This post is about unit efficiency and spotting a threat. In teaching others to play they can lack the BattleTech Encyclopaedia imprinted on my brain so these rules of thumb are guidelines I use to make a list or spot a threat.
As much as crunching the maths on units is fun there is more at play in Alpha Strike than simple unit efficiency. Sometimes a inefficient unit can have a good run of the dice and be a match hero, more often the inefficient mech might get ignored… an ignored mech in a game with objectives can be a powerful tool, so take all this with a grain of salt.
PV is the ultimate balancer in Alpha Strike but sometimes a unit can seem less effective for the same points as another.
What to look for then? Most of the game is at medium range. So that is key, as a rule of thumb I look for one damage at medium range per 10 PV.
Defence is also a factor, the interesting thing here though is upgrading you pilot upgrades your offence but has no impact on defence. So sometimes you don’t want to pay for massive armour in PV and have higher pilot upgrade costs as a result. 3 armour and structure per 10 PV puts you in a fair range with some faster units coming under this and slower units over.
TMM is a factor as well, and a counterpoint to structure. Most front line combat units will have 1-2 TMM around the 30 PV mark. Generally earlier era IS mechs have 1 TMM but more structure. Later era mechs and clans generally have TMM 2. TMM is expensive though and you pay a lot for it above the 3+ range.
Outside PV you also need to consider roles and additional functions as well. Roles help in formation builds and sometimes using a less efficient unit based on the roles above will allow you to build the right formation. Also functions such as ammo, ECM and JMPS can enhance a unit beyond it’s base stats.
So now we have three key decision points for a so called “efficient” unit:
- At least 1 medium damage per 10 PV
- 3 structure per 10 PV (give or take a little)
- TMM 1-2 relative to structure (>3 for 1 TMM; <3 for 2 TMM)
These can be kept in mind when assessing an enemy unit and in building your force. In assessing an enemy this list gives you a rapid touch stone to look for. Keep in mind you often looking for functions relating to ammo, ECM (and STL) and JMPS (jump strong TMM boosts).
In terms of building a force, the armed painter has a good video about this benchmarking off the Vulture C and the Bushwacker S2. These both have 3 for 33 dmg, 2.7 structure and 2 TMM. I would add the humble catapult (3(4 with OV) damage per 10, 3.1 structure and 1 TMM) and hunchback 4G (3 for 28. 3.2 structure and 1 TMM) to show how you can balance structure against TMM. Here any more or less points can be considered against these baseline units.
Just remember that efficiency in points will only get you so far in Alpha Strike. Formations, functions, mind games (taking less efficient unit’s that might be ignored) and overall strategy make up the rest.