Sigbog is an avid gamer whose addiction spans PC and mobile titles. They love to break games down and pick them apart.
Skills are the major element that determines your capabilities in a given play. Upon starting a stage, and for each blue cube you acquire, you will be given the option to select one of three skills. The three skills are selected randomly from a much larger pool.
Generally the skills follow a few patterns, utilizing certain effects and triggers. Some examples of effects include:
- Ice with a chance to freeze enemies.
- Fire which will trigger fire damage every turn for burning enemies.
- Missile which sends a missile to the lowest health enemy on the board.
- Lightning which arcs damage to nearby enemies.
- Lasers which deal damage to all enemies in the column or row.
Some triggers include:
- A ball, simply adding a given type of ball to your shot.
- Death, triggering the effect on enemy death.
- Combo, triggering every X hits your combo accumulates (often 30, 50, or 100).
Of course, there are more than the ones mentioned above. These skills usually have lightweight synergies with each other, allowing you to build towards effective combos. For example, you could get combo skills and then skills that cause the combos to trigger more often. However, aside from these combos, some are certainly better than others overall. As such, below you'll find a tier list attempting to categorize the skills by their effectiveness. However, whether or not you should pick a skill will still depend on your play style, preferences, gear, and previously selected skills in addition to what's available to pick at a given moment. In that respect, take this list with a grain of salt and be mindful of how skills work with everything else available to you.
The S tier skills are good choices in nearly every circumstances. In this case they are:
- Revive, a rare skill that revives you after death with 100% health, wiping out all enemies in the first 3 rows in the process.
- Shadow clone, the strongest combo item, can spawn incredibly high combos with special balls.
- Invincible cover, not quite as strong as revive but still a solid pick at any point. Completely blocking damage every handful of turns fits into nearly any situation; even if you're preventing enemies from reaching melee range, you'll almost always face some ranged damage.
A tier skills are good options, usually regardless of circumstances. Specifically, this tier features stronger effects and triggers.
- Missiles are generally very strong with high damage and great board cleanup.
- Freeze is incredibly strong against bosses and still quite good at managing a wave of enemies.
- Lightning and laser are also fairly strong effects, but only get featured in their upgrade variants as that is much stronger than a single ball or a combo.
Similar to S, these skills are strong picks nearly regardless of your preferred style or gear selection. They can easily find a home in your loadout in nearly every game.
The B tier features skills that are decent but not necessarily top picks. They may be circumstantial to your previous skills, gear, or preferred style.
- Laser and lightning are strong effects with good damage output on thickening crowds.
- Super entry can be a great combination for wall breaking with black hole ball though not great without it.
- Missiles are strong, but the death and combo variants are weaker and thus take a lower spot in the tier list.
- Headshot ball can be very powerful, but can also randomly ruin a combo with a headshot at the wrong time.
- Black hole ball can provide a much needed break in a line to generate a strong combo.
- Fire makes its first entry here, while weaker than laser and lightning, it can still rack in meaningful damage with burn over time and the upgrade variant can be quite good.
C tier skills aren't often the preferred option, but can generally be used without disappointment, especially in the right circumstances. To call out a few specifics:
- Many combo skills appear here as they are mostly weaker than their upgrade or ball equivalents.
- Backstab does deal meaningful damage from behind, but of course you won't always hit from behind and other choices are a bit more consistent.
- Fireball can deal decent damage over time, but it does lag behind other effects generally.
- Recovery up can have a meaningful impact, especially if you're struggling with being chipped away by ranged enemies, but offensive power is generally much more important than defensive power.
Many of these can be good in the right situations, or at least acceptable.
D tier is a bit lacking in power and generally should be avoided unless you have a specific plan. For a few specifics:
- Death and combo skills still remain lower on the list.
- Bomb ball can be great for the beginning of the game, but falls off very quickly, failing to scale into the end game.
- Sniper ball can contribute to your damage, but isn't ideal to pick over many of the other options. Combat ball is arguably even lower than this, as close range enemies already have you in a bad position.
- Strength isn't really going to contribute much, but you could do worse if you select it very early, particularly in a 60-round stage.
Most D tier options will contribute just not enough, leaving many other choices preferable.
The F tier is just a few things that really don't seem to have a home in most builds.
- Drill ball fails to deliver on much simply because it can't generate combos. It can snag hard to reach skills or extra balls, but it's damage output only gets okay as the enemies get overwhelming but it doesn't do much to stop that swarm.
- Final charge doesn't combo strongly with anything, and the final shot is the most likely to get lost in a combo.
- Increasing your health does very little except potentially in high healing builds. However every other defensive skill is stronger.
- A 10% discount on combo doesn't make up for how weak combo builds are even if you're stacking a lot, the double effect in the higher tiers is significantly more effective for that.
Generally the F tier skills shouldn't be selected unless you have a strong preference or reason for using them.
While this list can be re-arranged based around other preferences, gear selections, etc. it is notable that with many options it's difficult to identify a clear location for some skills. It's worth acknowledging in that respect there is a pretty good balance to skill usage. However, it's also notable that the synergies between many skills is underwhelming at times, leaving little excitement for a specific arrangement of skills.