3058 is a bit of an odd duck when it comes to Technical Readouts (TRO), and that always made it harder for me to suss out. It introduces Inner Sphere omni technology in BattleMech form in the TRO series. It also features a large number of older designs, such as the Chameleon, Mackie, and Merlin and Striker that had been around for a long time. As a player I was never sure why they did that, and our playgroup had a lot of questions. But the TRO gave us some fun new ‘Mechs rolling off the lines with the latest tech as well.
So after all of these years, which of these are your favorite Inner Sphere units?
Here are my top five:
5. Lynx – The Lynx is a pretty sexy medium unit. It had range similar to a lot of good jumping medium ‘Mechs of the era, and also adds two long range weapons that don’t require any ammo to use. Meanwhile we had a strong medium laser suite as close range fun. For a 55 ton frame, the armor is as good as you can get. So we have jumping, speed, two long range weapons, and multiple short ranges ones, and a strong heat dispersion. The result is a long-lasting unit that can keep up the pressure throughout an engagement without having to worry about ammo, explosions, or anything else. This sort of unit brings a quality among of game to the battlefield.
4. Devastator – Do you like to have four major long range hole-breaking weapons in one ‘Mech? I do! You can fire two gauss rifles and two normal, average, everyday PPCs at folks all day long, just sheering off armor and making plenty of holes for those missile boats to exploit. There was a time when I preferred the Thunder Hawk to the Devastator for that third gauss, but I’ve since seen the error of my ways. That time is long since passed. What’s not to love? Good armor? 4 tons of ammo for gauss’ing your foes? The quartet of backup medium lasers – standard fare in just about any long range unit? I recently became enamored with it after salvaging one for my unit and then doling out death across the battlefield in later battles. The Devastator is the real deal!
3. Talon – One of my favorite light ‘Mechs of the era is the Wolfhound. It has solid movement, an ER Large Laser, extra lasers, and heat sinks, good armor, and no issue with an XL Engine. I like to look at the Talon as basically a Wolfhound with an XL engine. Because of that, it can be faster, and have better weapons to boot. Now we have that ER PPC and the extra speed to put in on par with other 8/12 dorks like the Locust, Cicada and Spider. The combination of a super-fast body and super nice weapon give it a strong zone of operation that enables it to strike exceedingly quickly. I like using it as a recon adjunct to my long range units that can range, close, flank, or get in rear attacks as needed.
2. Grand Crusader – I’m not a super -big fan of Inner Sphere XL engines. In play, I find that they make ‘Mechs too easy to shut down and usually don’t give enough punch back to make the risk worth it. There are situations (such as quad ‘Mechs or long-range units) where the XL is worth the price of admission. While 3058 is just chock full of XL designs I would love to tinker with, I do enjoy the Word of Blake’s Grand Crusader. Want a long-range missile boat on the level of an Archer? Well, you’ve got it! We even have Artemis IV for that role. Want a heavier ‘Mech that can wade in and block stuff out with its accurate weapons fire? We can do that too – pulse lasers get ready. You can play either role with it, and with its large armor, you aren’t disappointed. I like using it as a missile boat alongside ‘Mechs that open up holes in armor, and then waiting for that invariable push with the big, heavy, armored stuff at you – like Hunchbacks, Thunders, BattleMasters, Thunderbolts and Atlases. As that stuff comes in, the Grand Crusader switches roles from long range warrior to guardian of the longbowmen. I enjoy that sort of diversity in my units.
1. Starslayer – I don’t know if I could ever put my finger on exactly why, but I’ve always adored the Starslayer. I like a recon, hopping medium dork with enough weaponry to make things serious. The twinned long range large lasers certainly suffice. It rocks virtually maxed out armor, solid backup weapons, and my favorite – no XL engine to shut the thing down when weapons fire invariably comes its way. It’s the full package, and I’ve played them in tons of games, loved them in MechCommander 2 and still can’t get enough of the guy.
So there are my five favorite IS ‘Mechs from 3058! What are yours?