, and the Supernova has some real merit when it gets to the actual battlefield. If you are fortunate enough to own a variant with side torso energy mounts, they can be a real pleasure to use; the SNV-C is made quite enjoyable by virtue of its high mounts, and the Boiler is able to benefit from the same (though that mech finds its true strength elsewhere). Hitboxes are another strong point of the Supernova, at least relative to some of its fellow Assaults: I found that I was frequently able to roll damage quite well, even if the arms are only barely usable as shields.

It's also worth mentioning the quirks on a few particular variants of the chassis. While these recipient variants are generally the weaker ones, it makes the leveling process much less of a grind. It makes it so there's really only one variant that I didn't enjoy (the SNV-3) and it's just one of those lovely little boosts to quality of life. Though all the agility quirks in the world won't make up for the pitiful engine.

Anyways, I think it's time we talk about...



The hardpoints are what you'd find if you stripped a stock DWF-Prime of its ballistics (and missile). So, not great, but there is a certain build that stuck out to me:

I will say that a huge part of my love for this build is just the way it feels. And a big part of that is putting the cLPL in last. Just knowing that the lasers are arranged so that a great big blue bolt fires from the center of a trio of medium lasers feels so right to me, even if the optimal way to build would be to put the cLPL in first so that it goes up top. But aside from all that, it's a pretty decent build, and can stand up at mid-range as long as you're not hill-humping.

This variant gets arguably the best quirks of the bunch, and that helps it rank as just below average for the chassis, in my mind.


My least favorite variant, and probably the worst. The hardpoints are thoroughly unspectacular and the quirks don't do much to help with that. The centerline energy hardpoints are the only truly unique factor, and after trying a few ways of using them, I eventually decided to forgo them entirely.

It's not a bad build by any means, but it's not particularly good. The wide arms and low mounts make trading a real hassle, and it gets hotter than a mech with that firepower should. It's not the best choice, but I suppose it's decent enough.

Despite getting some of the best generic quirks (just a tad better than the SNV-1 for agility, but worse on defense and offense), this is my pick for worst variant, and certainly my least favorite.


This is the most missile-oriented variant, and while I've seen a sad number of people making LRM boats out of it, I encourage brawling.

It's really hot for what it is, but that's not the end of the world. Still, it's not as good as I had hope for, and closing in this mech can be a real pain.

Despite all that, it's probably tied with the SNV-1 for my 4th pick. It's just got that unique flavor to it, and in the right situation it can really explode.


This mech is meant to be a pretty generic energy boat, from the looks of it, and I suppose it did that job. The high number of energy hardpoints made this build a no-brainer for me:

I don't think you can understand how badly I want just one more energy hardpoint in that center torso. That would mean that each side of the mech can fire 6 cMPLs on its own, it would have a much tighter fit of heatsinks, and I would be happy.

As is, it's still my 3rd favorite variant, though it only barely edges out the SNV-1 and SNV-A.


This is easily my favorite of the energy boats. Absolutely no quirks, but it has actually high mounts, which makes it pretty much the best at everything ever.

I'm breaking my cardinal rule of putting jumpjets on any mech that can take jumpjets, but you don't get a whole lot out of them anyways. This build and versions that replace 2 or all of the PPCs with cLPLs are my favorites so far, though there are plenty of ways you can take advantage of the high mounts on this beast.

Despite its obvious strengths, its lack of quirks and low engine cap reall hold it back. It's good and I had fun playing it, but it's not a mech that would keep calling me back for more. Still, the second best of the bunch in my view.


This is pretty much a case of the Hero being better than the other options, and offering much more interesting builds. That being said, the main build I played wasn't exactly...groundbreaking.

It's not the only build you should run on this variant (there are some cool LBX options), but it's clearly the best as far as I can tell.

And it's the best variant, too. I'm not super excited about that prospect, but at least it struggles to compete against fellow clan assaults like the Marauder IIC and Dire Wolf.

Final Thoughts

It's an interesting and enjoyable chassis, but nothing really stands out to me. The Hero is the strongest of the bunch (which is a big no-no), and I think that it's strong enough to be concerning from at least a pay-to-optimize perspective, but I didn't find its power to be overwhelming. That being said, I'm a bit worried about if its jumpjets will propel it into greatness later on; certainly something to be wary of.

Despite my overall impression of it being not particularly special, it's not bad at all. Not on the level of the Kodiak or Marauder IIC for the most part, but I could see it being comparable to the Dire Wolf (at least certain variants). The best variants should be low Tier 1, high Tier 2.


Off: 8
Def: 8
Mob: 5
Fun: 5
OVR: 6.5

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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