Mech Spotlight 1: The Valiant
Welcome to the first Mech Spotlight, an intermittent series where I take a look at a chassis in BTA that I feel deserves more attention than it gets normally. This spotlight is on a quirky and under-loved light mech, the Valiant.
The Valiant is a 30 ton light Inner Sphere BattleMech. There are 6 variants of the Valiant, which cover a wide variety of hardpoints among them. The Valiant's quirk is Improved Targeting, providing a +1 bonus on weapon attacks. The Valiant's affinity is Precise Shot, providing another +1 bonus on weapon attacks. The quirk and affinity combine to make it among the most accurate of light mechs. The Valiant's main claim-to-fame is that four of its six configurations mount melee weapons, three with a Hatchet and one with a Mace (one of only a few mechs with a Mace in all of BTA in fact). Two configurations also mount a Small Shield, for added durability.
The Valiant comes in six flavors: the -K5, -K7, -L2, -L7, -M4, and -M6. The -K5/-K7 are the traditional energy variants with hatchets. The -L2/-L7 are the two variants without a melee weapon. The -M4/-M6 are sort of the oddball variants that do unusual things while still maintaining the mech's melee heritage with a hatchet or mace.
The K5 is a simple variant, made with no advanced technology beyond the arm-mounted Small Shield. Thanks to the shield, the K5 is one of the most durable Valiants. It has basic hardpoints, 3 energy and 3 support, giving it decent combat options, though 1 support is occupied by the hardwired hatchet. Additionally, because of the hardwired shield, it has less available tonnage than other Valiants. It also comes with single heat sinks, the only variant to do so, making it expensive to refit. It is fielded by Local Govt, the Magistracy, the Marians, the Outworlds, the Rim Collection, and the Taurians, meaning it is widely available.
The K7 is the "stock" Valiant. It carries the hardwired hatchet but no shield. It also has similar hardpoints to the K5, with 3 energy and 4 support (one occupied by the hatchet of course). However, it comes with a larger engine, double heat sinks, and MASC, as well as the extra tonnage without the shield, making the K7 a little easier to use than the K5. It is fielded by Local Govt, the Kuritans, the Davions, and the Steiners, making it widely available.
The first melee-less Valiant, the L2 is a missile-focused design. It comes with good components, such as double heat sinks, an [Engine_XL|XL engine]], CASE, and heavy ferro-fibrous armor, making it a good acquisition early on in a career. It has 5 missile hardpoints as well, making it an excellent early-game SRM carrier, though it lacks the tonnage to do much else, being far too light for [Weapons#Standard_LRM|LRMs]] or Thunderbolts. It would make a passable MML carrier however. It is fielded by only the Draconis Combine, making it hard to come across.
The second melee-less Valiant, the L7 is a focused ballistic design. It is the slowest Valiant out of the box but has the most available space thanks to the slower engine and being the only Valiant with Endo-Steel. It also has mixed hardpoints, 3 ballistic/2 energy/1 support, giving it a variety of possible builds. It makes a good early-game direct fire support design with Light Autocannons or perhaps a single larger autocannon. Thanks to the Endo-Steel, it would also make a good twin Large Laser or PPC carrier early on. It comes with decent components, such as double heat sinks, CASE, and a Light Engine. It is fielded only by the Federated Suns, making it hard to come across.
One of the so-called "weird" Valiants, the M4 carries a hatchet like the K series Valiants, as well as double heat sinks and some ER Medium Lasers, but it uses most of the tonnage it gets from its heavy ferro-fibrous armor on a pair of Mortar/2s with both suppressant and inferno ammo. This gives it unusual hardpoints: 2 ballistic/3 energy/2 support (one used by the hatchet). The ballistics are torso mounted, giving them increased protection over the L7's arm mounts. The M4 is fielded by Local Govt, the Magistracy, the Circinians, the Outworlds, the Rim Collection, and the Taurians, meaning it is widely available.
The other so-called "weird" Valiant, the M6 is another missile focused design, with exclusively missile and support hardpoints (one of which is occupied by a mace). The mace gives the mech some unique hitting power and makes it stand out among melee mechs in BTA. The M6 also mounts a hardwired small shield, giving the M6 further durability on-par with the K5. It comes with good early-game components, such as double heat sinks, ferro-fibrous armor, and an XL engine. It is fielded only by Local Govt, Pirates, and the Tortugans, making it moderately uncommon to come across.
The Valiant is a versatile, wide-spread, interesting chassis. Though it has a reputation as a light melee chassis, the L series Valiants demonstrate that it makes a fine weapon carrier as well. I encourage you to give the Valiant a try, it does some unique things (such as a mace/shield combo or being an excellent light missile carrier) and is worth your time. Come back next time, when we stop in with the [Factions#Clans|Clans]] for a moment!