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Cicada "best Of" Builds


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#1 Shadey99

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 12:57 PM

Well there has been a 'guide' to cicada builds before (I can't find it now, but I have seen it before). However it's become outdated and many of the designs don't work anymore at all and others are builds that can't be done anymore.

As the cicada is one of my favorite mechs, I think it's time to update some of the best ciada builds in one place. They make great flankers and rear strikers as well as base runners. They also can peak above a rise as their torso weapons are high up on their chest like a stalker.

The CDA-2A/2B
It is a energy heavy mech with 6 energy spots, lots of people treat it like a jenner... But I treat it a bit differently.

This CDA-2A is what I use.
  • Paired Large Lasers
  • Quad Medium Lasers
  • 121 kph without tweak/133 kph with
I alternate between the LLs and MLs, doing a quick 1-2 punch. I've taken out Atlases with this technique, hitting them in the rear while they were hitting my allies. It also does fairly well hunting lights, though you have to watch the heat much more.


The CDA-X5
This mech has a pair of missile slots, which is unique for a Cicada with the same energy slots in the arms as the 2B.

This X-5 is what I use.
  • SIngle Large Laser
  • Triplet Medium lasers
  • 121 kph without tweak/133 kph with
Unlike the 2A, this one I often fire all four lasers together if they are within range and the maximum range of a medium laser is around 500m so the ranges overlap ok even if the mediums don't do much at that range. I played with a 4 MPL build with extra heatsinks, but this has done better for me. The streaks are most helpful hunting lights, though even a bigger mech does well to avoid a 4 pack of streaks while I'm not even looking at them.


The CDA-3M
This mech is best known for it's ECM. Not running an ECM in it is a waste.

This CDA-3M is my take on the ninja sniper build
  • Paired PPCs
  • Single Medium Laser
  • 121 kph without tweak/133 kph with
The PPCs are the main weapons, the Medium Laser is just to augment the firepower up close. I rarely need the medium laser and often think of switching it for a extra heatsink, but I don't really overheat. The goal with this is to keep out of the range they can cancel the ECM, hit and move, strike them in the rear if you can. I've done a 4 kill/8 assist game with this with near 800 damage.

Let me know what other interesting builds you guys use.

#2 Pyrrho

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 01:04 PM

I love Cicadas, too. But you don't get 4 kill / 8 assist games.. you would have to get 4 kill / 4 assist games (at best).

Also, the 3C! Don't forget to show the real man's Cicada some love. (dakka dakka dakka)

4xMG + ER-PPC; 151.5kph with speed tweak.

Edited by Pyrrho, 16 July 2013 - 01:05 PM.


#3 Darwins Dog

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 01:25 PM

If you're refering to this guide it's still there, just buried on page 2. All of the builds are still valid (I still run several of them) and I keep it up to date with all of the major changes (although I do need to add a bit about the new movement mechanics). If you'd like I would be happy to add your builds to the list.

As to what I am running, my 2A has 4xML and 1xERPPC with a 300XL. PPC for early game and long range engagements, with the MLs for closer skirmishes.

I have 4xMPL on my 2B with a 325 XL (I think), that I've been experimenting with (I don't think I like it).

My 3M has 4xML and UAC5 with a 295XL. Same basic idea as the 2A. I have had really great success with it. With the recent AC5 buff you can safely swap that for the UAC5 and take either more ammo or another HS.

Tonight my X-5 will go back to my favorite which is 4xML and 2xSRM6 with a 300XL. Once you get used to the volley fire the SRM6s are great (more accurate than usual because you basically have 12xSRM2s).

I play all of them like a fighter escort for bigger mechs. Hang mack and shoot at the focus target. If someone turns their attention to me I retreat and find a new place to fight. If a light mech engages one of my big friends I do my best to chase them away.

#4 Flagrant

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 01:25 PM

I have the 2B. Not sure why I chose it over the 2A. Right arm is a PPC. Left arm is a LPL. Runs 135kph skirmishing at top speed from 300m. At that distance I feel safe even if targeted. Very fun mech.

#5 Shadey99

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 05:23 PM

View PostDarwins Dog, on 16 July 2013 - 01:25 PM, said:

If you're refering to this guide it's still there, just buried on page 2. All of the builds are still valid (I still run several of them) and I keep it up to date with all of the major changes (although I do need to add a bit about the new movement mechanics). If you'd like I would be happy to add your builds to the list.


Most of the links to the builds themselves don't work for me (the site tells me they are no longer available)... Or they give errors that tell me that build is no longer possible (usually from things like ECM in legs). I was going to simply add to it and suggest we update them (when possible) so the links all work... But I couldn't seem to find the thread in search when I looked... xD

#6 xengk

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 10:19 PM

Im currently working on mastering my cicadas.
This is my ridiculous 3C that is some how working real great for me.
It used to be a LPL+4MG build, but I can't get the hang of drive-by-shooting and rebuild it.

now it work as a sniper/support, either ERPPC someone from afar or shadow a teammate and spam UAC5 on a target.
CDA-3C

#7 Shadey99

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 05:23 AM

View Postxengk, on 16 July 2013 - 10:19 PM, said:

now it work as a sniper/support, either ERPPC someone from afar or shadow a teammate and spam UAC5 on a target.
CDA-3C


I tried to like the UAC5 in my 3M, but I found it was to easy to jam (and keeping myself from firing before the reload was crazy hard in a intense fire fight). I did better with a straight AC5, but the mix never really worked for me... If I was to build a 3C, I might try this CDA-3C design. It's not a sniper, so it's better off as support with a group of faster heavies (A fast Cat K2 or quickdraw for instance). Since I rarely run heavy ballistic loads, I'm not sure how much 3 tons of ammo is in MWO however... If more ammo is needed you could always drop the engine a bit.

#8 Darwins Dog

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 06:14 AM

View PostShadey99, on 16 July 2013 - 05:23 PM, said:


Most of the links to the builds themselves don't work for me (the site tells me they are no longer available)... Or they give errors that tell me that build is no longer possible (usually from things like ECM in legs). I was going to simply add to it and suggest we update them (when possible) so the links all work... But I couldn't seem to find the thread in search when I looked... xD


I see that now. Last time I checked I must have clicked on the few that were still working lol. Looks like I have a project for this weekend (not to steal your thunder, but because it's kind of my baby).

View Postxengk, on 16 July 2013 - 10:19 PM, said:

Im currently working on mastering my cicadas.
This is my ridiculous 3C that is some how working real great for me.
It used to be a LPL+4MG build, but I can't get the hang of drive-by-shooting and rebuild it.

now it work as a sniper/support, either ERPPC someone from afar or shadow a teammate and spam UAC5 on a target.
CDA-3C


I would agree with Shadey99 that the AC5 is a little more reliable than the ultra (and they got the fire rate and range buffs not too long ago), but it's all about what works for you. One suggestion I would make is to drop an external DHS and go with an XL 225 (if you have it, but I wouldn't buy one if you aren't going to keep this variant). It holds 9 DHS so you will have better heat efficiency and be a little faster.

View PostShadey99, on 17 July 2013 - 05:23 AM, said:


I tried to like the UAC5 in my 3M, but I found it was to easy to jam (and keeping myself from firing before the reload was crazy hard in a intense fire fight). I did better with a straight AC5, but the mix never really worked for me... If I was to build a 3C, I might try this CDA-3C design. It's not a sniper, so it's better off as support with a group of faster heavies (A fast Cat K2 or quickdraw for instance). Since I rarely run heavy ballistic loads, I'm not sure how much 3 tons of ammo is in MWO however... If more ammo is needed you could always drop the engine a bit.


Since you have no energy backup, 3 tons is just not enough. I ran one with 2x AC2 and 5 tons of ammo that worked pretty well. It was basically a slightly faster BJ-1.

#9 Dawnstealer

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 06:44 AM

I use this:

http://mwo.smurfy-ne...720b264a87372a6

A very simple build, now up to Master, with six medium lasers. I group them into two equal sets of three (so both groups are LA/CT/RA) and continually use them in a 1-2 punch, so left button, right button; basically a 30 point alpha without the excess heat.

This thing is so fast I regularly have to slow down to deal with scouts. I use this mostly as a scout killer and harasser, hitting enemy lines while they're still practice-shooting at their base. Hit-and-run is also highly viable as long as you remember to weave, weave, weave.

Thanks to the speed cap, it's not possible for an enemy mech to move faster than you and being fully armored, this is the most successful CDA I've run and a LOT of fun.

#10 Shadey99

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 07:54 AM

View PostDarwins Dog, on 17 July 2013 - 06:14 AM, said:

Since you have no energy backup, 3 tons is just not enough. I ran one with 2x AC2 and 5 tons of ammo that worked pretty well. It was basically a slightly faster BJ-1.


I played with a 2xAC2, 2xMG, 1 MPL build when I was looking at what I would do with a 2C... But it just seems to lack punch. Then again I have no experience with the AC2 except finding them rather easy to evade in my brawler X-5/2A builds... xD It also reminded me of some weird cross between a quad AC2 jager and a spider 5K, with a speed in between the two. No clue how well it would do, but now thinking about 2C builds makes me want to buy one...

#11 Garth Erlam

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 08:37 AM

This is my current 2A build. A great alternative for some added ranged punch is this.

If you want to use the 2B, just take the 2nd 2A link above, and put the mediums in the arms.

My 3M looks like this. You have wiggle room with the extra armour in the arms, but with only 2 slots left it's tough to find something to add.

Remember to experiment though. It took a fight against an amazing opponent for me to realize that the 325/330XL can be a great addition to a Cicada build. It's not _all_ 300XL's ;)

Love this thread though - #cicadarmy :D

#12 4lex

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 09:03 AM

This is my dakacada; CDA-3C its pretty good at getting into an angle where you can shoot the oponent from far far away and force them to either cover from you or the rest of your team. Watch out for jenners coming your way tought

#13 Shadey99

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 09:22 AM

View PostGarth Erlam, on 17 July 2013 - 08:37 AM, said:

This is my current 2A build. A great alternative for some added ranged punch is this.

If you want to use the 2B, just take the 2nd 2A link above, and put the mediums in the arms.

My 3M looks like this. You have wiggle room with the extra armour in the arms, but with only 2 slots left it's tough to find something to add.

Remember to experiment though. It took a fight against an amazing opponent for me to realize that the 325/330XL can be a great addition to a Cicada build. It's not _all_ 300XL's ;)

Love this thread though - #cicadarmy :D


My only problem with a 6xML build on a Cicada is that the JR7-F can do the same thing, and it is smaller and faster all while having jump jets. The only downsides are 3 less heatsinks and a bit of armor. I prefer builds you cannot do on a Jenner. ;)

The 300 XL is just a sweet spot in weight vs speed, especially with the current speed cap and the speed tweak. Because of my X-5 and 3M I have 330XL & 320XL engines if I need them.

#14 Shadey99

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 06:55 PM

While hardly original, I converted my X-5 into the X-5 Kamikaze. Ironically all the weapons have a 'optimal' range of 270m, even though the 4xMLs can reach out and touch people at 500m. The 2xSRM6s take a bit of getting used to with their bamf bamf bamf firing pattern, but if you can get into brawling range with the SRM buff you can core an atlas in a couple bursts.

I finished up mastering my X-5 with this build tonight. The beagle however is less useful than the streak build, but I found the streaks disappointing after the recent patch. I may add another ton of SRM ammo and some armor to it instead of the BAP.

#15 xengk

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 07:42 PM

View PostShadey99, on 17 July 2013 - 05:23 AM, said:


I tried to like the UAC5 in my 3M, but I found it was to easy to jam (and keeping myself from firing before the reload was crazy hard in a intense fire fight). I did better with a straight AC5, but the mix never really worked for me... If I was to build a 3C, I might try this CDA-3C design. It's not a sniper, so it's better off as support with a group of faster heavies (A fast Cat K2 or quickdraw for instance). Since I rarely run heavy ballistic loads, I'm not sure how much 3 tons of ammo is in MWO however... If more ammo is needed you could always drop the engine a bit.


View PostDarwins Dog, on 17 July 2013 - 06:14 AM, said:

I would agree with Shadey99 that the AC5 is a little more reliable than the ultra (and they got the fire rate and range buffs not too long ago), but it's all about what works for you. One suggestion I would make is to drop an external DHS and go with an XL 225 (if you have it, but I wouldn't buy one if you aren't going to keep this variant). It holds 9 DHS so you will have better heat efficiency and be a little faster.


Manage to scrape up some extra Cbill and update the build.
Drop 1 DHS and added FF to free up more tonnage, transfer a XL235 from one of my BJ.
Now it is fast enough to chase off lights.

I group the UAC5 to the right mouse button, and use my "weak" middle finger to press the button.
This way I can double tap but not as fast as my "strong" index finger, the gun still jams when I get excited in a brawl but it is great if I kept my cool and steadily sniping a lrmboat at 500m~700m.
I will tryout the AC5 later tonight and see how it feels.

#16 Darwins Dog

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 02:43 AM

I think that the difference in usefulness is in how one uses them. With a faster engine one can play a hit and run style that would favor the UAC. Take fewer DHS because the plan is to run in, fire until you jam, go nuts with your lasers, and then disengage to cool off and avoid return fire.

The regular AC5 is better for a fire support style where you are wanting to put steady and reliable fire on a target. This is better if you are hanging back with the LRM and PPC/Gauss mechs. Then you still have lasers to engage teh enemy harassers that show up.

#17 xengk

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 12:55 AM

After trying AC5 on my build, the reload time feels really long and I cannot maximize my time when Im hounding someone's behind. Added 3 MG to the mix but it still feel ungainly.

Thanks for the suggestion though.

#18 Darwins Dog

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 08:57 AM

I've gone ahead and added the new builds and relevant parts of the discussion to my own thread (with credit where it's due of course) so that the collective wisdom of the swarm can be kept in one place. Thanks for the motivation to put some work into it! ;)





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