Bad ‘Mechs – Mauler

Mauler Rain

Courtesy of Eldoniousrex

“Patterson, on your right!” Hauptmann Tomas Jager called out on the wide band. “Drac Mauler!

“It is a Daboku, Lyran swine, not a Mauler!” 

That wasn’t Patterson’s annoyingly nasal voice. Patterson’s Centurion had taken a hit to its armored dome early in the fighting between the 14th Donegal Guards and the 7th Sword of Light regiment, which was currently defending the planet Utrecht with armored and infantry support. This forced Jager’s company to switch to the open-band comms in order for Patterson to receive orders at the same time as everyone else in the unit. 

Unfortunately, this also meant that any Drac that turned the dial on their radio could listen in on Jager’s comms. And this particular Drac apparently spoke German.

“Who the hell is this?”

“This is Chu-i Tatoro Yagami of the 7th Sword of Light,” came the terse reply. “This planet will be your tomb. Face me in honorable combat!” 

Crap, thought Jager, another holo-samurai wannabe. He’d never heard of the name “Daboku” though. The Lyran Armed Forces had taken to calling the new Drac assault ‘Mech the Mauler for its ability to absolutely maul an opponent from long range. If Jager was going to duel this guy, he’d definitely want to close the distance quickly.

Patterson’s already damaged Centurion didn’t have the armor left to stand up to the Mauler/Daboku. A flight of LRMs slammed into the medium ‘Mech, tearing through what protection remained on its right shoulder before sending the Centurion’s arm-mounted autocannon tumbling to the rocky ground. 

“Get clear, Patterson,” Jager called out. “I’ll take this joker.” 

“The joke will be on you, Hauptmann! Face me!” 

Jager kicked his Zeus into a run. The Chu-i’s Daboku was already turning to star throwing long-range weapons fire at him, starting with a hail of light autocannon fire. The rounds pinged off his Zeus like armor-piercing rain, but then inexplicably fell silent. 

“Chikusho!” Yagami shouted, still on open comms. “Curse this infernal machine!”

Jager had heard reports that the new Mauler might have been rushed into service courtesy of the Lyran offensive into the Draconis Combine. An unproven design that had skipped its shakedown tests for a trial by fire on the battlefield. Looks like the Drac engineers still hadn’t figured out how to keep those autocannons from jamming.

Painting the Mauler with his fire control radar, Jager sent a flight of 15 missiles into the Drac ‘Mech followed by a burst of his own autocannon. The LRMs wreathed the Mauler in fire before Jager’s cannon rounds slammed dead center of mass. The Drac assault machine rocked back on its heels but didn’t drop. 

“I will not be defeated so easily,” Yagami taunted, lifting both barrel-shaped arms and aiming them squarely at Jager’s charging machine. One large laser missed wide, while the other connected the two ‘Mechs in glowing light. However, Jager noted that the intense beam didn’t seem to cut into his Zeus’s armor more than it did just boil the paint on his unit insignia. Make that a failed laser-focusing array along with jamming ammo feeds.

“Ksa! Bakayarou!” Combined with the alarms sounding in the background, it sounded to Jager like the Chu-i was struggling with his ride. 

At 200 meters, the Hauptmann let loose with his entire weapons complement. Both medium lasers stabbed into the Mauler‘s heart, while his large laser struck it on the left torso. His AC/5 took the Mauler in the left shoulder, while the LRM-15 peppered the assault ‘Mech with tiny explosions from head to toe. 

“I will destroy–” And then the radio went dead. Jager checked his sensors and noted that despite the thrashing it had just received, the Mauler’s armor was still intact. The ‘Mech had just shut down. 

Jager slowed his Zeus to a trot as it closed to within a few meters of the Drac machine. Then he brought his ‘Mechs cockpit in close enough to peer straight through the two ferroglass layers that kept Chu-i Yagami and himself separate. Jager could see the Chu-i desperately bashing on his ‘Mechs console but to no avail.

In a maneuver that would later be recounted as the ‘Jager Bomb,’ Hauptmann Jager carefully placed his Zeus’s right arm against the Daboku/Mauler’s chest and gave a gentle push. The Donegal Guards MechWarrior had just enough time to see the look of utter terror and confusion on Yagami’s face before his ‘Mech toppled over backward, sliding downhill for several meters before finally stopping when it struck a large boulder.


Daboku

The Mauler started life as perhaps the most colossal failure of any ‘Mech produced by Luthien Armor Works for the DCMS. It was so bad that the design actually needed to be renamed before Draconis Combine soldiers would agree to pilot the 90-ton fire-support ‘Mech. Quite perversely, the Mauler would eventually be designated with the reporting name given to it by FedCom forces during the Fourth Succession War.

The Mauler began as the Daboku, an assault ‘Mech designed to use a new (or rather, old) type of ammunition storage equipment that was rediscovered in the Helm Memory Core. Having been conceived as a long-range fire support ‘Mech that could put out withering fusillades of missile and autocannon fire, the Daboku‘s heavy reliance on ammunition was seen as a vulnerability that could be mitigated–at least in terms of a potential hazard to the pilot–through the use of Cellular Ammunition Storage Equipment, better known during the Star League as CASE. 

However, the Daboku was rushed into service at the outbreak of the Fourth Succession War before Luthien Armor Works could perform proper shakedown tests. As a result, the CASE system proved to be absolutely disastrous in actual combat. If the Daboku was struck dead-center on the torso with enough force, it would incorrectly trigger the CASE system to detect an uncontained ammunition explosion, causing the auto-ejection system to catapult the pilot out of what was otherwise a still-functional ‘Mech.

Mauler 3050

Functional is perhaps too strong a word for the Daboku. Even before it was thoroughly examined, the Daboku had earned a reputation among DCMS MechWarriors for being a virtual death trap, but post-combat inspection by DCMS engineers found almost every major system of the ‘Mech to be flawed. Its large lasers were prone to rapid inexplicable heat spikes, its ammunition feeds constantly jammed, and its LRM fire control computers would often lose lock at the worst possible moment. 

Publically, Luthien Armor Works apologized to the Coordinator for the new assault ‘Mechs teething issues, but rumors swirled internally that several designers were fired for trusting too much in a Capellan prototype that served as a basis for the Daboku. Those rumors were never confirmed, however, and those that remained on the Daboku‘s design team went back to the drawing board with more data from the Helm Memory Core to assist them.

What they returned with almost a decade later was designated the MAL-1R Mauler, ironically choosing the reporting name FedCom soldiers had used for the Daboku during the war. The Mauler was a completely different animal compared to the Daboku using absolute cutting-edge technology for 3048. ER large lasers provided additional range compared to their standard counterparts, while 11 double heat sinks keep the ‘Mech far cooler. Ferro-fibrous armor provided the equivalent of over 12 tons of armor protection for just 11.5 tons of spent weight, and an XL engine freed up enough tonnage to upgrade the Daboku‘s twin LRM-10 launchers to LRM-15s. Best of all, the CASE system’s auto-ejection issue had been entirely corrected, allowing DCMS MechWarriors to continue to fight under heavy fire. 

Mauler CCG

Even with a high-tech upgrade, the Mauler still suffered from some shortcomings. Its quartet of AC/2s had just two tons of ammunition supporting them, which often required reloads mid-battle. The Mauler is also a cumbersome beast with a top speed of 54 kph, making it unsuitable for running battles. Finally, the XL engine and relatively light armor make it vulnerable in a protracted firefight. The Mauler is best used in its intended role–as a long-range fire-support ‘Mech near protected supply lines.

Several variants attempted to revamp the Mauler for other roles. The MAL-1K, for example, swapped the ER Large Lasers for Snub-Nose PPCs and the autocannon/2s for light autocannon5/s. This changed the Mauler into a multi-role brawler, although it still suffered from relatively light armor protection for a 90-ton assault ‘Mech. 

The MAL-2R attempts to alleviate some of the Mauler‘s vulnerabilities by ditching the XL engine in favor of a heavier standard one. This necessitated reducing the Mauler‘s LRM-15s down to LRM-10s and replacing the large lasers with paired ER medium lasers. The AC/2s are replaced with Ultra versions, doubling their rate of fire but also exacerbating the Mauler‘s ammunition problems.

Mauler MWO

With the advent of C3 technology by the Draconis Combine, the MAL-3R fits a C3 slave unit while replacing its large lasers and AC/2s with twin LB-X Autocannon/10s and a small laser. Three jump jets provide some flexibility in terms of positioning to better allow its pilot to take advantage of data provided by the C3 unit.

The Mauler would go on to become a popular design for the DCMS during the Clan Invasion and into the Jihad, but production would cease after the destruction of Luthien Armor Works production lines by the Word of Blake. By the 32nd century, the Mauler had largely been replaced in the Combine’s armed forces, but surviving examples can still be seen throughout Combine space and sometimes even beyond.

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.

41 thoughts on “Bad ‘Mechs – Mauler

  1. Vermonster

    There is never a valid reason mount AC/2s. Of any variety. It’s like an Archer -K and a Blackjack hooked up and then it got dropped on its head.

    Reply
    1. Scolopendra

      There is one, and one alone: extreme range plinking* and hoping for those 1/36 chances. If you can keep that range, then eventually probability is going to catch up with the enemy and they’re going to have a bad day. If you can’t… well, leverage that as a way to force the enemy to get closer towards a combined-arms force with better close-in armaments. You can _really_ frustrate people with a lance of Warrior H7s that way.

      * at least, before ELRMs are prevalent; Ultra AC/2s still outrange ATM ER ammo.

      Reply
    2. SilverCyanide

      With Armor Piercing ammo, there is maybe a case to be made for AC/2, especially as anti-armor weapons (I mean, any tanks in BattleTech can be destroyed by a stiff breeze, after all). Outside of that, uh… Yeah, I got nothing. AC/2 are bad and designers should feel bad for including them on any design.

      Reply
    3. Spazz866745

      You can make an argument for them in an aa role or maybe Infantry bullying but 4 is stupid excessive. Personally when I run a mauler I strip them for a pair of lbx5s, and use that freed up weight for a standard engine, and an extra ton of armor.

      Reply
  2. Flashfreeze

    Oh the Mauler… for pure looks alone, it’s always going to have a place in my heart, but man, there’s just no good way to explain the 24 tons of ACs for a salvo of four guns dealing 2 damage each.

    I can’t honestly say if there’s even been an unequivocally good Mauler variant, but I guess if I had to pick it’d be the MAL-3R. Sure, it’s ammo-dependent, but at least it can hit reasonably competently and reposition on short notice.

    Reply
  3. JPArbiter

    I love this beast. Even if underwhelming in comparison to many contemporaries. My experience is the pop guns in combination with alternating laser and missile fire make it able to compete with clan mechs, and BV balance usually meams you are shredding under armored machines like Hellbringers, kit foxes, or Dragonflies.

    Against inner sphere oppoents a single Mauler can cripple an armor platoon with sheer numbers of hits it can make at stand off range.

    You don’t want to go toe to toe with a Dire Wokf in this thing, but it is useful and looks great

    Reply
  4. Kantoken

    I’ve been in love with this design since the cover of the box for Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries. Shit design? Yes. Looks cool as hell? HELL YES.

    Reply
  5. landadmiralquercus

    Why didn’t they do this one before the Hoplite and Rifleman? It’s way worse.

    Reply
  6. Dakkagor

    This mech, like the wolftrap, has huge flexibility for combined arms play. It’s the utter murder of vehicles and Aero assets. But a 90 ton assault beatstick its not.

    Reply
  7. Chris M

    Is it effective when used properly? Yeah. Is it the best fire support ‘mech? No. Is it cheap or cost effective? Not unless you use common core math and broken crayons. And as a mercenary, that matters. I could buy a lance of upgraded Vindicators and support for the same price – which is exactly what I would do with the ~18m C-Bills for a 1R.

    Reply
  8. SilverCyanide

    Cool design, overall pretty bad assault ‘mech. Luckily, when it was released originally, his rival in the 90 tonner slot was the Cyclops, which manages to be even worst in most circumstances. What is surprising is that even with more advanced technology available, the “core design” was never improved significantly, as most variants range from “meh” to “well, I guess”. Keep the ER Large, swap the missile launchers for MMLs, Light AC/5 and maybe you can have something winning out there.

    Reply
  9. Eric Salzman

    The auto-eject malfunction is actually a reference to the Tyco toy of the Mauler that accompanied the animated series. One of the play features was a big button on the center torso that other kids could target with spring-loaded missiles. Hitting the button caused the cockpit to pop open and eject the pilot figure.

    You can find the ad for it on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Hy270hu5Ac. I think the more appropriate scenario for that commercial, however would be:
    “You’re in a Mauler, surrounded by Hunchback IICs, what do you do?”
    “Soil myself and work on not using contractions.”

    Reply
    1. Steel Shanks

      I have that Toy… It was great. I have the Bushwacker, Hunchback IIC, and Elemental as well. Good times…

      Reply
      1. Jeremy M Ward

        Like many of the so call “Bad” Battlemech articles, this is another one i disagree with. The Daboku is indeed terrible in comparison to its contemporaries, but the later Mauler units are excellent fire support and mid range brawler units. It’s only bad FASA typical engineering that let the Mauler down.

        AC2s work well well in combination with the LRM-15s at whittling down an opponent at tange, and addiing on an ER Large Laser every other turn allows you to do 46 points at a range of 19, something which many 3050 era assault mechs can’t even come close to. Drop in precision ammo and you’re constantly pelting a target with 4 2 pt shots a turn. The Mauler works best in long range fire support lances of heavy and assault units, and isn’t designed to be a 90 ton anchor like a Highlander or an Emperor. Drop a ton of ammo for a C3 Slave, and you can easily wreck Clan Invasion era Clan mechs with other shorter range focused units like a Battlemaster or Hatamoto-Chis.

        Reply
    2. Steel Shanks

      I have the Mauler Toy… Along with the Bushwacker, Hunchback IIC, and Elemental. Good times…

      Reply
  10. Steel Shanks

    Ah the Mauler… The ONLY Assault Mech in the BattleTech Cartoon… Good times…

    Agreed though, super bad mech. It looks kind of tough, until you fight one. I think they are slightly tougher in Table Top, as opposed to MWO or Mechwarrior 5. In MWO, oh man… I’ve killed a lot of Maulers. Even with a Spider with 2 x Medium Lasers, the Mauler will go down lol. I have a Free one from an event in MWO… I’ve used it Twice in 3 Years LOL!! Ah well…

    Reply
    1. Eric Salzman

      There was the Awesome that they added mid-season. And a couple of Hatamoto-chis appeared in the Franklin Sakamoto/Black Dragon episode.

      Reply
      1. Steel Shanks

        Yeah, but it seemed like they were the only Awesome and Hatamoto in the Inner Sphere lol. They should revamp the Cartoon. Have the guys who did the Castlevania and Witcher animated stuff do it. It’d be great.

        Reply
  11. Spudeus

    It looks cool, which is usually enough for me to want to play one! Stripping out all the AC/2s for something heavier bore would give you a whole new and more effective ‘mech. . . but part of the charm of BT is less than optimal units with unique character.

    In the illustration, definitely looks like Mauler is peeing on Victor.

    Reply
  12. Steel Shanks

    Yeah, but it seemed like they were the only Awesome and Hatamoto in the Inner Sphere lol. They should revamp the Cartoon. Have the guys who did the Castlevania and Witcher animated stuff do it. It’d be great.

    Reply
  13. Jesnen_359

    I would argue that there is some economy for 4 AC 2’s…just not in turn based games.

    Any Mechwarrior title gives AC2’s a much higher rate of fire than an AC 20, or even an AC 5. MWO and MW5 I have found significant success running a Mauler more or less as intended, 4 AC2, 2 LRM 15, energy weapons removed and replaced with a tag laser and more ammo. I’ve had several 1600+ damage games, but still have to be careful to keep my XL engine intact.

    But this relies entirely on the accuracy, range, and rate of fire, only one of which apply to the tabletop game.

    I have also heard that while it’s not stock, the Mauler can carry more armor than any other IS assault of its era that isn’t an Atlas. I don’t remember where I heard that, though, it might have been fluff.

    Not ideal, but still a strong favorite of mine.

    Reply
    1. JustSomeGuy

      If you like quad-AC2 spam, I’d recommend checking out the Warhammer Black Widow. MW5 especially it’s my go-to with 4xAC2+4xML. Less armour, but faster and smaller hitboxes.

      The Mauler being able to carry as much armour as an Atlas is likely due to MWO quirks, and may no longer be accurate? Lots of IS mechs got a durability quirk increase over the past few years, with some of the originally best-quirked being reduced.

      Reply
    2. DINGUS_KHAN

      The video game ROFs are non-canon. An AC2 can deal 2 damage over the course of 10 seconds. The AC2 in MW5 can shoot roughly once per second, which would technically make it an AC20 in tabletop, except less than half the weight and with an extreme range advantage. And I don’t actually have an issue with this from a game-balancing perspective, because I still think that the AC2 is a terrible weapon, even with the advantages PGI has bestowed upon it.

      Reply
  14. Brent Woodman

    As much as I love Battletech and the universe, Tabletop Battletech weapon values are absolutely insane to me, like someone just rolled a bunch of d20s and decided go with it. An AC-20 generating 7 heat with the bare minimum ammo is 15 tons. The AC 2 to get similar damage requires 61 tons and generates 10 heat. I get that range and volume of attacks (especially for criticals) is important in tabletop but to the point that it justifies 46 more tons? No way. Even if you play with the base game mechs only, the presence of an AC-2 just means wasted space.

    Reply
  15. G. Timothy Walton, U.E.

    I nominate the Axman for future shaming.

    Three efficient little medium lasers and they put them on the same arm as the really efficient big blunt hurty thing.

    Reply
  16. Violet Toyger

    I’m not sure if it’s a typo in the opening bit but,

    The Chu-i’s Daboku was already turning to star throwing long-range weapons fire at him,

    Is that supposed to be start not star?

    Reply
      1. Gaidheal

        Publicly, not “publically” (it’s the adverb of public, not ‘publical’, which doesn’t exist).

        Reply
  17. JustSomeGuy

    With the Mauler they took three different weapons carriers, melded them together, then split the result in half. You’d think that’d mean the Mauler was equal to 1.5 weapons carrier, but you’d be wrong once you take heat into account (although it does have better armour). Personally I think they created the Mauler to keep their samurai from committing seppuku at the thought of being shoved into a Pike while pulling rearguard.

    As a mechwarrior in a well-off regiment, the Mauler is pretty good. Weak armour, but as a support platform it’s flexible and relatively mobile. It’s also prestigious enough that I may be tempted to think babysitting supply lines or brass was actually important. AC2s are excellent vee or aero killers, so I could see a single Mauler being very useful at company-level of deployment or higher. As a mercenary, it carries a good scrap value, or entertainment when provided to a clanner so he can scream batchalls while stationed a klick away from the front line. It isn’t cost effective; fire support is generally better left to vehicles where possible.

    Reply
  18. Rhys Lawson

    Honestly, the best variation I’ve seen of the Mauler is to re-rig it with some Clan Tech. Clan XL Engine, 2 Clan LB-10X ACs, 2 Clan ER Large Pulse Lasers, and 2 Clan LRM-15s. Modified version of the ‘Knockout’ Hero ‘Mech.

    Reply
  19. Rob C.

    Funny thing is I’ve enjoyed this mech in MWO. Piloting the non-canon six AC/2 thing is murder city for people. Armor modestly better, however. When Ammo out, your out.

    However, I think the MAL-3R is pretty nice compromise get it to be functional design

    Reply
  20. FlickerShine

    Ah, the Mauler. One of the few times where the Draconis Combine didn’t immediately try to bolt on a pair of PPCs as the primary guns, and it shows.

    The base loadout is fine… if your goal is to deny an enemy their air support; since AC2s work nicely there. Possibly for taking snap-shots at tanks, too, kill enemy weapon carriers and light armored combat vehicles before they become a threat themselves. Beyond that? Yeah, the Mauler doesn’t really outgun most assaults – heck; if it came to a head to head between a Charger and a Mauler, my money would probably end up landing on the Charger once the fight got close. And it will; I don’t think the Mauler can do enough damage on average to stop a Charger reaching it.

    Reply
    1. SilverCyanide

      I would say the AC/2 would be good in anti-air role if they were arm-mounted or maybe shoulder-mounted, not lower torso-mounted. I understand that “in game” terms, it doesn’t make a difference, but in reality, if you had a combat unit built like the Mauler, the lower torso AC/2 would only be effective against “Level 1” and lower units, like tanks, infantry or hitting the legs of other BattleMechs.

      Reply
  21. Blaster

    Me and my friends house ruled the AC 2 and AC 5’s damage to 5 and 8. That makes a whole lot of difference, I tell you. It really improves some mechs without feeling imbalanced.

    Reply
  22. Brian

    Took one look at the Mauler art in the Battletech Compendium back in ’95 and said, “Ooh!”, took one look at the record sheet and said, “Nope”.

    It works so much better as an assault if you swap out the 4 AC 2’s for 4 Medium lasers, swap the 2 ERLL for 2 LB-10X’s with 3 tons of ammo, give it full armor, and slide in an extra heatsink.

    For a little over 400k extra in C-bills, it jumps over 400 in BV and is so much more effective in multiple battlefield roles, rather than being stuck in the back hoping it doesn’t get rushed by a light fast mover.

    The XL engine still stinks, but at least you’ve got the armor and firepower to protect it now.

    Reply
  23. scythemouse

    “In a cruel irony, the Mauler would attain a certain fame from a Lyran propaganda holo in which the ‘Mech in question was well known for getting it’s arms blown off more than anything else.”

    Of course, as is typical, the games do a ‘Mech better justice than lore ever does. A properly equipped Mauler is one of my first choices in MW5.

    Reply
    1. Vectivus

      I don’t remember what model it is specifically, but I run a Mauler in MW5 that carries two LRM-10’s, 2 LBX AC-10’s, 2 Medium Lasers and 2 Medium Pulse lasers, plus a sufficient amount of armor, ammo and heatsinks. It’s a blast to play.

      Reply

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