Battletech Mech Overview: Penetrator

A 75-ton Inner Sphere heavy mech, the Penetrator was first introduced during the Clan Invasion era and available in the Hansen’s Roughriders box. Across all variants it retains 4/6/4 mobility, which is decent but not exceptional – the jump capabilities are a bit unusual on a mech this big, but 4/6 is a very typical ground speed. Most variants are running about 90% of max armor, which when coupled with running a standard engine and predominantly energy weapon loadout makes it very durable.

Hansen’s Roughriders Penetrator. 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).


Each arm of this Penetrator carries an ER large laser, and each side torso a trio of medium pulses. While this doesn’t lead to tremendous damage output, it’s not bad, assuming you can actually make it to short range on the pulse lasers. Sinking 24 heat is adequate as it covers all your weapon fire with either the ER larges or the pulses, though movement will cause you to slowly heat. At 1,687 BV it’s almost a great value mech – if not for shoving AMS ammo in the center torso. While that is the spot with the most crit padding, it’s also the worst place for an ammo explosion. I’d like this mech a ton more if it traded the AMS out for a bit more heat sinking, and this’ll carry over to many of the other variants.

My rating: B


I was just talking about how these mechs are predominantly energy weapons, and here we go swapping the ER larges out for LRM-10s with Artemis IV. To do this, it also drops one medium pulse from each torso. Ammo is nicely spread out – all three torsos have something explosive, and a crit to the side torso is a 1/3 chance of an ammo explosion.

Lacking much in the way of firepower, this is at least relatively cheap at only 1,564 BV.

My rating: D


Someone listened to me say I’d like a little more heat sinking in the 4D review, then carried that out in entirely the wrong way. Keeping the AMS, this drops some armor (down to 83%, which to be fair is still decent) and two of the medium pulses, picking up enough heat sinks to fire both ER larges and two of the remaining pulses at a run. Firing the other two will still heat you up, while firing one ER large and all four pulses has you oversinked. Weird number of heat sinks; should’ve kept the armor protection and dropped one of them. At 1,639 BV it’s a hair cheaper than the 4D, and I think it’s just a touch worse.

My rating: B-


Again with losing armor instead of the AMS. This time it’s to add Guardian ECM; otherwise this is identical to the 4D. I’m meh on Guardian ECM. It’ll shut down Artemis (or C3 if you happen to play against it), but it doesn’t do anything to streak missiles, which I find much more dangerous. It would be a good trade for the AMS but it’s a bad trade for armor. 1,689 BV is almost identical to the 4D, and unless you play against a ton of C3 this is a worse mech.

My rating: C-


We’re back to the original armor levels and starting to do interesting things with refits here – all the pulse lasers are traded for ER medium lasers, we pick up a couple heat sinks, and we gain a targeting computer. The heat sinks don’t fully counter the increased heat of ER medium lasers, but it’s no longer heating up while moving around and shooting the now more accurate ER larges, and outside of two hexes the ER mediums are more accurate than the medium pulses. Going up to 1,994 BV is steep for mostly just an accuracy gain, so I don’t think this is quite as good a use of BV as the 4D, but it’s far from bad.

My rating: B-


Finally using any sort of weight saving technology at all, this variant uses endo-steel and unfortunately an XL gyro to free up enough weight to trade the ER large lasers out for snub-nose PPCs with actuator enhancements (which is effectively a targeting computer for just the arms). It also, to my great delight, gets rid of the AMS, and so no longer has any explosive components. Reflective armor cuts down incoming energy weapon damage, so if it can stick around 8-9 hexes this trades very well into other energy boats, picking up medium pulses when things get in close. Unfortunately the advanced tech comes at a cost, and 2,104 BV is getting to the point where you can get a clan-tech refit of some IS heavy mechs, so it’s lost some of the good value the earlier variants had.

My rating: C+


The 8D is another attempt at making an interesting variant rather than a side-grade of the 4D, with the arms carrying large re-engineered lasers and the torsos carrying plain old medium lasers. Like the 7D it carries reflective armor; however, this time it has a compact gyro rather than an XL, which combines with the standard engine and trading explosive AMS for a laser AMS system to create a very durable mech. Carrying one additional heat sink is just enough to deal with the high heat of the AMS – it’s neutral at a walk firing the large lasers or all the medium lasers if the AMS goes off.

While I think this is definitely more effective than the 4D, at 2,130 BV I think it’s generally not worth it unless you are regularly playing against someone running advanced armors (whether reflective, ferro-lamellar, or hardened), at which point the re-engineered lasers will continue to do full damage and be great.

My rating: C+ normally, B+ against advanced armor


This is definitely a heavy mech. While not outstanding, I think it’ll rarely disappoint unless you have an early unlucky TAC to blow up the AMS ammo.

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