- for newcomers who are short on C-Bill, an AC20 4G or 4H could at most run an STD250. Since it would provide more than enough speed for any Hunchback to run properly (especially on 4J and 4SP), there is no immediate need to purchase separate - and likely more expensive - engines for different Hunchbacks. Besides, running same engine on all variants will provide a more comfortable and unified experience.
- regarding Gauss builds and triple-AC2 builds on a 4G, While you can fit in an XL275 in there with ease, there are sniper builds far superior at ranged combat that could easily take our the hunch in two shots.
I have, however, updated the guide with a few builds that I find handy with STD275, more specifically 4P and 4SP. The rest of the variants are probably better off sticking with STD250. But, adjust to taste
If you're relatively new to MWO and are thinking of what 'Mech to elite first, then congratulations! This post has it all. The Hunchback chassis is no doubt the best chassis to begin with and stick to, proven by the fact that this very post is the most viewed post under Battlemech Guides sub-forum, and the tons of helpful replies under it.
Hunckbacks are very cheap to purchase, arm and upgrade, and very comfortable to run. The different variants have covered pretty much all types of roles that you may performs in the battlefield. You can learn all the basics you need to know with these sweethearts, and do some incredible damage when you mastered (or rather, Mastered) them.
However, like life, there's nothing flawless. Being a 50-toner medium chassis means Hunchbacks should not be the main battle tank on the front line, but more of a flanker and supporter role. Don't get it wrong, a flanker who knows what he's doing could easily deal the most damage on top of your whole team still. Also worth noting is the massive, signature right-torso "hunch" on all Hunchback variant saves one, which means you should be twisting your torso in combat to protect all those armaments packed in it. Also, your guns in your hunch is at around your head level, making shooting from cover very easy.
Anyway, rules of thumb for noobs: stay mobile, keep low, don't wander off alone for long, and engage occupied enemies in priority. That should keep you going.
So without further ado let's get to the builds. Note that you need only three variants to Elite, and in my case they are 4H, 4P and 4SP, which will be focused on. 4G and 4J will be included too, and I will explain why those two are less favorable than the other variants.
Hold on for a moment. If you're think of buying it because those three ballistic hardpoints looks delicious, pro-tip: DON'T. Go get a 4H! NOW!!
Wait, you already bought one? Okay.
For starter: STD200, 11DHS, Endo, 1xAC20(3 tons of ammo), 2xMG(2ton), 3xML, AMS
It is extremely hard to utilize 4G's three ballistic hardpoints, I'll tell you that. As by the Feb. 19th Trebuchet patch, the previously useless Machine Guns are now "a heavy crit seeker and will be VERY effective vs. items on non-armoured locations", it may be a good supplement during late-game for AC20, the always useful big brah. The three Medium Lasers are indeed a healthy thing to have, and would help you a lot dealing with Light 'Mechs.
However, I would very much consider this stock-engine build as a temporary solution, as firing MGs require you to constantly face toward a single direction, making your hunch more vulnerable to incoming fire. The stock STD200 engine means you'll be quite a bit slower than many of your comrades. Stay with your main group be more considered about when to engage. Mid-game chaotic brawling is your moment to shine, as your mighty shoulder cannon chew through the armor of larger foes who are busy engaging your bigger brothers.
Which is why many find this build to be the most effective: STD250, 10DHS, Endo, 1xAC20(3ton), 3xML
Machine guns and AMS has been taken away to make space for the largest engine possible with AC20 (having AMS is good, but not on top of the priority list when you have the speed to dodge into cover). You'll easily find your pace with your arms/shoulder/head three groups of weapons.
Starter build: STD200, 12DHS, Endo, 1xAC20(3ton), 2xML, 3xSL, AMS
I wouldn't call 4H the best ballistic option out there, but you can squeeze out some great performances if you use it carefully. The single ballistic hardpoint makes AC20 the obvious option, and the hunch is marginally smaller than 4G's. In my case this is what I ended up and feels rather comfortable with it.
AC20 is the standard weapon for many heavier chassis, including the mighty Atlas, so it's a good thing to get some practice on this beauty. The lasers essentially doubles your firepower, and unlike the MGs that requires constant aiming, SLas would give you a much steadier performance. You can even remove the AMS and upgrade the SLas to MLas.
Your speed though, again, is your main drawback. Your lack of heavier armor is definitely not helping in this case, so when you have faith in your movement and heat management (upgrading your Pilot Tree definitely helps in that regard), do not hesitate to bring things up a notch:
STD250, 10DHS(engine), Endo, Ferro, 10DHS, 1xAC20(3ton), 2xML, 3xSL (courtesy of Ravennus).
An AC20 with that kind of speed is absolutely brutal, proven by all those AC20 Yen Lo Wangs out there...and this build even has more firepower. In many cases all you need is that extra little punch of the three SLas, which works much better than a single MLas, to finish someone off.
STD250, 10DHS(engine), Endo, FF, 2xLRM10(4ton), 2xML, 3xSL, TAG, AMS
Now, I don't own this variant, but courtesy of Ewigan, the build above is proven to be a effective Medium LRMboat.
4J is the designated LRM boat in the Hunchback chassis - the massive 20-salvo hunch with two missile hardpoints says it all, and enough energy hardpoints to make a Catapult A1 burn in jealousy. The head-mounted TAG comes in conveniently, and the burst damage of rapid-firing twin LRM10 simply cannot be ignored.
It also has the largest hunch among all Hunchbacks, with essentially 90% of the armament stored in it. So remember, stand back, and frequently re-deploy.
I would personally stick with this loadout if I owned one. Artemis is a beautiful addition to any LRM launchers, and the extra speed is crucial for a small LRM boat. The XL engine may increase the risk of being cored by losing RT, but considering you'll lose almost all weapons when your RT is gone, it doesn't wouldn't much of a difference. You can also do it without Artemis and upgrade your RT lasers to MLas, and add another DHS with some reduced armor here and there to increase your mid-range ability. Adjust to taste.
In short, when comes to LRM boating 4J does not shine as much as Trebuchet, a whole chassis dedicated to LRM; if you don't feel like going into another chassis who's MUCH bigger in size and variants are not all well designed, then 4J should be your LRM companion.
Now, what used to be my main 'Mech, my Ghetto Delight, was STD260, 19DHS, 7xSL, 2xML, AMS. But since the engine cap has been raised, I realized I could take things up a notch:
STD275, 19DHS, Endo, 7xSL, 2xMPL
This thing is so much fun to run and deals ridiculous damage over time. You're essentially carrying a point-blank effective, rapid-firing AC20 that does not require any ammo. It's an amazing harasser, an more than effective Light killer, a literally accurate "disarmer" that runs around the battlefield and shoots at everything that moves. The 19DHS ensures it would almost never overheats. Pretty much a no-brainer besides the basics that one should know about Hunchbacks.
However, if you feel like you've got a grip on how to manage heat, there's also this:
STD275, 17DHS, Endo, 9xML
I used to shy away from nine Medium Lasers, for the concern of easy overheating bothered me heavily. I never regretted trying this out. The burst damage of nine MLas is absolutely ridiculous. It of course requires better trigger discipline and better aiming, but totally controllable. You could burn though an Atlas' rear armor in the matter of seconds, and headshot any overheated 'Mech with a single burst.
Oh, also, although it is unfortunately not captured by the clip above, it is entirely possible to one-shot a Light in the back who comes across and forgets to zigzag.
STD250, 14DHS, Endo, 2xSRM6(3ton), 5xML, AMS
This beefed-up stock build is the perfect practice brawler. 4SP will teach you almost everything you need to know about close-quarter SRM combat. The four arm-mounted MLas are ideal for dealing with faster opponents, and when Alpha Strike it deals a solid 55 damage on a very small area, all come along with the STD250 engine. 14 DHS may not be sufficient to handle constant firing of all the weapons, but then you can solely rely on the twin SRM6 until yourself is cooled down. There're many ways for minor-tweaking on a 4SP: adjusting armor, take out the head laser and/or AMS to make space for Artemis (works especially well on SRM6). I would say after running with this 4SP for a long time without Artemis (which costs a fortune to upgrade), its performance is more that satisfying.
And if you're willing to sacrifice some anti-LRM capability and heat-efficiency for some extra speed:
STD275, 13DHS, Endo, 2xSRM6(3ton), 5xML
Oh, and don't forget, any build that works on 4J works on 4SP too. You won't be able to launch all the LRMs in one burst - you have only 6x2 salvos in total - but the lack of the hunch, the greatest disadvantage of Hunchbacks, should be enough of a plus.
There we go, my totally revised Ultimate Hunchback guide. There's no doubt Hunchbacks are perfect for new comers to get the grip of the game, and perform exceptionally well in the hands of experienced users. In fact my Hunchbacks remains my top-rated 'Mechs, both in user experience and stats. Also, feel free to check my Ultimate Awesome and not so Ultimate Cataphract guide. You are all very welcomed, ladies.
Edited by Helmstif, 27 November 2013 - 09:22 PM.