Are you tired of dying five minutes in as a blob? Do you suffer from extreme choice paralysis when you open up the strain reroll window? Do you just have it turned off completely due to not being able to handle stress? Well suffer no more, as I’m going to share some of my strategic genius with you in order to improve your blob gameplay, and hopefully get you to the greentexts you deserve.
First of all, I want to establish what this guide is going to be about. This is not going to be some in-depth look at the mechanics or something, for a few reasons. First reason is that blob code is supposedly very wacky and some things that are supposed to work don’t, which makes trying to talk about it a real problem. Second of all, I’m not a nerd, if you want to learn about that stuff go ask some coder or something, they don’t have much going on so I’m sure they will get back to you quickly. Additionally, this isn’t a beginners guide for blob, the guide on the tg wiki is good enough for that. So, I’m operating off the assumption that you have played blob before and know what buttons or things I’m talking about. This guide is about STRATEGY, CUNNING, and above all, WINNING. You want to win in SS13, right? Well, you are on the right track.
THE DYNAMIC OF BLOB AS A GAMEMODE
Blob is a very unique antag, and nothing else in the game really captures the same dynamic that the gamemode brings. Therefore, excelling at blob also requires a unique understanding. So, what is the blob gamemode? And no, I don’t mean what it literally is, I mean on a conceptual level. Essentially, blob is one person playing an RTS game, versus many people playing SS13. This is how you need to think about the game, not that you are playing some antag, you ARE the gamemode. This dynamic offers many advantages and disadvantages to both sides, which I will list briefly here:
THE RTS PLAYER, AKA THE BLOB
+Situational awareness, AI-camera style.
+Excellent Coordination, with spores being commanded NPCs(most of the time) and blobbers having instant comms with the overmind. (note that in the current repo spores are broken and won’t respond to rally commands, as of 3/7/21)
+Not affected by most hazards in the game (atmos, oxygen, ambient heat, poison, stam damage, etc.)
±Like a true RTS game, requires resources to do anything.(This can be a benefit and a detriment, as the blob uses a single resource pool to do everything, unlike the crew, who need a myriad of sometimes unavailable resources to do things. However, the single resource pool also means the blob often has to focus everything in one place at a time.)
-Can get overwhelmed when having to defend multiple nodes at once.
-Liable to be caught early on through what is essentially random chance.
-Strains are made available at random, meaning that you may be stuck with less than optimal strain choices.
-Success heavily relies on the round time due to research progression (aka does the crew have particle beams yet).
-Can’t hear sound, making it difficult to figure out what the crew is planning.
THE SPACEMEN, AKA THE CREW
+Potentially dozens of people working together against only 1 opponent.
+Access to the entirety of the station’s resources.
+Crew who know blob strains will be able to quickly direct others on how to counter the blobs current strain.
+Able to use the collective brainpower of the entire station in order to formulate plans.
+Have access to ranged weaponry.
+Value is much more spread out (1 dead greytider is not a huge loss).
-The crew often relies on a few important figures to organize their resources and lead the fight, which if killed, can severely hinder the ability of the crew to fight effectively.
-Crew are clumsy/dumb, and may often get themselves or others killed, and otherwise hinder the effort to kill the blob. (may shoot welding tanks by accident, shoot others in the back, use a flamethrower, etc.)
-Vulnerable to environmental hazards such as breaches and ambient heat.
-Crew are unreliable, and will often run to pods to escape if the situation is beginning to look poorly to escape alive with their metafriends.
-If the shuttle is docked, you can expect half the crew to sit around waiting for it to launch, and wait until even after the timer expires and it postpones.
-Crew are vulnerable to getting cut off, flanked, or otherwise spooked off by the various tricks a blob can pull.
-Crew are reliant on the supply of medicine, food, rechargers, and welders in order to keep fighting effectively.
-Crew relies on safe zones to set up emitters, recharge their guns and heal, which are vulnerable to being overrun by the blob.
STAGE 1: PLANNING AND PREPARATION
I want you to visualize yourself playing a blob. Close your eyes, and try to make a mental image of you winning. What was missing from that image? That’s right, its the location it was in. Before you get to playing as a blob, you need to figure out WHERE your masterminded victory over the crew is going to take place. Now, while its true that there are some interesting strategies on starting positions, (think SM blob), 9/10 times you are going to want to start somewhere in maint. This is for a few reasons: Reason 1 being that maint is the most isolated place on the station, and will give you longest time(on average) of peace before you are found. The second reason is that maint is narrow and has many turns, which plays to your benefit, as crew will be funneled down the tunnels to fight you instead of using the full space of medbay, for example. However, this doesn’t mean you want to cramp yourself in as tiny a space as possible, as this will restrict your growth potential and overall speed at which you can build nodes. The key is to strike a balance between defensiveness and space to grow when choosing a spot. Another thing I forgot to mention the first time around is that you DO NOT want to have your core easily exposed to space. This is because it is comically easy to set up an emitter in space that will be difficult to kill without a blobber. This is all well and good, but not every map is made equal. So, I’ve made a short list of maps in common rotation which I feel are the best for blobs to play on.
Helio is MASSIVE. So massive in fact, that the chance anyone comes to your little corner of maint is drastically lower than on any other station. Helio has huge maints, too-giving you a ton of space to spread out and grow by the time the crew organizes against you.
Delta and Meta are about the same, however Delta is a bit better due to a larger concentration of spacious maint areas near the abandoned bar, and the fact that that area of maint is also less traveled than its equivalent on meta.
4.Boxstation- Box is the smallest of the maps here, which is why it ranks lowest on this list. The chance of being found on box is much higher than on other maps, and while there are some good locations in maint to start, maint on box is often never too far away from the walls of a department, which is not ideal.
???. Icebox- I can’t really rank Icebox, because I haven’t played blob on it yet, and it has several unique qualities that make me skeptical of just lumping it in with normal box. For example, the way blob interacts with different z levels and the fact that the outside is solid ground is unclear. However, much of icebox is identical to box, and so it is possible that you could play on icebox the same way you would on box, but I can’t say for sure.
Keep these ideas in mind while choosing your location, and you are already doing better than 80% of blobs.
STAGE 2: GETTING STARTED
Your opening moves as blob are the most important thing you will do, and can often decide the round. The first thing you should do before you spawn is look at your strain. In days past, all blobs started out as Reactive Spines, which is why when you think of a blob, you think of the color green. Nowadays, its randomized. All strains can have some use for a strategy, but some are clearly superior to others. To help in explaining this, I’ve made a tierlist of blob strains. Note that this tierlist is not definitive (despite the fact the guide is named “Ultimate Blob Meta Guide”), and others may have different ideas on how to rank the strains. If you want to make one yourself, I’ve included a link to the tiermaker at the end of this guide.
In this section, I will go over each strain and the reason for its placing, starting from the top tiers.
Regen Materia is definitely the best blob strain in my opinion, useful in any scenario. It has an ability which is unique among other strains, that being its extra resource point generated from the core. Now, this may not seem that significant, but early game resources will be hard to come by, and getting that extra bonus from the start is a massive boost. Additionally, toxin damage is generally difficult to treat by the nature of healing during a blob fight, and you would be surprised how many people are fooled by the health display trick. Importantly, it also has no special weaknesses that can be exploited by the crew.
Cryo Poison is another excellent choice for blob strain. The amount of toxins it injects per hit is no joke, and the slowdown from being cold can easily allow you to cut off and kill crewmembers who attack you. Also, this strain has no special weaknesses, like Regen Materia. (you may notice a pattern at this point).
Reactive Spines seems like a basic pick for strain, no fancy toxins, no sparkly effects. However, reactive spines has a very powerful ability which you may not pick up on upon first glance-the fact that it “lashes out” at anything near it when hit in melee. This ability is important because, as I will expand upon further in the guide, it saves resources. Attacking costs resources, and having an automatic blob attack whenever you get hit allows you to save resources instead of using them defending yourself. Also, its got no weaknesses.
The clown’s favorite, pressurized slime’s main gimmick is spreading water everywhere when a blob is killed. Now, this may not seem powerful, but the term water is a bit deceiving, as this “water” is more like space lube than water you use to slip sec during a chase. It can’t be avoided by walking, can slip you several tiles, (usually headfirst into the blob), keeps you downed for a while, and lasts a LONG time. Additonally, it deals stam damage, which can actually be very useful for making players think their health is lower than it actually is, causing them to turn tail and run. It also has 50% brute resistance, which is usually not very useful as everyone uses welders anyway, but it is better than nothing. And, you guessed it, it has no special weaknesses.
Networked Fibers is a radically different strain then the others, as it breaks the mold of blob being immobile by giving the blob the ability to move its core to adjacent tiles, at the cost of its ability to expand automatically. This is a big deal, and is the reason why I personally don’t like this strain. However, I put it in A-tier because I know that there are some who can absolutely dominate with this strain. The upside is that the blob is ridiculously strong in combat, and can easily kill. Additonally, its nodes produce extra resources rather than expanding, which can make the blob very rich if it survives long enough.
The first strain with a specific weakness on this list, EJelly offers an equally specific playstyle mainly focused around stamcritting people and then overrunning them for the kill. This strain does 30 stam damage per hit, which means it can quickly stamcrit someone, which makes them as good as dead for your purposes. This strain takes burn damage from EMPs, but this is so rarely used that it may as well not exist at all. The most interesting thing about this strain is how its special bonus is being immune to tesla. While thats cool, it has got to be the most specific and unused thing out of all blobs. I guess when the round comes that there is a tesloose, you will be able to pull this ace in hole, and everyone in dchat will go crazy.
Synchronous Mesh/Shifting Fragments-
These two strains share the same functionality, so I’ve included them in the same section. Essentially, Synch Mesh spreads and deals damage according to the amount of blobs nearby, which can be useful for nuking single targets when they get too cocky, and spreading damage out and thereby increasing survivability for blob tiles. Shifting fragments has a similar spreading out effect, as blobs will switch out for a nearby blob when hit, effectively spreading the damage done by someone out over several blobs. Synch Mesh does have a weakness, but it is important to remember that “Fire” damage is NOT the same as “Burn” damage, and fire is rarely(if the crew is smart) used against a blob, so this is mostly irrelevant.
Distributed is another special playstyle choice, mostly tailored to the “spore horde” strategy I will explain later in the guide. Ghost controllable spores, sometimes spawning weak spores when killed, and more blob zombies mean that you will most likely not need many blobbers when playing this strain.
Definitely the coolest looking strain, this unfortunately did not translate into viability. Although Explosive has some powerful traits, such as suicide bombing spores and explosions, it suffers from its main weakness, extra vulnerability to fire. The reason that it isn’t lower on the tier list is that often times using fire is just as dangerous to the crew as an explosive lattice blob, and can then lead to further benefits down the line.
Another cool sounding strain, Blazing oil has a powerful ability but suffers terribly from its main weakness. Blazing oil will set things on fire, and while this is very powerful, the same tool used to put out these fires will be the tool used to kill the blob-a fire extinguisher. Yes, this blobs deadly weakness is water, one of the most common things on the station.
Replicating Foam has the same issue has Blazing Oil, but even worse. It doesn’t have a cool attack ability, merely being able to “Expand when burned”. While this is cool to have when you are getting attacked with welders, it comes at the cost of severe vulnerability to brute damage, and while water at least requires an extinguisher to use effectively, every crew member has fists, or a crowbar, or a fire extinguisher, or a bat, etc. As soon as you switch, people will switch too, and then you are dead.
Oh electro blob, where do I start? This blob has a VERY good main bonus, which creates a fairly powerful emp whenever a tile is killed, and sometimes upon hitting an enemy, and is pretty robust on its own damage wise. However, this comes at a STEEP cost. 25% more burn damage suffered, and a whopping FULL brute damage suffered. This makes the blob incredibly fragile to where even toolbox attacks can best it, and will quickly lead to its death if this strain is chosen. The only scenarios where I would condone the usage of the EMP blob is if the main strength of the crew is in borgs, mechs, or if all the crew have nanites you can emp to paralyze them. Otherwise, just steer clear of this one.
And finally, the worst ranked strain, debris devourer. Despite its cool concept, the mechanics behind absorbing the items and stuff don’t really work, and this essentially leaves Debris Devourer as basically useless. Even if it did work properly, its ability isn’t even that good on its own. Because of this, Debris Devourer is solidly at the bottom of the list, and I highly recommend you never touch it until it is reworked significantly.
Once you have selected a strain, its time to start playing blob. Your opening move should ALWAYS be this:
Create a resource blob next to your core,
Save for a factory blob,
Expand outward, place a new node,
STAGE 3: ACTUALLY PLAYING THE GAME
This pattern should be what you are doing the entire game. The variation comes in the form of what the crew will do to try and stop you-namely, killing you.
Fighting the crew is obviously your main task, and so it is of the utmost importance that you understand the truth of what is going on behind the scenes of the fight. Playing as a blob is very simple-everything is mathematics. EVERYTHING you do costs resources, and having none means certain death, while having enough to expand means certain victory. After expanding before you are found out, your greatest expense will be defending yourself against the crew, as every attack and movement with your blob tiles cost resources. This is why factories are so vital-spores are produced for free, and can tie down the crew instead of needing you to attack with your blob, saving you precious resources. Winning as blob can be simply boiled down to a math equation, i>e=w. Here, i is income, e is expenditure, and w stands for, well, the W.
Generally, you should be expanding with new nodes whenever possible, but sometimes you may need to save up a large reserve of resources to spend in one big move to counter or attack the crew to give you some breathing room. A good example of this are tackling emitters. Emitters are absolutely lethal to blobs, as they will continue to chip away at you until either you are dead, or its a pile of scrap. If you have the resources, you can rapidly expand up to the emitter and destroy it. However, there is a more efficient way:blobbers. Blobbers are super useful because they, unlike spores, have agency, and unlike you, can move freely. Blobbers can be sent to destroy emitter setups, but are expensive, so doing this without backing them up can be very risky. Once you get to about 3 fully built up nodes with a factory and resource blob, you will be in a much more comfortable position than before. Whenever possible, you should be trying to surround crew with blob tiles in order to trap them, making them easy kills. This can be done more easily in tight spaces, as there is less ground you need to block up. Keep expanding in the pattern, keep fighting off the crew, and you will slowly progress to the late game.
STAGE 4: ENDGAME
If you have gotten to this point, congratulations! Very few blobs get this far. Don’t celebrate yet though, as its still not over. At this point, resources should start being less of a concern for you, and you are at about 300 blob tiles, just 100 more from victory. At this point, reaching 400 should be your main concern, and you should focus your resources on expanding wherever possible. Don’t neglect defense against the crew though, as one guy with a welder who goes unnoticed for a few minutes can easily dash your dreams of greentexting. Once you reach 400, take a deep breath-you did it. You won Space Station 13. In a short time the round will be over, with your name displayed next to big green text. Pat yourself on the back-blob is one of the hardest antags in the game, and most die within a few minutes.
Short Section on Strategy
There are two main schools of thought of how a blob should organize its strategy-“blobber heavy” and “spore heavy”. Blobber heavy posits that a blob should focus more on making blobbers from its factories to use as more robust defenders than spores. Spore heavy is the opposite, believing in the power of the mass swarm of spores to drive off attackers. Both these are not absolutes though, and exist on a spectrum, making variation possible in any case.
This is definitely the longest thing I’ve ever written in SS13, so if you made it through this wall of text, then thanks, and congrats on having this long of an attention span. I want to point out again that I’m sure others will have ideas or disagreements with me, and so I encourage you to leave a comment on the post to make the guide more complete. And of course, here is the tier list link I promised:
Thanks for reading, and good luck blob boys!