BattleTech: Mech Overview: Incubus/Vixen

Howdy everyone and welcome back to Mech Overview. This week we are starting out on the mechs contained within the Clan Striker Star. The Striker Star is, without exaggeration, probably the best value box in the entire game. Every single mech in the Striker Star is an abomination, a high tier duelist with strong weapons, excellent and optimized design, and huge maneuverability. I have watched every mech in this box 1v1 an assault mech and win, and if you can only grab a single BattleTech box (or if you are curious about Clan Mechs but don’t know which box to grab), make it this one. I know that I go on and on about Inner Sphere heavy mechs and the Lyran Wall of Steel, but high speed low drag lights and mediums can royally ruin the day of an unprepared opponent in a way that a lot of my favorite mechs just can’t.

Another thing to note is that up until this point every fast clan mech we have looked at has sucked. Like, really hard. The difference between a good fast mover and a mid one is a lot bigger than the difference between a mediocre lineholding heavy mech and a good one. They are finessey, finicky little things that do great work if used and built well but are overpriced and miserable if built poorly or used in a bad situation.

Clan Sea Fox ilKhanate Incubus. Credit: Jack Hunter

Starting out with the Striker Star we have the Incubus or Vixen, whichever you prefer. The Incubus stands out in it’s box simply by being boringly good. It doesn’t have the demented design of the Piranha (great destroyer of legs, unhallowed be his name, blackened soul and blacker deeds, chewer of ankles), the mildly demented priorities of the Wolverine IIC (Conjurer if you are a bootlicker), the Friendly Little Guy energy of the Peregrine (Look mom it’s me), or the show stopping power of the Goshawk. The stock variant has very few flaws and almost all variants are simply built around being a brutally efficient duelist. The Incubus can easily 1v1 nearly anything in it’s price range, and this applies to nearly every variant. It is well protected, blindingly fast, and just smartly designed. Whoever made this mech had a fantastic sense of how mech design and optimization were going to work in 30 years and nailed it, delivering a timeless and very high quality mech.


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).

Vixen Standard

The stock Incubus is honestly so good that it barely needs variants, but there are a few issues of note. For 1596 BV you get a 9/14/0 30 tonner with good armor for the weight, that insane speed, and a set of pretty good weapons. You have a large pulse laser, 2 ER medium lasers, and 4 machine guns. The machine guns are mediocre but the Incubus is fast enough to get to use them if it has the chance. The Incubus is fast enough to control ranges very well, moving faster backwards than most mechs can move forwards. ER medium lasers and LPLs are great for staying at the enemy’s medium range while sitting at close against a lot of short ranged mechs, and have great TMMs and decent ability to engage at 8+ hexes to help against long ranged mechs. 1596 is a lot of BV for a 30 tonner but speaking from personal experience the Incubus can make up that BV and win fights against anything short of the very best 1600 BV heavies by hanging out just outside of optimal range and consistently having +4 TMM. The principle sin of this mech is having CT mounted ammo, and it builds a very slight amount of heat at a run requiring dropping an ER medium laser every few turns, but there isn’t anything structurally wrong with the mech. It is as fast as it can be with weapons that are pretty good. Wish it had MPLs to go with that LPL though.


Incubus 2 (not Incubus II, we will get there)

The Incubus 2, not to be confused with the Incubus II because hell is real, is a pretty straightforward change. At 1913 BV it simply trades the LPL out for an ER PPC. I would personally just take a Pack Hunter or Hollander if you wanted a light mech with a headchopper, both of those mechs do it cheaper. It isn’t the worst but the LPL is a much better weapon on this sort of mech. Mechs like the Incubus are eking out tiny advantages at range using superior mobility, the ER PPC is just less good at that because it lacks the hit mod. An LPL at 7 hexes is hitting the same as an ER PPC is at 7 hexes, but at 8 hexes it is hitting better. LPL mechs can really abuse medium range to get better hit mods than the opponent, and the massive TMM on this mech really helps it stay at that ideal range and stay alive.


Vixen 3

At 1324 this is the cheapest Incubus so far and it is a devilishly efficient little thing. It trades the LPL out for a streak SRM-6 and upgrades the ER mediums to medium pulse lasers. I do wish it dropped the machine guns but this is a very good set of brawling weapons, able to get better TMMs than most opponents at 8 hexes while also having a very scary point blank range smack if it needs to. I like this quite a bit better than the Standard, it is 300 BV cheaper which is great but importantly it is also better at hunting other light mechs, because it gets more hit rolls with it’s pulse weapons and the streak 6 will really mess up a Locust’s day if it hits. As an anti-light mech tech piece I love this, but it is still good at dueling larger mechs if you are careful with it. It also is really good at going after backline units. If, like me, your games have suddenly seen a marked increase in artillery goobers, conventional forces, and fire support, the Vixen 3 is great. It is good at killing LRM carriers, Arrow IV trucks, and the AC-10 field gun infantry that tends to crop up around them like mushrooms to keep light mechs away. Overall a fantastic mech for the price, it is competing with mid grade IS mediums at this price range and I would bet on the Vixen in 90% of those fights.


Incubus 4

Interesting how this mech has 2 names, one male coded and one female coded. Most of the time mech names tend to be really aggressive and militant, like Thor or Blitzkrieg. Both of the Incubus/Vixen’s names have sexual connotations in a way that like 90% of mech names don’t. I don’t know what made someone look at this mech and say “This Master Chief looking motherfucker fucks” but I respect it.

The Incubus 4 is 1581 BV and mounts a large heavy laser, 2 medium pulse lasers, 2 micro pulse lasers, and 2 ER micro lasers. This is not a great set of weapons honestly, medium pulse lasers are great but heavy lasers are pretty bad, especially on a mech that was relying on accurate fire and gaining marginal advantages through good range management. It is kinda always not great and this runs counter to the general identity of the Incubus, and, indeed, the Striker Star as a whole. The 3 is better if you want MPLs, the 2 if you want a headchopper. The 4 just has nothing to really make it stand out from the rest of the field, and dies a little, boring death of pure mediocrity.


Vixen 5

Coming in at a distressingly cheap 1364 BV, the Incubus 5 is identical to the Standard variant, but swaps the LPL out for an ATM-6 with 2 tons of ammo. It also downgrades the machine guns to light machine guns, but that barely matters at all. ATMs are incredible on almost every mech that mounts them and this is no different. I would recommend loading HE and Standard ammo types and skipping out on the ER ammo, you have enough speed where you shouldn’t need it. This is an interesting side grade to the Vixen 3, gaining range on the missile weapon and extra damage up close, but downgrading the pulse lasers back to ER mediums and losing streak on that missile weapon. In my opinion this is a slight upgrade due to HE ammo being very good and ATMs having built in Artemis IV, but I can really easily see why you would prefer the 3.


Incubus 6

The Incubus 6 is a sin against god, man, and the Incubus chassis. I fucking hate this thing. For 1599 BV this dumb bastard has the same defenses and movement, but exchanges the weapons for an ER PPC, an SRM-6, and 6 micro lasers. It also has Talons, so it does extra damage when it kicks, which is extremely funny. Unfortunately, to fit all the Thunderbolt Cosplay onto the Incubus, it has to use an XXL engine. XXL engines are insanely bad. For a few extra tons, it TRIPLES the heat you gain from running, QUADRUPLES heat from walking, and doubles both jumping heat and the amount of engine crits in each side torso. This thing can’t run and shoot its PPC without building a bit of heat, it dies way faster than any of the other Incubus’s (BattleMech plurals work like that, no Incubi here. Same as how multiple Rifleman mechs are called Riflemans. I hate it here.), and it is a fucking waste. That extra weight it saves from the XXL engine is equal to 2 of the micro lasers and the Talons, so if it got rid of it’s stupid claw boots and piss lasers that do no damage this mech could just have a regular ass XL engine and be like 4 times better. Take a Pack Hunter, it costs less, can jump, and also has an ER PPC, but it doesn’t cook itself like a jackass.


Hate this mech. It isn’t nearly an F tier but they took a perfectly good mech and fucked it up for no reason. XXL engines need new rules, the doubling heat thing is just so crippling to deal with.


Clan Sea Fox ilKhanate Incubus. Credit: Jack Hunter

Vixen 7


Costing an admittedly cheap 1175 BV, the Vixen 7 swaps the LPL of the Standard model out for an ultra AC/2. This is terrible, it does piss poor damage and it just worst than any of the other ones on this list. At 1175 BV it will lose a lot of fights to IS mediums because it’s only gun with any range is effectively shooting tennis balls at your enemy instead of bullets. Ultra 2s are a complete waste of time, BV, and tonnage. Skip this variant, it goes beyond being a bad vixen straight to being a bad Clan version of the Vulcan, and the Vulcan is hot garbage at best.

RATING: D-, the Phoenix Hawk 99 is in this game and I need to remember that before giving out Fs.

Incubus 8

The Foxy Fox Friend 8 is 1557 BV and is identical to the standard except for the main gun, which has been swapped out for an LRM-20. Only having 1 ton of ammo is pretty bad and overall I would say this is a downgrade. I wish it dropped the machine guns for more ammo and possibly Artemis/AES to help out the LRM. Why isn’t there an Incubus sub-line with AES in the gun arm. Missed opportunity.

You basically trade uptime and accuracy for raw damage potential here, and I think that is usually a bad trade, and that is very true here. Mech fine, but the Standard is better.


Vixen 9

ER Large Pulse Laser.

RATING: F————————————–

Ok so seriously the Incubus 9 trades the armor out, a first for the chassis, for Reflective armor, which is really nice to have on a mech this fast and this heavily countered by pulse lasers. It costs 1849 BV and carries an ER large pulse laser, one of the worst weapons in the game because the basic large pulse laser is right the fuck there and is better at literally every range but exactly 7 hexes, and is better at range-botting out other mechs because of it basically having a fucking 12 hex short range. The ER LPL gains 1 single point of short and medium range in exchange for dropping down to -1 to hit from -2 to hit. Despite what some agents of the demiurge himself will try to tell you, this is a bad trade. Do not listen to ER LPL fans, they will sing throaty, horrifying dark songs of countering LPL mechs with marginal range advantages. While they kind of have a point in that they are marginally better in the mirror match against enemy LPLs, we are talking like 5% better in the mirror at the cost of like 30 % worse against most targets. For other guns we have 2 ER medium pulse lasers, which have the exact same trade offs and problems as the ER LPL, and 3 AP gauss rifles. AP gauss rifles are actually pretty good, but this mech is mostly not great for a pretty significant price. I would skip it and buy one of the cheaper Incubus’s.


Incubus II

The Incubus II is a completely different mech with a similar appearance, and god it is a weird one. The Incubus II is designed around the use of Handheld Weapon Systems, a sort of bizarre interchangeable weapon technology that lets a mech grab a gun, like, an infantry style gun, and go shoot people with it. Handheld Weapon Systems, or HWS, have to be tailor built to a specific mech and only 4 or 5 mechs in the entire game have canon ones available for use. If you like customs, they are a very fun way to add extra firepower to a mech for “free”, as they don’t cost tonnage or crit slots but do cost BV.

The Incubus II base chassis costs 1291 BV, moves 8/12/10 through use of a Partial Wing, has the same armor as the Incubus Standard, and carries 2 ER MPLs, a light active probe if that somehow matters in your games, and a laser anti-missile system. The ER MPLs are whatever, they are way less offensively bad than ER LPLs are and are more of an upgrade to the base ER medium laser instead of an upgrade to the medium pulse laser, having the same range and damage as the former but adding a -1 to hit bonus, which is genuinely not bad. You are really buying this mech to try out all the cool sub-weapons though, and there is a pretty good list of ones available. I’ll rate each of these based on how well they fit the chassis and how well they perform.

  1. Medium Chemical Laser: This handheld weapon system carries 2 medium chem lasers with a half ton of ammo for 93 BV. This is alright, giving the Incubus II the ability to deal 20 damage and inflict a PSR, but is a bit pricy and short ranged. RATING: B
  2. Streak LRM: This one adds a Streak LRM-5 with a half ton of ammo for 108 BV. This is basically an AC-5 with streak and, while it is short of 20 damage for a PSR, it is still nice to have. Streak LRM-5s are great little weapons and this is no exception. RATING: B
  3. LRM: This one has 2 LRM-5s and a half ton of ammo for 130 BV. This is a bit pricy and you will run out of ammo very fast but it does let you trigger a PSR. Not great honestly, I’d rather use the Streak LRM weapon. RATING: C
  4. Streak SRM: This is the good shit. You get a Streak SRM-4 with a half ton of ammo, more than enough for a Streak launcher. 100 BV is a good price to pay for this, it lets you inflict a PSR, it gives you some good crit hunting ability, and it just fits the movement profile and role very well. RATING: A, this is the one in the art for a reason.
  5. AP Gauss: This weapon is 3 AP gauss rifles with a single ton of ammo. 82 BV isn’t bad and 9 damage is pretty good actually. The Incubus II is fast enough to use it and this makes it death on wings against any infantry on the table. Probably the best or second best weapon depending on your preference. RATING: A
  6. Machine Gun: 4 machine guns for 37 BV, take the AP gauss one. RATING: F
  7. TAG: This is literally just a TAG for 16 BV. TAG is either worthless or overpowered. Either your group allows Semi-Guided LRMs and Homing Arrow IV, or your group has actually fun games of BattleTech. TAG is only good in horrible non-games of BattleTech due to the intense power of those two pieces of equipment, and is mostly worthless at all other times. I would avoid this because if you are tempted to take it you have been tempted into sin by the gods of laser guided missile fire and the only way to not go down a dark path of no TMM 20 damage hits from 17 hexes away behind a wall is to stop now and repent. Artillery is fun but ban Homing Arrow IV before you have to learn why I am begging you to ban Homing Arrow IV. You know what, try it for a game with a lot of TAG and then come back to report. It sucked, didn’t it? RATING: Either S+ or F, no in between.

Overall I really like the Incubus II. It isn’t the most efficient mech out there and a lot of things will do the same a little better, but +5 TMM from a 10 hex jump is rare and the better sub weapons will let you really backstab someone in a way that matters. Lots of fun, try one some time!

RATING: A for fun factor, probably a high B in overall performance.


The Foxy Incubus Vixen thingy is a pretty good light mech. It is probably the least exceptional out of the Striker Star, but it fills an important role. Looking at the Striker Star as an overall package (I genuinely recommend running the whole set of 5 mechs together, it’s that good), the Incubus is one of your 2 duck hounds, along with the Piranha. It jumps into the brush with it’s intensely high speed and scares enemy mechs out of cover with it’s LPL shots, where your slower 6/9/6 hunter mechs can start skirmishing with them and kill them through sheer efficiency. It consistently does the least damage out of the whole set of mechs, but it is very fast and can easily get behind mechs that are already engaged with one of your other mechs.

The whole Striker Star really wants to be run wolf-pack style, singling out a single target for destruction and nuking it off the earth with all the pulse lasers that it can spam out. All of them are capable duelists and light mech hunters though, and the Incubus can chase down and destroy the vast majority of light mechs in this game. Anything it can’t outfight it can outrun, and honestly I have seen these little dorks 1v1 Marauders and Crabs before, it is very capable of punching up above it’s weight class if you are competent and can win most medium range fights with heavier assets. Genuinely great mech, but it is in a box of even better mechs.