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My computer breaking may have stopped me from doing any reviews, and I might have procrastinated the hell out of the Hellspawn and Thanatos theorycrafts, but damnit, PGI announced the Piranha. The second most meme'd mech of MWO's mythos. I've gotta talk about it. And I'll address the Hellspawn and Thanatos too, while I'm at it.

Piranha Variants

PIR-1

  • Endo, Ferro (arms stripped, 9 on head, max elsewhere), XL180 (145.8 KPH)
  • 12x MG or LMG with 4.5 tons of ammo
  • A single ER Micro Laser
  • 10x DHS

Since you have all those machine guns and not much ammo, you'll want to conserve it as much as possible. As such, I've incorporated a single ER Micro Laser into this design, which should allow you to easily take care of any armor that the enemy might decide to put on their mech.

Kidding. But yeah, the build's not gonna surprise anyone, but it's what we're all gonna be playing. I haven't gotten the chance to experience the nerf'd LMGs, so I'm not sure if they're still a better value than the standard option, but who knows what'll happen before release anyways. And sure you could drop the laser for head armor, but why would you!

PIR-2
  • Endo, Ferro (either arm stripped, 7 on head, max elsewhere), XL180 (145.8 KPH)
  • 14x ER Micro Laser
  • 14x DHS

Oh man, micro lasers might not be great, but they were made for this mech. The damage isn't anemic in these numbers, the range isn't horrible for your speed, and the DPS should actually be pretty good.

PIR-3
  • Endo, Ferro (arms and head stripped, max elsewhere), XL180 (145.8 KPH)
  • 5x ER Medium Laser
  • 13x DHS

Head armor? Who needs it! Despite that omission, it's a pretty solid looking build. Not super exciting or unique, but it should have some nice, high mounts.

PIR-A
  • Endo, Ferro (arms stripped, 9 on head, max elsewhere), XL180 (145.8 KPH)
  • 7x MG or LMG with 2 tons of ammo
  • 4x LAMS
  • 10x DHS

Even without any heat-producing weapons, I'm worried about heat issues with just the LAMS. Still, it'll be an asset to its team and the MGs make it so you don't have to compromise damage for the sake of AMS or AMS for the sake of damage.

PIR-B
  • Endo, Ferro (14 on head, max elsewhere), XL180 (145.8 KPH)
  • 6x Small Pulse Laser
  • 11x DHS

Micro lasers and small pulses, all the worst hits! But it seems like it just fits the mech in this case. But I also think this is the least exciting mech of the bunch.

CIPHER
  • Endo, Ferro (14 on head, max elsewhere), XL180 (145.8 KPH)
  • 7x ER Micro Lasers
  • 6x MGs with 2.5 tons of ammo
  • 12x DHS

It's not nearly as exciting as a couple of the other variants, but the mix could prove to be terribly effective. Comparing it to the Arctic Cheetah build, the alpha is similar but at a lower range and higher DPS. It could be a thing.

Discussion

The Piranha could be a super strong mech with its absolutely insane hardpoint count and positioning, but the lack of jumpjets, the (probably) extreme fragility, and the non-ludicrous speed could compromise it.

Still, it'll get played a lot at release, it'll be a great performer for its tonnage (such as in group queue or CW), and it might be really good even when compared to other lights. I'm predicting a Tier 2 placement.

Thanatos & Hellspawn

I feel like the ship's kind of sailed for a full theorycrafting post dedicated to these two mechs, but I want to give my hot take on the most exciting builds offered by each.

Thanatos TNS-5T
  • Endo, Light Ferro (53 per leg, max elsewhere), XL340 (73.4 KPH), 1 JJ
  • 6x Stream SRM6 with 5 tons of ammo
  • 13 DHS, ECM

Regular SRMs are cool too, and you can do that with an LFE300, 7 tons of ammo, and 13 heatsinks, but this streak build made more sense to me with the way that the Thanatos is set up. Fits the ghost heat profile better, fits the mount positions better, just works in general a bit more goodly.

Thanatos TNS-4P
  • Endo, Armor (RA stripped, 57 per leg, max elsewhere), LFE280 (60.5 KPH), 1 JJ
  • 2x AC/5 with 4.5 tons of ammo
  • 2x PPC
  • 15 DHS

The UAC version could be better, but it basically requires an XL. We'll see how the side torsos turn out for that. The same basic philosophy applies, though, and it's a philosophy that we know works. Not as strong as it once was, but it's sure to be good nonetheless.

Hellspawn Paralyzer
  • Endo, LFerro (head at 17, max elsewhere), LFE295 (106.2 KPH), 1 JJ
  • 6x ER Medium Laser
  • 16 DHS, ECM

Clearly the best Hellspawn variant. Like, it's not even close. In terms of hardpoints it's basically a BJ-3 with ECM instead of high mounts, and missile hardpoints instead of ballistic. Honestly, it'll probably be a pretty good little mech.

Hellspawn HSN-9F
  • Endo, LFerro (LA stripped, head at 11, max elsewhere), XL255 (91.8 KPH), 1 JJ
  • 4x Artemis SRM6 with 4.5 tons of ammo
  • 11 DHS

It's a serviceable little brawler, but it doesn't really match up well against its competition in the medium class. Not only are the bigger mechs better at this exact build (extra heat sinks, ammo, and jumpjets), but the Assassin is likely going to remain the better choice at the lower end of the weight spectrum.

Pricing

At the end of the day, PGI's mechpack-driven approach to revenue is notably less appealing post-skill tree. Even when 3 of a chassis was a requirement for mastery, the inability to choose which three C-Bill variants you wanted was a huge issue. Now that you can one-and-done it, the lack of choice is indefensible.

Obviously, this doesn't really matter for PGI as long as people pay for it anyways. But perhaps it's time to change the pricing structure to something like having single variants cost $10, and if you buy 2 you get one free. Still not a great value proposition, but...the current system is really not the best.

Really it should be more like $5 per variant, and if you buy 3 you have the option to get all the bonuses (like premium time, camo, etc.) for another $5.

But I'm not holding my breath.



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!

This might be the first mech release in years that I've actually supported, in a way. I'm a full-on broken record about hating the MWO business model, but releasing C-Bill variants without even putting them behind a paywall for half a year? Get outta here!

It's worth mentioning that their decision to do so came to placate a massive backlash over how (potentially) OP the original state of the Clan Wave II Heroes pack was, so it's not this pure beacon of goodliness. But still, it's deserving of generating a fair amount of goodwill, since it gives everyone cool new toys.

And boy, are they some cool toys. Of course you've got the Mist Lynx, where the free variant on its own has catapulted the mech into relevance, but almost all of the 9 chassis have received some fantastic new options that will at the very least inject some fresh builds into the game, if not resulting in a new best build.

There's a fair few builds to talk about, so let's get into it.

Mist Lynx

MLX-G



Skill Tree

This build, and the version using ER Smalls & LMGs, are easily the two biggest to come out of the new Mist Lynx variants. Each of the builds have pretty crazy DPS, with the Heavy Smalls/MGs build coming up with higher damage at the cost of half the range and worse heat. I still prefer it, though, as the Mist Lynx is generally quick enough for the range to make little difference, and the damage gap is substantial.

Ebon Dragon



Skill Tree

It's not horrible, but the ammo is simply inadequate. As such, I also tried out swapping out two of the 4s for 2s to get an extra ton of ammo, but that still wasn't a stupendous performer. And since a 2-missile LA omnipod is the only new thing to come out of the Hero, there's not much else worth trying.

Arctic Cheetah

ACH-E



Skill Tree

It can poke with lasers, it can spray with LMGs, and it's just a really good mech. However, it splits its focus just a bit too evenly for me, and the HMG alternative is too range limited (and not good). As such, it's not my favorite Arctic Cheetah build to come out of the new variants. That honor requires omnipods from the...

Shard



Skill Tree

The change isn't too dramatic, but it's enough in my mind to change it from a split focus on poking and spraying, to a definitive focus on spray with some extra flat damage thrown in against armored foes. The Shard's RT omnipod also makes the Arctic Cheetah the best 8xHMG boat (Skill Tree) and lets you put out ridiculous DPS, but lacks any backup weapons and the ammo might not last terribly long.

Ice Ferret

IFR-P



Skill Tree

An ECM CT would be pretty cool, but I'm all about the firepower. It gets hot for sure, but the Ice Ferret's always been one of the better mechs at flanking, poking hard, and running away.

Rainbow Crow



Skill Tree

So here's where we get our ECM. I'm not generally a fan of mechs that keep all their weapons on one easy-to-destroy arm, but this one was pretty decent. The damage and range are pretty good for a mech of its weight & speed, and the ECM helps compensate for the extreme duration of those lasers.

Shadow Cat

SHC-H



Skill Tree

I'm not a big fan of streaks, but this mech has enough of them and runs fast enough to actually kill enemy lights, rather than just chasing them off. The big limiting factor is ammo, and I did look at this alternative build that alleviates that concern with backup weapons and has ECM to boot, but I think it compromises too much of its main goal in the process.

Mishupeshu



Skill Tree

The Mishupeshu's only new omnipod is the Right Arm, and it's almost universally useless. However, this build at least is a teensy weensy bit better than it'd be without the omnipod.

Mad Dog

MDD-H



Skill Tree

The MDD-H's Left Arm is, without a doubt, the best thing to ever happen to Mad Dog laser vomit builds. But I mean, who the hell runs laser vomit on a Mad Dog? Still, it definitely works, and it actually can carry a decent armament, comparable to a Hellbringer (but no ECM and low mounts). Plus those side torsos are tanky as hell.

Bandit



Skill Tree

It's a pretty decent build - with the ammo nodes, you've got a pretty decent potential damage. Still, the firepower is low, and the DPS is lower, so you might wanna look at a Gauss Vomit version (Skill Tree). The ballistic side torsos aren't game breaking, but they still are really powerful for a hero mech.

Ebon Jaguar

EBJ-D



Skill Tree

The 2E RT is a pretty great deal, but the lack of any energy weapons with a ghost heat cap of 3 makes the omnipod less useful for trading. Still, this build turned out to be pretty decent, and you can also run more powerful asymmetrical-ish laser vomit (Skill Tree).

Esprit de Corps



Skill Tree

The ballistic LT was the biggest concern I had about the Clan heroes in general, and while it's not some P2W monster, it's still pretty good. The dual gauss Eb Jag got some attention a while ago (though I really didn't like it), but the ability to use 2 high mounts and add Heavy meds instead of ERs makes a considerable difference.

Hellbringer

HBR-P



Skill Tree

It's just the classic laser vomit Hellby, but better. Higher mounts, less armor needed on the arms, and it just generally nails it. And since it's on the C-Bill variant, I've got no complaints.

Virago



Skill Tree

The Hero's about as useless for omnipods as the Shadow Cat, but the set-of-8 quirks are actually pretty good (-10% energy heat). You lose out on the ECM, and you need to stick some weapons in your arm, but it's still good.

Gargoyle

GAR-E



Skill Tree

I love that we got some Gargoyle torso mounts, but getting this cool stuff after the cSPL nerf just hurts, dude. Still, it's a decent knife fighter, and I like how it fits.

Kin Wolf



Skill Tree

Well this is just as splatty as you can get it. I think the ammo is a bit too low to be a real good build, but it's still got enough to make it work.

Executioner

EXE-E



Skill Tree

I really like the 3E RT omnipod, but I feel like the Executioner just has some intractable issues holding it back. Still, if you're gonna run an energy-boat Executioner, might as well use the omnipod.

Cherbi



Skill Tree

It's got some real good DPS, but the range is crap and I hate how spread out the weapons are. Still, it's nice that we finally get a usable number of missile hardpoints on this mech.

Overall Thoughts

These huge packs are intense. I'm pretty happy with how this pack turned out, though. The hero mechs aren't actually stronger than existing options for the most part, with most of the power available on the C-Bill variant. Instead, the heroes focus on offering new options which are interesting without being super good, which is the way I always want them to be.

I think the big winners from this pack are definitely the Mist Lynx (most improved), Hellbringer (most reliable, but I mean, it was already pretty good), and Arctic Cheetah (just the best). I'm not sure if the Arctic Cheetah's RT omnipod is better than using one of the energy omnipods, which is the only potential for p2w in the pack, but I don't think that it wins by much if it even wins at all.

Sorry it took so long to finish this article, by the way. I'll get to work theorycrafting some Thanatos.

Artist: Spooky777
Source: HERE

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A tactical BattleMech simulation set in 3050 AD. As a pilot known as a "MechWarrior", you are about to take control of the most powerful mechanical battle units the universe has ever seen.

Founded in 2012, our mission is to grow and unite the BattleTech and MechWarrior communities and fans around the world through fun, positive, and engaging content.