- Battletech Starter Set
- Alpha Strike
- Alpha Strike Companion (Strongly suggested for building and customizing forces)
- Access to the Master Unit List website (http://masterunitlist.info/)
This may seem like a lot of work to get you into the game, but this is the best way for you to start learning to build your own forces (lances at first, and then maybe work your way up to companies). There are 26 plastic mechs in the Battletech Starter Set, and with the exception of the Mad Cat, they are almost universally accessible by any faction in the game. For the sake of getting you started, we’re pulling data from the Master Unit List out of the the Late Succession War Eras. We set the additional filter of Introductory and Standard rules only. If you’re interested in different eras, feel free to change the parameters in the Master Unit List and get started.
First up, let’s take a look at the Plastic Mechs that are in the starter box set.
The Assassin battlemech is a medium weight unit with higher than average speed and a variety of weapon systems. Both versions presented within our parameters feature jump jets and short ranged firepower. Both have a designated role of Scout, and their speed represents their ability to get around the battlefield quickly.
The Atlas is one of the heaviest assault units in the game. With thick armor and structure, and a variety of weapon systems, the Atlas lives up to its juggernaut designation. It won’t win any speed awards, but it is rugged and can serve up a lot of damage at close ranges. (Note: There are two additional versions of the Atlas listed within the parameters, but those are special units from Turning Points packs and are omitted).
The Awesome is one of the most prolific assault battlemechs in the Battletech Universe. The most common configuration features a trio of particle projection cannons as a primary armament, and the other three variants work from this chassis. Two of the variants offered are snipers, while the other two are missile boats. Regardless, the Awesome is an excellent contribution to a fire support unit.
The Banshee is another assault class machine with a mix of short and long range firepower. Variants alternate between the Sniper, Brawler and Juggernaut battlefield roles, with Sniper units having a slight edge in long range firepower. These are assault class units, and have the armor and structure profiles to match.
The Battlemaster is an assault weight unit that features a particle projection cannon backed up by an assortment of short ranged weapons. It fits well into the Brawler role, and it’s mix of armor, speed, and short ranged firepower means that it should be able to pick advantageous battles.
The Catapult is a heavy battlemech built for fire support missions. It has one primary variant, the K series which shifts it from a Missile Boat to a Sniper. The Missile Boat versions have jump jets, giving them more maneuverability, while the Snipers have heavier armament to compensate.
The Cicada is a heavier scout unit in the medium weight class. All three of its versions fit in the scout battlefield role. It’s not a jump capable scout, so it will rely on its superior speed to get into position to bring its short range firepower to bear. The C version is notable as it’s the only Cicada variant with long range damage. It’s traded 2 points of movement to be able to pull this trick though.
The Clint is a medium weight Striker battlemech. Not as fast as dedicated scouts like the Cicada, the Clint makes up for it with slightly better medium range firepower. For a jump capable Striker, be sure to check out the 3T variant. Like other medium weight units, the Clint is an affordable option for filling out lances, or building formations around.
The Commando is a light Striker battlemech that features SRMs as its primary weapons platform. It’s one of the lightest mechs featured in this box, but maintains a similar pace to Medium weight units with a move of 12. For those of you wanting to tinker with alternate ammunition, the Commando features the SRM special ability on most of its variants, which gives you the option to tinker.
The Cyclops is an assault class battlemech that features a variety of battlefield roles. With a variant that serves as a Missile Boat, another that’s a Juggernaut, and finally a Sniper, the Cyclops is an excellent multi-role Assault unit that you can build heavier lances around.
The Dervish is a medium weight Battlemech that fits into the Missile Boat role. The Dervish is on the heavier end of the medium scale, and features heavier armor and structure than most of the other mediums we’ve seen so far. It pays for this, having a cost of 30 for a single variant, and 34 for the other, which is twice the value of the Clint or the Cicada.
Dragon (AKA Grand Dragon)
The Dragon is a fast moving heavy mech that sits in the Skirmisher Role. The Grand Dragon is an upgrade of the original version and feature heavier weapons than the stock Dragon. It’s a favored battlemech of House Kurita, and they are known to form entire companies of them, but any general who’s looking for a fast moving unit with decent armor can do worse than the Dragon
The Enforcer is an extremely common medium weight Skirmisher. It boasts an average speed (8”j) but heavy short range ranged firepower. It’s jumping ability and armor values make it an ideal unit to park in heavy terrain where it can use its jump jets to maximum effect.
The Grasshopper is a heavy, jump capable Skirmisher. Unlike most of the other Skirmishers, the Grasshopper features heavy medium range firepower. With it’s maneuverability it can keep its chosen target at medium range and pound it with the heavy damage it can deal at that range.
The Hermess II is a fairly common medium Scout. It’s got heavier short ranged firepower, but heavier armor than most of the other Scout units we’ve seen so far. The Hermes II can anchor a lighter unit of scouts, or provide a Scout unit for a heavier unit of Skirmishers and Brawlers.
The Hunchback is an extremely prolific Medium weight Battlemech. With seven variants listed, that fill a variety of roles (primarily Juggernaut and Missile Boat), the Hunchback is primarily known for the massive class 20 autocannon that sits on its shoulder and gives it its distinctive profile. Most variants removed this and replace it with other armaments, and this is partially why there are so many variants of the Hunchback.
The Jagermech is a heavy mech that fulfills a couple of mission roles. The S variant is a dedicated Sniper with paired autocannons, while the A variant is a Missile Boat. It’s got reasonable speed for its weight class, and can provide long range damage in either variant.
The Jenner is a fast moving Light Striker. With above average speed and jump capabilities, the Jenner is excellent at getting itself into a position to strike a flank or an exposed weakness. None of the versions have long range firepower, so you’re going to want to use that speed to get into range.
The Panther is a bit of an oddity in the light mech weight class. It’s a Brawler, and it has the movement speed of much heavier units, while maintaining superior armor and weapons to other light mechs. It also has 1 point of damage at long range, meaning it can hop around and snipe from a distance if that’s what’s needed.
Another in a group of fast moving, jump capable heavy battlemechs, the Quickdraw combines respectable short range firepower with the speed to put in the right spot. The Quickdraw is a Skirmisher, by battlefield role, and it excels in situations where it can exploit its speed to get into superior positions..
One of the fastest light mechs in the starter set (and the game in general) the Spider is a blazing fast scout. It has light firepower, but is hard to pin down with its combination of speed and jump jets. Pay attention to the fact that two of its three configurations have the ENE special ability, meaning that ammunition explosions won’t cripple a Spider.
The Trebuchet is a multi-role Medium mech with a variety of battlefield roles. With a variety of Point costs and roles, the Trebuchet is one of the most versatile mechs in the Starter Set. You can build a variety of Lances around the Trebuchet, and it fills a lot of roles.
The Vindicator is a medium weight Brawler with increasing amounts of long range damage capacity. Like many of the other Mechs we’ve seen so far, this one features average speed with Jump capability. It’s also a nice medium cost unit that can fit into a variety of lances.
The Whitworth is a medium weight mech that fills two primary roles in its variants. The first variant, the 1 is a missile boat that features long range missiles as its primary armament. The second variant, the 1S features short range missiles and lasers. This version packs a much heavier punch at short to medium range.
The final Inner Sphere mech featured in the starter set, the Zeus is an Assault class unit with a couple of variants. All of the Zeus variants are Snipers, and feature a variety of weapons and damage profiles at medium and long range. One of the interesting quirks about the Zeus 9S is an upgraded version of the 6S using advanced lost technology.
Mad Cat (Timber Wolf)
The Mad Cat is an Omnimech, and one of the most iconic battlemechs in the history of the Battletech franchise. It’s a Heavy Battlemech that features the interesting ability to be reconfigured for different weapons configurations between battles. Since the Mad Cat is so variable in its role and battlefield capability, i am going to list the card for the primary version, and link you guys to the Mad Cat’s entry in the Master Unit List. (That can be found here http://masterunitlist.info/Unit/Filter?Name=Mad+Cat+%28Timber+Wolf%29)
Conclusions and afterthoughts
So those are the Battlemechs that are featured in the Battletech Starter Set, and the cards you’d need to bring them to the table for Alpha Strike. If you’re curious what the cards mean, check out our article on that topic (found here). Now next time we may take a look at the Lance Packs for Alpha Strike, the Unseen classics, or some other units featured in the Technical Readout 3039. We might also take a look at building some lances that are interesting out of this starter box heroes.
Now i have a friend who absolutely loves the jump jet capable Thunderbolt, so i dug it’s card out of hiding. I dub thee, Kermit.
Game on, Game Fans