BattleTech: Mech Overview: Piranha

Sing, Katyusha, of the rage of Piranha, great destroyer of kneecaps and eater of assault mech rear armor. That which caused the Spheroids great pain and pitched countless souls into the dark of hell, and left their infantry as bloody food for dogs and birds, and their mechs as smoking wrecks, feasted upon by the many mouths of our clan, as Kerensky’s Will is done. Begin with its origin, forged in the crucible of Tukayyid and quenched in the blood of a million infantry.

Wolf’s Dragoons Gamma Regiment Piranha. Credit: Jack Hunter

Howdy everyone and welcome back to Mech Overview. This week we are looking at the second mech of the Striker Star, the suspicious looking Piranha. If you played Mechwarrior Online any time around the mid-late 2010’s I am sure you have strong opinions about our littlest war god and its years long reign of terror. On the actual tabletop the Piranha is just a little guy, and it is his birthday, and we have to be nice to him.


The Piranha is a fast mech with a general anti-infantry focus. Most variants mount large batteries of small, cheap weapons. It is a fast, fragile little thing with a hell of a lot of gun. The Piranha is not an omnimech, so theoretically any variant could wildly deviate away from it’s identity in all sorts of weird and exciting ways. None actually do, but it is exciting that it could have!

The Piranha is a 20 ton light mech, and has a few traits that all Piranhas share. It moves 9/14, has very thin armor, and doesn’t jump. That thin armor is a huge deal, with literally no variants being able to take a 10 damage hit to any location without it going internal. Speed is armor for our bitey little friend though, and a 14 hex run is pretty decent. Not nearly as high as some Locusts or any Fire Moths, but more than respectable. 20 tons is just not a lot to work with, and every variant shows that.

So let’s talk about them.


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).

Piranha Standard

The base model comes in at 998 BV and carries 2 ER medium lasers, an ER small laser for an ok fucking reason, and 12 machine guns. That is a lot of machine guns. That is a truly American amount of .50 caliber machine guns. It only has 10 standard heat sinks, so it builds movement heat while shooting, but it can exchange an ER medium out for an ER small every other turn to stay fairly low heat. The base Piranha does ungodly things to infantry, and can really mess up any mech with an open hit location by crit seeking until it finds something good with those machine guns. 998 BV is very low BV, and even with it being this fragile that speed combined with those machine guns combines to make it a pretty solid light mech.

I actually don’t recommend using this to backstab assault mechs, even thought I made a joke about it earlier. The machine guns are best used when hit locations have already been opened up by other mechs. Much like it’s namesake, the Piranha wants to wait until there is blood in the water and it can go sink its teeth into the offal of its foes. A Piranha shooting a mech with full armor is considerably worse than one that is shooting a mech that has very little armor left. It’s probing teeth can find their way through thin armor, like other light mechs, but these chompers are not built for penetration. Find the weak, wait until they are bloodied and staggered, and close in to eat their delicious neck veins.

RATING: B-, certified Tukayyid Classic.

Piranha 2

The sequel gets weird with it. For 853 BV you get the same everything, but change the heat sinks out for 11 doubles and trade the guns for 2 medium heavy lasers, a small heavy laser for some fucking reason, and 12 micro lasers. Normally accuracy would be a problem, but 853 BV is so cheap you can just buy a point of gunnery skill and still be damn cheap. Those heavy lasers do 10 damage instead of 7, which significantly increases the backstabbing power of the Piranha 2. The micro lasers do the same damage as a machine gun but build up heat, so you have to pick between firing both heavy lasers and some of the micro lasers, or firing one heavy laser and all of the micros. If the target has a thick hide still protecting it, the heavy lasers will help you peal off their skin to get at the delicious meat later, but if they are already open the micro lasers will speed along the feast and generate a large amount of crit rolls.

Unlike the base Piranha, the Piranha 2 is very good at backstabbing. Those 10 damage heavy lasers can put big enough holes into rear armor for it to easily needle-tooth in with the micro lasers in future turns. Good mech in all honesty, not having ammo explosions is nice.

RATING: B-, tasty tasty meat.

Piranha 3

The Piranha 3 has a little bit of everything. For 1142 BV you get 10 double heat sinks, 2 ER medium lasers, 2 micro pulse lasers for some fucking reason, and 8 micro lasers. All of these weapons benefit from a baked in targeting computer which guides them on their way directly into the sweet, sweet myomers of your enemy. The Piranha 3 only builds movement heat while alpha striking, it has the best mix of weapons so far, and can put 12 to-hit rolls into an enemy at very high speeds. The 3 is best seen as an upgrade to the base Piranha. You pay a bit more but the price is worth it for more accurate fire and marginally higher damage on a couple of your hits. In my opinion this is a good trade, but the lack of a 10 damage hit to open your enemies up like sardine cans and suck the delicious bones out of them is a bit of a bummer. It really wants a feasting buddy to open up holes for it, and as a result I think this is actually the best Piranha to run as part of the Striker Star box. Having multiple LPL armed mechs to open holes for it makes it a lot better, and lets it do what it wants to do at the fastest possible speed.

RATING: B, loves friends but can make it alone if it has to.

Piranha 4

Oh god machine gun arrays. The Piranha 4 costs 1063 BV and carries 2 ER medium lasers with a targeting computer, and 2 machine gun arrays, one of light machine guns and the other of regular machine guns. Machine gun arrays functionally let you roll 4 machine guns as a single to hit roll, using the cluster hits table to see how many actually hit after you make your one hit roll. This is actively a downgrade compared to just rolling them separately. The Piranha 3 takes this mech’s lunch money and it isn’t close, don’t bother.

RATING: C, actively the worst one.

Piranha 5

Combining a lot of very good traits, the Piranha 5 comes in at a very reasonable 1132 BV. It actually has very slightly more armor than normal, still not enough to ward off a 10 damage hit though. For weaponry we get 2 improved medium heavy lasers, an ER small laser for some fucking reason, and 12 machine guns. It also has a supercharger that lets it push itself up to 9/14(18)/0, which is very very fast. This combines good traits of the base model and the 2, having the crit seeking potential of the base model while being able to crack the shells of enemy mechs to start it’s own feast like the 2 can. The best part is that you can fire everything all the time without overheating, so you can open hit locations and crit them on the same turn. This is the best backstabbing variant of the Piranha, and honestly probably the best one overall. Not a super interesting mech, but a very threatening one.

RATING: B+, fantastic backstabber and overall best choice in all respects.


Yeah, we are already done; the Piranha is a mech with very few variants. All variants are also, unusually, nearly the exact fucking same in terms of weapons, role, cost, and everything else. I would take the 5 90% of the time, with the 3 taking the other 10% depending on how badly you want the accuracy boost. Within the Striker Star this is another one of your duck hounds. Few things put the fear of god into a mech with open hit locations like a Piranha circling for the kill. I actually have 2 of them that I like to run together, you start generating such a huge amount of to-hit rolls that the chance of an enemy not getting a head hit or TAC inflicted on them every turn rapidly approaches zero. Hilarious little bastard of a mech.