Bad ‘Mechs – Nova

Nova on fire

Courtesy of Eldoniousrex

They scoffed at cadet Rual when he’d requested a Nova for his Trial of Position. An older machine with a long history, Rual’s sibkin ridiculed his choice as one outclassed by most of the new OmniMechs that had joined Clan Nova Cats’ touman in recent years. The Huntsman was just as rugged and possessed a far greater and more versatile arsenal. The Shadowcat was sleeker, faster, and had greater range in most of its configurations. Even the older Stormcrow outclassed the Nova in most metrics.

Rual didn’t care. This ‘Mech had called to him. It promised glory. 

The techs had promised him much worse. The Nova had already suffered a partial containment problem from its previous MechWarrior and had warned Rual to ensure all safety protocols remained enabled. But Rual had learned from his instructors that an automatic shutdown in a true combat scenario was a death sentence. What difference was it if it came from a fusion containment breach or high-explosive shell? 

Nova

So Rual had slapped the override almost as soon as he entered the Nova’s cockpit. In its primary configuration, the Nova possessed more firepower than it could safely use, but Rual had seen in a vision the glory that all 12 ER medium lasers would bring him. If only he could line up the perfect shot…

There. His first opponent, an Adder, had just crested the hill and was pelting him with PPC fire. A strike on his left torso burrowed worryingly deep and a blast of heat alerted Rual to what was most likely even more engine damage. Rual ignored the heat and ignited his jump jets, closing to within striking range of his arsenal of lasers.

Another hit, this time on the left knee. The actuator froze, causing Rual to stumble upon hitting the ground, but he managed to keep his ancient machine upright. Finally in range, Rual brought up his left arm and fired.

Immediately the Nova’s cockpit went from a pleasant sauna to a nearby volcanic blast. Sweat poured off Rual’s neurohelmet in great rivulets, obscuring his vision and splattering on his sensor screen. The Adder had taken damage, but not enough. It still had one functional ER PPC. 

Another hit. Another wave of heat. Alarms were blaring in his cockpit, but the Adder had made a fatal mistake. It had stumbled into the center of Rual’s targeting reticle. 

The Nova raised both its arms slowly, as though reluctant to follow its pilot’s commands. All 12 extended-range lasers fired at once in a brilliant display. Two struck the Adder in the opposite arm, severing its last remaining PPC. One struck the cockpit, dazzling the instructor fighting Rual in the trial. Six melted armor all over the Adder’s torso, while several more burrowed inside and slagged the 35-ton ‘Mech’s gyro, dropping it to the ground.

The last thing Rual saw was the Adder falling backwards. The last thing Rual heard was the warning of a containing breach. Then his world became a brief flash of white, searing heat, and then nothing at all.

Nova MWO

By many measures, the Nova is not truly a bad ‘Mech. In comparison to the multitude of Inner Sphere designs that the Nova bested during the first years of the Clan Invasion, the Nova is an excellent machine that was faster, more maneuverable, and better armored than anything fielded by the House militaries. However, in comparison to contemporary Clan OmniMechs, the Nova was a deeply flawed design already well past its prime.

Production of the Nova first began in 2870, soon after the introduction of Elemental infantry in Clan Hell’s Horses. The Nova was designed specifically as an infantry support ‘Mech capable of carrying a full point of Elementals into battle thanks to special handholds that dotted the ‘Mech’s chassis. A rugged design, the Nova proved itself just two years after entering service during the campaign against the Smythe-Jewel Kindraa. Production would continue for over half a century before Clan Ghost Bear conquered Tokasha Mechworks and repurposed it to produce more modern designs. But by then the Nova had already proliferated to every major Clan in such numbers that it remained a common sight well into the 3000s and even beyond. 

Nova IlClan Recognition Guide

However, even at the time of its introduction, the Nova’s primary configuration possessed a single and often fatal flaw. Its 12 ER medium lasers produced far more heat than the design’s 18 double heat sinks could handle. So much that a Nova pilot who fires all 12 lasers at once risks immediate shutdown. If the pilot can somehow survive the heat, repeated firings can result in engine damage, and should the pilot disable the automatic safeties, the Nova’s 250 XL engine could breach in an explosion worthy of its name.

That said, there’s no denying what devastation 12 medium lasers can cause. A pilot willing to risk it all can take down vastly larger threats provided they can remain conscious in the sauna-like atmosphere of the Nova’s cockpit.

As an OmniMech, there are many other variants of the Nova that do not suffer from this catastrophic heat problem, and many smart Nova pilots avoid the primary configuration whenever and wherever possible. One could posit that the only reason the Nova still exists at all is entirely because its OmniMech heritage allows it to evolve beyond the flaws of its initial design. 

Nova TCG

After a century’s-long hiatus, the Nova once again entered production with Clan Jade Falcon in 3073. Its ubiquity led to the production of an entirely Inner Sphere version under the Black Hawk moniker, and even Clan Sea Fox produces a non-Omni version of the Nova for export purposes. However, it’s noteworthy the Sea Fox design doesn’t imitate the original’s 12 medium laser armament, and newer variants similarly avoid overloading the Nova’s limited heat capacity.

I think this is the most controversial choice of a bad ‘Mech so far, but there are honestly very few truly bad Clan designs. But out of the Clan OmniMechs, the Nova is easily the least impressive and has largely been matched or surpassed by even modern Inner Sphere designs.

We got plenty of bad Inner Sphere ‘Mechs in the pipeline, but bad Clan ‘Mechs are harder to find. List your favorites in the comments below and I’ll add ’em to the list.

And until next time, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Share this:
This entry was posted in Art, Editorial on by .

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.

70 thoughts on “Bad ‘Mechs – Nova

  1. Westrider

    I have to say, I was surprised to see a Clan mech show up in here at all. One would think that they would simply retire that configuration (since it doesn’t involve any costs beyond labour), rather than leave it as the Primary. I can understand sunk costs leading to a crappy non-Omni mech staying in service, or even a faulty Omni chassis, but there’s literally no good reason for the Nova Prime to still be a thing

    Reply
    1. Brian Critchley

      the nova prime makes sense in the context of the clans. the clans are a dueling culture. an “all or nothing” design like the Nova Prime makes PERFECT sense.

      Reply
    1. Chris

      I think so. It’s a medium mech trying to be a litey in a mass range where the engines just get too heavy even with XL fusion tech. And it wastes so much mass with an oversized jump jet array.

      I made a mech with the flavor text as “Inner Sphere engineers counted as new brethern after the Great Move taking Ghost Bear doctrine to task” over the Viper’s inefficiency I named the Ursa Minor (it has a big bro, the Ursa Major, that similarly calls out the Executioner). It’s 50 tons with a 300XL and a MASC so it’s still rather fleet for a medium and can crank it up to the Viper’s ground speed only when it really needs to. And it’s better-armored, and has so much more pod mass (20T vs 8.5). No base jets… but jets can be pod-mounted anyway.

      Reply
      1. Phil

        Just played a 71 combat round campaign of RogueTech; bringing Clan Scientists back to Terra from the outer outer rim. The Viper was my champion scout mech for most of the duration – jump jets plus Partial Wing, jumping the equivalent of 7 hexes; with a tonne of ER smalls, full armour and Tag. It was only when we got into the heavy, heavy missions, it just couldn’t take the damage output. But for 40 tonnes, best thing ever.

        Reply
  2. BLR-IIC

    I don’t agree with the Nova being a bad ‘mech at all. Considering its four fixed DHS and five fixed jump jets, it effectively has 22.5 tons of pod space. It definitely favors loadouts with missiles and beam weapons that can effectively use the heat sinks on the ‘mech.

    When using the Nova, I typically run either the Prime, A, or S configurations, probably running the Prime the most since it pretty much has a dozen Inner Sphere large lasers in the arms. Hot configurations like this one are best played like Phoenix Hawks of the Succession Wars – fire as many weapons are you’re comfortable with then jump into cover the next turn to cool off. The A is very much a mobile sniper with dual ER PPCs, so that’s pretty straightforward. The S is a fun jumpy brawler with the six medium pulse lasers making it easy to hit targets in a hopping engagement, with the machine guns crit-seeking or putting PBIs in their place.

    My favorite custom configuration of the Nova is a variation of the prime, swapping out two of the ER medium lasers for a targeting computer.

    This comes from someone who prefers playing the Prime configuration on table top and in MechWarrior Online – probably my most-played Clan medium ‘mech, more than the Stormcrow for as perfect that ‘mech is! In MWO I play it similarly to how I do it in tabletop – shoot as many lasers as I can (usually two salvos of six lasers while exposed) and jump to cover. In my current MekHQ campaign, the highest-scoring mechwarrior in my Cluster pilots a Nova and has earned legendary pilot status – and he’s a freebirth XD The Nova is not a bad ‘mech, but like all the other original TRO 3050 omnis, suffers from bad pod configurations designed by writers who didn’t seem to understand the game rules.

    Reply
    1. FJM

      Here here.
      The writers did indeed make a lot of mech variants that do not make real sense.
      Your version that replaces two ML with a Targeting computer does make sense.

      Reply
      1. Colonel Overkill

        Honestly many do but not at the same time. A unit might have a questionable feature, like the Hellbringers A pods are useless in a duel, until you run into an infantry platoon. A unit may look like an unarmored brawler like a cyclops then you realize the mech is a command node and the AC20 is just to scare whatever into staying back until a friendly can dispose of it. A unit may look like a disaster like the masakari, until you look at the sales reps bonus salary. Many of the useless or questionable designs have in universe reasons they suck so bad baked in with said unit. It is part of what makes the setting feel so much more alive than others.

        Reply
  3. Escef

    Respectfully disagree. Unless one uses a lot of optional rules, overheating alone will not detonate a mech in TT Battletech. So that consideration is rather niche, and largely the domain of those that are comfortable balancing the extra paperwork in an already accounting heavy game. (Or leaving it in the hands of MegaMek.)

    Is the Nova sub-optimal? Oh, absolutely. The lack of endo steel is a big minus, as is the lack of advanced armor.

    All that said, in Tournament Level rules, the Nova Prime is a ludicrous beat stick. Keep in mind that a clan ERML nearly equals a vanilla IS large in performance, it carries staggering firepower. Having the ability to throw 84 damage at a target in 7 point clusters is absolutely insane for all parties involved. In a 1-on-1 trial of position or as part of a solahma unit (much like the Hunchback IIC), few really care if the mech overheats to shutdown. If a 1-on-1 trial, once your opponent is dead or severely crippled you have all the time in the world to cool off and, if necessary, finish things in a less over the top fashion. In a solahma unit, even if the scenario calls for overheating to self annihilation rules, the important part is taking someone with you as you go down in a blaze of glory.

    Now, the PC Mechwarrior games, OTOH, well, yeah, a suicide ride is at best questionable. I’ve used the stock Nova Prime in MWO, it requires a lot of discipline to play without killing yourself. That said, if you play like a boxer (left, dodge, weave, right, dodge, left) you can get some good results out of it. But there’s almost no room for error, and me? I make errors. I do recall “Z0eff” demonstrating that in the right hands the mech can be a terror (and that nutbag actually stripped one of the heat sinks for a TC1).

    You can seriously make a better case for the Kingfisher as a bad mech. The combination of 4/6 movement with a standard engine would be acceptable on any heavy mech, but on a 90 tonner? Lore explanations aside, the mech would be better off with an XL and more weapons and miscellaneous gear.

    Reply
    1. BLR-IIC

      I forgot to mention the engine exploding thing in my reply. Even with the optional Stackpoleing rules an engine explosion can’t be triggered by overheating.

      Sean, I think you need to find new friends to play with if they’re making you play with overheat explosions XD

      Reply
      1. Sean Post author

        I’ll put this here since it was bound to come up. Engine damage with extreme heat is a MechWarrior Online mechanic and not represented in the tabletop rules. I decided to throw it in for flavor.

        Reply
        1. BLR-IIC

          That’s one of the reasons why I hit the override button at the start of every match with this thing – and pretty much every ‘mech I pilot in MWO in general! I tend not to build heat-neutral loadouts because I’m willing to take the change of overheating damage with a burst damage advantage. Most of the time I’m able to control it using trigger discipline and cover.

          Thanks for the article!

          Reply
        2. ProfArmitage

          Something similar also happened in Mechwarrior 3. If you attempt an Alpha Strike with a Nova your `Mech immediately becomes a mushroom cloud.

          Reply
    2. JackCrow

      Ghost heat really hurt the effectiveness of Mechs like the Nova in MWO.

      And you are right. The mech is a total beast in tabletop. ER Medium Lasers are a clanner’s best friend.

      Clan Mechs are Heat monsters. Your heat scale should be up there. If it isn’t then you are not shooting enough or you aren’t putting yourself in a position to do so.

      Reply
    3. default_entry

      I think the prime makes a lot more sense with the dial-down yield rules from Tac Ops – you reduce the heat and damage of an energy weapon to a minimum of 1 heat, so turn the lasers down two notches and you suddenly have IS medium lasers with ER ranges…

      Reply
  4. YeJJowjacket

    Quite the take. While it hasnt necessarily aged well, that doesn’t make it bad. Sure if anyone foolish enough to burn all 12 lasers at once would essentially incinerate themselves, keeping those said lasers in regulation could prove effective.

    However, its not really the only ‘bad’ Clan mech, per se. The Gargoyle/Man O’ War would also fill the slot. While not really bad, it is easy to be misused. Moving that fast for an Assault Mech usually indicates lower armor and firepower to mechs its weight, and in some cases under its weight.

    I still think the Jackrabbit is a good candidate for a bad mech.

    Reply
  5. Krel

    Frankly, like everything I think it comes down to preference. I hate the replacement designs from 3050 etc. Some make no sense to me, phantom, linebacker… some do like pouncer.

    Sorry don’t like cramming the biggest motor to reach x speed at the highest ton possible when it makes more sense to drop the weight by 5 tons for more optimal Omni space…. Later designs used masc, superchargers, etc to do this and keep good space for more options.

    Again personal preference. I would take a nova over a dasher ii anyway…

    Reply
  6. ClerkTechGB72

    Now that we are on Clan Mechs, the elephant in the room (partial pun intended) would be the Stone Rhino. Sure, it is big, tough, and loaded with heavy weapons… but that is precisely what makes it stick out and say “shoot me”. Its size makes it obvious and easy to hit while its payload makes it a prime target to mass fire on or steer clear until its Starmates are picked off first. It is also very slow and not maneuverable.

    Additionally, Clan commanders apparently cannot or will not use the design effectively because they cannot risk losing it. This leads to three common results; it is either misused due to insufficient employment experience; doomed to sub-optimal employment (made even more difficult given Clan rules for honorable combat); or simply not used at all, instead taking up space on the unit’s inventory and ultimately wasting potential combat power.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Kent

      Sounds much like what befell the Germans during WW2 concerning examples of their weapons(i.e. tanks,aircraft…etc.). Tiger tanks(I & II), their jet aircraft(Me163 and Me 162). Could have turned the tide, but too valuable to risk losing in most situations. Obviously not related here, but with all the technology advancement between WW2 and the time in the Inner sphere/Clan universes why are the weapons ranges so pitiful? I mean the first generation 88, and its second gen Kwk43/L71 easily outranged even the lite Gauss rifle. Another one of contention are the ranges of the lasers. But I did not intend to dump on your day with my goings on. Thankyou for perusing my message. Long live Clan Smoke Jaguar!

      Reply
  7. Ben D.

    I love the hilarity of the story. It’s a trial of position, like he’s just trying to test out of the academy, and he nukes himself on the first mech. Such glory! Haha

    Reply
  8. Some Guy

    The aforementioned Gargoyle, Dragonfly, and Kingfisher I’d agree are all worse omnimechs than the Nova. I’d also add the Linebacker, Stooping Hawk, and Black Lanner. All of those mechs still have a place and I wouldn’t call bad (except the Gargoyle and Dragonfly) but I would consider the Nova a better front-line mech.

    The Nova is relatively cheap for a Clan omni, with easy to source weapons, structure, and armor. The Prime config is pretty great as even when it’s blasted apart as long as it still has an arm it’s still more threatening than some fresh mediums. It’s not fully optimized but it is effective.

    Reply
    1. BLR-IIC

      Dragonfly (Viper) – are we looking at the same ‘mech? 8/12/8 movement with decent armor and 8.5 tons of Clan weapons? I love that thing! My favorite canon configurations are the A and the M – jumpy lasers like the Nova :) I think the Viper A is a different way to Nova Prime because it can have more cover options to cool off thanks to its 8 jump MP, but has half the medium lasers. In a custom configuration I’d drop the SRM-6 for a targeting computer, heat sink, and a light active probe.

      Reply
      1. Some Guy

        Personally I’m not a big fan of the Viper/Dragonfly but that’s likely due to MWO. You’re right though on second glance it’s pretty good, albeit maybe beaten out by the Arctic Cheetah in its role. The Ice Ferret on the other hand…

        Reply
        1. BLR-IIC

          Yeah there’s a lot of MWO/Table Top crossover in this article that people are getting confused over – LOL! I struggle with the Viper in MWO too. Well, I struggle with anything in MWO lighter than 50 tons in general XD

          Reply
  9. Earndil

    Having used my fair share of those low hanging boys in my games, yeah, this is totally deserved.

    I will say that you are correct, the Nova is a fantastic little guy in one regard, in that he’s a medium mech that can bring its Death Ray to bear for exactly one very important target (or two if your opponent flubs his rolls), before it takes a nap and gets put down like Old Yeller.

    But if you treat the Prime like it’s anything other than a mid-weight Death Star surrogate, it’s easy to find that having such a laser heavy loadout on such a sub-optimally cooled and spaced mech really kinda sucks.

    Reply
  10. Kantoken

    Just used the Nova Prima this weekend! My opponent was actually afraid of it, and that played to my advantage. It killed an Awesome and did massive damage against an Archer.

    I think what makes or breaks the Nova (in its Prima config) is if you have the time to cool off? With its high manoeuvrability it’s easy to find safe spots. But when it’s in a fight and can’t retreat effectively, you’re basically hoping for bad rolls by your opponent.

    Reply
    1. Валерий39999

      “Why aren’t these guys using meta builds for their board game? They’re so powerful in MWO!”

      Reply
  11. JackCrow

    Also, this fiction is an adorable little vignette.

    A sibko cadet, who has likely been piloting Mechs since becoming a teenager and has more hours in a mech than Randolph P. Checkers will ever have in the hunks of crap that he drives, doesn’t realize that he just needs to kill one mech and that senselessly shooting all the lasers is a poor choice? Sure thing, totally believeable.

    Pretty sure someone that stupid wouldn’t ever make it far enough to get a ToP.

    Reply
      1. Some Guy

        Pretty sure those captains weren’t bloodnamed. Higher ranks can be rife with favoritism and corruption that value family over skill. The Clans being based around combat prowess mostly side-steps this. Although they also have their own problems, like not understanding the word “logistics.”

        Reply
        1. Wazdaka

          True. But they are susceptible to doing stupid things for honour see Battle of Tukayyid for examples
          So flaring out in hopes of glory seems clan like to me

          Reply
    1. Thomas Gebhardt

      If you read Way of the Clan by Robert Thurston you would know that the time spend in your fighting machine before the test is very short. I think it is less than a year, two years at max, at least for clan Jadefalcon.

      It is also a do or die test. So you either get that kill or you get send to a lower caste. Usually no do over.

      It is one of the reasons a Hunchback IIC is according to the lore a favorite mech for the test.

      But that does not matter, he killed his first opponent, that means the second opponent is free to engage. The mech started the match with engine damage, and got a 2nd hit to its engine. The mech is definedly shut down, after the full salvo. If the cadet wants to concede the match at this point he has to eject.

      So if the 2nd opponent scores another hit to the engine the mech has a good chance of exploding and the cadet might not ever learn what hit him.

      Reply
    2. Steel Shanks

      I’ll have you know Sir, that Randolph P. Checkers would wipe the floor with a Clanner in a Nova, either with his PPC’s, or his Awesome-8R’s fists. Clanners don’t stand a chance.

      Reply
  12. WarHawkeye

    The best way to *partially* resolve the heat issue with the Prime has been said already: Yank two ERMLs for 2 tons of Targeting Computer, so even if you want to do that ill-advised alpha strike: you’ll do it at a -1 to hit.

    For the A Variant: Either remove the AMS for heat sinks, or swap the ERPPCs for ERLL/ERML and add 2 tons targeting computers for each pair. Sure the ERLLs don’t have the headcapping capability like the ERPPCs, but more heatsink friendly.

    Reply
  13. Lou Hannoe

    Based on the way this column keeps picking on my favorite mechs, I’m expecting the next article to read something like:

    “The Bushwacker is such a horribly flawed design that it nearly went extinct before a single unit was ever produced. It lacks the armor to survive prolonged encounters against the better-armed Clan mechs it is intended to fight against, and the machine guns don’t have enough close-range punch to end a fight quickly”

    Reply
  14. lishainik

    Damn someone’s standards must be impossibly high to consider this a bad mech. Reliable damage output with an ability to deal absolutely obscene damage if the situation warrants it along with jump jets that really help with those heat movement penalties.

    Reply
    1. Валерий39999

      Damn, someone sees only the good, but does not notice the disadvantages, can not think objectively…

      Reply
      1. lishainik

        What? I fail to see where have I written about thid mech having no disadvantages. Yet one can not call this chassis bad with the straight face.

        Reply
  15. Валерий39999

    Bad clan mechs? Mmm… Hunchback IIC is literally this phrase from the Russian cartoon: “take a bow, go into the forest, and kill someone.” Bane (Kraken), a version with a bunch of UAC/2 – a bunch of UAC/2. Too little damage, if we’re talking about a board game. Hellbringer (Loki) – too little armor.
    All this, of course, is just my opinion based on rumors.

    What about Nova – replace all the lasers on one of the hands and a pair of heatsinks with two ERLL. Yes, after playing on Thor II Prime, I love versatility))

    Reply
    1. Richard White

      Finally, someone brings up the Hellbringer. smh. Drugs were definitely involved in that design’s conception. I understand that the game needs “Flavor”, But that mech is like showing Two girls/one cup on the widescreen at an all you can eat buffet level of “Flavor”.

      Reply
  16. itswhatevan

    That Clint Langley art for the CCG has to be one of my favorite artwork on a card, seconded closely by his Zeus. When I was a kid I used the Nova in my deck just because of the artwork :) Another great article, I keep looking forward to these and the round up!

    Reply
    1. Project Dark Fox

      Clint Langley’s artwork was among my favorites within the CCG. Big and chunky as ‘Mechs should be.

      Reply
  17. Steel Shanks

    Not a lot of bad Clanner designs? Please… there’s a ton. Clanners are the worst. This design is terrible, the look, the weaponry, it’s a mess. The Black Hawk is a mess too. The Inner Sphere should NEVER try and copy Clanner crap. I can’t wait til the Rakshasa shows up on this list… that’s a terrible Mech too. I have not fully embraced all yer bad Mech’s until today. 100 Percent agree…

    Reply
  18. Steven Newsom

    This, I would not consider a bad mech, by any standard. Other than the overheat +24, but Its not a mash the buttons every time mech. Its a plink and get behind someone and mash the buttons once mech. It can reliably shoot 7 ER Med Lasers every turn and still walk around for 0 heat. Put it in a lake or river and its a great ambush mech, hide it in a buildings, canyons, or forests and its a great mech. Replace One Arms ER Medium Lasers with a ER-PPC and its a great mech every where. Replace all ER meds with 2 ER PPCs and its a mini Direct Fire Support Mech, Throw on some LRMs and its a Fire Support mech. Add Electrons and a couple ER Large Lasers and its a decent scout mech. This is not a bad design, I consider the Hellbringer a worse design.

    Reply
  19. Steve K

    I’d be inclined to reach for the Naga if I had to pick a bad OmniMech, because having a pair of fixed Arrow IV launchers removes the biggest advantage of going Omni, which is flexibility. Even if the designers wanted it to be a dedicated artillery ‘Mech, podding one of the Arrow IVs and leaving the other fixed would have added a lot more flexibility to the design by increasing the pod space from 7.5 tons to 19.5 tons.

    It’s also massively over-engined for its role and both undergunned and underarmored if anything gets close. That’s fine if your on-the-same-map combat strategy is “run away,” but I’d prefer something that can at least discourage enemy scouts from getting close.

    Reply
    1. Don't Ask

      That and artillery platforms, you could argue, go against zellbrigen. Then again, it’s a Clan Wolf mech, and they’re known to be…flexible in their interpretation of their rules (though not to the degree of the Diamond Sharks, Hell’s Horses, or Star Adders).

      Reply
  20. Steve

    I am not sure there are concrete examples of poor Clan designs, but there are certainly some that are somewhat mediocre. Perhaps it is somewhat unfair to single out the Nova for your column, considering there seem to be better candidate out there.
    For just over 2000 BV, the Matador is rugged, but with only short-ranged weapons (MGs, MPLs, ER MLs, and SPLs) and average Clan maneuverability, the Matador is in trouble if it fights away from cities or heavy/rough terrain.
    Also more of an “urban” design, I feel the Corvis is significantly under-gunned and outmaneuvered by most of its contemporaries, even if it has a temptingly low BV.
    The Crossbow is another I would call suspect. The Crossbow’s primary benefit over direct competitors (early on, Lupus and Summoner OmniMechs; later, Mad Dogs, Timber Wolves, and Hellbringers) is no vulnerable XL Engine, although even there, the Lupus matches the Crossbow. Additionally all of these OmniMechs boast significantly more firepower, the same or better maneuverability, and often have similar or better armor profiles.

    Reply
  21. FJM

    I’d vote for the Dasher II, as a bad Clan mech.
    More expensive then the original, less armor, and less pod space.. Need I say more.

    Reply
  22. Pyro

    I disagree that the Nova is a bad Mech. In my eyes, its only real sin is that it has the No Torso Twist quirk. It’s flawed, but it’s still wonderful.

    It’s going to be one of the favorite mechs of any Inner Sphere faction using salvaged Clantech – the standard structure and armor make it easy to repair with common parts. The only Clantech parts it’ll need to keep a Prime running, unless you somehow get the engine totaled, are ER Medium Lasers and Double Heatsinks – some of the most common items in any salvage pile, and it doesn’t need any “not-made-here” ammo types.

    So let’s talk about the heat issue. Unless you’re playing with a lot of optional rules, the worst it can do is shut itself down. That’s still something that you don’t want to do in the middle of a pitched battle, since it’ll give your enemy a chance for free called shots, but if you use its surplus firepower wisely (such as having blocking terrain between yourself and every other mech than your victim), you can deliver knockout punches that can change the course of battles.

    Can it be improved upon? Absolutely – but I’ll never turn my nose up at one of these if they show up in a salvage list. Few mediums can deliver its amount of absurd, raw damage – and as others have commented, it’s really easy to make a custom configuration that drops a few lasers to gain a targeting computer, which makes it even more ridiculously deadly. Have an elite pilot? Run around vaporizing legs with called shots. You know you want to.

    Reply
  23. Mainbrace

    I am going to disagree that the Nova is a bad mech, in its designated as infantry support or flanking it is pretty damn good, if you want my opinion on a truly terrible clan mech I would call your attention to the Incubus II

    Clearly designed to sell toys, costs more than the Incubus and is worse in almost every respect except jumping distance, at least the Incubus does it’s job, stopping clanners getting bored. The Incubus II is perfect for joy riding and not much more.

    Reply
  24. Zera

    Judging what makes a Clan mech “bad” is kind of tricky because it kind of depends on from which perspective you look at it. Viper and Ice Ferret may seem to be poor mediums compared to what you expect from IS meds but the Clans seem to really like using certain mids in scout roles. Another example is the Gargoyle. I always thought it was pretty mediocre in tradition games but apparently it’s a beast in dueling rules which is appropriate for Clanners. Either way, I don’t think the Nova is bad by any metric. At worst it’s sub-optimal.

    Got to strongly disagree though with people saying Kingfisher is a bad Clan mech. No way. Yeah, it doesn’t move as fast or hit as hard as one would expect a Clan 90-tonner to, but good luck killing the thing. Kingfishers are zombies to end all zombies! Yes, I’m biased. It’s my face Clan mech. XD

    Reply
  25. Vengeus

    I have a soft spot for “bad” Clan mechs. My favourite mech anywhere might be the under-gunned freezer known as the Gargoyle Prime (it just looks so cool though!) but the one I’d really like to see your writeup on is the Loki. It’s like the designers looked at the Warhammer and said “Okay, this is iconic. What if we took off the armor and gave it EVERY Clan toy?” Good for quickly resolving duels (one way or the other), good for stomping new players who don’t know they can focus fire it down early (and should), shows off a ton of Clan Invasion equipment options, but I think safely qualifies as “bad” both on table and in the lore.
    Really enjoying this series. Cheers from NWT!

    Reply
  26. Project Dark Fox

    The Nova Prime already shines with its “munchkin” weapon loadout, good agility, and its medium-long range. Most of the alternate configurations aren’t that great in comparison, perhaps only the S and A being able to live up to the glory of the Prime.
    What the Nova chassis also has going for it that few think about is that it is extremely easy to repair by anyone. While having standard armor and structure does cut into the pod space, it makes sourcing repairs from virtually any donor stupidly easy. Its Prime, A, and S configs are all “long haul” configs (even if the Prime is also great for dueling), perfect for long campaigns where logistics and supply chains are in question. Even the otherwise superior Stormcrow (even in its Prime config!) will struggle to boast about that. A House or Mercenary force given a pile of Clan salvage will definitely find that it is relatively effortless to maintain Novas out of virtually any other OmniMech.

    Reply
  27. Akerlof

    This is a pet peeve of mine. The Nova is a bad mech because it will shut itself down if it alpha strikes, and … that’s about it. It doesn’t use Endo Steel or Ferro Fibrous armor? How is that “bad?” It’s like people aren’t even looking at anything else, and is that even the right question to ask? What about “Is there any Clan Medium primary config that can do as much damage while remaining heat neutral?” By that metric, it’s certainly not bad and might be the best for the Clan Invasion era. So why does it become outright bad simply because it _can_ go beyond that?

    It’s well armored (1 point shy in the CT and 4 on the legs, 160/169 possible.) Its pod space might be a little on the low side, dedicating just under 1/3 of its mass to pod space, but it’s a medium so I’m not 100% sure of what’s par. It’s a little slow for a Clan medium at 5/8/5, but the 5 jump helps. All its weapons are on its arms, but that’s common for Clan mechs. So, armor: Good, Pod Space: Below Average?, Maneuverability: Slightly Below Average, Survivability: Average to slightly below.

    Now let’s look its weapon loadout. 12 ER Medium Lasers, able to unload 7 if it walks or 6 if it jumps and end the turn at 0 heat. Does it have bad heat management because it can generate 25-30 excess heat if it alpha strikes? Take a closer look: That heat comes in 5 point packets, so you can tailor your heat generation very carefully. It’s not a choice between firing one or two primary weapons and having excess heat capacity verses shooting up to 10 or 15 heat from firing a third, you can pick how much heat you want to generate. Have a spot you can jump to and cool down before the enemy can get LOS again? Pour it on. Have a more maneuverable mech who can follow you if you lose initiative? Just add one or two extra shots. The Pouncer has heat problems, it’s only got 2 ERPPCs, but if it fires both it’s at +6 heat. The Grendel, Black Lanner an Huntsman all build up heat just firing their primary weapons and moving. Stormcrows and Shadow Cats are heat neutral, but their max damage is lower than the Nova’s heat neutral damage, and much less when it pushes the heat a little.

    Then there are the simple number of shots the mech takes. A potshot at long range means 7 rolls of the dice for the Nova. That’s a huge advantage: If I need 10’s to hit and you need 8’s, but I’m firing 7 weapons and you’re firing 2, then I’ve got about a 3 in 4 chance of hitting compared to your 2 in 3 chance despite each of your shots being two and a half times more likely to hit than mine. And, well, there’s something to be said for redundancy: If the Nova loses an arm or side torso, it’s still able to put out its baseline firepower where almost every other clan mech loses half or more.

    Is the Nova a great mech? Probably not. But it’s at worst low average and probably a little better. It’s definitely not bad.

    Reply
  28. Jeremy Ward

    Once again I wonder at Sarna’s determinations of a “bad” mech. The Nova is an excellent 50 ton chassis that is easy to manufacture, has several excellent configurations, and is fairly cheap BV wise. The Kuritans wouldn’t have made one of the best heavy IS Omnis in the game (the BH KU) if they though it was junk.

    The Prime config isn’t designed for alpha strikes. Anyone who’s doing that is imitating Clan Mechwarriors out for glory or beam spam Mechwarrior Online gameplay. It’s designed to rip apart medium and heavy designs with 7 or 8 lasers plus jumping, cutting the target apart in a hail of laser fire. If you want a design to give you alpha strike capacity all day and need it, use a Kingfisher or a Ryoken.

    Reply
  29. Vermonster

    Needed time come up with something other than “you don’t actually play Battletech, do you?”

    If alpha striking straight ahead is the limits of your tactics, then yes, Nova Prime is “bad” but so are you. Most MWO players don’t seem to understand fire arcs and torso twists, or heat management, or redundancy. This thing can throw 5-6 large laser equivalents in any direction, and can keep doing that even if you lose an arm. A weapon crit does make the entire arm useless either. So if you don’t do anything but mash all the fire buttons at targets right in front of you at halitosis range, this configuration is not for you. This is for Mechwarriors who plan on being in the field all day and taking a beating. Perhaps the Hunchback IIC is more your style?

    But what also tells me you missed the mark is this is but one configuration of an Omnimech. You focus on Prime, which obviously you neither understand nor are qualified to use, and largely ignore all the others. Some of which someone whose skill is limited to “scream and leap” could handle. The secret to Omnis is find one you like in terms of pod space, armour and mobility. THEN put the firepower in. If it fits, it fights. Judging an Omni by its Prime is like judging a chair by the clown sitting in it.

    There are bad mechs. Hussar, Charger, Fireball, Assasin, any light mech with an XL engine. Bad Omnis is a harder call to make. But in this case, bad pilots are easy to ID. Might have lots of time in grade but still a noob.

    Reply
  30. Odanan

    There is a lot of bad Clan designs, specially in the first wave. It’s actually hard to do a bad clan mech, being the tech so powerful, but the authors managed to do it. Mad Dog, Hellbringer, Gargoyle and even Summoner could be greatly improved by simply maxing armor and replacing some big weapons with a few ER Medium Lasers. Of course, there are very GOOD mechs, like the Stormcrow, Timber Wolf and Warhawk.

    Reply
  31. Simon

    I tended to find most people, at least in my old gaming group, used the Loki wrong. If you run it forward with the rest of its Star- or Lance-mates, it’s probably going to get hit pretty hard and disabled fairly quickly. The Loki belongs towards the rear preferably in woods and/or behind a hill so that while the enemy are focusing on the Vultures, Madcats, Thors, etc that it is likely to be operating with providing covering fire and sniping with those two ER-PPCs. Of course if you’re following Clan dueling rules strictly, that kind of limits its effectiveness.

    I did find an effective use for the Kraken too, there was an optional rule in one book (can’t remember which) to allow called shots at a significant disadvantage on the Punch-hit table. With all those AC/2 shots on Ultra it allowed the pilot to concuss enemy pilots to death whilst leaving their mechs almost undamaged for post-battle salvage. Broken as hell combo which is why I didn’t use it often, but fun for a mech most people would dismiss as practically worthless.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.