3rd Strike is inherently both unbalanced and balanced. You might ask, “WTF are you smoking?” but think of it this way.
The imbalances come from character design. It’s no joke that there are characters that dominate moreso than others and the chances of winning with these characters are far more in your favor as opposed to lesser characters; therein lies the imbalance.
However, the balance lies in the way the gameplay has developed. 3rd Strike requires the player to rely not just on “if A, then I should B”, but also a bit of creativity on the player’s part to overcome the inadequacies that a character may have. Case in point: the parry system (regarded as one of the five principles of 3rd Strike). The parry system allows the user the chance to reverse the situation at the risk of opening his guard. In this, the onus is placed moreso on the user to make the right decision as opposed to being truly reliant on a character’s inherent strengths and abilities. It’s like a bazooka going up against a pistol. Both have the potential to kill. A bazooka just has a better chance of doing it, but placed incorrectly, it’s ineffective.