This mech is laden with ammunition to its own detriment, with two tons feeding the autocannon and another two tons feeding the launcher.
The damage curve for the Centurion peaks around 7-9", falling off at shorter ranges due to the minimum range of the LRM. Maximizing damage beyond the baseline run was difficult due to the limited number of weapons and minimal heat build up. In the damage benchmark, the difference between the baseline ACD and optimized ACD was only 3.61 points. The total optimized (and redline) damage output over the 12 turn damage benchmark was a punchy 128.54 damage.
The Centurion fared poorly in a simulated gauntlet against an Awesome AWE-8Q. It was destroyed in 80% of its 10,000 runs, with almost half of the deaths attributed to ammunition explosions. The CN9-A also saw a very high number of motive hits thanks to weak leg armor. Motive hits are extremely detrimental to an already slow mech, and contribute to the Centurion's high rate of destruction.
The benchmark data so far indicates that the CN9-A Centurion is an offensive threat, but simply cannot be the focal point of enemy fire. Even under coordinated fire from light mechs, the CN9 will crumple. Instead, the Centurion fares better as the small mech in a heavy lance, where it may go unnoticed and thus able to deliver substantial damage.
The Centurion chassis is equipped with a smaller engine to make room for weaponry, and thus has a relatively low top speed of 64.8 kph. Without any jump jets, the CN9-A is at a disadvantage in terms of keeping up with fast-moving medium lances, and totally incapable of successfully serving in a reconnaissance role. This reinforces the notion that this mech is best paired with heavier and slower lancemates that can take the brunt of the attack. Because of the Centurion's weaker defensive capabilities, keeping the mech at speed is crucial to claim +1/+2 target modifiers if the CN9-A comes under enemy fire.
For a 50 ton mech, the CN9-A can deal out a decent amount of short range damage due to the AC/10 and MLas pairing. However, because of sub-par speed and defensive capabilities, Centurion pilots will find themselves ejecting fairly quickly - likely due to ammunition explosions. If the CN9-A ends up trapped in a close range fight, they should dump their LRM ammo as quickly as possible.
The Centurion serves adequately as a frontliner, with the ability to drop in missiles and autocannon shells from very long ranges but also featuring solid mid-range offensive capabilities. The CN9-A has just enough speed to maintain optimal range within 10-20" of its target; any closer and the CN9-A's damage gain does not increase proportionally enough to offset its chances of suffering an ammunition explosion.
The CN9-A is not often considered to be a top fire support choice, but this analysis says otherwise. The AC/10 and LRM-10 deal noticeable damage at 20", delivering an ACD north of 8 points/turn - a respectable salvo for a 50 ton mech, and enough to force a PSR with some luck. Also, this mech packs enough ammunition to sit back and lob in shots for an entire game (or two) without any concern of running dry. Lastly, staying at longer ranges increases the Centurion's survival dramatically, making this role a win-win for the CN9-A.
The Centurion performs well in both frontline and fire support roles, making it ideal for cleanup duty. The CN9 can spend the first half of the battle playing a support role, and then pushing up into a frontline role where its MLas can help deliver killshots.
The CN9-A's most glaring issues are a lack of armor combined with the amount of onboard ammunition. Dropping one ton of LRM-10 ammo for a ton of armor solves for both problems, and increases the survivability of this mech. More than a half ton should be added to the side torsos, with the remaining armor spread to the legs and center torso sections.
Another useful modification is flipping the rear-facing MLas to the front arc. It is almost useless facing rearward; in a forward position, the second MLas makes the CN9-A a little more of a threat as a frontline mech and potentially a better striker, increasing ACD by 4.88 points over 12 turns. However, this modification requires pilots to be especially aware of the heat scale.