Battletech Mech Overview: Bushwacker

Welcome back to the Inner Sphere Heavy Battle Lance with this Mech Overview of the Bushwacker, a 55 ton medium mech. You’re likely familiar with this from Mechwarrior 3, where it’s your starting mech. As a clan invasion chassis, this doesn’t have any introtech variants, so it’ll broadly be more expensive and more capable than many variants of other 55 ton mediums we’ve looked at like the Griffin, Shadowhawk, or Wolverine.

Bushwacker. Credit: Rockfish
Bushwacker. Credit: Rockfish


While this isn’t an omnimech and there can be some changes between variants, most share general similarities. An XL engine pushes this to a 5/8 movement profile, which is solid but unexciting. It’s reasonably well armored with a bit more front torso armor than its peers, but in exchange it has thinner arms and rear torsos. Every variant with ammo does have CASE, but given that there’s an XL engine this only matters for campaigns, as an ammo explosion is almost invariably a dead mech.



A very simple skirmishing variant, this has an AC/10, ER large laser, two LRM 5s, and two machine guns. As always, I hate the machine guns. I don’t think they add anything to this variant, and the AC/10 only has one ton of ammo. While 10 shots is vaguely adequate for most games, it means you can’t take precision ammo as 5 shots is definitely inadequate. Swap the MG ammo for an extra ton of AC ammo and I like this a lot more – the weapon loadout is solid for being able to engage at range while moving in to hold range around 5-6 hexes. 1,223 BV is only a bit more than you’d be paying for a wolverine, and you pick up a lot of ability to do damage.

My rating: B-

Wolf’s Dragoons Bushwacker. Credit: Jack Hunter


Mostly similar to the X1, the X2 trades the ER large laser and a heat sink for a pair of medium pulses and a third LRM 5. It has the same amount of AC/10 ammo, so I’m still unhappy there, and it’s an overall less focused mech. The medium pulses want you to get close, but the LRMs won’t work there, and the pulses don’t work at LRM range. At 1,193 BV, just spend the extra 30 on the X1 and have a mech that isn’t split across multiple range bands.

My rating: C


Also similar to the X1, this trades the LRM 5s for SRM 4s, upgrades the AC/10 to a LB-X AC/10, and trades the machine guns out for an anti-missile system. It also picks up an extra ton of ammo for the autocannon, so you can carry both slug and cluster ammo. While the lack of armor on the arms is a concern, this is a good close range mech that still has plenty of ability to do damage while closing. 1,293 BV is still pretty close to the X1, and for my money this is quite a bit better.

My rating: A

Bushwacker. Credit: Benjamin "Porble" Wendt
Bushwacker. Credit: Benjamin “Porble” Wendt


Trade one SRM 4 and the ER large laser on the S2 for a plasma rifle and you get this variant. While plasma rifles are nice, I think this sacrifices too much damage, and at 1,339 BV you’re paying more for it.

My rating: C


This is, sort of, a fast hunchback. Most of the weapons get stripped out, leaving an LB-X AC/20 and ER large laser as the only weapons, it switches to a light engine rather than an XL, and it picks up some more armor. The light engine only has 2 crits in each side torso instead of the 3 XL crits, like a clan XL engine, and means that a side torso loss is survivable. Any sort of AC/20 on a 5/8 movement platform is great, and the ER large laser gives it some damage while it gets in range. One major problem with this variant though – the only crits in the left torso are the engine. Taking a crit there will ruin your day pretty quick, but fortunately this is well armored for a medium. 1,513 BV is a fair bit for an inner sphere medium (compare with a HBK-5S at 1,350 which also has a LB-X/20), but this mech is a serious threat with enough speed for decent positioning and enough armor to require full attention.

My rating: B-


A fully modernized variant, this runs with a plasma rifle, ER large laser, pair of medium lasers, and pair of MML 5s. As Perigrin keeps saying, MMLs are fantastic, and plasma rifles are a better PPC, but this variant isn’t packing enough heat sinks to even come close to firing everything, which is a problem when a bunch of it shares the same range bands. Just firing the ER large laser and plasma rifle at a run is +2 heat, which is fine-ish, but the MMLs will push you all the way to +8, and that’s still ignoring the medium lasers. And none of these particularly want to be turned off at close range as they don’t have minimum ranges. The most likely thing would be turning off the ER large in favor of firing everything else at +2 heat, but at least to me that feels like a waste. MASC pushes this up to being able to run 10, which is nice, but with all the weapons it ends up inflating BV up to 1,751.

My rating: D

Lyran Commonwealth Bushwacker. Credit: SRM


I really like the X1 and S2 variants, both of which are pretty solid general purpose medium mechs. Neither costs too much and while they don’t do anything too special, they’re very simple workhorses unlikely to let you down. The L1 is also fun, though I don’t think it’s as reliably effective. This has always been one of my favorite mechs, and I’m very glad that a couple variants are super usable.