Hello members of SquidBoards, my name is Silver. I've seen a few guides on here about using a specific brush and those mostly talk about using said brush in a general sense. I'm here to provide a guide on how to use each brush in each of the ranked modes. I've been asked a few times how I handle the short range of the brush and how I still manage to do decently in ranked so I'm here to provide what I know and maybe it'll result in more brush users in ranked.
Brushes are pretty short ranged weapons. The two Inkbrushes have the shortest range in the game and the Octobrush only takes that range two steps up which is enough to out range some weapons like the Luna Blaster but the weapon is still very short ranged. A major skill needed to be a good brush user is stealth. Mastering stealth will allow you to undo that short range your weapon has. If you can sneak up on people and get the jump on them, then it's an easy splat for you. Inkbrushes also have great damage which is there to make up for the short range. Once you're up close it's actually fairly easy to kill with a brush it's just getting close is one of the biggest walls in being a brush.
Meet the Brushes
Roll Damage: 20
Splash Damage: 28
Roll Damage: 20
Splash Damage: 28
Sub: Ink Mine
Roll Damage: 25
Splash Damage: 37
Sub: Squid Beakon
Brush in Ranked
This is the part you viewed this guide for. This section will cover each ranked mode and strats and tips for each of the brushes in said ranked mode.
Inkbrush - The normal Inkbrush is probably one of the better ones to use for Splat Zones. Sprinklers will become your best friends when you learn good spots for them on each of the maps. A Sprinkler not only is good for charging a special but it's also good for assisting in maintaining the zone. I suggest going into recon mode and trying to find tricky spots on the map near the zone that will allow you to keep it there out of enemy fire but close enough to annoy them. As for the Inkstrike, I don't have to tell anyone how good Inkstrikes are. Maps with small zones, often maps with two zones to them (Port, Towers, Heights), a single Inkstrike is enough to take control of the zone or put it in neutral. The zones on Towers are small enough to be taken by a single Inkstrike. When it comes to zones that are too big to be captured by a single strike, try to aim your Inkstriek as close to the center of the zone as you can. I often see teams flock the center of the zone so if you Inkstrike the center, they will break out and it will make it easier to pick them off.
Inkbrush Nouveau - The Nouveau sadly is a bit of a downgrade when it comes to brushes in zones. The Nouveau comes with Ink Mine and Bubbler. When your team is in control of the zone, find spots where the enemy often comes from. Placing an Ink Mine in the path they usually travel will often give them away or outright kill them. Placing Ink Mines in areas where the enemy is forced to go due to lack of other space such as the pathways on Port or the bottom of the ramps on Underpass will also result in some good defense. It's also a good idea to place mines in the middle of smaller zones as they will explode and most likely put the zone in neutral. As for the Bubbler, it's gotten a pretty big nerf since 1.0.0 and for those unaware, this nerf basically makes it so if you are being shot at, you will receive some knockback. The Kraken was also given this nerf but I'll get into that later. However, despite the knockback a Bubbler is still good for charging in. If you find yourself in a tight spot and the enemy may be close to getting a KO or if they are just close to taking the zone from you, pop on your Bubbler and go in. A Bubbler will provide you adequate cover and will allow you to enter the zone and splash about. There have been games where I've jumped into the zone, bubbled and took control and stopped a knockout. Nothing feels better than preventing a knockout at the last possible second. Playing tag with your team will also allow them to join in the assault in the zone.
Octobrush - My personal favorite, the Octobrush is often seen as the support brush as it comes with Squid Beakons rather than any form of bomb. Your first priority in every game of Splat Zones is to place down beakons. You want to make sure all 3 of your beakons are always down. You'll also want to make sure they are as close to the zone as possible without being too obvious. Last thing you need is for a teammate to go down, jump to your beakon and an enemy notices it before they land. This will often result in another death that could have easily been avoided. Some maps have good cover inside the zone itself that will provide good cover for your beakons. A good example of this is Depot. The walls that make up a + symbol in the middle are a great place for your beakons. Just make sure they are on the side closest to your base and not the enemy's. Now for the Kraken. Like I said the Kraken also got a nerf after the first patch. But even with that the Kraken is still something people will fear. A Kraken is a good way to clear out the zone and if the enemy thinks they are clever enough to stay and die, then you get some free spots of ink inside the zone. You'll want to make sure you hold onto a Kraken though, don't go wasting them just to clear out a zone. Go into the zone, start splashing around and if you find yourself in a questionable situation then you can go into Kraken and maybe remove the people who were after you. This will also allow you to escape harm.
Inkbrush - Tower Control, the hardest mode for a brush. Rollers and brushes suffer a bit in Tower Control as the pole on the tower can push you off if you get to happy with your swings. The pole provides some knockback when hit but it's only obvious to rollers and brushes. Sprinklers in Tower Control are best served as a way to charge your special. A good trick to keep people away from the tower for a bit is to place a Sprinkler on the tower itself. This not only makes the enemy stop to break it so they won't die to it but will also give you a few more points towards your special. But for the most part, keep a sprinkler in an area not covered by any ink or in an area covered by the enemy. Now Inkstrikes are actually more useful in Tower Control then they are given credit for. If the enemy is currently on the tower, you can just place an Inkstrike in the path of the tower and watch all of the enemies jump off. Only the crazy would stay on and try to survive the attack. In some maps like Camp, a well placed Inkstrike would sometimes result in not only the enemy ditching the tower but will have them falling into the water. Near the end of the tower's path on Camp Triggerfish, there is little room to make a jump back onto the map and escape a strike.
Inkbrush Nouveau - A much better brush for TC. Ink Mines serve a better purpose in TC than they do in zones. You'll want to make sure a mine is always on the tower. The amount of times I've placed a mine on the tower, get killed then the mine killing them is hilarious. A mine on the tower will often catch people of guard. Even if people notice it, they will attempt to do a very careful jump away from the tower and pull back to avoid bombs but the mine's explosion will get them if they don't get this tight jump off the tower. Bubblers also play much bigger role in TC as they will allow you to keep your push going. If you are only a few points away from that KO or you're just trying to maintain it anywhere, a Bubbler is a good way to keep the push going. Once your Bubbler is up, you can either jump off the tower and get the jump on your enemy or you can position yourself on the tower so the knockback from being hit will only push you into the pole of the tower. If you're in a public match, it's a good idea to say "Come on!" (To me!) a few times to assist your teammates by giving them a bubble as well.
Octobrush - Due to the goal of the mode constantly moving, planning where to place a beakon is a little harder. You'll always want to keep at least one beakon near the tower's neutral spot. Another good tip when it comes to beakons in TC is if you're on the tower and the enemy has a charger, placing beakons alongside the pole of the tower will actually create a small wall to protect you for a bit. For some reason most charger shots are stopped when they hit a beakon meaning the shot will have a lower chance of hitting you if you've got the beakon wall up and going. Unfortunately this will only allow you to get a few extra points in as you won't have enough time to rebuild your wall before the charger prepares his/her next attack. Krakens also serve a similar purpose. Much like Bubblers mentioned prior, you want to position yourself as a Kraken on the tower so the knockback will only push you into the pole. This trick is easier for Krakens as they have a larger hitbox and it's easier for them to get stuck on the tower. It's a good idea to get yourself into this position prior to using your Kraken. If the enemy catches you as a Kraken trying to set that up, they will most likely push you off before you get positioned.
Inkbrush - Ah Rainmaker, the best mode to be a brush. Due to the nature of the Inkbrush it's very easy for you to out-damage enemy weapons. Brushes are high damage, low range weapons and when the target is not moving like the shield, it's very easy to hit it. So if the Rainmaker's shield is up, don't be afraid to jump in and compete alone. Well, unless they have a blaster or charger. Then it might be a little harder to out-damage them. Sprinklers are also helpful for breaking the shield as they will act as sort of a half teammate. The damage of the sprinkler isn't high enough for it to take the shield on alone but it's enough to help you hold off the enemy till your team comes to your aid. As for Inkstrikes, a single strike can break the shield so hold onto an Inkstrike until your team loses the Rainmaker. If they get killed while holding it then the whole enemy team flocks the shield, just send an Inkstrike their way. It'll break the shield and maybe kill a few in the process. Another thing that makes the brush shine in Rainmaker is the fact that while the enemy is holding the Rainmaker, their speed is reduced making it easier for you to keep them in your range as you attack. This makes the range thing less of an issue assuming the enemy isn't rocking some swim speed up.
Inkbrush Nouveau - Ink Mines aren't really too helpful in Rainmaker sadly. There is a neat little thing you can do with them though. If the enemy has the Rainmaker, just place a mine on the Rainmaker's pedestal in your base. That way while the enemy is in the middle of the scoring animation, the mine will trigger and blow up before they can finish. This is a great way to end an enemy push and it's also very good for getting a laugh. A good time for Bubbler is when you are attacking the Rainmaker's shield and the enemy starts to out-damage you. Putting on your Bubbler will protect you from the shield breaking and will allow you to rush in and take out the people who were attacking it. Maybe even take out someone who tries to take the Rainmaker. Sadly things like Bubbler cannot be passed on to the Rainmaker holder but you can still use the Bubbler as a makeshift shield for the holder. By standing in front of the holder you will absorb all shots intended for the Rainmaker holder. Though due to the knockback of the Bubbler it is only a matter of time till the holder is taken out. If you really want to be a bully you can use your Bubbler and push the enemy spawn and keep them there for a few seconds while your team either takes the Rainmaker or continues their push.
Octobrush - Much like in TC, keep a beakon close to the Rainmaker's neutral position. You'll also want to keep some beakons close to your team as they push. If your teammate goes down, place a beakon then jump to the shield to try and break it. Your teammate will either jump to you or the beakon and provide some quick and much needed assistance. These beakons will also allow you to jump the enemy while they are breaking the shield should they wipe your team then ignore the beakons. A Kraken is also very useful for breaking the shield. The Rainmaker's shield can only survive two hits from the Kraken before breaking and the Kraken is only held off by a Luna Blaster (assuming he/she is alone). The Kraken is also useful for creating paths for your teammates. In fact, the brush in general is good for making paths. If your team is in possession on the Rainmaker, then you can just roll along and make a path for the holder. The speed at which you go at while rolling will allow you to escape most attacks and if your teammate is wearing some swim speed up gear then they might even be able to keep up with you.
The Inkbrushes are often overlooked and pushed aside due to their lack of range but in fact brushes can be just as viable as any other weapon in the game. In the hands of a good player, a brush can be a deadly weapon just like anything else. It just takes some great knowledge of the weapon, the maps and the modes to make a brush a viable team member. I hope this guide helps some looking for some tips on how to handle a brush in ranked. If you find yourself having trouble sneaking up on people and getting close look into using Ninja Squid. It may slow you down a bit but it makes it harder for you to be detected. I advise looking into it and using it for a bit till you get the hang of moving undetected naturally. If you have any further questions I'd be happy to answer them so feel free to message me here if you have any questions.
Thanks for taking a look at my guide and good luck out there my friends.