Last Updated: 6-Mar-2016

Cover your ears – today we’ll be dealing with the Banshee!



The Banshee was a much-anticipated chassis and has been a solid choice throughout its life in MWO, and for a while it’s been one of the most dominant IS mechs. Both the BNC-3E and BNC-3M have had quite impressive heydays, and there’s just so much about the Banshee that keeps it relevant through ups and downs and alls overs.

The BNC-3M is currently the best of the bunch for a few reasons. It’s got a total of 6 high-mounted energy hardpoints, and an extra 2 below those, and they’re all super useful, which are accentuated by the quirks and it’s just super happy fun time. Next up is the BNC-3E, which was the original hotness, thanks to its really nice hybrid of ballistic and energy hardpoints with plenty of each. Then we’ve got the BNC-3S, which is an unfortunate hodgepodge of ballistic and energy boating that is serviceable at some things but not really exceptional for the most part. And finally, we have La Malinche – widely regarded as one of the worst hero mechs in the game. i think it’s a bit underrated, but it is certainly the worst variant.


Chassis-Wide Information


  • The Banshee is one of the best weapon boats in the game, with one of the highest hardpoint counts in the game. It cannot compete with the Dire Wolf or King Crab in terms of sheer firepower, but it also doesn’t have to compromise on other points. For example, the hardpoints are actually high, meaning that you can hill-hump and trade more effectively and other fun stuff like that.
  • The Banshee is one of the tankiest mechs in the game, with fantastic shield arms, decent hitboxes, and nearly 100-tonner levels of armor. The structure quirks received by other mechs have lessened this point, but it remains quite tough.
  • The quirks aren’t fantastic, but they’re good enough that it doesn’t suffer by their lack.
  • Its high engine cap allows for many internal heat sinks and very good speed, particularly for a 95-tonner (though the high tonnage of the upper level engines are usually prohibitive).
  • It’s also actually relatively XL-safe for an assault: it loses its side torsos fairly often, but the popularity of laser builds and decently appropriated hitboxes mean that you usually lose your CT before the side torsoes, if you lose any at all.



  • Many (if not most) worthwhile Banshee builds involve low-cooldown or hitscan weapons which can make it difficult to shield effectively, reducing its tankability in a similar manner as the Dire Wolf and King Crab. However, this does not apply to all Banshee builds, and if you are good at making smart decisions about when to shield and when to shoot it is less of a hindrance.
  • There is a certain lack of maneuverability to the mech which can make it a bit clumsy at times. This can further hurt its shieldability, and make it more likely that you get caught out.


Generic Tips

  • Shield whenever your weapons are on cooldown – the arms are blocky and have shoulder pads, so they catch a lot of shots for you. Looking up into the air while you twist can also help with this, and gives your arms more coverage of your body.
  • Stay out of the center of the fight. While you can take some aggro at a medium-to-short range, very few builds are meant for true brawling and you’re better off front-loading your armor and shielding than diving into a full short range brawl.
  • Don’t be scared…and don’t be stupid. You’re one of the tankiest mechs in the game so if your team is getting hurt you want to tank for them. With your shield arms, you can take more damage without losing offensive abilities than pretty much any other mech in the game. But make sure that this is valuable, use your tankiness to take advantage of situations and help your team rather than just running out, dying and then saying “wtf i pushed where were u” in team chat.



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!



The BNC-3M is the ultimate IS laser mech. It’s got 8 energy hardpoints (6 of which are high-mounted), and for energy quirks it has 10% range, 5% heat gen and cooldown, and an extra 5% cooldown for just medium lasers. And 20% PPC velocity (lol w/e).

Build 1:

The LPL is easily one of the strongest weapons for each faction, and the BNC-3M makes better use of it than most. This build uses the high mounts to maximize its lasers without breaking ghost heat, and fills up the rest with backup Mediums that remain pretty powerful (make sure that you put in the RT Medium Laser before the Large Pulse so that the LPLs are forced into the high mounts).

Try to stay out of the central engagement early on if possible and just focus on getting damage whenever possible with your high mounts. Don’t be afraid to get up close and personal if that’s what you need to do to get your shots off, though, as you have the armor required to be in the middle of the battle and adding your low mounts makes your total alpha absolutely devestating. Just remember, 400-500 meters away from the enemy is where you live, and you should be shielding with your left side whenever you’re not firing your lasers or in hard cover. For more info on playing builds like this, check out the Laser Vomit guide.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: Large Pulse Range, Medium Laser Range

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike

This build is also very popular, and is simultaneously safer (as its damage is longer range and entirely high-mounted) and more risky (losing a side torso loses your life). It’s important to separate the firing of your LT and RT by a half second in order to avoid ghost heat in all but the most dire circumstances, and you should play at a somewhat longer range than the original build, but other than that it is very similar to the previous.

Weapon Modules: Large Pulse Range, Large Pulse Cooldown

This  is a bit of a compromise between the two, and the ghost heat is in a bit of an awkward place. You could easily do this build with only 2 small lasers rather than 4, but you don’t get a whole lot out of that and I figured the 2 extra small lasers might come in handy every once in a while. Stick to 2×2 when firing your Large Pulses for the most part to avoid ghost heat, and if you’re really nuts, you can run it with an XL.

Weapon Modules: Large Pulse Range, Large Pulse Cooldown


Build 2:

This build takes 540m quirked large lasers and makes the Banshee a brutal long-ranged murder machine. There aren’t many mechs that can deal with the Banshee in terms of damage or tankiness, and fewer still that can deal with the high mounts. Just as with the LPL alternate build on the other one, this breaks ghost heat, but in a manageable way. You can also swap out some or all of the lasers out for ERs, but that’s up to you.

In a lot of ways, this does play similarly to the Laser Vomit in Build 1, but the extra range gives you a few extra options. Rather than moving aggressively to get into range and then firing indiscriminately, you can afford to play it more slowly and take something of an overwatch role. Of course, you’ll want to use the high mounts to hill-hump like crazy, but you can do this from over 600 meters without losing too much damage. It also plays more like the traditional Laser Vomit mechs that the guide was written about.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: Large Laser Range, Large Laser Cooldown

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike



Once the most popular Banshee, the BNC-3E remains very strong even if it doesn’t quite conform to the meta. It comes with 5+5% AC/5 Cooldown and 5+10% AC/5 Velocity, in addition to 10% energy heat gen and 20% velocity, which is enough to make it competent at a combination between the styles.

This build represents a mix between traditional dakka builds which focus on just spamming ballistics, and the more modern laser vomit builds. This allows it to have enough firepower to trade decently enough, but it still is very much focused on DPS. A focus which really, really pays off – just with the AC/5s you’re looking at around 13 DPS, and even with the Large Lasers added on it will take quite some time to overheat. Sadly, 2 of your AC/5s and your first Medium Laser are low-mounted, but not exceedingly so and your high-mounted bits are enough to be relevant, though you shouldn’t go out of your way to use only them in most cases.

This plays very similarly to the Dakka Whale, basically you just want to keep some distance between you and the enemy with a nice line of sight to them, and then just hold down the trigger until they explode. Use your Mediums only if you know you’ll have time to cool off and lay off even the Larges in the event of critical heat levels – just firing your autocannons will cause you to cool down. This build is also the one that requires you to make the most difficult decisions in terms of shielding. As a rule of thumb, if you’re taking more incoming damage than you’re putting out, you should be shielding (with the quirks and modules, your DPS with the ACs and LLs is well over 15), or if you’re just generally getting focused and are badly hurt. The temptation to do more damage is always going to be there, and doing damage is obviously good, but not at the cost of getting your weapons blown off or getting killed.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: AC/5 Cooldown, Large Laser Range, Medium Laser Range

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike

This build is very similar, and gets a bit more range and effective damage, but loses enough other things for me to not make it my main focus.

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

This build is the same basic principle, but uses MGs to push the UACs up high, so that it excels at hill humping. The alpha won’t break the bank, but it can keep up the DPS. Thanks to /u/ggMWOgg for reminding me about this.

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

A very similar build, this focuses on shorter-range engagements and brawling, also offering better and more concentrated DPS and speed for the range trade-off.

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

This build used to be the most popular for the Banshee, and one of the best builds in the game overall. Unfortunately, it’s really not good enough in most situations

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

This is the other “old” build for the Banshee, slightly modified to keep it optimized for quirks. Basically the idea is to simultaneously cause as much damage and annoyance as possible, and it fulfills that task fairly well (though it is also outshined…outshone? outshaneded by the Dire Wolf, sadly).

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




This build is sort of like a failed experiment for the BNC-3E. It mixes a ballistic with 8 energy, but does so in a terribly awkward way and the quirks don’t help much. It gets 10% ballistic cooldown, 5+10% Medium Laser range, 10+5% Medium Laser duration, and 20% PPC velocity. It also has 35% extra torso twist speed.

Build 1:

This is an odd build to be sure, but it’s powerful as hell, and in the end that’s the most important thing. Your left side is essentially all medium range, with your right side being more brawly, but this is a mech that is capable of both, really taking the whole “jack of all trades” thing to heart, though the heat really keeps me from calling it a master of anything.

Despite the obvious heat issues, it is hard to say which weapons to use when you’re running hot due to them all having benefits and drawbacks and similar range profiles. In the end, I would advise poking with your left side and brawling with your right side, as well as shielding with the right side until the arm is gone, at which point you can switch sides. What with its extra range, it should be easy to stay out of the center of a brawl and focus on putting out DPS and, more importantly, brutal pinpoint alpha strikes (with the help of the laser beam duration quirk).

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: AC/20 Cooldown, Medium Laser Range

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike

This is an eclectic build, even by my standards, and it is probably the brawliest Banshee build in general. You can use the AC/20 and LPL like your AC/20 and PPC in the previous build, but you really do want to close to a true brawl engage so that you can abuse the SPLs. Shout-out to ThePieMaker for the core concept.

Weapon Modules: LPL Cooldown, SPL Range


Build 2:

This is a recent build I came up with, which may not quite play to the Banshee’s usual strengths, but is still powerful in its own right, combining a brutal alpha strike with pretty decent medium-range power. The range and power are both slightly less than their Clan equivalents, unfortunately, but they’re still pretty damn good for IS standards.

This really plays like a Clan mech. Join in on the firing line fun and just let loose with all you’ve got, sticking to your Gauss Rifle (and LPLs) when you’re running hot. This is probably the best Banshee at zombie’ing as well, with the only flaw in that plan being the potential Gauss explosion, but your CT and head lasers make you remain a threat after you appear neutered. The risk of the Gauss does make you want to shield with your right side most of the time, but if you can catch some damage with that left arm, go for it.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: Medium Laser Range, Gauss Cooldown

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike


La Malinche

Commonly joked about as one of the worst hero mech in the game, the La Malinche is a bit underrated. A lot of things about the mech are weak, but its quirks are strong as hell. It has 10+10% Large Pulse heat gen and range, 10+10% AC/10 cooldown and range, and 20% PPC velocity. Finally, it gets 25% accel/decel, 20% turn rate, and 35% torso twist speed.

A really weird medium range sort of hybrid between laser vomit and skirmishing, this is the only Banshee which can actually use its arms and it uses them well. Overall, its weapons and quirks let it keep a safe distance for most of the game, and also let it go crazy in the middle of a heated engagement.

The bonus range to your energy and ballistics is important, with the main quirk missing being the lack of extra ballistic velocity. Regardless of that, you can still poke very effectively with all of your weapons up to well past 500 meters, though you may be wise to conserve ammunition by not firing at fast moving targets too far away with your AC/10. Remember to shield whenever you’re cooling down, and you’ll do fine.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: Large Pulse Range, AC/10 Cooldown

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike

The AC/20 is far more useful than an AC/10, but I don’t think it’s worth losing the extra LPL. If you don’t feel the same, this is a good alternative to try out at a shorter range.

Weapon Modules: AC/20 Cooldown, Medium Laser 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.

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 whichever ones you like – I highly recommend the BNC-3M and BNC-3E of course, but if you enjoy any of the others stick with them as well.


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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