Apex Legends gives closer look at new hero Catalyst’s ferrofluid abilities

With Apex Legends’ 15th season, Eclipse, mere days away now, developer Respawn is finally ready to discuss Catalyst, the free-to-play battle royale game’s newest hero, in more detail, breaking down the abilities she’ll bring to the latest round of the Apex Games.

Speaking at a recent press briefing, Respawn explained the starting point for Catalyst’s aesthetic was “techno witch”, with her final design aiming to represent both stylishness – in her emo goth vibes – and technological practicality. She is, after all, a member of a terraforming crew hired to help restore the moon of Cleo – which, as Season 15 begins, has been turned in an Apex Games arena, something Catalyst won’t stand for.

Described as an “elegant and standoffish woman who likes crystals more than she likes people”, Catalyst is Apex Legends’ first trans character – voiced by trans actor Meli Grant – and, as Respawn succinctly puts it, simply reflects the fact the “real world is a diverse place”.

When fans finally get a chance to play as Catalyst come the arrival of Season 15, they’ll be able to take advantage of her ferrofluid manipulating abilities – which let her control the substance in her backpack with a magnetic field using the conductors in gloves. In real terms, these abilities are said to be similar to other defensive Legends and should prove particularly appealing to players that enjoy mid- to long-range fights.

Fundamentally, Catalyst’s skillset is all about controlling the battlefield, helping teams facilitate safer rotations and providing more healing opportunities. To that end, her passive, known as Barricade, can barricade doors – or restore those already destroyed – with gloopy ferrofluid. These can only be opened by Catalyst and her teammates, and take twice as long for enemies to destroy with melee, granting additional security and buying time for those on the other side.

For balance, Barricade only works on a maximum of two doors at a time, and these are still susceptible to the likes of Maggie’s ball and Rampart’s mini-gun.

Alongside Barricade, Catalyst can deploy her tactical, Piercing Spikes, tossing ferrofluid onto the ground. As enemies near the resulting puddle, tech is triggered causing it to reform into a row of spikes, slowing down and damaging enemies that attempt to walk through it. Somewhat uniquely, Piercing Spikes can only be damaged when the spikes are activated and its core is exposed, meaning opponents can’t snipe it from a distance and must get up close to deal with it. Respawn says Piercing Spikes can be thrown “quite far”, making it a “good initiator as well as a decent defensive resource”.

And, finally, there’s Catalyst’s ultimate ability, known as Dark Veil. This vast permeable curtain of ferrofluid slows incoming enemy movements when they attempt to pass through it, blocking their vision and partially blinding them for a few seconds – meaning penetrating it is a bit of a risk, especially if players don’t know what’s on the other side. Notably, Dark Veil also blocks scan tech for some heroes, including Seer’s tactical and passive, as well as Bloodhound’s tactical. All this, says Respawn, means it’s both great for splitting the battlefield and for securing some extra safety for the team.

And for those wondering, Catalyst is said to synergise well with other defensive Legends – a team of Caustic, Watson, and Catalyst can “really turn any indoor space into their own playground” – while her Dark Veil complements mobility Legends such as Octane and Pathfinder to make for safer rotations. However, those same characters can also serve as strong counters, able to get up high and peek over the wall or dash through it quickly.

All those abilities get an airing in Respawn’s latest Apex Legends trailer above, and players will be able to try their hand an manipulating ferrofluid for themselves when Catalyst launches alongside Season 15 – which also includes the new Broken Moon map – on 1st November.