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Catherine is a mangaka who isn't interested in the unlimited power of the Chaos Code. Instead they're searching for inspiration for their manga and finding it in the love triangle between Cerberus, Kudlak, and Catherine themself. Catherine also has magical cosplay powers that are unrelated to the events of the game.
Catherine is one of the few chaos code characters who has strong okizeme and set-play. They also have fairly competent zoning tools, although they aren't as dominating as the more dedicated zoning characters like kudlak. Catherine has to play a balancing act, managing meter for zoning options, but also keeping it around for confirming hits, while also saving some for oki setups. This makes Catherine a sort of jack of all trades, but one who has to consciously choose when it's important to be good at something. In addition, Catherine doesn't have a real reversal. Catherine is a good character for players who are looking for setplay, zoning, or just a character with a highly variable playstyle.
Mobility (Run vs. Step)
Run: The speed makes Catherine's game more well rounded and makes their rushdown game more effective. Microdashing is also useful in some combos.
Step: The faster meter gain can be used towards counter supers and EX zoning tools (such as EX Happiness Bells). Step cancels can also be useful for setting up tic throws.
Extra Move Selection
In general it's highly recommended that you take Bunny's War Cry, since without it you wont really have a way to end air combos with a knockdown. Since most of Catherine's combo routes end with an air series, you're either missing out on a lot of damage by taking war cry, or missing out on a lot of oki setups, which is a big part of Catherine's game plan.
Pure love coming out has a lot of utility. It can be a good mix-up tool which is nice since Catherine doesn't have too much in the way of mix-up tools naturally, or it can be a launcher in the corner which is nice since Catherine's only meterless launcher requires specific spacing for a wall bounce. You can combo it midscreen, but you'd have to be point blank and confirm the hit very early.
The most common choice of extra super is probably Bell of Happiness - Goal in. It's very versatile giving both combos and pressure extension. Midscreen a pickup off of it can lead to the corner no matter how far out you are, and the bells on block hide Catherine's sprite making IAD mix-ups much much harder to see. The only real downside is that it costs meter and isn't that exciting for corner combo extensions since Catherine's 50 bar corner routes are so good anyway.
Love is Phantom is not a very strong extra super, while custom combos sound really good, there's too much recovery on the super activation to confirm into it, meaning you have to give up an oki set-up. Plus meter build is frozen for the duration of the super, so the meter cost is effectively higher than Bell of Happiness. That all being said Catherine still gets pretty respectable damage off Love is Phantom combos and gets really strong pressure and mix-up options because of the delayed nature of the shadows. So while the cost of this move is rather high, it does have a high payout as well.
Bunny's war cry & Bell of happiness - goal in
Probably the most straightforward extra move set, Bell super gives strong midscreen combos and the ability to dump meter on pressure extension. This set occasionally runs into meter problems as Catherine now has to spend bar on combo extensions in the corner, but the added options when full screen or against a blocking opponent help even this out. This set is especially good if you don't plan on spending much meter for zoning, since that will leave you with extra bar to help make up for both the lack of meterless corner routes and the extra cost of using Bell super.
Pure love coming out & Bunny's war cry
This is another classic Catherine set, war cry gives hard knockdowns for oki and pure love conserves meter for oki setups or exceed combos. There's a lot of synergy here and it's very easy to use, the only downside is that if you're is too far from the corner to get a wall bounce off of I'll serve you then you have to just take small damage or spend a full bar on meow meow miracle for some okay damage.
Bunny's war cry & Love is phantom
The love is phantom set. Has all the same problems as using goal in, but instead of getting stronger combos you get an alternative oki option in the form of activating custom combo. The extra damage you get from Love is phantom isn't really anything to write home about, but it looks very cool and you get stronger pressure and mix-up while it's active. Also if you ever find yourself getting a stun you'll have plenty time to activate and do a full custom combo. War cry is really the only extra move that gives extra utility with love is phantom, since you can combo off delayed shadow war cries in the corner.
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Maiden's Shining Heart
Basic Catherine combo theory requires you to be aware of your spacing and distance to the corner at nearly all times. If you're at just the right spot you can use 214D to get a wallbounce, if you're real close to your opponent you can land the "pure love coming out" extra move and combo them, but you typically wont get close enough without either an extremely short confirm string, or by being in the corner already. if you're doing an air series you can extend it with "Bunny's war cry or you can use j.2C for rejumps. If you're either unsure of spacing or you know a meterless option wont work, 214BD's wall bounce is high enough that Catherine can followup even when fully in the corner. It also works at all the spacings that 214D will work, although it'll cost you meter.
When ending combos you generally just want to end in bunny's war cry (assuming you took it as an extra move) since it leads to a hard knockdown and thus a bells setup.
Bell oki is fairly straightforward, knock the opponent down, do 214AC to set ex bells on top of them, then do whatever you want. The bells don't actually hit meaty, but they hit close enough to meaty that the opponent can't really avoid getting hit if they press buttons. Some examples of what you can do for bell oki include: Roll through the opponent for a cross up, jump over them but air dash back for a fake cross-up, jump over them and use j.C for an actual cross-up, throw them out of their roll, etc. Really though the key is to be unpredictable, so finding your own set-ups is highly encouraged and not too difficult.
2A > 2B > cl.C > 214B/D
Basic meterless confirm, you can add more 2As to make the confirm easier. 214B leaves the opponent right next to you, but 214D will send them away, at the right spacing 214D wall bounces and you can run up and combo off it. You can also replace 214B/D with 2363214B (or just cancel into it if you have the meter and are feeling spicy) to confirm into super, which is a decent option when you're too far from the corner to start an air combo.
2A > 2B > cl.C > 6B > j.214B
More damaging meterless confirm, although it requires "Bunny's war cry"
2A > 2B > cl.C > 236236C > otg 2B > 2C > sjc > j.A > j.B > j.C > j.D > j.214B
confirm into bell super, does respectable damage but you might want to vary the air series slightly to get a wall bounce depending on your distance to the corner.
2A > 2B > cl.C > 236236C > otg 2B > 2C > sjc > j.A > j.B > j.C > land > j.A > j.B > j.C > j.214B > land > 5A > cl.C > sjc > j.A > j.B > j.C > j.214B
Corner to corner carry, you can do more off the wall bounce if you want, basically any of air sequences you see below in the corner section will work.
2A > 2B > cl.C > 214B > BC > 236A > 2363214D (11) > AB > 236A > 2363214D (3) > AB > 236A > 2363214D
Exceed combo, you can cut out the second chaos shift if you want, and just end the combo there (if you do that it's better to use 214D and then cancel into super) but you lose out on like, 100 or 200 damage.
near corner/in corner
2A > 2B > cl.C > 214BD > 2C > sjc > j.C > j.D > j.2C > land > j.A > j.B > j.C > double jump > j.A > j.B > j.C > j.214B
Pretty basic Rejump, only works near the corner.
5A > 5B > cl.C > 236A > 5A > 5B > (5A) > 5C > 214BD > 2C > sjc > j.C > j.D > j.2C > land > j.A > j.B > j.C > double jump > j.A > j.B > j.C > j.214B
Alternate extended confirm you can use if you're very close to the opponent in the corner. If you do the optional 5A you'll build a half a bar just from the confirm itself, but it makes the combo noticeably harder.
2A > 2B > cl.C > 41236B > 2C > sjc > j.C > j.D > j.2C > land > j.A > j.B > j.C > double jump > j.A > j.B > j.C > j.214B
Corner combo that uses "Pure love coming out" to launch instead of ex maid. You save on the meter which causes the combo itself to build enough meter for an ex bell oki setup.
2A > 2B > cl.C > 41236B > 2C > sjc > j.C > j.D > j.2C > j.214AC > jump cancel > slight delay > j.2C > land > otg 2B > 2C > sjc > j.A > j.C > j.D > j.2C > land > j.A > j.B > j.C > double jump > j.A > j.B > j.C > j.214B
Corner combo that spends some meter on an ex devil stomp to extend things. You can also use 214AC to start it, but it makes the combo significantly harder.
2A > 2B > cl.C > 214B > BC > 236A > 2363214D (11) > AB > 5A > 5B > cl.C > 214B > 2363214D
Corner version of the midscreen exceed combo, does a little less damage since 214B eats a bit of the exceed time.
- Console Versions: You can hold R1 button while selecting a character to get an alternative color.
- Arcade Version: You can hold START button while selecting a character to get an alternative color.