[Top 10] Mechwarrior 5 Best Mechs for A.I.

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[Top 10] Mechwarrior 5 Best Mechs for A.I.

A.I. lance mates can help you clear missions easily if you know how to equip them right.

One of the gameplay features of Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries is it gives players the ability to hire & command A.I. lance mates.  And just like the previous games, A.I. pilots are generally dumb as rocks.  They don’t dodge enemy weapons fire,  they don’t use jump jets &  they don’t take evasive action even when artillery is raining down on them.   To the uninitiated, these A.I. squad members seem more like a liability than an asset to the player.

But fret not.  There is a way to utilize them effectively and it mostly depends on their weapon loadout & what ‘Mechs they are using.  It’s important to remember that the A.I. will use every weapon its ‘Mech has.  

To demonstrate, if the ‘Mech has an LRM, the A.I. will use that from range but if it also has a small laser or flamer, the A.I. will then attempt to get close to the enemy for it to use said laser.  This becomes a problem since it won’t be able to shoot the LRM if it’s in close range.  So the A.I. will try to move away from the target again to use the LRM once it’s ready to fire.  

This is why players need to equip & configure ‘Mechs specifically for A.I. pilots.  To this end, here is a list of the 10 most viable ‘Mechs for your A.I. companions.  


10. Hunchback HBK-4P

6 Medium Lasers mounted on the right torso can do some serious damage to enemies.


  • Weight:  50 tons
  • Armor:  320/350
  • Structure:  175
  • Free Tonnage:  22.57 tons
  • Speed:  64.8 km/h
  • Standard Loadout:  1 Medium Laser (Right Arm), 6 Medium Lasers (Right Torso), 1 Small Laser (Head), 1 Medium Laser (Left Arm)

Introduced in 2572, the Hunchback is a medium-to-short range brawler that rose to prominence during the many urban battles of the Reunification War.  Widely known for its street-fighting abilities, the Hunchback soon earned the respect & admiration of many mechwarriors.  Though the original Kobiyama/Nissan General Industries factories were destroyed during the Succession Wars, Kali Yama acquired the rights to the design and soon began producing the Hunchback for the Free Worlds League.  


  • Energy weapons don’t need ammo.  The 4P can keep fighting until it or its weapons are destroyed.
  • Equipped with mostly medium range weapons, which means the A.I. won’t have to constantly adjust its distance to fire said weapons.  It only has to stay in medium range.
  • Decently armored for a medium ‘Mech.

Remove the small laser and add armor instead.  Having weapons that share the same optimal range means the A.I. doesn’t need to keep moving back and forth to use its weapons.  Also, assign the lasers into groups of 3 or 4 to minimize heat buildup.  The A.I. won’t shoot if its heat is too high.

The HBK-4P is a common ‘Mech that can be bought in ‘Mech markets or industrial hubs, particularly in Marik territory.  It can also be obtained as salvage in missions against House Marik.  


9. Trebuchet TBT-7M

The TBT-7M is the latest Trebuchet model in MW5, sporting Endosteel structure & an XL engine.  


  • Weight:  50 tons
  • Armor:  240/350
  • Structure:  175 Endosteel
  • Free Tonnage:  24.07 tons
  • Speed:  81 km/h XL
  • Standard Loadout:  1 LRM 15 (Right Torso), 2 Medium Lasers (Right Arm), 1 NARC (Left Torso), 1 Medium Laser & 1 LRM 15 (Left Arm)

Though initially carrying a blistering array of advanced technology due to its last-minute entry into the Star League Defense Force ranks in 2780, the Trebuchet was also one of the first battlemechs that went back to the drawing board as a result of the Succession Wars.  Redesigned using older technology so Corean Enterprises could continue to manufacture the chassis in an era defined by scarcity, the Trebuchet is a solid support ‘Mech ideally meant for long range bombardment.  


  • NARC that makes enemies susceptible to missile weapons.
  • Decent indirect fire support ‘Mech thanks to its dual LRM 15 launchers.
  • Has the most free tonnage among all the TBT variants, giving players more customization options.

Players can use the 7M as either long range fire support with LRMs or a close range brawler by replacing the LRMs with SRMs.  If you’re going for close range DPS, add more armor to the 7M since it will have to get in close to use those SRMs. For A.I. pilots though, I suggest sticking to LRMs especially if they have low stats.  Players can compensate for the lack of DPS by taking the DPS role & using a more offense-based 'Mech instead.

Players who want the TBT-7M have to wait for 3048 before they can either buy it in industrial hubs or get them as salvage in missions against House Marik a.k.a. The Free Worlds League.  


8. Crab CRB-27SL

The 27SL is a good ‘Mech to have but it can be a pain in the butt to get.


  • Weight:  50 tons
  • Armor:  322/350 Ferro Fibrous
  • Structure:  175 
  • Free Tonnage:  22.74 tons
  • Speed:  81 km/h XL
  • Standard Loadout:  1 ER Large Laser (Right Arm), 1 Small Laser (Head), 1 Medium Laser (Center Torso), 1 ER Large Laser (Left Arm)

When originally built for the Star League in 2719, the approach taken by Cosara Weaponries was to create a battlemech that was easily maintained and well suited for high endurance raiding far from supply lines.  The Crab was seen by many as a reliable standby and the eventual standard for SLDF medium ‘Mechs.  The League’s collapse orphaned the design, however, and the loss of Ferro Fibrous armor production eventually led to centuries where the surviving units were downgraded to carry standard armor.  Even still, the Crab’s elegant simplicity practically assured that enough would survive to the present era. 


  • Laser weapons don’t require ammo, making the Crab ideal for long engagements.
  • 4 Double Heat Sinks vent waste heat quicker, enabling the Crab’s lasers to fire consistently.
  • Fairly well armored for a Medium ‘Mech.

I advise players to remove the small laser & all the jump jets if the 27SL will be assigned to the A.I.  Add more double heat sinks & armor instead.  Players can also choose to replace all the lasers with medium pulse lasers if they want a more dedicated mid range skirmisher.  Otherwise, the 2 ER large lasers should suffice as main DPS weapons.  

While available early in the game, this variant of the Crab can be frustrating to obtain as it’s a rare Star League ‘Mech.  Players might have an easier time getting the 27SL by prowling the ‘Mech markets near Terra than trying to earn this variant as salvage in missions.  


7. Catapult CPLT-C1

A great missile boat like the Archer, but 5 tons lighter.


  • Weight:  65 tons
  • Armor:  320/434
  • Structure:  217
  • Free Tonnage:  25.44 tons
  • Speed:  64.8 km/h
  • Standard Loadout:  1 LRM 15 (Right Arm), 1 Medium Laser (Right Torso), 2 Medium Lasers (Center Torso), 1 Medium Laser (Left Torso), 1 LRM 15 (Left Arm)

When Hollis, Inc. wanted to test the waters of the battlemech industry, they did so with a completely new design and a state-of-the-art factory.  They shipped out record numbers of Catapults for the three-year contract they had with the Terran Hegemony, but ceased production in 2563 when the contract wasn’t renewed.  Primarily a fire support platform, the Catapult is often used in second line and specialist mountaineering regiments.  


  • Deals decent damage from long range to destroy or soften up incoming hostile forces.
  • 4 Medium Lasers offer viable back up weapons should enemies get too close to the C1.  
  • Common ‘Mech that’s easily obtainable at the start of the game, provided players have enough C-bills.

Like with every ‘Mech assigned to A.I. pilots, remove the jump jets, add armor or heat sinks or better LRMs.  Alternatively, players may want to swap out the LRMs for SRMs to make the C1 a dedicated close range brawler.  Personally though, I have always used the C1 as a long range missile boat, especially for A.I. pilots.

Players have better chances of finding the C1 in Liao territory, either sold at ‘Mech markets or obtained as salvage in contracts against House Liao.   


6. Grasshopper GHR-5P

Remove the jump jets if you’re giving this to A.I. mechwarriors.  They don’t use jump jets.  Ever.


  • Weight:  70 tons
  • Armor:  432/446
  • Structure:  223 Endo Steel
  • Free Tonnage:  30.57 tons
  • Top Speed:  64.8 km/h
  • Stock Armament:  1 PPC & 1 Medium Pulse Laser (Right Torso), 1 PPC & 1 Medium Pulse Laser (Left Torso), 1 Medium Laser (Center Torso), 1 Medium Laser (Head)

Originally a rush job intended for both overt and covert operations on Terra, difficulties integrating several stealth systems delayed the chassis until after the climatic end of the Amaris Coup.  With necessity no longer a driving force, its stealth systems were stripped out & the somewhat unorthodox chassis began its distribution to the regular army.  Capable of leaping over difficult terrain and able to sustain long operations with minimal resupply, the Grasshopper is still found in the armies of most Houses, despite its factory being abandoned during the 2nd Succession War.  


  • Energy critical slots focused on the Torso ensure the GHR-5P can continue fighting despite losing both arms & a leg.   
  • Has 17 Double Heat Sinks to handle thermal buildup & enable Energy Weapons to fire more often.  
  • Equipped with 2 PPCs, which the A.I. can shoot accurately.

While it has great jumping capability, it’s worthless when A.I. pilots the 5P since A.I. never use jump jets.  That’s why I suggest removing those jump jets and pile on the armor instead.  Or more heat sinks, if you prefer.  Either way, it will still be an improvement for computer controlled team mates.

The 5P is available for purchase as early as 3015.  Try checking Capellan industrial  hubs.  That’s where I got mine.  If not, try the hubs closer to Terra as rare ‘Mechs spawn more often there.


5. Atlas AS7-K

Nothing is more intimidating than an Atlas bearing down on you while you're in an Urbanmech.  


  • Weight:  100 tons
  • Armor:  608/626
  • Structure:  313
  • Free Tonnage:  54.94 tons
  • Speed:  48.6 km/h XL
  • Standard Loadout:  1 Gauss Rifle (Right Torso), 1 ER Large Laser (Right Arm), 1 ER Large Laser & 1 Anti Missile System (Left Arm), 2 Medium Pulse Lasers (Center Torso)

When General Aleksandr Kerensky laid down the design specifications for the Atlas in 2755, he decreed it should be “a ‘Mech as powerful as possible, as impenetrable as possible, and as ugly and foreboding as conceivable, so that fear itself will be our ally.”  The Atlas met those ambitions, and from its first deployments would grow a terrifying reputation.  Heavily armored, heavily armed, and heavily feared, the Atlas is a lumbering monstrosity of firepower.  


  • One of the best armored assault ‘Mechs in the game.  Great tank that’s hard to kill.
  • Great sniper due to its Gauss Rifle and 2 ER Large Lasers. 
  • Has AMS which protects it from enemy missiles.  

The Atlas K is great for tanking enemy fire.  Also, having long range weapons means the K can soften up targets before they can get close.  Use this ‘Mech with an A.I. lance mate to draw the opposing force’s aggro while you go in for the kill.

The AS7-K can be found most commonly in Combine space during 3049 and above.  Pay attention to the ‘Mech markets in industrial hubs there; or you can take contracts against House Kurita and hope the K shows up & become available as salvage once the mission is over. 


4. Stalker STK-3FB

Like all Stalkers, the 3FB may be slow, but it has enough weapons & armor to get the job done.


  • Weight:  85 tons
  • Armor:  512/538
  • Structure:  269
  • Free Tonnage:  40.69 tons
  • Top Speed: 48.6 km/h
  • Stock Armament:  2 Medium Lasers & 1 LRM 15+ART IV (Right Arm), 2 Medium Lasers & 1 LRM 15+ART IV (Left Arm), 1 ER Large Laser (Right Torso), 1 ER Large Laser (Left Torso)

Originally designed by Triad Technologies in 2594, the Stalker has been a workhorse assault ‘Mech of the Inner Sphere for more than 200 years, and has served with distinction in the Star League Defense Forces for 2 centuries prior to that.  The Stalker is a powerhouse of a ‘Mech, mounting a mix of heavy weaponry and heavy armor.  While no one will ever accuse the Stalker of being fast, few will claim it is easy to stop.  


  • Better heat management compared to other Stalker variants thanks to 7 double heat sinks.  
  • Has ECM, which makes the 3FB harder to target with missiles.
  • Can effectively engage enemies at any distance due to its varied weaponry.  

A.I. lance mates can engage enemies from afar with the 3FB’s LRMs & ER Large Lasers.  Players should assign the ‘Mech’s weapons into groups.  Set them to chain fire to minimize heat buildup since the A.I. won’t fire anything till their ‘Mech cools down enough.  

The STK-3FB can be taken as salvage (if you’re lucky) upon completion of “Hazing of the Weak” questline’s last mission.  The questline will be available once players reach Reputation 9.  If not, the 3FB may show up being sold as a rare ‘Mech in ‘mech markets closer to Terra.  


3. Marauder MAD-5D

Few battlemechs are as iconic & famous as the Marauder.  


  • Weight:  75 tons
  • Armor:  448/474
  • Structure:  237
  • Free Tonnage:  37.19 tons
  • Top Speed:  64.8 km/h
  • Stock Armament:  1 ER PPC & 1 Medium Pulse Laser (Left Arm), 1 ER PPC & 1 Medium Pulse Laser (Right Arm), Streak SRM2 (Left Torso), 1 Large Pulse Laser (Right Torso)

Hailed as the pinnacle of Battlemech design when it was unveiled in 2819, the Marauder was one of the ‘Mechs to step away from the purely humanoid body type and embrace a more menacing appearance.  The ‘Mech quickly became popular as a command vehicle, and throughout the Succession Wars, many battalion and regimental commanders made their Marauders their second homes on the battlefield.  Often deployed in heavy shock units with Warhammers and Thunderbolts, the Marauder is known for laying down an impressive long-range barrage before its opponents can close the distance.


  • Lighter XL engine gives more free tonnage to use on armor, structure, ammo & double heat sinks.
  • Pulse lasers & ER PPCs deal great damage at any range.
  • Double Heat Sinks offer better thermal efficiency, contributing to increased fire rate of energy weapons.

Remove those jump jets if A.I. pilots are going to use the MAD-5D.  Replace those with more armor or double heat sinks.  And since A.I. team mates are fairly accurate with PPCs, this ‘Mech (equipped with dual or triple PPCs, if you wish) can be devastating in their hands.

The MAD-5D starts spawning at around 3047.  Players can try their luck getting one in Davion ‘mech markets near the Lee star system.  Or RNG might bless you with one in the industrial hubs there. If not, try Terra, which seems to spawn rare ‘mechs more often than other star systems.  


2. Archer ARC-2K

A much cooler missile platform than the Catapult; better armored too.


  • Weight:  70 tons
  • Armor:  352/446
  • Structure:  223
  • Free Tonnage:  27.07 tons
  • Speed:  64.8 km/h
  • Standard Loadout:  1 Large Laser (Right Arm), 1 LRM 15 (Right Torso), 1 LRM 15 (Left Torso), 1 Large Laser (Left Arm)

As its name suggests, the Archer was designed in 2458 to fulfill the Terran Hegemony’s need for a long range support ‘Mech.  With production of the ARC-2R beginning a mere 30 years after battlemechs first took to the field, the Archer quickly became one of the most prolific chassis in the Inner Sphere.  Well armored and with a decent top speed, the Archer excels in keeping the enemy at long range, but pilots run the risk of overheating during high intensity, close quarters combat.  


  • Can deal huge amounts of damage from afar thanks to its long range weaponry.
  • Torso mounted LRMs ensure the Archer 2K can fulfill its role as a long range missile boat despite losing both arms and a leg.  (Your A.I. teammates don’t protect the arms of their ‘Mechs.)
  • 2 Large Lasers make the 2K a viable sniper should the LRMs run out of ammo.

To be honest, any variant of the Archer is good for A.I. pilots.  I just chose the 2K since having large lasers means it can deal damage farther away than medium lasers and don’t require ammo.  Just remember to upgrade your weapons so you can deal good damage.  

The 2k is a common ‘Mech that can be bought in Draconis Combine space or taken as salvage in missions against House Kurita.


1. Awesome AWS-9M

A.I. lance mates are quite adept at using PPCs. 


  • Weight:  80 tons
  • Armor:  496/506
  • Structure:  253
  • Free Tonnage:  37.69 tons
  • Speed:  64.8 km/h XL
  • Standard Loadout:  1 ER PPC (Right Arm), 1 ER PPC (Right Torso), 1 Small Pulse Laser (Head), 1 Medium Pulse Laser & 1 Streak SRM 2 (Center Torso), 1 ER PPC (Left Torso), 1 Streak SRM 2 (Left Arm)

Originally built for the Star League in 2665, the Awesome’s design was based on the aging STR-2C Striker ‘Mech.  While not as swift as its ancestor, it isn’t uncommon for battlemechs to retire from the field outright than face a formation of Awesomes.  It excels at heavy engagements and is often tasked with securing the most critical objectives, or at least guarding such objectives from the enemy.  


  • 3 ER PPCs can deal a ton of damage from long range, especially with an A.I. pilot.
  • 10 Double Heat Sinks help dissipate heat quickly, ensuring the 9M’s PPCs to consistently deal damage.
  • Heavily armored for an 80 ton ‘Mech, which is a good thing since your A.I. teammates never dodge.
  • Fastest top speed out of all the other non hero Awesome variants due to its XL engine.

Actually, any Awesome variant with 3 PPCs is a good fit for A.I. lance mates.  It’s just that the 9M has the most Double Heat Sinks & is the fastest among all the other non hero variants.  I suggest taking out every weapon except for the 3 ER PPCs.  Then use the extra weight to slap on more armor & double heat sinks.  Additionally, having 2 or 3 Awesomes in your team will increase survivability while we, the player, can fill the role of main DPS, letting teammates tank the enemy’s aggro while we systematically take down said enemy.

The only thing I hate about the 9M is players have to wait till 3049 for this ‘Mech to show up.  Once you reach the required year, head to Marik territory as the 9M is easier to obtain there, either sold as a rare ‘Mech or acquired as salvage in missions against the Free Worlds League.


Don’t forget to upgrade the ‘Mechs assigned to your A.I. squad.  

Let’s go over what we know about A.I. pilots so far.  

  • They don’t use jump jets.
  • They don’t dodge.
  • They will use every weapon assigned to a ‘Mech’s list of weapon groups. 
  • They don’t take evasive maneuvers nor do they protect their damaged limbs. 
  • They don’t fire their weapons when their ‘Mech has high heat.  

So here’s some advice to help counter these shortcomings.  

  • Remove jump jets completely and add more armor or heat sinks as deemed necessary.  
  • If the ‘Mech assigned to an A.I. has LRMs (or any long range weapon that has a minimum range) and short range weapons, either swap out the LRM or the short range weapon.  These don’t synergize well together.  Better to equip the A.I. with weapons that don’t have a minimum range requirement, like SRMs & Medium Lasers, Machine Guns & Autocannons, Flamers & Lasers, that sort of thing.  
  • While some people may like spreading their A.I. squadmates around, I personally find it better to keep my squad together.  This way, we can focus fire on an enemy to take it down faster.  The fewer enemies on the field, the less damage all of you will take and the less expensive your repair bill will be after the mission.

So there it is, the best 10 ‘Mechs for your A.I. squad and how to use them properly.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, as well.  Enjoy playing Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries.  


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As the lone practitioner of the ancient martial art of Kung Pao Chicken, Jonathan trains daily for his inevitable fight with Son Goku.
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