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BATTLETECH – Enemy Threat Assessment

1 May 2018, Tuesday, 10:11:46

Enemy Threat Assessment

One of the key skills in Battletech is the ability to assess, from the information you have, what your primary threat is, and thus what you should eliminate first. In general, you should focus on removing the greatest threat possible one threat at a time, either by destruction, or by removing its weapon system(s) and/or mobility – rather than spreading your damage over several targets. Badly damaged ‘Mechs that still have weapons can still shoot.


By right clicking on targets that you see, the game presents you with the weapon systems the enemy has available – either by initials familiar to all previous Battletech players throughout the years, but perhaps opaque to new players – or slightly longer forms like “M Laser”. Here’s a little list of the common weapons of the 31st century.



-SL/ML/LL = Small Laser, Medium Laser, Large Laser
-PPC = Particle Projector Cannon
-SRMn = Short range missiles with n missiles in a shot each causing 8 dmg (n = 2,4,6)
-LRMn = Long range missiles with n missiles in a shot each causing 4 dmg (n = 5,10,15,20)
-MG = Machine Gun
-FL = Flamer
-ACn = Autocannons of increasing size and damage, but decreasing range (n = 2,5,10,20)


There are other, rarer weapons that can appear, such as Gauss Rifles (GR), Extended Range weapons (ERxx such as ERPPC or ERLL). The naming convention is, at least, uncomplicated and guessable.


Each weapon has an effective range which is worth knowing. If the enemy cannot being their firepower to bear, then you may prioritise a different threat that can. Of particular note is the mighty AC20. This is a scary weapon that is actually only effective at close ranges.


Some weapon systems are incredibly damaging individually, and some are incredibly damaging in large numbers.


Individual weapon systems that should raise a red flag are those that can headshot a ‘Mech in one go, or cause catastrophic component and/or stability damage: AC20, AC10, LRM20, LRM15, PPC. Most of these weapons are also long-ranged (with the exception of the AC20) and you might want to prioritise those first.


Direct mass damage to one component is worse initially than lots of little packets of damage spread over your ‘Mech – so AC10s are probably more dangerous at the start of a fight than LRM15s, for example. Where an LRM and other “crit-seeking” weapons are more dangerous is when you have numerous armour breaches – towards the end of protected or hard-fought battles. You may prioritise these weapons later in a match depending on circumstances.


When you group together lots of smaller weapons, you can also multiply the threat – Hunchback-4P is a ‘Mech design with 7-8 Medium Lasers, SRM and LRM carriers mount several SRM or LRM launchers which, combined, can punish an inattentive commander focused on taking ‘Mechs down.


Massed flamers can be used to create a very specific disabling build which adds heat to a target’s heat track – preventing it from firing hot weapons, or causing it to shut down entirely in some cases. Flamers carry extremely limited charges, though, and so you have to pick your targets very carefully to avoid waste. An Ace Pilot with flamer build can be the quickest way to disable assault ‘Mechs.


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