To be honest, I've been playing a lot of Refess, and I wrote this week's article about another Refess card. But then I realized that I shouldn't do two Refess in a row, and also I shouldn't give away all my good strategies so quickly. So, I saved that article for another day and decided to do this article on one of the must-have high rarity Falkow cards, Witch Queen / Catherina.
Catherina is a great card. At level 2, she's dirt cheap to use, and 30 HP is the high end for a low level support card. AGI 3 isn't bad, but about the minimum for a card like her to be useful. More on that later. AT 0 and RNG 3 is fine, good for a card who will be sitting in the back row doing nothing but buffing the other units until Vordore comes out, and then her range lets her participate in the beatings like everyone else.
What we're really here for is her Skills. Let's start with everyone's favorite, Miracle Drug of Vitality. Adding 10 DF permanently is just about the best thing ever. Two little limits here. One, she can't buff herself, and two, she can't raise anyone's DF above 20. You want to try to use her to raise some DF up to 20 before Sorcerer Guard goes, so the grand total will rise to 30. Not only is that 30 DF without LeBeau's Soul Skill, but it's 30 DF you can put on multiple units.
Miracle Drug of Youth is another strong Skill, there's not a whole lot in the Basic Set that gives permanent AGI. Bumping Voredore up so he'll always go before everyone else is nice, as is making up for your varieties of slow shellfish. But don't forget what I said before, Catherina's built in 3 AGI is the absolute minimum for a support card like this, so you'll want to have her augment her own AGI at some point.
Most people consider Miracle Drug of Power the least useful of her abilities, and that's true if you're playing fast and with Vordore. However, for just about every Card File that doesn't revolve around Vordore, this is your most important power. You'll still want to lay the groundwork by buffing the DF and maybe AGI of your units first, but what most Falkow units are lacking is AT value. Think about how much your Deep Squid will do with +10 AT added on every round. Think about how deadly your Pinpoint or Flying attacks will be with an AT value high enough to one hit kill a front row fighter. Sure, it takes time, but that's why you gave all your tanks +30 DF first.
Blue Miracle Drug basically turns her into a good first turn gambit, raising your Falkow level from 2->3 and leaving you with enough SP to bring out a level 3 card on turn two. This will be nice because the level 3 card will be able to block for her, and she can start increasing its DF right away. However, this is risky for two reasons. First, if the enemy brings out something that can do 30 damage, you'll send a very rare copy of her off to the cemetery right away. If you do happen to have multiple copes, you'll have to Revive her and you'll lose the 1 SP advantage you've risked so very much to get. Second, Shade also kills the 1 SP advantage right away. Still, it's not a bad strategy to take the risk, and let her go to the cemetery if the enemy gets lucky and kills her, then bring her back out later once you've got some blockers in place.
Now, let's look at Wonder Drug. This is easily the best LP 3 power in the game. Depleting your Cemetery is no big deal late in the game, you probably won't even notice. There are only three limitations to this. First, with all the great 2 LP Soul Cards in game, 3 LP is going out of style completely. Second, if you plan to use LeBeau's Soul Skill, then you can only place her after him. No great loss, but more and more I see Card Files that make up for the strong starts of other Spheres by putting 3 LP cards forward, giving themselves time to gather SP and put out something big, and then rear load their 1 LP area effects and LeBeau to keep their one big boy alive. Rather than hurt your Cemetery before that happens, it's better to try your luck with one of the other LP 3 cards. The third and final limitation is for Falkow players only. Let's face it, as cool as 3 free LP is, her Action Skills are so much better. You want every copy you can get in your combat File, not your Soul Cards.
The best thing about Catherina is that as powerful as she is, she's a support card through and through. Many of the high Rarity cards are awesome, but to really use them you'd have to build your entire strategy around that one card. Catherina, on the other hand, enhances any strategy you already have. Like Vordore? She's a great addition to a Vordore setup, she can help you start faster and keep Vordore alive longer. Like Deep Squids? She can make up for all of its shortcomings. Laruit? She can make his double attack twice as strong. Want a speed mongering front line? With her, Haste Soldier will cut down a LeBeau every time, and Magic Scythe Soldier will beat out Gowen speedsters. Man, all this talk has got me homesick for Falkow...
"Scissors are overpowered. Rock is fine." -Paper