In Battletech the Thunderbolt is a true god-of-war machine, boasting an impressive amount of weapons, armor, and being able to engage and hold at multiple ranges. A 65 ton mech that behaves and feels like a 80+ ton mech.
The Thunderbolt is an important mech to master as it is one of the heavy mechs included in the Game of Armored Combat starter set- chances are good that you will either be facing it on the table, or fielding it as part of your lance force.
Tactically the mech is a close in fighter- making it’s way to point blank facing other mechs and leveraging the combination of medium-short ranged weapons and armor to torrent opponents down.
We begin with the LRM-15 which gives the mech something to do on the way in. The 15 pack has some bite and is over the 5/10 line. LRM 5/10 packs are more for skirmishing given the spread of missiles, but 15/20 become direct attack as they have the good spread- and if you roll high on the chart the ability to inflict some solid damage on the target.
Having only 1 LRM means target priority is important- fire on the target that you want to soften up on the way in- start stripping armor bubbles so that when you get to the optimal range for the Thunderbolt you already have a head start. Firing at slower moving targets is preferred over the temptation of smaller light and fast mechs which will have range and speed keeping them safe.
Next we move to the large laser, and ask the question why not a PPC?
One can certainly mech-lab it, but the large laser fits the mech given the tonnage really spreading out the other weapons and armor.
Heat management is a challenge with the T-Bolt- as in you have to mange combat with 15 heat sinks. The large laser loses two damage points vs. a PPC but also shaves off the heat- and there is no minimum on the large laser which makes it useful at all range brackets.
As we close, not we come to the alpha of the mech- a brace of medium lasers, an SRM 2 and machine guns.
Get as close as you can, using the medium lasers to punch through armor, followed by or combined with the SRM pack and machine guns to seek any open armor spots to try and score critical hits.
Don’t forget- as a close in mech, with 65 tons, punching and kicking can be deadly- especially punching, given a 1 in 6 chance for a head shot, which even if it does not crush the opposing mech’s head, will force a check on the Mechwarrior.
Class is in session Mechwarrior- more Thunderbolt tactica and analysis below in my Battletech Tactics vlog.
Play and listen to it below.
See you in the game!