|You get to see those iconic missile pods as well!|
Imagine a Mauler . . . with LRMs, UAC5s and MPLs as a backup . . . hey don't make a wry face to me! It's not an excerpt from a Sarna 'Mech description, it's actually a build I've been rocking in the solo and group queues. It placed me at the top of my team so many times that I think it's a build worth sharing with you here.
Why though?It all started when I took my 1R for a ride last week. It had SRMs and AC10s and my initial reaction was "meh" after playing it. Most of the maps are bigger now and it makes using such builds on the Mauler very difficult. You mostly get picked apart by poptarts before you get in range and even if you do, a KDK-3 shows up and manhandles you. I really wanted to use this 'Mech, but I didn't want something gimmicky like dual Gauss or AC20s either.
Now, this is a mid-range damage pumper. It does not rely on aggressive positioning and risk being caught out of place. Instead, this build likes to roam along with the pack and just shoot at targets of opportunity as they pop up. It's easy to play in terms of positioning. Still, it does benefit from being as close to the enemy as possible, so there's always room for improvement!
The damage this build can output is simply horrifying. The ALRM15s are the locomotive of this build. They hit incredibly hard especially when you have LOS and can use the Artemis benefits. Since they're very high mounted, you can fire them over cover and with Advanced Target Decay module, you're guaranteed to hit if you pick your targets accordingly. With the cooldown module you get 27% cooldown reduction. So with the LRM15s you keep landing punches on your opponents they can't simply shake off. They also guarantee you'll be doing damage wherever you happen to be on the map.
Then you get those UAC5s in play and if you get lucky with the jams, your combined DPS spikes to such levels that many opponents including heavies and assaults just can't handle. MPLs are a bonus, but they do add up damage as well. Even if you deplete your LRM15 ammo, you are entirely capable of holding your own with just 2xUAC5s and 2xMPLs.
Obviously, such firepower brings trade-offs and in this case our trade-off is the XL engine. Honestly, I don't think it's such a huge con considering the Mauler hitboxes and the mid-range nature if our build. Plus, you get to use this 'Mech in its maximum responsive configuration which means much better mobility, but also faster twisting which helps survivability.
The ammo situation is not amazing, but you have enough ammo to get you through most matches. If you spam too much, the LRM15 tends to deplete but if you landed most of those on your enemies you can be sure you did good damage already. I am yet to deplete the UAC5 in a match, I'm pretty sure I'll be looking at a damage over 1000 points easily when it happens.
Lastly, this build uses all of the available critical slots on the 'Mech. It's oddly satisfying to look at when the pieces fall in that well!
As I said, stay with the pack. Stay at mid-range, anywhere from 200-500 meters preferably. Generally with builds like these, you want to be as close to the enemy as possible to utilize your DPS fully. Close enough to guarantee easy LRM15 hits and effective UAC5 usage.
This build is a "I'll stare at you and you won't out DPS me bro!" kind of a build, so know its limits. Many 'Mechs won't be able to keep up with its damage output, but do not enter staring contests with a UAC boat like a Kodiak. You won't win. Try to twist as much as you can, especially when the enemy reloads and does an alpha again. Trust your advanced target decay. Despite having an XL, you can tank an absurd amount of damage with some conscious twisting.
I prefer to have a teammate between me and the enemy to alleviate its "face time" nature, but this doesn't meant you should hang back and use your team mates as meat shields. You're an assault, you are the meatshield!
I had a lot of difficulty coming up with a fun 1R build before and I think I've found it. Since this build uses only 2 hardpoints of each weapon type, it can also be replicated on other Maulers as well. Especially the MX90 is a good choice with its 15% generic LRM cooldown quirk, however it doesn't have the missile heat generation quirk so it'll run much hotter. The 2P should also be able to do laser-heavy variations of this, but I haven't been able to explore those.