Author Topic: Scotty's Unit Review and Rating Emporium  (Read 6969 times)


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Re: Scotty's Unit Review and Rating Emporium
« Reply #30 on: 02 July 2024, 00:33:53 »
Recognition Guide: IlClan Vol 28

I'm going to be totally honest.  Vehicles aren't my strong suit.  I know substantially less about them than Mechs or battle armor and how they compare to each other, and frankly I do not in the slightest bit enjoy writing them up.  So I won't.  Apologies to those who were looking forward to my biting commentary about the Long Tom and its four children trailers, but it isn't happening today.  Maybe one day.  The difference between this volume with just 'Mechs and this volume with everything is six sheets versus 22 so I immediately feel vindicated by this decision.  In the meantime, here's battle armor and 'Mechs from the next volume.

TinStar Battle Armor: The Elemental has been the gold standard of battle armor since the introduction of the unit type in the original Clan Invasion.  This is not an Elemental.  That's not to say it's bad, I make commentary on unit BV all the time, but if you're expecting something as impressive as the Elemental III in volume 24, you are going to be disappointed.  Here we do not have jump jets, but we do have three ground MP.  This is fast enough to get an extra TMM on the ground, which is always good, since infantry don't have a facing and don't have to pay for facing changes.  It's pretty strictly inferior to three jump MP, however, due to not getting the extra +1 to TMM for jumping and still having to pay to enter terrain.  Two basic manipulators and MagClamps mean this suit can be fully mechanized regardless of your transport situation and can make anti-Mech attacks.  Swarm attacks are basically never good but in the unlikely event you get one off, or the much more likely event you get one off against something like a vehicle that can't just drive into water or fall over to knock you off, there are a Support PPC and a David Light Gauss, both in the arms.  Seven points of armor (plus the trooper) is the absolute bare minimum acceptable amount for a medium suit.  It's not a lot of damage (2+1), but the range for battle armor is acceptable.  The bigger advantage is cost, coming in at 272 for a squad of four suits.  This is cheaper than even the Elemental III [Flamer] for the same squad size, is similarly (but not equally) maneuverable, and significantly outranges the hardier suit.  Official verdict: Not bad, could be better.  C+

TinStar Battle Armor (Original): This is fundamentally the same suit as the standard, but cranks the armor up to 10 and replaces the David with a Magshot Gauss.  This might be the only time I've ever looked at a Magshot and thought “good”.  Going to 10 armor is an extremely important breakpoint and is almost always worth whatever it costs to get there.  On the weapons front your guns get slightly longer range and do slightly more damage.  The BV relatively skyrockets to 382 for a squad of four, but the durability increase can't be overstated.  I would take this over the standard whenever possible.  Realistically I'm going to be taking an Elemental of some variety, but sometimes that gets boring and this is hardly a bad suit.  I would say it's probably even pretty alright. B-

Firestarter FS9-N “Mirage II”: When you have multiple nicknamed variants, maybe they should just get to be the name and call it a different 'Mech that just looks the same.  Black Python/White Raven, looking at you.  Quips about the name aside, this is the most dangerous (non-Omni, which I am going to call a different 'Mech and not include for being 10 full tons heavier) Firestarter ever conceived and second place isn't close.  It's also the most expensive and second place is even further away.  Mobility is 6/9/6 thanks to a Clan XL Engine.  No weaknesses detcted.  Armor is maximum, favoring front protection, and is Reflective.  Some weaknesses detected.  Melee and artillery are going to ruin your day, but you have a solid chance against the ubiquitous Light-hunting pulse lasers out there.  Guns-wise, we start with a Plasma Cannon.  Not a Rifle, a Cannon.  No damage to 'Mechs, but much more fire.  Two Flamers forward, one rear also add more fire.  Then the actual offense is supplied by a pair of Clan ER Mediums and a pair of Clan ER Small Lasers.  Eleven doubles is... enough.  You can fire your offensive weapons outside of your Flamers at a run and be +1, but jumping will take you to a +5.  If you add the Flamers you can get to +11, which I do not recommend literally ever for any reason.  They are as vestigial as any weapons have ever been on a 'Mech.  If you want to do heat, the Plasma Cannon will average substantially higher than both Flamers will, and you almost never want to be using Flamers instead of Clan lasers.  The use case for these is extremely narrow.  I can already hear someone coming for me in the comments “but what if you really want to overheat something with TSM?” and I gotta tell you, you have better options than this.  You just do.  Because it costs 1660 BV, and crippling your own heat (or dropping not-insignificant damage) on a Light that costs that much is not the right side of the efficiency trade.  On its own, I can accept it as a not-particularly cost-effective way to put that damage on the table.  Not my first pick, though.  It might be my first pick for a Firestarter, though, which is not particularly high praise but it's not nothing either.  C+

Spector SPR-6F: The Firestarter was a striker pretending to have a second role, this thing isn't pretending.  It's faster, at 8/12/8, though it has an IS XL and is correspondingly more fragile.  Armor is amusingly almost identical to the Firestarter, right down to the type and allocation, with the singular exception that one more point is front than rear (17/5 on this, versus 16/6 on the Firestarter).  Weapons, however, are substantially more dangerous, which considering the Firestarter was rocking multiple Clanspec lasers is saying something.  For guns we've got two Improved Heavy Medium Lasers, a Medium Variable Speed Pulse, and an ER Small Laser (Inner Sphere brand) all linked to a Targeting Computer.  It should go without saying that this is a lot of gun and it is devastating when applied in the appropriate manner.  The heat load for that is... substantial, and the natural tactic is a hit-and-run using the high jump speed to cool down between passes.  Ten double will take you to +11 on a jumping alpha, though only +9 if you leave the ER Small off.  Running with the three “big” energy guns is +3, which is more palatable but is still going to add up sooner than later.  It's very tempting to jump and use the mobility to setup a close range shot with the net -4 to hit from the VSP pulse bonus and the targeting computer, but your iHML hit numbers will suffer.  Like many other units of this kind, I think it's generally a better idea to use the jump jets to set up a long run where your TMM is still +4, but your accuracy is improved by the run mod compared to the jump mod.  This all costs 1476, and makes the Spector nigh-incomparably better at the striker role compared to the Firestarter, with the normal caveat that if you're bringing a Firestarter it's for other reason and you don't get that here.  I still like it better.  If not for the other fast striker in this volume, this would be a standout.  B+

Cicada CDA-4A: Oh baby.  Oh baby.  Behold one of the best striker 'Mechs in the game, full stop.  The mech is a classic Cicada shape, 40 tons moving 8/12 thanks to an IS XL engine, but we have the additional presence of a Supercharger (enormously preferable to MASC on fast units like this) to bump it up to 16 on a sprint.  Armor is a couple points shy of maximum, and the missing points are helpfully on the arms that are practically vestigial and serve no purpose other than ablative damage-soaking.  Armament is two Medium Variable Speed Pulse Lasers and a Medium Re-Engineered Laser.  Heat is exactly +2 at a run (and you will be at a run), which allows two turns at point blank with the triggers held down, or three if you're willing to get a little toasty and still be able to sink back to zero by dropping the RE laser.  All of the weapons are in the torsos so you lose a bit of firing arc flexibility but you gain durability in the arms not being even a tiny big necessary to keep intact.  That's a lot of damage with accuracy bonuses on a fast well-armored (for its size) platform.  There's got to be a catch, right?  Nope, not today.  BV sits at a frankly might-be-a-problem 1097, making it not just accurate and painful and fast but also cheap.  This is how you build a fast low-end medium striker, everybody.  Take notes.  S

Devastator DVS-11: Here at Scotty's Mech Review Emporium, wacky speed profiles are generally bad.  This one isn't.  Moving 3/5 is slow enough to be a liability at exactly the wrong time, and this Devastator decides to never be in that position by choice.  Both MASC and a Supercharger push this to 3/5[8] on the turn you decide that over there needs to be over here immediately.  On a traditional Devastator, this would likely not be a big deal.  This one, however, has a pair of Snub-nose PPCs to go with its pair of Gauss Rifles, meaning that deciding what range you're at is slightly more important for effective use.  The ability get a +3 TMM is expensive and the overall grade is going to suffer for it, but if you are already using one of these it's a nice benefit.  Two Clan ER Medium Lasers forward, and a Clan ER Small each forward and back round out the offense, which is prodigious.  Armor isn't anything to sneeze about either, it's not maximum but it's close enough to pretend.  All explosive components are in the arms, and while there's no CASE II  to prevent that from turning into a disaster, it's unlikely enough that I'm not going to count it off.  If there's a major issue, it's the heat.  Twelve doubles is enough to handle both Gauss and both Snubbies at a run at a chilly -2, but adding both ER Mediums takes you instead to a toasty +8, hotter than you want to be.  You can drop one of the Snubbies and be back to -2, and adding the ER Small takes you to neutral, but there's no way to cycle consistently with a mild (+1 to +4) overheat and back to neutral without leaving guns off the table at their optimum range.  You can drop one ER Medium and be at +3, but extremely unsatisfying.  The Snubbies and the ER Mediums have an odd overlap in general, with the Snubbies being more efficient at exactly 6-9 hexes and the ER Mediums being significantly more efficient at 10 hexes and 1-5, and then both of them being a weird heat-and-accuracy-and-damage push at 11-13.  There's something satisfying to be said about slamming both speed boosts and jamming yourself into someone's line with a very large very tough brick with a bunch of scary guns on it, but there's not really an elegant way to pilot that to maximum efficiency.  You're going to leave capability on the table no matter what you do.  That's fine for plenty of people, but at 3170 it's not fine for me.  Devastators aren't a unit I've used a lot of, so I don't know off-hand if there are worse Devastators, but I'm very certain there can be better ones.  C-

'Mechs by rating:

F: none
D: none
C: 3
B: 2
A: none
S: 1

Cumulative 'Mechs by rating (Including bonus content):

F: 42
D: 104
C: 225
B: 235
A: 117
S: 19
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Re: Scotty's Unit Review and Rating Emporium
« Reply #31 on: 02 July 2024, 12:31:37 »
I'm not here for the vehicles!  Here's to your work and thanks for posting again!


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Re: Scotty's Unit Review and Rating Emporium
« Reply #32 on: 03 July 2024, 09:03:03 »
I will answer any and all questions you PM me about vees, if that's what it takes to prevent them from being left out in the cold. :smilie_happy_thumbup:
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Re: Scotty's Unit Review and Rating Emporium
« Reply #33 on: 03 July 2024, 21:58:27 »
One thing not mentioned about the TinStar (Original) is that the armor is Clantech, which might be the first Clantech production in the Periphery..way back in 3086 (Not building the armor, they had to buy that, but assembly).

And puts it pretty early for non-prototype Clan/mixed anywhere in the Is (not counting Clan factions).


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Re: Scotty's Unit Review and Rating Emporium
« Reply #34 on: 11 July 2024, 11:35:47 »
Looking over Rec Guide 29, I'm not expecting many kind reviews from Scotty.  The only mech I like (the Dervish) has absurdly high BV for a medium, so despite its ballistic resistant armor, I'm anticipating a C+ to B- grade. 


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Re: Scotty's Unit Review and Rating Emporium
« Reply #35 on: 11 July 2024, 18:10:33 »
The Ontos ought to get a decent score.
Warning: this post may contain sarcasm.

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