Everything you need to know about Catalyst in Apex Legends Season 15

That witch came from the moon!

Originally Published: 
concept art of Apex Legends character Catalyst
Respawn Entertainment

Apex Legends Season 15, Eclipse, launches November 1, bringing with it a brand-new Legend and map to master. That brings Apex Legends’ roster to 23 playable characters, and the newest addition looks like one of the most exciting yet. Here’s everything you need to get started with the newest Legend, Catalyst, when she joins Apex Legends at the start of Season 15.

What is Catalyst’s backstory in Apex Legends?

Catalyst, aka Tressa Crystal Smith, is the first trans woman in Apex Legends. According to lead writer Ashely Reed, the design team knew from the start of Catalyst’s development that they wanted their next Legend to be a trans woman. They consulted with GLAAD and LGBTQ+ groups within Respawn to represent her experience “genuinely and authentically.”

Catalyst fights to defend Boreas’ moon, Cleo.

Respawn Entertainment

“We started casting very early because we needed to make sure we cast a trans woman for this role,” Reed says. “As we were working on the bio, we reached out to internal LGBT groups and the feedback was great.”

Reed says the description of Catalyst as a “techno-witch” also came from a trans team member, and much of her visual design grew out of that idea.

Catalyst was born on the Outlands planet Boreas. After a meteor struck Boreas’ moon, Cleo, the people on the planet scrambled to repair it, leading to a culture of “conformity and efficiency,” as Respawn Entertainment puts it. As a teen, she was dragged into a plot to sabotage a Hammond Robotics facility by her friend, who aimed to stop the company from stripping Cleo of its resources. After they were caught, Catalyst was forced to run away from home.

Respawn introduces Catalyst in a new Stories from the Outlands trailer.

Catalyst moved to Cleo, where she joined a terraforming crew working to repair the moon. That’s where she learned to manipulate ferrofluid, the substance that powers her abilities in Apex Legends. Her modern-day outfit is even made up of the industrial gear she used as a terraformer. She opposes the Apex Games setting up on Cleo but plans to use the prize money to support her displaced family if she wins.

Apex Legends Catalyst abilities

All of Catalyst’s abilities are based around manipulating ferrofluid using magnetic conductors woven into her suit. Respawn describes her role in Apex Legends as a “defensive conjurer,” meaning she can create structures that help protect your team from the enemy.

Catalyst’s abilities use ferrofluid to create defensive structures.

Respawn Entertainment

Here are Catalyst’s abilities:

  • Passive: Barricade — Barricade reinforces doors on a building using ferrofluid. Once reinforced, the doors are locked to enemy teams and will take longer to break down. Barricade can also rebuild doors that have been destroyed. You can have two doors reinfoced at a time, and the first barricaded door will revert to normal if you use the ability again.
  • Tactical: Piercing Spikes — Piercing Spikes builds a patch of spiky terrain from ferrofluid. Any enemies that step into the spikes will take damage and move more slowly. To destroy Piercing Spikes, enemies will need to get close enough to expose a glowing core, so it can’t be removed from a distance.
  • Ultimate: Dark Veil — Dark Veil creates a massive ferrofluid wall to block enemy vision. Any enemies who pass through Dark Veil will be briefly slowed and partially blinded on the other side. Dark Veil blocks scanning abilities used by other teams, but it is possible to go over the wall with some movement abilities.

Best Catalyst team comps in Apex Legends

According to lead designer OT Harrison, Catalyst is “all about controlling the battlefield.” Her ability to wall off sections of the map and slow enemies makes her great for setting up opportunities to retreat, heal teammates, or set up ambushes for opposing players. She’s most effective at medium to long range.

Teammates can take advantage of Catalyst’s defensive capabilities to get the jump on enemies or keep them at bay.

Respawn Entertainment

Pairing Catalyst with other defensive Legends like Wattson or Caustic will let your team lock down entire sections of the map, particularly if you can secure a building to hunker down in. A defensive Legend with more firepower, like Rampart, can take advantage of players slowed by Catalyst’s abilities and mow them down before they get too close.

Highly mobile Legends like Octane also synergize with Catalyst, since they’ll be able to run circles around enemies affected by Catalyst’s Piercing Spikes or Dark Veil. Combining movement abilities with Catalyst’s defensive abilities can also make your team more effective at fleeing when firefights get too hot.

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