(For the period of 03/12/09 - 03/25/09)
All right, Iczers, it's time to do some Filebuilding! The sphere wheel now spins to the darker side of Lavato, and as you can see by the title of this post, the Crest Paladin has stepped forward to befriend you in this most opportune time! After all, what better way to kick off a new EX pack than to introduce a CotF card that works quite nicely with the Lawtia EX cards. Why, many Iczers might even just forget completely about the EX cards and realize how amazing the Crest Paladin is all on its own! I am of course kidding. Please don't forget about the EX cards. And yes, the Crest Paladin is amazing.
Let's get down to the nitty-gritty. Like many CotF cards, the Crest Paladin was often overlooked due to its poor statistics. After all, its 50 HP, 3 AGI, and 1 RNG are all decidedly par for the course in most level 3 Lawtia Units. He also starts with 0 AT and 0 DF, much like many of its fellow Lawtia lycanthropes, but without an upside at night. And while he does have a Start Skill that gives +20 AT to all Units with a subtype of Duchy of Crest, only 6 other cards were of that particular subtype, somewhat limiting his potential. Sure, the Crest Paladin gets that bonus as well, but a 20 AT Unit with 50 HP is a little on the low side of what most Iczers are probably expecting. And his Slash Action Skill may also be considered a bit lacking since it'll only be for 20 damage and the paladin has to be in the front row to do it.
Well, that's not exactly what I see. And regular readers of these CotF columns shouldn't see that either. This knight has some great potential and the majority of it doesn't necessarily come from what most Iczers will likely focus on, his Duchy of Crest-buffing Unholy Sword Start Skill. For one thing, having 0 AT at the beginning of a round can be quite an advantage in some cases, especially when dealing with AT lowering effects such as the Holy Dragon or Black Hound. AT can't go below 0, so you effectively lose nothing. Lastly, having a Slash Action Skill is a relatively rare thing for any unit, much less a level 3 one. Samurai Girl, Killing Machine / LeBeau, and Saber Saint / Lapierre are the only 3 I know of off the top of my head, and none of them have as much HP as the Crest Paladin.
Ultimately, the Crest Paladin is a darn versatile Unit, hands down. He's almost a one-man army in the right File, and he can serve multiple purposes. Loading up with Duchy of Crest Units is of course a no-brainer. It isn't absolutely necessary, but it also doesn't hurt to get some synergy in matches. Surprisingly, Lawtia units have an almost un-Lawtia-like design to them as you would think they'd normally be the type to act alone. But with the inclusion of the Crest Paladin to the game, Lawtia can get some insane Refess-type buffing going on, and quite easily too.
Hint: if the name of the card has the word "Crest" in it, chances are it's of the Duchy of Crest subtype. Just to make it easier, the following cards are Duchy of Crest Units or Characters:
Ruler of Crest / Eskatia
Abyss Centaur / Dical
Elite Crest Knight
Crest Regenerator Knight
Crest Halberd Soldier
Black Valkyrie / Igina
EX: Dance Macabre / Lelein
There's a lot of potential to be had there. All of those Units and Characters can definitely benefit from the additional 20 AT, but certain combinations will of course work better than others. There are no wrong answers here, and definitely a few combinations that some might not realize are powerful alternatives to existing strategies. What could that mean? Take a walk on the dark side and see for yourself.