Battletech Mech Overview: Battlemaster

This week in Battletech we’re talking about one of my favorite assault mechs, the Battlemaster. Included in the A Game of Armored Combat box, the Battlemaster is a great workhorse, with one of the 34 different variants able to fill most roles.

Wolf’s Dragoons Battlemaster. Credit: Jack Hunter

At 85 tons, the Battlemaster is at the top end of Inner Sphere mechs that are typically able to move 4/6, and most variants run with near-max armor. On most maps, this makes it an effective brawler – it’s fast enough to reasonably be able to move from cover to cover on the way to the fight and have enough armor to take a beating once you’re there. While a bigger 3/5 mech may have more raw armor, it’s also much more likely to be caught out of position.

With only a handful of exceptions, most variants end up with a similar weapon load – a big gun in the right arm, a spread of medium weapons across the torso, and some anti-infantry in the left arm. Nearly all variants also have a focus on energy weapons, so if you’re running a campaign this mech has great endurance.

My ratings assume that you’re playing an ilClan era game, and are not using TacOps. If you’re playing an earlier era some of the less impressive variants will pull ahead by virtue of nearly all their competition also topping out at “just ok”, and TacOps saves some of the command variants by making command consoles do anything.

These mechs have all been reviewed based on a standard F through S scale, which you can find described on our landing page here (along with all the other ‘mech reviews).

Standard Variants

Legion of Vega Battlemaster. Credit: SRM


With a PPC, six medium lasers (of which two fire to the rear), an SRM 6, and two machine guns the base Battlemaster variant is able to put out quite a bit of firepower, though the 18 heat sinks do hamper it. A full frontal alpha puts out 26 heat before movement, so once it’s close enough to be firing more than just the PPC it gets toasty fast. It does have a lot of armor, and the two rear facing medium lasers are enough firepower that you don’t have to be terrified of a light mech. Unfortunately, 3 tons of ammo in the left torso means there’s a huge ammo explosion risk. At 1519 BV, this isn’t going to let you down, but it doesn’t do anything particularly well other than being armored. My rating: C+


Fairly similar to the 1G, this variant drops the rear facing lasers and SRM6 for some extra heat sinks and armor. It sinks 24 heat, and generates 24 heat at a run, so it’s perfectly neutral. You lose the ammo bomb from 2 tons of SRM ammo, but do keep the machine guns. Broadly I think this is fine, but once we stripped out most of the ammo bomb of the SRM 6 I really want the machine guns gone too, I’d gladly have lost them and kept the rear facing lasers. 1522 BV is about the same as the 1G, and I’d always take it instead. My rating: C-


This is a well armored fire support mech. It’s carrying an LRM 15, LRM 5, two SRM 2s, and 4 medium lasers, for a weapon load that’s kinda all over the place. Not enough long range weapons to be good at fire support, not enough short range to brawl, and with enough heat sinks that the only way its overheating is if you’re firing both LRMs and SRMs at the same time, it’s a mech without a real job. If you want to chuck missiles at things, take a Catapult, which puts more missiles down range for just over 100 BV cheaper than the 1507 of the 1S. My rating: D-


Loaded down with double heat sinks, this is a pretty solid upgrade on the base 1G. Two ER PPCs and a large pulse are already overwhelming the heat sinks, even before you start firing the medium lasers, but you can deal consistent damage by firing just a portion of your guns and saving the full alpha strike for when you’ve got a great shot. As a bonus, the ammo bomb is completely gone, so this mech is sticking around a long time. 1825 BV is higher than the other early battlemasters, but in most games it still won’t be too much of your force. My rating: B


This drops some heat sinks from the 1Gb for a command console. If you are using the TacOps rule where you get an initiative boost that’s ok, but otherwise this thing runs way too hot. It’s the same cost as the 1Gb, and worse in every situation. My rating: C-


A 1G that upgraded the heatsinks to doubles, this is a mostly great mech. It’s also pulled the machine guns for a command console, but even when you aren’t using TacOps getting rid of the machine guns at all is good, so I’m much less critical. The only real downside to it is that it’s now over-sinked, as you’re heat neutral at a run while firing every gun, including the two rear-facing medium lasers. 1577 BV isn’t that much higher than the basic 1G, so I’d take this unless I’m really hunting for points. My rating: B


Another command console design, this is back down to single heatsinks, which are badly overwhelmed as soon as you start firing more than the ER PPC. 1563 BV isn’t even cheaper than the 1G for a mech worse in pretty much every way. My rating: D-


Another of the various double heat sink upgrades, this also brings CASE in for the SRM and machine gun ammo. As this is using a standard fusion engine and hasn’t stuck a fragile XL in, the mech can survive an ammo explosion, though there’s still a good chance that one explosion will cause at least one of the other 2 crits of ammo in that torso explode, and may knock the pilot out from injuries. One of those ammo slots isn’t even doing anything for you as it feeds the single machine gun that’ll contribute roughly nothing to the game. 1679 BV puts this solidly in between the 1Gb and the 1Gc, though I’d say it’s not quite as worth taking as either of those. My rating: B-


Drop the 3M to 1627BV, get rid of the rear firing lasers, and add a command console. It has all of the same problems as the 3M, but isn’t introducing any new issues. My rating: B-


This is a weird side-jump kind of like the 1S, swapping the PPC for a LRM-20, upgrading the lasers to medium pulses, and switching to an XL engine. Even though it still has single heat sinks, it’s adequately sinked assuming it’s firing either the short range or long ranged weapons. One big issue is that it has ammo in both side torsos, so even with CASE it’s pretty fragile. At least this one is cheaper than a catapult, though I’d rather have the catapult. My rating: D


A stealth Battlemaster, this has ECM and stealth armor, making it harder to hit, though it still can’t build up substantial TMM for protection as a 4/6 mech. It has 3 jump jets to give it a bit of extra maneuverability, but the weapons loadout is anemic – a light gauss rifle (bad), 2 light PPCs, 2 ER medium lasers, and a MML 7 with 3 tons of ammo (one ton too many). An unfortunate downside of the stealth armor is that it’s dropped 10 points of center torso armor, making it more fragile when it does get hit. At 1932 BV I can’t see much reason to ever field this. My rating: F


The 4S goes back to being a standard gunboat, with a gauss rifle, mix of ER and regular medium lasers, SRM6, and small pulse lasers. Everything is shooting forwards, and it does overheat when it’s shooting everything, but if you ignore the regular medium lasers and small pulse lasers you’re at 26 heat at a walk, which coincidentally is exactly how much you sink. This puts out a lot of damage in close, doesn’t carry any damn machine guns, and is well armored. It does have a light fusion engine, but as it’s not an XL you can still survive losing a side torso. It’s expensive at 2018 BV, but it’s not going to be a disappointment. My rating: B+

Battletech Archer and Battlemaster. Credit: SRM and Josh


Another variant with a light gauss as a “main” weapon, the 1766 BV of this mech should be spent on a 1Gb instead. My rating: D


Yet another weird command console variant, this one has 4 light AC/5s, some small x-pulse and ER small lasers, and a streak SRM 6. It’s completely forgone the typical right arm weapon, and ends up doing almost no damage. Four tons of ammo for the ACs means you can take specialty ammo with no concerns, so it can end up relatively accurate against fast movers with precision ammo, but it doesn’t actually do enough damage when it hits them, nor does it have a lot of range. CASE II means you won’t instantly die to an ammo explosion, but its got 5 tons of ammo so plenty of room to turn the pilot to goo instead. 1557 BV isn’t expensive, but this isn’t a good mech. My rating: D


Going back to variants that are good, this mech lives in PPC land. Heavy PPC in the arm, light PPCs in the side torsos, and a streak SRM 6 with only one ton of ammo (that’s CASE II protected!). ER small lasers protect the rear (ehh, whatever) and small x-pulse lasers replace the machine guns to let you clear infantry effectively. It does run a bit hot, sinking 32 heat compared to generating 35 with just the various PPCs, but not so hot it isn’t still effective. At a walk you’ll generate 4 heat, then turn off one light PPC the next turn. It’s big concern is that all the PPCs are minimum range 3, so if something gets really close damage falls off hard. 1960 BV isn’t even all that crazy for this, it has one headchopping weapon with good range and the endurance to stick around. My rating: B+


Mixed Clan and Inner Sphere tech makes this an interesting variant, though I don’t think I’d call it good. The primary weapon is a rotary AC/5, backed up by Inner Sphere light PPCs and a streak SRM 6, with a pair of rear facing improved heavy medium lasers. I don’t like rotary ACs in general as they’re the opposite of reliable, and the improved heavy lasers mean you have between 3 and 5 explosive crit slots in each side torso. Even protected by CASE II, that’s a lot of potential pilot injuries. A single TAC to the right torso is a 20%ish chance of an ammo explosion. At 2181 BV, you have better choices of Battlemasters. My rating: D


A heavy PPC and thunderbolt 15 are the primary weapons here, which gives you two opportunities to make a cockpit vanish with the exact same range bands. While this is nice, the XL gyro is a big weakness, as is having minimal support weapons. At 1958 BV, it’s only 2 cheaper than the 6G, and I’d always take it instead – though at the end of the day a bunch of armor and 2 headchoppers isn’t bad. My rating: B-


This has an XXL engine – 6 crit slots per side torso. The left torso only has a single crit of padding. Over 2000 BV. My rating: F-


The exact opposite of the previous variant, a compact engine and heavy duty gyro make this incredibly durable. It’s not tremendously well armed with an ER PPC, 6 ER medium lasers, and a Streak SRM-4, but that’s also not poorly armed. Firing everything it runs hot, but I think that’s a reasonable tradeoff to be able to bring something this durable at 1927 BV. My rating: B


Basically the same as the 10S, this trades a heat sink for a C3 slave. I’d rate it about the same as the 10S, if you are running a C3 lance this is a good durable spotter. My rating: B


Another C3 mech, this brings a pair of C3 masters. It’s slower, well armored, and not particularly well armed – but that doesn’t matter if you’re bringing this. It only exists to run double-master, and if you’re doing that it’s a decent pick. Otherwise it’s trash. 1883 BV is fine for that, I suppose. My rating: B if you’re running a full C3 company, F- if you aren’t.


With a single C3 master, this one might actually get used in normal games. An XL engine loses some of the survivability of the Battlemaster, but with an ER PPC and pair of ER large lasers it can hold further back and hopefully avoid some of the damage. 1851 BV is pretty reasonable for this, but only if you’re running a C3 lance. My rating: B-


Back in the land of weird battlemasters, this drops down to 3/5 movement, but then adds 5 improved jump jets. It has an XL engine, but takes a heavy duty gyro – more fragile in one area, more durable in the other. A gauss rifle, snub PPC, and large pulse laser make up the primary armament, which it’s adequately sinked to run. At 2232 BV, I think you’re paying way too much for mobility and not bringing a whole lot of firepower. My rating: D


Yet another C3 master variant, this runs a light gauss, pair of light PPCs, and an MML-5. While more durable than the K3, it does substantially less damage. If you need to save 200 BV, this is only 1674, but I’d rather take the K3. My rating: C

Clan Variants

Battletech Battlemaster. Credit: 40khamslam.

Battlemaster C

What if we take a Battlemaster and make it expensive? 3025 BV puts this firmly in Clan assault mech territory, but it brings a ton of firepower. A clan XL engine isn’t as bad as an inner sphere version, so while it is at risk of engine crits I still wouldn’t call it fragile. The right arm carries a HAG/30 (which I love, while Perigrin thinks isn’t great), the torsos have a mix of ER medium lasers and medium pulses, and it carries an ATM 6 with all 3 types of ammo. Tie all that into a targeting computer, and bring almost enough heat sinks to run neutral, and this thing puts out a lot of damage very consistently. My rating: A

Battlemaster C 2

Described as a production version of the Red Corsair (reviewed below), this has some fairly substantial differences. First, it has a standard engine instead of an XL, bringing back the typical battlemaster durability. Second, it runs ER medium lasers instead of pulses, and drops the rear facing ones entirely. Finally, it has 4 fewer heat sinks, which means it runs hot as soon as you want to shoot something other than the PPCs. 2538 BV is cheaper than the Red Corsair, but I’d much rather take the C 3 instead of this for almost exactly as much. My rating: B-

Battlemaster C 3

This is a Clan BLR-3M – all the same weapons but upgraded to clan versions instead (and switching the SRM 6 for a streak version). Tied into a targeting computer all those weapons end up extra accurate. Firing all the front facing weapons doesn’t heat it up a whole lot, and it has managed to still run a regular fusion engine. With durability and accurate firepower this is a fantastic brawler, especially as it has a pair of rear mounted medium lasers to discourage any smaller mechs from flanking. My only complaint is that it still has a pair of machine guns in the left arm, though the ammo is also put there and case protected, so it could be a lot worse. I’d rather it was just small lasers and an additional heat sink though. 2579 BV makes this expensive, though not as expensive as the C or many other clan assault mechs. I’d never complain about bringing this, it’ll work well in almost any game. My rating: A

Custom Variants

Lyran Guards Battlemaster. Credit: Jack Hunter

Why are there so many battlemasters??????????????

BLR-1G Red Corsair

This is mostly a clan blr-1GBc, using the weight savings from switching to an XL engine to upgrade the medium lasers to medium pulses, add them back to the rear, and bring a lot more heat sinks. It’s actually well enough sinked to fire both ER PPCs and the large pulse at a run, though will massively overheat as soon as it starts shooting the pulses. At 2745 BV it’s very expensive (Sarna is wrong, check the record sheet in RS:Clan Invasion), and I’d rather either step up to the C or down a little to the C 3. My rating: B

BLR-3M Rogers

Take a normal 3M, which is a decent mech, and trade heat sinks, the machine gun, and the SRM6 for 7 streak SRM 2s (for 14 total tubes). While I think a trio of streak SRM 2s is better than a single streak SRM 6 (as it means you’re getting more chances of missiles hitting, not needing to deal with cluster tables, and still not wasting ammo/heat missing), and losing the machine gun is great, this goes too far getting rid of heat sinks. Just firing the ER PPC and 6 front facing medium lasers while standing still is +7 heat, and the SRMs potentially add another 14. At 1818 BV this ends up pretty expensive, and I mostly wouldn’t use it. My rating: D

BLR-4S Calvin

Calvin gets two slightly different versions of his custom Battlemaster, the first of which is mostly a standard 4S with a rotary AC/5 in place of the gauss rifle, and the small pulses upgraded to light PPCs. Some of the armor is moved from the torso locations to the legs, which I’m not a big fan of. With a light engine you definitely want to avoid getting torsos blown off. While the rotary AC has the ability to put out good damage, I’ve found them too unreliable to like using as anything other than a meme – almost every time I’ve come up against them they jam in the first turn or two. 2029 BV puts this on par with a 6G or a regular 4S, both which do about the same role, and I’d much rather have either of them. My rating: C

BLR-4S Calvin II

Take the above mech, trade the medium lasers for machine guns, and put reflective armor on. If you know your opponent is bringing a hellstar, this is great. If your opponent isn’t focused on energy weapons, or if they happen to like kicking/punching you (which isn’t too hard against a 4/6 mech with no jump jets), you’re going to be unhappy, as it has less overall armor and takes double damage against physical attacks (including falls). It even costs more than the previous Calvin at 2274. My rating: F


There are so so many battlemasters. There were even another few that don’t seem to have official record sheets. Please, if you find one that I missed, just pretend you never saw it. There’s a huge range from very good (4S, 6G, C, C3) to very bad (Calvin II, 4L, 6X). In introtech it’s good, though that doesn’t hold up to later eras, and in those later eras there are options that work great, so I don’t think it’s ever something you’ll regret painting up for your forces.