Introduction / Fundamentals / Dash / Cut / Wind / Ghost / Shoot / Poke / Nest / Pulse / Leech / Stim / Corp



At first brush, Stim might seem a relatively useless power. Unlike most, it does not grant you new abilities, but merely augments those you already possess. It cannot be used right away. Once used, you will lose the ability to use it again for a long time. The act of charging it risks losing points to your opponent. Even when active, it's doubled speed is still not enough to outrun the attacker while holding the ball inside a zone. Despite all these deficiencies, however, I contend that Stim is one of the best powers in the game.

Stim's charging-up bears a lot of similarity to leech, but several key differences distinguish the two. To begin with, instead of becoming stunned upon block, Stim simply concedes a small amount of points to the opponent.

Leech and Stim will lose a roughly equivalent amount of points when blocked, but I'd argue that the Leech player experiences a certain extra mental/emotional damage from being stunned. A blocked leech can easily put the leecher on tilt while the defender gets a moment to breathe and collect themselves. Stim, however, endures no stun, and may catch the opponent off guard by stealing or charging again immediately following a block.

Leech and Stim also significantly differ in their interactions with the shield resource. Leech converts shield into points and therefore requires some amount of shield to continue leeching. Stim, however, does not. Once the opponent wastes their shield, Leech can only steal, but Stim can continue charging up. While Leech simply gains possession from an empty shield, Stim gains full charge, for free.

The threat of Stim gaining a full charge may be enough to dissuade certain opponents from using their final shield at all. Depending on how much they fear your active stim, some opponents may opt to never use that last sliver, as the maximum payoff could never outweigh the cost. When the defender first picks up the ball, they receive about 3 blocks-worth of shield. In effect, the presence of an uncharged Stim deters such players from using an entire third of their shield. Whenever the defender is low on shield, moreover, charging Stim in short bursts is especially effective. Shorter taps allow you slowly fill your charge while simultaneously baiting the defender into spending their final shield. The less time spent charging/stealing, the less likely a block is to connect. It takes only a single missed block, at this point, to give you full charge and possession of the ball.

Once you fully charge Stim, when do you activate it? Any time spent with full charge allows your opponent to use the final 1/3 of their shield without worry. Naturally, then, you should activate Stim as soon as possible. However, should you activate while the opponent still possesses the ball, some charge will be wasted trying to gain possession. Activating immediately after stealing avoids this, but risks your opponent waking up before your activation animation finishes and reclaiming the ball (Dash, in particular). Additionally, if the ball bounces off a wall following a steal, the defender's chance of reclaiming it increases due to the shorter distance they must travel (thanks, Geometry).

After stealing, I like to move as close to the ball as possible before activating Stim. Doing so forces the opponent to route around me when trying to rest the ball, lest they risk pushing me into it.

While stimming, your movement speed with the ball will be slower than the attacker while over a zone, but faster off zone. Even while in-zone, however, you should focus on juking and out-maneuvering your opponent. Waste time running back and forth across zone in unpredictable patterns. B-charge as much as you feel comfortable with. Your doubled speed allows you to spend more time gathering points passively, and your doubled point accumulation speed rewards you more for doing so. Block only if absolutely necessary to retain possession of the ball. Most of the points you gather here should be through passive accumulation. When possible, defend by moving out or range instead of blocking. Retaining more shield will allow you to move faster (a little known quirk of BOTOLO), which will always benefit Stim.

During Stim's activation animation, it is still possible to steal. However, your steal will last as long as the animation itself. Should you initiate the steal a few frames before the animation's end, you will be able to have steal lasting only a few frames. This is fairly useless, however, as the opponent has ample time to predict and block your steal or, more simply, move away from you.

Before the end of this section, I'd also like to briefly mention an anti-stim technique. (sorry, Stim players) When you possess the ball against stim, your goal should generally be to run down the timer, rather than to accumulate points. You should play much in the same way Stim does: retreat-heavy and hesitant to block. This philosophy extends even to the time immediately following a steal. Wait as long as you can before picking up the ball, since Stim will be able to move again as soon as you grab it. Any time Stim cannot use its double speed is time in your favor.

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