Howdy and welcome back to Goonhammer’s Mech Overviews. There are a few mechs in Battletech that trend towards extremes. The Urbanmech is extremely slow. The Hammerhead is extremely hard to knock over. The Fire Moth is extremely fast. It is another Clan Omni-Mech, an iconic light mech of the Clan Invasion due to it’s sheer, unadulterated speed. Most Clan light mechs are misses in my opinion, with a general doctrine of firepower above everything else that tends to make very brittle and very low endurance mechs with a lot of front loaded damage. They tend to be murdered dead by BV calculations being very unkind to mechs that fast with guns that big, so lets see how the Fire Moth stacks up to it’s competition.
Table of Contents
As mentioned above, the Fire Moth is an Omni-Mech, meaning that all variants share the same structural components, armor, and (mostly) speed and movement. The Fire Moth chassis is a 20 ton light mech with incredible speed. It has a MASC hard mounted on the chassis which allows it to go 10/15(20)/0, which is ludicrous speed. At this speed you can consistently get a +4 TMM, which makes you incredibly hard to hit by anything short of a dedicated pulse armed light mech hunter. It needs this speed though, no hit locations on this mech have more than 5 points of armor, putting the Fire Moth on the short list of mechs that can be head-chopped by a Large Laser. Any weapon that deals more than 5 damage is an incredibly significant threat to the Fire Moth, and if it cannot use it’s speed due to terrain or poor movement choices it will most likely die instantly to any return fire. The Fire Moth lives fast and dies young.
There is one role that the mech was designed for in universe though, which it probably does better than any other mech in the game, and that is delivering Elementals. Elementals can hitch a ride on any Omni-Mech, and that includes the Fire Moth. Slinging Elementals 20+ hexes before dropping them is very valuable, with Battle Armor being a huge asset and a big part of playing objective based missions as the Clans. Most Clan mechs really cannot afford to stand still and hold a point, so dropping slow moving and durable Elementals on any point or objective is a fantastic use of them. Even if you are not playing objectives, Elementals still act as very scary area denial tools, because getting within 3 hexes of them is frequently suicidal due to the immense threat that a Swarm attack poses to any mech. They also have pretty appreciable firepower out to 6 hexes or so, so a Fire Moth or two can really help out a Clan force by scattering Elementals ahead of the advance of your heavier, slower assets. Both units, when combined, go a long way towards covering for each other, with the Fire Moth providing much needed speed and the Elementals providing much needed staying power. All Fire Moth’s are equally good at this, objectively, so the best ones to use as Elemental caddies are the cheap ones. No point in paying 2400 BV for a glorified APC.
Anyway, let’s get into the Variants.
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).
The Amazon Prime version of the Fire Moth starts out pretty decently. Costing a high but not unbearable 1251 BV, the Prime isn’t the worst thing ever. For weapons it carries 2 ER medium lasers, an SRM-6, and an SRM-4. This is a reasonable set of weapons for a unit this fast, having a similar range profile to the Elementals it is best used in concert with. 1251 BV is very high for something this brittle, but 20 hexes of movement is hard to come by and it will sling Elementals pretty good.
The A is a spotter variant. Costing a bargain bin 639 BV, it carries an active probe, a TAG system, and a single Streak SRM-4. This is not great, but it preserves the MASC and the 20 hex run, and a 20 hex run for 639 BV is a bit of a steal. It isn’t fantastic, but it will TAG a target for artillery really good and it can sling Elementals 20 hexes for only 639 BV, which is a great deal. There are better Fire Moths, much better Fire Moths, but not at this price.
Fun fact, the Sarna page for the Fire Moth sucks and needs an editing pass to correct BVs and list the full list of equipment on each variant. It is a very helpful tool for research on this game, so it having incorrect information is heavily annoying when trying to research things. That said, the Fire Moth B comes in at 1064 BV according to MUL, and carries 2 medium pulse lasers, 2 machine guns, an ECM, and an anti-infantry pod. This is in my opinion a bit better than the Amazon Prime version, as you save about 200 BV and gain the accuracy bonus from pulse lasers, which helps with it’s general hit and run identity. I like this one, but not a ton.
The C comes in at a bargain bin 741 BV, and carries 2 LRM-5s. I mean it is ok I guess but 2 LRM-5s is uninspiring on a 741 BV mech. It is not terrible but it feels like a bit of a waste of it’s speed to mount long range weapons on the Fire Moth, because Grendel Syndrome is alive and well and most fast sniper/fire support mechs suck. It is dirt cheap though, so if you want to throw pebbles at people from a long way away after dropping your elementals it isn’t the worst thing ever.
The Fire Moth D costs 2307 BV for a mech that is reduced to one CT structure by a single hit from a 176 BV basic PPC.
Ok so it carries 5 ER medium lasers with a targeting computer, so its damage is theoretically quite high, but it can only fire 4 of them without overheating and slowing down. It still has MASC so slowing down a tiny bit will not instantly kill it, but you HAVE to be moving your max move every turn or you will die and lose a mech that costs more than most Inner Sphere assault mechs. BV multipliers are insanely unkind to this mech, and it is bottom of the trash bin terrible due to how overpriced it is. This mech could probably cost 1700 and still be fine.
The E is interesting. Coming in at 822 BV it is quite cheap. It trades all weapons for an ATM-6 with 3 tons of ammo. I really adore ATMs and this might be the best Fire Moth at carrying Elementals, because it has a weapon that is good at literally every range so it can support it’s goobers against anything that is trying to fight with them. I love ATMs and this is a decent enough caddy for them.
The F is ok. It costs 1461 BV and carries 3 ER medium lasers and 3 AP gauss rifles. AP gauss is a lot of fun and this will really fuck up the day of some unarmored infantry, so it makes a good support for elementals against conventional infantry forces. It is a little pricey though, not quite enough for me to write it off but definitely more than I feel comfortable spending on something this light.
The G costs 2041 BV for a mech that is reduced to one CT structure by a single hit from a 176 BV basic PPC.
Yeah this one is way less bad than the F. It carries 4 improved heavy medium lasers with a targeting computer, so it has an alpha of 40 damage with a to hit bonus, which is massively scary. It still overheats a bit while doing this, but this is the first of the Fire Moths that we have seen that carries a supercharger. Superchargers stack with MASC and boost the speed of the mech even further, with Fire Moths equipped with both moving a mighty 10/15(20)(25)/0. 25 hexes of movement is enough to get anywhere you feel like, and there basically isn’t a mech in the game that can take 40 damage to the rear torso and walk it off. It is particularly good because of the hit bonus, allowing it to really do a hell of a lot more than you expect for something so light. The price is the big letdown here, 2041 is just so much to spend on something this risky.
EDIT: I had originally missed that this mech had a targeting computer. Its still not great even with it, but that does make it better.
The H is, speaking from personal experience, a very disappointing mech. Costing only 779 BV, the H moves the standard 20 hexes and carries 9 heavy small lasers with a targeting computer to counteract the accuracy penalty, giving it a mighty alpha strike of 54 damage. This is incredibly high for this price, but it is let down by extremely poor armor and extremely short range. You will consistently run in, miss all of your shots point blank into someone’s back, and then die. Complete buzzkill of a mech. I recommend using the almighty and all powerful Fire Moth P, which is an infinitely better mech in the same role with nearly the same price.
Costing 1140 BV, the J is equipped with a plasma cannon (the one that does only heat damage), 2 ER small lasers and a small pulse laser. The plasma cannon makes much more sense here compared to most other mechs. The J is designed to support elementals and infantry, so having a weapon that pulverizes infantry and can crowd control mechs to make them slower and easier for the Elementals to catch is pretty valuable actually. This is one of the only plasma cannon mechs I do not actively despise.
The K costs 884 BV and carries 2 heavy medium lasers and two light machine gun arrays, with 3 guns each. Machine gun arrays link together several machine guns to fire together, and are cool I guess. LMGs do such a tiny amount of damage to mechs that they are basically exclusively for infantry support, and the K is sort of ok at it. Not as good as the other really cheap Fire Moths though. The to-hit penalty on the heavy medium lasers is also not great and I strongly dislike using them as a result. It isn’t the worst mech, but it is unexciting.
The Fire Moth P is an engine of destruction, a lord of war and destroyer of men. It comes for us all in the end, a dour and pitiless psychopomp come to bring utter ruination to our rear torso armor. Our only hope of salvation is in prayer to Saint Rifleman IIC and jamming our backs directly against a nearby cliff. The Fire Moth P comes in at 841 BV and is game warpingly powerful. It carries MASC and a supercharger, so it has that massively threatening 25 hex run. For weapons it carries 12 micro pulse lasers. That is 36 points of damage that come into you with a -2 to hit bonus within one hex. The Fire Moth P exists to drop off elementals and then sprint full speed at the back of the nearest heavy mech, drive by-ing it and then jumping between enemies, stabbing them in the back with it’s low damage but numerous and accurate shivs.
Once a player starts bringing Fire Moth Ps, and that is plural due to the insanely low price, every player in the local meta is forced to either start bringing their own Fire Moth Ps to counter it, or to bring mechs that exist solely to kill it before it can do it’s damage. There is a specific cheese strat I have seen used on this mech that makes it even more powerful. While carrying Elementals, whenever you get hit in the torso there is a chance the shot hits the Elemental in that location instead of hitting the mech. Elementals have much more armor than a Fire Moth, so I have seen a player never disembark his Elementals, simply leaving them on the mech for the whole game as ablative armor. There are some particularly cheap variants of the Elemental that are incredibly well suited for this use.
For the reason that the Fire Moth P can rapidly become meta-warping and quickly devolves games of Battletech into a bizarre whack-a-mole minigame, the Fire Moth P is getting our very first S rank.
Costing 1160 BV, the Fire Moth R carries a lot of funky gear. It has 2 improved heavy medium lasers, an Inner Sphere medium laser, a clan ER small laser, an ECM suite, a C3 slave, and an M pod. M pods are incredibly fucking funny, being single use shotgun knees that you can spray at offending mechs and infantry like Urgot from hit 2009 video game League of Legends. I wish more mechs had M pods, they do 15 damage if you can get within 1 hex of the enemy and that is a hilarious amount of damage for a 1 ton piece of equipment. The shotgun knees distract from what is otherwise a kinda weird but fundamentally decent mech. All the weapons are fine and having a mech that runs 20 hexes mixed in with your C3 force is incredibly valuable, letting you make some incredibly improbable shots in the early game and possibly making it’s money back on the spot if you can use it to count as being in short range on some abominable C3 payoff loaded with headchoppers.
SHOTGUN KNEES: YES
The T is very similar to the R, costing 1305 BV and carrying 2 improved heavy medium lasers, an SRM-6, and a one shot streak SRM-4 that you can basically ignore. It is perfectly fine but unexciting, it is basically a strict upgrade on the Amazon Basics version though, so I would use this instead of a Prime basically every time.
The sole special character version of the Fire Moth is a fast sniper.
Most Fire Moths are usable. There are a few duds and the chassis really doesn’t like being equipped with long range weapons, but basically all of the variants are at worse sort of ok, which is a fantastic change compared to the norm for Clan light mechs. The D is particularly bad due to extreme price, and the P is the first mech we have looked at that I consider to be meta-warping enough to warrant an S rank. It is not nearly at the height of bullshit that some mechs manage to be though, and you can safely include it in a force without feeling too bad or needing to warn the opponent. Having light mech hunters in your list is a good idea, it is flavorful and it gives you much more maneuvering and a fun side game as you chase the little bastard down, and a mech forcing those mechs into everyone’s list is honestly not a bad thing. I love the little bastard and I need to get mine painted. Cheers.