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So I kinda slumped on the writing for a couple weeks, resulting in my not publishing a day1 Black Knight review, but my neuroses insist that I at least review it despite having already written the Master Guide. However, the focus of this will be on the Crab and loyalty mechs, which were just released yesterday, and I'll talk a bit about the BK at the end.


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While I'm not particularly impressed by this mech, I will say that the worst thing about it is that we can't call King Crabs "crab"s anymore. Gonna be confusing for a few months. Anyways, this is a pure energy 50-tonner with less and lower hardpoints than a Firestarter, with the exception of the head, and only one variant has jump jets. NOT LOOKING GOOD. But let's talk about the specifics before I give you my final verdict. First off...3 of the 4 variants have 5 energy hardpoints in the exact same locations, with the CRB-27B being the exception with 6 energy hardpoints, and I guess the CRB-27 has dual AMS *snore*. The real differentiation comes from the quirks.


The CRB-20 has a max engine of 350 up from 325 as well as 7.5+7.5 Large Laser cooldown. Cooldown quirks for large and/or hot energy weapons aren't generally all that useful, but it's better than nothing, and the big engine could maybe help too.

It's fast, I'll give it that. And with its range bracket it could maybe make a serviceable skirmisher. But from my experience the damage is just so underwhelming that your game impact in a good game is the same as you'd get out of a mech like the Enforcer in a mediocre game. Just really unenthused with it, definitely the worst variant.


The CRB-27 has 7.5+7.5 Medium Laser range, which would be great if it had, like, 7 energy hardpoints. Since it's stuck with 5, you're stuck with either emulating the CRB-20 build I just talked about or forgoing the Medium Laser quirks altogether, which is what I did.

Now that's a real build. Technically, you could do it on the CRB-20, but you lose the range from the CRB-27 and you get to make even less use of the energy cooldown quirks of the CRB-20 due to heat issues, so I don't think that's the best call. But yeah, even though it's a fair bit better than the CRB-20 it's definitely the second worst variant.


The CRB-27B has 7.5+7.5 ER Large Laser heat gen, and this is the variant with 6 energy hardpoints (2 in each arm and 1 in the CT, while the others are the other way around).

Despite having a similar firepower to the super-underwhelming CRB-20, this firepower has a better range bracket and way lower duration, not to mention asymmetry, making it miles better. You can also do a more typical 3xLL build but I didn't have as much success with that version. Easily the second best variant, to the point where it could even challenge the CRB-27SL in some engagements.


The CRB-27SL has 10% range for all pulse lasers in addition to 12 extra structure per leg. Also JUMPJETS.

Cards on the table, I don't own this variant. But I have played all of the builds that are best for the CRB-27SL on the CRB-27 which does the same exact builds just a little bit worse, and found them all to be very powerful. The only thing I could see really holding this variant back to the level of the CRB-27B is the heat issues, but I think that the bonus range and jumpjets more than make up for that fault. This is the best build for the mech in my opinion, but you can also run a duplicate of the CRB-27's build very well.


I have mixed feelings about this. First of all, I think that it's really cool that the variants can be sorted the same way in order of how good they are and alphabetically. More importantly, though, I am disappointed that the best variant is only available to early adopters (and the lack of early adopter variants is one of the things I'm pleased about in the new Marauder and Warhammer packs). It just feels like people who paid a bit late don't get the full value and yeah, generally not great (plus from a business perspective, it may incentivize people to buy early but it disincentivizes people to buy if they showed up late as they don't feel like the purchase would be efficient).

Where was I? Oh yeah. The Crab.

The small front profile is nice. The hitboxes were, as far as I could tell, just fine. The side profile is a bit large but the side profile is kind of the defining feature of the mech. But my biggest issue is the mounts. They're so lowww! I hate low mounts so much. But this doesn't break the mech, it's still serviceable, even if it's just not as good as its competitors. All in all...I think it's a well balanced mech that is perhaps a bit too dull due to the lack of customization options - you're limited to energy weapon hardpoints, and ERLLs and PPCs are kind of limited out by the low mounts, leaving you only with Medium and Large Lasers, as well as their Pulse versions. Kinda lame, but at least it's easy to tell what to run in it!

Off: 5/10
Def: 3/10
Mob: 8/10
Fun: 4/10
OVR: 5

Customer Appreciation (L) Mechs

So PGI has once again given people who have bought stuff some extra goodies! Big fan of this program, and I wanna preface this section with this note. Even if it might sound like I'm complaining, I'm really not. These mechs are absolutely less cool/unique/good than last year's offerings, but whatever it's free shit and I'm glad that they do this thing at all.


This is probably the coolest mech that we got out of this program, though its power is more debatable. It's the first Cicada with jumpjets (and it's got a lot) and it actually has decent quirks, though they don't quite make up for its awful hardpoints.

This and a Medium Laser boat with a ridiculous jump are the only things worth noting...but neither of them are fantastic. The ER PPC version isn't horrible actually, and it can be a real nuisance, but it's not gonna be as impactful as more reasonable medium mechs.

Off: 4/10
Def: 4/10
Mob: 10/10
Fun: 8/10
OVR: 6.5


The WVR-7D has a nearly identical hardpoint layout to the WVR-6R, dropping one missile for MASC. Which means that it's the first IS mech to get MASC! Which I guess is kind of cool, but really isn't a huge deal. Particularly since the WVR-7D doesn't get any of the quirks that make the WVR-6R a decent mech, and its quirks are almost all useless apart from the 18 extra structure on the Right Arm.

Despite not having the great AC/5 cooldown quirk, that does remain the best build for the mech, though an SRM + AC/10 build could be...serviceable I suppose. At any rate, it's not that great. The one redeeming feature is its maneuvarability (MASC + jumpjets), but its weapons are kinda terrible. Plenty of ammo though!

Off: 3/10
Def: 4/10
Mob: 8/10
Fun: 3/10
OVR: 4.5


And this might be the worst Zeus (not sure yet). The lack of a CT energy hardpoint and thus the lack of a total of 3 stops it from running sweet 3xLL/LPL builds that the others can make good use of. As such, I just piled the biggest guns on it as I could.

The problem is that any weapon configuration with smaller ballistics or energy is gonna be pretty puny (2xAC/5 is an acceptable Gauss substitution but even that...), and the missiles aren't gonna be really worth it most of the time. Dropping down to LPLs or LLs for streaks or LRM5s isn't unthinkable, but I think this will do better.

Off: 6/10
Def: 7/10
Mob: 6/10
Fun: 5/10
OVR: 6


It's not really worth making a specific NVA-D build because the CT is almost identical to a NVA-Prime, but with 5% reverse speed instead of overheat damage (so it's better, but still the second worse Nova CT). Instead I'll just go over the omnipods and what they imply.

  • Side Torsos: They may not have any hardpoints, but 8 armor and 8 structure make them the best omnipods to use if you're not going to be putting weapons in those locations.
  • Left Arm: 12.5% boosts to ballistic cooldown, velocity, and range with 24 armor compares favorably to the 10% boosts and 32 armor that you get on the other ballistic arms. Just leaving you with the problem of needing to mount a ballistic to make use of it.
  • Right Arm: It's got a missile hardpoint! The second ever missile hardpoint on a Nova and in a different hardpoint from the first, making builds like this possible! Plus, it's got sweet quirks on that hardpoint, 7.5% to missile cooldown and heat gen and 24 armor.
  • Legs: Each leg gets 16 structure, which is the same as the bonus from the NVA-C and Prime. Nothing new but they tie for the best legs.
So yeah. The Side Torsos are nice and the missile hardpoint does allow for some reasonable missile builds as well, such as this one:

I can't really rate the variant because it's not a self-contained thing, but I will say that I'm very pleased with it. Doesn't blow me away or anything, but it's pretty legit and actually adds omnipods that will (probably only slightly) change how Novas are built.


There's even less reason to make a specific Executioner build, as it doesn't have quirks at all and there's only one new omnipod worth mentioning, but we'll talk about that omnipod anyways.

This exact build was already possible by just flipping the Right Arm to an EXE-A and the Left Arm to an EXE-Prime (and you even got an arm actuator out of the deal), but personally I am a much bigger fan of having the Gauss on the right side than the left. It's entirely personal preference of course, but it's worth mentioning. The only other thing this really opens up the possibility for is builds that use big ballistics and missiles or quad ballistics, but this isn't exactly game-changing stuff.


So yeah. The mechs aren't as exciting as the AS7-S, KGC-000 or CN9-AH were last year (though in my opinion a couple do beat out the MDD-B) but I'm still very pleased with the free mechs program and am glad that there are at least a couple of new omnipods that I will be using, even if it's not that incredible of a difference.

Black Knight

So I already wrote the Master Guide and you can read that for my detailed thoughts, but for this I'm just going to keep it quick. The one thing I really want to point out though, is this little excerpt from my theorycraft post:

I'm sure quirks will differentiate the variants (probably) buuuuut that always just results in one variant being better at all the useful stuff and the others being just acceptable with tiny niches.

Fucking nailed it. Also applies to the Crab. I love being right.

Anyways, for Black Knight quirks, they all share bonus structure to the arms, side torsos, and legs, as well as a bit extra torso twist speed. The rest are unique to each variant and, like I said, are almost the only thing that change how good the variants are.


This variant (I'm trying to type out the designations as little as possible cuz they're ridiculous) gets 12.5% generic energy cooldown and 10+10% Medium Laser Range (and a meaningless 20% AMS range quirk). Not terrible quirks.

And this build makes the variant the second best Black Knight with ease. Decent range and nice firepower, even if it's hot as hell.


And this variant gets 10+10% heat gen on ER PPCs (lol, so really just 10% generic heat gen) and 12.5% energy range. The two best types of quirk to have on energy boats!

Just a really nice build overall. You can ignore the mediums for the most part, but they come in handy if you're just trying to get some burst off. Having the best quirks and the second best hardpoints (tied for most, but slightly worse configuration) make this the best variant by a solid margin.


This variant has a 10+10% PPC cooldown quirk along with 12.5% PPC velocity. In other words, easily the worst quirks of any of these variants. Just so so terrible.

However it ties for the most hardpoints and has the best hardpoint configuration of any of the Black Knights, and is the only one capable of having a high mount that isn't in the head. This means that I rank it as third best, a bit ahead of its competitor:


For quirks, this variant gets 5% energy range and 12.5% laser duration which is a bit better than the BL-7-KNT, but the real difference is that it has a max engine of 385 rather than 360.

It's got speed and it's got at least decent brawling firepower. Really, this build is nothing to write home about, but it's not completely atrocious. I guess. And yeah I know it has AMS without any ammo but when I built it, I had .56 tons left with max armor so I said fuck it. Probably not even a good idea as I guess it increases your mech's size by a teeny tiny bit but whoooo cares.


All in all, I'm kind of pleased with the Black Knight. The biggest issue I have with it is how low the weapon mounts are (they're like, Atlas level), but that's kind of just a feature of the mech I suppose. Also a bit disappointed by how similar the variants' hardpoints are (if they replace the quirk system it could be really weird), but at least one of the variants I can honestly call "good" and two more are "decent".

Off: 8/10
Def: 6/10
Mob: 7/10
Fun: 8/10
OVR: 7.25

Source: HERE
Artist: Hitman85

All I got to say is just wow... Hitman85, that is straight up amazing sir!

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Hey! So I made a video which goes over most of the stuff I wanted to say, but there's so much left to math!


Pertinent details: 75 ton IS heavy mech, between 4 and 7 energy hardpoints per chassis, 3 have 1-3 ballistics, one has 2 missiles. 3 of 4 variants have jumpjets. One high mount, rest are low. Max speed is 85 KPH for all but 1 variant.

Initial assessment: Might be a serviceable mid-range weapons boat. Potential "brawler" but max speed is too low to be that great at it, and engine would have to be XL.

Comments: I like the aesthetic. It's a lot like a skinny King Crab in some ways - particularly the side profile. Front profile is more like an Ebon Jaguar. It's the King Jaguar. Badass.


  • Endo, Ferro (max armor with excess shaved off), STD300 (71.3 KPH)
  • 3xAC/5 with 6 tons of ammo
  • 3 Medium Lasers
  • 12xDHS

  • Endo, Standard Armor (max with excess + .5t shaved off), XL345 (82 KPH), 2xJJ
  • 3xLarge Pulse Laser
  • 2xMedium Pulse Laser
  • 19xDHS

  • Endo, Standard Armor (max everywhere but RA at 18pts), XL300 (71.3 KPH), 1xJJ
  • 2xAC/5 with 5 tons of ammo
  • 3xLarge Laser
  • 15xDHS

  • Endo, Ferro (max everywhere but LA at 0 and legs down 1pt), STD285 (67.7 KPH), 1xJJ
  • 1xGauss Rifle with 3 tons of ammo
  • 3xLarge Laser
  • 1xMedium Laser
  • 12xDHS
So yeah, 3 of the 4 are mid-range builds that fit decently well into the meta, with the exception of the MAD-5D which at first glance seems to be the worst of the variants and isn't well suited to any reasonable range. Hopefully we'll see something interesting in its quirks though. Aside from that one variant, we've got a solid dakka boat, a mixed dakka/laser platform, and of course a full meta Gauss Vomit beast. Some of these builds can be interchanged, they can all be modified, and maybe you don't like any of them, but I predict that they will mostly be in Tier 3. The MAD-5M and MAD-BH2 might make it to Tier 2, and the MAD-5D could well be Tier 4, but they'll all probably stay in Tier 3.


Pertinent details: 70 ton IS heavy mech, between 6 and 9 energy hardpoints per chassis, 2 have 1-2 ballistics, one has 3 missiles, and the last is pure energy. None of the variants have jumpjets. Mounts are, for the most part, upper-middle. Max speed is 86.6 KPH for all variants.

Initial assessment: Might be a serviceable mid-range weapons boat. A couple of variants seem to be well-suited to shorter-range engagements but they aren't shoe-horned into it. Can run dual AC/20 or Gauss. Fuck yeah.

Comments: I said dual AC/20 or Gauss. DUAL. Fucking fuck. It's been a long time since we had an IS heavy introduced with that. I'm excited.


  • Endo, Standard Armor (arms at 3, everything else max'd), XL300 (76.4 KPH)
  • 2xGauss Rifle with 5 tons of ammo
  • 4xMedium Laser
  • 11xDHS

  • Endo, Standard Armor (arms at 19, everything else max'd), XL340 (86.6 KPH)
  • 5xLarge Laser
  • 19xDHS

  • Endo, Standard Armor (one arm at 0, other at 22, everything else max'd), XL300 (76.4 KPH)
  • 3xLarge Laser
  • 2xLRM10A with 5 tons ammo
  • TAG and BAP
  • 15xDHS

  • Endo, Standard Armor (both arms empty, legs at 55, everything else max'd), XL295 (75.1 KPH)
  • 4xAC/5 with 9 tons ammo
  • Option to drop ammo for Medium Lasers, 1:1
  • 10xDHS
I'm seeing a lot more strength from the Warhammer than I did from the Marauder. All of the builds have really solid meta-oriented builds available, and can branch out to other stuff very well too. The obvious weak link here is the WHM-7S, but even that has some uniqueness to it, and if you get desperate you can sorta dupe the WHM-6D build, just not as well. The Hero mech is the big winner with a really super powerful dakka build, one which obsoletes all other dakka heavies with the possible exception of the JM6-DD. Hard to say which of the two will be better before we see quirks. Anyways yeah. I'm expecting at least 1 of these to land in Tier 2, and the rest to be upper Tier 3. Very pleased with its power...though I am a little irked that the best variant will probably be the Hero. Grrr.


Source: HERE

@SpOoKy777 you sir have so much talent! For everyone who has not checked out his work, head over to his deviantart page linked above! I still have the 'Atas' as my background...

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