Thursday, 21 February 2013

Mechtalk - Cataphract Heavy Mech


The Cataphract is one of the more commonly seen heavy mechs in Mechwarrior Online and for good reason.  In essence it is a energy powerhouse with ballistics weapons as a backup.  Heat is always an issue with this mech, but it's damage potential is very high.  An exception here is the 4X which is commonly seen mounting 4 ballistics weapons to provide heavy fire support, or as a sniper using 2 Gauss rifles.  Depending on how you want to play it the Cataphract can be a long range sniper, point blank brawler or close support.

Cataphracts are 70 ton and still reach speeds of 71 Kph with speed tweak unlocked and this is with the base engine equipped on the 1X.  It can quickly move between fire zones to provide support to medium and assault mechs while still being capable of holding it's own until support can arrive.  Some models also come with jump jets giving this versatile mech even more tactical flexibility.

THE GOOD:

Bombardment! - The 4X is a ballistics boat and should be utilised to it's maximum effect with as many AC's as you can comfortably mount ammo for. 

Deceptively quick - Cataphracts can mount some pretty fast engines, but others are quick enough without the need to completely remove the engine and start from scratch.  Granted it isn't as fast as the Dragon, but it can still keep up with medium mechs for a full assault.

Armoured Assault - At 70 ton this mech can mount plenty of armour to keep it battleworthy throughout a match.  Although a critical will weaken any mech granted, the Cataphract can take serious damage and keep on blasting away and only an idiot goes toe to toe with a fresh Cataphract in anything smaller than a Catapult.

Laser Light Show - With all models of the Cataphract being capable of mounting several energy weapons the potential setups are a matter of personal preference.  Heat is your main concern here, but with careful management of your firing patterns and choice of target areas you can negate some of these issues.

THE BAD:

Rounds Complete! - Although the 4X can mount a lot of ballistics, it also needs a lot of ammunition to keep it going.  Large weapons like the AC/20 and Gauss rifle will take up some much room, you will struggle to find ammo space, while smaller weapons can mount more, but do less damage.  It's a balancing act that may take a few matches to find a comfortable build that works for you.

They Hit the Magazine - Ballistics are temperamental things as they have a tendency to explode when hit critically.  Ammunition explosions can rip apart your mech in a single unfortunate hit, so make sure you spread your ammo around or mount CASE if possible.  Ballistic weapons already have low hit points so take care of their positioning when taking fire and cover those weak spots with torso twists as necessary.

Wide Load - It isn't as wide a target as the Awesome, but it does still have a distinct profile that presents opponents with a large centre and side torso's to attack.

CTF-1X
Heatwave - All that energy comes at a very high heat cost.  Firing in chain mode will help with this, but a serious consideration to heat sink to weapon ratio is needed with the Cataphract or you will be seeing the shutdown animation a lot.

CHASSIS VARIANTS:

CTF-1X - The 1X is the exception to the rule when it comes to the Cataphract as it has 5 energy slots and a single ballistics slot.  The mech has some heat issues unless properly built to counter the potential heat build.  I personally run this variant with 2 large lasers and a single AC/20, which still has heat trouble, but it's damage potential is huge.


CTF-2X - The 2X is probably the most versatile variant, capable of mounting 2 missile weapons, a single ballistics and 3 energy weapons.  Basically this mech can be altered to suit the needs of your 8 man or 4 man team.
CTF-4X

CTF-3D - The 3D is your jump jet mech equipped with 2 ballistics slots and 4 energy slots.  With the jets equipped this mech can quickly reach high spots to provide ranged fire support for the team.  Admittedly it's rare to see this variant running with the jump jets though because of the high heat generated by it's energy weapons. 

CTF-4X - The ballistics boat of the group, it's regularly seen mounting 3 Ultra AC/5's or 4 AC/2's to provide rapid fire support for larger mechs or to harass assault mechs like the Stalker and Atlas. 


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