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Ideally suited for both skirmish warfare and fleet support, the Catalyst is touted as one of the best anti-frigate platforms out there. Faced with its top-of-the-line tracking equipment, not many can argue.
Gallente Destroyer bonuses (per skill level):
The Catalyst's bonuses favor blasters, though it can also be rail fit. It has 2 mids, allowing it to fit a tackle module, and 3 low slots for a basic armor tank.
Unfortunately, the Catalyst is still a destroyer, so it has a large signature for its tank, making it vulnerable to cruiser weapons, and its slow speed and lack of mid slots means it will have difficulty dictating range against frigates, which is important for a blaster ship. A railgun fit Catalyst is a very fast L1 mission runner but has trouble tanking level 2s.
The Catalyst's very high damage at short range, and its cheap cost, make it a popular choice for Suicide Ganking in High Sec space.
Like all destroyers, the Catalyst is also a great entry-level salvager ship on a player's path to a Noctis (in unsafe areas like wormhole systems pilots often fly destroyers even if they have the skills for the Noctis).
Further information about additional or recommended skills to pilot Catalyst for a specific or its common role(s) can be written here.
Catalysts are the epitome of the destroyer as a disposable DPS platform; even without a hull bonus, 8 blasters provide firepower better than some cruisers. Unfortunately, blasters have very short ranges and the Catalyst struggles to get in and stay in range due to its low speed, thin tank, and limited space for tackle and propulsion modules.
This means that Catalysts have limited PvP applications outside of suicide ganking. It is possible to mitigate the ship's disadvantages by flying with fleetmates who can apply tackle and provide warp-ins on targets, increasing the likelihood of the ship living long enough to apply its impressive paper DPS. Some doctrines use a blob of Catalysts assisted by tackling ships to deliver cheap, disposable damage.
In chemistry, a catalyst is a substance that speeds up a reaction when present and is not consumed in the reaction itself. The word is used more broadly as a dead metaphor for a factor or entity which causes or speeds up change.