sag

joined 10 months ago
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Hi everyone!

I recently finished the Completionist+ achievement (every deck beaten on every stake) after 119 hours played. I wanted to write a comprehensive guide to winning in this game (beating ante 8), as I don't think one exists. This guide is intended for those who have played a bit, so will assume you know the basics.

An Example of a Winning Build

As a preview for how to develop a winning build in Balatro, below is the High Card build that won my final gold stake (Black Deck).

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If you don't read any further in this guide, my biggest piece of advice would be to construct jokers similar to this. One joker focused on lots of chips, one or two jokers focused on +mult, and then jokers giving xmult. By getting all of your score from jokers, you don't need high scoring hands, which brings us to the next section...

The Flush Fallacy

Many newer players find themselves playing flush builds as their predominant strategy. This makes some sense; it's been mathematically proven that flushes are the highest expected value hand to play for at the start of a run, making flushes your typical ante 1 solver. Naturally, beginner players will keep playing this high value hand, looking for jokers to support it and Jupiters to scale it. Where does this fall apart?

There are 3 major issues with flush build:

  1. Flushes are hard to find. Without a seriously manipulated deck (or Checkered Deck), it's unlikely you'll be able to play 4 or even 3 flushes in a round. If you're reliant on flushes to score points, this can be problematic, becoming increasingly so on higher stakes. Blue Stake's -1 discard and Gold Stake's -1 hand size are obvious examples. Orange Stake's "booster packs cost $1 more per Ante" also hurts a lot as it's harder to buy Tarot packs to manipulate your deck towards a couple suits.
  2. Flushes are hard to scale. There are no jokers that scale specifically for playing flushes. The best way to scale a flush build is by finding Jupiters, which is up to variance outside of the telescope voucher (also hard to buy packs on Orange Stake+). Jokers that can scale with flushes such as Supernova (Adds the number of times poker hand has been played to Mult) are better scaled with an easier to find hand.
  3. Flushes are vulnerable to boss abilities. Besides the run killing All [suit] cards are debuffed bosses, there are many other bosses that can ruin your day. The Water, The Arm, The Eye, The Pillar, The Fish, and The House also all make it harder to score points with flushes.

So, if not with a flush build, what's the best way to score points?

Scaling is King

To start this section, I'll show my stats for total completed rounds per joker.

Scaling jokers are highlighted in red

As you may notice, 7/10 of these are scaling jokers, scaling either chips, +mult, or xmult. The other 3 are generic high tempo jokers (jokers that provide instant boosts to score), which should also be frequent purchases for any run. The top 4 here I believe to be, as common scaling jokers, the most important jokers in the game. Here's an overview of each:

  • Supernova (Adds the number of times poker hand has been played to Mult): Easy to scale if playing a High Card or Pair build since you will find these hands on every or nearly every turn. Can gain +4 mult a round with 4 hands, meaning +12 mult per ante, which can mean 50+ mult late in a run.
  • Green Joker (+1 Mult per hand played. -1 Mult per discard): If you're getting your score primarily from jokers, which a scaling joker helps reach, the discard side of this doesn't matter, since you can play any hand you see. Can also gain +4 mult a round.
  • Square Joker (Gains +4 Chips if played hand contains exactly four cards): The only common chip scaling joker, which is extremely important since we want at least one high chip joker. If you're getting your score primarily from jokers, playing only 4 cards doesn't matter. Can gain +16 chips a round with 4 hands, meaning +48 chips per ante, which can mean multiple hundreds late in a run.
  • Ride the Bus (+1 Mult for every hand played without a scoring face card. Resets to +0 Mult when a face card is scored): You probably know what I'm going to say here now. Good for the same reason as Green Joker, the downside doesn't matter for the same reason as Green Joker. Important to note that you can still play face cards as long as they don't score, such as with Ace high card or with any non-face pair.

Playing these jokers will naturally lead you to a build where you're scoring almost entirely from your jokers, which has many benefits over hand-based builds.

The Benefits of Scoring with Jokers

When people discuss the power of High Card/Pair builds, it may be confusing to those who primarily play high value hands, since these are the lowest scoring hands in the game! What they almost always mean are Joker-focused builds, using jokers such as those discussed above to score points. The benefits of a Joker build can be explained in contrast to the issues with a flush build.

  1. While flush hands can be hard to find, joker builds care little for the hand you play. When playing a high value hand build like flushes, you will often have "off turns" when you play hands that score almost nothing to look for your high value hand. Joker builds get to score a significant amount on every turn, avoiding the variance inherent to high value hand builds.
  2. While flush builds are hard to scale, joker builds scale naturally. The common scaling jokers come often and scale easily, helping you get the high scores needed to beat higher stakes.
  3. While flush builds are vulnerable to boss abilities, joker builds can usually ignore them. Clubs debuffed? All good, even if we play one of them, our jokers will score. Cards flipped over? All good, just play one or use a not-valuable discard if riding the bus or playing pairs. No discards? I think we'll be fine.

While there are some scoring jokers that care about what hand you play, there are more that either don't care or would be more effective with a easy to play hand. Some of the highlights are discussed below.

  • Stuntman (+300 Chips, -2 hand size): Potentially the best joker in the game and a gold stake player's best friend. Absurd amount of chips, which are premium, for a drawback that doesn't matter if we're scoring from jokers.
  • Half Joker (+20 Mult if played hand contains 3 or fewer cards): Provides the same amount of +mult as the "Played cards with [suit] give +4 mult when scored" jokers, but with a much easier condition. A very strong tempo joker that gives you runway to scale other jokers.
  • Ramen (Gives x2 Mult. Loses x0.01 Mult per card discarded): Will often just be x2 mult, since we usually don't need to discard.
  • Blackboard (x3 Mult if all cards held in hand are Spades or Clubs): You may think this is a flush build payoff, but it's much more effective in Joker build. You just play whichever red cards you have, and keep holding the black ones. Very powerful.
  • Card Sharp (x3 Mult if played poker hand has already been played this round): Benefits heavily from having an easy to play hand, spam High Card or Pair.

While all these jokers may sound great, with 150 total jokers in the game they can be hard to find. Sometimes you just won't/can't find them in a run, but you can increase your odds by prioritizing another key aspect to Balatro: money.

Don't Spend It All in One Place!

Balatro's interest system gives you +$1 at the end of every round for each $5 you have, up to +$5 in total interest. Getting money is crucial as it provides you multiple means of improving your build, via buying packs and buying/rolling for good jokers. It's important then to get as much money as possible, which means staying above the $25 needed to get full interest as long as you can. In the early rounds, you should really only buy high tempo (or premium scaling) jokers or maybe spectral packs until you're above that $25 mark. Side note that tarot packs are basically always great to buy (before Orange Stake) as long as they keep you above the $20 needed to get full value from The Hermit.

With strong enough tempo jokers early on, you can also buy good economy (money over time) jokers, helping you reach and stay above the $25 mark. Making money can also scale jokers directly through hoarding it for Bull (+2 Chips for each dollar you have) and/or Bootstraps (+2 Mult for every $5 you have). Some Jokers also scale by spending money, which are explored below. Note that these are usually only effective before Orange Stake.

  • Constellation (Gains x0.1 Mult per Planet card used): Will scale quite fast if you have money to buy Celestial packs and Planet cards.
  • Vampire (Gains x0.2 Mult per Enhanced card played. Removes the Enhancement): Scales well just from enhancements found in Tarot packs/cards in shop. Also extremely powerful when paired with enhancement providing jokers such as Vagabond or Midas Mask, giving Vampire use cases at Orange Stake+.
  • Campfire (This Joker gains x0.5 Mult for each card sold, resets when Boss Blind is defeated): Very good scaling by just using your money to buy & sell consumables or even jokers from the shop. Absurdly powerful with an engine like Vagabond to provide consumables. This one also has an argument for best joker in the game.
  • Hologram (Gains x0.25 Mult per playing card added to your deck): Scales well just with Playing Card packs. Also extremely powerful when paired with card adding jokers such as Marble Joker and DNA, giving Hologram use cases at Orange Stake+.
  • Fortune Teller (+1 Mult per Tarot card used this run): Scales well just buying Tarot Packs, especially since there are The Emperor and The Fool to provide multiple tarot cards in one.
  • Red Card (Starting at +0 Mult, gains +3 Mult when any Booster pack is skipped): The max interest of $5 basically covers one pack, and +3 mult a round is quite good scaling.
  • Flash Card (+2 Mult per reroll in the shop): A bit expensive, but can still be effective with good economy jokers and/or the reroll for $2 less voucher.

Conclusion

Despite this being titled a thorough guide, a truthfully thorough guide would necessitate much more discussion. The "Joker build" framework discussed above is just the most consistent way I've found to win the game, though it is far from the only way. In fact, one of my gold stake wins was on a flush build, even without Checkered Deck! I found Smeared Joker, Ancient Joker, and Brainstorm to copy Ancient Joker, breezing me through the antes. That is to say there is certainly room for flashier play than scaling Green Joker one hand at a time.

I'll throw a tier list of all 150 jokers here for fun, though don't take this too seriously. I'm much more confident in the analysis provided above than I am in my estimation of power levels of every single joker in a vacuum. These are ranked in the context of beating ante 8 consistently:

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Thanks for reading and good luck with your runs!

by u/BoomMD on Reddit

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Oopsie! (files.catbox.moe)
 
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submitted 3 hours ago* (last edited 3 hours ago) by [email protected] to c/[email protected]
 
 
[–] [email protected] 1 points 9 hours ago
 
548
submitted 1 day ago* (last edited 23 hours ago) by [email protected] to c/cat
 
[–] [email protected] 3 points 1 day ago

Also amazed me LOL

[–] [email protected] 4 points 1 day ago (1 children)
[–] [email protected] 5 points 1 day ago

Yea, OC made Jimbo as a anime girl.

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submitted 1 day ago* (last edited 1 day ago) by [email protected] to c/[email protected]
 

cross-posted from: https://lemm.ee/post/35229695

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"Jimbo" by Pompmaker (files.catbox.moe)
submitted 1 day ago* (last edited 1 day ago) by [email protected] to c/[email protected]
 
[–] [email protected] 4 points 1 day ago

Take me 16 tries to find today joker card. Also whenever stuck use balatro.wiki

 
[–] [email protected] 3 points 1 day ago (1 children)

Nope but I forgot the artist

[–] [email protected] 4 points 1 day ago (1 children)

This and Parents

 
[–] [email protected] 7 points 2 days ago* (last edited 2 days ago)

It's not bedrock edition. It's Windows edition

[–] [email protected] 1 points 3 days ago* (last edited 3 days ago)

Yep I know that but someone have to share the source code first. I know it's not piracy. I just share the source code because some people want to access but don't want to buy the game.

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