Bad ‘Mechs – Cicada

Cicada by Eldoniousrex

Courtesy of Eldoniousrex

There was a fly in corporal Grubb’s cockpit. The Cochrane’s Cavaliers operated throughout the periphery with all its weird and bothersome wildlife, but Grubb had never experienced a fly as annoying as the kind found on Waypoint. Its high-pitched whine somehow managed to drown out the rumbling of his Cicada’s fusion engine, and unfortunately for Grubb, it had developed a taste for human sweat.

Grubb swatted at the fly away for the umpteenth time and checked his sensors. It didn’t help that garrison duty was the worst sort of contract–hours upon hours of boredom with the smallest chance of intense terror should the planet ever actually be raided by bandits. So far it was all quiet on the western front, according to captain Cochrane, but Grubb didn’t agree. The fly in his cockpit was absolutely deafening.

But not as deafening as the sudden, blaring alarm of incoming missiles.

“This is beta two-four, I’m under attack!” Grubb kicked his Cicada’s engine to the point where it almost became louder than the fly. A few missiles stuck at his ‘Mech’s long legs, pockmarking the relatively thin armor protecting his 40-ton machine.

“Get to cover, two-four, help is on the way,” came Cochrane’s calm and commanding voice. “What’s the situation?”

“Unkown,” Grubb replied, throwing his Cicada into a trot while throttling up and down to throw off any potential attacks. He needn’t have bothered; as more LRMs rained on his outpost’s position, it became clear they were targeting the facilities and not his ‘Mech. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Suddenly, a target appeared on Grubb’s sensors. A Locust, judging by the silhouette and the tonnage range his radar estimated. It came barreling at him straight on, its spindly legs rapidly closing the distance to where it could fire its medium lasers. One bright green bolt flew past his Cicada’s left “wing,” while the other struck it dead center just below the cockpit. Grubb blinked away the outline of the blast that was momentarily burned into his retinas.

“Contact, one Locust–looks like pirates,” Grubb offered as another flight of LRMs blew out the garage that housed one of the company’s Pegasus hovercraft. “They’re targeting the outpost with long-range missile fire. Probably from LRM carriers or Harassers.”

“Acknowledged,” Cochrane replied. “Sit tight, Corporal.”

“Roger,” Grubb said, and then grinned. His Cicada was purpose-built to defeat Locusts. Twice as heavy but just as fast, the Cicada was a far more imposing design, but it only matched the Locust for armor. And, as Grubb’s sensors pointed out, the LCT-1E had one more small laser to bring to bear than his own machine’s complement of twin medium and a single small laser.

A fair fight then, thought Grubb as he slowed his trot for an accurate shot at the incoming Locust. His own medium lasers struck the smaller ‘Mech’s torso and leg, removing more than half a ton of its protection. The Locust struck back, beams momentarily connecting their machines as armor ran like rivulets beside his Cicada’s jutting cockpit.

Heat began to rise in Grubb’s cockpit as the Locust came into range of his small laser. The two ‘Mechs put on a dangerous light show as they blasted away while circling at high speed, both nearly tripping over trees or cars or debris from the rain of missiles that were still periodically cratering the outpost’s parking lot.

Just as Grubb’s heat gauge started to bleed into the red zone he managed to score a direct hit on the Locust’s left shoulder, shearing its arm and half its weapons clean off. This caused the Locust to stumble at the sudden loss of so much weight, but it didn’t falter. It almost seemed to cower as the pirate tried to regain control of their machine.

Grubb swung his Cicada around to deliver the final blow, but that’s when the fly decided to attack. It flew straight into Grubb’s ear, so loud and unexpected that it caused the corporal to veer hard enough to topple his Cicada just as it was about to straighten for its assault on the dazed Locust. Instead, Grubb’s ‘Mech landed right at the enemy’s feet.

Fortunately, this pirate wasn’t interested in blood. The raider was happy enough to leave the dazed and confused pilot on the ground as it carried on subduing the local resistance. By the time Cochrane arrived with reinforcements, the pirates were long gone, and corporal Grubb was sitting on the wreckage of his ruined ‘Mech, the splattered remains of an unusually large insect plastered to the inside of his neurohelmet.

Cicada by Spooky777

by Spooky777

HartfordCo IndustriesCicada was the direct response to the ubiquitous Locust from Bergan Industries. Although the two companies had no real rivalry (HartfordCo had only ever produced communications and targeting systems for ‘Mechs before the Cicada), executives at HardtordCo recognized the value proposition of a ‘Mech designed specifically to outclass and destroy Locusts, one of the most popular and numerous recon ‘Mechs ever made. Proposing a ‘Mech that was just as fast but twice as large as the Locust, HartfordCo managed to convince Star League procurement officers to agree to a limited contract for a small number of Cicadas that began to roll off its assembly lines on Bryant in 2740.

Cicada CDA-2A

As with many companies that were looking to branch into ‘Mech production during the lucrative years of the Star League, HartfordCo’s first offering wasn’t perfect. The largest issue suffered by original model Cicadas was faulty heat sinks that would wear out at a faster rate than models from other ‘Mech manufacturers. Most former Star League models had their heat sinks replaced, but several still used the older, defective kind that would prove to be disastrous for the Free Worlds League during the battles for Oriente against the Capellan Confederation. The last Cicadas didn’t have their faulty heat sinks replaced until the year 3029.

However, even with fully-functional heat sinks, the Cicada leaves much to be desired. The CDA-2A, the primary and most numerous model of Cicada produced, had just two medium lasers and a single small laser as its only armament. While this barely managed to outgun the typical LCT-1V, the LCT-1E had the same weapons complement plus an additional small laser, meaning it technically outgunned the CDA-2A. It also had just as much armor at four tons and was just as fast at 129 kph, but only at a fraction of the cost.

Marketing the Cicada against the Locust still proved to be an effective marketing strategy, although the two ‘Mechs rarely fought in combat. In fact, the Star League used its small order of Cicadas to replace Locusts lost to fighting in the Periphery. Cicada production picked up during the First Succession War, however, HartfordCo’s factory on Bryant was destroyed during the Second Succession War. Despite this, HartfordCo had managed to produce a sizeable quantity of Cicadas before the factory’s destruction, with the planet enduring multiple raids where stockpiled Cicadas were House militaries often procured them at the barrel of a gun. This led to the Cicada proliferating throughout the Inner Sphere.

Cicada CDA-3M TCG

Like many ‘Mechs during the Succession Wars, the Cicada‘s numbers would dwindle following its factory’s destruction, and by the Fourth Succession War, it was in danger of going extinct. The 40-ton ‘Mech was saved in the late 3040s by Free Worlds Defense Industries, which opened a new factory on the planet Gibson. Although most of the new Cicadas produced went directly to the Free Worlds League military, replacement components were sold on the open market. This revival of old and broken-down Cicadas caused a resurgence the likes of which harkened back to its namesake.

The CDA-3M was the first entirely new Cicada to be introduced by Free Worlds Defense Industries in 3049 using technologies recovered from the Helm Memory Core. Given an extralight engine to free up space for an Ulra AC/5 vastly improved the Cicada‘s firepower while CASE protection prevented a catastrophic ammunition explosion. Armor protection still remained light, which was perhaps why the CDA-3F was introduced. The CDA-3F was based on the CDA-3C, a variant produced in 2840 that improved the Cicada‘s firepower by removing its lasers and adding a PPC with paired machine guns at the cost of a slightly reduced running speed. The CDA-3F upgrades the 3C with an ER PPC and twin medium lasers as well as six and a half tons of ferro-fibrous armor. It also adds eight jump jets to improve the ‘Mech’s already superb mobility.

During the Jihad, the Free Worlds Defense Industries produced the CDA-3P, which updated the CDA-3M with a Heavy PPC and four ER medium lasers at the price of moving at the same speed as the CDA-3C. After the company collapsed alongside its Word of Blake allies, many former Free Worlds Defense Industries ‘Mech specialists joined Andurien AeroTech, which had split from FWDI when it became clear that the former Cicada manufacturer had become overrun with Blakists. Andurien AeroTech would use its newfound ‘Mech expertise to produce the CDA-4A. This latest variant keeps the CDA-2A’s top speed of 129 kph but replaces the standard lasers with two medium variable-speed lasers and a re-engineered medium laser. It also more than doubles the original’s protection with ferro-fibrous armor.

Much like its predecessors, Andurien AeroTech also markets the Cicada in opposition to the Locust, but these days the Locust can out-pace even the most modern Cicada, making its claims as a Locust-killer ring slightly false. Still, the Cicada‘s popularity within the League has assured its continuation for another generation.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

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About Sean

Hooked on BattleTech at an early age, Sean honestly can't remember whether it was the cartoon, the serial novels or the short-lived TCG that did him in. Whatever it was, his passion for giant shooty robots never died, so now he writes about the latest and greatest in 'Mech related news.

54 thoughts on “Bad ‘Mechs – Cicada

  1. Matt Bowden

    Yay! Another article about a “bad” mech where the vast majority of the configurations are actually quite decent.

    The CDA-2A is crap, but pretty much the entire CDA-3 series are at least usable and the 3F and 3G are straight up excellent mechs.

    1. SilverCyanide

      The problem is that the 3-series Cicada are all rare to pretty darn rare in-universe due to limited production runs. Most of the time, you are still outgunned and outarmoured by other ‘mechs in your weight category, and when we are looking at modern ‘mechs, you end up up at the same speed bracket as well.

      Not saying the 3-series Cicada are bad, but when you look at the original 2-series which are the ones you have a higher probability of meeting out there, yeah, it is a fairly bad battlemech overall.

      1. Matt Bowden

        Are you sure about that? The 3C is rare and the 3P is restricted to the FWL, but the 3M (which is admittedly to worst of the series) and th 3F are both on the IS general list making them fairly common all the way through to the Dark Age. The 3G isn’t quite as widespread but still appears in a lot of factions and hasn’t gone extinct in the ilclan era.

        1. SilverCyanide

          As I said “Rare to pretty darn rare”. Another issue is that most 3-series Cicada are crazy expensive due to XL engines and other weight saving measures, which lead you looking at other ‘mechs in the same category (Medium scout) and realizing you would be better served with most of them in the save era. As a strategist or logistician, you realize that the only way the Cicada is a valid choice is if you have a factory building them under your control.

          1. Matt Bowden

            Do we agree that the Talon 5W is an excellent light mech? In fact, one of the most optimized light mechs you can build with Star League tech?

            The Cicada 3F is a Talon 5W that can jump eight hexes.

            That’s the category the Cicada 3 series is competing with – large, expensive light mechs. Yes it’s costly, but things it competes with are equally costly and what else can you get that can move like a Ostscout whilst outgunning a Panther and carrying the armour of a Wolfhound?

            And let’s be straight – nowhere in the the fluff is it stated that the Cicada 3M and 3F are rare. That’s just your own personal head-cannon.

  2. GoStu

    I’ve never liked any mech that’s “fast for its weight class” because there’s so much tonnage tied up in engine that it seems like you’re overpaying for a lighter mech.

    The Cicada is definitely one of those wretched creations. 130 km/hr is quite fast but it doesn’t outrun lasers and it doesn’t scare anyone it’s running toward with its wimpy armament.

    The 3-series with XL engines and bigger guns are even more fragile. A PPC is a solid weapon, but I’m not impressed – I’d rather have a Panther; nearly two Panthers for the price.

    1. Will

      The 3C doesn’t have an XL engine. It moves at the same speed as an assasin, and has a PPC, and costs all of 200k more than a Panther.

      1. Jason

        The 3C would be a decent mech, except that it is still “protected” by a scant 4 tons of armor. Even as a high speed skirmisher that’s fragile.

        The 3F might be carrying around an expensive XL engine, but it at least has enough armor to shrug off a PPC hit or two.

  3. Eric

    An article written from what perspective? Table Top or video game?

    I ask because I have seen this mech used quite well on the tabletop many times, yet based on this creative fiction, it’s passed off as junk worse than the Flea. So what is the take on this, Sean? What venue are you basing your “bad” classification on or from?

    Are you one of the player types that run out into the middle of the board and ignoring cover and tactics to duke it out like every fight is Immortal Warrior holovid or Solaris Seven Deathmatch? Or do you use tactics and try to play the game as it’s setup to be a battlefield simulation? Some background might help us all get a better feel on why you are declaring mechs “bad” and noting here, we don’t see you offering up any articles that you consider “good” mechs to counterbalance things.

    1. Aineko

      It really only takes a matter of seconds with a mech builder to see how the basic Cicada platform is fatally flawed – if it weighed 5-15 tons less it would have much more capability. (XL engine models or models like the -3C that accept a lower speed are a different story.)

      1. Eric

        It’s up a Locust that is doubled in weight; that is what it has always been. Again, Sean’s take is missing where he is getting points. Is he using the tabletop game or one of the video/computer games? He leaves that part out, which is common with his entire BAD MECH rants.

        1. Nemo

          He uses mostly lore and fluff. The Cicada as bad in lore, as you can read in the article.

          But, well, the Cicada is bad in the tabletop as well, at least until well past 3025.

  4. Siras

    El Cicada es malo bajo cualquier punto de vista, fragil y poco armado para su tonelaje y además, caro, lo he pasado peor frente a Locusts, Panthers, Spiders y similares en MWO, Mech 5 o Btech que frente a Cicadas, donde dos tiros bien colocados y adios.

    1. Kantoken

      Since the OP is too lazy to use a translation service, here we go:
      “The Cicada is bad from any point of view, fragile and under-armed for its tonnage and also, expensive, I’ve had a worse time against Locusts, Panthers, Spiders and the like in MWO, Mech 5 or Btech than against Cicadas, where two shots well placed and bye.”

      Besides using zero punctuation, he/ she apparently also didn’t read the article and/ or comments.

  5. Crazy_Borg

    Hey, even a Cicada 2A can be fun if used correctly.
    I used it as a charger most times in tabletop, with pretty good results.
    Once managed to tumble an Awesome with it (with a lot of luck inflicting critical leg damage). Good times!

  6. Kantoken

    Ah yes, the Cicada. It was one of my first miniatures, and I simply didn’t know any better. It was so fast, and got so many shots into the rear of my opponents… until they learned that they needed just one good, heavy hit anywhere on it to disable it. Using the PPC-variant was fun for a while too, but was also quickly replaced once I got more ‘mechs I got into my collection.

    I still sometimes use it, for some good old nostalgia plays. And of course, the occasional ram charge :-)

  7. Steel Shanks

    Yep… Cicada is bad… Paper armor, legs that are incredibly easy to target, undergunned as all hell… Tabletop, MWO, HBS Battletech, it’s a Bad Mech lol. Ye can try and defend it, but… I love its modern look and design, but I would not use it in a fight. Good call on this one.

  8. SilverCyanide

    I think we are really looking at 2-series Cicada and not the 3-series. When discussing “Bad ‘mechs”, I think we should all be thinking at “what is the ‘mech people know and if you search for that ‘mech, which one comes up ‘normally'”. I am also not a huge fan of the 3-series either because yes, they should be rare as they were generally built on Gibson which was nuked at the end of Jihad and under control of a mass murdering regime for a good chunk of their production run, while the original series factory were also destroyed.

    The Cicada was popular enough to lead to the production of an Omnimech (the Strider) based on the design, which is slower but better armed (and far more flexible), while not being THAT much more expensive then an XL engined Cicada. As the Strider is built on Irian and at LAW, that would make the Strider a far more “easy to procure” battlemech.

  9. Spartakus

    How dare you calling one of my favourite mechs a bad one. Sure it’s not a good one and I’d take a Jenner over a Cicada 2A any day but boy is it an improvement over the Locust. It can actually take some damage due to it’s internal structure and it can deliver a kick that can actually cripple a lighter target and might get dangerous even towards heavier targets.
    People who discard the 2A as crap look at the weight class and think that it’s supposed to do a job based on it’s tonnage rather then anything that actually matters in mech combat.

    1. SilverCyanide

      The problem is that the 40 tonner weight class is terrible from the get go. In the Succession War era, no 40 tonner would be my primary purchase if I was a procurement officer, and once you reach further eras, most 40-tonners are still lackluster compared to “heavier” mediums or “lighter” lights. Combine to this that the Cicada has a very spotty production timeframe, I would buy its competior, the Locust, in almost all cases. If I want an heavy scout, I will go grab a Wolverine or Griffin, both of which are far more common and reliable.

      Is it the worst ‘mech in existence? Absolutely not. Is it bad? Yes.

      1. Joseph

        I agree with this assessment; 40 tonners are just awkward. They’re just a bit too heavy to be a fast mech while also being to light to mound a good level of firepower and not having enough structure to mount a level of armor you want. With most mechs it’s pick two (speed, armor, or firepower), but for a 40 tonner it’s basically pick one and pay extra for the second. I think the Cicada and all it’s variants are a good example of this. Which is weird, because going up or down by just five tons takes the bite out of these problems somehow (In my opinion anyway).

        Also, I feel this problem also affects 60 tonners, but to a lesser degree.

        1. Crazy_Borg

          True, out of the 40t Mechs, there is no really “great” design.
          Most useful of the bunch in my eyes would be the Sentinel.
          Or perhaps the Vulcan, but like the Cicada only that for specific scenarios.

          Look 5 tons less and you got the 35t powerhouses like the Jenner, Panther or Firestarter.
          And 5 tons more for 45t you get more versatile Blackjack, Vindicator and Phoenix Hawk.
          Strange weight class, indeed.

          1. Marshall

            The problem is that the ideal speed for a 40tonner is 5/8 and none of the designs move that speed..

  10. Kage

    Not sure if the author gets paid by the word or article, but either way another case of condemning an entire chassis line because of one or two variants, albeit the first two variants. That’s like Nam vets continuing to bitch about the M16 after 40+ years of development.

    Also, how in the seven hells is anyone overheating with 2 MLs and 1 SL? You can run and alpha strike continuously and generate -1 heat. Unless you’re standing in an active volcano, you’re not overheating. That’s just lazy fucking writing right there.

    1. Flashfreeze

      TRO 3025, both printings: “The HartfordCo heat sinks proved to be of an inferior design, however, tending to wear out and fail to perform to full capacity after extended use. If not repaired, the sinks will vent only 60% of the heat transferred to them…”

      TRO 3025 goes on to state that while many Cicadas were refitted with better sinks that actually worked, not all did. I’d guess the Cicada in the narrative is not one of the lucky ones.

      If you’d like to reflect a defective Cicada in a game, the most straightforward way is to apply the Negative Quirk “Nonfunctional: Heat Sinks (4)” since it has only engine sinks, a decision that is guaranteed to make life uncomfortable for its pilot.

    2. JayDee

      Did you miss the part where the first run had faulty heat sinks that lost efficiency quickly?

  11. Z3r0_

    I actually agree with calling this bad…if you’re talking about the basic CDA-2A or the 2P. They’re basically just more expensive Locusts. Every other variant varies from “meh” to “good”. I’m rather partial to the 3C variant, a PPC on a mech that fast in 3025 is a nice sniper. The 3F and 3G upgrades are nice too.

  12. Mainbrace

    I have heard many ridiculous things in the Battletech universe, but a mech being defeated by a fly is a new one.

  13. Craig

    There are original 3025 mechs which violate a simple principle when calculating movement versus weight. Chart out lower overall mech sizes versus engine weight. Charger, Banshee, Cyclops are examples. This is why 65 ton mechs outgun 95 ton mechs of the same movement.

    40 tons, 320 engine = 22.5 -> 6.5 tons more + 1 ton gyro + 0.5 tons structure + armor 1 ton = 9 tons extra for 5 tons larger.
    35 tons, 280 engine = 16
    30 tons, 240 engine = 11.5

    40 tons does not work for 8-12 movement. 35 barely works over 30 tons. Right from the start the Cicada is junk as lighter mechs can carry more armor and weapons. Simple math.

    Factor in the larger economic factors such as dropship capacity, production, maintenance, and the Cicada is only employed by silly forces or commanders with no other option. Is it really better than two Locusts? Is “recon” an element of any scenario played on the tabletop? If so go lighter.

    As to the always-mentioned never-backed up “40 ton curse” – 5/8/5 8 tons armor allows 30% weight towards weapons and equipment. Stop imagining that 40 ton mechs should be running down 20 ton mechs and this… “curse” evaporates. The original fiction doesn’t have middle-of-the-road simple designs for this bracket – and it’s broken everyone’s brains on the subject. Try this; 5 medium lasers and 17 heat sinks. You’ve almost got a Grasshopper at a 30 ton discount!

    All mechs are brawlers. Speed is an asset that smaller mechs use to outflank or escape from heavier mechs. “Recon” means cause destruction before the enemy can respond (say on supply depots or other fixed assets), it does not mean running real fast with no weapons or armor. If you can’t mount more weapons than something lighter and less expensive, your design is a failure.

    1. Guest

      I’d argue that the Viper is the exception to this rule, as it has the speed of a Spider and has enough armor to withstand a hit from an AC/10 or a Standard PPC. And before anyone can complain about it being undergunned, let me put it this way; if it can mount a Clan ER PPC, then

    2. Guest

      I’d argue that the Viper is the exception to this rule, as it has the speed of a Spider and has enough armor to withstand a hit from an AC/10 or a Standard PPC. And before anyone can complain about it being undergunned, let me put it this way; if it can mount a Clan ER PPC, then you have no right to say it is “undergunned.”

    3. SilverCyanide

      Know what else goes 5/8 and has 9 tons of armor or so? The Naga II, at 80 tons. It also packs 2 10-class autocannons and a LRM 20. While I haven’t had enough time to playtest the Naga II as much as I would like, I have a feeling it is a better ‘mech then any of your hypothetical 5/8 40-tonner would be, which would be as quick as a Griffin or Wolverine, have less armor and less firepower, along with the fact that both the two core members of the 275 Mafia are so common you can kick a trashcan and find spare parts for them.

    4. Argus

      I totally agree: There is no 40-ton-curse. With MP 7 /11 a 40 ton mech offers more space for weapons, armor and heat sinks than any other Mech weight. The ASSASSIN is such a mech, but hides his capabilities behind a mixed small weapon load and 7 jump jets, which soak up all that tons. It could easily field a PPC (or a large laser without losing jump movementt). That could be a scout hunter, at least against Stingers and Wasps.

      At MP 8 /12 a weight of 30 or 35 tons is ideal. Both offer 9,5 tons for equipment. 30 tons is cheaper and fits a bit easier in some transport vehicle. 35 tons offer more damage with kicks & punches.
      The SPIDER is ideal here, but again hides his capability behind 8 jump jets. Im not against jump jets, but you could easily put in a Large Laser and there we have our scout hunter.

      But we can get it still cheaper: Just take a LOCUST LCT-1M, change the weapons load to a single large laser – and there we have our cheap scout hunter. Hunt the LOCUST with a LOCUST. ;-)
      Or just take a SALADIN hover tank, if no woods are in the way. Of curse, hunting down small mechs with grenades of the size of a trash can might be a bit over the top, but it works… ;-)

      Recon might not be an element of tabletop scenarios, but might be an element of RPGs, for which Classic BattleTech can also be used as vehicle combat system. And unarmed units could also be used as spotters for infirect fire.
      And to wreak havoc, you don´t need much weapons. A flamer is enough to torch an entire forest. A mine dispenser is enough to disrupt a poorly guarded supply line. A light laser (or Vehicular Grenade Launcher) is enough to destroy small support vehicles. It’s not just about how heavy your weapon load is, it´s also about were you could hit, and there speed is also important.

      1. Chrontius

        Given the real-life size of targeting lasers being about that of large binoculars, it strikes me as silly that TAG weighs a ton. Instead, every single unit should be able to laser a target and call for laser-guided missiles or artillery to be fired on a trajectory where it can pick up the target.

        Any spotter, any shooter. MWO did this well during the “LRMageddon” period; I particularly enjoyed that era. Half the team boating LRMs, quarter of the team light scouts spotting targets for artillery, another quarter in assault serving as secondary spotters and bodyguards for the rear line.

        Made positioning very strategic; if you can bypass the assault you can decimate a team’s real firepower pretty easily. Also made it fucking hilarious to play an LRM bot with an AC/20 — Commando thinks the rear echelon is unguarded and catches a faceful of KABOOM.

  14. Eric Karau

    Who drew this mech? All the versions I’ve seen illustrated as well as the minis look like the Cicada is top-heavy backwards going forward! I know mechs are fictional (for now) but what about actual engineering?
    The design looks like it’s about to tip over from all the extra mass up front, anf the legs don’t work at all! As a medium scout mech goes, the Clans do it better with the Ice Ferret/Fenris in spades!

  15. Eric Karau

    Who drew this mech? All the versions I’ve seen illustrated as well as the minis look like the Cicada is top-heavy backwards going forward! I know mechs are fictional (for now) but what about actual engineering?
    The design looks like it’s about to tip over from all the extra mass up front, anf the legs don’t work at all! As a medium scout mech goes, the Clans do it better with the Ice Ferret/Fenris in spades!

    1. SilverCyanide

      As a Chicken-walker like we see in modern images and the video games, the leg module is functional, even though the design WOULD still be really top-heavy. With the original Man-walker design, it just can’t work.

  16. Eric Karau

    For a speedy mech with a punch, give me the LCT-1E Locust; 20 tons coming in at your opponent
    at 130 kph firing 2 medium laser and 2 small lasers mounted in turrets where the right and left arms
    would be, also being able to swing behind 180 degrees and hit anyone coming in on your six! At least
    it looks like it could work! Works in any battletech era, even the ilClan one!

  17. Greenmonster

    Just getting back into tabletop with my son, after not playing since ’88 or so. He randomly got a Cicada 2A as 1 of his starting mechs. I’m casually controlling a pirate Valkyrie that was starting to get swarmed by his lance. “No problem, I’ll just jump to this level 2 area and feast on his forces from above.” Same turn, his cicada casually follows me up 2 elevation changes, easily gets to my rear arc, and crits my LRM ammo.

    Movement and facing changes are so important in tabletop. When piloted well, this thing is hard to hit, uses its weapons at short range, is shooting your rear armor all the time, & going full alpha with no heat scale. Yes, armor sucks (structural boost from tonnage is helpful), but attacks are usually being directed at the bigger threats, or easier to hit targets.

  18. Pyro

    The CDA-2A is deeply flawed in many ways, but as a hunter of other bug mechs, it can ruin their day if it gets into melee range – and it has the speed to do so if you win the initiative. A 40 ton kick can be ruinous to a 20 ton mech.

  19. Sword_of_Light

    While the Cicada remains in my opinion the worst mech in the game, I have found recently that the 2-alfa isn’t utterly useless. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not an effective design, but having been forced to field it in my most recent RogueTech campaign, it does have two things going for it. One, it makes for a more effective brawler that I would have imagined, especially against lights, as its ability to close from a fair distance and deliver a good kicking is actually useful. The second is that while my Cicada had been severely damaged numerous times, and rendered hors de combat at least once, so what? It’s the cheapest and easiest mech to repair I’ve ever had.

  20. Rand.

    The base, original Cicada is a -good- mech.

    As the game was originally a table-top, and as the cicada was designed/created for that environment, one needs to review the mech design with that in mind. Also keep in mind that rules have changed over the years, while the Cicada was created based on the older/original rules.

    To sum up the cicada- its a locust, but weighs twice as much. And that is the -key- to the mech’s usage. It weighs twice as much. Where does weight matter? Physical combat. It literally does twice as much damage as the locust. Can leg most light mechs quickly with kicks. Can zip in and out of range bands to get close to mediums, even heavies, and stay behind them, and fast enough that even if the mech has weapons that can aim, you can generate a heavy modifier to keep it from getting hit. And if you don’t have initiative, then you stay out at favorable range bands, with that same modifier protecting you.

    But… that’s not the -best- use of a cicada, just really good ones. The best is putting that 8/12 movement and 40 tons to work in a charge. Stay out of range, and circle til you get init. Then full tilt charge. Best scenario is a back shot… or off a cliff, but back shot in general. You’re looking at 4 points of damage times movement… Perfect setup gets you 48 points of damage to the attacker. More realistically, its 40 points of damage (a few turns to get lined up best, and/or aim for the back), though I’ve been known to run out and back in for 8 hexes moved (4 for turns) and still look at 32 points of damage. It’s not the -most- charge damage you can get out of the original mechs (pretty sure the Charger holds that catagory), but it’s the same damage as ‘fast’ heavies will get, and within spitting distance of assaults. All that from a -cheap- easy to repair, low BV mech…

    They’re almost purpose built to be essentially cannonballs. Or wrecking balls. Sure, they take damage too, and they can miss, of course, though this is one of the few places a 4/2 pilot -shines- and is worth the BV… But that damage, say against another 40 tonner, is 4 points. Even attacking an 80 tonner, that’s 8 points of damage… it can soak that kind of damage with its low armor, for at least 2-3 charges, more if the damage is spread evenly enough. And against lighter mechs, like a locust? 2 points of damage. Locusts go splat on Cicada’s windscreen. And it is fast enough that it can keep up with locusts, and every other original TT mech made.

    Is the mech perfect? Not by a long shot. Terrain, bad dice rolls, tactics, mechs designed to hunt them, not getting initiative when you need it, getting shot out of a charge, skidding, LB-10Xs, Targeting computers, failing fall rolls after the charge, etc can all ruin your day. But no mech is perfect, there are flaws and counters to everything. But a charging cicada is a threat to even assault mechs, and absolutely obliterates slow mechs, and anything its weight class or below.

    In my current merc solo-campaign, I’ve used cicadas extensively. A pair of them can circle an enemy at opposites to each other, almost ensuring a back hit. and a ‘wolf pack’ of cicadas is just disgusting… Even with the newer charging rules and damage, they still make a -mess- out of enemies, even clan mechs. Do I lose a lot of them, yeah, yeah I do. Legs need more armor. They really want a longer ranged weapon, even an LRM-5, so that they plink at range, until they need to swoop in and do their magic. I have some builds around that concept… but those just take a good mech, and make it better.

    Go, use them, abuse them. Bonus points if, when you line that charge up and commit… you sing Miley’s “I came in like a wrecking balllllll!”

    1. George Spelvin

      Two Locusts weigh the same, cost less, and can wipe the floor with a single Cicada even in melee. Dump the Machine Guns on the Locusts for a second Medium Laser and more armor and the Cicada is hosed.

      1. Rand.

        One charge, one kick even, locust is done for, cicada still running just fine. I’ve never lost a cicada to a pair of locusts, and I’ve run that scenario. The locusts -can’t- lose initiative, that’s the only way they can not lose.

        Meanwhile, the cicada can survive medium lance fights, where locusts just get swatted. And there’s nothing more satisfying than watching those wrecking balls one shot mechs and just keep ticking.


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