’Mech Manual: Shadow Cat Prime

The Shadow Cat was introduced by Clan Nova Cat in 3003 as a competitor for the Ice Ferret. While it has a reduced speed compared to that older OmniMech, it maintains competitive mobility with jump jets and MASC while allowing for far more equipment to be mounted.

The design proved popular and quickly spread to other Clans after its introduction. By the time of the Clan Invasion, it was used by every invading clan other than Clan Ghost Bear, but even they were using it by the time of the Federated Commonwealth Civil War. In the Dark Age, it remained in use amongst all of the Inner Sphere Clans as well as being fielded by the Republic of the Sphere, Free Worlds League, and mercenaries with its current factory located in the Clan Protectorate.

Read This First

  • Jump jets give you good mobility in dense terrain and MASC lets you sprint in open terrain
  • Maintain speed and a range of 10-15 hexes to act as a mobile, long-range skirmisher with your gauss rifle
  • Don’t waste shots with your gauss rifle, but you can always fire your lasers without any risk of overheating
  • Keep targets ahead of you or on your right to ensure you can use your most powerful weapon against them
  • Your speed and active probe make you an effective scout

Shadow Cat Prime

  • Role: Striker
  • Tech Base: Clan (3003)
  • Chassis: 45 tons (Endo Steel)
  • Movement: 6 / 9 (12), XL
    • Jumping: 6
  • Armor: 134 (Ferro Fibrous)
  • Heat Sinks: 10 (20)
  • Weapons:
    • Gauss Rifle (ammo: 16)
    • ER Medium Laser × 2
  • Equipment:
    • Active Probe
    • MASC
    • CASE
  • Design Quirks:
    • Narrow/Low Profile
  • Cost: 11,785,509 C-Bills
  • Battle Value: 2,156


The Shadow Cat is very mobile for its weight class. Its base movement profile of 6 walking MP and 9 running MP puts it just above average for a medium ’Mech, but then the chassis adds both MASC and jump jets. That gives its MechWarrior a lot of options to stay mobile and control the range of engagement. In open terrain, the MASC system allows for the Shadow Cat to be evasive and outpace all but the fastest ’Mechs. In rough terrain, its jump jets enable a MechWarrior to traverse hills and forests without getting bogged down. For defensive purposes, it can generate a +2 target movement modifier when walking, a +3 when running or jumping, or a +4 when running with the MASC system enabled.


The Shadow Cat relies more on mobility than armor in order to stay in the fight. It carries only 88% of the maximum armor for its chassis which puts it just below average for its tonnage and about a ton below the average armor for medium ’Mechs as a whole. Its Narrow/Low Profile quirk helps to counteract that light protection though, and the quirk can be especially effective if the Shadow Cat maintains a high target movement modifier and stay at longer ranges. Beneath its armor, the Shadow Cat Prime does not carry any explosive ammunition, but its gauss rifle means that 75% of its right arm critical slots are explosive. CASE protects that location though, so a critical hit on the gauss rifle can cost it the arm but will otherwise leave the Shadow Cat intact.


The Prime configuration’s main weapon is a gauss rifle. That gives it the ability to inflict a 15-damage hit out to 22 hexes. At mid-range, it adds two ER medium lasers that nearly double its potential damage.

Maximum and Expected Damage

Combined with its mobility, that armament means that the Shadow Cat Prime is well suited to long-range skirmishing. While it doesn’t necessarily carry enough rounds of ammo to make engaging at more than 15 hexes worthwhile, once it is inside that range it has a better chance to hit with its main gun and can add in the two medium lasers. At 10 hexes, the lasers get into medium range, but the Prime configuration’s gauss rifle suffers from a minimum range penalty that means it should always maintain a range of 3 or more hexes to any targets.

With the gauss rifle and one of its medium lasers in its arms, the Shadow Cat Prime has good coverage for its firing arcs. A MechWarrior should try to keep targets forward or to the right to maximize their usage of the gauss rifle, but no matter what, they can bring at least one weapon against targets in any direction.

Maximum Damage for Firing Arcs

The Prime configuration carries two tons of ammo for its gauss rifle. That is enough to last through most engagements, but a MechWarrior should be careful about wasting ammo on low accuracy shots since the Shadow Cat Prime’s long-range skirmisher role means that its engagements can last longer than those fought at slower speeds and shorter ranges.

Heat Management

Thanks to the heat-efficiency of its gauss rifle, the Shadow Cat Prime runs very cool. Its weapons can only generate 11 points of heat, so its 10 double heat sinks can easily handle a MechWarrior firing everything and jumping without any heat buildup.

Heat-Adjusted Maximum and Expected Damage


The Shadow Cat’s mobility and role should mean that it stays well clear of punching range. If a MechWarrior does get into that situation though, then the Shadow Cat Prime doesn’t offer them much. The right arm lacks lower arm actuators, so its punch is inaccurate and can only deal 3 damage. The left arm has a full actuator set, so it can hit at normal accuracy for 5 damage but doing so requires sacrificing the firepower of its medium laser. Instead, a MechWarrior will generally be better off kicking for 9 damage.

OmniMech Chassis

The Shadow Cat makes use of modular OmniMech technology, so its equipment can be quickly changed between missions. The built-in MASC and jump jets do limit the amount of customization though.

Capacity17 tons
Center Torsonone
Right Torso4 slots
Left Torso5 slots
Right Arm6-8 slots
Left Arm6-8 slots
Right Legnone
Left Legnone

The Shadow Cat can carry a unit of battle armor into a fight, but the Prime configuration isn’t ideally suited to that role. Its mobility can be useful to quickly move battle armor across a battlefield, but the Prime configuration is best suited to staying at longer ranges from the enemy. A mounted unit of battle armor will also prevent the Shadow Cat Prime from using one of its medium lasers.

Other Capabilities

The Prime configuration is equipped with an active probe. Combined with the Shadow Cat’s mobility, that allows it to act as a recon unit and detect hidden enemies.

Cost & Upkeep

The Shadow Cat is a frontline Clan OmniMech making use of XL engine and other advanced construction options. The Prime configuration requires a steady supply of gauss rifle ammunition as well.

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

ActionClan CostInner Sphere Cost
Purchase900 SP1,800 SP
Armor Repair45 SP90 SP
Structure Repair90 SP180 SP
Reload10-20 SP20-40 SP
Reconfigure12 SP23 SP


The new plastic Shadow Cat Prime is included in the Clan Command Star force pack.


More ’Mech Manuals

By Scott Boehmer

A game enthusiast and software engineer.

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