BattleTech: A Strategic and Tactical Primer (Pt 7)


Continuing my sharing of the Strategy and Tactics Guide from the defunct Clan Box Set. This is from a first draft written in 2008. All errors are my own, including bad writing. 😛


‘Mechs in a scouting role are by nature extremely fast, using speed to achieve their objectives and to avoid the enemy. Use them when you need to reach an objective quickly (such as “capture the flag” games) or when you expect the opposition to also field fast ‘Mechs.

Most scout ‘Mechs are protected by light armor – but this doesn’t make them defenseless.  Keeping these ‘Mechs moving close to top speed makes them much harder to hit as it forces opponents to overcome an impressive target movement modifier. Scouts with jump jets should do so as often as possible and head for the heaviest woods available to use as cover.

Many scouts are equipped with several anti-battle armor weapons such as machine guns and small lasers; including one of these in a force where battle armor is expected can help neutralize that threat.

Koshi Prime

Highly maneuverable, the Koshi Prime is loaded with short- and long-ranged missile systems for quick fire support. With no minimum-ranged weapons, the Koshi can be quite the nasty surprise if positioned in an enemy’s rear arc; the multiple missile packs and machine guns can rip open and cause critical damage in one round to the rear of most light ‘Mechs. Keep it moving, however – standing still is an invitation to destruction. (Jade Falcon, Steel Viper)

Koshi A

The Koshi A retains the same movement curve as the Prime and is just as lightly armored. The main difference between the two is in the offensive loadout – the Koshi A carries nothing heavier than two machine guns. Use this ‘Mech as a dedicated battle armor delivery system and to hunt enemy battle armor; if you find yourself facing down another ‘Mech, use your mobility to retreat. Fast. (Snow Raven, Fire Mandrill)

Dragonfly Prime

A medium ‘Mech with an incredible movement curve, the key to using this scout ‘Mech is its jumping MP. By jumping 7 or 8 MP, you generate a +4 movement modifier (+3 for the 7 hexes and +1 for the jump). The two pulse lasers help minimize the jumping penalty on your attack roll (giving you a -2 modifier to your target number) and the SRM 4 system carries enough ammo that you can risk low probability shots at will. (Ghost Bear, Cloud Cobra)


Slightly slower than scouts, these ‘Mechs sacrifice a little speed for more weaponry. Their purpose is to unload a massive barrage of firepower, then back off to find another opening and do it all over again. Bold tactics work best with these units; many a battle has been lost or won based on how they are used.

In order to survive long enough to close in with your opponent, you need to keep strikers moving, using terrain to provide cover until you reach medium or short range with your target.

Dragonfly A

Just as mobile as the Prime version, the Dragonfly is a great striker ‘Mech. Use its jump to maximum effect by landing in an enemy’s rear arc and unloading all five ER medium lasers with a SRM 6 follow-up. While it will test your heat scale with such a high-risk attack (a +3 added to your to-hit roll because of the jump), you have the mobility to jump a distance away into cover and cool down before repeating. (Hell’s Horses, Blood Spirit)

Fenris Prime

Just as fast as the Dragonfly, the Fenris lacks the other ‘Mech’s jumping mobility but makes up for it with slightly more armor and a heavier ER PPC. The Fenris is good for hanging back and covering other striker units and is fast enough to take advantage of an enemy’s rear if the opportunity presents itself. (Wolf, Coyote)

Ryoken A

One of the best strikers of the Clans, the Ryoken has better-than-average speed, is moderately armored to withstand at least one devastating attack from a heavier ‘Mech, and mounts enough weapons to cripple or destroy most light and medium ‘Mechs at medium and short range. (Snow Raven, Goliath Scorpion)

Loki Prime

A heavy ‘Mech with a decent weapons compliment, the Loki should never be used as a lone striker unit. The Loki is quite capable of dealing significant damage from medium range and considering that the Loki has a lower speed curve than other strikers, it is best if you kept it at medium range of your opponents. The Loki’s weak armor coverage – most medium ‘Mechs have better – is a serious weakness that can quickly be exploited. (Jade Falcon, Fire Mandrill)


Skirmishers are versatile ‘Mechs that combine mobility, armor and firepower to take the fight to the enemy and inflict serious damage. Unlike most ‘Mechs described elsewhere, skirmishers can be used in a variety of ways depending upon the situation and terrain.

Excellent at harassment tactics, use these ‘Mechs at the vanguard of your force while your more specialized forces get into position. Do not use these for direct assault, however. Their firepower – while respectable – is usually not capable of taking down heavily defended positions or assault ‘Mechs.

Black Hawk Prime

The capability of this ‘Mech lies in the tremendous firepower it brings to bear. Unloading every weapon on the ‘Mech (called an “alpha strike”) has the potential of doing 84 points of damage, which can practically cripple a heavy ‘Mech in one volley. However, using the Black Hawk in such a way guarantees it will shut down from the tremendous heat output. Use the lasers judiciously and alpha strike only sufficiently defended by its teammates for the next turn; a shutdown ‘Mech cannot move or fire until it cools off! (Hell’s Horses, Cloud Cobra)

Vulture A

While the Vulture A has two long-ranged weapons in the ER PPC and LB 5-X, the key to this ‘Mech is to get in close when the target’s armor is heavily damaged. The six SRM 6 launchers can deliver a devastating volley and each missile has a chance for critical damage if they hit an unarmored location. The armor on the Vulture is weak however, so keeping it in the thick of the fight for any period of time is not a wise idea. (Hell’s Horses, Star Adder)

Man-o’-War A

Equal in speed to other skirmisher ‘Mechs, the Man-o’-War is one of the faster assault-class ‘Mechs in the Clans. Solid armor protection makes it a good ‘Mech to use in a longer engagement, which might be needed as the Man-o’-War A only mounts a Gauss rifle, an LRM 10 and a SRM 4. Use it to snipe at range as you approach, then cover its teammates as they retreat from delivering their salvos. (Wolf, Goliath Scorpion)

5 thoughts on “BattleTech: A Strategic and Tactical Primer (Pt 7)

    1. You know, I didn’t realize I hadn’t posted the last Part yet. I’ll rectify that after current projects wind out.

  1. Any chance part 8 is coming? I’ve really liked the previous posts in this series. They’ve been pretty informative, and given some advice that I hadn’t considered. And when it’s all said and done, I’m tired of getting my ass kicked by my 13-year old son and could use all the help I can get.

    Keep up the awesome work you’ve put up here!

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