Killing 'Mechs efficiently — Part I

Being efficient with your damage is an invaluable skill in MWO. While 'Mechs eventually go down if you just aim for the center mass and just keep pumping damage, being inefficient with your damage also means your enemy will have more time to retaliate and damage you. If you don't aim for their weak spots, experienced opponents might even turn tables completely by working on your weak components instead. This is indeed the best weapon of the skilled players and one of the best parts of this game; killing stuff takes time and therefore knowledge and consistency is rewarded over "who shot first".

In these series of articles, I will talk about the core of combat; the art of killing your opponents and talk about the weak spots of your opponents. Before I begin, make sure you have the following covered:
  • You have your mouse sensitivity lowered to a comfortable level, where you can aim smoothly but not so much that you have problems torso twisting or tracking fast targets.
  • You have a decent build optimized for your desired gameplay style. By this I mean having good close, mid or long range builds. 
  • You have decent FPS. Ideally your FPS should be as high as your monitor refresh rate. This is important because more FPS means more information for your brain to process and therefore faster reaction rates. Lower your settings or your resolution if necessary.
  • Turn down some settings. Especially effects and particles may lead to some nasty sparkles to appear, which will block your vision and confuse you.

Part I — Where to aim for specific 'Mechs

Learning these are very tricky. You might think a certain 'Mech is hard to take out as an opponent but as you play with them yourself, you will begin to see their weak points. Though, not everyone owns every 'Mech and has access to this information. I am one of those lucky enough to own most of them (everything except the Jenners, Jagers, Adders and Novas plus money only 'Mechs) and have played most of them equally as much. I hope you will find this information useful.

I will begin with the light 'Mechs and make my way up to the assaults in consequent posts. I will also be using the excellent hitbox images Tamerlin made on the forums. Seriously take your time and thank him in that thread, his work is amazing. 


Lights are one of the hardest 'Mechs to deal with, simply because dealing with them require good timing and consistency. Due to their speed they can change directions quickly and their tiny hitboxes make damaging them difficult, especially with lasers. However when they get hit, remember that every scratch hurts.


The Locust is the lightest of lights and it practically has no armor on paper. However it makes up for this with its ludicrous speed and acceleration/deceleration. A Locust pilot abusing these can dance going back on forth right in front of your average MWO pilot and still be nigh invulnerable to lasers. However, the Locust can only survive when he's making use of these advantages and even then a well placed shot or a well held laser burn can still ruin their day. 

The Locust actually has great hitboxes (after a second pass by PGI). The sides are dominated by STs, while the front is by CT. However, if you're aiming for the upper torso center mass, it will also inevitably spread damage to the sides. My take:
  • Shoot its legs and take away its mobility. Though remember that they get +16 leg internals which brings their leg health to 40, a respectable value. If your opponent is using his mobility well, I'd say go for the legs.
  • Take your time and aim well. Seriously, do you have a Gauss? Just take your moment and time your shot instead of just dumping in the general direction. All it takes to bring a Locust is a well aimed shot. Hold your fire and wait for your moment.
  • Otherwise, there's not much to it. It's a 'Mech relying on not getting hit and when you take your time to land a good shot, it'll go down or disengage regardless of where you hit it.


The Commando is one of the easiest 'Mechs to kill or disable even more so than the Locust. It has a lot of surface area for its tonnage so it tends to soak up damage really well. I also find it easy to focus individual components.
  • Do you see that massive rear CT hitbox? Try to shoot its back! The Commandos just can't afford to show their back to their opponents. 
  • A good COM pilot will have to split his CT armor almost 50-50 between front and rear due to this, which will weaken its CT as a whole. Go for the center-mass for easy CT corings.
  • If you don't have time to get rid of it, go for an easy disable with arms. They're very easy to take down.
  • Legs are a personal matter, but with the quirks they have a total of 48 leg hitpoints which are pretty considerable. I'd rather go for the torsos.

Mist Lynx

This is another freebie. Unlike the Commando which can run at ludicrous speeds and be annoying to catch, the Mist Lynx is slow. A fatal flaw for a light 'Mech with little armor. On top of this, its arms and legs are ridiculously big; another fatal flaw. You might think the JJs can save this thing, but being slow and having lots of JJs is also a bad combination. As you use JJs, you slow down. With a lot of JJs, you end up going straight up with no forward speed soon after, which makes killing it very easy.
  • Go for the limbs. Take off its arms to get rid of its weapons and then let it wander around. It's your mascot now.
  • Go for the legs if they're using JJs.
  • I usually don't bother with the torso, unless it's already legged.


The Spider is one of the most hated 'Mechs in MWO. Just google "MWO spider" and feast upon the tears of many opponents raging about it being "invulnerable". Being narrow, having nearly perfect hitboxes and skinny limbs are a huge part of the reason why. Though historically wonky hit detection of MWO also amplified their effectiveness.

Anyway due these properties, the Spider is very hard to take out by going center-mass unless you can simply shower it with a massive alpha. Though it has one, big weakness:
  • Legs, go for legs! The Spider one of the few lights that doesn't get any extra leg hitpoints and it desperately need them. The legs make up for a huge part of its profile and the fact that this being a 'Mech relying on JJs makes it even worse, as jump jetting 'Mechs tend to take more damage in legs. Spiders are ridiculously easy to leg and most experienced Spider pilots will flee if they realize you're focusing their legs.


The Kitfox is an oversized 'Mech. However, this doesn't mean that it's easy to take out. In fact, it's one of the most annoying lights you can come up against. They're easy to disable, but very hard to take down due to their Clan-XL engines.

As you can see, its frontal profile is dominated by its CT and leg hitboxes. Though from the sides, their arms and STs make up the bulk of their profile. While you can easily focus their CT from the front, you will find it extremely difficult to kill if you don't have a good frontal angle. A good KFX pilot on its last legs will let you pop a side and afterwards abuse its JJs to tank with their legs and shield with the dead side to make their death as painful for you as possible.
  • Just go for the legs. Seriously, unless you can quickly dump a massive alpha into its CT, it's not worth the hassle. The KFX legs are absolutely huge and will pop without much difficulty. Afterwards you can ignore the immobilized KFX (they'll still be a bitch to kill) and focus on higher priority targets.


The Adder is very similar to the KFX in regards of hitbox behaviour. It's has the same flaws and advantages. Though the Adder doesn't have JJs, which makes it easier to kill after legging.
  • I favor taking STs off first. They're very easy to hit from an angle and will pop without much difficulty. Afterwards the Adder will lose a lot of heat efficiency which will make life very miserable for its pilot.
  • Legging is as always, very useful here. The Adder's legs are very chubby. The best of all they can't make their good leg hard to hit by abusing JJs like the KFX.


These hitboxes are old. Check out Mu0nNeutrino's post on Reddit for the updated ones.

The notorious "walking CT". Despite the recent hitbox fix, the Jenner is still one of the easiest 'Mechs to take out. Still, with its low profile and ridiculous mobility a good pilot will attempt to hide it as much as possible.

The Jenner is a bit like the Locust when it comes to hitboxes. Legging it is often difficult but they'll go down in no time if you can hit its torso.
  • Relax, take your time and focus that CT. A Jenner can't afford face-time with its opponents so a good Jenner pilot will attempt to shoot while jump jetting or rely on stationary hillhumping/cornet peeking. 
  • If they're JJ'ing they won't be very accurate so simply torso twist, absorb and seek a CT shot when they land.
  • If they're hillhumping/peeking they rely on catching your off-guard. Time your shots just like the Locust if you must kill it quickly.
  • Otherwise, just shower with whatever you have. Most of your damage will go to the CT anyway.


Now this is one of the most annoying 'Mechs to take down. As you can see, the hitbox distribution is just perfect. On top of that it doesn't rely on arm hardpoints, so it can't be defanged. It has no apparent weaknesses and therefore we must fall back to the usual anti-light measures:
  • Generally go for the legs. They have no extra leg armor/internals and just like the Spider, they make a up the bulk of the side/front profile. 
  • The torso tends to distribute damage very evenly unless you can punch through with a lucky Gauss/AC shot. I'd avoid it unless it's already cored somehow.
  • The arms can be taken out relatively easy for reduced damage output.


Again, a very balanced design just like the FS. Despite being slow, its torso tends to distribute damage very evenly and a PNT will always make you work for it. Its legs also have extra structure which will make the usual measures harder. Though, it's not without its weaknesses:
  • Right arm. Take it off! It's absolutely huge and houses almost all of its firepower. After it's gone it'll be harmless.
  • The rear profile is dominated by the rear CT just like the Commando.


The juiciest of the juiciest for me. The Raven is a great hillhumper due to its small frontal profile and will make your life miserable if it's allowed to have a comfortable nest. But when pressed upon, it'll pop very easily. It's notoriously easy to leg and has a huge side profile and is easy to take out either way.
  • The sides are completely dominated by the STs, especially near its roots. I favor taking them out from its sides simply because it's more reliable and require less effort than legging. 
  • The whole area between its legs is CT and the best of all, it's unaffected by torso twisting. You can just shoot between the legs from whatever angle.
  • Legging is the fall-back option and works every time. This is especially useful if you think the Raven can escape.

This is it for today. See you in the next part!
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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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