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Are My Cicada Builds Viable?


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#1 John1352

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 08:14 PM

I've been planning to get a fast ECM mech for a while, currently I have an atlas DDC, 3 catapults, 3 hunchbacks, and two jenners (I sold the K). I know the cicada is not considered a top tier mech, but it has some interesting builds possible. I'm also considering the jagermech as my next one.

Here's the builds I was looking at:

CDA-2A (a giant jenner)

The XL320 is heavy for the little extra speed it gives, but I'll have it anyway from my 3M.

CDA-3C (Dual AC5)

This is the one I am expecting to be the worst. I might have a XL260 from a jagermech soon, so I wouldn't buy a 255 for a mech this limited. 600 damage if every round hits is pretty terrible. I just don't know what I could do with it.

CDA-3M (UAC5)

I would mainly use the UAC in this build, and probably only use the small lasers once ammo runs out. I was thinking about using med lasers here, but why do that when I could keep using the UAC5. I have an XL300 I use on catapults and jenners already.

CDA-3M (Large and medium lasers)

It's either this or PPCs, and I tend to prefer lasers.


Basically what I want to know, will I be eaten alive by clan mechs and the better IS ones? Would I be better with spiders or ravens instead?

#2 Quickdraw Crobat

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 02:10 AM

Concerning your CDA-2A: Your arms are amazing shields from the sides. You should consider a smaller engine by a few ratings so you can afford full arm armor- otherwise, this looks just fine.

On the CDA-3C: As far as weapons go I'm not sure you're going to find you have enough firepower on this. Strictly in terms of weapons, I kind of want to suggest swapping the AC/5s for a single AC/10 and throwing in three machine guns and some kind of laser- then again, this is a very unexpected build for a CDA, and the low heat means some nice things for long-range combat on Therma or Tourmaline. That said, your super-weak armor is going to get you killed, and fast, the moment anyone with a bit of long-range weaponry gets a bead on you- particularly if anything with Clan LRMs gets a lock on. Reduce your overall weaponry tonnage for more armor or you're going to suffer hard.

About the UAC 3M- your arms are still amazing and highly useful shields, especially since the CDA has nearly 180 degree torso twist after Elites. You should consider a downrating of the engine or swapping the UAC for a PPC and heat sinks in order to save the weight needed for more armor. The latter change would also protect you neatly from suffering ammo explosions. Or don't change any of it- it's up to you, but that's what I'd do.

Regarding the laser 3M- ...what is it with you and the arms on this thing? The arms protect you from side shots, and that means all the difference when you're carrying an XL engine in the Cicada's boxy, easy-to-shoot body. Otherwise, this looks pretty good (though if you can stand to lower the engine for an additional heat sink you can probably swap the large lasers to ER Larges and pester people to death from about a kilometer away).

Cicadas are actually pretty nice 'mechs, honestly. While I'm not a fan of the one with the energy arms, the rest are quite usable. Spiders and ravens aren't better- they're different. Ravens support more varied loadouts at the cost of weapon space, and Spiders simply can't mount the variety of weapons a CDA can (and while they can use jump jets the CDA doesn't have access too, they need to spend 2 tons at least on jets just to get good vertical mobility out of them, which further cuts into the weapon tonnage). Since all three of these 'mechs are relatively inexpensive, why not just pick up three each of all three chassis and fiddle with them all until you find builds you work well in?

#3 John1352

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 03:32 AM

Thanks for the replies. The cicada seems to be in an awkward spot in terms of size and weapon options. It doesn't have the 8-9 energy slot version like hunchback or firestarter, with a 340 it is a jenner with a giant hitbox and no extra tonnage.

The shield arms seem really far back on the side torsos, and if I'm running AC5s i'll need to remain facing my target. (This is why I took them off my atlas, for torso twisting).

@lobotomite I cannot keep MGs on a light circling me, it just doesn't work for me. I've played with the trial spider quite a bit, and found that the MGs are terrible. (Not that AC5s are any better, but they are good for bigger stuff) That's a good point about the smoking arms though, and I do remember seeing a PPC commando with ECM finish a match off because enemies couldn't find it.

I've had some success in the hunchback and the jenner, and with the hunchback speed tweaked, I'm starting to find I'm playing them similarly. I was hoping the cicada might take the advantages of each and combine them. (armor, firepower closer to hunchback, and speed closer to jenner) It seems to bring a lot of the disadvantages though (XL engine, struggling for tonnage, no jumpjets).

With the dual AC5 build, I'd probably play it as a shadow to an assault/heavy, letting them take fire from the enemy, and adding firepower, but able to move around fast to support a different one as they engage.

#4 John1352

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 04:23 AM

I haven't actually bought it yet, I'm just trying to get an idea of what it is capable of, and what I should not expect it to do. I mean, you can get dual AC20 on there, but I've never seen it in game for a reason :(

I'm deciding whether to get it now, or go for a jagermech now and get it later. I get the feeling the jagermech would get more damage and kills.

#5 Quickdraw Crobat

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 03:05 PM

Jagermechs tend to get more damage, but kills is not as certain a thing. The main reason Jaegers deal more damage is that they can carry more weaponry, but they're much less maneuverable so they are far harder to get out of sticky situations and have much less control over what angle they're attacking from. It's really an apples/oranges comparison.

If you're a relatively new pilot and thus don't have much in the way of C-bills, I strongly recommend the smaller Medium 'mechs (Cicada, Blackjack, Centurion, Hunchback)- they are much less expensive than larger machines (especially the BJ, CN9, and HBK, which all tend to less-costly standard engines) and will thus let you build up a C-bill surplus while you work their skills up to mastery level.

The 'jack, Cent, and Hunchie also all give you a lot of practice with various weapons loadout options, so you can learn more about how each weapon type works and what your personal preferences, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses lie while piloting 'mechs. These days I rather wish I'd started with those four 'mechs instead of going Cicada-Quickdraw-Cataphract-Hunchback- I wound up really short on C-bills for longer than I needed to be.

That said- there are two big issues I find with how you're thinking about the Cicada.

First of all, the arms. If you're seeing incoming missile fire at all, or even just behind partial cover that protects your legs, the arms become vital. Yes you need to face your target while firing at them, but you're moving quickly and there's absolutely no guarantee that all your enemies will be standing right next to each other. Particularly if you've got fast-firing weapons, it can often be to your advantage to run in amongst the enemy and dart between them, forcing them to risk shooting each other to try and hit you- but other times you'll be attacked from multiple directions. This is where the 'shield arms' become important- for missile volleys, you can twist to put them between you and the incoming missiles, soaking the damage with nonvital arms instead of your important torso locations; and for other incoming fire, they keep you from taking as much damage to the side torsos when things are hectic and enemies shoot for your center of mass to ensure they actually hit you.

Secondly, the machine guns. Keeping machine guns on target (or trying to) is vital and really good practice. I know it's tempting to move into position, stop, shoot, and then move again when you're done shooting. But it's a terrible idea. You absolutely need to be able to target and stay on target while moving or you're never going to perform very well in anything not named Atlas or Dire Wolf. For any 'mech, the only time you can afford to stop moving is when you're absolutely certain no enemy is trying to shoot you- either you're alone, you're behind all the enemies, or everything dangerous near you is shut down for whatever reason. Since machine guns are effectively infinite (limited by ammo) duration lasers, they are the best possible practice there is for this. Additionally, the Cicada has, as I mentioned before, the ability to face almost directly backwards via torso twist, allowing it to shoot pretty much any direction while running pretty much any other direction. The machine-gun-arms spider does not have nearly this capability, even if you have turned arm lock off- frankly, the Cicada should be used with machine guns before you try to use the spider with machine guns, as aiming with your torso is just easier than using the arm guns on the spider. It's vital practice for a vital skill- I'm personally not that good a gunner, but my piloting is excellent and I know how to aim while moving, so I perform a lot better overall than just my capacity to aim alone would indicate.

As far as the Cicada not getting kills goes, I'm not bothered about my overall performance in it, but the fact that in a match the other day, I was able to core out face-to-face a Dire Wolf and then a Nova, and then leg to death a Battlemaster and a Trebuchet, all in the same match and survived to the end of it to boot, is a pretty good indication that a fully-armored Cicada is not as frail or incapable as you're worried about.

#6 John1352

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 07:26 PM

Is this the suggested ERPPC + MG loadout? it seems to be a light loadout. CDA-3C

Quickdraw, is this the mech you were suggesting? CDA-3C A lot of sustained DPS!

#7 Navy Sixes

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 07:49 PM

Off hand, I'd say consider this handy flow chart:

Are you Group queue or Solo queue?

If Solo, are you any good in them?

If yes, then yes. If no, then no.

If Group, probably not (Why aren't you in a Stormcrow, brah?)

#8 Quickdraw Crobat

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 03:46 AM

View PostTycho von Gagern, on 20 July 2014 - 07:49 PM, said:

Off hand, I'd say consider this handy flow chart:
Are you Group queue or Solo queue?
If Solo, are you any good in them?
If yes, then yes. If no, then no.


This is frighteningly unclear, as there is not a single overall 'yes/no' question being asked by the main poster. Could I ask what you're driving at here?

View PostTycho von Gagern, on 20 July 2014 - 07:49 PM, said:

If Group, probably not (Why aren't you in a Stormcrow, brah?)


Not everyone can afford to be or even necessarily has a method for buying Clan 'mechs. Have a little courtesy and don't make that assumption. If this was actually a joke, it could have stood to be made slightly more clear.


John- Yes, that is roughly the loadout I was suggesting. I think you're a bit light on rear side armor and arm armor still (the arms don't actually shield your rear torsos, and plenty of times you'll wind up with enemies behind you- I'd suggest transferring 3-4 points from the front to the rear on either side torso). Despite that, that looks like a kind of build I would be willing to run in a Cicada on a regular basis.

Just remember that the machine guns are not very effective on armored components, but exceptionally nasty on locations where the armor's been stripped off.

#9 MonkeyCheese

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 04:15 AM

Lb10xAC going 130kph with 2ml and ecm is my favorite kind of cicada.

#10 John1352

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 08:43 AM

I've now bought my first one, the 3M. I'm really noticing the "skillcloak" as I've seen it described (in "LOOK AT THE 1K DAMAGE I GOT IN MY RAVEN 3L" threads)

I ran an upgraded stock UAC5 build for a while, jammed at all the worst times, realized that 5 damage per shot is pretty pathetic, and I'm now trying PPCs.

I did get a lot of kills per damage with the UAC5 though.

#11 Agent 0 Fortune

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 10:03 AM

View PostJohn1352, on 19 July 2014 - 08:14 PM, said:

I've been planning to get a fast ECM mech for a while, currently I have an atlas DDC, 3 catapults, 3 hunchbacks, and two jenners (I sold the K). I know the cicada is not considered a top tier mech, but it has some interesting builds possible. I'm also considering the jagermech as my next one.

CDA-3C (Dual AC5)

This is the one I am expecting to be the worst. I might have a XL260 from a jagermech soon, so I wouldn't buy a 255 for a mech this limited. 600 damage if every round hits is pretty terrible. I just don't know what I could do with it.

Basically what I want to know, will I be eaten alive by clan mechs and the better IS ones? Would I be better with spiders or ravens instead?


My favorite is a Cicada CDA-3M with 1 Gauss (4t@), 2 Md Lasers, ECM, and SHS. 200XL, Endo and 6.0t FF armor.
I drop in an Advanced Zoom and advanced sensors and use it as a long range spotter. It will get chewed up by other lights if caught, but I always have fun spot-sniping.

#12 Quickdraw Crobat

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 11:31 PM

View PostLobotomite, on 21 July 2014 - 04:03 AM, said:

Well, you seriously advise trading a ERPPC doing 10 damage, having 7t of weight and unlimited ammo for a AC10, which does 10 damage, has less range, weighs 12t not counting the additional weight for ammo?


No, I seriously advise trading two AC/5s for one AC/10 and three machine guns. Read more carefully, I didn't suggest replacing a PPC with an AC/10- the AC/10 suggestion was in response to the dual AC/5s.

#13 Quickdraw Crobat

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Posted 22 July 2014 - 12:06 PM

I... wasn't offended. Darn you, lack of inflections in text! Darn you to Heck!

(and here's the Chair from Heck and the Table from Heck and the Lamp from Heck!)

#14 Chocowolf Sradac

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 09:22 AM

The cicadas are in every way played as a light. You just don't have the armor in them to play a front line mech. I've got my Cicada's mastered and currently working at getting the extra module slot for my 3c and 2A. For the 3C you really only have the tonnage for one hard hitting weapon like a ppc or an AC. The lack of available tonnage not to mention armor really limits you with what you can do with this mech and you really can't afford to lose too much speed. Other mediums do better if your looking at slower hard hitters

Playing as a harasser and a mech that runs in for killshots on open armor while they are distracted by your heavier teammates is the cicada's strength. too many times I'll have enemies open my armor up in one or two hits and I am fully armored so you have to play cautious against the hard hitters.

Build wise both my 3M and 2A are running duel ppcs and my 3c runs only 1 ppc and 4 machine guns. All using an XL 265.

#15 Rear Admiral Tier 6

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 09:25 AM

for 2A use the Champion build,its awesome.

for 3M ECM+2 PPC:s+285 XL

Posted Image

here is the Champion build in action.

Edited by Cookiemonter669, 28 July 2014 - 09:34 AM.


#16 MonkeyCheese

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 03:44 AM

They both seem perfectly fine to me. Looking at your first build on smurfy http://mwo.smurfy-ne...d6edd0dbe1e1fb3 I would say depending on the map you should be able to get more than just " for self-defence only" use out of those 2 medium lasers. I run a 295xl in my 3M so I know that speed is fine.

As for the 2nd build taking a 265xl seems a little slow to me but if it is speed tweaked for the 118kph then it should do fine as long as you are aware of your surroundings.

#17 Rigmoran

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 03:51 AM

I mounted an LBX on my 3M back in the day. It wasn't terribly fast but with 2 ML's it could do a decent alpha in someone's back if they weren't watching.

#18 Voivode

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 05:02 AM

Here's a nice 3M build that doesn't have PPC.

And here's a nice 3C build that does have PPC.

#19 MonkeyCheese

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 05:08 AM

View Postgh0s7m3rc, on 29 July 2014 - 04:52 AM, said:


I didn't mention it (totally forgot :)), but anyone interested can replace the Large Laser in the centre torso with 2 Medium Lasers and raise the engine accordingly. Personally, I've tried both builds and I find that, if going with a group, the 2nd loadout is better for providing ECM coverage for the assaults and fire support while shadowing them, in which case speed above 100 kp/h isn't strictly obligatory as I'll have to stick close to them.
For solo drops, then, yes, you're probably right and it might be better to go with 2xML and 2xLL and a faster engine.


Yeah I would say the 2 LL option is prob more new player friendly for heat and overall damage during a match.

But as I have said I have said earlier I moved pass conventional cicada builds a long time ago and drive around with a lb10X and 2ML going 130kph or 2 LPL

#20 John1352

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 05:20 AM

I've been having a lot of fun in my "Giant Jenner" CDA-2A, the slightly slower speed compared to the Jenner makes aiming easier I think, and the extra 2 heatsinks help a lot on hotter maps. The torso sizes are quite balanced relative to armor, so I often manage to torso twist enough that all my torsos are exposed before I go down. I've got well over 600 damage, and the 12 assist philanthropist achievement with it.

I'm about to buy the 3C, and expect that I am about to find out how terrible sustained DPS is on a small mech.





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