Last Updated: 8-June-2016

Ironically, the Rifleman is predominantly an energy boat.

You can watch my video review of the Rifleman here, if you like.



The Rifleman was one of the earliest Battlemechs, eventually replaced by the Jagermech due to lawsuits flaws in its battlefield performance… And in MWO, the Jagermech remains the (largely) superior platform for almost all sorts of builds. I find it to be a challenging mech to perform in, but that ability is certainly there, and it makes good games that much rewarding. This is the sort of thing that makes me absolutely love a chassis, and it’s why I like the Rifleman so much – it’s just that kind of fun.

The RFL-5D is easily the best of the bunch, due to its identity as a laser boat. But the RFL-3N’s quirks and hardpoints are fantastic, which make it the second best. The RFL-3C and Legend Killer are in tight competition for that third place spot, but in general I would say that the Legend Killer is not worth the MC investment unless you really love the Rifleman. I do think that it’s a marginally better mech, but it doesn’t offer a fresh enough experience in my opinion, so I’d go for the RFL-3C instead.


Chassis-Wide Information


  • It has high mounts…sort of. They’re not at the top of the mech, and only some of them are at or over cockpit level. But it is still able to hill-hump, even if it’s not great at it.
  • Each variant has a total of 8 hardpoints, which gives you the freedom to run all sorts of outlandish builds.



  • The hitboxes are incredibly wide, and it has little to no structure quirks (depending on the variant), making it a very squishy package.
  • The engine cap is a bit too low, in many cases forcing you to drop endo for an optimal build and losing out on the wonders of multiple internal heatsinks (and of course, speed).
  • That stupid fin on its head gives advanced warning to the enemy that you’re about to poke, and gets shot a lot when you can’t even see the enemy.


Generic Tips

  • Your squishiness is your main concern in this mech, so focus on engaging from angles out of most enemy LoS, and ideally places where the enemy won’t even have anyone looking at. Or you could stick with your team and hope that the guy next to you gets shot. Play around with different styles, and see which works best for you.



If you’re not familiar with my Inner Sphere Master Guides, each pretty much follows the same formula. Each variant gets its own section; 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 comes with 8 energy hardpoints, making it sort of like a huge Blackjack. Its only generic offensive quirk is 10% energy range, but it also gets 10% PPC heat gen and 50% PPC velocity. Its incredible 70% accel/decel helps, as does the 35% turn rate, but its only defensive quirks are 10 structure in each arm.

Build 1:

At first glance, it looks pretty impressive – it manages a higher alpha strike than most laser vomit builds you’d find on even some heavier mechs, but it makes significant sacrifices to get there. Mainly, it sacrifices range and heat efficiency, as it focuses on Medium Lasers rather than their superior Large Pulse brothers. Still, the alpha is there, and while the heat builds fast, it also gets dissipated really quickly.

Due to its squishiness and short range, you can’t play this as aggressively as most other laser vom mechs. You instead want to focus on occasionally drilling an alpha into an enemy’s flank, only continuing the assault if you think you can get the kill on your next poke, or if you don’t expect much return fire. Greed is your enemy, but you also don’t want to be too passive. It’s also worth noting that this build can corner-peek on either side with ease – you don’t get a full alpha out, but you do still belt out 31 damage. For more about this sort of build, you can check out the Laser Vomit guide.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: Medium Laser Range, Large Pulse Range

Consumables: Cool Shot, Artillery Strike

This drops the alpha strike down by 10 damage to get easier heat management and extra range, as well as better asymmetry.

If you really like the 3 Large Pulse and you also really like the 53 damage alpha…this should do you just fine.

This gets a bit of extra range out of the Large Lasers, but loses some damage and has a higher duration. The main point is that extra heat sink, and the extra speed. You can, of course, swap the Larges out for ERs.

Weapon Modules: Medium Laser Range, Large Laser Range

This takes better advantage of the Large Laser to actually have a decently powerful long-range poke, on the highest mounts of the variant. You can also swap the Larges out for ERs for maximum range in your highest mounts.

Weapon Modules: Medium Laser Range, Large Laser Range

This goes all-out on the low duration, but suffers from ghost heat if you alpha strike. It’s easy enough to avoid the ghost heat though, and it’s a pretty great build.

Weapon Modules: Large Pulse Range, Large Pulse Cooldown

Not only does it just have really nice damage at mid/long range, it can corner-peek to either side with 3 Large Lasers. Pretty sweet package, but it feels a bit awkward to me in practice. You can also swap in ERs for the larges if you like, but that’ll get quite hot.

Weapon Modules: Large Laser Range, Large Laser Cooldown

This is the STD engine variant of the bunch. It lacks a lot of the power that makes the Rifleman good, but the survivability is definitely a huge benefit. You can also swap out to ER Larges.

Weapon Modules: Large Laser Range, Large Laser Cooldown


Build 2:

It’s a pretty straightforward build, designed to take full advantage of the PPC quirks for maximum pinpoint firepower. It does have several serious issues, though: the heat is pretty brutal, the mounts aren’t high enough to poke safely, and you can only fire two at a time if you don’t want to overheat, which means you’ll be exposed for quite a bit and your pinpoint is compromised. Still, it doesn’t rely on ammo, and the range is great.

You want to be way on the edges of the fight with this one, adding in your damage when you have the opportunity. The hill-humps are great, and so are the corner-peeks, but you’re likely to get shot back at anyways. So keep moving, stay a bit outside of your own optimal for maximum safety, and just fire whenever possible. For more on this style, check out the PPFLD guide.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: PPC Range, PPC Cooldown

Consumables: Cool Shot, Artillery Strike

I’ve found myself really enjoying this style. It’s a bit awkward to juggle the different weapon types, but they’re both very effective, and it avoids a lot of the issues of the main PPC build. I highly recommend anyone that doesn’t like that one to try this.

Weapon Modules: Large Laser Range, PPC Range

Obviously you can just swap in ER PPCs on the original build, and you can run this one with regular PPCs…but I like this setup the best. It’s a great extreme range platform, with some decent point defense, and it just works. And you can actually do something similar with an XL, too.

Weapon Modules: Medium Pulse Range, ER PPC Cooldown



The RFL-5D is better for the most part, but I’m personally quite partial to this variant, and it’s worth noting that the hardpoints are exactly the same as the Firebrand’s. It gets 20+5% ballistic+AC/5 cooldown, 40% ballistic velocity, and 10% energy range. It also gets 50% accel/decel, 45% torso twist speed, and 35% turn rate.

Build 1:

This is the build I was most excited for when I first looked at the Rifleman, and I gotta say, it holds up. The insane ballistic cooldown and velocity quirks make the Gauss Rifle sync up very well with the Large Lasers, and you put out some fantastic DPS with this thing at pretty long range.

Your mounts are all decently high and they’re all on the right side. This means you can hill-hump very well, but even better is poking the top-right corner of your mech over a ridge that slopes down from your left to your right. You can get some really nice trades with such a position, and there are a lot of them. I recommend setting up an extra firing group for just the top two Large Lasers to be fired with the Gauss when you’re running hot, but even then you can just spam the Gauss. For more on Gauss Vomit builds, check out the guide.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: Gauss Cooldown, Large Laser Range

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike

It’s not as sexy, but I’ve honestly been preferring this version to the Large Laser one. The cooldowns sync up perfectly, and you can carry the ammo that the previous build sorely misses. I listed the Large Lasers first because of the range and squishy issues, but this is by no means worse.

Weapon Modules: Medium Laser Range, Gauss Cooldown

I don’t like the heat on this, but the Medium Lasers are mainly there for bonus damage when you’re running cool. When you stick to Large Pulses, there’s no issue at all. And the great thing about the build is that it has lots of Gauss ammo, for people like me that spam that shit all day. Hell, you can even drop the engine to a 255 for an extra half ton.

Weapon Modules: Gauss Cooldown, Medium Laser Range


Build 2:

I’m honestly not such a huge fan of this build, but it certainly works. You get to spam the hell out of those autocannons, while adding in a sizable chunk of alpha with your mediums, and just obliterate anyone that ignores you. The trouble is, you’re not usually ignored, and it’s arguably the squishiest (popular) build for the Rifleman.

While your Medium Lasers are an important part of the build, you don’t want to focus on them. You can still do lots of work with just your AC/5s, even if it means you lose out on some DPS. And it’s still worth adding the Medium Lasers in to any pokes you do up to 500 meters, which should be most of your pokes. You really don’t want to be trading with the AC/5s, but you can use them freely during the earlier stages of the game if you’re not getting shot back at. Eventually, you do want to close and rip some people up with your full complement of weapons. You can do this by flanking around and hitting peoples’ sides and backs, or by shooting over/between friendly mechs. Always be searching for an opportunity, and try not to die.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: AC/5 Cooldown, Medium Laser Range

Consumables: Cool Shot, Artillery Strike

The extra DPS and ammo do help out, and I’ve ended up preferring this build. But the unreliable nature of the UAC means that it’s not for everyone, and it does lose some speed and a heatsink to fit them.

Weapon Modules: Medium Laser Range, UAC/5 Cooldown


Honorable Mentions:

Believe it or not, 40% extra velocity is enough to make the AC/10 good! Unfortunately, the convergence is complete shit. Your arms seem even wider than a Jagermech, and the alpha strike isn’t particularly impressive. The Medium Lasers do help a bit with that, but…not really. Still, it’s a decent enough build, and you can just lay down the DPS for the whole game. Focus on hill-humps of course, but ideally from odd angles, and try to stick with your team. It may take some getting used to, but it can be fun.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: AC/10 Cooldown, AC/10 Range

Consumables: Cool Shot, Artillery Strike


If you’re looking for more power, here it is. In spite of the obvious speed issues, this build actually ended up being surprisingly good. Again, the 40% velocity is crazy good on slow weapons, and you can reliably pinpoint with your weapons. Plus, it actually wins trades (if you alpha strike). Hill-hump like the others, but don’t be afraid of a brawl. You can get some sweet knock-outs in.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

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

Consumables: Cool Shot, Artillery Strike


I ended up not liking this as much as the AC/40 build. It doesn’t suffer the heat issue and the velocity is absurd, but the convergence issues actually bothered me more and the speed is absolutely atrocious. Still, if you just want to sit back, it’s the highest-DPS dual Gauss in the game. Just pray that your team doesn’t rotate. For more on this style of build, check out the PPFLD guide.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: Gauss Cooldown, Gauss Range

Consumables: Air Strike, UAV


This is a slightly more reasonable take on the last one. Similar to the Gauss Vomit builds, it runs all the weapons in upper-right mounts, allowing you to poke as safely as possible. Your range is great, and the damage is superb. The main issues you run into are sync-up (the Gauss is waaay faster than the PPCs) and heat, but besides that, you’re golden! For more on this style of build, check out the PPFLD guide.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: Gauss Cooldown, PPC Cooldown

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike

This certainly doesn’t solve the heat issue, but it is pretty devastating to get hit by. The heat forces you to focus on bursts of a few alphas at a time rather than just DPSing, but getting hit by repeated 40-point alphas is no joke.

Weapon Modules: AC/20 Range, PPC Cooldown

You can use regular PPCs if you like, but the sync-up between this quirked AC/10 and the ER PPCs is almost perfect. Either way, it’s a really sweet poker, and you can pretty much fire the AC/10 twice for each PPC shot (as long as you’re not getting hit back too hard).

Weapon Modules: AC/10 Cooldown, ER PPC Cooldown


Now there’s a build that wets my willie. I mean, whistle. It’s great, is what I’m saying. The AC/10 is too focused on DPS over alpha for me to say it’s perfect, but it is pretty friggin sweet. And you actually end up firing the AC/10 twice for each Large Laser blast, so it works out quite neatly.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: AC/10 Cooldown, Large Laser Range

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike

The Meds tend to pair up better with the AC/10 in terms of range, but the build just doesn’t feel as good to me. It’s still great though, and you can do some crazy stuff with it.

Weapon Modules: AC/10 Cooldown, Medium Laser Range

This is a pretty brawly take on it, focusing on high-precision short-range DPS. Your squishiness really hinders you at such short range, but you can also play in a hit-and-run style where you’re just poking from odd angles at about 300m. It still works.

Weapon Modules: AC/10 Cooldown, Med Pulse Range

Man, if this mech was tanky, this would be a really sweet brawly type mech. The damage is there, the AC/20 is super-quirked, and it’s just a really tight package.

Weapon Modules: Med Pulse Range, AC/20 Range


Legend Killer

There’s not much about the Legend Killer which is truly special, but it’s got a few things going for it. Offensively, it has 15+10% ballistic+LB10X cooldown, 10% to energy cooldown, laser duration, and LB10X spread, and 5% for energy heat gen. It also gets 25% extra structure over all components (besides the head), making it the tankiest variant.

Build 1:

It is very dangerous to go full dakka in this mech due to its durability issues, but you might as well go all-out in the “tankiest” variant. The DPS is pretty good, and the heat isn’t a huge issue as long as you’re conservative with the Medium Lasers. In a way, the heat helps remind you that you shouldn’t just be standing in the open holding the trigger down all game, since that’ll get you killed.

When playing this mech, you want to be just standing out in the open holding the trigger down all game. Well, no, you want to have your top bits poking over a hill…holding the trigger down all game. You can also just stick one side of your mech out and hold the trigger down if you like, but that just makes your side torso a magnet. You’re best off DPSing the enemy while your teammates are engaging, or setting up in a flanking position.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: AC/2 Range, Medium Laser Range

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike

This build loses a bit of max DPS and range, but has better alpha and a bit more control, and the heat issues are gone.

Weapon Modules: AC/5 Cooldown, AC/5 Range

This alleviates some of the heat issues and brings a whole lot more raw power to the table. The main issue is that it runs out of ammo really quickly, and has no backup weapons for that occasion. So you might have to slow it down a bit…

Weapon Modules: AC/5 Cooldown, AC/5 Range

Even after dropping the engine waaaaaay down, you’re going to run into ammo problems. But at least now, you can get out a respectable amount of damage before running out. The speed is crazy bad though, so be prepared to get left behind.

Weapon Modules: AC/5 Cooldown, AC/5 Range



Build 2:


This actually does kind of work – sure the LBX sucks, but its raw DPS is sweet and the quirks are great for it. The lasers also provide great backup, and should help you open up enemy mechs so that you can start crit rolling.

You should be playing this like a skirmish hit-and-run brawler; unload your DPS as fast as possible and try to take an enemy mech down quickly, but get the hell out before the enemy is able to fully react. This usually means hitting enemy flanks or hunting down isolated mechs.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: LBX Cooldown, Medium Laser Range

Consumables: Cool Shot, Artillery Strike



This variant is a carbon-copy of the JM6-S for hardpoints, with pretty similar quirks too. It has 10% ballistic cooldown and velocity, 20% ballistic range, and 5+5% to energy+medium laser heat gen. It also gets 50% accel/decel, 25% torso twist speed, 7 structure to each side torso, and 10 to each arm.

Build 1:

This build is still my favorite for the variant, focusing on high-DPS long-range weapons, mounted in positions that allow for corner-peeking or hill-humping. I was actually really surprised by its performance, and it’s still a pretty powerful option.

Stick to long-range (700 meters is my sweet spot) and just keep up the DPS as much as you can. If you can just stick your right side out from behind a building or hump a ridge without getting blasted, you’ll be able to provide great covering fire for your team and just farm up the damage. You may end up needing to rotate with your team, depending on the map and type of engagement, but you can keep the DPS up while doing that too.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: UAC/5 Cooldown, Large Laser Range

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike

I love the extra speed and heatsink you get out of this, but losing the UAC DPS (and half ton of ammo) really hurts. Still, it’s definitely worth considering.

Weapon Modules: AC/5 Cooldown, Large Laser Range

This loses out on some of the range, but it definitely gets the power back. Your alpha strike is considerably improved, and it’s on a lower duration. You’ll also be more useful even when you run out of ammo. Just a great build all around.

Weapon Modules: AC/5 Cooldown, Large Pulse Range

This loses out on the asymmetry, but it also gets better at shielding since you can lose the entire left side without dying. Otherwise, it plays a lot like the other builds, but obviously you can’t use your lasers at as long a range. Of course, you can do this with AC/5s too, but I think it works better with UACs.

Weapon Modules: Medium Laser Range, UAC/5 Cooldown


Ported Builds from Other Variants:

Maybe I just blew my load on the RFL-3N, but I don’t feel like there are many builds that work best on the RFL-3C. So here are some builds that you can’t carbon-copy onto the variant, but which can be ported over. It may not offer a unique experience, but at least you have other options to fall back on if you don’t like laser/dakka. This isn’t an exhaustive list, just the main ones that come to mind.


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 only focus on the RFL-5D and RFL-3N, but just play what you like.


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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