There's something you need to understand about Terra Therma: Everyone rushes the caldera, unless the game mode is Conquest. Then, everyone rushes the caldera, except for the assault lances, and the enemy light lance. Just enough to ensure that your team loses most of its tonnage, so that the enemy--having capped the four points outside of the caldera, without losing all of their heaviest mechs--have a substantial advantage.
Tonight, I dropped on Terra Therma for a Conquest match, and an intrepid pug commander tried to rally our team to the caldera to fight, before worrying about capping. On my way in that direction, I checked the map and saw that our assault lance was going for Epsilon, alone. Knowing the script to this film, I ran my Griffin out in that direction to supply some additional firepower.
I had hoped to arrive, before the assault mechs began engaging each other, but 95kph wasn't enough speed to meet that goal. In fact, one of the Kodiaks on our team got focused down, before I had line-of-sight on either group of combatants. That moment made it feel like I was running toward an early death.
When I did come into sight of Epsilon, the survivors of our assault lance were still holding the point, with the hostile assault lance bottlenecked between the two hills in sector D4. I posted myself on the eastern side of the southern hill, which offered some protruding ridges as cover from incoming fire. I popped up twice and fired volleys into a Kodiak and got back to cover, largely unnoticed, thanks to the Griffin 2N's ECM and the low light of Terra Therma, outside of the caldera. On my third and fourth pokes, the Kodiak had faded into the backfield, too far for me to confidently target with my SRMs, so I instead shot at a closer Vulture, taking its left torso and nearly getting its right torso.
It was only on my fifth and sixth pokes that I started to draw attention. The Vulture had faded into the backfield, like the Kodiak had previously, so I switched targets to a nearby Archer. Despite the Archer being loaded exclusively with LRMs that were too close to arm, he did sweep his TAG laser across my mech, temporarily canceling my ECM, allowing the angry Kodiak in the backfield to target me and start returning fire. That forced me back into cover, as I could not win those trades.
Fortunately for me, a hostile Daishi decided that it was going to charge directly for Epsilon. I'm not sure if this was supposed to be a big push that his team didn't follow through on or if he was just throwing his mech away, but either way, he took no notice of me drilling through his left torso. Despite the 60% penalty to damage transfered from a destroyed side to the center torso, I still managed to get the kill.
Having no particular interest in poking the bear again, I decided it best to sneak around behind the hostile firing line via the southern channel in E4. It was a good idea that was shared by a friendly Marauder and a hostile Jenner IIC, which came flying over the mountain as we were at the midpoint of our flanking maneuver. The Marauder did most of the heavy lifting on the Jenner, removing its leg, before I smashed its center torso with enough SRMs for a one-shot kill. I feel a little guilty for the kill-steal, but better to steal the kill than risk a volley of six small pulse lasers to the back.
Back to sneaking, then? Nope. A second Jenner IIC came leaping over the hill, immediately after the first one died. This one was a much more deadly SRM build. A deceased teammate tried to back-seat pilot on voice comms, urging me to shoot the Jenner's legs, right before I shredded its center torso with a single volley of SRMs. That wasn't before the Marauder accompanying me got wiped out by a few volleys of Clan SRMs, so I had to proceed from there on my own.
The Jenners took one of my shield arms, softened the rest of my armor, and delayed me long enough for the hostile assault lance to push our team off of Epsilon. In the meantime, the two friendly lances that had attacked the caldera reinforced our surviving Atlas to hold the fight in the chokepoint between D4 and D5. I approached Epsilon from the hostile team's old position between the hills in D4 and saw backs, glorious, squishy backs.
The nearest target was a second Vulture, flinging LRMs at our main firing line. I fired a volley of SRMs into his back, and nobody reacted. A second volley finished his rear center torso for the kill. Next, I targeted a Stalker and waited for information on his loadout, before proceeding. He had four oversized LRM launchers and a single medium laser. I sank a volley into his back, and he immediately turned to fight. It wasn't much of a fight, since I was within the minimum range of his LRMs, and a single medium laser is pretty pathetic compared to four SRM6 launchers, but he tried.
While I drilled through the Stalker's armor, the friendly firing line made short work of the weakened enemy force, leaving one hostile Shadow Cat, who was dead-set on attacking my softened Griffin. Whether by targeting or inference, he knew I was running a short-range build and after his first shot took out one of my SRM launchers, he tried to pull distance to leverage his Gauss rifle's range advantage. He wasn't fast enough to shake me, though, and he kept getting snagged by the stragglers on my team, still streaming out of the caldera. Eventually, a teammate took the Shadow Cat's leg, and I sank one last volley of 18 SRMs into its remaining leg for the final kill.
That's how, just outside a lake of fire, one intrepid mech fired off 666 missiles. I'm now calling this Griffin the Harvester, because first it will kill your mech, and then it will take your soul.