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BattleTech

’Mech Manual: Shadow Cat A

The A configuration of the Shadow Cat was developed by Clan Nova Cat alongside the base chassis. Compared to the Prime, the A configuration can operate with less logistical support thanks to its armament of lasers and an ammo-efficient Streak SRM.

The equipment for the A configuration was widely available, so it has been put into use by every military with access to the OmniMech. Of the Clans that invaded the Inner Sphere, only Clan Ghost Bear didn’t initially field the design. Even they had started to field some Shadow Cats by the time of the Fed Com Civil War, and the OmniMech remains in use amongst all of the Clans as well as the Free Worlds League and some mercenaries at the dawn of the ilClan era.

Read This First

  • You have good mobility thanks to both jump jets and MASC
  • Be careful about getting into terrain that will require frequent jumping since that will cause heat issues for you
  • You can skirmish at long range to be a difficult target while not worrying about ammunition
  • Once a target has openings in their armor, close in and try to score critical hits with your missiles
  • Your active probe makes you a good vanguard unit when enemies might be hidden

Shadow Cat A

  • Role: Sniper
  • Tech Base: Clan (3003)
  • Chassis: 45 tons (Endo Steel)
  • Movement: 6 / 9 (12), XL
    • Jumping: 6
  • Armor: 134 (Ferro Fibrous)
  • Heat Sinks: 13 (26)
  • Weapons:
    • ER Large Laser × 2
    • Streak SRM 6 (ammo: 30)
  • Equipment:
    • Active Probe
    • MASC
    • CASE
  • Design Quirks:
    • Narrow/Low Profile
  • Cost: 12,039,531 C-Bills
  • Battle Value: 2,220

Mobility

The Shadow Cat offers its MechWarrior good mobility for a medium ’Mech. While its base speed of 6 MP while walking and 9 MP while running is only average for a 45-ton ’Mech, it is equipped with both MASC and jump jets. The MASC system allows a MechWarrior to boost up to 12 MP which can allow it to quickly reposition in open terrain. The 6 jump jets then ensure that it is able to stay mobile even in rough terrain. Across its movement modes, a Shadow Cat can achieve a +3 or +4 target movement modifier in order to make itself a difficult target.

Durability

While the Shadow Cat has above average evasive abilities, its armor protection is below average for a medium ’Mech. Its Narrow/Low Profile quirk does help to lessen the impact of only carrying 88% of the maximum armor for a 45-ton chassis though. Internally, the A configuration’s weakest point is its right torso which carries two tons of missiles. That gives the location a 29% chance that any critical hit will result in an ammo explosion. CASE will prevent the explosion from fully taking the Shadow Cat out of the fight, but it will be left with only a single large laser and two engine hits.

Weaponry

The primary weapons for the A configuration are a pair of ER large lasers. While neither of these has the penetrating power of the Prime’s gauss rifle, they offer superior range and deal more total damage. At middle ranges, the A configuration adds a Streak SRM 6 to the mix which offers up an increased chance at exploiting any weak spots opened up by the large lasers.

Maximum and Expected Damage

Ideally, a MechWarrior is able to use their speed to slowly close in on their targets. The large lasers are more efficient once they are within medium range at 15 hexes, but they can be freely fired out to 25 hexes since there is no risk of running out of ammunition. After exposing the internals of enemies, the Shadow Cat A’s MechWarrior can move closer to make the SRM more likely to lock so that those missiles can increase the chance of scoring critical hits.

The Shadow Cat A enjoys the ability to engage targets in any direction. The Streak launcher is torso-mounted and limited to firing the way it is facing, but both large lasers are arm-mounted. The arms are also capable of being flipped so that it can fire both lasers into its rear arc.

Maximum Damage for Firing Arcs

The A configuration’s only weapon that requires ammunition is its missile launcher. It carries two tons of ammunition for a total of 30 shots. On its own, that would be enough missiles to last a few engagements, but the Streak launcher only actually firing when it gets a lock means that the Shadow Cat A is even less dependent on access to a supply depot.

Heat Management

One downside of the A configuration is that it can run hot. It carries 13 double heat sinks, but it can generate as much as 34 heat points in a single turn. At range, its two large lasers generate 24 heat, so as long as it doesn’t jump, it can stay cool firing them indefinitely. The Streak SRM firing pushes it into overheating, but an advantage is that it only generates heat if the attack actually will hit its target. That means a MechWarrior can freely attempt to fire, and then only need to hold fire with a laser afterwards to quickly cool off before taking penalties. That means that the Shadow Cat is only truly hindered by cooling issues when making use of its jump jets.

Heat-Adjusted Maximum and Expected Damage

Brawling

In most cases, a MechWarrior in a Shadow Cat should avoid getting within arm’s reach of its enemies. Its lack of lower arms makes its punches a poor choice compared to its ER large lasers since each arm suffers penalties to hit and deals only 3 damage when they do connect. Instead, it can kick for 9 damage, but in general a MechWarrior should use their speed and range to stay out of brawls.

OmniMech Chassis

The Shadow Cat is an OmniMech, so it can be reconfigured between missions. Overall, it has a good amount of space in its arms and side torsos, but the jump jets and MASC system are fixed on the chassis which reduces its flexibility somewhat.

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

As an OmniMech, the Shadow Cat can transport a unit of battle armor. It surrenders the ability to fire its missiles while carrying a unit, but that is only an issue at shorter ranges. While the Shadow Cat’s combat role does not necessarily want to close to drop off battle armor to attack enemy ’Mechs, it can do so with a high-speed pass and then return to a more suitable fighting range. It can also work well for delivery of battle armor to an objective.

Other Capabilities

Like the Prime configuration, the Shadow Cat A is equipped with an active probe. That gives it the ability to detect hidden enemies before stumbling into an ambush. Combined with the A’s relative independence from supply depots, the probe makes it an ideal option for operating behind enemy lines as a recon or harassment unit.

Cost & Upkeep

As a Clan frontline OmniMech with an XL engine, the Shadow Cat is an expensive purchase. The A configuration’s upkeep is relatively low thanks to its focus on lasers and ammo-efficient Streak launcher, but it will still require new ammunition every few engagements.

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

ActionClan CostInner Sphere Cost
Purchase900 SP1,800 SP
Armor Repair45 SP90 SP
Structure Repair90 SP180 SP
Reload0-10 SP0-20 SP
Reconfigure12 SP23 SP

Miniature

The plastic Shadow Cat Prime from the Clan Command Star force pack works well to represent the Shadow Cat A or any other Shadow Cat configuration.

Sources

More ’Mech Manuals

By Scott Boehmer

A game enthusiast and software engineer.

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