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BattleTech Game Systems => Ground Combat => Topic started by: Trailblazer on 07 August 2018, 18:33:36

Title: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Trailblazer on 07 August 2018, 18:33:36
What are people's thoughts about the best strategies for the Inner Sphere to use against Clan forces (that is, Clan tech and Clan-level skill of pilots)?

In particular:

(1) It seems to me like the light weight class of IS units is pretty doomed against the Clans, due to the ease of hitting fast-moving units with Clan pulse lasers.  So if an IS player wants fast units, they should probably choose fast mediums or heavies rather than light units that rely mainly on speed for defense.  Does that sound right?

(2) Should you take as many long-range weapons as possible?  Or give up on the long-range game and just try to close in to short range and fight the battle there?

(3) What about if you're trying to take on the Clans with 3025 tech?

(4) Just in general: what works against the Clans given their many advantages?

(Obviously this is intended for those eras when the IS has no access to Clan tech)
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: AlphaMirage on 07 August 2018, 19:14:14
Bring Falconers and mechs like them

1)  Yes the IS Lights are not tough enough to stand up to clan tech weapons, they hit hard and the Clan pilot's skills greatly reduce the advantage of mobility that they could have.

2) Long range is good.  IS tech is not good enough to outmaneuver and outgun a Clan Omnimech which typically move like a unit one weight class lower while carrying firepower of at least one weight class heavier.  The real strength of the IS (and RCTs) is the vehicle corps you want armored bricks with long range weapons (Gauss tanks ala Challenger Xs or Alacorns, Rommel Howitzer), a vicious ambush predator (SRM Carrier, Hetzers, Von Luckners), or a skirmish hover tank with a heavy weapon (Saladin, Regulator).  You can also trust in the power of an LBX autocannon to get that golden BB that disables the enemy mech.

3) 3025 Tech is rough, I'd go with outnumbering a Clan force at least three fold to negate maneuverability advantages and the fact that a Clan Omnimech rarely has enough ammunition for their vastly superior missile weapons.  You can do it with LRM carriers, artillery, and infantry spotters but it's not going to be easy expect heavy casualties.

4) Smart bidding, unit and terrain selection works against Clan forces.  If you can ambush them (with infernos to slow them down if possible) or bring the fight in close you have a much better chance of success, unfortunately the Clan weaponry is just head and shoulders above anything the IS has that only the most optimal weapons (Gauss and LBX among the best, think Dragon Fire and Falconer) come close to negating the almighty Clan ERPPC and cLPL.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Charistoph on 07 August 2018, 19:39:10
Send in the weaker warriors first.  Good rule of thumb:  If a warrior asks for money on your first meeting, front line.  If they hijack conversations to rant about their political views, front line.  If they ask the female warriors for pictures of their boobs, front line.

Once they are focused on the weak warriors, commit to the Final Solution.  The Final Solution is [redacted for horrific and violent content].
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Weirdo on 07 August 2018, 21:09:17
Three things:

1: Unless you greatly outweigh them, you're going to outnumber a Clan force, a fact you can use to your advantage. You can mitigate bad initiative rolls, and if the Clanners are using Zellbrigen, at least some of your units will be able to move around the map unmolested.

1a: If the Clanners are using Zellbrigen, it is often in your best interest to do so as well, at least up to the point that breaking it means you'll be delivering a knockout blow to a large portion of their force.

2: Despite their advantages, there are plenty of things available to the IS that the Clans either don't get, can't use, or don't like to use, such as conventional infantry/vees, C3, various ammo types, etc. If the Clan player is used to fighting other Clan forces, they may not be well versed in countering this stuff and it could throw them for a loop.

3: Infernoes. Look at the really popular Clan Omnis from 3050, and note how many of the more commonly used configs run hot, or at least right to the edge of their heat sinks. A solid bath of Inferno gel likely won't kill anything(aside from battlesuits), but if you can spike a Mad Cat or Masakari's heat scale at the right time(say, in the act of breaking zell), you can take some of the pressure off your troops.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Sartris on 07 August 2018, 21:38:02
How do vehicles factor into zell? (Do they at all?)
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Weirdo on 07 August 2018, 21:47:21
If you're not a Horse, they're completely outside Zell. You could have an entire Trinary focus fire on a single particularly annoying Savannah Master, and they'd be completely within the letter of the law. Same goes for conventional infantry.

If you were wondering why front-line Omni configs carry TAG, this is likely it. Kill those annoying not-really-warriors quickly, so you can get back to the interesting bits. :)
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Smegish on 07 August 2018, 23:33:06
Send in the weaker warriors first.  Good rule of thumb:  If a warrior asks for money on your first meeting, front line.  If they hijack conversations to rant about their political views, front line.  If they ask the female warriors for pictures of their boobs, front line.

Once they are focused on the weak warriors, commit to the Final Solution.  The Final Solution is [redacted for horrific and violent content].

While expecting Lance F to fight, rather than hide in the corner playing bejeweled I assume?

That abridged series cracks me up.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Sabelkatten on 08 August 2018, 03:59:06
What tech and rules levels are we talking about here? Because if you can use artillery me go-to answer is enough tubes to just blanket the clan force!

However if you're playing a "standard" game my suggestion is the opposite of the usual advice: Spam light units!

The logic is simple: A long-range duel against clantech is a loosing proposition, so you need to get in close. To get in close you need speed, and light units are best at delivering that.

6 Locusts around a Dire Wolf, and you've got yourself one well-kicked doggie!
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Kit deSummersville on 08 August 2018, 10:08:41
3: Infernoes. Look at the really popular Clan Omnis from 3050, and note how many of the more commonly used configs run hot, or at least right to the edge of their heat sinks. A solid bath of Inferno gel likely won't kill anything(aside from battlesuits), but if you can spike a Mad Cat or Masakari's heat scale at the right time(say, in the act of breaking zell), you can take some of the pressure off your troops.

Ignore step 3 if the force is primarily Gargoyle Primes.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Charistoph on 08 August 2018, 10:44:04
While expecting Lance F to fight, rather than hide in the corner playing bejeweled I assume?

That abridged series cracks me up.

Indeed.  They would qualify for the front lines if we could somehow get Bejeweled off their mech's computers.  Heck, they should probably be Dispossessed an made to coordinate artillery fire with the PBI.  And if they start talking to Jesus under their breath, better nip that boy in the bud.

Could you imagine Something Witty doing an abridged Battletech series?
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Kos on 08 August 2018, 11:09:58
Just because no one's mentioned it yet: IS 'zombie' mechs (ie. with energy weapons, standard engines and good armour) can be useful against clantech. Especially if 'zell is in effect. Let their mechs concentrate on particularly hard to kill mechs while you position your other units for a killing blow.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Weirdo on 08 August 2018, 11:40:43
Very true. In any remotely balanced game, a Spheroid force is going to have a lot more total armor and structure points than a Clan force, even if those points are spread across many units. It's a perfectly valid strategy to force-feed so many such points into the maw of Clan firepower that they choke on them, unable to kill things fast enough to prevent being overwhelmed.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 08 August 2018, 17:44:54
tag- no time to answer now but as someone who played the Clans in a BV balanced environment, I know what was effective against us and what was not . . .
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Getz on 08 August 2018, 17:56:14
Understanding how to use and abuse Zell is obviously helpful.  A good one is to pair off tough zombies with the clan mechs and then use the time it takes for them to kill them to get your lighter armoured but more heavily gunned mechs into position.  The moment your zombie goes down, you ideally want your over gunned beast to be at optimal range to challenge and to let fly.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Trailblazer on 08 August 2018, 18:18:47
tag- no time to answer now but as someone who played the Clans in a BV balanced environment, I know what was effective against us and what was not . . .

You mean tag as in TAG?
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 08 August 2018, 18:59:46
nope, just getting a reply in so I know to come back to this when I check replies- still no time!
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Fat Guy on 09 August 2018, 12:59:13
Ignore step 3 if the force is primarily Gargoyle Primes.


If the force is primarily Man O' War primes, you've already won.    :D
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 09 August 2018, 13:03:15
(1) It seems to me like the light weight class of IS units is pretty doomed against the Clans, due to the ease of hitting fast-moving units with Clan pulse lasers.  So if an IS player wants fast units, they should probably choose fast mediums or heavies rather than light units that rely mainly on speed for defense.  Does that sound right?

(2) Should you take as many long-range weapons as possible?  Or give up on the long-range game and just try to close in to short range and fight the battle there?

(3) What about if you're trying to take on the Clans with 3025 tech?

(4) Just in general: what works against the Clans given their many advantages?

From someone who plays from a war-gaming perspective-

Addressing them in order of effect . . .

#4-  Realize what your advantages are in any engagement against a pure Clan mech force- you will have numbers, armor & internals (mass) as well as overall/total firepower while the Clan player has speed, range, survivability and harder hitting weapons.  The IS player also has a better combined arms option, especially when BA come into play for the IS.  You also need to realize the Russian saying, 'Quantity has a quality all its own,' which means you will most likely outnumber the Clan player in mechs let alone total units- and use that advantage knowing you will lose equipment.  Repeat after me, you will lose equipment.  While the Clan force should have a speed advantage, you should still be able to pin them against some terrain feature on the map (besides the edge) since unless they mount JJs they do not have the speed to cross water, elevations or woods that quickly and still maintain LOS for engaging.

As a Clan player I always wanted the largest maps with the least restricting terrtain- no cliffs, 4 hex wide rivers, or great blocks of forest (3 or 4 hex wide, 10+ hexes long).  I would run across the map with my Timberwolf Prime & E, Gargoyle Prime & D, Stormcrow Prime, Adder B & D, Ice Ferret A or anything else armed with long range weapons & speed.  They would also be the mechs carrying Elementals.  I would arrange my last move to put me behind a L1 hill or in woods at 22-25 hexes and drop the Elementals- hill was the best since I played on servers that had DB on, the IS player lost track of Elementals that way.  And then my cavalry units would walk backwards firing the cERLL, cERPPC, LRMs, ATMs w/ER rounds and LB-5X at the most exposed enemies . . . be it a Caeser 4S, Catapult or other long ranged design that packed a punch but had the weakest armor- typically a IS XL design.  The Gargoyle Prime would specifically try to plink any armor in opposing forces.  Best luck I had with that set up was a Timberwolf E hitting a Caeser 4S at 27 hexes, getting a TAC on the HGR- electric explosion, and the mech dies without firing a shot.  Backing up they would eventually rejoin any of the slower designs which had moved forward at their 4/6 pace- Nova Cat Prime & A, Warhawk A, Guillotine IIC, Orion IIC, etc.  Those mechs would have been parked in woods waiting for the IS to 'chase' the cavalry units into range, and angled so they could also start walking backwards & get their +1 mod w/o problems.  If I had artillery I would also be dropping that in front of the wave of IS machines plodding after me.

With that description of my ideal sort of fight as a Clan player . . . how to counter it specifically?  Combined Arms. Armor filling the fire support (Gauss & LRM) and cavalry (Harasser, Regulator, Fulcrum) roles, artillery to drop rounds behind retreating Clan forces and into woods that would provide cover- or to drop smoke to obscure LOS, ASF/CF bombing runs of inferno & RLs, VTOLs flanking & sniping, BA to protect your flanks and deal with any Elementals dropped off in your advance.

#3-  3025 tech during the Invasion is just going to increase your numerical advantage and require pushing into terrain . . . the one other thing I would say here is if you CAN score some NARC beacons, then you can drastically increase your force's throw weight by loading your LRM & SRM equipped units with NARC ammo.  The problem is a dearth of NARC launcher equipped cavalry units in 3050.  Additionally, IMO you will want artillery vehicles on the board- things like the TAV & L1 Marksmen . . . it will clear out BA nests, hit sniper points and help herd the Clan forces.

#1-  The old 3025 lights, yes they are moths in the flame if you get around the wrong type of mech . . . for example, no light mech ( or most mediums) should ever be within 20 hexes of a Rifleman IIC that does not have something else it will be shooting at as a absolute priority.  A old Stinger or Wasp against Clan forces?  Sure if I have to, but you are pretty much asking it to be scrapped when its fired at by something as a afterthought.  Commando, Javelin or Locust?  I can run them in as a backstabber under the proper circumstances but I still expect it to die most of the time- its a One Shot mech!

#2-  Long range weapons are good, but remember yours are going to typically weigh more, have less range and not hit as hard.  Your ideal range is going to be mid or close- places AC/10s, old PPCs, old Large Lasers, ERML, MLs and SSRM & SRM start hitting.  Your weight of numbers will start taking affect at those ranges as you start getting more hits and from more directions.

Zell rules . . . remember the Clan pilot MAY challenge more than 1 opposing unit, and the reaction to armor/VTOLs/BA will depend on warrior/unit/Clan.  And depending on the Honor Code rules the Clan player is following, if you started moving unengaged mechs or armor around behind my forces I would take that as aggressive action- it would edge you closer to being declared dezgra & open shooting.  Clan players have debated what unengaged mechs can do or not do . . . can they provide a ECM bubble?  What about sitting in woods hex to keep an enemy dueler from using them?  What about shooting at woods to clear them?  What about maintaining LOS on a enemy to allow a engaged ally to stalk their opponent from out of LOS in DB?  Just what constitutes interfering in the duel?

Questionable behavior demonstrating you do not intend to honor zell can invite the Clan player to drop dueling before you are in position to exploit it.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Trailblazer on 09 August 2018, 17:30:50
Great post, Colt. Much appreciated.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Hellraiser on 11 August 2018, 12:27:08
1.  Don't play on infinite maps.
2.  Crush them with massive amounts of 4/5 Heavy/Assault mechs.

Seriously, your 0 gunner Warhawk is as much BV as an entire lance of Warhammers.

Run forward every turn looking for cover, then when you are close to it, walk & fire short range firepower & possibly add a Kick or 2 each turn if you can get close enough.

Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Paul on 12 August 2018, 02:44:26
From someone who plays from a war-gaming perspective-

I agree with many of your insights, except:


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the reaction to armor/VTOLs/BA will depend on warrior/unit/Clan.

Not really, as 16 out of 17 Clans consider vehicles to be outside of strict dueling, and eligible for group fire no matter what's going on.
Likewise, 17 out of 17 Clans consider BA Points to be eligible for zell.


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And depending on the Honor Code rules the Clan player is following, if you started moving unengaged mechs or armor around behind my forces I would take that as aggressive action- it would edge you closer to being declared dezgra & open shooting.

While the intent is clearly duplicitous, absolutely nothing in the written zell rules would help you with this.


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Clan players have debated what unengaged mechs can do or not do . . . can they provide a ECM bubble? 

No, that very clearly interferes with another duel. No legitimate case to the contrary can be made.


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What about sitting in woods hex to keep an enemy dueler from using them?

If you're not in a duel, you have no business being inside the Circle of Equals.


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What about shooting at woods to clear them? 

If you're not in a duel, you have no business tampering with a Circle of Equals.


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What about maintaining LOS on a enemy to allow a engaged ally to stalk their opponent from out of LOS in DB? 

That's just as blatantly violating a duel as the ECM use, with no credible case possible to defend it.


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Questionable behavior demonstrating you do not intend to honor zell can invite the Clan player to drop dueling before you are in position to exploit it.

I partially concur with that notion, save that the notion of zell as an RP element is entirely about what the *Clan* player considers the proper way to fight. You fight honorably because of how it reflects on you. You do not stop fighting honorably just because your enemy is a duplicitous scumbag. You might stop fighting honorably when your enemy is worthy of absolutely no regard at all, and is merely subhuman vermin that needs to be executed for the greater good.

And it's not like it's hard for the IS to understand.
"I challenge XYZ to a duel, in this solemn matter, let no one interfere."
- "OK, so can I do ABC?"
"Does it interfere in some way?"
- "Yes, that's why I'm doing it."
"Well, then no, you can't do ABC. Duh."

Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 12 August 2018, 03:39:24
Perhaps I should have differentiated between a called duel that had a formal circle vs Invasion era where 'We will fight you on the plains of blablablah.'  The what abouts I was giving was more for open field battles.  To sort of address in order . . .

IMO the Bear Phalanxes, particularly after Aleksandr Jorgenson won his bloodname, would treat ComStar tanks as equals for the points to duel.  A tank unit fighting another tank unit or a mixed like ComStar L2s would try to hold to the standard since the tankers are also trying to build rep.  We have also had instances where Elementals indiscriminately involved themselves in mechs dueling- I want to say one of the early examples was fiction for Falcons on Tukayyid.

IS forces creeping behind Clan mechs engaged in duels comment was again, about open field battles rather than formal circles.  I would also say it depends on how blatant it might be and if you are using dezgra points.  Level 1 honor rules would of course ignore it but Level 3 is a lot more flexible.

ECM? So in a open field battle if I put a enemy's LOS through one of my starmate's ECM bubble, and that star mate is engaged in a duel as well . . . does it interfere or is that using terrain/advantages?

Again open field battle, if I am unengaged but I have run in close and spend my time waiting sitting in heavy woods that could be used by either side during their individual duels?

LOS/DB applies to both above scenarios above as well.

Finally, as said earlier if Level 1 (most Clans early invasion) then yeah . . . RP-wise I should ignore it and squawk like a Falcon with indignant outrage when the IS violates my rules.  If its later in the 3050s or 3060s and the faction is running with mostly Level 3 honor rules?  Well . . .
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: SCC on 12 August 2018, 03:55:04
I believe that there's a weird rule about everyone having to have at least one opponent once the dueling starts, so you can't challenge extra opponents so that someone on your side doesn't have someone to shoot at, which I think can be manipulated such that they have to allow dog-piling.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: glitterboy2098 on 12 August 2018, 04:37:35
1.  Don't play on infinite maps.
2.  Crush them with massive amounts of 4/5 Heavy/Assault mechs.

Seriously, your 0 gunner Warhawk is as much BV as an entire lance of Warhammers.

Run forward every turn looking for cover, then when you are close to it, walk & fire short range firepower & possibly add a Kick or 2 each turn if you can get close enough.

actually it is not wise to rely on this.. a good clan player can easily exploit terrain to engage your force piece meal, especially given the clan mechs will have a mobility advantage over most IS heavies and assaults.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Paul on 12 August 2018, 13:03:57
The what abouts I was giving was more for open field battles. 

Which isnt that helpful, as this thread seems to be about gameplay, not the strange inconsistencies we see in the novels.


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IMO the Bear Phalanxes, particularly after Aleksandr Jorgenson won his bloodname, would treat ComStar tanks as equals for the points to duel.

I don't share that opinion. Even then, it's such a tiny edgecase, as to not be helpful as a guideline for a player.


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A tank unit fighting another tank unit or a mixed like ComStar L2s would try to hold to the standard since the tankers are also trying to build rep. 

No.


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We have also had instances where Elementals indiscriminately involved themselves in mechs dueling- I want to say one of the early examples was fiction for Falcons on Tukayyid.

Fiction <> rules/gameplay.

There is no vehicle to copy the BA behavior in the novels and zell rules. There is no fluff concept in the sourcebooks to explain it neither. IMO, what you see in the novels is a logical execution of a poorly thought-out concept: FASA screwed up the rollout of Clan honor and how it affects the game so severely, that it actively contributes to people hating anything after 3050.


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IS forces creeping behind Clan mechs engaged in duels comment was again, about open field battles rather than formal circles.  I would also say it depends on how blatant it might be and if you are using dezgra points. 

Then you're mixing concepts.
Either we're talking a game on maps, or we're talking a fluffy concept. Can't do both.


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Level 1 honor rules would of course ignore it but Level 3 is a lot more flexible.

How? What part of the Level 3 honor rules describe this?


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ECM? So in a open field battle if I put a enemy's LOS through one of my starmate's ECM bubble, and that star mate is engaged in a duel as well . . . does it interfere or is that using terrain/advantages?

It interferes. And you shouldn't be close enough for your ECM to be a factor. Fluff is at least pretty good about people not engaged in a duel waiting at a distance.


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Again open field battle, if I am unengaged but I have run in close and spend my time waiting sitting in heavy woods that could be used by either side during their individual duels?

LOS/DB applies to both above scenarios above as well.

You shouldn't be there at all.



I believe that there's a weird rule about everyone having to have at least one opponent once the dueling starts, so you can't challenge extra opponents so that someone on your side doesn't have someone to shoot at, which I think can be manipulated such that they have to allow dog-piling.

Source? Doesn't exist, I don't think. But perhaps I'm wrong.


Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: garhkal on 12 August 2018, 16:05:49
Three tips.
1) Combine fire!
2) Combine fire!
3) Combine fire.

TILL you are under Zeilbringen, push as much firepower as you can muster, at one enemy mech, till it goes down, then rinse and repeat.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Firesprocket on 12 August 2018, 22:12:09
I believe that there's a weird rule about everyone having to have at least one opponent once the dueling starts, so you can't challenge extra opponents so that someone on your side doesn't have someone to shoot at, which I think can be manipulated such that they have to allow dog-piling.

That's entirely up to specifics of the trial and what is declared for its use (assuming one doesn't break their bid).  Anyone can declare they want to duel 2 (or more) opponents if they choose.  This is overwhelmingly a bad idea universally, but it can happen.  Conversely, it is quite possible that one side, if it outnumbers the other, would have others sitting on the sidelines based on terms of the trial.  There is an example of the later in the Tukayyid scenario book where Focht's bunker was almost discovered by a recon star.  Had they found them, he would have demanded a trial where his company of heavy and assault mechs would have dueled largely lights and mediums where they likely would have been grind to paste.  The Star Captain certainly could have just signaled his higher ups and/or booked it, but most Clanners don't think that way and would have gladly been pasted in the name of individual honor.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: maxcarrion on 13 August 2018, 07:19:18
Exactly the same as the strategy for fighting anyone else (it's a very general question so you get a very general answer)

Understand the theatre of battle.

Understand their force

Understand your force

Come up with a strategy that maximises your advantages and minimises theirs.

As a general rule clan disadvantages against IS are
 - Expensive - you will likely outnumber/outweigh your opponents significantly - at least in a BV balanced matchup
 - Honorable - you may be able to take advantage of their rules of war. (depending on how much RP is in your game)

Their main advantages are
 - Overwhelming firepower - Clan mechs have huge firepower advantage over IS mechs, especially at long range
 - Speed - Clan mechs tend to be faster, for their size, as they can fit the efficient clan XL engine - this does not apply to all clan mechs but many of the most dangerous ones
 - Pilots - Clan pilots tend to be better (although this reflects in their BV when BV balanced)

It's very plausible for a clan front line star (5 mechs) to go up against an IS regular company (12 mechs) with roughly equal weight distribution, so every clan mech has to account for at least 2 IS mechs of roughly equal weight.  Whilst a Timber Wolf Prime will have a laughably easy time against a DRG-1N - the BV balance point comes out close to 3 against 1 and the Dragons can match the Timber Wolf for speed, so either it has to turn it's back or the range can be closed

Sure a clan pulse boat will massacre lights at a frightening rate but how will a linebacker Prime stand up against say 3 Jenner 7F that are making themselves hard to hit as they slash into close range - all the while that Timber Wolf S has been challenged by an AWS-8Q who is stoically not breaking zell and accepting the relatively light throw weight (compared to the prime) for as long as he can while the rest of the company ensures his sacrifice is repaid by the rest of the star - hell, he may land a few lucky hits and leave the Timber Wolf as easy prey for a crit seeker.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Kit deSummersville on 13 August 2018, 10:31:05
If you're not in a duel, you have no business tampering with a Circle of Equals.


I have this image of a couple of kids trying to pry a board loose so they can watch the trials. "You have violated the Circle of Equals, die stravag!"
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 13 August 2018, 10:32:40
To respond to Paul . . .

Unless we are talking about specific duels, for instance the recent one in the Anvil between Roderick & Stephanie or to go further back to the Great Refusal Vlad vs Kai, then its 'open field battles' where a IS force encounters a Clan force.  For instance during the Falcon's first Coventry, campaign where the Falcons would rotate in clusters of new sibkos to blood them, so when Falcon stars ran into a IS Company if they went to dueling (which depended IIRC) then if there was a Shadow Cat B was in the Falcon force its star mates would have to keep 6 hexes away to avoid using the ECM bubble?

I do not think so, the friendly ECM bubble is part of the battlefield terrain.

It WOULD be a violation of a Trial if say someone had charged into Roderick & Stephanie's trial to put Roderick in a ECM bubble- but if there was a battle ready IS mech (or Clan) that formed the Circle as invited, then its ECM bubble would be terrain in that circle just as any woods or building.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Hellraiser on 13 August 2018, 12:05:01
actually it is not wise to rely on this.. a good clan player can easily exploit terrain to engage your force piece meal, especially given the clan mechs will have a mobility advantage over most IS heavies and assaults.

And a good IS player isn't going to make that easy.

Clan big boys like the Warhawk-C that I mentioned are not going to have any sort of mobility advantage & will get steam rolled in a Skill/Range v/s Tonnage/Numbers match up.


Clan Mediums are hands down the deadliest weight class against your typical IS forces.   The Grendel on unlimited terrain is nearly immortal.

Remove large/limitless maps from that equation & IS Numbers/Mass has a much better chance.

That said, in the above case, its still a coin toss v/s my original example where I'll bet on the IS side almost every time.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Paul on 13 August 2018, 13:16:26
To respond to Paul . . .

Doesn't look like we'll end up agreeing. That's OK.


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if there was a Shadow Cat B was in the Falcon force its star mates would have to keep 6 hexes away to avoid using the ECM bubble?

Yep.


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I do not think so, the friendly ECM bubble is part of the battlefield terrain.

I find that stance indefensible. The duel is being interfered with by an outside force, be it Clan or IS.
Now, the slightest of interference doesn't result in a nullification of the duel or a TOG between Clanners, but that doesn't change what it is. If you want ECM, bring it yourself, don't rely on an ally that just happens to be close enough, even if those proximity circumstances aren't suspect.


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It WOULD be a violation of a Trial if say someone had charged into Roderick & Stephanie's trial to put Roderick in a ECM bubble- but if there was a battle ready IS mech (or Clan) that formed the Circle as invited, then its ECM bubble would be terrain in that circle just as any woods or building.

'That formed the circle as invited'
Huh?

Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Tai Dai Cultist on 13 August 2018, 13:28:35
I find that stance indefensible. The duel is being interfered with by an outside force, be it Clan or IS.
Now, the slightest of interference doesn't result in a nullification of the duel or a TOG between Clanners, but that doesn't change what it is. If you want ECM, bring it yourself, don't rely on an ally that just happens to be close enough, even if those proximity circumstances aren't suspect.

I'm finding I agree with Colt Ward on this particular issue.  If ECM happens to be on the battlefield for any reason, it's essentially "terrain".  If the Trial is being fought in a minefield, the Trial isn't called into question if someone takes damage from a mine.  Sure, if one party dishonorably seeds the grounds prior to the start of the trial with mines, that's another thing entirely. 

But I'm not seeing a member of the Circle of Equals emitting ECM as the same thing as boobytrapping the battleground.  Is there any indication that a Circle of Equals consisting of mechwarriors piloting their 'mechs are expected to power any equipment down?  And if not, why would ECM be uniquely expected to be shut down?  ECM affects both sides equally. Yet if your side feels the other side is getting more of an advantage than yours by the ECM, then you don't invite mechwarriors piloting ECM mechs to participate in the Circle of Equals.

Besides, the radius of an ECM bubble coming from the edge of the battleground isn't gonna make a big impact unless the agreed-upon battlefield is a single 16x17 hex mapsheet.. and even then it's still highly manageable.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 13 August 2018, 14:02:21
Paul, in the Anvil Stephanie invited Roderick's unit to form part of the Circle of Equals for their Trial of Possession.  The cluster she rode with formed the rest of the Circle while the remaining regiments and clusters held positions IIRC.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Tai Dai Cultist on 13 August 2018, 14:09:54
Paul, in the Anvil Stephanie invited Roderick's unit to form part of the Circle of Equals for their Trial of Possession.  The cluster she rode with formed the rest of the Circle while the remaining regiments and clusters held positions IIRC.

and if my memory serves, they formed a circle a kilometer across. A bubble with a 180m radius doesn't take a very big bite out of that area.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Paul on 13 August 2018, 15:01:31
If ECM happens to be on the battlefield for any reason, it's essentially "terrain".  If the Trial is being fought in a minefield, the Trial isn't called into question if someone takes damage from a mine.  Sure, if one party dishonorably seeds the grounds prior to the start of the trial with mines, that's another thing entirely. 

I cannot bridge your illogical stance.
If I Thunder LRM a location in the Circle of Equals, you're telling me that's not interference?



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Is there any indication that a Circle of Equals consisting of mechwarriors piloting their 'mechs are expected to power any equipment down? 

There should be. Using a unit to form the circle is only done in unaugmented Trials. It shouldn't be (and until recently, wasn't) done with active units. You reckon that might be because of the problems it introduces?
Just because a novel writer does something, doesn't mean it's correct or logical. We may have to live with it, but that's another issue.


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ECM affects both sides equally.

????
No. My team's ECM affects you, not me.


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then you don't invite mechwarriors piloting ECM mechs to participate in the Circle of Equals.

Corrected.



Quote
Besides, the radius of an ECM bubble coming from the edge of the battleground isn't gonna make a big impact unless the agreed-upon battlefield is a single 16x17 hex mapsheet.. and even then it's still highly manageable.

So's not being there at all. Or having the system shut down.

Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Tai Dai Cultist on 13 August 2018, 15:09:11
I cannot bridge your illogical stance.
If I Thunder LRM a location in the Circle of Equals, you're telling me that's not interference?

No, I'm saying if the trial is on a pre-existing minefield that's something that just has to be dealt with by the participants.  Just as an ECM bubble is on the edge of the "playing area".  If the ECM mech leaves the circle and enters the interior of the battlefield, THAT'd be analogous to firing Thunders into the Trial.

To use another terrain analogy for ECM:  if there's buildings on side A's "deployment zone" for cover/standing in but not in B's... obviously that's an advantage for A.  But it's just something B has to deal with/overcome.  Same as "friendly" ECM potentially being present along some edge of the battle.


Quote
...
There should be. Using a unit to form the circle is only done in unaugmented Trials. It shouldn't be (and until recently, wasn't) done with active units. You reckon that might be because of the problems it introduces?
Just because a novel writer does something, doesn't mean it's correct or logical. We may have to live with it, but that's another issue.

Well I can't claim to have never decreed myself having a better understanding of the BTU than this writer or that.. so I feel where you're coming from.  But it's not a recent development for the Clans and their Rules to be terribly "flexible" depending on the circumstances.  Could I see a mech participating in the Circle of Equals emitting ECM being a problem?  Sure.  Can I ALSO see the same circumstance NOT being a problem?  Also, sure.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Paul on 13 August 2018, 15:16:15
If the ECM mech leaves the circle and enters the interior of the battlefield, THAT'd be analogous to firing Thunders into the Trial.

Here we find common ground.
I'll note that Colt Ward seemed to indicate earlier that he'd have no problem with that event. Maybe I misunderstood that.

Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Lagbreaker on 13 August 2018, 17:23:35
What are people's thoughts about the best strategies for the Inner Sphere to use against Clan forces (that is, Clan tech and Clan-level skill of pilots)?

In particular:

(1) It seems to me like the light weight class of IS units is pretty doomed against the Clans, due to the ease of hitting fast-moving units with Clan pulse lasers.  So if an IS player wants fast units, they should probably choose fast mediums or heavies rather than light units that rely mainly on speed for defense.  Does that sound right?

(2) Should you take as many long-range weapons as possible?  Or give up on the long-range game and just try to close in to short range and fight the battle there?

(3) What about if you're trying to take on the Clans with 3025 tech?

(4) Just in general: what works against the Clans given their many advantages?

(Obviously this is intended for those eras when the IS has no access to Clan tech)

My thoughts from a purely game mechanical point of view:

1) You can use lights, but don´t overdo it. Your lights should mount pulse lasers and have good armor.
Check the armor on your lights. A single Gauss or cER-PPC hit (or 2 hits from a medium pulse laser) shouldn´t be enough to take off a leg or a side torso.
If you select IS units restricted by faction than sometimes you wont have a good light mech pick. In that case you have to rely on mediums to fill that role.
You can also take light vehicles instead of light mechs. The Minion, the Lightning are fast and accurate. For longer range firepower the Main Gauche, or Scorpion (LRM) are decent an cheap tanks.

2) I rarely would skip long range weapons entirely, clan opponent or not. It´s entirely possible to end up having more raw long range firepower than your clan opponent if you focus on that aspect. In my experience it is uncomfortable for clanners if you can field multiple long range weapons per mech and (somewhat) keep up in movement speed.
For example for heavies you can use depending on the era:

Grand dragon-5K, Maelstrom, Ninja-To, Argus-2d, Rakshasa-1A, Hercules, etc.

Or you can go the 4/6 speed wall of steel route (FWL is quite good for this):

Orion, Perseus, Apollo, Warhammer, Blackjack Omni-E, Avatar-O, -B, -C, etc.

BV-wise, you want to have the most bang for you buck. Mechs like the Falconer are not good value in a BV game, even if the fluff depicts is as a nemesis against clan. In that price range you could field a Warhammer-9d. I is just as fast, sturdier and more accurate.


For close range combat focus on speed, armor and (pulse) firepower. Premier examples are the Wraith an the Lightray-4W. They can hunt down clan lights and mediums, backstab or charge heavier and slower units. Good heavy examples are the Black Hawk KU, Rakshasa-2A, Ti Tsang, etc.
 
3) Same principles apply but w/o pulse lasers.

4) As others have allready mentioned terrain and map size are important.

In general, flat featureless terrain that isnt to big tends to favour the IS. You need fewer turns to get into closer range and there is nowhere to camp/hide for your opponent. The more terrain there is the more a clanner is able to leverage the firepower, or more abstractly the BV imbalance, by exposing himself to only one IS unit, while obstructing LoS to all others.

Map Size is something you have to negotiate with your opponent. I´d comfortably play with a trinary of clan mechs vs an IS opponent and equal BV on a 3x3 map (roughtly 50 x 50 in megamek). Plenty of room to move, flank, backstab and camp IMHO. Other clan players might disagree and mumble something about phone booths.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 13 August 2018, 17:32:35
So a few things . . .

First, we do have other instances of mechs forming the Circle of Equals or at least hanging at places around that battlefield-

Anastasia's last fight with Alaric was inside a Circle composed of Wolf mechs & vehicles.  Nik Kerensky was killed when he responded to Widowmaker mechs violating the circle, not only were Widowmaker mechs, probably Wolf mechs, and other Clan leadership mechs observing the Trial as part of the Circle.
 I want to say there is a instance of it in Roar of Honor when its a single combat, and we have implications that in some cases a commander's previous bid is waiting outside the Circle to be called in.  But I would not expect mechs/vehicles to form the Circle when we are talking about a terrain feature (BlaBlah Woods, Yadayada Mountains), African continent, or the whole world.

Second, IF a mech moved into the circle and ran about it would be a violation- if it had ECM or not.  What I was suggesting as still being terrain in the strictest sense was a mech forming the circle.  One of my early examples was a mech moving about its own fight as part of the Trial inside the same Circle- one of the regional type Circles rather than '2 square klicks' type where you can see across it.

To use the JF Coventry example . . . if I am RP'ing a Falcon (for some reason) sibko warrior on Coventry for a Trial of Position and my cluster has been ordered to follow strict zell (say Level 2 guidelines) we go against the entrenched Lyran/ELH/WD forces.  My star hit the line and challenges opposing forces of equal worth.  My Summoner has challenged a Salamander 6S- I know it has Artemis IV- and I want to get in close enough to use the UAC/20 to open up that assault.  Instead of running through woods, or putting woods between me and my opponent, I follow my starmate in his Shadow Cat B and place the Shadow Cat's ECM between us.  Meanwhile the Shadow Cat pilot is maneuvering against a Lyran heavy or whatever and is not moving under my orders or direction in any way to give me benefit- the Shadow Cat is maneuvering in order to gain his own advantage against the Lyran.  Which is fluff/story for the fight, but SHOULD be how a RP'er behaves even IF controlling all Clan forces- each point should move independently of the others though I admit I do have a hard time being wide open for a doublecross from IS players.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Kitsune413 on 14 August 2018, 03:19:04
You said for era's without advanced tech....

Ask your opponent to bid.... choose your force and ask him to only take the forces he thinks can defeat it.

Other wise they just gobble up pre-star league era tech and knock around Star League tech pretty good too.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Sabelkatten on 14 August 2018, 08:08:49
Well, arguably the most interesting way to do it is to design an IS force, then both players bid to be the clan player - lowest BV bid gets to be clan. :)
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Kitsune413 on 14 August 2018, 10:57:49
Yeah that sounds super fun. :)
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 14 August 2018, 11:05:58
For bidding I prefer a variation of the Tukayyid system, I think it holds closer to the fluff of how they bid.

But yeah, I have thought about doing the same for a Invasion era campaign.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: massey on 14 August 2018, 11:48:53
In my experience, you want standard engines, thick armor, close range firepower, and heavy terrain.  Clans will eat you up at range, but if you can keep out of line of sight long enough you'll force the Clan player to come to you to engage.

Battletech weapon design has always been a balance between damage, weight, heat, and range.  Clan missiles have a huge advantage in weight, and the other Clan weapons tend to have advantages in damage and range.  If you can eliminate the range advantage with your movement selections (by keeping out of LOS or staying in heavy terrain), you even the odds to a degree.

Clan mechs also can't carry any more armor than you.  Grind them down in a war of attrition by keeping them in close.  Heavy terrain means they can't make full use of their movement mods and that'll let your non-superhuman pilots score easier hits.

As far as the Clan honor argument goes, I've never felt that the "rules" as published in any game book really capture the spirit of them.  It isn't chivalry, and it's not about ensuring a fair fight.  In the books, Elementals clearly didn't follow it.  I always thought the idea was "if you're dumb enough to let those Elementals get on your mech, then clearly you aren't very good as a warrior, and you get what you have coming to you".  But that's not reflected in the game rules that were published.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Trailblazer on 14 August 2018, 11:57:11
As far as the Clan honor argument goes, I've never felt that the "rules" as published in any game book really capture the spirit of them.  It isn't chivalry, and it's not about ensuring a fair fight.  In the books, Elementals clearly didn't follow it.  I always thought the idea was "if you're dumb enough to let those Elementals get on your mech, then clearly you aren't very good as a warrior, and you get what you have coming to you".  But that's not reflected in the game rules that were published.

Agreed, this is insightful.  The point of Clan honor seems to be to ensure that the best warrior wins, not to promote some abstract ideal of "fairness."
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 14 August 2018, 12:13:58
As far as the Clan honor argument goes, I've never felt that the "rules" as published in any game book really capture the spirit of them.  It isn't chivalry, and it's not about ensuring a fair fight.  In the books, Elementals clearly didn't follow it.  I always thought the idea was "if you're dumb enough to let those Elementals get on your mech, then clearly you aren't very good as a warrior, and you get what you have coming to you".  But that's not reflected in the game rules that were published.

Lol, sort of the same sort of discussion about taking backshots or hitting shut down mechs.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Charistoph on 15 August 2018, 10:58:33
As far as the Clan honor argument goes, I've never felt that the "rules" as published in any game book really capture the spirit of them.  It isn't chivalry, and it's not about ensuring a fair fight.  In the books, Elementals clearly didn't follow it.  I always thought the idea was "if you're dumb enough to let those Elementals get on your mech, then clearly you aren't very good as a warrior, and you get what you have coming to you".  But that's not reflected in the game rules that were published.

Actually it is about a certain amount of flamboyance.  The greater the risk of a combat, the more glorious the win.  The more glorious the win, the greater your chances to have your genetics continue and merged with other powerful genetics.  Remember how Trueborns (the vast majority of Clan front-liners, even among the Wardens) procreate and their focus that come from that.  They can totally dedicate themselves to the fight as a result.

Clan bidding is about deliberately setting up an unfair fight so you can have your star shine, but not so much that it becomes a burning meteor.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 15 August 2018, 11:34:05
The Trial system is about removing as many uncontrolled factors from combat so that it can be a 'fair' contest to determine who is the better warrior in a objective manner . . .

 . . . the hypocrisy comes in that warfare is chaotic, period.  When you add in that under the ideal, the starting point is supposed to be balanced what finally happens in the Circle of Equals has each warrior trying to unbalance it in their favor as much as possible while still pulling off a dramatic victory.  The ideal is that two forces meet in a pre-determined area where both sides know everything about the ground that is being fought over and both sides are as evenly matched in equipment/experience or the mix as possible.

But once the terms are set, each warrior starts 'cheating' (as in, 'if you are not cheating, you are not trying') . . . by setting tactics, adjusting weapon loads as possible (on Omni) to emphasize the impact of the plan (Ulric's requiring energy load outs for Tukayyid to counter Focht's drawn out fight), trying to find some thing the other side may have overlooked (Roar of Honor where they set the dried field afire) that gives you a tactical advantage, using misdirection and any other trick in the book.

The Trial system can be fun to engage in, both as a Clan and IS player- its about manipulating the play and showing flair for the Clanner and for the IS its about beating a Clanner at his own game.  With that said, I cannot really remember playing on the IS side against a Clanner using zell . . . might have to look into that for the future.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: massey on 15 August 2018, 14:50:58
Actually it is about a certain amount of flamboyance.  The greater the risk of a combat, the more glorious the win.  The more glorious the win, the greater your chances to have your genetics continue and merged with other powerful genetics.  Remember how Trueborns (the vast majority of Clan front-liners, even among the Wardens) procreate and their focus that come from that.  They can totally dedicate themselves to the fight as a result.

Clan bidding is about deliberately setting up an unfair fight so you can have your star shine, but not so much that it becomes a burning meteor.

Yeah, but you have to keep in mind that cheating to win is still better than following the rules and losing.  It's really a matter of being able to justify your actions to the rest of the Clan.

I remember the old parody game Hackmaster (from the Knights of the Dinner Table comic).  It had a class that had to follow a strict code of honor.  The Knight Errant, I think.  But as they went up in level, they could break the rules more often, because they came up with better excuses.  So you must accept the surrender of an honorable opponent, except you can get in one more round of attacks after the surrendered, because "my arm was already in motion".  And then if they picked up their weapons again to defend themselves, obviously their surrender wasn't sincere, and they were planning on betraying you.  So then you don't have to accept their surrender anymore, because it's a trick.  Better keep hitting them because of their dishonor.

Many Clan warriors operate that way, and they're definitely sore losers.  And with their honor system, there is definitely an aspect of "if you lost because he cheated, that's your own damn fault for falling for it."
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Charistoph on 16 August 2018, 22:24:19
Yeah, but you have to keep in mind that cheating to win is still better than following the rules and losing.  It's really a matter of being able to justify your actions to the rest of the Clan.

I remember the old parody game Hackmaster (from the Knights of the Dinner Table comic).  It had a class that had to follow a strict code of honor.  The Knight Errant, I think.  But as they went up in level, they could break the rules more often, because they came up with better excuses.  So you must accept the surrender of an honorable opponent, except you can get in one more round of attacks after the surrendered, because "my arm was already in motion".  And then if they picked up their weapons again to defend themselves, obviously their surrender wasn't sincere, and they were planning on betraying you.  So then you don't have to accept their surrender anymore, because it's a trick.  Better keep hitting them because of their dishonor.

Many Clan warriors operate that way, and they're definitely sore losers.  And with their honor system, there is definitely an aspect of "if you lost because he cheated, that's your own damn fault for falling for it."

Also remember, a Clanner can backtrack a bid a little without losing face, and can pay to bring in more than that, even.  It's only when you won before the bid (aka Wolcott) do they accept how well they were beaten.  Alternatively, they short-sheet themselves so bad they don't even have time to backtrack to a previous bid to correct themselves, which happened to most of the Clans on Tukayyid.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Col Toda on 17 August 2018, 06:04:33
There always were 3 basic strategies .
1 : Drown them in cheap combat vehicles . In the first campaign VS the Clans no clan really used them or proto mechs so it worked well on the defensive particularly on prepared ground . Not so well on the defensive . Example A Condor moving from hull down position to hull down postion 7 hexes apart . + 3 for movement +2 for hull down plus their movement plus range . Have all hills with minefields and tunnels through them that are too low for mechs to walk through and combat vehicles go at top speed . Hells Horses was created as a Clan that used combat vehicles because this tactic was too successful .
2 Attrition the Clans depend on Shock and awe blitzkrieg overrun tactics . During the Clan invasion if they did not win decisively quickly they did not have enough supply on hand for a protracted fight . Any loss on there part in the early years came with a logistical supply train nearly a year long . Most of the problem is Clan endo steel and Ferro Fibrous armor supply is finite and half as bulky as the inner sphere counter part .  The Stone Rhino was the only mech they could use a lot of inner sphere componants on . Half of the wins against the Clans was a situation of out lasting not out fifhting .
3 In the later years Inner Sphere tech became different as wholly opposed to inferior .  A Battlefied that is bombarded with laser inhibiting aerosol Inner Sphere  Arrow IV ammo not only provides a smoke effect it reduces laser damage by 2 points per hex.  I provided Artillary support to a bunch of Davionista Axe weilding maniacs . Normally Clan lasers cut the enemy to ribbons before they get melee range .

As for the issue of the cost vs efficacy the light mech in a universe with pulse lasers , targeting computers and precision ammo is just an expensive target . that 150 bay can be replaced with 3 light vehicle bays . I use cheap replacible attrition combat vehicles for the light mech roles. Combined Arms becomes the norm durring and after the Jihad . The Clans kick started the light mech reduced presence but everyone has a hand in that now .
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: E. Icaza on 17 August 2018, 21:43:53
I agree with most of what is said here, with the exception of long-range weapons.  If you try to play the range game with the Clans, they will win it.  Their weapons have superior ranges and their pilots are better.  As a Clan player, I would love it if my opponent was willing to hang back and allow me to hit on 6 or 7 when they need an 8 or 9. When facing the Clans as an IS player, I close range as quickly as possible.  It's painful, but you likely out-mass them by quite a bit and physical attacks make up for a lot, especially Kicking.

And I know it will likely be controversial, but I tend to prefer Introductory Tech/3025 'Mechs vs. the Clans, as I've found that IS XL engines are a death sentence when facing the Clans.  Maybe not all 3025 'Mechs, but there should be a fair number of standard engines in your force if you can swing it.  You may have less guns, but you have much more staying power. 

As someone stated before, you WILL take losses.  But if 1 'Mech from your company walks off the board and no 'Mechs from that Clan Star do so, then you still won.

Oh, and the death of the Light 'Mech is an artifact of 3050 and above tech rather than just the Clans.  Star League tech, rightly implemented, gave us Mediums that are faster than most Lights.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: glitterboy2098 on 17 August 2018, 22:24:40
you want some ranged just to get in hits while you are closing. but IMO they need to be effective hits. big LRM's, Gauss rifles. (if there are any available), etc. so you can do some damage as you close. but your main advantage is going to be up close where you can leverage your close in firepower and willingness to do physical attacks.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Trailblazer on 18 August 2018, 00:09:44
Yeah, I don't think the question is "Do you want to close with the IS against Clans?"  Obviously you do.  The question is whether you want to give up totally on fighting at long range while you try to close.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: SCC on 18 August 2018, 03:45:31
you want some ranged just to get in hits while you are closing. but IMO they need to be effective hits. big LRM's, Gauss rifles. (if there are any available), etc. so you can do some damage as you close. but your main advantage is going to be up close where you can leverage your close in firepower and willingness to do physical attacks.
Handheld Weapons are probably the answer here, take a design with all close in weapons, and add a pod with a LRM and a few shots.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: glitterboy2098 on 18 August 2018, 04:27:17
Handheld Weapons are probably the answer here, take a design with all close in weapons, and add a pod with a LRM and a few shots.
Unless you can handheld an LRM 20 this isn't really a good option. Note my emphasis on effective hits. 2-3 damage plinks from an AC2 or a LRM5 just aren't going to help much. But a good 10 point hit from a PPC? Or a couple 5point clusters from a big LRM? That'll wear down their armor enough that once up close you have a chance of exploiting the damage.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Charistoph on 18 August 2018, 14:24:49
I agree with most of what is said here, with the exception of long-range weapons.  If you try to play the range game with the Clans, they will win it.  Their weapons have superior ranges and their pilots are better.  As a Clan player, I would love it if my opponent was willing to hang back and allow me to hit on 6 or 7 when they need an 8 or 9. When facing the Clans as an IS player, I close range as quickly as possible.  It's painful, but you likely out-mass them by quite a bit and physical attacks make up for a lot, especially Kicking.

Don't forget one of the more successful long ranged weapons against the clans have their ranges measured in mapsheets, and those weapons are not easily countered by what a clanner usually brings to the field.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Natasha Kerensky on 21 August 2018, 23:03:45

Clanners enjoy advantages in speed, firing accuracy, and sheer firepower.  As long as you're willing to break zellbrigen, which is kind of sucker's game if you're not a Clanner, these advantages can all be countered at relatively low cost in BV using force multipliers and tactics that have received little or no discussion upthread:

Restricting Mobility -- Terrain is great.  Preplaced mines are better.  But mine dispensers, Thunder LRMs, and Thunder Arrow IV that can lay minefields in the path of a Clan unit's forward movement are best.  Same goes for fluid guns/sprayers and oil slicks.  Or cheap/fast/disposable blocking units like the Flatbed Truck from TRO 3060 (use the up-armored variant for extra frustration!).  If the three hexes in front of a T-Wolf have mines, oil slicks, or blocking units, the T-Wolf either has to reduce its movement from an 8-hex/+3 TMM to a 4-hex/+1 TMM or risk leg damage, risk falling damage, or waste time and firepower on blocking units.

Reducing Accuracy -- Burning terrain is great.  But smoke (and chaff!) warheads in grenade launchers, SRMs, LRMs, and artillery that can reactively and selectively lay down smoke between a Clan unit and your units are best.    If you put a couple smoke hexes between you and the D-Wolf A doing overwatch duty on the hill, you negate its pulse laser modifiers.  Put in three hexes of smoke and D-Wolf A is blocked from firing on your unit.  A more risky but potentially effective play is to bring fluid guns/sprayers with paint/obscurant ammo into play.  They max out at three hits, but that's a +3 TM to the Clan unit for the rest of the game.  At higher tech levels, don't forget to use ECM to generate ghost targets when it's not

Limiting Firepower -- Infernos.  Infernos.  Infernos.  Plasma cannons.  Inferno artillery if available.  But infernos, infernos, infernos.  Even with their freezers, most Clan units will be crippled if you can max out their external heat points (15 under the rules).  That's three-quarters of a Stormcrow Prime's heat points, enough to reduce it to single ER medium laser without overheating.  (Its movement will add heat!)  If the Stormcrow is stupid enough to max out it firepower even with the inferno bath, then the +15 overheat will cut its MPs in half (to 3/5) and inflict a +2 TM to it fire.

Obviously, you want to combine and max these out whenever possible.  A Mad Dog facing three hexes of mines, firing through one or two smoked hexes, and suffering 15 points of external heat is in a bad place. 
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Getz on 22 August 2018, 20:35:30
I don't always us it because it's a pain to keep track of on a table top, but I like to use something fast loaded with Infernos (often J Edgars) to range ahead of my main force and set strategic sections of the map on fire.  Advancing behind a huge wall of smoke really cuts back the incoming long ranged fire...
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Demon55 on 25 August 2018, 13:16:33
Stay in cover until they get close enough for you to have decent to hit numbers. 

Put mines in their axis of advance. 

Lure them into a city that has your infantry/Battle Armor strategically placed and ambush them.

Try to get them to over-extend themselves and use defeat in detail against them. 
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Tai Dai Cultist on 25 August 2018, 13:21:24
Not applicible to CBT but honestly the best way to defeat a Clan invasion:

Hide when they land.

Then bomb their barracks once they settle in-garrison.  Clanners are way easier to kill asleep in their beds than awake in their cockpits.  Plus you've got a bunch of pristine Clan-tech materiel for your own troops once they re-establish control of the world again.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 25 August 2018, 13:49:29
Knight's Tale suggestion . . .

For Demon55-

Your strategy would work against the IS, against the Clans (at least Invasion era, some Clans later would not be able to duplicate) you are giving up the planetary-strategic initiative.  They are going to be just plain faster than your IS forces- and what COULD catch a Clan attack would not enjoy the experience.  While I do not fully buy into the 'decision cycle' theory it provides a apt description for what happened to IS forces when facing the Clans- I like to use the description of the Trial of Possession for Icar.  A Clan binary supernova (I think) defeated a merc heavy mech regiment & armored brigade simply by aggressively pushing the pace in a way the IS was not prepared for at the time.  They took out a battalion with support in a blocking position on a river, hit the CO as she tried to rally the shattered BN with more mechs, and then captured the dropships before too many could off planet along with the capital.

Sure, hold some ground that gives you a tactical advantage- lay mines and plot artillery strikes.  Meanwhile the Clan force which is likely 25% faster if not more, has bypassed you to reach the objective.  Speed, aggression, and lavish use of force should define Clan strategic play setting up very interesting tactical fights.  Imagine what it was like for AFFC scouts lances in Phoenix Hawks, Wolfhounds, Javelins, Valkyries and Commandos to run into Kit Foxes, Mist Lynx, Ice Ferrets, Adders and Vipers. And when the IS commander gets his eyes poked out- the only way to measure enemy movement is from where your scouts, mech & armor, are no longer reporting . . .
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: marcussmythe on 25 August 2018, 14:13:20
Insurgent tactics.  The clan idea of a fair game is to show up, ask what your defending with, and then make sure they bid enough to win.  Their ideal fair fight is ‘I have more range than you, more speed than you, and more armor than you, and if you dont line ip to be slaughtered by my technological superiority, your unworthy and my people may burn your cities from orbit’

So dont even bother to play their game.  Poison wells.  Bomb barracks.  Nukes on ASFs to take out those warships.  Indocrtinate your population well in advance of their landing, and make sure that you have special operations teams that can anger them into reprisals against the population, such that the populations of the worlds they will take stay in permanent overt or covert rebellion.

The writers at FASA gave you a game thats not really winnable on the TT, and then gave the mongol hordes orbital deathlasers to make sure even if you win, its at their sufferance.  Dont play the suckers game.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Ruger on 25 August 2018, 15:08:38
Poison wells.

That doesn't work so well unless you are never planning to come back...if you want to actually us the world later, there needs to still be something you can use...

Ruger
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: glitterboy2098 on 25 August 2018, 21:52:27
Knight's Tale suggestion . . .

For Demon55-

Your strategy would work against the IS, against the Clans (at least Invasion era, some Clans later would not be able to duplicate) you are giving up the planetary-strategic initiative.  They are going to be just plain faster than your IS forces- and what COULD catch a Clan attack would not enjoy the experience.  While I do not fully buy into the 'decision cycle' theory it provides a apt description for what happened to IS forces when facing the Clans- I like to use the description of the Trial of Possession for Icar.  A Clan binary supernova (I think) defeated a merc heavy mech regiment & armored brigade simply by aggressively pushing the pace in a way the IS was not prepared for at the time.  They took out a battalion with support in a blocking position on a river, hit the CO as she tried to rally the shattered BN with more mechs, and then captured the dropships before too many could off planet along with the capital.

Sure, hold some ground that gives you a tactical advantage- lay mines and plot artillery strikes.  Meanwhile the Clan force which is likely 25% faster if not more, has bypassed you to reach the objective.  Speed, aggression, and lavish use of force should define Clan strategic play setting up very interesting tactical fights.  Imagine what it was like for AFFC scouts lances in Phoenix Hawks, Wolfhounds, Javelins, Valkyries and Commandos to run into Kit Foxes, Mist Lynx, Ice Ferrets, Adders and Vipers. And when the IS commander gets his eyes poked out- the only way to measure enemy movement is from where your scouts, mech & armor, are no longer reporting . . .

not to mention, if you rely on fixed defense, you open yourself up to the same fate as Sharon Bryan (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Sharon_Bryan#Death_on_Melissia)

mines and such are very useful to control the clan mobility advantage.. but you yourself need to be mobile so you can have some control over when, where, and how many clan units you engage at a time.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Jellico on 26 August 2018, 03:53:26
As a Clan player I like it when an IS opponent opts for broken terrain.

Under BV an IS force will match me for firepower at all range brackets while out massing me in armour. On average I will have a mobility advantage (through hard learned experience that slow Clan Mechs get swarmed) but the IS will have lighter elements that are more mobile than me.

My only chance of victory is to isolate elements of the IS force and overwhelm them with minimal losses.
Broken terrain lets me block lines of sight and isolate opponents.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Trailblazer on 26 August 2018, 10:43:28
Under BV an IS force will match me for firepower at all range brackets while out massing me in armour.

Except for the "range 24+" bracket, which becomes pretty important with Clan tech in clear terrain...
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Jellico on 26 August 2018, 15:26:40
Really? That is more theoretical than practical. There are only a couple of weapons that produce meaningful damage at that range. Also holding said range is largely impractical. Eg. A 4/6 Mech can advance faster than a 5/8 Mech can retreat.

Unless we are talking the old Firemoth with an ERLL game. And of course there are plenty of small fast IS Mechs that can close the range and brawl.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Trailblazer on 26 August 2018, 17:06:19
Really? That is more theoretical than practical. There are only a couple of weapons that produce meaningful damage at that range. Also holding said range is largely impractical. Eg. A 4/6 Mech can advance faster than a 5/8 Mech can retreat.

Unless we are talking the old Firemoth with an ERLL game. And of course there are plenty of small fast IS Mechs that can close the range and brawl.

You're right that there are only a few weapons that can do this, but the CERLL is one of the most common weapons on canon configs, let alone the sort of brutal custom configs you can put together.

Stormcrow Prime and Kit Fox Prime can both back up six hexes per turn, so since we're talking about a clear board, they can basically shoot IS 4/6 'Mechs with impunity.  Or take a Cauldron-Born A or Fire Falcon B, turn your back to the IS enemy and flip the arms!  Now you're controlling the distance at a rate of 8-12 hexes per turn.  Or if you're Hell's Horses, just bring Donars.

To prevent fast IS brawlers from coming in to wreck you, just combine this strategy with a couple of Warhawk Cs or Huntsman As and give those IS lights the old CLPL treatment once they start their approach.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Elmoth on 26 August 2018, 17:26:08
Isn't the map size somewhat problematic with constant retreat?
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Trailblazer on 26 August 2018, 17:37:06
Isn't the map size somewhat problematic with constant retreat?

Totally, what I just said goes for infinite maps. On limited maps Jellico is right that you want terrain, although I think you also want some big clear areas to make use of the range advantage.

Although on a limited clear map that's big enough, that Fire Falcon B could lead 4/6 IS mechs in circles almost endlessly unless badly outnumbered.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Getz on 27 August 2018, 08:59:12
You're right that there are only a few weapons that can do this, but the CERLL is one of the most common weapons on canon configs, let alone the sort of brutal custom configs you can put together.

Stormcrow Prime and Kit Fox Prime can both back up six hexes per turn, so since we're talking about a clear board, they can basically shoot IS 4/6 'Mechs with impunity.  Or take a Cauldron-Born A or Fire Falcon B, turn your back to the IS enemy and flip the arms!  Now you're controlling the distance at a rate of 8-12 hexes per turn.  Or if you're Hell's Horses, just bring Donars.

To prevent fast IS brawlers from coming in to wreck you, just combine this strategy with a couple of Warhawk Cs or Huntsman As and give those IS lights the old CLPL treatment once they start their approach.

This can be hard countered with smoke screens - and even with infinite maps, constant retreat ultimately means you abandon the objective and lose.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Kit deSummersville on 27 August 2018, 09:15:25
Isn't the map size somewhat problematic with constant retreat?

Not boring your opponent so they never play with you again is another problem with that tactic.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 27 August 2018, 11:37:38
This can be hard countered with smoke screens - and even with infinite maps, constant retreat ultimately means you abandon the objective and lose.

If the IS comes out chasing the Clan force, then typically with their speed they can get around the IS to the objective.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Kos on 27 August 2018, 11:46:04
Hrm yes clan mechs can range and evade you in some circumstances.  You can stop it with area control tactics like mines or artillery as has been discussed previously, or combined arms with stuff like VTOLS and hovers that they can't outrun. However, Clan forces won't always be able to do this, depending on maps, terrain ect. So, it helps to take a balanced force that can handle various clanner shenanigans, instead of just focusing on one type of situation.

I, personally (and I usually don't play advanced rules games with mines and artillery), try to take a mix of particular units vs. clans: Mostly, hard to kill 'Zombies' and cheap vees and short ranged brawlers to out-armour the clanners and kick 'em in the teeth, with a few fast units, to chase them down if necessary, and long-range to provide support while closing.
     
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Trailblazer on 29 August 2018, 19:38:01
One more point I wanted to add about effective, very long-ranged weapons like the CERLL, CLB5-X, ATMs and to a lesser extent the light gauss:

Their main utility on a realistic battlefield is the way they can force your enemy to attack you, thus giving you the opportunity to exploit the many advantages of a defensive position in BattleTech.  (Among these advantages are the opportunity to stay in cover, the chance to fire without attacker movement penalties or alternatively to use your MP to set up an ideal shot rather than close distance, and greater ease of employing indirect fire.)

If you have a force set up in a safe stand of woods, or a big force of LRM boats deployed behind a hill, that gives you a huge advantage in combat, but only if you can coax your opponent into firing range.  By themselves, these defensive formations are no good to you.  But put a Fire Falcon B in that stand of woods, or a couple of Donars above that hill, and suddenly your enemy has to start advancing on your defensive force or else be picked apart.  (That also makes them, and not you, the one who are making the game boring and un-fun if they decline to attack, by the way.)
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: truetanker on 03 September 2018, 15:24:36
I remember a Solaris Juckyard battle, guy took a Zues-6S against me in a MAD II.

Hit me with that LRM and LL damage, AC missed, did a PPC back, I jumped and he walked.

He retreated to a corner where I couldn't see him, fine. I Jumped again and landed on top of a Trash wall, barely making my PSR... He kept moving backwards and after a few turns I realized he was waiting for the counter, a D20, to get to 0 signaling end of the Bout.

Well I preceded to fire PPCs, a Large and a Medium ever other turn to damage ALL the Trash walls separating him from me... didn't care if I heated or not. Needing 9's to hit on most, good thing immobile targets get -4 to-hit!

Turn 18 he tried to run when the last wall came down...

I was like +3 heat when I jumped down...didn't care...2 PPCs, 2 Medium Lasers and a Large one connected to take out his ammo! Your 17 points vs my 38... in one turn!

* BOOM... Buzzer sounds... And the Zeus goes down! Folks, the crowd goes wild! As the Maruader limps of the field. *

I fell a couple of times...

Yeah play turtle with me will ya?

TT
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Siegfried Marcus on 16 November 2018, 20:53:00
I know I'm late to the party as usual, but this is topic near and dear to my heart.  I look at things from an in-universe perspective rather than BV balance.

The fundamental tactical problem is that the Clan generally has an advantage in both range and speed.  This makes it very difficult for the IS forces to engage at all, especially if the Clan is willing to retreat after doing enough damage (i.e. "We have killed enough of you today; we will be back tomorrow with fresh armor and more ammo."

I am mostly just reinforcing points already made, except #4.

1. Artillery - This is the one class of weapon that actually out-ranges Clan weapons.  Tube artillery even out-ranges Arrow IV.  Although it requires huge numbers of shells, artillery can effectively zone out certain range brackets, forcing the Clan to either close to where you can hit them, or back off to where they can't hit you.  Also, artillery can disrupt a fighting withdrawal by aiming for the hexes that the Clan will need to reach by turn X in order to stay ahead of your advance.  Artillery also doesn't require good gunners to have a chance of hitting and, it murders BA.  In the bigger picture, artillery can force the Clan to attack a certain position rather than allow constant harassing fire.

2. Cover - If you can force the Clan to attack you, it is ideal to hide behind hills and then pop up to shoot at close range.  I favor weapons with a decent short-range bracket so that you can use guns from a larger area.  This tactic is especially strong if you have hidden spotters and lots of LRMs.  If you must attack, it is wise to advance under very thick smoke cover.  The goal should be to block LOS, not merely raise target numbers.  If you have a second very strong force positioned to cut off their retreat, you can force an engagement.  Otherwise you can pepper them with artillery as they run away.  At close range, Clan mechs are superior, but hardly invincible. 

3. Vast Numbers - This doesn't apply to a BV restricted fight, but if you are tasked with defending a planet from a Clan attack, through everything you've got at them.  A company of Scorpions isn't a threat to a Clan star, but a company of Scorpions in addition to your already large force is a great addition.  Scorpions are very numerous (as per lore), can survive an ERLL hit, and have fairly decent range.  Vedettes are even better.  The hard part is finding crews willing to die to start wearing down the Clanners armor.

4. Pursuit - Let's say you've given the Clan more than they bargained for.  They are worn down, so they don't stick around when your Second Scorpion Company arrives to reinforce.  If they can get away, it's only a matter of time before they patch up and return as strong as ever.  (Meanwhile most of your losses can't be recovered.)  You need a force that is fast enough to engage Clan mechs in full retreat.  That means hovers, vtols, or aircraft.  The Pegasus comes to mind.  The force has to be large enough to finish off the damaged mechs.  Ideally this force would be part of the main battle, but could also catch up to them later.

Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Hellraiser on 17 November 2018, 00:51:50
especially if the Clan is willing to retreat after doing enough damage (i.e. "We have killed enough of you today; we will be back tomorrow with fresh armor and more ammo."
Never in 28 years of clan fluff have I heard of them doing this.

Contrary to CBT rules gaming, they are actually fluffed quite often as opening up at their extremely, better than you range, but they also just keep coming closer & closer getting more accurate as they do.

They don't play the range bracket game.

Not that they wait to shoot you up close, just that they start shooting the minute they are in range & keep moving forward.
Given their accuracy, your L1 Intro mech is normally swiss cheese by the time your in short range for your SRM/ML's to give a good full alpha going back at them.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: The_Caveman on 17 November 2018, 03:26:04
Don't be afraid to fight dirty: artillery, melee, infantry ambushes, mine fields, vehicle swarms, swarms of Mechbusters, IEDs...

If you're giving the Clanners a fair fight 'Mech-on-'Mech, you're doing it wrong.

But they will salute your honorable death.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Sartris on 17 November 2018, 11:39:51
Never in 28 years of clan fluff have I heard of them doing this.

Contrary to CBT rules gaming, they are actually fluffed quite often as opening up at their extremely, better than you range, but they also just keep coming closer & closer getting more accurate as they do.

They don't play the range bracket game.

Not that they wait to shoot you up close, just that they start shooting the minute they are in range & keep moving forward.
Given their accuracy, your L1 Intro mech is normally swiss cheese by the time your in short range for your SRM/ML's to give a good full alpha going back at them.

Playing by the zell rules out of TW by the book allows for some fiddling but it doesn’t support max range sniping well. You get dezgra points for willingly moving out of range or LOS. Also I imagine more kills = more glory so hanging out at 23 hexes is not going maximize your kill count. In addition, the wolf and falcon rosters in the original sourcebooks have enough KIA and WIA to indicate they weren’t playing it safe.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 17 November 2018, 12:53:25
The fundamental tactical problem is that the Clan generally has an advantage in both range and speed.  This makes it very difficult for the IS forces to engage at all, especially if the Clan is willing to retreat after doing enough damage (i.e. "We have killed enough of you today; we will be back tomorrow with fresh armor and more ammo."

Yeah, they will not break off the fight IMO until the battlefield is cleared . . . but yeah, then they could retreat to the JS to re-arm and even repod for a different phase of the campaign.  It happened on Tukayyid and at least WCSB gives indications it happened on other Invasion planets.  Roar of Honor pretty much shows it happens if the Trial plan is for a long fight.  Operation Icestorm the POV Falcon Star Colonel does it against saKhan Conner Rood.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Siegfried Marcus on 17 November 2018, 13:45:00
Never in 28 years of clan fluff have I heard of them doing this.

Contrary to CBT rules gaming, they are actually fluffed quite often as opening up at their extremely, better than you range, but they also just keep coming closer & closer getting more accurate as they do.


Maybe when fighting mechs in open-field battles that feature prominently in lore.

What about at New_Caledonia?  "Rather than break her bid and call in reinforcements, Star Colonel Lara Ward ordered her forces to retreat, laying ambushes as they went for their pursuers. Eventually the militia forces were weakened enough for the Wolf units to make a successful counterattack at Iron Island, defeating them and conquering the planet."  Wolf Clan Sourcebook, p. 59.  (actually taken from Sarna.net)

Or Dell, "... Khan Ulric Kerensky kept his forces just outside the defensive perimeter and instead skirmished with the Guards at Issel, Bainbridge and Cossin. These attacks caused little material damage but were psychologically devastating. The end came when Marshal Shremp made the decision to abandon the fortifications and meet the Wolves in Mercer Valley."  Wolf Clan Sourcebook, p. 62

There are also examples that seem to imply something other than a headlong charge into battle.  At Unzmart: "Initially the defenders made a good show of themselves, holding back the two Novas for three days along the shores of the Hester-Kester Fjord."  CWS 61.  Three days is a long time, and if the Clan didn't break through on days one and two, they must have withdrawn.  They certainly couldn't have been advancing the whole time.

Granted my examples are from Clan Wolf (which is the the one I'm most familiar with), but they also come from 3050.  After 3050, the Clans were much more willing to adapt their customs to fighting the Inner Sphere, especially with Ulric as IlKhan.  Also, both of my first two examples are much more extreme than simply maintaining range and withdrawing from the field after an extended fight.  On many occasions the Clans attacked brigade or even division size forces.  These encounters may not be as cool as mech on mech action, but they are nevertheless part of the lore.

If you are fighting a Clan force that insists on using the tactics you describe, the task becomes vastly simpler.  A very large number of Hetzers ought to do the job.  Demolishers, Axels, anything with armor and an AC/20.  Back them up with Hetzer SRMs.  Even PBI's are good if the Clan is going to just walk right up to you.  Just be sure to deploy your full brigade or whatever. 
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 17 November 2018, 14:12:15
I think the difference is that tactically they will not really do that . . . but strategically it is very likely to happen, though it depends on the Clan.  For example, I am not sure we have ever heard any such thing happening with the Jaguars.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: The_Caveman on 17 November 2018, 15:54:46
Selective interpretations of Zellbrigen are par for the course with Wolf. They use it more to hamstring their (Clan) opponents than anything else, staying just enough within the letter of the law not to become dezgra.

Falcons are usually too caught up in their own pride to think laterally, but it does happen. Jaguars, on the other hand, just didn't think.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Siegfried Marcus on 17 November 2018, 17:28:44
Zell applies explicitly between mechwarriors, and does not include combat vehicles or PBIs.  Battletech understandably focuses on combat between mechs, and this shapes our perception of the Clans, but that doesn't mean that the Clans behave the same way toward planetary milita.  In fact, we are told they do not.

I'm also having trouble imagining "never a step back" on a tactical level.  Take Unzmarkt, The Clan is attacking trying to break into or out of a particular beachhead.  They are facing an armored division!  So does the Star Captain say something like: "Well strategically, we are trying to drive back the enemy and vanquish the division, but tactically, I am only trying to eliminate just one more company.  Those other companies that are flooding in to fill the gap in the line, they are not part of my tactical objective.  So my work here is done, and good thing too, because (not coincidentally) my auto-cannon is empty and my armor is low (otherwise I would decide to take on another lance or two, tactically that is)."  The IS forces are described as having a "strong defensive line" that "held back" the Clan for three days.  So the Clan was trying to break the line, but couldn't have done it in one continuous action.  If they attack and fail to break through the line, how do they break off the attack with enemies to their front without "tactically" retreating?  But never mind retreating, it is nearly impossible to imagine that they were constantly advancing, yet couldn't break through for three days.

I think it makes more sense to see the constant advance as the Clan's preferred tactics.  In many cases it was successful, but when that wasn't feasible or failed, they would either call in reinforcements (and presumably wait for their arrival) or stop advancing.  Furthermore, I don't think the Clans saw this as particularly problematic after the first few waves of Revival.  The honorable tactics of Clan warriors were meant to be used against their equals, not virtually unlimited numbers of tanks and infantry backed by artillery.  Zell does not even apply to them, and the Clans soon reasons why the IS should not be treated the same as Clan opponents.

Even the Smoke Jaguars did not always charge headlong into battle.

Albiero: "Backed up against the ridge line the militia's armored battalion used artillery to trap the Clan forces."  Invading Clans Sourcebook, p. 66 (again from Sarna).  So the SJ's were unwilling to continue their attack up the ridge, in fact, it sounds like they retreated to cover for a time. 

Port Arthur: "They (SJ's) immediately engaged the First Proserpina Hussars at Zuave Vale, forcing them to fall back to secondary positions at Disher. Here the Smoke Jaguar attack bogged down, forcing saKhan Weaver to order a "headhunter" Star to locate and destroy the First Hussars' command company."  Invading Clans (sourcebook), p.69.  How did the attack become "bogged down" if the Clan is always advancing until one side is defeated?  Furthermore the SJ's were "forced" to change tactics, suggesting they couldn't take the secondary positions with an immediate direct assault even if they wanted to (which you know they did).

During the reprieve in '50-'51, the IS had time to prepare against the Clans with intelligence and training from Wolf's Dragoons, yet the Clans were still generally successful against the Successor States because they adapted to the IS's style of warfare.  Besides, I think the OP's question is more interesting if we assume the Clan has some tactical flexibility.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 17 November 2018, 19:30:48
During the invasion they were not focused on wiping out all the enemy opposition.  Most of the battle descriptions in WCSB & JFSB is about how the Clan forces punched through the opposition to capture the capital or enemy DS to force their surrender.  Let the armor surround my DZ, I am going to punch through its thinnest side and race for my objectives- thanks for getting a battalion or three of your tanks out of position.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Siegfried Marcus on 17 November 2018, 20:35:06
Let the armor surround my DZ

Who said anything about that?  I'm imagining concentrating all available forces around the capital or other vital objective.  Let the Clan march around the whole planet if they like, but defend the capital/spaceport.  It's the Clan's job to conquer, so they are obliged to assault it (as on Rasalhague) or wipe it out with air power (as Phelan Kell suggests the Ghost Bears would have done).  The OP's question seems to assume that the defender is familiar with Clan tactics and objectives.  Once battle is joined, it's ok to charge forward to get into range faster, especially if you know the Clan won't withdraw.  If you are talking about the examples I cited, they are from canon, so we can only assume that both defender and attacker had some legitimate reason for fighting where they did.  I was not saying to emulate their strategy, only showing examples where the Clan force did not always charge headlong into battle.

Edit: I should add that I don't think it's necessary to use the city to defend and provoke the Clan into an airstrike or orbital bombardment, only to concentrate forces around the objective so that when the Clan does attack, it can all be brought to bear in the same battle.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Siegfried Marcus on 17 November 2018, 23:09:36
Playing by the zell rules out of TW by the book allows for some fiddling but it doesn’t support max range sniping well. You get dezgra points for willingly moving out of range or LOS. Also I imagine more kills = more glory so hanging out at 23 hexes is not going maximize your kill count. In addition, the wolf and falcon rosters in the original sourcebooks have enough KIA and WIA to indicate they weren’t playing it safe.

But the Clan won't be playing by zell if they are fighting mostly tanks and inf.  There's not much honor to be had in toasting vehicles and even less in sticking around to let your mech get pounded by endless waves of inferior soldiers unworthy of sharing the same battlefield with you.  As for casualties, don't most of those come from Tukayyid when they finally face a "worthy" opponent? 
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 17 November 2018, 23:30:56
But the Clan won't be playing by zell if they are fighting mostly tanks and inf.  There's not much honor to be had in toasting vehicles . . .
Which is why a pair of Horses' Mars wrecked the Crusader Wolves in a Trial before they hit the Wolf OZ.  The Wolf side at that Con did not really have Wolves playing, and they ignored the vehicles to chase mechs- and paid for it.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: garhkal on 18 November 2018, 03:59:11
And I know it will likely be controversial, but I tend to prefer Introductory Tech/3025 'Mechs vs. the Clans, as I've found that IS XL engines are a death sentence when facing the Clans.  Maybe not all 3025 'Mechs, but there should be a fair number of standard engines in your force if you can swing it.  You may have less guns, but you have much more staying power. 

Staying power won't matter though, if your legs get taken out from under you.

Really? That is more theoretical than practical. There are only a couple of weapons that produce meaningful damage at that range. Also holding said range is largely impractical. Eg. A 4/6 Mech can advance faster than a 5/8 Mech can retreat.

Unless we are talking the old Firemoth with an ERLL game. And of course there are plenty of small fast IS Mechs that can close the range and brawl.

And unless there's no forests or hills, that 24 hex range band, is often a moot point.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Hellraiser on 18 November 2018, 04:06:45

What about at New_Caledonia?  "Rather than break her bid and call in reinforcements, Star Colonel Lara Ward ordered her forces to retreat, laying ambushes as they went for their pursuers. Eventually the militia forces were weakened enough for the Wolf units to make a successful counterattack at Iron Island, defeating them and conquering the planet."  Wolf Clan Sourcebook, p. 59.  (actually taken from Sarna.net)

Or Dell, "... Khan Ulric Kerensky kept his forces just outside the defensive perimeter and instead skirmished with the Guards at Issel, Bainbridge and Cossin. These attacks caused little material damage but were psychologically devastating. The end came when Marshal Shremp made the decision to abandon the fortifications and meet the Wolves in Mercer Valley."  Wolf Clan Sourcebook, p. 62

There are also examples that seem to imply something other than a headlong charge into battle.  At Unzmart: "Initially the defenders made a good show of themselves, holding back the two Novas for three days along the shores of the Hester-Kester Fjord."  CWS 61.  Three days is a long time, and if the Clan didn't break through on days one and two, they must have withdrawn.  They certainly couldn't have been advancing the whole time.

Granted my examples are from Clan Wolf (which is the the one I'm most familiar with), but they also come from 3050.  After 3050, the Clans were much more willing to adapt their customs to fighting the Inner Sphere, especially with Ulric as IlKhan.  Also, both of my first two examples are much more extreme than simply maintaining range and withdrawing from the field after an extended fight.  On many occasions the Clans attacked brigade or even division size forces.  These encounters may not be as cool as mech on mech action, but they are nevertheless part of the lore.

If you are fighting a Clan force that insists on using the tactics you describe, the task becomes vastly simpler.  A very large number of Hetzers ought to do the job.  Demolishers, Axels, anything with armor and an AC/20.  Back them up with Hetzer SRMs.  Even PBI's are good if the Clan is going to just walk right up to you.  Just be sure to deploy your full brigade or whatever.

I think your missing what I'm saying & you made my point.

The only one that supports sniping is Ulric's & its because he faced a full RCT+ that was dug in with field fortifications, artillery & minefields etc etc.

The Lara & Unzmart both show that they retreated at some point, likely from taking too much damage, which they wouldn't have done if they had been sniping like Ulrics example.

I'm not saying they don't retreat after taking losses.

I'm saying they don't sit out at 25 hexes sniping w/ ERLL's & make you chase them.

Ulric did what he did because if he had gone forward it would have been a blood bath for his units.

They aren't stupid.

But if your job is to conquer quickly using shock & speed then taking all day to snipe & retreat isn't how you do it, and as Sartis said, there isn't much glory in it either which is something they all want to bath themselves in.

Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Siegfried Marcus on 18 November 2018, 10:35:55

I'm saying they don't sit out at 25 hexes sniping w/ ERLL's & make you chase them.

Ulric did what he did because if he had gone forward it would have been a blood bath for his units.

They aren't stupid.


I agree that the Clans prefer to get in closer and mix it up.  If they can win by doing so, they will, but the Clans were constantly setting aside their self-imposed restrictions when they became frustrated with IS tactics.  So, the Clanners won't sit back and snipe you - unless they might lose otherwise.  And that's exactly the situation I intend to create.  As the IS commander, I plan on making it a blood bath for his units if he tries to advance on my positions.  I trust that my opponents aren't stupid, and so I want to be prepared in case the Clan departs from its preferred tactics.  Maybe I'm facing an Ulric or someone who has learned from him. 
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Hellraiser on 19 November 2018, 01:55:22
In which case all you really need is a boatload of artillery   >:D

Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: massey on 19 November 2018, 12:05:08
I think everyone should keep in mind that zell and Clan honor are the modern day equivalents of Axe body spray.  It's all about giving you an advantage in reproduction.

You've not only got competition between commanding officers, but you've got competition within the star itself.  Let's say I'm mechwarrior Joe, and I'd really like to get a Bloodname.  I'm a 2/3 pilot, so I'm basically good enough, but I need to get some glory and get my name out there so that people will take me seriously the next time a Bloodname comes open.  So I need to take calculated risks to show how awesome I am.  I want to win, but I also want to take on odds that show I cut it a little close a couple of times.  From an in-game perspective, I need to take on challenges that really display my 2/3 piloting, things that a lesser pilot really couldn't do.

So let's say I'm assigned a Black Hawk.  If I take the Alternate A configuration, I've got two ER PPCs.  I can fight these Inner Sphere guys at range very effectively.  I can rack up kill after kill while staying at the limits of their ability to respond.  So if I'm up against a Centurion, I can stay out of his autocannon range, let him shoot at me with his LRM-10, and it's "honorable" because he can shoot back (never mind that I have AMS).  I can whittle him down over the course of a couple of minutes and make an easy kill.  It goes in my codex as a victory and it's one more win in a long tally.  Or I can go with the Primary configuration, rush in close, and kill him in like 30 seconds.  It's riskier, but there's a higher reward.  The faster I kill this guy, the faster I can take on another mech in his unit.  Killing one mech over 30 turns of combat (and coming away with 90% of your armor intact) is a lot less impressive than killing a mech in 3 turns, killing the next one 5 turns later, cooling off for two turns, then killing a light mech in one volley, and then chewing up a heavy mech before you have to retreat because your arms got blown off.

Every battle would be a chance for glory.  In modern day terms, it's a chance to impress the ladies.  Most Clan warriors are in their early 20s and are young, dumb, and full of... guns.  Now, you've still got to follow orders, and a mechwarrior who is just a rabid dog whose aggression screws up his superior officer's chances at passing on genetic material won't last long.  You could be an amazingly skilled pilot, but if you are too stupid to realize that your Dasher is not equipped to fight that Battlemaster, well they can just pop another one of you out of the gene vats.  You've got to be able to work with a team and follow a plan.

Headhunter stars, strategic retreats, hanging back and picking people off at range, calling in reinforcements... these are all things you do after cooler heads have realized that this particular battle can't be won by rushing in and humping the enemy into submission.  They won't be happy about it, but everybody understands that you can't "Hulk Smash" every opponent in every fight.  If you play it off right, however, and learn to brag about your cunning plan (and how foolish you made your opponent look), maybe you can make yourself look like a brilliant strategist.  Being so stupid that you fall for every trick in the book is not a good survival trait, and doesn't get your genetic legacy passed on.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: massey on 19 November 2018, 13:06:54
As far as the four original invading Clans, they each have different values.  I'd say they work something like this:

Smoke Jaguars value strength and brutality above all else.  A mechwarrior who gets his mech shot out from under him, or a commander who is forced to break his bid, will generally not have it held against him as long as he was aggressive enough.  This is particularly true if they can blame it on Inner Sphere dirty tricks, or an enemy who was "unClan-like".  In other words, they cheated, it's not my fault.  The Jaguars are vicious warriors, highly skilled, and they tend to use big powerful mechs.  You can count on them taking massive risks and completely overextending themselves, but when it works it results in absolutely stunning victories.

The Ghost Bears are almost the polar opposite.  They are much more cautious and methodical.  Being seen as an explosive hot-head is not good for your reproductive chances.  They do things by the book.  Cutting your bid too low or falling for an obvious trap are not excuses for failure.  However, this also means that taking big risks that don't pay off will generally not be forgiven in the same way they would be in other Clans.  As a result they're less likely to be innovative than other Clans, and they miss opportunities to make big gains.  They don't have humiliating defeats like the Jags, but they also don't have those occasions where one star seizes an entire planet.

The Wolves like victory above all else.  Coffee is for closers, history is written by the winners, to the victor go the spoils, etc.  They've got to generally follow the rules of Clan honor or risk being ostracized from the rest of the Clans, but internally they follow a looser approach to honor and zell.  It's more of a guideline than a rule.  With other Clans, they're total rules lawyers.  If you can bend them til they scream, you're still technically following the rules.  Cheating?  It's called winning.

Jade Falcons are in between the Jaguars and the Wolves.  They love the aggression and purity of the Jags, and feel a bit of a kinship with them, but they like the results that the Wolves get.  They aren't as forgiving of stupid mistakes as the Jags, and they are more willing to forgive a retreat in the face of stupid odds.  They don't like bending the rules in the same way the Wolves do, but in the end winning cures all.  They reward creative strategies and lateral thinking, but if you are going to break the rules it's better if you've got a handy quote from The Remembrance or something to show why it's okay. 
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Weirdo on 19 November 2018, 13:26:44
I think everyone should keep in mind that zell and Clan honor are the modern day equivalents of Axe body spray.

We can shut the game down, Massey just won Battletech.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: massey on 19 November 2018, 13:45:09
I should have said the future equivalent though.  The modern equivalent of Axe body spray is Axe body spray.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: truetanker on 19 November 2018, 15:58:35
I'd have said Old Spice...

TT
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: The_Caveman on 19 November 2018, 17:31:47
The Wolves like victory above all else.  Coffee is for closers, history is written by the winners, to the victor go the spoils, etc.  They've got to generally follow the rules of Clan honor or risk being ostracized from the rest of the Clans, but internally they follow a looser approach to honor and zell.  It's more of a guideline than a rule.  With other Clans, they're total rules lawyers.  If you can bend them til they scream, you're still technically following the rules.  Cheating?  It's called winning.

And this is why I can't stand the buggers. Clan Wolf is that guy who doesn't respect the bro code but invokes it constantly against everyone else.

And someone right now is reading this comment and doesn't see what the problem is.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: VensersRevenge on 19 November 2018, 22:17:03
And this is why I can't stand the buggers. Clan Wolf is that guy who doesn't respect the bro code but invokes it constantly against everyone else.

And someone right now is reading this comment and doesn't see what the problem is.
But really, all the Clans do that to different levels. The entire system is inherently hypocritical and, as seen in the Wars of Reaving, collapses when real pressure is applied. The Wolves succeeded because they acknowledged the hypocrisy of the Clan Honour System, and placed only enough value on it to not be Abjured. Much like the Bro Code, the people who benefit from it the most don't actually follow it, they convince everyone else to while they continue acting how they would have done with ot without the Code.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Weirdo on 19 November 2018, 23:08:03
Yup, pretty much. That's why I simultaneously hate the Clans and love playing them. It can be fun shooting for as much "Witness Me!" as possible while sticking to the letter of the rules and at the same time completely violating their spirit. And when the time comes to throw them out they window, I make sure to have a more interesting excuse than "You did it first"/"You're Spheroid and/or Merc scum"/"Tuesday".

Do all that while still not being an actual jerk to the guy across the table, and the Clans can be fun for everyone involved.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Church14 on 24 January 2019, 08:37:28
Unless you can very clearly hear from the GM that clans must obey zellbringen, assume they will gleefully toss it out the window at the earliest moment they can. I have never seen anyone obey zellbringen if it wasn’t forced on them.

That’s how you get moments like when they replayed Tukayyid at gencon and 9/10 clan mechs targeted an intro tech crab in turn 1.

You cannot rely on the craptastically stupid rules that zellbringen forces on clan mechs.


So my advice is use terrain. Do whatever you can to get the maps to be the most hilly, wooded, LOS-blocking terrain as possible and negate the huge range advantages.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: grimlock1 on 24 January 2019, 10:16:11
1a: If the Clanners are using Zellbrigen, it is often in your best interest to do so as well, at least up to the point that breaking it means you'll be delivering a knockout blow to a large portion of their force.

Be careful about tying up too much BV in a C3 net.  I was the Clanner in a BV balanced match against a L2 of MD, driving Celestials. Elite pilots + VDNI + C3i worked out to a Binary of 3050-3058 clanners. I spread the duels out over the 2x2 field so the WoB player didn't have good positioning to maximize his C3i. My unengaged units kept a respectful distance, but still within weapons range. If he broke Zell to focus 2-3 Celestials worth of fire on one unit, I was in a position to focus fire from 3-4 of mine.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Natasha Kerensky on 24 January 2019, 12:23:15
Contrary to CBT rules gaming, they are actually fluffed quite often as opening up at their extremely, better than you range, but they also just keep coming closer & closer getting more accurate as they do.

They don't play the range bracket game.

I didn't see the Goliath Scorpions mentioned upthread.  Their combat doctrine revolves around sniping at extreme ranges, their weapons innovations emphasize accuracy, and they relish the "exquisite kill".  They're definitely not a march-forward-with-guns-blazing kind of touman.

The other end of the spectrum is the Ice Hellions, who are fluffed as charging headlong at top speed into enemy formations without a second thought.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 24 January 2019, 13:38:31
The other end of the spectrum is the Ice Hellions, who are fluffed as charging headlong at top speed into enemy formations without a second thought.

Second thought?  Not sure they even had the first thought . . .

I think folks are looking too much at the extremes . . . which is not to say the Jaguars would not be happy to press that UAC/20 up against a Drac mech's chest before firing the trigger.  But the way the Clan forces were originally they did take advantage of the range but they closed up to exploit their longer ranges . . . a Clan mech can hang out at mid for their long range weapons (13-15 hexes) while leaving most of the IS they faced at the time with their Large Lasers, AC/10, and PPC returning fire back at the IS long range.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: grimlock1 on 24 January 2019, 13:54:44
They're definitely not a march-forward-with-guns-blazing kind of touman.
I can't find it but I swear I saw a Clan Honor Rules list that said a Clanner under strict Zell MUST close the range whenever possible. TW just says you can't be a tool about breaking LOS and you can't open the range until you have no shot.  There's nothing wrong with an Adder Prime floating at 13-5 hexes if the other fellow is driving a Hunchback IIC.

The other end of the spectrum is the Ice Hellions, who are fluffed as charging headlong at top speed into enemy formations without a second thought.
Well, those are Ice Hellions...  It's a bit of a shame they didn't make it out of the WoR, but it's hardly a surprise, either.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Sartris on 24 January 2019, 14:18:01
TW has the zell rules in the scenario section

You take a strike if you intentionally move out of range or break LOS, but nothing says you HAVE to advance
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: massey on 24 January 2019, 14:18:16
Keep in mind that "Clan honor" is like a peacock showing its plumage.  These guys are competing for breeding rights.  The whole point is to impress other Clan warriors.  Now, there are multiple ways to do that.  Hanging out at extreme range and picking apart your enemy is a show of great skill.  Most people can't hit at those ranges.  Getting up close and blowing somebody away with a short ranged volley looks really cool and it's a quick way to up your kill count.  If you kill three enemy mechs while your rival kills one, you look more impressive.

In a roleplaying environment, you'd probably want to include some kind of charisma-based skill.  "Clan bragging" or something.  It's all a matter of how well you can sell your decisions in combat.  Staying at long range where your enemy can't shoot back, is that a display of skill, or cowardice?  Breaking your bid to call in reinforcements, a sign of weakness or can you pass the blame onto those lying Inner Sphere dogs?

To succeed in the more aggressive Clans will probably require more risk-taking.  If you fight like an Ice Hellion and charge in blindly, that probably doesn't make for a very long career (or a very long life).  But some percentage of warriors will get lucky.  Most will fail, but a handful will succeed.  And since those guys took outrageous risks, their warrior codexes are going to be extremely impressive.  One guy in a Dasher charges a heavy mech lance and walks away with 4 kills?  Well yeah that's blind luck.  But if your Clan has enough morons who go for those big risks, then some of them will succeed, and thus you also have to take those risks if you want to pass on your genetic legacy.  It becomes a repeating cycle.  I don't think it's healthy for the Clan overall, but you would have a handful of guys with absolutely huge kill numbers.

It's like a teenage boy doing a handstand on the roof of his buddy's car as they speed down the street, trying to impress a girl.  Yeah there's a good chance he falls off and dies, but if he doesn't he's probably getting laid that night.  In a society where the number of people who can breed is carefully regulated, it's going to favor the ones who are willing to take the crazy risks.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Kit deSummersville on 24 January 2019, 15:06:41
It's like a teenage boy doing a handstand on the roof of his buddy's car as they speed down the street, trying to impress a girl. 

Are girls ever impressed by that?
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: massey on 24 January 2019, 15:09:39
Are girls ever impressed by that?

I dunno, I can't do a handstand.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: grimlock1 on 24 January 2019, 16:17:00
Keep in mind that "Clan honor" is like a peacock showing its plumage.  These guys are competing for breeding rights.  The whole point is to impress other Clan warriors.  Now, there are multiple ways to do that.  Hanging out at extreme range and picking apart your enemy is a show of great skill.  Most people can't hit at those ranges.  Getting up close and blowing somebody away with a short ranged volley looks really cool and it's a quick way to up your kill count.  If you kill three enemy mechs while your rival kills one, you look more impressive.
And that can vary based on circumstance and how you tell the fish story.
"Yes, yes, you killed 2 Assassins and a Sentinel with a Timber Wolf.  Congratulations. I was busy killing an assault mech. With a light mech!"
"Assault mech?  Was it not a Charger, Quaiff?"
"No, it was an Awesome.  9M too."

In a roleplaying environment, you'd probably want to include some kind of charisma-based skill.  "Clan bragging" or something.  It's all a matter of how well you can sell your decisions in combat.  Staying at long range where your enemy can't shoot back, is that a display of skill, or cowardice?

I think Patton would call it "doing your job."

Most will fail, but a handful will succeed.  And since those guys took outrageous risks, their warrior codexes are going to be extremely impressive.  One guy in a Dasher charges a heavy mech lance and walks away with 4 kills?  Well yeah that's blind luck. 
If that guy goes out and tags a pair of assaults next week, then you sit up and take notice. If only to know where to aim the Long Toms the next time you that Firemoth.
In a society where the number of people who can breed is carefully regulated, it's going to favor the ones who are willing to take the crazy risks.
Fortune favors the bold...
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Natasha Kerensky on 24 January 2019, 17:45:02
I think folks are looking too much at the extremes . . .

That's kind of the point.  I don't think we should broad brush the Clans with a "steady-advance" combat doctrine.  There are clearly differences between the Clans.

The Scorpions are at the long-range sniping extreme.  But between them and whatever "average" Clan doctrine is, there are other Clans that prefer, or would seem to prefer, to fight at longer ranges.  The Coyotes, with their assault mech mindset, would be an example of a Clan that probably prefers to pummel opponents at range and lacks some of the speed to do otherwise.

The Hellions are at the close-at-top-speed-and-blitz extreme.  But between them and "average" Clan doctrine are other Clans, like the Falcons, that like to advance rapidly.  The Falcons are characterized as "aggressive" and like to "strike directly" at the "nathaculor" of a battle, usually the command and control center.

There are also changes in combat doctrine over time.  For example, with the introduction of partial wings, TSM, and physical weapons some Clan designs in the current era are clearly focused on melee combat at point blank range like never before.  That's a whole new element of Clan combat doctrine outside the steady advance.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: VensersRevenge on 24 January 2019, 20:07:28
I think Patton would call it "doing your job."

but then Patton wasn't raised to believe that the only value a warrior had was their ability to win in honourable combat and, ultimately, it really isn't particularly honourable to stay at a range where your opponent never has a chance to hit you. That's why the zellbriggen rules punish players for deliberately moving out of range during a duel.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Charistoph on 24 January 2019, 21:17:16
but then Patton wasn't raised to believe that the only value a warrior had was their ability to win in honourable combat and, ultimately, it really isn't particularly honourable to stay at a range where your opponent never has a chance to hit you. That's why the zellbriggen rules punish players for deliberately moving out of range during a duel.

And why the experienced Clan fighters of the Inner Sphere tended to beat the tar out of the non-Invasion Clans at the Trial of Refusal.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 25 January 2019, 00:50:53
but then Patton wasn't raised to believe that the only value a warrior had was their ability to win in honourable combat and, ultimately, it really isn't particularly honourable to stay at a range where your opponent never has a chance to hit you. That's why the zellbriggen rules punish players for deliberately moving out of range during a duel.

BS, its out of the warrior's range, not his opponent's range.  Same crap like 'cannot shoot a fallen mech' or 'cannot shoot in the back' or 'cannot shoot a shut down mech.'
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Sabelkatten on 25 January 2019, 05:01:05
Ultimately Zell is a roleplaying element. It's about being impressive. Is picking apart a slower, shorter-ranged, unit in a wide open field impressive? Probably not.

If such an approach is OK then you could have a warship gunner challenging a mechjock and demanding the fight to be fought between him in the gunnery position on an orbiting warship and the mech on the ground...

To get some glory out of such a fight you need a "circle of equals". Challenge a Hunchback with a Kit Fox Prime and say "We'll fight within 300 meters of this point, try and catch me!".
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: massey on 25 January 2019, 10:54:29
It's not about pure effectiveness as a fighting force.  It's about separating yourself from all the other vat-grown clone warriors (each Clan is probably churning out tens of thousands of sibkos every year).  It's likely an unintended side effect of the artificial nature of their culture.  They say they value one thing, but really they set up their system to reward a different thing.

So you're a mechwarrior in the Invasion, piloting a Loki Prime.  Here comes Random Joe in a Hunchback, what do you do?  Well you could stay out of his range and blast him with your PPCs.  That's the smart thing.  Whittle him down and wait until that AC-20 is gone before you close.  Nobody is going to really fault you for doing that.  Lokis have notoriously thin armor, might as well take advantage of your speed and range.  The loss of respect that you would get if he takes your leg off with that AC is not really worth the risk.  You don't have to stick your arm in the Great White's mouth to prove you're a great hunter.  Just kill the thing at range.  And it's just some random guy in a Hunchback.

But now let's say that this guy has proven himself to be a great warrior.  He's been playing hit and run in the city for the past few hours.  He's destroyed three of the mechs in your Star, and now that he's cornered he is bravely charging towards you because he's got no other options.  Sure, you could just execute him here with your PPCs.  But now is the chance to get some bragging rights.  And the fact that he's probably really low on AC-20 ammo doesn't hurt.  So you point your mech's arm at him in challenge, thump your chest with it like a gorilla and then pump your arms.  You deactivate your PPCs and decide that you'll fight him with your 3 ER medium lasers and your Streak SRM-6.  You'll fight "fair".  You move towards him and your plan is to keep him in the 6-9 hex bracket, long range for him and medium range for you.  You still have every advantage but you're gonna make it look good. 

You're the Predator, and you're taking off your mask and shoulder cannon to go fight Arnold in hand to hand combat.  The rest of his team were taken according to the rules of the sport (if you're dumb enough to not be able to see invisible guys, I guess you deserve to get shot), but Arnie had proven himself worthy.  You don't have to do a challenge like that with every dude who comes along, only the really special ones.



Of course, thinking about it now, Vlad's victory over Phelan Kell is really unimpressive.  He was in a 75 ton Clan mech and defeated a 3025 Inner Sphere light.  Phelan hadn't done anything impressive yet.  He was a dumbass who charged the first mech he saw and got his mech shot to pieces.  Vlad had a real misplaced sense of superiority there.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: marcussmythe on 25 January 2019, 11:09:45
Vlad had a real misplaced sense of superiority there.

Its funny, but when you dig under the shell, the typical Clan warrior is, by human standards, an incredibly abused and traumatized child solider.  While really all one can do (from the POV of the Inner Sphere) is put them down as efficiently as possible, its still a hideous, ongoing tragedy, seeing the ostensible ideals of the Star League reduced to sociopathic child-soldiers and the idea that anyone too old to serve their hive purpose is best dead.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: massey on 25 January 2019, 11:18:35
Its funny, but when you dig under the shell, the typical Clan warrior is, by human standards, an incredibly abused and traumatized child solider.  While really all one can do (from the POV of the Inner Sphere) is put them down as efficiently as possible, its still a hideous, ongoing tragedy, seeing the ostensible ideals of the Star League reduced to sociopathic child-soldiers and the idea that anyone too old to serve their hive purpose is best dead.

While this is a beer and pretzels game, and arguably it's not "serious" sci-fi, I think at least some of the authors took that exact view.  It's Logan's Run plus Brave New World and THX 1138, and the whole thing is a great big tragedy.  I thought the Jade Phoenix trilogy implied that a lot.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: marcussmythe on 25 January 2019, 11:30:47
While this is a beer and pretzels game, and arguably it's not "serious" sci-fi, I think at least some of the authors took that exact view.  It's Logan's Run plus Brave New World and THX 1138, and the whole thing is a great big tragedy.  I thought the Jade Phoenix trilogy implied that a lot.

Sometimes the best commentary is subtle.  I love “Left Hand of Darkness”, but Discworld addressed a lot of serious stuff subtly.

To haul this back to ‘on topic’ - you really cant fight the clans in the classic battletech mech smash duels in a box.  Not well - the game designers of the time went to great effort to make sure they had the tools to always win that fight.  You fight the clans the way the Russians fought the Germans.  Combined ops, defense in depth, space for time, artillery, good enough tools mass produced to hell and back - Terra ALONE has to have more industrial base than the entirity of clan space... and you grind them down and wear them out.

Basically, the clans are utter death on the tactical map.  So you best them with logistics at the operational and strategic layer.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 25 January 2019, 12:41:45
To haul this back to ‘on topic’ - you really cant fight the clans in the classic battletech mech smash duels in a box.  Not well - the game designers of the time went to great effort to make sure they had the tools to always win that fight.  You fight the clans the way the Russians fought the Germans.  Combined ops, defense in depth, space for time, artillery, good enough tools mass produced to hell and back - Terra ALONE has to have more industrial base than the entirity of clan space... and you grind them down and wear them out.

Basically, the clans are utter death on the tactical map.  So you best them with logistics at the operational and strategic layer.

Some of the Clans had logistical problems, which is a feature of how they operate and very much in line with their IC nature.

While I disagree with you about how they performed tactically on the whole- because racking up a number of kills (6 or 7 mechs?) during a Revival Invasion without having your mech damaged is also a statement for the Bloodnamed in your Bloodhouse.  In fact, that was part of what pissed Vlad off so much . . . his armor got scratched at range by a mech half his size.  Carew tells him that is part of why he hates Phelan- especially since none of the rest of the star got scratched IIRC.

Strategically, during Revival you are right . . . they bore in for the objectives to force the capitulation of the opposing forces.  Reading WCSB, JFSB and ER 3052 to a lesser extent you find that not all of the enemies were destroyed but the HQ/capital/dropships were captured forcing the surrender of any remaining defenders.  The operational tempo is also higher than the IS norm- part of that is b/c of how easy Omnis can be repaired but part is also the Clan mentality.  But that higher operational tempo also exacerbates the logistics weakness.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: marcussmythe on 25 January 2019, 13:09:05
Some of the Clans had logistical problems, which is a feature of how they operate and very much in line with their IC nature.

While I disagree with you about how they performed tactically on the whole- because racking up a number of kills (6 or 7 mechs?) during a Revival Invasion without having your mech damaged is also a statement for the Bloodnamed in your Bloodhouse.  In fact, that was part of what pissed Vlad off so much . . . his armor got scratched at range by a mech half his size.  Carew tells him that is part of why he hates Phelan- especially since none of the rest of the star got scratched IIRC.

Strategically, during Revival you are right . . . they bore in for the objectives to force the capitulation of the opposing forces.  Reading WCSB, JFSB and ER 3052 to a lesser extent you find that not all of the enemies were destroyed but the HQ/capital/dropships were captured forcing the surrender of any remaining defenders.  The operational tempo is also higher than the IS norm- part of that is b/c of how easy Omnis can be repaired but part is also the Clan mentality.  But that higher operational tempo also exacerbates the logistics weakness.

Do we disagree?  I was saying that the Clans were made to be unbeatable on the tactical layer - your point about Vlad whacking 6-7 mechs without a scratch goes to that point.  So cheat, really hard, from the beginning.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 25 January 2019, 13:29:17
I thought on the previous page you advocated all the Clans followed the Jaguar 'Charge!' mentality to show off.  Looking back I guess that was massey who was saying that sort of thing.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: massey on 25 January 2019, 13:45:53
I thought on the previous page you advocated all the Clans followed the Jaguar 'Charge!' mentality to show off.  Looking back I guess that was massey who was saying that sort of thing.

I'm saying certain clans would follow that strategy.  The more aggressive your Clan, the more aggressive you have to be to stand out.  But not all Clans will be that way.  The Wolves, for instance, seem to be more tolerant of creative thinking, and tend to reward people who don't rigidly follow the rules.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: grimlock1 on 25 January 2019, 18:19:18
Unless you can very clearly hear from the GM that clans must obey zellbringen, assume they will gleefully toss it out the window at the earliest moment they can. I have never seen anyone obey zellbringen if it wasn’t forced on them.

That’s how you get moments like when they replayed Tukayyid at gencon and 9/10 clan mechs targeted an intro tech crab in turn 1.

You cannot rely on the craptastically stupid rules that zellbringen forces on clan mechs.


So my advice is use terrain. Do whatever you can to get the maps to be the most hilly, wooded, LOS-blocking terrain as possible and negate the huge range advantages.

Uh... I stuck to Zell because it played to my advantage. 
"I shall fight you honorably.  If you use that C3i you've sunk so much BV into, we shall learn how long a Preta can stand up to a Warhawk, an Executioner, and a Hellbringer."

And the other player stuck to Zell because he was worried what would happen once I was free to focus fire.
Those 2/3 pilots + VDNI were still nothing to sneeze at.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 25 January 2019, 18:23:33
So you interpreted the use of the network as violating the duel?
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Apocal on 26 January 2019, 08:29:19
So you interpreted the use of the network as violating the duel?

I thought we were allowed to do that? Zell was supposed to be as much about demonstrating honor in upholding the spirit as it was a particular set of rules for battlefield conduct, was it not? If someone is doing something that obviously violates the spirit (like using C3 or obviously maneuvering to whack your guys at the right moment to do max damage) why not warn them and if they keep trying, break zell and start owning them with focused fire?
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Jellico on 26 January 2019, 16:55:25
Sometimes the best commentary is subtle.  I love “Left Hand of Darkness”, but Discworld addressed a lot of serious stuff subtly.

To haul this back to ‘on topic’ - you really cant fight the clans in the classic battletech mech smash duels in a box.  Not well - the game designers of the time went to great effort to make sure they had the tools to always win that fight.  You fight the clans the way the Russians fought the Germans.  Combined ops, defense in depth, space for time, artillery, good enough tools mass produced to hell and back - Terra ALONE has to have more industrial base than the entirity of clan space... and you grind them down and wear them out.

Basically, the clans are utter death on the tactical map.  So you best them with logistics at the operational and strategic layer.


In some ways I would argue the reverse. In a 2 x 2 box with a "balanced" force the IS will win. That may be an artifact of BV2 under valuing armour or Zel being too handicapping.

Clan forces before the great slow down of 3058 were simply more mobile. They win by moving between strategic positions faster than IS forces, whether by having a higher average ground speed, or by having better access to DropShips and JumpShips.

There is a real conflict between how the Clans are fluffed and how they have to operate to actually be successful. eg
Can't do logistics. Run a successful campaign at the end of the longest continuous logistics tail in BT ever.

Can't do strategy. Rely on maneuver warfare. Even at a tactical level. The Jaguar charge is iconic but in a balanced game big slow scary Dire Wolves can't retreat fast enough to buy space to benefit from their weapons and pilots.

Can't use combined arms. The number of times a Clan solved a problem in the Invasion by dropping BA or an ASF on it. Heck on the offensive a Clan force mix is perfect because of the limited collars available.

Then you have oddities like Clan Mechs carrying TAG in 3050.

I sometimes get the feeling that FASA created a genuinely awesome and effective military force by design or accident then found that they had to nerf it. We still dig up the fossilized remnants occasionally which stick out like a rabbit in Cretaceous rock.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: marcussmythe on 26 January 2019, 17:04:37
Part of the problem of course is that you have more than 1 writer, with more than one PoV, and no apparent communication between.  Further, the clans are the anointed ‘bad guys’, and like every good fictional badguy they have to win overwhelmingly until they suddenly lose at the 11th hr.

Beyond that - the Clans have a bad case of being as capable as the author needs them to be to drive plot - and in fairness represent diverse societies with many different perspectives and takes on how to ‘be clan’

I suppose its ‘do what works for you’.  Once youve unhinged your jaw to swallow ‘Rhode Island Conquers Europe’, you might as well just have fun with it.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: truetanker on 27 January 2019, 15:49:09
Then you have oddities like Clan Mechs carrying TAG in 3050.

Except we're told that the clans do use FASCAM rounds in the form of Arrow, as well as Standard rounds, which requires TAG to function in a reasonable account. Warrior vs. Warrior is for personal gains, but a Clan debacle requires self sacrifices from time to time... supposedly genetic material isn't just " seed ", ( it's a family game but the content has to match ) it could be blood DNA as well for a clone... if enough material is salvageable.

What I'm saying is while Aero is the first to go in a Batchall, conventional forces are still on the table... being usually the next to be chopped. Mechs are " King " but not always.

In the games settings, it's just stompy robots and battle armor vs. whatever... But in canonwise, it's not true. Conventional do hold more sway over giant stompy robots... it's just most people don't play like that.

Which is why it's considered
oddities
and all.

What I'm trying to say is, while FASA created an awesome force, they didn't give it the next level treatment... like telling the Authors to have fun, but make sure it's a unified downfall together not piecemeal like it is currently. Sure the Jags were treated roughly, look what they've done... Orbitary Turtle Bay, mistreatment of all POWs ( they deemed them inferior ) and their use of heavy handed tactics to civilians, as their right but these where more brutal than it should have been... so putting TAG on 3058 mechs? Well, they did have Arrow launchers and we're also told and shown they had every weapon that the SLDF-iE would have had.... ( retcon'd of course ).

TT
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: grimlock1 on 28 January 2019, 12:16:37
So you interpreted the use of the network as violating the duel?
Yep.  We both saw it as a 3rd party interfering with a duel.

I thought we were allowed to do that? Zell was supposed to be as much about demonstrating honor in upholding the spirit as it was a particular set of rules for battlefield conduct, was it not? If someone is doing something that obviously violates the spirit (like using C3 or obviously maneuvering to whack your guys at the right moment to do max damage) why not warn them and if they keep trying, break zell and start owning them with focused fire?

As to aggressive maneuvering of engaged units... that's getting border line.  We weren't playing with Tac Ops Blocking/Defending rules, so as long as none of the bystanders actually did anything to interfere, it was just rude.   And in this case, it was the Clan player(me) who had the numerical advantage.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Iceweb on 28 January 2019, 12:25:07
Yep.  We both saw it as a 3rd party interfering with a duel.

I have to ask were you using targeting computers? 

It seems unfair to say I can use computers to get better hit number, but you can't use computers to get better hit numbers. 

Then again the boards have many a times talked about the clan's mentality of rules for you but not for me.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Weirdo on 28 January 2019, 12:59:12
The difference is that you can use your targeting computer to boost your own shots, I can use my own targeting computer to boost my shots, but the moment I use my buddy's c3 computer to boost my shots, he's helping in the duel.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: massey on 28 January 2019, 13:40:04
That's why I think a roleplaying element has to be involved.  You could make arguments both ways in regards to the use of certain electronic systems, when an opponent is participating in the combat and when they're not.  If a guy positions himself to take shots on your back, is he breaking the rules of a duel, even if he doesn't fire?

Part of Clan honor is how well you justify your actions to the other guys in the Clan.  If they look at it and say "oh of course the Inner Sphere were cheating, or at least they were going to cheat" then it's okay.  If they see your actions and they call you a wuss, then obviously it was dishonorable.

That's why I think it comes down to how aggressive and competitive the Clan happens to be.  You're trying to one-up the other warriors.  Let's say Star Commander Steve (piloting a Thor) engages a Warhammer pilot in a duel.  The Warhammer has been upgraded specifically for this hypothetical, and it carries advanced weapons, DHS, and a C3 unit.  Star Commander Steve notices that the Warhammer is receiving data transmissions from a Hunchback that keeps moving closer to his mech.  The Hunchback doesn't fire, but it keeps staying within 100 meters or so and it keeps sending the data transmissions.  Steve thinks this is against the spirit of the rules, and it's unfair.  So what does he do?

If Steve is a member of Clan Wolf, he claims the Hunchback is violating the terms of the duel, and he calls in the rest of his Star to combine fire on it and blow that sucker to hell.  Was it technically violating the rules?  No, but everybody could see what it was doing -- it was feeding info to its buddy and was waiting for a good opportunity to fire.  Wolf warriors appreciate the flexibility this attitude gives them on the battlefield.

If Steve is a member of Clan Smoke Jaguar, he ignores the Hunchback.  Not because he's dumb, but because his Star has four other guys with an average age of about 19, who when they get back to base will all say "Steve sucks, I could have beat that guy even with the Hunchback there."  They're all gunning for his job.  To distinguish yourself in that Clan, you need to take big bold risks.  This may also be why the Jaguars suffered a relatively large number of humiliating defeats, walked right into obvious traps, etc.  They also appeared to be a bit more forgiving of a failure that you could pin on "Inner Sphere treachery", and that could explain why they were willing to break their bids so often.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Sartris on 28 January 2019, 13:48:13
sometimes it's good to just go back and read the rules

Quote from: TW pg 275
Area-Effect Weapons: Area Affect Weapons (as well as any system that requires multiple units to operate, such as TAG, C3, semi-guided LRMs and so on) by their nature violate Zellbrigen. No Clan warrior will use any area-effect weapon system or special munitions while fighting at Honor Levels 1, 2 or 3. Only at Honor Level 4, when dueling rules do not apply, will a Clan warrior use such systems.

A Clan warrior’s response to an Inner Sphere unit declaring an attack using such a system against a Clan unit depends on the honor level in use. At Honor Level 1, the Clan warrior upholds all the rules of dueling, regardless of the type of weapon used. At Honor Level 2, the duel degenerates into a free-for-all, with the violators—the unit that fired the area effect weapon, designated with TAG or used a C3 system—open to attack by any Clan unit. At Honor Level 3, the use of area-effect systems renders the entire ritual of zellbrigen null and void.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 28 January 2019, 14:37:18
Yeah, and the discussion about ECM & BAP let alone sitting in woods has come up before, ad naseum.

massey, its not the Clan but the Bloodhouse the warriors are trying to impress . . . you want to make a name to get a sponsor- one of the 24 for the Trial of Bloodright named by one of the holders.  If you cannot get a sponsor, then you want to make a showing that gets you one of the 7 slots set up by the Bloodhouse Leader- anything but that Grand Melee slot.  Its unfortunate that we do not really have any insights into the Bloodhouse politics though I guess not a surprise since say in FMFS we did not have a break down of the Sandoval or Hasek families & politics . . . or from what I remember, a break down of say Oriente/Regulus/Tamarind/Andurien/etc for the FWL.

Honestly, I think the best looks we ever got at the Bloodhouse politics were the BoK and Way of Clans trilogies.  For instance, the Kerenskies were the one Bloodhouse that did not take their protege to Clan Council meetings until Natasha showed up with Ranna.  The Nygrens suffered a bit of stigma b/c of the genetic material they won from the Falcons was not for the 'quality' they originally thought, which had stymied Carew's advancement.  House Demos (?) suffers from a attraction to gambling- which might support massey's assertion where risk-taking for attention in combat.  Cyrilla's pride that the Wards did not lose any warriors in the Invasion would seem to indicate they were a Bloodhouse that valued a more pragmatic approach-  the Bloodname Trial's entries would support that IMO.  I do not remember as much about the WotC series, but with Marthe, Aiden and Ravill I think we can get a pretty decent look at the Prydes.  Crichell?  That must have been a snake-pit for House politics b/c of what he was doing to maintain his warrior status.  How many unblooded Crichells were involved in the cover up by Elias with being promised one of the 7 slots the next time a bloodname came up?  How often did he send a Bloodnamed Crichell into a situation where that warrior and other Falcons would get killed so that he could pay up on the 7 slots- or send one of the 7 unblooded he owed favors to on suicide missions (also, how dumb was Christu to not look things up like Vlad)?

Later on the bits get more rare.  saKhan Marco Hall's ability confounded the Ghost Bear geneticists, since he had what they felt was a above expectation performance- IMO that would be b/c of the Black Widow's tutelage.  Galaxy Commander Snuka was older when he won his bloodname, eschewing that flashy show some tried to use to garner attention (distrust of ristars IIRC) which IMO indicates that he is outside the norm for his Bloodhouse with his attitude of dislike for showy warriors.

While I dislike Malvina, I think the MWDA Falcon books give insight into some of the Falcon house politics with regards to Pryde, Hazen, Malthus and a few others.  I look forward to hearing more about Noritomo Helmer and Stephanie Christu, but for the Falcons of the time getting nominated for a Bloodname would I imagine require devotion to Malvina's Mongol perversion.  She has control of the Bloodhouses enough that she persuaded some of the undecided of the 'rightness' of her cause by rewarding them with rank and I think Bloodnames by carrying out her Mongol-based orders.  Through combat and success along with pressure on individual Bloodnamed she will very likely change the nature of her Clan by raising followers to Bloodnamed status.  She is also trying to co-opt warriors who hold to the old standards like Stephanie.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: massey on 28 January 2019, 18:23:40
You've got to play Bloodhouse politics to get your Bloodname, sure.  But you're also playing politics within the Clan to get promotions, and to pass on your genetic material.  And I just think the more aggressive your competitors are, the more aggressive you've got to be.  Eventually, of course, you're so aggressive that you bite off more than you can chew every time, and those guys get killed.  So it basically becomes "be as aggressive as you can get away with".

In the Jade Phoenix trilogy, it's noted that Elementals have much more of a team-first attitude.  To be effective, they have to work well with the other members of their point.  And as I recall zellbrigen doesn't really apply to them.  I think it's because they know that they can't take a mech down by themselves.  The only Elementals dumb enough to try that wouldn't live long enough to pass on their genetic legacy.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 28 January 2019, 18:53:49
But your first stage of competitors are your unBlooded in the same Bloodhouse, and some of those who are nominated are just regular mechwarriors (or Elementals, etc) rather than officers.  Sure, having rank helps you get noticed and makes it more likely you will find a patron among the 24 bloodnamed (if the Bloodhouse has not been Reaved) but its not a prerequisite.  Also, I think the Bloodhouse has more control over their genetics and contributions to the sibko program.  IIRC the only determination we have about that sort of control would be Phelan who kept his genes from being used until Ranna earned her Bloodname- but he was also the Bloodhouse Leader due to his rank IIRC.


As for your last point . . . *coughJakeKabrinskicough* . . . though one Ghost Bear Elemental DID comment about how stupid a Elemental was that took on a assault mech singlehanded.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: grimlock1 on 29 January 2019, 11:28:41
You've got to play Bloodhouse politics to get your Bloodname, sure.  But you're also playing politics within the Clan to get promotions, and to pass on your genetic material.  And I just think the more aggressive your competitors are, the more aggressive you've got to be.  Eventually, of course, you're so aggressive that you bite off more than you can chew every time, and those guys get killed.  So it basically becomes "be as aggressive as you can get away with".

In the Jade Phoenix trilogy, it's noted that Elementals have much more of a team-first attitude.  To be effective, they have to work well with the other members of their point.  And as I recall zellbrigen doesn't really apply to them.  I think it's because they know that they can't take a mech down by themselves.  The only Elementals dumb enough to try that wouldn't live long enough to pass on their genetic legacy.

For purposes of proper battles, Zell seems to revolve around the Point.  A Point of Elementals, a Point of Protos, a Point of infantry.  Aero fighters seem to be a bit of an exception.  They seemed to seek out 1v1 combat in the Blood of Kerensky books, ie. Tyra Miraborg's narrative segments. Don't know about vehicles.  Vehicles are already a crew, so the "lone warrior" bit is already out the window...
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: marcussmythe on 29 January 2019, 12:32:15
Its interesting how our strategy discussion (which was really a tactics discussion) has headed into the direction of the psychology of the people involved on both sides of the Clan Invasion.  The -societies- involved shaped the armed forces, the soldiers, and the leaders on both sides - and define in large part how it played out.  The Clans have sharp edge supertech and supersoldiers, and a military-focused enough society to support a armed forces out of -any- comparison to the same population of inner sphere people - an even more impressive acheivement when you consider the tiny populations that somehow pay the care and feeding of massive warship fleets!  At the same time, their ‘WITNESS ME’ society and cultural mores that ensure that their strategic and operation decisions are made by the best guy in a knife fight undermine a lot of that.

On the flip, we have an inner sphere thats wrecked itself to the point its -less- economically productive than a postage stamp of people on marginal worlds after an exile, Comstar making everything worse every way they can, and distrustful feudal lords who see an existential threat to their society as a grand opportunity for chronic backstabbing disorder.  Sure, some militaries are something like vaguely competent, but a Zukov or a Patton would look at the inner sphere way of war and -weep-... and thats before we get to political appointees and social generals.

Not sure if have point, but worth noting that many of our coversations about what the Clans and/or Sphere coulda/woulda/shoulda done different/better are based on 20/20 hindsight, information not available to the actors, and the fact that in many cases what we can coolly assess as the ‘right’ thing to do was poltically, economically, and likely paychologically impossible for those players - even if it was something they could contemplate - which likely they could not.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: grimlock1 on 29 January 2019, 17:37:22
Its interesting how our strategy discussion (which was really a tactics discussion) has headed into the direction of the psychology of the people involved on both sides of the Clan Invasion.  The -societies- involved shaped the armed forces, the soldiers, and the leaders on both sides - and define in large part how it played out.  The Clans have sharp edge supertech and supersoldiers, and a military-focused enough society to support a armed forces out of -any- comparison to the same population of inner sphere people - an even more impressive acheivement when you consider the tiny populations that somehow pay the care and feeding of massive warship fleets!  At the same time, their ‘WITNESS ME’ society and cultural mores that ensure that their strategic and operation decisions are made by the best guy in a knife fight undermine a lot of that.

On the flip, we have an inner sphere thats wrecked itself to the point its -less- economically productive than a postage stamp of people on marginal worlds after an exile, Comstar making everything worse every way they can, and distrustful feudal lords who see an existential threat to their society as a grand opportunity for chronic backstabbing disorder.  Sure, some militaries are something like vaguely competent, but a Zukov or a Patton would look at the inner sphere way of war and -weep-... and thats before we get to political appointees and social generals.

Not sure if have point, but worth noting that many of our coversations about what the Clans and/or Sphere coulda/woulda/shoulda done different/better are based on 20/20 hindsight, information not available to the actors, and the fact that in many cases what we can coolly assess as the ‘right’ thing to do was poltically, economically, and likely paychologically impossible for those players - even if it was something they could contemplate - which likely they could not.

In a sense psychology is critical to tactics.  The aim in warfare is to break the other side's will to fight. If you don't do that, the war will never end. Yes there will almost always be hold outs, ie Fedayeen Saddam, or Edo, but until the bulk of the population no longer supports the conflict AND believes they can make a life in a post war world, a population will continue to fight, even then absence of governmental leadership.

If you don't understand the opposition's psychology, you don't know where to apply pressure.

The fundamental shift for the Clan invasion is that the leaders and citizens of the sphere couldn't picture what life would be like if the Clans won. Spheroids on border planets had become accustomed to periodic "conquest."  New flags, new currency, the rent is still due on 20th, but payday is the 15th. Yes, that's a simplification but The Fed Suns didn't spend 20 years fighting insurrections on the their acquisitions from the 4th War.

Davion, Steiner, (Theodore) Kurita, Thomas Marik, Magnason, despite having egos that could only come from being hereditary monarchs, all loved their people.  Faced with the informed decision of billions of civilian deaths, versus their subjects living in the Wolf and Ghost Bear occupation zones, I think many of them would yield. Jade Falcon or Smoke Jag occupation zones... not sure about that. 

But they didn't have a crystal ball. Nobody knew what the Clans would do with the civilian populations.  Were civilians being slaughtered?  Was Sommerset being turned into a slave labor planet?  Did every man, woman and child on the conqured plants have an appointment in room 101 of the Ministry of Love?  Faced with those possibilities, neither the leadership, nor the unconquered population is likely to yield. 
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: BloodRose on 03 February 2019, 00:11:57
Okay, before we discuss tactics we first have t discuss the power disparity.
At the beginning of the invasion the IS and Clan forces each have a Mech that has a polar opposite on the other side: the Warhammer and the Hellbringer. Both Mechs weigh in at a similar amount (70 and 65 tons respectively) and both are designed and outfitted for a roughly similar role and both have a similar loadout (assuming prime Hellbringer)
Firstly, both Mechs are intended to fight primarily at medium to long range until the enemy is softened up for the killing blow. In doing this both carry a primary armament of two PPC's, and backing this up on each is a six tubed short range missile launcher, laser array and a pair of MG's for dealing with Infantry, but even here we are seeing the disparity already.
>PPC's
The Warhammer carries two regular IS PPC's that can do 10 points of damage and hit out to a respectable 18 hexes, but the Hellbringer carries two CERPPC's that are swatting targets with 15 points of damage each, at a range of a whopping 23 hexes, easily out ranging and gunning the Warhamer.
But what about the fallback weapons?
>Laser Arrays
The Warhammer can call on a well rounded array of two Medium Laser's and two Small Laser's, giving it a nice bit of fallback for dealing with anything that gets within its minimal range. Its a nice backup and can deter lights from getting cocky, or finish off opponents crippled by the cannons, with the ML's hitting out to 9 hexes for 5 damage and the Small Lasers out to 3 hexes for 3 damage. Nice? Well, the Hellbringer only gets three CERML... But these are doing 7 damage out to 15 Hexes - nearly as far as the IS PPC!
Well this is already looking bad, but what about the missile systems?
>Missiles
The Warhammer gets a SRM 6, a nice close ranged punch for ripping through criticals like no tomorrow. It is a respectable weapon once again, and is the same as that used on the Atlas, and can be loaded with specialist munitions for other tasks. By comparison the Hellbringer gets a CSSRM6 that is essentially just like the SRM6, except there is none of this "well I missed and wasted ammo" or "I hit but only with one missile" malarkey, if you hit then every missile hits and if you miss then all the missiles miss.
Things are looking bad but its nothing yet....
>MG's
Both Mechs get two MG's. Same range and damage. But the Hellbringers are lighter of course.
And then we move on to
>Hellbringer only!
Because it can only get better amiright? No. The Hellbringer also carries four A-pods (essentially giant claymores) and a Antimissile system for point defence. And if that was not enough the Hellbringer also mounts a BAP to detect hidden units and pathfind, a ECM to provide that nice interference bubble, and the final nail in the coffin, a Clan Targeting Computer that really lets it bring the pain with precision.

Can the Warhammer recover?

>Armour
Both The Hellbringer has lighter armour, but even so the Warhammer's is nothing spectacular, although it does have the edge here. however this is offset by the fact that its opponent is pounding it with massive pinpoint damage groups at ranges it can only dream of.

>Speed
The Warhammer has a fairly average top speed of 6 hexes at a run. Compared to the Hellbringer that tops out at 8 hexes in a run, making it as fast (or faster in some cases) as most IS Medium Mechs, and completely outpacing the Warhammer.

>Cooling
The Warhammer should have the advantage here with its 18 heatsinks as opposed to the Hellbringers 13.... But the Warhammers are singles whilst the Hellbringer mounts doubles, easily out doing the IS mechs capability.

In conclusion the Hellbringer is faster than the Warhammer, whilst carrying superior (almost double) firepower and enough cooling to effectively use it whilst the fire control systems in it let the Hellbringer shred the IS Mech with highly accurate shots and the ECM and BAP add an extra depth to its defence. Armour is a noneissue as the Clan Mech hits hard enough to nullify the IS Mechs armour anyway.
And this is a Clan mech that is 5 tons lighter than the IS mech....

So, as you can see the Clans completely out power the IS Mechs, so in a one on one duel you will lose. But who said anything about 1v1? If you are fighting using BV then use that BV. Bring LRM carries and spotters, infantry platoons, pattons and scimitars, bulldogs and saladins. Hetzers are excellent when fitted with AC-10's. You have access to cheap units, use this. If you swarm them with fast units whilst your main line moves up, all the while keeping up a constant bombardment then you can destroy them. But one on one? Equal terms? Forget that, in material alone they will rape you like a snowman in hell. With those clank pilots vs your basic bod IS guy? Your a long metallic smear.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Greatclub on 04 February 2019, 02:31:11
>Cooling
The Warhammer should have the advantage here with its 18 heatsinks as opposed to the Hellbringers 13.... But the Warhammers are singles whilst the Hellbringer mounts doubles, easily out doing the IS mechs capability.

The Loki dumps more heat, but it also generates a lot more. Worse, it doesn't bracket or volley well, and the streaks & AMS make it inconsistent. Firing both PPC and walking will drop the speed next turn, something it's to thin-skinned to afford. The Whammie can at least afford to 2-1-2.

The Hellbringer Prime might have more firepower, but can't use what it has as effectively. The Warhammer can ride its heat scale. The Hellbie is ridden by it's heat. I'd still bet on the Hellbringer, but not by as much as the disparity in BPV indicates I should be able to.

In my opinion the Hellbringer needs two things to be among the best warfighters in the clans. First is one more heatsink. Second is more armour. Still, we're comparing a high tier IS mech to a clan lemon, and the lemon comes out ahead.

Rifleman VS Vulture - now that's a matchup that goes entirely to the clan mech, despite its failings.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: massey on 04 February 2019, 12:29:53
The Loki dumps more heat, but it also generates a lot more. Worse, it doesn't bracket or volley well, and the streaks & AMS make it inconsistent. Firing both PPC and walking will drop the speed next turn, something it's to thin-skinned to afford. The Whammie can at least afford to 2-1-2.

The Hellbringer Prime might have more firepower, but can't use what it has as effectively. The Warhammer can ride its heat scale. The Hellbie is ridden by it's heat. I'd still bet on the Hellbringer, but not by as much as the disparity in BPV indicates I should be able to.

In my opinion the Hellbringer needs two things to be among the best warfighters in the clans. First is one more heatsink. Second is more armour. Still, we're comparing a high tier IS mech to a clan lemon, and the lemon comes out ahead.

Rifleman VS Vulture - now that's a matchup that goes entirely to the clan mech, despite its failings.

The Loki was clearly "inspired by" the Warhammer.  I'd say it's a knock-off but the Clan tech makes it so much more powerful that it's hard to criticize it.  But I think the design intent was obviously to give a mech the Warhammer's weapon configuration (but upgraded), give it more speed, and do all that with a lighter chassis.  "It'll be a Warhammer, only 5/8 movement, the weapons do 50% more damage with 50% more range, and it'll be 5 tons lighter!"  The weaker armor and lower heat capacity are afterthoughts.  It's really a marvel on engineering when you think of the goal it set out to achieve.

On the tabletop, while the Loki is inspired by the Warhammer, you don't use it like a Warhammer.  Now I actually like the mech, but you've got to play to its strengths.  At long range with high to-hit numbers, you fire a single ER PPC.  You can do that all day long with no problems.  At longer ranges with moderate to-hits, you can follow a 2-1-2-1 firing pattern with both PPCs, and while you'll lose movement, you only slow down to the same speed as a normal Inner Sphere heavy mech.  In a situation where the Warhammer will be firing 2 PPCs at you (say needing 10s), you'll probably be in a better range bracket than him and you'll have the targeting computer.  You'll probably be firing back needing sevens, maybe even sixes because he doesn't have as good a movement profile as you do (and that's not counting your better Clan pilot).  So the Loki will want to hang out in that 13-14 hex range if it can get it.

As you get closer, the Loki will switch to firing a single ER PPC, 2 ER mediums, and the Streak 6.  If the Streak misses, you can walk and gain no heat.  If the Streak hits, the 12 damage you do to the enemy is more important than the 4 heat you take.  If you get into trouble with your heat, you can lay off the PPCs entirely and just go for 3 ER mediums and the Streak.

The Loki doesn't hit the heat break points that a lot of Battletech players love, but it's not really supposed to.  It's more of a concept mech, proof of how badass Clan technology is.  It's like the Man O' War, an 80 tonner with 5/8 movement that still has lots of room for weapons, or the Gladiator, a 95 tonner with 4/6(8)/4 and massive firepower.  It doesn't matter that they're not ultra-efficient, they were designed to be amazing feats of engineering.  The were designed to make 3025 players say "Holy crap!"
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Sir Chaos on 04 February 2019, 13:24:25
The Loki dumps more heat, but it also generates a lot more. Worse, it doesn't bracket or volley well, and the streaks & AMS make it inconsistent. Firing both PPC and walking will drop the speed next turn, something it's to thin-skinned to afford. The Whammie can at least afford to 2-1-2.

The Hellbringer Prime might have more firepower, but can't use what it has as effectively. The Warhammer can ride its heat scale. The Hellbie is ridden by it's heat. I'd still bet on the Hellbringer, but not by as much as the disparity in BPV indicates I should be able to.

The Hellbringer Prime can use its speed to stay out of the Warhammer´s range and snipe it to death with a single ER-PPC from 19-23 hexes, or to stay at 10-15 hexes and use one ER-PPC and two ER medium lasers, putting out half again the damage the Warhammer does even with both PPCs (15+7+7=29 versus 20), occasionally dropping one ER medium if, between movement and the AMS, heat gets too high.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: ckosacranoid on 05 February 2019, 13:50:22
I have not really read the thread much, but there is only one very easy tactic....

Nukes, its the only way to be sure to win....or no one wins in that case, but who cares, your dead anyway....
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Kit deSummersville on 05 February 2019, 14:35:12
I have not really read the thread much, but there is only one very easy tactic....

Nukes, its the only way to be sure to win....or no one wins in that case, but who cares, your dead anyway....

Weirdo tried that and missed.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Weirdo on 05 February 2019, 15:21:55
I did not!

Almost does count with nuclear weapons!
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Boomer8 on 05 February 2019, 16:06:37
I did not!

Almost does count with nuclear weapons!

Don't forget the horseshoes and hand grenades....
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: RoundTop on 05 February 2019, 16:48:19
Don't forget the horseshoes and hand grenades....

If weapons had addresses:

Bullets: Dear Mr. Target
Grenades: Dear Mr. Resident & Family
Mortars: To whom it may concern
Artillery: Dear grid coordinates
Nukes: To the residents of Townsville
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Weirdo on 05 February 2019, 16:50:10
Mass Drivers: All Y'all
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: massey on 05 February 2019, 17:08:50
Mass Drivers: All Y'all

Only if the mass driver is from the South.  If they're from the Northeast, they're addressed as "All youse guys".
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 05 February 2019, 17:45:49
Only if the mass driver is from the South.  If they're from the Northeast, they're addressed as "All youse guys".

And if it was fired from a cave in a asteroid it would be 'HEY YOU GUYS!'
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: kaliban on 06 February 2019, 11:15:33
I am playing the scenarios of 3052 sourcebook and I am playing the underdogs (IS).

We are balancing the scenarios at BV points and I have been trying to keep a 1-1 ratio on mechs and complete the BVs with support vehicles and conventional infantry. I prefer fast vehicles with big guns (Saladins, for example) and use them soften the enemy bigger mechs - with lucky you get a rear torso hit that changes the balance of the game. Casualties are very high but it is working well specially when the Clan mechs engage in duels against the IS mechs and don't take the vehicles first. I assume that suicidal tactics make sense for IS under this scenario as long they are facing a far superior enemy. Against Battle armor I normally use LRMs and PPCs at medium/long ranges but they are much harder to hit than I imagined earlier.

For reference, you normally play with two times more units than the Clan player
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: truetanker on 10 February 2019, 18:02:02
May I suggest LPLs and Streaks for the BA / PBI and the lovely ML Spam that is the Hunchback-4P?

Not only do these work, but it's cheaper to use, but if you really want to humor... 2x Condor Davion supporting a pair of Condor Liao. 2x2 in the lance... 2 AC/5, 6 ML and 2 MGs per pair.

Only 2 tons of AC ammo and, I don't know if you do this but we do, remove most of the MG ammo to a few shots.... both to lose it in an ammo explosion but more for the : why again do I have to take the full amount when I didn't get in range to only see it explode?.

TT
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: grimlock1 on 11 February 2019, 12:48:19
May I suggest LPLs and Streaks for the BA / PBI and the lovely ML Spam that is the Hunchback-4P?

Not only do these work, but it's cheaper to use, but if you really want to humor... 2x Condor Davion supporting a pair of Condor Liao. 2x2 in the lance... 2 AC/5, 6 ML and 2 MGs per pair.

Only 2 tons of AC ammo and, I don't know if you do this but we do, remove most of the MG ammo to a few shots.... both to lose it in an ammo explosion but more for the : why again do I have to take the full amount when I didn't get in range to only see it explode?.

TT

Fighting Elementals in the 3050's can be a tough proposition. That 10+1 armor means you need Gauss or AC/20 hits to reliably stop single troopers. Depending on how much the dice hate you, you might need 6 is Lplas hits to kill one Toad.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Apocal on 11 February 2019, 13:01:15
Fighting Elementals in the 3050's can be a tough proposition. That 10+1 armor means you need Gauss or AC/20 hits to reliably stop single troopers. Depending on how much the dice hate you, you might need 6 is Lplas hits to kill one Toad.

Infernos are a better bet, easier to fit and only lose out one hex of range over IS LPLas, IIRC.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Weirdo on 11 February 2019, 13:02:58
To me, a good way to deal with BA is to first hit them with a volley of small hits, such as from an LB-X or some SRMs. Put 1-3 damage into each suit, and suddenly LPLs and PPCs will kill them on a single hit, making them much easier to deal with. With some suits, this approach even makes them vulnerable to much smaller guns as well.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Sartris on 11 February 2019, 13:05:35
Infernos are a better bet, easier to fit and only lose out one hex of range over IS LPLas, IIRC.

the -2 LPL bonus isn't as vital to hit toads, but you do lose out on that. on the other hand, an IS LPL can't one-shot elementals.

LPL: 1-3 hexes -2, 4-7 +0, 8-10 +2
SRM: 1-3 hexes +0, 3-6 +2, 7-9 +4

the SRM-6 is the most reliable for toad burning as 4+ gets you the three infernos to kill a battle armor. SRM-4 gets you a kill at 7+
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 11 February 2019, 13:56:36
And if your SRM toters get a free shot at Elementals, the Clan commander has done something wrong.  Much as I love infernos and want to pack them at every chance, in universe/RP its supposed to be rare for them to be carried b/c of the volatile nature so that you should not see them in most battles.  AFAIK, that has not changed from the introduction of the Elemental to the IS up to the Compact war since we get that attitude in fiction.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Kit deSummersville on 11 February 2019, 14:22:16
Depending on how much the dice hate you, you might need 6 is Lplas hits to kill one Toad.

Bane's Law: If it requires Hellbie rolls it isn't that bad in reality.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: massey on 11 February 2019, 14:41:13
LRMs are a decent option against toads.  You hit from well out of their range and the smaller clusters (2, 3, 4 points) may be just what you need to finish one off.  Kill two or three of them and by the time they get close enough to strike back, they are a lot less effective. Plus they’ll have some scattered damage, so larges and mediums can finish the job.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Sartris on 11 February 2019, 15:04:13
the only problem with chipping away is that the clan mechs are chipping away with 10-15 point chunkers as they run in to gut you with ER mediums

the 10th point of armor is a good sign whoever designed them is a genuine jerkface
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: marcussmythe on 11 February 2019, 18:11:38
the only problem with chipping away is that the clan mechs are chipping away with 10-15 point chunkers as they run in to gut you with ER mediums

the 10th point of armor is a good sign whoever designed them is a genuine jerkface

Well, the 10th point of armor is a bit of a ‘tell’ for the overall design philosphy.  Much like ‘later released Army Books’ in Warhampster or ‘later world books’ in Rifts or later races in SFB, the clans show a lot of ‘okay, thats whats in the game already, how do i walk all over it/exploit the system to walk all over it without a challenge’

Consider the reaction of a playe group if someone showed up at their game groups table with a cool backstory for their custom faction that had the same relationship to the existing game that the clans did to the inner sphere.  And remember, BV does not exist.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Sabelkatten on 12 February 2019, 06:00:52
Note that the 10th point of armor was introduced after TRO3050... Originally, 10 points killed an elemental. (OK, technically it always had 10 points of armor. Originally destroying the armor put the BA out of action.)

Of course that still didn't help the IS LPL much. ::)

Anyway, when I've played against BA I've usually tried to stay away from them and shoot at the mechs for as long as possible, and then tried to take them out as quickly as possible with massed short-range firepower.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: BloodRose on 12 February 2019, 08:45:28
I have thankfully never had the chance to fight Toads, but they are one of things that irks. Well, to be more precise, just how tough they are is what irks me. I could see maybe 8+1 points of armour, but 10+1 gives them the ability to tank a hit from a AC10 or a PPC, weapons that in fluff are incredibly devastating and powerful. I could see a Toad taking a Medium Laser hit like it was nothing, certainly, and even surviving a LL hit albeit with a slagged suit and nonfuntional systems, but taking a PPC or 6" HEAP shell to the face and walking away just feels too good.

If I was to redo the Toads then I would probably drop the armour down to 8+1, and let them have some vulnerabilities to 1 hit kills from powerful weapons.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Sabelkatten on 12 February 2019, 11:56:53
Heh. When I tried to figure out the Elementals' stats right after the first book came out (when all we knew was "needs 10 damage to kill, small laser+SRM2") I figured a weight of about 3 tons each... ::)
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Sartris on 12 February 2019, 11:58:41
Harjel, baby
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Church14 on 12 February 2019, 14:35:45
Well, per my last game it turns out that Stackpoling an enemy cataphract does wonders to kill my own nearby battle armor.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Sartris on 12 February 2019, 14:40:14
this is a level of petty panache i can get behind
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Atarlost on 12 February 2019, 17:06:20
The +1 is the problem.  It also puts the kill threshold for lights just out of reach of the ISMPL.  The extra HP might be a balance improvement for PAL since it moves it from a MG/SRM to a SL kill, but for BA it just makes the Clans cheesier and they already reek like an entire year of Limburg's dairy production. 
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 12 February 2019, 17:12:58
So the Amazon is cheese too since it matches the protection level?
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Greatclub on 12 February 2019, 21:10:39
Amazon doesn't carry more firepower than some light mechs.

there's an article in the fan articles section on fighting elementals and other power armor. Cluster hits then 10-pointers is a standard tactic, although a reverse from what we're used to.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Sartris on 12 February 2019, 22:04:47
Some light mechs need to hit the gym
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 12 February 2019, 22:44:15
Amazon doesn't carry more firepower than some light mechs.

Really?  The Med Recoilless Rifle loses 1/3 of the range while the Support PPC 1 one point lower and 1 hex further than MRR.  Most of the weapons options for the Elementals have half the ranges of the Amazon's two options.  Which leaves the Elemental only having 8 SRMs difference in a similar sized unit.

I guess 'some light mechs' Fireballs, since their MG loses a point of damage to half the Elemental options.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Greatclub on 12 February 2019, 23:22:27
was talking about the entire point. The amazon is powerful, but overshadowed by a 2-shot SRM10 and 5 small lasers - let alone 5 AP gauss and the missles
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: BloodRose on 12 February 2019, 23:50:22
The major problem with Elementals really comes with when they are introduced - in 3049 the IS has only regular infantry, and no real BA hunters.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 13 February 2019, 00:35:18
was talking about the entire point. The amazon is powerful, but overshadowed by a 2-shot SRM10 and 5 small lasers - let alone 5 AP gauss and the missles

For a adequate comparison its a 2 shot SRM8- nothing prevents 5 suit squads except faction flavor.  The Amazon's weapon hits 7 hexes for the same damage as the AP Gauss at 9- a 4 suit point would basically be a slow light mech with 2 Med Lasers and the two shot SRM8.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: grimlock1 on 13 February 2019, 12:23:20
the only problem with chipping away is that the clan mechs are chipping away with 10-15 point chunkers as they run in to gut you with ER mediums

the 10th point of armor is a good sign whoever designed them is a genuine jerkface
It's not the 10th point so much as the gorilla inside that is too hopped up on Hero Juice to realize he's got about 90 seconds to make it back to an aid station before the three sucking chest wounds and 2 perforated arteries catches up with him. :-)

Note that the 10th point of armor was introduced after TRO3050... Originally, 10 points killed an elemental. (OK, technically it always had 10 points of armor. Originally destroying the armor put the BA out of action.)
Wha?
I thought they were introduced in TRO 3050.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Sartris on 13 February 2019, 12:39:06
Wha?
I thought they were introduced in TRO 3050.

they were from a game perspective and the 11th point has always been integral

From the original TRO: 3050 pg 234
(http://puu.sh/CLDAv/04064e9d16.png)
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: RoundTop on 13 February 2019, 16:00:28
they went from 11 (numbered 10-0) to 10+1.  only the numbering changed
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: BloodRose on 13 February 2019, 20:58:16
they went from 11 (numbered 10-0) to 10+1.  only the numbering changed
Either way still evil, considering that they now require more firepower than some lighter mechs to deal with, each.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 13 February 2019, 21:26:44
Really?  The Stinger 3G can take 11 points of damage to the CT and still be functional if it was not crit.  Throw in it can survive arms and side torsos being blown off- each side for a total of 9 & 12 points of damage before it transfers to the CT and the argument is quite suspect.

When they came out they only had reliable firepower out to 9 hexes.  It was not until late in the game they got something out to 9- way after the IS started using Support PPCs, Magshots and Reccoilless Rifles.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Greatclub on 13 February 2019, 22:38:49
Other end of the luck spectrum, WSP-1W takes 9 damage to a leg and it's a credible threat to nothing the rest of the game.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Sartris on 13 February 2019, 23:00:32
an elemental point also has a higher BV than either of those walking garbage bins
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 14 February 2019, 00:56:38
an elemental point also has a higher BV than either of those walking garbage bins

Yes, but they are talking about a single suit being tougher than a whole mech- and that is just not the case.  Even that Wasp taking the hit to the leg is going to pass any more damage to the torso and not be dead like the 11 points a Elemental suit would die from.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Sabelkatten on 14 February 2019, 04:10:14
they were from a game perspective and the 11th point has always been integral

From the original TRO: 3050 pg 234
(http://puu.sh/CLDAv/04064e9d16.png)
Actual rule (pg 225):

"Each suit of BattleArmor has an armor value of 10 points. For simplicity's sake in BattleTech, the armor is considered to be a single "location". If all armor is destroyed, the Elemental trooper inside is out of action."

And it was obviously still intended to work this way in TRO3055 as the Komodo is specifically able to kill a whole point with its 10 MLs.

What I was never able to find was what was supposed to happen to any leftover damage after killing one BA. After all the only similar situation back then was losing a location on a mech, in which case all leftover damage transferred... The 11th point on the record sheet also confuses things - misprint, or is the last point the trooper?
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 14 February 2019, 11:15:01
00 is the Trooper and out of action does not mean dead (Harjel baby) just that the trooper is combat ineffective IMO.

Damage transfer?  The sheets of the time had arrows showing how it transfered IIRC . . . and this does not.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: grimlock1 on 14 February 2019, 12:03:35
00 is the Trooper and out of action does not mean dead (Harjel baby) just that the trooper is combat ineffective IMO.

Damage transfer?  The sheets of the time had arrows showing how it transfered IIRC . . . and this does not.
Okay, now I'm wondering if I've been doing it wrong....
I've always treated Elementals as needing 11 points to take out of the game.  So in 3050, the only ways to one-shot an Elemental are AC/20s, Gauss, or cER PPC.  Are we now saying that a Toad that takes an AC/10 is now an exceptionally large and muscular grunt, running around the battlefield in his skivvies?
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 14 February 2019, 12:14:08
Well, that is how I interpreted the quote from TRO3050 g 225.

But yeah, its 11 points of damage to take out the Elemental (or whatever for BA) but just like mechs, 'destroyed' in the game does not mean truely destroyed since you can salvage armor (roll 10 or better) and like infantry you can medically save some of the 'dead' infantry troopers.  I am not sure if Clan suits, or at least those equipped with Harjel, get a better chance to save the troopers.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Weirdo on 14 February 2019, 13:25:56
Okay, now I'm wondering if I've been doing it wrong....
I've always treated Elementals as needing 11 points to take out of the game.  So in 3050, the only ways to one-shot an Elemental are AC/20s, Gauss, or cER PPC.  Are we now saying that a Toad that takes an AC/10 is now an exceptionally large and muscular grunt, running around the battlefield in his skivvies?

You've been doing it correctly. An Elemental that has taken ten points of damage is still fully functional for game purposes, though you are obligated to make jokes about large people in nothing but skivvies(or less).
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Sabelkatten on 14 February 2019, 17:41:45
Yes, the current rules are quite clear; you have to destroy the last point as well. And there is no damage transfer.

It's the original rules that were quite clear that you didn't have to destroy the last point. But didn't tell you a thing about what happened to any leftover points. :P
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: BloodRose on 14 February 2019, 20:03:20
Yes, the current rules are quite clear; you have to destroy the last point as well. And there is no damage transfer.

It's the original rules that were quite clear that you didn't have to destroy the last point. But didn't tell you a thing about what happened to any leftover points. :P
The last point is bull. If the suit is slagged then the trooper inside should be out of commission too, gene bred or not. As it is that last point is the dick move that lets a Elemental withstand a 10 point PPC or AC10 hit and laugh.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: massey on 14 February 2019, 20:35:51
I'm pretty sure Elementals have always taken 11 points to destroy, even in the original printing.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Sartris on 14 February 2019, 20:37:13
armor values are an abstraction that aren't required to conform to your perception of what they should mean. If the trooper has 0 armor and is still alive, it means the suit is operational. i'll take this over having crit tables for BA. It's bad enough protos have them.

and yes, it's a dick move. a masterful one that still pisses people off decades later. legendary.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Colt Ward on 14 February 2019, 20:47:33
The last point is bull. If the suit is slagged then the trooper inside should be out of commission too, gene bred or not. As it is that last point is the dick move that lets a Elemental withstand a 10 point PPC or AC10 hit and laugh.

 . . . abstract . . . you want that level of detail where parts of the suit stop functioning and to track its ammo for MGs, etc play AToW RPG.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: truetanker on 14 February 2019, 23:13:48
Well I'll tell you HOW I think about the 10+1...

10 for the Armor, it wears off as it should be, and +1 for the armored Ablative Underwear their seen in, think of shorty wetsuits.

They are wetsuits that cover the complete torso, upper arm and upper thigh part of your body... consider them Neo-Kevlar ballistic clothing. Same material as the MechWarrior clothing... And then don't forget to remember that a possible crossover to this : it's a halfsuit... while a full suit would equal to the classic Clan Infantry battle uniform... Armor Divisor of 2. ( Meaning this cloth covering everything AND includes a Ballistic plate armor for the Shins, Vanbraces, Helmets and Torsos, including Pelvic plates...

TT
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Sabelkatten on 15 February 2019, 20:48:10
I'm pretty sure Elementals have always taken 11 points to destroy, even in the original printing.
As I quoted the rules very clearly said 10 points and out. Why it was changed to 11 points is anyone's guess.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: grimlock1 on 15 February 2019, 20:54:45
Well I'll tell you HOW I think about the 10+1...

10 for the Armor, it wears off as it should be, and +1 for the armored Ablative Underwear their seen in, think of shorty wetsuits.

They are wetsuits that cover the complete torso, upper arm and upper thigh part of your body... consider them Neo-Kevlar ballistic clothing. Same material as the MechWarrior clothing... And then don't forget to remember that a possible crossover to this : it's a halfsuit... while a full suit would equal to the classic Clan Infantry battle uniform... Armor Divisor of 2. ( Meaning this cloth covering everything AND includes a Ballistic plate armor for the Shins, Vanbraces, Helmets and Torsos, including Pelvic plates...

TT
All I really care is that an Elemental that takes and AC/10+1 LRM is out of the game, but one takes an AC/10 can still kill me.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Sartris on 15 February 2019, 21:50:53
I’m guessing the +1 came in on the BA rules standardization around BMR. They probably needed a way to boost IS suits without using weight. The change made the elemental hilariously tough
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: massey on 16 February 2019, 19:53:27
As I quoted the rules very clearly said 10 points and out. Why it was changed to 11 points is anyone's guess.

I pulled out my old copy of Tech Readout: 3050, and sure enough it says 10 points.  It was published in 1990.  Then I looked at my old copy of the Battletech Compendium (the one with the Ghost Bear Mad Cat and Elemental on the cover), and it says 11 points of armor.  That book was also published in 1990.

So whatever the reason for the change, it happened really fast.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Sartris on 16 February 2019, 19:59:09
between may and september of 1990. maybe the tro was a mistake and they eratta'd it before sending the compendium to print.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: massey on 16 February 2019, 20:10:09
There are a couple of other differences as well.  The TRO says that they don't take attacker movement mods, and they are unaffected by elevation changes less than 4.  The Compendium says they do take attacker movement mods, and specifies that they have jump movement.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Sartris on 16 February 2019, 20:13:23
angry writer mad his draft of the rules wasn't selected for the TRO and slipped revisions to the printer at the last second?
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: BloodRose on 16 February 2019, 22:00:18
I kind of wish the 11th point was more fluff. As I said before, by that point the suit is basically none-functional and slagged, so in reality it should be removed from the point. That final point should only matter in campaigns and represent whether the guy inside lives and just needs a new/repaired suit or is a smoking greasy stain on the grass somewhere, and you need to find a new BA trained fighter as well as a brand new suit.
There, now you have abstraction that works and does not give the middle finger to IS forces.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: Sartris on 16 February 2019, 22:22:58
A mech can still jump down from a level six hill safely with one operational jump jet, one point of internal in the leg and intact criticals. “Basically slagged” isn’t a concept in the rules - it’s either operational or destroyed

Also re-litigating 29 year old decisions is stale. Being mad about clan stuff like this is like still going on the internet to be mad about the ending to Newhart
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: massey on 16 February 2019, 22:44:47
The ending to Newhart was awesome.

The way I've always head-canoned Elementals is that the last point represents dude, and internal structure.  The 10 points of armor literally represents armor, and all the functional stuff is covered by that last point.
Title: Re: Strategy for IS fighting Clans?
Post by: BloodRose on 20 February 2019, 08:49:08
The way I've always head-canoned Elementals is that the last point represents dude, and internal structure.  The 10 points of armor literally represents armor, and all the functional stuff is covered by that last point.
Huh, now that is an idea that makes sense.