A lot of player use LRMs, which is good since it’s an easy to use weapon system and does okay damage considering the tonnage dedicated to them. As with all weapon systems there are good ways and bad ways to use them. And especially with LRMs it’s important to really think about which Mech to use. In comparison, you can slap PPCs to about any Mech in MWO and then add some DHS and be done with it.
This is not an advisable choice for LRMs however. It is a not too well documented fact that LRMs are affected by the available missile tubes for a given Mech. If the LRM launcher in question fires more missiles than tubes, it will need more than one salvo to fire its payload. The number behind LRM represents the amount of missiles fired (5, 10, 15 or 20). Please note that the launcher will only start its reloading process after all missiles have been launched. An extreme case would be using a LRM20 on the 4 tube hardpoint (found on the Cataphract-2X), which leads to a huge drop in available DPS. It’s even worse when fired through a NARC or SRM2 hardpoint. And in addition to killing your DPS, enemy Anti-Missile Systems are far more effective against a constant stream of missiles than a single big volley.
So the first thing you should do when looking for a good Mech to lurm with is to look for the missile tube count available. To make this a little bit harder, some Mechs come with flexible hardpoints which will adjust the count to the fitted launcher, and in addition to that some have been capped at specific counts. The Highlander is a shining example for this new feature; its upper left torso hardpoint goes up to 20 tubes, while all other hardpoints are limited to 10 tubes.
If you want to lurm you should go all in. Depending on the weight class you’ll want to be able to launch a decent amount of LRMs. I’d suggest 30 as a minimum for Medium and Heavy Mechs, while aiming for at least 40 on Assault Mechs. Since TAG is a very important tool in using LRMs we need at least one energy hardpoint on our dream Lurmboat. This rules out all light Mechs – they simply lack the tonnage to mount a serious amount of LRMs. One can still use LRMs on a light, but it won’t be a Boat. Even though one can, you really should know better.
Equipment/Upgrades you MUST fit:
- LRM launchers: No you’re not getting furry hands from using them, go ahead
- Artemis IV Missile Guidance Upgrade: It does seriously upgrade the damage dealt by LRMs by tightening their impact radius. Use it on all your LRM boats.
- Secondary Armament: Yes, this will reduce your ammo capacity. But not fitting makes it possible for a legged one-armed Spider to laugh at you. If it can stay within 180m of your helpless support Mech.
Equipment you should consider fitting:
- Anti-Missile System: Yeah guess what. If you’re in a good position to fire LRMs from, the odds are good that it’s also a good position to be shot at with LRMs.
- Beagle Active Probe: Guess what happens when an enemy ECM Mech decides to move within 180m of your position. Correct, the whole tonnage dedicated to LRMs has become useless. And as added benefit if you manage to target your foe, this data will not get shared with teammates. So they will be oblivious to your plight against an enemy Mech. Which will probably quite better suited for a knife fight. Also negating the enemy ECM means that other LRM boats can help you against your foe, without needing Line of Sight.
When choosing your engine you can usually grab an XL. You have two main priorities: to get into a good firing position, preferably close to the main part of your team and still being able to carry a heavy payload. So the engine should not make you too slow; you should never be slower than an average Assault Mech. So now that we have our build guidelines setup let’s go through the most often used Mechs for pro lurming. Below you’ll find some example builds.
- Centurion-A (max. volley 30, 3x LRM10) affected by Ghost Heat
- Trebuchet-3C (max. volley 30, 2x LRM15)
- Trebuchet-5N (max. volley 30, 2x LRM15)
- Trebuchet-7M (max. volley 30, 2x LRM15)
- Catapult-C1 (max. volley 30, 2x LRM15)
- Catapult-C4 (max. volley 80 – 4x LRM20, though weight restrictions enforce a smaller payload, usually 4x LRM15, or 3x LRM20) affected by Ghost Heat
- Jagermech-A (max. volley 60, 45 to 50 being better in practice, 3x LRM15, or 2x LRM15 combined with 2x LRM10) affected by Ghost Heat
- Thunderbolt-5S (max. volley 30, 2x LRM15, if the missile launcher has modular tubes, it might be able to fit more than this)
- Awesome-8R (max. volley 60, 4x LRM15) Ghost Heat
- Awesome-8V (max. volley 45 – limited use, due to all missile hardpoints in the right torso, 3x LRM15) affected by Ghost Heat
- Stalker-3H (max. volley 50, 2x LRM20, supported by 2x LRM5)
- Highlander-732, 733C and 733P (max. volley 40, 1xLRM20, 2x LRM10) affected by Ghost Heat
- Highlander-733 (max. volley 50, 1xLRM20, 3x LRM10) affected by Ghost Heat
Since July 30th this hotly debated feature is also affecting most LRM builds with mixed launchers. Some of the builds on the first page have been earmarked to suffer from Ghost heat buildup. Firing more than 2 launchers together will incur a heat penalty, if they have 10 tubes or more. The exact maths behind this system can be found in this thread in the Command Chair subforum of the brown sea. This change is a rather weird one. Firing 3x LRM10s will be punished by ghost heat, although firing 2x LRM15 will not. Both loadouts have similar DPS and the same “alpha” damage, but one gets punished. Another example of the badly designed ghost heat system.
This little table displays the heat penalty suffered by the linked builds. So nowadays you’re best off with 2 big launchers (LRM15s or 20s) combined with 2 smaller ones (LRM5s), tonnage and crit space permitting. But at least with LRMs the heat penalty isn’t bad enough to make any builds non-viable, they will just run a bit hotter. At least this makes the Stalker the best big LRM build currently available.