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Author Topic: So the celestial series... how to and why?  (Read 8709 times)

Church14

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So the celestial series... how to and why?
« on: 22 July 2019, 18:50:25 »
I am not looking for fluff. I’m sold on trying to make the designs work because of the fluff. I just grabbed them from IWM and am looking to make them work as a force. The trouble is that they seem... inconsistent? Not nearly as threatening on paper as I’d expect given their intended use.

I like the basics of the Malak. It seems to be an effective light mech. I’m most confused by the archangel. On paper it seem really weak.

For those who’ve been playing / have played these designs previously, what works and what doesn’t? I’ll be getting some mileage in soon but would like to skip obvious pitfalls if I can

Empyrus

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Re: So the celestial series... how to and why?
« Reply #1 on: 22 July 2019, 19:06:01 »
Team players, they rely on the C3i a lot IMO. (Also Manei Domini pilots but you aren't using those in pickup games, are you?) Makes force building a bit tricky though, given the BV expense.

Do look through the alternate configurations carefully, the Invictus types are a bit questionable.

The Archangel is tough, really tough. Pick a config that's dangerous, the Dominus or Comminus for example. Now, the enemy has to decide: Either they'll try to bring the Archangel down, leaving your other 'Mechs free to act as they wish, not an easy task given how tough the 'Mech is, or they can ignore it and good luck with that!

As for the Seraph, I recommend you don't focus on the TSM. It is useful if the 'Mech heats up enough, but the configurations make hitting 9 heat exactly quite difficult, so it is better thought as something that discourages heat-based weapon attacks against the Seraph or mitigates heat-caused speed penalties. (Pity about the BV cost.)
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Kojak

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Re: So the celestial series... how to and why?
« Reply #2 on: 22 July 2019, 21:18:02 »
Are you sticking to canon configs, or are you open to custom poddings? If the former, I'd recommend the following:

Archangel A & D
Seraph B, C & S
Deva B & D
Grigori A & D
Preta A, B, C, D & S
Malak B, C & S
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Re: So the celestial series... how to and why?
« Reply #3 on: 22 July 2019, 21:22:09 »
The main reason the celestials are feared is c3i + cybernetic supersoldiers

With standard pilots they’re kind of weird Frankensteins (but still fun). Kojak has the right of it. Avoid the prime configs

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Re: So the celestial series... how to and why?
« Reply #4 on: 22 July 2019, 21:51:08 »
I’m most confused by the archangel. On paper it seem really weak.


As Empyrus noted, it's tough.  Specifically, consider the ways that a mech can be killed - destroy the cockpit, destroy 3 engine crits. (or by extension, destroy the head or centre torso)  The Archangel has only got 3 engine crits, meaning you have to hit those exact three slots to kill it.  It has five free crit slots in the centre torso, and two in the head thanks to the small cockpit.  You could mount 3 ER PPCs between the head and centre torso, the same firepower as an Awesome, and it could continue to fire with the loss of both side torsos.
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MoneyLovinOgre4Hire

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Re: So the celestial series... how to and why?
« Reply #5 on: 23 July 2019, 00:33:39 »
The relative durability of the Archangel depends heavily on what it's being shot with.

It works well against small damage cluster attacks that try to crit seek, but when faced with heavy guns that focus on simply taking huge chunks off it it doesn't hold up nearly as well.
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Lorcan Nagle

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Re: So the celestial series... how to and why?
« Reply #6 on: 23 July 2019, 01:17:06 »
The relative durability of the Archangel depends heavily on what it's being shot with.

It works well against small damage cluster attacks that try to crit seek, but when faced with heavy guns that focus on simply taking huge chunks off it it doesn't hold up nearly as well.

Yeah, but you can't do much more than max out the armour and use a compact engine or gyro unless you want to grab some specialist armour and/or switch to a torso-mounted cockpit, all of which was advanced or experimental at the time the 'mech was designed.
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marauder648

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Re: So the celestial series... how to and why?
« Reply #7 on: 23 July 2019, 01:30:36 »
As folks said, the Celestials are team players and would be deployed as a team. You'd not get like one or two Celestials as well as some other Mech's. You'd just face a group of them.

It would have been nice to see more of them running around with things like VSPs and other 'different' tech but oh well!

Another use for them is to trick them out with MD pilots and then in something like a campaign or something they represent the 'Big Bad' of the campaign you and your friends are playing. Possibly with them storming into battle with this playing in the background - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyXtz2D41TA  to represent their eeeeeeeevil!

So yeah, if you're gonna use Celestials, use them as a group of Celestials. Or if you want to be sick and wanna spend some serious BV. Add some Mananaeha..manana..MD pilots to them.


« Last Edit: 23 July 2019, 01:34:48 by marauder648 »
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Re: So the celestial series... how to and why?
« Reply #8 on: 23 July 2019, 01:58:04 »
As mentioned previously the millage you get out a Celestial is entirely based off of what you pair them with and whether or not you are playing with cybernetic enhancements.  The best recommendation I can give you is to not run an all Celestial unit.  You will find if you do that you are lacking and wanting for certain weapon systems that Celestials lack in quantity or simply don't have at all.  3 or 4 Celestials backed up by other C3i units is what I would aim for.  That said the Preta is the only Celestial that I feel warrants inclusion in universally every C3i force I make.

dgorsman

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Re: So the celestial series... how to and why?
« Reply #9 on: 23 July 2019, 02:06:41 »
At the very least, you want to do something about the small cockpit.  Either boost pilot skill or use one of the VDNI implants.

The Arcangel is best served, IMHO, as a large OpFor commander unit - much like the TRO fluff indicates.  Something of a "boss mech" to bring down once the rest have been defeated or driven off.
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Greatclub

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Re: So the celestial series... how to and why?
« Reply #10 on: 23 July 2019, 02:21:12 »
The pilots. Cyborg pilots are in interstellar operations.

VDNI isn't a good deal. avoid in a celestial

bVDNI is where the meat is. You get (And pay for) a gunnery decrease, but it negates the small cockpit penalty, essentially getting a piloting decrease as well. The downside is the chance for pilot damage when you take crits.

Pain Shunt - pay for a piloting decrease you don't get, but your pilot becomes largely immune to pilot hits, including ones you take from bVDNI

Triple-Core Processor - +3 Pay for a gunnery increase you don't get. Your force gets +3 initiative so long as you're out of ECM range.

Start with an average pilot in a celestial. 4/5(6.) Add bVDNI and TCP. 4(3)/5, +3 on your init rolls, 140% your mechs base price. I'd suggest a Preta Infernus for the longish-range gun and jump jets. Thats your commander.

The rest just get bVDNI

« Last Edit: 23 July 2019, 04:05:10 by Greatclub »

marauder648

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Re: So the celestial series... how to and why?
« Reply #11 on: 23 July 2019, 02:27:11 »
Aye the MD stuff gets hella expensive when you start upgrading them. this is what makes me think that a Level II of Celestials would do very well as a 'boss' of a Campaign. You trick 'em all out and you suddenly get a blindingly nasty unit that can quite happily take on Clan Mech's and Pilots. But dear Blake the BV cost is absurd. Making it largely unworkable in a BV Balanced battle. Hence going 'screw it!' throwing BV out the window and making them the big bad of a campaign.
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Empyrus

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Re: So the celestial series... how to and why?
« Reply #12 on: 23 July 2019, 08:18:50 »
I think i saw someone noting that a full Manei Domini Level 2 of Celestials was an even fight against a binary of Clan 'Mechs and roughly the same cost...
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Church14

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Re: So the celestial series... how to and why?
« Reply #13 on: 23 July 2019, 08:44:07 »
It looks like these bits of tech are referenced in jihad hot spots, so I’ll get a pdf of that.

In general, the intended use is for pickup games and we almost always run stock chassis there. We start with 3/4 pilots across the board to speed matches up. I am okay bringing in the VDNI, bVDNI, pain shunt, and TCP so long as I have the rules correct to run them legally.

The guys I’m playing with tend to go for clan tech when given a chance. I’ve been showing them how C3 and some combined arms tech can counter it.

The campaign they will start soon is the clan invasion era and they will be the clans. Not sure which clan yet so I don’t know what tech I’ll be bringing against them.

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Re: So the celestial series... how to and why?
« Reply #14 on: 23 July 2019, 08:46:46 »
It looks like these bits of tech are referenced in jihad hot spots, so I’ll get a pdf of that.

You're better off with Interstellar Operations, especially if you're balancing by BV - they changed the point costing to make the implants a little more reasonable.
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JadeHellbringer

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Re: So the celestial series... how to and why?
« Reply #15 on: 23 July 2019, 08:48:55 »
Not much to add beyond noting that the prime configs really are trash mostly, UNLESS you use the optional retractable-blade rules in TacOps. At that point they gain some usefulness- still not as good as other versions, but not bad either.

They're solid designs, but their reputation is far scarier than the actual designs are. The fluff makes it sound like they're as large of a leap forward as the Clans' tech was in '50, and they just aren't even close to that level of broken-ness. Where they shine, as others noted, is in the pilots that can run them- spend (hefty) BV on some upgrades to your special little cyborgs, and the Celestials can become pretty solid in some configs. Use them as-is, and they'll probably struggle mightily against similar-sized opponents from their era- I'd have trouble putting a Deva up against, say, newer versions of the Warhammer for example and feel good about it.
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Colt Ward

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Re: So the celestial series... how to and why?
« Reply #16 on: 23 July 2019, 15:40:28 »
I think one other thing might be look at the weapons vs terrain . . . we have had several discussion about how they lack the ranged punch of some of the other IS designs since they go in for HPPCs, large MRM racks, TBolts, Plasma Rifles, or other 'new' weapons when they rolled out.  But put those shorter ranged weapons into a urban brawl and suddenly its not a liability to not reach out with ERPPC ranges, most of the configs become acceptable.

And IMO that is where it gets into the terror weapons and the reputation that got any Celestial taken as salvage slagged.  Even when the Clans arrived, the Inner Sphere forces followed their post-2SW gentleman's agreement of avoiding combat in urban settings.  With the Clans themselves, it was a sort of mania . . . but when the Word of Blake decided to punish all man for rejecting Blake's wisdom they sought out atrocities.  Nukes, chemical attacks, released bio-agents, orbital bombardment of cities . . . none of it was hands off.  Throw in the fluff we get about how the MD as a whole looked down on the frails, especially an attitude that was pervasive among the higher ranking and thus more borg'd out who would typically be assigned the creme of WoB production- the Celestials.

And if you wanted to spearhead a assault against a defending force that had been pushed back into a city . . . who would be best, tactically, to lead the way?  The difficult to destroy Celestials piloted by elite MD who do not care about frail casualties if it means victory.  Punch through that apartment building to come up behind a assault mech by surprise?  Regular Blakist may jump over it to avoid civilian casualties, but a MD would have no problem walking through that building packed with frails to further the Master's goals.

Which leaves the civilian survivors traumatized by the sight of a Celestial's shoulder sawing through the right side of the apartment where mom & dad had been sitting on the couch with baby brother when you went to get a glass of water . . . and now that part of the apartment is just GONE.  And so are your neighbors, and if you do not scramble out fast enough, you will still be in the building when it collapses into rubble- think Pacific Rim where the girl is holding her shoe as the kaiju and Coyote Alpha duke it out.  Trauma with a capital T, and triggered every time you see a Celestial . . . and to a lesser extent, a mech- part of why Stone was able to shove his changes down society's throat.  More of the public is going to feel that way when the battles came into the cities b/c there will be more people affected or witnessing that something that happened 5 miles outside of town that went around most of the population.
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dgorsman

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Re: So the celestial series... how to and why?
« Reply #17 on: 23 July 2019, 16:55:30 »
Most of the Comminus variants with MRMs, plasma rifles, and so on are set up for fighting conventional forces e.g. vehicles and battle armor.  The Infernus variants are high firepower for intense combat.  Luminos variants are loaded with energy weapons for endurance.

The C3i does a decent job of compensating for slightly shorter ranges but doesn't address maximum ranges.  Not sure if the intention was for this function to be handled by more dedicated designs, or if the Celestials were intended to always be "up in yo' face!" on a permanent basis rather than sitting back.
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Re: So the celestial series... how to and why?
« Reply #18 on: 23 July 2019, 17:03:08 »
Most Celestials are indeed built for medium or short-range combat. You want long-range support, include one or two non-Celestial mechs in your Level II. I haven't tried it out myself yet, but the Archer-9W looks pretty fun. Be sure to load ARAD missiles, in order to quickly take down ECM units. :thumbsup:
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Church14

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Re: So the celestial series... how to and why?
« Reply #19 on: 24 July 2019, 10:27:31 »
Hm. We use the heroscape tiles so we don’t do a lot of city fighting, but we do a lot of fights where strangely common level 1-3 hills exist. It’s not hard to break LOS and get closer in our games. We are also bringing in more and more forests. Sounds like our terrain is favorable to the celestials.

Time to go buy Interstellar Operations.

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Re: So the celestial series... how to and why?
« Reply #20 on: 24 July 2019, 10:54:49 »
Urban terrain gets interesting . . . especially if you can include certain things.  Walking through buildings, buildings with mech doors, infantry/BA/Proto movement through buildings, basements, fires, collapsing buildings, slips & skids, greater movement for vehicles, and other fun.

If you ever want to combine them with your tiles you should check out the terrain topic & sarna.net which has links to free paper building sites.  PM me and I can point out a few that I like that should be easy to access.
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Church14

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Re: So the celestial series... how to and why?
« Reply #21 on: 24 July 2019, 11:01:08 »
Two of us have 3D printers and there’s some community made buildings on thingiverse. I need to tweak the scale to get things right but they should provide an options.

I think it’s okay to mention that. We use building tiles from the cities and roads pack if we use official mapsheets.

Tangoforone

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Re: So the celestial series... how to and why?
« Reply #22 on: 24 July 2019, 12:09:58 »
We shouldn't also forget that they are Omni-mechs, hence they can carry the Demon series battlearmor into battle as well.  Fair enough, not all of the battlearmor options are excellent (and three of them can't be carried due to weight or design), but the Se'irim and the Asura are solid enough designs for what you get.

Or, bring in the Tengu with TAG lasers and get cheesy with off-board artillery while the Celestials finish the enemy off.

Empyrus

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Re: So the celestial series... how to and why?
« Reply #23 on: 24 July 2019, 13:29:31 »
Tengus for plasma shenanigans, Djinns for TAGing, Asuras for... style. Of course, Achileus, Longinus and Phalanx are options as well.

Personally i'm not big on Se'irim, 6 points of armor isn't really enough for medium BA. It has its uses certainly, but i'd rather have Asura or Longinus.
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Church14

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Re: So the celestial series... how to and why?
« Reply #24 on: 24 July 2019, 13:31:32 »
I need to look closer at that battle armor. Some of it looked real good.

I’m starting to enjoy combined arms for better and worse. So a 5k BV trio of celestials backed by 5k on battle armor, off board artillery, and vehicles is appealing.

10k lets them get a reasonable star of clan mechs/elementals against that.

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Re: So the celestial series... how to and why?
« Reply #25 on: 24 July 2019, 13:33:33 »
I have wanted a Longinus to mount RLs instead of SRMs, I think it would be more effective since to get mobile they have to be fired off . . . the range makes that more desirable.

Word of Blake also had what are called 'Choirs' which were a double L2, 6 of mechs or vehs and 6 BA squads.  One thing to also consider with the Celestials would be the Bolla Stealth Tank, a Omni-Veh that can plug in for a mech.
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Empyrus

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Re: So the celestial series... how to and why?
« Reply #26 on: 24 July 2019, 13:52:17 »
I need to look closer at that battle armor. Some of it looked real good.
The problem with the Se'irim is that it has only 6 armor. Makes it dubious as main battle armor, though it is acceptable urban combatant due to its fast ground speed. The Asura's 7 is a bit low but just and just acceptable (IMO, others prefer 8 minimum), it has good range with the rockets and good main gun (here the Longinus offers more armor at 9 but less range and worse main gun).

Do read the Battle Armor articles, they have some superb insight:
https://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=174.msg1584#msg1584
IS standard and pulse lasers: red; IS ER and X-pulses: blue; Re-engineered lasers: orange; Clan ER, pulse, and ER pulse lasers: green; Clan heavy lasers: yellow; PPCs: skyblue; PPCs w/capacitor: purplish-blue.

OpacusVenatori

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Re: So the celestial series... how to and why?
« Reply #27 on: 24 July 2019, 14:06:52 »
Playing Alpha Strike, intend to play them without any augmentation beyond skill increases.
My favorites are all the infernus variant, except for the seraph, of which I think the invictus variant (again, in Alpha Strike) is the best variant.
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dgorsman

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Re: So the celestial series... how to and why?
« Reply #28 on: 24 July 2019, 15:12:21 »
Six points of basic stealth armor, plus whatever implants the operator has.  Should be enough for most uses.
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Tangoforone

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Re: So the celestial series... how to and why?
« Reply #29 on: 24 July 2019, 16:24:51 »
Add a couple implants for the battle armor folks as well.  Again, the equipment itself isn't super-duper, it's the hopped-up-on-amphetamine, quasi-religious, toaster loving, cybernetic users that make it deadly; myomer leg implants to boost their MP by 1 and pain shunts to make them laugh at conventional infantry killers (inferno specifically).  There are a few others that might be worth it at well, but that is the minimum for me. 

I have heard MD infantry with implants is a nightmare as well, so if you pick up a few Heavy APCs to carry a couple platoons that could also be fun.