Hunchback IIC

Hunchback Master Guide Number 2©



The Hunchback is a classic mech, and the Hunchback IIC lives up to the legacy, at least for me. In canon, it is known as a death sentence which is sure to do damage despite a short lifetime. And in a lot of ways that rings true in MWO. It has pretty stupendous firepower in any of its configurations (easily equaling that of most heavies, even Clans), but it is supremely easy to kill. It is a true glass cannon.

Since none of these mechs have quirks, we’ll judge them purely on hardpoints. The best, most reliable variant is easily the HBK-IIC-A, the energy variant. It’s not always stronger than the ballistic variants or anything, but it can be played in a number of ways that are almost guaranteed to succeed. Next up is the HBK-IIC itself, barely beating the HBK-IIC-C. They share most of the best builds, but the second choices for the HBK-IIC edge out the HBK-IIC-C. Lastly, we have the HBK-IIC-B, the missile variant. While it is still strong, it is poorly suited to everything it’s good at. That being said, it will likely be more interesting to buy this than the HBK-IIC-C just in terms of keeping it interesting.


Chassis-Wide Information


  • It’s got ridiculous tonnage availability. Each variant has pretty much optimal hardpoint quantity (and locations) and it has just the most incredible tonnage availability on top of that; with an XL255 and nearly max armor (besides the arms), you can get up to 28.5 tons of free room. After accounting for the fewer heat sinks, that’s only a few tons behind the Ebon Jaguar and Timber Wolf, and a varying number of tons ahead of the other Heavy Clan Omnimechs. Plus it can carry jumpjets, and it can move its jumpjet up for even more speed or down for even more tonnage.
  • Its hardpoints are insane too. First of all, the main side torsos are at the height of its cockpit, and not super-wide like you find on the JagerMech. Next up is the quantity of hardpoints – 8 is more than enough freedom for energy and 4 is likewise more than enough for ballistics and perfect for missiles. And then the IIC-C’s mix is adequate for either, rather than the usual situation where the hybrid variant is screwed by being unacceptable for everything.
  • Other than that, it’s got all the usual crap you get from a Clan Mech – stuff like XLs that survive losing a side torso, low slot count for upgrades, and just having all of it being better.



  • After strengths like that, it’s hard to imagine there are weaknesses that balance it! But…there are. First and foremost is its durability issues. Before quirks, the Hunchback was a death sentence just because of its shoulders, and the HBK-IIC has 2 of those on most of the good builds. And now that the OG Hunchback is at an acceptable-to-good point for durability, it is extra clear that the HBK-IIC…isn’t. But that’s not the end of the world.
  • The next thing that occasionally got on my nerves was the torso pitch. 20° of pitch total isn’t that rare, but most mechs with a torso pitch like that don’t have almost entirely torso-mounted weapons (the Atlas being an example of another torso-centric mech with the same issue). This can be annoying at range and game-losing in a brawl.
  • It is possible to forgo both the extra-large side torso mounts and limits of the torso pitch with a pretty strong build on the HBK-IIC-C, and I did notice an increase in (perceived) durability. But then you’ve got all low mounts and you lose some tonnage on armor and…well, you’ve got new issues then.


Generic Tips

  • You need you ride the line between always being engaged and never being shot. This is probably one of the skill-intensive mechs I’ve played in quite some time due to how important that is. Hill-humping is obviously great if your friendlies are just chilling, and frequently repositioning whenever they catch on to where you’re poking from is good.
  • When your team is engaged – in a push or rotation or constantly poking or what have you – you can try using them as a distraction and poking out from some high ground or even pseudo-poptarting. Even in a brawler you should never be leading the push, but you should be capitalizing on it as aggressively as possible.



The IIC Master Guides follow the format of the IS Guides rather than the Clans, as they don’t use omnipods (might have to re-orient my vernacular around omni-status rather than tech base). Each variant gets its own section and within that section I try to include at least two main builds, each with a few variations on the core principle (if applicable).

Each build has one paragraph about the build itself – going over anything I feel is relevant to understanding it such as quirks, tonnage issues, how it fits the meta, my general feeling about it…just whatever. And then there’s a paragraph about using the build, going over tactics, tips, and whatever I feel is relevant to that, including links to L2P guides, on occasion.

I may miss a build that you like, or my builds may differ slightly from what you find works best for you because our philosophies may differ – I strongly encourage that you experiment for yourself to see what works best for you.

The modules are listed in order of which one is most important and the consumables I’ve listed are the ones that are generally the best, but while leveling the mech you may want to swap the less important consumable out for a UAV. That is, if you can afford to use consumables at all (they aren’t necessary, just nice, and if you’re low on C-Bills they’re not necessarily worth it).

On with it!



This variant has 2 high-mounted ballistics in each side torso (which are actually all useful) and 2 energy mounts in the CT.

Build 1:

For starters…yeah, this is a build suitable for a heavy. It’s about 1 cERML short of some seriously legit Timber and Eb Jag builds, and it goes faster with higher mounts. Though I suppose you could say the same thing of most builds we’ll be looking at today. It’s also a bit hot as most of those TBR/EBJ builds have at least 13 or 15 heat sinks – even just using the UACs is not heat neutral, though the jam chance means that you will likely not overheat from them unless you’re already at critical heat. This build is also do-able on the HBK-IIC-C, though some of the alternate versions are not.

First thing to realize is that the cERMLs are purely there as backup weapons, to be used when you have no choice and when you have the heat to spare. Most of the time, you’ll just be better off sticking to your UACs for their hill-hump-ability, heat efficiency, DPS, etc. But you will sometimes want the burst provided by your lasers, and the build is cool enough that you should use them quite a bit in every game. Next thing to know is how to use the UAC/10s. They have some extremely high DPS at what appears to be long range, but the ballistic velocity combined with the burst fire mechanic may not let you go ham at range. You can still do careful snipes of course, but usually you’ll lose trades past 500 meters due to too much damage spread or what have you. Definitely worth a try anyways (you still tear apart Dire Wolves) and you may find that it works well for you, but if you find yourself getting hurt at such a long range, try to get some flanks down. Which is something this mech can do pretty well.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: cUAC/10 Cooldown, cERML Range

Consumables: Cool Shot, Artillery Strike

I found this to feel and do worse for me than the prior build, and I think that’s partly because of how hard your corner-peaking side torso gets nailed when you’re running something like that. Some people like it more, I’m just not one of them.

While this version is similarly powerful, I don’t think it’s superior. It is a bit stronger at range, and of course its DPS is a bit higher as well, but the increased face time necessary and the loss in speed really don’t tickle my fancy.

Weapon Modules: UAC/5 Cooldown, cERML Range

And this one is basically an even more extreme version of the UAC/5 build. It has even more range, even more DPS, and even more need for face time. While I can see how some people would like the UAC/5 version more than the UAC/10 one, the UAC/2 version is a bit silly. Still fun, though.

Weapon Modules: UAC/2 Range


Build 2:

This is the build I was most excited for, and I have not been disappointed. Even after the Gauss nerf, its ability to poke at long, long range is superb for a 50-tonner and I just…I’m very enthusiastic about it. A lot of people will discount this build for its low DPS, and for any situation where you need to do a lot of damage quickly (most group queue matches, for example) they may be right to do so. But if you can pull an extended engagement, the ability of this mech to pop up and turn an enemy’s armor to orange for free is super useful. In fact, I find myself wondering if Gauss was nerfed because of how strong this mech would be if its cooldown was a couple of seconds lower. Like the last one, you can run this on the IIC-C.

First off, let’s cover the obvious stuff about playing this mech. You want to hill-hump. You want to stay at range. You don’t want to get shot back. But sometimes, these things aren’t an option. You can hill-hump if you have the chance, but you can’t be left behind by your team or caught out by the enemy, and you’ll have to reposition fairly often to avoid getting focused. And frequently, there are better places for you to play from than behind a hill. If it’s a slow game, staying at max range is fantastic, but most games aren’t quite that slow, so feel free to move up to get shots if you need to. It’s not like your DPS is going to decline, the enemy’s might go up is all. But sometimes you can’t help getting shot. If you do it right, you’ll shoot them more than they shoot you. For more on this kind of build, check out the L2P guide.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: Gauss Cooldown, Gauss Range

Consumables: Air Strike, UAV

I’m not such a huge fan of this configuration, but it’s a definite option. Traditional poptarting is the way to go.



This variant comes with 8 energy, 4 of which are high-mounted. Which leads us inexorably to two builds.

Build 1:

It breaks ghost heat. But you can play around that easily enough. Actually, it’s one of the coolest things about the build, for me. I use one weapon group for my LT and CT, another for my RT and CT, and a third for my 4 top-mounted lasers. This gives you decent corner-peak and hill-hump for when you’re playing conservatively, and maintains all the firepower you could ever want for all other situations.

This is the ultimate in glass cannon technology. It suffers from all of the possible disadvantages to the Hunchback IIC in general – squishy, hot, all torso mounts – but it can absolutely devastate just…everything. 56 total damage is a lot, even more than the supercharged Timber Wolf’s alpha, and even if you can only shoot it once or twice (staggered for ghost heat reasons, of course), each shot can obliterate an enemy. For more on playing similar sorts of builds, check out the L2P Guide.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: cERML Range, cERML Cooldown

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike

This is another fantastic build, which focuses on usability without sacrificing much firepower at all. I use the same weapon group configuration, and while the total firepower hasn’t changed, the hill-humping damage has increased slightly and all of it gets more concentrated from the lower duration. Plus, you can alpha strike now! And if you like, you can run it with a couple extra heat sinks too, though the build sacrifices a fair bit.

Weapon Modules: cMPL Range, cMPL Cooldown


Build 2:

This build seems very similar to the cERML style we just looked at, but it has a great deal more range for a bit less damage. The cLPLs also serve as a much more heat-efficient weapon than the cERML, meaning that your DPS ends up being around the same (if not a bit higher) despite less heat sinks. It’s just such a fantastic mix and it works rather well.

This build plays more slowly than the cERML version, but is able to take many more positions thanks to its range and having less pressure to use low mounts. This means you can be behind (and above if possible) your team so that you can give them consistent supporting fire. And I do mean consistent. The 2 cLPLs only add up to 26 damage, but the damage goes out to ~700 meters and is nearly heat neutral (not actually neutral but close enough). This means you can hold down that trigger for a while, taking cover between blasts, as long as you have an appropriate position. For more on Laser Vomit, check out the L2P Guide.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: cERML Range, cLPL Range

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike

It’s hotter and doesn’t do quite as much damage, but boy oh boy does it have range. This might be one of the most powerful cERLL mechs in the game thanks to the mount height (though IS mechs still have a laser duration edge). If that’s what you like, then go for it.

Weapon Modules: cERLL Range, cERLL Cooldown



This is the missile variant. 4 missile hardpoints is perfect, and the CT energies come in handy rather often as well.

Build 1:

The name says it all. Builds like this one are where the “glass cannon” moniker becomes a problem. With ranged builds, avoiding return fire is possible and a primary goal. With SRMs…you’re relying almost purely on luck to not get shot back at, and most good brawlers are good (in part) because of their durability. And while not having fantastic defensive quirks isn’t the end of the line for, being particularly squishy is.

Normally, your main objective in a brawler like this is to close on the enemy safely until you can damage them. There’s many conventional ways to do this (flanking, rotating, joining a push and biding your time are the big ones), but the particularly high mounts allow an extra options for the HBK-IIC. You can actually do this weird mix of poptarting and brawling if you manage to close on the enemy enough so that they’re within around 250m but can’t push on you fully, and as long as the rest of your team isn’t hiding you usually will avoid the majority of the enemy’s wrath.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: SRM6 Cooldown, cMPL Range

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike

I’m not a huge fan of streaks (they do crazy damage but maybe half of it is useful), but builds like this do work at a longer range than full SRM6. I included the UAV because the ability to pre-select your target before peeking out is terribly useful.

Weapon Modules: SSRM6 Range, SSRM6 Cooldown

Consumables: Cool Shot, UAV


Build 2:

LRM10s are pretty much the sweet spot for LRMs in terms of spread, DPS, and heat, so having 4 of those is pretty much the optimal choice. The cERML’s aren’t just in there as backup either – peeking out with them can add some valuable direct damage to contrast with your splash-everywhere damage, and maybe you’ll take a couple shots meant for a more useful mech (you never want to take free damage in anything, but as a LRM mech you can stand a bit more armor scraping than your teammates as long as you don’t get opened up).

When playing this mech, you just gotta make sure that you have angles where your missiles won’t hit buildings or walls or what have you, and keep the DPS going. Firing in groups of 2×2 is optimal, but while you’re low on heat it’s no big deal to fire all 4 launchers at the same time.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Target Decay

Weapon Modules: LRM10 Cooldown, cERML Range

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike



Having 2 ballistics and 4 energy just feels sub-optimal to me, I would have much rather seen 2 missiles and 4 energy to allow more of a hybrid build. That being said, there are a couple of things you can do on this variant that you can’t on the others (though for the most part you’ll want to use builds from the prime variant).

Build 1:

This focuses hard on that mid-to-short range area. It’s a bit awkward in most situations (too short range to excel in early poking, too long to make up for that by going crazy at short range) but it has a few strengths of its own. Even a single UAC/20 can be devastating if it doesn’t jam, and adding on 21 damage from your lasers to that 40 can be absurd for a 50-tonner. Sustaining that damage over a few alphas is even more absurd, and when you’re not sustaining that damage you’ve got a very high shoulder mount.

You’ll want to get inside of your UAC/20 optimal ASAP so that there’s no wasted damage, time, or ammo. The burst mechanic of Clan UACs means that the damage will usually get a bit spread on all but the largest and slowest of targets, so…focus on those guys. Assault mechs may have upwards of 100 points of armor to chug through, but without jams that’s only 2 alphas and they’re opened up. This damage is still plenty effective against other stuff, so if you’ve got a better shot on a smaller target go for it, but positioning to optimize opportunities on assaults can be valuable. Just try to stay out of the front line of combat, as you can’t take much punishment.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: UAC/20 Range, cERML Range

Consumables: Cool Shot, Artillery Strike

This is more explicitly focused on just brawling. It’s got all the speed, damage, and heat sinks you need.

Weapon Modules: UAC/20 Cooldown, cERSL Range

Holy balls is it hot. And slow. And ammo-limited. And squishy. But it’s an up-to-80-damage alpha strike. I really don’t like it, or I would have listed it as a main build in the prime variant’s section, but I can’t not mention it.

Weapon Modules: UAC/20 Range, UAC/20 Cooldown

Nothing like the original build (or even the UAC40 one), but I also gotta put this somewhere. It’s not particularly amazing, but it is kind of fun.

Weapon Modules: LBX20 Cooldown, LBX20 Range


Build 2:

I don’t want to go into too much detail in this because I feel like I would be repeating a lot of what I said in the original HBK-IIC-A stuff, but I do feel the need to go over what makes this variant special. First off, it has smaller side torsos. There’s all sorts of other faff on them besides the titular hunches that prevent the torsos from being small without weapons in them, but they are certainly smaller, and that does help your durability. Second off, it has arm weapons, which makes it unique among the HBK-IICs. Personally I think that the high torso mounts are more valuable than the low arm mounts, but it was nice on Caustic to not have to worry about whether I’d be able to look down far enough to hit my target. Other than that, it plays like a typical laser vomit medium, and you can read about that stuff in the L2P Guide.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: cLPL Range, cERML Range

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike


Pilot Skills

I’ve figured that this is the best skill order for pretty much any mech, and so I’m just going to customize it for mechs that have to emphasize unusual pilot skills.

Basics: Cool Run – Heat Containment – Hard Brake – Kinetic Burst – Twist Speed – Twist X – Anchor Turn – Arm Reflex

Elites: Speed Tweak – Fast Fire – Quick Ignition – Pinpoint

Then just master it. I’m mastering them all, but I’d say the IIC-C is unnecessary to master for the most part, and maybe the IIC-B. But hey, whatever you enjoy most, hold on to.


And that’s that. I hope you enjoy your mech, let me know if you have any questions, and as always glhf

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