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Where to shoot each mech
Forum » Mechwarrior: Online » Tactics
Red SailAdmin 5th Mar 2014

Joined: 3rd Mar 2014
Rank: Site Admin
Posts: 548
Likes 98

Hey guys,

This is pretty old but I thought I'd post it.

I thought of an interesting subset of gunnery knowledge which, to my knowledge, hasn't had a formal discussion or been compiled in the written word: When starting to engage a mech,
  which part of it should I hit first?

For many enemy mechs, the default answer of 'center torso first' is totally acceptable and sometimes the best option. However, this is not always the case. Here's a few examples:

a) Many mechs have pretty big CT hitboxes that can be still be hit from the side. The Stalker, however, has a very narrow CT hitbox and larger side torsos, so straight-on shots tend to stray into the side torsos. When hitting a stalker, it's sometimes best to hit him broadside first and reduce his damage potential. Hitting both side torsos leaves most stalkers "stripped" without any weapons left. (Fun exercise: think of a common stalker build that CAN have something left!).

b) Atlases have their ballistics in the left-visual torso. This is usually the first place to hit an atlas for two reasons: 1) Atlases have HUGE amounts of CT armor to chew through, and 2) reducing a tank's damage output is generally a great way to go since it takes a long time to kill them. If he has an AC20, you can blow it off. If he has a Gauss Rifle, well now he doesn't, plus the explosion insta-rips his left-visual arm off and (unless he CASE'd the GR) he gets damage to his CT internals.

Some match-ups are simple to approach. Light mech bothering you? Leg it. Are you in a light? Hit larger mechs in the back. Here I'm interested in prolonged focusing both one-on-one and as part of a mixed-tactics unit in the big-ole-brawl-of-death.

Target: Atlas
Component priority:
1) Shoot LT to hit ballistics, RT to strip him, CT to kill.
2) Alternatively, shoot LT to hit ballistics, CT to kill. Better for 8mans because CT hits are attainable from many angles by many friendlies at once.

Target: Stalker
1) Shoot LT or RT first (but pick one), then choose to hit CT for kill or other side torso for strip. For the Misery, shoot RT first to hit ballistics.
3) With high angle above target, headshot is achievable.

Target: Highlander
1) The 732 is the common league variant for poptarts. ALL of its weapons (3xPPC, 1xGauss) are on its LT and LA.
2) Shoot LT, then CT. Destroying LT leaves him stripped.
3) For the Heavy metal, the 3 energy weapons are moved from LT to RA, so you can't insta-gimp him. Recommend default tactics.

Target: Victor
1) Most Victors will have all their strongest weaponry in the arms.
2) CT first is best. Victors will usually have similar CT armor to a Cataphract (100 vs. 88 total), but if you don't have a good angle on CT, you can hit LA for ballistics, RA for energy.

Target: Awesome
1) Default tactics, unless it's moving pretty fast. Fast = XL engine = prioritize side torsos.

Target: Cataphract
1) CTF-3D is most common, due to poptart capability. A 2xERPPC/1xGauss CTF-3D will almost certainly have an XL engine (Fun exercise: design a valid build that uses a standard engine).
2) Recommend default tactics. CT isn't too heavily armored, but side torsos are also squishy.

Target: Jagermech
1) Depends on the loadout. Dakka-jagers (boating ac2/5s) will usually have XL engines, but 40-jagers (2xAC20s) can still squeeze in STD engines.
2) Hit LT or RT for dakka-jager, otherwise use default tactics.

Target: Catapult
1) Huge CT and Head hitboxes. If you are high-alpha, go for headshot.
2) If it's a splatcat or a missile-boat threatening the team, hit LA or RA to kill missile racks. If K2, above applies.

Target: Quickdraw
1) Not sure on this one just yet, recommend default tactics. Many quickdraws run STD engines for brawling, but sometimes you will be surprised by an XL explosion.

Target: Dragon
1) Dragons will almost always have XL engines.
2) However, the small LT/RT hitboxes mitigate this risk (plus they don't carry much weaponry in the side torsos). Their CT includes the HUGE cardboard box strapped to their chest, so you can hit CT from the side by shooting the box.
3) Shoot CT.

Target: Trebuchet
1) Default tactics work best, but prioritize LT over RT for some variants that keep more weapons in LT/LA than RT/RA (including 5J, 5N, 7K).
2) The more common variants are the 3C and 7M, which have more even weapon distribution.
3) If particularly fast and threatening cap run, you can follow the anti-light strategy and leg him.

Target: Hunchback
1) It's called a "hunchie" for a reason. If it's a laserback (hunch with 5-6xML) or ac20 hunchie, shoot LT first.
2) CT is also a pretty squishy target.

Target: Centurion
1) Cents have a tiny CT hitbox, most shots will end up on either side torso, meaning high damage spread capability. A cent with a STD engine is called a "zombie" precisely for this reason.
2) Shoot RT first to destroy missile racks, then finish thru CT.
3) Alternatively, shoot for the legs. Cent legs are relatively large for a fast mover, aren't too heavily armored, and don't allow for as many missed shots through the mech's gait (think a nutmeg in soccer).

Target: Blackjack
1) Small, fast, and dangerous with the 8ML laserback variant (BJ-1X). Usually running XL engine.
2) Recommend default tactics. Arms (each with 3xML installed) fall off quickly, but fast-movers need to be put down before they escape for cap.

Target: Cicada, any light mech
1) Sweep the legs!
2) If they're cored CT and legs aren't cored, switch to CT and go for the kill. If their back's to you, consider coring them there or continuing on legs.

hard rules to be memorized, but I think this list presents some good guidelines and is worth discussing with the rest of you guys. If you want to effectively destroy a mech, you should have a basic instinctive understanding of one or two strong ways to go about it.

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Last Edit: 5th Mar 2014 by Red Sail
Forum » Mechwarrior: Online » Tactics
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