Howdy Kuritan Tai-I’s and welcome back to another Mech Overview. This week we are taking a look at one of the three iconic “Bug” mechs, the Wasp.
The Wasp is one of the absolute cheapest mechs in the entirety of Battletech, with only one variant more expensive than 700 BV and the majority of them sitting in the 300-500 range. It is also in universe probably the single most common mech in the setting, alongside the Stinger, Locust, and Phoenix Hawk. I personally love the Wasp due to it being so cheap that you can spam them in truly unreasonable numbers, being one of very few mechs that you can fit 24 of into a 10K BV game, though you probably shouldn’t. Hyper-cheap light mechs in the vein of the Wasp are, in my experience, better used to round out a force and spend any leftover BV on after you have gotten the mechs you intend to do most of your killing with.
Swarm tactics like this are very powerful if the enemy doesn’t have precision ammo or pulse lasers, but are easily countered by the aforementioned weapons. Still, you should be able to find something for the pack of Wasps to go bully. I recommend using them to distract an enemy LRM mech, which will have extreme difficulty actually hitting them in most cases. This advice goes for all Wasp variants. The Wasp is probably my favorite hyper-cheap light mech due to it having some pretty fun variants, so lets talk about those.
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 the other ‘mech reviews).
The base variant of the Wasp comes in at 384 BV for a 6/9/6 movement profile, armor so thin it might as well not exist, a medium laser, and an SRM-2. The 1A is objectively terrible and will lose 1v1 against basically any mech in the game with an actual gun on it, but at 384 BV it shouldn’t ever be in a 1v1. I personally prefer other Wasps to this one, but there is a case to be made for the 1A due to it having both a medium laser and an SRM, giving it more flexibility than some other Wasps. C.
The Wasp 1 is a primitive technology variant that is slower, has less armor, and has less gun. It does only cost 314 BV, but primitive tech mechs are just incredibly, unreasonable terrible. F.
The 1D costs 403 BV and trades the SRM-2 for a pair of small lasers and a flamer. This is not a good trade in my opinion, because the incredibly short range on these weapons makes them extremely hard to use, even on a mech as mobile as the Wasp. There is a case to be made for it as it does have a much higher potential damage output, but I personally dislike it. D+
The 1K costs 376 BV and trades the SRM-2 for a tiny amount of armor and a machine gun. This is a bad trade. D.
The 1L is in my opinion a very fun and deeply usable little mech. Costing 335 BV, the 1L trades the weapons out for a single SRM-4. This is a decrease in potential damage compared to the 1A, but it is only 1 point lower and you get a 50 BV rebate on it. The 1L is insanely cheap, and due to it carrying an SRM, you can equip it with Inferno ammo. Spending 335 BV for a fast dork that can add 2-8 heat to any enemy mech, no matter how expensive, every turn is a great deal in my opinion. It won’t be able to kill anything on its own, but a pair of 1Ls act as fantastic support for a scarier mech, like a TR-1 Wraith. Adding up to the 15 external heat cap, with an average of 8 heat, is pretty great for crowd-controlling any mech that relies on heat intensive weapons (IE Pulse Lasers) to swat something fast like the Wraith. This is a synergy that I frequently make use of and can really mess up an opposing force that isn’t ready to deal with it. The Wasps will also frequently dodge fire due to having high TMMs from their movement and being seemingly very low threat, so you will almost always get to shoot your infernos. I give it a B-, I have had great success using this little bastard of a mech and love it to pieces, but it requires other mechs to do much of anything.
Costing 423 BV, the 1S is an improved version of the 1D. It upgrades the medium laser to a medium pulse laser. This is a phenomenal change and makes the mech infinitely more consistent. The -2 to hit bonus from the Pulse Laser makes the 1S very consistent at hitting things compared to other Wasps. All Wasps want to be jumping and running around at all times to avoid death, and pulse lasers are really good at counteracting the AMM they build doing this. It is a little pricy by Wasp standards, you are paying a lot for that consistency, but it will usually be worth it. C+.
The 1W costs 373 and trades all weapons for 6 small lasers. I mean, it’ll do a lot of damage by Wasp standards if you can get in close enough, but the Wasp is just barely too slow to consistently get within 1 hex of the enemy to make even vaguely decent use of the small lasers. C-.
Costing 401 BV, the 3A is interesting. It carries a single medium pulse laser, which is, mentioned above, pretty good on it. It also has a different movement profile, 5/8/8, trading some run speed for the ability to jump 8 hexes. It also has marginally thicker armor, but has an XL gyro and XL engine so it isn’t really any more durable in practice. Jumping 7 or more hexes gives a TMM of at least 4, and only an AMM of 3. The pulse laser bonus helps counteract the AMM penalty, so the 3A will be incredibly annoying to hit while also pretty consistently getting in chip damage with it’s MPL. I quite like this variant, jumping 7 or more is a very powerful trait and, at only 401 BV, the 3A might be the cheapest mech in the game that can do that. B+.
Costing 477 BV, the 3K uses an XL engine to free up the weight to upgrade the SRM-2 to an MRM-10. MRMs have accuracy issues and the Wasp is a platform that really, really needs to jump or run every turn to not die. This is not a great combination of traits. 477 BV is way too much to pay for this mech, I give it a D-.
Costing a whopping 610 BV, the 3L is terrible. It carries an ER medium laser, an RL-10, and stealth armor. Stealth armor is super cool and rad and its great on a lot of mechs, but the 3L is a terrible stealth mech. For one, stealth armor builds 10 heat per turn. The 3L only has 10 single heat sinks, so it will be overheating no matter what if it uses the stealth armor and decides to do anything other than stand completely still not shooting. It essentially spends hundreds of BV on a system it can’t properly use. This is terrible. F.
The 3M is yet another pulse laser Wasp. Costing 394 BV, it uses weight saving equipment to upgrade the 1A’s medium laser to a medium pulse laser. I quite like the idea of having both the SRM and the pulse laser, it is probably the most flexible Wasp so far. The 3A is definitely better at doing Wasp things, but the 3M has a place if you want to cram just a couple more Inferno SRMs into a list. B-.
The 3P is very interesting. It upgrades the movement to 7/11/7, and carries an ER medium laser and a RL 10. This is cool and as stated above jumping at least 7 hexes is very powerful, but the 3P is quite a bit different to the 3A. For one, using an ER laser instead of a pulse laser hurts close range accuracy and makes the mech much less consistent while jumping. That said, if you are consistently landing 3 or more hexes away instead of within 2, the ER laser is actually the same or better compared to a pulse laser. I don’t personally run into issues with getting within MPL range on mechs that jump 7, but if that is a concern, the 3P could be a decent option. It also has twice the max range, which, again, could be a huge help depending on your playstyle. The biggest problem is the price. It costs 537 BV, significantly more than the 3A. On a mech that is mostly valuable for being dirt cheap, that increase is enough to kill my interest in the mech, personally. That said, it does have some advantages over the 3A and I could see someone preferring the 3P. B-.
The 3S costs a mighty 595 BV. It carries 2 ER medium lasers, a TAG, a light engine, and an ECM. The Tag is potentially incredible if you build your list with a ton of Semi-Guided LRMs and really play around it, but the Wasp is slower and more fragile than most good TAG users. As stated above, the ER medium lasers have some advantages over a medium pulse laser, so it is a bit of a wash in that department. The main issue is the price. 595 is a lot to spend on something this fragile. If you are not planning on running a lot of LRMs you need to TAG for, I wouldn’t take this variant. D+ normally, probably a C+ spotter if you need the TAG.
What is it with the Wolf’s Dragoons? Their mech variants basically always suck horribly, carrying way too much gun and frequently stripping armor away until you basically just have the pilot wrapped in tin foil taped to the front of a skeleton of a mech. They also tend to “upgrade” the weapons in the most confusing way possible. The 3W costs 342, and carries 2 small pulse lasers and 4 small lasers. To squeeze this in, they have trimmed the armor down even more to the point that anything that does more than 5 damage is going to penetrate any part of this mech and inflict crits. The weapons require you to get suicidally close to the enemy due to them only really functioning if you are standing directly next to the enemy. Kicks get a -2 accuracy bonus, and a kick from anything 40 tons or heavier is going to instantly snap a leg off of the 3W. This is just a 1W that does marginally more damage at the cost of being fragile beyond all reason. I give it an F, any mech that can get game-ended by a single medium pulse laser to the center torsos is too fragile to consider.
The 3X comes from a TRO that was released on april fools day that is full of the most overpriced and non-functional mega-expensive hell mechs ever made. It not only has the same piss poor armor as the 3W, it has an XL engine and Gyro so that any weapon that does 10 or more damage can instantly kill it out of nowhere at any time by hitting a side torso. It does carry 2 Thunderbolt 5 missiles, and I adore Thunderbolts for just being such a weird, cool, and janky weapon, but they are not enough to save it. 521 BV is less expensive than it could be, but it is just so comically fragile that it isn’t worth considering. F.
The first vaguely functional W series Wasp on this list, the 4W costs 551 and carries normal armor, 2 ER medium lasers, and 2 small pulse lasers. This is decent enough, even though I would deeply prefer those small pulse lasers be replaced with some extra armor. 551 is expensive but not overly so, and the 4W will do some pretty decent damage. The issue is that it actually has enough gun that your opponent might actually pay attention to it, and it is still just as fragile as a 335 BV 1L. C.
The 5A costs 517 BV. It uses an XL engine to boost its speed to 8/12/8, which is over that 7 hex jump breakpoint. It carries an ER medium laser and a streak SRM-2, which is a decent upgrade over the 1A. It is sort of middle of the pack for Wasp variants and I really don’t have a ton to say about it. C.
The 7MAF comes in at 488 BV, and is another 8/12/8 mech. It carries not a lot of armor, an ER medium laser, and an MML-5. I am a huge fan of MMLs and their clan cousin the ATM, they are really flexible and generally provide great value. That said, this mech has the same thin armor as a normal Wasp, and also has a small cockpit, which is very nearly enough to ruin a mech on its own in my opinion. The piloting skill penalty from a small cockpit is in no way made up for and is just a straight nerf compared to a normal mech. This one is unexciting and kind of bad, but also still around 500 BV, so D+.
The 8T costs 439, has marginally thicker armor than the Wasp standard, and carries a Light PPC and an MML-3. Here is where I would normally go on my “Fast snipers are terrible” rant, but honestly at 439 BV if you just need a little backline dork to chip in 5 damage the 8T isn’t the absolute worse thing to fill out a list with. You are infinitely better off dropping 1000 on an actual mech that can do actual damage, but if you have a few hundred BV left at the end of building a list and just want a little goob to shoot things with a light PPC, it will do that sort of ok. C.
Costing a mighty, mighty, unstoppable 755 BV, the Wasp C is for all intents and purposes an upgraded 8T. It has a Clan ER large laser and a one shot SRM-2. Forget the SRM-2 exists, you will never use it. The C costs exactly enough for it to be competing with a Panther PNT-9R, which is slower, has vastly more armor and internal structure, carries better short ranged backup weapons, and looks like a cool cat. The Wasp C is just worse than the Panther PNT-9R, which is very sad considering the PNT-9R is an early protoplasmic ooze mech from the dawn of Battletech and the Wasp C is very recent. The Wasp is faster, this is true, but, well, the Wasp C has Grendel syndrome. It is too fast for a fire support mech, and wastes BV on going fast like that when it is best served finding a nice and cozy woodline and hunkering down. In a 1v1, the Wasp C does have longer range and could potentially wear down the Panther with it’s superior speed, but if the Panther lands a single hit the Wasp is very likely dead or crippled. In a holistic force though, the Panther fits in much better as a second line mech and supports it’s buddies much better. This makes the first time I believe in one of these that the C variant of an inner sphere mech has been actively bad. I give the Wasp C an F due to there being much better fire support light mechs in this price range. If you don’t care about backup weapons and just want to poke people at long range, the Toro TR-A-6 is a great upgrade for about 100 extra BV.
The Wasp has a few very usable variants. The medium pulse laser and ER medium laser variants honestly are all mostly the same in effectiveness. I would just avoid the C, the 1, the 3W, and the 3L. Wasps are in that incredibly hard to compete with price range of less than 500 BV, and honestly if you are spending that little it is hard to get an actively bad mech, though, again, the Wasp manages to have a few legitimately terrible variants.
Look, next time you sit down to play Battletech, put 25 Wasps down on the table. Put an entire Cluster of the little bastards down. It will probably lose, and it will suck to keep track of, but no one is going to forget the time they nearly got stung to death by a bunch of Wasps. Make Mercer Ravannion proud and drown those honorless dogs in a tidal wave of samurai in tiny, shitty mechs. Trust me.