BattleTech: Mech Overview: Timber Wolf (Mad Cat), Mad Cat MkII, Rakshasa

Hubris is a 6 letter word with it’s origins in ancient Greek theater. Hubris is defined as excessive pride in defiance of the gods. On an unrelated note, welcome back to Mech Overview! This week we will be re-reviewing the Mad Cat/Timber Wolf/Mr.Timbie. The Timber Wolf was our very first Mech Overview, and the format hadn’t yet been established. I wasn’t going over every variant, and the rating system hadn’t been codified. To atone for this grave sin, this article will serve as a redux/remake/remastered/reMARStered/definitive edition/anniversary edition/enhanced edition version of that first article.

But simply covering the Mad Cat isn’t enough to atone for my grave sins of not knowing what I was doing. We are covering EVERY Mad Cat in the next few weeks. All of them. There are by my count 6 entire mechs that are what I would consider Mad Cats. There is the alignment chart of what does and doesn’t count as a Mad Cat, and I am being more liberal than most would be by including the Alpha Wolf, which looks like a Mad Cat but technically isn’t part of the series, and the Rakshasa, otherwise known as the “Mad Cat at home”. There are other mechs that you could include here, the Toro looks like a tiny Mad Cat but is totally unrelated and the Arctic Wolf really looks very Mad Cat like in some art, but I am only considering mechs that are related in some way to the original Mad Cat. But not the Linebacker, that has it’s own plastic model and we will get to it when we get to it. This week we will be looking at the OG Timber Wolf, it’s chunkier son the Mad Cat MkII, and it’s bootleg, inbred cousin the Rakshasa.

Timber Wolf (Mad Cat)

Clan Smoke Jaguar Mad Cat. Credit: Jack Hunter. Hey look it’s the one from all of our banner images.

The Timbie is the Clan Mech. An iconic 75 tons of metal and guns, with it’s slouched posture and immediately recognizable “Cat Ear” missile pods, it is without a doubt the face of the BattleTech franchise and defined the look of BattleTech forever going forwards. Utilitarian and shaped like god’s angriest chicken, the Mad Cat’s boxy, industrial lines refactored the entire franchise’s look. We do still get the occasional “Dude in a Robot Suit” mech, but when many people think BattleTech, they think of this.

Raw sex appeal aside, the Mad Cat is a very good chassis. It moves the same 5/8/0 speed as most medium mechs, but carries high end heavy mech grade armor with assault mech levels of guns. 5/8/0 is a good movement profile, it gets you over a few breakpoints and isn’t so high that you feel bad standing still if you have to. The Mad Cat is a heavy mech designed to 1v1 assault mechs and win, and most variants easily can. It needs to though, because this is a premium Clan OmniMech and it will run you the same BV as a high end assault mech. However, it generally earns this BV through carrying powerful weapons, not by being carried over bad breakpoints by MASC and Superchargers the way something like the Executioner is. The Mad Cat is the standard, the measuring stick against which any other high end mech is measured, and has been for 30+ years now.

An interesting note is that, when the initial Mad Cat article came out, I had only been back in the saddle of playing BattleTech for a few months. A year and a half on I have played a fuck ton more games and my opinions on a lot of these variants have very heavily changed. Experience changes us all.


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).

Timber Wolf Prime

The Lumber Dog Prime is an icon for a reason. Costing 2737 BV, it carries 2 ER large lasers, 2 ER medium lasers, a medium pulse laser for some fucking reason, 2 LRM-20s, and 2 machine guns just in case those infantry start thinking about unionizing. This is a really eclectic mix of weaponry, with a little bit of everything. The LRMs and ERLLs combo pretty well to give the Prime great long range firepower, but with only 1 ton of ammo for each launcher you are probably going to run out during a standard game of BattleTech, so it might be best to save the LRMs for good shots and just fire all the lasers on anything worse than an 8+.

The Mad Cat Prime is a fantastic example of the concept of the “Trooper Mech”. A Trooper is a mech that carries a variety of different weapon types so that it can always find something to do on the table, no matter what situation it ends up in. The Mad Cat prime can do direct fire at long range, indirect fire for a short time if it needs to, and it can brawl up close with the LRMs (Clan LRMs are better brawling weapons than long range weapons, fight me), ERMLs, and MPL. It is fast enough to move with a cavalry formation, but well armored enough to stand and fight in a battle line. You actually can’t go wrong with taking one, it will always have something worthwhile to do and it is a 1v1 terror, though not to the same level as some of the other Mad Cats in it’s massive, inbred extended family.


Timber Wolf A

The Timber Wolf A is a complete monster. The A costs 2854 BV and carries 2 ER PPCs, 3 medium pulse lasers, a streak SRM-6, and an ER small laser for some fucking reason. It has enough heat sinks that it really shouldn’t ever have heat issues unless something has gone terribly wrong or you keep hitting the “Fire Everything” button over and over again.

For the price it is lagging behind other headchop losers, but unlike a Thunder Hawk or Hellstar, the A is fast and has great backup weapons. The trade off here is that you exchange sheer long range firepower and armor thickness for the reach and flexibility of a Timber Wolf’s movement profile. I actually do like this trade off, despite having previously had a lot of contempt for other mechs in this role with similar equipment. The specific blend of speed, armor, and firepower on the Mad Cat makes it well worth the BV. The A will rip the shit out of most heavy mechs it comes across, can paste anything light that tries to arc dodge it, and generally will always find good use. It does lack jump jets, which can suck on certain, intensely rough maps, but even on those it can usually waddle to a good position and provide overwatch.


Timber Wolf B

Timothy B comes in at 2224 BV and certainly feels lower budget. It carries a gauss rifle, a large pulse laser, an LRM-10 with Artemis IV, an SRM-4 also with Artemis, and a small pulse laser for some fucking reason. It basically carries one of each of the Clan’s most BV efficient guns. This feels like a waste of a Mad Cat, and it feels wrong for one to be cheap and (relatively) low damage, but it is a very powerful pair of main guns for a low price. The Black Hawk B and C each carry about half of the guns on this thing each, but are each 1500 BV. Saving 800 BV by combining both into one Timber Wolf is a great deal, but it just doesn’t feel correct to me. It’s like using an entire tank to tow a portable bridge. Like yeah it is useful and does the job, but it feels like such a waste. Mech is good though, if you love the Mad Cat and want to use the model but balk at spending so much BV, this is a good compromise. It’ll still kick the shit out of most IS heavies, but it isn’t going to 1v1 high end assault mechs anymore.


Timber Wolf C

The Timber Wolf C is a weird variation on the Prime that is cheaper, basically the same at long range, and a bit worse up close. For 2500 BV you get 2 ER large lasers, 2 LRM-15s, an Ultra Autocannon 5, a single ER medium laser for self defense, and an anti-missile system. It’s pretty good at sitting and slugging it out with other mechs in it’s price range at long range, trading the can-opening potential of something like the Thunder Hawk for better mobility and DPS. When it comes to this or the Prime, it is a bit of a wash depending on what you need it for. The C is distinctly a long range combat mech and will brawl much worse than a Prime, but the C is better at that longer range because it is cheaper and can fire its weapons for longer. I personally prefer the flexibility of the Prime, but the C is still a great mech if you aren’t intending on doing much brawling.


Timber Wolf D

The D is 2682 BV and carries a set of weapons that would be fucking awesome if all of them pointed fucking forwards! It has 2 ER PPCs, an ER small laser for some fucking reason, and 4 streak SRM-6s. 2 of which point backwards. It isn’t a terrible mech, but it is distinctly worse than the A. Just use an A.

RATING: C- in general. F within the context of the Timber Wolf because the A is a blatantly better mech.

Timber Wolf E

Wolf’s Dragoons Mad Cat – E. Credit: Jack Hunter. I am surprised we had a picture of this exact variant not gonna lie.

TimbE is a good boy. This is one of the ATM variants that every OmniMech has. For 2444 BV you get 2 ER large lasers, 2 ATM-9s, and a light TAG to annoy airliner pilots with. The ATMs have enough ammo to do the ATM thing correctly, but overall this is kind of a meh ATM mech. Compared to something like a Vulture MkIV D it just doesn’t have the level of damage output that 2 ATM-12s can provide. It does have the ER large lasers though, and it does manage heat pretty competently, so it is a bit better at long range and a bit worse up close. Overall I am very whelmed. It’s fine and won’t disappoint you, but there are more exciting Timber Wolfs and more exciting ATM mechs.


Timber Wolf F

The Wood Canine F is a slight variation on the Prime. It comes in at 2764 BV and carries 2 ER large lasers, 3 ER medium lasers, 2 LRM-20s with not enough ammo, and 3 AP gauss rifles. AP gauss rifles are the best anti-infantry weapons in the game if you want to shoot at things that aren’t honorless pathetic little insects. They do good anti-infantry damage and ok anti-mech damage out to a reasonable range. I prefer this to the Prime. It is missing the medium pulse laser, but upgrading the machine guns to AP gauss is a huge upgrade and it really doesn’t cost much more. They are around the same cost so the slight boost in damage makes the Mad Cat F pull ahead in my opinion.


Timber Wolf H

H is for Horse. The Timber Wolf H is the bad heavy laser one. More or less every Clan Invasion era Clan Omni has a bad heavy laser one. It comes in at 2627 BV and carries 2 large heavy lasers, 2 LRM-20s with Artemis IV, and an ER small laser for some fucking reason. Heavy lasers are very bad without some way to mitigate their +1 to hit penalty, and this has no targeting computer or AES. It is functionally a bad version of the Prime. This is also one of the only Mad Cats that I would describe as bad in isolation as well. That to-hit penalty is brutal.


Timber Wolf M

What the fuck is this? The Timbie M is a deeply weird mech to me for a few reasons. It comes in at 2741 BV and carries 2 ER PPCs, a large pulse laser, 4 LRM-5s for some reason, and a single heavy flamer because fuck them infantrymen. The baffling part to me is that ER PPCs and LPLs both weigh the same amount, so this mech could have had 3 LPLs and been way better and heat neutral while firing them, but instead it has to drop an ER PPC to fire the LPLs plus LRMs.

Speaking of LRMs, this mech has dual mounted LRM-5s instead of LRM-10s. This is a confusing design choice. I understand that you save half a ton by using 2 LRM-5s instead of an LRM-10, but we so rarely see that sort of game-y tonnage optimization being done on canon record sheets so it is super weird to see it here. The heavy flamer is also super weird, because if it was a regular flamer, you would have the extra tonnage to go for 2 LRM-10s instead of the 5s. Someone really was committed to 2 ER PPCs, one LPL, 20 total LRM tubes, and a heavy flamer. I don’t understand this mech. It chose the weirdest possible answer to every design question it was asked, and it scares me.

RATING: C+/B-, I don’t know how to feel.

Timber Wolf N

Costing a cool 2862 BV, the Timber Wolf N is the Mad Cat that is in MechAssault, and is therefore the coolest Mad Cat ever made by virtue of it being the first one I ever saw in a piece of BattleTech media. Last article I missed the fact that this was the one from MechAssault, and I am not sure how. The N permanently imprinted itself as THE Mad Cat in my brain, and any Mad Cat without PPCs just doesn’t feel right to me. It carries 2 ER PPCs, 2 LRM-15s, 2 medium pulse lasers, and 4 machine guns. 4 MGs is grossly excessive and having ammo in the center torso is a bit of a bummer, but the rest of this mech is actually really good. It has good brawling potential with the MPLs and LRMs, good long range damage with the ER PPCs, the same good speed and armor as all Timber Wolfs, and the ability to squish whole units of infantry like bugs.

I really like this one, it was my favorite mech in the whole game for two whole decades in it’s guise as “The MechAssault Mad Cat”, only recently replaced by our lord and savior the Banshee. In any sort of game that isn’t balanced around BV this goes right back to being my favorite mech though. The N kills things very dead and is just the platonic ideal of a Mad Cat. High damage at all ranges, high speed, and decent durability. Love it, cherish it, become it’s bondsman.


Timber Wolf S

Mr. Timbs S is the first jumping Mad Cat we have looked at, and is a pretty good one. Moving 5/8/5 and costing 2462 BV, the S carries a large pulse laser, 2 medium pulse lasers, an ER small laser for some fucking reason, 4 SRM-6s that all point forwards this time, and 2 machine guns just in case. This is a decent set of short ranged weapons for a decent price with decent movement. I am a bit less fond of this than I was in the first article, but it is still fine. It is a little slow to have all of those short ranged guns, but it is fine. Not great, but fine.


Kell Hounds Mad Cat. Credit: Jack Hunter

Timber Wolf T

Timbie T is another variation on the Prime. It comes in at 2714 BV and carries 2 medium improved heavy lasers, 2 ER medium lasers, 2 LRM-20s with Artemis V, an ER small pulse laser for some fucking reason, and 2 ER small lasers also for some fucking reason. Artemis V is awesome as it gives -1 to hit, and the medium improved heavy lasers are more accurate than standard heavy lasers and have no to hit penalty. Mr. T also carries fuckloads of LRM ammo, so you are unlikely to run out in most games even if you take mediocre shots with it. Overall this is a pretty good variation on the Prime, though it is a touch more short range centric. I think this is better than the Prime and is a very good trooper mech.

Rating: B+

Timber Wolf TC

The Alpine Rottweiler TC is one of the better Tukayyid mechs. Most of the Clanbusters and TC variants are kinda shitty, so that is a rarity. Costing 2903 BV, the TC is a bit expensive, and it has jump jets, bringing it’s movement up to 5/8/5. This is great for rough terrain, and it’s weaponry is really built to mitigate the penalties it gets from jumping everywhere. The TC carries 2 large pulse lasers, 2 ER medium lasers, an ER small laser for some fucking reason, and 2 streak SRM-6s that mercifully point forwards. The streaks won’t fire if they miss, and the pulse lasers have an accuracy bonus. Both of these things make it more reliable while jumping and shooting.

All that said though, 2903 BV is a lot of BV, and the damage output, while decent, isn’t nearly as high as most mechs in that price range. I would only take this mech if you are really concerned about rough terrain and want to have jump jets on all of your heavy hitters. It really doesn’t quite get there on price compared to other Timber Wolfs if you are not making use of the hops.

Rating: C/situationally B+ if on a particularly rough map.

Timber Wolf U

The Timber Wolf U is an underwater variant. Someday I’ll do an article about fighting underwater and the best mechs for it, but just know that this is functionally an underwater Prime. If you have a feud with fucking Aquaman or something it is pretty decent. Oh god I just remembered that CGL published rules for fighting superheroes with your mechs once.

Cover to Welcome to Nebula California. Credit: Catalyst Game Labs.

This is a real ass BattleTech book. It was a non-canon April Fools book but it is just incredible.

One of the single greatest bit of text in any BattleTech book. Credit: Catalyst Game Labs

This is a free PDF. Go download it, it is fucking hilarious and actually surprisingly fun to play with. You can actually fight Aquaman with your Mad Cat U and it is dumb fucking fun.

Timber Wolf W

Timbie Dubbs comes in at 2791 BV and is an odd one. For weaponry it has an Ultra AC/20, 2 ER medium lasers, an ER small laser for some fucking reason, and 2 streak SRM-6s. This is a pretty good bunch of short ranged weapons, but I feel kind of nervous spending this much for a UAC/20 and some SRMs. It isn’t the fastest and I worry about it getting shot on the way in without being able to trade back. I dislike this mech, there are better short range specialists and most other Mad Cats are also good in a brawl without sacrificing as much long range damage.

Rating: D+

Timber Wolf Z

Ban this fucking thing. The Timber Wolf Z is a Society variant. The Society was a group of Clan scientist turbo-nerds who got mad that the Warriors/Jocks got all the Power/Partners, and threw a nuclear fit about it and created the single most unfun weapon system in the entire game about it. The Timber Wolf Z costs 2923 BV and carries 2 ER large lasers, 2 ER medium pulse lasers, a Nova CEWS, and 2 iATM-9s. iATMs are the devil and killed my dog. They are ATMs with access to additional funky ammo types, but the important part is that they have streak. So you don’t roll on the cluster hits table and instead just hit with every missile unless the target has certain ECM units or other tech. You can either just fire HE ammo to get 27 damage per launcher, or fire one with Infernos to build the max 15 heat from external sources while the other one does 27 damage.

iATMs are unfair and should never have been created, and I highly recommend straight up not allowing them. The Timber Wolf Z is one of the more offensive iATM mechs, but far from the most offensive. The Turkina Z is out there, it is stalking me, it is tracking me by my DNA and will one day find me. I have changed my name 7 times and fled the system, but I still see it at the edges of my vision and in the darkness at the ends of the hallways of my home. It comes for me, and I have learned to accept it. It is an old friend in a way, a familiar death.

Don’t play with iATM mechs.

Rating: S- but it makes you a terrorist.

Timber Wolf “Pryde”

The Pryde is a slight variation on the Prime that also happens to be the mech used in one of the coolest stories in all of BattleTech lore, Pryde’s Pride. Costing 2900 BV it moves 5/8/4, which hurts me, and carries 2 ER large lasers, 2 ER medium lasers, 2 LRM-20s with not enough ammo, and an ER small laser for some fucking reason. Mech is fine, if underwhelming, rating around the middle of the pack for in game use but easily top tier for sheer cool factor.

Rating: C but a really cool C.

Mad Cat “Bounty Hunter”

And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat upon him was Death, and Hell followed with him.

The Bounty Hunter is an absurd mech. A deeply, deeply absurd mech. It was canonically the mech of the Bounty Hunter, an in-universe legendary mechwarrior who passed down his title from master to student every few decades and is 100% committed to collecting dangerous bounties on the most skilled and dreaded soldiers in the setting. It is also canonically painted bright fucking green with money symbols all over it and that goes extremely hard.

Costing 2829 BV, the Bounty Hunter carries 2 large pulse lasers, 4 medium pulse lasers, a light tag for lightly irradiating people, an ECM, an active probe in case that matters, and finally, what makes this mech go from solid to insane, a targeting computer. Every single shot coming out of this mech is at a -3 to hit bonus. At maximum range this mech is only at a +1 penalty to hit. The Bounty Hunter simply does not miss. Pulse plus targeting computer is intensely powerful, and the Bounty Hunter is, need I remind you, a Mad Cat variant. It has the same good speed, excellent armor, and other positive qualities of being a Mad Cat, while also simply not fucking missing and laying DPS into enemies in a way few other mechs can. Assuming it doesn’t eat a lucky TAC or headshot, the Bounty Hunter should win a fight against basically anything in it’s price range. Tier 1 mech. The Bounty Hunter has a lot of unique mech variants by the way, and as of IlClan he is operating with a group of associates who are all piloting mechs that former Bounty Hunters used, so doing a themed force consisting of one of each of the Bounty Hunter mechs and Bounty Hunter Associate mechs is on my to do list.

Rating: S

Mad Cat “Bounty Hunter II”

Oh shit oh god oh fuck there is a sequel. And it is worse. Not godawful, this is more of a Clear Sky type sequel, not a Fable 3 type sequel. There are issues but still some good traits. Costing 2799 BV and having the truly bizarre movement profile of 5/8/3, the Bounty Hunter II loses sight of what made the last one good and just crams shitloads of guns into itself. It carries a large pulse laser, 2 ER medium lasers, an ER small laser for some fucking reason, 2 AP gauss rifles for infantry-b-gone duties, 3 streak SRM-4s and 3 regular SRM-4s. It still has a targeting computer, but reminder, the targeting computer doesn’t make missile weapons more accurate, only direct fire weapons. It is much less scary, though still potent for the BV. I am not terribly fond of Mad Cats with short range focuses, but this does at least have some mid-long range skirmish potential and is still a Mad Cat with decent speed. Overall a pretty decent mech, though not incredible, and just a massive downgrade from the OG.

Rating: B-

Timber Wolf “BLO/Blessed Order”

The BLO is functionally a Mad Cat D that drops the rear-firing streak SRM-6s for a C3i unit. C3i is potentially very strong, and while the BLO is expensive at 2611 BV, it will do some pretty spooky things in a C3i network with some good, fast mechs.

Rating: C in isolation, B in a well set up C3i force.

Timber Wolf Conclusion

The Timbie is a good boy and we love him. There is a huge density of playable, good mechs here, and there are just so few issues with the Timber Wolf that it takes basically any loadout incredible well. I do wish we had a UAC/10 centric variant, purely because I love Autocannon 10s, but everything that is here is pretty good. The Bounty Hunter is probably my pick for the most powerful Timber Wolf in the game, but honestly there are a lot of good options and very few bad ones. The Timbie is an icon for a reason, and it rocks. It is easily available in the Clan Invasion starter and a few other places, and you really can’t go wrong with having one and using it. Assuming you are a newer player without a deep-seated emotional connection to the Mad Cat, most veterans probably already have 5-30 of them.

Mad Cat MkII

Clan Wolf Beta Galaxy Mad Cat. Credit: Jack Hunter. Unfortunately a MkI, we don’t have a plastic MkII yet.

The Mad Cat MkII is a big boy. It is an assault mech version of the Mad Cat for people who want one. That is canon, Diamond Shark started making these to sell to the other Clans and the Inner Sphere because everyone fucking loved the Mad Cat. It comes in at 90 tons, almost all of them jump, and it is not an Omni. This means variants can be more varied than variants of the standard Timber Wolf. An interesting aside about the Mad Cat MkII, it only has one name. Only Clan Invasion era Clan mechs actually have two names, because the Clans weren’t in significant cultural contact with the Sphere and couldn’t share the proper names. Mad Cat, Vulture, Ryoken and Thor were reporting names, and much like real world reporting names, they are frustratingly hard to shake off. The Mad Cat MkII was marketed, in universe, as the sequel to the boogieman of the Clan Invasion.

And the Mad Cat MkII is a hell of a sequel.


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). I am biased as shit here, I love the Mad Cat MkII with a childlike dedication that is impossible to shake.

Mad Cat MkII (Base)

So there isn’t really a lot of consensus on what to call the base/stock variants of non-Omni Clan mechs. Clans don’t use the same alphanumerical designations, and calling it a Prime isn’t accurate because it isn’t an Omni. I’ll just go with Base.

The Base model Irate Feline MkII is designed to fight god and sometimes win. Costing a bluntly ungodly 3135 BV, the Base moves 4/6/3, and yeah it costs over 3000 BV. That is a price tag you very rarely see in this game. For armor, it is a little thinner than some other assault mechs in this weight class, and the lack of Ferro-Lam really hurts this mech bad. At that price it is going to draw a lot of attention and a lot of fire, and it will probably die about it before it can make it’s BV back. That said, the guns are pretty good. It comes with 2 Gauss Rifles, 4 ER medium lasers, and 2 LRM-10s for spice. This is decent, if behind the curve compared to something like a Thunder Hawk. The Thunder Hawk is very nearly the same mech and will probably win the long range slap fight against the Mad Cat MkII just due to thicker armor. The jump between 3/5/3 and 4/6/3 just isn’t that huge and the Mad Cat MkII will have a lot more trouble controlling the range of the battle compared to a Timber Wolf.

It isn’t bad, but in the game of 3000+ BV assault mechs it is an underdog and by a lot.

Rating: C

Mad Cat MkII 2

The Mad Cat MkII 2 (god I hate these fucking names) comes in at 2822 BV and has the exact same movement and armor as the Base model. For weapons, we have one gauss rifle, 2 ER medium lasers, 4 streak SRM-4s, and an LBX-20. This is a pretty good set of mid/short range guns and it still has a gauss rifle to slap people with, but honestly I am still pretty underwhelmed. 4/6/3 just isn’t incredible movement and while the guns are good you can get this firepower from a pair of smaller mechs that will cost around the same amount and be more durable by default.

Oh god I am starting to think I confused my video game memories with my tabletop memories. Time is fading away, my brain is turning to soup. Too much cheap gin and plastic weld fumes.

Rating: C

Mad Cat MkII 3

Not to be confused with the Mad Cat MkIII 2, the Mad Cat MkII 3 is more fucking like it. Costing an opulent and statement making 3168 BV, the MkII 3 actually fucking earns the price tag. It drops the jump jets and instead spends that tonnage on being a good assault mech. You get more armor than my beloved Banshee, 4 ER medium lasers, 2 LRM-10s, a light active probe for some fucking reason, and 2 HAG-30s with plenty of ammo. They did it, they made a HAG mech I don’t think is terrible!

This thing rocks, it can take multiple AC-20s to the center torso and keep going, it puts out 80 fucking damage out to frankly disrespectful range, and it can drop it’s HAGs once something gets within point blank range to fire it’s random backup guns if it wants. You shouldn’t ever want to or need to though, because you have 16 shots per HAG, which is well past the 10 shots that I consider the minimum to not run out of ammo in the majority of games. 3168 BV is a fuckton to spend, and you really should invest in raising your piloting skill to keep that massively expensive investment from falling over, and honestly, I would pay that price.

To explain why I think this is worth the BV, let me introduce a concept to you. I am going to call it the “Please god stop” level of damage, adapted slightly from RPGBot’s “Dude Stop” damage to fit BattleTech better. This is the amount of damage that a mech needs to do at it’s primary range bracket to start to transcend price and enter the zone of completely crippling anything lighter than a Warhammer in a single shot. That number is around 75 at close range, around 60 at mid range, and 45 at long. I have seen 45 damage slam into a King Crab and kill it dead 20 hexes away before, these are very powerful damage numbers. The very best offense over defense mechs all reach PGS damage, the Vulture MkIV D can pass the mid and close range values, the Thunder Hawk barely reaches the long range value. The Mad Cat MkII 3 sails right the fuck past that and just does the same potential damage as a Hunchback IIC alpha strike without the short range or bad armor. A lot of the time when this thing shoots, if the target isn’t an assault mech and you have a good to-hit number, the target is dead or is going to get crippled out of usefulness.

This 90 ton mech has a good chance of winning a 1v1 with a fucking Ares, which is a 135 ton superheavy mech with 3 pilots, 3 legs, and more guns than god.

Rating: A, if something happens to HAG BV to bring this below 3000 it will be S.

Mad Cat (Timberwolf). Credit: Rockfish
Mad Cat (Timberwolf). Credit: Rockfish. Just a little guy, he wishes he was as big and strong as the MkII, but he can’t get there without severe steroid abuse.

Mad Cat MkII 4

Carrying the same armor load as the 3, numbah 4 moves 4/6/4 and carries 4 ER large lasers, 2 LRM-15s, and a light active probe for some fucking reason. At 2962 BV this is a little anemic, but like, we are still over PGS damage. The heat management is a little bad, you are going to want to shoot 3 ER large lasers and the 2 LRM-15s most of the time, dropping a laser or LRM every few turns. It is pretty mobile, decently tough, hits hard, looks fucking awesome, and hey, it has a probe, that means it counts as a Scout mech. I am going to tell my buddy to bring a 4000 BV scout force and I am just going to bring this, argue violently that it counts, and then probably lose anyway because good wolfpack tactics from light mechs with superior numbers fucking eat big bastards like this alive.

God the Loki completely re-adjusted my power-scale for Clan mechs. I still would rather play with cheap IS mechs, but every time I want to say something bad about a 2500+ BV Clan mech I just have the fucking Loki flash into my brain like Akira and am violently reminded that it could be so much worse. The MkII 4 is still mediocre by the standards of these big Clanbominations, but it really isn’t that bad, still above average.

Rating: B

Mad Cat MkII 5

Oh this is a spicy little Angry Kitten. Costing 2491 BV, the MkII 5 has the same armor as the previous 2, and moves 4/6/6. Jump 6 is interesting, it makes numbah 5 as mobile as a Wasp when jumping. Weapons are a little weedy though, with a large improved heavy laser, a medium improved heavy laser, and a gauss rifle. Also the light active probe, because the 5 is a scout mech. Look at it, it jumps like a Wasp, this is a scout mech. The damage here is low for the price and you need to get use out of those hops to make this worth it. Improved jump jets on assault mechs just take so much goddam tonnage that there isn’t much room left for mech after you add them. This, hilariously, is a mech that I think would be better off without a gauss rifle, it really needs some tonnage efficient lasers or something to make it actually able to hurt things after it’s big jumpies.

Rating: C-, it is still an iJJ mech with 30+ damage, it can’t really be that bad.

Mad Cat MkII 6

The MkII 6 is fucking Wolverine. It fucking regenerates. This mech regenerates when it takes damage. Costing 2663 BV, it has the same armor as the base model, moves 4/6/4, has 2 ER PPCs and 4 ER medium lasers, it doesn’t have enough heat sinks to fire the PPCs without overheating while standing still, but who gives a shit, it regenerates!

The MkII 6 carries HarJel III, a super, super funky pieces of equipment that, if I am reading the rules right which I might not be, restores 4 points of armor to a location at the end of the shooting phase as long as it still has armor in that location and it was hit in that location this turn. This is fucking weird and I have no clue how good it is, this is the first mech I have ever seen that actually carries it stock. I have zero experience with this in practice and I don’t know if it is good enough to make up for the heat issues and sorta mid damage for the price. My gut says it isn’t but I have no idea where to rate this.

Rating: HarJel/10. Probably a C if I had to guess without having played with HarJel III. I need to use some mechs with HarJel III

Mad Cat MkII Enhanced

Yeah this is actually the enhanced edition version of the mech. I love this mech but I also hate this mech. It is great and it sucks so bad. Costing 2732 BV, the Definitive Edition moves 4/5/4 (we will get there), 2 ER large pulse lasers, 2 ER medium lasers, and 2 LRM-10s. I know I complain about ER LPLs every time they show up, but despite the fact that this mech is strictly and inarguably worse than if it just had standard LPLs, it still has good traits.

For one, it has hardened armor, which is why it moves such a weird amount. This doubles the effective armor on the mech as each pip of armor requires 2 points to destroy it. With 30 CT armor, this gives it an effective armor of 60 against most weapons, meaning that it is shockingly durable. That said, hardened armor gives a significant penalty to PSRs, so you are going to want to upgrade your piloting skill with this mech so that it doesn’t fall over and never get up again. The Anniversary pack Mad Cat MkII also has pretty good heat management and the weapons aren’t actually bad enough to cause issues, getting close to PGS damage at long range but like, god I wish this just had 3 LPLs and some MPLs. I wish it was a big Hammerhead. Use the Hammerhead.

Rating: C+, pretty decent but counterable and I want to throw beans at the designer who keeps putting ER LPLs on things. Just make it have ER large laser range you cowards, make it better than a base LPL at more than like 3 specific range bands.

Mad Cat MkII Conclusion

Mech is fine. If you really like the lore or the vibes of the sleek and clean 90 ton death machine, you can find a decent variant in here to use. It is way better in the Video Games though, BV is a problem for this mech, and, I hate myself for saying this, it would be better if it dropped the gauss that some variants have for more flashy, low tonnage guns. It is already so massively fucking expensive that there is no point in austerity or BV efficiency, just make a Mad Cat MkII that is a fucking abomination full of MPLs and ATMs. Give me a 4000 BV Mad Cat MkII Sion-grade raid-boss that fights like a demon and wastes all of my BV. Make 9 year old me’s unreasonable hype for this thing justified.

Also canonizing the double UAC-20 one from MWO would be pretty cool. Twin big-fuck cannons is rad and it is so weird to me that that one wasn’t from the Tabletop game.


Battletech Rakshasa triumphant over those Fakers. Credit: Perigrin.

Welcome to the funniest mech in the game. The Rakshasa, a mech so obscure no one talks about it, and that I do not remember buying, do not remember being given, but showed up in my painting box from god knows where and, to my knowledge, I am one of maybe 3 people to have one because why the actual fuck would you bother buying a Rakshasa. The Rakshasa is Shadow the Hedgehog, an inferior, shitty clone of the Mad Cat, with terrible fashion sense, a boxy and dumb as hell look, and general “Cheap Knockoff” energy. The Ultimate Lifeform over here couldn’t even afford to have a round torso like the actual Mad Cat.

It is a Mad Cat built on the 3055 Inner Sphere techbase.

It is just worse than a Mad Cat at everything. It has worse guns, a worse engine, worse armor, worse everything. It is literally the second best version of every single trait of the Mad Cat. It is the shit eating anime rival of the Mad Cat, doomed to fail every time they meet even though it is a perfectly powerful heavy mech when it isn’t in conflict with a Mad Cat. If it could get out of the shadow of the Mad Cat it would be considered a pretty good staple heavy, but it deliberately and desperately invites comparison to the Mad Cat, aping its style, its look, its everything. It is so insecure of it’s own image that it poses as something better than it. It has all the dripping, desperate insecurity of a 2009 OC, unable to escape the long shadow of the original and find itself, its own identity, its own skill, its own self worth.

Canonically, I am sure that a group of lunatics at NAIS said “So we all agree that the Mad Cat fucks more than we do, is the coolest, and has protagonist energy so strong it is going to be the face of our universe for the next 600 years. Let’s try to build an effigy of the Mad Cat, and try to pull some of it’s incredible cosmic power into our imperfect shell so that it may bless our unholy, ravaged bodies with it’s infinite grace.” After building this squalid homunculus of a mech, they cried out in horror. The Dark Alchemy they used to transform a perfectly good Marauder chassis into this fucking thing brought it back wrong. They hadn’t summoned a perfect, godly Mad Cat, but an abomination. It’s proportions were wrong, the legs too long, the arms unnaturally straight, the missile pods had the incorrect number of holes. And they wept, for they knew they were damned. The Rakshasa, like the demons it took it’s name from, would be a cruel and merciless god.



You can also find our other mech reviews on the landing page here.


Why the hell is this fucking thing’s model designation MDG? Why not RKS or RSA or RAK? Where the hell are all those letters coming from. Costing 1795 BV, the MDG-1A carries 2 ER large lasers, a medium pulse laser, 2 LRM-10s with Artemis IV, and 2 medium lasers. All equipment on this mech is Inner Sphere grade, and that is where the problems begin. They tried to replicate a perfect being with imperfect materials, and were smote for their arrogance, their hubris. They were not gods, but men, and their creation was as flawed as all men.

On a serious note though, this is actually a good Inner Sphere heavy mech. It is no Mad Cat, and it will get the shit kicked out of itself if it tries to 1v1 one, but it moves 5/8/0, has good armor for a 75 tonner, has enough heat sinks to shoot whatever it feels like, and just generally really isn’t that bad. For 1795 BV it is actually good, and will do acceptable damage at all ranges with a bit more weighting towards long range than a lot of other mechs. Not really a battle line mech or a general purpose mech, the Ultimate Lifeform here is distinctly a sniper and it is pretty ok at it. Not great, but OK.

Rating: B-


This is literally the same mech with standard large lasers instead of ER large lasers. What the fuck, why bother? The MDG-1A already handled heat perfectly fine, it really didn’t need this? I have no clue why this mech exists, it changes literally nothing else? It is just an enshittified version of the MDG-1A. Don’t use this.

Rating: F in context of the Rakshasa, C otherwise

Oh god oh fuck he found a villain on a high object with a low angle shot, what sins will he commit in his spin-off show? Credit: Perigrin


The Armalite here is a bit more unique. It comes in at 1675 BV and carries 2 snub-nosed PPCs, 2 medium lasers, and 2 MML-7s. It still moves 5/8/0 and has more or less the same armor load. This is actually really good for an IS heavy.

This is basically the Mad Cat E. I was about to give it praise and adulation for branching out away from the Mad Cat, for finding it’s own path, for beginning to find the walking ways and exit the dream it is trapped within. But it failed, and in its failure it was returned to dust, to ashes, to the very thing it sought to escape. It can never leave the shadow of it’s rival, it can never become it’s own mech. The Rakshasa is doomed, a puppet dancing on strings, doomed to forever stumble in the darkness of it’s own inadequacy.

That said this is a fantastic heavy mech. It actually competes pretty well with the Mad Cat due to sheer cost-effectiveness. 1675 BV is a great price to spend on this mech, it does good damage at short and mid range, and it can probably bring a quirky sidekick mech to beat up on the Mad Cat with, and it might actually win that fight if it can get one 2 to 1. Against a lot of other mechs it kicks ass for the price. Genuine anime rival energy, I can’t get over it.

Rating: A-


Man the Rakshasa finally has a variant that isn’t a bootleg Mad Cat and it sucks. The MDG-2A costs 1766 BV and carries a RAC/5, a large pulse laser, and 4 medium pulse lasers. The issue here is the Inner Sphere weaponry. This would be an awesome set of Clan pulse but IS pulse has such short range that it really can’t get a ton done past 4ish hexes. RAC/5s are really cool, but the best RAC/5 mechs ONLY have a RAC/5. The gun can jam, and it is pretty likely to jam at full fire rate. If it jams, you have to take a turn off from all shooting to unjam the gun, and that sucks when you have other guns you could be shooting. This mech just spends BV on guns it can only shoot when the main gun isn’t jammed, but it also has short range on those guns so it might not even matter. Overall this just isn’t a very good mech for the price and that is a damn shame.

Rating: D+

Oh shit he won. You can tell by the dust on that MWDA model how long it has been since anyone on this earth has played MWDA. Don’t play MWDA. Credit:Perigrin.

Rakshasa Conclusion

Unfortunately, that is where our story ends. There are only 4 Rakshasas because the people writing this game give as few shits about it as the people playing it. It’s core identity as a 5/8/0 IS 75 tonner with a wide mix of weapons and good armor has potential, but it just can’t escape being the hee-hoo funny bootleg Timber Wolf. This mech is screaming, crying, pleading for a really good Rec Guide variant or 5. I would actually kill a man for this mech to get an expansion the way the Loki MkII did with the most recent Rec Guide. It deserves it, and I am not saying that because it is threatening me. I also am definitely not a flesh automaton animated by the condensed malice of the Rakshasa made manifest upon our mortal plane to revenge itself upon the writers who cast it as the second best.


This article is stupid fucking long and I don’t know what to say about it. The Mad Cat is good, the Mad Cat MkII is sometimes good but god it costs a lot of BV, and the Rakshasa is a mech you should use every game because it will make your opponents very confused. I have been listening to power metal while writing this and it is starting to melt my brain. I am going to go lay down.