Your BattleTech News Roundup For February, 2023

February is the worst month. Partially because it’s in winter, but mostly because it has three fewer days than the other months, so I’m always caught off-guard when the end of the month arrives much earlier than usual. And yet, as with every month, I’ve still managed to scrounge together all the best BattleTech news that’s fit for the Inner Sphere. Plus a whole bunch of wild UrbanMech pics. You’re welcome.

So without further adieu, here’s your BattleTech news for February 2023.

Art Of BattleTech Brings The Hellcat To MechWarrior 5

Last month, Catalyst gave us the canonized version of MechWarrior 4‘s Hellhound, now renamed the Hellcat. And no sooner does the Hellcat join the annals of BattleTech canon than does The Art of BattleTech bring us a new MechWarrior 5 mod that lets players return to what is quite possibly the best medium ‘Mech from MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries.

The Hellcat model is courtesy of Ion Raptor who based their design on the MechWarrior 4 model by David A. White. It looks like the mod’s design is largely based on the TRO from ilClan Recognition Guide Volume 30, which includes two ER Large Lasers, an LB-10X autocannon, and an SRM-6. As usual, Arty advises players to get the ‘ Mech Delivery mod to make it a bit easier to find the new Hellcat in the vastness of the Inner Sphere. Head on over to Nexus Mods to get both the Hellcat and the ‘Mech Delivery mods.

Be Afraid: The Black Marauder Is Also Coming To MechWarrior 5

Black Marauder icon image (for an MW5 MOD I’m doing) from mechwarrior

The mods keep coming and they don’t stop coming. Courtesy of Volfegan is the Black Marauder mod, which will add a heretofore-unseen level of spookiness to your next MechWarrior 5 career.

I’m sure I’ve talked about the Black Marauder a little closer to Halloween, but just as a reminder, the Black Marauder is a BattleTech ghost story of a demonic Marauder that was found on an airless asteroid in an uninhabited system one jump from Malagrotta. You can’t blame the Ninth FedCom RCT for nabbing a free heavy ‘Mech, but every tech that touched the Black Marauder and every MechWarrior that sat in its seat suffered a horrible fate. The Black Marauder has changed hands multiple times over the decades, bringing misfortune and calamity to everyone near it.

I love the Black Marauder, and now Volfegan is making it real and pilotable in MechWarrior 5. I’m not sure if it’ll be as cursed as it is in the lore, but its weapon layout certainly seems desirable enough to risk a curse or two. Stay tuned for this mod’s release date.

Hired Steel Episode 3 Is Here And It Is Glorious

Hired Steel: A Mech Machinima – Episode Three
Watch this video on YouTube.

As promised, Hired Steel 3 is here, and damn if this isn’t the best footage of ‘Mech combat you’ll find outside of a MechWarrior game. I’m not going to go too far into it, but everything is still there from the previous episodes, only with way more explosions going on. George Ledoux, mister Duncan Fisher himself, provides a lovely opening narration that describes the creation of the Atlas as told by Aleksandr Kerensky, and Tex of the Black Pants Legion continues to lead Eques lance in his Shadow Hawk. Let’s not forget Mr. Paladin in the Catapult, Baradul in his custom Rifleman, AggieLawGirl in the Hunchback, and the villainous Thunderbolt is piloted by Ken Marsiglia. 

Couple of points--not sure when the Trebuchet became a baddie ‘Mech, but I’m here for it. Also, I’m available to voice a wise-cracking Quickdraw if one were needed in Hired Steel Episode 4. Or maybe a Grasshopper. I’ve been really digging the Grasshopper lately.

It’s really a shame that we have to go a year between episodes because they’re just so technically impressive and these guys are basically doing it in their spare time. Go subscribe on Twitter and YouTube for updates, behind-the-scenes stuff, and cool sketches of that Hunchback with reactive armor. 

All Good Things Come To Crabs Who Wait

You ain’t puttin’ THIS Crab in a cake! from battletech

TMC has a whole team making BattleTech machinima, but even the best animations start from the humblest of gifs. Here we have AwkwardSmilesCo dipping their claw into the world of BattleTech animation. It looks like it’s probably a King Crab claw, judging by its overall girth, but it could also be the Hermit Crab, a new light ‘Mech entry into the crab family. 

Awkward Smiles said they’re planning on making this part of a larger five-minute animation titled “Mechwarrior: Rough-Housing.” But as animation takes a lot of time and effort, don’t expect it for another few months. As with Hired Steel, we must be patient.

BattleTech TCG Summer League Opens Registration

I might have been a little late in letting people know about the BattleTech TCG renaissance happening online. Never fear, because RenegadeHPG has announced a summer league will get started on June 1. Registration is open, and you don’t even need any actual cards to take part. All the cards are available online for free with a few simple downloads, although registration is $35 to cover the cost of prizes and such. Oh yeah, there are prizes. Those can be anything from playmats to card sleeves to signed artist proofs to signed BattleTech novels.

Check this post here for the sign-ups and rules. And head to the BattleTech Trading Card Game Revival Facebook Group for more cool card stuff, like totally new cards that Wizards of the Coast never bothered to produce.

Opinion Piece:  Is The Crusader A ‘Bad ‘Mech?

Crusader Rise of Rasalhague

Courtesy of PGI

This week for the editorial, I thought I’d peel back the curtain slightly and talk about what makes a Bad ‘Mech. I know there have been a few, shall we say, controversial choices made, so I thought it might be neat to provide a little insight into the internal debates I have when determining what is and is not a Bad ‘Mech. 

And I’m going to do that by talking about the Crusader, a beloved missile boat from the classic 3025 TRO era. One of the Unseen ‘Mechs, the Crusader would be visually redesigned and updated during the Project Phoenix years, but wouldn’t be seen in its classic form again until just recently with the ilClan Recognition Guides. We’d also see a visually distinct and slightly modified version come out of PGI for MechWarrior Online and MechWarrior 5 with the Rise of Rasalhague expansion.

Crusader IlClan Recognition Guides

I gotta say, I really like the Crusader. It has a cool design, a bunch of notable pilots, and in the MechWarrior games, it’s depicted as being slightly more nimble than your average 65-ton heavy ‘Mech. But the CRD-3R is critically flawed. It’s too hot and it has virtually no ammo to feed all those missile launchers. A single ton for two SRM-6 launchers is nothing, and two tons for its paired LRM-15s gives this thing a few salvos before it has to run back to its supply lines. Plus, mounting those SRM-6s on the legs (at least, in the tabletop version) means they can’t be fired while torso twisting and they’re offline as soon as the pilot steps into a waist-high pond. 

But is that enough to make the Crusader a Bad ‘Mech? I’m on the fence. The Crusader has great armor--better than most 65-tonners at the time. And it doesn’t try to shoe-horn jump jets for added mobility (not that it has any tonnage to spare for them). And while leg-mounted weapons are certainly uncommon, they’re also kinda cool just for being unique.

Plus, BattleTech even acknowledges the CRD-3R is critically flawed as pretty much every major house has its own version that tries to fix it. The Davions have the 3D which downgrades the SRM-6s for SRM-4s and gets rid of the machine guns for heat sinks. The Kuritans gave us the 3K version that downgrades to LRM-10 launchers and also removes the machine guns for heat sinks. The 3L combines both the LRM-10 and SRM-4 launchers of the other two models for a much more reasonable strain on its ammo supply, and then the Liaos ruin it by throwing in some jump jets. 

On top of that, how much of the Crusader‘s problems are based on the fact LRMs just aren’t a particularly potent main armament, either for tabletop or in video games? Are all missile boats just bad? Maybe in terms of game mechanics, but in terms of lore, the Crusader has never been described as anything but effective, so maybe those missiles are more narratively potent than game mechanics allow.

It’s borderline, but ultimately, I don’t think the Crusader hits the low bar of a Bad ‘Mech. Disagree? Feel free to leave your opinion in the comments below.

Eldonious Unveils More UrbanFest Art

December’s PseudoTech release of Arcade Operations: UrbanFest brought some hilarious UrbanMech-centric scenarios for BattleTech players to try on tabletop, and it also brought some amazing takes on UrbanMech mythology courtesy of Eldoniousrex. He’s been sharing several iterations of UrbanMech online, including a cowboy, a wizard, a superhero, a Goku-analog, and a rogue. Basically a full party, although I’ll bet Goku and Super Urb will have some harsh words at some point.

There’s also this American Gladiator-style UrbanMech that describes itself as “firestarter.” I assume that means the small laser has been tossed for a flamer, but I can’t tell from the image since it’s mostly about the amazing physicality of this muscular and patriotic UrbanMech

Anyway, y’all should pick up PseudoTech’s new Arcade Operations: UrbanFest over on Catalyst’s site

PGI Promises Patch For Pathfinding Problems

I’ve already played through the Rise of Rasalhauge DLC twice now and it’s great--definitely the direction MechWarrior 6 should go. And the improved AI is definitely leading to higher damage numbers from your AI-controlled lancemates, but it’s also caused some issues with getting them to the fight. Sometimes they’re getting stuck on buildings or just not moving from the initial drop point, leaving Mason alone to face entire companies of Steiner and Drac ‘Mechs. I mean, I still won, but my new Crusader got chewed to pieces.

Thankfully, support for MechWarrior 5 isn’t over just because the fourth and presumably final DLC has dropped (although I’ve been wrong about MW5’s DLC count before and I’ll gladly be wrong again). PGI has promised a new patch is coming in March that’ll fix those stuck lancemates. It’ll also have improvements to the new FPS mode, which is the mode with “conventional” shooter controls for console players unfamiliar with MechWarrior games. No word on when the patch’ll drop, but I’ll be sure to mention it in next month’s newsletter.

MechWarrior Online Gets ‘Mech Adjustments For February, New Map Coming In March

MWO February 2023 patch notes

Courtesy of PGI

Feburary’s patch for MechWarrior Online brings 10 new Platinum variants and the ability to create your own Platinum Custom Collection package, allowing you to select one light, medium, heavy, and an assault ‘Mech. 

On top of that, we’ve got some new ‘Mech adjustments to celebrate, and many of them specifically deal with missile launchers. The Hellbringer, Timber Wolf, Battlemaster, Madcat MkII, and Banshee will all take less damage in their side-torsos so long as they’ve equipped missile launchers of sufficient size. The damage reduction is between 10 to 15 percent, but that’s quite substantial for a ‘Mech with as much armor as the Madcat MkII or the Banshee. Note that these bonuses do not apply if you’re slapping Rocket Launchers on that Banshee. We’ve also got some quirk adjustments for the UrbanMech, Jenner IIC, Cicada, Vulcan, Viper, Hatchetman, Vindicator, Nova, Dragon, Victor, and Kodiak

Finally, new level designer Krazzdaxx will have a new map available for March, with previews set to arrive in the coming days. PGI is also investigating changes to the matchmaker system that will “hopefully improve the matchmaking process,” with more details to come in a new Dev Vlog. There’s also a new sale going on that gives you half-off all engines, weapons, consumables, ‘Mech bays, Premium Time, and every ‘Mech mentioned in February’s patch notes.

New Books, New Recognition Guide, and New Mercenaries Preview From Catalyst

It wouldn’t be a Sarna newsletter without some updates from Catalyst! This month we have a new preview for the upcoming Mercenaries Kickstarter, including the new Starslayer sculpt and the remade Galleon light tank. I still can’t get over the glow-up the Starslayer had to become the poster boy of the new box set. It’s like how the King Crab somehow got to be the cover ‘Mech for MechWarrior 5

We’ve also got a new book and a new short story. Innocent and Defenseless is a new short story from Jason Hansa featuring the Eridani Light Horse and set during the Star League. The new book is Escape from Jardine from Herbert A. Beas II. This full novel features an intrepid explorer from Interstellar Explorations who stumbles upon a Word of Blake remnant on the lost planet of Jardine. She and her compatriots get stuck, and the rest of the book follows the title. You can nab both on Amazon or your e-publication site of choice. 

And don’t forget about Recognition Guide: ilClan Volume 32! This one has a Blood Asp on the cover and a bunch of tanks on the inside. That might make this edition a little less exciting for ‘Mech fans, but I gotta admit, it just ain’t BattleTech with a J. Edgar light hover tank. You can snag that over on Catalyst’s website

Lastly, Catalyst will announce the selected venues for the Mercenaries Kickstarter launch party on March 3. The Mercenaries Kickstarter launches on March 23.

The Steiner Scout Lance Is A Master Of Subterfuge

The Steiner Scout Lance is already perhaps the best scouts in the Inner Sphere, able to rumble up to any location, thoroughly examine the area, and then retreat to report back to Lyran command how many ‘Mechs they blew up. But even the Steiner Scout Lance can sometimes find it difficult to approach a heavily fortified enemy position. In those rare instances, the Steiner Scout Lance resorts to a time-honored military tactic: subterfuge. 

Alec Christian showcases two examples of how the Steiner Scout Lance can camouflage itself to quietly approach the enemy without being detected. Kudos to Eldonoious for providing the Canopus Cat-House Buffet poster. 

MechWarrior Living Legends Announces Events For March

Monthly Events – March from MWLL

Don’t like MechWarrior Online? Don’t have the gaming rig for MechWarrior 5? MechWarrior: Living Legends is here to give you your ‘Mech fix, and it’s absolutely free. It’s been a while since we’ve heard from the folks at MechWarrior Living Legends, so I’m happy to report that they’ve got some plans for March.

Expect an event every weekend in March. Most of them will be organized TC games, but Sunday, March 19 will be single-life matches. All games are scheduled to start at 7 PM UTC (2 PM ET), so mark your calendars. For more info, head on over to the MechWarrior Living Legends Discord server

Two UrbanMechs In A Trenchcoat Try To Get Into A Canopus Caberet

I initially wanted to call this a cat-beret but felt that might’ve been too confusing to hat enthusiasts. Eldonious isn’t the only artist out there that’s putting up great UrbanMech art. I’m not sure when the Quickdraw became the ‘Mech of choice for customer service, but I’m digging it. I might also be partially responsible. 

Just in case you need reminding, it’s official BattleTech canon that cat girls exist. They’re on Canopus, and they’re technically mechanical prostheses rather than true biological mutations or whatever, but they exist. God bless the Magistracy

And that’s all we got for February! Not as exciting as January, but February also has fewer days to play with. I expect March to be full of announcements, so join us next month as Sarna brings you all the BattleTech news that happened in the preceding weeks.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy. 

stay syrupy

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30 thoughts on “Your BattleTech News Roundup For February, 2023

  1. Dingus_Khan

    I’m mostly coming from the videogame side of things, but I’d have a hard time justifying the Crusader as a truly bad mech. It’s flawed for sure, but it’s not trying to do anything truly boneheaded and as you pointed out, the great houses all have their variants that address the most glaring issues. It’s a walking ammo explosion, but so are most of the other 3025 introtech designs that are heavily ammo-reliant.

  2. SilverCyanide

    The Crusader was the first ‘mech I ever played. I am biased towards it and I admit it. The thing is though, it is not a bad ‘mech overall, just one that fails to find a niche. It’s a bit like a F-16, it does A LOT of things well, just not as well enough as other more dedicated platforms, like the F-22 or the A-10. The Crusader 3R will shoot its LRM to soften up the target at a long range while moving into range to brawl and punch the shit out of their opponent. SRMs are great when that happens because crit hunting becomes good at that range. It also has 2 anti-infantry weapons to take care of those pesky men with pointy sticks.

    Alone, the 3R is not glorious but it can be bought at a decent price for a commander of a lighter lance OR as part of a fire-support heavy lance. All the other “base” variants are also pretty great in that exact same role. Anything modernized also fits those roles, generally. Is a great battlemech in the same line as the Thunderbolt? No. Is it as awful as the Rifleman, Cicada or Loki? Definitely not.

  3. Terminator

    The Crusader isn’t a terrible ‘Mech. It certainly makes some… interesting design choices, but at the end of the day the CRD-3R is pretty tough and well-armored for its time period. It doesn’t have the ammo to perform fire support, but it’s a brawler. Soften up the enemy with LRMs at range, which conveniently gets rid of the side torso bombs, then wade in to continue the fight with the short range weapons. You generally don’t fire both SRMs every turn because you want to either manage heat or kick people, so the SRM ammo usually holds out long enough. It’s not my favorite ‘Mech, but there’s plenty of other machines I’d put on blast before I’d even consider the Crusader.

    Including but not limited to
    JaegerMech (same weight as the Crusader, and holy cow what a miserable POS)
    Shadow Hawk
    Gargoyle (Charger IIC-including a WTF weapons selection in its Primary and B configurations)
    Executioner (Banshee IIC)
    Kit Fox
    Cougar (Like a Hellbringer, but worse!)
    Battle Hawk
    Hermes II/Sentinel (Essentially the same ‘Mech, at least failings-wise)
    Hachetman (Let me get this straight, Doc. You want me to run down enemies in a low-end medium with the speed of an average heavy ‘Mech and the armor of a light ‘Mech? And if I somehow manage to do it without getting shot to pieces, I’m to wack them with a stick that provides marginal benefit over the kick attack I’d have done anyway, and in fact reduces my firepower 25% because I can’t use the laser on that arm? And I can’t even eject when it all goes sideways and my ‘Mech goes down? Are you NUTS?)

  4. Z3r0_

    Regarding the idea of the Crusader being “bad”…I think its only major flaw is its extreme vulnerability to ammo detonations. The damned thing’s a walking bomb.

    1. SilverCyanide

      The first thing any upgrade to the Crusader needs to do and plug everything up with CASE or CASE II. You can basically Endo-steel + CASE/CASE II and the ‘mech is significantly better. My “standard refit” is basically that + replacing the SRM6 for Streak 4.

      1. CoKien

        It would be sufficient to put either the LRMs or the SRMs in the side torsi ;)
        However, the Crusader is still a fine Mech.

  5. Steve

    When I started playing BattleTech, my friends and I played with the Star League construction rules before playing with published ‘Mechs. The first 3025 ‘Mechs I played were a bit shocking. All of them had a major weakness – offensive potential, heat, armor, mobility. Often, two or more of these were major issues.

    Keeping this in mind, when I first saw the CRD-3R, I was ambivalent. For a Succession Wars ‘Mech, the Crusader has about as full armor as you get (excepting the legs, which is a common choice for TRO: 3025). Movement is average for heavy ‘Mechs, meaning you can choose how you are going to fight against Archers, Warhammers, or even Hunchbacks and Whitworths.

    Offense is where things get dicey. 13-year-old Steve wanted to go in guns blazing, and that gets really problematic. That initial impression dropped my opinion ever-so-slightly. However, if you bracket your fire, you have a reasonable chance of forcing piloting skill rolls at both short- and long-range, all while staying cool-ish.

    Then, there is the “lack” of ammo, or having too much explosive ammo, however you feel about it. Eight turns of LRM fire is limiting only if you do not plan to bracket fire; this is also the case with 8.5 turns of SRM ammo. And considering the CRD-3R was made by FASA before CASE was an option, limiting ammo and forcing bracketed combat probably was the most desirable way of limiting explosive ammo (without becoming a laser boat, anyways). This brings us to the machine guns, and its ton of ammo. Machine guns are not ideal, but they are a characterful choice, and are useful against infantry (although idk if this is still the case in 2nd Ed…). IIRC, half-ton machine gun ammo bins were not available in 2nd Edition BattleTech, and I would like to believe this is how this came about, please correct me if I am wrong.

    In any case, if you can stay disciplined with bracket fire, the CRD-3R is about as good as 3025 gets, along with TDRs and ARCs. If you feel compelled to finish off that ‘Mech, you have a shot at the rear armor at range 6 and its pilot is unconscious, maybe you should take a CRD from another era.

  6. Frabby

    A single Crusader is okay but not overly impressive.
    It’s best understood as a team player:

    Back in the days before the internet, when there wasn’t a Steiner Scout Lance meme, our group had what we called the “Steiner Lance” – four CRD-3R steamrolling any opposition head-on.
    Deploying them in lance strength and keeping them close together somehow seems to simultaneously amplify the Crusaders’ strength and mitigate their weakness. I find it a bit difficult to explain but suggest you try it.
    By going head-on (and not playing floating crits rules) you’re safe from through-armor crits to the side torso. By the time the armor wears out the ammo in the side torsos will be spent. And the firepower of a combined lance is enough to make opposing ‘Mechs wither away.

    Another frequent use was that I liked to place a Crusader into a lance with three Archers as a bodyguard unit in a LRM fire suppor lance.

  7. Spartakus

    The Crusader is a fine choice for the Bad-Mechs series. It’s not so much that it’s really bad on paper when looking at the stats but it has a bunch of truly horrible design choices regarding weapon and ammo placement. Here’s what I wrote on the Battletechgame forums mech of the weak thread years ago:

    Ah, the Crusader. An excellent case study in how little details can make the difference between a great mech, a decent one and an OKish one. With the Crusader I always have the feeling I’m fighting my own mech just as much as the enemy.

    30LRMs 12SRMS, 2ML and 2 MGs may look like a great armament, that could do great damage at every range band. Unfortunately the CRD-3R lacks the heat sinks to fire at either one consistently. And two side torsos with nothing but ammo in them are a disater waiting to happen. The 3 variants around in 3015 adress these problems by downgrading the weapons and putting something useful that also padds the torso bombs. Each variant brings the Crusader from OK into decent territory.

    None of them get’s a stamp of great in my book, because the Crusadeer puts its weapons into the worst imaginable positions on the mech. Weapons in the arms are great when you are in close combat and need this little extra arc. LRMs tend to become useless at those ranges so you might as well put them into the torsos. SRMs can pretty much put be anywhere except for the Legs. They prevent kicking when you fire them and you can’t use them at all when in partial cover. Put those into the side torsos as well and Oh look! We’re building an ARC-2S. My favourite variant of the Archer.

  8. FlickerShine

    There is also the breaking news of the final Kickstarter side-box being named, and contents announced. The Proliferation Box; with a content list that reads like an April Fools Joke from CGL.

    Mackie, Ymir, Battleaxe, Gladiator, Icarus II, Firebee, Coyotl.

    That’s right, an array of plastics to represent mechs that are essentially extinct by the ilClan. Could this be the sign of… a new Mackie variant around the corner?!

    1. SilverCyanide

      Could also spell a book based on Age of War / Historical story, which I would jump on in a second.

    2. Patrick Rich

      Hey, Catalyst offer a premade battlemech company on their store that is nothing but Urbanmechs. This proliferation box could be the real deal. I know I for one would love to build a Clan Wolverine Trinary, and you could run a Coyotl as a Mercury II, they’re basically identical in appearance.

      1. FlickerShine

        It’s confirmed by the head developer of CGL on their forums, so… while I said it sounds like an April Fools joke, it’s a legitimate box. And a really interesting one.

  9. Patrick Rich

    I did pick up Ilclan recognition guide 30 when it came out just for the Hellcat. I definitely like that they found a way to blend the established lore from Mechwarrior 4 into the mech’s development history. The guide even includes record sheets for the Civil war era prototypes and the Conjurer 6 that inspired it. I’m a bit puzzled that they didn’t retain it’s omnimech status though. It’s not due to cost, as the mech has ferro fibrous, endo steel, and a super expensive XXL engine. Even a modular weapons quirk as a nod to that fact would have been nice.

    Also, semi-modular Clan tech SRM carriers with hardened armor. Thanks for making the nightmare manifest Catalyst.

    As for the Crusader, I think the design is flexible and rugged enough that experienced players could easily fix it’s major flaws. For example, if you’re in a later era, swap out the missile launchers for dual MML-9s, you lose some long range punch but you make it an even better brawer. Plus, you free up some weight for extra ammo, and maybe pulse or RE lasers.

  10. Jeremy M Ward

    Given that the Nova somehow ended up as a bad mech when there are far worse offenders in the Clan Omnimech category (Vulture, Loki, Cauldron Born), the Crusader definitely doesn’t fit the criteria of a bad mech. The 3R is a jack of all trades that’s really just an introtech downgrade of the 2R Crusader. The Thunderbolt carries the same amount of ammo with almost the same heat issues, and I have yet to hear anything bad about it.

    The only truly bad variants of the Crusader are the 4R and 4L, which mount single heat sinks, Stteak 2s and medium pulse lasers. The Crusader is one of the most common heavy mechs in the Inner Sphere and Periphery, and doesn’t have any in universe evidence that it’s a bad mech like the Clint or the Assassin. There must be 20 plus variants of the Crusader by now. Unless you’re hurting for just any unit to throw at the enemy, why would you keep expending effort in producing new variants?

    In conclusion,, the Crusader is a great mech and definitely not worth a bad mech article.

  11. Zera

    This may not be the criteria but I always figured the bad mechs were chosen mostly based on the first published/most ubiquitous variants. Almost every mech in existence has at least a few lemon loadouts or at least one decent variant so it seems most prudent to think of which models are the lion’s share out in the setting. It seems the most logical choice to me. In that regard I agree with some previous choices and disagree with others.

    The Crusader is a mech I don’t think comes remotely close to being a bad mech. Admitedly I love the thing so I’m biased. It has some odd design choices for sure. They give it character but it’s not at the expense of functionality I don’t think. As others mentioned, though the MUL lists it as a missile boat, the Crusader is really a generalist that comes into its own as a member of a lance rather than on it’s own. It can fit comfortably in just about any formation while being able to contribute to the lance in other ways it may be lacking. As for the shallow ammo bins, it’s more a blessing than a curse from my experience since they’re likely to be empty and less of a viability sooner rather than later.

    I think I saw this on a forum at some point but I saw attacking with one leg’s SRMs while kicking with the other leg in alternation between turns as the “Crusader Can-Can”. If it means getting to see this in a great piece of commissioned art then sure, yeah, the Crusader is a steaming pile. ;)

  12. Jhen

    The Crusader is IMHO a decent mech, but it’s potency is truly measured as part of a team. Those LRMs may not be the crippling foctor on their own, but in a lance with some more direct firepower such as AC/10s, PPCs and LgLasers they can contribute to downing mechs quite handily. Any sneaky mechs trying to come for the missleboats will find the MLs and SRMs a menace to their ‘easy’ mission of going under the main ranges. Heck, down the SRMs for SRM4s, add 1t of ammo, drop the MGs and ammo to beef up the heatsinks, you get a pretty decent mix of firepower there.

    But measured on their own as a “charging into the fray” mech ? Yeah, then it would rank as on of the bad ones. At least

  13. Craig

    “Bad” mechs usually mean a combination of:
    1) Inefficient use of engine weight versus lighter mechs (Cicada)
    2) Mechs that get blown to bits immediately in the tabletop game due to extreme shortfall in armor / crippling heat problems (Rifleman)
    3) Insufficient weapons to compete with its peers of the same weight (Quickdraw)

    The Crusader has its problems, namely heat and insufficient ammo. But in terms of a single tabletop encounter, careful pilots will unload the missiles early to not succumb to ammo explosions (machine guns the exception). The medium-range firepower is incredible as long as the pilot doesn’t fire everything. The lasers should be considered backup for when you’re out of ammo.

    Having no piercing weapons isn’t as big a problem when you have LRM-15s which hit for 5 points in 4 places, plus 2 medium lasers as options. That’s getting close to Grasshopper – level of sandblasting, not counting when those 4 or 5 SRMs hit. The Crusader rolls for more raw damage than just about anything and will get more crits and head shots than say, the Thunderbolt (love the TB). Empty the bins and you’ll land 40+ SRMs on target and 80+ LRMs. Think of this mech as a short-range cluster munition artillery battery.

    Had a soft spot for it since “Crescent Hawk’s Revenge” when you stumble on those four spit-shined Crusaders in the mech shop on Dieron. They use up their missiles fighting the jump infantry but there’s enough armor left that they can take on the Drillson or whatever heavy tanks guarding the city gate, with only medium lasers and machine guns.

    As mentioned Endo Steel and CASE are giant helps as you can add 1 ton each of LRM and SRM ammo as well as not worry about the onboard powder keg as much. Double heat sinks as well are a good idea.

    The biggest problem the Crusader has is the Anti-Missile System.

  14. Ruludos

    If you think the CRD-3R has heat issues you just suck at tabletop; I never understood why that was such a common line. You get movement heat for your LRMs and you’re heat neutral running with the SRMs or MLs. Not perfect, but compared to other SW heavies it’s quite manageable.The real issue is that the ammo is stuck completely exposed in the side torsos, meaning your heavy will be turning into 65 tons of shrapnel unless you can get those eight shots off as quickly as possible.

    1. Joseph

      I think the reason why heat issues are brought up for mechs that are otherwise decent is because we want heat to be easy to manage. It’s nice to know that your mech can leave off only a few weapons to cool off while still putting a lot of fire down range (Not overheating at all is the dream, but that’s a given). I think a good example of this is actually the Awesome 8Q. You would think with three PPCs it would have a lot of heat trouble, but in reality you can quickly cool off by not firing a PPC every two or three turns.

      For the Crusader specifically, I think the issue really that it’s the biggest flaw you can point out in the mech. Sure, it is a walking time bomb with all the ammo it has, but that’s true with any mech that uses ammo. The Crusader’s low ammo count may actually help mitigate this weakness, so people automatically point out it’s heat issues because there is no immediate solution.

      (A side note, while you can have a crusader fire both it’s LRM 15s and only gain movement heat, I personally find that a bit of a concern. If you can’t avoid fire long enough to stop firing the LRMs or other weapons, that heat is going to add up)

      1. Ruludos

        I feel like if the worst you have to say about a design is that it isn’t perfectly sinked in 3025 you don’t actually have anything bad to say about it. The only contemporary design that does better is the Catapult, and you pay for that in armor (as well as comparable ammo supply issues). Much like an Awesome you can roll with a 2/2/2/1 firing pattern without issue; there are so many 60-70 ton heavies that are forced to fire 2/1 or worse that listing them here would be silly. I’m sure several immediately come to mind.

        The LRM ammo really is the main issue because it’s completely unprotected in the side torsos. As far as I can tell the crit rules were changed going from BattleDroids into Second Edition without updating the builds that would suffer from the change…

  15. Eric Karau

    The Crusader is a good missile boat Mech; unfortunately, during the Succession Wars, it’s advanced missile
    systems’ technology was lost and the Great Houses had to make do with simpler ‘point and fire and hope it hits your enemy’ missile systems with simple missiles. Since it’s debut, other better missile boats have been deployed by both the Inner Sphere and the Clans; is there a Crusader IIC? There are Crusader Clan warriors who would pilot that design, if it existed, just because of the name alone!

  16. Argus

    So is the Crusader a bad mech? I think he is not. The ammo for all missile launchers is of course low, but the mech has much launchers und many different weapons. None of this weapons deal out much damage in a single location, which makes him not a mech-hunter.
    I think the Crusader is more a support for other heavy mechs. His armament is good to finish of damaged mechs or vehicles, he can also fight infantry.
    Weapons in legs is not a necessarily a mistake. And he can fire the SRMs despite of torso twist. Just look into Total Warfare: Leg-mounted weapons retain their firing arc while anything mounted above changes it´s firing arc with the torso twist. So basically you can expand your firing arc with that. Underwater SRMs can´t be fired, but a Crusader has no heat sinks in it´s leg, so doesn´t need to submerge them for heat dissipation.
    The armament and it´s placement gives the crusader abilities you will hardly find in other mechs of his weight class: A Crusader can attack a vehicle in front of him with his SRMs, while at the same time turns it torso at maximum in one direction to attack in the other direction. At the same time he can stretch his other am in the opposite direction to bombard another vehicle.
    If you compare him to the Thunderbolt you see some similar weapons, but the Thunderbolt lacks much of the missile launchers. The Thunderbolt is more a mech-hunter than the Crusader.
    The Crusader can be simply paired with other mechs or wait in the second wave of an attack.
    Still i think the Crusader has a few flaws. I would prefer having the medium lasers and machine guns in the torso and drop a half ton of machine gun ammo. But having to much machine gun ammo is a flaw you find in many 3025-mechs (Locust, Stinger, Thunderbold, Warhammer).

  17. Eric Karau

    The Crusader featured in the original 3050 technical readout, the CRD-5M, had a pic where it has a left forearm with no hand but what appears to be a cannon muzzle in it instead: has anyone ever come up with the idea of fitting a really big autocannon into the left forearm? It’d be a really nasty close-in surprise in combat!

    1. landadmiralquercus

      It would be useful, but too heavy. For extra firepower, I’d swap the MGs for rocket launchers.

  18. Burning Chrome

    House Liao ruined the Crusader by adding jump-jets? Wow…the mental gymnastics to justify such a statement. The CRD-3L is an outstanding battlemech. A well armored and mobile missile platform that synergizes with Grasshoppers, Blackjacks, Catapults, Victors and Vindicators to name a few other Cappellan mechs that share the same movement profile and weapons/logistics configuration.

  19. Eric Karau

    A jump-capable Crusader? That makes it that much more dangerous, with increased mobility! Plus, you’ve got two battle-fists, depending on the variant! When they did the reseen designs, they couldn’t figure a decent look for the Crusader! I’m glad that the new ilClan era finally has the mechs almost look the way they did in the unseen 3025 technical readout!

  20. Moleman

    I don’t know if you know this but the stars and stripes firestarter Urbie is a nod to Keith Flint, lead singer of the Prodigy, who had a hit song Firestarter, in which he wore a stars and stripes top I think. Guy passed away not so long ago.


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