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Automatically triggers a powerful missile attack whenever MOAB-Class Bloon spawns [sic] from the Bloon entrance.
~ BTD6 description

Pre-Emptive Strike is the final upgrade for Path 2 for the Monkey Sub in Bloons TD 6. It automatically triggers a MOAB Assassin-esque effect whenever a MOAB-class bloon spawns from the entrance, dealing 750 damage to that blimp upon impact. In addition, its First Strike ability cooldown is reduced from 60 seconds to 45 seconds, initial cooldown from 20 seconds to 5 seconds, and its Ballistic Missile attack deals 10 damage plus another +15 to Ceramics and MOAB-class per missile and is shot every 0.368 seconds instead of every 1.105 seconds.

It costs $27,200 on Easy, $32,000 on Medium, $34,560 on Hard, and $38,400 on Impoppable.



Pre-Emptive Strike near-immediately deals damage to any blimp entering the screen, no matter how many of them. In addition, its missiles dealing high damage make it acceptable at cleaning up after spawning a lot of Super Ceramics. Sub Commander combined with Pre-Emptive Strike is an acceptable combo on easier maps, destroying DDTs while providing damage to other bloons. However, it can struggle against ZOMG-dense rounds, though with a faster First Strike ability this weakness is partially offsetted.


  • Each missile deals 750 damage, enough to destroy the outer layer of a non-freeplay MOAB, a DDT and a BFB. Note that it leaves the children unharmed.
    • Starting Round 83, normal BFBs are no longer instantly popped.
  • The triggered special missiles can be fired at an infinite fire rate, always shooting a missile at every MOAB-class bloon that spawns from the entrance.
  • Note that the Pre-Emptive Strike missiles will not be able to fully pop Fortified DDTs and Fortified BFBs, since the Fortified DDTs on round 99 have 1,104 health each and Fortified BFBs have healths ranging from 1,500 to 1,902 depending on the round.
    • If boosted by a Sub Commander, the Pre-Emptive Strike missiles will fully pop the Fortified DDTs on round 99. However, that's no longer enough to fully pop even an ordinary DDT by round 138 (which is mostly Fortified DDTs).
  • Regardless of camo detection, Pre-Emptive Strike will still shoot triggered special missiles to DDTs that come from the entrance.
  • Although the Pre-Emptive Strike is extremely powerful at obliterating MOABs that spawn from the entrance, there may be a lot of Ceramics that spawn underneath. Ensure your defense can handle the Ceramics underneath, especially on Rounds 81+.
  • Pair with Sub Commander for far more effective Pre-Emptive Strike demolition. With double damage for the passive ability, it can take out the Fortified DDTs on Round 99 with ease, assuming standard blimp health.
  • The better crosspath for Pre-Emptive doesn't matter much, as its main strength comes from its automatic pre-emptive missile attacks. But if a crosspath is warranted, try the 0-5-2 crosspath for improved attack speed for the improved close-range missile attacks or the 2-5-0 crosspath if bloons are often outside of the Pre-Emptive Strike's range.

Version History[]

When first released in the game, it was one of the most reliable options for stripping down ordinary DDT layers in late-game. With many other anti-DDT alternatives becoming viable later on as updates went by, Pre-Emptive Strike received a few additional price cuts and attack buffs in following updates to compete in its expertise.

  • Buff Missile fire rate increased (2s → 0.5s)
  • Buff Price reduced ($40,000 → $35,000)
  • Nerf First Strike Capability ability missile deals less damage (16,700 → 10,000)
  • Buff Pre-Emptive Strike price reduced from $35,000 to $32,000
  • Buff Pre-Emptive Strike ability cooldown reduced from 60s to 45s
  • Buff [undocumented] Pre-Emptive Strike initial cooldown reduced from 20s to 5s
  • Buff Pre-Emptive Strike's ability missiles and ballistic missiles can deal 2x more damage if affected by Sub Commander buff. Doesn't affect First Strike Capability ability missiles.
  • Buff Pre-Emptive Strike base range increased (42 → 60)
  • Nerf Pre-Emptive Strike ballistic missiles are now limited to base range, unless Advanced Intel is purchased.
  • Buff Adding Twin Guns increases ballistic missile rate from 0.5s to 0.425s
  • Buff Adding Airburst Darts increases ballistic missile rate from 0.5s to 0.25s
  • Nerf Pre-Emptive Strike's Ballistic Missile range reduced from 60 → 50
  • Nerf Pre-Emptive Strike's 0-5-1 Ballistic Missile crosspath's fire rate reduced from 0.425 → 0.4375
  • Nerf Pre-Emptive Strike's 0-5-2 Ballistic Missile crosspath's fire rate reduced from 0.25 → 0.328125
  • Nerf Pre-Emptive Strike's x-5-x Ballistic Missile's splash should no longer hit Camo without Camo Detection
  • Change x5x Pre-Emptive Strike description "reworded as the effect is very different to 'MOAB Assassin'"
  • Change Corrected a typo for Pre-emptive Strike's description, where "missile" was mispelt as "missle".
Ballistic Missile previously had far too much attack speed added into the crosspath and was rebalanced for parity, but the overall performance loss from this was too much. Better balance will come from the base rate of Ballistic Missile itself.
~ Ninja Kiwi, referring to Ballistic Missile
  • Buff Attack speed for Pre-Emptive Strike increased (0.5s → 0.433s), indirectly by the Ballistic Missile attack speed buff.
    • Buff 0-5-1: 0.4375s → 0.379166667s
    • Buff 0-5-2: 0.328125s → 0.284375s
As Airburst Darts alone already gives a huge benefit to the tower regardless of not applying any crosspath buff, some of the attack speed benefit this upgrade gave to 032 Ballistic Missile has instead been moved into the base 030 Missile.
~ Ninja Kiwi
  • Buff 0-5-0 Pre-Emptive's Ballistic Missile missile attack delay reduced from 0.433s -> 0.368s
  • Nerf 0-5-2 Pre-Emptive's Ballistic Missile missile rate buff reduced from 0.75x attack cooldown to 0.90x attack cooldown
    • Nerf Overall 0-5-2 Pre-Emptive's Ballistic Missile attack cooldown increased (0.284s --> 0.290s)
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 Affected by First Strike Capability ability missile pierce nerf
Increasing the strength of the basic Ballistic Missile attack on the Pre-Emptive Strike sub, so that it can bring a little more to the table after the initial single hit on each spawn.
~ Ninja Kiwi
  • Buff Pre-Emptive Strike missile damage increased from 1 → 10
  • Buff Pre-Emptive Strike missile ceramic damage increased from +10 → +15
  • Buff Pre-Emptive Strike missile MOAB damage increased from +10 → +15


When activating First Strike Capability:

  • [Launching]


Official artworks[]



  • This upgrade is one of four x/5/x upgrades to keep the same ability as the preceding upgrade, the others being the Druid, Spike Factory and the Heli Pilot.
  • This upgrade is one of the few Tier 5 upgrades to have multiple appearances from crosspathing. It will have a second gun if there are any upgrades on the bottom path.
  • This, Carpet of Spikes, Bomb Blitz, Elite Defender, Legend of the Night and Commanche Defense are the only upgrades that have automatic abilities. (Pre-Emptive Strike with its triggered missiles, Carpet of Spikes with its periodical Spike Storms, Bomb Blitz with its global destruction when bloons leaked, Elite Defender with its x4 attack speed when bloons leaked, Legend of the Night with its black hole, and Commanche Defense calling backup Comanches)
    • However, it can be seen as an attack especially since it has no cooldown.
      • The latter three's passive abilities are affected by Energizer, but Pre-Emptive Strike does not get affected.
  • Before Version 20.0, the description for Pre-Emptive Strike was "Automatically triggers a MOAB Assassin effect whenever MOAB-Class Bloon spawns from the Bloon entrance" but was changed to "triggers a powerful missle attack" with the typo. This spelling error was officially fixed by NK themselves in the game by Version 21.0.