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Author Topic: Repost: Mech of the Week: ARC-* Archer  (Read 16835 times)

Moonsword

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Repost: Mech of the Week: ARC-* Archer
« on: 26 January 2011, 19:18:45 »
'Mech of the Week Update: ARC-* Archer

(The original article is here.)

The Archer, along with many of its brethren from that first generation of 'Mechs, is a living legend to both the players and the characters of BattleTech.  A very old BattleMech in the history of the game, dating all the way back to 2474, the Archer has been in this game from the beginning and was on the battlefield a mere thirty-five years after the Mackie.  It's also had the distinction of being the chosen machine of not one but two of the 31st century's great mercenary commanders, Morgan Kell and Jaime Wolf.  Originally intended to function as an assault 'Mech, time has withered that to "only" a heavy's status but the design's purpose of pounding the enemy from afar remains intact.  It became enormously popular with the average MechWarrior for its toughness and firepower, with over a hundred thousand of the ARC-2R original built before the beginning of the Succession Wars, and its popularity continues even after the Jihad.  As time has gone on, a number of variants and upgrades have appeared, from the old tinkering that led to a number of variants during the Succession Wars to the latest and most advanced Archers to appear in the field.  The 'Mech is also one of those known as the Unseen, the 'Mechs based on non-BattleTech imagery that were later replaced with the Reseen, revealed in that brief, shining window when everyone thought the matter was finally laid to rest, and then Unseen again.  Its publishing history is long, with appearances in TRO3025 and TRO3039 for the originals, TRO3050 for the Clan era upgrades, TRO: Phoenix Project, as one of the Royals in Operation KLONDIKE, and finally a brand new generation of Archers for the late Jihad debuting in TRO3085.  But enough of history, be it fictional or publishing.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Archer!

The original Archer known to all old-time players of the game and beloved to many is the ARC-2R.  The model built by the tens of thousands before the Succession Wars alone, this simple, reliable, effective design and its capabilities still act as one of the benchmarks some people turn to when they design LRM 'Mechs.  At 70 tons, it falls into the upper half of the heavy weight class and is comfortable there as long as someone doesn't confuse it for a short-range powerhouse, something it definitely is not.  The technology was standard for the late Age of War or Succession Wars, standard everything, with a 280-rated VOX fusion plant driving the 'Mech at flank speeds up to 64.8 km/h for the standard 4/6 movement curve that most of the heavies of the period used.  The armor was thick, 9 points shy of maximum, and the arrangement was done very well overall.  An AC/20 won't even strip any forward location while the center can survive a double tap from a Gauss rifle with three points left over.  The rear CT, another very vital location, has 10 points, and the rear sides have 6, enough to take an IS MPL.  What really defined the Archer more than anything else, though, was the armament.  Each arm boasted a medium laser while two more faced rear from the center torso to deal with any flankers.  The main punch was provided by a pair of 20 tube Doombud LRM launchers, one in each torso, carrying the now-standard 12 shots per launcher.  With only ten heat sinks, an Archer ran hot, but a lot of 'Mechs did the same thing in those days, and it was nothing compared to luminaries like the Rifleman or Marauder.  With the reach and flexibility of LRMs, the Archer became a beloved and reliable member of many heavy and fire support units.  It needed help up close but had the armor to survive someone trying to end an LRM barrage by the expedient of destroying the units responsible.  This is one of those few Introductory-level units I'd put on a short list to take against the Clans or into the Jihad when I feel the need.  It's that solid.

TRO3025, the grandfather of publications such as the recent TRO3085, stated on the subject of Archer variants, "The many modifications to the Archer design over the centuries could themselves fill a book."  Considering the number of variants that we can confirm existing then and the way they've continued to proliferate since, I'm not inclined to argue the point.  Three variants other than the original ARC-2R date all the way back to TRO3025 although the book itself suggests that there may be two more, a point I've been unable to verify.  (The ARC-2Rb apparently predates the Amaris Civil War but, as a Royal 'Mech, may not have been known or at least publicized at the time of TRO3025's publication by ComStar.  All the others apparently postdate the book's in character publishing date.)

The most extensive of these variants is the ARC-2K of House Kurita, with a number in service with the KungsArme.  The Kuritans went ahead and removed all of the 'Mech's weapons along with two tons of armor.  Frequent readers of mine probably don't need to be told this but I could wish they'd been able to find a better way to get two tons.  The LRMs were replaced by FarFire 15-tube models.  The rest of the tonnage went into a pair of large lasers (one in each arm) and two more heat sinks.  Despite the better range overlap, I really don't recommend alpha strikes unless you have a near perfect shot.  The armor itself is still thick over the 'Mech's vitals, with the side torsos passing the AC/20 test.  Running the heat scale up is all well and good but a +14 spike (not counting movement) isn't something to be done casually.  The ammo endurance is better and the firepower when it's not tossing LRMs down range is also better as well as more flexible but I'm not sure it's worth the loss of armor and LRM power.  On the other hand, I tend to be a little more conservative than some of my fellows, and Mongoose is correct in his assessment that aggressive operators will find it a welcome unit.

House Steiner and Wolf's Dragoons opted to do something a bit different to improve short-range power.  The lasers are intact but the launchers were replaced by a mixture of two 15 tube LRM launchers and a pair of quad-tube SRM racks, with 32 rounds of LRMs (4 tons) and 50 rounds of SRMs (2 tons).  Those of you expecting infantry or tanks, I suggest bringing Inferno rounds.  Pretty decent overall even if it does seem like a Crusader knock-off and I prefer it to the Dragoons' solution.  Instead of downgrading the launchers, the Dragoons simply yanked the rear lasers and three tons of armor to install a pair of SRM 4s sharing a single ton of ammo.  Kind of predictably, the new ton of ammo is in the center torso.  I guess they don't like salvaging their 'Mechs?  The armor reduction was mostly felt on the limbs, although the drop from 33 points to 22 on the CT is something that has to have made its mark as Gauss rifles got more common.

With TRO3050 came a great many sins against 'Mech kind.  The ARC-4M Archer built by the Free Worlds League wasn't one of them.  Oh, no, not at all.  In a tome of LosTech horrors, the ARC-4M is a shining example of a LosTech upgrade done exactly right.  Start with the ARC-2R.  First, upgrade the heat sinks - 10 freezers is perfectly sinked for the 18 heat and 2 running from a forward barrage, a wonderful feeling for every ARC-2R driver who ever lived.  The launchers had Artemis IV fire control suites added.  Those of you pointing out ECM need to remember this is 3050.  The ECM suites that seem to be growing out of the ground like weeds sometimes today (especially amongst the Cappies) need to remember that the electronic warfare environment was a lot less populated back then, although there's some to be found.  Another ton went into CASE for each torso, making this one of the more highly survivable 'Mechs around although if it loses both sides, a quick retreat is definitely in order.  The remaining half ton was invested into another half-ton of armor, one whole point shy of max.  All of the armor wound up on the legs, enabling them to pass the double Gauss test.  The old Star League Royal ARC-2Rb Archer featured in Operation KLONDIKE is very similar save that it replaces one of the rear-facing lasers with another ton of LRM ammo in the left torso.  Mercenaries and regular units alike will be quite pleased to acquire one of these Archers and, thanks to the deal struck by Hanse Davion and the false Thomas Marik, the ARC-4M can be found in a lot of places.  The ARC-2Rb is limited to the Royal Regiments of the Star League Defense Force and scattered among the various factions involved in the Pentagon Civil War and the Clans, so you're not going to find as many of them, but given their doughty nature, I wouldn't be surprised if one was pulled out of a Brian Cache in the Jihad.

The ARC-5R Archer was built on Satalice by Gorton, Kingsley, and Thorpe Enterprises for the Free Rasalhague Republic.  If the ARC-4M is the successor of the ARC-2R, the ARC-5R is the worthy continuance of the ARC-2K's line.  Just like the ARC-4M, it uses endo-steel bones to free up 3.5 tons and upgrades to double heat sinks.  The FarFires put in another appearance but are coupled to Artemis IV fire control modules. CASE was added to keep ammunition explosions from being a lethal event for the 'Mech.  The lasers were upgraded to extended-range Victory Nickel Alloy models that reach out almost as far as the missiles do, although their heat load is considerable.  Another half-ton of armor helps a lot, too.  Generally, this is a well-rounded member of a fire lance, lacking a bit in bombardment power compared to the ARC-4M but solid and capable as long as you watch your heat.  This thing runs almost as hot as the ARC-2K did on an alpha-strike.  I recommend firing one laser and both launchers, cycling a launcher out as necessary to control movement heat.  Switch to the lasers once your ammo is out or on low probability shots.

The ARC-5S from Hesperus II is a much more nebulous beast.  I'm not quite as inclined as Iron Mongoose was to ridicule it but that doesn't mean I'm giving it a pass, either.  An XLFE was used instead of endo-steel or even ferro-fibrous, saving more tonnage than either one might have.  If only it had been used a little better!  The LRMs are again 15 tube models, fed by two tons each, but the SRMs were replaced by Streaks.  Perversely to modern eyes, they're fed by two full tons of ammo, and even back when they could use Infernos, this really wouldn't be my first choice.  The lasers were replaced by pulse versions, a change I'm not necessarily against, but I could use four tons to get endo-steel instead of that blasted engine and gleefully lose a half-ton of armor to do it!  Worse, some genius put Narc on here.  Ignore that line about it enhancing the Streaks in the TRO3050 description.  It doesn't.  With only six shots, it's really only useful once you get close enough to guarantee hits.  Well, fine, you've got the weapons to do some good there (some, not a lot - the CT lasers are still facing aft, although they're going to do a great job of convincing jump-happy backstabbers to pick on someone else), but your ammo endurance on the LRMs is higher than most LRM boats, not lower.  These aren't Clan LRMs, either, so the minimum range is a pain in the neck.  It has some uses, but this really isn't a platform that benefits very much from Narc and unlike the ON1-M, it's not really a design that needs to get in someone's teeth or has many beneficial outcomes from doing it.  On the plus side, CASE means you can salvage the 'Mech after an ammo explosion while double heat sinks keep the 'Mech's heat well under control.  Looking at this, you really can understand how the ARC-4M got so popular, can't you?

The ARC-5W is another cousin of the Steiner model du jour, built for the Dragoons by Bowie Industries at at least one of their three plants.  The XLFE is still here.  The double heat sinks and CASE are, too, thankfully, which are good things with no less than eight tons of ammunition loaded onto an ARC-5W.  This time around, the armor wasn't reduced from the -2R's benchmark 13 tons.  Instead, the lasers were removed entirely.  SRM 4s were installed in the arms along with a single ton of ammo for each launcher, while a Narc launcher is placed in the center torso.  At least this time it has 12 rounds instead of only 6, although I still think this is really not a good candidate for Narc duties, even the inner-tier second-wave Narc work like the ON1-M does.  The SRMs will benefit, though, which is a small blessing.  The lack of any energy weapons at all is not really calculated to make anyone happy, although you've got enough ammo for a normal combat engagement.  It does make one wonder if the Dragoons are really mercs, who traditionally favor energy weapons to avoid the cost of ammunition.  Of course they aren't exactly mercenaries - we all know that now - but it would have stuck out as being a bit odd at the time.  I wonder if there's some cross-pollination with the Summoner (that's Thor to Spheroids) and its B configuration, which is very similar aside from the use of AMS instead of Narc.

In the old scenario pack about the Second Battle of Twycross, another Archer was included that found itself added into RS3085U Project Phoenix, a mixed-tech model that did a simple yank and replace of the weapons for their Clan equivalents (ERMLs in the case of the lasers).  Thanks to this, it's 10 tons under weight (not strictly illegal in this day and age if still kind of odd) and without any changes to the heat sinks, the 'Mech kind of mixes the ARC-2K and 2R together thanks to the power of the Clan ERML.  Based on Brian Cache relics quickly turned around and issued to second-line units and solahma, I include this model mainly for completeness.  Considering that we've since had the ARC-2Rb revealed and Clan units sometimes use Star League hardware, I'd probably go ahead and break out RS:Klondike and go to my Star League happy place, personally, but it does exist.

Those designs soldiered through the Clan Invasion, Operation Guerrero, and into the Federated Commonwealth Civil War, with at least the Taurians building some ARC-2Rs of their own at New Vandenburg.  Finally, though, came the birth of the Reseen, FanPro's attempt to republish some of the classic, beloved designs of yesteryear with new designs that were entirely owned by them (or at least WizKids) instead of being licenses from someone else.  I won't go into that whole mess here, but the Archer's redesign was a bit leaner and a little more aggressive looking.  Overall, I really have no preference between either of them.

The "show floor" model of the new Reseen Archers was the ARC-8M.  Built on the same endo-steel bones and featuring the same basic layout, the ARC-8M is a somewhat more staid take on the ARC-5R.  Instead of two ERLLs, only one was used, replacing the center torso lasers.  The arm mounts were upgraded to the League's signature Diverse Optics ERMLs.  To free up the tonnage for the upgrade, the launchers were downgraded to 15-tube Delta Dart models, fed by the same two tons per launcher guarded by the same CASE system.  Three tons obviously went into the laser itself.  Another two were spent on heat sinks, so the entire long-range array is perfectly sinked with movement heat while the full barrage from the lasers is only +3 before movement.  Even if someone manages to fry both side torsos, the ARC-8M can still fight its way off the field with the center torso and head mounts, giving it an incredible survivability under fire for an already tough 'Mech.  The final ton went to a cockpit-mounted ERML, the smaller one underneath it on the artwork.  Built for the Word of Blake by Earthwerks on Calloway, I hope the design specs were saved, because this is really a rather nice design that would serve the pieces of the Free Worlds League nicely.  At least two Level IIIs (ComStar or the Word’s answer to a battalion) worth were shipped by the end of June 3067, so I expect there's at least a couple in the Republic Armed Forces and other forces (which would be a lot of them) using Blakist salvage.

At around the same time, Defiance Industries and their counterparts at Bowie Industries were taking another look at the ARC-5S.  The result was another ground-up rebuild, not just a facelift and a few weapons changes.  The bones are now endo-steel with a light fusion engine.  As a later comment published by the BattleCorps MilSpec fiction notes, the LRM 20 with an Artemis IV module is very successful and very similar to the ARC-4M, with the standard 12 rounds per launcher.  The Streaks make another appearance in their glorious 100 round excess.  I gave the ARC-5S a partial pass for that because it was back in the old old days (as in before the BMR Revised at the least) when they could load Infernos.  By the time TRO Project Phoenix was published, that was out the window and the bizarre 3050s fetish for Streak 2 launchers whenever and wherever had similarly dropped off the face of the earth (and there was much rejoicing).  The designers also felt the need to spend a half-ton of armor on one lousy point for the center torso although, honestly, there's not a lot of other things to spend a half-ton on once CASE is in place, so eh.  At least we do have some medium lasers nestled in the center torso.  Overall, it's not bad, but I'd rather have an ARC-4M or at least some sort of substantive improvement to show for the use of that light fusion engine.

At the same time the Lyrans were fumbling toward trying to reinvent the ARC-4M, the Capellans were pushing their own bold new experiment, the ARC-7L Archer, also known as the stealth Archer and "Stumpy".  You'll see why.  The largest change is probably the reduction in speed, a prelude to the later ARC-9M from TRO3085.  With a 210-rated fusion engine, this is the slowest Archer at only 54 kph although three jump jets help a bit.  A Guardian ECM module was installed to power the second major departure from tradition with tradition, the installation of the new Capellan stealth armor.  At 12.5 tons, it shaves a bit from the arms and center torso compared to the ARC-2R but is still quite well protected.  A pair of 20 tube launchers was retained, fed by three tons of ammunition per launcher, enabling either a 50% increase in fire duration or the use of special munitions.  Thunder-Augmented is a popular and inhumane choice with the Capellan fans out there but there are some others to consider depending on the situation.  The lasers moved to an over-and-under mount around the cockpit, one in the head and other in the center torso.  The reason I called it Stumpy up above is the literal stump of a left arm.  The ECM module is stuck out here, more or less hung out to dry (I remind you that if the ECM is destroyed, the stealth armor blue screens).  Unfortunately, the only other choice is either putting ammo out there or a laser, so this is kind of a zero sum game because the ARC-7L is crit-packed.  However, as odd as it might be, it's certainly effective and the CCAF is getting their money's worth out of them, I imagine.

The Taurians were also tinkering with their own model at Vandenburg Mechanized Industries, a wild departure from the typical Archer-dom that appeals to madmen, lunatics, and overaggressive Peripherats everywhere.  (Liam's Ghost had a colorful, amusing commentary on it last time around.)  It forsakes fancy new technology for the Marian-pioneered rocket launchers, a technology with roots in eleventh century China.  A lot of rocket launchers.  They started with the good old ARC-2R, then stripped the center lasers and all the missiles.  Ten more single heat sinks went on.  Believe me, it needs them.  The arm mounts were doubled up, so you have four medium lasers.  The side torsos were packed full of RL-20s, four on each side.  The rear is now guarded by a pair of ten-tube rocket racks.  They could have gotten more rockets in with RL-10s, sure, but as it is, this thing is apparently delightful if you have the right mindset and certainly packs one hell of a wallop.  The armor is maxed out (including, once again, a whole half ton for one lousy point - the madness here demands more rockets, not another point of armor!), but the lack of explosive ammo makes it even more appealing.  It's the one and only Archer zombie, made of crazy.  I really hope they aren't entirely replacing their ARC-2Rs - like I said up above, that's a damn solid piece of machinery - but some ARC-6Ws with their charming insanity are nice to have around.  Besides, judging from the Concordat’s foreign policy lately (which appears to be “Rargh!  Hulk smash Davion!” even dealing with the Fronc Reaches), it’s about their style of crazy.

Another generation of Archers made the rounds with Record Sheets: Phoenix Upgrades, which introduced the Unseen to some of the new toys from Total Warfare (or at least moving into tournament-level rules, what the old-timers called Level 2).  The Archer received two different models, one of them kind of interesting and the other, well, let's start with it since the numeric designator is lower.  It's the ARC-7S.  Steiner hasn't gotten an Archer right since the ARC-2S's Crusader-ish glory back in the Succession Wars, honestly.  They didn't start doing it here, either.  It's a lot like a reprise of the ARC-6S except instead of endo-steel, you have heavy ferro-fibrous, and some genius removed one of your lasers for a rear-facing small pulse laser.  Now, I approve of small pulse lasers in the right circumstances, such as replacing the machine guns on the Royal Thunderbolt.  Not so much here although at least infantry sneaking up on you gets some discouragement.  Highly accurate discouragement at that.  About the only positive note here is that the removal of the endo-steel means you don't need orbital facilities to get materials, which may be why they went to the HFF.

The Kuritans get back into the game with a completely different model that sort of reprises the ARC-2K.  If you squint and tilt your head, anyway.  In any case, the winning combination of endo-steel and a 280-rated standard fusion engine is back, meaning this may be a field refit from old ARC-4Ms or -5Rs they have laying around.  Someone forgot the CASE, though.  On a 'Mech with six tons of ammo, I'd rather have the CASE than 13.5 tons of armor.  The weapons load is where things get interesting.  The missile launchers were completely replaced by a quartet of MML 5s, mounted two to a side torso.  Light PPCs were placed in each arm and the center torso, while a C3 slave makes this the one and only Archer able to join in on the great C3 love fest.  The loss of the LRMs is going to sting in the eyes of purists but the ranged damage is about as high while C3 can allow all sorts of interesting options depending on where the spotters manage to get.  The SRMs will take the starch out of anyone who decides to get cute at short range, too.  Overall, it's different but effective.

The featured Archer from TRO3085 is the ARC-9M.  Despite the name, it was designed by Bowie Industries and put into production on Carlisle.  The design is something of a fusion of the 5R, 7L, and 7S, probably a better overall design than the last one, honestly.  The power plant is a 210-rated light fusion engine with additional maneuverability provided by five improved jump jets.  I'm not convinced this is superior to a 280 standard and no jets for the Archer's role, particularly with the ARC-9M's armament package (which does not favor close combat), but it's not necessarily a bad tradeoff.  The armaments are where the 2K's influence can be seen.  Instead of the ARC-8M's restriction to a single ERLL, the ARC-9M fits a pair of the new light particle cannons pioneered by House Kurita, one in each arm.  The launchers are once again Delta Dart 15 tube models mated to Artemis IV fire control suites.  Supporting these weapons at closer ranges are a pair of extended-range medium lasers.  The armor took a real hit, unfortunately, dropping back to levels comparable to the ARC-5R, with only 11 tons of light ferro-fibrous.  Overall, it's not bad, but I'm not really sure it's worth the increased cost and reduce parts availability compared to the ARC-8M, although the lack of endo-steel might be playing a part in EarthWerks' decision to switch Calloway VI's production over to this model.  Lexatech Industries is also building them on Hun Ho.  Fairly numerous in Lyran service, it's deployed against the Clans.  I'm not sure that was a wise idea but on the other hand, it's kind of hard to say what is a great option when the Magic 8 Ball answers your surprise dinner guest of the evening query with "Jade Falcons".

During the Jihad, one of the Word of Blake's new "wonder weapons" was the Void Signature System, basically mimetic armor for BattleMechs.  They chose to employ it on the ARC-9W, a decision that, honestly, I'm kind of having trouble supporting.  In terms of armament, the ARC-9W is a repeat of the ARC-5T with two ERLLs and two LRM 15s with Artemis IV.  Unlike stealth, void-sig doesn't interfere with your electronics (other than C3), so the Artemis modules still work.  However, it still rams that 10 heat down your throat and, in the process, imposes a +1 targeting modifier on you; it also goes down on a crit.  In theory, it goes down if active probes are removed, but that appears to actually be ECM; a question has been asked on the matter.  If not, the ARC-9W is carrying a Void Signature System it can't use, as it mounts no active probes but an Angel ECM suite.  An XLFE drives this particular Archer at 5/8.  Okay, that comparison to mimetic armor was purposeful - it doesn't generate a targeting modifier if you're moving at over 5 hexes.  It makes the design work mathematically but is kind of at cross purposes to the void sig.  The armor is in fact lighter than the ARC-9M's, which is really doing nothing to improve my steadily declining opinion of the 'Mech.  The fragility means your targeting modifiers need to be high, something you can accomplish by either standing still or running, but honestly, this is feeling like TRO3050 rose from the grave to stalk the Inner Sphere again with more shiny toy 'Mechs.

A little goody slipped silently into RS3085U Project Phoenix (quietly enough that I didn't notice it until after writing the section on the ARC-9W and posting it) is a real treat: Jaime Wolf's tricked-out Clantech Archer.  Welshman mentioned that stats were never published back in November but now we have them.  Marked as pure Clantech, maybe to simplify things or just to make it more available to people who don't want to use advanced rules, it kind of reminds me of what the ARC-5R wants to be when it grows up.  The arm lasers are now ERLLs.  The LRM 20s have Artemis and two tons of ammo each.  The center torso has two SPLs facing rear.  They don't hit hard but they're very accurate, meaning anyone back there is going to get tagged more than likely and infantry playing games is up for a nice round of decorative body bags.  And like anyone buying the deluxe model, Jaime Wolf got some nice little extras.  AMS was mounted in the head, fed by a single ton of ammo (24 rounds, not 12), ECM is in the left torso, and CASE was tossed in for free.  15 double heat sinks allow both lasers and a single launcher to be fired off at heat neutral, while one laser and both launchers let you try an alpha/cool off cycle or allow movement heat to dissipate.

If you're going to bring an Archer, realize that, with the exception of that Clan mod, the ARC-2K and -5R, the ARC-6W, and to some extent the ARC-9K, this is very much a ranged combat 'Mech and needs to be kept out of people's faces for the most part.  Now, it can do a credible job - no one likes a seven point punch to the cockpit - but it's not really the 'Mech's specialty.  Even with the close-in combatants (aside from the Taurians' rocket model which is, admittedly, about as crazy as that BattleTech/Shadowrun crossover they put out a while back), you do well to use those LRMs to start prying the enemy open early.  Indirect fire is always a possibility with Archers (again, aside from the ARC-6W), so keep it in mind if you've got spotters in the right positions or find yourself forced to do urban warfare in this consummate bombardment 'Mech.  In the Succession Wars, the Archer is basically the standard when it comes to LRM bombardment that stands in the line, having probably the best balance of firepower and armor of any available platform, and outweighed by only two – the Longbow, which has either thin armor and less defensive ability (0W) or less speed (7Q), and the LRM carrier, which has really thin armor, less ammo, and mobility issues.  (The heavy LRM carrier, for all its simple charm (read: 80 LRM tubes and no horse manure), is not a Succession Wars unit.)  The two matches – the Bombardier downgrade and CPLT-C4 Catapult in firepower are both rare and have thinner armor and less ability to defend themselves if someone closes.   That isn’t true anymore as time has marched on but it’s still one of the greats for this job.  For the models that use Artemis IV and some direct fire weapons, maneuver to keep your targeting numbers low when possible (walking helps), trust in your armor) to exploit your weapons' capabilities.  If fighting with ECCM rules in play, consider bringing a few ECM platforms to clear enemy jamming and allow Narc and Artemis IV to work correctly.  One configuration for LRM fire lances I find useful is a selection of pure LRM boats (things more or less like the ARC-2R) with an attached trooper like an Orion or Centurion that can fight up close or simply attaching a Hunchback to get in the enemy's face while the rest of the lance backs off to clear their range minimums.  If you are forced to dance up close, pay attention to your minimums and don't be afraid to get right in someone's face and indulge in some fisticuffs.  Since the missiles are in the torso, it's entirely possible to maneuver for a physical smackdown, fire your launchers off at something, and then proceeded to give a 70 ton beatdown to whatever pest has decided to annoy the Archer in question.  This tactic can save you some trouble if you lack for maneuvering options.

Killing Archers is, as it with a lot of heavier units, simple but not necessarily easy.  All Archers have at least reasonable armor and none of them are truly defenseless up close, although two medium lasers is the kind of load that mainly intimidates Wasps.  Watch out for physical attacks - an Archer pilot on the defensive has a 14 point kick and a lot of them aren't afraid to use it.  7 point punches aren't quite as much of a hazard but they can reach the head, something a kick can't, so don't forget about them, either.  Keep that and the maneuvering options in mind, because most of them rely on LRMs for their main punch, getting right in an Archer's face is a good way to cut down on the number of hazards you're dealing with.  As ever, maneuver for back shots.  Even compared to the possibility of two lasers and a kick, a mere two lasers is a relief dealing with an Archer and your opponent may not be in a position to fire them without unpleasant heat effects.  If you care for them, incendiary tactics can absolutely bedevil some of the Archers.  Also, cut the Archer off from its support and if forced to engage a lance, try to do so without letting them move into mutually supporting positions.  Every Archer except the ARC-6W has something that goes boom somewhere, and even if it won't kill the engine, popping a torso off is a big step toward solving your problems, so use crit-seekers.

Moonsword

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Re: Repost: Mech of the Week: ARC-* Archer
« Reply #1 on: 26 January 2011, 19:50:55 »
Image Reference: The Master Unit List is constrained by the need to avoid certain of the old Unseen images but does have current BV and faction availability data.  Sarna has the old TRO3025 artwork and a piece of Morgan Kell's personal Archer.  CamoSpecs has a primary sculpt and the ARC-6W listed separately.

Quote from: Welshman
The ARC-9M IJJs are there for the reverse of what most units use IJJs for. Archers are ranged beasts and in broken terrain retreating can be a real issue. Even at 4/6 they spend most of their MP to turn around and the they can't fire. The 9M uses the 5 IJJs to retreat out of close combat, never having to turn it's back and generating a +3 to hit when it is retreating.

The Rocket Launcher Taurian model is just flat out insane, no ifs ands or buts.

Oh and you forgot about the Salamander.

Quote from: Moonsword
I kind of figured the IJJs were for something like that but wasn't sure.

As far as the Salamander goes, I deliberately didn't mention it for the same reason I singled out the heavy LRM carrier - it's not a Succession Wars unit.  It's not a bad 'Mech, though, and shows the way you can use modern hardware to solve older problems.  Considering that their main Archers (assuming they didn't get a load of 4Ms, which I hope they did) have XLFEs up to that point, it's an excellent redemption for the ARC-5S and 5W.  Similar reasons also applied to the Yeoman (which lacks the Archer's defenses and armor) and Viking (which is kind of like a more heavily armored, faster heavy LRM carrier).  That whole analysis was looking specifically at the options available to someone in 3025.  I did miss the 7V Longbow, though.

Quote from: Maervyn
its a lovely update with all the good and trimming one suspect to be found in a traditional design.  One of favorite ride of Morgan Kell and Jaime Wolf.. and you can see why.   With such long range fire power one could strip the armor of most mech well before they have a chance to bink of a company mech it means you can remain far from the actual battle and study the situation while  at time tradding in blows when the time call to give someone an extra hand.    one can't do no wrong in any situation.   Even when force into close range it can still defend itself with its medium laser.   its weird that there only one c3 version as one would expect more for this old man of the range.

Quote from: Liam's Ghost
You know, in light of current rules for narc beacons, I think we're looking at units equipped with narc beacons and LRMs the wrong way.

They're urban warfare mechs!

Think about it. Barring ECM interference, any mech that gets hit with a narc beacon suddenly lights up as a ready made target for indirect fire from every missile carrier in reach, without all the messy problems of dicking around with a spotter.

Imagine for a moment that you're a cocky Jade Falcon who's chased some new built Lyran archer into an alley. You're confident in an easy victory, maybe you even take him down, but he still gets a narc off.

Suddenly missiles are raining down from everywhere, because the Lyrans had a bunch of other Archers or Crusaders or LRM Carriers hanging around the city! Glorious!

In your new career as a Lyran bondsman, you'll never be without your ECM again, I guarantee it.

There's a lesson to be learned here, kids, Archers in cities are always always traps.

Quote from: Maelwys
I assume that much like the Project Phoenix `Mechs the Updated article will get an update when the RS 3085 become available and we get the stats on the 9W :)

Its hard to say no to any of the Archers. A classic that still has bite in the modern age. The 4M is a sublime upgrade, while the 8M is a nasty customer. Even the Steiners might have eventually gotten it right with the 9M.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: The article reflects that update.]

Quote from: Dark Messiah
The original Field Manual: Mercenaries (FASA 1701) gives us the single canon custom Archer in the game to date (that I'm aware of.)

The mercenary unit Rubinsky's Renegades upgraded an ARC-2R (with the help of the Battle Magic) that replaced it's LRM launchers with SRM racks and a hatchet. Unfortunately, that's all the description we get, and with no record sheet to date it's impossible to recreate the design (exactly, anyways). Additionally, we don't know if it incorporates some of the Renegades' captured Clantech or not.

Either way, it obviously changes the role of the 'mech from ranged fire support to a nasty brawler. I imagine it would provide something of a shock to anyone who thought that they would close with a "missile boat" for an easy kill.

Quote from: VF1LAM
The Archer (i.e. Gladiator) in Robotech had SRMs instead of LRMs.

I can remember the fluff in TR3025:  "Almost all weapons variants have been tried on the Archer, and many of these are still around."

Quote from: Iron Mongoose
Well, the Bears are one of the biggest users of the Mad Dog, so while they would doubtless love some Archer 2K IICs, I doubt they'd really see the point in making them when they already have them (heat problems and all I can already hear people saying, but that's part of the charm, and if that's the price to pay for some LPLs then I'll pay it).

I stand by my statments about the old 5S.  Yes, some of that was probably just being nasty for its own sake, and yes its no so crippled by its new toys that it becomes unusable, but I think it is qustionable if it is an improvment on the 2R or 2S.  The DHS alone argue that it is, but its increesed vulnerability argues strongly no, and I tend to take that side.  As for the effect of new NARC rules, I think its a wash when you think about its lost inferno capability (pretty much the only possible reason to use two tons of ammo).  Plus, a mech should be good because its well designed, not because new rules give it a bonus, and this mech is not well designed.

I've been critical of all the IJJs on 3085 mechs, and I stand by that here.  When it comes to weight, you save a ton with a LFE 4/6/4 vs the LFE 3/5/5 actualy used.  Its close enough that its more of a taste thing, and there's an argument to be made about getting that +3 on the backwards jump, but for me its not about jumping, its about standing still.  The Archer is a mech to be paired with other mechs.  Yes, it might need to be able to fall back in rough terran, and I wouldn't say no to a jumping model, but the best mode of movement for the mech is standing still to get the most from its big launcher, and the next best is walking.  Jumping, throwing off your aim, is the last thing you want from your fire support mech, and yet you really demand it not just backwards but fowards with the 9M, since you can't turn and break even on TMMs at 3/5.

Partialy for me, its a sense of feel, in that Archers arn't jumpers and I think there's a lot of IJJ new toy syndrom in 3085.  Mostly, its a sense of tactics, since Archers arn't movers, or at least not in that sense.  And of course, some of it is just efficancy, since it is heavier than the movement that I would prefer to see.  I don't know that its a bad mech, and its got a role that it fills, and for some people it will really shine.  But I know I don't care for it.

Conversly, I think the 9W looks fantastic from what we can tell, a 5/8 take on the 5R with Void Sig thrown in.  Either one of thouse inprovments would have made a 5R type archer better, but both?  I'll take a dozen.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: In reference to an ML -> C3 swap.]

Quote from: Rexor-K
I'm actually kind of shocked we never got that version.

While indirect & C3 don't mix, it still would have been fine for direct fire.

Quote from: Welshman
It would be virtually impossible to document every single variant of every design that saw the battlefield. Even documenting what we have fills huge lists of units. When deciding on variants, the "hook" is very much a factor. We could literally do an entire PDF full of nothing but C3, C3i conversions, but it's not exactly the most compelling of changes. Swap ML for C3, Swamp ML(R) for C3, oh look swap 2 SL for C3! Removing WoB C3i is even more uncompelling. Remove C3i, put in C3 and ECM, repeat 100 times.

Quote from: VA Wanderer
I've always been an Archer fan, and the -4M is the "Archer's Archer" of the lot.

It's durable and it delivers, so much so that I'd often see people salvage -2R's during campaigns even in 3025 days because they were prone to mostly emptying the (crit-padded by that LRM 20) ammo bays before something got through the thick armor plate, often meaning a lucky shot would hit a single round of LRM ammo and leave you with a crippled but salvage-worthy machine.

Many of those would have new weaponry stuck into the newly repaired torso- and the long lifespan of Archers just begged good tech crews to rebuild new weapons into those big launcher bays.

Never mind the -4M, which pretty much has to be punched clear through the center to be unrecoverable- and I've walked a -4M down to it's CT and legs off the field more than once. That's a rare deal in later 'Mech design, barring zombies.

There's a reason so many survived. A simple, straightforward design built to persist. So many of the variants drop that line of thought and pay for it on the field, but the constant effort to rebuild and improve the design points to having gotten it right from day 1.

Quote from: Rexor-K
I do favor the 2S in 3025 play, something about twin firing the LRMs w/o heat makes me happy.
That said, I go 4M all the way when 3050 hits and do field refits to 8M stats as soon as ERML hit the stage in 3059.

Quote from: Iron Mongoose
On another note...

I imagine that mechs back in the unseen era looked at the Archer and its LRM20s a bit like French knights looked at English yomen.  Sure, they might talk big about how the LRM has a long minimum range, and does damage in 5 point groups, but secretly they know that it does more damage on average than a PPC and at longer ranges, making closing to follow through on that tough talk mighty problematic.  The LRM20 had, untill the AC family added the 2 and 20, the longest range and the largest damage, both average and potental.  Its since lost that.

But, I think it could get it back.

I'd love to see Archers adopt some of the newer missile weapons that would alow it to reclaim thouse spots.  The MRM40, for example, could be employed on an XL Archer, and has more potental damage than any other weapon (tie with a few others like the UAC20 and HAG40).  It would be a bit of a veriation on the RL Archer, just with out some of that mech's key benifits of durability, but it would be crazy and a mech not to be ignored in close.  Conversly, ER LRMs could give the Archer back its range crown, and could also be used on an XLed Archer.

I don't expect it.  But it would be, I think, very Archerish

Quote from: garkhal
As a linked Q...  do you guys prefer paired 20 packs or twin 15 packs with art..

Quote from: Neufeld
Depends on the size of ammo bins, if equal I would favor the LRM-20 due to not being affected by ECM - which is nearly a must on todays battlefield. Also if both launchers have adequate ammo (2 tons/launcher for LRM-15 and 2.5 tons/launcher for LRM-20) I would favor LRM-20.

Quote from: Moonsword
Ditto, although I'd also add role and era to those considerations.  Not every game is set in the Jihad, when ECM has turned into the Inner Sphere's favorite party favor.

Quote from: Iron Mongoose
Like they say, its not the only factor.  The 15s will be lighter, so you can pack on more other things.  If that means heat and ammo, it might be the pick.  I've already noted that packing on two extra LLs is somethings I enjoy.

But, for the pure support role, I think the 20s are the way to go.  Its easy enough to break contact with the fire support mech for an opponent, so keeping up a constant stream of fire is not always possible, and cool down periods and ammo conservation periods often build themselves into you patterns.  Better for the fire support mech to make the most of its oppertunities and get the most fire down field quickly.

Quote from: sillybrit
I generally prefer paired LRM20s instead of LRM15s+Art: the Artemis is wasted when firing other specialized munitions or against ECM, and the LRM20 is the most efficient launcher for using Mine Clearance LRMs against enemy units, plus unlike the LRM15, it can be used for clearing minefields when using standard missiles.

Quote from: VA_Wanderer
[REDACTED]

Honestly, I always will wonder why it never got the treatment so many other classic heavies did for the Clans.

Quote from: Moonsword
A lot of the Archer's raison d'etre is fire support, not direct combat in the sense of, say, a Marauder.  We don't know to what degree conventional SLDF doctrine may have influenced Clan thinking on designs and, therefore, the decisions on which ones to update.

Quote from: Bellisarius
Yeah the first IIC stuff came out as the unseen/reseen stuff seemed to be coming to a head, at least from where I was sitting. I expect they published a set and might have continued in the vein but a bad day with the lawyers put them on a different line of thinking. Who knows?

In any event, Jaimes preference for it seems to suggest that the combat style it evokes wasn't too alien to the Clans, at least not among the forward thinking ones.

Quote from: Moonsword
Maybe.  The Wolves are also the ones who field a bunch of Nagas.  On the other hand, the data (Jaime, Naga deployment) is a century and more removed from the major early bursts of development on the IICs and may represent a trend back toward IS thinking.  I'm not sure either one is really a good source of evidence for anything but 31st century Wolf thinking on the subject.

Quote from: VA_Wanderer
Technically, one could call the Dragoons-produced Archer a "Clan 'Mech" by origin, though certainly not by technology level.

Once I realized there was a connection between Clans and Dragoons, it's made me wonder why the Wolves never took the last step and made a Clantech version. After all, they managed to send the components and materials for an entirely new variant assembly line with the scouting forces...which would point to it being considered a valued machine, one that was a foundation for Star League armies.

(On the other hand, Wolf-in-Exile managed to produce the SRM-spammer of the century, so at least someone got the idea with missile boating there.)

Quote from: Moonsword
Wasn't Jaime Wolf's Archer rumored to be tricked out with Clantech in later years?

Quote from: Welshman
Yes it was upgraded, no the stats have never been published.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Then.  They were released with RS3085U Project Phoenix and commented on in the article above.]

Quote from: GespentM
I'm jumping in late here, but some thoughts...

 - I like the Archer -8M quite a bit; it's actually my favorite version of the Archer, just because it's not as vulnerable to rushdown as the -4M is. I admit the -4M is still a good machine, however.

 - At least around 3055, we know Thomas Marik/Halas/False Thomas used an Archer, presumably a -4M. He has good taste.

 - The 9M loses out on armor, but I think it remains useful for reasons that have already been touched upon; being able to Jump 5 lets it stay safe if it needs to leave somewhere in a hurry, and also... it can find nice places to shoot from that other ARCs can't. I'd never underestimate how useful this can be, after one fight where I got to get a Griffin -3M on the opposite side of a lake/stream and my opponent had one hell of a time trying to pursue it with a non-jumping force. Absolutely hilarious. I think the ARC-9M has potential to set up similar situations in some cases.

Quote from: Moonsword
It's not a bad 'Mech but for the job I generally look to the Archer to do, simple, cheap, and rugged in the vein of the ARC-4M is a better fit.  Keep in mind that for me, the engine question was complicated a bit by availability, which isn't a factor in a lot of games but tends to affect my thinking on force design.  210 LFEs aren't that pricy, really, but they're not too common at this point in time with the only other common users certain lights that I'd really rather put the engines on to begin with.  The VOX 280 SFE is one of the contenders for most common heavy engine, with the Archer setup especially common.

Now, I like the ARC-9M and, after it's introduced, I'm going to be looking at it as a member of my forces depending on faction.  There's some things it does well and, in certain situations, it's going to be either a better solution or a better starting point.

Quote from: Ghost0402
Once the Apollo came out in 3055, and some ot the newer missile boats in following TRO's, the Archer has  lost a little bit of its luster.  At the end of the day, you really can't go wrong with this thing unlike many other Missile boats.

Quote from: VA_Wanderer
Quote from: Moonsword
I like the Apollo but don't really see it as competing in the same role - the Archer is bigger, tougher, has CASE, has more tubes, and better able to look after itself up close.  The Apollo is more of a budget option or a support unit for medium lances, providing a longer endurance counterpart to the Trebuchet.  Cobras are Trebuchet knock-offs to begin with - the Archer is the heavy to its medium.  I see the Vikings as more of a Longbow challenger for the assault LRM boat role, but the Archer's speed helps it compete there.  The MML Yeoman, with more armor and jump jets, is an interesting challenger, but doesn't have the armor or the fire endurance - you get a real trade off there.  The Salamander is the one that really manages to make a dent in the Archer's classic niche by bringing more tubes to the table with more endurance at the same speed and good durability without sacrificing its own defenses, lacking only the tail lasers.  Even there, a lot of the Archers still manage to avoid XLFEs and have a nice low cost/high durability thing going on so you've got your options.

That's one thing about Archers- they're by nature carrying a lot of explosive ammunition. XL engines + boom = disabled 'Mech. Thus why I always consider the -4M at the top of the list of Archer-ness. The Salamander has the extra firepower, and I like it...but even more chances to wreck the poor thing when an ammo bay gets hit. They finally fix that with the -7T, at least...at the cost of most of it's tube advantage.  For me, the assault-weight version that comes closest is the Viking.

Quote from: Moonsword
More importantly, all of these are limited in deployment to one extent or another.  You find Archers everywhere, primarily the ARC-2R and, after the Invasion and the Hanse-Thomas deal, the ARC-4M.  The ARC-9M is becoming pretty common itself.  The Archer has competitors these days and I, for myself, love that.  Variety makes the game more interesting and it gives you more options to play with.  But the Archer is the one that went there first, the game's first major LRM boat, and like you said, it's still competitive with the young bucks.  It's a great classic machine that's still out there going strong.

And in that, it's true. Most Succession War-era designs are massively improved with new technology. The Archer simply went from "best in class" to "better", and you can still walk a -2R out and have it perform right next to it's later models without feeling like you lost something in the deal. There's probably still -2R's thundering around in the 3100's without the pilot feeling badly about sitting in the seat. Hit with both launchers, you're going to knock the opponent on their butt. It hasn't changed since the first one walked off the assembly lines, and it probably won't change until the LRM itself does.

Quote from: Iron Mongoose
I think that last bit is what makes me like the old Archer, in that you can still trot it out in any game up to the present post-Jihad or DA eras.  Along with the Awesome 8Q and maybe one or two other mechs (I still use the bug mechs, but not in mech-on-mech combat roles, for example) its one of a very small number of mechs for which that can be said.

Quote from: Rexor-K
Quote from: Iron Mongoose
But, the Archer's short comming isn't a fact of its old tech; even modern LRM boats like the Viking or Longbow still have the same problems.  Only by using some of the newest tech, such as Enhanced LRMs (which are heavier), or MMLs (which offer fewer tubes, and offer ammo managment challanges), or by carring a lot of secondary weapons (the Crusader comes to mind, or the Archer 2K, wich each offer their own problems) can the short ranged problems of the LRM mech be over come.  That or Clan tech, and if we're really saying that the only way to make the Archer really that much better is either cutting edge tech or Clan tech, I think that's high praise.

I think I disagree a little.
The old standby ML or its much debated cousin the MPL are IMHO lightweight & make excellent combos with the LRM.
The Archer has the right secondaries, just a little off on placement IMHO.
« Last Edit: 17 June 2011, 12:23:52 by Moonsword »

garhkal

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Re: Repost: Mech of the Week: ARC-* Archer
« Reply #2 on: 26 January 2011, 22:27:25 »
YAY.. it got saved.
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Lyran Archer

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Re: Repost: Mech of the Week: ARC-* Archer
« Reply #3 on: 06 February 2011, 03:04:59 »
I think what's missing in many of these reviews is a consideration of the Battle Value costs for each varient.

For example, the Archer 5W may not impress many people just looking at its stats but at 1337 BV, it is the cheapest of all the Archers and yet still has double heat sinks, 208 armor, two LRM 20 racks, a NARC launcher, and two SRM 4s for in-close fighting.

In a 6000 BV battle (the standard for my gaming group), I can easily get four of these Archers and still have 652 BV points left over for infantry or vehicle support (usually spotters with TAG or NARC). Compare that with other Archer varients at 6000 BV:

- only three Archer 4Ms with 885 BV left over,
- only three Archer 7Ls with 240 BV left over, or
- only three Archer 9Ms with 267 BV left over.

In any case, I'd go with the Archer 5W. Once the NARC is attached, their missiles are just as effective as those with Artemis IV enhancements and they can fire indirectly without spotters with NARC homing beacons attached to the enemy.

Anyhoo, the 5W is currently my Archer of choice because of its BV cost effectiveness. It's something to consider in the reviews.

Sometimes quantity has a quality all of its own.
 
« Last Edit: 06 February 2011, 23:16:16 by Lyran Archer »
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Southern Coyote

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Re: Repost: Mech of the Week: ARC-* Archer
« Reply #4 on: 06 February 2011, 22:40:31 »
I'm glad I sat down and read this article start to finish.  I love my Archer, one of the first mechs I bought once I got back into it, and it has been a solid investment ever since...

Iron Mongoose

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Re: Repost: Mech of the Week: ARC-* Archer
« Reply #5 on: 07 February 2011, 02:41:43 »
I won't refight the fight from the main board about Archer 5Ws, but I'll speak to two things: why some authors don't speak at length about BV math, and why you get what you pay for.

First off, BV is not for everyone.  Many players don't use it, or if they do they use it in a setting where the considerations are not the same, so spending a lot of time on it is not something that helps everyone, since its not essental to the mech.  The Archer always has its LRMs, weather you're playing the board game, Battleforce, Mechwarrior, or what ever else (excepting perhaps Mech Assualt...) and its always 70 tons, but is it always valued at some number of points against any other mech?  Its not.  More over, people's idea of BV 'value' is relitive. 

Which leads to my next point, you get what you pay for.  Yes, the Archer 5W is cheap as sin, and there is a value element to it.  So why does this author speak criticly of it, and I rip into it with out mercy in my own article, when its a good value?  Because the reason its BV is so low is that because its objectively terrable.  BV in many senses got this one right.  You lose points on survivability, you lose points on power at range, since the 5W lacks the fire controll of some of its brothers, while the SRMs are only mildly more powerful in close than the old MLs, and none face rear.  And while others use SFEs and CASE, the 5W uses an XLE, and despite the case, its got eight tons of ammo, with the NARC and SRM ammo unlikely to be used up quickly.  Yes, it has the LRMs, and DHS to use them, which is why it has the amount of BV that it does have.  But, if not for its problems it would have more, not for being a worse value, but because it would be a better mech.

Back in the BV1 days, I would sometimes highlight some perticularly high or low mechs, but I personaly feel that BV2 tends to be more accurate.  A good mech, one that you see the author raving on about, tends to have a high BV.  If the author claims "this mech is the very best mech ever" then it will probably have a very high BV.  If the mech is "poor, but workable" it will probably have a low BV (these are often the 'value' mechs). If a mech is just genuinely useless, then it will tend to have a low BV.  Because its bad.
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Re: Repost: Mech of the Week: ARC-* Archer
« Reply #6 on: 07 February 2011, 08:15:10 »
What the 5W pays for that BV  - an XLFE with ammo right next to it - is compensation, I think.  It's low in value but you're getting what you pay for.  ARC-4Ms and 8Ms, in my experience and ItsTehPope's, tend to need to be torn apart to put them down.  The relative usefulness (read: not very) of that Narc launcher also tends to annoy me.

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Re: Repost: Mech of the Week: ARC-* Archer
« Reply #7 on: 01 March 2020, 10:42:11 »
Something to note about the -9k is the extreme ammo/tube ratio it has. Six tons is enough I wouldn't hesitate to carry some - maybe half - alternate, be it smoke, inferno, fragmentation, thunder. That's enough to make it a quite useful toolkit.


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Re: Repost: Mech of the Week: ARC-* Archer
« Reply #8 on: 01 March 2020, 13:07:11 »
Thanks for this repost! I've been an Archer fan since my big Whammer-fronted BT box, and I tend to pick at least one in my forces if I can (and the fact that almost everyone in the Sphere uses them means that's possible pretty much regardless of faction).

(Admittedly, I've also had a liking for the less popular Shadow Hawk since then, too, thanks to the rules cover, but we'll not say any more about that.)
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VhenRa

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Re: Repost: Mech of the Week: ARC-* Archer
« Reply #9 on: 01 March 2020, 22:19:52 »
I suppose this article needs a slight update to cover the original Archer, the primitive 1A.

Giovanni Blasini

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Re: Repost: Mech of the Week: ARC-* Archer
« Reply #10 on: 02 March 2020, 00:21:09 »
Agreed.  I'm wondering how the ARC-1A plays out against it's contemporaries, and later as a retrotech alternative to later Archers.

Moonsword, up for it?
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Moonsword

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Re: Repost: Mech of the Week: ARC-* Archer
« Reply #11 on: 02 March 2020, 09:07:38 »
I really don't know right now.  It depends on whether things stop looking like they're trying to catch fire at work.

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Re: Repost: Mech of the Week: ARC-* Archer
« Reply #12 on: 02 March 2020, 14:29:32 »
i haven't had a chance to run the -1A yet, but from the specs i'd say it probably compares pretty well. it's a 3/5 instead of a 4/6, but most of the mechs it is up against in its own time are similarly slower. the 16 tons of primitive armor is a bit lighter protection (171pts instead of 208) but given the mechs of its own time are usually packing a lot lighter weapons loads, i doubt the durability would feel much different in its own time. and the weapons are basically the same, 2 arm mounted ML's and a pair of LRM20's with 4 tons of ammo. it lacks the rear lasers but given how little a properly run Archer uses those, that isn't a big loss.

in later eras against succession wars, Star league, or clan era tech, it would be a little slower and more fragile, but since the standard succession wars archer holds up well even in such environments (especially once you have alternate ammo and/or the support of Narc equipped teammates), i think that the -1A would still fair well.


one thing i find odd if that the "C" refit appears based on the standard -2R, when a fair number of the Archers the Clans would have captured in the IS would have been the -2K models with the large Lasers, or the -2S models with the SRMs. both of which would seem to have better options for clan upgrades available to them.
« Last Edit: 02 March 2020, 18:34:31 by glitterboy2098 »

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Re: Repost: Mech of the Week: ARC-* Archer
« Reply #13 on: 02 March 2020, 22:53:17 »
one thing i find odd if that the "C" refit appears based on the standard -2R, when a fair number of the Archers the Clans would have captured in the IS would have been the -2K models with the large Lasers, or the -2S models with the SRMs. both of which would seem to have better options for clan upgrades available to them.

The C refit was originally done be the Jade Falcons on Twycross and later retconned to have the refit accessible to other factions.  The Falcons would have captured either 2Rs or 2S and not 2Ks.

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Re: Repost: Mech of the Week: ARC-* Archer
« Reply #14 on: 11 March 2020, 05:07:24 »
With TRO3050 came a great many sins against 'Mech kind.  The ARC-4M Archer built by the Free Worlds League wasn't one of them.  Oh, no, not at all.  In a tome of LosTech horrors, the ARC-4M is a shining example of a LosTech upgrade done exactly right.  Start with the ARC-2R.  First, upgrade the heat sinks - 10 freezers is perfectly sinked for the 18 heat and 2 running from a forward barrage, a wonderful feeling for every ARC-2R driver who ever lived.  The launchers had Artemis IV fire control suites added.  Those of you pointing out ECM need to remember this is 3050.  The ECM suites that seem to be growing out of the ground like weeds sometimes today (especially amongst the Cappies) need to remember that the electronic warfare environment was a lot less populated back then, although there's some to be found.  Another ton went into CASE for each torso, making this one of the more highly survivable 'Mechs around although if it loses both sides, a quick retreat is definitely in order.  The remaining half ton was invested into another half-ton of armor, one whole point shy of max.  All of the armor wound up on the legs, enabling them to pass the double Gauss test.  The old Star League Royal ARC-2Rb Archer featured in Operation KLONDIKE is very similar save that it replaces one of the rear-facing lasers with another ton of LRM ammo in the left torso.  Mercenaries and regular units alike will be quite pleased to acquire one of these Archers and, thanks to the deal struck by Hanse Davion and the false Thomas Marik, the ARC-4M can be found in a lot of places.  The ARC-2Rb is limited to the Royal Regiments of the Star League Defense Force and scattered among the various factions involved in the Pentagon Civil War and the Clans, so you're not going to find as many of them, but given their doughty nature, I wouldn't be surprised if one was pulled out of a Brian Cache in the Jihad.
Confirmed best Archer design as we've been given it twice now

During the Jihad, one of the Word of Blake's new "wonder weapons" was the Void Signature System, basically mimetic armor for BattleMechs.  They chose to employ it on the ARC-9W, a decision that, honestly, I'm kind of having trouble supporting.  In terms of armament, the ARC-9W is a repeat of the ARC-5T with two ERLLs and two LRM 15s with Artemis IV.  Unlike stealth, void-sig doesn't interfere with your electronics (other than C3), so the Artemis modules still work.  However, it still rams that 10 heat down your throat and, in the process, imposes a +1 targeting modifier on you; it also goes down on a crit.  In theory, it goes down if active probes are removed, but that appears to actually be ECM; a question has been asked on the matter.  If not, the ARC-9W is carrying a Void Signature System it can't use, as it mounts no active probes but an Angel ECM suite.  An XLFE drives this particular Archer at 5/8.  Okay, that comparison to mimetic armor was purposeful - it doesn't generate a targeting modifier if you're moving at over 5 hexes.  It makes the design work mathematically but is kind of at cross purposes to the void sig.  The armor is in fact lighter than the ARC-9M's, which is really doing nothing to improve my steadily declining opinion of the 'Mech.  The fragility means your targeting modifiers need to be high, something you can accomplish by either standing still or running, but honestly, this is feeling like TRO3050 rose from the grave to stalk the Inner Sphere again with more shiny toy 'Mechs.
Might have been better with Stealth Armor, or if you want to keep the C3 CLPS or Null-Sig, or may turned into a vehicle (Can vehicles mount anything other then Stealth Armor, there's been a bunch of errata I haven't kept on top of?) because of how much you can make vehicles like standing still.

glitterboy2098

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Re: Repost: Mech of the Week: ARC-* Archer
« Reply #15 on: 11 March 2020, 14:24:23 »
the ARC-9W was designed to work alongside the RPT-2X and RPT-2X1 Raptor II's, which combined Void Sig with a 7/11 movement curve.

while Void Sig works best at slow speeds, the strategy is fairly clear, IMO. your high movement rate is for travel to within operational range of your target. as many examples have shown, when traveling cross country even non-stealth units can escape detection so long as basic precautions are taken. however it is much more difficult to sneak up on a base or enemy unit. this is where the Void Sig comes in, as it allows you, if you limit your movement rate, to evade both visual and sensor detection. using Void Sig the Raptor's can deploy into position to raid or ambush the target, while the Archer's can take up position to provide fire support during the action.
once in position, you can strike from concealment, then rely on Void-sig's ECM aspect for protection while using your higher movement rate for tactical advantage. during a longer engagement, you can also use your higher movement to relocate positions when hidden from LOS by the enemy by terrain, and revert back to slower movement when you cannot count on terrain concealment.

Void-Sig units are special operations units, and such units need access to both stealth and high mobility.. stealth for when they need to avoid being found, mobility so they can reach the target without having to be dropped in close.
one of the reasons that the Star League used Land-Air mechs for the role, since they could not take advantage of stealth close to the targets, they instead doubled down on mobility in order to make themselves difficult to track and counter against.

Jellico

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Re: Repost: Mech of the Week: ARC-* Archer
« Reply #16 on: 26 April 2022, 19:04:02 »
Took the Archer 5CS (from BattleTech: Battle of Tukayyid) for a spin in the weekend. There is a lot to be said for four Artemised LRM15s when you can shield them properly.

MoneyLovinOgre4Hire

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Re: Repost: Mech of the Week: ARC-* Archer
« Reply #17 on: 27 April 2022, 00:44:18 »
Yeah, it's not until the Viking that the Inner Sphere gets a missile boat with more missiles than the Archer CS.
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Re: Repost: Mech of the Week: ARC-* Archer
« Reply #18 on: 27 April 2022, 01:56:56 »
Viking and 12C Longbow comes to mind here. Personally I prefer the Longbow.

As on Archers. The 4M still is my fave Archer. Personally I would switch the Rear Lasers for 2 Additional tons of ammo, since I tend to use FASCAM Munitions (Preferably Thunder Augmented if available). But overall it is imo the best upgraded ARcher still, since it is also durable. (Standard Engine with CASE and 216 Armor, hell yeah).

3025, I am very fond of the 2R too. I also noticed here that many people seem to have a kind of fear to overheat your mech. Well I heated up a 2R on 28 without going boom or shutting down several times. To me, heat levels up to 7 are normal and 15 is a bit warm. And then the look on your fellow players face if you say Alpha Strike with a Nova Prime and you simply don't shutdown. Always priceless, since players simply don't expect someone doing this, except if its a killshot.
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garhkal

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Re: Repost: Mech of the Week: ARC-* Archer
« Reply #19 on: 28 April 2022, 01:39:22 »
I wonder, has anyone made an archer with those ER-lrms??
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MoneyLovinOgre4Hire

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Re: Repost: Mech of the Week: ARC-* Archer
« Reply #20 on: 28 April 2022, 01:50:27 »
Nothing canon that I'm aware of.
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Re: Repost: Mech of the Week: ARC-* Archer
« Reply #21 on: 28 April 2022, 01:56:53 »
The new Catapult from the Rec Guides (K6, I think?) has them but I don't believe there's an Archer variant yet.
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Sabelkatten

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Re: Repost: Mech of the Week: ARC-* Archer
« Reply #22 on: 28 April 2022, 05:04:52 »
I wonder, has anyone made an archer with those ER-lrms??
The 9R; twin ELRM15 according to Sarna.

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Re: Repost: Mech of the Week: ARC-* Archer
« Reply #23 on: 28 April 2022, 12:15:47 »
The 9R; twin ELRM15 according to Sarna.

Confirmed--the ARC-9R was in Rec Guide 10 and is available to the RotS (and maybe therefore the new ilClan?) in the Dark Ages.

garhkal

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Re: Repost: Mech of the Week: ARC-* Archer
« Reply #24 on: 28 April 2022, 15:43:59 »
May have to give that version a look see..
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