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Comprehensive Guide To The Cicada


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#1 Darwins Dog

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 04:31 PM

This is by no means a complete list of builds (though the thread may become that), nor do I consider myself to the ultimate expert on the Cicada. I do play them a lot. I've leveled all of them through elite level and three are well beyond mastered. I decided to share my experience with the community in the hopes that it will help someone out.

General role: I see the Cicada as a very dynamic mech. Most of the time you will be a scout, striker, or harasser , and many builds can freely switch between these. You can also make a great wingman for an assault mech (a Stalker or Atlas would surely appreciate having you around). You can be as fast as any light, and you can take enough punishment to forgive (small) pilot errors. You will have to be more focused on teamwork than some other mechs need to be. Cicadas really shouldn’t go toe-to-toe with anything. Lights can out maneuver you because the Cicada is heavier, and takes longer to speed up, slow down, and turn. Heavier mechs have more weapons and armor than you do (obviously). Stay with a friend to deal with lights, and run to your friends when dealing with bigger mechs.

Shadey99 said:
They make great flankers and rear strikers as well as base runners. They also can peek above a rise as their torso weapons are high up on their chest like a stalker.

Speed/Engine: With a maxed engine (340), they can move 137 kph (151 kph with speed tweak). That’s faster than a Commando, faster than a Raven, the same as a Spider, and slightly slower than a Jenner. In an actual game, the 3 kph spread between you and a light is not really noticeable, and as I mentioned you are heavier, so a little slower in maneuvering. The 340 can also hold 3 additional heatsinks, which is always a good thing. I always go with the XL engine as well. For one thing, the 340 STD weighs 34 tons (you do the math there), but another thing is that you are not a brawler. Speed is your best survival tool. The 340 XL is expensive (about 5.5 mil), which is why I currently only have one that I swap between mechs, but worth every cbill. I will admit that I die to side torso kills about as often as center torso kills, but the speed is worth it in my opinion. If you chose, the STD 270 has the same weight, and costs about 1.6 mil. You will run 109 kph (120 with speed tweak, but you have no room for extra heat sinks.

The thing about big engines is that they have a much lower speed to weight ratio than smaller ones. What that means for you is that if you shave a little bit of speed you gain a lot of weight. If you go with the full 340XL, ferro-fibrous armor (close to maximum), and endo-steel structure you will have about 10 tons to work with. Swapping the engine to a 325XL will give you 11.5 tons to work with and still run at 144.8 kph. Finally, if you go for a 300XL you hit a big jump in efficiency. With ES and near max FF you get 15 tons to work with while still moving 133.7 kph. This is the sweet spot for the Cicada. No other mech can move 15 tons of firepower that fast. At 4.9 million cbills it's still pricey, but it's really worth it. This is the stock engine from the AS7-K, DRG-5N ©, TBT-3C, CN9-D, JR7-F ©, and JR7-D (S) so they are relatively common.

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

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 :(


With the new movement speed changes the Cicada finds itself in the small mech category with the Raven. Your slowdown angle of 35 degrees means that Commandos, Jenners, and Spiders will be a little better on terrain than you, but everything bigger will have a herder time chasing you over hills. Use this to your advantage when trying to lose a pursuer.

Armor:For most of my mechs I use as close to full armor as I can get. On the 2A, 3C, and 3M you can free up a full ton (or more) by removing armor from the arms. I usually take off half a ton so they don't get blown off too easily, but that's up to you. I also move most of the torso armor to the front (usually keeping 10/12/10 in back) as I find it pretty easy to keep my front and side pointed at the enemy. Finally, keep your legs well protected. I usually don't get legged, but it happens often enough that I never have less than 36 armor on my legs.

Upgrades: I use endo-steel on all of my cicadas, without even a second thought. It gives you 2 more tons to play with, and you will never use enough critical slots for it to matter. I also use double heatsinks on all of my builds. I will share a few that don’t need them, but (as is the case for basically all mechs) all of them will be better with DHS. Ferro-fibrous armor is good for almost every build. I've run into a few cases where I don't have enough critical space, but it's rare.

AMS: I don’t personally use it, since you have the speed to avoid LRMs. If you want to be more of a team player it's nice to help cover your bigger and slower buddies, but you can find better uses for the weight.

Modules: I thought I'd give a brief list of the modules and how they fit in with the roles you can play. I don't own all of them, so these are just my thoughts.
-Advanced Zoom: Probably not useful for most builds. Anything with a sniper weapon (PPCs or Gauss) might find it helpful.
-Target Decay: Without missile hardpoints, you can't get the full use of this module. It could still be useful if you are spotting for an LRM boat, but it's better for the boat to have their own. The X-5 can make good use of this one with streak missiles.
-360 Target Retention: This is nice to have for light hunting, and dueling. You will find your target behind you quite often. Like the Target Decay module, this works best with streaks, but you can still get good use out of it without them.
-Capture Accelerator: I like this one for Conquest a lot. You will often be in a position to be taking the points for your team, so the extra little edge helps keep you moving.
-Sensor Range: This is a scout's best friend. Spot and ID targets from farther away, and give you more time to retreat if you are spotted.
-Target Info Gathering: Also great for scouts to bring. Let your team know which mechs are the most dangerous, so you can get to focus firing on them. Also helps to find weak spots during a fight.
-Seismic Sensor: With it's current implementation there is not a single mech that doesn't benefit from this module. It helps to avoid running into a group of enemies, and to chase down a light mech that is trying to shake you. Keep in mind that your enemies will also have this available.
-Consumables: It's really up to you. Most of the variants have a lot of energy weapons, so the cool shot can keep you fighting longer. The artillery and airstrikes are really a matter of personal preference. UAVs are great for scouts, especially when paired with an LRM boat.

Cons: I don’t want to discourage anyone from running a Cicada, but you need to know the good and bad of a mech before you buy it. The biggest thing that people will mention is that none of the cbill variants have missile hardpoints (the X-5 does, but it will cost you real money). If you want missiles, then the Cicada is probably not for you. The size of the mech makes hiding a little more difficult, since it’s simply taller than most light mechs. It has large legs that are probably the easiest thing on the mech to hit. None of the variants have jump jets, which is a bummer. Cicadas are flying insects after all. Finally, the arms are only useful as shields in everything except the 2B and X-5 variants.


Now for the builds:

CDA-2A
Spoiler


CDA-2B
Spoiler


CDA-3C
Spoiler


CDA-3M
Spoiler


X-5
Spoiler


For the lulz:
Spoiler


This is my first attempt at writing a guide, so I welcome any suggestions or constructive criticism. Please feel free to critique my builds, and add your own. Let’s make this the place to go for current and future pilots of "the Bug".

Also please keep this on topic. I would like to avoid discussions about whether mediums are worth taking, or ECM, or streak SRMs. There are plenty of other places for that.

Thanks to: 1453 R, BoPop, Garth Erlam, Johnny Reb, Kaemon, khorazy, knnniggett, Phoenix Gray, Sable Dove, Shade4x, Shadey99, StalaggtIKE, Tahribator, and Warrax the Chaos Warrior for their contributions. Lets keep the ideas coming!

Special thanks to Shadey 99 for starting this thread and giving me the motivation to dust off and update my own guide.

Edited by Darwins Dog, 24 August 2013 - 03:19 PM.


#2 knight-of-ni

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 07:00 AM

Nice guide.

I just posted something similar in another thread. The 2B was the last variant I purchased, but it has become my personal favorite.

Since the Cicada is a smaller mech, I am often making use of the nearby terrain to avoid enemy fire. This includes running up or down hills, rather than fighting on a level field. As many of you have experienced, one often cannot fire back at the enemy, using torso mounted weapons, if the enemy is too high above or too far below you. You simply cannot angle your torso high or low enough to get them into your crosshairs. Well, the 2B doesn't have this problem with its arm mounted weapons. Since its arms are small, like a Jenner, they are rarely blown off.


CDA-2B
320XL (142kph w/ speed tweak)
ES
268 pts of FF
two LL
two ML
10 DHS

#3 Wrenchfarm

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 07:10 AM

Lovely guide. I actually enjoy running around in my 3M as well (and had some laughs over the double XP weekend getting the basic tree done on the MG-boat. Silly me, I expected those MG buffs they were talking about to actually be in the next patch and wanted to be ahead of the curve ;)) I'll be picking up another one soon to get the elite skills. Probably the 2A. I'll try the 6xMLAS build you posted and let you know how it goes.

The Cicada is definitely a solid little mech and a great way to get another fast mover on the field without giving the other team a potential ECM light.

#4 Darwins Dog

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 07:37 AM

Thanks knnniggett, I've updated the section with your input. I hadn't considered the terrain game when looking at the 2B. I may have to try that one out a bit more.

#5 StalaggtIKE

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 07:53 AM

Nice guide. Here's my CDA-3M build: here. It includes UAC5 and 4x mlasers. It's not so much of a killer as it is a supporter. However, the UAC5 gives it the capacity to up dps if necessary. It has a lot of diversity: I am able to scout, snipe or skirmish.

Edited by StalaggtIKE, 25 January 2013 - 05:39 PM.


#6 Warrax the Chaos Warrior

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 08:33 AM

I run the XL325 in my cicadas, it has the max number of engine sinks (3) and only loses 6kph compared to the 340. The saved weight allows you to use medium lasers instead of smalls on the 2A. It's the same 16DHS, so you have to watch your heat, but the extra range and damage is well worth it IMO.

#7 Johnny Reb

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 01:12 PM

Here is my current lolz Cicada 3M build:

standard 200 engine
2 dhs
endo and FF
ecm
2 sl
1 ac20
2 ton ac20 ammo

Only goes 81k/h, 89k/h with speed tweak. I just hang with the slow mechs and unload my 14 rounds of ac20 under my ecm umbrella.

Edited by Johnny Reb, 25 January 2013 - 01:13 PM.


#8 Darwins Dog

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 03:41 PM

Thanks for the ideas and info. Please keep it coming.

#9 joedawg39s

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 05:04 PM

I got the ecm variant so I would have another mech to use the 340xl I bought for my cataphract. I run it with 4 MPLS on chain fire, you can keep a constant laser stream on a light you are trying to chase off your heavies and then alpha strike for a hit and run on a slower mech you are harrassing.

#10 StalaggtIKE

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 05:36 PM

Now that I am home I was able to look up my exact specs. I updated my link with the correct configurations. It's actually packing a XL280 and 3 tons of UAC5 ammo. New link: here.

Edited by StalaggtIKE, 25 January 2013 - 05:39 PM.


#11 Lege

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 05:50 PM

I went with a 300XL, medium pulse lasers, 15-17 DHS, endo, no ferro.
The little extra tonnage to go to a 325 or 340 didn't seem worth it, it just took too much firepower away.
With speed tweak you still do 132 kph.
They don't maneuver like a light, but you can get on the six of any 50 ton+ mech and rear core them.

#12 Shade4x

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 07:04 PM

I've been enjoying the Cicada after playing around with a ton of other mech's. I like mech's that have a clear role personally, and i'm not a fan of making a build that i believe another mech would be better at (ie why make a 60 kph ecm ac20 when you can just play an atlas?) That being said, i found 2 builds i absolutely love on the cicada.

Thief
6x med lasers
137.7 (151.5 kph
This guy beats most of the raven build's i have fought, and is one of the best harassers and backstabbers in the game. Your running at max speed, with 6 medium lasers and essentially 2 arm shields. It's very basic and simple, however very effective. Simply flank, and either do drive by's or park behind an enemy LRM boat, and core it from the back.
http://mwo.smurfy-ne...ef30ceab6254701


Ninja Sniper
2x PPC's
121.5 kph (133.7)
ECM
My other build was designed as a sniper. I'm sick of seeing 4-6 PPC snipers waste 85 tons of weight in a match, while shutting down every time they fire. Gauss explodes, and i figured i wanted a design that could snipe well on a light mech. The funny thing is that you can very easily run behind enemy lines, setup and snipe back cores with this. Oh yea, it's also ECM.and it doesn't overheat.
http://mwo.smurfy-ne...e771e8e781a7f33

#13 BerryChunks

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 12:38 AM

I like a good LPL with 2 medium laser Cic, or a 2 ERLL Cic. Was able to get a Dragon's CT down to red while he was trying to run from far away. I just stick to certain design philosophies like 3 Heat sinks per ML, 4 per LL, 7 per ERLL, 5 per PPC, etc. That tends to be effective.

#14 Darwins Dog

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 06:23 PM

Added a fun 2A/2B PPC ML build.

EDIT: accidentally hit quote.

Edited by Darwins Dog, 27 January 2013 - 06:24 PM.


#15 Warrax the Chaos Warrior

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 06:32 PM

View PostShade4x, on 25 January 2013 - 07:04 PM, said:

Thief
6x med lasers
137.7 (151.5 kph
This guy beats most of the raven build's i have fought, and is one of the best harassers and backstabbers in the game. Your running at max speed, with 6 medium lasers and essentially 2 arm shields. It's very basic and simple, however very effective. Simply flank, and either do drive by's or park behind an enemy LRM boat, and core it from the back.
http://mwo.smurfy-ne...ef30ceab6254701

Good build. I use a 325XL (only ~-6kph) with a couple more heatsinks and I think a little less arm armor. I've had 900+ damage games and been accused of hacking in a 2A, no one expects to get pwned by a Cicada :P

#16 ElLocoMarko

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 01:23 PM

Thanks for all the tips. I might play around with this bug a little more.
I dropped in with the "Gauss Bug" last week and when I chatted that I was in a gauss bug someone started quizzing me on what bugs there were with the gauss cannon... :P

#17 Phoenix Gray

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 07:21 PM

I'm bumping this from the older Cicada builds thread down-forum...

The first is an all-the-bells-and-whistles model. It has max armor and enough speed to let it get in close enough to the enemy to neutralize their ECM with ECM or TAG, and the ranged firepower to engage them within that envelope:

http://mwo.smurfy-ne...ef21ad7a3e3be6c
  • Endosteel
  • Engine XL ENGINE 265
  • Speed 107.3 kph 118.1 kph
  • Heatsinks (DHS) 15
  • MEDIUM LASER 2
  • TAG 1
  • LRG PULSE LASER 1
  • GUARDIAN ECM 1
Building this one will take a lot of C-Bill grinding or winning the Capellan Lottery I keep getting those HPG's about.



The second is a no-frills, low-cost grunt. It utilizes no advanced tech, and is best suited for an escort, fast enough to stay close to a high-value heavy and still maneuver intercept enemy lights or give an enemy heavy something else to worry about . On its own its comparatively low speed and short-range weapons leave it vulnerable to faster lights:

http://mwo.smurfy-ne...dc0294735ce3eb3
  • Engine STD ENGINE 245
  • Speed 99.2 kph 109.1 kph
  • Heatsinks 17
  • MEDIUM LASER 4
Call it a 3025 build... *g*


May I say this forum seems unusually polite and well-run?

Edited by Phoenix Gray, 29 January 2013 - 07:26 PM.


#18 Darwins Dog

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 07:19 AM

Updated with new builds, and a section about modules.

#19 1453 R

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 07:47 AM

Heh...interesting note, Phoenix - your low-cost grunt runs nearly ten million C-Bills :)

The 3M comes standard equipped with an XL engine and double heat sinks, and costs just over seven million C-bills to pick up because of it. It's not something you really can build a low-cost Cicada out of. Instead, try this: Line Grunt

The 2A is cheap to buy at just over three million C, and it's easy to upgrade later on. I picked a STD300 because I happen to have a spare sitting around from a Dragon I've spent too much money on, but most any engine in the 280 and up range would be sufficient. I don't particularly like the thought of going much slower than 120, but the idea is to put something together that can take most any standard engine you've got sitting around and let you try a Cicada out for chump change. That particular 2A could give someone the idea for barely three million C, if they already have the engine.

#20 Cybermech

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 08:03 AM

Had a nice read there, thanks for that.

I would not recommend small laser fit cicada's to anyone.
only reason for this is to go with the jenner-d with 2xsrm4's to get extra srm ammo.
small lasers require point blank range which is not good for the cicada.





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