Howdy everyone and welcome back to Mech Overview. This week we are finally free from the starter boxes and taking a look at the Gargoyle, also known as the Man O’ War. The Gargoyle is a mech with a bad reputation. A really bad reputation. It is unjustly considered to be one of the weakest Clan Assault mechs, and while that might be true, when you grade on any curve other than 1v1ing other Clan Assault mechs the Gargoyle is a legitimately fantastic platform with a huge amount of merit, in large part due to it’s many limitations. Paradoxically, were it not for how weak the Gargoyle is, it would be a far worse mech in game. BV is a godsend for this mech, so let’s get into it.
The Gargoyle is an Omni-Mech, like many we have looked at before. This means that all variants share the same armor load and roughly the same movement profile. And straight off the bat, there is a ton to love here. The Gargoyle is an 80 ton assault mech, which is my favorite weight for an assault mech. It also has pretty solid armor, around the same amount on the upper body as an Awesome 8-Q, but thinner on the legs. This is an acceptable trade-off though, because the Gargoyle is a speedy motherfucker. It is around half engine by weight and moves 5/8/0, which is shockingly fast for an assault mech, with only certain Charger variants and a very small handful of other assault mechs matching it. Clan weight saving tech is very well used here, but the Gargoyle has a fairly small amount of pod space, only having around 21 tons to put towards guns. This is more than enough though, because Clan weapons pack a shitload of damage into a very small amount of weight, and the Gargoyle doesn’t have enough free weight to load up well past the point of overheating and sanity the way some other Clan assaults can. BV tends to be rather low on the Gargoyle, with the cheapest variant clocking in around 1500 and the most expensive hitting 2700-ish, with most sitting around 2000. This is about my limit for how much I am comfortable spending on a single mech, so this is perfect. Overall the Gargoyle is in a lot of ways sub-optimal, but unlike usual the game actually accounts for that and discounts it.
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 of our other ‘mech reviews and our general methodology).
The Gargoyle comes out swinging with a fantastic prime variant. For 1537 BV, you get a beefy, well protected Clan assault mech, with 2 LBX-5 autocannons, 2 SRM-6s, and an ER small laser. Yes, this is not a lot of gun for a Clan assault mech. However, you can have nearly 2 of these for the price of most Clan assault mechs, and 10 damage from autocannons plus 24 damage from SRMs is pretty good for a 1500 BV assault mech, considering most IS assault mechs that cost around 1500 are some combination of 3/5/0, undergunned, undersinked, or under-armored. The Gargoyle Prime is best used to absolutely fucking annihilate any infantry, helicopters, or tanks that dare to breathe the same air as you. It is unholy murder to conventional forces because LBX ACs and SRMs are really good at killing them. It is also well used smacking around heavy and medium mechs, which it can easily keep pace with because it is, again, 5/8/0. In addition, even though it isn’t proper Clan behavior, the Gargoyle can land some nasty 16 damage kicks. Once you factor the mech in as a complete package, you are getting a lot of value for your BV here, and this will beat the absolute hell out of most heavy mechs in this price bracket, which tend to be 4/6/0 and have heat issues. Also the Gargoyle Prime can flip it’s arms and all Gargoyles have weirdly thick back armor, so it is difficult to flank.
Ok so what if you don’t want a budget friendly, brutal slab of boring Ferro-Fibrous. The Gargoyle A costs 2689 BV, a significant increase, and carries 2 ER PPCs, a large pulse laser, an ER medium laser, a medium pulse laser, and an ER small laser. It has enough heat sinks to fire either the ER PPCs or the lasers and remain heat neutral, which is actually extremely cool. It snipes and skirmishes with the PPCs, but you can switch to the more heat efficient and high DPS lasers once you close in. It also has a pretty spooky firing pattern that turns on around 4 hexes where it can fire one PPC, the LPL, and the MPL, and remain heat neutral, which is just a whole hell of a lot of energy weapon. 2689 BV is expensive, and normally I would start complaining about fast snipers, but 5/8/0 isn’t a high enough movement speed to start getting the really nasty penalties, and this mech just manages heat so well, has no explosive components, and just has nothing that strongly holds it back. I wish it had a single extra heat sink instead of the ER medium laser, so it could fire the MPL and PPCs without overheating too badly for max DPS on an easy hit, but it really doesn’t matter. Sheer price keeps this from being a great mech, but if you have like 400-600 BV left over after building a list with a Gargoyle, this can be a good upgrade.
Costing 1843 BV, the B weirdly reminds me of the Blackjack OB. Much like that mech, the B carries a gauss rifle and an LRM10 with Artemis, with the Gargoyle adding an SRM-4 with Artemis and being a whole hell of a lot heavier and tougher. Now, 1843 is way too much to spend on one gauss rifle. The Blackjack OB is 1323 and most single gauss rifles can be had for 1000-1500 BV pretty easily. You are paying for the sheer girth of the Gargoyle, and it’s durability. This is an ok trade, but I would still look at other places to get a cheaper gauss rifle. Once again though, it makes a decent upgrade for a cheaper and more fragile gauss mech if you end up with extra BV you don’t want to fill with a Wasp or something.
Costing 2417 BV, the Gargoyle C is here to scream and eat your kneecaps. It carries an Ultra AC/20 with only 10 rounds of ammo loaded into it, and 6 ER medium lasers. It actually does have enough heat sinks to fire all 6 ER lasers once it has fired it’s UAC/20 5 times (remember that UACs drain twice the ammo if you fire them on the cool guy mode). A running alpha of a UAC/20 and 3 ER medium lasers, on a 5/8/0 assault mech, that can fall back on 42 damage worth of heat neutral ER medium laser, is a phenomenally scary mech. This will completely own zone any of the close range Atlas variants, because it has the speed to control any engagement with other assault mechs and it just does so much fucking damage. Most UAC/20 caddies have the problem of running out of ammo and having nothing to do, of getting outranged, or of getting outmaneuvered. The range on the backup ER mediums is pretty good and you can just spam shots with them at medium or long range with impunity because you are heat neutral. Because of this, you can afford to save that UAC/20 for when you have a good shot. In addition, light mechs and high TMM dorks are less of an issue than normal, because 6 ER medium lasers is a lot of hit rolls, and sooner or later you will hit something pumping out that many shots. The Gargoyle C is a UAC mech that never runs out of damage, has mid range capabilities, is fast enough to outrun most heavy mechs and basically all assault mechs, and I love it. This is one of the best brawlers in the game. 2417 BV is a lot of BV, but unless this mech gets headcapped or gets backstabbed by some jump 7 clan pulse abomination, it will make that BV back.
Costing 2499 BV, the Gargoyle D just keeps the streak going. It carries 2 ER large lasers, 3 medium pulse lasers, an ER small laser, a targeting computer, and it is completely heat neutral. Once again, this is a very scary mech for the BV, having respectable damage out to a pretty extreme range, but once you get within 12 hexes every gun on this thing is hitting you at only a +1, with a -1 from 4-8 hexes and -3 to hit pulse lasers and -1 to hit ER larges once you are point blank. That is scary, this thing makes fantastic use of a targeting computer on a fairly small amount of guns to have 41 points of very accurate damage out to around the practical range of an IS PPC mech. This mech is about 600 BV more expensive than a 9Q Awesome, which is a very similar mech with 40 damage out to long range, but the Awesome is only 3/5/0, has to drop 10 damage every other turn, is at a +2 to hit from 6-12 hexes, and will lose this fight easily. This mech can take such fantastic control of the engagement against most heavies and assaults, and it can keep up really well with the majority of medium mechs as well, cancelling out their higher TMM with its very accurate guns. I hate how good the Gargoyle is.
Costing 2257 BV, the Gargoyle E is another good one. Carrying an ATM-12 as its main gun, the Gargoyle E also has 4 heavy medium lasers, a streak SRM-6, and two ER micro lasers. The lasers are also mated to a targeting computer to cancel out the inaccuracy on heavy lasers. 4 heavy medium lasers is 40 damage, add in an ATM-12 loaded with HE and that is another 36 potential damage. This mech has a 76 damage alpha strike and, unlike most heavy laser mechs, is heat negative while firing the lasers and SRM-6, and can add the ATM-12 to the lasers and only build 2 heat. This is a phenomenal mech at point blank range, and the ATM-12 gives it some capability to skirmish at long range, though not enough for me to say it is good at it. The Gargoyle E wants to be up close to something it can out-maneuver, and with 5/8/0, a bad reputation for being a bad mech, and a reasonable price tag, it can make it there. 2257 is more than fair for this mech, we are finally on one of the good Omni-Mechs.
Costing 1894 the F is a weird one. It carries an improved heavy large laser, 2 ATM-3s, a heavy flamer (yeah that is a weapon in BattleTech too), and a Rotary AC/2. The RAC/2 is basically an SRM-6 with 8 hexes of short range and a chance to jam, and Gargy Boy has plenty of ammo for it. Overall this is murder on legs to conventional forces, VTOLs, infantry, tanks and the like, and does an alright job for the price against mechs. It has pretty good damage, is pretty good at both long and mid range, and just is generally an alright mech. The fact that a perfectly usable and alright assault mech is the worst Gargoyle so far speaks volumes to how well designed the Gargoyle is.
So the G has a burning hatred of conventional infantry and never wants to see them again. It costs 2156 BV and carries 4 ER medium lasers, 3 anti-personnel gauss rifles, and an LBX/20 autocannon. It’ll pulverize any infantry, helicopters, or the like that get near it, while doing pretty good heat neutral damage to mechs out to mid range with the lasers and extended range Clan autocannons. It is much less exciting than the C, but it is a fair bit cheaper and can fire its AC/20 for 15 turns instead of 5, so it has a role. I would rather have a C, but if you are pinched for BV like can happen easily in a force with Clan mechs, it is an alright substitute. It is also a good multi-role inclusion if you regularly play against someone who likes to mix VTOLs and infantry in with their mechs.
The H costs 2183 BV, and mounts a UAC/10, a heavy large laser, an LRM-10, and 2 ER medium lasers. It runs a little hot and doesn’t have anything to mitigate the to-hit penalty from the heavy large laser. This is intended to be a capable mid range variant, but just take literally any other Gargoyle we have talked about so far for this role. It is just simply underwhelming on a chassis with a lot of great options.
The I costs a pretty high 2516 BV and is not super worth it. It carries a pretty spooky 2 improved heavy large lasers and 3 ER large lasers, but it only has the heat sinks to fire one set at a time. You are clearly intended to skirmish with the ER larges and then move in to kill with the IHLLs, and you certainly can, but it spends a lot of BV to have both of those roles in the same mech. It isn’t the worst mech ever, but the D is a better bet if you want lasers and the C does a better job finishing off mechs up close.
The J costs 2134 BV and carries 4 improved heavy medium lasers and 7 ER small lasers. More importantly, it moves 5/8/7 and is heat neutral while jumping and firing the IHMLs. This is one of the jump 7 abomination assault mechs that plague late timeline BattleTech, and it is probably the least offensive out of them? It will do some scary stuff to what it hits, but it does at least take a big accuracy hit with no pulse bonus or targeting computer to soften the blow. Still a goodshort ranged mech, but not overbearing.
The K is a fucking weird one. It costs 2182 BV, moves 5/8(10)/0, and carries 4 improved heavy medium lasers, 3 streak SRM-4s, an active probe, and super fucking weirdly, a Hatchet. The vast majority of Clan mechs do not do melee, so seeing a Clan mech build for melee is super weird. it is decently fast, does decently high damage with the improved heavy medium lasers, hits pretty hard with the hatchet if it can get close enough to use it, and is basically fine? Not great but it also is a pretty decent way to get a 16 damage hatchet into a force if you want one.
The M is a weird offshoot of the A and B variants. It costs 2182 BV and carries an ER PPC, a HAG-20, and 3 SRM-2s for some reason. I have absolutely no idea why these are not an SRM-6. The PPC plus HAG combo is fine and all, but 2182 BV is too much to pay for a headchopper plus a 20 damage cluster table weapon. You can get a Blackjack OB which has a headchopper and a 10 damage cluster weapon for 1323 BV, and then get some random 800 BV missile dork to get you the rest of the cluster hits. Something like a Valkyrie. It just isn’t good on rate for what it is.
Costing 2320 BV, the P exists to murder conventional forces incredibly and unreasonable dead. It carries 2 large pulse lasers as its main guns, a micro pulse laser, and two plasma cannons. Plasma cannons are less good than plasma rifles, but here they are obviously there for a very specific purpose. The Gargoyle P will look at any tank, protomech, unit of battle armor, or conventional infantry platoon, and make it no longer exist. It is underwhelming against mechs, 2 LPLs is good and the plasma cannons can build 15 heat on someone basically every turn but for 2320 BV you can do a lot better. This is what you bring when you have a friend that wants to play with a lot of really annoying protomechs and tanks to just murderize all of them. It isn’t great at fighting mechs though, but within it’s spec of murdering protomechs and tanks it is very, very good.
RATING: D- against pure mechs, A- against tank and protomech heavy forces
The T costs 1682 BV and is trying to be an upgrade to the Prime. It carries two Protomech AC/8s, an ER small laser, and 2 streak SRM-6s. PAC/8s have better damage than an LBX/5, but they have a short range of 3 instead of 8 and just will not get there the same way. Upgrading to streaks for the SRMs is nice, but I would honestly rather have the longer range, cheaper price, and ability to load inferno SRMs that the Prime has. It isn’t even that good for the BV if we ignore the prime, it has short range and 8 damage is the same as a basic Inner Sphere large laser, but with less range. The T is the bad mech that everyone thinks that the Prime is.
RATING: F, just take a Prime
The most expensive Gargoyle at 2800 BV exactly, the X is weird. It carries 6 ER medium lasers, an ATM-9, a small pulse laser, and a TSEMP. The TSEMP is basically a mech sized stun gun, if you get lucky with it it can shut down an enemy mech, but they are frighteningly inconsistent and cost a huge amount of BV because they have wild swings between massive, game breaking power and total worthlessness. TSEMPs are not good, no matter how badly I want them to be, and the X ends up as a less good, more expensive version of the E.
RATING: F, just take an E
The Conal is a pretty sedate custom variant. It costs 2580 BV and carries 2 ER PPCs, 2 streak SRM-6s, an ECM, and a TAG to spot for artillery and missiles. IMO this is an a side grade of the A, carrying the same PPC load but trading the lasers for lower heat and cheaper BV wise streak SRMs. It does around the same thing, but is a bit easier to manage heat wise and better at crit seeking. I could go either way here, neither jumps out at me as being much worse.
The secret sauce that makes the Gargoyle a good mech is that it only has 21 tons to fill with gun. It simply cannot fit as many overly expensive Clan weapons in as a lot of other mechs, and is consistently cheaper. The high speed also makes all of the mid-range variants quite good, and the Gargoyle just fits in super well with the majority of forces, keeping pace with most mediums and heavies and adding a bit of mid range muscle where they need it. I love this sort of unit, it is very similar in use case to the Banshee, though the Gargoyle is even faster and is probably on balance usually a better mech than the Banshee, but it never gets up to the heights of anime bullshit that the Banshee is capable of with some variants. Use more Gargoyles and prove everyone wrong, break some noses with a C or D and have some fun.