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: You guys have any other build strategies to share You guys have ideas on how I can play what I consider weaker concepts better, or on my ranking in general 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: 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. 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. 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. 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. 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... Fwoosh (big tubes) Brawler Supplement Ranged DPS Supplement LRM Spam 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 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?