Killing 'Mechs efficiently — Part II

Firstly, I got great feedback from you for the first article. I'm really happy some of you found these tips and tricks useful, which only makes me want to write more and share with you.

This time we're picking up where we left, starting the with the mediums.


The mediums are known for their balance of firepower, mobility and protection in the Battletech universe. They're also cheap to manufacture so they form the bulk of many armies. In MWO however, they're in a bit of a tight spot. Most of them have scaling issues and in addition, they can rarely take advantage of STD engines due to massive loss of firepower and mobility. Therefore, many of them are riddled with fatal weaknesses.


The Cicada is basically a light on steroids. Sitting at the bottom of the medium category with 40 tons, it's also decently scaled (still a big jump from 35t lights though). Their legs are pretty slim and they get extra leg structure from its quirks, so legging is often difficult. They also have great torso twist ranges, which makes them excellent platforms to shoot on the move. Therefore if you come up against good pilots abusing this property they can be very annoying to bring down.

Fortunately, they're not without weaknesses. First of all, the Cicada has a protruding nose which is completely covered by the CT hitbox. If you look at the image above the frontal profile is balanced, but when you consider the protruding part at an angle, it actually dominates the profile and STs are pretty small in comparison. The arms are pretty small and rarely block any damage.
  • The easiest way to take it out; aim for the center mass and shoot the CT. The Cicada CT will suck most of the damage you throw at it, especially from an angle (which is the common case).
  • If the CDA pilot is a rookie one (those who tend to stare at you and not move much), then I go for one of the STs to take it quicker.
  • Legging is an option, but as I said, the legs are slim and they get extra structure too. It'll take a while.


This is a 'Mech that is a frequent sight in the queues nowadays. Why wouldn't it be? It has godly laser quirks, excellent mobility, great geometry, hitboxes and it's one of the best scaled 'Mechs in this game. The Blackjack is truly an example of a 'Mech done right.

As you can see from the picture above, the hitboxes are well balanced. The centerline only slightly protrudes around the cockpit area, but it doesn't comprimise the CT much at an angle. The STs are dominant in the middle-low area of the 'Mech while the CT dominates the upper part. Therefore the shots to the middle of the 'Mech tend to be distributed evenly between torsos. The arms also tend to block damage from the sides. The legs of the Blackjack are again very slim and since the Blackjacks tend to be very fast, they're hard to target individually due to animation. On top of this, the quirks give massive structure bonuses to its STs.
  • The Blackjack doesn't get any structure bonuses for its CT, so it's the easiest way to take it out. Since the BJ doesn't have lower arm actuators, they also have to stare directly at you when they fire, making it easy to core them. The best way to ensure you damage the CT as much as possible is to shoot the cockpit area, where the CT hitbox is the largest.
  • Legging is another option, but it's really hard unless you're packing big ballistics that can strip armor outright.


The Vindicator is a superb tanker, but the good things about it ends here. It's grossly oversized, chubby, has problems dishing out damage and its limbs tend to fall off at the slightest breeze. It'll make you work for it, but in the end it'll only be slightly difficult than clubbing a baby seal.

It's not apparent in the picture above, but the Vindicator torso has quite a lot of depth. This gives it a quite a lot of surface area which the poor 45 tonner has no way of compensating. It'll soak damage like a sponge soaks water.
  • The easiest way of taking it out: leg it. Its legs are absolutely huge — especially from the sides. It's one of the easiest 'Mechs to leg in this game. The Vindicator relies on what mobility it has to spread damage and as soon as you you take it away, it's a sitting duck.
  • You might try taking a side for an XL check as well. Though, due to good hitboxes it'll be hard to focus one down. Fortunately the sides are very easy to focus from behind so you may try that instead.
  • You can rip off its arms if you want to amuse yourself with a head laser Vindicator pet.


Once upon a time, the Centurion was one of the tankiest in this game. Not only it had shield arms, but it also had a very narrow CT hitbox strip. You had to go through its arms and sides before reliably damaging its CT. It also had a nice little bug where an invisible part of the arm hitboxes remained on the model even after they're destroyed, greatly reducing the damage taken. It was almost a tankier 'Mech than an Atlas and I loved it. The only way to take it down before it tore you apart was to go for its legs.

The Current Centurion is but a shadow of its former self. Its CT hitbox is unnecessarily enlarged in the middle, taking away its durability and brawliness for better XL suitability. The invisible arms are also unfortunately gone. As it is, this is one of the easiest mediums to take out and disable.

You have two main ways of dealing with a Centurion:
  • You can take off its right arm. An armless Centurion is also a harmless one since most sport a big AC there. The quirks give substantial structure to its arm (16 structure for RA, 16 armor for LA), but it's still a very big and easy target. This is especially a great choice when you don't have the time to for the kill, but you also need the Centurion neutered. Also as a light.
  • Go for the massive CT. Anything you dump in the center of the torso will go directly to its CT. It's impossible to miss and as a Centurion pilot, I will hate you for doing this.


Now this is an unique opponent do deal with. The unique feature of the Hunchback is well, it's hunch. It's also the place where it's weaponry is stored in (except the J and the SP). Most Hunchback pilots will mount STD engines to prevent premature deaths to STs as well, making this 'Mech a very tough opponent to bring down. 

The Hunchback is another one of those well scaled 'Mechs. Its torso is quite narrow with balanced hitboxes, making it hard to focus anything but its right torso. No matter how you approach this thing, it'll make you work for it.
  • Always go for the Hunch first. It's best to disable the HBK as quickly as possible rather than going for a kill. Otherwise you risk taking tons of damage in return, since these things pack a punch. If a HBK pilot understands you're targeting their hunch, they'll most likely to disengage and try to find someone who shoots center mass instead anyway. The best thing about targeting the hunch first is, sometimes you get easy XL kills from greedy pilots. Especially Grid Iron's are a pleasure to pop, since most tend to bring XLs and Gauss tends to explode at the slightest damage.
  • If the HBK is twisting well, targeting the hunch might be a bit hard. In these situations just don't give into the temptation of dumping damage as soon as possible, but wait for him to show his hunch instead. You can also trick them into turning to you by shooting your secondary weapons and when they face you to answer, dump your primaries on the hunch.


This another 'Mech which is as rare as a unicorn and for a good reason. The Trebuchet, despite its relatively narrow torso and slim legs, is another oversized 'Mech. It can be a very fun and effective SRM brawler at good hands, but its geometry and hitboxes are so bad that even an experienced gamer will easily fall in the hands of an opponent who knows where to shoot.

The Trebuchet is pretty much a big Spider. It's fast, agile, responsive and has great air time with JJs. However, it has a ridiculously designed CT hitbox that houses a black hole that sucks every single bit of damage thrown in its vicinity. Seriously, I have tens of hours in some of my Trebuchets and they're the only 'Mechs where I took side torso armor off to make free tonnage. They're so ridiculously hard to ST. Another weakness is its huge arms (more so with the latest dynamic geometry update) which house almost all of its firepower. It's not hard to leg either. I especially find it amusing that PGI chose to give it extra structure in it quirks rather than CT.

  • Definitely go for the CT at every chance. No matter the angle, its CTs will take guaranteed damage. 
  • If the Treb is causing nuisance by jump jetting all over the place (a sign of a good pilot), simply take its legs. They're not hard to hit and will mean an immediate death for its owner.
  • Again you can take off its arms if you need some incoming fire trimmed really fast.


I must admit, I don't have much experience fighting against this and it's simply because there have never been many of them around. It's weird, because its owners usually express nothing but praise for it. The Enforces are also know for their wonky hitboxes that sometimes refuse to take damage in most peculiar ways, but this might have been fixed with the latest netcode fix. I am yet to kill enough amount of Enforces ever since to judge the difference.

The biggest feature of the Enforcer is that it's a narrow 'Mech with good scale. This makes it immediately tanky. Another feature is the huge protruding "bullseye" in its central area. 
  • I usually go for the central bullseye where the CT hitbox becomes larger. Alternatively you can just shoot its head since the Ct hitbox is also larger there and it's visible from every direction.
  • If you're fighting a 5P (the dakka version), you might want to take out its arms instead. The damage output from this is simply outrageous and may actually kill you before you crack its CT.
  • I don't suggest legging as they're not very large and get substantial additional structure (+12).


This is another tough nut to crack. The Griffin is tall, but it's not chubby. It also has great hitbox distrubution and mostly useless shield arms that offer a great buffer. On top of this, the Griffin is a highly mobile 'Mech with great agility offered by its quirks, jump jets and the ability to mount bigger XL engines. It won't go down without a fight no matter how you approach it.

The Griffin is one of those 'Mechs that actually has a depressed CT (not emotionally). The CT is just a big hole in its center area which is hard to hit from the sides. This allows the Griffin to respond well to torso twisting and tank a good deal of damage even with an XL. Against a good pilot, it's mostly a matter of dumping damage until something breaks.
  • As always, legging is the fallback option for those 'Mechs with good hitboxes. I recommend you to do this, unless it's a 1v1.
  • However legging takes a while and the Griffin usually packs a hell of a punch. In the meanwhile if it's in range, it might simply out DPS you with SRMs. Instead, you might want to go for the ST for a quick kill. I suggest going for the right torso, where its missiles are stored. The extra missile pod that appears here enlarges the ST surface area greatly.


The Shadowhawk was the first 55 tonner we got and it indeed boosted the popularity of the mediums quite considerably due to its compatibility with the poptart meta. However, as the poptart meta became less and less effective, the SHDs popularity also waned.

Just take a look at the hitboxes, it's a mess. In order to save this 'Mech from the Hunchback syndrome, the developers chose to enlarge its CT while shrinking its LT hitbox considerably. Therefore, the Shadowhawk is not a good tanker. It's still somewhat decent at a ranged support mode, but it's rarely seen at close ranges due to how easy it is to get rid of these.
  • The centerline, shoot it. I don't care where, just shoot it and see how quickly it falls. Funnily enough, the area between its legs is a massive CT hitbox and is unaffected by torso twisting. 
  • The Shadowhawk is also notoriously easy to leg. This is how competitive players get rid of them in matches.
  • The rear CT hitbox is also big. Try to get shots in from behind when you have the chance.


The Wolverine is the chubby brother of the Griffin. They share a very similar hardpoint layout, hitboxes and size, but the Wolvie is simply chubbier. This makes it a great damage sponge.

Before the quirks, this 'Mech was quite harmless compared to the Griffin. However, the quirkening brought many presents for it and made two of its variants absolute monsters. Even so, they remain easy to disable and take out.
  • Take the right arm. It gets +18 extra structure, but it's such a massive arm that it's still easier to disable it that way first. Otherwise you risk dying yourself in the process. A Wolverine with that arm is a Wolverine without the will to live.
  • Legs. The Wolverine's legs are among the biggest and worst scaled legs in this game. It's a good option if its pilot is twisting well and protecting the arm, you simply take away its mobility and deal with it that way.


Ohh the Kintaro. Now THIS is a rare medium and with very good reasons. Not only this 'Mech is absolutely huge for a medium, just take a look at that surface area of the torsos. It is a medium with the torso of a heavy. Therefore, this 'Mech tends to soak much more damage than it can handle.
  • Shoot the shoulders. They're big and juicy and more than likely will result in an easy XL kill.
  • Otherwise there's not much to be said. The Kintaro is simply a death trap when it meets a 'Mech with a big alpha.

Ice Ferret

I don't own an Ice Fridge and I haven't played it. So my advice here comes solely from my experiences as an opponent. That being said, it's a little goaty 'Mech that is hard to kill. It has a big fatal flaw though;
  • What puny firepower the Ice Fridge has is concentrated in its arms. They're not very small either, so a great way to start handling one is by taking out its arms. 
  • Afterwards you can try going for legs to take away mobility, since CT'ing it seems to be pretty hard to do and it has a clan XL. At 140 KPH with this geometry it's hard to focus down specific parts.


The Nova is a humongous 'Mech. Not even huge, it's humongous. On top of that, its hardpoints are low mounted; forcing it to come out to do damage. This is one of the juiciest opponents to encounter and one of the most fun 'Mechs to kill.

Just take a look at the image. It falls apart wherever you look at. You can reliably CT, ST, blow off arms and legs.
  • That being said, it houses a lot of firepower in those arms. So it's a good idea to get rid of them if you can. I usually go for one of the side torsos first if the arms are not cored already. Afterwards the Nova loses a lot of heat efficiency and firepower and is easier to handle. 
  • Go for the CT if the Nova is not torso twisting. Anywhere near the vertical centerline and it's an easy kill.
  • If the Nova is being uncooperative and using JJs a lot to prolong its death, go for the legs. 


Remember me talking about the old Centurion? The 'Mech that was a pain to kill? Well, there it is, reincarnated! The Stormcrow with its weird shape, great hitboxes and high mobility is absolutely a pest.

This is a 'Mech you usually have to peel off first to get the kill. It somehow manages to spread damage naturally even with mild torso twisting. Since its head is right above its legs, people also aim there which leads to a lot of damage spreading to the legs as well, increasing its tankiness. From the sides the arms tend to block incoming damage.

However, its tankiness is also its curse. The Stormcrow's hardpoints are spread all over the 'Mech and they fall apart as it takes damage. The arms are easy to tear off which leads to much of its damage potential being neutered. Being a chicken walker with highly arced legs with stiff animations, I also don't find it particularly easy to leg.
  • It's actually easy to CT if you aim for the nose. This is especially easy to do against laser SCRs since they tend to stare at you.
  • The legs are also vulnerable, but don't aim for the lower parts. Instead, try to hit the upper legs near the joints for more consistent damage.
  • If it's one of those SCRs with 4 or 6 energy arms, go for the arms first. 
  • I wouldn't go for the STs particularly if they're not already cored. The CT yields the best results followed by legging.
Shadowcat is omitted since I don't have it and I'm yet to form an opinion about how to handle it the best.

"Next time on 'Mech Hunters"

I will continue with the heavies in the next part, which will be a much more interesting read since they are much more diverse in shape and hitboxes compared to the mediums, which have a more or less standard look.
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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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