BATTLETECH

BATTLETECH

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Eck's BattleTech Tactical Combat Guide
By Eck
BATTLETECH is a complex turn-based strategy game.
This guide focuses on the tactics and strategy of the Combat game. The information within applies to both the single player campaign and multiplayer skirmish.
 
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Credits
Special thanks to Laurie, Ryan, and Prussian Havoc for editing and strategic advice.
A very short BattleTech History
BattleTech has been around for over 30 years. It started out as a tabletop strategy game released in 1984 where players filled out record sheets and moved robotic miniatures on a hex-grid. Those miniatures represented ten meter tall humanoid war machines called BattleMechs, powered by fusion engines, and equipped with all manner of cool sci-fi weaponry. Since then, BattleTech has existed as multiple video games across multiple platforms, over 100 novels, multiple rpg's, a card game, different board games, MUX/MUSE's, and even a Saturday morning cartoon.

For more info about real-world BattleTech history, go here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BattleTech

For comprehensive coverage of in-universe BattleTech lore, head to Sarna:
http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Main_Page
Terminology
Alpha Strike - When a mech fires ALL its weapons, this is called an Alpha Strike.
Beta Strike - When an Orion gets its head caved in by an AC/20. This is known as a Beta Strike. #neverforget
Battlemech - The huge humanoid, multi-ton war machines powered by fusion reactors. Also known simply as 'Mechs
Campaign - The single player campaign where you move around the map in your dropship, Not covered in this guide.
Dropship - Spaceships that carry mechs through space, traveling from Jumpships and capable of landing on planets.
Evasive Pips - The white chevrons ">>>" that appear beside a unit's nameplate. The more evasive pips a unit has, the harder it is to be shot.
Initiative Phase - A round is made up of five initiative phases. Units are designated to move on specific phases depending on several factors such as: size, type of unit, skills, and some status effects.
Initiative Track - The ui element in the top middle of the screen displays the current phase and which units have acted or need to act.
Interleaved Mode - When there are enemy units in sensor range, the combat game forces you to take turns moving a single unit at a time. See also Initiative Track.
Heat - When most weapons fire, they will generate heat. Generate too much and your mech can take damage or even shutdown.
Jumpship - Spaceships that carry dropships and jump (teleport) between star systems.
Lance - For this game a lance usually means just a group of units, usually around 4. Consider this like a squad in other games.
LOS/Line of Sight - Can a line be drawn from one mech to another without being blocked by obstacles.
Non-Interleaved Mode - When there are no enemies on radar, the combat game allows you to move all of your units at once.
Mech - See Battlemech
Mech Class/Size - Light 20-35 tons, Medium 40 - 55 tons, Heavy 60 - 75 tons, Assault 80-100 tons. This classification applies to vehicles as well.
Mechwarrior - The human pilots of Mechs.
Merc/Mercenary Unit - Soldiers for hire that accept contracts.
Round - The time it takes for everyone to activate their units. Five initiative phases long.
Combat 101 (the Basics)
One thing to note about BattleTech is that it's a very information dense game. The UI does a great job of communicating all the info, often in layers, allowing the player to drill down into more specific information. However, due to the sheer volume of information, there is a slight learning curve. Fortunately, there is almost always a tool tip that explains pretty much anything. So if you aren't familiar with a symbol or a button, simply hover the mouse over the item you're interested in and a short description should pop up.

The tutorial does a good job of covering the absolute basics, but for completeness sake I'll review them in a little more detail.

Camera Controls
To move the camera around the map you can use the keys W,A,S,D keys to pan the camera or Q and E to rotate. Alternatively, you can use the mouse by holding the right mouse button to change which way the camera is facing.

Move Actions
This is a turn-based game so opponents take turns activating units. When there are no visible enemy units on radar, teams move all their units at the same time. Once radar contact is made with the enemy, teams begin taking turns with individual units. I'll go into the Initiative System later, but for now just know that lighter units have the option of acting early in the turn order or reserving down to a later Initiative Phase.

To select a unit for activation, you can either click the Mech you wish to move, click on the pilot portraits in the bottom middle of the screen, or use the Tab key to cycle through the units you control. Personally, I much prefer the tab key because it's fast and only selects the units who can still act in this round.

A normal activation consists of a Move Action and a Fire Action. Here's the action hotbar in the bottom middle of the screen.
The basic move actions available and they're hotkeys:
2. Move - Move the unit. At the end of the move you're given the option to perform an action such as Attack, Brace, or another Active Ability.
3. Sprint - Focus only on moving and evading attacks. Moves further - generating more Evasion -, but consumes your firing action.
4. Jump - Some Mechs come equipped with jump jets which allows them to jump over intervening obstacles and cover some distance. While they may gain a significant number of Evasion Pips in the process, this maneuver comes at the cost of some heat. If a mech can't jump, this button will be disabled.
-. Brace - Consume your action to focus on defense. Gain Guarded (50% less damage) and Entrenched (50% less Stability Damage).

When in Non-Interleaved Move (Free Move), the default move action is Sprint. When in Interleaved Combat, the default move action is just Move. While in Non-Interleaved, consider switching from Sprint to Move so your units start the first round of combat braced. Jumping works for this purpose as well.

To move a selected unit, place your mouse cursor over the area where you wish to move and you will see a hex grid of destination dots. A plain white dot indicates no special terrain modifiers, while colored or augmented dots indicate some type of terrain effect such as Forest or Rough Terrain.

Click once on the dot where you wish to move and a firing cone should appear. The center of the cone is the direction your mech will face at the end of its move, and it should be able to fire at things within that cone provided it has line of sight and weapons that can reach the target unit. If you're happy with your selection, click a second time to confirm the facing. You can cancel this sequence by hitting the escape key.

(1) A solid, straight red line indicates a clear line of fire and the ability to shoot your target. (2) An interrupted straight red line with a little eyeball indicates that the line of fire is partially obstructed and provides a cover bonus to the target. (3) A red arc indicates that you don't have a direct line of fire, but you can fire any indirect fire weapons (LRMs) at the target over the intervening obstacles.. (4) A dotted white line indicates that although there is a clear line of fire, you won't be able to shoot that particular enemy (Possibly he's out of your firing arc, out of range, or maybe you're sprinting).

If you like the dot that you're on, you can still change your facing by selecting a move action, and then click the dot you're standing on. After that, you can confirm your facing change with a second click as normal. Alternatively you can choose not to move at all and just click the fire button: 1. Attack - If you haven't moved yet, then you'll just attack from your current position. Keep in mind that without a special ability (Ace Pilot), you won't be allowed to move after firing.

Melee
While selecting a spot to move, if you see a yellow frame around an enemy unit, you have the option of engaging them in a melee attack. Clicking on the unit with the yellow frame will allow you to move to the 3 closest dots depending on remaining move allowance and terrain. This moves your unit into that dot, faces the enemy, and conducts a Melee Attack. You'll also fire any "Support" weapons (flamers, machine guns, or small lasers). If you do have Support Weapons, you will remove two evasive pips. One for the melee attack, and one for the Support Weapons. Melee doesn't generate any heat so it's a great way to still do damage and cool down for a round.

If you're jumping and see the yellow frame around an enemy unit, this is an opportunity to do a special physical attack called a Death From Above (DFA). This is where you leap with your mech and try to land on the enemy. DFA attacks generally have a lower hit chance, damages your mech's legs, and imparts Stability Damage to yourself. However, if successful, this inflicts a significant amount of Damage and Stability Damage to your target as well. This is a risky maneuver usually saved for desperate times, so use it wisely.

Firing
After you complete one of the move actions above (with the exception of Sprinting), you can fire with that unit. Select a target by clicking on a unit that has a red line drawn to it, or use the Tab key to cycle between possible targets. Once you're happy with your target you can select which weapons to fire in the weapons panel at bottom right of the screen. If a weapon is out of range, or can't hit the target it won't fire even when enabled. Your weapon selection will be remembered from the previous round, so take a second to review the weapons panel before firing.

Firing weapons consumes ammo (where applicable) and generates heat. Generate too much heat and you can damage your Mech or even shut down. In either case, a warning will flash before you commit to the attack.

There is a circle around the feet of the target unit that indicates which side of the enemy your weapons will hit. This is also reflected in the target readout in the upper center of the HUD that highlights which locations could be randomly hit.

Reserve
If you have no units selected, you'll see the "Reserve" button. Clicking this will delay the units in this initiative phase to the next initiative phase. If you’ve selected a unit, you can hit Escape to clear the selection and back out to the Reserve button option.

Done
If you try to reserve on the last Initiative Phase, instead you will just end your action and this will Brace all the units that haven't acted yet.
Game Mechanics
Sensors
Until a unit makes visual contact, you will have limited or no information about that contact. As it gets closer to visual range, you will receive more information. At first, you will see a sensor blip with no info. As it approaches, it will resolve into a type (mech, vehicle, turret). Once it is almost to visual range, you will see the tonnage of the unit, and then finally you will make visual contact.

Sensor range is represented by a large blue circle centered on your mech. You likely won't notice the sensor ring until you're seeing contacts at extreme sensor range. To make sure a unit remains hidden, be certain the enemy blips remain outside the circle. Ending a non-interleaved round with an enemy unit in sensor range will trigger the turn-based interleaved combat mode.

Firing Weapons & Damage
Firing weapons follows tabletop rules (roughly), but there are some slight differences.
  • Roll to see if the weapon hits. You'll see the percentage chance to hit from the weapon's panel in the bottom right.
  • If you succeed, we roll a random location. The hit location chart differs depending on which direction you are attacking from. For instance, attacks made from the the right side can't hit any locations on the left. Rear shots can hit the weaker rear armor, etc.
  • Damage is applied to the hit location. Damage is first applied to the Armor of that location.
  • If any damage is left over, it is then applied to the Internal Structure of that location. Once a shot goes internal, it can begin damaging or destroying components.
  • If a location's internal structure is destroyed, it will destroy every component in that location. And then any extra damage is transferred towards the Center Torso. As before, this damage is first applied to armor, then to structure.
  • Once the firing sequence is done for ALL weapons, we roll for a critical hit on any location that took Internal Structure damage but was not destroyed.
  • If a crit is rolled successfully, we damage a random component in that location. One hit damages the component and makes it less effective, two hits destroys it completely.
  • If anything generates a pilot injury (side torso destruction, head hit, ammo explosion) then the pilot takes a single injury.
  • Finally we apply the Stability Damage to the target. If the unit falls down, it drops to a lower initiative phase and the pilot takes an injury, (which can result in a second injury).

One major difference from tabletop rules is the game rolls for each missile in the volley instead of once for each rack. Another difference is the single crit roll per penetrated location (instead of 1 per damage application). Same goes for pilot hits.

Note, whether or not an attack hits, simply attacking a unit will remove one pip of Evasion from the Target.

Called Shots
There are a few cases when you get to choose which location you're aiming for: when a target is prone, when a target is shutdown, or when an attacker uses a Morale/Fury ability. This works exactly the same as Firing Weapons above, except for two differences.

First you choose the location to aim for. This will be limited by which side of the enemy is facing you. Your chance to hit is still displayed down in the bottom right weapons panel. If a weapon hits, the percentage shown in the location targeting window is the percentage that it will hit each location.

Aiming for the head is the toughest shot to make, but it can also be the most rewarding. Sometimes one more pilot hit is all you need to eliminate them and claim some sweet salvage.

In the Campaign mode, choosing whether to disable or destroy a Mech can be tough. Do you aim for the arm with the AC/20 to possibly remove it from the field early? Or do you try and disable the Mech a different way so you can possibly salvage the AC/20? I leave that decision to the reader.

Shot Difficulty
Shot difficulty is affected by a number of things. Evasive charges (white chevrons >>>) make it more difficult to hit, weapon range, intervening forest, cover, high ground, weapon location (arms get a bonus), weapon accuracy (lasers get a bonus), Autocannon refire penalty, certain terrain effects, indirect fire penalty, minimum range (on some weapons). A MechWarrior's Gunnery skill can offset any kind of penalty they might encounter - the higher the skill, the more penalties can be offset.

Weapon Types - There are 4 weapon slot types in the game: Ballistic, Energy, Missiles, and Support.

Ballistic Weapons - These weapons are giant Autocannons (AC's) that fire solid slug projectiles. Very heavy, take up a lot of space, inflict some Stability Damage, have decent to amazing damage (depending on the class), require ammo, but don't generate much heat. The bigger the number, the more damage but the shorter the range. AC/2's are the longest ranged weapons in the game, but don't do much damage. AC/20's do the most damage in the game, but have very short range.

Energy Weapons - These weapons shoot beams of energy. The Medium Laser, Large Laser, and Particle Projection Cannon (PPC) fall into this category. These weapons generate quite a bit of heat, but don't require any ammo. Laser weapons also receive an accuracy bonus, but don't generate any Stability Damage. The PPC deals decent Stability Damage and inflicts a penalty on the target's next round of shots from the system interference it deals. The more powerful the energy weapon, the longer it's Range, the higher it's Damage and the more heat it generates.

Missile Weapons - These weapons launch explosive projectiles with propulsion systems. Missile Weapons are a great source of consistent damage (since they roll a separate to hit roll for each missile), the damage is spread out over the target. This can be a good thing if you're "fishing" for a head hit or a chance to damage and Crit Seek an exposed location. Long Range Missiles (LRMs) are guided missiles that can cover long distances and, if you have a spotter, be fired indirectly - arcing over intervening terrain. However, they have a significant minimum range which makes them much less effective at close range. Short Range Missiles (SRMs) inflict greater damage as well as Stability Damage, but have a much shorter range and are incapable of indirect fire.

Support Weapons - This is a new class of weapon for BATTLETECH consisting of very short range weapons: Machine Guns (MGs), Small Lasers, and Flamers. Prior to this game, these weapons were lumped in with Ballistic and Energy weapons. The interesting thing about support weapons is not only do they ignore enemy Evasive pips they are also the only weapons that can fire during Melee Attacks. Small Lasers do decent damage for their weight. Flamers have a limited number of charges, but they do damage to the enemy AND add some heat to the target as well. In addition to a bonus to crit, Machine Guns roll five separate hit locations for each MG that hits, doing a small amount of damage. MGs are superb for trying to hit exposed locations and damage components.
Game Mechanics (Continued)
Apparently the steam guide "section" has a text limit. So here's the rest of the Game Mechanics.

Stability Damage
Stability Damage is a measure of how much an attack will knock the target off balance. Melee Attacks and most weapons are capable of inflicting Stability Damage. The larger the mech, the greater the damage. You have 5 pips on your stability bar and an indicator to show a threshold of how many pips you can sustain before your mech is Unsteady. While Unsteady, a Mech cannot sprint. Higher piloting skill will increase this threshold.

If the bar fills completely once your mech is Unsteady, it will fall over and your pilot will take an injury. Your mech can't go from steady to prone even if your bar fills up after a single massive Enemy attack. In this situation your now unstable Mech will get knocked down on the next attack that causes any Stability Damage.

Stability Damage is removed by the following:
  • Activating your unit will remove one pip
  • Standing still will remove one pip
  • Bracing will remove all Instability
  • If your pilot is a Master Tactician, reserving will remove 1 pip

If a mech loses a leg for any reason, it will automatically fall prone regardless of how steady it was before the attack. Additionally, one of its stability pips will turn “Red” and remain permanently filled for the remainder of the match.

Heat
When you fire your weapons they will generate a certain amount of heat. Energy weapons are the worst offenders here. You'll also generate some heat when you sprint or jump, the latter being determined by how far you jump.The amount of heat you dissipate is determined by your Mech's Heat Sinks. All Mechs sink 30 points of heat by default, but can sink more if they have extra Heat Sinks installed.

The effectiveness of Heat Sinks can be affected by the current map’s biome, so be certain to watch your heat gauge closely on Desert and Lunar worlds. On the heat bar there is an indicator past which you will reach critical heat levels. This value can be raised if the pilot has a high Guts skill. If your heat crosses this threshold, your Mech's Internal Structure will take a small amount of damage.

If the heat bar fills up completely, your Mech will shutdown and it will be a sitting duck allowing the enemy to target specific locations with Called Shots. Not only that, even if you manage to survive to the next round, your mech is unable to do anything but power up. As a rule, avoid shutting down whenever possible. However, exceptions do occur and sometimes shutting down can be a smart (albeit risky) choice. Alpha Striking with a Mech that's about to die anyway might kill a priority target.

Initiative Phase System
This is the game mechanic that decides whose turn it is, and which units act in which phase. Though it seems a little complex at first, it's actually quite intuitive. Each unit is assigned an initiative phase based on their weight class and unit type. For Mechs, Lights act in phase 4. Mediums act in phase 3, Heavies in phase 2, and Assaults in phase 1. Vehicles are less agile than Mechs so act one phase later than Mecs of the same Weight Class. When a round begins we start in Initiative Phase 5 and count down from there.

The game always attempts to alternate which team is acting. For example, if both teams have units in the current phase, and you were the last person to act in the prior phase, then it will be your opponent's turn to move or reserve their units in this phase. The same holds true when fighting against the AI.

Other things that can affect your Initiative Phase: Being knocked prone moves you down one Initiative Phase. Morale/Fury abilities can increase your Initiative or lower a target's Initiative Phase by 1. Master Tactician is a Mechwarrior skill that lets you act on an initiative phase earlier. Giving a Medium Mech the chance to act in the Light phase or allowing a Heavy to act in the Medium phase can be a powerful advantage. Many of these Initiative modifiers also stack, whether positively or negatively.

Reserving will take all your units that haven't gone yet in this phase and delay their action to the next phase. This might not seem super useful at first, but consider the following example. You have a light mech that acts in phase 4, but reserve him down to act last in the assault phase. If there are no other lights on the board, you'll effectively get two turns back-to-back with your Light Mech because he'll act in phase 1 this round, but next round his phase resets back to 4 and he'll get to go again.

Manipulating the Initiative Phase System to your advantage is the key to victory. With the right tactical actions, you can knock an already-activated unit down this round, and finish them off next round before they get a chance to act again.

Morale
The single player campaign uses a blue Morale Bar that begins each battle already filled to your company's morale level. During combat you'll gain additional morale by completing objectives, destroying enemy units, and even gain a small amount each round. Increased salary levels can slowly raise your morale over time and there are also Argo upgrades that can permanently increase morale.

This morale can then be spent on two special abilities, Precision Strike and Vigilance.

Precision Strike gives you a +4 “To Hit” bonus and lets you target a specific location. Additionally it will knock the target back into a later Initiative Phase for its next activation. Let's say you use this ability to target and blow the leg off of a medium mech. If it already acted this round, it won't get another activation until next round's Assault phase (having moved back two Phases, one for the Knock Down and a second for your use of Precision Strike.) Poor dead ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥.

Vigilance clears all Stability Damage, gives you Guarded and Entrenched, and lets this unit act in one sooner initiative phase next round. So if normally the unit acts in the Medium Phase, next round the unit will act in the Light Phase.

In the Solo-Campaign, the Morale Bar regenerates pretty quickly. I recommend spending it when it gets close to max unless you have specific plans for a particular ability. Using Morale abilities is a key to surviving more difficult missions.

Fury
In Multiplayer Mode, the Morale Bar is instead called the Fury Bar. However, while similar to Morale, you only get the Precision Strike ability. Vigilance is not available in Multiplayer Mode. Also instead of your bar filling up for accomplishing good things(like killing an enemy), it fills up because bad stuff happens to you (like losing an Arm, a Side Torso or even an entire Mech). It fills slower than a Morale Bar and also costs a full Fury Bar to get a single Precision Strike. Make it count!
Effects
Biome Effects
There are several different biomes and many of them affect the performance of your mech's Heat Sinks. Don't feel like you have to memorize these details, simply mouse over the icons or the movement dot to get tooltip information.

  • Lunar - Heat Sinks are much less effective.
  • Badlands - Heat Sinks are less effective.
  • Desert - Heat Sinks are less effective.
  • Martian - Heat Sinks are less effective.
  • Verdant/Lowlands/Highlands - No effect.
  • Tundra - Heat Sinks are more effective.
  • Polar - Heat Sinks are much more effective.

Terrain Effects
These effects apply when standing in various types of terrain.

Clear - No effect

Destroyed Building - Movement reduced by 50%, Damage received reduced by 25%. Available on any biome with buildings. Note, this is only for larger, targetable buildings. If you smash your mech through a farm house, you won't be slowed down a bit or gain any cover. Although you can see through Destroyed Buildings, it does reduce your vision range.

Forest - 25% reduced movement, 50% visibility reduced, 25% damage reduction. Available in every biome but Lunar. Martian biomes have dust storms that effectively do the same thing. Although you can see through Forests, it does reduce your vision range.

Ice - Cooling increased by 50%, Movement reduced by 50%, Stability Damage received increased by 20%. Available in cold biomes or biomes without an atmosphere.

Marshland - Reduces Stability Damage received by 50% while standing in it. Available in Verdant/Highland/Lowland biomes.

Mineral Field - 10% movement reduction. You'll receive a 2 “To Hit” penalty when making attacks from crystals, but there's a 4 “To Hit” penalty when targeting someone inside a Mineral Field. Available in Badlands and Desert Biomes.

Radioactive Zone - 10% movement reduction, You'll receive a 4 “To Hit” penalty when targeting someone inside a Radioactive zone and you will receive +10 heat/round for 2 rounds. Available in Lunar and Martian biomes.

Road - Available on every biome. 5% movement increase.

Rough - 4 “To Hit” Melee defense bonus, 25% movement reduction, and received Stability Damage is increased by 50%. This effect persists until your next activation. The Rough debuff is also applied if you walk through Rough terrain. Rough Terrain exists in every biome.

Steam Vents/Geothermal - 10% movement reduction, cooling reduced by 50% for 1 activation. Available in Tundra and Polar biomes.

Water - Cooling increased by 50% (regardless if Heat Sinks are positioned in a Mech’s Legs or not), Movement reduced by 50%. Available on warm biomes with an atmosphere.

Unit Status Effects
These effects can be gained/lost through combat actions.

Cover - 25% reduction in damage received. Attacks hitting the rear arc will ignore Cover and do full damage. Granted by Forests and Dust Storms.

Entrenched - Receive 50% less Stability Damage. Granted when Bracing (sacrificing your firing action).

Guarded - Receive 50% less damage. Attacks hitting the rear arc will ignore guarded and do full damage. Received by Bracing (sacrificing your firing action).

Prone - Your mech is lying down on the job. Stand up and look respectable! Falling prone knocks that unit down an Initiative Phase and injures the pilot. Also, when a mech is prone enemy units can target specific locations. After standing from prone, the unit also has a penalty to hit targets.

Sensors Impaired - When a Mech has been hit with a PPC it suffers a an increase to its shot difficulty until its next activation.

Shutdown - Your mech has overheated and automatic safeties have turned off your Mech’s fusion engine. Enemy units can target specific locations and receive a bonus to hit you. The only thing you'll be able to do next activation is restart your fusion reactor.

Unsteady - When a Mech takes enough Stability Damage, it will become Unsteady. When a Mech is Unsteady, it can't sprint and if the Stability Damage bar fills up from a subsequent Enemy Hit it will be knocked Prone.

Vehicle - Not really a status but vehicles do have some special rules. For one, they don't have a Stability bar because they can't be knocked over. They also don't generate any heat. However they do take double damage from Melee Attacks. And stepping on them is VERY satisfying. :)

Another thing to know about vehicles is they have a much smaller number of hit locations so they are much easier to take out than a mech. However, some vehicles pack a serious punch. The SRM Carrier has ten SRM6's. A demolisher is a tank that has two AC/20's... DO NOT GET CLOSE TO THESE! They will ruin your day.
Mechwarrior Skills and Abilities
Thanks to HonorKnight for his awesome post on this. Made my research easy peasy. :)

There are four skills you level up from rank 1-10. At rank 5 and rank 8 you receive a special ability, but you only have two rank 5 slots and one rank 8 slot so choose wisely. These Abilities will appear on the Action Bar in the 5, 6, and 7 slots.

Gunnery - all ranks: +2.5% base ranged weapon hit chance per point​
  • Rank 5: Multi-Target - Action: Fire weapons at up to three targets.
  • Rank 8: Breaching Shot - Passive: Attacks with a single weapon ignore Cover and Guarded on the target.

Piloting - all ranks: +2.5% base melee hit chance per point
  • Rank 4: +1 Unsteady Threshold
  • Rank 5: Evasive Movement - Passive: The unit generates an extra Evasive charge from movement actions.
  • Rank 6: +1 max Evasion
  • Rank 7: +20% sprint distance
  • Rank 8: Ace Pilot - Passive: This unit can move after shooting if it has not moved yet.
  • Rank 9: +1 Unsteady Threshold (+2 total)
  • Rank 10: +1 max Evasion (+2 total)

Guts - all ranks: +5% bonus on survival rolls. Incapacitated Death Chance (90% - 5%*Guts), Lethal Death Chance (140% - 5% * Guts).
  • Rank 4: +1 Health
  • Rank 5: -1 Recoil Penalty, Bulwark - Passive: Gain Guarded when remaining stationary. (you can still shoot)
  • Rank 6: +15 Overheat Threshold (redesigned, used to be 5 for every guts skill point)
  • Rank 7: +1 more Health (+2 total)
  • Rank 8: -1 Recoil Penalty, for a total of -2, Juggernaut - Passive: Successful Melee attacks knock your target back one Initiative Phase
  • Rank 9: +15 Overheat Threshold, for a total of +30
  • Rank 10: +1 more Health (+3 total)

Tactics
  • Rank 4: -1 Indirect Fire Penalty
  • Rank 5: -45 Minimum Range, Sensor Lock - Action: Select a target within sensor range to reveal it until the end of the current round and remove two evasive charges. Consumes your firing action.
  • Rank 6: "Called Shot Bonus"
  • Rank 7: -1 more Indirect Fire Penalty (-2 total)
  • Rank 8: -45 Minimum Range, (-90 total), Master Tactician - Passive: Mechs piloted by this MechWarrior gain +1 Initiative, and remove one bar of Stability Damage when Reserving
  • Rank 9: "Called Shot Mastery"
  • Rank 10: Eliminates Indirect Fire Penalty
Strategic Advice
Kill Units - The fundamental goal of combat is to kill the Opposing Units. The fastest way to kill most enemy mechs (in general) is to destroy their Center Torso. Ergo, we can say that your fundamental goal in BattleTech is really to kill hostile CTs.

A mech can also be eliminated by destroying its head, destroying both of its legs, or incapacitating the MechWarrior. Destroying the head is heavily luck dependent so don't count on it. Destroying both legs is sometimes tough. Usually you have to wait for a couple of lucky side shots breaching one of the legs. Knocking out the MechWarrior is something you can do by inflicting Stability damage and firing at the mech's side arcs to destroy the side torsos.

Focus Fire - The more of your Mechs that can range and fire on a single enemy unit, the quicker you are likely to take it and its Weapon Systems out of the Match. The use of terrain is essential to both maximizing your ability to Focus your fire against enemy Mechs while at the same time limiting your opponents opportunities to Focus Fire against your most vulnerable/damaged Mechs.

Target enemies which have already activated this round to ensure maximum opportunity for Stability Damage (possibly even achieving a Knockdown) before the enemy has an opportunity to activate that Mech and lessen/eliminate its Stability Damage. The same principle applies to removing evasive pips.

Crit Seeking - The sequencing of attacks can pay high tactical dividends. High Damage Attacks can punch holes in Enemy Armor, permitting low damage, multiple hit location attacks from Support Weapons and Missiles to then “Crit Seek.” Crit Seeking is made possible by attacks that damage Internal Structure.The first successful Crit damages the component, while a second successful Crit destroys the component. Machine Guns are especially effective since they roll 5 separate locations and have a bonus to crit chance.

Line of Sight - Use Line of Sight to your advantage. If you use terrain and other obstacles to block LOS to your units, you restrict the enemy's options. If they don't have LRMs, they won't be able to shoot at you. If they do have LRMs, they will be able to use Indirect Fire to target you at a penalty. A popular tactic is to use Sensor Lock to reveal a unit, and then use your long range units to engage before the enemy can see you.

Defensive Positioning - Offer your front to the enemy until one side is more damaged than the other. Then turn the other cheek and show your undamaged side to him. Alternately a Mech can be built with no weapons or components in an Arm or an Arm/Torso-Side. From the very beginning of the match this side can be presented toward the Enemy, soaking Damage and serving effectively as a Shield. Whenever employing Defensive Positioning, care must be shown toward that side’s Leg or risk its loss. Also be mindful of quicker enemies that may be able to move fast enough to get a rear shot.

Wingman / Mutual Support - Try to position your Mechs so their Rear Armor can't be exploited. And if your opponent does maneuver to achieve Rear shots, try to make them pay for it as they have likely overextended their own lines and are themselves vulnerable to Melee or Ranged Attacks.

Lance Composition - Take advantage of useful Combat Roles when choosing Mechs for your Lance. A fast Light Scout Mech can permit you to make the most of Indirect Fires from any LRMs your remaining three Mechs may carry. A dedicated LRM Mech may permit you to sacrifice some Armor or other Weapon Systems from this Mech with the understanding it would need to be safeguarded while in combat. A Brawler Mech may max out its Armor and focus on short range weapons (AC20, SRMs, etc) in order to Tank and deal as much damage as possible.

A Scout, 2 Brawlers and a dedicated LRM Mech can make for a very well rounded Lance Composition. Alternately, risk can be assumed and all 4 Mechs may be of a single type, for example four Brawling Hunchback-4G’s (AC/20) with the player looking toward Sprint and Brace to best close the distance to Enemy Mechs before pummeling them to scrap. Of course, if the Enemy manages to keep out of AC/20 range, it is going to be a lost effort.

Location, Location, Location - While planning to move, you can see your hit chances before confirming your move’s facing by mousing over enemies. Sometimes even moving a single dot closer to or further away (and out of Minimum Range) from a target can bring a significant amount of firepower to bare. Taking the time to plan for the best Move/Fire combination can realize decisive tactical advantage.
About the Author
Hi. I'm Eck and I've been a fan of the BattleTech franchise for nearly as long as it's been around. I fell in love with the tabletop strategy game at an early age. I played the t-total hell out of tabletop game in high school and college and played nearly every incarnation I could get my hands on. I kickstarted this project, applied for a job at HBS (special thanks to my wife for pushing me), got the Tools developer position, helped make this game, won the internal HBS tournament, and got an achievement named after me. #livingthedream

As of the writing of this guide I'm still the undefeated HBS Tournament champion. We're reaching the end of Tournament two, so wish me luck! Here are a few casual shots of me and my trophy.
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73 Comments
madar2252 May 21 @ 1:13am 
Biome effects, heatsink effectivity

lunar 65%
martian 75%
badlands 85%
desert 85%
tundra 110%
polar 120%
Pekiti May 15 @ 2:15am 
Two items in the guide that I haven't seen in game:
"Flamers have a limited number of charges" ?
"Support weapons ignore evasive pips"?

The flamers I have mounted appear to have unlimited ammo, like lasers.
Support weapons fired outside of melee attacks (but at very close range) appear to be affected by the targets evasion/guard status.
Pep May 14 @ 9:28am 
Great guide! Thanks a lot!
Imion May 12 @ 5:12am 
Hands down the most helpful Battletech guide to date, good work.
Galkurt May 12 @ 4:12am 
Cheers mate, such a great read.
googreg97 May 9 @ 8:51am 
@Eck It's a good guide. That said, it's not perfect. My biggest issue with this guide is that I feel there are not enough shots(in terms of quality, quantity, and variety) of you. Sure, there are a few 'casual' shots of you at the end, but can we at least have some called shots too?
Golbez May 8 @ 7:35am 
Just one thing I noticed was "One major difference from tabletop rules is the game rolls for each missile in the volley instead of once for each rack" and that's not the case. You did have to roll to see how many missiles hit and then roll per how many hit which location.
HeadWar May 8 @ 4:39am 
@Eck Your description of critical hits doesn't match my experience ingame. I know for a fact that I have scored two critical hits on the same weapon, destroying it, in one volley. Pretty sure I've also seen multiple critical hits in the same location, but hitting different components, but not certain.

Could it be something like maximum of one critical hit per weapon/weapon type per location? Something else that I'm missing? I didn't destroy the entire location, so it was definitely critical hits that took the weapon out, it even showed as two separate messages.
leonhartlover May 7 @ 2:26am 
I would like a much more detailed explanation of the reserve option and the initiative bar, such as how to tell which mech is going to go first.
Quesocito May 3 @ 11:08pm 
awesome guide man! very nice, ive played 40hrs so far and there were still some things i could learn from this! thanks!