What is the best, most optimized, polished, and efficient PPC/Gauss sniper build in Mechwarrior Online?
Short Answer: this one!
PPCs and Gauss Rifles form a unique and powerful combination. High pin-point damage combined with an excellent range. Every chassis which has 2 energy hardpoints and which can equip a Gauss Rifle is theoretically able to use such a sniper build. However, if your Mech is not agile it can’t utilize the weapons. If you have low armor and/or an xl-engine, you will have no chance to withstand counter-sniper fire and LRM salvos. Using an assault Mech seems reasonable and all assault chassis (except the Awesome) have at least one variant which can realize such a sniper build. You don’t want to go too heavy though since you would be wasting tonnage which could be additional speed and manoeuvrability.
The Highlander 733C really is the best variant to build this thing. 40 Gauss Ammo to last you exactly as long as a 12vs12 match. Insanely high heat dissipation allowing you to fire constantly for 10 or more times. Other Mechs will overheat after their 3rd salvo, and you will be the grinning a*shole still blasting their shoulders, legs, and weapons apart. A single jump jet allows you to cross a chasm on Canyon Network and pop-tart effectively. Survivability is extremely high, as well, since you are rocking over 450 armor and using a standard engine. Most other sniper builds will use an xl-engine making them easy prey for you. All weapons are parked on one side of your Mech, allowing you to sneak around corners and using your naked arm as a simple shield. Together with the jump jets you should be able to spread the damage across your whole chassis very easily, allowing you to live more than twice as long as your opponents.
The 733C Highlander Sniper build is used by multiple top tier players, amongst which is the infamous Kaffeangst of Hell’s Black Aces. He scored a first place in all but one tournament so far. Check out his twitch.tv stream and see this build live in action.
If you do not own a Highlander 733C, you can still work with the following builds. They are not that much worse. They are just not as perfect as the 733C. There are also several other variants which can be used to build sniper builds, for example the Cataphract 3D. Here are three more builds for comparison and reference: Dragon Slayer, Misery, and Highlander 732.
The Dragon Slayer sacrifices heat efficiency for mobility. The Victor Hero Mech is much more fragile and uses an xl-engine, making your Mech susceptible to carefully placed shots at your shoulders. If you are looking for a decent Dragon Slayer build, this one is not recommended, since it does not use both ballistic hard points. There are other more powerful builds out there which utilise AC/5s and other auto cannon calibre sizes to be more effective in competitive gaming. This build is just here for demonstrative reasons. After all, it is an effective PPC/Gauss Sniper Build.
Misery, Stalker Hero Mech, suffered a lot from the introduction of ghost heat. The Stalker has no jump jets and is not as agile as, for example, the Highlander. Although, the load-out is almost identical, the play-style is very different. You will have to move slower and more cautiously, acting from behind the front lines. Choose your positions and battles wisely, since you can not easily back out, once you have been spotted or overwhelmed. A good Misery sniper is always shooting, but never eating return fire.
The same load-out with a stronger engine and on a 732. This version of the sniper build plays very similar to the 733C, however, it is not as heat efficient. This build is just here to illustrate a similar load-out, which trades heat efficiency for slightly increased agility. Of course, one can also turn the Heavy Metal, Highlander Hero Mech, into such a sniper. If you own multiple Highlanders or are thinking about getting a new variant, I definitely recommend the 733C.
After all is said and done, the 733C comes out at the top as the sole winner in the contest for the best PPC/Gauss sniper build in Mechwarrior Online. Especially, if you are a skilled pilot and know how to pop-tart, the proposed version here does not hinder you and let’s you do all the nasty stuff you always dreamt about.
Be sure to check out Kaffeangst’s Stream. He plays almost daily in small groups and a lot of 12vs12.
If you would like to read more about the mechanics behind these builds check out the Alpha Strike, Firepower, and DPS Guide or the excellent guide on the new ghost heat system (explained without any math!).
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