Review of a Writeup- my overview of SubCapital weapons

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  • Last Post 08 March 2020
Prince posted this 03 March 2020

Hey guys, I've been steadily making a PDF copypasta-style document detailing SubCapital weapons in Btech, added in the Jihad with little detail outside of the norm despite some of their potential. It's in rough draft currently and still needs tightening, but I'm looking for all your opinions on the weapons if I'm discussing just in case there's something I screw up. I'm also looking for more examples of Good and Bad users of some of these guns- for instance, I'm pretty sure the Naga II CASPAR variant is going to join the "bad" user for the SCLs, but I haven't read Siege of Terra in a bit so I'll have to add something like that later.

First, here's some basic notes and details:

 

Some basic rules and thoughts for all subcaps-
1. They need to be in groups. There's only one sub-cap I can think to single-mount.
2. Each group (ballistic, laser ect.) is different about what group it needs to be in. Subcap ACs need to work with standard naval ACs. Subcap Lasers are better in their own bays, same with subcap missiles.
3. They need to be able to take advantage of firing patterns (so 3 or more). Any less, and you seriously might not want to bother.
Missiles largely win out here in math; their ammo is VERY light in comparison (Barracuda 30T, White Shark 40T, Killer Whale 50T) and the Manta Ray actually deals more damage. All of this however, is at the expense of range- There really are only 2 sub capital missiles worth using because of some odd choices made by Catalyst. SubCaps also suffer from the general "glass cannon" nature a dropship has against a single warship; the Castrum is great, but even a small warship like a Fredasa could easily take 3 of them.
Updated to v3.03
https://bg.battletech.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Tactical-Operations-2019-12-06-v3.03.pdf

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Prince posted this 03 March 2020

SUB-CAPITAL MISSILES


⦁    Piranha
30 damage (3 capital)
9 heat
"Long" Capital range
100 tons per launcher
Each missile weighs 10 tons
Good user: Vanir (12 launchers, split into 3x Prianha bays)
One of 3 weapons in the whole sub-capital lineup that has long range, and thanks to it's light weight and measly 10 tons per missile it's a fantastic weapon to boat and use as screeners to help White Sharks or other AR-10 fired rounds through. Note however, it has no additional critical chance against fighters at all so it's just a meaty thwack; if you read Tac Ops, that -1 to-hit was erratta'ed out to a 0 which to me is a big loss but was needed to keep this from usurping the Barracuda. Still makes this the most accurate sub-capital against fighters, second only to SCLs in anti-fighter mode at a +1.
Because The Piranha is less accurate against fighters but has very light ammo (10 tons versus the Barracuda's 30 tons apiece) it's best use is massed long range fire against things like dropships and THEN fighters. If only basic anti-fighter defense is needed- like you have other guns and want a couple of big missiles just in case- straight Barracudas are better.
Other uses are on dropships and massed bearings-only launches. Again, the Piranha has VERY light ammo and 600 tons gets you 3 3-point capital hits for 10 rounds each, which is easily done on something like a Leopard- whereas several Piranha's can be fired off bearings-only to act as something as a mobile minefield.


⦁    Stingray
35 Damage (3.5 capital)
12 heat
"Medium" Capital Range
120 tons per launcher
12 tons per missile

Welcome to the "Why" gun, and the subcap missiles have two.
Medium range means this is hard to do bearings-only launches, so you'll likely be firing directly at something instead. The Ciritical chance against fighters is an ignorable 12. With it's medium range it can really only be compared to things like the NAC/35, where 10 of these have the same heat and damage but weighs a quarter of the naval cannon. Best use would likely be playing second fiddle to said naval cannon as accessory capital damage but to be frank, would have better options with other subcapitals INCLUDING the Piranha.
What would use it? Fast dropships and light brawler warships, but even that is kind of questionable. Losing 5 damage and a *chance* of a crit against a fighter means you can go Piranhas instead which have long range and weigh less. Now the 0.5 damage can be useful against AMS, but going heavier and short range really doesn't take that much weight. Why was this not removed and the Swordfish made medium range? Why is this the 4th missile weapon when the Lasers/ACs only have 3? Anyway...


⦁    Swordfish
40 Damage (4 capital)
15 Heat
"Short" Capital range
140 tons
15 tons per missile
The Swordfish is the next "Why" missile, and I can't stress enough that bumping this up to medium range and removing the Stingray entirely would have actually given this a role- The Swordfish is poised against the Manta Ray which is worth the investment in weight due to it's dumbass damage despite it's terrible range. I have to stress that the Swordfish isn't a BAD weapon; it just gets trounced.
So the Swordfish is light and deals apeshit damage for a small launcher, and the critical chance is somewhat better. If you're dead-set on it for some reason, it's only use is on something that can brawl- a dropship MAYBE, but it's real ticket is on warships as a point-blank feint which is it's problem.  Critical chance against aerofighters is on 11+.


⦁    Manta Ray
50 Damage (5 Capital) !
21 Heat
"Short" capital range
160 tons per launcher
18 tons per missile
Good examples: Isegrim(3x Manta Rays in the nose)
BIG DICK. The Manta Ray has the best tonnage to damage ratio of the capital class weapons bar-none I think, taking into account the "limit 20 or firing computer time" issue. The short range is crippling- but 5 capital damage of of 160 tons is nuts, especially when it's to-hit against fighters is actually accpetable for what you're getting. Critical chance against aerotech is 10+.
It's best use is on faster warships like the Pinto and Mako as both a "FUCK OFF" weapon it can use it's speed to drop, fast droppers like the Noruff, and (funny enough) also a form of armor. The Hammerhead aerofighter and Thunderbird are two that could be frequently seen and both need to be in point-blank range; the threat of being swatted with a 50-point chunk that could tear a wing clean off can SERIOUSLY dissuade them from making a pass. Since it has even less range than a screen launcher, mixing the two can be an excellent idea.

Prince posted this 03 March 2020

SUB-CAPITAL LASERS
Notably, Sub-capital lasers can also go into "Anti-fighter mode" like naval lasers but START at the +3 to-hit; meaning that when in that mode, fire at aerospace fighters at only a +1! This makes SCLs fantastic against aerospace, especially since their capital nature means they force control rolls.


⦁    Sub-Capital Laser/1
10 Damage
24 Heat
"Long" capital range
150 tons
Good User: Merlin R1
Because of it's "long" capital range the SCL/1 deserves a special place, being the lightest weapon to achive it meaning it can also function in orbital bombardment; despite the accuracy and damage of the subcaps being TERRIBLE for that role.
The SCL/1 is a fantastic support gun. Throw it in anti-fighter mode and leave it; shoot any aerotech that gets near. 10 damage (1 capital) is piss, but forcing control rolls isn't and thanks to it's range aerospace will likely be hit by this constantly. Best use of the SCL/1 is as a replacement for the NL35, as 4 SCL/1s save 150 tons but are far more accurate thanks to the use of bracketing fire modes- they'll do 3 damage instead of 3.5 but at a 0+ against aerofighters to hit instead of +3 for a single NL/35. 5 SCL/1s is even better for the same weight, though far more heat.
Another use for the SCL/1 is to play hell with bracket firing math. Mate it to some bigger lasers to bump those precentages a little bit higher, where single points of extra damage really count. Otherwise, just just keep it with other SCL/1s.

⦁    Sub-Captial Laser/2
20 damage (2 Capital)
28 heat
"Medium" Capital range
200 tons
⦁    Sub-Capital Laser/3
30 Damage (3 capital)
32 heat
"Medium" Capital range
250 tons
Good users: Tiamat (3x SCL/3 bays)
Here's an odd bit- the SCL 2 and 3 only gain an advantage over the other depending on what unit they're mounted to, In another moment of "Did Catalyst REALLY think this through?". Note how efficient the heat is. Dealing another 10 damage only costs another 4. Basically, the laser you choose depends entirely on how much tonnage you are willing to spend- if you're mounting them to dropships less than 6,000 tons then the /2 is likely going to be your choice, since the saved 50 tons may acutally matter.
The other purpose for the smaller SCL/2 is for playing with the math of bracket-firing.
For a warship needing some HEAVY anti-aerofighter firepower, four SCL/3s and one SCL/2 is a whole 1,250 tons for 14 capital damage, compared to a single Naval Laser 55 at 1,100 tons for 5.5 capital. Even just bringing it to 0+ to-hit against fighters will deal 11 capital; if you need to *delete* a fighter you can drop the to-hit to a total -2 and still deal 5 capital damage.

Prince posted this 03 March 2020

SUB-CAPITAL CANNONS
Sub-cap cannons are fun and very potent for their weight, though they share a lot in common with the SubCap lasers and the Piranha so choosing between them all can be difficult- they are seriously solid, but a little unremarkable in a good way. This is because unlike the Missiles or lasers, the Sub Capital cannons work VERY well with their bigger bothers eschewing the +3 against smaller targets to make very powerful, bracketable groups with the heaviest NACs.


⦁    Light Sub-Capital Cannon
20 Damage (2 Capital)
12 Heat
"Long" Capital Range
200 Tons
2 Rounds of ammo per ton
Good user:
Poor User: Stock WoB Interdictor (2x in the nose, would be better with more AR-10s or Piranha launchers)
    The Light SCC is like the Piranha missile- it's role is being massed together. It likes being with it's friends. It's light weight and great range means boating them is the proper method of use.
    Though droppers can use them no problem, the other big user should be small warships who mount single NAC/10s like the Baron or Vincent. 5 Light SCCs has the same range, half the weight and 20 more heat- not a bad tradeoff at all!  Factor in firing brackets and a single 5-bay Light SCC suddenly becomes a HIGHLY accurate replacement.
    The second use is for strapping it to NAC/20s and /25s. Tons of warships pair them, and suddenly attaching 4 Light Sub-cannons to a pair of NAC/20s means you play with math to really open up some accuracy. Twin NAC/25s with a single Light Sub-cannon also plays with math well with only the -3 option loosing damage to rounding.


⦁    Medium Sub-Capital Cannon
50 Damage (5 Capital)
30 heat
"Medium" Capital Range
500 Tons
1 round of ammo per ton
Good User: Castrum
Poor User: RotS Interdictor SCC-Class (2x Medium SCC in the nose only)
    Though it seems on first glance that the Medium SCC would be easily forgotten against the backdrop of the Heavy cannons, the Mediums are actually smartly designed and are best used on dropships whom need to balance tonnage and damage. 4 Mediums weigh less than 3 heavies and will be able to drop their to-hit to a 0 in exchange for 8 capital if need be, while the heavies will only be able to drop to a +1.
A notable idea- The medium SCC has the same range as the NAC/40, and a bracket of 3 Medium SCCs with said /40 firing for a -3 still deal 22 damage.


⦁    Heavy Sub-Capital Cannon
70 Damage (7 capital)
42 heat
"Medium" Capital range
700 Tons
1 Round of Ammo per 2 tons.
Good User: Taihou (kinda. 4x in the nose)
    The Heavy SCC needs little introduction- it's an "embiggened" Medium SubCapital cannon adding 200 tons for another 20 damage, a good trade in the warship world. The best use of the heavies is for replacing the NAC/35; 5 Heavy SCCs weights 500 tons less but has heavier ammo (?!) so I'd use it if you want good broadside power in a slahing attack but you potentially need brackets too. I'd personally run a minimum of 3 of these in their own bay each time, OR pair them with said NAC/35 or NAC/40 to make bracketing easier. 4 Heavy SCCs and a single NAC/40 can bracket -2 for 40 damage still; there's quite a few implications with that!

Thunder posted this 07 March 2020

Capital AA fire can not be combined with bracketed firing mode.
Capital Missile bays can not use bracketed firing mode.

Adding sub Capital direct fire weapons to augment capital bays bracket fire is something I have not thought of.

Sub-Cap missiles critical hit chance applies to larger warships too.  So massed fire from individual bays could be crippling to anything with insufficient AMS.  (How much AMS does the leviathan have...)

You don't need to be in orbit to use orbital bombardment.  A dropship with Medium range sub-cap weapons can hover just off map and rain down explody bits. Or an airship.

Prince posted this 08 March 2020

Capital AA fire can not be combined with bracketed firing mode.
Capital Missile bays can not use bracketed firing mode.

Adding sub Capital direct fire weapons to augment capital bays bracket fire is something I have not thought of.

Sub-Cap missiles critical hit chance applies to larger warships too.  So massed fire from individual bays could be crippling to anything with insufficient AMS.  (How much AMS does the leviathan have...)

You don't need to be in orbit to use orbital bombardment.  A dropship with Medium range sub-cap weapons can hover just off map and rain down explody bits. Or an airship.

I'll have to double-check on brackets with AA fire- I didn't see any rule that said one couldn't.

Yeah, the rough draft does a bad job of saying that capital missile bays don't fire in brackets, my mistake.

I'm surprised you didn't see the whole "math warrior" aspect to subcaps Thunder- Getting slow ? But seriously, that is their prime use to me second to cheap, high damage with the missiles and accurate AA and control roll forcing with the lasers- the cannons can really bulk out a bog-standard 2xNAC/20 bay that you see on tons of craft.

Funny enough, the sub-cap missile crit against warships I didn't even realize- that means the Manta Ray has another advantage, it has an even better crit chance than the Killer Whale/White Shark making them even more absurd for the dismal range. Piranha's still (to me) are the capital-class "Macross missile spam" weapon of the subcaps, though it's long range, light weight and 30 damage still keeps it relevant- just toss em' in, like a wrestling jabroni!

You wouldn't want to use subcaps for orbital bombardment anyway- WAY too inaccurate- but you totally could have World War 1 dirigible airships carrying subcapital lasers, which is HILARIOUS.

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