How to use... XXXX

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obese pigeon
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How to use... XXXX

Post by obese pigeon » Thu Nov 22, 2018 10:09 am

I wanted to start a thread where I could post about how to use units that I find interesting to play. Please feel free to make comments or make a post on units you like to use as well.

obese pigeon
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Re: How to use... XXXX

Post by obese pigeon » Thu Nov 22, 2018 10:15 am

RFL-3N - all about walking the fine line

In the unit usage statistics, this unit tends to do rather badly. Its a misunderstood unit and difficult to use to its full effectiveness. It's weak armor, paper thin back, slow speed and tendency to overheat are crippling weaknesses that contribute to its mediocore win-loss ratio. It is my belief that a poorly used rifleman is a 1000 bv 'game loser' for players who don't know how to employ it. In the hands of a experienced player however, it is one of the strongest game winning units in certain 3025 matchups.

Sarna.net has some insightful gems on the RFL-3N which clue us in about the correct way to use it:
"The Rifleman's focus on fire-support and anti-aircraft work dictated a heavy load of long-range weapons to the exclusion of everything else. It carried a particularly heavy battery of two Magna Mk. III Large Lasers paired with two Imperator-A medium autocannons, one of each mounted in each arm. Two Magna Mk. II Medium Lasers were split between the side torsos to provide backup. One ton of autocannon ammunition was carried in the center torso, enough for short, sharp engagements but not enough for extended periods of combat. The 'Mech's ten heat sinks were grossly inadequate for constant fire, but in an anti-aircraft role, the Rifleman was expected to have time to dissipate heat while the target aircraft turned for its next pass.

The Rifleman suffered from a miserly amount of armoring - just seven and a half tons total - with its rear torso particularly thin. It also lacked hand or lower-arm actuators, hampering it in a melee confrontation, and was not particularly fast, with a cruising speed of 43.2 km/h. When operating in its intended role of providing overwatch for other 'Mechs, these deficiencies were not terribly noticeable, and it could still overpower lighter opponents by dint of its size. These drawbacks did mean that a commander would only commit his Riflemen in a head-on confrontation with heavy enemy forces as a last resort."

So... in MekWars, the RFL-3N are used in a ground combat role all the time. How do we make an over-gunned, under-sinked anti-aircraft mech useful?

Let's tackle this problem from three angles -
1) What bv should the RFL-3N be used?
2) Which units make good lancemates for the RFL-3N?
3) How should the RFL-3N be used in a ground fight?

1) What bv should the RFL-3N be used?
Again, a hard question to answer given the many weaknesses this mech has. It's slow like a heavy mech, but its armor is even lighter than a lot of medium mechs. At high bvs, it's weak armor means it will get ripped apart by LRM/PPC/LL fire at range for an early "GG". So that leaves us solely with low bvs. With less big guns at lower bvs, the RFL-3N's lack of protection is not such a big issue. The problem at low bvs is that the RFL-3N will be facing a multitude of 6/9 or faster enemies that can get behind it to blast at its unarmoured back. This risk can be managed using lance composition and the appropriate playstyle.

Another reason to use the RFL-3N at low bvs is that the amount of firepower it packs is decisive at low bvs. Two LL strips off a large portion of a light mech's armor, and the pinging capabilities 2 AC5's are a significant threat to vees. The RFL's 12 point kick is also nothing to sneeze at in a low bv fight. Basically, the RFL is a big bully gun at low bvs which not many mech or vee lances would be able to handle.
Therefore, you want to use the RFL at low bvs, preferably below 4k bv. The highest I'd dare go with a RFL is 4.5k bv. Anything higher and you would probably be better off fielding a PXH...

2) Which units make good lancemates for the RFL-3N?
We have established earlier that one of the major weaknesses of the RFL is its vulnerable back. Clever use of terrain and proper movement can mitigate some of that risk, but the RFL-3N absolutely needs lancemates that can further help protect its back. In my opinion, the best campguard for the RFL-3N is any unit with an AC20. The AC20's 'fear bubble' will keep the RFL-3N's back very very safe. If you dont have an AC20, anything with a heavy kick or decent brawling ability will do in a pinch. A RFL-3N has very strong 'pull', and you can expect to be rushed. Make sure your lance has the right units to handle that.

3) How should the RFL-3N be used in a ground fight?
As i've alluded to in the title of this post, using the RFL-3N well requires a fine balance between not overheating and senseless overheating. It requires what i call, disciplined overheating. Therefore a lot of this discussion would be focused on firing sequences and heat management.

Overheat firing sequences
a) Walk + double large lasers (overheat turn), walk+ double AC5s (cooldown turn)
This is your bread and butter overheat firing sequence, and when executed properly, allows you to do great damage with the rifleman. Typically, the RFL will walk forward into LL short range (5 hexes) or medium range (10 hexes), firing both LL. This heats it up to 17 heat, sink 10, allowing you to start next turn with 7 heat on the mech. Next turn usually involves backing up 3 hexes to open up the distance and opening fire with 2 x AC5s to end the turn at 10 heat, sinking 10, back to 0 heat.

This 2 turn firing sequence shows the right concept on how to use the RFL. The main damage dealers are the LLs, you want to play it to get the best shots on the big guns, while the AC5s are the 'spray and pray' heat regulators. On the turn that you are firing the AC5s, hitting the enemy or not is inconsequential. You just want to keep the RFL-3N safe when it is slowed and vulnerable.

b) Stand still + double LL + single AC5 (overheat turn), walk + double AC5 (cooldown turn)
Use this firing sequence if your opponent is nice enough to move his units into good range of the LLs. This sequence is probably the most damage you can get out of the RFL-3N, and 3 out of the 4 main guns is the most number of guns you would want to fire in one turn. An alpha strike of all 4 main guns is a bad idea since it gives the RFL-3N a penalty to hit next turn. For a mech that is all about shooting, overheating beyond 7 heat lowers the damage of the mech over the long run. As always, during the cooldown phase, back away, protect your back, 'spray and pray' with AC5s.

*A note on overheating
Before overheating the RFL-3N, you should ask yourself, if I were to overheat now and lose mobility for the next turn, would the RFL-3N still be safe if i lost init? If your answer is no, or if overheating meant that an enemy backstabber could get behind you, then you probably do not want to overheat.

Heat-neutral firing sequences
a) Walk + single LL + single AC5
This is the default firing sequence. Use it to move, maneuver and shoot. Heat is a precious resource for the RFL-3N - this firing sequence fully utilizes the RFL-3N's heat capacity, while also keeping AC5 ammo expenditure low. Hitting the enemy while maneuvering is not important. After all, the RFL-3N's entire game is to maneuver into position to give the enemy a double barreled LL blast. That said, even at range and on poor numbers, the RFL will sometimes score good hits with the LL.

b) Run + single LL
Similar to the firing sequence above, used for fast movement run and gun. Save the AC5 ammo for when you aren't running.

c) Stand still + single LL + double AC5
Rarely used, if the enemy is nice enough to get himself to 11 or 12 hexes. Personally, I think its a waste of AC5 ammo

d) Walk/Run + double medium laser + double AC5
A fairly damaging combo due to volume of fire, this is ONLY used at a range 6 hexes. At any other range you would be using the LL anywayz

Observant readers would have noticed that all these firing sequences mean the RFL-3N starts a turn with ONLY 0 or 7 heat. No more and no less. No weird firing sequences like run + single LL + double AC5s should be used. Heat is a precious resource for a RFL-3N and even starting with 1 or 2 heat severely limits the RFL-3N's combat options for the turn. Therefore, always start a turn with 0 heat, or start the turn in 'back away, spray and pray' mode at 7 heat. This point is what differentiates the n00bs from the vets. The vets stay in control of their heat, only using a disciplined amount of burst fire to build up optimal levels of heat. n00bs panic and fire too many guns, followed by too few - severely reducing the RFL-3N's damage potential over the course of the game.

RFL-3N in a brawl
If you've lost init 5 turns in a row, and your AC20 campguard has been taken out by a lucky gyro tac, then its possible the RFL-3N will find itself brawling for its life. Even then, this slow, fragile anti-aircraft mech has some tricks up its sleeve. Some tricks:

Firstly, the RFL-3N has decent firepower. It can fire single LL + single ML followed by double ML the next turn. It can also flip arms and double volley LL into a backstabber (assuming the RFL walked), although thats not really a good idea since if you are brawling, you probably need your mobility.

Second, charge out of the fray. The RFL-3N doesnt fight well up close and needs to put distance between itself and the enemy. One trick is to just evacuate the melee with a flat out run and try to put more than 3 hexes between the RFL and the enemy. This does two things, it makes it harder for the enemy to shoot you since you will have a +2 movement mod as well as a +2 medium range mod for the enemy's short range guns. The second thing it does is it allows you to use the AC5s without min range penalty. Of course, some of the enemy might be shooting at the RFL-3N's back, but hey, that's why you sacrificed the kitten you found last night to the RNG right?

Summary
In summary, the RFL-3N is a dominating, game-winning unit at low bvs if used correctly. Think of the RFL-3N as a guy equipped with a single shot double barreled elephant gun. You get in position, open up with both barrels, then run away, reload and hope the enemy doesn't get you while reloading. Using it correctly means using it in a disciplined overheating manner. Overheating excessively almost guarantees a loss, while not riding the heat curve wastes this mech's full potential. The RFL-3N plays the long game. The longer it stays alive without being rushed, the more damage you deal to the enemy through sheer volume of fire

It is to me, one of the most difficult 3025 mechs to use, but extremely rewarding and powerful when used right.

Vector
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Re: How to use... XXXX

Post by Vector » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:47 pm

I enjoyed seeing your take on the RFL-3N, you forgot to mention that you recommend against taking precision ammo on it. I would be interested to see what your take on the JR7-D is.

obese pigeon
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Re: How to use... XXXX

Post by obese pigeon » Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:15 pm

Thanks for the feedback Vector, I was wondering if this kind of posting was useful/interesting to anyone.

And yes, I don't think Precision ammo is good for this particular playstyle.

JR7D is a great suggestion - over bv'ed, underarmored, overgunned. Will do that after BMB-10D.

Even though this set of posts is in the New Players section, it might fly over the head of an actual new player. I suppose in reality i'm writing for the vets. Often you only see 'bad' units in the hands of new players who don't know better. On the other hand you see a lot of vets just fielding tuned lances of 'good' units. I guess part of my reason for writing is to encourage more vets to use 'bad' units and give these units a place in the metagame

obese pigeon
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Re: How to use... XXXX

Post by obese pigeon » Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:15 am

BMB-10D - The "weird brawler"
The BMB-10D is one of the most unloved units here. Once again, Sarna.net clues us in as to why:

"and as the 'Mech finally entered the battlefield during the Succession Wars its shortcomings became all too apparent. The greatest of these was its endurance, as with limited ammunition stores for its LRM and SRM launchers the Bombardier could not last long in an extended firefight, and unlike other designs such as the older Archer it had no energy weapons to fall back on once its missile stores ran dry."
On the surface, this is a pretty bad unit. It's primary weapons are 2 x LRM20s, but the fact that it only has 12 shots of LRM20 ammo means it does next to no damage as a fire-support unit before running out of ammunition.

The key here is that the BMB is not a fire-support unit. It is in fact a bawler, or as termed by Dwight Derringer, a "weird brawler".

LRMs are 7 hex weapons
The BMB's LRM20 ammo is extremely limited, so you only ever want to be firing on good to hit numbers. 7 and below is good. 8 is still possible. Anything more and you really should be saving the ammo. In fact, firing on all 8s means you expect to hit about 5 out of the 12 shots, doing on average only about 12 damage per shot that hits * 5 = 60 points of distributed damage over the course of an entire game. Very very underwhelming. Now you see where the BMB's bad reputation comes from.

Keeping in mind that we should only shoot on good to hit numbers, what then is the correct way to play the BMB-10D? Think of the BMB-10D as a shock trooper - it charges full speed at the enemy heedless of incoming fire, firing only when it has a nice slow target at 7 hexes. After that, it spends every subsequent turn double volleying targets at 7 hexes until it either dies or runs out of ammo. The BMB-10D thus attempts to do as much damage as it can in the early to mid-game, while it still has ammo, survival is a secondary concern, don't be afraid to overheat (not more than 7) if you get a good shot. Your concern every turn should ONLY be, how can I get the lowest-to-hit number on the LRM launchers?

Aside from maximising the damage the BMB-10D does, this playstyle has the advantage of being unexpected and disruptive of your enemy's play. Let me explain a bit on what I mean. Typically, a player might move firesupport units first in a walk 3 move to 'init sink'. These init sinking fire support mechs are the best target for the weird brawler BMB-10D. They move slow and move first, so its easy to range them at 7 hexes with the BMB-10D if self-preservation is not a concern. Very soon, after eating a few double LR20 salvos, your opponent will have to change his playstyle and game plan, in order to deal with your crazy and unexpected play. This is really advantageous.

In summary, the BMB-10D cannot be played like a fire-support mech, or even a normal mech. In order to maximise its potential, it can be played as a semi-suicide shock trooper or 'weird brawler'. I've had some success using the BMB-10D in such a manner, let me know if it works for you.

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Tuco
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Re: How to use... XXXX

Post by Tuco » Mon Dec 10, 2018 5:51 pm

Don't forget that the original model is the 12D and with movement 5/8 fits the described role even better.
When the injustice is great enough, Justice will lend me the strength needed to correct it.
None may stand against it.
It will shatter every barrier, sunder any shield, tear through any enchantment and lend its servant the power to pass sentence.
Know this: there is nothing on all the Planes that can stay the hand of justice when it is brought against them.
It may unmake armies. It may sunder the thrones of gods.
Know that for ALL who betray Justice, I am their fate... and fate carries an Executioner's Axe.

obese pigeon
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Re: How to use... XXXX

Post by obese pigeon » Tue Dec 11, 2018 3:10 am

Tuco wrote:
Mon Dec 10, 2018 5:51 pm
Don't forget that the original model is the 12D and with movement 5/8 fits the described role even better.
Indeed. In addition, the AMS also means that it can trade LRM short range fire with an LRM firesupport mech like an ARC and still come out on top.

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TigerShark
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Re: How to use... XXXX

Post by TigerShark » Tue Dec 11, 2018 5:41 pm

The AMS can also be used as a machine gun (re.: TacOps rule). So... I guess it has SOME anti-infantry capability? lol Unless you load the SRM-4 with inferno ammo, that is.

obese pigeon
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Re: How to use... XXXX

Post by obese pigeon » Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:13 pm

TigerShark wrote:
Tue Dec 11, 2018 5:41 pm
The AMS can also be used as a machine gun (re.: TacOps rule). So... I guess it has SOME anti-infantry capability? lol Unless you load the SRM-4 with inferno ammo, that is.
I guess so, although i didnt know that about AMS

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TigerShark
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Re: How to use... XXXX

Post by TigerShark » Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:38 am

It's in the more-recent builds of MegaMek. I pissed and moaned convinced the developers to put that in.

Now, if only I can get them to code the new flamer rule in there... :)

Maxwell Albritten
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Re: How to use... XXXX

Post by Maxwell Albritten » Thu Dec 13, 2018 8:57 pm

These posts are cool. :D

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