Apex Legends: Eclipse, the 15th season of Respawn's peerless battle royale, is nearly upon us. We've already seen quite a bit about Broken Moon, the brand new map being added with Season 15 - but now Respawn has finally released more details about the new Legend, Catalyst, and the Ferrofluid-powered abilities she brings to the Apex Games.
It turns out that part of Catalyst's diverse skillset is an Ultimate ability that may at last provide some serious counterplay to the ever-present scan meta dominated by recon Legends such as Bloodhound and Seer. Take a look at Catalyst's abilities in the new Season 15 vignette trailer below.
The key talking point around Catalyst's abilities is her Ultimate, Dark Veil, which allows her to quickly erect a long, tall barrier of Ferrofluid in front of her. The barrier blocks vision and scanning abilities from Legends such as Bloodhound, Seer, and Crypto (although of course Crypto's drone can simply fly over the barrier); and it slows and temporarily blinds any enemy that passes through it. It's the first time an ability in Apex Legends has offered a direct counter to the scan meta that has dominated Apex for the past dozen or more seasons.
Dark Veil is just one of the ways Catalyst can control the battlefield. Her Piercing Spikes Tactical ability allows her to throw a trap down on the floor which activates when an enemy nears, damaging and slowing enemies that pass through it. And unlike, say, Caustic's Gas Traps, Catalyst's Piercing Spikes cannot be sniped from afar. They can only be destroyed by getting near them.
It's a potent defensive ability, as is Catalyst's Passive, Barricade, which can be used on up to two doorways at a time to fortify them and render them impossible to open by enemies until broken. Barricaded doors take four melee hits to destroy instead of two, and using Barricade on a broken door will repair it, giving Catalyst and her team a much easier time fortifying not-very-defensible locations. In a recent pre-brief presentation, however, the devs were quick to remind us that Barricade does not protect doors from explosives, or abilities such as Rampart's minigun or Mad Maggie's Riot Drill.
As for Catalyst herself, we now know quite a lot about her character and backstory. Her real name is Tressa Crystal Smith, and she is the first trans woman in Apex Legends. Respawn have said that in the development of her character, they worked very closely with various trans developers and the Legend's voice actress, Meli Grant, in order to make Catalyst feel genuine and authentic.
She hails from Boreas - the same planet as Seer. As you may remember from Seer's Stories From The Outlands video, a meteor hit Boreas's moon, Cleo, on the day of Seer's birth, and send Boreas into chaos. Catalyst was part of a team sent to the surface of Cleo to attempt to set things right, using the versatile material Ferrofluid to terraform and "repair" the moon.
However, Seer wished to make it known to the people of Boreas that he cared for the future of his home planet, so he struck a deal with Eduardo Silva - head of The Syndicate - to create a new Apex Games arena on Cleo. The money, Seer hoped, would help return Boreas to a point of economic stability. But Catalyst sees the involvement of the Syndicate on Cleo as a travesty, and blames Seer for this turn of events. Regardless, she decided to enter the Apex Games and use the prize money to support her family.
You'll be able to see what Catalyst can do first-hand when Season 15 of Apex Legends launches on 1st November. In the meantime, be sure to familiarise yourself with the current meta with our guides on the best guns in Apex Legends, and the best characters in Apex Legends.