Last Updated: 8-Feb-2016

It’s time…for the Atlas…



The Atlas has always been a fearsome mech – it being canonically designed to inspire as much fear with its weapons as with its appearance. In MWO, the translation is brilliant artistically, but at long range the Atlas inspires more excitement over free damage than anything else. At close range, however, there is no mech like it, and that’s not likely to change any time soon.

For a long time, the AS7-D-DC was the epitome of short range firepower, and the only Atlas worth taking at all. This changed when the loyalty rewards were introduced, and the AS7-S became the premier brawler, with the AS7-D-DC remaining great for its ECM utility, and still a solid pick for brawling. My third pick for the Atlas is definitely the Boar’s Head; problem is, it costs almost $20 worth of MC…when on a 50% sale, and while I will recommend getting heroes if they’re the first or second best of a chassis, they aren’t usually worth it for number 3. There is no big third best as far as C-Bill Atlases go, with the AS7-D, AS7-RS, and AS7-K all having unique things about them that aren’t better than the main two Atlases in any way. If I had to give the edge to one of them, it’d be the AS7-D for its extra defensive quirks and dual ballistic hardpoints. The AS7-RS’s arm-mounted energies and energy quirks are sort of nice, and the AS7-K…has a Gauss quirk, but none of that is what makes the Atlas an Atlas.


Chassis-Wide Information


  • Toughest mech in the game, tied for the most armor with the other 100 tonners but with better hitboxes and much better structure quirks, in addition to having great shield arms and largely symmetric builds which allow you to shield and maintain weapons after losing either side. Plus, you’ll never ever run an XL.
  • Great at short range, with the tonnage and hardpoints to mount a pretty massive complement of weapons without sacrificing in other important areas.
  • Variants with CT lasers can zombie well if they shield well. Two meds might not seem like much, but they can do work.



  • Very low weapon mounts means that your ability to compete at range is seriously compromised, particularly since you don’t quite have the hardpoints or quirks for it either.
  • Max speed is quite low for a brawler – most brawling mechs rely on speed, ECM, or jumpjets to close on the enemy (and usually more than one). The Atlas just has to shrug off the pain as it lumbers closer (unless you can pull of the “Surprise Atlas” technique, that is).
  • No option to go asym on most variants – not always a problem on this mech, but having the option is always good.
  • Obvious where the hitboxes are, so if you don’t shield properly, you will have a serious problem.
  • Horrendous torso pitch can get in the way of brawling on many of the maps – one of the most frustrating things in the game is not being able to look up or down far enough to shoot your target.


Generic Tips

  • Stick close to your team and wait for the opportune moment to commit. You will be the one “leading the charge” for the most part, but you don’t want there to be more than a couple hundred meters between you and the enemy when you break cover. It doesn’t hurt to give your team a heads up when you plan on pushing, either.
  • Practice shielding with your arms to get the angle right – getting good at this will dramatically improve your survivability and thus your general effectiveness. A good way to do this is to 1v1 with someone else in an Atlas.



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 is absolutely the best mech at short-ranged combat, and for good reason. It gets 20% ballistic velocity, 10% energy cooldown and laser duration, and 5% missile cooldown, heat gen, and velocity. And then it gets 35% accel/decel and 25% turn rate and 40% torso twist speed and 15° of extra torso twist. And finally, it gets 27 CT structure, 24 in each side torso, 18 in each leg, and 8 in the arms. Just, so many quirks piled on top of each other to make it actually playable.

Build 1:

This thing is an absolute monster, with crazy alpha strike, DPS, and survivability. Two shots into any mech’s torso will cripple it, and might just kill it straight-out. Honestly, there’s just nothing to complain about for this build, and the only real improvements that are even thinkable to me are to mess around with the lasers – dropping them or swapping to smalls for extra ammo/engine, or upping to MPL by dropping armor.

When you’re fighting, there are two big things that you want to do – alpha strike, and shield. And when I say alpha strike…I generally am not including the Medium Lasers, except for maybe in the first couple volleys or just in particular situations that you deem necessary. The real trick in playing this mech comes in before you start brawling, because you have to close without getting damaged, and preferably without getting spotted. This means you have to know the map and know what routes can be taken, you have to stick with your team, and on occasion you have to be patient (this is the part I struggle with). Shield with your right side for sure, but you want to spread damage while fighting so that you can stay alive with as many guns as possible for as long as possible.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: AC/20 Cooldown, SRM6 Cooldown, AC/20 Range

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike

This build is less…dramatic, but has great DPS and, thanks to the tighter spread on SRM4s, it’s more effective DPS. Plus, extra heat sinks and speed. My only gripe is that the cooldowns don’t sync up as well, but that’s not always such a huge issue.

Weapon Modules: AC/20 Cooldown, SRM4 Cooldown, AC/20 Range


Build 2:

It’s LRMs. I hate myself for having a LRM build in just about every guide, but…ugh. I’m disgusting. I’m not going to go into detail on how to play (it’s pretty fkn simple), but I will beg you to not use this build. It’s a waste of an otherwise great mech.

Mech Modules: Target Decay, Radar Deprivation

Weapon Modules: LRM10 Cooldown, Large Laser Range

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike

Ew gross.

Weapon Modules:



This was the best Atlas from its release up to the release of the AS7-S, which is now ever so slightly ahead, but the AS7-D-DC still has the bonus of an extra ballistic and ECM. It gets a 50% boost to structure, in addition to: 5% ballistic cooldown and 10% velocity, 10% energy cooldown and laser duration, and 5% missile cooldown and 10% velocity. Its mobility quirks are similarly less awe-inspiring than the AS7-S, with 25% extra turn rate, 40% extra torso twist speed, and 15° of extra torso twist.

Build 1:

This is the obvious and classic build for the Atlas. Your weapons sync up with cooldowns, they all do brutal damage, your DPS is sick, and it’s just generally really sweet. Overall, it (or one of its variations) is the strongest option for an AS7-D-DC build. Just don’t bother with the Mediums most of the time, as they’re by far your least heat efficient weapon. This is also one of the very few mechs where I don’t use the master slot for mech modules, since you don’t need radar dep as much with ECM.

Stay covered and stay mobile, making sure not to get shot and to give your team ECM. Once you get in a fight, you want to just alpha strike (usually without your meds though) and twist to shield. Which side you shield with is ultimately up to you – personally I would shield with my right side to preserve the higher DPS SRMs and ECM, but mainly you want to shield to spread damage and often you won’t be able to control which side the enemy focuses. A good rule of thumb is to try and lose both arms before either side torso. Make sure that your team always has your back, because if the enemy gets it, you’re screwed; just draw agro, spread damage, and dish it back out as much as possible so that your team can carry hard.

Mech Modules: Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: AC/20 Cooldown, SRM6 Cooldown

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike

This is personally my favorite, allowing you to run, twist, and just generally do everything faster. The little bit of extra maneuverability is much more useful than it would seem.



Build 2:

Focusing on the classic mid-range engagement, this one suits the current meta better than the brawler but doesn’t really suit the Atlas well at all. Still, it’s a surprisingly fun and effective build and you can suppress enemies well enough without being targeted thanks to ECM. It’s also about as bracket as I would go with the Atlas in general. Biggest issues with this build are that the mounts are low, the build is (sorta) symmetrical, and you have to stare at your enemy to do damage. These are 3 big no-nos when we’re talking about mid-to-long-range play

Play this like most mid-ranged builds (the Banshee comes to mind). Find a nice spot to shoot from without taking enemy fire from more sources than you have allies shooting. Shield when your UACs jam or if you start taking way more fire than you put out, and don’t be afraid of getting close and personal (you don’t have much ammo for the SRMs, but they are there for a reason). This is definitely more of a “stick with the team” mech than the others and is not quite suited to lead pushes, but you’re still better at it than most other mechs.

Mech Modules: Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: UAC/5 Cooldown, Large Laser Range

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike


Other Builds:

Old name for it from back in my cReddit days, but it’s focused on high DPS face tanking. Not the most intricate strategy, but it can work. Close in whatever way you can while dakka’ing, and then just faceroll the enemy with your crazy DPS, shielding when you jam and/or when you’re getting focused too hard (between cooldowns). For this one, I do shield with the left side as the UAC/5s are just more valuable (and versatile) to me.

Mech Modules: Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: UAC/5 Cooldown, SRM4 Cooldown

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike


Another classic build, this one is more viable in a brawling scenario than the “Crunch”, but it can’t do anything past a couple hundred meters. Very high DPS, many crits, and generally terrifying to run into…until you realize it’s just using LBX. Can also be run with 4s.

Mech Modules: Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: LBX Cooldown, SRM6 Cooldown

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike


Boar’s Head

There are a few big reasons why I consider this the third best Atlas. First thing to look at is its defensive quirks – it’s got a 50% bonus that most other Atlases have, but it also has a -25% crit chance quirk which is kind of a big deal. I’m no statistician and my grasp of MWO crits isn’t terribly advanced, but I worked out in my head that structure takes an extra 9.3% damage than armor on average thanks to crits, so this quirk moves that down to about 7% (and gives a bit of an extra survivability for its weapons). Which means the 50% boost is more like…a 51% boost.

Build 1:

This version gets a bit hot (though the heat is manageable), but the pinpoint is incredible thanks to the super-low beam duration of the MPLs. Your range is also significantly better than on the SRM Atlas builds, easily maintaining effective damage past 300 meters.

This version lets you trade a bit before a full commit, using your precision damage to strip armor off of specific mech components and focusing that component down. Shield with your left side for as long as you can before your CT opens, and just keep up the firepower. If there’s ever a good opportunity to push (your team is in position and theirs can be caught out), take it and make sure your team follows up.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

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

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike

Sacrifices some damage (and ammo) for an extra heat sink and a larger engine. The heat’s definitely easier to manage, but I don’t think it’s worth it.


Build 2:

There’s not a whole lot to say about this one. The low mounts and heatsink count make it a bit of a special snowflake build, but it metawhores pretty hard! The range is good, you can corner-peek with either side, and the alpha damage is very nice (and by “alpha” I mean after you split it up to 3+3), but there are just too many problems with the build for me to like it.

While this build can corner-peek at either side, that should not be your main tactic. Your only real asset is that you have a beastly ranged precision alpha, so try to play almost firing-line style, working on keeping heads down and punishing pokers. As with most Atlases, this can be kind of team reliant, but if worst comes to worst you can always retreat to relative cover for a puny 3 Large Laser poke.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor, Target Info Gathering

Weapon Modules: Large Laser Range, Large Laser Cooldown

Consumables: Cool Shot, Artillery Strike

This is…a bit more absurd. It’s way more powerful at shorter range, but it’s even hotter and it’s slow as hell to boot. Even more gimmicky than the last build. I’ve seen a frightening number of people put an XL on this build, and I have to beg you to stop. The only way that nets you an extra heatsink is if you skimp hard on armor (I suppose it’s usually safe for PUGSs), but XL Atlases are just asking for trouble.

Weapon Modules: Large Pulse Range, Large Pulse Cooldown



This is the base variant of the Atlas, but as usual it’s not the best. Still, it can be played without too much pain. Defensively, it has the extra structure profile of the AS7-S (extra side torso structure at the expense of arms) with the 25% crit reduction of the Boar’s Head, making it the tankiest Atlas. Offensively, it has 5+10% AC/20 cooldown, 5% for ballistic velocity and energy cooldown, and 10% for missile cooldown. And on top of that, it has 35% accel/decel, 25% turn rate, 40% torso twist speed and 15° of extra yaw.

Build 1:

It’s hot, but it’s good. Or, good enough, at least. I feel like this build has too split of a focus between all three weapon types and is difficult to manage heat effectively, but that’s unfortunately the way to do it. Having only 2 SRM launchers also bothers me a fair bit as it’s almost universally sub-optimal, but it will maximize your short-range DPS.

While your main focus in this build is your AC/20 and missiles, you can’t afford to ignore your mediums as is done in the prior Atlas builds. Just be careful about letting the heat get up too high, and shield with your left side. Other than that, your gameplay will be very similar to with the other Atlases.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: AC/20 Cooldown, SRM6 Cooldown, Medium Laser Range

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike

This version uses MPLs instead of MLs and SRM4s instead of SRM6s. This makes it more effective at focused fire on components, but the worse sync-up hurts your shielding and raw damage.

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

This takes a slightly different focus, forgoing the missile entirely for a much larger energy presence. It also means that you have more range to work with (300-400 is your sweet spot), but it’s a bit less brutal.

Weapon Modules: AC/20 Cooldown, Medium Laser Range, Large Pulse Range


Build 2:

This build ain’t so bad, focusing on the mid-range much like the AS7-D-DC’s second build does. It even has an extra Large Laser for the bonus mid-range power, which I’d say puts it ahead of the AS7-D-DC’s build. Unfortunately, its mounts are still super-low, and it lacks ECM, and it will get poked to hell by every other mech in the game. The build is effective out to the 600s easily, but it takes a whole lot of return fire. This can be rather problematic – it’s the tankiest mech in the game in terms of raw numbers, but it’s also the easiest to hit.

As such, it fits best in a push. The difference between this and the other brawly Atlases is that, while they kind of need to get close to push, this one can do it from anywhere. It does still rely heavily on its team though, and you have to make sure that you’re pushing at the right time. Don’t just go into the open dakka’ing away and then cry because your team “didn’t support you”; make sure that you will be followed as you push, because half your job is taking damage so that your teammates don’t have to. Hold down the triggers, shield with your left side if you’re jammed or taking a load of damage, and go nuts. Oh and while poking ain’t exactly this thing’s specialty, you can work a firing line decently enough, and your asym poke is respectable at 2 UAC/5s and 2 Large Lasers, so cowering before the push isn’t a great call either.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: UAC/5 Cooldown, Large Laser Range, Large Laser Cooldown

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike

This version uses Large Pulse and Meds instead of pure Larges, resulting in more of a short-to-mid-range focus, though the general playstyle isn’t terribly altered.

Weapon Modules: UAC/5 Cooldown, Medium Laser Range, Large Pulse Range



This is like a watered down version of the Boar’s Head for hardpoints, but it has more (and more diverse) quirks. Defensively it’s got the standard package of 50% extra structure, but offensively there’s a whole bunch. It has 5% to energy heat gen and missile cooldown, 10% to energy cooldown, laser duration and missile velocity, and it has 15% to energy range. And for mobility, it’s got 45% accel/decel, 25% turn rate, 40% torso twist speed and 15° of extra torso twist.

This is a massively different take on the Atlas, just because I think its quirks and hardpoint layout work out much better for mid-range, even though this does break the third cardinal rule of Atlas – don’t bring a Gauss (the first cardinal rule is don’t bring an XL, and the second is don’t bring LRMs). Your mid-range damage is pretty sweet, you just gotta be good at managing those weapon groups, so if this is something that appeals to you, go for it.

Stay back, shield with your left side, and play like you’re in a Dire Wolf (maybe a bit more aggressively). It works well enough in a firing line and can poke decently, but getting your Gauss crit is going to hurt a lot. Managing the lasers is a tricky bit of work on this build: when you’re at low heat alpha striking is A-Okay, but after the first or second go you might want to stick to 3+1 or 2+2 with your larges.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor, Target Info Gathering

Weapon Modules: Gauss Cooldown, Large Laser Range

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike


Other Builds:

This build is a pretty direct adaptation of the usual AS7-D build, but with the lasers split between arms instead of being spread all over the mech. I think the durability makes the AS7-D better at this build, but it works well enough on the AS7-RS, too, and the full arm gesticulation comes in handy often enough.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: AC/20 Cooldown, SRM6 Cooldown, Medium Laser Range

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike



This is probably my favorite build to run on the AS7-RS because it’s the only one that I feel is uniquely suited to it. The problem is that it’s outclassed by similar asym-40 builds on mechs like the Misery and King Crab, who have higher mounts and other such unfair advantages! Still, it’s the only legit pokey Atlas that fills the role well, in my experience. And if the enemy closes, the SRM4s combine with the AC/20 and tankiness to put it on par with most heavy mech brawlers.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

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

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike



The worst of the Atlases, I can barely bother. It’s an AS7-D with 1 less ballistic and missile slot for double AMS. For quirks, it’s not even particularly special, with the usual 50% structure buff for defense (along with the 25% crit chance reduction quirk), and for offense it gets a 10+10% Gauss cooldown, 15% energy range, 10% energy cooldown, 5% energy heat gen, and 20% missile cooldown. Mobility-wise, it has 25% accel/decel, 15% turn rate, 20% torso twist speed and 15° of extra yaw.

Again, we’re breaking a cardinal rule of Atlas with this Gauss Rifle. But, there’s really not much else that the AS7-K has going for it. A straight swap to ER Larges is an option too, but the lack of a duration quirk gives me pause on that. My main problem with this build is that I run it on a friggin Jagermech, so wasting 100 tons on it is kinda lame. The dual AMS is nice though, so I went nuts on the ammo.

When playing it, you kind of have to focus on pokes. You can’d do asymm very well, so exposing fully is pretty much your best bet, and often you’ll want to stay exposed and shield between cooldowns. Again, as with the other longer-ranged Atlases, it works best when paired with other mechs that like to stay up and shoot.  Play along and you might have a good ole time.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: Gauss Cooldown, AMS Range, AMS Overload

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike

This version uses Large Pulse and Meds instead of pure Larges, resulting in more of a short-to-mid-range focus, though the general playstyle isn’t terribly altered.

Weapon Modules: Gauss Cooldown, Large Pulse Range, Large Pulse Cooldown

Just like it, but with different (slightly worse in almost every way) quirks. Probably your best bet for the variant to be honest. Can also run it with Gauss instead of AC/20.

Weapon Modules: Gauss Cooldown, Medium Laser Range, Large Pulse Range


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, but the Atlas doesn’t fall in that category.

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. Highly recommend keeping the AS7-D-DC and AS7-S, and the Boar’s Head if you bought it. The other ones (unless you’ve got the Founder’s Mech) I’d only keep if you really want 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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