Bad ‘Mechs – Hellbringer


Courtesy of Eldoniousrex

“Khan Lassenerra has directed us to create a new heavy OmniMech. And he has… ordered this BattleMech to be completed within six months.” 

Each of the scientists and techs within the Hell’s Horses boardroom had different expressions after this announcement. Some looked down in solemn contemplation, a few stared back at Scientist Hyun in open-mouthed astonishment for the exceptionally short timeline. One threw his tablet on the table and lit a cigarette in direct defiance of the Star Captain’s “no smoking” ordinance. 

Technician Samson picked up his jaw before whispering, “That’s… not nearly enough time.” 

“Contractions, Samson,” barked Hyun. “Nevertheless, we do as the Khan commands. Ideas?” 

The boardroom was met with utter silence for several uncomfortably long moments. Then, a voice from the back: “We could use the lower assembly of the new Summoner chassis?” 

Hyun squinted. The voice was too far away to discern the source. Perhaps calling an all-hands meeting for a single ‘Mech design was not the wisest course of action. “And why would we do that?”

“Because you said this needed to be developed quickly,” came the sheepish reply. “Well, that is half the design right there.” 

There were a few nods, and Hyun conceded the point. They needed to move fast and starting from a proven design was a boon she couldn’t deny. They needed all the help they could get.

“This limits the design’s potential capacity, but it is a start,” Hyun said. “Now, let us discuss payload.” 


From there, the boardroom descended into utter chaos. A section of the scientists demanded anti-personnel pods and machine guns for urban combat. A contingent of techs suggested an Active Probe and ECM to counter the growing threat of electronic warfare within the clans. A scientist at the far end simply shrieked “AMS”, prompting Hyun to write the acronym on her datapad without really considering either the source or purpose of such a suggestion. 

“And, let us be frank, our MechWarriors are not the best of the Clans,” Samson said during a brief lull in the brainstorming furor. “A Targeting Computer would be most helpful for our warriors.” 

“Agreed,” Hyun said, adding the technology to the long list of suggested equipment. “We have yet to discuss actual weapons.” 

The room once again fell silent. Then another voice from a distant corner of the packed room said what everyone was already thinking. 

“Twin particle cannons, a short-range missile launcher, and several medium lasers?” 

“Brilliant,” Hyun said with a smile. “Get this down to our engineers. We have a prototype to build.” 

As the room cleared, a single scientist stayed in her chair, staring at the notes she’d taken during the manic planning session. In theory, this new ‘Mech would be able to meet the demands of any battlefield–a true OmniMech. Only she couldn’t help but think that this design was slightly unfocused. And there was the nagging feeling that they were all forgetting something vitally important… 

Academics that have studied the Clans find the Hellbringer (also known as the Loki to Inner Sphere MechWarriors) to be a bit of an oddity. Its primary configuration comes with a litany of performance-enhancing equipment that most Clan MechWarriors would consider questionable, if not outright dishonorable. An anti-missile system, ECM, and anti-personnel pods provides the Hellbringer with additional defenses, while a Targeting Computer and Active Probe ensure the Hellbringer pilot can engage enemy ‘Mechs effectively in almost all circumstances. 

Hellbringer MWO

However, Clan Hell’s Horses wasn’t about to sacrifice the Hellbringer’s potential weapons capacity in order for it to mount this additional equipment. In order to ensure the Hellbringer could keep pace with similar ‘Mechs in the Clan’s touman, the ‘Mech was forced to maintain a running speed of 86.4 kph. That left armor protection as the only element engineers could scale back, leaving the Hellbringer with an abnormally light shell of just eight tons of standard armor. 

Hells Horses’ engineers were also perhaps too focused on the Hellbringer’s speedy development to remember that its mostly energy-based weapons would need to be offset by heatsinking capacity. The Hellbringer‘s 13 double heat sinks allow it to shrug off some of the heat generated by its twin ER PPCs, but not all, and it’s certainly not enough to cool the ‘Mech down if the pilot starts firing its trio of ER medium lasers

Despite these flaws, the Hellbringer would go on to become a popular ‘Mech, especially with Clan Jade Falcon MechWarriors. First introduced in 2926, the Hellbringer was disseminated to most Clans thanks to Hell’s Horses leadership gifting the design for political favors. By the time of the Inner Sphere invasion, it was a common enough sight amongst the invading Clans to be designated Loki by Captain Galen Cox for its “utterly mad” configuration. 

While the primary configuration of the Hellbringer maintained a mostly energy-based weapons payload, alternate configurations lean more heavily towards ammo-dependent armaments. The A configuration retains the Active Probe and machine guns but swaps the SRM launcher and ER PPCs for twin ER large lasers, an Ultra AC/5, and an LRM-20. The ECM, Targeting Computer, and anti-personnel pods were swapped for a NARC Missile Beacon for improved accuracy of nearby fire-support units–another strange addition for a society that values honorable single combat.

Newer configurations of the Hellbringer tend to eschew the specialist equipment to devote more of its 28 tons of pod space to weapons. Interestingly, the Hellbringer‘s dissemination also included Inner Sphere armies, with the G configuration sporting an Inner Sphere-built Improved Heavy Gauss Rifle. By the Dark Age era, Clan Sea Fox readily provided the aging Hellbringer to any customer willing to pay for it.  

hellbringer A

Amongst the Home Clans, however, the Hellbringer has largely been replaced by the Ebon Jaguar, a superior design that offers similar speed and firepower with far greater armor protection while maintaining a 65-ton gross weight. In 3121, the Jade Falcons attempted to improve their favored design with the Loki Mk II. Also known as the Hel, the Loki Mk II drops the Hellbringer‘s engine to a 260XL (resulting in a running speed of 64 kph) to devote even more of its pod space to weapons. The primary Loki Mk II configuration mounts twin Gauss Rifles alongside twin ER Large Lasers with a Streak SRM-4 for lighter targets. The Hel’s B configuration is even more powerful thanks to a Long Tom artillery cannon mounted in the right arm. Ferro-Fibrous armor improves the Hel‘s protection over its progenitor, but it still remains a relatively fragile heavy ‘Mech. 

The Hellbringer marks a logical extreme for Clan designs emphasizing offense and mobility over defense. While the Hellbringer‘s primary configuration offers its pilots a curious array of equipment, most would likely be better served by a few more armor plates. Today, Hellbringers are the preferred mount for elderly Clan ‘MechWarriors looking to die in a blaze of glory or younger warriors too foolish to consider their own mortality.

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.

55 thoughts on “Bad ‘Mechs – Hellbringer

  1. BLR-IIC

    I’ve always loved the way the Hellbringer looked, like a Warhammer 2.0. The main flaw the chassis exposed is how Battle Value undervalued armor compared to mobility and firepower. Outside of Battle Value, it will absolutely destroy opponents carrying a similar amount of armor and stand up to them just as well.

    1. Stephen S.

      When you look the original BattleTech Center pod graphics, and you see the rear of the Loki, it’s 100% clearly inspired by the Warhammer, having the same hemispherical “pod” on the left side.

      1. Rob C.

        Yep, did the same thing. I was at the original BattleTech Center first year it opened. Everyone but me was using the Loki because it looked cool and Warhammer like.
        While the thing had dubious armor in the Table Top game, I wasn’t able tell if was like it VR game, where my two outing in the Timber Wolf/MadCat resulted in multiple deaths by the other players. ( I was also trying figure out how play the darn game.)

  2. SilverCyanide

    The Hellbringer is a great idea combined with horrible execution. With the way the game actually works, all those great electronic and support components just end up soaking up weight which should really have been put toward armor. Overheating is not that much of an issue if you volley fire or use your weapon effectively, but the fact that a 45 tons mech is more durable due to mobility and armor makes the Hellbringer a huge let-down.

    1. Krulla_Chief

      Yeah, if it just had one of its defensive options, if we’re talking Prime anyway, it’d be better just for that little bit more of weight saved for something else. Though admittedly, twin tarcomped clanner ER PPCs will make anyone think twice.

  3. Vermonster

    Yawn. “The Loki is under armoured”, there the whole article can be five words long. Low hanging fruit.

    The Loki is like a WWII tank destroyer. Or a Hetzer. Fast, cheap firepower, with a cost saving glass jaw.

    1. Etienne Falardeau

      Under armored, with poor thermal regulation, equipped with tons of hardware which ends up being useless or redundant. Far more then just “bad armor”/

    2. Thomas Gebhardt

      The problem an Omnimech is not cheap firepower. Cheap firepower is a Battlemech or vehicles.

    3. Flashfreeze

      The words “cheap” and “Clan OmniMech” really do not belong in the same sentence. Particularly since for the BV it is uncomfortably crunchy if it intends to use anything other than its PPCs.

      Incidentally, I find it somewhat amusing how many people forget that the Hetzer was also surprisingly ponderous thanks to its low power-to-weight ratio and extremely lacking in ergonomics thereby reducing crew efficiency, both as corner-cutting measures–meanwhile, the Hellbringer is neither of those things.

      If it really were a TD, it should focus on a single weapons platform and support that platform in all reasonable manners. To this end, I submit that the Nova A is a better TD equivalent conceptually than a Hellbringer Prime; nimbler (due to jumpjets), better protected (due to AMS and more armor), lighter (therefore easier to bid into battle), lower to the ground (and logically easier to hide) while still costing less BV overall than the Hellbringer.

      1. New Hampshit

        The Jagdpanzer 38 was a sensible compromise for a country facing an imminent and self-inflicted two-front invasion, but I have to believe even the Soviets would have balked at those crew quarters. To add to what you said, even heavier jagdapanzers like the IV were burdened with weight issues. The 38(t) by comparison was an increase from 9-10 tons to almost 16. The reliability must have been appalling.

        While definitions and doctrines for TDs varied by country, I think we can all agree that the Hollander fits that role. A platform built to kill ‘mechs with little to no ability to perform other duties (anti-infantry, anti-emplacement).

    4. suijin

      “Low hanging fruit.”

      It’s a series about bad mechs. Most truly bad mechs have obvious design flaws. That’s why they’re bad.

      Seriously, were you expecting an article about why the Timber Wolf is actually terrible?

  4. Eric Karau

    Same armor points as a 3025 Phoenix Hawk MEDIUM Mech! Always liked how it looks though! How is it that the Hellbringer/Loki when it first appeared with the Clans during the Invasion of the Inner Sphere was said to be the equal of 2 or more Inner Sphere Mechs in performance and that not one NOT ONE Inner Sphere Mech was able to beat the Hellbringer/Loki in combat. when it has armor coverage like THAT?

    1. SilverCyanide

      2 Clan ER PPC, at the start of the Clan Invasion, was enough to turn 90% of the battlemechs used by the Inner Sphere forces into slag in a matter of seconds, especially in the hands of a trained Trueborn warrior with a targeting computer. People fail to realize just how insane the difference in technology level was at that point, especially as most troops corewards were not using “modern weaponry”.

    1. BLR-IIC

      That is true! I’d definitely take this over the Jagermech! Though the JM6-S does benefit from the AC rapid-fire rules.

      1. Krulla_Chief

        Honestly if we’re talking the JagerMech, then we gotta talk about what is probably the best kind of loadout evolution for it in the JM6-A variant. It’s still a fantastic general fire support mech, those LRM 15s are still useful for anti-ASF duties, plus it has a little bit more armor. Sure it’s a backline unit where armor is les of a concern, but being able to tank one or two more hits from bug ‘mechs is always nice for ‘mechs similar to it.

  5. Jhen

    Beats the twin OST mechs (Ostroc and Ostsol) with just a little less amour, but more ample firepower. And yeah, so warhammer-looking it’s scary.

  6. Spectre

    Well… it’s not bad in MWO, at least. It’s got enough pod space on it to mount more stuff than a Timber Wolf in that game. I own 5 in total, and 3 are the Hero Mech variant ‘Virago’, equipped with an ECM, 2 Heavy Large Lasers and 3 Medium Lasers.

    1. Far_Reach

      I dunno, It seems like people have had a few years of getting their arsees kicked in by HBR pilots running meta energy loadouts. So I understand where the “bad(ass)” mech article came from.

      Hell, drop the TC and probe, max armor and add heatsinks. Otherwise stock Prime.
      Still turns out 700 – 800 points or more if I concentrate.

  7. Max

    I will have to bite my tongue because, while it’s a bad mech that can be used well. I had such great times with it I named my cat after it. RIP Loki you lived longer than any of these things do.

    Also funny everyone asked me if he was named after the comic movies or Norse mythology despite being an Egyptian breed

    Enough of my blog. But I like the Loki because it’s close to a Warhammer, got a soft spot for PPC and it moves fast enough if you’re going against IS (invasion era) you can dictate range much better. LRM pelts will get you after a while but your er PPCs normally have more than bloodied a nose or two.

    Variety and weird layouts are fitting. For some reason I’ve had no luck with the missile boat. Being so few people (least at my flgs) use PBI or BA dropping the AP guns just weld more armor on.

    I did have one march where yes you can use an M pod (not A or B) as a improvised lbx and I got a bugger who ran up on me. I don’t know if we laughed or were shocked more. So things like that and my cat will always make this “par” mech a favorite!

  8. Psyfer

    The Ultimate Clan ‘Support ‘Mech’, aka, the mini Warhammer.

    I have a soft spot for the Hellbringer Prime, though I totally admit that the Active Probe is a bit of an odd choice given that as equipped, the Hellbringer Prime’s best left lurking the backfield instead of probing cover.

  9. Flashfreeze

    The beauty of the Hellbringer is that there is always room/weight for at least one thing you want to put on it, no matter how depraved your modification tastes are.

    I knew a fellow who mixed an Arrow IV battery and ERLLs in one to surprisingly good effect.

  10. Marek

    I always wondered why even bother with so much additional gear, but then again I’m a fan of building purpose-built machines. Doesn’t matter if we talk a sniper, a brawler, an artillery platform, a breakthrough assault mech the problem with Hellbringer is the fact they attempted to build a machine capable of doing everything equally good despite the fact that Omni-mech technology was meant specifically to rearm the machine easily and re-adjust it for a different role.

    With double ER PPC coupled with a targeting computer mech sounds like a decent sniper setup while ER lasers and SRMs allow to repel anything getting close – ditch anti-personnel pods as a sniper mech would allow other platforms to lead the way, machine guns are also unnecessary as the infantry will either get cleared out by front troops or will have to close in on you where one SRM salvo would clear everyhing out, let it roam at 65-70 pkh allowing for a smaller engine (since you’ll let a vanguard before you anyways) and then it’s just a case of adding a few extra heat sinks and armor..

  11. SilverCyanide

    For people comparing the Hellbringer to a tank destroyer, with what it is equipped with, it is more of an AWACs where someone decided to load it up with a C-130 gunship weapons, but forgot that it also needed fuel to fly.

  12. Mainbrace

    The Hellbringer is one of those Mechs’ that is flawed on paper but if used correctly could really shine. Yes, it doesn’t have great armor, but it does have good speed for a heavy Mech, weapons that out range anything it can’t out fight and enough backup systems to make dealing with it an absolute pain. In my mind it’s downfall is largely due to the average Clanner’s desire to see the whites of the opponents eyes.

  13. Kdogprime

    I think the, “Bad Mech,” vein is pretty much tapped out at this point. We’ve gone from Mechs that are tragically flawed from the drawing board to ones that are just slightly or subjectively flawed.

    I mean, if this is the way these articles are going to go, why not cover some of the fan favorites that are objectively not nearly as great as a lot of people claim, like the Shadow Hawk, or the Wolverine? By contrast, write an article about Mechs that fans think are terrible, but are actually a lot better than they appear to be at first glance.

    1. Etienne Falardeau

      Nah, mate, Hellbringer is pretty damn bad. Whatever one says, a heavy with the armor of a medium and not a significant other advantage other then overwhelming firepower (well, for a turn, then you might have your ammo explode or shutdown), is a bad ‘mech. While some of the configs might be “viable”, you have to remember that you can’t change the armor load on an Omnimech, and in the end, it falls in the same category as the Charger, where “well, some of the variants are viable” doesn’t save the fact the core design is pretty bad.

      We still have plenty of bad ‘mechs to talk about. Wolftrap, the dime a dozen lights that never see play unless you roll for them on a chart, things like the Grasshopper, Cyclops (and other 90 tonners), Gargoyle (both of them)…

        1. suijin

          A mech performing badly in-game is not “subjective.” In fact that’s the exact opposite of subjective-the most objective measure we have for a mechs effectiveness is in-game performance. The Hellbringer performs well if you’re lucky, or really careful about how you use it, but you could get similar results (or better) much easier with a whole slew of other mechs, which makes it objectively worse than those mechs.

    2. Far_Reach

      It’s how they beg for comments and interaction.
      Make article that pisses off a subset of nerds. This draws the nerds in to comment when they would otherwise not.

      1. Demo

        Genius strategy :P
        How about Bad Mechs: Atlas then?
        I mean, its guns are pretty questionable… an ultra-slow mech that is mostly for close combat.

  14. Steel Shanks

    Another agree… Terrible Mech. Having Medium weight armor on a Heavy, even if it’s a second liner, is a terrible idea. I see these things in MWO, and I’m happy every time… As soon as it Overheats, and the Loki ALWAYS Overheats, it’s a free kill for Me! In table top I’ve NEVER actually fought anyone with one lol… That says it all right there. Get wrecked Clanners…

      1. Shore

        MWO is not accurate to tabletop performance. The HBR in MWO is able to fix its issues by virtue of customization, and importantly not requiring your armor to stay at its stock values. This is not the case on tabletop.

  15. Xt6wagon

    Its firepower is nice, but I think it’s exactly the wrong tonnage. It’s trying to be a scout mech, which a 55 tonner does better. It’s also trying to bring heavy mech firepower, which a 75 tonner does better.

    I just can’t see anyone going for this instead of a timberwolf if they need to bring the hurt. There is a whole range of fast brutally armed scout mechs the clans have in the medium tonnage range.

  16. David Melton

    Loved the design board story. I can so easily see it happening that way.

    I’d like to be a fly on the wall for the meeting where the Dire Wolf was discussed. A clan (Wolf) known for its speedy cavalry mechs, as epitomized by the Timber Wolf, designs the ultimate one on one killing machine that would have been a more natural fit for the Smoke Jaguars. No doubt this is exactly why the Jaguars challenged for and won the design.

    I’m also curious why the Smoke Jaguars, in a rare move for them, actually designed an incredible assault mech and called it…the Warhawk. Seems like that should have been a Jade Falcon design they won similarly to the Dire Wolf.

  17. Phillip

    I think it’s important to note that this ‘mech is bad by comparison to its peers, that is to say, other Clan OmniMechs. For a player, its prime configuration is a poor choice in comparison to other OmniMechs on offer. For a Clan Mechwarrior, it’s an extremely fragile machine in comparison to the things other Clan Warriors are driving. Compared to Inner Sphere Battlemechs though, it’s still a nightmarish machine armed with weapons that outrange and deliver more damage than their Spheroid counterparts. For God’s sake, Clan ERPPCs are headchoppers and this thing will be firing two of them (amplified by a Targeting Computer) as it runs toward you. That’s horrifying.
    This thing being heat positive is something I’m less concerned about, as Clan ‘Mechs of all types trend toward that. This is after all the society that brought out the fucking *Nova,* if you’ll pardon my French. The Clans intend for battles to be so short and high-intensity that they end before heat buildup and ammo depletion become issues. Sinking 26 points of heat while building 32 a turn isn’t an issue if the other guys are dead by the end of turn 3, and there are simple enough techniques to balance heat buildup while maintaining fire on more durable enemies. I personally prefer ‘Mechs that run cool, but hot runners are the Clan way. The Hellbringer could absolutely shred a lot of Spheroid tech without dying in return, but against fellow Clan Omnis that lack of armour would leave it dead as a doornail. It *is* a bad ‘Mech, but Clantech is so obscene that it still stands head and shoulders above a lot of equivalent-tonnage Spheroid ‘Mechs. Against relative contemporaries though (like the Mad Dog which despite being 5 tons lighter mounts 8.5 tons of Clan Ferro-Fibrous armor), it’s trash.

    That obscene pod space certainly lets you change things up though! That’s the beauty of OmniMechs, it’s like Lego but they’re death robots.

    Also I used both spellings of armor/armour in this solely to annoy snobbish people who insist on one over the other. Now you’re all mad. Yay!

  18. Far_Reach

    Oh, the Hellbringer. Garbage when used in stock configurations, but drop the TCIII and clan probe and you can have max armor and much better cooling capacity.

  19. BLR-IIC

    I just tried building a Hellbringer with a 55-ton chassis with Endo-Steel and FF armor for the same equipment and pod space, as well as armor amount, and the BV is still the same. Yet because it’s 55 tons instead of 65 tons does that make it better? I don’t think so. It just makes me think that weight classes are super-arbitrary and that BV needs to better account for armor. SHD-2D2 and VTR-9A are also victims of this.

  20. Kage

    Really all you need to fix the Prime Variant is Endo and Ferro, this frees up enough weight to max out the armor without adjusting anything else.

    1. Owl

      The problem with using Endo and Ferro is that Omnis need a balance of space and pod weight to be in that “sweet spot” where you can fit in weapons without having things sticking out. The Hellbringer has a HUGE pod weight limit and you need the space to match that.

      That being said, using only Endo Steel would still be an acceptable compromise fix. *Shrug* I don’t think the game designers are actually designing this stuff seriously.

  21. Eric Karau

    You guys want a new Bad Mech to talk about? How about the Hunchback IIC? TWO heavy autocannons with a total of only TWENTY SECONDS of firing time? What’s up with that, when the Clans have so many MUCH better IIC Inner Sphere Refits second-line Mechs? Even the Locust IIC is better than the Hunchback IIC!

    1. Derek

      What’s up with the Hunchie IIC?
      Simple! It’s stated that it’s really only used by pilots looking to die before they get too old. 20 seconds of firing, and survivability, is fine when you just want to kill something above your weight and then die in glory!

    2. fenriszzz

      Anything that carries 2 uac20 by definition cannot be a bad mech :)

      I recently challenged a friend to think of other mechs that carried specifically 2 uac20s, and we had a really hard time thinking of one(almost as if there is a design rule that doesn’t allow it, similar to the 3 gauss rifle rule)

  22. fenriszzz

    Clan mechs are supposed to be bad, along with their strict RoE and high BV total, its meant to asymmetrically balance them against IS forces. And even then the IS will usually win.

    If every mech were optimized, we would probably only need about 100 or so total variants, instead of the 600+ chassis(plus variants) that we have.

  23. Demo

    I don’t think anything indicated the Loki’s electronics are considered “dishonorable” by clans. It was popular with home clans since the beginning, and also, it was extensively used by the Clan Jade Falcon, one of the4 most “traditionalist” clans. Furthermore the lack of armor would be very “honorable”. The mech doesn’t even mount C3 or TAG and clans are also known to use those and to have developed their own versions.


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