Technical Readouts have defined BattleTech virtually as long as there has been a game. They help to shape the era, the conflicts, and the people. They give us units that we will use to face each other in battle. In particular, the BattleMech has defined the game, and that unit tends to really be a major component of the Technical Readout (TRO). What if there was an Ultimate Technical Readout? It would have ‘Mechs from every era, state, and more.
So the goal is simple. Now that we can have all of the various designs back in play, and we are past legal battles, we can have the best, most iconic ‘Mechs all in one place. So I think having an Ultimate Technical Readout for all Ages from the Age of War and Star League to Clan Wars and Dark Age would be a really interesting document. This is the best of the best, and the most diverse document of all time.
I am going to set out to create a slate of the best, the most iconic, and the most intriguing 25 BattleMechs from each weight class. We’d ignore things like ProtoMechs, the Superheavy units and such. It’s just the basic, Inner Sphere, units.
Now a few rules to make this interesting:
- There needs to be a few units from every Technical Readout, other than 3150 which was just recently released and the various small .pdfs in the TROlet series since they have such small numbers of units. So we’ll include units from 2750 to 3145, including earlier units revealed in later TROs as well.
- We need to include units of all technology levels.
- Diversity is also important. We need to have a flexibility of different models – quads, omnis, different houses, different ways of fighting, and more. The best Ultimate TRO is very diverse.
- Just Inner Sphere ‘Mechs may apply.
- Try to be objective, and don’t include a unit just because it’s your favorite.
In order to demonstrate how this project would work, I want to begin by looking at arguably the easiest class to deal with – Assault ‘Mechs. There are fewer Assaults out there, and even fewer that are really iconic and good. For example, in the 3025 Technical Readout, which will obviously be the place we pull the most units from by far, there are just 10 Assault ‘Mechs. Not only are there are lot more Medium designs, as an example, but many of those designs are really good, with only a few, like the Scorpion and Clint, being on the outside looking in.
But many of the Assaults from 3025 aren’t world beaters.
Obviously the Assaults from 3025 will include the BattleMaster, Atlas, and Awesome. The Zeus would be an easy inclusion as well. Meanwhile I’m not sure the Charger or Goliath have enough to make the cut, and the Victor, Stalker, Cyclops and Banshee are all question marks. I suspect the Victor makes it in, so I’ll toss it into my first five. But the Stalker, Cyclops and Banshee I’m leaving on the watch list for right now.
Next I turn to 2750. The Highlander is in. I might toss in the Thug, it’s strong and durable, but I’ll add another ‘Mech in a moment that’s virtually identical in every way but arguably more iconic. While the Crockett and King Crab are okay, again, I want to put them on the watch list, you know? In other news, I think the Longbow is a classic missile boat at the assault level, and it heads in.
For 3050, (or 3039 if you care) I do like the Hatamato-Chi and its later friends. It’s a classic, and since it’s based on the Charger’s chassis and the Thug’s payload, those sort of get in by proxy. The Combine disappoints me with the Mauler though. And despite the cache of being from Wolf’s Dragoons, the Imp, Shogun, and Annihilator fail to impress me. Moving to 3055 brings us several useful entries. The Berserker is just a crazy, powerful force of war, and it makes the cut. I think you can make strong arguments for the Grand Titan and the Cerberus. I like the Salamander as an ideal, and iconic missile boat to join the Longbow and the Gunslinger is no joke either. I’m going to stick in the Grand Titan and then move on, but again, all of these are watch listable.
3058 arrives next. The Mackie and Devastator are obvious examples, especially due to the role the Mackie will play later on in the Jihad Era. Because of the three gauss rifles, I think the Thunder Hawk is the Awesome of its day, and I tossed it in as well.
The 3060 TRO has a few options as well. I like the Hauptmann, the first Omni design to make the cut. It has evolved into a standard unit for a lot of players. I think the Capellan Confederation would be happy to see the Yu Huang here and the Free Rasalhague Republic the Viking. I think they each bring some value to the class as well.
After the Civil War era ends, we have the 3067 TRO. We have a few unique assaults, like the Sagittaire and its pulse laser heavy loadout merged with a targeting computer. Meanwhile the Fafnir is unique with twinned heavy gausses and it’s not afraid to fall down while firing them. Finally the Word of Blake Vanquisher is a strong and sturdy and powerful entry as well.
I’m choosing just one of the Blake OmniMech designs from this weight class, the Seraph. It’s more powerful, more common, and more flexible. There are only a handful of Assaults from 3085, and I’ll be choosing other designs from this TRO instead. That basically leaves 3145. The Doloire is a great Omni-design that was used by the Republic, and one of their banner creations. It’s heading in too.
That gives me 21 of 25 slots. What should I add? I want one of the Combine C3 Master units. How about…the Tai Sho? Let’s add in the Stalker to bring me to 23. Is there something else that’s iconic, good, and brings a different flavor? A classic design? Something timeless? How about the Sunder as one of the first Inner Sphere Omnis and the Banshee. There we are. These are my choices for the iconic 25 Assault BattleMechs of all time for the Inner Sphere. What do you think?
Abe’s Ultimate Assault List
- Grand Titan
- Tai Sho
- Thunder Hawk
- Yu Huang
There could be some of your favorites left off that list, and that’s okay. Some of mine are too! I’ve talked extensively about how much I love the Salamander and Grand Crusader, and yet neither are on this list. Because I don’t think they are objectively worth it, you know? This is not my personal favorite 25 Assault ‘Mechs. It’s different.
You can see how much harder it would be to do the other three weight classes where there are a lot more entries. That’s why I made sure to include some like the Blake Omni series or the first Omni series in the 3050s because I wanted to get those in, but I’m not sure I’d be able to fit lower class entries where it’s more crowded.
I think the hardest one to do is Heavies. Take the 3025 TRO as an example. There are 14 Heavy entries, and a good 12 make extremely compelling cases. Obviously we can’t have half of the Heavies come from this one spot. But who do you cut? If you go Dragon, Rifleman, Catapult, Crusader, Thunderbolt, Archer, Warhammer, Marauder, and Orion, you just added 9 heavy ‘Mechs to the roster. We skipped the Ost-series, Cataphract and Grasshopper and Quickdraw.
Then move to 2750. The Black Knight is required. I think you need the Guillotine. The Exterminator is the definition of iconic and unusual. What about the Shootist or the Flashman? 3050 brings the Axman while 3055 has a lot of great options, from the Penetrator to the Rakshasa. Avatar? Merlin? Excalibur? Barghest? Shugenja? Ti Ts’ang? Toyama? Argus? No-Dachi? Lao Hu? Thanatos? Hammerhands? Grigori? Patriot? Defiance? Galahad? Helepolis? Ostwar? Mangonel? Prefect? Vulpes? Vandal? Shiro? What about Ostsol or Cataphract, Caesar or Lancelot, War Dog or Falconer, Jinggau or JagerMech?
There’s just too many Heavies.
Abe’s Ultimate Heavy List
- Black Knight
- Lao Hu
- White Flame
Again, there are a ton of units you could swap in and out. Ultimately, I left off the JagerMech because while it is iconic, it’s not good. It just doesn’t do a lot. I felt I had to have one Ost- ‘Mech in the Ultimate 100, so I chose the one that I consider the best in the Ostsol. We have iconic heavies from every power, from the Lao Hu and Dragon to the Patriot and Vulpes. We also have a variety of units from the Age of War to interesting and different ‘Mechs later on. As an artillery sporting heavy design, the Helepolis is an odd ‘Mech, but definitely one that’s iconic. I even tossed in a Word of Blake quad design. The last design to be cut was the Hercules, so you could swap out something for the Hercules if you wanted.
Next up in line are the Medium ‘Mechs. The good thing is that a lot of Medium ‘Mechs in earlier works won’t be missed. Roughly 10 units from 3025 have the required combination of quality and iconic status. Are any of the 2750 units truly “iconic” like the others we’ve added in? I’m also not feeling the Wolf Trap or Hoplite from 3050. 3055 brought some really good mediums though. They are almost all really strong designs. But very few have a truly iconic appearance or diversity and unusual quality to them. I’m adding in the Apollo and Komodo, and leaving many others on the JV Squad for now, with the potential for promotion later.
From 3058 I like the Bushwacker. I want to toss in one of the Star League era designs as well, and the Starslayer seems like a solid choice. The Lynx is fine as well. There are several 3060 designs I want to incorporate, and the Marshal, despite being a Periphery design, is quite good. I like the Men Shen and Initiate too, and that gives us a Blake and Omni design. I also like the Sha Yu as a Liao stealth design. There are other designs from 3067 that are useful considerations, and some like the Blue Flame and Cronus just miss out. The Hellspawn is intriguing though.
I don’t like any of the designs from 3075 proper, but the Age of War section includes the Kyudo, Gladiator, and Icarus. I do like the Kyudo enough to toss it out. LRM 20 with Artemis and ER Large Laser? Yes please! Meanwhile the Osprey and Ghost make compelling arguments with their different styles of play. Speaking about unusual, have you seen the Eisenfaust? That thing works, often bizarrely. Meanwhile the Gauntlet brings a great Omni design to the Dark Age Lyrans.
After finishing my run I have 23 designs. What am I missing? How about another Draconis Combine design? Let’s choose the Daimyo. We could do another quad design or….maybe another Davion autocannon unit. Never mind, I got it. The Uziel. It’s a solid unit with an eclectic spread of weapons.
Abe’s Ultimate Medium List:
- Men Shen
- Phoenix Hawk
- Sha Yu
- Shadow Hawk
Alright it’s time for the last category, the Lights.
Again we’ll start looking at the first 3025 TRO. Of the 12 in here, I think a lot are obviously going to demand a space. From the Locust to the Panther, there are a lot of designs here that just seem to work. In fact, a full 9 of our units come from this TRO. I also toss in the Wolfhound and Raven from the 3039 or 3050 TRO (whichever you prefer). Both were good entries into their respective houses’ military. And then the Mongoose is a powerful fast and well-equipped machine from 2750. The Mercury is both fast and iconic as a unit that led to the Omni concept, so you have to include it too. So we leave the first few TROs with solid selections.
From the 3055 era, the Tarantula is a good example of a useful quad light. I also like the Hitman and Battle Hawk. One is a great electronics lancemate and the other a useful all around choice. From 3058 the Talon is a good unit to pair with the various ones listed. The Eagle wraps us up.
Multiple units from the Civil War era seem like they are worth it – Osiris, Razorback, Gurkha, and Anubis. I grabbed two.
I like the Firebee from the Age of War. It’s an interesting design that you can do a lot with. I also wanted to toss in another from Word of Blake’s Celestial Omni-series and the Malak is a great choice for that role. I also find that the Valiant is a great Light brawler unit, something very different. There are some good units from 3145 like the Havoc and Cadaver that are really strong and get some play. I’ll add in the Cadaver. I thought about the Gunsmith too, but decided to steer clear.
While I think unusual designs like the Hollander or UrbanMech are interesting, neither really strike me as essential to an Ultimate TRO. I also like either the Spider or Venom as an entry along similar lines, but I’ll keep them out due to space considerations.
Abe’s Ultimate Light ‘Mechs
- Battle Hawk
And there you have it! 100 BattleMechs from all across the history of the Inner Sphere, and all in one Ultimate Technical Readout and ready to show off the finest of the finest. Remembering the rules above, where do you agree and disagree? What would you Ultimate look like?