’Mech Manual: Nova Cat Prime

Following Clan Nova Cat’s defeat on Tukayyid, Khan Severen Leroux ordered the creation of a new OmniMech to help rebuild both the Clan’s touman and their morale. The resulting design was inspired by Clan Jade Falcon’s Night Gyr that had first debuted in 3052. The Nova Cat wasn’t completed until 3059 and ended up 5 tons lighter than the Night Gyr but able to carry the same tonnage in its pods.

While the Nova Cat was first produced in the Clan Homeworlds, production also started in the Inner Sphere during 3059. That allowed Clan Nova Cat to continue production uninterrupted after they were abjured by the other Clans. The design also proved popular and quickly spread to most other Clans within a few years of its introduction. During the Republic Era and Dark Ages, the design was still in wide use and also spread to the Republic of the Sphere and the Draconis Combine.

Read This First

  • As tempting as it is, you generally don’t want to fire all of your weapons at once
  • Your PPCs are usually more efficient than your large lasers
  • Try to maintain some range to get value out of your long-range weapons

Nova Cat Prime

  • Role: Sniper
  • Tech Base: Clan (3059)
  • Chassis: 70 tons (Endo Steel)
  • Movement: 4 / 6, XL
  • Armor: 216
  • Heat Sinks: 25 (50)
  • Weapons:
    • ER PPC × 2
    • ER Large Laser × 3
  • Design Quirks:
    • Extended Torso Twist
    • Exposed Actuators
  • Cost: 17,672,917 C-Bills
  • Battle Value: 2,530


The Nova Cat is slower than many other Heavy OmniMechs in order to have more tonnage for equipment. It walks with 4 MP and runs with 6 MP. That is enough for it to earn a +2 target movement modifier while running, but it will be outpaced by most other OmniMechs in its weight class. The Prime configuration also does not have the ability to jump.


The Nova Cat is durable. It has just shy of the maximum armor for its tonnage, and a lack of explosive components means that it is less likely to be taken out of a battle due to a lucky critical hit. The Clan XL engine means that it can even survive the loss of a side torso. The Nova Cat suffers from the Exposed Actuators quirk making it more vulnerable to anti-’Mech infantry, but that has minimal impact on its overall durability.


The Prime configuration carries a powerful mix of long-range energy weapons. Its left arm has 3 ER large lasers, and its right arm has 2 ER PPCs. The lasers can reach out to 25 hexes and the PPCs can reach 23 hexes. Neither weapon suffers from any minimum range penalties, so the Nova Cat Prime retains its lethality to point-blank ranges.

Maximum and Expected Damage

In order to get both of their weapon systems inside minimum range, a MechWarrior should aim to fight at 14 hexes or less. At ranges of 24-25, 15, or 8 hexes, the weapon range brackets are mismatched, but otherwise they match up well.

The Nova Cat Prime has a superb ability to bring its weapons to bear against targets in any direction. It benefits from the Expanded Torso Twist quirk on top of having all of its weapons in its arms. The Prime configuration also lacks lower arms so that its arms can be flipped to fire behind it as well.

Maximum Damage for Firing Arcs

With only energy weapons, a MechWarrior using the Prime configuration never needs to think about ammunition.

Heat Management

The downside of the Prime configuration’s big energy weapons is the heat that they generate. Despite carrying 25 double heat sinks, the Nova Cat Prime can overheat by 18 in a single round of running and firing. In order to avoid crippling heat penalties, a MechWarrior should only fire a subset of their weapons each turn. Generally, firing both PPCs and 1-2 of the large lasers is a good choice. That will see the ’Mech build up enough heat that it suffers from a movement penalty every other round, but it will avoid any attack penalties. At the ranges where the large lasers are more accurate than the PPCs (8 or 15 hexes), a MechWarrior will instead usually be able to do more damage by firing all 3 of the large lasers and alternating fire with a PPC.

Heat-Adjusted Maximum and Expected Damage


The Nova Cat doesn’t bring anything notable to a brawl. It lacks lower arms, so it only punches for 4 damage and those strikes are inaccurate. Instead, a MechWarrior should try to kick for 14 damage if they find themselves in a brawl. Ideally though, they are using their weapons at longer ranges.

OmniMech Chassis

The Nova Cat is a Clan OmniMech that can be customized with modular equipment. More than half of its tonnage is available for pods so a MechWarrior has a lot of options when choosing their loadout. The base chassis has 11 heat sinks built-in with 14 of the Prime configuration’s heat sinks being pod-mounted.

Capacity38 tons
Center Torsonone
Right Torso10 slots
Left Torso10 slots
Right Arm8-10 slots
Left Arm8-10 slots
Right Legnone
Left Legnone

The Nova Cat can be used to transport mechanized battle armor. The weapon arrangement of the Prime configuration works well since it can still make use of all of its weaponry even when carrying a unit. The only downside to using it as a transport is its relatively low speed which means that it is not the fastest way to get battle armor to an objective.

Cost & Upkeep

As a heavy Clan OmniMech, the Nova Cat is fairly expensive, but it has some cost savings compared to other Clan designs. The lower rated XL engine means that it is a few million C-Bills less expensive than something light a Summoner. The Prime configuration also doesn’t have any need for ammunition.

When using the Warchest Point system, these are the expected costs for the Nova Cat Prime:

ActionClan CostInner Sphere Cost
Purchase1,400 SP2,800 SP
Armor Repair70 SP140 SP
Structure Repair140 SP280 SP
Reconfigure18 SP35 SP


The new plastic Nova Cat Prime is included in the Clan Fire Star force pack.


More ’Mech Manuals

By Scott Boehmer

A game enthusiast and software engineer.

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