The Stalker specialises in delivering a large volume of firepower via many missile and energy hardpoints and a very unique narrow profile. The quantity and variety of hardpoints makes the Stalker one of the most versatile chassis in the game, capable of running almost every type of build except ballistic boating. Stalkers tend not to have very strong or unique quirks, so builds can be run fairly interchangeably across different variants, and bracket builds are more viable than on other chasses due to the Stalkers' uniformly high mounts and generic quirks.
The low engine cap and poor torso twist range makes the Stalker challenging to play - it is best used with the front directly facing the enemy. It is very easy to over-twist in this mech, showing your sides simply makes your profile larger and ensures you lose your side torsos quickly. Just wiggle the nose of the mech to spread damage more evenly, and once you've lost a side torso you can twist fully to use the dead side as a shield. Exploiting the tight hill-peeking profile and mastering wiggling and shielding can allow the Stalker to soak absurd amounts of damage and continue fighting even when severely hurt.
The large side torsos and low engine cap makes Standard Engine builds highly viable, especially as the penalty for losing a side torso with Light Engine can be punishing. Unless you are a professional lunatic, never, ever put an XL in a Stalker.
Note that the Stalker's arms have missile bay doors. When missile weapons are equipped, the bay doors are enabled and provide a damage reduction bonus when closed as long as a weapon inside still has remaining ammo. The bay doors will open automatically without delay when weapons are fired.
This guide largely authored by Jay Z, widely recognised for his complete mastery and ever-growing collection of ~260 individual Stalkers.
Updated by Jay Z on 14/12/22
|STK-5M||21||2||1||1||21||0||FALSE||310||13.1 kph/s||60o @ 67.5o/s||20o|
|STK-3F||21||11||11||21||0||FALSE||310||13.1 kph/s||85o @ 67.5o/s||20o|
|STK-3H||21||1||1||21||0||FALSE||310||13.1 kph/s||60o @ 67.5o/s||20o|
|STK-4N||2||11||11||21||0||FALSE||310||13.1 kph/s||60o @ 67.5o/s||20o|
|STK-5S||21||11||11||21||0||FALSE||310||13.1 kph/s||60o @ 67.5o/s||20o|
|STK-3FB||21||1||ECM||1||21||0||FALSE||310||15.4 kph/s||85o @ 72.0o/s||20o|
|STK-7D||0||FALSE||0||0.0 kph/s||0o @ 0.0o/s||0o|
|STK-MH||2||1||1||1||2||0||FALSE||310||13.1 kph/s||65o @ 67.5o/s||20o|
|STK-7D(S)H||0||FALSE||0||0.0 kph/s||0o @ 0.0o/s||0o|
The STK-5S has the highest quantity of hardpoints, combined with missile heat and energy range quirks, making it the current best Stalker. It also has dual AMS. If you only get one Stalker, choose this one.
Note: this is the only Stalker to come stock with an XL engine, making it the most expensive variant. Do NOT run an XL engine on a Stalker, you will die and it will hurt the whole time you are dying. Also the stock XL255 is a very useful engine for some light and medium mechs, so don't sell it, recycle!
There are many ways to go about ERLL on the Stalker. The STK-5S is preferred for its range quirk and has been a mainstay in comp play for a decade. For reference, the 3F has 10% heat, 4N has 5% heat and HSL so it can alpha 4ERLL without ghost heat, the 3FB has ECM and 5% heat.
6ERLL is best for large or cold maps where you can leverage the high alpha and have ample opportunity to cool down. Recommended firing groups are 3+3 to avoid ghost heat. Firing groups with 3 and 4 arm lasers for hill peaking are helpful
6ERLL TC8 - 6ERLL, TC8 for maximum range, maximum damage. (STD275 can be used instead of LE300)
5ERLL - 5ERLL, TC1 can be done for the extra heatsinks/DPS.
5ERLL TC8 - 5ERLL, TC8 for maximum range and 1 fewer ERLL for more DHS.
Whether you choose 5 or 6 ERLL and TC1 or 8 is up to you depending on range, heatsinks and firepower desired. The choice of engine is also up to you with STD275-300 and LE300 being the viable choices. For example, STD275 can be used with 6ERLL, TC8 or 6ERLL, TC7+DHS instead of LE.
Heavy mechs can carry more firepower than this, but this is tankier, has dual AMS, high mounts, a range quirk, and plenty of cooling. This is good for newer players that want something forgiving and easy to use.
Somewhat of a midrange laser build, with a little extra range, and extra close range punch. As typical with bracket mechs, this build is bad at all ranges, but the Stalker's unique quantity of high mounts helps it perform decently in QP. This is less awkward than the ERPPC version used on the STK-3F.
By sacrificing alpha/burst firepower, you gain what is essentially the longest ranged trader in the game. Use this only for extreme range trading - it will outrange almost any mech in the game. Also note that it can alpha all four ERLL often.
ERLL Command Mech - This is a special build for drop calling - the Command Console, BAP, plus Sensor skill tree grants near-instant targeting info at over 1200m, useful for target-calling. Advanced zoom is also boosted. Can alpha all 4ERLL rather comfortably.
High burst, general purpose, easy to use. Remember that the MRMs require lead time and the MLs do not, so don't fire them together against moving targets. An ECM version is available on the STK-3Fb.
MRM + ERLL w/AMS - This alternative uses all torso weapons, unlike most Stalkers, so doesn't need to worry about losing the arms. As an added bonus, all mounts are closer to the cockpit, so it can comfortably alpha all weapons while side peeking thanks to the Stalker's narrow profile.
Lacking in hardpoints, the 3H gets hefty quirks instead. The combination of missile cooldown and heat makes it preferred for MRMs and LRMs, but the 3H specialises in LRM20s. This variant also current has the best energy range, but is limited to four hardpoints.
MRM80 offers a decent volume of fire, best against large slow targets. ERML pinpoint helps against smaller targets.
Offers a massive volume of fire - it's not efficient due to MRM spread, but used against large slow targets it can still overwhelm. You can eat the ghost heat and alpha all three, but fall back to 2+1 volleys when DPS is needed.
Having a third MRM40 is not unlike having 4x ML, but with this you have more synergy (no laser duration) and one MRM40 can achieve more than the 4ML's 20 pinpoint damage by getting into very close range.
Some of the best heat efficiency for a brawling Stalker - ideal for hot maps, and brawl pushes or brawl blocking, where the relatively low ammo won't be a problem.
Most sane and practical LRM boat Stalker, good for general purpose. Does not use XL like some extreme builds, and has ERML for menial self defense with enough DHS to keep everything going. If want to run just one LRM Stalker, choose this one.
STK-3H - Hybrid LRM - 2x LRM20a + 1x MRM30 + 3x ML + TAG + bAP - An alternative with direct-fire punch. Artemis included here, as the LRMs should be used in direct fire when possible. LRMs and MRMs can be fired together (no ghost heat), but remember the MRMs require lead time and the MLs do not, do not fire those together against moving targets, and avoid the MLs when heatcapped.
STK-3H - LRM + ERLL - 2x LRM20 + 3x ERLL + TAG + bAP - An option exclusively for long range trading - this breaks the cardinal rule of Stalkers and uses XL. Can ridge-peek with ERLLs rather safely and support with LRMs when no direct targets are available. Extra ammo for Faction Play, particularly snow maps where XL is less punishing. Generally use the LRMs instead of ERLL when heat capped.
STK-3H - LRM80 - 4x LRM20 + TAG + BAP - LRM capital ship. This is dumb. Uses the LRM20 specific quirks, an XL engine and stripping of entirely too much armour to become the most lethal LRM mech possible. No artemis here - this is an XL build, it should be firing LRMs indirectly when possible - exposing to the enemy is a death sentence. High-mounted TAG does allow for ridge-peeking, however.
STK-3H - ULTIMATE LRM - 4x LRM20 SHS - Sacrifice everything for ultimate indirect LRM sustained firepower. The above build is dumb, this one is completely bonkers.
The ECM variant currently gets no quirks, but has the best agility. This variant can do many of the builds that other variants can (up to two missile) with ECM tacked on as a bonus. Stealth builds are a fun novelty, but not practical - the Stalker is a large, slow mech which cannot sneak very well.
Extreme range ridge-peeker. A similar version is available on the STK-3F with a heat quirk.
ECM version of a similar build on the STK-5S. This has no range quirk, and so brings a modest TC instead.
High burst, general purpose, easy to use. Remember that the MRMs require lead time and the MLs do not, so don't fire them together against moving targets. This build is also available on the STK-5S with useful heat and range quirks.
Heavy mechs can carry more firepower than this, but this is tankier, has ECM, high mounts, and plenty of cooling. The RLs are just there for the passive missile bay door protection.
The same build can be done on the STK-5S for a range quirk and AMS instead of the ECM.
You shouldn't run stealth on a Stalker. But if you insist anyway, here is a brawl option.
You shouldn't run stealth on a Stalker. But if you insist anyway, here is a laservomit option. Can also swap ERML and DHS for 4LPL instead.
The STK-4N is the best at LL builds due to LL HSL, but otherwise is overshadowed. It can run some interesting blue laser heavy hybrid builds.
The quintessential STK-4N. Absolutely abuse the high mounts and narrow frontal profile - that is its advantage.
Historically this was at some times the most popular FP assault and is still extremely well suited to mid range firepower. Very hard to go wrong and a brilliant starting point for new Stalker pilots.
With an HSL+1 quirk, this can fire 4ERLL with no penalty, and 5ERLL more comfortably than other mechs. The lack of a range quirk however prevents this from being a best choice for specifically long range maps.
If you have a STK-4N and don't want to play 6LL, this build takes some advantage of the unique quirks. No ghost heat means comfortable alphas, and you can sacrifice and soak with your RT while keeping most of your firepower on the left.
The base variant of the Stalker; it has better twist range, generic missile quirks, and this is the only variant with an energy heat quirk, making it suitable for PPC loadouts. Laser builds are typically done on other variants to take advantage of range quirks instead, but this variant can do all of them since it has all six energy hardpoints. The energy quirks and twist characteristics also make it a suitable brawler.
Quad HPPC is too hot. This two HPPC build offers somewhat reasonable poke, with MPLs to cover the minimum range window.
Extreme range ridge-peeker. Rocket launchers are equipped to enable the missile bay doors and their passive damage reduction protection. A similar version is avaiable on the STK-3Fb with ECM.
2ERPPC acts as a hyper-velocity AC20 used for continuous harassing, while the SRM+MLs bring close range alpha. As typical with bracket mechs, this build is bad at all ranges, but the Stalker's unique quantity of high mounts helps it perform decently in QP.
A similar build with ERLL instead of ERPPC is simpler to play, and suited to the STK-5S.
Essentially dual AC20 with high mounts. Assisted by DHS boating and a heat gen quirk, but still has poor DPS.
One of the hotter pure brawl options, this offers high pinpoint damage and burst.
This variant uniquely gets a CT energy and an extra missile hardpoint, making it exceptional at burst damage output. Can also do energy loadouts from most other variants, but usually with slightly weaker quirks.
Incredibly powerful brawler. If you can close and manage terrain and sightlines, this mech can 2-3 shot other large mechs through the CT with manageable heat. The slow speed, short range, lack of JJ/ECM/MASC and multiple weapon types do make this difficult to play, but the reward is excellent firepower and survivability with a STD engine and CT mounted SNPPC.
Rather inefficient, but offers sheer burst damage output. Significant spread on MRM40 and non-artemis SRM6 means you should realistically expect a 70-alpha at best until you get within 70 meters to begin negating the spread - you need to facehug to get the most out of this build.
Stick to the SRMs when heatcapped, and only fire the MLs as heat allows. Ghost heat between the MRM and SRMs is very significant, so literally do not fire them together.
3LPL+2MPL is very underpowered for an assault, but the point of this build is the rockets - it is a gimmick. You really shouldn't run rockets, especially on a mech this slow, however if you insist on doing it anyway, this is how.
Streaks are pretty much only good for hunting lights - don't put streaks on assaults, they're too slow to chase lights.
That said, if you must, do it like this. This can chew through some mediums as well.
Extra Sit Down. This build crams heavy short range snapfire weaponry into the torsos. A standard engine and zombie SNPPC provide excellent tanking ability. The reason to use both an AC20 and LBX20 is to free a slot for the 2nd SNPPC without incuring any ghost heat.
A build to truly rival clan laservom. The large STD engine provides excellent survivability and tankiness. The 7th ERML does cause ghost heat however the extra alpha is worth it if running cool. Consider having an additional group with 6ERML for avoiding GH when warm. The BLC are to be in the highest torso mounts. This is very strong all around in QP and very reliable.
You have some flexible poking potential with the snubs and MLs. You can always swap to 6SPL if you want to play as full-commit DPS brawl.
More or less a brawler, though the MRMs can reach out a fair distance. Nine small lasers on a relatively fast recycle is nothing to scoff at and you will put out decent DPS at close ranges.
The hero is the only variant with a ballistic hardpoint. Being only a singular hardpoint, you should cram in the biggest gun you can find. Same goes for the singular missile hardpoint - an MRM40 is the best use.
High PPFLD, and simple to play. You only need to expose the upper left corner of the mech, and can use the entire right side for soaking. You can alpha, or you may fire seperately when leading targets with the different projectile velocities.
Sit Down Misery is ideal for short range side and hill peaking. The AC20 with quirked range and velocity syncs nicely. Try to stay close to terrain and plan your exposure from cover to decimate enemies around corners with minimal return fire. This build is cool enough to cycle all the weapons twice without overheating. If you cannot return to cover to cool, this can sustain AC20 fire with occasional 2SNPPC shots. The Sit Down Misery has evolved over the years and this iteration is quite possibly the strongest.
More alpha, more DPS, and more sustain. More difficult to play - you can fire the arm snubs while charging the gauss and release it together with the third snub.
UAC20+MRM40 offers high burst, yet is sustainable. The long volleys of both weapons and differing velocities can be unwieldy, but the double-tap is devastating.
HGauss+MRM40 offers high sustain, and the MLs contribute pinpoint punch. Remember to release HGauss after firing everything else to avoid the shake disrupting your other weapons.