Nev:3, or New Evolutionary Variant:3, is a ranged firepower with 120 hp.
First, the kit. (No pun intended.) Her abilities (info from the wikia, linked in the sidebar) are as follows:
1 – Catarang
No cooldown. Blast phase.
Throw a disc in a line dealing 24 direct damage to all enemies hit. Next turn it will return to you dealing 12 indirect damage (passes through walls and avoids cover). Gain 4 energy for each enemy hit.
Frisky – 1 – gain 1 additional energy per enemy hit.
Inertia – 2 – if the thrown disc hits no one, the return disc deals 6 additional damage.
Kitten Mittens – 2 – thrown discs grant 3 shields next turn per target hit.
Meowch – 3 – deal 4 additional damage to targets that are hit by a return disc.
2 – Embiggify
FREE ACTION. 4 cooldown. Blast phase.
Empower a returning catarang, increasing its size by 66% and its damage by 8, and causing it to slow enemies it passes through. Gain 4 energy.
Cat and Mouse – 1 – if no enemies are hit, reduce the cooldown by 1.
Fat Cat – 2 – gain 8 shields next turn per enemy hit.
Frisky (again?!) – 2 – You and any allies the disc travels over are energized next turn.
Collar – 3 – Roots targets hit. Damage increase lowered to 4.
3 – Mouse Trap
4 cooldown. Prep phase.
Throw a special catarang that reveals the first enemy hit (but deals no damage). Next turn, during Decision Phase, it will lock onto that enemy’s position (similar to Zuki’s ult I imagine). During Blast Phase it will move to that position and deal 24 damage to each enemy hit. Gain 4 energy plus 6 for each enemy damaged.
Feline Good – 1 – gain an additional 4 energy on use.
Off the Leash – 2 – if no enemies are damaged, reduce the cooldown by 1.
Stalker – 2 – all targets hit are slowed until end of turn.
Cat and Mouse (again!?) – 3 – increase damage by 1 per square the disc travels.
4 – Acrocat
5 cooldown. Dash phase.
Throw a catarang and dash to a nearby position. You can move after dashing. Gain 4 energy per target hit.
Hot Tin Roof – 1 – increase dash range by 3, but can no longer move after dashing.
Big Cat – 2 – reduce the cooldown of Embiggify by 1 if used on the same turn.
Catwalk – 2 – gain haste until end of turn.
Disc Fever – 3 – increase the damage of return discs by 6 this turn.
5 – Cataclysm
No cooldown. Requires 50 energy. Blast phase.
Throw out 3 catarangs. Damage from multiple catarangs does not stack.
Moxie – 1 – for each returning disc that doesn’t hit an enemy gain 4 energy. (Period? Or just the turn you use Cataclysm? Or just the discs thrown by Cataclysm?)
Catnip – 2 – gain Haste for the turn.
Nine Lives – 2 – if used two turns in a row, can be used on the third turn for no energy cost.
Feral – 3 – gain Might next turn. Energy cost increased by 10.
The first thing I notice here is that her energy gain is very low unless you are consistently hitting multiple targets. If I throw a catarang and hit an enemy on the way out AND back, that’s only 8 energy (assuming no Frisky) — contrast with Lockwood gaining 12 on a Trick Shot. But of course her ult is only 50 energy. My point is that you won’t have as many ults as you think, although mind you I haven’t played her yet and don’t know her ranges or how she plays in practice.
I think overall she is going to be fairly strong, though. Having indirect damage is useful (vs. Asana and Tol-Ren and like nobody else, ok good job Tig you got ’em), and the catarangs can mess with enemies’ positioning. Moreover, she has a prep phase reveal (that can deal damage), a dash that deals damage, and a free action steroid. These are all very useful. (In fact, I think Mouse Trap is her best ability and is very powerful.) Ultimately, however, how good she is depends on how easy it is to land return catarangs. If easy enough, she’s very strong. But I think it’ll be at least a bit difficult, so I’m interested to see how she plays.
It looks like the range on catarang is like 6-7? from the dev stream video. So, not very long range. She is going to have a hard time dealing damage safely. That tempers what I said above — she may not be as strong as predicted. She may also fall into almost more of a Tol-Ren type role where you want support to stay in the fight.
The devs have said they feel like Nev:3 is going to have a flow, where each turn a catarang goes out and a catarang comes back, and I agree that she’ll play that way. You want to get a rhythm with the ‘rangs, and I think that Nev:3 will play nicely with supports like Helio, Orion and possibly Su-Ren, who can let her stay relatively aggressive with her positioning so as to have the flexibility to land more catarangs. Alternatively, she would work well paired with a Quark.
This rhythm should make Nev:3 be able to deal consistent damage. I like that. Even on a dash turn, she can deal damage. I’m not bothered by the so-called “weak” ultimate (it is kind of lackluster, but it’s only 50 energy), because as anyone who has seen me play Gremo knows, I miss most of my ults anyway.
Anyway, let’s talk about mods. I haven’t gone for any of the “if the return disc doesn’t hit anyone, reduce the cooldown.” I need to see how often that actually happens. My instinct is not to ever take mods like that (see: Kaigin guide, Flurry of Knives on Razor Shuriken) because I hit my abilities (Gremo ults aside), but Nev:3 has a lot of catarangs so it may be a bit more normal.
I’ve drawn up a few loadouts:
- Meowch (3) – Collar (3) – Stalker (2) – Catwalk (2) – Nothing (0)
- Meowch (3) – Nothing (0) – Feline Good (1) – Disc Fever (3) – Feral (3)
- Kitten Mittens (2) – Fat Cat (2) – Stalker (2) – Catwalk (2) – Catnip (2)
- Frisky (1) – Frisky (2) – Feline Good (1) – Catwalk (2) – Nine Lives (2)
#1 is what I think I’ll try first as a “solid” loadout. I like the damage increase on Meowch, which I would imagine applies to Acrocat and Cataclysm as well? Collar seems quite good to me — people familiar with my Celeste will recall that I take root on trap. This is a fairly reliable root, and given the nature of Nev:3’s kit, having someone stay in place means you can easily plan another turn of catarangs to hit them. That leaves 4 points. We’ll abandon the ult — I don’t think those mods are essential. I’d prefer Stalker (more CC) and Catwalk (more important to have haste when dashing than haste when ulting, because after you dash you’re more vulnerable and you may need to get to a safe position).
#2 is a burst build. You throw out 3 catarangs with your ult, and gain Might next turn. Then you Acrocat (it’s a little annoying to like, HAVE to dash the turn after ulting to gain the bonus damage, which is why I don’t take Disc Fever elsewhere — I prefer to dash defensively) and Embiggify and WHAM. Let’s do some math. Your Acrocat throws out a disc, so let’s start with 24, mighted is 30. Then you have a return catarang, actually 3 but let’s just calculate the one, base is 12 plus 4 from Meowch plus 6 from Disc Fever (assuming these stack) is 22 plus 8 from Embiggify is 30, mighted is 37-38. So we’re doing almost 70 damage in one turn, plus we could land the other catarangs potentially on other enemies. That’s really not bad. And we can probably do that 3 times per game. The real downside is having to dash the turn after ult, but even if you don’t you’re looking at another 24 mighted is 30, total of 60, and that also frees up some points. Worth exploring.
#3 is a defensive build. As I mentioned, it may be hard for Nev:3 to maintain proper positioning
#4 is a disaster. Please don’t actually use this build, although it may be able to be fine-tuned so as to salvage it (don’t know how yet though). First of all, yes, I know it’s only an 8-point loadout. It’s meant to be an energy build, of course. The idea is that you quickly reach 100 energy and then Cataclysm 3 turns in a row. Wow! But here are the problems: First, the fact of the matter is that if you take all of the “energy” options (Frisky, Frisky, Feline Good and Nine Lives) you’ve only spent 6 points and there really aren’t any great 4-point mods for Acrocat, and in fact I might not even take the only 3-point one. Second, you kind of HAVE to triple ult which is super risky insofar as you can’t use a dash if needed, or your reveal if needed, or like what if you get knocked out of position during one of them and can’t hit anybody but you can’t waste a turn sprinting or you lose the whole effect. And third, the ult isn’t even that good. So like…no.
Catalysts (no pun intended) are flexible, I think. You could do some interesting things with Regroup. Blast phase should be Chronosurge or Adrenaline because she’s very positioning-sensitive. I think you could make any of the Prep phase ones work, in theory, though Might and Energized don’t really make any sense on her, so I’d say Second Wind or Brain Juice.
Anyway, the above is all theorycraft but I’m excited to check her out! I haven’t played on the PTS at all and don’t intend to right now, but I will be streaming a marathon of her Tuesday and/or Wednesday next week, so come check that out! Hopefully you have lots of success with the above builds and everything I said is spot on.