Giving the Clans a brawly welcome

Welcome to da hood, Clanners!
The Clan pack is almost here with its new shiny content. We've never had so much content released at the same time before and naturally there is a lot of excitement in the air. People will finally be able to pilot favourite Clan mechs, use clan weapons, enjoy the expanded mech customization and of course toot their warhorns. First Public Test was a massive success overall; the new features worked wonderfully, the weapon balance felt a bit rough but much better than expected and Clan mech animations and models were just awesome. PGI probably made a lot of money too. The word of mouth fueled the hype and a lot of people who where on the fence were convinced by their friends and video footage out there. Public Test #2 will start today and will probably be even crazier than the first one.

Yet, what's in it for us Inner Sphere guys? People who are not interested in Clan mechs (as if that's possible) or can't afford them and waiting for the C-Bill versions. What does this patch bring for them? Well, seemingly nothing. However, if you dig down into the forums and Twitter, it turns out it brings us one simple but very important thing; SRM hit-registration fixes.

This. Changes. Everything. In public and competitive games, SRMs were mostly ignored in favor of ballistics, lasers and LRMs which had a decently working hit-detection. SRMs though, were simply a coin-flip every time. Most of the time the full damage was not applied, and it seemed to get worse the more SRMs included in a salvo. These issues made a lot of non-ballistic and missile-heavy mechs obsolete. For example —once a feared opponent, SRM Centurions slowly disappeared except for a few adventurous pilots dropping with them. Kintaros, being a missile heavy 55-tonner and a good upgrade to SRM Centurions, were obsolete the second they were first released. Mostly doomed to boating LRMs. Commandos disappeared altogether and SRM brawler Atlases were converted to dual LBX versions, PPC carriers and even worse, LRM boats. Without the sheer firepower of SRMs, brawling was left to die for over a year.

. . . not anymore. Having tested the PT #1, I can safely say that the SRM hit detection works reliably enough to make them "the" weapon to have at close ranges. Brawling is coming back and a whole different way of playing this game will be unlocked once again. A lot of mechs are going to become viable and even feared. That's why I came up with the idea of this article, what better time for us Inner Sphere guys to bring our best brawlers and give them a warm, hearty welcome? SRM fix is our mech pack too, it will make a lot of obscure mechs viable again.

So, here's the deal. First, Download PTS #2 today. Your test account will have 50M C-Bills and 500K GXP, enough to buy any mech and elite them. If you missed the PTS #2 and reading this after the Clan invasion, no problem. I will include a few of my classic SRM-heavy brawlers below to give you some ideas, and you can see for yourself if you can notice a difference. There will be a lot of Clan mechs around and let me tell you, they're not as tough as they look. Most of them have a Catapult-like CT geometry and a rectangular profile from all angles, making them sub-par compared to IS mechs in close combat. IS mechs on the contrary, have a wide front and back profile but thin side profiles.

One last note —to celebrate the return of brawlers, I will be beginning a "Brawling Guide" next week. We'll be discussing mechs, hitboxes, maps, positioning, taking damage properly and of course builds. Hopefully I'll convince a few of you to try this fun type of gameplay!

The Drive-By Commando

I already had a "Brawler of the week" piece on this guy, which is surprisingly nimble and effective. Commandos don't suffer from scaling issues, have great hitboxes, a tight turning-radius and are probably the best light-SRM carriers, despite their tonnage. You can read the article for more details!

The Zombie Centurion

Ah, the mech everyone used to hate when they appeared. They have shield arms that actually work, great mobility with STD engines and balanced hitboxes. They generally have a problem with the concept of "dying". Before Paul reached down from the skies and hit them with his nerfbat, the only way to reliably destroy these monsters was to screw the torso and go for the legs. After the hitbox fixes, it's still good but it also lost its legendary endurance. Still, it's a fun and cheap way to brawl. The build below is only my suggestion, there are many variations with bigger STD engines or faster XLs.

The Boomtaro

The forgotten missile medium, can the SRMs bring them back? Well, take a look at this one, it has 19DPS at close range! That's as much as a DPS Banshee with 2xAC2's, 2xAC5s and 4xMLs. Well no wonder, this guy has 5xSRM6 launchers and 2xMLs. That's a 64.5 damage SRM alpha to the face every time folks, no matter how you aim, anything will melt away in just three shots to the body. ML's add an extra 10 points of damage, bringing the total to 74.5. The ghost heat isn't that bad with five launchers, but it's a good habit to alpha them 3-2 with 0.5 seconds intervals in-between. 700 rounds of ammo means you can afford to alpha as much as you can.

The only disadvantage is the need for an XL engine and the somewhat CT heavy hitboxes of the Kintaros. They're not that bad since the hitbox fixes though.

Even the mighty Timber Wolf is powerless against the Boomtaro

The Incredible Flying Griffin

Griffins are made for this job, period. You can think of them as flying Centurions with working shield arms and very balanced hitboxes. They are tall, but narrow and this allows them to dodge more shots than usual. It's very easy to spread damage and learn the behavior of its hitboxes. These mechs were already very effective SRM brawlers and the SRM fix will only make them even scarier. Look out for these mechs after the patch!

Jumpjet Brawling:  The gameplay style is a bit different from the "ground-bound" brawlers though. You have to play differently than usual, which I call "jumpjet brawling". It's hard to describe, but you start by abusing your jumpjets all the time, which is why we have almost full jumpjets on this guy. You keep moving like a light, poptart with your SRMs during stand-offs, and in brawls you keep the aggro away by jumping around and over the mechs. When you use JJs a lot, your legs start tanking damage which gives you even more durability than traditional brawlers like Cent-A. That's why XLs aren't that bad on these guys.

All of the Griffins are excellent, but my absolute favorite is the 1N because of its balanced 3E and 3M layout.

The Ugly Duckling Wolverine

Wolverines are very similar to Griffins. They are tanky, have jumpjets, have a lot of missile hardpoints and the only differences are a variant with a ballistic hardpoint and a head mounted E harpoint. On the flip side, their profile is bulkier than the Griffin, which attracts more damage overall. Its legs are huge and take a lot of punishment even when you're not jumpjetting. However, they make excellent STD engine brawlers because of the diverse hardpoint locations. That's why this guy is an excellent choice if you want your 55-ton Centurion. Just look at the placement of those SRM racks!

The Speedy Quickdraw

Another extinct species which are pretty good jumpjet brawlers. They suffer from scaling and hitbox issues (seriously, they are walking CTs), but it doesn't mean they're useless, just harder to work with. You will need to do some rigorous torso twisting to spread damage around, but thankfully they respond pretty well to torso twisting. They're pretty safe to use with XLs and that means these guys can have ridiculous mobility for a heavy mech. I created this build after seeing a guy mopping the floor with the other team, by abusing his jumpjets and speed to their limits. It's definitely not a traditional brawler but more of a precision striker, brawling the heck out of enemy mechs caught out of position. In that sense it can go toe to toe with pretty much anything.

The Unbreakable VA

Orions have a special place in my heart, and I just cannot write this article without mentioning the most
brawly of them all, the VA. VA is unique in the sense of having the most arm-mounted missile harpoints in the game, making it an excellent pure-bred brawler. Its mobility is decent with an STD300, but not great. Still, it makes up for that with its durability. It can tank an absurd damage before going down, and this enables it to go face-to-face with anything.

Unfortunately, if you want to run 4xSRM6'es on this mech, you have to make sacrifices. I included a more all-round build to make your trial more enjoyable. It outputs a face-breaking 18 DPS, but cannot sustain it for long. That's why you should bring a few Cool-Shots with you.


Brawlanders have been absent from public games ever since the SRM hit-registration issues appeared. Even so, I regularly run them and they are just amazing when I get lucky with the hit registration and positioning. Great hitboxes (though a bit CT heavy), tons upon tons of armor and a balanced hardpoint layout gives them the edge in close combat situations.

The 733C is a perfect example of a fully-equipped jumpjet brawler. This build has decent cooling efficiency, a good firepower, full jumpjets and an AMS for extra survivability. The only downside is the painful mobility, when you commit to a brawl with this guy, you really commit to it. There is no disengaging, you either win or you get absolutely murdered. Still, with the SRM changes, I doubt you're going to be on the victim side of the murder.

If you really like your SRMs, to the extend of making a lot of sacrifices, there's another Brawlander you should think about. This monster has 4xASRM6'es and a better mobility, but loses its STD engine and jumpjets. Still, an option if you're feeling sluggish since mounting STD325's with a decent build is pretty much impossible for Highlanders.

The Grandfather

One does not simply outbrawl an Atlas
There's going to be a lot of debate about "Atlas or a Dire Wolf" in the forums and the community overall, but here's my 2 Cents —when it comes to brawling, Atlas is still a better choice. The Dire Wolf is the indisputable king when it comes to spewing lead downrange, its mid-long range capabilities are truly unmatched. It will outsnipe an Atlas every time. However, when it comes to close range, I found them to be much more vulnerable than an Atlas. One disadvantage is their inability to mount bigger engines. They're stuck with a Clan XL and their speed is topped at 53.5 KPH with a silly turning radius. Their torso mobility is more bearable, but it'll still be slower than a brawl-fit Atlas. Another, but a very important disadvantage is their profile. They are simply too big. Their profile from all angles is just terrible, think of them as a giant cube. Front, sides, behind and even top are very vulnerable and very hard to miss. Their head sticks out just like a Stalker, but it doesn't have the Stalker's unique hitbox. They're more similar to a Catapult's. 

Atlas on the other hand, can properly shield with it's arms and has a thinner side profile. Its front hitboxes are very balanced and distributes damage almost naturally. They enjoy a better upper torso mobility with better arm motion range. They're built to dump damage and turn away, while Daishi has to stare its opponent down to do damage. The only disadvantage for a 100 tonner is its low hardpoints. It's simply a better brawler. 

That being said, let's take a look at this classic DDC brawler, my Atlas of choice.

17DPS? Check. Good cooling efficiency? Check. Mobility? Check. Armor and survivability? Check. This will streamroll anything provided they're on an even ground. It will fight against multiple opponents and win. This mech will give the clanners a run for their money, because they simply don't have anything at its level for close range. At least, not yet.


This has taken a lot longer than expected, but I think it has been a good overview of what kind of SRM monsters IS side possesses. There are many many more options that I skipped, but I will be talking about them in the future! Now, go out there and "hug" our Clan brothers with your SRM brawlers. Give them some true IS love.

If you have other facemelting SRM builds, feel free to post them in the comments!
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About Rak

I'm an engineer who likes to write extremely long articles about games that border simulation and mainstream.
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