Thursday, 2 January 2014

MechTalk - Blackjack


Designed during the Star League era as a counter insurgency 'mech the Blackjack has had a rough life.  Developed by General Motors in record time the Blackjack was a solid 45 ton design equipped with jumpjets and a good mix of short and long range firepower.  Sadly the 'mech developed a bad reputation amongst pilots and Star League officials with the unit being discontinued after only a few years of production.  These reports of poor performance, weak armour and unstable footpads however have never been substantiated and would appear to be the result of corporate sabotage by rival battlemech developers.

The design has been held in contempt for centuries and was rarely used in combat the successor states with the largest number of remaining units being used by Davion and Liao militia's.  However after a valiant victory by defending Davion forces against a Kuritan strike force, Davion have begun to re-evaluate the design and have even discovered that many of the reports of the 'mechs unreliability are in fact lies. 

In Mechwarrior Online the Blackjack is the little brother to the Jagermech although in Battletech the two units have no relation to each other outside of mounting autocannons in the arms.  Where the Jager was built to surpass the Rifleman, the Blackjack was designed for urban warfare.  The variants in MWO give a great mix of energy and ballistics builds and it's not unusual to see AC/20 Blackjacks backing up larger 'mechs online.  It's jumpjet capability make it a useful jump sniper and it's speed can make it difficult to counter by heavier 'mechs.

The Blackjack however isn't the most resilient 'mech in the world.  It's centre torso is a large target and it's distinct profile can make identifying it easy at range.  Care also has to be taken with regards to heat generation as the 'mech can easily overheat in battle since it's easy to mount too many weapons onto the small chassis. 

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