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Burst Bombs: Applications of an Underrated Sub Weapon (V1.7)

A brief look at burst bombs and their utility.

  1. SquiddiamFancyson
    Burst Bombs: Applications of an Underrated Sub Weapon
    By SquiddiamFancyson

    Burst bombs are an effective but underutilized sub weapon in Splatoon. At first glance, they appear to be inferior to the other bomb classes, as unlike splat bombs they do not splat in one shot, and unlike suction bombs they do not latch onto an area. However, if we look deeper, there are a range of benefits burst bombs provide that can make them a powerful sub weapon in the right hands.

    Table of Contents

    1. Utility & Improved Mobility

    1A) Climbing Walls

    1B) Burst Bomb Splatterhopping (Infiltrating and Retreating)

    2. Combat Application

    2A) Snuffing Out Opponents

    2B) A Close Combat Option for Weapons that Otherwise Struggle

    2C) Reducing the Opponent's Escape Options

    2D) Knockback

    2E) The Big One - Bypassing TTK (Time to Kill)

    3. Burst Bomb Rush

    4. Recommended Gear Perks

    4A) Bomb Range Up

    4B) Ink Recovery Up

    4C) Ink Saver (Sub)

    4D) Damage Up

    5. Conclusion

    1. Utility & Improved Mobility

    Burst bombs can be used for easy maneuvers that would be otherwise difficult with some weapons. All weapons with burst bombs in their loadout benefit from the perks mentioned below, however the effects are most noticeable for the carbon roller and E-liter.

    1A) Climbing Walls

    Firstly, the wide splash that burst bombs create on impact allows you to climb to high ground much easier than through standard shooting in many cases. For example, the blast radius allows the carbon roller and E-liter to climb the boxes near the chokepoint of Saltspray Rig far quicker with burst bombs than by using their fling or charge slot, respectively. Another example is the large wall in the center of Moray leading up to the opponents walkway. Take advantage of this to position yourself optimally and efficiently.

    1B) Burst Bomb Splatterhopping (Infiltrating and Retreating)

    The large blast radius of burst bombs allows weapons with poor ink coverage to make quick escapes whilst deep in enemy terrain. By throwing a bomb at the ground whilst jumping, you will leave a large puddle of ink to move around in. By landing in, and swimming through this puddle before jumping again and repeating the process, you can make some quick escapes fairly efficiently with weapons that would otherwise be unable to splatterhop. The large radius also means you can push into enemy terrain fairly safely, as it opens up your movement options. The puddles can even give weapons like the custom jet squelcher some reliable room to move in, since the puddle surrounds you when aimed at the ground.

    You can also throw bombs at the ground in enemy ink without jumping to distance yourself for even quicker retreats, but you will not be able to retreat as far and you'll run out of ink quicker due to spending less time in your own. However, this makes you less vulnerable than the jumping retreat (since jumping makes you an easy and defenseless target), and you'll often see movement like this by E-liters when you close in on them, because if you get to close, you'll be taking 35+ damage per bomb that grazes you. Examples of weapons that benefit from this option again include the carbon roller and E-liter, both of which otherwise struggle when deep in enemy terrain. Whilst shooters like the standard/hero shot and custom jet squelcher can splatterhop by firing naturally, burst bombs leave a much larger space and as such provide more movement options. Another example is the standard slosher, which whilst able to splatterhop, can do so much faster by utilizing burst bombs as the slosh shot is fairly slow.

    2. Combat Application

    Enhanced mobility is just scratching the surface when it comes to the range of benefits burst bombs have. The next examples will cover their offensive potential.

    2A) Snuffing Out Opponents

    Burst bombs provide a safe way to scout enemy terrain for opponents. By hiding in your ink with ZL, then aiming and pressing R whilst keeping ZL held down, you will throw a bomb then instantly revert to hiding. The end result is a safer way to scout opponents in enemy ink than standard shooting, which leaves you exposed and gives away your position. This strategy is not solely restricted to burst bombs, but I find burst bombs to excel in this role as you remain visible for a very small portion of time and can fire them fairly rapidly. The hit confirm sound is very distinct, and this has application as you'll be able to tell an enemy is hiding nearby even if they're not in your field of vision (such as when they're camping on the other side of a wall).

    2B) A Close Combat Option for Weapons that Otherwise Struggle

    Burst bombs can aid weapons that struggle in close combat. An example of this is the E-liter, which otherwise struggles when ambushed. Burst bombs, aside from providing a mobility option, can be used in retaliation to score a 2 shot splat if aimed well. Furthermore, as burst bombs have such little end lag, they can be thrown whilst retreating to threaten an opponent whilst simultaneously distancing yourself.

    2C) Reducing the Opponent's Escape Options

    Burst bombs aren't just useful for aiding your own escape route. The large blast radius of burst bombs means you can also block opponents escape options as they attempt to retreat. In a best case scenario, this will help you to secure a kill. At the very least, you will narrow down the opponent's movement options to the point they become predictable. In squad battles, you can alert a nearby teammate so they can comfortably pick them off.

    2D) Knockback

    Burst bombs also boast incredible knockback which comes into effect in all modes, but particularly excels in tower control. Repeatedly lobbing burst bombs on the tower will pressure the enemy team to the point they will either become exposed or simply fall off. The real fun begins when you target a bubbler user however, as the knockback is so good that it can send them flying to their deaths. It can even push the kraken with significant force, which has noticeable use on maps with room to fall like Moray as you can secure a kill on an otherwise invincible opponent.

    2E) The Big One - Bypassing TTK (Time to Kill)

    This is the big one. Burst bombs allow weapons with very poor TTK to splat much earlier than they normally would, assuming you hit the opponent with the bomb directly. This is because burst bombs are not affected by the shots to splat restriction. You can use heavy amounts of damage up to make splash damage sufficient as well, although this investment is rarely recommended unless you're using weapons that heavily benefit naturally (such as the E-liter and slosher). For reference, without damage up, a burst bomb does the following damage:

    60.0 - Direct hit
    35.0 - Heavy splash damage
    20.0 - Light splash damage

    As you can see, there's a significant difference between a direct hit and splash damage. Therefore, the following advice assumes direct hits unless otherwise stated.

    Lets begin with the custom jet squelcher as an example. The custom jet squelcher normally requires 4 shots to splat, and with a fairly poor fire rate, struggles to secure splats independently in many cases. However, with 1 damage up main and 1 damage up sub, a burst bomb + single shot does 100.2 damage, guaranteeing a splat assuming no defense ups. This not only allows the custom jet squelcher to splat quicker, but also allows it to compete in close quarters combat, where it would normally be incredibly vulnerable.

    Other weapons that reach important burst bomb thresholds are below. Please note that these thresholds assume no defense ups on the opponent:

    Standard/Hero Shot: 2 damage up subs secures a kill with a burst bomb + single shot.

    Standard Slosher: Whilst pretty decent at 2 hit KOing, the slosher can do so even faster with a burst bomb + slosh shot, as the bomb throw comes out much faster than a second slosh shot. If you want to increase consistency however, 1 main and 1 sub damage up ensures that the weakest splash damage of a burst bomb + a single slosher slot will always do just over 100 damage.

    Carbon Roller: The carbon roller with the equivalent of 3 mains can ensure that a direct burst bomb + far range flick always results in a splat. However this is not recommended as you're often in a sub-optimal position if you're relying on this for a splat. However, both the flick and burst bombs are affected by damage up, and therefore it's not a bad option if you've free slots to spare.

    E-liter: The E-liter appreciates mass amounts of damage up to decrease charge time, but receives a second benefit in the form of stronger burst bombs. There are no specific thresholds here, just go for what you think is best.

    Neo Splash-o-matic: The neo with 2 damage up mains can secure a KO with a burst bomb + single shot. The neo is generally ink efficient so if you don't have a specific build in mind you might want to give this a shot.

    L-3 Nozzlenose D: This nozzlenose can hit some interesting thresholds if you don't mind heavy investment. 1 main and 2 sub damage ups allows the nozzlenose to KO a target with no defense ups with a direct burst bomb + single shot. However, you may as well go for 2 mains at that point, since that allows the main weapon to do 99.9 damage with one trigger, assuming all 3 shots connect. 3 damage up mains (or 1 main and 6 subs) allows a direct burst bomb + single shot to hit the 100 damage threshold against somebody with 1 defense up main. 3 damage up mains also allows the nozzlenose to KO somebody with no defense ups with minimal graze bomb damage + 2 shots. Whilst these may seem trivial thresholds, they can allow you to survive what would otherwise be trades in difficult scenarios, and make all the difference when it comes to a weapon as unique as this.

    Are there thresholds beyond the above that will help me get kills with heavy/light splash damage?

    There are most likely some thresholds I haven't discussed above that would allow you to get kills in less shots accounting for heavy/light splash damage. However, I have not included them due to the heavy amount of damage up they would require. Situations beyond the above are too niche to dedicate multiple ability slots to, and could be better used for abilities that come into play more frequently. I have provided an example in the question below.

    What about opponents that heavily stack defense up? Should I use more damage than listed above?

    This is a question that I'm sure is on everybody's mind, especially with recent metagame trends. Personally, I do not advise going beyond the thresholds listed above. This is because defense up cancels out damage up until the abilities are uneven in number. For example, if you have 6 damage up subs, and the opponent has 6 defense up subs, you will deal neutral damage as if you are running no damage up. If you are running 9 damage up subs however, you will experience a slight increase in damage dealt, but this will be negligible due to diminishing returns. As defense is generally stacked, it is better to aim for optimal thresholds that account for no/minimal defense ups, and then commit the rest of your ability slots to other useful abilities unless otherwise stated. Your abilities will be far less situational this way and improve your overall game beyond splats. For example, the hero shot makes better use of bomb range up and movement enhancing abilities in remaining slots. This will not only allow you to harass people from further away, but also improve your chances of escaping difficult situations. Consider the strengths and weaknesses of your weapon and choose your remaining slots accordingly.

    3. Burst Bomb Rush

    As of patch 2.7.0, BBR excels at taking turf and keeping the enemy team pushed back, largely due to how fast you can repeatedly lob burst bombs. This has application in places like the centre of Arowana Mall for example, as the enemy team will greatly struggle to evade and climb to the centre with so many bombs not only leaving large puddles but also doing significant damage should you land a direct hit. Use BBR on high ground to reclaim turf and scatter foes, with your teammates at the ready to pick them off.

    4. Recommended Gear Perks

    The recommended gear for burst bombs is solely my opinion and flexible depending on your playstyle. However, I strongly recommend including bomb range up, ink recovery up, one ink saver (sub), and varying levels of damage up in your setup.

    4A) Bomb Range Up

    Whilst fairly self-explanatory, bomb range up is always welcome if you have room for it due to increasing the effective range of whatever weapon you're using. This is particularly noticeable on the standard/hero shot and carbon roller as they both have mediocre range otherwise, but is great on any weapon that utilizes burst bombs.

    4B) Ink Recovery Up

    Ink recovery up has use in burst bomb loadouts as you will often be hiding in ink and throwing burst bombs to snuff out opponents. Ink recovery up will allow you to do this more frequently, and consequentially you'll be able to pressure the opponent much easier.

    4C) Ink Saver (Sub)

    As of patch 2.7.0, burst bombs consume 40% of a tank per bomb. If you still want to be a burst bomb main, then 1 main 3 subs, or 2 mains, will allow you to throw 3 bombs with one tank. It completely depends on your playstyle as to whether you see this as worth it or not.

    4D) Damage Up

    Burst bombs are affected by damage up right until the damage cap of 130%. Whilst I do not recommend maxing out, damage up is required if you wish to make the most of their ability to improve your TTK with certain weapons. As previously mentioned, this is 1 main and 1 sub for the custom jet squelcher, and 2 subs for the standard/hero shot. Go crazy with damage up for the e-liter, as it will reduce required charge time and have the additional benefit of improving your close quarters combat damage.

    5. Conclusion

    In conclusion, burst bombs definitely have their place in Splatoon, and are an extremely threatening sub weapon when used correctly. I hope this guide has taught you something new about burst bombs, and maybe changed your mind if you considered them to be a weak sub weapon beforehand.
    Dewnose, Rodje, Magic8Ball and 14 others like this.

Recent Reviews

  1. aidenduh
    aidenduh
    5/5,
    I really appreciate well made guides like these, it helped me realize what burst bombs were capable of, as before I looked into using the Bamboozler MK III I thought they were used mainly to cover turf. I found this very informative, but mind adding a Bamboozler MK III summary as a part of the TTK section of your guide for the small crowd that uses it? :D
  2. Anaru
    Anaru
    5/5,
    Nice Guide! I really love burst bombs with my E-Liter, since I already use the equivalent of 3-4 damage mains every time, and it is very easy to kill quickly even at close range with them!
  3. Quilavaflare
    Quilavaflare
    4/5,
    Very nicely written and detailed, yet simple! I gave the Splattershot a try after reading this, and now I like it even better than the Tentatek. Thank you for sharing. However, I would have liked to see more info/numbers on how Damage Up works. For example, you assumed that people would get direct hits with them every time, which is often not easy. Is it then worth applying more Damage Up to make up for this or not?
    1. SquiddiamFancyson
      Author's Response
      Hi Quilavaflare,

      Thanks for the detailed review and feedback. I'm glad this helped you to the point of influencing your weapon choice!

      I actually don't think getting direct hits are easy against good players. The reason I assumed direct shots in the TTK section is because it's the optimal damage up thresholds you need to hit to get the quickest kills possible. That being said, I can see how more information might be beneficial. I'll do some testing on thresholds for the light and heavy graze KOs, and then get back to you once I've updated things.
  4. PAIN
    PAIN
    5/5,
    I use carbon roller and can verify what is written to be true
  5. Mendax
    Mendax
    5/5,
    a great guide.
    as a secondary carbon roller user, I really appreciate the amount of info in this.
    great job!
  6. Nintendome
    Nintendome
    5/5,
    great job
  7. KeebyKakes
    KeebyKakes
    5/5,
    As a Hero Shot user, this guide certainly helped me understand the value in a sub I had always thought to be weak.
  8. Wrexsoul
    Wrexsoul
    5/5,
    As a carbon roller main I thought I would be able to come with some constructive criticism here, but all I did when reading this guide was to nod to myself and go "yeah, that's pretty much everything I'd want to know about Burst Bombs". Awesome guide!
  9. Meowwi
    Meowwi
    5/5,
    great and well detailed guide!
  10. Grimlai
    Grimlai
    5/5,
    A very good overview of a seemingly simple weapon. I certainly learned a lot!
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