After thinking about it, I decided to do this in a video form. Though, I included the transcript for those who enjoy the text.
I must admit, I'm not a fan of Centurions ever since they got a hitbox pass about one and a half year ago. This hitbox pass fixed its ghost arm problem but it also enlarged its CT hitbox size. This made it more XL viable, but after this fix I found the Centurion much easier to take out, both as an opponent and as a pilot. On the contrary it used to be a really tough 'Mech to bring down, to the extend that the most reliable way of getting rid of it was taking its legs. It was like meeting the Stormcrow of today, you knew it would just refuse to die.
Don't take me wrong. It still is a good brawler, it just doesn't have the same staying power it had before. It's relegated to a fast skirmisher role with XL engines which is fine, but I miss the days when a STD Centurion could charge against a group of enemies and just endure.
Then, the last fall I met someone in the solo queue. He was running a ridiculously fast Centurion 9-D with a horribly undergunned armament. I laughed, but then he proceeded to destroy me in his supercharged Centurion. Twice in a row. Due to his speed at close range it was really hard to land accurate shots. I was both impressed and fascinated by his ingenuity. Ever since I've been playing with this obscure and fun build occasionally, which I want to talk about now.
The Centurion-9D is unique in the sense that it can mount engines up to 390 rating. An XL390 lets you run at 139 KPH but you're limited to just 8 tons of free space. This is enough to bring 2 medium lasers and 2 regular SRM4's, but the ammo is extremely limited. Dropping it down to an XL380 lets you bring 4.5 tons of ammo and is a decent build. I finally settled on an XL360, which lets you bring the amount of ammo except with Artemis SRM6'es. The speed drops to 128 KPH but it's still ridiculously fast for a 50 tonner. Yes this is Commando levels of firepower, but bear with me!
When you drop with this thing, which I refer to as "the animal" you'll immediately notice it responds and plays like a light. It's super mobile, can turn and torso twist in a dime and because the enemies can't properly aim at you, it's much much more survivable. It's how the Commando should have been except it's a huge 'Mech towering everything but the tallest. Despite its ridiculous looks, this is a viscious killer once you get up and close with your targets. If you're focused you can instantly pull to range, let your target get distracted by something else and swoop in again.
The speed also changes how this 'Mech takes damage. The arms start catching random shots without any effort and your side torsos naturally start tanking without much effort. You can control the amount your sides tank by adjusting the amount of time you stare at your targets. If your sides are getting unproportionally hurt, just stare them down. If you want to protect your CT, immediately twist away after firing your SRMs.
Another fun fact is, the Centurion is not alone with its ludicrous speed ability. The Trebuchet-3C can also mount engines up to 390 rating and can be equally fun to play. Unlike the Centurion you're not limited to missile builds and you can do pretty hard hitting laser builds like triple large lasers or large pulse and three medium lasers. The problem with the Trebuchet is, even at speeds above 130 KPH doesn't help its horrible hitboxes. The lasers also take away your ability to twist which doesn't help its survivability. You're also forced to mount your lasers on your arms and those big arms drop very fast at these speeds.
Anyway, I just wanted to share this fun little thing with you. I hope you enjoyed it and I'll see you guys on the battlefield!