When is an Archer still an Archer?

If you are a new player to Battletech, after you have begun to play around with the combined arms tactics of mechs, vehicles, and infantry, there is always more to explore…

…like variants on your favorite mechs.

I usually play stock mechs, but there are a few variants I will always now play that replace the stock mech- like the SRM locust variant.

One medium laser, and two SRM-2 packs are better suited to running around on the table with 3-6 Locust mechs acting as their own mini disruption lance. I found that I was never using the machine guns since I would have to get so close to my target and that would cut down on my modifiers which protect such a small machine.

With the Locust I want to be full running for that hex bonus and stack a big enough range bonus if I can.

Now I’m playing around with the 6W variant of the Archer, perhaps to work with my Longbows so the list plays a bit more aggressive.

The 6W variant downgrades the LRM tech to simple rocket launchers- eight 20 packs and two 10 packs. We lose some range as these are clustered unguided missiles, but we gain the ability to fire as many packs as we want.

Given the weight, armor, and fists of the Archer and the shorter range of the missiles, I’m experimenting with this.

Longbows, Archers, a blocking unit- Demolisher tanks, Orion, Warhammer- depends on the battle value and fancy, and lots of infantry + Locusts.

The whole group stays close and at range and fires at range either directly or indirectly. When we close with enemy mechs, or they close, the infantry swarm as the Longbows start backing up and firing away. The Archers break and rush ahead firing off multiple missile packs before going in for a brawl with the fists and medium lasers.

Can the 6W be a kind of alpha strike?

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Categories: Blog Post: Battletech


Jordan Hubbard · February 7, 2018 at 9:32 AM

Critical Statement- “but we gain the ability to fire as many packs as we want(!)”
I’ve never played with Tech from the 3067 era (from which I think RLs are located?) but it seems like a valid strategy to me. It’s a gamble to be sure, but in a city fight, or in hill or mountainous terrain, you could pop around a corner or a mountain and just wreck an opposing mech. You could hit them with enough rockets to peel away their armor on even an assault mech, force a PSR with penalties, and then the Archer can move in and tie up that mech in melee combat. (And 4 MLs are not a bad option either.)
You would want to make sure that the trade is worth it, because you are essentially exhausting the offensive firepower of one heavy mech to carve up an opponent’s mech. If I were the opposition, I would try to close in on that Archer with a light or medium to force an uneven exchange. (Lance support is important here.)

But is the 6W still an Archer? Um…yeah. I say it is. It plays differently, but the Archer is a missile bombardment support mech. RLs in place of LRMs don’t have to change the fundamental role. When the 3052 rules came out all the inner sphere mechs were upgraded with Guass rifles. A Victor with a Guass rifle plays differently than the standard Victor, but it still fits the profile of a Victor.

    Wargamer Fritz · February 7, 2018 at 9:35 AM

    Or perhaps not so much an alpha-strike damage dealer like I was thinking in the post, but what about a crit seeker? Open up a right or left torso with internal ammo, or a central torso, and then cook off all or most of those missiles to crit seek it.

    I’m also looking to see if there are any low tech options/variants for the LRM carrier- 3 X 20 LRM packs are good, but could I get more by taking the rocket launcher downgrade?

      Jordan Hubbard · February 7, 2018 at 11:48 AM

      That would be really great and cost effective to have a Rocket carrier over an LRM carrier, if it exists.

      If you had a couple of mechs that your longbows and maybe some long range PPC fire had opened up, that Archer could be their worst nightmare. Same kind of thing. Keep the Archer somewhat in the backfield or out of the fight then jump him in at the right time and fire rocket packs at several targets.

      One problem I see with changing the strategy and the role of the Archer (using it as an ambush finisher or a crit seeker) is that I would probably need to change how some of the other lances are composed or how they operate. If I was planning on chewing up enemies at range so I could use the Archers as crit-seekers, I would need to reconfigure another lance with heavier long range weapons (PPCs, ER LLs, Gauss) to compliment the Longbows’ fire as the enemy line is closing.

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