This week's BATTLETECH mech analysis is going to have us looking at the Archer- a classic unseen reseen mech from the Battletech universe. For my own personal tactica I use the following matrix-formula to help rank battlemechs. Weapons system first- what is it trying to do, what can it do, heat vs. ammo and how much sustained fire over various ranges can it push out. Armor second- how long can it stay at its intended weapons role once opposing units start firing back. What level of attention will it draw on the table? Movement third: Run, walk, jump values that work with weapons and armor. Layered over that are any quirks or special features with the mech- targeting systems, hatchet, no hands, etc.
Let's put the Archer through that filter. We start with the LRM-20 packs on the Archer. First strength is redundancy- three is some, two is one, and one is none. Having two or more of the same weapon range and damage increases the chances to hit and makes your damage output more consistent. With a 15-20 pack the average damage rolled on the missile table is also consistent and decent. However with a 15-20 pack, if you roll legendary and high that damage output is crippling to a light or medium mechs, and heavy/assault class mechs don't like eating that damage.
Bonus tactical points for the LRM's vs. autocannon or other long range weapons since you can also fire indirect as an option. So with the LRM-20s we have what looks like a dedicated and solid support mech- laying down long-medium fire. But then we add in the medium lasers. Tonnage vs. damage vs. heat medium lasers are the best (inner sphere) weapon in the game. Stock Archer has two in the arms and two on top. More redundancy with the lasers, and now something to switch over as the range closes. Compared to a similar LRM missile boat like the Longbow the Archer can close the distance and or isn't afraid if another mech closes with it.
Closing the hex-distance the Archer can also engage mechs that like to fight at close range like the Warhammer. Fire the LRM missiles on the way in, switch to the lasers, and then make physical attacks when you are point blank. The Archer is also a brawler. Not a dedicated brawler, but it is a viable option. Fire off the top lasers and punch with the two fists for a 1-6 head shot. Worth the loss of firing the two arm lasers. So balancing that out with the rest of the matrix what do we have to look out for? Pacing and the heat sinks.
The Archer doesn't have the heat sinks for sustained fire, and if one takes an engine hit or looses some heat sinks it will cripple the mech. Archer pilot need to watch the rate of fire give how fast enemy mechs or units can close the distance. If you are up against slower machines you can push the heat for a bit and allow it to cool off before opposing machines close to short range- and you need to keep the medium lasers firing sustained.
Faster mechs might mean you only get one LRM volley off.