Because what else would I name it?
Now, I'm not ready to do the full Nova post yet, since I've not yet finished the elite skills on them, but I wanted to give a little preview of one of the build's capabilities. The two end-of-match reports below were the last match with the mech partially-basic'd, and the first match with the mech fully basic'd. This thing is going to be a beast, with the elite tier skills active.
So the build in question has an optimal range on all of its weapons of under 300 meters. Polar Highlands was probably the worst map where this mech could end up, given its flatness and general lack of cover. Adding to the difficulty was the Stalker suiciding immediately after the match started, and the Mauler running a long-range build, holding his armor behind the main firing line.
When the team dropped onto the map, I circled around the assault mechs, and then began to follow the team. As frequently happens, many members of the team engaged in a wierd stop-start movement pattern, meaning that even at 81kph, my Nova slowly wormed its way to the head of the pack, behind only a couple of light mechs. They were ostensibly reconning and doing a remarkably poor job at it, since they never really got any targeting information for the rest of the team. What they were doing, though, was sticking to low ground, which led to me following them, since I needed to get close to the enemy to contribute anything to the fight.
Once I was at the front of the main force, though, the rest of the team seemed to be following me or at least the same recon mech which I was following, myself. Fortunately, those mechs had us in a trench that spiraled inward to a point rather close to the center of the map, and their peeking and poking had drawn the hostile team toward us.
The spiral trench ended off to my right, where the inside wall simply gave way to level terrain around it, and this was where I decided to fight. A Viper crested the edge of the inside wall, chasing the recon mech that I had been following (and which was now retreating), and I lit it up. The Viper died, before it could get back around the corner. I then poked around the corner and saw a Crab engaged with another mech. One volley from my Nova took the Crab's left torso, and it apparently had a standard engine, as it kept moving. The Crab briefly twisted to try to give me his right torso, but I held off, until, while avoiding fire from another mech, he twisted back, and I got a clean shot at his center torso.
On my next peek, I spotted a Daishi, and sank a volley into its right torso. A teammate popped that torso section, and I used my jump jets to clear the trench wall twice, firing a volley into the Daishi's left torso each time, killing it on the second jump. Of course, even half a Daishi puts out a lot of fire, so I got punished for that kill. Though all my components were still intact, the armor was opened on all of my torso sections. I pulled back from my corner, in the hopes that someone else on my team would take my place to lead the attack and let me squeeze out some extra damage by drawing fire away from my mech.
No dice. What was really galling was that the Vulture on our team was fresh at this point, and as I moved from the front of the group to the back, he just watched, tracking my movement the whole way. I've mentioned it before, but it bears reiteration: In the pug queue, don't expect your team to push.
In any case, we were down several mechs at that point, so I made one final charge, in the hopes that the team would follow and accomplish something. I softened up an Executioner with a couple shots from just outside of my optimal range, and the team failed to follow up.
Now, if that was the Nova out of its element, then this match was the Nova very much in its element. Fights on Crimson Strait tend to be focused on the cargo platform at the center of the map and the area directly underneath the platform. The Domination game mode (which is a king of the hill mode) further emphasizes that by having the control region encompass most of the platform and its underside. Now, if you're not contesting the control point, then you're out of position. If you're in range of my Nova, then you're out of position, and I'm going to kill you. If you're contesting the control point, and I'm contesting the control point, then you're in range of my Nova.
In a way, this wound up being a pretty hectic match, especially early on. My team started on the bay side, which allowed us easy access to the top of the cargo platform, which we took, before it could be contested. The hostile team did a split push, with slower mechs running through the rail tunnel to the underside of the platform, and the rest of the team going wide around the outside. This was a pretty routine opening gambit by both teams, though the hostile team did successfully regroup underneath the platform, where much of the time a split push will leave one portion of the team isolated and left to die.
A stalemate developed for a couple of minutes, while their team tried to lure us off of the advantageous high ground, and our team didn't take the bait. During this time, I was scrambling between the southern ramp and some of the openings in the platform to do what damage I could and ward off any cheeky light mechs trying to break out to harrass our heavies and assaults.
Specifically, there was a Cicada that just couldn't quite shake the attention of our team, no matter where he ran. At one point, while I was on the eastern edge of the southern ramp, he tried to duel me by poking in and out from behind the building in the center of the southern ramp. That's a range of about 100m, so his pair of ER large lasers had absolutely no hope of outperforming my short-range loadout. Now, I understand that on the first poke, he might not know what he was getting into, but he decided to poke again, after seeing me fire my weapons the first time. He retreated that duel with both of his side torsos open.
After taking a few more potshots through the pipes that obscure the view from the southern ramp to the area below the platform, I noticed that a lot of the action had shifted to the west. Several mechs had pushed out to pull range on the platform, probably in the hopes that they would be able to snipe at us, since we clearly weren't giving up the high ground.
In response, I jumped over to the short retaining wall against the hill on the southwestern part of the platform and began running toward the western edge. A Viper had tried to exploit our team's movement to get onto the platform, directly ahead of me. Unlike the Cicada, the moment I began firing on the Viper, it retreated back off the edge of the platform and ran underneath again. When I got to the edge, juicier targets revealed themselves. There was an Awesome getting ganged-up on in the buildings further to the west, and a big, purple Atlas, making a run for the underside of the platform again.
I sank several shots into the Atlas, before a Mad Cat poked out from behind the warehouse at the very edge of the coast. The sound of the Gauss hit was pretty distinct and left my right torso armor pretty soft. Deciding it best not to trade with the Mad Cat, I retreated onto the platform to see if I could spot the Atlas again, through the gaps in the platform. After a few seconds without any luck, I moved back to the edge of the platform, in the hopes that the Mad Cat had found something else to concern himself with, and he had. He seemed to be under the impression that the platform was now uncontested and was charging up the western ramp. I dropped off the platform, onto the edge of the southwestern hill, and started sinking laser shots into his back, along with a Hunchback IIC. The two of us together ripped through his rear armor and internal structure, before the Mad Cat's pilot had a chance to react.
It was at this point that I realized that the Hunchback and I were the last two mechs on our team, while the hostile team still had the purple Atlas, the Cicada that managed to escape its earlier doom, and a Kodiak, which I had yet to even see.
The purple Atlas was the first mech I spotted, after the Hunchback and I retook our position on top of the platform. It was underneath, roaming about in a somewhat disoriented manner. I managed two shots, before he was able to locate me, and I decided to relocate, before he could properly return fire. Now on the south side of the same opening, I took another shot at the Atlas, this time chipping away at his back armor, while he was still looking at my previous location.
At this point, I twinked to the very real possibility that, while we were poking the Atlas from the top of the platform, the southern ramp offered an opportunity for the Atlas' surviving teammates to sneak up behind us. The Hunchback did not get the same idea and continued to try to deal damage from above. (Actually, at this point, the Hunchback became so divorced from the action that, as I was writing this, I thought that he had died.)
Knowing that it gives better firing lines on the ramp, I made my way back to the east side of the southern ramp, and as I was on my way, the Kodiak began to poke up above the level of the platform. This was the first time I had seen the Kodiak in the entire match, and I had no idea what kind of condition it was in, so I aimed for the center torso and fired. And the Kodiak died! It died almost as soon as I hit the trigger. Thank you, team, for softening that bastard up!
Knowing that what was left was a sniper Cicada and an Atlas with a strange build (AC10, 2 LPLs, and some variety of LRMs), I knew it was time to make a move, while they were in a disadvantageous position, nearby, and under the platform. I jumped across the Kodiak's smoldering remains, to the far southern edge of the ramp, to avoid the possibility of dropping directly in front of the Atlas. The Cicada showed up right in front of me, and a quick shot popped his right torso, and with it his XL engine.
Just the Atlas left under the platform, then. Though it was a little soft on the right torso, all of my mech's components still had armor, and I knew that the Atlas was hurting from the beating I had given it previously, so I jammed the throttle forward and ran down the ramp. The Atlas seemed to be running to the center of the area beneath the platform to meet me. We each traded two volleys from our weapons. He spread his damage across my mech's torso, opening all of the torso sections, but I focused on his center torso, and he had less structure left there than I had armor and structure across the Nova's entire torso.