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Author Topic: RecGuide Review of the Week: Kontio Melee Mech  (Read 3925 times)

Natasha Kerensky

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RecGuide Review of the Week: Kontio Melee Mech
« on: 18 January 2022, 18:51:51 »

This...



Inevitably led to this...



Note the blood splatters from whomever was in the Savage Wolf’s cockpit.

BACKGROUND

Appearing in Recognition Guide: ilClan Volume 21 and built in the Rasalhague Dominion, the Kontio is another unusual product from the supposed genius of Ramiel “WarBear” Bekker.  Although that genius is less on display in WarBear’s later designs for Clan Wolf like the Stormwolf and Amarok, WarBear’s Kontio is genuinely innovative and effective in its role.  Little wonder that Alaric “ilKhan” Ward targeted WarBear in a Trial of Possession and gave him the keys to Clan Wolf’s R&D department.

But the Kontio’s origins run deeper than one former Ghost Bear warrior-scientist and reflect decades-old trends among both Clan and House militaries in the Inner Sphere.

Long before Operation Revival, Clan mechwarriors eschewed physical combat, preferring the supposedly cleaner and more honorable kills afforded by the greater ranges of Clantech weaponry.  Although this peculiarity of Clan mech combat contradicted the physicality of the Clans’ unaugmented combat trials and augmented Elemental combat, many Clan mechwarriors raised it to an art form, especially among the Goliath Scorpions.

After Operation Revival, the Clans’ combat preferences ran into the reality of warfare in the Inner Sphere, where physical combat was the norm.  Even in the depths of the Succession Wars, innovators like Dr. Banzai at the NAIS developed mech-scale melee weapons like the Hatchetman’s, uh, hatchet, and the gladiatorial arenas on Solaris VII and other worlds continued to refine melee combat techniques and technologies.

The Clans eventually adapted to Spheroid tactics and began to incorporate melee weapons into their battlemech designs and omnimech configurations.  But unlike the medieval melee weapons of Spheroid mechs, the Clans generally preferred melee weapons that imbued their designs with the spirits of their totemic animals.  Although normally slow adopters, the Ghost Bears were the first to mainstream a melee weapon in a mech, incorporating claw-like Retractable Blades on their Karhu’s Prime and C configurations in 3079, perhaps not surprising given the cosmetic claws that had adorned their Kodiak totem mech since 3001 and the vibroclaws employed by their Wraith battle armor since 3116.  The usually conservative Jade Falcons were next, inventing and then mounting Talons on the Eyrie battlemech in 3087 and on many later Falcon battlemechs and omnimechs.  Even the Nova Cats got in on the act, attempting to fit working Claws to their Cave Lion battlemech in 3122, but settling for cosmetic models like the Kodiak’s instead.  In 3145, the Kontio succeeded where the Cave Lion failed, sporting a true, working Claw in place of each of its hand actuators.

The other major trend that molded the Kontio’s design was decades of Capellan innovation in, for lack of a better term, dirty tricks like mines, incendiary weapons, and artillery.  The Kontio incorporates two of these Capellan technologies:  Triple-Strength Myomer, itself born from a dirty trick that the Federated Suns played on the Capellans in the Fourth Succession War, and Stealth Armor, an evolution of Capellan interest in electronic warfare dating back to the original 3024 Raven battlemech.  The fact that the Bears had already experimented with Stealth Armor in battlesuits like the Kobold IIC, Wraith, and various Rogue Bear variants — as well as Clan Wolf’s use of these technologies in designs like the Wulfen and Skinwalker — likely helped pave the way for their Capellan versions to find their way to the Kontio.

But how did WarBear obtain Capellan military technologies from clear across the Inner Sphere to augment the Kontio’s melee capabilities and survivability?  Two words:  Bergan Industries.  The inventor of the ancient Locust scout mech, Bergan has factories in both Capellan space (Ares) and Rasalhague space (Alshain and New Oslo).  And just as important, Bergan was the first Capellan firm to create a working version of Triple-Strength Myomer.  Bergan also employs Stealth Armor on the Stinger -6L variant they license from Earthwerks.

So how does WarBear and Bergan’s motley mix of Clan and Spheroid technologies work together on the Kontio?  Let’s jump into the design.

DESIGN

At 40 tons, the Kontio is in one of the traditionally less optimal weight classes for mechs.  But as we’ll see, that weight class was deliberately chosen to maximize the Kontio’s efficiency in its melee role.  And the Kontio gets the most out of the chassis with a Clantech endo-steel frame and 280-rated Clantech XL engine, giving the Kontio a reasonably mobile base speed of 7/11 in the game or 119kph metric.

The Kontio’s top speed is further enhanced by its Triple-Strength Myomer and a supercharger, giving it temporary 12-hex (TSM only), 14-hex (supercharger only), and 16-hex (TSM and supercharger) bursts of speed.  Able to cross a mapsheet in only a turn or two, the Kontio can rapidly bring it melee capabilities to bear (get it?), ideally in the rear arc of an opponent’s high-value mech.

What are those melee capabilities?  Without claws or TSM, the Kontio would only be able to punch for a lousy 4 points of damage.  But the Kontio’s Claws boost each punch to 6 points of damage.  And with its TSM engaged, the Kontio’s Claws inflict 12 points of damage each.  And in case you hadn’t noticed at home, 12 points is exactly the amount of damage (9 points armor, 3 points internal structure) needed to decapitate most mechs.  At 40 tons, the Kontio is the lightest possible mech capable of punching the lights out on an Atlas or Dire Wolf (or pick your favorite high-value mech) after only one physical attack.  (At 16-points each, the Kontio’s TSM-enhanced kicks are hard to ignore, too.)

It gets better.  Unlike other physical attacks, the Kontio can punch twice each turn.  And because each punch is landing on the Punch Hits Location Table, each punch has a 1-in-6 (17%) chance of decapitating an enemy mech after the punch connects.  That’s a 1-in-3 chance of decapitating an enemy mech each turn, assuming both punches connect.  That’s darn scary if you’re the target mech.

Even if the punches fail to connect with the target’s head, they each have a 50% chance of landing on a torso hit location.  If the Kontio has managed to get into the rear arc of the target, 12 points of damage will open up the rear torsos of most mechs.

Done right, most melee combat is a high-risk, high-reward affair.  The Kontio tries to mitigate this risk with maximal armor protection (136 points total versus 137 points possible).  The Kontio can take an AC/20 round to a leg, two Spheroid Pulse Medium Laser shots to an arm, a Gauss round to a side torso, or two Spheroid Pulse Large Laser shots to the Center Torso without going internal.  All rear torso sections can withstand an AC/5 round. 

The Kontio further tries to mitigate this risk with Stealth Armor and an accompanying Clantech ECM suite.  The Stealth Armor is a bit of an odd choice because it offers no additional protection against the point blank weapons and physical attacks that the Kontio’s target will be serving up during melee, which is where a Kontio should be most of the time.  But the Stealth Armor will help the Kontio avoid a shot or two while closing with its target and make it harder for other enemy mechs to assist in getting the Kontio off the target’s back.  More importantly, the heat generated by the Stealth Armor plays a critical role in activating the Kontio’s Triple-Strength Myomer, as we’ll see shortly.

The Kontio’s weapons loadout is all Clantech energy goodness and consists of dual Pulse Medium Lasers, a sextet of ER Small Lasers, and a single Pulse Micro Laser.  The Pulse Mediums offer the Kontio a couple accurate shots at range while closing, but consistent with the Kontio’s melee capabilities, its firepower is mostly short-ranged and all torso-mounted to be used in conjunction with the Kontio’s punches.

Like a Fire Moth H and P or a Phantom C and E, the Kontio’s firepower is best delivered into an enemy mech’s rear arc.  Between the Kontio’s two punches and its laser array, the Kontio can put up to 71 points of damage into a mech’s rear spread across 11 to-hit rolls.  There’s no guarantee that will take down a mech when the Kontio’s punches fail to connect with the target’s head, but it has a reasonable probability of opening up the target’s rear armor and inducing crippling engine, gyro, and ammo damage.

Thanks to its many small lasers and the additional heat generated by its stealth armor, activating and maintaining the Kontio’s TSM bonuses is trivial.  With 10 freezers (20 sunk heat points each turn), the following firing sequence will activate the Kontio’s TSM before entering melee for the kill:

Stealth Armor +10
Running +2
Two Pulse Mediums +8
Four ER Smalls +8
Pulse Micro +1
Ten Freezers -20
Total Overheat +9 (activates TSM bonuses)

If walking, substitute a fifth ER Small for the Pulse Micro  If standing, add a fifth ER Small.

The following firing sequence will maintain the TSM bonuses for repeated melee attacks or a quick getaway:

Overheat From Prior Turn +9
Stealth Armor +10
Running +2
Four ER Smalls +8
Ten Freezers -20
Total Overheat +9 (maintains TSM bonuses)

If walking, add the Pulse Micro Laser.  If standing still, add a fifth ER Small Laser.

Once its TSM is activated, the Kontio can also turn off its Stealth Armor while still maintaining TSM modifiers.  This allows the Kontio to increase its firepower, which is a good option if no other enemy units are close enough to get the Kontio off its target’s back.  That firing sequence would look like:

Overheat From Prior Turn +9
Running +2
Two Pulse Mediums +8
Five ER Smalls +10
Ten Freezers -20
Total Overheat +9 (maintains TSM bonuses)

If walking, add the Pulse Micro Laser.  If standing still, add a sixth ER Small Laser.

DISTRIBUTION

Although made in Dominion space, the Bear touman makes limited use of the Kontio, mainly among its Rasalhagian units.  Something about impaling enemy mechwarriors as dishonorable.  Stupid Clanners...

And it’s a stealthed mech with working bear claws — the ultimate Ghost Bear totem!  Stupid Ghost Bears...

Anyway, at just over 1,900 BV2, the Kontio is more than twice as expensive as other Ghost Bear backbiters like the Fire Moth H and P and can’t carry a battle armor point with it.  But the Kontio is much more effective in their role and actually has a chance of surviving such encounters.  Unless the game’s BV caps are too low, I’d take it over these kinds of Fire Moths (and Phantoms) every time.  In fact, I probably wouldn’t have taken those Fire Moths under any conditions, so the Kontio arguably brings a capability to Clan toumans that didn’t exist prior.

In the case of the Rasalhagian “Space Viking” units within the Ghost Bear touman, I’d definitely take the Kontio, its speed, its TSM-enhanced claws, and its melee-optimized weapons loadout over whatever lame Hatchetmen and Axmen they’re still using.

For letting Bergan put TSM and Stealth Armor on a unit made in Dominion space, the Capellans also have access to the Kontio.  Ti Ts’angs and the like run about the same BV2 and will usually be more survivable by dint of their greater weight and thicker armor.  But they are somewhat slower and usually spend tonnage on hatchets or other melee weapons that you’ll have to drop anyway if you want to engage in TSM-enhanced, decapitating punch attacks like the Kontio.  So it’s really situational whether the Kontio is a better choice than other fast, Capellan, TSM melee bullies.

Bergan also sells (or is allowed to sell) the Kontio to customers besides the Dominion and Confederation.  So the Kontio also shows up on the Clan Wolf, mercenary, and Solaris VII MULs.  The idea of Kontios in the hands of elite Spheroid merc units makes me cackle, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the next Solaris champion was piloting one.

TACTICS FOR

At just over 1,900 BV2, the Kontio is expensive for a 40-ton, Clantech mech and using one successfully involves risky, melee combat at point-blank ranges.  Running down Locusts and the like is missing the point and needlessly exposes the Kontio to close return fire from the Locusts’ friends.  The Kontio should really be targeting mechs that are bigger and slower with larger BVs so that the Kontio “trades up” even if it is lost in the exchange.  Plus, there is nothing funnier than watching an opponent’s 3,000+ BV2 Dire Wolf or Iron Cheetah get decapitated.

The Kontio’s abilities are best exploited in the hands of an experienced player who is unafraid of mobile, close combat.  As emphasized a couple times above, the Kontio is most dangerous if it can get into an enemy mech’s rear arc so that its 12-point punches and withering laser array can open up rear torso armor even if the punches fail to decapitate the target.  To pull this off on a straight, terrainless run, the Kontio wants to activate its TSM (if it hasn’t already done so) and supercharger no more than about 12 hexes from a target that has ended its movement phase (and closer if the Kontio has to move through or dodge terrain).  This leaves a few MP out of the Kontio’s 16 max MPs for the final couple hexes and turns necessary to get into the enemy mech’s rear.  Once there, the Kontio should open up with its lasers and claw punches.  With a little luck, the target will lose its head or suffer some torso crits.

If the target falls, the Kontio can maintain its TSM and proceed with 16-point kicks and more lasers.  If the target is still standing with its cockpit intact, the Kontio can follow, maintain its TSM bonuses, and keep up the attack.  Or if the Kontio is in danger of taking too much heat from the target’s friends, the Kontio has the speed to disengage and try again later.

Because the Kontio is vulnerable to attacks from other units while engaged in melee, the Kontio will ideally skirt the edge of a mapsheet and attack mechs at the very rear of the enemy formation, rather than going straight up the middle and attacking the rear arc of the very first enemy mech it encounters.

If zellbriggen is not an issue, the Kontio is a great mech partnered with similar, mobile backbiters.  It’s fun teamed with the likes of a Viper A that can also jump or run into an enemy’s rear and add more firepower from a little farther away than the Kontio’s punches and small lasers.  Similarly, the Kontio can present an opponent with difficult decisions when working in tandem with slower, more heavily armed and armored allies attacking from the front.  Does the enemy Dire Wolf flip its arms in an attempt to take out the Kontio on its back or does it need to keep firing forward at the Kontio’s buddies and their LRM salvos?  Like a mobile AC/20 in Succession Wars-era play, the Kontio is a potent and immediate threat that you can use to force enemy movement where you want, enemy firepower from where you don’t, and otherwise shape the battlefield.

TACTICS AGAINST

The Kontio can’t jump, so the best counter if you know one is coming is a heavy woods/jungle or mountain/canyon mapsheet, with lots of jumpers and accurate firepower on your side.  If allowed, mines also work to restrict the Kontio’s movement.

But if you’re stuck on more normal terrain, the next best counter is staying at least 13 or so hexes away from a Kontio so that it is forced to engage in melee in your front (or side) arc, where your rear torso armor is not vulnerable and where you can respond with the full array of your own physical attacks.  You won’t be very accurate hitting the Kontio’s Stealth Armor at 13+ hexes range, but the Kontio can’t fire back at all, and it won’t be there long anyway.  Whatever you do, don’t blunder needlessly into a situation under 12 hexes where a Kontio can get into your rear arc right away.

But a Kontio will get behind a target sooner than later, so deploying a reasonably close, layered formation and/or accurate friendly overwatch also mitigates the Kontio’s ability to cause trouble.  An ally a few hexes away from a target with a pulse salvo — or an LRM boat on the nearby mountain — makes the Kontio’s calculations harder and life shorter.

QUIRKS

The Kontio enjoys the Distracting Quirk if Morale rules are in play.  It suffers from the Bad Reputation Quirk, while theoretically halving resale value, but who cares?  Anyone who thinks the Kontio is actually a bad design doesn’t deserve to buy one, and Kontios will tend to have short lives due to their melee role, anyway.

The inaccuracy of the Kontio’s claws, as mentioned below, could have been offset with the Battlefists Quirk.  But no such luck.

FUTURE EVOLUTION

Although a dangerous and well put-together design, the Kontio is a bit suboptimal in a couple ways.

One is that the Kontio’s claws impose a +1 to-hit modifier.  A 55-ton mech with TSM can inflict the same 12-point, decapitating punches without the claws and their to-hit modifier.  Bigger is often better and that could be true here, too.

Another is that the Kontio’s stealth armor doesn’t help it much when it needs it most — when the Kontio is going toe-to-toe with another mech.  Armor that allows the Kontio to effectively field more than its maximum points (Ferro-Lamellor, Ballistic-Reinforced, maybe Hardened) or that helps the Kontio sink damage from return melee attacks (Impact-Resistant Armor) would be good options for a Kontio 2.  To replace the heat generated by the Kontio’s Stealth Armor, a Kontio 2 could split its twin Pulse Medium Lasers into a quartet of ER Medium Lasers.

A jumpy Kontio that trades in the supercharger for jump jets would also be a useful alternative for more challenging terrains.

The design thread for Kontio variants can be found here —>

https://bg.battletech.com/forums/battlemechs/recguide-review-of-the-week-kontio-variants/

NAMING SPECULATION

“Kontio” is Finnish for Bear.  No doubt either WarBear or Bergan christened the design with that name to appeal to the Ghost Bear touman.  That didn’t work out so well.

But I can’t help but wish for a supercharged, TSMed, ECMed, Kodiak variant with working claws that is deserving of the totem title “Ghost Bear”.  If “Spirit Bears” are a real thing, why can’t there be a real “Ghost Bear” mech? —>

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kermode_bear
« Last Edit: 21 January 2022, 10:31:03 by Natasha Kerensky »
"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."
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Zeruel

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Re: RecGuide Review of the Week: Kontio Melee Mech
« Reply #1 on: 18 January 2022, 19:31:10 »
Note the blood splatters from whomever was in the Savage Wolf’s cockpit.

probably Star Captain Justine as detailed in the Battle History part of the TRO entry
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Answer: With orbital bombardment."

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Jellico

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Re: RecGuide Review of the Week: Kontio Melee Mech
« Reply #2 on: 18 January 2022, 19:56:16 »
The Karhu technically comes from a FRR factory and had a FRR lean. Compare with the Mad Dog III. The Drakøns are the ones pushing for physical combat. The rest of us are along for the ride.

The Dominion has been playing with Stealth since the 3080s when the Kobold's design teams got access to Clantech. The vibro claw equipped Wraith is worth a look here.
https://www.sarna.net/wiki/Wraith_(Battle_Armor)

Further on the Stealth, you don't need to leave it on. You can use it to get close, and to prevent distant opponents interrupting your stabbing. TSM can be maintained without keeping Stealth engaged.

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Re: RecGuide Review of the Week: Kontio Melee Mech
« Reply #3 on: 18 January 2022, 20:31:21 »
I genuinely dislike the Kontio, largely because of its BV and the effect that Claws have on hit numbers.  You start out expensive, and the Claws are swinging at effectively skill 6.  In order to make that at all reasonable numbers against an average target (i.e. skill + 1 [claws] + 2 [running] + 2 [opponent TMM] + potentially terrain = 9 or lower) you need at minimum a piloting skill increase and probably two.  Otherwise it's better at all times just to kick something.  And at that point (4/3 pilot) you're looking at spending almost 2300 BV for a specialized gimmick.

Pass.
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Natasha Kerensky

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Re: RecGuide Review of the Week: Kontio Melee Mech
« Reply #4 on: 18 January 2022, 21:13:21 »
probably Star Captain Justine as detailed in the Battle History part of the TRO entry

No doubt.

The Karhu technically comes from a FRR factory and had a FRR lean. Compare with the Mad Dog III. The Drakøns are the ones pushing for physical combat. The rest of us are along for the ride.

In the distribution section, I did mention that the Bears proper are not wild about the Kontio but that the Rasalhagians do like the design.

Quote
The Dominion has been playing with Stealth since the 3080s when the Kobold's design teams got access to Clantech. The vibro claw equipped Wraith is worth a look here.

I did think of the BA precedents, but Clan BA has always engaged in physical attacks and the article was getting long.  I thought the mech “claw” precedent in the Karhu and the link through Bergan to mech-scale stealth armor were more important in terms of background.  Maybe I’ll drop the Falcon talon references for the BA.

Quote
Further on the Stealth, you don't need to leave it on.

Kontio needs the Stealth on to activate TSM (or turn off freezers or have prior crits or external heat).  But once she’s overheating +9, the TSM bonuses can be maintained with Stealth off if more firepower is preferred.  I’ll try to add a mention without making the article much longer.

I genuinely dislike the Kontio, largely because of its BV and the effect that Claws have on hit numbers.

I did reference the +1 that the Claws impose in the Future Evolution section.  All things equal, the Kontio or something like it would be better as a 55-tonner without Claws (but would probably be even higher BV).

That said, I appreciate the innovation in stacking the TSM and Claws on a 40-ton frame to create a minimum-sized mech for decapitating punches.  It pushes the design space in a way not seen before in the canon.  Better to-hit numbers are probably better most of the time than higher decapitation probabilities on hit location tables.  But that decapitation (or rear-torso punch) threat on something that fast and survivable is still potent.

And despite the BV, it’s well done.  We could remove the arms, and the Kontio still has the speed to get behind targets, enough armor to survive a close encounter or two, and enough lasers to open up rear torsos.  I’d still take it over a couple similarly equipped Fire Moths that will fall apart before or right after they get into the target’s rear or a lot of poorly designed melee mechs.

Would I rather have a Carrion Crow?  Sure.  But in the role it plays, the Kontio is pretty good.  (And it’s certainly better thought through than the other designs attributed to WarBear.  If I get around to writing up the Amarok or StormWolf, those won’t be pretty.)
« Last Edit: 18 January 2022, 21:16:53 by Natasha Kerensky »
"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."

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Re: RecGuide Review of the Week: Kontio Melee Mech
« Reply #5 on: 18 January 2022, 21:26:53 »
We could remove the arms, and the Kontio still has the speed to get behind targets, enough armor to survive a close encounter or two, and enough lasers to open up rear torsos.

I think this is ultimately my problem with it, because I'd genuinely rather have one that just didn't have arms than what we ended up with.  This isn't a reflection on poor design, it's entirely on how I don't feel it's able to leverage its effectiveness well enough to justify its price tag.
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Natasha Kerensky

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Re: RecGuide Review of the Week: Kontio Melee Mech
« Reply #6 on: 18 January 2022, 21:40:52 »
I think this is ultimately my problem with it, because I'd genuinely rather have one that just didn't have arms than what we ended up with.  This isn't a reflection on poor design, it's entirely on how I don't feel it's able to leverage its effectiveness well enough to justify its price tag.

Yeah, from a global view, like the one you’re taking in your RG reviews, tonnage and crits spent on melee weapons are usually spent better elsewhere.

But comparing like to like — melee mech to melee mech, backbiter to backbiter, dedicated decapitator to dedicated decapitator — the Kontio is well-executed.  That’s the more limited view I tried to take here.

I think both are right.  I’ve had luck (and lots of fun) running these kinds of highly mobile, high-risk/high-reward disrupters up and down an enemy’s line.  Both those tactics aren’t for everyone, and the rest of your line pays for the BV spent on those disrupters.
"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."

Jellico

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Re: RecGuide Review of the Week: Kontio Melee Mech
« Reply #7 on: 18 January 2022, 21:42:00 »
Is there a physical weapon that is superior to a kick? Talons I guess? Really the whole concept of physical combat runs counter to BV. Unless you go back to the slow death-traps like the Axman and Hatchetman.

That said high BV is a design goal here. It is one of the last Warbear Mechs designed so had to match the existing insanity. Worse, a lot of the themes in the Warbear Mechs are pretty standard in Clan Ghost Bear meaning you have to go even crazier to stand out as "innovative". So the design is less what is good for a game and more, what would annoy a Ghost Bear traditionalist.

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Re: RecGuide Review of the Week: Kontio Melee Mech
« Reply #8 on: 18 January 2022, 22:37:55 »
Physical weapons superior to kicks are few and far between, and are reasonably well encompassed by "anything with an accuracy bonus that can hit the full body table and deals at least 12 damage".  The platforms those weapons are on can vary, or make the entire 'Mech not as good as just having a cheaper 'Mech of the same size that kicks things (hello, Axman), but things like the Ti'Tsang in particular are absolute murder on legs and a kick is one of the things you're not really trying to set up with it while that axe is swinging.

That said high BV is a design goal here. It is one of the last Warbear Mechs designed so had to match the existing insanity. Worse, a lot of the themes in the Warbear Mechs are pretty standard in Clan Ghost Bear meaning you have to go even crazier to stand out as "innovative". So the design is less what is good for a game and more, what would annoy a Ghost Bear traditionalist.

I'll be honest, I find most of the Warbear "innovations" to be trite and only marginally useful.  The Kontio is the least egregious on this front for actually trying something new and exciting even if I find it subpar, but things like the Stormwolf aren't so much "innovation" as they are pushing the envelope of what a single 'Mech can do and completely disregarding the cost of reaching that level of capability.  This paradoxically usually results in a 'Mech that definitely can do whatever it wants, but it will be casually outperformed by the two entire Heavy 'Mechs you can afford instead.

Perhaps ironically, the designs that I think actually have the most genuine innovation in them in the RecGuide Series are actually the Hammerhead and Hierofalcon/Jade Phoenix.  The Hammerhead for combining AES in the legs (which I think is a canon first in the first place) with Hardened to make a fast skirmisher that's effectively immune to mobility disruption, and the Falcon Omnis for having the foresight to use Partial Wings and otherwise just efficient builds with the potentially controversial choice of not having fixed jump jets to take advantage of the wings.  I find that significantly more interesting/innovative than the apparent Warbear innovation of "crank this knob to 11".
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Re: RecGuide Review of the Week: Kontio Melee Mech
« Reply #9 on: 18 January 2022, 23:12:52 »
First, the art for it looks amazing!

It looks like something built to fight Doom Slayer in a boss fight.

As for the mech it self, I really see it as something to dominate other mediums rather than a giant killer. The TSM gives it punch to take on larger pray but the smart thing would only doing so when you can back stab (which thanks to it's speed and stealth, durable) but I see 9 times out of 10, your going to be flanking another medium and ether making them run or make them regret their poor positioning.
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Re: RecGuide Review of the Week: Kontio Melee Mech
« Reply #10 on: 19 January 2022, 01:42:16 »
The kontio is fun to play, even if it can be extremely risky.

It scares people. What claws do to the to-hits makes decapitations relatively unlikely, but cranking those odds is something a lot of players don't do well when it is a turn from getting behind their 4000 BV ubermech.

Tyler Jorgensson

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Re: RecGuide Review of the Week: Kontio Melee Mech
« Reply #11 on: 19 January 2022, 10:33:37 »
Well written: I love the section detailing the TSM heat numbers and I wish more guides (any of them TRO’s, Rec Guides, etc) had those.

True it’s a scary little beast, and I will definitely run one at some point, I’m personally not a fan of Small Laser armed designs. I’ve seen them in action and they are effective backbiters… but something always irks me about having a machine whose main firepower is at range 3 or less (or similar). Melee mechs are one thing but it needs something to contribute at long range IMO. Just my two cents.

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Re: RecGuide Review of the Week: Kontio Melee Mech
« Reply #12 on: 19 January 2022, 18:41:17 »
Been running some MegaMek bot trials. Lances of Ti Ts'ang vs Kontios. Obviously, Princess doesn't always take the best options and it doesn't measure how well either 'Mech meshes with more typical Lances.

Short version, the BV runs true. They beat each other senseless. The physical weapon is less the primary weapon and more the surprise randomizer at the end of a turn. Interestingly Princess was just as likely to use a kick from the Kontio as a punch. If the Ti Ts'ang has an advantage it is in its armor. This lets it survive the physical attacks slightly better. As noted, BV is equal. The Ti Ts'ang costs a lot more, for whatever that is worth. Interestingly when I jacked it up to 8 'Mechs a side the Kontios began dominating. I am interpretating that as the Clan weapon damage advantage really starting to kick in.

My takeaway is that both 'Mechs are roughly equal. The Kontio throws more damage, the Ti Ts'ang absorbs more damage. Mobility is roughly equivalent. In a duel the Kontio should try and keep its distance and generally avoid the hatchet. That is less a comment on the Kontio's melee ability and more that the TSMed hatchet can take limbs off a Kontio while the TSMed claws can't return the favor. YMMV with different opponents.



The math boys are probably going to kill me here.

We have been basing the chance of a claw hitting on a 10. So 16.66%.

But, you get two punches. So rather than figure it out myself I found this web site which did the math for me.
https://www.calculator.net/probability-calculator.html

Key take away.
2.7% chance of both punches landing.
27.7% chance of one punch landing.
30% chance of one or both punches landing.

That is a lot more attractive. A hatchet would be a 41% chance to hit.



Probability of A NOT occuring: P(A')   0.8334   
Probability of B NOT occuring: P(B')   0.8334   
Probability of A and B both occuring: P(A∩B)   0.02775556   
Probability that A or B or both occur: P(A∪B)   0.30544444   
Probability that A or B occurs but NOT both: P(AΔB)   0.27768888   
Probability of neither A nor B occuring: P((A∪B)')   0.69455556   
Probability of A occuring but NOT B:   0.13884444   
Probability of B occuring but NOT A:   0.13884444
« Last Edit: 19 January 2022, 21:32:28 by Jellico »

GuyIncognito

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Re: RecGuide Review of the Week: Kontio Melee Mech
« Reply #13 on: 19 January 2022, 23:27:18 »
"It's different and fun" is basically enough to catch my interest, for Bear and Cappie forces.

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Re: RecGuide Review of the Week: Kontio Melee Mech
« Reply #14 on: 20 January 2022, 09:56:01 »
This is very much a gimmick 'Mech. It's entire purpose for existing is being the lightest 'Mech capable of punching off heads.

Is it perfect?  No.
Are there better heavier options. Probably.
Is it unique and interesting? Yes.

It's rare we get something completely different. We did here and I'm glad for it.

Another great write up Natasha.   :beer:
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Natasha Kerensky

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Re: RecGuide Review of the Week: Kontio Melee Mech
« Reply #15 on: 20 January 2022, 15:42:42 »
Well written: I love the section detailing the TSM heat numbers and I wish more guides (any of them TRO’s, Rec Guides, etc) had those.

Another great write up Natasha.   :beer:

Thanks, gents.  I do try to spend some time on how to use these designs and not just cover their strengths and weaknesses.  After recommending to use (or not) a design and under what conditions, I figure that’s the most important future reference to have.

Been running some MegaMek bot trials. Lances of Ti Ts'ang vs Kontios. Obviously, Princess doesn't always take the best options and it doesn't measure how well either 'Mech meshes with more typical Lances.

Short version, the BV runs true.

This is good to know.  They seemed about equal to me and choosing one over the other seemed situational.  Regardless, the Cappies could field some really scary lances of Ti Ts’angs and Kontios.  I think they even have another variant of something with claws.

Quote
We have been basing the chance of a claw hitting on a 10. So 16.66%.

But, you get two punches. So rather than figure it out myself I found this web site which did the math for me.
https://www.calculator.net/probability-calculator.html

Key take away.
2.7% chance of both punches landing.
27.7% chance of one punch landing.
30% chance of one or both punches landing.

Sheer ranged damage is probably best most of the time.  But I’ve long thought that a reasonably mobile and armored mech that can decapitate an opponent in one punch is one of the most dangerous designs/attacks in the game because of these kinds of hit probabilities in combination with the punch hit location table.  That usually expresses itself design-wise as a 6/9/6 55-tonner with TSM and a torso-mounted energy loadout.  The Kontio shows how to do the same trick with Claws on a 40-tonner.

I updated the article to reference Kobold IIC and Rogue Bear.  Did not mention Wraith as it comes out the same year as the Kontio.  Its use of Stealth and Vibroclaws probably didn’t influence the Kontio’s design.

Added another TSM-maintenance firing sequence for turning off the Stealth.
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Re: RecGuide Review of the Week: Kontio Melee Mech
« Reply #16 on: 21 January 2022, 01:47:10 »
Personally, I'm dying to try these out in my Capellan forces. What a fun little bastard of a 'Mech.


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Re: RecGuide Review of the Week: Kontio Melee Mech
« Reply #17 on: 21 January 2022, 02:51:47 »
Nice rundown o a mech i never heard of, but would LOVE to run, if i ever get the chance.. 
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Re: RecGuide Review of the Week: Kontio Melee Mech
« Reply #18 on: 21 January 2022, 03:35:12 »

I updated the article to reference Kobold IIC and Rogue Bear.  Did not mention Wraith as it comes out the same year as the Kontio.  Its use of Stealth and Vibroclaws probably didn’t influence the Kontio’s design.


Wraith is 3116.
http://www.masterunitlist.info/Unit/Details/6236/wraith-standard

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Re: RecGuide Review of the Week: Kontio Melee Mech
« Reply #19 on: 21 January 2022, 03:54:13 »
Like any wiki, don't use Sarna as a primary source, kids.
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Re: RecGuide Review of the Week: Kontio Melee Mech
« Reply #20 on: 21 January 2022, 10:32:22 »
Wraith is 3116.
http://www.masterunitlist.info/Unit/Details/6236/wraith-standard

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Not Sarna, but MUL is the authority.  Added Wraith BA to text.
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Re: RecGuide Review of the Week: Kontio Melee Mech
« Reply #21 on: 01 February 2022, 10:50:07 »
If it was 5 tonnes heavier it could have clawed through the head of a Mech with both hardened armour and reinforced internal structure, (if TSM was on and both claws hit), if SSW is correct on damage values.
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Re: RecGuide Review of the Week: Kontio Melee Mech
« Reply #22 on: 01 February 2022, 14:13:40 »
If it was 5 tonnes heavier it could have clawed through the head of a Mech with both hardened armour and reinforced internal structure, (if TSM was on and both claws hit), if SSW is correct on damage values.

It can do that now, 18 (hardened head)+6 (reinforced structure)=24. It does 12 points a smack now with everything going.

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Re: RecGuide Review of the Week: Kontio Melee Mech
« Reply #23 on: 01 February 2022, 17:28:24 »
well i can't count....
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Re: RecGuide Review of the Week: Kontio Melee Mech
« Reply #24 on: 03 February 2022, 23:58:56 »
I struggle with these designs.  Essentially, for as long as humans have waged war, there has been a push to increase the range.  As the 100 Years War pointed out, even the best of the melee specialists died in droves to the patter of ranged attacks if they couldn't get there in time.  And, I'm pretty confident that those French knights would have hit more often and with more devastating effects against their targets than this mech. 

This thing is squishy and screams shoot me.  It's facing stuff that can one-shot it at ranges it is impotent at.  Not only that, but it handicaps itself with weapons that impose penalties to hit.  The "value" of the thing comes across as astronomical, while it's actual usefulness seems pretty bad.  It comes across as something to point and laugh at if it shows up in game, because there's a huge chunk of BV there, for something that is largely ineffective unless it is hugging you.  And, if you are moving and it is moving, it's hit probabilities for those big claws fall into the more likely to not hit camp, assuming the best of the best isn't piloting a 40 ton death trap.  I wonder if, in universe where BV doesn't apply, an opponent would basically ignore the little yapper that would be lucky to land a hit and focus on the other side's ranged units, or just put the annoying irritant down on the spot to prevent those rare "oopsies" when it knocks the head clean off... 

Other than the "coolness" of it (also seen in other Sci-Fi settings), can't fathom the thought in universe behind designing something to run up and punch an armoured unit in the nose.  Feels like regression on the battlefield. 

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Re: RecGuide Review of the Week: Kontio Melee Mech
« Reply #25 on: 04 February 2022, 02:33:47 »
It's fast and has stealth armor, shooting it at range is really difficult.  Against most targets, it's going to be the one dictating the range of the fight.

And as for rushing up and punching stuff goes, Battletech has always been about coolness over realism, that's why machine guns have a range of 90 meters instead of 900.  It's cooler and generally speaking more fun to have mechs running into close range to brawl than sitting at opposite sides of a map the size of a tennis court and sniping each other.
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GuyIncognito

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Re: RecGuide Review of the Week: Kontio Melee Mech
« Reply #26 on: 04 February 2022, 10:14:20 »
Multi-million dollar giant robots punching each other instead of using their proportionally expensive guns is definitely cool. I'm glad a few Clans are remembering that.

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Re: RecGuide Review of the Week: Kontio Melee Mech
« Reply #27 on: 07 February 2022, 07:34:03 »
It's certainly an interesting design.
Stuff in there and then try to whack the pilot out. It's certainly a different change of play for a clan warriors who are just like shoot and shoot again.

Thank you for writing up this interesting and amusing article.
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Re: RecGuide Review of the Week: Kontio Melee Mech
« Reply #28 on: 07 February 2022, 08:02:30 »
Hmm.... Looking at the Picture, I come to think... Wait a sec. Didn't the Savage Wolf aka Mad Cat IV had Ferro Lammellor Armor? Shouln't that reduce the Punches with its claws to only 9 damage and just strip the mech of its head armor?????

Nevertheless it is indeed an interesting design, but I am still an old fashioned claner. I also dislike what became of the once proud, honorable Jade Falcons.....
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Re: RecGuide Review of the Week: Kontio Melee Mech
« Reply #29 on: 07 February 2022, 10:29:52 »
The description of the fight was that the Mad Cat Mk IV got clawed in the head once, destroying its armor, at point the Kontio pilot requested their surrender.  They refused and continued to fight, and got clawed a second time, at which point their mech apparently suffered a critical hit to its high-pressure stores of red paint, given the amount of splash on the Kontio.
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