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Author Topic: ’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa  (Read 10906 times)

Kotetsu

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’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa
« on: 18 April 2014, 07:22:06 »
’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa

Rakshasa. Mythical creature that can shapeshift into its foes, mimicking their abilities. A 75-ton BattleMech meant to mimic the Clan Timber Wolf. Which it makes as good an attempt as possible for its time period.

Inner Sphere tech is just inferior in many ways.

The story of the Rakshasa starts on The Rock with the first sighting of what Inner Sphere analysts termed the Mad Cat. As the Invasion proceeded, more and more details emerged of this advanced machine. Analysts marveled at the firepower and speed. Then, somehow, the Federated Commonwealth managed to get their hands on a pristine model. Given the NAIS, this machine was put through its paces, and among other things led to the Rakshasa.

Doing the best they could with lesser (bulkier) technologies, the MDG-1A premiered in 3055, and is built on a heavily modified version of the Marauder’s chassis, partly through the use of endo-steel. A 375-rated GM extralight engine gives the design comparable speeds to its progenitor. Eleven and a half tons of ferro-fibrous armor gives 89% of maximum protection in a 9, 32/9, 22/7, 21, 28 pattern (head, center front/rear, side front/rear, arms, legs respectively). The arms each mount an extended-model large and a standard medium laser. Because of their bulk, shoulder mounted 10-rack LRM launchers were used instead of the 20-racks of the original. On the plus side, Artemis IV fire-control was added to make them more effective. One ton of ammunition is allocated for each launcher. Finally weight and space limitations only allowed for a left-torso mounted medium pulse. Fifteen double-strength heat sinks moderate the heat load somewhat, but one should keep an eye on their heat dial.

Test pilots were among the first to ask for a small refit. While never actually produced by the factories, a simple field-refit led to many swapping the large lasers for standard models, thus birthing the MDG-1B in 3056.

Small aside, what does MDG stand for? Closest I can come to is Mad Dog. Mad Cat should be MCT…

During the FedCom Civil War in 3064, Sergeant-Major Jessica Nim helped to develop and test the MDG-2A variant. Note that by test, I mean, she took it into battle on Kathil herself. This model mounts a large and two medium pulse lasers in the right arm, two medium pulses in the right torso, and a massive Class-5 rotary autocannon in the left arm. The gun is fed by three tons of ammunition. Even though the ’Mech was taken down, she survived and was put in charge of making her new model standard.

The last variant is a product of the Word of Blake Jihad. I am unsure if the factory was still operational by the time the MDG-1Ar entered service in 3076 (or frankly if the factory survived the Jihad at all). This model swaps the large lasers for Snub-Nose Particle Cannons, drops the torso laser, and switches the LRM racks for 7-rack MML launchers, sans Artemis. Three tons of ammunition is stored in the CASEd left torso. The ferro-fibrous was replaced with thirteen tons of standard plate, laid out in a 9, 33/10, 22/7, 21, 28 pattern.

Using a Rakshasa starts with realizing you are using an Inner Sphere machine. While this may seem obvious, there have been a few instances where someone picked it because they thought it was another Mad Cat. Do note, your foes may make the same mistake and target you for it. So protect yourself, or use it as a distraction for your friends. With the first two variants, you can stalk and pounce or snipe at longer ranges. The latter two variants are closer-range beasts. Keep an eye on your heat. While some of the designs are less heat-intense, they all have the potential to overheat a bit. Take it from someone who still has issues not pushing the Big Red Button, heat and ammunition do not mix.

Fighting one also starts with realizing it is not the iconic Clan monster. He may have the speed, but he has neither the armor nor the devastating array of weaponry. Bring big guns. If he wants to duel at range, a few Gauss slugs should change his perspective. In closer, Particle Cannons and large-bore autocannons help. Noting his heat woes, plasma weaponry is also good. And if you want to go toe-to-toe, a Berserker, or for that matter anything big with a melee weapon and/or TSM can be useful. I will also note that all of the Rakshasa variants have highly explosive ammunition. Only the last variant has CASE, and it still has that delicate extralight engine. So a targeting computer and a good gunnery score can allow for the targeting of a side torso for a fireworks show (right torso is best for the first two, the latter two carry theirs in the left exclusively).

While the Rakshasa has had a decent career, I am unsure if they will continue to be produced. The first hurdle is the status of the factory on Kathil. If it had to rebuild from the ground up, there may be more pressing concerns (read: more important designs). The second is that time may be passing it by. Frankly with the advent of Clan Tech to many Inner Sphere realms, it may be possible that the Davions can simply make actual Timber Wolfs instead of the knock-off. We shall see.

Fat Guy

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa
« Reply #1 on: 18 April 2014, 08:51:21 »
I've always loved the 2A. It's a close combat powerhouse.
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Re: ’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa
« Reply #2 on: 18 April 2014, 09:09:35 »
Not a bad design in its own right, it falls flat do to the inevitable comparisons to the Timber Wolf. You are never going to look great standing next to one of the most optimized canon omnimech chassis.

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa
« Reply #3 on: 18 April 2014, 14:50:03 »
IMO, they should have stuck to a 4/6 movement. While a downgrade compared to the clan machine, a smaller engine would have freed up enough tonnage to mount larger LRM racks, more closely matching the clan machines combat power. But as a 5/8 heavy, it does a fair job. Personally I would want to use the MML version.. being able to switch to srm's up close, combined with the snub's range bands, makes it a good fast striker, and being able to use lrm's while closing is good.

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa
« Reply #4 on: 18 April 2014, 14:56:29 »
Really, they should have tried to copy the A loadout instead of the Prime.  Much easier to do with Sphere tech, due to the LRM weights.

That said, the Rak's a decent cavalry 'mech.

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa
« Reply #5 on: 18 April 2014, 15:50:07 »
Love the Rak, except for the 1B. Yes it has the speed to get into range with the standard Large Lasers but it's missing... something. Purely personal preference and it really doesn't make any sense, I know.

The 2A is a beast, heat, shmeat I am blasting something NOW!!

The 1Ar is just sick. Sure, it's only two 7 shot LRM's at range but when it closes it's scouring armor. And it's death to vehicles.

When introduced in TRO 3055 (way back in the day) everyone talked about the Penetrator, it was a fan favorite (understandably so). But the Rakshasa was my baby then and still is today. One of my favorites.
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Re: ’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa
« Reply #6 on: 18 April 2014, 16:25:08 »
The Rak is a very capable cavalry mech by Inner Sphere standards and I've had a lot of success with them over the years.  The sweetest kill I ever pulled off with one was a Mad Cat being controlled by a player who was very disdainful of my "inferior spheroid copy" - then I tagged his MG ammo.   }:) 

He didn't last long with only half a mech left...
« Last Edit: 18 April 2014, 16:40:54 by Getz »

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa
« Reply #7 on: 18 April 2014, 16:44:29 »
It's not a bad machine, and it's best for fire support and command roles in 5/8 units. I prefer the less of a heat pig 1B, but that's me.
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Re: ’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa
« Reply #8 on: 18 April 2014, 18:02:34 »
I think love the 1Ar, but that might just be because it doesn't try to do things that Clan tech does better, and the others do. I've had pretty good success with all of them, but there's no question that they have to be dedicated fire support or brawler designs instead of just being good at everything like the Timber Wolf.

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa
« Reply #9 on: 18 April 2014, 18:44:36 »
On the designation, it is from TRO:3055, which is chock full of odd balls, like the ALM- series Fireballs, and the PPR Salamander among others.
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JadeHellbringer

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa
« Reply #10 on: 18 April 2014, 19:08:47 »
Wonderful Mech, as long as you don't do something like compare it to the Mad Cat. Duh, mid-3050s tech not lining up with Clan top of the line gear? Who knew?

The standard model runs a bit hot with those ER large lasers, but it's a fine long-range support Mech. The LRMs are a nice weapon to have, with Artemis still useful at this point before ECM became commonplace. In-close, the mediums are as nice as ever, though I'm not a pulse laser fan enough to want to have that- another pair of mediums would be preferable.

The 1A is pretty intriguing though. The thing with ER lasers is that if you're really going to use that extra range, it's worth the heat. If not... well, then you're doing the same thing the standard laser does, but with more heat. Crap! Since I find a Mech like this works well while advancing on a target, I'd rather get my hands on the 1A and drop those heat levels. Very good mod, if not quite as new-toy flashy.

2B... again, not a pulse laser fan, but I do see the benefit here. The idea is to get up close and mug someone with that RAC, after all, so why not use pulse lasers too? Cool by me. This isn't a fun customer to run into- quick, powerful, and surprisingly tough to kill. I like that this also went away from the 'Mad Cat ripoff' feel and did something new and different with the design.
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Re: ’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa
« Reply #11 on: 18 April 2014, 21:58:25 »
I love me some Rakshasa! I always heard it described as a knock-off Madcat, but it performs much better than I expected from that label. The MDG-1A gives you a nice mix of long and short range capabilities, and the minimum range on the LRMs actually helps you to balance your heat. The MDG-2B delivers a close range thrashing that won't soon be forgotten. The MDG-1Ar just gets better as you close in, and it has the speed to make it happen.
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Re: ’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa
« Reply #12 on: 18 April 2014, 22:08:14 »
I've used the Mech, its not a bad machine.   I wasn't as crazy about the fact it was a CASEless machine, with alot ammo and heat issues to be careful to husband.   The MDG-1B and the Ar are nice and survivable, least it can be salvaged once the XL goes or ammo does in the 1Ar version. 

In the way, Rakshasa's problems reminds me of the Defiance, which has similar problems with heat management and is mimic famous mechs such as Warhammer and Marauder.

The Inner Sphere thought the MadCat was hybrid of Marauder and Catapult. I remember in first of the Stackpole's Clan books that Watery said they should copy the MadCat by putting Marauder arm on Catapults.   However it hadn't dawned on her that technology difference was more significate than she could possibly know.

I went and looked in the Objectives: Federated Suns, its not in the book for 3079, so its good chance it didn't come back.   Why would they?  Sea Foxes are selling perfectly good various without less potent problems.
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Re: ’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa
« Reply #13 on: 19 April 2014, 01:39:56 »
Honestly, the Rak is one of the mechs I would have liked to see the FS revisit when they started building Clan spec ERLLs . . . just swap those two weapons and the -1A changes.  IMO, heat is still fine on that fire support- throw on CASE, another half ton of armor and one more ton of reloads.

Want to like it, want to play it . . . but it does not seem to be on the RATs much and I do not find FS players using it much.
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Re: ’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa
« Reply #14 on: 19 April 2014, 05:37:24 »
The Rakshasa is just an all-around decent 'Mech. The chassis is pretty mobile and at 89-90% max fairly solidly armored. The 1A in particular is a nice all-range fighter with the way its lasers' range brackets line up with the LRMs' at distance and its backup lasers against hostiles that want to duck under the missiles' minimum. The 2A makes for a decent brawler. The 1B actually leaves me a little cold (no pun intended) because it abandons exactly the LL/LRM range synergy I like about the 1A just to run somewhat cooler and I'm not convinced that's really worth the tradeoff here. The 1Ar...is still a bit too new to me to have really formed an opinion.

Really, if the only bad thing somebody can say about the Rakshasa is that it's not really a Timber Wolf, then I'd actually consider that pretty high praise. ;) The basic frame is solid enough that simply swapping out the weapons for Clan-grade gear would do much to close the gap -- and I can't very well blame its designers for just not having that option conveniently available to them in the mid-3050s.

Given its inspiration, I might vaguely wish somebody had managed to turn this 'Mech into an Omni, but to be fair: with all the weightsaving options available at the time flipped to "on", the Rakshasa is stuffed to the gills with fixed critical slots and wouldn't actually make a particularly good one. So it's good to go as it is.

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa
« Reply #15 on: 19 April 2014, 10:11:17 »
Years ago, during a discussion about Marik's Apollo fire support Mech, I coined what is now known as Apollo's Law- if it needs Clan tech to make it useable, It doesn't deserve those resources in the first place.

But now that I look again, the Rakshasa... I don't think Apollo's Law extends to this thing. Looking at the standard model, it's pretty good as it is. Clan ER large lasers make it that much better- and dropping two tons in the process allows for heat sinks, nothing bad about that. The LRM racks could just as easily become LRM-20s if you so desired- I'd rather go for 15s, keep the Artemis, and get some ammo.

There's a lot to be done here, and it actually DOES start turning this into a Mad Cat- it still has that damned XL engine, of course, upgrading THAT to a Clan engine probably is going to be such a pain in the ass that you'd be better off just buying a second-hand Mad Cat to begin with. But weapons, heat sinks... hell, why not?

Now, the 2B. THAT gets nasty. Inner Sphere pulse lasers work here because it's supposed to get up in someone's grill to begin with, but add on Clan pulses instead and it can actually start engaging at more than DOUBLE the range it did to begin with. Nothing bad about that, right? Same heat, crits work out the same, you even lose a ton off the large to do... something... with. HUGE improvement- this is a GREAT use of salvaged Clan gear. With Clan RACs being a very new thing, likely in this Mech's day it's not going to get something to upgrade the cannon- not worth switching out for a Clan ballistic weapon like an LBX.

Man, why didn't I think about upgrading these things before? (Oh. Right. Because I'm a Jade Falcon so killing them tends to be more my speed. ;) )
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Kotetsu

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa
« Reply #16 on: 19 April 2014, 11:06:09 »
Early on in my BattleTech career, I took to modifying a few BattleMechs into Clan second-line machines. Some of which were definitely not designs the Clans would have done so with (see: Berserker).

Anyway, I did a Rakshasa IIc, and showed it to someone who knew a bit more about Clan philosophy than me. He made two comments. 1. No Clan would ever accept it. And 2. It was a better Mad Cat.

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa
« Reply #17 on: 19 April 2014, 19:56:38 »
It's a nice mech. If only a variant like the AR came out a bit earlier, the Rak would have gotten out of the Timber Wolf's shadow.
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Re: ’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa
« Reply #18 on: 19 April 2014, 21:55:41 »
This 'Mech has become one of my favorites over the years. It captures the same feel as the Black Hawk KU (looking like the Clan counterpart, but with that boxiness that I like in an Inner Sphere machine) and the variants have really made the machine even more fun to pilot!

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa
« Reply #19 on: 19 April 2014, 22:19:08 »
I no longer have my minis but when I first got the Rakshasa, it seemed to be twice the size of my Timber Wolf. How does the Rak mini size up with the newer Timberwolf and Mad Dog minis?
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Re: ’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa
« Reply #20 on: 19 April 2014, 23:08:53 »
I no longer have my minis but when I first got the Rakshasa, it seemed to be twice the size of my Timber Wolf. How does the Rak mini size up with the newer Timberwolf and Mad Dog minis?
I think its maybe little smaller, but not by a lot.  At least with the Mad Cat, Vulture is way bigger though.
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Re: ’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa
« Reply #21 on: 20 April 2014, 00:59:32 »
The Rak has done solid Cavalry work for me on more than one occasion....of course, I have also had those spectacular fails where it's ammo went up like fireworks early on...but what can you do, right?

For me, it wasn't the Penetrator that eclipsed it but the Falconer. Same speed but with the head capper Gauss and ER PPC combo and jump jets to boot plus, better close range firepower as well with quad mediums. The ability to launch two LRM10's seemed somewhat less impressive...

When I do get the mech in it original form or the 1A, I tend to use it as fire support first and than either retreat or close in for the kill as needed. The mech's 5/8 speed definitely helps.

The 2B and 1Ar on the other hand are solid brawlers that I try and close with as soon as possible against my foes.
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Re: ’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa
« Reply #22 on: 20 April 2014, 01:10:36 »
You know . . . we should have seen a Summoner imitating the Falconer.  After it trashed the Falcons enough you would think they might copy it.

But I would agree, the Rak and Falconer should be the backbone of any FedCom or successors' heavy cavalry units such as the 1FC(S)AC.  With further BA development, such as the Infiltrator Mk II Mag, they just get better since the Rak can imitate the Timberwolf again- firing ERLL and LRMs as it closes, drop the BA then back off for more fire support, or even use the LRMs indirectly when cooling.
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Re: ’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa
« Reply #23 on: 20 April 2014, 02:02:04 »
You know . . . we should have seen a Summoner imitating the Falconer.  After it trashed the Falcons enough you would think they might copy it.

Well, they could copy the ERPPC + GR combo easily enough (would start to run close to the dread specter of "optimization" by that point, of course), but even with Clantech there's no squeezing four medium lasers into the 2.5 tons or so of pod space remaining after that. So maybe their techs fell to squabbling over how to resolve that issue, and that's why we haven't seen that configuration yet. ;)

Getting maybe a bit off track for the Rakshasa thread here, though, so I'll stop at that.

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa
« Reply #24 on: 20 April 2014, 02:54:08 »
Maybe I should try out a Rakshasa, Falconer, Thanatos team up >:D   
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Re: ’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa
« Reply #25 on: 20 April 2014, 02:55:33 »
Aside from the Rak not jumping you are only missing the Black Hawk KU mentioned earlier for IMO the classic FedCom heavy cav lance.
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Re: ’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa
« Reply #26 on: 20 April 2014, 04:06:31 »
I love the Rakshasa. It has always given good table top service for me. I have only used the vanilla model but it is a lot tougher  then it looks. Just wish it didn't run so hot. Around here it was the Penetrator and Falconer that got all the love from 3055. While those are great designs, I always preferred the Rak and Thunder a bit more myself.


While I have never played the RAC version myself, I have fought it. I ran a stealth Thunder against it when it first showed up in the upgrades. I spent the first few turns running towards it, and the last few running away. If memory serves, we both mauled each other pretty good but I think both mechs survived. That's when I learned to check which model my opponent is running, O0

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa
« Reply #27 on: 20 April 2014, 04:18:35 »
Lol . . . all the time you were running at him, bet he was pretty happy.
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Re: ’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa
« Reply #28 on: 21 April 2014, 23:39:54 »
I thought it was odd that he was running TOWARDS a LB 20X.  :D

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Re: ’Mech of the Week: MDG-** Rakshasa
« Reply #29 on: 22 April 2014, 14:47:33 »
One thing I like about the -1A version is that with a different name and fluff, you could easily have it be a SLDF Battlemech the Federated Commonwealth rediscovered, and was the precursor/inspiration to the Timber Wolf among the Clans, because you can seriously build this thing using Age of War/Star League rules.

Well, that's how I'd handle the design's backstory if I were given the choice, and it'd hardly be the only Star League-era Battlemech a Great House resurrected.

 

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