Continuing our BATTLETECH heavy mech review with one of my favorite mechs this week...
...the Thunderbolt. I find the T-bolt a very capable machine, with limitations that we can work with as long as one can show a little restraint as a mech warrior.
Tactically, the Thunderbolt is a mech that becomes more dangerous the closer it gets to the target or target zone- which fits tactically because it is a heavy mech. It WILL be going in and taking stuff down, vs. light mechs that recon or dance around, or medium mechs who snipe of have escort duty. We start off at range on the way in with the LRM 15.
From the perspective of an LRM 5/10/15/20 the 15 and 20 are the best taken in a single weapon. An average roll on the cluster table with the 15 puts out good damage, roll hot and it gets even better. The LRM also give us some direct fire options if we have a spotter, but this is a bonus since the T-bolt is not a static mech like say the Longbow.
Getting closer we now add the large laser into the mix. First few times I was playing the Thunderbolt I was really wishing for the PPC- with the extra two points of damage and range. But with so few heat sinks there is a difference between 8 heat and 10 heat.
The large laser is a fair mix of damage and heat. Side note: how many heavy and assault mechs do you see with a large laser as the primary weapon? Grasshopper and Stalker? Most are PPC like the Battlemaster, Awesome, Marauder, Warhammer, etc.
Once we get close to the target zone or opposing mech we now have a good mix of medium and short range weapons- the medium lasers and the SRM pack. Bonus tactics because these are in the side torso locations so the T-bolt can fire along with punching. As a heavy mech the chance to knock a head off with the tonnage damage is worth not taking the large laser shot, not that we have the heat management to do that at close range vs. firing smaller weapons. LRM and large laser for shots on the way in. Medium lasers and SRM for medium and close range. Fists for brawling. Machine guns?
I find infinite use for these, especially in a mech that wants and needs to close. A bit of extra crit seeking damage vs. other mechs, but the REAL use is anti-infantry. There are times in a combined arms game where infantry are static and dug in- you are going to have to walk past them or flush them out. Three of four stands of infantry will murder a light mech and put the hurt on a medium mech- a heavy mech can take the shots, not that we want to take them, but it at least opens up the option- followed by making a stand vanish from machine gun fire each turn.