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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!

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!

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

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!

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I think this is the first time where I go out of my way to play a mech because I love its camo so much. The CP-11-A is certainly not the best variant but its aesthetics are just so disturbingly satisfying. I actually hardcore dig the look of the mech in general - particularly when you place the massive eyeball decal over the cockpit, but also in general I enjoy the simplistic camo pattern.

Thankfully, superficial allure isn't the only thing this mech has going for it. I actually have had quite a bit of fun in this grotesque beauty, with a few unique builds and a few meta-clones, many of which work well. I actually think that the Cyclops is in a pretty well-balanced place; strong enough to be a factor, but not strong enough to bring on p2w accusations. It is kind of a bummer that the most meta-friendly variant is the Hero mech and thus behind a (steeper) paywall, but it's not particularly special as long as the MAL-1P is in the game. And the most interesting variant is in the base pack, so I'm not mad.

The quirks have been lowballed, as is the pattern (one I don't particularly mind, but opinions differ). Generic weapon quirks are very limited, and most of the best builds really don't benefit much from them. There are some nice acceleration quirks, but in general the mech can feel a bit clumsy to me due to its limited torso twist on most variants. Structure quirks beat out the Mauler (its most direct competitor) by a bit, but they're not nearly enough to make the mech a tank...not that there's anything wrong with that.

Overall, I've just been having fun with it. No real glaring issues, and a few things to love.



This is the base variant, meaning that it's the only one that can get the awesome-cool camo. It's also one of the less interesting variants from a build perspective, but there are a few options that run well on it. So far, I've had the most pleasant experience with this setup:

It's really not that great and it lacks in power (I really wanted 2 PPCs but it felt so sluggish), but so far it has brought me the most reliably good results and most fun. Alternatives include using SRM4s and switching to a double UAC setup, but both of those ended up underwhelming me.


This is the magic variant; the freshest of the bunch, with some hilariously enjoyable games already under its belt. And again, there are several ways to run it, but here's my favorite:

The XL is a definite risk, but I just can't stand "slow" brawlers - even the Spirit Bear is a bit sluggish for my taste. And so is this, but it's close enough for me to love it. But there are a few alternatives that use STD engines well enough, like the 7x6 (which can be done with artemis'd 4s as well) or 6x6A.


The last of the base variants, this one is a mini-Boar's Head, with almost identical hardpoints. And you can build it just like a traditional Boar's Head build, but I went with something a bit longer-ranged.

The XL with a Gauss Rifle is super risky, but I wasn't having much luck with it at lower speeds. If it's not suiting your style, more traditional options work well too.


It's not the best of these variants, but it definitely has a soft spot in my heart. And that's because it runs one of my favorite brawling builds in the game:

It gets hot and it's slow and it's squish and the ammo isn't great. But it is absolutely brutal in a brawl. I love this build because if you stick cooldown and range modules on the SRM4s, the cooldowns sync up almost perfectly, and the range on these weapons make it so that you can actually trade a bit outside of a brawl. It can be risky, but it's lovely to play (for me, at least).


The ECM is definitely nice, but it's not a huge deal. Still, you get the occasional free poke off the back of it and there are a lot of LRMs going around these days.

It's a really simple build, used by many other mechs (usually heavies...), but it still works here. I really wish this variant had much better torso twist, though.


This is the best variant, and it fits into the meta particularly well too. But its competition has better hardpoints and/or better quirks, so it ends up being sub-optimal in my book. Still great, though.

I waffle back and forth on the matter of the head laser. On the one hand, slapping a medium on there is cool and looks awesome. On the other hand...it's slightly slower or carries less ammo. I like to go fast, and your damage tends to be limited more by ammo and speed than anything else.


It's a solid mech that will probably land somewhere in lower Tier 2. I've had some great games in it, but it's certainly no Kodiak, and I've had a couple bad games in it as well.

The Sleipnir is easily the best variant, but the CP-11-Q has that really special SRM niche that might keep it relevant in the future. All the rest are good, but none of them particularly stand out to me.

The most direct competition to the Cyclops is, of course, the Mauler. Not only is the best Cyclops variant a clone of a dakka Mauler build, many of the others have incredibly similar hardpoint layouts. In fact, the only particularly unique variant is the CP-11-Q, though to a lesser extent the CP-11-P and CP-11-A have some uniqueness going for them. On the whole, though, I do end up giving the edge to the Mauler for its quirks, and just because the MAL-MX90 is unrivaled by IS dakka.

That being said, the Cyclops does manage to feel substantially different to me, and I'm pretty pleased. It's a good mech, even if it's not great, and I like it.


Off: 8
Def: 7
Mob: 5
Fun: 7
OVR: 6.75

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!

Highslide JS

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