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Catalyst Zombies are a special type of zombie were they are augmented into becoming a special elemental zombie. Catalyst Zombies hide in regular zombies. When you get too close to a zombie they might shed their skin and reveal their true form. They first spawn on round 8 and start to spawn regularly on any above round 8. As in right now there are only four Catalyst Zombie types and only spawn on the maps XI and Voyage of Despair, they might spawn on more of the upcoming dlc zombie maps (Only in the Chaos story). In custom games mutations are Catalyst Zombies and all other special zombies (such as Blightfathers and heavies). These Catalyst Zombies, having elemental powers, would sometimes be called Elemental Zombies.
If you have ever played Black Ops 2’s zombie mode you might of remembered the Napalm Zombies (also known as Fire Zombies). Fire Zombies are exactly the same as Napalm Zombies and will move slowly towards the player and explode when killed. They will always explode when you get too close. They could be useful if you kill them in crowds of zombies and they would take out a few zombies when they explode.
Water Zombies are the least aggressive zombie there is. Water Zombies often prefer to stay away from the player whenever possible. Water Zombies do this so that they will be more harder to kill so that they will have their ability out longer. Their ability buffs some other zombies resistance against you. The zombies that are buffed will have a blue aura around the zombie’s head. You can tell that it is a Water Zombie because they hunch over (to have a smaller hit box) and are bright blue. At the end of the round they may start to be more aggressive and attack the player.
Poison Zombies do not do any physical attack, but will inflict poison damage by being close to the player’s area of effect. They will be noticed by glowing green. They will also be called Acid Zombies.
Lightning Zombies shine bright yellow and keep their hands on their heads. Lightning Zombies are by far the most annoying Catalyst Zombie you will encounter and will be the most deadly. Just like the Poison Zombie, the Lightning Zombie will not physically damage you, but instead scream in a cone shape. If it screams at you or you just get it’s radius you will become blinded and deafened. In order to stop this you will need to kill the Lightning Zombie (or have someone else kill it) or you will have to get out of the radius and wait for it to stop screaming. You will be completely blinded and will most likely bump into walls and get cornered by zombies, or you will stumble into a crowd of zombies.
In the map XI if you activate a challenge banner one of the nine challenges will be ‘stop three Catalyst Transformations.’ In order to do this you will need to kill a zombie when its shedding it’s skin and stop it before he becomes a Catalyst Zombie.
In Black Ops 4’s new game-mode, Blackout, there are both multiplayer and zombie maps present. In the five current zombie locations there can spawn only regular zombies and sometimes Blightfathers. You will know it’s a zombies location by a glowing blue mystery box light, and red light if there's a Blightfather. There will not be any Catalyst Zombies in Blackout.