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Author Topic: ’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker  (Read 38433 times)

Kotetsu

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’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker
« on: 19 April 2013, 16:38:57 »
’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker

The Berserker. A Norseman with infamous battle rage, wearing a bearskin (literally, bear sark). Evolved into meaning anyone who is a little crazy and violent. A frightening, 100-ton monster that stalks the battlefields and arenas.

Seriously, wouldn’t you be frightened by a fire-breathing machine stalking you with a massive axe?

Designed as a state-of-the-art machine, the Berserker took years to perfect. Defiance of Hesperus II made it one of the most tested machines in history. They also spared little expense. And it is one of, if not, the best design in BattleTech history.

Then again, I tend to like things that get up close and get their foe’s blood on their hands.

I do have two quibbles with the design. First, no variant has maximum armor, or even Atlas-like armor. The other quibble I’ll get to later.

Defiance spent massive amounts during research and development. So much that there was a chance the design wouldn’t make it off the drawing boards. Finally, in 3056, the BRZ-A3 Berserker strode forth. From the beginning it was a hit with the Lyran establishment for being a fast 100-tonner. The FRR also bought some, and the Solaris arenas loved the design. Mercenaries also have access to the design, but being able to afford one seems outside the normal mercenary paradigm.

This machine is built around an endo-steel skeleton and is powered by a 400-rated LTV extralight engine, the most expensive engine outside of large and superlight models. This powerplant gives the Berserker unrivalled speed at its weight. The use of MASC only adds to this. Armor is a whopping eighteen and a half tons of standard plate (though half a ton under the Atlas). This is laid out in a 9, 45/15, 31/10, 34, 38 pattern (head, center front/rear, side front/rear, arms, legs). Sixteen double heat sinks struggle with the heat load. Weapons start with the seven-ton hatchet in the machine’s right hand. Hitting with the force of a Class-20 autocannon, this thing alone can tear light ’Mech’s apart. For giving the Berserker the chance to get close enough to use that cleaver, the design mounts an extended particle cannon in the left arm, and twin large pulse lasers, one in each side torso. A head-mounted flamer adds to the intimidation factor. Finally, there is a Guardian ECM suite and a centerline anti-missile system mounted for added defense. This brings me to the last quibble. While I understand that the internal structure can take it, the placement of the ammo for the AMS is a bit… nerve-wracking. At least in the prior rules set the thing would be empty when someone hit it… unless they got that darn Golden BB.

The BRZ-A3 held the distinction of being the most expensive Inner Sphere BattleMech for two years. At that time, the Sunder arrived, and its B configuration surpassed the -A3, mostly on the backs of the twin C3 Masters the B carries. The Clan Executioner also surpasses it, for while its engine is cheaper, being an OmniMech is expensive it its own right. According to my notes, the only things since to surpass any of them either have a superlight (XXL) engine, or have some form of C3 (Turkina Z, from the Society’s Nova CEWS).

Around the same time as the BRZ-A3 hit the market, so did the BRZ-B3 model. This design is 60,000 C-Bills cheaper, which puts it just under the -A3 on the price list. This model swaps the large pulse lasers for a pair of 10-pack LRMs. All four tons of ammunition are stored in the right arm under the PPC. While able to run cool, this is perhaps the worst of the bunch. After all, it’s hard to close-in if one of your main weapon systems has minimums.

(Just ask the one I took into that first Headhunter game. I’d have killed the Mauler if I had taken the BRZ-A3.)

After the FedCom Civil War, as the Lyran military machine needed to rebuild, Defiance unveiled a new Berserker variant. The BRZ-C3 is the best of the bunch. First the engine was replaced with a light model. Second, the MASC system was removed and TSM was installed, now allowing the hatchet to hit with enough force to cut a Timber Wolf in half. In place of the large pulse lasers, a trio of extended-model medium lasers are in each torso. Finally, one heat sink was removed to install a C3 Slave, so that your friends can shoot what they want as you close in to deliver your axe-blow.

Sometime after the Jihad, Defiance revisited the Berserker and successfully intergrated a lot of more “modern” improvements. It differs from the -C3 by dropping the Slave, replacing the trio of mediums with paired Clantech variants, swaps the ECM suite for an Angel model, adds jump jets (finally), utilizes endo-composite structure, and swaps the PPC for a Bombast laser to allow for another way to moderate one’s heat (though the gunnery problems with that weapon leave something to be desired). Finally, one point of armor from each leg is removed, as the design uses the new Impact Resistant Armor. While this helps when in melee combat, it is less effective against things like Armor Piercing shells, and breech checks underwater. Sixteen double heat sinks deal with the heat load as best they can.

Using one is simple. Point yourself at your chosen foe and wade forward, spitting fire and PPC blasts until you get there, and then act like a Viking. Hack, hack, hack. Giggling like a maniacal schoolgirl helps with the psychological warfare, too. Use the MASC only when necessary. Or with the BRZ-C3, keep your heat up (not hard) and go all Hulk on some poor fool. Since getting there is half the battle, do use terrain as much as possible. That is, go behind the tree-lined ridge, and burst forth when needed. Since the BRZ-C3 can tie into a network, bring some guys with long-range guns. Always fun to rain Gauss fire down on your foes while the big guy with the axe gets attention. Even better if it draws some fire from him.

Fighting one is not so simple. He is a 100-tonner, after-all. The best strategy is fire at him until he stops moving. But if he has friends this can get dicey. The second best is to put road-blocks in his path. Make him go in ways that spend his movement suboptimally. Whether this is minefields, or expendable units. Or just fast ones that know how to get in with high numbers, and get out with even higher ones. There is also the like-with-like strategy. As in, bring a number of melee machines to go toe-to-toe with him. This can range from a Berserker of your own, to No-Dachis or Ti Ts’angs (if you’re slightly more exotic, Cudgels also work). When he does get in close, do not be afraid to put multiple machines in contact with him. While he can swing once, you can kick or swing multiple times. Against the -C3, making at least one of those huggers have ECM is also a good idea. Actually, that might be the best idea, as everyone else in his network will be at range 1 otherwise.

As said before, I do not know the state of the production lines. I can only hope that this design lumbers forth into the Dark Ages and causes much pain to any invaders that try and stop them. I mean, look, the design’s name practically screams Dark Ages to many…
« Last Edit: 27 January 2014, 18:31:21 by Kotetsu »

martian

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker
« Reply #1 on: 19 April 2013, 17:06:31 »
Berserkers -A3 and -C3 are pretty nasty 'Mechs, -C3 is much better. In right hands and the right terrain it may be utterly devastating.

With -B3 model, Defiance designers missed the point completely. This 'Mech has some kind of existentional crisis - it wields multi-ton hatchet and at the same time is has firepower of a medium fire-support 'Mech.



It's interesting that Lyrans have sold those 'Mechs to Regulans.

I guess that both sides are okay with the deal: Lyrans are making money and providing Regulans with BattleMechs that will be used for attacks against the Marik-Stewart Commonwealth (and thus weaken this enemy of Lyrans), while Regulans are getting 'Mechs suitable for their "smash-the-mouth" attitude and filling out their lack of 'Mechs of heaviest category.

As for Blakists, they used their resources for BNC-8S Banshee which fills similar niche.

RyuWanderfalke

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker
« Reply #2 on: 19 April 2013, 17:17:04 »
C3 is the only one worth looking at. For a canon design it's actually quite a beast given the era. And kudos for the general idea, though it can still be refined to another level  }:)

George_Labour

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker
« Reply #3 on: 19 April 2013, 17:25:58 »
Considering how expensive this thing is it sure seems to turn up in a lot of places. The Kungsarme seem to have entire lances of them, as does a merc unit that fought against the Jade Falcons early on in the Jihad.

Now it's also ending up in the Regulan fiefs and I imagine the Marians have a handful simply because a fire breathing axe murderer mech seems like a toy that space romans would want to use on a 'morale raising tour' in occupied areas.

Though I have different feelings between the A3 and C3 variants as I mostly play in QS. in that ruleset the original often comes up better just because the MASC becomes part of its permanent movement which gives it a bit of extra move at all times, but also pushes it Defense modifier up to a +2. While it loses one point of structure, that really means very little considering how damage tends to accumulate in QS. Though it is three points cheaper.

In comparison the C3 starts at a +1 defense with slower movement, and has to overheat to get the same movement and DM. It then gets an extra point of damage in melee (bringing it to a scary 6 points) but loses in accuracy which I often find more important. But that combination of C3 with inherent ECM can be handy, and the intimidation value of that potential physical attack damage seems to throw some people off. Though I'm not sure the all of that and the extra point of structure is worth the extra points as I could use those meager points to add some battle armor or light vehicle to the same force.

martian

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker
« Reply #4 on: 19 April 2013, 17:28:16 »
Berserker has one of the coolest illustrations:
"Intimidating Paint Job"
 >:D
« Last Edit: 19 April 2013, 17:31:27 by martian »

garhkal

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker
« Reply #5 on: 19 April 2013, 18:13:37 »
Ahh.. the 100 ton firebreathing hatchet wielding goodness that is the berserker..
Wonders why they never opted to create a version sporting TSM instead of MASC...
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RyuWanderfalke

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker
« Reply #6 on: 19 April 2013, 18:21:19 »
Ahh.. the 100 ton firebreathing hatchet wielding goodness that is the berserker..
Wonders why they never opted to create a version sporting TSM instead of MASC...

C3

wellspring

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker
« Reply #7 on: 19 April 2013, 21:30:57 »
Ahh.. the 100 ton firebreathing hatchet wielding goodness that is the berserker..
Wonders why they never opted to create a version sporting TSM instead of MASC...

Or, perhaps, TSM + a supercharger.  >:D

JadeHellbringer

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker
« Reply #8 on: 19 April 2013, 21:42:02 »
Berserker has one of the coolest illustrations:
"Intimidating Paint Job"
 >:D

I wish the axe on the miniature looked that good. That's an AXE. The mini has... eh, I don't even know what you'd call that, but it's not nearly as intimidating.
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UnLimiTeD

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker
« Reply #9 on: 19 April 2013, 21:47:31 »
I prefer a Hatched that looks like It'll actually pierce Mech armor, instead of just looking like a large woodcutter.

I know this wouldn't be a real Berzerker anymore, but how would this design fare with a Lance?
Edit: Sorry, I mean a Battlemech Lance (weapon), not the 4 mech organization. As far as I can tell, that weapon has certain desirable quirks.
« Last Edit: 20 April 2013, 06:32:29 by UnLimiTeD »
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Re: ’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker
« Reply #10 on: 19 April 2013, 22:55:01 »
As said before, I do not know the state of the production lines. I can only hope that this design lumbers forth into the Dark Ages and causes much pain to any invaders that try and stop them. I mean, look, the design’s name practically screams Dark Ages to many…

Funny thing about that,  MWDA Novel, To Ride the Chimera, 1st Regulan Hussars had Berserker fighting on Atreus against Thaddeus Marik and his united "future" League Forces.
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Nikas_Zekeval

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker
« Reply #11 on: 19 April 2013, 23:57:43 »
I don't know, I've think that the Berserker feels underarmed for it's size.  The A3 has a single ten point weapon that reaches beyond ten hexes.  It can't generate a knockdown hit without overheating, and to get that at a run will slow you down the next turn.  Not a good idea for a mech built around the whole idea of run into someone's face and smash him to bits.  The B3 can reliably generate knockdown power at range, and is a near alpha baby (+1 in the unlikely case of running, using the main guns, the AMS and the flamer), but like the Axeman the close in hatchet and the LRMs are a poor match.

The C3 can generate a fair amount of firepower at 12 hexes.  The problem is the need to heat up the TSM.  If you do that early you are working with a plus one to hit, and have a max of 5 ERMLs (Plus the flamer and a run) to keep heat neutral.  Getting to nine is hard, most likely shutting down a DHS for a turn to get the math to work.  The trick is dealing with the variable nature of the AMS activation to your attempts to balance the heat.

I can see it being popular in Solaris.  Most arenas are small enough that you can't dance around one.  But playing as a Merc I'd sell it off and use the funds for a more long range focused assault mech.  An Awesome AWS-9M, Banshee BNC-5S, Nightstar NSR-9FC or Albatross for example could hit with potential PSR level firepower all the way in, while keeping the same maneuverability.  And leave enough cash left over for a medium or even heavy mech in the bargain.
« Last Edit: 20 April 2013, 09:07:40 by Nikas_Zekeval »

William J. Pennington

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker
« Reply #12 on: 20 April 2013, 00:52:02 »
I've never been impressed by them. Giving up 7 tons and Criticals for the increased hatchet damage (just 10 points over a single punch) results in an underarmed costly assault mech. Hatchets, or any of the other physical weapons just don't inspire me  as much as when I was a younger fan.  I now just see a waste of tonnage in a weapon with no range, that suffers the additional penalty of having to survive the firing phase and a knockdown check to boot to be of use.  I'd rather just drop that hatchet, add jump, more close in weapons, and kick or double punch. It would be even better if it could jump 5.

That said, the  C3 is at least a worthy threat. The first has a popgun at range and is otherwise a side torso casualty, perhaps best used as a fire magnet to draw attention from your real threats while generating a high DMM combined with initally tough armor.  The second one is just confused and hates itself.

martian

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker
« Reply #13 on: 20 April 2013, 01:43:02 »
I wish the axe on the miniature looked that good. That's an AXE. The mini has... eh, I don't even know what you'd call that, but it's not nearly as intimidating.

I have always hated Hatchets and Swords looking like monstrous copycats of human-size weapons. For example the Buccaneer's Hatchet or the No-Dachi's Sword. Or that stupid Naginata the new Shiro is equipped is pretty stupid. I think that you simply can't scale human size weapon fifteen-times up for a 'Mech use and keep the exact shape of it.

So while I agree that Berserker's mini Hatchet is not exceptional, I really like Berserker's Hatchet from the cover of TRO:3055U and Plogg's illustration inside. You know, the Hatchet with the side handle which allows both for a swing and at the same time it gives a good reach.
Or BL-9-KNT Black Knight's sword-like Hatchet is good.
Both those weapons have some fell of 80's in them. Ancient weapons redesigned in 80's fashion to be efficient on modern machines ...

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker
« Reply #14 on: 20 April 2013, 06:41:59 »
Objectives: LA has the Berserker still in production at DefHes; maybe updating it is seen as unnecessary or a low priority
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UnLimiTeD

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker
« Reply #15 on: 20 April 2013, 07:20:55 »
Well, it's good at what it does, and whether that is something useful is a question to be asked.
Going down a speed level, but adding a supercharger and armoring just about everything in the design might actually cheapen the mech.^^
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Re: ’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker
« Reply #16 on: 20 April 2013, 09:45:01 »
Going down a speed level, but adding a supercharger and armoring just about everything in the design might actually cheapen the mech.^^

That'd only work if you went with a cheaper engine type as well. Keep the XL and the supercharger will just eat your cost savings with a little left over for dessert.

But I suppose it's possible, though I really don't know if it's worth it. The best a base 3/5 can eke out of having both TSM currently active and using a supercharger is 7 MP -- Walk 3, x 2 for supercharger, +2 for TSM, -1 for heat 9. (That's how current TacOps errata says it works -- the TSM adds to the supercharger, not the other way around.) That's actually 1 MP slower than what any of the canon models can achieve, and it's only doable by both keeping the heat exactly right and risking supercharger failure each turn you need it.

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker
« Reply #17 on: 20 April 2013, 10:31:14 »
I'm not really seeing the cost issue. It's Lyran after all. The money saved on all those Fafnirs with their SFEs should easily make up for the increased cost of a couple Berserkers. Heck, just put a supercharger on a 400 LFE or XL while it retains the TSM. A mech like that is allowed to cost 38 million+.



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Re: ’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker
« Reply #18 on: 20 April 2013, 11:23:34 »
I love how flashy and brutal the Berserker is, but what bothers me is that i've been told by many folks.  Kicking specially the TSM enhanced version just more damaging than the hatchet. 
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Re: ’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker
« Reply #19 on: 20 April 2013, 11:27:05 »
In how far is that more damaging than potentially 40 points to the head, torso, arms or legs instead of 40 points just to the legs?
Not to mention the loss in style.

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker
« Reply #20 on: 20 April 2013, 11:28:35 »
the Berserker, a 100-ton monster rushing you at a pace more expected of 'mechs half it's weight, pouring laser fire into it's chosen victim and lapping at it with a tongue of molten fusion fire, all while trying to drive a 7-tonne sharpened slab of metal into your cockpit and crush you. there's something to be said of a 'mech apparently made to give mechwarriors the feeling they're the victim in a horror film, and unfortunately that sort of talk is against the rules of the board as per rule 2.  >:D

So while I agree that Berserker's mini Hatchet is not exceptional, I really like Berserker's Hatchet from the cover of TRO:3055U and Plogg's illustration inside.

fortunately, the look of the hatchet looks to be a fairly simple mod....lop the hatchet off and cut the handle out so the front of the base will fit as the bottom edge of the "handle" and file down the leftovers for the top half and it ought to work fine.....if only i have the time to try it....
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Re: ’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker
« Reply #21 on: 20 April 2013, 12:02:09 »
Do claws hit on the punch table?  Because if they do, a TSM-equipped Clawzerker would be even more of a monster.
« Last Edit: 20 April 2013, 12:12:26 by Arkansas Warrior »
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Re: ’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker
« Reply #22 on: 20 April 2013, 12:12:28 »
Yeah. Two hits with 20 damage respectively.
Though you have a to hit penalty of +1 and lack the ability to take out a whole location with a single strike on a heavy mech as with the hatchet.

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker
« Reply #23 on: 20 April 2013, 12:47:48 »
Would a Lance be used like a Hatchet or a Claw?
I really need to grab the respective book, I suppose.
The Berzerker is also one of the cases where the engine really gets to it's limits;
It's a mech that could free up weight by getting lighter.^^ Imagine you can make a race car faster just by downsizing it's engine.^^
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A. Lurker

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker
« Reply #24 on: 20 April 2013, 13:44:51 »
I love how flashy and brutal the Berserker is, but what bothers me is that i've been told by many folks.  Kicking specially the TSM enhanced version just more damaging than the hatchet.

Yeah, kicks are overrated under the rules. That's pretty much the gist of it. There's not even any sort of in-universe narrative justification for why apparently every single 'Mech design in existence apparently develops a spontaneous case of "pulse legs" as soon as it decides to kick.

But that's the way it goes, and given the usual amounts of inertia behind BT's rules I don't expect the respective to-hit modifiers of physical attacks (which are really the main thing wrong with kicks as written) to change anytime soon. I use them, too...

...doesn't mean I don't have a small "Yeah! Take that, kicks!" moment anytime I actually manage to deliver a telling blow with some dedicated physical weapon or other, though. ;)

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker
« Reply #25 on: 20 April 2013, 19:06:02 »
I'm not really seeing the cost issue. It's Lyran after all. The money saved on all those Fafnirs with their SFEs should easily make up for the increased cost of a couple Berserkers. Heck, just put a supercharger on a 400 LFE or XL while it retains the TSM. A mech like that is allowed to cost 38 million+.



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I look at it more from a Merc perspective.  The Berserker is a very specialized, and very expensive mech.  If you can't get next to a target it is arguably matched by medium mechs in firepower.  I have to look at repair bills and replacement costs.  Also it is a gimmick mech.  When it steps onto the field both sides KNOW how it is going to fight.  Try to close with an important enough target and club it to death, repeat until victory or incapacitation.

The Berserker is going to get badly shot up due to it's mission profile.  I'd rather sell it and buy two really good (if smaller) mechs which are more flexible, but more flexible and less likely to be shot to hell after every fight.

UnLimiTeD

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker
« Reply #26 on: 20 April 2013, 19:08:39 »
I recommend making it even more expensive with stealth armor and Angel ECM, trusting that the enemy will want to shoot at it, and watching him just not hit.
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Re: ’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker
« Reply #27 on: 21 April 2013, 00:57:27 »
I've never been impressed by them. Giving up 7 tons and Criticals for the increased hatchet damage (just 10 points over a single punch) results in an underarmed costly assault mech. Hatchets, or any of the other physical weapons just don't inspire me  as much as when I was a younger fan.  I now just see a waste of tonnage in a weapon with no range, that suffers the additional penalty of having to survive the firing phase and a knockdown check to boot to be of use.  I'd rather just drop that hatchet, add jump, more close in weapons, and kick or double punch. It would be even better if it could jump 5.

While yes, the hatchet does take a lot of tonnage (and crits) that could be better used for other weapons (or equipment), its the fear factor it inspires..  a 20 point hatchet (which imo SHOULD be allowed to get used with a punch, but by my reading of the rules its either a hatchet OR punch).  But add in TSM that is now 40 points!

That said, the  C3 is at least a worthy threat. The first has a popgun at range and is otherwise a side torso casualty, perhaps best used as a fire magnet to draw attention from your real threats while generating a high DMM combined with initally tough armor.  The second one is just confused and hates itself.

IMO the C3 is more to aid its comrades in shooting the target the berserker is running in the face of (LRMs while it closes, gauss rifles, AC-10s/RAC5s, ER larges/PPCs/ER ppcs when in close).

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I recommend making it even more expensive with stealth armor and Angel ECM, trusting that the enemy will want to shoot at it, and watching him just not hit.

OUCH...  But since you need 2 slots free in each location (bar the CT and head) and with the hatchet you only get one in that arm, you could not do it.
It's not who you kill, but how they die!
You can't shoot what you can't see.
You can not dodge it if you don't know it's coming.

martian

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker
« Reply #28 on: 21 April 2013, 02:39:31 »
While yes, the hatchet does take a lot of tonnage (and crits) that could be better used for other weapons (or equipment), its the fear factor it inspires.. 

It's the similar problem as with the old HBK-4G Hunchback in 3025 games - BRZ-C3 simply attracts disproportionate amount of enemy fire because of those 40-points Hatchet swings.

Scrollreader

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: BRZ-*3 Berserker
« Reply #29 on: 21 April 2013, 02:46:52 »
Your 'problem' is my 'at least they are shooting a heavily armored assault Mech'.  Also, IMO, all melee Mechs benefit from using Tac Ops.  A Berserker with the ability to walk and axe someone after the movement phase gives a whole new meaning to 'bubble of doom'