BattleTech: Mech Overview: Grasshopper

Howdy and welcome back to Mech Overview. This week we are taking a look at one of the better 3025 heavy mechs, the Almighty Grasshopper. The Grasshopper is a one-mech counterargument to the idea that 3025 mechs can’t cut it into advanced technology, with the base model canonically remaining popular well after it was outdated and one of the most simple and well-made record sheets to come out of the 1980s. It also is one of the mechs that took the conversion into Alpha Strike the best, being a fantastic and cheap piece in that system. It still has plenty of merit in classic BattleTech though.

Grasshopper. Credit: Rockfish
Grasshopper. Credit: Rockfish


The Grasshopper is a 70 ton heavy mech with its identity mostly tied up in having jump jets. It was one of the earliest heavy mech record sheets that we got with jump jets, though as time has worn on it has gotten less special with mechs much heavier than it jumping much further. This is a very simple heavy mech with a lot of very simple 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 of our other ‘mech reviews, the name of the box you can buy to get any of the mechs we have covered, and our general methodology).


The basic 5H Grasshopper is a really well-designed mech. For 1427 BV you get a 4/6/4 70 ton mech with nearly maxed out armor, four medium lasers, a large laser, an LRM-5, and enough heat sinks to sink all the lasers at a run. This is a very heat efficient mech. It skews pretty heavily towards short ranged combat and is best used jumping over walls or impassable terrain into other mechs, or used as part of a multi-mech dogpile as the initiator/closest range mech. By modern standards the 5H is slow and un-maneuverable, but it still has good use due to price alone, with most good medium mechs costing quite a bit more. The good heat management is a huge plus to the design, it is bastard hard to kill, and it comes in at a low price. You need to get it in close which can be hard on more open maps, but on any maps with significant terrain or, god forbid, a city, the Grasshopper can really mess up any IlClan mechs that disrespect it. It is limited to “short range fights with other heavies and assaults,” something I heavily criticized the Atlas for, but the jump jets and low price tag make that role limitation a lot easier to stomach.

RATING: C+; Solid and usable no matter what era or tech level you are playing. C+ is an incredibly high score for a TRO:3025 era record sheet.


A somewhat mediocre upgrade, the 5J comes in at a lower price, 1354 BV. It carries two medium lasers, an ER large laser, an anti-missile system, and a streak SRM-2. This is a mediocre amount of gun and nothing else is changed. The streak SRM-2 hurts my fucking soul because it has two tons of ammo. 100 shots. On a streak SRM-2. A weapon that does 4 damage and only expends ammo when you fire it. You have to hit 100 times for this weapon to run out of ammo. This… It boggles the mind. I genuinely want to sit down with the person responsible for the Clan Invasion/Post Helm “Lostech Upgrades” for all of these 3025 mechs and just… ask why. Why are they all like this? Every single one of these upgraded mechs is headache-inducingly bizarre. I am not mad or anything; just amazingly confused about what design methodology was being followed when these mechs were being made. I am sure there is a reasonable explanation for this, but man, I cannot think of it.

RATING: Two tons of SSRM-2 ammo. D? Unsure how much my own pain is influencing this.


Costing 1511 BV, the GHR-5N is a substantial upgrade. Nearly identical to the 5H, the 5N simply exchanges the large laser for a PPC and the LRM-5 for an extra medium laser. Five medium lasers and a PPC is an incredibly potent combination. The PPC has a three-hex minimum range, which happens to be the ideal range for the medium lasers. This variant gives the stock Grasshopper some much needed long-range teeth, extending its range out quite a bit, removing the explosive ammo that was the primary sin of the 5H, and only losing a small amount of DPS. It isn’t heat-neutral anymore, but you really shouldn’t be firing all the medium lasers and a PPC at the same time anyway assuming things are going well. Fire the PPC and 3-4 medium lasers at most ranges, drop the PPC for the extra laser at point blank. Well-balanced, reasonably priced, decently effective and staggeringly durable, this is one of the best mechs in the game at its job, which is jumping into the middle of the enemy and slugging it out at close range. The 5N is better at a distance than the 5H, but it is still much better used in rough terrain and up close. The 5N is a genuine zombie mech, and will require the destruction of the center torso and/or head to put it down due to all of that armor and no explosive crits.

RATING: B; very solid and playable if it has good targets.


The 6K comes in at 1597 BV and is a much better upgrade than the 5J. The heat sinks are upgraded to doubles and the weapons are exchanged for an ER large laser, five medium pulse lasers, a Streak SRM-4, and a C3 slave if you need it. This is a bit pricy for a short range specialist 4/6/4 mech but god it is probably the best short-ranged 4/6/4 you can get for 1600 BV. MPLs and SSRMs are great at knife fighting range, the ERLL makes sure you are not completely vulnerable, and the 6K still manages heat very well. This is useful in the exact same situations as all the other Grasshoppers, but is way the fuck scarier at point-blank range and less helpless at long range. I think this is a bit better than the 5N, you are a bit more expensive, lower damage at long range but with better range bands, and way scarier up close.

RATING: B+; remarkably good for a Clan Invasion era upgrade.


Here is the secret: Almost every Grasshopper is good. All of them. The core design of “4/6/4 short range heavy mech full of energy weapons with maxed-out armor” is, in fact, really strong. They are bastard hard to kill. The 7K comes in at a pricy 1806 BV and has the same 4/6/4 movement and maxed armor. For weaponry, we change things pretty radically to two snub nosed PPCs, two light PPCs, an ER medium laser, and ECM and C3 if you need them. Snub PPCs are shockingly fantastic weapons with a nine-hex short range, light PPCs are annoying long-ranged weapons, and the ER medium laser is cool I guess. The 7K is heat neutral firing the PPCs at a run and manages heat well in general. This is a bit more multi-purpose of a mech, which is why it is more expensive. The 7K is a mid-range monster with decent knife fighting potential, but is under no obligations to jump within two hexes like most Grasshoppers. This makes it such a better mech that it isn’t funny, with a nine-hex bubble of extreme violence around it that will suck to walk into. For 1806 BV this is pretty fair and it will probably win fights with a decent chunk of sub-2000 BV assault mechs. Good Mech.

RATING: A-; excellent mid range skirmisher with adequate mobility and good armor.

Grasshopper. Credit: Jack Hunter


Oh god I have to talk about Torso cockpits. The Grasshopper 7P comes in at, funny enough, also 1806 BV. We have a lot of changes. The mech mounts improved jump jets and moves 4/6/6, a significant increase in mobility. For equipment, it carries two large X-pulse lasers (my beloved), four ER medium lasers, and a Bloodhound active probe. This is an improved version of the Beagle active probe and can counter significantly more sorts of evasion and tricksy equipment. The big difference is the torso cockpit. This moves the pilot from the head into the center torso, making you immune to headchopping (to an extent, we will get there) at the cost of taking more damage from overheating and massively increasing your vulnerability to through armor criticals. If you lose the head of the mech you are still effectively blinded and cannot make attacks anymore, meaning you still basically die if you lose your head. The main reason to take a torso cockpit is to put a PPC or something in the head to keep it from getting destroyed as long as possible on a mech you intend to fight until you lose literally all of your internal structure. This is cool, I guess, but the 7P doesn’t even put a gun in the head; that is where the active probe is. This mech is just a long list of downsides for minimal upside, and it is a shame too because large X-pulse lasers are incredibly good, incredibly low BV weapons that really should be on more mechs.

RATING: C-; expensive and doesn’t really make it up. The quality of the weaponry saves this mech from D tier.


This is nearly the same as the 7P with different weapons. At 1587 BV we are a lot cheaper, but there is a very good reason why. The 7X trades the guns out for two Bombast lasers and a medium pulse laser. Bombast lasers are incredibly fucking weird weapons. You get to pick how much damage they do and how much heat they inflict on you as a result, from 7 to 12. As you increase the damage, you decrease the accuracy. These are substantially worse versions of heavy lasers, a weapon family I already really loathe. This is a bad mech; there is potential for a decent Bombast laser mech with TSM and a targeting computer, but to my knowledge that mech doesn’t exist.

RATING: D-, Bombast lasers are so fucking bad.


We have a Rec Guide variant here, and those are usually pretty good. Unfortunately, the 8K is an exception. For 1756 BV, nearly as much as the excellent 7K, you get 4/6/4 movement, the standard armor load, an ER large laser, four light PPCs, and an LRM-5. This is just not great; you are spending nearly as much as a 7K for around the same mid range damage, better long range damage, and substantially worst short range damage. This has value on large maps, but at mid range once the combat has started in earnest and the hit numbers have become semi-reasonable you are just worse than a 7K. I don’t envy whoever had the task to update the Grasshopper without changing how it looks while making it meaningfully different to every other Grasshopper.

This is just a deeply mediocre mid-long range mech at a price bracket where it will be trading a bunch of 5 damage hits and a single 8 damage hit against mechs with gauss and clan LPLs that will kick the living hell out of it. Really not a design well-suited to this role; the 7K being slanted more towards close range is good, as it has the mobility to close in on something like a Caesar or a Marauder and put the boots to it. This is a capacity that the 8K just lacks. I would have maybe gone for something with a bigger engine, some weight saving tech, and TSM as an upgrade, and then leaned hard into modern short range firepower. As it is this is one of the most mediocre Rec Guide variants.

RATING: D+; mediocre but not completely terrible.


Don’t get excited, the C stands for C3, not Clan. The GHR-C is exactly the same as the 5J but it costs 12 more BV at 1366 and trades one ton of SSRM ammo for a C3 slave unit. I mean its better than the 5J, it has less explosive ammo and has exactly the same damage output in practice while also being a reasonably cheap and reasonably tough jumping spotter for a C3 force. This is actually not terrible, the addition of C3 allows the GHR-C to make decent use of it’s reasonably mobile reasonable well armored frame. Decent, not great.

RATING: C- in a C3 force, D elsewhere. 


Clantech is a hell of a drug. For 2344 BV, a fuckton to spend on a 70 ton mech, you get the same armor and 4/6/4 frame, but gain three Clan ER large lasers and four Clan ER medium lasers. You have enough double heat sinks to sink all three ER larges standing still, or all four mediums while jumping. I mean, this is a really good set of weapons; this is functionally an upgraded 8Q Awesome with nearly the same armor, much longer range on your primary weapons, and significantly better mobility. The ER large lasers are also mounted in the center torso and head, meaning that the opponent is forced to either headchop you or destroy your center torso to get the Reynolds to stop firing. This is a disgustingly durable mech with it’s standard engine and will deal horrific damage on it’s way down, but 2344 is a lot to spend. On balance I think this is about the same quality as a 7K; the higher range and much more durable design with all important guns in the CT or head is balanced out by its higher price. Incredibly effective mech though, and almost too well optimized.

RATING: A-; distressingly durable and capable of dealing assault mech grade damage out to a very long range while remaining decently mobile.

GHR-7K “Gravedigger”

First of all, holy hell that name is cool. Second, the Gravedigger comes in at 2084 BV and is based mostly on the pretty great 7K model. It drops the ER medium laser, two heat sinks, and the C3 slave to add two medium pulse lasers. It also adds TSM, but has no way to stay heat neutral without jumping, making it not really a great TSM mech as it will have trouble getting to and maintaining that perfect level of heat. The bad balancing for TSM is a bummer and otherwise this is a mild change from the 7K. It is also no longer heat neutral with it’s PPCs, so in general I just find this to be a really underwhelming change from the base model. God the name is fucking cool though, and the mech is exactly good enough to run if you like the name like I do.

RATING: C+, significantly less optimized than the 7K but man it is cool.

The Elusive GHR-4R

I am going to peel back the curtain for a moment and talk about the process of writing these articles. It generally starts with a look at the master unit list to determine BVs and what variants are canonical, as Sarna is occasionally unreliable with BV numbers. While on MUL, I saw a listing for a GHR-4R with no listed BV, no Alpha Strike card, and a listed source being TRO: Succession Wars. I then busted out my copy of TRO: Succession Wars and the GHR-4R is straight up not in it. This made no goddamn sense. Where the hell was this phantom Grasshopper coming from?

Google was the next stop, searching for the 4R. Maybe it was from HBS BattleTech, or MWO, or Mechwarrior 5? Nope, nothing. Eventually I found a nexus mod page for a HBS BattleTech mod that described the GHR-4R as “Unnamed Variant from TRO Description”. This led me to piece together that the GHR-4R is intended to be the early production variant of the Grasshopper that is mentioned as having a variety of stealth systems. The designation GHR-4R is still a mystery to me, I have no clue where the first mention of this numerical code is. There is apparently a short story from ages ago that mentions a Grasshopper with a large laser or ER large laser in the center torso, four medium pulse lasers replacing the medium lasers, ferro-fibrous armor, an LRM-5, double heat sinks, and ECM. Barring an official record sheet from CGL, this seems to be the most likely candidate for our GHR-4R.

I have mocked up a Record Sheet for what I believe the GHR-4R would look like going off of the various descriptions I have found online. Interestingly, this design uses literally every available crit slot inside of a 70 ton mech.

This is functionally just fanfiction, but feel free to print and use this!

Assuming I am correct, this would be a mid-grade Grasshopper, slightly worse than a 6K, probably a B or B-. Fascinating that you can have a mech like this just fall through the cracks. For years there were several “Downgraded” Thunderbolts that we knew existed but lacked record sheets for. The GHR-4R is in a similar boat: A mech that has to exist because we know there were early production models made before the GHR-5H, but that we have no sheet for. There is also the possibility that the 4R was full of Null-Sig systems and other, more advanced stealth technology. This interpretation is deliberately very conservative.

Fascinating rabbit hole that I wasted an hour and a half on while writing this article. I need to manage my time better.


The Grasshopper is a fucking phenomenal mech. Every variant is at worst mediocre and at best fantastic. Most Chassis do not have this high of a concentration of well designed, high power variants. This mech is a good counterargument to the deeply tedious subsection of the BattleTech community that thinks that 3025 mechs are wholly incapable of fighting modern, IlClan era designs, and that you should therefore only play 3025 where every mech sucks. A lot of 3025 mechs are very, very good. People are just heavily and unreasonably attached to some very terrible Intro-Tech mechs. Use more Grasshoppers.

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