Firestarter

The Firestarter is a traditional light that focuses on mobilty and boating many lightweight weapons in order to brawl and skirmish. It is a rather large mech with easily isolated hitboxes, and not enough durability quirks to offset this disadvantage, making it feel overall rather fragile. Furthermore, it has extraordinarily bad torso pitch, so it struggles when fighting in even moderately vertical terrain. Some variants allow quite a bit of the firepower to be placed in the very flexible arms, but those arms are also very fragile, making it a dubious tradeoff.

The overall fragility means that you shouldn't be taking fights and trades head-on. Rather, try to engage on the flanks and harass pre-occupied targets. While the Firestarter has the firepower to go for aggressive assassination plays and defend itself if it gets caught out by other lights, it is not the best at these tasks due to its poor agility.

The large side torsos make Light Engine builds tempting, and we will provide a few of the best options if you wish to try them out. However, don't fall for the trap - Light Engines are not recommended. The loss in speed and firepower is not worth some protection against fluke instant deaths. If you are frequently dying early because of XL in this mech, then you are not playing it well enough, and you will probably die similarly due to the Light Engine penalties anyways.

It's worth mentioning that the years ago the Firestarter used to be the premier light mech in the game, exceling at knife-fighting in particular. Reductions in offensive quirks and rescaling the mech to be larger have put an end to its ability to fully keep up with relatively newer released similar mechs such as the Wolfhound, Javelin, and Arctic Cheetah, among others.

All Firestarters, except the heroes, are very similar in terms of hardpoints, and the differentiation in quirks is really quite minor. Avoid fighting on inclines or ridges, and use cover as much as possible when striking - if you can mitigate the weaknesses that severely hold this chassis back, it can still perform quite decently.

Variants LA LT CT RT RA HD JJs MASC MaxEng Accel Twist Pitch
FS9-S2212 6 FALSE 295 45.4 kph/s 100o @ 130.5o/s 15o
FS9-A21212 6 FALSE 295 45.4 kph/s 100o @ 130.5o/s 15o
FS9-H21212 6 FALSE 295 45.4 kph/s 100o @ 130.5o/s 15o
FS9-K323 6 FALSE 295 45.4 kph/s 100o @ 130.5o/s 15o
FS9-EH2222 6 FALSE 295 45.4 kph/s 100o @ 130.5o/s 15o
FS9-FSH21212 6 FALSE 295 56.9 kph/s 100o @ 153.0o/s 15o

FS9-A

This is currently one of the best variants, with eight energy like the FS9-K. The FS9-A has half its hardpoints in the torso, which somewhat limits its overall effectiveness, but this allows for deadsiding, and some insurance against fragile-arm-syndrome which can be useful for brawling.


6x MPL skirmish

Added by Tarogato / Last updated: 11 Mar 2019

6x MPL is a staple light mech build which is decent at both poking and knife-fighting. This is generally the best build, regardless of variant. The strength lies in the precision of the short MPL burn duration, and the burst potential of having all six on a fast cooldown.

Building this on the FS9-A allows you to strip the arm to get an extra heatsink, making this build run cooler than the heat-quirked variants.

This is a right-sided version, but this build can also be done on the left arm instead. Whether you build left- or right-sided is personal taste.

5x MPL skirmish

Added by Blaketown / Last updated: 20 Dec 2018

You really should run full 6x MPL at all times for the increased burst, however the 5x MPL version is good for hot maps and leveling up unskilled mechs. Take advantage of the extra cooling and extra speed by harassing as frequently as possible. If you are not constantly heatcapped from firing so often, then you are not properly leveraging the DPS advantage of this build.

If you want even more cooling or extra jumpjets, you can drop to XL280 for a spare ton: 5x MPL skirmish (+DHS)

This is a right-sided version, but this build can also be done on the left arm instead. Whether you build left- or right-sided is personal taste.

ERML poke

Added by Blaketown / Last updated: 20 Dec 2018

Decent firepower and decent speed allows you to continuously poke and reposition while keeping a safe distance. Avoid fighting other lights, this build is bad at knife-fighting.

Building this on the FS9-A allows you to strip the arm to get an extra heatsink, making this build run cooler than the heat-quirked variants.

This is a right-sided version, but this build can also be done on the left arm instead. Whether you build left- or right-sided is personal taste.

ML skirmish (LE)

Added by Tarogato / Last updated: 11 Mar 2019

This is one of the few plausible candidates for Light Engine. Similar speed and cooling compared to XL builds, with acceptable firepower. Not enough heatsinks to run proper ERMLs, you get heat efficiency by running standard MLs instead, which lack the pinpoint punch of MPLs.

This is a right-sided version, but this build can also be done on the left arm instead. Whether you build left- or right-sided is personal taste.

Alphavomit

Added by Tarogato / Last updated: 11 Mar 2019

Like an IS version of the Cougar, this build plays to the Firestarters' main weakness - it doesn't like to be shot at. Instead of exposing to the enemy frequently, having to fire multiple times before reaching heat cap, this build instead expends all its damage and heat in one single volley, so you don't have to expose to the enemy as often to deal your peak DPS.

This is a borderline meme build - the exceedingly slow speed makes you a very vulnerable target - you can't play it like a light mech, you have to team up with heavier mechs and play such that they are always the focus of the enemies' attention before you expose yourself.

MPL/ERSL skirmish

B-tierGen
Added by Blaketown / Last updated: 1 Feb 2019

MPL and ERSL synergize well due to having very similar range and cooldown, allowing you to squeeze more tonnage out of MPL builds that have a sufficient number of hardpoints - we get free engine speed in this game. This build plays just like 6MPL, with similar stats all around, but you have to deal with the longer duration ERSLs as a trade-off.

This build can be played on the FS9-K if you'd prefer more arm flexibility, but this variant offers more insurance in the form of torso mounts.

Brawl

B-tierSpcl
Added by Blaketown / Last updated: 20 Dec 2018

This is ideal for fighting other lights and assassinating slower targets. If you aren't firing the SPLs as rapidly as possible, then you aren't properly leveraging the advantage of this build. Remember the Firestarter is large and easy to kill - try not to get caught by multiple enemies because you probably won't escape.

Brawl (LE)

Added by Tarogato / Last updated: 11 Mar 2019

Another candidate for Light Engine - SPLs are relatively cool enough that you can get by, however you're still giving up some of the vital speed that SPLs need to maneuver in short range.

FS9-K

This is currently one of the best variants, with eight energy like the FS9-A. The FS9-K has most of its hardpoints in the arms, which allows for you to mostly ignore the Firestarter's terrible torso pitch at the cost of having most or all of your weapons mounted on easily-destroyed arms. The arm fragility and flexibility makes this variant better for poking/harassing, rather than brawling.


8x ML skirmish

B-tierGen C-tierSpcl
Added by Bowser / Last updated: 11 Mar 2019

One of the strongest general purpose builds for the Firestarter simply due to having a larger alpha. You can fire all eight lasers most of the time despite the ghost heat, and then use just the penalty-free six lasers on the arms when you heatcap and need the sustained DPS.

This build can also be done on the FS9-A, but then you give up the full six mounts on articulated arms.

5x MPL skirmish

Added by Blaketown / Last updated: 20 Dec 2018

You really should run full 6x MPL at all times for the increased burst, however the 5x MPL version is good for hot maps and leveling up unskilled mechs. Take advantage of the extra cooling and extra speed by harassing as frequently as possible. If you are not constantly heatcapped from firing so often, then you are not properly leveraging the DPS advantage of this build.

If you want even more cooling or jumpjets, you can drop to XL280 for a spare ton: 5x MPL skirmish (+DHS)

This is a right-sided version, but this build can also be done on the left arm instead. Whether you build left- or right-sided is personal taste.

ERML poke

Added by Blaketown / Last updated: 20 Dec 2018

Decent firepower and decent speed allows you to continuously poke and reposition while keeping a safe distance. Avoid fighting other lights, this build is bad at knife-fighting.

Compared to the same build on the FS9-A, this variant offers complete arm flexibility, but it is fragile.

MPL/ERSL skirmish

Added by Blaketown / Last updated: 1 Feb 2019

MPL and ERSL synergize well due to having very similar range and cooldown, allowing you to squeeze more tonnage out of MPL builds that have a sufficient number of hardpoints - we get free engine speed in this game. This build plays just like 6MPL, with similar stats all around, but you have to deal with the longer duration ERSLs as a trade-off.

This build can be played on the FS9-A if you'd prefer to not rely on the fragile arms, but this variant offers more flexibility overall.

Brawl

Added by Blaketown / Last updated: 20 Dec 2018

This is ideal for fighting other lights and assassinating slower targets. If you aren't firing the SPLs as rapidly as possible, then you aren't properly leveraging the advantage of this build. Remember the Firestarter is large and easy to kill - try not to get caught by multiple enemies because you probably won't escape.

This build is more popular on the FS9-A. The FS9-K gives you arm articulation which is wildly superior in knife-fighting, but outweighed by the fragility of the arms - losing just one severely gimps your damage output, so it's better to not gamble on taking this variant for this build.

FS9-S

The FS9-S is one of the more effective variants. Five energy, right-sided, allows for an optimised 5MPL build similar to, but currently inferior to the Wolfhound, and you can run six-energy loadouts with the majority of your firepower in the flexible (but fragile) arms. Do not try to use all seven hardpoints, it's simply not worth it. Also, you should not be mounting AMS even though this is one of the few mechs in the game with two AMS hardpoints. AMS simply weighs too much for the tonnage-starved Firestarter - by equipping it you are seriously marring your speed or offensive capability.


6x MPL skirmish

C-tierGen C-tierSpcl
Added by Tarogato / Last updated: 11 Mar 2019

6x MPL is a staple light mech build which is decent at both poking and knife-fighting. This is generally the best build, regardless of variant. The strength lies in the precision of the short MPL burn duration, and the burst potential of having all six on a fast cooldown.

The FS9-S allows you to run this build with most of your firepower in the arms, which could be seen as an advantage (or not) compared to the FS9-A and WLF-2, and you get a heat quirk compared to the FS9-K. If you don't like relying on the squishy arms, you can move one MPL like this: 6x MPL skirmish (safe)

5x MPL skirmish

Added by Blaketown / Last updated: 20 Dec 2018

6x MPL is a staple light mech build which is decent at both poking and knife-fighting. This is generally the best build, regardless of variant. The strength lies in the precision of the short MPL burn duration, and the burst potential of having all six on a fast cooldown.

MPL skirmish (LE)

Added by Tarogato / Last updated: 11 Mar 2019

This is one of the few plausible candidates for Light Engine. You sacrifice about 12kph and nearly 20% DPS, which makes the survivability trade-off simply not worth it, period. However, if you are really struggling with dying to XL, you can give this a try.

ERML poke

Added by Tarogato / Last updated: 11 Mar 2019

Decent firepower and decent speed allows you to continuously poke and reposition while keeping a safe distance. Avoid fighting other lights, this build is bad at knife-fighting.

This variant offers more arm mounts than the FS9-A, and offers a heat quirk that the FS9-K doesn't get. Identical to the FS9-H. If you don't like relying on the squishy arms, you can move one ERML like this: ERML poke (safe)

FS9-H

The FS9-H is one of the weakest variants. It only has six energy hardpoints meaning it can't carry an effective SPL build, and the fact that it has two energy hardpoints in each arm means you can't even deadside the MPL builds. The -H does have a machine gun rate-of-fire quirk, but with only two hardpoints it's hardly worth building around.


6x MPL skirmish

C-tierGen C-tierSpcl
Added by Tarogato / Last updated: 16 Mar 2019

6x MPL is a staple light mech build which is decent at both poking and knife-fighting. This is generally the best build, regardless of variant. The strength lies in the precision of the short MPL burn duration, and the burst potential of having all six on a fast cooldown.

The FS9-H allows you to run this build with most of your firepower in the arms, which could be seen as an advantage (or not) compared to the FS9-A and WLF-2, and you get a heat quirk compared to the FS9-K.

5x MPL skirmish

Added by Blaketown / Last updated: 20 Dec 2018

You really should run full 6x MPL at all times for the increased burst, however the 5x MPL version is good for hot maps and leveling up unskilled mechs. Take advantage of the extra cooling and extra speed by harassing as frequently as possible. If you are not constantly heatcapped from firing so often, then you are not properly leveraging the DPS advantage of this build.

If you want more cooling or jumpjets, you can drop to XL280 for a spare ton: 5x MPL skirmish (+DHS)

ERML poke

Added by Blaketown / Last updated: 20 Dec 2018

Decent firepower and decent speed allows you to continuously poke and reposition while keeping a safe distance. Avoid fighting other lights, this build is bad at knife-fighting.

This variant offers more arm mounts than the FS9-A, and offers a heat quirk that the FS9-K doesn't get. Identical to the FS9-S.

ML skirmish w/MGs

Added by Tarogato / Last updated: 11 Mar 2019

delet?

FS9-E "EMBER"

With four each of energy and ballistic, the hero Firestarters can each really only run one build well. Unfortunately, MG brawling is not a niche the Firestarter is well-suited for, so that makes these the worst variants, though far from being the worst light mechs.

The Ember currently has the superior quirks by far, but its lasers are solely in the fragile arms, which is not good for brawling.


Brawl

C-tierGen F-tierSpcl
Added by Blaketown / Last updated: 20 Dec 2018

Rather than a MG boat, this is more like an MPL brawler with some extra DPS and crits tacked on. Unlike most MG boats, you don't want to stare at your enemy most of the time, because that just makes the Firestarter's hitboxes easier for the enemy to isolate. Play this like any MPL build, but focus the MGs where you see open components, otherwise you won't get the most out of them.

FS9-FS "FIRESTORM"

With four each of energy and ballistic, the hero Firestarters can each really only run one build well. Unfortunately, MG brawling is not a niche the Firestarter is well-suited for, so that makes these the worst variants, though far from being the worst light mechs.

The Firestorm currently has the superior agility by far, and its main firepower (the lasers) are tucked safely in the torsos, albeit saddled with the poor torso pitch.


Brawl

F-tierGen F-tierSpcl
Added by Blaketown / Last updated: 20 Dec 2018

Rather than a MG boat, this is more like an MPL brawler with some extra DPS and crits tacked on. Unlike most MG boats, you don't want to stare at your enemy most of the time, because that just makes the Firestarter's hitboxes easier for the enemy to isolate. Play this like any MPL build, but focus the MGs where you see open components, otherwise you won't get the most out of them.

Quick info:
Firestarter
InnerSphere light
35-ton battlemech
Avg Engine 280 (129.6kph)

Ratings:
GeneralSpecialist
B-tierx 2C-tierx 3F-tierx 1B-tierx 1C-tierx 3F-tierx 2
Solaris7 coming soon
Public Vote coming soon

Recommended:
FS9-A6x MPL skirmish
FS9-AERML poke
FS9-ABrawl
FS9-K8x ML skirmish
FS9-S6x MPL skirmish
FS9-SERML poke