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BATTLETECH – Defensive Positioning & Builds

1 May 2018, Tuesday, 10:33:24

Defensive Positioning & Builds

It is relatively easy to grasp the idea of turning your ‘Mech’s most damaged side away from incoming enemy fire, yet still keeping your target in your firing arc. As the UI displays the front of your ‘Mech, it is also easy to get muddled up about which side should be facing the enemy.


When designing your ‘Mech, bear in mind that you may wish to have a default “side” to act as a damage sponge, and to position your ‘Mech to enable this side to face the enemy. For example, I outfit my Centurion with an AC20 in its right arm and all of the ammo in the right torso. I commit my Centurion to the left-hand side of the map, but always twist the ‘Mech to be facing into the map at the end of movement or jumping, so I can keep my empty “shield” left arm and torso towards the enemy whilst still being able to shoot my weapon on the extreme of the firing arc.


Many ‘Mechs are right-handed in this way, which means that the left side of the map can be popular and this factor might be useful in building for multiplayer or skirmishes. You may want to consider using football terminology for “left wingers” “centre midfield” or “right wingers” depending on whether the ‘Mech is balanced, or asymmetrical in build.


Asymmetrical builds of heavy ‘Mechs with Bulwark can be very powerful tanks with correct positioning – soaking up tons of damage and shots. However they are better at range where an enemy has less chance of positioning to take advantage of hit location to focus on where your gun and ammo are stored.


Later on in a game, when your default “sponge” side has been stripped of armour and you are at risk of losing limbs and torsos, don’t be afraid to turn your back on an enemy if your rear armour can take a hit or two – or even lead with your weapon arm instead of your shield arm if the armour is still intact. Your C-Bill bank balance will thank me.



Where (and where not) to store the ammunition

Some weapons require ammunition and that’s a risk. If ammunition is hit, it explodes and destroyed the location it is stored inside. This is an opportunity and a threat.


The opportunity is that some stock ‘Mech designs store the ammunition in the centre torso. The Locust-1V is a notable example. There is very little armour here. Any crit through the CT has a chance of destroying the ‘Mech in one hit. Some large ‘Mechs also have this design flaw, but it might be easier to seek to penetrate the CT(Rear) armour than the front. Regardless – any ammo explosion in the CT destroys the ‘Mech. Don’t make the same mistake when building your ‘Mech.


Ammunition in the head is a brave choice for similar reasons. However the benefit of this location is the relative difficulty in targeting the head deliberately. I’ll leave it up to you to experiment.


You can put ammo in a leg location – but be aware that if you lose the leg, the ‘Mech slows right down. On story missions particularly this can be really irritating as you cannot skip the animation of the crippled ‘Mech limping from place to place really slowly.


Arms and Torsos are likely places to store ammunition. If an arm is destroyed, then it doesn’t matter too much. Asymmetric designs can comfortably store ammo in an arm that is then positioned away from the enemy. However the enemy is most likely to hit the arm if they flank you. A Torso offers a greater density of armour, but is harder to prevent Precision Strikes and positioning from hitting that location – and, on top of that, loss of the torso is damage to your pilot and loss of the arm too. Pay your money – make your choice.



Crit stuffing or crit padding

If a weapon scores a crit on an internal structure and the only thing in that location is ammunition, then it can explode. When you are building ‘Mechs with ammunition, you can fill the location that houses the ammunition with other components that might take the crit instead – weapons, heat sinks and mods. I call this crit stuffing or crit padding.



‘Mech rotation

With the principle of focusing one enemy at a time firmly established, the implication for defence is to cycle your ‘Mechs to spread the enemy’s damage over all of them rather than allowing them to focus on any one – as well as prioritising removal of high-impact weapons such as AC20s, AC10s, PPCs compared to ones that spread damage such as LRMs, SRMs and lasers.



‘Mech rotation is probably more pertinent to generic or balanced lance compositions, rather than where one ‘Mech is a designated tank or scout, but you should always have sufficient mobility to rotate ‘Mechs so that undamaged ‘Mechs come to the frontline and damaged ones drop back behind cover or out of LoS.


If you can identify and destroy enemy’s with Sensor Lock capability and take them out, it can protect lighter or damaged ‘Mechs from indirect fire from supporting turrets and/or vehicles.


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