As we land, I see the familiar skyline of River City, and lament my choice of Mech. It’s not that I don’t like my Atlas, it’s that I love my Jenner here. I quickly look over my lancemates, and see a nice mix: a Commando, a Jenner, two Hunchbacks, two Catapults, and an Awesome. This is the first time I have ever been the heaviest Mech on my team. Well, here we go!
The two lights sprint off together, going left by way of bridge. Unless they meet the other teams lights, they’ll be across before anyone spots them. I head for the right side bridge, and note that the Awesome positions himself overlooking the opposite shore. One Catapult does the same, only behind cover – the other ‘pult is a K2, and walks ahead of me. The Hunchbacks seem to have followed the lights. We warn them that that bridge is a shooting gallery for Mechs like the Awesome, but they seem confident.
This bridge is less pretty when you're eating LRM's.
A shower of LRM’s slams down upon the rear-most Hunchback as it hits the middle point, and a trinity of PPC blasts removes his right torso (and arm), and the constant volley of LRM’s, a couple large lasers and PPC hits have him down seconds later. His partner has made it across the bridge, but with next to no armour.
I see all this from across the map, so it all seems very small. The K2 up ahead is keeping pace with me, thankfully, as we both run smack into an ambush. I’m thankful, in a selfish way, because that means the K2 receives the entire Alpha Strike from the (Six!) SRM-6-toting Catapult A1. He’s lost his left ‘arm’ most of his left leg, and a large portion of left torso armour. He gives back though, his twin medium pulse lasers in his other arm and UAC-5 shredding into the Catapult A1s ‘ears.’ A ‘Swayback’ pops out, and at this point the K2 is resigned to his demise and closes to point blank with his opponent Catapult. They trade shots, and he does rip the left ear off the A1, before taking eight medium lasers to the back, and exploding.
All of this has been annoyingly out of my firing zone though, as the K2 had just rounded a corner, and neglected to fall back. I don’t think the A1 and Swayback are ready for me though, as I round the corner and core the A1 instantly with a quad medium laser/Gauss rifle/2x SRM-6 salvo. The Swayback turns to face me, and in his panic washes across both arms, and all three torso areas with his lasers. Effectively meaning he’s done next to no damage to a wide area of me.
Which is his loss because my answering barrage hits his right torso, which explodes, taking his right arm with it. He’s left with a single medium laser in his left arm. Instead of running towards and around me, like he should, he has slammed into reverse, and his slow stop allowed my easy Alpha Strike, and his deliberate 90 degree turn to my left before facing away means I have an easy shot at his back. Which I take, making it look as if I punched the back of his head as he ran.
Which in a way I guess I did.
I’ve been overly focussed on this battle, as I have no idea what else has happened. Well, the Commando and second Hunchback are gone, leaving only the Jenner in enemy territory. He was spotting admirably for the Awesome and Catapult it seems, until they realised this and went around him and straight to the source.
I’m in a predicament here. Losing the Awesome and Catapult is essentially game over. I can’t make it to their base fast enough to capture, due to them outnumbering me. I need to protect those Mechs, but they’re closer to the enemy than me. So I tell them to meet me at the right bridge, and fall back behind cover wherever possible. I ask the Jenner to harass the enemy rear as much as he can, which he obliges.
As I cross the bridge I see the Jenner valiantly harassing the enemy. He’s nipping at a Catapult C1’s heels and dodging behind an Awesome. He’s hurt though, and I watch a Centurion hit him with an AC/10/Medium Laser combo, finally destroying him. My answering Gauss shot takes out the Catapults left torso, which must have been very damaged, only to see the entire Mech explode. Either he had an XL engine, or stored his ammo in there without CASE. Either way, lucky me!
Then something occurs to me. I’ve taken out three enemies, but I can still see five remaining (or at least know of five).
Then they hit – just as I’m halfway across the bridge, the Jenner jumps out in front and pokes me with four medium pulse lasers, before turning off again. I get a lucky hit with two of my medium lasers as I flip my arms over towards him, and miss with a Gauss Shot. Then my Atlas rocks as I’m hit from behind by the second Jenner.
Now, what most Atlas’ do in this situation is turn to face the new attacker, or put the Jenner’s on either side. The former means you do damage to each target – however, that means they can switch between each other and never take full damage, while always hitting your weaker rear armour. The second means they can both hit at the same time and do maximum damage, but you can hit back.
The hidden, third option is to charge right at the first attacker. As he comes back for his second pass, he collides with my much larger leg, knocking him to the ground. My answering SRM/medium laser/Gauss rifle assault removes an arm, leg, and another arm. As he stands shakily, the second barrage removes his other leg, destroying him.
I take two more hits to the back, but they’re glancing due to my torso twisting. (Basically, constantly aim left and right to throw off the aim of someone behind you, while you zigzag). I spin around, at the entrance to the bridge, and watch as the Jenner pilot realises his predicament. He’s two-thirds of the way across the bridge, but I block the entrance now. He panics and tries to jump off the side, but gets caught on the supports. My gauss shot cripples his leg, and the SRMs and medium lasers remove his left torso, coring him due to his XL engine. This seems to be a trend.
I turn back to see that I am effectively done. The Awesome looks to have been caught between the Centurion and, oh crap, an Atlas.
Now, in my Jenner, I fear no Atlas. I can bob weave and dodge my way to victory. In a beaten up Atlas, however, it’s a mirror match. And I’m a cracked mirror.
I’m here in a battle-damaged Atlas D against an Atlas, Catapult, and Centurion. In the words of a great prophet though – “Never tell me the odds.”
I take a running potshot with my gauss rifle, and manage to damage the Centurion’s right arm. This is good, as I do not want to get hit by that thing. My armour is at about 50% on the back, but mostly full on the front.
And then, the LRM’s. The Centurion can still see me, clearly, because the Catapult is laying waste to me. I manage to make it behind a building and slap my shutdown, but I’ve already lost a good third of my frontal armour. I power back up, and figure my best bet is to circle back, and try to hit them in the side when they go to surround me. So I trundle off, and walk smack dab into the Centurion.
A common tactic for removing my armour.
As we’re both turning, neither of us is knocked down. We sort of bounce off each other (him more than me) and both fire at will. His LRM’s bounce humourously off my torso, and his AC and medium Lasers less humourously remove my left arm. My SRM’s shred his armour and my Gauss removes his useless left arm. My torso lasers remove yet more armour, and my right arm finishes the work on his left torso, taking out his LRM’s. And blowing him up, it seems as he collapses in front of me. Since I saw him moving and guesstimated around 64 km/h, means yet another death to lack of CASE. It’s .5 tons people, use it!
He’s done quite a number on me. One armed, and being hit by another LRM barrage before the spot wears off, my armour is next to gone. Now, I’m pretty sure they think I’ll fall back to the base, and try to put my back to a wall. And that is exactly what I would normally do, so I don’t. I keep circling left, and come into a perfect, silhouetted from heaven side-shot of the Catapult. The Gauss shot and SRM’s are timed to impact just as my remaining three medium lasers hit, and the left torso beautifully explodes, taking a mouse ear with it. The Catapult, taken aback but the sudden damage, simply walks backward. My second barrage breaches the internals of the Centre torso, but doesn’t kill him. He turns to the right and backs behind a building. I continue my circling, and catch him in the open for just a second, and hit his right torso, right ‘ear’, and centre torso again, but still he doesn’t go down. The ear flies off, though, and I notice his amusingly low 35% health. I think my Jenner friend needs a beer, I decide. We play this game, and I feel confident, I’m the hunter, and I finally catch him as he accidentally falls off a ledge into the river itself – it’s shallow, and as he turns to sprint off, my lasers catch him, and my Gauss Rifle shot punches a perfect hole above his cockpit, coring him.
As I congratulate myself on my amazing victory, I see an Atlas arm sail, slowly, across my view. My brain stops for a second “whoa wait, what?” I think, as I turn, armless, and realise the truth – that’s my arm, and that Atlas is unimpressed with my victory over the Catapult. Targeting shows his health – 89%. Oh good.
View of an Atlas mirror match, from first person.
Well, I figure, I’ll just alpha him and go out swinging, so I put my crosshairs over his head, pull the trigger on my two medium lasers, and click fire on my SRMs. Amusingly they don’t have ammo, so that doesn’t happen. The lasers wash across his head, doing good but effectively useless damage at this point. I happen to glance at his health as the Gauss Rifle shell fires off, and I’m rocking from the damage. My Atlas is screaming WARNINGS about damage and catastrophic failure, and I see his health. Sure it was 89%, but that 11% was his head. That Jenner, that glorious Jenner, targeted his head.
The gauss shell explodes like fireworks into his eye, and as he falls backward, the VICTORY text across my vision I realise I have just taken out eight Mechs in a single game.
And I owe it all to that Jenner.