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MechWarrior 5 Mercenaries mechs guide

She's a beauty!

With so many Mechs in MechWarrior 5, it can be daunting for new players to know which ones are the best to take and which are the best to sell. The four different weight classes have their own play styles based on their armour, weapon variety, and speed. Some Mechs are also just flat out better or worse than others, so it's worth knowing in advance what they are.

MechWarrior 5 Mercenaries Mechs guide

This MechWarrior 5 Mech guide aims to help you work out which Mechs you should be adding to your roster for your mercenary group.

There are four different weight classes of Mechs in MechWarrior 5. Each one has their own role to play in a squad, or "Lance". A Lance has four slots which you can fill with four Mechs of your choosing. The only limitation is that you have a maximum "Deployable Tonnage" for every mission. This sets a limit on the maximum combined weight of all of the Mechs on a mission, meaning you can't just rock up to a tiny base using an entire squad of massive Stalker Assault Mechs. Every Mech also has a range of variants, which all have different weapon slot types. There isn't enough information out there to list every single variant for every single Mech type, but we have data on stats such as speed and weight.

The first thing you need to know about weapons is that certain weapon types can't be equipped onto smaller Mechs. For example, you can't have a "Flea" packing Particle Projector Cannons, which can be equipped to heavier Mechs such as the Battlemaster. The second thing to know is that weapon types are colour coded:

  • Blue: Energy weapons - infinite ammunition but weaker than ballistic weapons.
  • Yellow: Missile weapons - lots of ammunition, but have limited range and require you to lock onto the target to hit them reliably.
  • Purple: Ballistic weapons - deal decent damage and can be fired at range, but have a lower ammunition count than missile weapons.
  • Red - AMS weapons - designed specifically to destroy enemy missiles.

To find out more about each Mech weight class, click the links below:

  • Light Mechs
  • Medium Mechs
  • Heavy Mechs
  • Assault Mechs

MechWarrior 5 Light Mechs

Light Mechs - MechWarrior 5 Mech stats

The Light class of MechWarrior 5 Mechs are normally the speedy support units in your Lance. They're generally used to annoy the larger enemy Mechs by taking pot-shots, or destroying the non-Mech enemies to allow your Lance to focus on more dangerous enemies. You have eleven different models of Light Mech, each with their own varieties for altering their stats and equipment slots. The varieties on offer are:

  • Commando - 25 tonnes
  • Firestarter - 35 tonnes
  • Flea - 20 tonnes
  • Javelin - 30 tonnes
  • Jenner - 35 tonnes
  • Locust - 20 tonnes
  • Panther - 35 tonnes
  • Raven - 35 tonnes
  • Spider - 30 tonnes
  • Urbanmech - 30 tonnes
  • Wolfhound - 35 tonnes

As for which ones are generally the ones to pilot, provided you have a reliable Lance full of heavier Mechs, I'd go for a speedier Mech that can pester the enemy forces a little better, zipping around the map and completing any objectives they can. Any Mech with a speed of over 97.2km/h is ideal, but for their sheer speed ratings, the Jenner, Locust and Spider have higher maximum speeds and thus are a bit better at pestering slower Mechs by running around them. They do sacrifice a bit of either firepower or armour for this extra speed though.

Panther and Raven are slower than average, but have generally more armour to compensate. I also have a soft spot for the Wolfhound, which despite being a bit slower, can be equipped with a lot of laser weapons. In fact, the only Light Mech that seems to not be as effective is the Urbanmech. It's incredibly slow in comparison to every other light Mech thanks to its armour rating being a bit higher. It's as slow as the Annihilator - the slowest Assault Mech - so I'd generally shy away from Urbanmechs if possible.

MechWarrior 5 Medium Mechs

Medium Mechs - MechWarrior 5 Mech stats

The most models in the roster of MechWarrior 5 Mechs can be found in the Medium Mech class. Effective piloting of the Medium Mechs means striking a balance between pestering enemy forces, while at the same time hunting town Light Mechs from the opposing side. The options for Medium Mech models are:

  • Assassin - 40 tonnes
  • Blackjack - 45 tonnes
  • Centurion - 50 tonnes
  • Cicada - 40 tonnes
  • Crab - 50 tonnes
  • Enforcer - 50 tonnes
  • Griffin - 55 tonnes
  • Hunchback - 50 tonnes
  • Kintaro - 55 tonnes
  • Phoenix Hawk - 45 tonnes
  • Shadow Hawk - 55 tonnes
  • Trebuchet - 50 tonnes
  • Vindicator - 45 tonnes
  • Wolverine - 55 tonnes

You'll start the main campaign with access to the Centurion Medium Mech and honestly, it is pretty good for the opening hours. It has slots for three different weapon types and has better armour than the Light Mechs. However it is vastly outclassed in all respects outside of weapon variety by many other Medium Mechs.

The best models include the Crab, Griffin, Hunchback, and Wolverine. These Mechs still need to be a little nimble, any Medium Mech with a base speed of roughly 81km/h or more should be plenty, but they should also be packing a little more firepower and armour to protect the smaller Mechs in your Lance. The Assassin Mech can fulfil both roles as a Light and Medium mech, as it's faster than many Light Mechs, at the cost of some firepower.

MechWarrior 5 Heavy Mechs

Heavy Mechs - MechWarrior 5 Mech stats

Getting into the Heavy Mech territory, your focus will have shifted away from pestering enemy tanks and planes, and instead gunning directly for enemy Mechs. You'll have plenty of bulk to hand and depending on the weapons you equip, you'll either be getting close to your enemy or launching a barrage of missiles from afar. The Heavy Mechs are:

  • Archer - 70 tonnes
  • Black Knight - 75 tonnes
  • Cataphract - 70 tonnes
  • Catapult - 65 tonnes
  • Dragon - 60 tonnes
  • Grasshopper - 70 tonnes
  • Jagermech - 65 tonnes
  • Marauder - 75 tonnes
  • Orion - 75 tonnes
  • Quickdraw - 60 tonnes
  • Rifleman - 60 tonnes
  • Thunderbolt - 65 tonnes
  • Warhammer - 70 tonnes

Your role is to provide the most bang for your buck, so prioritising armour and firepower over speed is the key to success. Most Mechs of this class come in with a top speed of around 64km/h, which is honestly enough for what you need. To give you an idea of how fast that is, the Centurion in the Medium Mech class is the same speed, so you don't need more speed. As for the best ones, I recommend the Cataphract, Jagermech, Orion, and Thunderbolt.

It's also worth noting here that by the time you're finding Heavy Mechs, you'll probably be caring a little more about Deployable Tonnage. It's therefore better to deploy Medium Mechs, rather than either the Quickdraw or Dragon. The deployable tonnage saved will enable you to bring a few heavier Mechs with better weapon variety and armour into battle.

MechWarrior 5 Assault Mechs

Assault Mechs - MechWarrior 5 Mech stats

The heaviest of all of the MechWarrior 5 Mechs are the Assault class. These hulking mechanical monstrosities have the best armour, the most weapon slots, and the best potential range. However, these Mechs are the most expensive to maintain, generate the most heat, and are incredibly slow. Pilots of the Assault Mechs should primarily try to destroy enemy Heavy and Assault Mechs. Here are all of the Assault Mech models in MechWarrior 5:

  • Annihilator - 100 tonnes
  • Atlas - 100 tonnes
  • Awesome - 80 tonnes
  • Banshee - 95 tonnes
  • Battlemaster - 85 tonnes
  • Cyclops - 90 tonnes
  • Highlander - 90 tonnes
  • King Crab - 100 tonnes
  • Mauler - 90 tonnes
  • Nightstar - 95 tonnes
  • Stalker - 85 tonnes
  • Victor - 80 tonnes
  • Zeus - 80 tonnes

You're not going to be zipping around the battlefield in Assault Mechs, as they generally have a speed of around 48km/h. If we're honest, having decent ranged weapons on an Assault Mech can deal some heavy early damage to the enemy team. Good examples of this include the Stalker, Atlas, and Nightstar.

As Assault Mechs are also expensive to maintain, you may get some success with the likes of Annihilator, Victor, or Zeus. However, their armour is low compared to other Mechs of a similar class, and the Annihilator has the same speed as the Urbanmech - the worst Light Mech - so its usefulness is limited.

There's plenty more to discover with regards to Mechs. While Instant Action mode has a taste of the available Mechs that you will be able to pilot in-game, it's possible that there are hidden Mech variants in the campaign mode that boast better overall stats or weapon slot compositions. Until these are found, you can pass the time by climbing aboard your Mech and getting used to how they run with help from our MechWarrior 5 guide.

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MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries

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About the Author
Dave Irwin avatar

Dave Irwin

Former Guides Writer

Dave was a guides writer for Rock Paper Shotgun from 2018-2020. He previously worked as a freelancer for TheSixthAxis, Tech Advisor and Kotaku, producing hundreds of guides to help people get better at their favourite games. He now writes guides for PCGamesN.