Bal-Bas-Beta is a character who relies on low risk, low reward plays to slowly grind out his opponents. If you enjoy playing a complex character who gains temporary advantages, than BBB might be the robot for the job.
Innate Ability - Long Range
Long Range warps how the game is played, because it gives BBB immense advantages. You gain damage immunity on your next combat loss, you gain access to the extremely powerful Junkshot (Q) , your face cards return to hand when you play them, your normal attacks go from being slow to being 1.0 speed, and your opponent cannot throw you while you can. Your dodges are notable during Long Range because the opponent cannot hit you at all if you dodge at Long Range.
Your opponents don’t want you to get to range, but trying to deny it from you can make them play predictably. BBB can gain Long Range from normal attacks (2 , 3 , 4 , 6 ), as well as from Extensor Grab (K*) , so your opponents will frequently play attacks faster than 3.0 speed in order to stop those cards. Figuring out when to try to gain range and when to play defensively is the key to being a successful BBB.
Gameplan At Close - Early Game
In the early game, BBB is not threatening at close range. His max damage is low, he does not have very damage efficient cards, and he has below average life. Because of these factors, his opponents can use their cards more aggressively than usual. This means that BBB’s best way to not fall behind is to obtain range. However, BBB has very limited options for gaining range in the early game. Extensor Grab is a critical card for him to have while he is at range, due to it being the only throw that is legal to play. This means that he is usually left with using normal attacks to obtain range.
Because being put to range is so threatening, BBB’s opponent will rarely block or throw, and will instead play fast attacks and dodges. To counter that strategy, you should block frequently. The normal attack or block mix-up is BBB’s basic strategy at close range in the early game. Try not to ever dodge in the early game: dodges are much more valuable in other stages of the game.
If your opponent is playing a lot of fast attacks, you can also use Cog Shot (J) and Beta Thrust (A) as fast counter pokes.
Gameplan At Close - Late Game
In the late game, BBB relies on aces to threaten high damage, as well as using Overdrive (9*) to mix up the opponent. Piston Hurricane (AA) is extremely fast and damaging, so the opponent will usually have to block or dodge it to avoid taking damage. This allows you the opportunity to throw them, and follow up with either Beta Thrust, or Gyro Spin (Q) . In general, BBB does not want to dodge at close, but if the opponent has an attack that can outspeed Piston Hurricane, BBB has to add dodges into his repertoire. Using Overdrive is the other crucial component to the late game while at close range, and can give you good opportunities to gain Long Range. Once BBB activates it, he has a very deadly mix-up that covers every possible option. This mix-up becomes even deadlier if the opponent is knocked down (from an earlier Cog Shot ). Overdrive’s basic effect at close range is to discourage opponent attacks, especially fast ones. For attacks, he can Long Arm (J), which is uninterruptable: if the opponent played any attack or throw, BBB will be able to hit them and follow up with a Beta Thrust or damage-boosted Gyro Spin. He can also play Robo Headbutt (7*) if he is feeling confident that they will throw. Robo Headbutt leads into MASSIVE damage during Overdrive, and with a pair of Gyro Spins, he can do over 40 damage.
Dodging during Overdrive is powerful because it’s BBB’s only opportunity to gain range if the opponent played an attack faster than 3.0 speed. Due to the threat of attacking, and the safety of dodging, the opponent will often be tempted to dodge as well.
BBB has a couple of options to punish dodges with a throw. He can Extensor Grab , which will deal 11 damage due to the Overdrive damage boost, or he can play a normal throw into a combo. Deciding which option to use will vary based on how much life your opponent has left. If a throw combo will not kill the opponent, usually it is better to obtain range.
The opponent’s basic counterplays to Overdrive are to play:
- A throw faster than Extensor Grab: this defeats BBB’s Extensor Grab and dodges, but loses to Long Arm, Robo Headbutt, and normal attacks, or
- A block/dodge: this defeats BBB’s Long Arm, Robo Headbutt, and dodges, but loses to a direct Extensor Grab (blocks also “lose” to normal attacks)
Gameplan At Range
BBB’s entire strategy shifts whenever he enters range. Now he has repeated access to Extensor Grab , Junkshot , and 1.0 speed normal attacks . On top of that, the opponent cannot throw, which means that his Extensor Grab can never lose a throw clash, and his dodges are 100% risk free.
Your opponent’s best option at range is to block. Not only does blocking end range if you also block, but it is safe against dodges, and 1.0 speed normals. This means that your most important cards at range are block punishers. Junkshot and Extensor Grab are your two means of accomplishing this. It is so important to hold on to at least one copy of these cards to maximize the effectiveness of range.
Extensor Grab will make the opponent want to attack, because they have no other way to deal with it. If it lands, it sets up a knockdown mix-up using a normal attack, or a Junkshot that the opponent cannot dodge. Due to these options, the opponent will often try to play an attack that is speed 1.0 or faster, to beat the mix-up and end range. This is a great opportunity to dodge, or, if you feel that you need more cards, block.
Blocking at range is sometimes necessary if you do not have the cards you need to mix up the opponent. It’s also a reasonable move when you strongly expect the opponent to dodge. However, if both players block on the same turn, range ends. So it is vital that you force your opponent to do something other than block before you do.
Using Overdrive at Long Range to make Junkshot unblockable is not a common play. It’s mostly used on knockdowns, especially against characters with slow attacks. Overdrive is typically more useful at close range, though.
Prioritizing Damage Vs Options
Two of the most important hand management decisions BBB has to make is when to dodge, and when to spend Queens . Due to the consistency and power of dodging at range, ideally BBB would never use them at close. However, some opponents will play fast attacks so frequently that you have no choice but to try and punish them with a dodge. In these cases, you should ideally be playing a Cog Shot , Beta Thrust , or Gyro Spin to follow up. While Gyro Spin is the most damaging of the three, it also costs a total of 4 cards to pull off: the dodge, the Queen, and 2 pumps. Because of this, you need to know which cards are worth spending. Typically, 3 , 4 , and 8 are BBBs weakest card ranks. The best use for these cards is to power them up for aces, or spend them on Gyro Spin.
Cog Shot offers a knockdown, which can help you obtain range, since now the opponent cannot dodge your normal attacks. The knockdown also sets up Piston Hurricane very nicely, because the threat of those normal attacks will force your opponent to play an attack to outspeed them.
2 - This is your primary tool to obtain range throughout the game. While 2.8 speed is not too fast, it is BBB’s best attack to get the job done. You should almost never use this card for any other reason.
3 - As mentioned, this is one of BBB’s weakest cards, and is often fodder for powering up or pumping Gyro Spin. However, 3 is BBB’s only odd normal attack at range, so it can be used as a mix-up normal against a knocked down opponent. Do not use 3 as a combo ender.
4 - This is BBB’s weakest card, and should almost exclusively be used as fodder for powerups or Gyro Spin.
5 - This card should only be used to dodge. BBB only has a total of 8 dodges in his deck, and they are vital.
6 - This is the most damaging normal attack, so it can be used to try and beat a throw, or as a combat card at range. It is notably useful as a combat card against Rook and Troq, to beat their King throws. Don’t feel bad about using it as fodder or combo ender though.
7 - This is an all-star card. 7.4 speed is very fast as a throw, and will usually be the fastest throw in the match up. On the other side, Robo Headbutt can lead to incredible damage, and one good read can completely flip the game in BBB’s favor. Use this card when you have high damage options in your hand.
8 - BBB tends to not throw very often, because of the power of his attacks. This means that you usually do not need to rely on 8 throw very often. Its main use is to block, and often it’s the only rank of card that BBB needs to block with.
9 - Overdrive is an excellent late game ability, and you should always keep 1 or 2 around for that purpose. It is fine to block with if you have multiples in the early game.
10 - These are BBB’s other dodges, and serve absolutely no other purpose. Do not throw with 10.
J - Cog Shot is an early game defensive card, since it has competitive speed and damage. Long Arm is a combo tool that can return to hand at range, and is a powerful combat when you activate Overdrive. It is often fine to use Long Arm as a combo ender, especially when you lack aces or have multiple Jacks in hand.
Q - Gyro Spin is a late game combo tool, and is BBB’s most damaging 1 CP card. It is notable as a late game combo ender. Junkshot is an incredible threat at range, and will always return to your hand, so you get to use both sides of this card every single game.
K - Extensor Grab should only be used at close if you have multiples. While at range, it is absurdly hard to deal with, and sets up even more damaging mix-ups due to the knockdown.
A - Beta Thrust is a fantastic card all throughout the game. In the early game, it is a great card to beat out opponent’s attacks for a solid 11 damage - it’s often your main tool to discourage opponent attacks. In the late game, it can be used as a combo ender for very efficient damage. Piston Hurricane is a fantastic finishing move due to its speed, especially when coming back from Long Range.
Joker - Because BBB will save considerable life from Long Range’s damage immunity, and because his opponents are less likely to block, he can afford to Gold Burst more than some other characters. If you find yourself with a Joker later on in the game, gold bursting can set you up with a huge Piston Hurricane.