As one of the original mechs in Mechwarrior Online, the Catapult has become a staple of games stretching back to the beginning of closed beta. The mech chassis offer a variety of uniquely capable layouts and can fit a number of important roles in MWO matches. The Gaussapult was the original sniper mech. The SRM Splatcat still puts players into a panic when it marches into the fray. A personal favorite of mine, the Laserpult still does a great job of being a heavy mech that can be piloted like a medium while still putting up big numbers. If anything, the Catapult has proved that players will be very resourceful with what they’re given by the PGI devs. This article is intended to provide a bit of the limelight to some lesser known but still very solid weapon layouts for the Catapult chassis.
Chassis: Catapult C1
Weapons: Three Large Lasers, Two Streak SRM2s, BAP
Role: Light Killer, Medium/Heavy Brawler
With a 300XL engine, the Hunterpult is designed to hunt medium and light mechs. It can keep up with many popular medium mech designs and goes fast enough to make running away in a light mech a more challenging proposition. For a light that stays to fight, the combination of a Beagle Active Probe and SRM2 Streak missiles guarantees a race between the damage output of the light into a heavy mech’s armor and the ability of the Hunterpult’s mechwarrior to hit a button often enough. The three Large Lasers will chew through a light mech’s leg armor with a couple of well-placed shots, and their range makes running away from the battle a big risk.
After running this build for roughly a hundred matches, I become giddy at the sight of a light mech wandering into my vicinity. In games of Conquest, the Hunterpult is more than capable of holding a point from one or even two light mechs without breaking a sweat. As an uncommon build, lights will see the traditional Catapult missile “ears” and assume it is an LRM boat, which works to the Hunterpult’s advantage when a mech closes to less than 300m. As for run-ins with other heavies and assault mechs, the Hunterpult is still capable of doing significant damage, though if you’re looking for high alpha strikes you’re probably going to be frustrated with the build. However, it still packs a 33 damage alpha, which isn’t terrible. As with many designs, its effectiveness will boil down to playstyle, player skill, and what role you intend to play on the battlefield.
The 20 heatsinks on the Hunterpult will keep you in the fight for quite a while, with a Firing/Cooling Ratio of 1.3. Being a quick mover, the mechwarrior using this build can become quite successful at slinking out of a fight when things get hot, only to jump right back into the fray.
Chassis: Catapult C1
Weapons: Two Large Pulse Lasers, Two Medium Lasers
Role: Medium/Heavy Brawler
I don’t like to toot my own horn, but I do want people to know that I own a horn. In the case of MWO, the Laserpult is my bread and butter brawler mech. Running the Founders Catapult with two Large Pulse Lasers, two Medium Lasers, and the 315XL engine, the Laserpult is played like it’s a medium mech. With more than 150 matches played in this fit, I can say with a high level of experience that it is a nasty low profile brawler that can be an asset to any team. The four lasers have a common sweet spot at ~300m, which makes it easy to gauge the worthiness of a shot, and when focused on a mech’s damaged armor section, the Laserpult will melt through it in only a few volleys.
The Laserpult is decent at fighting light mechs, though if that’s the role you want to take, you can swap out the Medium Lasers for Medium Pulse Lasers at the cost of two tons elsewhere. That also creates a gap in the ranges of your laser types, but if you’re intending to hunt down light mechs that’s not too much of an issue. Heat becomes a very real consideration with the four Pulse Lasers, so with any extended fight you’re going to have to become familiar with the concept of heat management. Taking that one additional shot out of desperation or greed can and will get you killed.