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LRM Build Strategies

Discussion in 'MechWarrior Online - General Discussion' started by skribs, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. skribs

    skribs Legendary Member

    I think I've identified 5 build strategies that are commonly used for LRMs. This isn't necessarily how LRMs are played, but rather how people build them and expect to play them. I thought I'd share my concepts and my thoughts on them, and see if:
    1. You guys have any other build strategies to share
    2. You guys have ideas on how I can play what I consider weaker concepts better, or on my ranking in general
    3. You guys have any other comments about LRMs and builds
    The Strategies

    In order from most common to least common (in my opinion), you have the following 5 strategies:

    1. LRM Spam. This is where you take a large number of 5s or 10s (or a small number that are heavily quirked, as in a HBK-4J with 2x LRM10 that can chain fire with virtually no break between them) to deal continuous, tightly-packed LRM damage to the target. Examples include the aforementioned LRM10 HBK-4J, a 4xLRM5 troll Oxide, a 6xLRM5 Catapult or Mad Dog, or a 5x10 Stalker.
    2. Fwoosh builds. You could have a balanced build with 2-3 LRM15s or 2 LRM20s, or you could have an LRM-focused build like a 4x15 Mad Dog/Awesome or a 4x20 Supernova (or the upcoming Annihilator). Into the absurd range you have the 5x15 Mad Dog or the 5x20 Summoner. The idea here is number of missiles at a time going downrange.
    3. LRM as a brawler supplement. Think of an Atlas 7K that has brawler weapons, but also an LRM20 with a couple tons of ammo to use while closing in or to help with a fight he's not in LOS of. I've used this strategy on a Dire Wolf that was a small pulse boat.
    4. LRM as part of a ranged DPS build. I've done this with LRM5s and AC5s on a Jagermech, LRM10s and AC10s, on a Mauler, LRM15s and Large Lasers on both a King Crab and a Timberwolf. Combine LRMs with other weapons to get extra damage at medium-to-long range.
    5. LRM poptart, where you poptart with a NARC and then LRM them from behind cover. Somewhat difficult to pull off, I've found, but I've seen it in a Trebuchet, tried it in a Butterbee, and gone through the testing grounds without game experience in a Timberwolf.
    LRMs as Primary Weapon (Spam and Fwoosh)

    LRM spam seems to be common, for a few reasons:
    • LRM5s and LRM10s are very ammo-efficient at destroying center torsos
    • LRM5s are very efficient in terms of tubes-per-weight
    • LRM5s and LRM10s don't need Artemis as much, making them even more weight-efficient (take 6x5s for 12 tons, 3x10s for 15 tons, or 2x15s with Artemis for 16 tons)
    • LRM5s and LRM10s have a faster recycle rate, which aids in DPS
    • Chain fire LRMs are more annoying than alpha fire because of cockpit shake
    • LRM5s and LRM10s fit better on medium mechs, which is what a lot of people think should be running LRMs (because heavier mechs should be in the brawl, sharing armor)
    However, despite these advantages, I can't seem to get LRM spam to work in most cases. I can do okay with 10s, either in the HBK-4J or in the Stalker, but success with 5s eludes me. I usually do a moderate amount of damage in matches with them (around 300 or so) and don't get too many kills, assists, kmdds, or components destroyed, compared to if I run with the same number of tubes in LRM15s. Here are the reasons why I think this is the case:

    • Heat: The bigger your LRMs, the less heat-per-missile you expend, and the less heat you expend when you need to alpha.
    • Ghost Heat: The base stats give heat advantage to bigger tubes, but 2xLRM15 does 0 ghost heat, where 3x10 or 6x5 will generate a lot of extra heat to offset the cooldown and spread advantages.
    • AMS: LRM5s will do virtually nothing against a single AMS. LRM10s will do a bit. A volley of LRM30 will do a lot more against AMS. An alpha of 40-60 LRMs may even hit a Kit Fox. Number of tubes is the key to beating AMS.
    • Cover: If you'll only get a second worth of hits before your target is behind cover, it's better to get all your LRMs on them at once, instead of chaining just a couple hits of 5 into the mech before spending a bunch more 5s against the wall. The same applies for any reason why you'd lose lock. Better to fire 30 LRMs than 5-5-5 and have to break lock. Assuming you either have time to reacquire the target or that it is moving slow enough to still get hit.
    • Hardpoints: 2x15 is not only possible on more Mechs, but if you have the tubes for 6x5, then you can do 2x15 and maybe add some (S)SRMs. This gives you more possibilities in terms of what you can do with a Mech.
    • Damage: Assuming the same number of hardpoints, the amount of tubes you get for the amount of cooldown you lose means you do more DPS. A single 15 may take a bit more ammo to kill something than a single 5 (if AMS isn't factored in), but it will spend the ammo so much faster and with less heat per missile that it will likely kill the thing faster.
    This is why I prefer the Fwoosh concept of getting as many tubes as you can on target. It's the same reason I'll take an AC20 over a couple of AC2s on most Mechs. Get a big hit and then take your time for your next shot. Now, I don't advocate just going strictly for maximum number of tubes. I also have a checklist I go for and use on 90% or more of my LRM boats, whether they spam or fwoosh:

    • Do I have enough tubes?
    • Do I have BAP and TAG to counter ECM on me or the target? In lieu of TAG, do I have NARC?
    • Do I have short-range weapons, for when the enemy is too close for LRMs to work?
    • Do I have enough armor to stay alive when the lights close in? I want "enough" on the legs, but full armor on anything carrying weapons, ammo (which is usually everywhere), engine, or on a torso holding an arm that is carrying something useful.
    • Do I have enough ammo to last the fight (assuming I waste a lot of shots on bad locks, cover, and/or AMS)? This is about 8-9T minimum, up to 13T depending on what's available
    • Do I have enough speed to stay in position?
    This checklist means I'm usually looking at a Stormcrow or bigger (Mad Dogs and Timberwolves are great), or I'm looking at a Catapult or bigger (though a Quickdraw may work) in order to build a Fwoosh-style LRMer. I run a Trebuchet with not-enough ammo, I run an Awesome with not-enough speed, and I sometimes break my own rules, but in general I want a heavy or an assault. I won't sit in the back, I'll try to spot my own targets, (and I'm usually shot at), so I don't feel like I'm leaving my team behind.

    Supplemental LRMs

    LRMs can be used as a supplement as well. Dranozir has a lot of videos of using LRMs with other assorted weapons. Keep in mind there's a big difference between running a LRM boat with a few medium lasers, vs. running a pulse boat with a few LRMs.

    In scenario 3 above, LRMs are used to give you a long-ranged option for a brawler. In a few cases I've managed to use these effectively, but for the most part I see these as investing 12+ tons into a weapon that's not going to be used at your effective range (LRM20 + 2 tons of ammo). In the example of the Atlas above, you could invest those 12 tons into large lasers and a pair of heat sinks for ranged damage, or maybe you can get more speed to close in or more powerful brawling weapons for once you're there.

    Scenario 4 is LRMs being used to supplement ranged DPS. You might have a Dakka/LRM hybrid, PPC/LRM hybrid, or Large Laser/LRM hybrid. I've played around with these builds in the past, and I'm not entirely convinced they're better than a boat, but I don't have much experience on them.

    Poptart LRM

    Poptart LRM, where you poptart with a NARC and then LRM for 8 salvos, is a fringe build that I think is cool for proof-of-concept, but is difficult to pull off for several reasons:
    • Poptarting usually revolves around use of cover, which could easily block shots on your end or theirs.
    • Hitting with a NARC isn't easy (or I'm bad at it, or both).
    • There's a very fine list of Mechs that can do it, as you need the extra equipment of jump jets and NARC on top of my usual list of needs, and the Mech needs to be able to jump high (meaning an assault is going to have a hard time with the jump and a medium is going to have trouble with the weight)
    It's something I may want to practice, but it's not a priority for me.

    Strategies Ranked

    So how would I rank the strategies in terms of how effective I find them? It's a little bit subjective, but...
    1. Fwoosh (big tubes)
    2. Brawler Supplement
    3. Ranged DPS Supplement
    4. LRM Spam
    5. Poptart LRM
    This may go against the conventional wisdom I see on Youtube, but I'm not sure how to get as much out of LRM5s in chain as I can get out of LRM15s in alpha. I do better in virtually every category (damage done, targets hit, targets killed, components destroyed, KMDDs, and wins) in an alpha build vs. a chain build.

    Other Tips

    A few other things I've learned about LRMS:

    • Flamers make a viable close-range weapon if you're sticking with your team. The idea is that rather than try and brawl with something that is dedicated to short-range firepower, you just shut them down and either get to range or let your team handle them. My HBK-4J runs 3 flamers instead of 3 ML, and in 1 match I managed to shut down 2 lights that my team blew up, and get an assault Mech to kill itself trying to finish me off.
    • Contrary to how they used to work, TAG and NARC now stack, so if you want to get both, go ahead. In general, TAG is much easier to use on a LRM boat and I usually just stick with that.
    • Remember that Clan LRMs do reduced damage under 180m, so you can still use them, but they're not as good. IS LRMs do none.
    • A target that is not currently in cover may be behind cover before your LRMs hit.
    • A target at 900m has more time to get into cover and may be out of range before your LRMs hit.
    • Just because you can see your target doesn't mean you can hit it.
    • The above few comments mean: pay attention to your target's position, but also it's trajectory.
    • Stick close to your group, so you're a viable target for the enemy (armor sharing) and you can spot your own targets.
    • You can usually shoot over friendlies, but not if they're too close.
    • Heat efficiencies on LRM builds can be deceptively low. In general, LRMs run pretty cool (unless ghost heat), backup weapons might get a bit hot (unless you have a lot of DHS), but running both together is when you overheat.
    • Running my backups and LRMs in the "sweet spot" (i.e. 180-270 for LRM+ML+SSRM) is generally where I get the most kills. The sweet spot is longer for larger-range weapons, but you usually invest more weight or heat for those.


    Questions I have for the audience were summed up at the beginning, but I'll ask them again:
    • Can you think of another build strategy in terms of how LRMs are equipped onto Mechs?
    • Can you think of any critiques of my LRM checklist?
    • Do you have any tips on playing LRM spam, supplemental LRMs, or Poptart LRMs that could make me more effective at those kind of builds?
    • Do you agree with me that the other builds are less effective, and why?
    • Do you have any other LRM advice, strategies, stories, or tricks that you'd like to share with me on how to be a more effective LRMer?
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
  2. Shock

    Shock Benefactor

    At first glance, one thing you left out is quirks. I'm not sure how that will apply going forward but some mechs have some pretty decent quirks. I have a lot of success running LRM20s on my Stalker 3H because it has strong quirks tailored to LRM20s. Or, like on a Mad Dog, the torsos with fewer hardpoints have quirks that can make going with fewer launchers desirable.

    Personally, I think you need to build an LRM mech to work with either chain fire or all at once. I find chain fire works well against more mobile mechs because its harder to dodge. But if there's AMS in the area, chain fire isn't going to work.

    I'll also use LRMs as a supplement for a slow mech focusing on something else but usually only on clan mechs because the launchers are so light and I don't think anything under 10 tubes total makes it worth the investment.
  3. skribs

    skribs Legendary Member

    I think this is my brawler supplement I was talking about.


    Re: quirks: you're right. I kinda mentioned it with the HBK-4J but I didn't really bring it up as a consideration. Using Mechs or Omnipods with LRM quirks is a very valid strategy when building your Mechs. In some cases, like the aforementioned Hunchback, it can basically be the deciding factor in what weapons to put on the Mech.

    It works both ways, too. For example, if you want to decide what to put on a STK-3H, look at the quirks. Or, if you want to decide which Stalker to put LRM20s on, look at the quirks to see if one has good ones for LRM20s. Or a combination of both (decide which size LRMs based on if any of the options have a size-specific quirk).


    Re: Chain vs. Alpha, yes, I agree. Trying to build an alpha striker out of LRM5s or 10s is going to run you way too hot, and trying to run a chain fire on most 15 or 20 mechs you're not going to get a full chain going. There is the caveat that I will also try to avoid ghost heat, so on a 4x LRM15 Awesome or Mad Dog, for example, I may fire in 2 groups of LRM30 instead of a single LRM60, but that's only to save on heat. I am less likely to chain fire for 15-15-15-15 because of quirks. On the other hand, on the Awesome 8V or 8R with 3xLRM15, I will swap between alpha or chain depending on heat, but my go-to option there is alpha unless I see AMS.

    That last paragraph may be a bit rambly, but the point is I agree with the caveat of avoiding ghost heat on big boats.
  4. Blagg Zear

    Blagg Zear Moderator Staff Member

    A Strategy i followed in the past with much success: Missile Boat Brawlers with LRM30-40 plus 3-5 M(P)Lasers. Good Firepower for Range Indirect Attacks, and good Alpha at CQC (e.g. finish the guys you damaged highly with LRMs in closing range).

    Here are some Skills/Tricks about how i play(ed) LRM Boats:
    • Never build pure LRM Boats, always get some defensive Lasers to contribute in Fights, when Missiles are ineffective (range) or out of Ammo!
    • Never fire at ranges above 700m, unless you are sure that your target cannot find cover
    • Never stand still, always keep moving, find cover, find meatshields
    • Never shoot LRMs at distant ECM-Mechs, even if you have Locks for the moment
    • Never forget the surrounding area - Know the Map you are playing best - the covers and roads, move in the Shadows
    • Never target/shoot randomly, always estimate which mechs are most dangerous to your team (Assaults with high Alphas, yes!)
    • Never target at Enemies, which you cannot hold the Lock for sure - e.g. no Teammate is following it to keep eye contact
    • Never forget to ask for Locks/Narcs (even when some ppl hate LRM Boat Players)
    • Never fire at distant Targets, which you cannot see or can estimate they are behind a big wall, unless you want to waste Missiles
    • Never forget - you can fire LRMs without Lock if necessary and your target is standing still like a sitting duck
    • Never go for Triple/Quad LRM20s, recycle time is too long, too much heat and worst of all - the Ghost Heat -> cannot Alphastrike (a lot)
    • Never have less than 13DHS if running LRM30+, 15DHS if running LRM45+
    • Never go for absurdly high Ammo Count if you don't have the launchers - best practice: 3-4tons Ammo per LRM15
    • Never alpha all time - do it smartly - Alpha when your target can't get away, Chainfire if you know to miss some
    • Never fire at AMS Mechs, let your mates do the job, just call for it - focus on the Mechs which have least defense against LRMs
    • Never stand back behind your team - best position is in the middle of the Mob -> try to attack at 200-300m for shortest missile fly distance
    • Never go without Quirks/Modules, which boost your LRMs
    • Never forget - the Missile Boat Brawler (e.g. LRM30(+) & 4(+) M(P)Lasers) ist the most brutal way to play with LRMs
    • Never run Missile Boat without any direct fire Weapons! coz smart Lights just get below your optimal range and eat your for breakfast
    There might be some more tips, but should cover most of it. Other Players play LRM Boats differently. I respect that 100%. This is just my personal experience/opinion over 3yrs of mastering LRM Missile Boats until i got bored with them, because if played correctly it's definitely a fast secure moneymaker. E.g. my Catapult C1 and Stalker 5M both have 300.000+ XP leftover from the past. Really love those Mechs, but i cannot play them anymore. Enoff if enoff! The more risky CQC Builds are way more interesting and fun.

    The best matches running a Missile Boat are the ones where you can empty all your Ammo Bins till the half of the match and then go frenzy CQC with your Lasers in the second half till the final showdown.

    Watch this match for example:
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
  5. skribs

    skribs Legendary Member

    3xLRM20 is better than 4xLRM15 in terms of heat.

    Barring a few exceptions to rules of thumb (i.e. LRMs you don't think will hit are useful for suppression) I agree with pretty much every thing you said.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
  6. P

    P Well-Known Member

    Just my Opinion,
    Personally there's no such thing as "best" LRM boats
    There's really not much to it. As Lurms boats are usually considers as the Passive type.
    Aside from having good maneuver + Lurm tubes + Ammo, and a good knowhow of how the ironbirds work.
    There's really nothing to it.
    Even when im a brawler and happen to have lurm40 on it, its more of a "bonus" for me

    But sure there are good Lurm boats and her Pilots, but a good lurm boats are nothing without a good team that can carry the lurm boats.
    Theres no such thing as Good Lurm boat team, but there's definitely a good team with Lurmboats in it.

    A team that's both pressure you with direct fire getting you into cover to the point you cant really push properly and plus somehow that the other team's lurmboats just keep raining and raining and raining till kingdom comes. (this sort of teams are also the type that able to draws you out from that tunnel in River city and the garage in HPG) (yes rare i know but still, it exist in some random corner of the galaxy somewhere, annnddd i just had one not so long ago, yes the one thats makes you think they are filled with lurms boat but nooooooooo, theres gonna be some dakka or something thats ready to melt your full team's face asking if you guys are going somewhere, the one that makes you think you have 9 vs 5 of their fighters thinking you got this but noooooo that rains just keep hitting you and hitting you and you keep missing and missing and missing coz screenshake screenshake screenshake which makes you contemplate if you should really pay attention to that particular module which reduce screenshake)
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017

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