If you watched my stream during the last few days then you saw me playing with this 'Mech and other 50 tonners a lot. Why was I torturing myself like this? Well, one of our generous unit members decided to hold an internal unit challenge and the reward for getting the most match score in a 50 tonner was a Warhammer pack (which I won, yay!).
I especially liked the "50 tonners only" part because this is a very interesting weight bracket. Most of the 'Mechs here are flawed with distinct weaknesses but at the same time, they play very differently than other mediums. They can be really effective when played right. The Hunchback is a ballistic/energy/missile workhorse and it's probably the only medium that's worth running STD engines on. The Trebuchet or as I often call it "the big Spider", is a 50 tonner packing ridiculous mobility due to its jump jets. With its generous quirks, it's a deadly skirmisher at the right hands. The Centurion and the Enforcer(I don't own them) are great, but their flaws are such that it's very hard to pull consistently good match scores with them.
After making some progress with the Trebuchet 5J (its laser quirks are unmatched), I realized I was fast approaching the limits of it. Then during my stream, I decided to shift my efforts towards the Hunchback, the 4P.
Hunchback 4P — The laser boat that never disappoints
Regardless of the state of the balance in MWO, the HBK-4P has always been good. Seven high mounted lasers on a very tanky chassis and with nine hardpoints in total, it can hold its own against anything.
Though, I hardly ever did buildcrafting for it, despite racking up 200k XP over the years. I simply did not want to move away from the classic 9xML build. It represented the pinnacle of mobility, survivability and heat efficiency for me. It's like I'd have desecrated it if I switched to something else.
It's a great build and definitely a classic but it's not the build you want if you're trying to rack up damage as quickly as you can. That's where "min-maxing" comes in. Min-maxing is basically making sacrifices in a certain area (usually mobility or survivability) to make gains in another area (usually firepower). The ML build sits perfectly middle of everything, but what happens when we get greedy?
Well for a change, let's see if we can take the ML build and jack it up to eleven with MPLs.
This is basically a heat-inefficient one-shotter. You will rarely get to use all 9xMPLs at once but when you get it right, stuff will be dying instantly. It can alpha two times but afterwards you'll need a lot of time to cool that massive heat spike. The range is lackluster too as curiously the 4P doesn't get any range quirks. It was the lack of range that annoyed me at the end.
Then somebody suggested me this:
Now the min-max is getting real. Less alpha but a little faster and a tad cooler. The arms are completely stripped off of armor despite each having a DHS in them, but it's not a huge problem for the Hunchie. Its arms are so tiny and out of the way that they rarely drop.
This build gave me my highest match score on Caustic of all maps (576) which was the score that got me the Warhammer package. You can alpha repeatedly and the single LPL allows you to return fire at medium ranges.
XL Hunchies are devastating, but having some tankiness can also be beneficial in doing more damage. The completely disposable left side of the Hunchback allows you to take hits and keep fighting unlike the XL version. We just need to buff the firepower slightly to be able to do more damage.
With this in mind, I came up with the following build:
I didn't do as well as the previous build with this but I enjoyed it immensely. It proved to be a consistent performer and pulled 600-700 damage matches with 2-4 kills easily in the solo queue. Plus having 2xLLs let you be dangerous at range as well. The only problem arises when you lose your left torso. You lose 4xDHS and their absence is immediately felt afterwards, sending your heat efficiency down the toilet.
If I managed to keep my attention on the 4P I'm thinking about armoring the right arm a little bit and shifting at least two DHS there.
The 4P is ridiculously fun and effective once you get your torso twisting habits right. If you've been reluctant to shake up your builds like me, definitely do it!