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First Strike Ability: A devastating missile strike targeting the largest bloon on screen, plus splash damage.
~ In-game description

First Strike Capability is the 4th upgrade for Path 2 for the Monkey Sub in Bloons TD 6. This upgrade grants an ability that deals up to 10,000 damage to the strongest bloon on screen, capable of fully annihilating any bloon up to ZOMGs or DDTs, or even BADs if in critical condition, along with a large explosion of blast radius 75 that deals 350 damage onto up to 80 bloons caught inside the blast radius. The First Strike Capability ability has a 60 second cooldown.

It costs $11,050 on Easy, $13,000 on Medium, $14,040 on Hard, and $15,600 on Impoppable.



First Strike Capability's main role in the game is to destroy large-health targets with its activated ability, which sends out a powerful missile onto the strongest bloon on screen. In practice, First Strike is primarily used to annihilate, or at least cripple, the Round 100 BAD. Timing of the ability is highly important, as a single use of the ability is capable of fully annihilating a BAD along with its insides if the BAD is at very low health when struck by the missile. Although primarily used against BADs, First Strike is also useful at fully annihilating spaced ZOMGs, even on CHIMPS Mode.


  • First Strike Capability is very useful to counter the Round 100 BAD (along with the Round 99 BAD in ABR) during the BAD's final stages.
    • A single First Strike activation can be either used to cripple the BAD or to cleanly kill the BAD.
      • To kill the BAD without any children, the player must wait until the BAD is weakened slightly after the last stage.
      • It is also to be noted that DDTs are undesired, in which case the ability can be activated earlier.
    • A double First Strike activation does the same thing as above, although it is easier to time and works with more strategies.
      • On longer maps, this can be done with one First Strike, but by buying either: another First Strike, Bloontonium Reactor or Energizer, this strategy can be carried over to shorter maps.
  • First Strike Capability costs $16710 ($350 + $485 + $325 + $1510 + $14040) on Hard Difficulty, so be sure to have around at least $16710 left over before Round 100 starts in CHIMPS Mode if buying one is desired.
    • Also, it's better not to wait until Round 100 to buy First Strike Capability. Readying it on rounds 98 or 99 is optimal.
  • Since the ability is not at all affected by crosspaths, First Strike Capability does not require crosspaths to function as a counter to high-HP blimps. If crosspath is needed, however, opt for whatever would be best for the Ballistic Missile attack.
  • First Strike Capability can be used to deal huge damage against earlier tiers of Bloonarius. However, it is ineffective at dealing with its children, as Bloonarius Minions are briefly immune to all attacks during their first few seconds of spawning, and the ability cannot be used to deal with spawned BADs due to the fixed Strong targeting always targeting Bloonarius.
  • Despite dealing huge damage, First Strike cannot bypass Gravelord Lych's skull health, which renders First Strike less useful until higher tiers.

Version History[]

Traditionally for handling bigger blimps, the First Strike is a popular option in BTD6 for this role. The ability gained a sizable cost decrease and can now penetrate blimp layers when the target's health is low enough, although it has gained a damage nerf added later on due to its single-target dominance in CHIMPS strategies. It remains a popular option for taking down big blimps especially BADs on Round 100.

  • Buff Price of First Strike Capability decreased ($20,000 → $13,000)
  • Buff No longer freezes the game when the ability hits a Black Bloon.
  • Buff First Strike Capability ability now can instakill all Bloons in explosion radius up to ZOMGs instead of just stripping them into children layers (specifically MOAB-class Bloons, BFBs and ZOMGs used to become MOABs upon ability impact). Also does an additional 350 damage to all bloons in its explosion radius.
  • Buff No longer crashes the game when the ability destroys a BAD.
  • Nerf First Strike Capability ability missile deals less damage (16,700 → 10,000)
  • Buff First Strike Capability's ballistic missiles can deal 2x more damage if nearby Sub Commander. Doesn't affect First Strike Capability ability missiles.
  • Buff First Strike Capability's base range increased (42 → 60)
  • Nerf First Strike Capability's ballistic missiles are now limited to base range, unless Advanced Intel is purchased.
  • Buff Adding Twin Guns increases ballistic missile rate from 1.5s to 1.275s
  • Buff Adding Airburst Darts increases ballistic missile rate from 1.5s to 0.75s
  • Buff Ballistic Missiles now deal more damage to Ceramics and MOABs (5 → 6)
  • Nerf First Strike Capability's Ballistic Missile range reduced from 60 → 50
  • Nerf First Strike Capability's 0-4-1 Ballistic Missile crosspath's fire rate reduced from 1.275 → 1.3125
  • Nerf First Strike Capability's 0-4-2 Ballistic Missile crosspath's fire rate reduced from 0.75 → 0.984375
  • Nerf First Strike Capability's x-4-x Ballistic Missile's splash should no longer hit Camo without Camo Detection
  • Change Description change to reflect the presence of splash damage in the ability.
    • Changed from "First Strike ability: A devastating missile strike on the largest Bloon on screen." to "First Strike Ability: A devastating missile strike targeting the largest bloon on screen, plus splash damage."
    • Undocumented in Patch Notes.
  • Buff First Strike Capability's Ballistic Missile attack now attacks faster (1.5s → 1.3s). Also affects crosspaths.
  • Change Affected by Ballistic Missile attack speed crosspathing reworks, slightly nerfed 0-3-2 but all other crosspaths attack faster
Ballistic Missile’s 230 crosspath has been in a confusing spot for a while where it functioned different to Advanced Intel, so it has been converted to function with Advanced Intel in the same way that any other Sub upgrade would. Additionally First Strike's secondary explosion has had its target count reduced slightly.
~ Ninja Kiwi
  • Change Affected by 2-3-0 Ballistic Missile range rework
  • Nerf First Strike ability secondary AoE pierce lowered from infinite -> 80
    • This "slightly" decreased target count written by NK is false. It was formerly infinite pierce.


When activating First Strike Capability:

  • [Launching]


Official artwork[]



  • The monkey piloting the submarine resembles Sean Connery acting as Marko Ramius in "The Hunt for Red October". Like the actor, the monkey wears a black ushanka and has a white beard.
  • On custom challenges where all Regrow Bloons are enabled, using the First Strike Capability ability such that a blimp spawns Regrow Bloons will cause all of those Regrow Bloons to only regrow back to the layer they become. This phenomenon happens with all other abilities that penetrate through multiple blimp layers.[1]