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Author Topic: MOTx: Jackal  (Read 1667 times)

Greatclub

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MOTx: Jackal
« on: 23 September 2021, 17:39:53 »
OK, I know this first bit is going to be controversial, but: most of TRO:3055 rocked. 3050 had too many hot mess, 3058 alternated between OPTIMAL! and “wut?” Of the three, 3055 is my favourite; even most of the things that were bad were usually bad with balls; see Berserker.

One part of 3055 that kinda sucked was the inner sphere light mechs. The majority had things fundamentally wrong with them, from the fireball wasting its four tons of war-load to several otherwise fine mechs crippled with heat loads. The Jackal definitely started as one of ‘those’ 3055 light mech.

VEST was a company on Solaris who refitted mechs. Post Clan invasion, they got ambitious and started designing mechs, notably the Scarabus with it’s combat stapler and the Jackal, a fast sniper. Unfortunately, they couldn’t produce enough of the designs to fill a military contract and had to license out; Scarabus went to Coventry with the Lyrans, while the Grand Titan and Jackal went to the FWL.

The most plithty description of the Jackal I can come up with is “Panther that runs fast.” It’s built around a 210XL engine and an ER PPC. It makes sense, a mech with a long range gun, moving 7/11, 90% armor. The basic concept is fine, but the rest of the implementation after that lets it down.

Start with an anti-missile system. It’s a situationally useful bit of defence, mitigated by the fact that it places a ton of unCASEd explodium in the center torso, just waiting for a TAC. It bears mentioning though that under original AMS rules you were likely to run out of ammo before the frame ran out of armor if you were fighting a missile boat. The backup weapon is a streak 2 in the left arm and a ton of ammo. This used to be better when you could load a S2 with old-rules infernos, but even then it was mostly useful to be low heat critseeking. That ton of explodium went in the left torso, padded by the engine and the eleventh SHS.

Yes, you read that right, it has single heat sinks while rocking an ER PPC. A running alpha puts you at +9 heat. Just walking and firing the big gun sets you at +5, losing speed; when your basic mission of “move, snipe” makes you run hotter than a 3050 panther you know you have a problem. This all combines to give you a mech that feels very ‘early invasion’ in all the wrong ways.  What sounded the final knell for the -1532 Jackal was TRO:3058s Talon, which did the same thing much, much better.

Fast-forward to the year 2000 (3062 in game terms) and record sheets: upgrades comes out. It fixed a lot of mechs that needed makeovers, and the Jackal was no exception. The -55, which is a production model, drops the AMS and eleventh heat sink for a targeting computer and a half ton of armor. The increased accuracy helps move it out of the Talon’s shadow, and 99% armor is never bad. Best of all, it does the inevitable and upgrades to double sinks. Doubling the sinks even gives the remaining SRM ammo better padding. Against the majority of opponents the ‘55 is a clear upgrade;  BV goes up ~120 BV to 1034, but there really is no reason to play an OG Jackal unless you’re force-building before ‘66... or with accurate proportions.  You see, the -1532 Jackal was in production for 14 years, and the -55’s ended, along with all jackal production, during the Jihad.

Both model of Jackal soldiered on into the dark age, but the various FWL successors eventually decided to get some lemonade out of their aging -1532 lemons with an upgrade package. The 1579 was the prototype, doing the inevitable double-the-sinks,-drop-one trick that makes the mech feel usable to most players. From there the streak 2 takes a trip, reducing you to one weapon. The ER-PPC has a capacitor added, giving the mech a headcapper on some turns, but the centerpiece of the upgrade is the advanced Angel ECM suite, just the thing to screw with higher end dark age era electronics. Unfortunately, that means getting close to those electronics, and it’s still a 30 ton mech. You’re likely to only have a few turns to get your <1300 BV worth if you use it as an interdicter.

The final variant is a downgrade of the -1579, the -1578, produced as a standard conversion kit for -1532s. The angel becomes a guardian, and an ER small goes where the missiles once were. There is, unfortunately, no official record sheet, so either gin one up (not hard,) or run -1579 anyway. 

The Dark Age model belongs to the FWL factions and mercs, while the two original models were sold to FedCom, FWL and Mercs. It has decently wide distribution. The artwork and mini, however... skinny bird legs, SLDF egg body, and elbows that hit the uncanny valley with a hammer. Plog and Scroggins did their best in later depictions, but no version is a beauty.

Using one means staying mobile. Aim for a high TMM, try to think at least a turn ahead. You can either hang in the mid-line being irritating, or berserk forward trying for a backshot on somebody, but staying still will get you dead in most circumstances. If you’re in an original model watch your heat, you only have a couple turns before you need to hide for a while; plan to end behind a hill at that point and hope nobody else is there.

Fighting one is a matter of hitting it, as a 30 ton mech simply can’t have much armor. If you don’t have accuracy enhancers just send firepower downrange until it’s enough, assuming you don’t have anything that can run it down.  A Jackel is fast, but there are a lot of things faster.

TLDR: unless you're married to the TarComp on the -55 or the angel on -1579 there are better options for the same job, and even competitive BV.
« Last Edit: 24 September 2021, 16:10:27 by Greatclub »

Natasha Kerensky

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Re: MOTx: Jackal
« Reply #1 on: 24 September 2021, 01:22:30 »
Ignoring the single heat sinks on the original, which was just dumb...

I want to love a PPC on a mobile platform.  But the Spheroid XLE, center torso AMS ammo bay, and 50-turn SRM-2 ammo bay — in combination with 30-ton mech armor — make the Jackal impossible to love.  It’s not as unusable as the newer Cricket — another 7/11 30-tonner sporting peepers — in terms of low-durability/glass-cannon syndrome.  But it’s still too fragile.

Variants that eliminate the ammo issues, and maybe switch to an LFE while playing with snubbies, plasma cannons, Clan-grade ER PPCs, etc. would be welcome.  Speaking of Clan-grade, the Wolves now have the Jackal’s production lines on Keystone.  Maybe they could even make it look like a Jackal instead of a derpy beetle learning how to walk upright.

But they’d probably just replace it with the Devil, arguably the 30-tonner with a peeper done right.
« Last Edit: 24 September 2021, 10:39:05 by Natasha Kerensky »
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garhkal

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Re: MOTx: Jackal
« Reply #2 on: 24 September 2021, 10:51:12 »
I have never liked mechs that sport a FULL ton of SRM-2 ammo, but only ONE launcher to use them on..  IF it could have added in Ferro, then it could have freed up at least one ton more, to add in a 2nd launcher..
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Re: MOTx: Jackal
« Reply #3 on: 25 September 2021, 01:10:45 »
The original Jackal is one of those mechs you take because you don't have access to a better option.
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Orin J.

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Re: MOTx: Jackal
« Reply #4 on: 25 September 2021, 11:33:04 »
i love the concept of the Jackel, it feels like someone wanted to make a Hunchback in the most unexpected way possible. the problem is that using speed and range to ambush someone comes at the expense of accuracy so the whole idea fell apart and the tradeoff to try it boned the 'mech in the eyes of most mechjockeys. i don't know why, it's a 30-ton 'mech with an ISXL, it's going to drop before anyone hits the ammo anyways unless you get too free with the PPC shots.

visually though, i LOVE the potbellied little 'mech. those thin little limbs paired with that weirdly egg-shaped body and the giant cannon mounting are great and really tell you everything the Jackal is about. battlemechs unafraid to look silly are always th most memorable, and it's something i wished the computer games had embraced.
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Re: MOTx: Jackal
« Reply #5 on: 25 September 2021, 14:50:00 »
The original Jackal is one of those mechs you take because you don't have access to a better option.

The original Jackal I've never used by choice. I've only ever used it by rolling it on a RAT. It's also tied with the Spirit for being the worst looking 'Mech in the game.
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Re: MOTx: Jackal
« Reply #6 on: 25 September 2021, 15:28:55 »
Speaking of Clan-grade, the Wolves now have the Jackal’s production lines on Keystone.  Maybe they could even make it look like a Jackal instead of a derpy beetle learning how to walk upright.
But they’d probably just replace it with the Devil, arguably the 30-tonner with a peeper done right.
since the Wolf in exile has folded back into Clan Wolf, wouldn't they be more likely to produce the Pack Hunter, since it is not only one they already have plans for but also largely the same as a Devil? (slightly slower but can jump. and while it lacks FF armor, as seen in the novel "Path of Glory" it wouldn't be hard to upgrade it to mount such.)
« Last Edit: 25 September 2021, 15:30:38 by glitterboy2098 »

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Re: MOTx: Jackal
« Reply #7 on: 25 September 2021, 15:49:19 »
Check out Rec Guide 1 for the Wolve's new Pack Hunter built on a converted Hermes line.
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Diamondshark

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Re: MOTx: Jackal
« Reply #8 on: 25 September 2021, 18:21:18 »
What sounded the final knell for the -1532 Jackal was TRO:3058s Talon, which did the same thing much, much better.

I stan the Talon harder than any 'mech, it is far and away my favorite. My second favorite is the Wulfen, which is basically just a janky Talon IIC.
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Natasha Kerensky

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Re: MOTx: Jackal
« Reply #9 on: 25 September 2021, 19:17:41 »
since the Wolf in exile has folded back into Clan Wolf, wouldn't they be more likely to produce the Pack Hunter, since it is not only one they already have plans for but also largely the same as a Devil? (slightly slower but can jump. and while it lacks FF armor, as seen in the novel "Path of Glory" it wouldn't be hard to upgrade it to mount such.)

Probably.  With no jump jets, the Devil is just closer to the Jackal in design.  But Wolves would likely prefer the jumpy Pack Hunter that they’re more familiar with.
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MoneyLovinOgre4Hire

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Re: MOTx: Jackal
« Reply #10 on: 25 September 2021, 20:03:50 »
Would they?  Didn't think that the Wolves really liked jumping mechs.
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Re: MOTx: Jackal
« Reply #11 on: 26 September 2021, 10:32:59 »
Would they?  Didn't think that the Wolves really liked jumping mechs.

Canonically, the Wolf Empire designed and builds the Pack Hunter 5.  It jumps 210 meters.

The Wolves don’t dislike jumpers.  They’re just not as jump-crazy as their traditional opponents, the Falcons.  Any faction would appear to hate jumpers in comparison to today’s Falcons.
"Ah, yes.  The belle dame sans merci.  The sweet young thing who will blast your nuts off.  The kitten with a whip.  That mystique?"
"Slavish adherence to formal ritual is a sign that one has nothing better to think about."
"Variety is the spice of battle."
"I've fought in... what... a hundred battles, a thousand battles?  It could be a million as far as I know.  I've fought for anybody who offered a decent contract and a couple who didn't.  And the universe is not much different after all that.  I could go on fighting for another hundred years and it would still look the same."
"I'm in mourning for my life."
"Those who break faith with the Unity shall go down into darkness."

JadeHellbringer

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Re: MOTx: Jackal
« Reply #12 on: 26 September 2021, 10:50:05 »
They WERE the ones who brewed up the Pouncer, though whether that was a good idea or not is debatable in another thread. (Perhaps a MotW? Has that one been covered? I'll look later.)

Meanwhile. The Jackal. So, when I'm not wearing green feathers, I'm wearing purple feathers. I'm an FWL fan, and I actually like that the FWL builds flawed Mechs- it adds flavor to the faction, and really it's a sign that they're not designing Mechs to stand on their own as a one-man army- they're supposed to work as a team. A lone Eagle is a waste of time, a Yeoman is hot garbage,and together they can become something truly terrifying. (Or at least competent.)

The Jackal... and we're talking the original model here, with the single heat sinks... did no one pay attention to the Panther upgrade a couple of years prior? There's 'flawed but useful', and there's 'flawed to the point of being crippled by its own existence'. A Mech that relies on being quick to survive, that loses MP when it uses its main weapon? You forgive the heat issues on an Awesome, because it's not designed to be running around doing its job- it finds a firing position, plants its feet, and starts that 3-3-2 nightmare until it dies or you do. A Jackal though relies on being able to keep to-hit modifiers up, and that's hard to accomplish when you're stuck constantly picking between 'shoot' or 'scoot'. The AMS is a decent addition (I forgive the ammo placement as a relic from a bygone rule), the SRM is at least reasonable (I'd prefer a standard SRM-2, honestly, but again, a relic of its rule period), but... as with the Panther, either go with DHS- which we KNOW Marik had at this point from, oh, nearly every other design in the book of theirs (even the humble Apollo!), or use a standard PPC- which Marik no longer has a limited supply of in 3055, because if no other reason, all the PPCs getting stripped off old Awesomes for upgrade purposes had to go somewhere. You lose range, yes, but you also no longer melt your Mechwarrior, and that's a tradeoff I'm willing to personally make.

It's a shame, it's SO close to being a really useful and fun design- and the follow-ons with the better heat dissipation systems show that potential, for sure!- but what a dump of an original design. So close, so far away.

Also, one of the ugliest miniatures in the line. The redone art was a huge improvement, but it's still a dog of a Mech in the looks department, and I'm not sure a resculpt would be worth the effort for a Mech that will still be hideous, and is such a niche-unit to begin with.
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five_corparty

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Re: MOTx: Jackal
« Reply #13 on: 26 September 2021, 11:08:46 »
Variants that eliminate the ammo issues, and maybe switch to an LFE while playing with snubbies, plasma cannons, Clan-grade ER PPCs, etc. would be welcome.  Speaking of Clan-grade, the Wolves now have the Jackal’s production lines on Keystone.  Maybe they could even make it look like a Jackal instead of a derpy beetle learning how to walk upright.

Agree ALL: variants swapping weapons would be incredibly useful, and while a Jackal C would be an amazing ting, I can only IMAGINE how deadly a Jackal IIC would be: auto CASE, headcapper, DHS standard, lighter SRMs... it just goes one and on.  Really could be a heckuva addition to the tourman, IMHO.  :)

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Re: MOTx: Jackal
« Reply #14 on: 26 September 2021, 13:07:42 »
The most important information on a Jackal record sheet is the name. You have to actually use it like a jackal. Run in packs, keep your speed up, and only dash in for your shot when it's worth it. If you have good numbers AND can get to cover the next turn, that's when you take the shot. Then you get to that cover you already had picked out and cool down, while another Jackal goes in for their shot.
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Re: MOTx: Jackal
« Reply #15 on: 27 September 2021, 10:19:50 »
i love the concept of the Jackel, it feels like someone wanted to make a Hunchback in the most unexpected way possible. the problem is that using speed and range to ambush someone comes at the expense of accuracy so the whole idea fell apart and the tradeoff to try it boned the 'mech in the eyes of most mechjockeys.

It strikes me as being more the FWL's answer to the Hollander. Single, big damage gun on a fast platform that could support light 'Mechs. Something to dissuade pursuit and allow the other light units to break contact.
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Re: MOTx: Jackal
« Reply #16 on: 27 September 2021, 10:27:15 »
Very good point. If the Unfinished Book BattleMech Manual quirk list gives this thing Extended Torso Twist, it would be an extremely useful rearguard during chase scenarios.
"Thanks to Megamek, I can finally play BattleTech the way it was meant to be played--pantsless!"   -Neko Bijin
"It's just that the Hegemony had one answer to every naval problem. 'I kills it with my battleships.'" - Liam's Ghost
"...finally, giant space panties don't seem so strange." - Whistler
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garhkal

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Re: MOTx: Jackal
« Reply #17 on: 27 September 2021, 14:32:51 »
It strikes me as being more the FWL's answer to the Hollander. Single, big damage gun on a fast platform that could support light 'Mechs. Something to dissuade pursuit and allow the other light units to break contact.

But unlike the hollander, it has more armor!
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Re: MOTx: Jackal
« Reply #18 on: 04 October 2021, 13:27:22 »
The most important information on a Jackal record sheet is the name. You have to actually use it like a jackal. Run in packs, keep your speed up, and only dash in for your shot when it's worth it. If you have good numbers AND can get to cover the next turn, that's when you take the shot. Then you get to that cover you already had picked out and cool down, while another Jackal goes in for their shot.

EXACTLY like a Clan Packhunter
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Re: MOTx: Jackal
« Reply #19 on: 04 October 2021, 13:30:22 »
With less margin for error, but yes.
"Thanks to Megamek, I can finally play BattleTech the way it was meant to be played--pantsless!"   -Neko Bijin
"It's just that the Hegemony had one answer to every naval problem. 'I kills it with my battleships.'" - Liam's Ghost
"...finally, giant space panties don't seem so strange." - Whistler
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Greatclub

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Re: MOTx: Jackal
« Reply #20 on: 04 October 2021, 14:16:13 »
You don't have a margin for either error or bad luck. With the original model, I'm not sure you even have margin for average luck

The -55 has a slender niche though - there are three 7/11 mechs with ER PPC and tarcomps. It's the cheapest by 500bv.
« Last Edit: 04 October 2021, 21:14:04 by Greatclub »

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Re: MOTx: Jackal
« Reply #21 on: 04 October 2021, 14:27:32 »
Here's a question for folks:

How much does a Jackal's utility increase in your eyes, if they're grouped with a Mobile HQ, or some other initiative-boosting command unit?
"Thanks to Megamek, I can finally play BattleTech the way it was meant to be played--pantsless!"   -Neko Bijin
"It's just that the Hegemony had one answer to every naval problem. 'I kills it with my battleships.'" - Liam's Ghost
"...finally, giant space panties don't seem so strange." - Whistler
"Damn you, Weirdo... Damn you for being right!" - Paul
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MoneyLovinOgre4Hire

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Re: MOTx: Jackal
« Reply #22 on: 04 October 2021, 16:11:43 »
Well, it's better than a Jackal without a bonus to initiative, but still not something I'd seek out.
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Re: MOTx: Jackal
« Reply #23 on: 05 October 2021, 09:52:21 »
The -55 has a slender niche though - there are three 7/11 mechs with ER PPC and tarcomps. It's the cheapest by 500bv.
Yeah I am going to have to give this thing a whirl at some point when I make my way back to the table.  The Talon is fairly cheap, but I think I'd take the small reduction in speed and cost to for the TC.  I'm rarely, if ever, in a position where I'm going to use the medium lasers on a Talon.

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Re: MOTx: Jackal
« Reply #24 on: 10 October 2021, 21:54:34 »
But unlike the hollander, it has more armor!

dude, I smacked a Hollander with an Improved H-Gauss this weekend (Lightning BattleMech, Rec guides 14, -chef's kiss- Gawd, it's a nice mech) and I forgot how flimsy those poor things are.  hit an undamaged torso, took out... well, a LOT. ;-) hahaha

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Re: MOTx: Jackal
« Reply #25 on: 10 October 2021, 22:21:37 »
The Hollander's a 35 ton mech.  That puts a hard limit on its durability potential.  On top of that, it tries packing a huge gun with a standard engine.  Didn't leave itself much room for armor.
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Re: MOTx: Jackal
« Reply #26 on: 10 October 2021, 22:39:26 »
The Hollander's a 35 ton mech.  That puts a hard limit on its durability potential.  On top of that, it tries packing a huge gun with a standard engine.  Didn't leave itself much room for armor.
didn't help it was standing still! A 35 ton mech with NO TMM? and me here with a iHG and HPPC?

...

well.... ok, what the heck, let me remove you from life...  ;) ;D ;D

MoneyLovinOgre4Hire

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Re: MOTx: Jackal
« Reply #27 on: 11 October 2021, 00:54:55 »
At that point the only possible conclusion is that it's suicidal.
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Re: MOTx: Jackal
« Reply #28 on: 11 October 2021, 03:19:42 »
Was the shot Mr. Confetti got off at least worth dying for?

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Re: MOTx: Jackal
« Reply #29 on: 11 October 2021, 07:30:12 »
Was the shot Mr. Confetti got off at least worth dying for?

no, it was a free for all and all it did was annoy an Alacorn.  :D ;D