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Reddit rejoiced yesterday at the reveal of the next mech. I imagine the rejoicing has died down by now, but at the time of writing, reddit itself has been dead for a few hours.

The jubilation was not without cause. It's been a year and a month since the last light mech was released (the Jenner IIC), and that one was announced in Summer 2015, so the Javelin represents the end to a year and a half of drought. Since the Jenner IIC, we have had 17 releases in the form of solo mechs, none lights (though a couple were super-fast mediums).

On top of all that, we have a price reduction! Sure, the Kodiak is still more cost-effective, but you're also getting enough extra goodies like premium time, mechbays, and camo nonsense to be "worth" over 15 bucks without adding in the mech (15 bucks of MC will get you just the 30 days of premium time with 500 MC left over). So it's still a pretty good bargain, even if it's not god-tier like the Kodiak. And it looks like this will be the last one-shot pre-order pack, with next one being a pack of 3060 mechs.

And this is all without talking about the mech itself. I'm not a light pilot, never have been really focused on that particular style, but it's still pretty neat looking. Aesthetically, humanoids are notorious for looking quite same-y, so that's a real risk here. Lights in particular don't have much real estate to differentiate themselves from each other, and the Wolfhound and Panther have already proven the issues with that. In spite of all that, I'm really digging the shape of this mech - perhaps it's just the pose it takes in the image, but it's bringing up thoughts of K-2SO and Bastion, with the sort of long-armed lankiness that we don't see much of in MWO.

In terms of performance, I'm about to talk about that in detail, but it at least seems interesting. Which is to say, very few of the builds are copy-pastes, and I think there are some unique options to consider.

Builds

JVN-10N

  • Endo, Ferro (stripped arms, 9 in head, max elsewhere), XL255 (148KPH), 2 JJs
  • 4x Streak SRM2 with 3 tons of ammo
  • 10 DHS, BAP
Let's start off nice and easy. It's been a long time since I've made a streak boat without saying "eugh", and...well this one isn't great. But it fits nice, it's fast, and it should do its job. Plus, if this mech has Firestarter syndrome (no torso pitch/yaw), at least your streaks won't care.

JVN-10F

  • Endo, Ferro (stripped arms, 9 in head, max elsewhere), XL280 (162.5KPH), 2 JJs
  • 4x Medium Pulse Laser
  • 11 DHS
4 MPLs ain't much to write about, but that speed is pretty swell. If the hitboxes live up to the art, we could be looking at a spider-esque harasser, and 4 MPLs are plenty of firepower for that. I do think it'll need some weapon and acceleration quirks to make that work, though.

JVN-10P

  • Endo, Ferro (5 per arm, 17 in head, max elsewhere), XL255 (148KPH)
  • 6x SRM2 with 4 tons of ammo
  • 11 DHS
This build gets me all tingly; I've always been an SRM2 fan and there are remarkably few mechs for which SRM2s make sense (the only one that comes to mind is a COM-1D). And honestly, they don't make that much sense here either - SRM2s are excruciatingly hot weapons, which means that 11 DHS is a nail in the coffin of this DPS mech. Still, can't wait to play it.

JVN-11A

  • Endo, Standard Armor (2 in LA, max elsewhere), XL255 (148KPH), 2 JJs
  • 7x Small Pulse Laser
  • 12 DHS
This is probably the most copy-paste build of the bunch, and I don't place much confidence on it beating the FS9-A in a meaningful way (even that wouldn't be saying all that much anyways). All that said, I'm sure this mech will be just fine.

JVN-11B

  • Endo, Ferro (stripped arms, 9 in head, max elsewhere), XL225 (130.6KPH)
  • 4x SRM4 with 3.5 tons of ammo
  • 11 DHS, ECM
The slowest build I'll be looking at, this one emphasizes stealth and power over manueverability. It doesn't even get access to jumpjets, but the ECM might make the difference, and it has by far the most offensive power of all the builds I've looked at seriously (though 6xSRM6 on the 10P could be hilarious...1 ton of armor, 1.5 tons of ammo, XL170 if you're curious).

JVN-HT

  • Endo, Ferro (5 in head, max elsewhere), XL255 (148KPH), 3 JJs
  • 4x Medium Pulse Laser
  • 11 DHS
The Hero mech is not more powerful than the other mechs (at least, not until quirks), but adds a feature that the others don't get without making it OP. I'm pleased. Feel no obligation to dish out the moolah unless you really like the idea of arm-mounted lasers, or having only 2 missile hardpoints, or (and this is the best reason possible) you love the paint job.

Value

Obviously, this is the cheapest pack to date, and as I spoke about earlier, the bonus goodies that come with the base pack sell for more MC than you can buy with 15 bucks. So if you buy premium time in 1-month chunks at full price, this is a great deal! But realistically, buying this should be for the mech. The fact that this is the first light mech we've gotten in over a year confers a certain value to it already, but of course how you personally feel about the mech is subjective.

At the end of the day, there's not much more I can say about whether or not it makes sense to buy the pack. The question is more about whether or not to buy the Reinforcement pack and Hero. Of those, I'd say the Reinforcements look much more attractive, with the JVN-11B being a nasty-looking assassin, and the JVN-11A being a relate-able energy boat. The Hero, though, does not appeal much to me. At any rate, I'd wait until we see quirks to pick either up, since I don't think you actually miss out on anything by doing so.

Predictions

The Javelin will be a pretty decent light mech, maybe even Tier 2. While the mech won't be considered a power-house, it will have a bit of the Spider's ability to be a real nuisance and do more damage than you'd think. And if it gets decent quirks and a small stature, it could be the replacement for the over-sized 35 tonners.



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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I thought that the existence of the Kodiak would make this Marauder IIC completely and utterly pointless. Not necessarily bad, but also not fresh, exciting, or unique. I was very pleased to find that this was not true, and some of my favorite Marauder IIC builds are rather unsuitable for the Kodiak. For the first time since the days of 3 or 4 variants per chassis, I have built out all variants with good, unique builds, and the only variant running a build that can be done exactly the same on another variant is the MAD-IIC-8.

In fact, I like this mech so much that I've had to consider whether or not there's a pay-to-win risk here - my experiences with the Marauder IIC have been very similar to the ones with the Kodiak at its release: reliably high damage games and a sore back. I do think that the Kodiak itself does mitigate those issues, as even without its quirks it remains such a powerhouse, but I believe the Marauder IIC is damn close to problematic without quite being there.

There are definitely some issues holding the mech back, too. First off, it's the most sluggish Marauder I've ever played - the lack of quirks can be a real pain when you're trying to corner in a mech that runs under 70KPH. The armor is also quite thin (though the hitboxes are pretty good), but the most unique issue I've had with it is the cockpit itself; the framework around the windows feels thicker than on most mechs, impeding more of my view when not fully zoomed in. At most, it's a minor nuisance, but I've certainly felt it.

But let's get on to...

Builds

MAD-IIC



This is one of my favorite cMPL boats, maybe all-time top. And I love my cMPLs. I prefer this to the KDK-1 and KDK-5 options for a few reasons: it's faster (by 5-10KPH), slimmer (easier to poke without fully exposing), and the weapon placement just feels better.

The build won't be a main meta pick, but it will keep me (and anyone else who enjoys almost-brawling-but-not-quite) happy. Of course, you can do more traditional laser vomit as well, but that's just uninspired.

MAD-IIC-8



This is the one variant that I absolutely hate. The only unique feature is a single missile hardpoint with a 15% missile cooldown quirk. I get that it's the only other actually canon Marauder IIC variant in the pack (I think the others are based on stuff, but not actually in canon), but I'm really glad that they used it as just the Early Adopter Reward so that missing out on it wasn't a big deal.

This build (and most others for this variant) can be done exactly the same on the MAD-IIC, but I still think it's worth highlighting it because it's what I was most anticipating going into the Marauder IIC's release. But that RT energy hardpoint is at the mech's hip, making the build so much worse. Really shoulda seen that one coming...

It's still pretty good, though. You can do it with 4 Large Pulse or 4 ER PPCs, but I went 2 and 2 and had more fun with that.

MAD-IIC-A



This variant gave me quite a bit of variety. Of course, nearly all of the builds are based on some sort of dakka, but there are lots of permutations to be found, such as this hotter, slower, longer-ranged version.

I'm still not sure whether this is the best variant, or just my favorite variant. There's an awful lot to say for the hero, but it doesn't have the asymmetry and the low mounts didn't treat me all that well on this chassis. But let's move on to the

MAD-IIC-B



This is the jumpjetting energy boat of the bunch, with a couple missile hardpoints thrown in for good measure (carbon copy of the MAD-5D's hardpoints). I ended up using this Large Pulse build for the most part, but I am really not a fan of the arm mounts and this "brawler" build is worth considering.

Probably my second-least favorite variant after the IIC-8, it didn't feel particularly fresh or good, but it also wasn't egregiously sinful.

MAD-IIC-C



This is the variant I was expecting to be the best, but after the UAC/10 nerfs, it's not quite living up to my expectations. In fact, it's the only variant that I've had a legitimately bad game in (though it was also my first VIP match, so I was a bit off balance). It's hot and temperamental, but despite all that, it's a good enough build.

I toyed around with a poptart (even threw an LBX5 in one game for extra alpha), but there weren't enough heat sinks, weapons, or jumpjets for me to really be happy with it. Overall, it's an above-average variant, but not exceptionally exciting to me (though I haven't tried this build yet).

MAD-IIC-D



ECM does not a good mech make. And the lack of a larger second energy hardpoint and the low cap on the engine make it hard to use this mech effectively. The best alternative build I've looked at is this full-on sniper, but both of these builds are just Night Gyr dupes.

It might have been OP if it had the similar hardpoints to the other variants, but I don't think gimping the speed was necessary. Definitely one of the worse variants.

MAD-IIC-SC "Scorch"



This variant is the one that gave me the most concern when it comes to balance issues. Not only is it the only one capable of fitting the devastating double PPC/Gauss combo, but it has the most missile hardpoints, making it pretty damn good at most everything. And it does work out that way for the most part; though its symmetry and low mounts do hinder its Gauss/PPC nastiness, it's a surprisingly brutal brawler (I can't not mention the 6s and 20s build, but I think the extra speed and heat efficiency make 4s and 10s superior).

If it's not the best Marauder IIC variant, it's the second best, and easily the most versatile.

Final Thoughts

What a mech. It's got so many good builds on it, and a few great ones. Not to mention, I actually had a lot of fun with it too. I won't be able to definitively say how good it is until I do more playtesting to compare it to the Timber Wolf, Night Gyr, and Kodiak, but some of the variants being Tier 2 is pretty much a lock, with Tier 1 looking pretty likely.

It's not without flaws, but the Marauder IIC exceeds my personal expectations in terms of performance and enjoyment.

Scores

Off: 9
Def: 7
Mob: 7
Fun: 8
OVR: 7.75

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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