Battletech Mech Overview: Nightsky

The Nightsky is what happens when some enterprising mech designer asked a simple question: “What happens if we make a Hatchetman that isn’t bad?” By upgrading to a 50 ton chassis with an XL engine, the Nightsky is able to speed up to generally a 6/9/6 movement profile, nearly double the armor coverage, and bump the hatchet damage up to 10. 10 damage is an important breakpoint, as it means that against a fully armored head you’re doing structure damage (and thus have a chance of a crit that will instantly kill the mech). While you won’t always be hitting the head (actually using the punch table gives you a +4 hit modifier), the threat is enough to keep people wary.

The Nightsky runs an all-energy weapon loadout on all variants, often pulse-heavy, and notably leaves guns out of the hatchet arm. This makes it excellent at bullying lighter mechs – pulses are more likely to hit, and the hatchet swing is always an option you can take even when a high TMM makes you less interested in kicking, given the risk of a fall after a miss.

Kell Hounds Nightsky. Credit: Jack Hunter


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).


With a large pulse, pair of medium pulses, and a small pulse, the stock Nightsky is very very similar to the much loved wraith. At 6/9/6 it’s a touch slower, though it builds less heat from jumping and has more sinks – a max distance jump puts you at +2 heat when firing the large and both medium pulses. Plus you’ve got a hatchet. At 1,159 BV, this makes for an excellent bully – keep it near a bigger mech, and it can either sweep away small mechs that try to flank you, jump into the back of something bigger that’s focusing on your main threat, or force your opponent to turn and deal with it, opening up shots from your other forces.

My rating: A


Mostly keeping things the same, this variant swaps the large pulse out for an ER large laser, adds a small laser for some fucking reason, and adds an anti-missile system. I’m very much not a fan – the ER large laser is only better than the large pulse outside of 10 hexes where the pulse can’t hit at all, but if you stay there you’re sacrificing all your other weapons and the threat of the hatchet. The explosive AMS ammo in a side torso carrying an XL engine is also not great. You spend 1,287 BV for what ends up being a less effective mech unless you really love a jumpy long range sniper that doesn’t do much damage (you don’t love that).

My rating: C


Back to an all pulse loadout, this is a 4S that drops all the jumpjets for additional heat sinking. You now sink 28 heat. At a run you generate 22 heat. The 4S also generates 22 heat at a run, and sinks 22. Why does this exist? It drops jump jets to sink heat that the loss of jump jets means it no longer generates. It does drop the cost to 1,045 BV, which is cool I guess, but it’s just a lightly armed 6/9 mech at that point without any of the threatening mobility to make good use of the weapons.

My rating: D


Much like the 4T, this variant swaps the large pulse for something long ranged – this time an ER PPC. It’s again a fast jumpy sniper without a ton of damage. Is it better than a vindicator? Yes. Is the increased cost of it worth it over a vindicator? No. 1,356 BV can buy you a mech that reliably does more than 10 points of damage.

My rating: C-


Finally, rather than just swapping a handful of guns around this variant makes meaningful changes. To start, the XL engine is swapped down to a light engine. While it leaves less room for guns, being able to survive a side torso loss is a big win for a medium mech. It also trades all the guns for seven ER medium lasers. That’s potentially 35 damage – but it’s also 35 heat, and you’re still only sinking 22. Mostly you’ll be firing four of them on the move. It’s still decent damage, with the potential to do a whole lot if you’ve got good hit numbers. Shoot them all, hope you don’t shut down, and hope you have somewhere safe 6 hexes away to jump out to next turn while you cool off. 1,474 BV is not terrible but it’s expensive enough that I don’t think this is quite as effective as the base 4S variant.

My rating: B


Going back to the standard pulse based loadout, triple-strength myomer is added to this variant to give it real threatening melee damage. At 9+ heat, the hatchet is hitting for 20 damage, which is terrifying. Get it in the rear arc of any assault mech in the game and a torso hit is going significantly internal. With 22 heat sinks you optimally want to generate 31 heat in one turn to turn TSM on, then exactly 22 to keep sitting on 9 without bumping up to 10 and taking the additional movement reduction. Funny enough, firing all your weapons and jumping for 6 generates exactly 31 heat. At a run, you can generate exactly 22 by firing the large pulse, medium pulse, small pulse, and both ER small lasers (remember you can shoot the ground even if you can’t hit anything). At a walk, swap the medium pulse for an ER medium. If you need to jump, turn off the small lasers (or play with the medium pulse/ER medium, depending on how many hexes you moved). This is stellar heat management – barring outside sources, you can always stay at exactly the heat needed to keep TSM on with minimal penalties, giving you a 7/11/6 movement profile. 1,430 BV is an entirely acceptable cost for effectively an AC/20 plus some support weapons that can reach someone’s rear arc.

My rating: A+


Sticking just a little closer to the basic 4S model, the 7S uses mixed clan tech to get the durability of a clan XL engine and heat efficiency of ER medium lasers. The large and small pulse are upgraded to x-pulse versions, and actuator enhancement is added to the hatchet. The AES hatchet has the same -2 to-hit bonus that a kick does, without the risk of falling, so it takes away the main downside of the hatchet (though connecting with a kick does have the benefit of possibly making your opponent fall). Increased heat sinking leaves you stable at a run firing the large x-pulse and both ER medium lasers (which coincidentally all have the same 5/10/15 range band). At 1,591 BV this is just a very solid update to the 4S, doing the same role.

My rating: A


There are essentially two versions of the Nightsky. There’s a good version, where it uses good 6/9/6 mobility and accurate weapons as a bully, either taking out fast moving mechs or getting around the back of your opponents slower mechs. Stick somewhere a couple hexes away from your own heavy mechs as you push up, then you can either jump back to defend them or forward to get behind an enemy as needed. Then there’s the bad (well, OK) version, where it adds a single long range weapon to turn it into a mobile sniper. It lacks sufficient firepower to be effective there, while paying for the mobility, but not really having enough mobility to flank the enemy while remaining at long range.

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