Last Updated: 10-Mar-2015

Another week, another Master Guide. This time, we’re looking at the Stalker! This phallic monster with a monster phallus has always been strong, and today we’ll discuss how to exploit those strengths to their fullest.



The Stalker has always been a bit of a badass, one of the most unique, yet versatile, mechs in the game since its introduction. It has some of the highest mounted hardpoints and cockpit in the game, it has the most missile hardpoints of any assault mech, and it has one of the oddest profiles and hitbox setup of any mech.

At this point in time, every variant has its perks (or rather, quirks) that make it worth buying. However, the three best variants that we will focus on are the STK-4N which is arguably the best IS assault in the game thanks to it having the best quirks of any Stalker, the Misery hero mech due to its brutal asymmetric loadout(s), and the STK-5M due to its unparalleled proclivity for missiles. The STK-3F, STK-3H and the STK-5S out as the leftover Stalkers, which all have their pluses (and pulses!) but are generally on pretty even footing with one another. I’ll include some stuff for all the variants so you can pick which ones to take, but in general you want the STK-4N, Misery, STK-5M, and the STK-3F (or maybe STK-5S) if you’re not grabbing the Misery.


Chassis-Wide Information


  • The side torsos on the Stalker are so massive (and the CT so slim) that it is not only ridiculously easy to shield with them, it is difficult to not lose at least one side torso before losing the CT.
  • Every stalker shares the same 4 energy mounts (2 on each arm) that are at the very top of the chassis’ profile. In addition, the cockpit is situated on the very top of the CT, making this mech the absolute best at hill-humping.
  • The sheer quantity of hardpoints means that you will have more options for customizing builds to your own feel than exist on most mechs, and similarly there are more options to consider for builds than most other mechs have.
  • The lack of lower arm or hand actuators leaves extra room for much-needed heatsinks, what with all the extra hardpoints.
  • Tied for most variants (not counting champions) of any chassis in the game at 6 (with the Locust, Hunchback, Shadow Hawk, Awesome, and Atlas), but the lesser Stalker variants are more useful than the lesser variants of any of the others, (except maybe the Shadow Hawk) meaning that you have the most actual options in the Stalker.



  • One of the greatest advantages of the Stalker is also one of its greatest weaknesses. The massive side torsos may be great for shielding, but losing a side torso does mean losing half of your weapons and this makes the prospect of running an XL engine about as attractive as running one in an Atlas.
  • While the side torsos shield exceptionally, the arms might as well not exist for all the good they do at shielding your side torsos. Even if you could twist far enough to get them into position to block shots, they’re so stumpy that they provide coverage for maybe half of your side profile.
  • A relatively low engine cap for its tonnage puts limits on your building, and that also often results in builds that are particularly hot due to a lack of internal heat sinks and the need to pile on more weapons to fill up tonnage.
  • Legs as thick as tree trunks often make appetizing targets for people who realize how long it can take to bring down a good Stalker pilot when they shield properly.
  • This is one of the few chassis that have variants which switch between using and not using endo, so that can be a pain on your wallet.


Generic Tips

  • When running a non-asymmetric build, wiggling your nose around can be just as effective at spreading damage as shielding is, and taking some damage to your CT (though not so much that it opens up) is almost preferable than taking side torso damage early on, since it is much easier to shield.
  • When hill humping, creep up on it slowly, since you can usually fire as soon as you make visual contact and no mech truly stops on a dime. You don’t want to have to expose yourself more than is absolutely necessary.
  • When full-on shielding, you can sort of get away with using your arms as shields if you turn all the way 90° away and then just a little extra, so that your arm covers more of your front side torso (at the risk of exposing a sliver of your rear torso). This is the sort of thing that will take practice to get a feel for.
  • If you play WoT, just think of the Stalker as MWO’s own Tank Destroyer (fun fact, the firepower of even light mechs would make the WT E-100 seem like a Barbie doll).



For those of you who are not familiar with the general format of these, here’s how it goes: I will go over each variant one at a time, examining at least one build for each of them and going over the details of the builds. In general, there will be two paragraphs for each build – one describing the values of the build itself, and the other about its optimal playstyle. In general, the builds will be labeled according to their armament, but occasionally I will name a build if it is particularly badass. Also – the consumables I’ve listed are the ones that are best for normal play, but while leveling the mech you may want to swap the less important one out for a UAV, if you can afford to use consumables at all (they aren’t necessary, just nice). Now then, on with it!



Pre-quirks, this was the only mech in the game which was 100% obsolete. The only difference between it and the other Stalkers was that it was missing a missile hardpoint – it didn’t have the extra hardpoint of the STK-5M, the extra torso twist of the STK-3F, the extra AMS of the STK-5S, the ballistic of the Misery, or even the extra tubes of the STK-3H. Now though, it’s got some nice quirks, and upping the ghost heat threshold on Large Lasers to 4 just put it over the edge.

Build 1:

This build takes full advantage of the quirks that the STK-4N gets, mounting a devastating 6 Large Lasers to achieve an alpha strike with range, cooling efficiency, and cooldown that makes even the Timber Wolf a little jealous. You’ll definitely want to avoid alpha strike ghost heat with this build, though you can get away with it from resting heat without overheating, so I recommend playing it with one weapon group for each side (you can afford to swallow the extra 6 or so heat most of the time) and then a weapon group for the torso lasers and each arm for when you’re trying to maximize DPS. If you don’t have that many buttons, focus on just the 3 weapon groups (one for torso, one for left arm, and one for right arm). This has nearly as much hill-hump ability as its ERLL-based brother build, though it is forced to do so at shorter range (though the extra 10% less heat generation on the lasers from the specific quirks and them being regular Larges instead of ER makes up for lacking 4 heat sinks). But then, to add onto that, it has two extra Large Lasers hidden in its torso, making it a nasty threat to enemy mechs. Plus, its range is just shy of 600 meters, making it longer range than most Clan Laser Vom builds and almost as long range as a stock IS ER Large Laser.

Most of the time, this build will play similarly to a typical clan laser vomit, focusing on medium-range firepower to tear up your enemies. But when you start to get hurt, you can go hull-down and hill hump from behind a ridge, minimizing damage taken while not having to compromise much on damage output. You also do have the option of side-peeking from either side in addition to hill-humping, and you can pick whichever suits your current situation best. Just try to keep your full beam duration on target and you should have no problem dishing out the hurt. One thing I will make note of is how surprisingly cool this build felt, even without basics. The quirks are real.

Mech Modules (In order of importance): Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules (In order of importance): Large Laser Range, Large Laser Cooldown

Consumables (In order of importance): Cool Shot 9×9, Improved Air Strike

There’s a number of things I dislike about this build, but it does have an extra heat sink, a larger engine, and better armor protection.


Build 2:

This build was once dominated by the STK-3F, but since the quirks came in it has ended up working best on the STK-4N (followed closely by the STK-3H and then the STK-3F). One of the great things about this build, though, is that it fits on every single Stalker variant, and so if you really like it you can use it on all 6 variants. Anyways, the 10% quirks for laser cooldown, heat generation, and range end up meaning that you’re running a really beastly long-range loadout that works incredibly well with the natural hill-hump ability of the Stalker chassis. The ghost heat is worth avoiding, but a lot of the time you can get away with alpha striking (again, mainly when you’re on resting heat or know that you’ll have time to cool off).

Your range is incredible, and so you want to take advantage of that as much as possible. Stay behind a hill as far as you can reasonably get from the enemy, zoom in, drop that DPI, and just laser bitches until they die. The main problem is that this build is less effective in PUGs than it is in a setting where you get to choose your map, so sometimes you will be forced into less-than-optimal positions. If that happens, just stay calm and keep supporting your team, and you’ll do fine. The DPS is really lacking and you won’t be able to perform that great in a full engage, but if you can manage to stretch out the trading portion of the fight, you’ll be able to contribute a great deal to the battle. Just watch out for light mechs and strikes.

Mech Modules (In order of importance): Seismic Sensor, Radar Deprivation

Weapon Modules (In order of importance): ER Large Laser Cooldown, ER Large Laser Range

Consumables (In order of importance): Cool Shot 9×9, Improved Air Strike





The Hero may not be the best variant at everything, but it is the best at PUG play and has the unique ballistic hardpoint to its credit.

Build 1:

This is the classic Misery build (with my own spin on it, of course). The left-sided AC/20 and 2 PPCs is an apocalyptic combination that can cause even a Dire Wolf to shake in fear, and I am not even exaggerating. The precision and sheer impact of this mech is not a thing to be underestimated, and the CT laser is only there for when you run out of ammo and have tanked a thousand damage with your side torsos.

This is the only mech in the game which can reliably beat the Dire Wolf in a 1 on 1 tradefest, and all it needs to do so is some cover to poke out of. Many of you may not believe me, but it is true. The Misery needs, at most, a half of a second to peek out of cover, do its business, and return. This means that the UAC/5 build will barely scratch it and the Gauss+Laser Vom build won’t even finish charging, not that it would even matter since the Misery can shield any and all return fire with its right torso due to its torso twist speed quirk. Since the Misery has the ability to put out the 40 damage exactly where it wants it, it will take at most 5 pokes to make a Dire Wolf fall flat on its ass, and there’s nothing it can do about it. And this is exactly the scenario that you want to get into in your Misery, no matter what mech you find yourself against. Engage one enemy mech at a time, around the left side of solid cover (preferably with some cover for your lower half too, so a ridge that slopes up and to your right is ideal), and master the art of “Alpha Twisting”. Yes I just made that phrase up, but what it means is that as soon as you pull the trigger you are already swinging your mouse away to shield your gun side, and you should only be twisted back to look at your enemy for the fraction of a second it takes to line up and take your shot. Once your right side is gone, then you’ll just want to spread damage all over your mech as much as possible (and hard shield with your left side once your CT is open). The main things you are vulnerable to are getting ganged up on, pushed on, and picked out of a crowd by enemy lights, so make sure that you always have support on hand.

Mech Modules (In order of importance): Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules (In order of importance): AC/20 Cooldown, PPC Cooldown

Consumables (In order of importance): Cool Shot 9×9, Improved Air Strike

I feel like the original, minimalist build deserves to be included, as you may find that you like it better and also just so that you get a feel for the history of this most elegant of mechs.


Build 2:

This obviously shares much with the normal 40-point Misery build, with the central change being to trade in the PPCs for Large Pulse Lasers. It also plays similarly, though with less medium/long-range poke, less frontloaded damage, and more potential DPS. One of the big bonuses is that it has a Large Pulse Laser in that well-protected CT, making it a very effective zombie.

This will play similarly to the 40, but is not nearly as good at the whole not-taking-return-fire thing, because you need to keep your beams on target, you have to use your CT to get the most out of it, and it generally needs you to be a bit closer. Still, it will hold up better in a brawl, lacking the vulnerability to mechs that can close to sub-90, and can deal with crowds better too. I certainly do not consider this mech to be as amazing as the 40, but I can’t deny that it is still badass.

Mech Modules (In order of importance): Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules (In order of importance): AC/20 Cooldown, LPL Cooldown

Consumables (In order of importance): Cool Shot 9×9, Improved Air Strike

This modification should be fairly easy to understand – it trades the zombie ability for extra pokeyness in the high left mounts. I’m not sure if the trade-off is worth it, but you can make up your own mind based on how you like to play it.

Since this mech is more of a brawler than the 40 is, it is more likely to get its left side blown off. As such, this trades the asymmetric bonuses for extra viability after it loses either torso. You can also do the more pokey version on this with 2 LPLs in the right arm, but I feel like that kinda defeats the purpose of both modifications.



The Misery might be capable of brawling, but few mechs in the game are as good at it as the STK-5M.

Build 1:

I feel like this build is fairly easy to understand. Basically, you shoot the missiles and they die. The CT Large Laser is useful as both a backup zombie weapon, and for when you have extra heat, though normally you won’t have all that much overhead available in terms of heat if you’re in a true brawl. The SRMs will heat you up quickly, particularly if you alpha strike, which I only recommend doing if you are on low or resting heat and want to open the enemy up like a can of tuna. Usually though,  you’re better off using a weapon group for your left side and one for your right and firing them separately to avoid ghost heat (alternatively, one for your torso missiles and one for your arms – I actually have all 4 of those groups set up, plus the CT LL of course).

How to play this should be pretty simple to understand too. Try not to get shot at the start, and then shoot all the things once they get close enough! The combination of your brutal firepower and your wacky hitboxes makes you a real threat in a brawl, and you can face down Atlases without too much fear. Your limited torso twist will mean that you don’t want to get into the middle of a brawl, where you can be out-flanked, but if you can keep the enemy in front of you, you’ll have little problem getting out ridiculous amounts of damage.

Mech Modules (In order of importance): Seismic Sensor, Radar Deprivation

Weapon Modules (In order of importance): SRM6 Cooldown, SRM6 Range

Consumables (In order of importance): Cool Shot 9×9, Improved Air Strike

This sacrifices speed and the LL for heatsinks, a ton of ammo, and some mediums. I think the speed is too important to sacrifice, but it’s up to you.

This one is my own take on a similar build from the man; the legend; JayZ (one of the most bodacious Stalker pilots in the sphere). Basically it’s a hybrid of the Misery and the SRM spam STK-5M, and plays accordingly.

Weapon Modules (In order of importance): SRM6 Cooldown, LPL Cooldown


Build 2:

Yeah, it’s a LRM boat. One of the most effective ones in the game. I recommend firing the LRMs in a group of 3 and a group of 2 (so either left side/right side or torso/arms) to avoid severe ghost heat most of the time, unless you’re on resting heat or the enemy team has a lot of AMS cover. Other than that, not much to say about the build…pretty straightforward.

This plays like a very stereotypical LRM boat. Sit in the back, use your teammates to lock targets (or your TAG if you’re feeling very adventurous), and let loose LRMs whenever you want. This build does get a bit hot, but it’s still brutally powerful in terms of both DPS and firepower, and you’ve got enough ammo to keep you going for a long time.

Mech Modules (In order of importance): Target Decay, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules (In order of importance): LRM10 Cooldown, LRM10 Range (lol)

Consumables (In order of importance): Cool Shot 9×9, Improved Air Strike

This is the build to run if you are just a bit of a prick and not particularly bright. Sorry that’s mean. But yeah, it’s brutal firepower, but it’s hot, has an XL, and just…look at how stupid this is. Fuck.

Weapon Modules (In order of importance): LRM15 Cooldown, LRM15 Range

Sort of a combination of laser vomit and LRM boating, at least this version won’t make feel like as dirty as a pure LRM boat would, and you get backup weapons! Plus, an alpha strike will all come out of the tubes at once and with the right weapon modules, the missiles should all sync up their cooldowns pretty damn well.

Weapon Modules (In order of importance): LRM10 Cooldown, LL Cooldown



This variant is most notable for being the only Stalker with a reasonable range of torso twist, making it slightly better at everything, though this is generally outweighed by having worse weapon quirks than other variants do, making this variant the all-rounder.

Build 1:

Now this build is classic. Hill-humping with 4 PPCs was once the thing to do, and though it has certainly fallen out of favor, it can still be an effective, rewarding, and fun build. Try to avoid alpha-striking, and instead just fire one arm at a time.

Once a hill-humper, always a hill-humper. Peek, fire one arm, wait a half a second, fire the other arm, and then step back down into cover. As long as you can aim well and put all of your damage onto the same component, you may find this to be nearly as rewarding as the Misery, with the main differences being symmetry and heat. Still, keep it up and you may find it to actually be fun!

Mech Modules (In order of importance): Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules (In order of importance): PPC Cooldown, PPC Range

Consumables (In order of importance): Cool Shot 9×9, Improved Air Strike


Build 2:

Another LRM boat. How exciting. You can alpha strike if you’re not worried about heat, or fire two at a time if you are. And shoot the mediums at short range, obviously. This is the most interesting part of the guide, right here.

Just LRM the bad guys. It’s pretty simple. Holy shit I really have nothing else to say.

Mech Modules (In order of importance): Target Decay, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules (In order of importance): LRM10 Cooldown, Medium Laser Range

Consumables (In order of importance): Cool Shot 9×9, Improved Air Strike



This one’s got LPL quirks, which is pretty sweet because it’s a badass weapon, but the gimped torso twist does hinder its performance in a brawl.

Build 1:

This is very much like a shorter-ranged (but more brutal) version of the STK-4N laser vomit. The ghost heat is definitely there, but it’s manageable and not unreasonable to alpha strike, though you’ll usually want to stick to one arm at a time, paired up with the mediums whenever they wouldn’t be blocked by a hill.

This mech is set up as a slight-longer-than-brawl-range, and so you’ll want to stick to the outskirts of any real fight unless your armor is needed for tanking. Focus on DPS and getting down components if you want to be successful, taking advantage of the short beam durations on all of your lasers.

Mech Modules (In order of importance): Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules (In order of importance): LPL Range, LPL Cooldown

Consumables (In order of importance): Cool Shot 9×9, Improved Air Strike

This is the variant with dual AMS, so you can make use of it. I don’t think it’s worth it, but it’s your call.

Weapon Modules (In order of importance): LPL Range, AMS Overload



The quirks aren’t terrible, but they aren’t great either. The most unique way to run it is with LRM20s, which are a pretty bad weapon in general, but hey, it’s an option.

Build 1:

The gimmick on this one is that all the LRMs come out all the tubes at once, and at a tube count of 50 that’s pretty impressive (only the Battlemaster BLR-1S really competes). Other than that, it’s just another LRM boat, with at least a smidgen of short-range backup firepower.

Just Another LRM. JAL. I think I’m gonna make that an acronym throughout my Master Guides.

Mech Modules (In order of importance): Target Decay, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules (In order of importance): LRM20 Cooldown, Medium Laser Range

Consumables (In order of importance): Cool Shot 9×9, Improved Air Strike


Pilot Skills

This is the first mech I’ve made a guide for which actually needs a different skilling priority! How fun!

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

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

Then just master it. Whichever one(s) you’re having fun, master and keep.


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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