I Character Summary Bal-Bas-Beta is a sentient clockwork, who modifies himself for constant improvement. With the endurance of his Cog Engine and the reach of his Rocket Punch he can buy time to Upgrade himself to become unstoppable! Diagram: I'd put him midway between econ and defense and about 1/3 of the way off that edge towards rushdown. Strengths Upgrade and Cog Engine give Bal-Bas-Beta very good early economy Rocket Punch gives Bal-Bas-Beta good pile control Rocket Punch reaction and Upgrade wound trashing make Bal-Bas-Beta very resistant against disruption Upgrade lets Bal-Bas-Beta shift strategies in response to the bank, the opponent, or even mid game in response to the opponent's buys. Cog Engine staying in play can synergize with Upgrade to give Bal-Bas-Beta viable thindecking with the right bank help. Cog Engine continuous pig allows Bal-Bas-Beta to hold reactions and or space out enders. Weaknesses Lack of innate arrows makes it tricky for him to play his chips when he wants. Orb buy restriction on Cog Engine means he will usually have few purples in deck and has to work to acquire them via Upgrade $6+ cost restriction on Cog Engine and desire to Upgrade  gems means that he can't transition his strong early economy into truly top-end chips smoothly Incredibly bank dependent. He needs chips of consecutive costs available to use Upgrade to full effectiveness, he needs arrows to be able to play multiple chips, he wants ways around his orb-buy restriction and he's disadvantaged in banks with multiple chips of 6 or higher cost. II. Character's general game plan. Part of what makes Bal-Bas-Beta unique is that he does not have single game plan and he is forced to play off of the bank. He's not all that good at rushdown nor at very long games with high-end chips, so he's usually looking for ways to get into and extend the midgame, but he can adopt rushdown or long-game strategies in games where the opponent is vulnerable to them. III. Chips and the Character Chips Bal-Bas-Beta loves Combos are Hard. Not only does this get around BBB's orb-buy restriction, but at 6 cost, BBB can very frequently upgrade his starting Crash gem into a CaH in the first two turns and play it within the next two turns. Even if he doesn't start out with both Crash and Upgrade in the starting hand, he can play Cog Engine to pig whichever one he does have and set up a 4/5 chance of doing this on the second turn. Bang Then Fizzle. This is a 2 cost chip that BBB can Upgrade his starting  gems into. With his pig and Rocket Punch's reaction he almost always has the pile control to get to use it a few times. And in the mid to lategame BBB can Upgrade Bang Then Fizzle into other chips. It's a Trap. This is a 2 cost chip that BBB can Upgrade his starting  gems into, which then trashes itself, giving him a viable thindeck game where he can just not care about having few total purples in his 12 chip deck. Even better, BBB can aqquire chips via Upgrade and Upgrade away wounds, meaning that he can usually get chips from any Trapped stack better than his opponent can. Sale Prices: This is a 2-cost chip, so it's viable for Upgrading s into. More interestingly sale prices lowers the cost of bank chips, so if BBB can fork into Sale Prices and Upgrade, he can Upgrade whatever chips he trashes into chips that otherwise cost (2) more, allowing him to step up through gems without needing intermediate chips. Even without the fork, lowering the cost of chips means that BBB can buy a chip which would normally cost (6) (such as Roundhouse and X-Copy) without discarding Cog Engine. Any Other 2 Cost Chip. Knockdown, Ebb or Flow, Thinking Ahead, Now or Later, Repeated Jabs, Whether these are helpful to BBB to actually play in a given match is beside the point, it's more important that he can upgrade his starting  gems into them and then later upgrade them into  gems for a more durable economy. Any Fork. Especially cheaper ones. Of interest is that the drawback of Recklessness isn't that big a deal for BBB. Ways around his Orb-buy restriction. Training Day, Stolen Purples, and Chips for Free can let BBB get purples without buying them, thereby leaving Cog Engine in play. Chips like Dashing Strike, One True Style, Mixmaster, Hundred Fist Frenzy and Gemonade can give BBB non-purple pile control options Blues are Good. On BBB, this can fetch Rocket Punch for added pile control. b. Chips Bal-Bas-Beta fears Riskonade. This chip gives the opponent more ammo than BBB can handle, and BBB's all ender, gem trashing setup doesn't let him benefit from the added draws as much as other characters tend to. Combo Practice Chip Damage. This red chip forces BBB to discard, and with his Orb-buy restriction it usually forces him to discard two chips, which severely limits his ability to play the sort of Fork into Upgrade combos he loves. In a similar vein other discard attacks like Color Panic, Knockdown and even Pick Your Poison can give BBB problems. Master Puzzler, The Hammer. These $12 cost chips in the bank often force BBB to play an econ race in a way that keeps Cog Engine from being a useful option. It's Combo Time. By the time BBB gets to $8 buy, and even if he's willing to discard Cog Engine for it, he's unlikely to still have enough s in his deck to use this well, so this is almost always better for the opponent. c. Other Chips of interest to Bal-Bas-Beta Stolen Purples. If this is in the pool, BBB has to be careful about the CaH opening, as an opponent can use it to steal the early Double Crash Gem BBB gets from it. While BBB doesn't have any innate arrows to play Stolen Purples off of, he can make it a useless buy for the opponent by Upgrading his crash to a non-orb and using Rocket Punch plus any non-purple pile control options (Hundred Fist Frenzy, Dashing Strike, Ebb or Flow, etc). So it can go either way, but it's something BBB must consider. Ouch! This powerful red ender is solid against anyone early. BBB has no arrows to play it off of so he doesn't play it well, however his anti-disruption makes him potentially the most resistant character against it. He can react to it with Rocket Punch to keep his pile stable and he can later Upgrade the wound from it, and he's often within Combines for it to trash and he can use his Pig to hold a reaction or save his Combine for late cycle. IV. General Tips A. What to do with BBB: Keep Cog Engine in play a lot in the early game. That +$1 each turn is huge and the Pig every turn lets you space enders out. Use Upgrade to improve  gems. Use Upgrade to render the opponent's buys less useful. For example: if they go heavy into blue shields, Upgrade any red fists you got earlier into other chips. Use Upgrade to get chips that would make you discard Cog Engine. Keep track of what chips you already have and make sure they can combo into each other. With Upgrade swapping things around this can be as hard for you as for the opponent. Remember that Rocket Punch resolves before the incoming crash. Occasionally you can win a game against an incoming crash because the opponent doesn't have a followup countercrash. What not to do with BBB: Don't Upgrade all your s away without having acquired at least a couple bigger gems first. Don't count on Rocket Punch to be your only pile control past the early game. Remember that unlike counter-crashing, Rocket Punch does not actually reduce the total number or gems in piles, so it doesn't lengthen the game. Don't be so afraid of losing Cog Engine that you fail to have adequate pile control or key endgame chips. If the opponent is X-Copying Double Crash Gems, you probably need to be doing the same more than you need the +$1 +Pig. Don't get a lot of chips with arrows that don't lead into each other. Having two of Knockdown and two of One True Style opens up some great chaining possibilities. Having four of either of those with none of the others means that despite the arrows, you have a pile of enders and can only play one. Matchups BBB Loves vs. Arg Rocket Punch can be used in response to Hex, and Upgrade can trash multiple wounds per cycle. This tends to favor BBB. Matchups Bal-Bas-Beta Fears vs. Jaina This match is tricky for BBB since he has to survive the Jaina rushdown. His Combos are Hard opening means going without a crash for a turn or three, which can be too big a risk to take against Jaina and his Bang then Fizzle opening requires keeping his pile height low, which can be problematic against Jaina. BBB really needs a combine or combine substitute early here. However in BBB's favor, he can Rocket Punch as a response to either Unstable Power or Burning Vigor. vs Midori Rocket Punch is nearly useless against Dragon Form rushdown, so BBB needs to prioritize pile control. Even worse, the forks that BBB loves tend to be even better for Midori. However Upgrade does give BBB a useful way to dodge Rigorous Training and force Midori to buy his orbs honestly. vs Gwen Gwen's early cycling and discard attack can pose real problems for BBB if there are any other useful reds in the Pool. BBB using Rocket Punch against Shadowswarm early just shifts the height bonus. vs Zane Zane can pose a surprising rushdown threat and Crash Potato can be problematic with BBB's orb-buy restriction. However BBB can sometimes dodge Crash Potato by upgrading his Crash and playing for a fast DcG. Zane has to carefully time his Max Anarchy, as BBB will often have a bunch of oddball 2-cost puzzle chips he can play off the free arrows, and sometimes BBB can bait a Zane player into this by pigging a chip. Other Notable Matchups vs Grave BBB can often beat Grave to a mess of $4 and $5 cost chips. Grave still beats BBB to a mess of $7 and $9 cost chips, so BBB needs to either go rushdown or big gem in the midgame.