Howdy and welcome back to Battletech. Today we are finally rounding out our reviews of the 55 ton trio of the Griffin, Wolverine, and Shadow Hawk. The Shadow Hawk is a somewhat infamous mech in the wider Battletech community. There are a few true Shadow Hawk patriots out there, but the Shadow Hawk is kinda bad? Out of the 55 ton trio it is consistently ranked as the worst, at least in 3025. The principle reason for its infamy is that it looks really, really cool.
Look at it! It has a sick shoulder cannon and it looks like it is coming to beat you to death with it’s bare hands. The cool appearance combined with its shocking mediocrity in its stock variants and coming in the starter box has made it a pretty notable new player trap. That said, there are at least a few usable variants, much like nearly every other mech in Battletech, so if you are a committed member of team shoulder gun, you can find some use for it.
The basic stock variant, the 2H is a somewhat miserable medium mech. Possessing a bizarre movement profile of 5/8/3, the 2H is in general a strange mess. It carries the true sampler platter of weapons, with an AC/5, a medium laser, a SRM-2, and an LRM-5, each weapon being underwhelming on its own and combining to make a very underwhelming mech. It has sort of ok armor, but that is about the only goodish trait the 2H has. At 1064 BV, there are many better options. D+.
It’s a primitive version of the Shadow Hawk, it is undergunned, slow, overpriced, and generally sucks. F, don’t bother with it if you want to win games, but primitives can be fun for campaigns.
The SHD-2D costs 899 BV and trades nearly all of the armor off of the 2H, leaving it with less armor than most light mechs. In exchange for this crippling lack of protection, you gain an extra SRM-2 and an extra medium laser. It’s terrible beyond belief. F.
This variant costs 1049, and is nearly identical to the 2D. It has more armor, though still less than the 2H, and upgrades the SRMs to Streak SRMs. It’s still bad, though slightly less so. D.
Costing 1354 and carrying the same backup weapons as the 2D2, the 2Hb carries double heat sinks and upgrades the AC/5 to an LBX AC/10. It is a perfectly mediocre medium mech, absolutely nothing special but just about usable if you look at it in the right light. C-.
Coming in at 1453, the 2Ht is a much better mech. It goes up to a 5/8/5 movement profile, fixing the bizarrely small jumps of the base version. It also upgrades the weapons to a large laser, two medium lasers, and 5 Streak SRM-2s. It is perhaps a bit pricy, competing with the Griffin 4R and a few other pretty solid medium mechs, but compared to the other Shadow Hawks it is nimble and hits comparatively hard. C+.
The SHD-2K is a worse version of the Griffin. It will consistently let you down compared to a Griffin. Buy a Griffin. It is about 100 BV cheaper than a basic 1N Griffin. Still buy the Griffin. D.
This is a much more interesting PPC Shadow Hawk. At 1591 it is pretty damn pricy, but it comes equipped with more armor, a 5/8/5 movement profile, a heavy PPC, an MML 5, an ER medium laser, and a C3 slave unit. This is a pretty substantial upgrade, and as far as headchoppers go this is a pretty ok one. The heavy PPC is a scary gun, and this is a decent enough caddy for one. It also has enough range to make reasonable use of it’s C3 in a C3 network, so it is a lot better there. C+.
Aside from having slightly lighter armor, this is very similar to the 3K. The main difference is that this mech carries a single heavy PPC and a single light PPC instead of all of the weapon the above mech had. It is just a hair cheaper and is also basically fine, but it loses out on the C3 network. C.
Costing 1684 and having a 5/8/5 movement, the 5D is alright. It carries a RAC/5, two medium lasers, and an SRM-4. It is ok. It isn’t terrible, but it is too expensive for what it does. C.
Costing 1430, the 5M is a dedicated fire support mech. It carries an LRM-20, an ultra AC/5, a medium laser, and a streak SRM-2. The LRM 20 is pretty nice for the price, though I am not a fan of UACs in general in this game due to the low consistency they offer. I give it a C, it is not really that bad but there are better missile boats at this price.
The 5R is hilarious, if somewhat bad. It costs 1296 BV, and carries a weird spread of weapons. It has the standard Shadow Hawk Streak SRM-2, a medium laser, and a light AC/5. Where it differs is that it carries 5 Thunderbolt 5 systems. Thunderbolts are basically LRMs that shoot one huge missile instead of many small ones. It is fun for a laugh but not very good. D+.
An odd duck of a mech, the 5S costs 1590 and carries a lot of gun. It carries a large laser, a medium pulse laser, 4 medium lasers, TAG, ECM, and a cargo compartment for some reason. It also has boosted movement speed, up to 6/9/5. It is basically fine but pretty mediocre for the price. C.
The 6D is a Dark Ages mech. It moves 5/8/5, and carries a weird mix of weapons. It carries a large RE laser, a medium RE laser, an MML-5, and a one-shot SRM-2 for some fucking reason. It costs 1296, which is a completely fair price for this. RE lasers are something you will really, really want when you want them, as they completely bypass all damage reduction armor. So you don’t halve the damage against Hardened armor, or knock 20% off for Ferro Lam. They also have an accuracy bonus, which is nice. I give this a C in most lists, but a B- if you are expecting to run into that sort of armor.
The 7CS is another C3 fire support type variant. It costs 1496 and carries an ultra AC/5, an LRM/15 with artemis, and two medium lasers. It has a C3i suite, and it fits sort of ok into most C3i forces, as it has some ok long range weapons. It is kinda too expensive for what it is, but its not terrible. C-.
The 7H is a 5/8/5 moving mech with a cost of 1394. It is basically a slightly better 2Hb. It does have an Enhanced LRM-5 instead of a normal one, which is like, marginally better? C.
The 7M costs 1447 BV. It carries a light gauss rifle, an LRM-15, a medium laser, and a Streak SRM-2. Light gauss rifles are bad and the 5M does the exact same thing better for about the same price. D+.
The SHD-8L costs 1536 BV and carries a Plasma Rifle, a medium VSP, and an MML-5. It moves 5/8/7 due to improved jump jets, which is pretty awesome. It does have an XL engine, which is a bit of a bummer, though it isn’t a huge deal on something this nimble. It is kind of the diet coke version of the Griffin 4R, and it is like, ok I guess? C+.
Costing 1313, the 9D carries a Targetting Computer, a medium pulse laser, a light AC/5, two MML-5s, and a C3 slave. it moves 5/8/5 and is ok. It has decent weapons and the Tcomp is nice, and it will fit in reasonably well with most C3 forces. I like this one for C3 forces, B-.
This is almost exactly the same as the 7CS, carrying a Snub Nosed PPC instead of an Ultra AC/5. It costs 1700 BV, which is just way too god-damn much. D+, its a decent mech but it costs too much for what it does.
This is a bizarre mech. It moves 6/9/4, which is a strange and sort of terrible movement profile. It carries a Heavy PPC, an ER medium laser, and an MML-7. At 1574 BV it is ok, just weird. Really weird. C.
Normally the C variants of mechs, those being clan-tech upgrades of inner sphere mechs, tend to be some of my favorite mechs. This is not one of them. At 1309 BV, it carries an ER medium laser, an LBX-5 autocannon, a Streak SRM-2, and an LRM-5, all built to clan standards. Even as clan weapons, this is still a very underwhelming mix of weapons. It is ok, but boring and mediocre. It is basically incapable of doing anything impressive, and it makes me unhappy. C-.
This is basically a SHD-4H with an added TAG. It is ok, but is easily one of the most shockingly mediocre and unexciting hero/special character mechs in the game, and at 1517 BV there are just better choices. C-.
Yeah no I was right the Shadow Hawk mostly sucks. It is a real shame that the best this mech gets is “Sort of usable and unexciting”. There is basically nothing special about the Shadow Hawk, and this is one of the shortest mech overviews so far simply because there really isn’t much to say about it. It is bad, but not in a fun way like the Charger or Urbanmech. It is bad for the simple, boring reason of being unoptimized, unfocused, and bad. It carries mostly bad weapons in small numbers and strange mixtures. A couple of variants with heavy PPCs are sort of usable just because there is the slim chance of instant killing an enemy mech. The Shadow Hawk direly needs some love from CGL, a couple of really high grade variants would really help the mech out. As is, it makes a great mook/goomba mech in campaign play, as it has some tonnage to throw around but can’t really threaten to kill your players unless they get incredibly unlucky. It is also a pretty good mech to use against new players, as it looks cool and they will feel cool for destroying it, but it really has no chance of winning a 1V1 with basically any other medium or heavy mech that is around the same price.